Friday, December 31, 2004

Happy New Year!

I just wanted to check in from my holiday hiatus to wish all of my blog readers a very Happy New Year! I hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas and wish you the best of health, wealth, and happiness in the coming year. I've had such a lovely holiday break. I've had lots of time to be together with family and friends. It's a shame that it will come to an end in just a short couple of days. I should be back at work and back at my regular schedule this coming Monday. This week will be Casey's last week at his present job. He starts his new job on January 18th. He's so excited. He's going to take a week off to rest up from all of these 12 hour shifts that he's been working. On his days off this week, since he didn't get any time off on Christmas, we went to the mall to spend all of the great gift cards that we received for Christmas. We made a whole day out of it. We got some really great bargains too! After the mall closed, we had a fabulous dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Carrabba's. YUM!! We finally got home around midnight. That's the latest that I've been out in a while. I'm just sure that's a sign that I'm getting old!! Anyway, I'd better run! I'm over at my brother's borrowing his internet connection. The new year is a little less than an hour away, here in the central time zone! I'll be back to normal on Monday. Until then.....

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Not With It

I'm feeling mighty draggy today. I just can't seem to get with it. Right as the Christmas holiday is bearing down is not the time to be like this. Anyway, Casey got very,very good news yesterday. He got his dream job. Seems after 7 years at his present job, he is ready to move on to bigger and better things. He is so excited. I'm so happy for him. He's been wanting this for such a long time too. Anyhow, we've turned our holiday dinner with our friend Melissa, into a big 'ol celebration. We are going to one of our favorite restaurants, Carrabba's tonight. Yummy, yummy italian food. Today is going to be just one big eat fest. Our section at work is going out for our holiday lunch today. We are going to this little speciality restaurant waaaay out in the country called Miller's. It's set up in an old country grocery store, and it usually has fabulous stuff to eat!! They'll probably have to roll me back out to the car.

Not much other than Casey's job news to report on the home front. I did get by Curves and get my workout done. No workout tonight, but hopefully, I'll get back by tomorrow night before the big Christmas holidays begin. I gotta go and get my work stuff done. I'm trying to get everything done, before we leave on Christmas break tomorrow. I've posted another dog related article from the Humane Society of the United States below. I'll try to get another post in later today. Enjoy!

The Tale of the Highly Effective Puppy and His Captive Sitter

By John Suval

When I recently agreed to take care of my folks Maltese puppy for a week, the drill seemed simple enough: give him plenty of walks, fresh food and water, a good brushing now and again, and lots of love. No problem. I mean, how hard could the job be if thousands of pet sitters across the country can handle it every December when families take holiday trips?

All I knew about Robby before I became his primary caregiver was that he was a relentlessly cute five-pound package of energy and affection, forever frolicking and peering up at you with those soulful baby-seal eyes of his. I also knew that he had come to dominate my parents world like some kind of charismatic cult leader. Phone calls home had devolved into protracted progress reports on the dogs evolving skills: Robby was a wee-wee pad prodigy. He could bark in seven languages. Sometimes my dad would actually forget he was on the phone and just start talking to the dog: Robby sit. Sit. Robby, sit. What a goooood boy!

My parents home had turned into the Museum of Modern Chew Toys, chockfull of stuffed animals, rubber bones, and a host of little squeaky things. Robby had his upstairs toys and his downstairs toys. Even things that werent toys became his toys, like old sweat socks. In the event that he grew weary mid-romp, he had an array of cushions to plop down on like an Arabian prince of old. His empire had spread to every nook of the house, including my parents bed, where he settled in every night on the plumpest pillow.

In essence, I was babysitting royalty. The question was: Would I be able to resist his charms?

As a freelance writer, I spend my days working at home. This, of course, made me a big fat target for a smooth operator like Robby. Whenever he approached with a toy in his mouthabout every five secondsI indulged him in games of fetch and other activities that promised hours of growling fun. We threw ourselves heart and soul into games of chase, racing around the ottoman like a couple of idiots.

Work turned into unbroken periods of play. Walks, too, became less tactical strikes and more like journeys of discovery through distant neighborhoods and along scenic nature trails. The little rascal had me on such a short leash, I even let him sleep in my bed. I had to hand it to him: He was good.

Within a few days, I was deep into the Cult of Cuteness. I had fallen into a kind of trance, gushing meaningless nothings to the pup when I was with him, boasting to friends about his rare genius when we were apart. Its a miracle I didnt shave my head and give up all my worldly possessions. Needless to say, I got virtually no work done.

I realize now that it was insane to believe I could ever resist Robby. Ive come to the conclusion that the best I can do is try to turn our time together into something productive. In fact, Ive decided to launch a major study to examine the hypnotizing effects of preternaturally cute pooches. My hope is to harness this awesome power and use it to help animals worldwide. We could use it to free all the poor pooches at puppy mills. Or convince people to spay or neuter their pets or to stop buying exotic animals as pets. Ultimately, by understanding this incredible animal magnetism and putting it into good use, we may even succeed in liberating pet guardians (and sitters) from the frightening power of their furry masters.

Id love to tell you more about this study, but Robby just popped upand hes carrying a toy!

John Suval is a freelance writer based in Washington D.C.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Lazy Day....

I'm certainly draggy today. I have so much to do and so little time to do it in, all I want to do is just sit here. It's such a bad habit that I have. Anyway, got a lot accomplished yesterday, at least. I got a lot ticked off on my work list. After work, I went to Curves and did my workout. Afterwards, I went and picked Mom up, and she and I went to KFC to get some dinner. I took her to the grocery store to pick up a few things. When I finally got back home, I had to get Casey's clothes put together. He had a thing to go to this morning and needed the right outfit. If everything turns out o.k., I'll let you all in on the details later. When I got finished being the fashion consultant, I managed to give all of the dogs their monthly pedicure treatments. The only one who didn't get theirs was Shiloh. She is so shy and timid that she acts like we are killing her by just trimming her toenails! She cries and writhes and just carries on something awful. So, it usually takes both Casey and I to get her done. No more clickies on the kitchen floor for now. Both of the dogs next door are still faring the cold pretty well. I visited with them last night and took them some treats. I talked with Casey about the heated water dish and he agreed. So now, we are trying to find one to buy.

Tonight promises to be pretty crazy. I think Casey and I might be going out to dinner. That's such a rare treat these days, since Casey's shift went on 12 hours, five days a week. I'm hoping to pop by Curves too and get my workout in tonight. Since they are closed on Friday, and we are going to dinner with our friend, Melissa, tomorrow night, I really need to go tonight so I can at least get 3 workouts in this week. I've noticed that I really feel so much better on the days that I exercise, both mentally and physically. We have a little more shopping to get finished too. Will the shopping ever be over? Well, I gotta run. I promise there really are some new pictures to be posted on the photoblog too. I've posted a really good holiday piece below. I found it posted on Chrissy's blog. It's so good that I think it bears a repeat. Enjoy!

Rescuers 'Twas the Night before Christmas

C Copyright 1998 Stacey Vincent

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds, With no thought of the dog filling their head.

And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap, Knew he was cold, but didn't care about that.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash, Figuring the dog was free of his chain and into the trash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow Gave the luster of mid-day to objects below,

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, But Santa Clause - with eyes full of tears.

He unchained the dog, once so lively and quick, Last year's Christmas present, now painfully thin and sick..

More rapid than eagles he called the dog's name. And the dog ran to him, despite all his pain;


To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall! Let's find this dog a home where he'll be loved by all"

I knew in an instant there would be no gifts this year, For Santa Clause had made one thing quite clear,

The gift of a dog is not just for the season, We had gotten the pup for all the wrong reasons.

In our haste to think of the kids a gift There was one important thing that we missed.

A dog should be family, and cared for the same You don't give a gift, then put it on a chain.

And I heard him exclaim as he rode out of sight, "You weren't giving a gift! You were giving a life!"

Monday, December 20, 2004

And the Race Is On!

The final countdown to Christmas has arrived. Christmas week! I think that I had a little too much Christmas cheer this past Wednesday and Thursday, which left me in bed on Friday. I'm recovered and ready to go. I'll be making out my final list of gifts left to get today. I did manage to feel better over the weekend enough to attend my annual family dinner. It's been a long standing tradition since before I was born. I had a wonderful time! I also got a very, very special gift from my cousin Ruth. She brought a picture of my grandmother to me. It was made when she was about 18 or so. See, I'm a child of older parents, so I don't remember my grandmother before she was totally grey, and she passed away when I was only 14. Also, there are very, very few early pictures of her, since she was born in 1894. This picture seems to be from about 1913. It is a real treasure that I'm very proud to have. So proud, in fact, that I just cried when she gave it to me. It's the only picture of my grandmother that I have. I'm going to carry it to the state archives and see if a friend of mine will clean it, and make a negative of it for me. Kim is helping me find a very special frame for it too!! I think it's one of the best Christmas gifts that I've ever gotten! Yesterday, I went to Casey's shift party. They all decided that they just wanted hamburgers and the trimmings for their holiday dinner, and convinced Casey to make his famous "Casey burgers". So, he cooked for everyone. It was quite good. Afterwards, I just headed home and visited with my Mom for a while.

The temperature has been quite frigid here for the past few days. It's been about 10 to 11 degrees for lows with wind chills below 0. So far, the dogs next door have weathered o.k. They've been using their dog houses. I've been slipping down and giving them extra food to make up for the extra calories that they've been burning to keep warm. I may go and get them a heated water dish sometime today, so their water will stop freezing up. I've got a make a note to myself to check the prices of those today!

I hope that everyone is having happy holidays so far. I'll try to update the photoblog later today too! A BIG CONGRATULATIONS to Paul and Debbie on the wedding this past Saturday!! I hope they're having a lovely honeymoon in Scotland this week.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Spread the Christmas LOVE!

This is a blog project that Andrea created. It's called "Spread the Christmas Love." If you'd like to participate, just copy the kissy lips and place them on your blog. Then drop by Andrea's and leave her a comment that you're spreading the love. What fun!

Christmas Wishes!!

Bear and I wish everyone a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!! Posted by Hello

Winter Wonderland Forcast!!!

I AM SO EXCITED!!! We have the most beautiful Christmas weather forcast for the coming weekend. We are supposed to have snow flurries tomorrow, Saturday, with snow on Sunday. I also just checked the Weather Channel's extended forcast, and it is predicting snow for us on Christmas Day!! I know over a week is a bit of a reach for a weather forcast, but I just can't help but be excited! I'm managing to get a little more in the Christmas spirit every day. My only worry is the really cold weather that is coming in with the snow. I'm just twisted up in knots over the 2 dogs next door. 0 degrees is awfully cold, even for dogs that are used to being outside. I may go over and talk to them tonight and see about them staying in my garage, while it is so cold. They are not housebroken, and I'm not sure my tiny house could handle the overload of having 6 dogs inside. If you all have any suggestions, please let me know. I may ask my shelter manager if there's something we can do, or if we can keep them at the shelter temporarily, until the cold weather passes.

Today promises to be a rather exciting day. Today is our staff/faculty party. It's gonna be a big 'ol potluck dinner. That should be interesting. Nothing great to report from last night's events. I managed to get to Curves. After I got back home, I managed to fall promptly asleep. I guess I still need to catch up on my sleep after last weekend.

The winner of the Great American Mutt contest has been announced. Click the icon to read the winner's biography and to see the other finalists. What a great story!! It surely is a story of Christmas hope and spirit.

Everyone have a great day!! I'll get the photoblog updated, hopefully, sometime today too!

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Need to Re-Charge

It seems with all of the holiday hoopla that I should slow down a bit. I've just been so hyper for about the past week. When I do sit down, I just keep thinking of all of these things that I need to get done. Even though I try to keep it down to just a written list, I always have 5 or 6 mental ones going at the same time. It will be nice to get everything done and just relax for a day or so. Our section party went really well yesterday. All of our students really seemed to enjoy the food and getting to just sit and visit. Today, Kim and I have provided doughnuts, poptarts, drinks, and all of yesterday's leftovers for them to enjoy. I've got a fresh pot of coffe brewing now. The smell of coffee brewing really is nice, isn't it?

Today will probably shape up to be about the same as yesterday. I did manage to get myself into Curves last night. I was tired and draggy, but after I got finished I felt much better. Now, if I just hadn't eaten that cream filled doughnut a few minutes ago. It was my only breakfast. I really must try to do better about things like that. I really do have a better eating plan worked out to start after the holidays are over. I guess right now, I have to be happy that I've just gotten motivated to at least exercise. That's an accomplishment right? Hopefully, it will warm up a bit and I'll be able to walk Bear again soon. He is about to literally bounce off of the walls. All last week we had the torrential rain and this week the cold. It's not really all that cold, but when it goes from the 70's to the teens in a couple of days, it takes a little adjustment. Not all that much planned for tonight. I'm planning to get back to Curves, and Casey and I might take in a movie. Well, just see how everything goes tonight. I gotta run. I eventually have to get some work done this week. Don't forget that today is the last day to cast your vote in the Great American Mutt contest at Tails In Need Just click the icon to go to their website and cast your vote!TAH!

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

A view of my decorations this year! Posted by Hello

Bear is in the Christmas spirit!! Too funny! Posted by Hello

Let It Snow!

I've certainly gotten that December weather that I wanted. These past couple of nights have been the coldest we've had so far. Quite a little shock after those balmy 70's we had a couple weeks ago. It makes for letting the dogs out before daylight a bit shocking! We've been having snow flurries here since late last night. It's so exciting to see the first snow fly through the air every year. It doesn't matter that it doesn't accumulate. It certainly has helped to put me in the Christmas mood!

The weekend went by quickly. As usual, I kept very busy around the house. I managed to do a complete clean again and get the outside decorations up as well. My little house just looks so festive now. Yesterday, Mom and I went to do some Christmas shopping. I had managed to get a little done after work on Saturday too. I managed to get a few pictures made of my decorations too. I haven't taken any of the outside yet. Hopefully, I'll get a few made during the week. This week is going to be a short week for me. We are closed Saturday, due to winter graduation, so 4 day work week for me. I've been busy all morning setting up our section's student assistant party. We decided instead of little gifts this year, that we would just feed them. We have all kinds of goodies today in the back to munch. We even made Starbucks coffee!! It just smells wonderful in here. I gotta go and get some things done. I'll have a better update tomorrow. LET IT SNOW!!! Read below for a story with a happy ending! Read about this over on Modern Pooch. Also for some Christmas spirit, head on over to Dogster or Catster to view their Holiday Picture Party! You can even submit photos of your furry friend with a Christmas theme. They are running a contest to go along with the holiday pictures as well. Have a look at Bear's entry.

Dognapping Case Ends With A Happy Reunion With Help From News On 6 Viewers

Christmas has come a little early for some Tulsa dog lovers. Their puppy was recently stolen, literally dog napped. But thanks to some quick thinking Channel 6 viewers, they have their puppy back.

Earlier this week, News on 6 anchor Lori Fullbright ran a story on dog napping in the Tulsa area. A woman says she was walking her dog in midtown Tulsa, when four men drove up, jumped out of the car, stole her dog, and drove off.

Thursday night, some young viewers who saw the story spotted the puppy near 81st and Memorial. Shae and Cameron Mortazavi recognized the dog and with the help of their dad tried to get the dog back to its owner. " I was very excited to see my kids do something like that and I rushed home and said let's call Channel 6 and let's see what we need to do to get it back to it's owner."

Boyfriend of the dog’s owner Drew Cantrell: "I'm just so happy to have her back, such a relief to us. We were so worried we weren't going to get her back. We're just so happy to have her back now."

The dog was a little hungry, but other than that in good shape. Drew Cantrell told the News on 6, he was nervous the whole drive over to meet the Mortazavi's, because he didn't want it to be the wrong dog. When he saw the cropped ears, he knew it was her.

The 10-week old puppy's name is Nina and we're happy to report Nina is back with her original owners.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

I'm Dreaming of December Weather!

The weather is finally more like December here. We had a cold front come through yesterday that cooled us off. They have predicted snow flurries for us during the day today. I can't tell you all how much that excites me. The weather being in the upper 70's really haven't been conducive to the Christmas spirit. This is more like it. I just hope at least a flake or two materializes. It's supposed to be cold for the coming week, so that should do the trick for my lagging Christmas spirit. Of course, it's been too wet to get the outside lights up this past week, so I get to freeze my touchie off putting them up this weekend. My co-worker Kim and I have plans to go out today and get a few things for our upcoming section party. We are going over to the side of town that you ONLY go to this time of year if you are insane or suicidal! I may regret that decision by the end of the day. We've also got to go through some stuff to find our paper products, i.e. plates, cups, and napkins for the party too. Not much else going on other than that today. Tomorrow, Mom and I are planning on getting just a bit of Christmas shopping done. I also would like to get the outside decorations up too. On Monday, I'm meeting with a former coworker, Helen, to have a holiday lunch. It seems that my days off are going to be full again this week. I really expect every weekend will be like that until after Christmas. I've got to go and make my shopping list out. Everyone have a great weekend! I'll do my best to get the photoblog updated today I've posted some humane holiday tips below from the American Humane Association . Enjoy!

'Tis the Season to Take Extra Precautions for Your Pet's Safety Christmas is a wonderful time of year. But make sure it's a wonderful time for your pets, as well. The decorations, food, and festivities can add up to disaster for your companion animal.

Christmas trees

Anchor trees securely. Climbing cats and dogs with wagging tails can knock over your tree. Hang breakable, glass ornaments well out of reach. The small glass and metal fastenings can be stepped on or even swallowed by your pet. Keep tinsel, ribbons, and garland out of reach of pets, especially cats that are intrigued by them. These can become lodged in their intestines and cause obstruction and lead to surgery or death. Clean up pine needles frequently. They can be toxic when eaten by your pet. Prevent your pet from drinking water in the tree stand if you have added preservative chemicals. These can be poisonous to pets. Also, stagnant water can contain bacteria, which may lead to vomiting and diarrhea if ingested.

Holiday house plants Although they add a warm touch, many plants can harm your pets. Keep these potentially dangerous bloomers well out of reach.

Lilies can be deadly to cats, and many types can cause cats to have kidney failure. Poinsettias, although not as toxic as people often think, can upset your pet's digestive system. Mistletoe, especially the berries, is highly toxic, can cause stomach upset, and has the potential to cause fatal heart problems. Holly can cause vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and lethargy. Certain types of Ivy, such as English Ivy, can also cause severe harm. Amaryllis can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Hibiscus can cause diarrhea.

Lights, candles, and fragrance

Keep lights and extension cords safely secured or covered to deter chewing, which can lead to electric shock or even electrocution. Better yet, invest in pet-proof extension cords, or spray with products such as Bitter Apple or Chew Stop. Candles can be fragrant and enticing to pets. But they can be a fire hazard if knocked over by an exuberant pet, and the fumes can be harmful to birds. Liquid potpourri and sachets, popular during the holidays, can be very dangerous. Exposure can cause skin or oral damage to your pet and may cause illness or death.


Chocolate can affect the nervous system and cause urinary system and heart muscle damage in your pet. It also contains theobromine which can be especially harmful to dogs if ingested in large quantities. Keep unsweetened baking chocolate, especially dark chocolate out of reach. Coffee is also dangerous to animals. Watch out for grounds and whole beans. Nicotine is a stimulant that can increase the heart rate leading to collapse, and in the worst case, even death. Onions are toxic. They inhibit an animal's ability to coagulate blood. Foods containing high amounts of onion powder should also be avoided. Fatty foods can cause digestive upset, as can bread dough, nuts, and other "people" foods. Traditional holiday foods such as turkey, ham, and other fatty foods can cause pancreatitis in some animals. Stomach upset, vomiting, and diarrhea can occur if pets consume these items. Limit table scraps, and let your guests know as well. Alcoholic beverages should be kept away from animals year-round. Bones can be damaging to intestinal tracts. Poultry bones can be especially dangerous or even fatal to animals. Grapes and raisins can lead to loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and acute renal failure in dogs resulting in death. Watch the string that ties up the turkey or roast, as well as the little red "pop-up" thermometers. Dogs and cats often eat these tasty things, causing intestinal blockage.

If you suspect your pet has gotten into a potentially poisonous substance, call your veterinarian immediately! Have the telephone number to your local emergency animal hospital readily available, as well as the number for the national animal poison control center.

Make the holidays special for your pet

Provide your pet some extra love and attention to let them know they’re not forgotten. Take your dog for an extra walk -- it’ll help both you and your pet relieve some of that holiday stress. Keep a supply of pet treats handy and reach for one before you’re tempted to toss your pet that little bite of “people” food. Let your pet get into the gift-giving spirit by making a donation (e.g., food, litter, toys) to your local shelter in his name.

Friday, December 10, 2004

HO, HO, HO, Hum....

Today seems like it is going to be a ho hum sorta day. There's nothing much going on today. Casey and I did make a quick trip into Nashville last night to have a look around Aquatic Critter. All we ended up with were crickets. So, tonight I must get over to Curves. Before I can do that, I have a work retirement party where I must make an appearance. Hopefully, that will only take about 30 minutes. I'm hoping to also get the outside of my house decorated tonight. Hopefully, the weather will remain cooperative. It's supposed to get colder today with snow flurries tonight. I sure would like to see those flurries! If nothing else I can get my window wreaths up and the lighted garland around my front door. The lights for the bushes can wait, if necessary.

Since I have no big news today, here's an interesting article that I've found on Modern Pooch The article can be found on the Time website. Another great cartoon from Andrea too!


Woof, Woof, Your Honor

It's no joke. Animal lawsuits are gaining respect as pet owners seek justice for the ones they love


Monday, Dec. 13, 2004

With his sad brown eyes and soft, floppy ears, Marley, a 2-year-old Boxer, is the kind of dog that's hard to resist. Just ask his co-owner Ashley Wilson, a music director at a Seattle rock station. After splitting up with her live-in boyfriend, Todd Templeton, just before Christmas last year, Wilson and Templeton exchanged Marley informally every week. Then, last August, according to a lawsuit filed by Wilson, Templeton abruptly ended the arrangement and kept Marley.

Instead of giving up or just getting a new dog, Wilson joined the growing ranks of animal lovers who are filing lawsuits over their pets. After consulting Adam Karp, a lawyer in Bellingham, Wash., who says he has handled about 100 animal-related cases in the past four years, Wilson filed suit in late October. She has already won at least a temporary victory. Last month a superior court judge ordered the exchanges to resume immediately, pending a final ruling. (Templeton declined to comment on the case.) About seeing Marley for the first time in three months, Wilson says, "His tail was wiggling out of control. I just hugged him and started to cry."

While going to court to resolve a pet- custody dispute may seem extreme, it is just one of the legal options available to protect animals and the people who care for them. Veterinary-malpractice suits, pet-cruelty cases and even landlord-tenant disputes over animals are reaching the courts as well. In New York City, Cindy Adams, a gossip columnist for the New York Post, has called for legislation that would ensure better conditions at dog kennels after her Yorkshire terrier Jazzy died, allegedly at a kennel. Some 23 states now allow enforceable pet trusts, in which people set aside money in their will for the care of their pet. And when it comes to animal cruelty, more than 40 states have felony-level charges that virtually ensure jail time for serious offenders. "The courts are beginning to realize that the bond between humans and animals is very powerful," says Steven Wise, a lawyer and animal-rights advocate who has written two books and taught a Harvard Law School course on the subject.

Some pet cases have reaped surprisingly large awards. Marc Bluestone of Sherman Oaks, Calif., won a $39,000 jury award last February after Shane, his mixed-breed Labrador retriever, valued by the court at $10, died just days after coming home from a two-month stay in a pet clinic. Although the suit took five years, cost more than $300,000 in legal fees and is on appeal, Bluestone says it was all worth it: "I can't get my baby back, but I did get justice."

Once the domain solely of activists, animal law has steadily gained respect among law schools and legal scholars since 2000, when Wise's first book, Rattling the Cage, provided an academic argument for granting legal rights to animals. Now some 40 law schools offer courses on the topic. Cass Sunstein, professor at the University of Chicago Law School, explains the appeal in ethical terms: "There is a universal agreement that animal suffering matters. Even those who think they despise the notion of animal rights think that suffering and cruelty are problems."

Some funding for law-school programs has come from Bob Barker, longtime host of The Price Is Right, who says he became interested in animal rights about 25 years ago while serving as the chairman of Be Kind to Animals Week in Los Angeles. This year, he established four separate $1 million endowments for the study of animal law, at Columbia, Duke, Stanford and UCLA. "We love our own animals," Barker says, "but we don't seem to be aware of the mistreatment and exploitation of other animals."

That awareness appears to be growing, however, as more cases of animal cruelty are being prosecuted. According to the Animal Legal Defense Fund, a 23-year-old nonprofit group, the number of reported cases involving animal abuse, cruelty or neglect nearly tripled from 1996 to 2000. In a more recent case, a woman in Gautier, Miss., called the police on Dec. 4, 2002, when she noticed two Doberman pinschers, one dead and the other emaciated, in a pen in her neighbor's yard. The case went to court the next month, and the dogs' owner, a junior high school teacher, was found guilty of animal cruelty and fined $1,000. Thanks to a rescue group, the surviving Doberman was nursed back to health and placed in a new home. Once weighing less than 30 lbs. and barely able to stand, the dog is now a healthy 67 lbs. She even has a new name: Hope.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Rain, Rain GO AWAY!!

Well, Happy Day of Flooding #2!!! It's absolutely raining cats and dogs outside!! Don't step in a poodle!!! SO SORRY!!! I just couldn't resist. As you've probably figured out by now, it's like the monsoons here again. The forcasters are calling for up to 3 inches today. Since it rained like this for 3 days over the weekend, we are all under flash flood and flood warnings. A lot of the county school systems are closing nearby. The county where I'm from was closed on Monday due to flooding. I imagine it won't be long before they turn schools out today too.

Last night I made my second visit to Curves. It went by even faster, since I wasn't getting the walk through on how to use the machines. After I got home, I took Bear out for his walk. It has been so unseasonably warm this month. It was still over 60 degrees when I took Bear out. It did make for a nice walk to look at all of the Christmas lights. We went down into the lower subdivision and looked at a virtual winter wonderland. On foot we were able to take all the time we wanted to look. I really enjoyed it. BUT no walk tonight. It would be more like a swim if we went out! When I got back home, Casey had made another fab dinner. This one was country southern to the max: fried chicken, green beans, and fried corn!! YUMMY! I'm mighty glad there were left overs, so I could pack a lunch this morning. I'm not stepping foot out of the building today.

Today will be a slow day work wise. It is the official study day before finals begin. There's hardly anyone on campus. We are holding our annual Christmas Student Assistant Appreciation Party today. We have some fabulous student assistants. We couldn't do it without them. It was quite something to see all the faculty and staff members hauling in the food in the rain this morning. I'm gonna go and try to get some work done. I'll be updating the photoblog later today too! I've posted another interesting article that I found over on Barb's" Blog. The cartoon is another funny from Andrea. Who says cats aren't smart????????

Online School That Gave Cat an MBA Is Sued

Tue Dec 7, 7:46 AM ET

By MARK SCOLFORO, Associated Press Writer

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania attorney general's office Monday sued an online university for allegedly selling bogus academic degrees — including an MBA awarded to a cat.

Trinity Southern University in Texas, a cellular company and the two brothers who ran them are accused of misappropriating Internet addresses of the state Senate and more than 60 Pennsylvania businesses to sell fake degrees and prescription drugs by spam e-mail, according to the lawsuit.

Investigators paid $299 for a bachelor's degree for Colby Nolan — a deputy attorney general's 6-year-old black cat — claiming he had experience including baby-sitting and retail management.

The school, which offers no classes, allegedly determined Colby Nolan's resume entitled him to a master of business administration degree; a transcript listed the cat's course work and 3.5 grade-point average.

The state is seeking a permanent injunction, civil penalties, costs and restitution for violating consumer law and restrictions on unsolicited e-mail ads.

Prosecutors said more than 18,000 illegal e-mails were sent out this year with links to Trinity Southern's Web address, including 300 that appeared to originate from the Internet servers of Pennsylvania companies and institutions.

Among the alleged victims are Penn State University and the University of Pennsylvania, as well as numerous Internet service providers, businesses and technology companies.

The defendants are the school; Innovative Cellular and Wireless Inc. of Corpus Christi, Texas; Alton Scott Poe of St. Cloud, Fla., vice chancellor and dean of admission for Trinity; and Craig Barton Poe of Frisco, Texas, president of Innovative Cellular.

A phone message left at Trinity Southern was not returned Monday. None of the other three defendants appears to have a listed or published phone number.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Oh the Places You Will Ache!

Last week I decided to start a new exercise regimen. I am usually very good about exercising, but this fall and winter I've let things go. I joined Curves. It's a fast 30 minute workout designed especially for women. I joined after 3 of my friends, who live in different places all had good results. So yesterday, I went for my first workout. I must say that I really enjoyed it. The workout went by super fast, and I still was standing when it was over. I will admit to feeling pretty good, after I got cooled down. This morning, I will also admit to being a little sore, but not awful. I'm going back tonight, so we'll see. Hopefully, this will take some of the dreaded inches off my body. I'm not going to try and do anything drastic to my eating habit during the holidays. I'll be waiting until January to torture myself with that kind of thing.

I did have some rather good news yesterday too. For the past year, there have been some dogs next door to me that I've worried contstantly about. They are always chained and are never given much attention. The lady who owns them is not a bad person, but is a single mother who works very hard to support her 2 children, so she doesn't have a lot of free time. One of the dogs is a female, purebred Blue Heeler, who I call Sweetie and the other is a male, mutt type of dog. Both are EXTREMELY sweet and friendly. Anyway, I always secretly wished that I could help get them adopted out in the country so they could have a place to run. Last night when I had Bear out, she approached me and asked if I knew of anyone who wanted the dogs. I told her not right off, but since I was a Humane Society volunteer I'd help her place them in good homes. Neither dog has been spayed/neutered, so I made a call to my head lady, Kitty, and she told me we'd have them fixed and groomed and then try to place them. I just can't tell you all how happy this makes me. I've worried about those dogs for months! Now I get to help find them happy homes. Everyone keep their fingers crossed that we can find them good placements.

I'll try to get the photoblog updated sometime today. Andrea sent me some more great cartoons, and I just want to share another with you guys! Everyone have a great day!!

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Getting Closer

I feel so accomplished today. Besides getting to attend the Christmas parade over the weekend, I got so much done. First, the parade. We got there about an hour before the event. There was plenty of parking left right on the square, so we parked and walked across to the other side. We had decided to have coffe at the little shop to kill time until the start. The line was horrendously long and it was sweltering in the shop. I just had regular coffee, but Mom had decided that she simply must have the latte, so we were in for a bit of a wait. After everyone that was 30 minutes BEHIND us came and went, a nice man went to the counter and actually complained FOR us. Needless to say, at that point, Mom got her order post haste. Anyhow, the parade was good, but not as good as in years past. There were less floats this year and more cars and trucks representing businesses around town. Unfortunately, that wasn't very exciting. The best entry was a lighted, horse drawn carriage that carried a just married couple. It was absolutely beautiful. I'll try to get the pics posted soon. The parade lasted about an hour. After I got home, I was so exhausted that I collapsed and was asleep, before Casey ever got home from work. On Sunday, I got the cleaning finished off. The lizard tanks were rearranged, and the last minute trims were finished off. I brought my tree in late, Sunday afternoon. I've got it all decorated, so the inside of the house is finished. I wasn't able to do the outside, since the weather was so horrible yesterday. It's finally clearing up today, so maybe I can be completely finished by Wednesday. I feel like the major thing on my list is now finished, so I can really start enjoying my Christmas now. Nothing major is on the agenda today. The work holiday parties start on Friday, so it will be pretty quiet until then. I'm gonna run for now, but I've posted a couple of interesting things I received in e-mail below. One is a cartoon and the other is a rather hopeful article. Thanks go out to Andrea and Lindsey for the info! TAH!

Scientists Reverse Paralysis in Dogs


INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Dogs with paralyzed hind legs regained the ability to walk after getting a shot of a chemical cousin of antifreeze that helped repair nerve cells in their damaged spinal cords, scientists reported.

Purdue University researchers who led the project hope the approach can soon be tried in people, but caution that there are significant differences between human and canine spinal cords.

The treatment only worked on dogs given the injections within about three days of their injury. Some dogs not given the injections eventually walked again, but those getting the new treatment had a dramatically higher recovery rate.

In one case, a dachshund named Oscar was initially sent home with a wheel cart and little hope of recovery after a serious injury.

Soon after the dog got the chemical treatment, he began walking, although his back legs work in unison, giving him an unusual gait.

``I used to make fun of him, saying he walks like a drunken sailor,'' said Oscar's owner, Dan Paulin of Boonville, Ind. ``I don't think he'll ever be normal, but at least he's not confined to the wheel cart.''

In the study, 19 paraplegic dogs were injected with polyethylene glycol, or PEG - a nontoxic liquid polymer composed of long strings of the same type of molecules found in antifreeze.

Within eight weeks, 13 of the 19 canines, about 68 percent, regained the use of their hind legs and were able to walk, some almost as well as before their injury.

The dogs were injected twice with PEG, first soon after their owners brought them to the researchers' labs and then after standard surgery and steroids to reduce inflammation.

Among a group of 24 dogs that received just the standard surgery and rehabilitation therapies, only about 25 percent regained the same level of mobility, feeling and bodily functions, with about 62 percent remaining paraplegic.

The study's findings appear in the December issue of the Journal of Neurotrauma.

Scientists at Purdue, Indiana University's Indianapolis campus and Texas A&M University took part in the research on dogs ages 2 to 8 between 2001-03.

Richard Borgens, the Purdue professor of neuroscience who oversaw the study, said his West Lafayette, Ind., lab had previously used PEG to repair damaged spinal cords in guinea pigs with about a 90 percent success rate.

His team has even fused severed guinea pig spinal cords using PEG, although the dogs in the study had spinal disc ruptures that crushed, but did not sever, their spinal cords.

Although exactly how PEG works remains unclear, Borgens said it appears to act as a sort of ``molecular Band-Aid'' that forms a temporary seal over breaches in nerve cells in the spinal cord, aiding their healing process.

``This stuff is kind of like a radiator stop-leak for the nervous system. The polymer spreads out and forms a seal over the damaged areas in the nerve cells and allows the membrane below to reconstruct itself,'' said Borgens, director of Purdue's Center for Paralysis Research.

He said PEG also appears to prevent secondary tissue death that often causes more damage than the original injury. Borgens said the agent only covers damaged cells and tissues when injected into the blood stream.

Purdue has enlisted a yet-to-be-announced corporate sponsor that will make PEG in a form suitable for human clinical trials. Pending federal approval, Borgens hopes those trials can begin within about 18 months on people with hours-old or days-old spinal injuries.

W. Dalton Dietrich, the scientific director of The Miami Project To Cure Paralysis, said the rapid improvements in the dogs are intriguing, but point to the need for follow-up work to learn more about how PEG works and evaluate its safety. ``Although the results are very provocative, additional studies are required,'' he said.

Karen Kline, an associate professor of neurology and neurosurgery at Iowa State University's College of Veterinary Medicine in Ames, Iowa, called the findings promising. She said PEG, which she plans to test on dogs at her lab, appears to stabilize damaged tissue to allow more rapid healing than typically occurs naturally.

``It has such promise, but I think we need to look at more animals and make sure that we're getting a positive outcome,'' Kline said.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

I Love a Parade!

Not too much to report on yesterday's activities. Yesterday was kind of lackluster as far as days go. I postponed moving the tanks until tonight. I was just too worn out, when I got home last night. I managed to sit myself down and get some rest, at least. If all goes well (the weather might not be cooperative), I'll get my tree tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it and dreading it all at the same time. It's always such a chore, but I do enjoy it so much after it's finished. I've got to run down to the store and pick up some extra strings of lights. I always decorate the bushes in the front yard, and the old strings finally gave out.

Tonight, Shelbyville is hosting the annual Christmas Parade. This seems to be the Christmas Parade weekend, here in Middle Tennessee. I think it would be easier to list which town AREN'T having a parade this weekend. Anyway, I'm bopping outta here early today, so I don't get stuck on the far side of town. I also want to be in time to see it as well. Going to the Christmas Parade every year is a tradition that my brother and I always uphold. We start our planning about a week ahead of time. We decide how early we are going to get a good spot, make sure we know which route is being used, what we are going to do while we wait for the parade to start, were we are going to eat afterwards, and whatnot. We usually opt for parking on the public square. The whole thing is decorated in Christmas fashion, and all of the little shops stay open late. They have a little gourmet coffe shop on the square now, so we are going to hang out there and have coffee, while we wait. Last year's parade was pretty good, considering we are such a small little town. I'll try to get lots of pictures and post them on the photoblog next week. I'll also try to find some of years past and post them as well.

I've posted a doggie Christmas poem below. Everyone have a Merry weekend!! Tah!

Please keep all of the shelter animals and workers in your heart this season!

A Rescue Dog's Christmas Poem

'Tis the night before Christmas and all through the town, every shelter is full - we are lost but not found, Our numbers are hung on our kennels so bare, we hope every minute that someone will care, They'll come to adopt us and give us the call, "Come here, Max and Sparkie - come fetch your new ball!! But now we sit here and think of the days.. we were treated so fondly - we had cute, baby ways, Once we were little, then we grew and we grew - now we're no longer young and we're no longer new. So out the back door we were thrown like the trash, they reacted so quickly - why were they so rash? We "jump on the children:, "don't come when they call", we "bark when they leave us", climb over the wall. We should have been neutered, we should have been spayed, now we suffer the consequence of the errors THEY made. If only they'd trained us, if only we knew... we'd have done what they asked us and worshiped them, too. We were left in the backyard, or worse -let to roam- now we're tired and lonely and out of a home. They dropped us off here and they kissed us good-bye... "Maybe someone else will give you a try." So now here we are, all confused and alone... in a shelter with others who long for a home. The kind workers come through with a meal and a pat, with so many to care for, they can't stay to chat, They move to the next kennel, giving each of us cheer... we know that they wonder how long we'll be here. We lay down to sleep and sweet dreams fill our heads.. of a home filled with love and our own cozy beds. Then we wake to see sad eyes, brimming with tears -- our friends filled with emptiness, worry, and fear. If you can't adopt us and there's no room at the Inn -- could you help with the bills and fill our food bin? We count on your kindness each day of the year -- can you give more than hope to everyone here? Please make a donation to pay for the heat... and help get us something special to eat. The shelter that cares for us wants us to live, and more of us will, if more people will give.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Hanging of the Garlands

The work week is finally winding down. Nearly time for a day off! I managed to begin my Christmas decorating last night. I got the mantel done, complete with my new white poinsettia motif, the garlands hung, and the kitchen decorated. I opted not to use some of my antique decorations this year. I'm really worried about Mr. Perkins, Phoebe, and Nala, the 3 new kittens, demolishing them. I'd rather just wait until next year, when they've calmed down just a bit. I'm basically finished, except for the tree and a few other knick knacks to place. I've got to do some lizard tank rearranging tonight. Two of my big housing display tanks are in the living room, and they have to be moved to the back room. I'm hoping to get that done tonight, and that will clear the way for the tree. Hopefully by Monday, I can relax with the decorating finished. I just wish you all could have seen me, up in the rickety kitchen chairs, hanging garlands, just trying to keep my balance. Bear was absolutely hysterical! In the main entry way to the living room, I have some of those electronic bells woven through the garland. As you all know, Bear just loves any kind of little noises. When I plugged them in, he went NUTS!! I thought he was going to twist that little head of his right off of his body. Then he started making that little "talking" noise back to them. It was too funny. I wish that I could have made a picture, but alas, I was hanging precariously from the top of the door facing in that wobbly kitchen chair!

Not much going on at work today. We've been fairly busy, since final exams start next week. Everyone's final projects and papers are coming due. I've never heard so many weird computer questions in my life, but then of course, I'm not an IT person either. I've got a bindery order to get finished today. We are busy planning a little eat fest for our student assistants during the week of finals. Gotta get some nutrition in those students somehow. Other than that, there's not a whole lot on today. The department's all decorated for Christmas, so I can enjoy that. My friend and co-worker Kim and I have animal Christmas trees on our desks. She has a cat tree, and I have a dog tree.

I heard an old Christmas song on the radio this morning called, I Heard the Bells . The words are so especially poignant this year with so many of our military men and women overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan. It really touched me, so I thought I'd share it with you all. The story behind how the song was written is also really interesting. To read about it click here.

"Christmas Bells"

(The original poem, complete with all seven stanzas)

"I heard the bells on Christmas Day Their old familiar carols play, And wild and sweet The words repeat Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come, The belfries of all Christendom Had rolled along The unbroken song Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way, The world revolved from night to day, A voice, a chime A chant sublime Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black accursed mouth The cannon thundered in the South, And with the sound The carols drowned Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent The hearth-stones of a continent, And made forlorn The households born Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head; "There is no peace on earth," I said; "For hate is strong, And mocks the song Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: "God is not dead; nor doth he sleep! The Wrong shall fail, The Right prevail, With peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Daily Update and Vote for the MUTT of Your Choice!

I can't believe how crazy my post from yesterday sounded. I was suffering from a splitting headache yesterday and was not making a whole lot of sense. An apology for the disjointed ideas. I did manage to relax quite a bit, after I got home yesterday. Casey had made this wonderful Fiesta Chicken Soup, which was great for the chilly weather. While he was finishing dinner off, I took Bear on his evening walk. Then we all sat down to hot soup and season 4 of Sex In the City. Casey and I went on a movie renting spree at Hollywood Video this past Tuesday. We had a bunch of coupons for 99 cent rentals that were going to expire. We got 5 movies and Sex In the City for less than $20! Needless to say, we are couch potatoes every night during dinner. It was nice to just sit and relax. I did manage to talk Casey into helping me get some of the Christmas decorations out of the attic. I'm going to start decorating the mantel and hanging garlands tonight. I really want to get everything done, and then I can concentrate on the tree this weekend. I got all of my Christmas cards addressed and ready to send. I always need one last address, so I'm calling to get it today. I have just a few extras left to get ready, otherwise that's ticked off the list. I managed to get a few more presents ordered online yesterday afternoon. Now if I can just get the decorating finished, I'll feel less stressed.

I've started my yearly ritual of listening to Christmas cds in the car. Yes folks, I'm a kook. I have a very strange taste in Christmas music. I LOVE old Christmas music. Right now, I have Nat King Cole, Dean Martin, and a Moody Blues Christmas albums on the play list. All of them are fabulous. The Moody Blues album came out last year and is called December. It's more of a winter album than just Christmas, and I HIGHLY recommend it. The other 2 are definitely Christmas oriented. You just can't beat the Nat King Cole Christmas Album, and Dean Martin's Making Spirits Bright is one of the happiest holdiay albums EVER!! I'm always looking for new Christmas cds, so if any of you have suggestions, please leave a comment. On my list to purchase is The Bare Naked Ladies Christmas album, and Christmas With the Brat Pack.

I received an e-mail today from Tails In Need. They are taking votes in the final phase of the Great American Mutt Contest. So, hop on over and read all about the finalists and their touching stories. Just click the icon below to go to the voting page!

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Happy December!

I can't believe it! It's December 1st! This year seems to have really flown by quickly. Christmas is fast approaching, and I'm completely not ready! I've still got to get my decorations up. Casey said that he would help me get some of the stuff out of the attic tonight. So on Thursday night, I'll start decorating the mantel and putting my garlands up. That way, I'll only have the tree left to do by the weekend. Hopefully, I'll get all of the lizard tanks moved and placed in the back room by the weekend. So much to do. I'm really starting to get stressed about it all. Casey cooked all day yesterday and is planning to do more today. He is making meals to put in the freezer to have for the rest of the week. That way, neither of us will have to worry about cooking, while the wild decorating begins.

Bear has been absolutely crazed. He hadn't been on his walk in about a week, since I had been so sick. So Monday night and last night he finally got to go. He was so happy. I was so happy when he collapsed, blissfully, in the middle of the kitchen floor. You just have no idea what it's like to have a schipperke bouncing off all of the furniture and walls in your house! He's just so cute though, I just can't help but adore him. I plan tonight to get my Christmas cards addressed and in the mail. I have one kind for our regular list and special cards made up with Bear on them for all of the neighbors. As I left the post office parking lot yesterday, I realized that I needed more than one book of stamps. I hate it when I do stuff like that. Now I have to brave that crowd one more time. I've been ticking off a few Christmas gifts at a time. I have to say that I just love online shopping. There's something about having the gifts delivered right to your door. It sure does save time and energy! When I wrote out the actual Christmas list today, I realize that we are doing a lot better than I thought. A lot of people on our list want gift cards, so that'll be easy enough. Now I just have to work on a list to give Casey of things I want. Gotta run for now. Work beckons. I've updated the photoblog today. So pop over and have a look. I've also posted some holiday tips for pets below, courtesy of Pawsitive Notes enjoy!

Holiday Tips for Pets

Be especially patient with your humans during this time. They may appear to be more stressed-out than usual and they will appreciate long comforting dog leans.

2. They may come home with large bags of things they call gifts. Do not assume that all the gifts are yours.

3. Be tolerant if your humans put decorations on you. They seem to get some special kind of pleasure out of seeing how you look with fake antlers.

4. They may bring a large tree into the house and set it up in a prominent place and cover it with lights and decorations. Bizarre as this may seem to you, it is an important ritual for your humans, so there are some things you need to know:

- don't pee on the tree

- - don't drink water in the container that holds the tree

- - mind your tail when you are near the tree

- - if there are packages under the tree, even ones that smell interesting or that have your name on them, don't rip them open.

- - don't chew on the cord that runs from the funny-looking hole in the wall to the tree.

5. Your humans may occasionally invite lots of strangers to come visit during this season. These parties can be lots of fun, but they also call for some discretion on your part:

- not all strangers appreciate kisses and leans

- - don't eat off the buffet table

- - beg for goodies subtly

- - be pleasant, even if unknowing strangers sit on your sofa

- - don't drink out of glasses that are left within your reach.

6. Likewise, your humans may take you visiting. Here your manners will also be important:

- -observe all the rules in #4 for trees that may be in other people's houses.

- - respect the territory of other animals that may live in the house

- - tolerate children

- - turn on your charm big time.

7. A big man with a white beard and a very loud laugh may emerge from your fireplace in the middle of the night.


Tuesday, November 30, 2004

The Countdown Begins.....

I can't believe it. Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, the mad dash begins. Thanksgiving turned out to be quite wonderful. Since Casey was working, I had no real expectations of it. I found myself to be pleasantly suprised. My big breakfast was a HUGE hit with Casey. I made up some breakfast-y type drinks too. They are called Red Roosters and are made with Cranberry juice, orange juice, and vodka! Then you freeze it to make a slushy of sorts. They turned out quite yummy. Dinner at my brother's was wonderful. He, my Mom, and I all cooked, and it turned out to be one mean meal. On Friday, Mom and I got just a tad of shopping done. We waited until later in the day, so it wouldn't be so crazy. On Saturday and Sunday, since I was on cortisone, I was like a cleaning fiend in the house. I got our bedroom completely sorted out and the rest of the house done too. It is all ready for the Christmas decorations this coming weekend, down to the carpets being shampooed. I get to sit back this week and enjoy my handiwork!

Not a lot going on at work today. I'm just going to work on the next bindery order. You know, the usual stuff. I'm sure that all the holiday planning will begin too. Got the student party and the staff party to start thinking about. I'm also going to try to do a little online shopping today. I love having stuff delivered straight to my door! Wheeee!!! Well, I'd better get going. I'll try to post another update today along with updating the photoblog too!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Over the River and Through the Woods.....

Isn't that picture hysterical????

Well, it's about that time isn't it? Here we are; the day before Thanksgiving. I seem to always enjoy the "eve" of holidays more than the holiday itself. I love the feeling of being on the edge of the excitement, when all of the gearing up is going on. The feeling of being right there as everything's about to happen. That's just me. I'm weird. I'm really enjoying today. I'm feeling better. I actually got some cleaning done last night. I hope to get a lot more done tonight too. I do have to stop by what has to be the craziest place in the world right now, the grocery store, sometime this afternoon. Casey has to work from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. tomorrow, so I'm going to make a special Thanksgiving breakfast for us to have before he leaves. I'm making breakfast sausage/egg casserole. It has eggs, sausage, cheese, bread, and dried mustard in it. It's really easy and very good. I'm making southern cheese grit casserole to go with it. For all of you non-southerners out there, here's what a grit casserole entails...think cream of wheat just not quite as fine grained:


1 C of quick grits uncooked

1 stick butter or margarine

1 tube Kraft garlic cheese

1 C milk

2 eggs

1/2 C grated parmasean cheese

Cook the grits according to package. When they're finished stir in butter and tube of garlic cheese until blended well. In a separate dish beat eggs and milk together. Stir into grit mixture. Pour into casserole dish and sprinkle parmesean cheese over top. Bake in a 350 degree oven from 50 mins. - 1 hour or until firm and cheese is brown on top. Serve and enjoy!!

I get hungry just thinking about it. Anyway, then I'll go on cooking whatever I'm assigned to take to the family gathering at my brother's. I have no idea what that will be until I talk to my mother later. When Casey gets home, we'll go back over and eat dinner together. I hope everything goes off well. At least I'm now feeling up to the task. I think Casey and I are going Christmas shopping, since we are both off on Monday. I've just got a few things to finish up work wise today. Then we are going to decorate the office. I'll be updating the photoblog today as well. I'll leave you all with a wish for a VERY HAPPY THANKSGIVING and a Thanksgiving dog story below. Enjoy!!

From the Humane Society of the United States e-newsletter today:

A Thanksgiving Tale: How Bob Got His Wag Back

By Brian Sodergren

Cut, bruised and flea-ridden, Bob was near death as he roamed the sweaty summer streets in 2002 around Norfolk, Virginia. Teased and kicked for months in his struggle for survival, the dog begged and rummaged for whatever scraps he could find—anything to satisfy his hunger and keep his filthy, emaciated body alive. Clearly unfamiliar with the dangers posed by traffic, Bob was nearly hit by a car one day in late August.

That same day, Bob appeared near the porch of some students from Old Dominion University (ODU) in Norfolk, poking around their trash for food. One of the students, as fate would have it, was driving the car that nearly hit Bob earlier. He instantly recognized the hound.

"He was real skinny. You could see all the bones," says Jon Ragan, a sophomore at ODU. "We took him in and let him sleep inside for the night. We were going take him to a shelter, but after seeing he had ID tags, we decided to call to let the people know we found their dog."

Upon calling the number listed on Bob's tag, Ragan made a startling discovery: Bob was a hunter's dog who was thrown to the streets months ago.

"He (the hunter) could care less what happened," Ragan says. "He said that they let the dog go so it would die—that he wasn't worth anything anymore. He told me, 'Why don't you let him go die?'"

Stunned at such heartlessness, Ragan and his friends were left wondering what to do. "We took everything into consideration," explains Ragan, "and decided to see what the veterinarian says first before we made any final decisions."

The students took Bob to the Norfolk Dog and Cat Hospital, where he was checked out by Traci Dixon, DVM. "He was all bones," the veterinarian says.

Upon their visit to the pet hospital on August 29, the students discovered Bob was actually a purebred English Coon Hound, approximately seven years old. Dixon found that Bob was covered with fleas, had hook- and tapeworms, was anemic, had an ear infection, and weighed only 43 lbs. The normal weight for a dog of his age is between 65–70 lbs.

In addition, Bob had a heart murmur and wasn't fixed. Dixon administered all of Bob's shots, treated him for his ear infection, de-wormed him, and gave him heartworm prevention medicine.

"When I saw him the second time, however, there was tremendous improvement," Dixon says of Bob's mid-September check-up. "On the recheck, he was at 60 lbs. and looked much better. The guys who brought him in were really nice. They were very concerned about the pet, especially one with all of those the problems."

When it came time for Ragan and his friends to pay the bill, they were in for another surprise. A woman in the hospital's lobby was so touched by their commitment to Bob, she offered to cover whatever expenses the students couldn't afford. It was a good thing, too, since the students couldn't cover all the vet bills. The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, ended up paying around $180, Ragan says.

Adding to the students' good fortune, the Virginia Beach SPCA offered to neuter Bob for free after hearing of the dog's woes and after learning of the students' financial situation.

"We have some leeway for people who can't even afford our low-cost spay/neuter fee. Depending on the circumstances, we try to cover it for them—sometimes we can, sometimes we can't," says Dale Bartlett, the community outreach director for the Virginia Beach SPCA. "Our No. 1 goal is to create more responsible pet owners. We want to encourage responsibility, given the staggering numbers of pets turned in to shelters each year."

Bartlett says the first thing people should do when encountering a stray dog is to check for a tag or other identification and figure out if there's an owner. If there's no owner, or if the owner is unresponsive like Bob's, people should contact their local animal care and control. Bartlett adds that if no owner claims the pooch, people should think about adopting the dog into their home.

Even though Bob did have a collar and a tag, his owners refused to take any responsibility for the animal, leaving a domesticated dog to fend for himself on the streets. These days, Bob doesn't look any worse for the wear. He's now healthy and living with his new college buddies at their Norfolk house. In fact, Ragan, who has assumed responsibility for caring for Bob, calls him a "perfect dog."

You could say Bob has much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, but perhaps we all do. We can give thanks that there are still people, selfless and generous, who want to alleviate suffering wherever they find it—even the suffering of a old hunting dog whose owner thought he had outlived his usefulness.

Brian Sodergren is a former Issues Specialist in The HSUS's Companion Animals Outreach section.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Enchanted Ceiling

Dawn is a feeling. A Beautiful Ceiling... from Dawn is A Feeling by The Moody Blues

A friend of mine, Zinia, recommended a great site. It's called Enchanted Ceiling. There is a collection of photos of skies, clouds, sunsets, etc. There are some absolutely beautiful photos from all over the world posted there. The nice thing is everyone may contribute. So everyone, start snapping those pics! My first photo was just accepted by the site. To check out my submission click the icon below. Enjoy!

Could I Actually Feel Better Today?

I must say that I feel much improved today. By the end of yesterday, I was feeling really crummy again. So, in a weak, pitiful moment I decided to call the doctor back. I told him that I felt some better, but it hadn't improved in the past 3 days. He told me that the flu had aggravated both my asthma and allergies and prescribed me a cortisone pack. He then told me I should begin to feel better post haste, and he was right! I've had this medication before, but I had forgotten how fast I feel better, when I take it. Anyway, I'm a bit sensitive to it and get a little jittery. I just kept laying there in bed, awake, last night thinking up every little thing I had to get done. I tend to feel like Superwoman, when I'm on cortisone. At least the coughing and sniffles have been fought back under control. YIPPEEE!!!

I did get to our monthly humane meeting. I felt like we got a lot accomplished. Turns out we did really well at the wine tasting. A friend of mine, Aaron, who is a professional web designer came and talked with us about building a professional website for our assocation. It went really well, and the board members are meeting to vote on it Monday. I've got my fingers crossed. The site will have a built in pet and mailing database, so it will help to streamline our operation. We are still on a paper system, and things can get confusing with so many volunteers handling different aspects of operation.

I'm hopefully going to get a lot done at work today. I have some textbooks to enter into our catalog and an order back in from the bindery to process. I gotta get a move on, because the week is short for the holiday. My coworker, Kim, and I want to have to tomorrow to get the holiday decorating done and do a little holiday-ing ourselves. I'm also hoping to get a little house cleaing done tonight. I never did get finished the weekend that I got sick. Gotta make way to deck the halls! Everyone have a great day! I'll be posting more ICE pictures at the photoblog today. Drop by and have a gaggle.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Things to Be Thankful For...

This week marks "that time of year again". I always try to remember to be thankful for all of the little blessings that I have in my life. It's so easy to get caught up these days with all of the "wants" that we have, that we forget to be thankful for what we do have. My list ticks off something like this: I'm thankful for my husband, home, family, job, enough food to eat, healthy pets, an animal shelter so the homeless animals have a place to go, same for all of the homeless folks. I'm also glad that I have happy, healthy pets. I'm thankful for all of the wonderful friends that I've met online through my blog here. I could go on and on all day. Everyone gets so caught up on the commercial aspect of the holidays, that I have to remind myself what really matters.

I'm still in the same state of limbo today with my sickness. I'm still sniffling and coughing, but I'm no worse either. I'm just ready for this to be over and done. I'm ready to feel good. I hope to feel good for Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday. Casey works 12 hours that day, so Mom and I are going to my brother's house for lunch, and then we'll eat again when Casey gets off from work. I'm also starting to think about all of the decorating and shopping that I need to get started and finished. It all seems so monumental, when you don't feel well. I just keep thinking that tomorrow I'll feel better. There's not a whole lot going on at work today. I expect that it will be pretty quiet with the holidays coming up. We'll see. Everyone have a great day! Leave a comment and let me know how you all will be celebrating Thanksgiving. I'll definitely be updating the photoblog a little later today. To get in the holiday spirit, I'm posting some pictures from last Christmas. All of these were made at the Ice Spectacular that was held at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville. They just turned all of their lights on for Christmas this past week. It is a sight to behold. Anyway, it was 30 below in the ice sculpture room, and we all were freezing!! Enjoy! TAH!

Sunday, November 21, 2004

I'm Least I Think I Am

A great big 'ol apology to all of my blog readers for my abscence this past week. After a whirlwind day of cleaning last Sunday, I felt that I had the coming week under control. I went to bed Sunday night with a clean house and lots of plans for the upcoming week. I managed to get mother to the doctor on Monday. Her tests wents quickly, and we are still waiting for the results. I figure that everything must be o.k., since no news is good news where medical tests are concerned. That morning, I woke up feeling "out of sorts". You know, that kind of feeling like you can't get awake. I battled what I thought was one of my wonderful exhaustion attacks all day. I tried it all coffe, food, more coffe, etc. to try to wake up. The closer we got to home I started to realize that my throat wasn't feeling right. It was getting scratchy and swollen. I decided to take a quick nap after I got home. When I woke up, I realized that I was in trouble. My throat felt like someone had poured liquid fire through it, and I was basically feeling lousy. I went ahead and called my boss. I told her that I really didn't think that I was going to be at work for the big naming. She handled it really well and told me to take it easy and call the doctor. The next morning, I realized what a wise decision it had been to take the day off. I ended up calling the doctor. He felt that even though I'd had my flu shot, I had caught the flu before it had taken full effect. Wonderful!! He prescribed some antibiotics and refilled my inhaler to stop the wheezing in my chest. On Wednesday, I went from bad to worse. The fever just wouldn't go away! Same thing for Thursday. On Friday, I started to feel a little more human, and that's the state I've been in ever since. I missed an entire week's worth of work! I'm feeling a bit better today, but still a long way from normal. I'm still dealing with the stuffy head, sniffles, and occassional cough. In other words, I've been away for a while. Bear, Slate, Lola, and Shiloh kept me company during my illness. They also helped keep me warm by piling in the bed and on the couch with me. I think Bear thought it was his personal duty to give me extra love to nurse me back to health. Hopefully, I'm now on my way to recovery. I'm just glad that it happened the week before Thanksgiving and not during the holiday. This week should be a little more normal at the zoo. Tah!

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Count Down to the Big Work Event

Well folks, it's finally approaching my weekend. Lots of things to get done at work today. Tuesday is our big naming event, here at the library. There are going to be 200+ people attending. They are going to set up a stage, refreshments, etc. down in the atrium at 3 p.m. I'm sure the students attempting to get work done will just love that. Anyway, we have to be available to give tours and whatnot after the unveiling of the plaque. I'm sure that there will be lots of people coming in and out of here. To get ready for the big event, we've all been doing lots of "house cleaning" type things this past week. Today I have to finish my carts and processing and get several book displays ready. The stacks already look neat as a pin thanks to my trusty and very capable student assistants. I also need to get my desk area cleaned and neatend. No biggie really, but trying to reorganize piles that stashed in purposeful spots may require some thought.

Last night, Casey and I met for dinner before heading home to Shelbyville. We ate at Demos' Steakhouse. It gets the award for best restaurant every year, and you just can't lose with the quality of the meal there. I had the blackened chicken pasta which was very tasty. Casey had the Kansas City strip. Both excellent meals. Afterwards, we did a little shopping. I managed to get myself a new winter coat, and none too soon I might add. It's a charcoal grey, wool navy pea coat. It's quite lovely, and I absolutely love it! Casey got himself a few sale items too. We dropped by Pet Land to see what they had. We always love to look at the puppies, although I DON'T agree with buying pets in pet stores at all!!! I do like to take them out and play with them. They had a beautiful little female schipperke puppy. She was very well behaved and absolutely adorable. She was a perfect miniature little Bear. I would have just loved to have stuffed her in my pocket and taken her home with me. I'm sure that I'll be going back to play with her again soon, until they sell her.

Tomorrow holds more housecleaning for me. Now that I've started on the back two rooms, I don't want to quit. I'll be watching the Titans play, while I'm cleaning. On Monday, it's back to Nashville. Mom's got to go for the ultrasound of her kidneys. All of her other tests have turned out fine, so if this one shows nothing they'll release her. I'm hoping for the best. We'll probably saunter around Nashville a bit and maybe do some shopping. Well, I gotta get cracking on all of this work stuff. Everyone have a great weekend!

Friday, November 12, 2004

How Dreary!

Today is going to bet wet and gloomy again. I'm feeling rather uninspired today. Kinda lethargic even. Casey is feeling better. He's at work today. The antibiotics are working. I managed to get everything that we had stored around the heater cleaned out, so now, if and when it turns cold, we'll be ready. It didn't take nearly as long as I thought it would either. It put me in the mood to really get rid of things that I don't need but have held onto anyway. I'm about to give our old t.v. away on a recycle list and our extra mattress. It really does feel good to get rid of clutter. In some ways, it's even theraputic. My goal is to have everything finished by Thanksgiving weekend, so I can start my Christmas decorating. I just love decorating for Christmas. I actually found new decorations from Signals that I really would like to have, if I win the lottery. It's the Canine Christmas Carol figures. They are just too cute! Here's a picture and description of them.

A Canine Christmas Carol It’s Charles Dickens’ classic tale retold with a wink–and a wag. Designer Michael Allen dresses hand-painted resin dogs like characters from A Christmas Carol. The costumes are extraordinary, hand-stitched from luxurious fabrics and incredibly detailed. Each dog stands about 9"–14" high on a 61/4" diameter wooden platform. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good bite!

So cute, but so expensive at $70 a figure! I can dream anyway. I've got plenty of other cool decorations, but I'd love to add those to my collection.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Snuggling With Spot and Other "Tails"

Casey is still battling the bug. The doc ended up diagnosing him with a really nasty sinus infection and prescribing antibiotics. He is extremely stopped up and was so desperate last night to breathe, that he imbibed 3 different kinds of decongestant. He ended up taking, which I found out to my horror later, a zyrtec D, a pseuphedrine tablet, and a large hit of Nyquil. No wonder he slept good. He was probably rendered unconscious by all of those meds. He did comment that he slept quite soundly, before heading off to work this morning. I just hope that he's not rushing out too soon. We are having awfully nasty, cold, rainy weather here today, and I'm not so sure that it will be good for him to be running out and in all day.

Got a lot of housework to get done tonight. We have to clean out from around our heating unit. We always store stuff pretty close during the summer, but tomorrow night is supposed to be the first big freeze around here, so I'm sure we'll switch it on just to knock the chill off. Work will be pretty much the same today. We are still getting ready for our big naming ceremony next Tuesday. It's clean, clean, clean, process, process, process around here.

Speaking of sleeping, here's an interesting little piece that I read here this morning, and I have to admit that I'm very guilty in this category myself:

Go Ahead, Sleep With Your Dog

And, no, we don't mean it that way.

By Emily Yoffe

Posted Monday, Nov. 8, 2004, at 7:45 AM PT

Listen to this story on NPR's Day to Day.

I sleep with my pets. For more than 20 years, cats have shared my bed. My late cat, Shlomo, used to spend the night perched on top of my head, and I found this purring beret deeply comforting. When I just had cats, it never occurred to me that having pets in the bed was anything more than a harmless personal preference. Then I got a beagle and discovered the issue of allowing your dog to sleep with you is deeply fraught. Supposedly, bed privileges destroy the owner's standing as pack leader. Allowing a dog in the bed, I learned, is a critical dog-rearing error, like giving brandy to quiet a cranky baby and ending up with an alcoholic teenager.

The dogma was everywhere. A recent Washington Post interview with a dog trainer stated that a dog in bed is "a sign the dog is completely in charge. Get the dog off your bed. It can make a bigger difference than anyone can imagine." How To Be Your Dog's Best Friend, the dog obedience manual by the Monks of New Skete, advises letting the dog sleep on the floor in your bedroom, but never in your bed. A dog trying to get too intimate should receive "slapped paws and a shove off"—not wholly surprising advice from celibate trainers.

Despite this, my beagle, Sasha, got the opportunity to settle in for the night when my husband declared he was evicting from the bed our two current cats, all 36 pounds of them. He explained, "In the middle of the night they run up and down my body, then they sit on my chest and crush it."

Since I am a light sleeper, I told my husband it was hard to believe his description of our cats' ramblings. Ever the considerate wife, I suggested he might be having nocturnal psychotic episodes.

"Do I have to install a video camera?" he said. "They march up and down my body like they're on a picket line, then they sit on me. They're driving me crazy."

A few nights later, cats still in the bed, I got up at 4 a.m. to go to the bathroom. When I returned, there was Biscuit, sitting in the middle of my sleeping husband's chest, peering into his open mouth as if about to perform periodontal surgery. Goldie was climbing up my husband's legs. I was shaken. It was painful, but I agreed the next morning to banish the cats to the basement at night.

That left an opening for Sasha. She liked to curl up like an armadillo between our pillows during the day, but we had always moved her to her crate for the night. Despite the warnings of provoking deep status anxiety (my own), I decided to let her stay in the bed. I figured it was impossible that Sasha could wreak more havoc than she already was; she obviously wanted to be with us; and I missed the cats. Except for the occasional bout of rabbit-chasing during REM sleep, she has been a quiet and companionable bedmate. While her daytime behavior seems no worse, I have been troubled that I might be making a mistake that could come back to bite me.

There is historical evidence that sleeping with pets is not necessarily aberrant behavior. According to The International Encyclopedia of Dogs, the xoloitzquintli, or Mexican hairless, was used in pre-Aztec Mexico as both pet and bed warmer (and dinner—let's not talk about that here). An account from a 19th-century explorer in Australia, as quoted in The Domestic Dog, describes how Aborigines were so devoted to their dingoes that the dogs were treated as members of the family and allowed to sleep in the hut. (The rock group Three Dog Night takes its name from the supposed Aboriginal practice of judging the coldness of an evening by the number of dogs required to keep warm.)

And here in the land of the electric blanket and the 600-fill goose-down comforter, millions of pet owners are, like me, sacking out with their animals. A survey from the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association found that about 62 percent of American dog and cat owners keep their animals in the house at night, and of those, about half the cats and one-third of the dogs spend the night on the bed. Dr. John Shepard Jr., a physician at the Mayo Clinic Sleep Disorders Center, discovered so many of his haggard patients slept with their animals that he did a survey to see how much the pets disturbed their sleep: About half the pet sleepers said their animal woke them nightly.

But here's the good news. My unscientific survey of veterinary behaviorists concluded that as long as your pets are good at sleeping with you, it's just fine to sleep with them. Pets are not going to get any uppity ideas just because you're all snoring together, they say. Dr. Marsha Reich, who has a private animal-behavior practice in Maryland, says she disagrees with the notion that your dog will try to dominate you if allowed in bed. "It has nothing to do with social status," she says. The dog, like the owner, just likes being cozy and having a soft place to sleep. "Unless a dog growls when you roll over, I don't have a problem with a dog in the bed."

Dr. Nicholas Dodman, author of If Only They Could Speak and director of the Animal Behavior Clinic at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, celebrates the "warm and fuzzy feeling" of all species curling up in bed together. This is not to say that some animals don't abuse the privilege. He tells of one couple who came to him after their Yorkshire terrier, who liked to settle in with the wife when she went to bed early to read, took to lunging at the husband when he arrived. There was an obvious solution, and the couple chose it: The husband moved to the guest room. When this proved maritally unsatisfying, they turned to Dr. Dodman. He says such animals have to be re-educated by being placed in a crate at night, or even attached to a dog bed with a long line.

The most common problem with sleeping with cats, says Dr. Lynne Seibert, a behaviorist at the Veterinary Specialty Center in Lynnwood, Wash., is—as my husband can attest—they don't sleep. "Most of the issues I see are about exuberant play," she says. "They've got a captive audience and end up pouncing and scratching." The usual cause is that the cats have been home sleeping all day, leaving them ready to party all night. Seibert recommends getting the cats more daytime stimulation and engaging in a play session with them before bed.

Dog trainer Kathy Diamond Davis, in an article at, writes that there's no reason a well-behaved dog shouldn't sleep on the bed. However, she recommends having the dog trained to reliably obey a "get off the bed" command, to be used in particular for those moments when "people want to be intimate." (For couples who don't use that command, she does not deal with the psychological damage the humans suffer when they find even their most fervent lovemaking doesn't wake the dog.)

I was relieved to learn that Sasha can stay, but I realized, even if the experts had told me I shouldn't let her, it wouldn't have made any difference. Maybe some of us are just born with a desire to sleep with animals. (This could be a debate subject in the next presidential election.) Take my friend Nancy, who has slept with dogs since girlhood. So deep is this need that she and her husband spent years with their epileptic Dalmatian on the end of the bed. The dog regularly woke them in the middle of the night, in midseizure, flailing around and losing control of bodily functions. They became like paramedics, spending the night ever-alert so at the first twitch they could get the dog on the floor and covered in towels. Now Nancy has a Jack Russell terrier puppy. The puppy spends the night burrowed deep under their covers, attached to Nancy like a tick. Nancy is in heaven.

Emily Yoffe is a frequent contributor to Slate. You can e-mail her at