Sad Day… 10/16/2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandy @ 10:47 am

Today we lost a member of the lilpets family. Kiwi died this morning after a long illness. I’ll bring more to you later about Kiwi and how she came to join our family, but for now…

RIP Kiwi. You were a good girl and we love you.


Eek! Fame! Sorta…. 09/30/2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandy @ 3:13 pm

So Mike and I are getting married in just a week (eek!) and while we’re super excited and having fun, it’s still nice to have something extra to smile about.  I’m totally excited today because it is the last day of September!  That means that one of my favorite blogs, A Practical Wedding, published its monthly Weddings and Anniversaries post today.

And we’re on it!  Eek!

Well, that means that we are now totally famous and big time celebrities.  Time to retire…

Maybe not…

Anyway, keep posted next week for fun pics of Carlos taking a bath and a chance to meet Layla, Stu and Ashley’s new doggie.  Even though I’m famous now, I think I’ll keep posting… just for fun, you know.

Happy Weekend All!


Expanding the Cult of Pet Parenthood 08/24/2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandy @ 8:42 am
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Like any cult, pet parents want to increase the membership in their cult.  While Mike and I are particularly fanatical about our birds (a cult that we were indoctrinated in by my parents but have been unable to convert anyone we know to, yet), we love it any time someone we know expands their definition of family to include a pet of any kind.

A few months ago, my best friend, Jackie, did this for the first time and it’s amazing to see the change and to hear her talk about her family now.  Jack has been with her boyfriend, Matt, for a few years now and they have made a life together here in Wisconsin.  After years of living in overly restrictive housing that prevented Jack from getting the two things she desperately wanted, an accent wall and a puppy, they moved to a duplex in another area of the city.  They are now renting directly from the homeowner, not a gigantic corporation, and enjoy more wiggle room in both areas, decoration and pet ownership.

With that opportunity in hand, Jackie and Matt decided to start considering puppy.  Jackie had long been interested in adopting an adult greyhound and began getting involved with the rescue society in their city.  They filled out all of the paper work,  had a home visit, and made several visits to different dogs to try to find the right one for them.  Finally, they met Freddy and knew he was the one.

Fast Freddy

So Freddy came to live with Jackie and Matt.  As anyone who has every adopted an adult pet knows, the transition is not always immediate.  Many adopted pets have come from neglectful or abusive situations and often it takes months to build trust and affection.  Both of our cats, Sweetness and Stella, were adopted as adults; Sweetness became mine after my grandmother passed away and we brought Stella home from the Wood County Humane Society.  Freddy has been no exception to this rule but is getting used to his new family quickly.

Freddy was a racing greyhound for the first two years of his life.  After that he was placed in a rescue and put up for adoption.  He is now four years old.  He is finally in a forever home with Jackie and Matt and has begun to build some bonds with them.  He is warming to his new home and family and I think he’s going to be very happy with Jackie and Matt.

I’m amazed at what adoption does for people, however, more than the pets.  I’ve always been an advocate of pet parenthood, not just to increase membership in the cult, because owning pets makes us better human beings.  Our hearts grow exponentially and our treatment of each other greatly improves when we share our lives with pets.  This is a lesson that many of us know about children: children are kinder to each other and to animals when raised in homes with pets.  But this works for adults, too.  Being a pet parent has made a huge difference in my life: in the ways that I deal with stress, in the ways that I treat other people and other animals, in the way I feel about myself and my place in this world.

There has been more than once, when I have felt like giving up, that I have pulled myself up by reminding myself that they depend on me.  That I have a family that needs me.

I can see that this has happened to Jackie, too.  She has always loved my pets, especially Sweetness, and been very excited and affectionate when she sees them but there was a distance there.  While she understood why I loved them and valued them, she wasn’t yet a member of the cult.  Now, as a pet parent, Jackie is in love with her dog and her new family in a way that makes me smile just to think about it.  And she can appreciate the way that I love my family in a whole new way, as well.

Here’s to all the pet parents and pet families out there.  Love each other and be grateful for all of the wonderful gifts that you give each other.

Enjoying the Good Life


Learning to Open the Chamber of Secrets 08/01/2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Michael @ 9:10 pm

Contrary to popular belief, there was a time when Sandy and I were not together, and I spent most of my time in a constant quest to annihilate any comer in MarioKart (for SNES, not N64, those voodoo 3D graphics are not welcome).  At that time, I was preparing to begin my student teaching experience and decided that I was interested in a bizarre pet.  I grew up in a divided household, my father enjoys grumbling about pets while at the same time sneaking behind the back of my mother to acquire them.  The roster in my childhood included cats, dogs, and the occasional fish (I will never get over the horror of my dad sticking a shiner from JR’s Sport Shop into my goldfish bowl, which led to a savage attack fitting of Shark Week).  Never did the roster include anything considered exotic, though we did keep a Tiger Salamander caught in the wild for a while.  

With my impending independence, I felt a wacky pet would be a good pickup for me to make, considering that I was going to be a biology teacher and they were supposed to keep strange animals.  I did some research initially zoomed in on to possibilities: Bearded Dragon and Red-Eared Slider.  The turtle seemed cute, but carried with it the potential for a hideously messy tank, plus the possibility of transmitting Salmonella, E.coli, or Ebola.  I switched to Beardie, which would have been cool if the tank I had picked up for free from a teacher at the elementary school wasn’t the biggest piece of shit in the history of herpetology.  So, I considered a new option: snake.  I only considered one type of snake, the aptly named E. guttata, or Corn Snake.  If my knowledge of specialty pet stores and the interesting people who run them had been as great then as now I might have considered a more exotic option.  However, while Corn Snakes are considered the most common species of pet snake, any snake seemed sufficient to freak many of the people I knew out, so that’s what I went with.


Scary Snake

I went on a mission with my sister, who at the time was completely pissed off that my mom had denied her a parakeet, which left her completely willing to be an accomplice in any activity that would make my mom uncomfortable (it was still three months till I moved into my apartment, so snake living in her house would certainly qualify).  We journeyed to Appleton, which as everyone knows is the only place where anything can legally be purchased.  I surprised my sister at the Grand Chute Petco by actually following through and buying the drastically over-priced snake kit, which included the tank, a heating pad, a couple of accessories for the tank, but should have included snake tongs and plane tickets to Florida considering what I paid for it (This was before Craigslist and its magical powers entered its prime).  I think my sister had expected me to pussy out at the last minute, the putting down of cash on the table showed I was serious.  There were no Corn Snakes of my liking at that store, but the manager informed us that a bright orange specimen was available at the other Petco in Appleton, which I assumed was a mythological place since I had never been to that side of the city before.  However, 30 minutes of driving and two stops at gas stations later we found the other Petco, which was the most exciting find for me since I figured out how to beat Jurassic Park for Super Nintendo when I was 13.

And there he was, a cute little bugger covered in orange blotches, no more than 8 inches long.  I asked the Petco Employee to pull him from his enclosure.  The snake immediately curled around my hand and to my excitement decided not to bite me.  Having passed the test, I purchased him for the paltry sum of $37.99.  I took him in a cardboard box to a friend’s house, which was a wasted trip considering this friend, having apparently been sexually assaulted by a tiny snake in the past, refused to come out of her room.  I then took the little guy home (or girl, I never took the time suggested in the book to probe the cloaca for the presence of a hemipenes, and simply decided that “he” would be a male) and named him Clyde.  This was my sister’s suggestion and seemed like a good name for a cute snake.

This series of events took place in May of 2007, and Clyde has been a member of my home since then.  In April 2009, we decided to merge with Sandy and her cats to form the Lil’ Pets family.  While Clyde is certainly a full member, his leglessness has been discriminated against by our family, some freinds, and several freaked out landlords who apparently believe that snakes have the power to blind you like the Basilisk or something if they break free.  He has grown to a monstrous four feet in length, and regularly causes absolute terror while he hunts down his favored prey, frozen mice.  The presence of said mice has caused a spin-off issue, since people seem alarmed at their presence in our freezer.  I have yet to contract Bubonic Plague from the frozen mice, but I realize I am playing with fire.  Clyde is a loyal Lil’ Pet, and contrary to stereotypes about snakes has only attempted to bite one time in his four year tenure with me.  I realize that the presence of a snake makes some, including both Sandy’s and my mother, quite uneasy.  That’s OK, I can understand being petrified of a creature with teeth AT LEAST a millimeter long.

Clyde the Snake

There's Clyde!


I Want The Cute! You Can’t Handle The Cute!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandy @ 8:09 pm

Stella being so cute that I nearly died....


Stella is our young kitten.  She is about two and a half years old and she’s absolutely the cutest thing that ever existed.  She has beautiful blue eyes and a very pretty pattern of grey and white (she is Siamese if you please… duh do da do).  She also loves to attach rugs.  No rug is safe from the ravages of Stella.  I’m not sure how or why the rugs are so impertinent that they need to be put in their place so savagely but …. as long as she’s on top of it.

Today I came home from working on homework at the library and noticed the rug was bunched up.  I went with my foot to move the rug back into place and realized there was a cat underneath it.  Apparently, after beating the rug into submission, it looked inviting to sleep under.  So she did.  A little while later she crawled out, sort of, and we snapped a few pictures.  Enjoy.

Sweet Stella


Snake Fest 2011 07/28/2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandy @ 7:23 pm

So a few days ago, Eric, one of Mike’s best friends, rescued a small garter snake from under his lawnmower while, well, mowing the lawn.  He and his wife, Amanda, fell in love with the little guy but let him go to live his natural life.  Eric and Amanda are similar to Mike and I in the fact that they also love animals and have a crop of their own lilpets, including a reticulated python named Stenga.  Well, the baby garter snake awakened in Eric and Amanda the all consuming desire to get another snake.  This lead to Snake Fest 2011.

Baby Garter Snake Saved From The Lawnmower

Thursday was Eric’s day off and since the rest of us have, well, flexible schedules, Thursday was the day.  Eric and Amanda came over to our place.  Since we have just recently moved, this was also an opportunity to have a look around the new apartment.  Also, Amanda was able to handle our own little snake, Clyde, and remind herself why she wanted a little snake – because they are super cute, of course!

Mike, Eric and Amanda started the search at an independent store only a few blocks away from our new place.  Aquarium Pets, LLC of Oshkosh is a quaint little store that looks like it is family owned and operated, since we always see the same people working there and they have lots of family pictures of pets stuck up all over the place.  They have a wide variety of fish, both salt and fresh, and they are in excellent condition.  As a person who shops a lot of specialty pet stores, I can tell you that not all stores are equal and while a store may have a good selection, it doesn’t necessarily mean the animals are well cared for.  Aside the obvious ethical concerns in wanting to avoid supporting business owners who do not take care of animals, it is particularly important that fish be well cared in order to give them the best chance at life when they reach my tank at home.

Unfortunately, since Eric was looking for something very unique, Aquarium Pets did not have the right one.  They had a few beautiful snakes but none appeared to be “the one”.  I will be back there shortly, however, as I want to set up a goldfish tank now that we are settled in the new apartment.  They had some large, beautiful Ornadas that are exactly what I’m looking for, but that is for another post.

So it was on to the Just Pets in Appleton.  Just Pets is another specialty store that has a lot of fish, both salt and fresh, but also has an impressive collection of reptiles and small animals.  This was the spot but now we had the opposite issue of too many snakes to choose from!  Eric and Amanda found several contenders, looking first at no fewer than six snakes.  Finally we narrowed it down to three and then two.  They handled the two they were most interested in, a gray-banded kingsnake and a oketee, or natural colored, corn snake.  The store owner was very helpful and Eric and Amanda were able to handle both snakes as well as ask some questions about them.  We had a decision to make so we left the store to get lunch, promising to be back soon.

Over lunch at Olive Garden (so yummy!) the four of us discussed what we liked about both of the snakes and the ups and downs of both choices.  The winner was quickly chosen and a delicious dinner was had.

After lunch, we returned and Amanda decided on the gray banded king snake and he was purchased and wrapped up to take home.  He’s a lucky little snake that is on his way to a very good home with two loving parents.  Plus, he’s totally cute.  In the words of Eric, “I’m completely enraptured.”

Baby Snake Bestul

No name for Baby Snake Bestul, yet.  There seems to be some disagreement about the proper choice.  We’ll keep you posted!  Also, Mike and I picked up some new rainbow fish for our tank, so a good day all around!

That’s all for now!  Happy pet parenting to all of you!


UPDATE:  Eric and Amanda chose Gandalf the Grey as a name.  Perfect.


lilpets: Our House 05/24/2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandy @ 9:56 am
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Our house is, to say the least, crowded.  I started this blog as a way to track all of the chaos that is a house full of animals, though I know that it may change along the way.

Check out my bio and Mike’s for more information about us, but for now, let me tell you about our lil pets.

Ruby and Sandy

When we moved in together, in October of 2009, we each came with pets of our own.  I had been living on my own since my divorce and had two cats, Sweetness and Beau.  Sweetness is a black short-haired female and Beau was a short-haired orange tabby.  Mike had two reptiles and a ten gallon fish tank.  Kiwi is a female leopard gecko and Clyde is a small amelanistic corn snake.

Since then our family has continued to grow, but we have suffered our loses.  First, we came together to purchase our 55 gallon fish tank.  Currently, it houses around thirty fish and I’ll post about the particular diversity soon.

The next stage was sad.  In September of 2009, just before we officially were co-habitating, my cat Beau was playing in the yard and never returned.  He and Sweetness were both indoor/outdoor cats and had been for years.  For some reason or another, he didn’t come back that night.  We searched the neighborhood and put up signs for months but never heard from him again.

Carlos, our guinea pig, joined our family a few months after that.  He has since become the fattest pet in the house, nearly out weighing our much smaller cats.

In February, while making our weekly trip to the humane society to check for news on Beau, Mike and I started a discussion about adding another cat.  I love cats and missed  having a young kitten running around the house, since Sweetness just slept all the time.  We searched several animal shelters in our area and found Stella.  She was a pretty, little Siamese kitten and purred wonderfully when we held her.  She came home with us two days later.

The next addition to our house was Ruby, our female Eclectus parrot.  She was a purchase that we made at a bird fair in Oak Creek in April of 2010.  She’s quite the clown and has been an incredible addition to our house.

My parents moved to a different home this fall and were unable to take care of their little lovebird, Pickle.  So she came home with us in the hopes that my parents would be in a better position soon.  We’ll see.

Finally, Plato is our Meyer’s parrot that we found at a bird fair in Madison in November of 2010.  Plato is a monster, in every sense of the word.  He’s very sweet and loves his daddy but also wants to dominate everyone in the entire house.

Mike and Sandy with Ruby and Plato

So that’s us.  We’re full, to be sure, but we love it.