Monthly Archives: April 2010

Northern Girls

This print hung in my bedroom the whole time I was a child and even now adorns the wall of my office and library.

My mom’s Aunt Rita gave her the framed artwork, and another one featuring a blonde girl holding yellow flowers, when mom was still a child herself. Aunt Rita made a prophetic statement at the time, telling mom, “Roberta, maybe someday you’ll have two daughters who look like the girls in these pictures.”

Strangely enough, mom did.


The pictures are prints that were available in the 1960’s through the Northern Tissue Company. The toilet paper gurus featured a series of advertisements with the phrase, “Softness is Northern.” Adorning their rolls of toilet paper, as part of the softness marketing campaign, were paintings by Frances Hook. The artwork, known as the “American Beauties,” featured lovely children in a variety of poses. The pink cheeked, big eyed girls quickly became known as the “Northern Girls,” due to their positioning in the tissue company’s ads and on their products.

To read more about the 1960’s Northern Girls art prints, go to: Northern Girls

Sometime long before I was born Great-Aunt Rita sent off to the Northern Paper Mills to receive the prints that passed from mom to me and my sister, Bobbie. The strange part is, mom not only had two girls who looked very much like the children in those vintage prints, but there were other weird similarities.

Who would have guessed that mom’s brunette daughter would be a huge cat lover? In fact, my first kitten, at the age of five, was all white, like the one in the print. I named her Annabelle.

Additionally, my favorite color has always been blue (thus the print looks really good hanging in my dark blue office).

Finally, like the little girl in the print, I, too, as a child, always wore my hair pulled back in a ponytail, with bangs that my grandma complained extended clear around my head because my aunt got a bit “scissor happy.”

While there were not as many similarities with Bobbie’s print, other than the close resemblance, I still maintain that someone somewhere knew we were on our way and gave mom a heads up.

So perhaps Aunt Rita knew something long before the rest of us did–had a dash of foresight about her great-nieces. But even without a bit of divine prophecy through toilet paper prints, I was always destined to be me–cat lover extraoridinaire.

Slightly different versions of the Northern Girls.

Slightly different versions of the Northern Girls.


If any of you are going to the Woofstock Rally to protest the use of the gas chamber at the Licking County Animal Shelter, I had word that the “parking base station” will be at 520 Franklin Avenue in Heath, Ohio 43056. Once you get there, people in orange vests will direct to the nearest available parking. Put the Franklin Avenue address into your GPS. They are not having people actually park at the Licking County Animal Shelter, as they do not want to interfere with normal business operations. However, they will be picketing the shelter at 544 Dog Leg Road between 10 am and 2 pm.

If you have questions tomorrow, please call 740-973-6272.

They are also asking people to wear RED. Additionally, they will have gas chamber t-shirts on sale for people to purchase, as well. If you requested a sign, they will also have those for you to pick up.

Please attend if you can and shut down the gas chamber!


A few days ago, I told everyone about the different ideas that you could vote on in the Pepsi Refresh Project. I just found out today that Dogs Deserve Better, the group that urges people to take dogs off of chains and bring them into homes, is in the running for a grant for $5,000 through the Pepsi Refresh Project.

Dogs Deserve Better has created a coloring book called, “Happy Dog!” With this coloring book, they hope to educate children about why dogs should not be left on chains. Children, as we know, are often the most vulnerable to attacks by dogs that have been chained and un-socialized. With the $5,000 from the Pepsi Refresh Project, Dogs Deserve Better would distribute 20,000 coloring books to children in areas that are facing economic hardships and often have the highest rates of chained dogs.

To vote for this idea for the month of April, please visit the Dogs Deserve Better idea link on the Pepsi Refresh Project web site: Dogs Deserve Better Coloring Books

You must vote every day until April 30.

And don’t forget to also vote for SNAP, the Spay-Neuter Assistance Program, to receive $50,000 to help spay and neuter 850 community cats in Houston, Texas: SNAP $50,000 Idea

Remember, you have 10 votes per day. Dogs Deserve Better and SNAP are not competing against each other because they are at different grant money levels.


The Ohio House of Representatives Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee will have a hearing for H. B. 79 on Wednesday, April 14, at 9:30 am in the Statehouse in Columbus, Room 18. H. B. 79 would repeal the Ohio law that defines pit bulls as “vicious” simply because of their breed.

If you can attend the hearing, please do, as we need to overturn this breed discrimination law in Ohio. If you cannot attend, please write, call, or fax the committee members and ask them to vote YES on H. B. 79. To find info on the committee members, go to: Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee

To find out more about H. B. 79, please visit: Animal Law Coalition

Please take the time to contact the Committee members and urge them to Vote YES!

Dog Auction.Dog Auction.

I had an email today about the petition drive that is currently going on to collect enough signatures to put a measure on the November 2011 ballot to ban Ohio dog auctions. In order to get this piece of legislation before voters, 120,700 signatures must be collected before December 1, 2010. As of April 1, only about 10,000 signatures have been collected. If you scroll to the bottom of this blog post, you can view a chart that shows how many signatures are required by county and how many have been collected in each county as of April 1.

The next Ohio dog auction is scheduled for May 22 and more than 300 dogs are slated to be auctioned off. We need to ensure that after the November 2011 elections, no more dogs will ever be included in these horrific auctions. In the email from Mary O’Connor-Shaver of Columbus Top Dogs, it was noted that at the March 27 Ohio Dog Auction some of the dogs had “high fevers, infected gums, inflamed hips, and broken legs.” These dogs live in gruesome conditions, arriving at the auctions in poor health, and, if they are not purchased by rescue groups, are then sold off to other terrible situations sometimes into the hands of people who have been charged with animal cruelty.

To learn more about what you can do to help this important legislation reach voters, go to: Ban Ohio Dog Auctions

To download petitions that you can sign or which you can use to collect signatures for your county, go to: Ban Ohio Dog Auctions Signature Petitions

To find out where to go in your county to sign or to attend a town hall meeting that explains why the dog auctions should be banned, please visit: Events

You can also become a member of the Facebook Group, Ohio Voters Against Puppy Mills and Dog Auctions, the next time you log into your Facebook account. Just search for them on Facebook and join.

The chart below (which I received in the email from Columbus Top Dogs) shows how many signatures are needed by December 1, 2010 in order to get the measure on the ballot to ban Ohio dog auctions. The chart also shows how many signatures have been collected as of April 1. Those counties highlighted in red (only Coshocton and Hocking) have reached their signature goals.

Since I live in Plain City, our village encompasses both Madison and Union Counties. I am sad to see that only 47 signatures have been collected in Madison County and only 49 in Union County. I have not signed yet, but I plan to remedy that as soon as possible.

County Total votes cast in 2006 governor’s race 3% (the MINIMUM number of signatures we need to collect by 12/01/10) The total number of signatures we have collected as of 04/01/10 Percent of Goal
Adams 8,685 261 14 5.36%
Allen 36,229 1,087 0 0.00%
Ashland 19,355 581 14 2.41%
Ashtabula 33,865 1,016 5 0.49%
Athens 19,840 595 114 19.16%
Auglaize 16,907 507 0 0.00%
Belmont 23,996 720 0 0.00%
Brown 14,044 421 1 0.24%
Butler 115,895 3,477 65 1.87%
Carroll 11,152 335 5 1.49%
Champaign 14,264 428 2 0.47%
Clark 49,056 1,472 1 0.07%
Clermont 65,010 1,950 31 1.59%
Clinton 12,646 379 0 0.00%
Columbiana 36,223 1,087 2 0.18%
Coshocton 13,408 402 419 104.23%
Crawford 16,744 502 0 0.00%
Cuyahoga 454,100 13,623 3,214 23.59%
Darke 20,223 607 0 0.00%
Defiance 13,638 409 0 0.00%
Delaware 64,773 1,943 245 12.61%
Erie 30,106 903 10 1.11%
Fairfield 54,004 1,620 120 7.41%
Fayette 8,402 252 1 0.40%
Franklin 373,258 11,198 2,040 18.22%
Fulton 16,141 484 1 0.21%
Gallia 10,165 305 0 0.00%
Geauga 39,148 1,174 304 25.89%
Greene 59,113 1,773 0 0.00%
Guernsey 13,375 401 2 0.50%
Hamilton 287,496 8,625 162 1.88%
Hancock 25,675 770 249 32.34%
Hardin 9,723 292 13 4.45%
Harrison 6,095 183 0 0.00%
Henry 11,473 344 0 0.00%
Highland 13,158 395 0 0.00%
Hocking 9,860 296 330 111.49%
Holmes 8,108 243 12 4.94%
Huron 18,917 568 3 0.53%
Jackson 10,423 313 103 32.91%
Jefferson 26,133 784 0 0.00%
Knox 20,780 623 13 2.09%
Lake 88,006 2,640 346 13.11%
Lawrence 19,109 573 1 0.17%
Licking 59,051 1,772 69 3.89%
Logan 16,080 482 7 1.45%
Lorain 100,632 3,019 523 17.32%
Lucas 142,784 4,284 78 1.82%
Madison 13,441 403 47 11.66%
Mahoning 95,251 2,858 6 0.21%
Marion 21,691 651 27 4.15%
Medina 65,511 1,965 153 7.79%
Meigs 7,707 231 13 5.63%
Mercer 15,646 469 2 0.43%
Miami 37,054 1,112 26 2.34%
Monroe 6,066 182 2 1.10%
Montgomery 189,201 5,676 101 1.78%
Morgan 5,516 165 14 8.48%
Morrow 12,575 377 18 4.77%
Muskingum 28,719 862 19 2.20%
Noble 5,072 152 0 0.00%
Ottawa 17,207 516 0 0.00%
Paulding 7,479 224 0 0.00%
Perry 11,291 339 10 2.95%
Pickaway 17,960 539 173 32.10%
Pike 9,776 293 0 0.00%
Portage 54,970 1,649 72 4.37%
Preble 15,553 467 3 0.64%
Putnam 14,161 425 0 0.00%
Richland 45,799 1,374 88 6.40%
Ross 23,839 715 14 1.96%
Sandusky 22,736 682 1 0.15%
Scioto 26,369 791 0 0.00%
Seneca 20,051 602 1 0.17%
Shelby 17,029 511 0 0.00%
Stark 139,414 4,182 306 7.32%
Summit 197,747 5,932 314 5.29%
Trumbull 81,128 2,434 28 1.15%
Tuscarawas 31,585 948 44 4.64%
Union 16,877 506 49 9.68%
Van Wert 10,409 312 0 0.00%
Vinton 4,422 133 14 10.53%
Warren 68,091 2,043 24 1.17%
Washington 22,788 684 0 0.00%
Wayne 38,546 1,156 115 9.95%
Williams 13,033 391 0 0.00%
Wood 45,616 1,368 15 1.10%
Wyandot 8,160 245 1 0.41%
All Counties 4,022,754 120,682 10,219 8.47%

Woofstock Rally 04_10_2010

I just wanted to let you know that a rally, aptly named “Woofstock,” will be held this Saturday, April 10, from 10 am to 2 pm to protest the continued use of the gas chamber in the Licking County Animal Shelter. The protest will be held at the shelter located at 544 Dog Leg Road in Heath. If you click on the flyer above, it will take you to a page with just the flyer on it. Click again to enlarge it to get all of the details for Woofstock.

If you plan to attend, you can let the organizers know that you are coming by emailing

When you email them, you can also let them know that you will need a sign for the rally and they will provide you with one. 

For more information, read the article that was in the April 6th edition of the Newark Advocate: Wheels of County Commissioners Turn Too Slowly.

You can also visit two web sites that have been set up to gain support to get rid of the gas chamber at the LCAS: and the Facebook Fan Page, “Get Rid of the Gas Chamber at Licking County Animal Shelter.” When you log into Facebook, just search for the site and become a fan. I just did!


The boys chilling on the staircase.The boys chilling on the staircase.

I am feeling very guilty today. Last night I took Clayton to the adoption center at PetSmart. I could not, however, take his brother and buddy, Mitch. The reason Mitch did not go is because of his eyes. Although, we’ve tried every medicine known to veterinarians, Mitch’s eyes still water. I wipe them clear with a wet cloth each morning and that takes care of the problem for the day. But if no one cleans his eyes out, he has this black teary discharge that stains the hair by his eyes and makes him appear as if he is ill. He has been to PetSmart in the past and every time, his eyes look so terrible that people think he is sick and pass him by.

So Clayton had to be sacrificed and go by himself, because I don’t think Mitch’s eyes will ever be clear enough for him to stay in the cage at PetSmart. Stress seems to make the eyes run even more and PetSmart is extremely stressful for the cats. I wrote on Clayton’s PetSmart cage posting that he had a brother who we would like to see him adopted with. I even put a small photo on the posting to show how the boys like to hang with each other. I hope the person who sees Clayton will also be looking for a second cat and they will be reunited and stay together the rest of their lives.

But for now, I am feeling guilty for separating them.

Guilty, because they have been with each other, and us, for almost a year and a half–in fact, nearly their entire lives. Why have they been with us so long? Well, when we first took them in to the vet’s, they were part of a larger trapping project. They were just supposed to get neutered and vaccinated and return to the farm where they came from. They were so ill, however, that we knew if we sent them back, they would die.

In fact, our minds were made up about keeping them when the sibling they came with did die during the night after having a bout of explosive diarrhea. He had been completely normal, eating energetically, and the next morning, he was dead.

We knew the same thing would probably happen to the boys, who were also having horrible diarrhea–so horrible in fact that we had to give them baths to clean them up, they were so dirty and stinky.

The boys were only kittens and after getting them healthy, we took them to PetSmart for the first time last spring. But they were also a little shy, Mitch more so than Clayton, and they did not like being picked up. Since no one had ever held them as babies, they became scared when someone swung them through the air, hands gripping their bellies.

Mitch’s eyes would begin to run during the stay at PetSmart and, inevitably, they would come back into foster care. This went on two or three times until the boys began to have horrible diarrhea again. For months, we tried tons of medicines and food and nothing worked, until Dr. Kyle hit upon a Vitamin B12 deficiency. With monthly B12 shots, the boys began to have normal stool and actually gained weight.  Their coats became shiny and soft and they looked healthy.

Mitch's eyes look good here, but you can still see the slight watery, clear discharge that we battle constantly.

Mitch's eyes look good here, but you can still see the slight watery, clear discharge that we battle constantly.

By the time they were well enough to be turned out with my kitten clan, they had morphed into miniature dog-like creatures, following me everywhere, running at my heels, pushing through doorways ahead of me. They would scramble to greet me when I got home and clamber on the bed for belly rubs. Sometimes I would find Clayton stretched out on his back, paws in the air, flopped among the other feline bodies on the cushions in the kitchen, totally at ease.

I nicknamed Mitch “the goodwill ambassador,” because he would approach each of my cats with a nose rub and a friendly wave of the tail. I never saw him or Clayton hiss at anyone. They loved other cats. But it was Mitch who would greet newcomers, sick fosters I nursed in the spare bedroom, with a sniff and a bump of the head, telling them everything would be alright before following me out the door. I sometimes felt as if I had a partner on my daily journeys through the house as Mitch followed me in and out of doors, checking on the other cats and making sure all was as it should be. I have never, ever seen a cat act like Mitch. 

I have seen cats act like Clayton at PetSmart last night. Always, they are a bit frightened by the new environment, by the sounds and new smells. Clayton hunkered down in his litter pan and gave me the look of fear that made my heart flop. If he could form words, I am sure he would have said, “What are you doing to me, Mom? Why are you leaving me here? What did I do?” And while I realize that the cats don’t know that it is for their own good, that we are only trying to find them a loving home, it still feels like a betrayal each time I leave one of my fosters at PetSmart, frightened and in shock.

This morning I got up and fed Mitchie and my cats their morning breakfast of soft food. All the while I was thinking about Clayton in his cage at PetSmart, knowing that he would be wondering where his soft food was. Why was no one bringing him a dish of Fancy Feast?

And then I noticed that Mitch was acting strange, too, wandering through all the rooms, looking for something. I knew what he was looking for, because I had made the mistake of looking for Clayton, too, forgetting that he was not there.

If I did not already have cats of my own, cats that are too shy or too old to be adopted, I would keep Mitch and Clayton. But they are so nice that they can be adopted and they deserve a home where they will get more attention than with me. 

Clayton playing in the bathroom--he loves to carry balls and mice around in his mouth.

Clayton playing in the bathroom--he loves to carry balls and mice around in his mouth.

Unfortunately, Clayton has to be the bait to get both himself and Mitchie a home. I am going to believe that the person who sees Clayton at PetSmart and wants to adopt him will also inquire about Mitch. Both boys will be a bit shy in a new home, but the person who is willing to give them a chance is going to get the best cats ever. But in getting them, I will have to lose them.

And that is the other emotion besides guilt that sometimes comes with fostering–sadness. I am happy when my fosters get wonderful homes, but I am also sad, because when they get that new home, they have to leave me.


Well, I am way past the age cut-off point for this grant, but I thought I would make the information available for some of our younger supporters and volunteers. ASPCA is sponsoring an Animal Action Grant for people who are under age 25 and are passionate about animals. They will award six grants, two $1,000 and four $500 grants, for winning proposals that focus to “increase adoptions, decrease the euthanasia of shelter animals and reunite more people with lost pets.”

The deadline to submit a proposal is April 30, so visit the website soon to read the complete guidelines and required material checklist. If anyone is serious about applying and needs a bit of help, please email me. One of the required items is a budget detailing how the money will be used. I could help you figure out how to do that. And the second item is a recommendation from a non-family member. I’d be happy to help with that, too. 

There are lots of other things you can get involved with on, too. The site’s main goal is to encourage people to get out in their communities and “Do Something.” They offer grant money for club projects and are so passionate about it that they give away two $500 grants each week for the chosen projects. You can also meet other people through the social aspect of the site who share your passions and rally them to join in your cause. 

Check out the site even if you are an old geezer like me who is over 25 and ineligible to apply for the Animal Action Grant. offers many programs to get young people excited about performing positive acts to make life a bit better.


Pepsi has been asking non-profits, businesses, and everyday people like you and me to submit ideas for their Refresh Project, ideas that will have a positive impact on the world and our local communities. You can go to their web site, Pepsi Refresh Project, and submit your idea. They are accepting 1000 ideas each month. On February 1st, voting began for the favorite ideas. You can vote for 10 ideas each day and you can even vote for your own if you submit one. Pepsi is giving away $1,300,000 each month to fund these ideas.

I first learned about Pepsi’s intention to give grants in four money categories, $5,000, $25,000, $50,000, and $250,000, in a newsletter I had from SNAP, the Spay Neuter Assistance Program, which has clinics in Texas, but tries to educate nationwide about the pet overpopulation problem. One of their catch phrases is that “No-birth is the first step to No-Kill.”  To learn more about them, visit:

SNAP is participating in the Pepsi Refresh Project at the $50,000 level. They want to spend that money on a “pilot project to help community cats.” Community cats, by SNAP’s definition, are “cats that have no single identifiable home, but which are not necessarily feral either. They are often cats that wander from house to house, saying hello and being fed by good-hearted souls along the way.” SNAP plans to help these cats, and other ferals, get spayed and neutered “so that they remain good neighbors and don’t contribute to the overpopulation problem.”

All you have to do to vote for SNAP’s project to help community kitties is go to the web site and register to vote. You vote every day for the projects you like and you can vote for up to 10 projects daily. SNAP’s project is in the running for the month of April, so vote daily for them between April 1 and April 30.  

To vote for SNAP: Spay and Neuter 850 Community Cats

Each month, Pepsi will fund 10 winners each at the $5,000, $25,000, and $50,000 levels and two winners at the $250,000 level. Projects in the different prize levels are not in competition with each other. But within each prize level, they are competing, so if you really like SNAP’s project, only vote for it in the $50,000 category. You can also search for projects to vote for in a number of categories including health, arts and culture, food and shelter, the planet, neighborhoods, and education. Additionally, you can search for the projects that are the “current leaders” and for projects “near you” in your area.

Help animals by voting for projects that will be funded in the Pepsi Refresh Project to make their lives better.


Okay, I sometimes get teased for my infatuation with iPhone apps that can be useful to animal lovers, but this one really is very, very helpful. The ASPCA has developed a Pet Safe app that allows you to look up plants and find out if they are toxic to dogs, cats, and horses. This is similar to the online database that ASPCA carries on their web site and which I blogged about a few weeks ago. This, however, allows you to carry all that knowledge on your iPhone and is just a click away. The app provides photos of the plants, a database that you can search by name, as well as one touch dialing to poison control if your animal has ingested something they shouldn’t.

The Pet Safe app is only $2.99 and you can find out more about it by visiting and downloading it from the iTunes Store:

A portion of the sale from each Pet Safe app will be donated back to the ASPCA.

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