Cowboy Robot

by Morgan Solomon

 Photo: Morgan Solomon

Photo: Morgan Solomon

If you ever visit 1000 Faces Coffee, you may notice the face of a cheerful dog peeking out from next door at Align Machine Works. This is Robot, a sweet boy who is a Border Collie/Springer Spaniel mix. His full name is Cowboy Robot, and he belongs to Jeff, the Senior Project Engineer there. His quirky name originates from Jeff’s childhood; Cowboy Robot is the name he always wanted to give a dog since he was a child.

On August 21, 2012, Jeff rescued Robot from Posey Shelter Pet Promoters, a non-profit organization in Cedartown, GA. It is believed that Robot was born in October 2011, making him six years old. You would not know it from his laid-back temperament, but Robot just made the big move to Athens this year. Jeff moved from Thomasville, GA to Athens for work and to get back to his roots since he grew up in Watkinsville. Robot came along for the journey, and according to Jeff, has benefitted more than anyone else from the move. Since moving to Athens, Robot has more opportunities to get out and explore. He is also able to go to work with Jeff.

Speaking of work, Robot serves as the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Align Machine Works. His office specializes in product development, prototypes and turn-key manufacturing. Align Machine Works helps clients manufacture new products using techniques such as computer numerical control machining, laser cutting and die casting. Robot works hard to promote their services by using his cute face, charm and sitting ability.

When Robot isn’t working in sales, he is normally chewing on random pieces of plastic he finds around the shop. He would take some good old plastic over an apple any day—he hates apples. Don’t worry, it isn’t all work and no play for Robot. When he decides to take a break from work, he loves to spend his time howling at sirens and riding shotgun, because deep down he is just a good boy. 

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas… spent in the Emergency Veterinary Hospital

Dr. David Lavernoich

The weather is getting below 80 degrees here in the Classic City, and that means autumn has arrived and the holidays are around the corner. Major box stores have had holiday decorations and winter weather preparations out since September. With the holidays approaching faster each year comes with it festive fiascos and hazards for our pets. No one wants an emergency visit to the veterinarian during a Thanksgiving tryptophan slumber. Here are a few considerations to keep our pets safe prior to our busy holiday season.  

Holiday meals are the best—they are full of great-tasting, nap-inducing food. As wonderful as these meals are for humans, our pets can have a hard time with some of them. Some people feed their animals the main course from their holiday meal because they feel bad or find it cute. These meals are often very fatty, heavy in calories and rich in taste, which may upset your pet’s gastrointestinal (GI) tract. 

Inevitably, most of us veterinarians will see multiple patients with diarrhea, vomiting or pancreatitis the day after any given holiday. Our pets are used to a very regimented diet, and giving them such a rich obscured meal very well may throw off their system. If you are considering giving them a holiday meal, it is best to avoid human food. 

The following are some other aspects of holiday meals that our pets need to avoid: 

  • Chocolate: Can cause panting, tremors, increased drinking and peeing, heart abnormalities, seizures or even death. 
  • Onions, Garlic, Chives: These can cause red blood cell damage and GI upset. Cats are more sensitive than dogs to them.
  • Macadamia Nuts: Can cause serious symptoms such as tremors, weakness, fever, depression and GI upset.
  • Xylitol: An artificial sweetener used in some baked goods, chewing gums, toothpastes, etc. that can cause severe drops in blood sugars leading to seizures, disorientation and other severe symptoms.  
  • Alcohol: Alcohol that is added to eggnog or other milky, sweet cocktails might be enticing for some animals. Alcohol can cause inebriation like in humans, but is much more serious due to their small body size and severity of symptoms.  
  • Grapes or Raisins: Can cause kidney failure in some dogs.  

Some holiday plants, albeit beautiful and festive, can also be toxic for your pets:

  • Lilies: The lily flower is dangerous for your feline companion. If ingested by a cat, it can cause renal failure.
  • Poinsettias: Can cause irritation in the mouth and stomach and can cause vomiting and diarrhea.  
  • Mistletoe: Can cause vomiting and diarrhea in most cases. This plant has the potential to cause heart issues.  
  • Holly: Can cause mild vomiting or diarrhea.  
  • Water with Tree Preservative: Many Christmas tree water additives/preservatives have fertilizers and other sugars, and generally they will cause GI upset.

Go to any large box store and see the numerous types of decorations. Here are some decoration considerations when monitoring your pets around the holidays:

  • Some cats and dogs like to chew on plastic, so keep track of any loose strings on lights or wires. There are many times that veterinarians see electrical burns from a dog or cat chewing on decorative lights.
  • Cats have a tendency to play with and chew on string-like objects. Cats will sometimes chew the tinsel off Christmas trees and ingest it. Tinsel has the potential to cause something called a linear foreign body, causing serious injury to the intestines.  
  • Sometimes glass holiday ornaments get broken, and an animal can ingest the shards. DO NOT make them vomit, but visit a veterinarian.  
  • Sometimes smaller tree ornaments that smell good or look like stuffed animals may be ingested.  

This is not an exhaustive list of concerns for keeping your pets safe during the holidays. If you have any concerns, do not hesitate to call your veterinarian. They will be able to help you decipher if there is an urgent situation. With a little due diligence and care, you and your pet can have a happy safe, emergency-free holiday.

Codalino: A Shepherd Dog’s Little Tail

by Taylor Solomon

 Photo: Taylor Solomon

Photo: Taylor Solomon

Even if you don’t know Stan Mullins by name, you know his work. If you live in Athens, GA, you see it on a regular basis. More than likely you have driven or walked past “The Character of a Champion.” You know, the majestic bronze sculpture depicting Coach Vince Dooley during the 1980 University of Georgia National Championship win. Mullins is the artist behind that work and many others seen around the Classic City.

Several years ago, I had the pleasure of visiting Mullin’ home and studio, a renovated 18th century cottonseed oil refinery nestled in Pulaski Heights. I was there to see author Mark Z. Danielewski read from his newest book in an event hosted by Avid Bookshop. If you are at all familiar with Danielewski’s work, you know he is one of the most captivating and engaging contemporary authors, often grouped with the likes of Chuck Palahniuk and David Mitchell. But there was something else that captivated me that night: Mullins’ relationship with his dogs. His beautiful canine companions roamed the event, excited to play hosts for the evening. Watching Mullins, you saw a natural born pet owner and animal lover. He was just as charming with his pets as he was his human guests that evening.

When I heard Mullins had written and illustrated a book about a dog, I knew I had to read it. Codalino: A Shepherd Dog’s Little Tail is Mullin’s own interpretation of the Biblical Christmas story told from the perspective of Codalino, a puppy born in a manger who becomes the companion of a child born in the same manager just days later. Mullins’ words and art work together to create mesmerizing new look at a story familiar to many. Mullins has illustrated several picture books, but Codalino was his first time taking on the whole project himself. Though known more for his work in the visual arts, Mullins has a way with words that leaves the reader feeling enlightened and yearning for more. The way he writes about animals and their human companions depicts what I saw the night I visited his home, someone who truly has a heart for those animals who walk among us.

Throughout the story, Codalino’s tail wags as a sign of enjoyment and appreciation towards those around him. Reading this book, taking in Mullins’ writing paired with his incredible art work, your own tail is sure to do some wagging.

Laura Eavenson

 Artwork: Laura Eavenson 

Artwork: Laura Eavenson 

by Maggie See

Laura Eavenson currently specializes in funky colorful pet portraits, but from the farm to the frame shop with four years in art school, her range of expertise is far from limited. She grew up with a pencil in her hand and has always opted to make her own lines instead of using coloring books. Laura preferred to draw horses as a kid, but life on a farm in Carnesville, GA provided for many more subjects. They raised cows but also had cats, chickens, goats, peacocks, rabbits, guineas, a mule and dogs. Although she planned to be a veterinarian at one time, the chance to shadow a vet showed her that bringing the animals to life through art was more her ideal path.

Laura’s recent pet portraits came from her involvement as a foster parent with Circle of Friends Animal Society (COFAS). Aside from having her own pet pals, a Boston mix named Roxie and a Pointer/Lab mix named Harper (both from local rescues themselves), she and her girlfriend are also occasional fosters for COFAS. Laura donated a custom portrait as a raffle prize to the Athens Pet Expo and used Roxie as her first model. The style took off after she placed Roxie’s portrait in the showroom at Athens Art and Frame at the request of her coworkers, and the commissions keep coming! 

 Artwork: Laura Eavenson

Artwork: Laura Eavenson

Her fluid, colorful style with cats and dogs can easily be traced to her broader approach to larger, abstract subjects. Laura says, “I view nature as a large and powerful force, so I love to make large paintings/drawings/multimedia pieces that reflect that.” For example, “instead of painting a wave, I like to try to paint my idea of a wave or the energy of it.” And working in a frame shop has influenced her in unexpected ways, as well, finding that she will retroactively realize the influence of something she encountered on the job after she’s already created a new piece. 

One of the most difficult parts of being an artist, according to Laura, is to find the balance between creating art and everything else in life. Art school provided the environment of encouragement and the time to just focus on art. Laura moved to Athens in 2014 after four years of studying art at Piedmont’s Demorest campus, where she even branched out some from painting to sculpture and metals. 

Now Laura and her girlfriend frequent parks like Sandy Creek and Ben Burton with their dogs as one way to achieve that balance. She says, “I always feel the most relaxed and inspired when I’m near the water, whether that’s paddle boarding a lake or just sitting by a river. Being outside helps me feel grounded.” Playing guitar and hanging out at Jittery Joes are good for the grounding, as well. Then she can throw the Twilight Zone on in the background and get back to painting. 

Being an artist is rewarding for Laura because it’s an outlet for her to express her feelings in a way that others may relate to. While she intends to keep painting funky pet portraits, she also plans to submit to some of the local juried shows around town and get “out there” more. So keep an eye out! 

For the time being, you can find more of Laura Eavenson’s work on Instagram at @lauraeavenson and on Facebook at @lauramonster17.

The Impact of Fostering

by Evelyn Lett

 Photo: Evelyn Lett

Photo: Evelyn Lett

There once was a pup named Speck. For about six years she lived in a small home in the country with her owner and over 30 fur-siblings. Speck grew up having to learn how to compete with her siblings for everything: food, a place to rest, affection. Her entire life was restricted to living inside a cramped home full of trash and other horrors. 

To make matters worse, the neighbor who lived next door was not happy with this living situation and decided to take matters into his own hands by regularly shooting the dogs with shot pellets. In effect, the dogs had to literally risk their lives if they dared to venture outside for fresh air. This unbelievable terror resulted in at least four dogs with limb amputations. Speck was one of those unfortunate pups. 

One day Speck’s owner passed away unexpectedly. Once authorities realized the living conditions on the property and the number of animals present, they didn’t have any feasible way to manage or even temporarily house the dogs and therefore had to make the hard decision to put Speck and her siblings to sleep. Who knew that there were still some counties in the state of Georgia that don’t even have an animal control division?

 Photo: Evelyn Lett

Photo: Evelyn Lett

Thankfully, in their final moments, one official took it upon themselves to reach out to a local rescue group to plead with them to save any of these unfortunate souls. Immediately, a group of selfless, dedicated volunteers with Circle of Friends Animal Society scrambled to collect every crate at the rescue’s disposal, jumped in their personal vehicles and drove directly to the deceased man’s home to recover as many dogs as they could. In total over 20 dogs’ lives were saved in what each of these veteran rescue volunteers deemed as the worst hoarding case they had ever witnessed.

At present, less than two months following their “jail break,” several of these resilient sweethearts have already found their forever families! Thanks to the mostly full-time employed, volunteer foster homes, we were able to instantly make a huge impact in the lives of these dogs by giving them the second chance that they deserve in life. 

In the intimacy of individual foster homes, these dogs were able to be rehabilitated while simultaneously gaining firsthand experience in how to react to normal daily activities that they hadn’t previously been exposed to. As a result, dogs being fostered are given the best opportunity to thrive versus the traditional method of rescuing that typically involves sending them directly into a loud shelter with limited stimulation and attention. 

So what was the fate of that feisty little tripod named Speck? As a way to symbolize the beginning of a fresh new start in life, she now goes by Skippy. Just after being rescued, this unstoppable girl was found to have a raging case of heartworms that had to be aggressively treated by painful injections into her lower back in a risky (but necessary) attempt to kill the adult worms living in her heart and bloodstream before they killed her. For three months Skippy is required to keep her activity level to a minimum or suffer a potentially fatal blood clot. Living in a foster home allows her activity level and health condition to be more closely monitored than if she were living in a shelter kennel. 

Skippy’s story is just one extreme example illustrating the many ways that fostering is so important to rescue groups. At full disclosure, it must be mentioned that most foster cases are not this dramatic, emotionally taxing or time consuming. Skippy is considered an advanced case, so before you say, “That’s more than I can handle!,” don’t worry. Most rescues will only place dogs with you that they feel you can handle and care for properly (typically based on factors like experience level, lifestyle, proximity to a veterinarian, etc.). 

Skippy will always hold a piece of my heart wherever she may go, and I’m so excited and hopeful to see what the future has in store for this spunky little tripod girl who, despite everything, is the biggest love bug who never fails to put a smile on my face. She is finally ready for adoption and is actively searching for her very own family that will welcome her into their lives with open arms forever.

Ways to Keep Pets Warm this Winter

by Morgan Solomon

 Photo: Morgan Solomon

Photo: Morgan Solomon

As the leaves start to fall and the air becomes crisp, it is time to start considering how to keep your canine or feline companion warm through the fall and winter seasons. We have you covered with a list of items and tips to keep your furry friend warm and cozy.

One tried and true product that your pets will either love or hate are clothes. If your pet loves to wear clothes, or will at least tolerate it, then this may be your best option. There are plenty of options to choose from. Your dog or cat can wear the latest fall trends in the form of a sweater, or if they are more of the outdoor type, they might like a vest that is durable and waterproof. For those days when all they want to do is take naps, there are plenty of footy pajama options that might tickle their fancy. If you take the fashion route, be sure that you take the clothing off every now and then to make sure they do not have any matted fur or chafing. You should also supervise them for most of the time they are wearing clothes in order to prevent any injury or accidents.

If your pet is not a fan of fashion, don’t worry—there are other solutions. The key is making sure they have plenty of sources of warmth, which can be achieved through blankets and special crate pads. There is an array of blankets to choose from, such as a classic fleece blanket or more durable blankets made from waterproof materials. 

Warmth can also be achieved through pads and beds. You can purchase a normal bed that uses a fabric that is warmer than normal, or purchase a bed or pad that has thermal heating technology. These types of bed retain heat better in order to keep your companion warm. 

If you have an outside cat or dog, you want to ensure that they have a shelter that has all the necessary accoutrements. This includes a warm blanket and bed, but it is more than just that. It is important to make sure their shelter is well insulated, does not have any leaks and is protected from the wind. The shelter should also have an area elevated off of the ground—this can be achieved with a normal bed, but a better option is an elevated bed. We recommend bringing any outdoor pets inside when it gets too cold to be on the safe side, as well. 

During winter, you should keep your pet’s coat full so they can produce more heat. If you have an outdoor animal, you should increase their caloric intake so they can create more heat by burning calories. It is important to keep your pets dry—wipe down their paws, and make sure they are not wet before going outside which will help prevent frost bite. The most important tip is to pay attention to your pet and their specific needs. Be aware of the weather, and do not leave them outside for long periods of times, if at all. You are their best resource for warmth this winter, so bring on the extra blankets and cuddling! 

Therapeutic Benefits of Animals: Residents “Thrive” with the Presence of Therapy Dogs

by Michaela Gardner

Living the remaining part of your life in an assisted living facility sometimes means life loses its variety, and routines become the norm. Luckily, there are people that devote their lives to enriching the days of those in assisted living homes, hospitals, nursing homes and other such facilities. One of these devoted people is April Few, the Director of Excitement at Thrive Assisted Living and Memory Care in Watkinsville, GA. While some might say that the residents at Thrive are lucky to have April, she considers herself the lucky one. She works every day to provide residents with “meaningful and purposeful activities that are tailored to their individual interests and abilities.” One of these meaningful activities is regular visits from therapy dog teams. 

Therapy dog teams consist of a dog and its handler. Not just any dog can become a certified therapy dog—testing and evaluation is thorough, and just because an animal is properly trained doesn’t guarantee that it has the proper temperament to succeed. In addition to basic obedience, dogs seeking certification are tested on their ability to tolerate the use and presence of medical equipment, loud noises and other such distractions. They must be socially and physically affectionate, and being able to perform tricks always makes a pet that much more appealing to institutions seeking the services of therapy dog teams. Handlers must also be outgoing, sociable and empathetic. These qualities can make or break an aspiring therapy dog team. 

Aside from the obvious outward benefits of animal therapy, such as laughter and smiles, science has proven that there are internal medical benefits, as well. Animal therapy has been shown to lower blood pressure, improve overall cardiovascular health, reduce pain and stimulate the release of endorphins, thus increasing happiness and pleasure. 

Those suffering from mental illness can also benefit from animal therapy. Children with autism often find it difficult, and at times near impossible, to interact with other people but are comforted by the presence of animals. Sometimes therapy animals are the only other living beings these children are able to engage with. The presence of therapy animals also decreases loneliness, anxiety and depression, encourages communication, and provides general encouragement for people recovering from mental and physical ailments.

Thrive currently has two therapy dog teams that visit on a regular basis, Aussie and Maizie. In April Few’s opinion, “the look of joy on our residents’ faces is the biggest benefit” to having them visit. She describes the dogs as “sweet, gentle and calming,” and their presence offers “a sense of peace and nostalgia” to residents in assisted living and memory care. When asked about some of the favorite activities that residents get to participate in with the dogs, April keeps it simple: “They all enjoy watching the dogs perform tricks, snuggles and [petting] them.”

 April recalls one of her favorite moments involving Maizie; she says that as soon as one of the residents saw Maizie, her face absolutely lit up. “She told us a story about this puppy that she had when she was younger and how her dog was just the sweetest, most gentle friend. She said she loved that dog with all her heart and that Maizie’s face reminded her of her sweet friend.” Aussie gets plenty of love from the residents, as well, and is a regular at Thrive. “He particularly enjoys visiting with one of our ladies because she always keeps a special treat waiting for him,” April explains. She anticipates his regular visits and assures him every time that “Granny is so glad to see you!”

On Monday, October 30, Thrive hosted their “Howl-aween Paw Party,” which involved six therapy dog teams. Of course, Aussie and Maizie were in attendance. The dogs arrived in costume and had the opportunity to Trick-or-Treat with the residents. Each dog received an individually-prepared treat bag, performed special tricks and spent time socializing with all of the residents. April was beyond excited preparing for the event. It’s activities like these that make her job all the more rewarding. As the Director of Excitement, what better way to provide said excitement than cute dogs in costumes?

April was able to enlist the services of Aussie, Maizie and the other therapy dog teams through a member of the Alliance of Therapy Dogs. If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about therapy dogs, becoming a certified therapy dog team, or seeking the services of therapy dogs for your own facility, be sure to visit therapydogs.com!

Dog Blessed: Puppy Mill Survivor Stories

by Taylor Solomon

 Photo: Amanda Newsom

Photo: Amanda Newsom

Dog Blessed: Puppy Mill Survivor Stories, published by Happy Tails Books, is a compilation of the inspiring stories of dog owners who adopted their pets from Main Line Animal Rescue in Pennsylvania. All of the pets found within the book were rescued from appalling living conditions of puppy mills. Prior to reading this book, I knew very little about the details of what happens in puppy mills. Dog Blessed: Puppy Mill Survivor Stories gave incredible insight into the horrors of puppy mills and what the dogs living in them must endure. Along with background on the mills themselves, through each of the 32 stories, you learn the individual details of what must go into the rehabilitation and care for these dogs after they have been rescued due to the physically and psychologically-damaging conditions of puppy mills.

Kayla Duffy founded her publishing company Happy Tails Books in 2008 after fostering (and eventually adopting) a dog, Bill the Boston Terrier, who was rescued from a puppy mill. Bill was originally adopted by another family but was quickly (and unfortunately) returned when the family found his psychological state more than they were willing to take on. Ultimately, Duffy met Bill and fell madly in love, working with him through the process of rehabilitation. (And how’s this for cute? Duffy now has a female rescued Boston Terrier, in addition to Bill, who she named Hillary.) 

Through her company Happy Tails Books, Duffy hopes to increase public awareness of the treatment dogs in puppy mills, and this book does just that. I hope that these stories reach a large audience of people, like myself, who are not aware of exactly how horrific conditions are in puppy mills. These stories, though individual, build a connected web of suffering, and ultimately hope, as we learn about these pets’ and their owners’ stories. 

In the end, the reader will walk away with a newfound knowledge of the treatment of puppy mill pets, the process that goes into rehabilitating these very special survivors, and why it is so important to adopt or buy from a licensed shelter rather than a pet store.

Bryn Rouse

 Artwork: Bryn Rouse

Artwork: Bryn Rouse

Bryn Rouse draws things. They’re usually in pen, and they’re always very cool. He creates elegantly simple yet charmingly-detailed drawings of animals, plants, food items and more. You may have seen some of his work on a can of Creature Comforts’ Epicurious, a shirt from Five & Ten, or on a shirt, the coasters and even the walls of The National. He also dabbled a bit in some red and blue 3D-type line work in the form of a Godzilla.

While honorably helping with his roommate’s three dogs, Oso, Zara and Pico, he doesn’t currently have a pet companion of his own. He still has fond memories of his childhood English Bulldog, Max, who was unfortunately gone way too soon in their partnership. But some future fur friend plans include possibly a dog or cat. More excitingly a goat, pig, or in true Georgia fashion, maybe even some chickens, aren’t out of the question.

Bryn’s love for art has always been there. But he got a boost of confidence in fourth grade when he won the second place title in a regional art competition with a drawing of a tiger done in graphite. After that, he “doodled” all the way to age 22 where his job as a bartender at The National found him kicking back after work with bar napkins and his ballpoint pen. When his boss, Peter Dale, noticed the drawings one night, Bryn was commissioned to design a postcard that could be handed out to regulars, and his current artistic endeavor blossomed from there.

 Artwork: Bryn Rouse

Artwork: Bryn Rouse

Other than getting to design Creature Comforts can art on Epicurious (although Bibo is his #1 favorite), and getting to draw a bison that now hangs on the wall of The National, another high point of life as an artist is getting asked to draw tattoo ideas for friends. He says this is an honor and to see his work on someone’s skin is moving. 

While he does love it, Bryn hopes to be able to cut his full-time food service industry job back some in the next few years and devote a lot more time to making a more expansive career out of his art. And since he’s a man of many talents, he would also love to get into some acting and music.

When it comes to the challenges of being an artist, Bryn says the hardest part used to be transitioning from drawing something for fun versus drawing something “as a task.” Overthinking, putting too much pressure on himself, and taking on any and all assignments are things he had to learn to overcome. But he now says, “The best way to make the best art is to channel your heart and the joy of creative expression into your work and to not view projects as tasks but rather as creative outlets.” To keep it simple, he says now he typically only agrees to draw things he knows he can execute well. 

You can find more of Bryn Rouse’s work on his Instagram page @brynscritterz or on his website at brynscritterz.com.

Apple Upside Cake with Salted Caramel

by Nicholle Bath, Heirloom Cafe

 Photo: Nicholle Bath

Photo: Nicholle Bath

CAKE INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled & sliced thin
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)

 

CAKE INSTRUCTIONS:

 Photo: Nicholle Bath

Photo: Nicholle Bath

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8-inch cake pan. Cut parchment paper into a circle big enough to cover the bottom of the cake pan. Grease again. Arrange apple slices into a circular pattern.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add all dry ingredients and whisk to combine. 
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together wet ingredients.
  4. Add wet ingredients into dry mixture, and mix until just combined. Do not over mix. The batter will be quite thick, but don’t worry, the apples will add moisture while baking.
  5. Gently add the batter into the cake pan; be careful not to ruin your apple design. Using a spatula or fingertips, gently even out the top.
  6. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the top is lightly browned. Rotate once halfway through the baking time. Stick a toothpick through the center of the cake to make sure it has baked thoroughly. While the cake is the oven, start the salted caramel.
  7. Once the cake has finished baking, allow cake to cool for 15 minutes. Once cooled, loosen edges of the cake with a knife. Flip cake pan onto serving dish. Carefully remove parchment paper. 
  8. Drizzle top with salted caramel, and dust with powdered sugar if desired. Best served warm. Enjoy!

SALTED CARAMEL INGREDIENTS:

  • 3/4 cup organic brown sugar
  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk (found in cans), room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt

SALTED CARAMEL INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Heat a sauce pan over medium high heat.
  2. Add sugar and stir for about a minute.
  3. Stir in coconut milk and sea salt.
  4. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Let mixture simmer for about 13 to 15 minutes until the caramel thickens. Stir the caramel occasionally to prevent it from burning. The caramel should be ready when it starts sticking to the back of a spoon.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat, and let the caramel cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a bowl or jar. 
  6. Keep the caramel in the fridge until the cake is done.

FEEDS 8-10

BeauMonay the Skateboarding Bulldog

by Morgan Solomon

 Beau showing off his skills. Photo: Morgan Solomon

Beau showing off his skills. Photo: Morgan Solomon

There is a new dog in town, and he might just be one of the coolest dogs to call Athens home. Meet Beau, the skateboarding bulldog. Beau breaks all of the bulldog stereotypes: he is energetic and determined. Beau belongs to Brookey Rickman who moved to Athens this August and is just as energetic and determined as her bulldog companion. The two combined make a great team.

Brookey got Beau during her junior year of high school. Before Beau, Brookey had a bulldog that fit the typical description of a bulldog: he was lazy and stubborn. She knew it was going to be different with Beau as she took him under her wing and set out to make him the best and coolest bulldog around. This November Beau will be turning five, and he can probablyskateboard better than most of us. Needless to say, Brookey succeeded.

 Before calling Athens home, Beau and Brookey moved from Dunwoody to Colorado where Brookey attended the University of Colorado of Boulder. According to Brookey this was the best two years of their relationship, but she expects that it will only get better from here on out. And she is right, Beau is already starting to make a name for himself in this bulldog-obsessed town. You can find him skateboarding around downtown and even follow him on social media at @beaumonay.

You might be wondering why would you teach your dog to skateboard? Well, besides the obvious answer that it is awesome, Brookey’s motivation was that she wanted to share something she was passionate about with Beau. She is also a skateboarder who loves the thrill and challenge of landing a new trick. Instead of excluding Beau from this activity, she decided to get him involved. The result is a bulldog who goes crazy over the sight of a skateboard. The second Beau sees a skateboard his immediate response is to bite at the wheels. This bulldog is so agile and strong—he demonstrates this anytime he jumps up to bite the wheels of a skateboard in Brookey’s hand.

Once Brookey puts the board down and gets a treat out, Beau is ready to go. He starts moving with the board using his little paws to get momentum. Once he has speed he hoists himself up onto the board and rides. His face is practically glowing as he glides through a parking lot, looking way more cool than I could ever hope to be.

When Beau is not showing all of us up with his skateboarding skills, he likes to spend his time snuggling. This is not a problem for Brookey, since she cannot get enough of this handsome boy. She loves bulldogs and Beau because the breed is spunkier than anyone realizes. Beau crushes the lazy bulldog stereotype everyday by being ready for adventure and excitement, just like his best friend Brookey. Follow Beau on Instagram and find him around town so you can see this skating bulldog for yourself. Oh and be sure to bring pupperonis... they are his favorite. 

Bats!

by Kaley Lefevre

 Photo: Georgia Department of Natural Resources

Photo: Georgia Department of Natural Resources

With Halloween right around the corner, bats are bound to be seen throughout Athens in the form of spooky decorations and fun costumes. Fortunately, the mammals themselves will be present around town as well to assist with maintaining the natural landscape by feeding off of the available flora and fauna. 

Though bats are often viewed negatively as rodents and nuisances, these smart mammals are vital to our existing ecosystem not only through their environment management, but also through the keystone role they play in many food chains. 

Pete Pattavina, a Southeast Regional White-Nose Syndrome Coordinator, said there are a plethora of reasons why he finds bats to be so interesting. 

 Photo: Georgia Department of Natural Resources

Photo: Georgia Department of Natural Resources

“What impressed me so much when I started studying bats was how long-lived they are,” he said. “They aren’t like a mouse or a rat that has multiple litters of young a year. [Bats] have one or two pups a year, and they can live [up to] 40 years old, which is incredible for an animal that small.” 

Bats are also impressively intelligent, have an elaborate social network and are capable of traveling hundreds of miles to hibernate every year.  

Pattavina’s focus on bats’ many capabilities is overshadowed, however, by White-nose Syndrome, which is a fungus that has overtaken entire species of bats within only six short years. 

According to Pattavina, nearly 95 percent of Tri-colored Bats have disappeared since they were last counted four years ago. 

“A train tunnel in North Georgia had almost 5,000 bats in it when we first counted it,” he said. “I think the [most recent] time we counted, we had somewhere around 200.” 

The fungus responsible for this staggering decline in these small bats was a complete mystery to scientists until recently. Because the fungus is difficult to understand yet intensely powerful in its wrath, bats are literally dropping like flies across the entire country. Pattavina said it’s because of this exact reason that biologists have been left feeling helpless as they attempt to learn so much about a disease and produce a cure in such a short time. 

Though there is not currently a definite cure to the fungus, Pattavina is hopeful that the few possibilities they have worked towards will produce positive results in the near future. 

Though there is nothing an average citizen can do to assist in this research aside from donating to the cause, there are still many other ways we can help the bats that are still left in our region. 

Katrina Morris, a Wildlife Biologist at the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GADNR, emphasized the impact of our lessening amounts of natural landscapes available for these animals. She stressed the importance of planting native species in our yards to attract native insects who can thrive off the environment. The bats will then be attracted to those areas and will assist in the maintenance of our yards, most likely without even alerting us of it. 

According to Morris, the increased use of pesticides has likely had a significant effect on our bats, as well, considering those pesticides will eventually be consumed. 

Many citizens often have an inherent fear of bats coming to roost in their houses, especially if they are knowingly attracting them to land. Luckily, there are safe ways to remove bats from houses without harming them.

According to GADNR’s website and Pattavina’s expertise, one of the most important factors to consider when removing a roost from your attic or chimney is the timing of doing so. 

If a bat has just had a pup that has not yet gained any fur and cannot fly, the idea of evicting that bat out of the house is nearly impossible. Instead, Pattavina instructs to wait until the bats are grown and capable of flying before installing a one-way plastic door that will allow the bats to leave the structure safely, but not return. 

If a citizen feels so inclined to offer a safer home for bats, they can do so by constructing a bat-house for their yard that will invite bats to roost when the environment reaches cold enough temperatures.

Though every citizen may not enjoy the idea of creating a house for bats, it is vital that citizens understand the importance of these special creatures and do what they can to assist with preserving them. 

According to Pattavina, if White-nose Syndrome continues in the direction it has been heading since it was first seen in 2005, there could be such a drastic decrease in these mammals that we may never see them again in such large capacities. 

For animals that do essentially nothing but help us, it is time for us to do our part to help them in return.  

Safety Lights for Pets

by Morgan Solomon

As a pet owner, we are always concerned for our dog’s safety, ranging from whether or not it is safe for them to eat something to if they are sad when we are gone for more than an hour. One big concern is when you are walking your dogs at night. You should always take extra measures to ensure that your dogs, and yourself, are safe when taking a stroll in the dark.

With Halloween around the corner, it is crucial to make sure you are prepared with the right accessories to light your path. While flashlights are helpful, it can be tricky handling a flashlight while walking your dog. Fortunately, there are many different options of light-up accessories available. Below is a list of five low-cost options so you and your canine companion can find the best to fit your needs. 

The first is a clip-on LED light that can be easily attached to your dog’s collar or leash. This light is extremely versatile and is not limited to just your dog—you can also use it when walking at night or for your children on Halloween.

The next option is a clip-on collar light. This light has the appearance of a keychain and is easily attachable to your dog’s collar. It can also be clipped onto a leash but works best when clipped on a collar. Much like the LED light, it allows you to easily transform a plain collar, making it a great option if you don’t want to worry about changing your dog’s collar when it is time for your nightly walk.

Next we have my personal favorite, a light-up leash. Most options are fabric leashes that have a rope of LED lights inside. Many of them have different settings so your leash can continuously light up or flash at different speeds. I personally prefer the flashing setting because it turns your walk into a fun disco. You can find these leashes in all sorts of colors to match your dog’s collar.

If you want your dog to look rave-ready and a flashing leash is not enough, then a LED dog collar is the accessory for you. These collars come in an array of colors and make your dog look like they are ready to party with its glow stick appearance. These are convenient and easy to put on your dog on top of a regular collar so they are ready to go!

Light-up gear is not limited to collars and leashes. If your dog is into dressing up, there are plenty of options! The obvious choice is a reflective vest, but since we are preparing specifically for Halloween, why not get them a fun glow-in-the-dark shirt? This way your dog can be safe while making a statement!

Tips for Integrating Abused Pets into a New Home

by Frogs to Dogs via Ahimsa House

The first introduction of an abused dog into your home is one of the most important times for you to assume the role of kind and gentle leadership. This time is especially important if you are bringing a new dog into a home that already has pets.

When introducing the new dog to your dogs: Whenever possible, have the pups meet outside the house on a leash with a relaxed walk. Preferably two people can assist with this meeting, with one person holding the leash of the existing dogs while the other holds the leash of the new dog. Only allow the dogs to sniff noses briefly (less than five seconds), then separate them so that they can continue to walk off some of the excitement. Allow for this calm encounter to take place several times. 

Avoid prolonged periods of face-to-face greetings. Keep your energy calm and positive, and keep the dogs moving as much as possible. If there are any signs of reactivity (snarling, anxiousness, body stiffening, staring, lunging, barking), stay calm and ignore these behaviors while also keeping the dogs at a safe distance. Keep the dogs moving as a way to cope with the reactivity. Allow the dog who is more reactive to walk behind the calmer dog. As the reactive dog starts to calm down, you can decrease the distance between the dogs.

When you get back to the house: Allow the dogs to enter in an order that respects your existing pets. Allow the dog who has lived in the house for the longest period of time to enter first, ending with the new dog being lead into the house on leash. Upon entering the home, take the new dog to a quiet, restricted area where they can calm down. If you are using a crate for your new dog, use the crate at this time. If you do not use a crate, consider separating the dogs with a baby gate so that each animal has the chance to decompress.

Set up a Safe Haven: One of the best ways you can prepare your new dog to feel safe and secure in your home is by providing them with a small safe haven of their own. Whether you will be crating your new dog or if you’d prefer to just set up a room/area in the home baby-gated for separation, this space will provide your dog with the comfort of a little den. Make your dog’s area as comfortable as possible. 

As long as your foster dog doesn’t have destructive chewing tendencies, consider setting the area up with a bed, toys and treats for entertainment. Starting your dog off with a restricted area in the home not only assists in building your dog’s confidence and trust, but it also helps to decrease many problematic issues such as destructive chewing and accidents. 

AAHS Takes in Irma Cats

by Amanda Newsom

 Photo courtesy of Athens Area Humane Society

Photo courtesy of Athens Area Humane Society

As the Athens Area Humane Society (AAHS) gathered donated supplies for the pet victims of Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma emerged as a threat here at home in Athens, GA. Their focus shifted quickly to not only preparing their shelter for potential outages or damages, but simultaneously to taking in an additional 40 cats and one dog from shelters affected by Irma in coastal Georgia and Florida—essentially doubling the number of cats in their care. Because the storm shifted, many shelters that were offering assistance quickly were in need of help themselves, and groups like FurKids and Best Friends Animal Society (BFAS) in Atlanta stepped in to coordinate transports from these shelters to others in Georgia and beyond. On October 21, AAHS took in 21 cats from Osceola Humane Society in Florida, and they took in 13 more cats transferred from coastal Georgia via BFAS Atlanta. They also took in one dog that was surrendered by their owner who had fled the storm, and they took in a cat being fostered by a volunteer from Clearwater, FL who was unable to transport the cat back home after the storm.

 The foster cat who came from Clearwater, FL. Photo: Amanda Newsom

The foster cat who came from Clearwater, FL. Photo: Amanda Newsom

Jed Kaylor, Shelter Manager at AAHS, said “Everybody is really friendly. We did get pretty much all adult cats—everybody was at least three months or older, and then… I pulled a litter of six sick kittens.” The cats were immediately vetted with rabies vaccines, and they are now being treated for different ailments like upper respiratory infections. They have one cat (the fostered cat from Florida) who needs a special diet because of kidney issues and another little guy had been seemingly bitten all over by ants, but for the most part they were a healthy group of cats and are ready to be adopted.

Last year AAHS took in eight dogs and one cat that were very sick from Hurricane Matthew in South Carolina and in February 2016 they took in 47 Chihuahuas from a hoarding case in Barrow County, so this wasn’t their first foray in helping pets affected by disasters. “That’s something that Jane [AAHS Executive Director] and I both have been proud of, our ability to mesh with whatever situation arises... It makes people see that we’re doing something other than just adoptions and spays and neuters; that we’re really in it for more than that, and we are here to help save their lives in any fashion possible.”

When asked what advice he has for people to be prepared for natural disasters in our area, Kaylor said, “If you think you may be evacuating at some time in the future, vet clinics and boarding facilities will house animals for a cheaper cost sometimes, but that’s something that wasn’t really addressed by the vet community here. And many people didn’t know they could board their cats.” He says you can also plan to have family or friends help house you and your pets during an evacuation. “Shelters were inundated, and that’s not something we want to see. Some animals were left behind or tethered to trees, and that should never happen.” 

During the month of September, AAHS lowered all cat adoption fees to $50 to encourage people to adopt a feline friend, and their Black Cat special in October lowers black cat adoption fees to $13 for adults and $75 for kittens (normally $150). If you’ve been thinking of adopting a cat, now is the best time to do so to help take pressure off the number of cats at AAHS, and it’s also better on your wallet… even though we all know they are truly priceless!

If you would like to help the cats affected by Irma that are still awaiting adoption at AAHS, you can make monetary donations to assist with their medical costs or donate in-kind items such as cat crates (the ones that snap together), Purina Cat Chow or Kitten Chow, any brand of cat or kitten wet food, or toys for enrichment. Kaylor also says, “We work pretty closely with Athens-Clarke County Animal Control, so any donations we get, we like to share the love.” For more information, please contact AAHS at athenshumanesociety.org.

Animal Abuse in the Community: How to Spot and Report Suspected Animal Abuse

by Michaela Gardner

 Bojack has a paparazzi moment. Photo: Morgan Solomon

Bojack has a paparazzi moment. Photo: Morgan Solomon

Bojack the 3-year-old Plott Hound never got the chance to enjoy being a real puppy. Toys were a completely foreign concept to him when he was adopted by Lizzie Martin in April 2015. He had no interest in gnawing on bones or engaging in play with his new owner. What should have been a joyous time for Bojack and Lizzie was more confusing and terrifying than anything. Having known his previous owner, Lizzie inquired as to why her new puppy was behaving so strangely and cautiously. Finally, the original owner admitted that on a regular basis, Bojack had been “left alone, probably two to three days at a time even.” During these times of loneliness and boredom, the puppy would tear up trash and furniture—and suffer for it. His previous owner had beaten Bojack “pretty badly,” leading to anxiety and trust issues, particularly towards men. 

With patience, time and lots of love, Bojack has begun to recover and regain his trust in humans. While Bojack’s story has a happy ending, the same cannot be said for most animals that suffer at the hands of human beings. According to the Athens Banner-Herald, at the beginning of August, Athens-Clarke County Animal Control discovered a deceased puppy that had been strangled outside of an apartment on Westchester Drive. Officers determined that the pitbull mix that been tied up and in turn hung itself while trying to escape. The owner of the puppy denied ever tethering the dog, but animal control reported that he had been previously warned not to tie the dog out unsupervised. This is a situation that could have been prevented had neighbors reported any suspected abuse. 

Forms of animal abuse are not limited to the beating or neglect of companion animals. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) lists dog fighting, puppy mills and animal hoarding as some of the most common forms of animal abuse. Dog fighting pits animals that have been abused and isolated against one another for entertainment, and although “fights are not usually to the death, many dogs succumb to their injuries later, and losing dogs are often discarded, killed or brutally executed as part of the ‘sport,’” as explained on the ASPCA website. They define a puppy mill as “a large-scale commercial dog breeding facility where profit is given priority over the well-being of the dogs.” Puppy mills can sometimes overlap with animal hoarding situations, which “occur when an individual is housing more animals than he or she can adequately care for.” 

Any of these situations can occur in any neighborhood in any city. Take the situation that occurred in April of this year in Clarkesville, GA, a quiet northeast Georgia town. Over 350 animals were taken from a property that was investigated after a complaint of excessive barking. Dogs, puppies, cats and a variety of livestock were all discovered living in “deplorable conditions,” according to the Now Habersham website. They were denied access to clean water and food. The director of Habersham County Animal Care and Control, Madi Hawkins, was quoted as saying, “We never expected to find such a large-scale operation in our own backyard.” Much of the evidence from the property pointed towards the operation of a puppy mill. Had a concerned neighbor not spoken up, this abuse could have carried on indefinitely and affected hundreds more animals.

So how does one go about detecting and reporting suspected animal abuse here in Athens? According to Patrick Rives, Athens-Clarke County Animal Control Superintendent, “obvious signs are observing someone causing harm to an animal, an animal that is excessively thin, an animal with apparent injuries or loss of body function, etc.” If you have observed any of these indicators, there is a specific procedure to follow and information to provide in order to make a report, taken directly from the Athens-Clarke County Unified Government website:

  • Name, address and phone number of the complainant
  • Exact address of the location of the animal(s)—we must have a street name and number, including the apartment or lot number
  • A specific incident or observation made by the complainant; in other words, the person calling must have seen an act of cruelty occur

Rives says that “the vast majority of cases we investigate are reported to us by concerned citizens. Reporting what you observe helps us intervene effectively.” 

There are also ways to go about preventing animal abuse altogether. The Georgia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (GSPCA) lists several ways to go about this on their website. Other than learning to recognize the signs of abuse, the GSPCA recommends first and foremost treating your own pets with “love and kindness” in order to set an example in the community. Teaching children to respect animals and understand that “animals are living creatures who have the ability to feel pain, joy and sadness” is another important aspect of preventing animal cruelty. 

Finally, adopting from and volunteering with shelters aids in preventing the cycle of abuse by keeping innocent animals out of the hands of abusers and by helping to reduce the prominence of puppy mills. Take it from Bojack’s story: even the abused and neglected ones deserve love and a voice to speak up for them. Be that voice for countless innocent animals that are unable to speak up for themselves.

To make a report of suspected animal abuse in Athens-Clarke County, call animal control at 706-613-3540 or call 911 in an emergency. 

Ahimsa House

by Amanda Newsom

Since October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, it was a clear choice of which organization to feature for October. Ahimsa House works across the state of Georgia to provide assistance to pets affected by domestic violence by offering them a place to live for up to 60 days in volunteer foster homes or boarding facilities. Their mission is a unique one that brings together two causes that aren’t as different as they may seem: animal welfare and domestic violence (DV). 

Many victims who are actively working to escape an abuser don’t seek shelter as early as they would like because they fear for the safety of their pets. Studies show that abusers who have harmed a DV victim’s pet are more violent and controlling to their victims than those who are not pet abusers. Further, pet abuse has been shown to be a predictor for intimate partner violence, and pet abusers are likely to either already be or to become domestic violence offenders. 

Because pets may be the only form of unconditional love and the only coping mechanism for DV victims with pets, abusers may harm or kill pets as a way to prevent the victim from leaving or as a way to coerce them into returning the relationship when pets are left behind. Victims who want to seek help and don’t know about services provided by organizations like Ahimsa House may stay with their abusers because they don’t want anything to happen to their pets. 

Few shelters in Georgia allow pets to be admitted with victims, so Ahimsa House works with shelters—such as Project Safe here in Athens, GA—and individual victims to provide assistance during times of crisis. “There are unfortunately very few services available to survivors of domestic violence who have pets… Ahimsa House empowers individuals to enter their pets into a safe place where they will receive love and care while he or she focuses on escaping DV.” 

Ahimsa House was founded in 2004 and has provided over 72,300 nights of safe, confidential shelter to pets, including addressing any medical needs of the pets while in their care. Last year they assisted 137 clients and their 225 pets, and as of late September this year, they’ve already served 129 clients and answered over 2,500 calls to their crisis hotline.  

When a person seeks shelter from domestic abuse, they can call Ahimsa House’s 24-hour crisis hotline to complete the necessary paperwork and set up a time to drop off their pets at a veterinary partner. This process sometimes happens over weeks or within hours of calling, depending on the client’s situation. The pet will be placed in an approved foster home or may be cared for at a boarding facility. Once the client is ready to move out of their shelter, they are able to pick their pets up within 48 hours. Ahimsa House even assists clients with paying pet deposits and providing supplies to best assist them with staying together with their beloved pets.

Ahimsa House is the only organization in Georgia providing this type of assistance, and as such, they depend on volunteers, grants, individual donations, in-kind donations and sponsorships to continue. They not only help dogs and cats—they have also helped horses, birds, snakes, hamsters, ferrets, turtles, rabbits and other species as an inclusive service. 

If you or someone you know needs assistance with pets to escape an abuser, please call Ahimsa House’s 24-hour crisis hotline at 404-452-6248. You can learn more about their services online at ahimsahouse.org, which has a safety button at the top of every screen on their website to quickly close the window if necessary. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer or foster home for Ahimsa House, you can complete an application online.

10 Years Since Hoarding Case: September 2007 Marked Athens’ Worst Hoarding Case

by Morgan Solomon

 BC (left) snuggles with Gray Cat (right). Photo: Lindsay Porter

BC (left) snuggles with Gray Cat (right). Photo: Lindsay Porter

This month marks the 10-year anniversary of a horrible animal abuse case in Athens, GA. The Athens Area Humane Society had a huge hand in helping the felines in this case, making sure they found new homes for as many cats as possible.

On the evening of September 2, 2007, Athens-Clarke County (ACC) Animal Control entered a home after reports of animal abuse. A neighbor, who was a veterinarian, called animal control after finding a dead cat in the window of the house on Merlin Court. Animal control and police began rescuing cats the very next day. Throughout the rescue, more and more cats were discovered, totaling 51 cats found in the home.

According to Patrick Rives, ACC Animal Control Superintendent, it is one of the worst cases he has seen in his 21 years of working in animal control. When he arrived on the scene, most of the cats were malnourished and becoming feral. They had to use traps to catch some of the cats. The house was covered in waste and feces, making it unbearable to be in there for more than a few minutes at a time. The team of rescuers took turns entering the house.

By the time they finished, they had rescued 48 cats. These cats were kept at the Athens Area Humane Society (AAHS) shelter, which was located on Beaverdam Road at that time, as well as in foster homes. While the shelter did not have the space to house this many cats, they did their best to accommodate them. Of the 48 cats, four were quarantined for rabies after biting rescuers. The rest were dewormed and pronounced healthy by University of Georgia veterinarians.

After investigating the house, it was concluded that the owner left the tub faucet dripping so the cats could drink water. There were around 100 empty cans and bags of cat food and signs that the owner would sporadically return to feed the cats.

On September 14, 2007, the man responsible turned himself in. Wilford Bradford Sims was charged with 51 counts of animal cruelty. Ultimately, he was found guilty and sentenced to 20 days in jail. A neighbor had confronted Sims in May 2007 about how he neglected the cats, and after this, he rarely went to the house.

 AAHS did not have the funds for vaccines or spaying and neutering each cat, but with help from the Athens community, they were able to raise $3,500. With this money they were able to provide care for every cat and hoped that this would also help them get adopted.

The week after the cats were found, only four had been adopted. The shelter feared that they would eventually have to put the rest down due to lack of space and resources. AAHS, the county’s only contracted cat intake shelter at that time, had a policy where an animal must stay in their care for at least five days before being euthanized. Although the cats had been in their care for more than five days, they did not have any plans to euthanize them. In order to encourage adoption, the shelter waived the adoption fees. People could adopt the cats for $1 under a program called “Change their Luck for a Buck.”

Things turned around, and by the middle of September, 33 of the cats had found homes. On October 9, 2007, the last cat found its home. AAHS did an amazing job. They did not give up even in the face of an overwhelming case and were able to find homes for these cats with limited resources.

Lindsay Porter was the only employee of AAHS working when the cats were first rescued. She was able to meet most of the cats and had an integral hand in the intake and initial care process, along with her husband and staff of the University of Georgia Small Animal Clinic who stayed until all cats were processed. She remembers the cats being very scared and the whole experience being frustrating and exhausting. Despite the frustration, Lindsay says it was a rewarding experience to help these cats who had suffered such terrible abuse. She even went the extra mile and adopted three of the cats. 

Black Cat and Gray Cat were considered two of the most feral cats, so Lindsay brought them home to live in her barn. She later adopted BC (short for Boss Cat) after he was brought to the shelter as a stray and the owner did not want to reclaim him. At first BC spent most of his time under the bed, but soon he became her “ambassador cat” who welcomes any foster animal that stays in Lindsay’s home. 

Black Cat and Gray Cat spent eight years as barn cats before Black Cat passed away. Gray Cat then made the transition from feral to friendly when Lindsay decided to bring him inside. It took a while for him to warm up, but with the help and encouragement of BC, Gray Cat now lives a happy life indoors. Both cats are definitely mama’s boys and have come to love each other in their own “bromance,” according to Lindsay. 

Thanks to AAHS and people like Lindsay who were willing to take in these cats as their own, this tragedy was transformed into a story of love and success for the animal community in Athens. 

If you suspect someone of hoarding or other negligent behavior, please contact ACC Animal Control at 706-613-3540.

If you or someone you know adopted any of the cats from this hoarding case, we’d love to hear from you to share your stories, as the adoption records have been lost or misplaced since the case concluded. Please email us at classiccitypawprint@gmail.com to get in touch.

Watermelon Salad

by Patrick Stubbers, Seabear

 Photo: Chrissy Reed

Photo: Chrissy Reed

Here at Seabear we love a good summer watermelon salad. It’s a great dish whether you are vegan or not.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large watermelon, cubed about 1 inch
  • 1 large bulb of fennel, shaved thin (slice in half and make a triangle cut to get out the core)
  • basil
  • mint
  • pineapple-jalapeño vinaigrette
  • edible flowers and micro greens (optional)

For the Vinaigrette

  • half of a pineapple (cleaned, cored and cut in rough pieces)
  • 2 jalapeños (roasted until blackened, then scrape away the black with the back of a knife and remove seeds)
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • pinch of salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

For the vinaigrette, get out the blender and give this all a real good blend for about 1 minute. You will have a bit extra, but it makes a great marinade for anything, including tofu on the grill.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the watermelon, fennel and as much vinaigrette as you need to coat everything heavily. Transfer to your serving dish, and garnish to your heart’s delight with hand-torn basil and mint. If you have edible flowers and micro greens, toss ‘em on, too. If you really don’t like fennel or want to mix it up, celery is a great substitute.

Feeds 4-8 depending on size of watermelon.

Are Your Pets Prepared?: How to Prepare Your Pets for Emergencies

by Amanda Newsom

September is Emergency Preparedness Month, and our pets aren’t immune from that preparation! It’s easy to think of emergency preparedness as anticipating huge disasters like a hurricane, but there are a wide range of emergencies that can affect us even here in Athens. Some of the most common are severe thunderstorms, tornados, winter “ice” storms, flooding, fire, and power or utility outages, though others like terrorism and hazardous material spills are also possible. 

Last winter I vividly remember bunking up in front of the fireplace with our pets to stay warm when we were without power and unable to get out of the driveway because of the thick ice—a clear reminder that we should all always be prepared with the basics. But if something more severe happens and you need to evacuate your house quickly, you need to have a grab bag ready to go for yourself as well as for your pets. Remember, never leave your pets behind when you evacuate! 

When asked why it’s important to include pets in our emergency planning, Athens-Clarke County Emergency Management Director Beth Burgess says, “Simple: they are a part of the family. If you have to evacuate and leave your pet behind, they could get lost, injured or worse.” She also mentions that people assume that if a major disaster occurs, the government will step in and help everyone. But governmental resources are very limited, and having more people prepared takes the strain off of these limited resources for those most in need. 

Pete Golden, Emergency Operations Coordinator for the University of Georgia Office of Security & Emergency Preparedness, says, “If you ask, virtually everyone will tell you that being prepared is important and something that they should do. However, many people put it off until it is too late, or they put together supplies and things expire or they get used up and never replaced.” Some of the items you should include in your pet’s emergency kit include:

  • Water and food 
  • Collapsible bowls
  • Picture of you with your pets (proof of ownership)
  • Current vaccination records
  • ID tags, collar and leash
  • Pet carrier
  • Any medications, including flea/heartworm treatment 
  • Litter and litter box
  • Pet first aid kit
  • Blankets and towels
  • Favorite toy
  • List of nearby emergency facilities that house pets

You can find detailed checklists for pet emergency prep kits online that are specific to the types of pets you have, as well. Keeping your pets up to date on their rabies vaccines is an important part for preparing for emergencies, as shelters that house pets will require this (and some may require additional vaccines typical of boarding centers). And while it’s always a good idea to have your pets microchipped, in the case of an emergency, this will be an extra help to quickly identify your pet if lost or if your ownership is questioned.

Your preparedness kits are also important to keep together in case you’re away from home when a disaster happens. Let friends, family or neighbors know where you keep your kit, and consider having someone you trust that lives nearby keep a spare key to your house or apartment so they can get your pets out if necessary. We recommend putting a decal on your front door or window that lists the number and kind of pets that are inside in case of fire or other emergency situation. You can get these decals at most pet stores or by ordering online.

Many people may not know that not all emergency shelters take in pets, so it’s a good idea to make a list of shelters that will allow you to bring your pets or house them nearby in case of evacuation. Golden says, “In the past, the University of Georgia and Athens-Clarke County have partnered to make sure that pets will be taken care of by setting up a pet-friendly shelter at the UGA Livestock Arena. The shelter would be staffed using personnel from the veterinary school and UGA CERT [Community Emergency Response Team]. However, at this time the university has asked to be taken off the state animal shelter list until such time that the new dean at the UGA vet school can determine if that is something that they are still willing to support.” We do encourage you to reach out to the new veterinary school dean to recommend that they continue this previous partnership, as it provides a vital asset to our community if something on a local or regional scale were to happen. 

Once you have your pet preparedness kit together, don’t forget to check it every six months to rotate food and water or other perishable items in the kit. This is a good task to add to your fall and spring cleaning lists!

You can find emergency preparedness resources for Georgia at ready.ga.gov, and there is also an accompanying app that you can create a profile in that includes you and your pet’s information. National animal-related organizations such as the Humane Society of the United States also have excellent pet preparedness resources online.