Friday, April 17, 2009

Get a Dog!

I want to thank Khyra the Siberian Husky (and sometimes, her mom) for suggesting this wonderful snippet from last week's CBS Sunday Morning show.

I saw this myself and -- for once -- actually agreed with Ben Stein (he and I are kind of polar opposites on the political spectrum, but apparently we're right there when it comes to critters). See? Even with politics, animals help us find the best of ourselves! As in concentrating on what we share instead of what keeps us apart.

On that note, I want to welcome Khyra and her mom to Almost Perfect Pets, and thank them for their wonderful comments. And I'd like to say "Hi, neighbor!" They also live here in "Pawsylvania."

Welcome, Khyra!

Who's Zoomin' Who?

Photo courtesy The Washington Post

Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald is a licensed acupuncturist, certified clinical nutritionist, and a homeopath. She has a Master’s Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine and a Doctorate in Homeopathic Medicine. She is the founder and Medical Director of the Santa Monica Wellness Center and her mission is to inspire others to live their passion, while creating and enjoying optimal physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

She blogs over at The Huffington Post. This week, she welcomed Bo, the 6-month-old Portugese Water Dog that is now our country's First Dog, the Obama family's new pet. Apparently Dr. Fitzgerald is plugged into the same energy we are, as she has this to say:

Many of us know that animals add to our emotional and spiritual well-being. Since we live in a day where just about anything can and is often researched, many studies have demonstrated that having a pet is good for our physical health as well! Apparently, while we are taking care of our pets, our pets are taking care of us.

Hear, hear! Let's hope many, many others begin to wake up to this reality and to the reality that it's not just physically intact, "perfect" pets who perform this wonderful, loving service to their chosen humans. Read more of the good doctor's post.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thanks, Roberta!

Well, bust my buttons! I'm holding my head up high this morning -- this blog has been given the Sisterhood Award by fellow author and blogger Roberta Beach Jacobson (also a contributor to Almost Perfect!).

Roberta blogs over at the Seattle Post Intelligencer site, and had this to say:

Almost Perfect Pets
Mary Shafer is a wonder who balances twenty projects at once. Her blog offers a pleasing combination of opinion, news and humor. How she has time for it with all her books and other endeavors, I have no earthly idea. I suspect she never sleeps.

Well, THANK YOU, Roberta! It's always nice to be recognized by someone you admire. Roberta is something of a wonder herself, what with all her own books, her blog and her tireless work on behalf of animals. 25¢ from each copy of Almost Perfect goes to support Animal Welfare Karpathos, an all-volunteer animal rescue organization that Roberta helped found and still volunteers with.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Roll On Over... Julie Cardinali's awesome blog, The Pet Dish, at the online home of the Syracuse (NY) Post-Standard newspaper.

There, Julie dishes all the news that is news about pets, from puppy mills and rescue groups to our fave subject, disabled pets. Stop by and see what's being served in The Pet Dish!

It's the Cat's Meow!

Craig Grant walks with some
of the 500 cats who reside
at the Caboodle Ranch in Lee, Fla.
(Pet Pulse Photo by Joe Bonner)

In Florida, one man has carved out 30 acres to provide a home to nearly 500 unwanted felines, including "almost perfect" ones. They travel from far and wide to settle into their elaborate sanctuary, Caboodle Ranch. The founder of the ranch fronts all of the facility's costs out of his own pocket, and builds all of the cat town's structures with his own hands. It's a true labor of love that warms our hearts. Read more...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Friends...Best Friends

My favorite movie is a sweet southern confection called "Fried Green Tomatoes," based on the intriguing book by Fannie Flagg.

Starring Jessica Tandy and Kathy Bates, this movie is essentially about friendship in all its different guises and intensities. In fact, in the last line of the movie, Tandy's character, Ninny Threadgoode, tells Bates' character, Evelyn Couch: "You reminded me of what the most important thing in life is. You know what I think it is? friends." (Warning: Spoiler for the end below. If you haven't already seen the movie and want to, don't play this excerpt.)

What does all this have to do with disabled pets? Well, a few things, actually. First of all, I happen to believe we're all somewhat disabled in different ways without friends. But that's a discussion all its own. The main reason I've posted this here is that a heartwarming story about best friends has come to my attention: the story of Libby and Cashew.

Seems that in 1998, a six-week-old kitten was found abandoned in a pet store, so severely malnourished that a veterinarian warned she was unlikely to survive. She was taken home by Terry and Deborah Burns of Middleburg, Pennsylvania. That's my home state, right around my old stomping grounds while I was growing up.

Terry and Deborah soon discovered that her rough start would not deter this intuitive little feline—whom they named Libby—from performing a very special task.

In her new home, the kitten met the Burns’s seven-year-old Lab/shar pei mix, Cashew. Terry Burns remembers how their relationship began: “Cashew would poke her head into the kitten box for nuzzles, seemingly just to let Libby know that she wasn’t alone.” The two spent the next seven years together.

By the time Cashew was 13 years old, she’d lost her sight and hearing. Libby, who’d had no training as a therapy pet, began to care for her friend. She guided Cashew by the shoulder to her food and water dish, through doorways and to her dog crate, where the two slept together.

If Cashew walked too close to the furniture, Libby would immediately position herself between the canine and the item, to keep her from colliding. “Libby was also protective about people entering their sleeping area,” says Burns. “If we came in, she would look intently at us as if to say, ‘Please stay quiet. I just got her settled and sleeping.’”

When Cashew was taken on her daily walks around the property, Libby—who liked to hang out on the patio instead of being indoors—would randomly show up. “It was as if she was checking on us to make sure we were providing proper supervision for Cashew,” says Terry. “After taking a look, she would race back to the house and wait at the driveway for her friend to return.”

When Cashew passed away at age 15, Libby missed her deeply, and continued to sleep in their bed and watch for her return. “The only time they had ever been apart was when Cashew went for her walks,” says Terry.

For being an intuitive and extraordinary guide cat, Libby was named the ASPCA Cat of the Year for 2008, and this ten-year-old tabby shows no signs of giving up her post as caretaker. Burns informs us, “Libby has now moved on to protecting her shy feline sister, Lucy.”

Just goes to show that you never know from which direction love will flow. I wish you all at least one Best Friend in your life. If you've got that, consider yourself truly blessed.