Saturday, December 20, 2008

Ok so after posting I decided the smartest idea was to take our new feline friend to the vet and get him checked out ASAP, in case his leg was indicative of something worse to come. I figured they would have to amputate and that we'd basically just establish this at that appointment. However, the vet told us that what most likely is wrong with his leg is that it got nerve damage, maybe from running from another animal or getting stuck somewhere and having to pull on his leg. He said our kitty could still feel in a couple toes, and so hopefully in the next few weeks, the nerves will heal themselves. That would mean no amputation and our cat would have 4 fully-functioning legs! However, there is a chance that he won't regain the use, and then it would have to be taken off. But for now, no amputation needed! While there, we did get him tested for all sorts of Feline diseases like FIV and Feline Lukemia and AIDs, all of which turned up negative for our sweetie! And we got him de-wormed and treated for a sinus infection, so hopefully within the next 2 weeks we will also get him through his first series of vaccinations. I was surprised to learn he is probably 3-4 months old by now!! Because he's been out on his own, he probably hasn't got the nourishment that he needed so we need to fatten him up! :)

Anyways, with this new kitty in our lives, I am reminded of all the pets we had as children, and I realized that pretty much every one of them were strays: Kato, the crazy cat who followed my oldest sister to and from school in SLC; Maddie, our stray golden retriever my mom found at a Christmas tree lot; Kitten Man, who was maybe not a stray, but we picked him up from the DC Animal Shelter; Bad Thing, beautiful fat tabby who wandered in our yard in VA for a couple days until we adopted her into our home; Lapin, the world's largest grumpy rabbit who was in our yard in PA (and probably wild but somehow we got him into a cage); and Garey, a feral who was abandoned by his mother at just a couple weeks old.

And now, with times being difficult, there are more strays than ever, and the shelters are filled to the brim with animals being brought in. People are even leaving animals at the dump! If I could offer any advice to anyone looking to buy a pet, I would say adopt! There are so so so many great pets available, either through a shelter adoption site like, or through local classifieds. You can get pretty much any kind of cat or dog, large or small, siamese or long hair, etc. through these services- After all, 25% of animals in shelters are purebred! Most of them come with routinized vaccines and spay/neutring, some even come micro-chipped so if you lose your pal, he/she can be returned to you. So it's actually far cheaper to adopt, and you're giving a beautiful animal a life it may not have had if you didn't stop by. Just with all the animals waiting to be adopted, there's no reason to buy from a pet store, who often use mills to churn out the animals in filthy, dangerous environments, often resulting in health complications down the road. The more and more animals that are produced, the more and more strays we have. Thus, neutering/spaying is important, and it's also important to save the animals we already have instead of producing more and more. 

And if you find a stray, do anything you can to NOT take it to a shelter, because as I mentioned, there's really never room for them, especially now, and a perfectly good animal will be put down because of it. Our kitty is a good example of this, because they'd probably see the leg and think "no one wants this cat" and it would be on the top of the list for euthanasia. However, he is still so vital, loving and perfectly fine, given some time to heal. He is such a darling, how could he be put down? So if you can, find a responsible friend to take it, keep it yourself or even an animal sanctuary, though not ideal is better than a shelter.

And may I also mention don't declaw your cat? Declawing is like cutting off the tips of your fingers. It's intrusive, it's de-feline-ating (like demasculating but for cats) and this whole conquering of a species with us thinking we are superior and can just take its limbs to convenience us is gross. And what if it goes outside accidentally and can't defend itself? Eww, just read the article.

Ok enough of my animal rights rant, but I don't see anything unreasonable with treating the animals we have with respect. Next time, we will be talking about wild animals and farm animals! :) 

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Meow Meow!

Well, the semester is finally over! It seems like it just flew by! 

Anyways, so last night, we found a cute orange kitten in our garage- he just showed up somehow, we have no idea where it came from! We called all the neighbors and no one is aware of it, so we assume it's been dumped off by someone, as evidenced by a couple naps in his fur and his dead leg! It is like broken or something, just snapped in half, except that there's no evidence of an actual break, as in there's no bone sticking out, and he doesn't act like it's painful- in fact, he uses it as a crutch as he walks! It's starting to worry me though, because at first I thought he'd adapted fine to it, but now we think eventually it will wear through to the bone or start to decay or SOMETHING gross. I must admit I'm not very educated about these things, but we are taking it to the vet soon (we are leaving for holiday in like 2 days!) but in the meantime I'm kinda concerned.

It is the sweetest kitten though! It climbs up on us and licks our faces, and plays with my pony tail, and is fun to pack around b/c it's so light and agreeable! I love it already! We're trying to think of a good name, maybe like Gimpy? :)

See the leg, it's hard to get a photo of it in action, but it's totally dead.



Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Home Sickness?

Towards the Confluence, Yukon & Klondike Rivers, Dawson City

Overlooking Dawson

Not really, as I don't have a home, but what else to call it?

As most of you know, I have spent the past two summers living in Alaska -and part of last summer in the Yukon, but really there's little difference between the two (other than they are in different countries, lol) - both are vast, chilly and ill-populated (with humans at least). Even though I think I've enjoyed those summers, my memories of both of them seem overcast with a lot of stress - the first summer, I had packed up and moved 4,000 miles from one of the largest cities in the world (NYC), to the secluded town of Skagway with a population of 850- give or take. The second summer, I dealt with the new responsibility of not only driving a 45-foot-long motor coach, but also composing a convincing  and entertaining tour for the folks on board. Let's face it, driving and talking at the same time is not really a challenge for me, but learning all the new information and balancing the conflicts that sometimes arose along the way were tricky and certainly a bit stressful. 

At the end of both summers, I wasn't sad to say good bye to Skagway, or the Yukon. I confess, I'm a city girl at heart, and I love having all the stores and conveniences of populated life at my beck and call. I'm your typical, everyday instant gratification lover- I hate waiting for packages via snail mail- and yes, I'm probably a 7 or 8(1/2) on the materialist scale. The same old food also gets old, as do the lumpy beds- they're not quite like home. 

British Columbia, between Skagway, AK and Carcross, YT.

Well, the past couple of nights, I've dreamt of being in Alaska again. The first night, I dreamt of being on a barge, heading to Anchorage - don't know if it's possible, but so I was - and the scenery, though it was the dead of the dark winter- was gorgeous, absolutely breathtaking. Then, last night, I had a dream that Trent and I were starting the season early- once again in the middle of winter- and we were taking Vladimir Putin's family on a land tour. Yea, weird, why would we do that, when he could just swim over to Alaska himself (according to Palin at least). And the craziest thing about that dream, is even though I know nothing about Putin or what he looks like, he really does look like what I dreamt! I looked it up on wikipedia. Creepy!

It's not really weird for me to dream of being there, as I've had these dreams periodically since we left in September, but it is funny how my dreams portray the winter weather and all. 

Anyways, although I'm quite relieved that I don't have to start touring right now in the icy winter, I am starting to yearn for the place - something that occurred about the same time last year- there's just something fascinating about Alaska being all quiet and dark and cold. I've never been there in the winter (although you'd think it was winter sometimes in July!), yet I really desire it. I just picture our hole-in-the-wall rooms in the Westie and think of them being abandoned, the wind howling outside. I really just want to spend a winter there, doing absolutely nothing but watching television and looking for the Northern Lights - and maybe a little booze to get me through it- oh wait, it will never work out for me, will it? :)

I'm excited about going back this summer, and I feel like I appreciate Dawson City a little bit more. Even though it's really in the middle of nowhere, and they don't sell blue cheese anywhere in town (that's what happens to you when you start getting nostalgic), it's such a beautiful, peaceful place. The distance from the law and from the crowds is actually therapeutic in many ways.