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Foster Cat Journal: I See Big Kittens!

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From Left: Dancer, Blitzen, Prancer (back), Donner (yes, it should be Donder, I know!).

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Yes, it's the infamous, Dancer the “Ghost Kitten” flying over/through? Blitzen! Time to call Jason & Grant from Ghost Hunters to come over and investigate!

Foster Cat Journal: Last One Saved

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Cupid has no idea how lucky she is to be alive. Not only did she escape a High Kill Shelter when she had less than 24hrs before she was separated from her offspring and very likely to be put down, but she survived a thousand mile transport, and being nursed on to the point of almost killing her. Cupid got sick, too and has managed to recover enough to be spayed. She relapsed a bit, but nothing serious. She's gained a few POUNDS in just over a month. This lady has won the lottery a million times over.

The time has come to start finding Cupid the perfect home. I've already had to say, “No” to an adopter. It's just not a good fit. Cupid is not going to be an outdoor cat. She's been through too much and her coat is finally sleek and beautiful. To allow her to run around, risk getting parasites, fleas, injured, you know the drill...well I just can't do it. Sure, we do adopt out to folks who let their cats outdoors, but we also have special circumstances and this is one. Cupid will have the best life I can give her and the best home I can find. I would rather say no again and again, until it really feels “right” to me. I don't care how long it takes.

I have lots of time, now. I won't be fostering any more cats until “Kitten Season” kicks in in our town in May.

Cupid is the last mama-cat I can save from Georgia. We will no longer be doing any transports other than with our new partner New Hope, a group affiliated with Animal Care & Control in NYC. It was not my decision to end doing transports and I understand why we have to pull back, but I hope to find a way to help the cats of Georgia. They are in such dire need, we all need to band together and find a solution for the overpopulation problem and the over-euthanasia problems there.

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I am forced to close my doors, but I will never close my heart.

Cupid and her kittens made it. All the others I was lucky enough to get here before her were lucky, too. They were also the prettiest, sweetest cats I've ever had the pleasure of dealing with-all 32 of them.

I feel badly turning my back on the ones in Georgia that need help the most, but I look at it as only temporary, until I can find another way to help. If any of you are interested in helping cats in Georgia, let me know. Maybe we can team up and do something amazing!

Foster Cat Journal: There's No Getting Around It

People ask me all the time; how can I foster? Doesn't it upset me when the kitties get adopted? Don't I cry? Don't I want to keep them all? Sure. Of course I do. I love all my foster cats, even if they're only here for a day. Thing is, usually I have foster cats for just a few weeks. Right at the point where I'm getting attached, it's time for them to move on. I feel sad, some times I'm glad and it doesn't break my heart at all. I know I'm doing a good thing and that can sustain me. I also know I can't save more cats, if I keep them all and realistically, adding to my cat-family would be tough on the others who are already here.

In over four years of fostering, I've never adopted one kitten. There was one I wish I adopted and I still miss her, but I can live with that.

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Each day Cupid gets more and more relaxed and contented with her life in Connecticut. It sure beats living in a cramped cage in a Kill shelter!

This is the group that will test my willpower and ability to say No. I've had Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, Dancer & Prancer here for almost six weeks. In that time, not only did I feed them and clean up after them, but I medicated them up to 50 times, in total, per day. I washed their snotty faces. Took them on endless Vet runs. I brushed out their rough coats. I held them until they slept, sharing the warmth of my body to help soothe their disease and give them comfort. My heart is connected to each one in ways I haven't with all the others.

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Donner in her usual place, passed out on my shoulder.

I won't keep them all, but breaking them apart will be awful. Cupid is ready to go. Her URI is all but gone. She's spayed. She gained weight. She's tired of being cooped up, so I let her and the kittens run down the hallway and into my bedroom so they can stretch out a bit more. The love to run laps on the rug and chase each other from the master bathroom, then dive bomb under the bed. It's wonderful to watch them, but I know the days are coming to an end when they will all be together. I know it will break Cupid's heart too, but what can I do?

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Donner, Cupid and Blitzen (below, right) enjoy having a new place to hang out.

I knew they would leave one day. I knew it before they ever arrived. As with all my fosters, I ready myself for that. Reminding myself of the goal at hand-save as many as I can. Let them all go to good homes. Send them on their journey without complaint. It's what I have to do. I don't have to like it and I don't like it. I don't know that I can say goodbye to Donner & Blitzen. I'm trying. Really I am. I'm trying to let them go now, but every time I look at them or Blitz gives me his belly to rub, I melt a little bit more and I am one step further down a path I should not tread.

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Sadly thinking about the days ahead and the farewells I will have to make while Donner dreams of her forever home and wonders if she has already found it.

Ring Around the Rudy (and Comet, too)

I made it. I reached the point with all these sick kitties that whatever happens to them, I'll just deal with it. Freaking out doesn't make them get better and is only worse for me. That said, IF they DIED or had something like Feline Leukemia or FIP, I would go right back to freaking out. It's my right as an American citizen! Okay, maybe not, but I'm gonna reserve the right to freak out again. Right now I'm okay.

Saturday, Jennifer drove alllllll the way from Milford with Rudy and Comet, stopped at my house to pick me up and we all went to see Dr. Larry and Super Deb. How could this NOT be a FUN adventure? You've got two crazy-cat-chicks and two cute, sick, contagious cats all together laughing and singing songs (or something like that).

Jennifer drove very “enthusiastically” (YIKES!!), while I calmly suggested she be careful about those small, windy roads (while I clenched the “JC Strap in the car”) that hugged along the River Road. One false move and the comfort of the pavement, down an embankment into the deep, dark and cold depths of Paugussett River.

Good times.

We arrived safely, albeit with a few extra gray hairs on my part. While we waited in the exam room to meet Dr. Larry, you could feel the excitement building. This was the first time I'd ever gone to the Vet with anyone who had only read about my MANY trips to Dr. Larry's office, but never met him. Jennifer mentally reviewed all the concerns she had about Rudy and Comet.

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Rudy's face looked worse. His tail looked worse. Then we looked at Comet, who until that morning had looked fine. Now her face had big red patches between her eyes and ears and more on her ears, too. It really looked like something nasty was erupting and reminded me of Gracie's skin when she has bad Dermatitis flare ups. Comet's chin looked really terrible.

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You can see how pink the skin is under Comet's mouth.

Even feeling badly, Comet is still a sweet kitty. That is for sure. Her body is filling out. She gained a few POUNDS. No more skin and bones. Her coat looks great. No more URI. Now what is going on with her face? We were both dreading what we were about to find out.

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A hush fell in the room as the door opened. There in all his glory was Dr. Larry. I swear I saw a glow around his head! He gave me that look he always gives me. The “okay, Robin...NOW what weird thing is going on?” I smiled weakly and began to tell him what was going on with Rudy. Jennifer added her observations. Dr. Larry took notes while his assistant, Amber held Rudy at arm's length. Whatever Rudy had, she wasn't going to be rubbing it on herself and who could blame her?

Dr. Larry examined Rudy, who behaved himself beautifully. Once Dr. Larry looked at Rudy's tail he knew that it was most likely Ringworm. He got out the Woods Lamp, turned off the lights, the shined the black light on Rudy's tail. It glowed. It glowed GREEN.

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Rudy got a nice “lion cut” tail shave for his troubles, which revealed the extent of the disease. Amber found another lesion on Rudy's side and that was shaved, as well. Dr. Larry put some topical medicine on the areas, which Rudy tolerated all right. He also checked Rudy's ears, which he found ONE ear mite EGG, so Rudy got a treatment of accurex, too. At least it was a one shot treatment and poor Jennifer wouldn't have to give him yet more meds!


Dr. Larry took some hairs from Rudy to do a DTM culture to confirm that it was Ringworm and he prescribed a nasty med to be administered for the next 30 days that would kick this fungus in the butt. Honestly, there is NO fun in fungus, if you ask me. They should call it: notfungus.

Next up was Comet. Yes, you guessed it. She has ringworm, too. Since she “eats Rudy's brains” and likes to groom his face, it's not surprising that she has ringworm on her head. Since we can't put the meds near her eyes, she's getting treated systemically. She didn't have any ear mite boogies at least.

Dr. Larry stepped out of the room for a few minutes to get the meds ordered from the pharmacy. I confessed that I thought I had a ringworm lesion on my boob, but wasn't sure. Jennifer said we should look at it with the Woods Lamp and I said I wasn't so sure that was a good idea, but Amber agreed and suddenly it was pitch dark in the room, the lamp was turned on, so I whipped out part of my right boob (the G-rated part) and we looked at the small lesion. It did not glow, but that didn't mean it wasn't ringworm. It did mean, however, that I am NUTS for showing my boob at my Vet's office! And no, I do not have a photo of that to show you, but I am keeping an eye on it. Hopefully it's not ringworm, but since we've all be exposed to it, well, what can you do? Just gotta go to CVS and buy some “jock itch” cream which will also kill the ringworm, but makes you wonder about what jock itch really is if it can be killed by ringworm ointment??

I got Jennifer and her hubby a gift certificate to buy medical scrubs to cover their clothes, which will help prevent them from spreading or getting ringworm. They're being beyond gracious in continuing to foster the cats, for which I am eternally grateful.

I was sad that Super-Deb didn't come in to visit Rudy, because I know she's very fond of him, but Super-Deb has other animals who need her help and we can't be greedy. Before we left the Clinic, Jennifer DID get to meet Super-Deb. She even called her Super-Deb, which I think made her blush a tiny bit. I'm not sure if it was the first time Super-Deb got recognized by a reader, but she must have been prepared for such an event. As we made our way back to Jennifer's car, Super-Deb opened the door to the Clinic and shouted out to Jennifer, “Did you want my autograph?”

Jennifer cooly replied that she only wanted a paw print, but from what animal, or where on Super-Deb, I cannot be sure.

All I know is it will be 30 more days for Rudy and Comet to be fostered. Poor Jennifer is going to be heartsick when it's finally time for them to be adopted. God, do I know that feeling. I'm having the same troubles, with my fosters, too.

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Rudy contemplates the rotten hand he was dealt, but knows he's in loving, if not latex glove covered, hands.

In about a week to 10 days we'll have the “final” confirmation when the DTM culture is done culturing. Will it be a surprise that it's a positive result? Awww...just add it to all the other surprises I've had on this insane rescue and wait for the next one to pop up. I shouldn't write that or I'm going to jinx things and something will pop up and one of the cats will get really sick. Okay. I didn't mean it. There. Hopefully that will keep us from further worry.

Yeah, right.

Lord of the Ringworm: Ressurrection

When you get woken up in the middle of the night by your boyfriend screaming; BISON!!!!, you know you're in for a weird day. Add to that having to pry your eyelids back open again at 6:15 AM and things are really off to the races.

I had to get not one, two, three, four cats to the Vet by 8:15 AM. I had to bring ALL SEVEN foster cats to the Vet! I created a list of what was needed to be done to which cat so I wouldn't forget. It ranged from: “needs a booster shot, right?” to “Not sure what is going on. Cat is not getting better and now has a weird area of hair loss on the tail.”

Cupid and Prancer were also due to be spayed IF the Vet agreed that they were healthy enough to go through the stress of the surgery. It's hard to know how they'll do and even if they do well, they may relapse either from being around the other kittens who are still sick, or from stress. Either way, it's a risk I have to take. Now if I could just stop feeling guilty for putting them through this. Check out Cupid and Prancer (below). Tell me you don't feel guilty looking at them!

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The Bison Yeller (Sam) helped me load up the car and he drove us over to the Vet. We got there a bit early and they were able to see us right away. We started with Cupid and Prancer. They got the “all clear” to be spayed. Great!

Next up was Blitzen, Donner and Dancer. Blizten is struggling to get well. He is on different antibiotics for the next 30 DAYS!!!!!!!. At least they took him off just about all the other meds and there's only one eye ointment and that's IT. The other two kittens are still sick, but the Vet felt that we should give it some time to resolve. How much time? “WEEKS OR MONTHS” (!!!!!!!!!!!!) She replied. Oh brother. They'll be adults before I can get them well!

Lastly, there was Comet and Rudolph.

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Comet looks good. Got a clean bill of health...sort of. Her eyes are clear and no more sneezing. Her sore nose looks good, too. She gained weight and her coat is sleek and shiny. Except for one thing...

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Rudy. Rudy is the one thing. Rudy has a bald patch on his tail. Jennifer called me about it over the weekend. She mentioned that Rudy and Comet had accidently been locked up with one of her resident cats and that Rudy had hid inside her husband's recliner. I thought that perhaps Rudy's tail had been stuck and that's how the fur came off. of course it wouldn't be anything else, right? What causes funky alopecia? It didn't occur to me since Rudy had been in 2 week quarantine in GA AND he'd been in CT for 4 weeks now, so he couldn't have broken with anything



No. That couldn't be it! Not after ALL THIS TIME?!! How could Rudy get ringworm?? We looked at the area with the Woods Lamp. It glowed, of course. “Should we do the test? Results take two weeks.” I said not to bother. We'll just treat it, but WHERE, HOW did he get it?

Here's a hint:

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Doing cat rescue, apparently, is not for the faint of heart. The things I've learned in the past year, and learned the hard way, never stop to amaze me. The Vet felt that Comet MAY be a carrier for ringworm and passed it to Rudy. She may not show any signs of it or might break with it in another week. Wait and see. Also, she COULD give it to other cats after she gets adopted, or she might not. Is there no way to tell if she can do this? Apparently not.

I'm not going to have a nervous breakdown. I did that over Christmas break!!! As one of my client's says daily; “It IS what it IS.” Whatever that means, he's right. What can I do?

I called Jennifer. That was a tough call to make. I felt (feel) so badly about this because ringworm is airborne so of course all her cats and her husband have been exposed to it. By the way, all MY cats and my boyfriend have been exposed to it, too. Not to make it any less bad, but Jennifer is their caretaker. Without her, I will be in a big jam. Rudy's treatment lasts 45 DAYS.

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Not only that, but Rudy STILL has bronchitis. The Vet is concerned he has Feline Leukemia or FIV+. We ran 2 combo tests and both were negative. She said you can't trust the results because Rudy is too young. We are not out of the woods with this boy. Hopefully by MARCH!!! he will be all better, BIGGER, healthy and happy.

I gathered up a new bag full of medications. One had to be ordered. The Vet bill for all these visits and medications is at $1250.00. I'm going to have to put out my paper cup and ask for spare change to help us pay the bill, but right now I need to count my blessings that Jennifer was willing to take Rudy and Comet back and that I've got two kitties that MAY be able to be adopted in another week or so.

Baby steps, right? Baby steps.

Foster Cat Journal: Still Sick!

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Blitzen is still struggling to get better.

Poor little Blitzen. I just can't seem to get him to turn the corner and get better. I'm taking him to the Vet tomorrow, along with Rudy (he's not doing well). I'm also taking everyone else! Ack! Might as well. Mama and Prancer are well enough to be spayed. I'm hoping it won't push them over the edge and make them relapse, which is why I'm only doing those two cats. Am going to take this VERY SLOWLY. If these two do well, then they can be adopted. The rest are still too sick to be messed with and I want to re-evaluate their meds, so off they go to the Vet.

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From left: Dancer, Prancer & Donner

I'm going to pick Rudy and Comet up now. Will have a full house for a few more days. It's a lot more work with them here, but they are such nice kitties, I do enjoy seeing them!

Deep breath. I will get these cats well...I HOPE!

Foster Cat Journal: Head Banging

Really. Will these cats EVER GET BETTER? It's been almost a MONTH. You think they'd be all set by now and this morning little Blitzen was getting SICKER AGAIN! Not only that, but Dancer and Donner are both having eye issues that never seem to GO AWAY. I am so PISSED right now. This is so frustrating. I don't even KNOW if any medications would help these cats, yet it seems like I'm throwing everything there is at them!

I started Blitz on Zithromax (I think that's what it is)...this will be the third antibiotic I've tried. His left eye is irritated again and this is after not getting meds for a DAY. That's it. ONE DAY. He's snotty and coughing and sneezing. I don't get it. I have given them all their meds 2 or 3 times a day, 5 or more meds for over THREE WEEKS!!! I get more and more meds in tubes, bottle, pills, pastes, yet nothing is getting them well. They're all growing and the bigger they are, the tougher it will be to get them homes.

I am at the freaking out stage! I am about to get these cats to another Vet, too. Sorry, but there's gotta be something that's getting overlooked or I'm doing something wrong and I need help figuring out what it is. Maybe each kitten needs their OWN meds, instead of sharing them? I try to keep everything clean, but I could be making it worse. I just don't know. At least they are all eating well and bouncing around. I'm very grateful for that, but...

...Com'on guys, GET BETTER!!!!!!!

Foster Cat Journal: Improvements & Disappointments Part 2

Cupid had a second blood test. It confirmed that her kidneys are functioning properly, but that she's still battling an infection. Her stats were much better and she did gain a pound, which I mentioned, a few days ago. Her coat is marvelous and her personality is starting to come out. I've been keeping her separated from the kittens so her glands can dry up. When the kittens approach her she'll smack them or bite them, trying to get them to leave her alone, but Donner won't give up and goes straight for a nipple. I don't let her suckle. I'm fearful that Cupid will get mastitis. So far, so good. Just a few more days and I shouldn't have to confine her or the kittens any more. I honestly hate doing it, but I must. Cupid needs to dry out. Those kittens are too big and could really hurt her now.

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Cupid is so easy-going, she didn't even care about getting blood drawn! She's a great kitty!

What surprises me is seeing Cupid play. She's finally interested in some of the toys, though she still backs off if the kittens are near her. I take her into my bedroom occasionally, to give her a break and that's when I see her open up. She'll roll on the carpet, put her paws in the air. She'll drink from the faucet or chase after a toy. I can hold her for a few moments and she'll sit comfortably in my arms, but she just won't sit on my lap-or even near me. I hope that once she's away from the kittens, she'll be able to blossom even further.


I can't seem to get a photo of Cupid looking happy, but I'm working on it! I'm sure she's getting tired of being a Mama and ready to move on to other things.

Of the four kittens, Prancer seems to be doing well. The others: Blitzen, Donner and Dancer have on and off problems, especially with their sinuses and their eyes. Blitzen, in particular is doing the worst. He's such a sweet boy and so beautiful, but he's snorting and has a slight infection by his nose. His eyes are runny and I think I've gone through at least three or four bottles of eye drops and antibiotic ointment. I'm still giving a ton of meds to the cats, daily. It's not that big of a deal, but it's causing two of the kittens to be shy when they see hands coming near them. I'm trying to offset the bad-giving meds, with the good-play time. I don't want the twice (or more) daily meds to make them nasty grown up cats. It's tough to wrangle them and somehow make it a nice experience for them. I just try to be FAST and get it done.

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Blitzen is still struggling with an eye infection, sinus issues and an infection near his nose.

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...but he is still gorgeous!

Donner, too, who was doing great, then started to have eye problems! It's amazing just how long this shit is taking to work itself out of this cat-famly. The Vet said these things can take weeks to resolve. She wasn't kidding. The problem for me is not only am I unable to help any more kittens, but worse-I am getting attached to Donner and Blitzen. It's going to be tough to say goodbye to ANY of these cats since we've been through so much together, but Donner, who sleeps under my chin and Blitz, who is just the sweetest natured cutey-who will lay belly up on me and sleep, too...well I am smitten. I've done well. In the almost five years I've been with ANC I have not adopted ONE cat. I've been sad MANY times when the kittens have left, but I know I'm doing what I must do. Now I'm not so sure I can do it this time, too.

How can you say, NO, to this face???

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So we're all hanging in there. I took a few days to do little else, but care for the cats, so I wouldn't lose my mind. Sam and I faced the edge of the cliff-we discussed ending our 16+ year relationship. It was the most serious, sad, depressing conversation we've ever had. I think we both sat with the feeling of what it would be like if we could not move forward together any longer. There was nothing coarse or cruel about it. It was just deeply sad and heartbreaking. I shared some things with him and I think that doing so opened things back up in our relationship. Sam was willing to listen and to understand what I was saying. It must have made a difference because after that and another good cry and more “alone time” we managed to dust ourselves off, take a deep breath, and slowly try to get back on our feet.

Perhaps like dealing with a house full of sick cats, things had to hit the bottom before they could start to improve? I guess time will tell.

Foster Cat Journal: Improvements & Disappointments Part 1

Four weeks since the cats arrived...

Two are adopted and doing well: Dasher and Vixen.

Of the remaining seven who have been sick this past month, only ONE just got the OK to be released for adoption-just ONE! The “winner” is Comet!

After being hospitalized with a high fever, dehydration, tapeworms and a very serious URI, Comet is now clear of everything and has put on a total of TWO POUNDS since she arrived. She weighs a slender, but healthy, six pounds. She was all but skin and bones when I first got her. She would not have lasted much longer at the shelter, that's for sure. Between her size, her poor condition and her coloring-she had the odds stacked up against her. I'm so glad she's with us now! Safe and loved.

Comet's been staying with Jennifer, who's also caring for Rudy. The two tuxes have become good friends and enjoy running around their foster room and take turns beating each other up. How sweet! You may recall that Comet likes to “eat Rudy's brains.” Rudy doesn't seem to mind, though he has not turned into a Zombie, thankfully.

I haven't put Comet up for adoption yet because while she was here for a day, I heard her sneezing and Jennifer mentioned the same thing. I'm going to be VERY conservative about when I put any of these guys up for adoption now. Although Comet is spayed and ready to go, I don't want her to relapse in her new home, especially if she's with other cats (which is one of my goals since she loves Rudy so much, she should be with other cats. I'd prefer if she and Rudy could stay together, but...Rudy can't be adopted right now.)

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Miss Comet, at almost nine months, looking very sweet and fantastic-at last!

Comet tickling Rudy's leg. Any second now, she'll be going after his BRAINS, of course!

Then there's little Rudy. He's a complete goofhead. Yes, that's a technical term for GOOFY! Since he's arrived, I have NEVER heard him breathing normally. Jennifer reported that he was doing great until a few days ago when he started to sound bad again. I got him to the Vet and she grabbed some x-rays of his chest. Rudy has Bronchitis. Thankfully, it's not Pnuemonia, but Rudy's on a brand new round of medications-lots and lots of medications that have to be given FOUR times a day. Rudy's been through so much in his short life, but he's a tough cookie and I expect him to recover in time. For now, he's getting lots of love and care and both Jennifer and her husband, Ron are in love with both their tuxy-fosters.

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Rudy is a powerhouse of nuttiness. I wish he would get better!!! Poor lamb chop!

This morning, just before I was about to post this article, I got an email from Jennifer. Rudy is not improving and now Comet has a “runny nose.” Oh step forward and one step tripped, fell, smacked my head on the floor. Ugh!


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