Thursday, July 31, 2008


Coco, a sweet and beautiful pitbull, was brought to the ASPCA by her owners last week after giving birth to a litter of puppies. She had been having seizures during the pregnancy and was immediately placed in the ICU. The puppies were in good health and, since it was too dangerous to leave them with their mother for fear she would have another seizure and crush them, the doctors gave them the "all clear" to go home with the owners. The moment Coco was placed in her ICU cage without her puppies she began to make these awful noises that can only be described as screams. I was happy that my shift was almost over as the screams were making it difficult to think straight.

When I arrived at the ASPCA early Monday morning after being on vacation for a week I was surprised to find Coco still in the ICU and still being very vocal. When Coco's doctor came in later that morning I inquired about her seizures and was happy to learn that she hadn't had any since giving birth. I also learned that the owners "friend" was scheduled to come pick her up later that day. While her screaming and howling continued at a fairly constant rate, it was clear that her noises were a demand for attention. I managed to find some time to take Coco out for a walk and she jumped all over me, happily licking my face. Before I left for the day, I crawled in her cage with her and let her sprawl across my lap while I rubbed her ears and scratched her rump. I kissed her on the head and got up to leave hoping that, for the sake of my coworkers ears, Coco's owner would arrive soon to take her home.

Thursday was my next shift and I was absolutely astounded to walk through the door of ICU only to have Coco come running to greet me. The night shift techs, now familiar enough with Coco, had let her out to roam the ICU while they cleaned her cage. She was still waiting patiently for her owners or her owners' "friend" to come rescue her and take her back to her puppies. But the plain truth was that they were not coming back to get her. They wanted the puppies and had no use for an adult female dog who may possibly have seizures for the rest of her life (for the record, she still hasn't had a seizure since giving birth and there is no reason to believe that she will). The owners got exactly what they wanted and so they abandoned her. Instead of being at home where she could care for and nurse her puppies, Coco has been living in the chilly windowless ICU at the ASPCA. Instead of lying on a comfy dog bed in someone's living room, she is sitting in a metal cage with only a few layers of brown paper to sleep on.

I try to shower love and attention on as many of the owner-less animals as I can but I'm there to do a job and I just don't always have the time. That people would have the audacity to just dump an animal like that, that they can be so callous to think that it won't affect the animal appalls me. Coco, having such a sweet personality and good temperament, will hopefully be up for adoption soon and be given a better life than her first one. At the ASPCA, we call it the "forever home". It may sound like a sappy and sentimental name but it's what these animals deserve. It breaks my heart to see the love and devotion that an animal is still willing to give after being thrown away, or abused or neglected. I hope Coco gets her chance. I hope all the animals at the ASPCA get their chance. I have to believe they will, it's the only way I can keep doing my job.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Vacation (all I ever wanted...)

Arbor Boy and I are on vacation this week and I plan to be as far from my computer as possible for the next three days. Ocean, sand, seafood, here we come.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Suggest a story

For the past few months I've been contributing stories to Blog Me A Tale, a blog with many contributors and a moderator who chooses monthly topics for us to write about. I've enjoyed writing stories and poetry since I was young and I've enjoyed the opportunity to write for Blog Me A Tale (whenever time allows). I certainly don't fancy myself a "writer" in any way but when I get a story in my head it's amusing to start writing and see where it goes. With that thought in mind, I've decided to try a little experiment. Suggest a few topics that I should write about and I'll see what I can come up with. Anything goes, be as creative as you want, but I'll pick and choose depending on what topics appeal to me.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


**A repost from Blog Me A Tale**

I think I was five years old the last time my dad and I had an argument. My dad is, for the most part, a serious looking man with a good pokerface. However, being half Italian and half German, when his temper flares he suddenly becomes an animated caricature of his usual sober self. His stance widens, knees slightly bent so he can bounce a bit to the rhythm of his yelling and carrying on, his arms wildly gesturing as his voice rises with his temperature. The sudden change in demeanor would crack me up as a kid and I ended up laughing hysterically even as he was trying to scold me. He eventually gave up yelling at me, finally realizing his attempts at punishing a giggling five year old were futile. We've gotten along ever since.

My dad is an old Air Force guy. He used to take us shooting in the woods where he would set up beer cans for us to fire at. I remember one time we had paused so that he could set up more cans, I was holding the pistol with the barrel pointing up as he had instructed. Unfortunately, I had failed to keep my finger off the sensitive trigger and the gun accidently fired straight up in the air. My dad, who may have actually shat himself when the gun went off, hotfooted it back to me all the while trying unsuccessfully to form a comprehensible sentence.

"Give me what yer...don't hold the...gimme that!"

To his credit, he didn't get angry he just took the gun from my stunned little hand all the while rolling his eyes at me.

My dad liked to mess with my friends all through my teen years. He was a gun enthusiast and had a room in the basement where he would work on restoring and cleaning his collection. He would emerge from the basement, knowing that my friends and I were upstairs playing video games, and stand quietly in the doorway of the family room lovingly stroking a pistol with a grease stained white cloth until one of my friends would turn around and notice him there. My friends often decided they had to go home shortly thereafter.

When I was twelve we moved to a suburban neighborhood where most of the men went off to work everyday in a collared shirt and tie, and spent the weekends around the house in khaki shorts and a polo. My dad worked for the Air Force National Guard and went to work in fatigues and on the weekend could be seen mowing the lawn in ripped up cutoffs, combat boots, and a faded black shirt/jacket thing that was held closed with three ties down the front that he most likely picked up overseas somewhere when he was still in the Air Force.

My dad retired from the National Guard five years ago. His plan was to find a part time job that would give him something to do and yet require him to have only the most minimal responsibilities. It took a few tries since it's in his nature to take on responsibilities (his opinion is that people are idiots and if you want it done right, do it yourself) but he finally found something he enjoyed that only took up a few hours at a time. My dad is now a hot air balloon wrangler. His job, along with a couple of other guys, is to get the balloon and basket set up and then hop in his truck and follow the balloon across the southern end of the county until the pilot finds an open farm field to land in. Then they wrangle in the balloon, deflate it and pack it up. Think of it as a tamer version of tornado chasing. He's quite fond of the job and it allows my mom and him to go on their camping trips whenever they want. It also allows him to enjoy his other favorite past time, military reenactments. Because what else is a retired military man supposed to do with his time?

What else can I say, the man's a legend.

(*yes, that's my dad's name. It shouldn't come as a surprise that most of my friends were perfectly happy calling him Mr. Dunkle)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A dose of hipster

On Deus Ex Malcontent, one of my favorite blogs to haunt, Chez recently wrote one of his superbly blunt pieces that has garnered a fair amount of attention and commentary. It's a lengthy piece (but absolutely worth the read) entitled Droll Models, a look at the internet as new media, specifically the sites Gawker and Jezebel, and what happened when two of Jezebel's bloggers stepped out from behind the computer screen for an interview. If the length turns you off, then I encourage you to at least check out the interview with Lizz Winstead and Jezebel bloggers, Moe Tkacik and Tracie Egan, and tell me they're not irritating as hell. Moe appears to be having a hemorrhoid flare-up that prevents her from sitting like a normal homo sapien, Tracie rattles off a few thoughts that were most certainly formed with the singular goal of shock value in mind and makes sure to let everyone know she lives in Williamsburg (in case you didn't get that she's "hip"). Both girls spend much of the interview glancing at the audience for approval whenever they say something they deem to be clever proving once and for all that stupid is the new black.

Thank you, Chez, this piece was utter fabulocity*.

(*and thank you, Mia Michaels, for the word "fabulocity)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Summer Pics

This summer is all about the mini-vacation for Arbor Boy and myself. A few weeks ago, we took a long weekend and drove up to Framingham, Massachusetts (a place we affectionately nicknamed "strip mall hell") where Arbor Boy did a six month internship two years ago. We wanted to visit with the staff who are now our good friends and see the progress of the garden. On our drive there we encountered some traffic and on our drive home we encountered torrential downpours, but the days in between were relaxing and lovely. We ate a lot, drank a lot, and took some pretty pictures. I don't bother with the latin names of all the plants I photographed, I'll leave that to my hort geek boyfriend, but I can certainly find the names for anyone who is interested.

All of the following were taken at Garden In The Woods, part of the New England Wildflower Society.

A very tall magnolia

It was a good year for mountain laurel, we saw it everywhere.

wandflower, I love the shine on the leaves.

These white flowers were so small and delicate, I was sure they would never photograph.

succulents in the Tufa Rock Garden

Tufa Rock Garden

Prickly Pear Cactus

A few more mini-vacations are in the works, I hope to have other pictures to share in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Neuter your pets, people.

Excuse me while I hop up onto my soapbox. Okay, here we go.

Neuter your goddamn pets, please. My phrasing may not be as convivial as Bob Barker, but now that he's off the air and no longer reminding you to "spay or neuter your pets" he needs a mouthpiece to carry on his legacy. And I am happy to be that voice. Since starting work at the ASPCA, I have seen a startling number of pets come in that are not spayed or neutered. I can't even begin to emphasize how necessary these procedures are for animals. Already there are too many unwanted pets in this city (and in this country for that matter) and by not neutering your animals you are contributing to the problem. Just come into my job and take a look at all the animals waiting to be adopted. There is an endless parade of kittens coming through the door everyday. There is also a steady flow of female animals coming to the hospital because of dystocia, or difficulty giving birth. This is due largely in part to people breeding their pets irresponsibly (or unknowingly).

There is a contingency of pet owners who will squeal and squawk about how neutering is robbing their dog of his manhood. Bullshit. It's not a trophy to Fido. Those are dog balls, not Golden Globes. Male intact dogs can become more aggressive and territorial, they may try to dominate their humans and they will search out a female to breed with. Submissive male dogs may become friendlier and more comfortable around people once they are neutered. Intact male cats and dogs will mark their territory, or in plain language, pee all over your house.

But aside from the pet population and behavioral reasons, there are health reasons to neuter your pet as well. Intact male animals may develop benign prostatic hypertrophy or testicular cancer. For female animals the main reason to spay is to prevent pyometra, a painful infection of the uterus. This is no small infection. Don't believe me? I watched a surgeon remove a 15lb pyometra from a dog. Needless to say, the dog was in excruciating pain. Female pets are also more likely to develop mammary tumors which will then have to be surgically removed, another painful procedure.

Let me make it perfectly clear that I find nothing wrong with responsible breeding, but responsible breeding means being knowledgeable about your pets health and it's birthing process. There is more to it than letting your dog get mounted by another dog. I am not being a causehead, I just have your animal's best interest at heart.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Feed your head

A friend of mine just introduced me to the website and if you are even remotely as geeky as I am, this is your cup of Jamesons. It's like your own little standardized test you can take whenever you want. Here's how it works. They give you a word and then four words to choose from. You have to choose the one that is the synonym. For every one you answer correctly, they will donate 20 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program. As you answer them correctly, the words will get harder. If you answer them incorrectly they will start to get easier. The words you miss will appear again later on. And, make no mistake, these are no little pansy-ass words. The whole idea is to increase your vocabulary.

I donated 1380 grains of rice last night. My geeky little brain is addicted already.


Same blog, different title.

While I haven't suddenly started playing well with others, I have decided to officially call the blog simply Felis Femina. Years ago, I had the nickname "Meow Girl" so this incarnation feels like a natural progression. Also, there happens to be another blog with the title "Doesn't Play Well With Others" so I don't wish to have any confusion, and I'm starting to enjoy the little persona I've created in Ms. Femina.

So...welcome to Felis Femina.