WPC: Transitions

Aging is the theme in our house these days, as we age, and so do our critters. This week’s photo challenge asks for pictures of transitions, and one of our oldest animals is Butterscotch. At 15, she’s showing her age in many ways, most noticeably for photographs, with the increasing “sugar face,” as my sister calls it. She joined us when my dad could no longer care for her, when she was around 10 years old. She was, shall we say, a bit chubbier then, and we took 10 pounds off of her that first year she lived here. She’s a lot slower now than she was five years ago, but still a happy girl who loves her daily walks. Photos of her below, back in 2010 and before, and just this week.


Butterscotch in 2010


Dad and Butterscotch

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Field Time

Thanksgiving Day was absolutely beautiful here, with temps in the high 50’s and sunshine abounding. Butterscotch doesn’t get to be off-leash much anymore, not because she will run away, but because she can’t hear much of anything. She can walk around the block these days, but not a lot further. So her walks get a little dull, I fear.

Since it was gorgeous out, we packed both Paris and Butterscotch in the car, and drove them down to the fields for a little off-leash time. The fields are only about three blocks away, but too far for Butterscotch to walk and still enjoy a little romp.

Paris still has a good bit of pep, and Butterscotch did her best to romp, but she tired herself out quickly. So we enjoyed just hanging in the fields once she wore out. A good time was had by all! And the good exercise justified eating Thanksgiving dinner after, right?

(The last photo is Butterscotch’s interpretation of Christina’s World by Andrew Wyeth, had Christina been a dog, and facing the other direction.)

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Thanksgiving Gratitude

Those of us in the US are celebrating Thanksgiving today. With all the news of shootings and terrorism lately and fearful/hateful responses to all of it, I am glad to have a day to focus on blessings instead.

I am always grateful for Marley, my husband, and our wonderful household of critters, many of which you hear about regularly.

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We have so much to be grateful for, including a renovation to our home recently that will keep the second floor from settling onto the first floor! It was quite the experience, and not cheap, but 100+ year-old houses come with some adventures and are worth preserving. Ours is one of the earlier houses built by Milton Hershey in the early 1900’s, and has great bones, along with the achy bones old things experience.

I am grateful for our pet sitting business, and especially that one of our clients this week is feeling better! Anyone who thinks pet sitting is a low stress job hasn’t done much of it. We’ve been caring for an elderly diabetic dog this week who misses his people…a lot…and has had horrible diarrhea. Not a good thing for a diabetic especially, since keeping that food and insulin in the system and in balance is key. A visit to the emergency vet at 9 pm Sunday night set him on the road to recovery, and we are thankful this Thanksgiving morning that he finally had his first normal poop in a week. It doesn’t take much to please us.

Thankful too, for the community support of our Derry Township Community Cat program. We had a Stuff-the-Truck event last Saturday, and our community more than packed the truck and contributed mucho cash as well. Now we will have food to help many colony caretakers over the winter. These good people, who didn’t invite cats to live on their property, take care of them anyway, and we are glad to help them as much as we can.


We also got lots of new donations for the building we hope to have by early Spring, which means we can help a lot more cats next year. (And that I won’t have 100+ feral cats go through our house next year!! I was glad to house them for a bit, but will be very glad to have the garage, basement, and spare bedroom back. Like I said, it doesn’t take much to please me.)

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In all of this, I am grateful for a great staff in the pet sitting biz, amazing volunteers for our cat program, and tons of good partners – vets, animal rescue groups, pet food stores and more – for both groups. And for wonderful clients, both pet sitting and colony caretakers, who trust us with their furry ones. I am grateful for all of you, too, who take the time to read and contemplate with me. I love reading about your lives and seeing your beautiful photographs.

Happy Thanksgiving to those of you celebrating today. May you be overwhelmed with the blessings that surround us each day.


WPC: Victory: Cat Rescue

I’m not sure if these photos say something about my own victory, or the victory of some very persistent cats. This week’s photo challenge asks for images of victory, and both of these cats presented themselves to me as kittens – ones that wouldn’t have survived had I not taken them in. Minh, our orange guy, had an auto-immune problem, leaving him basically allergic to his teeth, and we had to remove all of them. Had he stayed outside, where he was born, he probably wouldn’t have survived long. Annie, our little tiger, was nearly eaten from the inside out by hookworms, and her own colony had pretty much rejected her. The both found their way into my heart and home, and are doing wonderfully. So the victory, I guess, is theirs!


Annie on catnip

Annie on catnip!

Annie Two Years Later

Two years has flown by quickly, though it didn’t always seem that way. I captured Annie, our little feral cat, on November 11, 2013. She was about six months old, and on death’s door then, a story told in my blog. After four months of intense care, she recovered completely, and has been living with us since.

Help look

Annie at her worst, days before capture


Annie now

Annie now

Annie was pretty old to bring in, by feral cat standards. She loved me when she had limited space and was sick, but once she had freedom of movement in the house, I was persona non grata. She loved our cats, especially Thomas, and they were all the community she needed. When it was time for her first year vaccines, I actually had to enlist the help of one of my TNR buddies to trap her, and took her to the vet in one of our feral cat traps. Fortunately, she was healthy and has stayed that way since her exam in September 2014.

Since then, she’s let me pet her for a few seconds while she ate, and she cautiously ate from my hand on occasion, but otherwise she stayed as far away from me as she could…until recently. Patricia, my TNR buddy, told me that someday Annie would come around and be friendly, and I thought she was crazy. Turns out she may be right. Annie lets me pet her at length while she’s eating, and she comes and sits by my chair if I’m watching TV. She scoots away from me still, but not very far and not very fast. Small changes, but I’m hopeful about the direction. She watches me all the time, especially when I’m petting one of the cats. She even let me pet her under the chin yesterday – absolutely unheard of before.

The vet keeps sending me reminder cards that Annie is due for her annual physical, and I don’t usually miss those appointments, but Annie’s exam will need to wait a bit. She’s happy and healthy, and starting to consider letting me be part of her life again, and I’m not about to mess that up by trapping her and taking her off to the vet just yet. Doing that would set us so far back I’d probably have to wait another two years to get back in her good graces.


Annie at one of her earliest vet appointments during recovery

So, in the meantime, we’ll just keep working on becoming friends again. I miss the little Annie who used to sit in my lap when she was so ill, and who enjoyed being with me. She shows signs of appearing again…paws crossed that it will be sooner rather than later.