Wednesday Diet Tip #6

Hi! Welcome to Peggy and Kelly's Wednesday Diet Tips. I was talking to my friend Liz, who is a weight watchers instructor. "Sure, I'm losing weight now," I said. "But how do I keep it off?" Maintenance is often elusive. Here are some of Liz's personal tips:

Keep a journal. Record all food - if you bite it, write it! Be totally honest. I wasn't aware of what & how much I was eating & keeping track helps me to keep my eating under control.

Figure out what triggers eating. I'm an emotional eater & so I had to figure out what triggered my eating response and come up with alternative ways of dealing with the emotion.

Third, the 'E' word. Exercise. When I don't get enough, my weight always starts to creep up.

Great advice Liz! Thank you!

Snow much fun!

Su Lin, a 2-year-old giant panda at the San Diego Zoo, enjoyed the cool feel of snow on an unusually hot day in San Diego on April 27, 2008. The San Diego Zoo's Giant Panda Research Station was covered in 15 tons of snow on Sunday. In two weeks, on May 10, the Zoo's polar bear exhibit will be blanketed with snow as part of Bear Awareness Days, presented by Mission Federal Credit Union. The fun and educational four-day event discusses bear conservation efforts.
(UPI Photo/Ken Bohn/San Diego Zoo)

Why dogs are good for kids

Children run less risk of being sensitive to allergens if there is a dog in the house in the early years of their lives, scientists have found.

The conclusion, based on a six-year study of 9,000 children, adds weight to the theory that growing up with a pet trains the immune system to be less sensitive to potential triggers for allergies such as asthma, eczema and hay fever.

The “hygiene theory” of allergy holds that modern life has simply become too clean, meaning that babies’ immune systems are not exposed to enough germs to develop normally.

Having a dog provides enough dirt of the right kind.

Source: Times Online

Need a dog to walk?

One of the benefits of owning a dog is getting exercise while talking it for a walk. But what if you don't want all the responsibilities of owning a real dog?

Just get yourself a walking dog balloon! They come in three heart warming varieties – a pretty pug, a darling dachshund and a remarkable retriever.

They have been balanced perfectly so that when filled with helium they float just above the ground with their little feet dangling to the floor. When you gently walk with them, pulling the lead, their little legs and feet appear to walk giving a super fun, realistic K9 look.

Guaranteed to convince everyone you meet that you are totally crazy.

(via nerd approved)

Dull Dog?

With Fairy Tail Dust Body Bling for Dogs your dog can now glimmer in the moonlight or glitter while she's greeting you at your front door - or hide under the bed in shame because of what her goofy owner is subjecting her to.

Under no circumstances should you apply this stuff to a cat, not if you ever want a peaceful night's sleep afterwards.

(via Dog Bliss)

Dog to Unicorn Transformation Kit

This is not a costume. This is a kit to completely transform your beloved pug or beagle from a cute canine to the ultimate unicorn. It includes screw-in horn, hoof attachments, medical grade glue, peroxide, mane fur, a tail and a handful of glitter! Just peroxide the color out of your dogs hair and attach the fur and accessories with glue. Once you have the horn in place (Dremel not included) your beloved pooch will be ready to accompany you to fairyland. Please specify size of dog when ordering. Not legal in California, New Mexico and part of Maine.

Dog to Unicorn Transformation Kit

(via the Presurfer)

Dog Survives 8 Days Trapped Rubble

In an extrodinary tale of survival, a dog was found with minimal injuries after a building exploded, hurting the dog's owner.

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. - A dog was found alive and in relatively good shape after spending eight days trapped in the rubble of a building that exploded, critically injuring the pup's owner.
Lulu, a Springer spaniel, was rescued Sunday after the owner of the business that had been housed in the two-story building heard her whimpering.

Here is the complete article:

Natalie Port-a-potty

She may be an international movie star, but this impudent pooch can't tell the difference between Natalie Portman and a fire hydrant.


Okefenokee Swamp gator to live on in display

Visitors loved Oscar, the Okefenokee Swamp Park's resident 13-foot, 5-inch, 1,000-pound, alligator, who often slumbered on the freshly mowed grass and sometimes the concrete walkways in the park.

But sometime during his long life, someone must have wanted his hide.

Oscar survived a shotgun blast to the face, at least three bullet wounds to the head, turf wars, multiple broken bones and crippling arthritis. Officials know that now because the beloved old gator died last July and the evidence is visible in his bones.

Oscar died about a year ago, but within a few months, visitors will be able to view him once again, or at least his skeleton, which is being mounted like that of a museum dinosaur. The contents of Oscar's stomach at death will also be included in the display: a plastic dog collar, a dog's tag, a penny, pieces of plastic, rocks and the top section of a flagpole.


Feds sued for taking gray wolves off endangered list

Environmental and animal rights groups are suing the federal government in hopes of restoring endangered species protections for gray wolves in the Northern Rockies.

Wolves in 1974 almost disappeared as a species in 48 US states -- excluding Alaska and Hawaii -- except for some isolated packs in Minnesota and Michigan.

In 1995, 66 wolves were released by the government in Idaho and in the nearby Yellowstone National Park with the hope they would propagate and multiply.

The program was successful. Currently, an estimated 1,200 wolves roam Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.

But now, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has removed the region’s 1,500 wolves from the endangered list in March, turning over management responsibilities to state officials in Idaho, Wyoming and Montana.

Defenders of Wildlife said in a statement that Wyoming and Idaho authorities had given their residents a blank check for the "senseless and indiscriminate killing of wolves."

Source: CANOE


This is Mondex, a 5-year-old Chihuahua, posing as he walks the aisle dressed as a scuba diver during a dog show at a mall in suburban Manila on Sunday April 27, 2008. Mondex bagged first place during the fashion show category.

Was he trying to compete with that penguin?

AP Photo/Aaron Favila

Is your pet a Boomer?

New studies and statistics about the "Baby Boomer" generation dominate the headlines almost daily, but there is another population, the nation's 45 million "Pet Boomers", which is quietly slipping into its senior years.

On average, pets age seven times faster than humans. Consequently, the potential for age-related disease also progresses seven times as fast. Unfortunately, many pet owners are unaware of the signs of animal aging which may actually indicate treatable health problems.

Certain health conditions can occur more often in aging pets. Below are five common health conditions that every pet owner should monitor in their pets.
* Weight Gain
* Tooth Decay and Gum Disease
* Stiff Joints and Slower Movement
* Changes in Coat and Skin
* Eye Abnormalities

Is your pet a boomer? is a great new web resource for all pet owners. It offers quizzes, facts, statistics on the aging pet population and is a terrific for pet owners dealing with traveling with a pet, pet poisons and emergencies.

This short video segment from Marty Becker, DVM, a nationally recognized pet expert, author and Good Morning America contributor, features five common health conditions in aging pets.

Photo from Flickr by Corsi_photo

Ellen Degeneres Joins Natural Food Company

Love her or hate her, there's no denying that Ellen is a pet lover. Now, she has become an owner of an "All-Natural" Pet Care Company called Halo. c

According to the Press Release:

“I can’t tell you how honored I am to be a part of a company that believes in treating your pets as well as you treat yourself,” said DeGeneres. “Everything about Halo is great. I’ve been using all of their products long before I decided to invest in the company. I attribute my shiny coat to their all-natural supplements.”

Continued DeGeneres, “If you love your pets, you only want the very best for them, and this food is the highest quality. And if you forget to go to the grocery store, you can actually split a can with your dog. If you’re going with the lamb, I’d recommend a nice Pinot.”

“This is a defining moment in the history of Halo,” said Halo President Alan Kerzner. “After more than a year of discussions, we’re delighted to have Ellen join our family, especially at this time of exciting growth. We are a company built on the foundation of providing the best possible care to pets and Ellen wholeheartedly shares our beliefs.”

All Halo pet food is made from pure, all-natural ingredients such as butcher quality chicken, eggs, carrots, flaxseed, green peas, barley, sweet potatoes and cranberries. All the recipes have been fortified with vitamins and minerals. There are no artificial ingredients in any of Halo’s products. There are no byproducts, chemical preservatives, fillers, rendered meats, artificial colors or flavors.

Cutest cupcakes

This is one of the finalists in the Martha Stewart Cutest Cupcake Contest. Chicken Cupcakes by Dustin Nakamura

Cute or not? Baby giraffe

Video: Gin the dog

From Britain's Got Talent 2008 - Episode 1: Gin the dog

Watch the video

Video: An Engineer's Guide to Cats

Watch video

via: critter news

Video: Orcas hunt sea lions

Exhibiting a rare hunting method, some Orcas whales off the coast of Argentina's Valdes Peninsula capture their prey of baby sea lions by approaching the beach and then retreating.

Watch video

A Situation Perhaps Even Ben & Jerry Can't Help

How much time should you devote to a project before you give up and call it quits? I hate to leave any project undone. And worse, I hate spending time on a project and not having it arrive at a fruitful conclusion. Recently I've been working on a story for one of my magazines, and it's just not going well. First, the interview resulted in reams of notes. Hacking away through the details to pick out just the right angle was excruciatingly time consuming. Then I had to rewrite it about a dozen times. The subject of the interview repeatedly changed his mind about minute details. Finally, my editor suggested an alternate angle which required a total rewrite, and then suggested that possibly the subject was now "too old." After weeks of work, I was ready to send the entire document to the recycle bin and plop down on the sofa with a pint of Ben & Jerry's. Part of me wants to fight for the story and make it work, and the other part wants to be intelligent enough to know when it's time to admit defeat. I'm still thinking about it. Perhaps I'll find the answer in a bowl of Chunky Monkey.

Squirrel battle brewing in Britain

A pack of mutant testosterone-charged black squirrels is rampaging through parks and woodlands of Britain. This gang of beasts is faster and more fiercely competitive than both reds or grays.

Britain's native squirrels are red. The gray squirrels were introduced to Britain from America in the 1870s, and for years they held sway - driving their red cousin into the remotest corners of the country. The upstarts are genetic mutations of grays, but have a darker fur and higher levels of the male sex hormone testosterone - making them more aggressive and more successful. Sex selection is also boosting their numbers because female grays appear to prefer them as mates.

The rise of the black is the biggest change in squirrel demographics since the indigenous red squirrels almost disappeared 50 years ago from most of England.

Source: Daily Mail

Your dog ate WHAT?

Josie, a bassett hound mix, ate some gorilla glue that formed a large mass in her stomach and required life-saving surgery. Watch video for more information.

We use Gorilla Glue around our house but I never thought to taste it. Must be yummy.

Doggie Dude Ranch

City dogs escape their leash-and-lounge existence and learn get in touch with their inner herder. And it happens on a controlled ranch designed especially for the dogs.

These type of ranches are part of a trend that mixes training techniques, a back-to-basics ethos and a hint of dog (and human) therapy.

The American Kennel Club says new herding clubs are popping up across the country, although it does not track exact numbers. Nearly 200 clubs held herding trials last year. More than 10,000 dogs competed, a roughly 10 percent increase over 2006.

To read more about it, check out:

3D Anatomic Puzzle Animals

Put your traditional puzzles out to pasture and take a chance on these amazing 3-D anatomical animal puzzles. Challenging, educational and entertaining, these highly detailed puzzles come with organs, bones and muscles so you can build your animal from the inside out. Available in horse (26 pieces), cow (29 pieces) or pig (19 pieces).
$28.00 - $40.00 at unCommon goods

via Random Good Stuff

Fun tees for dog lovers

Shawn, Jason and Hannah think dogs are the most charming and intelligent and perfectly formed creatures on the planet.

While sporting the original skeledox t-shirt around town, they caught the eye of many closeted hipster dog lovers. People who are semi-religious about design but still get caught eskimo-kissing their rottweilers and baby-talking their pugs. These people demand fine tees! So they started drawing all kind of skeledogs, so everyone can worship the fine form of their pooch without feeling like a dork.

Skeledog t-shirts are $25 and come in a wide variety of breeds..

Rare Chinese animal born at Minnesota Zoo

The Sichuan takin, an unusual-looking relative of the musk ox, looks like a small moose, climbs like a mountain goat, has short curved horns like a gnu, and snorts. Takin stand 3 to 4 feet tall. The animals eat grasses, shrubs, and leaves. They are able to stand on their hind legs and reach branches 10 feet off the ground. Takin are rare in North American zoos. Only 50 takin are found in 12 zoos in North America.

The baby takin was born on exhibit Wednesday morning at the zoo. Zookeepers knew the animal was pregnant, but didn't know when the calf was going to be born.

Source: StarTribune

Pet Social Networking Site

Calling themselves the "facebook for pet lovers" All About Pets

has been developed by The Blue Cross, Britain's Pet charity since 1897, to give pet lovers a new way to communicate, and a place where they can meet like-minded people to share experiences or advice about their pets. To date, the social network has attracted nearly 2,000 members.

All About Pets is completely free. For us in the states, their might be some reluctance as this site is UK based. But, the site offers a lot more then just networking.

According to the site, the advantage of All About Pets over other social networking sites is that it works as an authorative and reliable information directory - there is a strong emphasis on the site being used as an information resource. The Blue Cross has produced over 80l eaflets on all aspects of pet care which are available to view, print or download free from the site. Pet owners with specific problems or those with advice to share can also set up forums and social groups to discuss ideas across the entire network. Members can create profiles for themselves and their pets, upload photos or links to videos and showcase their pet's talents. They can also view other people's pets, photos and videos and even rate them.

Members can take part in discussion forums and polls on topical subjects, promote their own events or find out what is happening in their area, and get the latest in pet news.
Horse digestive system diagram picture.

via Information Junk

Flying fish


Wednesday Diet Tip #5

Hi! Welcome to Peggy and Kelly's Wednesday Diet Tip! There are few "diet" foods that I actually get excited about. Celery? Wheat germ? Lentils? Forget about it. But finally, I found one food that I can consume in large quantities, that is low calorie, low fat, and actually delicious: Strawberries! Sweet, juicy, a harbinger of summer; pretty much perfect. In fact, all berries are good for you. Blueberries are believed to help prevent cancer. Cranberries are good for women's urinary health. But strawberries, pure sweet strawberries, are still my favorite. Here are some ways to enjoy strawberries this season.
1. Top with a squirt of fat free whipped topping
2. Slice over whole grain cereal
3. Serve atop a sliver of angel food cake
4. Mix slices of strawberries with slices of banana
5. Sprinkle on top of a salad, add walnuts, and dress with low fat poppyseed dressing
6. Blend with crushed ice or low fat frozen yogurt to make a slush or smoothie

Show biz grissly kills trainer

Rocky, the grizzly bear which appeared in a recent Will Ferrell movie, "Semi-Pro," killed a 39-year-old trainer with a bite to his neck Tuesday April 22, 2008.

For unknown reasons, the 700-pound bear lunged at 39-year-old Stephan Miller, a trainer at Randy Miller's Predators in Action. Two other trainers subdued the 5-year-old, 7 1/2 -foot-tall grizzly with pepper spray and were unhurt.

Source: Los Angeles Times

Monkeys Escape From Wildlife Facility

A troupe of African monkeys are on the loose after escaping from a remote wildlife facility north of Tampa.

Officials at Safari Wild say it may take more than a week to round up all the patas monkeys that ran away on Saturday.

The monkeys live on a one-acre island that is surrounded by an eight-foot-deep moat. Officials say one female monkey with a baby on her back swam across the moat Saturday, and the other monkeys followed.

The animals arrived Thursday from Puerto Rico, by Saturday, they had vanished.

Photo from Flickr, by alyyxphoto

Source: St. Petersburg Times

Uninvited guest crawls into kitchen

Hearing strange noises at about 10:30 p.m., Sandra Frosti, 69, called 911. Frosti had an 8-foot alligator in her kitchen.

The whole thing apparently started when Poe the cat was prowling outside and the big alligator followed it home.

When Poe slipped onto the back porch, the 220-pound gator came along, crashing through a screen and passing a potted ficus tree and litter box.

Tailing Poe, the 8-foot, 8-inch reptile crawled over the blue carpeting, through an open sliding glass door and past the green suede sofa in the living room.

The gator likely emerged from one of the many ponds, lakes and creeks in Eastlake Woodlands in north Pinellas, where they are a common sight.

Source: St. Petersburg Times

Pet Memorial Keepsake Pendants, a website devoted to helping people honor the lives of their pets, has added a new line of Pet Keepsake Jewelry to their product offering. The new jewelry line is a collection of Pet Ash Pendants. These beautifully hand carved wooden pendants are created from 8 different precious woods. Each pendant contains a small glass vial inside to hold a small portion of pet or human ashes.

The pendants are made in Seattle, WA by a company called River Dreams and sell for $75.00

Protecting Pets From Pollutants

I recently wrote about toxins in our pets, along with an entire report from the Environmental Working Group.

In conjunction with the report, Environmental Working Group is helping to launch Pets for the Environment. Founded by a mutt named Eddie, Pets for the Environment is a place where eco-conscious pets can do their part to protect the environment -- and learn tips to keep themselves healthy, too.You can learn all about Eddie's crusade at

There is a section about what happened to Eddie's friendly family bird, along with tons of tips on how to stay safe and how you can help the cause. Hopefully by spreading the word through this blog, I'm helping to do my part and hopefully other bloggers out there will spread the word as well.

Rare turtle discovered in Viet Nam

Researchers from the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo have discovered a rare giant turtle in northern Vietnam, giving scientists hope for the species they believed was extinct in the wild.

The scientists from the Cleveland Zoo discovered the Swinhoe's soft-shelled turtle when they followed up reports from villagers of a mythical creature living in a lake. Vietnamese legend tells of a huge turtle that helped the country fight off Chinese invaders in the 16th century. "This is one of those mythical species that people always talked about but no one ever saw," said the zoo's curator.

Only three other specimens of this turtle are known of by scientists: there are two in Chinese zoos and one in Hoan Kiem Lake in the heart of Hanoi.

Scientists refused to provide the name of the lake or other details about the position of this turtle because of concerns the turtle would be illegally hunted.

Source: The National Register

Koreans clone drug-sniffer dogs

Six white male dogs collectively named Toppy reported for duty at a training facility for sniffer dogs run by the Korea Customs Service in Yeongjongdo.

Chase, the father of the dogs, and his six sons look exactly the same -- because the sons were cloned, born to surrogate mothers via the transfer of the nucleui of Chase’s somatic cells.

“Toppy” is a compound name meaning “tomorrow’s puppy”; the Toppies are numbered one to seven to tell them apart. The Korea Customs Service commissioned the cloning project because they thought that training clones of an effective sniffer dog would be easier than training ordinary dogs, which may or may not have the right genetic makeup for the job.

Source: English chosun

Officer wrestles python in pet store attack

A Eugene police officer can now add snake wrestler to his list of skills after an attack on a pet store worker Thursday.

Police said they were called to the pet store on Elmira around 3:30 p.m. on a report that a 12-foot Burmese Python had latched onto the woman and wrapped itself around her.

Police Sergeant Ryan Nelson was about to use his knife to get the snake free, but the victim pleaded for the snake’s life.

Nelson and another firefighter were finally able to pry the snake’s mouth open and uncoil it after a struggle, freeing the woman. After Nelson got the snake into its cage, the huge reptile escaped and tried to attack Nelson.

The snake lost a couple of teeth in the ordeal, but no one suffered any serious injuries.

Photo from Flickr, by DashTapper

Polluted Pets

Are your pets polluted?

Environmental Working Group, a DC-based research and advocacy organization, just released the most comprehensive study of industrial chemicals in pets ever published. The group tested cats and dogs for 70 different chemicals, and found 48 of them -- carcinogens, neurotoxins, fire retardants, stain removing chemicals, heavy metals, the list goes on -- many at levels much higherthan have ever been found in humans.

According to the group, "lax chemical safety standards in the U.S. allow manufacturers to use chemicals without first proving they're safe, and that hurts all of us -- including the feathered, furry, and finned members of our families." You can see the entire article and report on their website

How do these chemicals get ingested by pets? According to the report, "just as children ingest pollutants in tap water, play on lawns with pesticide residues, or breathe in an array of indoor air contaminants, so do their pets. But with their compressed lifespans, developing and aging seven or more times faster than children, pets also develop health problems from exposures much more rapidly."

It is a disturbing report, especially since you never know when you're at a park or other public area what types of things are being used; and have no control of it either.

LEGO birdhouse

My sons loved LEGO blocks while they were younger. We had LEGO creations all over the house. And we also had loose blocks all over the house. Very sharp when you stepped on them barefoot, uncomfortable when you sat on them on the couch. One time, when we had a blocked toilet, guess what we found? LEGO blocks!

Hopefully, Dave doesn't have pieces all over his house to step on. I'm sure he doesn't, he's way too creative for that. Dave e-mailed me to show me his LEGO cat birdhouse creation:

Dave's kitty, Simon, approves of the birdhouse.

Although Dave designed his birdhouse to be a functional birdhouse, he never intended to put it outside and let the elements destroy good LEGO bricks. This made him a little sad because the birdhouse would never really have any birds as visitors.

So Dave built a LEGO bird for the LEGO birdhouse!

Very creative, Dave!

Cute or not? Golden snub-nosed monkey

College desicion looming large

Hard to believe the kid who can't pick up his own socks will soon be heading off to college. We've just made a whirlwind tour of the different institutions at which he's been accepted. Since he has trouble making decisions, he was sure to keep all his bases covered when submitting applications. These colleges run the gamut--a small liberal arts school, a geeky polytechnic institute, a sprawling urban university. He knows that sports will be a main factor in the decision-making process. Meanwhile, finances figure prominently in ours. Tuitions at most universities to which he's applied is around $50,000 including room and board. Yikes! Decision, along with a hefty deposit, is due by May 1st. Stressful time for all!

Charley Chick Wall Clock

Charley Chick Wall Clock
Rise and shine or back to slumberland? Charley Chick, or at least his beak, always shows the right time. The chick can flap its wings as they can be attached and detached thanks to hook and loop strips.

$59.99 at Oompatoys

Defining a Feral Cat

The news is always reporting things about feral cat problems and how to control the cat population. But how do you define a feral cat?? Darlene Anderson has a great article on discussing what is meant by a feral cat.

An interesting point she makes is the impact on public health.
"Ferals that form colonies, or individual strays that go from place to place, are often flea-ridden and have worms relegating them to a very poor quality of life. Not vaccinated for rabies, Ferals impact public health."

Plus, these cats survive without human interaction, and like many wild animals, are often afraid of people.

The suggested way of dealing with this problem is Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR). " Humane traps are set, and the cats are taken to a low-cost spay/neuter clinic where they’re given a cursory exam, a rabies vaccination and are altered. They’re then replaced in their colony, living out their lives without reproducing, ultimately resolving the overpopulation problem."

So the next time you hear a story about feral cats, you can refer back to this article to understand why it is a problem.

The City Chicken

If you've ever had dreams of keeping a flock of chickens in your own back yard, the City Chicken website might inspire you to bring a little country into your city life.

You might want to check your local ordinances before you start hatching those eggs.

Wednesday Diet Tip #4

Welcome to Peggy and Kelly's Wednesday Diet Tips! We all know that vegetables are healthy. But did you know that dogs should eat their veggies too? When Kelly is pawing at her empty bowl and telling me she's hungry, the vet recommended I give her some green beans to help fill her up. Select low-sodium varieties, because dogs can suffer health ailments from too much salt, just as we can. Instead of giving Kelly a dog biscuit to munch, when she's craving that extra crunch I toss her a baby carrot. Sometimes she doesn't get all that excited about it, or I find pieces hidden around behind the couch. (Just like with me; sometimes I can really get into crunchy carrots for a snack and other times I could scream.) "You've got to sell it," my husband said last night, waggling the carrot in front of Kelly, pulling it away, talking excitedly "You want this carrot? You want it?!" until the dog worked herself into a frenzy and lunged for the carrot, gobbling it down like it was a t-bone. Maybe I'll try that technique on myself when I serve my healthy lo-fat all veggie salad for lunch. Come and get it....Good girl!

Humanity messing with nature

A federal agency has authorized the killing of some California sea lions that prey on migrating salmon and steelhead at the base of Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River.

By some estimates, the sea lions at the base of the dam take up to 4 percent of the spring chinook run headed upriver to spawn.

Opponents of the kill have said sea lions are a highly visible and politically convenient target when the real problem lies elsewhere, such as the hydroelectric dams. The Humane Society of the United States and other groups also cite other hurdles facing fish, such as the deterioration of spawning grounds, bird predation of salmon smolts headed to the ocean and agricultural runoff and other pollution.

Nonlethal attempts to keep the sea lions away from the dam, such as rubber buckshot, loud noises and pyrotechnics, generally were deemed failures. Some sea lions trapped and taken to the mouth of the Columbia River 140 miles downriver returned to the dam in two or three days.

The authorization is valid until June 30, 2012, and can be extended for five years; it can be also revoked by the National Marine Fisheries Service with 72 hours notice.

Source: Los Angeles Times

via: L.A. Unleashed

Prickly pets are the latest fad

Busy British pet lovers have been buying hedgehogs, whose nocturnal habits make them appealing to the modern worker because they wake in the evening when their owners arrive home after a day in the office.

Although Britain has its own wild breed of hedgehogs, the latest pet craze focuses on African pygmy hedgehogs -- a cross between Algerian and white-bellied hedgehogs.

"They are unbelievably pretty little creatures, the way they bumble along, the way they poke their noses into everything," British hedgehog breeder Bonnie Martin told Reuters.

Initial costs for the animal and accompanying equipment can run to 300 pounds ($591).

"spike200503b" uploaded by kschinchillas

Source: Reuters

2008 Pet Products Trend Report

2008 PET PRODUCTS TREND REPORT (Info from the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association)

From high-end items to high-tech items, products for our companion animals now extend beyond traditional necessities. The American Pet Product Manufacturers Association (APPMA) presents top pet product trends for 2008.

*Going to the Dogs More and more companies traditionally know for human products are going to the dogs, and cats, and reptiles. Big name companies including like Paul Mitchell, Omaha Steaks, Origins, Harley Davidson and Old Navy are now offering lines of pet products ranging from dog shampoo, pet attire, and name-brand toys to gourmet treats and food.

* Pets Welcome Many hotels across the country are adopting pet friendly policies. Several chains have announced new pet-friendly policies that include everything from oversized pet pillows, plush doggie robes, to check-in gift packages that include a pet toy, dog treat, ID tag, bone and turn down treat. Some even have a licensed dog masseuse on staff.

*Pet Products Sold Here Shopping for pet products is becoming easier than ever with an increasing variety of retail outlets now selling pet products. Right along side fertilizer and shovels, shoppers can now find pet products such as doggie doors and yellow lawn spot removers sold at many lawn and garden stores, nurseries, and major home improvement stores including Home Depot.

*The Lap of Luxury High-end items to spoil companion animals are must-haves for pet owners that spare no expense to please their furry, feathered and finned best friends. Items include faux mink coats for cold weather outings, feathered French day beds for afternoon naps, designer bird cages, botanical fragrances and to top it all off, a rhinestone tiara!

*Ultra-Clean… Pet-owners take grooming one step beyond a haircut, a quick bath and a nail trim. Mouthwash and an electric toothbrush for canines are routine steps in a beauty session for some pooches. Birds receive daily pedicures with special cage perches, while others enjoy manicures complete with nail polish. Pet-owning homes stay cleaner with automatic, self-flushing litter boxes, cleaning cloths for muddy paws that mimic traditional baby wipes, and scented gel air fresheners to keep rooms free of pet odors.

*Dinner is Served Today's pet foods include complete and balanced diets that tantalize our pets' taste buds and satisfy their tummies. Formulas for puppies and kittens, specialized meals for reptiles, birds and fish and diets for senior pets ensure a long and healthy life for our beloved companions.

*State of the Art High-tech products including computerized identification tags, digital aquarium kits, automatic doors and feeders, enhanced reptile terrarium lighting systems and touch-activated toys help pet-owners take care of companion animals with ease and precision.

*Loosen Up As pet owners meditate in yoga class, cats relieve stress by frolicking in a toy gym or relaxing in a feline spa before enjoying herbal catnip packaged in a tea bag. Dogs sip fresh water from flowing fountains after a soothing rub with a doggie massager.

*Help Yourself! Products designed with convenience in mind lead this trend. Programmable feeding and drinking systems, automatic and battery-operated toys, self-cleaning litter boxes and self-warming pet mats let pets virtually care for themselves!

*Straight from the Catwalk Faux mink coats, hipster lumberjack vests, designer plaid jackets, matching jeweled and leather collar and leash sets, Halloween costumes, and holiday outfits keep pets in fashion throughout the year. Upscale leather carriers complete with a cell phone and water bottle holder are the perfect accessories to keep the pet owner in style as well.

*Keep on Truckin' Whether it's a quick trip to the supermarket or a long ride to the beach, companion animals are now traveling animals too. Buckled up in a harness, seat belt system or a portable carrier, these pets stay safe and secure while on the road. Food and water along with safety supplies are on hand in all-in-one kits, waste disposal systems make for easy clean-up on quick stops and motion sickness aids are available too.

*Hello, My Name Is…From monogrammed sweaters and personalized food and water bowls to digitized collar tags and hand-made treats, owners embrace their pets as true members of the American family celebrating their fluffy, finned and feathered companions with their very own belongings.

Saving lives with venom

There are thousands of venomous animal species on Earth. Just a few of the most lethal are the Gila monster, the death adder, the fugu puffer fish and the Sydney funnel web spider.

Medical researchers are finding a positive side to these dangerous creatures: the complex and highly sophisticated poisons produced by these creatures have components that might save lives rather than kill.

The PBS show, Nature, Victims of Venom, illustrates how some of the animals we fear most may one day soon be helping us solve or alleviate a wide range of life-threatening medical problems.

Venomous animals use their toxins to capture prey or defend themselves. They inflict their poisons by biting, stinging, and, in the case of some marine animals, by emitting venom into the water so it can be absorbed through the skin. The venom itself typically comprises many different substances that have various effects on their victims.

The film introduces us to carefully trained researchers around the world who are risking harm - even death - to themselves by "milking" the venom of live animals so that the various components of these poisons can be studied in great detail and better understood, perhaps preparing the way for clinical trials against a variety of diseases and medical conditions. It's not only a dangerous job but a laborious one, since only tiny amounts of venom can be extracted at a time.

Heart disease, stroke, various cancers, and the management of chronic and severe pain are other potential targets of the chemicals that comprise venom.

Komodo Dragon's Deadly Bite

Komodo dragons may have a wimpy bite for their size, but somehow the giant lizards manage to take down prey as large as water buffalos.

A new study reveals that a few dozen razor-sharp teeth combined with beefy neck muscles make up for the reptile's dainty chomp.

The Komodo displays a unique hold-and-pull feeding technique. The lizard nabs prey with 60 perilous teeth, although its bite is weak. To make up for the lack of biting power, strong throat muscles drag the meal through the razor-sharp jowls and into the stomach.

Once a Komodo dragon maims its prey, which can weigh nearly as much as the lizard, it is swallowed whole and later regurgitated in a foul-smelling pellet of hair, bone and other indigestible remains. The lizards are also known for their infectious bites and parthenogenesis, or the ability to reproduce without mating.

Source: Yahoo News

Art by Christine Merrill

"Nevil, Ruby and Reginald" oil on canvas

Feline CSI

This is Mary.

Mary has a problem: the hair around her rectum is missing. That area is very pink and a little bloody, but not swollen.

What's wrong with Mary?

Read Cat Care, Breeds and Resources Blog for the answer.

Not welcome in Chicago

A cougar ran loose in Chicago on Monday for the first time since the city's founding in the 19th Century. But by day's end, the animal lay dead in a back alley on the North Side, shot by police who said they feared it was turning to attack.

No one knew where the 5-foot long, 150-pound cat came from, though on Saturday Wilmette police had received four reports of a cougar roaming that suburb, roughly 15 miles from the site of Monday's shooting.

Source: Chicago Tribune

A close second?

The Daily Mail has printed photos of Orazi, the ginger tom cat who weighs in at a whopping 35.2 lb. Orazi lives in Eupilio, Italy.

I think Monty, who lives with my friends Christina and Luke, is almost as large as Orazi. I'm not sure how much Monte weighs - they probably can't lift him up to weigh him.

What do you think? Close?

Cindy: the queen of doggy tricks

Meet Cindy, the Cavalier King Charles who’s the queen of doggy-balancing.

Cindy the Cavalier King Charles is able to carry out a dazzling display of tricks taught to her by Wolverhampton owner Ron Bucknall.

Watch the video of Cindy performing. via: Ursi's Blog


Custom wheelchairs keep disabled pets moving

This picture says it all. A recent article discussed how wheelchairs are being built to help disabled dogs.
According to the article, the motives are quites simple. "A growing number of pet owners are turning to custom-built wheelchairs to restore mobility to furry friends whose legs, hips or backs don’t work. The owners’ goals are simple: to reward their pets’ unconditional love with whatever it takes for the animals to live normally."
To read the entire article,

Cute or not? Red-eyed tree frog

African Wild Dogs Debut at the LA Zoo

African wild dogs, native to the vast and beautiful sub-Saharan Africa, are making the Los Angeles Zoo their home for the first time in nearly 40 years.

The African wild dog is an endangered species. It is estimated that the total population is fewer than 5,000 dogs.

L.A. Zoo's pair of dogs, courtesy of New York’s Bronx Zoo, is two of just under 150 African wild dogs in zoos across the United States.

These dogs are part of an aggressive plan to try and preserve the species. A number of zoos, including the L.A. Zoo, are looking to help wild dog conservation efforts by participating in the Species Survival Plan Program (SSP) established in 1981 by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The program tracks a species’ genetic ancestry so that appropriate mates can be found for the animal in question. For example, the L.A. Zoo has two wild dogs, but since they are brother and sister, it would be inappropriate to breed them. In the future, if the Zoo were to receive a breeding recommendation, the Zoo would work with the AZA to locate suitable mates for the dogs. A zoo that has a compatible mate would then exchange that animal with the L.A. Zoo so that the quality breeding programs could continue.