Fostering a Shelter Animal

10 Apr

What is fostering? Fostering is when you bring a shelter animal into your home and provide care for the animal until such a time that the animal can be placed up for adoption to find it’s forever home. There are many reasons why a shelter animal may have to go to a foster home but it is generally for healing after a surgery, socialization, they are too young to be up for adoption and would do best starting off their early days in a home environment versus the shelter, a nursing animal with their litter, orphaned/abandoned animals and sometimes to make space for incoming animals if a shelter is at capacity.

Nursing Mother and Kittens

Fostering is a very rewarding experience but in reality it can also come with heartbreak. Saying good-bye to an animal that you have cared for, for several weeks is difficult. Does it get any easier with each foster animal? Maybe for some, but not for me. I think I cried for a week after I said good-bye to my first foster. I will never forget him. He was a handsome ginger tabby cat that needed a place to heal after his front leg was amputated. His name was Colonel Meow. He fit right into our household and he loved my big black lab the most. They would chill out on the couch together. For the first couple of weeks, his mobility was limited until he got used to having only 3 legs but it wasn’t long before he adjusted. I will never forget the day that I had to put him into the carrier to bring him back to the shelter. He and I had a good conversation along the way. I told him he was so special that there were many families that would love him and that his forever family would be searching for a guy just like him. I also told him that the local newspaper dedicated an entire article about him and that he was seeking a new home. As we drove up to the door of the shelter, I knew that it would only be moments before he was no longer safe with me. I often wonder if all foster families have the same thoughts I do. We rarely get to hear their complete life story and how it ends and I think that is what makes it hard. Do they end up with a good family, will they end up abandoned or worse abused or killed on the street by a car or do they end up lost, lonely, hungry and suffering? Being a foster home is really just a stepping stone to a better life for the animal. For me personally, the older cats are the hardest for me to foster. Many of them have already had a rough start in life and finally they are safe at their foster home only to possibly end up in another bad situation. Then it seems that there are just some animals that really never get a chance and are perpetually in the shelter system because no one invests the time needed and humans have really failed them as owners.

Colonel Meow

Kittens, I find are the easiest to foster because they are so full of life and energy and they have their whole future ahead of them. Fostering has its ups and downs. I have sadly lost a few kittens along the way, they either died shortly after being born or just were not strong enough to survive and die a week or so later. I will never forget them and I hold them in a special place in my heart. I take some comfort in knowing that at least they were with a person that cared and tried their very best to save them and that they didn’t die out in the cold somewhere in an unsafe place. They had the very best chance but for whatever reason, they were just not meant to be. 

Forever in my Heart

Most shelters or rescues will provide:

  • food and food dishes
  • litter and litterbox
  • toys
  • bedding
  • leash and collar
  • any vet care that is required

You just need to provide the care, love, socialization and a safe indoor home environment.

Some things to consider before making the decision to foster:

  • the length of time that your foster animal may stay with you can vary depending on the circumstances.  It can range from just a few days to several weeks.
  • recording of daily care of the animal(s) such as general health, eating habits, bathroom habits, any other applicable notes.
  • you may also have to take the animal to vet appointments, weigh-ins or to meet a new potential adopter.

There is nothing more rewarding when you hear that your foster animal has been adopted. You always hope that they end up with the best family ever and you have to believe that they do or you would end up with a lot of animals. I however, have been a victim and have been a foster failure a couple of times. Sometimes I also adopt the very old, almost a palliative care type adoption. The old guys break my heart and I can’t bare to leave them in the shelter to live out their remaining days when they only have a few months or a year left at the most.

When you agree to bring a foster animal into your home, there is a transition time. Sometimes the animal has had very little human interaction or very little to no training. It takes them time to adjust to a routine and to get fully settled in. If you are expecting anything more than that, perhaps fostering is not the best route for you and it is also not fair to the well being of the animal.

Fostering is a great way to “test drive” what it is like to have a pet if you have never had one or maybe you don’t have the time to committ to have a full time pet but can offer periods of time where you are able to offer a greater portion of your time.

While fostering is temporary, many foster families fall in love with the animal in their care and decide to adopt them.

There are many animals that are currently in your local animal shelter that would greatly benefit from a foster home.
If you are interested, consider contacting your nearest animal shelter to complete an application form so that they can add you to their foster list.

Foster Kittens

Christmas Planning

2 Nov

Do you cringe when you hear the C word even when its whispered or talked about quietly among friends. Me to, especially at this time of the year. I am talking about Christmas…what C word did you think I was talking about??

When do you start planning for the Holiday Season? I try to start about now but since I am a single mom, I have to start saving sometime about mid-year to be able to afford this time of the year. I start planning the gifts I will be buying (my family knows I will be nagging them for their list of what they would like) and the baking I will be doing so that I can keep an eye out for sales. This is also about the time of year that I plan what my wrapping theme will be for the presents. I try to pick a different theme every year. I love the brightly colored foil wrapping paper but unfortunately, it is not recyclable in our area so I always opt for paper that is recyclable as it seems wasteful to me to use so much paper for one day of the year for it to only be thrown in the garbage.

My family doesn’t expect anything fancy or expensive. In fact we prefer handmade gifts that are made from the heart with love. Eventhough my son is a teenager, I am proud to say that he doesn’t expect tons of gifts. A lot of people have the perception that the younger generation gets or expects too much. In some aspects that may be true but my son usually has a very short list and he is ok if he doesn’t get everything on his list. The older he gets the more expensive the items become it seems. I am usually nagging him for his list up until just before Christmas and even then I may get a text with a couple of ideas. It is amazing how hard it is to buy for a teenager – they are ultra picky. Clothes are completely out of the question. Heaven forbid I buy something with the wrong logo or the wrong brand. If that happened the clothes would sit in his closet like grandma’s relics in her china cabinet collecting dust.

I like to choose one or two homemade gifts. This year, I am thinking of making vanilla. It seems like a pretty simplistic recipe and it can be dressed up with pretty cool bottles and ribbons.

For baking, it has become tradition for me to make Big Batch Kris Kringle Cookies. These cookies taste awesome and the recipe makes a lot so there is plenty to share with everyone or for you to hide and eat later in peace when no one is around. For me, I tend to eat a lot of the cookie dough so my batch doesn’t bake nearly as many as it should. I know, I know you are thinking…she eats RAW cookie dough!! You bet I do, and I am more than ok with it, I am willing to take my chances.  I actually eat so much of the dough that I can hardly even eat the cookies after they are baked.  You know when you’ve eaten so much of one thing, you can’t bear to eat anymore of it.

Besides those cookies I always choose 2 to 3 other items to bake. This year I am going to make Peanut Butter Marshmallow Bars because they are pretty easy to make, Thick and Chewy M&M Cookie Bars and a simple Low Fat Pumpkin Bread. These recipes tend to take a lot of chocolate and candy and I can see you all judging my shopping cart when I have copious amounts of chocolate tucked away in the corner of my cart.  Just because I am shopping in my workout clothes doesn’t mean that eat carrot and celery sticks everyday…a person’s gotta live a little.  I know that the peanut butter marshmallow bars are a throw back to the 80’s but I bust out my Michael Jackson Thriller soundtrack and I am ok with my retro bars and I seem to still know all of the words to all of the songs like it was 1983.  I pack away the baking carefully into containers and put them in the freezer.  Last year I had tons of baking done and the time came to start putting it out for family to enjoy and the first couple of containers I chose from the freezer seemed pretty light.  I put them on the counter and opened the lids and they were empty.  No baking anywhere to be found, just some crumbs.  Now I know it wasn’t me and it wasn’t the house hippo that supposedly lives somewhere in my house, not the cats or the dogs……that only leaves one culprit….the teenager!!  He literally ate more than half of the baking at some point between me packing it away in the freezer and the three weeks leading up to Christmas.  I go to his room and ask him about it and oddly enough it seems that it wasn’t him and it is a mystery as to where the bars may have disappeared to.  Has your teenager ever done this??

I always have lists for everything. Maybe I am odd but even my lists have lists so Christmas planning is no different. I make a master list and then create smaller more manageable lists from there.  This also makes it easier for shopping as well.  I know exactly what I need to get at the various stores that I shop at.

I am the kind of person that tends to worry about the small details instead of the big picture, so I buy the stocking stuffers, the doo-dads, magazines and cards…you know the things that you are running around looking for last-minute when the stores are jam-packed, you are completely sick of shopping and you literally want to throat punch people and the weather sucks. I know it seems backwards but I can’t tell you how many times I have been so glad that I had all of those things ahead of time especially when I am completely done all of my wrapping.

For my wrapping theme, I like to choose something simple. My favorite is brown paper with natural bows and embellishments like a wooden Christmas decoration or a pinecone or something like that. A roll of brown paper is very inexpensive, can be recycled and looks really traditional against a beautifully decorated Christmas tree.

One of my favorite parts about Christmas is decorating the tree, well except for dragging up the decorations from the basement. That is a big ordeal. If you have read my previous post about my craft supplies in the basement, then you will understand what an issue this is.

I pick an evening that my son and I are both free and I make hot chocolate and we have some appetizers and I put out a plate of Christmas baking. We set-up the tree (yes I have a fake tree) and we start decorating. Since I have a son, his interest in decorating isn’t really all that apparent. It is met with a lot of eye rolling and sighs but I think deep down he somewhat enjoys it. He places decorations here there and everywhere. This makes my OCD twinge a bit….ok a LOT. I like my decorations placed a certain way and with certain ones grouped together. I fight against my OCD as I don’t want him to feel like I don’t want his help. I do want his help but, I want it done my way. I wonder to myself if I am a horrible mom because I think this way or if other moms have this same issue?

I have to put all of my fancy, breakable decorations at the top of the tree and all of my non-breakable ones at the bottom of the tree. I have cats…and all of you cat people out there understand my struggle. They are ok during the day when I am there sitting by the tree however, at night as soon as I get all snuggled into my cozy bed, the cat shenanigans start. I swear that it is a cat conspiracy. It is as if they all get together and plan it out.  As I am about to nod off into sleep land, I hear it. The tree and the decorations shaking. I get out of bed and shoe them away from the tree eventhough, I know that this is really a futile attempt at getting them to stop….when have you ever known a cat to listen?? They run away and hide and honestly, I am sure they are secretly laughing to themselves.   As I get back into bed again, get all warm and ready to nod off, they are at it again. I can hear the decorations jingling and the tree limbs are being batted around. WTF, I angrily get out of bed and chase them away again, threatening to pack them all up and take them to the shelter (not that I ever would but this somehow makes me feel like I have adequately threatened them enough to get them to stop). I only put my tree up for a couple of weeks because this is a nightly ritual when you have cats and Christmas trees. Then there is always the one cat that needs to be the martyr of the group and it must climb to the top of the tree.  Sigh, we always lose a few decorations every year.  The struggle is real, who can relate to pets and Christmas trees?

We have the tradition of opening 1 gift on Christmas Eve while we sit around visiting with family and snacking on various appetizers and goodies. My two favorite things on Christmas morning are watching my son’s eyes light up with anticipation of what he is about to unwrap and opening my stocking. Seeing what is inside my stocking has always been my most memorable moments. It’s not because there was ever anything expensive or fancy in it but for some reason it was what I have always looked forward to.

We open presents slowly and enjoy the morning sipping on coffee, indulging in the chocolates that were in our stockings (surely chocolate early in the morning is allowed on Christmas mornings…Right?)

I then make a big breakfast and afterwards, the all day eating commences with anticipation of the big family feast later in the day.

What is your favorite part about Christmas?



Craft Room On A Small Budget

30 Sep

As a continuation to my last post regarding craft supplies and needing a place to store supplies and a place to actually do my crafts, I start dreaming of a craft room. I get to work searching on the internet looking at pictures and websites. There are so many amazing craft rooms out there, so much so that I wonder if they are like me and if they actually do any crafts?

I searched for craft room organization, paper storage, pen storage, gift wrap storage, etc. I saved any pictures that I came across and every week or so, I would look over what I had saved and I made note of the pictures that I kept going back to. Finally, I came to a point where I had searched every possible thing that I could. That is sometimes the downside to the internet. We can search and see what everyone else has done instead of using our own imagination to come up with ideas. On the flip side, there are so many amazing ideas out there and it always amazes me how much creativity and imagination that people have.

Some of the craft rooms, I loved but I knew were just not possible for me as I had a small budget to work with. I knew that I needed a large craft table to use as a workspace. I thought about building one but my measuring and cutting skills are pretty bleak so I combed buy and sell sites for something used that I could refinish. I just couldn’t seem to find exactly what I wanted. One day when I was out in the shed looking for the elusive weed eater string, there it sat. It was rough, full of cobwebs and the only grey paint left was clinging on for dear life but would have fallen off with the slightest  whisper of wind.. She is perfect (and yes the table is a she), I thought to myself.

I have to enact the muscles of my son to help me carry her to the garage. She needs a lot of help but as I start to wipe the cobwebs off, to my delight the table is solid wood. No wonder it was so heavy. I spend the next couple of days sanding and prepping.  I choose a simple antique white paint to make her pretty again.

I spend an evening sketching out the layout of my craft room.  I want something simple and functional with plenty of storage. I wanted a lot of built in storage but knew that it was above my carpentry skills and budget. I searched for storage cabinet possibilities. I really had my heart set on a used shelving unit that I could re-purpose but it quickly became apparent that this was not an option. I have a small SUV, how would I get something like this home?

Online at Wal-Mart, I came across a seven drawer Halifax Cabinet that was perfect and reasonably priced. I ordered 2 of them as this should be enough space to organize my supplies. Waiting for my cabinets to be delivered was like a little kid waiting for Santa on Christmas Eve.

A few days later my cabinets finally arrive and I spend the afternoon putting them together. Obviously I made a few mistakes interpreting the instructions as I had several bits and pieces left over but who actually really reads all of the instructions anyways? They were perfect for the storage that I needed.

Halifax Cabinets and Wire Shelving for Paper Storage

Next up was a paper organization system for all of my scrapbooking paper. There are so many great organizers that you can buy but I found them to be quite expensive and not within my small budget. I literally checked local buy and sell sites hourly to see if anything new would show up that could help me cut down on the cost. Instead I opted for wire shelving with cable ties. I had these left over from a previous project and they were sitting in my closet taking up space so it was a great way to re-use them. I spent a couple of hours building this however, when I was done it was leaning a lot much like the Tower of Pisa. Oh well, I thought, once I get all of my paper on each of the shelves, it will straighten out.

The next day, I go into my craft room and leaning Tower of Pisa was now a heap of wire shelving, broken cable ties and crinkled paper. Determined to upright the tower, I bust out the cable ties and went to work. I doubled and triple reinforced all of the joints. I was now satisfied with my paper tower but not so much with the crinkled paper.

I was still trying to come up with a clever solution for that dresser full of gift wrap that I have. I knew that I wanted a piece of peg board so that I could hang rolls of gift wrap and I wanted storage for the ever elusive scissors and a place for ribbons and bows.   One day my son and I were in Canadian Tire, I can’t even remember what we were looking for in there but there it was. I am sure that everyone in the store seen the lightbulb come on in my head…I mean it was that bright.

A Workbench with a large table surface for being able to wrap, a peg board backsplash to hang gift wrap from and a shelf to store rolls of ribbon plus drawers for storage and an open cabinet front to store gift boxes, it was everything that I could have hoped for in one cabinet.

This was the absolute perfect solution for me; it checked all of the boxes for my gift wrapping needs. The best part is that I could either stand or sit on a stool to wrap presents. I don’t know if you are like me but every Christmas I go on a wrapping bender. I spend hours sitting wrapping presents. I am no ordinary wrapper, the tape, ribbons and paper have to be just perfect so it takes me an unusually long time to wrap. My legs get cramped and sore and I am almost chiropractic worthy afterwards.

This workbench was pricey and not within my budget but my luck was about to change, this bench happened to be 50% off. I didn’t even hesitate, I searched for a store employee, he loaded it up for me after I paid for it and away I went.

My son helped me carry it up to my craft room; this sucker is solid steel and has a bamboo top so it’s heavy. I open up all of the packaging and start to flip through the instruction manual. I am reading and looking at the diagrams and thinking that this is probably the most complicated thing I have ever had to put together. Thankfully my daily job requires me to read blueprints all day long otherwise I am not so sure that I would have fared as well as I did.  I am a girl after all and generally we are not as gifted in these sorts of things.

This was an all-day adventure putting this together. The instructions were great but it was just time consuming and my ratcheting skills are pretty much non-existent.  After it was all put together, I was able to set up my wrapping station. I organized all of my wrapping paper, ribbons, gift bags and boxes. I was super proud of myself in coming up with using a workbench for this.

Work Bench

Next came time to put my craft table into the room. My son and I carry her up the stairs and down the hallway. As it turns out I measured to make sure the craft table would fit nicely in the craft room however, I seemed to have forgotten to measure the door width. No problem I thought to myself, we will just flip the table on edge and turn it diagonal and it should be no problem. What I failed to account for was that there is a very small wall in the way and that the legs of the table hit the wall so I am not able to turn it diagonal. Apparently the measure twice, cut once seemed to have slipped my mind. I like to pride myself on my common sense and usually thinking of these kinds of things but not this time.

There was absolutely no way this table was going to make it through the doorway, not even if I take the door off. At this point, I was sweating, my arms were tired and a lot of swearing was happening and I mean a LOT!!  My son even had the audacity to say mom, “didn’t you measure first”. I am sure that I gave him the most disgusted look ever…you know the look … when your kid points out the obvious mistake that you’ve made. You know you’ve made the mistake and at that point you don’t really need it pointed out.

I stop and think for a moment. There are only 2 options. Find another craft table somewhere or cut 2 of the legs off so that I can fit it through the doorway. I had spent a lot of time refinishing this table and the size was perfect and it was free. I reluctantly come to the conclusion that I must cut 2 of the legs. I head to the garage and grab a saw. I cut two of the legs off and after some repair work afterwards of reattaching the legs, she was proudly sitting in her place looking beautiful as ever and waiting to be used.

Craft Table

I spent an entire afternoon setting up my room and I was able to organize my craft room in a way that I had always wanted. Sure my room wasn’t as elaborate as I had wanted but honestly, it turned out better than I had expected. This was a big task that I had accomplished and for the next several days everytime I would walk by the room, I would stop and admire it. I was able to complete my room on my budget and I was also able to re-purpose some items that would have just sat unused.

Some finished pictures from my craft room


Wrapping Table
Paper Storage

Now to actually use the room, that remains to be seen…..

Do you have a craft room?  Where did you search to look for ideas on designing your room?

Note: I do mention products that I used and where I purchased them from however, I do not receive any compensation for this, I simply wanted to share what I personally used.

Craft Supply Addiction

8 Sep

Can you spend hours in craft and art supply stores too? Combing the aisles evokes some sort of excitement like an addict getting their fix. I think it is because I am an addict….I admit it, I am addicted to everything crafty. I see a pack of fineliners that I must have, after all I may need those colors for that project I may undertake someday. I know, I need to get out more if that is what is exciting in my life. It seems like every couple of weeks, I come across a craft that I absolutely have to try.

Are you like me?

You see a zentangle or a mandala or maybe some calligraphy and you think to yourself, I have to try it so you spend hours, even days researching the best supplies, searching on pinterest, watching every youtube video that you can find until you have researched it to death. I know your type…if you had never heard of zentangle or a mandala until this moment, your googling it right now aren’t you!! I buy all of the best supplies and my new supplies sit in their packaging staring back at me with great anticipation on when they may get used. My excitement to use them is high and I have my project all planned out but then I snap back to reality. I can’t draw or paint and I haven’t used cursive since school (which is forever ago) and even an art project that is abstract doesn’t work for me because I need everything to be exact. Exact and abstract don’t exactly get along very well. If a project requires any sort of measuring, forget it, I have no idea how to read a measuring tape and if it requires a straight line drawn with a ruler well….somehow my lines still turn out crooked. So the time comes to actually do the craft and I tear open the packaging and hmmmm….my excitement fades pretty quickly and I don’t actually even really want to do it. I think I am just addicted to the supplies, the planning and the thought of having a hobby that I am really great at but, I never really get to the actual doing part of the hobby. Deep down inside, I know that if I actually chose a hobby and dedicated some serious time to it, I would probably be pretty good at it but I seem to keep on with my never ending search for a new hobby.

Perhaps it is because I don’t have a dedicated space when I get in the crafty mood. I have my supplies here, there and everywhere. They are in my office, some are packed away in Rubbermaid containers in my basement and I am even using an old dresser to store my gift wrapping supplies. If I am really lucky and I need a gluestick or some pencil crayons, I may find a dried out gluestick under my son’s bed and a couple of pencil crayons that have had the life sharpened out of them.

Anytime I want to work on a project, I have to drag everything out, carry Rubbermaid containers upstairs, then search my office for the tape and then it was at least another hour to find a pair of scissors – seriously where do scissors disappear too? I manage to find a pair of scissors in my son’s room (big surprise) and the blades seem to be stuck together. I ask him about it and apparently, he thought that cutting up pieces of bubblegum would be a good idea. I manage to find another pair…you know the ones. The plastic ones that are duller than a dinner at Aunt Martha’s on a Friday night, the ones that they give you in grade school so that the teacher can be sure that you won’t injure yourself. Those will do I tell myself. By this point, I am not really feeling crafty but I persevere, determined to create a masterpiece. Scrapbooking is one of those hobbies that I have managed to stick with. I sit at the table and I unpack all of my scrapbooking paper…admiring how many beautiful sheets of paper I have (I have a LOT of paper). I continue on the page where I left off several months ago, trying to remember what sort of layout I was working on. I try several new layouts using different papers and pictures. I settle on a layout and I try to cut out a design but the f$#%^g scissors are so dull that they just crease the paper. Meanwhile, my cat has seemed to plunk himself across my papers gingerly batting around the ribbon and papers; his masterful paper hunting skills have managed to fling my papers all over the table…and where did the buttons go that I had chosen? My other cat is playing hockey with them on the floor and now I can only find 2 of the 5 that I need. By this time, I am very annoyed, I pack up all of my stuff, carry it back downstairs and literally, I have created nothing. Maybe that is why I am just addicted to the supplies because, I can never relax and get to the doing part of the craft without it causing great anxiety. I start dreaming of a craft room….after all, I do have an extra bedroom that is doing nothing. A blank canvas to create the craft room I had always wanted. Doubt creeps in…would I actually do any crafts once I had a dedicated space? A space where everything was organized and I could actually have sharp scissors. Of course I will be crafting all of the time, I tell myself.

Stay tuned to see if my craft room comes to life and if I actually do any crafting. Do you have a craft supply addiction? What is your favorite hobby and if you have a craft room, I would love to see pictures of it 🙂

Euthanasia: How Do You Know When It Is The Right Time To Say Good-Bye?

27 Aug

How do you know when the time is right to euthanize your pet? This is something that I get asked quite a bit along with what is the process really like? I tend to adopt the old, broken animals so, I have had to make this decision more than I would like and although this is ultimately a personal decision based on the circumstances at the time, I can offer some insight in how I make the final decision and how I feel during the process.

For anyone that truly loves their pet, this will be the most difficult decision that you will have to make. The circumstances in which you will have to make the decision will always vary but will probably be the result of terminal illness where there is no cure and you don’t want to prolong the suffering, sudden life threatening injuries such as being hit by a car and the injuries are too grave for the animal to survive, old age, severe behavioral issues such as: aggression in dogs that is not able to be rehabilitated and euthanasia is recommended by a vet and/or professional trainer, are just some of the reasons. My experiences are only based on terminal illness and old age as I have not had to deal with severe aggression or sudden life threatening injuries.

The one very important lesson that I have learned over the years, is that I would rather be a day too early rather than 5 minutes too late when euthanizing a pet. I have learned this the hard way and when my heart is clouding my judgement during those hard moments of, “is this the right time or can it wait a few days”, I remind myself of this lesson and it quickly puts reality back into my mind and helps me make the decision. Being 5 minutes too late was unfair to my kitty friend and it made the euthanasia process difficult and it will always be ingrained in my mind wishing that I would have brought her in the day before.

I think that no matter what the circumstance you are in that is making you make this decision, most people feel as though they are killing their friend. Even when there is no doubt with it being the right decision, we all feel some sort of guilt in being the one that makes that final decision, signs the euthanasia order and gives the final ok to the vet. I don’t think that deep down inside, we as pet owners are ok with having the power to end the life of our friend.

I always find that making the final call to the vet to schedule the appointment is difficult but overtime, I have also come to learn that it is a way to prepare yourself for the next few days. I view it as a special time. I take a day or two off of work and I make the appointment for the next day and always for the last appointment of the day. I have called and hung up many times, I have called in tears, I have called blubbering and sobbing but it is ok, your vet clinic is used to all of this and is very understanding in how hard this is. Don’t be embarrassed at all.

When the appointment is finally made, I make the remaining hours as special as I can. Going to favorite places and doing lots of fun things with my friend. Sometimes they are quieter animals and we just spend the day cuddling and relaxing. I give them their favorite foods and buy them a special toy. They get lots of extra love and pets.

When I say that a planned euthanasia is a special time, it is a way to prepare yourself to say good-bye in your own way and in your own time but this sometimes is not an opportunity afforded to us. I have had a planned euthanasia and at 2 am, I have been on the phone to the vet because my pet’s health crashes quickly during the night and there is no time to wait and I am rushing to the vet in my pj’s with no make-up and I haven’t been able to say good-bye the way that I wanted. But that is just it, our heart takes over and it shouldn’t be about what we want but what is right and humane for our furry friend at the time.

After I have made the appointment and spend the final hours with my pet, I choose a special blanket to wrap them in and they ride on my front seat so that I can talk to them and hold their paw on the way to the clinic. It seems that no matter how slow I drive, the trip to the vet clinic goes by so fast. Where are you red lights when I need you? The drive is all but a blur as I cry all the way to the vet. As I walk into the vet clinic, they put me into an exam room right as soon as I walk in so that I don’t have to sit in the waiting room crying with everyone staring at me and my dying pet.

The vet tech comes in and I sign euthanasia order while tears drip onto the page smearing my newly inked signature. She asks if I need some time and I always say yes. They leave my friend and I to spend our final moments together in peace. This is when I wished that time would stand still and that I could take my friend home and that all would be ok.

We wait and I talk softly to my friend, telling them how much I love them and thank them for being my friend. Then I see the shadow of the vet’s shoes under the door and I hear her pull the file out from the holder on the wall. Time pauses as she is momentarily reads the file and then she turns the door knob and that is when panic and a sick feeling set in like a huge pit in my stomach. I know this is the last few moments I will have with my pet. The vet comes in with the vet tech and they put the tissue box beside me and I lay my friend on the exam table on the special blanket. They shave the paw with the clippers and the smell of rubbing alcohol fills the air as they clean the newly shaved area. All the while I am whispering in my pet’s ear that they will be ok, they will no longer be sick and that of course I love them. I tell them to run free and to have a safe trip over the Rainbow Bridge. The vet says are you ready? I breathe in deeply to try to clear the shear panic I feel. Every single time at that very moment, I wish that I had a magic wand that I could wave to make them better, to make them a kitten or puppy again, bounding around happy and free but I know that is not possible and I give a final nod to the vet and she sticks the needle in, injects the solution and within moments, it is over. I want to yell and say no wait just a few more minutes but the solution works so quickly that there is no turning back. Just like that your friend is gone and the vet will check to make sure there is no longer a heart beat. Your vet will let you know when your pet is gone. She or he will leave the room to allow you time to say your final good-byes.

I drive home with an empty blanket and I usually spend the week crying on and off. As odd as it may sound, and as sad as you feel, there is a feeling of relief in that you know deep down that it was time. You may feel it right away or you may not feel it for several days but there will come a time when you know that you did the right thing and you take some comfort in that feeling.

Sometimes I swear I catch a glimpse of my Ricki out of the corner of my eye. I had him for 19 years and I adopted him from a local shelter as a flea infested kitten. He was with me through everything from my 20’s and most of my 30’s, marriage, having a child, divorce and all the things in between. I have had many furry friends throughout my life and people ask me if it gets easier. I find this to be an odd question. Every animal is special and comes into your life at a certain time for a reason.


Last year, I adopted a 19 year old cat named Gus. I knew it was a palliative adoption and that his time with me would be short. I ended up only having him for 3 months but in those 3 months he took a big piece of my heart and although each one takes a piece of your heart, they deserve a second chance and as hard as it was to say good-bye to Gus and I wish everyday that I had more time with him, I am also thankful that he had a home that loved him for his final months and that he knew love, compassion, a full belly and vet care and that he didn’t have to die in a cold shelter all alone.


As hard as it is to say good-bye, it is at that moment when you need to put that aside and be the very best friend that you can be. Be with them and comfort them in their last moments. Be the last person they see and the last voice that they hear. Please don’t just drop them off at the vet clinic to be euthanized without being at their side. I personally cannot understand people that do this. The process is hard but it is peaceful.

Honestly, I am not sure that we ever really know when the time is right and that is what makes the decision so difficult but a few things that help me decide are:

1. Quality of Life: Is your pet still interested in eating and drinking and can they go to the bathroom on their own? If they no longer want to eat or drink, consult your veterinarian right away.

2. Do they have a terminal disease and are you only prolonging their life for a couple of weeks or months? This is a hard one but you need to ask yourself if you are just keeping them alive for your benefit? If there is no chance of recovery or cure for the disease, it is ultimately up to you if you want to see them suffer needlessly and you run the risk of being five minutes too late.

3. Old age: Everyone will have varying thoughts on this. For me this is when I whole heartedly believe in nature. If your pet is simply old but otherwise ok (they may be slow, partially sighted or blind, deaf and all of the other things that are associated with old age), I feel that letting them go naturally is ok as dying is part of the entire living process. They may die peacefully in their sleep, it may happen quickly or it has been my experience that the dying process can take place over a day. If you choose this decision, try not to be scared of the process. I will admit, it is not easy to watch and it can be scary but only because you know that you cannot help them at that point and the end is near. This is when YOU must be brave for your friend. Be comforting and help them feel safe. This process may be hard for some to watch but you have to follow it through to the end. At this point, you are more than five minutes too late and you need to deal with the the fear and the helplessness that you will feel. They may cry out, breathe heavy, want to be alone, they may be scared or confused but keep assuring them in a soft voice and they will know that you are by their side until the end.

If you have never been through the euthanasia process, don’t be afraid to ask your vet. They will sit down with you and go through all of the steps of the process so that you know what to expect. They will also ask if you would like your pet cremated or if you are planning on burying your pet. I always opt for private cremation and I get the ashes returned back to me in a pine box with a nice engraved plaque with their name. There are many options for urns or maybe you have a nice place under a favorite tree where you would like to bury your pet.

Saying good-bye is never easy but having the option of euthanasia to help end the suffering of a terminally or gravely ill pet is the most humane, caring decision that you can make. Trust in your decision. Take time to grieve the loss of your pet, it is ok.

Do you have a special furry friend that you have had to say good-bye to?

Always consult your veterinarian if you have any concerns about your pet’s health and well-being or have any questions about the euthanasia process.

How to Organize Home Manuals

20 Aug

You buy something new, get it home and frantically unpackage it like a child at Christmas. There are pieces of cardboard and plastic wrapping strewn about with the remaining bits and bolts. Maybe there are only a few or maybe there are alot left depending how well you read the instructions. Then there is the dreaded manual. What the heck do you do with that thing? You may or may not read it…or you casually flip through it and decide to push all of the buttons because you are pretty sure that you can figure it out without the manual (or is that just me)?

You toss the manual in a drawer or in the bottom of the filing cabinet and it is never ever to be found again…especially when you need it so that you can figure out how to set the clock to the proper time, unless of course you’re ok with 12:00 flashing for all of eternity.

I have a pretty good solution for this and it really is just a quick project that you can complete within a couple of hours. You could even spread the task out over a couple of days if you wanted.

The supplies you will need are simple and you may even have them in your house somewhere already. The supplies are probably with your manuals stuffed in the dreaded junk drawer or cupboard.

Supplies I used:
• Large binder(s) – I used a 3” binder that I happened to have left over from some school supplies (2 or 3 binders if you want to split your manuals into 3 categories, more on that later)

• Dividers – these don’t have to be fancy and I just used some that I had on hand
• Clear heavy duty sheet protectors – the heavy duty ones may cost more but I find that they do not tear easily so they can be reused over and over

• Labels – 1-3/4” x ½” mailing labels

Scour the house for manuals. Check the garage, shed, drawers, bedrooms, dresser drawers, filing cabinets, etc etc. Pile them on your kitchen table or large comfortable workspace. I like the kitchen table because, I can alternate between standing and sitting. This step is just about gathering up all of the manuals; don’t worry about sorting them at this point.

Now it is time to sort the manuals. This is where you need to decide if you want 2 or 3 separate binders. I have chosen 3 because I have a lot of manuals.

1. Major household appliances
2. Everyday household items
3. Power tools

The reason why I split them into 3 binders is because if I ever move, I can leave the major household appliances binder behind for the new homeowners and the other ones I can take with me.

Make a few different sorting piles (I am going to go on the basis that you are choosing to do 3 binders) I know I am being presumptuous but I am ok with it.

The four piles I made are:
1. Major household
2. Everyday household
3. Power tools
4. Recycle / No longer need

Go through each manual and make sure that you still need it. If you no longer have the appliance or item, get rid of the manual (recycle if you can).

When you have gone through all of your manuals, now it is time to organize them. This is where the fun part starts.

I put each manual in a page protector and if I have the receipt, I staple it to the inside of the first page of the manual. This way I always know the date it was purchased, where it was purchased, price, and the model number (if it is printed on the receipt). I also put any warranty information in the page protector for that particular appliance.

I take a label or labels and write the make/model number and the serial number on the label(s) and attach the label(s) to the top right of the outside of the page protector. If there is a filter size, I write that one there as well. Hint: I also put that filter size in the notes on my phone so that when I am out shopping, I don’t have to remember the size of filter that I need, I can just look it up on my phone.

When you have gone through all of your manuals and put them into the page protectors, I then group them into the binder with dividers. I currently have mine divided into:
1. Kitchen – stove, fridge, dishwasher, microwave, etc.
2. Utility – hot water tank, air conditioner, etc.
3. Heating – furnace, gas fireplace, thermostat, etc.
4. Millwork – The layout of the kitchen that the cabinet installers left behind, type of wood, countertop sample, etc.
5. House plans and roof truss drawings
6. I recently had the exterior of my house repainted so I have the contract as well as the paint colors
7. I also redid my landscaping and I kept one of each of the plant stakes so that future homeowners would know what was planted or if I need to replace any plants that don’t survive
8. Other – garage door opener, etc.

When the binder is complete, you can do the same steps with your everyday household binder and power tool binder. If you have a small amount of manuals you can simply combine everything into one manual. You can also type out the labels and print them out if you want, if that is easier for you. I keep the major and everyday household binders in my office and the power tool binder in the garage so it is available for quick reference.

I came up with the idea of a house manual because, when I purchased my home, there was really nothing left by the builder. For example, I had no idea what colors were used for the paint so it became a nightmare when I needed to match up the paint colors. I thought that it would have been so much handier if they would have left all of this information behind. How nice would it be as a homeowner to walk into the home that you just purchased and boom, sitting on the counter is a book with all the pertinent information about your house all in one organized binder.

The trick is to keep this up to date. I find that when you have a dedicated place for something, it is more likely to stay organized. The next time you purchase something new or replace an existing appliance, you can simply add it into a new page protector, or you can recycle the old manual and replace it with the new one. Update the serial and model numbers on the label and it becomes a very quick process. You will always know where the manuals are and you don’t have to look at 12:00 flashing for all of eternity.

What are some of your ideas for organizing your household manuals?

Pet ID – Helping Them Get Home Safe

13 Aug

Do you have a pet? Great! Does it have at least one form of identification? If not, why? Is your contact information up to date?

Have you thought to double-check?

Go check right now………. I mean seriously go and check!!

Life gets busy, we move, phone numbers and addresses change, divorces happen and updating your pet’s identification may get lost in the hustle and bustle of life. One form of ID is better than none but personally, I prefer 3. This may seem overkill to some but bear with me as to my reasoning.

I feel like this is an important topic and something that can trip up long time pet owners. I also feel it is important because it has been my experience that when my pet gets a tattoo or microchip or both, it is never really fully explained by the vet that the microchip needs to be registered to be of any use and that the tattoo is specific to their vet clinic and that if you ever move or contact information changes, it needs to updated at the vet clinic where the tattoo was done. I have had pets for many years and I did not know this until several years ago. I was shocked at how little I actually knew about the process so I thought that maybe others would want to know this information as well.

The one thing that I do know is that animals cannot talk (eventhough I wish they could sometimes) but they cannot say…I am lost and my house is just around the corner, please take me home. Pet ID is their only way of communicating to the finder where they live and who their owner is.

Many times I have come across an animal wandering and they have no id….do you have any idea how hard it is to even begin searching for the owner?

The three forms of ID I use are the following:
1. Collar with ID tag
2. Tattoo
3. Microchip

With any form of ID, there are of course pros and cons to all.

Collar with ID Tag
A good sturdy collar with a durable ring to attach the ID tag to is an inexpensive simplistic way for your pet to always have ID. Collars come in all kinds of colors, sizes and styles and tags can be ordered online or most local pet supply stores have a small selection of engraveable tags. When ordering the tags, I always include the area code with my phone number, my address as well as the city and province. I include this information because, there have been several instances where I have found a dog with a tag and all it has is the dog’s name (which is great) and a phone number with no area code and no city. More often than not the phone number is from the same area code where the dog is found but what if it isn’t? That could be quite an issue and it can become nearly impossible to figure out the correct area code.

• Simplistic easy way for the finder to determine that the dog is owned
• Contact information of the owner is readily available providing that it is up to date

• Collars can fall off or maybe you don’t always have your collar on your pet. Cats are famous for losing their collars
• Collars can be easily removed by someone that wants to steal your pet
• When contact information needs to be updated, it can take a bit of time to receive the updated tag if you order it online

Tattoos are another common method for ID’ing your pet. Generally, the placement of the tattoo is in the right ear however, sometimes they can also be on the inside of the thigh. The procedure is performed under anesthetic and can be done when your pet is being spayed or neutered. This procedure heals very quickly and your pet won’t even notice. The tattoo is specific to that individual animal as well as the vet clinic that tattooed your animal.

The pros and cons associated with this type of identification are:

• Permanent form of identification
• Simplistic way for the finder to determine that the pet is owned

• Tattoos can fade and become unreadable over time
• Some finders may not know to check other areas on the pet’s body other than the ear
• The owners contact information is not readily available to the finder

Thirdly, there is microchipping
Microchipping involves the implanting of a microchip under the pet’s skin and the information can be read by a scanner. A needle is used and the procedure is relatively painless. It can either be done at the time of spaying or neutering or at a regular vet visit. No anesthetic is required. The microchip number is specific to the individual animal.

• Permanent form of identification

• The finder has no way of knowing that your pet is microchipped unless it is wearing a tag that says it is microchipped
• The finder may not know to take your pet to a local vet clinic to have it scanned for a chip as this is not general knowledge to everyone
• A microchip is useless unless it is registered and the contact information is up to date
• Currently there is no microchip scanner that is universal that reads all microchips
• Microchips can migrate from the area where they are placed and can be difficult for the person scanning to locate the chip

My dogs have all three forms of ID however, my cats only have 2 (tattoo and microchip). They are indoor only cats but accidents can happen, doors get left open or someone lets them outside by accident. I don’t put collars or ID tags on my cats because, I am worried that the collar may get hooked on something when I am not home and that they could strangle themselves.

If your pet does manage to get lost, a couple of tips that could help reunite you with your pet quickly are:
• Put a missing pet sign up in your front yard with a picture of your pet…often they are just a few blocks down the road. A lot of times when people find a wandering animal, they will drive around the neighborhood to see if anyone is looking for their missing pet.
• If your cat is missing, put their litterbox outside so that they can smell it.
• If your dog is missing, put one of your shirts or sweaters outside. Their sense of smell could lead them right back home.

Check local shelters and animal control in person and bring a picture of your pet. Often times when pets have been missing for a long time, they can be dirty and have matted fur and may not look quite the same so looking in person can ensure that your pet is not overlooked by staff.

Many strays come into shelters with no ID and it is heartbreaking to know that they may have a family out there somewhere but because they don’t have ID, there is no possible way for them to be reunited unless their family is actively looking for them.

What is your preferable way to ID your pets?

No Not Now….

9 Aug

Well hello there, trite I know but how the heck does one start their very first blog post? I had a million ideas running through my mind on what I would post about. I literally had pages written out in my mind – enough for months of blog posts.

I researched for weeks on how to start a blog since I am somewhat technologically challenged. Finally, I decided this is it, I am going to do it. I followed all of the steps and got everything set-up. This didn’t come without some major anxiety and challenges. 30 minutes is all you need they said. Somehow my 30 minutes turned into a couple of hours and a lot of swearing. I mean a lot of this domain and web hosting stuff is like a foreign language to me. What if I download the wrong thing, what if I accidentally click something I am not supposed to? I had put aside all of the what ifs and I carried on. I had already clicked on purchase so there was no going back at that point. I literally had found myself at the purchase page several times before but wasn’t sure that I wanted that kind of commitment in my life. Choosing a theme was supposed to be the fun part hmmm….all these theme choices were as overwhelming as going to your local coffee shop and feeling pressured to choose a mocha, frappa latte with whip when all you really wanted was a black coffee. Shocking, I know, we do exist..those people that just want a plain black coffee. Anyways back to my theme. I needed something simple. Point, click and install but then there was menus, colors and fonts. I tend to overthink the small details making the process to get to the big picture a lot more difficult than it really needs to be.

I settle on a theme, try to navigate the dashboard thingie (BTW thingie is a word in my vocabulary) and I’m ready to go, or so I thought.

Then it happens…writer’s block. Where are you ideas, where did you go? My everyday ideas were floating around begging to get out. I’m never one to keep my opinions to myself, so where are you now when I need you? I have been planning for a better part of a year what I might write about. Ah, no need to write it down I tell myself, I will remember.

Well played brain…well played.

I actually got my laptop out of the desk where it sat like some sort of ancient relic since it had been replaced by my beloved Ipad. My laptop and I have a love hate relationship. You see, it is always wanting to update and install the latest version of everything, when I thought that we were working out just fine. I got sick of the restarting and every once and awhile, I would give it another chance but it would just go right back to wanting to update so as some sort of punishment, there it sat in my desk drawer.

I do remember that I wanted to write about everything from compassion for animals, pets, everyday life of being a single mom, vegetarianism and my craft supply addiction. Of course, all the while taking a Paws in Thyme to breathe, relax and to be kind to all of Earth’s inhabitants.