Books and Odds and Ends

Our good friend, former foster, and author, Linda Stanek, has started a wonderful company called Ari’s Garden, with her friend and colleague, Jen Funk Weber. Ari’s Garden publishes puzzle books and other educational materials for children and adults.

Several months ago, Linda emailed me asking for photos of feral kitties for a puzzle book she was writing about Trap Neuter Return (TNR). I put the word out to several of our volunteers and they worked with Linda to provide pictures of both feral and friendly cats for the book.

There are actually two sudoku books available from Ari’s Garden which feature cat photos from our volunteers, Kristin Ramsdell and Kim Longnecker Swider. There are also a few pictures that I sent Linda, as well, in the books. The books are Good Fun Sudoku for Kids, Volume One, which contains “Puzzles for Ages 6 and Up with Fascinating Cat Facts, Photos, and Jokes,” and Good Fun Sudoku, Volume One, containing “Easy, Moderate, and Difficult Puzzles with Fascinating Cat Facts, Quotes, Photos, and Jokes.” Who doesn’t want a book containing fascinating cat info?

The books also feature photos of adoptable kitties that were taken at Colony Cats‘ adoption center.

By the way, the buff, fluffy kitty on the front of Good Fun Sudoku, Volume 1, is a semi-feral kitty that Linda helped get vet care. He and his momma kitty both were fixed using Trap Neuter Return methods.

To buy your own copies of Good Fun Sudoku and Good Fun Sudoku for Kids (both with the sub-title Supporting Feline Trap Neuter Return), go HERE.

The other nice thing about these books is that Ari’s Garden donates “10% of profits from the book sales to the causes designated by each book.” Yeah! Have fun and help kitties all at the same time.

To find out more about Linda, visit her web page HERE.

I learned about Moo Kitty Finds a Home in a posting from a fellow blogger, Robin Olson at Covered in Cat Hair. She was announcing that the children’s book had won an award from “The Mom’s Choice Awards,” honoring “excellence in family-friendly media, products or services.”

I was intrigued first off by the kitty’s name in the book. We have our own “Moo-Moo” in Black and Orange who started out with us in foster care (named Brady at that time) and was adopted by her foster mom, Kristin. Moo-Moo is Kristin’s term of endearment for her blue-eyed Siamese girl. Moo Kitty is so named in the book, because of his black and white coloring, similar to a cow’s markings.

Secondly, from the title, I knew this was a book about a cat being adopted, so I wanted to find out more–if it promoted the kinds of beliefs we hold dear at Black and Orange.

And, it did! Moo Kitty Finds a Home encourages people to look past the cute kittens and consider an older cat as a companion.

After visiting the web site for Moo Kitty, I quickly purchased two copies of the book–one for myself and one to donate to our local library. I was very excited when the books arrived at the end of the week and dropped everything to read about Moo Kitty.

I won’t give everything away, except that the book does have a happy ending and the tears I cried were from happiness. Moo Kitty is a book that can be read again and again, because it does have such a positive message (who, after all, would want to read a sad book about a kitty that didn’t find a home!?).

The basic synopsis (which you can also view by watching the trailer for the book HERE) is this: Moo Kitty is living a wonderful life with his human, playing and napping, loved and adored. But then his human dies and all of his familiar things in his home are taken away. He is placed outside with the trash. Scared and alone, his kitty guardian angels, Fred, Calvin, and Maybelle (love those names!) appear to Moo Kitty. They tell him they will always be with him and will “guide him to safety.”

And they do. Moo Kitty is found by a rescuer and taken to the local no-kill shelter. He watches as the kittens all find homes very, very quickly and hopes that his family will one day find him.

Author Valerie Lee Veltre includes some wonderful information at the back of the book about adopting adult pets. I adore adult cats and prefer to foster them over kittens (who are too rambunctious and get into everything!). Most adult cats just want love and to hang around with you. As Veltre notes, their personalities are formed–you know exactly what you are getting with an adult cat.

Veltre also includes tips on choosing an adult pet and allowing them to settle in to your home. You can read some of those tips on the Moo Kitty web site HERE.

The illustrations by Liz Leonard fit perfectly with the message of the book. I especially liked her portrayal of the guardian kitties who appear as round whiskered faces wearing halos above Moo Kitty as he begins his journey to a new home.

If you are involved in animal rescue and speak to children in schools, Moo Kitty would be an excellent book to take along to share. If you are an animal loving parent who wants to encourage your children to be humane, compassionate adults, Moo Kitty will help spread that message.

Moo Kitty also reminds all of us who care about the plight of homeless animals that there are happy endings. We just have to listen to Fred, Calvin, and Maybelle’s advice to Moo Kitty to “be strong” and “don’t give up hope.”

To Like Moo Kitty on Facebook, go HERE.

While Tobias is happy in foster care, he reads Moo Kitty for hope that he, too, will one day find his forever family. Is the white orb in the photo his spirit kitty guardian reminding him not to give up hope?


Black and Orange’s web site and blog are the results of the wonderful efforts of Vicki Watson of VWeb Web Design. I get a lot of compliments on how nice both sites look and I have Vicki to thank for that. Vicki stepped in when B and O’s original web designer thought I needed an “animal lover” to help me get the site looking the way I envisioned. Vicki has done a spectacular job and I can’t thank her enough for all her help.

Vicki, however, is not just a web designer. She is also a homeschool mom who creates educational software for homeschoolers to use in their daily studies at her web site, Interactive Study Guides. She has an exceptional study guide for Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty.

As shown with her study guide for Black Beauty, Vicki is a horse lover and many of her other endeavors focus on this love. At her Christian Cowgirl web site, Vicki offers devotions, Christian horse book reviews, and horse movie reviews.

And on her Sonrise Stables site, Vicki dons the hat of author with her Christian Horse books for children. The first two books in her Sonrise Stable series, Rosie and Scamper and Carrie and Bandit, are currently available with updated artwork by Plain City artist, Becky Raber. The third book in the series, Clothed With Thunder, will be available in the Fall.

Vicki grew up around horses and cats. She always keeps an eye on the cats I have her post on B and O’s home page and she was especially interested in the story of Sparrow, who was our featured kitty in January. Many of you may remember the story of the cat that was shot with an arrow and taken to the Humane Society of Delaware County where Dr. Kim West saved her life (you can read the blog posting about Sparrow HERE). Vicki plans to do a book, available by the end of the year, that will tell Sparrow’s story. She wants her fourth book to touch on the many cruel things humans do to animals to teach the next generation to be kinder and more humane. The theme for the fourth book will focus on treating animals with kindness, based on Proverbs 12:10: “A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.

Sparrow’s story will be a side story in the book, which will explain the fates of foals born to “nurse mares.” In case you don’t know about nurse mares, here’s the scoop. When an expensive thoroughbred horse gives birth, the owners will sometimes take the much wanted thoroughbred baby away from it’s very valuable mother and have a nurse mare raise the thoroughbred foal. Because the nurse mare must have milk, she will have just given birth herself. Her true baby is of no value and is often killed.

Luckily, there are rescues that take these unwanted “products” of the thoroughbred industry and find the babies homes. One of those rescues is Last Chance Corral in Athens, Ohio. Vicki recently visited Victoria Goss, who saves these horses, to get information for her next book.

As soon as Vicki’s fourth book, featuring these wonderful horses and Sparrow, is available, I will let you know.

Vicki lives in Marysville and attended Jonathan Alder schools. I always love to support local businesses and animal lovers! Happily, Vicki is both and all the kitties of B and O thank her for giving them much needed recognition through two beautiful web sites!

Visit Vicki’s Facebook page HERE.

First off, our good friend and B and O supporter, Olivia Brininger, will be at Eldchrist Winery (8189 State Route 736 in Plain City) tonight, January 12 from 6-9 pm for Ladies Night, selling Lia Sophia jewelry. Olivia has done numerous events where she donated jewelry sales to B and O to help the kitties. So we’d like to ask everyone to stop out and support her tonight at the Winery event. Enjoy a night of wine, jewelry, and tons of fun!

Secondly, another good friend to kitties and a former B and O foster, Linda Stanek, has started a new business called Ari’s Garden, which creates puzzle books and other creative items for children and adults. Linda had asked me a few months ago if I could send her photos of feral kitties for a puzzle book she wanted to do to teach kids about Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR). Several of our supporters and fosters emailed her pictures, so I will be excited to see which photos turn up in the book. Linda blogged about the book, which will be released soon, on National Feral Cat Day in October. The kitty on the front of the book is one of her own feral boys! I’ll keep you posted about this book as it becomes available for sale. I am so excited.

And also check out Linda’s cat drawings and her blog posting on “The Illustration Process.” I knew Linda could write, but I didn’t know what a fabulous illustrator she was, as well.

Next up are some fabulous spay and neuter deals.

One of a Kind Pet Spay and Neuter Clinic in the Akron area (please let your friends up North know about this) will be offering a “Beat the Heat” deal for the month of February. Cat Spays will be $20 for the entire month. For more info call 330-865-6890.

SOS of Ohio (Shelter Outreach Services) will also be doing a “Beat the Heat” event for the month of February. Cat spays are $20 with them, as well, and they are located right here in Columbus at 691 E. Dublin Granville Road.

In addition to their Beat the Heat event, SOS is also offering “Luv-A-Bull” for Spay Day 2012, which falls on February 28th. For owners of pit bulls who can show they are on government or other financial assistance, SOS will spay and neuter their pit bull or pit bull mix for $30!

Finally, only 361 more signatures are needed to get the Ohio Dog Auctions Act on the 2012 ballot for voters. This act will ask Ohio residents to ban dog auctions in the state. The final 361 signatures must delivered to the Secretary of State by January 20 so your signatures must be turned in by January 17 to Mary O’Connor Shaver (347 Meadow Ash Drive, Lewis Center, Ohio 43035).

To download a copy of the Ohio Dog Auctions Act and pages for gathering signatures, go HERE.

For instructions on gathering signatures and how to help, go HERE.

Remember, only 361 signatures are needed by January 20!!


A few weeks ago, Kristin, one of our super volunteers (she fosters, fundraises, attends adoption events, and cleans at PetSmart–yes, she does just about everything) emailed me and asked if I could send her some very specific photos. She wanted pictures of me, Christina, Bobbie, and Carol, as well as of some of our rescued kitties. It was a bit hard finding photos of me, since I am usually the one behind the camera, but I finally found one where I was donning a Santa hat at our Santa photo event. Because it was so difficult to find pictures of me and the other Team Bando members, Kristin decided it would be her mission in the coming year to take lots of photos at our events.

I was wondering just what Kristin was up to requesting those photos.

This past Thursday, I found out.

Carol and I were doing our usual cleaning session at PetSmart and Kristin had left a box for us in our cupboard in the cat room. Opening the box, we found three wrapped packages for me, Bobbie, and Carol. Inside was a gorgeous book called, “Black and Orange Cat Foundation–Rescued!” that Kristin had personally made for each of us. The book was dedicated to us and Christina “with love and dedication” from Kristin and it features many, many of the cats we have helped over the years.

Kristin not only immortalized the B and O kitties, but also many of our friends in rescue, including Brian, Dr. Kim West, and Santa Chuck. The photos at the very bottom of this posting show Dr. West looking at her and Fruit Bat’s pages in the book for the first time.

Kristin also dedicated a page to Carol and Chuck and the kitties they lost in the house fire last August. Of course, that made Carol cry. But this was a very sweet housewarming present for the Gauls who are finally back home. They moved into their newly built home, which stands where the old house was, on Friday, April 15–nearly 8 and 1/2 months after the fire.

I have to thank Kristin, not only for what she does for Black and Orange on a daily basis, but also for this really thoughtful and lovely gift. A lot of time, effort, and love went into this and we are so glad to have her working for Team Bando.


Dr. Neal Barnard, who advocates for a vegan diet and lifestyle, is the president and founder of The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). This group pushes for alternatives to animal research and testing, as well as promotes healthy diets for all people, including those battling diseases such as cancer and diabetes.

Dr. Barnard will be in Columbus on April 20 at 7 pm at the Holiday Inn, 7007 North High Street, to promote his new book, The 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart. Chef Del Sroufe, from The Wellness Forum in Columbus, will be preparing recipes from the book for attendees to sample. No reservations or tickets are required to this free event.

Dr. Barnard has written books on diets for reversing diabetes, turning off fat genes, and surviving cancer. To see a complete list of his books, go HERE.

Besides writing his own books, Dr. Barnard was a consultant for Alicia Silverstone’s book, The Kind Diet, which explains how to convert to a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle and why this way of living is better for the animals, the environment, and YOU. Additionally, as a companion to her book, Ms. Silverstone’s web site, The Kind Life, introduces lots of products and ideas that promote healthier ways of living.

Dr. Barnard’s talk is a must for anyone interested in their health, while also making kind choices for animals and the planet.

And if you can’t attend the lecture by Dr. Barnard, visit The Wellness Forum for more information on classes concerning diet and health that could change your life!

I had an emailed newsletter this past week from the organization, No Voice Unheard. The newsletter documented the story of Gilly, a laying hen who was rescued from an egg factory. The rescuers went to the factory planning to find homes for 500 of the chickens. When they arrived, they were told that 160,000 needed rescued or they would be sent to a slaughterhouse. Gilly was one of the lucky 1,000 hens who went on to lead a better life.

Read Gilly’s story HERE. Please be warned, it will bring tears to your eyes and you may never, ever be able to eat an egg or a chicken again (but, hey, that would be a good thing).

No Voice Unheard is an independent publisher of “beautiful and creative books that are cutting edge in their content and presentation, giving voice to those who are ignored or disregarded by society, and illuminating important social issues often ignored by profit-driven publishers.” They sent the newsletter about Gilly to promote their new book, Ninety-Five: Meeting America’s Farmed Animals in Stories and Photographs. Gilly is featured in Ninety-Five.

Where you might ask did the title for the book come from? Ninety-five, as the web site explains, is “the average number of animals spared each year by one person’s vegan diet.

Several years ago, I read No Voice Unheard’s first book, One at at Time: A Week in an American Shelter. This book documented animals in shelters nationwide using photos and often poignant stories.

What is so heartbreaking about One at a Time is that many of the animals featured did not get adopted. They were euthanized. Their photos and stories on the pages are the only remnants of their heroic and, often short, lives. I ordered several copies of this book and gave one to our local library. But I must confess, it is hard to look into the eyes in the pictures and know that those eyes no longer flicker with life or love. It is a story that had to be told–the story of happy, healthy animals who were destroyed unnecessarily because of our “humane” system.  The authors, Diane Leigh and Marilee Geyer, were much braver than I think I could have been. 

No Voice Unheard also explores the horror of zoos in their book, Thought to Exist in the Wild: Awakening from the Nightmare of Zoos. 

To find out more about these books and to order your own copy, please visit the No Voice Unheard web site HERE

No Voice Unheard believes as I do: there is power in books.

I was having breakfast with my friend, Monica, when she told me about a book she was reading called Breakfast at Sally’s by Richard LeMieux. The “Sally’s” referenced in the title was actually not a diner or restaurant, but the Salvation Army’s soup kitchen. Richard LeMieux’s story chronicled his life living in his van with his dog Willow after losing his home, family, and life.

What intrigued me even further than the inspirational quality of this story was the fact that Monica told me Richard LeMieux was originally from Urbana, Ohio. Having grown up in Mechanicsburg, Urbana was the next town over, the “bigger town” where we went to eat at Pizza Hut or shop at KMart. My husband, Joe, worked in Urbana for many years as a pharmacist in Wal-Mart. I knew Urbana well.

Visiting the web site for Breakfast at Sally’s, I discovered that LeMieux was indeed a native of Urbana, Ohio where he attended Urbana University (I have many friends who attended UU–Joe’s brother even went there), and worked as a sports writer in nearby Springfield at the Springfield Sun newspaper. His homeless stint was not in Ohio, however, but in Bremerton, Washington where he had lived since 1981, working as a publisher until he lost everything.

This link to a town I knew led me on a quest to acquire the book and read it.

And I was not disappointed.

While the book does have many sad moments, it is a very positive book about the value of all human beings and animals, as well as the value of hope. Richard LeMieux was on a bridge, contemplating suicide, but could not force himself to do it, because he feared what would happen to Willow. That is the power of unconditional love, of animals in our lives. When no one else will see your value or love you, a dog or a cat will.

My friend, Monica, helps at the Vineyard Church in Plain City the last Sunday of each month. Through our collections with the Pet Pantry, she takes dog and cat food to distribute to the many people who come seeking a meal or basic care items such as tooth paste and soap. She said they always run out of pet food and she has watched people cry knowing they will be able to feed their beloved fuzzy friends.

There are many people who call me looking for a bag of cat or dog food–just enough to get them through another meal so their animal companion will not be hungry. After reading Breakfast at Sally’s, I will try even harder to make life a little easier for people (and their animals) who may be on a journey I would never hope to travel.

I had a few emails from various rescue groups alerting me to the release of Jim Gorant’s book, The Lost Dogs, which tells the story of the rescue of the forty-seven dogs taken from Michael Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels (there were fifty-one dogs and, miraculously, all but four were able to be saved). While I was browsing in a bookstore this week, I remembered that the book was available and I hunted for it on the shelves. I was a bit disappointed that it was not featured at the front of the store among the latest non-fiction releases, but was instead tucked on a lower shelf in the pet section. I really had to work to find it.

I have not had to work to read the book, however. It is very easy to read and very engaging, although it does pull at my heart. Sometimes I read a bit faster or skip over the harder sections. I do not understand how anyone could harm dogs in such a manner and feel nothing as they watch these animals suffer.

Just as most animals do, these dogs have overcome their pasts, forgiving and healing. Many of the dogs now live in loving homes with children. Some are even therapy dogs! None of them will ever be subjected to torture again. That 47 of the 51 dogs were able to receive a happy ending to a gruesome tale is proof of the resiliency of animals; proof that they are in touch with higher powers that allow them to love even when love has formerly been absent in their lives. We humans can learn so many lessons about forgiveness from these brave canines.

The rescue group that was hugely involved in saving the dogs is BAD RAP (Bay Area Doglovers Responsible About Pit bulls). You can read their review of the book on their blog: BAD RAP blog

For more info on the book and author Jim Gorant, visit his web site: The Lost Dogs

When I finish with The Lost Dogs, I plan to donate it to my public library so that others can be read this emotional story.

While waiting in my chiropractor’s office this morning, I came across an article in the July 2010 issue of Ohio Magazine called, “Canines of Comfort,” by Ohio author Jane Miller. The article related how Miller, a psychotherapist and licensed social worker, had been working with psychiatric service dogs to help abuse victims, veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, and others with panic attacks, depression, or severe emotional disabilities lead better lives. The dogs allowed these people to have lives that were not ruled by their emotions, anxieties, or fears.

Service dogs have been used to help people with many physical disabilities, but this is a new field exploring how dogs can help people with emotional and psychiatric disabilities. The dogs provide comfort and acceptance and are trained to specifically help their owner with their specific disorder. 

Most of us who have animals in our lives know firsthand how much pets can help when we are feeling unhappy or anxious. I often say that my cat, Oswald, absorbs all my stress from the day when I pick him up upon arriving home. Once his furry body is against me, all my negative energy dissipates. I have joked that his poor little body should be covered in warts and tumors from sucking up my bad emotions. But, Oswald, being the cat he is, takes it all in and makes it all good. 

That is the power of our companion animals. 

To find out more about psychiatric service dogs and the power of these canines to heal, read “Canines of Comfort” or visit Jane Miller’s web site: Healing Companions

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