Friday, August 30, 2013

Part I - Odilia's World (Former Foster Friday)

I am so excited to finally be able to share with you Odilia's Journey from Amy's point of view.  She says this is "Part I" that alone made me smile.  Her account of the events touched me, and I hope you enjoy it.

Part I - Odilia's World
 "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even heard. 
They must be felt within the heart." - Helen Keller
It's funny, this thing called life. It is as if all the world's a stage, as Shakespeare said, and we are just here to play the role that has already been written for us. In this act, Odilia is the playwright and I, the actor.
I met this wondrous, little creature in May when Connie ( brought her along to the BlogPaws 2013 conference. Connie, who herself, is quite the inspiration, has been fostering rescues for more than a decade; opening her home and heart to kittens and mama cats in need - before they are ever suited for adoption. She has cared for dozens of pregnant cats and kittens – nurturing and nursing through the worst of illnesses, malnourishment and neglect. She has transformed many homeless kittens who would have never had a chance otherwise into healthy, socialized, happy souls that easily find and transition into forever homes with loving families.
Each of Connie's fosters has held a special place in her heart, but Odilia, was the icing on the cake. Born without sight, this two pound mite was simply destined for greatness. Abandoned at birth with her mother and a shelter unsure of how to provide her with the care she needed, Connie didn't blink.  As she posted in her blog,

"'The Shelter asked, 'Do you want her, she has no eyes, no one wants her'
 "How could I possibly refuse?"                                       

A month after being in Connie's care, and barely eight weeks old, Odilia's zest for life was already quite apparent. She traveled like a pro from Maine to Virginia to accompany Connie to the pet conference where for 3 days she paraded around either in a tiny silver carrier not much bigger than a camera bag or in Connie's arms. Every time I'd run into Connie, I couldn't help but realize how taken I was with this little wonder. I felt an instant connection. It was fun to watch her being showered with attention from fellow attendees and Odilia seemed to thrive on being passed from one cooing adorer to the next and parading around at the end of her leash as everyone stopped to pet and hug her.
In the back of my mind I just knew I had to make her part of my life but with two dogs and three cats at home, I knew I was nearing my limit. I had just recently become engaged and my fiancé, Ray, also had three cats of his own. Talk about a furry Brady Bunch. I knew my plate was full, yet I couldn't help but stay in touch with Connie after the conference. I followed Odilia's progress and antics via social media over the next month along with so many others who had come to love her. Surely someone would beat me to inquiring about the possibility of adopting her.
When I finally worked up the nerve to ask Connie in late June, I hadn't even considered the 559 mile distance between us. Where there is a will, there is a way, has pretty much always been my motto and it has always been Odilia's, as well. My will to get to her was greater than any obstacle and I was setting the plan in motion even before I think I realized it.
When I broke the news to Ray, I expected him to roll his eyes at me and be the solid, rational person that I've come to depend upon to balance my carefree, no-boundary self and reason with me that adopting Odilia was just not practical right now. We had two households to get ready to combine, one to sell, nine animals to integrate, 2 full time jobs, our part-time hobbies/jobs, and the list went on. Oh, and then there was a wedding to plan!

Not only did he offer to cancel our beloved annual trip to the beach that we always look forward to but he suggested we make a vacation of driving and touring the New England states in order to bring Odilia home with us. Thrilled, shocked, and overjoyed doesn't even begin to express how I felt. I had longingly hoped for him to suggest such a plan but never had I expected it!    
I had no clue how to even begin preparing for this little creature's arrival but something told me not to worry. Somehow, through all the anticipation and nervousness, I also had this odd sense that this was meant to be and Odi and I would figure it all out when the time came.
One month later, Ray and I set out on our journey. We had the most memorable trip, stopping in the quaint town of Jim Thorpe, PA, then Woodstock (bucket list item!). We headed north to Gloucester, MA, (another bucket list place!) before landing in Kennebunkport - home to the Bushes, Connie and Princess Odilia.

We were staying for two days and because our B&B didn't permit pets, our first order of business after checking in was to go visit Odi & Connie.

or stop for ice cream
Before I knew it, I was in the 'kitty room' made so familiar via webcam on Connie's blog. And, there, right in front of us, in all her glory was Princess Odi running amok with her fellow roommates. After a short but sweet visit, we needed to return to get settled in for our stay.

It was hard to leave but I knew we'd soon return. We ate our way through Kennebunkport, and took in the beautiful coastal sites. The next day, Ray dropped me off at Connie's and after visiting with our girl, Connie and I headed to the shelter to 'make it official'. Odilia really was going to adopt me!  
I couldn't believe mama Connie was going to entrust me with this precious soul. It just seemed so surreal. Yet, it was as if Odilia, herself, had decided that all of this was supposed to happen and I was the muse following through on her plan.

Papers in hand, I'm sure I resembled a peacock strutting out of the shelter. Connie and I spent the afternoon together celebrating our little miracle kitty. After she dropped me off at the B&B, I could only imagine how bittersweet her drive home must have been. I knew she was happy for Odilia, the little girl nobody thought would ever find a home - except for Connie. But, she had spent more time with this little miracle than most of her fosters and had grown quite attached. How could she not. Odi was more than irresistible. This little wonder knew how to work her charm! She had captured Connie's heart and by now the affection of hundreds of admirers through Connie's blog updates and conference attendance.
We picked up Odi the next morning for the long drive home. I had prepared a mini-palace for our girl in the back seat of our SUV complete with pillows, blankets and toys. We put our little pampered princess in her temporary castle knowing she was fully depending on us to take care of her.
Backing out of Connie's drive way was probably the toughest part. I was so excited to have my girl yet so torn driving away from one of the most loving caregivers I have had the privilege to befriend. Aside from giving Odilia the very best life I possible could, I knew I had a big obligation to ensure I kept Connie, as well as Odi's many followers, up-to-date on her life. Caring for Odi would be easy. I was hoping I wouldn't disappoint Connie.

Odilia made herself right at home, perching on a fluffy blanket placed on the arm rest right between me and Ray. She travelled like an old hat the entire nine-hour trip - much better than either of us. She spent time on our laps, on Ray's shoulder, and climbing in and out of her carrier and pimped-out crate.

I was filled with as much excitement as uncertainty about my crew at home. All were rescues and each had always been so kind and open to the newest addition to the family. I just wasn't sure if I was pushing my luck with number #6. I was pretty sure Oakley, my Golden boy, and Hope, my little part dauschand/collie/golden/aardvark would be fine. Both liked (or simply tolerated the cats). BoBo, my oldest cat, was a very gentle-natured boy and welcomed everyone into our home. Grayer, my youngest male, was quiet and passive. Gracie, my only female feline, was my worry. She would either decide to mother our new kitten, as she had Grayer, and take her under her wing, or she'd be a finicky female feline and give us all a hard time.

Amy's friends decorated her house for Odilia's homecoming
When we arrived home, I held off picking the dogs up from the sitter. I left Odi in the comfort of the air-conditioning until I greeted and made a fuss over each cat. Ray then brought the crate into the house and I brought Odi in her pink carrier. I let the cats sniff everything until their sniffers were worn out then placed Odi in the crate so she could get a better feel of all the newness around her. The cats, who apparently had much more left in their sniffers, continued to examine this new creature. Odi stood at a safe distance in the crate and stretched to check them out, too. Everyone seemed more curious than upset. I was turning blue from holding my breath. 
I had transformed a spare room into a cattery hoping to replicate the comfort of the room Odilia had become accustomed to at Connie's. We carried the crate (and, Odi) upstairs and let the new round of sniffing begin. I placed the crate against a baby gate in the doorway of the room and carefully transferred Odi into her new abode. I was so relieved to let her out to stretch.
I thought I had created an environment that would take her weeks to explore.  I strategically stacked crates, shelves and baskets so she would be able to 'work her way up' as she became accustomed to the layout of the room. I was certain it would take her weeks to find the top shelf of each. I had scattered toys and varying textured items and rugs to entice her already extraordinary senses. I first showed her the location of her litter box which she immediately christened. Then, with the trio of new siblings watching her every move from the other side of the gate, Odi made her way around the room with one fell sweep calculating and storing every corner and obstacle in her super memory. I watched with sheer amazement as she confidently maneuvered the room, checking out every item. Then she located a feather and began swatting and playing with her new toy. 
I think we all just looked at each other in disbelief.  Odilia was 'home'.

"Not the senses I have but what I do with them is my kingdom." - Helen Keller

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Font size

So, I changed the font size because I thought the standard was just a wee bit too small.

Did I go too far?  Too big?  not big enough?  What do you think?  You are the one reading this so please feel free to weigh in..

(the above image is the font slightly smaller.. )

#catvidfest vs Kittens

It is just the intro, there are no cats there.. 

Will there be cats in this cat video show?

wait wait wait.. what?

I'm waiting for Paw Warz

Dinner time.. 

 I'm better than cat videos

I'm gonna be an internet star!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Rest in peace Smivick..

For those of you who saw yesterday's post but might have missed the update.. the kitten did not make it.  I have no idea if this was Smivick or not, (I don't think so I saw a glimpse and I think this one is a girl but I could be wrong)

I am kicking myself now for not taking portrait shots this weekend.  They were leaking stool everywhere and I just didn't want to bother them any more than I had to.. I even thought getting the videos was a bit much.

What really gets me beyond the fact that this is the second kitten this year, this is also the second boy kitten of a set of four kittens that look so much a like that had two boys and two girls in the set.  I am absolutely floored by the similarities to Henri Sigmund 

Beyond the loss of the kitten, a small part of me cringes every time I type Smivick, because I am really loving that name and now I don't get to 'use' it.. I could just see his adoption card, and the look on people's faces and I could imagine that name bring smiles to people's faces.. I would love to give the name to his twin brother, but I can't do that.. Maybe I'll save it for a future litter and call him Little Smivick..

and now since the seven dwarf them is right out, I've got to come up with names.. How about we honor Smivick and you take your initials (or those of someone you love) and turn them into a name.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Fading Kitten - Purrs needed

So this wasn't a good morning.  I went down to feed Snow and change out the bedding yet again.  As I was moving looking around I noticed one kitten sitting in the corner behind Snow.  I started moving the kits out of the box and into the smaller box to change the bedding and when I got to this kitten I knew immediately it wasn't good.

No, it wasn't the wee one, nor was it any of the three that have had the diarrhea the worst, it was one of the gray boys.  I put him on the couch and move the rest of the kittens over and changed out the bedding quickly hoping he would 'wake up' and start moving around but I knew pretty quickly he wasn't just sleeping heavy.

He wasn't rolling over, he laid right where I put him.  I picked him up and he felt cold.  I wrapped him in a face cloth and held him to me hoping that my day didn't just take the turn that I was seeing happening, but no, warming him up wasn't helping.  He needed professional help.  I packed up mom and the kits and tucked him in my shirt and ran for the car.  I got there and was so fearful for him that I went into the house to get some Kayro Syrup for him.  Sadly I didn't have any (or I simply couldn't see it) so I warmed up some goats milk and tried to get some of that in him.  He wasn't thrilled with that but took a few drops.  I was more worried about him inhaling it so I gave up quickly and off I went.

I stopped at the Kennebunk Vet near the shelter and they told me they couldn't help me* and tried to send me off to the emergency clinic.  I continued on to the shelter who told me that they didn't have anyone to put him down.  I said I've already done that this year I'd very much like to try to save this one, so after some phone calls and some paperwork (and he is now temporarily called SMVC) (OMG.. Smivick.. I like it ) I went on the 20 minute car ride to another vet.

Tucked in my shirt snuggled by my heart I kept patting his head and his little body to keep his blood flowing and talking to him. There were a few times I was afraid because he stopped mewing and because he was so darn cold, but we did make it.

The vet took his temp and it was 92ish.. (could have been a bit higher but the vet didn't leave the thermometer in that long) and he talked about how hard this road would be.  I explained I've been doing this for long enough to know exactly what we were facing but having lost a kitten this year with out even trying I really needed them to try.  They are going to snuggle him up to some warm water bottles and give him some warm fluids and glucose and some antibiotics..

Since I brought the rest of the family and since we had diarrhea issues in some of them I asked if they could just watch the family today so I didn't have to worry about another one going down.  He said they would, so the whole family is there right now..   Paws crossed that I get the whole family back when the day is done..

*while I too was upset that they couldn't help me, please do not be too mad at them.  They had their own emergencies from the weekend (being Monday morning and all) and they said they did not have an available vet who could deal with it.  While I am not happy with the outcome, I can understand it.  Also the shelter is just not equipped to deal with sick kittens, and the chances of our little Smivick making it is kind of low, so I can sorta understand the though of not putting him through more trying..  *I* needed them to try..


I just got a phone call from the vet.  Smivick passed away.

Bathing kittens

So the kittens are dealing with diarrhea just like their mom.  I clean them up and often before I can get them back in the box at least one of them has started pooping again.  Three of them have it fairly bad.  The wee little one's look alike has it the worse; his rear end is often quite red.

So I bring down a jug of warm water and pour it into a plastic shoe box and try to get the worst of it off and for the most part do a good job. They are not fans of it, but they don't react too badly. I think they dislike being dried off more.

I then put them in the smaller box so I can clean out the bedding in the larger box, and then transfer them back. It wears them out so they often take a nap.

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