Thursday, April 26, 2012

Heaven Has Another Angel

Bandit 11-1-1999/ 3-20-12

I keep trying to come up with the right words. How do I put into words the life I shared for 12 years with a dog like Bandit? I can't. 

Bandit's breeder told me when he was still with the litter, that he would need to go to an obedience home. A home that not only knew aussies, but also one that was actively involved in obedience training. To put it mildly, he wasn't an easy dog. He had a lot of attitude and personality, and felt he had to be the center of attention everywhere he went, and he got it. That made him who he was. Everyone that met him, loved him. He never took life seriously. He just lived life, expecting everyday, every moment, was being created just for him. I can't remember a single day that he was not happy.

Most importantly, he was my very special Lit'l Man. He was my constant shadow. I couldn't even move an inch without him taking notice and being right there. He often knew what I was thinking, before I did. He would console me in my lowest moments. We had a connection, like we were one.

Bandit was a picture of health. perfect, in every way, then something went wrong. He never aged. He never slowed down. I knew when it was going to be his time to leave this earth, everything would just stop, he would stop, with no warning. Like he did everything else in his life, he would just be Bandit.

Five weeks ago, I felt his last breath, my first without him. I don't know how to be me, without him.  

He was my everything, I miss him so very much, my heart aches.

Rest in Peace My beautiful Lit'l Man.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Looking Regal And Lost

A month has passed since I wrote about Oliver, I am sorry to say I have had no luck trapping him. I'm afraid I have taken a few steps backwards in attempting to gain his trust. He is no longer consistent with coming onto my patio and eating nightly. There are some days I don't see him come into the yard, however, I often see him eating and drinking in the shelter.

I've been trapping for a long time. I have experience with many different types of traps, netting, and different bait to use. I know how to handle strays, ferals and domesticated cats. I know how to tame a feral adult, and a kitten. I know how to gain their trust. It takes time, lots of time, and an extreme amount of patience. It also takes not giving up.

I find myself often in situations like this, that one elusive cat, a difficult case, eventually somehow, someway, I manage to get them in a trap, or gain their trust enough to allow me to pick them up and put them in a carrier. With Oliver, I feel helpless, lost, perhaps because when I sat there taking these pictures, talking to him in a low soft tone, he looked helpless and lost, so very lost.
I document all activity with my feral colony. Each morning for the past several years I make a note in their file, a note that simply says they were here and seen today, and looked healthy. When a new cat shows up, I note the color/markings, gender, and date/time they appeared, just in case he/she becomes a regular visitor and I may need to trap and tnr him/her.

There are also pages in the cats files that are blank, when one of the cats are not seen I don't make any notations. This helps keep track on when a cat went missing. The sad reality of feral colonies, we get no closure. Many times they just disappear. We can feed and care for a cat daily for years, then one day....Poof! They are gone. Your mind goes places you would rather not it go, but you can't help it. You imagine every horrific thing you can, hoping this isn't what happened, but most often you never know. You just mourn for them, miss them, and wonder. But, you carry on, and continue doing what you do, being a responsible feral cat caretaker.
Yesterday morning, we heard the most horrific sound in the distance, we were sure it was the painful screams of a cat. The sound was one of a cat that was in terrible pain, trapped and couldn't get away. I went out in the shelter, lifted the roofs to all the houses, trying to count for all my ferals. After a few hours, all were accounted for, except Oliver. All day, I looked for him, all day I waited. No Oliver. Hoping he would come for dinner last night, no signs of him. As each hour passed, I became overwhelmed with worry. He has been through so much already, I prayed that he would show up unharmed.
This morning, still waiting for any signs of him, my husband calls me from work and asks if I had seen him yet. He expresses his sorrow and concern also, which just adds to all the horrific things I am imagining by now. Finally, here I sit at the computer, and there I see him on my webcam walking into the shelter. He's fine, no harm has been done to him. I can now open his file and write that little note, and today's page will not be blank.

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Face That Breaks My Heart

The sad reality of feral and stray cats. Those who know me, know I feel it is very important to give every feral or stray cat that I come across, a name. It gives them purpose, and makes them important. This is Oliver, I think the name suits him well.
He showed up a couple of months ago. Until recently all of my photos of him were taken in the dark and I was never able to see just how bad his eyes were.
He would come to eat in the shelter and on my patio after the other ferals ate first. He would always keep his distance from me until I was safely indoors where I can observe him through the window.
Each time I would set the traps out he wouldn't show. Then weeks would pass before I would see him again. Typical when you think a cat would be easy to trap, you watch their schedule, you plan, then they change their routine on you. It gets discouraging, but you don't give up.
Since last month, Oliver and I have built a relationship, with just a bit of trust. He now comes to eat with all the ferals, he sits and waits on the patio for me to bring the wet food treat they all get each evening. He even allows me to pet his head some while he is eating. The infection in his eyes is disturbing. His vision is very poor. I honestly can't imagine that he can see anything, except shadows in a fog.

I realized just how poor his vision was when I had the trap right in front of him and was hoping to have gained enough trust to just guide him in. His head was very wobbly, trying to focus. He knew something was there, within two feet from his face, but he couldn't focus, he was frightened and left the yard. I then realized each time he didn't show when I set the trap was because things were moved in the yard, the trap was a foreign object that he couldn't see well, so he kept his distance.
While watching him daily, and viewing the dozens of photos I have taken, he appears to have a growth on the inside of his left lower jaw. It could be a tooth abscess, but until he is vetted, I won't know for sure.
I am remaining positive in hopes that he has nothing contagious. His nose is clear, his weight is good, his breathing sounds normal. Perhaps the infection in his eyes is just from fighting, and the growth in his mouth is just a bad tooth.

I discovered tuna is the most tasty thing he goes absolutely crazy for. I am trapping again tomorrow night, and hoping the tuna, and the little bit of trust he is gaining with me will be promising.

I also hope and pray after vetting, he can be helped. Here again, is another big gray tomcat that has captured my heart.

Monday, October 17, 2011


Jeni is over nine years old now, but age has not slowed her down. She will always be referred by us as our little energizer bunny. She is very good with Annie, and wants to play all the time, but will always be Bandit's best friend. If someone would ask us who is the most spoiled in our house, we would have to say Jeni is. I think they are all spoiled a bit, but honestly speaking, I think Jeni is just a tad more spoiled then the rest.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Little Miss Annie

It's been a very long time, too long since I have checked in on Blogger. It's time I get my act together and start catching up with everyone. I have so many updates, and am so far behind, I have decided to just post some photos for now, so I can get those all out of the way. So please bare with me over the next few days as I will be posting photos of my crew, to get everyone updated. Then I will be able to concentrate on letting everyone know all the happenings that have been going on in our world.

These next five photos were all taken last month. She cleans up nicely.

A couple months ago, as cute as can be.
These next few photos were also taken just a couple months ago.
She is so pretty.

She loves my outside feral cats, and they love her. She has a way about her that attracts all the cats. Cats that are not friendly to me, but love Annie. She is like a cat whisperer!
Photo taken last week. Silly girl!

I have an on going album titled "Annie Goes To School". Weekly I take a few photos of her interacting with the children in my daycare/preschool. I have so many great photos of her, reading with the kids, doing art projects with them, participating in show and tell, unfortunately I only share them on my Facebook page due to privacy issues, but I thought this one would be okay to share with all of you.
Thank you all for being patient with me, as I went missing, but I'm back, and will be catching up with everyone soon. Until then, enjoy the photos!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Hello My Friends

In case anyone is wondering, yes, I'm still alive! I have been very busy the past 2 months. I had a second surgery on February 14th for my broken shoulder. Any of you that does not know the details, you can read it in my previous posts here and here.

I spend a couple hours 3-4 days a week at Physical therapy. I have a CPM (continuous passive motion) therapy chair here at the house. It helps my range of motion. Per the doctor I need to sit in it for 1 hour, 4 times a day. I have several exercises I need to do at home, every hour of the day that I am awake. My life revolves around physical therapy, I should be getting paid for this!

I have improved quite a bit since the last time I posted. My hand is still numb and tingly all the time, but I have gotten use to the feeling. I am getting plenty of my independence back, and am able to do most things on my own again. I can only lift my arm a bit higher then my waist. I still have days that I get a bit discouraged, wondering if I will ever be able to do things that take two hands to do. I know with the significant nerve damage and all the breaks I encountered, it is just taking time. A slow process. But I will get there, I just have to remind myself these things take time. It has been 3 months since I fell, and the Doctor and Therapist both say I am not even at the half way point of my recovery. I can not wait to be able to do my hair with both hands!

The dogs and cats are all good. We have been busy with all of them, taking advantage of the cool weather. Annie is enjoying agility and obedience. We are going to be introducing her to some sheep in a couple of weeks and hope to start herding lessons with her soon after. That should be fun.

I hope everyone has had a healthy and safe winter, and are enjoying the beginning of Spring.

Some recent photos for all of you to enjoy!
March 12th, we celebrated Annie's first birthday.
She enjoyed her cake, and especially liked the icing.

I made dozens and dozens of healthy, all natural treats for her many canine friends for her birthday party. Carrot & Oatmeal, Peanut Butter & Banana, and Apple Cinnamon & Oatmeal. They were all a huge hit!

Sitting in my Physical Therapy chair. Think she's trying to tell me something?
Waiting for her agility class to start.