What to do if your cat loses its tail

Did you hear about the lady who accidentally cut her cat’s tail off with a weed whacker?

Orange cat looking back where its tail should be.

The cat lost its tail in an unfortunate weed-whacker event.

Very upset, the woman grabbed the cat and its severed tail and told her neighbor she was taking the cat to Walmart.

Her neighbor said, “Why on earth are you taking the cat to Walmart? You should take him to the vet!”

The lady replied, “Don’t you know Walmart’s the largest retailer in America??”

Forget girls on trampolines; how about dogs, cats & foxes?

Yesterday, Life with Dogs featured a video of two American bulldogs playing on a trampoline. Here’s that video:

That tickled my funnybone and motivated me to search out more videos of dogs jumping or playing on trampolines. These are some of my favorites from my browsing today.

And lest you think only dogs enjoy trampolines, here’s a video of a cat playing on one.

I have to say, though, that cats don’t seem to find them as entertaining as dogs. The preponderance of bouncy critter videos were of dogs. Most of the few cat videos depicted a kitty annoyed by some 2-legger bouncing around while the kitty tried to sun itself. Then there’s the idiots who do mean things to cats on trampolines; I don’t bother commenting on those videos, but I report ‘em for abusive content. But that’s another blog entry for another day!

And it’s not just domestic pets who enjoy playing bouncy. Check out these two wild foxes someone witnessed bounding and pouncing on his trampoline:

By the way, here’s a video showing a fox showing that same high leap and dive behavior, only going into the snow for prey:

My favorite, though, is Chago; this fella has it down to a science I wish the owner of that video allowed his video to be embedded outside of YouTube, but you’ll have to go there to view it.

This summer, we’re going to have to introduce Stella to someone’s trampoline. As much as she enjoys bounding up onto the couch and ricocheting off its back, we think she’d love it.

Dogs, grief and gratitude


sarah-greyOur year ended on a sad note as we said goodbye to our sweet old girl, Sarah. She was our coffee-loving, bean crunching girl. We got her in 1999, the same year we bought our house. Howie and I both grew up with dogs and loved them, but as renters we’d not been able to own one the first seven years we were married. So, with the new house came the decision to add a dog to our family.

The girls We found her by way of a classified ad offering her puppies. When we got to the house, Sarah greeted us enthusiastically, wagging her tail and rolling over for belly rubs. Her pups were four months old and still nursing her in addition to eating puppy food. Unlike their mother, however, they were shy and fearful. We asked if they were trying to find a home for Sarah and they said yes.

Her owners said she was born in 1997 or 1998, offspring of one of their beagles (which they raised for hunting) and a chow. The beagle genes were readily apparent, but the chow didn’t contribute much. If her daddy even was a chow.

She had a strong prey drive and a busy beagle nose. She was fine with our indoor cats, but woe to any animals she encountered outside! I think the only animal to ever stand her down was an opossum who turned to face her. Suddenly Sarah had other pressing business.

What she really lived for was squirrels. If she saw one, she’d chase it to a tree and sit at the tree’s base, staring up, as long as you’d let her. If you clicked your tongue in a vague mimicry of a squirrel, she’d perk up, whine and go to the nearest window to look for one. She never tired of this! She knew squirrels lived in trees, so when we’d go by trees while out driving, she would get very excited. Yes, she was just a little obsessed with them. :)

Cheeky squirrelWe even had one particularly cheeky squirrel who would come right up to the front window and tease her. At times, they’d be staring each other down, nose-to-nose, with only a double-paned window between them. She also loved to watch the fish in our pond. And she was very interested in the large pleco fish in our aquarium.

sarah-bw-patio-naps-1-wBut she was also the most obedient dog we’d ever had — and no thanks to us! From the day we brought her home, she stayed right by us and came when called. She routinely dashed out the back door and made a circle through the neighbor’s yard when we let her out (scouting for squirrels), but she came right back when we called her. We wished we could take credit for her manners!

She was our constant companion in the garden, our “moley dog” who burrowed beneath the covers every night, and our fearless watchdog. Actually, the only person she guarded us against was the mailman; she really hated the mail carriers and pitched a fit whenever one would come and dare to drop mail through the slot in our front door.

Sarah had her fifteen minutes of fame in this video:

She won second place in the contest. My photos of her and our other dogs were also pictured on Innova Pet’s line of Karma organic dog food promotional materials. That story is here.

Sarah had some sort of episode overnight and on the morning of December 28, she appeared to have had a stroke. Her head was cocked to one side and her eyes darted rapidly back and forth (nystagmus). She could not stand and walk, but stumbled as she tried to balance. From what I looked up, strokes are rare in dogs and she most likely had canine vestibular syndrome (also called peripheral vestibular syndrome), a common ailment of the inner ear and one which she might have recovered from.

Sarah woofs for her bean However, we had to look at the hard facts. She was fourteen years old and had recurring problems with her hind legs. No one in our household is physically capable of bending and carrying a 35-pound dog multiple times a day; considering the dizziness made her so she could barely stand, let alone walk, she would have to be carried outside to go potty. Dogs with this condition can take weeks to recover, and often must be given anti-nauseal drugs because the vertigo makes them sick to their stomachs (imagine being severely seasick all the time).

We couldn’t see putting our old girl through all of this. Our vet said it could also have been caused by a brain tumor. Given the many visible lumps and bumps all over our old girl, it well could have been a tumor causing the symptoms. It could also have been a stroke, though unlikely. Our vet advised that we’d likely be prolonging the inevitable if we tried waiting it out. So, with hearts brimming with sadness, we made the difficult decision to euthanize her.

Sarah begs for her beanHopefully it will be many years before we have to face this heartache again. Those of you who have loved a pet deeply know how we feel, know that those who dismiss such grief with “it’s just a dog” don’t get it. Losing a pet is so painful, but they joy they bring to our lives fills me with gratefulness.

Our vet sent us a lovely sympathy card, one which our brindle girl Stella sniffed out of the pile of mail as soon as it hit the floor. She then tried to open for us. Having come from the vet’s office, the paper must be redolent with all kinds of interesting smells. We’re so glad we have our remaining girls to make us laugh!

This is a picture story that illustrates one such gift of laughter from Sarah:

Pit bull terriers get a bad rap

This is a great video. The family’s pit bull bugged his owner frantically until he came with him to find out what was bothering him. The dog saved the baby’s life. This family has had their children saved by pit bulls not once, but twice.

There’s a reason Staffordshire bull terriers, a foundation for the American pit bull terrier, was called the nanny dog for years before the powers that be decided to make bully breeds the evil dogs of the decade. They’re extremely affectionate, loyal family dogs that are gentle with children and other animals when they’re trained to be.

There are many myths being spread about pit bulls, such as one that says their jaws lock. That’s just not true. You can read more about these erroneous claims at these links:

The media demonizes dog breeds, working people into a frenzy. Think about it. The media’s been shoving scary stories down our throats for decades. In the 80′s it was the doberman, then in the 90′s it was rottweilers. Now it’s the pit bull terrier and similar-looking breeds. Where will it end?

Dog Bites

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published a report on dog bites by breed in the US. You can read and download it here. Be sure to read through it, though, not just scan the tables. The authors explain how the figures were derived and point out the flaw in just looking at numbers alone.

You will find that rottweilers, German shepherds and pit bulls have high numbers of dog bite deaths. So do great Danes. There’s no doubting that a big dog with a big set of teeth can really hurt a person. But also consider this: the numerous nips and aggressive bites from vicious small dogs will not only inflict a lot less damage, but will often go unreported. People tend to report large dogs because they perceive them to be more vicious.

You can read the American Veterinary Medicine Association’s paper, A Community Approach to Dog Bite Prevention.

Temperament Testing

Additionally, temperament tests done by the American Temperament Test Society (ATTS) show pit bulls to rank very highly on their temperament tests. The higher the percentage of dogs that passed the test, the better the overall temperament of that breed. Here’s a sampling of some popular breeds in America:

  • Pug: 90.5%
  • American Pit Bull Terrier: 85.3%
  • Golden Retriever: 84.6%
  • German Shepherd: 83.7
  • Rottweiler: 83%
  • Beagle 81%
  • Doberman Pinscher: 77.4%
  • Chihuahua: 71%
You can view the test results of all breeds at this link.


Breed Specific Laws (BSL)

Punish the deed, not the breed. Aside from penalizing responsible dog owner, BSL’s just don’t work for the purposes for which they’re written. People who fight dogs breed for aggression and abuse their dogs; they also use their dogs as weapons. The pit bull naturally wants to please and protect its owner, and unscrupulous individuals exploit this.  People like that are going to produce dogs that bite because they encourage it.

It’s not the responsible, law-abiding dog owners who should be punished. The website Stop BSL’s (Breed specific laws) has detailed information regarding BSL and provides an excellent list of resources.

Some pit bull resources on the web:


Pitbull411: “…Here you can find everything pit bull including a history of the pitbull, the breed profile, pit bull photos, pit bull rescue and adoption organizations, as well as pit bull breeders.”

Pit Bulls on the Web: The site owner’s objectives: (1) Help dogs in need and the people who care about them, (2) educate Pit Bull owners so that unpleasant accidents are avoided, but Pit Bull ownership enjoyed, (3) promote responsible Pit Bull ownership and positive leadership, (4) continue to learn about the breed and stay true to my conjunctions, and (5) raise a loud voice against those who promote, support, or participate in the abuse and cruelty of animals.

Find the pit bull: Only one of the 25 pictures features a pit bull terrier. All the dogs pictured are purebred representations of their breeds.
It may not be as easy as you think. Can you spot the lone pit bull? Can your friends and family? It’s a real eye-opener!

Pit Bull Rescue Central:  “Pit Bull Rescue Central envisions a compassionate world where pit bulls and pit bull mixes reside in responsible, loving homes and where their honor and positive image is restored and preserved.”

I have one more video before I close. Please prepare yourself for images of a vicious pit bull, scary Siamese mix cat, and chicks. Get ready to rumble!

I hope that this entry, along with the links I’ve provided, will encourage people to challenge stereotypes. If you’re a pit bull lover and have additional resources, please drop me a comment or an e-mail and let me know. I can expand this list of resources. I know this is a controversial topic, but I will not tolerate rude or offensive posts in the comments; expect any such comments to be deleted.

Great description of a puppy

This is an excerpt from the delightful Maeve Binchy novel, Tara Road.

She had come to introduce the new element in her life, a puppy of indeterminate breed. Even the children, who loved animals, were puzzled by it. It seemed to have too many legs, yet there were only four; its head looked as if it were bigger than its body, but that could not possibly be so. It flopped unsteadily around in the kitchen and then ran upstairs to relieve itself against the legs of the chairs in the front room. Annie reported this gleefully and Brian thought it was the funniest thing he had ever known.

This bit about Nora’s puppy just tickles me. I love her style and look forward to reading more of her books! This is the first one of hers I’ve read. We did see the movie Circle of Friends several years back, based on her  novel of the same name. I especially want to read that one.

Our funniest cat story

Living with cats our whole married life, we have our share of funny stories concerning them. This one, however, takes the cake. I took time to write it out when prompted by a contest by Johnny Cat. The winner gets coupons for ten free bags of cat litter. Here’s my entry:

We were sound asleep in the basement bedroom of our apartment when loud thumps jolted us awake. Our hearts thudding, we crept out of bed to see who the invader was. My husband grabbed some random object to use in self defense.

At the bottom of the steps lay a bag; scattered on the steps we saw various objects in the shadows. Bravely, we proceeded upstairs. The house was eerily silent.

We turned on the light. Upon further investigation, we saw the objects dotting the steps were were small gourds. We examined the plastic bag at the base of the steps and noted telltale bitemarks and small tears  in the plastic.

The most damning evidence? Our normally friendly cat was mysteriously absent.

We reconstructed the crime. Promise had pulled a bag of newly-purchased smiling-pumpkin-gourdsdecorative gourds off the dining room table, where it thumped to the floor. She then dragged it across the room to the basement landing. Starting down the steps with it, she lost control of the bag and fled when it began its tumble down the steps, scattering those gourds the whole way down.

My husband and I still laugh about that night, more than twelve years later! Promise has been gone for several years, but her legacy lives on.