Saturday, July 31, 2010

National Mutt Day

Well, I hope everyone's recovered from their National Take Your Houseplant for a Walk Day revelries. If you're not too tired, here's another holiday just begging to be celebrated. It's National Mutt Day! If you have a mutt, give him or her an extra treat and a big hug. If you don't, Petfinder has plenty of deserving mixes who would love a new home. 


This happy little dog already has a home. Her name is Alfie and she's a mix of Maltese, Papillon, and Yorkshire Terrier. Alfie's person was so curious about her pet's unique appearance, she ordered a DNA test to find the answer. An interesting article about Alfie and DNA testing can be found HERE. I think Alfie is adorable!


Here's another cutie. Though I don't know her name, I do know she's a Cocker Spaniel/Jack Russell cross. She has lovely eyes.

Though purebreds are nice, don't forget the mixed breeds. They make great companions as well. Adopt one if you can. I'm sure your plant won't mind.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Flea Market

Last weekend I visited a Flea market in Seekonk, Massachusetts. My consignment space has not been doing well lately, so something customer tempting was needed to cover the pathetic shelves. The flea market is held every summer Sunday in a remarkably shadeless field that also hosts a speedway. In other words, it was hotter than blazes. Since I did find a few things, the suffering was worth it. The two mirrors set me back $4.00 for the pair. If you look in the reflection on the right, you'll see my fingers snapping the picture. At least you can't see the rest of me. Horrors! 


A pretty butterfly necklace. I think it's pretty anyway.

I've always had a soft spot for Tinkerbell. This is actually a jewelry box. I paid $3.00 for it.

This Kate Greenaway lady was $2.00. She's printed on some kind of porcelain. Though the frame is a little sad, I don't mind the chippiness.

There's nothing better than a good day buying cheap stuff.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Beau and Mingus


Meet Beau, a cat not bashful about expressing his grievances to all listening ears. In this picture, you may notice the signs of high-grieve. I sometimes have a few grievances myself about Mr. Beau's occasional sad behavior. Not the worst of which is his Houdini act. Arriving for my first visit, Beau was nowhere to be found. I looked in the basement, the closets, and even the refrigerator, but no Beau was here, there, or anywhere. I began to worry. My imagination worked overtime. What if he's trapped and injured? What if his family accidentally left him outside in danger of speeding cars and angry dogs? What if he's been kidnapped by strangers with many rude children? Just then, I heard a cry. Opening the back door, who should saunter in but the escaped Beau. He WAS left outside when the family packed their car. I nearly had a heart attack. I hope next time his people make sure ALL their pets are indoors before leaving! I have to admit, Beau can streak like invisible lightning. I'm just glad he didn't get hurt.

At least the second cat was indoors where he belonged. 


Mingus is a very timid kitty. This was the best picture I could get before "Shy Guy" pulled a vanishing act behind the sofa. Mingus was an only cat for years before Beau appeared. Beau, though the new kid in the family, is greatly disturbed about sharing a home with another cat. Beau's being disturbed has resulted in a second example of sad behavior even worse than sneaking out the door. Beau often leaves soggy signs of unhappiness in the basement. At least he expresses his grievance in the basement and not upstairs. 

Regardless of Beau's sad behavior, we need to be grateful for small favors.

At least he hasn't taken up smoking!

Monday, July 26, 2010

National Take Your Houseplant for a Walk Day

Just in case you haven't heard, today is National Take Your Houseplant for a Walk Day. Though I have walked many dogs, a ferret, and an elderly relative or two, I have never walked a houseplant.  According to the experts, walked plants gain a "familiarity with their environment" and "a sense of wellness." I believe my poor plant is past any chance of "wellness." 


Walter looks a lot better in this picture than he does in reality. Maybe I should buy him a pretty pot to die in.

I found a fun post called 20 Geek Gadgets for Growing Plants Indoors. If walking your houseplant does not appeal to you, perhaps one of these gadgets will.

The Robot Planter. Your houseplant could walk itself.

The Biotower. Their environment would be so perfect, you wouldn't need to walk them.

Hey! I didn't know Luke Skywalker and the Jedi Knights reincarnated as plants. That's what sky walking will do for you.

Mark Parisi draws some great cartoons.

So take a spin around the block with your plant today. Your plant may not care, but the neighbors will love it.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Bulldog Art

The Three Anonymous Princesses

A couple of posts ago, I wrote about a pair of English Bulldogs named Rocky and Junior. In honor of Bulldogs everywhere, here are some paintings by the artist Ilona Sampavaara

A Rare Gentleman

He looks like Winston Churchill.

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

The droopy chin and neck action reminds me of my father. Ha! Ha!

Mona Lisa

I had to include Mona.

Master Chef

She does sculptures too. Is that a pizza? I could eat a pizza today! If you'd like to see more of Ms. Sampovaara's work click HERE.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


This little thing is a former kitten of mine named Rascal. I think I was ten or so when my family adopted Rascal. Though Rascal's first family swore she was six weeks old, the vet suspected four weeks was closer to the mark. I recall that vet having one of the worst attitudes of any vet I've ever met. He took one look at poor little Rascal and said, "Where'd you get that thing?!" Idiot! Though small in body, Rascal had a big personality. She was nutty to the point of being certifiable. When people visited, she'd  entertain them with a strange sideways dance. She loved grabbing puzzle pieces and hiding them under rugs and between sofa cushions. One of my favorite toys was called Creepy Crawlers. I'd spend hours making plastic bugs out of bottled goop cooked on special metal plates impressed with insect shapes. I was a bit certifiable myself! Rascal delighted in leaving the bugs around everywhere. 


Rascal had an unfortunate habit of waiting until the last minute to visit her litter box. She'd loll around doing nothing in particular, then suddenly leap up and make a mad dash for her box. She'd frequently wait too long, and leave a little trail of poops all the way to the box. 

This has nothing to do with Rascal, but I love the wallpaper in these pictures. I don't know which is worse, the green with eagles, or the bamboo with sparrows. I remember actually liking the bamboo paper when I was ten. I have no idea why the harvest gold trash can is under the piano bench.


Here's Rascal as an adult kitty. For some strange reason, she often draped herself over the top of her scratching post. Eventually, the post was disposed of after she peeled the carpeting off in long sad shreds. The duck lamp in the background must have been horrified.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Bulldog City

Say "Hello" to the very handsome and extremely awesome Rocky. The Big Guy lives with his younger brother Junior, and his human mom Kim, in a condo complex easily confused with a glorified old persons' home. One day, the young Junior got into a neighbor's yard and the ensuing ruckus drove Kim to the necessity of moving. She wants a neighborhood with pets, kids, and junk in the yards. I don't care what she does, as long as she's close enough so I can still sit the boys. 


The troublesome Junior showing off his lower choppers. Unlike the calm and stately Rocky, the excitable Junior leeps in the air when I visit. He loves everybody and everything except cars. That's not true. He loves cars. When walking Junior, I grip the leash, so he won't chase the huge chunks of delicious beef on wheels.

I walk these two every weekend while their mom is chasing golf balls at the course. Kim is obsessed with golf the way Junior is obsessed with cars. I'm not really into golf myself. My grandfather liked golf, but I was too young to learn while he still played. He also played roller derby, but that has nothing to do with this story.

I WOULD like the clubhouse where giant beverages could be drunk with a straw.

One last picture of Mr. Loveable.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Estate Sale

Besides pet sitting, I have a consignment store space that occasionally makes a dollar or two. If not fussed over, the space becomes boring, and people with cash won't buy anything. This means new items (junk) need to be located and transported to the space's site in Cumberland, Rhode Island. Not long ago, I traveled with a junk appreciating friend to an estate sale in the wilds of Pascoag, RI to find a few new "items" for my neglected and boring space. Never having been to Pascoag before, I had no idea how to get there. Fortunately, my friend Linda, who does not have crazy eyes, owns a GPS system and even knows how to use it. The GPS lady in the box worked fairly well, though sometimes insisted on "recalibrating" unnecessarily and occasionally disappeared altogether at important turns. Finally reaching the estate sale, we got out clutching our mostly empty wallets, and hoped for the best. I've been to some screamer estate sales and didn't want to experience another one. Though to tell you the truth, nothing could be worse than the Cat Lady's sale. But that's another story for another time.


The Pascoag sale was a weird mixture of good stuff and plastic nightmares. A lot of it was WAY overpriced. To be fair, the harried woman in charge put the price down if asked nicely. I found a few things I could afford and weren't too scary. The porcelain bust of the little girl was nice and didn't cost much, and I really liked the metal box for $2.00. The camel is the base of a lamp and only set me back $5.00. The embroidered purse was cheap, and after a shot of Super Odor Neutralizer, didn't smell like the basement at all! The two round people were a quarter apiece. I'm hoping the medieval style mug won't sell so I can take it home with me.

I'd also like the religious picture for my shrine. You'd think I was extra devout with all the holy paraphernalia scattered around my home, but I'm not. I just like the accessories. The pottery thing in front of Mary is a siamese cat mug.

A picture of Pascoag.

All in all it wasn't a bad estate sale. There were good things hiding behind the boxes of cheesy unopened Christmas decorations,  hundreds of dusty beer bottles (bar owners), and the blindness inducing plastic Madonna water fountain lurking on the second floor. I'm glad I went.  

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Salsa Curse

As a pet sitter, I've received some strange requests, but this was the strangest ever. A client, who I'll call Jean, had a number of annoying coworkers and needed help cursing them. Yes, cursing them! Since it's not everyday I'm asked to assist in the creation of misery and mayhem, I naturally said I would. You need to understand I do not believe in the reality of curses. A curse only works if the unfortunate target is aware of the curse and believes they're doomed. I explained that to "Jean," but she only laughed her peculiar laugh, and shared her pop-eyed unhinged look, as I stood in her perfectly normal kitchen wondering if I should run or not. Fascinated by the bizarreness of it all, I chose not to run. The curse, neatly printed out and sitting on her countertop, was found on that fount of all knowledge, the internet. Jean had all the ingredients ready minus the vinegar. Not having the cash to buy vinegar, she opted to use salsa instead. The salsa, she reasoned, contained vinegar and would work just as well. I called it the Salsa Curse. Next to the curse was a short stack of drawings portraying the problematic coworkers. She drew them herself and revealed a lively artistic talent. Each drawing included many tiny details and the name of the intended victim in nice sharp pencil. Considering the amount of time Jean took drawing the pictures, I started to sweat and thought about running again. Curiosity, and the realization this was a good story, kept me standing in her kitchen. My job was to hold the printed curse so Jean's hands were free to summon the supernatural.

My friends told me I should have run very far, far, away.

Jean started the curse. She lit a match, destroying one paperdoll at a time, while reciting the curse and occasionally stirring the boiling water to receive the burning dolls. The dolls crackled, curled, then swirled in the spinning salsa. "Oh!" she cried, "There goes Susan's left breast!" Susan, Fred, Tony, and the others all went up in flames and drowned in the name of retribution. I didn't feel so good myself. 


Later on I asked Jean if the curse worked. She smiled and said her boss fell off his bike and scaped his face. I replied he must have hit a rock. She repeated it was the curse, curse, CURSE! Now when something goes wrong, I think of Jean and her curse. We had a falling out, and I no longer sit for her. You don't suppose? NOOOOOOOO! 

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Teaching a Dog to Skateboard!!!

Cheri, from Along Life's Highway, recently posted a video of a bulldog skateboarding. She asked if I knew how to teach a dog skateboarding. I have no idea how to do anything with a skateboard except falling off and damaging myself. It's pathetic. I'm lucky if I can walk down a flight of stairs without landing in a heep at the bottom. I did find some instructions about dogs and skateboards on You Tube though. With enough patience and treats you can teach a dog how to do anything. Well, anything but doing the laundry and washing the dishes. That's too bad. I could really use some help around here.


Here's another video of a very talented dog showing us all up.

Bulldogs skateboarding are funnier than Jack Russells. There's something inherently funny about a bulldog.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Port and Starboard


I sometimes sit two little cats in Providence called Port and Starboard. As you can guess, their family gave them nautical names because they enjoy sailing. I know nothing about sailing myself. The closest I get to sailing is facing a torrential rainstorm and the local streets becoming so flooded I can't drive without floating away. That's what I get for not buying a taller car. 


Port and Starboard were adopted from a shelter on the same day. When I first sat them, they were only about eight weeks old, and the cutest things on the face of the earth. Unfortunately, I didn't have a working camera at the time, so I have no pictures of their tiny kittenhood. There's nothing cuter than a kitten. 

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sun and Skin Safety for Pets

This fine kitty was my former pet Chessie. She lived sixteen years, and was quite the social butterfly, greeting people and watching them eat dinner through dining room windows. The little spy! Unfortunately, going outside and sun bathing ultimately ended her life. She contacted melanoma, and eventually had to be put to sleep. It was a sad day for everyone.

Since then, I have become much better educated about the negative effect of sun on pets' sensitive skin. Skin cancers are the most common tumor among dogs and the second most common in cats. Though skin tumors are not as prevalent in cats, they are more likely to be malignant. It's most frequently found in middle-aged or elderly pets, and animals with thin light color fur. There is no particular breed of cat prone to skin cancer, but white cats can easily develop this disease. Among dogs, Dalmations, Bull Terriers, Pointers and hairless breeds are all at risk of developing skin cancer. Also, pets with a "summer trim" are in danger of sun damage. I've seen many Bichons with close cuts in need of sun protection. The body areas most in jeopardy are the belly, bridge of nose, ear tips and around the pet's lips. Chessie's cancer started on her belly. 


So what can we do to protect our pets from skin cancer? 

1. Keep your pet indoors during the peak sun hours of 10 am - 2 pm.
2. Take walks at dusk or dawn. 
3. Apply sunscreen at least twice a day on both dogs and cats. The sunscreen should be 15 SPF or higher. If you don't mind a colorful pet, tinted sunscreens will show where screen needs reapplying.
4. When at the beach, keep your dog under an umbrella.
5. Purchase dog sun clothing with UV protection. 

If interested in sunscreen, organic lotions designed for human babies can be used on dogs. Just remember dogs will try to lick the lotion off. Aerosol sunscreen for dogs can also be acquired at pet stores and through Amazon.

How can you tell if your pet has skin cancer?

1. Finding a lump on the skin may be cancer.
2. A sore that doesn't heal.
3. An area with strangely crusty or scaly skin may be suspect.
4. Any spot that changes color or has irregular borders could be cancerous.

Take your pet to the veterinarian if you think he or she may have skin cancer.

If  your pet gets a sunburn regardless of great diligence, applying Aloe Vera, Witch Hazel or vitamin E can help reduce the sting. 

With the correct care, an excellent summer can be had by all.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

For the Birds

Here's another video. It's a short Pixar film that won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 2001.  

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Bevo, Starbuck and Bradshaw

Today I sat a big black Labrador named Bevo. Though Bevo's very calm and stately, he's so tall I feel I'm walking a pony on a string. Without his Gentle Lead collar, I'd probably go flying when the pretty setter across the street passes our way. Bevo is very strong. In fact, he's almost as strong as the Texas Longhorn he's named after. 


Bevo is the mascot of the University of Texas at Austin sports teams. I wouldn't want to mess with those horns!


Bevo has a pair of feline companions. This is Starbuck, a friendly young lady who likes to sleep in the sink.

Bradshaw doesn't usually look so startled. I'm generally the one with the stunned gaze. Bradshaw's eyes remind me of Louis Wain's paintings of cats. Wain, who eventually became schizophrenic, depicted cats who reflected his illness.

Here's a few more pictures.

Bevo and Bradshaw having a quiet moment..

Bradshaw watching birds.

Starbuck thinks I scared away the birds. I probably did.

I got a little carried away with my picture taking. Bevo is giving me his amused twinkle.