Dogs and Stress

We've had a lot of thunderstorms lately. When it gets loud, Kelly either wants to sit in my lap or hide in the closet. But she's not desperately anxious; barking and panicking like some dogs. I can only imagine those funny crazy scenes in Marley and Me.

I've been reading a new book lately, Three Dog Life. Poor Henry the beagle is anxious as a result of a traumatic incident. He slipped his collar while walking with his owner. The owner dashed into the road to give chase. Henry made it across okay, but the owner was hit by a car and suffered major injuries. I can only imagine little Henry's confusion at the noise, commotion, sirens...and wondering where his owner was. The book details both Henry's stress, and the owner's wife's, as they try to put their lives back together.

Kelly has moments of stress, such as the grooming episode. But overall she's not a high stress dog. I've been communicating with Roxanne, who writes a blog Champion of my Heart, about her dog Lilly, and special behavioral training methods she uses to help handle stress situations.
Dogs, like people, react to stress in many different ways and i'ts up to their owners to find the right way to handle the situation. Fortunately, most dog people I've met are loving and caring and want to do what's best for their best friend.

How do you handle your dog's stress? Share your tips here!

Pet-Celebrity Look-a-likes

Petside, who's sites I often post on this blog, has some pictures of animal/celebrity look a likes. Some are a stretch, though some are good. Either way, it's a fun site to check out.

3-D Frog Anatomic Model Puzzle

Remember dissecting frogs in the glory days of high school biology class? This is a more appealing, and more easily repeated way to learn. Highly detailed anatomic puzzle includes 31 parts with stand and illustrated guidebook. A fascinating learning tool and challenge for kids age 8 and older.

$45.00 at The Afternoon

Dog Mugs

Ceramic mugs with the dog's head as the handle.
114 dog breed designs to choose from.

At Creative Imports. (Looks like you need a membership to even see the prices.)

(via: The J-Walk Blog)

Video: Baby and dog in crying contest

Watch video

Video: Dancing On Mother Earth

Clips from the documentary, Dancing on Mother Earth featuring Joanne Shenandoah-contemporary Native American recording artist.
Watch video

Political Poochies

The McCain family dogs, via Meghan McCain's blog, McCain Blogette

New bird family tree reveals some odd ducks

The largest study ever of bird genetics has uncovered some surprising facts about the avian evolutionary tree.

For the study, conducted by Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History, scientists studied the genetic sequences of 169 bird species in an effort to sort out family relationships in the bird family tree.

Scientists believe birds, which first appeared roughly 150 million years ago, evolved from small feathered carnivorous dinosaurs. But their findings challenge many assumptions about bird family relationships and suggest many biology textbooks and bird-watchers' field guides may need to be changed.

Falcons, for example, are not closely related to hawks and eagles, despite many similarities, while colorful hummingbirds, which flit around in the day, evolved from a drab-looking nocturnal bird called a nightjar.

And parrots and songbirds are closer cousins than once thought.

Source: Yahoo News

"Identity Theft?"

"Out In The Sun" Dog Picture

Kelso enjoys a day in the sun on a lazy, hot day in the Northeast.

Kelly's Big Hunt

I am freaked out by snakes in our backyard. I know they are beneficial, help control any rodent population, blah blah blah. But I don't like snakes. They're sneaky. They slither. You step (barefooted of course) into the grass and suddenly they sidewind around your toes, scaring the bejeezers out of you, causing you to scream like a little girl and make your teenage son laugh at you. Well, that's what happens here.

Today, as I put Kelly in her fenced in dog run, I noticed her pouncing and scrambling after something long and slithery emerging from under a rock. My calls (okay, girlish shrieks) of "No, Kelly drop it!" did no good as she grasped the snake and flung it around in her mouth, like something out of a wildlife show. I certainly didn't want her to get bitten, and I'm sure this snake had teeth, fangs even, razor sharp for dog-devouring. Nudging Kelly with a rake handle didn't deter her from getting in touch with her primitive canine instinct to hunt for food. Finally the thing lay there, curled in that way that you see a rattler before it lashes out to strike, or like those snakes in a tall basket that the charmer evokes out with his flute. That's what I was thinking of anyway as I saw this little 6 inch predator, not exactly lively anymore, curled up in my backyard. At this point Kelly decided that the right thing to do was to eat the snake. I'm not surprised, this from a dog who occasionally dines on her own discards among the tall grass. Afraid of what kind of stomach upset would result from eating a snake, I continued to yell. And, thinking logically, I called my teenage son who was then able to laugh at me over the cellphone.

I certainly wasn't going to step foot into the dog run. The nearly-flat, mutilated viper might still be alive. I decided to hurl bricks at it to be sure. Of course with Kelly's nose still inches away from what I hoped was the corpse, I didn't dare fling too hard. This tactic, too, was futile.

Finally I tempted Kelly out of the run with a good old slice of American cheese, something more alluring than snake skin. I slammed the gate closed lest the lifeless snake, surrounded by bricks no where near the fallen soul, should suddenly decide to get up and exit via the actually entryway, rather than slithering out the gaping holes in the nearby chicken wire fencing.

I'm sure somewhere my son is still laughing.

My cup runneth over

(via Funny Pets blog)

Hope on wheels

Hope, the two-legged Maltese puppy, gets around by using a specially-designed device which features wheels from a model airplane.

Hope was born with only two legs and has small wriggling nubs where her front legs should be. The energetic pup uses her hind legs to boost her body forward onto her chest and operate the wheeled prosthetic limbs.

The wheeled device was created by orthotist David Turnbill free of charge with makeshift shoulder joints connected to model airplane wheels.

(via Cute Overload)
Source: Daily Mail

Dogs in the News- Contest

Do you love your dog so much you wish there were two? Here's your chance!
BioArts International, a California based company, is sponsoring a "Golden Clone Giveaway" contest. All you have to do is write a 500-word essay extolling your dog's virtues, and you could win the opportunity to have your pet duplicated from DNA.

I'm serious!

BioArts CEO Lou Hawthorne owns his own cloned pet. After his dog Missy passed away, Mira was cloned from banked DNA. He has even cloned Missy several more times.
Despite your feelings as to whether cloning is ethical or not, it is a reality. Beginning with Dolly the sheep, scientists have been excited thinking about possible benefits of this controversial technology. Meanwhile, people like Lou have made it their business. He plans on auctioning off five canine cloning opportunities, starting bid at $100,000.

Contest rules are at The contest winner will be announced on June 30th.

Addicted to Fish Keeping

Yes, I'm addicted to the hobby. In most cases, having a fish tank starts out as a hobby. But sometimes, I feel as if I'm starting to become obsessed.

Fish are relatively inexpensive when compared to the costs of many other animals, and with so many varieties and types, it is easy to become obsessive about the hobby. At first, a 20 gallon tank is great, but then you want to keep more fish, so you look to purchase a bigger tank. Maybe a 30, or 55 gallon tank. But after a while, as your fish get bigger, and you get bored of the species you own, and you want to get a bigger, newer tank. With more fish. Or perhaps you want to keep the fish you own, but you want to try a different species that isn't compatible with your current fish. So you start a second tank with a different species.

And sometimes this is enough, but many of the hobby magazines talk about the adventures of fish breeding...which then of course may require some type of breeding tank. And then you want to keep some of the fish you breed, so you need a bigger tank to keep those fish, and the cycle starts all over again.

I recently read that the most popular fish tank sizes used to be the 20 - 30 gallon range. More and more, however, the 55 gallon has become the standard for many fishkeepers. And with all the options available in tank shapes and sizes, it makes it easier to fulfill your addictions.

In my opinion, it's a matter of how it effects your life and finances. If it is something you enjoy, and it doesn't interfere with the rest of your life too much, then enjoy!

What's the big deal?

As an avid traveler, I've seen dogs in cafes and restaurants in many locations around the world. Just about anywhere but Chicago, it's totally acceptable to bring your dog out with you for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. In Paris, I've seen dogs indoors, sitting right at the table, eating off a plate!

In Chicago, as of January 1, 2008, state law allows for dogs in restaurants, provided that the restaurant obtains license approval, registration, and posts a notice that dogs are allowed. But according to a recent article in Crain's Chicago Business, "Taking Names: Gibsons, RL don't jump to allow dogs," some local eateries seem to be dragging their feet.

The city says there's no wait time — presuming a restaurant has no debt and there are no administrative issues — to receive the $450 dog-friendly license, so why isn't every Chicago restaurant with an outdoor eating area licensed already? Our nice weather season is so short!

Starbucks in San Diego, CA.

Restaurant sidewalk cafe in N├╝rnberg, Germany.

Outdoor restaurant, Szentendre, Hungary.

Starbucks outside of the Long Wharf Marriot, in Boston, MA.

The Prado restaurant in Balboa Park, San Diego, CA.

Just washed my hair

and can't do a thing with it!

A bald, three-legged, one-eyed dog has been named the 'World's Ugliest Dog' at the 20th annual contest held at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma.

The pedigree Chinese crested won the World's Ugliest Dog contest on Saturday at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Northern California. His owner, Jeanenne Teed, brought Gus all the way from St. Petersburg, Fla., to compete for the dubious distinction.

Gus takes home two trophies and $1,600 in prize money.

It's the Law

Driving With Penguins

Time for a good (debatable) joke...

A man was driving down the road with twenty penguins in the back seat. The police stop him and say that he can't drive around with the penguins in the car and should take them to the zoo. The man agrees and drives off.

The next day the same man is driving down the road with twenty penguins in the back and again. He is stopped by the same police officer who says, "Hey! I though I told you to take those to the zoo."

The man replies "I did. Today I'm taking them to the movies."

Redecorating is not for wimps

I'm staring at my empty computer screen, I'm on deadline, and all I can think of is the awful color paint we used last night to paint the bathroom. In the home decorating store, it all looked like it would go. A classic yellow stripe for above the wainscoting. And below, this tranquil shade of green called Aquatic Mist. But all I can think of when I look at the newly-painted walls is Crest toothpaste. So, even though we were up til after 2am last night papering, painting and plumbing....I'm going to abandon my writing for today and go upstairs and cover it all over with good old dependable white.
We were up for a change, but as I constantly remind myself, change is bad.

I don't often get the redecorating bug. Once we figure out where things should go and what to hang on the windows, they tend to stay that way. But every once in a while a musty carpet needs to be replaced or fingerprinted walls need to be painted, and that starts a whole chain reaction of redecorating from pictures on the wall to curtains to coordinating doodads. The last room I redecorated was our bedroom, which consisted of nothing but 4 white walls and enough space to squeeze in a bed and two dressers. On one wall we'd hung a fabulous quilt, signed by Disneyworld characters. We gave the kids little squares of muslin and fabric markers, and at Magic Kingdom meet and greet sessions they asked each character to sign the squares. Both grandmas helped stitched the pieces all together into a beautiful quilt. We hung this on our bedroom wall, which took up the entire wall, so I figured it was a great starting point for a decorating theme. What I ended up with was Mickey gone mad. A Victorian-feel garage sale Disney lamp on the stand, theme park souveniers on the shelves, maroon bedspread clashing with the Mickey red and yellow. After a few months of trying to believe I liked it, I did the whole thing over. I took down my treasured Disneyworld quilt and instead displayed it on a quilt rack in the hall. In it's place, the bedroom wall now features a lovely quilted nature wall hanging. Fern-designed curtains at the windows, a mossy green comforter, some old birdhouses on the shelves. Voila! Much better.

Which is all to get to the point that I'm going upstairs to repaint the bathroom now. I'm not going to even wait a couple months to try to convince myself that I like it. And if that means I'm behind on my deadlines, it will just have to be. I like a reminder to brush, but Crest covered walls is going a bit too far.

Cute or not? Komodo dragon hatchling

There are currently, at last count fewer than 4,000 Komodo dragons living in the wild, found living on three islands in Indonesia: Komodo, Flores and Rinca.

Scientists report of two cases where female Komodo dragons have produced offspring without male contact.

Photo: Frank Peters

Vomiting slime-dog toy

In honor of the 30th anniversary of slime, Bandai subsidiary Mega House has announced the August arrival of the “Biri Biri Kaze Hiki Wanko,” which roughly translates to “shocking sick puppy.”

As reported by Scout Japan, this children’s game functions somewhat like Milton Bradley’s Operation, though with a much higher ick factor: the toy puppy, who has caught a cold, drools a concoction of slime and plastic germs. Players must extract these germs using the tweezers without letting the metal part touch the slime, an act which produces a buzzing shock. The player who collects the most germs wins.

(via Boing Boing)

Hands-free dog walking

Walk one or two dogs hands free! Always have custody and control of your dog! Secure it around you waist as tight or as loose as you like. It can also be held as a regular leash!

The Waist Walker was developed by a professional pet sitter and designed to walk one or two dogs without the worry of them getting away from you.

This is a quality 15' double ended lead with center clips. Great for walking or jogging in open areas. Perfect for those with limited mobility with your hands, arms or shoulders.

$19.95 at Waist Walker

Pet Quote of the Day

"The purity of a person's heart can be quickly measured by how they regard animals" ~ Anonymous

How true it is!

Video: Panda Cub, run and play with Mommy

Watch video

(via Critter News)

Crazy Pet Gadgets has come up with a list of some of the craziest pet gadgets.

Many are inventions that you probably don't even need...however, I particularly like the leash with an umbrella attached. Very convenient! Which one do you like the best?

The IPOD with a VERY mini fish tank is controversial, and for the right's too small!!

And the number one gadget on the'll have to see for yourself......

Crazy Pet Gadgets

Alligator found in Chicago River

An alligator was found in the Chicago River on the South Side Friday afternoon, police said.

The alligator, which is about 5 1/2 to 6 feet long, was found near 37th Street and the Chicago River about 2:15 p.m. by a citizen who called police.

The city’s department of Animal Care & Control, 2741 S. Western Ave., took the alligator, which was alive, and no injuries were reported.

Source: Chicago SunTimes

Raining cats and dogs

It's raining today and Kelly is just looking listlessly out the window staring at the raindrops. I'm kinda the same way too. It took me 2 hours to send a message to contacts about a change of email address. (Don't ask!)
Kelly and I have been trying to get more exercise. No easy task. Especially on days like today. How do you get your dog to exercise on a day like this? Do any of your dogs enjoy playing in the rain? I generally toss Kelly a tennis ball, hurling it up the stairs so that by the time she scrambles up after it, it's bounced back down. Good exercise right?
For myself, I've been using the elliptical machine. I've never tried a treadmill. In the Will Smith movie, I am Legend, the dog Sam had her own treadmill. This is what I'd like to know: do any of your dogs use a treadmill? If so, post a picture. This I've got to see!

Air travel is really starting to stink

MIAMI (AP) — An uninvited passenger created a smelly situation on a plane in Miami. American Airlines Flight 915 from Miami to Bogota, Colombia, was delayed Wednesday night after a skunk was found in the back of the cargo hold.

When crews tried to remove the skunk, the animal released its notorious rotten smell. No one was injured, but the odor filtered through the cabin and passengers were taken off the plane.

The skunk was removed from the plane, but it was unclear where it was taken or how it got on the aircraft.

How's this for cuteness?

There can't be too many things cuter than a red panda baby.

The Knoxville Zoo has a pair of brand new residents. Zoo officials confirm two baby red pandas were born earlier in the week.

The mother is Kumari and the father is Chewbacca. The cubs are on exhibit with their mother, but the zoo staff is keeping a close eye on them.

Since 1977, when Knoxville's first pair of red pandas, Bernice and Buster arrived, the zoo has had 93 births, more than any other North American zoo.

The Knoxville Zoo is also home to the oldest red panda in captivity, Flo, age 18.

There is also a set of twin baby red pandas at the Edmonton Valley Zoo. Tai and Pip, who were born May 26 to Lala, made their first public appearance on Thursday.

The twins were removed shortly after birth when the mother began aggressively holding and grooming one of the babies endangering its life. To ensure their survival, the babies will be hand raised by Sandy Heiliker, the Valley Zoo’s Animal Health Technologist.

It's estimated there are around 2,000 to 5,000 red pandas in the wild, although it's not known how the recent earthquake in Chengdu, China, may have affected this count.

Tiger smugglers in Texas?

Federal authorities continue to investigate the parking lot sale of six Bengal tigers they believe were bound for Mexico.

49-year-old Michelle Ashton of Calvert, TX, was charged with misdemeanor interference with public duties, after she allegedly became disruptive with police Sunday.

The investigation started when a police officer spotted Ashton exchanging pet cages with people at a store parking lot. The astute patrol officer moved in and noticed that the animals inside were no ordinary kitties.

They were six endangered Bengal tiger cubs.

Investigators believe the cubs were possibly headed to Mexico without proper permits.

The tiger cubs are now at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville. Zoo officials say the cubs are in excellent condition.

The three male and three female cubs, believed to be two to eight weeks old, are receiving veterinary care at the zoo.


The Responsibilities of Owning a Dog

By Guest Author Mayra Calvani

Puppies are not toys. You hear that all the time. But you’d be surprised at the number of people who seem to ignore this. It’s sad, but many people buy a dog, only to return it to the store or breeder—or worse yet, a shelter!—a couple of weeks later because they ‘couldn’t handle it’.

Getting a new puppy comes with a long list of responsibilities. A puppy has to be handled with care and respect; it needs to be feed, exercised, trained, brushed, medicated for fleas, ticks and parasites, taken to the vet—to name just a few tasks. Before getting a new puppy (and yes, it’s such a thrilling, exciting, wonderful experience!) you must educate yourself, and by this I don’t just mean reading a book. You should read several books on dogs or the breed you’re thinking of getting, research online, ask questions to your dog-owner friends and relatives. In sum, you should get all the information you can before making the big decision.

So, do you have the time and resources it takes to care for a new puppy? Stop a moment to think about that. Do you live alone and work outside all day? Would the puppy be alone by itself the whole day? Puppies, by the way, are not ornaments or statues. They need love and attention, just a like a regular two-year old child.

The question, of course, is not only ‘Should I get a dog?’ but ‘What type of dog?” Different breeds have different personalities and you should get one that fits you and your family. Maybe you think golden retriever puppies are the most gorgeous creatures in the planet, but if you’re the sedentary type who hates walking and don’t have the means to hire a person to walk your golden, getting this type of dog would be crazy, since golden retrievers are very active and need to exercise at least an hour a day when grown.

A lady who lives down our street bought a golden puppy a few months ago. She lives alone and works out of the house all day. So far, I’ve seen her walking that dog once. Well, all I can say is my heart goes out for that poor dog. Goldens are incredibly sensitive animals that need human company and attention, not to mention the exercise issue. I have to wonder, what was in her mind when she bought the dog? In my opinion, it’s mostly ignorance, lack of information before buying a pet.

Another family I know bought a Labrador retriever puppy last year. (Their young teenaged son had been asking for a dog for ages—classic story). The puppy began peeing all over their apartment. Because they knew very little about training, they didn’t know what to do about it, so eventually they returned the puppy to the store. I’m sure those readers who own Labrador retrievers will be flabbergasted by this. Labradors are highly intelligent and amazingly quick learners. Did they expect the puppy to teach himself to ‘go potty’?

To give one last example on how important it is to educate yourself before getting a puppy, let me tell you this final story. Another lady I know got a puppy a few months ago from a friend whose dog had had pups. I called her a couple of weeks after she had got the puppy to ask her how it was going. She said: “It’s going great, but I can’t get rid of its smell. It really stinks. I’m giving it a bath a few times a week but it reeks!” Bathing a dog a few times a week? Who on their right mind does that? If she would have taken the time to read a book or two, she would know that some dog’s coats have a special oil to protect their skin and to serve as a shield against dirt and water. It’s this oil that smells, not the dog. But what she ignored is that, the more she washes him, the more oil he’ll exude and the more it’ll stink. So she was actually making him reek by washing him so often! Not to mention that she was also harming the dog by possibly causing skin disorders and even illness (it was winter).

As you can see, it’s important for a prospective dog owner to be informed, and to pass that knowledge to the whole family—especially to children—before owning a pet.

We talked and talked about getting a puppy for three years before we finally took the big step. By then I was an amateur ‘expert’ on dogs and had passed on most of the vital information to my husband and kids. When problems arose, I knew exactly what to do, and if I didn’t, I immediately called the vet or made research online. I love my golden retriever, Amigo. He’s a bright, shining star in our home, a marvelous gift to us. He depends on me and I won’t let him down.

Please don’t let your new puppy down. Educate yourself.


Mayra Calvani is a multi-genre author, reviewer, dog lover, and animal advocate.

Visit her blog at

Eyes over Africa

In 2006, to fulfill a long-held dream, widely acclaimed photographer Michael Poliza and friend Stefan Breuer undertook a helicopter journey across Africa. Skimming close to the ground, they flew over 19 countries.

In 'Eyes over Africa' Poliza shares the astounding beauty, scale and diversity of this imposing continent.

At the website, Eyes over AFRICA XXL, you can see some of these outstanding images.

Triplet tiger cubs surprise Auckland Zoo

Three Sumatran tiger cubs have been born at Auckland Zoo.

The zoo's big cat keepers are celebrating after discovering the proud mother, eight-year-old Molek, has given birth to triplets nearly a week after the event.

They had been keeping their distance since the birth last Thursday, not wanting to disturb Molek for at least a week.

On Tuesday, they discovered what they had thought was one cub from afar was actually two.

Then, on Wednesday afternoon, they saw a very relaxed Molek lying back with one cub suckling and two others cuddled into her coat.

In light of the fact that there are fewer than 400 Sumatran tigers in the wild, and just 160 in captive facilities, the birth of these cubs really is a huge deal, not just for New Zealand, but internationally.

Trouble is $10 million poorer

In papers that were unsealed June 16, Manhattan surrogate court judge Renee Roth, along with New York State’s Attorney General’s Office, reduced Leona Helmsley's dog Trouble’s trust fund from $12 million to $2 million.

The deal also entailed $6 million in payments to Helmsley’s two disinherited grandchildren, amid their allegations that Helmsley wasn’t mentally competent when she signed her will.

Trouble now will have to get by for the rest of her life on a measly $2 million.

Helmsley's will had asked that either her brother or grandson David Panzirer care for the dog, neither of them was interested, so Trouble is living in Florida with Carl Lekic, the general manager of the Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel.

Lekic says Trouble's annual expenses are around $190,000, which includes his $60,000 guardian fee, $100,000 for 'round-the-clock security, $8,000 for grooming, $3,000 for miscellaneous expenses, $1,200 for food and anywhere from $2,500 to $18,000 for medical care.

Source: NY Post

Killer virus threatens fish in in Great Lakes

(Click photo for full-size)

When thousands of bloody, hemorrhaging fish recently turned up on the Lake Michigan shore south of Milwaukee, it confirmed the worst fears of scientists worried that an Ebola-like virus stalking Great Lakes fish would strike closer to Chicago.

Unlike many other diseases that tend to hit one or two types of fish, this viral strain has led to large fish kills involving more than 30 species, including valuable sport fish such as salmon, trout, walleye, muskie, bass and perch.

The infection, called viral hemorrhagic septicemia or VHS, doesn't threaten human health but could be devastating to the $4 billion commercial and sport fishing industry in the Great Lakes.

Viral hemorrhagic septicemia is an invasive species. The virus tends to be more destructive and pervasive here than in the lakes and rivers of Europe where it originated, but it's difficult to predict how it will affect Great Lakes species in the long term.

Some fish can resist the virus, but they can still spread it through urine and other fluids. Those that get sick become listless and ultimately bleed to death.

Take Your Dog To Work Day - June 20

With America in love with pets, the familiar TGIF workplace mantra may unleash a new meaning: "thank goodness, it's Fido." Circle your calendars - June 20th 2008 marks the 10th anniversary of Pet Sitters International's Take Your Dog To Work Day

For tips to consider before you take your dogs to work, here is a link from Dogpile -

Dogs in the News- Toby

Faithful Friend Saves Woman's Life by Performing the Heimlich

Debbie Parkhurt's 2 year old golden retriever sensed danger, jumped to his paws and performed the Heimlich--or is that Heim-lick?
One afternoon last May, Debbie choked on a chunk of apple. She attempted to dislodge the apple by leaning over the back of a chair, but it didn't work. "It was lodged pretty tight because I couldn't breathe," she said.
That's when Toby lept to the rescue. Putting his paws on her shoulders, he pushed Debbie to the ground and jumped up and down on her chest. The apple was expelled.
Debbie has no idea how her pet knew what to do. "Of all the dogs in the world, I would never have expected this goofy one here to know the Heimlich." She explained her pet is not the most well-trained dog in the world.

I have no doubt that our best friends have a sixth sense when it comes to protecting those they love. And we'd do the same for our dogs.
Has your dog performed an amazing rescue? I'd love to hear.


The duck gets washed

Chewy has had his Stuffy since he was just a little baby duckling. They are best of friends and Chewy drags Stuffy all over the yard to share in the fun.

See what happens when Stuffy gets cleaned up.

The story of Nebbeline

I chanced across an excellent photoset at Flickr, The story of Nebbeline (Ms. Freaky Beaky), which is the story of a duck with a very unusual beak.

The photographer, Cynthia, aka tuxette, lives in Oslo, Norway.

She met Nebbeline (nebb is the Norwegian word for beak) on a very cold, snowy Sunday in January while feeding the other ducks and taking photos.

Nebbeline's beak is very short and curved up, and her lovely pink tongue sticks out. She looks like she was born with a birth defect. The duck version of cleft palette, maybe?

Here's a closeup of that beak:

While she was slightly smaller than the other ducks, Nebbeline did not look unfed. Still, Cynthia felt concerned and has brought special treats to feed the duck, such as crickets from a local pet shop.

It looks like Nebbeline enjoys finger food. According to Cynthia, she even enjoys the fingers!

Would you?

Some women in New York are paying big bucks for a facial containing bird excrement.

The Geisha Facial, available at Shizuka New York for $180, contains nightingale excrement.

The Japanese powder, also known as uguisu no fun, is rich in the amino acid guanine, said to brighten and cleanse skin. In the 18th century geishas and kabuki actors used the powder to clean heavy white makeup off their faces.

"I was a little tentative at first," said Andrea Nieto, who recently received the treatment. "But there was no smell. It was creamy and rich."

Yeah, right.

Source: Reuters

Photo: Futamer

The Craziest Pet Gadgets has compiled a list of crazy, weird and out-of-control pet products you've got to see to believe.

Hmmm, I'll have to look through my old posts to see what I can come up in the "crazy gadgets" category.

Science of cats - where did they come from?

Feline experts say cats have surpassed the dog and become the most popular pet on earth. But how did the cat evolve from a wild animal to a pampered pet? In the upcoming National Geographic Channel documentary Explorer: Science of Cats, (Watch June 17) anthropologists and feline geneticists trace the evolution of the cat.

Dr. Leslie Lyons leads a research team studying the genetics of the domestic cat at the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. In the interview excerpted here, she explores the origins and domestication of the house cat.

The interview with Lyons shares some fascinating facts. For example, while humans deliberately domesticated dogs, cats adapted themselves to us rather than the other way around. We used dogs and made them work for us, but cats cats tolerated humans because we provided food.

Animal management by morons

The animal shelter in the town of Helena-West Helena, Arkansas, was so run down a regional humane society worker cut the locks last winter and released all the dogs.

The city then moved the operation to a temporary fenced-in area outdoors at the city sanitation department.

Still, people complained that the animals were not properly cared for at the temporary quarters, so the mayor decided the dogs would be better off fending for themselves in the St. Francis National Forest.

Mayor James Valley authorized the city street director to release about 10 dogs into the forest after the animals were fed and watered.

"They are better off free," the mayor said Thursday in a telephone interview.

The mayor said if animal control officers get a call now, "they're going to pick the dog up and probably just take them to the other side of town. And it's going to be someone else's problem. ... or maybe they will take them to the forest."

Source: The Daily World

Mayor Valley's email: