Archive for the ‘pets’ Category

If you noticed my new friend in my last post you already know something about this. This month, for the first time, both Bu and Lu moved away to school and we are officially empty nesters.

In advance of this event I succumbed to a long held inclination and adopted a rescued dog. Received him rather suddenly on the day Farley Mowat passed away. And since he had just been plucked from a shelter with very low adoption rates – if you catch my drift – in the greater Los Angeles area, we recognized his new citizenship and a new start in life by naming him after that great Canadian writer.


Now Farley goes most places with me.  He is happy at the cottage, so with rental season winding down, he and I will start to spend some time there. For a smallish dog he is pretty versatile: Canoes, hikes and travels well with us. We are vastly contented with each other. Cottager – who was agreeable to a dog but not really enthusiastic – likes him too.


As the saying goes, adopting a rescue dog won’t change the world, but it will change that one dog’s life forever – and your own.

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Three key elements:

A place of quiet beauty where you can relax!


Flowers from my cottage garden

Refreshments …


Cold beer served Dutch style

And a friend to share it with…


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The Cottager is questing on the Camino de Santiago in Spain at the moment and if inclined, you can see what he is up to on his blog where he posts a few lines and some great pictures almost daily.

I spent the better part of a week at the cottage, just catching my breath and bonding with my new friend Farley. He is a rescue from an L.A. shelter and is now permanently on vacation.


The Urchins had a week at home without mom harassing them to clean up after themselves. And the cats were happy just to have a week without the dog, whom they do not consider a particularly good addition. And so for the price of one plane ticket to Spain, 7 winter-weary creatures had a vacation.  Told you I was frugal.

I did get a few things done.  The deck got its last ever coat of stain. Before it is due again we will rebuild and only use an oil product after that. Stain is a hassle.

unstained deck

stained deck

I also did some gardening at a relaxed pace, having decided to limit rentals and keep the cottage principally for my own enjoyment this summer. 

A few good friends came to visit. My parents came too, which was wonderful as the have only come in fall or winter before and hadn’t seen my garden to advantage or walked on the beach.


Besides these pleasant events, the highlight of my vacation was having nine or ten blissful and uninterrupted hours of sleep each night. No doubt Cottager and the Urchins have better highlights.

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Four day weekend. Great weather forecast. Sounds like a Cottage Weekend!
Big Urchin (BU) decided to stay at school and prepare for his exams. Little Urchin (LU) was willing to come along.

And that just left our furry friends to sort out. We don’t usually take them along, but four days seemed too long to leave them with just a neighbour calling in to feed them. So we decided to take them along. Our big inside-outside crazy weekend of pre-rental-season cleaning is still a few weeks away, so the timing was purr-fect.

I took the express bus straight from my office to the ferry terminal on Thursday afternoon. Cottager and Lu caught the last ferry with Fred and Meekus. Here they are loose in the Honda Element.



Cats don’t have long memories, I guess, since neither seemed to remember having been here last Spring. Two days later they are settling in nicely and enjoying watching the Jays and squirrels calling in for fresh water, peanuts in the shell and bits of yarn and dryer lint left out for nest building.

Freddie and Meekus watching the world go by at Keat's View

Freddie and Meekus watching the world go by at Keat’s View

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Having a good time at Port Moody Legion’s Club 119

Some new goals emerged from my summer sabbatical:  Simplify, spend time with friends and family, dance more.

In keeping with these goals, I decided to celebrate my birthday by having a small Fur Ball – a party with dancing and benefiting two animal – related organizations whose efforts I appreciate and wanted to support. Keeping it simple meant keeping it local and accepting the offers of friends and neighbours to contribute to the refreshments.

I contacted the local Royal Canadian Legion – #119 Port Moody – and they generously offered me free use of their ‘lounge’ area for the night of my choice.  There was a band playing great covers – Mustang Sally, now baby! – and free use of shuffle board and pool tables.  Cheap drinks; friendly faces – a great retro vibe.

About 3o friends showed up to mingle over drinks and games.  Later in the evening, a bit of dancing broke out.

Thanks to everyone who turned out and for your generous donations.  Cheques are going out tomorrow to Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association and Gibsons Wildlife Rehab Centre.

Our legions are struggling these days, and they deserve our support.  Its a great place to have an easy-to-organize get together with friends.  Better yet, join and/or volunteer. I’m thinking about it.

Simplify, enjoy your friends and family, dance every chance you get.

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When I arrived at the cottage two days ago, I found a Steller’s Jay – the provincial bird of British Columbia – resting on my deck. She fluttered to the railing and watched as I ferried multiple loads from the car to the cottage.  Her feather’s were puffed up and she was hunched over. She looked at me as if she knew help had arrived.

I quickly put out some bird seed and my new Valu Village find – a bird bath.  She had a few bites and drank a considerable amount of water, then hopped down and strolled towards my shed.  Her mate took over her spot at the feeder.

Not a very happy bird

“This bird can’t fly,” thought I.  So I called the Gibsons Wildlife Rehab Centre.  This volunteer- run organization sent Barbara Lee Fraser along within an hour, by which time Stella had made her way into a tree. We lured her down with peanuts and suet, and Barbara proceeded to herd that bird through the front garden and into the wilderness that is my backyard, waiting for the right moment to drop her net.

Before long Stella was safe in her arms and then in a transport cage on her way to Rehab.

I called this morning for an update, and it seems she has some puncture wounds under her wing, and they are cleaning them  frequently to prevent dried blood from gumming up her feathers. She can’t fly yet, but they are hopeful she will.

The volunteers at the Centre are also concerned about the colour of her feet, and are conducting tests today to see if she has a fungus problem.  It seems she is receiving very good care.

When she is ready to be released, she will be returned to Keats View Cottage to rejoin her mate, who is staying very close. I bought a bag of peanuts on the theory that males of many species can be distracted from their troubles by food. It seems to be working.

I don’t know for certain that Stella is a gal. The folks at the rehab centre tell me it is difficult to determine gender of a Steller’s Jay, but they are calling the bird Lisa in my honour.  It’s very sweet, but when she comes home it will get darn confusing if there are two of us with the same name, so Stella it shall be.

Please keep your cats inside and consider making a donation to the Gibsons Wildlife Rehab Centre to help them continue on with their excellent work.  I know I will.

Stanley Kowalski is staying clean and fit in anticipation of Stella’s return

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One day, about 8 years ago, after a break from owning pets, I had an  overwhelming urge to get a cat. Without consulting anyone in my family, I went to Petcetera, where there was a handful of SPCA cats featured for adoption. One was timid, one was recovering from injuries after jumping from a third floor balcony and the third was named Frank.  Ginger in theory, he was actually the colour of a sad beige carpet.  But he looked me in the eye and didn’t struggle when I picked him up.  His name seemed like a good omen as when we had chosen names for our sons, my husband had lobbied, unsuccessfully, for Frank. So I took Frank home. 

When my kids came home from elementary school that day they were ecstatic. By the time Cottager came home from work, both boys and the cat ran to the door to greet him.  Frank always met us at the door from then on  – even after the boys ceased to do so.  He had some quirks – but in our opinion, he was the best of cats.

Last September we introduced a female tortoiseshell into the family. Meekus was a crazy kitten, and she drove Frank to distraction with her stealth attacks, but they came to an understanding in time.

Meekus and Frankie

Sadly, over the winter, Frank began to lose weight. Tests and treatments were in vain, and every possibility was eventually eliminated except cancer. By June he was in such poor shape that we had to do right by him.

Over the summer we mourned and eventually came around to discussing  getting another cat, as Meekus seemed lonely.  A friend at work put us on to VOKRA – Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association, and through them, we found our new guy, Freddy.  Like all VOKRA adoptees, he came to us from a foster home, where he was known and loved. 

Freddy on his first day in his forever home.

VOKRA does fantastic work rescuing cats and kittens. If you can support them please do, and if you have been thinking of opening your home to a new pet have a look at their website for information that will help you assess whether cat adoption is right for you. They have an on-line gallery of cats looking for forever homes. 

Meekus and Freddy

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