Wednesday, October 18, 2017

3 Helping Hero Therapy Cats Making a Difference

We're taking a blog detour today in honor of therapy pets who though some of the simplest of ways are making a big impact on the lives people in need of a friendly purr or a furry friend.

Hero pets are present during our most difficult human moments – war, illness, disaster, and loneliness. Sometimes it's the simplest gestures that make the biggest difference in somebody's day. Even a soft purr can comfort a wounded or lonely heart.

This month, the Petco Foundation is honoring these "Helping Heroes" and the organizations that support these animals, many of which are adopted from shelters and rescues. We'd like to introduce you to three very special hero pets – three therapy cats that are making a difference in the lives of people from all walks of life. 

Meet Basil
Photo Courtesy of Tina Parkhurst

We first got to know Basil and her therapy partner, Tina Parkhurst, through Facebook. Seeing their photos and reading their heartwarming stories and experiences never fails to bring sunshine to our day. But the sunshine we experience from afar pales in comparison to the warmth they spread through their therapy visits.

Basil and Tina serve seniors mostly. Each week they visit three local facilities in their Portland, Oregon area. Once a month, they also visit one corporate office. It's the seniors that touch Tina's heart the most though. "So many of the seniors we visit have nobody to come see them, or if they do, it isn't very often." She loves seeing their faces light up when they see Basil. "Their feeling of love and gratitude is so sincere and warm, it helps me get through the week."  

Photos Courtesy of Tina Parkhurst
We can only imagine how hard it is for seniors living in a nursing home or assisted living environment where they no longer have the companionship and love of the pets they once had. Being able to sleep peacefully with a kitty curled up on your lap once again is something many residents probably thought they'd never be able to experience again.

The More You Give, The More You Receive
Tina gives all the credit to Basil. "Basil makes it all possible. When a human walks in alone, some part of us wonders what they want. Basil has no ulterior motives and people know it, so they open up instantly." 

“I wake up smiling on Sundays now because I know I’m going to get to see Basil.” 
~Basil's Friend

One day in our Facebook feed we read a post that Tina wrote. It really touched us. She said she felt as though Basil had given her life purpose. That adopting her was somehow meant to be. There's no question that Basil is a very special kitty. And Tina is a very special human. 

Basil and Tina are affiliated with Pet Partners.

Meet Summer
If you are lover of cat blogs, you'll certainly recognize Summer, from the award-winning Every day on her blog, Summer shares her adventures as a therapy cat and offers up both hilarious and very sound advice to cats and the people who love them.
Photo Courtesy of Janiss Garza
Summer's therapy partner is Janiss Garza, an accomplished publisher, writer and editor. They regularly visit two Los Angeles area hospitals. Most of the patients in one of the hospitals are bed-ridden and many are middle-aged or elderly. The second is a mixture of adults and children. Janiss' big surprise has been how amazing Summer is with children. Especially given she has no children or young relatives of her own. "She's very, very patient with them, even when they are touching her awkwardly."

When visiting the bed-ridden patients, Janiss will lay a sheet over them and let Summer join them if they'd like. "She immediately snuggles up to the patient, does healing purrs and makes happy paws. I did not teach her to do that. It's something she came up with on her own." Janiss has heard from other therapy teams and organizations that somehow therapy animals just know what to do. "I guess it's a sign that they were meant for this work."

Photo Courtesy of Janiss Garza
Fun & High Fives with Troubled Teens
Summer and Janiss also visit a pair of homes for boys who are either in trouble with the law or have somehow wound up in the court system. Summer has some pretty fun tricks up her furry sleeves for these visits. "At our most recent visit, she gave one of the boys a high five for a piece of fried chicken and he was blown away!" They have also visited college campuses like USC and Cal State Los Angeles. Though many people associate therapy animals with dogs, Summer proved that cats are where it's at. One of the students working on the USC therapy pet program told Janiss just this week that when Summer visited last year, she drew 100 more students than with just the dogs, and they stayed longer!

Summer and Janiss are affiliated with Love On 4 Paws.

Meet Mokey
Patty Guthrie, had worked with both therapy cats and dogs. From the very beginning, she was amazed at how gentle her furry, black Mokey was with people. So she began by training him with a harness and leash, taking him places and helping him get used to all sizes of dogs and people of all ages. 
Photo Courtesy of Patty Guthrie and the Petco Foundation
Now Mokie is nine-years-old and with Patty by his side, regularly visits foster homes, convalescent homes, high schools, colleges and libraries, and the Ronald McDonald House. He travels in the comfort of a cozy cat stroller and often hops out to cuddle with the people he visits. 

Photo Courtesy of Patty Guthrie and the Petco Foundation
When he visits libraries, children often engage by reading to him. It sure looks like Mokey is an awesome listener. “I used to be scared of black cats, but he is adorable,” said an 11-year-old girl in a thank you note. She appeared frightened of Mokey at first, but within 20 minutes was holding him in her lap. Mokey listened to her read a story at the library.

Just to hold a cat can change a person's world. A resident in a home for people with disabilities cried on Mokey's fur, “I love cats. I haven’t held a cat in years.” 

Photo Courtesy of Patty Guthrie and the Petco Foundation
Best Friends
Mokey and Patty have made more than 350 therapy visits over the past nine years. "Mokey is my best pal and my dearest friend." They are affiliated with Love on a Leash and Furry Friends Pet Assisted Therapy Services.

The Petco Foundation has already invested more than $10 million to support these organizations and hopes to raise $2.5 million more to support service, therapy, and working animals by sharing stories of some of these amazing heroes and raising awareness about the impact they have on our lives. 

You can help make a difference too, by donating online or at your local Petco store October 7 through October 29, 2017. To learn more about the Foundation and the Helping Heros campaign, visit their website here.

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Monday, October 16, 2017

Glogirly and the Three Bears

WAFFLES:  Uh, Boss? I think we've got some new neighbors. 

KATIE:  What do you mean? I don't see any new neighbors.

WAFFLES:   I think you better come over here, Boss. They look kind of like Glogirly's teddy bear, except bigger. WAY bigger.

The Three Bears
The internet exploded when we posted these photos late Friday evening. Glogirly was minding her own business, Netflixing on the living room sofa, when she heard Waffles chattering over by the kitchen window. She looked over her shoulder, ready to tell him to stop opening up the cupboards again, when she saw THREE bears RIGHT outside the dining room window. And when we say right outside the window, we mean it. They were less than 6 feet from the glass.

A momma black bear and her two cubs were chomping away on what used to be bountiful, wild raspberry bushes. One of the cubs was attempting to swing from the empty hummingbird feeder. 

Always ready for Katie and Waffles to do something cute, Glogirly had her camera within reach and ready. In between hyperventilating, and numerous "OMGs," she managed to snap off a few photos. Don't worry, they were all taken from the safety of the dining room and kitchen windows. 

It was quite a sight! None of us have ever seen anything like this before. After they left, everyone was a little unnerved. There was lots of pacing and looking out the windows. 

Later in the evening, in an unprecedented display of, well... sheer madness– Katie and Waffles both slept right by Glogirly's side ALL night. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

A Different Kind of Vet Visit

WAFFLES:  Where are we, Boss?

KATIE:  I don't know, Waffles. Glogirly said something about a vet, but this doesn't look like any vet clinic I've ever seen. 

WAFFLES:  It doesn't smell either. You know, like dogs and medicine and stuff. Maybe it's like a fancy hotel or something. Do you think there's snacks? I like snacks.

Our Quest for a New Vet
When we moved to Colorado from Minnesota earlier this year, Glogirly had to find a new grocery store, a new hair stylist, and a new veterinarian. Not an easy task. And if you look closely at her roots, you'll see she's still in search of one of those. 

As for the new vet...well, we hit the jackpot. Dr. Fern Slack came highly recommended to us by Ingrid King of The Conscious Cat. We've known Ingrid for years and often look to her for the latest news and advice in feline health, nutrition, and behavior. So when she told us her favorite veterinarian had recently relocated to Colorado and was opening the first cat exclusive hospital and clinic in Boulder, we couldn't wait to make an appointment.

Ok, to clarify, Glogirly couldn't wait to make an appointment. Like most cats, Waffles and Katie will always prefer sun puddles and wand toys to vet visits. 

Good Medicine = Education
Dr. Fern and her team at Uniquely Cats Veterinary Center believe that good medicine starts with client education. They're devoted to helping cat guardians understand the very specific needs of their feline companions. And this isn't just something they've put on their website to sound nice. These are words they live by.

Dr. Fern is hands down the most knowledgeable veterinary professional we have ever met. She spent over two hours with Glogirly just talking. Sharing information, experiences and really getting to know her, Katie and Waffles. 

In fact, our first visit was just that. A visit. At Dr. Fern's recommendation and invitation, our first visit was a no-touch visit. It was a chance for Katie and Waffles to get to know the space without the usual poking and prodding that takes place with most exams. It was a chance for them to get acquainted with Dr. Fern's voice and energy.

A few days later, we went back for Katie's exam and blood tests. 

Exam Rooms That Inspire Calm
KATIE:  Where's the cold metal table? And all the scary instruments? 

When it came to the exam, Dr. Fern did something that no veterinarian has ever done. She sat down on the floor next to Katie's carrier, reached in, to pick her up and held her right there on the floor, where she did the entire exam. There was no team of vet techs wearing armpit length gloves, no blankets or towels. 

She held Katie in a way that kept both of them safe and even helped to soothe her. There were a few growls, that's to be expected. But when you consider that Katie is a cat who other vets have not even been able to examine, who has always had a special 'note' in her file about her cantankerous nature at the vet, well... color us impressed.

Dr. Fern took the time to let Katie walk around the room so she could observe how Katie moved, walked and jumped. It helped her to see signs of arthritis or possible pain. All the while, sitting on the floor without a metal table in sight.

Glogirly is very excited to hear about what Dr. Fern learns from the blood and urine tests. Katie has been battling some health issues for a couple of years now and we're very hopeful Dr. Fern will be able to dig deeper than any other vet ever has in terms of understanding the nuances of everything that's going on with Katie and helping to establish the best possible nutrition and treatment plan. 

The Ride-A-Long
Because Waffles has trouble with displacement aggression after any vet visit, whether he's being examined or Katie is, he came with as a ride-a-long. That way they both smell the same when we get home. This helps us maintain a semblance of peace and harmony once we get home. 

Uniquely Cats, The Absolute Best
If you're lucky enough to live in the Boulder, Golden or Denver area, you simply MUST meet Dr. Fern. She is a gem. Truly the best veterinarian we have ever met. It's been less than a week since our first visit and she's already like family to us. 

If you live elsewhere, please know there is hope. Dr. Fern is proof that there are some amazing vets out there and if you're not completely happy with yours, it's totally worth it to shop around. Sorry, but as much as we'd like to, we can't clone her. We asked.

"Nothing in life is quite so precious as those we share our time with. In a life well lived, we may be blessed with the companionship of a few of our more ephemeral companions...each precious, each shaping us. Uniquely Cats is dedicated to helping you create a healthy and happy bond with your beloved furry feline companions."
~ Uniquely Cats Veterinary Center

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Waffles and His Cheesy Proposal #WafflesWednesday

WAFFLES:  I'm getting married! I'm getting married! 

I'm getting married to the Mouse of my dreams. Her name is Cheeto and we're in love. Well, she sort of doesn't know it yet. But she will soon on account of I've been practicing being romantic and stuff.

Deer Cheeto,

The first time we kissed, it was like magic. I looked into your eyes and I knew you were the one.

I love your long whiskers ...even though I'm not allowed to play with string.

And your nose is was so purrfect ...sorry about Glogirly having to sew it back on.

And your ears. They're so soft–

Uh, Cheeto?  About your ears ...are they supposed to come off like that???

KATIE:  Cheeto, I've got just one word for you. RUN. 

About Today's Photos
Today's pics are a flashback all the way to 2014. We're not sure whatever happened to Cheeto. Perhaps she's still hiding under the refrigerator in the old townhouse. That is if she took Katie's advice to heart. 

Monday, October 9, 2017

Waffles and the Pepper

WAFFLES:  I'm a pepper, you're a pepper, we're a pepper... ♩♫

WAFFLES:  Hey Boss? Wouldn't you like to be a pepper too?

KATIE:  Waffles, what did Glogirly say about touching the pepper?

WAFFLES:  You mean this pepper?

KATIE:  Do you see any other peppers, Waffles?

WAFFLES:  I'm a pepper, you're a pepper, WE'RE a pepper... ♩♫  Everybody's a pepper, Boss.

KATIE:  *sigh* 

About Today's Photos
It's safe to say Waffles is fascinated by ALL food. Especially when it's sitting on the kitchen island. Sometimes it's just too great a temptation. Sorry, Waffles. Pretty sure bell peppers taste nothing like chicken. 

Friday, October 6, 2017

Flashback Friday: My What BIG Eyes You Have

About today's Today's Friday Flashback
KATIE:  This photo shoot dates way back to 12-12-12. Did you know that Glogirly's lucky number is 12? For the record, 12 is most certainly NOT my lucky number.

KATIE:  I sit.

KATIE:  And watch.

KATIE:  And watch some more.

WAFFLES:  Hi Boss! Did you know you have REALLY big eyes? Whatcha looking at?  

KATIE:  Just remember, these eyes are laser-locked on YOU, Waffles. 

Seriously... is that really your NAME??? A sticky breakfast food? 

WAFFLES:  That's my name don't wear it out! 

KATIE:  Don't worry, I wouldn't be caught dead wearing that.

About Today's Photos 
We admit it...sometimes we look through our photo galleries for just the right expression, pose, setting, for the story we're telling. And then sometimes a series of photos taken in rapid succession inspire our stories. Today's pictures fall into the latter. Waffles had only been with us for about two weeks. And he'd only been outside of the kitten quarantine room for a few days. Those big eyes on Katie? They were real and of the moment. That was her, "OMG why is this small orange kitten thing still here?" look.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Waffles & the Kitchen Cupboard #WafflesWednesday

If you've been with us for awhile, you likely know about Waffles' fascination with doors. Bathroom doors, closet doors, bedroom doors and especially...cupboard doors. You asked for proof and we've got it!

With all the sadness and madness in our world, we hope today's #WafflesWednesday video fills your heart with gladness.


If you can't see the video below, just click to watch: Waffles and the Kitchen Cupboard
Waffles and the Kitchen Cupboard from Debbie Glovatsky on Vimeo.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Cats, Hats, Parrots & Pirates

WAFFLES:  Hey Boss! How do you like my new chicken hat? 

KATIE:  Waffles, that's a pirate's hat.

WAFFLES:  I didn't know pirates ate chicken. No wonder they're so awesome.

KATIE:  Waffles, that's not a chicken on your hat. It's a parrot. And he's not your lunch.

WAFFLES:  Is he my dinner?

KATIE:  You can't eat a parrot, Waffles. He's supposed to be your friend. Your comrade. Your–

WAFFLES:  Cool, so we can hang out and talk about girls and stuff. Maybe do some karaoke.

KATIE:  Oh no–

Somewhere, beyond the sea
Somewhere, waiting for me
My chicken stands on golden sands
And watches for cats that are hungry

About Today's Photos
Today's photos and post are actually from almost a year ago today. When Glogirly was at the grocery store and saw the huge bin of fresh pumpkins, she got Halloween on the brain and remembered Waffles and his funny pirate hat. A quick google search turned up one of our faves. We hope you enjoy it as much today as we did last year!

P.S. No cats, hats, pumpkins or parrots were harmed in the making of this blog post. Though there may have been some chicken consumed!

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