Adventures in July

I actually wanted to have such an entry almost every month, but this wasn’t really possible, especially if I had something else to say, or if I didn’t have enough time.

Unlike July 2016, this one was quite full. I had a pretty big task to write at the beginning of the month, and then 2 smaller ones. Well, this is not really something you might really be interested in, so, no pics to show off.

I also managed to stick more to a posting schedule, all thanks to my bullet journal. If it looks messy, it’s because I have yet to discover a journaling method that works for me. Or that looks less messy. An if you think this is not a proper bullet journal notebook, you’re right: it is an agenda used as a daily planner with no monthly spreads, with dedicated pages for each day, so on. It might serve better as  a diary, if you were to write every day, a single page. I use the date written on the page, as page-number.

What stood out the most, was Ciel my pet crow being more active, coming to me to play, and all that jazz. I was really scared that he might be depressed, but I guess he’s not. His favorite things to play with are items that are long and thin – line pens, pencils, drinking straws. He likes to play with pens so much, he learned where I keep them and goes to them to steal them. It’s actually quite hilarious!

He knows which pens I don’t want him to play with, and those are the ones he wants the most. Of course! Last night, when we returned from a stroll in the park, I found ALL the pens missing from their place, a bird dancing on the table, and the floor covered in pens. That was quite something to clean, HAHA!

This video is from the first day he started playing so much.  I thought he’s hilarious! He would keep on coming back for more pens! And, yes, I have several looking identical, for no good reason.

We also went out to have ice cream. And we did it as often as we could. What you need to know is that we found a few places selling really good ice cream. For instance, Ana Baking has one of the best salted caramel ice creams! Guys! You HAVE to go there if you ever visit Romania. Just don’t order coffee or coffee based drinks: our tasted like something nasty, and we won’t get that again.

Another awesome ice-cream we had was at this place called Caffeol. The ice cream came in a cone, dipped in a milkshake! We ordered the coconut flavor one which was inspired by the Raffaello bonbons. It even had one bonbon on top! Guys! One such drink is more than enough for 2 people! Sadly, if you want to order soy milk in your drink, you have to pay more 😦

up close: Raffaello Maddness. picture by @calinescu_alexandru on instagram.

This place also sells some lemonades: some 5 flavors? there is classic lemonade, lemonade with melon, with strawberry, and I forgot what else. I managed to order a melon lemonade without lemon [say that 3 times fast!] and it tasted so good! It basically contains melon or strawberry, orange and lemon, so you can give up the lemon or orange if you really want. My partner has a sensitive stomach and citrus fruits, especially lemons are REALLY bad for their stomach.

that’s one of their lemonades and a Snickers Maddness frappe. pic by @foodofromania on instagram

Sadly I lost my pictures of the drinks, so I had to search them up. Caffeol has 3 locations: one in the Historical Center of Bucharest – where we went, one in Brasov and another one in Ploiesti. Check them out if you visit Romania!

We wanted to go to the pool, however we didn’t manage to get around to it. Hopefully, this month, we will go there. The thing is, we have a couple water parks, and lake sides where we could go to swim or relax, however it is not safe to go there, health-wise. Those waters are not as monitored, and since so many people go there, the waters are more likely to be contaminated with all sorts of bacteria and viruses. Going to a pool club of sorts, is more fancy and safe as far as your health goes. Here are a couple of pictures from 2 years ago.

This is actually a health center with a gym, sauna, swimming pool, and there is a restaurant as well. The place is located by a lake, but the pool is covered and not connected to the lake. It’s really quiet and peaceful. Too bad the entrance fee is rather high in local currency.

This month also marked the first time I wrote something in Chinese, all by myself. I’m so proud of myself: I started studying Mandarin last year, but I was never consistent about it. However I do have something to show for it. Maybe I will post a separate entry with all the characters I DO know. Until then, this is what I wrote:

In all fairness, the “nice to meet you” line [the one before the short break] I wrote by looking it up and I have yet to learn how to say it without looking at the pronunciation. I can post a comment with the reading and translation if you want, just say so below 😉

There is one more thing that happened, right on the last day of July, but please stay tuned for that one, as I have a vlog about it. I will post it separately because this already became too long, and I need to write a few more explanations for the vlog.

Until next Sunday~~


(c) 2013 – present  The Owner Travels To. all rights reserved.

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we’re all parrots

This may sound like a weird title or subject to write about, however, when you really thinking about it, you’ll see this is true.

As adults we might think that parroting is something of an insult, but honestly this is how we learn things! Everything we know is more or less parroting others and their knowledge.

Think about it: when we’re toddlers, how do we learn how to talk? by parroting our parents, or whoever is around us. How do we learn how to write in primary school? By imitating and drawing the letters we’re shown. Later on, many learn how to apply makeup or to style their hair by imitating others – these days “others” simply means beauty gurus on YouTube and other platforms.

The same goes for singing or dancing. Any type of singing or dancing.

So, why do we take so much offense when we’re told we’re just imitating what we saw or heard? Why are many people so offended when told they lack imagination, that they’re not original?

People have been roaming the planet for tens of thousands of years. It is VERY difficult to come up with something new and original.

Even this blog is imitating other blogs. Why do I think it is original? because in a way it is all over the place. But, then again, so are other blogs and even books.

That is all I had to say for now.


©2013-2017 the owner travels to. All rights reserved.

how to become your cat’s favorite human

You might already know I own 2 cats, but I will talk about the younger one for he likes me a little more than the older one. You want to know a secret? You can also make your cat like you more than the rest of the family [if you have a cat, that is].

DISCLAIMER: this method is not 100% foolproof, and is more successful on kittens. It is still worth giving a try – hopefully your cat is not a the spawn of the devil and can be [gently] handled. i credit expert cat owners with the discovery of the method.

I hope everyone planning on getting a new cat or kitten will find this short entry a bit useful. If you dislike cats, I hope you will change your mind about them a bit.

So this is Mikey, the younger cat – he turns 6 years old on July 4th. I cannot tell you how attached to me he is.

To put it into perspective, he knows when I arrive home, he doesn’t let his older brother come to me, he makes sure to leave his scent on me whenever he can [even when I’m in the bathroom], and he cried a lot last year when I would be gone to my 9-5 jobs. That’s not all, he also gained a lot of weight last weight: it seems he ate his feelings [and i feel bad for it].

One of the ways he showed his affection was by ‘cleaning’ me while i slept – my face, hands, arms, hair, whatever he could. His older brother never did it. He also loves sleeping next to or on top of me.

i dont think it’s healthy to sleep so close to the cat.. but what can i do?

So, how come he prefers me?

You must know I got him when he was a kitten, and I basically stole him from his family and mother. I don’t think he was fully weaned, but he was eating cat food.

So, when I got him, i had to act like cat-mom, and make him relieve himself. This is easily done by holding the cat over the litter and gently rub her behind with a damp towel – it should have the same texture as a cat’s tongue. Your cat will believe it’s her mother taking care of stuff, and in a way will think you’re said mother – your scent is all around after all, and her mother’s scent is not. It’s almost natural that you’ll be replacing her mom at this point.

There is one more important step you should not ignore, when going through this process: “burying the gifts” AKA the cat pee and poop. Gently grab one of the cat’s front paws [or hands if you prefer] and move it from the front towards the back, while touching the sand [or litter bed. we use a special type of sand.. bentonite, clay? I’m not sure exactly what it is, but I recommend silica type because it disappears, so you throw away less stuff.] The movement should imitate the one the cat does when she covers her waste.

This paw movement should be done right after wiping her behind with the damp towel, even if she doesn’t relieve herself. This is one of the best methods to teach a cat where ‘the toilet’ is, no matter the age. It is especially useful when changing houses and getting a new cat.

If for some reason you consider changing the type of litter, make sure to do it gradually, so that the cat will get used to the new type slowly – or better said so she won’t realize. if you change it all of a sudden [because you couldn’t find the one you usually get] try this method I described above.

Cats can be and are just as loving as dogs, perhaps even more so. This is why an older cat will take some time to get used to new humans, if re-homed. She might act distant with her first humans, but maybe she’s generally more distant. Remember that not all cats are the same, just like not all dogs are the same.

I hope you found this article a little helpful.


©2013-2017 the owner travels to. All rights reserved.

SO, you rescued a baby bird. Now what?

It is early May and you might find baby birds on the ground. Fallen from their nests. (I’m not sure when wild bird eggs hatch, so this article might come in handy. )

If you do, find such a baby bird, what do you do?

  1. You could try to find its nest and put it back.
  2. Take it home/ to the vet to see if it’s OK – no broken wings or legs
  3.  Do nothing, let nature take its course. [do you have the heart for that? i don’t]
  4.  Something else this author didn’t think about. [care to share your thoughts?]

I only asked “what will you do” and not “what and why.” I like to assume that most of us would try and find the bird’s nest and try to put it back. We all know baby birds don’t belong on the ground. Many would choose to do both option 1 and 2.  And there are quite a handful who would choose the last 2 options, for various reasons.

Saying that doing one or the other is wrong or good – this is actually something we can’t be objective on. We were all raised differently and have different beliefs.

This is Ciel, a few months later after being found on the ground. He wanted a bath.

However, I will tell you what I did, and what my experience was. You can then decide if this was the right or the wrong thing to do.

About 3 years ago I found a baby grey crow on the ground, next to my building. It was a rainy spring, and the poor thing was soaked. His parents were still watching over him, but couldn’t do anything about him – there were just too many humans around for them to risk getting down on the ground and feed him or protect him from the rain.

He couldn’t protect himself from the cold pouring rain either because he was bald, only his tail and wings feathers were grown. He would have died if I didn’t decide I would take him in, feed him, and warm him up.

I took him in and decided the first thing he needs is to get warm up. I grabbed a towel and proceeded to dry him off, except it didn’t really work. The hairdryer did a better and faster job.

The bird was now dry and warmer. But weak. Because he didn’t eat in a few hours.

WARNING: Baby birds need to eat about once an hour or two. But you need to learn how to feed them because YOU are now the parent!

Learning how to feed a baby bird is rather easy, but if you worry easily, ask someone else to do it. You can find many instructions online, but I will try to explain in a future post how to feed baby crows!

Must tell you Romanian vets are not very experienced with birds, and I had 2 of them telling me he would die because they didn’t know what to do to him. Guess what? he didn’t die. I had to force some antibiotic on him the next day – he caught a cold from the rain. The worst part was that he could have died at my hands because I only had some strong antibiotic for humans [I used it for a UTI before… so go figure].

Of course I made sure to only give him a tiny bit, trying to figure out about how much based on his weight and to complicated measurements and math calculations on the pill. Fun times! I should be a chemist now, or a vet. The good news is that it worked and the next day he was walking all over the floor.

Keep an eye open for the next entry related to feeding wild birds!

Please think twice before adopting a pet!

This is not a sad story, but rather one that might make your blood boil to the point where you want to smash something. But let’s start with the beginning.

Back in November I was coming back from buying some groceries. As I was opening the door to the apartment building where I live, this little [mostly black] cat dashed right in with me. I have no idea where it came from, but it sure wasn’t shy. This little fellow simply followed me home. So I took her in… Lucky that my two 7 and 6 year old male cats didn’t try to kill her, but she wasn’t happy with their presence either.

In the end, it all worked out just fine. see below:

This black furry thing wasn’t shy nor scared of being touched or even handled. I quickly discovered this was a female cat. “Sweet! I never had a female cat before” I thought to myself. Of course, I talked to my friend about it, and we decided to keep her for a while, until we find a more suitable furrever home. The little cat went in heat in about 2 – 3 weeks after finding her. Her screaming sounded as if someone was torturing her to death. I waited till it passed, and then got her spayed. Quietness returned.

There are more reasons I need a new home for Milky – this is what I named her. Ironic given her color, right? but it’s mostly because she likes to nurse on tshirts and pants of a certain texture. She also LOVES milk, so now the name seems more fitting.. The most important reason is that we will be leaving the country this year [hopefully soon], and there is no way to accommodate 3 cat at the new place [with some relatives until we find a job, and a place of our own].

So we posted a few “up for adoption ads” for Milky.  A few nights ago I received this phone call from an older lady showing interest in Milky [the female cat]. We decided to meet the next day, with me bringing the cat to her place. Said and done.

I wrapped the cat in a blanket as there was no need for a cat carrier, and off we went to meet the lady. Luckily, she lived some 3 bus stops away, and this means easily reachable by foot as well. As soon as the lady saw the cat, she melted -“a good sign” I thought to myself.

She led us to her place – some 5 minutes by foot away from the bus stop, on a quiet street. When we entered, I was requested to take off my shoes. She had a good point for it: that place was SO clean and everything nicely arranged. [I will most likely address etiquette rules regarding wearing shoes indoors, in the next post. Let’s just say it is not really polite to ask your quests to remove them.]

I told the lady everything she needed to know about the cat, I showed the cat where the litter was, and I was ready to leave. Right before leaving, the lady informed me it is customary to give a little something in exchange for the cat, so she had prepared some bananas and a box of chocolates.  I took that, my blanket, and I returned home.

Later in the evening, she called however I couldn’t pick up the phone. I called her back the next morning… The lady informed me she wanted to return the cat! Yes, you read that right – to return the cat after she promised she would take good care of her and all! She complained that Milky cried, that she went on the opened window, and that the cat wanted to suck her pajamas at night. Apparently she couldn’t sleep because of all these! Other than the clothes sucking, all the cats go on open windows and cry in a new house!

  • if you’re going to adopt a cat, expect her to cry at least the first night if she’s sociable, or to hide if she’s less sociable. dogs and puppies also cry the first night or two.
  • your new cat or dog is an ALIVE CREATURE! it is definitely NOT a toy, piece of clothing or some other thing you can just return the next day because you changed your mind!
  • having a pet is NEARLY identical to having a human baby! it requires your attention and it needs you!

Do expect your new companion to give you some headaches, but seriously, children are no different.

Milky literally LOVES knocking things over because they stand in her way… or in what he thinks is HER place.

How to become a Dog Behaviorist

Hello.

Romania is not the place where anyone can just become anything they want without proper training. Of course, if there’s a will there will be a way. This article was ordered by a client a very long time ago, but for some reason, things took a weird turn and  the project didn’t have a happy ending. Since the content is still original, I decided to post it here, for all of you who love animals. Sadly, this article refers to dogs only and those who want to become a cat behaviorist should take a different route. I may post a guide for that as well. Sometime in the future.

As a side note, this short guide might help people living in UK.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Have you often been told how good you are with animals? If the answer is ‘yes’, you may want to choose a different career path. There is always time for a change! If you have a special affinity for dogs, the best career you could choose is one as a dog behaviorist. The title seems complicated, but it’s actually quite simple.

kali-june27
This used to be my dog, Kali. This is a pic of her back in June ’14.

WHAT THE JOB IS ABOUT

Not all dogs behave nicely and you have most likely encountered that dog that never stays put, never listens or even attacks, at times.

Your job will be to make sure these things never happen ever again, for a happy dog means a happy owner that will forever be grateful to you.

Prepare to get close and personal with both the dog and its owner over a certain period of time, in which you get the pet rid of its phobias, bad behavior, or any other issues the owner complains about.

NOT ALL DOGS ACT THE SAME

The breed of the dog and its own personality play an important part in your work, so do not treat every pet the same way! You need to learn about the different dog breeds’ behaviors but you need to observe the dog too, to see their personality.

Dogs are generally docile pets, they are a man’s best friend after all, but what about the times when the best friend misbehaves? The bad behavior shows in many ways and each will be treated accordingly. For example, one dog can be overly aggressive and chase people around, while another will be scared of something or refuse to go out.

What you need is to talk to the owner in a clear matter about the pet’s issues, figure out the causes and then follow up with a step by step program that will ensure this behavior changes. You will also be in charge of checking up on the pet regularly and see the progress with your own eyes – this is the most rewarding part of the job!

GET PROPER EDUCATION

Like with most jobs, you will need to get the proper training first. However there is more than one way to gain entry into this field of work.

cropped-kali-june27.jpg You must attend college, as the proper training is offered to those who graduated it. You need 2 A levels and you must have studied biology at the very least. CFBA and UCAS are just 2 places where you can get more info on available courses. You may also wish to get your hands on any DVD that shows how to do the job properly, and watch online videos. Then – practice, practice, practice and don’t forget to continue studying after you get in the business!

We suggest you also sign up for a class or seminar. If you’re serious about it, a degree in Animal Science will be helpful. Check the resources and seminaries in your areas and decide what’s the best option for you!

Training is crucial. Even though you might love being around pets, you aren’t born with the knowledge need to become a pet behaviorist.

Another way is to get a job in the field first. This could be anything – even working at a pet shop or veterinary office will do. The point is to get you used to the way animals act – the more, the better. You will quickly notice how different they are one from another.

WORKING HOURS AND EARNINGS

As a pet counselor, you will be making your own schedule and paying your own taxes. Like any other self-employment job, it has its advantages and disadvantages. You will not get paid weekly and you might struggle at first, but this is why this work is suitable for people who truly love animals.

The best paid dog counselors are people who make some cash on the side – of course, in the same field! This should not bring you down though. There are many successful counselors out there, but the wage you will get varies from $30,000 and up to about $75,000 a year. In UK, the charges can start at £85 and can go over £250, per consultation. Of course, if a case is more difficult, you can charge more, but you’ll need the proper credentials as well – see the previous section.

WHAT ARE YOU STILL WAITING FOR?

One of the best parts of the job is that your work will be anything but boring! Be prepared to train the pet as well when needed, watch it play, and interact with it as much as possible.

Once the dog begins to trust you, the most difficult part is gone. You will have fun whilst working – this is the main reason most people decide to get a career in the field.

My experience as a first time dog owner

Last year around this date I went to the store to buy some stuff. On my way there I saw with ugly puppy that seemed lost as I saw no brothers nor his mother around. It was cold, and he was hungry. Needless to say I felt so bad for the little thing and I wanted to do something for him. I went home with the shopping bag, but then I somehow went back and took him home with me.

While going home, he started kissing me, and I too a better look at him only to see he’s not actually that ugly. Reaching home, the first thing I did was to check his gender, which to my surprise was ‘female.’ So I had a female puppy dog to care for. however my house was already populated by 2 demon cats, and only one of them saw a dog before. These 2 cats were not too happy to see the new comer.

Kali on her first night with us

I didn’t plan on keeping her with me forever, and well, in the end this wasn’t the case. It doesn’t mean I didn’t get attached to her, because I did. I named her Kali, after the Hindu Goddess. If you’re curious, this Wiki page has more information about the Goddess.

The first things I did, was introducing Kali to some food and water, and boy was she both thirsty and hungry! Poor thing. Of course, the only food I had was some cat food, but for the time being it was more than enough and ok. The next day I would go to the pet store to buy some puppy food. The 2nd thing I did was to give her a bath because she wasn’t the cleanest puppy ever.

I gave her a thick scarf I spend a whole year knitting, for myself. Yea, you read that right. However it wasn’t something I could easily wear, so it seemed something that would keep Kali warm enough as her fur was so short.

Of course, when time was right, I went to the vet to give her the required shots. We couldn’t go out anyways because she was too tiny and it was too cold and snowy outside. After some 4 months, I had her spayed. It seems that there is a new law that requires all pet owners to spay or neuter their dogs if they don’t have a breeding license. Not knowing Kali’s breed, or her parents, this was out of the question. Also I didn’t want more puppies to deal with. People here want mostly pure breed dogs, and who can blame them?

Kali grew up a medium-sized dog that would eat literally anything you’d put on her plate, healthy, and very energetic. She didn’t mind the leash nor the collar around her neck, not even the firs time I put them on her. How lucky is that?

Yes, this is the same, dog, her face changed a bit. at about 5 months old.

To take this picture, I had to tie her leash to the heater, or she wouldn’t stay still. She was that energetic and excited, haha. Based on the angle, her ears looked quite big compared to the rest of her. Everyone would comment on he ears.

Her favorite activity was going out on a walk. Because she was a very energetic dog, we had to take rather long walks, so she would get tired.

What she disliked the most was seeing people sitting around without doing anything. This included random workers we would see during our walks. They were wearing uniforms, and she seemed smart enough to realize they were supposed to work. Seeing them just sitting, even if they were eating, she would bark at them. I had to explain to her they needed to rest a bit so she wouldn’t bark anymore. It almost always worked, and every time I thought of this behavior as funny.

Walking Kali everyday was a good thing for me. I managed to go out, breathe some “fresh” air.. Living downtown, on a high traffic street takes away from the freshness of the air, after all. It was still better than staying indoors. It also made me feel more cheerful and not awkward about being out. Despite her medium size, Kali was a strong dog, so I always had to have a good grip on her leash. This made my arms stronger, while tiring me some. I sure didn’t need to stop by the gym thanks to her.

Kali did like to cause trouble. Or it was her need for attention. As a highly energetic dog, she need a lot of workout and attention. I’m not an active person, but I was more active while caring for this dog. After 8 months, I realized that our living conditions weren’t what Kali really needed. At the time I also had a lot of work to do [for my job] and I slowly realized I don’t have time to go out with her as much as I used to. As much as it hurt me, it was time Kali found a more suitable home.

One month later, we found a family [friends of friends of relatives] who owned a house with a yard, they had a teen daughter, and were more experienced in raising dogs. Going there for a visit seemed fortunate. They loved her and Kali seemed to go along well with everyone else. She never minded meeting new dogs or people, and the environment seemed 1000 times better than what I could offer her. I knew she was going to be fine, and I get news from time to time that she’s happy. This is all I wish for her.

Would I do this all over again? Surely not. I sure miss Kali and I do want another dog. However now this is not possible. If I ever decide to get a new puppy, I would make sure to find one with an energy level that matches mine and hopefully, a small breed dog.

Have a nice new year, and don’t fall for just any stray puppy or cat you see on the streets.