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February 28, 2011


I will now go off on a tangent: all but one of Vick's dogs were people-social right from the moment of rescue. All but about five were dog social. It is a form of abuse of animals to euthanize fighting dogs as unadoptable. They are are the victims of a crime and should not be killed by the "rescuers". For this reason I do not donate to teh Humane Society and instead make regular donations to Missouri Pitbull Rescue and Stray Rescue of St Louis, both of which rescue pitbull type dogs, even dogs that have been exploited by figters.

Breed bans are a form of animal abuse, too. And abuse of families that have well socialized pitbulls or would like to rescue a pitbull.

My next dog will be a pitbull or pitb ull mix. Real pitbulls are highly poeple-oriented dogs. Accodring to the annual temperament testing done by the AKC American Pitbull Terriers score the same on people socialablity as goldn retrievers. As LJ mentioned they also have a huge capacity for devotion to their people. It is ameasure of what a fearful irrational animal us humans can be that we allow oursleves to be seduced by media narratives into prejudice against a breed of dog.

Especially since many "pitbulls" aren't. The term "pitbull " is used to designate smooth=caoted stocky floppy eared dogs--that's a physi cal description , not a breed. A Dalmation-beagle cross would be a pitbull pysical type. American Pitbull Terriers and Anerican Staffordshire Terriers are not overly common but smooth-coated floppy eared mixed breed mutts are legion. Some pitbull type dogs actually are part American Pitbull Terrier but many are American bulldog mixes, boxer mixes, who knows? Most of Vick's dogs were not pure breds and some of them weren't even partly American Pitbull Terrier.

So next time you hear a stroy on the news about the evil pitbull athat atacked someone remember that the pitbull is just term for a physical description and that the reporter has no idea what breed(s) the dog is. Also remember that TV news got su into Iraq. If TV "news" journalists couldn't get a story of national importance right why would we trust the media on a human interest dog story?

That's my plea for the American Pitbull Terrier, a bfreed of dog that used to be one of the most popular in America until guilt by association with the urban underclass make it the bogey-dog of the middle class imagination

There's an episode of Bones, the Finger in the Nest, where the murder weapon is a fighting dog. Dr. Brennan (Bones) decides to adopt the dog, Ripley, but, having killed a human, Ripley is euthanized instead.

Bones and Booth hold a funeral for Ripley, and Bones (who believes only in facts she can perceive) delivers a eulogy,

On behalf of Human Kind, Universe, “ she begins. “I’d like to apologize to what happened to Ripley. He was born a cute little puppy…and then the people who adopted him wanted to kill him because they were too stupid to realize that he would grow into a big dog!” She looks to Booth and he urges her on, “That’s good…”

Starting to get choked up, Bones sniffs and says, “Ripley was a good dog. He didn’t want to fight. But he did it to please his master. You know, he didn’t want to attack a human being, but he did it to please his master!” She swallows hard, holding back tears. “It wasn't Ripley's fault that his master was cruel and selfish. “ Booth nods in agreement as Bones continues, “Like all dogs, Ripley only saw the good in people. Dogs are like that. People should take a lesson."

I don't understand this post but this is my reaction to it.

"Anyone is welcome to argue for the 'we'd be better off without pets (at least until we cure world hunger') line"

I'll just argue that everyone should spay their animals, get their animal campanions from rescue shelters, hound puppy mills out of business, and Stomp Out Animal Racism.


Also, license your animal friends, if the law says so, even if it's co-operating with the commie-fascist totalitarian government, because usually, though not necessarily, the money goes to the local animal control shelter. And chip your animal companions, so when they're lost, you have a better chance of getting together again.

Me, I growl more than I bite.

And when I grab on, I can hang on, but I try not to bite too hard, and let go if I realize I'm hurting someone.

But indoor/outdoor internet cats need their claws, and sometimes the things get scratched, so oops, he explains, sometimes.


And woof.

And let's return to our Golden Years and hear from Hilzoy, with: The Amazing Michael Phelps: Open Thread.

Hilzoy and Sunday Psychic Cat Blogging.

I can't bring you Hilzoy today, or tomorrow, but I can bring you Hilzoy past. That last is:

August 10, 2005
Ban Interstate Traffic In Nonhuman Primates
I'm a little busy, so play nice, kids!

Tangential, but: Seems Malcolm Gladwell is rather insufferable when he actually gets called out for opining on something he clearly has no clue about (which IMO is quite often -- still, gotta give grudging credit to anyone who can turn baffling the general market with bullsh!t into a minor cottage industry).

Emotionally, my response to abuse animals is only a notch or two lower than my emotional response to child abuse. It's a horrific betrayal of a trusting (at least at first) innocent. It makes me angry in a seeing-red, logical brain shutting down kind of way.

Both of my dogs are adopted. They're labs, or lab mixes (one of the two in particular *has* to be mixed w/something else, given his coat). One, the first we adopted, has some mental issues we've been unable to fully cure (barrier/leash aggression). We've tried pretty hard, too. But on the whole, he's a good dog and we love him. We just can't really expect to put a leash on him, encounter another dog, and not have to deal with/head off his reaction. He's a big boy (75 lbs), but thankfully he's now about 8 yrs old and has lost a couple of steps. When we first got him... man oh man. He could yank you right off your feet if you weren't paying attention (he actually did pull my wife off her feet & partly through a hedge because he happened to see the rabbit first).

A couple of years ago we had him x-rayed because he was throwing up a lot and we wante to be sure he wasn't blocked up. He wasn't. But they did discover some bird shot under his skin. I was surprised. The vet (from AL, whereas my dog started off in TN) was not. It doesn't seem like he was deliberately shot, but he took a hit nonetheless. This strongly suggests he was a "wash out" hunting dog. Perhaps that plus improper socialization as a pup messed him up. Impossible to say.

Adopting a pet is a good thing to do, despite the possible issues. You can have issues w/a puppy from a breeder too (though frankly it's less likely). Regardless of how you acquire a dog, you have to have at least some idea of what you're doing. I thought I did when we adopted Toby, having had family dogs growing up. I was only partly right. He was... educational.

I don't know if there are any statistics to back this up- but I thinnk that getting a pup frm a breeder is a very risky thing to do. The problem is that there are very few responsible breeders and most people don't know how to tell a responsible one from the regular kind. One peice of advice: never, ever buy a puppy from a pet store or off Craig's list or from a flyer posted somewhere or from a website...

A frined of mine had three chihuahuas from a "repsonsible breeder". he has a national reputation and breeds champions. He gaveher one of his retired champion males. The poor dog was crazy, literally. All he would do is hide between the legs of a chiar and spin in circles. He had spent most of his life in a box, you see.

If someone has a pretty well defeined notion of what kind of behavior they can deal with inn a dog and wants to be as asured as possible ofgetting the dog with that behhavior then go to a rescue and get an adult dog that is in a foster home. The foster family should be able to describe the dog's behavior pretty accurately.

BTW adult normal dogs are easier to train than puppies.

Toby was "fostered" before we got him. Of all the questions I asked, about 50% of the answers were totally wrong. And it wasn't really the foster person's fault. She was fostering a group of dogs in an environment quite different from ours (she had a horse farm in TN, we were living on a 1/4 acre plot in suburbia at the time). The major behavior problem we ran into simply didn't happen for her: she just about never leashed him. He was in a large run w/a pack (a situation he copes with just fine).

The experiences people I know have had w/dogs from breeders has been fine. Puppy stores, sure. Though I will say that when I was a boy we did get sucked in and bought a golden retriever from a puppy store. Best. Dog. Ever.


Our second adopted dog, on the other hand, is a perfectly normal fellow. It's hit & miss.

The one thing about adopting an adult dog is that you often have to *untrain* things, as well as train them on the normal sit/stay/etc. With a puppy, you can mold from the get-go. Any problems are almost surely on YOU, not some prior owner you don't even know.

"Though I will say that when I was a boy we did get sucked in and bought a golden retriever from a puppy store. Best. Dog. Ever."

I've only owned one dog, coincidentally a golden retriever, not coincidentally also the Best Dog Ever. My girlfriend and I are going to get a beagle is our first dog in part because of apartment size concerns, but I can provide firsthand testimony that goldens are among the sweetest, gentlest, and most loving dogs. I have never met a mean golden.

Molly is our chocolate rescue lab. You cannot imagine a sweeter, more loving, happier dog anywhere, except in your home where your dog is the same. I agree with the comments about breeders. Rescue labs, in my limited experience, are dogs that wouldn't hunt well. The owner abandons them and the rescue people pick them up and find good homes.

Hunters, in my experience, can be great pets, but they are bred to hunt and aren't happy unless they are either hunting or training.

The labs that flunk out of Hunter University are the best pets ever. I can't believe how lucky we are to have Molly.

I just have to say that we'd be better off without pets, at least until we've cured world hunger. Just consider the immorality of pampering pets while there are people in the world who are much worse off. I obviously have a logically unassailable position here, so no need to respond.


"At any organized pit fight in which two dogs are really going at each other wholeheartedly, one can observe the owner of each dog changing his position at pit-side in order to be in sight of his dog at all times. The owner knows that seeing his master rooting him on will make a dog work all the harder to please its master."

I totally believe this and find it utterly sickening that a human being would take advantage of a dog's loyalty to these ends -- it's the owner acting like an animal, not the dog.

When Vick's animal-fighting ring was in the news, I constantly heard rationalizations that simply made me scratch my head -- that it's part of the black culture, or primarily an inner-city thing, or that it was a Southern thing.

And if it is, so what?


"I will now go off on a tangent: all but one of Vick's dogs were people-social right from the moment of rescue. All but about five were dog social. It is a form of abuse of animals to euthanize fighting dogs as unadoptable. They are are the victims of a crime and should not be killed by the 'rescuers.'"

I agree with wonkie. When you see the miracles that Best Friends in Utah does, giving up on these dogs would be a crime.

The NatGeo channel used to run a show called "Dogtown" on Friday nights that profiled hard-case dogs that were all but given up for dead. When watching the program you'd think that rehabilitating or reaching this dog or that dog would be impossible. But time and time again, these dogs, experiencing love and care and fun for the first time -- and being treated with the kind of patience most of us simply do not have -- would become happy, social and adoptable.

Miracles do happen.

Sports Illustrated did a cover story on Vick's dogs and what happened to them back in December 2008. It's quite a story, both about the dogs and the people who took them in.

Our 2nd adoptee (Max) is a hunter, though I actually have no idea whether or not he was used as a gundog previously. Toby, the apparent hunter washout, isn't much of a hunter. I mean, it's there, but it's there in most dogs. Max, on the other hand, really has the drive. He jumped the fence a few months back and whacked 3 of my neighbors chickens. We have a ~5 foot fence, but it sags in spots. We wrapped an invisible/electric fence around the real one, but it has been intermittantly failing ever since I cut it mowing the lawn. My repeated repairs don't seem to hold when it gets wet. Anyway, the little bugger has some SERIOUS vertical leap and once he realizes the collar isn't gonna shock him, he's gone baby gone.

In the summer, we've learned not to put Max out in the back year unleashed. Sure, he's contained because the whole thing is fenced (so long as his secondary containment system is functioning), but since a large portion of the back area that's fenced is forest, Maxer will stay out there for hours and hours digging for small creatures. He even succeeds sometimes. Several times he stayed out there past midnight. Wouldn't come in (despite offers of rivers of treats) and would run away from a human trying to collect him. Then, at 2am, he's barking to come in. It's probably true he needs a job.

"Anyone is welcome to argue for the 'we'd be better off without pets (at least until we cure world hunger') line, but I'd just suggest that this might not be the place to do it, but no one is going to stop you."

Even if it were the right place -- and what place would that be? -- I'd have a hard time giving that argument much of my attention.

For many of us -- many as in millions -- going without a cat or dog (I've got both), would be like going without air. Hyperbole, to be sure, but truer than you might think.

I've had dogs -- Bonzo, CoCo, Bowser (who I've grown to appreciate more and more in death, reflecting often how -- even though he wasn't the sharpest tack in the drawer -- he possessed a sixth sense, uncannily being able to read my moods; I often thought he was "reading" me with his piercing chestnut eyes. Yeah, I miss Bowser, my Paw Boy) who, especially when I was single got me through major depressions and gave my life meaning.

I may have rescued them -- once -- but they rescued me many times.

Back in 2004, Jess and I were just getting back on our feet in our own place, when my father mentioned to us that his neighbor had a cat looking for a home. Suede--the name he came with--had been injured when he was younger and his hip never quite healed right, giving him a slight skip-limp here and there and an aversion to being picked up. He was terrified of other animals, and the family that owned him had added more animals that bullied him, and ended up just confining Suede to the basement. I don't remember the circumstances now, but they couldn't take care of him and offloaded him onto my father's neighbor, who had a habit of rescuing animals. Problem was, Suede had to go into her basement too, because he couldn't deal with her other cats.

We came over and found a scrawny, skittish bluish-gray shorthair hiding under the stairs. But the moment we reached out to him, he rose up on his hind legs and headbumped our hands, and then purred and bumped us some more for good measure. How could we not take him home?

Suede's had a long road. He spent most of the first week hiding under our bed, and our then-toddler was a source of mortal terror despite his sweet intentions. At one point we got a really bad flea infestation that took two years and a move from an apartment to a house to get rid of, and he chewed himself scabby no matter what we tried. But over a period of months he gradually opened up to us, and stopped bursting into flight at any unexpected sound or motion. The last couple years we've begun letting him outside, which keeps the litter box from filling up as fast and keeps us from having to fight the losing battle of trying to keep him from fleeing out the door whenever we open it. And he's an old cat--we were told he was around 7 when we got him, which has him coming up on 14 or 15 soon. He's remarkably spry for his age, but his age is obvious when he's getting up or lying down.

But I love him with all my heart--he's one of my best friends, and he's really turned into my cat. He is always waiting for me when I come home--either by the front door when I walk in, or sitting on the fence in our carport when I drive in. If he's outside when I get home, he immediately jumps off and runs to another door to be let in before I'm even out of the car. Jess tells me that he will be completely silent for hours, and as soon as I get home he starts meowing loudly and repeatedly for me to give him wet food. He will follow me around at my feet like a party of characters in a JRPG. When I sit down at my desk, he'll hop up and insert himself into my lap regardless of how little space there is. Sometimes we'll get into conversations, where he'll meow at me and I'll mao at him, and this goes back and forth for a some time. His purr can fill the room, and if either Jess or I sit or lie down he's guaranteed to be curled up on us within minutes.

I know I probably don't have very many years left with him. I try not to think about that, because it tears me apart. He is a sweet, wonderful, faithful friend, and my life wouldn't be the same without him.

I didn't mean to iply that buying from breeder resutls in a difficult or unhearly dog, although itcan have that resutl, I meant that buying from a breeder,l unless one is very very fmiiar withthe g=breeder and only buys frm a very small scale very respnisble breedr4 results in supporting the exploitation, nelgect and someties abuse of the puppy's parants as well as supporting people who are contributing to the ovrpopulation of dogs in this countrry,

"Anyone is welcome to argue for the 'we'd be better off without pets (at least until we cure world hunger') line . . ."

It is hardly an exact parallel, but this is the same argument used by those who think we shout shut NASA down and end space exploration.

And while curing world hunger is certainly more important, somehow I think this country needs to find a way to do both -- get the private sector more involved with NASA? -- because it strikes me as sad, although that wasn't the word I was looking for, to not look beyond the world we live in (not to mention the advances and benefits we have received from the work NASA does).

As the person most accused of bringing up the unmentionable arguments that no one finds appropriate, I decline to argue for "we'd be better off without pets." Just so everyone knows not to expect it.

Not that my own furry family regards the term "pets" as descriptive.

Catsy, that's a very sweet story about Suede. I am so glad that Suede got a good home at last.

Finally in Mississippi, thanks for all the interesting comments. I think it is going to a given that whenever I cite someone like Gladwell, they are going to go and say something stupid like what matttbastard links to.

Is there any reason to believe that Gladwell's actually wrong about football though? It does seem to lead to dementia. And I don't really see how it can be socially acceptable when boxing or fights to death are not. I guess we'll find some sort of silly rationalization since people like watching it happen.

Regarding Gladwell and the Facebook/Twitter caused the Egyptian revolution argument, I think the very best that can be said of him is that many of the people he is arguing with are profoundly ignorant, even more so than he is. I shudder to think how many times I've read ignorant people mainsplaining to me that those Egyptians sure are lucky that Facebook came along and made their little revolution possible.

No, I think Gladwell is right on football, and profoundly wrong on the Middle east and Web 2.0.

Boxing is actually an interesting example, my father was a college boxer at University of Wisconsin, which was one of the premier NCAA boxing programs in the country, and the death of Charlie Mohr (and I think that they were teammates) led to the sport being cancelled not only at UW, but also as an NCAA sanctioned sport. And boxing is still 'acceptable', but certainly not with the cachet that it used to have. However, what knocked boxing out was the death immediately after the fight. What has happened in football is that the problems manifest themselves several years after the incident. I think that it is that time lag is what causes the problem.

This being an open thread . . .

Has anyone heard from Jes?

I hope she is well.

And has anybody heard from my old friend, John?

Hope he is well, too.

Jes and Thullen -- two strong and iconic ObWi voices that have made The Kitty a better place.

I'm exposing you to magic.

I'm sorry, I can't write more, there's a cat in my hat, er, lap, er, on my arm.

Jes is, among other places, over here as of January 13th, and over here as of February 24th, a few seconds on Google shows.

I'd be delighted if she were commenting here -- within the posting rules -- and she was briefly by a while back, and she's always welcome.

As for John Thullen, um, people sometimes have a way of using handles, you know?

I'd suggest reading ObWi comments a bit more, and seeing if you notice an unmistakably familiar style. You might see a commenter here all the time and have a sense of deja vu.

I'm, as they say, just sayin'.

Speaking of Gladwell, he appears in the comments of this post that cites the blog post mentioned above where he explains the pajama clad blogger is ironic

Thanks wonkie, we're glad to have him in our family. He's a great cat, full of love.

Some pics:


Thanks, Gary.

Some terrific magic: Pairing Charlie Sheen's quotes, which have been priceless, with loopy photos of cats . . . brilliant.

My favorite was the very fat cat plopped on his back on the couch, proudly protruding his stomach and saying: "I'm tired of thinking I'm not bitchin' and a total frickin' rock star from Mars."

In today's media, the number of Twitter followers you have seems to be a form of currency and, within 24 hours of forming a Twitter account, Sheen will soon have a million followers.

But he is paying quite a price, seeing how he lost custody of his two young twin sons, taken from his home at midnight after yesterday's rants.

Sheen seems like, at heart, he is a good guy, just with a lot of problems.

Playing armchair therapist, I believe him when he says he is clean at the moment -- key phrase: "at the moment" -- but as someone who was diagnosed with bi-polar manic depression in 1991 and, having suffered a few myself, I would say he is in an acute manic phase right now. During which, no drugs or drink are needed -- the high itself is great enough. As Sheen himself said today: "I am on a drug -- it's called Charlie Sheen."

But the kind of manic phase he is going through becomes draining (he himself said he is not sleeping) and, if it goes on long enough without treatment, dangerous. He's headed for a nervous breakdown, if he's not there already.

So, Gary, I am a bit of a sci-fi fan. Maybe a post someday where you out your top 10 or 20 authors and top 10 or 20 books. The rest of us sci-fi types can then pile on.

By "out" I meant name, as in "identify", nothing else.

If there's one thing that unites ObWi-ers, it's science fiction. I'm currently reading The Ghost Brigades, John Scalzi's first sequel to Old Man's War, and it's just amazing, a real page-turner. After that, on to a book I've amazingly never read but has always been on my "will get to it" list, Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow.

Small victories: three dogs that used to live twnety four seven on chains in the yard are now being allowed inn the house during bad weather and at night.

I support an outfit called Dogs Deserve bewtter that advocagtes for chained up dogs. From DDB I learned that people can be educated on the humane way to care for their dog by polite contact.

I saw these dogs at three different homes as I drove around from client to client. I felt so sad for them, and then, inspired by DDB, I decided to so something about it. I wrote letters to thefamilies, nice politie letters, and asked them to lease bring their dogs in at night and in bad weather or release their dogs to a rescue,.

It worked. One of the dogs is now at a rescue and the other two are now in doors at night and were in doors during our recent snow storm.

I mention this becaues it is a simple way to improve the lives of neglected animals. please consider wrting to people who don't bring their dogs in. there is public safety aspect to this: according to the Humane Society there is no such thing as a biting breed, but unsocialized lonely miserable outdoor chained up dogs are the ones most frequently invovled in biting incidets. gtheey either bite a member of their own famiy, or the nieghbor's kids, or they get off the chain and bite a stranger.

It';s really cold here in Washington and now when I drive by those homes and the dogs are not outside I no longer feel so miserable.

Thanko aharing the kittty pics, Catsy. i especiallly like the headbutt picture. I used to have cats--Wonkie was one of my kitties. In fact I used to not like dogs! it was my old pug Charlie that taught me to appreciate dogs.

He's headed for a nervous breakdown, if he's not there already.

Arrogant + blow = stupid supernova.

"In fact I used to not like dogs! it was my old pug Charlie that taught me to appreciate dogs."

I used to not like cats.

For me, it was Kitty Boy who opened my eyes to the feline persuasion.

When I bought my first home in 1993, a townhouse in a small development of 24 of them, Kitty Boy roamed the neighborhood day and night. He would appear and disappear like a ghost.

There was a big field next to the development where I would walk Bonzo, take him off the leash and the Lab/Rotty mix would romp until his heart was content.

Before long, I started noticing Kitty Boy shadowing us. KB would follow us to the field, then perch himself in a tree and observe Bonzo and me from a distance. He seemed entertained; I was intrigued.

Soon I started leaving food out for Kitty Boy and easily won his trust. I was amazed at how smart this cat was.

At the end of the living room were sliding glass doors that led out to the backyard, adjacent to those was the big-screen TV. One night I was watching TV and I see a pair of eyes peering into the living room, Kitty Boy standing on the wooden railing leading out to the yard.

That became KB's cue -- he'd come in, eat, plop himself on the ottoman and fall fast asleep. Then he'd want out in the morning. This was his ritual.

Other times, he'd enter the front door. I'd come home from work, and Kitty Boy would come running -- he'd respond to the distinct squeak the storm door would make.

Try as I might -- I even had him neutered --Kitty Boy did not want to become domesticated. The outdoors was too much of a playground.

He delivered birds and mice and squirrels and, one time, a rabbit that was bigger than he was, to my front door. Presents, I learned.

I didn't need any presents. I loved that damn cat. He was beautiful, gray with streaks of white on his face, matching his white paws. His easy-going nature belied his fierce outdoor spirit.

When he would go missing for a few days, I would worry like mad. But Kitty Boy always returned.

One day when I returned home and opened the squeaking door, Kitty Boy didn't appear instantly. I looked around and saw him barely able to make it from across the street. But that damn cat made it.

I rushed to the vet as quick as I could, my worst fears having been realized, KB having come up against the one thing he had no chance against.

I told the vet and his staff to do whatever it took to save Kitty Boy. They were nice enough not to tell me KB had already been lost.

It was Dec. 10, 1995, a Monday night, and my birthday. I had been happy all day that the NFL marked the occasion by scheduling a game that night. I don't even remember if I watched the game. I just remember feeling really empty. Kitty Boy definitely took a piece of my heart with him that day.

Oh God, Bedtime, you have made me cry. I am so sorry you lost Kitty Boy.

That's the fate of outdoor cats. though. Something alwasys happens. My nieghbor lost her smart, tough, beuatifll minature leopard to a coyote. Some cas willnot stay inside. I had a night prowlers once. He could herar the door open in the moring and wouuld come barrelling full tilt down the street, u the steps, between my legs and skid across the linoleum to a stop in fromof his food bowl. But, come fall of dark, he was off. If I ried to keep him inside, he'd howl for hours. Skykomish was killed by a car too.

I guess its like what the relatives of parachuters and exptreme skiers say: their loved ones died living the way they wanted to live. That's the only comfot i can think of.

"That's the fate of outdoor cats."

Whenever I've lost a dog, I wanted another soon after. The care and love the new one needed would be the perfect distraction, if you will, to curtail the mourning of the lost one.

But when Kitty Boy died, it hit me differently -- I did not want another cat.

Then the following spring, I find the tiniest bundle in a bush near my house (I imagine someone put it there, but I couldn't say for sure). Picked it up and the damn little thing, hissed me. And I was hooked. Tiger has been with me ever since -- and she's often at the door first before the dogs when I come home from work. I'd be lost without her because she talks and talks and talks.

She's feisty -- attacking feet is her favorite thing. And she follows me from room to room (I think she's half dog). That's how she expresses love because she may let me pick her up for a minute, but that's it.

Tiger has always gotten along with the dogs. She'd torment Bonzo, standing on the coffee table and brushing up against him to the point where he would whine (confused what to do next).

Cody, being smaller and still puppyish, comes zooming in from the backyard and tackles Tiger, who just seems to act with bemusement and puts up with him.

Tiger does not go outside. I can't imagine losing her the way I did Kitty Boy.

All my kitties after Skykomish were indoor kittes. At one piont I had four. On fo them-Benny, or Benny Butt or Butthead--used to lurk at the top of the stairs. it was an open staircasee with a railing along the topl He'd sit up there wating for someone to descend so he couldgrab their hair as they went by. The first time he did this to me I was so startled I lost myh footing and fell dwon the stairs. Demonic animal.

Cats do seem to have more of a propensity for mischief of that nature than dogs.

My first dog, Charlie, was supposed to be a foster arrangement but that ended in about five minutes of making his acquaintence. I didn't know what a pug was when I offred to foster him.

I'm still not sure what pugs are. They do not seem to be dogs. maybe,, as postualted in Men in Black, they are in fact aliens. My Charlie seemed to be a teddybear/watermelon cross. He did very few normal dog things--no fetching, no barking, hated going for walks, refused to play with other dogs, disdained chew toys, had to be carried outside to pee because he would not leave the house voluntarily. On the other hand he had an amazing reportoire of grunts and wheezes and could snore loud enough to rattle windows. He could not stand being out of physical contact with me--living with Charlie was like having a thirty pound tumor.

I still miss him. He made me laugh.

"He could not stand being out of physical contact with me -- living with Charlie was like having a thirty pound tumor."

Wonkie: I imagine we could swap dog and cat stories forever, over tea and some really good pie or coffe cake would be great . . . Too bad Washington is so far away from little ol' Delaware.

My Bowser sounded a lot like your Charlie.

When I went to the SPCA in the spring of 2002 a few months after Bonzo's death, I went searching for -- what else? -- a lab.

Bowser was in like the second or third cage on the left as you walked in and he trained his chestnut eyes on my every move. They had a yellow lab that I took outside for a few moments, low-key for a Lab, and I kept thinking about the striking boy with the black head and white body with black streaks. They called him a Border Collie mix, but just because a dog has cool black and white colorings doesn't make him a Border Collie. Besides, he had a Lab's body, right down to the fur and overhanging ears, and a Pit's face -- and strength. Bowser was very, very strong.

When I told the girl I wanted to see Bowser, she could hardly contain her excitement.

He and I bonded instantly, quicker than I've ever bonded with a dog. He clearly needed love and he trusted me from the moment we met.

He was my Paw Boy -- the girls at the shelter taught him that trick and he was very proud of it -- and was so, so happy as went through the checkout process. It was as if he knew he was going to his forever home.

Finally, the SPCA girls told me they were so happy that I picked Bowser because his time had been up long ago but they all took a liking to him and gave him several reprieves. Apparently, Bowser scared off numerous families by rushing the cage and coming off as violent (you or I might act the same way if we were pent up days on end). Ironically, he was calm as could be when I approached his crate.

Like I said, Bowser and I bonded really fast. I was going through a particularly rough patch and took a leave of absence that summer so we were together all the time. He was a great comfort. Whenever I needed cheering up, out would come the paw over and over again.

We spent most of our days at the Bark Park -- I think Bowser liked the ride there in the truck, head out the window, more than the park itself. He had an aggressive streak at first and was fearless, always wanting to go after the biggest dogs, like a Bull Mastiff. But before long, Bowsie became socialized and quite the gentleman.

When it was time for me to go back to work, I worried about him being alone since we had been inseparable. So that's when I got CoCo. They got a long from the get-go, especially since Bowser had no problem deferring to Coco, who had the dominant personality.

Bonzo had his quirks. He preferred staying on the porch on nice spring and summer days than actually being in the yard, where CoCo could stay forever. He didn't have the slightest clue as how to play fetch -- or at least he had zero interest in it. And he would only let me walk him.

Strangest of all, while he hated taken a bath, he insisted in coming in the bathroom and laying on the tile floor while I took one, which I didn't do until I got in the car business and needed to rest my ever-sore body. I'd sit in there and read for 90 minutes and, all the while, Bonzo was as content as could be. My wife would think we were both odd.

I still favor baths when I have the time, but it's just not the same without Bowser's calm and comforting presence.

To this day, I miss the way his eyes would find mine. Ol' Bowser always seemed to know what I was feeling, probably sometimes more than I did myself.

I'm glad the shelter took care of them. i have a facebook friend who post pictures of "urgent" dogs, dogs listed ot be destgoyed that show up on my home feed. I always look at them because iguess i feel I owe them that little bit of respect, just to look at them and say good by.

My wife and I currently have four cats at home. Two are cats we got from local rescues at pet stores, one is cat we adopted from a rescue for which we volunteered, and one is a feral that we rescued ourselves. They range in age from 10-19.

I have never really lived in a household without pets, but I've never really lost one, either, except for a cat that we took in for a dental cleaning back in 2000 and who died under sedation, apparently of cardiac myopathy.

Our 19-year-old cat suffer from both hyperthyroid and feline renal disease. We give her twice-daily doses of methimazole for her thyroid, and subcutaneous fluids 3x per week to keep her kidneys working. She's also very arthritic, and we don't have many days left with her, but she still has more good days than bad, so we're not at the point where we need to make end-of-life decisions.

Our next-oldest cat, who is 16, recently came into a vomiting problem. Over the last 12 months, she's decreased from 11 lbs to 6 lbs, and she has been throwing up a couple times a week in a volume, force and consistency that's like a college student on a binge drinking bender. Our vet recommended a hypoallergenic food and twice-daily Pepcid. The food did nothing for her, so we've switched her to raw, natural food, first rabbit and now venison. It seems to be keeping her from throwing up, but she's not herself, personality-wise. She's sluggish and un-energetic.

I know 16 and 19 are VERY old for cats, but I feel like they still have some quality of life yet. I know I'm not ready to let them go.

"I know 16 and 19 are VERY old for cats, but I feel like they still have some quality of life yet. I know I'm not ready to let them go."

Phil: When my Bonzo was diagnosed with cancer in January of 2002 -- having told the young vet he was having good days and bad -- I asked him if I should put him down. He told me no, that as long as he was having good days and not in constant pain, I did not have to be rash. Then when, I asked? He told me I would know. And I did. About a month later -- it was astounding how cancer ravaged this once strong-as-a-bull dog so quickly -- I knew. It was a Sunday night, and I was prepared to take him to be put down the next day. But Bonzo didn't make it to the next day, crossing the Rainbow Bridge at home, where he belonged, on his oversized green blanket, me by his side.

So, I guess, as that vet told me, you'll know.

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