Meet Spaghetti-Bob registered therapy cat


Meet Spaghetti-Bob

1st birthday photo

Who is he?

He is a cat.

Where did the name come from?

This came from all the different people who had helped rescue him from his adventures on the street at the time everyone called him something different: Pepe’ Le Pew, Henri’, Bob, Kitty, etc.

To honor all those who had a hand in rescuing and caring for him up to that point his legal name became Pepe’ Henri’ Spaghetti-Bob Fluffy-Pants Le Pew VIII.

Bob on his leash

What is a therapy cat?

Therapy Animals are not legally defined by federal law, but some states have laws defining therapy animals. They provide people with contact to animals, but are not limited to working with people who have disabilities. They are usually the personal pets of their handlers, and work with their handlers to provide services to others. Federal laws have no provisions for people to be accompanied by therapy animals in places of public accommodation that have “no pets” policies. Therapy animals usually are not service animals.

(taken from : http://www.deltasociety.org/page.aspx?pid=303)

What’s the difference between a service animal and a therapy animal?

Service Animals are legally defined (Americans With Disabilities Act, 1990) and are trained to meet the disability-related needs of their handlers who have disabilities. Federal laws protect the rights of individuals with disabilities to be accompanied by their service animals in public places. Service animals are not considered ‘pets’.

(taken from : http://www.deltasociety.org/page.aspx?pid=303)

What makes a cat a candidate for being a therapy cat?

Cats chosen for therapy must meet certain criteria. They should be of a “laid-back” temperament, with no fear of strangers, and tolerant of new circumstances. It goes without saying that they should be current on shots, and either have their claws trimmed or plastic caps such as SoftPaws attached. Although previously declawed cats might be used as therapy animals, they should never be declawed for that purpose.

(taken from http://cats.about.com/od/youandyourcat/a/Therapy-Cats.htm)

Bob catching up on some sleep

Here’s Bob’s story of how he became a therapy cat:

When I got Bob it was really important to me that he be well socialized and wear a harness. I had worked on clicker training his big brother, Winston, so I worked with him on it too. When he was about 8 months old I (Dee) started working at the Animal Humane Society as a behavior counselor and became more interested in “cat training” and found out about therapy pet training. I signed up for the class at AHS mostly to do more things with Bob. I figured he was still too young and impulsive to actually pass the test. The first class we attended was a bit rough, I couldn’t keep him in his bed, he became a bit obsessed with (and hissed at) a rabbit statue he saw. We ended up removing it from the room because he would not stop staring at it! The last class we went to he was great! He stayed in his cat bed and was not stressed by things going on around him but enjoyed the people it seemed. Our instructor was like, “I really think you should test him now”. We signed up to take the Delta Society test a few weeks later and he PASSED!! His first time!! I was really proud – won’t lie.

Bob has worn a H-harness as well as the Come-With-Me-Kitty harness. I use ONLY positive reinforcement training. If he isn’t interested I try not to force him into anything but encourage him to do it. I do have to hold him on peoples’ laps at sometimes but if he really stresses, we move on. He is still pretty impulsive and likes to run around and look at stuff so I am working on getting him to spend more time laying on peoples laps.

Bob “working”

How long as Bob been wearing a harness?

I’ve had him wear one since he was a kitten. I got him when he was ~ 8 weeks old. Well, he still dislikes it but after awhile he seems to forget it is on!

Where does Bob work/volunteer?

Right now we are just visiting a nursing home.

Bob at Petco checking out the cat toy aisle

Further reading:

Clicker training for cats – http://www.catster.com/cat-behavior/clicker-training-for-cats




Pet Partners (formerly Delta Society) a great resource on service/therapy animals and ways to help – http://www.deltasociety.org/

Spaghetti-Bob’s facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Spaghetti-Bob-registered-therapy-kitten/203735649697221

Author’s Thanks
The author would like to thank Bob & his biped secretary for the patience and help in writing this article along with the permission to use the photos. 

Meet Suki the burn survivor


Meet Suki the burn survivor

Suki in 2003

Who is Suki?

Suki is a 10 year old horse

Where did the name Suki come from?

When I bought Suki she was 3 years old and not yet started under saddle.  I bought her frm a video viewing and by the advice of my veterinarian.  She was in British Columbia, and because she was not yet being ridden I decided to go for it.  She did not yet have a barn name.  At the time I was reading an Abigail Adams biography.  She had a daughter named Susannah, whose nickname was Suki.  I thought it was a great name.

What happened to Suki?

Suki survived a barn fire, she had burns on 70% of her body and spent six weeks in ICU care.

Suki 2 weeks after the fire.

What happened that fateful night?

I received a call around midnight from my friend and fellow boarder, Bobbi. She told me that the barn was on fire and they did not know where Suki and Whisby (Bobbi’s big chestnut mare) were. She was on her way to the scene to search for the horses. My husband was away on business and my 3 year old son was asleep in the next room, so I was unable to leave. For the next several hours I waited for word about Suki. I tried repeatedly to reach my husband, who is notorious for not answering his phone! I texted my trainer Heather Mason, who remained in contact with me throughout the night.

At around 3 AM Bobbi called and said that the girls had been found in a field a few miles from Pink Star (the barn we had boarded at), and Suki had been badly burned. A veterinarian was evaluating. her. I kept asking if she needed to be put down. Everyone kept saying “I don’t know”. Because I was still unable to leave, Bobbi and her husband volunteered to drive Suki to New Bolton Center. They dropped off Whisby (who only had minor injuries) at another barn and took Suki to the hospital. I was really glad about this, because Suki knows Bobbi and it would be a comfort to her.

Around 5 AM I spoke to the veterinarians and again asked if she needed to be put down. They said she was stable, and to see how she progressed.

I continued to pace until 7 AM when I could take my son to preschool and drive the hour plus to New Bolton. One thing that stands out in my mind was when I walked into reception and explained why I was there. Then I burst into tears. The receptionist came out from behind the counter and wrapped her arms around me. That’s when you realize that they understand all of the emotions that you are dealing with. I will never forget the first time I saw Suki after the fire. Her eyes were swollen shut and her skin was covered in SSD for the burns. When I called her name she nickered back, then accepted a carrot. I think I was in shock at that point. The odds were against her survival but she is a strong girl. By the next morning she had lifted her head and began to act like the diva she is….we never looked back.

Suki being released

What kind of care/therapy did Suki have to go through after the fire?

While in the hospital, Suki’s pain was managed very carefully. The metabolism of burn patients increases greatly because of the amount of energy needed for healing. So it was important to keep her pain-free so that her appetite remained steady, and that meant keeping her pain-free. Her vitals were monitored around the clock and if anything changed her pain meds were adjusted accordingly. She wore a fentanyl patch and received a number of other meds in addition to IV fluids and plasma.

Suki’s eyes were burned and swollen shut, and her corneas had ulcers from the fire. Ointment had to be applied in her eyes 4 times a day. The result of that amazing care was that her eyes fully healed and her vision is normal. Because over 70% of Suki’s body was burned, the decision was made to let the dead skin fall away on its own. This way it would reduce the chance of infection. When the charred skin fell away, there was new skin underneath.

Eventually the IV fluids were discontinued and the pain meds were reduced. Suki was given gabapentin because of the neuropathic pain associated with burns healing. Each day the burns were carefully cleaned and SSD was liberally applied, giving Suki a ghost like appearance.
When Suki was released to the rehab farm much of this treatment continued. She remained on twice daily oral meds, which needed to be disguised in applesauce, grain and gummy bears. Her skin needed to be cleaned and the last bit of dead skin on her back continued to fall off. Turnout could only be done when there was no sun, so Kelly would put her out before sunrise and after sunset for an hour or two.

When we left the rehab farm for regular boarding daily skin care remains to this day an essential part of grooming. We, of course, experienced the difficulty with the last burned area healing, which led to the skin graft, also requiring after care. All is healed now, but that area remains bandaged for extra padding. Daily skin care continues.

Looking much better these days

What do you think got Suki through the fire and the long recovery?

Suki’s will to survive was evident from the beginning. Her veterinarians were impressed by her spirit and courage. Suki never showed any signs of giving in. She fought to recover. Everyone is convinced that the diva personality helped her get through it. They also said that my regular visits also made a huge difference in her recovery. Suki would start to call to me as soon as she could hear my voice in the prep room by ICU. She would immediately demand that I come right to her stall. The care that she received at New Bolton was phenomenal. Her needs were met 24 hours a day.

How did you commemorate the 3rd anniversary?

We did a celebration of life, which was a champagne toast in Suki’s honor. My friend Lori, whose son was badly burned (on the same date, but 2 years prior) had told me that’s what they do for him. I think that it is the perfect way to acknowledge the day without focusing on the tragedy.

Still a survivor 3 years later

When did you first get involved with horses?

I started riding when I was 15. I had begged for riding lessons for years, but had been in ballet since age 5, and was dancing every day and performing with a ballet company. My mother was against the idea. Finally, my father came home one day and said that he had signed me up for lessons. I started with hunter/jumpers because that was available, but my first instructor was amazing, although I did not realize it at the time. She put me on a lunge line with no reins or stirrups and said that I could have them once I developed a seat. I think that’s why sitting trot is “my thing”!

One serene morning

Check out Suki’s Blog:


Other articles about Suki:




Author’s Notes:
The author would like to thank Suki & her wonderful guardian for sharing her story. The pictures featured in this article were used with permission.

Meet Duke Lloyd

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Meet Duke Lloyd

Who is Duke?

Duke is a dog. To be specific he is a Pit/Lab/Mastiff mix.

How old is Duke now?

Duke will be 2 on November 1st

How did he come to be with you?

Duke was under a year we got him October 28 2011

What was the situation he was in?

Duke was under weight at weighing in at 58 pounds, he was loaded with fleas, had many ticks, and all kinds of worms and other parasites. You could see the points of his hips and count every rib going down his side. He has a scar around his mouth at the end of his nose from a muzzle, scars on his leg and various places on his body. His nails were over grown so that he was walking on his nails and the pad of his feet not his toes. The tendons in his hips were flipped over themselves from being in a crate for long periods of time without being able to exercise (In order for this to happen we are talking about at least 20 hours a day in a crate that is too small for him). His testicles were so infected that they there 3 times their normal size. He is scars around his neck because they didn’t have a collar on Duke they used a heavy chain that was too tight around his neck (It looked like a chain that you would use to chain a gate close).

What kind of care did he undergo when you became his guardian?

Duke went through the normal vetting when we first got him, then he had to be treated for fleas, ticks, worms, and the bugs he had. He never had a single vaccination in his life so he had to have them all, he was micro-chipped, he had to be neutered (not only because it is the right thing to do, but to treat his infection), he was put on special shampoos, his stomach was a little outta sorts because he wasnt fed like he should have been so he was put on Kaopectolin to stop him from being sick and throwing up while we were trying to find food that he could and would eat. Duke was also put on a special vet only diet for a litte while. Then on Feb. 3rd 2012 we found out he had allergies on top of everything. He is allergic to mold, dust-mites, and storage-mites. Which he is still being treated for.

The therapy for his hips is just play play they will straighten out by themselves and so far he has done AMAZING with that. They are almost turned back 100% around so he can lift his rear legs now.

Duke went to obedience classes and got his Canine Good Citizen award through Out of the Pits, INC. in Albany, NY. He also went to see a behaviorist in Albany called Empire K9s with an ex Marine.

Dukes first dog on dog experience was the night we picked him up. I took him to a friend’s house that had a 250 pound St. Bernard. He also was around other dogs at Empire K9s and the 2 other dogs we have at home. Plus I try to take him everywhere I can with me.

Where did the name Duke come from?

Duke got his name because I thought he looked like Marmaduke and my fiance didn’t like the name so we just went with Duke.

Does Duke have any siblings?

Duke lives with 2 other dogs. A husky who is a shelter rescue about 10 years old, a 2 year old mutt, and 7 cats all ranging in ages.


Are there any plans for Duke?

Duke is just being Duke , but I am hoping that once he is older and has calmed down A LOT being he is so hyper because he is finally being able to be THE DOG that I can start him in therapy dog classes so everyone can see what a great dog he is and he can go everywhere with me.

How is he doing now?

Duke is doing awesome! He has come so far in such a little time. His hips are almost healed and he has become a well-behaved socialized dog. The only ill effects from his former home that we are dealing with is still his allergies and in June he become ill with an infection which was treated and he is back to normal happy Duke.

Where can people go to keep up on Duke and what he’s up to?

He has a facebook page filled with pictures and his adventures:


Were you always a dog lover and/or animal lover?

I have always had animals, dogs, cats, rabbits, chinchillas, gerbils, guinea pigs, fish, turtles, and frogs, When I was little we had White German Shepherds. We have had many purebreds and many mutts.

What is the one thing you wish people would know about pit bulls?

Duke is our first Pit Bull even through he is a mix, but my mom is terrified of Pits because of all the hype they get in the media. I use to work at an animal shelter the ones that always took me was the Pit Bulls. They were the first ones I went to. With Duke he showed just how loving they really can be if they are brought up right. Its NOT the dog that is mean it is how they are raised and treated. Duke is the most loving dog. He really loves kids and will even take his time for them to come to him and he will do everything in his power to look cute so people will play with him.


This post is dedicated to the loving memory of Lennox, the dog who was taken from his family and brutally murdered in  Belfast northern Ireland simply for the fact that he “looked” like a pit bull and according to their laws had to be put down.

To read more about Lennox and his story please see the following articles:






Be somebody!

For the many who are outraged by the killing of Lennox, Duke’s guardian and many many others encourage people to get involved with their local animal shelters and prevent the killing and/or banning of dogs across the world and in many cities in the U.S. Please take a moment to look at the petition that is asking to change the law that killed Lennox as well as the facebook dedicated to the updates on changes made.



For those interested here is a list of U.S. states that have breed specific laws (BSL) (bans on specific dog breeds), there is an international list at the bottom of the page as well for those outside of the U.S.


Author’s Notes:

I wanted to thank Duke and his guardian Kryssy for answering my questions and letting me Duke’s story. It was a pleasure doing the interview and learning about Duke and how love and kindness can really make a world of difference to an abused animal. 

Meet Anakin the two legged miracle cat


Meet Anakin the two legged miracle cat

Who is Anakin?

He is a kitten

What makes him special?

He only has two legs, his front ones.

How does he get around?

He positions his front legs at an angle towards the middle of his body and balances his backend in the air with the use of his tail touching the ground if he needs it. He gets around really well that way and is pretty quick too.

How was he found?

About two weeks ago a kitten without back legs started coming over to eat with the other feral cats at my dad’s work. My first few trips to attempt to catch it didn’t work out. Then Thursday (5/31/12), We went to see if this was the day we could catch it. The kitten was cowering in the bushes and I climbed into the bushes and pulled the kitten out. We brought the kitten home and I set it up in our hall bathroom

Where did the name Anakin come from?

From Star Wars, Anakin Skywalker.

Anakin’s Story:

Friday morning (6/1/12) I took him to our vet as soon as they opened. Our vet said she has never seen anything like him before and he is amazing and that it’s also amazing that his mother took care of him even with his handicap. She examined him and he is a little boy, approximately 6 to 8 weeks old and it in really good health. Two xrays on him showed he was born with no pelvis or back legs. We let him walk around the room for a minute to see how he moves.

The xray also showed that his insides were not malformed, last was the feline leukemia test. He’s came back negative. So we got him vaccinated, dewormed and a little flea meds and unless we have any problems with him, he goes back to the vet in three weeks  Now, he is home getting comfy in his little bathroom and will be there for a while till he is bigger, stronger and ready to be socialized with the other cats and our dog. He is such a sweet calm little guy  He is happy to cuddle in our laps and purrs really loud. He likes to play with a little toy mouse and also chase a beaded necklaces around on the floor. .

Anakin playing on the ipad

Where can someone end donations/money towards his care:

** Please note that Anakin’s guardian has asked not to donate anything as he has plenty of toys and things, but instead make a donation on behalf of Anakin to your local animal shelter, humane society or animal sanctuary.  She wanted to send her thank you’s for everyone’s concern about Anakin. He is doing well. **

Donations can be set by purchasing items from my Cat Art website, Tigerpixie Art Studio www. Tigerpixie.com All profits from my website sales are going to Anakin’s care.

If you  prefer not to purchase anything but would still like to donate they can send a personal donation to my paypal account chawks@tigerpixie.com

Or if you prefer sending Anakin and his guardian snail mail please send to:

Anakin The Cat
c/o Carrie Hawks, Tigerpixie Art Studio
PO Box 36364
Pensacola, FL 32516-6364

Anakin the kitten related links:

http://anakintwoleggedcat.blogspot.com/ – Anakin’s blog (just started 07/04/12)

http://twitter.com/#!/anakintwolegs – Anakin’s twitter page

http://www.youtube.com/Tigerpixie – Anakin and his guardian’s youtube page

http://www.facebook.com/tigerpixieart – Anakin’s guardian’s facebook art page

http://www.tigerpixie.com/ – Anakin’s guardian’s art page

http://www.dailykitten.com/2012/06/anakin-the-two-legged-miracle-cat/ – Anakin’s article in the Daily Kitten

http://www.catster.com/lifestyle/a-story-of-hope-anakin-the-two-legged-kitten – Anakin’s article on Catster.

http://www.lifewithcats.tv/2012/06/07/anakin-kitten-born-without-hind-legs-is-rescued-and-gets-a-home/ – Anakin’s article on Life with Cats.

Other Links:

Anakin’s guardian is also an artist and is currently is a running a special with her artwork being 20% off  from now until July 31, 2012. The funds will go towards Anakin’s vet bills as well as the vet bills for her other cat, Tabby who has intestinal cancer. Please use voucher code: AnakinTabby20 at check out in order to recieve the discount.

Original - Day of the Dead Cat 12"x16"-cat art, cat painting, Day of the Dead Cat, Día de los Muertos Gato, sugar skull, cat, black cat, marigolds, roses, cat skull, cat skeleton, Mexican holiday, Mexico, All saints day, All souls day, big eye art



This article is dedicated to the loving memory of Anakin’s sister Tabby who crossed the Rainbow Bridge on June 20,2012.

16 years of sweetness and love.  We love and miss you.

Author’s Note:

A huge wonderful thank you goes out to his guardian Miss Carrie. All pictures and videos were used with permission.