Category Archives: Antics

What Do Different Dog Barks Mean?

If you have a dog, we all have heard them bark from time to time.  Sometimes it is a long and loud incessant bark, other times a short, staccato type bark, and other times it is a longing low bark.  Do you know what each one means?

Dogs bark for various reasons, sometimes it’s because they are bored, other times they have been left outside alone for too long and want to be back in with their “pack” (or people).  Dogs are pack animals, they like the company of others for the most part.

Dogs sometimes bark because there is a stranger invading their territory (usually a lot of loud short barks and sometimes a showing of the teeth or growling).  Usually if it is a person invading the territory, they will back off lest they may be attacked.

A dog will also bark when they want to play.  Usually Sasha will bark more high pitched and short barks.  This also leads to her going down into a submissive bow and then she’s ready to go play!

Some people will train a dog to bark to signal when they need to go out to and do their business.

After a while, once you have had your dog for a while, you will figure out what their bark means.  Almost like when a child cries, you quickly will know and understand what your child is crying for.

In the mean time, here is an interactive quiz from NOVA to see if you understand what each bark means.  If you click on the link that says “LAUNCH INTERACTIVE” (right beside the picture of the dog growling), you can listen to the bark and then choose which bark you think it means.  Have fun and learn at the same time!

 

What a Scare! Toxic Plants for Dogs and Cats

The other day my good friend bought me an Aloe plant.  It is a wonderful healing plant for almost any kind of ailment whether skin wise or internally (great for those with stomach issues, pancreatitis, ulcers, etc).  I have digestive issues and drink the aloe juice to help heal my stomach.

I had the plant for a few days, Isis kind of checked it out but I would always shoo her away from it.

Well one night while we were sleeping, someone chewed and left holes in the plant branches…ahem.

I didn’t think anything of it at first and then, Isis wasn’t acting like her usual self.  Then the vomiting started…all over the house.  Soon after came diarrhea, and a change in her urine.

The last straw was when she started to tremor, slightly. It was time to get to the vet, fast.

I then was told that Aloe can be very dangerous for cats.  I know many plants are toxic to cats but I had NO idea something that is so healing to humans can be so lethal to animals.  I felt absolutely horrible, like I was a horrible pet parent.  I cried and cried.

Isis had fluids pumped back into her and was kept at the vet’s for 24 hours to make sure she was back on the mend.

Luckily she made it through with flying colors and is a happy cat once again.  My vet gave me a link to the ASPCA page which tells you which plants are toxic to not only cats, but dogs and horses as well.

There are just so many out there to watch out for.  Please, if you have plants in your house, make sure your pets are not around something that could potentially kill them.

Some symptoms of a poisoning that are common among most cases are: vomiting, diarrhea, listlessness, depression, change in urine.  If your pet exhibits any of these symptoms, you can call ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.  There may be a $65 charge for consultation.  Otherwise, call your emergency vet and get it checked out immediately.  Time is of the essence in these cases.

I have learned my lesson, I do not keep plants in my house just to be on the safe side.  I am not taking any chances.  My furbabies are like kids to me and I cannot take a chance of something horrible happening to either one.  I have forgiven myself for what happened with Isis, but I will never forget it.

Some Strange Cat Behavior – Decoded

Cats can do some strange and silly things.  I know Isis will do crazy things daily and I often wonder, what’s up with that?

So I poked around Google and found some answers to the strange, crazy and sometimes cute things that cats do, I am sharing the information with you so that the mystery will be decoded!

The other day I was feeling under the weather and Isis came and sat on my chest and started kneading my shirt and then settled down and started to suckle on my shirt while kneading and purring.  This is not abnormal and it means that your cat is totally happy and loves you!  Sometimes she will start to drool as well and from reading this article, all that is part of her happiness.

Some people say a cat will suckle on your shirt because they have been weaned from their mother too quickly.  Others say they suckle because they go back to being a kitten while they are kneading and think of you as their mother.  I prefer to agree with the second explanation.

Sometimes Isis will talk to me and use a sound like this. (this is not Isis, just a video I found on youtube).  It’s called trilling and from what most articles say, this means that your cat is happy and communicating with you.  It can also be the result of a cat trying to communicate with their kittens, making sure that they keep close to them.

If you get birds outside your window, sometimes you will hear a strange sound like a clicking.  This is your cat chirping at the birds and it is a natural response to seeing something they prey upon naturally.

Does your cat ever come up to you and try to meow but nothing comes out?  This is usually called a silent meow, and this can mean a few things.  Most times it is one of the ultimate expressions of love and the highest form of a cat to say “please”.  Take it as a compliment if your cat does this to you!

Many times Isis will be on the other side of the room and she will look at me and her eyes close and open slowly and softly.  This is another sign of great affection and comfort with the person they are communicating.  If you want to communicate back, mimic the behavior, you may get into a soft, affectionate blinking eye match with your cat that can last a while.  It’s also a way of giving your cat kisses.  It is explained more in this article.

As you can see, there are many ways our cats communicate with us on a daily basis.  There are many more ways cats communicate, but these are the most common.

Observe your cat and learn to communicate with them and you’ll have a buddy for life!

Humorous Websites – Be Prepared to Laugh!

Since it is close to Christmas and not everything has to be serious all the time, I figured it would be a nice change to put up links to some humorous websites all about animals!

As I am sure most of us know LOLCats (I can haz cheeseburger) is a great website for funny captions on photos of cats, and they have videos as well.  There is now a more adult version of this website, which is ICHCAD NSWF (After dark website is not safe for work). (I can haz cheeseburger after dark).

A follow up to LOLCats is LOLDogs (I has a hot dog).  Basically the same at the cat website, but with doggies!

Another great cat website that for some reason makes me laugh really hard is Invisible Cats.  It’s cats captured in motion where the pictures are captioned.  Hilarious!

A great but possibly Not Safe For Work website is mycatisadick.  People send in pictures of their cat doing, well crazy cat behavior, and there is a description of the picture underneath it.

If you enjoy TV and a mix of watching shows about animals, Animal Planet has a great website with games, puzzles, videos and much more to check out.  I could spend hours putting together virtual puzzles.

Do you like to watch funny videos?  Do you like videos of dogs?  Well put the two together and you have the Funny Dog Website.  Not to be outdone by the dogs, there is a funny cat website.

Upsidedowndogs is another site with cute and funny pictures added daily.

Another cat website is ROFLCAT.  Pictures, , captions and comics.

Stuffonmymutt is well…putting stuff on your mutt and taking pictures of it.

Does your cat come and try to play while you are working on the computer?  Well there is a website where you pick a critter and watch it dance and move across your screen while your cat goes nuts batting at it and chasing it around.  It’s your own Cat TV!

As you can see, there are many humorous websites out there that are all about animals.  There are more, but these are my favorites and the ones that produce the most laughs.  I wanted to put something fun to do as nothing has to be serious all the time.  These sites are also great time wasters and if you’re at work this week, you might have a lot of time on your hands.  Just watch the sites that are not safe for work.

Have fun!

 

Weekly Dog Trick – Play Dead

I thought I would spotlight a rather simple trick that pretty much every dog parent seems to like to have in their trick repertoire.  This trick is called Play Dead.  Most dogs learn this trick very quickly and it’s a great hit when showing off your dog’s skills.

The dog should know the command “down” and you should have a release word (I use stop, or release as my release word).

First off, give your dog the “down” command.  The dog should lie down.  What you want to make sure of is that the dog learns to lie down on his/her side.

Once the dog is laying on his/her side, point your finger at them like a gun and say BANG, all the while moving the dog’s head to the floor.  If the dog already has his head on the floor on their side, then you’re pretty much there.

Reward your dog with a treat ONLY if they keep their head on the floor (thus looking like they are dead).

Keep the dog in that position until you use your release word.  The dog should get up and the trick is done!

Once your dog masters this trick, you should be able to say your release word at a distance.

I have a video showing the trick.  It is NOT ME in the video.

Have a great weekend and enjoy!

 

The Backstory of Isis

I wrote this about Isis when I found out her full backstory.  Some of it is graphic and may be hard to read for sensitive readers.  Please read with caution.  Thanks all. 🙂

 

On May 20, 2011 our lives changed forever, for the better.

My husband and I had always wanted to adopt a cat. We talked about it for the past two years. Where we were living before we moved into our house did not allow us to have pets. After finally getting out of that hostile environment, we decided to go to the local shelter and give one of the fur babies there a forever home.

After entering the shelter and meeting with the manager, he directed us to the “cat room”. All the cats were in cages, it was late afternoon and many were sound asleep in their cages, barely moving when we walked past each one. My eyes filled with tears as I had never been to a shelter that had the cats caged all the time.

As my husband and I walked past cage after cage of cats, we came to the last cage that was in the corner of the room. She was sitting pretty in her cage and rubbed and nuzzled her face against the cage bars as we approached and she started to chirp/purr as we got closer and closer to the cage. We looked at each other and smiled, then looked back at the cat, who was rubbing her whole body against the bars and she actually stuck her paw out to us from between the bars.

The shelter manager came in and said; “ Ahhh, that’s Maybel (which we changed to Isis), she’s been dubbed the cat that will never leave. No one wants a black cat, especially her. Too many problems, and too much work for anyone to ever want a cat like that.”

So I asked questions: What did he mean by that? What was her story? Why would she never be adopted out?

The manager said that people that have grown up “in these parts” think black cats are evil and there was a recent rash of people who were torturing black cats. She was the only one who was saved out of four others who endured what she did.

I react very strongly to anything that involves animal abuse, but I wanted, no, needed to know what happened to her.

As I pulled her out of the cage to let her run around in the room and to see how she got along around my husband and I, the manager explained that there was a group of teens and young men who were taking these cats and throwing them around and playing catch with them. Some of the boys then started a bonfire and were tossing the cats in the fire and watched them run off while on fire, some were doused with gasoline, some were tortured even more.

He went on to say that Maybel (Isis) was the only lucky one, she was thrown around, her whiskers were burned off (which have grown back beautifully), and she was found in the apartment of one of the people who tortured her, starving and on the verge of death. (Good news: The boys who did this to the cats where charged with animal cruelty and found guilty!)

My heart literally hurt and I could no longer hold back tears, as this sweet little love bug wrapped her tail around my leg and as I bent down, she head butted me and started to purr as if to say “I’m okay now, don’t worry.”

The manager said that Maybel didn’t know how to play with toys (she would howl and get stressed whenever they would try to play with her or show her any toys). She also didn’t eat much and for the longest time they had to feed her with a syringe; she had never had cat food before. He said that it might take a long time for her to warm up to anyone and that she probably wouldn’t eat any food put in front of her and that no one would want to spend the time to turn her into a playful and “normal” cat.

My husband turned pale as he was listening to the manager, and then bent down to give Isis a scratch on her chin. The manager told us to be careful, she would probably bite us if we put our hands around her face. Not so! She just closed her eyes so tight as my husband gave her chin a scratch and she actually started to drool a bit! He leaned over and whispered to me “she’s magic and she’s going to be ours.”

I got up, my face full of tears and said, “We don’t need to see any other cats, this is OUR cat.” The manager told us not to take her and that she would be way too much work. I told him I didn’t care, she was just too special to leave there.

We went and bought all the things that a cat would need, and even though she didn’t know how to play, we bought toys for her because we knew we were going to work with her to make her life a happy and playful one.

We got back to the shelter with a carrier, and she reluctantly went into it, but did not meow or make any scratching motions toward anyone. We paid the fee and the manager said “Well, you have ten days to see if you like her. I’m pretty sure you’ll be returning her soon.”

We put her in the backseat of the car and I chirped and purrmeowed at her all the way home (I’m sure people will think I am nuts for doing that!) She talked to me a little on the way home. She did not howl, scream, or make any sounds that would have suggested she was unhappy.

Once we reached home, my husband got her out of the backseat. We brought her in the house and let her look around in her carrier for a bit first. I chirped and meowed at her and she answered me a few times. Then she pawed at the door of her carrier. We let her out and she started to explore. Within minutes she was eating and drinking water out of her kitty water fountain.

My husband told me that he wanted to name her Isis, because that was the matron of magic and nature, and protector of the dead. He said the way she acted around us was like magic, so Isis became her name.

Although it’s only been a little while, she has adjusted better than we ever thought possible. She is slowly starting to learn to play, she is starting to half-roll onto her side (hasn’t shown us her belly yet, but I am sure she will soon). She has had no problems attaching herself to either one of us. She sleeps with us, and follows us everywhere in the house. She is quite the chatterbox as well; she chirps and purrs throughout the day. We both love her and think she is quite the little sweetie.

I called the shelter a few days ago and told the manager how wonderful she is doing (she is still skittish about loud noises, and she is strictly an indoor cat. She still has problems with playing and gets stressed out when we leave the house, but I know she will get better soon). The manager was surprised and said he was glad we liked her so much and that she adapted well.

Isis is quite spoiled by us, but she has spoiled us even more. She has trusted us and allowed us to love and care for her. As time progresses, her personality is shown more and more each day. Right now she is batting at my fingers as I am typing. Even though she came from such a bad beginning, I could not have asked for a better cat. She has taught me patience and just how much love I can have for a cat. For this, I am grateful.

Rave – Thundershirt!

Does your dog suffer separation anxiety?  Does your dog hate crate training or traveling or thunderstorms?  Do they pull on the leash so much that you don’t like going for walks?  I have a solution for you….Thundershirt!

Sasha has been severely abused and suffers from anxiety of all sorts and we were worried that she was not living a happy and healthy life.  I had no idea what I was going to do and had read tons of books and saw the vet.  Then I did some research on the net and found a site selling a Thundershirt.

If you check out the website, you will see that it is made of t shirt material, with some velcro at certain pressure points on the dog.  When you place it on them correctly, the dog goes from being wild and anxiety-ridden to calm, cool and some even will fall asleep with it on.

It was never an option for me to take Sasha back to the shelter after we discovered all her issues at home.  I consider my fur babies members of the family, and I would never return a member of the family to some place like a shelter.  The shirt has helped her immensely.  I cannot sing the praises enough of this shirt.

Case in point: Sasha would have a whining and barking fit and a puppy meltdown anytime my husband and I would get ready to leave for date night or shopping or what have you.  She would whine and cry, bark and follow us everywhere frantically trying to make sure we wouldn’t leave.  It was almost impossible to leave her for more than a half hour at a time.  She would bark and whine in her crate as we were leaving and we didn’t want our neighbors to have to put up with the noise.

Fast forward to a month later, we bought the shirt and were skeptical at first.  Then came time for us to go grocery shopping.  My husband called her over and she was whining and crying and was quite distressed, he finally got her to sit down.  We both held our breaths as he put the shirt on a HALF HOUR before we were ready to leave.  Honest to goodness, within a minute, Sasha was standing calmly, looking at us, not whining or barking or crying!  She went and laid down on the floor and started to chew on a bully stick and left us alone to finish getting ready.  She didn’t follow us everywhere, she wasn’t distressed anymore, she was just calm.  My jaw dropped because I couldn’t believe that she was the same dog.

Once we were ready, we called her over to her crate and she went inside the crate without any issues, she just walked right in!  I was in awe that this shirt could change her that quickly.

We put the bone in the crate with her and left the house.  No whining or barking whatsoever.  We left her for the first time for 2 hours and came back home to a happy, calm and tail wagging doggie.   I was so excited that we were able to finally find something that would help calm her.

It helps to calm her during thunderstorms and even when we are walking, she doesn’t pull on the leash.  It truly is an amazing product.

It is totally drug free (I am NOT into giving pills to solve a problem with a human, nor an animal.  Many vets will push pills such as Prozac to calm a dog, but I do not plan on ever doing that.  If you do, that’s totally your business, but it’s not my practice to do so).

What we make sure to do is to have Sasha wear it when she is doing stuff she really likes such as eating or going for a walk so that she doesn’t associate the Thundershirt with us leaving all the time.  We also put it on her at least a HALF HOUR before we are leaving so that she gets used to it and can calm down completely before we leave.

Usually, we will make sure that she has had a walk shortly before putting it on when we leave and also, make sure you take your dog outside to do their business before leaving them for any amount of time.  We always make sure she goes pee at least before we go anywhere.

Check out the Thundershirt website and watch the videos of the dogs before and after putting the Thundershirt on.  It is amazing the difference in behavior.

Sasha has become a calmer, happier dog since we started using the Thundershirt.  If you have a dog that suffers anxiety, leash pulling, difficulty with traveling, I highly recommend buying a shirt.  Yes it is $39.95, but that is a small price to pay for a lifetime of puppy happiness.  Think of the vet bills it will save, and how cheap that is compared to putting your dog on pills for the rest of their life.  Prozac for life is NOT cheap.  Try the Thundershirt, your dog will thank you!

Introduction of my Furbabies and What is “Less Adoptable”?

Being the fur mom to two “less adoptable” fur kids has been rewarding, challenging and interesting all rolled into one, just as I am sure it is the same with any fur parent.

I thought I would introduce them with pictures since this blog will include quite a bit of information regarding them.

First up is Isis, she is a DMH (Domestic Medium Hair) kitty.  She is about 4 years old.  She was surrendered to the shelter from an abusive and neglected situation.  When we first adopted her, she was not very cat-like.  She didn’t know how to play, she was scared of everything and everyone and was very quiet.

Fast forward to now, Isis has become a lap/shoulder cat, she is playful, she is extremely vocal (even when she is eating she likes to talk with her mouth full, although we are trying to teach her that it’s not good manners to talk with her mouth full 😉 ) She purrs like crazy and loves attention.  We have worked with her to teach her how to play, and have socialized her, and made sure she has the confidence to be the best kitty she can be.  (More on socialization and playing in upcoming posts).

Here is a picture I took of her tonight.  She was standing on my lap and talking to me.

Next, meet Sasha. She is a black Lab mix, we’re not completely sure of the mix, but the vet thinks German Shepherd and Pitbull.  She is a sweet dog that likes to mug for the camera.  She was removed from an abusive and neglected home and was brought to the shelter, where she was adopted out and brought back a total of 6 times.  When we first got her she was timid and barely walked around the house.  She was left outside 24/7 with her previous owner.  She seemed sad and defeated.

Now she is a happy and playful pup, who likes to get into things and actually likes to play.  Her favorite toy is a veggie plushy that sounds like it’s oinking.  She loves her daily and nightly walks, and most of all, she loves being around her people.  She wouldn’t hurt a fly, but everyone she encounters seems to be afraid of her.  Most people say that because she is black, she is bad luck, or evil, which is simply not true.  People just have to be around her for a few minutes and she will be giving them kisses and wanting to be loved on.  She is the apple of her fur daddy’s eye, and she has really bonded with my husband.

Now for those of you who are unsure of what a “less adoptable” pet is, here is a wonderful article that explains everything.  It makes me sad to think that anyone would be prejudice against any animal, unfortunately that is the way life is at times.

Less Adoptables