Month: November 2015

African Grey Parrots, great talkers, not so great tree ornaments

I write this on the day after Thanksgiving, when many are using this time to pull out the Christmas ornaments. A fascinating time for dogs, cats, and yes, birds.


I really cannot explain my thought process last year when, after the decorations were up, I decided to let Rosie the African Grey out of her cage. Her first stop? The tree of course, which seemed to be a big surprise to her as she hung perilously awaiting rescue.

Cats also seem to be drawn to trees, and understandably so, since the trees are adorned with shiny bobbles and twinkling lights. Dogs, on the other hand seem to be interested in what can be interpreted as food on the tree, whether it be a candy cane or dog bone ornament.  And at the bottom is a thoughtfully placed bowl of water to wash it all down.

My suggestion is to decorate as if you have a swarm of two-year-old children in your house that can jump and fly.

Of course you want to protect the precious ornaments you have collected over the years. If you have a pet that is going to be attracted to the tree, may I suggest displaying these in a curio or china cabinet? There is no such thing as “high enough” on the tree for the cat that wants to play with the ceramic angel topper that has been in your family for generations.

For pups you can take the swimming pool fence approach, and block off that side of the room or encircle the tree with baby gates. Just know this only has a chanceof keeping the pups out. I say “chance” because you’ve just put up a lot of temptation, and for the motivated pup, a fence will be no challenge.

Like children, pets put things in their mouths and there are many things that are not healthy for your pets to ingest. The list includes, but is not limited to; tinsel, strung popcorn, candy, electrical outlets, and wrappings. Many holiday plants such as lilies, poinsettia and mistletoe, are toxic to pets.

The water under the tree may start out as fresh tap water, but many trees have preservatives, you may have added aspirin to keep the tree fresh, and pesticides can leach into the water. Use a tree stand with a covered dish and watch your pets.

Those who use artificial trees do not have to worry about the water, but do make sure that, like the live trees, your pet doesn’t chew on anything he shouldn’t.

There are gifts under the tree for pets, oh but which one? You dog may have to open each one, just to find his, and hopefully he doesn’t swallow any ribbon while he searches.

The best, and easiest, solution is to place the tree in a room that can be closed off from the pets completely. If this is not possible, consider having a special area of the house for the pets away from the decorations.  If this is not possible, keep an eye on your pets and hang the ornaments high.

It is also a good time to reintroduce them to their crates so they can be out of harm’s way when you are out of the house or have company.


Catnip is a mint; you can eat it, if your cat allows

Originally posted on :

My house was the gathering place for Thanksgiving meals. My family, my sister and her family, my parents, step-parents, and of course, our pets would gather for way too much food, and to create stories for the future.

I would like to preface what I am about to write with the fact that I am a good cook, it isn’t my fault that one year I cooked the bird upside down (which did not change the taste), or that another year a cracked heating coil wasn’t detected until the half-cooked bird was sliced.

…..And, it isn’t all that hard to confuse dried catnip for dried parsley.

This Thanksgiving was particularly special – it was six weeks and four days after I had given birth to my third child – a son who thought sleep was an option. I don’t recall anyone saying, “Hey, we can have it at our house this year.” No, they all showed up, right on schedule.

My first tip that perhaps the dried green leaves in the zip lock baggie wasn’t what I thought it was, should have been the cat’s attentiveness to the food preparation. Never one for jumping on the kitchen counter, Catra finally had to be put in another room. I was worried he would singe his paws on the stove. (It worked that year).

As everyone sat down to eat, they RAVED about the stuffing. It was wonderful they told me, and many were going back for seconds.

My  husband, Mark asked why I had added mint to the recipe this year. He does not like mint.

I said I hadn’t, but I did add dried parsley from our garden.

“We didn’t grow parsley this year,” he said.

Forks froze in mid-air, hovering between open mouths and practically clean plates. The accolades were stunned into silence.

“Sure we did,” I insisted. “The baggie was in with the spices.”

“Show me,” he said.

As I walked to the kitchen to get the bag, and defend my culinary skills, forks were slowly lowered to the plates. Did I mention this was a second helping for most of them?

Mark opened the bag, sniffed, and said ….. “this is catnip.”

Well that was it for the stuffing. Everyone was ready for dessert —wait…who made the pie?



Simple Moist Bread Stuffing Recipe – without catnip






Dogs don’t have thumbs

first published at
But… you do!!

It’s a physiological fact. They have four paws, but not a thumb among them. Why, you might ask, is this important?

Without thumbs dogs are unable to hitchhike, throw a ball, pick up a lucky penny off the ground, or —pick up their poop.

Dogs are anxious to please, if they had thumbs I am certain they could be trained to pick up after themselves. But they don’t, so they can’t.

Our dogs rely on us for many things, food, shelter, veterinary care, love and good citizenship. How many times have you heard, “that dog messed in my yard.” It isn’t his fault, after all that is one of the reasons he is outside — to do his business.

I live beachside and take advantage of being able to walk to the beach as often as possible. On a recent morning walk I had to walk around dog doo doo ON THE SIDEWALK! Really folks? Once, after offering a cleanup bag to someone on the beach, I was informed the tide would wash it out. I had no response, well not a nice one, so I just shook my head and picked it up myself.

People appreciate it when you pick up after your pup, and sadly many are amazed. During one walk with my dog he pooped one time more than the number of bags I had with me. Hmm what to do? I walked the dog home, got into the car and returned to the spot with a bag. It was on someone’s nice front lawn and as I was cleaning up the owner came out looking a bit upset until he realized what I was doing. Then he thanked me. Chalk one up for Pooch P.R.

Inconsiderate and lazy owners are everywhere. We always take Kodi with us when we travel and there are parks and rest areas that encourage dogs, some even provide cleanup bags, and still…..well I don’t have to finish that statement do I?

When we drove to Texas last year I discovered that Florida rest areas had discontinued providing cleanup bags. I guess they decided no one was using them. Thankfully we always carry a roll of bags with us.

Cleaning up is more than aesthetics. It should be done for health reasons for your pet. Parvo, a fatal virus that attacks the lining of the intestines, is spread by feces. Even if you have had your dog vaccinated, I strongly suggest you do not allow him to sniff other dog’s droppings. Oh and it’s disgusting.

Perhaps someone can explain it to me, because I am at a loss for this behavior. The people who are the problem have dogs, dogs they walk, even the same route. Don’t they want a clean area to walk their dog?

Here’s my suggestion the next time you see someone not picking up after their dog: Tamper the rage that will rise up and smile as you stretch out your hand to offer them a bag. Sweetly shame them into it. If that doesn’t work, you can quietly do their job for them and toss it in the trashcan — just to clarify where I want you to toss it — the trashcan.

Enjoy your pups and believe in Karma. These folks are going to step into it one day.

A very serious disease

What Are the General Symptoms of Parvovirus?

The general symptoms of parvovirus are lethargy, severe vomiting, loss of appetite, and bloody diarrhea that can result in life-threatening dehydration.

Flagler Humane Society in Palm Coast, Florida helps organizations in disaster

One of many dogs given shelter by caring organizations like Flagler Humane Society
One of many dogs given shelter by caring organizations like Flagler Humane Society
A van full of food left the Flagler Humane Society for the animals and organizations affected by the South Carolina flooding.
It was late by the time the staff at the Flagler Humane Society in Palm Coast, Florida, got the animals. The animals are all available for adoption.
It was late by the time the staff at the Flagler Humane Society in Palm Coast, Florida, got the animals. The animals are all available for adoption.


King of the tumblefur
King of the tumblefur

IMG_8773 IMG_1490

Above is my team of fur and feather providers.  

Kodi the corgi, Rosie the Gray, and Samantha the cat.

  • This week my news paper column calls these three out on their “sharing” of feathers and fur.