Happy Birthday to the best Cat Dad!

Today is a very special day. It’s my husband’s 21st birthday! I would write about how awesome the present I got him is and how surprised he was, but he opened it almost two weeks early when he got into the amazon box before I realized what he was doing. On the plus side, he got a ton of use out of his present already, so it’s safe to say that I did okay picking it out!

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Aren’t they cute? They’re about ten ounces, so it’s perfect for his morning coffee. Plus cats and coffee are just a great morning combination, don’t you agree?

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Today, J also has his first day of teaching at the school he’s contracted with. He’ll be teaching ESL to the parents of students from the Academy. This is really exciting, as J has a knack for languages and a real passion for helping people. After he gets done with work, we’re headed out to a local restaurant for small plates and wine- gotta celebrate legal drinking age somehow, right?

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Anyway, today’s Tail Wag Thursday is dedicated to J. He’s a loving pet dad and ready to rescue any animal that crosses his path, whether it needs it or not. We have five cats, two dogs, and a beta fish currently. The beta fish came from the first school that J volunteered at, and was named Spider-man by the eager school kids. I’m pretty sure Spider-Man is much happier here with us, as J is obsessed with making his fish friend as happy as possible.

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J is also the excitable dad to two dogs, but not the one in the picture. Our foster dog, Minnie, loves seeing her daddy, and whines if he’s been away from her for too long. Rio, our dachshund mix, loves to cuddle up with J at night (and take his spot when he isn’t expecting it.)

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As for the cats? You’ve never met a better cat dad than J. He’s always up for a rousing game of “chase the toy mouse,” and he willingly gives our cats their weekly medication, even though he risks losing a limb each time.

So happy birthday, J! Our pets and I wish you the best birthday ever and thank you for being the best friend, husband, and pet dad in the world.

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Minnie’s First (Real) Walk

Today was the fiance’s off day. Usually on his off day, we load up the dogs for an adventure. They get a ride, a picnic, and a walk in a place they’ve never walked before. There were a couple of problems with this today: it’s storming, and our new foster dog, Minnie, still isn’t 100% sure what exactly she’s supposed to be doing on her end of the leash.

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We still wanted to get some exercise for both us and the dogs, so we decided to leash them up and head out for a walk down the street. Since there are a lot of pets and kids in the area, the dogs would be getting all the smells and excitement of a normal walk, but without the chance of getting caught in the middle of a severe storm. I thought this would also be the perfect time to get pictures of Minnie for the adoption website, so potential adopters can see her in her natural habitat. It turns out that Minnie, unlike our last foster dog, is not photogenic. Minnie darted this way and that, making it impossible for my poor iPhone camera to focus in on her. Finally, I asked J to get down and take a photo with Minnie. It worked about as well as you can imagine. Minnie was delighted, giving J sloppy wet face kisses. J was less delighted, as he was suddenly covered in forty pounds of wet dog.

I was finally able to snap a picture of Minnie as she was distracted by someone else’s dogs, who started barking as we walked by.

Image Isn’t she pretty? Minnie is doing a lot better than she was at the shelter. We think she only needs a few more weeks before she’s ready for someone to give her a “furever home!” Hopefully by then she has realized that the leash is not for chewing.

A Dog and a Hike

After telling my friend about my plan to explore more of our own city, she decided to get in on the action too. After talking to some of her friends who are much more healthy and active than I am, she discovered a hiking spot we had never visited: Stringer’s Ridge. Stringer’s Ridge has been recently redone, and there are bike paths as well as hiking paths. We had some trouble finding the entrance, thanks to outdated directions that led us through a washed out path in an apartment complex. A little more driving, and we were in the right spot, ready to hike. 

There are many trails to choose from, both for biking and hiking, but we chose to take the “Cherokee” path, which is a nice easy incline on mainly asphalt and gravel. The “Cherokee” trail makes a loop, and offers access to a scenic overlook of downtown Chattanooga, which was perfect for a casual day hike. More serious outdoors enthusiasts can choose from various intensities and lengths of paths, including a six-mile trail. 

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 Stringer’s Ridge invites a varied crowd, from college students to families to the outdoors enthusiast, and many people were walking their dogs on the paths. The parking lot was full when we arrived, which is always nice for two girls hiking alone. We reached the Overlook easily, and the view alone made Stringer’s Ridge worth a visit. The fact that it is the largest untouched area of nature in Chattanooga is another great reason to check it out.

Although we didn’t bring our dog this time, thanks to our foster dog being adopted today, my friend and I have decided to bring a dog next time and attempt one of the longer trails. The candidate for our next hike is a new foster dog named Minnie. She seems to have endless energy, unlike us, so we hope that she will motivate us to trek through the woods.

ImageAs you’re heading out the trailhead back to the parking lot at the easiest to find entrance, you will smell food. Amazing food. Mouth-watering food. That’s Nikki’s Drive-In, which is conveniently located right beside the entrance to the park for you to fill your post-hike protein needs. Since my celiac requires me to not partake of the food there, I beg you to have a hamburger in my honor.

Also: if anyone is attending the Nashville Gluten and Allergen Free Wellness Event tomorrow, April 26, I will be attending as a blogger! I would elaborate more, but my brain fog is requiring me to log off before my brain turns to complete mush.

 

 

Foster Dog Finds a Home.

We started fostering almost by accident. My mom had received some free Alpo products, and she and my dad drove to the local animal shelter to make a donation. While she was there, she found out that the shelter was currently experiencing an overload of cats and a shortage of foster families. On the spot, she decided to foster two cats. As she was filling out her foster application, my dad alerted her to a small problem: they had no way to get the cats home. My mom called me to bring down two of our cat carriers. While we were there dropping off carriers, I offhandedly mentioned that we should foster a dog, since we have a lonely dog and a fenced-in backyard.

And so, fifteen minutes later, my fiance and I walked out with an Australian Shepherd mix named Cooper. 

Image When we walked out with Cooper, he was scared of everything. He had panic attacks during car rides, shivered when we tried to pet him, and generally spent most of his time cowering with his tail between his legs.

One month later, Cooper has found a home. He’s doing much better now. He is a dog that has never met a stranger, he can’t wait for car rides, he walks on a leash, and he answers to his name. Today is our last day with Cooper before we take him to meet his new owner. 

Luckily for Cooper, who still has some residual issues from life in the shelter, his new owner is someone I know very well, and they can call for advice about any of his strange behaviors. He will also still get to see us from time to time, which is great, as he’s been given a place of honor in our upcoming wedding.

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Cooper finding his “furever home” is a bittersweet moment for us. Although we will miss him, it’s great to know that we were able to help him find a better life. There’s not too much time for us to be sad- tomorrow we are also getting our new foster dog. We know nothing about the new dog yet, and I’m trying not to have an expectations. 

It’s sure to be an interesting experience both for us and our new foster.