The Good Life: An Unexpected Journey Through Dog Rescue and Adoption.

The Good Life: A Year of Thoughtful Seasons by Sarah Mattison Buhl

Any Damn Thing Can Happen: An Unexpected Journey Through Dog Rescue and Adoption.

A friend once said to me after a shocking turn of events in her life, “Any damn thing can happen.” The more revolutions I make around the sun, the more evidence I see of this understated truism. It is apparent in happenings both life-changing and unremarkable. Sometimes you win the lottery; sometimes the socks match up. Life after 40 is a game of chance, not skill. With luck, you will get to 50 on the right side of the grass, but along the way, you will be surprised again and again.

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Off the Mat: Bearing Witness to an Act of Compassion

Ode to a Hamster

My anxious boy follows hamster ball through kitchen, every 2.3 minutes asking, Can we put her back in her cage? What if she gets out? What if she gets stuck? Hurt? What if I can’t find her?

The worry. The holding on too tight. The annoyance of being woken up in the middle of the night. The basic cleaning and feeding. There’s a certain pleasure in watching him shoulder these responsibilities. Welcome to parenthood, kiddo. Welcome to caring for another living creature.  Read the rest of this entry »

Guinea Pig Co-Op

Felice Wolfzahn of Shelburne Falls, MA writes:


We have two lovely female guinea pigs (mother and daughter): Peppermint and Sparkle. As with a lot of pets, the family members are excited and interested for a while, but often the interest fades and they become more of a chore than a fascination. BUT……….. there’s hope other than trying to get rid of these cute, cuddly creatures.

Here’s the idea:

  • We get a few families (maybe 6) together who are interested and willing to care for and enjoy the guinea pigs for maybe two months at a time.
  • Each family is responsible for the care and well being (and one way of the transportation) of the GP’s for their time and then they pass them on to the next family.
  • (We could establish a small contribution from each family in a pot somewhere, in case the G.P.’s need any medical care).

If you’re interested please e-mail me:

Loss of a Family Pet

Loss of a Family Pet

Recently a friend of mine e-mailed to say that their beloved dog had passed away.  She mentioned how difficult it was to figure out how to communicate this to her two children.  We agreed that posting a few resources for families to have regarding pet loss could be of benefit to other families that might experience the loss of a family pet too.  Below are four links to articles and resources.  Please share any resources you feel might be useful to families in our comment box.

HFVS Library Cat Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)

Listen to Podcast:


(Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA
Saturday mornings from 9-10am
June 7th, 2008

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  • Bill Harley – “At Your Library” [I Wanna Play]
  • Billy Jonas – “What Kind of Cat Are You?” [Nappa Presents: Classic Animal Songs]
  • Andre 3000 – “Cool Kitty” [Class of 3000: Music Volume One]
  • Wendy Gelsanliter – “Itty Bitty Kitty in NYC” [Ants Wear Underpants]
  • Diana Decker – “Kitty in the Basket” [The Complete Diana Decker]
  • Twink – “Pussy Cat” [The Broken Record]
  • Dog on Fleas – “Plenty of Cats” [Fairly Good Songs for Fairly Good Kids]
  • Stray Cats – “Stray Cat Strut” [Stray Cats: Greatest Hits]
  • Ernie & Neal – “My Cat” [Rock the House]
  • Mr. Ray – “I’m Gonna Read a Book Someday” [Family Ride]
  • Storytelling ID: Steve Weeks
  • Jay Mankita – “The Day the Library Went Wild” [The Day the Library Went Wild]
  • Steve Songs – “Library” [Little Superman]
  • The Jellydots – “Ralph the Cat” [“Hey You Kids!”]
  • Recess Monkey – “Kitty Sister” [Tabby Road]
  • Various – “Sadie Green” [Sweet Georgia Brown]
  • Ralph Covert – “Malcom McGillikitty” [At the Bottom of the Sea]
  • Gunnar Madsen – “Library Party” [I’m Growning]
  • Dan Zanes – “So Long It’s Been Good to Know Yuh” [Night Train!]


This week’s episode is dedicated in memory of Sadie the library cat at the Meekins Library in Williamsburg, MA. Click here to read more about Sadie.

My daughter and I attended Sadie’s memorial service a couple of weeks ago. The library staff, along with a few patrons who also felt a loss with Sadie’s passing (after twelve years at the library), gathered to share kind words, good-bye tokens and singing. Before we left home, my daughter took a red pipe cleaner and formed it into the shape of a heart and then taped two blue craft feathers to either side to bring as a gift, “… because I know cats like birds,” she explained. My family is really grateful to the staff for allowing us to attend the service and to say our good-byes.

Sebago & my daughter in Maine.

(Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)


My daughter LOVES animals (and insects) and is the first to let you know about her greatest disappointment in life… not having a pet. She does have a goldfish named Rosevine (pictured above), who’s more than a year old, but nothing warm and fuzzy for her to hug and hold and dress in scarves and stuff in boxes … Having animal friends like Sadie gave her the opportunity to spend time with other people’s pets. Two other animal friends she is very attached to are Sebago (pictured here) and Delilah (pictured up top) – animal friends she either gets to visit or babysit, and who she is always excited to see, and sad about when she has to go back to her cold, lonely, petless-home. But all that has recently changed …


Violet the Kitten (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)


Introducing Violet, our newest family member! I think my daughter’s sadness over Sadie’s passing, along with her constant complaints of being the only kid in her class who does not have a pet, prompted her daddy to do something totally out of character. Without consultation or inquiry he adopted this beautiful nine week old black kitten from the Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society in Levertt, MA. It was a BIG surprise! I screamed when I unexpectedly saw her dash out from under the couch and cross the living room floor. I don’t know what I thought it was. And my daughter’s reaction was priceless – the excitement and joy she shared was well worth the next twelve years of vet bills, cat fur and litter box shifting. I’m sure we’ll be sharing all sorts of stories about Violet in the months to come.

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