mellowtigger: (T'Reese)
If you can't tell from the trees, then the cats are a sure giveaway. Cold weather has arrived in Minnesota.

I took these photos from the living room window last month. We had a brief period of cold weather that turned all the leaves. One of these days, I really should do a time lapse series from a fixed camera.

foliage 2013-10-26 foliage 2013-11-02

Since then, I saw sleet for about 20 seconds, I saw a dusting of snow, and my car slid twice on icy unsalted bridges during cold days. For the most part, though, we've had above-freezing weather during the days.

My car windshield got a nick a few weeks ago from a rock. I scheduled someone to repair the windshield with their magic resin, but 24 hours before they were due to arrive, the temperature sank down to the -13C/+8F range, and that single spot of damage cracked across the whole width of the windshield. I had the entire glass replaced that day. I see frost on my car windshield this morning, but the temperature is forecast to get almost up to freezing today.

T'Reese on pcThe cats make it obvious that cold weather has arrived. Both cats enjoy sitting on top of my high-airflow computer case. The top panel is made up entirely of airholes (like the metal screen on microwave ovens), so all the heat from the electronics can flow upward and out. Here you see my old cat, T'Reese, enjoying the warmth from the silicon furnace.

A serious design flaw of this case is the top-located power button. You can't see it in this shot, because T'Reese is sitting on it. As the cats step up or down from this perch, they often hit the button and prompt immediate shutdown of my pc. Unhappy me. I've developed the habit of opening a Notepad text document with nothing in it, just so it prompts me briefly if I want to cancel the shutdown or not. It gives me the seconds that I need to halt the shutdown before I lose my pc game or browser window.

Hope under blanketsT'Reese also has the habit (only during cold weather) of laying down in bed at night at my feet. She started doing that again last week. Not to be outdone, Hope has learned to cover herself in blankets by digging and rolling.

I enjoy winters in Minnesota when the snow arrives late.  The problem with snow here is that it lingers on the ground for months.  The snow usually doesn't begin disappearing from the ground until March or April.  If snow first arrives in October, then it makes a very long and dreary winter of the bland, bright, snowy landscape.  It's almost December this year, though, and still no snow pack on the ground.

I keep saying it, but global warming will be good to Minnesota.
mellowtigger: (Terry 2010)
dogs domesticated in 8 secondsNo modern human population lacks dogs in its culture. Our long, intertwined history leads to the co-evolution theory that humans and canines evolved together through mutual dependence.

Sure, humans have domesticated lots of animals, but those are typically done as shepherds. The animals feed themselves, or we collect their natural food for them. We use them as tools and eventually as meat. In the case of dogs, however, their bodies evolved with ours to adapt to new sources of food as we developed agriculture. Basically, we had good garbage that was rich in starch, and they scavenged our scraps.

We shouldn't take credit for the process, though. It's not that we were controlling their mating behavior to select our own choice of breeds; it's the wolves who adapted to us. Independent of humans, canines are quite versatile with their social bonding. After all, we aren't the only primates who integrate canines as tools in their society. Watch these baboons do it too... by force.


Nevertheless, the idea of humans and dogs evolving in mutual symbiosis is an interesting idea. It leads to questions about the genetic lineage of "village dogs", a term that refers to integrated canines who still mate by their own choice. One idea is that our mutual benefit is so strong, that adaptation may have happened independently many times. UCLA Today quotes Mark Derr:

"Wherever there are wolves and humans, you end up with dogs.

I donated $100 to this crowdfunding project that is sampling village dog DNA from areas throughout Africa. They barely achieved their fundraising goal, but at least they made it. They're hoping to find genes favored by natural selection (rather than human-directed artificial selection) in canines. Those genes might help us better understand our own health. They sent me this photo as a souvenir of their travel in Africa. Notice how their appearance favors a tan-and-white coat and a longer, pointed snout than we typically see in cultivated breeds. (Click to see the photo in much larger version.)

Village Dog Project 2012

All that fascinating history, and I haven't even scratched the surface of "interesting" with the abandoned dogs of Moscow who are evolving into 4 distinct groups: guard dogs, scavengers, wild dogs, and beggars. The beggars who specialize in brains rather than brawn have developed enough intelligence to master riding the subway on their own.

a new Hope

Feb. 15th, 2013 09:45 am
mellowtigger: (T'Reese)
Here are pictures of my cat, Hope, in a variety of poses.

back.standback.sit
left.sitleft.stand
right.sitright.stand

I like these two because they show off her white upside-down-T on her chest and her Egyptian-mascara black streak off of each eye.
chest.1chest.2

Stop playing pc games, and turn off that light!
sleep.curl

I'll explain more later on why I took this series of photographs.
mellowtigger: (T'Reese)
MommaAnimals are adopted quickly these days. I meet a few animals each week, sure, but they find new homes so fast that I don't have time to feature them in Furry Friday posts any more. That failure is a good thing.

I have met Momma a few times this week, though, and it surprises me that she hasn't found a home yet. Perhaps it's because she is recommended for a home without small children. She has been extremely pleasant the times that I've pet her. She does have a habit of nibbling on my fingertips, but she's always been quite gentle.

She likes pushing her nose against skin, she likes pushing her head against my hand for more petting, and she's even rolled over to invite me to rub her belly.  Her pit bull fur is short but soft.  In spite of the barking from other animals when I've visited her, I've never heard her vocalize yet.

As of this writing, Momma is available for visitation and adoption at the Golden Valley facility.
mellowtigger: (T'Reese)
It's been such a very long time since I last made a Furry Friday post.

Animals:

WrigleyWrigley is a natural lap cat.  He has very long, white hair.  It develops quite a bit of static when you pet him, but he does like petting.  During the times that I have visited him, he eventually crawled up into my lap for more contact.  Being a large cat, he makes for a very warm cover in cold weather.  He tolerates another cat in the room with him, so he might make a good choice for a multi-cat home.

ParisParis shares the same colony room with Wrigley.  She isn't aggressive, but she does get hissy if another cat comes too close.  By herself, however, she's extremely friendly.  She pursues people for friendly attention, and she especially likes getting rubbed along her neck.  She appears to have some sort of eye condition that keeps her right eye partly closed.  I don't know the details on it, but it doesn't seem to affect her health in any noticeable way.  If Paris is kept as an only cat in the household, I think her demeanor would fit well with persons of any age, young or old.

CorkyCorky is also very friendly.  His brindle coloration is very pretty, and it doesn't show up well at all in this photograph.  While I was petting Corky, even the volunteer came up to me and mentioned his coloration.  Corky didn't join in the barking while other dogs in the kennel were worked up about something, so he seems to have a laid-back personality.  That personality trait might make him suitable as a companion for persons of any age.  I thought he was adorable, so I'm surprised that he hasn't already found his new home.

At the time of this writing, all three of these animals were available for visitation and adoption at the Golden Valley facility.
mellowtigger: (T'Reese)
I've written previously about the workplace changes that have produced very big changes in conditions for animals in the shelters. Enough time has passed that we're now confident the improved statistics are a permanent feature. The organization has gone public about its accomplishments.

"Over the first six months of 2011, the Humane Society says it has:
•Decreased euthanasia by 41 percent, across the board.
•Decreased the average time that cats wait for adoption from 30 days to eight days.
•Increased the adoption rate from 67 to 81 percent of animals.
In addition, since mid-May, about 1,700 pets owned by low-income people have been spayed or neutered through a reduced-cost service.
"
http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/127123228.html

These changes will impact the lives of thousands of animals and owners over the course of a single year.  All of that news is good.  Although reduced income (lower adoption fees) and reduced intake (by appointment only) affect the finances of the organization, faithful and generous donors have so far succeeded in making up the difference.  Yay!

There are still more organizational changes planned for the future, but overall I think that we are working in "the right direction".  That's good news for companion animals that find themselves without human caretakers in the Twin Cities area.
mellowtigger: (bicycle)
dog delayWhile bicycle commuters may be familiar with delays caused by weather or construction, I think maybe I've found a new and interesting obstruction.  I've worked at AHS for 3.5 years, and this occasion is my first encounter with solo dog exercise.  Normally they take animals outdoors for a run around the park area.  This animal must have been a special needs case because of either health or temperament.

I park my bicycle indoors at the corporate garage and dock area.  It's a very large space that can accommodate large vehicles, several trailers, and many pallets of animal food.  During humane investigations cases that involve seizure of large numbers of animals, we keep the overflow in temporary cages set up in this area too.

I finished work for the day, changed clothes in the locker room, then went down to the garage to get my bike for the commute home.  I ended up having to wait another 10-15 minutes until the garage space was free.  I'm not complaining.  Animals get the right-of-way in the shelter.  I'm amused more than anything else.  :)

friendly rabbitI've still been neglecting Furry Friday posts.  Sorry about that oversight.  My stress level has gone down a bit, but animals are still moving through our shelter to adoption so fast that I don't have time to learn their personalities very well before they're already out to a new home.

Here's a rabbit that I met about 4 weeks ago.  I noticed the remarkable fur right away.  When I found time for a quick visit, I also discovered a very friendly personality.  Of course, this animal got adopted a day or two later.

It's a little hard to see in this photo, but maybe you can notice the sunburn on my forearm?  That's from my early days of commuting by bicycle.  I never did burn badly enough to peel skin, but I do have a nice dark tone now that I'm unaccustomed to having.  Most people in this cold climate have typical pasty pale skin.  *laugh*
mellowtigger: (T'Reese)
A recent video released by my organization (Animal Humane Society in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota) is making the viral web circuit now.


It was a "pro bono" production from another company, and it's turned out to be a very popular video.  It's already appeared on icanhazcheeseburger (lolcats) and bestweekever.  I recognize some of the places and people involved in the video.  Hopefully it will spread wide enough to influence a few people to adopt. 

Economic times are still tough.  People are still losing homes.  People are still cutting back on spending, including pet care.  Apparently it's gone on long enough for new trends to emerge.  I'm glad to say that my organization is finally involved in low cost spay/neuter surgery.  We're prevented by state law from doing it ourselves, but we're helping Kindest Cut do it for us.  The legal arrangement just confuses me with its convolutions, but I think the simple answer is that they're leasing our space and services (phone, computer, office) for them to run their own private business.  As long as the important work gets done, that's what I care about.
mellowtigger: (T'Reese)
I can't even remember the last time I did a Furry Friday post.  I have two reasons for that oversight.  First, the bad reason is that I've been burned out (see other recent posts).  Second, however, the very good reason is because animals have been adopted so quickly that I simply haven't had time to get to know them before they find homes!  At a recent employee meeting, they shared with us some year-to-year comparisons for the month.  Last year, the average cat spent a whole month under our roof before finding a home.  This year, that average time is already down to just one week.  The improvement has really been that dramatic.

We've reduced prices to help get more potential adopters matched up with new pets.  We've gone to intake only by appointment to help keep animals in homes before coming here.  We've changed to doing initial health and behavior exams during the intake appointment, so animals can be immediately approved for placement on the adoption floor rather than waiting in stressful crowded cages for their turn.

All of these changes have reduced both length-of-stay and also euthanasia rates by large amounts.  It's all very good for the animals.  It means that our cat rooms are no longer filled with animals waiting long times for a new home.  It means that my initial reason for spotlighting some lingering animals is now gone.  That's a good thing.  :)

(Totally unrelated, but a patch to one of our databases didn't go well tonight.  A few minutes ago, I filed an urgent bug report with the developers so we can get a quick fix made.  I can't remember right now if previous patches ever went bad.  Here's hoping that it's not something I did wrong.  Argh!  Time for some sleep before getting up at dawn to face another day.)
mellowtigger: (Terry 2010)
When this stray kitten first came to the Saint Paul shelter, she was nearly dead. I'm just a computer technician, but I happened to be there at the receiving desk while working on a problem at their pc. A worried woman came in and handed me a cardboard box. The kitten in that box had a cold body, barely open eyes, terrible sounding voice, and she was laying flat on her very skinny side. On a 9-point scale for body condition, she was given a score of 2.

Much later, I got to speak with one of the vet techs who treated her that day. They considered euthanizing her because she was so far gone already. One of them said, "Never give up hope," so they continued working on her. From that sentiment, they immediately knew what name to give her. Hope survived the night. After she stabilized, Hope came to stay with me for a few weeks in foster care while I gave her medications and food from the shelter. I adopted her permanently when she finally reached that stage in her journey through the Animal Humane Society.

sleeping with DaveOne of my landlords ([livejournal.com profile] foeclan ) drove me out to the Saint Paul shelter to pick her up last Saturday. After her foster experience here, she was away for only 2 days during her spay surgery and recovery. She immediately recognized the territory when we got back home. She ran downstairs to the basement to her familiar location for food, water, and litterbox. She's so comfortable here that after only a few more days, she was already sleeping in the living room on top of my other landlord ([livejournal.com profile] joshuwain ). You can still see her bare belly and the tattoo ink at the incision for her spay surgery.

She's a big fan of technology. In her first 15 minutes in my bedroom, she managed to shred my earbuds while I wasn't looking. I was distracted dealing with network outages at two of our work locations during the heavy snow fall and power outages that Saturday. Later, I discovered that she enjoys the graphics effects in one of my pc games. Here she is watching me play Torchlight. She tried to help me stomp out zombies at one point. Fun times; we destroyed the undead horde together.

destroyed earbudsplaying Torchlight

watching the waterfallHope likes watching the ripples in the water fountain. She spends many minutes each day watching them roll across the surface.

Hope likes playing with dry cat food and clay litter. She thinks it's great fun to paw at them and drag them out of their terrible confinement, spreading them around the floor to enjoy their freedom. I'm hoping she gives up that interest soon.

I'm also hoping that T'Reese (the resident cat of 13 years) adjusts sooner rather than later to this family addition. Hope is too playful and wants to pounce everyone all the time. T'Reese is no player and gets very hissy instead. My sleep is interrupted every 30-90 minutes as they get into another tiff. It's beginning to wear down my energy level. T'Reese is voluntarily sleeping on the bed with me again, as far away from the kitten as possible. It's been a whole week now, and there have been no serious incidents, so I think the worst is probably past.

crawling under the doorHope is gaining health steadily. She's still too skinny, but she's definitely growing up very quickly. She's small enough to crawl underneath my bedroom door, but I think that adventure may end in another week or two when she's finally too big to fit.

Thank you to the children who found Hope outside a neighbor's house, and they didn't just walk away from responsibility. Thank you to the mother who tried to feed Hope, and she brought the stray kitten to the Saint Paul shelter when she wouldn't eat or drink. Thank you to the receiving staff who knew what to do with the dangerously ill kitten, since I certainly wasn't equipped to handle the dire situation that day. Thank you to the vet techs who decided to give her every fighting chance to survive, and they warmed her cold body and force fed fluids and sustenance.

She's an energetic little ball of fluff who befriends everyone that she meets. She's a shoulder cat, and she's a lap cat with a prominent purr. She's an adventurer whose curiosity never withers under the hissy retorts of the resident cat. She's a little warrior who pounces my head to wake me up at 7am (even though I usually sleep until 10am). She's a vocal communicator with a very pretty trill.

Never give up Hope.
mellowtigger: (T'Reese)
Hope on her first dayHope needs encouragement, at least in the beginning.  She seemed not to eat or drink on her own, but only while I was there with her to comfort her.  She would eat a few bites then come back to my lap for petting.  After some reassurance, she would return to the food bowl for a few more bites.  Repeat the cycle until the meal was finally done.  It was slow but dependable progress.

Sometimes, a little shit is a good thing.  I last saw Hope vomit on Thursday, the first day that she came to stay in the basement here (the day also pictured in this first photograph).  She had diarrhea too.  On Sunday I finally saw solid stool formations in the litterbox.  I guessed the dewormer and penicillin were doing some good.  Her appetite and strength have improved considerably after these milestones.

Specialized attention may still be helpful, though.  In spite of all her progress, I wasn't seeing her drink any water.  I ran a stream of water from the showerhead into the bathtub, causing a small rivulet of water to flow down the center.  After some investigation, Hope finally lapped up a few drinks of water from the stream.  I went to the store to buy one of those electric water dispensers.  It maintains the illusion of fresh running water.  After first install, Hope drank for about 20 seconds to refresh herself.  Mission accomplished.  No more worries about her recovery.

Hope gnawing my beltJealousy is a many splendored thing.  T'Reese hears the mewing through the basement door, she sees me taking smelly food to the noisemaker, and she guesses that I'm spending my time doing something terribly, wonderfully interesting on the other side of that door.  T'Reese has been a lot more vocal and attentive lately when I come back up to tend to her needs too.  She's still no lap cat, but she seems to intuit that her hulking food dispenser is sharing bounty with another beast.

Hope benefits from attention.  Hope has improved so much during the last week that she's become the stereotypical energetic kitten (pictured here playing with my belt).  When I release her from behind the cardboard wall, she darts around the basement, pouncing on every dark spot in the tile floor.  I don't know yet if she recognizes me as distinct from the other humans in the household, or if I'm just her hulking food dispenser too.  Unlike T'Reese, Hope is very friendly with everyone.

While I was gone at work, one of my roommates took this video of Hope escaping her cardboard prison.  Much different from the nearly dead kitten that I saw delivered to the shelter only a week earlier.


Now, off to shower before I'm late for work this afternoon.
mellowtigger: (Terry 2010)
canned cat foodWhile I was working on a video camera at the Receiving computer in Saint Paul on Monday, someone tried to drop off with me (alone at the desk) a kitten that looked nearly dead.  It laid flat on its side, it was cold, it didn’t open its eyes more than a slit, and it couldn’t make a proper meow.  Its voice quivered so much that attempts to meow didn’t sound feline at all.

I'm just an I.T. technician, so I work with computers rather than customers and animals.  I hurried deeper into the building to get staff who could help.  I found someone, and she put the kitten on a heating pad and applied karo syrup to its gums.  The staff named her Hope, and she weighed in at 1.13 pounds.  They noted later that she “came in very cold and lifeless”.  Hope survived the night, though, and is recovering nicely.

She stayed under vet supervision for a few days, and I picked her up yesterday afternoon for a 3-week foster.  After that time, we expect that she'll weigh enough for spay surgery, and then she can go on to adoption.

at my feetThis experience is my first time fostering any animal.  I was worried last night that Hope wasn't eating anything, but this morning she finally ate several pieces of canned cat food.  She tried to eat one of the dry food kibbles too, but that hard stuff is still a lot of work for her tiny mouth.

She's prescribed two medicines (Clavamox and Panacur) while in my care.  I've never given a cat medicine before, but it went rather well this morning.  I slowly squirted the stuff into her mouth, and almost all of it actually stayed in her mouth.  She forgave me quickly.  She started purring again after just a little cuddling.

I'll feel a lot better once I see her drink water.  I'll go somewhere today to buy an old electric heating pad that doesn't automatically shut off.  (It's still possible to buy them, as I learned at the Wildlife Rehabilitator conference several months ago.)

She's staying in the basement of the house, sequestered from my cat T'Reese.  So far T'Reese has been very curious, wondering what exciting things are happening on the other side of the closed door, out of her reach.

Time to shower and get ready for work this morning.

I'm a (foster) mommy!
mellowtigger: (T'Reese)
Yes, I'll be taking a break for a while.  I'm not sure when I'll be back reading and posting.

WicketAnimal:
A friendly siamese mix appeared in the big colony room this week.  Wicket is a 3-year-old neutered male. Quite friendly with both people and other cats, zhey would be a good addition for any home. Wicket enjoyed lots of petting but wasn't as happy about being picked up.  I don't usually see siamese with such dark coloration, but it looked really nice on this slender guy.

As of this writing, Wicket is still available for visitation and adoption at our Golden Valley facility.

Wicket and Terry

I did my best to capture of photo of Wicket rubbing against my fuzzy chin.  Kind of blurry, though.
mellowtigger: (T'Reese)
This last week, I've spent more time than usual visiting the animals before and after my work shift. Sophie, Lebowski, and Jem have monopolized my attention the whole time too. I've hardly introduced myself to anyone else.

All three of them have been featured in Furry Friday posts before, and all three of them tempt me to imagine spending years in their company. Sophie, in particular, has the fuzzy touchability that I've long wanted in a lap cat. I have no idea why this lovable feline is still waiting for adoption. The dainty paws, the loud purr, the insistence on laying down in my lap... why the delay in finding a permanent home?

Sophie, sitting in my lap

I'm not motivated to write a longer post today, so this image of Sophie in my lap will have to suffice as the "cute factor" for today.
mellowtigger: (T'Reese)
Story:  I dramatically misread a human this week, or I could have been a bit more helpful.  I drove out to the east metro to replace a bad pc.  The pc desk in the exam room was crowded because a group of young visitors were there getting a nice tour and demonstration.  I stood out of the way to wait until they finished.

Someone had a young cat on the exam table and was showing everyone how we give animals their id microchip.  (No actual insertion was involved, just mimicking of the process.)  I noticed one youngling acting strange, so I started watching that human instead of the cat.  I was thinking maybe zhey was "just like me", so I thought nothing of it when zhey turned aside to face the wall alone.  Yep, just like me as a kid. When zhey seemed to trip and fall, again I thought "just like me", none too graceful or coordinated.

My mistake.  Nearby adults got involved, and that's when I came to realize that the poor little one had fainted after succumbing to all the unfamiliar sounds and smells and ideas.  I've fainted before, and I remembered that when my mind is out of phase, a drink of very cold water helps to snap my attention back into focus as the sense of coldness travels down through my body.  So I went on a hunt for iced water.  It took a while, and it was a small adventure to wash a cup clean and gather the ice while in an unfamiliar building, but I finally got it to the adults and child.  I hope it was useful to them, even if it was rather late to arrive.

SophieAnimals:  I've found a natural lap cat.  Sophie is a bit of a runt, somewhat on the small side for 1 year of age.  This spayed female is a shorthair mix with fur that is mostly white.  Very friendly and with a loud purr, Sophie will make a great companion for a person of any age that's looking for a close friend.  I've never seen zhem hissy with the other cats in the colony room.  More the reverse, actually, I've seen Sophie reach out slowly with a paw trying to touch another cat on the shoulder.

PumaIn the same colony room, Puma was actually the first animal to approach me and climb to my lap when I sat down.  What I noticed right away was the very soft fur.  Around the shoulders, the black fur is as silky as a rabbit's.  This middle-aged (5.2 years) female is pleasantly friendly with humans but has some issues around other animals.  The paperwork cautions specifically about sharing space with dogs.  Even in the colony room, however, Puma dislikes having other cats approach too closely.  Not one to actively seek out trouble, Puma will still get hissy if anyone else crosses into zheir personal space.  I think Puma should go to a home where there are no other animals to require sharing food bowls or the adoration of humans.

As of this writing, Sophie and Puma are both available for visitation and adoption at our Golden Valley facility.

How You Can Help:  I ran across another story at work this week about a cat brought to us after zheir owners moved away and just abandoned zhem outside the door to the apartment complex.  I think it was a neighbor who brought the cat to us.  Please, if you see domesticated animals without a human caretaker, take just a little time to exercise some responsibility yourself.

It doesn't mean that you have to take the animal into your home.  Cities in warmer climates have spay-then-release programs that would be good for roaming critters.  Here in the frozen north, however, you'll probably need to bring the abandoned animal to your nearest shelter system.  Bring animals in sooner rather than later.  Healthy and friendly animals have a better chance at placement than injured, ill, or ill-tempered street fighters.  When freezing weather arrives, I start seeing animals on our adoption floor with missing ear bits and tail bits... I assume from frost bite.  It makes me wonder about the other animals that didn't survive the harsh lesson of winter.
mellowtigger: (T'Reese)
I'm in a hurry to get to work early today, so I don't have time for the usual writeups... just the animals.

MaxwellAnimals:  The most unusual color that I've seen in any cat here, Maxwell's papers state that this 1-year-old male is a Burmese mix with "Chocolate" color.  This photo really doesn't capture the shade and striping on Maxwell's coat.  Very pretty, and also soft.  When I've visited, Maxwell has been very approachable but still skittish.  I think some time to adjust in familiar surroundings would help a lot.  I rested my chin on the floor of zheir cage for a while, and it was amusing to watch Maxwell ever so slowly inch towards me until a tentative paw finally reached out far enough to touch my face.

LebowskiEven more skittish, and definitely a submissive cat, Lebowski is a handsome ginger kitty.  The paperwork says that this domestic shorthair male is 7 years old, but I suspect maybe zhey's younger than that.  I've been spending a lot of time during the last week visiting Lebowski, and the effort has paid off.  At first, the big lunk would just hide under a perch with a tucked-in tail.  Now, though, Lebowski has been brave enough to walk around the shared cat room to step on my legs and arms to solicit petting... until any other cat looks our direction, and then *zoom* off goes Lebowski back under the nearest perch.  I mentioned submissive, right?

NellieSharing the same communal cat room with Lebowski is Nellie.  I have a hard time reading this cat, for some reason.  A 1-year-old domestic shorthair, this female cat has been more patient with Lebowski than the other cats in the room while I've seen them all together.  Not very inquisitive, but certainly willing to accept loving attention, Nellie has had a very reserved character even for a cat.  Paperwork says to avoid bringing dogs around Nellie, but I have a hard time imagining what could evoke a strong response from this laid-back lady.

As of this writing, Maxwell, Lebowski, and Nellie are all available for visitation and adoption at our Golden Valley facility.
mellowtigger: (T'Reese)
Story:  I haven't been posting much of anything lately, somehow distracted by nothing of great import.  How did I miss a whole month of Furry Fridays?  Well, at least there was this one incident last week that's worthy of sharing.

I was walking the hallway downstairs (separated from the adoption areas that are upstairs) after dealing with printer problems in the Exam room when I heard a sound sort of like a human child cry but not exactly.  It had the right pitch and volume but wrong timbre and duration.  I looked around and saw someone walking down the hallway with a large blanket.  I had a suspicion, so I dallied at the end the hallway before turning a corner...

The human reached the scale at the other end of the hallway and then lifted up the blanket.  Sure enough, a fawn was there.  Zhey was none too happy about the journey to getting weighed.  I don't know the story, but I figure our Wildlife department got the deer moved along quickly to volunteer rehabilitators who can care for injured or orphaned animals until they're strong enough to release back into the wild.  This job doesn' t pay much, but it does have its occasional perks with unusual surprises waiting around any corner.  :)

JemAnimals:  Jem has been waiting at the adoption floor for a few weeks already.  The patch of skin and fur that's sloughing off at the shoulder probably doesn't help encourage human interest.  For those who are curious anyway, the further revelation of ear mites and additional medical treatments must chase off any remaining desire.  But truly there's a very friendly kitty waiting behind these inconveniences!

Jem is a 2-year-old spayed female with a pretty grey, yellow, and white coloring.  Zhey has been cautious but adorable every time that we've visited together.  I think Jem would be good in a home with people of any age.  Zhey likes lots of petting, although rubbing the ears does cause a flat-ear-and-head-shake reaction because of the uncomfortable ear problem.  I think that maybe a course of medication is provided during adoption, but the adopter does still need to apply ear medication until the problem is cured.

Also waiting a few weeks, Earthquake's stay on the adoption floor is a little more difficult to understand.  Not that you could tell from this crouched mug shot, but this 7-month-old neutered male is actually extraordinarily friendly.  (I'm guessing that the bow tie was unappreciated only because it was unreachable by paws.)  The name, however, is very appropriate.  With a purr that isn't easily heard but is very easily felt throughout zheir whole body, this active guy enjoys lots of play time.   Earthquake is very willing to cuddle and provide attention just to get a chance at bounding around the floor chasing everything that shakes and crackles.  I think that zhey would be great in a home with either kids or active adults.  Earthquake even seemed curious about the other cats nearby, although there were cage doors separating everyone so I don't know how well zhey tolerates other felines in close proximity.

SummerDefinitely a solo cat, however, is Summer.  I saw this pretty kitty and figured that even by the end of the day, zhey would be gone to a new home.  First day went by, and then second day went by... it must be the "only cat" designation that discourages human interest.  That's too bad, because Summer has been quite curious and affectionate with me.  I think humans of any age would do well with this wide-eyed wonder.  Soft and cuddly, Summer is a 1-year-old spayed female Siamese mix who deserves a home among humans that can provide a lot of attention.

As of this writing, Jem, Earthquake, and Summer are all available for visitation and adoption at our Golden Valley facility.

How You Can Help:  If you know someone trying to find a new home for their family pet, please do try to help them find a suitable adopter.  It's in the best interest of the animal to avoid the whole stressful ordeal of moving through any shelter environment.  If the pet can move directly from one home to another, without having to spend time among hundreds of other unfamiliar animals in a shelter, then there's less opportunity for disease transmission or stress related illness.  If someone asks you, then please just take a minute to sincerely consider options for where their animal could be placed.  Yes, your local animal shelter can offer a useful opportunity for someone's pet, but it might be better for the animal if a well-placed recommendation could find a pet a new home without involving the shelter system.
mellowtigger: (T'Reese)
Story:  Thanks to a message from [livejournal.com profile] bitterlawngnome, I've arranged for my organization to send unused fur down to the Gulf of Mexico for use in helping cope with the oil spill.  Several people at work have heard the same call for hair/fur and proposed helping out.  Most of our healthy fur comes from spay surgeries, and I've arranged from sites that want to participate to deliver their fur to our main garage.  I will pick it up and mail it off to the Gulf.  The address changes every few weeks, as the managing organization updates destinations for these donations.  They want material delivered close to the volunteers who will use it to build mats and booms for oil cleanup.

I see this project as another kind of volunteer recycling effort at work, like we do with used aluminum cans or plastic bottles.  I volunteered to do the shipping "on my dime" and "off the clock".  Other employees who knew about my effort volunteered to donate money to the shipping costs.  I discovered yesterday that the organization will find money to cover the postage, so hopefully I won't have to end up spending much (if any) of my own money on this project after all.  :)

MorpheusAnimals:  I featured Norbert two months ago, but zhey is still waiting in a cage for a home.  I find it very disappointing that this thoroughly lovable fellow is still looking for an adopter.  Earlier this week, I took zhem into a meeting room for a chance to play with ping pong balls and colored feathers.  Norbert took little interest in them, instead taking the first opportunity to jump back up into my arms for more loving.  Not much of a lap cat, Norbert is instead a shoulder cat.  Why has zhey not found a home already?

LolaLola has some of the softest fur that I've ever found on a cat.  This 2-year-old spayed female is a Siamese mix.  I spent many minutes with Lola, but I couldn't convince zhem to come out of hiding.  Very affectionate, zhey would stretch zheir neck out really far to solicit more petting, but no amount of coaxing could convince zhem to put a single paw outside the safe zone of the litterbox hood.  I think maybe a quiet home would offer just the encouragement that Lola needs to become an inquisitive and friendly companion for a human of any age.

MorpheusMorpheus, although similar, might do better just with an adult owner.  Zhey is a 1-year-old neutered male sporting grey fur mixed with some white and some darker stripes.  Morpheus was also very affectionate, throwing zheir body against my hand to enjoy the petting.  Like Lola, however, it was difficult to convince zhem to step away from the protective shelter of a wire shelf to investigate the world a bit more.  Morpheus seemed nervous about every noise and movement in the room, so I think zhey will need an owner with an amount of patience to instill some confidence in this otherwise friendly cat.

As of this writing, Norbert, Lola, and Morpheus are all available for visitation and adoption at our Golden Valley facility.

How You Can Help:  Why do you wash your hair?  Because it's too good at absorbing oil from your scalp!  That quality is useful when trying to clean up damage from an oil spill.

Share this website with other organizations that you visit.  They need hair from human haircuts.  They need fur from pet groomings.  They accept international donations too.  BP (the owner of the failed oil well) has contacted this group directly to learn more about the mats and booms that they are creating.
http://www.matteroftrust.org/programs/hairmatsinfo.html

Every little bit of effort will help to minimize the environmental cost of this developing tragedy.
mellowtigger: (T'Reese)
I usually sleep 2am-10am, so being at work at 7am made it a "caffeine day" for me.  :)  I was tuckered out by the time the day was over.  I came back home and slept afterwards.

The official news is that we exceeded our $1 million goal!  We had about 5,000 animals and 10,000 people.  We were billing it as the largest animal/person walk fundraiser on the planet, and I'm guessing that we succeeded there too.

Last year, I posted photos of the 2009 Walk from everywhere that I could find them, whether I took the images or not.  This year, since I actually had the opportunity to go outside and see the event near my building, I'll include only the collection of photos that I took with my camera.  Other people had photos of the horse, goat, baboon, guinea pigs, and other species, but most of what I saw was the traditional domestic animal.

Here are my Livejournal galleries:
http://pics.livejournal.com/mellowtigger/gallery/0002fr59 (26 images, Walk For Animals 2010, my photos)
http://pics.livejournal.com/mellowtigger/gallery/0001hsbr (26 images, Walk For Animals 2009, not my photos)

Cut just to save 9 images from loading... )

Other public galleries include:
www.facebook.com/animalhumanesociety#!/album.php?aid=203820&id=35867734713 (Facebook, official page)
www.flickr.com/photos/animalhumanesociety/sets/72157623826653179/ (Flickr, official page)
www.flickr.com/search/?q=ahswfa&w=all (Flickr, user-tagged images)

It was fun and rewarding, but it was also stressful and I'm glad that it's over with.  It's grown so huge that I've recommended next year they move it out to the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.
mellowtigger: (T'Reese)
Story:  It's just one more week to the Walk, our annual fundraiser.  This edition will feature my plea for donations (link down at bottom), since I'll probably be too scatterbrained next Friday to make a post.  Here in Minnesota, there are a LOT of different charitable organizations collecting money right now (for causes like AIDS, breast cancer, multiple sclerosis, and a variety of other worthy needs).  All of them deserve your attention during these tough economic times.  To encourage donations to my favored group, I'll explain a few things that we do besides the obvious housing and feeding of animals.

We have made our "Double The Love" program a year-round event because it was so successful in increasing the placement of older cats into new homes.  I've written in previous editions of Furry Friday about some tidbits I gleaned at the Wildlife Rehabilitator conference, where volunteers meet to learn more about how to restore wildlife to health and release them back into nature.  We also assist research at the University of Minnesota by providing nasal swabs from sick dogs so they can find better ways of healing kennel cough. 

In the next issue, I hope to show off pictures that I take from our Walk event.  There are many thousands of adopted animals in attendance, and twice as many humans show up too.  :)

DelfonzeAnimals:  I found three more lovable oafs.  First up is Delfonze, a neutered male domestic shorthair.  Zhey is still young, just 1 year old, and very affectionate.  Not much interested in being stroked along the spine, zhey was persistent (for a whole 20 minute session together) in wanting to be scratched along the cheeks and forehead.  I would lay my arm down on the tall perch platform, and Delfonze would scoot along and press hard with zheir head up against my hand for ever more petting.  Plain alley cat appearance hides a strong affectionate disposition.  Delfonze would make a good cat for a person of any age.

HersheyAlso very friendly (and much more enthusiastic about being pet along the back) is Hershey.  A nice chocolate brown color with soft fur, this 6-year-old female labrador retriever would make a great companion for someone wanting an affectionate dog.  Hershey has adored petting along zheir face, shoulders, and back every time that I've visited.  Someone wrote a note that Hershey already knows a few voice commands but still needs training on a leash.  Pleasantly quiet around other calm dogs, I did hear zheir barking excitedly when another dog was being led past kennel doors.  I think Hershey would also be a good companion for a person of any age, very young or very old.

LarsLars is amusing in a different way than Delfonze and Hershey.  At first curious and brave, zhey will come up right away to investigate my approaching hand.  After the first sniff or touch, Lars immediately runs away to the back of the cage.  Wait just 20 seconds, however, and overwhelming curiosity again drives zhem up to check out my waiting hand again.  I've tried a few times on different days, and the results are always the same: a funny combination of curious and nervous (but never aggressive).  This 1-year-old male rabbit is very soft and pleasant to pet, but it's still too terrifying an experience for Lars to accept the attention with calm dignity.  I believe that curiosity is always a good sign, though.  With just a little patience, I think Lars could easily grow accustomed to a human and be a very nice pet for a quiet person of any age.

As of this writing, Delfonze, Hershey, and Lars are all available for visitation and adoption at our Golden Valley facility.

Walk For Animals 2010How You Can Help:  We're just 1 week away from our major fundraiser.  If you'd like to help, you may do so here:
http://events.animalhumanesociety.org/goto/MellowTigger

If you're joining us on Walk day, be sure to read the literature and choose one of the parking lots elsewhere so you can ride the shuttle buses to the Golden Valley location.  Each lot will have its own dedicated buses, so hopefully the wait will be very short.

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