Friday, May 29, 2009


When I 22 and living in my very first apartment on my own in New York I had a dream one night. I dreamt of a kitten. He was black and white like a Holstein cow and named Henry Hooligan. I had been thinking a lot about having a cat in my waking hours because the only thing I truly missed about living at home was the dog and coming home to my empty apartment at night with nobody to greet me was more than I could bear. I thought the dream was a sign so I was on a mission to find my Henry Hooligan.
Two days later I read an article at work in the local paper about a woman in Beacon, New York who was about to have her home inspected for the final time by local animal control. She had hundreds of cats and several warnings and was one of those crazy cat ladies we've all heard of with good intentions but not enough resources. The article related that many of the cats would be euthanized as there simply was not enough room for them all at animal control including the many litters of kittens present. I knew my Henry Hooligan would be there.
So with my good pal Jill Smith in tow we were off with sketchy directions to find this cat mecca. I will never forget driving up a street and not seeing any street numbers on any of the houses or mailboxes. We drove up to a brown shuttered house that was alive with paws. There were cats on the front stoop, cats under the car in the driveway, cats in the window boxes and cats racing from one side of the yard to another. Jill with an absolute deadpan look upon her face said "Do you think this is the place?"
I was pretty sure it was.
Inside were more and more cats, on counters, in drawers, on the couch and everywhere in between. I asked about kittens and the Crazy Cat Lady related she had them in calico, tiger striped, orange and grey. I asked if she had any black and white cats and she said "Why yes! There is a litter of tuxedo cats here." My heart beat a little faster. Then she thrust a tan and grey kitten at me and said "You want one from this litter - they are polydactyl! Very unusual and lucky - they are cats with 6 toes like Hemingway's cats in Key West!" As adorable as the little big pawed bugger was my eye wandered for Henry Hooligan. I could not be swayed.
It was then I saw a little black and white kitten with green eyes darting across the room. It was the cat from my dream. I yelled to Jill "That's the one - grab him!" and like the true friend that she is she dove under a large piece of heavy furniture in this filthy cat covered house and fished out my Henry. Jill handed him to The Crazy Cat Lady who lifted the little kitten's tail and proclaimed "It's boy and he's about 5 weeks old"
I found my kitten.
Like most young twenty somethings I had no business getting a cat that tiny and had no idea what I was doing. But I was in love with this little fur ball who purred like a motor. I bought him a blue collar and blue toys and a litter box. I grew up with dogs and always considered myself a dog person, but I loved this cat at first sight.
Being slightly scarred by the Crazy Cat Lady's house and cat overpopulation I thought after having Henry for a few weeks I better find out about shots and getting him fixed. It was at this first vet appointment I learned the hard truth that Henry was a girl. For those of you who think I was pretty stupid to not figure that out previously I remind you I was 22 and living on my own. My life was filled with parties and bars and boys and clothes and drinking. Gender identification of very young cats was not part of my day to day routine. Besides, it is hard to tell when they are that young, that's my story and I am sticking to it.
So my Henry became Henri. She already knew her name after 2 weeks so I didn't have the heart to change it. Now we had a fun story to tell about her unusual name and I couldn't stray from the dream I had. Henri was my baby. She used her first life up in kittenhood by pushing the accordion insert out of the window next to the air conditioner and falling out the 3rd story window. To this day I have no idea how she did it unscathed.
That was the beginning. I married a short while after that and Alex fell in love with my Henri too. It was a bit of a thorn in my side that she adored him after it had been just her and I starting out, but it was good foreshadowing for my future. It seems every animal I rescue loves Alex best. Oh well.
So Alex moved Henri and I to Georgia with his naval career and she became a southern belle. For the first time she could go outside and she loved it! I was a nervous wreck of coarse, but Alex had no fears and neither did Henri. We introduced our lab puppy Fergus to the mix and Henri took her new brother in stride and put him in his place when need be. It was such happiness the first time they slept on the couch together, our happy little pawed family. About 8 hot months into our Georgia adventure Alex went out to sea and I decided to head to New York for a few months to stay with family. My Mother-in-law was okay with a lab puppy coming to stay (saintly, right?) but Henri would stay with my sister Beth across town so I wouldn't wear out my welcome or annoy my Mother-in-law's sensitive cat. My first separation with Henri wasn't so bad - I saw her on the weekends and my sister quickly fell in love with her. Her second life was used up after she was attacked by a coyote under my sister's watch, again without major injury. Henri was returned to me after the time back in NY with a beautiful pearl and rhinestone collar which my sister was sure made her feel very feminine since I had given her "that awful boy's name". I reminded her a prissy cat wouldn't have taken on the coyote like a girl named "Henri" would so it wasn't such a bad name after all.
Alex returned to land and got orders to head to Washington state to the submarine base there. So we packed my car up and headed from New York to Georgia and then cross country with Fergus and Henri in the back seat. Ahhh, young and naive and in love. Let's drive for 2 weeks with an adolescent labrador and a cat in the car, no problem! Truth be told Henri was a doll, she quickly adapted to sleeping all day in the car and using litter and eating at the hotels in the evening. We couldn't ask for more.
Life in the Seattle region was heavenly. Henri loved our house and yard. Her 3rd, 4th and 5th lives were used up as she got in rows with a neighborhood cat and subsequently had her tail get infected from a bite which lead to an amputation. The stub seemed to bother us more than her and she was as graceful as ever without a tail. We often told people she was a rare breed Africanian black and white bobcat to explain the lack of tail.
I'll never forget while working in medical sales in Washington saving a mouse one day from being "exterminated" by one of the receiving guys out on the loading dock. I kept the mouse in a bucket under my desk and was made fun of all day by co-workers. I boasted how I would set the poor creature free in the wooded area behind my house and give him a chance at life! I carefully drove the mouse home, talking to it the whole way. I drove down the back alley behind my house and set the bucket down at the edge of the shrubline and said "Be Free Little Mousie!"
I hadn't realized my husband was home previous and had let Henri out.
Like a flash Henri darted from her perch on top of one of the fence posts and pounced on my mouse in the 2 seconds it attempted to scamper to freedom. Instead of freeing the poor thing I had literally fed him to the lion. I never did tell my co-workers his fate.
Henri accepted another rescue dog in her life out in Seattle. Seamus our first Irish Setter and her had a special bond. They would sit and stare at each other for hours. These stare-offs would often result in one or both of them falling asleep facing each other. They liked being around each other it seemed and I was all too happy to have dogs and cats who got along.

So in love with my animals I made a career change and started working at a vet office. One of the perks was free health care so I brought Henri in often for shots, dental cleanings, etc. I'll never forget working at the front desk one day and hearing a ruckus in the back with metal trays clanging, people yelling and what sounded like a banshee squeeling. I chuckled and thought I was happy not be in the back dealing with somebody's ill behaved pet. A second later the intercom buzzed "Umm, Shannon? Can you come and get Henri off the top of the cabinets? She tried to kill us when we went to trim her nails."
A move to the Midwest landed Henri on an extended vacation in New York again as we lived in a rental that did not allow more than 2 animals and we had 2 large dogs. She wrapped my sister-in-law around her little paw and would sleep with Roxanna every night. I couldn't have asked for better Kitty-sitters, but I missed my Henri.
Upon our lease ending and Alex and I purchasing our first house in the Chicago region we were happy to go to New York for the holidays and retrieve Henri. Finally we had her home and were staying put for awhile.
Through the years we rescued more critters and always acknowledged Henri as the matriarch. She adapted to ever change with grace and good nature. She was a great teacher and Mother to Bridget the shelter rescue cat we lost at just 2 years of age to cancer. She accepted crazy Dugan the setter as he rocked our world and then Caelan as a 12 week old puppy who never saw a cat before. She was here when we said goodbye to Fergus and then 6 months later her buddy Seamus. She acted like Fiona was just another dog who's tail she could swat and she tolerated Brody the kitten, but didn't befriend her as we had hoped. Last year we rescued Sully and Henri seemed genuinely pleased somebody else was around to amuse Brody so she alone was not responsbile for the task! Finally she could relax and take her place as Queen.
Which brings us to the last 6 months and my love for Henri. For 15 years she had been part of my life and family. She was the first born so to speak and I always assumed she would live forever. By my count she still had at least 4 lives left of the orignal 9 so I had no reason to worry. But little things changed, some unexplained blood, some inconconclusive tests, her daily routine was off. She didn't want to be held or even lay in the sunshine anymore. She was losing weight rapidly. The vet could only suggest exploratory surgery to see what he couldn't see otherwise, but I just couldn't bear to put her under to cut her open to see what I knew in my heart was happening. I didn't want her last moments to be on an operating table.
Two nights ago I had a dream that her and I were on ice and I couldn't catch her, she just kept sliding further away from me.
I agonized yesterday as I watched her not eat her breakfast. She was leaning on things to support herself when upright. I tried to hold her and she seemed too uncomfortable to tolerate my embrace. I looked into those green eyes and she looked deep into mine and for a moment there was no question. I felt "Let me go."
It doesn't matter how right you know the decision is, you will always question if you are doing the right thing. I could look at it from every angle and know what had to be done. It was still the most difficult phone call to the vet I've ever made.
Alex took the day off from work today and we spent time with Henri and talked about her life with us and all the joy she has brought. "She was always such a good girl" we echoed to one another. It's funny how on the final day of your animal companion's life you never remember any bad. I know there must have been something she was naughty about...but my mind could think of nothing as I watched her so closely today.
Alex reminded me over and over this was the right thing to do for her. At 4:00p.m. we stood together at the vet to say goodbye. I held her and thanked her for all she has done for us. She didn't fight my embrace and she was purring that familiar purr as she drifted away. This was the best way to honor her life and all the love she has given so many, to let her go peacefully, without pain...purring in my arms.
Henri was the connection I had for all the phases in my life the past 15 years. She dutifully adapted to all the changes and gave me much more than I ever could have given her. A part of my heart aches tonight - bruised from feeling hers stop and knowing we can't be together anymore in this world. I'm holding very tightly onto the sound of her purr as left this world and how any cat would wish to leave in that way. I hope she knows how much we love her and how very missed she will be and how she can visit me in my dreams anytime.

This Week's Official Friend of Fiona is... Mr.

Fiona could not say no to this love letter... So dear Mr. please tell your Dogmom to contact us with your pick of a free custom collar for being this week's winner!
Dear Fiona,
Mr. says enough of these girls pining over Teddy. He wants everyone to know that his heart belongs to Fiona. From the first time he glanced over his Dogmom's shoulder at lovely Fiona modeling collars for her Dogmom on their Etsy site, his heart belonged to no other. Fiona, Mr. would like you to know that he is a lover, not a fighter. He willingly shares his food and his toys with others without fuss. He happens to usually like his women older, but he has taken quite a fancy to you. He loves to take long walks in the park and he dances when he sees his leash. Mr. is very attached to his Dogmom, but wants you to know that he is not a sissy-boy in any way, shape or form. He knows that you fancy Weimeraners and he wants you to know that he is Weimer-man. A Weimeraner/Doberman mix. Mr. says "I'm the Weimerman for you, Fiona!" and "Pick me to be your friend of Fiona this week!"
Love Always,
Mr. (pictured here sitting so nicely)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What to Feed or Not to Feed...that is the Question

I don't know where it got so confusing but it is. I recently was chatting with a friend of mine who was afraid to tell me she was feeding her dog Iams. I asked her why the heck she was sheepish to tell me that and she replied "Well, because you know everything about what is right and wrong to feed a dog and I didn't want you to think badly of me!"
Have I become one of those people? Am I dog food elitist?
I hope that is far from the truth, in fact in retrospect I realize how confusing the whole spectrum of what to feed our animal companions has become. I am just like everybody else trying to keep up with a changing world of what to feed or not feed my furred-kids. I read studies, I listen to food reps and their testimonials of why their product is the best and I research a bit on my own and I'm still confused. Worse yet, even if you think you're on the right track there is always somebody out there at the dog park or standing next to you at the dog specialty shop telling you how wrong you are! (which of coarse equates to you being the worst Dogmom in history)
For years I worked in vet offices where we preached the holy grail of no people food for animals. Now you are looked down upon if your dog's food is not human grade or fit for people to eat. Likewise soft food for dogs and cats used to be a one way ticket to obesity and a teeth cleaning. "They need hard kibble to clean tartar on teeth!" Now we are told hard kibble for dogs and cats is the equivalent of trying to brush your teeth with a potato chip and not necessary. Never give a dog a meat bone - they'll choke! No wait... meaty bones are the basis of many natural diets! Search for an unusual protein source like venison or lamb for itchy skin. Now you also have to search out your unusual protein source is not only very unusual (like quail, alligator or kangaroo) but also hormone and antibiotic free and farm raised without cages and not from China. Don't buy a food that is not labeled a "premium diet" but now all the foods you see are labeled as premium! Back in the day purchasing dog food from the supermarket was tabboo and Petsmart was where serious dog nutrition guardians shopped. Now Petsmart is like the supermarket and you wouldn't want to be caught dead there buying your food and you have to search out a specialty shop to get holistic and natural foods or order online.
Raw vs. Cooked?
Grain vs. Grain Free?
Vegan or Meat?'ll make your head spin.
All I know is my animal companions eat better than I do and I probably put more effort into their meals than I do for my own. (can you hear my husband nodding?) This fact was not lost on me as I drove across town the other day to pick up the dog's Sojo's Grain Free dehydrated mix and hurried home to mix it up with freshly chopped vegetables and meat and stored it in pre-measured tupperware containers. After preparing 4 days worth of the dog's delightfully nutritious meals I was too unmotivated to think about dinner for Alex and I and ordered a pizza for us. Yes, that's right. My dogs got free range hormone free/antibiotic free chicken with organic sweet potatoes, apples, green beans, carrots and other yummy bits and we got Dominos. Something is indeed wrong with this picture.
The other irony of coarse is that my dogs would eat cat poop or rotten garbage with the same enthusiasm as their finely crafted meals. I'm pretty sure they are unaware that the veggies I feed them are organic and that I've voided gluten from their diets. But I sleep better at night knowing I am giving them what I at the moment perceive is the best for them. Really this is all any of us can do and I promise not to judge...unless you are feeding something really awful. No wait...I promise, no judgement! Just love your animal companions and feed them what you think is best.
I have to go now to buy the cats some canned food with menhaden fish which is a type of fish that swims in the middle layer of the ocean where less pollutants are. It's healthier for them. Maybe afterwards I'll swing through the Burger King drive thru for dinner. Sigh.

Paws for a Cause

Fiona is pleased to lend a paw to a good cause! We are very happy to donate $5 from each collar sale of The Lucky Stars collar to Patriot Paws - a non profit organization serving disabled US veterans. The objective at Patriot PAWS Service Dogs is to restore many of the physical and emotional freedoms which have been compromised due to someone's physical disabilities. They are committed to working together with the service dog owners and their dogs as they learn to work as a team, thus increasing self-sufficiency.It takes 12 to 18 months to properly train just one service dog. The cost of the care and training for that one service dog during these months is approximately $20,000. Patriot PAWS Service Dogs is committed to providing service dogs of the highest quality at minimum cost to the disabled person.This wonderful organization is funded only by donations and we are happy to do whatever we can to assist the good work being done to aid our vets. For more information on Patriot Paws please visit their website at:www.patriotpaws.orgPlease purchase this collar today and help those that have given us the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms. Fiona thanks you in advance for keeping your dog stylish in this collar and supporting a wonderful program.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Street Gang will be Stylin'!

Well perhaps the 3rd time will be the charm! We were so excited last month for the first meeting of the Lucky Fiona Street Team - a group of happy people and their pooches that met in downtown Naperville Illinois to walk and chat and show off their Lucky Fiona style.
To make sure us people look as splendid as the pooches I have been attempting to get Street Team T-shirts made up and am now on the third attempt! Let's hope this batch will come out with no misspellings, in the correct color and with the number of shirts I actually ordered! Here's a sneak peak...

Also a friendly reminder that the Street Team will be meeting Saturday June 13th at the Dandelion Fountain in downtown Naperville, Illinois for a stroll with the dogs at 10:30a.m. Be sure to mark your calendars! Tee-Shirts are supposedly being delivered June 5th so let's keep the faith we'll have no further problems from here!

Friday, May 22, 2009

This Week's Friend of Fiona is...Katrina Beans!

Oh my this kitty had us the moment we learned her name was Katrina Beans...she has excellent writing skills for a feline as well. We invite her Catmom to contact us and pick out a free custom breakaway cat collar!

I wanted to send you a picture, and thank you soo much for making a cat collar for Katrina Beans. She is feeling very special with her Lotus collar on! She now looks so luxurious and is ready for any event that could come up in her cat life. You never know who will stop by.
Really, it's so well made and looks great. I love the fabric and the cat charm you added is adorable. I can't stop raving to friends about how they must buy your cat and dog collars. I will be a return customer. LOVE your products.
Thank you again from me and Katrina Beans

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Face Only a BirdMom Could Love

As reported a few weeks ago the inside of my fence was the chosen spot for what I affectionately call my Mommy "Crackhead Robin" Not the brightest bulb in the birdy bunch I fear as she built her nest on the inside of a fence post facing my interior yard and deposited three gorgeous blue eggs in it. My yard is not only the home of 3 bird dogs but 3 cats that roam the inside perimeters. Rounding out the predator threat is a pine tree where the grackles nest just 30 yards away. I was never a Girl Scout as will be immediately evident when you see the photo of the makeshift screen I built around the nest using old sunflower stalks, jute and coconut liner. If this nest area was on Craigslist it would be described as a "charming fixer upper"
Fiona has been fascinated by the set of robins and has religiously watched the nest sight for the past few weeks. Ever the setter she will start her stalk the moment she leaves the doggie door and skulk slowly off the deck, around the corner, past the shed and then put a full out point to the nest. She does this roughly 57 times a day and will hold her point until she gets too tired and then will lay down and watch the nest. This robin vigil has created several worn grassy spots and two trampled hostas but you have to love her determination. Every day it's as if her memory has been erased and she is seeing those birds for the first time.

Today I arrived home late morning after running some errands, opened the doggie door and noticed Fiona making a strange whine from the corner of the yard she patrols so seriously. I glanced out the kitchen window and saw the nest completely on it's side with a strange little puff of fluff dangling out! I panicked and raced outside sans shoes to see Fiona chasing two loud grackles out of the yard. Thanks to my makeshift stalk configuration the nest was not on the ground and thanks to Fiona the grackles were gone. Nervous Robin-Mommy twittered on the neighbors roof as my husband put the nest back in place and snapped a picture of the lone offspring.

Talk about a face only a Crackhead BirdMom could love. The little chicken is just a big beak with a rubber neck and a little bit of fluff posing as feathers. But I am enamored with the little thing and so apparently is Fiona. She spent the rest of the day underneath the nest. I'm not so naive to think that if this little guy did hit the ground Fiona wouldn't have finished what the grackles started...but in my fairy tale world she is the protector of all that is good. I love the joy she has watching the nest and the joy we have watching her watch the nest. I bet when this little one grows into that beak he or she will be one lovely bird...with a great appreciation for English Setters.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Teddy Sends a Letter to Dear Mixie

It wouldn't be any fun unless we could all follow along with Fee-Harmony, right?

Dear Mixie,
Let me start out by saying that I'm really flattered by your note. I think you're quite beautiful. I have a few girlfriends right now, but would be willing to settle down with that "special" girl when I'm a bit older. Let me tell you a bit more about myself... I happen to have a thing for pit bulls, but it looks like you may have a little of that bad girl edge that I'm looking for. I'm the kind of guy that needs my girl to keep me in line. I love playing tug of war, the "I chase you now you chase me game", digging holes in dirt , chasing squirrels and I'm especially fond of napping. I believe Fiona mentioned this already, but I would do anything for food. I even learned how to shake paws in less than 20 minutes because there were so many treats involved. My Dad says I'm a Momma's boy, but that doesn't make me all that bad. I just happen to like spending all my time following her from room to room when I'm at home. I should also tell you that I'm not all that posh either. I'm really just a country boy at heart. I love NYC and running off leash every morning all over Central Park, but I'm most at home when I'm visiting my Grandparents in the country. That's why my parents bought the country house after all. I hope to meet you soon. Here is a picture of me gazing out my window, thinking of when we will meet! I will also leave you with this haiku:

Mixie pretty dog
You flatter me so kindly
Would love to frolic

xoxo - Teddy

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Teddy Gets A Response...

Fee-Harmony is really taking off! Look at this response Teddy received:

Dear Teddy and Matchmaking staffers,
I'm pleased to formally introduce Miss Nola Belle! Nola is a 2-year old Ridgeback mix who is a true lady being from the south! She has been with her mom since she was 6 weeks old but met her mom when she was only two weeks old. She was chosen because she looked just like her ridgeback mom (sans ridge). She's a true lady but can be quite a gator when it's necessary. We think this is because her mom is a black belt and she needs a little spunk to keep up.
Nola enjoys walks around the park, hiking, chasing birds (especially seagulls at the beach), prancing in the pond, and snuggling on the couch. She's not one for too much food but doesn't turn down an antler or natural bone. She eats only the best, raw Honest Kitchen, and has the most beautiful smile you've ever seen!
We think you might have seen this little belle before so we're sending videos so you can see a little more! ;)
Enjoying a dip in the pond... She's really a lady I tell you...
Nola would love to share a walk with Teddy, she is full of energy and although she'd be a cougar after his heart as an older lady, she's got the most beautiful teeth that would never boast her older 2-year old age! ;) She's also active in helping her mom screen potential applicants for the Rhodesian Ridgeback Rescue (
Did we mention that she also loves Lucky Fiona collars? Perhaps they need a matching pair if the match works out ;) It can be their 'tail' of love. :D
Enjoy your weekend Lucky Fiona-ers!
Sending puppy kisses to all!
Ginger and Nola

Friday, May 15, 2009

Hey Ladies...

Here's Fiona's First foray into E-Harmony for Dogs. She'd like to call it "Fee-Harmony" So available gals send us your pics and bio to and we'll see if we can make your perfect match! If Teddy isn't the dream dog you're looking for we're also looking for a swell single gal to feature as next week's available pooch!

Teddy (full name Ted Williams Junior)
Male - Rhodesian Ridgeback
Almost 1 year old
Home: New York City
Likes: Dragging my Dogmom into the Turtle Pond in Central Park, cuddling, food, playing with pals at the dog run, food, shopping, food, having my tummy rubbed, food, marrow bones, toys, posing for portraits and finally... food.
Dislikes: Annoying puppies, pigeons, being away from my Dogmom and Dad, getting off the couch, people who deny me food that smells really, really good.
Quote: "I'm just a simple guy with good values who would love a companion to take to my new country farmhouse home for weekend romps. Are you that special gal? Do you like food?"

This Week's Official Friend of Fiona is... Mixie!

Hmmmm....doggie matchmaking...interesting...Fiona is thinking of setting up an E-Harmony for dogs. Read the below email to see how we picked this week's winner:

Dear Shannon and Fiona,
Mixie asked me to send you this picture in hopes that she could be this week's Friend Of Fiona. She has noticed that handsome Teddy, as much as I've tried to keep her away from your blog on the days he is pictured (I just knew she would go gaga over him). She is certain that if she wins the coveted spot, Teddy will notice her too and that perhaps he will fall as madly in love with her as she is with him. I've told her time and time again that Teddy is a very posh NYC dog, and I'm sure he has lots of beautiful doggie ladies already lining up at his doorstep... but she doesn't want to hear it. She's sure that when he sees her picture, with her Lucky Fiona collar, and the sun accentuating her lovely whiskers, that his little Rhodesian Ridgeback heart will be ruined for any other dogs. And if that doesn't work she's writing him a haiku.
Katie and Mixie
*Mixie - tell your Dogmom to email me for your pick of a free collar and Teddy's phone number.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mystery Solved...Silly Setter Suspected

Sometimes you guys just write this blog for me! This was too funny not to share!

"This just in......Missing Remote Found.....Hidden by crazy Setter dog otherwise known as Maizie......under Maddie's chair in the BEDROOM......ransom note found earlier this week in the kitchen in the form of the chewed up battery attacked man as he pulled his precious remote from under the chair after a week-long search.......there was barking and nose thinks it was an intentional, premeditated crime!"

Melissa Law

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Psycho Bunnies From Hell

They look so innocent in your yard until they eat all your flowers and drive your dogs insane. Fiona has long waged a personal war against the bunnies and in her mind they are all "Psycho Bunnies From Hell"! A tan-pale green background is covered with swirly eyed crazy rabbits, little stars and mutant carrots. This fabric was suggested by Carter's Dogmom and we thank her for bringing it to our attention. (your free collar is on it's way!)Does your pup or kitty have a love/hate relationship with the bunnies in your yard? Celebrate with this whimsical and limited edition collar while they last.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mom's Day

I was much chagrined at Hallmark last week shopping for Mother's Day cards. It seems almost all the bases are covered...Happy Mom's Day from a child, from multiple children, from your husband, from a friend. They had Mother's Day cards in Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and French. They had cards for a Mom-To-Be, the StepMom, Grandmom and the elusive "You're Like a Mom to Me!" I was thrilled to see they had a whole row dedicated "From the Dog" and "From the Cat" I imagine "From Your Vegetarian Hamster" is being mulled over by Hallmark execs as we speak for a 2010 release.
But not anywhere on that rack was a card made just for me. I have no children. By choice and also by circumstance I am not anybodies Mother. Anybody human that is. So Mother's Day is always a bit awkward for me as I am forced to assess the whole situation as the world around me is blanketed in shades of pink flowers and brunch invitations and charming cards made with crayons and paste and eager 5 year old hands. I do not have animals in place of children as many would accuse. I am not the sad barren woman ogling every infant that strolls by in a Graco who settled on cats instead. Where is my card? The "Childless by Choice Who Prefers the Company of Dogs and Cats....the Dogmom?"
I'm torn between a pang of sadness and a pang of relief and wondering why I am so different? I've never had baby bump envy, my clock has never ticked, in fact I think I was born without a clock. I don't dislike children even though my husband has branded me as the "mean lady" in our neighborhood as I am annoyed by children who throw balls over our fence. I am less annoyed at a visiting dog peeing on my rug. What's wrong with me?
Last Monday night Alex and I went to a local wing joint/sports bar to relax and catch the Yankee-Red Sox's game on the big screen and shout expletives (those who understand New York-Boston baseball will understand this statement). Upon entering the friendly confines of this familiar restaurant we were nearly trampled by a pack of screaming children and a wait for a table. A wait on a Monday night? We had the bad luck of showing up on "Popsicle Night" Apparently one of the local grade schools was doing a fundraiser with the restaurant where whichever class had the most students show up for dinner with their families got a Popsicle party. The restaurant in turn donated a portion of the night's revenue to the school. So kids ages 5-11 were overtaking the place in droves. The patron in front of us at the host stand struggled to remember how many children were with her and was counting on her fingers and counting heads more than once. I couldn't understand...did the kids flap their arms and fly there? How could she not know how many were with her? Impatiently I surged in front of her and said "we have no kids and will sit in the bar!" The host pointed us away and I could see the look of daggers coming my way as the lady was handed a pager and told of the wait.
No relief was found at the bar as the "no kids allowed in bar area after 7:00" rule was not enforced and screaming hyper chatter of Popsicle flavors surrounded us as wee ones darted under tables and ran like banshees behind our chairs. God further punished us as the NY-Boston game was under rain delay. The poor servers were trying to balance trays of food as little sneakers snaked up and down the aisles at lightening speed. A young girl took a whole cup of ice and casually dumped it on the floor with glee as another child began screaming for quarters for a video game. The look of fear in Alex and I's eyes were mirrored by our waitress who grabbed my arm and said "Wednesdays are also 1/2 Priced Kids Night!" Stay away!" Alex and I nodded dumbly and ate our wings in record time. We handed off a debit card the moment the check came and stumbled towards an exit.
At no point during this episode did I feel sadness that all those Moms would get hand picked bouquets of flowers today and I would get nothing.
I do like children. I can name them all. My twin nephews Rowan and Kieran. My niece Jayne and nephew Nolan. The incredible brothers Tristan and Avery awe me every time I speak to them. Heck, I even goo-goo at my friend's daughter Lyla because damn it...she is so adorable I want to eat her up like chocolate pudding. The smell of her 4 month old head in a baby headband is enough to make me drunk she is so delicious. I'm sure there are other children out there too I'd like, I just haven't met them yet.
I think my Mom gene was mutated and only works on animals. I will literally run across the street to see a puppy. I used to lament at the desk job I worked at that people out on maternity leave would always stop in with their babies but nobody ever brought their new puppy or kitten in. That would be way more exciting for me.
Last week I glanced out the kitchen window and realized a robin had built a nest in the inside of my fence on a post. I'm thinking she has to be a first time Mom or like the equivalent of a robin-crackhead-Mom because this was the stupidest place to build a nest. Predators a plenty lurk in our yard between 3 bird dogs and 3 cats that roam inside the fence. Also a family of Grackles live 25 yards away in a pine tree and as we know Grackles are the cannibals of the bird world and will eat another bird without a second thought. So worried was I upon examining the nest and seeing 3 bright blue eggs that I built a makeshift screen with old sunflower stalks to protect the Mom and eggs from any fence scaling predators. Testament to my husband's understanding and love of me was that he did not question why I sat stringing stalks together with jute building a robins -nest fortress and he even made suggestions on how to secure the nest once babies hatch to keep them from falling in the danger zone.
I am so totally nurturing when it comes to creatures of the four pawed, winged or even finned variety. Just 2 weeks ago I drove all over town looking for special cichlid baby food after our convict and fire mouth cichlids crossbred and had "fry" in our aquarium. The damn Mother fish ate over 3/4 of her own children but I cared enough to keep the rest of those babies alive with special Small Bites food! Interupting the circle of life perhaps, but my maternal feeling for those little fish could not be squelched!
It goes without saying I'll do anything for our dogs or cats and I love the joy they bring into our lives and I know children round the world bring the same joy to their parents. I've seen it, I've literally felt it, but for some reason I don't personally want it.
So another Mother's Day ends and I am left questioning why my Mom skills are so prolific with the animal kingdom and why I am so okay with it in a world that has made me question it's seeming normalcy. Perhaps I need to call the execs at Hallmark and when that "You're A Mom to Dogs and Cats and Wild Birds and Cross Breeding Fish and that's okay!" card comes out on the rack next year you'll know who's responsible.

Friday, May 8, 2009

This Week's Official Friend of Fiona is... Peyton!

Ohhh, puppy love. Puppy breathe, little puppy kisses. Who's the cutest little roly-poly-guacamole? Who's the sweetest pupper-wuppers?
Peyton is.
We don't care that the thread we used to sew her collar with is older than Peyton...we're a sucker for a little baby puppy around here and at 10 weeks old Peyton is one sweet little baby in her Lucky Fiona "Happy Spot" Custom Collar.
If Peyton's Dogmom can break away from her adorable snout long enough we invite her to pick a free collar of her liking for Peyton for sending in her picture and being this week's winner and Official Friend of Fiona.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Yes Our Collars even Stand Up to Horse Doo-Doo

"I wanted to rave about the quality of your collars. Zoey escaped the fenced area of our backyard on Monday night and took a wild run through the woods, but not before she decided to take several laps around our horse pasture and roll in manure. When we finally caught up to her, her beautiful Ted collar was a different color and smelled horrible. After a quick soak and a spin in our washing machine, it's good as new. Zee Pickle also likes to use Mr's collar as a handle and pull him around by it... using her teeth. They all withstand rough play. They are terriffic!"
Thank you Shannon and Fiona!
Lindy, Zoey, Pickle and Mr.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Too many dogs...too little time and rescources...

I don't want to turn this blog into a mini-Petfinder but I can't ignore when a Friend of Fiona asks for help. Heather emailed me today and I'm passing this along and asking anybody who may have ties in the area to help this setter girl out.
Dear Shannon and Fiona,
Yet again, the pound I help out with has a E setter (mix? pure?) in need. She is about 4 years old and is as cute as can be. Ive emailed several other rescues today, but I thought emailing you couldnt hurt either. She will be gassed on Friday unless we can get her a rescue. Her pull fee is $15 and includes a 5-way shot. Sometimes transport can be arranged to a variety of places if I can get enough notice. Anyhow, just thought I would pass it along, Im currently in NV with my folks until I move to OH in June so Im stuck. Thanks for any help you can give.
Heather and Barley

Around 4 years old. Available for a limited time from the Carroll County Dog Pound, 2185 Kensington Rd. NE, Route 9, Carrollton, Ohio 44615. Located southeast of the Akron/Canton area. Please call the dog warden at 330-627-4244 for further details. The pound is open Monday-Friday, 7-3, except holidays. Rescues may pull dogs Monday-Thursday between 9am-3pm and 7-3 on Fridays. Carroll County residents may adopt during all business hours. The adoption fee is $16 and includes the dog license which will be mailed to you. Dogs at the pound are strays and surrenders and are not health or temperament checked. Any dog from any pound can be infected with parvo or other contagious diseases and should be isolated from your pets at home until examined or tested by a vet. All dogs and puppies recieve a 5-way shot. If you adopt a puppy who has been vaccinated it should not be given another parvo vaccination for at least two weeks. For information on parvo, please consult a veterinarian. The breeds listed are only our best guess. The dogs are photographed and posted by volunteers who make no claims as to the temperament, breed, age or sex of any dog listed. All emails are answered by volunteers, not the pound staff. Please be respectful to the warden and his staff as it is their cooperation that makes posting these photos possible. Adoptions and rescues are first come, first served. The pound is not able to comply with requests to hold dogs. Thank you. Please check out the ShelterCare banner on our homepage for pet health insurance offers. Spaying and neutering offers your pet many health and behavior benefits and lessens the over population of homeless animals who must be euthanized at shelters!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Put Your Ears in the Air if You Care... and Adopt Jack!

Here's the deal Lucky Fiona fans - Jack needs a home, so let's help him! Somebody, somewhere out there will look at this face and get that know the feeling. Your mind starts reeling, your heart starts thumping a little louder, you think "No I can't." Then your mind starts to morph into "Well, actually, yes, yes I can." I'm putting it out there to the universe. Please somebody give this guy a forever home. He deserves it and who doesn't need a little ball of love like him to share your days with?
Need a little more info? You got it.
Jack is about a year old. Pulled from animal control last week and placed in foster care with my friend Jill who specializes in small dog placement. Jack is an Italian Greyhound mixed with well, ummmm, something small and cute we guess. He sat in the shelter for 3 weeks and was incredibly stressed in that environment, poor guy. He is neutered, heart worm negative, parasite free and current on vaccines. But enough with the boring medical stuff. Jack is playful, he is wonderful with children and full of happy dog energy. He's good with other pooches and has no aggression issues. He's potty trained, crate trained and doesn't pull on the leash! He loves to cuddle and is a total lap dog. For Pete's sake he's a gem. Things Jack needs help with? (because after all nobody is perfect right?) He is slow to warm up to men, but once he does he's a buddy. He just needs a little more positive exposure. He can be a little reactive with barking, pretty common coming out of a shelter, but something he is working on and he is very sweet once he settles. He's a boy so he has marked his territory a few times, but Ms. Jill is working on training him not to do so with the help of a belly band. All his little problems are just that...little and things a new loving guardian will help him with. Jill feels he would be perfect in a calm home where he can work on his good manners and become the best dog he can be and the best pal a person could ask for.
Are you the one that can make a difference in this dog's life? Maybe you know the person who can? My hope is somebody will know somebody who will be the one we're hoping for! Please contact Jill directly regarding Jack and it goes without saying that Lucky Fiona will be donating a new collar and leash to whatever lucky person or family gives him a forever home.
Jill is affiliated with "Annie's Little Angels" Small Dog Placement and Humane Education in the Chicago suburbs. Their motto is "Saving One Dog at a Time" Jack is currently in foster with Jill and you can contact her at: or call #630-240-8269 She'll be happy to share any additional information about Jack.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Street Gang is Formed!

It was a gorgeous day for the Official Lucky Fiona Street Team to meet and greet and walk the mean streets of Naperville, Illinois! What a group of stylish pooches we had on hand and one very color coordinated baby (we loved your shades Lyla). It was wonderful to meet some local Lucky Fiona fans and enjoy the beauty of spring at the Riverwalk. Big Shout Out to Amanda who cleverly called our group a "street gang" instead of a "street team" We like it. Fiona has always wanted to lead a gang! Hence we had to come up with some gang names for the dogs that joined.
Lawrence is now named "Scary Larry"
Moxon is now named "Moxie Green Paws"
Trini is now named "E-Z Pass" (because she is a toller...get it?)
Dio is now named "Dio" (name is already so bad ass we can't bear to change it!)
Caelan is now named "Loco Shadow Chaser"
Fiona is now named "Spotty Baby Girl"
Want to join our gang? We'll be meeting from here on out and walking the second Saturday of the month at the Dandelion Fountain in downtown Naperville at 10:30a.m. to stroll the dog friendly Riverwalk. Next gathering is Saturday June 13th. Be sure to join our Facebook group Friends of Fiona to get an email invite and reminder!

Thanks to all who joined us and we look forward to seeing the gang next month and we promise tee shirts will be ready by then! Dandelion Fountain is located right across from Egg Harbor Cafe on the Naperville Riverwalk. See you there in your Lucky Fiona collars!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Who Wants to Do Laundry on a Saturday Morning? Not us!

Don't forget the Lucky Fiona Street Team is meeting tomorrow morning Saturday May 2nd in downtown Naperville at the Dandelion fountain at 10:30a.m. Looking forward to seeing all the happy pooches and their people. Sadly tee shirts did not arrive today with our friendly UPS man so we will have them on hand to dispense next time we meet!
Questions/Need Directions?: email Shannon at or call 630-253-2371 (Head Bitch's cellie)

This Week's Official Friend of Fiona is... Dudley!

Oh are so charming in your custom Lucky Fiona "Lotus" collar! It was very simple for Fiona to pick you as this week's Official Friend of Fiona based on your photographs. As seen here Dudley is obviously a professional. We like his easy-breezy-devil-may-care pose seen on the right. On the left you see a more serious look in his eye, kind of a "is that treat for me?" expression. Dudley is well on his way for supermodel dogdom, we are pleased to have featured him here before he hits the big time. Dudley tell your Dogmom to contact us for your prize! You get a free custom collar of your choosing for being our winner. Have her email us between primping you for your next photo shoot at: