Aboard Noah's Blog

News, information, and chatter about collectible items with animal themes, as well as some facts, figures and fun related to pets and wildlife.

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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

'Noah's Wish' to Save Pets

Louisiana groups make animal evacuation and recovery plans

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) - A Madison County, Illinois, prosecutor is leaving this week for the Gulf Coast to offer assistance to some lower profile hurricane victims -- family pets.

Amy Maher is a coordinator for a national organization called Noah's Wish, which works to save as many pets as possible during such catastrophes.

More than a hundred Noah's Wish volunteers are expected to arrive in Louisiana tomorrow.

Various Louisiana animal welfare groups are managing animal evacuations and recovery plans for New Orleans pets and displaced animals.

The Louisiana Veterinary Medical Association is currently accepting pets at the Blackham Coliseum in Lafayette, LSU in Shreveport, the Monroe Civic Center for small animals and the Ike Hamilton Center for large animals in Monroe.

Pets are also being accepted at the Farmer's Market in Alexandria, and the LSU Agriculture Center at Parker Coliseum in Baton Rouge.

Owners must be housed in a Red Cross shelter and are responsible for caring for their animals, including feeding and cleaning. Animals will be accepted 24 hours a day, and veterinarians will be on hand to handle any medical needs.

Visit them on the Internet at noahswish.org

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Smart Parrots

A woman who had a parrot, trained it to give instructions to the salesmen that came to her house very often. One day the coalman came to make a delivery. “Ten sacks, please,” said the parrot. “You are a clever bird being able to talk,” said the coalman as he finished the delivery. “Yes,” replied the parrot, “and I can count too. Bring the other sack.”

Another woman, after continuous effort, managed to train her parrot to say the following words: “I am Suzie. Come let’s have some fun.” To any guest who stepped in, the parrot would faithfully greet with those words. One day, while visiting the local church, the woman met her collegemate and both got into the conversation on pets. He said: “I too have a clever parrot who recites prayers and knows much about the Bible.”

Finally, both thought that if their pets were brought together, they would learn more from each other. They agreed. When the two pets confronted, the gentleman’s parrot, in response to its companion’s greeting, uttered: “At last, my prayers have been answered.”

Camera traps reveal rare Asiatic cheetahs

Largest-known group ever photographed in Asia

NEW YORK (Aug. 29, 2005) -- Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) scientists, working in conjunction with Iran's Department of Environment (DOE) in an isolated region in the Dar-e Anjir Wildlife Refuge, recently discovered that a remote camera set out to survey wildlife had photographed an entire family of extremely rare Asiatic cheetahs. The pictures show an adult female and her four youngsters resting in the shade of a tree, marking the largest-known group of these rare cats ever photographed in Asia.

Once ranging from the Red Sea to India, the Asiatic cheetah today is hanging on by only the thinnest of threads. Fewer than 60 exist on the entire Asian continent, mostly on Iran's arid central plateau, where WCS and Iranian biologists have been conducting surveys of this highly endangered big cat since 2001.

"As a species the cheetah is still in dire straits in Iran, so it is extremely encouraging to see an apparently healthy family in their native habitat," said Dr. Peter Zahler, assistant director for WCS's Asia Programs. "Images like these give hope to conservationists that there is still time to save these magnificent animals."

Initiated by a major grant and ongoing support from the United Nations Development Program's Global Environment Facility, WCS began its collaboration with Iranian scientists by surveying five protected areas where cheetahs were still thought to exist. The group found a variety of suitable habitat, but also discovered that prey species, such as jebeer gazelle and urial sheep, were scarce. The latest photographs hint at the gradual recovery of prey populations.

"Cheetahs in Iran live on a knife-edge in very marginal habitat," said Dr Luke Hunter, coordinator of WCS's Global Carnivore Program. "The fact that this female has managed to raise four cubs to six months of age is extremely encouraging. Hopefully, this indicates there are areas where the cheetah's prey species are coming back, a goal the Iranian DOE and UNDP has been working very hard to achieve."

In the 1970s, estimates of the number of cheetahs in Iran ranged from 100 to 400 animals. But widespread poaching of cheetahs and their prey during the early years of the 1978 revolution, along with degradation of habitat due to livestock grazing, have pushed this important predator to the brink of extinction. Once known as "hunting leopards," cheetahs have played a significant historical role in Iranian culture being trained by its emperors to hunt gazelles in ancient times.

Asiatic cheetahs went extinct throughout much of the Middle East about 100 years ago, though they occurred in Saudi Arabia until the 1950s. They vanished in India in 1947; spotty records claim they ranged in Central Asia as far as Kazakhstan from the 1960s through 1980s.

Cheetah Gifts

Monday, August 29, 2005

Senior Dogs: Symptoms that Require a Vet's Attention

While you should be taking your senior dog to the vet at least twice a year for a check-up, you might notice some particular symptoms that are not normal for your dog. The key to noticing any changes in your dog is to be well-tuned to his normal habits. Taking action right away is especially important when you have an older dog as conditions can progress very quickly.

Here is a list of symptoms and situations that would require a veterinarian's immediate attention:

  • Any unusual lumps or bumps on your dog's skin. Older dogs often get lumps that end up being benign, however, you should always bring them to your vet's attention. Make it part of your regular grooming routine to inspect your dog's skin. Don't forget to check the mouth - tumors there tend to be the most serious. Other warning signs of cancer tumors include foul odors or unusual discharge or bleeding.
  • If your dog is experiencing shortness of breath, it could indicate a heart problem.
  • A sudden change in appetite is often a sign of kidney failure or other serious problems.
  • Sudden weight loss or weight gain.
  • A dog that is drinking more water than usual and urinating more frequently could have kidney disease or diabetes.
  • Sudden changes in temperament. If your dog is normally very gentle and suddenly becomes aggressive, it could indicate a medical problem.
  • If your dog is lethargic for 24 hours or more.
  • Continuous vomiting
  • Abdominal tenderness or swelling are signs of bloat.
  • If you notice lameness when getting up, or a limp in your dog's walk.
  • Diarrhea for more than twenty-four hours or diarrhea with blood should be an alert to call the vet.
  • Rashes, falling out fur, excessive shedding or chewing at spots on the body should be brought to your vet's attention.
  • Should the eyes look hazy or your dog seem to have trouble seeing or there is an abnormal discharge from the eye, call the vet.
  • Bad breath and yellow teeth indicate dental issues - though not an emergency should be addressed. However, if the breath smells sweet, there could be other problems. Pale gums can be signs of a serious problem.
  • Anything that seems out of the ordinary for your dog should be cause for concern.

Foods Dangerous to Small Dog Breeds

Many people aren't aware that certain everyday foods and sustances can be toxic for dogs. Small dogs are more vulnerable because even a very small amount can put their health at a huge risk.

  • Chocolate is toxic to canines. The darker the chocolate, the more harmful. A substance called Theobromine in chocolate can cause a dog to experience rapid, irregular heart beat, increased urination, muscle tremor seizures. The affects can be serious. Death from chocolate toxicity can occur with 24 hours.
  • Alcoholic beverages can be fatal to small dogs. No amount of alcoholic beverage is safe - even beer should be off limits.
  • Coffee, Tea and Cola contain caffeine, a stimulant that causes increased heart rate, hyperactivity, seizures and tremors.
  • Macadamia nuts contain a compound that can temporarily paralyze a dog's hind legs. Although very painful, the muscle weakness won't last long. And dogs affected seem to recover with no treatment and no long-term effects.
  • Onions and garlic have a chemical that damages red blood cells and can cause anemia in dogs. Even one small whole onion can cause death. Remember to be particularly careful when disposing of left-overs that may contain onions or garlic. Interestingly, onion powder in the forms and amounts used in many dog foods is not toxic and, in fact, enhances flavor.
  • Raisins and grapes can cause vomiting, diarrhea and kidney failure in dogs. The minimum safe amount is not known, so keep these foods well out of reach of curious muzzles.
  • Products containing a substance called Xylitol, a sugar substitute found in sugarless gums and candies, can cause a rapid drop in your dog's blood sugar.
  • Moldy or spoiled food and garbage can contain multiple toxins causing vomiting, diarrhea and damage to internal organs. Be sure to keep trash away from dogs.
  • Yeast dough, like the kind used in making bread or deserts, is designed to expand. If swallowed by an unsuspecting little dog, it can expand and produce gas in the digestive system, causing pain and possibly rupture the stomach or intestines.
  • Medications such as Ibuprofen, Aspirin, Tylenol, and Naproxen may give you some relief, but painkillers and other common medications can be deadly to a small dog. Keep all prescription and over-the-counter drugs-that includes cold medicines, diet pills, antidepressants, anti-cancer drugs and vitamins-in closed cabinets out of your pets' reach. Never give your pet medication unless directed to do so by a vet.
  • House plants are pretty, but some are possibly deadly for your dog. Many common houseplants can be poisonous, such as lily, daffodil, oleander, rhododendron, azalea, yew and foxglove, rhubarb leaves and cycads.

According to the ASPCA, thousands of dogs needlessly suffer (and many die) each year by ingesting these common household foods and substances. If you suspect that your dog has eaten any of them, seek emergency help right away.

Poison Control Information

Sunday, August 28, 2005

A Man and His Dog

A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead.

He remembered dying, and that the dog walking beside him had been dead for years. He wondered where the road was leading them.

After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight.

When he was standing before it he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother-of-pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold. He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side.

When he was close enough, he called out, "Excuse me, where are we?"

"This is Heaven, sir," the man answered.

"Wow! Would you happen to have some water?" the man asked.

"Of course, sir. Come right in, and I'll have some ice water brought right up."

The man gestured, and the gate began to open.

"Can my friend," gesturing toward his dog, "come in, too?" the traveler asked.

"I'm sorry, sir, but we don't accept pets."

The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going with his dog.

After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence.

As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book.

"Excuse me!" he called to the man. "Do you have any water?"

"Yeah, sure, there's a pump over there, come on in."

"How about my friend here?" the traveler gestured to the dog.

"There should be a bowl by the pump."

They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it.

The traveler filled the water bowl and took a long drink himself, then he gave some to the dog.

When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree.

"What do you call this place?" the traveler asked.

"This is Heaven," he answered.

"Well, that's confusing," the traveler said. "The man down the road said that was Heaven, too."

"Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? Nope. That's hell."

"Doesn't it make you mad for them to use your name like that?"

"No, we're just happy that they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind."

Friday, August 26, 2005

Pets in TV challenge

Source: http://iccoventry.icnetwork.co.uk
August 26, 2005

Pet-lovers from Coventry and Warwickshire whose furry friends have "paw" behaviour could soon be appearing in a new TV show.

Anxious owners took their cantankerous cats and dastardly dogs to the Warwickshire and West Midlands Game and Country Fair at Ragley Hall in Alcester, in the hope that animal experts from Animal Planet can fix their pet.

Britain's Worst Pet will feature pets from across the country that will have been nominated by their owner because of their bad behaviour.

The series sees vets Trude Mostue and Roger Mugford on hand to rehabilitate the naughtiest pets in Britain. The animal experts will work with both the pets and their owners.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

A dog's life as pets left home alone get the blues

ANGIE BROWN, news.scotsman.com

INCREASING numbers of pets are suffering from stress and behavioural problems as a result of being left at home alone for long periods of time, new research has shown.

Eight out of ten veterinarians say they have seen an increase in animals suffering problems as a result of being left by their owners.

The problems suffered by pets are similar to those humans may experience as a result of loneliness, such as stress and depression.

Just over a quarter of people who responded to a poll by the insurance company More Than said their pet had suffered from some sort of behavioural problem, with leaving animals alone seen to be the main cause of the problem.

Ironically, 70 per cent of owners said that they kept a pet for companionship.

The Scottish SPCA also said they were seeing an increase in the number of cases of dogs suffering from "loneliness".

The research was based on responses from 350 vets and 1,700 pet owners questioned by mail during June.

Joyce Stuart, a leading Scottish canine behaviourist who is based in Lanarkshire, said it was common to find pet dogs suffering from "separation anxiety".

She explained: "It is a condition which means when the dog is left on its own in a house, it cannot cope.

"This can occur for example if the dog has been used to company and then the owner suddenly gets a job and the dog is left all day on its own.

"Symptoms can manifest in one of three ways - the dog either barks continuously, it chews and destroys furniture, or it does the toilet in the house.

"Now they don't do this as retaliation for being left on their own; instead, it is a way for the dog to relieve stress.

"The period of time a dog can be left varies between dogs, but nine hours while an owner is at work is too long.

"If someone wants a dog but they work full-time, then they really should rethink their decision."

Comment: In my opinion, adopting a dog from a shelter is an excellent option for everyone, whether they work full-time or part-time. For the dog, it sure beats the alternative. - Sherry, Aboard Noah's Blog

She added that it was not too late if a pet owner's dog was showing signs of "separation anxiety".

"An animal behaviourist can give advice to help solve problems if a dog is showing signs of distress," she said.

Sophie de Pelet, a veterinary adviser for More Than, said: "Unfortunately, it is a fact of life that man's best friend is often left alone for long periods of time when pet owners go out to work.

"This can be extremely stressful for animals, especially dogs, who like company. Worryingly, persistent anxiety can contribute to long-term illness.

"Dogs should ideally not be left alone for longer than four to five hours. With cats it is more difficult to specify a time period but beware - if they are not getting companionship at home, they may well uproot and move in elsewhere."

A spokeswoman for the Scottish SSPCA said: "Dogs are pack animals and therefore when we leave them alone for long periods they see it that they have done something wrong, as they have been 'discarded' from the family."

Man, dog fend off bear attack in Alaska

Information from: Anchorage Daily News, http://www.adn.com

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - A man walking his dog down an overgrown trail southeast of his Chugach Foothills neighborhood Tuesday evening was attacked by a grizzly sow.

"I hadn't taken one or two steps when the bear burst out of the brush," Gary Paterna said Wednesday. "It charged down and then it stopped."

The grizzly sow, with at least one cub, charged Paterna, swatted his chest and knocked him to the ground. But Paterna's dog, a 9-year-old Brittany spaniel named Tok, drew the bear's attention.

The bear pounced on the dog, giving Paterna time to leap to this feet.

"What I remember was just how big the head was - it seemed enormous," Paterna said later.

Twice more, the bear knocked him down, but Tok's presence seemed to interrupt each attack.

After the third hit, the bear bolted up the trail, allowing Paterna and Tok to run for the a trail.

The encounter was perhaps 1,200 yards from suburban homes and lawns.

Paterna, 60, suffered scrapes and a sore hip where he'd fallen, plus five scratches from the bear's claws and a purple bruise across his chest.

His dog, Tok, didn't appear hurt at all.

"We were pretty much face-to-face. I thought, 'Here it comes. She's going to chew on me.' But she backed off," said Paterna. "It's great to be alive."

Paterna said he plans to carry a larger can of bear spray in the future and practice firing it. And he will avoid overgrown trails with poor visibility.

The bear left a muddy paw print on his old T-shirt.

"It's got a beautiful claw mark," Paterna said. "I think I'm going to get that one framed."

Photos of Young Panda Cubs

Panda 082405

Three weeks after the birth of a giant panda cub, seen during its weekly exam August 24, 2005, San Diego Zoo veterinarians have determined that the cub is a girl. The female cub weighs 22 ounces or just in excess of a pound and is 29.5 centimetres from the tip of its nose to the base of its tail. As Chinese tradition dictates, naming the cub will not occur until the cub is 100 days old. REUTERS/Ken Bohn/San Diego Zoo/Handout

Panda 080905

One of giant panda Xue Xue's twin cubs is under close observation in a wildlife rescue centre in Zhouzhi county in northwest China's Shaanxi province August 9, 2005. The 18-year-old Xue Xue gave birth to twin cubs on Saturday. Both mother and the cubs seemed to be doing well, according to the centre. CHINA OUT REUTERS/China Newsphoto

Panda 080105

A three-week old giant panda cub takes a nap in the arms of its mother, Mei Xiang, at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, D.C., August 1, 2005. Curious veterinarians at the zoo lured Mei Xiang out of her den with a bamboo snack and sneaked a look at her cub, born July 9 last month, and found that it is a male, the zoo said on Tuesday. The cub is now 12 inches (30 cm) long and weighs 1.8 pounds (825.7 grams). Picture taken August 1, 2005. EDITORIAL USE ONLY REUTERS/Courtesy of Smithsonian's National Zoo/Handout

Panda Figurines

Dog - missing 5 years - comes home to Nova Scotia

CBC News, August 24, 2005, Canada

Tosca, a black dachshund, was found last month on a road near Miramichi, in northern New Brunswick.

The dog was only five months old when it went missing from its home in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia in October, 2000.

Sylvia Macdonald, the dog's owner in Dartmouth, was heartbroken: "I cried all night. I thought she was never coming back."

Suspecting the dog had been stolen, the MacDonald family put up posters in the neighbourhood and eventually heard that a woman in the area had been given a very similar dog. MacDonald couldn't find the woman, so she hired a private detective.

The detective eventually located the woman and went to her house with a photo of the missing Tosca. A dachshund resembling the missing dog was in the home but the woman insisted it wasn't the same animal.

Police were contacted, but the woman had moved to New Brunswick and couldn't be found.

Macdonald kept trying to find her, even tracking relatives, but had no luck.

Then last month a caller from Miramichi told MacDonald he had the dog.

Kevin Burchill was driving on New Brunswick Highway 11 when he saw a small dog sitting on the side of the road. "He was just sitting there and he looked like he was begging," said Burchill. "You drive by dogs every day, going for a walk or whatever, but he looked lost."

The dog was wearing a rabies tag bearing the number of a Nova Scotia vet. Burchill called the vet and was given Macdonald's number.

He was stunned to learn how long the dog had been missing.

Macdonald couldn't believe the dog was actually Tosca and called Burchill back several times that night asking for more details about the animal's appearance. Burchill finally described two blond dots on the dog's eyebrows and that sealed it for Macdonald, who along with her husband drove to New Brunswick the next day to be reunited with their pet. "Her face hadn't changed a bit," said Macdonald. "I picked her up and gave her a big kiss."

No one knows why the dog was on the side of the road in New Brunswick.

Tosca the dachshund has now re-joined her sister, and three other dogs, in the MacDonald family home in Dartmouth.

Shop for Dachshund-Themed Items

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Heroic Dog

Source: http://www.fox19.com
(Cincinnati, Ohio)
Aug 23, 2005

A pint-sized dog is being credited with helping get prompt medical attention for an Elkhart woman who collapsed in her home during a diabetic fainting spell.

When Marlene Huffer fainted August eleventh, Danny began barking loudly and racing back and forth inside her home. Huffer had been caring for the Pomeranian mix from a dog rescue organization.

Neighbor Colleen Willits heard Danny's frantic barking and called paramedics when Huffer didn't respond.

The paramedics went inside the home and took Huffer to the hospital, where she learned that her low blood sugar had caused her fainting spell.

Huffer says her furry hero will be leaving soon to live with a permanent family.

Monday, August 22, 2005

We Sure Love Our Dogs....

By LINDA SHRIEVES, The Orlando Sentinel

Amos, the birthday boy, jumped up and down, quivering with excitement. The other guests wore silly birthday hats -- as long as they could tolerate the elastic straps under their chins -- and chased one another around the party room.

And when a latecomer arrived, everyone gathered around for a sniff.

That is, until Amos, a black Labrador retriever-bloodhound mix celebrating his second birthday, wolfed down his cheeseburger and pet fries, then promptly burped while opening his presents at the HoundsTooth Bakery, a dog boutique in Winter Park, Fla.

His owner, Darlene Mabey of Deltona, Fla., laughed. "He doesn't have the best manners," she says "You know, he's only 2 years old."

Mabey, 46, a state tax auditor, and her husband, William, 51, don't have children. So she's thrilled to throw a birthday party for Amos.

"You want to love them and spoil them like they're your kids," she says.

The Mabeys aren't the weird neighbors down the street. They're just like millions of other Americans who are passionate about their dogs.

Everywhere you look, there are dogs.

Dogs in parks. Dogs dining out. Small dogs in carrying cases. Dogs in airports. Dogs -- and their masters -- checking into hotels. Big dogs riding in the backs of pickup trucks or riding in passenger seats, tongues wagging out of windows. Even dogs attending church. Presidential pooch Barney often flies with President Bush to Camp David for getaway weekends.

It's a dog's life

Although Amos celebrated his birthday with an oatmeal birthday cake and doggie-approved ice cream, he regularly feasts on sautéed eggplant ("I sprinkle some bread crumbs on top and fry it in olive oil," says Mabey), green beans, brussels sprouts, cauliflower and carrots.

Life is good for Amos. He visits doggie day care once a month and eats ice cream from a spoon. Before a boat outing, Mabey enrolled Amos at a doggie water-therapy business "to make sure he could swim."

"It's crazy, isn't it?" Mabey says. "But I love animals."

When this country was primarily agrarian, dogs were farm animals, kept outside and given little attention. But in the rough-and-tumble world of suburbia and big cities, dogs have moved indoors and become part of the family.

During the past 10 years, spending on pets has more than doubled from

$17 billion a year to $36 billion, according to the American Pet Product Manufacturers Association.

There are several reasons, says Bob Vetere, the association's chief operating officer.

Empty-nesters are spending money on the only family member left at home -- Max the mutt or Buddy the beagle. College grads delayed having children and are opting for pets first -- and maybe children later. And, in a society where working at home is more common, people craving companionship are discovering a dog really is man's -- or woman's -- best friend.

"It's nice to have a pet that offers unconditional love, someone who doesn't talk back," says Vetere. "I love cats, but cats take you on their terms. My golden retriever could have a broken leg, and his teeth could be falling out, but if I walk in the door, he'll wag his tail until it hurts."

Exclusive dog parks are popping up, and a South Florida couple are trying to launch Companion Air, an airline for owners who want to fly side-by-side with their dogs. And some folks are drooling over the latest shopping trend -- "Pupperware parties" for dogs and owners to check out the latest in pet merchandise.

Dogs are dining on restaurant patios -- though health inspectors are cracking down on this practice in downtown Orlando -- and there's been an explosion in the number of owners taking their pups on vacation.

And, church services that welcome pets are starting to crop up. Dee Renda, a former dog trainer, organized a church gathering to reach out to dog owners who couldn't leave their dogs for regular church services.

The congregants included a West Highland terrier, Labradors, a German shepherd, two chow mixes, a Chihuahua and a dachshund that showed up late.

Dogs, Dogs, Dogs

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Amazing Facts About Animals

-A beaver can hold it's breath for 45 minutes.

-A 70 pound octopus can squeeze through a hole the size of a silver dollar because it has no backbone.

-The longest recorded life span of a tapeworm was 35 years!

-A male Angler fish attaches itself to a female and never lets go. Their vascular systems unite and the male becomes entirely dependent on the female's blood for nutrition.

-A shark can grow a new set of teeth in one week!

-Penguins can jump nearly six feet into the air.

-An African ostrich egg weighs nearly 30 pounds and is so strong that a
200 pound man can stand on it without breaking it!

-There are more sheep in New Zealand than people.

-The elephant is the only animal that has four knees!

-An elephant's trunk can hold up to one and a half gallons of liquid!

-A kangaroo is only one inch long when it is born!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Woman Brings Illegal Lynx to Veterinarian

The Associated Press
Wednesday, August 17, 2005

OGDEN, Utah -- The cat Karen Goeckect brought to a veterinarian to be spayed and declawed was actually a lynx _ a threatened species that wildlife officials say is illegal to own in Utah.

Veterinarian Greg Johnston said 16-week-old Sasa was the size of a large house cat, but had black-tufted ears, thick, lanky legs and oversized feet tipped with half-inch claws.

"After working for Fish and Game and spending 40 years as a veterinarian, I knew what I was dealing with" _ a lynx, Johnston said.

Johnston said Goeckect, who listed a Garden City address, told a receptionist Sasa was a domestic cat when she left the animal Monday to be spayed and declawed at the Johnston Animal Hospital.

Goeckect said Tuesday that she bought Sasa for $2,000 from a breeder in Minnesota. She said she planned to raise the animal at her home in Idaho, where lynx can be kept as pets if owners have a health certificate and an Idaho import license.

In Utah, lynx can be kept only by zoos or pelt farms, Division of Wildlife Resources Conservation Officer Kip King said.

Sasa is good-natured, people-friendly, and has never seriously bitten or scratched anyone, Goeckect said.

"She's not afraid of humans," Goeckect said. "She'll come right up and sit on your lap. If she was declawed, she'd be no different from a house cat."

Johnston said Goeckect may be able to control Sasa now, but when she reaches her full size of 30 to 40 pounds she will pose a danger to people and pets.

"This cat would have always been in charge," Johnston said. "The family would have been pretty much hostages to it."

The Division of Wildlife Resources allowed Goeckect to take Sasa home temporarily, but said the lynx eventually will have to be placed in a zoo or a rescue facility.

Sasa bit and scratched Johnston, so she will have to be quarantined at Goeckect's house for at least 10 days to check for rabies.

King said Goeckect could be subject to wildlife charges.

Information from: Standard-Examiner, http://www.standard.net

Cats that are legal to own - Hee Hee

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Safari animals hunting Smart cars

Source: www.telegraph.co.uk, August 16, 2005

Lions at a safari park have been prowling after Smart cars in the belief the tiny vehicles may be prey, it has emerged.

Visitors to Knowsley Safari Park, in Merseyside, have long been able to drive their cars within metres of lions.

But motorists in compact Smart cars have discovered that the lions are paying them particular interest.

Smart Car

David Ross, the manager of the park, said the lions were intrigued by the Smart cars' unusual appearance, but passengers were not in danger.

He said: "The lions are used to seeing saloons and family cars on a daily basis, but they had never seen a Smart before. Because of the cars' small size and unusual looks, the lions were immediately interested and went to take a closer look.

"We won't be excluding Smarts from the park but we will monitor their progress and ensure that the lions don't take anything more than a passing interest."

A Smart spokesman said: "Smarts always stand out wherever they go, but this kind of animal attraction is very unusual."

Shop for Safari-Themed Gift Items

Monday, August 15, 2005

Tapeworms Recently Found to Pose Risk to Horses

Source: Dr. James Brendemuehl, August 15, 2005

An archive of pet columns from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine is on the Web at http://www.cvm.uiuc.edu/petcolumns/.

Summer grazing increases horses' exposure to internal parasites, since infectious eggs and larvae can thrive in contaminated soil and grass. According to Dr. Jim Brendemuehl, equine Extension veterinarian at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Urbana, recent research has uncovered a previously unrecognized menace. Joining the list of pesty equine parasites that includes nematodes, small and large strongyles, roundworms, pinworms, and bots is a problem usually associated with dogs and cats: tapeworms.

Until recently, the significance of tapeworm infestation in the horse had gone unnoticed because of the lack of a routine diagnostic screening test. The best way to determine tapeworm infection was through direct examination of the gut, either through surgical or post-mortem examination, and these tests are not commonly performed. Fecal examinations, though simpler to perform, are not very accurate.

Fortunately, a new screening test has been developed that detects antibodies that horses produce when infected with the most common tapeworm found today, Anoplocephala perfoliata. When researchers used this test to survey the incidence of tapeworm exposure in U.S. horses, they detected tapeworm infections in all areas of the country. Horses in the upper Midwest showed the highest level of exposure, with over 95 percent of horses tested having antibodies against tapeworms.

A. perfoliata averages only an inch in length, but since these worms frequently accumulate in large numbers, they can cause significant infections. Tapeworms inhabit specific areas of the intestine, and this species inhabits the ileocecal junction, where the small intestine joins the large intestine.

Dr. Brendemuehl warns that tapeworm infections may bring an array of intestinal complications. When tapeworms attach to the intestinal wall, they can cause severe local inflammation, resulting in scarring and thickening of the intestine wall. Excessive thickening and scarring can affect the digestive and absorptive functions of the intestine.

"Large numbers of tapeworms in the intestines may also increase the risk of serious intestinal injuries, such as ileocecal intussusception, in which the small intestine pushes itself into the wider large intestine, and ileal impactions, in which the worms block the intestine," notes Dr. Brendemuehl. "Both of these complications may require surgery. Tapeworms can also interfere with normal intestinal motility and greatly increase the risk of spasmodic gas colic."

Treatment of equine tapeworm infections has recently become easier with the introduction of a new class of pharmaceuticals that are highly effective against tapeworms. The compound praziquantel, which has long been used to treat tapeworms in dogs and cats, has just been approved for use in horses in combination with either ivermectin or moxidectin, more traditionally used broad-spectrum anthelmintics and boticides. Since praziquantel is new to the equine parasite population, tapeworms should not be resistant to the drug.

Dr. Brendemuehl recommends adding these newly approved anthelmintics to an arsenal against internal parasites, citing their nearly 100 percent efficacy and high margin of safety.

For more information about equine tapeworm infections, consult your equine veterinarian.

Veterinary Extension/Office of Public Engagement University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine 217/333-2907

Find Horse-Themed Gift Items

Woman able to see life as animals do

Nebraska News, August 15, 2005

KEARNEY, Neb. (AP) -- Temple Grandin crawls into the minds of animals to gain an understanding unattainable from simple observation.

It's an understanding that comes from thinking like animals. "I don't think in language," she said. "As an autistic person, I think in pictures."

The condition that could have been a crippling disability instead gave her an incomparable ability to understand animals and translate that information to livestock handlers.

Her most recent best-selling book is "Animals in Translation." Grandin, who spoke at the fifth annual Nebraska Grazing Conference in Kearney, has published millions of words in her books and articles. She has spoken millions more in her Colorado State University classrooms, at seminars and as a livestock systems consultant.

Yet Grandin said she doesn't get her own answers in words. Like animals, she collects information in pictures generated by the words.

Autistics and animals see the world through their senses, which means they can be overwhelmed by details and emotions, particularly fear. They also can have savant-like skills, Grandin said, such as birds that learn a migration route after having flown it once.

Grandin's translation skills have made her one of the world's foremost experts on livestock handling systems that use curving designs and focus on details that have cattle's sensibilities in mind.

"The people are the first thing you've got to fix," she said. "Some just think yelling and screaming is the way to handle cattle. The first thing you have to do is get people to calm down."

Instead of trying to push reluctant cattle through a gate or into a chute, handlers need to figure out what's stopping the animals. "Animals tend to notice little things that shouldn't be there," Grandin said.

Details -- a coat on a fence, chains hanging from a corral, loose things flapping in the wind, a strange shadow on a sunny day -- produce cattle stress. She said studies show that stressed cattle have lower rates of gain.

Handlers also need to know that cattle and horses are only partially colorblind. Grandin said they can see yellow-green and bluish-purple. They can see blue sky and green grass.

Grandin said the best way to get cattle to accept differences, including things as simple as a mud puddle at the gate opening, is to allow time for the lead animal to investigate.

"The old saying that slower is faster is true," Grandin said.

Farm Animal Figurines

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Veterinarian: 50 Percent of Pets Need to Lose Weight

Source: ABC News
Aug. 14, 2005 — Americans are passing on the battle of the bulge to their pets.

"Fifty percent of all people and 50 percent of all pets are overweight or obese for the same reasons — eating too much and moving too little," said Dr. Marty Becker, a veterinarian who appeared on "GMA Weekend" to teach owners how to care for overweight pets.

Corpulent canines and fat cats aren't cute; they are unhealthy and in danger of an early trip to pet purgatory, Becker said.

"If you keep your pets thin, studies show they'll live 15 percent longer — that's about two extra years on the average," said Becker. "I'm not exaggerating when I say that pets almost never come to the veterinarian's office too thin."

Becker said there are three reasons why pets get fat:

  • They eat the wrong food. There's only one type of food your pet should eat, and your veterinarian can help you figure that out based on your pet's breed, age, lifestyle and health risks. Vets probably will change what a pet eats five times during its life, as it ages. It is impossible for consumers to weed through the tantalizing ads and competing claims to make sound choices for their pets.

  • They eat too much food. Pet owners underestimate how much their pets are eating, especially as it relates to how many calories they're burning. A lap dog lying in a lap doesn't need a lot of calories — but a lap dog training for a marathon with its owner does. Sometimes, pets eat more than the owners know. Dogs can raid a cat's bowl, and all kinds of pets might get treats on the sly.

  • They eat too many treats. Nobody wants to stop giving their pet treats. But limit the treats to 10 percent of the pet's daily caloric intake. Try to substitute healthy treats like baby carrots, which are sweet and crunchy but have no empty calories. Also, offer "emotional milkbones" in which you tell your pet how great it is along with a smaller portion of treats.

How to Tell

Here are some signs your pet is overweight, according to Becker:

-Your pet has breathing problems and pants a lot.
-Your pet has difficulty jumping and climbing stairs, often from secondary joint problems.

Even with these clues, most people are in denial that their pet is overweight. Becker pointed to a body-scoring assessment you can do at home, or ask your vet to do.

Here's where to look to see if your pet is to fat:

  • Ribs check: You should be able to easily feel your pet's ribs. They shouldn't be covered with a layer of fat.
  • Profile check: When your pet is standing and you're viewing it from the side, you should see a tucked abdomen, not a body that looks like a cylinder.
  • Overhead check: When your pet is standing and you're viewing it from above, you should see an hourglass shape with a clearly defined waist.
  • Tail check: You should be able to feel the base of the tail very easily.

Becker offered tips to downsize your pet:

  • Feed your pet "weight reducing" food. To get rid of the extra weight feed the food your doctor recommends — which many be a special weight-reducing food like prescription diet R/D or W/D.
  • Don't feed "free choice" — which means there is food available all the time and your pet eats whenever it wants. Instead, take the amount of food your doctor recommends and divide it up into two or three meals.
  • Limit snacks and access to other food — just like in a human diet.
  • Start a walking program. If your overweight pet is really out of shape, don't push it too hard. Start with one block per 10 pounds of body weight, twice a day. Early morning or evening walks are best — avoid scorching sidewalks, high heat and humidity.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

12-Year-Old Girl Finds Cat 3 Months Later

Record-Eagle staff writer

TRAVERSE CITY (Michigan)- Linda Lawshe knew it was a long shot when she placed a classified ad seeking to reunite a wayward cat with its owner.

"It was a phenomenal find," she said. "I had no thought that after that long anybody would call."

The black cat - Lawshe dubbed it Black Velvet - visited her yard for more than a month and she initially thought he belonged to a neighbor. She started setting out food for the stray feline, and Monday, when she found him curled up on her welcome mat, came close to adopting him.

But she decided to place a classified ad in the Record-Eagle, just in case.

Meanwhile, 12-year-old Kalkaska resident Rachel Strothers spent three months pining for her cat Smokey. On Tuesday, she spotted the ad on the first day it ran.

Rachel prodded her grandmother, Kathy Latierre, to call and find out more. But even Smokey's owners were surprised when Lawshe e-mailed them photos of their 4-year-old pet as living proof.

Even more surprising was how far Smokey had wandered - Lawshe's home is in the Holiday Hills area of Traverse City, roughly 32 miles away from the cat's starting spot.

"I was terribly surprised," Latierre said, calling Rachel's spotting of the ad a happy coincidence. "She goes through the paper every day and something told her to go to lost and found. It's a wonderful miracle that happened."

Cats, Cats, Cats

Friday, August 12, 2005

Four Fresh Faces in the Nursery at the San Diego Zoo

Four fresh-faced newborn cheetah cubs are making their debut yesterday (August 11, 2005) at the San Diego Zoo. The two-day-old female cubs can be seen in the nursery at the Children's Zoo.

The cubs were born at the San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park on August 9, but their mother stopped caring for the cubs. Due to the maternal neglect, the decision was made to bring the cubs to the nursery at the Zoo for hand rearing.

Cheetah Cubs

"The cubs will need 24-hour-a-day attention for the first two to three weeks of their lives, with nursery keepers giving them feedings every two hours," said Janet Hawes, senior nursery keeper. "As they grow, the feedings, and the need for non-stop attention will diminish."

At two days old, the four cubs weigh each between 400-500 grams, and eat 22% of their body weight at each feeding. Their eyes are still closed and will open in about a week, at about the time they will be removed from their incubator.

The 100-acre San Diego Zoo is operated by the not-for-profit Zoological Society of San Diego. The Zoological Society, dedicated to the conservation of endangered species and their habitats, engages in conservation and research work around the globe. The Zoological Society also manages the 1,800-acre San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park (more than half of which has been set aside as protected native species habitat) and the department of Conservation and Research for Endangered Species (CRES), and is working to establish field stations in five key ecological areas worldwide.

Pet Spending Rises in UK

Source: k9magazine.com

British pet owners are spending £3.5bn a year on their pets. Market analysts Mintel reported that this figure has risen by 25% over the past five years and is showing little sign of abating. Dog owners are revealed as the most likely to spoil their pet, despite the reduction in people choosing to own a dog over the same period.

People living on their own with a dog were reported as the most generous when it came to lavishing their pet with gifts, as well as spending the most on food, veterinary care and accessories.

The report also highlighted a spending phenomenon which sees people continually humanizing their pets. Choosing premium pet foods, spending on luxury items and services as well as celebrating birthdays are said to contribute to the ‘child substitution’ concept suggested in the report.

Rising veterinary fees have contributed to the trend in higher spending, but attitudes towards pet ownership are believed to be equally responsible for the huge surge in spending over the past five years.

The report, which spoke to 1,006 pet owners, found that the concept of celebrating of a dog’s birthday was completely normal to over a fifth of owners. Even owners who didn’t know the exact date of their pet’s birthday, admitted to celebrating with presents, cards and even special meals on a given date each year.

Paul Pates, Managing Director of pet accessory mail order catalogue, Wishbone (www.wishbonedirect.co.uk), has been quick to encourage phenomenon.

“Nowadays dogs are part of the family, they live inside, they eat at set times with the family, and they even go on holiday. So why not celebrate their birthdays? We have a free doggie birthday club, where every member receives a free present from us when their owners place a birthday order. We also send special offers throughout the year to club members, including Christmas”.

Christmas presents too, are deemed to be a natural part of the pet owner’s budget, with the same percentage admitting to buying their dog at least one present to celebrate the festive season.

Dog owners in North Yorkshire are the most generous with their spending, with memorials to deceased pets as well as cosmetic care such as manicures and pedicures forming part of the budget.

Dogs, Dogs, Dogs

Mailman Bitten by Barking Man

The Associated Press
August 11, 2005, Dateline Alabama

A mail carrier wasn't worried when he heard barking. The man had already made sure the pooch in the yard he was about to deliver to was chained up.

It wasn't the barking dog that got him, it was a barking man, police said.

Mark D. Plumb, 20, of Butler, Mo., was arrested and charged with simple battery Wednesday after he ran barking from a house and bit the letter carrier on the shoulder, Houma Police spokesman Lt. Todd Duplantis said.

Plumb said he bit the carrier as a joke and has no history of criminal activity or mental illness, police said.

"I've never heard of something like this," Terrebonne Parish Postmaster Bill Frye said. "I was shocked when I heard about it."

The carrier was shaken up from the attack but had minimal physical injuries, Frye said. The carrier has been delivering in Houma for about two weeks, Frye said.

Mail carriers participate in frequent safety classes, Frye said, and are equipped with dog spray to protect themselves from animals.

"We don't expect that a human being is going to run up and bite one of our carriers," said Frye.

Plumb is free from the Terrebonne Parish jail after posting $165 bond.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Chef whips up food for pets

August 11, 2005, The Arizona Republic

Arizona Biltmore Executive Chef Michael Cairns has cooked for presidents, celebrities and captains of industry.

A lesser-known entry on his resume: creator of canine concoctions.

Cairns developed the Phoenix resort's Pet Pals' menu, tucked inside the room service menu alongside the regular offerings, a children's menu and a teen menu.

There are three entrees, Kojo's Dirty Rice with Beef, Zen Yo and Sylvester's Seared Salmon.

The description for Zen Yo, a vegetable stir-fry with poached eggs, reads like the pitch for a spa treatment: "Developed especially to help pets adjust to jet lag and altitude, this dish is easy to digest and helps to re-hydrate travel weary dogs and cats."

They go for $11 and include Sedona bottled water.

Cairns said the volume of pet orders ranges from two a day to 10 or 12, depending on the mix of vacation and convention guests at the resort. The idea was born out of special requests the kitchen received from pet-toting celebrities and other guests, he said.

The resort even does special orders off the pets menu, i.e. Zen Yo with egg whites only, or vitamins sprinkled over one of the dishes.

"It's amazing to see how many pets are spoiled," he said.

When he sees guests walking their pets around the resort, some stop him to say, "Thanks for dinner last night."

Spoil Yourself with a Figurine of Your Favorite Dog Breed

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Teens operate on dead cat, saving kittens

August 9, 2005
CBC News (Canada)

Two teenagers performed a caesarean section on a dead cat they found along a New Brunswick road, saving two of four kittens.

Monica Castonguay, 15, and Kim Quimpère, 13, said they found the animal on July 31 while they were on their way for a walk in the woods near St. Quentin, a town in northwestern New Brunswick.

They told a French-language newspaper, the Acadie Nouvelle, that they recognized the cat and knew it was pregnant.

After discovering that the cat's body was still warm, they decided to try to save its kittens – even though neither of them knew how to do a caesarean section or had studied biology.

Kim borrowed a sweater, knife and some cotton swabs from a nearby house.

They decided Monica would do the surgery. She told the newspaper she wasn't sure where to cut, but made an incision into the mother cat's belly and could see the kittens.

She pulled them out and found that two of four kittens were still alive, so she cut their umbilical cords and wiped the mucus from their noses.

Kim bundled the kittens carefully in the sweater, then the teens raced home with them.

They telephoned several people but were unable to reach a veterinarian.

That evening, a cat in the neighbourhood that had recently lost its brood heard the kittens mewing and adopted them. One of the kittens later died but the other was adopted by Monica.

The teens said the experience in no way swayed them toward becoming doctors or veterinarians.

Kim told the newspaper that she found the experience interesting but rather nauseating.

Cat Collectibles and Gifts

Dog Calls 911

August 09, 2005, New Jersey - A woman has ended up on the wrong side of the law after teaching her dog how to call police in an emergency.

Sylvia D'Antonio, 46, of Lake Parsippany, had a lot of explaining to do after an exercise in teaching her dog how to dial 911, ended with three police cars outside her home.

She was charged with disorderly conduct for making three late night calls, but she claims the calls were made by her German shepherd, Slayer.

"She knocks it off the hook and then she steps on it," said D'Antonio.

Local newspapers say the police dispatcher was alarmed because when the calls were picked up "the only communication was someone breathing".

The calls were traced and three squad cars raced to D'Antonio's home, only to find that there was no emergency. - Ananova

Monday, August 08, 2005

Treats for Pets - Birds, Cats, Dogs, etc.

Most pets -- even tropical fish -- appreciate a little tickle of the taste buds. Those with less sophisticated palates (golden retrievers come to mind) may not know what they're eating but will relish a little extra anything from their much-adored owners. Still, a food treat should be a rare indulgence, sold or prepared especially for animals. For the most part, it should not be a helping of whatever the owners are indulging in.

Let's Not Create Animal Overeaters
Be judicious in choosing times to dole out treats. When your pet behaves well during a trying experience -- say, a trip to the veterinarian -- it's appropriate to reward the animal with a treat immediately afterward. But don't shut the animal up in the laundry room with a ham slice for consolation because no one's given him the time of day in a week. If you offer a pet a food treat in lieu of attention or affection, then presto, an overeater is born!

Every Litter Bit Stinks!
If yours is a strictly indoor cat, avoid giving him pungent fish products -- sardines, mackerel, kippers, canned salmon -- as a treat. His litter box output will be unbearably smelly if you slip up on this.

On Saturday, Tabby Gets Tuna
Try to limit treat giving to once a week or so. Otherwise, stick to kitty's regular fare. Don't play to a pet's finicky nature by getting more and more inventive with the treats. Cats will take advantage if you let them and can get diarrhea from many foods, so be firm and don't allow them to demand pate on a regular basis.

A Honey of a Treat
Cockatiels simply adore honey sticks, which consist of the usual pellets and seeds held together by coagulated honey.

A (Fruit) Cocktail Would Be Nice
Give your parrot a honey stick, too. Or tempt him with more creative fruit treats, such as kiwifruit (washed twice to remove even the slightest traces of pesticides) and strawberries cut into small chunks.

Care for a Shrimp Cocktail?
Tropical fish really need consistent food more than anything -- and not too much of it. But you might offer them an occasional treat of dried brine shrimp. The fish seem to like it.

Have You Ever Met a Finicky Guinea Pig?
Guinea pigs live to eat, so any offering is a treat. Still, if you want something truly special, give your pet one-half cup of one of those fancy prewashed salad green mixes. Look for one that's heavy on the darker greens and lighter on the lettuce (which has little nutritional value).

Article is Compliments of Petsmart

Army breaks its own rules to allow troops pets

Published in the Asbury Park Press 08/8/05


A pair of Navy corpsmen went on a scavenging mission in a trash dump out side Camp Gannon — at the edge of Husaybah, Iraq, in March. Their mission: Bring back a pet dog for the Marines.

Michael Ledbetter, 23, of Ballinger, Texas, and Chad Martin, 25, of Fort Worth plucked three mongrel pups from their sour-smelling bed, immunized them with veterinarian supplies they discovered in camp, gave them baths and turned them over to the men.

That's against military rules, strictly interpreted. U.S. troops in Iraq aren't allowed to have pets. And the wild dogs of the desert, which feed on the troops' garbage, are viewed as menaces, aggressive to men on patrol and often bearing diseases. A pack of 10 wild dogs lives near Camp Gannon, and about 20 live near the base at nearby Qaim. They sneak up like insurgents.

At larger military bases than this one, private contractors set steel traps for the dogs, and the animals are euthanized. Troops who try to adopt them can be punished.

But at Camp Gannon, where mortar and rocket fire are daily occurrences, where the men live isolated from the Iraqi townsfolk and even from regular military supplies — which must be convoyed across the desert under heavy security — the officers in charge convened an informal powwow, and the pups' adoption was approved.

"They're unofficial pets, that's for sure, but everybody knows about them," says camp physician Lt. Scott Wichman of Rochester, Minn., who attended the confab that decided the dogs' fate. He says the pups are morale boosters.

"It gives them a sense of home and something to take care of," he says. "They truly are community dogs."

Says Ledbetter, the Navy corpsman: "The Internet and phones are fine, but it's nice to have a dog running around. It reminds you of home."

In April, Wayne Pacelle, head of the Humane Society of the United States, wrote a letter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld asking the Pentagon to stop the euthanasia of troops' pets and to drop its prohibition against care of animals in the war zone. He also asked the Pentagon to authorize the troops to ship home healthy animals.

Responding to what he said were "numerous letters of complaint" from troops and their families about the Pentagon's hard line, he also criticized the military's punishment of pet owners under its guidelines for conduct.

"The bond between humans and animals does not compromise character or morale," he wrote. "Rather, it enhances them."

Ledbetter and Martin would settle for just being able to turn over their growing pups to the next rotation of troops who will arrive at Camp Gannon this fall.

For now, Wichman set the conditions for the dogs' stay: "The first sign of anything bad — growling or anything else — and we're going to have to get rid of them."

Today, the pups have names — Lunchbox, Seven Ton and Sharpshooter — and duty rosters. Lunchbox sleeps beneath the corpsmen's cots but trots out regularly to the tank post. And almost any time of day, he will check in at the chow hall.

Seven Ton, who is named for the Marines' big transportation trucks, lives with the mechanics at "Motor T" — the T stands for transportation — while Sharpshooter is the snipers' mascot.

But Lunchbox, Ledbetter says, well, "He's the chief." Ledbetter and Martin do rescue work for a living. In military parlance, they are "hospital men." When mortars or rockets strike and most men are ordered to get down or fire back, Ledbetter and Martin run in the direction of the blast to aid the wounded.

Ledbetter has a job lined up at a Florida surf shop when he gets out of the Navy in November. Martin is a guitarist and singer who has played a few coffee shops and entertains the men with his original compositions. He isn't sure what his future holds.

"We're going to turn (Lunchbox) over to the corpsmen in replace of us," Ledbetter says. "Obviously, we can't take him back. But it would be cool if we could."

"Yeah," Martin says. "That would be sweet."

Gifts for Dog Lovers

Grants Given to Patients to Buy Pets

Source: BBC News (UK)

Patients are to be given grants of up to £1,000 so they can boost their health by buying a pet.

Medical experts believe that looking after an animal can have a therapeutic effect on the owner.

Now, a health trust in south London, is running a pilot scheme which will allow doctors to offer the chance to care for a pet.

Lewisham Primary Care Trust said owning an animal can help people recover faster and reduce isolation.

Trust spokesman Oliver Lake said it is hoped a pet will keep the patient out of hospital.

Caseworkers will be allocated the budget and will decide which items will help to improve the patient's wellbeing.

Mr Lake said: "What is bought for the patient is dependent on what the caseworker believes is necessary for the patient in order to improve his or her health.

"Evidence suggests that caring for a pet can help patients get better, but there are many other options."

Other items that can be bought with the grant include a type of chair, air conditioning, heater, transport to a social club, or an overnight carer.

Five practices in the borough are taking part in the pilot.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

PETA Offers Urgent Information for Animals During an Evacuation

Group Warns Against Leaving Animals Behind to Fend for Themselves

Alberton, Mont. — With wildfires likely to spread and authorities calling for an evacuation of the area, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is offering important advice for ensuring the safety of animal companions. Please alert your audience to the following information, which could help save the lives of cats, dogs, companion birds, and other animals who need to be included in evacuation plans:
  1. In the event that your area is evacuated, never leave companion animals behind to fend for themselves. They aren’t any better equipped to survive disasters than humans are.
  2. Know your destination ahead of time. Shelters often do not accept animals, but motels in the area will probably accept dogs, cats, and other small animals in an emergency. Call destinations in advance, and find out which ones will accommodate you and your animals. Do not plan to leave animals unsupervised in a car, since they can suffer from heatstroke if the temperature rises above 70°F.
  3. Place small animals in secure carriers. Dogs should be leashed with harnesses, as frightening circumstances may make them bolt. Bring along water and food bowls, a towel, and enough food for a week.
  4. Put I.D. tags on your animals in case they become separated from you.
  5. If you absolutely must leave your companion animals behind, leave them inside the house, with access to upper floors. Leave out at least 10 days’ supply of dry food and water. Fill multiple sinks, bowls, pans, and plastic containers with water. Do not turn animals loose outside to fend for themselves or, worse, tie them up or leave them outside in cages, where they will be unable to flee dangerous circumstances.
PETA encourages communities and individuals to implement the American Red Cross’ preparation plans for animals, listed on the agency’s Web site at The Red Cross

PETA is also sending its disaster preparedness public service announcement hosted by William Shatner to radio and TV stations serving the Alberton area.

For more information, please visit HelpingAnimals.com

World's Ugliest Dog Contest

Where: Petaluma, Calif.

One look at reigning champion Sam, left, proves this contest doesn't mess around. Leave the cloying Chihuauaus at home and bring your ugly A-game to the Sonoma-Marin County Fair.

Sam, Champion Ugly Dog

Despite what their owners may think, some dogs are just ugly. In fact, some mutts are truly hideous. But nothing quite compares to the winner of the World's Ugliest Dog, a "beauty" pageant for comestically-challenged canines held at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma each June. You know you've got one poor-looking pooch on your hands if can claim this prize.

But "ugly" doesn't even begin to describe Sam, a 14-year-old Chinese crested from Santa Barbara, Calif., who has taken away the dubious honor three years in a row (most recently in 2005). The tiny, nearly hairless dog looks as if he's been recently unearthed from some pet cemetary. His skin is covered in blackheads and warts, his blind eyes are milky white and his crooked teeth protrude like fangs. He's so ugly even some of the judges were taken aback when they first saw Sam.

Find Cute Dog Collectibles


Published: August 6, 2005, By Marjorie Woodfin
Pilot staff writer, Curry Coastal Pilot

One day in mid-July everyone at the South Coast Humane Society animal shelter was crying, but they were tears of joy.

A man named Richard had come to the shelter begging for a dog to take back to Ohio.

When he picked out a dog he wanted to adopt, Shelter Manager Vicki Cooley said she told him it was not a good choice. "I told him that the dog he wanted runs and attacks other animals."

Richard then began to cry. He said he had started on his trip from Ohio to the Pacific Northwest with his old dog, and his dog died. According to Cooley he said, "I have to have a dog. Without one I'll kill myself."

"And I believed him," she said. "He was so broken up, there was no way I was going to send a dog out with him driving back to Ohio in this heat."

With the man sobbing uncontrollably and threatening to kill himself, she didn't know what to do. She called the Outreach Gospel Mission and spoke with Harry

Lawrence, a minister who volunteers at the mission.

Cooley said within 10 minutes Lawrence was at the shelter and she put the two men together in her office. She said the men talked and prayed together for some time before Lawrence came out to speak with her.

She said Lawrence told her, "I really think that this is a good owner." He reassured her that the man had money to take care of an animal and had air conditioning in his vehicle.

They went back to the kennels for another look and when Richard saw Sissy, a Border collie mix, and Sissy saw Richard, "They bonded immediately," Cooley said. "She followed him everywhere and obeyed all commands."

Sissy was brought to the shelter in June when her owner moved to a care facility and could no longer care for her.

Lawrence said, "When I got there this middle-aged fellow was sobbing in his car. He said he and his wife had an argument and she yelled at him and he hit the road and his dog died, and he talked about his dog." Lawrence said after his conversation with Richard, he told Cooley, "I know you want to place an animal and this guy is a human being and he really needs a dog."

"Sissy was a perfect dog for him," Cooley said. "We gave him a non-tip dog dish and a lot of food and new leashes and sent him on his way. He was so happy. Everyone was crying. He said, ‘you saved a life,' and I believed him. It was just wonderful."

On July 14, Richard drove off from the shelter smiling, with Sissy sitting beside him looking equally happy, Cooley said.

About a week later she received a post card from Richard saying, "Hi Vicky, Got home last night Sissy is doing great. My wife Agnes likes her. So the three of us are doing good in Cecil, Ohio. Say Hi to Harry. God Bless."

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Take a Good Sniff of Your Pet's Ears

Have you ever suffered through an earache?

If you have, do you recall the discomfort it created and the fact that it hurt 24 hours a day, seven days a week, until you or your physician took corrective action? Now, if you have a pet at home, take a good sniff of each ear canal.

If you are unable to read this sentence because your eyes are watering from the odor, we'll wait for you to catch up. An odor from the ear - even an aromatic, sweet smell - can suggest that your companion is suffering an ear infection.

Many times, we confuse the source of odor from our pets as coming from the mouth, skin, or elimination sites. Because the ear is often overlooked as a source for odor, many ear infections are advanced and significant by the time they are seen by your pet's doctor.

Hence, they require time, money, effort and the patience of Job to resolve. Unfortunately, if the disease is allowed to progress, the pet can becomes increasingly uncomfortable, the ear canals can undergo irreversible changes and middle or inner ear infections can follow.

One reason our pets are more prone to ear infections could be the anatomy of their ear canals. Our ear canal is a nice, horizontal tube that leads from our outer ear to our tympanic membrane, or eardrum.

Our companion "Doodlebug" has the same horizontal ear canal but, rather than leading to the outer ear, it makes a right angle vertically to the exterior. Thus, this reversed "L" arrangement of the ear canal allows for debris and moisture to accumulate and potentially serve as the nutrients needed for bacteria and yeast development.

Diagnosing the cause
Not all ear problems are alike; thus, there is no single "shotgun" cure that solves the disease. Ear infections can be caused or enhanced by parasites, foreign bodies, allergies, anal sac disease (really!), hypothyroidism and other systemic diseases. Another common cause deals with the climate: as the summer temperatures and humidity increase, our pets are more likely to go swimming, get bathed more frequently, or simply live through these 100 percent humidity days of summer.

If the cause of the infection can be determined, we stand a better chance of resolving the problem. To better discern the cause, your pet's doctor will perform a physical exam, paying close attention to the skin (it is not uncommon to find an underlying skin disease going hand-in-hand with an ear disease). A thorough examination of the ear canals is essential; however, if this procedure is painful to your pet, the kindest thing to do is allow the veterinarian to sedate your pet. By sedating, you are ensuring that your pet will not experience pain and will allow your veterinarian to thoroughly examine and clean the ear. But most important, because home care is generally essential, it will allow you to do the follow-up care without having to chase "Doodlebug" each time the ear medications are brought out.

Cleaning your pet's ear
Every time your pet goes swimming or as part of every bath, the ears should be cleaned and dried. There are two basic types of ear flush in the marketplace for cleaning ears: those containing alcohol (e.g. swimmer's ear) and those without alcohol (especially important for pets with an ear infection). Regardless of which you use, fill the ear canal with the flush solution and massage the ear at its base for a minute.

Allow your pet to shake out any debris and excess flush. Then, roll a cotton ball in the palm of your hands to make a "white tornado" and gently insert this into the ear canal to absorb the remaining flush. Repeat this step until the ear canal is dry. Some pets will allow a gentle, cool blow-drying of the ear canal. After finishing caring for both ears, be sure to give Doodlebug a hug and a special treat for enduring the embarrassment of your sniffing his ears.

Dr. Dennis Selig is a veterinarian at Northwood Hills Animal Hospital in Gulfport. Questions for this column are encouraged. Write to South Mississippi Veterinary Medical Association, 20005 Pineville Road, Long Beach MS 39560 and include a self-addressed stamped envelope.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Endangered animals put us all in danger

Adapted from an article by Nikki Cobb, Staff Writer, dailybulletin.com

If you're wondering why so much attention is being lavished on bugs and rats and the like, scientists say there are plenty of reasons for taking every precaution against losing a species any species to extinction.

They say a failing species is an indicator of environmental health, for people as well as animals. And if one species dies out, they say, the ripple effect will be felt throughout the ecosystem.

California State San Bernardino biologist David Polcyn says that our own existence may depend on an unlikely and unexpected source. A periwinkle found in Madagascar, he said, has been found to produce the only known treatment for Hodgkin's disease.

No species is too humble to save, Polcyn said. If the world had eliminated mold, he said, Sir Alexander Fleming never would have discovered penicillin.

"What we're potentially losing is the next cure for cancer," Polcyn said. "It sounds dramatic, but we don't know what's out there."

There's also an argument that all species in the ecosystem are connected. The interdependence may be subtle, and it may be difficult to discern. But tug on one thread of the web of life, some say, and it ripples vertically up and down the food chain as well as laterally to seemingly remotely related species.

Elizabeth Frair, a research scientist at Claremont's Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, gave as an example a Hawaiian ecosystem being perturbed by the elimination of one species of bee.

The silver sword, a native plant, depends on a particular bee to pollinate it, Friar said. But the bee is being wiped out by Argentine ants. It's had a drastic effect on the silver sword population, according to Friar.

"Just wiping out that one native insect changed the fauna in a major way," she said. "The (silver sword's) seed set dropped dramatically, by about 90 percent."

"The take-home message is, each species is very different in the way it may or may not react to a change in the ecosystem," she said.

Greenways are an important factor in saving endangered animals. For additional information, please read the previous post in this blog regarding greenways.

Resources on Animals

Greenways are Important for Animal Conservation

Each day, millions of animals are attempting to stay alive in a human-made, controlled environment that has little thought for their well-being. Turtles, foxes, and deer had a much easier commute before there were so many cars, roads, and housing developments, with their miles of fences and other dividers.

Having a greenway can mean the difference between an animal being able to find food, find a mate, or run from a predator, and starving, being partnerless and childless, or being eaten. And what happens to them when they do attempt to cross our packed highways and local roads puts a whole new meaning to the idea of being "stuck in traffic." Greenways in developed areas are critical for both the safety and protection of animals and the sanity of people.

Greenways are not just corridors for animals to travel from one place to another. Most animals depend on movement over large areas to be able to meet mates from outside their family group to preserve the genetic strength of their kind. Greenways connect areas of open space to each other, so that both animals and people benefit; the animals get to move around without threat of being run over by an SUV, and people can hike, bike or horseback ride from one park to another. Greenways can also include historic areas, like battlefields, farms or buildings.

One of the easiest ways to make a greenway is converting old rail lines into trails, oftentimes paving them, which is popular in the Northeast and Midwest where there are a lot of old rails rusting away. Because rail lines were designed to avoid steep grades, they are perfect for becoming human and animal pathways, and can be used by people of all ages, since they are usually pretty easy to walk on. In some states, greenways include waterways, and areas near to them, in order to provide buffer zones around freshwater resources.

Greenways will help aid in animal conservation, which will benefit everyone.

Noah's Animal Figurines

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


By Dr. Michael W. Fox (1988, but article is excellent and still timely)

I can't imagine childhood without a pet, whether it's gerbil, goldfish or kitten. As a boy, I took in strays and lovingly cared for them, and I vividly remember the setters and terriers and sheep dogs who were my playmates and friends. A dog, sometimes more than parents or peers, can give a child that deep sense of companionship and unconditional love that we all occasionally need in our lives.

Child psychologists have recently demonstrated the effectiveness of using pets as therapy for withdrawn and emotionally disturbed children. In a comparable way, a pet can play a vital role in the life of an average child. Every youngster sometimes feels unloved or insecure — and a pet is always accepting, is generally consistent in its behavior and can give a child a sense of relating and belonging.

In return, it's important for a child to understand a pet's body language, emotions and needs, to see it as less of a play object and more of a companion-animal, with its own rights and values. I believe that the child who is allowed to treat an animal like a toy, something to be discarded for another with more promise (or less work), will learn to have exploitative, superficial relationships with people, too. By truly caring for a pet, a child develops a sense of responsibility that carries into all social relationships, even marriage and parenthood.

But before getting a pet for your child, make sure that you want it, too. Though many children and adults may dream of a Lassie who can do everything just right without training, there's no such animal. And neither is there justice or common sense in foisting a pet on a child and saying, as many parents do, "Now remember, he's all yours — and your responsibility. Leave me out of it." The fact is that you must be involved. The sharing of responsibility and concern for a pet will create a closer relationship with your child. One father told me that he had felt increasingly distant from his adolescent son — until the boy got a puppy for his birthday. Father and son then had something to share, and "the old man" knew a good deal about dog training.

If a child is very young, you're better off postponing bringing in a pet. Most children under the age of three tend to treat animals like stuffed toys and think nothing of picking Puppy up by a leg or grabbing Kitty by the tail. These little ones will poke, prod and tease an animal just to see what happens. Unfortunately, this detached curiosity is potentially harmful when it's applied to living creatures. Many dogs and cats seem to understand about tiny tots and tolerate a good deal of abuse from them, but others are less accepting and patient. Constant vigilance and supervision are necessary.

If the pet is already in the family before the child is born, you must remember that your dog or cat may become jealous of the newcomer — yes, it may experience a form of "sibling rivalry"! Somehow, despite the demands of a new baby, you'll have to give extra time and attention to your pet so that it doesn't feel rejected.

Kittens, gerbils, rabbits, mice and similar pets are good for children age three or more, but I personally would wait until the child is eight or nine before buying a puppy. This is simply because there is a lot more to caring for a dog than feeding and cleaning. A child must have the maturity to assume such responsibilities as exercising and training the dog.

Preparations for a pet's joining the family should be made before its arrival. Have your child think about a place for the pet — a safe corner of its own, where it can sleep (or hide) and be alone if it chooses. Together, examine the toys that are lying about and that could injure a puppy or kitten if chewed or swallowed. Explain to children that they must be consistent in their behavior toward the pet, always gentle and firm, loving and understanding. Point out that regularity in feeding, walks, play and other routines is essential for the pet. Some children who object to parental discipline actually begin to comprehend and accept it once they see that a pet, too, must be supervised and disciplined for its own safety and for the welfare of others.

Set down a few basic rules of health for the young pet owner. Hands must always be washed after cleaning out the pet's cage or after playing with the kitten or puppy, especially before mealtime. And the animal should not be kissed on the mouth.

Though it's certainly tempting to do so (and makes a pretty picture); the new pet should not be allowed to sleep in the same bed with your child. Youngsters may feel they are comforting a small animal this way, but they are also making it dependent. Also, a young pet may fall off the bed during the night and hurt itself. When the animal is older and this habit persists, the child stands a chance of getting ringworm, fleas, mange, ticks and other infestations from his or her bedmate.

I am frequently asked what kind of dog one should get for a child. Don't get a fragile toy or miniature breed. An active little terrier, however, is fun and tough. A mongrel is ideal. Children don't need purebred dogs, and a mongrel is usually reliably adaptive and even-tempered.

Once you get your child to accept the responsibility of caring for the pet, there are many valuable lessons to be learned. Children see that a pet needs a good balanced diet — which is not necessarily made up of its favorite food. And some of a child's anxieties about earlier toilet training are quickly relived and relieved with the job of house-breaking a pet.

Caring for a sick pet is another experience that encourages empathy and compassion. The death of a pet, however, is a harder thing to face. But in our culture, where we are so often psychologically and intellectually ill-equipped to face death, I believe that a pet's death must be seen by parents as an opportunity to deal with a difficult subject in a sensitive and meaningful way. Parents may well find that the loss of a pet draws the family closer together, not only in mourning but in appreciating everyone and everything here and now.

Just as you must protect a pet from a child, it's of utmost importance that you teach children what to do if they are threatened or attacked — and, better yet, how to avoid these dangers. If bothered by a roughhousing animal, they should keep an eye on the dog but not stare. Staring could be interpreted as a challenge. Above all, a child should not run but should walk very slowly, acting nonchalant and relaxed as though the dog weren't there.

The snarling dog with bared teeth who seems serious about attacking is something else. A child should try to get to safety by backing away immediately and slowly and seeking refuge in a store or house or familiar parked car (perhaps even scramble on top of the car). If grown-ups are around, ask — or call — for help. And if a bite or scratch should occur, tell your child to report the injury to you right away, since wounds should be immediately and thoroughly cleaned and the animal observed for possible rabies.

If your child doesn't have a pet, I urge you to give him or her one. Encourage your children's involvement by presenting them with handbooks and articles on care and behavior and exposing them to films and television programs on the subject. And learn and enjoy with them. If a good relationship with animals is developed in childhood, a reverence for all life will be carried on into adulthood.

Dr. Michael W. Fox is Director of The Institute for the Study of Animal Problems. He writes a nationally syndicated newspaper column on pet care and has authored several books on pets, animal behavior and animal rights.