Saturday, September 12, 2015

Here Kitty, Kitty!

This week's stars ~ and they are stars!

Meet Henry ~ handsome, dignified, long and lean Henry.

He's gorgeous inside and out. A quiet fellow he enjoys just sitting with you and the occasional hug.

After a short getting acquainted period his curious side came thru and he started climbing.

This sweet 2 year old neutered boy is available for adoption at the Aurora Animal Shelter, 303-326-8280, 15750 East 32nd Avenue, Aurora, Colorado 80011. Ask for Henry - A174961.

Our next star couldn't be more different. Smokie is a non-stop kitten!  It was difficult to get a decent photo of him as he was on the move!

This 5 month old boy came to play!

And what a curious climber, too!

If you like to play with kittens, this is the guy for you! Frisky, funny and lovable ~ we laughed non-stop playing with him! Aurora Animal Shelter 303-326-8280, 15750 East 32nd Avenue, Aurora, Colorado 80011. Ask for Smokie - A175200

You may remember 4 year old Bella

She was the overweight girl we had made our "project." We were on a mission to help her lose weight, get some exercise and find a loving home. We expected to have her around for a long time.

When we walked into the shelter yesterday we were concerned that she wasn't in "her room." Once we found our favorite Vet Tech we learned BELLA WAS ADOPTED! The three of us hugged, high-fived and even had a few tears. We are so happy she has a home and truly hope she continues on her healthy path. We have to admit, though, we will miss her. Be well, dear girl!

There's a new girl in the private cat room now! Meet 3 year old Penney ~ who actually resembles Bella in her beautiful coloring and markings. 

And like Bella, she needs to lose a little weight so she's our new "project" and we're helping her to get on a healthy path as well.

She is a lover girl who purrs and purrs and loves being pet. The more time we spent with her, the more her funny, silly, adorable personality came out!

I love her. She's 3 years old, spayed and ready for a loving home that will help her along her healthy weight loss path. Aurora Animal Shelter, 303-326-8280, 15750 East 32nd Avenue, Aurora, Colorado 80011. Ask for Penney - A175248.

A return visit from beautiful 4 year old, Nina  ~ she's still looking for a home ~ same shelter, same phone, same address. Ask for Nina - A174675. She's a cuddle bug ~ curious, playful and loving!

And you may remember Suzie from last week. She is a year old, gorgeous, playful, curious and a cuddle bug, too! Same shelter, same phone, same address ~ ask for Suzie - A174295.

After we spend time with these beautiful creatures we develop a connection with them. And although we miss them when they leave we rejoice in their happiness in finding loving homes with loving families!

Go get 'em!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Kittens and - oh my goodness - Puppies!!

Stars of the week:

Suzie!  She is 1 year old and a spayed black and white tuxedo cat. Oh my goodness ~ what a love. I know I say that a lot but just spend time with one of the lovely cats at the Aurora Animal Shelter and you will feel the same.  

Suzie is playful.

Suzie is adorable.

Suzie is curious.

Suzie is a sweetheart.

She is available for adoption at the Aurora Animal Shelter 303-326-8280, 15750 East 32nd Avenue, Aurora, CO  80011  Ask for Suzie #A174295

And, of course, we checked in on our favorite girl, Bella!  

She is still in her own private luxury suite so she can get plenty of exercise and chase her favorite catnip toy. 

And the best news ever ~ she is going to get some special food that will help her lose the weight she needs to lose.  Win-win!! She's like ~ Say what??

I love how much everyone at the shelter cares so much for Bella and is pulling for her to reach her goals! She's one lucky kitty to have so many people caring for her. And someday some family is going to be super lucky to call her their Bella!

She, too, is at the Aurora Animal Shelter and would love a foster family to see her along her journey.  Ask for Bella #A174018.

And on a side note... oh my goodness look what we found!  Three little brothers ~ Saint Bernard Akita mix ~ and all love and snuggles and cuteness!  




Each one cuter than the last ~ all available for adoption from the Aurora Animal Shelter.  Ask for Cisco - A174980, Scooter - A174979 and Thumper - A174981. Go get 'em!!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Meow and Wow!

Bella is back for a repeat performance! Yukari and I and one of the wonderful Vet Techs at the shelter are on a mission to help Bella lose the weight she needs to lose and find her the best home ever.

We were thrilled when we walked into the shelter today and learned that Bella has her own room! Because she needs to lose weight and needs exercise she has been allowed out of her small kennel and is living in the big "Cat Room!" It is a wonderful place for her to be so she can get all the exercise she needs.

Today she had a good time with her little catnip pillow. She even chased after it when we threw it for her! It was adorable.

She's such a sweetheart. I think we wore her out. J She will sleep good this afternoon!

Bella could really benefit from a good foster home. She needs a special diet, plenty of exercise and needs a little help cleaning her bum (until she loses the weight). She loves to be pet, cuddle and purrs like a non-stop purring machine! If you're interested in fostering or adopting her ~ a reminder of her information:

Bella (A174018) can be found at the Aurora Animal Shelter, 303-326-8280, 15750 East 32nd Avenue, Aurora, Colorado 80011. She is only 4 years old and has many, many good years ahead of her! She's a really special girl. Y

Our other special girl today was Nina. She, too, is 4 years old and available for adoption at the Aurora Animal Shelter. Ask for Nina - A174675.

She was shy at first but warmed up quickly. She was curious and loved climbing!

After exploring nothing is better than a snuggle, some lap time and purr time.

She's a sweetheart. I know I say that about these cats a lot, but they really are. And they are always so happy to spend quality time outside their kennels. It is an honor to give them that time.

Nina may be having a special day today! She is probably going to be one of the "chosen few" and be transported to a local PetCo as a featured adoptable pet! Yay! If you live in Aurora and she's not at the shelter ~ check around at the local PetCo's. She may be at the PetCo on Quincy & Buckley in Aurora. Good luck, little girl! Y You deserve a loving home!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Celebrating My Girls and Boy

I don't know who declared it but apparently it is National Dog Day!  Woo-hoo!

When we said good-bye to our beloved Simba

we walked around in a fog for several days. Before she passed we knew she was slowing down and someday that final good-bye would come. My thought at the time was when she passed, I didn't want another dog. She was irreplaceable. We still had our 21 year old cat, A-choo, so I thought well... maybe we will adopt an older cat to keep her company. And when her time comes we'll adopt another adult cat to keep that one company.

Of course when the time really came my head was so cloudy, my heart so broken I couldn't think of bringing another soul into the family at all.

After a few weeks I began to feel an incredible void. Simba was my constant companion. We walked several mornings a week in the huge State Park at the end of our street.

She was by my side every day in my studio.

I have to admit, though, as winter was approaching (she passed in September) the idea of staying inside by the fire with a couple of cats as opposed to bundling up and trudging thru the cold and snow was appealing.

As much as I love cats (and I truly do adore them ~ we just adopted 12 year old Kia the cat!) there is something about having a dog in your life... Simba always got me up and moving early in the day. We enjoyed our morning walks in nature. It cleared my head and inspired me. Some of my best photography was done on walks with her. And there is something about the excitement a dog expresses when you come home ~ whether it has been 5 minutes or 5 days. That unconditional love...

A home just seems more complete with a dog.

So when my friend, Janet, gently suggested -- when I felt ready -- to just take a walk thru a shelter and, you know, just look.  Later my husband and I laughed and said, "That's like telling us to 'just go look at new cars.'"  We could never do it without buying one.

Of course our walk thru the shelter found us coming home with a 6 year old puppy. Kizzie's adoption story is on my other blog, Oh My Sweet Goodness.  

And when A-choo passed rather than adopting an adult cat, back to the shelter we went to adopt another 6 year old puppy ~ and puppy described him to a tee. Enter Koko

So today I celebrate Simba - the love of my life for 16 years and Kizzie and Koko ~ who brighten my world every single day. It has been almost two years since Simba passed and I think of her every day. In fact this blog post started out to be about Kizzie and Koko. But Simba spoke to my heart more loudly.


you are my snuggle buddy ~ my sweet girl ~ my good girl. Y


you make me laugh every day ~ you make me happy ~ you're my boy, my sweet, crazy boy.

How blessed I am to have all of you in my life and in my heart. YYY

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Loving a Reactive Dog

First - let me state that I am by no means an expert on dogs and dog behavior. All I know is how my reactive dog behaves and how I am learning to deal with his reactive behavior. 

When it came time to adopt a buddy for our 6 year old Kizzie, we turned to the Dumb Friends League. I searched the website and fell in love with this little face.

I knew with an adorable face like that he wouldn't last long so we went down that afternoon. Meeting him in person I realized there was more to this little guy (also 6 years old) than just a cute face. Taking him to meet Kizzie I soon realized... he's got A LOT of energy...

But we decided to take a chance and adopted him anyway. Kizzie wasn't sure what to think.

(To be honest... 17 months later she still doesn't know what to think.) 

Within about 30 minutes home he fell fast asleep in his Dad's arms.

In the ensuing days as we got to know our little Koko better we realized he, indeed, was quite energetic

If an animal appeared on television, he went bananas - barking and barking and barking.

If he saw a bunny or a bird or a dog or a person outside, he went bananas - barking and barking and barking.

He didn't appear to know how to walk on-leash and was very wiggly and awkward when we tried to walk.

We live in a fairly quiet neighborhood which proved to be a double-edged sword for Koko. We learned he was very reactive to noise - any noise - a truck, a timer, an alarm, a dog barking, a telephone ringing, a doorbell, a lawnmower, voices outside - any noise. Thunder... oh my goodness, thunder! So a quiet environment can be good for him. A quiet environment also makes any noise - any noise - louder than it would in a noisier environment. So we were dealing with a lot of barking issues. One his favorite spots to "guard" the house and make us aware of anything - anything - going on outside was (still is) the top of the stairs -- in perfect view of a large window above the front door.

Although he loved going for Jeep rides (still does) ~ again ~ any little motion or noise outside would set him off. 

I knew within days I was going to need guidance and help or I would lose my mind. Returning Koko to the shelter was not an option. 

I believe that The Universe puts people and things and situations in your life at certain times for a reason ~ and if you are paying attention The Universe will usually present an answer.

We love our Vet Clinic and, of course, took Koko in within days to have a well-check exam. I explained we were experiencing some behavioral issues and we were immediately referred to Yukari of You n' I Animal Wellness. I thought about it for a couple of days and remember after one particularly stressful day I sat down that evening and poured my heart, stress, concerns - and yes a few tears - into an email to Yukari. I basically had a meltdown.

Long story short, within days we were working with Yukari once a week.

And work we did! For almost a year we met first once a week, then once every two weeks then once every three. We always had homework ~ and by we I mean the whole family ~ Koko, Kizzie, me and my husband. We all were trained.

One of the first things we learned was to make his living space smaller and more manageable. Up went the puppy gates!

It helped! 

We tried crate training. Koko seemed to like it ~ especially when I covered the crate with a blanket. It was his little man-cave.

Kizzie, on the other hand ~ mellow as she is ~ fought the crate. So we put the crates on hold.

There were lots of commands to learn ~ sit, stay, come, down, leave it, look at that! Some are automatic now; some still need some work. He did get "down!"

For those thunderstorms we bought a Thundershirt and it helps a bit. We also have calming treats, Pheromone spray and calming gel. When a storm approaches and it gets dark we turn on all the lights. We play the television loud. We have special treats. We dance. We sing. All of it helps. He still gets a little anxious, but he is much better.

Who knows what the first 6 years of Koko's life were like, but we can be pretty sure he had no training and very little attention. So he's like a puppy still. He loves to play fetch so it has become a daily ritual for us. A very fun, very cute, very beneficial thing to do for him and with him.

We're constantly learning and just the other day bought this awesome travel crate for him to ride in comfort when we go for Jeep rides. We're still working on this one and he seems to like it!

So after a year working with Yukari our trainer-client relationship transitioned into a great friendship. We still see her often and Koko and Kizzie are always over the moon happy to smother her in puppy kisses. 

Bottom line in all this is ~ living with a reactive dog is challenging but it is doable! Enlisting the help of a good trainer - one who believes in training with positive reinforcement - is crucial. It has been incredibly rewarding to watch Koko learn and advance and become more comfortable in his own skin. He is a happier dog now. He's a smart boy and he learns quickly; when it clicks, it clicks. I have learned that consistency and routine are very important for him. It has made all of our lives easier. We're still learning; still working on commands and routine. But it is 1000 times better than it was. He's probably always going to have some anxious tendencies, but I feel so much better knowing that we're doing all we can to make him comfortable.

Is every day perfect? No. Do I still have days when I want to pull my hair out? Yes. The occasional meltdown still occurs. But now I know it is only temporary ~ this, too, shall pass. Tomorrow is a new day. All those cliches apply.

Koko mainly just likes being with us. He loves being with his family and we love him.

And always there is that face. That precious little face that brought him to me. We joke and say it has saved him many times. 

That face that I still fall in love with each and every day. I feel blessed that The Universe decided we needed each other, Koko.