World Pet Memorial Day 2016

Throughout our marriage, my husband & I have loved and lost most of what we like to refer as “Our Children”. However; these children have all been furry, four-legged, loveable creatures that we have adopted and rescued. Each one was a unique individual and each had a strikingly different personality. We miss them every single day! We currently live with three children (1 cat & 2 dogs) which after all these years, we think may be the last of our brood, since the reality of our own mortality seems to grow closer with each passing year.  


Wouldn’t it be comforting to know that this poem, “I Am Still Here” is true? I have posted it here in Memory of our Children in Heaven. We miss you all!


(Pictured above) Gulliver, Guinevere, Tiger, Pandora, Emmet, Marcus, Willow, Jasper, Misty, Buster, Bear, Heidi, Christian, Chloe, O’Reilly, Delilah, Angel and Barnaby.



Our Babies May08 007



Alas, these three “trouble makers are still alive & well! “We don’t miss them~ yet!~ JGT



Don’t forget to visit your local Animal Shelter before purchasing a pet from a pet store.  Here are a few links to my favorite pet charities.

Popcorn Park

Adopt a Pet ASPCA

Angels of Animals

New Jersey SPCA

Pets for Patriots





Jasper Howard *2000-2015 ( My Sweet Boy~ My Valentine!)


Combo 2010 020JasparIt took my husband Luke 4 months to trap Jasper & his brother (Buster) after my mother had scooped their small sister (Misty) up in her arms in June of 2000. Once we had him & brought him to our house to join Misty he disappeared somewhere into the house (we never found out where) but came out to eat & use the litter box. Indeed; he was like a little ghost! After looking up the name ‘Casper’ in a baby names book, I discovered that it was interchangeable with the name ‘Jasper’ & thus he was named!

Jasper soon discovered that he had been rescued by humans who had not only ensnared him but whom also lived with four dogs! (He had no idea that those dogs had recently lost the last of three elderly cats that they had lived with & suffered through all their losses.) Those wonderful dogs welcomed him into our home as if he were one of them. Our dogs, Marcus, Willow, Christian & Emmet all welcomed him into the “pack” & it wasn’t long before he became a member of the Howard family!Combo 2010 046

Jasper discovered that he adored ALL dogs! Indeed, we have always believed that he preferred them over us! Over the past 15 years we have rescued & lost dogs & cats and lost family members and friends that he had been accustomed to receiving affection from. Jasper had lived through it all including the losses of his litter mates Misty & Buster who left us in 2011 & 2012. We know that he mourned the losses of the four dogs that he met in 2000 as well as our adopted dogs Bear & Heidi who he welcomed years later but subsequently mourned their losses as well in 2011 & 2012.

Duffy came to us in mid-2012 & boxed with Jasper until just a few days ago. We knew he was ready to leave us & move on to meet up with his old playmates in Heaven. I truly do believe that there are Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates~~ and my faith in God through Jesus Christ has convinced me that our beloved Jasper who passed on today will be meeting up with all of his Howard family sibling cats & dogs who have gone on before him over the years.

Thank you, Jasper for sharing your life with all of us these 15 years.  We will miss you, Jasper and we pray that you will give our love to the “gang” when you meet them at the Rainbow Bridge & let them ALL know that we still miss & love them all & we know that they are happy for you to join up with them at last.

“Not even a sparrow, worth only half a penny, can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.” ~ Matthew 10:29.

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A Brief History of Valentine’s Day

220px-St-Valentine-Kneeling-In-SupplicationEach year on February 14th we celebrate Valentine’s Day. It is a time for romance, love and for many a great excuse to play kissy-face with a chosen sweetheart!  But the origins of the day are actually dark, bloody — and a bit muddled.

Though no one has pinpointed the exact origin of the holiday, one good place to start is ancient Rome, where men hit on women by, well~ by hitting them!

On February 14 around the year 278 A.D., Valentine, a holy Christian priest in Rome back in the days of Emperor Claudius II, was executed for performing too many Christian marriages. Indeed, Emperor Claudius II actually executed two men — both named Valentine — on Feb. 14, each in different years in the 3rd century A.D. and their martyrdom was honored by the Catholic Church with Valentine (Valentinus in latin) the priest’s canonization and the eventual celebration of St. Valentine’s Day. Ironic; huh?  Celebrating a day devoted to romance and love on the anniversary date of the poor man’s execution!

From February 13 to 15, the Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia. The men sacrificed a goat and a dog, then whipped women with the hides of the animals they had just slain. Those silly Roman romantics got drunk & naked and young women would actually line up for the men to hit them, because they believed this would make them fertile. (Oh, those wild and crazy Romans!) The brutal party included a matchmaking lottery, where young men drew the names of women from a jar. The couple would then be coupled up for the extent of the festival — or longer, if the match was right.

In the 5th century sometime between 492 – 496 A.D., Pope Gelasius I, mixed things up a bit by combining St. Valentine’s Day with Lupercalia in order to banish the pagan rituals. But the festival became more of a theatrical interpretation of what it had once been. Regardless, the holiday was still celebrated as a day of fertility and love.

Legend has it that while in jail awaiting execution for preaching Christianity~ St. Valentine left a farewell note for the jailer’s daughter, who had become his friend, and he signed it, “From Your Valentine”. So there you have it in a nutshell! ~ JGT

My Valentine’s Day Story

While serving in the U.S. Navy during the mid-1980’s, I met & married my husband, Luke. We had met a little more than a year earlier, on a Friday  afternoon, while I was reporting for duty at NRC Fort Wadsworth (later NAVSTA), Staten Island, NY. During the check-in process, it was customary for the sponsor, in my case, the Chief Petty Office on duty, to introduce incoming personnel to department heads. When we reached the “Library” I was greeted by an empty desk but introduced to a sailor wearing blue coveralls who was obviously busy rummaging through stacks of paperwork beneath the counter.  A few seconds passed before I heard a loud ‘thump’ and Luke stood up and muttered, “Welcome aboard” while rubbing his throbbing scalp where it had just collided with the countertop.

As required, I had reported in full dress uniform and Luke confessed to me a few years later that he had been so distracted by staring at my legs, that he didn’t realize the distance between his head and the countertop was as close as it was! How romantic was that? Oh, and by the way; did I forget to mention that it was also Valentine’s Day?!?

Happy Valentine’s Day, Bear! “I never knew what I always wanted, until I met you!”  ~ As Ever, D~~

Me & Luke Christmastime 198720110824163248723

UPDATE Canine Influenza 2016: Pet Owners Guide


Bear's last photo

Bear’s last photo

CANINE INFLUENZA: Pet Owners’ Guide (Courtesy of the American Veterinary Medical Association)

Canine influenza (CI, or dog flu) in the U.S. is caused by the canine influenza virus (CIV), an influenza A virus. It  is highly contagious and easily spread from infected dogs to other dogs through direct contact, nasal secretions (through barking, coughing or sneezing), contaminated objects (kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, collars and leashes), and by people moving between infected and uninfected dogs. Dogs of any breed, age, sex or health status are at risk of infection when exposed to the virus.

Unlike seasonal flu in people, canine influenza can occur year round. So far, there is no evidence that canine influenza infects people. However, it does appear that at least some strains of the disease can infect cats. 

Read my original post from 2012 on the death of our beloved, Bear. ~JGT


CIV infection resembles canine infectious tracheobronchitis (“kennel cough”). The illness may be mild or severe, and infected dogs develop a persistent cough and may develop a thick nasal discharge and fever (often 104-105oF). Other signs can include lethargy, eye discharge, and reduced appetite. Some dogs may not show signs of illness, but can shed the virus and infect other dogs. 

Most dogs recover within 2-3 weeks. However, secondary bacterial infections can develop, and may cause more severe illness and pneumonia. Anyone with concerns about their pet’s health, or whose pet is showing signs of canine influenza, should contact their veterinarian.

CIV can be diagnosed early in the illness (less than 3 days) by testing a nasal or throat swab. The most accurate test for CIV infection is a blood test that requires a sample taken during the first week of illness, followed by a second sample 10-14 days later.


Dogs are most contagious during the two- to four-day incubation period for the virus, when they are infected and shedding the virus in their nasal secretions but are not showing signs of illness. Almost all dogs exposed to CIV will become infected, and the majority (80%) of infected dogs develop flu-like illness. The mortality (death) rate is low (less than 10%).

The spread of CIV can be reduced by isolating ill dogs as well as those who are known to have been exposed to an infected dog and those showing signs of respiratory illness. Good hygiene and sanitation, including hand washing and thorough cleaning of shared items and kennels, also reduce the spread of CIV. Influenza viruses do not usually survive in the environment beyond 48 hours and are inactivated or killed by commonly used disinfectants.

There are vaccines against the H3N8 strain of canine influenza, which was first discovered in 2004 and until 2015 was the only strain of canine influenza found in the United States. However, a 2015 outbreak of canine influenza in Chicago was traced to the H3N2 strain – the  first reporting of this strain outside of Asia – and it is not known whether the H3N8 vaccine provides any protection against this strain. Used against H3N8, the vaccines may not completely prevent infection, but appear to reduce the severity and duration of the illness, as well as the length of time when an infected dog may shed the virus in its respiratory secretions and the amount of virus shed – making them less contagious to other dogs.

In November 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture granted a conditional license to Zoetis to market the first commercially available H3N2 canine influenza vaccine​. Later that month, Merck Animal Health announced the availability​ of an H3N2 canine influenza vaccine, also conditionally licensed by USDA. 

The CIV vaccination is a “lifestyle” vaccination, recommended for dogs at risk of exposure due to their increased exposure to other dogs – such as boarding, attending social events with dogs present, and visiting dog parks. 

PLEASE keep your pet’s vaccinations up-to-date & discuss your pet’s needs and your concerns with your veterinarian.  We lost our little, Bear in 2012 and less than 2 weeks after his last trip to the groomer.  All of his vaccinations had been up-to-date. Read my original article here. ~JGT

Additional Resources:

Frequently Asked Questions (for pet owners)

Canine Influenza reference page (for veterinarians)

H3N2 Frequently Asked Questions (Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine)​ (Merck Animal Health)



Canine Flu 2015


The Following is Posted Very Low on the Refrigerator Door.

Dear Dogs and Cats: The dishes with the paw prints are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.

The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack. Racing me to the bottom is not the object and I’ll have you know that tripping me doesn’t help because I will fall faster than you can run!

I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed. I am very sorry about this, however; do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch forever to ensure your comfort. Dogs and cats can actually curl up in a ball when they sleep. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other, stretched out to the fullest extent possible. I also realize that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out on the other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm on your part.

And, for the last time, there is no secret exit from the bathroom! I have been using the bathroom for years and canine/feline attendance is not required. If, by some miracle, I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to bark, claw, whine, meow, try to turn the knob or get your paw under the edge in an attempt to open the door. Just realize I must exit through the same door I entered~ eventually!

The proper order for kissing is: Kiss me first, then go smell the other dog or cat’s butt~ I cannot stress this enough!

Finally, in fairness, dear pets, I have posted the following message on the front door:


(1) They live here. You don’t.

(2) If you don’t want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture! That’s why they call it ‘fur’-niture.

 (3) I like my pets a lot better than I like most people.

 (4) To you, they are animals. To me, they are adopted sons/daughters who are short, hairy, walk on all fours and don’t speak clearly.

Remember, dogs & cats are better than kids because they:

 (1) Eat less,

 (2) Don’t ask for money all the time,

 (3) Are easier to train,

 (4) Normally come when called,

 (5) Never ask to drive the car,

 (6) Don’t smoke or drink,

 (7) Don’t want to wear your clothes,

 (8) Don’t have to buy the latest fashions,

 (9) Don’t need a gazillion dollars for college,

and finally;

 (10) If they get pregnant, you can legally sell their children!

If you don’t like our rules, don’t visit us! Remember; I’ll be watching you!~Duffy


Although the first writer of the above is unknown, I know that many “tweaks” to the original have been made over the years~ and through my own experience, I have done so as well! ~JGT


thOne hundred forty-eight years ago today, on April 10, 1866~ the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) was founded in New York City by philanthropist and diplomat Henry Bergh.  Thank you, Mr. Bergh and Happy Birthday ASPCA! ~JGT


It was the first humane society to be established in North America. Bergh was the son of a prominent shipbuilder and spent some time traveling in Europe. He visited the Earl of Harrowby, president of England’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, founded in 1840. He used the knowledge he learned from him to establish a humane society in New York. He convinced the New York State Legislature to incorporate the ASPCA. The legislature passed its first animal cruelty law and the society was given the right to enforce it.

Bergh worked tirelessly to improve the lot of animals everywhere. His society thHBNMBD23created the first animal ambulance and the first sling for horse rescue. He placed public drinking fountains in the streets for the horses who pulled carts all day long. Other animals took advantage of these fountains as well. Bergh personally rescued injured animals, enforced laws and educated the public about animal welfare. Although the society’s focus was on horses, Bergh helped cats and dogs too. In 1867, he helped pass a law prohibiting the use of dogs to pull carts without a license. He also fought fiercely against dog fighting. By the time of his death in 1888, there were humane societies in many other states, and all but one of the states had passed anti-cruelty laws.

In 1894, the ASPCA took over the responsibility for catching stray dogs in Manhattan. Previously, stray dogs were thrown into the river. Dog catchers got paid by the dog, so they would frequently steal pets from their owners’ yards. The ASPCA opened shelters to care for these dogs. In 1995, when the ASPCA’s agreement with the city expired, the society decided not to renew it for financial reasons.

At the turn of the twentieth century, the society shifted its focus away from horses, towards dogs and cats. It opened an animal hospital in 1912. In 1918, this hospital helped develop the use of anesthesia and performed a previously unheard of surgery on a horse with a broken kneecap. In 1961, the hospital performed its first open-heart surgery on a dog.

In the 1960s, pet ownership became much more popular. The ASPCA shifted its focus to sheltering and putting up animals for adoption. It also ran obedience training courses for dogs and enforced the law that all dogs must wear their license. It began to promote neutering and   spaying and around this time, although it was not until 1972 that the society recommended it for every pet.

Today the organization focuses on three main areas: “caring for pet parents and pets, providing positive outcomes for at-risk animals and serving victims of animal cruelty.” It runs an animal poison control center and an animal hospital named for Bergh. The ASPCA educates pet owners about disaster response and sends out a team in the event of a large disaster. It offers free and low-cost spaying and neutering, as well as grief counseling. The ASPCA is involved in many other programs which benefit animals around the country.

An 1845 diary of Henry Bergh, founder of the ASPCA chronicles his honeymoon in Europe with wife Catherine where Henry Bergh described the carnage of bullfighting in Spain. This event is a precursor to the dramatic changes he would make in the United States 20 years later.

*Historic Facts:

  • The ASPCA‘s founding documents published in April 1866 is often featured in some of the most reputable museums in New York and described as the “Animals’ Declaration of Independence,”  the founding document features notable signatories such as Horace Greeley, John Jacob Astor, August Belmont (of Belmont Racetrack), Peter Cooper, C.V.S. Roosevelt, James J. Roosevelt, Samuel Ruggles, William Bryant, Frank Leslie, ASPCA founder Bergh and more.
  • “Mercy to animals means mercy to mankind!” Is an original quote of  Henry Bergh, circa 1867.
  • The ASPCA’s original bronze medallion shield of 1875 depicts an armed angel of mercy hovering over a beaten carriage horse, this iconic image was created by ASPCA supporter and famed illustrator Frank Leslie, and still stands as the symbol of the ASPCA.
  • Only one known existing oil portrait of Henry Bergh, painted by famous miniature portraitist John Wood Dodge in 1878 is known to exist. In it, Bergh wears an 18K diamond-encrusted badge with the seal of the fallen carriage horse and avenging angel. The badge was a gift to Bergh from a wealthy “first patron” of the ASPCA.
  • There is an 1880s zinc stallion horse finial from an ASPCA horse l_aspca-1fountain which weighs almost 800 pounds. Having graced the tops of ornate ASPCA horse fountains and guarded various ASPCA headquarters, it now has a permanent residence at the International Museum of the Horse in Lexington Kentucky.


 Some Article excerpts courtesy of The  Pet Wiki ASPCA ~JGT