Early Morning Open Thread: Life Can Get Better

From commentor JAHILL10:

The first picture is of Jake the day we brought him home from the Philadelphia SPCA in 2005. All head and legs, wormy, hungry, and happy to be someplace other than the shelter. My husband and I went there looking for a “scruffy dog” about two years after my Scottie dog of 14 years, Bonny, had died of cancer. I was resistant to the idea but my husband thought that “it was time” to find a new puppy to love. But after walking up and down aisles of abandoned, full grown pit bulls we were about to give up. I also had two cats at the time, one a dainty, elderly calico, and I was fearful of bringing a dog capable of chomping a cat in half into the house. I wanted something apartment sized, Bonny-sized… I was ready to walk out and try another day. My husband, on the other hand, decided to go exploring. Ignoring KEEP OUT signs, police tape, and orange pylons separating the adoptable dogs from the new arrivals he strolled down the forbidden zone and suddenly yells to me from across the shelter. “Come here! You need to meet this one.” Embarrassed and muttering, I reluctantly went to him and there in a holding pen was the scruffiest dog imaginable, skinny and adorable. Our eyes met and my husband said that was that.
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It took some doing. Jake had just been dropped off at the PSPCA from Animal Control who had picked him up roaming the streets so they hadn’t had the chance to put him through the usual screening and he had to be “tutored” before they would let us take him home and our landlord had to be convinced that the pet deposit was still in effect, but we were determined. I went from reluctant window shopper to true believer in no time flat. We named him Jake and after we fully realized how lucky we had been to happen upon one of the best doggies ever, we sometime call him “Jackpot” Jake.
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It wasn’t all easy. We found at first that he was deathly afraid of children, especially running and yelling children because, we assumed, he had been chased by kids when he was living on the streets. After some basic obedience school and a lot of practice, he is much better around kids. Around adults he is the happiest, most welcoming soul in the world. A scritichy-scratch on the spot above his tail will win you a lifetime friend. And somehow Jake knew how to sit up and beg without being taught. He took my cats in stride and sometimes acts more like a cat than a dog. And overlaying all of that is an almost lethal level of cuteness. The second picture is of him three years later chasing his ball in the park. We wouldn’t trade him for the world.
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“Hope is that thing inside us that insists…that something better awaits us if we have the courage to fight for it.” –Barack Obama



Early Morning Open Thread: Big Dog Rescue

From commentor Brian S:

Patch is a Great Dane. He was born and raised in Northern California, where sadly he was taken to a shelter to be adopted out at the age of eighteen months. Deanne and I were looking for a dog in Christmas 1999 and she picked him ! I’ve never had a dog before, so to go straight to an 18 month old Great Dane who weighed 112 lbs (he was badly underweight) was pretty daunting. But she kept me awake till 5AM, looking at web sites that praised these wonderful dogs. Through a combination of strong evidence and sleep deprivation I agreed to adopt Patch.
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Patch was a wonderful companion and if I’ve learned anything, it’s that owning a Great Dane gets you noticed ! It is rare that we’ll walk him without somebody wanting to meet him, ask what its like to raise a Great Dane etc. We’re always glad to answer and spread the good word about what lovely dogs they are, if you’re prepared to put in the time to be good friends to them.
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When we lived on the west coast, he came with us on several road trips to San Francisco and one to Washington state. It seems the people of those cities don’t often see Great Danes, because we got so much attention from people. One man even stopped his car in city traffic and double parked so he could meet Patch and tell about his time growing up with Great Danes! Patch enjoyed these trips a lot, getting a lot of new experiences and practice in meeting people. At night in one SF hotel, he lay down in front of their fire place and looked so noble, like he was the king’s dog!
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We moved to Jupiter, Florida in March 2002 where Patch and his two kitty siblings, Aura and Garibaldi, settled into their exciting new home. Patch went to the dog park on most days and also went with Brian or Deanne to their workplace on most afternoons. The socialization he got at these places was invaluable and played a big part in teaching him how to get along so well with everyone he met. Visiting business people would be brought past Brian’s office to meet him!
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As Patch reached his final years, his back legs got weaker and he had a hard time getting up and out of bed, or getting into the car to be driven around. We got him a conductor’s podium as a step-up box (don’t bother with the folding ramps, they bend too much) and that helped for many months, but eventually he couldn’t be put into the car without a lot of help, and the possibility of injury was too great, so he stayed home and went for brief walks. This is something to consider: when a 160 lb dog can’t get up, you can’t just easily pick him up and move him around.
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We all come to the end of our road eventually, and Patch slipped away quietly in February 2010. He was surrounded by his extended family and friends, five wonderful people who all loved him and wanted the best for him. Although he will be missed greatly, it is a great comfort to us knowing that he had so many friends and had made such a good impression on people. Between his many days at the dog park, and uncountable afternoons at Brian’s and Deanne’s workplace, Patch leaves behind many fond memories.
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He was always gentle, never started a fight (well, maybe once!) and played appropriately with everyone from a pack of 3 wolf-dogs all the way down to tiny Italian greyhounds. A real gentleman, and I miss him every day.
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One word of advice : take photos and video of your pet doing their everyday thing, whether it’s a place they like to lie down, or a trick they do. You’ll miss those things when they’re gone, like the heavy sigh of a Great Dane who is standing over you at 4AM ‘cos he wants to go outside! I’m very glad I have video of him purring, panting and playing in ways that I’ll want to see occasionally, just to remember the fun we had.



Early Morning Open Thread: Cat Zen

From commentor James H:

These two are Evita and Juliet. Last August my cat Persephone got sick and had to be put to sleep. She was only 7 years and I was very upset. I had just moved into a place that allowed pets a month earlier and had Persephone back for the first time in almost 2 years. I decided to go to the local animal shelter to look at kittens and try to cheer myself up – and ended up getting a kitten. Evita is very much the princess. She’s very dainty about everything she does (and has been since she was a kitten). She is very talkative and almost always comes when I call her name. She always seemed lonely, so my girlfriend and I decided we’d look for another cat. We went to a different shelter (they were advertising their Pre-Owned Cat sale, which I thought was clever). Juliet was abandoned by her mother (along with the rest of her litter) and had been bottle-raised from just two days old. She’s very independent and a bit of a tomboy, but she’s also a very sweet kitty. She loves to curl up and try to suckle at my girlfriend’s neck. I took this photo of the two of them when they stopped their constant wrestling matches for a few minutes and pretended to like each other.



Open Thread: Thursday Night Menu

Here’s TaMara:

Happy first day of autumn. According to my sources summer officially ended yesterday at 10:55 pm MDT. Sigh. I’ve pulled out the sweaters, but have not put away the shorts. JeffW updated us on Homer yesterday. His cast has been removed. No word yet on his permanent placement…


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On to dinner. This is not a very fall oriented menu, I’ll get to those in later weeks. This menu is a quick and flavorful stir-fry of no particular origin. If you can’t find the broad rice noodles, whatever you like will do just fine. I like the broad ones because they hold the sauce and lots of sesame seeds. I keep sesame seeds around like salt and pepper, so I add that at the table and it’s a nice touch to both the carrots and beef dish. The yogurt and pineapple provide a cool finish.
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On the board tonight:
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1. Spicy Beef & Broccoli
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2. Rice Noodles (broad style)
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3. Sweet & Sour Carrots
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4. Crushed pineapple and vanilla yogurt

Recipes and shopping list at the link.








Early Morning Open Thread: Pet Rescues Plus

From commentor Adolphus:

My fiance and I have rescued and adopted a number of animals over the years, she starting long before she met me. The orange dog is Ruby. My fiance adopted her from the local animal rescue years before we met. Sometime in the mid 90’s. I have no cute story about it, she was just lonely and had just lost her previous dog and they just found each other at the local shelter. When we met I was a little leery as I had never been much a dog person, but Ruby really leaped into my heart with all four paws.She was found on the street with some of her puppies over ten years ago and is currently about 15-16 years old. In February of 2008 we were told she only had three months to live due to a series of cancerous growths on various organs. Well, here it is September of 2010 and I would like to say she is still going strong, but she is clearly feeling her age. Her walks are more like slow ambles, she scampers less and less, and she sleeps more and more. While we are afraid she won’t live to see 2011, we are grateful for almost 3 extra years of love.
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The orange cat adopted us. We live in a college town where the students are forever buying or adopting cats, less frequently dogs, and then abandoning them when they graduate or just move on. Because of that there is a real stray cat problem. It is a rare apartment complex that doesn’t have from 3 to 6 to as much as a dozen stray cats lounging around or fighting for food. Even on campus it is not out of place to see strays huddled under buildings or crossing your path on your way to class. Our apartment complex has had between 3 and 6 resident strays since we moved in three years ago. The cat in the photo, we called her Ruby Jr. because of her affection for and resemblance to Ruby, started following us around on our dog walks about 2 years ago. At first she would find us mid-walk and follow us around for awhile but that escalated into meeting us at our door when we came emerged for Ruby’s walks. Then she started sleeping on our car and watching us through our windows. We fed her off and on, the raccoons ate that more often than not. Then a couple of days before Christmas after a chilly walk she zipped in through our front door in front of us. She usually only stayed the evening then wanted let out. A month later she took up permanent residence and was ensconced in time to watch Obama’s inauguration with me on the couch. (I also made a short video for my family and friends back north to introduce them to Ruby Jr.)
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Oh, and the gerbils.
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Open Thread: It’s the Goat that Ties the Vid Together!

Thanks to commentor J. for this link, because right now we desperately need something that doesn’t suck:

Almost as cool as the performers (including the goat, at 2:51) is the Gizmodo story describing how the video was made. One single take, no cuts, no camera tricks — Take #72 out of 124. Don’t miss the link, because the pics are just AWSUM!



Early Morning Open Thread: Multi-Cat Households




From commentor Jacquelyn:

… I adopted Linus from the Humane Society when he was 5 years old. He has an upper respiratory infection at the time and we couldn’t get it to abate. Then his left eye got infected and the lens ulcerated. Did you know there are Veterinary Ophthalmologists? Me neither. She was brilliant and figured out the source of both chronic infections: Linus has been declawed by his previous owners, and their vet cut the bones rather than removing them. One of his “fingers” was infected and as he groomed himself, the infection spread to his lungs and eye. We saved his eye, and fixed his “finger” and he’s a happy, healthy 12 year old now!
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Ying-Mu I got in 2004 when I was about to change jobs. The change meant I no longer worked from home, and Linus would be alone all day. So, I reached out for a kitten. Ying-Mu, now 6, believes he is still the ‘baby’ contrary to reality. I’m attaching a “then” pic… because he was a funny looking kitten, and now he’s gigantic.
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Augie (butterscotch color) was the next addition to the household in early 2006, at which point he was about 2.5. Commenter Satby rescued him from a kill shelter and I loved him on first sight. He was my accident-prone boy when he was younger. In his first 6 months, he broke his right “arm” for which he was splinted and taped up like a florescent mummy. After a week in the tape, he pulled it all off, deemed himself healed, and headed back outside to play. The following year, he broke his face in 4 places. I assume he was a little farther off the ground than he should have been, perhaps up a tree, and came down in one move. After the veterinary surgeon pinned his upper palate and jaw side-to-side (not closed since he cracked them the long way rather than top to bottom), wrapped his tendon around his TMJ to hold the little bone together and fixed his eye socket, a friend of mine agreed to care for him because I had to travel for work. After 3 days of post-op, he decided he was all better and started rough-housing with her 2 cats.
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Biscuit, shown in the same photo with Augie, is a dark tabby I was supposed to babysit for 2 weeks about 3 years ago (thanks Satby)! He was another rescue, this time from a kill shelter. He had a severe tooth infection which I got the vet to take care of. After that initial investment, I opted to keep him. His other favorite “brother” is Linus.
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Finally, Murphy. Murphy walked into my friend’s garage this past January when it was -20F and begged her to take him in. Sadly, she is allergic to cats and so I offered to take him. He is about 2 years old and has stirred up all the other cats magnificently. Where they were complacent, now they are always on the lookout for the brat. He’s a gorgeous and loving boy and really enjoys being in the kitty pile on my bed at night. Fortunately, they don’t use him as the bottom of the stack. He’s the lightest in weight of the five.

(I’m only including 4 of Jacquelyn’s pics, because that’s the maximum number FYWP will allow me.)