It's been almost a year and Layla is still looking for a real home. She is a young girl, only 3-1/2, that likes to give kitty kisses and sit on your lap. If you have a quiet, laid back kitty companion for her she would be OK with that too. She doesn't mind dogs much, as long as they don't get too pushy. She has a history of irritable bowel which is controlled with a limited ingredient diet and a small dose of steroids which we are weaning her from. Layla is getting a little chubby here as she usually just hangs out upstairs with Dr. Rubin, but when it is safe, she runs and runs up and down the stairs!
Would you like to meet her? Give Kathy a call - 215-379-1677 to arrange an introduction.
My Thoughts of You… by K.Genuardi
As another year ends,
A new year begins.
Images become memories,
Memories become smiles.
Hobbes Miller, Beans Kelly, Bucca Walker, Magnolia Swierczynski, Ashes McGovern, Chloe Donahue, Casey Leigh Kosiek, Jolie Halpern, Lulu Doerr, Trixie Boetefuer, Lola Morace, Julie Burns, Maxwell Jann, Rocky DiPoalo, Tootsie Curley, Buck McCrea, Gemma Gioisio-Eberhart, Ozzy Reed, Webby Knoble, Wanda Perry, Kramer Russell, Abbott Krohn, Tuffy Newell, Noggin Reynolds, Packet Watkins, Oliver Wurster, Rajah Neas, Ali Miller, ChooChoo Kleeman, Whiskers Lawrence, Zeke Verzicco, Max Kenney, Bailey McKenna, Schuyler Tartaglia, Tess Cheifet, Toby Focht, Mittens Hood, Lincoln Williams, Buddy Houtz, Mephisto Rose, Angel Witherspoon, Otis Gill, Missy Halpern, Jake Homont, Maggie Brophy, Chelsea McFinley, BabyGirl Temchesen, Snow Golden, Tupak Lipowitz, Polly Cawthorne, Butchy Greenberg, Hercules McDuell, Izzy Gerhard, Max Breen, Shadow McIntyre, Elliott Wexler-Younger, Shelley Jann, Ike Lasher, Elvis Sukanick, Cooper Krasnipolski, Pumpkin Dossick, Vito Scheidell, Sophie Merkel, Bobby Walbridge, Nina Kmeta, Phantom McDougall, Pepper McDougall, Mini Listman, Scooter Miller, MollyMouse Jones, Timmy Pawling, Jacob Glogowski, Luna Persky, Simone Worthington, Champ McIlhinney, SeaSea Schneider, Jenna Goberstein, Sydney Macrine, Buddha Egan, Mecke Salinis, Duffy Wynnytsky, Emerson Brasch, Sam Sanko, Sam Arnold, PJ Fernandez, Bree Padgeon, Katie Baker, Pixie Stepanski, Pearl Leff, Shamus Monaghan, Murphy Bove, Storm Taylor, Jax Wynn, Willow Schoener- DeMarco, Van Gogh Koller, Sammy Bialon, Heidi McBride, Maurice Brown, Simmy Fink, LouieLou Dolan, Angel Baby Brown, Maximus Kull, Mallory Colavito, Buddy Britton, Bronx Cappiello, Dante Yohe, Princess Cassiano, Gypsy Cooney, Tinker Rockett, Oreo Kulp, Biscuit Rutecki, Dusty Atwell, Maggie Brown, Rusty Karabin, Reggie D’Andrea, Deuce Nazarian, Peepers Luschini, Simba Hackey, Jack Hildebrand, Max D’Allessandro, Elvis Woodruff, Seamus Dickson, Blackie Bauder, Rufus Pizzi, Che Hoeschele
Where has the time gone? As I write this, the last of the Halloween candy is gone, Thanksgiving plans are made, and the multitude of Christmas prep details are fast approaching. I admit I am a procrastinator - most of the time because I think too much and the minutiae gets in the way of productivity. I think about getting things done ahead of time. I plan on being early, putting up the tree before the middle of December, having my outfits picked out, and the gifts wrapped, but it never seems to happen that way. However, it always works out in the end and everything is a success, so I hope that this newsletter fits the mold. I have a variety of things to share with you, from how to tips to thought provoking ideas.
So, to all of you, your friends and families, I and the RVC Family wish you the happiest of Holiday seasons and a very Happy New Year…. Kathy
When I moved into my current house, I was post divorce and moving into what was, in essence, an apartment from a single home. Most of you know that my Mom and I share a house, her upstairs, me and the critters downstairs. That being said when I moved, I brought with me seven cats, six dogs, a cockatiel and a ferret. You know, no one wakes up and says, “I think I’ll share my house with 15 animals”, at least not a sane person, but things happen and there you have it. That was the spring of 2001.
Here we are 14 plus years later, and of that group there is one lone fuzzy cat, Christopher, remaining. We celebrated his 18th birthday this past July and for the most part he is doing well. Oh, the usual geriatric kitty issues plague him, but he’s doing OK. What has changed, though, is his seemingly sudden desire for the great outdoors. Now, all of my cats have been indoor only cats. While I believe cats need fresh air and sunshine like you and me, I also know the risks involved with allowing cats to roam free, even in the seeming safety of the suburbs. So while every now and then one would slip out the door, they were quickly captured. I can remember once when my friend and I were spring cleaning and Christopher jumped onto his windowsill – where the window was being cleaned and therefore was open. Before he could say Holy Meow, he was outside looking in! A scream from my friend and out the door I ran. Christopher was so shocked at being outside that he was still standing in the side yard and was easily nabbed, catastrophe averted. Other than lying on the wide sills and enjoying the fresh air from a safely screened window, that was the last of his forays into the great outdoors.
Fast forward about six years or so and seemingly suddenly Christopher wants out! Not just calmly standing by the door when Carmen goes out, but demanding in no uncertain kitty terms to go outside! So being a good kitty mom, Christopher and I go out, he with a collar and ID and a harness and leash, and me keeping him inside a safely fenced yard. Almost every morning we go outside, and while Carmen runs around with her ball, Chris toddles around the yard munching grass, listening to the birds, and soaking up the sun’s rays. It is now almost winter, the temperatures are dropping and even though he has a longer coat, at his age he has no measurable amount of body fat… so I went through the drawers and found something that belonged to my little dog. We tried it on, and with a few adjustments, voilá…. and this is why my cat wears a sweater.
Hello, pet lovers! Let’s talk about brushing. The brush is a dog and cat owner’s best friend, and the groomer will love you even more than your fluffy kitty or pup for using one. When owners of household pets make the choice to be loyal brushers of their pets, they will be greatly rewarded. Your pet will look and feel better and it’s a great way to spend some extra quality time with one another. It is also a great way to inspect the skin and look for bugs such as fleas and ticks. When a pet is not brushed a thing such as small matting can become disastrous. Your pet is then brought to us to be fixed and to look great, but many times unfortunately it’s not possible. If the pet’s coat is left to become tangled and matted the best thing that we can do is a shave down to give you another chance to become a world class brusher. Also, never try to remove the mats yourself with a scissors. The skin is very close to the mat so you may unknowingly cut the skin while trying to remove the mat. So, please leave the job to us. And do everyone involved, including Garfield and Odie, a favor, keep brushing. One more thing to keep in mind - go easy. Remember there’s skin under there.
Katie and Drew
Everyone wants a really good photograph of a cherished pet. Thinking ahead to the holidays, here are some tips on how to get that perfect color photo of your pet to email with your greetings or to send as an outstanding card.
Before you even pull out the camera or smartphone, ask yourself, “What is the personality of my pet that I am trying to communicate?” Do you want to show how playful he is or how serene she is? This decision will dictate a lot of other choices you make. For example, if you want to show play, you may find a vertical photo is better to try to take than a horizontal one because you want to capture every bit of your pet as he stretches or jumps.
Photography is all about light. Flash is a no-no, because of the shadows it creates, the greenish tint your pet’s eyes have when a photo flash is directed at them, and most importantly, how uncomfortable it may make your pet feel. You must decide if your pet’s personality will be best shown indoors or outside. If you choose indoors, the best location from the perspective of the pet is a favorite spot, because that is where he or she feels secure. The absolute best location from the perspective of lighting in photography is natural (not artificial) light that comes in a window from the side (not behind or in front of your pet). If both of these situations are the same, you have found the area that you must indeed use for your photo session. If on the other hand you feel outdoors is best in expressing your pet’s personality, take the photograph on an overcast or somewhat cloudy day. You want your viewer to notice your pet, not harsh shadows from bright overhead light or dappled shade that makes it difficult to see your pet clearly. Overcast days also bring out colors much more, and will accentuate both your pet’s coat and the colors of the environment around your pet. Another choice is to photograph just after sunrise or before sunset, when the lighting is softer and more golden.
Speaking of colors, you can use complimentary colors indoors or outdoors to enhance the beauty of your pet. For example, an orange cat will look great if there is blue color of some kind in the shot. You can also better express your pet’s nature if you use color correctly. A photo of a frisky black and white dog better communicates her active nature if there are reds in the background of the shot. Colors always communicate moods: greens and blues are calming tones, reds and oranges energizing. Bright colors often work best with young animals because those colors feel more active than pastels do. Think about what will not only look good with your pet from what you have on hand but also the color mood that matches his or her personality and age.
Let’s talk about eyes. You must always have your pet’s eyes in focus. Plan on having your camera focus on those eyes more than on any other area. And it is often best to take the photo from the pet’s eye level. This communicates his or her perspective on the world and often will encourage you to move in closer, either by physically stepping closer, by using a telephoto lens or zoom on your camera or smartphone. Except for landscapes, closer is always better in any kind of photography.
Before you press the shutter, make sure that the emphasis is on your pet by removing any cluttered backgrounds or foregrounds and checking the edges of the frame to eliminate any distracting objects. You may want your pet to have a treasured toy in the photo, but do you really need to have that potted plant in the background distracting from her?
You should try to have someone assist you during your shoot. If you try to attract your pet’s attention by calling its name, she may very well walk or run towards you and that’s the end of the photograph! (Pets sometimes even walk towards the photographer as soon as they hear the camera or phone turn on because they want to investigate this different sound, so have everything turned on well before you plan on taking the first photo.) An assistant can use props like toys or by making sounds to attract your pet’s attention by standing behind you (behind your lens) and thus avoid calling his name. Both you and your assistant will need to remain calm and quiet no matter what happens because pets certainly pick up on any stress and will not give you the relaxed, happy shot you seek.
A last thought: regardless of what happens the first time you try to get that perfect photo, reward your pet for his time and attention with a favorite treat. You may very well have to try a few times to truly represent in a photo how adorable your pet is, so you want each subsequent photo session to be something he or she can look forward to.
Treat dispensing toys are very useful interactive toys that are a great way to keep your dog entertained and to help keep their minds active, which is especially useful during the busy holidays.
I haven't tried the Linkables yet personally, but I have been told that they are a good toy. They are supposed to be rather durable (like I said, I haven't test it on MY dog yet!) and you can mix up the combinations of them to change the game for your dog.
I haven't tried this yet (I’ve been wanting to buy it....), but I have been told that it is a durable toy. I wouldn't mind investing in this since you can play fetch with it or let your dog play with it alone.
Nylabone Rhino Come Bouncing
I had this toy for a few months before I had to throw it out. It is a lot like a Kong (but not quite as durable) but it also has little cones on it which I believe help clean the dog's teeth. I think the average chewer will be able to hold onto this for a very long time.
Really cool toy! My dog has had this for several months and he loves it. I have to supervise him with it though because he will try to tear it apart once the food is gone. I sometimes will feed him his entire dinner in here. This is a toy you will need to supervise your dog with, but I definitely recommend it.
Everlasting Fun Ball
Like the one above, I've had this toy for a few years and my dogs don't seem to be able to pick it apart. You can put treats inside, but my dogs will play with it without the treats as well.
And it was 7 years ago. Sometimes, it takes a while to realize when you are given a great gift. Maybe I missed it because the gift wasn’t wrapped up in a pretty little bow. Or because I got so many of those gifts back then that I didn’t realize this one was just a bit more special than the others. The day Asa came into my life was pretty much like any other day had been for the prior 5 years. Too busy, too stressful, and too depressing. The busy and stressful part I was used to, that was easy. The reason for the depressing part was that it was getting harder for me to tolerate every day. And it had nothing to do with the approaching Holiday Season, a time when many people feel sad, despite how merry they think that they should be.
I hadn’t had the time to do anything Christmassy for a few years and frankly I can’t say I missed all the holiday craziness. The shopping until you drop ritual had lost its shine long ago. So had most of the other trappings that go along with that time of year. I did, however, miss having a full day off from work so I could wrap the presents and enjoy some good music and a nice glass of wine while I was doing it. I can’t lie about that one.
Some might say my choosing to be too busy to do all the normal Christmas stuff was my way to escape, a way to avoid those things I didn’t really enjoy doing. They might be right. Then again, while my escapism strategy avoided one set of unpleasant activities, it placed me on a collision course with a whole constellation of others. And unlike the seasonal merry-making, this was a year round insanity. A few years back, while I was still young and naïve enough to believe that I could save the world or at least a few furry, smelly and unwanted members of it, I took a random garden variety life complication and turned it into a life changing event. OK, I wasn’t really that young but I was certainly that naïve. A skinny, mangy, abandoned pit bull showed up on my block one morning, a morning when I was way too busy to worry about something that wasn’t my problem or my responsibility. The easiest and sanest thing to do was to call animal control. That’s what they get paid to do, right? Problem solved. Unfortunately, I seem to be allergic to doing things the easy way. Countless hours of research, four months and over a thousand dollars later, I miraculously found a home for that throw-away young pit bull. If I knew then what I know now, I doubt I would have tried. That’s the good thing about being naïve, you don’t have a clue when what you are about to attempt is often improbable, sometimes damn near impossible.
Whether it was damn luck or one of those occasional exceptions that prove the rule, that small miracle got me hooked and by the time I got the call from the veterinarian about Asa a few years later, I was a full time dog rescuer and trapped in a different kind of ritual. Asa was only 3 months old at the time and had been born to a stray dog. She had never been around humans during that crucial early part of a dog’s life. She had also been bitten by another stray dog and had a few infected puncture wounds in her back end. That meant 6 months in rabies quarantine before she could even be put up for adoption. An adorable puppy, right before Christmas! Most people who love dogs would be thrilled. I love dogs but after having gone through a few dozen puppyhoods, I had learned to appreciate the benefits of not having to clean up puppy accidents. And this one was going to be around for a while.
Whether it was her nature or lack of early human nurture (or most likely a combination of the two), Asa turned out to be a very anxious and fearful dog. Everything scared her, anything new caused her to be very anxious and just about every human, even those she knew, got a reaction most interpret as “aggressive,” although in reality it is her best way of dealing with the “scary thing I want to go away.” So once the rabies quarantine was over, I was faced with another decision. Either I keep her as my dog or I label her “unadoptable” (which in reality she was) and rationalize why euthanizing her would be the right thing to do for her. It certainly would be the easier one for me. Given she is a 65 lb., scary and “aggressive” dog, the smart choice would probably have been to euthanize her. After all, she is a huge liability, right? What if she bites someone? The fact that even as a puppy she had never even nipped anyone, the fact that no matter how scared she got, she never tried to bite anyone, the fact that almost no dog ever bites anyone without reason or warning (often numerous warnings), made that argument a little less solid. Then again, innocent until proven guilty doesn’t apply to dogs.
True to my nature, I made the more complicated choice. I decided to keep Asa and hoped for another miracle. Who knows, maybe she would grow out of her fearful and reactive nature. But you only get so many miracles in life. Asa is still fearful, anxious and still behaves “aggressively” towards anyone she doesn’t know, and most people she does know if they get closer than she is comfortable with. And about 3 years ago, she upped the ante. She added separation anxiety (SA) to her repertoire of challenging traits. For those who had never had a dog with SA, consider yourselves blessed. In a decade of dog rescuing, I have dealt with a huge chunk of the possible physical and behavioral issues dogs come bundled with. SA is hands down one of the toughest to deal with. My life has not been particularly easy the last 3 years; Asa has made it even more difficult. But along with my other dogs, she has also made it bearable.
I owe a great deal to all the dogs I have rescued over the years and I owe a great deal to Asa, not the least of which is the realization that I cannot get others to see what I see, that I cannot let the lack of commitment in others keep me from doing what I know in my heart to be right, if not smart. And ultimately, I owe her for making it impossible for me to do the easy thing. She has challenged me to live up to my expectations, even when I was just as scared as she is, even when others tried to make it easier for me not to. I am not sure if I will be up to the challenge tomorrow or the next day but I think as long as Asa is around, I will have someone who – in her way – believes I am. If she can get over her overwhelming fear of humans to trust this one, how can I betray her trust? And that gift is priceless, no matter how it comes packaged.
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