Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Guest Post from Princess Pixie Allspice

Warm and furry greetings,

My name is Pixie, actually, my full name and title is Princess Pixie Allspice - yes, I am really THAT complicated and beautiful - but I answer to Pixie... most of the time. I am from Amman, Jordan, and own a lovely new expat family that you can visit at mom's blog Whale Ears and Other Wonderings . My human family includes my mom and dad, plus two non-fur siblings, and my two litter mates, Pumpkin (mom says his full name is "Pumpkin the Destructo Cat") and Ninja (which is her name as well as her life's calling).

Perhaps I should give you just a bit of our history? Once upon a time, long before my non-fur siblings were born, mom and dad were adopted by two British cats. Misty, who was, I have heard, the biggest blackest sweetest barn cat/panther you'd ever be lucky to meet, and Ramses, a clever Siamese who, like me, was of obvious royal birth. I've seen photos of them on mom's blog and wish I could have met them in real life. We love the toys they left behind for us! Misty and Ramses took care of mom and dad through multiple moves and were blessed with the opportunity to raise mom and dad's babies, from birth until about 8 years old, while living in the US and throughout the time the family lived in Egypt. About the time they started preparing to leave Cairo and move to Jordan, Misty took ill. He had reached quite the advanced age. He weakened gradually and died. Ramses was in a terrible dilemma! He knew that his human family was terribly sad without Misty, and that they really needed him and his love. They were heading into a difficult life transition with the coming move away from the only home the kids had really known, but he was also elderly, and oh so tired himself. He also knew that his brother Misty must be very sad to be alone. He thought about his options, and a few weeks after Misty passed on, Ramses lay down and left to go join him. However, my kids tell me that Misty and Ramses did not leave them completely. They believe they have 'visited', and we've heard about a number of angel sightings. My non-fur sister is quite convinced that Ramses-angel is the one who guided our cat momma to birth us where she did, because he knew our humans needed cats to take care of them, and we'd be just the kittens for the job. We like to believe that too.

Anyway, after a sad and cat-less summer, our family finally moved to Amman. About the time they were settling into their new home, my cat momma was settling into a ledge on the wall in their garden. It was filled with all sorts of lovely plants to hide and play in. We were very happy there at first, and enjoyed watching the birds in the garden and the humans through the house windows. Eventually though, it became very difficult for momma cat to feed us. Street life is hard! The humans noticed and came to our rescue, bringing us inside the house where life is safe, warm, and the food is good and plentiful. We had a few indignities to endure... flea collars, shots, and SURGERY! (ow!) But all of these were easy to bear because mom and dad took us to a nice vet who treated us very kindly. His name is Dr. Ala'a Shehadeh, and he has a gorgeous pet hospital in Amman. You can visit his website , where you will find his email address and phone number so you can contact him with questions, or you can visit him on Facebook .

You can also find information about pet relocation on Dr. Ala's website. From what I can read, it says that they provide "Cat and Dog Relocation (Our Exclusive PetPort Service) " and that they have "Extensive regulatory knowledge for relocating your pet to any global destination, with necessary lab work and microchipping. " I'm not so sure I'm comfortable with that microchipping thing - sounds like it might pinch?? - but if mom thinks it is necessary, I suppose I will endure it. Unfortunately, I cannot give you a review of the relocation service, as we have not used it, but mom says that Dr. Ala'a always answers emails and is very professional and friendly.

We were lucky to be able to adopt a good family as easily as we did, but sometimes cats (and dogs) do not have a feline (or canine) guardian angel to assist them, so, what do they do? I asked mom and she said that not only does the VetZone Facebook site often have announcements for people and pets searching for one another, there is also a very good place in Amman, run by humans for the benefit of orphaned animals, called the Humane Center for Animal Welfare HCAW . They not only bring families together, but they help to educate humans about their animal co-inhabitants of this planet, and provide medical care to the less fortunate creatures who have suffered in the wild, on the streets, or even in zoos or on farms. It sounds like a wonderful and kind place. Mom tells me that she knows of a couple of families that have been brought together with help from HCAW.

Now, the sun is warm, my tummy is full, and I feel a nap coming on. I believe Ninja will share the top perch of the cat tower - as long as I do not chew on her ear too much (Her ears are sooo cute though! It is hard to resist.). Thank you for listening to my story, and please, come visit mom's blog sometime so you can meet my family and keep up with us. Also, if you are lucky enough to be coming to Amman, make sure your family checks out the VetZone and HCAW websites.

Love, delicate kisses, and Princess waves

HRH Pixie


  1. I have to disagree with you regarding Dr. Ala Shehadeh and Vetzone. I hope you will take this advice from someone who once trusted him but has had enough bad experience to confidently make the decision to never allow him to touch my beloved cat.

    Unfortunately a flash clinic and his friendly smile does not make a good vet. As a Jordanian, I have seen him first hand give priority to expats regardless of whether the my pet needed more urgent attention (surgery vs. grooming). Just tell him you're an expat and he'll jump, knowing you're his cash cow. While as an expat this might be a good thing, what does this say about his morals and ethics?

    He misdiagnosed my cat last year after putting him through a battery of tests which I found out later he read wrong. He told me my cat had a fatal disease that would require giving him medication 2 times a day for the rest of his life. He sent blood tests to a human lab which read differently than it would on proper equipment. He told me my cat had a fever when any google search, cat book and other vets said the reading is within normal range.

    He lost my cat's vaccine card but never had the guts to own up, and said it's in a box from when he moved. As I continued to give my cats vaccine, he then said he's updating my book but was too busy to give it to me. There was no book.

    Final straw came when we sent a street kitten to be treated for gingivitis and then spaying. A playful kitten we grew to love entered Vetzone for standard procedure and left dead. Ala's explanation? His assistant spayed the cat without his knowledge when the cat should not have been operated on given her condition. So either 1. He employs unqualified people that should not be near a scalpel and animals and do not tell him when they cut open cats or 2. he's lying - it's only him and 2 other trianees in his clinic, how can he not know one of them was cutting open a cat?!

    As I shared my sad stories with others, many friends told me of very similar experiences with Ala... too many to ignore.

    He will be very nice to you, he will talk like he is the only modern clinic but after speaking to many people and many vets, he is not respected in his field by his colleagues, he is hated by families that unnecessarily lost a loved pet due to his negligence.

    Please spread the word and save your pets!

  2. I would never take my pets to VetZone. Misdiagnosed animals and a suspicious number of dead "patients" drove a group of us to file a police complaint against him. The trial is under way. I have no idea why you sound like you're doing PR for him - he needs it, his reputation in Amman is awful. People call his clinic DeathZone.