I have two new websites up and running:
Head over and check them out!
What is Jazzoo?
Vantage Realty Partners, a commercial real estate firm local to Atlanta, has focused on improving the community in which they live not only by making creative and well-conceived real estate transactions, but also through their organizing efforts related to a very special charity event.
Vantage’s efforts have exclusively focused on a fund raiser coined JAZZOO, a spin-off of an annual event held in Kansas City, which has been successful for twenty years. In 2008, after expenses, the Kansas City Jazzoo event raised over $1.1 million for their zoo.
Zoo Atlanta believes that all children should have the opportunity to experience the Zoo and all that it has to offer. 100% of Proceeds from Jazzoo 2011 will support the Zoo’s programs that provide free admission to underserved populations and field trips to Title 1 schools.
(The photography company I work for did this event last year, and it was an ABSOLUTE BLAST!!! I would strongly encourage anyone in or around Atlanta to attend! -Melissa)
Calming Elixir for Dogs and Cats- Chloe’s testamonial
The sun was up; not a cloud was visible in the sky. The humidity was high, but, this is Georgia… They should print on our license plates, “Where you’ll never be dry.” I was doing a little yardwork when I realized that Chloe, my 80+ pound English hound mix (as best I can tell), was suddenly underfoot. Normally, her “help” in the yard is limited to finely-honed supervisory skills exercised from the back porch. Briefly, I wondered what prompted her to leave her post, and then I heard it, barely audible in the distance: thunder, Chloe’s arch nemesis, fireworks being a very close runner-up. Figuring my yard work was over for the time being, either due to rain delay or dog delay, I trekked back towards the house, trying not to trip over Chloe in the meantime.
Dogs are missing the gene that causes humans to feel shame. This is a scientific fact. Chloe is the oldest and largest of my three dogs and, hence, second in line to my alpha status in the pack, however, this does not preclude her from turning into a puddle of clingy, panting, clawing, whining jelly in these situations, even though the other dogs (not to mention the cats, two of which are only eight weeks old) can clearly observe her behavior. I wonder if they, not suffering with the same affliction, with the exception of one of the cats, who promptly hid in the laundry room at the first mention of thunder, poke fun at her when I’m not around.
Having read in a dog behavior article that you should refrain from coddling a dog who is scared, I continued routine behavior, putting dishes in the washer, turning on the t.v., checking on the laundry… None of which I was allowed to do alone, including going into the bedroom to get this laptop, a process which created a span of approximately 10 seconds where Chloe and I were separated, causing her to panic and force the bedroom door open. She went so far as to break her very strict ban on going into the bathroom (for fear of being given a b-a-t-h, even though we’ve recently fixed that problem) to follow me.
Ok…. Before it got any worse, I decided I’d better break out the antihistamine, a tried-and-true method of calming her down. Well, taking the edge off. Temporarily. Sometimes only after multiple doses. Then I remembered that I’d ordered some Calming Elixir after having to give her upwards of eight antihistamines over the Forth of July weekend and wondering how many adult human doses would be lethal to an eighty pound dog, and hence, if my vet found out I’d poisoned my dog with antihistamines, albeit by accident, would I be arrested for doggie manslaughter?? The bottle of Calming Elixir says it’s safe to give a dog of her weight two tablespoons daily, which calms MY fears.
The substance is thick and yellow, with a vaguely banana-ish smell. I held little hope that Chloe would take it willingly, possessing unsurpassed talents for locating and extracting medicines from dog food, cheese, hot dogs, or any other form of concealment. Working in my favor, of course, was her nervousness. I- quickly- opened her mouth and poured in a tablespoon. Part of it leaked out the side an onto her foot and the kitchen floor. After briefly smacking her lips, she began clean-up detail. I was pleasantly surprised to realize she LIKED the taste! (I sampled a bit myself and must say, I vehemently disagree.) The Calming Elixir was off to a great start! Although, of course, if the effects were not as promised, Chloe’s palate would no longer be an issue.
Within minutes, Chloe seemed perfectly at ease, despite the thunder still rolling, louder now, and more consistent. I took the photo to the left over an hour after giving her only one tablespoon of the Calming Elixir, even though the bottle instructed to administer two under extreme stress. The storm appears to be over now, thankfully. (Even Albany has come out of the laundry room. Maybe next time I can try giving him some, too.)
My conclusions? The Calming Elixir is a faster, more effective, and less harmful alternative to antihistamines when dealing with a dog under stress. Although I have not tried them personally, I’ve been told that the Calming Chews are just as effective for smaller dogs and cats. I would highly recommend either of these products to anyone dealing with doggie stress and duress.
Shure Pets is celebrating Independence Day!! As a special gift on all orders received prior to the end of business in June 2011, we will include our best selling Original Pup-Pie for free while supplies last) – this is a great way to celebrate our country’s birthday with our beloved dog and to thank you for being a great customer. (Pup -Pie made in USA)
From youmightbe.com (I admit, more than one of these apply to me):
- your bedroom door has a doggie door. ( Lisa C. )
- your dog owns more clothing and toys than your neighbor’s children.
- you have more pictures of your dog than of any other family member including yourself.
- you allow your dog to join you in the bath but not your significant other.
- you don’t mind sharing your pillow with your dog.
- you share your popsicles with the dog.
- you decide you might have kids so the dog will have playmates.
- …then you think better of it and just get more dogs.
- your entire Christmas wish list is full of stuff for the dog or stuff for you and the dog.
- you won’t visit your family if the dog can’t go too.
- you spend all your free time (after playing with the dog, etc…) online at dog related sites.
- …and you’re on many dog related e-mail lists.
- you care more about getting your dog’s supper ready on time than your spouse’s.
- you use the term potty in place of other urination terms. (Toast)
- you don’t yell at your significant other after staying out all night because it might upset your dog.
- you make your significant other sleep on the couch because there isn’t enough room for the three of you.
- holiday groceries are bought depending on the number of CANINE guest are expected, in addition to the rest of the family.
- you refer to your dogs as your 4-legged children. (Rose)
- you and your spouse constantly argue about which one of you the dog looks more like. (Big Al Your Radio Pal)
- your dog is in your family photo. (Big Al Your Radio Pal)
- …for the church directory.
- you go buy a king sized bed so there is enough room for pooch to sleep comfortably too. (Visitor Submission)
- you tell your chat partner to hold on while you play tug-of-war with your dog.
- you tell your relatives you aren’t coming unless the dogs are invited, too.
- you get your dog a pet cat.
- when shopping for a new car, your first requirement is that your dog can easily get into & out of the vehicle & she has her own window. (Donna)
- when house hunting, you only look at houses with BIG fenced in yards so your 100 lb “baby” has somewhere to play. (Donna)
- when you don’t think it’s the least bit strange to stand outside at 4:04AM chirping “Pee Maggie…Pee for mommy”, while Maggie tends to play and forget why she’s out there. You can give 2 !@#$s what the neighbors think.
- your spouse has to make the dogs move over so they can get into bed. (Ed Ward)
- whenever your dog barks, you say, “uh-oh — Gotta run — My dog wants her supper and belly rub now.” (Keith S.)
- you share ice cream cones with your dog. (Vicki Marty)
- your dog eats cat *poop*, but you still let her kiss you. (Rebecca)
From youmightbe.com (I admit; more than one of these apply to me):
- your cat has a Twitter account.
- …and tweets more often than you.
- …and you @mention your cat in your own tweets.
- you cut your after-work activities short just so you can get home to see your cat.
- you dare not move a muscle when kitty falls asleep at your feet, even if you need to get up and pee.
- you sleep in the oddest positions, just so you can accommodate your cat, even if he/she chooses to plonk itself in the middle of your bed.
- sleeping with your cat and getting stray particles of kitty litter from your cat’s claws in your bed doesn’t bother you.
- you take your cat’s name as your online name.
- you have your cigarettes outside regardless of snow or rain because your cats disdainfully wrinkle their adorable little noses when they smell smoke.
- when you’re telling a friend about having to take the cat to the V-E-T, you whisper and your eyes dart furtively around the room to make sure your kitty isn’t within earshot.
- you cried more than the cat did the day you dropped him at the vet’s to be neutered.
- you feel naked if your clothes aren’t covered in cat hair. (the Mad Cybrarian)
- if you own more than one cat and can tell which cat threw up just by looking at the pile. (kecia)
- From Fluffy
- people say “what a lovely Angora sweater!” and you say “What Sweater?”
- the grocery consists of cat food, cat treats, cat toys, and mice.
- you know all the ingredients in meow mix by heart.
- you plan your schedule around your cat.
- you don’t care which part of her body Kitty may have licked before kissing you on the lips! (Bonita)
- you nuzzle your sweetheart by rubbing your forehead on her.
- you still kiss your boyfriend after he lets kitty drink the milk while he eats the cereal.
- you feed them Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner on the good china.
- your dog coughs up cat hairballs.
- you take your cat everywhere with you and leave the car on so fluffy can get some a/c and so she can listen to the radio.
- you take your cat everywhere because you, I mean she have separation anxiety.
- you yell at Snookums for talking too much. ( katy )
- you apologize for yellin’ at your darlin’ and tell her you didn’t mean it and tell her she can scream if she wants.
- when you are done crying you go get a towel to dry the tears off of her fur to make her happy.
- when someone else yells at your cat for being bad, you say, “Be nice… she’s only human.”
- your way of punishing you cat for bad behavior is a “Time Out” in the bathroom after explaining that she has been a very bad kitty for tearing up your stuff. ( Lisa )
- when your cat scratches the heck out of you and your family, you say, “It’s just a phase she’s going through.” (Lisa)
- when your cat rips off the wallpaper, you take her to a cat pscyhotherapist to discover what is upsetting her and causing her disruptive behavior. (Lisa)
- you have full conversations with your cats and you think it’s normal.
- you think that they understand you and communicate back.
- you have more cat toys than clothes.
- when you wear black people think that you’re shedding.
- you get a fish tank and fish as pets for your cat. (Kristy)
- you take more pictures of your cat then you do of your children. (Susie)
- you call home during your honeymoon and ask if the children have fed the cat and where is he sleeping and don’t ask if the children are okay. (Susie)
- your cat eats the most expensive cat food available, but you subsist on macaroni and cheese and ramen noodles (Carrie, firstname.lastname@example.org)
- you refer to your parents as “Grandma” and “Grandpa”, but you have no children. (Carrie)
- you force everyone who phones your house to listen to Snookums meow into the receiver. ( Zoe, email@example.com )
- your cat has more names than you do. ( Zoe )
- you spend a date telling your date all about your cats and not one thing about yourself. ( Zoe )
- each one of your cats gets spoken to in their own individual “special voice”. ( Zoe )
- you call your own answering machine just so that the cats can hear your voice. (Visitor Submission)
- you post pictures of your cat on your web page and your spouse has no picture posted! (Michael A. Stuart)
- you cough up hairballs daily too. (Kelly)
- your cat has more say than your spouse. (Callie O’ Brien)
- you write poems about your cat. (Callie O’ Brien)
- your cat sleeps in your bed more often than your spouse.
- you don’t need an alarm clock, because your cat wakes you up before the alarm clock goes off.
- you can eat after your cat. (For all non-cat lovers, it does happen.)
- you’ve stopped wondering where all the cat hairs that appear on your clothes could possibly come from. (Visitor submission)
- you’ve stopped caring about the amount of fur on your clothing on the rare occasions when you actually go out in public.
How it Began: Kitsie’s Story
In mid-October 2007, my mother was driving to work and spotted a tiny kitten sitting in the middle of the road. She stopped to pick her up and noticed the kitten’s eyes were so gunky, they were sealed shut. She took her to the vet, who prescribed antibiotics for the gunk. The kitten was old enough to eat solid food, but she was so tiny, my mother was afraid she would get lost in her house among all the other rescues, so she brought her to my apartment. I called her “Kitsie,” which, I was told, is Dutch for “kitten.”
From the moment she set foot in the door, it was apparent she was unique. Smart as a whip and insanely rambunctious, Kitsie entertained me day and in day out with her antics. However, I soon noticed a few odd things about her. She had a cloud in one eye, which severely limited her peripheral vision on that side, her body temperature fluctuated wildly, and she was also more prone to getting colds and sinus issues than my other cats, even though, at my apartment, none of them were allowed outside.
Kitsie grew up with an affinity for heating pads, space heaters, and the rings off milk jugs and water bottles.
She regularly held conversations with humans or inanimate objects, such as calling to her milk ring to come out from under the fridge or chattering playfully if I asked, “Kitsie, what are you doing?”
Near the end of 2009, I was laid off from my job, and, subsequently, was forced to move out of my apartment while I searched for another one. Kitsie, Albany, my geriatric cat Razzi, my hound Chloe, and I moved out to the country to live with my mother. At first, Kitsie was afraid of the other cats, but she soon graduated to a more aloof demeanor, choosing to limit her social interactions, focusing only on Albany and me, and, not being the social butterfly, this arrangement seemed acceptable to everyone involved. She also quickly developed a strong love of the outdoors.
During an exam in April of 2011, my veterinarian discovered blisters on Kitsie’s gums. He told me this was a common virus, but it was one most cats never got unless they were immunocompromised. Kitsie tested positive for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). As would be expected, I was quite upset by this news. Adding to my concern was my suspicion that Kitsie was pregnant. She weighed in at six pounds and was noticeably larger than normal. She’d never been pregnant before, and, admittedly, I had been lax about getting her spayed, but my vet told me that, even if she were, it was extremely unlikely that she would carry to full term. She would probably resorb them or miscarry.
Kitsie continued to gain weight for the next few weeks, but when she abruptly stopped, I assumed my vet was correct and she was resorbing the kittens she was carrying. Then, on the evening of May 22, at least fourteen days since she’d gotten heavier, and still not anywhere close to having a ground-dragging tummy, Kitsie insisted I let her in my closet. Normally, I keep that door closed, but I decided to go ahead and let her in, figuring she was getting ready to miscarry and preferring to have her somewhere I could watch, rather than out in the woods somewhere, in case she had any complications.
Around one in the morning, I went in to check on her and discovered that she had delivered three tiny but live
kittens! The two solid black ones were still covered in blood and amniotic fluids, but the ginger tabby was fluffy and nursing. Kitsie, proud and content, purred happily as I inspected each of them for obvious signs of birth defects or abnormalities that would require them to be put to sleep immediately, since this had happened before with kittens I had with FIP, but, shockingly, I found nothing. I decided that, until I was able to change the bedding and the kittens were clean and dry, no other cats would be allowed in the closet for fear of FIV transmission. I told myself that these kittens probably had contracted the disease from their mother and may not live long, so I should try to refrain from getting too attached to them right away. However, if any of them were to survive, including Kitsie, I would need to be diligent in making sure she had plenty of high-quality food and milk replacement to keep her strength up and her immune system active. It would be a hard road, but I was willing to travel it with her.
Are pit bulls safe around children?
The past few years have seen this topic hotly debated. Advocates on both sides feel passionately about their position and defend it strongly. A Google search on the topic does little to clear up any confusion. Stories and photos illustrating both points of view are abundant.
Last week, my sister decided to stay with me for a few days, bringing her two-year-old daughter. One of my dogs, Sandy, is a pit mix, which brought the subject to light for me once again. I was not concerned about my other two dogs. Ladybugg, my border collie mix, was raised in a house full of children, so I was confident she would be friendly and behave appropriately around my niece. Chloe, my English hound mix, had little experience with children, however, not the social butterfly, I reasoned she would likely be uninterested in Kayla. Sandy, however, going on six years old, is as rambunctious, playful, and dramatic as she was at six months. I have never experience any aggression issues with her, either towards humans or other dogs, so I did not believe Sandy would hurt Kayla intentionally, however, I was concerned that she may nip or jump on her like she does me. Sandy
weighs over fifty pounds and is strong enough to nearly knock me over if she catches me off guard, even though I weigh significantly more than that. She is prone to sudden outbursts of excitement whenever anything out of the ordinary happens, such as the approaching of the mail carrier, school bus (she nearly had a heart attack the day they both arrived at once), a pedestrian walking in the street near our house, food (whether it’s offered to her or not), the cats running, other neighborhood dogs barking, or, well, just about anything else. On a typical day, Sandy is off in her own little world doing Sandy things that make Chloe roll her eyes at her. Having recently read an article outlining the changing viewpoint of pits over the last century, I had a hard time imagining my Sandy as a “nanny dog.” My collie, Ladybugg, seemed much more suited to that duty. She has a strong herding instinct and loves to watch me care for my kittens (or, as my niece Kayla called them, my “mice”), never barking or nipping, only watching and occasionally licking. Convinced I was right, I set myself up for quite a surprise.
When Kayla first arrived, all three dogs barked, as dogs normally do, but Ladybugg was immediately friendly towards her, as I suspected. Chloe was a little afraid but mostly avoided her, also as I suspected, but Sandy was so terrified, she was shaking. Kayla, not having grown up with a dog in the house, but being a natural-born animal lover (it’s hereditary- she gets it from her aunt), was a little cautious but not afraid. Once my sister and mother calmed the dogs down a bit, Kayla was able to start petting Ladybugg (pat them gently!) and loving every minute! Chloe stayed outdoors most of the time they were here, part of which was during a thunderstorm, which caused quite a dilemma in Chloe’s mind. Sandy, however, quickly learned something dogs have been realizing about toddlers for centuries: they drop food. In the blink of an eye, Sandy and Kayla were best friends.
For the next three days, Kayla did very well with Sandy (and all the others). I watched in amazement as this dog who was normally so hyper and dramatic follow Kayla around the house, licking her, letting herself be petted, pushed, and pulled, taking direction, all while her tail was wagging. Sandy never tried to jump on Kayla, although once she ran past her a little quickly and Kayla lost footing for a second. She did not lean on her. She did not take food away from her unless Kayla offered it to her. She even allowed Kayla to take BACK food she’d already given her. Sandy was calm and under control the entire visit, with no direction from me or any of the other adults present. The videos on this page were taken less than twenty-four hours after Sandy and Kayla first met.
I cannot speak for everybody, but my conclusion from this is experience is that the “nanny dog” reputation the pits used to have is completely warranted. Perhaps they need to fire their PR rep.