Monday, July 30, 2012

And Now 'Chucky' Will Model One of Jon Farleigh's Old Collars

And you thought I only owned weird stuffed cat puppets. Ha! 

Chucky is Jon Farleigh's body double. Can you guess why he's called "Chucky"?

A. He works as a dancing bear at a popular kids' pizza/arcade establishment.
B. He prefers it to "Charles."
C. He up-Chuckies a lot.
D. He is a plush spawn of the devil.

The correct answer is "D. He is a plush spawn of the devil."

At least that's what Jon Farleigh says.
(Note: In case you can't see it in his eyes, JF is scared turdless of Chucky.)

I couldn't say why, for sure, although Chucky's being a "cat corgi" might have something to do with it. ;-)

Either that, or he smells like a foster kitten

Poor Jon Farleigh!

P.S. Chucky lives in a closet when not modeling collars and scaring the turds out of Jon Farleigh.

Friday, July 27, 2012

For the Love of a Sock Monkey Collar (on Etsy)

After living the last 2.5 years in a shelter, I thought Maddox needed something extra special to adorn his (massive 10.75-inch) neck. Something that would complement his coat and showcase his personality.

Something that looked like this:

Sock monkey collar and retro star tag from Etsy!

Unfortunately, Maddox was sleeping during today's fashion shoot, so his body double, Clyde, will serve as the model in the next few photos.

Clyde is the stiff one on the left. :)
P.S. Clyde is a hand puppet and belongs to Middle Child. Seriously. He's not mine!

The custom, cotton sock monkey collar (from K-nine Couture) is available for both dogs and cats and comes in several different background colors.

The lightweight ID tag (called the "Ethel") is hand made using aluminum and enamel. The seller (Very Vintage) has dozens of other whimsical tags to choose from.

Both transactions were smooth, items shipped quickly and they are so adorably well-made!

You should go check these sellers out!

Happy shopping and happy weekend!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Phonetics of Fostering, Part 3 - I Already Know How to Form Words So Let's Talk Semantics

So when I left you on Tuesday, I had trumped my moody fostering "vowels" with "HAPPY consonants." 

And then suddenly I felt like bursting into song! (Actually, not really.)

Truthfully, although I learned to be less hard on myself (for not being perfect), the knowledge that Maddox would soon be returning to his relatively small shelter quarters still left me unsettled. And I had to do something.

So tell me: If someone keeps an animal in foster care forever, is that technically fostering?

Yeah, my husband didn't think so either (when I told him I wanted to foster Maddox forever :).

So, that's why, yesterday, I went over to the Richmond SPCA and adopted Maddox!

I especially like this part of the adoption agreement:

"Thank you for making a precious Richmond SPCA pet a part of your family. 
Your adoption has made it possible for another animal's life to be saved. You are a hero."

I think Maddox is going to be okay with his new forever. :)

Note: I have lots more I'd like to say about how my family and I arrived here, but, frankly, it's all still so new that I haven't had time to collect my thoughts. So more to come later!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Comic Relief with Dewi: Therapy

This is the part of the week when we interrupt our regularly scheduled fostering phonics lessons with some welcome canine comic relief.

Five years from now...

Dewi will confess to a therapist his recurring nightmare, in which he orders an iced skinny caramel macchiato at Starbucks while dressed as a pirate.

 Yo ho! See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Phonetics of Fostering, Part 2 - Consonants

Please click here if you missed Part 1 (on vowels).

Remember how yesterday I claimed I didn't really sit in my car and mull over phonetics (vowels and consonants) as a metaphor to the pet fostering experience?

Well, that was then. Today is a new day!

I hope you like metaphors. :)

Do metaphors taste like chicken?

So, consonants. There are 26 letters in the English alphabet and, with the exception of the occasional multi-tasking "Y," 21 of them are consonants. Consonants outnumber (moody) vowels 4:1.

Here are a few other things to note about consonants:

  • They cannot stand alone as words (although, imo, "Mmmm" "Grrrr" and "Pftttt" are definitely "words"). ;)
  • They are linguistically in contrast to (moody) vowel sounds.
  • When used as an adjective, "consonant" means "in agreement" or "harmonious."

Okay, so if -- according to my way-out metaphor here -- my fostering woes are mere moody (but inevitable) vowels in a larger alphabet of agreeable and harmonious consonants, how do you think this saga played out?

Well, I'll tell you: I took a step back and made friends with some new (consonant) words! Here are a few favorites:

Yummy Yogurt Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Yin & Yang ("y" words are hard)

Do you see it?! (Hint: Look at the first letter of each word.)

Even with a few inevitable (moody) vowels thrown in, Moody Vowel Syndrome can't hold a candle to HAPPY!

Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion of this series!

P.S. Have I mentioned lately what kind, good sports all of you are???

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Phonetics of Fostering, Part 1 - Vowels

If you're new to this blog, I'm fostering a senior shelter cat named Maddox. I'm also returning from a week-long blogging vacation, during which I was to "rest my tired and aging brain."

For the record: Rest is a relative term and might be highly overrated.

So anyway, while my brain got a rest from thinking up and publishing blog posts last week, it was plenty busy fretting over the foster cat situation (read: perfectionism sucks). And that, coupled with the pressure of only having four weeks with which to make the best of Maddox's shelter respite, nearly drove me nutty. 

In fact, during a bout of over-thinking in the car, I decided that fostering was making me anxious and emotional. And then I observed that anxious and emotional begin with the letters "A" and "E," respectively, causing my brain to auto-fill the next three (imaginary) blanks with the letters "I" "O" and "U," which, naturally, made me wonder whether vowels (and consonants for that matter) might be a metaphor for the pet foster care experience. 

(Not really. But it did make me wonder whether I could make an acronym representing my sad mental state, using only the letters for vowel sounds.)

And wouldn't you know it? I can!
I call it:

Moody Vowel Syndrome
(aka adverse side effect of trying to be a perfect pet fosterer)

A - Anxious
E - Emotional
I - Irritable
O - Obsessive
U - Unrested

...and sometimes Why? - Why the heck did I sign up for this?!

Maddox has "sympathy" Moody Vowel Syndrome.

To be continued...

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Photo I Wanted to Post Yesterday (had I not fallen asleep at the keyboard)

That's Maddy (aka Maddox) looking out my bathroom window.

Last night at 11 p.m. (when I sat down to compose this post), it (the photo) hadn't been edited yet. Nor did I have a title for the post. And I couldn't put two sentences together, because my eyes were crossing.

About 37 minutes later (as my head accelerated toward the keyboard), I startled awake with a string of drool puddling at my collar bone.

So I went to bed.

In 18+ months and 405 published posts, until yesterday, I had never missed a regular blogging day without telling my readers (you) in advance.

I thought I'd feel horrible about it, but you know what? Lightning didn't strike me down, the Internet didn't cry out in disbelief, and the blog's still here recording my blathering blather.

In an odd way, I feel liberated.

My pajama shirt is also liberated...from drool.

But back to Maddy (in the above photo, which has been heavily doctored -- because my good camera is still at the Nikon factory repair shop -- at

The first time he sat in that window and looked out, he squinted because the sun hurt his eyes. It dawned on me then that the only times, in the years he's been a resident at the shelter, that he's had a window view to the bright outdoors were the few times he's been in foster care.

And my eyes welled up with tears.

A few moments later, Maddy yawned in my face and his dragon breath (from his prescription canned food-only diet) made me clasp my nose and gag.

Then Dewi and Jon Farleigh barged in the room and all hell broke loose.

Well, anyway, the moment was awfully sweet while it lasted.

Maddy is sweet, too, even if his breath could curl paint.

And on that note, I think you all need to have a sweet (not stinky) WEEKEND!


Just one more thing: In 18+ months and 406 posts, I've never taken more than a couple days (here and there) respite from thinking up posts for this blog. I think it's time for me to give my poor, tired and aging brain a break. So (deep breath), I'm taking all FIVE days next week off (that's M-F). Yes, indeed I am.

Unless I get a wild hair and don't, in which case, you should severely chastise me for not sticking to my guns. ;-)

My rested brain will see you soon!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Classic Cardigan: Jon Farleigh Covers James Brown (on His Good Foot)

Confession: I was going to post something new today, but I'm tired from doting over Maddox's every move and I decided to go read some magazines instead. Oh, and I took a kid to 7-Eleven for free Slurpee day (today is 7/11 and it's 7-Eleven's birthday; if you're on the West Coast, you still have time to get your freebie).

So anyway, instead of posting something new, I've decided, in honor of 7-Eleven's birthday because it's 7/11, to re-post the post I published on this day last year. It happens to be a doozy. :)

Oh, and if you don't listen to the song, you are seriously missing out.

Originally posted on 7/11/11...

This blog post is in all kinds of bad taste; my apologies to everyone. :)

Heeeeeeeyyyyyyyy!!!!!  [insert hairball]

Okay, so I heard THIS SONG* (link to YouTube opens in a new window) on my car radio earlier this morning and thought:
"Hmmm, this is a good song to hear on a Monday morning, but how can I make it work on the blog?..."

[insert me thinking]

I've got it! 

Have you ever wondered what you sound like to your pet dog (because everyone knows that cats don't listen)?
Two words:

Like so:

Musakk hek firly bibbidy bobbity boo dun BOYS!!!! heh heh katt GET DOWN!!!!  [insert hairball]

But with a delivery like James Brown's, how can they (our dogs) not want to get down???


Have a FUN-ky (like James Brown) day!!!

*Get on the Good Foot

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Time-out Happens When Jon Farleigh and Dewi...

  • Chase Maddox
  • Bark at Maddox for no reason
  • Stick their noses on Maddox (when he isn't looking) and startle him
  • Jump up on peeps when they are holding Maddox
  • Barge in on Maddox while he's eating breakfast or dinner
  • Look sideways at Maddox
  • Breathe their hot doggie breath toward Maddox while he's sleeping
  • Chase Maddox (repeat).
We get lots of timing outs lately.
Please don't tell her we can still see the TV from in here.

How's time out goin' for ya?


Note: Some of this isn't true. Maddox didn't really laugh. ;)

These are good times, friends! (Really, they are!)

Monday, July 9, 2012

He's a Cardigan Welsh Cat?! Excuse me while I fall off my chair!

Not even I could have made this up. 

What do you think? Serendipity, or something else? 

Maddox (my current foster cat) is a polydactyl. He has six toes on each of his front paws, instead of the usual five. If you look closely at the inside edges of his paws (in this photo), you'll see the tips of the extra (thumb-like) digits. (He looks like he's wearing mittens. :)

I'm a polydactyl cat. See my "thumbs"?

But that's not why I'm falling off my chair.

The other night (right after I wrote last Friday's post), I decided - out of the blue - to Google "polydactyl cat," mostly because I was curious about the genetics.

Turns out, these cats (with the extra toes) have quite a history, steeped in all sorts of folklore. (I won't include all of that in this post, but you can read all about it here.)

It also turns out that nearly all of the world's population of polydactyl cats is located in the East Coast of North America (where I live) and in South West Wales.


But, it also turns out that polydactyl cats are known by several nicknames, like, for example, mitten cats, boxing cats, Hemingway cats and Cardi-cats.

Cardi-cats?? Why the heck are they called Cardi-cats? (I thought to myself the other night.)

Um, well, turns out (a little further down the Wikipedia page) that:

"Polydactyls are very common in the Cardigan area of Wales, where they are known as 'Cardi-cats.'"

Image Source
Cardiganshire: Where the dogs are low and the cats have many toes. :)

Please note that they did not say polydactyls are common in any area of Wales, OTHER THAN CARDIGAN (in former County Cardiganshire).

Also, please note what the AKC says about the origin of the Cardigan Welsh Corgi (of which breed Jon Farleigh and Dewi belong):

"In the beginning, the Corgi came to the high country [of Wales] now known as Cardiganshire with the tall, tawny-headed Celts from Central Europe."

What are the chances? I (a self-proclaimed Cardi fool) not only got the Buster look-alike, but a relatively rare Cardi-cat, too???

OMGosh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! UPDATE!!!!!

On a hunch, I just looked up the origin of the surname "Maddox."

Guess what?! According to

"The name Maddox derives from the Welsh surname 'Maddock' meaning 'son of Madoc.' The name 'Madoc' is believed to derive from the Welsh 'mad' meaning 'fortunate.'"

Maddox's name is derived from the Welsh word for "fortunate!"

Excuse me; I have to go gaze at him while he draws breath...

P.S. Starting tomorrow, I'm saving up for a trip to Wales! 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Everyone, I'd Like You to Meet Maddox

Image Source

Yeah, and he's also responsible for me posting this photo of a cute guy and his cat.

(Because I needed to distract myself away from sad kitty thoughts.) ;-)

But, back to Maddox.

Naturally, my curiosity being piqued, once I got home from the shelter that night, I did a little Google searching of this handsome boy, who'd dramatically caught my eye. And that led to something unexpected - that I promptly verified through the SPCA*.

And, wouldn't you know? Guess who's curled up in a cat bed, on top of the people bed, in my bedroom?

Why, as a matter of fact, it's Maddox!

Image Source
We're fostering him for the next four weeks!

So, stay tuned (he's not as fond of the dogs as the foster kittens were, in fact, he isn't fond of them at all; this is going to be interesting)...

*Turns out, Maddox has been a shelter resident for a few years (including at least one failed adoption). He is a senior, at 9 years, on a strict prescription urinary diet, has extra toes on his front feet, and is a little bossy. He has been in foster care a few times (to give him a break from the shelter) and, coincidentally (or not), was due to be placed in a foster home again when I inquired about him.

But, you know what? If you ask me, he's just a sweet purr box, who seems to want nothing more than to be near his humans (in a calm place) and to mooch as many head and neck rubs as possible. I guess I better get on it. :)

You all have a restful (and cool) weekend!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Food Motivated Corgis in Patriotic Headwear

Note to self: Next time, use better treats...

Why are you laughing?

...And better headwear. :-)

Happy Independence Day!

P.S. We're playing blog hookie tomorrow. Be back Friday!

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Red Dog's Unlikely, Life-Saving Purpose

You might remember that I recently read and reviewed the book, A Dog's Purpose. In the book, the dog (over the course of several lives and many life lessons) determines (he's a thinker) that he's been ultimately placed on this earth to love and protect his "boy" Ethan.

Well, as usually the case after I read something so thought-provoking, I've been wondering about my own pets - how I came to know them, lessons they've taught me, life choices they've influenced - and I can't help but agree with Cameron: There is a purpose. They all (pets, I mean) have a purpose (or many). But unlike in the book (which is fictional), our pets can't spell it out for us; we are left, if we choose, to figure it out on our own. 

And I, for one, am blown away whenever I make the connection between a pet (not necessarily my own) and a life-road traveled.

Take one particular red dog (who, by the way, has a whole tapestry of purposes, but I'm just going to cover one particular thread in this example). I'll start in the present and work my way backwards, so you can clearly see the connection.

  • July 3, 2012: Elizabeth returns her three healthy foster kittens to the Richmond SPCA, so they can be spayed/neutered and placed for adoption.
  • May 25, 2012: Elizabeth picks her three 5-week-old foster kittens up from the (no-kill) Richmond SPCA, freeing up space for three other homeless infant kittens who might not otherwise have survived.
  • Over the course of the last 18 months: Elizabeth is heavily influenced by other bloggers who write about their animal fostering experiences.
  • Spring 2011: Elizabeth first becomes aware (through a blog post at, a site she had never visited before starting this blog) of the urgent need for kitten fostering volunteers (during kitten season) at the Richmond SPCA.
  • December 2010: Elizabeth quietly launches The Chronicles of Cardigan with a very silly holiday card
  • Fall 2010: Elizabeth has a burning desire to write about her experiences with young Jon Farleigh and Dewi, and is influenced and encouraged by the network of other Cardigan Welsh Corgi bloggers, particularly Red Dog Mom at Life with The Horde.
  • March 2010: Elizabeth (and family) meet wee puppy Jon Farleigh, his mama Lucy, daddy Sam, breeder Liz and Sam's human mom, Dina [aka Red Dog Mom] for the first time.
  • January 1, 2010: Jon Farleigh and his five littermates are born to red dog mama, Lucy, and (by proxy) red dog daddy, Sam.
  • Several years prior: Red Dog Mom becomes a "red dog" mom for the first time, with the addition of Sam (JF's future daddy).
  • May 31, 1998: Ch Yardican Roland ROMb (Sam) is born (in Finland - yes, the country).

Isn't it amazing how some things work out?
A kitten life-saver, he is.
And, there will be more (lives saved), because I'm not done fostering. :)

(Good Dog, Friend to Homeless Kittens)
May 31, 1998 - June 30, 2012


(Note: There will be no blog post tomorrow. See you Wednesday.)


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