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Our Pets' Stories

Updated on February 26, 2015
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Pets of all kinds have shared Yvonne's life. They seem to find her when they are in need and she helps them find their forever home.

Adopted Animals Make the Best Pets

Through the years we have had many pets, including dogs, cats, birds and fish. Somehow, in the grand scheme of things, most of them found and adopted us. This is the story of some of the beloved animals that have shared our lives. Though many of them were not with us as long as we would have liked, their memories will live on through their stories. We urge everyone who wants to share their life with an animal to visit a shelter and rescue one. You will save a life and have a companion that will appreciate what you have done for them for as long as they live.

The proceeds of this page will go to support the work of the Humane Society of the United States.

Rio's Story

Rio came into our lives the day after Christmas, 1997.  He was a cold, hungry and injured little 12 pound puppy that someone had cast away along the banks of the Red River.  We fed him and made a warm bed for him on the carport on that 20 degree night.  The next morning he was still cuddled in the same spot.  We canvased the neighborhood to find his owner and discovered that he had been "dropped off" along with some of his litter mates.  By the time we had gotten back to the house we had almost decided to keep him, but he wasn't in his little bed.  We looked all around the yard and finally found him sitting in the sun, facing the statue of St. Francis of Assisi.  He stole our hearts away and he has been a part of our lives ever since.  Rio, the part Catahoula / part pointer, was the best and most special Christmas gift that we have ever received.

Rio was a happy puppy. We named him Rio because he was found near a river in North Louisiana when he was about 12 weeks old. We were surprised and delighted to discover that he was already house-trained.

His first few days with us were a little scary for him. Our cat, Amphi, was not happy about the new addition and she hid on the chair under the dining table and ambushed the poor little tyke when he came out of the utility room on the first morning.

Little Rio yelped and skidded on the linoleum floor as he tried to get away from the pummeling claws to return to the safety of his room. As Rio grew larger he learned that he could get back at Amphi for her rude treatment by chasing her up trees and keeping her out of his part of the house.

Chance the First

Chance came into our life when Rio was about a year old. We were traveling to our place in the country on Friday, the 13th, when we noticed a ragged looking cocker spaniel on the neutral ground (median to all non-New Orleaneans) of the Interstate. He was following the "workers" in the orange vests that were picking up trash and some were ignoring him while others were shooing him away with their sticks. We quickly made a U-turn then watched in horror as he ran from the median onto the road and into the path of several cars. He was almost hit twice, but finally made it across so we were able to pull off the road to rescue him. We enticed him into the van with a piece of lunch meat and he and Rio have been buddies every since. The vet diagnosed him with adult heart worms which required an expensive and life threatening arsenic injection treatment. We searched the lost ads to no avail to find his owner and the vet said that he was probably dumped because of the heart worms. He went through the 3 day treatment with flying colors so we named him Chance since he had been given a 2nd chance and because he had luck on his side to have made it through his ordeal.

Chance the First was an unusual cocker spaniel. He was very laid back, loved to be cuddled and thought he was a big hunting dog. He had lots of spunk and had a nose for finding turtles and snakes. He and Rio were inseparable and we had to watch Chance closely because if he and Rio got off in the woods together alone they sometimes took "road trips" that would worry us to death. Rio and Chance enjoyed watching the wild creatures that share their habitat. Rio still thinks it's his job to chase the squirrels away from the bird feeders and the crows and herons from around the pond.

Chance's luck ran out when we took him out to do his business one morning and he and Rio bolted the 100 yards through the woods to the busy highway in front of our house. Rio came back, but Chance didn't. Our Little Lucky Chance who came to us on Friday the 13th, left this world on April 18, 2005. A cross marks the spot where he crossed the rainbow bridge. We still miss him and will always remember what a wonderful little guy he was.

Second Chance

We were so saddened by Chance's death that we decided to rescue another Cocker Spaniel. We found 2nd Chance on the Internet. He was a young dog, about 1 1/2 years old when we got him from a vet who saved him from being euthanized. He had been neglected as a puppy and was confined to a cage for the first 8 months of his life. He's adjusting well to his new home and Rio is teaching him all the doggy social rules that he missed learning as a pup.

2nd Chance is definitely a work in progress, but is working out the "issues" of his puppy-hood. We all rode out Hurricane Katrina together and survived with only minor damage to the house, but major damage to the habitat. 2nd Chance is becoming more at ease with us each day, which is a good thing, because for a while, we thought we may have to call the "dog whisperer".

Rio and Chance also Like These

One of Rio's favorite games is when we toss the toy and he catches it in his mouth. 2nd Chance hasn't mastered it yet, but he's trying.

Exercise is Good for Both Pets and Owners

The 2 young Black Labs from next door visit often and Rio has taught them how to play football. Since there are 2 of them, Al joins in to even things out for the home team. Playing with your dogs is great exercise for everyone. Dogs and humans should walk for a minimum of 30 minutes each day. It keeps us all healthy and fit.

The morning's football game was a defensive struggle with Rio winning 6-0 in overtime.

Rio takes the kickoff as Sadie comes down the field hard.

As I block Sadie, Rio cuts around her and tightropes down the sidelines............

and blasts past Riley, the free safety, to the end zone for the score!!!!!


Unfortunately there will be no more football games for Riley. On May 13, 2008, both Riley and Sadie were shot by a neighbor with a 22-caliber rifle. Sadie, the gregarious female, had less severe injuries so she came home quickly and received the needed veterinary care. However the big, lovable Riley was not so lucky. His wounds were much more serious because the bullets went into his abdomen. Even though he was somewhere close to home and his owners were searching for him, it took him hours to stumble home, so he was lost on the operating table.

Rio and Chance, as well as the humans and cats, are terribly upset by this tragedy. Now all the neighbors live in fear and worry about their pets because there is a murderer living somewhere nearby. The police say that because no one witnessed the act of violence, that nothing can be done. Life is not fair and even in a peaceful country setting evil and cruelty can rear its ugly head. Every day we pray that the person responsible for Riley's death will be stopped before he or she can kill someone else's pet.

Amphitrite' (Amphi)

Amphi was also a foundling. Our first one. She didn't think we should get a dog, much less two and another cat....... Our cats spend most of their time inside and are closely supervised on trips outside. Cats' cute "play" can be deadly for some of the wild inhabitants.

Amphitrite' was found on a fishing trip to Venice, LA in July, 1991. We first noticed her on the dock where the shrimp boats unload their catch. She was tiny, only 5 weeks old. We asked the fellow who sold the shrimp if she belonged to anyone. He responded, "No, take it. Use it for bait if you want to." Little Amphi went fishing with us that day and we had one of the best days ever. When we pulled those big redfish into the boat she would jump on their tails.

She was a sweet little kitten, but she grew into a rather ornery cat. At 7 months old she did a back flip turn in the air move as I was trying to keep her from getting out of the door and escaped to join the Romeo that was waiting outside. The result was 4 kittens and her behavior changed drastically. She changed from a hateful little monster to a mild tempered, wonderful mother. We kept 2 of the kittens, a male, Kelsey and a female, Abigail.

Amphi outlived all of her kittens and she was with us for almost 15 years. She passed away in March of 2006. We think that the 3 week period without electricity in September, after Hurricane Katrina, was just too much for a 14 year old cat who was used to air-conditioning to endure.

Blaze Star

Blaze stumbled up, half starved and sickly, from the ditch by our mailbox on a busy highway. She has an orange blaze exactly in the middle of her forehead, as if someone painted it there. She moved right in and started to make friends with the 2 dogs. She had no fear of them and was very persistent. Chance accepted her right away, but Rio was a hard sell. He mistrusted cats as a result of his early encounters with the terror, Amphi. At first he snapped at Blaze and wouldn't stay in the same room with her, but after a few weeks they were sleeping together and playing chase. Now he'll lick her on the cheek like he does people that he likes. Of course, she has to thoroughly bathe herself after such a wet doggy lick. Amphi eventually accepted her and would even play on occasion. Actually, we think Blaze was good for Amphi. She got more exercise and seemed to enjoy her later years since Blaze was here.

Cosmic Pet Kitty Cat Grass
Cosmic Pet Kitty Cat Grass
Cats need to eat greens such as oat or rye grass. We plant some seeds in a flower pot and keep it on the back porch for them to munch on.

We take Blaze outside on supervised outings, but sometimes Blaze hides in the bushes when it's time to go in. She's so well camouflaged with her brown and rust tabby markings that we walk right by her without seeing her. But we've discovered a secret weapon... Rio to the rescue. That bird dog nose kicks in and he sniffs her out, then half points. Sometimes Blaze will run from him and he chases her until she stops, then shows us where she is. If he has to go back to her again she gets a great big slurp lick in the face.

Blaze and Star Like These to Play, Play, Play

Cats love to play and it keeps them active and healthy. Star likes to play with things on the computer and TV.

Kitten Dax


Blaze Eyes


Dax is another foundling who came into our lives about 2 months after Amphi passed away. We stopped by our Vet's office to pick up some food for Blaze and there in the receptionist's lap was a little orange striped male kitten. They do that on purpose because they know you can't resist picking up such a cute little ball of fur. His pregnant mother was found a few months after Hurricane Katrina, on a boat in Venice, LA (the same place where we found Amphi, our cat that just died)! The mother had jumped into the arms of a friend of our vet so the friend brought her back to have the kittens. We left the office with the little guy on a trial basis, to see if he got along with the dogs and Blaze. The dogs were okay with him, but Blaze acted like she had been betrayed. Needless to say, he stayed!


One Month Later, Blaze finally came around. She started playing with the little guy and allows him to follow her around the house. She still grumbles about it, but now they even take cat naps in the same room (in different beds). Little Dax initiates the play sessions. He's a tough little thing and takes a pounding from Blaze (she keeps her claws sheathed), but keeps coming back for more.


Dax grew into a large cat. He weighs almost 20 lbs. and is all muscle. He is still full of mischief and loves to sneak up on Blaze while she sleeps. Blaze does not enjoy this game and goes around the house grumbling to herself. Dax is best buddies with the two dogs, Rio and Chance. He enjoys rubbing on them until they play chase with him. He also likes to find the most comfortable spot to sleep, like Rio's bed. Dax is entranced with the new member of our menagerie, Star, who adopted us in October, 2006.

Dax Likes These

Dax is a BIG 20 lb. cat who likes to drink from the tap so he thought that other cats would like these fountains. Add the fresh catnip and a fuzzy toy to beat up and he thinks you'll have a happy cat.

Star Noir


What a wonderful Halloween surprise! Star is gentle and mild, but not meek and she does not allow Dax to torment her as he does little Blaze. Dax and Star have become friends and playmates and we think that he is smitten with her. She has adapted to our household as if she were always part of our family. The dogs have accepted her and Blaze is coming around, now that she realizes that Star is not going to treat her like Dax does. Star is definitely a special cat and she seems to live by the Golden Rule.

Star loves to play and she will bring her stuffed animals to you while meowing when she feels that you have been ignoring her. She also loves to sit in your lap and be petted. She's one of the few cats I've known that actually responds when you say, "No" and she will immediately stop whatever she is doing. It's hard to believe that she was once a stray that someone threw away.


Pepper Joins Our Pack

Pepper Cat Sunning by naturegirl7

Pepper is the newest member of our menagerie. She wandered over from the neighbor's barn and when they moved, she stayed.

She has written a couple of pages about the harrowing experiences in her life during and after Hurricane Katrina and also about finding her forever home. Check them out below.

Peaceable Kingdom - Cat Adopts a Baby Rabbit Vid

This could be Dax's Mom, except that this cat lives in the UK. Dax likes this video because he had a little black and white step-brother that his Mom adopted and cared for.


Rio and Dax Say, "Napping Can Improve Your Health"

We recently read an article about the benefits of a good old-fashioned catnap. The new, updated term for this old practice is "Power Napping". According to Dr. Deb, people all over the United States are napping. Some businesses, malls and universities are providing pods and snoozing suites that look like something out of a science fiction movie. Europeans, especially those in the warm Mediterranean countries, have been closing down businesses and taking an early afternoon siesta for years. But the practice has not been acceptable here in the United States. Until recently, napping was only for the very old and the very young.

Rio, Chance and the gang want me to show you how progressive they are. We have some real Power Nappers here, as you can see by the photos. They are just doing their part to promote a practice that can keep you healthy, help you lose weight and keep you young. So curl up with your pet and take a 20-30 minute nap, today. Oh, and don't forget that pet ownership can also lower your heart rate and blood pressure and benefit your health in other ways, so naps and pets are definitely a win-win situation!

Blaze, Star and Dax Give This a Paws Up!


Humane Society Postage Stamps

Proceeds of the sale of these custom stamps goes to the Humane Society of the United States. Show your love by purchasing and using these beautiful stamps to support such a worthy cause.

Rio Loves These Talking Dogs!

© 2008 Yvonne L B


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