Week 2 Observations of Evelyn

Last Sunday, Evelyn got into the dehydrated raw cat food bag. Recall my spectacularly failed effort to convert Chester to a lover of the raw diet. Well, I had set a bag of Sojos for cats out of the pantry to either give away or return to the store….like a fool.

While I was working in the backyard, Evelyn discovered its riches.

I came in to check on her (because she was the only one not trailing me around the yard), and found her fully engaged in a private smorgasbord of dehydrated deliciousness as the contents of the bag were all over the living room floor.

She, of course, drank a ton of water, after that. And her little belly bulged.

She slept like a rock.

Evelyn takes over the big bed like a boss.
Evelyn takes over the big bed like a boss.

The next morning, she had gained half a pound!

The rest of the week, she fluctuated between 12-12.5lbs, and seems to be holding strong there despite being fed the same or greater as the other 2 dogs who are twice her weight. She has a lot of healing to do. She is building muscle mass. See?

Here she is last Monday morning. She's beginning to fill out nicely around the middle.
Here she is last Monday morning. She’s beginning to fill out nicely around the middle.

I also made a few fundamental observations about Evelyn during Week 2.

  1. She is definitely a puppy.

Her energy level is much higher than Pearl’s. Pearl is 4, enjoys a good stroll, is interactive, and loves to play tug & fetch with her favorite pink flamingo. But Evelyn needs more activity than that. She rolls on her back, wiggling for affection, and gurgling in a friendly please-rub-my-tummy kind of way. Her gray muzzle and status as a mama dog belie her true age, which has got to be no more than 2.

2. She is a Miss Bossy Pants.

Evelyn has Alpha Female tattooed on her DNA. Consequently, she has picked a couple of fights here and there, even with Truman, the most laid-back dog in the history of dogs.

The fights have come most often while the three are lined up watching me prepare their meals. Pearl’s excitement is something I’d grown accustomed to, and hadn’t bothered to correct it because it made ME feel good that she was so excited about her food. #truth

Evelyn doesn’t appreciate the degree of excitement in Pearl’s state of mind and has set out to modify it. But that’s a problem because if I let her do the correcting, she is assuming the dominant role in the house, which is not where we need to be. #whostheboss?

More on that later…

3. She is not deaf.

Period. She can hear just fine. She comes when I call or whistle for her. Pearl has never learned to respond to my whistle, and Truman is deaf so it’s lost on him. But Evelyn picked it up after a day or two. She’s very smart.

All in all, we’re still making progress. Stay tuned!

pugs & kisses,

Happy Birthday to us! Meet Evelyn, the newest (foster) member of our pack!

After years of supporting from a distance, it finally came time for me to get more involved in the Alabama Pug Rescue & Adoption.  But, because I get so attached, I’ve never been able to commit to being a foster parent…

…until now…

Last week, I learned from APRA that a stray Pug had been brought to the Greater Birmingham Humane Society. She was heartworm positive. Translation: long-term (min. 5 mos. ) foster commitment. Was I willing to take her?

Of course! (duh)

But, will I be able to give her up in the end…??

A few days later, I learned she did not do well after her spay surgery. She was very frail, and things might end sadly, which could be difficult on a first-time foster parent. APRA would get her from the GBHS and take her to their vet for a more thorough assessment and let me know.

A day or two after that — Good news! In addition to heart worms, she’s just anemic, is extremely malnourished, has an ear infection, and may be deaf. She’ll be fine!

In celebration of The HOL Dog’s 1st Birthday (woot!), I picked her up on Monday while I was off work for the holiday. (Thank you, labor unions, for my last work holiday till November) (Thank you to my followers for an awesome 1st year).

Everybody, meet Evelyn!

Hey, can I come home with you?
Hey lady, can I come home with you?

She weighs a whopping 11 lbs.


Less than half what Pearl weighs.

Pearl is a hoss, but still.


This is what an underweight dog looks like. You can count her ribs without touching them.
You can count her ribs without touching them. Bless her heart.

Not sure how old she is. Tough to say for several reasons.

  • She’s had at least one litter of puppies, but the vet said she hasn’t had many.
  • She’s gray in the muzzle, but her teeth are very clean and it looks like she has a full set.
  • Her coat is a wreck. It’s thin, rough, and she has multiple bald patches.
  • Her ear is torn.
  • But, she is spry, energetic, loves to play, and clearly is happy to be in a home.

Maybe once she adds some weight, we’ll get a better idea.

Challenge accepted!

She loved the car ride.

She chirped like a little bird all the way home.
She chirped like a little bird all the way home.

She’s been around people, is not afraid of men, and has lived inside a home, possibly with a cat.

She blew past Chester like he wasn’t standing there, and let him come get a good sniff a little later sans reaction.

Once she explored the yard and the house, I fed her what is surely her first raw meal.

I mean, she is a little sack of bones. Why make her wait till 6pm?

Start slow.

2 ounces of Answers raw goat milk (aka, miracle food) #pouralittlelove in a bowl in the crate so she can drink it undisturbed by her always starving to death foster siblings.

They need to get a good look & recognize. IJS.

She lapped it up and wanted more.

2 hours later, 2 more ounces. Then, she found a comfy spot for a good nap.

She's finding her place in the house, and got a good nap a couple of hours after we came home.
Bad quality pic, but didn’t want to wake her.

3 hours later, dinner consisted of a whole raw farm egg (pasture raised chicken egg from a great local farm) mixed with 2 ounces of goat milk, a pinch of unrefined sea salt, and a bit of powdered kelp (for iodine & hair growth).

I’ve decided to stick with the egg & goat’s milk regimen for the next few days to see how she does. She needs easily digestible proteins right now, and probiotics.

Powerful antibiotic (heartworm eradication process) + ear drops + eye ointment AND abdominal surgery = gut in need of gentle repair.

I’ve never seen a dog this skinny in real life. Ever. We’ve got to take it easy.

My hopes are up, but I’m trying to remain realistic. I don’t want to get over-zealous in my desire to heal this sweet pup and end up doing more harm than good.

Big shout out to the GBHS for working with Pam Mayes and APRA so that we could give this starving, neglected little angel a fighting chance. I’m honored to have been chosen for the task.

I’ll keep you posted.

pugs & kisses,

I’ve Acquired a Cat

Before I was a Pug person, I was a cat person. But I’ve not owned a cat since I was living at home with my parents, when I had a lovely gray tabby that I’d found in the Pizza Hut parking lot. Her name was Lucy Frances. Double name befitting a sophisticated southern lady. Great cat.

Granted, I acted impulsively when I agreed to take this thin, balding, pitiful creature into my care. I took him from some dear friends who’d grown weary of tolerating his catness.

Don’t judge. They took fine care of him. He just wasn’t a dog.

And if I’m being honest here, I must admit I took him more out of interest in a new project than love in my heart for a cat. At least to begin with…

That may be why it took me over a month to decide on a proper name for this feline.

His previous owners called him Buster.

Really, guys? So pedestrian.

He is a silky black long-haired cat with bright green eyes.

Meet Chester. Truman's cool with it. Pearl, not so much.
Meet Chester. Truman’s cool with it. Pearl, not so much.

‘Buster’ didn’t seem to fit him. It lacked the degree of refinement necessary to comfortably cohabit with a Pearl and a Truman. Nevertheless, due to my lingering indecision, he came dangerously close to being called ‘Cat’ for the rest of his life (which is also a bit pedestrian- no offense, Mr. Capote). 

It’s been an arduous task choosing an appropriate moniker for the newest member of our family.

What I learned in this process is that I should avoid the opinions of other adults who approached it more from a ‘Do this; Don’t do that” perspective. (Adults can be assholes delightfully unyielding). I should instead turn to children when matters of this level of importance are at stake.

My nieces and nephew participated in a brainstorming session over the weekend. Although ‘Coconut’ and ‘Domino’ were respectable considerations, we ultimately decided that ‘Chester’ was sufficiently distinguished, different from Buster, but similar enough to it to perhaps be familiar sounding to the cat.

Chester it is. And he seems to like it.

Deciding on a name–the right name–immediately changed the tenor of our relationship, as naming something often does.

Now, he’s MY cat. Not just a cat I took from my friends as a health-improvement project. Not merely the source of tremendous consternation for Pearl. (She’s like, First Truman. Now this?! The hell, mama? What’d I ever do to you?!). He’s no longer here on a trial basis. I’ve named him. We’ve shuffled past No Return.

I want to feed him a raw diet, but he is FIN-IC-KY!

Cats are obligate carnivores, so providing balanced nutrition for him will require a different approach than the diet I provide my dogs. And anyway, it took about 3 weeks to find anything–ANYTHING– premium, specialty expensive as hell, dry or canned food that he would dane to eat.

He’s quite boney, and has several bald spots. He pukes up hairballs in inconvenient places, sheds worse than the Pugs (which is saying something), and I’m having to adjust to life with a litter box. Ick. Picking up dog poo in a baggie has no effect on me, but scooping litter-coated nuggets and “clumped” puddles requires an intestinal fortitude I’m having to muster.

For now, my focus has been to just get him settled, get him to eat quality food, let the dogs have time to adjust, and then we’ll launch into Phase 2 of Cat Restoration Project. All while practicing law, taking a course in companion animal health care, and launching a private canine nutritional consulting business.

I’ve got scads of time these days…

Wish us luck!

pugs & kisses,

Happy Gotcha Day!

Pets are family

October 4th marks mine & Pearl’s 1 year anniversary.

Here’s our story:

For 3 weeks, I had been grieving the loss of my Lulu, was under tremendous stress at work, and was deeply concerned about Percy. His health was declining–diabetes and COPD–and he was grieving Lulu too. He had never, ever been alone in his 12+ years. Lulu had been there to fill the void left by Princess, his littermate, who had passed away 3 years before. I was afraid I was in for another walk to the edge of the Rainbow Bridge. And I wasn’t ready for it. It was too soon.

Then, out of the blue, my vet’s office called. I couldn’t imagine why. I had no appointment scheduled. Lulu’s bills were paid. What’s the deal?

It was Misty, the head receptionist. They’d had a woman surrender her Pug, and she just wanted to check with me to see if I might be interested in taking her.

Uh. Yes, please.

Wait, don’t you want to see her?

Sure. But I’ll take her anyway.

Her owner had been struggling with serious health problems, and was in the hospital. She needed to re-home her pup.

“Mia” was 2 and a half years old, spayed, and in good health. They had known her since she left her mama.

I went by the clinic on my way home just to lay eyes on her.

I fell in love. She bit my toes in her excitement. I didn’t care.

She was FAT! and bubbly. And came wriggling and bouncing over to me like she’d known me forever.

I had a business dinner that night and didn’t want to just drop her in a strange home with a strange dog & walk back out the door. So she stayed at the vet one more day.

I brought her home the next afternoon. My girlfriends from college helped me choose her name.


She’s precious, round, and pearl-colored. A real jewel. And it sounded nice with Percy. Perfect!

Pearl brought me out of my deep sadness and filled my heart with joy once more. She helped Percy, too. His mood improved. His health stabilized for a few more weeks. And when it was time for him to join his sisters on the other side at the end of December, she was right there to help me through it again.

Where would I be without my Pearl?

Happy Gotcha Day, Pearl girl!!

So glad you’re here! 🙂

Companion animals need companions
Percy & Pearl nap together on game day.
Dogs in Christmas collars
Christmas Card photo shoot. One of many, many attempts.
Adopt, don't shop. Rescue a Pug in need
Pearl on Gotcha Day 2013. A little nervous. A little excited. Clearly unaccustomed to riding in the back seat.