You Can Help Pets Affected by Tornado’s in Southern Indiana

Tornadoes in Southern Indiana on Friday March 2, 2012 devastated several small towns.

As a pet owner I know that I would be concerned about my pet’s welfare if I lost everything, pets are family, and a great comfort.  This timely NPR story describes the physical and emotional benefits of simply interacting with an animal.  Keeping a pet with you during a relatively minor life upheaval can be very challenging so I can’t imagine what it must be like for those who are suddenly without everything, except their pets.  In an effort to help survivors of Friday’s tornado’s care for their best friends Spay and Neuter Indians Pets, SNIP, and Pet Supples Plus have partnered to collect donations of pet supplies that SNIP will deliver as needed.

They are asking that you makes purchases of items such as pet food, leashes/collars, litter/boxes etc. at Pet Supplies Plus and leave at any of the four stores in the boxes marked SNIP Tornado Relief or you can stop by the SNIP van in front of the Greenwood PSP store on Sat 3/10/12 from 12:30 to 2:30 with “gently used” items. If you can’t make it to the store and have gently used items or want to make a cash donation for us to purchase items at PSP you can contact SNIP snip222@sbcglobal.net

SNIP is a non profit organization that provides “High Quality – Low Cost” spay and neuter services by partnering with local vets who share their passion for saving lives.  100% of funds go directly to help the animals, in this case it is the victims of the tornados.  Your donation will go just a far year round with SNIP though because 100% of your donation goes to our spay neuter services–none goes to fundraising, office expenses or employees as they have no employees! They are an all volunteer group, working locally in their communities, grassroots spay neuter initiatives.

SNIP is an IRS 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization, your donation is deductible.

Anything you can do to increase donations is appreciated and I’ll do whatever I can to help get donations to SNIP.

Artie, my little Papillon, and his Tale of Survival

Rescuing my Papillon

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Artie at his cutest. Photo By: The Photon Wrangler.

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Artie finally learned to behave on the leash, mostly. Photo By: The Photon Wrangler.

I took care of a Papillon in 2003 and knew that when I got a small dog it would be a Papillon.  In 2008, I was ready to adopt.  Artie was the fourth dog I applied to adopt.  The rescue lets foster parents match their charge with potential parents and I finally measured up with Artie.  In retrospect, I’m not sure what that says about me.  I drove to Minneapolis to meet his foster parents who came down form Northern Wisconsin.  Out he came into a Taco Bell parking lot on a leash two kids were fighting over.  He was bouncing, spinning, yapping, jumping and circling at the end of the leash.  I thought he was adorable.

In my five page application I had indicated that I wanted a young and healthy dog but that I did not require that it be trained or house broken.  I can do those things, I thought.  He proved to be a bit of a  challenge.  He had separation anxiety and barrier frustration.  I gave up on crate training when I came home to his little nails bloodied because he was trying to dig out of the crate.  I adjusted to him as much as he adjusted to the house and me.  It took a good six months to house train him and that was with him tethered to my side 24/7.

Two German Shepherds and a Papillon meet

By February 2010 everyone was getting along just fine.  Artie went out one day into the yard which had and invisible fence.  I don’t know if he escaped the fence or if the neighbors two dog aggressive German Shepherds escaped theirs but either way, they met up and it almost killed Artie.  There were dozens of wounds and it was described to me as a “curtain of blood.”  He was rushed to a vet in town that happened to be open despite it being Sunday afternoon. I was working and I got to the vet’s office just in time to get him,  his medication, and pay the bill.  He was sent home with dog arthritis medication, a tube in his chest and a vague prognosis that he might make it.  On the 15 minute drive home I knew he was dying.  I took him to Airport Animal Emergi-Center emergency vet.  The emergency vetrinarian told me that Artie would have died if I had not brought him in.  There were wounds that were not sewn shut, including one that allowed air to escape his chest cavity.  The vet showed a video he took showing air moving in and out of the wound by holding a piece of cotton in front of it.  Other wounds had hair sewn into them.   He also said that he rarely needs to place chest tubes and that injuries as severe as Artie’s come in about once a month and this came from a veterinarian who specializes in emergency medicine and sees the most extreme injuries.  The good news was that there was every reason to think his chances of recovery were good.  They kept him overnight.  When I picked him up the next morning he was shaved from neck to tail and the stitches and wounds were so numerous that I never tried to count them.  He also had a narcotic patch and was heavily sedated to manage the pain.  A long way removed from the dog aspirin he was given initially.

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Artie would not wear a coat or sweater or sit near anyone. Here he's curled up in a chair across the room from me.

He spent the next week at our regular vet, St. Francis’ Pet Hospital, (Artie and I can’t say enough good things about St. Francis’s Pet Hospital and the staff there) during the day for monitoring and at home being hovered over by me at night.  After the narcotic pain patch wore off he seemed to be in a lot of pain despite strong pain medication and sedatives.  One morning when he went out to go to the bathroom he ran straight under the front porch and would not come out.  It was 6:00am and about 20 degrees.  No amount of enticing, pleading or bribing would coax him out.  He growled and bit at me when I tried to get to him and moved away if I tried to go under the porch after him.  He was under the porch in the freezing cold, virtually bald, his wounds were dirty, he was obviously terrified and I was at a loss.  This went on for nearly two hours.  My brother, Matt, came over to save the day, and Artie.  After Artie bit him and drew blood, Matt got a long 1×1 board for himself and one for me.  He then crawled under the porch, which runs the length of the house, and used his board to block Artie from doubling back behind him and force him towards me at the other end.  We both used our boards to close off his retreat and slowly shrink his avenue of escape to an opening right in front of me on the outside of the porch.  When he came out I grabbed his collar and I’ll never forget how he bit, growled and cried.  It was awful.  His disposition did not begin to improve for about a week and he was very leery of anyone touching him for months afterwards.  The best explanation I heard for his behavior from the time he went under the porch to his return to normal (Artie’s version of normal at least) was that the poor little guy was trying to hide from the pain.

When Artie lept from the floor to the back of the couch for the first time month’s later I knew he was fully recovered.

Papillon Power

Papillon picture in black and white

Artie, my Papillon, surveying his kingdom from the back of the couch. Photo By: The Photon Wrangler.

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Artie earning his keep guarding The Critter Mobile.

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Hanging out in the hammock. Photo By: The Photon Wrangler.

 

 

 

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Taking a well deserved rest after a hard day at work.

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Artie showing of the coat he happily wears these days.

IndyFeral – Saving the lives of cats most in need.

I have unfortunately been unable to upload the pictures that I want to include it this post due to my malfunctioning internet.  I will update the post ASAP.

 

IndyFeral was my gateway into truly becoming involved in animal rescue.  My introduction to feral cats was much like most people’s.  I kept seeing a couple cats lurking around the garbage outback, lounging in the sun on the porch and hiding in the bushes out front.  I started feeding them and realized they were not friendly to humans and likely not owned or not fixed.  A little research lead me to IndyFeral.  The next thing I knew I was not only the caretaker of what turned out to be 8 feral cats but an active volunteer with IndyFeral, having been quickly converted by the enthusiasm, devotion and empathy everyone involved exuded.

The mission of IndyFeral is simple:  IndyFeral seeks to reduce the stray and feral cat overpopulation through the non-lethal method of Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), not trap and kill.  This mission is so important because ” In the U.S. the most comprehensive data indicates that nearly 72% of cats that enter these facilities are killed.  For feral cats, the kill rate in shelters and pounds rises to virtually 100%.” (Source)

What is Trap Neuter and Return?  TNR is a humane and non-lethal approach to feral cat population control. It is a comprehensive management plan where healthy feral (free-roaming) cats are sterilized and vaccinated, then returned to their habitat and provided with long-term care. (Definition courtesy of Alley Cat Allies.)

What is a Feral Cat?  “A Feral cat may be defined as any cat to wild or unsocialized to be kept in a typical home.  These cats are often born in the wild and avoid direct human contact.  Every feral and abandoned cat is the end result of irresponsible pet owners who failed to spay or neuter their cat then allowed it to roam freely.”  *As defined on the IndyFeral website.

This 1 minute video also explains what a feral cat is.

I would add that in my opinion these cats are the most in need of our assistance and protection as well as perhaps the most deserving because we have abandoned them and without organizations like IndyFeral there would be no one to advocate for them.

When Lisa Tudor realized that there was a great need for a TNR program in Indianapolis, IN it 2002 Indy Feral was born.  Thanks to the fantastic volunteers, some of which have been active since 2002,  that she was able to bring into the cause Indy Feral can proudly present following amazing statistics:

  • 23,194 cats fixed
  • Assistance for over 2,500 managed colonies
  • 2,717 friendly cats/kittens removed from colonies

Marion County, Indiana passed a TNR Ordinance that regulates the care of stray and feral cats with the assistance of IndyFeral who was instrumental in passing this ordinance.

IndyFeral is somewhat unique among rescue groups as you will see if you visit their website.  They share regularly updated listing of many dog, cat and wildlife rescue resources on their site and in a pdf format.  They also offer the only comprehensive listing of low cost medical care for pets in Indianapolis that I know of.  In this way they make it clear that they are a part of the solution, for all animals in need in Indianapolis, IN.  A special, unique and effective organization that deserves our support through a monetary donation, food donation (scroll to bottom of page) or by volunteering.

I hope this post will make you look at the stray cat in your yard a little differently next time he shows up.  You can help save lives and IndyFeral will help you do it.

 

Rommel the Rottweiler and Nina the rescue – the Happy Critters behind Amy’s Happy Critters, Inc.

The humans that belong to Rommel and Nina have been my friends since before Rommel and Nina owned them.

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Rommel as a puppy under my couch next to Domino, my cat with his first, favorite toy that he did not want to share.

 

This is a Polaroid of Rommel under my futon hoarding a toy back in 2000 when he was the size of my cat Domino.  I of course immediately insisted on being given the position of Aunt and Puppy Sitter.

 

Rommel the Rottweiler was often my house guest while his parents traveled.  Shortly after they got Rommel they of course had to get him a sister (one pet is never enough), Nina, the Flat Coated Retriever Mix (?) who they adopted from Indianapolis Animal Care and Control.  Now when the humans traveled I had a house full, 5 dogs and a cat plus a feral cat colony outside. I loved it.

 

“We are best friends.”

When I was diagnosed with Kidney Cancer in 2003 Nina and Rommel were at my house.  They were scheduled to come stay again during the early part of my recovery but that was no longer an option.  Their humans hired a Pet Sitter to come into the home and care for Rommel and Nina while they were away.  What is a pet sitter I asked?  They explained, I did some research and knew right away I was not returning to my job refinishing furniture.  My surgery was February 6, 2003, I started Amy’s Happy Critters, Inc. in March of 2003, thanks to the first Happy Critters, Nina and Rommel.

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“I have a foot fetish.”

 Rommel has a foot fetish, when you walk, he puts his nose right on the top of your shoe and grumbles and sniff’s, as you try to walk.  He gets over this in a few minutes.  It’s cute, when you don’t trip over him an fall.  As with most Rotties I’ve met he can not get enough love and attention.  If you stop moving, he will be there presenting you with an ear or a stub of tail to scratch.  If you sit down, it’s time to be prepared for kisses.

 

Nina loves affection just as much as her brother but, unlike Rommel who more or less outgrew his toy obsession, Nina takes the prey instinct to new heights.  She quickly progressed from disemboweling squeeky toys to taking on raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks, geese, ducks and swans with varying degrees of success.

rottweiler and rescued dog
“There are geese in my yard-I MUST go.”

 

Rommel, Nina and their humans are family to me.  Rommel is now a spry 12 years old and Nina is ageless it seems.  My friends added two children -of the human variety- to their family recently.  I am not qualified to care for those types of critters but I have non the less appointed myself Aunt Amy again.

 

Thank you Rommel, Nina and your humans for helping me make something good come of something so bad and leading me into the post-cancer part of my life.

“I think Aunt Amy’s here – treats!”

The Story of Bella Mia, My Bischon Frise – Rosalynn DeFelice

 

Beschon Frise

Grandma Rosalynn and Bella Mia her Bischon Frise on the porch in strawberry season.

My Grandma Rosalynn DeFelice wrote this story of her beloved Bella Mia when I asked friends and family if they would like to share their pet stories.  She typed it on a typewriter so I have uploaded it just as she gave it to me.

 

Bischon Frise

Chloe’s Mutt Strut at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Chloe the Pug at the Mutt Strutt at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Chloe, the 10 year young Pug, has been a Happy Critter since 2003. She took her human to Mutt Strut on Saturday May 1st, 2011 to strut her stuff and benefit her cousins at the Humane Society Of Indianapolis. Chloe persuaded her mom to walk the entire 2.5 miles without her mom needing to carry her. (Carrying Chloe helps her mom feel safe in strange places.) She did have to let her human rest and get a drink a few times but she is nonetheless very proud of her human for her assistance in helping the homeless animals.

Chloe and her mom dedicate their Mutt Strut to Cooper, who was surely walking along side them in spirit.

Pug Power at the Brickyard.

Chloe burns up the track at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Facebook page Dedicated to Foster Pets, Rescue and Adpotion

Miss Kory "Likes" the Amy's Happy Foster Critters page she inspired!

I created a Facebook page devoted to foster pets called Amy’s Happy Foster Critters. I created this page so you can choose whether or not you’d like to hear every detail about any foster pet I might encounter. Many of you will hear more then you care to straight from me. Others lucky enough to be spared that, may, like me, spend your time feeling so sorry for the pet that you try to convince yourself and everyone you know they NEED to adopt. So, this new page is not for the soft hearted or those on my speed dial. I just hope it helps even one pet find a forever home.

Please share it with anyone who is interested in adoption, fostering, rescue or other animal welfare issues.  You never know when that special pet will choose it’s human!

Miss Kory my Foster Dog from Indianapolis Animal Control

I picked Mis Kory up at Animal Care and Control lsat night.  She is spayed, current on her vaccinations, temperament tested and looking for her forever home.  I will post more information about her personality and temperament as I get to know her.  Please pass this along and consider volunteering, fostering, donating, or adopting with Indianapolis Animal Care and Control as they are over loaded and woefully understaffed.

 

Deano has specific requests

Deano before walking
Did you know she makes me wear this thing too?

My mom saved me from large building full of cages that were filled with lots of barking dogs.  I had a very painful wound on my leg so she was just supposed to keep me until I was better and a real home could be found but, I was so charming I was able to stick around for good.  As my mom put it, “he just sort of never left.”

I like things done the right way.  Putting that thing on me is not the right way but both Amy and my human insist on it and, since it seems to be required for a walk, I put up with it.  I like to walk briskly with many stops to sniff and mark.  Amy won’t let me mark all of the flowers and garbage cans that require it and this is very frustrating.  We do move fast when I want to though.  After my walk I require a few minutes in the yard.  I had to make this very clear to Amy as she just didn’t understand that this had to be part of our time together.  Fresh water is required each visit but she seemed to know this one, very odd for a human to be so well trained, but don’t look a gift human in the mouth.  Petting is another thing she gets right.  I particularly like it when she sits on the porch steps and I get to lean against her for pets and a hug or two.  It’s another thing that, oddly, required very little training.  All in all since she’s the only pet sitter I’ve ever had, I guess she does a good job.

Mr. Man aka "Missa" smiling to the end.

Pet Sitter Note: Missa was lost to cancer in May 2010.  Tragically Utley was lost to cancer as well a couple of months later.  Both boys lived, long full lives filled with of love and all the doggie fun they could ask for.  It has been a dificult year for Deano and his human but I think they are a great comfort to one another.
All three dogs were adopted from The Humane Society of Indianapolis (HSI) Deano’s human has been a valuable and dedicated foster parent to HSI for years.  It’s always lots of fun to see just who will be waiting for me at Deano’s house!
Deano and Utley morning the passing of Missa

Deano with his brother Utley mourning the recent loss of their other brother, Mr. Man, aka "Missa"