Nymphadora Tonks

Luna Lovegood

Fleur Delacour

Ginny Weasley

Ron Weasley

Hermione Granger

Edmonton Pop-Up Cat Cafe

The brainchild of friends Aaron Getz, an event promoter, and Sarah Hoyles, a communications consultant and journalist, the Edmonton Pop-Up Cafe ran over the Canada Day weekend, allowing cat lovers from all over the city the chance to sup on their favourite beverage whilst playing, petting and cuddling some of Edmonton’s cutest foster cats, provided by Zoe’s Animal Rescue Society and the SAFE Team.  The proud owners of two rescue cats, Aaron and Sarah came up with the idea a few months ago and engaged the services of some Edmonton organizations they’d worked with/had experience of in the past.  There were 260 bookable spots available; when the initial allocation of 200 sold out within two days, an extra 60 spots were added which sold out in two hours!

As a venue Aaron had worked with in the past, he knew Latitude 53 was the perfect space to hold the event.  Specially built barriers were erected with an entrance door which, although expertly patrolled throughout the weekend, was almost breached by one wily cat.  Aaron and Sarah had previously adopted a cat from Zoe’s so the main cat provider was an easy choice.  Edmonton Pet Photography recorded the event for prosperity and you can check out their shots here.  Completing the set-up was Iconoclast Coffee which provided the beverages for the thirsty cat lovers.

There was a good mix of kittens and adult cats for the first day although it became quickly apparent that kittens flourish better in this kind of atmosphere.  Most of the adult cats were given a well deserved day off on the Sunday, with the SAFE Team kindly providing more kittens for the Sunday.  The event proved an excellent shop window for our four legged friends with a good number of applications being received by the end of the event.

As for the future, Aaron and Sarah said they’d be sitting down to discuss the future after they’d closed the door on this one.  For those who were unlucky enough not to get a ticket for the weekend, Aaron and Sarah think its more than likely they’ll repeat the event so it’s probably worthwhile to keep an eye on their website here for updates…

Anyways, here’s some photos…

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Edmonton International Cat Festival 2016

Back for its third year, the Edmonton International Cat Festival attracted young and old back to the NAIT gymnasium for a day of fun, frolicks, and cats…lots of cats.  The event, organized as always by Linda Hoang and emceed this year by local writer and entrepreneur Adam Rozenhart, contained all of the elements that has made it the success it is, with a few additional elements added in for good measure.

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This year, I entered the venue to find a long queue which, being a good Brit, I promptly joined.  It was only after five minutes of not moving that I decided to ask the person in front if this was the queue to get in, to which point I was informed that “No, this is the queue for Nana.”  I’m a bit deaf, so when I asked my boyfriend Steven (he’d been convinced to attend on the promise of kittens) who Nana was, he reckoned it sounded more like Nala.  Anyway, we got our tickets and wandered off to where the queue started only to see a fairly ordinary looking cat sitting in a child’s buggy, looking perfectly comfortable, almost nochalant.  A quick Google search revealed that Nala (or nala_cat as you might know her) is a five year-old rescued Siamese/Tabby mix who has 2.9 million followers on Instagram.  Now, Jesus had, at best estimates, only thousands of followers during his lifetime, and he died at 33, so we thought this might be worth queuing for.  Forty-five minutes later, most of them spend standing on the same spot thinking “Why?”, we got to meet Nala, who was still in the child’s buggy.  I expect it’s how she prefers to meet her public.  If I had 2.9 million followers on Instagram, some of whom could be bothered waiting forty-five minutes to see me, I’d probably plump for a chaise longue.  Now she may be a fairly ordinary cat in reality, but she does have one skill that none of the cats I’ve ever owned have had, when we had our picture taken she looked, without hesitation or deviation, directly at the camera.  The complete pro!

Version 2   Achilles & Apollo

DSC_0247   Doughnut

Zoe’s had a bigger profile at the event this year.  Last year’s sole ambassador, Tippy Canoe, quickly became a foster fail for Allen Williams.  This year we came mob handed with five of our finest in full-on adoption mode.  Justice, Achilles, Apollo, Doughnut, and Crossy were all in fine form.  Ensuring their experience was a good one and keeping the public right were Dusty, Susan, Jacqueline, Jan, Kath, and Nicole (who raised some serious moolah with her fantastic Catnip Mice on the stall with her friend Julie from Majesty Industries selling some gorgeous cat themed wallets, mugs, and travel masks.

DSC_0288   Justice

On the main stage there were presentations on Library Cats, a veterinary & behavioral Q&A, big cats, the Mr & Mrs Purr-fect Photo Contest and of course a presentation from the aforementioned celebrity cat Nala!  There was also something for the kids this year in the CATivities Centre allowed them to play with lego and draw to their hearts content and also purchase something tasty from the Cat Cafe!  Another new addition was the Cat Yoga session which was completely booked out.  The Edmonton Cat Fanciers Club also returned with a completely kitten based mock show this year.  Talking of kittens, there were more than you could shake a stick at, you know, the ones with the string, feather and bell at the end?

DSC_0306   Group Photo

Overall, totaling up the donations, proceeds from the Catnip Mice and Zoe’s Animal Rescue’s cut from the door proceeds, Zoe’s made more than $6000 from the event, which makes it one of the most important in the Zoe’s calendar, so clear your calendar for the last Saturday of May next year and we’ll see you then!

My 1st Foster Experience

Huey Pic for Blog

It was a big decision for us to decide to foster. I’d been volunteering with Zoe’s for over a year and from day one I had dreamed of being able to foster. After a lot of consideration and making sure it was the right time we decided to fill out the foster application form and officially become fosters! Little did we know that our 1st foster would be more than we had imagined.

Huey came to Zoe’s from a loving home, the owners situation had changed and he could no longer keep his beloved boy. He was successfully adopted out to a great couple, but unfortunately it became apparent that their resident dog was not accepting of Huey, it just wasn’t the right fit. As Zoe’s has a policy that a Zoe’s animal is always a Zoe’s animal, they took Huey back in and he became our 1st foster. I had heard a lot about Huey, I knew he was a Mastiff and that he was VERY big and a great dog. What pulled up in front of our place was a vehicle stuffed to the brim with one dog, Huey….all 190 pounds of his brindle sweetness.

One of my favorite movies growing up was Turner & Hooch. So naturally you think back to that movie and all of the crazy moments where Hooch basically destroys everything you love. Thoughts of oh my dog how big will his poops be, will he even fit on the dog bed that we have for him, will he eat our resident cat, how much do you feed this brindle slobbering pooping farting machine?

It took days for me to get over how big Huey was. He didn’t realize his size and didn’t understand why he couldn’t sit on your lap. Over the course of the next couple weeks we had a fun time getting to know Huey’s quirks and personality.

Things we learned:
1) Huey farted loud and often and at shockingly loud decibels with no shame
2) he snores like an old man
3) when he shook his head slobber did literally fly everywhere and coat surfaces such as the tv, wall, ceiling and anything in its path
4) he had the sweetest demeanor and just wanted to be around his people
5) never leave anything unattended on the kitchen counter, including a whole block of cheese
6) Huey does what he wants when he wants and sometimes pretends he’s hearing impaired
7) when shopping for a collar, measure first, trying to explain to the person at the pet store that “no sorry I don’t think a collar that’s the size of a humans waist will fit Huey” gets very surprised looks
8) our yard looked like a dinosaur grave yard because of the massive bones that Huey liked to chew on
9) Mastiffs are a unique breed and not like any other breed of dog I’ve come across

Huey came to us a bit on the fluffy side, but hey we all need to work on ourselves don’t we?! So we got to work right away on a diet plan and exercise routine. Huey took to it like a champ. He loved his new weight loss food, carrots as treats and going on lots of walks. Over the next couple weeks applications started coming in again for Huey, which made me happy but sad at the same time. We started to become very attached to him and discussed adopting Huey. But we realized that we weren’t the ideal fit long term for Huey.

So after reviewing applications the perfect family arose that had experience with Mastiffs, older children that we wouldn’t have to worry about him knocking over and a home with no other dogs as he wants undivided attention and a family willing to take his weight loss and his bit of separation anxiety seriously. You do second guess yourself, am I doing the right thing? Will they love him as much as we do?

When the family came over he seemed relaxed around them… relaxed enough to let out a long big loud fart. Eh em….my husband and I looked at each other mortified thinking oh shoot, not a great selling feature. But the adoptive family laughed and said “oh don’t worry we’re used to that”. Just like that I knew we had a match.

When the family came to pick them up I knew it would be hard. They were so excited and Huey was so happy to see them that he didn’t even look back. They pulled away, I was holding it together, I went into the kitchen and Huey had left a big slobber snot streak on our kitchen counter and I burst into tears. Happy tears!

Anytime I talk about fostering with people they always say “I could never foster I’d get too attached and it would break my heart to let them go”. I can honestly say that yes, it’s hard, but knowing that you helped that animal on his journey to find the perfect home is the most rewarding feeling. Your foster home is now open to bring in another animal, for some that can be lifesaving as we bring animals in from many types of situations. Fostering saves lives and in the words of Huey’s adoptive family “thanks so much for helping us to adopt Huey. He certainly has rescued us”.

By Crystal Stronski

Insider Tips for Dog Parks in Edmonton

By Kristy Rhyason

2015-12-17 15.12.50We are so fortunate to live in a city with plenty of beautiful off-leash dog parks. Since adopting my dogs a couple of years ago, I’ve made it my mission to visit as many as possible in Edmonton and the surrounding areas. Based on those visits, I’ve put together some tips for visiting off-leash parks with your doggy friend.

Make Sure a Dog Park is Right for Your Dog

Remember that many dogs will not do well at a dog park; in fact, we recommend some dogs find other places to exercise. It’s important to have a very strong recall (or head to a fenced park) and a very well socialized dog. Dog parks are not for developing socialization skills – instead, check out some classes at the Edmonton Humane Society, Dogspaw, or any of our other local positive reinforcement trainers.

Visit During Less Busy Times

I always try to visit dog parks at times I know will be less busy – in the early morning or during supper time, for example. Winter is a great season to visit the dog park; I often find we have 2015-12-17 15.08.50the park to ourselves! Although I understand the temptation of an off-leash frolic in a park with your dog on a beautiful summer Saturday, the really busy times can be overwhelming for some dogs. Take the opportunity to explore a new neighbourhood on-leash instead!

Focus on Your Four-Legged Friend

Make sure to be in the moment while you’re at the dog park. Focus on your dog and carefully observe situations and body language. I always avoid standing around in groups and like to keep moving by hiking through some of the back trails. There is so much to explore, so this isn’t really challenging!

Respect Wildlife

We often encounter rabbits, deer, geese, ducks and coyotes on our walks. This is another reason to have a strong recall. If I see rabbits or deer before my dogs do, I will leash my dogs and change direction. I’d rather give wildlife their space and happily coexist. We watch local Facebook groups like Edmonton Dog Connections to keep up-to-date with coyote sightings and avoid areas with many encounters. However, I’ve seen a coyote walk right down the street in my neighbourhood before, so it’s best to always be cautious.

Besides these things, ensure your vaccinations and licences are up-to-date, pack your poop bags, and you’re ready to explore.

River Valley Parks in Edmonton

2015-12-17 15.12.04The off-leash areas along the river valley are some of my favourite spots in the city. I particularly enjoy the trails along the river at Buena Vista, Terwillegar, Mill Creek, and Gold Bar Parks.

Buena Vista Dog Park
is by far the park we visit most. There are lots of trails to get lost on, a dog beach for swimming and lots of room separated from bikes. I’ve encountered quite a bit of wildlife here including deer and coyotes, so be on the lookout. There is a large open field where they launch hot air balloons from (usually only on weekends in the summer) so be prepared for that as well. This park is absolutely beautiful year round. There is parking near the zoo and also at Hawrelak Park. Remember to watch the signs to make sure you are complying with on-leash areas.

Terwillegar Dog Park is huge and you will feel like you’ve been transported out of the city; it’s wonderful! There is a dog beach here too – just be careful of the currents. I’ve witnessed more than one small dog 2015-10-02 14.21.28get caught up. Luckily, it’s almost always very shallow. There are so many great trails to follow in this park that I don’t think I’ve even covered them all yet. There are short walks and long walks depending on what your pup needs. We have encountered coyotes in this park too, so keep an eye out.

Mill Creek Ravine is another gem. There are lots of places to access this park so check out a map before you go. The creek is stunning and the trail follows it through the trees. There are some cool wooden walkways that cross the trails and give it a great atmosphere. My dogs love to play in the creek too; they chase sticks as they get pulled downstream. It’s very shallow and safe.

Gold Bar Park also has an off-leash trail that runs along the river. This trail is stunning in the fall, although I enjoy it year-round. We park at Rundle, Gold Bar, or Capilano Park depending on how far we want to walk. There are lots of joggers and cyclists on this trail so make sure your dog is good with that. The river banks are a little high here (one time my dog couldn’t make it back up and we had to lift her) so be careful with smaller dogs. There are lots of pretty vistas and you can walk across the pedestrian bridges.

Neighbourhood Off-Leash Dog Parks

2015-12-17 15.11.21We are lucky enough to live right beside a small off-leash dog park – it’s been a great way to get to know our neighbours and their dogs. We’ve also explored quite a few of these mini parks around the city. They are often hard to find if you’re not from the neighbourhood and don’t often have many services, but they are cute and quiet. The City of Edmonton has a map to help you find them – there might be one closer to you than you think! Some of these parks are near busy roads and aren’t fenced. Even though my dogs have a really strong recall, we avoid the areas near the road just to be safe. We’ve really enjoyed hunting down these little neighbourhood parks and visiting places we haven’t been before!

Fenced Dog Parks in Sherwood Park, Leduc and Spruce Grove

If you’re looking for a fenced dog park, you’re going to have to head out of town. The parks in Sherwood Park, Leduc, and Spruce Grove are fenced and none of them are too far of a drive.
Deermound Off-Leash Park just outside Sherwood Park on Highway 21 and Township Road 522 is beautiful. Besides the open field, there is a lovely trail through the forest – bring your boots in the spring because it gets a bit flooded. There is a fence for most of the park, however some of the areas leading into the surrounding neighbourhoods aren’t fenced.2015-12-17 15.10.08

Leduc K9 Off-Leash Park has been convenient for us when we had time to kill before picking someone up at the airport, but it’s worth a visit just for fun too! The entire park is fenced and it’s never been busy when we’ve been there. Airplanes fly quite close overhead so fearful dogs might not enjoy it as much.

Cpl. Jim Galloway Memorial Off Leash Area in Spruce Grove is another great fenced park. This one has a separate area for small dogs too! Again, this is another park that is never too busy when we’ve visited.

If you’re looking for a fenced dog park in Edmonton, you can check out Central Bark at the Edmonton Humane Society. It’s a members only fenced park with a fee; membership fees go to maintain the park. They also have a separate area for small dogs.

Have I missed any really great dog parks? Do you have a favourite?