Monday, December 30, 2013

Holistic Veterinary Care Discussion With Dr. Mercola, Dr. Becker and Dr....

In this video, Dr. Mercola talks with Dr. Becker and Dr. Barbara Royal, incoming President of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA), about the role of the organization in promoting holistic and integrative veterinary medicine, as well as a wide range of natural pet health care topics. Throughout this wide-ranging discussion, viewers will discover little pearls of wonderful advice and guidance on how to improve the health of the animals in their life.

I highly recommend watching it. It's well worth it. They are discussing all the things I have been advocating for and discovering in my own research over the years.

To find a holistic veterinarian in your area, click here.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

We're Booked Up!

We are booked up for Christmas and won't be taking any more reservations. We wish everyone and their animal friends a wonderful Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

We're Booked Up!

We are booked up for the week of Thanksgiving and will not be taking any more reservations. Wishing everyone and their furry and feathered friends a wonderful Thanksgiving -- a time to remember all we have to be grateful for! 

Friday, November 1, 2013

In Loving Memory of Einstein

It seems like all I have been writing about in the last year are tributes to our pets. Here I am again, this makes the fourth one. This one being the hardest of all to write. I loved them all -- both cats and dogs -- and they were all so special and each such a unique bundle of furry unconditional love. This one however, was that one-in-a-million dog. 

We had been dog-less for about a year or so after the last of the previous generation of dogs passed away when we decided we were ready to adopt again. We found Einstein through our veterinarian clinic. One of the veterinarians had a friend who was looking for a new home for their four year old Australian cattle dog. We immediately fell in love with Einstein and three days before Christmas in 2000, took him home with us. What a great Christmas gift!

Although we were excited to have a new family member, I know giving him away was a difficult
thing for his previous family to do and it was hard on Einstein for the first day or so too. He didn't understand why this was happening. He didn't really want anything to do with us once we got him home and took him out in the backyard. He didn't want us to touch him. He barked out the gate to go back home. Finally, with patience and persistence, my husband was able to get the first pet in, and once that happened and Einstein saw we were only there to love him, he was okay. He was our dog now.

What a great dog. He was already well trained and had great manners.He always waited for my permission before he did anything. It became quickly apparent why his name was Einstein. The name fit. He was the smartest dog I have ever met. Not long after bringing him home I began taking him to work with me. (This was before I started pet sitting.) I worked in an office and he would stay by my side at my desk, content to just be wherever I was. It was after this, my husband states, that Einstein became my dog. From then on, Einstein felt his purpose was to watch over me and protect me. 

If I was around, he knew where I was at all times, no exceptions. Where ever I was, there he was. He was my body guard and he took it seriously. When I would leave the house, he would wait for me by the front door. Closed doors were not allowed in our house. If they weren't completely shut, he would shove them open forcefully. He also kept tabs on where anyone else was that might be in our house. Our bathroom door doesn't always shut completely because of settling so when someone uses the bathroom and closes the door as far as it will go, well you guessed it -- Einstein would forcefully shove it open with his muzzle. No privacy allowed here!

He loved our cats and was intrigued by one in particular. He could sit and watch her for hours. She was the best entertainment for him. Likewise, I'm sure. Being the herding dog he was, he was content to herd smaller animals like cats, dogs or humans. He left the herding of larger animals like horses and cows up to our Australian Shepherd, Ellie (who we adopted six months later). We will never forget one time when we were on our ranch in the country, with all four of our dogs. They were all off together, close to the parameter of our property where it was heavily wooded, when they suddenly heard the loud thunder of cattle coming  their direction from the adjoining property. The two female dogs, Ellie and Cali started barking and running toward it, while the two boys, Einstein and Duke started running as fast as they could back to the house, all the while looking over their shoulder. They knew whatever was headed their direction was big and they didn't want any part of it. We still laugh about that.

Einstein loved going to our ranch of course. It was a new experience for him as he had previously lived on a golf course. His feet were so soft. After the first time tippy-toeing around the property, his feet got broken in and became rough. He loved swimming in the pond, fetching a toy and bringing it back over and over. He would never go off any where without me though. One of the first times he went with us he saw a rabbit and began chasing it at full speed. I called him and was amazed that he stopped immediately and came back. He wouldn't even go for a walk with my husband and the other dogs around the property if I wasn't going. He wanted to be with me, always. No matter what. Now that is loyal. I felt honored.

His vocabulary grew to be huge. I taught him the words and names for different types of
animals, the people we regularly saw, and any and everything else. He listened intently to everything I said. Even when I wasn't talking to him. He would let me know whenever there was some critter around. At our ranch, he would sniff into holes in the ground and if he whined that meant there was a critter of some sort in there. If he didn't whine, it was empty. When opossums would get into our garage and hide on occasion , he would whine with his nose pointed in the direction to let me know one was in there. I could always count on him to let me know who or what might be near.

We tried playing with our cats with a laser light once. It doesn't work well when you have dogs in the room. The other dogs would try to get the light (cats didn't have a chance) but Einstein would get irritated at the other dogs for trying to get the light. It was as if he was saying "you dummies -- Mom and Dad are making the light move!" If they didn't stop chasing the light he would nip at the hand that was holding the laser light  -- telling us to "stop that!". He was too smart to chase a laser light and thought the other dogs were ridiculous for doing so! We still laugh about that one too.

He loved tennis balls and was so enthusiastic about catching them he would do a flip in the process if needed. He was an excellent ball catcher. As a matter of fact, to show you just how great a dog's sense of smell is; just a short time after we adopted him, he was in the backyard and started digging close to the patio. After looking to see why he was digging there, I was amazed to see he had dug down at least six inches or so to uncover an old tennis ball! It had gotten buried years ago from our previous dogs. Amazing. He smelled it under several inches of dirt and it was only half of an old, worn out tennis ball. 

He also loved to tear the squeaker out of every stuffed toy and "kill it" so it couldn't squeak any more. He didn't like those squeakers! It would take him less than a minute to get them out.

Another funny story comes to mind. He was never afraid of our two horses. He was rather relaxed around them compared to the cows. He liked to eat their sweet feed and their carrots and would help himself to a bite or two. One day, he was standing just in front of our Quarter horse Tosha, while she was eating out of her bucket, with his butt to her and I guess she didn't want him so close to her food so she nipped him on the butt! He yelped and jumped at the same time and then came over to me pointing with his head and snout that his butt hurt. Naturally, I rubbed it and kissed it to make it feel better. He was the best communicator. He always let me know if something hurt and where.

He had such a calm and wise demeanor. People noticed it but other animals especially noticed it. No matter where we went and whether it was a dog or cat, they all gravitated toward him and showed particular interest in him. Even when we had all four dogs with us other people's pets would favor him. They found his calm and wise energy comforting. Our other pets were no different. Our cats adored him. He was in kitty herding heaven!  A veterinarian once remarked what a calm dog he was as we were waiting in the clinic. 

He was not a real friendly dog with other people. He only liked to receive pets if he asked for them and then he wanted the pets on his chest, please. He would shove your hand down to his chest if you went for the head. He had to know you to want a pet from you. He didn't allow just anyone to pet him. He was a one-person-dog as they say. He was totally dedicated to one person and that was me. I was the luckiest person in the world.

I have a magnet on my refrigerator with a picture of an Australian Cattle Dog - Blue Heeler on it and it has a description of them that says; robust, athletic, clever, versatile and talented. Watchful with strangers.  Hard-Headed (In bold). He was hard-headed indeed. He could also be very intense.

Other than a couple of bouts with Vestibular Disease when he was fifteen, he was healthy his whole life. He developed high blood pressure around the same time. We also discovered that he had a benign brain tumor and he had had several mini strokes. He didn't show any outward symptoms of either and never did. Though he lost his hearing, he was bright-eyed until the very end. He began getting weaker. He was very independent and wasn't happy about accepting help in the beginning, when he needed it but he quickly resolved to having to be taken care of. He had taken care of me for the last thirteen years and now it was my turn. He continued to communicate his needs in whatever ways he could. He was so good at that. I always knew what he wanted. He always knew what I wanted (though he may not have always listened). He was determined to stay with me for as long as he could. His body gave out long before he did but he finally let go two months after his seventeenth birthday, on October 29th. He had a good, long life filled with lots of love and fun.

Einstein (like the rest of our pets) taught me so much about myself and about them. He was a great teacher. They give us so much but most of all they give us unconditional love. They help us to grow and expand. We have only just begun to understand them. They have so much to teach us. They are magnificent creatures. They are sentient beings -- gifts from God. That's why it hurts so much when they leave. 

Einstein: The most amazing dog I have ever met. I am so grateful to have had him in my life. I will never be the same.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Healthy Pet Products for Less

Did you know that Swanson Vitamins carries pet products for less? I order our human supplements from them and after discovering they sell some of the healthier pet treats and the line of supplements for pets called Pet Naturals, I got excited! 

Their line of pet products has expanded and their prices can't be beat! As a matter of fact, "Swanson Health Products goes another step beyond its competitors by offering powerful guarantees. All products are backed by a 100% Satisfaction, Money-Back Guarantee and our Price Matching. If you are not satisfied with your purchase for any reason, simply return the unused portion for a full refund of the purchase price. If you find a product priced lower from a qualifying competitor, let us know and we'll match that price. As a leading supplement brand, Swanson Health Products is Good Manufacturing Practices certified and also voluntarily participates in third party supplement testing by independent organizations including"

Click on this link here to get $5 off your first order! For every friend I refer that places an order through this link, I receive a $10 reward coupon. This way we both save! And yes, I would still highly recommend Swanson Vitamins even if I didn't receive a $10 reward coupon! You can't beat them -- great products, great prices and great customer service. And they have pet products! Check it out!  :)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

We Broke Another Record

Wow! Thank you! to our wonderful clients for making 2013 such a great year for Cozy Critters! This July we broke last year's record (also July) for most visits ever done in a month in our eleven year history. We also had the best March and August we have ever had. Now we are gearing up for the holidays so don't wait until it's too late! Make your holiday pet sitting reservations in advance to guarantee availability.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Taking a Vacation!

I will be taking a vacation from Sept. 16 - 22, 2013. All messages and email will be returned on Monday, Sept. 23rd. Thank you!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Cozy Critters Daily Dog Walks Book

Shutterfly photo books offer a variety of layouts and cover options to choose from.

The book fanatic that I am, I had to create a book full of pictures I have taken of the dogs we have walked on a daily basis over the last 11 years. It also includes many of my favorite quotes about dogs and animals. (Unfortunately, a few of the photos I had got lost during the change over to a new computer and all I had was a printed copy of which I scanned. These photos came out very grainy.) Now this gives me an idea about a cat book....

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

New Website

Cozy Critters has just launched our new website! We are so excited to have a new, modern internet presence with some really cool features!

Our client photos now display on the home page in an automatic slide show. They appear in alphabetical order. There are a lot of pictures, so if your pet's name starts with a "z", you have a few minutes wait to see theirs! I still have more photos to add. If you don't see your pet's photo, please let me know. Of course there have been some pets, cats in particular, that  I have been unable to get a picture of. I'm afraid some may have been left off from all the editing too. There are so many to keep up with!

Check out our new pet memorial wall! This is dedicated to all the pets that we have cared for that have crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. Instead of our previous memorial pages of photos and having page after page to click through, you will now see a few photos on the memorial page and there is a link to go to "the wall". There, the photos are in alphabetical order by the pet's name, with cats displaying on top, dogs below and other types of pets at the bottom. Click on the page and drag your mouse to move the page sideways and up and down. Also, if you place your mouse on each photo, the pet's name will appear. You can click on each photo and it will be enlarged. Some of them will not have a clear enlargement depending on the resolution of the photo. Once again, if you don't see your pet's photo on there and would like it to be, please let me know!

We still have our collection of handy links to all things about pets on our "Links" page! We have gotten a lot of feedback about this useful page over the years. We are pleased it has been useful to many. We are always adding more. It just keeps growing!

We now offer a reservation form on our website for new or existing clients to request a reservation for pet or house/plant sitting. As noted on the form, if you don't get a reply within 24 hours, please call or email, because as with all things electrical --  they sometimes malfunction. You are still welcome to call, email or text of course!

Oh, and you may have noticed our service area has gotten smaller. We will continue to serve all the clients we currently have but will only be taking new clients from these three zip codes on a limited basis in the future. (We are currently not accepting new clients.)

A special Thank You! goes to Kathy at K and M Ltd. for creating and finally completing this masterpiece! We love it!

7/24/13 (Update): My apologies to anyone who may have used our reservation form or sent an email to our email address listed on the home page in the last couple of days. There were some bugs that just got worked out and both are working fine now. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013


Sorry! We are currently not taking any new clients.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

We are Booked Up!

We are completely booked up through the first week of July and will not be taking any more reservations during this time. Have a great 4th of July!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

And Then a Miracle Happened

The week of my birthday was a memorable week. First, starting with my birthday (May 13th), our dog Ellie passed away. Then five days later on the 18th, my father-in-law passed away. Then the next day (19th) a miracle happened.

We were pet sitting a long-time client's Boston Terrier, Lou (pictured above), who will be 13 this year. Though we had been sharing the visits, my husband Clifton happened to be doing that particular visit. He had just given Lou his breakfast which was (chopped up) prescription can food. Lou began eating and Clifton stepped away from the kitchen for 60 - 70 seconds. When he returned Lou was laid out flat on his side. Calling his name, he checked for breathing and heart beat. There was neither. He opened his mouth and reached down his throat and pulled out a piece of can food. Then he gave Lou CPR. Then the miracle happened. Clifton felt Lou's heart start beating again. Lou started coughing and catching his breath. He was back! He was gone but now he was back! Clifton said it all happened so fast yet it was going in slow motion. He instinctively and intuitively knew what to do and just did it. All this took another 60 - 80 seconds. Lou sat up and wanted to get up and walk but Clifton made him stay still with a blanket wrapped around him. Clifton called me and I went over there and we kept Lou in the blanket, holding him, giving thanks to God. This story could have ended differently. We are so grateful it didn't. What a miracle! Lou was fine. He was still hungry and ready to finish eating! Though I don't know for sure if he knew what just happened to him exactly, he knew that Clifton saved him. That was incredibly obvious to us. He would not take his eyes off of Clifton. With his eyes, he was saying "thank you" for saving me.

What a nice gift...especially considering that that day, the 19th -- was the anniversary of Clifton's mother's death. What a week.....

Who would think a dog could choke on can food otherwise known as "wet" food? How many times have we stepped away for a moment to do something else after giving pets their food? How many pets "free-feed" on food? We have been pet sitting for over eleven years and we both have had multiple animals our whole lives. We've fed hundreds, possibly thousands of pets. (I have fed close to 100 animals in a single day before.) We have never had any animal choke on their food....before.

A lot of the prescription can foods are so hard and dry. They are the driest can foods I've ever seen. We started totally mashing Lou's food (which primarily consists of potato with venison) totally and adding enough water to make the consistency of oatmeal or even a little more soupy than that. He seemed to like that better too. (You just have to keep scraping it off the bottom of the bowl into a heap for them so they can get it all.) We noticed that even after adding all that water, when Lou was halfway though eating it, it had soaked up all the water and was becoming dry again. Incredible. So if your dog eats prescription can food, take note!

Those that know me well and all the research I've done....know that this leads me into a topic of which I am passionate about: pet foods. But that's another article for another day. Until then, check my blog (use the search button) for previous articles and videos on pet foods. You can also find a list of helpful website links related to pet foods and nutrition on my website. Just click on the "Links" button.

And remember......EXPECT miracles!   :)

In Loving Memory of our Dog Ellie

We said good-bye to our sweet Australian shepherd, Miss Ellie (aka Wiggle-Butt), on Monday, May 13th. She was suffering from Lymphoma and her quality of life quickly declined. We used Houston Mobile Vet so Ellie could remain in the comfort of home. Dr. Angela Donaruma and her assistant were great and I highly recommend them. Ellie went very peacefully with us there beside her. She had a good, long life of 15 or 16 years. We aren't sure exactly how old she was as we adopted her in 2001 from a shelter.

I'll never forget the day we went to pick up Ellie. We had been searching for a playmate for Einstein, our oldest dog, who at the time was four years old. Einstein went with us to get her and bring her home. Ellie had been at the shelter for around six months. As soon as we got her in the truck, we noticed she stunk pretty bad and she was covered in ticks. So the first thing she got when we got home was a bath to remove the ticks and get rid of the stink! The first thing Ellie wanted to do was roll in the grass! There was no grass outside (just dirt) at the shelter and she thoroughly enjoyed rolling in the grass at her new home as often as possible.

Her favorite thing was going to our ranch with Einstein (and then the other dogs too). As soon as we would arrive, she and Einstein would bark at us to go for a walk on our trail around the perimeter of the property. They had acres and acres to run but wanted to go for our walk! Ellie always had to be the leader, usually way ahead of us, stopping occasionally to let us catch up. She had the best time there, running as fast and as far as she could. She was really fast too! She could run circles around Einstein and then stop on a dime. They would chase each other through the creek that runs through our property and go swimming in the pond or find some old deer or cow bone to drag home.

Ellie loved people so much, every time someone in the vicinity was coming out of their house or car, she would want to go over and see them. She thought everyone was here to see her and give her pets. One time on a trip to the ranch with my husband, he stopped at the feed store to get some feed and hay for the horses. He left the window in the truck rolled down when he went inside the store. Ellie jumped out of the window and went in the feed store just talking up a storm to everyone. After that, she always had to go in the feed store and say hello to everyone. She was the sweetest dog. So full of love for everyone. 

She loved the country life and she loved the city life too, with all it's activity, people and her walks in the neighborhood. She loved our other dogs and was happy to give her position of alpha female to Cali once she joined the family. She was always sweet with the cats too. Ellie was a good singer. A fast licker. She loved to give kisses. 

She was so incredibly resilient. She went through a lot health-wise. She had arthroscopic surgery on her elbows, two surgeries to remove mast cell tumors, a splenectomy and tumor removal and then had  immune-mediated hemolytic anemia. All within about a four year span. It's no wonder she got highly stressed out going to any kind of vet clinic. Thank God for the recent advent of mobile vets. I'm comforted knowing that now she has crossed over the rainbow bridge, she is whole again, without the pain and suffering, running and playing with the rest of our pets who have crossed over.

We couldn't have asked for a better dog. Such a sweet angel. We will miss her a lot!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

In Loving Memory of Our Cat Emma

Our sweet little Emma passed away peacefully at home yesterday. She had been under hospice care for the last couple of weeks. We're not sure exactly how old she was but our guess is at least 17. We "officially" adopted her nine years ago when we finally managed to catch her and bring her inside. We had her checked out by a vet along with being spayed, her teeth cleaned and two teeth pulled. We had been feeding her for about a year and a half on our front porch; at first once a day and then twice daily. She was a petite (weighed 8 pounds at her heaviest), scrawny cat with a very thin coat and a back full of scabs. She looked like she had been always living outside and that she had had a rough life. She just appeared one day in our front yard. We weren't sure where she came from but we suspected she came from a house on the next block over that had a lot of cats in the backyard. Those people had moved, the house had been torn down and a new two-story house was taking it's place. We put out some left over can food that our cats didn't finish and she showed up every morning to get fed. Eventually she started showing up in the evening as well so we fed her twice a day. She would only eat the food if we went back inside, out of sight. She was hungry, but she was not trusting of people at all. She would always stay several feet away and if you tried to get closer, she would back away. It took us a year and a half of feeding and talking to her before she let us close enough to pet her. 

Not long after we began feeding Emma, she showed up with a kitten. They didn't stay long and I never saw that kitten again. Then several weeks later in the middle of the night, I swore I heard a cat crying. In the morning I woke up to that sound again. The sound of a cat crying. I jumped up and went outside. I couldn't see a cat, but I could hear it. I couldn't believe no one else was looking for it, it was so loud. So I just followed the sound to across the street in a neighbor's driveway, next to the bushes and there was this tiny little six week old kitten just screaming his head off. I knew the people in this house or in the other houses near by did not have a cat and a kitten this small shouldn't be outside by itself. This is how I found Webster, our cat for 9 years. We believe he was Emma's kitten. He ended up getting adopted before Emma as we still hadn't been able to get close to her yet.

Once Emma recovered from her surgery and got acclimated to being indoors, she got to meet the other six animals; our four dogs and two cats. And although we had seen Webster and Emma together in the front yard more than once (like they knew each other) before we brought her inside, once she was in, Webster was the most upset by her presence. He really got bent out of shape that she was now part of the household. He acted afraid of her & would stay away from her. He did eventually get over it though. Emma was so sweet and passive to not only us but all the other animals. She was so happy and thankful to be safe, inside, and have steady meals. And she loved all the other pets. She never got in anyone's way, stole anyone's food or treats, picked fights or ever did anything wrong. Even if one of the other cats picked on her from time to time, she never fought back. She was happy to be part of a big family and to have a home. She got along with everyone. She was the best cat. She was even easy to litter box train. She didn't understand what the box with cat litter in it was at first, but all I had to do was put some dirt on top and she never, ever went anywhere other than the litter box.

When she was first brought inside and getting acclimated to the house, she was kept in a bedroom at the end of the hall. Once she was allowed access to the rest of the house, she came out into the living room and that's where she stayed for about the next six or seven years. She was always in the living room. She went into the kitchen to eat and drink and she went in the enclosed back porch that's off of the living room to use the litter box. She had a big cat tree that she spent a lot of time on. For whatever reason, she never went down the hallway and into any bedroom for most of her life here. It was almost as if she thought she wasn't allowed in that section of the house. Even though she was first kept in that section. We never gave her any reason to think she couldn't go down the hallway or into the bedrooms. All the other animals did. Most if not all of them slept in the bedroom with us every night. All but Emma. Until one day, for some (again) unknown reason, she went down the hall and started going in each of the bedrooms, looking around! We couldn't believe it! After she checked out all the bedrooms and discovered all the dog and cat beds in them, that's where she started staying. In each and every one of them. There wasn't a cat or dog bed that Emma didn't sleep in. She tried them all and there was a lot of them! She would change beds each time. She loved the variety but her favorite was the dog beds. She adored the dogs and liked to sleep cuddled up to them, if they let her. If she was in one of the dog's beds, they would politely sleep beside it or some where else. Ellie used to sleep with her on the couch a lot and let her snuggle in her long, thick hair. In the last couple of years, her favorite was to sleep in Cali's bed and Cali would sleep beside the bed, happy to give her bed to Emma. (And let it be known: Emma was the only one who could take Cali's bed and get away with it! Cali was the alpha dog.)

Once Emma came into our home, she never wanted to go outside again. She so appreciated having a home and being inside. She was allowed to go out if she wanted, through the cat door. Eventually she did go out for very short periods on the front or back porch with us. She liked laying in the sun for awhile. If we all went in & she was left outside by herself, she would get really upset and cry. She didn't like being alone and she didn't have to be any more. She had a big family and there was always someone around!

She was the only one of our cats who loved raw food. And I mean loved it! The first time I gave her some Rad Cat Raw Diet to try she acted like I had finally given her some appropriate food! She gobbled it down and wanted more. That's what she primarily ate for the last couple years of her life. Webster and Dusty would eat a little of it from time to time but Emma only wanted raw food the majority of the time.

Emma loved everyone and everyone loved Emma. She was the only cat we had that would not only stick around when other people came over but would ask them for pets. She was always patient with everyone, human or animal. She let me cut out the tangles and shave her when she stopped grooming herself. She let me dress her up in costumes. She was good at the vet's office. She never did anything she wasn't supposed to. She was one of the best cats ever. She was our little princess. Our little furry angel. We will miss her. Now she can be together again with one of her favorite dogs, Cali. 

Cali and Emma

Monday, February 11, 2013

The World's First Driving Dog

There is a first for everything, right? Well, here's the world's first driving dog! In a unique strategy aimed at attracting adoptive families, a charity in Auckland, NZ teaches homeless dogs to drive. It’s a process of teaching 10 specific behaviors to the dogs over a 7-week period, and putting the learned gestures together in a sequence. Monty, a giant schnauzer, demonstrates his ability to control the steering wheel, gear shift and brakes.

The best part about this video is that this was organized by the Auckland SPCA to raise awareness about  the number of homeless dogs in SPCA's, city pounds and shelters needing homes and to encourage people to adopt rather than breed or buy. Apparently, the video series started with the trainers going into the shelter and choosing three dogs, each there for a different reason. One was abandoned, one stray and one was relinquished because the owners deemed him to be untrainable! Ironically the latter was the giant schnauzer which turned out to be the best driver of them all!  Let's hope it helped some homeless dogs find new homes!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Our 11th Anniversary

2002 - 2013
This month we are celebrating Cozy Critters Pet Sitters' eleventh anniversary! I was still digesting the fact that I've been pet sitting for a decade and now another year has already gone by. Time goes by so fast....

We are so grateful for all of our wonderful clients, both two and four-legged. We love meeting other animal-loving people in our area. We love getting to know each and every pet, caring for them and loving them as if they were our own. So many memories and funny stories are made over the years. But most of all, we love providing a great service: Pet Sitting! Looking forward to making more friends and memories....

Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Senior Dog Needs New Home

One of my long-time client's elderly father, who is now a widower, has a senior dog and has become unable to care for him. My client (who has dogs of her own) is looking to find him a new home where he can continue to enjoy being cared for and loved for the remainder of his years, which could be many more! This special boy's name is Sammy. He is a 10 year old Lhasa Apso. If you or someone you know might be interested in opening up your heart and home to a senior dog companion, please call Janet at 281-455-6521 for more information. Isn't he a cutie?!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Stay Updated

Did you know you can sign up to be notified each time we have a new blog post? Just enter in your email address in the box on the right, where it says "Follow By Email" and click "submit". Each time I have a new post you will get an email with a short paragraph of the blog post and a link to read the rest.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Website Update

To those of you whose pets have passed away in the last several months and I told you I would be putting your pet's picture on my memorial page(s) on my website: I have finally gotten around to doing so. Click "next"  until you reach the third page and then scroll down. If you find any incorrect or missing information please let me know and I will correct it.

Please note: When you mouse over the photos in Internet Explorer, you can view the names and dates of each pet on the memorial pages as well as the clients pages, but they won't show up if you are using Google Chrome (for some technical reason I haven't figured out yet).

Monday, January 7, 2013

In Loving Memory of Our Dog Cali

Our beloved dog Cali passed away in the early morning of New Year's Eve. She died at home, in my arms. She was 10 years, 8 months old. She lived two months after her emergency surgery to remove tumors, her spleen and a part of her liver. Though the cancer had already spread, in the hope of extending her time with us and keeping her more comfortable, I gave her an herbal mushroom extract that showed good results when given to dogs with the type of cancer she had in a recent study. After taking her daily doses she seemed to feel better. She started out having more good days than bad but then after a few weeks she started having less good days and her appetite got less and less to the point we could no longer give her the mushroom extract because she needed to take it after meals. She was kept comfortable and had the best 24-hour hospice care any dog could ask for. She knew she was deeply loved and was never alone. 
Ellie & Cali

Although most of our other animals gave her plenty of space while this was going on including her litter mate Duke; Ellie, our 14-year-old Australian Shepherd, stayed in the dog bed that was right beside Cali all night and the morning she passed. Interesting, since Ellie was the one to chase her off when she and Duke first appeared on our ranch that cold January day in 2003.  Now, Ellie was the one who stayed by her side during her last hours. Our sweet Ellie.

Cali was an amazing dog. Aren't they all? She was incredibly smart. We didn't realize just how smart at first. When we found her and her brother at about nine months old, they had never been inside a house or had any kind of training. They were country dogs. She was the hardest to train but ended up being the one who listened and behaved the best. We will never forget: Not long after we brought them home, we went out to eat dinner one night. With them not being totally house trained yet, we left them outside in the backyard and left our other two dogs in the house. They were about 9 -10 months old, each weighing around 30 - 35 pounds. We were totally surprised to find both of them in the house when we returned. How in the world could they have gotten inside the house? (This was before we installed a dog door.) We couldn't believe they could possibly fit, but they did -- they squeezed through the cat door! One of them (probably Duke) must have gotten stuck because the frame of the cat door had been chewed on. I have no doubt Cali decided they weren't staying outside by themselves while we were gone and had seen the cats going through the cat door. Cali was the leader. The brave one. She quickly became alpha female of the pack. Ellie, being the passive girl she is, didn't mind.

Cali became quite the little helper over the years. She was the one who tattled on the other dogs if they did something they weren't supposed to. When ever there was something she wanted us to have or know about, she would put it in the middle of our bed. Once, I found a butter knife there. Earlier I had left the house for a short time and there was a paper plate with a cracker and a butter knife on it that I had left on the kitchen counter. I had completely forgot about it until I found the butter knife in the middle of the bed. One of the other dogs had done some counter surfing and took the plate, knife and all to the backyard. That's where I found the paper plate. Cali returned the knife to me and let me know what happened.

Another time I found some small animal internal organs (perhaps belonging to a bird?) in the middle of our bed. I'm sure it was the remnants of a meal our male cat had caught. Thanks for the info, Cali....

When she dug up a buried (muddy) chew bone that she had been saving, she liked to show us her new found treasure by placing it in the middle of our bed. Needless to say, we always check the bed before turning in for the night! 
Duke & Cali

One time when we had all four dogs with us at our ranch, we were all sitting around taking a break when Cali disappeared on the other side of the barbed-wire fence. A few minutes later she returned with a deer leg bone, laid it down in front of the dogs. She did this three more times, bringing each dog one deer bone to chew on, including one for herself. She knew how to take care of her pack.

What was most impressive though, was that after she had observed Clifton (my husband) picking the pecans up in our backyard, she began bringing him a pecan every day. And only one pecan per day. As long as there was good, edible pecans on the ground, he would get a pecan in the center of our bed every day. Until there were no more. Then the next year, the same thing. One pecan per day. They would always be good ones too. (I have witnessed more than one dog sniffing out the good ones from the bad.) Every year, if there were pecans, we would get one per day in our bed. Sometimes we would crack them and give them to her, thanking her. She liked them too. We always thanked her for our gifts.
Cali's Toy Collection

One of the cutest things she started doing as she got older was collecting all the soft, plush dog toys and keeping them in a pile next to her bed in our bedroom. She didn't care so much about the hard rubber toys or chew bones or the ropes. The cute, soft stuffed toys were special and she was going to take good care of them. That meant hoarding them all and keeping them together by her bed. They were not to be placed in the toy basket in the living room with the other toys. No. These special toys were not to be played with by anyone but her. I finally put a toy basket next to her bed to neatly hold all of her prized possessions. It became a ritual every day after the dogs ate dinner for her to get one of her stuffed toys and bring it out in the living room for everyone to see, all the while crying and whining while she walked around, carrying it in her mouth. (Whenever she carried her toys around she whined. I always wondered what she was thinking as she did this.) We started calling them her "babies" and would make a fuss about each baby she would bring out to show us. I called it Cali's Show and Tell Time. She would show us one of her cherished stuffed toys each day, after dinner. Then she would put it back in her private toy basket. Even when she occasionally took them outside with her, she never left them outside. She always brought them back in with her and eventually put them back in their place. She cherished those toys and none of the other dogs would dare take them or play with them. They knew all the stuffed toys were claimed and protected by Cali. Even if I bought four new stuffed toys so each dog could have one, after they were through playing with them, they would all end up in Cali's basket. She had quite a collection. There must be 15 - 20 of them. Her favorite was the biggest one -- a dog with floppy ears.
Her Inside-Out Toy

She did this funny thing with one of the stuffed toys. She would always have just one toy that she would work on with her teeth, gently tearing a small hole in it, and then she would pull the entire toy inside-out, through the hole. That's how she liked it -- inside out. She liked the seams in the material. She would gently chew on the seams, never tearing it apart....just chewing. As if she was knitting or sewing with her teeth. Or like she was trying to take out each stitch, one by one, but in a fast, constant biting motion. She would do this for long periods of time. Content just to lay there, chewing gently on her inside-out toy. She would carry it around everywhere, putting it down to chew on it. If I picked it up and put it in the toy basket, out it would come! Once it got all dirty and I threw it away, she would pick another stuffed toy to chew a small hole in and turn it inside-out. It was like her security blanket. Only one of the toys she would do this too. All the others stayed in tact.

When Cali and her litter mate Duke were turning ten years old, we decided to have their DNA tested for curiosity's sake. (Read more about that here.) Once we found out they were chow-chow and blue-tick coonhound mixes, we started telling them them they were chow-hounds, chow-chows, hound dogs, etc. Shortly thereafter, Cali, whose ears had always been folded over (unlike her brother's ears which stood erect once he turned a year old), suddenly were standing erect and they never went down again. I thought it was the oddest thing that for the first ten years of her life, her ears were folded down. Then all of a sudden her ears were standing straight up and stayed up! I asked her veterinarian if he had ever heard of or seen such a thing and he hadn't. He thought that was weird too. We laugh, saying her ears stood up once she learned she was a chow-chow.

She was the alpha dog of our pack. She ran a "tight ship" and she enforced the rules. She was bossy. She was the brave one. The main watch dog. She protected everyone, including the cats. She would give the neighbor's dogs a piece of her mind if they should bark at our cats! 

She was a great singer/howler. The emergency vehicle sirens would really get her going and she would howl, head pointed straight up into the sky, until her heart's content. She could really hold a note for a long time too. Usually Ellie would join along with her. On a rare occasional, Duke would join the singing duo. 

She was a digger. She could dig a hole to lay in that was so big she would rest her chin at ground level and all you saw was her head above ground. 

She was a lot of things, but most of all she was incredibly special to us and we miss her so much! Rest in peace my little furry angel.