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
Noah's Blog Sponsors

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Farmer Protects Animals With Orange Paint

The Associated Press
Tuesday, November 29, 2005; 6:13 PM

LOGANTON, Pa. -- With deer hunters out all over the woods, a farmer has decided to paint his cows, horses and even his dog bright orange to make sure they aren't mistaken for deer.

Friz Konieczka doesn't want to take any chances because he heard about a neighbor's horse being shot during hunting season several years ago.

Konieczka, a Clinton County farmer, wants his animals to stand out _ and they do. Fluorescent orange paint lines their backs and heir sides.

Konieczka said he'd rather spend $5 for a can of orange paint than have one of his animals killed or injured.

He painted his horses, his cows, his goats, his turkeys and even his Dalmatian, Buddy.

Information from: Jon Meyer/WNEP-TV, http://www.wnep.com/

Congress acts to let wounded soldier keep her on-duty dog

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

This is the story of a soldier and her dog, and the act of Congress required to keep them together.

It began in July, when Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jamie Dana woke up, confused, in a hospital bed at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington.

Her last memory was riding in a military convoy in Iraq after she and her bomb-sniffing dog, Rex, had searched a village. She remembered being in extreme pain. And she remembered asking frantically about Rex, eventually being told that he had not survived.

But she didn't know that the military had told her husband, fellow Air Force security officer Mike Dana, that she wasn't going to survive her injuries.

She didn't know that, after a bomb exploded under her Humvee, she spent more than a week in military hospitals in Iraq and Germany before arriving in Washington.

And she didn't know that Rex had survived the bombing with only a minor burn on his nose.

It was partly for the love of animals that Dana, 26, joined the Air Force after graduating from high school. Growing up surrounded by cows, horses and pigs on a farm in Hazel Hurst, Pa., she knew that she wanted to be a veterinarian and that the Air Force had a canine handler program.

She handled a few other dogs first, but about three years ago, she was paired with Rex, an 80-pound German shepherd.

She and Rex were deployed to Pakistan, where they spent nearly every minute together, doing walking patrols, riding in armored Humvees and searching vehicles and houses. She had pet dogs growing up, but her bond with Rex was different.

"We depend on each other as a lifeline," she said.

After six months in Pakistan, she and Rex returned to Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo., where she was stationed. And even though she wasn't scheduled to be deployed again, Dana wanted to go to Iraq.

"I pretty much begged to go," she said.

The bomb exploded under her Humvee three weeks after she arrived in Iraq. The explosion collapsed her lungs, fractured her pelvis and her spine and sent her into hemorrhagic shock.

Her husband flew from Colorado, where he was stationed, to Germany and then to Washington to be by her side.

When she regained consciousness at Walter Reed, she immediately thought of Rex. "He was always on my mind," she said. "From the moment I was actually starting to become coherent again, I started asking about him."

When Rep. John E. Peterson, R-Pa., visited her in the hospital, she enlisted his help in adopting Rex. "For her to go through all that trauma, all that pain, it seemed to me that if Rex was her first love, Rex should be at her side," he said.

When Rex came to the hospital for the first time, Dana whistled when she heard him coming. He immediately ran down the hallway and jumped into her hospital bed, tangling himself up in her tubes.

"We were both pretty excited," she said. "Just to see him, to know that he remembered me."

But the long-term adoption process wasn't as simple as Dana had hoped.

Peterson sent an official request to the Air Force, only to receive a letter telling him that adopting a military war dog was prohibited by law until the dog reached retirement age because of the $18,000 training expense.

It would take congressional intervention for the adoption to go through. And although the Air Force initially was opposed to the adoption, the agency eventually was instrumental in getting the ball rolling.

A spokeswoman for Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., said the secretary of the Air Force contacted his office and asked the congressman to insert language on Dana into the defense appropriations bill. Murtha agreed, although the final language is still pending.

Last week, Sen. John Warner. R-Va., agreed to insert similar language into the Senate defense appropriations bill.

When Peterson told Dana that the adoption looked likely, she cried.

Dana was allowed to take Rex home with her to the family farm in Hazel Hurst, where she spent most of November on leave. As she continued her recovery, Rex adjusted to a civilian lifestyle.

Dana is now walking with a cane, though she faces extensive rehabilitation. The Air Force has awarded her the Purple Heart.

Friday, she flew to Colorado, where she will take a desk job while the military medical boards evaluate her case. She plans to take a few remaining science classes and apply to vet school.

(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, http://www.shns.com.)

German Shepherd Lover Gifts

Monday, November 28, 2005

Second chance for wonder dog

By MICHAEL CUMMINGS, http://www.stuff.co.nz

A dog that pulled its owner from a car wreck eight years ago is now at the centre of another amazing rescue.

Wanganui woman Melanie Donne would have been killed if her german shepherd, Nikki, hadn't pulled her from her crumpled, smoking car after driving over a cliff in 1997.

"She is my life. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for her," Ms Donne said.

"I was upside-down, trapped in my seatbelt and drenched in petrol. I looked around at Nikki and she leapt around to my side and got hold of me and got me out," she said.

This month Ms Donne was told Nikki is suffering from a rare, aggressive form of bone cancer and will be dead within months without specialist treatment.

"I was just so distraught and determined to save her," Ms Donne said.

The treatment costs more than $5000, but Ms Donne, a former primary school teacher, has been unable to work since her accident and can't foot the bill.

But after their story recently appeared in New Zealand Pet magazine, Nikki's prognosis is suddenly looking a lot brighter. Ms Donne received phone calls and donations from all over the country to help pay for Nikki's treatment, but it was one particular phone call from Auckland that moved her to tears.

An oncology vet who read the article contacted Ms Donne and offered to perform the life-saving operation for free.

The news got even better when an SPCA group offered to pay to fly her and Nikki to Auckland.

The operation is scheduled for today. "It was just unbelievable," Ms Donne said. "I want to thank all those people and get the message out there that really good people do exist.

"Everyone's been so lovely and I've had to swallow my pride because I'm not the kind of person who wants a handout." Nikki will likely have her front right leg amputated, but should live out her life pain-free.

"We've been together 10 years and she's just the most amazing dog. I don't think I've met anyone who hasn't fallen in love with her," she said.

Ms Donne hopes to set up a foundation to help pet owners in similar situations.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

U.S. troops in Ethiopia to rescue cheetah cubs

Associated Press GODE, Ethiopia -- Two endangered cheetah cubs held captive and abused at a remote village restaurant are to be rescued by an Ethiopian veterinarian and U.S. soldiers, an environmental official said.

Befekadu Refera, an official of the national Environmental Protection Agency, said the veterinarian was to take the cheetahs away from Gode on Saturday and hand them to U.S. troops for safekeeping until the animals are flown to the capital, Addis Ababa.

"The U.S. Army will not take the cheetahs without Ethiopian officials being present," Befekadu told The Associated Press. "The vet will give some medical treatment to the animals and then on Monday or Tuesday they will be flown to Addis Ababa, courtesy of the U.S Army."

The plight of the cubs has gathered international attention since American soldiers, part of the U.S. counterterrorism task force for the Horn of Africa, last month discovered the animals tied up and being forced to fight each other for the amusement of patrons at the Gode restaurant. One cheetah has an eye infection and may be blind.

The soldiers tried to persuade restaurant owner Mohamed Hudle to hand over the cubs to wildlife officials. Mohamed refused, saying he wanted $1,000 for each cheetah. The soldiers also contacted U.S.-based cheetah experts as well as Ethiopian authorities, who have intervened.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Cold Weather Shortens Sentence for Woman Who Dumped Animals

PAINESVILLE, OHIO (AP) -- A northeast Ohio woman ordered to spend a night in the woods without food or shelter for her conviction for abandoning 35 kittens was returned to jail after four hours in the snow and cold. Lake County sheriff's Sgt. Michael Corbut said deputies removed Michelle Murray, 26, of Painesville, from a park in Concord Township early Thursday on orders from the judge.

It was snowing with temperatures in the 20s when she was returned to the Lake County jail. "I don't have warm enough clothes and I'm not even allowed to bring a sleeping bag," she said before she began her sentence Wednesday night. "I don't understand how a judge can send me out there to freeze."

Painesville Municipal Court Judge Michael A. Cicconetti, known for handing out unusual punishments, sentenced Murray last week to the night in the park, 14 days in jail, 15 days of house arrest and three years probation. She also must pay $3,200 in restitution to Lake County Humane Society and $500 to Lake Metroparks. She had faced up to 90 days in jail and a $750 fine.

Murray, a mother of five, agreed to the night in the woods because she said she couldn't be away from her children for three months. The National Weather Service predicted a low of about 25 degrees and 2 to 4 inches of snow accumulation overnight Wednesday in Lake County.

Murray pleaded guilty last month to abandoning domestic animals, a second-degree misdemeanor. She said she did it because she couldn't get help from the Lake County Humane Society. The kittens were recovered but many had upper respiratory infections and nine died.

Cicconetti said park rangers would take precautions to ensure Murray's safety. Murray's attorney filed a motion Wednesday to amend her sentence from jail to 30 days probation, but Cicconetti delayed his ruling on the request.

Parrot Calls Out Husband's Mistress' Name

Ayinde O. Chase - All Headline News Staff Writer

Freiburg, Germany (AHN) - A cheating husband was exposed after his wife's parrot imitated him calling out another woman’s name.

Frank Ficker, 50 was having an affair with a woman named Uta. His romantic trysts were observed and apparently “recorded” by the family’s pet parrot, Hugo.

Petra Ficker, 50, says, "Hugo always liked to mimic Frank and he could do his voice perfectly.” The parrot could “do” Frank asking who’s at the door, yelling at the nephews, however one day Petra heard Hugo “doing” something she never heard Frank “do”.

“I heard him doing Frank's voice, but saying ‘Uta, Uta’,” says Petra.

Petra turned the house upside down and found two plane tickets for a weekend break in Paris booked for her husband - and a mystery woman named Uta.

"I kicked him straight out. It's just me and my parrot now, " says Petra.

Dog survives 50-mile ride clinging to front of car

By Tom Peterkin, Ireland Correspondent, http://www.telegraph.co.uk

A dog has survived a 50-mile journey clinging to the front of a car as it sped down the motorway.

The resilience of the black and white collie cross-breed has astounded vets, not to mention the driver of the car, who was astonished to discover the dog trapped in the grille at the front of his vehicle.

The motorist, who was travelling from Coleraine to Belfast in Northern Ireland, remembered hearing a thump as he was driving his Peugeot 306.

Thinking he had hit something as he travelled on the road approaching Ballymena he looked in his rear-view mirror, but saw nothing on the road behind so did not stop.

It was only when he arrived at Belfast's Odyssey Arena and got out of his car that he heard barking and realised he had a passenger.

The police were called and they took the dog to the Earlswood Veterinary Surgery in east Belfast for treatment. Staff there nicknamed it Father Jack after the cantankerous Father Ted character, because the eight-year-old mongrel was slightly grumpy after its ordeal.

"He is quite sore around his back and neck, but he is going to be OK," said Emma McGowan, a veterinary nurse at Earlswood.

"The driver knew that he had struck something on the carriageway, but he didn't see anything so he drove on."

Remarkably, the dog had not suffered any serious injury following the collision.

Its hour-long miracle ride was all the more remarkable given the miserable weather conditions on the night of the journey earlier this week.

"He is totally fine," said Miss McGowan. "He is just a bit grumpy and quite smelly.

"He has been sleeping well but he is still traumatised. Hopefully he will come round."

She added: "We do get the odd strange thing here but we've never seen anything like this before."

The vets are anxious to trace the owner of the dog.

Foul-mouthed parrot is ordered ashore by Navy

By Stewart Payne, http://www.telegraph.co.uk

A Royal Navy parrot with a reputation for embarrassing top brass with her salty language has been ordered ashore.

But it was not Sunny's swearing that led to her being taken off the frigate Lancaster. She has been given extended shore leave on medical advice after plucking out her feathers and looking withdrawn.

Sunny, a six-year-old African grey with the official service number of RN Parrot No 1, has a habit of squawking "arse" and "bollocks" at inappropriate moments.

During a visit in 2001 by the First Sea Lord, Sunny was banished to a wardroom broom cupboard but could still be heard uttering expletives. Besides a comprehensive list of oaths, her favourite phrases are "Zulus, thousands of 'em" and "You ain't seen nothing, right?"

Shore leave was ordered when Lancaster returned to its home port, Portsmouth, after tours of duty to the Falklands, Middle East and Africa.

Sunny is now recuperating with the family of Lt Mari Duffy, one of the ship's officers, and her feathers are growing again.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Woman Has 52 Pet Pigs


Lexington County, South Carolina - Sue Allen can't get enough pet pigs. She's got more than 50, and she knows each by name.

Gordy and Betty are the two hefty hogs in a field of 52. Not to mention a few dogs, ducks, horses, and turkeys.

Sue Allen's got a story behind every animal that's found its way into her care. But she really squeals for the pigs. And yes, she knows each by name.

"We got Cassie, and we got Otis, and we got Cinderella. And we got Seely and we got Beaufort, and we got Wiggles."

Eight-hundred-pound Gordy and most of the pot-bellied pigs were, at one time, pet pigletts. People brought them to Sue when they got too big to handle. The rest are rescues, like Betty, who fell off a truck on the way to becoming pork product, and right into the lap of luxury.

"And I got her thinking she'd be a good friend for Gordy, since everybody else here is so small. But he really didn't have anything to do with her so she took up with that little fat pig over there. That's her boyfriend."

There's even a Hurricane Katrina evacuee in the group.

"Rosie the refugee came up from New Orleans."

It's hard to believe all this, started with a birthday present 10 years ago. And it didn't stop.

"Somebody would call and say could you take this one and it's like, what's one more, and what's one more, and what's one more!"

This is, as she calls it, a different relationship. But she says these guys, which most of us consider either wild animals or good on a biscuit, are her babies. They are her family.

"This is what makes me happy. There are a lot of people trying to find something that makes that makes them happy in the world, and they ain't never finding it. And I found mine. Right here, this is all I need."

Sue is in the process of building winter shelters for all the pigs. If you'd like to help out in any way, give her a call at 803-530-5517, or email her at wepigsfarm@isp.com.

Add a Pig to Your Collection

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

'Miracle' ending to missing cat saga


ROXBURY, NJ -- Nikki and James Durkin's agonizing nearly four-month search for their beloved cat, lost in July following an accident on Route 80, has ended happily.

The 8-year-old feline was found Nov. 9 by employees at the former Hercules gunpowder plant, search volunteer Georgiana Farnsworth of Landing said Monday.

The cat, Raphael, was one of a pair of male domestic shorthairs that were lost July 24 after an accident on Route 80.

The first cat, Gabriel, was found by Hercules employees in late August. Then, about three weeks ago, workers there spotted another cat that matched the description of the missing Raphael, Farnsworth said.

On Nov. 9, Farnsworth and five other volunteers arrived at Hercules to identify the found cat. They said it was a match and sent a picture, captured by a camera phone, to Nikki Durkin for positive identification. On Friday, Nikki and James Durkin returned to Morris to be reunited with Raphael.

"It's a miracle," Farnsworth said. "That's the only way to describe it." Evidently, Raphael went through a lot while lost.

"He lost half his body weight and was covered in ticks,"Farnsworth said. "He had scabby things on him because of the ticks, and pieces of fur were actually missing from around the neck area." Hercules workers cared for Raphael the night he was found, Farnsworth said. Raphael was taken to Community Animal Hospital in Morris Plains, where veterinarian Rebecca Lorig tended to him, Farnsworth said.

Nikki and James Durkin returned to Ithaca Saturday with Raphael. The Durkins could not be reached Monday.
The ordeal began July 24, when they were traveling on Route 80 en route to New York City from Ithaca, N.Y. James Durkin reportedly swerved to avoid a car that cut in front of them. Their Chevy Trailblazer veered off the highway and into woods near the Howard Boulevard exit. The pet carriers holding Raphael and Gabriel broke open, and the cats bolted through one of the windows.

Monday, November 14, 2005


Komotini, 14 November 2005
Macedonian Press Agency

Fossil bones of prehistoric animals over 5 million years old were found in Dikea in the municipality of Trigono during works for the construction of a road linking the region with Egnatia Odos motorway.

Among the findings are parts of tusks, as well as, teeth and bones of prehistoric horses.

Construction work was suspended immediately and the responsible authorities in Komotini, northeast Greece, were notified as soon as the findings were unearthed.

Dinosaur Puppets and Charms

Blind dog helps save woman who collapses on street

By: The Canadian Press

WINNIPEG — Though he’s blind, Samuri lives up to his noble name.

The visually impaired Japanese Akita helped save a woman who collapsed on the street where he lives with his owner, Jo-Ann Drozdowski.

‘‘We were just sitting watching TV,’’ Drozdowski said. ‘‘It was about 7:30 or eight when he just started going crazy and barking.’’ She and her husband Don at first assumed the dog was barking at passersby, but he would not relent.

Finally, Drozdowski sent her husband outside for a closer look.

‘‘(Samuri) runs up and brings Don up to the fence,’’ Drozdowski said.

That’s when Don spotted a woman collapsed in a heap near the curb. He checked for a pulse and didn’t find one, and shouted out to his wife to get help.

‘‘As soon as Don yelled ‘there’s a woman down,’ Samuri stopped barking,’’ Drozdowski said.

The victim turned out to be the Drozdowski’s 25 year-old neighbour, who has Lupus. She had a stroke walking home from the bus stop and collapsed in the street, metres from her home. Almost two weeks later, she’s still hospitalized, dealing with paralysis on one side, Drozdowski said.

They believe their dog saved the woman’s life, because she was partially hidden where she fell.

‘‘There’s no way, truly, anyone would’ve seen her. It’s not a busy road at night,’’ Drozdowski said.

‘‘He just did his job,’’ added her husband, explaining that Samuri means to guard in Japanese.

‘‘He checked the neighbourhood and barked when something went wrong. He’s a warrior, he watches the neighbourhood, he’s our guard.’’

Friday, November 11, 2005

Couple Says Vet Faked Dog's Death


Nov. 11, 2005 — It had been a rough time for Buttons. The 3-year-old toy fox terrier, who has pancreatitis and a heart murmur, was ill for more than a month, vomiting daily and undergoing treatment both at home and at an animal hospital.

Buttons' condition was not improving, and the prognosis was not promising. Despite conflicting emotions, her owners decided to end her misery. "We just didn't want her suffering," Betty Jody Kimberlin said.

So her husband of 50 years, James Kimberlin, took Buttons to Companion Animal Hospital in Collierville, Tenn., and watched as she was put to sleep — or so he thought, until she arrived back at their home days later, yapping and happy to see him.

"She looked up at me and she started talking, making funny noises," he said. "She jumped up in my arms, and you talk about love at second sight, that was it. This was really something."


The strange tale of Buttons' apparent resurrection has led to complaints being filed against a Collierville veterinarian, Jerry A. Truitt. An employee said Truitt was not at Companion Animal Hospital when ABCNEWS.com tried to contact him, and the hospital declined comment. Truitt and the hospital also would not comment when questioned by ABC affiliate WPTY in Memphis.

Revived and Renamed

According to her owners, Buttons is a feisty little dog whose demeanor belies her strong pedigree. "They're good, well-bred dogs — Buttons doesn't act it," Mrs. Kimberlin said with a laugh.

Though the couple has had and lost many dogs, she said, she and her husband were crushed about Buttons' illness. "We loved all the dogs that we had, but Buttons was just like another child almost — she still is," she said.

When he took her to the hospital for the last time, Mr. Kimberlin was torn. "I carried her around as long as I could," he said. "I cried like a baby."

Still, he signed a euthanasia form authorizing the animal clinic to put Buttons to sleep and reiterated his wishes to Truitt, who then gave her an injection.

"She just laid down and I asked him to listen with a stethoscope to listen to her heart. He did, and he said, 'She's gone,'" Kimberlin said. "I said, 'Thank you,' and I was boo-hooing. I walked on out to my car and boo-hooed for a long time before I could even leave. It was terrible. I've never done anything so hard in my life."

Theresa Stewart, a veterinary technician at the animal hospital who cared for Buttons during her stays there, was not working the Tuesday last month when Kimberlin brought her in. Stewart learned she had been euthanized when she returned the next day, and she signed a sympathy card that was sent to the Kimberlins — which Truitt signed as well.

So she was quite surprised that Thursday when she saw Buttons in a cage in the treatment area of the hospital — and an attached card said her name was Zipper.

"It was crazy," Stewart said. "The dog knows me. The dog's wagging her tail, screaming, hollering."

Stewart said she asked the doctor on duty what had happened and was told Buttons now was named Zipper and would be up for adoption.

Since she suspected Zipper was actually Buttons and rightfully belonged to the Kimberlins, Stewart told the doctors she wanted to adopt the dog so she could take her from the hospital. "By this time she had quit vomiting and was doing well," she said.

Stewart copied the dog's records and had her examined by an outside veterinarian to confirm that Zipper was in fact Buttons. He told her that their physical characteristics matched and she should take Buttons back to the Kimberlins.

"It was great," Stewart said of the reunion. "I'll never forget the look on his face when he saw his little dog."

"We were just astounded," Mrs. Kimberlin said. "We could not believe it."

Though she still is not completely well, Buttons' health has improved thanks to a special no-fat diet prescribed by a new veterinarian. "It's just all been a miracle, really a miracle," Mrs. Kimberlin said. "We're really, really thankful."

Mystery Remains

Though the Kimberlins are grateful to have more time with their pet, many questions remain. They said Truitt called them Wednesday after WPTY reported the story and said he would return the money they spent on Buttons' treatment, which is more than $1,000.

"This gentleman even sent us a sympathy card," Mrs. Kimberlin said. "All I know is they didn't want us to get ahold of her."

Stewart resigned from the hospital, filed a complaint with the Collierville Police Department and says she will do the same with the state licensing authorities, although it's not clear that any laws were broken or any ethics were violated.

"I don't understand their reasoning for doing it," she said, explaining that usually if a doctor does not think a dog should be euthanized, he or she refuses to do it or offers to take custody of the dog to care for it.

In this case, she said, records show Buttons was put under anesthesia used for surgery when Mr. Kimberlin was in the office. "To anybody that doesn't work in the medical profession it would appear this dog was dead," she said.

Though they are upset, the Kimberlins said, they do not want to "ruin" Truitt. "We want to change this man," Mrs. Kimberlin said. "We want to see that he's more honest with other people because he shouldn't be in business if he's not going to be ethical."

Meanwhile, the Kimberlins are enjoying having Buttons around, even if she's a bit more calm than her usual hyper self.

"She doesn't have the energy that she used to have at all. She's still not well," Mr. Kimberlin said. "I just hope we can keep her. I'm going to let her pass away here. I'm not going to take her to a vet unless it's one I like."

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Meet Sam, the dog on wheels


THE words hit Michelle Wilson like a sledgehammer when the vet told her that her beloved pet dog Samantha may have to be put down.

But she simply refused to accept that life was over for the 11-year-old German Shepherd after her hind legs became paralysed.

With help from her family, the 30-year-old designed a special trolley to help Sam get around.

Now the Wilson family's treasured pet is able to go on long walks, dragging her rear legs on a wheeled cart.

The trolley, which has two wheels, straps to Sam's body with the use of a baby harness, and allows her to walk along using her front legs only.

Sam gradually lost the use of her hind legs due to Canine Hip Dysplasia, a common condition that often affects German Shepherds in old age.

Her condition became so severe that she had been finding it difficult to walk around. It got to the point where the vet told Michelle that Sam might have to be put to sleep if her condition continued to deteriorate.

Hope Marie and Samantha

A ROLL IN THE PARK: Hope Marie Wilson
has fun trying to keep up as pet pooch Samantha
puts on a spurt. Picture: TOBY WILLIAMS

Michelle, of North Junction Street, Leith, said her pet had been given a new lease of life.

"She's like a different dog," said Michelle. "She stands there by the door, desperate to go out for a walk and sometimes I can't even keep up with her - she just runs along in front of me."

The family had been devastated when the vet had suggested Sam should be put down. "She was staying at my mum's house in Wester Hailes, because it was too difficult for her in my flat, but she was just getting to be too much for my mum to look after," Michelle said.

"When the vet told her we should consider having her put down soon, we couldn't believe it. We had to find some way to make her life easier.

"She's a real family pet. I've had her for seven years, but everyone - my mum Gitta and my sister Diane - loves her. My daughter, Hope Marie, who is only three, is also very attached to her.

"We just didn't feel it was the right time for her to be put down. She still has plenty of life in her."

Michelle said the family designed the cart after finding nothing suitable on the market that did not cost hundreds of pounds.

"It took us a total of four designs before we got it exactly right, but it has worked so well," she said.

"She looked a bit wary when we first strapped her into it, but within a few minutes, she took her first steps and has just gone on from there. It's fantastic."

Doreen Graham, of the Scottish SPCA, said the cart was ideal for a dog like Sam.

She said: "Anything that adds to an animal's quality of life is only a good thing.

"Anyone making a cart like this should be careful of pressure sores from where it straps on, but generally, it can completely transform a dog's life."

German Shepherd Gifts

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Cat survives traffic, 70-foot fall from bridge, 600-foot swim

WENATCHEE, Wash. -- A cat leaped from a pickup truck, scampered through bridge traffic, fell 70 feet into the chilly Columbia River and swam 600 feet to shore before being rescued, Wenatchee Valley Humane Society officials said.

The gray, longhair calico cat, which wore no collar or identification, "ate ravenously" at an animal shelter after the ordeal, Humane Society officer Jody White said.

"She's a nice kitty," White said Monday. "I just hope we can find out who she belongs to and get her back home or find her a new home."

Joi Singleton of East Wenatchee told The Wenatchee World she and her husband, Ron, were driving on U.S. 2 and U.S. 97 over the Odabashian Bridge on Sunday morning when they saw something come off a pickup a couple of car lengths ahead of them.

"We swerved out of the way and realized it was a cat," she said. "It got up and ran. People behind us swerved. It jumped the barrier to the other side of the highway and people there were swerving."

The full-sized white pickup kept going, Singleton said, and she and her husband were unable to get a license plate number before they got over the bridge. They exited the highway, then headed back across the bridge and stopped by the eastern end.

After walking onto the bridge and calling for the cat, they spotted it cowering in a small opening in a concrete barrier near the center of the span and called the Humane Society.

No sooner had two officers gotten the cat into a portable kennel than it jumped out "like a jack-in-the-box before we could secure the door" and leaped over the railing, White said.

"It was absolutely amazing, horrible but amazing, to see. It hit the water, went under, surfaced and was swimming like mad for all she was worth," she said.

White, her supervisor Rebecca Long and the Singletons ran to the end of the bridge and down the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail to the shore, where they cheered on the cat.

"Once it spun around in a current and we thought that was it," Singleton said. "Then this guy in a kayak came out of nowhere and started pushing it toward us. The officers got a noose around its neck and pulled it in."

Information from: The Wenatchee World, http://www.wenworld.com

Burglar Kidnaps Talking African Grey Parrot

By Lester Haines

Criminal mastermind David Carlile kidnapped a talking African Grey parrot he encountered during an uninivited visit to a remote country house because he thought it would grass him up to the Old Bill, UK tabloid the Sun reports.

The 32-year-old blagger took antiques, jewellery and wonga from the house belonging to Diana Winter in Eastbury, Berkshire, then grabbed would-be canary Monty for good measure. When he eventually had his collar felt, Carlile admitted: "Parrots can talk and I didn't want it grassing me up."

A suitably-impressed police source noted: "We were in stitches. This guy really thought we could interview the parrot. It's just as well we nicked him through fingerprints and DNA — I wouldn't have liked to have introduced the parrot to a judge as our chief prosecution witness."

Sadly, although Carlile is currently "doing some bird" - seven years to be exact after admitting more than 100 burglaries - Monty's whereabouts are unknown since Carlile offloaded the poor creature before his arrest.

Monty's owner lamented: "Monty's like a child and needs care. I'm not worried about the goods that were taken. I just want to see him again." Accordingly, Reg readers are asked to be on the lookout for a seven-year-old African Grey with "red feathers in his tail and a blue plastic ring on his foot" who "eats only white grapes".

It's also entirely possible his vocabulary might now include the phrase: "Come here you little bugger - there ain't no way I'm doing porridge on account of a bleedin' talkin' parrot."

Dogs have their day as employers welcome pets at work

By Anya Sostek, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

On the first floor of Coolidge Hall at Chatham College, Pongo happily plays with a stuffed animal. Down the hall, Belo turns over his water bowl. And although Katie isn't at school today, her gate leans against the door. It's an ordinary day in Chatham's English department, where several professors regularly bring their dogs to work.

"It's nice -- everybody knows him, and they get used to seeing him prancing down the halls," said Sheryl St. Germain, an English professor and owner of Pongo, a 9-year-old Shih Tzu. "If he's not with me, he's at home and he has a little bit of separation anxiety."

One of several workplaces scattered across the Pittsburgh region that allows dogs at work, Chatham has permitted pets for at least 25 years, but English department chairman William Lenz said the number of dogs on campus has increased in recent years.

That trend may hold true nationwide. John Long, spokesman for a North Carolina organization called Pet Sitters International, said that participation in the group's annual Take Your Dog to Work Day event in June is up from 300 companies when it started in 1997 to more than 10,000 this year.

"Having dogs in the workplace has been found to reduce stress levels, increase employee morale, and it's always a lot of fun," said Mr. Long. "Employees feel more comfortable staying later and devoting more hours to their work."

Deborah Daquila, who owns a hair salon in East Liberty, brings her two cocker spaniels to work with her three or four days a week. She says her main motivation is "just plain guilt" about leaving them at home, but that they also provide psychological benefits.

"If I have a stressful client, I look over at my dogs and I feel immediate joy," she said. "It keeps me calm and happy."

Of course, as Ms. Daquila knows, there are problems inherent in bringing dogs to work: Some co-workers or clients might be allergic to dogs, while others could be afraid of dogs or just dislike them. And recently, one of Daquila's cocker spaniels had an accident in the shop.

"They're dogs -- it's going to happen," she said. "My client was way less upset than I would have expected."

At Chatham, the attitude is a little more strict. "A dog that had an accident would be a dog that was banned," said Dr. Lenz. Dogs there are not allowed in classrooms and are supposed to be on a leash outside of professor's offices. And a new policy that went into effect this fall asks employees who want to bring dogs to get permission from the administration. "We are in the education business first," said Dr. Lenz. "Our central mission is students rather than canines."

But in the hallway of Coolidge, the business of students and canines often intersects. Lynne Dickson Bruckner, an English professor who has brought her greyhound, Katie, into work for the last five years, said that students often stop by for "dog therapy." And Dr. St. Germain, who came to Chatham this year from Iowa State, said that the dog policy was one small factor that helped tip the scales toward moving to Pittsburgh. "Sometimes it's these small things that really push you in a particular direction," she said.

Pet massage benefits rabbits, other animals

Milford, MA, United States

Massages can be both therapeutic and decadent, an experience that relaxes and relieves tension -- even in rabbits.

That was apparent in little Jewel, a white bunny with a smudge of black on her long ears.

"It looks like she likes it," Grace Sisk, 7, said to her mom, Felicia. Indeed, Jewel seemed relaxed and comfortable as it got its first massage.

About seven rabbits were treated to the service yesterday afternoon at Especially for Pets.

Lynne Flanaghan, a massage therapist for small animals and a pet massage instructor, volunteered her time to give 10-minute bunny massages. For a $10 donation, residents came to the store, which specializes in holistic pet supplies. The donation benefited the House Rabbit Network, a rescue organization in which volunteers save rabbits and help place them in homes.

"It's for a good cause," said Flanaghan. The Southborough resident began offering pet messages four years ago. Providing the service for small animals benefits their health and welfare, she said. "I found a niche that needed fulfilling."

"Massage helps animals in the same way it helps people. We're all physiologically very similar," she said.

About six months ago, Flanaghan was giving pet massage demonstrations to mostly dogs and some cats in the pet store on Rte. 109. Coincidentally, volunteers from the House Rabbit Network were at the store providing information on rabbit adoption. It wasn't long before Flanaghan found herself giving massages to bunnies.

"I've been working with rabbits ever since," she said.

"(Rabbits) are very sweet and enjoy the gentle touch to their bodies," she said.

Starting at the tip of Jewel's nose to her little cottontail, Flanaghan worked her magic with small strokes. Almost immediately the small furry animal relaxed.

Jewel is the pet of Cherryl Reinhardt of Dudley, the vice president of the House Rabbit Network. She actually rescued the Himalayan rabbit after someone told her that its owner had planned to shoot the animal in their Medway back yard. Jewel, who was born with a birth defect, cannot use her front or hind legs to hop. Still she is mobile enough to get around.

"Why not give her a shot at life. I didn't want to see her get shot in the back yard," said Reinhardt, who fell in love with the rabbit, which she describes as "a turtle out of water."

"Hopefully, the massage will make Jewel a little better," she said.

"Actually, you can hear her purring, a sound like a grinding of their teeth," said Flanagan.

"Most rabbits spend a good deal of their time in cages and are not properly exercised and as a result their whole body doesn't get proper circulation. So, this (massage) addresses their need. For rabbits that have been abused, the massage additionally helps them feel more secure," she said.

Lori Martinez of Winchester recently adopted a bunny from the network.

"Otis is a black, 3.3-pound little guy who just loved his first massage," said Martinez. "I just knew it would be good for him," she said.

Other bunnies enjoyed the massage -- even Sigment, a 17-pounder, received one.

Diane Mayer's 7-year-old bunny Lewis was abandoned shortly after its birth.

"I didn't realize how many rabbits were dumped until I became a volunteer with the network," said the Boxborough resident.

Allison Daley, 25, of Bellingham said she doesn't own a bunny but said Flanaghan has given her dog Lilly several massages.

"It's very comforting to her," she said.

"Rabbits are the most affectionate and wonderful animals I've ever encountered," said Lisa Blanchard, also of Southborough. "I have a pair myself," she said, adding that she's the owner of Red and Haylee. Though she didn't bring her pets to the store, she said she could imagine how much they would like and benefit from a massage.

Lauren Sneider of Quicy brought 2 1/2-year-old Seamus, a brown-and-white Dutch Dwarf, to get his first massage.

"He liked it a lot, " laughed Sneider, who came to the pet supply store with her boyfriend Jimmy Clark and his 5-year-old daughter Madison. "We all got to watch and how to safely give a massage," she said.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Time-strapped lifestyles make fish popular again

But with people working longer hours and spending less time at home, keeping fish is a fast growing pastime.

The Australian Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council estimates there are 12.2 million pet fish in Australia, with owners spending $45 million on their upkeep every year.

That is compared to four million dogs ($2.6 billion) and 2.5 million cats ($1.015 billion).

Fish owners say their pets are no longer simple decorations for backyard ponds but can be as entertaining as any other animal.

Launceston Dentist Rodney Geelan has a saltwater marine tank full of tropical fish, coral, anemones and shrimp.

Aside from being a great feature for the house, he said that each fish had its own character.

"There is definitely a connection there - you can't get your fish and hold it but they definitely have their own personality," he said.

"Some are quieter, others are more boisterous and bossy and when you feed them there are those that will sit back and eat the crumbs while others will scramble to eat everything first."

The marine tank joins the Geelans' menagerie of family pets including three dogs, two parrots, a rabbit and his son's collection of fish.

"A marine set-up is a lot more difficult to maintain than a goldfish in a bowl but it is quite a talking point because you are basically creating a mini reef system."

Owner of the Olde Tudor Aquarium Daniel Midson said that the industry boomed after the release of the animated movie Finding Nemo.

"It definitely seems to be a popular hobby in Launceston and most people get pretty attached to their fish."

He disagrees with those who say fish are unintelligent.

Some species can identify the person that feeds them and there are even stories of fish that know when it is dinner time and wait at the top of the tank in anticipation.

As Daniel walks among the tanks the fish follow him but remain still for other customers.

"Oscars for example are a very lively fish," Mr Midson said.

"Where I have them in my house they have a direct line of sight with the fridge.

"When I open the fridge there is no problem but when I open the freezer where they know the food is kept they go crazy."

Mr Midson said that keeping fish could be as simple or as complicated as the owner cared.

"We offer entry levels from $2000 down to $50."

At the highest level a lot of care and precision is required to balance water chemistry to the biology of fish.

"With tropical fish you have got to be on top of them," Dr Geelan said.

"I had an anemone which died and released toxins which killed off a lot of my fish before I discovered it. That was rather distressing."

Tu-ki and Ziza - Two Cute Conure Parrots

Tu-ki, a Green Cheek Conure (left), has no lower mandible. After almost 6 years, a small sliver of beak has grown back on the right side to about 1/4 " long, enabling her to eat foods she once could not. (you can see it fairly well on the enclosed photo)

One of the things she is enjoying most is the TOPS pellets. They are just the right consistency for her to gnaw on. To be able to utilize this natural instinct is totally new to her and has resulted in a delighted birdie. She actually seems 'proud' of herself when she holds a pellet and nibbles away.

Tuk calls anything in the food family "a cookie" and will ask us for "a cookie" when she wants some of what we are eating, a goodie, or her dinner.

Last night, my husband was the first to come home so he took the birds into the kitchen for their evening meal with us.

Tu-ki was hungry (as usual) and kept saying "David, Tu-ki want cookie" over and over. He was getting their water ready to put onto the feeding stands and when he put Tuks there she looked into the water cup and said "NO COOKIE ! NO COOKIE! WHERE TU-KI COOKIE??

David told her "it's coming, be patient" Without missing a beat Tu-ki replied "OK, VERY WELL THEN" Needless to say, he was totally floored and could not stop laughing. She is constantly surprising us with her comprehension and vocabulary.

Tu-ki the Green Cheek Conure and Ziza the Half Moon Conure

Tu-ki is amazing. She has overcome her sad, neglected start in life and has graced us with her love, humor and devotion. Happiness is sharing our lives with our two girls. There is truly nothing quite like kissing sweet beaks and warm belly feathers.
The beautiful bird to the right of Tu-ki in the photo is her little sister Ziza, a Half Moon Conure. Ziza's story involves my husband's father. David was born in Istanbul and his parents were living there until they passed away about 2 years ago.

The morning his father died we were sending an Email to some relatives in Italy to inform them about dad's passing. When I was about to send the email I got mail. It was from Elke, at Rockport Roost Aviary, in Texas. She was sending me a photo or "our newly hatched baby." We had been wanting another bird and I had contacted her to let me know when she had some Half Moon conures.

David made the comment that his father, who loved birds and nature, would have loved to have seen this baby bird. Since this new bird was hatched the day dad passed we decided that in his honor we would name it after him... but with a little twist...Aziz spelled backwards is Ziza.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Dog Alerts Family about House Fire

MT. PLEASANT, WA-On the morning of Oct. 25, at around 1 a.m., Little Bear started barking and pacing the kitchen floor.

The dog, owned by Rose and Sal Alaniz of Mt. Pleasant, awoke Rose with its noise and she went to see why it was so disturbed. Sal was gone on a hurricane relief trip to Mississippi with the New London Christian Church.

Walking through the house, Rose found sparks coming from behind the living room cabinet, then found that the surface of the wall, a baseboard heater and a curtain were blackened, with a curtain just starting to catch fire.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

New Online Radio Station for Pets is a Hit

Yes, you can believe your ears, there's a new online radio station for pets that is having pet owners tune in from all across America even as far away as New Zealand, Tokyo, London and Australia.

DogCatRadio.com, based in Los Angeles, was launched in June of 2005 by music executive Adrian Martinez and already, the station has had over 332,000 people tune in.

"If you’re like most Americans, your pet is part of the family," says Adrian Martinez, founder of DogCatRadio.com "When it came to radio, the pet-community was a neglected demographic – so we decided to solve that problem."

The station decided to broadcast exclusively online in order to be accessible to the vast pet-community which boasts a purchasing power of 34billion each year.

“We expected just a few people to tune in, but the numbers are simply amazing," says Jane Harris, morning Disc Jockey. “We even have Veterinarians recommending us.”

In the past couple of months alone, DogCatRadio.com has been featured on CBS news, the Dallas Morning News, the Chicago Sun-times, the Arizona Republic, the San Antonio Express News, Aspen Colorado’s New West, Missouri and Kentucky’s Courier Journal. This week, DogCatRadio.com is being featured in RushPRnews Daily Gazette as they continue conquering America’s pet-community.

For more information contact Adrian Martinez (323) 646-6374 or visit: http://www.dogcatradio.com/

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Man Saves Dog, Dog Saves Man


Nov. 2, 2005 — Michael Bosch of San Rafael, Calif., knew he had a loyal friend in his dog, Honey. But until Monday night, he didn't know he had a savior too.

The cocker spaniel was with Bosch when he backed out a little too far from his driveway, sending his SUV plunging 40 feet into a remote ravine. The vehicle landed on its roof, pinning 63-year-old Bosch inside.

"It was crushed pretty severely between the steering wheel and the stump that pierced the roof of the car and the dashboard," said Tim Thompson of the Marin County Sheriff's Department.

But after several hours, Honey was able to escape when Bosch managed to roll down a window and told the dog to go for help. She ran half a mile to neighbor Robin Allen's house.

"She was bringing me here," Allen said. "She was directing me."

Honey, Cocker Spaniel hero

By the time rescuers reached the scene, Bosch had been hanging upside down for more than six hours — and his pulse was weakening. Honey saved his life just in time. Ironically, Bosch had recently saved hers when he adopted her from a shelter two weeks ago. He had been waiting for a cocker spaniel puppy for more than a year.

"She was brought in by her owner who couldn't continue to care for her, just couldn't afford to," said Sheri Cardo of Marin Humane Society.

By giving Honey a new home, Bosch gave himself a new lease on life.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

San Francisco's Telegraph Hill Parrots Facing Eviction

The wild parrots of San Francisco's Telegraph Hill, those colorful birds made famous by a book and movie, may be evicted from towering trees where they like to spend their days, proving that in the cutthroat Bay Area real estate market, even feathered celebrities have it tough.

A property owner whose land includes three Monterey cypresses where the parrots perch, watch for preying hawks and stash their offspring while they hunt for food wants to give the aging trees the ax because he considers them a liability that could topple onto surrounding homes, neighbors say.

The buzz of chainsaws attempting to cut down the trees on Monday morning drowned out the loud squawking of the parrots that typically floods over Telegraph Hill -- that is, until Mark Bittner, who lives next door and who wrote the book about the birds and starred in a documentary with them, ran out of his cottage, stood at the base of the trees in protest and persuaded workers to turn off their saws.

Two of the three trees were spared, and now those people closest to the parrots are waging a high-stakes campaign to save the remaining two cypresses and thereby ensure that their famous feathered companions stay on the hill.

"If these trees are cut down," Bittner said from his rustic cottage, "the birds will all move on. There's no need for it. Why put them through that?"

Bittner, 53, is a formerly homeless and unemployed musician who took to the parrots more than a decade ago while he was caretaker of a home on the hill. He feeds the birds, has given them names -- Snyder, Chomsky and Mendelssohn -- and is an expert on their behavior. He estimates there are about 200 of them.

The band of red-headed conures that are native to South America start their day at the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero and fly across the way to leafy Telegraph Hill, where Coit Tower is located. Their first stop is the cypress trees, Bittner said.

"They come here screaming in the morning," Bittner said. "The parents use the tree to stash their babies while they go and look for food. They sleep in it and nap in it. They stop here before they come to me when I feed them."

Without the trees, the birds could end up perched on some other limbs on Telegraph Hill, but not even Bittner knows exactly what would happen.

"I can't predict it," he said.

John Cowen, who owns the Greenwich Steps property where the trees stand, did not return calls for comment Monday. Neighbors who live in the historic homes on Telegraph Hill are quick to caution that they hope to work out a solution and that it is not a "good-guy, bad-guy" situation.

They, however, had been negotiating the fate of the trees with Cowen for six months and were surprised to look out their windows Monday morning and see a crew of tree cutters perched in the cypress with their chainsaws.

Judy Irving, Bittner's girlfriend with whom he lives and who was the director of the documentary about the parrots, said: "What we had here was a failure to communicate."

As Bittner stood at the base of the trees trying to persuade the workers not to cut them down, Irving was inside the couple's cottage hastily writing a proposal that said neighbors would pay for the cost of maintaining the trees on Cowen's land. They called politicians and brought in the media.

Today, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is scheduled to consider legislation that would allow city residents to bestow landmark status on public and privately owned trees, a measure that could have provided protection for the Telegraph Hill cypresses.

"I personally will pay for the cost of trimming the trees," said Telegraph Hill resident Stan Hayes, 59. "Whatever it takes. I'll do it."

Irving, 59, said Cowen promised to take the proposal to his business partners for consideration. Neighbors hope for an 11th-hour agreement.

They did agree on Monday to allow the largest tree of the grove to be cut down because its base was rotted. But the other two trees are invaluable, Irving said.

"Whenever you see Monterey cypress in the film, it's probably those trees," she said.

Her 2004 documentary, "The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, A Love Story ... With Wings," received rave reviews. Bittner's book, which was published last year and has the same title, made it on to the New York Times bestseller list.

How the parrots ended up on Telegraph Hill remains a mystery. Legends about the birds say they either escaped or were rejected by local owners or fled during shipments to pet stores.

Bittner's close relationship with them continues.

"It became a friendship," he said. "It gave me a story to tell .... They've changed my life completely."