My Fur Babies

Kennedy’s Story

My husband brought a puppy home one day in 2008. He told me he found her, while working near the state college, walking around the neighborhood all by herself. She was probably about 6 months old at the time and he knew that she wouldn’t last long on the streets all alone, she was thin and scared.

He brought her to our house with the intention of me finding her a home through my work, but that’s not how I roll. I’m prone to keeping stray animals if I’m unable to find their owners. In my heart, I can’t stand not knowing if the new family is going to take care of them and treat them right.

So I named her Kennedy and I fell in love.

Kennedy got sick shortly after she came to live with us, she got a fever and was very lethargic. We never found out why she got sick, but we formed a special bond during the time we spent together, nursing her back to health. She was sick for a few weeks, but slowly got better and returned to being a healthy puppy.

Kennedy was a chewer as a pup. She chewed everything she could get to. It wasn’t fun, but that’s the reality of owning a puppy, they can chew you out of house and home. She chewed me out of a couch, a coffee table, and multiple DVD cases.

Kennedy is one of those dogs, you may have one now or have had one in your past, that touches your heart in a special way that can be hard to describe. She’s just special.

She protects our home, she tolerates my children’s antics, she comforts me when I’m sad, and she makes me laugh. She has the sweetest doe eyes and the thickest lips.

She’s always near me, laying at my feet or beside my bed.

She’s best friends with my other dog Shelby. Since the day they first met they have been best buds, napping together at night and wrestling together during the day, they love each other endlessly.

Due to the heavy duty wrestling they both enjoy, Kennedy had to have both of her knees surgically repaired due to cruciate ligament tears, totaling over $4,000.

It’s a lot of money, and I’m lucky that I work at a veterinary clinic where the doctor there was able to perform the surgeries, but I would put any amount of money down to make sure she leads a happy and healthy life.

It’s been 2 years since her last surgery, she walks, runs, and wrestles as if she’s had no issues at all.

Kennedy has a special bond with my cat Pippi as well. They play together and Pippi will rub up against Kennedy and encourage her to nibble her back, which Pippi loves. It’s funny to see one of my biggest dogs play with my smallest cat.

Kennedy has been in a few fights with one of my other dogs. Having so many dogs, We have five, can be a difficult situation. I have 4 females and 1 male.

Female dogs can have dominance issues when living together, which had been a problem for us when I brought another dog, Aggie, to come live with us.

Kennedy and Aggie have had some issues, nothing too dangerous, that started about a year after Aggie came to us. With proper behavioral modifications and medications, it’s no longer an issue. But it was tough for a while, having to figure out what worked best and treating two of my dogs for wounds.

Kennedy being my baby, it was harder for me to see her getting hurt. I had to understand that this can be an issue when you have so many animals, especially females, and something we had to work on and figure out.

Kennedy is very special to me. I hate to say it out loud, but she is my favorite. We’ve all been there, have felt that special bond that you sometimes can’t express with words. It’s just in your heart that way.

She will always be my baby.

Shelby’s Story

Shelby was the first animal that my husband, Patrick, and I adopted together back in 2009.

For whatever reason, we decided it would be a good idea to visit our local humane society. In one of the kennels there was an energetic, white with black and brown markings, puppy jumping up at the fence. We saw her and ended up, ironically, needing a puppy.

She was only a few months old, and very cute. We were told she was a Beagle Mix and that she wouldn’t get very big. 80 pounds later, we have our full grown Beagle mix.

We didn’t know exactly what she was, other than a hound, but I was walking her one day and a guy stopped me to ask me what kind of dog she was, I told him I wasn’t really sure. He told me that he had a dog just like her once, a Walker Hound. I looked it up, and she does look a lot like one, but I’m not sure if she’s a purebred. Probably not.

Shelby is a hungry and mischievous creature. She loves food, bananas and carrots being her favorite non-dog food, but she will eat just about anything, even if it’s off the kitchen counter. It took me a while to get her out of that habit, but it’s still a rare occurrence.

She’s been sick a few times and needed to be hospitalized for dehydration for a bad upset tummy, probably from eating something she shouldn’t have.

When we first adopted Shelby we didn’t expect her to get so big, and we only lived in a small, two bedroom, condo with no yard. My husband’s mother came for a visit from Texas and fell in love with Shelby, so we asked her to take Shelby until we could get a bigger place.

Shelby was mischievous at her house as well. Climbing the wall to escape the yard, Shelby could never be left outside by herself. She would also steal food off the counter there too, once stealing one of the cakes she was making to take to church one Sunday morning. You could often hear Patrick’s mom saying “Oh, Shelby!” pretty regularly.

When we bought our house in 2012 we brought Shelby back to live with us.

In our backyard there is a chimney-style fireplace in the far back corner. On each side of the fireplace are ledges to set wood, or whatever you want, on. We quickly found out that Shelby was using those ledges to climb the wall and escape our yard… so we put up little gates to block them so she wouldn’t do that anymore.

Shelby has very expressive eyes, and she’s pretty demanding when she wants or needs something.

If it’s time to be fed, or she wants a snack, she’ll come and sit right in front of me and stare are me. If I don’t pay attention, she’ll whine and walk over to where I always feed her.

If she needs to go out to potty, she’ll do the same routine and walk over to the back door.

If she wants something I’m eating she’ll sit directly in front of me and just stare me down, hoping that this time I might give in and let her have a bite.

She’s pretty handy to have, if I ever spill anything that’s food, she’s always there to clean up my mess. I just have to be careful that it’s not something she’s not supposed to eat.

Shelby’s funny and quite a bumbling whirlwind of a beast, I don’t think she understands how big she is.

She loves everyone and everything, she never shies away from anyone, which can be a problem because of her size. She just loves to be loved and thinks everyone is on this planet to be her friend.

Her best friend in the world is Kennedy, one of my other dogs. They have loved each other since the first day they met, they play wrestle, chase lizards, and nap together all the time.

She is also a great bed buddy. Even though her long legs take up most of the bed, she loves to cuddle. She is a natural couch potato which has been a difficult transition since we got new couches.

I have large dog beds all over the house, but she wants to lay on the couch.

Shelby’s personality makes her special and she is a very unique and important part of our family.

Pippi’s Story

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I was working at my second veterinary clinic in 2004 as a technician when I adopted Pippi. 

My co-worker, Rachael, volunteered with an animal rescue group and had brought a few animals into work with her that day, one of the rescues was Pippi. 

Pippi was just a tiny little kitten at the time, maybe just about 8 or 10 weeks old.

I fell in love with her because of her bold orange and white markings and because she didn’t have a tail. I am a sucker for tail-less cats. She was also a kitten, and who doesn’t love kittens?

Since Rachel’s group was overwhelmed with kittens and having difficulty finding fosters to care for them, she let me have Pippi. 

Cats born without tails are prone to medical conditions, from incontinence to arthritis. Pippi doesn’t suffer from those issues, but she has dealt with a prolapsed anus her whole life. Basically, her colon protrudes slightly from her anus. It sounds awful, but it really is just a slight deformity. 

We tried surgical correction as well as topical treatments, but nothing has helped. 

It doesn’t seem to bother her at all, she’s happy and healthy otherwise. 

Pippi is tiny, only weighing about 5 pounds and about half the size of a normal cat. 

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She is playful and fun, she loves to chase bugs and gets along well with my dogs. She will often try to sneak out of the house when I let my dogs out in the backyard. She’s so small and quick, she just runs right along under my bigger dogs. She knows she’s not supposed to go outside, when I catch her trying to sneak out I call her name and she quickly runs back inside.

I lost her for two weeks once, when the front door was left open. I did everything I could to try and find her; from putting up posters to going door to door. I borrowed a humane cat trap from work and set it outside with food in it to try and catch her. 

Everyday I would check it and replace the food. She’s a sucker for fish and chicken, so I put her favorites in the trap. 

She being so small, I thought she would die just from not having anything to eat. 

Then one day, after giving up that I would ever see her again, I was walking into my house when I heard a scratchy “meow” and there she was, in the trap. 

I was so excited! She was so skinny and covered in dirt and black from hiding under cars. I took her in and cleaned her up, then gave her something to eat, she was starving! She ate like she had never eaten before.  I was so relieved and happy to have her home!

Pippi LOVES chicken. If I have chicken for dinner, she’ll sit right next to me and beg for it, meowing constantly. If I don’t give her any, she will try to grab it right off my fork or out of my hand. She’s even been caught stealing a whole piece off the counter; she then tries to guard it, and growls at it like she was on the hunt and captured her dinner. It’s pretty funny to watch.

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Pippi is a very unique cat and will follow me around my house. She is so tiny and finds odd places to nap, and will try and sneak into the pantry to find something to eat. She’s been locked in there a few times, she likes to hide on the shelves. She also listens to a few commands, nothing like a dog, but interesting. When I tell her to get out of something she’s not supposed to be into, she does. When I call her, she comes. When I’m eating dinner and I hear noise in the kitchen, usually her trying to get into whatever we’re having for dinner, I can call her name and she’ll go running off, knowing she’s in trouble. 

Pippi’s had a pretty healthy life. Other than running away for a few weeks, some slight dental issues (probably due to her having a tiny little mouth, with tiny little teeth), and a few skin masses that had to be surgically removed, she’s been pretty healthy. 

I love all of my animals, but Pippi is special special to me because of her unique personality and mischievous nature. I consider myself blessed for having her in my life. 

J.J.’s Story

Mink’s Story

Mink came into my life through a relationship with my son’s father, Matt.

Matt had been working at a veterinary clinic in 2002 when a pregnant female cat came in having issues during labor.

Matt helped during surgery and he ended up taking two kittens home. Matt raised both kittens, feeding them from a bottle.

One of those kittens was Mink, the other was named Darwin and later given to a family friend.

Mink is a domestic short hair, tortoise shell colored, cat. She was born without a tail.

There is a breed of cat, called Manx, that are bred to not have tails. It’s possible this gene was passed down through her lines at some point, but it’s also possible that she just had a birth defect. Her brother Darwin has a normal tail.

Whatever the reason she was born without a tail, she is a beautiful cat. Dark coloring with just a splash of orange and tans here and there. Her face is round and her eyes are big and gentle.

I fell in love with Mink from the first moment I saw her. She was so beautiful and the fact that she didn’t have a tail made her even more intriguing. But she didn’t like me at first sight.

She’s not a fan of strangers and it took me a long time to earn her love and affection. She’s been an important part of my life from that moment on.

When my relationship with Matt ended, we split up our cat family. I think we had 7 cats at the time. I got Mink.

She is one of the best cats I have ever owned, and I’ve owned quite a few.

She will let you do anything to her, as long as you’re gentle. She loves being brushed, and will brush herself if you just lay it down next to her. She lets me trim her nails with only a few verbal retorts. She loves to lay on me, and will just stay there even if I don’t pet her. But it’s hard not too, she is sooo soft and just too cute.

She is always gentle, and has never been fractious in any nature. In return, I am always gentle with her and make sure she is treated like the princess that she is.

The only thing she hates is my other female cats, Emma and Meow. If they come near her, she tries to scare them with the cutest of hisses. It’s not very intimidating. Other than that, she’s pretty easy going.

Over the years Mink started to grow to an amazingly overweight size, topping out just under 23 pounds. I loved it. I am a sucker for overweight cats, I don’t know why.

Four years ago Mink started to drink a lot of water, I would even catch her licking the condensation off of any glass that she could get too. I noticed her urinating in large quantities and in inappropriate places.

I took her in to the veterinary clinic I worked at, hoping for an easy diagnosis of a urinary tract infection, but was told she was diabetic.

Super.

There was some new research done on feline type-2 diabetics, which cats typically are, that the doctor at my practice had just attended a seminar on. She wanted me to try it on Mink. I had to check her blood sugar twice a day and feed her a low carbohydrate diet of canned food only. If I did this, there was a chance that she would go into remission.

Within a few months her weight had gone down and her blood sugar got lower and lower, requiring less and less insulin, until I was giving her none at all.

Her diabetes had gone into remission! It was great. She was happy I didn’t have to poke her anymore and I was happy that she was healthy and I didn’t have to buy insulin at almost $200 a vial.

She stays on a canned diet, and she now weighs 12 pounds. She was happy and healthy.

Last year, Mink started vomiting. She was acting fine otherwise, but I was concerned.

I took her into work expecting the worst. She was 16 now and kidney disease is a huge problem for senior cats.

We ran bloodwork and found her kidneys were ok, but she was now hyperthyroid.

If you read my story about Emma, you found out that hyperthyroidism is not a death sentence as long as it’s treated, but it does require medication twice a day, every day, for the rest of their lives.

She was horrible about me opening her mouth to give her the pill, so I hide it in the center of a little meaty dog treat and put it in her food. She loves it.

Mink is the second oldest animal of my 9.

I consider her a favorite in my list of animals, though they all have their own special qualities, she is definitely special.

 

Emma’s Story

I have known Emma since before she was born.

I was worked at my very first veterinary clinic between 1999 and 2001, as a technician, or animal nurse. During that time, a new technician, named Danielle, was hired at the clinic and she had a white kitty that she found in the desert by her house. A few weeks later she found out that the cat was pregnant.

She brought her into the clinic and had an xray done to find out how many kittens to expect and then waited for them to be born.

At the same time I had a young and playful male cat, named Payton. I wasn’t home much, and I thought it was a good idea to get him a playmate.

When the time was right and the baby’s were old enough, I went to Danielle’s house to pick one up.

They, of course, were all really cute. But I fell in love with the little female tortoise-shell colored kitten. She had longer hair and little white toes.

Danielle said she wanted to keep that one, but I persuaded, because she was the cutest, and she let me take the little girl kitten home.

I named her Emma and introduced her to her new brother.

Payton really enjoyed his new friend, they would chase and play kitty games with each other and I was happy Payton had someone to spend his days with.

I quickly found out Emma was an odd sort of kitty, I would come home from work and she would start rubbing her head on my shoes, while they were still on my feet. So I would take my shoes off and she would spend a good 15 minutes rubbing her head and body, aggressively, in and around my shoes. It was the funniest thing to watch.

To be completely honest with you, I had a few bad years in between 2001 and 2004. I don’t really remember too much about my cats during that time.

In 2003, I met a man named Mark. He also worked in the veterinary field and had an extreme love of cats, he had 5 of his own.

We soon moved in together and we tried to intermingle my cats with his. It didn’t work out. My cats were being bullied by his cats and they were miserable. There had to be a compromise. So my 2 cats went to live with my parents. It broke my heart, but at least I knew where they were and could go see them whenever I wanted.

A few years later, Payton died suddenly of a kidney infection. It broke my heart, not to have him with me when he died. I questioned for years, wondering if he did live with me, if I would have been able to find out he was sick and intervened before he died.

But Emma just kept chugging along. My parent’s found out she had an extreme love of chicken and would “sit pretty” for a piece, and my father grew extremely close to her. She would sleep with my dad at night and lay with him when he was watching t.v. My parents would have me shave Emma every summer, because her long, thick fur would get matted. She hated getting shaved and would hiss and growl at me the whole time, but would never hurt me.

Fast forward about 10 years and my mom started having issues with Emma urinating in spots she wasn’t supposed to and she was loosing weight but eating all the time.

I asked my mom to bring her into the clinic I worked at for lab tests. We found out she was hyperthyroid.

Hyperthyroidism is a disease of the thyroid gland, that make it overactive and boosts the metabolism, so that she could eat all day, but instead of gaining any weight, her body just burns through all the calories, and then some. So no weight is ever gained, only lost. It also speeds up the heart, called tachycardia.

I had my mother start a supplement called methimazole.

Hyperthyroidism is not a serious illness, unless it goes untreated. The treatment is easy but lifelong. They require medication twice a day, every day. There is a radio iodine treatment that can be done so you don’t have to medicate them, but it is very expensive and can cause kidney damage.

My mother and father are both old school when it comes to animals. They don’t understand why someone would go through so much trouble, or money, to care for an animal.

(Though they did travel to Nogales, Arizona, a 2hr drive, when I was a young child to get medication for my dog who had Valley Fever. The did it for me, he was my dog- my baby- at the time).

My mom works crazy hours and Emma would hide behind her bed, so Emma wasn’t getting medicated.

I would visit my parents house, but wouldn’t always see Emma. When I would see her, I saw she was getting thin, but didn’t want to give my mom a hard time about her medication. I had a lot of animals at my house already, so I didn’t think it was a good idea to bring her to my house.

One day, I saw my cat, who I had abandoned years ago so I could live with my then boyfriend, wasting away. She was so thin and boney, I couldn’t take it anymore. In 2018, I brought Emma home with me…. and my 2 kids, 1 husband, 5 dogs and 2 other cats.

I slowly introduced her to everyone. She hated my other 2 female cats but tolerated my dogs.

Emma would sleep on a small cabinet and a chair I had put next to the cabinet so that she could get on top of it.

I had to move the litter box closer to her because she does not like to travel far and was prone to making anything close her a litter box.

I medicate her twice a day to help control her hyperthyroidism and she quickly started to gain weight.

I soon began to notice a urine smell next to the litter box. It took me a while to realize that she had been urinating on the floor just next to the litter box.

I took her in to work and had the doctor check her out. Everything was fine, blood and urine samples were all normal. So she was just being a jerk…

She’s just old. I think her mind is failing.

When I feed her she will start to eat, get down off her cabinet perch to get a drink, the get on her chair and fall asleep. I would return, show her the food, and she would act surprised and start eating again, like she didn’t even know I had even given her food.

I had to place urine pads, or dog potty training pads, down on the spot where she was peeing on the floor right next to the litter box. I couldn’t get her to stop going there.

I got a large tuperware container and made it into a giant litter box, which helped for a little while. But then she started to pee next to the litter box again.

Not that long ago, I witnessed her make a change.

She walked into my kids bathroom, opened the cabinet door, and laid down to take a nap. She stayed there, inside the bathroom cabinet, never to return to her cabinet perch or chair again.

I noticed she stopped urinating on the pads next to the litter box, but there was now pee and poop in my kids bathtub. Emma had moved her living space and her bathroom.

I also started to smell urine under the cabinet.

So I made her a bed, covered in urine pads, under the cabinet. I moved her food and water into the bathroom, and put urine pads in the bathtub so she wouldn’t make a huge mess I had to clean up everyday.

And that’s where she is now, happy as a clam, in the bathroom cabinet.

A lot of people would question why I would continue to live like this? My son complains about her and tells me I should just put her down.

But, she is happy. She’s not in any pain. She eats well, she sleeps very well, and she loves to be loved.

I feed her, I medicate her, and I change her pads everyday.

I did her wrong, all those years ago, ignoring her and abandoning her to my family to take care of her. She deserves whatever love I can give her and she deserves to be treated right for the time she has left on this earth.

I owe it to her.

Emma’s bathtub bathroom =(

My handmade tupperware litter box

Pippi

Aggie

Kennedy

Shelby

In the front: J.J. (Mink is in the back)

Meow Meow (aka Catlegs, originally named by her previous owner

Knodel (pronounced Noodle)

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