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.

Location: Mentor, Ohio, United States
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Friday, September 30, 2005

Katrina Dog Goes From Starvation To Broadway Play

SAN DIEGO -- A dog rescued in the wake of Hurricane Katrina went from near death to the spotlight in a San Diego-based Broadway show.

A local man involved in hurricane rescue efforts found Katie -- a 2-year-old terrier mix -- near starving and unconscious on a porch. He brought her to San Diego before returning to the Gulf Coast to continue with rescue efforts.

The rescuer left Katie with foster parents Brenda Aaronson and Jack Krenek, who decided to enter her in a contest to be in the play "Annie." Katie won the role and, by all accounts, won over the audience.

......Due to copyright restrictions, the full article can be accessed at NBC San Diego......

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Bunny Gets a Lift from Dog in Pond


A dog owner has been explaining how his pet chased a rabbit into a pond but then gave it a lift back to the bank. Paul Marshall, from Richmond, North Yorkshire, took Chester the Labrador to a local pond where she saw the rabbit.

She chased it into the water but when the rabbit tired it climbed onto Chester's back.

"We called her back and just as she was getting a foothold on the shore, the rabbit scuttled off and made a run for it," Mr Marshall explained.

The 38-year-old added that an outing to the pond at Ravensworth Nurseries near Richmond is a regular evening treat for two-year-old Chester.

"On this evening there was a rabbit grazing right next to the waterside. Chester shot after it and it had nowhere to go so it dived straight into the pond."

The dog went into the water after the rabbit which started to swim quickly away.

Mr Marshall went on: "The rabbit then slowed down and moved to turn and climbed onto her back. She was aware the rabbit was there but there was little she could do about it."

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Neighbor risks life for pets

By LYDA LONGA lyda.longa@news-jrnl.com

DAYTONA BEACH, FL -- Flames shot out from the bedroom window, licking at the air-conditioning unit that had backfired, but that didn't stop Don Hall from rushing into his neighbor's house Monday morning to try and save her pets.

Dressed in only a bathrobe, Hall raced from his home at the 300 block of Hartford Avenue, and along with neighbor Sandy Tripp, attempted to save two dogs and two cats, as well as douse the flames that were engulfing the back bedroom of the house at 370 Hartford with a garden hose.

By the time Daytona Beach firefighters arrived just after 10 a.m., the blaze was "pretty much under control," said Lt. John King.

"These people formed their own neighborhood fire brigade," King said. "They put their own safety aside to go in and search for the animals."

While King praised Hall and Tripp for their valiant effort, he said fire officials do not recommend people enter a smoke and flame-engulfed house because of the obvious dangers that poses.

"We're just glad that no one got hurt," King said.

Monday afternoon, sitting in the calm of his living room, Hall reflected on the action-packed morning.

He said he and his wife were asleep when neighbor Lucille Crellin knocked on their front door screaming about a fire at Michelle Ross' house.

Hall ran to the house across the street to get Tripp, a home health aide.

"He came over and I saw the flames from here," Tripp said pointing to his friend Ross' house. "The first thing I thought of was to grab the garden hose."

The pair ran across the street with Tripp's hose and began showering the air conditioning unit outside Ross' back bedroom. The blaze had started there, fire officials said, after the window unit backfired. Hall busted a couple of windows so he could climb inside.

"I couldn't have lived with myself if I hadn't tried to get into that house to see if there was anyone there," Hall said.

No one was home, but Hall did hear barking and a "meow" coming from one of the rooms in the house.

"I went in six or seven times, but it was too horrendous for me," Hall said. "I had to get out."

One of the dogs scampered out of the residence, Hall and Tripp said, and the other three animals were rescued by firefighters.

Dripping in sweat as she and family members began the arduous cleanup after the inferno, Ross said she was grateful the fire, which caused roughly $20,000 in damage, was contained to her back bedroom.

"I have a house today because of my neighbors," Ross said.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Fishing couple finds bird to be first-rate shipmate

If you’re walking on the West Main Dock at the Port of Ilwaco, Wash., and hear a whistle, it’s not tuna fisherman Harvey Cosky trying to get fresh. The musical note comes from Koko, an African grey parrot and full-fledged crew member on Cosky’s bright red 67-foot fishing boat EZ 1.

Forget whistling. Koko is more than likely to quack like a duck, howl like a wolf or even ask what you’re doing.

Cosky and his wife, Judy, obtained Koko when he was 6 months old. They were headed for Midway Island and hand-fed the chick with an eye-dropper on the way.

“The breeder wouldn’t let us have Koko until we assured him we’d be up 24 hours a day to feed him,” Harvey said. “He looked like a buzzard. We asked ourselves why would we want a bird like that.” That was when the “buzzard” first learned to say “no” and to identify his favorite foods – apples and grapes.

Koko is now a fine-feathered 6-year-old and part of the Coskys’ crew full-time, traveling the coast from Alaska to Mexico during fishing season.

Koko African Grey Parrot

The bird can, like many parrots, imitate the sounds of a number of animals. He asks to go for a walk, to go outside, says “Good morning. Have a cup of coffee” to the Coskys and sings “Koko is a good bird, a good bird, a good bird” when he’s by himself. The Coskys are not surprised. Previously owners have reported that African greys have learned multiple lines of songs, prayers or plays and can actually use word combinations that go beyond simple mimicking.

Before he wised up, Harvey was running down two flights of stairs to the boat’s engine room because he heard the low-water alert for the main engine go off. “I finally caught on it was Koko imitating the alarm,” he said.

If Koko can’t find the Coskys, he says “hoo-hoo,” Judy said. “When we answer him, he says ‘Oh, there you are.’ Not your average bird-brain.”

He sits on her head while she’s doing the dishes. “Lately he’s begun asking me what I’m doing,” she said. “He’s also started asking ‘What’s that?’ and won’t shut up till I tell him what each utensil I’m washing is. I think he’s trying to learn more names for objects.”

Koko can be sneaky, Judy said. “If there’s something on the table we don’t want him to play with, he’ll fluff his feathers and say ‘pet Koko’ to divert attention while he sidles closer to what he wants.” Apparently the bird also loves listening to music with a beat and piano music, dancing along as it plays.

But what really impresses the Coskys is Koko’s need for companionship. “He wants to be with his flock, period,” Judy said. “He’s completely bonded with us.” And that’s a good thing, she said. African greys can live to be 80 and their owners are told to be sure there’s someone to pass them on to.

— Nancy Butterfield, Daily Astorian

Lion sightings no cause for alarm

By Barry Shatzman, STAFF WRITER for the Daily Review, California.

UNION CITY, CA — It's one thing to see a stray cat in your driveway. But when the type of cat happens to be California's largest pure carnivore, that's another thing.
When checking a motion-activated camera one recent morning, a man was surprised to see a mountain lion wandering by his driveway in the west side of the city. Another was just as surprised when one crossed his path while he was driving on Whipple Road near Mission Boulevard.

About half of California is prime mountain lion country, according to the state Department of Fish and Game. They typically stay in the hills, where deer are more plentiful. Because they almost always hunt alone and at night, many people will never see one.

But every so often, one wanders into populated areas, usually following creeks and streams. Though the two sightings earlier this month were miles apart, they likely were of the same cat, police Chief Randy Ulibarri said. Adult males can cover a territory of more than 100 square miles.

"Our little visitor may also visit Fremont, Hayward, Newark and even Pleasanton," he said.

No one was threatened or seemed to be in any danger from the creature, City Manager Larry Cheeves said. And many experts concur that there is little reason for area residents to become alarmed. It is possible, some believe, that mountain lions don't recognize a standing person as prey.

Divorced Couples Would Rather Take The Dog Than The House

According to research released today, animal loving Brits admit they're
more likely to argue over the custody of a much-loved dog during a
relationship breakdown than the ownership of the house.

The study of more than 2,000 adults, conducted by Norwich Union,
revealed that seven in ten of us would choose our dog over ownership
of the house in the event of leaving our partner.

With the number of divorces on the increase - rising from 166,737
divorces in 2003, to 167,116 in 2004, Norwich Union would suggest
the owners of the 15 million pets in the UK think about the future
provisions of their pets by considering creating a "pet-nuptial"

Over a quarter of respondents said they would sign a "pet-nuptial" to
outline the roles and responsibilities of pet ownership and prevent the
potential heartache involved during an acrimonious split. Making
custody decisions puts extra strain on parting couples demanding
visiting rights, with over half (52%) willing to spend time with an
estranged ex purely to visit a beloved pet.

And it's not just the couple who can be affected. Paul Fowle at Norwich
Union explains: "When a relationship breaks down it can be a difficult
time for everyone concerned - and this includes the family pet. If you
find your pet is pining it may be because they are missing one of their
owners. Your vet may recommend a consultation with an animal
behavioural specialist. Check if, like ours, your insurance will cover
this treatment."

Sunday, September 25, 2005

1 pet dies, 2 sick - Lawn Treatment Suspected Cause

Whenever Zachary, 7, and Cameron Ellis, 5, latch onto a balloon outside, they kiss it, release it into the sky and say, "This is for you, Diamond."

Diamond, their beloved 71/2-year-old Doberman, died April 26, after a night of vomiting and lethargy, before her owners could get her to the veterinarian.

Diamond's death came less than 24 hours after a lawn treatment company applied a granular fertilizer to the Ellises' Candlestick Court lawn in Lancaster.

Two doors away, following a similar application on the morning of April 25, Missy, a miniature schnauzer, was treated for what her veterinarian thought was rat poisoning. Missy has been in and out of the hospital with a condition that prevents her body from producing enough red blood cells.

Elsewhere on Candlestick Court, an upscale subdivision in Lancaster, a black Labrador named C.J. became sick that same afternoon, and her vomiting and diarrhea lasted for about two days.

Three dogs became sick on the same cul-de-sac, with similar symptoms, following the same type of treatment on the same day from LushLawn Inc.

Two of the three families - Lisa and Todd Ellis, who owned Diamond, and Dianne Michlinski, Missy's owner - have used LushLawn for years, with no ill effects.

They're convinced the company must have used a bad batch of chemicals or applied them improperly to cause those problems on the same day.

"We've used LushLawn for years and recommended them to other people," Todd Ellis said. "I personally think it was an inexperienced employee and/or an improper application."

The incident has shaken these families' confidence in the product.

"They don't tell you what could happen," Michlinski said. "They don't say your dog or child could die if they went out on the grass. If they did, nobody would take that kind of chance."

Lisa Ellis, still mourning the loss of Diamond, added, "I'd like a simple "Yes, it was our fault.' "

Veterinarian's findings

One veterinarian has suggested that Diamond's death resulted from excessive levels of potassium and phosphorous, apparently from ingestion of a granular substance.

Donald R. Potenza, president of the 24-year-old company, declined to comment on the three dogs, pending further investigation.

But the top lawn care official in the state quickly came to LushLawn's defense.

"That granulized fertilizer treatment is used on tens of thousands of lawns in the Buffalo area," said Donald W. Burton, president of the New York State Lawn Care Association. "It's a bit bewildering to us that the relatively benign ingredients phosphorous and potassium would be of such concentration to cause a dog's death.

"It seems extremely unlikely to me," Burton added, noting that potassium and phosphorous also are key ingredients in retail fertilizers used by millions of homeowners.

Whatever happened, a once-healthy Doberman is dead, a schnauzer remains seriously ill five months later, and a black Lab was sick for a few days.

Like many couples, the Ellises had a special sentimental bond with Diamond: She was the first thing they bought with their wedding money.

As they were driving home with their new dog, the newlyweds noticed the dog kept chomping on Lisa Ellis' diamond ring. Thus the name Diamond.

"She was like my first child," Lisa Ellis said.

Diamond had a special sleeping spot, on the Ellises' bed - with her own pillow. In later years, the 80-pound dog became the protector for the couple's three children.

That's why it's so hard for the Ellises to talk about their loss.

Diamond was a house dog, who made only quick trips outside to do her business. For seven years, Diamond had had no problems with the lawn treatments.

Dog stricken that night

On April 25, the LushLawn worker came to the house shortly before 10 a.m. Todd Ellis, who was home, noticed that the employee seemed to be a newer one.

That evening, Diamond started to act a little lethargic and began throwing up grass. She kept throwing up throughout the night and started making sounds like Chewbacca from "Star Wars," the couple said.

The next morning, Todd Ellis planned to take her to the veterinarian. He had to carry her down to the laundry room, where he allowed the boys to give her a hug and a kiss before they left for school. Ellis went upstairs to get dressed shortly before 8:30 a.m.

"When I came downstairs, she had latched onto a big piece of blanket, kind of like a last act," he said. "I knew she was dead. She wasn't breathing anymore."

Only after comparing notes with Michlinski, their neighbor and Lisa Ellis' employer, did the Ellises learn that Missy had been throwing up that morning, too.

The Ellises took their dog's body to a veterinarian's office, which emptied her stomach. The vet called back and asked whether someone had poisoned the dog.

"They found holes in her intestine, holes in her stomach and a significant quantity of granular pellets from the lawn treatment," Todd Ellis said.

The stomach contents were sent to the Cornell Diagnostic Laboratory, which found high levels of phosphorous and potassium, "which could indicate a fertilizer-type product, but [which] is not conclusive," the report said.

The veterinarian then issued what's called a "presumptive diagnosis," that Diamond's death apparently resulted from an ingestion of a granular substance containing high levels of potassium and phosphorous.

Chemicals carry warning

Meanwhile, on the morning following the lawn treatments, Missy, the 5-year-old purebred miniature schnauzer, had become lethargic, was vomiting and couldn't stand up. The veterinarian asked whether she had eaten rat poison.

LushLawn's literature recommends that children and pets stay off the lawn for two to four hours. So Missy, a constant companion who goes to work with Michlinski and even has her own bed there, would not have been on her lawn during the four-hour period.

"That means they did something wrong," Michlinski claimed.

Since April 26, Missy has been given several blood transfusions, been treated with chemotherapy and steroids and diagnosed with "red blood cell aplasia." Her veterinarian says she's likely to be on lifelong medication.

"This has been a nightmare," Michlinski said.

Of the three Candlestick Court dogs that got sick, C.J., the 65-pound black Lab, was the only one whose family didn't have the lawn treatment.

"My dog was on a leash outside in the back yard, and she doesn't go in anyone else's yard," said the dog's owner, Janelle Sierk. "It definitely blew over from my next-door neighbor's yard."

Late last year, a missed deadline in the Erie County Legislature during the budget crisis left the county with a yearlong gap for 2005 in its Pesticide Neighbor Notification Law. That means there's no law requiring prior notification about such lawn treatments.

That gap seems to have had little effect on Diamond's death or Missy's ailments. Both families were LushLawn customers.

While LushLawn officials wouldn't comment, the company has been in business almost a quarter century, and it does between 40,000 and 50,000 treatments each year.

"LushLawn has had a very good record," said Burton, the lawn-care association president. "We have had very few calls of concerns about their service."

Friday, September 23, 2005

Dog registered to vote in New Zealand election

From http://www.theage.com.au

Toby, a Jack Russell terrier dog, was registered to vote in New Zealand's election last week, media reported today.

Toby's application form to go on the electoral roll, signed with a paw print and giving his occupation as rodent exterminator, was sent in by his owner Peter Rhodes, of Queenstown, in protest at the "bureaucratic nonsense" he had struck while trying to divide his land for development, the Otago Daily Times newspaper reported.

Toby Russell Rhodes, who was duly registered in the Otago constituency and sent a voter's card, did not try to vote but his owner said he was worried about who else was wrongly on the roll.

Electoral Enrolment Centre national manager Murray Wicks was not amused.

"It's an offence, and whoever's done it will be in the hands of the police," he said.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Should hurricane victims be permitted to take their pets with them?

Noah's Animal Figurines is conducting an online poll with this

Should hurricane victims be permitted to take their pets with them?

You are invited to vote at:


All votes are confidential.

If you die, where will your animals end up?

By Dr. Robin Downing

Occasionally I am asked by readers and clients about making arrangements for their pets in the event of an emergency or unexpected death.

Several times each year, my practice-team members and I try to find a new home for a pet whose owner has died without a plan in place for perpetual care for the pet.

Those of us who have pets love our animals and think of ourselves as responsible pet providers. What we sometimes forget is that our "lifetime" commitment to our pets means their lifetime. Here are some statistics:

Up to 66 percent of Americans die without a will in place.

Only 12-15 percent of American pet owners remember to include their pets in their wills.

More than 61.5 million dogs live in the U.S., and more than 43 million U.S. households include dogs.

More than 74.9 million cats live in the U.S., and more than 31.2 million U.S. households include at least one cat as a pet.

Nearly 60 percent of households include dogs and cats.

For every human baby born in the U.S. today, 13 puppies and kittens make their way into the world.

More than 55 million pet fish live in the U.S.

There are about 50 million pet birds in the U.S.

Between two and four pets are brought to one shelter in Colorado each month because their owner died and left no formal instructions for the pet's care.

Only 25 percent of dogs and 24 percent of cats that enter animal shelters are adopted.

Nearly 10 million animals are euthanized annually in shelters in the U.S.

Shelters are overcrowded. And survival statistics are not great for animals that end up in them. Do not allow your own beloved pets to become part of these horrifying statistics. With a little preventive planning, you can ensure your pets are appropriately cared for in the event of an unexpected emergency or if your pets outlive you.

The state of Illinois was the first to create specific legislation to provide pet owners with a legal vehicle through which to protect their pets by establishing a trust for their perpetual care. Speak to your attorney about Colorado's legal rights and how you can make provision in your estate planning for the perpetual care of animals in your care.

In the meantime, visit 3ArkAngels.com for information about planning for pets in the event of your death. There is a short-term and long-term planning section. You also can download a free "Pet Alert Card" to get you started. It's never too early to protect your pet from crisis.

Dr. Robin Downing will respond to your questions in her weekly column, but cannot answer individually. Send questions to Robin Downing, DVM, P.O. Box 460, Windsor, CO 80550 or drrobin@windsorvet.com.

A New Deadly, Contagious Dog Flu Virus Is Detected in 7 States

Published: September 22, 2005 in The New York Times - http://www.nytimes.com

A new, highly contagious and sometimes deadly canine flu is spreading in kennels and at dog tracks around the country, veterinarians said yesterday.

The virus, which scientists say mutated from an influenza strain that affects horses, has killed racing greyhounds in seven states and has been found in shelters and pet shops in many places, including the New York suburbs, though the extent of its spread is unknown.

Dr. Cynda Crawford, an immunologist at the University of Florida's College of Veterinary Medicine who is studying the virus, said that it spread most easily where dogs were housed together but that it could also be passed on the street, in dog runs or even by a human transferring it from one dog to another. Kennel workers have carried the virus home with them, she said.

How many dogs die from the virus is unclear, but scientists said the fatality rate is more than 1 percent and could be as high as 10 percent among puppies and older dogs.

Dr. Crawford first began investigating greyhound deaths in January 2004 at a racetrack in Jacksonville, Fla., where 8 of the 24 greyhounds who contracted the virus died.

"This is a newly emerging pathogen," she said, "and we have very little information to make predictions about it. But I think the fatality rate is between 1 and 10 percent."

She added that because dogs had no natural immunity to the virus, virtually every animal exposed would be infected. About 80 percent of dogs that are infected with the virus will develop symptoms, Dr. Crawford said. She added that the symptoms were often mistaken for "kennel cough," a common canine illness that is caused by the bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria.

Both diseases can cause coughing and gagging for up to three weeks, but dogs with canine flu may spike fevers as high as 106 degrees and have runny noses. A few will develop pneumonia, and some of those cases will be fatal. Antibiotics and fluid cut the pneumonia fatality rate, Dr. Crawford said.

The virus is an H3N8 flu closely related to an equine flu strain. It is not related to typical human flus or to the H5N1 avian flu that has killed about 100 people in Asia.

Experts said there were no known cases of the canine flu infecting humans. "The risk of that is low, but we are keeping an eye on it," said Dr. Ruben Donis, chief of molecular genetics for the influenza branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is tracking the illness.

But with the approach of the human flu season and fears about bird flu in Asia, there is much confusion among some dog owners who have heard about the disease.

Dr. Crawford said she was fielding calls from kennels and veterinarians across the country worried that they were having outbreaks.

"The hysteria out there is unbelievable, and the misinformation is incredible," said Dr. Ann E. Hohenhaus, chief of medicine at the Animal Medical Center in New York.

Dr. Hohenhaus said she had heard of an alert from a Virginia dog club reporting rumors that 10,000 show dogs had died.

"We don't believe that's true," she said, adding that no dogs in her Manhattan hospital even had coughs.

Dr. Donis of the disease control centers said that there was currently no vaccine for the canine flu. But he said one would be relatively easy to develop. The canine flu is less lethal than parvovirus, which typically kills puppies but can be prevented by routine vaccination.

Laboratory tests, Dr. Donis said, have shown that the new flu is susceptible to the two most common antiviral drugs, amantidine and Tamiflu, but those drugs are not licensed for use in dogs.

The flu has killed greyhounds at tracks in Florida, Massachusetts, Arizona, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Texas and Iowa. Tracks and kennels have been forced to shut down for weeks for disinfection.

In Chestnut Ridge, north of New York City, about 88 dogs became sick by early September, and 15 percent of those required hospitalization, said Debra Bennetts, a spokeswoman for Best Friends Pet Care, a chain of boarding kennels. The kennel was vacated for decontamination by Sept. 17.

About 17 of the infected dogs were treated at the Oradell Animal Hospital in Paramus, N.J., where one died and two more were still hospitalized, a staff veterinarian said.

The Best Friends chain owns 41 other kennels in 18 states, and no others have had an outbreak, Dr. Larry J. Nieman, the company's veterinarian, said.

In late July, at Gracelane Kennels in Ossining, N.Y., about 35 dogs showed symptoms, said the owner, Bob Gatti, and he closed the kennel for three weeks to disinfect.

About 25 of the dogs were treated by an Ossining veterinarian, Glenn M. Zeitz, who said two of them had died.

"The dogs came in very sick, with high fevers and very high white blood cell counts," Dr. Zeitz said, making him suspicious that they had something worse than kennel cough.

A spokesman for the New York City Health Department said that there were "a few confirmed cases" in New York but that the city was not yet tracking the disease.

Veterinarians voluntarily sent samples to the Animal Health Diagnostic Center at the Cornell School of Veterinary Medicine, which was the only laboratory doing blood tests.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Man Missing Dog Gets Ransom Note, Something Extra

DENVER -- The owner of a missing dog in Evans, Colo., said he has received a ransom note that threatens to kill his pet if he doesn't pay $100.

The note came in a bag of dog excrement, said Kelley Borland.

Due to copyright restrictions, please see the full article at:
The Denver Channel

Animal-Related False Alarms

Cuddly toy sparks sick dog panic

When neighbours flooded the RSPCA with calls about an abandoned puppy in a flat, charity staff raced to the scene - only to find it was a cuddly toy. The RSCPA received lots of calls from residents of the flats in Waterloo, London, all insisting they could see a puppy in distress.

When a locksmith got inside, they found a cuddly toy dog on the balcony.

"We are grateful the public were so concerned," an RSPCA spokeswoman said. "Luckily the toy was fit and healthy."

This is just one of many funny stories of 'false' callouts which the RSPCA has had over the last year.

Here are some more:

  • A caller said there was a black snake under his sofa. It turned out to be a TV cable.
  • A distressed woman said she could see a cat pegged on a washing line, but it was a toy cat which had been washed.
  • Someone called the RSPCA to ask when Rolf Harris was releasing a new record.
  • A woman rang to say the 'beast of Bodmin' had been asleep on her doorstep for 24 hours. It was actually a new telephone directory wrapped in black plastic.
  • An inspector went to see an injured magpie on a road, but it turned out to be a black and white trainer.
  • A member of the public reported a dead horse in a flooded field, which was actually a large plank of wood.

A spokeswoman for the RSPCA said, while they were happy that so many people were concerned about animals, sometimes these 'false' calls delayed them helping a genuine animal in distress.

"We get quite a lot of calls from people saying their neighbours have gone on holiday and abandoned their pets," she said. "But when we go to investigate it turns out friends and relatives are popping in all the time and they are perfectly fine.

"We are grateful for all calls though, and we don't want people to stop calling us if they think an animal is genuinely in distress."

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Now you can trade places with the zoo animals

Zagreb - A Croatian zoo is offering visitors "the complete animal experience" by locking them up in cages.

The move is to allow visitors to empathise with the animals by viewing the world from inside a cage.

The head of Zagreb Zoo, Mladen Anic, said: "We have set two cages aside for Homo Sapiens so people can experience how an animal perceives their cage."

But the project also has an environmental message with one ecologically themed cage using environmentally friendly furnishings and the other demonstrating the worst of man's disregard for nature - complete with a note above a mirror reading: "The most dangerous beast on the planet."

"We wanted to inform people about the ecological problems for which humans are responsible," Mr Anic said.

"I hope this will make people think about the fate of ourselves and our planet." - Ananova.com

Monday, September 19, 2005

Should hurricane victims be permitted to take their pets with them?

Noah's Animal Figurines is conducting an online poll with this

Should hurricane victims be permitted to take their pets with them?

You are invited to vote at:


All votes are confidential.

Promote acts that don't use animals

Ringling Brothers, paints a picture of happy animals doing tricks because they like to.

In reality their elephants are whipped in the face and gouged with metal hooks; brutalized to perform tricks that are not normal for an elephant to do.

The USDA inspection reports are riddled with instances in which federal inspectors found that Ringling Brothers had failed to comply with minimum federal regulations and the circus was cited for causing animals unnecessary trauma, behavioral stress, physical harm and discomfort. When we promote circuses that use animals, we are endorsing cruelty.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Dog massage more than just a belly rub


Everyone who has owned a dog knows how much they like their tummies rubbed and their ears scratched. Why not take it a step further and treat them to a massage?

After all, dogs are people, too. At least, that's the theory behind Dogs Are People Too Pet Massage and Instruction, a new Phoenix business that teaches people how to give their dogs massages.

"Just like people, pets also love the attention and relaxation a massage can give, and it will actually help their overall well-being," said Tracy Piatt, a certified canine massage practitioner (yes, there is such a thing) and owner of the business. "After about the third massage, your pet will begin expecting it and will communicate to you when it's massage time."

Pet massages aren't new. They have been around since the 1980s, apparently started by a guy who gave human massages and branched out. There are even a couple of schools that teach it, including the Pet Institute in Toledo, Ohio, where Piatt learned the technique, and a trade group known as the International Association of Animal Massage and Bodywork.

There are other people in the Valley who give pet massages, to dogs and horses, but Piatt might be the first one to teach pet owners to give their dogs massages themselves. He travels to customers' homes for one-on-one lessons, offers group classes at his Phoenix studio or goes to theme parties where guests bring their dogs to learn massage techniques.

What does a massage do for a dog? According to Piatt, it enhances bonding, helps to alleviate pain, increases circulation and flexibility and enhances recovery from illness or injury.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Shameful policy caused many deaths

The ban against pets in Katrina rescues and shelters hampered the evacuation and killed people and animals

BY KAREN DAWN September 14, 2005
Karen Dawn runs the animal advocacy media watch Web site DawnWatch.com and is a contributor to "In Defense of Animals: The Second Wave."

Two weeks after Hurricane Katrina, many of us have seen distressing coverage of animals discarded on rooftops or at stations where people boarded buses for Red Cross shelters. We have read stories of small dogs grabbed by police officers from the arms of old people and sobbing young children.

Some stories are almost unbelievable in a civilized nation. One man survived for five days in a tree with his 16-year-old dachshund-Chihuahua. His rescuers would not let him carry the dog onto a boat. He killed his beloved companion rather than leave her to starve in the tree.

In the midst of such tales we also read the quote from Michael Brown as he left his post as director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. It began with, "I am going to go home and walk my dog." His policies stole that last sweet comfort from those who had nothing else left.

The refusal to acknowledge the bond people have with their animals hampered the evacuation, since some people refused to leave. It also increased, exponentially, people's loss.

Further, the official animal ban illuminated the class issue: Whereas Marriott hotels welcomed pets as part of the family, Red Cross shelters forced people to abandon that part of the family or to ride out the storm. Many people died as a result. Others remained for weeks in the disease-infested area.

Media stories have focused on the plight of the animals and of people frantic over the fate of their pets. Only a few have been insensitive to the issue. Perhaps most confused was a column in Slate Magazine that contended that although it was sad the dogs were starving, "their owners should have evacuated them - and themselves - before the storm hit, when pets could be accommodated more easily." As if the destitute folks without gas or even cars, who didn't head for the nearest pet-friendly hotel before the storm, had only themselves to blame.

That column actually suggested that the deaths of people who would not part with their pets were tragic, but not as tragic as the "chaos" pets would have caused at shelters. Interestingly, hospitals and nursing homes actually invite dogs in to raise patients' spirits. The presence of dogs, although inconvenient, also could have been a morale booster, whereas their absence has caused the greatest suffering for many people who are frantic about their fate.

If dog bites are a concern, then surely cheap disposable muzzles should be part of FEMA and Red Cross deployment equipment. And, yes, some people are allergic to animals, particularly cats, which is why people traveling with cats might have to be transported separately. It would also be fair to recommend that cats be placed in adjoining shelters - anywhere, as long as their families knew they were safe.

Let's compare our nation's treatment of animals to that of other countries: In France, official policy allows dogs in restaurants. One cannot imagine it would call for their abandonment during disasters. Do the French care more about their animals than we do? The photos of Katrina's aftermath answer that: people on rooftops or wading or swimming through filthy water, having left every one of their worldly possessions, but desperately clutching their beloved pets. But U.S. official policy is out of touch with that reality.

In Cuba last September, more than 1.5 million people were evacuated to higher ground before a storm. About 20,000 houses were destroyed, and nobody died. The people were told to take their animals, and veterinarians were provided. Far from causing chaos, the evacuation of animals prevented it. The Cuban government did not have to deal with people refusing to leave their animals or force them to leave them.

Gandhi said, "The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated." How embarrassing it must be for our government to see that in emergencies the United States lags behind Cuba, whose treatment of animals saved the animals' lives and those of the people who care for them. In the wake of Katrina, the shameful no-pet policies of American relief agencies killed some people, mostly poor. It devastated many more, who will rebuild their homes but will never get over the awful choice a great nation should not have forced them to make.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Cheetah Cubs Found in Garden at Malayala

http://www.daijiworld.com, September 13, 2005

Subrahmanya, Sep 13: Three cheetah cubs were found in a garden at Malayala near here on Monday September 12 morning. Two of them were later caught by the Panja forest department and were shifted to safer domain.

Three cubs were found in the garden of one Gopalkrishna Bhat, an agriculturist, which is at Malayala on the Subrahmanya-Sullia road on Monday. Information was passed on Panja forest department who came to the place almost immediately. The forest department staff led by divisional forest officer B Balakrishna Shetty managed to catch two of them and put into a cage. But the third one managed to escape from them.

It was later known that both cubs were one month old males. It is said that they might have come towards the village along with the mother leopard, which, in most likelihood, was scared away by some noise and had to abandon the cubs.

Right now the cubs are under the care of the forest office at Panja and they are likely to be handed over to the Pilikula nature park.

Find Cheetah Gifts Here

Monday, September 12, 2005

Man Reunited With Pets After Fleeing Katrina

David Webster now feels safe living with family in the St. Louis area after his failed attempt to ride out the wrath of Katrina.

Last week he was among those finally forced to evacuate, but the helicopter couldn't take his two dogs and cat. He had to leave them behind in a back room with a month's supply of food and water. A lot of people lost their animals or set them loose.

"Just let them loose, that's like condemning them to death," says Webster.

After one agonizing week, Webster's pets were rescued and taken to a fairgrounds turned shelter where thousands of dogs are waiting to be reunited with their owners.

Webster's prayers were answered Saturday when he drove back to Louisiana and found Tazz, Troubles, and Creech after hours of searching crate after crate.

The pets are now getting the once over by Dr. Pullen at the Barrett Station Vet Clinic to see how they weathered the storm

The biggest concern is with Creech, who was completely submerged in the filthy floodwater not once, but twice.

All three are expected to recover physically. The emotional healing, as with their best friend, could take much longer, but at least now they have each other.

Webster says he can't wait to return to what's left of his home in New Orleans, but he stresses he'll never leave his pets behind again.

Saturday, September 10, 2005


September 10, 2005

PETA Contact: Daphna Nachminovitch 757-622-7382

Myrtle Beach, S.C. — With South Carolina now in the path of Hurricane Ophelia, PETA is offering important advice for ensuring the safety of animal companions. Please alert people in your area to the following information, which could help save the lives of cats, dogs, birds, and other companion animals who need to be included in disaster-preparation plans—as Hurricane Katrina has graphically illustrated:
  • In the event that your area is evacuated, never leave animals behind to fend for themselves. They aren’t any better equipped to survive disasters than humans are.
  • 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 because they can suffer from heatstroke if the temperature rises above 70°F, and cars are generally unsafe (unless people remain in their cars with them).
  • Place small animals in secure carriers. Dogs should be leashed with harnesses because frightening circumstances may make them bolt. Bring along water and food bowls, a towel, and enough food for a week.
  • Put secure, legible I.D. tags on your animals in case they become separated from you. Having your animals microchipped for identification is recommended.
  • If you truly have no choice and must leave 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, and leave the toilet seat up. Do not turn animals loose outside to fend for themselves, and never tie them up or leave them outside in cages, where they will be unable to flee rising floodwaters.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The government failed the animals in zones affected by Hurricane Katrina. People in the stricken areas didn’t realize they would be gone for as long as they have, and, as a result, animals are still perishing—a full two weeks after the initial evacuation. Underestimating the storm could mean death for your companion animal. As Hurricane Katrina has shown, the lives of tens of thousands of animal family members can be put at risk by a lack of preparation.

PETA is also sending its disaster-preparedness public service announcement hosted by William Shatner to area radio and TV stations. For more information, please visit HelpingAnimals.com, where you can also find a list of animal shelters and accommodations that allow animals in your area.

    Wednesday, September 07, 2005

    Escaping chimps at a Belfast Zoo surrender after police open fire

    September 7, 2005, www.theage.com.au

    Chimps at Belfast Zoo surrendered quickly tonight when armed police opened fire after they made a bid for freedom.

    Police were called in when several of the chimpanzees got out of their compound at the zoo on the city's northern outskirts.

    The chimps put their hands up after only a brief period on the run when confronted by the overwhelming firepower.

    Reports initially swept Belfast that police had shot the chimps dead but a spokesman said: "We didn't kill them, we fired in the air."

    An official statement from the Police Service said officers went to the zoo after a report of a number of primates escaping from their compound.

    "Following consultations with zoo staff and a vet a number of warning shots were fired and the animals returned to their enclosure," it said.

    The shooting incident was formally reported to the Police Ombudsman - as they are required to every time an officer open fire with live ammunition.

    Capture a chimpanzee-themed item

    Tuesday, September 06, 2005

    Man Using his Software to Help Survivors Find Their Pets

    September 6, 2005

    Patrick Allen designed software for veterinarians to keeep animal records, and he is going to use the software to help reuinite pets that were separated from their owners due to Hurrican Katrina.

    Allen, president of The Caplen Company, and his staff, will leave Thursday for Houston, where they will ask hurricane victims for information about their missing pets.

    The team will then head to the disaster zone to photograph stray and dead animals for identification. Allen will build a database that will be shared with humane societies across the region.

    The costs will be covered by corporate sponsors.

    Scotland Now Offers Ambulances for Pets

    Glasgow, SCOTLAND

    Scotland has its first pet ambulance service.
    Glasgow has two ambulances that are providing
    24-hour service for sick and injured pets.

    For 15 pounds (about $28), pet owners can have
    their pets taken to a veterinary hospital for
    immediate treatment.

    This service will be invaluable for people who
    are unable to drive or who do not own vehicles.

    Man and his Dog Narrowly Missed Death in Mississippi

    Mon, Sep. 05, 2005
    By Joshua Norman, Knight Ridder Newspapers

    PASS CHRISTIAN, Miss. - Horace "Skip" Brown woke up early on Aug. 29 to fry some eggs for himself and Ubu, his dog. He said he never considered leaving his home behind the police station in Pass Christian to flee Hurricane Katrina because he had worked hard on his land and he loved it.

    By 8 a.m., Ubu, his light-brown, long-haired mutt, started barking wildly and water began bubbling up through the floor of his home.

    By 8:30 a.m., the 55-year-old lifelong resident of the Pass said he was floating parallel to the ceiling of his kitchen and his dog was frantically swimming next to him.

    A fire extinguisher floated by and he grabbed it. He managed to punch a small hole in the roof of his kitchen and shove Ubu through.

    Brown, a handyman, janitor, gardener and anything else he needs to be, has bad eyes and wears thick glasses. He said he took off his glasses and tossed them through the hole.

    "I didn't want to see myself die," Brown said.

    Water got into his mouth, and Skip said he was about to let himself go.

    Then he opened his eyes for what he thought would be the last time.

    "I looked up and I seen that light and the dog was looking at me and I said, `Shoot, if that dog can make it through that hole, I can,'" Brown said.

    He got through and floated away with Ubu and the rest of his house. The house stopped floating when it wedged between a pair of trees. Skip and Ubu were able to climb out of the wreckage when the waters receded.

    These days, man and dog live on the second floor of St. Paul's School in Pass Christian.

    Brown spends his days fishing off a pier nearby and digging through the wreckage for keepsakes, clothes and cleaning products to keep the school clean.

    Besides losing his house, Skip lost a Pass Christian landmark of sorts.

    "Man, he had a beautiful garden," said Skip's brother Ronnie, who was bunking down on a porch in a trailer park because his home was destroyed, too. "He must have spent $10,000 on that thing. People would come to take pictures in it and everything."

    Noah's Wish Rescues Over 400 Pets In Slidell, LA

    Owners Reunited With Saved Pets As Rescuers Race To Save Hundreds More

    SLIDELL, La., Sept. 5, 2005 (PRIMEZONE) -- Noah's Wish, a not-for-profit organization that works exclusively to rescue and shelter animals in disasters, has rescued over 400 animals from evacuated homes in Slidell, Louisiana. The pets are being housed at a temporary animal shelter and Noah's Wish is working with Slidell Animal Control to save hundreds more abandoned and stranded pets in the city of Slidell.

    Terri Crisp, Founder of Noah’s Wish gives water to dog rescued in Slidell.

    In addition to the 400 pets rescued by Noah's Wish, seven other animal shelters in the state of Louisiana are also working around the clock to save as many animals as possible. Over 1,500 animals are being housed in shelters throughout the state. Some of these animals are strays, while others were rescued from homes. Many evacuees from New Orleans fled with their companion animals but were unable to bring them into disaster relief shelters. Those animals are being provided temporary shelter in Louisiana animal shelters.

    Three abandoned dogs in Slidell, LA happily greet volunteer rescuers from Noah’s Wish.

    The Slidell Animal Control building sustained extensive damage during Hurricane Katrina. Noah's Wish staff and volunteers on the ground do not have phone, cell phone or web access at this time and are unable to communicate outside the Slidell area. Noah's Wish is asking that pet owners from Slidell to come to Heritage Park to report a lost or stranded pet. Noah's Wish staff will be at Heritage Park from 8am to 7pm every day for the next several weeks. Pet owners must come in person to determine if their pet is at the shelter, as the number of pets being rescued is expected to reach the hundreds.

    Noah’s Wish volunteers have been working around the clock with Slidell Animal Control to rescue hundreds of animals stranded in Slidell, LA.

    This temporary shelter will have the ability to house hundreds of animals. Trained Noah's Wish volunteers, veterinarians, and veterinary technicians are providing medical services, care and much-needed love and affection to these traumatized animals. Pet owners may pick up food and supplies from Noah's Wish volunteers in Heritage Park. Donations of pet food, blankets, dog kennels etc. may be left at Heritage Park.

    Kitten found in the rubble by a Noah’s Wish volunteer.

    "The animals coming into the shelter are hungry, dehydrated and very scared -- but doing okay," said Terri Crisp, Founder and Director of Noah's Wish. All animals coming into the shelter will be tracked and Noah's Wish hopes to be able to reunite owners with their four-legged family members. "Pet owners are coming to Heritage Park, desperate to find out if their animals were among those saved so far," said Crisp. "The good news is that we have been able to reunite many people with their pets." Noah's Wish exists to help people as much as we do pets. Temporary shelter for pets will be offered to residents who lost their homes and are unable to keep their animals with them in shelters or hotels.

    Happy to greet a Noah’s Wish volunteer.

    Rescue efforts in Slidell are being supported by a network of volunteers around the country. One family from Miami, Florida, hired a driver to deliver a truckload of large tents, over 100 dog crates, chain link fencing and pre-fabricated dog runs. Noah's Wish volunteer coordinators are working to manage the trained volunteers, including veterinarians and veterinary technicians who are being sent to Slidell in stages to ensure long-term coverage for the rescue efforts, which is expected to last several weeks.

    Parrot rescued from a flooded home in Slidell, LA by Noah’s Wish volunteer.

    Donations are desperately needed and can be made at www.noahswish.org. Donations go directly to help the animals of this disaster and cash is preferred as it allows the organization to purchase the supplies needed. Questions should be emailed to info@noahswish.org or a message can be left at 530-622-9313.

    WWW.NOAHSWISH.ORG (Visa, MasterCard, Paypal gratefully accepted)

    Noah's Wish is a 501 c3 not-for-profit organization based in Placerville, California (near Sacramento). Donations may be mailed to Noah's Wish P.O. Box 997 Placerville, CA 95667

    All public inquiries/requests for assistance should be directed to info@noahswish.org or call 530-622-9313

    CONTACT: Noah's Wish
    NYC Media Contact for Reporters:
    Patricia Jones

    Slidell Animal Control Officer and Noah’s Wish volunteer veterinary technician care for a dog pulled from under a collapsed house in Slidell, LA. The dog was found by two Slidell residents who spent nearly an hour digging through rubble to get to the dog and brought him to the temporary shelter in Slidell.

    Monday, September 05, 2005

    Humane Society has Rescued More than 300 Pets so Far

    New Orleans - The Humane Society said that over 300 pets have been rescued by 140 volunteers in Louisiana and Mississippi working as part of the organization's Disaster Animal Response Teams (DART). The US Humane Society also said that over $5 million in donations have poured in making the massive rescue effort possible.

    The Humane Society said it has moved its Mississippi command center from Jackson to Hattiesburg in order to respond more quickly to the crisis in the southern part of the state, and yesterday, in cooperation with the Louisiana SPCA, was finally granted access to help stranded pets in New Orleans.

    "We were finally allowed to enter hurricane-ravaged New Orleans yesterday," said Wayne Pacelle, US Humane Society president and CEO, "where our rapid response strike teams are responding to rescue requests for stranded pets. Our national call center is tracking thousands of calls and emails from people who need us to rescue their pets, and it's a race against the clock. For some animals it may be too late, but for others it will be just in time."

    As rescue crews continue to pluck people from rooftops, The Humane Society is compiling thousands of reports of pets in need of rescue, and working with the Louisiana SPCA to deploy trained, skilled animal rescuers to locate, rescue, and evacuate those animals. Upon entering New Orleans, they targeted animals stranded at the Superdome as their priority goal. There, they rescued dozens of animals relinquished or abandoned by desperate evacuees who fled the city to escape Katrina's rage. So far, The Humane Society has helped to rescue more than 300 animals in Louisiana and Mississippi, including dogs, cats, ferrets, and a seal.

    The Humane Society said it has been inundated with thousands of calls with requests to rescue pets who were left behind or perhaps denied entrance to the Superdome or other shelters. Individuals who learn of stranded pets are urged to call the Humane Society call center at 1-800-HUMANE-1, provided they have location information that can be dispatched to the teams in the field.

    Man's Suicide Aborted Due to Concern for His Dog

    Monday, September 5, 2005
    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP)

    A Malaysian man was about to jump to his death from a highway overpass but changed his mind when told that his pet dog was dying, a news report said Monday.

    The 40-year old man who recently lost his job had threatened to jump from the 33-foot bridge in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday despite pleas from rescue workers that he think of his wife and children, the Star daily reported.

    Rescue workers quickly hatched another plan when they found his pet dog locked inside his car near the overpass, the report said. They told the man the dog was dying of suffocation.

    "On hearing that his pet might die, the man began crying," a fire and rescue department spokesman told the Star. "We (then) managed to persuade him" to abort his suicide attempt.

    White Cat Returns Home PINK

    http://news.bbc.co.uk, September 5, 2005

    A west Devon couple are baffled by how their nine-year-old white cat turned pink after a weekend stroll.

    Brumas, who was named after the first polar bear to be born at London Zoo, went out for a walk on Friday near his home in Bratton Clovelly.

    But when he returned later, his white fur had turned pink, astonishing owners Philip and Joan Worth.

    The couple took the cat to their vet in Launceston, Cornwall, who said he was in good health despite his new colour.

    'Barbie pink'

    Philip and Joan Worth said they were shocked when Brumas returned home.

    Mrs Worth said: "He was pink - Barbie pink. His head, ears and right down his body, although not underneath, had gone a quite brilliant pink.

    "We went to the vet on Saturday, but they couldn't find any reason for it, although they decided it wasn't toxic, which was what I was worried about."

    Brumas' new colour is not toxic, vets have said.

    Mr Worth said: "We have thought about everything as to how this happened, from him being covered in some form of cow treatment to children's poster paints.

    "We have no clue where he was that could have caused this to happen."

    However, paint is not believed to be the cause as Brumas' fur was not matted.

    The couple, who adopted Brumas after he was found on Dartmoor and taken in by the Cats Protection League, have five other cats but none of them has been affected in the same way.

    Mrs Worth added: "He seems fine, he's eating well and the other cats aren't terribly bothered."

    Sunday, September 04, 2005

    Most of New Orleans Zoo Animals Survived Hurricane Katrina

    04 Sep 2005, Source: Reuters
    By Mark Babineck

    Only three of its 1,400 animals died at the New Orleans zoo in the wrath of Hurricane Katrina.

    The famous Audubon Zoo has the good fortune of being located on some of the city's highest ground, but it also had a disaster plan for the animals that worked better than the city's plan for humans.

    It suffered no serious flooding, but the storm's fierce winds toppled several large trees and knocked down branches throughout the 52-acre (21-hectare) grounds.

    The only fatalities so far were two otters and a raccoon, zoo curator Dan Maloney said on Sunday.

    He said the zoo had planned for years for the catastrophic storm that has long been predicted for New Orleans, which is mostly below sea level and almost surrounded by water.

    "We're on our own here and we know we're on our own," said Maloney, who has begun calling the zoo Camp Katrina. "We tried to plan for what's impossible to plan for."

    While many human storm victims had no water or food, the zoo laid in enough provisions to keep its animals alive for days.

    The storm provided additional food by stripping from the trees huge amounts of leaves, which were mixed in with other food to extend provisions.

    A few items -- hay, crickets and mealworms -- have been restocked by a convoy from Baton Rouge, Maloney said.

    Fourteen staffers stayed at the zoo to care for the animals throughout the storm and the aftermath that has left New Orleans in ruins.

    They said the biggest problems now are the low-flying helicopters buzzing around the city to rescue people and transport them to safety. The sight of them and the noise scares the animals, said assistant curator Rick Dietz.

    "The hoof stock start to run around. We don't want them to run into a fence and break their necks," he said.

    They have sent out a request that choppers either not fly over the zoo, which is in the city's Garden District, or stay at least 1,500 feet (450 metres) above it.

    Maloney said the human suffering and death outside the zoo's fence was a terrible tragedy, but he was grateful he and his staff managed to save the helpless creatures on the inside.

    "We stayed here because the animals can't leave," he said.

    Saturday, September 03, 2005

    Lost African Grey Parrots Reunited with Wrong Owners

    September 3, 2005 21:17

    Two parrot owners, whose birds had escaped, were reunited - but with the wrong birds.

    Caryl Crouch and Diane Heasley have now been reunited with their feathered friends today after a series of bizarre coincidences.

    They both lost their African Grey parrots earlier this week and put out radio appeals to find their beloved pets.

    Miss Crouch's parrot, Mildred, fled her Ipswich home on Wednesday while Mrs Heasley's bird, Sam, disappeared from Claydon on Sunday.

    In a strange twist of fate both women ended up with each other's birds after a man discovered one of the pets in Burstall.

    He had heard Miss Crouch's appeal and called her to collect the parrot.

    She said: “From everything he said I thought it was my parrot. It was biting him and I thought it was Mildred because she doesn't like men.

    “I thought the only thing I could do was take it home to see if I could settle it.”

    However, superstitious Miss Crouch, 47, began to suspect that it was the wrong parrot when she saw two birds flew into her window and thought it was an omen.

    Miss Crouch added: “I saw two birds swoop down and hit the patio windows and I didn't like that because I am superstitious. One was a bird of prey or something and the other, it was chasing, was a baby dove.

    “My mum said it meant Mildred had been found somewhere else but I said she was just trying to make me feel better.”

    Five minutes later Miss Crouch had a telephone call telling her another parrot had been found - possibly Mildred.

    She had been found by Mrs Heasley, who was visiting her mother - who also lives in Wherstead Road.

    Mrs Heasley had driven down the road and saw a group of boys, one with a parrot on his shoulder.

    She went back to look for the boys and they helped her find the parrot.

    Mrs Heasley then took the parrot to her home in Paper Mill Lane, Claydon and contacted Miss Crouch's friend to let her know the bird had been found.

    Miss Crouch added: “I got her five years ago and she got out then and a neighbour found her down the road.

    “To think miracles can happen twice. I never thought I would get her back again. It is like winning the lottery.”

    Miss Crouch and Mrs Heasley have now presented a reward to the group of boys who found Mildred.

    Find Your African Grey Figurine

    Friday, September 02, 2005

    An African Safari Must-See

    By Nick Leong, The Star (Malaysia)

    Africa boasts many parks where you can watch wild animals in their natural habitat. One of the oldest is the Kruger National Park in South Africa.

    Kruger National Park is located north-east of Johannesburg. It took us about five hours via Mpumalanga Province to reach the Paul Kruger Gate, one of eight entrances to the park.

    Initially called the Sabie Game Reserve, the park was given its present name after it merged with the Shingwedzi Game Reserve in 1926.

    At 19,633sq km, about the size of Johor, Kruger National Park is the largest in South Africa. But it is not the size of the park that makes it so popular with tourists. The park has one of the largest concentrations of wild animals anywhere in the world.

    It is estimated that there are 1,500 lions, 2,500 cape buffaloes, 5,000 rhinoceros, 1,000 leopards and 12,000 elephants living at Kruger National Park. Besides the “big five” mentioned above, there are also thousands of zebras, giraffes, hippopotamus and antelopes among the 145 mammal species living in the reserve.

    The animals are easily spotted unlike the animals at Taman Negara. During a three-day two-night stay there, I saw a variety of animals.

    The leopard is one of the most difficult animals to spot in the wild because of its excellent camouflage and nocturnal habit. ”You don’t look for them, they look for you,” said Dieter, the ranger.

    As luck would have it, I saw a leopard feeding on a carcass on a tree on my first safari tour. We spent 10 wonderful minutes watching the animal before a jeep-load of tourists arrived and scared the animal off. We also came within 10m of the largest animal on land, the African elephant.

    Dieter said the largest elephant recorded was a twelve-ton bull, shot and killed in Angola in 1974.

    The most memorable experience was watching a pride of lions resting on a small hill.

    The gaze of an adult male lion was both captivating and intimidating.

    Besides animals, there are also a variety of birds and snakes in Kruger National Park.

    The five of the “big six” birds are easily spotted in the park. They are the Lappet-faced Vulture, Martial Eagle, Saddle billed Stork, Kori Bustard, and Ground Hornbill. The last is the Pel’s Fishing Owl.

    One of the largest flying birds found at the park is the Marabou Stork. A large male marabou stork weighs nearly 9kg and stands at 1.5m tall.

    “It is nice from far but far from nice,” said Dieter, pointing out to the bird’s bald and scab-encrusted head.

    Kruger National Park is a must for visitors who wish to see animals roaming freely in the wild.

    Canine Freestyle Dancing

    BY MAUREEN JENKINS Staff Reporter, Chicago Sun-Times

    Canine freestyle dancing is the latest craze. A sport of sorts rooted in the United Kingdom and Canada, it has taken off in the United States as dogs and owners choreograph and glide through routines thanks to hand signals and spoken commands. "The dogs love it because they're social animals," says Patie Ventre, World Canine Freestyle Organization founder. "There are no professional handlers; they're all dog and owner."

    These freestyle dancers kick up their heels -- and paws -- to Broadway show tunes and songs from Shania Twain and Frank Sinatra, with dog partners weaving in and out of their costumed owners' legs, trotting backward and rolling over on command, and prancing around on their hind legs. Some even take part in competitions. In the Chicago area, dog enthusiast Cindy Morettin -- a "freestyler" for the past four years -- is helping launch a group for folks who share her excitement.

    "It is just the niftiest thing," says Morettin of west suburban Sugar Grove, whose canine dance partners include 3-year-old Australian Shepherd Mia-dog and 8-year-old Golden Retriever Clark Kent, "to think you're doing this as a team. They love it because it's really positive. You train them with treats and a lot of praise -- and they really get into the music."

    Macaw Free at Last (Some Sad Parts to this Story)

    From www.arabnews.com, September 2, 2005

    How would you feel if your family’s breadwinner passed away and suddenly you were jailed in a harsh environment, suffering in abject misery day after awful day? What if people were allowed to pass by your prison cell, frightening you at will and you never knew when the next attack would come? And what if all this unhappiness was caused by greed, the greed of people who wanted to sell you to the highest bidder? How would you survive living without kindness and comfort as the months became a year and then more? How would you keep from losing your mind?

    These were questions I wanted to ask Buster, the Blue and Yellow Macaw, when I visited him at his new home where he lives with Freddy von Rabenau, her husband and Habeebee, an African Grey parrot. Unfortunately, while Buster’s intellect is about that of a four-year-old child, his ability to express himself is limited. But words really weren’t needed. There has been an amazing change in this macaw in the six weeks since von Rabenau managed to liberate him from 18 months of confinement at a local veterinary clinic.

    “In February 2004, the macaw’s owner, an American expat went on vacation,” said von Rabenau, a German national who has homes in the UK and South America. “The macaw and two companion cockatoos were left at the Alkhobar branch of a well-known Saudi veterinary clinic while the expat was away. The American returned from vacation and was supposed to come pick up the parrots from the veterinarian the next day, but the man died in the night, leaving no clear instructions for the disposition of the birds.”

    Von Rabenau became aware of the parrots’ plight after stopping by the veterinary clinic to pick up her own bird after a vacation. She immediately offered to arrange good homes for them, but the clinic’s receptionist informed her that the American’s heirs wanted the parrots sold and that interested buyers had already been found.

    The two cockatoos were caged together, but the macaw was locked up alone. He had no toys, a very limited diet and no physical contact. This was horrid for an intelligent bird that would normally live in the wild as part of a pair within a large social group. In situations where a single macaw is kept in captivity, Werner Lantermann in his “Encyclopedia of Macaws” advises that the parrot needs special attention from its keeper. The macaw becomes closely attached to its keeper, substituting the keeper for its mate. “Emotional imbalances, which may be expressed in the form of feather plucking or neurotic screeching, could be the result of a neglected animal-man relationship,” wrote Lantermann.

    Von Rabenau, nicknamed the macaw “The Prisoner,” and began visiting him whenever she got a chance. The bird’s cage was crammed in a corner of the clinic, behind a pile of cardboard boxes. Over months, a mountain of the macaw’s excrement built up on a perch at the bottom of the cage. While the plastic tray under the cage was cleaned regularly, the inside of the cage was never cleaned, as no one was willing to put a hand inside.

    After a year of confinement, the cockatoos were sold with difficulty and the macaw was all alone. In an atmosphere of sensory deprivation, “The Prisoner” sat hunched over on his much too small perch, day after day. He no longer preened his feathers. He screeched and hissed at anyone who approached. Many visitors to the clinic were concerned about this miserable creature but the clinic’s receptionist kept insisting that he could not be freed for less than SR5,000.

    “The receptionist had originally tried to sell him for SR6,000 but as the months went by there was no way anyone would pay that much for such an ugly, ragged, mean bird,” said von Rabenau. “I tried to get the receptionist to give me the contact details of the American’s heirs, but he refused. He told me it was not my business. When the cockatoos were sold, the money for them was given to the receptionist. No one knows if that money ever was given to the expat’s heirs.”

    Finally von Rabenau got her chance. The clinic’s receptionist went on vacation and the veterinarians agreed to sell her the macaw for SR4,000 — the cost of his keep for 18 months. Von Rabenau admitted that she was quite frightened of the macaw and wasn’t sure how he would behave in her home, but she just couldn’t bear to watch the bird’s distress anymore. On July 17 it was time to break “The Prisoner” out of his jail. Von Rabenau and her husband brought a truck to the veterinary clinic and the macaw’s cage was loaded in and secured. As they drove him home, a breeze ruffled through his feathers and the parrot lifted his wings into the wind. There has been a slow but steady improvement in the macaw’s condition since that day.

    “We put him in the kitchen and after four days I opened the cage and he came right out,” remarked von Rabenau. “He seems to know that biting is not nice. He’s bitten me a few times but he’s never broken my skin. He was under extreme stress at the clinic and was so unhappy. That’s why he was screeching all the time. People who saw him at the clinic mistook his fear for aggression. The macaw’s name was Nicky Ibrahim before, which I thought was too difficult and really not nice for him, so we have decided to call him Buster.”

    Von Rabenau has vowed that Buster will always be a part of their family. She obtained an official receipt from the veterinary clinic for the sale of the bird. Coupled with additional documentation, the receipt will allow Buster to be exported back to the UK when the family returns there. Buster has a life expectancy of up to 35 years, so bringing him home was no small commitment and returning him to the wild is not a realistic option.

    Numerous parrots are for sale in the Kingdom’s pet shops and von Rabenau urges people to think twice before taking a bird home. Some parrots, such as cockatoos, can live for 80 years. For certain expatriates, such as those from Australia, repatriating the bird isn’t an option due to national import regulations. In Saudi Arabia there are no veterinary practices specializing in birds, consequently any parrot illness is hard to diagnose and treat. Parrots need constant devotion from their keepers and will begin to hurt themselves and become destructive if adequate personal attention is lacking. Not everyone has the time, the means and the continuing interest to take on responsibility for a parrot.

    While chatting with von Rabenau about her struggle to free the macaw, Buster sat all the while on his perch nearby. Habeebee, the African Grey, roamed around the living room, returning frequently to sit on von Rabenau’s lap. Suddenly, as we were drinking tea, Buster began to laugh. These were loud guffaws and Buster was clearly pleased with the laughter he elicited from us by his behavior. He danced around a bit on his perch and then he went back to preening his beautiful feathers. Von Rabenau wants everyone who worried about this poor bird to know that he has been rescued. He is home and safe and he will never be alone again.

    Macaw-themed Gifts