Saturday, May 31, 2008

The only post there will be on this subject

The farm will soon be for sale. I am looking for a new, small home in Spencer for Wildrun, by myself.

Dumped youngster. Kitten season is here.

Last week, when Mark and I came home from a party at a friend's, I heard Mark say, as he mounted the porch steps "Hi, there, who are you?"


By the time I got up there, the young cat was hiding behind the woodpile, but he immediately came running out when I fetched a can of cat food. He did not much like being coaxed into a cat crate and toted to the downstairs of the cat facility, but he was much easier in the cage.

Unfortunately, Rudy (shortened from "Rudolph" due to the red nose he acquired bashing into the wire on the cat crate when I closed the door) has an upper respiratory infection, so he is on Clavamox. He is very friendly and takes his pill without bother. I believe he is a brother to the cat who showed up here two weeks ago and has since been adopted by the neighbors as a warehouse cat. I think I may touch base with the neighbors to see if they would like TWO warehouse cats, because I cannot increase my population right now.

I'll also put some flyers up "just in case" he's lost, and let Stray Haven know.

Should there be restrictions on spay/neuter clinics?

I was checking out Barb's blog this morning and her search brought up a letter-to-the-editor urging a repeal of a state law that restricts low-cost spay-neuter services to low-income citizens"
The clinic, which evolved out of the Peninsula Spay/Neuter Project, is supported in part by grants and donations, and in part by fees. It charges $35 to neuter a male cat and $45 to spay a female. Prices for dogs range from $55 to $85, depending on sex and weight – except for pit bulls, which get a discount. There are special programs and lower rates for pit bull-type dogs. For information, call 253-627-7729 or go to

So far, veterinarian Keiko Young, veterinary technician Jayme Bennett, veterinary assistants Liz Tolbert and Sandy Peterson, and clinic coordinator Sheri Kennedy are spaying or neutering 21 animals a day.

They want to get that number up to 40, said Patty Rusnak, vice president of the nonprofit clinic....

But by state law, Coalition Humane and clinics like it can serve only pets of low-income people. In Pierce County, the income cap is $37,050 for a household of one, $42,350 for a couple, $47,650 for three and $52,950 for four.

Given the municipal cost of animal control (not to mention the cost to private individuals involved in rescue) a reduction in the cost of spay/neuter is vital, nationally--not just in spay/neuter clinics, but in veterinary clinics themselves. While it's certainly logical to say that "People who make over $XYZ a year should be able to afford spay/neuter if they choose to own a pet" the fact is, the impact of that unfixed pet if the family puts off spay/neuter (and the pups or kittens end up in a shelter) far outweighs the public cost of low-cost spay/neuter.

Also, if pet owners have a positive experience with affordable spay/neuter(whether at the vet or a clinic) they are less likely to shy away from visiting a veterinarian when their pet is ill. I have heard any number of people say "If it's $250 to fix my cat, what will it cost if she's sick?"

I was very pleased to read this in the article:
(The income cap evaporates for feral cats. Any caring soul can trap a cat, bring it to the clinic and, for $40, have it spayed or neutered, vaccinated, treated for ear mites and kept for three days of recovery.)

Friday, May 30, 2008

It's almost June!

How can I tell? I had to help my first turtle across the road on Memorial Day. When the reptiles and amphibians start to move, summer is on its way.

For the first time in years, I took a moment to go to the local Memorial Day remembrance. I only knew to go because Valarie forwarded me an email from the Westons. I do really like this village and the community here. I need to become more involved.

Back from New Jersey

Yes, I left for three days and did not tell you all. I realize I have been MIA. Today at work meetings we were talking about blogging, and there I was stressing how important it is for daily visitors to see something new each day. But I myself haven't blogged for a week!

Our vp has three dogs, and we met at her house. Mojo was rescued from Hurricane Katrina. My cats are now sniffing me with wrinkled noses.

I decided on the way home that rather than stop at my favorite grill to eat (my previous distraction to get me all the way home to Spencer awake) that I would do something I would have done eight years ago before I forgot who I was...go for a hike.

I have driven through the Delaware Water Gap countless times and always thought "I should stop" to walk a bit of the Appalachian Trail. But I've always been "too busy" and "had to get home."

Today I stopped. I couldn't hike for long, but it was a pretty spot.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

I SO miss feral kittens...

The last thing I need until I move are more kittens, however there's no reason why I can't enjoy someone else's (Sorry, mom, it's a video, so you may as well not click over).

Remember this book?

If you read this book over and over and over as an impressionable teenager, you remember that Don tells Richard that he can discover what he needs from any book. Just think about what you need to know while holding the book, then open it up and read. Of course, what Richard Bach intended was that you would use his Illusions book for this let's give it a try...

Use it or Lose it
If you turned to this page,
you're forgetting that what is going
on around you is not reality
Think about that.

Remember where you came from
where you're going,and why you created
this mess you got yourself into in the first place.

Hit upside the head with the past...

I'm going through my books and took down my pile of Woolworth's date books, which I assumed were just old partial diaries. Well, they are, in a way, but I had forgotten I had written all my wildlife calls in them from the days when the rabies front was running through New York. The Sheriff's Dept. could tell when I was working dispatch because they could hear me on the radio, so they would save up wildlife calls until I got off shift, and I just ran around late every evening, and most of the weekends, picking up sick and dead raccoons. It was a very sad time for wildlife.

Thursday, Jan 30, 1992

1) 170 Clinton W - IPD raccoon (Ithaca Police Dept) - Got there and J. Ryan had picked it out of the 2nd floor porch. Nice man - finally got to meet. Taking rac to CU for IPD.

2) Lower Treman - rac from 327 to Cornell. No one around on arrival. Removed rac from truck, rinsed their shovel, and taking rac to CU. Left note for them to call

3) 76 Horton Rd - dog in doghouse w/rac. H. Dept doesn't know if contact. Still want me to get it. Told P. Coates I didn't know if CU would handle it.

I was going to toss all these when I saw them, but now I'm fascinated by this version of myself. I remember all these calls, but I never would have thought of them again without the journal. Imagine a time when I didn't know Jack Ryan (another wildlife control person)!

Who was this person? Is she still me?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Sorry Squeak, your artwork goes

All those projects I've been meaning to do for the past eight must be done ASAP. One of those is the entry room floor. Soft pine, it was fairly beat up when we moved in. Mark fixed the hump in the middle of the floor that Squeak sometimes decided was a great place to sharpen his claws. And my job is to sand out Squeak's handiwork (pawwork?), plus all the bumps and bruises from the previous owners, and paint the floor.

We found a great color, and it should brighten the front room up considerably when it's done. Of course, had I done it years ago, I could have enjoyed it all along.

Oh well. So it goes.

I should go hunt down a photo of the chubby right back!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Why we all do what we do...Letter from Ben's Home

Dear Susan, friends, and cats,

Ben and I were sitting here thinking that we never wrote and properly thanked you for all you did for him over the last few years. Not everyone would have understood what a beautiful animal he truely is and have had the faith and good heart to keep him happy and healthy till I found him. I told you that when I lost my Fluffy 5 years ago I thought I would never find another cat that was like him. He had come from the Owego area so it must be something in the water out there, because Ben is everything I was looking for and more. He is such a beautiful boy and such a great companion. He is very good with my grand daughter and everyone that comes to visit. He sits on the porch in the mornings and watches the birds and we sit every evening and comb his beautiful coat.
Again, all I can say is thank you so much for taking care of him for the 4 years it took me to find him. You should all feel good knowing he is finally home where he belongs.

Much love,
Ben & Elaine

Puppymillrescue Rally a success

I'm posting late, but I had a thoroughly enjoyable time at the "Bark heard around the world" event at the Yates Co. Fairgrounds this Saturday.

First: Got lost. Second: Didn't care. That region is so beautiful you might even look for a reason to get lost.

Third: Wow...what a lot of puppy mill rescue groups! I did not expect to see quite so many booths, and so many rescue names I knew! Since I hadn't signed up for a booth, I decided to go as the Petfinder fairy and carry a bag full of bumper stickers, and went looking for groups who had photos on their booths that they had generated using Petfinder, to hand them out. It was great to meet the people being the internet sites I'd seen so many times.

More amazing was how far so many of them had come. New Jersey, Connecticut, Oklahoma even.

The place was full of calm, warm, wonderful dogs...and hardly a bark to be heard, except now and then when a Min Pin got excited and all the small dogs got going for a few seconds. Pugs, lhasas, Great Pyrenees, greyhounds, and poodles abounded, all polite as pie, all beautifully cared for, and all rescued from puppy mills or by rescues who also respond to puppy mill issues.

The light was lousy for photos, I'm afraid.

I only caught half the speakers, and they were excellent. Frank McMillian DVM of Best Friends Animal Society (Utah) had great information about the emotional and behavioral impact stress such as puppy mill confinement and fighting abuse (pitbulls) has on dogs.

And the men of Rescue Ink were there, and they were AWESOMELY inspiring. They strike an incredible balance between macho and gentle, and definitely have taken a "road less traveled" in drawing attention to animal abuse. Articulate, outgoing, eye-catching...what more can you say? They may indeed get this "bark" heard around the world.

Nancy was helping at the booth for Best Friends, and Judy found me as well. Both these woman reach out to help a variety of animal welfare organizations--not just one. This is how they came to my notice, when they also offered to help Wildrun.

It was a great emotional lift to visit this event.

My mother is concerned that I no longer have a dog, so I told her down the road I would start fostering for a shelter or rescue group. I have to say, when Nancy started talking to the National Pyr Rescue about fostering, my heart sort of melted over those big beautiful guys. We'll see. Of course, I'd probably check out Stray Haven first, when I'm ready. But like Nancy and Judy, there's no reason why I couldn't help more than one!

On the way home, I'm afraid the Forces of Rural Commerce pulled me into The Windmill farm and craft market. Since it was almost closing time, I figured I was safe from spending too much money. I did in fact resist a new banner for the barn, and clothing from this incredible booth called Sacred Threads (I'll be back!!!!).

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Cats And War

That is when I heard it: the cry of an abandoned kitten, somewhere out in the darkness, calling for its mother somewhere inside the compound. By an animal lover’s anthropomorphic logic, those desperate calls, three nights running, had come to seem more than the appeal of a tiny creature doomed to a cold and lonely death. Deep in the winter night, they seemed like a dismal tocsin for all who suffer in a time of war.

A few lucky ones make it out.

There is an audio clip on that page from the author of "The Cat from Hue" in the lower left column. Looks like I need to get that book.

From Dolittler.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

We are losing our muse...

Two weeks ago we agreed to sell the farm.

Two weeks ago, Nicky began to pass away.

He began eating less, and dropped weight with alarming speed.

I took him to the vet yesterday, and radiographs showed a large mass in his abdomen. Nicky likely has cancer. My vet did not recommend surgery.

Nick has stopped eating entirely today. I let him roam the farm for one last day, because it was beautiful and warm, and it is his place. But tomorrow I am afraid to let him out, because he is growing weaker, and I don't want him to just disappear. Mark found him asleep in the grass next to the barn, right out in the open. He obviously had grown tired and just stopped there.

Friday he goes back to the vet for his final visit.

The Owl Creek farm is really and truly nothing without Nick. He is it's puckish spirit. It's like he knew that once it was gone, there was no place for him.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Serious cuteness at Cat Eyes

I don't have time to blog this morning, but I'm tired of leaving my readers with nothing. So check out some serious cuteness on the Pacific side of the U.S. with Cat Eyes.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

I need a Catbus

Don't I?

I find poetry as I sort my life...

Waiting for Narcy

You might suppose she were still alive.
At seven p.m, lights snap on.
The upstairs windows glow warmly
but welcome no visitors.
No one turns back the covers on her bed.

I'm told she visited the physician
for some minor ache, pain, or worry.
Seven days later
her Taurus is estate property.
Spring breezes dust it clean
as if it is exercised daily;
it does not look lonely in the drive.

One wonders if she knew its color matched
the shutters on the house.
Was it planned? An amused whim on the car lot?
Or was it a silly surprise upon arriving
at her home with the new wheels?
Did she never even notice?
There is no one to ask.

This spring
would she have cut a branch from
her salmon quince?
Planted pansies by her door?
Lingered on the steps to feel the spring sun?
No one much remembers.

Each day I sit
in my truck at the curb.
Neighbors pass by,
startled when I greet them
from the rolled-down window,
but each is glad to talk.
Always the same:
They did not know her well.

How sad that some did not even know she had died.
They stare at the cheerful house
as if surprised it had not been kind enough
to let them know
by donning mourning black.

After weeks of daily visits
the irony strikes me;
that they have made friends with
this stranger at the curb
but knew their neighbor not at all.

Her metal garden bells have tipped
and no longer ring,
muffled by hosta shoots.
I refuse to right them
and betray the garden's loss
by supporting the illusion that all is well.
The cement garden cat is frozen in
permanent crouch.
It will never pounce.

At 5:30 each day I have my rendezvous.
Sometimes he is here already,
sitting on the porch stair,
as if he keeps a watch on his wrist.
Sometimes I must wait til six
for him to return from other appointments.
Today there is a cold unpleasant rain
and I wonder if he has stood me up.
But he appears as scheduled,
coat rumpled and worn.
It seems he no longer cares
to keep himself neat.
As I spy from the tuck
he walks up the drive
across the path to the porch
mounts the stairs.

He flattens his ears when he sees the trap,
his white porcelain bowl set as
bait for capture, surrounded by wire,
trip pan and doors poised to close.
In the drizzle
he backs down a stair, glaring,
sinks into a sad crouch, paws tucked.
He remains in the rain for an hour,
stubbornly refusing to look at his bowl
except for a single lift of his chin at the half-hour,
a tilt forward of the ears,
hoping the trap has dissolved in the rain,
sullen to find that it has not.

He is the only one who seems to know her at all.
She gave him a name.
"NRC"...Non-Resident Cat.
Misunderstanding, I called him Narcy.
She was not there to correct me.

He cannot answer my questions
about pansies, quince, or the car,
but he bows his head against the wet
to tell me in the determined line
of his gaunt shoulders
that she was a kind person
whose memory could bring a wild cat back
to her lately-foodless porch, each day, 5:30 pm,
from that bitter Christmas
to this bitter spring.

Does he know she'll never be there
to meet him on those white stairs?
He seems to know the trap is final,
would rather bear hunger than step on the pan,
would rather crouch in the rain than walk away
from his remembrance of her.

I can't outlast this stoic in the rain.
He relinquishes the porch as I step up,
take the food from the trap, close the door,
set the porcelain dish in safety on the bottom stair,
and walk away.

He is back,
eating untasted food in great swallows
as I release the clutch
roll down the pavement,
past the bright houses, neat lawns,
the redbuds, the quince, the flags.
We will continue our grave waltz another evening.
Him, waiting for her.
Me, waiting for Narcy.

Great music...

...poached from Potter's Blog

Convenia...a wonder drug for future ferals?

Dolittler discusses a new one-injection long-acting antibiotic. Imagine if this were available for caretakers to use on feral cats they might be able to capture for a vet visit, but which likely cannot be handled daily to be medicated. It doesn't even matter if you can get them in a cage. If they won't eat an antibiotic in their food, you are crap out of luck. Or the shy cat that eats a bite and runs if you look at her hard. How do you know she's getting the dose she needs?

How about cats that have an upcoming dental, but currently have abscessed teeth and need a week of antibiotics beforehand? Can you hear me thinking "Fluffy" dear Wildrun visitors?

Would I fork out $40 for antibiotics for one feral cat? Given how much Clavamox I've wasted, yeah, there are times I probably would.

The heat is on....

I turned on the kerosene heater in the great room, and Ivan and Cricket snuggled in to enjoy the last chance at blazing heat...

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Bought a ring today....

Whoops! I had actually posted this here so Cary, who videotapes our cats, could see the ring. I was unable to send her the photo via Yahoo IM, so I put it up here and planned to take it down...and forgot. :) And now there are comments, it seems rude to remove it. So I'm putting it back up.

I needed a ring. It was important to me at that moment, to have one. The budget was not really there for one, but I figured no harm in looking, anyway.

The art stores were mostly stocked in "beautiful but modern." I could have ordered one I liked for around $130, but I don't know...ordering a ring just doesn't seem right. I don't want to see one in a catalog. If a ring is supposed to be personal, a catalog seems far too remote.

The jewelry stores were either barren, unimaginative, or depressing. Depressing how? The estate-type rings were numerous but dusty and unshined in one place (if you are a jewelry store, why would you let your wares gets dingy?) and all you could think of were the people who came in to sell them because they were broke, or their loved one had left them or died. The karma was bad.

So I wandered into 3-D Light (the local fantasy/head shop), although I specifically did not want another cheap silver ring that I would soon tire of. I wanted a wide band, and I wanted stones. I looked at the many rings he had available, in the wall cabinet stuffed full of earrings and D&D figurines. This was another place where the jewelry was all tarnished, but it fit with the place. It was part of the mystique that if you found something here, it would be because you could envision it untarnished.

Well, I couldn't "envision."

The store owner wandered over and asked me if I were looking for something. Normally I say "Just looking!" (i.e. "leave me alone, thanks!"). But these past few weeks I've discovered that if people want to help you, a wise person says "thank you."

I told him I wanted a ring. He steered me over to a cabinet that I had already checked out, and I mentally prepared myself to be polite while I said "No, thanks."

But then he opened it up, and started taking them out, and making me look at them, and telling their stories.

And that's when I realized I'd been saying "no thanks" to people for far too long. He finally pulled out this I never would have even looked at twice if it hadn't been handed to me, and I realized that it not only fit physically, it met my criteria. It was silver. It was wide, although not in the manner I had envisioned. It had gemstones (citron), and it was handmade.

It looked like music. And in fact, that is the first thing Mark's mom said to me when she saw it. "It looks like music" (meaning, musical notes).

And it was under forty bucks. Since everything financial is measured in terms of spays or cat food, we were talking 3.5 bags of cat food here.

I bought it. And I'm happy with it.

The store owner told me it had been around for over 25 years. There had been a jeweler/artist living in Ithaca back then who used to sell him prototype rings that never went into production. This was one of them. That was back when I was walking around Ithaca as a college student. The future was open then, and it's open now.

Stories and people. I need to remember to value them more.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Sent to me today by a friend...

A recent study found the average American walks about 900 miles per year. Another study found Americans drink, on average, 22 gallons of wine a year. That means, on average, Americans get about 41 miles to the gallon.

Kind of makes me proud to be an American.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Ben settles in

Not much time to blog this morning, but I wanted to get this photo up of Ben in his new home. It sounds like he's making the place his own!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Beautiful Ben gets a home...again

Ben has found a new home! At age four, after being adopted as a kitten (and returned a year later by the owner--who had failed to neuter him, prompting our current "neutered before adoption" policy) and adopted again (and returned because the family's Jack Russell wanted to eat him despite their conscientious attempts at introduction), he has charmed his way into new hearts, and left here today.

Thank you for everyone who has helped with Ben...Donna and Tim, Alden, and Cary who made his video. It worked, and hopefully he's off to his forever home.

A Bark Heard Around the World, May 17

By AMANDA FOLTS / Finger Lakes Times
PENN YAN - Puppy Mill Rescue Inc. is sponsoring an event called "Bark Heard Around the World" May 17 to educate people about the treatment of dogs raised in puppy mills.

Eileen Franco, a Puppy Mill Rescue Inc. board member and foster mom,defined a "puppy mill" as a large-scale facility that produces more than one breed of dog. She said some dogs are sold right out of the mills, with a majority going to pet stores and a growing number sold over the Internet, which makes the mills harder to track and regulate.

Franco hopes the event at the Yates County Fairgrounds will convince more people to take a stand against mills and pressure state legislators to pass tougher laws against them.

"People need to do more than just be horrified - they need to start speaking out," she said. "We need people to be a voice for the voiceless."

Among the speakers May 17 will be Dr. Franklin McMillan of Best Friends Sanctuary in Utah, who has been working on a 15-year study of the emotional impact of dogs raised in puppy mills.

Dr. Carl Darby, a veterinarian at the Seneca Falls Veterinary Hospital who helps care for rescued dogs, plans to speak about the physical issues they have after leaving puppy mills.

"I'm hoping that people realize that when they buy a puppy from a puppy mill that they're supporting an organization that treats animals in an inhumane way," he said.

This is the first year A Bark Heard Around the World is being held in the area, but Franco said she has attended a similar event in Pennsylvania, where the puppy mill population is booming in Lancaster County. She said the number of mills in the Finger Lakes region - and especially in Yates County - is rising to a similar level.

The full article can be found at the Finger Lakes Times. It will ask you to register.

For more information about A Bark Heard Around the World or Puppy
Mill Rescue Inc., visit

Thanks, Nancy, for sending this!

Rescue Ink will be there!

I do plan to go, if anyone wants to go from Spencer.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Jasper and Zuzu, blogcats of the day

Thanks, Stephanie! How sweet. I'll bet they aren't always that quiet.

Back in black

The place looked great upon my return, once again due to the wonderful care by Donna and Tim. It was 32 degrees when I got back to NY last night, but Donna had turned the heat back on, and I plugged in the heat lamp in the cat room, so everyone was snug and warm.

Today the sun is once again shining full with spring and it looks like it's going to be a gorgeous day.

Perci and KittyCorn were happy to have the window opened again.