The pet blogging industry has changed drastically over the last 5 years, especially since I started writing Life with Arie. What started as personal catalogs of our lives with our pets on Wordpress or Blogger hosted domains with quick pictures off of our phones has turned into a polished, professional industry with glossy graphics, professional photos, and endless endorsements.
While the shiny and new is great, I miss the stories and personal level of the early pet blogs, the ones that discuss the struggle. The truth. I spent a little time on my blog just focusing on the happier elements of life with my pets, leaving out all of the elements that wouldn't fit into that Stepford family photo. Then, I realized that when I go looking for a pet blog, I'm looking for someone who can relate to what I'm dealing with in our house, good and bad. It's time to stop editing. I've talked about some of Arie's issues before, but really talking about them is something I haven't done in quite some time.
Saying that sentence alone can feel weird. Do any other reactive dog parents deal with this? There's a shame and guilt that comes with it, and I often feel like I've failed my dog in so many ways. Maybe she would have been happier with another family. Maybe she would have been better socialized, and would be playing at the park with other dogs. Then I remember the day I brought her home, and I trust that, even with mistakes in hand, I love this dog as much as anyone could, and I'm working every day to make her life better.
To be honest, I had forgotten how bad Arie's anxiety and reactivity is for a while. In April, we moved into our first owned home. It has a fantastic fenced back yard, perfect for our reactive girl. Arie's anxiety at sounds around the house has greatly dissipated since we moved, so my memories began to fade of how bad her reactions are to other dogs, because, well...there weren't other dogs, just herself and Fulton and enjoying their daily lives. I was able to forget and to live in a place of complacency with it...until we tried to to go to the vet.
Arie was due for her annual, so I made the appointment to take her in. Like I always do, I took extra precautions for her vet visit. We put on her muzzle. We gave her her calming treats. We played soothing music on the way there. Zack served as a look out for other dogs. She was harnessed and kept on a short lead. I had my clicker and treats ready for the "look at me" and reset games we'd worked on. We thought we were ready.
When we got to the vet, the parking lot was crowded. We waited patiently for people to make their way inside with their pets and called ahead to find out which of the two building entrances was dog free. We got out of the car and started to walk up to the building. Then it happened.
A man across the parking lot got out of the car with his dog and Arie completely lost it. I mean LOST it. All recall and attention was out the window as my White German Shepherd honed in on this man and his dog, with a laser focused gaze. The burr on her back went straight up and she started stamping her paws and wailing (really the only word for the sound coming out of my dog) in frustration and fear. We tried to reset and distract her, removing her gaze from the situation, but that only worked for a few seconds before she went back wailing, growling, and attempting to charge every few seconds. Though we had her well secured with us and she was muzzled to prevent risk if she were to get away, I felt beyond helpless, and I knew she did too. It was heartbreaking.
A vet tech came out of the building, assuming we had a grievously injured dog from the sounds Arie was making. "No, no, we're fine, she's not hurt she's just really reactive." The tech hurried back inside, looking as embarrassed for me as I was feeling and looking scared. Scared. My sweet, amazing girl scares people sometimes, and I don't blame them.
We knew Arie was too amped up to even try the vet after that so we got back in the car. I called their office and talked to a woman on the phone when she was less than 1500 ft from me to reschedule for a day when there would be fewer people and dogs. Then I sat in the car and cried, letting the frustration and guilt and fear and embarrassment leak out of my eyes because that's what my body does with the excess emotion it can't contain.
I know that some of you are reading this and thinking "Girl...chill," while others are probably thinking "That dog is dangerous." The truth is somewhere in the middle. This experience was probably one of the worst I've had with Arie and her reactivity, and was a culmination of a lot of my stress about it all from the last few years. No matter what, we always put safety first. Though Arie has never bitten anyone or another dog, we don't take risks. She's suited up like Hannibal, just in case, every time we leave the house.
All of this being said, there is hope for my dog and for me and for my family and I will not lose sight of that. The battle with her anxiety and fear has always been some kind of Tango... Two steps forward, one step back, two steps forward, etc. We've made a lot of progress with her anxiety in the house, and now need to renew our efforts with outside stimulus. We're stocking up on treats for the "What's that?" game with sounds and smells and stimulus to start off in the back yard, eventually moving to the front porch, allowing her to slowly re-learn how to deal with everything out in the world. Eventually, someday, it will pay off; I can't wait for the day when we can walk down the street, not fearing whether or not there's a dog around the corner.
The holidays are a special time for me every year; I reach a level of giddiness that's usually reserved for five-year-olds on their birthday. With everything going on in the world right now, my heart has been doing more hurting than celebrating, and I've lost some of the joy that usually surrounds Thanksgiving and Christmas for me. My mother and I were discussing this pain on the phone one day and she offered a suggestion: Go ahead and put up the Christmas tree.
"Mom, Thanksgiving isn't even here yet. I don't put up the tree before Thanksgiving. One holiday at a time."
"Just trust me. Put up the Christmas tree."
"Okay, okay, I'll try it."
Feeling a bit like a crazy person, I closed all of the blinds and windows so that my neighbors couldn't see the crazy lady getting her tree down a full week before Thanksgiving. I hauled the massive tree out of the attic, made space for it in the living room, put it up, and plugged it in. As per usual, mom was right.
There's something about the glow of twinkle lights that assures you that everything is going to be okay. There are very few things that have the same effect on me as the lights of Christmas tree, all of them touching on nostalgia or areas of comfort, like the smell of my grandmother's famous chocolate pie in the oven, or the sound of my dad singing in the kitchen in the morning when I visit for the holidays, the same song he's been singing since I was in diapers. While most of these are tied to my childhood memories, some are new comforts I've built in my adult life with Zack and our pets. As I unpacked the ornaments we have for our tree, I realized how many of them are tied to these comforting ideas for me. Each loved one has an ornament that symbolizes them, and special memories are immortalized there as well. Rather than have a picture-perfect coordinated tree, our tree is a hodgepodge of us, and that's something I love about it.
We adopted Fulton, our American English Coonhound, in April, and haven't gotten an ornament for him yet. Naturally, I went to Etsy to find one; he's a huge part of our life and our daily joy, so he needs a spot on the tree. I found so many amazing pet ornaments in the process that I had to share at least a few:
BrooksPeople felted dog ornament
BrooksPeople makes amazing hand-crafted felted dog ornaments that are made to order. I love the texture of these, and that you can find the breed that matches your pup, or just get an adorable dog for your tree (Trust us - We're the last people to judge if you just want a tree of adorable pet ornaments.)
You can find this Boston Terrier ornament, as well as BrooksPeople's other creations, on Etsy. Most ship in 3-5 days, arriving just in time for everyone putting their tree up at the socially accepted time. ;)
craftsbyAdrienne mixed media custom pet ornaments
When I saw the playful design of craftsbyAdrienne's custom pet ornaments, I couldn't help but giggle. These hand-made pet mini-me's are formed with "paper mache, acrylic paint, recycled cardboard, fishing line, [and] love." They usually take about a week to craft, still making it well in time to adorn your tree.
To get started, check out the ornament listing.
Kaz Foxsen pet ornaments
This is the perfect Etsy stop if you have pets other than cats and dogs, as the shop features designs for birds, ferrets, horses, and more. These wooden ornaments are perfect if you have cats or other creatures who may knock ornaments off the tree.
You can find this German Shepherd as well as countless other breeds and animal ornaments in the Kaz Foxsen Etsy shop or get a custom design of your pets.
SilhouettesbyLena breed-specific ornaments
If your tree is more glitz and glam than red and green, Silhouettes by Lena may have the perfect ornament for you.
These breed-specific (cat ornament available as well!) silhouettes with gold flecks add a nice touch of sparkle.
Lena offers 166 AKC dog breed designs, 3 cats and a horse option, so you're sure to find designs that fits your pet family.
Mooseberry Paper Co. ceramic ornaments
If your Christmas tree is about clean lines and design, these simple and elegant personalized pet ornaments from Mooseberry Paper Co. may be just what you need.
Find the ornament that fits your pet and customize with their name and information; be sure to hang these ceramic ornaments where your pets won't easily knock them down.
WeirdWeiland cross-stitched ornaments
We try to support small and local businesses as much as possible, especially with all of the amazing creations coming out of Atlanta. WeirdWeiland is no exception.
Cross-stitched accents in the home have been on trend lately, but these adorable ornaments can be enjoyed for years to come.
Keri, the artist behind WeirdWeiland, will custom-make and stitch your ornament to fit your cat, dog, or exotic pet based on pictures you send with your order.
While a Christmas tree decorated with adorable animals won't solve the world's problems, it can still be a small beacon of hope and joy in your home, and you can help make the season for an individual artist or craftsman when you add hand-crafted ornaments to your tree. We're still deciding which design to go with for Fulton's addition, but the idea of having our sweet boy have his own ornament is an excellent happy thought that helps me get me through the day.
Do twinkle lights have the same effect on you? Are your pets on your tree? Tell me about your holiday plans in the comments.
All photos are copyright and sourced from to the original artists.
I bet, at some point in everyone's life, they have a pet that isn't a true, flesh and blood pet. For some, it was their imaginary dog. For others, their pet rock. When I was younger, I remember stressing a bit over how to keep one of these things alive without my teachers catching me:
From there, the Petz franchise fed into my love of learning about various dog and cat breeds, until I moved past virtual pets and on through adolescence and adulthood, where I thought I was done with virtual pets... that was until Neko Atsume was released in English.
Neko Atsume is an app-based game in which you build an environment to attract cats and get to see how they enjoy it. After laying out some food, toys, and accessories, such as scratching posts and bedding, various cats will visit your yard or home, enjoying the "goodies" you've shared with them. You have a "Catbook", much like Facebook for felines, where you can keep photos of the cats who come to visit you while getting to know their personalities and preferences. Here are a few of the cats that visited me today:
— Life with Arie (@lifewitharie) November 6, 2015
The game's directions are simple and easy to follow, and you can play at your own pace, though there are some tips around the web on how to make the most of Neko Atsume, from attracting some of the rarer cats to just when to refill your tasty bits bowl. The game is approachable for most ages, as children can grasp it's easy directions and layout, and adults can find a nice reprieve from a long day caring for a few kittens with yarn balls and sashimi.
For me, Neko Atsume has become a great zen moment starter, as after a long meeting or stressful call, I might check in on the game just to see which cats have visited my turf. If I can't be home with Arie, Fulton, and my actual cats, I can at least take five minutes to look at adorable illustrations and reset before continuing on with my day.
Apparently, I'm not the only one who's loving this game. Countless of others, adults and younger, have shared their cat finds on Twitter, and Google even saw fit to recreate the game IRL for 11 hours:
What kind of "virtual" pets have you had over the years? Have you tried playing Neko Atsume, or do you think you want to give it a try?
Tamagochi image via Wikimedia.
Like any good pet parent (because we all know that we all have this), I have a container filled with dog costume elements for every season in my attic. This year we downsized, so I told myself "No new costumes for Halloween."
..I told myself "no new dog costumes for Halloween" while walking through the local pet boutique. I told myself "no new dog costumes for Halloween" as I browsed through spiders, cowboys, sharks, and scuba costumes. I told myself "no new dog cost--" as my eyes fell upon a specific set of costumes, and my inner mantra of Halloween self-control disappeared into an ether of candy-corn flavored excitement. The no-new-costume chant was soon replaced with "This is amazing...This is amazing..." as I grabbed my purchases, headed for the register, and then hurried home to try out the new outfits on the pups which leads me to Halloween:
Arie and Fulton got a little festive today with a throwback to a 90s favorite for many.
The truth is, since we've added Fulton to the family, there have been many, fantastic Harry and Lloyd like moments and when you have two goofy dogs and you see Dumb and Dumber tuxedo dog costumes, your only reaction can be this:
Don't worry; dog actors were paid handsomely with roasted turkey, their highest value treat, for sitting still for photos and wearing their costumes. They had food, they had jobs, and none of our pets' heads were falling off, promise.
Happy Halloween, everyone! We hope that your pups looked as fabulously derpy as ours and that you had a great evening! What did you dress your pups up as?
Before I started working in the digital space, and long before I ever had Arie, I was a pretty regular nanny and a preschool teacher. That time in career gave me my love for... Well, admittedly, I already had a love of them and this was just a great excuse... "kid" movies. Basically, my animated movie collection rivals that of most families of four and I tend to watch them more regularly than most adults; I even have a playlist on Spotify devoted to their soundtracks. Don't judge me.
One of my FAVORITE series is Wallace and Gromit. If you're not familiar with the series, check them out. Wallace and Gromit are a lovable duo of inventor and dog companion that are amazingly British, love cheese more than I do (quite a feat), and get into a wide variety of hijinks throughout the stop motion comedy of four shorts and a full length film.
One of the characters that you meet in the process of watching the shorts and the film is a little (and adorable) sheep named Shaun. Well, Shaun garnered a lot of love from the public, so much so that he now is getting his own movie, due out this summer!
The film is an Aardman Animations feature, the studio behind WALLACE & GROMIT and CHICKEN RUN, and tells the tale of Shaun, an adventurous sheep who takes the day off to explore the big city only to find out that life away from the farm isn’t all what it’s cracked up to be. I could tell you more about it, or you could let adorable stop-motion creatures do that:
Now, lovers of kids movies, from those who have kids to those who don't, all know that the struggle is real when it comes to getting tickets when a new movie from a beloved series comes out. It's like trying to pry T-swift tickets from a 15-year-old girl. It. Isn't. Happening. Luckily, because you're awesome, you know this blog is awesome, and you're here, you have a chance to get tickets to a special preview August 4, the day before everyone else can.
Image and video courtesy of and copyright Lionsgate films.
For those of you who read LWA regularly, you know that in January, we were hit pretty hard. We said goodbye to our beloved Basset, Gertrude. It's been a hard few months as we've gone through the grieving and healing process. Like many pet parents, the conversation came up of when, or if, to get a new dog. We decided that if we would get another dog, we would get another hound, and started looking at various adoptables, waiting for one to touch our hearts. Eventually, we found Fulton, with a little help from Gertrude.
When Zack adopted Gertrude, he didn't originally plan to get her. He wanted to adopt a Basset Hound, as his parents had a Basset who struggled with aggression when he was a baby and they had to rehome; he wanted the story to come full circle, giving another hound in need a loving home. Zack found Florence. Florence was gorgeous, photo-perfect, an adorable Basset waiting just for him...or not. When he called about Florence, she had just been adopted. Instead, the rescue mentioned they had just brought in another young Basset, Gertrude, that he was welcome to meet. They sent him photos of the dog, and Gertrude was anything but photo-shoot perfect...she looked rather...busted. Gertrude had had an abusive past and was in rough shape. Out of guilt more than intrigue, Zack agreed to meet Gertie. When he met her in person, his heart stopped--He knew he'd found his heart dog.
In the original search for a hound, we ideally wanted a blue tick, male, between the ages of 1 and 3. We thought a puppy might be too much for Arie, and we fell in love with the blue tick coat. We also needed a cat-friendly hound, which, let me tell you, isn't exactly a common find. We found a stunning blue tick boy who met every need we had in NC and we instantly fell in love...until his rescue told us they deny out of state adoptions. Hearts broken, we began searching again. I found an English Coonhound by the name of Chauncey during my search. He looked okay in his photos, but didn't grab my heart the way the other dog did. Chauncey was with a rescue in SC near my home town, and as we were driving up for Easter in just a week or two at the time, we decided to call about him and see if we could meet him. Little did we know that an almost identical rescue situation to what Zack had had with Gertrude was about to play out--One look at Chauncey, and we knew he was ours.
In most rescue situations, I'm very big on the idea of giving a dog a new name to go with their new lease on life in a new home. The rescue who had taken Chauncey in had given him a proper, English name to go with his breed, and also to deter those who may be looking for a derpy hound dog to tie outside in their yard. Chauncey's foster mom had a special place in her heart for this boy, whom she affectionately called her "house hound," and wanted to be sure he found his right people, who would love him and treat him as a member of the family--Not a hunting accessory.
Once in the family, we knew we wanted to give Chauncey a new name for his new home. We batted around plenty of names; Benton was a top contender, along with Emmett, Merle, Hank...the list went on and on. Zack came up with the eventual winner--Fulton. We're moving to our first owned home this month in a historical district of Atlanta. Fulton relates to the county and to many of the buildings and historical notes of the area. This year is all about new beginnings in a historical area, and we wanted Fulton's name to reflect that.
Fulton is getting used to his new life with us, and to living with Arie and having cats (!!!!) that are friends. Here's a little bit about our new boy and how he's adjusting to home life so you can get to know him better:
Full Name: Fulton Weller Moore-Smith the first - Named for history around my new house, a beloved well whiskey, and mom and dad's soon-to-be married name.
Age: My original owners said I was just a year old, but the rescue told mom and dad that I'm more likely 2 or 3. Either way, I'm a young boy!
Weight: Mom and dad told me that I would be a good size for my sister as a playmate... I'm right at 80 lbs, so mom says I should lose a few, but I say I just have more to love...can I have some treats, now?
Hobbies: SNIFFING ALL THE THINGS (I'm a hound after all), learning that cats are friends, not food, and
fun to chase fun to respect and love from a distance.
Favorite things: Zuke's treats. Mom say's they're amazing for training me, but I just think she likes to give me tasty things when I do good things, like sit and go to my bed. If you need some, click to the right to go to Amazon--You can get them there.
Bad habits: Mom says I have very poor 'impulse control'.. No idea what that's about. I'm always in con-- SQUIRREL!
I started to write this post in August, 2011 about a few losses we had had through the pet blogging community. I stopped writing it, because I felt like I couldn't adequately discuss a matter I hadn't experienced on the personal level that the blogger's who lost their pets had, and that it might be insulting for me to post about it. Now, unfortunately, I can finish this post. I need to finish it.
I usually try to keep things G-Rated on the blog, because honestly, what's more family friendly than a website full of animals? Today, however, is not that day. Course language ahead. You have been warned.
The rainbow bridge has been a selfish bitch.
If you're sitting there wondering "What in the hell is a rainbow bridge? What substances has Katherine been abusing?" I assure you that the only thing coursing through my veins is caffeine, and I can to expose to you the term. I didn't hear "rainbow bridge" until I started pet blogging. Each culture has their own way of discussing death and the mourning of a death; this includes the sub-culture of pet bloggers on the web. When a pet dies, they cross the rainbow bridge. It's supposed to be a comforting thought to pet parents in their time of grief.
Well, fuck the rainbow bridge. Fuck it.
I moved in with my fiancé, Zack, about two years ago. In addition to moving in together, we also brought out families together. Zack embraced my cats and Arie whole-heartedly, and I welcomed Gertrude, his elderly Basset Hound.
Gert lived a hard life before meeting Zack. She had been abused. She had been a mother (and HATED her puppy when they were fostered together). She had a back leg that wouldn't bend, a sweet but also grouchy disposition and she smelled like a three day old corpse (NOT an exaggeration).
When Zack inquired about adopting her from the Basset Hound rescue, the foster family said that they had bonded with her and couldn't give her up. Two days later, foster dad called and asked Z to come get her. He gratefully obliged. They have been nearly inseparable since, going on now for a decade.
Gertrude was a hilarious dog. Refusing to learn most of the most basic commands (but somewhat mastering 'sit' for noms), Gertrude was her own lady, and the boss of herself. Her biggest desires in life were a warm, soft cushy bed, love from her human, a yard to bury things in, and pizza crust. There are so many good stories from this dog, from expensive Italian sausages disappearing only to be rediscovered months later when she dug them up to stollen challah bread hanging out of an unapologetic Basset face as she stared our the porch window looking at her dad.
Moving in together was tough. Gertrude would be jealous of Zack a bit, and there were plenty of squabbles between her and Arie. She would chase the cats. We spent a lot of time cleaning up after both dogs, as Gertrude would have accidents from age, and Arie from her spay incontinence. It was sometimes stressful, often gross, and a consistently busy life with our family of six. It was also amazing. We slowly got to know each other better, and the family became more and more of a family. With the good and the bad, we balanced things, and Gertrude became a huge part of my heart while she learned to tolerate my presence.
On Tuesday of this past week, Gertrude started having issues using her hind legs. We were extremely worried, but started to think it was just arthritis, as she perked up when given her pain medication. Over the next few days, she seemed to be doing better, which gave us hope that it had just been a bad day from the weather or just a random pang of worse arthritis than usual. On Saturday, however, Gertrude refused to take her pill in the morning, though wrapped in a tantalizing piece of chicken. She wouldn't move. She seemed despondent. We knew something was really, really wrong, so we scooped her up and headed to the vet.
Within around 20 minutes, they noticed something was off in her vitals. Within another 20, they found that she was anemic. Within another 30, x-rays confirmed she had a tumor in her abdomen. We knew what choice we had to make. Within another 30 minutes, we were saying goodbye.
What we thought was a visit to treat bad hips turned out to be the visit where we had to say goodbye. This is the first time I've been in a room while a pet was euthanized, and let me tell you: Fuck. That. Rainbow. Bridge. It's not shiny. It's not sparkly. It's shitty. I had to watch my dog take her last labored breaths when she couldn't even recognize me or Zack, the man that had loved her for over a decade, because she was so weak from disease. Since then, we've had to handle calls about what to do with her remains, what we wanted from the cremation, and what memorial items we wanted to choose, along with letting work know why I won't be coming in (because I just look like I went 3 rounds with Tyson with the swelling from crying so much, and we still are crying) and all the other arrangements. There's so much to take in emotionally, monetarily, physically, mentally. It's exhausting and emotional and overwhelming. They don't warn you about this part of losing a pet. The business part. No one does.
Being back home is both comforting and eerie. Arie knows something is different, but doesn't seem to realize what it is yet. She and the cats to do realize that mom and dad are hurting like crazy now, though, and are all about the comfort cuddles and checking on us, which helps. Still, it's shocking to not hear little basset claws on the hardwoods. To not smell that death stench right around the corner of the sofa. To not hear a scratch at the door, asking to go in and come out five hundred times in a row without peeing once. We will heal, but healing takes time, and patience, and love.
Gertrude, I don't ever think you'll know how much you meant to me, and I don't think I knew until you weren't here anymore. Thank you, for being such a huge part of Zack's life. You saved him, probably more than he saved you, and I am forever in your debt. I am so glad you are not in pain anymore, though I really wish you could still be here. Run fast, sweet girl. Eat all the things. Bury all the things. We love you.
Rainbow Bridge image via Wiki commons, Maris Stella.
Today's guest post comes from Sara of Life in These Times, a fantastic blog about being a mother, a DIY-er, a wife, and a pet parent. Sara has been a co-worker of mine at two different Atlanta agencies, and I always love hearing about her daughter, Keelin, and her two Boston Terriers. Now, you get to hear about them too!
I’ve always loved dogs. I’ve always wanted to be a mom. So, the likelihood that the titles of ‘pet owner’ and ‘mother’ would eventually cross paths was inevitable from the beginning.
Now to follow with the ‘normal’ chain of events, I did the expected. Met a guy, dated, got engaged, got married, had a slue of failed pet experiences (ok, maybe that’s not the norm), bought a house, and finally settled down with the title of ‘pet owner’ in 2010 when the hubs and I adopted two very rambunctious Boston Terrier puppies. They pooped, they ate, they slept, they snored, and eventually they learned the rules of the road and fit right in as members of the family. It may not have been the best idea to bring home two at once, and we’ve got photo documentation of their destruction around the house to prove it, but we really do love our little fart machines. Fast forward to the spring of 2011 when we learned we’d be adding another member to our family circus, this one only having two feet, and our concerns suddenly switched from whether or not we remembered to give them their Heartguard to "how are they going to do with a new baby in the house?"
We weren’t worried about them being aggressive, but we knew that the high energy terrier in them may cause some trouble. It wasn’t uncommon for them to get each other riled up playing and run over everything in their path. So, of course, this terrified soon-to-be-new-mom had one too many images of them stampeding right over my fresh-out-of-the-oven bun during tummy time. While we did a little bit of training with them (i.e. buying a baby doll that I would hold to teach them not to rush me or jump up when I was holding it) for the most part we just crossed our fingers that they would have a good relationship from the start. And thankfully, they did.
The day we brought our daughter home the dogs were kind of the last things on our minds. Before we got home, we sent my parents back to the house with one of our daughter’s first hats so they could smell her before she arrived. I don’t know if any of our preemptive actions really mattered in the end, but for the most part they didn’t pay her much attention... until she started crying. Once that strange noise started ringing through the house they were on high alert and would follow me around as I tried to quiet my fussy babe. Gradually they became more curious and friendly and now, almost a year and a half later, they are best pals. Our daughter loves to pet, chase, and snuggle with them. And by snuggle I mean diving head-first on top of them. They are good sports about it and usually let her join them on the floor. On the off chance that they’re not in the mood for a snuggle session they’ll calmly get up and walk away, at which point she normally follows them to their new spot and starts the whole sequence over again.
The relationship between animals and children is truly fascinating. As my daughter’s cognitive and motor skills have developed, so has her interaction with the dogs. It’s like they know what she’s capable of as she learns and grows and there is always an underlying sense that they need to protect her. They are alert when she cries, tolerant when she’s in their face, and over all they love being around her. I’m so thankful that they were not only able to watch her grow in my tummy, which they would snuggle up to whenever I would sit or lay down on the floor, but are now able to watch her, and our future children, grow. So, now that I’ve tackled the ‘pet owner’ and ‘mother’ titles… what next? We shall see.
I've recently started a new job, and with it, I get to work from home in my Atlanta home with my cats and dog all day. (Happy dance around the room!)
I did forget one minor detail, however, in the newly homebound arrangement: The programmable thermostat. I realized it was freezing about halfway through my morning research, and then remembered that the thermostat was programmed to get colder while I was usually gone during the day. I altered the settings, then went to grab a blanket to wrap up in until the heat could do it's job.
Upon opening the linen closet, this is what I found:
Thanks to a slightly loose door, Briseis has found a way to sneak into the poshest and warmest snooze spot in the house: Right on top of all of my out-of-season throw pillows (don't judge my inner Martha) and throws. I have to give her credit for the genius, though I can't say I completely pleased with all of the freshly washed linens getting a coating of cat hair before they've even been put out. Oh well--lint rollers, ahoy!
If you're one of my human friends, chances are you know that I've recently taken up running. This is something I've been wanting to do for a while, but needed a few pushes in the right direction to get started. Luckily for me, those little nudges have already happened, and, from my new running adventures, I've been lucky enough to meet Piper, the Atlanta Beltline cat.
Single Volunteers Atlanta is gearing up for two 5K's, the Hunger Walk/Run on March 10 and the Color Run on April 6 (join us!). I need to train up for such events, so I finally decided to check out the Atlanta Beltline. The Beltline is a new trail around the city of Atlanta that follows the railroad tracks. It's a gorgeous trail, a brand new initiative, and an amazing place for cyclists, walkers, runners, families, skaters (there's a small skate park there), and more. Every time I've gone, I've seen at least 10 dogs while on my 3.1 mile runs (5K training!) with friends.
One day, upon entering at the 10th and Monroe entrance and about halfway through my course, I found Piper, the Atlanta Beltline kitty. At first, I thought she was just a stray, and was going to take her with me. I also thought she had been fighting, as one ear appeared to be injured. Upon closer inspection, I found that the nick in her ear was a spay and release marker, and that she was actually well cared for, complete with provided food and even a mailbox:
Piper has warm blankets in the two large pipes that she uses as beds, plenty of food and water, and many adoring fans that stop by to say hello. While she doesn't enjoy being picked up, she does enjoy when a calm, patient person hangs out long enough for her to let them pet her.
I would love to give Piper a forever home, but as we already have quite a busy house, and she isn't a fan of being picked up, I doubt I could bring her to casa de Arie. However, as the general life of stray cats isn't usually that great, Piper seems to be doing fairly well for herself and has become a Beltline staple. Many people take notice of this darling black cat (so much like the cats from Life with Arie!), so much so that she's appeared on Tumblr, Incurably Stir Crazy, and even CNN.
Want to learn more about Piper? I'll be sure to mention her in future posts. You can also check her out on Twitter!
Are there any neighborhood-adopted strays in your area?