Mutts n' More

A Random Collection of Fur-Covered Happiness


You've happened upon a place filled with animals so cute and furry (or not) that they can brighten anyone's day. Their stories are often touching or inspirational and are sure to make you realize how important the animals in your lives are. Enjoy!

If you're looking for something a little more real and down to earth, then stay and read about the life of a lesbian couple with 14 furry and scaly kids who are just trying to make it through life's craziness together. It has its ups and downs and twists and turns but one thing's for sure: it's never boring!

Action MUST Be Taken

Everyone needs to click the image above and to sign the letter and then to spread the word about this cause. I’m dead serious. I just wish that the legislation expanded to more than just great apes. Also, as hard as it may, you NEED to watch the video to truly understand why this is so important. I mean it. It may make you cry, it may make you angry, it may make you want to throw up. I actually hope that all of those occur because those are the only responses I can see being appropriate. Please, please take the time to sign this cause, even if you’ve never looked at any of the others (though you really should sign the seal pup one as well). Please. If only just for me – but once you see how those poor animals are treated, I know that you won’t need any other reason. Thanks, guys!

Great Big Update

Howdy everyone! I’m alive and still in Wisconsin. Yep, we drove up on Thursday so we could surprise Nikki’s sister Emi and make it to the opening night of her musical at school. She seemed pretty surprised and happy when we got there. The drive up was long and crappy. All we had to eat the entire time was a Taco Bell because we forgot to get car snacks. On the way up, when we were just passed Cookeville we saw hundreds or even thousands of Subway wrappers scattered all over the road. I called my mom and asked her to look up the customer service for them because I figured they should pay to have it cleaned up. It was horrible to see because it was like it had snowed. Umm, the rest of the ride I was just cranky and complainy and Nikki’s so good for not hating me. I slept for awhile and listened to Great Big Sea on Nikki’s mp3 player and then we listened to my songs that I’d spent the day before putting on my Journey mp3 player that Nikki got me for Christmas. It’s a really good player ’cause it lasted for like 5 hours straight. Good stuff. Umm, yeah, so we got to Nikki’s house around like 10 or something and Spunky ran in and announced our arrival and yeah. I have no idea what we did that night. The next day we, umm, I don’t know what we did. We sat around and watched TV? Oh yeah, we went and got haircuts! Awesome, huh? Yeah, Nikki drove and she and her sisters and I went into town to sign up for haircuts and then we checked out GameStop and Petsmart while we waited. Then we got our haircuts and it was nice! At first I was worried because the people there gave me an uneasy feeling but it turned out fine. My woman talked about a time when she shaved her hair completely off since her mom had cancer. It was sweet. But yeah, Nikki’s cut lasted for like an hour but the woman did a really good job (minus a small section being too long on one side that Emi’s gonna fix later). But Nikki is really hot now, especially when she wears her glasses. Anyway, after we got our haircuts we went to visit Nikki’s Oma and Opa. It was cool ’cause we listened to them talk about family names and thousands of John’s and such. When we left there we went back to Nikki’s to eat a huge lasagna before we drove Emi to the school so she could get ready for her musical. Then we drove around and went to a small park and then to Dairy Queen where there was a gay guy behind the counter. Nikki noticed it.

Nikki Playing On a Swing - Cute!

Nikki Playing On a Swing - Cute!

Me Being Weird - Not the Best Shot But Very Funny!

Me Being Weird - Not the Best Shot But Very Funny!

Then it was off to Emi’s play which was okay. Emi was good in the parts she was in but overall it was kind of slow. I think it was just a bad musical to begin with (Anything Goes). Umm, after that Nikki and I tried to play some Outdoor Challenge on her family’s Wii but we couldn’t get the second remote to work so we couldn’t play together. Still, I had fun playing some of the games like the Mole Stomp. So yeah, now we really want a Wii.

Nikki & Emi After Her Play

Nikki & Emi After Her Play

The next day we hung around the house and Nikki’s friend Shelly came over with her new baby Noah. He’s a cute baby but he still doesn’t do much since he’s only a month old. Still, Nikki got all baby fever and wanted to hold him and all that. I held him for a little while, too, but it was hard to get in there between Nikki and her mom fighting over him. Pretty soon it was almost time to leave for Chicago so we all had some leftover lasagna and then Nikki, her dad and I left. They listened to Great Big Sea the whole way down and I thought lots about how I want to start some youtube videos starring Spunky. We got to the House of Blues around 6 and after waiting in line in the cold rain we got in and it’s pretty cool in there. It’s like 3 levels and the main floor is like a big open space with bars on 3 sides and the upper levels are like bar stools and such. Then there’s a couple booths on the upper sides as well. It’s cool. Anyway, the band that opened for GBS, something like Scynithe, was pretty good. The guy that played the violin was awesome and they all had good attitudes and really knew how to get the crowd going. The only part that sucked is that they took a long time between bands and everyone shifted around and we lost our spot because some stupid couple that was behind us stole our place when Nikki’s dad tried to get us a better spot. Nikki was brave, though, and shoved us in front of them again. Plus there was a woman there who kind of took care of us when we couldn’t see and made people move and stuff. When Great Big Sea came on Nikki was so happy that she cried and it was so cool because we were only like 15 or 20 feet away from them – seriously! I wish that I had known the songs more because I felt pretty stupid with everyone around me shouting out the words I didn’t know but they were still awesome! They got the crowd so pumped and people jumped up and down and clapped and all this stuff. Oh, and the floor there is like rubbery because when people moved the entire thing swayed and moved up and down like inches. It was like being on a boat! So yeah, I recognized some of the songs but all of them were cool and at one point the main singer had everyone in there singing oldies and 80’s like Bohemian Rhapsody and Summer of ‘69. It was awesome. They even came out for two encores of 2 songs each. My favorite part of the whole thing, however, was seeing just how happy Nikki was. She finally got to see her favorite band and it was more than she could have ever expected. The only part I regret is that I missed that my dad, Ted, had called and wanted to meet up with us. He had called and seen they had tickets, found out the metro routes and borrowed money for tickets. He had everything set! But I never noticed so he didn’t come. I didn’t find all this out until the next day but it’s enough to make me want to cry. I would have loved to have had him there. So yeah, that sucks.

The next day, on Sunday, we slept a pretty long time and then we sat around the house. We were supposed to leave that day but I told Nikki that we could stay until Friday if she wanted. That was, I figured, we could have a whole day or even weekend with my dad rather than just a few hours. So Nikki told her parents and at first they didn’t believe her but when she told them she was serious they practically jumped for joy. Seriously. They were so happy. So I called my mom and dad and told them and they were fine with it. I miss the kids, though. A lot. Umm, yeah, Sunday we just sat around, except for when we played Yahtzee, which, I must admit, is not my kind of game. It’s loud and it’s mostly luck and, I dunno, I prefer other kinds of games.

Yesterday (Monday) we sat around for a bit in the morning until Nikki’s dad took us and the pups on a walk. We walked maybe 3/4 of a mile up a road and back. The road was cool because it passed all these farms, including one with lots of cows and there was also a pond with geese and some sandhill cranes. I wish I’d brought my long lens so I could get some pictures. On the way back we walked around their neighborhood a bit and went to the lake and made Bindi fetch some sticks. The only downside is that we were walking into the wind in the beginning so I got an earache from it. Then we spent the rest of the day playing Wii. I’m not too good at it so I kept losing but I guess I’ll learn if I ever get my own – or rather Nikki and I get one. But yeah, it made us happy when we figured out how to play tennis on a team rather than against one another. We beat the pros! Umm, dinner was something or other and then I tried to go to bed early but I ended up watching lots of WifeSwap because Nikki found it for me.

Spunky & I On a Walk in Farm Country

Spunky & I On a Walk in Farm Country

Today we slept pretty late and then after me playing some Solitaire on Nikki’s computer for awhile we left for her friend Shelly’s house. We got some delicious KFC bowls on the way too! Lucky me! Since we got here we’ve been playing on the internet and watching TV. Shelly is fun and the baby is so cute and he makes lots of clicky noises. We even ordered and got some really good Pizza Hut pizza which made me really happy. And we watched some 70’s Show and the movie Speed which is really pretty crap. Haha. To think that used to be good! Anyway, I think we’re heading back to Nikki’s soon since we’ve been here too long. We don’t want to overstay our welcome, I mean. I don’t want Shelly to think we were just here to steal her internet because she’s really cool and laid back. And we both know way too many commercials. Heh, it’s nice here. But yeah, heading out soon so I need to add my photos and post this. It took me forever because there was lots to say and I spent most of the time here trying to find the best place to buy a Wii because we really want one now. We might be coming back here tomorrow to play Wii games with Shelly which would be cool. Have a good night everyone!

Nikki Playing With Baby Noah

Nikki Playing With Baby Noah


Since yesterday’s post was so heavy towards the end and since I’m supposed to be getting last minute things ready for our trip right now, today’s post will be short and sweet. First off, here’s a cool little poem I found a few days ago through Dogster.

And now to make you smile even more, a silly picture of Spunky.

Spunky Being Ridden By a Bear - Cute!

Spunky Being Ridden By a Bear - Cute!

Have a great day everyone! I know Nikki will be very soon! More explanation later.

To Infinity And Beyond!

Today I have an interesting article I found on dancing black holes! Isn’t that awesome? Yeah, I thought so! Check it out here.

I want to know what happens when two black holes merge. Whole new galaxy or what? It causes a worm hole? A rip in the space-time continuum? Hehe. And since I find space absolutely fascinating, here’s another story about the black hole right in our own backyard: the Milky Way! And now for the obligatory beautiful picture:

Sorry if space isn’t your thing but I just love how endlessly beautiful and amazing it is. But of course, I wouldn’t leave you without a cute picture involving our amazingness: the kids. It’s another old one from back in Ashland over last summer.

Nikki, Spunky and I Enjoying Some Dairy Queen

Nikki, Spunky and I Enjoying Some Dairy Queen

Hope everyone’s having a great day!

Oh yeah! Your cause for the day. Which unfortunately may bring you down a bit. I just cried while reading this article. If it brings a tear to your eye as well, signing their petition may actually make a difference. Let’s get that Harb Seal Bill passed in Canada!

Isn’t that a face worth protecting? I love animals so much. I just don’t understand how people could harm them deliberately. It’s just beyond me. I can’t wait until the human species has evolved to be like, well, the animals. It’ll happen, and I hope someday soon. I have faith.

Lord of the Birds

Hey everyone. I’m not here today. Haha. What I mean is that I’m not able to get on the computer today because Nikki and I are taking some time off as she said. But I’ve thought about doing this before and so I’m going to try this coolness out where I’m hoping this will be posting itself. Did it work? ^_- Maybe these days will be your favorite since you won’t have to read about my day to day life. If you like that kinda stuff, don’t worry. I expect to post again for real on Sunday and I’ll let you know all about the cool weekend we had. Yeah.

Now, everyone, I’d like to introduce you to Baracho:

Beautiful, Isnt He?

Beautiful, Isn't He?

Baracho is a red-lored amazon. I wish the picture quality was better but this was taken in a dark room with my old video camera/camera which has no flash so all of those pictures are pretty poor. Still, fixing it up allowed his colors to show. Baracho was a bird that my dad and I rescued two summers ago. My dad was in his back yard with Baby, his pit bull, when I heard him shouting. A big parrot had flown down and Baby had jumped up an chomped on it. He managed to get Baby to stop and we captured the little guy in a towel and brought him around to different vets. It turned out that his wing was broken so we got him all fixed up and then took him home with us. We set up his cage with lots of fun toys and fed him peppers out of my dad’s garden (as is evidenced by the picture above). He was pretty skittish and it didn’t help things that we had to shoot medicine down his throat a couple times a day but by the end we were pretty good at it and he was starting to let us scratch his neck and all that. I even got him to whistle at me. It was so cool! We had checked the missing bird reports around town and found nothing so we were hoping we’d get to keep him. Unfortunately, it turned out that he belonged to the neighbors. It was kinda crappy because the vets thought that by the way he looked he’d been missing for months but it turned out that he’d only been missing for 2 weeks. What’s that say about the care he got? Yeah. Blah. So after they paid us (and my dad made sure they knew he had to go back to the vet for his wing) we had no more pretty amazon in our kitchen. For a more in depth story, you can see my LJ post about it here.

Maybe someday Nikki and I will have a bird. Or maybe my dad will. He’s wanted to start a business raising African Greys for a long time now and I’m hoping that if he ever does it, he might slip in a few red-lored amazons too. They are seriously the prettiest parrots I’ve seen, and I think they’re all beautiful! I love birds, too. I made friends with my brother’s parrot Jackson and she’s really skittish around everyone so I think I’m good with birds too. I mean, I haven’t held her or anything but I got her to take food from me within a few hours and she hardly ever does that with anyone else. Anyway, I digress. I love birds and I hope to have more in my life at some point.

Now for your cause of the day: Saving Pandas

Old Photo and Even Older Footprints

Slept in pretty late this morning because I was exhausted. After that I tried to be productive by clearing out most of the messages on my cell phone. Sounds like nothing but I’ve seriously had some of these messages on my phone for over a year and my messages have been full for months and it makes people grumpy. But these were messages from Nikki and my mom and grandma and dad and birthday wishes and stuff like that so I couldn’t just delete them. So I saved them onto my computer using the voice recorder thing. It took maybe an hour or more so not very long but see, I only like doing it when other people aren’t around. So yeah, I did that while my mom was out shopping and Nikki was being super good and cleaning out her car for the trip tomorrow. So yeah, now I’m down to only 3 messages on my phone and all the others are safe and sound on my computer. Which sounds like a jinx so I’m gonna do a backup onto our hard drive later tonight. After that, Nikki went through tons of trouble trying to get her online classes all set up. Northland is totally screwing her over and there’s the possibility that she might not get to take her classes which, of course, means she wouldn’t be graduating when she’s expecting to. Please wish her luck because none of this is her fault – it’s all because Northland can’t communicate between different departments and screws over pretty much every single student that goes there unless you’re a guy jock. Anyway, while she was doing that, I worked on removing and adding songs from my mp3 player and it’s got a really nice list on it now.

After that we took Akima back to the vet since I called them earlier about her wound seeping a bit and we decided it was best to just have her rechecked. We took the pups along for the car ride and because my mom wanted us to get Rufus’ nails cut too. I tried a few weeks ago but our clippers are crap and we haven’t bought any new ones yet. So we went and a vet tech looked at her and she said it looked okay but they went ahead and put another drop of skin glue in the part that was slightly open. Yeah, and we also decided to get Akima a cone which she absolutely hates. Seriously, she is so angry. Rufus’ nails got cut though he had to go in back since he was being such a baby. When he came back he like raced across the table to me. It was funny and cute. When we were leaving I also asked the vet tech if she knew anything about my flyers since we saw there weren’t any up front. I guess they all just got taken already. Yay! I really need to make more and then get out there and put them everywhere! Anyway, she said she’d tell people about me since apparently lots of people ask them about petsitting. And then when we went to pay, she told us not to worry about it. Cool, huh? Free exam and a cone and a nail clip! The clip and cone should have cost us but it didn’t. Nikki says I charmed her or something. ^_^

After that we grabbed some french bread from Kroger and then came back. I wish we’d gotten out more today because it was gorgeous! It was 50 degrees here today! Of course, I also know that it was in the 80’s in Austin. I can hear Mac whining now. Poor her. When we got home and let Akima out it was funny because she tried to back out of her cone and just looked really angry in general. I made it worse by taking her picture and Nikki even videod her. I’m going ot be nice and not post a picture of her because then she probably wouldn’t talk to me for a long time. So instead I’ll give you an old picture of her where she’s not so… pissy.

Akima Kitten Looking All Pretty in the Sunlight

Akima Kitten Looking All Pretty in the Sunlight

Now we’re watching the Daily Show with my mom and once Winnie wakes up it’s going to be Big Bang Theory – I can’t wait! Below I have some quotes from the Daily Show.

“To us bipartisanship is them being forced to agree with us after we have politically cleaned their clocks and beaten them.” ~Rush Limbaugh at CPAC

“Our founding fathers understood that the guys with the guns make the rules.” ~NRA CEO at CPAC

“So to summarize, CPAC consisted of the deriding of veterans, open calls for presidential failure and the anhialation of an American city, all to save the United States from unpatriotic Democrats. Apparently the only time we have to love this country is when it’s controlled by Republicans.” ~John Stewart

Now I have my political opinions and I’m pretty sure they’re obvious but I don’t normally say much about it but sometimes Republicans are just the biggest morons. I know we’ve had our share of stupid people on the left (Kerry was a joke) but seriosuly, they’re just utter morons sometimes. Why would they choose some of those people to speak for them? Rush Limbaugh’s quote above got TONS of applause. Are you f*cking kidding me?! He just blatantly said that they had no intention of trying to work together with the Democrats and they all just agreed with him. It makes me upset. They’re such hypocrites. What a bunch of pansy whiners. John Stewart is awesome!

And now for a cool article I just found:

And your cause for the day (Protecting our Forests) can be found here:

Make a Difference!

Hey everyone! Today started out rather tough because I was feeling sick and was in a grumpy mood but we (me, Nikki and Momma) came out to my gramma and grandpa’s and it’s been better since then. Actually, one part kinda sucked. Anyway, when we got here my grandpa went to Walmart and Nikki and I played on the Wii. I’m better at the shooting game but she and LS are better at the people finder one. Then my gramma and I played the shooting one and I beat her pretty bad but it’s cool because my gramma knows how to play the Wii! How many other people can say that? I’d bet not many. After my little cousin woke up, he and I played the tank game a bit and then we went downstairs to watch W. We didn’t finish it and so far I find it really boring. My mom and gramma like it thought.

When my grandpa came back he told me that one of my tires was completely flat. Great. So Nikki and I go out there and it turns out that it’s the valve that’s slit so there’s no way for us to fix it. So we put my spare on which is a real tire, not a donut, which is nice. My dad always gets me my tires from Discount Tire and they’re awesome because they have an 80,000 mile warranty on them. These tires are only 20,000 miles old so they’re covered and it’ll be free to get the one fixed and my tires rotated. Cool, huh? The only downside is that the nearest one to us is over an hour away but oh well. At least I don’t have to buy a whole new tire. Mine are nice. Anyway, it just sucks because I hate that so much bad stuff is happening to my car. First it gets hit sitting in a parking lot, then they don’t fix it right, then the skirt around the front tire comes out as we’re driving down the road at 70 mph, then the front light comes out of place, the passenger side mirror breaks internally, the fuel injector gets gunky and now this. *big breath* All in like 4 months. Blah. I just need more money to fix it all up again. Plus, I went out and sat in my little truck with Nikki and now I want to fix it up. I should probably just sell it but I couldn’t buy another car or truck with the money I got from it. It needs a new battery and some wires replaced in it but the tires and the transmission are pretty much brand new. If I could fix it up then I could take it down for my dad to use when we move there but then if I ever needed a truck we could trade cars for awhile. Plus, the truck has sentimental value since it was my first ever vehicle and it was my gramma’s and she gave it to me. So anyway, I’m going to have to think it through and make a decision.

Tonight we made some really nummy taco bean dip (which Nikki posted in her blog) and my gramma made chili. Spunky had lots of fun licking the mayo off of the spoons.  I stuffed myself on the dip and chili and Mexican cornbread. Now I’m on here real quick (yeah right) to share some links with you.

See, I forgot to tell everyone yesterday that I entered Spunky into the February dog photo contest at and while it didn’t win, it did make it into the honorable mentions. Yeah, there’s 150 honorable mentions, but they said they received over 1300 that month so I feel really good about that. The photo I sent in is one from Rock Knob in Duluth, MN where Spunky was being all super dog and I really love the shot. It’s up on my DA but I’ll post it here so you can see. Also, if you don’t believe me, you can see his honorable mention here.

Spunky Being a Super Dog

Spunky Being a Super Dog

I love this picture!

Also, I found a cool article about a bill recently introduced into Congress that could help save the wild horses of the American west.

Wouldn’t it be great if it passed?

And, if you feel like making a difference yourself, you could sign this petition about saving monk seals:

Also, I must say that I’m proud of myself for getting all these “fancy” picture links to work, with Nikki’s help of course.


So I went from on a roll to passed out over the past week. I finally caught whatever Nikki had and while I’ve rested more than Nikki did, I still never really took a day to get over it. The first day I slept in late but then felt so guilty that I forced myself to get up. Probably a stupid idea. Even when people told me to take it easy, I just didn’t want to sleep since I always feel lazy anyway. So yeah, I’ve been partially sick for about 5 days now and it hasn’t helped my mood much. I’ve been really down and agitated. Of course the biggest problem is probably that I haven’t been sleeping enough. I’ve turned back into an insomniac. One night I stayed up until 5 watching a show on the real Moby Dick, talking about the Essex and all that cool stuff. The other nights we’ve just watched who knows what and stayed up until like 3. Yeah, I’m bad and generally keep Nikki up with me, even though she’s being so good and actually working on her site. It’s just always so hot in here at night (even though outside and the rest of the house is freezing) and my Restless Legs have been acting up. Nikki’s too. Not sure why because we haven’t been drinking lots of cokes lately. My guess is that perhaps it’s because we haven’t done much of anything since we’ve been sick walking wise. I mean, even going to a store stretches your legs some. Anyway, anyone out there know any more about this than we do?

Enough of the feeling down crap. I’ll switch to letting everyone know more about our vet visit. I know, some probably don’t care, but other do so yeah. All of the cats are now up to date on their rabies and feline distemper or FVRCP. I don’t know all that that stands for – maybe Carrie can tell me? Actually, I just checked the records and apparently Akima will need a booster for that one but Merlin doesn’t? I don’t get it. Help, anyone? Anyway, the vet and vet tech thought that all of our cats were really beautiful (they even said “Wow” when they saw Zane) and that they’re all healthy. Zane, of course, is overweight, but I’m not too concerned because he’s a good weight when he’s just with us – as in not here at my mom’s. He’s 14.9 pounds at the moment and Merlin is 10.8 at only 8 months! He’s developed a bit of a belly here too, but he’s also a growing boy and we think he’s probably end up even bigger than Zane. As a comparison, Akima, who is about 4 now, is only 6.2 pounds. That’s just how Wisconsin cats are. Akima is still doing really great with her recovery. She refuses to take it easy, though. We’ve had to lock her up a lot because of it. Seriously, by the second day she had already ripped out her one external stitch but luckily she didn’t open anything and so far it seems to be healing just fine. The other day she managed to make it on top of the 7-foot bookshelves in our room and this morning she was racing back and forth and back and forth across our floor. She’s gone totally crazy and she’s actually acting as if she’s in a permanent state of heat because she’s been very lovey dovey ever since. We joke that instead of removing her uterus, they added another one on accident. Right now she’s sleeping peacefully with Zane on top of some of our stuffed animals. Merlin, who has been a complete bastard lately, is actually resting right behind my laptop. I guess they all want to be around us today. As I wrote that last sentence, Rufus pushed the door open and came in to be with us as well. Everyone loves us, I guess. The only one we’ve really been having problems with lately is Spunky.

Yeah, he’s developed quite the attitude problem. He’s spoiled to death here by my mom and so he no longer thinks that he needs to listen to me. What’s worse, almost every look he gives me now is one of resentment, all because I refuse to give him a pepperoni every single time he comes in from outside or to feed him ridiculous amounts of food. He used to be happy with a “good boy” and a pat on the head but now he’s being beyond a diva and I find myself at a loss of what to do with him. He is seriously disgustingly fat because my mom doesn’t understand how to feed a dog that doesn’t self regulate. We’ve gotten into arguments over feeding that dog. She thinks that a cup twice a day isn’t enough but you know what, I know my dog and how much he needs to eat to be at a healthy weight. She thinks that a heaping bowl is a cup. Really, how hard is it? I finally got her to agree not to feed him at all (though she still gave him a little this morning) but the amount of people food he’s getting is also way too much. This morning he was given a huge pot of mashed potatoes. *smackes head* I don’t know what to do with him. He’s gross. He has NO waist anymore and his underside is flat rather than having the nice curve of his chest going up into a thin stomach. And I’m sure everyone knows that I don’t starve my animals. I know what a healthy weight is. That’s all I’m asking for. When we left Ashland he was at a nice 62 pounds. Now I’d be willing to bet he’s 75. Not even kidding, I can barely pick him up anymore. It’s just so frustrating!

Last night I had a pretty big breakdown where I cried really hard because all the guilt of my past animals came back to me. I truly feel like I killed some of my kids. A lot of my rats died from lice because I could never get rid of them. I didn’t bathe them enough. I basically just sat back and let them die. And then there’s the animals like Echo and Jingles where I knew they were sick but decided not to get them fixed. Granted, we were talking $100’s or even $1000’s but still, I feel like if I’d worked harder, I could have done it. Or I could have turned them into a rescue where they’d be fixed. I always felt that they’d prefer to stay with their family but I’m not sure. I cried for the animals that died in my hands and I cried for the ones that died when I wasn’t even there. Both ways make me feel guilty because both ways I either wasn’t there or didn’t save them somehow. Maybe it’s silly but that’s how I feel. I cried for animals that I killed when I was a kid either out of stupidity or, I hate to admit it, curiosity. I very seriously cried over two ants that I remember burning with a magnifying glass when I was maybe 11 or 12. What was I thinking? Why would I do something like that? Am I some cruel monster or are children really just that idiotic sometimes? I cried for so many things and for so many animals that I’ve lost in my life. I wish I knew some way to come to peace with the past but I just don’t know how. It’s a very heavy burden that I carry around all the time and it’s hard.

Maybe that’s why I feel so determined to make a positive impact on the world. I want to try and make up for some of the bad things I’ve done in my life. I know it will never erase them but perhaps it will help. I still really want to get that shelter animal site up and running. Nikki will help me with it someday. For now she’s busy being a productive person and putting happiness into the world. I want to be like her. Anyway, on that line of thinking, I want to try and figure out how to put up another set of links that will link to different helping the world sites. For instance, I’ve recently gotten really into which is a site where people can make and sign petitions which are sent to different people in power mostly in the US but also other places around the world. I had signed some randomly every once in awhile when I came across them but now I’ve actually made a profile on there and have been signing a few each day. So maybe some of them won’t have any impact but I think petitions really can help affect policy if it reaches the right people and enough people are behind the idea. Most of the ones I sign deal with animals or the environment but you can search for different categories and really get behind what matters to you. I’m thinking about posting links to some of mine so people can go check them out and sign them if they want to. If you do join, feel free to look me up. My name is (come on, you CAN guess it correctly without me telling you, right?): forpawz. Below is a button that I found for one of the petitions I signed. Check it out and see if it’s something you’d be interested in getting into too.

And your photos for today are from awhile ago, when we were still in Ashland. I went through them just now and my heart melted. Enjoy!

Me and Baby Merlin Sleeping

Me and Baby Merlin Sleeping

Okay, my hair is icky, but it’s cute anyway.

Me Making Spunky Do Funny Faces

Me Making Spunky Do Funny Faces

He looks like a grumpy old man until you see his huge smile. I want that happy puppy back!

On A Roll!

So lately I’ve been trying to be more productive. Nikki has been being so good lately! She’s been working so hard on her new design site and it is SO CLOSE to being done! I can’t wait until she gets all the last little kinks worked out and opens it! It will be great! It looks really neat and professional and she has thought of absolutely EVERYTHING! I’m so excited and proud of her. Once that’s up and running she can focus more on making new themes which I think she really likes. I’m really impressed by her. Unfortunately, she’s also sick for the first time, pretty much, since we moved here. The warmer weather was really helping her immune system but something slipped by and knocked her on her butt. Or rather, it should have, but she likes to pretend like she’s Wonder Woman so she pushes herself and makes it worse. Like she said, though, she actually did take it easy today, with only minimal computer time and some knitting.

This past Saturday we went to Knoxville with my grandparents and Winnie. I really wanted it to be fun and some of it was but for some reason, the day was just kind of blah. We went to an Asian market which was cool but it wasn’t the one we were supposed to go to. Still, I bought Nikki and I some candy (Pocky and YanYan or something like that) and some orange drink she likes. We also went to Best Buy and played with the video games while my grandpa picked up his repaired computer. We also went to the pet store that Nikki and I went to on our anniversary/Valentine’s Day (oh crap, never wrote about it) and saw that the blizzard leopard gecko is still there but we didn’t get him. Finally, we ate at Salsaritas (like Chipotle) and went home. Actually, Nikki ended up getting sick at the restaurant so she didn’t eat. Poor baby. On the way back we talked about how the economy is crap and I think that led to us feeling down too. Umm, when we got back we watched some Academy Awards but once my grandparents left I stopped watching because I find that stuff boring. It was nice to play with Brody, though. I miss him.

So with the animal stuff I was talking about in the last post. Well, we decided to get that one girl ferret but when we went to get her, she had been sold ealier that day. It was a big downer. Then I fell in love with a cute little white with dusty ears and nose but we didn’t get it either. I wanted to but I knew we shouldn’t. It sucked, though, because there were stupid boys there that wanted to get the same little bunny and to keep it in a live trap. One even said he promised not to shoot it. Great. But yeah, we decided not to get any animals for now. I really wanted one since I had gotten into that new animal mode but I know it’s for the best. So instead of getting a new animal right now, I decided to spend my money on taking care of the ones we already have. Now, obviously I take care of them, but I mean routine vet care. I decided to go ahead and take the kitties in for their shots so they will be up to date on everything. This means I won’t have to worry about it when Merlin bolts the door and I can start volunteering at a shelter around here and I won’t put my own kids at risk. Spunky is all fine because he had to be up to date so I could work at the kennels. After the cats, we’ll just have to get Rufus up to date and then everything will be great. Umm, also, besides getting shots, I’ve decided to finally get Akima spayed. Now, before you get mad that she’s almost 4 and only now getting spayed, let me explain. Akima came straight from the pound in Ashland, not the shelter, so she wasn’t spayed when I got her. I was going to get her spayed right away but I got a bad feeling whenever I thought about her going under. I’ve learned to listen to my feelings so I waited. Then when I had no more bad feelings, the problem was that I had no money. I finally started making money this past summer but by then I thought I’d wait until we were here since the vets up there are corrupt and money hungry. So that is why she is getting spayed now. Tomorrow morning a little after 7:30 in fact. Queue me getting nervous. I always get nervous when kids go in and have to be put under. Of course I do. You worry about people too. But see, I’m also hanging under this huge cloud of guilt. I feel so bad that I waited this long. This is my baby and I feel like I’ve put her at huge risk because I didn’t just go ahead and do it when she was a kitten, before her first heat. If i had spayed her on time then her risk of mammary cancer would have been reduced by a huge amount. Now she’s just as susceptible as a non-spayed cat. Of course, she won’t be at risk for uterine or cervical cancer anymore but still. I feel like a failure. Nikki tells me that it was good to listen to my feelings but I still should have done it sooner. If my kitten gets that cancer later on in life I don’t know what I’ll do. Anyway, for now, I just want tomorrow to go smoothly with NO complications. Please keep her in your thoughts and send her well wishes? I truly appreciate it. It helped Gracie, after all! So yeah, tomorrow we drop Akima off at 7:30 in the morning and then when we go in to pick her up at 4:30, we also bring the boys and they get all their shots (or in Merlin’s case, start boosters). In total it’ll come to over $300, which sucks, but I want my kids to be healthy and safe.

Okay, now for the productive part. Most of you know, I’m sure, but I worked a lot today on defining and setting rates for different pet care services. (h njj                       ~Zane) If you haven’t already looked at it, I’d appreciate anyone else checking out my Livejournal: forpawz. I’m going to add more as I go along and I’ll be dropping off more flyers around town. Nikki made me really nice looking ones. Then it’ll just be up to the universe to hopefully answer. Anyway, I want to thank all of you for offering me so much support. I do get down and feel like I’ll never do anything but you don’t give up on me and when I put my mind to something, I can get it done.  ^_^

And now for your favorite part: the photos!

Drake Stealing Some of My Desert

Drake Stealing Some of My Desert

Nate Climbing the Bed

Nate Climbing the Bed

My Mom and I Grooming Rufus

My Mom and I Grooming Rufus

Giving Spunky a Manicure - Spoiled Pup!

Giving Spunky a Manicure - Spoiled Pup!

Akima Being Cute and Playing Around

Akima Being Cute and Playing Around

Again, please send Akima your well wishes. Let her heal quickly and be back to her cute little self very soon! I love you, kitten! And everyone, of course!

My Thoughts Are Flooded

Hey everyone! Oh man, have there been some things going on that are yanking on my heart and mind. First, I’ve been trying to make an impact on the world. I want to be someone. I want to help the world become a better place. I guess I’ve been inspired by lots of things. So I started writing a letter to one of my mom’s friend’s a couple weeks ago and finished and sent it to her yesterday. This woman is amazing! She has lived all over the world, in all hemispheres, in North America, Europe and Asia. She has traveled even more places and written for travel magazines and taken amazing photographs. Now she lives in Canada and guides a few safaris to Africa each year. It’s mind blowing! She’s like an embodiment of my hopes and dreams (though I’d also want some more hands-on work with animals). Anyway, if you ever want to check it out, her website is So there’s that.

Then there’s the Dusty thing. It got me thinking. I didn’t like that one site that I showed you since most of the messages were negative. It made me want to start a new site that had nothing but good thoughts and images. Kind of like what I did with mine. Just showing all the loved cats and other animals out there.

Random Thought: I want a hungry! You know, that cute little orange dude from the weightwatchers commercials! He’s got eyebrows just like me! *does eyebrow things just to prove it*

Anyway, I think it would be a good place. You know, kind of like what I wanted to do with this place but it just didn’t turn out that way. People could send in pictures of happy animals and it would put some love in the world. Then that got me thinking about an idea I thought of awhile ago where I wanted to make a site called I Love Shelter Dogs which then became Animals. But yeah. Just a bunch of pictures and stories of animals rescued from shelters. We could have features and obviously link to the ASPCA and Petfinder and other such sites. And I could start a resources page for shelters around the country. I know there’s lists like that other places, but could it hurt? But basically, I think it’d be good because people can talk about numbers and statistics regarding shelter animals but if you put faces to those beautiful souls that were rescued, I think it would have a stronger impact on people. Besides, who doesn’t want to show off their wonderful rescue babies? Anyway, it’s something I really want to do but I don’t have the expertise to make a site like that and Nikki is busy doing real work. Still, what do y’all think?

Then, yesterday we went to the pet store in town that we hadn’t been to before and found the cutest little ferrets. Now we’ve agreed to not get any more little ones but we figured looking wouldn’t hurt. We’ve turned away from plenty of cute babies before. There were 4 ferrets there, 2 light and 2 very dark. The dark ones were TINY (as in too young to be there, really) and boy were they feisty! As in pretty mean. These things were smaller than our girl rats and yet one of them bit the crap outta me. It’s okay, though, because I’m pretty used to ferret bites so when it’s just my hands I can take it (though feet and face will ALWAYS hurt). Anyway, I like the lighter ones and Nikki and I fell in love with this cute little girl. She looked a lot like a lighter Nate and while the other light girl was prettier, she was sleeping most of the time so we didn’t get to know her. We also looked at the bunnies, birds and reptiles there. My mom had this sulfur crested cockatoo totally in love with her and giving her kisses and dancing with us and all. But really, most of the hour and some we spent there was with the ferrets. Oh man did we want to bring her home! But I’m responsible and Nikki doesn’t have the money so we came home without her. Still, we couldn’t get her off our minds. We said no more little ones but we’ve also wanted to get the boys a little sister for a long time. See, I like having 3 ferrets because when the unthinkable happens and you lose one, it’s really nice for the there to be more than one remaining because ferrets get MAJORLY depressed when they lose friends. Drake is around 5 now and Nate is around3 so it’s already time for a new one if you go by my timeline. Plus, it’s not like we’re just racing out on a whim. Our Jingles died in August of last year. I still haven’t talked about him because it was too hard but I’m thinking it’ll be time soon. *sigh* Anyway, we kept thinking about the ferret and so today we decided to go back. We couldn’t decide if we wanted her to be there or not because we knew it’d be hard to leave again. When we go there, the two dark ones had been sold – in ONE day! The lighter ones were still there, though. Funny thing, we fell in love with the other girl today. The one that is, I hate to say it, prettier. Obviously they’re all adorable but this one is VERY light, where her head is almost white and it continues down into a triangle on her chest. And we actually got to play with her today and she was just as sweet and her ruby eyes are so beautiful. Oh, and at one point I dropped her, on hard floor. Okay, so she leaped from my back, but I still felt bad. Seriously, I can still hear that sickening thud in my head. I checked her over and she seemed to be okay. *big breath* Leaving today was even harder. We so wanted to be able to take her home! Of course, we’d feel bad splitting them up, but there’s no way we could afford 2. Hell, we can’t even afford the one. Well, I wish I could spend my money on her but I really just shouldn’t. I wish I had started my dog walking/pet photography/training/pet sitting job already. Then I’d know I had money coming. But, it’s just a bad idea. And that sucks. I don’t know why we’re so attached this time. It just happens like that sometimes. Man, if only. I just know they’re going to be gone before we could get the funds. I just told them I loved them and that I hoped they got good homes.  Meh. Don’t know what else to say about that.

And, I hate watching shows where women, especially big women or non-white women, are so close to winning things and then they lose. Like the Wheel of Fortune I’m watching right now. Why am I so empathetic towards people like that? I don’t know, but this silly old show is really getting to me. I hurt watching her feel dumb/sad. What is wrong with me? Oh YAY! The woman just won $4500 in the speed round and it make me so happy! ^_^

And down goes my mood. I also forgot to mention that earlier I gave the rats some tortilla bits for a treat and then I saw that Morgan was choking on it. I got a little scared and told Nikki to look up what to do. See, I had a hamster die in my hands because he choked to death. That was my little Squirt. It had happened a few times before and I’d always managed to save him but then… I just couldn’t do it again. He died right there because I couldn’t help him in time. Yeah. Anyway, she seemed to get over it on her own pretty quickly but then we got more bad news. I looked at her as she climbed up onto the bars and saw a lump under her armpit. Our little baby has a tumor. I’m almost positive it’s a mammary tumor which is common in female rats and almost completely benign. I had a rat, Liney, who had two and they both grew to about the size of a ping pong ball but they didn’t really harm her. As long as they can still move, it’s best to just let them be. If they get too big for them to function, then it’s time to consider surgery. So yeah, lots of things happening lately. It’s no fun.

But back up again? We’ve been letting Nate and Drake run around our room for awhile for the past 2 days. It’s messy in here so we were worried it wasn’t ferret proof but it turns out that everything is fine. It’s great to be able to let them romp around again. I know they appreciate it. Also, we cleaned all the rats cages today so they all got to come out and play too, even Chunky. Of course, he was a scaredy boy and he hid under the bed and then hopped right back into his cage when it was done being cleaned. But at least he still had an adventure. Okay, this is very much long enough. Good night all!

Nikki Playing With the Girls

Nikki Playing With the Girls

Nate Attacking a Plastic Bag

Nate Attacking a Plastic Bag

Nate Standing Up to Check Out the Camera

Drake Standing Up to Check Out the Camera


    • AuthorAshley Niels is an up-and-coming pet photographer living in the great Smokey Mountains of Eastern Tennessee with her girlfriend and their furry and scaly kids.

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