life lately: pups, smoothies, and lots of work

puppies!

I was once part of a turtle rescue in Prospect Park. It was a Friday and I walked the length of the park when I encountered a large turtle crossing the bike pathway, making its way to the street. Right before the encounter, I saw a man shove another turtle in a bag and I shouted at him as he walked out of the park. All of this was odd–the man in a cloth hat, a random turtle in Brooklyn–and I paused, unsure of what to do. As luck would have it, a woman riding her bike stopped and told me that she’d just a job at an animal reserve, and we stood as she tried calling her boss to find out what we should do with said turtle. For an hour, we guarded the creature amidst catcalls from boys on bikes and strange looks from passersby. Finally, the woman got through to her boss and promised she would foster the turtle for the night until proper arrangements could be made. The woman and I exchanged numbers and she walked, turtle in tow, back to her Coney Island apartment.

I followed up with the woman on the bike and she sent me photos of the turtle at the reserve. Safe. Seemingly happy.

I love animals, irrationally so. My pop and I used to joke that we preferred animals over people because animals don’t know artifice–they’re primal in their wants and honest about their affection. I’ve always had a pet, cats mostly, and I regarded every one of them as part of my family. Long-time readers know how devasted I was when I lost my Sophie in 2013. Even though she paw-swatted, hissed and had her way with my carbs, I adored her. At the time, I couldn’t fathom having another pet, and then I met Felix, my sweet boy, and I often joke that he’s a dog in a catsuit. Lately, I’ve been thinking about getting him a companion. The shelter, from where I adopted Felix, warned me not to get another cat because Felix experienced early trauma in a multi-cat household and became an alpha feline. I couldn’t imagine Felix hurting anyone (he doesn’t even hiss!) until a dog entered our home (long story), frantic, and Felix made sounds I never conceived he could make. Recently, I’ve been talking to local shelters and animal behaviorists, and it is possible to introduce a new pet, but the integration would have to be mindful, slow and it’ll require a great deal of my time. I’m saving $ for a money to a small home where I could have a little yard so that Felix would roll around in the grass (#goals, etc), and I’ve been thinking about adopting a young dog.

So when my friend Alexis text’d me with a photo of a puppy pile and a message that she was fostering 7 pups and one mom until Sunday, I replied back, inviting myself over. Alexis is this incredible human, and she’s been working with Social Tees NYC, an animal rescue, to foster dogs–even from Los Angeles! If you’re one of my unlucky followers on Instagram or Snapchat (I’m @felsull!), I spammed you with an endless stream of puppy videos, because when you’re with cuteness for three hours you tend to cuddle with one hand and snap photos with the other.  I actually fell for the mother, a pup with fox ears and a mean little strut, and I told Alexis that I would be interested in adopting her when she’s ready to be weened from her pups in three months time. And even if I don’t get this pup, at least I’ll have time to research how to acclimate Felix with a new friend without him going on rein of terror. (Any thoughts/advice are welcome)

I’m still baffled that these pups were in a kill shelter. They’re so sweet and beautiful and if you don’t fall in love after feeling their small hearts beat in your hand, you’re the worst kind of animal.

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I arrived in California, fit and healthy, and over the course of seven months, all of my hard work from the past year went asunder. I ate baguettes slathered in butter. I ordered personal pizzas on the regular. Cheese became my primary food group. A bottle of wine a day was par for the course. And then I went into therapy, got on meds, regained my sanity, got off the sauce, re-entered the world, scored two amazing projects, and decided to get my health back on track. After enduring a skin blitzkrieg (raised burning hives, anyone?) and a skin reaction that followed as a result of the medication to alleviate the hives, I made some rapid changes in my diet and life. I nixed gluten and dairy from my life (although I do have small amounts of cheese a week), I resumed blitzing my morning protein smoothie, replaced all my household cleaning products and skin products with ingredients I could read. Greens resumed their role as the headliner rather than the backup dancer on my plate, and I’ve returned to my meditation and exercise practices. Again, this is not about being skinny or depriving myself of food, this is about making it to 90 (isn’t this woman INCREDIBLE?) and still be spunky and aware, and have the ability to punch people in the face if I needed to. So I’m returning to healthy eats and I’ll be sharing recipes on this space.

Want this yum recipe? Get it here.

blueberry smoothie
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6 Comments on “life lately: pups, smoothies, and lots of work

  1. I feel like a prefer animals over people and we’ve always had a dog or cats in the house. It just doesn’t feel like home without a furry friend! I hope you get your doggy friend and Felix is okay with it!

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  2. I have never introduced a cat and dog so I don’t think that I can be of help. The only thing that I have know with dogs is that it is best if the first meet is outside the home. #nothelpful

    It is really good to hear that you have cut the sauce and are getting your health back on track. I am sending you so much Love for that. And yet again, our paths are running parallel for a bit, as since I have been back in the States I have been working on “cleaning up my act” – from cutting back/out the booze to totally changing the way I eat to reduce inflammation for my depression (it is working and I have also lost 20 pounds – a much needed bonus). Am back in therapy and Al-Anon. And I am, at 46, learning to drive! It is SO frightening. But so is facing everyday without numbing myself at some point. But it is great.

    My Sister turned me on to Tara Brach and both her podcasts and her book “Radical Acceptance” are helping me SO much. She is so smart (my Sister and Tara Brach).

    Yes to the love of animals. One of the hardest part about taking this “tria”l separation has been leaving my two dogs in France. Thank goodness that my Mom has a dog or otherwise I would be a giant mess. He seems to understand everything.

    Hoping you get that house, Felicia.

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  3. I’ve introduced cats to my dog a few times before (the reverse of what you’re trying, so I don’t know if it will be the same).
    I first thing I did was to put the cat in another room for a couple of hours, so that he could get used to my smells and explore a little.
    Then I had a cup of tea with my dog and calmed down. Animals can sense your tension, so it’s important that you be calm.
    After a while, I brought the kitten out and it sat with it on my lap without making too much of a fuss. My dog didn’t know it was there until I was sitting down for a while already.
    Sniffing ensued. The kitten hissed a little and the dog licked it over-eagerly, but eventually they both calmed down and cuddled on the couch. They were best friends ever since.

    I think it will be a little different with the reverse though, because the cat won’t be as eager as the dog to get to know the other. I would recommend not neglecting the cat in this process. The puppy is new, so he won’t know if you’re spending more time with the cat than you usually do. Maybe you should try the same method, but don’t force it on your cat to get to know the puppy. I’m sure you know very well how independent cats are… 😉

    I think the most important bit in your process is to stay as calm as you can. This will make the world’s difference.

    I hope this helps!?

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