Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: She's Coming...

Don't forget to send your pet pics to thecat@timeouttruffles.com, and stay tuned for our new family member!

Friday, July 27, 2012

It's a Cat's World- Vay-Cay-Shun

Well, the humans are back from their Vay-Cay-Shun; whatever that is.

All that seemed relevant to me was that I would have free reign of the new digs for one week, plus an extra helping of food each night. That's right, while Frankie was counting calories, I was enjoying his voluntary surrender of additional Meow Mix. What can I say? You just don't go around leaving your kibble unattended, and not expect somebody to eat it!

I'd say things went fairly smooth, over-looking an unfortunate incident or two with a few bathmats. In fact, I'd have to say the time flew by quite nicely. Of course, our humans left us another human to look after, while they were gone. I didn't mind so much though, I just left all the heavy lifting to Frankie. After all, that kid would paint a fence if I told him it was fun! Yup, he just rolled all over soaking up the attention- silly cat, that's what they want.

As for me?

I missed the humans, a little, I suppose. I overheard the one with the long hair speaking about a new dream house for cats, and some freeze dried treats. I'll have to keep my eyes peeled though, I'll believe it when I see it- you should keep your eyes peeled too, we're bound to have a great giveaway or two soon. And, don't forget to send in those wacky pet pics to thecat@timeouttruffles.com for next week's Wild Wednesdays!

Well, I've got a cushy iPad to sunbathe on- until next time my furry friends,

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Home From Vacation- While The Humans Are Away....

Whenever I go on vacation it's inevitable I feel guilty for leaving the pets behind. However, as a pet owner, as much as we'd like to take our companions with us (and it's certainly possible in most circumstances), we also have to consider their comfort and needs. While I could have hauled Truffles and Frankie across the country to Philadelphia, and a pet friendly hotel, for a week- just how enjoyable would that have been for them? Was putting my skiddish, spoiled, kitty through an airport worth it? Would either of them be content being confined within the hotel room, and locked up when we were away? The simple answer this time was, "No."

Naturally, leaving the pets at home, for any extended period of time, requires just as much planning as traveling with them. The last time I had left Truffles alone, for 3 days, she was just a kitten. I had arranged for my tenants to check in on her twice a day, to feed her and clean her box. She was left with one room to roam, and when I returned, she had managed to gain access to another 2, and the damage was impressive. Not only did it happen to be the holidays (and my Christmas Tree left in full decor), but the freed kitty had, well, been a kitten. There were gifts on my bed, and several ornaments turned cat toys- not to mention the unraveling of every inch of lighting on that tree! I think Truffles might have had more fun than me! But any damage she could have caused was nothing compared to the worries I had of what she might have gotten into, unsupervised, that could have potentially caused her harm.

The lesson? Be more discerning when choosing pet sitters, of course! I've since learned it's best to only trust those with pets of their own- or at least well known family and friends. My pets are my children, and it's hard to relax when you're worrying if one's eaten today, or if the other is trapped under a flat screen!

Surprisingly, the condo remained fairly unscathed this trip. I was sure to close off all doors to carpeted rooms (though Truffles has a way of opening the tightest of doors). I also placed some old blankets over the couch as precaution. Unfortunately, there were a few accidents in the bathroom; I've pretty much determined was a result of a last minute litter brand switch and Truffles anxiety. We never see accidents in our home, but I know my cat well enough to know the bathroom is her safe spot (she spent many nights in ours as a kitty), and the strategic placement on both bath mats, has her signature all over it! I also noticed that Truffles seems to have picked up a pound, while Frankie lost a pound; telling me she took liberty of the once a day double feeding, and Frankie's 'leftover' food. Overall, though, I'm just glad to see both of my furbabies in good health, and giving plenty of missed attention!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Introducing PetPals: Blogger/Reader PenPal Program!

Introducing my newest pet project (pun intended): PetPals, Blogger/Reader penpal program!

You don't have to be a social butterfly (though those who are welcome too), or even own a blog, to connect with unique and exciting pets (and owners) just like you! The process is easy, here's a simple breakdown for you- if it all sounds good, fill out the simple form below, and wait to be matched up on the 18th!

-On the 18th of the month, you will receive your PetPal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your PetPal and get their mailing information, as well as their pet's information (breed, preferences, size, etc). When your PetPal match contacts you, be sure to send a picture of your pet, with your mailing information, so they can see who they'll be shopping for! Please NOTE: The match you will be sending to will NOT be the same match mailing you a package. This helps keep the program moving, and engage more people (you get to meet 2 pets/people each month!)

-You will have until the 28th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the 15th of the following month, you will post about the goodies you received from your PetPal!

-The boxes are to be filled with fun pet toys, accessories, or snacks! Please be mindful (you may be matched with a cat OR a dog) of pet size/dietary restrictions, etc. The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a short story about your own pet.

-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)

-PetPals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you can choose to write a short guest post for your PetPal to post on their blog about what you received, or possibly share your box on Facebook (or other social media platforms).

- PetPals is currently only open to US residents. Please note, I am collecting a list of international and non cat/dog owners to gauge interest. If I receive enough matches I will open an international/rodent/reptile division.

PetPals Terms And Conditions

“By signing up to participate in PetPals, you are hereby agreeing to the following terms and conditions:

Condition 1:-You will contact the person you are matched with withing 72 hours of receiving your match to determine pet breed (cat/dog), size, and any dietary preferences or toy restrictions.

-Condition 2: You will make an effort to meet the dietary needs of your PetPal- If your PetPal has dietary restrictions you cannot comply with, consider sending just toys and accessories.

-Condition 3: You will mail your box by the 28th of the month. It is HIGHLY recommended that you purchase delivery confirmation/get a tracking number for your package. It is very inexpensive and can be used to prove that you sent your package in the event that it gets lost.

If your match does not receive a package for the month, you will receive a warning. If it happens two months in a row, you will no longer be able to participate in the program

-Condition 4: In the event that you do not receive a package, Jenna Wood and Momma Told Me/Time Out For Truffles blog cannot be held accountable. By agreeing to participate in PetPals, we cannot 100% guarantee that you will receive a package. The mail gets lost occasionally and your partner may fail to deliver.

-Condition 5: Using the PetPals email list to send out personal or spam emails promoting your blog, giveaways, etc is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Doing so is grounds for immediate dismissal from the program as it is a violation of the other participants’ privacy.

Failure to comply with these terms and conditions is grounds for dismissal from the PetPals Penpal Program.”

This program was inspired by the ingenious Foodie PenPals Program run by Lindsay of the Lean Green Bean Blog. I highly suggest you stop on by to check out her wonderful program for humans!


Already a participant? Grab this button for your sidebar!




Email Jenna M. Wood at Momma Told Me with any questions/concerns: woodpress08@gmail.com

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Breeder VS Shelter Dilemna: Finding Our New Family Member

***Please Note: The following article is in no way endorsed by any of the named entities, Star Yorkie, the ASPCA, etc. It is merely an opinion piece written by the author on a whim. Cited names/brands are for example, only.

I like to publish a lot of pet owner advice, and even share some tales of our own four-legged friends, here on Time Out Truffles- but there is something on my mind (for months now) that I have yet to divulge.

You see, I have long wanted a toy breed dog to add to our family. While chihuahuas are commonly the most readily available, there is one breed that has held an unparallelled place in my heart; the Yorkie. By definition a Yorkie falls into the toy breed, most often weighing less than 8lbs, full grown. However, there is another 'genre' that garners an equal amount of heat as it does praise- the 'teacup' Yorkie. Teacup dogs are, by definition, less than 5lbs full grown, and often 4lbs or less. Many reputable breeders, and AKC show parents, turn their noses up at the term 'teacup'. I am no expert, but I consider myself an intelligent woman, and I do necessary research to educate myself on many topics. I have seen both sides of the fence, but it boils down to; a teacup puppy is a puppy bred by smaller frame/weight parents, in hopes of siring another 'teacup'.

Teacup litters aren't always 'teacups', they will (when purchased from registered breeders) always be of good pedigree and registered, but there is no true way of knowing the adult size of a puppy at conception, or even birth. Of course, breeding teacup puppies is a practice that brings in a great amount of income worldwide each year- so a formula of sorts has been devised to estimate a puppy's adult weight/size as early as 12 weeks. This is based on an average adult size for the puppy's 12 week weight, vs recorded weights for adult dogs of similar measurements. Sounds quite complicated, right? Well, it is, actually. And, unfortunately, there are many 'garage' breeders that have little grasp of pedigree, or even basic veterinarian health, and sell these pups at a hefty price. Even worse, are the poor puppies cranked out and sold at a fraction of their 'worth'.

Now, I've already, likely, stirred up many emotions and thoughts in you, my loyal readers. Hopefully some good (or at least thought provoking), but history leans towards the negative stigmas associated with such thoughts. Believe me, I have likely had all of those thoughts- to the point of keeping me up at night. If I was to adopt such a puppy, how would I know it would be healthy? How do I know the breeder is legitimate? How can I justify paying such a hefty price for a puppy, when there are so many in shelters? The latter, being my biggest moral struggle, and precisely the reason I have spent months now turning on the computer (in the morning) to check updated Breeder Sites, Craigslist Listings, and the Local Animal Shelter. Because, first most, I want a family member. Whether that new addition costs $1200, and comes from a breeder, or $250 and hails from a shelter; is not the important part to me.

Before you can fairly comment on my query, you should know just a little bit more about me. It can be assumed, by reading this blog, that I am a wholehearted animal lover, who spoils her pets. I have also never bought an animal (discounting the 'adoption donations' at shelters and $10 'rehoming fees' on Craigslist). I have also never been one to turn my nose up at an animal for it's pedigree, or breed, and have owned (or cared for, but most important LOVED) everything from a Pit Bull to a Chihuaha, to a Mutt. I am always the first to volunteer for pet-sitting when a friend goes away, and for near a year my home was open as an in-between house to rescues from the local shelter. Frankie was rescued from a second chance house up in Northern California, and Truffles was adopted from a stray litter locally. I am, for the most part, a shelter girl.

Now, the issue I am having, is a long harbored love for Yorkies; built on several long term relationships with dogs of this breed. Whether it be a roommates dog, babysitting a neighbor's pet when it would get loose, or playing with my aunt's 2 angels during holidays. Traditional or 'teacup', I love the teddybear faces, the hypoallergenic coats, and their wonderful personalities (which I've also associated with intelligence). In general I want to add a canine to our home, but I want a canine small enough to go everywhere with me! I work out of the house, and would rarely be away from the pup; but would prefer to take the pup along whenever possible. Small dogs (no matter their weight) have health risks, and can easily get into mischief, I know. They are also high energy, and require lots of interaction and love; which I have plenty to give.

Whether teacup or not, the 'Yorkie' breed is often considered a purebred and will run several hundred to adopt; obviously more the smaller they are estimated to be. The concept of 'buying' a family member terrifys me; only for the sake of the animal itself. How can I be sure the animal is coming from a loving breeder, and under the healthiest of scenarios? Many of the larger, reputable' toy breeders offer a 1 year health guarantee, and health check. Buying from a breeder also means I would have support for any breed specific questions, training issues, and general concerns. The pet would be relatively socialized, primarily peepad trained, and have a documented personality. Now, if I am 'buying' a dog, I am not going to be rushed- I will be picky. And I don't mean picky in the normal breed snob sense (about ear structure and pedigree, or even appearance), I will, however, be picky about the personality match. I want a dog that makes my heart jump! And, for this reason, I have been in absolutely no hurry.

Because I am in no hurry, and I am (essentially) waiting for the animal to find our family; I regularly keep all options open. I am not set on a teacup Yorkie. I do not demand our new family member be a certain color or breed. Yes, I have a favorite local breeder wesbite I check religiously, but I also know my heart could fall in love with a sad face from the Humane Society. Now, having adopted many animals that were not puppy/kitten age (in fact Truffles was my first puppy/kitten ever), and all from shelters or broken homes- I also know the trials of going that route. It's hard for me to say that adopting from a shelter is without it's own shades of grey. In fact, I have had many awful experiences- from animals becoming severely ill and dying, to personality issues that endanger other animals and people, to 'shelters' scamming people for hundreds of dollars. I've seen a bit of it all. I know many of the concerns I might have with a breeder are just as justified at my local shelter. And, since it is not the money I am afraid of losing, it is the animal, my heart is the most hesitant.

Dogs, in my opinions, are no less than people; pets are family, children. There are thousands of homeless dogs, in hundreds of breeds. Dogs wind up at the shelter from bad breeders. Dogs wind up at the shelter from poor pet owners. Breeders will breed whether their dogs sell or not. And sometimes those dogs even wind up on the streets. To shun a reputable breeder for selling dogs is (in my opinion) no where near equal to the crime of a pet owner who neglects their pets, or allows them to breed because they are not fixed. Pointing fingers for the animal overpopulation is almost a fruitless task. Do I jump at the chance to pay $1400 for a dog, of course not. Do I feel the animals at my local shelter are treated in accordance to their $2-300 adoption 'donation/fee', no. I could be upset about both sides of the fence all day; but none of it will complete my family, or give a deserving animal love. And, as I am not a breeder; I am a forever home, I feel my love is just as needed by those teacup puppies, as it is those animals sitting in a cage (at the shelter).

In all, it boils down to this- Our family will soon grow by 4 tiny paws. I have loved so many great animals, of all walks of life, and every age. This time, it will be a puppy- next time, who knows. Other than that, I cannot say if I will buy are 'adopt'; but, in my opinion (no matter how much or how little the money), we are adopting. We will love our new family member like a child, provide it the best healthcare we can, and spoil it rotten. And, of course, we'll keep you tuned every step of the way. Here's hoping there are puppy kisses in our future!