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Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

MOMMY TAILS: Sleeping through Sickness, Storms, and a Poodle’s Shakes and Shudders

In Uncategorized on May 11, 2010 at 3:47 pm

When my husband and I got engaged eons ago, we purchased a queen-sized bed, thinking it would easily accommodate us and Bridget–then our only dog. Being a Chihuahua, she didn’t (and still doesn’t) take up much space, though she does insist upon scooting her way onto one of our pillows and sleeping an inch away from either of our heads. As the years passed, however, things changed.

Over time, three children and two other dogs were added to the mix. Granted, Boomer the Beagle mix typically hunkers down for the night on an old comforter on the bedroom floor. As far as everyone else is concerned, though, Mommy’s and Daddy’s bed is common territory. Our Poodle, Isetta, usually sprawls wherever she can find a little room. And, when Maria, C. J., and Thomas are scared or feeling unwell, they invariably sneak in or are carried in by their exhausted parents.

That having been said, the sleeping situation in the Marsico household recently became even more harried than usual. For starters, all three non-furry children were sick with high fevers and coughs. In addition, as those of you in the Chicagoland area are probably well-aware, we experienced a series of post-midnight thunderstorms (circumstances that transform Isetta into a shivering,  whining, inconsolable mess).

At one point this past week, I awoke several times to find myself boxed in by three feverish little people and a Poodle who was making the entire headboard vibrate. Thunderclaps are one thing, but crying, coughing, panting, groaning, and the sound of multiple bedmates snoring are quite another.

To his credit, my husband could snooze his way through a herd of wildebeests stampeding through our bedroom. So, he naturally had no trouble catching his z’s despite the chaos that was erupting around us. I, on the other hand, am a mother and am attuned to the slightest whimpers and whispers.

As a result, I could not relax myself into a slumber amidst Bridget growling at her shuddering canine sister and the racket inspired by my sons and daughter. I tried everything–and I mean everything. I stroked Isetta as the thunder rumbled. I broke out the Infant and Children’s Tylenol. I changed diapers and fetched water in sippy cups. I repeatedly relocated Bridget and Isetta to various parts of the bed where they would not invade the other’s personal space. Suffice it to say, the storm raged on, as did my insomnia. To make matters even worse, I was continually getting nudged and shoved closer and closer to the edge of the bed.

Finally, I decided enough was enough. Even if I wasn’t a working mother, there is no way I can function on less than four hours of sleep a night. Hence, I acted as any sane parent and pet guardian would–I surrendered the bed to my children and female dogs and migrated to the stinky comforter on the floor next to Boomer.

Now, I am well aware that several animal- and child-rearing experts will tut-tut at the aforesaid tale of nocturnal woe. I undoubtedly cross and blur numerous boundaries by allowing my bed to become the family’s nighttime stomping ground. But I really don’t care what anyone else thinks. Correction: I probably will if/when I ever sufficiently catch up on my sleep to recognize the insanity of plastering myself on the carpet and counting sheep next to an overweight Beagle . . . .

–Katie Marsico has written for Tails since 1999. In addition to contributing feature stories to the magazine, she now will write a weekly blog post for Tattle Tails, giving us a glimpse into her often funny and always chaotic life as mother, pet guardian, and writer.


Genesis Awards honor DeGeneres, others in the name of animals

In Uncategorized on March 31, 2009 at 6:32 pm
Ellen DeGeneres & Portia de Rossi accept The Wyler Award.

Ellen DeGeneres & Portia de Rossi accept The Wyler Award.

Roll over Oscar and Emmy, because the 23rd annual Genesis Awards are here—or close enough, considering they just happened last Saturday. Presented by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the awards recognizing animal awareness in news and entertainment media were presented Mar. 28 in Beverly Hills. Among those taking top honors were Disney’s Bolt, the Simpsons, Grey’s Anatomy, and the Oprah Winfrey Show.

Tails cover girl Ellen DeGeneres and partner Portia de Rossi received the prestigious Gretchen Wyler Award, named for the Genesis Awards’ founder and given to a public figure making news in the name of animal welfare.

Oprah’s recently adopted puppy dies

In Uncategorized on March 18, 2009 at 7:12 pm
Oprah and the late Sadie

Oprah and Sadie, Ivan's littermate

Tails extends its deepest sympathy to Oprah Winfrey on the untimely death of Ivan, one of the Cocker Spaniels she recently adopted from PAWS Chicago. The puppy died of parvovirus. Sadie, Ivan’s littermate whom Oprah has also adopted, is currently battling the same disease. Tails extends its best wishes for Sadie’s speedy recovery.

Cindy Jerome

Whoa, horsey! ASPCA grant targets equine sanctuaries

In Uncategorized on February 26, 2009 at 8:03 pm


An equine sanctuary is certainly a good thing. Oversight of that sanctuary—helping people help horses—may be just as important, however. In recognition of this fact, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has announced its award of a $10,000 to the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) to support its Equine Sanctuary Site Inspection program. The program operates an accreditation process to ensure that horses receive appropriate care and that the sanctuaries uphold ethical and legal standards.

The grant will cover the cost of 10 GFAS accreditation visits.

Missing woodchuck needs your help

In Uncategorized on February 23, 2009 at 10:12 pm

Mathilda has skirted death once in the past year, and she’s already being called on to do so again. The woodchuck, who was hit by a car in Nebraska last April, was rescued by the Nebraska Wildlife Rehabilitation center and has been housed and cared for at the facility ever since—until this past weekend, that is, when her den was found empty and unlocked. Mathilda suffered brain damage from the car accident and is thought to be unable to survive in the wild. Woodchucks typically hibernate this time of year, making Mathilda easier to spot. Anyone with information regarding Mathilda or her whereabouts should contact the Nebraska Humane Society.

RIP Socks

In Uncategorized on February 23, 2009 at 5:45 pm

Always dressed for the occasion, black and white tuxedo cat and beloved pet of the Clintons passed away Friday, Feb. 20, 2009. Chelsea Clinton adopted Socks when her father, Bill, was the governor of Arkansas.

Socks suffered from cancer in his jaw and mouth, and had been losing weight. At about 10 a.m. on Friday, Socks was put to sleep. Born in 1989, Socks was either 19 or 20 years of age.

In 2001, when the Clintons left the White House Socks lived with Betty Currie. Currie was President Clinton’s secretary while in office. Bill and Hillary released a joint statement: “Socks brought much happiness to Chelsea and us over the years, and enjoyment to kids and cat lovers everywhere. We’re grateful for those memories, and we especially want to thank our good friend, Betty Currie, for taking such loving care of Socks for so many years.”
Amanda Degard

Congress to vote on primate bill today

In Uncategorized on February 23, 2009 at 5:16 pm

The U.S. Congress is set to vote on a bill that prevents primates from being pets. Today Congress will vote on the Captive Primate Safety Act (H.R. 80). This bill will keep primates in the wild and not in households where they can be dangerous.

To take action you can visit the Humane Society Legislative Fund to find your U.S. Representative’s phone number. A simple call to your representative to voice your support can help the bill be passed.

The Humane Society of the United States reminds you to be professional and polite. A staff member will most likely answer and can pass your message along.

The HSUS offers a sample script of what to say: “Hello, my name is [your name] and I live in [your town]. As a constituent, I’m calling to urge [Representative’s name] to support H.R. 80, the Captive Primate Safety Act. This legislation must pass immediately, before another person is injured or killed by a pet primate. Thank you.”

Another helpful site allows you to email your representative, click here for more information.
Amanda Degard

The envelope, please …

In Uncategorized on February 19, 2009 at 9:57 pm

The American Humane’s Film & Television Unit may not get a vote when it comes to the Oscars. The group is, however, responsible for awarding the famous “No Animals Were Harmed” end credit to films receiving its humane stamp of approval. In lieu of that other awards ceremony this Sunday, American Humane has nominated its own winners—and categories—among 2008’s best (for animal lovers, at least).

And the nominees are:

Best Movie Magic Featuring an Animal: The Dark Knight

Most Poignant Movie Illustrating the Human-Animal Bond: Marley & Me

Best Behind-the-Scenes Rescue Story: Beverly Hills Chihuahua

Best Group Effort to Protect Horses: Appaloosa

Best Rescue by a Snake: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Barking Chef

In Uncategorized on January 30, 2009 at 4:02 pm


Do you ever wish you could have homemade organic meals for Fido delivered directly to your door? If so, and you live in the Los Angeles area, you have a friend in the Barking Chef. According to Yuka and Oren of the doggie-meal delivery service, inspiration for the business came from a frightening source—the commercial dog food recalls—which prompted the couple to investigate the ingredients in the kibbles and wet food they were feeding their dog. What they found alarmed them and eventually led to the creation of their own recipes with the help of nutritionists and veterinary personnel. Soon friends and family with dogs began requesting the food, and the Barking Chef was born. Because the food is never frozen, the Barking Chef’s delivery range is limited to the immediate Los Angeles area. To find out more, visit BarkingChef.com

Legislative Alert: Taking pets to the grave

In Uncategorized on January 14, 2009 at 10:28 pm

For some people, nothing can break the bond they have with their pets, not even death. The latest proposed pet bill to come out of Washington state might make it possible for pets to be buried with their people. Seattle Democrat Sen. Ken Jacobsen, known for off-beat legislation, proposed Senate Bill 5063 to prevent cemeteries from rejecting animal remains and allow commingling of human and animal remains.

The bill was inspired by the death of Jacobsen’s beloved 23-pound cat, Sam, who died several years ago. State law prohibits animals from being buried in human cemeteries, but people can have their remains interred in pet cemeteries. Burial with animals goes back thousands of years. In 2007, Chinese archaeologists unearthed skeletons of six animals buried alongside a man. A cat, dog, sheep, pig, buffalo and deer were buried alive more than 1,700 years ago to keep the man company in his tomb.

Opponents of Jacobsen’s bill feel that burial with pets diminishes the dignity of human remains.