The Archives: 2

About a week ago, I told you the story about the Pinecone Forest Queendom. In this queendom lived Katja de Kittycat. Her story began long before there even was a queendom in the Pinecone Forest. As promised, today I will tell Katja’s story and it began like this:

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Katja de Kittycat

Katja was born in sunny Florida. Unfortunately, her story began similarly to many cats and dogs, on some dark and lonely streets. She may have been an indoor cat at first but it didn’t take long until she got pregnant with little ones. For some reason or another, she ended up homeless. She looked for a safe place away from predators to give birth. Her instincts told her to pick a spot that was dark and sheltered.

It was not easy to find enough food for herself and the little ones. Katja often felt hungry and it was no surprise that she got sick and infested with fleas. When the kittens were about three weeks old they started to walk. At first, their walk was wobbly and they only took a few steps at a time. But after a couple of days, they got more confident and were ready to explore their new world. Katja tried her best to keep the kittens safe. She carried them in her mouth back to safety one by one if they wandered off too far from their little cave. This was getting harder and harder. Each day the kittens roamed further into the deep unknown. It was during one of these events that a nice elderly lady discovered Katja and her kittens.

The lady wanted to make sure that the felines were safe but she was too fragile to take care of them. So she walked over to her neighbors and asked them what she should do.  The neighbors decided that it was best to provide momma cat and kittens with shelter, food, and care at their headquarters. They put up flyers to make sure that no one was looking for them, informed the animal shelter, and brought the felines to the vet for vaccinations and care. And that was the beginning of Katja’s life with the humans who you got to know as Q and M.    

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Finally enough food for all

It was a fun time at headquarters these early days. The kittens were playful and grew, and grew, and grew. Katja did well too and morphed into a beautiful feline with long fur.  

After several weeks, permanent homes were found for the kittens and then two weeks later even Katja moved out to another home. And headquarters felt silent, too silent. That’s when M stumbled, okay she may have asked and asked around, across a beautiful and sweet 7-month-old rescued pup at the vet… The furry canine had been found as a three-month-old pup sitting on a blanket chained to a tree on the side of the road with a bowl of water.  How could one resist such a pitiful story? So the household grew by one again. The pup was called Amie (meaning dearly loved in French) after Amelia Earhart, the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. But that’s a story for another time. 

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Amie

Three weeks after Amie was adopted, Katja was returned to headquarters. The two cats in what was supposed to be Katja’s furrever home did not get along with her. Luckily, nothing was standing in the way for Katja to stay forever after at Q and M’s place.  Amie having lived at the vet’s office for several months liked all creatures so that was not an issue. Hence, headquarter’s household grew by one again. Katja moved with headquarters four more times until they all moved where I and Ms. Zulu live now. This is the place where Katja spent the remainder of her years. 

– THE END = TO BE CONTINUED –

Wishing a safe home, food, and clean water for all creatures big and small wherever they may be,

Benji

Communication is a tricky business

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Reardon and I philosophizing

Since I came to live with my forever family, mom has shown a renewed interest in interspecies’ communication. It all kick-started with the book “Are we smart enough to know how smart animals are? ”  We, a.k.a. the ZAB team, truly thank our dear friend in Groningen, the Netherlands for this book! The book is a New York Times Bestseller and written by Professor Frans de Waal. He is a Dutch primatologist and ethologist who works at Emory University in Atlanta. Frans’ research shows that animals are a lot smarter than what most people give them credit for. WOOOFFF, high paws for Frans!

We also saw an interesting National Geographic documentary on dog training research. OK I admit, I lost interest as soon as I discovered I couldn’t play with any of the dogs in the video. I did see one of the experiments that showed how dogs empathize with human emotions. We love what they said about a Staffordshire Bull Terrier that was one of the most emphatic dogs in the experiment: “we should never judge a book or a breed by its cover”. We totally agree! Most shelter dogs in our part of the world are part Pit Bull Terrier and that is the reason why some people hesitate to get a dog from the shelter. While most of us do come with a history, it doesn’t mean that we cannot be great companions! Education (yes, one important component is educating the humans) and working with excellent dog trainers are key. But the same holds true for any dog that is adopted from a breeder. Of course, stay away from puppy mills. We don’t want to support those awful practices.

During our puppy and animal therapy training, we were introduced to two phawbulous dog trainers: Patricia McConnell and Emily Larlham. We thoroughly enjoyed the book “The Puppy Primer” written by Patricia and Brenda Scidmore and have signed up to receive Patricia’s next book “The education of Will”. I especially love what Patricia’s blog tells humans to do when us doggies do something naughty:  take one newspaper (no doggies, don’t shred this one yet), roll it up and say bad, bad, bad, boy/ girl… then hit yourself (yes people, you read that right, that’s you) in the head for not paying attention to what your dog was doing! Emily posts a lot of “Kikopup” videos on youtube that are educational. Here are two of the videos we recently saw; there are lots more:

1. What not to do to your best friend: 

2. How to be …: 

After some philosophizing with Reardon (many high paws for your input my friend), I have to conclude that communication between species is a tricky business and most humans haven’t mastered our dog language yet. So for now, humans can show us doggies what they want by following these steps:
1. Interrupt the unwanted behavior. No bullying and yelling here! Say something NICE and in an upbeat voice to distract us … such as ‘hey puppy’.
2. Redirect and ask for good behavior. For example, ask us to sit. Again be polite!
3. And this last step is very, and I repeat VERY important: give us TREATS when we sit nicely or do whatever you like us to do! Remember we are people pleasers and you can use this to your advantage. Just saying…

People don’t beat yourself up if you can’t get the above steps right immediately. After all, nobody is purrfect (I learned that word from Andy and Dougy). Although I have to say that the newspaper idea mentioned above has a lot of potential… Anyways, us doggies love your patience and TLC while we are learning your language and you don’t have a clue about ours yet. Oh oh, wait…, Ms. Zulu whispers into my ear… She notes that there is a lot of miscommunication and misunderstanding between humans as well and that seems to cause a lot of terror and destruction. So, you don’t need us for the destruction side of it after all. Too bad, I always love a good chew. Maybe we can help you fight the terror then, hey?? Word is getting around that I’m good with puppy kisses and I’ve heard that love conquers all.

On a final note, I would like to point out with my paws high up in the air, and this is not in surrender but in celebration, that there is hope for the future. Recently, we spoke with Linda Saraco, an animal communicator who follows my blog. She is an animal communicator on a whole different level that is fascinating. While there is still a lot more digging to do on interspecies communication and humans have barely scratched the surface, it seems that we are making progress. Just thinking out loud here but maybe you should let us help with the scratching and digging more. Us canines are renowned experts in the field of archeology a.k.a. digging. Our feline friends can help with the scratching, I am sure. Anyhowls,  we hope that once people learn more about other species it advances animal rights. And remember, communication is a two-way street, so start barking and howling like you mean it!

High paws for always trying your best,

Benji.

General Disclaimer: While mom tries her best to interpret my woofings and put these in writing, some parts may get lost in the translation.