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.

rottweiler and cat under couch
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.

rottweiler cute pic
“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

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.


We are Just to busy….

Happy Holidays from the critters of Amy’s Happy Critters, Inc.,

They would like to me to let everyone know that they still have plenty to say but the holidays are just to busy a time to mess with it.  Some of the reasons I have been given are:

  • “It’s hard work inspecting and approving or disapproving of all the strangers that the humans just let walk right in.”
  • “The door bell rang again!  Someone’s here to see ME!”
  • “The door is open….perhaps I can sneak out…”
  • “The floors, counters, kitchen tables, coffe tables, laps of visitors, (in Riley the Wonder Dog’s case-refrigerators) and especially small children are a source of so many treats, it’s a full time job scavenging.”
  • “New laps to sit on, I hope some of them don’t like cats.”
  • ‘Toddlers, watch your tails.”
  • “My humans are gone, again, and the substitute does not live here.  Boring.”

As you can see, the critters are busy.

They assure me they will have much to report in 2011!


Teddy is a Champ, in More then One Sense!

Teddy doing yoga

"My yoga practice helps me to maintain my flexibility."

I am one of two dogs in my household, the youngest and by far the most handsome, in my opinion.  Apparently some dogs like to give their Report Card together but I would like to speak on my own.

Amy has been my pet sitter since I was a cute little puppy.  She does the same thing each day when she arrives which I very much appreciate as routine is an important part of my life.  She does not try to brush me which is nice.  I do require belly rubs before exiting my crate and she gives me some, but not nearly enough despite the fact that I refuse to come out of my crate until she ignores me.  At this point I’d just as soon join my brother Casey in the yard.  I think she wastes time cleaning the cat boxes while we are outside which seems pointless.  Then the good stuff starts.  We get to walk!  Since I prefer to avoid the tile she is very accommodating and sticks to the carpet.  We have a brisk walk but there is not enough time to mark everything that requires it which is a bit frustrating at times.  My brother doesn’t like the heat and we don’t like to be separated so when it is to hot or to cold we get to play games indoors.  She gets out our puzzles and makes us hunt for treats.  We are very smart so it doesn’t take long to solve them but it is still fun! (Pet Sitter Note: Buy puzzle toys here)

Ch. Marnus Clearing the Bases

I used to go to big buildings just full of other dogs – oh the smells!  I apparently had a job of some sort, but all I ever did was trot around a ring, get hot dogs then have some new person pet me all over.  I love hot dogs, I was often able to sneak extra ones since humans are easily distracted.  The brushing was way over the top in these buildings but all in all it was worth it.  I don’t do this anymore.  I am some sort of ABC, AKC, ARC champion now and have finished my job.  I love home but sometimes I miss the smells and especially the hot dogs.

We’ve had other sitters and they have been just fine but I really like that Amy sticks to our routine though I wish she wouldn’t wast time with the cats and a hotdog now and then might be nice…….

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"

Molly and Gunner Proclaim, “Walks are required”


Molly and Gunner in the snow

"We walk in all weather"


Miss Amy (as we have been taught to call her) has been our dog walker for several years.  She isn’t all bad.  We, of course, prefer our humans but considering the options; no walk or a walk with Amy, we will choose walking any time.  She usually goes plenty fast except in the snow, she’s sort of slow for some reason.
Molly has her say: I am not crazy about new people, it’s not that I am scared, it’s just that strange people should be considered very carefully for many reasons.  When my mom rescued me I was scared but I was young then, I have matured quite a bit.  Miss Amy  was a suspicious character at first but I couldn’t resist pets when she sat on the couch giving them to Gunner and not me.  All he really cares about is treats anyway.  She takes us on nice walks, I don’t really care to walk away from home, what if it’s not there when I get back?  I do enjoy when we turn towards home though.  My nice warm bed, that the humans insist on invading, is there waiting for me.
Molly at home

Molly waiting for her humans.

Gunner’s Perspective: Miss Amy was my dog walker long before I allowed Molly to join the household.  I did all of the training, of both Molly and Miss Amy.  I wait at the window when I hear her car but sometimes she’s tricky and shows up in the wrong car.  This necessitates the defense of the house becoming the priority until she is identified.  She gives me treats but not nearly enough.  I don’t know what our humans have told her but I do need lots of treats, protecting the house is a job that takes a lot of energy and it deserves a lot of rewards.  I even protect the cats, though I can’t see their usefulness to the household defenses.
Gunner with Invisible kitty

Gunner with Jojo the cat

All in all we report that Miss Amy is better then nothing.  Our humans seem to like her fine so that says something even though all humans are sorely lacking in judgement when it comes to visitors.  You should smell some of their guests…..

Molly the Super Collie 1998-2010

Molly - My Girl

Long May You Run by Neil Young – Long My You Run Molly

I did not intend to start this introduction to our family with a sad story of loss, but I can’t speak in Molly’s voice any more, she left us today.  She died peacefully in my arms, in the car, (her second favorite activity was riding in the car) after playing her last round of frisbee, (her first favorite activity) modified for a dog who can’t quite get around.  We had a small burial and wake tonight and I am grateful for my pet loving friends and family who could come on short notice to help ease our sadness.

I wrote this essay for a dog essay contest about a year ago.  If you knew her you won’t be surprised by her antics and you probably know most of these stories but if you didn’t know her maybe you’ll see just a bit why she was so special to me and I hope it will give you a happy remembrance of a special pet who is gone.

The Adventures of Molly the Super Collie

When my mom gave me Molly the Border Collie twelve and a half years ago I had no idea how much trouble she would be.  Luckily, she has been even more fun.

I made the mistake of getting her while I lived in an efficiency apartment.  Border Collie’s are smart and very active.  Her first big adventure came on one of the first times out of the crate while I worked in the evening.  She leapt through a screen and played with the kids who lived in the complex until the pads of her feet were raw and bleeding from running alongside their bikes.  When I returned home she was waiting at the front door thoroughly exhausted for the first time in her short life.  We added rollerblading to her regular Frisbee work outs after that.

Molly's natural state for about 8 years.

As quickly as I could manage we moved to a house in a quiet neighborhood with a small yard.  I thought this would be just what she needed.  She soon learned to jump the fence.  Most of the time she only went over it into the adjoining yards to steal the neighbor kids’ and dogs’ toys and bring them home to add to her collection.  She did disappear once and was found within the hour, one street over, playing with a neighbor kid.  I installed a tie out system for her after this foray.

My mom has a cabin in Southern Illinois adjoining a national forest where we horseback ride.  Many people take their dogs along on these rides.  Molly with her energy was a perfect fit for joining us.  She loved it as much as my mom’s dogs did, and followed right along with little expeditions into the woods to follow enticing scents.  Half way through our ride, about as far as we were going to get from home, we realized Molly was missing.  We asked every passing group of riders and finally learned a dog who looked like her was following a group from a nearby campground.  After returning home I drove to the campground and found a little girl who was throwing her flip flop for Molly to fetch.  Molly has not been invited on a ride since, much to her disappointment.

I moved to a house in downtown that had a yard that could contain Molly.  The house was a double so we shared a yard with the other tenant.  The gate was left open one day.  Our other two dogs and the neighbor dog seemed not to care but Molly was long gone by the time the open gate was discovered.  She had recently pulled her tags off and I had neglected to replace them.  We searched everywhere with growing concern.  After a week of putting out flyers, combing shelters and rescue groups and running newspaper ads I had given up hope.  I got a couple of calls that I could tell weren’t Molly over the phone.  Then I got a call from a lady who lived over 20 miles from us.  It sounded like Molly but I didn’t think she could be so far away.  I wanted to meet this dog anyway.  When I arrived she was there with a ball in her mouth, as happy as could be, as if nothing had happened.  It turned out that she had been drawn to a construction site that was just a few blocks from our house by all of the noise.  After she spent the day at the site a worker took her to his mother’s house where she happily fit right in.  He was as sad to see her go as I was happy to have her back.

Two and a half years ago my husband, the dogs and I moved to five partially wooded acres near the end of a long dead end street.  Our house sits back off of the road at the top of a ravine with a flood plain below it.  Many people on the street do not have fenced yards and most dogs stay close to home with very few exceptions.  We spent a couple of weeks supervising and training the dogs in the yard.  For two years they all three stayed on our property for the most part.  One day last May, I let the dogs out about 6am as usual.  When I left the house about 9am Molly did not run to meet the car, this was unusual but not unheard of.  I phoned my husband an hour or so later to see if she’d returned.  She had not.  The worry and panic I felt was familiar to me.  I got home and went through the same routine of flyers, shelters and newspapers.  We had neighbors and family helping us search the woods, paying special attention to kids and construction sites.  At least she had tags with our address on them this time, they also had my husband’s cell phone, my cell phone and my mother’s cell phone since the dogs often stay with my mom when we travel.  There was no sign of her for two days.  Then my mom called me quite excited and said she had received a message from a man who said he had rescued our dog from White River while boating.  She had stayed on the boat all day as there was no cell phone reception to call.  She had apparently been perfectly happy to boat until they approached a small beach about 7 miles from where they had picked her up.  As the beach drew closer she became frantic to get off of the boat so they turned her loose where she wanted and called when they had reception to tell us where she was.  I headed out of the house to hike down to the beach and look for her.  I found her on the porch wet, dirty and exhausted.  There’s no way to know, but I suspect she was chasing a floating ball or stick and got swept away.  It’s possible that she spent a day and a night in the river before the boat picked her up.  Shortly after this adventure we installed an underground fence.

Molly has slowed down a bit with her advancing age.  I think that we have solved the problem of her adventures but with her, you never know.  If there’s excitement to be found she will likely find a way to join it.  I can only hope that if she does, she will once again find her way home.

9 October 2010

She is now at home in the yard she loved and in the hearts of those who loved her.

Molly plays her last round of frisbee.


Goodbye to my best friend.