Saturday, December 18, 2010

Oh, the humiliation!

From last year - Chaz had been sleeping peacefully in my InBox when I surprised him and slipped the Santa hat on him.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Bah! Humbug!

Last year, Mom and Dad [ok, just Mom - Dad went along with it] thought it would be oh so cute if they dressed us up as Santas for our Christmas picture.
Then she posted them on the blog. Oh, the humiliation!
But because we are good sports and we know it makes Mom laugh and we want to do that for her this year, here we are again. But, Mom, we are NOT showing this again next year.
Love, Riley and Chaz

And because Mom thinks this is so funny, here are some outtakes from that photo shoot. We miss you, Dad.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Riley and his veggies

I have written before about how Riley likes to open plastic containers, especially since he found out they usually contain his favorite cookies.
Well, last week I bought some small tomatoes called cherubs. They are about the size of very large grapes and they taste wonderful, like just-picked tomatoes.
The package said not to refrigerate them so I had the box of tomatoes on the kitchen countertop.
Unfortunately, the container is a smaller version of the type that housed those cookies that Riley loves. Yesterday morning I came into the kitchen to find the container popped open and on the floor as well as all the remaining tomatoes.
I guess he decided to taste some because several had teeth marks in them.
Then, I guess he figured that since he didn't like them, they did roll pretty well and made good toys. I found a few in odd places. Today I found the last one [I hope] in the dining room.
Gotta love him.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Past happy Christmases

This Holiday season is going to be very hard, I know. The kids and I are missing John/Daddy very much. There is no way to get around that. I don't even want to put up decorations because my heart isn't in it and I just can't bear to see his stocking. I remember when I bought that stocking, over 30 years ago. That year we had John's, mine, and stockings for Meow-Meow, Squeaker, and JJ - the furchildren we had back then. Now, everyone is gone except me. I remember, too, thinking last year how bedraggled John's and my stockings looked compared to everyone else's but how precious they were to us because we had had them so many years. There was no way I was going to buy us new ones. Those stockings meant a lot to us.
So, this year, I will remember Christmases past and how happy they - and we [fur kids included] - were. I know I am lucky to have those memories.
John - Christmas 1978 - with all our Christmas stockings
John - Christmas 1978 - with his Christmas present

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I am thankful for my babies

On this day before Thanksgiving, when we start thinking about what we are thankful for, I am so grateful for my fur-family. Their love for each other and their love for me has helped me through some of my darkest hours these last few months. They are truly God's angels, wrapped in fur.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Friskie update

Well, Friskie girl isn't working out. She continues to be afraid and the boys are getting worse about teasing her. She was so scared sometimes she was afraid to go past them to use the litterbox. Now I am back to playing musical rooms all day keeping everyone separated. It's no life for us or her.
So, a dear friend has volunteered to foster her for me. This Saturday Friskie will go to live with my friend. She will be an only cat, an only animal in the house. She will finally have a home where she can be in charge again and feel free and safe. And I will still be able to see her and visit her and know that she is in good hands.
It's best all the way around. This way I won't feel like I am abandoning her and giving her away. I know she will have a good home and my home can finally start to relax a little. I tried but it was just too much change for everyone.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

New toy

I had purchased this tunnel a while ago when our other cats were younger. Then when they tired of it, I put it away.
I decided to drag it out last week and see if the boys would be interested. Chaz loves it and often takes a nap in it.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Riley trying to open the cookie box

I tried to see if I could get Riley to duplicate his cookie box escapade. He tried and seemed to know what he wanted to do but wasn't successful. In the end I opened it for him but you can see how hard it was. I can't imagine how much effort he must have put into that the other night. He is one determined kitty.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Riley the Cookie Monster

I have developed a cookie habit - not just any cookies. My local Safeway bakery makes cranberry oatmeal cookies that are to die for.
A few weeks ago, I was eating one and Riley came over to sniff. On an impulse I gave him a little crumb to eat. He wanted more. I gave him another. He ate it. Before I knew it he was trying to steal the cookie out of my hand. He was hooked.
Now every time I eat the darn cookies he's right there next to me, begging and annoying me until I share.
Then last night:
The cookies come in a molded plastic container that clicks together at the corners. I keep the container on the kitchen countertop.
Last night, I was in the bedroom watching TV and heard a funny noise. Nothing I had heard before. So I followed the noise. It was coming from the kitchen.
I turned on the light and there was Riley on the countertop. Somehow, he had chewed the plastic cookie container until it had popped open and he was preparing to chow down on the prized cranberry oatmeal cookies as I walked in.
Now I have to store them in the microwave for safe keeping. So far he hasn't found out a way to open that.

you can see where he was chewing

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Charlotte's Blessing at Angel's Rest

Best Friends Animal Society had their monthly blessing for all the animals who have gone over the Rainbow Bridge. Charlotte was part of the blessing held on September 30, 2010. This is a recording of that ceremony. Her memorial card is one of the many that were submitted that will become a permanent part of the new fountain being built.
Rest in peace, little one. Mommy misses you. Keep Daddy company. Give him your special little pats and know that I will be with both of you again.

Friday, September 24, 2010


I have been reluctant to post this picture and introduce this new member of the Collins family but I think the time has come. This is Friskie, my mother-in-law's cat, and she came to live with us last month when my mother-in-law could no longer care for herself and was admitted to an assisted living group home.
It has been a rough transition. Our household has been through a lot of changes in the last four months. Adding Friskie to the mix has not been easy, for her or us. At one point, I wasn't even sure I was going to keep her. She is scared and not socializing well. But giving her away is just not an option. She needs us. Gradually, she is starting to relax and explore her new home and I think in time she will fit in and become a full member of the family.
So, welcome, little girl.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Update on Toby

Well, Toby's pathology report did not come back with a good result. Her tumor was a grade 2 mast cell tumor.
It appears all the tumor was removed so now we are treating her to boost her immune system and prevent any reoccurrence.
Our vet has placed her on some Chinese herbs and she is tolerating them well. I also plan on getting her some homeopathic medication to help with anxiety as some cancers are believed to be caused by stress. Toby also has a lick granuloma on her front leg which is definitely caused by stress.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Toby update

Toby is home and doing well. She is panting quite a bit but I'm hoping she'll settle down soon.

Toby had surgery today

Toby had another lump removed from her back this morning. It was small and we're hoping even if it's another sarcoma, we got it in time.
I am waiting for a call from the hospital telling me I can go pick her up.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Missing sweet Charlotte

It has been just a little over a month now since Charlotte passed over the Rainbow Bridge and I still miss my little girl. I find myself looking for her at different times during the day and then I catch myself because I remember she is no longer here.
Morning breakfast ritual is a time that will always remind me of her. Her last few months were consumed with giving her medication and trying to perk up her appetite and get her to eat. She had special bowls and plates and they are still in the cupboard and on the counter top.
She also had a fascination for anything electrical. She loved to chew on the antenna for the mobile phone or sit on the remote control for the TV. Whenever John or I couldn't find the remote, the first place we looked was under Charlotte. Nine times out of ten, that's where it was. Just last night I reached for the remote and half expected Charlotte to be there.
Baby Charlotte - 8 weeks old
Charlotte perched on John's shoulder while he worked - 3 months old
I know she and John are together now and she can snuggle with her Daddy.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad!

Dad & Mom were married 29 years ago today.
Even though Dad is in heaven now, we know he's smiling and remembering what a wonderful day that was.
We love you both,
The Kids

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


1995 - 2010
Our sweet precious little girl passed over The Rainbow Bridge this afternoon.
Charlotte was a tiny little kitten weighing barely more than a pound when I first saw her at the AZ Humane Society. She chose me. I was in the kitten room deciding what kittens to take home and when I turned around, this little fluff ball was trying to crawl into my purse. Of course I took her home.
She immediately wormed her way into everyone's hearts. John called her his little Charlotta and always said he loved her gentle little purrs. I know she is resting in his arms and once again they are snuggling together.
Rest in peace, little one. We love you.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Saturday, June 26, 2010

We love you, Dad!

Toby loved to spend time sitting on the gliders with her Dad. And John loved it, too.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day, Dad!
We know you are still watching over all of us as you always did.
We love you and miss you so much.
Jessie, Toby, Casey, Charlotte, Riley, and Chaz

Friday, May 21, 2010

Happy Birthday, Jessie

Today is our sweet Jessie's 11th birthday. I still remember how little she was when we brought her home when she was only 5 weeks old.
Happy Birthday, Jessie. We love you.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Chaz steals from the printer

Chaz loves to steal the paper from the printer as it comes out. Sometimes, I have to print something more than once because he's so fast he gets to it before I do and carries it off. I caught him in the act yesterday and then I just had to print some out just to watch him do it. He's so cute.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Baby quail

We have a family of baby quail living in the planter box on our deck. The babies are only days old and so small and so cute. You have to look closely. They are less than 2 inches long. There must be about 20 of them in there with their Mom and Dad.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Saturday, April 17, 2010

More info about natural pet medications

If you are serious about using natural and homeopathic treatments for your pet [as well as conventional methods] check out this site: Only Natural Pet Store.
I just ordered Toby's pheromone collar there and even with shipping costs, their prices were the best. I have ordered other items from them before and recommend their service.

Friday, April 16, 2010


Toby is having such a good reaction to her pheromone collar that I thought I would write about it a little more. While I had heard about pheromones a while back it was in the context of sexual attraction and something I really thought was nothing more than a gimmick to sell perfume. I also knew some animals [like bees] used pheromones to communicate with each other but that was pretty much my sum total of knowledge.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, I saw a display for pheromone collars for dogs at a pet resort here in town. The packaging said it was useful for fearful behaviors in dogs - separation anxiety, etc. Apparently, it emits a scent that reminds them of the time they were with their mother and is comforting. It seemed tailor made for Toby. We were forced to place her on Prozac about a year ago because of her high anxiety levels. It wasn't something I wanted to do but nothing else [herbs, homeopathic remedies, etc] seemed to help her. And after she injured herself going through the kitty door a couple of years ago while we were away, I wanted to make sure she didn't feel that upset ever again.
So, I tapered her of the Prozac and placed the collar on her. The transformation was almost immediate. She seemed like her old self, when she was a much younger dog and enjoying life. The irritability that I had noticed creeping up in her while on the Prozac subsided and in its place was a carefree happy dog. She has been playing more with Jessie. She also doesn't seem to mind the triggers that before would send her retreating under my desk. Before, even a raised voice [even if it was raised in exhilaration] would make her nervous and she would look to us for reassurance and show anxiety behaviors. Now, she looks up when she hears a trigger and then just goes back to whatever she was doing. She's eating better and the irritability is gone.
We couldn't be happier with her response.
I wonder if they make these for humans? :>)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Toby's leg appears to be all healed

We have graduated her off the leg brace and there is no sign of limping. We still give her the occasional Petaprin when she overdoes it but overall she is doing very well. We have even gotten her off her Prozac. She is now wearing a pheromone collar and it seems to be working for her. Her anxiety level is way down.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Chaz, the little mighty terror

Chaz has been driving me crazy since 5 AM. Now he's asleep. I should bug him now like he bugged me earlier.
A little while ago I printed out the new Smashwords instruction booklet so I can get our ebooks ready for their Premium catalog [some things have changed now that the iPad is here] and I turned around and he had stolen a page from the printer as it was coming out, had it in his mouth, ran off with it and took it into the bathroom where he proceeded to chew it to pieces.
Good thing he's cute.

Friday, March 26, 2010


Jessie has allergies. She has been licking her paws for as long as I can remember. Nothing seems to work.
Until now.
I recently came across an ad for DermaPaw, a topical treatment for itchy paws and decided to give it a try.
So far, so good. It seems to be helping. She is not cured yet but I am seeing a definite improvement. The cream is put on at night [not every night] and then little socks go on over to keep it in place and discourage licking. She looks so cute in her socks and she doesn't seem to mind them at all. She didn't lick all night and had a good night's sleep. I applied a little during the day the next day. Yesterday, was no medication. Tonight, we will do medication and socks again.

Jessie in her socks

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Riley is two years old today!

Where did the time go?
Seems like just yesterday he was a wee six week old baby.

Now, he's a big boy.
Happy Birthday, Riley, from Mommy and Daddy and your sisters and brother.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Boys

I am so lucky. And so spoiled. I get to work from home every day and be surrounded by my precious babies. Here are the boys hanging out on the top of my desk.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

OrthoPets Ambassador

Everywhere she goes, Toby is a walking testimonial to the wonders of her OrthoPets brace. We have had many people ask us about it and we know for a fact that our vet is now recommending it to those patients who seem like good candidates. We know of one dog already who is benefiting from his new brace. For her part, Toby continues to improve. I no longer hear the slippage in her knee which tells me she is laying down scar tissue and the joint is stabilizing. She has greatly reduced her pain medication use and is putting more weight on the affected leg. She offers no resistance to putting the brace on and seems quite comfortable with it. Our little girl is very happy we went this route instead of surgery and we are, too.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Homeopathy for pets

I love our vet Dr. Tom Leininger, Vet on Wheels. Dr Tom is an amazing gift for our animals. He comes to the house so we avoid the stress of "going to the vet".
And he is a firm believer in alternative methods of treatment. Actually, I think it's best to call it a comprehensive method of treatment. We have the traditional allopathic treatments such as antibiotics and other medications, as well as biopsies and surgery [through associated veterinary offices], but Dr. Tom is unique in that he also offers homeopathic, chiropractic and other modalities that, quite frankly, have worked wonders for our fur-babies.
Right now, I have an assortment of blue bottles [homeopathic drops] on our kitchen counter top that treat several different conditions: Casey's asthma/cough, Chaz's GI distress, and the most recent, Charlotte's poor appetite.
After her visit to the animal ER a couple of weeks ago, Charlotte still wasn't her old self. She was listless and just wouldn't eat. She's already thin and I was afraid she was literally going to waste away. So, I called Dr. Tom and he came to see her that day. An exam showed nothing to be obviously wrong. So, Dr. Tom made up a homeopathic remedy just for her. 10 drops three times a day.
Charlotte is a new cat. She is eating, she's more alert. She's back to our old Charlotte.
Chaz came to us with a GI problem we nicknamed baby gut. Without going into graphic descriptions, let's just say when he used the litter box he could clear a room. It was bad. Stool samples showed no parasites. Antibiotics did nothing for him. So I asked Dr. Tom if Chaz could possibly have a spastic bowel and if he had anything in his magic bag for that. Of course he did.
Chaz is doing great now and actually comes running when he hears me getting his bottle ready.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Charlotte's excellent adventure

or how my Mom lost a lot of sleep.
Charlotte our 15 year old kitty became ill during the night two nights ago. She kept vomiting and nothing I did for her seemed to help.
When it looked like there was some blood coming up as well, I decided it was time to go to the ER.
So at 4 AM, off we went.
Almost $300 later, we were on our way home after some IV fluid and a couple of injections.
She threw up a couple of more times after we got home but soon she settled down and has been getting better ever since. Today she is back to her old self.
I'll probably never know what caused that but I'm grateful that whatever it was has passed.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Toby day #6

Toby's pathology report did not come back as good as we had hoped for. The tumor was a grade 1 soft tissue sarcoma. The good news is the doctor got clean margins so Toby is cancer free. Her chances for a full recovery with no re-occurrence is high and now we are just going to help her get better. Her drain came out yesterday and her incision looks good and is healing well. She seems to be more comfortable today.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Toby day #4

We switched to more stylish T shirts. I think she looks cute. Tomorrow the drains come out. I think she'll feel better after that. She has been trying to take them out herself.