Friday, December 11, 2009

New Foster Kitten (Not So Good Photos)

We have a new foster kitten. His name is currently up in the air. I wanted to name him Rumble because he's such a purr machine. Alan wanted to name him Chester (which makes me think of old men.) He has an upper respiratory infection and a very runny nose but is otherwise acting like a normal kitten. He wouldn't hold still for the photos I took tonight.
We'll try again tomorrow when the light is better and after we've had a big meal and he's sleepy.

Alan says he smells fresh like fabric softener (usually our fosters are a little stinky, especially if they are sick) and that he is pound for pound the cutest kitten we've foster. I'm not so sure about that (just look at the anime cute trio we had a few back) but people really do seem to like orange tabbies, so Alan's in good company.

He likes to knead when he's being petted and is obviously missing his brothers who are probably already adopted by today.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

New Dog Update

As of last night, both dogs have now passed from level 1 to level 2 in obedience training. The big question I have is "Why didn't we do this sooner with Gambit?" I know the answer. We weren't allowed to have Gambit around other dogs for the first few months we had him home as a foster because the vet was worried his immune system was compromised by whatever he had been through before he was found with his littermates as a puppy during and after Hurricane Katrina. Shortly after we got him home, he developed kennel cough and was also having diarrhea from Coccidia. Once we'd had him home for about 5 months and he was fully recovered, we had him neutered and, boom! a week later, one of his kidney's failed because of a birth defect. After the first year, I was working at the shelter and another job and putting in long hours. Then I was only working at the shelter and putting in long hours. The last thing I wanted to do was come back to work for class after a long day. Kachina and her issues forced us into training and it was the best thing we could have done. Most of level 1 (and probably 2, too) is about training the owners on how to work with the dogs although you think you are training the dog. The dog responds so quickly once he knows what you want--the harder part is learning how to communicate that. The positive reinforcement method we're using is remarkably fast and effective.

The Gentle Leader is also making a huge difference. We were already walking Gambit with one and had gotten Kachina one for walks, too. Now, we're using it at home, too, when we're here, for the times she starts to get out of control. With her high energy level, she sometimes gets so excited that she almost loses control and does things like repeatedly jumping at our faces or over the couch or onto the bed. The calming effect it has on her is amazing. After coming home to find the results of destructive chewing, we've got her crated now when we're gone. We'd done that with Gambit as a puppy but somehow thought we wouldn't need it with Kachina who is 1 year old. We should have done it from the beginning! It gives her a safe place to go when she's stressed, gives Gambit a break from her for while and keeps our furniture, shoes and other items safe.

One not so good development is that Kachina's started to show some aggression with Gambit around food and treats. For the first couple weeks, the dogs would switch off between toys and treats without any problems. They'd eat side by side from different bowls and then check out the other's empty bowl without any problems. Suddenly, Kachina was lunging at Gambit and chasing him away from treats (sometimes--sometimes he would fight back.) One of the training staff asked me what had changed from the prior week. We realized that it coincided with a barking complaint from our nasty neighbor who threatened to call the police on us. That's a whole other story! We'd been afraid to just let the dogs out to play on their own and make their normal tussling, play noise. Amber, the trainer recommended the dog park. I'd been waiting to visit the dog park until I was more sure of Kachina. I took the two dogs this morning (alone!) and it went very well. Kachina played freely but came back to check in with me and came when I called her. Both dogs played very gently with the smaller (and larger) dogs we met in the park. They ran and chased to their hearts content. We're hoping frequent visits will help. In the meantime, treats are limited to when Kachina is kenneled and we are feeding them separately.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

New Addition to the Household I'm sitting on the couch with the two dogs sleeping next me which is not the normal state of things the last two weeks. We had a pretty wild 1 year old Aussie Cattle Dog (Blue Heeler), Kachina, at work who had been sitting for quite a while despite her cuteness. At a year old, she had too much energy and no training and was a chore to handle despite a basically sweet nature. She was a pointy eared and nosed dog about the same size as our dog Gambit and their energy levels were close, so I remember thinking she might be a good match for him. Gambit's the type of dog who gets into trouble if he doesn't have enough mental stimulation and physical exercise. For instance, if I have work to do on the computer after a day at work and he hasn't gotten enough attention, he'll start pulling things off the tables and throwing them around or terrorize the cats or, if he goes out, will bark incessantly at squirrels and crows in the neighborhood. We were waiting for our new backyard fence to be installed and were talking about getting Gambit a companion. I never thought that Kachina would still be at the shelter but mentioned to Alan that if she was, we should take a look at her. We also had a tough litter of foster kittens that had been home with us for over a month. I didn't blog at all about them because we weren't sure they were going to make it. The litter of four had been eating canned food when I took them home but it quickly became obvious that they weren't getting enough nutrition and I started bottle feeding them milk replacer. Pretty quickly there became a size difference within the group and two stayed pretty small. Within a short while, we lost one of them. It followed a familiar pattern of the kitten doing fine up to a day before and then eating only a little and then none at all and then crashing suddenly. We tried another de-wormer, Fenbendazole (panacur), and they all seemed to be doing better. We had to leave them in the care of one of my co-workers (and wonderful pet sitter) for a few days for World Fantasy Convention and when we got back a third kitten declined. This was one of the bigger kittens and it was really hard--I hate how helpless it makes you feel. At this point, we hadn't named any of them. I think we knew from the very beginning that this would be a tough litter and naming them seemed too hard this time. We are at a very different place than we were a little over a year ago when we were just starting fostering and felt it was important to name all of them, even if they died before we could find the right name. I want to point out that most of the time fostering isn't this hard. I tend to take home the tough cases I don't feel comfortable sending with our regular foster parents. We lost that one, too, and were down to one little grey female and one slightly larger little black female kitten. They should have been up to 1.5-2 lbs but were hovering around 1 lb.

Finally, the panacur seemed to kick in and they started gaining weight. I was able to start mixing the milk replacer with boiled Royal Canin Babycat 34 and thicken the formula. The Royal Canin Babycat 34 is kind of a miracle food. Many kittens will skip right to it from nursing with their mother bypassing canned and other options. It makes weaning much easier in a lot of cases. It took forever for these two to start eating a thicker mixture out of the bowl. The little grey one started three days earlier than the black one. Once they could eat out of the bowl, things sped up and they didn't need the bottle any more after a few days. The key is to always have both the dry and the mixture available until they start eating it. The Royal Canin really packed on the pounds and pretty soon, Morgan and Merlyn were at surgery weight. We named them around the time I was laying out Cat Valente's Under in the Mere, hence the Arthurian inspired names! The two of them were bonded pretty closely but were also very independent and human focused. It was a nice balance where they could entertain themselves (mostly wrestling) and yet checked in often with us for attention and affection. I had the happy opportunity to see them go home together. I don't always think litter mates make the best adoption choice since they can be bonded more to each other than their human housemates, but in this case, I think they will be fine. The woman who adopted them said they decided they couldn't separate them when they were being held by different people, saw each other, and reached out towards each other. We had such a long haul with these two, I almost bust into tears when I saw they were beging adopted as a pair. So, we had a fence installed, the house was clear of foster kittens and Kachina was still sitting in a kennel at the shelter. Alan came to visit and loved her, so we took her home for a trial stay. She is a huge handful, very jumpy and often mouthy, but very affectionate and it's obvious she loves Gambit. Gambit seems to love her most of the time but is also sometimes overwhelmed. They have already passed some bad habits to each other but they're workable. We're going to start training classes at my work on Monday with both dogs and see what happens. I have to finalize the adoption this week, so I think we've made our decision.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Books to read to foster kittens (and other small beings)

#1 The Underneath by Kathi Appelt

No kitten blogging for a while as this was a difficult litter with 2 doing pretty well and 2 not so well even with a foster mom. While we were in California for Liz's wedding, the smallest one died, despite getting great care with fluids given and hand feeding. My poor pet sitter. The other little one, who is now named Mouse, is still way behind size-wise but is doing much better and eating on her own. At this point, bigger siblings Fox and Wolf are ready for spay and neuter surgery and we are just waiting for Mouse to gain a few more ounces.

My new favorite, geeky animal thing is to read out loud to the kittens while laying on my back on the rug in Alan's office. The kittens start out running around and attacking and playing with each other and me and then by the end of the three chapters we are reading each night, lay purring on my lap and knees. I am only 12 chapters into the book and love it so far--it's wonderfully scary and heart-warming at the same time. I am expecting the scariness to increase. Here's the first paragraph for an idea of why this is such a good book:

"There is nothing lonelier than a cat who has been loved, at least for a while, and then abandoned on the side of the road. A small calico cat. Her family, the one she lived with, has left her in this old and forgotten forest, this forest where the rain is soaking into her soft fur."

Nominations for other books to read out loud to these and future fosters would be very welcome.

Friday, May 08, 2009

So I've been getting this hair style for a little while now and just found it is a Samantha Who? hair cut. I need to get my hair styled for Liz's wedding in a couple weeks in Ojai, CA. My stylist said I should tell whoever does it to do it Samantha Who? style and to bring a picture in case she doesn't know what that it is. I said, "Yes, I will do that," and promptly googled Samantha Hu when I got home. I love Christina Applegate. When did she get this show? God, I'm so out of it with regular TV lately.
The Small Beer Press Warehouse sale is still going on. There are awesome books for a dollar! You can get Alan's short story collection and Maureen McHugh's and books by Carol Emswhiller and John Crowley and Sean Stewart and other fantastic talents. The editors have excellent taste and you can't go wrong with any of them. They make great gifts!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Another week, more foster pictures: One, Two, Three

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

New foster pics. They've been with us just over a week and are developing fast. The past two days, they've learned to climb. They love my jeans! They've also gotten messier. I decided to switch from the short sided litter box to a bigger one today after coming home to find the bathroom a poop war zone. Many, many little poop foot prints and lots of "How did that get there?"s. All the bedding is in the wash including their new favorite dog bed.

Also, for the Twin Cities contigent, Saturday is the annual Walk for Animals. I'll be working all day near the main stage. If you're there, stop by to say "hi!" It's even bigger than past years since we're consolidating into just one location at our Golden Valley site.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Here are photos of the fosters I brought home on Sunday. We can't handle Momma, yet, but do our best as she settles in here. She's terrified of the "dog outside the bathroom door," so I don't have to worry about her bolting out and hiding somewhere in the house but his interest in meeting the fosters makes her even more skittish. She's feral but maybe was originally a stray at some point--it's hard to tell. She isn't aggressive but does hiss a lot if we get too close or startle her by opening the bathroom door when she's out of the cat carrier. She's peeking out of the carrier in one photo. The big successes of the week with her are that she will now come part way out of the carrier and eat while I'm sitting just a foot away from her on the floor and I've actually heard her purring a few times when the kittens were cuddled on my lap. The three, fuzzy little ones will need a couple more weeks with her before they are fully weaned and then will need a week or two more to get to surgery weight. Over the last 4 days, they've learned to climb things and how to navigate slippery linoleum. They still wobble and trip over their own feet, though. The kittens are a little boy orange tabby with white belly and feet, a little girl brown tabby with white belly and feet (like her mom) and a grey and white little boy who looks a lot like an anime character.

Our last foster set was very tough (and didn't end well) due to a combination of upper respiratory infection and FIV. It left the two of us emotionally drained, so we're hoping these guys stay healthy. We've heard each of the kittens sneeze, but it doesn't seem to be progressing. We're keeping our fingers crossed and are very thankful that mom was found with them.


Friday, April 17, 2009

Just in case you are one of those who missed it like me, here is my new addiction (and I'm not really much of a gamer):

The Guild

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Friends in Mange Bear came in 4th at a Rock Band competition at The Dive in Maplewood last night. First time I've ever seen the game. Lots of fun to watch. I can see why it's addictive. Here are a couple photos from the KDWB website. You can find more, including the incredibly realistic 2nd runners-up and duct-taped KISS: here.

Jenney says I look like I was going to bite her, but was really yelling, "Rock on!"

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Gambit's reaction last night to news that Coleman will appeal and Minnesota will continue to be without one of its senators for another month or so:

Sunday, April 12, 2009

I'm so disgusted I don't have anything to say except, "Amazon you are so stupid! This is going to backfire on you big time.":

Amazon Rank

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

It just stopped snowing in Youngstown after snowing all morning, but it didn't matter because is there anywhere better to be during spring flurries than in a cafe with a nice hot mocha, a laptop, awesome company, and a martini glass of vanilla bean creme brulee? Alan read last night at Dorian Books which has a fabulous reading space. The reading was followed by a very good open mic line up that included the marvelous Christopher Barzak and some of his students and friends as well as others. This trip was a little more relaxed than our usual overnight visits and we have a whole day of hanging out today. Back home tomorrow. There had better not be any snow!

EDIT: There's was no snow and it was actually sweater weather--no jacket! Gambit submissive peed all over the lobby to Now Boarding! (new AHS run boarding facility at the Mpls. Airport) when we picked him up--must keep working on his socialization. He's asleep next to me on the couch. Tilly the foster kitten is curled up purring on my lap and other cats hover nearby. This makes the fact that I already miss Chris, Tony, Kokoro and Yuki a bunch. Why isn't Ohio closer?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My new favorite LOLcat!

Sad news on the Minnesota puppy mill bill from the Animal Folks Minnesota website:

CURRENT STATUS: Laid on the table. See below.

H.F. 253/S.F. 7 did not pass this year (2009) in the Minnesota legislature.

We all worked hard, together, to educate our legislators and encourage them to understand the problem of inhumane dog and cat breeding; unfortunately, there are certain Minnesota legislators who still do not agree a problem exists and do not understand the purpose of or need for regulation.

While this news is disappointing, we can't stop trying. Mahatma Ghandi said: "The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated." But he also said: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."

We will win. With your help, H.F. 253/ S.F. 7 will pass in the 2010 Minnesota legislative session and breeders will be required to act responsibly.

We will change our communities to show that the inhumane treatment of dogs and cats in breeding facilities is not tolerated in our State. This is only the beginning.

To learn more about how you can prepare for 2010, go to: Spread The Word.

and more from the same page about the hearing...

"The testifiers at the House Agriculture Committee hearing who spoke in opposition to the bill were the NRA, sportsmen/hunting groups, small breeders who don't fall under the definition of a "commercial breeder," and one veterinarian who is also a breeder who doesn't fall under the bill's definition. To listen to the hearing (and comments made by legislators in opposition), go to: AUDIO House Agriculture (Friday, March 27, 2009)."

Thursday, March 26, 2009

One more Puppy Mill post:

Nightline Special Investigation of Puppy Mills
This Friday night, March 27, ABC's Nightline will be investigating puppy mills. ABC Correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi and investigators from Nightline travel the byways and back roads of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania - visiting numerous puppy mills and filming Main Line Animal Rescue's volunteers as they rescue breeding dogs and puppies from Lancaster County's notorious Amish commercial breeding facilities. Sharyn Alfonsi interviewed, on camera, an Amish breeder while touring his facility - a first for network television. With approximately 500 dogs housed on his property, this commercial breeder speaks openly about an industry cloaked in secrecy and suspicion - the cruel factory farming of man's best friend.

UPDATE: I missed this Friday night but was able to view it online. It's a very short piece and you can get to it from the Nightline front page: It was nice to see how clean the facility was that they were able to film but I kept thinking, "What about socialization?" I'm so tired of getting puppies and kittens in the shelter who haven't been handled enough. Lack of socialization can be just as damaging as other more obvious signs of neglect. There's no way two people can provide enough love and care to keep 200 dogs happy and healthy. Absolutely no way.
More to do to help get the Puppy Mill bill passed:

Urgent action needed before Friday

For months, AHS has been working with 32 Minnesota animal welfare organizations and the National Federation of Humane Societies to enact the Minnesota Puppy and Kitten Mill bill (S.F. 7/H.F. 253). The bill will protect animals by giving the Minnesota Board of Animal Health the authority to license breeders and hold them accountable to comply with existing applicable care standards under federal and state laws and regulations. And it stands a good chance of not passing during the current legislative session if we don’t come together to let our legislators know that Minnesota can no longer turn its back on animal cruelty.

The Minnesota Puppy and Kitten Mill Bill (H.F. 253) is going to be heard in the House Agriculture Committee the morning of Friday, March 27. Please call all of the members on the committee before Friday morning and ask them to vote in favor of H.F. 253, Representative Tillberry's bill. As you know, hearings are unpredictable. Unforeseen amendments to weaken the bill may be introduced at the hearing, which is why it's important to reiterate your support of H.F. 253 and urge committee members not to accept any amendments that would weaken it.

IMPORTANT: Calls at this critical time are more effective than emails. Also, if you are a constituent of a committee member listed below, be sure that legislator knows that fact. To find out who represents you, go to

elow is a list of the committee members and their phone numbers.

House Agriculture, Rural Economics and Veterans Affairs Committee
Chair: Representative Mary Ellen Otremba - 651-296-3201
Vice Chair: Representative Al Doty - 651-296-4247
Representative Steve Drazkowski - 651-296-2273
Representative Kent Eken - 651-296-9918
Representative Tim Faust - 651-296-0518
Representative Rod Hamilton - 651-296-5373
Representative Kory Kath - 651-296-5368
Representative Terry Morrow - 651-296-8634
Representative Dave Olin - 651-296-9635
Representative Ron Shimanski - 651-296-1534
Representative Dean Urdahl - 651-296-4344

Legislators are hearing from breeders, hunters, the NRA and others who oppose the bill (and any regulation) so they need to hear from all of us.

Thank you for your efforts.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Minnesota Puppy and Kitten Mill Bill Update from the Animal Humane Society and Animal Folks Minnesota:


More good news! H.F. 253 passed out of the House Civil Justice Committee on Monday without any amendments. Thank you for your calls!

Unfortunately, S.F. 7 did not receive a hearing on Tuesday, March 24, in the Senate Agriculture Committee. As you may recall, the bill was laid on the table at the last hearing in this Committee, which means members wanted more time for discussion and were not ready to take a vote. On Tuesday, the Committee Chair asked that the bill be "called off the table" to allow for continued debate. The committee chose, by a majority voice vote, to keep the bill tabled. We are hopeful S.F. 7 will be called back in the near future.

MORE CALLS NEEDED IN THE HOUSE -- ANOTHER HEARINGThe Minnesota Puppy and Kitten Mill Bill -- H.F. 253 -- is going to be heard in the House Agriculture Committee the morning of Friday, March 27. ACTION: Please call all of the members on the committee before Friday morning and ask them to vote in favor of H.F. 253, Representative Tillberry's bill.As you know, hearings are unpredictable. Unforeseen amendments to weaken the bill may be introduced at the hearing, which is why it's important to reiterate your support of H.F. 253 and urge committee members not to accept any amendments that would weaken it.

IMPORTANT: Calls at this critical time are more effective than emails. Also, if you are a constituent of a committee member listed below, be sure that legislator knows that fact. To find out who represents you, go to DistrictFinder. Below is a list of the committee members and their phone numbers.

House Agriculture, Rural Economics and Veterans Affairs Committee
Call BEFORE Friday, March 27. Support H.F. 253

Chair: Representative Mary Ellen Otremba - 651-296-3201Vice Chair: Representative Al Doty - 651-296-4247Representative Steve Drazkowski - 651-296-2273Representative Kent Eken - 651-296-9918Representative Tim Faust - 651-296-0518Representative Rod Hamilton - 651-296-5373Representative Kory Kath - 651-296-5368Representative Terry Morrow - 651-296-8634Representative Dave Olin - 651-296-9635Representative Ron Shimanski - 651-296-1534Representative Dean Urdahl - 651-296-4344In order to keep the bills moving forward, there have been many discussions with various interested parties. The coalition will continue to fight for the strongest language possible while working collaboratively to get legislation passed. Legislators are hearing from breeders, hunters, the NRA and others who oppose the bill (and any regulation) so they need to hear from all of us. Thanks for all your efforts!
Animal Advocates
Animal Humane Society

Thank you for being a voice for animals. Sent with the permission of Animal Folks Minnesota.

Monday, March 23, 2009

From Alan with love...

Friday, March 20, 2009

All right, another pet related post. I can't help it.

Can I point out how wonderful mother dogs and cats are? They can have just finished nursing a large litter of their own (we're talking 6-9 babies in some cases) and are sore and thin and tired and deserving of rest, and despite this, will accept another large litter of orphans as their own. I know that there are women out there who have done this over the ages, but really, puppy and kitten teeth are sharp!
Awesome Fresh Air show yesterday with Dr. Nancy Kay, author of Speaking for Spot, about being a good medical advocate for your pets and making the tough decisions on their health care with so many more options, often expensive, available:

This is a book I'm going to pick up.

EDIT: This includes a very good description of pet euthanasia and what it's like for a veterinarian/vet tech who is participating. As part of my job, I'm in the process of being certified for euthanasia and I found myself nodding along with her as she spoke. She also talks about making the choice to euthanize an animal and her experience corresponds with my experience. I've heard from probably over one hundred people who regret delaying the decision and from only one who felt they had done it too soon (and in that case, after hearing about the condition of the pet, I think they made the right decision, even if they don't.)

Saturday, March 07, 2009

It seems that just sitting back, reading and learning isn't enough right now.

My ideal world would look something like Frogtown in St. Paul, without the trash, possibly somewhere in Canada--Alan says Quebec City or Montreal because of the older buildings and I'll have to take his word for it since I've only been to Edmonton. The real world is diverse and fiction and the writing community and fandom should welcome and reflect that diversity. I read and write science fiction because I want to explore ways to connect with our amazing universe and at the same time learn more about what it means to be human in all its dimensions. Any true discussion of race is going to be painful, uncomfortable, hurtful, embarrassing, shame inducing, and angry because that it's legacy. When I worked in a homeless shelter, I used to despair that the only way things could change would be with violence because the level of damage and anger was so high and society seemed so broken. I couldn't understand how anyone could get past it. Recent events have shown me that major change can come without physical violence. The community will continue working through the issue of racism because there's no going back. I can't help but believe the vast majority of us understand the need for and welcome change.
Salon has an interesting article on conservative anger surrounding Michelle Obama's recent visit to a homeless shelter and a shelter guest using a cell phone to take her picture. Apparently, there are no other issues to tackle out there and they need to pick on people struggling with housing and poverty. Getting people who were homeless access to voice mail was such a big problem prior to the advent of cell phones that the Twin Cities started a nonprofit just to provide voice mail boxes so people could leave applications for jobs and apartments and actually be reached afterwards. I have a big surprise for all of you complaining about the cell phone: people who are homeless have lives. They may have cars because public transit stinks in most cities. They may have phones so they can communicate with family, friends, employers and landlords. They may have jobs. They may have all of these things and still be homeless because housing is a lot more expensive than a monthly bill for a cell phone or gas and insurance for a car. They may have had these things before they became homeless. They may have gotten them because they need them if they ever want to get their own place again. Get some perspective.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

My heart is breaking again. I'm not sure we can continue doing this kitten fostering. It's just too sad sometimes.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Congratulations Dave!

The Nebula ballot was announced and amongst many good writers and friends, St. Paul's own Dave Schwartz was nominated for his first novel, Superpowers. Many times, a book doesn't get the attention it deserves and I'm hoping that the publicity around the award nomination will result in more notice for Dave. It's a wondferul book and will appeal to many people who don't normally think of themselves as science fiction readers.

Last summer, through Rabid Transit Press and our new series of novellas, Electrum, we published Dave's, The Sun Inside, which also didn't get the attention it deserved. It's a beautiful book and a great story, so I'm hoping we'll see an increase in interest now that he's famous!

There's No Other Way

That iTunes meme via Gwenda via Holly. I'm fairly new to iTunes and just got a phone I can listen to music on. (Thanks Alan for the great Valentine's gift!) The rules are:

My Life in Itunes


1. Put your iTunes, Windows Media Player, etc. on shuffle.

2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.


4&5. Deleted the part about tagging people, so just do it if you like.

6. Have Fun!


"Alive" by Pearl Jam

Appropriate after a long week and almost getting stuck and running out of gas in yesterday's snow storm. (My list is heavy on grunge as I'm just now developing my music and I was in a grunge kind of mood over the last two weeks.)


"Black Hole Sun" by Soundgarten

I'm actually in a pretty good mood considering I got 4 phone calls early this morning, evenly spaced so that they all woke me up, because the alarm was accidentally triggered at work.


"C'mon, C'mon" by The Von Bondies

Denis Leary is strangely attractive in Rescue Me.


"Come Out and Play" by The Offspring

I'm a brawling teenage boy at heart.


"Get Ur Freak On" by Missy Eliott

Chris Barzak, you are responsible for this song being on my playlist.


"Hey Ya!" by Andre 3000

Too perfect. Dance until you drop!


"Hush" by Deep Purple.



"Killing Me Softly with His Song" by Fugees

While not my favorite version, I like this modern take on a beautiful song.


"Nearly Lost You There" by Screaming Trees

I used to be obsessed with figuring out this song. I admit it, I still am.


"Lithium" by Nirvana

As I said, heavy on the grunge. Nothing personal, sweetheart.


"Song 2" by Blur

Interesting. This song has been used in a million different movie trailers for battle/explosion scenes.


"Sweet Child O' Mine" by Guns N' Roses

Probably better than "Welcome to the Jungle."


"Take Me Out" by Franz Ferdinand

I love the idea of everyone dancing, including all the guys doing their stomp dance, to this song my funeral. I think dancing should be an optional part of every funeral.


"For Your Love" by The Yardbirds

I have thing for 60s rock.


"Sex Type Thing" by Stone Temple Pilots

Okay, this is kind of a scary song.


"Self Esteem" By The Offspring

I rocked out to this song when it first came out. I loved the idea that the guy was the doormat and not the girl. I think of it my grrl rage period.


"Gloria" by Van Morrison with Them

Fell in love with this song after hearing it in The Outsiders. I had a huge crush on Matt Dillon and C. Thomas Howell. They have both aged well. "She makes you feel all right. And her name is G-L-O-R-I-- G-L-O-R-I-A."


"Time of the Season" by The Zombies

Peace, love and psychedelics!


"There's No Other Way" by Blur

"You're taking the fun out of everything. Making me run when I don't want to think." One more song and it would have been "Welcome to the Jungle."

Monday, February 23, 2009

From the Animal Humane Society:

UPDATE on the Minnesota Puppy and Kitten Mill Bill

The Minnesota Puppy and Kitten Mill Bill, H.F. 253 (authored by Representative Tom Tillberry), will be heard in the House Public Safety Policy and Oversight Committee soon. We will be sending a call-to-action alert as soon as the bill is granted a hearing and the date is confirmed.

Also, as you know, the Senate companion bill S.F. 7 (authored by Senator Don Betzold) was tabled in the Senate Agriculture Committee for further discussion. We will alert you when this second hearing is going to be held so you can call those members.

If you haven't already done so, please contact your State Representative and State Senator and tell him/her of your strong support of H.F. 253 (the Tillberry bill) and S.F. 7 (the Betzold bill). Also, when talking with others, please consider the points below.

IMPORTANT: Please mention the bill number and author's name

In the House: Be sure to clearly state that you support H.F. 253 and give the House author's name (Representative Tillberry), because another bill, H.F. 573 by Rep. Juhnke, has been introduced and is a weaker bill.

In the Senate: Be sure to clearly state that you support S.F. 7 and give the Senate author's name (Senator Betzold), because another bill, S.F. 500 by Senator Erickson Ropes, has been introduced and is a weaker bill.

For highlights of H.F. 253 (Tillberry)/S.F. 7(Betzold) and for reasons why the other bills are weaker, scroll down to Talking Points below.

Thank you for your strong support and commitment to protecting animals.


H.F. 253 (Tillberry) and S.F. 7 (Betzold) are companion bills, which means the language for each, at the time of introduction, was the same.

Please feel free to refer to the talking points below when speaking with or writing to your own legislators or committee members about H.F. 253 (Tillberry)/S.F. 7 (Betzold).

Additional information about inhumane dog and cat breeding as well as this bill and other related legislation is posted at

Note: H. F. = House File; S.F. = Senate File. House Representatives vote on House files only; Senators vote on Senate files only.

H.F. 253 (Tillberry)/S.F. 7 (Betzold), the Minnesota Puppy and Kitten Mill Bill, protects dogs, cats, puppies and kittens from unscrupulous breeders by giving the State of Minnesota the authority to regulate the dog and cat breeding industry.

The bill is a collaborative effort, incorporating input and has support from many rescue groups, humane societies, humane agents, veterinarians, law enforcement, animal control, animal welfare organizations and citizens across the State.

The following are key highlights of H.F. 253 (Tillberry)/S.F. 7 (Betzold):

· The Core Problem—Minnesota is among the top producers of puppies in the United States. As there are no State laws regulating this multi-million dollar industry, unscrupulous breeders profit through inhumane treatment of animals. H.F. 253/S.F. 7 is clearly written to address the core problem - inhumane breeding conditions and practices found in dog and cat breeding facilities.

· Licensing—H.F. 253/S.F. 7 requires dog and cat breeders to be licensed in Minnesota. A breeder is defined [see bill for exact language] as a person who breeds for the purpose of sale and possesses six or more adult intact female animals for the purpose of breeding. Small and hobby breeders are exempt.

· Inspections—H.F. 253/S.F. 7 gives the State of Minnesota the authority to conduct annual inspections of dog and cat breeding facilities. It does not place the burden on local governments (but the State can contract with local authorities).

· Enforcement—H.F. 253/S.F. 7 gives the State of Minnesota the authority to enforce existing laws and regulations through clearly defined actions. The bill also provides for investigations and seizure of animals when the health or welfare of the animals is threatened.

· Standards—H.F. 253/S.F. 7 puts in place additional standards that are lacking in existing law, such as adequate staff, daily socialization, identification and tracking of each animal, and not hiring anyone who has been convicted of animal cruelty.

· Funding—H.F. 253/S.F. 7 provides funding to the Board of Animal Health (B.A.H.) through annual licensing fees. It also provides a one-time registration fee giving the B.A.H. funds in order to start up the program.

· Penalties—H.F. 253/S.F. 7 imposes civil, administrative and criminal penalties for breaking the law; this includes fines as well as misdemeanor penalties for falsifying information and knowingly trading or selling animals from breeders/dealers without a license.

H.F. 253 (Tillberry) /S.F. 7 (Betzold) is a responsible bill because it addresses the core problem, works hand-in-hand with existing Minnesota anti-cruelty laws, and has strong support by a large coalition from across the State. This issue is about human responsibility - requiring breeders to act responsibly and humanely.

It is time for Minnesota to take action. Over 25 states have passed similar bills and many other states have introduced bills this year in their legislatures.


To link to H.F. 253 (Tillberry)/S.F. 7 (Betzold), click here

View videos and photos and learn more about inhumane dog and cat breeding at the Animal Folks Minnesota website.
Never spoken with a legislator before? Click here.

Why Rep. Juhnke's bill (H.F. 573) / Sen. Erickson Ropes' bill (S.F. 500) is weaker
While H.F. 573/S.F. 500 has some good points, we oppose it for a variety of reasons. Our primary concerns are as follows:

Some of the language in the bill does not work with Minnesota's existing animal welfare statutes.
The bill also introduces new terms and some detrimental requirements, which will cause confusion.
In certain areas, the bill does not give proper direction to the Board of Animal Health.
The bill requires that all breeders comply with USDA regulations, not just those who sell to pet shops.
As indicated in the last alert, the bill does not cover any breeder with under 40 breeding animals -- 40 breeding animals (with litters from each) translates to over 400 animals per kennel. (S.F. 7-Betzold/H.F. 253-Tillberry licenses 6 intact females.)
Rep. Juhnke's bill would also exempt (from the count of the 40 breeding animals) puppies and kittens who are under 9 months of age. This detail, among others, is important because those animals, too, are of breeding age, further increasing the number of animals exempted from any oversight.

For those of us who have been on the front lines and seen animal neglect and abuse in dog and cat breeding facilities, inhumane breeding practices and conditions occur in facilities of all sizes. Exempting huge numbers of breeders from any regulation goes against the intent of animal protection; reputable breeders understand this position.

H.F. 253 (Tillberry)/S.F. 7(Betzold) is a strong and responsible bill. We oppose H.F. 573 (Juhnke)/S.F. 500 (Erickson Ropes).

Why Sen. Dille's bill (S.F. 201) is weaker
During the Senate Agriculture Committee hearing on January 27, Senator Dille's bill (S.F. 201) was heard. A House version of S.F. 201 will also be heard in the House Public Safety Policy and Oversight Committee when the hearing is granted. We will let you know when there is a House bill number.

Our primary concerns with S.F. 201:

The bill is a registration-only bill. Similar to feedlots, dog and cat breeders would not be licensed annually but instead would only be registered once every four years.
The bill covers breeders with 20 or more intact breeding females; as with S.F. 500/H.F. 573, this reduces the number of animals to be protected.
The bill requires inspections to be complaint-based, which is the current system. Rather than annual inspections, a Good Samaritan would have to file a complaint before authorities could enter the property.
The bill takes "humane agents" out of the language for inspections and enforcement and inserts "feedlot inspectors."
Regarding animal seizure, the bill only allows the "affected" animals to be seized.

We oppose S.F. 201.


Not sure of your district or who represents you?
To find out who represents you, click here. You will be directed to the District Finder on the Minnesota State Legislature website. This is particularly important when it comes to committee members; you'll want to know if your own legislator is on one of the committees hearing the bill.

Got a response? Please tell us.
For everyone who forwarded responses from their legislators to us, thank you. It helps with lobbying efforts - understanding which legislators need to be better informed. Please email if you hear additional comments or concerns (support or oppose) from legislators.

Authors and co-authors
Representative Tom Tillberry is the author of H.F. 253 and Senator Betzold is the author of S.F. 7. Other legislators can choose to be co-authors, publicly supporting a bill. As of this date, there are 2 co-authors for S.F. 7 and 10 co-authors for H.F. 253. To review names, click here. If your legislator is an author or co-author, please still contact them and thank them for their support. They need to hear from you (their constituent) and that you appreciate their efforts.

Animal Advocates
Animal Humane Society

Thank you for being a voice for animals.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

My hero--of course she had to have red hair!

Friday, February 20, 2009

I had to give 2 puppies a lime/sulfur wash for ringworm yesterday. Despite wearing gloves and a smock, I got a good coating of it myself and ruined a fairly new uniform shirt (must have been the lime). When I took a shower after getting home, I realized I had a ton of it in my hair as well as on my hands. Puppies! Despite several good washings, I continue to be haunted by the smell of rotten eggs. Since I'm in the middle of reading a book that focuses on Dante and his Inferno, the smell is a little surreal.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A dear friend had a stroke earlier this week. She is younger than me and (while we expect a full recovery for her) it was a good reminder that things can change unexpectedly. I tend to get caught up with work and volunteering and other stuff and sometimes forget to slow down and enjoy the here and now. She's been delighting in her new iPod the past few months and recently attended a New Kids on the Block concert. (I told you she was younger than me!) While I don't always agree with her music taste (many times I do, though), she reminded me how important music used to be in my life and I've been having fun with Itunes. She also got me drinking margueritas again--not often but once in while.

So in honor of Stacy, here are a few things that make me happy and that I am trying to savor:
Indian food
Grunge and 80s alternative music (and a lot of other stuff from the 60s on)
Fostering kittens!
Walks with the dog
Snuggling with the classic edition cats--when they allow it
Movies with Cary Grant (and Irene Dunne and many others who can do that witty repartee)
Writing in a coffee shop with music playing in my headphones and Alan sitting nearby (how did I forget the music?)
Dancing while doing dishes and with friends
My morning mocha
Trips to the parents' cabin
Foot rubs
Puzzle games
Being goofy
Sushi (with a bottle of Asahi Super Dry beer)
A glass of dry white wine
Karaoke with friends
Pasta with lots of cheese and tomato sauce
Downhill skiing
Mint chocolate chip ice cream
Recognizing an actor in a movie and tracing their career through IMDB
Sean Bean as Sharp
Curling up in bed with a good book
Family dinners
Three more sick foster kittens came home with me this week: two orange tabby males, Mango (a little brighter with white boots) and Jack, and a black and white female, Tilly. They're healthier than the last few we've had. They're still in the sneezing stage but they are eating like little piggies and getting into all kinds of trouble. They love the bathtub and the sink and Jack even steps right into the water as it's draining from the tub. You'd think the inner and outer shower curtains were just made for them to hide and climb and play in. The female is long and sleek with longer fur than the other two. She reminds me of a skunk and Alan thinks she looks like the black kitty who is always getting chased by Pepe Le Pew after getting into white paint.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Can I just say how cool bats are? I've had a big fascination with them ever since I did a report on them in 6th grade. My favorites are the little brown Myotis bats who are native to a lot of the United States. It got warm enough for a few to come out of hibernation to hunt this past week and it was so nice to see them circling the street lamp on our corner again. They'd been on my mind after hearing our wildlife rehab department was going to do a bat release last weekend.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Sundance was adopted on Wednesday and the other two, Cassidy and Huck, were adopted on Thursday. So, we're kitten free and the house seems a little empty. The classic edition cats (as Alan calls them) are all getting more attention than they have in while even if it is unwelcome attention at times.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Tonight is our last night with the current three foster kittens. The girls had the run of the house with Alan while I was at work today and now the boy has some outside the bathroom time. I've really enjoyed having lap cats for the past month. Because they're older, it's a pretty good bet they'll continue to be cuddly. Lucky adopters! The highlight of the day today was an e-mail with pictures from Lodi's adoptive mom. It reminded us of why we foster and took some of the sting out of returning the kittens tomorrow. Since we started this fall, we've fostered 12 kittens (11 of them sick with upper respiratory infections) and lost 5 of them. Sometimes it's felt like we've been fighting a losing battle. Knowing that the 6 that made it are in good homes really helps.
If you live in Minnesota, please take the time to make a call or two supporting puppy mill legislation making its way through the state house. There is more information below and on the Animal Humane Society's website at:

Good afternoon,

Animal Humane Society is working with 32 Minnesota animal welfare organizations, the Humane Society of the United States and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals on the Puppy and Kitten Mill bill (S.F. 7 and H.F. 253) which has been introduced in Minnesota's current legislative session. The bill will give the Minnesota Board of Animal Health the authority to license breeders and hold them accountable to comply with existing applicable care standards under federal and state laws and regulations. In turn, this will allow our humane investigators the statutory authority to more effectively help reduce the suffering of animals confined and living in inhumane conditions. More specifically, the proposed bill will:

Improve the ability to regulate breeding facilities of cats and dogs and ensure that breeders comply with existing laws and regulations and meet specific standards of care,
Provide licensing and regulatory authority to a single unit of government
Provide corrective orders, and administrative and criminal penalties for violations
In our work, we see the tragic results of animals coming out of these facilities
Many states have enacted legislation that regulates puppy mills in this country.

How you can help
Time is critical. Lend your voice to animals today.

The bill will be heard in the Senate Agriculture Committee on Tuesday, January 27. Below is a list of the committee members. If you live in one of their districts, please call before Tuesday. (Notes on what to say are listed below.)

Jim Vickerman - Chair (District 22) - 651.296.5650
Sharon L. Erickson Ropes - Vice Chair (District 31) - 651.296.5649
Satveer S. Chaudhary (District 50) - 651.296.4334
Steve Dille (District 18) - 651.296.4131
Lisa A. Fobbe (District 16) - 651.296.8075
Joe Gimse (District 13) - 651.296.3826
David W. Hann (District 42) - 651.296.1749
Bill G. Ingebrigtsen (District 11) - 651.297.8063
Paul E. Koering (District 12) - 651.296.4875
Gary W. Kubly (District 20) - 651.296.5094
Keith Langseth (District 9) - 651.296.3205
Tony Lourey (District 8) - 651.296.0293
Steve Murphy (District 28) - 651.296.4264
Rod Skoe (District 2) - 651.296.4196
Dan Skogen (District 10) - 651.296.5655

For all others, please contact your State Senator and Representative and ask them to support the Puppy and Kitten Mill bill. Be sure to ask them not to support a weaker bill that may be heard.

Click here to locate your representatives and their contact information.

Notes on what to say
Ask committee members to vote in favor of the bill (S.F. 7 and H.F. 253) and to not accept any amendments that would weaken it. (Be sure to state the bill numbers.)

Minnesota is among the top producers of puppies and kittens in the United States, yet there is no State oversight of this multi-million dollar industry. The problem is not the size of the breeding facility; the problem is inhumane breeding practices that lead to horrific conditions.

The bill will give the State of Minnesota the authority to regulate the dog and cat breeding industry in the state (hobby breeders are exempt), protecting both animals and consumers from unscrupulous breeders and inhumane breeding practices.

Please support S.F. 7 and H.F. 253. Minnesota can no longer turn its back on animal cruelty.

Other ways you can help
Be a voice for the animals and become an Animal Advocate.

Spread the word. Ask your friends and family to support the bill by becoming an Animal Advocate and contacting their legislators.

Thank you,

Tracie Jacobson Media Relations Associate Animal Humane Society Buffalo - Coon Rapids - Golden Valley - St. Paul - Woodbury (763) 489-2251

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Okay, it's more like trilling cats rather than yowling.
Come Out and Play

Arggh. I'm regretting my decision to keep the kittens another week. They were still sneezing ocassionally so I thought an extra week would be good for them. Our spay/neuter surgery list was really long and although they'd have priority as foster returns, they'd bump some other animals further down the line. I figured kittens waiting in a foster home was better than cats sitting in the shelter risky getting sick for another week. (Besides these kittens (almost cats) are really, really great and we are going to miss having snugglers in the house. The male was already showing some neck biting behavior but it never led to anything. Unfortunately, now the female tabby (new name Cassidy--the tortie is named Sundance) is showing symptoms of heat. Looking forward to a weekend of yowling, crying cats. Yay! Gotta keep 'em separated.

Friday, January 23, 2009

It was a very long week but much less stressful than it would have been a few weeks ago. My job has now been officially divided into two different positions and half of my duties, the customer service side of things has been passed on to Jenney, CS Supervisor extraordinaire. I'll be able to focus on the Animal Care side of things. Yay!

The toughest part of the week was that we lost another little foster kitten who we had nicknamed Button. I brought her home last week because she'd stopped eating while fighting upper respiratory infection and was no longer a good candidate for our regular foster program. Losing them doesn't get any easier and this one was particularly hard because she was eating on her own (like a little piggy!) and seemed to be getting better. She started doing a kind of half sneeze/half cough Saturday night but ate normally and seemed fine otherwise. In the morning, she was a little listless and was wheezing, so I brought her into work with me. She died before we could do anything for her. I think it might have been pneumonia. I thought we were safe because she was eating on her own again and had a good body weight for her size but it just shows how fragile cats can be because they are so small. The other three who were being kept separate because they're from another litter are doing great. Except for the shaved spot, you can't even tell where the abscess was on the tabby female, Pickford. They'll be going back to shelter on Monday for surgery on Tuesday. We've renamed Chaplin to Huck. Chaplin was a fine name but didn't really fit him. We're still working on renaming the two girls, Pickford and Marion.

Alan smelled natural gas at the end of our driveway when he was bringing in the trash can a couple days ago. You never want to waste anyone's time but with gas it's worth a phone call. Xcel Energy, our gas and electric company, sent someone out that night to look for a leak. They were there until late at night going back and forth up the two streets (we're on a corner) and it looks like they were checking furnaces and gas lines for some of our neighbors, too. All of them are early to bed so I think they had to be woken up. The next day, they were back again in late morning and when I got home that night, they'd rigged up some generators and gas tanks and those horses with the blinking lights on the edge of our lawn around the corner from the driveway. We never heard what happened but it looks like it's on our lot. Eek.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Was it worth it to sit through two nights of the 100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs on VH1? I don't know but it definitely fit my mental speed after a few long days at work. Allowed me to hot compress the sick kitten. Could have done without all the Bret Michaels, though. Never was one for hair bands... except for maybe Def Leppard. Were they a hair band?
Happy New Year!

After losing most of New Year's Eve to an emergency clinic visit with one of the foster kittens, Alan and I finally celebrated by going to see a matinee of Slumdog Millionaire. Great movie with beautiful cinematography! I love the way the story was told in flashbacks with 3 different actors portraying the kids as they grew up. It was sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes funny, and sometimes heart warming--a wonderful mixture.

Pickford the kitten will be okay. She's staggering around the bathroom right now with her soft blue e-collar on and purring and calling out for attention. She's awake but still coming out of the anesthesia. I came home from work New Year's Eve to find her lethargic, very warm and with a new lump on her side. Things like this always happen at night and on holidays. She didn't have the lump in the morning. She lays on her back so I can rub her belly and I had just done it that morning before work. I took her in and they thought it was a hernia so they recommend x-rays (of course) and then they aspirated it to find it was an abscess. She had old claws wounds that had healed in that spot and so she must have had an injury prior to her coming home with me. The claws were adult sized so it probably happened before they came into the shelter. They made a little opening for it to drain and gave her an antibiotic shot. We got through New Year's Day with hot compresses and some new medication from the shelter. Today, our vet knocked her out and put in a drain. If things go well, it will come out tomorrow or the next day. The other two kittens, Marion and Chaplin, are in the bedroom now and should have a lot of fun exploring. Gambit the dog will have to sleep on the couch for a few days.