Front-Facing Thursday - with Finn

Happy Thursday, everyone ... it's me, Finn!  I see that yesterday someone put up a very tease-y picture of me walking away from the camera.  (It was dinnertime, so where else would I be going but the kitchen?).  So today I thought I'd give you a chance to marvel at all my house-panther gorgeousness with me actually facing the camera.  Go ahead ... feast your eyes.  


Tuesday News-Day

MP here ... yes ... again!  And I figure I've got maybe one more post before Tucker will wrest control from me, so I'd better make the most of it.  Companion animal guardianship (I know they're not children, but something in me cringes away from the idea of calling them pets) can be a challenging job in today's world.  With all the craziness and stresses of the modern age, the solace that our animal companions provide us has elevated them to a status that is unheard of from a historical perspective.  As far as I'm concerned, it's where they should have rightfully been all along, but with this has come a double-edged sword.  On the one hand, there are healthier, more species-appropriate foods to choose from, safer toys and shampoos, etc. etc.  On the other, there are often unscrupulous companies out there doing their best to cash in by using clever advertising to deceive an unsuspecting public into thinking that the products they're peddling are better, safer, and healthier than they, in reality, are. And it can be really tough to keep up on all the pertinent recall information and other important news as it relates to the foods we feed our pets  animal companions,  the toys we buy for them to play with, etc. etc.  Hence ... Tuesday News-Day.  I envision this being a semi-regular feature here, assuming there is news to report.  And if you have any news that you think needs reporting - please let us know.  Of course, we don't want Tuesdays to be a downer (that's what Mondays are for!), so we also want to share any good news that we happen to sniff out, as well as happenings in and around the Blog-o-sphere (who's doing a giveaway, who needs some purrs or crossed paws if they're ill, etc.)

Tucker will be the regular Tuesday news correspondent, because it was actually his idea!  In fact, he's already brought you one previous Tuesday News-Day - which you can check out here.

Ok, let's get to it!

* The first item of news is, unfortunately, another recall.  If you or someone you know has cats who are eating Purina Cat Chow or Friskies Grillers Dry Cat Food, and you live in Colorado, Idaho, and Oregon, you need to click here to learn more about the current recall of these products.

* I recently discovered a great Etsy shop where 100% of the proceeds from their sales go to animal rescue.  They have some cute T-shirts and some really beautiful matted photographs.  This one is my favorite.  But is it my imagination or does this guy look like he is channeling our pal Spitty?

* As usual, my favorite online store k9cuisine.com is having some great specials - like $1.20 off a 90 count bottle of  Nordic Naturals Soft Gels.  Containing only wild anchovy and sardine oil (fish that are very low in mercury), they are also guaranteed free of heavy metals, dioxins, and PCBs.  Or get $4.49 off a case of 24 Wysong Chicken Au Jus 95%  (14 ounce cans, suitable for dogs and cats, as a topper for kibble meals, or as a healthy snack - I often use a few spoonfuls of this to give Tucker his thyroid meds and he loves it).  Note:  Not balanced to be fed alone/as a complete diet.  There are over 10 pages of current specials on food, treats, toys, shampoos, and much more that you can see here and you can take advantage of K9Cuisine's fantastic customer service and free shipping on all orders of $50 or more every single day of the year!  (Don't worry, there are lots of cat products, too!)

* Lastly, I hope you will all join us in boycotting Subway.  As you've probably heard, they had the audacity to honor Michael Vick with their BET Sportsman of the Year Award on Sunday.  Are they crazy?

Until next time ...


Versatile Blogger Award

SO - thanks again to Tena, Shayne, and Rio from Success Just Clicks for gifting us with the Versatile Blogger award.  We appreciate it very much. 

According to the rules, we're supposed to list seven things about ourselves and then name fifteen blogs that are either new or new to us.  And here goes ...

To be fair, I thought I'd list one factoid about myself, two about Tucker (because he's the star, after all!), and one each about Olivia, Tanner, Phoebe, and Finn.

1) ME:  I am dominant left-handed (I write left-handed, hold a fork left-handed, etc.) but am for all intents and purposes ambidexterous.   When I play softball I bat right handed, and in tennis I can hit a forehand with either hand, a fact that thrilled the heck out of my high school tennis coach.

2) TUCKER:  Tucker was diagnosed with mild hypothyroidism last January (he had a full blood panel done at his yearly checkup and we found it that way).  So now he has a holistic vet in addition to a Western med vet, and he takes thyroid medicine  (Standard Process Canine Thyroid Support obtained by prescription from our holistic vet) twice daily and gets blood drawn every 90 days to check his levels.  With the use of the supplement, his thyroid levels are now within normal ranges, even though on the lower side.  I won't lie - I still worry about Tucker's health more than I used to, but if nothing else it has proved to me how critically important regular vet checks (including bloodwork) are in timely diagnosis of emerging conditions.

3) TUCKER:  Tucker's favorite food is McDonald's french fries - unfortunately I'm a little bit of a food Nazi when it comes to my animals' diets (I watch them MUCH more closely than I do my own), so he doesn't get to indulge in his craving all that often. 

4) OLIVIA: Olivia usually doesn't sleep in bed with me (she usually spends the night on the cat tree next to the dresser) but when it's cold out, she likes to sleep under the covers. 

5) TANNER:  There were four kittens in Tanner's litter.  He was the only survivor. 

6) PHOEBE:  On the day I went to pick Phoebe up from her foster mom's house, we went out to lunch and she sat perfectly in her own chair and nibbled on grilled chicken breast.  She was the perfect lunch date.

7) FINN:  Finn has cut a path of destruction through the house since he arrived a little over a year ago.  So far he's broken two lamps, my favorite picture frame, and countless other items, some of them more valuable than others.  So far, though, he hasn't broken his neck, so I'm ok with it. 

And now for the blogs ...

An Infertile Blonde - A blog written by one of my newest heroes ... Becky Fawcett ... who, along with her husband, has founded helpusadopt.org/ which gives grants to people who are pursuing the dream of building their families through adoption.  This is heroic enough in and of itself, but unlike many other foundations that offer adoption grants, HelpUsAdopt.org does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or marital status.  Becky rocks.  It's just that simple.  Her husband, K, is pretty awesome, too, and her son and daughter, known on the blog as The Boy and The Girl, are too adorable for words.  And her dog, Bitzy Charlene, has a killer sense of style. 

Cold Antler Farm - Written by a late-twenty-something web designer who is also a serious homesteader.  I referenced her in my post on Friday.  Another of my newly-discovered heroes.  Read her blog and I guarantee you will be as amazed and inspired by her as I am.  Trust me.

Herman's Hideaway - A charming and entertaining dialogue between the human, Karen Jo, and her two cats Herman and new arrival Emma.  Please keep them in your thoughts over the next couple of days, because Karen Jo, Herman, and Emma have had to evacuate from their home due to a fire threatening their town of Los Alamos. 

William Of Mass Destruction - Ok, this blog is neither new nor new to me - but who cares?  I am bending the rules on this one.  William, Caroline, Russell, and Company never fail to entertain me, and theirs is one of the first blogs I read every day. 

Many Muddy Paws - Written by self-professed dog nut Amanda, who lives with five of the most gorgeous dogs you've ever seen:  Corgis Wicca and Pixel,  Border Collie/Corgi mix Vito, Pyrenean Shepherd Boone, and Border Collie Brit.  I grew up with a Border Collie, and will always have a soft spot for them, and was I not so committed to rescue, a Pyr Shep might very well be my next dog.  So Amanda's blog is sort of a drool fest for me. 

Oscar the Pooch - Starring the ADORABLE Oscar, a miniature Schnauzer. He's just so darn cute he makes me smile just to look at him!  Go see for yourself!  Do I lie?

Walking off the Big Apple - A series of photo essays of one of my favorite homes-away-from-home - NYC.  I've visited the Big Apple a number of times over the years, and I always feel something of a sense of homecoming when I return to it.  Each visit is a combination of rediscovering past favorite haunts and discovering new ones.  It's been over two years since I've last been back, so this blog helps me get my NYC fix.  And the photographs are gorgeous! 

Chronicles of Cardigan - The adventures of Jon Farleigh and Dewi - two adorable Cardigan Welsh Corgis.  Stop by their blog, feast on their cuteness, and congratulate Dewi on becoming a Canine Good Citizen, won't you?

Norwood Unleashed - A striking dog with an owner who is an extremely talented photographer.  It's a win-win. 

The Chronicle of Woos - I never get tired of feasting my eyes on this trio of gorgeous Sibs.  I'm a bit of a sucker for the Nordic breeds, (I did live with a Malamute mix for sixteen years after all), especially these three! 

Spitty Speaks - Another "cheat" because Spitty is one of the first friends we made in Blogland, and therefore his blog is not new to us.  But who cares? We think Spitty is awesome, and we defy anyone to disagree with us. 

Sagira's Agility Adventures - Sagira is a gorgeous sheltie/husky mix who lives with her dog brothers Harley, Samick, and Bokeh, her dog sister, Starr, and four cat sisters.  A BIG family!  Sagira recently met a couple of Blogland celebrities.  Can you guess who they are?  Check the blog and find out! 

Adventures of Admiral Hestorb - A blog about a brave little kitty giving hyperthyroidism a run for its money. Don't forget to visit and cheer her on!

Two Pitties in the City - Yet another cheat.  So sue me.  TPITC is another blog that is on my "must read" list.  I never get tired of the adorable Miss M. and Mr. B., nor of their many adventures in the city of Chicago, a city I've never visited, yet somehow feel that I know very well thanks to their blog.  I also admire their commitment to helping pit bulls in need find loving homes.  Their most recent success story is Bella, who found her forever home just a few days ago.  Yay, Bella! 

Tales and Tails- The adventures of retired racing greyhounds Bunny, Lilac, and Blueberry, and German Shepherd Morgan.  Four gorgeous dogs who get to go all sorts of fun and scenic places, due to their love of taking family hikes.  Lucky for us, we get to go along with them, through their beautiful photographs.

Thanks again to Tena for the award, and thanks to all the blogs I'm passing it on to, for making me laugh, touching my heart, and giving me beautiful pictures to look at every day. 


Some Timely Reinforcement (Settle in ... this might be a long one!)

Hi, everyone!  It's the Mom Person here ... I know, it's been awhile.  I know, too, that the blog as a whole has been slacking of late, and yes, I do realize that even though it's Tucker's blog, I can hardly blame him or the others for the lack of action on the blog lately.  They may be the stars of the show, but I'm the one with the thumbs.  So for those who have commented or emailed me that they are missing the sight of the five furry faces I'm lucky enough to get to see every day, I apologize.  The fault is all mine, and the reason, I'll be honest, is two-fold. 

Number one, I've just got a lot going on right now at work.  This in itself is nothing new - it's basically been the story of my life for the past nine years.  (Before this I worked for ten years in the public school system, which is another story altogether.)  The best way I can describe what it's like (at least for me) to be pretty high up in a mid-sized advertising agency is that it's like being the star of a television medical drama, except that unfortunately your co-workers aren't (usually) nearly as attractive.  Even more unfortunately - neither are you!  What I mean by this is - there's a general atmosphere of barely controlled chaos, a lot of rushing around, a fair amount of pressure, a goodly portion of blood, sweat, and tears - but none of the latter three are (usually) real.  Or in other words - it's not REALLY life or death ... it just seems that way!

Having said this, though, when clients are spending, in many cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars at your recommendation, they have certain expectations.  And if those expectations aren't met or exceeded on a consistent basis, your agency stands a darn good chance of losing the client.  In which case, you stand a darn good chance of losing your job.  So no, not life and death, but still, pretty important, at least if you have aspirations of continuing to have a well-paid job, good health insurance, a roof over your head, dreams of a reasonably comfortable retirement at some point in the future, etc. etc.  Which I don't mind admitting that I certainly do.  I wish I could be more like my new hero Jenna who spins her own wool, grows her own vegetables, eats eggs from her own chickens, and is basically a does-it-all-herself kick a$$ homesteader who's authored two books and still manages to hold down a full time job as a web designer for Orvis.  But since I don't know how to spin, have a black thumb, and have nowhere to keep chickens, I guess I'd better keep on keepin' on doing what I know how to do.  And that, my friends, has been keeping me pretty gosh darned busy of late! 

The second reason why the blog's been pretty dark lately is because I've just plain been lacking in inspiration.  When I started this blog, I wanted it to be fun, lighthearted, even silly, because, frankly, I think all three of these things are sorely lacking in the lives of many people these days, including my own.  And it is my animal companions (yes, I know they're not children, despite what this blog might lead you to believe) who bring the largest share of these three things into my own life.  BUT ... as anyone who lives with animals knows, they are very much creatures of habit.  This, for me, is another of the things that I both admire and appreciate about them.  Their far too short lives are more or less variations on the same theme, and their daily routine, whatever it happens to be, both grounds and reassures them, as well as makes them extremely happy.  They greet every day, each one for all intents and purposes the same, or very similar, as the day before, with an unfeigned and unbridled enthusiasm that I envy.  Each morning when I raise my head from the pillow, I hear two little tails beating a rapid tattoo of joy against the comforter.  And if they could speak, I imagine what they'd say in the first fifteen minutes after waking would go something like this:  "Another day!  YES!  I wonder what we'll do first!  Well, I have to pee, so I guess we'll go out into the yard!  The yard!  Awesome!  All these great smells!  Now what?  Breakfast?  Terrific!"

The rest of the day, I suspect, would be more of the same.  For the dogs, anyway.  Cats are a little harder to impress, as anyone who shares a house with them knows all too well.  Yet, for all their hauteur, cats cling with an almost religious fervor to the small rituals that comprise their daily round, and not only is it rare that they exhibit any signs of boredom with their lot, they instead convey the impression that anything less than this endless and serene cycle of events would meet with their extreme disapproval. 

My point?  Yes, I do have one, I promise.  And in a nutshell, my point is ... I feel like I haven't had any novel material for the blog lately because my life recently has been all about getting to work, getting done what I need to get done, and coming home again.  I haven't really gone anywhere, haven't really done anything, and consequently, much to their chagrin, Tucker & Phoebe really haven't either.  And the cats, while certainly not bored or the least bit boring, have not, either, been super blog worthy of late, probably because I haven't had the necessary time to really observe them or spend the time with them that I usually do.  Also, as I suspect many of my fellow Bloggers are, I have been, almost since childhood, a frustrated writer.  I've been penning short stories, novellas, messing around with more than one novel, for a long, long time now, but especially since I've moved up in the agency, I haven't had a lot of spare time or mental energy to devote to, or better, my craft.   In fact, I realize now, though I didn't at the time, that one of the reasons I started the blog was to have some sort of creative outlet, one that didn't demand a great deal of time or energy, something that was fun and easy and light.  And it has been all those things, and it's also allowed me to "meet" some great people I otherwise wouldn't have.  But while I'm quite sure that even if I had the luxury of devoting myself to writing full-time, I am no Pulitzer-worthy talent (not by the longest of long shots!), I've recently had the niggling feeling that perhaps I could be putting the talent I do have to better use, or like maybe because the blog is, by design, pretty "fluffy" in more ways than one,  it lacks merit.

SO ... I was quite pleasantly surprised to see, when scanning the comments from yesterday's post, that I'd been honored with the Versatile Blogger Award from a fellow blogger. It means even more because Tena, the person who gifted me with it, is a person I truly admire.  I first became acquainted with her on Dogster, and I can't tell you how many people she's tirelessly offered advice and guidance and support to in the Behavior & Training forum.  Of course, Tucker & Phoebe are perfect dogs (yeah, right!) so I've never had to hit her up for advice, but the point is, if I needed to, I could, and she would, I know, be there for me, just like she's there for everyone else.  She also, of course, has an awesome blog which I suggest everyone check out posthaste, if you're not already familiar with it.

And so, friends, we've finally circled around to the title of this blog post - Reinforcement. As in - I got some, and, as it turns out, it came when I really needed it.  I'm not curing cancer here ... or even paper cuts (which is a shame, because I gave myself a bad one earlier today, and damn, do those things sting!) ... but I am having fun, and since that was my goal in the first place, I guess I'm succeeding! 

That's it for me today, everybody.  No one will be blogging this weekend, because I'm going away for the weekend and NOT taking the dogs.  (I know - shocking!) They are staying home to be "sat on" along with the cats, and my parents' dog, all in an elaborate scheme to surprise my mom who just retired after 30 years as a public schoolteacher.  Go, Mom!  BUT ... I will be back next week and am going to do my very best to get back on some sort of regular blogging schedule.  After all, I do live with the five most adorable, brilliant, wonderful, perfect animals on the planet.  It would be nothing short of criminal to keep them all to myself.

Wishing all of you a wonderful weekend!

P.S.  I have to name fifteen blogs to pass this award along to, and I want to give it some serious thought, so I'll announce those probably Monday or Tuesday, and will refrain from posting the award on our page until then.


New Recruit

Hi, everybody!  It's me, Phoebe!  Tucker's taking the day off of work today, so I am responsible for breaking in the new recruit!  

You've all met my Uncle Riley before ... but usually he's just hanging out at Grandma & Grandpa's, eating birthday cake and wearing silly glasses!  But Grandma & Grandpa are on vacation for a few days, and Uncle Riley is staying with us.  So Mom brought him along to work with us today, to help me out here at the office.  Since my main job is looking cute, I can't imagine why she thought I could use any help with THAT!!!

But anyway, he's here, and I think he did pretty good for his first day on the job.  Plus, it was fun to boss my uncle around!  

I think I'M ready for a promotion!

Night, everyone!


Two-fer Tuesday With Tucker & Phoebe

It is sunny and HOT here in Tampa on the longest day of the year!  (North of the equator, anyway!)  Happy Summer Solstice, everyone! 


Olivia's Opinions - # Who Knows in a Continuing Series

Happy Monday, everyone!  It is I, Olivia.  And my Opinion for today is ... 

if you are having fun on the catio and don't want to come in for breakfast, is perfectly permissible to just stand there in the doorway and not move.  Allow me to demonstrate.


Bad Blogger! Bad Bad Blogger!!!!

TGIF, mes amis!  C'est moi ... Olivia!

C'est mon visage folle!

(I don't know why I felt the need to lapse into French ... I guess I was just feeling "Frenchy" today.)

 Well, anyway ... as you can see from my picture ... I am extremely hissed off these days.  For one thing, I haven't had a turn to blog in AGES, and I just don't think that's fair at all.  I'm the second oldest, after all, and by far the most beautiful, so I should be getting more blog time than I've been getting recently.  Part of this is Tucker's fault, but mostly it's Mom's, because she has been too busy lately to let any of us get on the computer as much as we have wanted to.   

And then when we have been able to get on, we haven't been able to visit everyone like we've wanted to, because Blogger isn't letting us leave comments.  We thought it had been fixed, and then this morning we tried to visit Sagira and Spitty and we couldn't leave a comment again.  This is extremely frustrating.  So Blogger - if you're listening - please get your act together and fix these problems.  Otherwise, you will feel my wrath!

Have a good weekend, everyone!


Tuesday Newsday

Hi, everyone - it's me, Tucker.  And I'm deep under cover today ... see my disguise? 

I'm undercover because I'm searching far and wide to bring you all the news that's fit to howl about! So let's get to it!

First of all, I have another recall notice to share.  Bravo brand pig's ears are being recalled due to possible salmonella contamination.  If you are concerned you might have some of the recalled products, you can contact Bravo at  866.922.9222

Secondly, for those of you pups who take Heartgard, you might want to have your humans check this out

What else?  Oh, yes ... for those kitties out there who are always looking for new foods to try, check out this link  The Purecat Company is offering a free sample of their canned foods.  This company is new to Mom, and since we're on a raw diet, we won't be sending away for it, but the ingredients look pretty good.

Recently, Mom discovered that a wonderful dog trainer she became acquainted with on Dogster a couple of years ago also had a blog!  It's called Success Just Clicks and if you're not already reading it, you should be!  Today is Day Two in a series about food ... and since proper nutrition for the fur people is something Mom is pretty insane about, she was really excited to see Tena covering this topic.

Now - the way we found out about Tena having a blog is because Kristine at RescuedInsanity.com mentioned it once.  And let's face it - we love our Shiva stories.  Speaking of which - have you heard this one?

And last but not least, and in keeping with the food theme which has only just now occurred to me, I was concerned to learn today that my good buddy Spitty has an eating disorder.  Go by and show him some love today, ok?  And tell him hi from me, too, because for some reason Spitty's is one of a few blogs that I still can't comment on right now, and I am not sure why.

And that's all for now, news hounds!  Have a great day!


50 Shelters - 50 States: Idaho

Hi, everyone!  MP here!  Hope you all have been well, and I apologize for my by-now-much-publicized lameness.  I hope we'll be able to get back on track from here on out.

In an effort to do that, I'm continuing on with the next post in the 50-50 series, coming to you today from the beautiful state of Idaho.

Meet Marty!

Marty is a darling little Chihuahua mix currently residing at the Animal Shelter of Wood River Valley.    Small in size but big on personality, Marty is good with other dogs and cats, and though shy when he first arrived at the shelter, he is adapting quickly.  Marty just wants to be someone's very special boy ... could he be yours?

This handsome guy is Mufasa ...

And honestly - he just breaks my heart.  This sweet senior kitty (fourteen years old) was surrendered to the shelter when his owners were moving.  Obviously it is not my place to judge anyone without having walked in their shoes, and I know things are very difficult out there right now for many people.  And yet - it just absolutely levels me that someone could have a cat for fourteen years and then just abandon him to such an uncertain fate. 

Yet, according to his shelter writeup, Mufasa seems to be taking things in stride, and has claimed the best bed in the cat room, is eating well, and is enjoying all the attention he is getting.  He's friendly with other cats, good with dogs, and loves attention from humans.  Is there someone out there who has room in their heart and home for this sweet senior boy?  If so, call the Animal Shelter of Wood River Valley at 208-788-4351 or email them at info@animalshelterwrv.org


Wednesday Wonderings

Hi, everybody - it's me, Tanner.  And I'm just wondering ...

Hey, Aunt K ... where are you going?  And when you come back ... will you bring me some treats?