cee’s fun foto challenge: candid shots

Cee has an amazing inventory of photo challenges, her latest being…candid shots. Since she doesn’t mind my dropping in to partake of the fun when I’m able, I thought I’d offer up some contributions to her latest challenge.

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…check out more candid shots at http://www.ceephotography.com/2013/10/01/cees-fun-foto-challenge-candid-shots/ 

………hugmamma.

weekly photo challenge: carefree

Would life was always so…carefree.

IMG_3144

…taking a snooze in the english countryside…

...sleepy head in seattle...

…sleepy head in seattle…

...zzzzzzzzz...

…zzzzzzzzz…

...cat napping...hard work but somebody's gotta do it...

…cat napping…hard work but somebody’s gotta do it…IMG_2093

weekly photo challenge: surprise

This particular photo never ceases to amaze me. And although I’ve used it before in various and sundry other posts, I am compelled to bring it to the forefront yet again…in response to this week’s Word Press photo challenge…surprise!!!

IMG_0796That’s Sitka, named after a charming Alaskan village. I was there once, as a voyager on a Holland America Alaskan cruise. 

A year later, 9/11 happened. The following day I adopted Sitka from the local Humane Society, along with his brother Juneau, also a namesake for a town in Alaska.

These two are daily reminders of both…the best and worst experiences I’ve known…cruising the glacial fjords of Alaska with 25 family members…and suffering through one of the saddest days for our country and, indeed, the world at large.

…life is…full of surprises…both good and…not so good…

………hugmamma.

comedic relief…maru

Just reciprocated a visit to blogger friend Beneath the Tin Foil Hat…at http://tinfoilhatman45.wordpress.com . I’d not heard from him in a while so I thought perhaps he’d taken a break. I was very glad to “hear” from him.

The visit reminded me of how cute our furry friends are when they’re just being themselves. It prompted me to go in search of my favorite Internet cat…Maru.

Japanese, Maru is photogenic and loves being in front of the camera. He does whatever he wants, satisfying any urge that happens to strike his fancy.

Too, too, too cute for words. So I’ll let Maru show you himself.

…have to get my grandkitty on video…he’s a laugh a minute as well…

………hugmamma.

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today’s thought…

Treat today as though it’s all you have…

…and spend it wisely.

Then perhaps tomorrow…

…there’ll be no regrets…

about…

…yesterday.

Our beloved Sunkist joined her sibling Fudgie in heaven a week ago.

Seventeen-year-old Sun never let a day go by…

without doing exactly as she pleased. 

And I’m certain…she still is…

………hugmamma.

air…give me air…although…

That seems to be my dog Mocha’s daily plea. Wish there was a spot of yard for her to roam unattended, like she does when visiting with our friends Sylvia and Jim and their dachschund, Gretchen. Living in a retirement community, they have a charming, enclosed backyard where the dogs can relax on the patio, luxuriating in the outdoors unchaperoned. When they’re indoors and want to “go potty,” all they need is a helping hand to open and close the door.

I must admit when I exited our yard a short while ago, heading out into the neighborhood, Mocha pulling ahead on her leash, it felt good to breathe in the great outdoors. Viewing the lush foliage everywhere as a result of our area’s penchant for rain, Mother Nature never fails to overwhelm me with wondrous awe. Towering evergreens, hence Washington’s other name, The Evergreen State, dwarf the homes that peak out from verdant landscapes, some neat and orderly, others wild and overgrown. Mine is somewhere in-between. I’ve been going for the English garden look, not always with success.

Mocha pays no heed to anything above ground level, maintaining her focus at what’s at the end of her nose or under her paw. None of which satsfies my aesthetics, except that whatever makes Mocha happy, makes me happy. Well…not everything.

I’m definitely against her desire to chase down dogs taller and heftier than her, or small ones with teeth as sharp as razors. I’ve had to pick Mocha up once or twice, transporting her, and me, away from the snarling grins of unleashed dogs who looked ready for their next meal. In such situations my heart is pounding looking to escape its confines, while my brain is willing me not to move a muscle for fear that I’ll become mincemeat in seconds. More often than not, a yell emanates from deep within, finally tumbling forth from my mouth with a venomous “Get away! Shoo! Get out of here!” As if our transgressor could care less, staring me down without so much as flinching a muscle.

Scared? Me, scared? You bet your life I’m petrified of untethered dogs wandering about. I can’t tell whether they’re friendly or not. Nor is it obvious whether or not they’ll start something with Mocha. Just as I don’t want her torn to shreds, I don’t want to get caught up in the milieu either. A year or so ago, when I was out running errands, a neighbor who regularly walks his dog, came under attack by 2 dogs living in the house above mine. His dog was badly injured, requiring surgery that cost $1,000. He had a commendable attitude, saying that “dogs will be dogs.” Of course the owner of the attacking dogs expressed great remorse and paid the vet bill.

A German Shepherd Dog.

Image via Wikipedia

There is a leash law in our city, but not everyone heeds it. The Center for The Preservation of Wildlife has also erected a sign in our neighborhood, and elsewhere, stating that dogs should be kept on leashes so that they don’t attack the wildlife. There are hiking trails at the end of our road. The warning sign stands at that juncture, and so do 3 houses whose owners allow their dogs to wander freely pretty regularly. One of them looks like those I’ve seen on the Discovery Channel, that live in the African wild. Its owners were present once when their dog confronted Mocha. I told them how I felt, which seemed to upset them. They didn’t smile back at me when I saw them later. I understand people don’t like criticism, but when it involves my safety, and my dog’s, well…so be it.

Port-a-Potty on My Land

Image by joanna8555 via Flickr

My next door neighbors have always allowed their labradors to run freely through the neighborhood, even when they use to walk them. I didn’t appreciate the dogs making my yard their personal “honey pot.” Still don’t. Fortunately, the fence we erected, and the hedge that grows between our side yards have kept their pets from trespassing. But recently when the owners were combing the neighborhood in their car in search of one of their dogs, I advised them that it had wandered through my yard and then scared Mocha and me as we went around a bend. Standing taller than my waistline, the labrador, growling,  circled Mocha, nudged my backside with its nose, pushing me forward, before it wandered off. That was a first for me. That was one nervy dog, I thought, before I collected my wits, and Mocha her’s, and moved on.

I love pets, cats and dogs, of which I have 3 felines, Sunkist, Sitka and Juneau, and my Mocha. But there’s no telling what will set an animal off, domesticated or not. They’re not human, and no amount of wishing will make them one of us. So when they act out of character, I have to hold the owners accountable when an innocent bystander, or a restrained pet, is injured. I don’t really put a lot of stock in the words “But he’s such a sweet dog. He wouldn’t hurt anyone.” My thought is, there’s always a first time. So why take a chance…

Dobermann Dog

Image via Wikipedia

I think my fear began when a Doberman Pinscher raced across its yard, as I walked by pushing my daughter’s stroller. Gnashing teeth within inches of us, it’s owner finally heard my yells and came to the front door to save my toddler and me from being mauled. That feeling of dread remains embedded in my subconscience. But I try my best to suppress it, when Mocha wants…  

…a breath of fresh air…hugmamma.  

a sabbatical of sorts…

Just wanted to let you know that I’ve not “fallen off the face of the earth.” Regular readers of my blog will know that I’ve been enjoying a grand few weeks with my greatest “BFF,” (best friends forever), my daughter. She visited with my husband and me for a couple of weeks, and now I’m with her helping to settle her into a new apartment. You can imagine her relief, and delight, to be moving on from the bedbug situation in her old digs. More about that in another post.

While my daughter has been taking care of other business, and sanitizing her furnishings prior to moving them into her new place (don’t want any of those nasty critters moving with her), I painted the walls a softer, lighter, more soothing gray. My guess is the previous beige-gold was probably the original color when the building was constructed in the 70s or 80s. Updating the unit with a more contemporary color took it from drab and depressing to fab and uplifting! Grandkitty Misha’s spirits even seem better. With all that’s gone on with the bedbug upheaval, he’s been pretty accommodating, having gone from his once-happy-home, to boarding at the vet’s for a week, to a new place devoid of all his familiar smells and sleeping places. The intense temperatures, high humidity, broken air-conditioning system, fans blowing night and day, and no furnishings to keep him company have not altered his fantastic disposition. Thank goodness!

Determined to finally bring their home “right-side up” again, my daughter and I are setting about to make it happen. Wish us luck, and I’ll be back posting more regularly again in the not too distant future. Thanks for hanging in there while I’ve been wearing “my mom’s hat” once again. I’m sure all mothers, and their children, have “been there, done that.”

hugs for a cool, and blissful, tropical summer…wherever you are…hugmamma. 🙂 

weekly photo challenge: wildlife

does this qualify as wildlife?…………………………………………………………………….

i’m a bit terrified of this photo…of sitka…hugmamma.

365 photo challenge: rise

rise and shine……………………………………..sleepyhead…………………………………..

grammy’s not going to snap your picture…………..promise!!!(fingers crossed)

hmmm………………………..this cat’s nobody’s fool………………………hugmamma.

365 photo challenge: saving

wishing you the hoppiest of easters…………………………………………..mew…mew

and a whole lot of eating fun…………………………………………………..oink…..oink

while saving the best for last………………………………………………moie, of course

and you thought I meant me!…………………………………………….hugmamma. 😉

daily post photo challenge: one…AND…365 photo challenge: only

mother and son……………………………………………………….one and only children

and well loved, for sure………………………………………………………….hugmamma.

365 photo challenge: interact

too preoccupied to interact……………………………..……………………………………………….

…oh well…another time…………………………………………………………hugmamma.

adoption, our responsibility

I know not everyone can commiserate with how worrisome a pet’s health can be to an owner. While I consider our cats and dog family, I don’t think of them as human beings. However I do relish their place in our home as silent nurturers of our spirits. They give unconditionally, expecting little in return, a dish of food, a bowl of water, a pat now and then, and playtime when it can be worked into our schedules. But pets are living creatures, whose lives are as precious to them as ours are to us. I’m sure like us they assume they’ll  wake up alive and well at the beginning of each new day. In some ways, that assumption is dependent upon the society in which they find themselves.

Caring for a pet is comparable to caring for a human being. Once that creature is on my radar, I can’t escape the niggling feeling that I am responsible for its well-being, whether in part or in full. Perhaps it’s my Catholic school education. I am “my brother’s keeper.” So the fact that Juneau is grossly overweight makes me feel guilty that it occurred on my watch. But as I explained to the vet, Dr. Hill, that’s “water under the bridge.” My concern now is to get Juneau on track to being healthier, so that he can realize his full life expectancy which is probably another 8 years or so. I’d like them to be great years! I’m sure he would as well.

In order to kick-start his weight loss, my husband and I decided to spend the money up front and board Juneau at the vet’s for the week. There he will be weaned from his current food to the weight-reducing one. Once that’s done a schedule and a new eating pattern can be established. Since Juneau is extremely shy and skittish, we’re enlisting professional help in making the necessary changes. Being novices, my husband and I were proceeding in a “hit or miss” fashion. At 16 pounds, I didn’t think Juneau had a lot of time for trial and error. As Dr. Hill said, our cat might have gotten diabetes tomorrow, next week or in 3 years. And as I said in my previous post, I don’t want Juneau to suffer needlessly, nor do I welcome the stress of dealing with the disease and its corresponding treatment, or the exorbitant cost that is part of the package.

Just as I’ve been trying to keep my husband and I free from diabetes, so too I think it only fair to keep Juneau free from it as well. We adopted him, and when we did we made a promise to take care of him to the best of our ability.

we plan to honor that promise…hugmamma.   

four-legged diabetes…yikes!!!

Bad news from the vet yesterday. Juneau, one of our maine-coone-mixed breeds is overweight. At 15 pounds, he’s ripe for developing diabetes it seems. Not that I was surprised since it’s obvious he’s bigger and bulkier than our other cats, Sitka, his litter-mate, and Sunkist. Gosh, even our dog Mocha’s slimmer. So as they say, “today’s a new day.”

Growing up in a home where my mom struggled to feed our family, pets were obviously “low man on the totem pole.” They got leftovers, and probably not a whole lot of them either. And while they had a roof over their heads like we did, they were free to roam the neighborhood, except for the dogs. They were tethered to the outdoor stair railing.

We usually kept only one cat and/or one dog at a time. They were usually strays, or rescues from the animal shelter. When one cat we’d had the longest gave birth to a litter, we kept two of her kittens, especially after their mom, Toby, died. My friend and I found her one day lying in a neighbor’s backyard. She looked malnourished. Of course I felt badly, but my mom couldn’t concern herself with making sure the pets had enough to eat. She could barely keep food on the table for us the entire month. We knew her paycheck had run its course when there were only a few cans of tuna and sardines in the cupboard, along with what remained of the 25-pound bag of rice.

Trey food

Image via Wikipedia

When I married and began adopting cats, I made certain they had lots to eat. I think I fed them a reasonable amount. I didn’t just let them have a go at the cupboards. But until now I’d never heard of anyone feeding each cat separately, in different rooms. That boggles my mind! Not that it doesn’t make sense, considering I now have to do that for Juneau. I only wish I’d have known earlier.

When the vet had done their physicals before, he would ask about the cats eating and potty habits. I couldn’t give him definitive answers, because they ate and went about their “business” without my overseeing them. He never insisted I change this routine, so I didn’t. I think he felt it would be overwhelming with 3 cats. In fact at one time there were 4 cats. One died of cancer a few years ago.

In speaking of my dilemma with the receptionist yesterday, Sandy informed me that she feeds her 3 cats in separate rooms. That way she can keep an eye on one in particular who is a slower eater. She knows the cat’s had enough when it curls up for a nap in the closet. At that point her food bowl is put away until the next feeding. The door to that room is kept closed until meal-time is over. The rooms in which the other cats are fed are not closed because they eat their food in one sitting.

Sandy proceeded to describe her feeding ritual in great detail, down to how many pieces of a certain kibble are given at what meal, and for what snack. As she spoke, waves of fear and nausea overwhelmed me. I felt Juneau was doomed to dying of diabetes if I didn’t get this feeding thing down pat. But after speaking with my husband, we are taking steps toward managing our pets’ weights.

Sitka, who needs to gain weight, and Sunkist who is elderly and needs to maintain her current weight are being fed together as usual. We’re bringing Juneau upstairs in the morning and apportioning him his own special weight loss food, gradually so as not to upset his digestive system. We’re still mixing it in with the “old” food to wean him from it. Juneau will need a little time getting comfortable with the new arrangement. I’m not sure what the final routine will encompass, but we’re taking it one day at a time, now that we know what needs to be done.

The inconvenience is much more attractive than the alternative. Just as I don’t want to encounter the devastating effects of diabetes in my human loved ones, I don’t want our pets succumbing to the disease as well. It would be physically painful for Juneau, emotionally draining for me, not to mention the expense of insulin shots, medication, and constant trips to the vet.

Pets, like children, don’t choose their lot in life. They have no say in when and where they’re born, nor the names they’re given, nor the manner in which their lives unfold. They’re pretty malleable in the beginning. Given a home, nourishment and lots of love and affection, pets and children will flourish. So Juneau is in good hands.

especially now that we’re more attuned to his specific needs…hugmamma.