D.T. and Wrigley relaxing by the fireplace.

D.T. and Wrigley relaxing by the fireplace.
Can't we all just get along?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Dancing Merengue Dog.flv

I couldn't stop smiling while watching this!  Even the dog seems to be smiling and wagging its tail the entire time!  So cute!  Wish my dog could do this...:)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

New foster litter is finally here!

After getting back into our groove after vacation we got the call about fostering a new litter.  I was sad to hear that the first animals that are euthanized are black ones.  This is a problem for cats as well as dogs.  I don't get it!?!  We adopted our black kitty last year and he is absolutely wonderful!  I can't imagine our lives without him!  I heard a volunteer at the shelter say "what they lack in markings they make up for in personality".  So true, I am finding.  Well, here we are, our new little family that was ready to be euthanized and discarded like garbage.  They are older and bigger than we normally get but they need LOTS of socialization and TLC.  Not only are they on antibiotics daily, the two sisters are very skittish and scared.  My girls are learning how to rehab them even through the hissing and cowering.  The male kitten was all alone and is quite the charmer (like our own Timone) so he was put with the sisters to help them come around.  It's amazing how even when thrown together, they become a little family and love one another.
O"Malley was already named and is quite the charmer!  Look
at those ears!  I can't stop thinking of "O'Malley the alley cat" from
The Aristocats movie! :)

We decided to stay with the Irish theme, so this
is Kennedy.  So pretty, fluffy and coming around socially.

This is Kerrigan, which is Irish for black.
She will be the challenge.  She hisses because she is scared...
who knows how people treated her.
But we have high hopes for her!!

**Somehow my daughters have a much quicker success rate than I do at getting the scared ones to come around.   They are already telling me how the sisters are licking them and nuzzling up against them!! I am mostly the caretaker: give medicine, clean up the accidents, clip nails, etc.  Maybe they sense that and feel more at ease with calm, loving children who are smaller in size.  That's OK, though, I am proud no matter what!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Reason #18: Animals know what they want and just go for it!

No hemming and hawing.  No asking others for their opinions on a matter.  No chickening out.  I love that animals have immediate insticts.  They just go for what they want and don't hesitate one bit.  I wish I could be more like that.  I spend way too much time reseaching a product I want to buy, scrutinizing a thought or idea that I already know the answer to, and asking too many people for their advice on which I have already made my mind up about.  Why?  Not sure.  But one thing I know now is that by watching my cat the other day and seeing his natural animal insticts kick in made me want to "just go for it".
We are pet sitting our neighbors two gerbils.  I wondered what
Timone would do if he saw them.  He was immediately on the prowl!

Timone knocked over my books that I used as weights.  I did
not want those gerbils to escape!!  Timone had other ideas....

Second set of books taken care of!  He is determined!!

**I am happy to report that the gerbils are safe and locked away in a spare room. 
Timone is now peeking at them under the door!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Reason #17: No matter what you are doing, the spontaneous spotting of an animal brings happiness.

As you might know, I am not a huge fan of surprises.  I like to know what is going on.  Some call it controlling, but being sprung upon last minute doesn't work well for me.  I am a big fan of non-scheduled days where the kids and I can hang in our PJs all morning until we decide what to do.  But that gets all trumped when the doorbell rings and I am in my PJs, glasses on, hair askew and not ready for company!  Is it bad that this happened today at 12 noon?  We ate breakfast and lunch in our PJs!!  It's funny, though, that when we (my family) are surprised by animals venturing into our day, we get so excited.  We welcome the surprise, without question.  This happened on many occasions on our vacation and we all loved it!

Store owner's dog napping in the window.
The kids were so excited by this! 

They insisted they needed new shoes just to go in! :)

While at Epcot, we spotted a number of bunnies
randomly running through the park.  Again, the kids
squealed with delight.  I was like, "Um, we are at Disney World!!"

We met a little girl and her Mom at the airport
picking up their new mini dachshund puppy.
Soooo cute and entertained the girls for hours!

Lucy, the mini piebald dachshund

Running through the birds on the beach never got old!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Reason #16: People watching is just sometimes too painful.

People watching can be fun....if you are at a setting other than a theme/amusement park.  I just returned from an amazing vacation with my family.  We spent a few whirl wind days at Disney World followed by a week at Siesta Key for much needed rest, relaxation and beach bliss!  The Disney experience lived up to all of my expectations: magical, exciting, entertaining, crowded, and as my kids said, "so much fun".  We hit all four parks in three days and loved every minute except for some of the people watching.  It is a place, I found, that people's behavior can really surprise you.  With temperatures in the upper 90s and a heat index over 100 degrees, high humidity, minimal shade, tired toddlers, seniors in scooters, and long lines, well, let's just say, the animals at Animal Kingdom were better behaved.  We found Animal Kingdom to be awesome!!  Some call it a glorified zoo...this I can not understand.  If you are a big animal person, you will be in your glory.  I'll take the animal watching any day over some of the crazy people watching!

*to be respectful and avoid a lawsuit, I did not photograph faces, or photograph some of the less humorous images ie: foul language, meltdowns-by children and adults, physical abuse and inappropriate lack of clothing coverage)!! ;)

Majestic and mesmerizing! We were in total awe!

We were also in awe of the number of people
who wore jeans!  Did they not get the heat memo??

The Kilimanjaro Safari was a hit!

I have a new respect for Fruit Bats.
I could have watched them all day...so cool!

Not cool.

The Tree of Life.
Amazing carvings of different animals and bugs
as the trunk of the tree.

An example of how beautiful the carvings are!

Yeah, I don't know. It might be lightweight but
you still stick to it in 100 degree heat.

There are so many more beautiful images to share but will save them for another time! :)
People watching vs. animal watching?   I think the animals take this one!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Reason #15: The constant companionship...the quiet kind.

You know when you want company but don't want the constant chatter? Well animals fit the bill nicely. Gardening for me is one of those times.  I lucked out this afternoon when my kids and their friends (a party of 10) decided to relocate from my yard to a neighbors'.  My girl Wrigley stayed back and hung out with me and we had a great, peaceful time. :)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Reason #14: They don't give you a guilt trip (at least not in words)!!

We are gearing up for our summer family vacation and I have not had any anxiety about it until we were at PetSmart stocking up on pet supplies for the pet sitter.  I spent WAY too much time in there trying to talk myself down from over-buying "stuff" for my pets to fix the guilt I feel for leaving them! I know they will be in the best hands possible but when a pet becomes part of your family, not including them in something is tough for me.  I especially feel sad to leave the newest member of the family, our kitten, Timone.  We have not parted since we rescued him at under 1 pound and he slept on a hot water bottle.  However, my kids have absolutely NO trouble telling me how they NEED all this new stuff for vacation: new swimsuit, shoes, hair do-dads, sunglasses, and toys.  I even almost got persuaded to buy a Nintendo DS on sale for my youngest!  Huh?!?  And yet, all my furry children need are some food, water, potty locale, some attention and belly rubs.  And they don't do the "awww" when you don't buy them an Icee at Target!!! 
Man, I'm mean!  :)

I just went out to get the mail, kids!  Talk about guilt trip!
(Sorry the resolution is rough, it's through the window screen)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Reason #13: Animals go with the flow.

School is out!!!  I am ready for the lazy mornings, not coming up with new and interesting cold lunches, not assisting with school projects and homework, being able to stay up late, catching fireflies, making s'mores, working in the garden, reading a book while at the pool, and catching up with friends.  However, some can not transition as well.  I have already heard friends complain that their kids are bored!  Bored?!  On the first day?!  I put those kiddos of mine right to work when they started doing the blank wander throughout the house.  "Here's a project.   Let's have you clean out your craft closet and get ready for vacation and the summer."  After a few deep sighs, they got into it and of course, so did our kitten.  Where there are new events going on, you can be sure to see one or all of our pets in the mix and checking out the activities...without complaining!

Timone is overseeing the

Don't throw out this cool binder!
This looks like a great hiding space!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Reason #12: Their past is not their life story.

I am guilty of this!  My mother to this day says I am/was such a picky eater because I had colic as a newborn! I do not appear to have missed a meal.  :)  I have blamed my parent's divorce for reasons why I had trouble dating and yet I have a wonderful husband!!  I have heard friends of mine blame their health issues today because of what their parents fed them 30 years ago!  Crazy, isn't it?  We can find a million excuses for how we act or behave due to something that occurred years ago.  With animals, not so much.  My kitten was thrown away like garbage, riddled with fleas to the point he was anemic and yet he is the most friendly and lovable pet I have ever had.  

This is a wonderful story from our favorite animal shelter.  A pit-bull mix was treated horrifically and left for dead and still when the shelter picked her up she wagged her tail and was ready to be loved!  I ran in their first 5k to support the shelter and all the great things they do.  It's a must-read.

Inaugural fundraiser assists no-kill shelter in saving animals.

I am runner 138.  Good thing this photo was
taken at the beginning...I looked beet red
after from the 90 degree heat!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Cool product!!! Cat-Library™

I LOVE to read (when I have the time) and really want this cool bookshelf!!  Even the cat in the promo looks like my kitten!!  It was meant to be!  (at least I will try that angle with the hubby) :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Reason #11: Animals inspire us to be more compassionate.

I had the "dreaded" garage sale over the weekend.  It's not that I do not like getting a great deal or getting rid of things that are no longer useful, but the preparation and commitment of a garage sale is not my favorite way to spend a weekend.  I did luck out with one great day of weather but unfortunately the second day was rainy and gloomy.  I was shocked that people still came out to view my garage of "junk" but I was also impressed with the enthusiasm my daughters and their friends had to "go on with the show" of their lemonade and treat stand.  I was so proud of my girls when they told me a few weeks prior that they wanted to sell lemonade and treats and give the money to our favorite animal shelter, Animal House Shelter in Huntley, IL.!!!  Their friends and neighbors helped out and they raised almost $30.00!!!  I look forward to sending in the check with their happy and proud faces knowing they made a difference.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Reason #10: Inner peace

I have not posted in over a month!!  I am still learning how to find the balance of it all (ie: life)!!  I truly had some writer's block and when I saw this email from my Aunt in addition to saying goodbye to our foster kitties and coming off of a 6 hour Yoga teacher training class...I just HAD to post the email!  So true and funny!


If you can start the day without caffeine,
If you can be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,
If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it,
If you can understand why your loved ones are busy and can't give you any time,
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
If you can conquer tension without medical help,
If you can relax without alcohol,
If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,
Then you are probably.....

The Family Dog!


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

No reasons today...just a great message and great website!!

I LOVE this blog! This is one of my favorite post-it notes. On the theme of helping others, please visit http://www.animalhouseshelter.com/ and vote! They can win money to help save more animal lives!! #678

Monday, April 4, 2011

Reason #9: Animals make great sleeping buddies!

Unfortunately, I am writing this post quite tired after getting one of the worst night's sleep I can remember!  Not only did the lovely hubby snore all night but we had a wild storm which encouraged my youngest to come into our bed during the night.  She is not toddler small anymore and has, as my husband likes to call it "the jimmy legs".  My ribcage is sore as well as my shins.  Pets on the other hand do not take up too much space, unless you have a 150 pound dog, but we do not.  Our 60 pounder usually sleeps in her bed on the floor, but if one of our cats saunters in for a wee cuddle, they usually stay at the foot of the bed keeping my toes toasty!  The cats also do naps in shifts, I found.  They like to cuddle for about 15 minutes and then move onto something else...hence, "cat nap".  They know their limit of snuggletime!  If I wanted to feel this badly, I could have just gone camping (which we do once a year) and slept on an air mattress, on an incline, in a tent with mosquitoes and humidity.  Can you tell I am crabby? :)

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Reason #8: Animals do not create heaps of laundry!!

Cutting down the amount of laundry. 
Even if you dress your pets up in those "cute" outfits, they still do not take up much space in the laundry heap.  I dislike doing laundry.  I don't mind the sorting and loading into the washer.  I even don't mind transferring the wet clothes into the dryer or drying rack.  But, I really dislike the folding, putting away and trying to find that matched sock that was there when you put them into the washer.  I don't even have a large family, just two adults and two children's worth of clothes.  So, here is a lovely picture of our kitten, Timone, cleaning our dog Wrigley.  Ahhh, thanks for the break, buddy!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Reason #7: Animals can teach some of life's great lessons.

Newest foster litter 2011
This is our second year working with our favorite no-kill animal shelter as a "foster family".  We volunteer to take in animals that would otherwise be euthanized and give them a home until a family can adopt them.  Yesterday, we picked up a litter of 6 week old kittens (pictured on left) and were reminded of some wonderful life lessons that do not require a long-winded lecture or self-help book.  These unwanted, motherless kittens, endured hours traveling in a crate, were poked and prodded for their health, uncertain of their fate and began purring the minute I picked them up.  It was as if they were telling me in those little motors how grateful they were that someone cared.  Fostering animals is a great experience, especially if you have children and/or don't want to commit to years of owning a pet.  My kids learn how to be patient with a timid and scared kitten, nurture a pregnant dog, the responsibility of feeding and taking care of a pet, see the acceptance of a litter welcoming an new, orphaned kitten, the compassion for living things and the joy of a foster pet being adopted.  It is also a great lesson in the circle of life and always amazes me how these little creatures already have a personality different from one another the moment you meet them.  I can't say enough positive things about working with your local animal shelter.  Even if you do not have the time or space to foster animals, the shelter is always looking for volunteers, donations and support from their community.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Reason #6: Animals are the masters of living in the moment!

"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment"- Buddha.  I try to live by this quote but the biggest fault of mine is wishing time away.  "I can't wait until this stressful day is over, I'll buy that top when I lose 10 pounds, when the kids are older we'll go there, etc."  I wasn't in spin class this morning for five minutes before I was wishing it was over! :) Yoga is a great practice for being "in the now".  You have to be present  with the postures and the breathing to reap the benefits.  The hardest part, for me, is the meditation at the end without clouding up my mind with the day's to-do list.   No matter what is going on, an animal can live in the moment, no problem!  One of my favorite things to do is ask the dog "Do you want to go for a walk?"  Wrigley is always eager and willing and when outside she is SO happy and mindful of every scent, noise, green space, change in the wind and her family walking with her.  You don't need to read Eckhart Tolle's book, The Power of Now (although is IS very good) to learn how to live in the moment, you just need to BE with an animal and watch how they do it effortlessly.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Reason #5: Animals are more tolerant.

Today, I was helping out a friend and agreed to pick her child up from Pre-School.  I only had about twenty minutes between the time I had to pick her up to the time I had to be home to get our kids off the AM Kindergarten bus.  Time was of the essence!  I nicely asked the parents in line if I could "cut" to the front to get my friend's child first and knocked on the classroom door.  I was surprised by the other parents and teachers who all seemed "put-out" that I was budging in line as well as interrupting class (which was late, by the way) to get my friend's child.  Oh, well, I thought, they'll get over it.  I would gladly let someone go ahead of me if they had an emergency.  When I came home, I remembered a video I saw on You Tube that really did make me LOL.  It is a slide show of animals in ridiculous costumes and they all look miserable, but tolerant!  Even the music is perfect.  It's not Halloween, but the images are a bit eerie and scary (in a funny way).  I am pleased to say, I have never subjected my pets to this embarrassment, but I do think the scuba dog is my favorite!!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Reason #4: Animals do not stalk you!

 Well, unless you are a Gazelle on a savanna in Africa or my kitten versus the fish tank.  It is only midday and I have already received enough telemarketing phone calls on my land line and cell phone to want to switch my number!  If it's not the incessant phones calls asking me to buy this, donate that, claim my free car and/or thousands of dollars, then it's my kids' friends who want ME to host a play date!  I really do want my kids to have friends and learn to socialize with others, just not every waking moment.  And the unannounced, last minute dates are the WORST!  Really, do you think I am going to drop everything to host a play date which includes snacks, refereeing and the trashing of my house, so you can have a break?!  It is the first sunny day in a long time and I will bet a million dollars (if I had it) that my doorbell will ring the minute the bus pulls away.  TGIF!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Reason #3: Animals can problem solve effectively.

During another gloomy, dreary day in Chicagoland, I find myself wondering why I live here. Of course to be close to friends and family, but other than that (Chicago is a great city, too) the winter season is.....LONG! This morning to get out of my funk, I went to yoga, had some extra green tea, meditated, watched some funny T.V, tried to take a nap and read a book. As I came down the stairs, I found our dog, Wrigley, getting in some rays on the stairway landing. Not a huge area of rays, but enough to bask in some cheery sunlight for several minutes. Again, animals just "know" how to problem solve without reading a self-help book, phoning a friend or popping some pills! :) That's it for now....excuse me while I squeeze in next to Wrigley and pretend I am on the beach!
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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Reason #2: Animals are non-judgemental.

We just returned from a wonderful program offered by our public library called Read To Rover.  It gives kids in grades Kindergarten through 5th  an opportunity to practice their reading skills with a therapy dog.  I found it very interesting that when I asked my daughters if they wanted to practice their reading with a dog, they sprinted past me, book in hand, already zipping up their coats.  It dawned on me that while I sit there and often repeat: "sound it out", "group the letters", "you know that word", "what's the root word", and annoyingly so-on and so-on, an animal just listens.  Of course, I know an animal won't give feedback!  But, for a child, there is a calm, supportive presence of an animal who loves your attention and company, no matter what you are doing.