Art for the Animal Lover(‘s Feet)

Miao

Is it a cat?  Is it a shoe?  No…it’s “footwear art”!

This Kobi Levi shoe named Miao “captures the grace and elegance in a cat’s movement” (although I must admit, when I first saw it I thought it was actually a dog.)  The bell on the strap…or should I say collar…does give it a more feline feel.

For a mere $2100, this work of art/shoe could be yours!  What do you think?

Miao

Attention Austin Pet Lovers

So often I get asked to recommend pet sitters to family, friends, and clients outside of the Wags & Whiskers service area.  I never want to endorse someone I haven’t met…and honestly, it’s hard to find someone who is extremely responsible AND is caring AND has experience.

That being said – I am more than happy to recommend Annie’s Animal Care to all pet parents living in the Austin area.  I was lucky enough to get to become friends with Annie and her kitties while she lived here in Houston.  We both share in the philosophy that animals are so much happier when they are able to stay in their home environment when their parents travel.  She knows how important it is to keep furrbabies on their normal routine…and that attention to detail is what we all want when we have to leave our four-legged kiddos at home.

Below you will find her contact information….or shoot her an email at apcooney907@gmail.com.  (You can also check out her Care.com profile here.) If you have any trips coming up in the future, I encourage you to give her a ring or write her an email.  She is new to the area, but once word gets out about this awesome pet-lovin’ lady – she is going to book up fast!

AnnieAnimal

Friday’s Fido Film (August 30, 2013)

Something to warm your heart this Friday. A beautifully done video with a perfect score. As I was watching it, I called Buffy over to the computer so I could give her kisses and thank her for being the wonderful animal that she is.

Savor every moment you have with your pets. Give them extra love/attention/rounds of fetch this weekend!!

Cats & Kittens in Need of Homes – UPDATE

Bo Cat

Who can find a home for Mr. Bo?

Thank you all for reading my last post about the kitties in the Houston area searching for forever homes!

Happy news!  Three of the kitties (including Caterpillar and one of the black & white kitties feature in our last post) have found their way into homes or no kill shelters.  Our job is not done just yet, though….let’s try to find a home for this sweet boy.  His name is Bo, and while he started off a shy man, he is already warming up to his foster mom, Shanna.  Who knows of a home that needs a furry friend?

 

Cats & Kittens in Need of Homes in Houston – PLEASE HELP!

 

Mama cat Angel, with her 4 kitty kiddos

Mama cat Angel, with her 4 kitty kiddos – ALL AVAILABLE FOR ADOPTION

 

The stray cat population in Houston…or let’s face it EVERYWHERE…is outrageous.

Black kitty looking for a good home

Black kitty looking for a good home

I will never forget when I got first hand knowledge of how out of control the situation was.  I was at a neighborhood shelter, desperately trying to get medical attention for an injured pup I had found.  (My vet said they could not legally treat her because she wasn’t mine…only shelters have that privilege.  Desperate for advice, I drove to a local “private” shelter.)  As I was waiting for shelter employee to come back with paperwork, I man jumped out of his car with a cat and RAN towards me.  Quickly handing the cat at me, he explained he was moving and could not keep him.  As I tried to explain I did not work here and therefore had no authority to accept any animals, he literally threw $20 at me and mumbled about no one taking in cats.  As he made a break for his car, the shelter employee returned…took one look at me, the cat, the $20, and the escaping man…she grabbed the money and the feline and CHASED THE MAN DOWN.  Full out running.  The man dashing to make a clean getaway.  The shelter didn’t have room for even one more cat.  The man had (obviously, I realized later) already been to several shelters.  The insane seriousness of this problem did not hit me until I saw a poor woman running across a parking lot clutching a cat.

There is no way to ever estimate how many stray cats end up in shelters every year…let alone how many cats are left roaming the streets.  (Read about escaping pets here.)   I can’t even bring myself to wonder how many are euthanized.

This is why when Shanna, a fellow Houstonian, reached out to me for help in finding homes for the twelve (yes, TWELVE!) kitties living around her home – I had to do everything in my power to help.  

Cute kittens EVERYWHERE...can you take on in??

Cute kittens EVERYWHERE…can you take on in??

Shanna has used her own income to pay for 3 of the kitties to be spayed/neutered.  No discounts.  No donations.  No help.  She has been caring for them all, but she is moving in September and needs to find homes for these little furry friends.  Shanna does not want to just dump these sweet creatures off at a kill shelter…nor does she want to leave them on the street.  

So, who needs a cat?!?  She’s got shy ones and friendly ones.  She’s got a mama and her kittens.  Look at the pictures in this post and decide which one is right for you!

Please spread the word about these sweet creatures.  If you have any advice on no-kill shelters to contact in the Houston area or are interest in adopting one of these furbabies, please email Wags & Whiskers at info@wagsandwhiskershouston.com

 

Fluffy Black Jack

Fluffy Black Jack

 

Can Catapillar get some love from you?

Can Catapillar get some love from you?

 

Spice is searching for a home, too!

Spice is searching for a home, too!

Baby, I Was Born to Run – The Tale of the Great Dog Escape

Your heart stops.  Your breath quickens.  You have that half-second hesitation – do you run or do you hurry to your car?  Do you grab the treats or grab the leash?  Almost every pet parent has been there…the moment your dog (or cat!) escapes.

Two days ago, this was me.  My house backs up to trail/reservoir/field…and the fence planks seem to shift daily.  My little chihuahua Amigo is a master at scouting out unseen holes, loose planks, and soil that is settled to provide a crawl space.  As vigilant as I am (and I am VERY vigilant), a few days ago we all went out back for a routine potty break.  I was holding my son, and looked down at him for maybe 20 seconds…when I looked up Buffy was staring intently through a tiny gap in the fence planks, Amigo nowhere to be seen.  I just knew.

Amigo relaxing in front of our questionable fence

Amigo relaxing in front of our questionable fence

Not his first escape (Amigo has also been known to bolt out the front door as well), I have my Amigo recovery tactics down pretty well.  Jumping over a fence or quickly grabbing the keys as I run to the car – I have been quite successful in bringing him home in a matter of minutes.  This was all pre-baby boy Sebastian, though.  As all moms can attest too – there is no “running out the door” with a baby.  I could obviously not leave him unattended at home…so chasing after Amigo would require involving a car seat.  (Time is of the essence here!)  Oh – and did I mention I was barefoot…and in my pjs??

Of course, all these thoughts were whizzing through my head in what was probably .25 seconds.  As soon as I began to move – I was spinning in circles, literally.  First, I have to put the kid down….no, first I have to get Buffy inside….ok now I have to get dressed….no, I should just put shoes on….oh, shoot, I’m still holding the kid…you get the picture.  All the while, I’m frantically calling Amigo’s name.

lost_dog_flyer1

There is obviously no accurate statistic or number on just how many pets are lost every year, it is estimated somewhere around the 2 MILLION mark.  A survey conducted by the ASPCA found that 15 % of us had lost a pet in the last 5 years…at that 85% of those pets were recovered.  (A high percentage…until you realize that that means 15% of them never saw their furbabies again.)  Not surprisingly, locating missing cats proved to be more difficult and had a lower success rate than that of missing dogs.

In every dog training book I have read, it advises you have an “emergency word”.  A word that will get your dogs attention and make him return to you no matter what the circumstance.  A word that your dog knows means business…that will recall him to your side even in the most dire situation.  A word that your dog will respond to without question.  How you manage to teach your dog this word is something I have never quite figured out.

…cut back to the scene of me frantically calling for Amigo while running around my house trying to figure out how to get out the door to catch him.  (Meanwhile, in the back of my head I’m thinking of all the horrible things that might be currently happening to him.)  Now, I might now have an “emergency word”, but I do have a sound.  A sound that will catch Amigo’s attention no matter what is going on around him.  A sound that will have him running to me no matter where is his in the house or the yard.  That sound, my friends, is the sound of his treats rattling in his glass treat jar.

GENIUS!  I think.  THIS HAS WORKED BEFORE!  I assure myself.  Grabbing the jar, shaking it like mad woman…I run to the backyard.  Shaking and screaming.  (Lord knows what the neighbors thought.)  10 seconds of shaking…nothing.  20 seconds…nothing.  A minute…nothing.  Tears spring to my eyes.  I have lost my dog.  He is already dead in a ditch somewhere.  I give up the shaking and screaming.  He has broken his paw and is crying to me for help.  I will never see him again.  And then…Amigo is trotting towards me!!!  He sits at my feet ready to receive his treat.  No worse for the wear….like nothing has happened.  (Dogs!)

Needless to say, he got many treats and lots of love that day!

In those minutes that Amigo was gone, there were only two things that comforted me:

Amigo modeling his tags (one with his name and our information - one with his microchip info)

Amigo modeling his tags (one with his name and our information – one with his microchip info)

**One, he was wearing his collar with all of his tags attached.  I cannot stress how important this is!  Even if (your think!) your dog never leaves your home or your property…it is so important for your dog to be wearing tags in a situation like this.  Obviously, having your name and phone number will expedite getting your dog back home safe and sound.  What you might not realize, though, is that people are more likely to take an interest in your pet if he or she is wearing a collar with tags.  While a neighbor might be wary to approach a possible stray dog…a collar can be spotted from far away and can provide instant confirmation that your dog or cat is indeed someones beloved pet out on the loose.

**Two, he is microchiped.  I honestly, in my heart of hearts, cannot understand why everyone does not get their pet microchipped.  This not only means that a shelter will call you if your pet is turned in (I know we have all heard at least one horror story of a pet being euthanized before the family was able to be contacted), but it also means that anyone can take your pet to ANY vet and be able to get your name and phone number.  The process of microchipping is no more painful than vaccinations…and relatively inexpensive.  (Can you really put a price on your pet’s safety?)

Luckily, it did not come down to a collar or a microchip to bring my little Amigo home.  As frustrating and heart-attack-inducing as it is, he is one of those dogs that loves to escape and run all over the neighborhood…but at the end of the day never ventures too far from home.

…and really the whole ordeal was my son’s fault.  How dare he distract me from my dogs with his cuteness!

Wags & Whiskers Wednesday (#37)

Happy mid-week!

I always felt sorry for families without pets.  Well, let’s be honest – I didn’t just pity them…I wondered what the heck was wrong with them!  I can understand busy parents not wanting to take on a pack of dogs (in addition to a pack of children), but a cat?  A guinea pig??  A mouse???  It seems like such a fundamental part of family life- something that every child should experience.  I always wondered what would become of those kiddos that grew up in a house where everyone walked on two legs.  Could they ever truly become “dog people” or “cat people”?

The answer is YES!  I realized in a recent conversation with my husband that they absolutely, positively can become pet lovers.  I must admit, the fact that my husband lived in…and had always lived in…a pet-less home was a big concern for me.  Could I love a man who did not love a dog?  I have never in my 31 years lived without a pet.  (Except for maybe the first month after I moved to New York City.  Poor and living in a tiny TINY apartment in the Village I lasted about 30 days before I went out and bought myself a pair of mice.  I took them everywhere with me – they even flew home with me for holidays.  Those two little mice…well, they are another story all together!)

My husband now is officially converted, though I will never know if it was by me or by our first (of what is surely too be many) pets, Buffy.  Even he now freely admits he doesn’t understand households without dogs.   I even know one or two friends who, despite a canine-free upbringing, now are what one even might call “crazy dog people.”  It warms my heart to know that – despite your age – you are never too old to be ensnared by the love of a dog.

Not so hard to believe if you look at these faces…

 

photo 1 (14)

photo 2 (13)

photo (31)

Wags & Whiskers Wednesday (#31)

Happy 10/10! Thank goodness we are already halfway through our week!

Yesterday, my fellow-walker (who just happens to be my mom!) took her beloved Scarlett in for her yearly check-up with the vet. Scarlett is very

Sweet Scarlett

energetic – loving her walks and eager to greet everyone who walks in her front door – so it came as a shock when the vet informed my mom that she was having some irregularities with her heart. Other than referring her to a cardiologist who will run more test, there was not much else that could be immediately done. Needless to say, we are all upset by the news…although I assured my mom we should not jump to any conclusions before we get a specialist to interpret lab results. Have any of you been through something like this? I would love to hear your stories….and know how you dealt with the stress (on you and your dog), drama, and expense.

But enough sad news…let’s get to the pictures! How fun that both of them are kitties this week. I love it when that happens!! Meet two of our new furry friends and don’t forget you too can get your pet featured in our Wags & Whiskers Wednesday posts. (Read about how here.)

Meet Wasabi! Not only is this guy absolutely adorable…he is one-of-a-kind! He loves taking showers, and he is even toilet trained! Thanks to our Twitter friend @debbie_stywt for sharing Wasabi with us!

Here is our second feline friend of the week, Reily. Blog reader Sara sent this picture in of her “feisty” kitty. Apparently, Reily will chase after just about anything…string, toys, even shoe laces!

Wags & Whiskers Wednesday (#27)

Are you ready for some (Wednesday night) football??

Really, Molly? Why when I ask you to sit do you go to the stairs and put your booty on a high step? Why?!

I think one of the main reason why dogs are fascinating is that  – though they live in our homes and we spend so much time with them every day – some of their behavior still remains a mystery.

Take Buffy for example:  Buffy loves her “retriever roll” chew bones.  You can literally see her face light up when she is presented with one.  As a puppy, she would immediately devour the whole thing in one go…moments after it touched her lips.  Now, she will carry the same bone around for days:  She will lay it next to her while she sleeps.  She will present it to me when I get home from work.  She will set it on the windowsill while she keeps a watchful eye on the neighborhood.  Then, randomly, she will decide she is ready for a good chew and go to town, but she will NEVER chew it when she is home alone.  (Just today, I got home from work to find her snoozing on the couch.  After welcoming me home, she went straight to the bone she was given last night.  It was as if she was waiting for me to get home to chew!)

I just wish she could tell me why!

(I would love to hear about some other….um….”eccentric” behavior that you see in your pooch!)

Now…let’s look at some cute dog pics!  And for all you cat lovers out there – a few shots of a recently rescued kitty that is just about the cutest (craziest?!) thing ever!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wait…have you guys seen these videos?

The wonderful world of Twitter lead me to the dog version of this video (second video below)…which I soon learned was the response to the “original” cat video (posted directly below).  What do you think?  I think they are somewhat ridiculous…but I must admit, they made me laugh.  (Although the cat one is does get a bit ear piercing.)

Even Buffy came in to investigate what the heck I was watching!