Goldfish Joke

Little Nancy was in the garden filling in a hole when her neighbor peered over the fence. Interested in what the little girl was up to, he politely asked, "What are you up to there, Nancy?"

"My goldfish died," replied Nancy tearfully, without looking up, "and I've just buried him."

The neighbor was concerned, "That's an awfully big hole for a goldfish, isn't it?"

Nancy patted down the last heap of earth and then replied, "That's because he's inside your stupid cat."

Caturday funnies

from Flickr, by Sara Kayed

from Cats all wet

Video: Baby Orangutan adopted by a bulldog

Bulldog Kisses Orangutan

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Video: Winston hearts bananas

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How to Find a Veterinarian

Do you know how to find a reputable veterinarian for your four-legged friend? Think of it as if you are looking for a pediatrician for your human child. The same ideas apply; you are just looking for a veterinarian. A good place to start is to ask family, friends and coworkers. Do they like their vet? What kind of impression does their vet give? If you don’t have friends or family who live close by and you go shopping for a vet on your own do you know the questions to ask? Here’s some help.
Call a veterinarian in the area and make an appointment. Are they willing to see you without your pet first? If they are a good vet, they will understand. You want to meet the vet first alone to see if you get along and will be willing to trust your pet with them. Also ask them if they are willing to give you a tour of the practice. 
Arrive at the vet’s about fifteen minutes before your appointment time, this will give you a chance to visit with some of the other clients in the waiting room, and see how the vet interacts with not only them but their pet as well. It also gives you a chance to look around. 
How does the staff treat the patients waiting to see the vet? Are the office and staff neat and clean, or dirty and dingy? Does it smell clean or like urine and feces? Is the staff friendly and informative or standoffish and un-talkative? Are the vet’s credentials prominently displayed? Do they sell your brand of pet food? If not, do they have access to your food and are they willing to order it for you?
Questions to ask the vet:
  • Does the vet make house calls if you have a skittish animal or can’t get into the office?
  • If you’re in a rural area and have larger animals or birds, will the vet be able to take care of them too?
  • If money is an issue, will the vet work with you by allowing you to make payments on your outstanding bill?
  • Something else that is important, does the vet talk to you and explain things, or does he talk at you and expect you to follow his orders? You want a veterinarian who will work with you, not against you when dealing with your pet’s health issues. After all, your pet is still a member of the family and your veterinarian is just as important as any other doctor that a family member may see.

Ruthie Bently

You learn something new every day

The photo above is a Jenny Haniver.

That's not the name of a person, it's the carcass of a ray or a skate which has been modified and subsequently dried, resulting in a grotesque preserved specimen. [wiki]

One suggestion for the origin of the term was "jeune d'Anvers" (French for Antwerp is Anvers), that is "young girl of Antwerp." British sailors "cockneyed" this description into the personal name "Jenny Hanvers."

For centuries, sailors sat on the Antwerp docks and carved these "mermaids" out of dried cuttlefish. They then preserved them further with a coat of varnish. They supported themselves by selling their artistic creations to working sailors as well as to tourists visiting the docks.

Jenny Hanivers have been created to look like devils, angels and dragons.

It is possible that Jenny Hanivers were the source of some tales of dragons during the Middle Ages, and they affirmed people's belief in dragons. Jenny Hanivers may also have started the legends of Mermaids.

(via Cynical-C)

At Susology, the story of an artist currently creating Jenny Hanivers.

Photo credit: Awkward Conversations post on "Rogue Taxidermy: The Jenny Haniver".

Any dog can bite but most don't

Dog bites happen, but they don't happen often, and many bites are preventable.

That message, delivered Thursday at a forum in Denver, was gleaned from data taken in Colorado over a year-long period.

The Coalition for Living Safely With Dogs, made up of Colorado veterinarians, animal-control officers, animal-care professionals and others presented the data at the group's second annual forum.

"The data shows that any dog can bite but most don't," said Nick Fisher, a coalition member.

The dog-bite surveys were taken from July 2007 to July 2008 and covered 17 "districts" in Colorado.

The coalition study tallied 2,060 bites. That's about 1 bite for every 350 dogs, less than one-third of one percent.

Of the 2,060 bites, Labrador retrievers made up the biggest percentage on the bite list.

Labs accounted for 13.3 percent of the reported bites; pit bulls, 8.4 percent; German shepherds, 7.8 percent; Rottweilers, 3.9 percent; and Chows, 3.5 percent.


Smile, it's Friday!

Photo from manymuddypaws

Funky fish found - the frogfish

A funky, psychedelic fish that bounces on the ocean floor like a rubber ball has been classified as a new species, a scientific journal reported. The frogfish — which has a swirl of tan and peach zebra stripes that extend from its aqua eyes to its tail — was initially discovered by scuba diving instructors working for a tour operator a year ago in shallow waters off Ambon island in eastern Indonesia.

Each time the fish strike the seabed, they push off with their fins and expel water from tiny gill openings to jet themselves forward. That, and an off-centered tail, causes them to bounce around in a bizarre, chaotic manner.

Photo credit: David Hall

Marilyn and her dogs

Marilyn Monroe at the beach with her dog Ruffles in 1947.
Photo: Associated Press

MM plays with her Chihuahua on May 17, 1950.
Image: Earl Leaf

Also on May 17, 1950
Image: Earl Leaf

MM and Arthur Miller with Miller's dog Hugo, during a playful moment at Miller's summer home on June 25th, 1956.
Image: © Bettmann/CORBIS

Here's another photo of Hugo with MM and Miller.

Image: © Bettmann/CORBIS

When Marilyn and Arthur split up, Arthur retained possession of Hugo.

Maf was a little white French poodle who was given to MM in New York by Frank Sinatra. Sinatra had purchased the dog from Natalie Wood’s mother.

Marilyn named the dog “Maf” because of Frank Sinatra’s alleged mafia connections. lnterestingly, to spite Arthur Miller, Marilyn used to let Maf sleep on an expensive white coat that Miller had presented her.

When Marilyn returned to live in Hollywood, she had Maf flown back to be with her.

Following her death, Maf was inherited by Frank Sinatra’s secretary, Gloria Lovell.
(via u2r2h blog)

Doggie Daycare

If your dog is a nervous wreck when you get home from work, it might be time to look into some alternative arrangements during the day. 
Luckily we have Doggie Daycare available! 
I know you’re asking yourself, why am I paying for my dog to go to daycare? The interesting thing is that we’re asking, “Why wouldn’t you?”
The most important reason is that if you are even half as busy as we are, you know that coming home to an unexercised, hyperactive pet is not necessarily a good thing. So tell me what you prefer after a long, hard day at work and hours of fighting traffic: a Jack Russell terrier trying to take you down by hopping all over you, or a happy, tired lap-dog who wants to go to sleep as much as you do? 
If the answer is a happy, tired lap dog that wants to sleep, then doggie daycare may be the answer for you. 
A good daycare will let you know how your pet is doing each day socially, physically and emotionally. If your dog is not ready for group play, daycare can keep them exercised and mentally stimulated during their stay. Your dog will get plenty of exercise and have the opportunity to socialize with other dogs. As a result, you will have a much happier and fit pet!
The costs for doggie daycare range so dramatically, I’m not even going to bother to list it here. Much of the cost will depend on where you’re located, your drop-off and pick-up times, and the quality of the facility. 
You want to ensure that the facility is clean, that the staff is highly qualified and that they are insured as a business. The location should be clean, free of any parasites and all pets should be current on their vaccinations. Be sure they feed high-quality snacks, such as CANIDAE Lamb and Rice Snap-Bits.
Take a look in your area to find a place that does doggie daycare. Even if you only take Fido a couple of days a week, we think you’ll be impressed with the benefits a pack can bestow on your pets.

photo credit: Copyright PetsWeekly, 2008

Stacy Mantle

How to Decide if You Really Want a Dog

Do you know the questions to ask to make sure you really want a dog? If you are a previous owner of a dog, you probably already know because you have already been on that ride. If you grew up with dogs as I did, that isn’t necessarily a reason to get one, unless you had to help take care of a dog growing up. What most first time dog owners don’t realize is that owning a dog is a commitment for life and you should treat it that way. Unfortunately, many of the dogs that end up in shelters are there because their previous owners didn’t realize what getting a dog entails. 
There are costs involved past the original purchase price of your new friend. There are bills for the vet for regular visits and emergency visits, food, toys, gates, crate and training costs. If you live in city or country there are safety issues, and there can be issues with wild animals. These are just a few of the things you might come across. If you get a puppy, they teethe and dogs don’t stop chewing, they just stop teething when they get all their teeth in.
A good place to start is by doing some research into the kind of dog breed you are interested in, whether you want a purebred or a shelter dog. How much exercise will your chosen dog need? Do they need to sleep indoors? What kind of activity level will your new dog have? How much space do you need for the dog you want? Do you live in a house or apartment? Do you have a yard or will you have to walk your new friend? Do you have the time to take care of this new addition to the family, or are you a workaholic? Do you mind if the dog gets hair on the carpet or your white sofa? Or runs across your clean floor with muddy paws? Do you mind drooling? Does your city or state have restrictions against the breed you want to get? Does your chosen breed have health or allergy issues?
Go to your local library or book store and pick up a few books. The AKC has a comprehensive breed guide for all the AKC registered breeds. Simon & Schuster also has one that goes into the temperament and housing needs of the breeds in their book. There are several good books on the market today that can tell you what you need to know while doing your research. After you answer all these questions and you can still say yes, put on your seat belt. You are in for one of the most fun rides of your life.

Ruthie Bently

Oklahoma State's Vet School and Mrs. T. Boone Pickens

A recent news story here involves my vet school alma mater and a $5 million dollar donation that didn't happen. The news reported that a current vet student contacted Mrs. Pickens after hearing about the donation. The student shared concerns about the way vets are trained to do surgical procedures and about the dogs sold to the school for this purpose. Mrs. Pickens was upset by this information and chose not to go through with the donation.

I remember struggling with this same dilemma when I was a vet student. I had so many mixed feelings about working with dogs I knew wouldn't wake up from surgery lab and yet I knew that their sacrifice would save many others. My classmates and I spent extra time with these animals, giving them love and affection, trying to come to terms with our feelings. It was very difficult for me, perhaps even traumatic.

Is it possible to learn on a cadaver dog or cat the skills that are needed? To a limited degree, yes. I actually had some first hand experience with the comparison. When I was in private practice in another state, we hired a new graduate from a vet school that only used cadaver dogs to learn surgical procedures. After several months, we noticed that "spayed" females were coming back to the clinic with all the signs of being in heat. Owners were angry, thinking they had paid for a surgery that never happened. We discovered that the new doctor had only removed part of the tissues and left in the parts that bring the animal into heat. Because she had been trained on cadavers, she had no experience with the anatomy of a live animal under anesthesia. This meant that we had to do a second major surgery in every animal she had spayed (including some that had yet to return) to correct the problem, and it was much more difficult than the original surgery would have been. I felt sorry for her, sorry for the pets and sorry for myself trying to find ovaries that were partially removed.

That said, I will never forget the dogs that I learned from in vet school. Their images will always be a part of me. As a student, standing in the kennel that day, I looked them in the eyes through my own tear-filled ones and apologized to them for what would happen. I had no other answer, no power, no way out at the time. I promised those dogs that I would do all I could to help other animals with what they taught me. Was that the right thing to do? I honestly don't know. I only know that I did everything I could to keep that promise...for them....and for me.

Please take a seat

Story here

(via Bits & Pieces)

On the subject of penguins

Looks like the inauguration, doesn't it?

This amazing photo was taken on South Georgia Island. The photographer says, "This is not the largest colony of king penguins on South Georgia but there were over a hundred thousand breeding pairs in this location. The brown spots are not open spaces but chicks that have not fledged."

from Flickr, by chuck12600

Take a look at it in the largest size: 3200 x 2135. Better yet, set it as your desktop wallpaper.

As cute as a sock monkey?

Might be cuter than a sock monkey ...

This instructable will walk you through the step by step creation of a Sock Penguin. This project was completed for a Grade 1 (6 year old kids) class that has been studying penguins.

Please note that no penguins were harmed in the creation of this project, however, some socks were severely damaged in the prototyping stage. Please do not use socks that still contain feet.

Note that hot glue guns can burn you. They're called "hot" for a reason. Do not let 6 year olds operate hot glue guns. Adult supervision is required. Also, do not let 6 year olds operate heavy machinery. It's just a bad plan.

(via Penguins!)

Bored? Go wake up your cat

Chris "Petey" Peterson at "Something Awful" had a dastardly idea. Assuming that your cat is sleeping right now, and which cat isn't, grab a camera and go wake that cat up. Go, right now! Take a picture of that darling little (pissed off) face and post it.

Quite a few people have responded and sent Chris their photos. Here's a couple:

Ok, I have to admit - I too, have been know to interfere with my cats' napping pleasure.

I took this picture of Grace when I caught her napping in Ava's chair which Grace thinks should now be called Grace's chair.

The next photo is of Bandit. I have an extensive collection of shots of him sleeping. He's always sleeping, except when he runs through the house doing his "here comes a herd of elephants" sound effects.

Next, Smoke. He had the fluffiest, fuzziest belly, and the sweetest personality until he scratched the hell out of my daughter-in-law's arm one day. He left us one day on a neighborhood safari and never came back.

Here's a bonus shot: waking up two cats at once! Buddy always loved to sleep on top of Coco. They're both gone from us now, but fondly remembered.

Beware of Cocoa Mulch

This one has been floating around the internet and email forwards for a few years, but seems to be some truth to the warning. According to an article on Snopes,
this common outdoor garden mulch, sold at a variety of stores, does contain ingredients that are potentially harmful to your pets. The substance smells like chocolate and contains a chemical that can be lethal.

Take extra care when gardening and to be on the safe side, avoid using this mulch.

Today's awwww

Art by Roberto Kusterle

duetto per archi, 2006
(duo for stringed instruments, 2006)

More at website

Reality TV

Why do I feel so guilty admitting that I like reality TV shows? Does it seem too trivial, unlike the awesome John Adams documentary or educational programs on Animal Planet? Or is it because they're not deep or even clever, like episodes of Boston Legal or CSI? Or entertaining like The Office? There are many reality shows I've never watched (American Idol, Dancing with the Stars). But, as someone struggling with my own weight loss issues, I do enjoy The Biggest Loser.

The show isn't perfect. You have to get past the agonizingly slow pace, frustrating constant recaps and in-your-face product placement. But I've got to admit, the show inspires me. This season is the heaviest season ever, with many contestants starting at more than 300 lbs, and some close to 400. Yet, by the end of the season most of them will not only be half their size, but also fit and toned. They'll have learned healthy nutritious eating habits, not binge dieting. I've got to imagine that these skills help them to keep the weight off for life. I hope so.

I've never had to deal with that significant amount of weight to lose, but all dieters know that our own 20, 30, 40 or whatever pounds is a struggle. On the show, contestants train for 6-10 hours a day. Watching them spin 'til every inch of them is covered in sweat and lift weights until they cry (and they do) inspires me to get on my elliptical and work out for at least a measly 30 minutes. If they can do it, then so can I!

So I'll try not to be embarrassed that I enjoy watching The Biggest Loser. If it inspires me to lose weight and eat healthier, then win-win.

Paws for Reflection: This is so appropriate when it comes to exercising! "Success is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration." --Thomas Edison

Good to know: Some people still have money

Despite the grim economic environment, the art market let out a collective sigh of relief Feb. 23 as Christie's in Paris successfully auctioned $266.7 million worth of Impressionist and modern artworks collected by the late designer Yves Saint Laurent and his partner, Pierre Berge. The sale of nearly 700 works, estimated to bring in up to $425 million, continues through Wednesday.

A German Silver-Gilt Cup Formed as a Hunting Bear
Maker's mark of Leonhard Umbach
Augsburg, 1585-1590
Height: 6 7/8 in.; Weight: 13.70 oz.
Estimate: €80,000 to €120,000 (approx. $103,000 - $155,000)

Francois Pompon (1855-1933)
Boston Terrier or 'Toy'
Model created in 1930, cast circa 1965-1970
Black patinated bronze
Portrays Madame Georges Menier's dog, 'Toy'
11 3/4 in. x 13 1/4 in. x 5 7/8 in.
Estimate: €15,000 to €20,000 (approx. $19,000 - $26,000)


How to Find A Great Pet Boarding Facility

If you’re planning on leaving town and have less than three pets that you can’t really take along with you – a dog resort may be right up your alley. Today we’re going to be looking at Tailwinds Pet Resort in Phoenix, Arizona to give you an idea of what we look for in a pet resort. 
Comfort & Cleanliness
First and foremost, we like clean, comfortable locations that have lots of places to run. Spacious kennels for freedom of movement, and a clean facility to ensure my pet doesn’t come home with any type of parasite (our personal worst nightmare). When you do a walk-thru of the pet resort, take a close look at your surroundings.
  • Does the facility smell badly? Remember, it’s filled with animals, so keep the smell thing relative.
  • Do the animals appear clean, happy and alert? You can tell what an unhappy dog looks like.
  • Do you notice any bugs? If you see bugs, ticks or fleas on the floor or worse, on the animals, make a run for the door and don’t look back.
  • What types of cleaners are used? Try to stay with facilities that use all-natural cleaners, but understand that with a lot of animals in their care, it may not always be possible to do that.
Tailwinds Pet Resort is a relatively new boarding facility run by two women who love pets as much as we do, and they are meticulous. Between the two partners, they have nearly fifty years of experience in the industry and that comes out to a lot of quality care. Some of the questions you want to ask are:
  • What kind of experience does your resort have? It should be extensive. 
  • Are they hiring minimum wage workers to care for your pet or are they paying their workers well? A well-paid employee is a happy employee. 
  • How involved are the owners? They should be an active part of the business.
The safety of your pet is of utmost importance. Ensure that no escape from the resort is possible and ask what types of precautions they have built in to the facility. Identify any possible risks that you can see and ask your tour guide about them. Find out if a veterinarian is on-call for the resort and who that vet is. Discuss what the procedure is in the event of a fire or other danger. Ensure that they require documentation that your pet is current on vaccinations, because if they’re asking you, they are asking all of their clients. Most importantly, try to work only with resorts that keep staff on the premises 24-hours a day.
The optimal situation for a pet resort is the ability to bring your own food in with your pet. TailWinds house food is organic CANIDAE, All Natural, Human Grade, Holistic Pet to all of their guests and this is a high-quality food that is recommended across the board. If you’re not bringing your own food in, ensure that your resort feeds something as high-quality as CANIDAE. 
This is a brief look at what you need to look for in a pet boarding facility. Of course, cost of stay, activities for pets, interaction between pets and people, and playtime with other pets should also be addressed, but seeing as how we’re out of space on this blog, we’ll be covering that in an upcoming article.

Photo Credit: Copyright TailWinds, 2008

Stacy Mantle

How to Find a Reputable Breeder

Do you know how to find a reputable breeder for that new pet you’ve been promising yourself? The most important thing I can tell you is to do your research. I did research for someone a while back who was looking for an English Bulldog puppy. As they wanted a purebred puppy, I started out at the American Kennel Club’s website. They have an online classified list of breeders of AKC registerable dogs. They also have listings of the breed clubs, breed rescue groups and a local club breeder referral. You can also check out the CANIDAE site for links to breeders.
The online classifieds on the AKC site allow you to see the breeder’s profile, which will provide you with information on AKC dog registration applications, whether or not the breeder is a member of a parent or specialty club, health screens for the parents, whether or not they provide a written bill of sale, if they will take the puppy back and under what conditions they will do so. It also tells you whether or not the breeder will provide you (the buyer) information for being a responsible dog owner, a health guarantee, if they tattoo or microchip the puppy, if they are enrolled in the AKC Companion Animal Recovery program, what AKC events her dogs participate in and how long they have been breeding.
Stay away from puppies coming from a puppy mill as they are often not treated well and can have many health issues. For more information on what puppy mills are and why you shouldn't support them, see
Questions to ask the breeder:
  • Are both of the parents on the premises and can you see them?
  • How old does your pet have to be to take home?
  • If you pick out a pet when they are too young to be taken home, can you come back for visits?
  • If you are buying a show quality pet, who will show them?
  • If you are buying a pet quality pet, do they need to be spayed or neutered and when?
  • If something arises in the future and you can’t keep the pet, will the breeder take them back?
  • Does your new pet come with a health guarantee?
  • Have the parents been certified healthy for issues the breed might have?
  • Have the puppies already had some of their shots?
  • What kind of food do they feed and how often?
  • I’m happy to say that I found several reputable breeders, and even found one that was close to where they lived, so they could go and pick out their own puppy. Not only that, the puppy I found is a happy and healthy dog today, with a warm and loving family.
Ruthie Bently

Brave, loving, or stupid?

Read the story in the Daily Mail about British park ranger Alex Larenty who regularly treats eight year old lion Jamu to a foot massage and a hug.

(The shots were taken at The Lion Park, near Johannesburg, South Africa, just weeks before a man who broke into the reserve was mauled and killed.)

Pets and Foreclosure

Today I was forwarded an email from a desperate family looking for a home for their two labs. They were losing their house to foreclosure and moving to an apartment where they couldn't take the dogs. This mother of three described how the dogs had been patient and loving with her small children, even tolerating "dress up" from time to time. The email was heartbreaking to read. This story has a happy ending because the local lab rescue is taking them both and has found a home for them together. Keeping them together means at least they will have each other through this transition. I'm really happy to hear the good news. But there's a part of my heart that aches for dogs and cats who lose a loving family. Imagine the confusion they experience when they leave everything they know---the yard with all its familiar smells and terrain, the children they welcomed and played with--the home they ate and slept in and protected from harm. That's not to say that their new home won't provide all of that and more. They will adapt to change. We all do. But part of me wishes we could find a way to be forever homes for animals---and children,too.

What's that in your pants?

from flickr, by Chuckumentary

3 Cat Symptoms Never to Ignore

According to, there are three cat symptoms that you should never they are along with their reasoning.

1. Red Eye . A "red eye" is a non-specific sign of inflammation or infection. It may be seen with several different diseases including those involving different parts of the eye including the external eyelids, third eyelid, conjunctiva, cornea, and sclera. It may also occur with inflammation of the structures inside the eye, with glaucoma (high pressure within the eye) or with certain diseases of the orbit (eye socket). Either one or both eyes can become red, depending upon the cause of the problem. Some of the possible causes can be serious and ultimately cause blindness.

2. Coughing . Coughing is a relatively uncommon problem in cats. Coughing is a common protective reflex that clears secretions or foreign matter from the throat, voice box, and/or airways, and protects the lungs against aspiration. It affects the respiratory system by hindering the ability to breathe properly. Common causes include obstruction in the windpipe, bronchitis, pneumonia, heartworm disease, lung tumors, and heart failure. Some of the causes are life threatening and all cats with a cough should be evaluated by a veterinarian

3. Bloody Diarrhea . Blood in the feces can either appear as "melena" which makes the stools appear black and tarry is the presence suggests digested blood in the feces. Melena is different from fresh blood in the stool (hematochezia). Bleeding into the colon or rectum appears as fresh blood in the stool. Bloody diarrhea should be evaluated by your veterinarian as soon as possible.

The quest to ave Right whales

At least 32 new right whale calves -- more than ever recorded -- have been observed this season off the coasts of Georgia and Florida, where the whales migrate to give birth between late November and March. Only about 400 members of the species exist, and the massive mammal is thought to be the most endangered of all the large whales.

Each birth is seen as a miracle of sorts -- a potential key to the survival of a species that has been through many tough years.

Right whales were named by their hunters who once said they were the "right whale" to kill. When they were harpooned, the chubby whales floated to the surface of the water. That made them both profitable and easy to hunt.

Every morning during calving season, volunteers armed with binoculars and whale-related handouts troll up and down the Florida coast -- climbing to balconies and zipping up elevators to the top floors of high-rise condos and retirement communities -- to look for whales.


Stubborn Pounds

In my new book, I'm writing a lot about dieting. The subject that never goes away.
This past year I lost a lot of weight, but those last few pounds are still hanging on.

And I know why.

I haven't yet fully committed to my lifestyle changes. I know that the changes I've made over the last year work. But part of me misses the old me. I can't quite let go of those desires to veg on the couch or succumb to the temptation of gooey pizza.

One day I'm eating healthy and sweating on the elliptical. The next day lo and behold! I've lost weight. Yay! Then, I slip back into a few of my old habits. Not too many. But enough to make a negative impact. I know what I'm doing wrong. I choose a reasonable snack, like crunchy whole grain dry cereal. But I munch it directly out of the box, gobbling unmeasured handfuls until I've consumed an unhealthy amount of even a healthy product. Then, before I know it, a weight gain. I feel guilty, so I get back to business the next few days. Inevitably, however, I slip and I've eaten a massive burrito from Moe's with cheese and sour cream, just because we had a Buy-One-Get-One-Free coupon.

So here I am again. My new size 8 pants feel snug. I'm muffin-topping over the waistband. I feel sluggish and heavy. But still, I'm armed with tools that have worked for me in the past. I just have to put them back into action. Okay I can do it!

Paws for Reflection: Knowing what to do is easier than following through. But following through is the part that counts.

Unbelievably cute

Only 28-days old, brother and sister Zanzibar and Nairobi are already a huge hit with visitors to Taronga Zoo, in Sydney.

They are the latest additions to the site's meerkat manor - and are the first pups to be born there for nine years.


Hurry, Winter is almost over

(via Kiyo's)

Pet Sitting: What You Need to Know

Heading out of town for a weeklong retreat? If you have pets, you know it’s not that easy to just leave town. This week, we’ll be exploring a few options for you and your pets. That is, if you’re not planning to take them along. (If you’re planning on your pet accompanying you, then check out our posts on vacations for you and your pets from last week.)
The first option you have is letting Fido and Fluffy stay in the comfort of their own home where they know the routine and are comfortable.  If you have more than two or three pets, this is probably the best scenario for you. A pet sitter offers more than just caring for your pets.  They will pick up your paper, keep a daily log so you know what happened each day and what they did while there, care for fish and other small pets, pick up your mail each day, and be available for a consult while you’re out of town. They should be equipped (and empowered) to handle any emergencies that come up and most importantly; they will be trustworthy and reliable. Here are a few steps to doing that when finding and using a pet sitter.
Focus on Experience
When you’re searching out a pet sitter, it’s important to use personal recommendations before you bring anyone inside of your home. Chances are good that someone you know has used a pet sitter. If they liked them and trusted them, give them the first shot.  If you don’t have friends with pets, start with the big businesses. Visit Pet Sitters International  (PSI) on your first stop. This organization has a ton of resources for the pet owners of the world and all of their members are licensed, bonded and trusted.
Big is Not Necessarily Better
You may want to give a smaller company a try. Often the large companies can be caught up in the paperwork and the sitter is working as a self-employed person anyway. The one advantage that larger companies can offer is backup, but that’s only if the sitter actually calls for it. Many experienced pet sitters go out on their own in the realization they can often make more money that way.  These are the sitters you want to keep around. Find one you like and use them whenever you leave.
Meet Your Sitter Before Leaving
Just because you like the new sitter doesn’t mean your pet will. Be sure that the sitter comes to your home for a consult. Have them meet your pets, show them where things are, and identify the best way to approach an animal. Pets change when you leave and they will not react to a stranger when they are alone with them the same way they will when you’re in the house. Leave the sitter alone with them for a few minutes. See how the sitter and your pet react upon your return. That will tell you a lot about your new sitter!
Before You Leave:
  • Ensure that your pets' food is well-stocked
  • Leave a detailed schedule of what is expected. (Free PDF file from PetsWeekly)
  • Sign a Veterinary Care Release form and leave with sitter.
  • Leave a contact list in the event of emergency.
photo credit: Copyright PetsWeekly, 2005

Stacy Mantle

Cute or not? Gentoo penguin chick

This little cutie was born on Dec. 12 at Moody Gardens in Galveston, Texas.

Need a laugh?

The Chuckle Buddies love to have fun. Marlin the Monkey & Paul the Pooch will explode with uncontrollable laughter when you pass by them while rolling around on the floor. Their laugh is so infectious that you won't be able to help yourself from having a smile on your face.

Get Your Chuckle Buddies for $19.95 each

(via Nerd Approved)


(story here)

Photography by Gary Parker

When attempting to describe Gary Parker’s unique brand of photography forget words.

Begin with this: picture what an exuberant 8 year old boy might do with a camera if he had 25 years of experience winning awards in advertising and photojournalism, could light anything and could read the minds of dogs and go figure, EVEN CATS!

Gary is so busy taking photographs, he actually needs 2 websites to show them
all off.

At Gary Parker's Cat/Dog Photography, I found this wonderful photo:

But Gary Parker Photography, which seems to be his main site, is also crammed full of pet photography, like this:

Doesn't this look like FUN?

Gary Parker Photography also showcases Gary's pro bono work with Little People of America (LPA). His photos encompass the #1 dwarfism photography website in the world, a site which has positively impacted the lives of many Little People families worldwide, as well as many of average stature who have found the portraits a source of inspiration, education and delight.


Please note:
All photographs are the exclusive property of Parker Photographic productions, Inc. – and are protected by US international copyright laws. These photos may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, stored, manipulated, projected or used in any way without the expressed permission of Gary Parker. If you wish to use any of these photographs please contact

Gary Parker is currently creating Gary Parker's "Lunatic Light Workshops,"a series of workshops on various photographic topics including lighting, photoshop techniques, backyard photography, and the art of photographing your pets.

Smile, it's Friday!

Photo from A Blog Around the Clock