Blog post #38 – September 10, 2017 Saving Animals

Good morning, Cuddlers!

I wanted to take a moment this week to give a “shout out” to all of those wonderful people who have been on the front lines of helping to save the animals from the Houston area after the Hurricane Harvey. And, now, I’m assuming we’ll see more stories of animals being rescued from Florida. So many animal shelters have stepped up to take care of animals in need.

It’s been on my mind ever since the images started coming in from Harvey – a lot of people in rescue boats with cages full of their cats, dogs, birds, guinea pigs, etc. Of course, I have been worried about people getting to safety, but it was especially touching to see people with their pets. I keep thinking about how happy I am that there are people with the resources and ability to help save so many of the animals. It’s quite touching to see people come together to help others in this great time of need.

I know a lot of people have friends and family that are now in Hurricane Irma’s path. Sending prayers and love to all of those in the Houston area who are working on recovering after the devastation, and to those in Florida who are bracing for Irma’s landfall.

I’ve talked to my cats about what’s happening in other parts of the country and asked them to send happy kitty thoughts to all animals in harm’s way. I’m also sending prayers out to the humans who are in harm’s way.

Enjoy the cuddle!

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Blog post #36 – August 27, 2017 Hunde, Katzen und Kühe (or… Dogs, Cats and Cows)!

Blog post #36 – August 27, 2017

Hunde, Katzen und Kühe (or… Dogs, Cats and Cows)!

Good morning, Cuddlers!

I was recently in Switzerland and reminded again at how much the Swiss love and take good care of their animals.

Two years ago I was in Switzerland for the first time. I was struck at how the dogs are allowed everywhere. It seemed that every time we were on the train, there were at least five dogs in tow with their humans. The dogs were always super sweet and appeared to be used to the crowds of people at the various train stations.

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An adorable dog at the top of Mt. Pilatus near the city of Lucerne.
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A cute dog near the top of Reichenbach Falls (Meiringen, Switzerland). He got to ride the funicular and got in a decent hike to the top.

By the way, did you know that the original blood line of the St. Bernard dog is housed in the St. Bernard Foundation in Martigny, Switzerland? On my last trip I was lucky enough to see the beautiful dogs, including a few puppies, and they were so adorable. These St. Bernards are treated as royalty and live in a wonderful facility.

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St. Bernards at the Musee et Chiens du Saint-Bernard.
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A St. Bernard at the Musee et Chiens du Saint-Bernard.

Every time I saw a cat all I could think about was, “Wow…these cats look very healthy.” I can’t confirm this, but I imagine they get quite a bit of the wonderful milk or cream from the Alpine cows. In the adorable city of Thun, there is a great store that is all about cats (and officially “owned” by a cat). The human owner told me that the cats in Thun are well cared for and that the Swiss people really care about animals. I told her about a cat that greeted me on the steps to the ancient castle. He meowed in German and managed to lead me to the top of the stairs all the while stopping to gently remind me to pet his belly. When I left the castle I saw that same adorable Swiss kitty – he accepted a few more pets from me, but he was busy attacking the lizard a few feet in front of him.

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My new Swiss cat friend on the way to the ancient castle in Thun.
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Can you hear the meows in German as this Swiss cat led me to the top of the stairs?

And, how can I not include a post about the animals of Switzerland without mentioning the cows. They all have their cow bells on, which creates this beautiful tune of continuous bells ringing in the Alpine air. They are free to graze wherever their strong legs take them, and they seem to be so relaxed and happy. How can I tell? Well, have you ever tasted real Alpine Swiss cheese?! Several towns and villages have festivals for when the farmers lead their cows up and down the Alps. I would love to see one of those festivals as they honor their beloved cows.

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An Alpine Swiss Cow enjoying the grass near Magislap. Those “huts” in the background are where they make/keep the Alpine Cheese.
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A selfie with an Alpine Swiss Cow.

From the people with chickens, goats, and other animals in their yard to the cats, cows, and dogs that seem to have all the freedom they want, it was so wonderful to see these happy animals.

Enjoy the cuddle!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog post #34 – July 2, 2017

Happy Birthday, America!

Good morning, Cuddlers!

This time of year is full of BBQs, family and friend gatherings, and plenty of summer activities. It’s also that time of year that many dogs, cats, and other animals despise. The stories of animals being freaked out by the fireworks are endless. So, while we’re about to celebrate our nation’s birthday, our fur babies are looking forward to July 5th.

Growing up it seemed like the dogs in my life were more afraid of the fireworks than the cats. One of my grandparent’s dogs could hear thunder and fireworks from far away distances, even out of human hearing range. She would shiver and hide her head the best she could. I also remember feeling so bad for our dogs in Chicago, because it seemed like people were setting off fireworks right in front of our house. While we were enjoying the 4th of July, our dogs were dreading the entire day. Poor doggies. It sure is hard to reassure a scared dog or cat that they’ll be okay.

Last year I noticed my cats showing signs of not liking the sounds of the fireworks. In my neighborhood we don’t get as many people setting off illegal fireworks, so it’s not a big problem. There are the occasional fireworks set off nearby, which sends the cats running…or at least that look of “What the heck is going on?!”

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Abby found her hiding spot from the noise of the fireworks…in the All-American Coca-Cola box.
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Striker is trying to hold the American flag. Happy birthday, America!

I often wonder about the animals at Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo, or other zoos near fireworks displays around the country. Are other animals as sensitive to the sounds of the fireworks? Well, I sure hope all animals are safe this year.

Have an enjoyable 4th of July celebration in the midst of cuddling with your fur babies. And, have a piece of watermelon for me (my favorite 4th of July treat).

Enjoy the cuddle!

Blog post #33 – June 25, 2017 Little Surprises

Good morning, Cuddlers!

This week my cats kept me laughing for all of their little, silly moments. Otis was playing with one of the toy mice that Abby usually plays with. Did he learn something from his little sister? Striker initiated a game of tag with Reggie and Abby, which hasn’t happened in a long time. One day this week, Reggie came back into the apartment on his own after playing in the hall. I thought for sure that was a joke…Reggie never comes back on his own. And, I kept catching all of the cats in sleeping positions or sleeping places they don’t normally sleep. I found myself repeating the phrase, “You guys are cracking me up!”

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Reggie, what are you doing to Otis! HAHA!
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Reggie and Striker love sleeping on the warm towels. How can I put the linens away now?
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Abby hasn’t slept on the purple chair in months. This is a usual spot for Otis – you can see by the white cat hair.
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Otis was sleeping up next to the window. He was snoring and looked so relaxed.

Sometime in the middle of the week – perhaps in light of the Summer Solstice – I was a little more aware of the little surprises in my own life. I guess the biggest surprise (which wasn’t little at all) was my mixed emotions on the last day of school. I have a new teaching job for the fall, and after 15 years at John Hope HS, I was leaving the building for the last time. I’m excited for the new adventure, but was caught in a mix of strange emotions from 15 years of memories.

Again, as the cats kept surprising me, I was taking note of the list of little surprises in my week. The strangest little surprise was a $25 check from a physical therapist’s office from an overpayment on my last PT appointment. Okay, maybe not such a little surprise, but this appointment was two years ago! In the six months that followed my 7 sessions of PT, I had to resolve a few things with the insurance company about a miscoded PT appointment (which was an error on their part). Well, that was FINALLY resolved which is why I received the $25 check. So, maybe that should fall under the category of “bizarre surprises.”

As I’m writing this I can’t help but notice Abby snoring and looking so peaceful. She is recovering from an ear infection and she seems to be 100% better. It’s nice to see her looking so peaceful and happy. This was another one of my little surprises, Abby feeling and acting better. I hope we all have a week of “little surprises!” All good surprises, of course.

Enjoy the cuddle!

Blog post #28 – May 14, 2017 Happy Mother’s Day

Good morning, Cuddlers!

Just in case the “cuddlers” are preparing for a busy day, I’ll make this one quick.

Happy Mother’s Day! I day to celebrate our mothers, grandmothers, aunts, step-moms, foster-moms, and of course, “fur moms.” It seemed that this week I stumbled across various news stories and TV shows that were focused on moms from the animal kingdom. At a Chicago zoo, the sea otter pups are now available for the public to see. Of course, the news showed the pups with their moms. I happened to catch (and watch) Jack Hanna’s show, Into the Wild, where cheetah, elephant, black bear, and rhinoceros moms and babies were highlighted. It was so cute to see the animal moms and their babies cuddling up close or playing near their mom.

Human moms and animal moms sure have big jobs in keeping their offspring safe until they’re ready to go out in the world. It sometimes seems that words can’t even describe the “job” of a mother. So, may all of the moms, of all kinds, have a beautiful day and feel the love.

Enjoy the cuddle!

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Abby sends Mother’s Day greetings to everyone.

Blog post #26 – April 30, 2017 Storms and Weather

Good morning, Cuddlers!

Did you ever have those moments as a child when you were afraid of thunderstorms or have experience with other serious weather? I remember one summer (I think the summer of ’79), when our area had several days or weeks of serious thunderstorms. The storms were so bad that historic trees were up-ended and fell on porches, cars, and houses.

In college I remember an approaching tornado during finals week at the end of sophomore year that sent all of us down to the basement. At first, the noise shocked us “city folk.” We had no idea what it was, then quickly ran outside to take a look (silly college students). Yep! It was a tornado! Then, we spent hours in the basement of the dorm playing fun camp-like games to pass the time.

I went from being pretty frightened of storms as a child, to being fascinated by storms as I grew up. Too bad our fur babies don’t grow out of being afraid of storms. My grandparents’ had a dot that would shiver at thunderstorms that were miles and miles away. Her humans couldn’t hear the storms, and barely see the storms approaching on the radar, but she sure could those storms and was scared. Sometimes my cats with jump when it thunders, or will become a little less active on a rainy or stormy day. It’s too bad that dogs get so afraid of storms. It’s because of their hearing, right? Their ears are pretty sensitive to sounds and vibrations like thunder, correct?

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Reggie sleeping on a rainy day (after he played with his string for 10 minutes).

It’s nice to have a day where you can use a “rainy day” as an excuse to relax, read, and “cuddle” on the couch with your fur babies. Hopefully they can relax, too, and not be afraid of the storms.

Enjoy the cuddle!

Blog post #21 – March 12, 2017 Daylight Savings Time

Good morning, Cuddlers!

Daylight Savings Time. Humph. I don’t know about you, but this is the tough one for me. Losing the hour of sleep when we

jump ahead an hour, really has an impact on my mood. I have a feeling that it’s more mental than anything. The idea that I’ll lose an hour of sleep is only resolved in the fall when we gain that hour back. Still, it’s a tough couple of days getting used to losing this hour.

When I was younger our cats ate every day at 5pm, so the time change really messed up their schedule both times. In the fall they started meowing in desperate at my mom because they were convinced that she forgot how to tell time. “Mom! It’s 5:00! Feed us!” Misty and Peanut didn’t understand that it was only 4:00. Then, the first week of Daylight Savings Time was such a treat because it was as if they were getting fed an hour early.

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Misty and Peanut sleeping on their usual spot on top of the refrigerator. (mid-1970’s)
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Misty playing outside. (mid-1970’s)

I remember seeing a report on the news about how the time change also impacts farm animals. The farmers in the story spoke about their strict schedule, and how the time change was upsetting to some of their animals. The story brought up the question about why we continue to have the time change twice a year since we aren’t the agrarian society we once were. Who knows if this will change in the near future? All I know is that I will be struggling a bit this week, and the cats will be really confused with the morning alarm and feeding times this week, too.

Quick Striker update: A few weeks ago I honestly thought (and so did the vet) that Striker only had weeks to live. Well, it appears that he has bounced back a bit. You wouldn’t believe how much he is eating, drinking, purring and jumping around. Striker definitely seems like his old self and is a happy cat. He did develop some allergies, which has caused excess scratching. I took Striker to the vet for a follow-up and a shot for his allergies. He gained an ounce, but his kidney levels are still high. Regardless, I feel like the prayers and happy thoughts have given me more time with my sweet little Striker. We appreciate it very much!

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Striker relaxing and purring.

Enjoy the cuddle!