Monthly Archives: June 2012

Scaredy Cat Jangles

It’s official – I am hooked, I’m addicted.  Not that I’m proud of the fact but, to all the teachers in my past who lamented my unwillingness to ever finish anything, guess what, when I was created, God knew that Blogging was going to exist.  It never is finished – purrrrfect!

For my entire conscious life, I have wanted a cat.  Dad always said “No”, very firmly.  He professed not to like them!  How can that be possible?  They certainly like him well enough.  Anyway, the next rescue entering the mayhem of my zoo household was, of course, a cat.  Sorry Litchi (remembering that she’s so scared of them, they actually get to chase her), nothing like baptism by fire. In typical style, I had to choose the one least likely to find a home.  Plus, she was the only truly unhappy cat at Cat-A-Holics, the shelter at which I was volunteering at the time.  I don’t know why she originally landed up in the shelter but, being the great people they are, they had found her, what they believed to be, a good new home.  Problem was, the husband there didn’t appear to agree.  The poor cat was brought back again because he said that she “weed in the wrong places”?!?!

Now this poor adult cat had experienced some or other trauma that got her to the shelter in the beginning, then landed up in an un-supportive home and was back at the shelter again. Where the other shelter cats at Cat-A-Holics tend to be content and happy (it really is designed to ensure that they not only have a place to live out their lives but decent lives at that), this poor beauty was truly miserable.  I couldn’t leave her there. She was destined to become my next learning curve.

I had started working there in order to help increase my knowledge of cats (having grown up with and studied dogs, I felt it important to volunteer with cats, rather than dogs, in order to broaden my knowledge). 

And so it was that Jangles – name chosen by mad husband (no idea why – the name that is, not the fact that he’s mad) – entered my life.  My all new traumatised, scaredy cat had found her place in life and, despite his previous philosophies, my Dad’s heart.  Guess who’s the first person to leave all the Bipeds to go searching her out whenever he visits?

Jangles’s story to follow in future blogs.  Thanks for staying tuned


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Litchi’s next installment

Curious about all the wedding going’s on

For anyone out there feeling sorry for my poor, long suffering Mum, don’t. Luckily for me, she has a sense of humour. She had me, after all, that must mean she has a sense of humour! On with Litchi’s story. So, my “special needs” creature entered my life and all things normal immediately changed. It became immediately apparent that leaving her alone was something I simply couldn’t afford. Everything I owned became fair game. I lost couches, chairs, beds, table legs and all manner of other items to her extremely strong set of teeth. If I wasn’t watching her, a mere matter of seconds would spell disaster for some or other inanimate object. For that matter, even when I was watching her, the teeth moved at such speed that items were forever lost to her stomach before I could cross the room to stop her. Pure self preservation led to me taking her to work, where she found a whole new variety of delicious treats in the form of desks, chairs, carpets and any other manner of unsuitable dog food. While Litchi and I entered a battling of the wills, I was also battling with my parents, who found themselves mildly terrified of this new being. She had a nasty habit of whipping around, teeth gnashing and snarling furiously when taken by surprise by a touch. This was especially true if she was sleeping. Even the sound of movement, whilst sleeping, was enough to get the same response. My parents became quieter and quieter whenever I visited; sitting stock still in fear of making any sound or motion that might set her off. Needless to say, they thought I was mad. My mother began calling me “special” on a more frequent basis. They really couldn’t understand why I wanted Litchi so badly. The truth is that I was more than aware that, if I didn’t take her, the chances of her finding a home were close to zero. I was her last chance and I had no intention of giving up on her. Anyone who knows her now, will well understand how important it is to give these animals a second chance, as she truly is a fantastic, friendly and delightful dog now. At this point, my friend Joanne and her children Kerry-Leigh and Catia deserve a special mention. I doubt Litchi had ever come across children before and she was particularly unpredictable with them. Joanne was kind and brave enough to let me “use” her kids to help socialise Litchi. Children have a completely different energy to adults. They sound different, move differently and react differently. Specific socialisation with them is critical for any dog owner. Anyway, before long and with some closely supervised session, the girls had Litchi dressed up as a bride, calmly walking around with a long train of cloth following her. Well done to them for being calm, patient and truly wonderful with my dog. Hats off especially to Joanne who was brave enough to allow this to happen. Just a quick point or two for anyone else out there battling with behavioural issues. The first thing to look for is any health related issue. In Litchi’s case, it turned out that she had a serious knee problem, which, even after operating, still hurts her. Many of her “aggressive” reactions were based on a fear of pain. This leads to the second point, which is fear. 90% of problems stem from fear. If the dog is fearful and people do not recognise this, continuing to pursue the actions creating fear, the dogs last resort to communicate with you will, often times, result in what we perceive to be aggression. If you learn to recognise the fear and treat it as such, you too could land up with a friend like Litchi, who now helps me teach large classes of children about safety around dogs and animal body language. She does this with absolute delight and allows groups of 30 plus children to descend upon her with nothing but a friendly wag of the tail. Love, patience and the knowledge that dogs do not want to be aggressive could help hundreds of animals survive the ultimate fate suffered by so many that are perceived to be aggressive. More on how to help animals will pop up during the course of following blogs. Stay tuned – you never know what you might learn along the way.


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Litchi’s Story Continued

My mother has always called me “special”.  I’m sure you’ll all know the cutie pie voice only a mother can muster, as she says, full of pride “hello, my special child”.  I know she means this in the nicest possible way but, in my life’s quest to drive her insane (I firmly believe this to be the mission handed to each child born to this world) I have chosen to take this as her belief that I am the one member of her off-spring who most requires “special needs” attention.  The “insanity quest”, I must say, is going spectacularly well and I have a great sense of accomplishment in this regard.

Deviating slightly from my current musings, my scaredy cat, for reasons known only to her, decided to venture downstairs, in the full knowledge of Litchi’s presence there.  The dog went mad, the cat is now stuck up a tree and my desire to tell cute and adorable stories about Litchi have temporarily waned.  Both my other cats have learnt to simply ignore the dogs’ antics and she, in turn, has decided that she rather loves them (even if that involves being stalked from behind furniture and mercilessly pounced on the back for a quick doggie ride by my tabby).  Jangles, the thoroughly beautiful calico/tortoise shell scaredy cat has, however, never been able to grasp this concept and remains, forever it would seem, terrified of Litchi.  For her part, Litchi has always been terrified of cats.  I have watch, numerous times, my dog being chased down my parents’ garden by Max, the neighbours’ cat.  The blur of a black, somewhat tough looking, Staffie cross, running at full tilt with a cat in hot pursuit, remains one of my more sole destroying, embarrassing memories.  I swear, if the dog knew how to climb a tree, she would have been sitting up there, quivering in terror and the site of a cat.  How mortifying.  There goes all concepts of a tough, out-of-Africa, Jock of the Bushveld, type dog!  I have tried, unsuccessfully, to explain to Jangles, that one quick swipe across the nose would have the dog running for cover at each sighting of her.  But, alas, I fear I have failed and so continues the life-long bonding between cat and tree.

Alright then, after my slight digression whilst my place turned into a combination between a zoo and a train station, the cat is back down from the tree, the dog has calmed down to a more likely version of man’s best friend and I can explain why I started this blog with stories of driving my mother mad.  I was simply giving some background as to why, in my previous post, I referred to Litchi as my “special” child.  I use this terminology, most frequently in front of my long suffering Mum, to cement the concept in her mind.  The truth, however, is that Litchi really does have some special needs and, like any parent with a child who’s start to life was not as easy as others, I feel overwhelming pride for each small achievement that she makes.  And now, to avoid the temptation to make this blog too long to read, I’ll leave the Litchi updates for the next blog.  Stay tuned for more!

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Litchi’s Story

Well, seems like this blog is getting off to a weird start.  I was supposed to be visiting the shelters and letting you know what is happening there.  However, my husband had his infusion yesterday and, being the good wife (I think), I took him and drove him home thereafter.  On top of that, I have flu!  This is not the way it was meant to happen.  My husband has Crohn’s disease, which started many, many years before I met him, or, for that matter, before the medical fraternity understood the disease.  To “help him”, they removed the majority of his inards and left me with what I refer to as a “shell” of a man.  I still maintain that I had to agree to take him Voetstoets (a South African term often used legally for “as is”) when I married him.  I don’t know if he is impressed.  He smiles when I say these things but it’s anyone’s guess as to how delighted he is to be called such things.  Oh well, what would life be without a sense of humour. 

But, I digress.  The point of this is to tell you stories of the animals – not my husband, but the furry kind. 

The flu requires that my first real blog starts from bed – my own personal little shelter.  So I will start with stories of my furry little critters, all of whom are rescues, one of whom led me to start studying animal behaviourism and all have led me to this point.

The tale begins with Litchi, the dog.  The only animal in the house with a well thought out name.  The rest are my husband’s fault and you’ll see why as we post more blogs.  Litchi’s full name is Lady Litchfield.  I have no idea what she is, other than the fact that there is definitely Staffordshire Bull Terrier in her.  So, she’s not a proper Staffie but Litchfield is a town in Staffordshire, so my folks and I decided to call her a Litchfield Terrier and so came the name Lady Litchfield.  You would be astounded to hear how many people ask her breed and truly believe they know something about the Litchfield Terrier when told.  “Oh really”, they’ll enthuse, “they are a very rare breed, aren’t they!”.  Well, yes, especially as there is only one of them!  She was found wandering the streets of Yeoville, a rather run down, neglected suburb of Johannesburg.  She was under 6 months old and had clearly had no human socialization, except maybe to be pushed or kicked out of the way.  She turned out to be somewhat people aggressive, a rather frightening prospect in a Staffie cross.

Tune in for my next blog and I’ll let you know how life progressed with my rather “special needs” dog.Image


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And finally – it begins

Welcome to the all new Long Life Cats and Dogs blog, where we aim to raise awareness, funds, food, etc for the fabulous people who run Pro-Life (No-Kill) Shelters for abused, abandoned and neglected pets.    These shelters work tirelessly to rescue and rehabilitate societies unlucky pets.  They try to find suitable “forever” homes for as many of the animals in their care as possible.  For the balance, they provide a permanent home at the shelter, giving them food, medical care and love for the rest of their lives. 

The passion and dedication exhibited by these shelters is phenomenal.  This is no 9-5 job.  Animals need care daily, throughout weekends and holidays.  All funding for these organisations is obtained from private donations, with no state funding.  The time and effort involved, leaves the organisers with precious little room to concentrate on fund raising, news reports, events, etc.

My aim, with Long Life Cats and Dogs, is to provide a regular news feed for these shelters, aimed at raising awareness for the plight of the animals, the need for adoptions and the raising of funds for them to continue their work.

I will be visiting each of the sponsored shelters on a regular basis, providing news updates, photographs and stories.

There are so many ways in which you can help, starting with simply helping to get this blog to go viral.  Help to get as many people as possible reading the blog.  The more people reading it, the better the exposure for the shelters, the more chance of people adopting animals and giving ideas for fund raising and, ultimately, the better the chances of the shelters being able to remain open.  Adoptions from and donations to these shelters has been hard hit by the recession and we are desperate to raise awareness for their plight.

Another simple way to help, would be to organise a food and donation box at your office.  Collections can then be arranged, within the Gauteng area, with no further work required from your side.  Certificates are provided to both the company and individuals for the valued help and support.  Presentations can be arranged for the staff, allowing everyone to know what Long Life Cats and Dogs are doing and where their donations are going.

Flea Market sales items are always welcome.  We regularly attend Flea Markets, in an attempt to raise awareness and funds from the sale of these items.  Almost anything can be sold, although many of the Flea Markets do not allow second hand clothing.

My next blog will cover the Shelters currently being sponsored, additional ways in which you can help and we will be starting the news feeds with the stories of the animals I have fostered, bottle fed and homed for these shelters.  Stay tuned for cute and adorable pictures and stories.


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