Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Toys

Popeye here. I got me some new toys for Xmas from my friend, Amy.

Aren't we cute together?

Miko likes them too.

As do the pits. Which kind of goes without saying.

And even though they are MY toys, I don't mind sharing. I'm a big boy, but those pits, they're just babies.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Vicki the Christmas Miracle

This is just another testament to the amazing work of the Animal Rescue Team Taiwan. Here's hoping Vicki finds her forever home.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Jewel is the New Lucy Liu

Remember Jewel? She's now Lucy Liu, and here she is with her new brother, Daxter.

Daxter was actually a Walkin' the Bark dog that came from Taiwan too. Here he was as a puppy snuggling with Logan, his foster brother (and a fellow Formosan).

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Single Ladies

This post has nothing to do with pets. It's just something that's given me hours of entertainment.

I don't listen to the radio much or watch much TV, which means I'm very out of tuned with pop culture. So the very first time I heard this song or saw these dance moves was about 2 weeks ago, when we were catching up on old episodes of Glee.

Kurt is the lead dancer in that scene. Later in the episode, he teaches the high school football team that dance. **SPOILER, though seriously, if you haven't seen this by now, you probably don't care**

Glee Football Dance (single Ladies) HQ Full Video - Watch more funny videos here

And then I caught part of the Top 40 Videos of 2009 on VH1 last week and lo and behold, saw the original video that started the whole Single Ladies mania.

So that's what Kanye West was talking about. He had a point.

And the icing on top, this SNL parody with Justin Timberlake showing off his very impressive dancing background.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Jonas the Cat

My journey with Popeye sometimes connects me to other people who have their own amazing stories with their furry loved ones. Thank you, Jennifer, for allowing me to share Jonas' story:

I was struck by the similarity between Popeye and my cat Jonas. Jonas was rescued as a kitten from the middle of a busy street and brought in to the veterinary hospital where I was working as a veterinary technician. He was terribly underweight and so weak he couldn't lift his own head. That would have been enough to justify putting him down but the state of his eyes didn't make things any better. They were covered in ulcers and so swollen the lids wouldn't close. I picked him up so the veterinarian could administer the injection and the little creep sunk his teeth into my hand. I knew he wasn't done fighting and asked the vet to give him a chance. The deal was I would pay for all medical expenses and foster him if he survived.

You can imagine where this is going. I think his foster status lasted only a few months after I brought him home. He lost both eyes but being blind doesn't slow him down one bit. I should have realized that first bite was a warning of things to come but in truth I wouldn't trade him for the most well-mannered feline in the world. Feral cats are supposed to be shy but Jonas was born fearless. He loves going for walks on his leash and takes a daily bath in the tub. I won't lie and say he doesn't run into a wall now and again (okay, make that every five seconds), but his only reaction is to bounce off and head the other way.

What really resonated with me were your emotions regarding the decision to amputate Popeye's legs and your anger when people suggest his life isn't worth living because it isn't "normal". Jonas lost his left eye very young but his right eye retained some light perception. An ear infection caused facial nerve paralysis on the right side of his face and he lost the ability to shut that eye. This caused damage to the interior of the globe. In cats a severely damaged globe can develop a lethal form of cancer. There was no way to know if Jonas would ever develop it but I made the decision to have the eye removed as a safeguard.

It was without a doubt the hardest decision I've ever had to make. I was taking away the only sight Jonas had ever known. My worst fears came true after the surgery when Jonas sank into a deep depression. He lay in one spot for three weeks and even stopped torturing his sisters. The guilt was terrible and it got to the point where I couldn't even look at him without bursting into tears.

Three weeks to the day after the operation his right socket swelled up to the size of a golf ball and he had to be rushed to the emergency vet. They drained an abscess from the eye socket. When he came home the first thing he did after walking out of the carrier was tackle our oldest cat and bite her in the ear. His depression had stemmed from a hidden infection, not his blindness. Having to make decisions like that for a pet is heartrending.

His blindness isn't Jonas' only medical problem. During his first surgery he suffered a cardiac arrest and was without a heartbeat for three minutes, resulting in very mild brain damage (it takes the form of fleeting periods of confusion- never more than ten or twenty seconds at a time).

In three years he's been sedated seven times and endured four surgeries on his eye sockets to correct various complications from the botched removal.

He almost lost a leg from a vaccine reaction and his immune system is badly compromised. For Jonas his lack of an immune system is actually more troublesome than his blindness.

Before the diagnosis he loved going to Petsmart and riding in the cart (we can no longer risk exposing him to any pathogens). It was funny watching people's reactions. Half wouldn't even notice he had no eyes. The other half would reach out to pet him and then notice his scars. You couldn't actually see their expression change to pity. They'd ask me how well he got around and I'd tell them he had absolutely no problem navigating. It wasn't strictly true (the walls are not his friends), but lying was the only way to make them see "disabled" animals can live good lives. I've had people tell me it’s cruel to keep him alive. If they spent ten minutes with him they'd understood that Jonas is HAPPY. He isn't just "coping"; he's living life to its fullest every single second of the day.

If you made it all the way through this I just want to thank you for seeing that Popeye's life wasn't over just because his hind legs didn't work. I'm not sure who would win if we put Popeye and Jonas in a room together, but I'm sure it would be one hell of a battle. Neither of them seems the type to back down from a fight!

Jennifer (with assistance from Jonas, who loves to chew on the keyboard while I type)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Pawnation Article

A little article was written about the rescue on

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Update on Alice

Three and a half years ago we fostered a little Taiwan puppy named Alice. Has it really been that long?

Alice was adopted by a young couple and became Joey.

Look at her now! Thank you, J & K, for taking such great care of her and for raising her to be such a good dog.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Miko's Adoption Ad

Finally up. It was mostly written by Robin (thanks, Robin!), who I consider to be Miko's true Foster Mom. After about a month with us, Miko returned to Robin, primarily because Popeye developed another seroma, and it was difficult to keep him calm with 5 dogs in the house. It's strange how 4 dogs are so much more manageable than 5.

Miko Peli Grosa
Miko is approximately 1 year old and weighs 25 pounds. She probably won’t get much bigger, if at all. We have no idea what her breed is--we can merely guess. She is very shy and fearful, but has learned to be trustful of me, in spite of being treated cruelly just a few months ago when she was living in Taiwan. Sadly, Miko’s history is not unusual for dogs in Taiwan.

Miko is housetrained and takes great comfort from her crate. She gets along well with cats and is playful with other dogs. She walks great on leash and is food-motivated, once she learns to trust the person handing out the food. However, she is incredibly fearful and it will take quite some time before she learns to trust you.

Miko’s History
Miko was found in an industrial area of Taiwan, lying unconscious, near death. Someone had placed a rubber band around her neck. As she grew, the rubber band began cutting through her neck and throat, which lead to severe swelling of her head. Luckily for her, the Animal Rescue Team Taiwan was alerted and took her to the vet, where her neck injuries were treated, and she has since fully recovered. Physically, at least.

Miko’s Arrival
Miko was very scared when I brought her home. After entering my house, she immediately ran from me. I found her huddled on a bathmat on the bathroom floor. She was terrified and was about to run again when my little white cat Reg walked in. He approached Miko, the two sniffed each other a little, and Reg settled in, curling up right next to Miko. She seemed to be comforted by this, and settled down somewhat. The two have been buddies ever since. It took until the next day for Miko to feel comfortable with Logan, the resident Formosan Mountain Dog, also from Taiwan. Now, they are nearly inseparable.

Miko Today
As Miko was never properly socialized, she is still very hand shy and often moves away when approached by me. Miko is a jumper and very much a flight risk. She has Kung Fu moves like you wouldn’t believe. She can leap tall buildings in a single bound, or at least my 4 foot high fence with no problem. And she does not need a running start. She is very fearful of strangers and will struggle, even when on leash, to put distance between herself and new people. She loves going on walks, but due to her flight tendency, I use a Martingale collar in conjunction with a harness. I attach a coupler to both and the leash, or two separate leashes. This works quite well. Miko also loves to play fetch with a ball, or any toy, for that matter. She usually will bring it back, too. She does fairly well in the car, considering she’s only been in one a few times. She pants a little from feeling anxious, but with time, I’m sure she will enjoy the ride.

Miko is quite sweet (when not scared) and loves to play on the bed, especially in the morning. She looks to be an alpha dog. When she doesn’t get her way with Logan, she’ll start barking at him, trying to “boss” him into playing with her, despite their difference in size. She can walk right under Logan’s belly without even touching it. She is usually very quiet, except when playing with the dog or cats. And she does like both dogs and cats, but is fearful of children. She follows me around the house, and is quite smart. She moves like a cat – all stealth and quiet. Do not leave an unscreened window open; she’ll jump right out. She’ll jump back in, as well. She is very food motivated, although not the least bit food aggressive. With the right treat, I’m sure she would quickly learn most any trick. Miko is agile and playful, full of energy when you push her “on” button, but more than willing to settle down when play time is over.

Miko doesn’t have many bad habits. She is very curious, though, and is having to learn that items left on the floor or a table do not necessarily belong to her. She is rather oddly attracted to articles of clothing, whether clean or dirty. She’ll steal them and take them back to her crate or on top of my bed and just lay on them. Most of the time they are intact, but there has been the occasional sandal or shirt that she has chewed. Perhaps she does this as I initially put a shirt of mine in her crate so she could get use to my scent.

Because Miko is incredibly fearful of new people and environments, she is a high flight-risk and requires an experienced adopter familiar with undersocialized dogs. Although she would not harm them, she should not go to a home with children as she spooks easily. But the ideal home for her would have 1 or 2 other well-socialized dogs who can lead by example.

Miko is crate trained and house trained. She is adorable, and wants so badly to jump up on the couch and cuddle up with me and Logan, but she’s just not quite there yet. She has so much potential, but it will take a person of patience to allow her the time she needs to bond. But once you do, it will be a life altering experience.

This is not the Miko you will see when you first meet her, but this is the Miko she can become if given the chance.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Saddest Reindeer Ever

We are so not amused.

Chili the Giant

Those of you near the Antioch border may have thought you felt a minor earthquake the other day. It was no earthquake. It was Chili running in the backyard.

Chili's a bernese mountain dog / pitbull mix. Think baby elephant. But without the coordination. And a lot more drool.

Chili's available for adoption through Paw Printz Rescue in Oakley. He's a doofus. Loves to sit on your feet. Bring your own drool rag.