Thursday, October 10, 2013

Integration Progressing

The integration of the new cats is going fairly well. Brody was neutered in September just before turning 6 months old. He's a pretty "dominant" cat in that he likes to bully some of the other Team Zero Gravity members, namely Charm & Daisy. He and Daisy play, but sometimes Brody gets carried away and I have to get him to cool it. He still beats up on Charm sometimes but is getting a little better with that.

Now, meet Opie. He's a very sweet boy that joined the "team."

The team is ABSOLUTELY complete now! My house and heart are very full :)

I had planned on a 3rd cat, however, my intent was to ultimately adopt a senior cat in need. Instead I ended up adopting this sweet little boy who was 6 months old and had just come down with a bad URI. I named him Opie. He's a flame point Siamese tabby. He has lovely sweet blue eyes and the vocal nature of the Siamese.

I figured he would be a nice friend for Charm since Brody bullies her quite a bit. Well, Opie and Charm are starting to become friends. The biggest surprise was how close Brody and Opie have become.

Opie even befriended several of the dogs earlier on.

All in all, things are going well. I do know however, a house and a pack (and my wallet) have limits. I don't ever want to add one too many animals and have the pack dynamics fall apart. I also want to be able to adequately care for all the animals in my care. And to be quite frank, these new additions are putting pressure on finances. So, I'll just stop right here.

I know there are so many animals in need.  I'll still do some fostering for my 2 favorite adoption organizations, SEGA & RTH. But it will ONLY be fostering.

Now to just convince folks who only acquire pets through breeders to adopt instead of buy their next pet. Just think of how many wonderful animals could be saved. For ever animal that is bought as a pet, one is killed at a shelter somewhere--EVERY DAY.

Please adopt, don't won't be disappointed.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Catching Up

Ok--I know, I have been REALLY bad about posting. It's been a busy couple of months. Where to start. I last left off with new kitten, Brody's adoption. He's growing like a weed and still a wild child. He needs to get neutered very soon. Hopefully that will help calm him down some.

I don't even have even recent photos of him right now because they would all be have a black blur in them. He never sits still long enough for me to take a photo. My friend Cindy Frezon came a few weeks ago to take some photos for me so hopefully she had better luck getting a couple of photos of him.

June 21 was a sad day for me. I had to put my 18 year old kitty, PJ to sleep. He started rapidly declining those last couple of weeks. I knew it was coming but it didn't make it any easier, That's one reason I didn't post any blogs. I just didn't have it in me.

He had a great, long life but I miss him terribly. The day he was put to sleep, I brought all the other furred ad feathered family members in to say goodbye to him. I took some photos. The sweetest ones were of him and my parrot Reggie. They had been together for 15 almost 16 years.
PJ and Reggie

I took some photos of my sweet PJ by himself.

I cut a little bit of his fur to keep and put in a memorial necklace. I knew it was time to let him go, but I really didn't want to. I think he was ready. He had had a really bad night the night before. I didn't want him to suffer. It's still so hard.

Of course, I had him cremated. I found a pretty urn at Perfect Memorials

And a very pretty memorial pendant for his fur that I clipped. You choose the birthstone (fake I'm sure) and in PJ's case it's Aquamarine which pretty much matched his eyes.

I was very impressed with Perfect Memorials. I liked my items and they got them to me fast. They even contacted me to double check something on my order.

Fortunately, last October, photographer, Leesia The had come out to my house to take photos of my "family." She had gotten a few really nice ones of PJ. I had had one of them made into a 16x20 print that now hangs in my living room thanks to help from dad. It's one of my favorite photos of PJ.

I was very fortunate because my parents came to visit me from Ohio about a week after PJ was put to sleep. It was nice to have them here during that time. I love living in Georgia. I just wish my family lived closer.

While my folks were here, my mom and I went to my local Kroger's. As we were walking out, I saw a flyer that captured my eye...
Adoption Flyer for Charm

One of the cats up for adoption, Charm looked a little like PJ. She was a female though and I tend to be drawn more to male cats.

I decided I at least wanted to meet Charm. Needless to say, I met her and promptly took her home with me. She had never lived with dogs before so I know living with 6 has been an adjustment. She is still cautious around them but she is settling in nicely.

The other newest "family" members, Autumn and Daisy are doing wonderful. Autumn has made herself quite a home.
And Daisy has started training and competing in "Barn Hunt." In fact, this past weekend, she had her first official competition. Saturday, I called alert too soon after she found a tube which turned out to just have bedding from the rat's cage. Sunday, I waited longer and she  gave me clear signs that she had found the tube with the pet rat in it. She actually was the only medium sized dog Sunday to Qualify so she even took first place. Not bad for her first ever competition in anything.
Daisy and her Barn Hunt Q & 1st Place ribbons
Photographer Dean Lake was at the trial so when I get the photos Dean took, I'll do a blog about Barn Hunt. It's a fun new sport--and don't worry, it's very humane.

So as you can see it's been quite busy. I plan to try and do better about blogging more often. As I get older the days seem to fly by and I would like to have a record of as many of those that I can. That's one of the reasons I love photos so much. There give me little pieces of time that I have recorded and get to keep :)

You can never take enough photos!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Here We Grow Again!

It wasn't planned--honest! Yes, I've done it again--not another dog though. The newest junior Team Zero Gravity team member is Brody, a 10 week old kitten adopted from Floyd County Animal Control (FCAC) in Rome, GA. This is actually the same shelter that Daisy was pulled from by rescue.

FCAC is an animal control shelter in a rural county in northwest Georgia. They don't get many people coming through to adopt. They have LOTS of people coming in with strays and even more owner surrenders. It's very sad. They are overrun with cats and kittens right now. There are a couple of rescues who have been pulling cats & kittens from FCAC. They have pulled so many over the last few weeks that they really couldn't take many this past week. That means LOTS of cats & kittens would likely be killed.

All animals "redlined" (meaning time is up) must be out of the shelter by 5pm Tuesdays. The shelter is closed on Wednesdays because that's the day the kill the redlined animals. Sorry, I am no longer using the words "put to sleep" when talking about animals killed at shelters.

To make a long story somewhat shorter, a photo came across my facebook feed from an awesome page called Urgents Cats of Floyd County Animal Control. This page was started and is maintained by a dedicated small group of volunteers who try their hardest to get photos and pleas out there for the cats & kittens at FCAC. The photo that came across was of a young kitten who looked EXACTLY like my PJ was he was a kitten.
Kitten at FCAC


PJ as a baby
My heart overruled my head. I called FCAC to see if he was still available. He was but they don't hold animals for anyone. I headed out the door for the 1:15 drive to Rome, GA. Wouldn't you know it, but a rescue group pulled him 30 mins before I got there.

Ok, so I'm already there and there's kittens everywhere. There were 3 adorable white kittens screaming and climbing all over each other trying to reach me through the bars. I held them and all they wanted was love.

There was an adorable bobtail tabby right next to them who tried squeezing through the cage bars to get me. Fortunately for me, none of these kittens was available yet for adoption. They had just come in. Some of them are available for adoption NOW as I write this. One of the white kittens got adopted and the bobtail got adopted. The other 2 white ones and plenty of others still needing saving--either through a rescue group or by direct adoption.

Anyway, back to my story. So I saw a little black paw coming out between the cage bars. I walked over the the cage and saw an adorable black kitten.
Brody at FCAC
I opened the cage door and he practically jumped into my arms. The girl at the shelter told me he was redlined and on the list to be killed Wednesday. I promptly replied I would take him. Once the paperwork was completed and I was on my way home, I started trying to come up with a name. Out of nowhere pops the name Brody. So Brody it is. I took him straight to my vet as it was obvious he had an upper respiratory infection (feline URI).

Once home, I moved him into the guest bathroom for his quarantine. I want him to get well AND I don't want PJ to get sick. I did not realize that feline URI was a type of herpes virus (not transferable to humans or dogs, but highly contagious to other cats). Once a cat is infected, they are a carrier for life. An outbreak can be set off by stress or other illness. My vet gave me Viralys which is L-Lysine for cats and helps with feline URI.

Brody has been a resident of the guest bathroom for several days now.

His URI symptoms seem gone. PJ walks by that door several times a day and either is oblivious (which is possible since he is 18) or doesn't care (which is my hope). He absolutely doesn't like other adults cats. I honestly don't know how he'll feel about a kitten which is why I HAD held off on getting any cats/kittens. That is up until now...

Now, the DOGS know he's here. They are dying to get to him. I don't trust them though right now with a little kitten. Even when Brody comes out of quarantine, he'll be moving into a large cat condo cage I have for his own safety and PJ's sanity.

The next several months should be interesting! I really am done now :) Sigh, what can I say.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Celebrity Hounds Abound!

Wow, these last couple of weeks have put us in the midst of celebrity hounds! April 27, the Greyhound group I volunteer with (SEGA) had a special M&G for the movie opening of Pain & Gain. One of SEGA's former adoptees, Escape Hatch now known as Seven, belongs to a friend Jen Bachelor and played Tasty Reuben in Pain & Gain.

Seven's headshot and pawtograph
The AMC Parkway Pointe in Atlanta was so wonderful in letting us schedule and have the special Seven M&G at their theater. Seven was a big hit with the crowd. She even got to stay and watch the movie with her fans (ok, she chewed on a bully stick and napped, but she was with her fans). Everyone clapped and cheered every time Seven appeared on the screen.

Jen & Seven
Then just one week later at SEGA's Greyfest, we got to meet my Cori's daddy, Flying Hydrogen who belongs to Carl Doby (who owns Crazy Collars).
Cori, her dad Hydro & his person, Carl
Hydro is a top Sire in the US. I think he's 10th. He was a phenomenal racer winning over half of races before an injury forced an early retirement from racing. Now Hydro is living a life of luxury and leisure and is happy to be Carl's sidekick :) Carl's booth was right next to the booth doing photos of hounds trying whipped topping from a can. Hydro has decided that's his new favorite treat.
Hydro decided he LOVES whipped topping!
Four of Hydro's kids and a half brother were at Greyfest so of course we couldn't let that opportunity pass us by. Those photos will be forthcoming when we get them from our Greyfest photographer Cindy Frezon from Cindy Frezon Photography. It was a long day for Carl & Hydro being as they drove from NC and returned all in the same day. As you can see from the photo, by the end of the day, Hydro was tuckered out and ready to head home.
Hydro ready to head home!
What a fun and fabulous time we've had of late! Gosh, what's going to be next? It'll be kind of hard to top the past couple of weekends anytime soon!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


One of the things that I enjoy most is teamwork between my dogs and me. In addition to Pet Therapy, I enjoy competing with them in a variety of dog sports.

This past weekend was pretty busy. Friday afternoon, Blaze (my male Greyhound) and I went to Woodstock Nursing and Rehab to visit with residents there. I read a little to them about Dottie Hi Socks (yes, of course it was a book about dogs, and specifically a funny & cute little female Greyhound).

The book prompted questions and discussions about Greyhounds all the while Blaze was loving on them and they back on him.

Saturday morning Blaze and I ATTEMPTED (notice the work is in all caps) Novice Obedience in a local trial. Blaze's heeling was ok, but he under no circumstances wanted to sit unless I told him he had to. In an obedience trial, when the handler stops, the dog is supposed to sit. Apparently, Blaze did not think these rules applied to him. Hence, we had points deducted. Then we get to do what is 'affectionately' termed (NOT) 'sits & downs.' During these exercise, you get to give your dog the 'sit' & 'down' commands.

I gave Blaze the 'sit' command. He didn't think I meant it so I had to tell him again. He sat in between 2 other dogs (an Aussie & Border Collie I think). All 3 of us handlers walked away about 20 feet and stood facing our dogs. I'm watching Blaze and giving him the eye--like don't you dare slide into a down. He looked back at me like, "whatcha gonna do about it?" and 45 seconds in to the 1 minute sit, he slid into a down. Automatic Non Qualification. Then we return to our dogs to do the long, 3 minute down; We got this part, right? Piece of cake! NOT! My silly boy who give me downs all day long, STOOD up about 2 minutes in. He kept shifting his butt and his feet and then up he popped into a stand. Now mind you, he stood perfectly still for the last minute, but I was not happy. Another Automatic Non Qualification.
Old photo of Blaze in a down stay
Back to more classes, training & practice...

Then Sunday, Cori, one of my female Greyhounds and I drove to South Carolina for a Nose Work Level 1 competition.

In NW1, there are 4 search elements: interior (usually a room), exterior (a cordoned off area), vehicle (usually 3 cars) and containers (usually boxes). The odor is essential oil of Birch. The searches are timed and usually between 2:30-3 mins depending on the hide. The dogs searches and must alert you as to the spot where the odor (source) is located at.

This was our 3rd attempt at out NW1 title. The weather was lousy. Cold and rainy. Two of our searches, exterior and vehicle were outside in the rain. The other 2 (interior and container) thank heavens were inside.

Cori is good at Nose Works and really enjoys it. She does NOT like going to new places nor does she like having male judges (which that's all we ever seem to get) stand too close to her. She also gets REALLY distracted if there are too many spectators. All things we have been and will have to keep training through.

Although we did not get our exterior hide (she false alerted right behind the hide--which I found out several dogs did the same thing). She passed her interior search (1st time in a trial) in 2 mins and 19 seconds. She passed her container search (like 1 min 18 second) and she NAILED her vehicle search is 36 seconds!

Vehicle search last Oct at the Birmingham, AL trial
Even though we did not earn her NW level 1 title, I was EXTREMELY proud of my girl. This was the best of the 3 trials we have participated in. Only 5 of the 29 teams earned their level 1 title. Thirteen teams (including us) passed 3 of the 4.

We'll earn that NW1 one of these days. I think I'll wait for a closer trial though :)

Not to be forgotten about, Team Rio (my lab mix & me) has had a busy spring competing in agility (both AKC & USDAA). She has earned another Preferred Excellent Jumpers With Weaves leg and another Preferred Open Standard leg.

Then let's not forget Autumn. She and and I have not done any sports yet together. We'll have to see what she enjoys. I know she enjoys running. Here's a photo of her for last year's Blur of the Fur fun run.

Chloe has even previously competed in a couple of lure coursing trials.

At 9 years old now, she just gets to run for fun.

And then there is Daisy--well we'll have to see what Daisy wants to do.
She and I will be attending a baby dogs 101 sport class in June with Tracy Skelnar. We'll see what Team Daisy will pursue after that :)

All this to say that teamwork with your canine partners is a lot of work, and a lot fun. To me it is awe inspiring. The fact that they do all these things--things that we ask of them, is a tribute to their intelligence, their strength and in several of my dogs' cases, courage. And above and beyond all that it clearly displays their loyalty, love and trust, not to mention patience! The fact that Rio has not fired me after almost 6 years of agility is miraculous in itself!

I am very blessed to have the pack I do. They teach me new things every day!

Last photo--couldn't resist--this is a cuteness alert!
Daisy & Rio

Monday, April 15, 2013

Autumn is Back

Autumn is back--no, not the season, the dog :) My former greyhound foster, Autumn (formerly Rico's Wanda) is back and this time she is here to stay. Yes, I know. I'm crazy, BUT Autumn is an awesome dog. She is so easy. She acts like she never left. I have fostered her twice and I said if she ever "bounced" again, I was adopting her. No ifs and or buts. I knew in my gut that she would come back to me one day. I just didn't know when.

She and my other dogs get along great. She remembers where everything is and all of the household routines.

Within a short period of time after arriving at my house, she was getting toys out and roaching in a dog bed. I know she'll miss her former family and they her. But they made a selfless decision in rehoming her with me. She just wasn't happy being an only dog in an apartment.

Autumn was a pretty good racer in her day and so, was used to be pretty active. Now she has plenty of dog buddies to hang with, room to run and play, and she will have plenty of activities to do. She's a great Meet & Greet dog. Plus, I plan to test her for pet therapy. I'll also let her try some different activities to see if there's a dog sport she would like to participate in.
And heaven help me. This is the last dog I can adopt at this time in my life. My heart and house are full.

Looks like I need to update my blog banner and get a new group photo :)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Never Say Never

I should know better than to deal in absolutes. I frequently comment on how much I despise the words "always" and "never." Yet, in the past I had found myself saying I could never have 4 dogs. Well, guess what? I have had 4 dogs for about 2.5 years. Then my new mantra was I could never have 5 dogs. All my animals have to fit with me in my crew cab pick up truck since I just bought the travel trailer last year. But, guess what? Yes, I have added a 5th dog my my pack and my life. And she's small enough to fit in the truck with everyone.

Many people already suspected that I was going to keep Bella the beagle mix puppy from Floyd County Animal Control that I was fostering for Road Trip Home. She's the 6 month old puppy that I was sent her photo about a day before she was due to be put to sleep.

I just couldn't let that happen. I contacted a rescue I foster for, Road Trip Home. They agreed to take her but their intake isolation/quarantine was full. So my vet quarantined her for me for 2 weeks. Then the plan was for me to foster her until March 22 when she would head up to Maine to be adopted out from Animal Welfare Society (AWS). AWS is the wonderful shelter where my other fosters have been adopted out from.

I visited her about every other during her two week quarantine. I kept a change of clothes in my garage that I would wear to the vet's office for our visits. I didn't want to defeat the purpose of the quarantine. She came home with me February 26. I changed her name to Daisy. My dogs and even my cat took her quickly. In fact, she and Blaze became great friends pretty quickly and Cori followed shortly after. Chloe (my 9 year Greyhound) even played a little with her. Rio was my hold out. She tolerated Daisy but wasn't interested in pursuing a friendship. Daisy persevered. Rio will now play with her some and even let Daisy sit or lay with her.

I knew I was in trouble when in taking her out to places like Rio's agility trials to socialize her and everyone fell in love with her and kept telling me I should keep her. And then I could not imagine my house and pack without her. 
I contacted the RTH folks and surprised the heck out of them when I said I wanted to adopt her. They were happy, but concerned that I would foster any longer for them. I told RTH that I understand greatly the need for fosters prior to transport so yes, I would definitely keep fostering for them once Daisy really settles in.

Daisy was just recently spayed as part of her adoption and is now recovering. The rest of her siblings have been being sweet and gentle with her while
So Daisy has officially joined Team Zero Gravity. Hopefully as she grows and develops she'll be interested in agility, nose works, musical freestyle and maybe even pet therapy. Time will tell. She is shy but friendly and definitely reminds me of a younger Rio. She really likes other dogs. She likes some people right off the bat. Others she has to warm up to more. New places are a little overwhelming to her, but she loves to travel and GO TO places. I also know that just like Rio, time and patience will pay off. And just like Rio, Daisy will be worth it.

The only negative is that this new development also means I need a new group photo taken in the near future...Seems like the only constant in life is change :)

She has already been added to the Team Zero Gravity blog banner and her photo is listed on right side of the blog.

There's never a dull moment with Team Zero Gravity!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Cori's Day to Shine

I was pleasantly surprised to get a call from the folks at the local library where Cori and I do pet therapy at. Cori is a Reading Education Assistance Dog.

She and I visit our local library twice a month. Children sign up to come in and read to her. It's a great program and has been proven to help improve literacy rates in children: Research and Results of Reading Education Assistance Dog Programs

Cori loves it. It's funny too because Cori is a somewhat shy dog. She's not a fan of new places (especially new buildings). She's also not a fan of crowds or the hustle and bustle of being out in public. Yet at our local library, in our reading room, with the children, she shines and is in her element. Cori would NOT enjoy visiting a hospital or assisted living facility. Yet, at the library with the children, she's clearly happy and comfortable.

She greets each child as they come in to read to her. She then lays down by them while they read to her. She looks at any pictures in the book when the children show them to her. When the child's session is done, she gets up and walks them to the door. She amazes me with her warm, comfort and enjoyment of these sessions.

In fact, a photo of her with one of her favorite readers was just in our local paper this week:

Here's the photo from the little blurb

Once a child has read with Cori 10 times, she gives them a free book to keep and even "pawtographs" it for them. So far, she has had 3 children read 10 times with her and get their "pawtographed" book.
It's a very rewarding experience of working as a team with one of my dogs while helping to ignite the passion to read and to learn in children.
To me, it just goes to show you that there are all kinds of different pet therapy opportunities out there and that different dogs with different personalities can be therapy dogs. You just have to know your dog and know what they like and don't like; where they are comfortable and where they are not. And of course, they have to be naturally friendly and like people.
I want to take a moment to thank Lisa Poole from my greyhound group (Southeastern Greyhound Adoptions) and now CAREing Paws. She is the person who ignited my desire to do pet therapy. I also have to thank Melissa Saul (CAREing Paws) and Merilee Kelley (READing Paws) who helped train and test us as a team. And of course, last but not least, I want to thank the folks at RT Jones Library (namely Emma Ingle, Susan White, Kristina Canoles, Vickie Sellers and Melanie Pullen) who helped establish the program, keep it running smoothly and provide support for us at our library. As you can see, it's an overall team effort--but well worth it!
I also want to thank my girl, Cori who is a special girl. I am so glad she came into my life and enjoys doing pet therapy with me. I am very blessed indeed!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Revolving Door

Sometimes it seems like my house has a revolving door on it! Last week Road Trip Home foster puppy, Lizzie left to make her journey to Maine (going to Animal Welfare Society in Kennebunk: in search of her forever home.

She made it there safely and is now up for adoption. I hope she finds as wonderful a home as Penny and Linus found. BTW, I got a cute photo of those 2 munchkins from their family. The family titled the photo The Sentinels. It makes my heart sing to know that Penny & Linus have such a fabulous home and that their family keeps me updated on their doings :) Penny has always been adorable. Linus has turned into a very handsome young man.

This week I am dog sitting ONE of my favorite former greyhound fosters, Autumn, while her family is out of town. Anytime I keep her for them, she always remembers where everything is and what the household routines are.  She's a sweetheart!
Then next week, Bella comes into foster with me. She's still at my vet in a 2 week standard quarantine coming (since she came from a crowded animal control).

Bella is a cute 5 month old lab probably beagle mix. She's sweet and playful. Right now, she's slated to head to Maine 3/23 with Road Trip Home.

My own dogs (and even my cat) have become very used to the "revolving door" with dogs/puppies coming and going. The only one who is probably not happy about it is Reggie. When I have a foster or other dogs/puppies who are not mine own at my house, he has to stay in his cage for his own safely. Reggie has a bad habit of getting on the floor and walking around like a little person :)

Sometime soon, I'll tell you more about Reggie. He's quite a character!