Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Monday, January 26, 2015

Wintertime Cat Nap Must-Haves

Gloomy and cold snow days are the best days to take cat naps.  On this snow day at home, you can be sure that I will take a nap.  I will snuggle up in the leopard print Snuggie that I received as a gift years ago.  Warm and toasty, I will rest.
Snuggie Leopard Print Fleece

Go ahead and laugh. Some people think Snuggies are funny and great joke fodder.  Oh we had jokes and then suddenly I was the owner of a Snuggie. Not only a Snuggie, but a bold leopard print version.  I quickly learned that it is the best snuggling, warm, nap item I've ever own - not counting my dog of course.  I love my Snuggie. 

Recently, however, I have considered doing a bit of redecorating.  As much as I love my leopard print, it is a little bold for me. It is not something that I leave draped over the chair when guests are expected.  I am seriously considering replacing it with a more subtle snow leopard motif.  But where would I find snow leopard nap items?

Why, on Zazzle of course.

My living room is still in the process of being decorated.  My furniture is dark, mostly black. The carpet and walls (of my rental) are beige.  I have no flexibility with wall color so the remainder of my decorating choices will come in the form of textiles.

I think this subtle snow leopard print fleece blanket will be a great accent. Both functional and decorative.

Leopard print pattern black watercolor hand paint fleece blanket
Leopard print pattern black watercolor hand paint fleece blanket by girly_trend
Check out more Leopard pattern Fleece Blankets at Zazzle

Of course I will have to have at least one matching throw pillow. I love throw pillows as accents. They are easy to switch out when you grow tired of them. Or to add seasonal touches.  To go with my snow leopard fleece throw, I've chosen this gorgeous cat pillow. 

Exotic White Snow Leopard Pillows
Exotic White Snow Leopard Pillows by PhotographyTKDesigns
Browse more Snow leopards Pillows at Zazzle

Because there always needs to be a pop of color, even in my living room, here is an accent pillow with that bit of color.

Finally, Zazzle being what it is - a way to personalize your own items with your own photographs or artwork - I would love to add a photo pillow of Mittens the Maleficent Kitten when she is finally released to come home. With a pillow of her lovely face, her eye color will become the sample for the pop of color in my living room.

Yes, I think I've finally decided on my living room accent pieces. Meanwhile, I'm going to go cuddle with my leopard snuggie and take a cap nap.

Disclaimer: In affiliation with and, Dawn Rae is a content writer who may earn compensation from the sale of these products

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Mittens the Maleficent Kitten

Oh my dear Mittens-the-kitten.  She's going to be something else. I can already feel it.

Mittens' mug shot
Just two days ago, I told the tale of how I found and adopted my tiny Mittens.  I shared with you how the name tag on that cage at the shelter generously and hopefully described her as "spirited".  Frankly, I had many other ways of describing her to friends and family, some of those ways were not G-rated.  Even so, I was counting down the days and the hours until I could bring my baby home from the shelter today. 

I had changed my schedule and prepared to drive that 40-45 minutes out of the way. As I was shutting down the computer at work and shrugging on my jacket, my cell phone rang.

"We have bad news" the shelter employee began.

Oh gosh.  I sat down expecting to hear that something had gone horribly wrong with the surgery.  

No, it wasn't that type of bad news, the woman assured me. In fact, Mittens-the-Spirited hadn't even had her surgery.  She had scratched the veterinarian prior to the surgery. And is now on a 10 day hold; in part to rule out rabies.  I scheduled the time to pick her up in 10 days.

Oh, whew, is that all? That was my initial reaction.  Then I started to think about it.  Rabies?  She had scratched me and drawn blood when I visited her.  And if she already had her rabies shot, and had been at the shelter 9 days at least, wouldn't they already know?  Do cats really give spread rabies through scratches? The questions spun in my head and something didn't seem right.

So I drove down to the shelter anyway.  Why not?  After all, I had already gotten to work an hour early today to cover the time I was leaving early. I might as well.

It turns out to be a legal thing, when an animal (I can't decipher whether this covers only shelter animals or all pets) causes injury, it must be held for 10 days for observation.  Yes, if my Mittens has rabies, she would have been showing signs by now.  Yes, she could have still had rabies even though she was recently vaccinated. But no, she's not showing symptoms. It is possible but unlikely to get rabies via a scratch. However, Cat Scratch Fever is more than just a Ted Nugent song, it is a disease and I should have had my scratch checked by a doctor. 

No, they don't think she was a feral cat.  She just "doesn't like to be held".  Those shelter workers sure know how to give generous descriptions.

I will still bring my Mittens the Maleficent home, in 10 days, provided she doesn't have rabies.  She still has to be spayed. And I wasn't quick enough to think to ask, what if she injures the vet during the next surgery attempt? Do the 10 days start over?  I sure hope not. Otherwise, she'll never get out of there.

TRIXIE Pet Cat Tree
I don't feel the need to have a lap cat. So I'm not concerned that she doesn't like to be held. I am a smidge concerned she gets agitated easily and I am concerned that she will not be happy in a home with Willy, my active dog.  I am already shopping around for a cat tree or house to help her have her own space.

So please, cross your fingers and hope that my spirited Mittens will behave and will be able to come home in 10 days.  

Disclaimer: In affiliation with, Dawn Rae is a content writer who may earn compensation from the sale of Amazon products

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Wordless Wednesday - Dog Days

“I have found that when you are deeply troubled, there are things you get from the silent devoted companionship of a dog that you can get from no other source.”    -- Doris Day

As the long and dark days of winter slowly tick by, I dream of the moist days of spring followed by the summer heat.  I remember picnics, outdoor naps, and Daisy. I remember the sunshine.  Few things are better than a good dog and a warm summer day.

Willy and I bundle up for our walks, exhaling miniature clouds in the cold morning air,  while we wait for warmer days. Both of us anxious for the beach, the sand, and the dog days of summer.  There is no truer companion than a dog.

Linked to Blogpaws WW Blog Hop

Photograph of Daisy by Dawn Rae. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Mittens the Kitten

This is Mittens.  She is a 7 month old kitten at the local animal shelter. 

I have been considering adding a cat and a dog to the family for about a year.  I kept flipping back and forth about which would come first, cat or dog.  

Then I found Mittens. And the decision was made.

She is listed as a "spirited" kitten. The definition of spirited seems to be as follows - she puts her head down to be rubbed and after less than a minute passes she scratches, or hisses, or bites, or all three.  She does all of this while purring and flicking her tail tip.  

I came home with three scratches on my hand and the adoption paperwork.  She remains at the shelter in order to have her spaying completed. I pick her up on Thursday.

I will introduce her to Willy, my dog, slowly.  As much for her comfort as his protection!  And I will hope for the best.  I don't want a cat that scratches and hisses. But I think she will settle in and be the type of independent and opinionated cat that I like.

During my adventure of shelter visits, I was reminded that I really, really like cats. Many cats.  I could probably easily become the crazy, old, cat lady.  There is only one type of cat that I don't care for and those are orange tabbies. And I only recently remembered the stray cat that bit the hand that fed it (mine, as a 7 year old child) was an orange tabby.  The mystery has been solved about my hesitance about orange tabbies.  Now that I've remembered that, maybe someday I'll like orange tabbies.  Until then, I love every other type of cat there is.  

365 CATS Calendar
I've decided to get a cat calendar for my desk at work.  So I can enjoy looking at many different cats without bringing them all home. I found this calendar and love the little story bits that come on each page.  

Bergan Turbo Scratcher Cat Toy
I also have some shopping to do.  I've purchased the required things I need; litter box, carrier, litter, scoop, and etc.  I'm sure she will need some toys to keep her occupied.  I'm holding off a bit on the toys. I want to get to know her a bit better so I have a better idea of what she might like.  But I'll purchase one of these immediately. My last cat loved it.

In my experience it seems that cats, much like dogs, do not develop problem behaviors if they have enough mental or physical stimulation.  Cat toys in addition to attention from their human will usually keep cats from clawing the furniture. 

I am so excited. I can't wait for Thursday to arrive and my kitten to come home. 

Disclaimer: In affiliation with, Dawn Rae is a content writer who may earn compensation from the sale of Amazon products

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Shades of Daisy

I Miss Her

RIP my Daisy 2013

I Want Her
Jenny needs a home
currently at the Bucks County, PA SPCA

There are so many dogs in need of homes. I wish I could adopt them all. 

Linked to PAWSit Hop

Written by Dawn Rae - Photograph of Daisy by Dawn Rae. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Perspective


“The only creatures that are evolved enough to convey pure love are dogs and infants.” 
― Johnny Depp

Day after day my little dog, Willy, gives me the gift of unconditional love. I am glad that my mother instilled in me a love of animals and a desire to surround myself with four-legged family members. No one loves as deeply as a beloved pet; especially dogs.  As Willy looks deep into my eyes, I find myself wondering just exactly who takes care of who.

Recommended reading for dog lovers:

Single Handed by Lorettea Wade

Single Handed: the story of Keith Maze and His Dog Wishbone is a tale of love, struggle, loss, and triumph.  Wishbone is an energetic, to the point of being a nuisance, Jack Russell who fetches, plays, and loves with a tenacity that every human should try to emulate. I almost chose to not purchase the book due to the prologue.  But the story about Keith and his "yard clowns" is a page turner.  If you have ever loved a Jack Russell or Feist of any kind, or want to peek into the life of working country dogs, you will especially love this tale.

Devoted by Rebecca Ascher-Walsh
Devoted: 38 Extraordinary Tales of Loves, Loyalty, and Love with Dogs is a heart-warming and uplifting compilation of short dog stories. The stories of rescues (both of dog and of human lives) are complete with beautiful photographs of the dogs and the owners.  While I read nearly all of my books on a Kindle paperwhite, this is a book that I have ordered in book edition so that I can fully enjoy the photographs.

Linked to Blogpaws WW Blog Hop

Written by Dawn Rae - Photograph of Willy by Dawn Rae. All rights reserved.
Disclaimer: In affiliation with, Dawn Rae is a content writer who may earn compensation from the sale of Amazon products. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Dogs on Road Trips Tips

Willy, my young dog, loves to ride with me in the Jeep. He regularly hops in so we can go to the local parks. However, we have just returned from a 1200 mile road trip which was entirely different than driving a few miles up the street.

I became aware of the risks when traveling long distances with a dog. Because of this awareness, I am sharing these tips and reminders with you.

Food and Water
Remove your dogs food bowl at least 2 hours before leaving. Or feed your dog a very small amount prior to departure.  Dogs are prone to motion sickness.  Dogs that eat immediately before jumping into the car can be more prone to vomiting. No one, not even our dogs, want to experience a tummy ache or vomiting in the car.

Some dogs may or may not eat during the trip. Willy wouldn't eat a bit of food during breaks on the way there. I couldn't convince him to eat a thing.  On the way home, I had purchased some of his favorite puppy treats.  I was careful not to feed him too many treats, but I felt better knowing that he was at least eating a snack during our gas and bathroom breaks. I didn't want him to be 12 hours with a completely empty stomach. Dogs can become hypoglycemic.

Anti-spill water bowl 
Dogs can dehydrate fairly easily. I noticed, in the cold weather, that I wanted the heater on the high setting more often than Willy did. Pet parents have to remember to provide water at every stop, at least.  If possible, a sturdy and spill-proof bowl can make water available at all times. We need to be aware of how the temperatures (low or high) may be impacting our pet.

Frequent Breaks

Personally, I can drive 600 miles with only 3 or 4 very quick gas and bathroom stops.  With the dog, I made sure to stop a few extra times.  I'm convinced that being able to get out and stretch his legs, sniff the air, go to the bathroom, and get a drink all helped Willy be a better traveling companion.

Clean Up After Your Dog 

Willy knows the difference between a walk and a quick potty break.  I have always told him "go pee-pee" when it's time to focus and take care of business.  This daily training was very helpful when we were on the road. I didn't want to linger outdoors at truck stops nor did I want him outside for very long in what often appeared to be dirty places. I'd give this verbal reminder and he'd go quickly. We'd stretch our legs briefly, let him have another drink of water, and hop back into the Jeep and go.

I hadn't realized that other dog owners also teach their dogs to potty on command. In fact, the ASPCA recommends that your dog is trained to go on command prior to traveling.  I am aware that some dogs do not like to potty in unfamiliar surroundings, so this command/training may be helpful.

This is a good time to give the reminder that it is a good idea to have taken your beloved pet to the veterinarian prior to the trip. Making sure your dog is in healthy condition as well as current with all of the preventative medications will help your dog avoid picking up something during the trip.

Dog waste bags
If you watch for signs for pet-walking areas, you will soon discover that many, many pet owners leave their pet droppings lay.  Conscientious pet owners will find themselves trying to help their dogs avoid the manure piles, or making stops at other areas that are manure-free, but that often are strewn with trash. These less popular areas often have taller grass and are more likely to be the home of fleas or ticks.  This is a reason that your dog be current on all pest prevention medications and treatments.

Let your dog stretch his/her legs frequently during the trip but walk him/her with caution. And for goodness sake, be a good pet owner and clean up after your dog. Coletta Teske does a nice job of explaining why it is healthy for our pets and important that we pick up after them.

Familiar Items

Bring familiar items to help your dog feel more secure.  A towel or blanket that they sleep on, or that smells like you, will help them feel more comfortable.  I didn't want to bring Willy's big crate pad that is old and torn so I provided him with a towel for a few days prior to the trip.  I brought that Willy-scented towel along for him.

This towel was helpful both with giving him something familiar as well as providing cover for the seat in the event Willy got car sick.  He did not. But I was prepared.
Snack dispenser

I also brought a few of his favorite toys, his brand of dog food (in case it was hard to find in the vacation locations). Toys like treat dispensers are good ways to occupy your dog once you reach your destination.

To Crate or Not To Crate?

It is recommended that your dog be crated or seat belted while in the car.  This is to A) keep the dog from being a distraction to the driver and B) to keep the dog from being a projectile in the event of an accident.  Willy knows his spot is in the back seat and does not ride in front, and NEVER EVER rides on my lap while I'm driving.  For these reasons, I haven't decided to crate or belt him in the car for most trips.  But I have to say, I was concerned during stops that having him crated would have been more safe to guard against pet theft.

Pet theft has been on the rise over the years. And pet thefts from a car are one of the most frequent ways pets are stolen. Afraid of pet theft, I found myself working hard to park in front of the building windows or security cameras while running in and out of the human restroom very quickly.  I know that parking like that did not prevent theft, as a smash-and-grab goes very quickly. But I felt it was better than parking behind a group of vehicles that obstructed the view of mine.

Dog safety belt
During my next long trip, I may crate him as a prevention to people who would consider stealing my dog.  I definitely use a harness/belt set-up when we are driving around with the Jeep top off.

You know your dog, you can determine which is the best option after considering the issues of distraction, projectiles, and theft. Just remember that it is better to take that extra bit of precaution.

Stressed Dogs and Their Behaviors

Finally, remember that stressed dogs may exhibit behaviors that aren't usual for them. When in unfamiliar surroundings or people, off-schedule, or stressed about the multitude of things that occur during travel, they can become clingy, snappy, or aggressive.  Dogs that don't normally suddenly run away, may suddenly jump out of the car at the gas station.  They may become snappy with your relatives that are unfamiliar to them. Or they may chew things in the hotel room.  Keep in mind that whether or not your dog loves to go with you in the car, they may need some extra love and supervision during the stress of a trip.

Traveling with pets makes good memories. Our pets are our extended family. As our puppy parent, it is our responsibility to make their travel as safe and comfortable as possible.

Meanwhile, we visit Ruth and Valentino at Dog Pawsitives photo by Ruth

Disclaimer: In affiliation with, Dawn Rae is a content writer who may earn compensation from the sale of Amazon products.