Some Simple Things

Posted November 30, 2019 by thezekechronicles
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , ,

This time of year our thoughts often turn to how thankful we are for the good things in our lives. Do you ever wonder what our pets would tell us they are thankful for, if they could talk? I have to think it would be some of the following: A warm place to sleep at night; a full tummy; fresh water; plenty of hugs and pats on the head; vaccinations that keep them healthy; walks with time to sniff, and the hope they will never have to end up in a shelter or worse yet, alone on the street. If these sound like simple needs, they are, and yet so many animals are not fortunate enough to have even the basics. In this season of thankfulness and giving, be thankful if you are able to provide for your pets and perhaps consider a donation to those animals, who for whatever reason, are left homeless. Some basics that most animal shelters need are laundry soap, bleach, floor cleaner (non-pine-scented please) and air freshener. BOGO items like dry and canned pet food make it easy to donate. When you buy them for your pets, donate the free items.

In the weeks to come, there will be many opportunities to show our love for our furry friends. Most shelters and rescue groups hold holiday parties and are happy to accept donations then. When looking for a new furry friend, remember senior pets can make wonderful companions. They’re past the chewing stage and may already be house-trained. Any one of them would be very thankful for a new home in which to spend their golden years.

As we creep ever closer to winter, please make sure that outside pets have a warm dry shelter and easy access to water that isn’t frozen. Check with your vet about maybe adding extra calories to their diet. When the temperature dips into the single digits, leaving any pet outside can become a dangerous situation for them. Remember, if you’re cold when outside, they’re cold.


From Ace, Foo Foo, Zombie, and Sandwich, a very Happy Holiday Season to all!



Reading Subtle Signs

Posted October 17, 2022 by thezekechronicles
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: , ,

One thing you learn, if you live with animals long enough, is to pay attention to the subtle signs they give us. This especially applies when things are not well with them. Recently, our cat Zombie was acting out of sorts. Not wanting to eat (when he’s usually the first one in the kitchen at mealtime), sleeping all day, not even coming to bed at night but staying by himself in another room, as if moving was too much effort for him. Although he seemed to be improving by the second day, we decided a visit with the vet was a good idea, and fortunately we were able to get an appointment that afternoon. A couple of shots later, he is back to his normal self and up to his usual shenanigans. Zombie is prone to seasonal allergies and respiratory infections, so it was absolutely a good idea to not wait until he started showing obvious signs of illness. Since he’s a senior cat, we’re also going to try some arthritis medication, to see if that helps with mobility.

Most animals do not like to show outward signs of discomfort or sickness. Maybe a throwback to the wild when they couldn’t act ill for their own safety. Cats are even less apt to let you know when they don’t feel well. It is important to know a pet’s normal behavior and what is not, and I’ve always found it better to err on the side of caution than to wait too long. From Zombie’s bout with a former respiratory infection, I knew the signs, and I’m glad we had him see his vet (thank you Sunset Coast Veterinary Clinic!) before this incident could evolve into something worse.

With Halloween just around the corner, it’s also important to remember those cautions we’ve all heard many times. Keep candy away from pets. Put pets in a safe room during trick or treat hours, when doors are opening and closing frequently. Bring outside pets inside or at least place in a secure shelter, so as not to be at risk. Especially keep an eye on black cats (such as Zombie!) and protect them from nefarious pranks. It’s hard to say if the stories of black cats being the objects of cruel practices on Halloween are urban legends or sadly true, but why take that chance? Let’s keep Halloween a fun time and not one of searching for a missing pet.

From Zombie and Sandwich, Have a safe and Happy Halloween!

Winter Safety Tips and #BettyWhiteChallenge

Posted January 16, 2022 by thezekechronicles
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: , , ,

In researching current news to write about in this space, I came across a post that was meant for the holidays but gives some really good information that is important for pet owners to know all the time. I hope the North Central Veterinary Emergency Center of Indiana won’t mind my sharing.

Some things that are toxic to pets:  chocolate, fatty foods (butter, turkey and chicken skin, etc.), grapes and raisins, onions and garlic, sugar-free candy and gum (that contains Xylitol), yeast dough, alcohol, marijuana, over-the-counter and prescription drugs. Should your pet accidently consume any of these, you will want to contact your vet or an emergency clinic with the following:  pet’s age and weight, what was consumed, how much, when consumed, brand name if available, and for meds, the dosage. Of course, the best way to prevent accidental consumption is to keep all of these out of the reach of pets, just as we do with children. Remember, when it comes to pets and kids, we sometimes have to do their thinking for them.

With the frigid temperatures of January settling in, it doesn’t hurt to review the safety cautions that accompany winter. Things like making sure pets’ paws don’t come into contact with road salt but if they do, to wipe them off when they get home so they can’t lick it off. Rubbing Vaseline or paw protectant into paws before you walk can help protect them from the cold and salt. Use pet-friendly ice melts in your own driveway or yard. Clean up any antifreeze spills (antifreeze is deadly) immediately and try to use one containing propylene glycol instead of the more toxic ethylene glycol. Be aware cats will often seek shelter inside a car’s engine. Outside pets need access to warm, dry shelter and fresh water. They may also need to consume more calories in the cold. (Check with your vet about this.) All pets should come inside when temperatures drop into the freezing digits. As you don’t want to leave a pet inside a car in the heat of summer, consider how cold it will get inside your vehicle before leaving them in the cold. For more tips on cold weather care, please visit

We were all sad to hear of the passing of animal lover Betty White. Betty was a tireless supporter of animal welfare and dedicated to improving the lives of animals everywhere. She would have turned 100 on January 17, and so to honor what would have been her landmark birthday and her love of animals, a challenge has been issued to donate $5.00 to a shelter or rescue on that day. It sounds like a great way to make a big difference in the lives of pets awaiting a new home and the shelters and fosters who care for them in the meantime. In the midst of an ongoing pandemic that has canceled fundraisers, many are struggling to provide and any income is greatly appreciated. So, let’s all remember on Monday, January 17, to honor Betty and participate in the #BettyWhiteChallenge.

Tips for Keeping Pets Safe at Halloween

Posted October 26, 2021 by thezekechronicles
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , ,

Halloween, while a fun holiday, is also a time to take extra precautions to keep pets safe. Here are some helpful tips from the ASPCA and

Keep all candy out of reach of all pets. I discovered our cat Zombie likes candy corn and also the little chocolate miniature bars, so no more leaving them out in open candy dishes on the table. Make sure trick or treat bags of candy are also safely stashed. A good idea, in case someone manages to still find a forbidden treat, is to keep the ASPCA Poison Control number posted in an easily accessible place, like the refrigerator door. 1-888-426-4435.

If at all possible, keep pets inside in the days leading up to and the day and night of Halloween. There are many tales of animals being mistreated by cruel tricksters. Some may be urban legends, some may be true, but it’s best not to take any chances. Many shelters and rescues will not adopt out black cats right before Halloween for this reason. The many myths surrounding black cats are explained in detail at the Billings Animal Family Hospital website. As the owner of a black cat, I found it interesting to find out why they’ve been so misunderstood and maligned over the ages.

Untended candles and pets can be a recipe for disaster. If lighting up your jack-o-lanterns with candles, make sure to keep them away from pets. Better yet, if the pumpkins are inside, maybe use battery powered tea lites to make them glow.

Make sure pets are not able to escape out the door when greeting trick or treaters by putting them in a separate room or at least blocking their access to that open door. Increased foot and vehicle traffic on Halloween make the outside world unsafe for pets that night.

If your pet likes to dress up, make sure their costume is not constricting and that they can see and also relieve themselves with no trouble. If you plan to take them trick or treating with you, please keep them on a leash of no more than six feet and have some reflective material on their costume. Also, consider how your dog reacts to people in scary masks and costumes. If they are easily intimidated or may become upset perhaps it’s better to leave them home with a special treat of their own.

We all want Halloween to be a safe and fun time for everyone. Taking these few precautions will help keep it that way. 

Looks like maybe Zombie has found a place to hide out till Halloween is over!

Loss of a Pet

Posted October 5, 2021 by thezekechronicles
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: , ,

Recently I read a letter in an advice column, from a woman who was having a very difficult time getting past the loss of her beloved dog. It had been a while and she was still grieving the loss and wondered what she could do to recover from it and live with her sadness. Having just gone through such a loss, I could certainly relate. It led me to research how someone who experiences the loss of a pet can learn to deal with it. Here are some of the suggestions I found, many from the American Kennel Club.

Seek out others who understand and have also gone through the death of a pet. Not everyone understands how deeply affected some pet owners are from such a loss. Perhaps a family member or friend who has experienced it is willing to listen to your concerns. Social media and online support groups can be helpful. One is the AKC Pet Loss Support group on Facebook. It is a private group that offers members a place to grieve and comfort one another. Realize there is nothing wrong with grieving the loss of a pet. You shouldn’t nor do you have to grieve alone.

Find a way to memorialize your pet. Plan a service, plant a tree or flowers in their favorite spot, create a scrapbook of photos, donate in their memory to a rescue group or animal shelter. Even collecting items like their collar, blanket, a toy, and putting them together in a memorial box is helpful.

Know that other pets in the family may experience grief at the loss of their friend and need more attention and love, especially if they are the only remaining pet. Showing them extra care can help you work through your own grief.

As with any loss, there is no timetable or expiration date for grief. It takes as long as it takes to get past the initial shock and feelings of sadness. If you feel you need professional help, do not hesitate to reach out. There is a wealth of information online, but a local rescue group, shelter, or even your own veterinarian might be good resources to check for finding a support group and getting the help you need. The AKC itself offers a lot more ideas.

There is also no timetable for when or even if you are ready for another pet. Some folks rush right out and get another one; others need time to process the loss before they’re ready to welcome another animal into their life. If you decide to adopt a new pet, don’t view it as replacing the lost pet or compare it to that pet. Each animal is its own being and will bring their own joy and companionship to you.

Since we have just passed the 20th anniversary of the tragedy of 9/11, it seems fitting to mention the many search and rescue and comfort dogs who worked at Ground Zero and the Pentagon. From Ricky, a rat terrier who could squeeze into small places, to the German Shepherds and Retrievers, who worked for weeks to help recover remains of those who perished in the attacks, they all were inspiring to the human rescue workers. Although they were not able to find many survivors, the dedication of those dogs and their handlers will always be remembered and honored. The last remaining canine hero from 9/11, a Golden retriever named Bretagne, was laid to rest in June of 2016, at nearly 17 years old, but an exhibit by photographer Charlotte Dumas, in Lower Manhattan, entitled “K-9 Courage” memorializes in portraits many of the dogs of 9/11 in their later years.  You can find out more about the canine heroes of 9/11 by going here:

In memory

Foo Foo

6-20-2009 to 08-13-2021


Posted August 25, 2021 by thezekechronicles
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: , , ,

Time is a gift and we always seem to want more of it. More time to spend with our families, friends, and the pets we love, and no amount of time ever seems to be enough. The sad truth is time often runs out before we know it. It did for our Foo Foo dog and sadly, we had to say goodbye to her. She was a brave little girl who lived with her health problems for twelve years, never complaining and facing adversity with courage and grace. But it finally became too much for her, and we had to let her go. To say there is a hole in the fabric of our family is an understatement. She was my clown dog, so funny in her crazy ways, always ready for a treat. She loved lettuce, go figure, and would come running when she heard me making salad. Pizza night was her favorite, when she got a few bites of crust. As she grew older, she was less fond of walks and would run and hide when I brought out her harness, but she always loved car rides and was the best behaved in the car, mostly napping the entire trip. She got along with other pets but would race to be the first to get the morsel that fell on the floor. At dinnertime, she twirled across the floor until we reached her dish. Her favorite activity was to watch me as I did anything, mostly in the kitchen. She never tired of that, because you never knew what opportunity might arise where she could get a treat. Do you think she loved her food? It really was a savored enjoyment in her life, but as a younger girl she loved to run through the backyard, while I sprayed the hose in a shower for her. A favorite memory is of her laying in the water as we walked along Traverse Bay on a particularly hot day. Who would think a Pomeranian would do that?

I am going to miss your funny little face, Foo Foo, and I’m pretty sure I haven’t shed all my tears yet for your passing. I know you ran across that Rainbow Bridge and found your brother Zeke, Pete, and Uncle Clyde where they were waiting for you and where you can now twirl to your little heart’s content or lay in the shade and watch the other world go by.

Our Pets and COVID 19

Posted May 18, 2020 by thezekechronicles
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: , , , ,

Well here we are on the fourth month of talking about COVID 19, and the end seems to still be nowhere in sight. There is so much information and misinformation floating around that it’s often hard to tell the difference between what’s true and what isn’t anymore. But here are recent guidelines that have come to us from the Center for Disease Control regarding pets and the novel coronavirus. They were issued after two New York cats and several tigers at the Bronx Zoo tested positive.


  • Do not let pets interact with people or other animals outside your house.
  • Keep cats indoors when possible to prevent them from interacting with other animals or people.
  • Walk dogs on a leash, maintaining at least six feet from other people and animals.
  • Avoid dog parks or public places where a large number of people and dogs gather.

If you or one of your family members are sick with COVID-19, the CDC recommends doing your best to restrict contact with your pets, just like you would do with people. It also suggests the following:

  • When possible, have another member of your household care for your pets while you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food or bedding.
  • If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wear a cloth face covering and wash your hands before and after you interact with them.


There is no doubt the virus has affected pets in other ways, too. Some dogs are afraid of the masks, so it’s a good idea to be mindful of this if you’re approached by a strange dog while wearing a mask. Pets that are used to their owners being home everyday may feel abandoned when people start going back to work, especially if they were adopted or fostered during the pandemic, and could start showing signs of separation anxiety. Pets can pick up on our feelings of frustration, as well, and become anxious themselves or even extra clingy. Don’t be surprised by any unusual behavior but for sure talk to a veterinarian about it and how to best handle it.

Something else reported is the rise in scams of all sorts, and one of them is to steal from those seeking to adopt a new pet. The scammer advertises on a website with pictures of pets that are up for adoption, allowing potential adopters to choose the pet they want. Money is sent and then the adopter waits…for a pet that never arrives because it was all a scam. If you do think this is a good time to bring a new pet into your home and life, please work with local shelters and rescues, and not unfamiliar websites, to help you find that special furry friend. And while many shelters emptied out when folks began to quarantine at home, some are now seeing an uptick in pets coming in due to their owners passing away from the virus, leaving their pets alone. It is all the more reason we should have a plan in place should we become unable to care for them in any case.

Let’s hope that next month there is more cheerful news to report. For now, stay safe and take extra special care of yourselves and the furry members of your family. In the meantime, Sandwich is not too sure about social distancing when it comes to keeping Mom company while she’s writing. But it’s good to have those faithful friends.


The Story of Ace (as we know it)

Posted January 21, 2020 by thezekechronicles
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: ,

Three years-ago this month, we welcomed a young, thin, anxiety-prone dog into our family. I always feel bad when I think about how he arrived; with his collar and leash, a half-bag of dog food, a dish, a half-chewed antler, and his crate without a pad—all his belongings in this world. The first few nights he spent in his crate, because it was where he felt the safest and because we weren’t really sure how he would react with our two cats and other dog. He seemed leery of men, but it didn’t take long before he attached himself to his new “dad” and didn’t shy away. I still remember the night when, after Dad went to bed, he hopped into his chair and sat there looking at me, waiting I suppose for me to tell him to get down. I didn’t have the heart and instead just said quietly, “I won’t tell if you won’t tell.” Three years later, it’s one of his favorite places to nap, mostly when Dad is in the chair.

 Since he didn’t answer to his name, we gave him a new one; Ace which was nice and short and easy to shout out if need be. Also, it was Batman’s super dog’s name. Ace soon didn’t want to stay in his crate anymore, and we gave it a trial run to let him out when we left the house. That worked for about the first few times, then I guess he decided we might not come back and chewed Dad’s work shoes (luckily, an old pair). We gave him another chance and a pillow got chewed. I can’t even remember everything that got chewed, unstuffed, and strewn around the house. Putting him back in the crate didn’t seem to be an option, because he barked and howled and dug and tore up the lovely pad I’d made for the crate. I have to wonder now, was he testing us? How many things can I chew up before you send me back to the rescue? If that was the case, we fooled him. We didn’t send him back. We stuck it out. He did have one saving grace; he was housetrained and only ever had one accident in the house. And he really did seem to love his new home.

 Nowadays, Ace is a few pounds heavier (the vet even said he should lose a pound or two), loves his sister Foo Foo and the cats and his toys, especially if they’re the kind he can unstuff. One toy had no stuffing but did have eighteen squeakers in it, and he methodically took out everyone. Before long, the cute raccoon toy was down to a few raggedy scraps of fur. So much for that. Now we mostly buy toys at the dollar store. He still loves his antler chews.

 What Ace doesn’t like is cold weather, snow, rain, or walking in any of that. He will lay in the backyard in the hottest summer sun, but if the wind blows while he’s walking, he wants to go home. He doesn’t care for trash day when the garbage cans are out. Sometimes he makes it to the end of the street before he puts on the brakes. Once in a while, he makes it through the entire loop around the neighborhood. Then we cheer.

 The truth is, sometimes you don’t know what you are getting with a rescue pet. You don’t know their history, what they’ve been through, what experiences have shaped them before you came into their life. But the one truth that makes it worthwhile is that a rescue pet will love you for all their life. You can’t beat that.





Bad Rap

Posted October 30, 2019 by thezekechronicles
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , , ,

October is always a good time to talk about cats. Maybe, because of their association with Halloween and the superstitions that go along with it, cats through the ages have gotten a bad rap. From the Middle Ages, when they were persecuted and often killed, to modern times when many false notions still exist, cats have had a bad reputation. Especially black cats. Here are some of the incredulous beliefs that have plagued them.

Because of their color, black cats are a sign of death and bad luck, much like ravens and crows.

If a black cat walks toward you, it brings good luck. If it walks away, it takes the luck with them.

If a cat jumps over a grave, the deceased will rise as a vampire.

Possessing a black cat is good luck, coming across one accidentally is bad.

In Indonesia, pouring water on a cat will make it rain (because the cat takes revenge).

If a cat sleeps with all four paws tucked it, bad weather is on the way.

Dreaming of cats means bad luck.

A cat sneezing means money is coming your way. In reality, it might mean your cat is sick, as we discovered this past summer.

Finding any white fur on a black cat means good luck, which probably stems from the belief that if any white fur was found on a black cat thought to belong to a witch, it would be spared.

On the other hand, in Japan, black cats are a symbol of prosperity, and a woman with a cat is thought to attract more suitors.

British sailors thought cats brought good luck and wanted one on their ship to catch the mice.

In Ireland, a black cat on the porch meant good luck.

In ancient Egypt, cats were considered divine and thought to have gods dwelling within them. They were often mummified along with their owners when they died.

In view of all this craziness is it any wonder that mass killings of cats spread across Europe? In an effort to eradicate the bad omens cats were thought to represent, they were destroyed, and as a result, the population of rats with the fleas that carried the Plague exploded. And we all know where that led.

Perhaps this is why even today cats are often considered aloof, not affectionate, and even expendable. Black cats especially still have a stigma, but these notions couldn’t be further from the truth. As the owner of a black cat, I will testify he likes nothing better than to spend his time napping on a lap or simply sitting in a window. He’s never had an evil intention in his life, although he does love to knock things off the table. As for cats not being affectionate, I guess our two never heard about that, because they are as friendly and people-oriented as the dogs. Maybe even more so! Knowing cats can be such great companions, it’s hard to realize shelters everywhere are so full of cats. One shelter in Indiana recently reported having 500 cats in residence. 500! How sad they are still allowed to overpopulate when there are so few forever homes. Spay and neuter is the only solution.

On Halloween, please be aware of your pets’ safety and keep them inside or at least enclosed somewhere. Not everyone has their best interests in mind, and allowing them to roam free is asking for trouble. The true evil lies with someone who might abuse them. Don’t let your pet become a victim.




Have a safe and Happy Halloween!



The Gift of Time

Posted January 25, 2018 by thezekechronicles
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: , ,

It’s already a month past Christmas, and if your house is anything like mine, dog and cat toys have been demolished and lie in little bits of fluff and tufts. Goodies have been eaten and we’re starting to get really bored with the winter weather that prevents long walks, or any walks, or much time spent in the backyard. The respite we had earlier in January was all too short, and now we’re anxiously counting down the days to spring that is still too many months away. On the days when cabin fever begins to set in, I’m thankful for antler chewies and indestructible toys and pets who manage to amuse one another.

January is a good time to pay attention to things we know we should do but often don’t or at least put off to another day. Updating our pets’ vaccinations might be one. A rabies vaccine is essential and required by law for dogs, but distemper/parvo shots are just as important. Parvo especially is a terrible disease, and no one wants to lose their dog to its insidious grasp. Heartworm tests are performed to assure pets aren’t positive, and now while mosquitoes are scarce is a good time to get them done. Licenses, too, are due for renewal soon, and providing your dog with a tag is one way to help him get home should he ever become lost. According to the ASPCA, more dogs are lost in winter, so keeping a dog on a leash if we do go out is for his own safety as well as that of others. Cleaning up after our dogs is just the good neighborly thing to do, no matter what time of year.

A few winter time precautions to remember: watch out for anti-freeze spills and take care of them right away; when buying salt for the sidewalks and driveway, look for the kind that is pet friendly; after walking our dogs outside near streets, wipe off their paws to remove any road salt. A little petroleum jelly rubbed on paws helps protect them in the cold. Outside pets need warm, dry shelters and fresh water. Pets left out in the extreme cold are at risk for hypothermia, frostbite and even death. If you see pets that are without shelter in the cold, please report it to animal control or your local law enforcement. Animal neglect is a misdemeanor in all 50 states. If you park your vehicle outside overnight, be sure to bang on the hood before starting. Cats are known to hide inside where it’s warm. Remember that elderly pets may feel the cold more and experience arthritis with pain and dysfunction, so be aware and check with your vet for ways to help him. Check with for more winter safety tips for your pets.

At our house we also celebrated the first anniversary of adopting Ace the Tenacious Terrier. It’s often hard to imagine he is the same dog we brought into ourIMG_0716 lives last January. It truly is amazing what a stable life, good food, and love can do. If you are thinking of adopting a rescue pet, please be aware he or she may have issues, and you may need to be tolerant of them until that pet figures out he is really home for good. Be patient with him and give him the best gift you can, that of time.