Thursday, February 26, 2009

One More Post About Mr. Bones

It is a Dogs On Thursday day and I felt the need to write about Mr. Bones since I have posted about him before when he was heading home. Mr. Bones actually had a blog going himself about the journey to his new home from across the country. After years and years at Best Friends in Utah, Bones finally found a home of his own! He has resided there for a few months in adopted bliss, being loved and very spoiled ~ as he definitely deserved!

I am so sad to be writing this, but I just recently found out that Mr. Bones passed away a couple days ago. Apparently he was doing poorly for several days and he was finally let go today ... but not before one last phone conversation with one of his biggest fans, Joyce M of the Jersey Girls, so that she could say goodbye. Mr. Bones' ashes will be returning with the Jersey Girls to Best Friends in a few months so that he will be placed in Angels Rest to rest forever in the place where he was loved for years.

Rest in peace, special boy. You were loved by so many and we are so thankful that your mom found you to give you a forever home before you passed. You're in our thoughts, Bones.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Tabby's Place - Donny

I felt the need to blog about Donny today. He’s in need of some good thoughts, friends, and some extra special attention – via my blog right now since he needs his sleep as well.

“Donny Brook”, better known around here as Donny, is an adorable little marmalade boy that came to Tabby’s Place towards the end of the summer of 2008 (I was out after my surgery when he first arrived). He, along with his little family, came to us from a shelter in NY when he was still very little and nursing from his mom. Just when Donny was big enough to be fixed and potentially be adopted, we found out he had ringworm and into treatment he went … and remained for a very long time.

After being treated for ringworm for about 4 months (because several kitties that we got from that NY shelter had the most persistent damn darn ringworm), Donny was finally out of a cage and free to run around our lobby area. He was able to be socialized by all, loved up, have play time with his brother Ulysses and our paraplegic boy, Tashi, and was able to seen by the nice people that come to visit us here at Tabby's Place – all new things after being caged for so long due to that pesky ringworm, all things that could lead him to finding a great home of his own – and he did! A volunteer fell for that sweet face of his.

However, while out and running around, it was noticed that Donny had a funny way of walking … and running … and lying around. Then, the thought occurred to us, “Hey, maybe all that hissing and 'attitude' was not poor socialization, but a reaction to pain? Maybe there was something wrong with our boy?”

As it turns out, Donny has luxating patellas in his hind legs, meaning his knee caps have a tendency to slip in and out of place. Although some cats do fine with this condition, Donny appears to be very uncomfortable. We were told he definitely needs surgery on one knee, most likely needs surgery on his other knee and depending on how those surgeries go, Donny might also need a third surgery done on his one hip. That would be three surgeries his intended adopter could not plan for or possibly even pay for. Not to mention, just when he got out of a cage and free from ringworm, he’ll need to be on strict cage rest for at least 2 months after surgery, which means Donny might be caged for the next 6 – 9 months if he needs all 3 surgeries.

Donny already had one surgery at the end of the last week and Donny’s in a great deal of pain now. Not only is recovery rough in general, but the poor guy just wants to get at you for some love and that means he's moving and causing himself incredible pain!

Have you ever known someone that needed knee surgery done? Do you know how much you use your knee throughout the day? Now imagine having a surgery to fix your knee (possibly even involving shaving away at the bone so that the knee cap can fit properly) and no one being able to explain to you not to use it! Donny has no idea that just lying in one place with make life easier (not "pain-free", but definitely more stable). The best we can do is provide pain meds, make sure there’s a lot of padding around him and remind Donny that we love him (which, of course, includes signing his bandages).

Please send Donny some good thoughts ... and donations are always appreciated. It is generous people just like you who have taken the time to read this that allow Tabby's Place to care for kitties like Donny and the rest of the cats here.

On a totally different note: things that rock – Hocus Pocus ... but I've missed most of it, so I'm going to watch Medium instead since that rocks too

*note - check out the labels and you'll see "TP". I've said this before and I'll say it here again, I do that to try to keep my personal blog from popping up on search engines for my work place, but since this entry is about Donny and the amazing work Tabby's Place does, I referred to this great place by its proper name in this entry.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


That is my Ruby ... well, was my Ruby - yesterday I surrendered Ruby to my place of employment.

For some time now, I have attempted to integrate Ruby into my apartment. I kept her (and the other kitty I saved from this disgusting shelter, Candice) in the bathroom for almost a year, switching blankets around, trading toys with my cats (siblings, Dani & Dorie) and I was also well aware that my kitties were sniffing at those kitties under the door. Things weren't going so well though because when I let them out, my kitties would spazz - hiding, hissing, but the biggest issue was them running because Ruby would chase them and with that crooked head of hers, she'd make a mess trying to keep her balance and the noise from that only freaked my kitties out even more.

I felt bad leaving her in the bathroom though because Ruby loves company so much and there wasn't much stimulation in there either even with her toothless buddy, Candice. So, I moved Ruby and Candice into a large crate in the middle of my apartment in the hopes that with everyone face to face, but Ruby unable to chase, that things would go more smoothly. My kitties still wouldn't adjust - hissing and eyes dilating when they saw the new cats and that's when they weren't hiding!

The reality is, Dorie I have strictly because of how very spastic she is. Though I have had her since she was about 6 weeks old, I had to wrap her up and carry her everywhere just to get her to how social she is now ... and she's barely social! No one really sees her and any sudden moves or loud noises cause her to run for cover. So, when overbearing Ruby approached her to check her out, Dorie would spazz and run ... and when Dorie ran, Ruby would chase. Candice did well though - she's quiet and not like Ruby at all. So, my most recent solution was to have the HH pair in my room all day while Dani and Dorie had the rest of my apartment and then, at night, I would put Ruby in the crate and allow Candice to free roam with my cats ... but Ruby would cry most of the night for affection and company. It broke my heart...

I know Ruby could not be in a better place -that's a fact- because TP has the money to further look into her severe head tilt if necessary (though it doesn't seem to bother her), she'll eventually be loose to play with all the kitties that will tolerate her, Ruby will have lots of volunteers to talk to and she'll have a much better chance of being seen & adopted than she did locked up in my apartment ... but I still feel awful. I've had her for so many months now that I've grown very, very attached. She's such a big, soft mush ball and so personable - talking so much that she even talked to herself at times and after surrendering her, I came back to Candice curled up all by herself - no Ruby pushing herself on her to cuddle. I cried all afternoon and still haven't brought myself to go into her holding her while she adjusts to being a sanctuary kitty. If it wasn't for how much Dorie got upset, I'd have kept Ruby and there's not doubt that Ruby & Candice could be the most wonderful pair of kitties a person could adopt together (laid back, quiet Candice and super sweet, glued to the comfiest spot/your side Ruby), but me being upset is strictly selfish. Like I said, Ruby's in the better place right now, even if it's not with me and/or Candice.

On top of feeling awful, I also felt like a complete creep doing her intake. My original plan was to take two of the sanctuary's more aggressive/more outside appropriate cats and the sanctuary would take Ruby. So, I didn't plan on letting her go until the Spring when it is warmer out to put kitties out to adjust to my parents' farm. She is late on getting her vaccinations because I was waiting until the end of the month to get Dani, Dorie, Candice and Ruby on the same schedule - getting the HH pair's a bit late and Dani & Dorie's a bit early so they would all be on track together. Ruby's paperwork from the shelter is unreliable too, for example: they had her as a male cat! Though looked at by a vet and vet tech and never going into heat, it was never actually determined if she was even spayed, but I also wasn't advised to do an exploratory surgery to check. Not to mention, I got her while still involved in my rescue, but within several months I resigned - leaving Ruby & Candice in my care, but with no real way of adopting them out or seeing a rescued discounted vet.

So, I turned over Ruby yesterday because she was spending most of her time in a cage and with her not up to date on shots, along with being unsure if she's been unfixed for over a year in my care and ... talk about looking like a bad pet parent! As if I didn't feel lame enough surrendering her in general!!

For months now Ruby & Candice have been living together (Ruby loves to snuggle with Candice ... though I'm not sure how much Candice liked it). The pair mushed together was and remains in my mind to be a perfect example of their two personalities - Candice always tolerant and Ruby so extremely overbearing affectionate. When I came in to get Ruby yesterday, she was curled up on the bed with Candice. She popped her little crooked head up and did her high pitched meow at me. I was pretty good at not crying until I was on my break and a lone ... sort of.

Here's the last photo I took of Ruby & Candice in their classic snuggling up together way before surrendering Ruby...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Little Miss Bessie

On Friday the 13th, I met what could be a huge new terror part in my Poppop and Gram's life - little Bessie. After losing her Sara after years and years of love, my Gram was feeling lost - as anyone who has just lost a beloved cat and only pet would, of course. Gram found herself at the Jersey State Feline Fanciers Cat Show (this is the cat show the rescue I started has attended to show off adoptable kitties since I was personally invited 7 years ago when doing the "50 Cats House") in January and she fell in love with a kitten's photo. That pictured kitten would be Bessie. :-) (Note: Yup, that's my super aunt, Brit Knitter, in the framed photo in the background - haha! Gotcha in a photo!

Little Bessie is definitely one cute little thing, indeed. She is a Snow Bengal that was bred in New Jersey. Now, I was thinking that the world of kitty breeds was being expanded the way Bessie was described to me, but as it turns out the "snow" part of her name is just a jazzy way of including her color when describing her breed. I love Bengals and have since I attended that first cat show years ago and first saw them (the more traditional, dark, marble ones). The "Snow Bengal" certainly isn't any ugly looking version either! :-)

I can't be okay with the fact little Bessie came from a breeder, but I also can't deny that Gram seems so in love with her already and is very happy. For my own sanity, let me add this though the the entry: Each day it is estimated that 10,000 humans are born in the U.S. – and each day 70,000 puppies and kittens are born too. As long as these birth rates exist, there will never be enough homes for all the animals. Every year, 6 - 12 million* animals are euthanized in shelters. The biggest and best solution to this horrible truth is to adopt animals only from shelters and have them spayed or neutered to prevent the cruel overpopulation that condemns millions of animals a year to death in the United States. Still tempted by these too cute photos of Bessie? If you follow the above Bengal link, towards the bottom of that page is a section called "Find a Cat" with shelters that currently have Bengals desperately seeking homes.

Oh and on a somewhat similar note (the aunts and family), check out the super sweet valentine gift I got from my aunt:

Chocolates, organic strawberries and money - can't complain about that!

* - No organization in the United States has a reliable estimate of how many dogs and cats are euthanized annually by shelters in this country.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Although it's a Thursday (as in Dogs on Thursday), today I'm writing about a kitty who was definitely about the size as a lot of dogs - Rhubarb. Look at him with me back in October (at our 5th Anniversary celebration and microchip event). He's huge!

Rhubarb came in to where I work with extremely awful bowel issues - he had explosive diarrhea! And by explosive, I mean it! It would be all over his cage and bedding while he was in our holding room and with that long coat of his, well, it wasn't pretty! We tried lots of diets, different combinations of medications and went through several grooming sessions to either brush out dried poo or just flat out shaving his back end! After some adjustments, he finally seemed to be doing really well on certain medications and one of the special diets seemed to be working for the most part ... and that's when Rhubarb actually found a wonderful home to call his own! At work, we were all terribly excited for him.

Rhubarb went home right before Christmas and was spoiled! He was living with two special Huskies and a human family that included 3 small children. Sadly, over the weekend, Rhubarb started crashing. In the time period of just 48 hours, he lost half a pound of weight. He was not eating, was in liver failure, had pancreatitis and we were afraid something else was going on (lymphoma?) maybe. The decision was made late Monday evening to end his awful suffering.

He was a truly exceptional cat - both in size and personality. He's unforgettable and I'm glad he found a family to love him before he became so sick. We'll miss you, sweet boy.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


UMDNJ concedes it lost 2 dead mice infected with plague
Saturday, February 07, 2009
Star-Ledger Staff

The frozen remains of two lab mice infected with deadly strains of plague were lost at a bioterror research facility at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark -- the same high-security lab where three infected mice went missing four years ago.

The latest incident, which led to an FBI investigation, occurred in December but was never disclosed to the public.

University officials said there was no health threat.

The remains of the dead mice were contained in a red hazardous waste bag being stored in a locked freezer, according to the researchers. But an animal care supervisor could not account for them while preparing to sterilize and incinerate them.

In September 2005, the same lab discovered three live mice infected with plague missing from multiple cages. Officials then said the animals had likely died.

University officials yesterday said they immediately contacted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the FBI and state health officials in December upon learning of the missing remains, but withheld information from the public until The Star-Ledger began asking questions. They subsequently released a report about the matter in a mass e-mailing to the university community, saying they did not want employees, students and professors to read about the incident in the newspaper.

FBI officials confirmed the December incident.

"As a matter of protocol in this type of matter, the FBI was called in to investigate and we determined there was no nexus to terrorism or risk to public health," said Bryan Travers, a spokesman for the FBI office in Newark.

The state Department of Health and Senior Services said it had also been notified of the situation, "and we are very confident that the appropriate authorities are investigating," said spokeswoman Donna Leusner.

University officials defended their decision to keep the matter confidential.

"If this were a public health risk, we couldn't afford to keep it a secret," said Diane Weathers, UMDNJ's senior vice president for university advancement and communications. "Plague sounds like it is Black Death. It would have been irresponsible to raise concerns."

The UMDNJ facility -- the Public Health Research Institute -- is a leading center for research on infectious diseases. It has a Level 3 biocontainment lab that works with diseases that are lethal or can cause serious health problems, including bubonic plague, pneumonic plague, West Nile virus and typhoid fever.

The mice were part an ongoing work in a federally funded biodefense program to find vaccinations that could be effective for the plague, which terrorism experts fear could be used as a biological weapon.

Lab officials said the mice were infected with the bacterium Yersinia pestis, which causes bubonic and other forms of plague -- an infectious disease that has claimed more than 30 million lives through history and even today sparks fear and panic around the world, although with modern antibiotics, plague can be treated if quickly diagnosed.

David Perlin, the director of the Public Health Research Institute, said the discovery that the infected mice carcasses were missing came on Dec. 19, while the remains of hundreds of subject animals were being sterilized and incinerated. He said they believed two bags stuck to each other and were autoclaved together, but said they notified authorities because they had to rule out any possibility of foul play.

An FBI agent was on site later that same day, and the lab staff was interviewed throughout the weekend by the FBI.

According to Perlin, all evidence collected to date indicates that the bag containing the two missing mice was frozen to another bag and both bags were sterilized and incinerated simultaneously.

"I'm confident we run a safe and secure facility. We run a first-rate operation, and we will be out of business fast if people don't believe we have credibility," he said. "We have very strict controls. Safety. Security. Everything. But you're always running the risk of even a very small minor incident, which is what this is."

Richard H. Ebright, a Rutgers University microbiologist who has been a critic of the government's rapid expansion of bioterrorism labs, said while the likelihood is that someone made an accounting error, it was a potentially embarrassing situation for UMDNJ.

"It is essential where such activities are carried out that security is at the highest levels and records be maintained for a long period of time, if not indefinitely," Ebright said.

UMDNJ said the lab has since changed its protocol to inventory all logged hazardous waste bags prior to sterilization.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Mobile Photo Upload

Little Kaleb asleep in the car on a drive with with. Think this is consider a rescue transport? :)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Mobile Photo Upload

cute little Zelda hiding because she's still nervous...


This handsome boy is Newton and he's a pit bull ... and a cutey like they all are. He also happens to be the nervous type and doesn't get along with other dogs, making it harder for him to find a home.

Newton is located in Utah at Best Friends Animal Society and this is what his profile says:

Breed: Staffordshire Terrier
Gender: Male
Age: Adult
Size: Large

"Are you a nice person?"

Newton loves nice people. But he's also worried. Not everybody has been so nice to him! Animal control returned him to his family once after they'd apparently dumped him. And guess what. A couple days later - they dumped him again! Poor Newton.

No wonder he's a little nervous about new people and new surroundings. (He's so nervous at the vet's, that the vet puts a muzzle on him so he can work.) But once you get to know him, he's really just a sweet boy who wants to be loved! He walks super-nicely on his leash. And he's very happy to see his friends.

Newton can't live with other dogs, though. He just can't get along with them. That's too bad. Makes it harder for him to find a home. But at eight years old, he still hasn't given up. He's a nice guy who really deserves a home that won't keep tossing him out the door.