Liz Dodwell devotes her time to writing and publishing from the home she shares with husband, Alex and a host of rescued dogs and cats, collectively known as “the kids.” She will tell you, “I gladly suffer the luxury of working from home where I’m with my “kids,” can toss in a load of laundry in between radio interviews, writing, editing, general office work or baking pupcakes (dog treats) while still in my PJs. I love what I do and know how lucky I am to be able to do it. Oh, and if you asked me what my hobbies are, I’d probably say reading murder mysteries, drinking champagne, romantic dinners with my husband and yodeling (just joking about that last one).”
At about 8 months of age, close to death from starvation and with broken bones from severe beatings, Angel was rescued by Southern Hope Humane Society. She was in an outside pen with no shelter, surviving on twigs and leaves and her own feces.
When she first came to us she would not leave the house; I’d have to carry her out to the car and she was absolutely terrified of thunder or loud noises. It took a long, long time for her to adjust.
Now-a-days, nine year old Angel is a beautiful, happy girl who just loves squeaky toys and squirrel-chasing. We believe she is a pit bull/Rhodesian ridgeback mix. She loves to be in the back yard and has made it her mission to dig all the way to China. Usually Vinny is out there with her.
Vinny is Angel’s self-appointed guardian. They met at Southern Hope and Angel has been his girl ever since. A very small miniature poodle, we suspect Vinny was a puppy mill dog but he came with no identification, just lots of fleas and other parasites. He is now about 13 years of age.
Vinny is Momma’s boy but when Momma’s away he’s a complete opportunist and will be anybody’s love bug. He also tends to think that any lap is an open invitation. He’s a happy and sweet-tempered boy but will grumble if he thinks the cats are getting any attention. He can also be very tough and once chased away a German Shepherd that attacked Angel.
A puppy mill rescue, 10 year old Coco spent the first three or four years of her life stacked in a filthy crate and being used as a birthing machine. She had two puppies when the 300+ dogs were released and came to us after her puppies were adopted.
Coco was completely unschooled in house training, stair climbing and didn’t even know how to run. However, she is super smart and picked up on everything very quickly.
Coco is Daddy’s girl and loves to be cuddled. At times she is still unsure of herself (our fault – she never got enough training) and just doesn’t know how to play without barking, which can drive you nuts.
Tazzie is 14 years old and the oldest of all the kids. She was available for adoption at my vet’s. As big as she is now, she was smaller than her other two brothers who constantly picked on her and she was so timid she was afraid of her own shadow! I brought her home because I didn’t think she’d make it with someone else as an outside cat.
Taz has always been the best-behaved girl but is exceptionally shy. She lives to be brushed every day. She is Momma’s girl and her comfort zone is the master bedroom. She’ll hide from strangers, either under the bed or in one of the closets.
When only five or six months of age, Ditto was hanging out with a group of strays after the hurricanes (in Florida). A couple of the cats we picked up were AIDS positive and we thought Ditto might be the same as he was not well. Happily, it turned out to be “cat flu” and he was fine after some love and attention. Ditto is now 13.
Ditto can be sweet and loving one minute then irritable the next, though he has mellowed with age. He loves to play with glitter balls so we keep plenty of them at hand.
Now about 11, Amber was abandoned by neighbors when they moved away. We didn’t know she’d been left behind until two weeks later when she brought her four babies to our doorstep!
Alex was leaving for work and found them. Amber was watching from the other side of the street and was too afraid to come to us. She was so desperately hungry though, that I caught her easily with the lure of food. The babies were four to five weeks old and in good shape other than parasites. Amber, however, was a mess. Skeletal and exhausted she couldn’t care for the kittens on her own any longer. It took her a long time to recover physically. Emotionally, she’s happy as long as she’s in her secure little world. Leif is her boy.
Amber is the sweetest little thing and very playful. She loves attention and will adore you if you just spend a little time petting and brushing her. She’s very feminine and will often be at the window watching the world go by.
Ten year old Leif is Amber’s son. In fact, he’s almost a carbon copy of his mother and mirrors a lot of her characteristics. He is named after Leif Erikson because he was a fearless explorer as a baby, and a red-head to boot. He was also the biggest of the kittens.
Still the busy explorer, Leif is none-the-less wary of strangers. He has led a very sheltered life. Leif loves to be brushed but may get over-excited and start to nip. Other than that Leif is very sweet-tempered and well-behaved and doesn’t have a mean bone in his body. He absolutely loves Temptations treats and will steal them from the other kids if we don’t keep a close eye on him.
Cappy (short for Cappuccino) was the baby of the family before Ollie. As a kitten he turned up late one Saturday night and yelled and yelled at the screen door ‘til we let him in. We’ve only heard him meow a few times since! He was very thin and infested with parasites but settled right in with no problems. Cappy is about nine.
Cappy adores to have his chin and ears scratched but don’t scratch him on his lower spine. He has some sensitivity there and will snap. He also cannot jump very high – only about two feet. He has some slight neurological damage in his lower spine.
Oliver (Ollie) is the youngest of our crew at eight years of age. He was named for another redhead – Oliver Cromwell – and because he’s already been in battle. A neighbor brought him to us. He’d been attacked and had several puncture wounds on his head and neck and the left side of his face was paralyzed so that he couldn’t even close his eye. We were concerned there might be neurological damage, however, he also had a severe infection from the wounds and, happily, a course of antibiotics took care of his physical problems.
He is very insecure around strangers and is hard to befriend, though he’s a sweet, gentle soul when you get to know him. He just loves his cat treats, though, and expects to be brushed (which he absolutely loves) every day.