The Cat Needs a Lozenge

It started innocently enough, my son asking Penelope a question about her feet: “Penelope, how many fingers do you have?”

And without much thought, I answered for her, in a high pitched Muppet voice: “None, I have 20 toes.”

And thus began one of the kids’ greatest sources of entertainment for the past two weeks. He argued with her for a while, about why cats have four legs instead of two arms and two legs. In this case, Penelope was right. But sometimes she’s not, like when she insisted that cats were permanently excused from school due to a 1960 Act of Congress declaring they already knew everything there was to know. She is opinionated.

Like most pet owners, I sometimes imitate my pets saying something, but never has it evolved to this degree. Penelope has a distinct personality, for sure, and plenty to say. I don’t even pay attention to what she is saying half the time, the material just kind of writes itself. She’s a saucy thing. I’m just the translator.


The kids look forward to this now, which, had I known was going to happen would have picked a voice less damaging to my vocal cords. “Penelope!” they yell after school, barging into the front door. Sometimes they are actually looking for the cat. Sometimes though, my son will appear in front of me accusingly. “I said, PENELOPE!!! Where are you?” and then I sigh, and say, “Right here!” or, if I’m smart, “Hiding somewhere in the house! Come catch me!”

Penelope only has about 5 minute in her before her voice needs a rest. She is, after all, new to this talking thing.

Last night, my daughter was angry with me for reasons that only nine year old girls understand, something to do with Animal Jam time restrictions. I was persona non grata. I was sitting on her bed wondering if I was going to be able to get a goodnight hug when in walked Penelope.

“Hi Penelope,” she said.

“Hi,” she answered.

“What are you doing?”

“I’m looking for mice,” she replied. “Seen any lately?”

“No,” my daughter laughed.

“I think you’re holding out on me,” Penelope replied, and just like that Animal Jam was forgotten and I got my hug.

All these years with pets and I’m still learning how much they enrich our lives. Thanks kiddo. Penelope is now the new intermediary. Please tell me someone else talks for their pet like this too, so I know I haven’t entirely gone off the deep end. :D

Pawcurious: With Pet Lifestyle Expert and Veterinarian Dr. V.

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Hostages: “Suspicious Minds”/“Endgame”

Hostages: “Suspicious Minds”/“Endgame”
The big one was a black man, chewing on a cigar, with a crew cut and an incredibly flattering greatcoat. The smaller one was a white man, with a face that was just asking Duncan tried to stand up, and lurched forward, his head spinning. McNulty
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Children's Book Review: head lice and picture day
What are the lice doing to make his head itch so much? Are they up there having a square dance? No, they are chewing on his scalp and sucking his blood. The lice are hard to get rid of, so he imagines them as human size monster houseguests who have 
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No More Woof—Dog-human communication breakthrough or internet scam?

Do you often wonder is your dog is excited, tired, hungry, wants to play, doesn’t like the food choice, or needs to go pee? Yeah, me either. Most dogs I’ve been around are very good at letting their owners know their feelings in these areas and many others without having them translated into English. And if I put one of these on my dogs, I don’t think I would want to know their thoughts. You’ve…
The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

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Adopting a Shelter Dog

Adopting a shelter dog and saving it from a possible early death can be a wonderful and fulfilling experience for you, your family and especially the dog.

In most cities the cost to adopt a shelter dog is relatively cheap. Most shelters only charge a modest fee for adopting a dog but that fee actually covers only a small part of the shelter’s costs for food, healthcare, facilities and care giving. Dogs housed in animal shelters will have been examined to make sure they’re in good health before being put up for adoption. The dogs are usually vaccinated, wormed and neutered or spayed. In well-run shelters, a dog’s behavior has been assessed so a prospective new owner can be better matched to the type of dog they want.

Before taking your family to the local animal shelter to choose a new dog, you should understand that the cost of adoption is only a small fraction of the total cost of owning a dog. The average dog owner will spend approximately $ 2,200 per year on food, medical care, vet visits and other dog related expenses. The actual yearly outlay of expenses will vary depending on the type of dog, and also why it ended up in the animal shelter.

Many dogs are surrendered to shelters because they have serious behavior problems, and a new owner will have to contend with those behaviors as well as fear and abandonment issues a dog may have from being mistreated or abandoned to a shelter.

It’s fairly easy to recognize a shelter dog who has fear issues. The dog may run or hide from strangers, bark a lot, or growl at humans. It can be difficult to reduce a dog’s fear, but if you fall in love with a dog displaying those symptoms, understand that those fears can be overcome with patience on your part.

If you’re thinking of adopting a shelter dog, you should get some background information on any dog you’re seriously considering. There are some dogs in shelters who have been given back several times because new owners couldn’t cope with the dog’s crying, barking or other destructive behavior when left alone. Sometimes this is caused simply by separation anxiety where the dog becomes fearful every time its owner leaves it alone. You can lessen this fear by spending as much time as possible with your new dog, gradually cutting down on the amount of time spent one-on-one.

Unfortunately, many dogs who end up in shelters have never been properly potty trained. If this is the case, you’ll need to treat the dog as it were a puppy. Set a regular schedule of when you take your dog outside to go. When it does its duty, reward it with a treat and praise. It shouldn’t take long for the dog to associate going outside to the bathroom with getting a tasty treat.

Many dogs are surrendered to shelters simply because their owners never taught them how to behave. A dog may display unwanted behavior such as jumping on people, humping people’s legs, or ignoring you when you tug on its leash.

While some people are not bothered by this type of behavior, some are and become very distressed by their inability to correct the behavior. The poor dog then ends up abandoned to a shelter. If the owner had a little more patience and understanding of dog behavior, these unwanted actions could be easily corrected with a little bit of positive training. If you’re adopting a shelter dog be sure it’s the right one for you before taking it home.

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Nice Tick photos

A few nice Tick images I found:

Soft tick

Image by dr_relling
This Norwegian soft tick is about one millimeter long. It is sitting on the back of the hand of a friend who’s not particularly hairy ;-)
Taken with Tamron 90mm 1:1 macro

Lone Star Tick, Paynetown SRA, Monroe County IN

Image by b_nicodemus
Plucked from myself 24 hours after hiking the ‘Blue Bird’ trail at Paynetown SRA. This is the furthest north I have found this tick. Plucked one last year from myself at Big Oaks NWR, Jennings/Jefferson Co, Indiana.

Tick sticky trap

Image by fairfaxcounty
The tick sticky trap consists of a piece of plywood with double-sided carpet tape around the inside of the board and a cooler with dry ice in the middle. The ticks are attracted to the CO2 emitted from the cooler and get stuck on the double-sided carpet tape when they try to cross it.

If you find one in the field, PLEASE DO NOT DISTURB IT

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Baby Essley is Here! (Best Birthday Gift Ever!)

Today is my birthday.  Today is also the start of a brand new year.  And today is the day that we’d expected our baby girl to arrive.  She had other plans though, and after over 30 hours of labor beginning last Thursday night, Essley Morgan Williams was born at 3:42 AM on Saturday, December 28th.  She weighed 8 pounds 1 ounce, measured 21 inches, and had a full head of dark brown hair.  She is the best birthday present ever, hands down.  I am so in love that I feel like my heart might explode.  I won’t lie – labor was the most difficult, surreal experience of my life.  I did 25 of the 30 hours with no pain medication, and by the time I gave in and got it, I was violently shaking and throwing up.  But the second I saw Essley, I forgot about all of it.  Immediately.

As for our sweet girl’s name, we wanted something unique that wasn’t too ‘out there.’  Essley was my grandmother’s maiden name.  She was one of my idols, and before she passed away this summer, I was able to tell her that the name was at the top of our list.  Morgan is my little sister’s name.  She is one of the most amazing people in the world, and was my unofficial doula during labor.  (I seriously wouldn’t have been able to get through it without her.)

I am still in a daze (the word ‘exhausted’ doesn’t begin to describe it), so although I do plan to share more of our story with you guys, I hope this quick update will suffice for now.  I have only been a mom for four days, but I can say with 100% certainty that it is the best thing I’ve ever done.  Happy New Year from me, Robbie, and Essley Morgan.  I can’t wait to see what this year brings.

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Why Hair Is So Important To Us From A Trichologist Prospective?

Shuna Hammocks explains why hair is so important for us to build our self esteem, personality and how she can help patients suffering from hair loss, itchy s…
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Post-Partum Style Tips

Post-Partum Style Tips

So very happy to be a guest here as Melissa gets to enjoy sweet baby Essley!

My name is Anna, and I blog over at In Honor of Design. I recently had my third little one, Max, in June and I thought it would be helpful to share some post-partum tips for dressing your best since it can be a challenging time in the closet. After we have a baby, there are many emotional highs and lows. It is one of the most joy filled times, but our bodies are still recovering from the life changing event. Often times our body image conceptions can go through the ringer! I never feel more beautiful than after having a baby… maybe it’s because you take part in something so miraculous and I feel like I am right where I am supposed to be in this life. However, I have to mentally accept that my body will go through a lot of changes and I need to give myself due time to re-couperate. It’s important to be forgiving of your post baby shape and also wear forgiving clothes! This doesn’t mean you have to compromise style along the way though. Here’s a few tips that have helped me with my post-partum time!

1. Avoid pieces that are too snug, and go for the feminine and flowy. This is almost a fool proof method for every shape. For instance, you can wear a form fitting top that starts to flow below the bust for a piece that is much more flattering to your figure and forgiving around the waistline. Depending on your shape you can also try an item that is shaping around the waist and flows around the hips.

2. Pay attention to where you wear your prints. Fun colors and patterns don’t need to be avoided altogether, just make sure they aren’t happening around the wrong places. For instance, you can find a bold dress where the print runs across the bottom trim, and the solid colors run across your waist and hips.

3. Choose the right fabrics! I went though a cotton jersey skirt phase until I realized it really hugs all the wrong places, and is severely unflattering. Oops. Its amazing what a good sheer based material can do on the other hand. Work that with the flow of tip #1 and you have got yourself a winning look.

When you feel your best it can help battle the post baby blues or desire to stay in pajamas all day. I realize I am my best self to those around me when I have taken the time to shower, put on something pretty, and have a good breakfast. It can change your day! Every person is different with the amount of time it takes to recover and get back to your normal routine, so don’t compare to anyone, and just enjoy those sweet infant days with your little one!

Thank you Anna for filling in for me here while I care for little Essley (who is 6 days old today!).  Anna has such gorgeous style and an amazing eye for design, and I’m looking forward to trying out some of these tips.  If you’re not already a fan of her blog, In Honor of Design, I highly suggest checking it out.  And if you have any post-partum style tips of your own, I’d love to hear them in the comments!  xo, melissa

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Ellen always makes us want to dance! Check out this Oscar night preview, and stay tuned for exciting Halo programs around Oscar time (hmmm, wonder if it might help shelter pets!…).



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Jan 19, Love for food and Science Hill diet ultra allergen

I remember the first time I adopted my white and tan Maltese X name Coco. My friend was giving her away because they were moving overseas. My other little
Dog Food Blog | Best Dog Food Guide

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