Tuesday, April 26, 2011

babies babies babies!!

I have taken on an extra shift at the wild life place doing Sunday nights now as well as Tuesdays. I am really finding that doing this kind of of work is so rewarding.  I have a little bit of a break today and then I start to house sit again tomorrow at one of my very good client’s house for their disabled dog.  I am enjoying the afternoon being back in my own house and hanging out with my own animals.

 Its spring time at the wild life center. How can I tell you ask? Well it’s defiantly not because of the lovely spring days we have had. Or in Seattle’s case not had. I can tell because these last few weeks we have had an influx of baby animals arrive.  I love when the babies come even if it is a ton more work. Most of these little guys need to get fed every few hours and feeding them can take a while. Some of the animals get tube fed so you have to get a tube down into their stomachs and feed them that way. The baby ducks and geese get tube fed as do the raccoons and possums. Squirrels get syringe fed but they are pretty feisty so sometimes it’s a challenge to get them to take it. It’s nice to be able to step into the role of mom even if it is just for that 10 minutes period as these little guys eat. Baby birds are by far the most time consuming. They have to be fed every 30 minutes and you have to both tube feed and drop feed them so if you get stuck in the baby bird nursery you don’t ever get to leave.   But it’s ok because that why we are all there right? To help, save and protect wildlife even the tiny little babies that come in.

So today we have 28 baby squirrels in various stages of life a few still don’t have their eyes open while others are totally weaned and doing find on their own.  We have 10 baby mallard ducks. They are hanging out in two different groups and both still need to be tubed every 6 hours but hopefully they will be weaned soon. We have one baby Canadian goose who was just found alone in a nest. He is so cute and kind of sad that he is by him self. Well all the ducks have feather dusters because it helps them think that they have a mom figure with them. This little guy or gal is very depressed and they are not sure what to do with it cause it would be better if they could get it a friend.  We have 6 baby opossums also in all sorts of different life stages. One little guy is totally naked and pink because it’s so young. We don’t know if he is going to survive but we are all pulling for him. He was found in a dead moms pouch because someone was walking their dog and says some very fait movement on a hit by car and very dead opossums early yesterday morning.  We also have 9 baby raccoons I by far think these are the cutest but man are they not very happy they scream bloody murder the second you try to pry their little mouths open for the tube feeding.  When three people are doing it at the same time it’s an insanely horrific noise.  Finally we have 12 baby bunnies all different kinds and ages.  Baby bunnies are tricky because the stress alone can kill them so you have to be very very quiet and careful.

Anyways like you can tell lots of babies today, all these babies and a whole center full of the normal fare that comes in. In sad news we had to put down an adult raccoon this morning because it tested positive for distemper. Its weird for me cause in the world of dog and cat medicine distemper isn’t very common cause we vaccinate for it but in wild lots of stuff has it and dies from it. This poor guy was in pretty bad shape so it was nice that he didn’t have to suffer any longer.  It was sad though because he had been hanging out at this one house most of the time and the homeowners had grown pretty attached to the guy. They were who brought him in because they had started to see that he was sowing signs of being sick.   They didn’t know that it was as serious as it turned out to be but and they were sad that he couldn’t be helped. But unfortunately life is like that you can’t save everything even if you want to.

Monday, April 25, 2011

I miss my dog

Its weird like some days I'll just be sitting here and suddenly like a huge wave I miss my little dog Bandit. I mean its been almost two years since I have put him to sleep, but I still get hit with these moments of grief. He was really the perfect dog, well almost, he was kinda a shit honestly, but none the less defiantly one of a kind all the way.  I have been trying to get my computer cleared out a little so that I will have some space for my vacation pictures to get stored and I came across this that I must have written a few days after I put him down. I thought I would share it here.  I haven't been around very much lately because I have been house sitting at a families house out in Queen Ann with no internet connection so that's why I have had such a delay in my posts recently. I feeling very displaced with out having my house to come back to and hang out in. Anyways enjoy.

My ode to the best dog in the world.

You may have been skin and bones but you had the biggest heart in the world… And apparently stomach.

I wont miss having to chase your around the street until I am so frustrated that I am cursing you to the heavens and wishing you the best of luck at your new home.

I will miss hearing your tags jingle as you walk around the house. Because now you have to wear your leash 24/7

I won’t miss all the puking especially when it a abnormally large amounts of acorns

I will miss having to pry some sort of dead bird or frozen squirrel out of your locked growling jaws in the middle of the street. As someone is staring at me in such a comical fashion,  you can’t help but laugh.

I won’t miss having to deal with angry dog park goers, crazy neighbors and concerned animal control agents.

 I will miss the way you come and instantly want to sit on my lap and give me kisses.   Or that your favorite spot is somewhere touching me.

I won’t miss all the times I had to stop you from eating some sort of thing you pried up off the street or found on the beach or in the bushes at the park, or anywhere your ability to find something dead amazes me.

 I’ll miss the way you light up a room with you cuteness, your head tilt and your wagging tail.  Or how kids love you and you love them right back.

 I won’t miss how taking a walk mean you get to vacuum the street with your mouth, or worrying about you eating slugs at night.

I will miss coming home every day to a dog who loves me so unconditionally much. Who really has changed my life every year he’s been alive for the better.

I love you,  I miss you, and  I will always remember you forever. I hope that in heaven your able to eat all the dead shit you want. 

RIP Bandit.

Monday, April 11, 2011

My first pet.

I wasn’t always a dog person, I mostly considered myself a cat person growing up, I guess because I grew up always wanting to get a cat.  It wasn’t like I never had a pet or anything, but I guess I never felt like I had my own pet.  We had Mr. Moot, this mutt dog that my mom found outside her work long before me or my older brother was a thought in her mind.  He was put sleep, I don’t really remember much about it, but I do know it was sad. He was also super crazy and would like go all insaner every time you walked in the door. Then there was Heidi, who was a great dog and around for a lot of my life growing up, enough so that some people close to me would feel that Heidi should get her own page on this blog. But the problem was Heidi was my mom’s dog all the way.  She didn’t help to shape who I am. The pet where I would start with and who has shaped who I am today, becoming this person who has all these animals that I consider my family, was Taffy.  Taffy was my very first pet I had that was my very own.

I remember being this 8 year old kid and somehow thinking that having a cat would be the best thing in the world. I have the appropriate amount of fish that every kid should. We had a family dog that died of old age and even got another one afterward to replace him.  I don’t know what it was about having a cat that made my desire so strong. Was it the desire to have something that was mine not the families? Or was it that even at 8 I knew something special about the feline species.  Whichever one I remember that I asked both my parents about the cat. And both told me no. This was devastating to my 8 year old heart. But I was never one to back away from a challenge and slowly started working them hoping for victory.  I think that somewhere along the line I had to prove that I was responsible. I’m sure I had to do extra chores or something. I really don’t know anymore its so irrelevant how the process took place.  I just remember the end result.

I can still see the day when I asked my mom “can I have a cat mom” this must have been a fairly regular question I asked usually met with   a “maybe” or “someday” but this day was different.  I guess something must have made them think I was responsible enough because she answered with a very non chalant. “As long as it was ok with your dad” I waited and waited and waited all afternoon for him to come home and ran out to meet in the walk up to the porch. Can I have a cat dad? I asked for the 100th time in that year. “As long as it’s ok with you mom it’s ok with me” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.  It was almost too much for my brain to process.  Both of them said ok!! I think I was stunned for a few seconds and then I realized that I was able to get my cat!!  VICTORY!!!

 Unfortunately what I didn’t know then was that getting the ok was just the first step in getting a cat. Where as most families might head to the local pound and pick out a cat. My family now entered into the research phase of getting a cat.  Some of you might not have a clue what I am talking about but its pretty self explanatory. We have to research cats, and cat breeds, and cat toys, and colors, and pretty much everything cat. This is going to tell us what cat will be best for our family. This was also what my 8 year old self liked to call torture. I just wanted a cat, any cat. I mean the neighbors had kittens they were giving away and I was suddenly not able to get one.   It was confusing because I was thinking that victory was mine. At 8 I didn’t realize what I now know and that that my family likes to research every little decision ever made, sometimes excessively research. So during the research phase I started going to cat shows. I started talking to people about there cats, what the personalities were for each different breed, all the good, the bad, and the in between.  I got this huge cat breed book that I read all the time committing the facts about every breed to memory. And finally narrowing it down to the very unusual Russian Blue or the very elusive Japanese bobtail. Why these I’m not entirely sure anymore. But finally after months and months we (my parents and I) deiced on the Japanese bobtail.

We had met this woman who showed JB’s (Japanese bobtails in case you didn’t figure out.) She was super nice to me, always answered my questions, let me touch her cats, and never seemed to mind this weird kid being her shadow. She knew of some people who breed JB kittens. I think that was how we ended up at Taffy’ house.  I couldn’t tell you where the house was just that it took like an hour to get there. I remember pulling up and knocking on the door. I remember that the guy who answered as wearing red. I remember that there a few kittens to choose from and that I “wasn’t supposed to get my heart set cause we were just looking”. By this point we had seen many a cat and had still not found our cat, so I did take that advice to heart. But this was the first time we were looking at JB kittens, so I was hoping that this would be it. All this research had just made the desire for me to get a cat even greater. Anyways so here we are at this house, I think my mom is asking the appropriate questions, I was playing with the kittens, and this one little orange girl came and curled up in my lap and took a nap.  I was hooked and instantly knew I wanted her sooooo bad. I know that in true parent’s fashion, we had to go and talk about it in the car.  We excused ourselves and went to go sit in my moms little red Subaru as she put her keys in the ignition, I know that she shouldn’t have and even said something about remembering to take them when we left.  We talked, I couldn’t tell you anything about the conversation except that it ended with us deciding to take orange kitten… I was so excited that this was going to be my kitten! We did all the payment stuff and got her all boxed up, then went out to the car and Oh No… like I expected my mom locked the keys in the car.  We had to call my dad to come and open the car for us all the while hanging out at these peoples house waiting for like two hours. You can imagine how anxious I was to just get this kitten home.   Finally he came opened the car and off we were.   My kitten was finally coming home.

Well the first few days were a whirlwind. I had some problems adjusting to not sleeping because the kitten would attack my feet all night.  I had to keep her in my room exclusively for the first few weeks and I remember she wasn’t always great about using the litter box.  She had to learn not to claw the furniture or us. At some point I’m not sure exactly when or why but orange kitten became Taffy.  Taffy was a pretty mellow cat in whole. Even though she was a kitten and had her crazy kitten moments, for the most part she just liked to lie around in a sun beam. She adjusted well to the dog, and the family.  I wanted to show her since I had gotten sucked into the world of cat shows doing all that research stuff.   She was pretty good at it and won a lot of the time. I think looking back a lot of those wins were due to her being an unusual breed that not a lot of people have around, so she won a lot by default I think. Regardless of the reason she got enough points to be considered a grand champion so at this point in her career we stopped showing her and got her fixed.

 She always seemed to gravitate to my father. I think it was because he was this mellow laid back person who is content to just sit in a chair reading or watching TV and Taffy enjoyed that lethargy. I remember a lot of moments where the two of them would have secret pet sessions when he didn’t think I was watching.  Taffy was my pride and joy, even at that young age she was all mine and for that I was so proud.  When we moved and I started having a hard time adjusting to the kids in my new school, I turned to taffy to be my companion and entertainment.  She was my whole world and to a 10 year old that’s a big thing.  When Taffy died I still remember the exact place I was when my mom told me.  I remember breaking into tears and feeling so awful and like life would be over. She was only like two years old, if even that old, and I remember hearing that the vet had offered to do an autopsy and learned that she had a lot of issues with her body. She had a low white blood cell count, something wrong with her kidneys, and maybe even a small heart. She was so mellow because her body was so messed up that all she could do was lie around and be lazy. 

We buried Taffy in the front yard, under this huge rock, and planted some daffodils over her. Every year those flowers came up and I would think about her. I got another cat  a year or two later and he ended up living until the old age of 19, helping to make up for the sudden death of her processor.  It’s weird that even today I think about Taffy frequently. I never really understood why I wanted a cat when I was young.  But now that I have my three cat children, and even though they sometimes drive me nuts sometimes, I am so thankful they are around. They have Taffy to thank for that I think.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


I have had such an insane week that I have not had much chance to come online and write anything. This month I am spending most of, if not all my free time, taking care of other people’s pets by house sitting copious amounts.  So I’ll apologize in advance for the lack of entries in the month of April.  The highlight of my week last week was being able to release some really incredible pigeons on Tuesday so that’s what I’m going to tell you all about today.  I know that I have mentioned that we had a ton of pigeons up at the wildlife center. A few of them we have had since they were just tiny little babies that needed to be tube fed every few hours. It was so fun to watch them grow up and become fledglings and then adults.  I was given the honor of being able to release them and some of their friends back into the world this week. 

One of the major concerns with these little guys was that they were becoming super friendly and very aware of the humans who brought them the food. Every time you would open up the door they would all come running towards you and peck at your feet until you put the food tray down. It was so cute; and if they had been pets quite a desirable quality, but since they are meant to be wild animals it was so so negative, so much so that for a long time they were at risk of being put down for it. See no one is going to want a heard of pigeons running after you without fear every time you have some food in hand.   Lucky for these little guys they got healthy enough to be able to go up in the hill enclosure and hangout with some seasoned and very fearful adults. With n a few weeks they stopped being so excited to see us, and started to fly to the very furthest corner every time you tried to go even remotely close. It was s good sign that their natural instincts were taking over and they were acting like normal wild animals again. After spending a few weeks up with the adults they got the clean bill of health. As of Tuesday there was nothing wrong with them anymore. They had turned into totally healthy adult pigeons and they were going to have to make in in the real world now.  It’s a happy thing even as it brings a tear to my eye thinking about.

So after my shift on Tuesday I got three different boxes all ready for them. We were going to release 6 pigeons that day in total, the four little babies as well as two adults. They were all going to go to the same place because hopefully the adults will continue to hang with the little baby guys and they can all have a little pigeon family.  We use cardboard boxes to transport them in, so two hang out in the same box at once, because birds are kind of high stress. Its better if they can have someone with them for the ride or the ride may kill them just because of how stressful it can get.  In this case we were releasing them at a park in Seattle so it was both a fairly long drive but also I had to make a pretty good size walk until I reached the place they got to be freed. I got them all caught ,which was not a super easy task because once the first three were netted, the next three were very  much on to what I was trying to do. I eventually got them all boxed up and packed in the back of my car and off I went.

The park that I took them to was called Ravenna Park and its right along side of the freeway. On one side it had a few trees but it really pretty urban. It’s right along side to the freeway and maybe not the most likely spot to want to release some wild birds. But in the case of these babies they have not ever really had to learn the art of foraging for food and at this park there should be ample amounts of trash and debris for them to consume.  As I drove on down I gave them a little talk to avoid flying up to that strange freeway place. It’s nothing to look at and they don’t ever need to fly up and check it out. I mean I know that it’s not going to make any sort of difference but as I was saying it I felt good.  When we got to the park I couldn’t find parking until I was a few blocks from the one woody area. So I took all three boxes out and started the trek as carefully as I could to the place I knew would be best to let them go.  Once I got there I looked around to make sure no one was around and once clear I opened all the tops and waited.

Almost immediately one of the six flew out and started to walk away from me checking out the place. It took about 10 minutes for a few of its friends to join it. The babies were the most reluctant to leave the boxes and after awhile I tipped them over trying to encourage them to go.  After 20 minutes I finally had to pick the final two out of the boxes and place them down on the ground to get them out.  Once all six were out they kind of just started to walk around, a few stayed in a group and a few ventured out by them self.  They all seemed to have a different agenda in place as to what the best thing to do now was. A few of the babies started to peck around as if it was the first time they have ever seen real ground and honestly it probably was the first time for them. I watched them for another 10 minutes or so, waiting to see if any would be brave enough to fly away, but they all just kind of kept walking away from where I was standing.  Eventually I turned and walked away as my job was done now.

It’s going to be up to them to survive at this point, but I feel really happy that we set them up to hopefully thrive.   I drove home feeling so happy that we had so successfully completed our job here. I mean we had taken something so tiny and incapable of living on its own and made it not just live, but live and be afraid of the people who kept it alive that whole time. I wish them the very best out in the world. I know that the universe has no control of who lives and dies, but I hope that they get a little bit of an extra chance to live. I hope the babies are not too afraid because it’s kinda a scary thing to loose the comfort of safety.  I hope that they are enjoying the ability and have freedom to fly around and spread their wings and see the world as they please. That’s all I want for them and the adults who got to be fixed of whatever the problems were that made it impossible to survive without our assistance. Knowing that I was able to give them that freedom is a very very very powerful thing. This is what makes wildlife rehab so worth it. 

Sunday, April 3, 2011


My next friend I’m going to talk about is named Kasia. Now unlike how Katie was kinda forced into being my friend Kasia was very much my friend by choice. I met her I think in 1st grade. I was in this program in elementary school called the gifted program, where they would combine two grades and make one class with the select few smarter kids like myself. You end up kind of being with the same kids the whole time you are in this program, hence why Kasia and I ended up always being in the same class together. Another big part of our friendship was that we were both members of the community pool that we would spend the summers at and as a part of the swim team with them.   Kasia and I didn’t  always have this easy going friendship. We were both very strong willed and controlling people, who tried constantly to be the leader of the group.  This competition between the two us often resulted in fights breaking out and one of us coming home in tears.  Looking back and reflecting it’s very much what I think the definition of a love hate relationship would be.

The first school year we had together their was another girl in our class named Emiko. Emiko used to get dropped off each morning at my house before school, because the bus wouldn’t pick her up at her house. I think that having this alone time with Emiko was a big source of the jealousy issues with Kasia and so  the two of us would both try to get Emiko to like one of us the best and hate the other. These fights never lasted long but they happened often.  Lucky for us all Emiko didn’t continue with this program so we only had her in our class that one year. Who knows what would have happened if she had stayed in the class with us.  Kasia and I always came back, even with these little disagreements were going on, to being each others best friend. I think it was because of the fact that we were so similar and had so many of the same ideas in our heads that drew us to each other and kept our friendship strong.

Kasia was very much my best friend.  I spent a lot of my time with her and her family. She had one older brother around the same age as my older brother. She also had two sisters, one younger and one older.  Her family seemed better off financially then my family did. But because I was a little kid who knew if that was really the case. I just knew that they always had a lot more cool stuff then we did. Kasia always had the best toys and games and food, whereas we sure didn’t.   I was able to walk to Kasia house alone and that allowed me the freedom to hang out there in summer a lot. We would play with all the girly toys that my parents wouldn’t buy for me. She had a whole toy box full of Barbie’s. She was always very controlling of what outfits and activities they could do, but we would spend hours figuring out these adventures they would go on.  At the swimming pool we would meet each other and be those people who always challenge you to do something bigger and better then the other. Back dives, flips, holding your breath the longest, you name it we challenged each other to it.

 It wasn’t like we didn’t have other friends because we did. We had a lot of other girls and boys that were a part of our group, both at the swimming pool and at school.  Together we were the leaders of that group and I’m sure that at times other kids were envious of that.  I think it’s the first and only time in my life where I was in the popular crowd. Together we did everything.  She was always my first choice if I got to have a friend with me on a trip or to spend the night, and I was always hers. We attended each other birthday parties religiously,  had a million sleepovers, and were pretty much inseparable.  I remember being very upset at having to get glasses when I was a kid and it was Kasia who talked me into how awesome they would be. I can remember exactly where that conversation took place even 25 years later.  Unlike with Katie I never felt like I wasn’t enough. I never felt like I had to talk myself up or work so hard to be a part of the friendship. With Kasia it just came easy. It was truly a case of two people who really were drawn to each other because of all the things they want to get from the other. Besides the fighting for control, we had no issues. And honestly if we had been given the chance to continue our friendship as we grew up, I truly think that we would have naturally figured out who got to have that control and the fighting would have stopped.  The other thing about our friendship was that it was only about us. Unlike with Katie our families were never friends with each other. I mean sure our parents talked as the dropped and picked us up from the others house but they were not friends and would never speak to each other if their daughters had not been friends.

What happened to me and Kasia is nothing dramatic. We didn’t have some huge blowout that ended things and made us hate each other or anything. What ended our friendship is that I moved away. I moved to a city and hour away fro the old one and started a new school where I never again got to be one of the popular kids.  I ended up feeling such a drastic impact from not having the close group of friends, that I think it forever shaped my life.  I moved in September when I was about to turn ten in two months.  She came to my 10th birthday part in November  that same year but that was the last one. It’s hard to maintain a friendship with someone when you live an hour away and your family has no connection. Now unlike with Katie, where my mom would put a lot of effort to see them because her mom was my mom’s close friends, Kasia and her family never got that.  Once I moved we couldn’t really have a lot of continuation to our friendship and so naturally it ended as you would expect. I kept going to my new school where I never again found that kind of easy best friend that I had with Kasia and she continued to flourish as the leader of our group with out me.  I’m a little disappointed that my parents didn’t try to put a little more effort into maintaining our friendship. Especially because of how truly hard making that move was on my 10 year old self.

I ran into her once when I was in middle school. It was at an amusement park downtown while I was  a nanny for two kids over summer and had taken them there for the day. She recognized me right away and instantly came over to catch up.  She said that she was going to the school where I would have gone if I was still in the area and liked to write poems. When I was an adult just a few years back I randomly typed her name into Google just to see if anything would come up and sure enough there she was. Unlike with Katie I felt no hesitation sending her an email just seeing what she was up to and even if she would remember me.  Turns out she is a lawyer living in Texas and about to get married for a guy with a kid. She gave me updates on her family and I responded with the same updates on me and my family. It was nice to know that she was doing good and I felt genuinely happy for her.  I don’t hold any sort of expectations with Kasia anymore. What we had as kids was amazing but its over and that’s ok. We don’t need to have any further communication and I don’t have any regrets about what course our friendship took. I have a head full of really great memories about the kid I once was and some of the crazy stuff we would do together.  And honestly that’s enough for me; I don’t feel this need to find more in it as an adult.