The Faces of Innocence?

By now, you should know that I love my furry kids.  They have a knack for looking so sweet and innocent, but then they do something nutty like order $75 worth of text books or open what looks like a hundred search screens on my laptop.  Ever had a cat unpause your music?  Yes, all that really happened.

Smokey, our calico dilute, was “helping” me shop on Amazon once.  I had added three college books to my cart and was trying to decide whether to order then or wait a few days.  Smokey, with her infinite wisdom, thought I needed them right then, so she jumped up on the keyboard and hit the order button.  Bela was very supportive—if laughing hysterically can qualify.

It wasn’t so funny when the music was started and the lyrics were…..questionable.  🙂


Purrful may look innocent, but she is dreaming of things to do!

Purrful may look innocent, but she is dreaming of things to do!

Jersey is the one who likes to use my laptop the most!

Jersey is the one who likes to use my laptop the most!

Smokey is the Amazon queen.  Lil Devil also likes to lurk near my laptop.

Smokey is the Amazon queen. Lil Devil also likes to lurk near my laptop.

Quiet Christmas…and a Book!

School is winding down for Christmas vacation.  My students have been counting the days.  So have I, actually.  I can’t wait to come home and be able to stay home and do nothing!  I really am looking forward to just curling up with a good book and a blanket.  The dogs and cats will snuggle with me, of course.

All I really want for Christmas is some quiet time.  I quit putting up a tree years ago.  Ysabela is old enough to be fine with that.  Santa doesn’t come here, but she knows to ask me for things she wants.  That’s also fine.

I have found myself checking my classroom for neat books to read.  I was thinking of reading Como agua para chocolate again.  It’s a wonderful book I read in college.   This week in class, I assigned topics (people) for biographies.  One of my students was lucky enough (?) to have Laura Esquivel, so I shared some information about the book.  Once the student found a website with a summary of each chapter, she read the whole thing!  Did I get mad that she read an English summary?  No.  I was just super happy that she wanted to learn about the novel at all.  The recipes grabbed her attention, and she was a goner!  🙂  That’s the kind of book I want for Christmas!

Hug or Snuggle?

Have you ever hugged your pet(s)? What about snuggling? If you are a furkid parent, I’m sure you have! According to Merriam Webster’s online dictionary, hug means “to put your arms around someone especially as a way of showing love or friendship.” A snuggle is defined as “to lie or sit close together in a comfortable position.” As a parent of both 2-legged kids and 4-legged kids, I admit that I have hugged and snuggled. My teen daughter, however, goes above and beyond. She huggles our dogs and cats.
Ysabela says a huggle is different because she holds the beloved animal tighter than for a hug, and she likes to huggle with a blanket.

Proper hugging technique (according to Ysabela)

Proper hugging technique (according to Ysabela)

Proper snuggling

Proper snuggling




If you know a family who used to have a grey and white Maine Coon cat named Jersey, get them to the computer. I want to tell them something.

When I first saw Jersey’s photo one Saturday on the North Platte Animal Shelter Facebook page, I thought she was stunning. That’s the only word that came to mind. Then I read the short bio on the page and got mad. Her family was moving and turned her in—14 years old (didn’t look it!), spayed and declawed. I tried to imagine how she felt being in a shelter environment. Monday couldn’t come soon enough for me to go and pick her up. I was worried someone else might steal her away before I could get there.

She was still available when I arrived in a rush and breathlessly announced that I had come for Jersey the Maine Coon. Since she was already spayed, she was able to load up for home right away. After seeing how big she was, I congratulated myself on having the good sense to bring the biggest crate I had.

Jersey girl talked all the way home. She has a cute meow that sounds like she’s asking a question. Before she was integrated into my existing family of felines, she slept on my pillow every night. Jersey must have a sense of humor. One night I was awakened by a front paw smacking me between my eyes. She wanted me to pet her.

I have had this beautiful cat for a few months now. I realize I’m not angry at her previous family. Jersey was obviously loved and well fed before. She knows her name and comes quickly for attention. Now that my anger is gone, I understand circumstances change, people move. I also know our pets shouldn’t have to pay for what we do. I love my animals like family and have high expectations of other pet owners.

I want to thank you for loving Jersey. Know that I love her, and she will be with my family until the end of her days. By her behavior, I know she’s comfortable and happy in my home. I hit the lottery the day I adopted her.


For pictures of more animals needing homes, check out


What’s your first reaction when you hear someone say, “I have to get my cat declawed”? Don’t think about it—how does your gut react? My first instinct is to grab that cat and run! Personally, I believe it is an inhumane thing to do, and, as such, I can’t imagine ever having it done to one of my felines.

To better understand the issue, I spoke to my semi-local veterinary clinic about it. Dr. John Werth helped put things in perspective for me. He explained that if a cat is very destructive, the owner may be faced with ugly alternatives—euthanasia, perhaps, or turning the cat in to a shelter (where the cat may be put to sleep if not adopted). Dr. Werth stated for a situation like that, it comes down to the lesser evil—declawing. It makes sense. He also said the vets there talk people out of declawing in many cases. Good for you, Dr. Werth!

We discussed the procedure itself, which disgusts me. According to Dr. Werth, declawing is not simply the removal of the nail and nail bed; it is the removal of the entire first joint of the toe. Ouch, and no thanks.

I asked about claw tips (or covers), and he said that he would be concerned unless the cat owner is very diligent and monitors the appliance carefully. Any device can be misused, either intentionally or unintentionally. In either case, it can harm the animal.

I guess the decision to declaw would have to be decided on a case-by-case basis, but I am still against it unless the animal’s life is at stake.

Sparkle has very sharp claws!

Sparkle has very sharp claws!

That Doggie in the Window

How could I resist that face?

How could I resist that face?

Remember that old song that asked, “How much is that doggie in the window?” It’s a question asked in pet stores every day. The true cost of that cute puppy isn’t the tag at the pet store register. The mother dog is the one paying the price. Most puppies in pet stores come from puppy mills. When you buy that cute little pup, your money is actually condemning that momma dog to a life in a cage having litter after litter to supply cute pups for you, the consumer, to buy. If that doesn’t touch your heart, do your own research about puppy mills. What you discover may shock you.

I’m writing this post to (hopefully) educate you about the realities of unwanted pets. There are millions of unwanted animals—dogs, cats and even horses. Many of them die because a good home is not found in time. Most county shelters can only house a certain number of pets before shelter workers have to decide who to kill to make room for the next animals who are picked up off the streets or turned in by unthinking owners.

When I lived in Charlotte, North Carolina, I was told by a worker that owner-surrendered animals were put to sleep before the owners had left the premises. I nearly cried. Even the no-kill shelters and rescue groups need help and connections to place animals in good homes.

Did you know that certain kinds of dogs are considered nearly unadoptable? Everyone wants that adorable pup, right? If dogs are large, black or senior, they are hard to place. Pitbulls are the hardest breed to place. According to Julia Musser of Animal Rescue of Kindness (A.R.K.), Pits face problems due to breed-specific legislation restricting Pitbull ownership. It’s basically breed profiling (akin to racial profiling). If you are an older, large-bodied, black Pit, your chances of surviving a shelter are slim to none. Heartbreaking and unfair.

I have adopted nearly all my pets from a shelter or rescue. Others were given to me. I look for the animal that connects with me. In each case, I have gone in with an open mind and heart and “my” pet has found me.

I will not pay hundreds of dollars for a pet when shelter pets are being murdered every day in countries around the world. This is a world-wide issue, not just a national one. Hopefully, you will adopt your next pet from a shelter or rescue. Some rescues ask for an adoption to help cover vet expenses. It’s a fair thing to ask. How else can they help the next hurt, unwanted animal if there’s no money to take it to a vet? Most rescues will ask for references from people who know you. They might even ask to speak with your vet if you have had pets in the past. It’s normal, so don’t get mad about it! A home visit may even be required to seal the deal! The rescue groups want to be sure you can provide the love and care the animal deserves. If the rescue or shelter doesn’t have your dream pet, ask if they can contact you when that special animal (for you) arrives. Rescues network and always want an animal to find a “furever” home. Keep in mind if you check out the dogs or cats at the local animal shelter, you might not see the animal’s true personality until later. The animals are frightened and confused, so be patient and loving. It will pay off! Go in with an open mind and consider adopting one that may be overlooked by the majority of people. I can guarantee that pet will repay your kindness with unconditional love.

If you must find a new home for your pet, PLEASE don’t advertise it on places like Craigslist. The wrong people might come get that animal to use as a bait dog for training aggressive dogs. It’s a death sentence in many cases. I have even read about wives dressing nicely to pick up an animal destined to be killed by her husband’s fighting dog. You think it doesn’t happen? You are wrong. It saddens me to say that.

As many of my friends comment, “There are no problem dogs, just problem owners.” If you need to rehome your pet, contact a rescue group for leads. Nothing makes me madder, however, than hearing someone say, “I have to GET RID OF my dog (cat, horse).” “Getting rid of” implies all kinds of things to me. None of them make me think favorably of you.

If you are ready to adopt, keep reading. Below are some links (from my area) to get you started if you feel ready to make a life-long commitment to a pet.

One of my rescue babies

One of my rescue babies

Chance was adopted through A.R.K.  Thank you, Julia Musser!

Chance was adopted through A.R.K. Thank you, Julia Musser!

Poppy came from the North Platte Animal Shelter.  Thank you!

Poppy came from the North Platte Animal Shelter. Thank you!