Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Today's the day!

All right! This is Silvia, telling you...
ES Blog is officially back in action!

I know it's been forever since we've posted here, but today is my 15th birthday, and it's also Earth Day. I feel like this is a good time to bring this website back.

So, what's going on?

Well, for starters, we're going to change the formatting on the blog a bit. Particularly old posts and my (now also quite old, though being rewritten) fanfiction will be shelved in an archive for less clutter.
These older posts were not the best writing, though they were for my and Shea's age at the time. Our newer posts will be much more informed, current, and hopefully overall better.

Shea is not exactly a part of ES Blog any more, as school was too much and she began to realize that our blog, well...I'll admit it has some issues. My mission is to fix this. If Shea wants to come back, that's great, and I will welcome her with open arms, but if not, I respect her decision.

I may recruit some other people to help out with collecting and spreading information, and anyone who wants to help is more than welcome. This is a current goal of ES Blog: To show fellow teens that we can and will make a difference!
We are a generation, one who has the ability to take care of the beautiful planet on which we live and breathe, and it will be so much easier if we just work together. I know we can make a difference. How many of you are already helping fight for a cause or two?
I promise, anything I ask of you is completely optional and I will never purposely interfere with schoolwork, your personal lives, or attempt to force you to do anything.

We are living on this planet, together. No matter what your religion, race, gender, or sexuality, we're in this together. And it's our job to protect it and teach people why we need to protect it. The Earth is unique. Why would we trash it? I stepped outside today and was greeted by a beautiful, life-filled day. And I want the next generation to see it too.

See ya, and thank you for your support.

- Silvia

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Stop global warming!

This is serious. The ice caps are seriously melting at an alarming rate. What would happen if too many of them did?
Many species reliant on the ice caps would die. The natural balance would be upset, amazing creatures would go extinct, and it would only be a matter of time before other areas experienced similar problems.
Pollution kills. Please, please, for the sake the Earth and all creatures living on it, do your part.
You can:
1. Donate to real organizations trying to invent cleaner cars or save an endangered species.
2. Use your car less! Walking or biking for short trips helps a lot!
3. Buy less products made by big pollutions companies.
4. Petition for changes! Make a difference by raising awareness at your school or other areas.
And many more things! Recycle, be creative, be conservative.
This is a real, scientifically proven problem, people! What about future generations? Whatever happens to other species also affects humans. Even if we can't stop it, we can slow it.
Let's save our planet!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Status 5/11/14 (Please read!)

Hi, Silvia here.
Wow. We're more than a little inactive, aren't we? I'd better fix that!
Here's what's going on:

Silvia is going to edit Legends of the Flight and The Pokemon of Afisia, now that it's been a while and she can safely say she's improved as a writer(and will hopefully continue to do so!).
We're going to work on some articles, of course. Hopefully, updates can more frequent, and have more information(and sources, if needed).
Silvia's going to try working on those stories about her fosters, and possibly redo that article about rescue animals.
We might change slightly change the site's look.

About Shey:
Shey has been inactive on the blog due to school and personal reasons. She is still participating in eco-friendly activities, of course, but will probably not be writing many articles. Silvia may ask her to write a small one, however, since Shey's gotten so good at reports since her last post... (If you're reading this, Shey, come on.. you know it's true. :P)

Please, tell us in the comments what you would like to learn/see us write about! We love getting feedback!
Thanks you, and keep being Earth-friendly!
- Silvia and Shey

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone! Just as a reminder..
When dressing up your pet, make sure the costume is comfortable and easy to move around in. Don't force your pet to get dressed up if he/she doesn't want to.
When taking your pet Trick-or-Treating, make sure they are on-leash and someone responsible is holding said leash.
Most of all..
- The admins, Shea and Silvia

Friday, October 11, 2013

Status 8/11/13

Yo, readers. I(Silvia), recently got an interest spike in Geography. Yeah. My second least favorite school subject, and I'm actually going on Wikipedia and stuff to find out more. I think I'm crazier than normal today.
Why am I interested in Geography suddenly, you ask? Because I've been learning about Africa and Asia and all those places recently, and dang, this world is messed up. The economies, the lack of money and supplies.. And believe it or not, it's actually linked up with pollution, deforestation, and all those things we environmentalists LOVE to hear about. (Sarcasm)
I'm probably gonna make an article on this soon. Stay tuned.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Second time fostering: Sammy and the Bottle Babies

Note: "We" in this case means Mom and I, unless otherwise stated.

Well, it started when we visited Tracy, the HSSA Volunteer Coordinator, to return Merlin and Twix, our first fosters. She had a small cage on her desk, which held three sleeping kittens, each one small enough to fit in your hand. Their names were Tigris, Mantis, and Blade, and all three were girls.
She let us say hello to the tiny bundles, and explained that they were still on bottle, despite being 5 weeks of age(old enough to be starting dry food)! Why were they so tiny? We got the whole story later.
These guys were taken to the vet about a minute old. The mother had possibly died giving birth, and the kittens still had the umbilical cord attached. For unknown reasons, the kittens had not yet grown larger than the size of a 2 week-old. The theory was that since they never got their mother's milk, they were possibly missing out on some thing vital to their growth, and the pushing and teaching a mother cat gives her babies.
Tracy also mentioned another foster she had, about a half week older than these guys, but the correct size for his age, named Sammy. Apparently, Sammy tried to be a surrogate mother for the bottle babies. However, his fierce licking of their bottoms gave one of the kittens diaper rash, and he had to be separated from them unless he was under constant supervisation.
She explained that Sammy, unlike the bottle babies, could be left alone in the house. She said he did very well without her.

A while after we returned Twix and Merlin, we got a call, from Tracy asking us to take Sammy. We agreed, and upon arriving at the building, found another carrier on the desk. This one contained a scrawny(he really was scrawny) black kitten who still had the kitten-blue eyes that would possibly wear off. Sammy. And he was voicing his displeasure at not being paid attention to. He had a small clear rubber-ish ball with a bell inside that he occasionally batted around. But it was clear that he wanted attention from humans at the moment.
"Meow. Meow. Meow."
We tried to calm him, let him paw at our hands(although sometimes he got just a little rough with the claws), and talked to him while trying to keep up conversation with the other humans in the room, but he wouldn't stop. We even held him for a while, which helped a little bit.
As it turned out, Tracy was going on a trip for three days and couldn't take her fosters with her. The constant feedings for the bottle babies, and paying attention to Sammy, was wearing her out badly.
We would have offered the take in the bottle babies. But we hadn't taken the class for caring for them and feeding them. Apparently, no one could take them in and Tracy was desperate. So she gave us a 3-minute bottle baby feeding class. She said we passed and we should call up the Foster Care Department if we had any questions.
So we ended up driving home with a complaining Sammy and three bottle babies who didn't seem to enjoy the car.

       Above is a photo of Tigris.

At home, we tested out our skills at feeding the bottle babies. Tracy said we should feed them as soon as we got home, because they hadn't been fed for a few hours.
It is really hard to bottle feed kittens. They squirm, they close their mouths tightly, they even spit it out, and if you don't hold them right you could make them choke. And even if they don't want to eat, you have to feed them.

Finally, we let Sammy, who had been exploring my bed, return to the floor. He mewled whenever the bottle babies mewled, and tried to reach them. It was heartbreaking to keep him away from them, but we hadn't forgotten the bottle Tracy had given us. It was labeled "Butt Ointment", and we had to apply a little daily onto Mantis's tiny bottom, thanks to Sammy's urge to clean the kits.
 I had tried to get a photo of the black cat(which I'm sure you are aware is difficult).

There was a little bit of formula at the bottom of the bottle. Sammy appeared to be hungry, and although we were trying to get him to eat dry food instead of wet, a little couldn't hurt, right? 
We gave him the bottle and he latched on immediately, sucking with tremendous force. We could hardly get him to slow down.
We watched him for a while, gnawning on the rubber nipple of the bottle. We got a glimpse of his teeth and the same thought occurred to Mom and I at the same time.
"What if he chews off the nipple? Can he?"
As we reached for him to pry his jaws off the bottle, Sammy looked at us. I swear he had a "Oh, you don't want me to do this?" Mischievous cat look. He tilted his head up and gulped. We sprang for the bottle, but it was too late. The entire nipple, save the base, had been chewed off in a way that suggested sharks. And Sammy looked very contented with himself.
Mom open his mouth and looked, but we had to admit that he had swallowed the whole thing.

Mom ended up calling foster care about it. We were reassured that he probably wouldn't have any problem passing it, but we brought the remaining part of the nipple to them to make sure the amount he swallowed wouldn't clog his digestive tract. They compared the base to a whole rubber nipple, and said he would be fine. Sammy threw up the nipple later, whole. So I am very happy to report that he suffered no lasting damage from it.
However, that wasn't the last time this fostering would bring unexpected events.

We put Sammy in the tub, and the three bottle babies in a long cardboard box. We taped the top of the box up, and lined it with blankets. We fed them water with an eyedropper, since they couldn't yet lap, and we didn't want to leave them with a water bowl.

The feedings of the three bottle babies every few hours were very taxing. I had Karate to go to(about one hour per lesson), Mom had to cook and do the laundry, and homeschool me, and Dad had to work. It was only for the weekend, but it felt like forever.
The bottle babies needed to learn to lap, and then we could get them on solid wet food. 
We put a low bowl of wet food on the dining room table, with the tablecloth on, and placed the bottle babies near it. They were so underdeveloped they could hardly walk, and finally one walked up the bowl. She stood in it and continued walking until she was about halfway across, then seemed to realize that she was walking through wet food. She lifted a paw, inspected it with disgust, and shook it.  You'd think that wouldn't be too bad, but the act of her shaking each of her legs in turn, in an attempt to get off the wet food, made tiny particles of the food sail everywhere. It traveling a good 2-5 feet from where the kitten was, and soon Mom and I were covered head-to-toe in it. Mom wasn't amused until later, but I couldn't help it. I laughed and laughed as I scooped kittens up and placed them near the bowl, only for the same result. Finally, we gave up(for the moment), fed them with the bottle, and gave them their first bath, which was more like a sponge bath with a few dunkings in a bowl of warm water. They didn't like it, and the bath only helped to get some of the crusty food out of their fur. After that, we bought Kitten Wipes. 

Eating on her own!

Sammy was a climber and jumper

I think you now get the idea of it. I could go on for a much longer time with tales of food flinging and difficult feedings, but for your sake I'll get to the point. Suffice to say, they began to eat wet food off of our fingers, and even started eating from the bowl! They also learned to lap.

At one point, Mom and I went to the Furbaby Fiesta, an HSSA Event, to volunteer there and see Merlin and Twix, who got adopted that day. For more info on the Furbaby Fiesta and how it went, check out the article I made about Twix and Merlin.
After we were done at the event, we were walking at a moderate pace back to our car when Mom got a call from Dad. Apparently, the bottle babies and Sammy wanted to be fed and paid attention to, and they were making a lot of noise. We hurried back home and fed them, and attempted to calm down Sammy, and all was well until about 3 hours later, when the bottle babies wanted to be fed again. 
For the record, fostering is not easy. Mentally, and Physically, it taxes you. And the amount of love we pour into these guys.. The question I get asked the most is "Isn't it hard to return them?". Yes. It's hard. But you also get the satisfaction of knowing that you really made a difference to their lives. And we trust the HSSA to find the right match for them, or another foster family if they need it.
It can also be hard to tell similar kittens apart by appearance. We were having trouble telling Tigris, the runt, and her sister Blade apart. Mantis was easier to tell from the others, because she was blue and gray in some places, like her face.
We spent a while figuring out how to tell the sisters apart, but we eventually came up with a few ways.

They wouldn't often stay still while we were weighing them.

All the time we were worrying about whether or not the bottle babies were growing, Sammy was growing. A lot. He began to fill out his scrawny frame and slowly began to put on pounds. He played ferociously with a bird toy, climbed Mt.Couch, played with his ball that had a bell, and overall proved he was a healthy kitten.
But there were two concerns.
One, he wouldn't eat dry food. We'd leave it for him, mixed with some wet, and he'd eat around the dry pellets, licking off the wet food.
We tried adding water to the food, but then he barely ate it.
Mom chopped the dry food up, but then it was so small he didn't pay much attention to it, especially one he discovered it was all dry. So we added the chopped stuff to the wet, but he still ate around it, and what he did swallow was so small it wouldn't fill him much.
We had a little bit of dried catnip that came with scratching boards we bought, so I even added a little of that. Sammy still wanted wet food.
This was worrying, because he was losing weight when we were supposed to be making sure he gains some pounds, and we were also supposed to get him to eat dry food.
Finally, we ended up not feeding him unless he'd eat the dry food, and that mostly worked, but Sammy gave me a dirty look every time he ate some dry.

Second, he played too rough. We discovered this the hard way. As we played with him, he'd get more and more rough, until he was actually using claws. It didn't hurt too badly, but we had scratches on our hands, and we couldn't let him continue scratching anything but his scratching boards.
Mom's theory, which I agree with, is that because Sammy didn't have any playmates, he didn't have someone who would squeal and hit him back when it hurt. So we tried pinning him to the ground, not enough to hurt, to try to get the message across. He didn't get it, so we stopped the attempt.
Mom came back from the consignment shop with a Beanie Baby stuffed cat, who became Sammy's playmate. He loved the cat, who I named Shell, and would "rabbit kick" the stuffed animal for a long time before becoming tired of the play. I would hold the stuffed animal and move it around like a real kitten, and Sammy would attack it. We also gave him a stuffed sheep I had that had once been a dog toy, which he slept with.

Stuffed Animal friends. Can you spot Sammy?

As it turns out, Play-Time was the only sure fire way to get Sammy to be quiet. He would even try to meow while eating.

On the day we returned the bottle babies, I was weighing them one last time, to see how much they'd grown.
The bottle babies were coming worrisomely close to the edge of the counter. They didn't seem to understands that they could fall from the counter, and seemed to be determined to slip off. 
I grabbed one of them to keep her from slipping off, and Blade, who I had to release, did slip off.
The fall from the counter is only about 3 feet, but Blade was so tiny I immediately panicked. She was alive, but was on her back and writhing in a very scary way. Mom shrieked, automatically coming to the conclusion that Blade's back was broken, causing Dad to come over.
I won't lie, tears were shed. Mom held Blade to her chest until she stopped squirming and her breathing returned to normal. Then we rushed her to the HSSA, and brought her to the vet stationed there. The vet checked her out while we waited with the other two kittens in the carrier, and when she came out with Blade the vet said Blade was absolutely fine. Relieved, we explained that Blade was actually weeks older then she looked, which got a shocked look from the vet.
We still aren't sure why she went into that trauma, but Blade is sturdy, like most kittens.
The hardest part was explaining what happened to Tracy, who I secretly feared would never let us take another foster. This was not the case, thankfully.

We kept Sammy a few weeks more, and we slowly recovered from losing so much sleep while we had the bottle babies. Mom said we wouldn't take in another litter of bottle babies, but we ended up taking more months later. But I'll write a separate article on that.
When we returned Sammy, people were impressed at how sleek his once-patchy coat was. 
We handed in the paperwork explaining Sammy's habits, which would be handed to his adopter when was adopted. On it, we had mentioned Sammy's habit of playing rough, which now included teeth. The woman checking out the paperwork told us where to sign, and circled the part of about confirming  the foster doesn't have rabies.
"Oh, no, it's not that kind of biting." Mom said.
"I know, that's why I circled it." Was the reply.
I explained that Sammy liked his ball to be with him, and the volunteer who picked him up assured us that she'd make sure his ball stayed with him in the kennel.

After we returned Sammy, Mom said that he was harder to return than the others, because Sammy looked up to her as his mother. It's true that Sammy seemed to bond to one person.

About a month later, pictures were posted by the bottle baby's new foster. The sisters were renamed, and had grown amazingly! They were about the same size as they should be, their fur had grown a bit, and their eyes were brighter. It's amazing what foster care can do.

Monday, September 16, 2013