Those Precious Animals who Share Our Lives

horseheader1.jpeGood Morning Everyone!

This morning I’d thought I’d share some pictures and insights on those wonderful animals who share our lives.  And of course, I would like to hear about your animals.  How many you have, what kind — does anyone have an unusual pet?  Like a skunk or something like that?  By the way, I’ve heard that they make great pets.

untitled-11.jpg Let’s start with Princess Sierra.  This was a recent picture taken earlier this year — in June — notice that there is a tiarra hanging over her head.  We did not touch up the picture or put it there and in all the pictures that we took of her, there is is, right there.  At first I didn’t know what it was, but when I showed it to my brother-in-law, he of course, said — it’s a tiarra, of course.  Princess Sierra is not only a calico, she was originally my daughter’s cat, who grew to love going outside so much that my daughter had to leave her with us — because my daughter can have only indoor pets.  She is, indeed, a princess and we appropriately treat her as such.  Sierra was also one of my characters in a back book, THE PRINCESS AND THE WOLF.sierra21.jpg

sammy1.jpgThis is Sammy, our black and white kitty.  Sammy got bit about 6-7 years ago and developed feline aids and so he is our kitty who tends to be a little sick.  Though he no longer has feline aids, he does have a condition of the mouth called stomititis that we are finding just doesn’t seem to go away.  However, he is doing well and has become one of our most wonderful house cats.

kali1.jpgAnd here we have Kali, whom I call our California bound kitty.  Originally I found her in Florida, and when I discovered that she had been abandoned by her family, I brought her home with me.  Unfortunately for both her and Sierra, it seems to be best to have only one calico per household.  To this day, they still play games (not so great games) with each other.  Maybe in another few years…

roadtr341.jpgHere’s another picture of Sierra, who once accompanied my husband and I on a tour — here she is being our fearless driver.

page2f1.jpgAnd here’s Midnight Thunder — named after another book, NIGHT THUNDER’S BRIDE.  He was found by my brother-in-law while my husband and I were on tour — and he was found at night — at the time I was touring with the book, NIGHT THUNDER’S BRIDE and so we named him in honor of that book.  Midnight is quite a lady’s man — visiting the neighborhood women one by one each day.  He is one of the most popular cats in our neighborhood.  He and Kali, however, are official boyfriend and girlfriend.

We have many other pets, Puffin — our kitchen cat (she is pure white and stays in the kitchen most of the time).  Squeeky, who is my husband’s cat (she is all black) — they (my husband and Squeeky) were together when my husband and I first met each other.  And then there’s Bear, who was named because he so resembles a bear.  Bear is our only full-time outside cat.  He was my brother-in-law’s cat, who now lives with us.  Bear is also a black and white kitty, although he has long hair.

 In addition we also have three dogs, Bandit, who is 14, going on 15.  And two new pups, Prancing Wolf and Yoda — both of whom we adopted having met them on the Blackfeet reservation this past July.  We also seem to have acquired a few opossums.

So now comes the time when I would like to invite you to tell me about your pets, what they mean to you and how much they enhance your life (as I’m sure they do).

I would leave you, however, with this beautiful shot from one of our earlier trips to the Blackfeet reservation in Montana.  The horses are not ours, but rather a friend’s whose father kept and raised horses. 

Looking forward to hearing from you today.


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KAREN KAY aka GEN BAILEY is the multi-published author of American Indian Historical Romances. She has written for such prestigious publishers as AVON/HarperCollins, Berkley/Penguin/Putnam and Samhain Publishing. KAREN KAY’S great grandmother was Choctaw Indian and Kay is honored to be able to write about the American Indian Culture.
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31 thoughts on “Those Precious Animals who Share Our Lives”

  1. Good Morning Karen!

    Right now we only have one pet- Miscellaneous, aka Mizzy or Miz, Mouser. I got her when she was a kitten when I was pregnant with my daughter. I got her because she had marble markings, majority black with gray and brown interspersed. Mizzy is now 5…my daughter will catch up to her in December when she turns 5.

    I got Mizzy’s name from “Smiling Through The Apocalypse” by Bonnie McCafferty, wherein she referenced her older cat who had passed away and who she still missed. She also had a cat named Bad Man Trouble(which has crossed my mind to snag if I ever get a male cat). LOL

    Mizzy was my source of good company through my pregnancy and she still acts like a big baby in the evenings, wanting to get all up against me, purring and staring at me like I hung the moon and stars.

    She’s also my writing companion. When I’m working on one of my novels, she’s generally under the desk, laying just to my left where I can feel her fur against my foot.

    Throughout my life I’ve had numerous dogs and cats, budgies, and I once had two orphaned baby possums I took care of myself when I was in my early teens. I fed them with an eye dropper and carried them around and tried to momma them by trying to teach them to hang on my finger by their tails. My grandmother ended up let them get loose though when I wasn’t around so she could get rid of them because she said they were wild and not meant to be pets.

    My first dog was black with a white throat and paws and I named him Macaroni(I was 3 and my mom always did the ‘Yankee Doodle” song- stuck a feather in his hat and called it “macaroni.”)

    I named a lot of the pets/strays that showed up at my grandparents house though. Cats- Pepsi Cola, Figaro, Boots, Boulevard, Riki Tiki and Tiki Tavi, Licorice. Dogs- Butterscotch, Paddlefoot, Spike, Tinkerbell. We had a dog when I was little that my dad brought home that we named Buster, a cat named K.C. (for kitty cat) who almost was named Pizza, but my mom refused, saying she wasn’t going to holler for Pizza out the front door to call the cat home. Sinbad, who was only with a few weeks. He was a neighbors a few streets over and when the boy he belonged to found out he was hanging out near our house he came and got him. A few days later the cat was hit by a car and died. That broke my heart.

    We also had Poo-Poo Kitty. He was a cat we had at my parents, who showed up the day after Thanksgiving one year and my mom fed him turkey and he stuck around for almost a decade. He had marble markings as well(the reason I picked Mizzy from her litter- she reminded me of the old cat my parents had.) The last cat my mom had was Tom-Tom. He left for a long time and my mom hadn’t seen him. Then she said one day out of the blue, he came over to her when she was outside, he looked well fed and he just stared at her and left and hasn’t been back since. She figures he found a good home with someone else and he came back to say goodbye.

    Sorry…I’ve just run on and on! Yikes! I get to talking about all my pets- past and present and I get carried away! Thanks for posting about pets today.

  2. Kay: We have a golden mix and a chow mix. The chow was a Katrina survivor. Such a sweetheart. We’ve only had 1 dog prior to these. We usually go with the older dogs that people are less likely to adopt.

  3. We live on a farm and I think Farmers have a different view of animals than town folk.
    We love our pets but we look at cats as being good if they catch mice and great if they catch rats.
    And the dog? Mainly we like them if they stay home. Nothing is tied up out here. The pets run and I think they’re happy that way, although town pets seem pretty chipper, too.

    So, right now, we’ve got several cats…they’re all yellow so who knows how many there are. Do we have eleven cats? Or have I seen one cat eleven times???

    And our long time pet Australian Shepherd, named Dingo died about a year ago. He was a decent cattle dog and he stayed home…so we loved him. 🙂 He really was a good dog.
    When he was little more than a pup he had a while there that he jumped up on people and teaching him not too was tricky. Especially, my youngest daughter was about two and she’d go outside to play and Dingo would lick her right in the face and knock her over…he was never mean…just way too friendly for a two year old.
    So we tried to teach little Katy to go outside with a stick. She didn’t have to hit him…good thing…she was two and not a good shot…she just had to wave it at him and he’d stay back.
    Except at first he’d come up to say Hi and instead of WAVING the stick at him, she’d throw it. Dingo would dodge easily then BOOM Katy is unarmed and Dingo would start licking.
    So we finally taught her not to throw it, then for about a year, rather than defend herself when necessary, she made a game out of chasing Dingo with the stick…he would run just far enough away to be out of reach, then he’d wait for her to toddle up, then run again.
    The two of them played joyfully at Chasing Dingo for a year or so before Katy got tall enough to handle the licking and/or Dingo got trained to stop jumping.

  4. 3 cats, 2 dogs, a skink, a rat and a ball python snake. The oldest happens to be CB our cat. Then we have two kittens. They are Gracie and Tigress. The dogs names are Brownie (part chocolate lab) and Daisy (part hound dog). The skink has no name currently. The rat is baby. And the snake’s name is striker.

    We did have two other rats who passed away due to heat and a chinese hamster. My husband can’t bear to see animals homeless, so when he finds them he brings them home.

    Daisy and Brownie were given to us by neighbors and the kittens were given to us by our local pet shop. The snake he bought as well as the rat. CB has been around a long time, so I’m not sure how he was acquired. The skink we found in our backyard after we tore down the pool.

    I know in the past he has also had a pot belly pig that his mom bought him.

  5. Cute pictures, Karen!

    We’re pet-lovin’ country folk 🙂 We have three cats, Thomasina, Sparky and Milky Way. A German shorthair pointer named Howie and a Fox Terrier, Roxy. Slowest in our troop is Bowser, our sacata tortoise. He’s little bigger than a basketball now at four years old, but can grow up to 200 pounds. Which is why we have a tortoise garden 😉 My boys tried having lizards for pets, but their short life span caused a lot of heartache, so we went for a reptile with longevity 🙂

  6. Hi Kay!

    You’re a kindred spirit! I’ve had animals all of my life and could NOT live without them. They tap into parts of us, where no human can. Your animals, photos, and names are just too darn much fun!!!

    At one point I had 14 cats, though most were outdoor. Now I have 2 cats, Darwin and Simon, who are indoor, and 2 Siberian huskies, Zellie and Xander, who are outdoor for the most part. We live in snow country and my dogs run and burrow and bathe in the the fresh snow.

    Growing up here in the Colorado Rockies, my kids had snails at one time … brought home from 5th grade science class. They should have come with a warning: Snails can reproduce all on their own! and … Don’t let your snails get out of their acquarium! Moms here are still finding errant snails, albeit a little old now. Of course we’ve kept up with indoor kitties and outdoor huskies, getting them all from shelters and rescue homes.

    My youngest daughter decided she wanted a reptile for her 14th birthday. Okay, pretty tricky here in the mountains. We ended up with an iguana since a cute little gecko required purchasing a bucket of crickets every two weeks to feed the gecko, and feeding the crickets hamburger before breaking their legs and placing them in the gecko enclosure. None of that! Yuch! We got adorable little green Iggy, brought her home from the pet store and thought all was well. NOT! Whenever you get lizards at pet shops, they’re usually pretty ill. Main problem: Calcium depletion. My daughter fed calcium drops to Iggy for a year at least. The next interesting time came when (forget the growing part) Iggy was 2. Well, you don’t know a lizard’s sex until they’re 2 and so when my daughter noticed a change in behavior in Iggy, we needed to find a vet who cared for lizards. The Denver Zoo recommended a vet in Greeley, so we made the 3-hr junket, with Iggy in tow, to find out what was wrong. First, she was a girl. Nothing wrong with being a girl, of course. Second, she was about 2 days away from dying, as 15 mature follicles were about to burst. If lizards in the wild have mature follicles and go unfertilized, their eggs just dissipate. In captivity however, they don’t and the animals dies. So, long story even longer, Iggy came home with a 4-in scar and her own little Iguanarectomy procedure. She lived another 8 yrs but died of a sudden neurological event. We loved her. She’s buried out back with our other cats on Puss N Boots Hill, alongside Doggone Rock.

    Needless to say, like you, I’m tuned into my animals every day. It’s always a gift when I’m out with my dogs and we spot deer, fox, ptarmingtons, et al. There ARE bears in the woods here and mountain lions, too. Thank God they have the good manners to give us a clear path on our forages into nature! It’s only the hunters I worry about.

    Congratulations on this wonderful blog! Thanks so much for letting me contribute.

  7. I have 2 donkeys, Paco and Abigail. I’ve put Paco in several of my books and had a really good time with that. Donkeys are big dogs; they make great pets. I also have 7 of my own dogs and 4 cats. In addition, I’m fostering 2 dogs and 2 cats. I’m up to my ears in animals and am looking forward to my foster puppy going to her new home today. In Kern County, CA., we have terrible animal over-population and not nearly enough foster homes or no-kill facilities. So, if you have room–think about volunteering to be a foster animal parent. It is really very rewarding to know you’ve saved a dog or a cat’s life.

    As to my own pets, they are all rescues that I kept. Pele, I adopted at 10 and he is the nastiest 4 lb Rat Terrier you’d ever want to meet. No one in their right mind would ever adopt him, but his human mom died and he needed a home, so Pele is with me for life–aarrgh! Mighty Mouse is a 5 lb apple head Chihuahua. I bought him out of a car when I saw how malnutritioned he was.
    He’s a little love but can’t make up to my husband, so I assume a man mistreated him. But he loves me–so he has a forever home. Oscar de la Hoya is my boy. He’s a Yorkie that I took from the Bakersfield SPCA. He’s clingy and that was new to me. He’s also a good model for my photography. In fact, I have a book out for sale called “Oscar’s Camping Guide.” It’s a photo essay gift book. Keep your fingers crossed. Ginger is my oldest at 17 this month. She was 13 when I adopted her, homeless when her human parents took her to be put down because one of them had had a stroke. Ginger won’t be with me much longer but what a trooper she’s been. Goes to show you that there’s nothing wrong with adopting older dogs. The Mojave animal shelter delivered Oolie to my door because I couldn’t leave work to pick him up. Oolie is a Chiweenie!
    You figure it out. He was a screamer at first but now he’s in the groove. I could go on and on about my life with animals but I think I’ve said enough. Please spay and neuter your pets!

  8. I have one dog, Smokey, and he’s more than enough! He’s a border collie/black lab mix I got from the pound when I got a house, we sort of moved in together. He’s now around 11-12, not completely sure but the vet put him at between 2-3 when I got him and by the way he acted I thought he was closer to 2. He’s spoiled rotten by me, his nana, and his auntie who’s neighborhood kids want to know when he’s coming to visit. Mom adores her grandpuppy, he sleeps with her when we go to visit.

    I also had a rat named Digby for a while, I inherited him on a call. This gal was leaving town in the middle of the night so her ex-husband wouldn’t know where she went and no one in her family wanted her pet rat so I ended up with him. I had him for a couple of years until his broke his hip by getting his foot caught in the wire in his cage and I had to put him down. I still miss him. Smokey, Digby, and I used to have a routine of eating banana chips together before going to bed.

    Sorry, I don’t think sunks would make great pets. I had five little ones living under my back porch for a while this summer, they kicked the woodchuck out that had lived there previously.

  9. Love your cats!! They’re so adorable, especially Princess Sierra. And of course, I can see the tiara above her head! I don’t have any cats at the moment, but I’m thinking of getting one if for nothing else but take care of the field mouse problem I have. I’ve always been a dog-lover. Daisy, a beautiful border collie, stole my heart from the moment I saw her. So much soul in her eyes. She had a caring, wise spirit. We had her for 16 years and enjoyed every moment of her company. She went to doggie heaven a year ago and left me in shambles. I sure miss Daisy. Darn it!

  10. Hi Taryn!

    Loved reading all about your pets. They so enrich our lives. As you were talking about Mizzy, she so reminds me of my cat, Kali, who does a similar thing with me in the evening — and who “helps” me write. Squeeky also “helps” me write each day, as well.

    Here’s some very well wishes for your daughter — and your cat! : )

  11. Hi Mary!

    You’re right. I grew up with people who lived on a farm (I didn’t myself, but I grew up in farm country) — and the cats and dogs need to work for their keep.

    Loved your story about your daughter and your dog. Our new dogs from the reservation also jump up on us — nothing about them that is mean — just too enthusiastic to see you. I’ll remember this thing about the stick — not to use it — but as a means of defending yourself from all their enthusiastic love. 🙂

  12. Seeing all of your cats reminds me of ours…we have several that hang around here and have adopted us. Maddie is the sweetest and smallest…Tonto is a good momma cat always taking care of the others…Tiger is laid back and likes to sleep on the roof of the house…Mally is a bit daring and has a bad habit of crossing the busy street…George and Jorge (both female) are both spoiled little cats.

    We had a dog named Sparky when I was really little, but we are more cat-people.

  13. Here I was afraid you might be one of those people who thought I had too many animals. I have two inside cats. Bathsheba would have died when born because she wouldn’t eat. We fed her kitten formula and to win her got idea of putting pasta in blender and blending it. Then later we added dry cat food to it and now she eats just fine and sometimes instead of calling her Bathsheba, I call her Fat Cat. Then I have Precious who we got when we had lost all our cats and we always have cats to keep mice down living in country. She was so ugly and they told us she was a barn cat. Turned out she is Russian Blue and beautiful when we found out she’s allergic to cat litter and fleas. She would lose her fur from fleas. She’s expensive as only frontline plus works.
    My daughter was given a cat called Sugar for her High School graduation 3 1/2 years ago. She has produced us with many many cats and last litters haven’t even been named. We rescued a cat from church named Misty who has since disappeared but we have all her kittens from last year. Then there is Autumn who was abandoned beside the road – carrier and all. She has two cute kittens I’ve named Creamsicle and (my mind went blank). I know it really. I’ll remember it when I see her.
    There is Cinnamon Roll and her kittens – not named. Also Serendity who has disappeared but all her kittens from the summer are still here.
    There is Midnight, Tiger, Oscar – my male cats.
    Then on top of all those cats, I have two outside dogs. First one my daughter had when she was living with a guy and when they seperated she wouldn’t she her starve. She is part Saint Bernard and Rotweiler. I call her my big teddy bear – Her name is Shadow because she would follow Alma everywhere.
    Then I have Chester who is part German Shepherd, English Shepherd and Saint Bernard. They both keep the coyotes at bay.
    Enjoyed your blog.

  14. Great post. I currently have just one dog, a chubby beagle named Rowdy, which is a misnomer if ever there was one! When we first got him three years ago, he was a cute little rowdy pup. But as he gotten older and my youngest started school, Rowdy turned into my baby. He lays under my desk on my feet as long as I am sitting here. He is asthmatic and has been known to scare unsuspecting people to death when he has one of his spells. And Rowdy thinks he is Romeo. We moved here a year ago and he has taken up with two female dogs (both spayed, Thank You God!) and they lay out on the porch all night waiting on him to come out in the morning. It’s kind of cute, actually.

    Before we moved off the farm, we had a chow named Sthil. Unfortunately, Sthil is a country dog and we had to leave him with my Mom. He was the best dog to raise around kids. I have many pictures of my kids and him-because if he saw a camera and me posing the kids, he crowded in. I have pics of him with rabbit ears and sunglasses and cowboy hats, anything the kids would put on him-he would proudly wear it and never try to take it off. When the kids and I go to Mom’s he is always there to greet us and shaking hands for at least 30 minutes. And if I sit on the porch, I have to sit and hold his paw the entire time, or he’ll beat me to death with it trying to get my attention.

  15. Hi Joy!

    Wow! These are some very unusual pets. A skunk, a phton snake and a rat, as well as some cats. My hat goes off to your husband for his kind, kind heart — and to you for being there to help.

  16. Hi Stacey!

    Love your pets names and a tortoise — I agree with the lizards. Better to have something that lives a bit longer, I think. It’s such a heartached when a pet dies.

  17. Joanne!

    Hi! So nice to see you here — for those of you who might not know, Joanne is an author and a darned good one. Loved the story about the snails. Goodness!

    And loved the story about Iggy — and especially all your wonderful help of her. Isn’t that interesting about a female lizard. Who would think? I admire you so much for helping her and for having her 8 years. : )

  18. Hi Chelley!

    Wow, you do have some unusual pets — 2 donkeys, huh? And I love that you have 7 dogs and 4 cats. What an endearing heart you must have. I wish we could foster more animals, but I’m afraid we are full up with what we have. Like you, we take in strays — which is really why we have so many pets. But they are all so very, very dear.

    Thanks for your insights, Chelley — and the book sounds fascinating.

  19. Hi Lynn/Elsandra,

    Great name, by the way.

    Loved your story about Smoky and the rat, Digey — too bad he had to be put down. I sure to miss my pets if I’m not around them or if something happens to them.

  20. Hi Linda!

    Daisy sounds wonderful. We, too, just recently lost one of our dogs, who had reached 16. She hung in there trying to get well, but in the end, her body was just too old to cope. Her name was Chelsey and she was a Springer Spaniel. Her offspring, Bandit, still lives on with us and she is 14. Chelsey will definitely be missed.

  21. Hi Jennifer!

    Love your story about your cats. I’m also a cat-person, but am finding that I am also a dog person. Also, I love birds. But since we got the two new dogs, I’m finding that I love them so much, that I’ve become also a dog person…

  22. Hi Jane!

    Like you, I don’t think one can have too many pets. Each and every one of them so enhances your life. Love all your stories about your cats and about your St. Bernard and Rotweiler — did I spell that right?

    Am so glad that you are out there loving each and every one of these creatures. Thanks for the post.

  23. Hi Terry!

    Thank you so much for your delightful post. Your beagle and your description of him, made me smile. I, too, have a Romeo in my cat, Midnight, who is the sweetheart of the neighborhood.

    And I love the chow, Sthil, a country dog. I can understand how that can be. With our two new dogs, it is taking them some time to get used to not being able to run free. But I think they would rather have us as their parents, than be on their own and hungry.

    Thanks for the post.

  24. I have one dog and six cats.
    Lady Cinnamon Swirl aka Lady is a 15 year old Yorkshire Terrier, who is blind because of cataracts. The Vet said she is too old to under go the surgery to remove them($4000).
    Nico is a male, grey tiger stripe shorthair. He is 18 years old and belonged to my daughter.
    Callie is a 17 year old female calico shorthair.
    Purrs-A-Lot is a 17 year old female white shorthair and Callies Sister.
    Batcat(so called because when he was a kitten she looked like a bat) is a 15 year old grey longhair. He belonged to my ex-husband.
    Tara is a 10 year old black female shorthair. We tooke her from a vets offoce. She had been thrown out of a moving car. She was taken to the vet, treated, given her shots, and spayed. Then they called me. I am a sucker for black cats.
    Bobbi is a 10 year old black an white female longhair. She also has no tail—hence her name.

  25. Hi Karen,

    Love to hear about all those kitties! What great pics!! I like dogs, but I really love cats. There hasn’t been a time in my life when I didn’t have at least one cat, but at one time I had 11, when both our females had litters (pre-spaying days). We have my love, the Devil Cat- because she only likes me and my hubby bascially. Her name is Skittles- a tuxedo cat and we have our older sweet Snickers, who’s a gray calico.

  26. Hi Estella and Charlene!

    Love hearing about your cats and dogs. Estella, you have some older kitties. Some of mine are getting up there in age, as well. I think our oldest is 13 or 14 now — although we don’t really know how old Puffin is — she was recued from a shelter and then given to us when her owner could no longer keep her. She’s our all white kitty.

    So glad to see that you have so many dear ones.

    And Charlene, I could have guessed that you had at least one kitty or maybe more — I know your heart is so kind.

    Thanks so much for your posts.

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