Product Review: Ewww Pawsitively Clean by Bissell

Hey all. It’s been way too long since we’ve done a product review! This time around we are reviewing Ewww Pawsitively Clean by Bissell, one of their newest cleaning products. It’s enzyme-based for use on organic stains and odors such as urine and feces. We were excited to try it out when DogTime Media asked for bloggers to do reviews. We received our bottle through them in exchange for doing the review for Bissell. We tried it out on a few different problems: a carpet stained by dog pee and a dog bed and dog kennel that had lingering cat pee smell. The product worked amazingly and I encourage you to watch our video.

Product Review!

Giveaway!

After we had signed up for this promotion, we went to BlogPaws West, where Bissell was one of the sponsors and vendors. There we received a smaller bottle as a sample and we’d like to pass the awesome cleaning power on to you. So we’re offering a giveaway of an 8 ounce bottle of Ewww so you can try it out in your own home. Trust me, if your home is anything like ours, you’ll be glad to have it! This stuff may allow us some of our pet deposit back yet! The rules of the contest are simple. Just comment below telling us why you would like to win this product. This contest will run until November 30th when a winner will be selected at random. Good luck!

O’Malley’s Rehabilitation and How You Can Help

You are reading the fourth chapter of O’Malley’s story.
Read the First Chapter
Read the Second Chapter
Read the Third Chapter
Read the Fifth Chapter
Read the Sixth Chapter
To Be Continued…

Hello animal-loving world! I can’t apologize enough for the way we have completely disappeared from the internet. We have been having a rough time lately, from just plain exhaustion, trying to manage O’Malley’s rehab in what little free time we have and a death in Nikki’s family which has been incredibly hard on her. We are trying our best to get back into the swing of things but please bear with us at being slow with this blog and our twitter account. Any loving thoughts for Nikki are greatly appreciated. I’d also like to give a HUGE thank you to Chelsea for keeping ILRA alive with her weekly #ShelterSketches! Now on to the more fun stuff!

The Recovery Process

O’Malley has been doing great, not that any of us expected any less from this boy. His wounds healed up great (he just had his stitches removed today) and he’s on the road to recovery. As I wrote last time, he needs rehabilitation to strengthen his muscles and make sure everything moves well and his scar tissue forms right. I’ll be straight up honest and say that we have not been able to devote as much time to his rehabilitation as we would have liked but he is still progressing and I know he’s going to come out on the other end a very healthy, fit cat. I’ve seriously been worrying about him and agonizing over the fact that everything we do now will affect O’Malley for the rest of his life and I know that we’re not doing perfect. But then I think about the alternative, of what would have happened to him had I not stopped to help him, and I know that he would prefer our imperfection to being left there alone. He’s such a loving, forgiving cat. I just love him, as does everyone else who meets him.

Now on to the cool stuff: As promised, here is an image of one of O’Malley’s X-rays. You can see his left femur completely out of the socket and the big break in his pelvis on the right.

Next up, O’Malley’s rehabilitation! I was able to get in contact with Sandra Hudson, the woman we met at that dog event, and she accepted O’Malley as a patient. The best part is that she’s giving me the rescue discount since she was moved by his story. Isn’t that great? O’Malley has been twice so far. It would have been best for him to be able to go twice a week but with my new full time schedule, it just isn’t possible. So we are going to be using his visits there as a sort of check-in and we’re going to be responsible for most of his physical therapy. The different things he does at his rehab sessions are really interesting. He starts by getting cold laser therapy. Basically she applies low-power light to his hip and it helps him heal faster! How cool is that?

Then he’s on to balancing on a balance board and a ball. The board makes him learn to shift his balance and improve his stability. The ball helps stretch his leg out and put weight on his foot. I looked into buying a balance board to use at home but the cheapest was $80 so we’re going to have to attempt to make one ourselves… wish us luck!

Then he does Cavaletti poles which for our purposes is two swimming noodles with bits of plastic piping laid over them to create a ladder rung type deal (it’s hard to explain). Anyway, we coax him to walk through it, over the pipes, so he has to lift his feet over them. This helps with his gait training and also re-teaches him where his back feet are. Sandra says that many cats who undergo trauma and/or surgery of his type have their connections between their brain and hind limbs damaged. Basically he has to re-learn where his feet are without him having to look. So he has to figure out how to lift his back legs over the poles. Kinda neat when you think about it. Anyway, we make it harder by spreading the poles out and by crisscrossing them. This works best by tempting him with treats!

The last thing we do at his sessions is also the coolest! Well, according to me, anyway. I’m sure he would tell you otherwise! Anyway, O’Malley does aquatic therapy! Yes, we actually stick that poor kitty on a partially submerged treadmill and make him walk for several minutes. He complains about it, of course, but as always he does what is asked of him. Aquatic therapy is so good because it transfers heat to his hip, supports a good amount of his weight so he can slowly add more weight to that hip, it improves his gait by making his stride longer and it forces him to continue walking which increases his endurance. It really is very cool how much it helps him. I’m sure you’ll love the video!

How You Can Help O’Malley

Now here’s the part where you can help. While we have been helped by some AMAZING people who have cut our costs by at least half by donating their time and offering discounts, we have still spent close to $500 on his recovery thus far. This is only for his vet visits, surgery, medications, vaccinations, food (since he’s on a special diet) and rehabilitation. This does not cover what we bought to do his rehab at home, litter (we don’t use clay litter in our house so it really does add up), lost wages from taking off work to take him places, etc. We are trying to be very reasonable in what we are asking help with. You can view the gallery to see proof of most of his bills (we misplaced the latest rehab bill) so you know you can trust that we’re not making this up. Also, you can see some of the bills have costs for animals other than O’Malley but we have not included this in our calculations. For instance, there is a bill of $50 for two combo tests, one for O’Malley and one for another foster cat, Jacob. We only counted $25 towards our total. O’Malley will also need to go in about a month from now to be neutered, get his FVRCP booster, and get new X-rays taken. Our wonderful vet, Dr. Jill, quoted us at $120 for everything which is an awesome deal! We would also like to take him in to rehab at least a few more times, which will cost $28.75 for each visit from now on.

So the breakdown of our costs is this: So far we have spent $485. Adding in his vet bill of $120 next month brings us to $605. We would like to take him in for rehab at least 3 more times (he has an appointment scheduled for next week Tuesday already) which would come to $86.25 for a grand total of $691.25. So for all of this, we have set a goal of raising $700 to help us with O’Malley’s recovery. I think this is awesome considering his surgery alone was quoted at $750 to $1500 by other veterinarians! Can you believe how little it cost to CHANGE this boy’s life, to SAVE it? it gives me goosebumps thinking of how so many people are coming together to help him. O’Malley thanks each and every one of you!

Donate by clicking on the widget, or go straight to O’Malley’s ChipIn page.

Need an Incentive?

So as if changing this amazing, handsome’s cat’s life for the better isn’t enough, we have some fun incentives for donating as well. When we reach half of our goal, $350, we will release a funny home video of the crazy things pet parents sometimes have to do at 1:00 in the morning. If we reach our full goal of $700 then we will release an embarrassing video of me singing to and dancing at the kids. Sound fun? Good! Thank you for all of your continued support!

World, Meet O’Malley

You are reading the first chapter of O’Malley’s story.
Read the Second Chapter
Read the Third Chapter
Read the Fourth Chapter
Read the Fifth Chapter
Read the Sixth Chapter
To Be Continued…

O'Malley The Alley Cat!

The Beginning

O’Malley is lucky to be alive. I was on my way to work yesterday when I saw a cat lying on the side of the road. I thought it was dead but as I passed I noticed that its head was up. It took me just a split second to realize that a head up meant he was alive, I was supposed to be at work in 10 minutes, and I HAD to stop and help him. I whipped my car around, parked in an apartment complex across the street, rolled down the windows a bit for Snarf who was in the back seat and ran back to him. I had to wait to cross the four lanes because cars and trucks were going by and I was so scared one was going to hit him right as I was trying to save him. I ran over there and saw that he was alert but he was covered in dirt, debris, open wounds and, worst of all, ants. They were crawling all over him! I pulled him out of the road and onto the grass and picked all the ants off of him while I called my vet. The secretary told me our vet was out for lunch but would be back soon. So I scooped him up and carried him back across the road to my car and just laid him on the front seat since I didn’t have a carrier. On the way to the vet he panted a lot and I worried for him, especially when he just hung his head off the seat.

Once at the vet, they brought me a carrier to put him in and Snarf and I waited patiently for our vet to return. My vet, Dr. Jill, actually left her personal lunch break to come back early just to see me and this poor cat! She’s so awesome! There wasn’t much Dr. Jill could tell me right away though. He was clearly dehydrated and she knew something was broken in his hind end. She would have to sedate him and take X-rays to know more. I left knowing that if it was his pelvis he had a shot but if it was his back, there was nothing we could do for him and he’d have to be put down. So Snarf and I left for work, hoping and hoping that his X-rays would reveal good things. I had already decided before I left, though, that if it turned out to be his back, I would leave work and go there to be with him as he was put down because I wasn’t going to let him die alone.

I, of course, was twittering during all of this, keeping people updated, and good wishes and healing #pawcircle thoughts flowed in for him! I was supposed to know after about 45 minutes but close to 3 hours later, and still hearing nothing, I finally gave in and called. His back was FINE! It made me so happy! His pelvis is broken and his left hip is completely dislocated but his back looked good. He had even eaten a little & gone to the bathroom so I was ecstatic! He stayed overnight on fluids, antibiotics & some pain meds. O’Malley will likely have to have an FHO, which is a femoral head ostectomy, which basically means have his femoral head completely removed. Scar tissue is supposed to grow around it and basically form a new joint. It actually looks like a really neat surgery so you should look it up if you find that sort of thing interesting. She told me that his surgery was NOT an emergency so it could wait until she returned because she had asked around to other vets and they quoted it as anywhere from $750 to $1500! If she does it, she’ll give us a major discount because she’s cool like that!

The Next Day

This morning when they opened I called and checked on him and learned he had done well overnight. I had felt things would be right for him but was still worried. After work I had to feed ferals before I could go get him so I was pretty much the last one there but the vet (not our usual one) and the secretary stayed late just for me! I brought Jacob, another of our fosters, with me so I could get them both combo tested. Jacob has been separated from our personal cats because he had combo tested negative before at a feral cat spay/neuter clinic but since it was batch testing, we wanted to be cautious. Jacob went first and I was overjoyed when his came back fully negative. Then out came O’Malley. The poor guy had fresh blood in some of his wounds and looked a bit upset. He was also dehydrated so the doctor had to stick him with 6 syringes full of subcutaneous water. Plus he gave him another shot of antibiotics since one of his wounds seems to go down to the muscle. Then the poor boy had to be stuck 4 times before a vein could finally be found to draw his blood! Oh my goodness but he was such a good sport. He hissed some but never tried to bite!

The Car-Hit CatThen came the waiting for his results. Something in my gut had me scared but I tried to be positive. Then some blue stain crept across the side and my heart just sank. I said “That’s not good” and as the dot became clearer the vet pulled out the test information to check on which he had just tested positive for. I was so happy when it was FIV but it’s still not what we’d all been hoping for. So O’Malley makes our SECOND foster cat with FIV, along with Storm. Now before the test, the vet had said that if he had either FIV or FelV it would be best to put him down. But once he saw it was FIV, he said to wait and discuss it with our vet, Dr. Jill. So on Monday when she gets back we will discuss how this may affect things. FIV, while not a death sentence, could affect his immune system. So he may not bounce back from surgery like a completely healthy cat would but the way Nikki & I see it, without the surgery, he doesn’t have a life. So I believe it’s worth the risk to give him a shot at a more comfortable, normal life. Anyway, I brought him home and after much shuffling around he was put in his new, small kennel. It has to be small because he’ll need to be confined for 6-8 weeks. The vet told me I would need to force feed him and use a syringe to squirt water down his throat but I think he’s a lot more comfortable here because he’s eaten & drank (a lot!) on his own. Of course, he did like it best when he could lick the wet food off my finger. ^_^ We’ll also be cleaning his wounds with hydrogen peroxide and giving him a week’s worth of antibiotics starting tomorrow. So far, so good!

To Be Continued!

And thus begins the saga of O’Malley the car-hit cat. There will be a lot more to come, I’m sure, and we’ll definitely keep you updated on his progress! Enjoy this short video of him:

Pet Parent Files: Giving a Rat Meds

Hey folks! It’s been awhile since we’ve written first hand in the blog, but it’s not because we haven’t been busy. This is the first of what will be many of our new series the Pet Parent Files, which we will be doing every Tuesday in conjunction with Best Friends Animal Society’s #PetTipTuesday (with their enthusiastic blessings).

How to Give a Rat Meds

Ever had to give a rat medication and had no idea where to even begin? Well here’s a quick tip on what we do when our rat Chunky comes down with a respiratory infection. We went in and got him some Baytril, which will make things a little easier on him. This video gives you our step-by-step on how we crush the pills, mix it in with baby food, and feed it to our sometimes persnickety rat.

If you have any questions or tips, please feel free to leave them in the comments. We are always open to hear what you have to say!

#BlogPaws [Part 4]: You Can #BeTheChange!

I’m sure a lot of you have heard of this movement already. It’s been HUGE on twitter and across the blogosphere since the BlogPaws conference last weekend. This video has practically been going viral and it’s easy to see why. It’s a simple concept and yet the potential impact for animals everywhere is unimaginable! The video is also incredibly touching and no one seems to be able to watch it with a dry eye. Already people have raised close to $1000 for a no-kill rescue in Columbus, Ohio: Pets Without Parents. Challenges are being laid down all over the place for more people to get involved and do their part to help animals. It’s already a well-organized, well-oiled machine, getting out an incredibly important message that people seem to be responding amazingly well to. To think this all started with a session at the first-ever pet bloggers conference…

I had the pleasure of attending the “Be The Change You Want to See” session. No lie, and I told this to all of the panel speakers I met, this was my absolute favorite session! Seriously, I was quite mad at myself afterward for not having taped it. I hope they come together next year for another session! It was so inspiring and motivating that I was all gung-ho and ready to make a difference even before they threw down the #BeTheChange challenge! The panel consisted of Dr. V from Pawcurious, Dorian Wagner from Your Daily Cute and Lynn Haigh from Pawpawty.com and was moderated by Jane Harrell from Petfinder.com.

Jane started the session by talking a little about Petfinder.com. She talked about how Petfinder began and that in and of itself was one of the most awe-inspiring stories about helping animals I’ve ever heard! Did you know that Petfinder was created back in 1995 by Betsy and Jared Saul, a husband and wife who dared each other to make a real difference with their New Year’s Resolutions. They decided that the internet needed to be utilized to help shelter animals get more exposure and they began by personally entering the information and photos of homeless animals around New Jersey. As they grew, they decided to expand nationwide and they have never looked back! 15 years later and Petfinder has helped to unite over 15 MILLION pets with loving owners! I can’t even begin to imagine how incredible the Sauls’ must feel. Their one, relatively small decision has changed the lives of 15 million animals for the better. 15 MILLION! Wow. Just wow.

First up from the panel was Dr. V who was very charming as she told of her “harebrained” idea to raise money by eating dog food. She thought it would be something small but quickly found out that people really enjoy watching other people eat gross things. She raised more than she ever expected: $2250, which with a matching donation from the incredible people at k9uisine.com, meant a total of $4500 for the shelters she was supporting! Not bad for crazy scheme, huh? Now crazy is something I can do. In fact, it’s what I do best. I come up with silly ideas and Nikki helps bring them to fruition. We can make a difference too! (By the way, to raise money for today’s #BeTheChange challenge, Dr. V also ate some Pupperoni! Yum!)

Next to speak was Dorian Wagner who related the stories of how she has raised not just money but also toys for animals in need! I love her idea for the Santa Paws Drive and can’t wait to help her raise awareness this year! Can you imagine the happiness that would come from giving homeless pets their very own Christmas presents? I know they’re animals but you will never for one second convince me that that they did not feel that they were loved when they received those toys! They knew that someone in the world cared for them and that’s the best Christmas gift you could ever ask for!

Last, but most certainly not least, on the panel was Lynn, who is probably best known for being the typist for @frugaldougal on twitter. He’s the hairy mastermind behind what has become one of the biggest pet sensations on twitter – the PawPawty. A PawPawty is an all-twitter, 24-hour “pawty” held to raise donations for different animal rescues & organizations that are randomly chosen from suggestions of participants. The first PawPawty was held back in March of 2009 and in that very short amount of time, the PawPawties have raised a total of $26,060 for 17 different animal groups! Isn’t that just incredible? I am in awe! Lynn, who is always entertaining, told great stories about the blunders she found herself in as she learned the ins and outs of raising money online. The tale that probably got the most laughs was the one where PayPal contacted her & suspended her account because they thought she was a money launderer! Haha! All I can say is that I’m glad these bumps in the road didn’t deter her because the animal world wouldn’t be the same without her and Mr. FD!

At the end of the session, they gave away some cute prizes and one lucky winner got to choose the shelter that would receive the donations raised by the first #BeTheChange pawty. As it turns out, the woman who won worked with Pets for Parents, one of the groups who were lucky enough to receive $2800 from BlogPaws, as well as presents from a few of the sponsors! They must have some major karma built up to be so lucky! The majority of #BeTheChange participants are raising money for this group and they have already doubled the set goal of $500. That’s awesome for them! However, since they have so many people backing them already, I’m going to help raise awareness for another group in need of donations.

Romeo Golon aka Romeothecat and his staff Caroline also pick animal groups each month that they raise donations for. This month’s rescue is Forever Home Feline Ranch which is a newer no-kill cat rescue based in Springfield, Illinois. They are currently without a physical ranch but are instead a dedicated network of fosters. Who knows, the donations raised could go towards getting them a real ranch! For more information, check out the FirstGiving page set up by Romeo here. This looks like a great group and I know they can use all the help they can get. Being a foster is not easy but these wonderful volunteers do it because they know they are changing the lives of the cats they save. Can you help them out?

Now don’t think you’re alone in taking up this challenge. Nikki & I have something up our sleeves for the #BeTheChange pawty as well but that won’t be announced until this Sunday. For now, let’s get out there and help an animal today! That being said, time to go feed the ferals that live around our house. ^_^