MY SAMONE

My sweet Samone. She was the most adorable little rotund lady with a touch of sass who came into my life in Feb 2015, when she was about 9 years old.

Samone LOVED nose, cheek, and chin scratches (especially with her comb), biting her comb, rolling over and having her belly rubbed, delicious snacks and being hand fed, looking out the window for birds and squirrels, swatting at her worm-like cat toy, loafing, sleeping in cubby holes with her butt and tail hanging out, and trying to swat Makani when she wasn’t looking (it wasn’t until this year that I found out Samone was the instigator and not Makani!)

I loved that anytime she saw me, she would walk over and proceed to throw herself down next to my feet like a sack of potatoes and wait for me like that to pet her. If I stopped for a second she would nuzzle and push my hand to remind me she wasn’t done receiving pets and chin scratches yet!

She was not a fan of catnip and did NOT like to be picked up or sit in my lap–if you tried, she would wriggle and move non-stop so it was pretty impossible! Instead she preferred to sit right next to me but not held.

Samone also had the sweetest sounding meows and her purrs were really deep and low. They were very quiet, or at least compared to the other kitties who were super loud! At first I was worried she wasn’t purring but one day I put my head next to her side and could hear her purring non-stop!

She loved the cubby holes and when we first moved to this home, I walked into their room and couldn’t find her! It wasn’t until she walked out that I saw she had found a little path way behind the window seating that led to an opening of one of the cubbies that was under the bench! I put a cushion in there for her and she enjoyed taking her naps in there but would always come out when she heard me.

I loved her cute little paws that looked like they were dipped in white paint and her incredibly soft grey fur.

Samone had such a sweet disposition and personality and always made me laugh! Looking at photos and videos of her always puts a smile to my face.

I said goodbye to Samone in the comfort of our home, peacefully on the morning of October 2nd. Although I know this was the best thing I could do for her, it was a very hard decision to make and I feel heartbroken.

I hope she had a happy life and is now at peace and free. I am very lucky to have had the chance to love her and to receive her love in return.

I will miss her so much and already do.

There is an added layer of sadness, having to have said goodbye to Makani just two months ago and not having any cat presence in the house for the first time in 8 years.

I know I loved and cared for Samone as best as I could but I do wish I had spent more time with her. I hope that she knows how much I love and care about her. I hope she’s in a place where she continues to feel loved and cared for. If you are reading this and have a furry family member in your life, please give them extra cuddles, treat, love, and attention for me, today and everyday you have with them.

Samone will be in my heart, forever. Thank you for all the love, joy, and memories. Until we meet again, my sweet little lady. ❤️

From top to bottom, left to right: Samone, her first day home with me, looking out the window, getting scratchies, enjoying the bean bag bed, looking beautiful, and hanging in the secret cubby hole she found (I lifted the top to snap a pic)

MY MAKANI

Makani came home with me on June 26th, 2013 when she was 8 ish years old. I had never had cats before and was actually a little scared of them–but I was promised that they (Bubba and Jefrey also joined us) were all very nice so I put together my first cat tree and welcomed them to their new home

All three of these special kitties had FeLV, the feline leukemia virus. I had taken them home as forever fosters from The Lange Foundation as the virus was contagious and they couldn’t stay at the shelter with other cats. Thank you Megan for trusting me with them and bringing them into my life.

From the moment I brought Makani home, I could tell why her shelter info card described her as “spirited”! While the other cats cautiously looked around/at me then proceeded to go hide, she immediately wanted to be pet, was purring, let us hold her, and almost escaped from the room I had prepared for them! She was completely unafraid and curious!

It was also clear from the beginning that Makani was the queen of the bunch and she wasn’t afraid to show it! Maybe it was how her personality had always been or that she was possibly a stray who had survived on the streets. But regardless, Makani was bad ass, bossy, aggressive, brave, assertive, and didn’t think twice to slap one of the other cats if they pissed her off lol.

She was always sweet to me though and any other human she met. She’s been the only cat I’ve ever had who LOVES to sit in laps! Our routine would be for me to put a pillow or cushion on my lap (to help make it more comfortable) and she would run over and come sit on it. (And if any of the other cats wanted attention and got too close she would swipe at them!)

I don’t know what Makani went through as a kitten until the time I had gotten her but I feel like she had been through some rough times and experienced suffering and pain. Despite that, she always came out on top because she was a fighter.

When she first came home, Makani had just gotten all of her teeth taken out except her canines due to stomatitis. She was very skinny because she hadn’t been eating due to the pain plus now she was recovering from a dental procedure. Eventually her canines also created trouble for her and once all her teeth were out, we could stop forcing pain meds on her and she was 100% better!

I remember the change–there was a point where she had gained weight and become fat and happy! She no longer was in pain and could eat as much as she wanted and she always had a great appetite!

I vividly remember thinking, WOW, getting to help Makani and seeing her thrive is the most rewarding feeling. My heart felt so full. This is what animal rescue is all about–this is what life is about! I am so grateful to Makani for allowing me to experience this.

It is with great sadness that I had to say goodbye to my beautiful, strong-willed girl, Makani, a few days ago. It is truly an honor to have had her in my life these past 7 years. Every single day she has shown me love and affection. How lucky am I to have been on the receiving end of that?

If you have ever had to make this decision, you know how hard and gut wrenching it is no matter the circumstance. But it seemed her kidney disease had finally caught up with her and I was afraid she would suffer or be in pain if I did not help her move on.

It was shocking that this happened and I think I might still be in a little bit of shock–if you read the last Friday post, I had mentioned Samone was going through health issues, not Makani. We’d been managing Makani’s kidney disease for several years and Sunday morning she seemed FINE. Ran to me as she always did when she saw me, ate all her food and tried to steal Samone’s, and was jumping up and down from her spot on the bench by the window. By the afternoon I could tell something was up when she didn’t come up to me. By evening it was clear that something was seriously wrong and her energy seemed to be drained. It felt like her body just could not go on.

I kept her company that night and didn’t leave her side. I wanted to make sure I was spending the precious time we had left in the best way I could. I wanted to make sure I was there in case she needed to be taken to the emergency vet or needed my help. Anytime she opened her eyes, I was there. I hope it made her feel safe and comfortable.

I stroked her head, scratched her chin, told her I loved her out loud and in my head, tried to send her good energy and vibes, cried and held her, told her she was the best, helped her use the litter box, held her paw, kept my hand against her, just tried to be there for her as much as possible. She was sleepy and tired but peaceful. At times she even looked like she was smiling at me. A few times, she grabbed my hand with her paw and nuzzled her little head into my hand. I will always treasure these moments.

Saying goodbye, even if you feel it will end their suffering, is always so SO hard.

It is so hard when you expect to see them in their usual spots as you have for all these years and they are not there.

It is so strange that they are there one second and then they are gone.

The hardest part for me has always been the first meal without them. Their bowls are still there, their food, their meds. I usually keep everything for a ridiculously long time until I am ready to let it go.

Although all of this happened so unexpected and quickly, maybe it was for the best–maybe it saved us both from prolonged pain and sadness.

But I still wish I had more time with her.

Animals are so amazing. I have no doubt they are incredibly connected to their spirit and energy and to the universe. I know Makani was not scared of death at all (I don’t think she was scared of anything). And I hope that I was able to help her start the next chapter in her journey. Her body might have been old but her spirit is strong and lives on. I hope that wherever she is, she is doing all the things she loves–so happy and so free.

I want to always remember how she loved sitting in my lap, that her favorite spot at this house was behind the curtain, and how the first time she slept there, I couldn’t find her until I saw the lump by the window :).

That somehow I got in the habit of calling her Miki, that she always insisted on walking or climbing or sitting on me, and how she and Jefrey became frenemies but I think mostly friends.

How she was a wonderful model and inspiration for Atiliay (she is the cat behind the cat hair t-shirts!), her deep purrs, how much she LOVED catnip and cardboard scratchers, and her very strong headbutts (that the other cats would always be taken aback by lol).

The way she would viciously chase and take down toys, how athletic she was, how she was the only cat I have had who was not scared of the vacuum at all!

I want to always remember her strength, her resilience, her soft side, her tenderness, her unconditional love.

Thank you, Makani, for everything you have given me. I am so appreciative and grateful for you.

Every beloved animal who has become a part of your life changes it for the better and takes a piece of your heart.

Makani, you will always have a very special place in mine. I love you. I miss you. Until we meet again.

Makani watching her frenemy Jefrey, one paw tuck, caring zero about the challenge where cats will sit in any ring, sitting on my lap, posing for the camera, and always assertive and curious :)

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Creating orders, getting ready for shows, packaging items, printing shipping labels, getting to the post office before it closes, remembering to eat, trying to get some sleep, and repeat!  That has been my life for the past few months and as fun and exciting as it has been, I am so glad Christmas is here and I can take a breather and relax for a day or two!  To all my fellow friends and vendors who have been working so hard, I hope you get a moment to enjoy this time and reflect on all your accomplishments!

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season with your loved ones!
Happy Holidays from my family to yours! :)

Happy Holidays!

From top left to bottom right: Bernard, Valentine, Lucciano our doggy Angel, Jefrey, Makani, and Bubba our kitty Angel.

When I am not working, I like to take pictures of my elves…

Bernie the Elf

Bernard the Elf...Are we done yet?

What is this stupid thing!

Valentine the Elf

Valentine the Elf

Unfortunately, I can’t get the cats to wear the elf hat lol.

MY BUBBA

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Petting Bubba

Bubba tilting

I found out this past Wednesday that I have to let one of my forever foster kitties, Bubba go.  He has not been acting normal for a little while but I had been taking him to the vet and we tried different things to make him better.  Unfortunately his body is succumbing to the feline leukemia he has.  Although he was acting funny, I didn’t think it would turn into something so severe and mean saying goodbye to him for forever– I thought maybe it was his kidneys and I’d have to give him fluids or something else that can be made better and maintained.

I was supposed to take him in early this afternoon, but he passed this morning at home.  I know he is in a much better place now, but it is still hard and I wish I had more time with him.

I haven’t had Bubba for very long, but he did not need a lot of time to show me what a sweet, gentle, loving, and easy going boy he is.  The first day I brought the cats home and let them out in their room, he immediately jumped up onto the top of the cat tree and looked at the window.  There was zero transition time, this was his home.  The cat tree was definitely his favorite spot and I would usually find him curled up taking a nap in the sun or looking outside at the birds and probably plotting how to get them.

Bubba plotting against the birds outside

He has had to share his space with two sassy ladies, Makani and Jefrey.  They would hiss and swat at each other and at him, but he would never swat back.  I used to be scared of cats and he has shown me there is nothing to be afraid of, or at least I had no reason to be afraid of him!

Bubba, Jefrey, Makani

How do I get Jefrey out of my spot?

Having a meeting

Bubba was always very sweet and affectionate.  Whenever I started to pet him, he would lower his head and butt it into my tummy or leg or whatever was closest to his head.  He would also climb into my lap and put his paws on my shoulder, like I was holding a baby.  I think his favorite thing was getting his little chin scratched and would hold his head up and close his eyes.

Everyone who met him loved him, from his vet to the vet techs who worked on him to my friends who got to meet him and his previous forever foster owner.  How could you meet Bubba and NOT like him though!?  I hope he felt loved and cared for.

If there is one thing I could say to Bubba, it’s that he has brought me much joy in the time I have been able to spend with him and I am so glad he became a part of our family.  I hope that he in a place now where he can go outside and be free from any danger, have lots of cardboard boxes to nap in, yummy food to eat, and do all the things cats love to do.  I’d like to think that Bubba and Lucci will be together (although cats weren’t Lucci’s favorite) and they will be waiting for me and we will see each other again one day.

Sending you off to a new adventure with lots of love Bubba, we will miss your handsome face and you will always be with us in our hearts.

Bubba

Bubba

Bubba

Petting Bubba

HAPPY 5 YEAR ANNIVERSARY LUCCI BUCCI

5 years ago today, I thought I was adopting a dog.  What I really got was a charming, bossy, funny, tantrum throwing, salmon loving, endearing, chubby bodyguard and companion.  I miss his cute little beer belly, cutting his hair when he was sleeping, him stalking me everywhere I go, his snores, his presence.  I wish he was here with me to celebrate, but I am sending him a big hug today. People may have been afraid that he was going to bite them (a rational and reasonable fear), but this is how I will always remember him!

Happy Anniversary my Lucci Bucci!

My LoveYou will forever fill my heart with joy.

MY LUCCIANO

It is with a very very heavy heart that I have had to let my Lucciano go.  I hope that by doing so, he can move on and go on to his next adventure.

Although he is a very bad vegan, he was a wonderful companion, friend, pack leader (let’s get real– he was the boss of everyone), and has such a big and special place in my heart.  

I hope he knows that there are people who love him so very much and will always miss him and never forget how he has touched us.  

Here is our story of how we met, all the wonderful times we shared together, and all that he has taught me.

Lucci Bucci at the park

Do you know the story of how Lucciano came to be a part– or more like the boss– of our family?  My mom and I had been volunteering at The Lange Foundation for several months and she would always walk Lucciano because he went at a nice pace.  One day when she was taking him back, she said he stopped and walked towards the line of parked cars by the sidewalk.  He took her over there then she knelt down next to him and he put his head on her lap.

“He wants to come home with us!” is what my mom said.

After she said that, the thought of NOT taking him home with us did not exist!

I don’t know what Lucciano was like before Lange rescued him from the South LA Shelter, but from his mug shot, it didn’t look like he was taken care of or paid much attention to.  He was an owner surrender and if there’s anything his previous owner did right, it was to send Lucciano our way.

Elena from Lange bailed him out on May 16, 2008.

Lucciano's Mugshot

{This is Lucciano’s mugshot from when Lange first rescued him from South LA.  He obviously had not been groomed or well taken care of.}

Lucciano at Lange

{This is Lucciano after The Lange Foundation bailed him from a kill shelter, groomed him, took him to the vet, and got him ready to be adopted!  Look at how handsome he is :) }

I remember when he first came to Lange and which kennel he was in and our first walk around the block with Lucci.  He was quiet and calm and then towards the end of the walk he barked at bush. From then on, each time we went to Lange we would make sure to walk him and hang out with him.

Before we adopted him, walking Lucci at Lange

{Walking Lucciano at Lange, before we adopted him}

My mom walking Lucci

{My mom spending time with Lucci.  Can you see his 2 adorable little teeth?}

 We adopted Lucciano on October 30, 2008.

We knew he was an older gentleman (maybe between 8 and 10?) and probably wouldn’t live as long as a younger dog, but we thought we could give him a good home he could spend the rest of his life in.

(Way later after we adopted Lucci, Elena told me that everyone at the shelter she pulled him from had said he was “the devil dog” except for one volunteer who said he was a sweetheart.  He bit a few folks at Lange, including Rachel the first day he got there and Jose when he tried to pill him.)

The day I went to go pick him up to take him home, he didn’t want to leave because he smelled food at the kennel.  He yelped, cried, whined, and walked all over me the entire ride home (this was how we learned he didn’t like car rides).  We walked him around the block and he barked at our neighbor’s cardboard Halloween cat decoration.  He claimed his spot in the living room, which was on the black chair.  At bedtime, he refused to sleep in his bed and jumped on my bed…I put him back in his bed.  He jumped back up.  I put him down again.  He jumped back up!  That night was the first night of many nights that he slept by my side.

His first meal with us

{Lucci’s first meal}

This is my chair!

{He jumped right on this chair like he was saying, “Yup, this chair will do, thank you very much.”}

Lucci's Bedroom

{This is a messy photo of our room and where we slept.  Lucci’s house was next to my bed and he loved my furry leopard blanket so I gave that to him.  I would make his space nice and cozy every night!  That orange thing was his toy :)}

It’s hard to describe Lucciano in words because he has such character!  My brother’s friend calls him “The Boss” and that’s what he is– the boss of everyone who he has met who is either captured by his fluffiness, taken with his charm, or had the fear of his bite instilled in them.  He also knew how to get what he wanted and threw temper tantrums.  Please refer to this video and see photo below, where he is caught in mid tantrum!  Most of the time he threw temper tantrums at my dad, who was eating some kind of chicken or fish he wanted.  I used to get mad at my dad for feeding him all this stuff I told him not to, but now I am glad he did and that Lucci got to do what he loved, which was eat!

Give me chicken!

{Throwing a temper tantrum}

Rub my belly!

{Being his adorable self, lifting his arm when he saw us walking by, which was his way of demanding a belly rub}

When we spent time with Lucci at Lange, he was always a nice walker, barked only that one time at the bush, and would love belly rubs.  We didn’t know he would be as feisty as he is.  Not too long after we adopted him, after a walk on a rainy day, my mom decided to wipe his feet.  We did not realize he was sensitive to people touching his paws and he got her– good.

His first bite

{This photo doesn’t capture how bad it really was but my mom’s fingers were swollen for weeks.  The funny thing about this picture to me, is Lucci in the background}

But there was no way we could send him back!  Things happen!  We were still getting to know each other.

Since then he has successfully bitten 12 people to my knowledge, and probably tried a lot more.  But you know what?  It was because he was scared and afraid we were going to hurt him.  Somehow, he had learned to associate being touched or handled with something negative.  We all tried very hard to show him that people can be good.  And we loved him and have grown to understand him.

I have to say, it was scary each time he bit because there was no warning growl, only a CRAZY noise he’d make as he bit you!  I seriously considered sending in a tape to The Dog Whisperer many times.  Then after he tried to bite me was another scary time because the next time I would have to groom him or do something to him, I wasn’t sure if he’d strike again.  But we got through it and these past few years he has let me pet him, groom him, cut his hair, clip his nails, and clean his ears (mostly while he is sleeping).

Lucciano has taught me so much.

Sniffing the air

{Enjoying the breeze and sniffing the air}

Did you know there was a point in my life where I didn’t understand when people called themselves “mom” to their dogs or why they spent tons of money on them and babied them?  Lucciano taught me, it’s ok to be like that, I will still like you, won’t make fun of you, put up with it, and maybe even like it a little bit.  He was the first anything that I felt like I needed to call “My Love” because he really is.

He has taught me about trust and earning it, loyalty (he had pretty bad separation anxiety but when he got better, he would just wait for me by my door to come home from school or work), laughter (why is he so funny and cute??), patience, creativity (any time we had to give him medication we had to figure out a way to do it without him noticing), friendship, and most importantly love– the unconditional kind.

Waiting for me to come home

{Waiting for me to come home}

I'm home!

{I just pulled up! Thanks mom for taking these pics!}

Unconditional love

{Friendship + Unconditional Love.  PS: This was at the beach where he looked up at the sky and barked at EVERY SINGLE seagull!  A classic Lucci move}

The love we receive from our furry family members is not something you can really describe, but anyone who has experienced it knows how special it is.  I have never felt anything like this before in my life.

He has taught me how to care for another living being.

He has taught me great empathy.  When he was happy, I was happy.  When he hurt, I hurt.  When he cried, I probably cried harder.  I remember hearing his whining as the vet brought him out from his first dental and I burst into tears like a crazy person in the lobby.  (They were very very nice about it and assured me he was not feeling any pain at all, just woozy from being knocked out.)

He taught me that when you care and love someone or something, it doesn’t matter how tired you are, how upset you are, or how busy you are, you make the time and effort for them and in the end you always know that that was the right decision to make and that was where you needed to be.

And in his most recent lesson, he has taught me about life, death, and letting go.

I will always remember all the ups and downs we had, but especially the many very sweet moments we shared– like when every morning, we would run from my room to the couch and he would jump into my lap and we would snuggle under the covers for a few minutes before we had to get ready for the day.  I remember I could just hear him breathing snuggled next to me and it was such a funny and loving moment.

Another thing I loved was if he was at the other end of the room, I would kneel down and pat my hands on the floor and he would run to me– I would always say “Penguin!” when he did this because it reminded me of a penguin for some reason and it always made me laugh.  I loved seeing his adorable face bounding towards me.

That face!

{That face!  This was Lucci’s first Christmas card.  We have the most amazing groomer that worked with him and made him so clean and cute!}

Lucci also did this funny thing where he would bite his stuffed dog and whine and not let go!  We called him his baby and eventually we took it away from him because we weren’t sure if he was sad or upset but he would just have it in his mouth and whine the whole time!  Anyone out there know the meaning of this??

Lucci and his baby

{Lucci and his stuffed dog…falling asleep with him in his mouth!}

Besides eating he LOVED to sleep.  He always found the funniest spots, in between chair legs, on my mom’s shoes, in the middle of the floor so people would have to walk around or over him, Valentine’s bed that was too small for him, etc.  He also did this funny thing where he would lift his head up to look for me– when I saw him do this I would say, “I’m here booboo!” and he would literally drop his head back down on the floor with a thud!  I was always afraid he’d hurt his head this way, but good thing he didn’t.  We’d joke he was like a football player because if he wanted to get into a room and there was a crack in the door or something blocking his way, he would just ram right through it!

Snoozing on the pilates machine...

{Sleeping on the pilates machine}

He was an only child for the first few years we had him.  Then I found Valentine. Then Bernard joined the gang.  They’ve all had their share of ups and downs too, but eventually had a mutual understanding and love.

Lucci and Valentine{Valentine would always go lay down next to Lucci}

Bernard and Lucci

{Bernard and Lucci}

The Trio

{Booboo, Baby Girl, and Littlest One :)}

In these past few weeks, our relationship has elevated to another level.  In these hard times, Lucci allowed me to take care of him and do what we could to keep him going.  He fought like the tough guy he is, but in the end, it was just time.  We all grow old and this shell we live in just cannot support us for forever.  Just like he has always been by my side, this time I was by his side.  The past few weeks I have tried to be with him every moment I could.  He slept by my side.  I brushed him constantly because I know he liked that.  I massaged his tired body.  Anything I could do next to him- work, emails, etc. I did.  Every second I have had with him, whether hard or easy, heavy or light, is something I will always treasure and keep with me.

I think anyone who has lost someone goes through in their mind all the things they could have done or should have done.  For me, I wish I had taken him on more walks when he could go, more trips to the park, and that I was able to give him all the foods he loved before he lost his appetite.  It never really occurred to me that in the end, he would not be able to do what he loved to do most.  But on a few of his good days, he actually did gobble down two of his favorite foods and I was so happy to just watch him eat.

Everyone who loved him did the best we could for him, and I hope he knows how special and important he is to us.  I truly hope that we have made him happy during his time with us, because he certainly has filled my heart with so many smiles, with life, and with tremendous amounts of purpose and joy.

I don’t know what happens to us after we leave this Earth, but I feel in my heart it is a much better place without any suffering or pain.  I hope Lucciano is free from all the ailments of his old body- that he no longer has arthritis and he can walk and run again; that the sunlight no longer hurts his eyes and he can see perfectly; that he has the energy to bark at all the birds in the sky and roll around in the grass; that his big appetite has returned and he can eat whatever his heart desires; that he feels happy, loved, and content.

I think if Lucci could talk to us he would tell us not to be sad and to go eat chicken because that always made him feel better (I don’t think he ever understood the concept of veganism).  He would say that his body is old but his spirit is strong and as feisty as ever, and the only way his spirit can be free is to leave his body behind because he no longer needs it.  That he will always be my little shadow.

He has changed my life in more ways than he will ever know.  I am so grateful he has been a part of my life.  I miss him very much and love him very much.  He will forever be in my heart.

Walking my handsome boy!

{Going for a walk with my handsome boy!}

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{Rolling in the grass was a favorite activity of his}

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{Full speed ahead!  I love how happy he looks and how cute his round little tummy is :)}

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{Dozing off in the grass in the backyard}

Lucci

{I loved seeing him run to me!}

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{With my mom and Valentine}

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{Meeting Connie for the first time!}

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{His first bath– he tried to attack the blow drier so towel dry it was!}

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{He was a toughie on the outside and a softie on the inside!}

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{His hippie stage– this picture always cracks me up!}

My love

{True Love}