Jasper has been with us nearly three months now. And how he has grown! When he arrived, he weighed just three pounds and now he weighs 9 lbs. No wonder kitten chow is 40% protein. It takes a lot of nutrients to grow that fast. Apparently, how much they eat is related more to how much they grow rather than just what size they are. The first two weeks Jasper ate an entire bag of kitten chow each week. Now the same size bag lasts for two weeks. Thank goodness. That was a lot of kitten food. Although I noticed long ago that I spend more money on cat litter than on cat food.
Jasper is still sweet and affectionate. He loves to snuggle. He especially likes to sleep on us when we are wearing bathrobes. Apparently, all that fuzziness is nap inducing. He is sleeping in my husband’s lap right now. We hope he maintains his nice disposition as he grows older. Jasper is scheduled for neutering next week. This is one way to keep a cat from growing into a more distant and aggressive tom cat. It also prevents unwanted kittens, as well as spraying and marking in the house. Spaying and neutering is the way to go for many reasons. Most cats (and dogs) that are spayed and neutered enjoy better health. They don’t develop infections or cancers of the reproductive organs. If your cat is an outdoor cat, he will also fight less with other cats which prevents battle wounds. Our cats all live indoors because we live on a road that has lots of traffic.
Jasper continues to amuse us with his antics. He plays all day (when he’s not sleeping) and can have more fun with a stray piece of stuffing from the dog bed or a wadded up piece of paper than you can imagine. We are very glad we kept him!
Living with multiple dogs requires a certain way of life that many are not suited for. I appear to thrive on it. I certainly find the sacrifices that are necessary to be well worth it.
For instance, we have doors on our kitchen. My husband made these doors for us so our lives would be a little bit easier. And I am grateful every day.
We cannot leave food out on the countertop or on the stove without it being in danger of being taken by a few of our dogs. The cats are not totally innocent in this either. They have been known to knock loaves of bread on the floor for the dogs to eat. And the cats like to lick some of the things they find there. Butter is a favorite. And I don’t know about you but I don’t care to eat butter that has been licked by a cat. Or by a human either for that matter, but we don’t have that problem.
So, whenever there is a cake or pie, or any food, cooling in the kitchen, or the remains of dinner is still on the stove while we are eating, the doors are closed. You may have noticed the elastic bungee cord on the left hand door panel. This is because our animals will nudge the doors open if they are not bungeed shut. Our animals have us well trained.
If there is food out and you leave the kitchen even for a few seconds, you must close these doors. I walked from the kitchen to the hall pantry and back, which took me less than 30 seconds one day. Zekie, my no mistake dog, made me pay. The Day of the Bread Thief. Where once there were three baguettes rising, there were suddenly only two. The link above tells the excitement of that day.
You may also notice the bare board covering the baseboard to the left of the doors. That covers the remnants of the day/s Zekie had separation anxiety episodes before we had the super tough Impact Dog Crate for him. Story told here Salvation. In those days he eventually escaped every crate we put him in.
On one of the shelves you can see our apothecary jar full of dog biscuits. These are a necessity. Any of our dogs will immediately incarcerate themselves in a crate for half a Milk Bone! Don’t feel sorry for them. Several of our dogs will go in their crates by choice to have some time to themselves. The crate door is open, but no one can sneak up on them without their knowledge.
The calendar on the wall holds not only family birthdays and appointments, but the dates the dogs were given their heartworm prevention medicine and any flea or tick treatments. It also serves as a record of wormings, antibiotics, and other noteworthy things.
This simple picture provides such a snapshot into our daily lives. Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words.
This post features each of our animals here at Sanctuary Acres. We currently have six dogs and two cats. They were all feeling sleepy earlier this week when the weather was cold. I took the opportunity to capture their restful moods in these photographs.
Baxter is 12 years old now. He was a drop off that someone left when he was a young pup of about three months. He has spent his entire life here. This is notable because we don’t often get many of our dogs as puppies. He grew up to be a wonderful dog with amazing frisbee skills. He is also very obedient and an easy dog to have around. He has taught the ropes to many a foster dog. His calm nature teaches them that it will be ok.
Shelby just turned 11 years old. She came here as a foster dog through Northeast Ohio Shetland Sheepdog Rescue (NEOSSR). She arrived when she was 18 months old. The folks who dropped her off said she was hyper and too much dog. Shelby is anything but hyper. She just happened to be in her teenage years when her previous owners left her here. She has grown into an obedient, serious, hard working girl. She is a certified therapy dog who I can count on for nursing home visits, walks with kids, staffing public events, and assisting with training or testing future therapy dogs. She is my right hand “man” and working partner.
Claire is 6 years old. She is our newest addition, joining our pack in January of 2020 as a foster dog. She became a permanent member in July when I realized that I was too attached for her to leave. She is a bit of an airhead and not as serious or intense as our other dogs. She is, however, a clown and keeps us laughing and wondering what she will come up with next. She is also eternally happy. She makes us smile every day.
Zekie came to us as a foster sheltie. He is not very sheltie-like in looks or temperament. He is a sweet and loving boy. Due to his extreme separation anxiety and leash reactivity, we decided that he was not adoptable (except by crazy people-us!), so he became a member of our pack in 2016. He is fairly obedient, but you have to keep him busy all the time. His mind doesn’t stop and he can come up with lots of things to get into. This dog has an amazing, and sometimes frightening, command of the English language. One day he was running from the pasture to the house with the frisbee and dropped it half way there. I told him to pick that up and take it back to the pasture before he went in the house. He did. That’s just one example of the things he understands.
Cassius is our retired racing greyhound. We adopted him from Greyhound Adoption of Ohio. He is our fourth greyhound. He is the opposite of the shelties. Large, lazy and laid back, with little grooming required. He adds a nice balance to our crew. Oh, and did I mention, he’s a momma’s boy. He loves nothing better than to lean against me when I am trying to cook, or to lay up against me on the couch with his head in my lap. He’s a 70+ pound love bug. He loves riding in the car nearly as much as he loves me.
Nikki turned 13 last fall. Not only is she our oldest dog, she is also our smallest weighing in at 20 lbs. Don’t let her small size fool you. She is a tough little thing with a big bark. She came to us when her owner became ill and was no longer able to care for her. Nikki was four years old then, so she has been here a long time. She was very good at her commands-sit, down, and stay. She can’t hear them any more, but if I work her in tandem with Shelby, Nikki will follow her lead and perform the commands. She is a favorite at the nursing home because she has that cuteness factor down pat.
Orange Kitty will turn five this year. He has been with us since he was just under a year old. He is a very sweet cat. Our other animals are fortunate that Orange Kitty is mild mannered. Thank goodness, because he is also VERY large. We put him on a diet and he is now slimmed down but still weighs 17 lbs. He has the loudest purr I have ever heard. You can hear him from other rooms of the house.
Morty will be 10 this year. I still think of him as a kitten because he is tiny. He only weighs 8 lbs. but he and Orange Kitty are fast friends. They often sleep together and groom each other. Once in a while, play gets too rough and Orange Kitty will chase Morty and there will be a bit of hissing and spitting. Shelby does not allow this sort of behavior and will run to stand between them and break it up. And it works. No one messes with Shelby.
All of our animals get along quite well. There is no serious fighting, and very little grumbling. Sometimes a dirty look will be cast but that’s generally as far as it goes. As I look around now, I see all the animals sleeping and know all is right in their world.
In my life before retirement, I was a Water Treatment Scientist. My days consisted of testing various components in water and giving feedback and advice on how to adjust the treatment systems. I worked hands on, in the treatment of wastewater and drinking water. Drinking water is self explanatory. Wastewater, is basically anything that goes down your toilet and other pipes for disposal. Some businesses discharge chemicals and other wastes that must be dealt with, but for the average homeowner, your wastewater consists of poop, pee, and some “gray water”. So, my professional career involved dealing with other peoples’ poop.
You would think my dealings with poop would end there. Not so! I deal with the poop of other beings on a daily basis at home too. We have two cats and two litterboxes. Cats are fastidious creatures for someone who poops in a box. And we greatly hope that they continue to use these boxes. So every single day, I scoop the litterboxes. Cats, being the fickle creatures that they are, want a clean litterbox. You DON’T want to see what happens if you don’t keep up with the scooping. Every afternoon I scoop “the biscuits” into a plastic grocery store bag, carry it outside, and hang the bag on the fence to scoop dog poop into it too. I also sweep up the floor so the cats don’t get confused by any stray bits of litter on the wooden floor boards.
I only use Tidy Cat litter. This seems to me to produce the least amount of dust and to do the best job of containing odors. You don’t want anything to strike the cats as being unpleasant. We want them to keep using their giant toilets in our front hall. Which reside behind a baby gate to keep the dogs from using them as a buffet. But that is another story.
I mentioned dogs, so you know my poop story isn’t over yet. We have six dogs. They eat twice a day and so they poop AT LEAST twice times a day for a total of twelve times. Often more because, hey sh*t happens! You would think it would be as easy as scooping up the piles, throwing them in the bag and being done. HA! We have two dogs who think that poop is a fine delicacy to be enjoyed at every opportunity. One of us humans must go out with the dogs to be “playground monitor” each time. Otherwise, these two dogs will partake of the buffet. If you are lucky, the dogs will “leave it” when you yell at them. But mostly not. This results in me running around with the poop scoop trying to pick up sh*t as it happens. And you may think this sounds easy too. Again, not so! With six dogs, there is usually more pooping going on than I can keep up with. So, it deteriorates to me running after the offenders who have picked up the poop, yelling “drop it”. Sometimes this is effective. Other times, I must give chase and shake the poop scoop in the air as if I am going to bean the poop bandit over the head. (I only threaten, I never actually resort to violence.) I’m sure the neighbors must think I’ve gone insane.
The dog doing the pooping does not take kindly to all this activity taking place near his rear end. He often ends up finishing the job while waddling across the grass leaving a trail.
This used to be the end of the story. Now I have another saga to share. Oh, joy! One of the baby rabbits that was born some where in the vicinity of our vegetable garden in the spring time, has grown up. And apparently decided that the clover growing inside the fenced area where the dogs do their business is quite delectable. I never see him, but this bunny comes inside the fence and after dining, deposits his little bunny pellets in the dog yard. The dogs, of course, find this to be the caviar of their buffet. Even some of our dogs who don’t eat canine poop, will chomp on what the bunny leaves behind. I hoped that as the bunny grew, he would no longer be able to fit through the slats on our fence, but so far that has not happened. I suppose that is why the heartworm preventative that I give the dogs also contains other types of wormers. Living in the country rabbits, squirrels, mice, chipmunks, and so on, are always around.
Such is my life. And, you know what? I wouldn’t trade it.
The Christmas spirit has arrived at our house. It began to snow late this morning. It was a calm, light fluffy snow. The kind that invokes thoughts of good cheer and peace.
So I got out our little tree and decorated it. All of our animals love the tree, but especially the cats. They take up residence underneath and you can find one or the other of them there for the season. After a few squirts of Bitter Apple chew deterrent, they stop chewing it for the rest of the season.
After lunch, I made a couple batches of cookies we traditionally have around the holidays. First, I baked the thumbprint cookies and filled them.
Then I made molasses crinkles from a recipe handed down from my mother’s Aunt Clara. Mine are never as good as Aunt Clara’s but they are delicious nonetheless. I suspect Aunt Clara used lard in her’s.
Now I am ready to relax for the evening with a couple of cookies and a good book.
My post last week about Maizie generated lots of interest. You can read it here if you missed it. A Heart of Gold
Rest assured Maizie enjoyed her life here. She became a permanent member of our family the day we received her diagnosis of kidney failure and found out her time was limited. She loved going out to the pasture with the other dogs and coming back in to sleep on the dog bed.
As many of our animals do, she seemed to enjoy the Christmas tree. I think it has something to do with the lights. Even with kidney failure and occasional infections, she never messed in the house. She was such a good girl. And she always greeted me with a smile when I opened the door to let her back inside.
Maizie developed a special bond with our cat Lacey. They could often be found sleeping together. Maizie passed before Lacey. When Lacey passed a year or two later, I buried her with Maizie’s ashes in our little pet cemetery. She earned this right as a part of our family and the two friends were together again.
Maizie’s time here was happy. She was only visibly failing for the last few days. The rest of the time she enjoyed doing her goofy gallop around the yard with the other dogs, playing, going on walks, getting lots of petting, and sleeping on a warm bed with her friends. Good dog Maizie, good dog.
I moved our bird feeder to the front yard this year, so we can watch the birds from the living room. Actually my main motivation was so that the cats could see the bird feeder.
In an effort to get the cats to be more active, rather than like this.
The woodpecker is named Woodrow. There is probably more than one, but we call them all Woodrow. Except for the time when it was obvious that a male and female came to feed. She was known as Mrs. Woodrow.
And yes, the cats did take an interest in birdwatching. So did Zekie!
Foster girl Claire has made good progress in her relationships with cats. At first she found them to be exciting and something to be run after. She soon moved on to standing and watching the cats run by, but not giving chase.
Orange Kitty has been instrumental in this new behavior. He is so laid back that he doesn’t even move now when Claire approaches. She seems to seek him out for company.