DOGust and Universal Birthday for Shelter Dogs

Happy DOGust everyone! And, whew, it is HOT. So obviously it’s time for indoor parties. Do you throw birthday parties for your pets? I have friends who celebrate their dogs’ birthdays. However, if you don’t always know your dog’s birthdate. Thanks to the efforts of the North Shore Animal League and the ASPCA, the month of DOGust and the Universal Birthday for Shelter and Rescue Dogs came into being!

Photo courtesy of Pexels

At a loss at how to throw a DOGust-worthy “pawty”? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. If you’re going to have any outdoor activities, do it early in the morning and in the shade. Dogs can get overheated and sun- or heatstroke.
  2. Offer lots of water to human and canine guests to keep them cool and comfortable.
  3. Don’t forget refreshments. Peanut butter treats would be a good idea, or, for the ambitious, a bone-shaped puppy cake.
  4. Provide splash time in a kiddie pool and lots of toys so everyone can play. If some want to play inside, that’s okay too.
  5. In lieu of presents for your pup, request that guests make a donation to a local shelter or rescue group. This can be cash, supplies, time, or skills!
  6. For party favors, all the canine attendees could get bandanas.
  7. Remember to take plenty of snazzy photos!
  8. Have fun!

Photo courtesy of The Dodo

Exchanging Pleasantries

Although Mau remains in our foster suite (read: Aaron’s office) because he’s on the skittish side, we propped two baby gates in the doorway so that he could see more of the house and passively meet our cats through a barrier.

Charlie is utterly fascinated by the presence of another cat and really wants to be friends.

Charlie and Garrus hang out in the hallway sometimes when they see Mau.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to snap a photo of Garrus sitting politely, like the gentleman he is, on one side of the gate while Mau chatted to him on the other side. It sounded like Mau just repeated his name over and over again. I was pleased with their initial meeting. Charlie has done the same thing, sometimes punctuated with squeaks and rubbing himself against the gate.

For his part, Mau has done well. At times he seems quite curious about our cats while at other times he would prefer the company of people only. Mau has occasionally hissed at Charlie, although I think that’s because he’s not a fan of Charlie’s habit of staring at him. (Charlie is enthusiastically friendly but not always adept at reading other cats’ body language and vocal cues. Imagine a feline version of Spongebob Squarepants.)

Sometimes Mau initiates staring contests.

Visiting Mau

Our original goal of visiting the shelter on Sunday afternoon was to visit Mau. We had a lovely time with him. He doesn’t mind the kittens and apparently likes other cats, although one of his previous housemates, Virginia, did not like him. He enjoys being brushed and, when taken to the interaction room, evidently knows about lap time. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to snap a photo of him climbing into Aaron’s lap.

One of the volunteers suggested that he be renamed Frankie or Sinatra because of those beautiful blue eyes!

Compared to Garrus and Charlie, he has big paws! He’s also heavier than I expected, given that he is on the skinny side. On this visit, we were able to pick him up and hold him. He also purred! Cue warm fuzzies.

Kitten Palooza Part Two

As promised, here are more photos of the kittens Aaron and I visited yesterday afternoon. It’s hard to get photos of 9 scampering kittens, especially when occasionally one’s hands are full of said kittens.

The bicolor tabbies were Ragdoll-level super chill and enjoyed being cradled.

This one had an adventure on the new cat tower.

Must investigate ALL the things!

I found a spot!

Hide-and-seek?

Who could resist that face? I could not. I babbled inanely at her and gave her lots of lovies. (That’s the official term.)

Kitten Palooza Part One

Aaron and I visited the Pflugerville Animal Shelter for two hours this afternoon, originally intending to see Mau. We’re still waiting for him to be transferred to APA and receive more intensive treatment for his dental issues. In the meantime, we get to visit!

When I visited last week, there was a litter of seven kittens. Two of them–the black and the white and grey bicolor–were adopted last week. The grey will be adopted tomorrow. But now the adoption room has four more kittens–9 total! I can verify that they were indeed most precious.

These three were mellow and super-cuddly and freely demonstrated their excellent purring technique. (You can see the third’s rear end sticking up. He took kneading on the bed very seriously.)

This little girl was positively loquacious! Her brother had been adopted late last week so she did not like being by herself, and let everyone know how unfair it was.

“GIMME ATTENTION NOW!” The grey tabby (the only girl in the litter of seven, now five) was a little diva.

“Love me please?” These orange and grey furballs wanted all the smooches.

Stay tuned for Part Two!

Rainy Day Shelter Visit

Aaron decided to take the afternoon off to fix our garage door. We went to Home Depot to pick up parts and, while we were out, stopped at the Pflugerville Animal Shelter to visit the cat adoption room. What a lovely way to spend a gloppy afternoon!

Mau really enjoys his box. Here he is demonstrating the swishy magnificence of his tail.

While we were not able to get photos of it, Mau did come out of his box and we brushed him. He has thin patches of fur on his sides, likely evidence of stress-related overgrooming. While he apparently eats, he is quite skinny. Amazingly, he refuses to eat wet food and insists on dry food, even though that must hurt him. The volunteers I spoke to suspect he does so because that’s what he is used to eating. He reminds me of Garrus when we first got him. Aaron agreed with me that he looked sad, a bit scraggly, and in need of our help.

While we were there, two other volunteers, Carolyn and Grandma Jean came into the adoption room. Both had worked more with Mau than I have, so I asked them questions about his temperament. When he first came to the shelter a month ago, he was terrified (understandable). Gradually, he started softening and demonstrating that he is a calm but friendly cat who likes to be held and brushed. He has toe floof! Evidently he has been handled a lot more than Garrus was, so that’s a plus, but he’s also quite a bit older than Garrus and Charlie and presumably spent years with his previous owner.

Mau doesn’t like new environments so being taken out into the open space of the adoption room is overwhelming. Grandma Jean said that he does better in the small interaction rooms. As Carolyn reached into the condo to pet him, he started licking her hand repeatedly, which I thought was an odd quirk. When Aaron and I held a kitten, he didn’t seem to mind them at all, whereas his neighbor Chester growled at the the mere sight of the kittens.

As to if and when Aaron and I will be able to foster Mau, we’re waiting for him to be transferred from the shelter to Austin Pets Alive!, since he needs extensive dental work. I contacted both the shelter director and APA and have been approved as a foster (yay), and let APA know that I wanted to foster this particular cat from the Pflugerville Animal Shelter. In the interim I’ll visit and love on him.

Peace…for about 3 minutes!

Shortly after I took this photo, the grey tabbies woke up and started yammering for attention. Obviously we had to plunk on the floor and hold kittens because I couldn’t resist giving these babies lovies. (Who would?)

The tabbies had adorable spotted tummies (!), and all of them had eaten recently, so they had little fat bellies begging for rubs. The black kitten was calm and cuddly today and, mercifully, not so pointy after having his nails trimmed. The orange bicolor and grey bicolor were chatty and bold little explorers. They are clearly used to climbing into volunteers’ laps and being adored. The orange tabby was a genuine extrovert and threw a squeaky, wiggly tantrum until he was picked up again. Once held, he wanted to chill and started to doze off against my chest. There was much internal squeeing on my end.

Adult Cats Need Love Too

While it was easy to get sidetracked by the massive cuteness exuded by the seven kittens yesterday, I felt it was important to spend time visiting each of the three adult cats in the adoption room at the Pflugerville Animal Shelter. I’ve never seen the cat adoption room so empty but that’s a good thing!

This is Chester. Initially he was mislabeled a girl! He is slow to warm up and, when overstimulated, gets scared and poofy (perfectly understandable). He is decidedly not a fan of the kittens in the condo downstairs.

This is O’Rian, a total love bug and adoration sponge! He was chatty, frequently kneading on his bed, and greeted me by putting his paws on my shoulder when I opened the condo door. He loved to look around while being held and made air biscuits. Also note how handsome he is!

This is Mau. He is rather shy but sweet and loves to be brushed (which he needs, since I don’t think he’s grooming himself much). He was also a little chatty with me, which made my heart melt.

Given that Mau is 10 years old, somewhat timid (he seldom left his box), and has stomatitis, it is easy for him to be overlooked. He and his two housemates (who also have dental issues  and possibly upper respiratory infections, and therefore are currently in isolation) were surrendered by their owner a month ago. Aaron and I have discussed fostering again and I think we could help this boy. I wanna love him!

Aaron and I can’t adopt all the cats but we want to help those who need a respite from the shelter and who might take longer to find a home due to age, need socialization, medical issues, or other factors.