Broken Compact Bulbs Harmful

The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) has joined with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in educating the public about the benefits and proper handling of Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs, or CFLs, to protect people and the environment.

CFLs have become a popular way to provide light, while reducing energy consumption. However, it is important that people are aware that CFLs contain small amounts of mercury and must be handled and disposed of properly to avoid an unnecessary mercury release.

"The proper disposal and clean-up of broken compact fluorescent light bulbs is important due to the mercury vapor that can be released by a broken bulb," stated DPH Commissioner J. Robert Galvin, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A. "While the amount of mercury released by a broken bulb is very
small and may not affect most people, even small exposures can affect the developing brain and central nervous system in fetuses and young children. Pregnant women and young children should be sure to stay out of a room where a compact fluorescent light bulb has been broken until several days after it has been cleaned up."

For the fact sheet on how to clean up a broken bulb, see the fact sheet

Israel has a national bird

It may not be kosher, but the Hoopoe was chosen Thursday as Israel's national bird.

The Hoopoe, or "Duchifat" in Hebrew, is listed in the Old Testament as unclean and forbidden food for Jews.

President Shimon Peres declared the pink, black and white-crested bird the winner of a competition timed to coincide with Israel's 60th anniversary. It beat out rivals such as the Yellow-vented Bulbul and the Palestine Sunbird.

Photo: ilarius

Source: Reuters

Do not try this at home!

Video: Britains Got Talent Semi Final Kate & Gin

Watch video

(via The Poodle (and Dog) Blog)

Transitioning Your Cat To New Litter System

This was written by the makers of the new Breeze Litter System that I recently reviewed. Every cat is different, and the first tip can be applied to any type of change in litter.

Before setting up your new BREEZE Litter System, sprinkle 1-2 cups of the BREEZE Litter Pellets on top of your existing litter in your OLD box(es). This gradual introduction of the BREEZE Litter Pellets
mixing with the existing litter in the OLD box(es) helps ease the transition for your cat(s). Note: If you feel your cat(s) needs it, you can add up to a full bag of pellets to your existing litter to help her adjust.

Once your cat(s) is faithfully using the old box(es) with the mix of BREEZE Litter Pellets and the old litter, place the BREEZE Litter System next to the old litter box(es). Place a BREEZE Cat Pad in the
drawer of the BREEZE Litter System, soft side up, and slide the drawer into the base. Fill the top portion of the BREEZE Litter System with one package of BREEZE Litter Pellets. If the old litter box is NOT high-sided or hooded, remove the BREEZE™ sidewall piece. (Once your cat
has successfully adjusted to the new system, replace the sidewall.)

Stop cleaning the old litter box(es). Cats like to keep clean. This step will encourage them to use the new system by making it the only pleasant litter option. In the short-term, the old litter box may look
and smell gross, but this is an important step in helping your cat(s) switch to the new system. The long-term benefits of BREEZE™ definitely outweigh the short-term discomfort!
When your cat(s) starts using the new Litter System for both pee and poop, remove the old box(es) and continue using BREEZE™ as directed.
Remember, every cat is different, and these are only tips to help with a transfer to a new system.

Special and unusual felines

We hear about famous and heroic dogs all the time; cats, not so often. I think it's because cats are not braggarts like dogs. Sure, there are many, many exemplary cats out there - they just shun publicity.

Here are the stories of some very unusual kitties:

Oscar a.k.a. "Unsinkable Sam"
The black and white patched cat had been owned by an unknown crewman of the German battleship Bismarck. He was on board the ship on 18 May 1941 when it set sail on Operation Rheinübung, Bismarck's first and only mission.

was sunk after a fierce sea-battle on 27 May, from which only 115 from its crew of over 2,200 survived. Hours later, the cat was found floating on a board and picked from the water, the only survivor to be rescued by the homeward-bound British destroyer HMS Cossack. Unaware of what his name had been on Bismarck, the crew of Cossack named their new mascot "Oscar".

About five months later, Cossack was hit and destroyed by a German submarine, and Oscar was again among the survivors.

The cat was then brought aboard the famous aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal, but only three weeks later, this ship, too, was torpedoed by a submarine.

This luckily ended the cat's naval career. He was transferred first to the offices of the Governor in Gibraltar, and then sent back to the UK, where he saw out the remainder of the war living in a seamen's home in Belfast.

Sam died in 1955.

Simon served on the Royal Navy sloop HMS Amethyst 1948 through November 1949.

Simon received the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross for gallantry after he protected food stores on the HMS Amethyst from an infestation of rats, despite being badly injured in shelling by Chinese Communist forces during the country’s civil war.

He was later posthumously awarded the Dickin Medal for bravery, instituted in 1943 by Maria Dickin CBE, the founder of veterinary charity the PDSA, and was given the rank of "Able Seaman". Simon is the only cat among 62 animals to be awarded the Dickin Medal.

Ms. Ruby LeGato
Ruby patrolled the Alamo in Texas from 1981 through 1985. Ruby was awarded a certificate of completion of the Basic Security Officer Training course from San Antonio College.

In 1988 Ruby was immortalized in Rita Kerr's book, "The Alamo Cat". A bronze plaque marks her final resting place on the grounds of the Alamo.

He came from the streets of Brooklyn, a cool customer on four legs, the perfect bait for a sting on a fake veterinarian. In February 2006, Fred was enlisted by the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office as an undercover secret agent, posing as a would-be patient to help the NYPD apprehend Steven Vassall, a Brooklyn man suspected of acting as a veterinarian without proper license or training.

On 18 May 2006, Fred was presented with a Law Enforcement Appreciation Award by Brooklyn district attorney Charles J. Hynes. Fred was later honored on July 8, 2006, at "Broadway Barks 8!", the New York City Theater District’s dog and cat adopt-a-thon benefit hosted by Mary Tyler Moore and Bernadette Peters. He was presented with the Mayor’s Alliance Award, which is given to remarkable animals.

Fred died on 10 August 2006 when he escaped from his home in Queens, New York and was struck and killed by a car. Fred was 15 months old.

Because of budget cuts, the only stationmaster the Kishigawa Train Line in Japan can afford is Tama, a nine-year-old cat.

The railway company formally appointed her as "stationmaster" in January 2007. Happy with her successful job as stationmaster, the company promoted Tama to "super-stationmaster" in January this year, making her "the only female in a managerial position" in the company's 36-strong workforce. The company feeds her in lieu of salary.

Fighting the war on rodent infestation, the 95th Mission Support Group is using a "military working cat" to help reduce the amount of damage to equipment caused by rodents living in the supply warehouse.

The cat, named Wizzo, calls the 95th Mission Support Group's supply warehouse his home. The feline lives and works around the clock as a mobility rodent deterrent.

So far, Wizzo has caught a bird, a rat and three mice, which officially makes him an ace. The supply team keeps his kill count posted on a board for him.

Felix , or was it Félicette?
France launched a black and white stray tomcat of the Paris streets on October 18, 1963, on Veronique AGI sounding rocket No. 47 from the Hammaguir test range in Algeria. Was it a male named Felix. Or a female named Félicette?

Whichever, it was the first cat in space as the capsule in the rocket's nose cone separated at 120 miles altitude and descended by parachute. Electrodes in the cat's brain transmitted neurological impulses to a ground station. The cat was recovered.
Photo: Cats in simulated spacesuits [NASA archive]

Thanks to LA Unleashed for tips to the Ruby and Tama stories.


(via Miss Cellania)

Lunch to go

(via Dark Roasted Blend)

I wish I had one in my yard

Jo in England, sent Chris a picture of one of the 13 fox cubs in her garden. There's one more photo.

New "Breeze" Litter System from Tidy Cats (Product Review)

I'm always a fan of new and unique items that can help your pets. Tidy Cats has introduced a new kitty litter system that separates the solids from the liquids. This makes clean-up a 'breeze' and helps reduce odors since the liquids and solids are both easily removed.

Since I don't have any cats, a relative of mine (with 3) did the testing for me. The initial reviews on the Breeze system are good - It works like the company describes.

The litter box is a relatively attractive looking system, and can be placed where ever you would normally put your litter box. It's easy to set-up and comes with its own scooper.

Here's how it works: The cat does "#1" - the dehydrating pellets passes the urine to the "pee-pad" that sits underneath the litter. When your cat does #2, the odor absorbing pellets help control the smell, and then you can scoop away the solid waste and flush it or dispose of it how you wish. And, for the most part, the breeze litter pellets stay in the box, and don't get tracked all over the carpet like many other litters do!

Based on our trial - The pellets dry out the waste fairly quick and make scooping extremely easy. In fact, the pellets usually don't stick to the waste.
And for the pee-pads - It really does work to keep the urine smell down. Plus, the pads are easy to remove and replace, and if you do it on a regular basis, you'll have no drips or leakage.

Although you do have to replace the pads at least every week (more often if you have more cats), the litter can last from 2 - 4 weeks, saving you some hassle and maybe even some cost in the long run.

Remember, introducing a new litter system takes time. Not all 3 cats took to it right away. One is more daring and went for it with out much issue, but the other two weren't so sure. Don't force your cats, and check out their website for more information on the product, transitioning, and a fun, descriptive video on how the system works,

Bear spotted taking a dip at the Hard Rock pool in Orlando

Orlando police are at Universal Studios, looking for a bear seen taking a dip in the pool at the Hard Rock Hotel.

abcNews reports that officers believe the young black bear is hiding out or sleeping in a wooded area on the Hard Rock Hotel property. Florida Fish and Wildlife is asking anyone who sees the bear to stay away and they're begging people not to go out looking for him.

Photo: HotelChatter

Wednesday Diet Tip #10

Hi and welcome to Peggy and Kelly's Wednesday Diet Tip! Can drinking diet sodas make you fat? The experts say yes! According to research by the University of Texas Health Science Center, the more diet sodas a person drinks, the more likely they are to gain weight.
I admit to a diet soda consumption habit. In fact, my diet coke drinking is way beyond what anyone would consider moderation. I pop one open for breakfast, later as an afternoon treat, with dinner and even before bed. By now I"m used to the acrid flavor, the burning aftertaste. Although somehow, diet soda doesn't really quench my thirst. When it's hot or I'm really thirsty, water does the job much better. So why do I continuously turn to the diet soda? I guess because it's free-- no calories! no fat! I can drink as much as I want! If all this sounds a bit addictive, I guess it is. Caffeine addiction is very real. And I guess, so is diet cola addiction.
And so, yes, water may be a healthier, more refreshing option. But for now I'm still going with the diet soda.

How to save money on pet stuff

Janet Huey e-mailed me to let me know about the pet related business she runs.
"I think I'm the only business of its kind in the US. I buy and sell new and used pet supplies and been doing so since 1997. All items are disinfected and cat furniture is isolated for 90 days since carpet can't be totally cleaned. I don't ship because Houston Texas is plenty big enough for me.
I've combined 22 years of rescue with a business I love and saving people money as well as keeping things out of landfills."
Janet's business is Pet Stuff Resale.
Pet Stuff Resale is in the Houston area - what an excellent way to save money on pet items!

Playing with food

More at omg owned.

(via Cynical-C blog)

Quick Tips for Healthy Feeding

Although feeding your dogs a healthy diet is important to overall health, there are many things other then dog food that are almost as equally important. The makers of the Dog Pause Bowl suggest the following:

-Feed your dog smaller portions, multiple times a day. Avoid the one time meal of a much larger portion.

-If your dog eats his food in less then 5 minutes, find a way to slow him down. Ensure he chews his food and doesn't inhale it, as fast eater could have problems such as gas, bloating, and vomiting.

-If your dog vomits with any frequency after feeding, speak to your vet. Try to find a way to slow down his eating.

-Adjust dinner portion size based on the quantity of treats you've provided your dog during the day. Treats have a lot of fat and calories and failure to adjust portion size can increase the risk of obesity.

-Always keep plenty of fresh water available for your dog.

-Wash your dog bowl frequently to avoid bacteria buildup, regardless of material.

Book Review: Dog Park Wisdom

The title is misleading. Dog Park Wisdom, by Lisa Wogan covers a lot more than just the dog park.

This book is a handy guide for every aspect of dog ownership from picking the right puppy and choosing the right name, all the way to traveling with your dog.

From breaking bad habits to understanding canine emotions, Wogan covers everything from potty training tips to grooming, proper playtime and off-leash etiquette.

There are great anecdotal stories from the author, her friends, family, and sometimes from complete strangers. My favorite among these is why you should wear a belt when visiting the dog park.

Photos by Bev Sparks make Dog Park Wisdom visually a pleasure as well as a fun read.

Lisa Wogan continues to gather tips for dog care and share new tidbits at her blog,

Bev Sparks photography is used by ad agencies and greeting card companies, appears in magazines and books. See her portfolio at

In the Nest

I've been watching a webcam view of baby falcons, fascinated as every day they grow bigger and stronger. In the beginning they just huddled in a helpless lump. Now, 2 weeks later, they are beginning to have more individual forms. I've become somewhat preoccupied watching them, running to the computer in the morning to count the babies (4) and make sure they're all still all there, panicking if the mama is away from the nest for too long, fussing over the runt and hoping he survives. According to the website, it takes 6 weeks until they fledge the nest.
I also had an up close and personal experience with baby birds in the nest this weekend. A mama robin had built her nest on the boat trailer at my in-law's camp in the Adirondacks. They were just hatched, with scraggly feathers, scrawny necks, and bulging, closed eyes. We even bought a styrofoam container of trout worms and left it out for the mother to "find" to feed them!

Watering Your Dog

Your dog needs to drink plenty of water for the same reasons we do - simple biology. Sometimes he's just thirsty and needs hydration, but just as importantly, your dog needs water to properly digest his food.

Without proper water, your dog's digestive system will be stressed and he will be highly uncomfortable.

Water should be made available to your dog at all times of the day and should be kept fresh and not left out in the sun too long. Warm water does not help to cool down a dog who's essentially wearing a fur coat. Keep an eye on the water level and make sure there is plenty to drink, especially if you have an active dog who may need a little extra after a good run.

Dogs have a finely tuned sense of knowing when they need water and how much water to drink. Therefore, there is no reason to worry about your dog over drinking as this is extremely rare.

(information provided by Long Tail Pet Products, Marketer of the Dog Pause Bowl

Video: Borneo Apes - Malaysia

By some estimates, Borneo's vast forests are being cleared faster than the Amazon. Unless something is done now, Orangutans could be extinct in 20 years.

The practice of bulldozing everything to make way for palm oil plantations has left Orang-utans without their customary habitat.

Lone Droescher-Nieslen from the Orangutan Survival Foundation hopes she can rehabilitate the Orangutans back into the wild. But if the rate of deforestation continues, there may soon be no forests to release them into...

Watch the video

Cute or not? Baby crocodile

Can't decide? Here's another one . . .

Photo: Steve Winter (National Geographic)

Video: Making of Bunny Ads

Film a new commercial for Kiinteistömaailma, a Finnish real estate broker company, featuring a bunch of bunnies.

Watch the video

You can also watch the final, finished version.

(via plime)

Video: kitty vs puppy

Watch video
(via Arbroath)

Video: Baby red panda

Watch the video
(via cute overload)

Happy Memorial Day - Safe Pet Travel Tips

Hopefully everyone is enjoying their holiday weekend. Keep you and your pet safe. Below is my obligatory car travel safety tips that I tend to post from time to time. Here they are from

Take your companion animal for a veterinary check-up and obtain a health certificate and documentation of inoculations.

If your pet has never been in a car, take him on short trips to condition him for the journey. Remember, traveling can be very stressful for a pet; you should try to eliminate as much stress as you can.

Animals should be secure during the trip and not allowed to jump around or hang out of the window. For this reason, a crate or carrier is recommended:
A strong, wire mesh crate, not permitted for air travel, is preferable for car trips because it allows ample ventilation.

The crate must be large enough for your pet to stand, turn around and lie down in.
Line the bottom with towels to absorb accidents. Attach bowls for food and water, to be given at intervals during the trip.

Accustom your pet to the crate prior to the journey.
Your pet should wear a flat-buckled ID collar with its name, your address and telephone number. For additional protection, consider tattooing him.

Try to avoid traveling in extreme weather conditions. If you must travel in hot weather, do it in the morning or evening.

Exercise and water should be given during rest stops. Do not allow your pet to run loose at rest areas. No matter how well trained an animal is, this is a new experience and an accident could happen.

Under no circumstances leave animal alone in a parked car. It takes only minutes for an animal to develop heatstroke in hot conditions or to freeze in cold.

If you are planning to stay in a hotel, make arrangements prior to starting your trip. Your pet should be a welcome guest.

When you arrive at your destination, keep your pet in a calm, quiet area and give him plenty of time to adjust to his new environment.

Tranquilization is not recommended.

Video: Kitties playing

Watch video

The loveable walrus

Dolphins are adored, whales revered, and seal pups make old Bond girls swoon. But walruses remain perversely, lumpishly obscure, known mostly for their sing-song linkage with a carpenter, an eggman and goo goo goo joob.

Odobenus rosmarus is a magnificent creature, behaviorally, anatomically, acoustically and taxonomically in a category all its own. The walrus belongs to the pinniped suborder, the group of blubbery, fin-footed carnivores that includes seals and sea lions.

Scientists are gathering evidence that the walrus is the most cognitively and socially sophisticated of all pinnipeds. Evidence suggests that the bonds between walruses are exceptionally strong: the animals share food, come to one another’s aid when under attack and nurse one another’s young. Walruses like to sing. Males woo females with lengthy compositions that have been compared in the complexity of their structure and phrasing to the songs of nightingales and humpback whales.

Source: The New York Times
(via Look at this)

Pet Owners, Makers of Tainted Food Reach Deal

Unfortunately a story like this never has a happy ending. But, I remain hopeful for the future of the pet food industry:

**Hopefully the amount that the food companies have to pay, along with the loss of business, is enough of a wake-up call.

**Hopefully these companies will realize that if anything like this happens again in the future, it's in their best interest to recall the foods as fast as possible and not try to fight it, and make the situation even worse, like they did in March,2007.

**Hopefully this will teach the companies that it is better to spend money to inspect where the food is coming from, and to investigate any changes in ingredients before making the food.

**The costs of doing it any differently are just too great.

Here is the AP story -
By GEOFF MULVIHILL, Associated Press Writer
Fri May 23, 7:00 AM ET

MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. - Companies that were sued over contaminated pet food linked to the deaths of perhaps thousands of dogs and cats have agreed to pay $24 million to pet owners in the United States and Canada.

The settlement is detailed in papers filed late Thursday in U.S. District Court in Camden. It still needs a judge's approval.

"The settlement attempts to reimburse pet owners for all of their economic damages," said Russell Paul, a lawyer for plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

The deal would affect people who incurred expenses directly related to the illness or death of a pet linked to the food, which was at the center of the biggest-ever U.S. pet food recall in 2007.

Nearly 300 people sued about 30 companies in state and federal courts. They and perhaps thousands of other pet owners would be eligible for payments under the deal.

Ontario-based Menu Foods Income Fund, which makes dog and cat food under about 90 brand names, and other firms that make or sell pet food announced April 1 that they were settling lawsuits with pet owners.

The pet food was discovered to contain wheat gluten imported from China that was contaminated with melamine, a chemical used to make plastics. Though Menu was the first company to issue recalls, four other companies eventually recalled pet foods, too.

Some of the companies have already paid out more than $8 million to people whose pets were sickened or killed after eating the contaminated food.

Under the terms of the deal announced Thursday, pet owners could be reimbursed for all reasonable expenditures, including veterinarian bills and burial or cremation costs.

Pet owners could also ask for the fair market value of their deceased pets, if that is higher than the costs incurred. Owners who do not have documentation of their expenses can get up to $900 each. All claims are subject to a review.

The companies say they will donate any money left in the fund after claims are paid out to animal welfare charities.

The settlement details were originally to have been filed in court about two weeks ago, but it took longer than expected to hash out the deal, partly because it had to be made to conform with both U.S. and Canadian law.

A court hearing on the settlement is scheduled for May 30.

Isn't this all getting out of control?

The small town of Osceola, NE is considering a breed ban that would ban American Pit Bull Terriers. The town has exactly one APBT, who has never caused any problems whatsoever and has no complaints registered against her.

Maggie, the only pit bull in town, lives across the street from Renee and Kent Johansen and their three children. The Johansens are leading the move for the ban. The Johansens, say they are concerned about the safety of their young children living in such close proximity to the pit bull.

“I know that specific dog has not done anything yet,” Renee Johansen said in a phone interview.

Maggie's owners, however, have purchased a $100,000 liability insurance policy, a stake that could not be pulled out of the ground, shortened her chain, got her a muzzle and the signs that were needed. They're trying to find a picture sign that warns about dogs for kids who can’t read.

The Osceola council says it wants to do the right thing and not make a law that squarely impacts one person, so they are banning 7 breeds of dogs: Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, Am. Staffordshire Terrier, Chows, Dobermans, Rottweiler, American Bandage Mastiff, Neopolitan Mastiff, and any dog with the appearance of any of the above. American Bandage Mastiff? Just in case there is one, somewhere in the world.

(via For Your Entertainment)
Photo: nestmaker

Coming soon: beetle mania?

Cooing softly in baby talk, German Viasus gently uses a toothbrush to bathe the little animal he has raised since infancy and then pampers it with a fresh meal of mango, bananas and melon. The object of his affection? A beetle the size of a hamster with a hard, shiny shell and 2-inch-long horns.

Pictured is Viasus of Tunja, Colombia, showing off some of his Hercules beetles, which he exports to Asia for pets. Male Hercules beetles can grow to 7 inches and weigh as much as a hamster. Viasus ships giant, exotic types of the insects by the hundreds each month to Japan and elsewhere.

Source: Los Angeles Times
(via LA Unleashed)

Dog Feeding Frequency

How often do you feed your dog? According to a story by Long Tail Pet Products (Marketing arm of the Dog Pause Bowl See review) there is an emerging concensus among vets and dog nutritionists that feeding your dog twice or even three times a day is preferable to feeding your dog once a day.

By dividing meal time into several events during the day, you reduce the amount of food per mealtime and balance out the digestive activity of your dog.

By using multiple feedings, you help your dog better align his caloric requirements with energy needs throughout the day. No longer does your dog go through one long cycle of digestion and energy conversion as he or she digests a huge quantity of food.

You know how you feel after a big meal? Your dog feels the same way when a huge meal sits in his stomach. Break the total amount of food into multiple meals and you'll find your dog has more energy and has more balanced behavior throughout the day.

White-handed Gibbons Now Presumed Extinct

China's fauna exhibits a unique diversity of apes. Unfortunately, the apes are more seriously endangered by extinction in China than in any other country. A research team assembled by anthropologists of Zurich University now conclude that another ape species has just become extinct in China's Yunnan province.

Science Daily reports that the 14-member scientific team recently carried out a survey in all Chinese forests. They could not locate a single Yunnan white-handed gibbon. The last time this ape was observed in China was in 1988 at the Nangunhe Nature Reserve in south-western Yunnan province. Their loud, melodious calls were last heard in 1992. This subspecies (Hylobates lar yunnanensis) is not known from any other place.

Luckily, these apes are not lost to us forever. Several zoos have included them in their programs. One is the Honolulu Zoo. On their web page, you can hear the call of the white-handed gibbon:


You can also see pictures of Emma, an adorable baby white-handed gibbon, born in 2000. Here's a picture of Emma, 7 hours after birth.

Cocks not welcome in Swaziland

Authorities in Swaziland have declared war on roosters in the capital city because the birds are disrupting people's sleep. Authorities are set to enforce a 40-year-old law that permits residents to raise up to 12 chickens with permission but no roosters.

(Here's the quote of the week - ready?)

"After many instances we have found cocks to be troublesome and they end up making lives miserable for residents," said a Mbabane Municipal spokesman.

Source: AFP
Photo: Bill Shatto

Pretty (smart) birds

Police in Japan rescued an African grey parrot two weeks ago from a roof in the city of Nagareyama, near Tokyo. After spending a night at the station, he was transferred to a nearby veterinary hospital while police searched for his owners.

After a few days with the vet, the parrot became chatty.

"I'm Mr. Yosuke Nakamura," the bird told the veterinarian.

The parrot also provided his full home address, down to the street number, and even entertained the hospital staff by singing songs.

Believable story!

Our own family's African grey parrot, Frankie, is also a well-versed conversationalist. He speaks both English and Italian and actually says things he has learned when the time is right. For example, when the phone rings, he says "Hello," and carries on a pretend (mumbled) conversation until he feels the call has been long enough, then says, "Thanks for calling. Bye-bye, now!"

When the doorbell rings, Frankie somehow knows who's outside even though he can't see them. He'll say, "Who's there, Julie?" when it's me.

Frankie is an adventurous eater - he likes just about everything we eat. Favorites are chicken leg bones and biscotti, which he dunks in his water dish.

Often, he gets messy with his food. He'll pick up clawfulls of seeds and throw them. Then he says, "Stop that! I'm going to spank your butt!"

Photo: corsi photo (Of Frankie tasting shrimp for the first time.)

A rare vintage

These are barn owl chicks, being fed by George Hedges. Hedges, of Devons Eagles, finds this the easiest method to give the fragile babies their daily morsels of food - mouse and cockerel chicks.

Source: MailonLine

Wednesday Diet Tip #9

Hi and Welcome to Peggy and Kelly's Wednesday Diet Tip!
I don't want to say that obesity in dogs is becoming a national health concern, but the news of a new diet drug--for dogs--indicates otherwise. Slentrol is the first prescription canine weight loss product in the United States. Slentrol works as similar human weight loss drugs by preventing the absorption of some fats in the body.
There's no question, an obese dog faces the same health risks as an obese person. It's crucial to reduce his or her girth to a healthy weight. But must we resort to medication? For most dogs, the proper amount of food and exercise should do the job. I am uncomfortable relying on a medication, with potential risks and side effects--to do what I should be doing myself with a little extra effort. But in some cases, where diet and exercise have not worked and the health risk is severe, maybe a medication is necessary. Is Slentrol right for your dog? Only you and your veterinarian together can decide.

Lost Parrot Recites Address

Read Full Article

"When Yosuke the parrot flew out of his cage and got lost, he did exactly what he had been taught — recite his name and address to a stranger willing to help.

Police rescued the African grey parrot two weeks ago from a neighbor's roof in the city of Nagareyama, near Tokyo. After spending a night at the station, he was transferred to a nearby veterinary hospital while police searched for clues, local policeman Shinjiro Uemura said.
He kept mum with the cops, but began chatting after a few days with the vet.
"I'm Mr. Yosuke Nakamura," the bird told the veterinarian, according to Uemura. The parrot also provided his full home address, down to the street number, and even entertained the hospital staff by singing songs."

I'm not sure who's smarter - The parrot for learning it and saying it, or the owner for teaching him how!

No kidding!

Police thought they had a goat surrounded after it was spotted going the wrong way on the Cross Island Parkway. An ambulance and fire engine blocked traffic Monday while sheriff's deputies tried to corral the animal on the Charles E. Fraser Bridge, but she jumped.

Fire Battalion Chief Cliff Steedley told The Island Packet of Hilton Head Island the frightened goat plunged as much as 50 feet into Broad Creek.

Rescuers borrowed a boat to get the 70-pound nanny out of the waist-deep pluff mud as it worked its way through the marsh. One firefighter got stuck in the mud and had to be rescued.

Veterinarian Frank Murphy said the goat was fine after the smelly mud was washed off and there has been at least one offer to adopt it.

Whose bed is it?

There's a rather well known joke among pet owners, The Dog Rules, which states:

The dog never sleeps on the bed. Period.
  • Ok, the dog can sleep at the foot of the bed only.
  • Ok, the dog can sleep along side you, but he is not allowed under the covers.
  • Ok, the dog can sleep under the covers, but not with his head on your pillow.
  • Ok, the dog can sleep along side you, under the covers with his head on your pillow, but if he snores, he's got to leave the room.
  • Ok, the dog can sleep and snore and fart and have nightmares in your bed, but he's not to come in and sleep on the couch in the TV room, where you're now sleeping. That's just not fair.

Does this happen in your bed?

Scientists who study dogs say the animals have lived inside people’s homes since at least the 1400s. But no one is really sure when or why dogs began sleeping in people’s beds. In most places on Earth, the practice is considered filthy to this day.

Yet it is a common, if unreported, phenomenon for many dog owners in the United States.

In "Dogs in Bed," Last Exit magazine explores the complex issue of whether you should sleep with your dog, and the effect that choosing to do so may have on your social and sex life. It's humorously written by Michael Dinan, with gorgeous photos by Keelin Daly.

photo: Keelin Daly

Thanks, Keach

I Wanna Play

Like most dogs, Kelly loves to nap. She's even become, perhaps, a bit of a couch potato. Sometimes, however, I feel sorry when I see her lying around. She must be really bored. I've come to realize that I need to work to ensure her environment is interesting and stimulating. After all, how exciting can it be to stay inside and watch me tap away at the computer all day?
In addition to our daily walk, I've made a promise to myself and to Kelly to devote more time to play.
One day I took all of the toys out of her basket and threw them on the floor. Kelly scampered around, going from one to the other, picking up one and then seeing something more appealing and dropping the first to grab another. I teased her with rope toys and tempted her with squeaky bunnies.
Other times I go into the back yard with her and throw sticks and tennis balls. We don't have a very large yard, but it's enough to give her a little space to run and chase. And I find that I tire myself out with the exercise too.
Kelly loves it when I just get down on the floor and roughhouse. Sometimes I wish we had another dog for her to play with, but then I remember that she doesn't like other dogs, so I'm not sure how well that would work. I'd love to bring her to a dog park, but fear she might be too aggressive toward the other dogs.
There are many ways to play with your dog, and some dogs, like Kelly, need a little encouragement to get moving. So excuse me, it's time for my play date. Kelly has a new tennis ball, and it's my serve.

Dogs For Disabled Vets

The Dog Tags program can be found via the link above. It's a unique program that benefits disabled soldiers coming home from war. But, the program also involves prisoners who are training these dogs. Essentially, there are two programs working together:

The Dog Tags Program: More and more soldiers are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with disabling injuries that make it difficult to cope with the challenges of daily life. For this reason, Puppies Behind Bars has started the Dog Tags program.

The Puppies Behind Bars Program: Puppies Behind Bars is a program which trains inmates to raise Golden Retriever and Labrador puppies to become service dogs for the disabled and explosive detection canines for law enforcement.

There are many ways to help this program, including helping an inmate train a dog, and by making a donation.

Personally, I love the fact that dogs are helping these disabled soldiers to life a better life. Maybe more non-prisoners can come forward and help train these dogs? For me, the thought of making a donation to help a prisoner doesn't entice me to act. What are your thoughts?

Taking the kids for a walk

AP Photo/Gail Burton

Book Review: Yorkie Doodle Dandy

21-year-old American Air Force Private First Class William A. Wynne, stationed in New Guinea during World War II, met and fell in love with with Smoky, a Yorkshire Terrier pup.

The story told in Yorkie Doodle Dandy is the history of their experiences together in war, being smuggled through customs, military discharge, their return to America, Will's wedding, two inter-coastal automobile trips, performing in show business and much more.

Smoky is actually a renowned WWII hero who strung telephone lines through an eight-inch drainage pipe under an airstrip in a combat area - a three day job which was accomplished in two minutes by the seven inch tall, four pound, Smoky.

Stories about Smoky appear in over 50 books and magazine articles Including Volumes I and II of the History of the Fifth Air Force. Smoky was YANK magazine's "Champion Mascot of the SWPA" in 1944.

Yorkie Doodle Dandy is a great cream puff of a book - an excellent way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon.

Compassion for feral cats

Feral cats — nearly invisible and often reviled — have prowled into the spotlight.

The free-roamers with an aversion to humans have grabbed headlines this spring because of a bounty on their heads in Iowa, a threatened roundup and disposal in Fairfax County, Va., and other elimination plans across the country.

But the cats also are receiving attention of a different sort.

Grass-roots groups and animal-welfare organizations are directing money and energy toward helping the tens of millions of feral cats that skulk about college campuses, cluster around back-alley trash bins, swarm among the rocks at beach communities and colonize the nether-reaches of suburban parks, military installations and abandoned barns and fields.

According to Neighborhood Cats, a "feral" cat is one who has reverted in some degree to a wild state. They originate from former domestic cats who were lost or abandoned and then learned to live outdoors or in environments involving little human contact.

TNR (trap/neuter/return) respects a feral cat's wild state. The neutering of the ferals prevents tremendous suffering and shields the cats from the hostility their behavior might otherwise draw from human neighbors. But the return of them to their own territory and the providing of adequate food and shelter gives them the opportunity to live among their own, to be free and to answer to their own unique natures.

This method thwarts future litters and reduces the yowling, spraying and fighting that annoy humans. In the process, the cats usually are vaccinated, treated for minor problems and given a notch in the ear to identify they are sterile. Over time, the colony will grow smaller through attrition.

For a list of organizations with programs to benefit feral cats, see the USA Today article, Compassion often eludes feral cats; groups out to save them, by Sharon L. Peters.

Photo: Joan Fairman Kanes for USA TODAY

Good News and Bad News

Good news: We took Kelly to be groomed--she really needed it!
Bad news: She stressed out so much she nearly stroked out and broke blood vessels in her eyes and we had to rush her to the vet's
Good news: She'll be okay
Bad news: It cost $125 at the vet's
Good news: Our son went to the prom
Bad news: He got into a car accident on the way there
Good news: He's okay
Bad news: The car is not
Good news: He had a great time at the prom
Bad news: My husband and I sat in the rain with the car til 10pm waiting for the tow truck
Good news: Tomorrow's another day.

Molly, an amazing horse

Molly is a gray speckled pony who was abandoned by her owners when Katrina hit southern Louisiana, USA.

She spent weeks on her own before finally being rescued and taken to a farm where abandoned animals were stockpiled. While there, she was attacked by a pit bull terrier, and almost died.

Her gnawed right front leg became infected and her vet went to LSU for help. But LSU was overwhelmed, and this pony was a welfare case. But after surgeon Rustin Moore met Molly, he changed his mind. He saw how the pony was careful to lie down on different sides so she didn't seem to get sores, and how she allowed people to handle her.

Moore agreed to remove her leg below the knee and a temporary artificial limb was built. Molly walked out of the clinic and her story really begins there.

Molly happened to be a one-in-a-million patient. She's tough as nails, but sweet, and she was willing to cope with pain. The other important factor is having a truly committed owner who is dedicated to providing the daily care required over the lifetime of the horse.

Molly's story turns into a parable for life in post-Katrina Louisiana . The little pony gained weight, her mane felt a comb. A human prosthesis designer built her a leg.

The prosthetic has given Molly a whole new life, Allison Barca DVM, Molly's regular vet, reports.

(via reddit)

Sturgeon having a ball in Columbia River

When sonar surveys spotted a vast pile of rubble in the Columbia River below Bonneville Dam late last winter, officials suddenly worried part of the dam structure was eroding into the river.

What they found below the spillways in February was not a giant pile of rock at all, but a humongous pile of thousands upon thousands of sturgeon - some of them 14 feet long or longer - lounging together in frigid water at the bottom of the river.

The mountain of white sturgeon contained around 60,000 fish, according to a crude estimate by Michael Parsley, a research fisheries biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey's Columbia River Research Laboratory in Cook, Wash. He described that estimate as "probably conservative."

It was an aquatic phenomenon nobody had ever seen at such a monstrous scale, offering a startling glimpse into the life of the Columbia's largest and most ancient fish.

Source: Oregon Live
Photo: Columbia River Trophy Sturgeon Fishing

Cute or not? Baby gorilla

Pet's Eye View Camera

Did you ever wonder what your pet does all day while you're not home?

Now, with the Pet's Eye View Camera, you can take a photo at intervals of 1, 5 or 15 minutes just by attaching the gadget to your pet's collar.

$47.95 from Discover This

Doorbells for Dogs - Pet Chime

Tired of your pet scratching the door to come in? Want to teach your dog or cat to tell you when it needs to go out? Then you're ready for the Pet Age Magazine product of the year: Pet Chime™.

The Pet Chime is a wireless doorbell that allows your pet to tell you when it wants to go out or come in to the house. Two piece device: a paw-shaped remote control transmitter and a receiver chime. Both components are FCC approved.

Doorbell works with both dogs and cats.

To activate a chime, pets simply step on or push the paw with its nose. Select from two chime sounds: a dog bark or traditional ding-dong.

$24.99 at Comfort House
via Trendhunter

Baby albino wallaby rejected by mom

There's a new addition to the preemie ward at Cypress Gardens, and keepers are giving it around-the-clock care. An albino wallaby named Bela gave birth to an albino baby about four months ago.

In and of itself, the birth is pretty amazing -- albino wallabies are rare. Fewer than 10 have been born in the United States.

The new baby girl was supposed to stay in her mom's pouch until next winter, where she could nurse, grow fur, and get stronger. But fate stepped in.

About a week and a half ago, a park employee found the new baby outside the pouch. Gardens officials are not sure what happened. They suspect that Bela may have been spooked, and threw the baby out. That's what wallaby moms do in the wild to save their own skins when they're threatened.

Since the baby is not even old enough to stand, it couldn't climb back in. Keepers tried to put it back in, but Bela would have no part of it.

"The mother growled at us. She didn't want anything to do with her," said Jessica Bond, an animal manager. "So it was in the baby's best interest to pull her and hand-raise her."

That's easier said than done. The baby, who hasn't been named yet, eats a few tablespoons of a special formula every three hours. Keepers, who take turns bringing the little one home, are up in the middle of the night feeding her.

Every other feeding they have to grease the baby with Vaseline, which simulates the mom licking her.

Gradually, the feedings will taper off. But she won't be fully weaned for another year.

Source: MyFox, Tampa Bay

Octopus jewelry

Like this beautiful bracelet, all of the octopus jewelry at the OctopusME! Store! has been made from REAL Sushi Grade Octopus and is SOLID Sterling silver with no Octopus remains in the jewelry.

via Truemors

Video: Crazy Dog

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Muddy Buddy Contest

Do you have a muddy buddy?

Your pet could be the next Lee's Carpet spokespet!

If you think your pet has what it takes to represent the Lees brand, known for its exceptional durability, incredible stain repellency and 25-year wear warranty, submit a picture of your pet at his or her messiest. Entries will be accepted from May 1, 2008 until June 15, 2008. Starting on June 18, 2008 we will have five finalists online for voting. Be sure to check back and make sure your favorite Muddiest Buddy wins!

The winning pet-owner will receive $5,000 worth of new Lees carpet and a year’s supply of Purina® brand pet food. Four runners-up will receive $250 Gift Certificates to Carpet One Floor & Home.

For every qualified entry, one dollar will be donated to Delta Society.

Photo: Girlinprogress