Saturday, February 26, 2005

Sunny Days!

What a BEAUTIFUL Saturday it's been so far. It's sunny and in the 60's. Talk about spring fever!! Casey is in with me today, and we managed to get out during lunch time. Just so you all know, I am SO over this snow thing! Wouldn't you know it, on Monday a cold front is supposed to come through and it's supposed to snow on Monday night!!! SHEESH!! Maybe if I'd been wishing for the warm weather a month ago, I'd have gotten all that snow I wanted. Unfortunately, Monday, the weather is supposed to be quite soggy. We've only had 1 sunny Monday, since I've been working at Kindred Spirits. I'm really looking forward to spring and getting to work all the dogs outside in the sunny weather.

This coming week promises to be a rather speedy one. We have dinner tonight with our friend Jennie and her husband Jason. I'm sure there'll be plenty of kennel and dog training talk tonight, and I'm really looking forward to it. Tomorrow, I think we'll be going to church and having lunch out in the sunny weather, before the clouds move in. Of course, you ALL know that Monday is kennel day. That only leaves Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday for my regular job. We'll be leaving out for Atlanta for the Pet Fair early Friday morning. Atlanta is about a 4 hour drive from where we live, so it's not a bad trip at all. We'll be staying there through Sunday morning. I've got so much to get done before we leave. I've got lots of laundry that needs doing, have to give all the animals their monthly flea treatment, make sure I get to Curves, and get our stuff packed for the trip. Oh yeah, I gotta get that oil change done on the car too! We are only a teensy bit overdue for one.....;)The picture of Bear below describes my mood today...

Everyone have a fabulous weekend!!

Friday, February 25, 2005

Fighting the Good Fight

I finally let this illness get the better of me yesterday. I gave up and stayed home. Took a day all to myself. I just lounged and napped continuously on the couch all day long. I feel some better today, although not fabulous. Casey and I are trying to get our weekend plan together. He's doing his typical Saturday routine of late and coming to work with me tomorrow. I think he's planning on having lunch with one of his good friends. Tomorrow night, we are supposed to have dinner with Jennie from Kindred Spirits and her husband, Jason. We are heading out to our very favorite Chinese restaurant, Chef Chen's. I'm looking forward to that sizzling platter full of Happy Family! Sunday, depending on how I'm feeling, we may go to church and then out for lunch somewhere. Sunday is kinda sketchy right now. And then there's the fabulous Monday. Monday...wonderful Monday. The day that I get to work at Kindred Spirits. It's hard to believe the day that most everybody dreads is the day, I now, look forward to the most of all. I just hope that I feel back to my old self by then. Looks like rain is in the forcast again, so I'd better take my muck shoes!

I got my reservations made and my confirmation information all done for The Atlanta Pet Fair. Some of the professional groomers are going to do some spring cleaning and bring boxes and bags of equipment and extras to all of us newbies. Totally cool!! Free supplies!! I'm also looking VERY forward to all of the lectures. I hope that I learn a lot to take back to the kennel with me to use on clients' dogs. I'm hoping that I can be rather spongelike and absorb the knowledge that I'm given. Well, that's about it for the Zoo homefront today. Everyone have a great day!

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

A Growing Problem......

I got this article from The Humane Society of the United States in my e-mail today. I thought it would be good to post here.
Everyone have a good day!

Every Nine Seconds: How a Compelling New Campaign is Saving Homeless Animals

February 18, 2005

©2003 One Day at a Time For many people, the numbers are too staggering to comprehend. An estimated three to four million animals are euthanized every year in America simply because too few people visit local shelters to adopt them. But where others see an overwhelming struggle, Diane Leigh and Marilee Geyer see hope.

Their new campaign, Every Nine Seconds—a reference to the rate at which homeless animals are euthanized in the United States—aims to educate people about the crisis of pet overpopulation. The former animal shelter workers, founders of the non-profit organization No Voice Unheard, and authors of the book One at a Time: A Week in an American Animal Shelter, are tireless advocates for homeless animals.

"We want to see a day, in our lifetimes, when no animal dies in a shelter for lack of a home, and we hope the Every Nine Seconds campaign can play some role in making that day a reality," says Leigh.

The goal of Every Nine Seconds is to provide free copies of One at a Time to 1,000 American shelters. The campaign calls for people to "adopt" a shelter of their choice by submitting a description of an animal who has touched their life. No Voice Unheard will then donate a copy of the book to a shelter in honor of that animal. The project is funded by donations, making dedications free to the public.

"Hundreds of shelters across the country are already using the book as an educational tool in their own communities—putting it in their lobby or waiting area, getting it into their local libraries, giving it to their local elected officials—and we want to make it available to even more shelters," explains Leigh.

The campaign, which was launched in January, will continue until 1,000 dedications have been received. Already, No Voice Unheard has received hundreds of touching tributes from people across the country. “The dedications honoring special animals have just blown us away, says Leigh. "They are so moving and profound."

The powerful bond that people and animals share is something that Leigh and Geyer understand well. Years of experience in shelter environments inspired them to found No Voice Unheard with the specific mission of publishing and distributing One at a Time. In the future, No Voice Unheard plans to take on similar projects with the goal of "promoting an ethic of reverence for all living beings." For now, Leigh and Geyer are focused on using One at a Time to educate and inspire. Their eloquent and candid tribute to homeless animals in America has been a tremendous success, with reviewers praising it as "remarkable" and "riveting."

"The book's power lies not just in its compelling prose but in the way it's presented: through the individual stories of 75 dogs and cats who entered a California shelter in one week. Startling in its honesty, yet overflowing with compassion for animals and the people who care for them, this book is unlike any other that has ever been written about animal homelessness," writes Nancy Lawson, editor of Animal Sheltering magazine.

The problem of pet overpopulation will not disappear overnight. But every ounce of education and prevention brings our society one step closer to solving the crisis. "The problems behind these shelter numbers are preventable, and the solutions are in all of our hands," says Leigh.

No matter how insignificant their actions may seem, everyone can make a difference. Here's how you can help:

Sponsor a Shelter Dedicate a free copy of the book One at a Time to an animal shelter of your choice. Log on to to submit a photo and description of a special animal in your life, or mail your information to: No Voice Unheard, P.O. Box 4171, Santa Cruz, CA 95063.

Adopt an Animal Know someone who's interested in opening their home to a pet? Direct them to search online at or encourage them to visit their local shelter.

Support Spay/Neuter Spaying or neutering is the first step in preventing pet overpopulation. Help spread the word by reminding your friends, relatives, and co-workers how essential this simple procedure is.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Under the---FINALLY SUNNY--Weather!!

The weekend turned out not to be too bad. I ended up sick for the second half of my weekend. Let's just say, intestinal distress. Anyway, I got up looking more than half dead to work at Kindred Spirits yesterday. I still had a good time, but I was a bit held back by my illness, which leaves me looking forward to next Monday. We did work an incredible amount of dogs for a February. We didn't get to do any outside work, because of the horrible storms we were having yesterday. We managed to get them all in from the play yards and pens, right before the first pieces of hail were hitting the ground. Since I'm feeling a little green around the gills and not up to my usual self, I'm going to post a story of interest that Modern Pooch made mention of today. A really interesting look at the animal rescuers. Enjoy!:

Rescuing Fly

A journey on the dog underground railroad. By Jon Katz Posted Thursday, Feb. 17, 2005, at 8:03 AM PT

Most people would have driven by without slowing, but "Patsy Beckett" (a pseudonym) is a dog rescuer, so she noticed the young border collie tethered to a tree outside a Northern Florida farmhouse. Beckett made a point of passing the farm on her way to work the next day and for weeks thereafter. Each time, she saw the dog—whom she christened Fly—either sitting forlornly or straining at her rope. "She was a beautiful dog, very alert, keen," Patsy said. At one point, spotting a neighbor outside, she stopped and asked about the dog.

When Fly first arrived, the neighbor said, she was a playful, busy pup, but she bothered the farmer's cows and sheep and obsessively chased chickens, cars, and trucks.

Evidently, the farmer didn't realize that border collies aren't born knowing how to herd; it requires long, painstaking training before they'll go whizzing around on command. Pressed for time and money, farmers have little patience for creatures that have to be fed but can't be sold. But having paid $200 for Fly, the farmer figured he could at least use her as a watchdog. So, day and night, rain or shine, heat or cold, the dog lived out her life attached to a tree, barking and circling some of the time, lying down and staring at the road the rest.

The neighbor, disturbed by the sight, had actually called the police. But tethering was not illegal, the cops said. She was fed; she wasn't beaten; there was no crime.

Beckett made a few telephone calls. One night, when the farmer's truck was gone from his driveway, she and a friend from her rescue group parked their creaky Windstar on the highway out of sight, crept up and cut Fly's rope, and walked off with the startled but friendly dog. "You will never be treated this way again," Patsy promised her. A few hours later, Fly's collar was replaced, her tag destroyed, and her picture posted on a Yahoo mailing list about rescued dogs.

Fly's life had changed forever. She was now in one of the country's most interesting animal subcultures, the dog rescue system—a semi-underground network of devoted pet lovers willing to do practically anything to help neglected and abused dogs find good homes.

Type "Dog Rescue" into Google and you will get 4,650,000 hits. Nobody knows precisely how many people are involved in the rescue movement, but it's reasonable to assume there are tens of thousands, in every city and state. (If you doubt this, visit, one of the rescue culture's primary communications networks.)

Some rescue groups are highly organized, experienced, well-funded, nearly professional. Others are small amateur operations run out of garages and back yards. Their members may identify strongly with animals as victims, sometimes because of traumas and disappointments in their own lives. Others simply love animals and want to help them. Most participants are middle or working-class women, it appears. And since it's hard to rescue, treat, and re-home a dog without help, they're obsessive e-mailers and communicators. In fact, the growth of the phenomenon is closely tied to the digital age. The Internet has made every dog a potential national adoptee.

If Americans find themselves homeless, laid off, abused, or in need of urgent medical care, no van will pull up in their driveways to whisk them off for treatment, place them in temporary housing, then drive them around the country to find them appropriate new homes and visit them regularly to monitor their progress and make sure they're OK. With dogs, though, it happens every day.

As of this writing, Fly is in Virginia en route to upstate New York. More than a dozen people and groups have already been involved in her rescue. Fly spent her first couple of nights in a private home in Jacksonville, as messages seeking help and transport were posted on eBay and Yahoo mailing lists where rescuers congregate. There's even a secret Yahoo list that collects the names of dog abusers, so that rescue groups can avoid them as potential adopters. There were scores of responses to the Fly posting, from all over the country.

Next, a transporter with a minivan met Fly at a rest stop near Jacksonville and drove her to Atlanta. The well-funded rescue groups pay for gas and expenses, but most others can't. The woman who drove Fly, I learned, has spent thousands of her own dollars rescuing dogs and knows the cheapest vets, the most generous pet-supply stores, and the most vigorous animal-rights support groups along the East Coast.

In Atlanta, rescuers sought help from a friendly vet tech, one of many. The lowest-paid of veterinary office workers, techs collect urine and fecal samples, draw blood, work brutal hours, tend to sick animals overnight, and are often the most fervent animal lovers in a practice. (Many vets help rescued animals when they can. Rescuers are savvy about figuring out which vets waive or reduce fees for needy animals.)

The Atlanta tech treated Fly's rope-burn sores. Fly received medication for worms and fleas, and shots for rabies and distemper. A non-profit mobile veterinary service agreed to spay her for a rock-bottom $60.

A different transporter picked her up for the trek north to Charleston. Dog rescuers often know one another, sleep in their cars or on volunteers' sofas and guest beds, and hand off their charges in parks, fast food parking lots, malls, and motel parking lots. Another rescue specialist, known as a "fosterer," would keep Fly in her Charleston home for a couple of weeks, to settle her down, watch for health and behavioral problems, and evaluate her needs. Professional rescue groups never adopt out an aggressive or sick dog. Some of the smaller, amateur groups aren't as careful.

Constant travel can be traumatic for a dog, especially one who's never lived in a house or traveled in a car, but border collies like keeping busy. The canine underground railroad almost seemed fun for Fly, lots of things to see, an exciting turn in life devoid of activity. She was anxious, but she also enjoyed the treats, the attention, and the opportunity to chase balls and Frisbees. Nobody yelled at her. On the contrary, everybody loved her.

At each stop, messages describing her health and moods, the things that made her anxious, what she liked and what she didn't, and which diet was appropriate were posted online. A growing library on Fly was being assembled daily for her rescuers and, eventually, her new owner. Meanwhile, "re-homers" were grilling potential adopters, making sure the next home was the right one.

Fly was being reborn. Soon she would probably even get a new name. Patsy checked back with her friends in Florida. The farmer had not reported the dog missing to the police or local animal authorities. He seemed fine with the idea that she was gone, and he would never hear another word about her.

There is no universal pattern to the movement of rescued dogs, but many dogs move from the South to the Northeast. Spaying and neutering laws are reducing the number of adoptable dogs in cities like Boston and New York, and ideas about neutering and animal abuse are different in some parts of the rural South, say rescuers. There are more potential dog lovers with money in the North.

It's easy to see why dog rescue is a mushrooming culture. Turning a troubled person's life around is difficult, but rescuers with commitment and time and a few dollars can radically alter the fate of a dog. And there are millions of dogs—nearly 10 million in the shelter system, many others mistreated in private homes—in need of rescuing. We will not run out anytime soon. The fact that so many thousands of people devote themselves to this effort raises some important questions about our society's priorities, but there's no doubt it will continue.

Dog rescue remains a gamble, of course. For all the good will, hard work, and noble motivation, nobody can really predict with certainty how a traumatized, dislocated dog will respond in a new environment.

I will find out soon. Fly is doing nicely, I'm advised. She will arrive at her new home—my farm—later this month.

Jon Katz's is the author of The Dogs of Bedlam Farm: An adventure with three dogs, sixteen sheep, two donkeys and me. He can be e-mailed at

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Running VERY Late

I'm really late with my post today. I've been pretty busy for a Saturday. Casey is in with me today getting a few things ticked off of our "to do" list. We had a nice little lunch together and just enjoyed each other's company. I'm still impatiently waiting for comfirmation of my reservations for the Atlanta Pet Fair. They said if I didn't receive confirmation in 24 hours to give them a call. Looks like I'll be doing that right after work today.

No big plans for the weekend. The weather looks to be a complete wash out anyway. We are running a quick trip to Aquatic Critter tonight for crickets. We are gorging Rose, the bearded dragon, on crickets. She suprised us both by laying more "slug" eggs last week. This time she laid 12!! Now she looks super skinny again. Casey and I've decided that we may just have to relocate her somewhere to keep her from being super stimulated by Mupit, our male.

I'm definitely looking forward to Monday again this week. Monday is my day to work at Kindred Spirits. I've never been so excited to go to a job before, and I must admit the change is refreshing. It's 7 hours of pure bliss for me to be there with the dogs and to be helping them. I've definitely found my "zen" there with them all.

I'll leave you all with a happy ending story that I found over on Modern Pooch. A sad beginning with a much happier ending. KUDOS to the groomers that helped to make this happen! Everyone have a fabulous weekend!

Pooch gets extreme makeover after suffering years of neglect

Pooch gets extreme makeover


Looking good. Rambo shows off the results of a six-hour grooming session at the Central Brevard Humane Society, which restored his appearance. Donna Skattum, for FLORIDA TODAY

It could be considered a "makeover" in the most extreme sense of the word. In this instance, however, the recipient was the one likely to be doing the "nipping" and was more than a little "tuckered" out following his transformation.

When workers arrived at the Central Brevard Humane Society in Cocoa one morning in January and checked the carriers left outside the facility to receive drop-off animals, they found a dog with an extremely matted coat.

"Never in my life have I seen an animal so neglected," said Theresa Clifton, Humane Society executive director. "It was so sad."

What the workers initially thought was a "medium-sized" dog, was actually fairly small. With so much matted hair on him, by the time all the clipping and grooming were done, he weighed nearly 5 pounds less.

"He could hardly move he was so matted. He must have been caged for at least a year," said Clifton, who added there was no way to tell when the last time was he'd been groomed -- if ever.

Despite that, the dog appears to be in relatively good health.

Veterinarian Scott Hemmingway said he tested negative for heartworm and doesn't appear to be malnourished. The dog is most likely a Lhasa Apso.

But it wasn't until kennel manager Margaret French and office manager Melissa Crawford got out the scissors and went to work that they realized what a huge task they had undertaken.

"We literally cut a helmet of hair from his head," said French.

The cleanup proved too much for the little guy to handle, and workers were forced to put him under anesthesia to complete the job.

"He started crying when we began to shave him," said Clifton, "and we had to be so careful. We didn't know where the fur ended and the dog started."

It took workers more than six hours before the true dog beneath emerged.

"We started shearing him -- just like a sheep," said French.

After penetrating what they estimated to be between six and 10 inches of fur, they finally found the dog. By the time they were finished, he was 4.8 pounds lighter.

"I don't know how anyone could stand to look at this dog without wanting to do something," said Clifton. "This represents several years of neglect."

The staff at the Humane Society continues to care for the dog. Several sores on his legs are healing and Clifton is cautious about when he'll be available for adoption.

"With extreme cases like this, he has been through so much, we have to make sure he goes to the right home. He's very lucky we got him when we did. I don't know how much longer he could have gone on the way he was," Clifton said.

Crawford, who has worked at the Humane Society for four years, called this situation "the worst I've ever seen."

"If he could talk, he'd be able to tell us what happened to him. Because he can't, it's our responsibility to watch out for him. We take care of those who can't speak for themselves. If anyone sees an animal like this, they need to report it," Clifton said.

"He's so sweet," she said of the dog, whom they estimate is about 6 years old and now weighs about 16 pounds.

Workers at the shelter have given him the name Rambo.

"We thought he needed a tough-guy name," said Clifton, "considering all he has been through."

Friday, February 18, 2005

HOTlanta, Here I Come

Yes folks, it's official!! I just finished registering for The Atlanta Pet Fair. I can officially be excited now. Not only is it going to be a weekend away, but I'm going to get to do something that I really love, and that's learning all about dogs! It's not obvious that I'm excited is it? I feel like bouncing off of the walls. Today has been great so far. Casey and I are planning on going to our favorite Chinese restaurant tonight. We decided to treat ourselves just a little bit with our tax refund. So, it looks like we have a nice weekend planned. I think we are going into Nashville to eat at the Spaghetti Factory for lunch on Sunday. You just have to treat yourself sometimes.

Work has just been the usual today. It's Friday and warm and sunny outside, so everyone is looking forward to the weekend. I managed to get outside a little while today for lunch.

I just want to take a minute to mention a couple of new blogs that I've discovered recently that are worth recommendation.

1. Zoya's Kennel Journal. Wonderful blog by Zoya and her fiance', John and their team of sleddogs made up of all rescue dogs. Right now, they are competing in the Yukon Quest, a 1,000 mile race! You can check out their daily progress by going to the blog. As of day before yesterday, they were in 5th place. Not a bad run for a group of shelter dogs!! Way to go Crazy Dog Kennels!!!

2. Puptastic: A great blog about everything doggy.

3. The Doggy Woggy Photo Blog: Wonderful dog related blog that has been put together by a couple of people that love to take pictures in the local dog park. They also post about LOTS of interesting doggy tidbits too.

4. You Are a Dog: Blog by the author of the book by the same name. A lot of doggy goodness posted daily.

5. Why Rush? Personal blog of an animal hospital worker, her personal life and that of her pets. Here's a little blurb that I found listed on both The Doggy Woggy Photo Blog and Puptastic today. And you thought only Greyhounds could run...

Chihuahua dog races set for South Brewster Publish Date: February 17, 2005

Piojo of Terlingua, one of the Chihuahua champions, calls Alaska Slim a whimp. The tiniest, fastest feet in the world are ready to race into history again, in an event establishing itself as a world-class sporting contest. The Second Annual Desert Chihuahuan Challenge race at Terlingua will get underway about 1 p.m. Feb. 26. The event is a series of Chihuahua races, offering thrills at a competitive level seldom encountered in the annals of sport. Dozens of fierce, prancing, racing dogs from around the world will compete to benefit the Family Crisis Center of the Big Bend and the Big Bend Youth Club. It’s a toss-up whether the dogs or the people have more fun. Last year’s races had participants from three states and Mexico. Mike Drinkard of Terlingua, one of the organizers, said this year there’s a rumor of a spectacular cloned Chihuahua, Alaska Slim, entered in the pure-bred competition. Sadly, last year’s Chihuahua Champion, the noble Chicharron, will not return to race, following his passing into the Chihuahua Land of the Sky. Regrets and sympathy are extended to his family at the Starlight Theatre in Terlingua. In the interest of myth and romance, organizers have made it known Chicharron expired during a heroic fight with a dozen bulls in Madrid’s main bullring, while defending his reputation as the Fastest Feet in the Desert. The Desert Chihuahuan Challenge will begin around 11 a.m. with the usual onsite registration, dog socialization-therapy party, costume competition, Chihuahua kissing booth and other activities to get the dogs and crowd into a bizarre, festive frenzy. The final championship race is slated for about 5 p.m. The location for the event is the Terlingua Store (same location as Frank X. Tolbert Chili Cook-Off) on FM 170 across from the Terlingua Ghost Town. There will be prizes and awards to winning participants and racing raffles for spectators. Chris Baker, owner of Aki Bono, the sumo mestizo Chihuahua of Lajitas, said, “I didn’t know there were prizes last year. I entered because of the good charities involved.” Drinkard said the event could only be held in a place like Terlingua, relying heavily on its reputation as the Chihuahua Capital of the World. “It’s also a fun way for everyone to socialize while supporting two worthy organizations, which rely on community support,” he said. The Family Crisis Crisis Center is a private, non-profit organization that serves victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and personal injury crime as well as offering other services. The Big Bend Youth Club offers activities and safe recreation to local youth. Their motto is “Giving Kids a Safe Place to Grow”. In recent months, funds have been scarce due to budget cuts. There are concerns for coming shortfalls in operating budgets at a time when the demand for services is increasing. For more information contact the Family Crisis Center at 432.837.7254.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Work Day With the Quickness....

Today has been off and running for me. I have an abbreviated day at work, because Casey has an appointment with the orthopedist at 1:10 today. Our network has been really strange, so I'm just now getting logged in for my daily post. I'm scheduled to leave in mere minutes! Everything has been going o.k. I opted not to go to Curves last night and opted to stay home and rest. I found by the end of the day yesterday that I was feeling quite tired and not at all good. For the first time in my life, I decided to listen to what my body was telling me and take a break for rest. I'm glad of it today too. I'm feeling much better and rejuvinated. Since, I don't have time for a usual post, I'm going to leave you all with an interesting article that I found, while I was at Cat-O-Bloggo today. Thanks Barb for the interesting tidbits. It definitely leaves you with something to ponder.

Knitting a close bond with dogs

Lemont woman thinks she has found a niche by turning canine fur into fashion, spinning hairballs into accessories that can cost $200

By Jennifer Skalka Tribune staff reporter

February 16, 2005

Devoted dog owners will do almost anything for their favorite pooch.

They let them sleep in their beds on expensive linens. They give them filet mignon and short ribs. They pucker up for wet, silly smooches on the lips.

But would they want to wear Rocky or Stella?

One Lemont woman is betting they do.

Betty Burian Kirk knits with dog fur. Bring her your golden retriever's hairballs, and she'll spin you a scarf or a hat.

Kirk, whose work is featured through March in an exhibit in Lemont Public Library titled "Putting on the Dog," is a former elementary school art teacher turned spinner. She works with traditional materials, such as felt and wool, but also has created a process for turning dog hair into skeins of yarn, which can be woven into accessories.

"Like anything else, it's finding your market," said Kirk, 51. "I thought this would be perfect because people love their dogs."

With her Belgian sheepdog, Rex, panting heavily at her feet and a ball of yarn made from Rex's hair in her lap, Kirk explained that she is attracted to dog hair because it is sentimental and produces novelty items that people won't find at the mall.

"My youngest wants me to make a Rex hat for him," said Kirk, who has two teenage boys and is married to a systems engineer.

As she spoke, several scarves and hats born of man's best friend sat by her side. They were fuzzy, slightly coarse and in a range of earthy colors, such as taupe, gold and chocolate brown.

Kirk instructs dog owners interested in immortalizing the family pet to collect a grocery bag full of its hair. The most sumptuous hair, she said, is from a dog's underbelly.

Because no one wants to smell like their dog, Kirk's first move is to wash the hair with dish soap and vinegar. Once it dries, she cards it to straighten out the fibers. Then Kirk, who grew up in Cicero and is a graduate of Morton East High School and Northern Illinois University, spins it into yarn, which eventually becomes the skein.

Kirk's creations cost $50 to $200.

Not every breed's coat provides a luscious finish. Fluffy Samoyeds, huskies and chows are great. Pointers and Labrador retrievers, which have shorter hair, are not.

Though Kirk has found her passion, she concedes it's not everyone's bag. And dog hair, several local hobbyists said, still is a rarity in the knitting world.

Renana Lavin, co-owner of We'll Keep You in Stitches on Oak Street, recalls a customer who brought in the shaved coat of her recently deceased collie. With bags of the dog's hair in her clutches, she asked the shop's owners to help her knit something with it.

But Lavin said she just couldn't abide, and the woman left the store mumbling angrily under her breath.

"In my mind's eye I saw the naked collie," Lavin said. "We were trying not to throw up. We were horrified."

Lynette Swanson, owner of Three Bags Full in Northbrook, said she's never knitted with dog hair. "I think of dog hair as something you vacuum up," Swanson said. "I don't think of wearing it."

But these days, experts say, knitters are using a variety of textiles, including those made from paper and wire. Stores offer the requisite range of wools, of course, but there's also llama wool, alpaca and rabbit fur.

"I'm not fond of that either, but people love it," Lavin said of rabbit fur. "At least it comes already wound, so we don't have to cry and think of Bugs Bunny."

At Cherry Tree Hill Yarn in Barton, Vt., an imported yarn made of opossum hair is a big seller. The yarn, from New Zealand, is available in a variety of colors. "It's just a very soft yarn," said store manager Brittany Carpenter. "People really like it."

Carpenter may be keen on opossum, but she's not at all into knitting with dog hair.

"I have a dog, and I couldn't do it," said Carpenter, who has a West Highland terrier at home. "I just couldn't do it."

But Kendall Crolius, co-author of the book "Knitting With Dog Hair," says knitting with dog hair should not be pooh-poohed. There are practical benefits in using dog hair--the materials are free, and the dog owner is doing his or her part to recycle. Also, Crolius said, dog hair is exceptionally high quality and is warm.

"You're basically getting cashmere for free," said Crolius of Southport, Conn. "What's not to like?"

Crolius said the emotional reward is by far the greatest gain from knitting with dog hair. She's gotten many letters over the years from grateful readers.

Kirk says she has turned down requests that she expand her repertoire to include cat hair. Her husband and one of her sons are allergic.

And for naysayers who question the practicality or cleanliness of knitting with dog hair, Kirk has a quick reply.

"If you buy a camel sweater, think of a camel in the zoo," she said as Rex whimpered nearby. "Your cashmere is from a goat. And if you're talking about odors, you don't want a goat in the house."

Copyright © 2005, Chicago Tribune,1,741297.story?coll=chi-newslocal-hed

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Interesting Tidbits

Today has been one of those weird days. I feel flighty and nervous, but I'm in a good mood. Strange. Go figure. Anyway, I've been up running all over the place today. I've been trying to tie up some loose ends at work today. The last few weeks have been feast or famine in nature, and this week's motto is "Go ahead, be a glutton!" Not a whole lot to report on the home front. Casey and I did remember to tune into our new show "House" last night, after I got back from Curves. Again, another fabulous show. I'm pretty sure that we are going to put it on our list of regular watches.

Since I'm so slim on the homefront today, I thought I'd leave you all with a couple of interesting tidbits of information. First an interesting piece of information that I found in an article about the Westminster winner. It's about the rarity of the Otterhound breed on CNN.

Asleep in her crate much earlier Tuesday, Morgan hardly had a care in the world. Let the other dogs get cramped by the backstage crowds, this otterhound was taking a nap. And certainly unaware of the pressure she faced.

A win could've brought much-needed attention to one of America's rarest breeds. Instead, she lost out to Knotty in the hound group -- too bad for a breed that keeps moving closer to extinction.

Yes, extinction.

Believe it or not, there were only 23 purebred otterhounds registered in the United States last year. That's 23, compared to the 146,692 Labrador retrievers, the most popular dog.

"We don't get a lot of exposure," offered Morgan's co-owner and breeder, Betsy Conway.

Conway described Morgan as a bloodhound with a black-and-tan, woolly coat. Think of the shaggy dog in the Disney film "The Absent-Minded Professor" and that's close, but bigger.

"There's no such thing as an otterhound," kidded Lab breeder Christine Tye. "I've never heard of them."

Most people haven't. There are fewer than 1,000 in the world, perhaps 350 scattered around America. The population steadily declined in the 20th century when otter hunting was outlawed in many places.

Also, Conway admitted, they're not for everyone. Otterhounds have oily coats that can rub off on clothes and furniture, need room to roam and have a deep bay voice. At home in Sherman, Connecticut, Morgan loves to dig for moles and look for cats.

"But if you want a dog that will love you, they're perfect," she said.

Conway currently owns or co-owns 10 of the 23 registered otterhounds. A career insurance saleswoman, she intends to ensure the breed sticks around.

"They will not become extinct in my lifetime," she said, "because I won't let it."

Yesterday, Tennesseans that support the animal cruelty laws had another major victory. Story from The Tennessean:

Siliski jailed after judge revokes bail


Former dog breeder could stay until appeal is settled

FRANKLIN — Former dog breeder Jennifer Siliski, who was convicted of animal cruelty last year, will spend at least 10 days in jail for violating a court order that she never breed animals again.

During a hearing yesterday, witnesses said Siliski had been breeding and selling dogs.

However, Siliski took the stand and said one of her dogs had inadvertently become pregnant and delivered three puppies in December. She said she thought the dog had been spayed, and claimed a neighbor's dog must have impregnated hers by accident.

Siliski also said the puppies and five adult dogs were stolen from her home on Sunday.

Judge R.E. Lee Davies called the chance pregnancy and Siliski's stolen-dog story ''unbelievable.''

Siliski, 47, turned herself in at the Williamson County courthouse hours after Davies revoked the bail she had posted while pursuing an appeal of her conviction. She was later taken to the county jail, where she could end up staying until her appeal has concluded, according to Assistant District Attorney Braden Boucek.

Siliski's attorney, John Herbison, said she should be held for only 10 days, which is the sentence Davies gave her after the cruelty conviction last August for the conditions in which her Maltese dogs had been found. Herbison said he will ask for a review of yesterday's hearing.

Siliski testified that she lied to probation officers when they asked her if there were any puppies at her house.

Taz Farmer, a probation officer, said he visited Siliski's home Feb. 3 and found a mother dog nursing at least one puppy in a locked room. Siliski said Farmer did not see a real puppy but a stuffed toy dog that was being used to comfort the mother.

She said the real puppies were under her bed because she was trying to wean them.

''I find this absurd and totally unbelievable,'' Davies said. ''If they were under the bed, (Farmer) would have found them the first time he searched the house.''

Davies said Siliski was allowed to have only five dogs at her house, and all the dogs were to be spayed.

Carolyn Martin, a caregiver who had been taking care of Siliski's disabled daughter, testified that she had seen people taking dogs in and out of the house and saw evidence that Siliski was inseminating dogs.

Regina Case, another caregiver, said she was at the hospital with the daughter on Feb. 3 when Siliski called her and asked her to go home and remove the puppies because probation officers were coming.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Sunny Days and Kennel Craziness

I had a terrific weekend. I managed to get some time to myself to rest up on Sunday. Casey and I went to the matinee on Sunday to see Will Smith's new movie, Hitch. It was really good and funny too. An outing that we both quite enjoyed. It made for a great Valentine's Day movie as well.

Yesterday was a great day at Kindred Spirits! I got to work with lots of different dogs. I bathed a Blood Hound and Yorkie/Dachshund mix. Then, I got to work/train several different dogs. I worked a Border Collie that has been trained to agility, 2 Red Heeler mixes (one of these is one of our shelter dogs), a silver Labrador Retriever (looks just like a Weimeraner), and a Great Dane. It is just an amazing feeling to have good training techniques, and the dogs to actually do what you ask them to do. I also got to play with a too cute for words Italian Greyhound that just has the sweetest disposition! The sun came out, and I couldn't have been happier. I've finally found a job that doesn't seem like a job. It just seems like a play day for me every week. Jennie has been wonderful to work for, and she is very encouraging and a good teacher. I appreciate her willingness to teach me her trade and enhance my opportunities for grooming. She is so good to ask me if I need anything for bathing the dogs, right down to clothing. We both have such a good time working together, and it is so nice to work with someone that has a love for animals, as I do. She has even agreed to give me some funds to attend the Atlanta Pet Fair. So, it looks like it's a go for attendance. I'm just so excited to be working there. I look forward to it all week long. It's so theraputic, and I'm at peace, when I'm there. I'm just greatful for the opportunity. I guess you all can tell that I'm just giddy about it all.

Last night for Valentine's Day, Casey grilled us a t-bone steak dinner. We also had baked potatoes with butter and sour cream and grilled broccoli with a lemon butter sauce. It was so yummy and it was sweet of Casey to provide me with a Valentine's dinner. I managed to walk Bear, while he was busy chefing at the grill. Afterwards, I was so full and contented that I fell asleep on the couch. I guess you could call 7:00 p.m. an way early night huh?

Not much going on today. Seems this will be our last warm day today. A cold front comes in tonight, and it's back to winter for us. I do have to report that after yesterday, I have a bit of spring fever. Oh well, gotta run with the weather punches. Hope everyone is having a great day!

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Kitty Valentine's wishes from Nala and Shamus! Posted by Hello

Weekend of LOVE

Well folks, it's the big Valentine's Day weekend! I'm sure that the restaurants, choclatiers, and flower shops are gearing up this morning for the big rush. Since we don't have a lot of extra cash to spend, Casey and I have decided to do our Valentine's meal at home this year. Casey is going to do big, juicy, t-bone steaks on the grill with loaded baked potatoes and some sinful chocolate dessert gleaned from Mr. Alton Brown. We decided that we are going to have mostly a lounge day tomorrow. I think we are going to have a movie watching day or go out to the movies. I hope that I can manage to keep myself still. I'm kind of in the mood to clean carpets tomorrow. How romantic is that? I'm planning on getting all of my e-Valentines sent out today to all of my dear friends. If you are looking for cute, animal related e-cards, try the American Humane Association website. They have lots of cute cards that you can send at no charge.

Casey and I decided on celebrating tomorrow, since I'll be at Kindred Spirits working most of the day on Monday. I'm really looking forward to getting back there this week. I had so much fun with the dogs last week. It will be interesting to see what dogs are there this time. I'm getting to work with LOTS of different breeds, training, and bathing. I'm just sure that it's going to be a great overall experience for me. It's still looking like I'm going to get to go down for the Atlanta Pet Fair. I've decided to sign up for the Prep Tech/Bather package and also for the pet CPR package. I think it's going to give me a lot of knowledge that I can come home with, along with having a lot of fun. I'm going to a social on that Saturday night to meet a lot of the groomer and bathers that I've gotten to know online. Casey is also quite happy about going down that weekend. It seems that same Friday night that we are going down, Alton Brown is holding private cooking classes to benefit Tsunami relief. That will be something that he can occupy his time with, while I'm at the conference. What a fun weekend!! Sure hope that in a couple of weeks, we'll still be able to swing it.

I hope that everyone has a fabulous Valentine's weekend!! Let's remember all of our furry friends, but while doing so remember...

Friday, February 11, 2005

Oh! The Bright Light!!!

It seems that someone in the heavens has heard my plea for help. Today it is wonderfully sunny outside. It's supposed to be that way tomorrow too. Even though I have to work, I'm determined to enjoy them anyway. I'm getting out of the building for lunch today, so that will help.

I forgot to share a funny story with you all yesterday. Day before yesterday was a looooong day for Casey. He had ridden into work with me to take some tests for some jobs where he had put in applications. He managed to do quite well on his typing tests, even 1 handed. He realized by the end of the day, that he'd done a little too much with his arm. By the time we got home Wednesday night, he was VERY uncomfortable with it. He took his meds and complained that they hadn't worked. He doubled up on the anti-inflamatory and broke down and finally took one of his pain pills. Needless to say, he knocked himself loopy! I went in the bedroom to change into my PJ's, and he asked me a question. After I answered him, he looked me square in the eye and said, "You talk to much." At that point he just started rambling and rambling about my endless talking. I had only said one answer in response to his question. He just went on and on about it. It was too hysterical! He was still draggy, when I got in from work yesterday. I secretly think he was trying to put himself into a coma, until his arm is healed. He has another appointment with the orthopedist next Thursday. He's hoping that they will put a short cast on his arm, so he can have his elbow back. I don't think it will happen this quick, but I'll just let him keep on hoping.

All of the animals have just LOVED having Casey at home with them during the days. They have become such a lovey-dovey bunch. It is like trying to undo something with velcro fixtures to get them away from him. I guess it's a good thing that he can pamper them just a little bit.

There's absolutely nothing exciting going on at work today. In fact, I'm trying my best to stay awake. Despite a highly decaffeinated Coke this morning, I'm still feeling sluggish and sleepy. I guess that my 6 day work week has left me a little more tired than usual. I'm sure that I'll be adjusted in just a few weeks. Ah well....everyone have a great day!

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Gloomy, Doomy, Dreary, Bleary Weather!!!

All of this cloudy, gloomy weather is about to drive me bonkers!!! We've been in such a weird weather pattern here lately. Yesterday, it was nearly 60 degrees. Today, it's in the low 30's. I drove in and out of fast falling ice pellets and snow this morning. Not one inch stuck!! Let's get on with this, or get on with spring I say. None of this would bother me, except I have no clue if the sun still actually exists. Of course, it's supposed to be sunny this Saturday. The day that I'm stuck in a building at work. Rain is forcasted for MY 2 days off!! I just hate it, when it works out that way. I'd really love some sunny weather during my time off, so I could get out and walk some of the insanity out of Bear. If it's not raining here, it's cold and vice versa. The only thing this weather has accomplished is my receiving a wonderfully, funny call from my friend, Melissa, who is a teacher. It was one of those conversations that was so funny that you find yourself chuckling quietly for the rest of the day. See, Melissa LOVES teaching, but she does love the occassional snow day. Her first words to me this morning were, "I hate waking up to the Snow Bird report, when we aren't included!!" She has said some other HYSTERICAL things, which I shall not repeat here to protect the innocent, that we STILL joke about. My wonderful friend, Melissa, has the ability to always make me smile, even on the gloomiest of days!! So, I guess I at least owe the weather kudos in one way. Have a great day everyone!

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

What Will I Get Into Next?

I can't believe that it's so late, and I have yet to blog today. It's been pretty calm today. Casey came in with me today to take care of a few things. It's been kinda fun having him with me. Nothing big to do on the agenda either. I do have to mention that Casey and I watched the new FOX show, House, last night. It's an ER type of show. I must admit that it was really VERY good. It definitely kept me guessing until the very end. If you are looking for a good new drama, give this one a try.

I'm also having fun compiling my list of bathing supplies for Jennie. She was nice enough to tell me I could order a couple of things that would make the dog bathing go easier for us. I've consulted all of my grooming lists, and have come up with a short list. Hopefully, these things will make our baths go quicker and cleaner. I'd really love for the dogs that I work on to come out looking good. While consulting my grooming lists, I found that the Atlanta Pet Fair is scheduled for the first weekend in March. It's very inexpensive and would make a nice weekend trip for us. I'll be able to attend lectures and classes to improve my bathing techniques and learn some grooming basics as well. Casey and I talked it over and are seriously considering taking it in. I'm really excited about the possibility of attending and learning. I can even get certified in pet CPR if I would like. Who knows what I'll get into, while I'm there. I guess that you all can tell that I've had dogs and cats on the brain all morning long. I just love it when a real plan takes shape. I'm loving working for Kindred Spirits. It is truly wonderful to finally get to work with animals and get paid for it. Don't get me wrong, you all know that my shelter work comes first, but it is nice to have a job to support my animal habit. I gotta run. Hope everyone is having a GREAT day!

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Rub-A-Dub Dub, Three Dogs in the Tub

This past weekend just flew by. I figured that it would though. On Saturday night, Casey and I went for a quick trip to Nashville. We had to pick up crickets. We managed to get ourselves over to Best Buy. Casey bought me the new Nat King Cole release for Valentine's Day. It's a wonderful compilation album called The World of Nat King Cole. It has 28 of his songs on it. Just fabulous. I listened to it all the way home.

On Sunday, Casey and I visited my friend, Jennifer's church. We had a really nice time and met some really wonderful people. Afterwards, we went out with some of Casey's work friends to a place called Miller's Grocery. They had a WONDERFUL buffet on Sunday. I especially liked pineapple cheese salad. We all had several mouthwatering plates. Their deserts are absolutely fabulous. I had the Mississippi Mud Pie. Afterwards, we managed to waddle ourselves home. We just had snacks for supper, while we watched the Super Bowl.

Yesterday, I started my new part time job with Kindred Spirits. It was exciting and a lot of fun, but a lot of hard work too. I had no idea that Jennie worked that hard every day. Anyway, I got to do some office work, and some dog care. I got to bathe 3 dogs: a yorkie mix, an irish wolf hound mix, and a sheep dog mix. All 3 were very well behaved dogs, and I enjoyed myself immensely. I was very tired afterwards, but I think it's going to be the kind of tired that I will enjoy. I really did enjoy working with all of the dogs. The huge dogs intimidated me a little, but after I got used to their size, I was fine. I did find that I get really nervous, when I'm looking after other people's pets. I'm always nervous that they will get away or get hurt or something. By the end of the day, I was a lot more relaxed and comfortable. I am looking forward to next Monday for what happens next.

Went to Curves last night and had my monthly measurement. I am happy to report that I managed to lose more inches this month and another percent of my body weight. Needless to say, I love my Curves! Today is pretty normal. Nothing big on the agenda. I'll be going to workout, when I get off from work. I hope that everyone is having a good day.

Here's a fun website that all of you cat lover's will enjoy. Just click the link!

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Happy Valentine's Day from Shiloh and Bear! Posted by Hello

In the Land of the Living

Despite all of the odds, yesterday ended up being a pretty good day. I felt more like myself than I have in the past couple of weeks. I managed to get to Curves for my last workout of the week. I've tried to intensify the workout every couple of weeks or so, to keep the results coming. I was completely wiped afterwards. Casey made a wonderful dinner, which included things like breadcrumb cheese and herb stuffed chicken breasts with orzo pasta. It was so YUMMY!!

We've got a pretty busy weekend ahead for us. I think we are going to head to Nashville tonight to pick up some crickets at Aquatic Critter. Tomorrow morning we are visiting some of our friends' church. Afterwards, we are meeting with a couple to have a fabulous lunch at this quaint little place called Miller's Grocery. It's an old general store that has been refurbished and turned into a restaurant.

After stuffing ourselves, we are planning to go home and kick back. I think we might watch a little bit of the Super Bowl. On Monday, I am supposed to be at Kindred Spirits by 9 a.m. I get to learn the ropes. I really excited, but also a little nervous. I hope that all of the dogs like me. I'm sure that I'll be pretty tired by the time my day finishes there and then I stop by Curves for my Monday workout. I'm also sure that I'll have a lot of details to blog about come Monday. Again, thanks to all of you that have sent messages about Lola. Casey and I both really appreciate them! I hope that all of you have a wonderful weekend!!

A quick note about a new animal related blog that I've discovered. It's called Lab Tails. It has wonderful posts and fabulous pictures! Everyone go and have a visit. I'm going to leave you all with an amazing post that I read about on Modern Pooch this morning. The story is incredible!!

Doggy paddles across shipping lane after surviving cliff plunge

Thu Feb 3, 7:41 AM ET

LONDON (AFP) - When six-month-old Jack Russell puppy Toby, startled by a gunshot, leapt off a 70-foot (21-metre) cliff and into a busy shipping lane, his owners presumed it was the last they would see of their beloved pet.

But Toby was made of stronger stuff.

In exploits recounted by a series of newspapers on Thursday, the white-and-tan terrier puppy survived the sheer drop and plunged into Plymouth Sound, a famously busy waterway off the southwest coast.

Undeterred by boat traffic in the estuary, regularly used by warships, submarines and ferries, Toby paddled a mile (1.6 kilometres) across the bay, where a Ministry of Defence boat crew, alerted to his plight, found him perched shivering on a rock.

Wrapped in a blanket, the unharmed dog was returned to his astonished owners, David and Sandra Lee.

"We honestly thought we'd lost him," Mr Lee was quoted as saying in the Daily Mail newspaper. "It's a true miracle he's still with us."

Toby leapt over a wall on the edge of the cliff top when he was startled by a gunshot from a nearby army barracks, Lee added.

"He must have thought it was just a wall, without knowing there was a sheer drop of 70 foot on the other side."

Friday, February 04, 2005

Settling Down Hopefully

I think that I'm starting to finally settle down. I just want to say a great big "Thank You" to all of you that have sent encouraging words and support. May I just say that you all are WONDERFUL, and you just can't believe how much it helped. On a sad note, we had to put Lola to sleep yesterday afternoon. After we got back from the vet on Tuesday she seemed to perk up a bit, but by Wednesday afternoon she began a downhill slide. She stopped eating, walking, responding, and going out all together. We felt that it was just better to end her suffering. I'm sad about it, but I'm trying to remember that she had a long full life, and we gave her a great home. I've noticed that the other 3 dogs definitely have missed her presence, and Bear, who's such a deep little dog, has hunted the house over for her. Casey and I have even discussed maybe adopting another dog, but we'll see when the time comes. We're not trying to replace her, but we feel that we'd like to help another in her memory.

Casey made a connection and has found a filler job to help pay bills, while he searches for a new job. I start my job at Kindred Spirits on Monday, so I'm starting to feel a little less shaky financially. Now, if we can just get the paychecks to start.

Here's a fun little link if you like to watch dogs interact. It's an internet doggie daycare cam. I ran across this, while I was reading my daily update on Modern Pooch. To go and have a look, just click the link.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Hope for Lola

So far, my 2005 can be summed up in one word.....C-R-A-P-P-Y!! It all started about the middle of January and has continued right through the past weekend. I've tried not to rant, rave, and completely lose my mind and not to bog my blog readers down. But sometimes, you have to be honest with yourself, as well as your friends. Here's all the trouble in a nutshell. Casey had been offered the fabulous, wonderful new job. They had even gone so far as to salary negotiations. It was a done deal. Casey had put in his notice at his old job and worked out his notice. The day before he was to start his new job, they called and recinded the offer. He tried to go back to his old job, but alas, no luck. So Casey is jobless right now. To complicate this matter this past Saturday evening, Casey fell and broke his arm. So, we spent most of the night in the ER getting him fixed up. Because of the type of break he has, we have to go and see an orthopedic specialist tomorrow, to see if his arm will have to be set surgically.

Sunday, my oldest dog, the cocker spaniel Lola, started acting sick. By Monday afternoon, she was VERY sick. Just laying around and not doing much of anything. It got to the point that I was picking her up and carrying her outside to potty. I had made an appointment at the vets' for first thing Tuesday morning. She was diagnosed after blood work and x-rays, as is the case with a lot of older dogs, with congestive heart failure. The vet was really nice, and didn't think it had progressed to the critical point. She prescribed 4 medications to put her on. She was put on a heart medication (because of her enlarged heart), a diuretic to reduce the fluid, an antibiotic to reduce the chance of infection, and an eye medication. We have to take her back in 2 weeks for a recheck. If all goes well, and she recovers from the acute episode, she will stay on the heart med and diuretic for the rest of her life. The good news is, she will be able to live the rest of her life fairly normally on the meds. I just talked to Casey a while ago, and he said she was breathing more normally today and she had been up and about. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed for now.

One good thing did happen, Jennie from Kindred Spirits called, and I will start my part time job there this coming Monday. I'm really looking forward to it, and I'm sure that I'll enjoy it. I will be away tomorrow, but by Friday's blog post, I will try my best to have a better attitude about everything. I just ask you, my readers, to bear with me, and if I might be so bold to ask for prayers and good thoughts for my family in the days to come. Sometimes, I just need all the help I can get.