Archive for July, 2009

Two’s company…Three’s a crowd

Cole-1Last January, we moved into a friend’s house while she took a leave of absence for a year to live in Costa Rica. We promised to take care of her home, her yard, her tenants, her mail…and her 14-year-old cat, Coleman.

We (my fiancé and his two young boys) are cat lovers – having adopted two kittens (Pablo and Pearl Playful Robertson) – two years earlier. We were excited at the prospect of including Coleman into our family.

Cole-4I should have realized things were not going to go as smoothly as I had envisioned when, while moving in, I was certain that Coleman was giving me evil looks; slanting his yellow eyes and looking ready to attack any time I got too close to him. He’s a very vocal black cat and would “meow” with discontent each time a new box was unpacked. I’m not going to lie to you – I was a little scared of the old guy. He seemed angry and unpredictable. We decided, however, with a little patience (and a lot of love and attention) Coleman would warm up to us.

We also did some research on introducing cats to each other. Unfortunately, it didn’t sound as easy as introducing friends at a cocktail party.

Cole-2Keeping Pablo and Pearl Playful sequestered in a room, while adjusting to their new environment, was the first step. This was supposed to allow time to adjust to Coleman’s scent and their new surroundings.

The second thing was to have the cats meet face-to-face, keeping one of the cats in a cage to avoid a physical confrontation. The first meeting was shocking for me because I had never heard my cute, sweet, adorable, cuddly Pablo hiss!

Cole-5The ‘process of introduction’ is supposed to take about a month – until you feel like the cats will get along happily ever after – cage or no cage. We didn’t have the luxury of time. A week after moving in, we left for a planned vacation to Mexico. We let all the cats loose in the house, and although they continued to hiss at each other if they happened to cross paths, they weren’t biting or scratching.

I was a little apprehensive about the situation but after a couple of margaritas in Mexico, the whole thing seemed amusing. That was until we returned home a week later to find the entire place had been sprayed by “Cole-Monster”. I guess that was his way of letting us know that he does not like us or our cats.

“Cole-Monster” then ran away for a week. Maybe he needed a holiday too. Since then, he has been an outdoor cat. He visits daily for food and attention but he’s mostly a grumpy guy who didn’t appreciate his house being taken over. I do sympathize with him.

Cole-3We tried, maybe a little too quickly, to include him (or have him include us). I’m positive that when we move out, he’ll move right back in and take back what was his.

We are moving again soon and I can’t stop thinking about how great it would be to have another kitten…

Helpful tip: I found the best thing to use for cat spray is pure apple cider vinegar. The scent of vinegar will linger for awhile, but it’s the only product that completely erases the cat spray.

– Sandra Hahlen

July 22, 2009 at 4:52 pm Leave a comment

Will Purr For Food

My cat is more of a ‘meower’ when he wants to eat…Or, maybe he tried the ‘purring’ approach for awhile and we never listened.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/video/will-purr-for-food/article1218913/

July 15, 2009 at 4:11 pm Leave a comment

Puppies Puppies Puppies!

For the last few weeks, we’ve had some extra staff at Contech–two new additions to make us smile, laugh, and keep our cortisol levels down. Maralyn, our resident Golden Retriever breeder (who also keeps our books straight) has been bringing her puppies, Violet and Christopher Robin, to work. We love having them here each day, and have enjoyed watching them grow up! We thought you might like to watch them grow up too.

Click a photo to view a Smilebox presentation:

At 10 days.

At 10 days.

At 2 weeks.

At 2 weeks.

At 3 1/2 weeks.

At 3 1/2 weeks.

At 4 weeks.

At 4 weeks.

At 5 weeks.

At 5 weeks.

At 7 weeks.

At 7 weeks.

At 8 weeks and going home!

At 8 weeks and going home!

July 9, 2009 at 9:12 pm 1 comment

The Story of Everet – Part I

2It began with an advertisement on the Telus employee site, looking for a nice home for a beautiful dog. The advertisement continued to read “he was found on the side of a road and may have been hit by a vehicle. If a home isn’t found, the SPCA will have to put him down”.

Devastated, I received an urgent phone call at work and an e-mail with a picture of this very big but beautiful dog. “Francesca, we have to go see him…” the phone call was a typical back and forth about how much responsibility it is to own a dog, costs associated with owning a dog, and owning a vehicle big enough for a Great Pyrenees. At the time, we were proudly equipped with a 1999 Ford Festiva.

Reluctantly I agreed because I always dreamed of owning my own white, fluffy (polar bear) dog and just seeing couldn’t hurt–especially when we were definitely going to sleep on it before making any crazy decisions.

We arrived at the home of the family—100 km away–who found Everet. They had picked him up from the SPCA because they were afraid that he was going to be put down. I remember the first time I laid eyes on him; he was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. He welcomed us by wagging his bushy tail and body, sniffing, and trying to get petted. Although he was in very bad shape (not taken care of, previously abused, underweight for his type of dog) he still welcomed us with a big, happy smile.

3I fell in love, despite being a bit scared because he was a very big dog and they said that he was still a puppy! One look at him and you knew he was smart—particularly if he wanted something.

During our visit, he ran around, played with us, and he was already acting like our dog. About half an hour later, we were trying to squeeze “Gary” into our Festiva, with the promise that we’re only going to try him out for the night. It was a tight squeeze because we had to fit Everet and our daughter, Tracy, in the back seat. He took up 97% of the back seat and he thought that he was a lap dog. It was quite a journey.

As we drove slowly down Macleod Trail, everyone slowed down to take a look…. Some were laughing, some were just nodding and moving along, while others looked, pointed and laughed. Our dog was almost bigger than our car!

We finally arrived home and Tracy agreed to stay with him while we went to the pet store for food, toys, treats, and a large-breed kennel. It was like having a new baby; we were excited to give him everything for the first time.

We returned home and Tracy reported that he had slept the entire time we were gone. By nighttime, he was getting antsy because there were some very loud people getting too close to the house. His “great”ness immediately took charge. While Jesse was laying on the floor with him, he stood up in what we later nicknamed his ‘cute pose’–ears up like a soldier, pinned Jesse to the floor with one paw to ensure that he was safe, and started growling and barking in defense of his new home.

1We didn’t have to think about what we were going to do next…We called the people who found him and reported that we wanted to try him out for the entire week. Deep down, we already knew that we were keeping him, but we were trying to pretend that we were making this decision responsibly.

The SPCA and people who found Everet, had assured us that he was kennel trained and that there would be no issues if we had to keep him in a kennel (while we were at work) until he was used to the house.

The next day we put him into the kennel with food, water, toys, and everything he needed. We had bought the best large-breed indoor kennel the pet store had. They assured us that this kennel was designed for dogs like Everet.

We arrived home that afternoon to find our dog waiting for us at the front door. This time, his entire body wagging and smiling!

I don’t remember the order of my thoughts, but I quickly moved my eyes across the living room to see if the house was destroyed. Jesse and I thought perhaps someone came into the house and let him out…but whom?

We quickly ran downstairs to discover that Everet had chewed himself out of the kennel. Yes, he actually chewed about five of the bars off, making a hole big enough to squeeze himself through. His mouth was bleeding a bit and he still had a piece of the metal in his mouth. This was the first time we discovered what a tough dog he was.

We gathered the pieces up, packed the kennel into the car and took it back to the store; they gave us our money back without an explanation.

We were confident that Everet was a great dog and decided to pick a fitting name—“Everet” (after Mount Everest) was an obvious choice.

4Our landlord, however, was not convinced a big dog was a “great” idea. We invited him to come over and take a look at the dog before turning us down. He took one look at Everet and said “no, he has to go”. We begged and pleaded, so he said that we will have to pay extra rent–$100/month– if we wanted to keep him. No deal.

And that was where the Part II of our adventure began…finding a home that would fit Everet.

-Francesca Murray

July 8, 2009 at 4:09 pm Leave a comment


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