This next interview in the Adopt Don’t Shop Series is with Cayley and Nicole, of Banana TV, and their growing rescue fur family.
Nicole with Irie
What are all of your names (humans and fur family alike):
Cayley and Nicole from Banana TV. Our fur family includes Irie (female pit mix), Ziggy (male coco mutt), Kitten (female orange cat) and Casper (male white cat).
How old are your rescues?
Irie will be a year in October, Ziggy is around seven months, Kitten is almost three years old, Casper we are totally unsure – somewhere around seven years.
Ziggy at the park
How long have they been with you?
Irie and Ziggy were two and three months old respectively when we got them, Kitten was just a few weeks, and Casper we officially adopted about six months ago.
Kitten having a snooze
Could you share a bit about their background and what led you to adopt them?
Kitten, our first fur baby, was actually a Christmas present from Nicole to me. I had been dreaming about having pets again for a while and when she found Kitten at a local vet it was a perfect match. Irie all started with a phone call. A friend of ours who works at a local shelter called us asking if we could take one of five puppies who had been violently thrown over the shelter fence (one had died). We initially said no as we didn’t feel that it was the right time but we said we could come take pictures and post them on our pages in hopes of getting them adopted. When we arrived it was instant love and we just couldn’t walk away. Ziggy was found wondering on his own on the French side of the island and was brought by a tourist to one of the local vets that takes in animals for adoption. Irie had a ton of energy so we decided to get a second dog for her to have some company and burn some energy off with. We initially took Ziggy for an overnight sleepover to test it out between them and he never went back. Casper adopted us. He showed up outside our door one day and never left.
Kitten being cute, lookin’ for some snacks
Where did you adopt them from? And why did you decide to adopt in the first place?
Kitten and Ziggy were adopted from local vets, Irie was from the I Love My Island Dog shelter, and Casper found us.
How was the adjustment period for each of them?
Very easy. The only small thing we had to work on was when we initially got Ziggy. Irie was food dominant (fearful of not having enough) and very protective of her meals but we resolved that within the first month.
Is there anything in particular that you feed them? Do they have any favourite foods or snacks?
We make homemade vegan food for Irie and Ziggy and supplement using Vegedog. So far they are absolutely loving it and completely thriving. They love frozen bananas, or any other fruit for that matter, as a treat. Kitten and Casper are currently on Science Diet food, there is no vegan option for them on the island and to ship in is extremely expensive. Our goal is to have homemade food for them however cats are a little more complicated then dogs in turning vegan and we are still doing research into how we can make it realistic for our family. Kitten is a huge fan of fruit, papaya being her favourite. She also loves potatoes, sweet potatoes and some cooked veggies.
Do/did any of them have any health or psychological challenges? How did/do you cope?
Health wise Irie was less than two months old when we adopted her and she was in pretty rough shape. She was extremely thin and full of mange, fleas and ticks, plus had oozing green sores on her belly. She also had a bacterial infection in her stomach and a urinary tract infection. There were a few tense nights when she was at her sickest but she healed quickly after a few vet visits and within a fews months you would have never been able to tell. Ziggy was pretty thin so we have had to pay special attention to make sure he is getting in enough food. Psychologically the only one was Irie. Like we said before she was food dominant towards Ziggy (not us or the cats). I believe this came from lack of food when she was young and having to fight her siblings for what little she had. In the beginning we had to feed them in separate rooms but we worked with her every meal and she has relaxed immensely. They can now eat side by side with no problems. Irie was also extremely fearful of water. We were hit by a massive hurricane about the time that she would have been just a few weeks old. We have no idea where she would have been but our guess is that it was a very traumatic experience for her and her siblings. The first time we gave her a bath she screamed like we were torturing her. Showing her a lot of love and taking it slowly was key. She’s still not a fan but is now willing to be bathed and will go for the occasionally short swim on the beach.
Casper the Wise
Has there been anything you have found difficult or surprising since bringing them into your home?
No. Besides Casper, they were all very young when we brought them home so just the usual. Expect for a few things to get chewed if you forget to pick them up and know that you might have to clean up a few accidents. The only surprise was how incredible they all mesh together. Ziggy and Irie play so well even with Irie being stronger and more energetic and Casper is a wise soul who handles the puppies very well.
Ziggy at the beach
Do they have any favourite activities? Do you ever take them with you for bike rides, runs, etc?
They love walks and just generally being able to explore. We take them jogging some mornings, if it’s not too hot, or to the beach which they enjoy a lot. I think their favourite is our evening walk where we are able to go to a closed off area and they get to run around and explore on their own.
Cayley and Irie just chillin’
Do they have any favourite playthings or toys?
Carrots and frozen bananas are the hits but they also have a few chewing balls which they love.
How have you found the overall experience?
Fantastic and we wouldn’t do it any other way. Adoption, in our minds, is the only choice there is. 7.6 million pets enter animal shelters every year in the US alone and of these 2.7 million animals are euthanised. These numbers are staggering and when you choose to bring an animal into your family you have the power to impact these numbers. Saving one dog or cat will not change the world but surely for that one animal, the world will change forever.
Do you see your family growing further in the future?
Definitely! Once we have a space with a larger yard we will be adopting some more fur babies for sure.
Cayley and Irie, they sure grow up quickly!
Is there any advice you would give to others considering pet adoption or rescue?
A big thing, rescue or not, is if you already have a pet make sure to get a companion that is compatible with them. Most shelters are willing to let you do a “sleepover”, test run, to see how the pet’s mesh together. If not, bring your pet to somewhere for them to meet before you make your final decision. When you bring them home for the first time go for at least a thirty minute walk before you get to your house. This helps them to feel as if they are migrating and will make their transition to your home easier. If you have another dog this is a great time for them to meet and get to know each other, it’s always best for them to be introduced on neutral territory. One of the biggest tips is to show them lots of love and be patient. Understand that they have a past you know nothing about and it’s important to spend time and learn about each other. And in the end, they will steal your heart.
Kitten lounging around
That is some good advice, and thank you for sharing about your adoption experiences. I’m glad they’ve all found such a loving family!
Read more from the Adopt Don’t Shop Series including Q&As with:
Anne-Marie (of Meat Free Athlete) & Mr. Shenanigans
Vanessa (of Plant Based Muscle) and Chihuahua Fur Family
The Thinking Vegan
Lisa and Krishna
Q&A with KD Traegner of Your Daily Vegan
Q&A with Daria Zeoli of Your Daily Vegan
And get your Adopt Don’t Shop T-Shirt to help share this important message!
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