Meet Austin from Texas

As many of you who have been reading my blog posts on Callie the cat, you know that she hates other cats, that is except the mystery cat that I have dubbed “Romeo!” So cats can’t walk into her line of vision or she screams in fear and outrage, but if a dog drops by, she can’t wait to greet it. I don’t know whether she was raised with dogs as a kitten, I adopted her as a stray at approximately 3 years of age, or whatever, but she lights up at the image of a dog coming her way. She especially likes dogs that have already been introduced to cats and knows their evil ways, because she will raise up her paw ever so slightly just to see if she can get a rise out of the dog.

Austin and his owner came around the corner to go for a walk and the elderly, senior dog, Austin had his leash in his mouth as he quietly ambled along. When he spotted Callie sitting up high and mighty on top of the picnic table, he dropped his leash and attempted to back out of the confining corner and return to where he had come from. He didn’t want to walk past Callie and to make her mad and was acting quite deferential. The owner, whose name I didn’t catch, of course, went back to get Austin and they were then introduced with a quick touch of the nose. I didn’t have my camera ready and was as surprised as Austin when Callie ever so slightly raised up her paw. Austin jerked his head back right away and Callie delighted in his frightened response.

After that, Austin refused to make any more eye contact with her and kept a safe distance alongside his owner’s legs. But Callie, on the other hand, couldn’t get enough of this handsome hunk and she was begging him to come just a little closer for her to get another look. He would have nothing more to do with her though. One shot at it was all that Callie was going to be rewarded, and she blew it. She lost her chance to touch noses again with this beautiful golden lab from Texas.

Dixie and the Harbor Cat

Michael and I walked over to Crescent City Harbor to have dinner at the Grotto Restaurant, when I happened to spot an adorable Jack Russel staring at something below on the rocks between the bars of the pier. When we walked over to investigate, a woman named Anne said that for 3 years she has been taking her dog Dixie down to the harbor so that she can stare at a female, ginger and white, tabby cat that is feral. Anne would sit on a bench close by, and she would attach Dixie to the bars on the pier. At first the ginger tabby would run away and hide in fear, but as the years passed, she became tamer and less cautious, and Dixie was able to get closer and closer to her. Eventually the kitty settled on a rock that is just close enough for Dixie to believe that some day they might be able to touch noses. They would stare at each other for hours and hours and not so much as move a muscle. Anne assured me that a woman came every morning to feed the cat, and by the looks of her ( she is obese) she is doing just fine. My dog Addy use to stare at a tennis ball in much the same manner that Dixie stares at this cat. 3 whole years have passed now and they have not touched noses yet! They both just continue to stare at one another for hours at a time. Anne needs to take Dixie over to the harbor every day in the quiet of the afternoon or she becomes visibly upset. Now that is unrequited love for you! Keep it up Dixie! Some day maybe the kitty cat will allow you to touch her nose….

A Farrier Named Rochelle

You do not find many women farriers in life and my sister Gayle has met a good one. Rochelle use to be a lab tech drawing blood in a hospital in Long Beach, California and switched careers mid life. She is a talented horse shoer with loads of patience and a gentle but firm touch.  The horses respond well to her and she does a fabulous job and has been doing Gayle’s horses for close to 15 or more years. It can be very dangerous work and her injuries are numerous. A horse can react in a split second, rearing up and coming down on a human foot, pulling back on the lead line and snapping a finger off and of course landing a swift kick when you least expect it! I am very impressed with Rochelle and thought I would post this short story about her in my blog about Callie. Callie is not the only animal in my life, but she doesn’t know about the others. Katy Kittie, River, Murphy, Bella and Sargent live with my sister Gayle. Gayle and I are very close and it is always a pleasure to visit with her and go horseback riding and play with her awesome dogs and one cat…. Callie doesn’t like to see me pack up the suitcase, and will never know of my whereabouts; she must suspect something is going on but is too happy to see my return and doesn’t ask too many questions. May it stay that way…

You Better Watch Out, Better Not Cry!

We adopted Callie in December of 2011 and have not regretted it since. She was an unexpected Christmas gift and after a month of trying to find her owners, we accepted her into the family as one of our own. She has such a big personality and reminds me of my deceased Jack Russel Terrier, Miss Adelaide. She acts more like a dog than a cat, but there is one very cat like trait that drives me nuts, and that is exploring inside the fireplace. She is convinced that the bird sounds she hears echoing through the chimney are worth pursuing and if I don’t have the opening closed up, she climbs inside and gets filthy dirty with soot and grime. When she finally gives up trying to locate the source of the bird song, she climbs back out and gets paw prints all over the house. I of course have to bathe her afterwards, and she complains quite bitterly when I do so, and she feels really sorry for herself and I can tell that she is embarrassd by her appearance. When she is soaking wet, she is very scrawny looking, and her tail resembles that of a rat, and she looks quite pathetic and appears to know it. She crawls under the bed to hide or sits in a corner and pouts until she is dry and fluffy again.  Does that stop her from climbing back up into the chimney? Of course not… But Christmas is coming Callie, and you had better watch out, better not cry, better not pout, I am telling you why, Santa Claus is coming to town.

Ruby Tuesday

Before we moved to Borrego Springs, we lived on the coast in Southern California, and Callie wanted my protection whenever she would go for a walk. I would leave the front window cracked open so that she could explore the gardens during the day, but something happened that made her afraid to go out by herself. I think it was a big, black and white tom cat that would give her a hard time whenever he laid eyes on her. One day we were out walking and she ran past me in a blind panic with the tom cat right on her tail, and I had to chase after them and smack the cat on the butt to tell him to leave her alone! The look on his face was priceless because you could tell he was totally smitten by her and couldn’t understand why I had yelled at him. Needless to say,  I had to keep a close eye out for him whenever we went for our walk because Callie was aftraid of him. Every morning and late afternoon, Callie would circle around me and ask to go out for a walk and we would take a tour of the gardens. She loved the coral trees and would climb up several of them and then hop up onto the wooden rail that bordered the complex so that she could make her daily rounds. Her favorite friend to visit was a beautiful, gentle and kind, golden-doodle named, Ruby. I think the feeling was mutual and whenever they would cross paths, they would touch noses and Ruby would try to follow her back home. Callie must have been raised with a dog in her early upbringing because she is not afraid of dogs at all. But that is exactly what I am afraid of in the desert because I think she would let a coyote come right up to her. She loves dogs but can’t stand the sight of a cat. So, Callie and I would take our walk together with her in the lead and me following close behind and when we would get to the gardens, she would sit back and watch me take photographs of all the beautiful flowers. Ruby would then come out to join us and we would have a little social hour. I miss those walks because Callie could socialize with Ruby and could walk free and in the desert I have to keep her on a leash. Callie and I would also sit outside on the balcony to watch the beautiful sunsets every evening and it would be so fun to listen to Ruby playing down below with her owner, Steve and his young son, Max. I believe one of Max’s first words were kitty-kitty and his face would light up whenever he saw Callie peering over the balcony edge. The sunsets were spectacular with the roar of the crashing of waves and the colors that intensified as the sun dipped into the ocean. Those days are behind me now, but the desert has its own stark beauty and the trade off is that I am surrounded by a quiet serenity that you can only find in the desert. How fortunate for me that I have had the opportunity to experience both…

Left in Good Hands

Taking Callie to Holiday Pet Hotel is never an easy choice, but it is a sensible one. She is such a major part of our lives now because our daughter Lara is all grown up and living on her own. When Callie came along 5 years ago, she quickly took center stage. Her ability to charm her way into most relationships makes it easier for me to drop her off. She loves people and to engage with them and leaving her home alone would not do. Usually we take her with us if we are going on a road trip because she is such a good traveling companion, but going to Maui requires special permits which we do not have. Callie enjoys riding in the car and we headed up and over Montezuma Grade and to the coast in the afternoon. It is always a shock to leave the arid desert and find ourselves in the lush and mild climate of San Diego. We lived in Encinitas for almost 2 years before we moved to Borrego Springs a year and a half ago. I think Callie recognized where she was going about the time she could smell the ocean and she could hear all the dogs barking joyously. These dogs sound delirious with happy excitement and it is much different then when you go to the humane society or most boarding facilities for that matter.  Holiday Pet Hotel provides doggy day care and it sure sounds like these dogs are having the time of their lives! Do they run and hide when the owners come to pick them up I wonder? Callie was sitting on my lap and hanging out the car window when we arrived and I had to walk her to the back and put her in her carrier in order to take her to the front desk. She didn’t put up a fight this time and it was easier on me too. The first time I dropped her off she turned her back on me and was too frightened to look around. You could tell she was nervous and anxious and not very happy. This time she was curious and accepting of her fate. She has been here twice before and it is a familiar routine.The girls at the front desk are wonderful and they know Callie by now and that is such a comfort to me.It is up to Callie to have a good time. I hope someone takes a few photographs of her playing during her VIP sessions, (very important pet) so that we can all experience how she is doing. I don’t think it is as easy for cats to be boarded as it is for dogs, but Holiday Pet Hotel has a lovely sitting area with toys in the center of the room so that all the caged cats can watch while others play. The cages are double and triple decker and there are windows to look out of and music is playing softly in the background. It will be up to the staff to take a photo or two, but I am confident that she has been left in good hands and I can now enjoy my time in beautiful Maui. 

Holiday Pet Hotel

Guess who will be checking into Holiday Pet Hotel in Encinitas, California, You guessed right…. CALLIE

I am pretty sure that most cats don’t like to go to a kennel but in Callie’s case, she loves people so much that I think it is a better solution than having her stay by herself and asking someone to feed her. She likes to be entertained and spoiled and having someone stay at the house would be in for a rude awakening when she politely asks for a serving of her frozen kibble in the middle of the night. I explained this phenomenon in an earlier post called: Please Pass the Frozen Kibble. I will have a 30 minute playtime scheduled every day and her favorite food, Science Diet Oral Care will be provided and Callie can learn to tolerate other cats from a safe distance. 

The wonderful staff at Holiday Pet Hotel are to be congratulated on work well done. You don’t see dogs being dragged into the front office. They drag their owners by the leash and the happy barking of dogs attending day care makes you smile. Maybe I could ask them to board Callie with the dogs!? Now, that would be an interesting twist. Callie loves dogs but I am afraid most dogs would love to chase her.

We will return in 2 weeks to update you on her stay. I will ask the staff to take photographs of her playing if they have the time and then I will share them with my readers…

Custom Gift Wrapped

If you had told me five years ago, and after I had put my beloved Jack Russel dog Miss Adelaide down, that I would adopt a stray cat that swept into my life with a loud meow, I would have told you,”NO WAY!” That is because once you have a meaningful relationship with a Jack Russel, no other animal compares. At least, no other animal until the day that Callie came along. She has the temperament of a terrier, but doesn’t need to go outside to use the restroom, and she didn’t pee all over the house while playing with a tennis ball. Adelaide would be pissing away while chasing down a ball when she was a puppy and actually destroyed two household carpets before she could control her bladder and be bothered to go outside to poop and pee. Addy would blatantly look you in the eye, squat down right in front of you and not give a damn what the consequences were.  You don’t ask a Jack Russel to obey, you threaten them within an inch of their life before they will even consider it. Once you dominate them though, and you are a consistently firm, thoughtful and high energy owner, you will have a relationship with a dog like no other. So, this is the mindset I had when Callie ran through the front door. Fortunately, she is also very strong willed and her previous owners who timidly came to me a year later to confess that she had been their cat and was impossible to raise, that the light went on in my head that I am raising a Jack Russel CAT! She is game for most any adventure and even out performs Addy when thunder and lightening strike. Addy would run into my closet and bury herself under the clothes and shake for hours. Callie could care less. Addy loved water though and Callie has shown a serious dislike for it. I can’t teach Callie to jump off the side of the pool after a tennis ball and into the water, but I can watch Callie climb high up into the olive trees. So, it is a give and take relationship where Callie does her best to be a cat that acts like a dog, a cat with “additude,” (that was my pet description for Addy’s courage and spunk.) Where as Addy would prefer to chase a ball over just about any other game, Callie will destroy feather toys, loves being chased down and wrestled with and especially delights in pouncing on wrapping paper and bags. I have had to learn to switch my allegiance to a car, but Callie has also done her best to make raising her just enough of a challenge so that it is also very rewarding. I can’t imagine Callie reaching her full potential and exposing all her special talents with anyone else. The two of us adore each other and it appears that we have a friendship that is custom gift wrapped. I am still considering adopting a Jack Russel though and will teach the dog to destroy wrapping paper while Callie will barrel her way into all the bags. Now that will be a sight to behold!

Miss Adelaide

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Bella, Sargent, Gayle, River and Murphy

I mentioned in my previous blog that my sister, Gayle and I have a shared love of horses. We were given a horse, actually, a Welch/Quarter horse- pony that we shared with my other sister, Janet, when we were children. His name was Little Geronimo and he was a kind and hard working pony. I must have been around 12, Gayle, 11 and Janet, 10… We had Regina Marie Anne, her foal, Buffy Saint Marie, and the list goes on. When I raised my daughter Lara and we had to choose a sport she could compete in… soccer did not make the list. We decided on an equestrian sport with Arabian horses. Champagne Flight became the love of my life and a wonderful trail horse when he made it clear he didn’t like being on the show circuit. My husband Michael has been vey supportive about my need to have a horse in my life. Gayle and I have continued with this passion and to this day we are still riding together as 60 year old women. When are you too old to ride? I hope to ride until I die. Gayle boards Bella for me and I try to ride several times a month. It is a 2 hour drive, one way for me, so the desire to ride is still a passion for me! Gayle also has 2 fabulous dogs, River and Murphy and we have so much fun together. Bella was a rescue horse, and quite bitter and angry when we first adopted her. Now she is a jewel to ride and even knickers when I come to visit her. So Gayle rides her Morgan/Quarter horse Sargent and I ride Bella. River, the white shepherd and Murphy, the collie joyously tag along. It is a great way to spend a couple of hours together, and if horses could talk, what would they have to say about it all?  Gayle and I talk nonstop and Bella’s ears twitch back and forth the whole time. Because they are senior horses, we take care not to move any faster than a walk. I believe we are keeping them young and I KNOW they are doing the same for us.

Mi Hija… my Peruvian Pasofino… RIP

A Cat Won’t Do!

I mentioned in my introduction, that Callie was a runaway and adopted me when she was about 3 years old. Her estimated  age is about 9 now as I have had the pleasure of getting to know her for the past 6 years. She spotted my husband Michael, and daughter, Lara and myself, standing by the front door one morning and she decided right then and there, that we were going to take excellent care of her and she was going to stay no matter what. I have to let you know that I had put my Jack Russel Terrier down several months earlier and I was still grieving and in no mood to attend to a cat. If you survive raising a Jack Russel from puppyhood and into adulthood, and you somehow maintain an alpha status, you are smitten for life with these incredibly bright and obnoxious dogs. They take over your life and you will never be the same for having experienced it. Miss Adelaide was about the most incredible dog I have ever had the honor of raising and there wasn’t anything she was afraid of except thunder and lightening. I had always imagined that if I were to get another animal, it would be another terrier and probably another Jack Russel. So, along comes this cat and I did everything to locate her owners short of making one up. We posted notices everywhere and I sincerely hoped someone would answer my call for help in finding her, her home. She was too darn cute to be a stray but I did not want a cat. No one answered my ad and after several weeks, I decided to go ahead and recluctanly keep her. A year later, the previous owners actually stopped by one day to tell me her story. Her name was Dora, and she was incredibly difficult to raise and they were tired of her running out the door whenever a door was opened. When they noticed that she seemed happy and content with me, they decided to say something but they made it clear that they didn’t want her back. Well, Callie has proven me wrong about wanting another dog and I sometimes feel like she is trying to act like a Jack Russel Terrier. One time, two local brazen tom cats made the mistake of walking through our front door, and when I ran out to chase them away, here comes Callie in all her fury, and she doesn’t just chase them out the door, she goes after them, screaming her head off and doesn’t stop until they are a block away. The front yard boundary wasn’t nearly far enough for her. The look on her face when she charged the tom cats was priceless and when she returned to the yard, she had this little swagger and her tail was held high and she practically pranced back into the house. Needless to say, those two cats never bothered her again. Tom cats have frequently developed a crush on her and she will have nothing to do with them. You can see the look in their eyes when she saunteres by with that cute little rear -end of hers and her darling brown and black spot on her back legs leave them weak in the kness.  It doesn’t matter, she can’t stand even the sight of a cat from a safe distance and finds their presence deplorable. She loves dogs though and when she is walking on her leash, dogs will come up to her and she grandly sits down and waits for them to approach with caution. Dogs seem a little stunned at seeing a cat on a leash and I always make sure to watch their body language before letting them come too close. Then they touch noses and the dogs inevitably start to do the wiggle and waggle and she silences their over enthusiastic tail wagging with one raise of a paw. They must have good manners and move with grave solemnity to stay in her presence. When the greeting is over the dogs look like they are trying to figure out what the hell just happened and Callie looks  like she is holding royal court.  Callie has proven me wrong about being a dog person, and now I can’t imagine life without her. She is game for any adventure as long as I appear confident and curious. She is almost a therapy cat for me when it comes to social situations. She has brought a lot of joy to my life and I will be forever grateful that I have a cat that thinks she is a dog!

Miss Adelaide
Joan and Miss Adelaide at Henderson Canyon in Borrego Springs