My Food Chain Gang – Restored!

Posted in God on June 16th, 2012 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I have a wonderful tale to tell – a God story, and I love those.

A few weeks ago now, I met a friend for lunch at McD’s.  Later that evening, as my hubby inquired about my day and asked how my lunch was, I talked about how much I enjoyed hearing my friend’s updates on her beloved cat, Mya.  I even lamented, “I wish I could have a kitten.”  I seem to be an animal person you say (I AM) – so why don’t I just get a kitten?  Well, I’m allergic to cats, otherwise I would probably have a cat (or two or three or…).  I actually had one for 10 years and loved her very much, but I was very allergic to her and that was tough for both of us.  But anyway – back to this Friday night a few weeks ago – I’m wanting a cat.  Saturday morning, the early risers in our family were alerted by an “alarming” sound in our backyard.  They found 2 cats fighting on the fence, and across the yard, 3 baby bunnies crying out in alarm.  Sammie was dispatched to alert me (still in bed, allowed to sleep-in, THANK YOU Hubby!), and in the now-calm backyard I found 3 exhausted baby bunnies resting while my kids were comforting one of the stray cats.  The stray was a friendly fellow; he had black and white fur, green eyes, and a few extra toes.  I couldn’t believe the obliging attitude – pleasure even – that this cat was deriving from the attention my kids were doting upon it.

I couldn’t resist petting this friendly kitty, and when I did, something strange happened.  Well, actually,  it was nothing at all that happened.  No sniffles, no itches, no hives – no allergy symptoms.  How could it be that I wasn’t allergic to this cat?  For the record, Hubby is also allergic to cats but didn’t react to this one either.  So anyway, we let the super friendly tuxedo cat in the house.  He walked right in and looked around, and it really did seem as if he had lived here for years – and he’s been here ever since!  Just fit right in with our entire family, and it’s not an easy feat to forge a seamless transition from outdoor feral cat to indoor family cat, especially when the new family =  5 kids (3 girls ages 12, 8, 5 and 2 boys ages 3 and 8 mos.), a dog, a parrot, a rabbit, and 2 rats.   But saying we’ve had a smooth transition would be an understatement!

What a gift he has been.  A gift from God for our family…  to bring us together as we welcome a new member for however long we’re allowed to take care of him.  A gift for us to cherish together while we play with him.  A gift for me to help ease the mounting stress I’ve felt lately.  Have you seen the medical research on how a purring cat relieves stress?  It exists, trust me!

So to acknowledge this gift for us and to honor our God, “Mittens” became “Moses” – and it is cute when the kids rhyme about “Moses with the extra toe-ses”.  Moses seems very adept at using his paws, and he acts very cat-like around the house, which I love – just why I wanted to have a cat around.  For now, we are enjoying Moses and his company.  He gets along with all of our other pets and is wonderfully tolerant of the kids – he fits in our family like the missing piece of a puzzle; not that any of us realized there was a piece missing before Moses came.  So could it be that “my food chain gang” has been restored?

Both an article I read and a devotional I heard recently happened to be about the same subject: knowing and having the faith and satisfaction that God sees you, even if you feel invisible to the world.  God uses many aspects of His creation to bring people closer to having meaningful relationships with Him and to help us receive His messages, even animals.  My family was getting burnt out from a busy schedule, and it really rejuvenated the kids’ spirits to get to have this cat.  And they aren’t the only ones 😉

“…You are the God who sees me…”  from Genesis 16:13

This is a picture of our oldest daughter holding the cat.  No, my 12-year-old does not normally wear make-up; this was “spa night”  🙂

God is so good!!

Hambone Award Contender

Posted in Pets on February 12th, 2011 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Have you ever heard of the Hambone Award?  It’s a prize given out by Veterinary Pet Insurance, the nation’s largest and oldest pet insurance company.  Each month, the company selects the most unusual claims and chooses a monthly winner to vie for the yearly prize – the Hambone Award.  Don’t worry, all the contenders are pets who survived their ordeals.  Last year’s winner Ellie, a Labrador retriever from California, went to the emergency room after eating an entire beehive.  She vomited large piles containing hundreds of dead bees, but Ellie was not harmed by the dead bees nor by the pesticide that killed them.

When reading suburban Chicago newspaper The Daily Herald’s online headlines, the following caught my eye, “Owl Vs. Chihuahua”, and that’s where I read about Chico the Chihuahua’s brave fight against a Great Horned Owl.  Chico’s owner was taking him for a walk in the wee hours of the morning, when a Great Horned Owl swooped out of nowhere (owls are silent flight birds) and picked up poor Chico, intending him for his late night snack.  Chico and his owner won the tug-of-war, and Chico won the VPI ‘most unusual’ story for the month of January, beating out such claims as a Labrador retriever that ate a marijuana cookie, a Golden retriever that swallowed a 5-inch barbecue skewer, a mutt that got wedged between banister bars and a Boston terrier who collided with a skier.  If you’d like to read the other entries and be part of the public voting in September, you can go to the VPI Hambone Award’s website.

Oh, and how did the Hambone Award get its name?  There was a dog insured by VPI who got himself trapped in a refrigerator and ate an entire Thanksgiving ham before he was discovered.  He was treated for a mild case of hypothermia whereupon he fully recovered.

Cutest Bunny Ever!!

Posted in Pets on February 4th, 2011 and tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Our kids had two snow days off school this week, so what better activity for a family full of animal lovers than to visit the pet store?  You can see where this is going…  we went looking for 1 baby rat, and we came home with 2 baby rats and a bunny.  One ridiculously cute bunny as yet without a name!  There have been a lot of contenders, but we just haven’t found any perfect ones yet.  The leading ones so far are Tigger, Snow Bunny, and Arcy.  Arcy is like a feminine version of R.C. which stands for Ridiculously Cute.  I really like Tigger even though we THINK she’s a girl bunny, but when I tried calling her Tigger it didn’t click.  Here’s a video, and more suggestions are welcome in the comment box below:

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And the new rats:

Introducing… JJ!

Posted in Pets on January 9th, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

As you might have read in an earlier blog post, I received a pet store gift certificate for Christmas from my husband.  Today I spent it – I picked out the newest member of our family – JJ the parakeet!

JJ comes home 1-9-10 002

When you adopt a pet parakeet from a pet store, the workers have to barge into the cage full of parakeets with a towel on their hand to grab your bird, and then they put it in a cardboard box for the ride home.  This might sound like a mean thing to do, but in my experience (this is my fifth pet parakeet), the bird recovers very quickly; I wouldn’t even use the word recover really; they always seem just fine.  And JJ handled his transition like a pro!  He actually seemed immediately happy in his cage!  I put my finger in there, and he let me almost touch him, just a few hours after he got home!  He didn’t back away or anything!  I am so excited to become friends with this little guy; he is so cute!  It’s been about 15 years since I’ve had a pet parakeet, and I’ve forgotten about how they just exude happiness!  Already JJ moves his beak like he’s trying to talk and responds to my voice.  Hopefully I will make the time to train this little guy to be the little buddy I’ve always wanted in a bird – I get jealous of my husband’s relationship with his parrot.  Wait, that doesn’t sound quite how I meant to say it…

There’s a fine line between training a bird, earning trust, and scaring him off for good.  JJ seems very patient and ready to learn, and so am I – but getting to spend time with him while there is a trouble-prone toddler toddling around will be my greatest challenge, I think.

Many people have fun parakeet stories; they really are pleasant little birds.  My dad and my uncle had a parakeet when  they were kids named Tippy who would walk on their kitchen table.  They would hold a hand of playing cards, and Tippy would walk up, choose a card, and then carry it in his beak to the edge of the table, let it go and watch  it float down  to the floor.  I’ve heard that many (male) parakeets can talk, and of course they will sit on your shoulder and be your best friend.  So yeah, I’m excited about this bird, and it’s a nice feeling – can’t say there’s been a lot of that lately.  Even if he isn’t easily trained (defying all early indications), I’ve already tremendously enjoyed just looking at him and absorbing his pleasantness, something I look forward to doing in days to come…  feeling a contentment that I haven’t felt for awhile…

Just for the heck of it, here is a timeline of my other pet parakeets.  I was a kid when I had them, so I don’t remember dates or ages – each one lived for around 5-8 years, the usual parakeet lifespan.  But it bugs the heck out of me that I can’t remember which of my birds liked to ring his toy bell –   Tippy, I think?  I named him for my dad and uncle’s childhood pet…  The memories of the bell ringing bird have been replaced in my brain by the obscenely loud parrot we currently own who jangles his bell-shaped toy whenever he starts to get rowdy.  Parakeets are actually in the same biological family as parrots and are in fact classified as parrots.  So technically, we’ve gotten ourselves another parrot for our house, just what we needed, right?  But Squawky, the scarlet macaw (loud a**hole) parrot belongs to my husband (or my husband belongs to Squawky, depends upon who you ask), and JJ is mine – this is important since birds “mate” for life – I’m so happy to have MY bird!

So here’s that rundown of parakeets past:

Spunky – he was blue and fiesty, but we were really surprised when he she began to lay eggs!

Tweety – the only parakeet I had who was of the green /  gold variety.

Tippy – named after my dad’s childhood bird; he was light blue.

Goat –  my sister found him flying loose outside around her work.  They took him in, and when no one claimed him, I named him “Goat” in honor of my dream pet at that time.  He was pretty tame for a “wild bird”!

J.J. – dark blue, almost a gray to violet hue.  And why is he named J.J.?  It’s short for Jungle Jack Hanna, of course 😉

Francis = MIA

Posted in animals, Everyday Life on December 16th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

It seems my new pet has gone missing.  Thank goodness I didn’t end up with something bigger, like a rat or a tortoise or something I wouldn’t really want crawling around the house unattended.  But I didn’t see this coming.  If anything, I thought my new ladybug friend would kick the bucket.  I wouldn’t have guessed that he’d vanish.  I don’t think the kids got to him; they wouldn’t have been able to keep something like that a secret for long.  But today when I went to check on Francis the ladybug he wasn’t in his cage.  And by the way, the name is after the ladybug in A Bug’s Life, not my late Grandmother – that would be FrancEs and yes, I still want a daughter to have that name.

Yesterday at the thrift store I found a bug catcher for a quarter, so I bought it and put Francis in his new home last night.  Today when I went to check on him, he’s no where to be found in the bug catcher.  My husband and I both examined the lid, and we don’t think he escaped, so my guess is that he’s hiding in these little pockets in the bug catcher that hold the screws – people can’t see in them, but they’re ladybug-sized.  And I think ladybugs hibernate during the winter, so we might not be hearing from Francis for awhile if he crawled into one of those holes to hibernate…  Nuts, he had a bunch of visitors all lined up!