Give me a new home. Stamps for pets.

April 21, 2010

Golden retriever stamp/USPS

Next time you’re looking for a pet rescue one from a shelter.

Many cats and dogs are available for adoption at your local animal shelter. These aren’t rejects, just animals looking for a forever home.

New stamps for April 30, 2010/USPS

Ellen DeGeneres is teaming with the United States Postal Service (USPS) to publize the need for homes for these animals. The USPS is issuing a set of stamps on April 30, 2010 to give this a high profile.

All the animals pictured are real rescued pets that have been given new homes. Ellen had Postmaster-General John Potter on her show recently to announce the program and the new stamps.

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The Cat and Her Staff

April 3, 2009
Jackie

Jackie

I know, I know another cat, but heck everyone else does it so why not me.

This is our present cat named Jackie. We acquired her a few months ago after the last one ran off and never came back. Jackie is an animal-shelter cat originally and is just over one year old.

Funny how all cats have their own unique personalities just like people. This one is primarily an indoor cat. She wants out, but only when birds or other cats are spotted through the window.

Favorite activities include,

  • ripping and tearing cardboard of any kind, especially boxes.
  • rendering toilet paper unusable.
  • putting on nightly performances of “tearing around the house, upstairs and down at rapid speed”.
  • disposing of any flowers entering the house.
  • checking out all table and counter tops to ensure they are free of debris or food.
  • following her staff everywhere around the house to make sure they are tending to her needs.
  • greeting all cat haters or those allergic to her kind whenever they visit. I assume she is using this as therapy to remove their fears. This is not always appreciated, but afterall she is trying to help.

Her household staff consists of,

  • Dad (me) who is the primary source of food, cleans the litter box, and provides protection from other staff.
  • Cindy who usually doesn’t care for the feline order, but actually likes Jackie. She advises Dad when the food dish is empty or the litter needs cleaning. I would call her an advisor.
  • Damian who is the nightly bedmate of Jackie. Provides nice blankets and a quilt for her nighttime comfort. Also acts as a play consultant.
  • Claire and Olivia, the twins, provide “rubies” and play opportunities.

So you can see she has staff to minister to her every whim and want. What else could a cat desire? A mouse or a bird would be nice from time to time, from Jackie’s point of view anyway.


Travels With The Gang: Christmas in Maui

March 25, 2008

damiangirls.jpgI know it’s a little late, but I finally put my notes together and here is another adventure we had with the kids. Over Christmas our family vacationed in Maui.

Here I was planning on confining myself for nine hours on an airplane with the gang. Was I crazy? Damian, my dynamic six year old, and three year old twins, Claire and Livia. Would this be a vacation? Sure I thought hopefully. The time in Hawaii maybe, the flight, well that might be another story.

My wife and I loaded their carry-ons with games, coloring books, markers, books and of course goodies and snacks. Will there be enough to last nine hours? That was the million dollar question.

The trek starts with waking them out of a sound sleep at 2:30 in the morning. As usual when you want them to wake up, they want to sleep. You can bet that if we wanted them to sleep, they would be up and ready to go.

Finally we get up. Next we are waiting for the cab to take us to the airport. The cab shows up at 3:30. We load up and then the cat escapes into the cold darkness. Damian and I are chasing it around the yard and it is managing to make us look like fools. At last we pounce on her and toss her back into the warmth of the house, With the cat rescued from death by deep freeze we are on our way to the airport.

At the airport we get lucky and are near the first of the line. Check in, customs pre-clearance and security goes well. Damian is convinced to remove the wheels from his Heelies. Claire refuses to let security x-ray her “little Barney”. This is one of her favorite stuffed toys, she is a Barney freak, and she is not about to part with it. Finally we manage to get it in the x-ray and returned to her. God knows it might have contained a bomb.

The first leg of the flight, Calgary to Denver, goes well. Kids are on their best behavior. The food holds out and the batteries are still working.

Damian sits with me and says, “Dad when we get to Maui I am going to run into the room, get my swim suit on, and jump into the pool.” I decide then and there I better catch some zzzz so I can keep up with him. So I make that my goal. We’ll see how that works out.

Next we board the plane to Hawaii. After sitting on the tarmack for over one hour waiting for “connecting” passengers and their bags, we finally start moving. Halfway through the flight, “the boy” decides it is time to pester the sisters. Hell, it’s been way too quiet and uneventful, at least in his opinion. A melee ensures and separation is the order of the day. When we finally get his “engine” at an idle peace settles over the passenger compartment of the jetliner.

Food has run out and we still have 4 hours to go! My kingdom for some M&Ms. Are we there yet? No that is not the kids braying that, it’s me desparately hoping the pilot has made a mistake and the islands will suddenly appear and we will be on solid ground where I can actually give them a timeout.

Turns out that United Airlines has a contest to see how long it takes to get halfway. I can tell them. It takes several fights and lots of crying, from the kids, and parents before reach that milestone.

They say that countries will always find a way to start a war. My kids parallel the Middle East, any excuse will do. Share is not a word in their vocabulary.

Finally we are at the condo. Very nice one bedroom with large pullout in the common area. The kids decide they all want to sleep in the king-size pullout. They are so tired that it works out well. Damian in the middle with sisters on either side. Big brother is so good to them.

Before bed they go swimming with Uncle Mac, Colin and Caleigh. Meanwhile Cindy, Karen and I hike down to the nearest store for some provisions. The road is super busy with little or no sidewalk. It is so dark it is dangerous walking. We return with basics for the morning.

We are all so tired. To bed with plans for finding a nice beach in the morning.

To Lahania today and the supposedly number one beach in Maui just to the north. It was OK but lots of rocks. Very hot today. Damian and the girls had a blast in the sand building sand castles and burying Uncle Mac. Tried to get on glass bottom boat but full up so will try again tomorrow. Lahania is an historic whaling town from the 1800s with many old buildings. The old court house and jail had a huge Banyan tree in front. This building was once the capital of Hawaii. It is the spot where the official ceremony took place lowering the Hawaiian flag and raising the American flag. This made Hawaii a territory of the United States in 1888. The tree resembled an octopus with its many convoluted branches. Kids climbed all over it before we realized that we weren’t supposed to do that, oh well the kids had fun. Tomorrow snorkling and perhaps the glass bottom boat. Sure beats the heck out of the snow and ice of Calgary.

Snorkling at a local beach today. Lots of fish and a reef/rock formation that came right into shore. Not deep and good viewing. Saw about 20 different species of marine fish.

Back to the condo and a steak barbeque this evening. Christmas Eve. Strange but true. Christmas Day will be a luau on the beach. Maui is fantastic.

Christmas morning we went to Big Beach down the coast from Kihei and relaxed in the sun. Later in the afternoon we went to Lahanai to the luau. The dances and such were excellent, but food was terrible. What a disappointment. All in all a good time though. They did have a special buffet for the kids with chicken fingers and fries.

I was dreading the flight home because sister-in-law and family wouldn’t be with us. They left a day earlier, we had to spent an extra night in a hotel near the airport. I extended the rental car which was one of the smartest things I did. We spent the day at the local mall and took the kids to two movies before heading to the airport.

Turns out we were worried for no reason. The kids were so exhausted that they slept all the way back to San Francisco and then to Calgary. Damian was awake for the last two hours, but he and I watched The Simpsons on my laptop and he drew pictures.
 


Christmas Cats !

December 14, 2007

Just in time for Christmas someone has found out how to clone cats and produce glow-in-the-dark pussies. Just think of the advantages of this:

  • cats can be moving decorations all over the house.
  • you can now see that damn cat you’re always tripping over when you go down the hall to use the bathroom at night.
  • the cat that loves to climb and be part of your Christmas tree can now be just another decoration.

What I wonder is will they come in different colors? Also it would be nice to get ones the blink on and off. Short-hair versus long-hair, what will the effect be on lighting quality. This opens up a whole myriad of possibilities. Consumers will be lining up to be the first on the block to have one. What a conversation piece to have walking around.

Finally if you really do miss the cat that trashed your tree every year, you can bring it back for an encore. Save some DNA from the first and you have endless cats to bring joy to your Christmas season.


The Cat and the Christmas Tree: A Seasonal Tail

December 5, 2007

zip4.jpg

Above: Zippy

Cats and Christmas trees just don’t mix. Every year when I put mine up I’m always thinking of ways to discourage felines from climbing or otherwise abusing the centerpiece of the holiday cheer.

When I was younger a friend of mine had a big Siamese male cat who sat very patiently watching the family set up and decorate the tree. It seemed to me that he wasn’t all that interested. Once the tree was up and decorating completed it was a different story. He would then immediately run across the room and dash up the tree to the very top sending the tree crashing down with decorations scattered here and there all over the house. After that he wouldn’t touch the tree the rest of the holidays. It was almost like he was saying, “been there done that”. Needless to say this family finally outsmarted the cat and tied the tree securely at the top to the curtain rods. The cat didn’t like that much, it spoiled his fun. He just said the heck with it and left it alone. It was just no fun anymore.

The other memorable encounter between a feline and a tree was that of my big orange tabby who went by the name of Zippy. Now at first it didn’t seem like he was all that interested in the tree, but I should have known better based on my previous experience. One morning a few days after our tree raising  I came downstairs to a horrible site. Zippy had the tree on it’s side on the living room floor dragging it along like it was prey. He was tugging and pouncing alternatively as he moved it across the carpet. Yes he was actually dragging it like a leopard with his prey. Decorations, or should I say what was left of them, covered the floor as far as the eye could see. He was so intent on his fun that at first he didn’t see me. As I watched him I didn’t know whether to cry or laugh. The end result was another tree raising and decorating party including the use of brand new ornaments. This time I tied the top off in an attempt to deter another feline tree felling.

We now have an artificial tree. Cats still seem interested, but not in climbing. The smell of a real tree brought out the feral instinct in my “domestic” tabby, if you can really tame them. They really only keep you around to feed them, clean the litter and scratch them behind the ear from time to time. Oh yes they do enjoy the Christmas season, so many trees and so little time.

Now as a footnote, Zippy has passed on to the great litterbox in the sky, but what vivid Christmas memories he left behind. Because we missed the battle of cat and tree we now have another cat. Will the tree survive? Stay tuned. “Get off that tree cat!”


Black Cats I Have Known

November 1, 2007

blackcat-lilith.jpgFor far too long black cats have been ostracized. They are not bad luck, nor are they evil. Two of the nicest cats I have owned have been black.

The first one was Felix and he was just the most beautiful cat and so affectionate. Everything about him was to love. One time our family went away for two weeks on vacation. At the time we lived in a mobile home court and had no one to look after him. We did have a partially enclosed porch though, so we left a self-dispensing food and water container for him and a nice warm bed. All of this was out of the weather. When we returned Felix was no where to be found. Several weeks later he showed up out of the blue meowing and talking away. He apparently had been exploring the town and nearby woods. Anyway he must have kept checking back every so often for us. He was so glad to see us and immediately again became part of the family. Eventually he had to be euthanized because of a urinary tract problem common in male cats. He was up in years and had lived a good life.

Tom was another black cat that was adopted. My daughters found him and took him in. He was a beautiful long-hair black cat. So affectionate and friendly. Again another tale of a cat lost and found. He wandered off one time and then they moved. They kept coming back looking for him, but no luck. A year or so later he was spotted in the old neighborhood. They picked him up and asked if I could take him in because they had already gotten another cat. I had a soft spot for old Tom so took him in. He made friends with my cat Zippy and they got along quite well. By this time Tom was getting old. One day I arrived home and walked by the chair where he was curled up. I said hi to him which he usually answered with a deep, friendly meow, this time nothing. A sinking feeling hit me. I went back and carefully stroked him, no response, he was cold and stiff. I lifted him and he was still warm underneath so he must have just quietly slipped away. The end of another fantastic friend.

black_front.jpgSo although black cats have a bad name and are in fact almost never adopted, please if you are looking for a great cat, pick a black one.


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