Guest Blogger: Monty

Since I’m solid busy this weekend, I’ve rounded up a guest blogger.  Monty, who has taken to billing himself “The MontySattva” is writing today about his favorite topic: himself.  So, without further ado (I’ve always wanted to say that about something) here is my Little Man.

Hi everybody! I’m super excited that Momma is letting me write an actual blog today.  Usually, she just tells me to sit down and watch but I’m here to tell you that you don’t need opposable thumbs or a human brain to write a blog.  I mean, have you read some of them? Anyway, I’m glad to be here and to get a chance to talk to you all.

Take time to smell the roses. Then eat them. Tulips are good, too.


I don’t think my chance to write today is an accident.  You see, today is my five year anniversary of being rescued!  It was a lucky day for me, that’s for sure.  My human mom came and got me out of a cold, dark, and dirty place and brought me to her house.   I was supposed to be a foster kitten and get adopted out to someone else but I am just so darn cute and engaging, not to mention smart.  After she had watched me grow from a scrawny four week-old baby with blue eyes and sparse fur who the cat doctor said might not make it to a solid, active boy with green eyes and thick black fur how could she let me go?   She says, and this is a direct quote, “Oh, Monty, every day you make me laugh!”.  So there’s her reason.


In my first week, I’d already learned to sit on the table. So smart!


In the dishwasher, a Place of Danger. Those prongs are sharp!

Actually, (and I’m not sure if she knows this or not) I decided the moment I was let out of the travel carrier that I wasn’t leaving.  Not ever.  No way.  The food here is ample and delicious.  There are plenty of other animals here, so I never get bored.  Lots of ledges and cat beds and counters to observe my world from.

I am pretty sure that eventually the old girl cats will start to like me.  I try to get them interested by jumping on them and swatting them, but they just aren’t very friendly.  Their loss, right?


Me and Big Kitty. Such a quiet, accepting big brother. I miss him!




Ahhh. Me and Samantha. She was the cat-mother I needed. The best snuggler in the world, except for me.






















The dogs are okay.  Buster the pit bull is calm and quiet and I like to rub my face against him.  Luna the German shepherd is sometimes okay but man, does she make a racket when someone comes to the door, or there’s a squirrel in the yard, or maybe a leaf falls from a tree.  Can’t believe that Momma calls her ‘Baby’ or ‘Momma’s Loon’ in that cooing, irritating voice and then Luna gets all wiggly and pants and tilts her fool head and gets a cookie.

I’m not going to let it bother me, though.  I’ve got a good life and by the way, there’s a rumor that cats live longer than big dogs.  Who’ll get the last laugh, I ask you?

Using the scratcher, like a good kitty should.


So I guess the point I want to make is that it’s really good to rescue little hungry kittens, especially if they are me, because we make wonderful companions.  If you don’t have a cat or you don’t have enough cats, check out your local shelter or rescue group.  You’re sure to find the cat of your dreams there.  My momma did!

The Buster Report

I wrote a version of this article for the Carver-Scott Humane Society’s newsletter, Furry Footnotes.  Any time I can write an article and it can be about me and my animals, I am happy.  No hours spent on research!  The newsletter should be online in a month or two.

Buster cuddles with Monty, a fellow impound survivor

Ever think of fostering, but thought it would be too hard, too much work, or just too daunting?  It’s not all that hard, really; the extra work is minimal, and Carver-Scott volunteers are ready to answer any questions you have or help you deal with behavior or adjustment problems that might arise with the foster animal.

In CSHS’ foster-based program, volunteer foster homes are one of the most necessary components to our mission of rescuing and finding permanent, loving homes for the dogs and cats we serve.   Without foster homes, we cannot take animals who need rescue.

I am fostering a year-old Pit Bull called Buster for CSHS.  I have fostered both dogs and cats in the past, but he is my first Carver-Scott foster.  Taking a dog into my home as a foster was not what I was planning in early December, but life has a way of evolving down paths you never expected.

A year earlier, I had three of my own dogs.  In the space of four months, two of them died: one from extreme old age and the other from hermangiosarcoma, a blood cancer.  It was a devastating period for me, and I was left with one lonely young dog and a heart that would not open up to any new canine companions.  Oh, I looked occasionally, but none of the dogs I saw broke through the emotional barrier I’d erected.

About the time my heart was thawing – a bit – I learned of a dog at 4 Paws Animal Control in Shakopee who had been there for three weeks after being abandoned by his owner when she moved away.  Other dogs at 4 Paws had been claimed by CSHS or other rescues, but still Buster waited.   I took my dog, Luna, to meet him.  She was afraid of all the commotion at the impound, but Buster was just happy to meet us, as he was happy to meet any other dog or person there.  Pit Bulls are often this way, despite the bad reputation they have for being aggressive.

Because the first meeting hadn’t gone very well, on Luna’s part at least, I waited until the next day to pick him up.  I felt bad about making him stay at the impound another night but a happy introduction was more important and better for everybody in the long run.  On her own turf, Luna was her usual self — and elated to have a playmate.  After a couple of minutes of sniffing and worriedly following the newcomer as he checked out his new home, the two were playing chase around my fenced yard.  There’s no way a human can replicate the kind of play that two dogs share, especially when your dog is a hard-playing German shepherd and you are a low-energy kind of slug.

The first few days are always a learning curve, as you and your foster dog get to know one another.  Buster’s house training was an unknown, and at first it seemed to be non-existent.  After being kept in a pen at animal control for so long, I shouldn’t have been surprised that he balked at entering the crate I had for him.  But he came with a built-in great attitude, joyfully playing with Luna, inspecting my cats with the utmost respect and never letting his long white-tipped tail stop wagging.  The house training issue was solved after a few days.  He did that part all by himself.  The crate training thing: we have put that one off until later.  He’s not causing problems in the house, even when I’m not here to supervise, and yeah, it’s unpleasant and I am putting it off.

It’s supposed to be three or four weeks in a new home before a dog will show you all he is made of.  At the four week mark, Buster has gone from a dog who showed signs of separation anxiety, who became frantic if he found himself alone in the house or the yard, to a dog who often is happy to stay outside and play alone when Luna has demanded to be let inside.  He’s gotten a little friskier with my cats, but he only wants to play with them.

CSHS foster homes provide love and care for our dogs, cats and exotics until they are adopted into their forever families.   When you foster, you are doing a good deed, but the animals also do so much for you.   They will love you unconditionally, are thankful for a warm place to land, and in the case of Buster with Luna, provide a free exercise service!

We Love The Snow

With her heavy shepherd coat and extreme activity level, Luna loves being out in the cold and snow.  Buster Brown, the pit bull terrier we are fostering, does not like the snow.  When we got up Saturday morning and discovered a handful of inches of new snow on the ground, Luna dashed out and danced through it, spraying up rooster tails like a hotshot skier grandstanding to a stop.  Buster was about to step out the sliding door, but held up at the last moment, sniffing the air and wondering what on earth had happened overnight.

I got into my Happy Mode, encouraging him to follow me with squeally-voiced cheerleading: “come on!”;  “let’s go!”; “hooray!” while clapping and hopping up and down, generally making a fool of myself.  Did I mention that I was barefoot in the snow at this point?   But he really needed to get outdoors to relieve himself.  We’d just gotten past the Morning Piddle in the Dining Room stage and I was not about to revert.

Buster did what he was supposed to, and headed back to the door.  “No, you don’t, Buster!” commanded Luna. “C’mon, I’ll show you some fun!” and nosed the reluctant and cold boy back to the expanse of lawn that she’d already decorated with a figure eight. “You do this”, and she jumped up into the air.  “And this”, and pushed some snow with her nose.  “And this”, and she tackled him.

Buster forgot all about the cold as he rolled to his back and began biting Luna’s neck.  Ah.  True love.


New Foster Dog. So Far, So Good.

Sunday afternoon, I drove to the animal control impound in Shakopee, Minnesota and brought Buster home with me.  We’re fostering him through Carver-Scott Humane Society.

Buster is a cheerful young pit bull who was taken to the impound after being left behind by his owner, tied to a tree, when she moved away.   He loves to run and chase with Luna, loves chewing on her toys and has staked out space on the sofa.  He’s great with the cats, curiously sniffing them at first and now mostly ignoring them.  I knew right away that he would be okay with them, because only a couple of the cats flew into the basement to get away.  Isis, James and Juliet all let him approach.  They could tell if he had an aggressive aura, right?

Buster hopes his forever home has a comfy couch like this one


Cleopatra, “Kick-Ass Cleo”, repeatedly swatted him with both of her little black paws.  Buster just stood there, placidly taking her blows without flinching or growling.  It was then that I knew he would have a successful stay as a foster dog in our home.

Successful, even though Buster has had no training, even on the simplest of commands, like “sit”.  He learned quickly.  An offered treat, and another, cooperative, dog work wonders.   Buster learned “down” by watching Luna do it twice.  The first time, he didn’t know what to do, just sat nicely and got his treat anyway.***  The next time I tried it, he smoothly slid into his down after Luna did hers, got an abundance of excited praise, and of course, a treat.

Exhausted after the first day of vigorous play, messing up the couch and all the excitement of getting to know each other. Luna and Buster

Fortunately, he can be trusted to be free in the house when I am not here.  It’s a really good thing, because I couldn’t lure him into the crate for treats nor money.  He figured out how to open the sliding door between the sunroom and the kitchen, so that option is out. He would probably claw his way through the crappy hollow core doors that populate the bedrooms and bathrooms.

I’m meeting with a trainer tomorrow to talk about what I should be doing about some of this, and we’ll be setting up a time for a one-on-one session.  I need all the help I can get.

Meanwhile, Buster and Luna are tugging on a toy together.  I’m delighted that I’m not expected to tug with Luna, and she’s ecstatic that she has a tugging partner who can outlast her.  Buster’s just happy to be out of the cold, dark, noisy impound and into a warm, bright, noisy home.

*** Professional Dog Trainers, and those who would like to be: I know I am probably doing everything wrong.  I don’t claim to be a trainer of even poor proportions.  We all just do the best we can.



Lili and Maci

In late August, 2011 I visited an animal control facility in rural Minnesota.  I had volunteered to photograph the animals there, and to try to find rescues to take them.  In no part of my mind was I planning to bring anyone home with me.

These little girls had other ideas.  They must have known I couldn’t walk by their filthy cage and not make the impulse decision to take them with me.  The tinier one, white with grey markings, especially used her oversized, plaintive meow to let me know that there was no choice in the matter.  They were coming home with me.

Six week old kittens waiting to be rescued, August 2011.

I borrowed a carrier, loaded the pair up and brought them home.  A visit to the vet proved that they were healthy but skinny kittens who needed love and nourishment.  I named the grey tabby Molly and the white one with tabby markings, Meeka.  When they were adopted about three months later, they were given the charming names of Maci (Molly)  and Lili (Meeka)

Molly/Maci at her first vet visit, August 29, 2011.


A couple of days later, I went back to another stray impound and picked up Marlowe, a frightened black kitten.  I had seen him before I met Molly and Meeka but hadn’t yet been informed by the girls that I was again going to be a kitten foster parent.  Two weeks after that, Monty and Marshmallow were jailed in the same place that Meeka and Molly had been.  They came to join the blended kitten family, and the adventure began in earnest.

Feeding frenzy. From top left, Marshmallow, Marlow, Meeka. Bottom left, Monty, Molly.

Meeka was a crafty imp who liked to be held; Molly was the more independent of the two.  One night Luna had come in from the backyard but soon was whimpering and trying to get back outside.  I heard a cat’s meowing not far from the door and assumed it was one of the adult cats who had slipped out under the herd of three large dogs as they went out for the umpteenth time that day.   But no, it was Molly!  She had boldly ventured out under cover of the dogs but decided she didn’t like being outside alone.  She was hiding under a rose bush and was glad to be held that one time.  Other than that, she was mostly a grey streak in the house, racing alone or with the other kittens.

I’m always sorry when the time comes for the kittens to be adopted out, but I’m delighted when they go to a great home and am especially elated when a pair gets the chance to live their lives together, forever.  Gayle was looking for two young sisters, and I had the perfect pair of siblings for her.  The two former impound kittens have it made now.

Meeka/Lili at about 12 weeks

On the year anniversary of their adoption, I received this from their human mom:

It’s hard to believe they have been here a year Thanksgiving.  Time certainly flew. They both are doing just wonderful.  Never a dull moment around here especially when they are on the run.  Lili is a dainty little girl with an iron fist.  She can carry on quite the conversation. She loves to play and brings the ball back for you to keep throwing–whether it fits into your plans or not.  Maci has turned out to be a big girl.  Still hates to be held but more than willing to sit on your lap.  She loves stealing yarn.  She also talks but not nearly as much as Lili.  They had their first experience with a mouse about a month ago.  Poor mouse never stood a chance with those two.”

And here they are today.

Maci and Lili chilling at home and looking great! November 2012.

And more photos of their time in my home.

Atop the cat tree, with Marshmallow

The little girls loved my ‘grandmother cat’, Samantha.

New Featured Adoptable Pet – Hank!

Hank is a German shepherd mix at Carver-Scott Humane Society in Chaska, Minnesota.  I have a personal connection with this dog.  One of my friends became aware that Hank was left tied out at a farmhouse, alone after the family moved away after a foreclosure.  The people could not take Hank with them but did come back to feed him until he was rescued.

What a handsome dog!

Hank’s rescue was the start of my involvement with Carver-Scott.  They were wonderful about accepting Hank into their program quickly, getting him to the vet and neutered, and keeping him safe despite his fearful responses to other dogs.  Many dogs with behavioral problems do not make it in rescue as groups don’t have the time or resources to deal with them.

Hank needs a home where he is the only dog.  Although he’s a great leash-walker, a fenced yard is important so he can have some outdoor time where he’s not leashed.  He is crate-trained and he loves attention from his foster family.

Learn how you can meet Hank here.


Good news

I can’t in good conscience take credit for this, but Erica, the white rabbit who was this website’s very first “Featured Adoptable Pet” has been adopted.  Although I wasn’t aware of it, her adoption was already in the works when I put her up on the Featured page.

All the Minnesota Companion Rabbit Society volunteers, including me, are delighted with Erica’s good luck!

A new Featured Adoptable Pet will be posted soon.