Tag Archives: animal rescue

K.U.T.E (Kittens United Terrorizing Everyone)

IMG_20141203_165529

Scarlett, Ready to Address her Subjects

Shopsitter Jenny here. I may not have much time, so listen closely. I’ve been taken hostage by a group known only to me as K.U.T.E. I don’t know exactly what they want, but I seem to be completely in their thrall. I’ve been given the tasks of meal preparation, litter box clean up, and cuddling. The strange part is, I don’t mind at all. I’m HAPPY to do it. The hold they have over me is almost…supernatural. All one of them has to do is wave a tiny paw, or sneeze a mini achoo, and I’m ready to do their bidding. I would have written for help sooner, but the one they call Scarlett was sitting on the computer all morning looking at me with big dewy eyes. I was powerless to move her. Fortunately, they seem to nap en masse, so I am now able to send out my plea. Come. Get. A. Kitten. Save me from the overwhelming power of K.U.T.E. I fear that one (or more!) of them will convince me to bring them home to New York, and then, not only will K.U.T.E have the opportunity to spread its devastating culture of kitten kisses, but my mother will kill me!

A quick run down of the players…

Scarlett. Sister to Rhett. Cuteness exceeds tolerable levels with this one. Seems to be a bit of a ringleader.

Rhett. Scarlett’s brother. Rhett’s metaphorical tee-shirt reads, I’d Rather be Lounging.

Henry Dashwood. Dash for short. Exceptionally handsome chap. A little shy, but snuggly and playful when he warms up. Adorable kitten antics, or up to something? You decide.

Hadley. Little, but mighty, with a deceptively sweet face…Oh geez! Here she comes! She’s climbing up my pant leg! SHE’S GOING FOR MY NECK!

She’s…kissing my cheek.

What’s that you say Hadley? You want your prawns peeled and served with caviar? Why certainly. Let me take care of that for you.

 

2 Comments

Filed under animal rescue, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, shopsitting, Uncategorized

Hedley and Hemingway Explain Things Clearly

DSCN1468Hi – I’m Hemingway and this is my sister Hedley–

I can speak for myself!

An’ we’re waitin’ ta get adopted from the Little Bookstore.

Tell ‘em it’s in Big Stone Gap!

They know that, Hed. Anyway, me ‘n Hedley–

Hedley an’ I

No, you’re Hedley, an’ I’m–

(clamps paw over mouth) OK folks, lemme ‘splain this. Hemingway and I need a home, see. We need one pretty soon, ’cause there’s five of us foster cats here at the bookstore an’ there’s five more waitin’ up at the vet’s for a space to open. An’ Wendy and Jack are leavin’ the country in December, so we gotta get everybody where they’re going. So, come visit and see how adorable we are!

Hdlymcntmll– (bats paw away) Hedley, you can’t tell everybody we’re adorable like that! You gotta be humble! Who’s gonna adopt us if we’re not humble?

Humble? Be serious! We’re the cutest cats here! An’ the youngest an’ the fastest!

(sighs) Anyway, folks, come visit us. We might wanna be adopted together (glances at sister, whispers) although that’s not really essential

Wha’d you say?

That we have to be adopted together. An’ that we both like to be cuddled, an’ that we don’t eat wet food, an’ we’ve had our wormer an’ our flea baths.

(shudders) Baths. That wasn’t fun. But yes, we have. An’ we LOVE to climb in your lap, an’ we like to sleep in your arms an’ be carried around like babies.

Speak for yourself; I ain’t a baby.

(pinching him) Play along, eejit; I’m tryin’ ta get us ‘dopted here.

(rubs bruise) SO as I was sayin’ folks, we wanna be adopted together….

Why are you looking at me like that?
DSCN1420
 

1 Comment

Filed under animal rescue, bad writing, Big Stone Gap, bookstore management, humor, Hunger Games, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, small town USA, VA, Wendy Welch, YA fiction

Should Old Acquaintance be forgot – –

Jack’s guest post this week is all about friendship

Wendy blogged about our friend Barbara Dickson and her husband Oliver last week, but I wanted to say something about their visit too.

Barbara and I sang together as a ‘folk-duo’ in Scotland back in the 1960s, and although we’ve stayed in touch over the years – – – -

It’s often the case that people we think of as good friends we don’t actually see very often and in the case of Barbara, we haven’t spent any personal time together in almost fifty years. So I imagine she was as nervous as I was at committing to two weeks of living cheek-by-jowl here in our house/bookstore. I had no idea if she and Oliver would get along with our dogs and cats or how they’d feel about sharing the floor that the guest room is on with our cafe, cafe manager or cafe manager’s frequently visiting family (also known as our second family).

Barbara is a world ranking singer and actor who’s recording and performing career far outstrips mine, so another concern was how she’d react when, inevitably, our curious local friends would ask to hear us singing again together.

In the event we needn’t have worried!

Barbara and Oliver have become surrogate aunt and uncle to the cafe kids, she carries our latest foster-kitten Small-Fry around on her shoulder, they’ve made space for themselves and we’ve shared our part of Appalachia with them, to their obvious delight.

And the singing? We ended up discovering we still had some songs in common and we were able to re-create the kind of intimate setting that neither of us had experienced for a very long time and share that with our friends here – and we had a ball!

They got to see Carter Fold, The Museum of Country Music and Dollywood, but not all the other places they might have, so already we’re making plans for the return visit, when they will see all the stuff there wasn’t time for this year.

 

 

4 Comments

Filed under animal rescue, Big Stone Gap, bookstore management, folklore and ethnography, Life reflections, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, Scotland, small town USA, VA

The American Way (again) -

coffee failWhen I first started coming over to the US, as an itinerant folksinger, I was weaned off tea and onto coffee as the standard/regular ‘cuppa’, but was happy to leave the brewing of this brew to friends and hosts. Later, and especially after moving over permanently, I found myself being required to make it myself from time to time.

The complexities of a filter machine evaded my sense of logic so completely – and often – that I joke that ‘I had found more ways to fail to make coffee’ than anyone in recorded history.

Too much coffee; not enough coffee; too much water; not enough water; water not going through the coffee; machine not switched on; etc., etc. Once I left the spout off the machine and didn’t notice, which resulted in a fairly spectacular “caffeine hosedown,” as Wendy dubbed it.

As the years went by and we settled into running a bookstore, we developed a routine: Wendy got up in the morning and fed the cats – and there can be quite a lot of them sometimes, given all our fosters – while I set up the coffee the night before, so that all she had to do to achieve caffeination amidst all those felines was push the button.

A couple of days ago, having congratulated myself on long ago mastering the art of making coffee successfully, I really scored a ‘bulls-eye’ for the other team.

I got up before Wendy, hit the switch, and went out for a smoke while the coffee percolated. I came back in to find coffee was flooding the counter top and down over the kitchen floor. When I organized things the night before, I’d done everything except put the jug back in its allotted place under the filter. Ours is not a pot that stops when the carafe is out.

Of course I find that most folk around here have no idea how to make a pot of tea, so I suppose we can call it (in soccer parlance) ‘a score draw’. Now look at that, I scored a World Cup reference, and I haven’t watched a single game.

 

15 Comments

Filed under animal rescue, Big Stone Gap, blue funks, bookstore management, home improvements, humor, Uncategorized, VA, writing

Porthos Speaks

athos and porthosHi! I’m Porthos an’ I’m the only girl in this family. We came to live here at the bookstore ‘cos the shelter was gettin’ crowded. Mom didn’t come with us ‘cos somebody wanted to ad- uhdot- adhop- somebody wanted her to come live with them.

That’s what we’re hoping happens to us. My brothers are silly, but I’m very sensible, so I’m sure I’ll get a furever home first. People like sensible cats. Plus I’m really pretty. Everybody says that when they see me, so ‘s okay for me to say so.

My brother Athos is my twin. He’s smaller than me an’ he has a white bit on his neck. HE says it’s a cravat. I says, “What’s a cravat?” an’ he says, “I dunno but it makes me sound smart.”Porthos dances

See? They’re eejits, both of ‘em.

Athos likes to play, like me, an’ he loves to be held. D’Artagnon looks different from us. He’s stripy and he’s more scared of stuff. One time I saw him jump straight in the air ‘cos he saw the shadow of his own tail.

I dunno. Maybe I can’t go to a furever home first ‘cos they’d kill themselves doing stupid guy stuff if I wasn’t here. D’Artagnon dove headfirst off a bookshelf yesterday. Didn’t get hurt at all. He’d hafta have a brain to get hurt, right?D'Artagnon

I love my brothers, but it might be nice to live someplace that had a lap just for me, and not hafta keep saying “Don’t climb that rope; it’s not tied to the ring! Don’t stick your claws in that electric thingee! Don’t put your head UNDER the food!”

Ser’usly, the other day, Athos stuck his head IN the bowl of water. Like he was tryin’ to blow bubbles or somethin’. Then he comes up screamin’ blue murder.

porthosI didn’t touch him. I swear.

You can come visit us at the bookstore. We love feet, follow ‘em around all the time. And we like bein’ carried, even D’Artagnon, but you kinda hafta let him get used to you first. He talks to your feet, and then you sit down, and he gets in your lap, and then you pick him up. Athos an’ me, we just climb straight up to your shoulder the minute we see you. View’s better from there.

athosOur foster mom says after we get our furever homes the boys will get tutored and I’ll get played. That sounds like fun.  Come visit us so we can get started! We’re ready to go home!

Leave a comment

Filed under animal rescue, bad writing, Big Stone Gap, bookstore management, humor, shopsitting, small town USA, VA

FIRE! FIRE!

 Jack’s guest blog post today recounts the great fire of 2014 -

Well, that was quite an experience!

We were down in Johnson City on Monday doing radio shows and meetings and then headed home to avoid the forecast snow, arriving back in mid afternoon. Shortly afterwards I looked out the window and couldn’t see the other side of the street. Thinking it was fine snow I moved to a better position and saw clouds of dense smoke pouring out of a building only a couple of hundred yards from the bookstore. It was a NAPA auto parts store full of paint, oils, tires and other scary stuff and as I watched dumbstruck flames began to appear through the smoke. Within a short time the firefighters and police had all the surrounding streets closed and fire engines and high-lift ladders came screaming in – locals as well as from all the surrounding towns. They worked until 11 pm and then left it to burn itself out.

Next morning I walked across and saw a small fire still burning inside. Hhhmmm, I thought – that doesn’t look good! Within half an hour the whole place was blazing worse than ever and all the firefighters were back with their machines. We took a walk up to look in the evening and despite the enormous quantities of water we’d seen poured on the building for two days, there were still a number of healthy fires burning inside. Finally this morning it looks as if it has really has burned out!

Through the whole thing I was torn between disbelief that this was actually happening, the danger of the  whole place exploding in all directions, and fascination at the scale of it – a great column of smoke, enormous flames, the apparent ineffectiveness of the enormous quantities of water being poured down on it (and how quickly we could evacuate our dogs and cats).

Now that it really does seem to be over, my final thought is for two groups of people – the owners and workers in the business that has gone, and the brave men and women who battled to keep it from spreading to the adjacent buildings (including our bookstore).

Finally, pictures -

and gets worse

and gets worse

It starts

It starts

and even worse

and even worse

Then yesterday morning

Then yesterday morning

Half an hour later

Half an hour later

Last night

Last night

Meanwhile Owen is ready to go!

Meanwhile Owen is ready to go!

 

 

 

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Nike’s Christmas Letter

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all the bookstore’s cat and human friends near and far -

It’s my understanding that humans send a letter each Christmas detailing all the fun and exciting things that have happened in their lives since the last one.

I’m sure human adventures have little to compare to feline ones, but still, it’s sweet that you try. Now, to my own Christmas letter. Since I wasn’t here last year, being only six months old, we can all agree that the world is a better place now. I know you’ll want to hear about my whole life, so here it is:

ImageThe first thing I remember is being cold and hungry in a big dark place, and a sharp sting on my head. Then there was a lady saying nice things in a reassuring voice, and a car ride, and I was at the doctor’s having my head shaved. They saved me from dying of fly-strike, so I don’t fault them for laughing, but is it my fault the haircut accentuated my ears? I have a tiny body, so I did rather look like a moth.

Then I went to the bookstore, and people began cuddling me and saying how adorable I was. This part was fun, but soon I began to suspect that the bookstore people were trying to get rid of me. When people came to cuddle me, they kept saying I was “available” for “adoption.” When they said this about the other kittens at the shop with me, they began disappearing one by one.

Hmmmm….. I liked it at the bookstore. There was Owen, the muscular, attractive guy just a year older than me. We like to…. wrestle. And then there’s Valkyttie, the elder cat, fragile and brittle but she’s taken me in paw. She watches me play with Owen and then regales me with her adventures as a younger cat. Apparently she was quite the looker.

Now who would want to leave such a complete family, so I activated a cunning plan to stay. One of the humans who worked there seemed content to let me be, but I sensed resistance in the man. I set to work, rubbing my long silky fur against his ankles, leaping into his lap and purring as I nestled against his chest, gazing up with limpid hazel eyes, even emitting pathetic little mews in the mornings as he sipped his coffee, until he’d lean down and set me on his shoulder.Image

I thought it was all going well until one day I saw them packing my bowl and some favorite sparkly toys in a bag. I’d been “adoption”-ed? Well, I wasn’t having that, so I straightaway jumped into the man’s lap, lay on my back purring, and batted his mustache with my little pink paw.

So next Christmas my letter will again come from the bookstore, and meanwhile I pray for all the homeless kittens everywhere to find a safe and warm family, and for their owners to make sure they don’t have kittens themselves.Image

5 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized