Thursday, December 18, 2008

Punky's "Titanic" pose

Remember the scene in Titanic with Kate Winslet inside a steamy carriage????

Almost frozen

We had a five day power outage from an ice storm that swept through last week. It was really rough. We obviously should have had a generator but we plan on making that purchase next time we have extra cash. We tried to keep the turtles warm by boiling water and putting hot water bottles in their tanks every 45 minutes or so but after 2 whole days of that we were exhausted and running low on propane. A neighbor lent us a kerosene heater which heated the turtle room up real nice but it smelled so awful, we had to discontinue use after a day. One day went by after that with us having exhausted our resources and I hoped that the turtles would go into hibernation and make it through okay. The final day we found the last propane camping heater available at a store across the river and got that to heat the turtle room.
Luckily, the turts made it through and are back to normal but it was so stressful not knowing if they cold handle the sudden temperature changes.
Here is a picture of Ichigo enjoying her reheated tub.


Sunday, November 2, 2008

What a forlorn look.........

This is Pan-kun on his basking dock, looking out his window at the rest of the world. Looking pretty forlorn wouldn't you say? Ichigo comes out of her tank almost everyday even in cold weather to at least walk around the room a bit. If I take Pan-kun out of his tank, he hides in his shell most of the time now so I haven't taken him out recently. I wonder if he looks out his window to watch Ichi in the next tank over or if he looks through the glass door to the kitchen to see what we are doing or if he just dreams of a different life. Even though his tank is mighty big I dream of making a more natural and "fun" living area for him one day. I figure if I take good care of both of these turtles, I'll have lots of time to upgrade in the years to come. (We're talking decades here)
Ichigo and I had a break through today of sorts. While on her rounds outside her tank, she decided to find me sitting on the ground and climb into my lap. She turned herself around to look at me, tried to climb my up my stomach a bit, then back down and just hung out on my lap for a while. She did this twice today. Although I would like to think that she enjoys my company, I have a feeling she just found the warmest spot on the ground to heat up on before taking off on her wanderings again. At least she trusts me enough .........

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Ichi Trail

The path that Ichigo likes to take is what I call the "Ichi Trail". She will almost always take the same route every time I take her outside no matter where I place her on the ground in the front yard.

She has been doing so much better and eating well.... She will eat from my hand now! She is also finally shedding the big scutes on the top of her shell. The scutes underneath are so much prettier. I am happy for her.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Pictures finally

Ichigo is doing a little bit better. Yesterday especially, she was opening both eyes and walking around a lot and ate some shrimp. Today her eyes were bothering her again. The tank has almost fully cycled and her ammonia and nitrite levels are about zero. Nitrate levels are lowering so we are almost there. I noticed today that her water pH level went down a wee bit too much after topping her tank off with spring water so I put in some tap water today to try to level it again to about 7. She is so sensitive..... compared to Pan-kun!


Thursday, September 18, 2008

It's the water

So we've basically figured out what happened to Ichigo's eyes.
The water where we now live that comes out of the tap is Alkaline and reads about 8.8 so we got a bunch of spring water and switched to that. The pH now reads around 7.5. Then we realized that we neglected to read more about filters and had no idea that the tank takes weeks to cycle and the newly added water had Nitrite spikes up the wazoo. We are trying to deal with that by adding Stress Zyme beneficial bacteria but also found a refrigerated product that claims to help the cycling even faster which we ordered and should be here via Fed Ex tomorrow.
We went to see a new vet who also thought it was the water last week and he gave us a different antibiotic eye drop but now that we are trying to build the beneficial bacteria in the tank, I am stopping the use of that which could kill some of the bacteria we need.
She is very active all day long but was having trouble with her appetite so I've started feeding her tuna in a separate small tank. Our old vet had suggested we get her to eat ANYTHING that she will put in her mouth just to get her digestive system going again so I've gone to her favorite stinky food.
She isn't getting any worse and I think is slowly, very slowly getting better, opening her eyes for longer periods of time each day.
I know she had a slightly red right eye even before we moved so there may have been something going on before we moved and the water changes made whatever she had blow up.

A few of you had mentioned it might be the UV light, but I am using the same one I have been using since we got her in May so it can't be that. I measured how far it is from her dock and it is not too close. I wish it were as simple as just being the light.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Ichi is sick!!!!

Now Ichi's eyes are all puffy and closed shut! The vet that we had been seeing in NYC has given Dave who happened to be in the city today new eye drop medication but I am so worried! She looks so miserable and in pain. Please pray for her.
The last few days we have been trying to figure out what was causing it and haven't been able to pinpoint anything. I wish she could tell us what is wrong.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Our new house!

Sorry I haven't updated in weeks but we have been trying to move..... and finally made it upstate! This is our new house and we were able to go to the Agway and buy Ichigo a big stock tank and set her up. She seemed really happy but now she has swollen red eyes and it's horrible! I can't find her eye medication in all our moving boxes so I gave her drops of cod liver oil hoping that it will help. I will post pictures of both her, and Pan-kun next week. Please send good thoughts to Ichi........

Sunday, August 17, 2008

What will be Pan-kun's new tank!

This is the new tank set up we are buying for Pan-kun. We will pick it up right before or right after we move to the country in two weeks. The current owners are moving to LA and don't want to ship it so we are taking it over. They were happy that it was going to another turtle owner. Much of it is custom built.
This is the basking area.

This is the custom filter.


Saturday, August 9, 2008


Pan-kun found a dried worm today outside and was walking around with it in his mouth just like the fake mouse. It was cute but just in case the worm had some sort of badness... I took it away.

Ichigo is still doing well. I've found that she likes new foods, watermelon and green peppers. She is shedding an average of one scute a day and soon enough her shell will look much healthier.


Saturday, August 2, 2008

Wish I had my camera

While cleaning Pan-kun's tank this morning, I had him walking around the kitchen. He sniffed at a fake mouse that one of my cats had been playing with, picked it up in his mouth and started walking around with it. I really wish I had had my camera.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

More progress

Here is Ichigo in her tangle of plastic plants and chewed up lettuce. This week she has surprised me by eating pellets and cuttlebone, both of which float on the surface. She also has been consistently ripping up the lettuce that I have in a veggie clip although I'm not sure how much of it she actually ingests. She is shedding scutes and overall, is still making progress. She still isn't basking in the tub so I make sure she gets a good 45 minutes or so outside in the late morning so she fully dries out and gets her UV light. I keep saying I have to or I am "walking the turtles" which is pretty funny.

Right now my main concern with Pan-kun is that his small tank tends to heat up too much during the day so I am letting a bottle of cold water float in his tank during the afternoon to cool it down. Also, it looks like his shell is going to start to shed any second but I'm not sure if the little parts flaking off are from normal shedding or previous shell rot. I am putting Silver Sulfadine on the parts that look "off" just in case it is fungal.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

"Turtle Club" photos

I sold vegan cookies and cupcakes at the NADA County Affair this past weekend. It was fun until a family coincidentally came through carrying two baby hatchling sliders that they had just bought in Chinatown that they actually didn't really want. (What is wrong with people!!) I was wracking my brain trying to figure out if I could handle fostering two more or where they could take them besides the city shelter which I was pretty sure would be too far away for it to be "convenient" enough for them. I called my friend who I thought might take them but there was no answer to the phone. They eventually disappeared and I am haunted by not knowing what will happen to the two cuties. I cried in the cab home and again when I got home. The awful thing is that my friend who I had tried to call would have taken them....... heartbreak.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Oh my gawd, Ichigo ate lettuce. I am speechless and utterly overjoyed.

Monday, July 21, 2008


So I was so busy worrying about Ichigo not eating and pooping properly that it looks like I over fed her! She has a bit of bulge coming out where her back legs come out of her shell.
Now on a diet......... ack!

I will have to be careful about over feeding Pan-kun. He will eat and eat and eat. Right now just making sure he has veggies most of the day to keep him busy but not a lot of calories and protein.

Friday, July 18, 2008

We are regulars at the vet....

Sorry I haven't posted in a week. The dog I am dog sitting got Giardia and we had to get everyone in the house to the vet for check-ups and dewormer just in case they contracted it from her. Everyone at the vet's office kept laughing because they have seen me WAY too may times in the past few months with numerous different individuals. The tally including the dog that is staying with us - 2 dogs, 3 cats, 2 turtles.

Dave was nice enough to humor me and make Ichigo an elaborate, temporary basking dock but after a few days it was obvious that it freaked her out too much and that she was never ever going to use it so we went back to our old set up with rocks. I realize wood is not water tight but we were going to use a sealer if it looked like she liked it.Oh well. We took it out, cleaned and dried it and put a cat bed on it to see if one of the cats would use it but no takers. Dave is kind of bummed that no one likes it.

Pan-kun is hilarious as always. I wish we could give him a larger tank but he is just going to have to be okay with his tub for now, until we move. Luckily it is warm enough right now for him to go without a heater because it would really take up too much room in there.
I finally found a commercial turtle food that Ichigo will eat. It's called "Turtle Yummies". It's basically the same thing as the turtle pudding I have been making but it comes in small servings that you don't have to refrigerate till you open a packet. It doesn't provide as much leafy greens as the homemade kind but I am relieved to find this so that I don't have to make it ALL the time.
Here is a picture of the Yummies vs. the Homemade food.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Pan-kun's vet visit

Pan-kun went to the vet this morning. He got a dewormer just in case and some Silvadene cream for two cuts on the underside of his shell. The vet said he is a little underweight so I can feed him a good amount everyday.

I was a bit worried about the fact that compared to Pan-kun, Ichigo doesn't poop as often but Dr. Luk said that as long as she is pooping every other day or every few days and not just once a week, that at this point she is happy with her progress. We also realized that she never got dewormed because she was initially being treated for Pneumonia so I'll take her back in a week or so just for that.

Someone asked me to post about how big Pan-kun is. His shell is about 4" long and he weighs .68 pounds.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Welcome Pan-kun

So here is the new little bugger. Don't worry, this round plastic thing is not the tub he is living in, it's just for moving him, carrying him, when I need to clean his "tank" etc.
He's going to see the vet in the morning. I am mostly curious to find out if he is underweight at all and how much to feed him and if there is anything special she recommends for getting his shell back on track as it is really deformed. (You can see the severe curve in the previous picture)
He really will eat anything and everything and begs and begs while I am sitting on the toilet. It's hard to avoid looking at him in that cramped space.

Ichigo had a nice big poo last night so I am confident she is doing better. We will be able to raise the water level in her tub tomorrow finally so she will be able to swim. I think this weekend I'll ask Dave if we can work on both of the turtle's basking areas to improve and add more swimming area to both habitats.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Uh oh, I found a turtle on the sidewalk.

While out walking Coleman this morning, I saw something along the sidewalk in some weeds moving. I thought it would be a baby bird but it turned out to be another Red Ear Slider turtle. Crazy. It was by a community garden so I walked over to the man on the other side of the fence and asked if the turtle lived in their pond and he said no. So I picked him up and brought him home. I got him a temporary plastic tub and I fed him and got him settled in. He is very "friendly" and will even let me hand feed him so I assume his former owners dumped him at the garden and he got out, looking for some food. He has a voracious appetite.
When Dave gets home from work, we'll figure out what to do etc, although he has already expressed interest in keep him. Good thing we are moving to the country soon because our bathroom is getting VERY crowded.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Too much energy

Ichigo's feeding tube was taken out on Thursday and she has been eating well. We have to keep her water levels low till the incision in her throat heals but Ichigo has been doing her best to swim and climb in the tub and I can hear her clomping around a lot. I can't wait till I can give her a bigger enclosure so she can really get her exercise and her excess energy out.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Tube is Coming Out

Ichigo gets her tube taken out tomorrow!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Turtle Pudding!!!

So I attempted to make "Turtle Pudding" which is sort of like meat and veggie jello shots. I had tried every other way of trying to get Ichigo to eat her vegetables and pellets but nothing was working so I made a fish based "pudding" last night and gave her a few cubes today and it worked! Hallelujah! I made it with more fish than I would have liked to have but I wanted to make it smell yucky enough to entice her and I figure I will lessen the amount over time and up the amount of vegetables. Hooray!
Next time I will make it with chicken so it doesn't smell so bad! And I will remember to take pictures.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Back outside for a walk

Ichigo is doing very well. Her swollen eye looks to be healed and she has been eating on her own consistently. She still wont eat vegetables or pellets on her own and still is getting medication and veggies through her tube though. I am calling the vet tomorrow to see when her tube can come out. Today she went outside for a stroll in the backyard. She likes moving from one hiding spot to the next and although I would like her to do what she wants, she gets herself into places that she can't get out of on her own and also dangerous places for her tube so I have to watch her and take her out of the bushes and places she tries to climb into.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Eating on her own again

Ichigo started to eat on her own again today. She had some perch.
I could swear she was smiling at me........

Thursday, June 19, 2008


When Ichigo is asleep and totally relaxed she looks like she is flying. (Note poo poo smear to the right of the photo. YES!)

So I spoke to our vet today and we are to decrease her feeding through the tube and try to get her to eat by mouth. As soon as she is doing that normally, we can take the tube out. I will go to Whole Foods tomorrow and maybe get salmon. I hope she won't be able to resist.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

More hair coming out

More hair is coming out of Ichigo. It's so crazy. I wonder where the heck it came from.

Thanks to Amanda Taylor for her donation today!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

More new thanks!

Thanks to Carl Mondello and Meredith Weiss for their donations!

Today Ichigo got some fresh air and was running like the wind! (Well, very fast for a turtle at least) I can't wait till she can have a bigger tank to swim in properly.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Hooray for poop!

Ichigo is pooping lots and everywhere! So happy.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Resistance is futile

We've decided that Ichigo's new look is very Borg. Hugh was my favorite Borg (above left) but Dave has been calling her Locutus.... No poo today which is slightly disconcerting. If there is no poo in the water by tomorrow I'll call the vet to see if we should still be pumping food in.

A very big Thank You! to Melissa Chan for her large donation. I have a feeling she understood how much money was going in to Ichigo's vet care because she works at the Houston SPCA as the Behavior and Training Coordinator. When she worked as the Behaviorist at Animal Care and Control here in Manhattan, I spent a year assisting her doing dog evaluations. Very valuable experience for me. Thank you Thank you Thank you!

We are still down hundreds of dollars so if any of you would like to spread the word about Ichigo's blog feel free to. When I have more time in July I am definitely going to implement some sort of fundraiser.

In non-Ichigo but somewhat related news, Friday is National Pigeon Day of which I am a committee member of. I am baking vegan cookies in the shape of doves/pigeons to give away at the event in Central Park. You can read about all the speakers and performers etc at

I love underdogs..........

Monday, June 9, 2008

The tube is in

Sorry the picture isn't so great. I couldn't get the flash to go off for some reason. Anyway, Ichigo went to the vet today to get the tube placed in her throat/stomach. It is much less awful than I imagined and it was pretty easy to give her meds and food. She is getting a stronger muscle contracting medication for her intestines, still getting the laxative and gas-x, and eye drops. (but not in the tube of course) We pureed romaine lettuce from the back yard, cooked yams, a little banana, chicken, fish, and soaked turtle pellets which was also injected. We do this for five days and then check in with the doctor again.
She is very alert and not breathing as heavily from the mouth so things are looking good. Keep your fingers crossed.

Thanks to Debra Ziss for her donation today!

PS - While we were waiting at the vet's office today one of the staff members was telling me about a 45 pound snapping turtle that came in last week. She said that it belonged to the NY Turtle & Tortoise society and that they had rescued it years ago from the docks where it was by-catch caught in a fishing net. It lives in Brooklyn now but I guess it came in because it stopped eating. The vets told the Turtle Society people about Ichigo too, about how she was the biggest Red Ear Slider they've had in the clinic ever.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


Ichigo is scheduled to go back to the vet on Monday to have a feeding tube surgically implanted. We were hoping it wouldn't have to get to this but she spits out a lot of the oral meds we give her and she hasn't eaten properly in two weeks. I found a website that shows and explains how the feeding tube works if you want to check it out.


She still has enough energy to walk around when we let her out of the bathroom, either in the backyard or in the kitchen. The doctor said it might help stimulate her digestive system.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Oh no, not again

Ichigo now has a swollen eye on top of having digestive problems. It looks like maybe she bumped her eye when she was sliding off her basking dock. We put in more rocks to fill up the narrower area that she was diving off into but Dave left part of the one side open and now she likes to nest in there all smushed but tomorrow we will try to move all the rocks that way so she doesn't dive in that way either because she'll hit herself again.
I'm going to pick up some eye medicine in the morning.

And so far not too much improvement on the digestive front although maybe she is foaming at the mouth less than the other day..... This is turning out to be a very difficult rehab.

Thanks to Eric Ulrich for his donation today.

Friday, May 30, 2008

New Thanks

Thanks to Keith Knittel, Cristina Toro, and Ulysses Jackson for their donations!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

New meds

These are Ichigo's new meds. We thought doing injections everyday was hard enough but now we have to give these orally plus one more that we have to buy at the drug store. I am dreading it. After taking radiographs the vet said that her lungs were clear. But what the doctor explained while showing us the x-rays was that her intestines are backed up and she's very bloated so she thinks that because she's a rescue and didn't eat for sometime, then ate a bunch, that her intestines are not pushing everything out properly and she is very backed up and either she is sort of throwing up or just letting out lots of gas from her mouth. She only had one day since we've gotten her that she actually pooped proper poop and that was only a few days ago so she said there could still be lots of whatever she was eating a month ago before we even got her, still inside.
Sooooo, what you see above is
Reglan, which is supposed to increase muscle contractions in the upper intestine, and Lactulose which is for constipation.

If anyone has any good and fun ideas for fund raising please post them because the visit today was very expensive.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Pray for Ichigo!

All of a sudden she has gotten worse and is having a hard time breathing and is foaming at the mouth. We have an appointment at the vet at 6pm tomorrow night. I hope she will make it till then. Please please pray for her!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Thanks to Yu Yamaguchi for her donation!

Monday, May 26, 2008

The wrecking crew....

Memorial Day - Ichigo decides she should wreck part of the garden which is not mine..... I hope my neighbor doesn't notice till it grows back a little. (Everyone in the building shares the backyard)

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Just when I thought things were going smoothly, Ichigo is not eating as much anymore and is worrying me. Even cooked shrimp didn't work too well. Just took one or two of the 4 pieces I gave her. Maybe I will try not feeding anything for a few days.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Tried to make those "meatballs" with veggies today but I got the wrong kind of ground chicken, too coarse. I think Coleman will end up with the left overs. If I get a finer ground meat (very weird saying this as a vegan) I think it'll work and stick together better. I was thinking maybe a "dumpling" with the meat on the outside and veggie on the inside would work better if I can make them small enough to eat in one bite. Ichigo was trying to do everything she could to avoid eating any part of the meatballs today that had any vegetable matter. She pushed with her front legs/hands to make the vegetables go away........

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

We had been having trouble getting Ichigo to bask lately and I was starting to get worried but today I caught her basking when I opened the door to the bathroom. She quickly dove in the water and bonked her shell real hard.
I bought her some anarchis, an aquatic plant, in case she would eat that but so far no luck. She also didn't want the cuttlebone I bought her to get some calcium into her. She carefully put it in her mouth and spit it out.
Spoke to the vet again today on the phone and she suggested making little cooked meatballs with chopped up veggies to get her to eat greens. A very time consuming little creature she has turned out to be.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Weekend Update

Right now I am trying to transition her from a mostly meat diet to her turtle pellets and veggies. I am stuffing pieces of chicken and shrimp with pellets and greens to get her to eat them. She is very particular about not eating anything that floats right now so it has to sink. I decided not to use salmon or tuna anymore because it just gets crumbly and messy in the tub. She now looks up at me when I'm in the bathroom to see if I brought food instead of trying to hide.
Runny nose is better. Still a little snotty but it's clear and not white.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Ichigo is finally eating. Our friend Amanda brought some fish she cooked that had been inside some sushi and we tried that and it worked like magic. The down side to this is that she now poops lots of mucky stuff. We hadn't bothered to get a filter before since we were already cleaning the tub out every day to take showers. So today I had to go get a water filter. I haven't figured out if she likes the noise of falling water or if it annoys her.......
I also had to get one more round of antibiotics because her nose is still just a wee bit runny and because one of the last shots backfired and shot back out at ME instead of into Ichigo's arm.
We are now down $75 because of these two things so if anyone is reading this and hasn't yet donated and would like to we could use more help.
You can paypal us at goodies (at) littlecakes (dot) org
or send a check made out to Hanna Fushihara and send to
625 East 6th Street #1B
New York, NY 10009
Thanks for your consideration.

Backyard Fun

Ichigo has been feeling better so I have been letting her soak up the sun in the backyard every day it is warm enough for 30 minutes or so. She hasn't been basking on her little sunny island in the tub the last 4 days or so, so she needs to dry off or her shell will rot eventually. I think she really enjoys being out in the real sun. I may have found someone in the Bronx that has a pond in his backyard who would like to adopt her. He has 4 other turtles and one just died so he wants another to take her place. I am going to call him this week and see if I can visit him and see his set up to see if it will work.

Ichigo's Shell

This is what Ichigo looks like out of the water. If you look closely you can see that she has a piece of shell missing from the side and also the top of her shell is dotted with many circular dents which I can only assume was done by a human. The top is also very scuffed up. I wonder how she was being kept before she was rescued..... I actually saw the woman who I think must have been the one that sold Ichigo to Ines who was the one who bought her out of bondage. She was sitting on Mott & Hester with another large turtle wrapped in green plastic netting, so tight it could not move one bit. I couldn't look for more than a second. I know I cannot save every animal in need and it hurts when I am reminded of it.

Our new foster

Ichigo came to us as a rescue from Chinatown. She is a large female, around 10 inches long. She came to us with pneumonia and possible septicemia. We had to use our bathtub for her habitat as she is aquatic. This is a picture of her when we first got her. We keep a red heat lamp on for her at night because she is sick and needs extra warmth. She is receiving .1ml of Naxcel antibiotics every day.
We first purchased two heat lamps, uvb light, two special light fixtures with ceramic bases, water heater, turtle dock, water conditioner, turtle pellets, and had one vet visit plus a round of antibiotics. Thanks to the following folks we were able to cover these purchases; John Halbreich, Jaiko Suzuki, Moriah Carlson, Ryan Compton, Brock Pennington, Siri Wilson, Evah Fan, Faye Lozowski & Dave Dvorchak, Elyse Allen, Emi Kariya, Diego Hadis, Keith McCulloch, Shayna Kipping, George W Myers, Pamela Stark, Paul Kim, Ines & Justice.