Meet Sir Gawain – the Scaly Knight

If you follow me on the twitter, then you’ll have already been introduced to this face. But if you haven’t… join me in welcoming the gloriously beautiful Sir Gawain the Scaley Knight into our family menagerie.

Photo by Lee Jaszlics.

He is a Hogg Island Boa, roughly 5.5 feet in length, and about 6 years old. He belonged to my best friend Lee, who is moving to Australia, so he was recently rehomed to me. He’s absolutely beautiful and I find myself constantly drawn to his amazing colors – and he always has such a smug smile. Especially after he’s eaten.

Photo by me.

Like that. That right there. So smug.

As for an update on the rest of our menagerie, we recently lost the very last of our rats to old age. Artemis outlived her sister by many months and was, what the vet said, a miracle rat. It’s odd not having any more little ones in our house, but Ash and I both work now so it’s hard to give them the time they deserve. Total we have four dogs (2 belong to family members but are staying with us for the time being), seven cats (one is a foster), and one snake. Almost a normal amount.


Hope y’all are having a wonderful weekend! Happy Saturday! Oh and don’t forget, I still have FIVE spots open for the Design Coyote New Year Sale! Get a cheap WordPress or Blogger design before they run out! Be well!

Brody: 1 Year Ago.

One year ago today, our Brody was whisked away from us. A neighbor left the door open and Brody, our beautiful little golden pup, took off out the door and was hit by a truck. A truck that didn’t even stop to see if he was okay. I still have nightmares about it, seeing it all happen over and over again. It’s been a year and certainly doesn’t feel like it.

We miss you so much Brody. You were the happiest dog in the world, our Dalai-Lama of dogs.

Win a Design for your Pet Blog!


I am a huge animal lover if you haven’t figured that one out yet, and I am one of the two people who run the adoption and animal advocacy site I Love Rescue Animals site. I blogged a little here mentioning that I was attending the BlogPaws conference a few weeks ago, and it was a blast. You can read about our adventures over at the ILRA blog – it was a fantastic network and we made some great friends.

But it didn’t end there! This week I will be working with the PawPawty team (founded by the awesome Lynn, mother to Frugal Dougal) to give animal and pet bloggers a chance to win a custom web design! On April 21st, starting at 7, a BlogPawty will be going down over at twitter and during that time, we will be raising money for Pets Without Parents. Along with raising money, there will be a ton of giveaways to those in attendance.

My giveaway is going to be week long instead of one night, to give more bloggers a chance to get in on the action. If you’re interested in winning a custom-made design for your pet blog, I suggest you go read the rules and give it a try! Entering is easy and you’ll be supporting shelter dogs and animals in need. The winner will be announced next Sunday. But don’t let that stop you from joining in on the festivities that is the BlogPawty – April 21st at 7PM Eastern time. Find us on Twitter with the hashtag #BlogPawty. I’ll see you there!

Happy Birthday to ILRA!

Happy Birthday to Us!

Okay it was yesterday, but whatever. On April 14th, I Love Rescue Animals turned one year old! One whole year we have been helping puppies and kitties and people find each other on our website. How exciting is that?

Spunky Pup!

Check out the ILRA Blog for posts about what you can do to help. All this week we will be posting about the fun adventures we had at the first annual BlogPaws Conference. Be sure to say Happy Birthday and don’t be a stranger. The next two weeks are going to be filled with awesome surprises and fun games!

BlogPaws or Bust, yo!

When you read this, I’ll be on a plane. Or in the airport in Columbus. Or totally partying it up with a ton of fellow animals lovers. Why? ‘Cause I’m going to BlogPaws!

I'm going to BlogPaws 2010 badge

Both Ash and I thought fate was completely against us going, but as it turns out, never give up hope. Yvonne, Tom, and Caroline, founders of BlogPaws, have bent over backwards to get us, the founders of I Love Rescue Animals, to the conference and get a hotel room, and with their help, our airfare is now being sponsored by Pedigree, who chose several bloggers to attend the party of the century, including us! How awesome is that?

In return for Yvonne, Tom, and Caroline’s help, Ash and I will blogging from the floor of the conference, giving you all a running commentary of all the sessions and events, at the BlogPaws’ blog. I’m more than excited and I cannot wait to start connecting with follow animal lovers.

Will you be there?

I Love Rescue Animals: Sneak Peak!

The last couple of weeks I have been working my butt off to try and finish the new design for our rescue site, I Love Rescue Animals, but between my day job, freelancing, and other endless activities that keep me away from the computer, it has been slow going. Last night, I got pretty far. Have a peak:

Not done yet, but it’s getting closer. Will we finish in time for the BlogPaws Conference this weekend? I have no idea. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed. Let me know what you think!

In which we drop from 22 to 21.

Morgan and Me

Morgan Niels-Jeske
“The Valentine Baby”
January 1, 2008 – February 5, 2010
Adopted into our family February 14, 2008

She no longer has the burden of an old body, but I’m going to miss her so much. Here’s an excerpt from the journal entry I wrote about her on Valentine’s Day of 2008. The best Valentine’s Day ever.

In my hands was a tiny, beautiful baby girl rat. Seriously, all I did was stare at her for the longest time. I couldn’t formulate any thoughts and I hardly dared hope that she was mine, so I kept asking stupid questions like “Where’d she come from?” and “What is she doing here?” I know I kind of made Ash nervous that I didn’t like her, but I was just in shock. And then when it finally started to dawn on me that this little girl was mine, I began to tear up and almost started crying. She’s so beautiful. She’s mostly white with a dark gray hood with a white line like a scar down her face to her nose and a dark gray spot on her back. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her.

We love you, Morgan.

Missing Our Dalai-Lama Dog

Our BrodybearIt doesn’t feel like it’s been seven months since he’s been gone. Last night my dreams were full of our Brodybear. I’m working on an art/design trade with the talented artist Rachael Rossman; I’ll be working on a new design for her and she’s painting a picture of Brody for me. Ash found a ton of pictures of Brody that I had never seen before when we went on a hunt for references for Rachael, and last night I poured over the images and cried and it just hit me that he’s not here. I’ve never really let myself think about it. He was taken from us far too soon. We saved him from a kill shelter, only to let his one dangerous habit get the best of him. I don’t know why he hated cars so much or why he felt he needed to protect us from them, but in the end, he died because we weren’t fast enough and the road was too close to the house, and there was just too much bad timing on so many people’s parts. I don’t think any of us will forgive ourselves.

Brody was the happiest dog you’d ever find. Always smiling, always playing; that dog laughed through life. He was our golden Dalai-Lama dog, from the day we picked him up from the pound one year ago. Has it really been a year? On the fifteenth of January, 2009, he came into our lives, a furry little skittish pup. He quickly took all of our lives by storm. He loved everyone, he loved the dogs, he loved water, he loved camping, he loved the world, even the worst of it. I miss him so much sometimes it hurts, and I try not to let it show, but there are times I feel like my world is caving in. I know he’s with Brandy waiting for us, two golden angels on the other side of the bridge, waiting far more patiently than we ever will. Time heals, but sometimes it’s also a punch in the gut.

I miss you, Brody.

Mika and Hope for Abandoned Cats

Instead of a comic, you get a picture of a cute kitten. Why? Because I’m exhausted, had a bit too much to drink at dinner, and I need SLEEP. That and I’m lazy. But whatever. You’ll get three comics tomorrow (not that I’m promising anything, I’m just saying you might, if I’m productive – which, chances are, are kind of slim knowing me, but still – maybe, that’s all I’m saying) maybe. We’ll see. Anyway…


Mika the Kitten

This is Mika, just one of the many cats we trapped this year with the Central Texas Feline Rescue. Every Tuesday night, Ash and I spend the evening with a bunch of traps, some tuna fish, and our quick wits in an attempt to catch feral/abandoned cats to get them spayed/neutered and rabies-tested. Our goal this year was 300 – we hit 304. While Ash and I have only been doing this for several months (since we moved down here), we’re incredibly proud of ourselves for helping the cat community of Austin and the surrounding towns.

Mika here was a cat we caught last week. Last night we caught her again… twice. She was hungry enough that she didn’t even care how many times she got caught in that trap. Because of that, the volunteers took her in and our fearless leader Elizabeth is going to get her the rest of her shots and then we’ll be taking her in for a short time until we can find a more permanent home (be that a longer-term foster home or a forever home) for her. She’s beautiful and small and we couldn’t leave her out there in the cold so home she comes. We’ll see how she does.

Working with these cats is hard. They have hard lives and many times their stories are heartbreaking. The last few weeks, we’ve been trapping a colony of cats that came from a 14-cat household. The owners moved and abandoned all 14 cats to the streets, and now the owner of the park they currently call home is threatening to come in and kill them all. We spent the better part of last night canvasing that particular neighborhood, handing out literature on TNR and our group, and letting people know exactly what was going on. I was so wonderfully surprised by the reaction we got from people. More than one person praised what we were doing, thanked us for our time, and blessed us with hope in their eyes.

There is hope in the world. For Mika, there is hope tonight. She’s off the streets. Someday, we’ll get them all. There is hope.

NanoMangO Day 16

You know, according to these comics, we yell at our kids a lot. We don’t. I assure you. We love them all very much. It just happens that we have a lot of very frustrating moments that we laugh at afterward. And you get the product of that laughter: a comic!

The Family Menagerie - Eraser Thief

This happens a lot. If it’s not one cat, it’s another.