• A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself. ~ Josh Billings
  • I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive. ~ Gilda Radner

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers

pastoral scene at Stebbins-- path and bridge

I’d like to express my heartfelt thanks to you readers who left sympathetic thoughts and prayers. I’ve been in a bit of a funk since my buddy Maytag was killed. But time marches on, and some say it heals all wounds. I’m not so sure about that, but I am feeling the urge to write some more posts. I’ll have a really great one for you this weekend, because a REALLY BIG EVENT is happening in our family tomorrow.

Be sure to check back and read all about it!

Happy Birthday Savannah!

Its hard for me to believe, but 19 years ago today she was born. Where does the time go?

This photo was taken in 2008 on vacation in New Orleans. Savannah is a true animal lover, so no matter where we go, she always finds some critter to love on. (That’s an elephant’s backside, in case you don’t recognize it.)

Happy Birthday!!!

Farewell Maytag, beloved friend

Sad news. Maytag gave up his ninth life yesterday on the highway behind our house. We missed him when he did not come home, and today when I got home from work our neighbor told me she had seen him beside the highway. I retrieved his body from the roadside and we buried him by the pink azalea bushes under the oak tree. Donna put a marker and a rose on his grave. I put a rock. I don’t really know why; it just seemed the thing to do. We stood there a while, and quietly shed a few tears. It was a tender, sad, emotional moment for us.

Ever since that November night in 2008 when I fished him from the washing machine and dried him out, Maytag and I had a special bond. He was like the son (or maybe grandson) that I never had. He was all boy, constantly getting into predicaments and situations and always bringing a smile to my face.  If he was outside when I came home from work, he would hear my squeaky car and come running from wherever he was in the neighborhood to greet me.

He was a great hunter, and he loved to bring his trophies to our doorstep for us to admire.  Always true to his predator nature, he consumed his catches so they never went to waste.  We had a few mice in the house this winter, and of course Maytag proudly did his duty and caught most of them.

Maytag on patrol

Maytag had a regular route through the neighborhood. He would crisscross our quiet street, visiting each house in turn. All the neighbors knew and liked him. He let little two-year-old Cody across the street pet him, and he would catch moles in Mrs. Brooks garden, to her delight. He would work his way down the street to the creek at the bottom of the hill. And although he did not actually swim, he wasn’t shy about poking around the bank like a raccoon, looking for a frog or a snake to bring home and eat.

The most amazing thing Maytag did was accompany us when we walked the dogs. He would hurry up ahead, until he got just far enough. Then he would plop down in our path, roll over on his back, stretch, and wait. Just before we caught up to him he was up and away again. Whenever we passed by the Burch’s house, Maytag made a show of walking along the split-rail fence as if to say “bet you can’t do this!”

Another talent Maytag had was his ability to sleep in the most ridiculous and seemingly uncomfortable positions. He loved to find a sunny spot in the yard, but he especially loved to sleep on Donna’s heating pad when he was inside.

I was a little surprised at how much Maytag’s death affected me. After all, his siblings all went on before him, and I handled each of their passings pretty well. But Maytag was different. Although he was a just a little cat, he had a big heart and a big spirit. He brought us so much joy and laughter.

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Maytag, buddy, we love you and we will miss you very much.

Watch your back!

Jake and Maggie warned me not to trust those felines!

Click the image above to see a hilarious thoughtful downright scary analysis of sinister feline behavior.

Credit: Matthew Inman.

Mitzie and Milo

It was a beautiful June afternoon three years ago, and Donna and Lauren were walking Jingles around the neighborhood.  Upon arriving home they discovered two kittens had followed them.  The little guys appeared to be about three months old, and we decided they must be litter mates.  Of course Donna gave them some (dog) food and water, and they stayed on our carport for the night.  The next day we asked around the neighborhood trying to find to whom the kittens belonged.   Alas, we did not find the owners.

Naturally the family talk turned to the subject of keeping the kittens.  I reluctantly agreed on the condition they would learn to “do their business” outside.  I was adamant we would have no litter box in the house.  Savannah and I are moderately allergic to cats so there was no way we could have them indoor all the time.  Besides, because they had followed Donna and Lauren home that day, we took that as a sign they were meant to live with us.

So we adopted them.  We took them to our vet for vaccinations and a checkup.  We were concerned about Jingles attacking them, but with care and patience we were able to introduce them to each other without any serious consequences.

Mitzie

In early 2008 we scheduled Mitzie for a trip to the vet to be spayed, but it turned out we were too late.  In March she had a litter of six.  We found homes for all but one; and so Marley came to be our third kitty. (I’ll tell Marley’s story in another post.)   Would you believe it, before we could schedule her to be spayed, she was pregnant again!

Mitzie’s second litter was born in August while we were on vacation in New Orleans.  She selected a dark and cramped corner in the crawlspace under the house as her nursery, and it fell to me to crawl under there to retrieve them.  Six again, but one did not survive.  The remaining five we named Callie, Grayson, Mims, Loner, and Mango (who would soon become Maytag - more on them when I tell Maytag’s story).

This time I did not delay! As soon as Mitzie weaned this litter she was spayed.  She has been happily kitten-free ever since.

Milo

Milo was a very sweet kitten, but he caught the ramblin’ bug very early on.  He was gone more often than he was home, and when he did come home he was often injured from fighting.   He would stay around for a couple of days, and then take off again.  Then one day he stopped coming home.  We hope he found another home somewhere, and didn’t meet an untimely end.

A MoMo Breakthrough

MoMo

It’s a miracle!  Tonight MoMo actually came to me and let me scratch behind his ears.  We’ve had him for about six weeks now, and he has been afraid of me the entire time.  Whenever he saw me he would run and hide.   He’s always friendly with Donna and the girls, but with me, forget it.  This was really beginning to hurt my feelings :(.

And then the magic moment came tonight.  MoMo just sauntered over and jumped up on the ottoman right in front of me.  Surprized, I gently reached out and gave him a tickle behind the ears.

Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

Oh wow!  I was so excited that he finally overcame his fear and trepidation.  I rubbed his head and scratched his ears for about ten minutes.  Then he had enough, I guess, and hopped down and went about his business.

Oh, and just so you know, MoMo seems to have gotten over his problem with inappropriate urination.

Hey! What about us?

Hey! We're back here! Hello?

Hey guys, chill!  I will post another entry about y’all really soon.  Right now, though, we’re in the middle of a series of posts about each of the critters that live here. Your turn will come soon enough.

In the meantime, relax and enjoy your evening walks and Saturday swims!

Ok, but don't take too long please!

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