Cat Measuring Cup Set

#24.00 at Urban Outfitters

Lifesaving Dog Ceili Gets Nominated for an Award!

By Julia Williams

A few months ago I shared the touching story of a devoted dog named Ceili who became a hero when she saved her owner’s life. Ceili’s “dogged” determination prevented Danny from going upstairs to bed, and when he suffered a massive heart attack a few minutes later, she ran to alert Danny’s wife Gayle. Well, I’ve just received some exciting news about Ceili that I wanted to share. Because of Ceili’s lifesaving actions that night, she is a Top 10 Finalist for a national award given to dogs that have shown extraordinary courage or resolve to help a person in need!

I really hope Ceili wins, because she is a true canine hero and definitely deserves this wonderful award. But what I find most intriguing about this story is that several very important things had to happen before Ceili could save her owner’s life. I’m always fascinated by miracle stories that illustrate how things could have turned out differently “if not for X.” The “X” is always different, but the end result is pretty much the same. 

So what needed to happen in order for Ceili to be able to help Danny? First, a great man named Larry Chusid had to have both a dream and unwavering resolve to see it become a reality. Larry wanted to open a pet food bank in Portland, Oregon, and his passion and vision for achieving this dream attracted the attention of CANIDAE Natural Pet Food Company. CANIDAE donated $125,000 of their pet food to Larry’s nonprofit organization to get the ball rolling, and the Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank opened in November of 2009.

Meanwhile, Ceili’s owners were struggling financially. They were considering the heartbreaking option of giving Ceili up when they learned of the Pongo Fund, which distributes free pet food twice a month to anyone with a genuine need. Danny and Gayle received some CANIDAE dog food for Ceili and she was able to remain with the family she loved. Not long after this, Ceili saved Danny’s life!

I spoke with Gayle, who was delighted by Ceili’s nomination for this award. “Ceili is Danny’s guardian angel dog. Without her, I would be a widow,” she said. Fifteen years ago, the couple found a tiny Lab mix puppy on the street and named her Ceili, because their daughter was an Irish step dancer and a céilí is a social gathering featuring Irish music and dance.

Ceili and Danny have always had a close bond, Gayle said, and now it’s even stronger. “When Danny was in the hospital, Ceili would look for him every day.” Ceili is on the CANIDAE PLATINUM® formula for seniors and overweight dogs, and is “doing great. Ceili loves her CANIDAE food and chows it down. Her coat looks good and she’s not itchy anymore,” said Gayle.

It’s days like this that make me proud to be associated with a company like CANIDAE. Without their generous donation to Larry Chusid’s charity, the Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank would likely not exist. And without this vital avenue for free pet food, many lives would be irrevocably altered, including those of Danny, Gayle and their “hero dog” Ceili.

Read more articles by Julia Williams


This is a corded poodle. I've never seen one before. Have you?
Photo credit: Timothy A. Clary / AFP/Getty Images

Evermore and The Best Dog Food Diet

Would you eat your dog's food? Really?
Two Brooklyn NY women, Hanna Mandelbaum and Alison Wiener (pictured), are more than willing. Not only that, but for a whole month!

The two creators of Evermore Pet Food want to prove that their product is made with integrity. In a recent press release, Hanna states, "Every ingredient is fit for human consumption." The pet food is made of beef or chicken, including livers and hearts, as well as herbs, spices grains, vegetables and fruits. Alison, a personal chef, promises pet owners home-cooked meals from whole-food, healthy ingredients.

Starting March 1st, the two women committed to eating at least one meal a day of Evermore dog food for the entire month. Personally, I love this idea. These are two women who not only stand behind their product...they eat it up.

"Hopefully we will have shiner coats, more energy, and lose excess weight," says Hanna.

Click to find out more about Evermore Pet Food.

A “Pointing Bird Dog” Training Overview

By Lynn Taylor

Training a pointing hunting dog can be a very simple process in some cases, and a long and complicated process in others. However, most people who wish to hunt with their dog, either for leisure or competitively, will find training a hunting dog to be somewhere in between those two extremes. Most hunting enthusiasts will agree the training process is greatly simplified if the chosen dog comes from strong hunting lines. Breeders who are seriously dedicated to promoting the dogs in their breeding lines as hunting dogs will take special care to ensure the litters they produce have traits which make them ideal for hunting. This is done through a process of selective breeding.

In searching for a good hunting dog of a particular breed, potential owners should look for kennels that breed specifically for hunting ability. Additionally, they should visit the parents of the puppy, and learn as much as possible about these dogs including the hunting abilities of the parents. However, even the best bred dogs will still require some degree of training. Many folks see a fine, trained gun dog in action and assume they could never accomplish that kind of performance with their own dog. If you devote some time every day to working with your pup on three basic commands – "whoa," "come" and "heel" – and work toward getting to the point where the dog will unfailingly obey those three commands, you will have a fine bird dog.

"Whoa" is by far the most important of the commands. It simply means, "Stop and DO NOT move until released." The dog must obey this command when it is given no matter how far away he is from you or what he is doing. It is useful in the yard, but it is essential when the dogs are working in the field. If you can "whoa" your dog at any time, you can then go to him and correct anything else he’s done wrong. If he is hunting too far ahead, you can use it to stop him. If he flushes some birds out on his own, you can use it to stop him and train on that offense in the very spot where he blew it. If he insists on goofing around with a shot bird he has picked up, if you can whoa him, YOU can go to him and get the bird from him. If you do it right, he will get the idea that bringing the bird to you and getting stroked is better than dinking around with it away from you.

You will also use the “whoa” command to keep you dog from interfering with the point of another dog when it finds birds and your dog comes up on it. This is called “honoring.” If you can stop your dog, it is then a simple matter to get him to come to you when you want. Most importantly, if you can stop your dog and have him stand still in one place, it is much easier to go to him and stroke and “love him up” for a job well done.

"Come" means "stop what you are doing and come in where I can get my hands on you." If the pup picks up a shot bird and starts to wander off with it, if you can first "whoa" him to stop going in the wrong direction and then tell him to "come," you will get every bird you shoot delivered right to hand. "Heel" simply means "walk by my side until I tell you to do something else." Any time you want to go somewhere with the dog under control, this is the way to do it. Trained properly, a dog will heel unfailingly without a lead so that you can have both hands free to carry things like your gun and all the birds he pointed for you.

It is also important to have a release command such as "ok!" for each of these commands. It lets your dog know he has performed correctly and is now free to hunt for you again. Always take a lot of time to stroke and praise the dog in a pleasant voice when he performs correctly. Good dogs are born wanting to please. If you can show the dog in clear terms what pleases you and repeat that scenario over and over, the dog will become positively addicted to doing the correct action if he knows that by doing so, you think he is the greatest dog in the world.

Upland bird dog training is really just that simple. Even the best field champion is doing nothing more than obeying these three commands very well and using an extreme amount of talent to its greatest potential to find and point birds for his master. Most bird dogs today are being bred with more bird finding and hunting talent than ever before. All you have to do is spend a lot of time with your dog to get him to apply that talent for YOU so that the two of you will be a solid bird hunting team. Neither of you are able to get a bird without the other, but together you’re a team whose performance might someday earn you awards on the field trial course.

Read more articles by Lynn Taylor

Video: Halo the dog, playing pool


The Dangers of Atypical Pets

Great article from a guest blogger -

The Dangers Of Atypical Pets

By Ashley Warner

When it comes to buying pets, most people still aim for dogs and cats, while others opt for small pets like lizards, birds and fish. However, a growing number of people are opting to own more unusual pets. While most animal advocates and people who have studied animal behavior, such as those with online biology degrees, disapprove of this practice, some people see animals like monkeys, reptiles and large cats on television and think it would be great to have one. Yet more often than not, people don't have a full grasp on the responsibility of owning an exotic pet before they purchase one. This can lead to a lot of problems. Having an atypical pet in your home is not only often detrimental to the animal, but it also can put your life risk.

Agencies such as the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are vehemently against the ownership of strange and exotic pets, particularly those that need to be imported. As such, people often obtain these pets illegally. In fact, there are many Web sites that provide people with the ability to purchase atypical pets, which can lead to a lot of legal problems. For instance, there are state, local and federal laws to consider when it comes to owning an exotic pet. However, the legal issues are just the tip of the iceberg.

By owning an atypical pet, you pose a serious risk to your own health and well-being. These animals are often extremely dangerous. When you bring one of them home, odds are you cannot provide them with the extensive care they need such as special diets, as well as a secured and comfortable habitat. The most common risk to public safety is when one of these animals escapes as a result of an enclosure that is too small or poorly constructed. There have been dozens of cases in the news about large snakes, tigers and even monkeys killing animals or attacking people. It is important to remember that wild animals aren't easily tamed like dogs and cats. As a result, they are quick to exhibit aggressive behavior in lieu of a proper habitat or improper feeding. This often leads to unfortunate cases in which an animal lashes out at its owner or other people.

Aside from the behavioral risks, atypical pets also pose health risks. Many strange pets are carriers of disease: most snakes release salmonella. many monkeys carry Herpes-B, and even seemingly harmless prairie dogs often carry the bubonic plague. Most often, these diseases don't harm the animals, but they can prove fatal to humans. By purchasing one of these pets, you are putting yourself at risk to catch a potentially lethal illness. You could also put your family, friends and neighbors at risk.

In addition to putting yourself at risk, you also put the animals at risk. Many people can't get proper veterinary care for odd pets or provide them with proper food. Eventually, most people who buy exotic pets give up on them because they can't take care of the animal properly. In fact, the ecosystem in the Everglades has been devastated by people releasing pythons in to the wild because they have gotten too big to keep in a cage. No matter how well meaning they may be, most people cannot provide the necessary care for an exotic pet.

Ultimately it is best to avoid purchasing an exotic pet, but if you must do so, make sure you understand all of the pet's needs and the risks involved with its care. It is also crucial that you need to know the legal implications as well as the health concerns of having such a pet in your home. If you don't go in to the situation with complete knowledge, you will may find yourself in a terrible situation.


Ashley Warner is a graduate student working toward her Masters in Conservation Biology and is a content creator for Online Biology Degree. She currently resides in Washington state

Video: Cat vs. metronome


Chicago has a new mayor

(He's on the left)
Photo: Scott Strazzante, Chicago Tribune / February 24, 2011

Why is the American Kennel Club Important?

By Linda Cole

The American Kennel Club (AKC) was established on September 17, 1884, with the adoption of a constitution and by-laws. One delegate from each of the 12 active dog clubs that had recently held a bench dog show or field trials, met in Philadelphia to discuss forming a sort of “club of clubs.” The National American Kennel Club had already been established in 1876. With a need for a reliable stud book in the U.S., the AKC combined their records with The National American Kennel Club's Stud Book, which was published in 1878 for a complete and thorough record of a dog's pedigree (male and female) for all registered purebred dogs in America. Westminster Kennel Club was the first dog club to join the AKC and is the only remaining member of the original 12 dog clubs that established the club. The AKC has been responsible for maintaining written documentation of purebred dogs in this country ever since; however, the AKC does more than just keep records.

The American Kennel Club is a nonprofit organization with the largest registry of purebred dogs in the world, and is responsible for the rules and regulations for more than 20,000 AKC-sponsored events every year. The Westminster Dog Show is one of the AKC’s more famous events, but they also oversee events in other conformation dog shows, rally, lure coursing, hunting tests, field trials, agility, herding, tracking, obedience, coonhound events, and earthdog tests. The AKC’s mission is to be an advocate for purebred dogs as family companions, to advance dog health, to be a champion for the rights of all dog owners and promote responsible dog ownership. The AKC is responsible for the integrity of the Stud Book, and promotes dog sports and dog breeding to make sure breed standards are maintained.

The AKC does not certify breeders or have the authority to shut a kennel down for non compliance of their rules or refusing to let AKC inspect their kennel. “AKC-registered” doesn't mean the puppies or dogs are of a higher quality than dogs not registered. It only means the dog's parentage has been recorded. Random inspections of breeders are done yearly by the American Kennel Club to make sure the dogs are receiving proper care and have acceptable living conditions, and to ascertain that breeders are keeping accurate records.

The AKC Canine Good Citizen Program was started in 1989 to promote responsible pet ownership and give dogs with good manners their just rewards. The purpose of the program is to help people understand that even in the home, a well mannered dog who gets along with other dogs and people is much easier to live with.

AKC CAR. Since 1995, the Companion Animal Recovery has been providing microchips at an affordable cost to pet owners for protection if their pets ever become lost or stolen. Proceeds from the sale of the microchips go to support scholarships for Veterinary school, canine support, disaster relief and other causes.

DNA testing. Field agents from AKC's Investigations and Inspections Department take DNA samples from randomly selected breeders during an inspection of their facilities. The agents use a swab to swipe the inside of the dog's cheek. The testing helps the AKC verify that information provided by the breeder is accurate and the pedigree of the puppies has been correctly documented. DNA tests are required under AKC's Frequently Used Sires requirement for any dog that is listed as the father in seven or more litters in his lifetime or is documented as the father of more than three litters in a year. The American Kennel Club has the largest database of DNA profiles of dogs in the world.

AKC Canine Partners Program. In 2009, the AKC began allowing owners of mixed breed dogs to register their pet with them. After the dog has been registered, he/she is then eligible to participate in AKC-sponsored events around the country in obedience, agility and rally trials.

The American Kennel Club was started by a group of men who were passionate about their dogs and enjoyed the sport of hunting. Throughout the history of the AKC, this organization has been a strong and dedicated advocate for purebred dogs and for their continued good health through responsible breeding. The goal of the American Kennel Club has always been to register and maintain an accurate lineage of all purebred dogs for excellence in all of the breeds we know and love.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

Product Review: Clean & Green - Furniture Refresher for Dogs & Cats

I was asked to swap my current fabric refresher
for the Clean+Green Furniture Refresher, and seeing that a free sample was offered, I thought, "Sure, why not?"

With three cats, 2 resident smokers, and numerous visitors who smoke, I have to admit that there are days when my house smells a little less than fresh. I have plug-in air fresheners, and use powder odor control in the litter boxes, but never realized that our furniture and draperies retained so much of our household odors.

I've been using Clean+Green Furniture Refresher for more than a week now. I've sprayed the furniture, including the big leather recliner, the drapes, the window blinds, the carpeting, and have to admit I've even sprayed the litter boxes. Because the product is unscented, it's hard to realize that it's working, until I've been out of the house all day and come home to smell - nothing! My house smells great!

OK, one last test. My dear husband's gymn shoes smell bad enough to choke a horse. I sprayed those, too. Checked the next day & the odor is gone. Wonderful!

Clean+Green Furniture Refresher has all natural ingredients: cane sugar derivatives, proprietary botanical extracts and hydrated cellulose, purified water and nitrogen propellant (non-flammable & eco friendly.)

It's also very easy to use: Just spray - no need to soak, scrub or rinse.



Kelly reviews NOse Offense

Sometimes I'm sent products to review, and if I think they're products that might help other pet people, I like to share my findings. So when the good folks at NOse Offense offered to send me a bottle of their pet odor neutralizing product, I agreed to give it a try.

When my house has a doggy odor, my family and I might not notice, Kelly probably likes it, but guests might sniff something less than flowery in the air. Like many of you, I look for gentle cleansers and avoid air fresheners that might be harsh or even toxic.

NOse Offense says that their product is:
*fragrance free.
*natural and organic.
*100% free of enzymes, alcohol, phosphates, phenol or phenol derivatives.
*plant based-- the active ingredient is made from the mature Castor Bean plant.
*green--dedicated to using recyclable packaging and bottle.

I tried NOse Offense; the product was easy to use and effective. I noticed no heavy perfume or cover-up fragrance. Hey, I'm all for a natural product that can help eliminate problem pet odors. If you're interested in learning more, check out NOse Offense.

Sugar substitutes can poison pets

According to the ASPCA’s poison-control office, more dogs than ever are being poisoned by products containing xylitol. That’s partly because xylitol is being used more widely but also because pet owners aren’t sufficiently aware of its dangers.

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that is used as a sugar-free sweetener in candy, gum, baked goods, oral hygiene products and over-the-counter medications, cough drops and throat sprays. For humans Xylitol has been declared safe for use as an artificial sweetener. Pets, particularly dogs and ferrets, can become very ill if they ingest xylitol.

A few sugar-free candies, a pack of gum, a spilled tin of mints or a cup of sugar-free gelatin is all it could take to send a dog into hypoglycemia-induced seizures. Just a bit more could bring on liver failure.

FDA is advising consumers to always read the label on products and to not presume that a product that is safe for humans is safe for your pet.

If you suspect your pet has ingested xylitol, some signs to look for are depression, loss of coordination and vomiting. The signs of illness may occur within minutes to days of ingesting xylitol. Owners should consult their veterinarian or pet poison control center immediately for advice if they know or suspect that their pet has ingested a human product containing xylitol.


Can horses fly?

In 1872, former Governor of California Leland Stanford, a businessman and race-horse owner, had taken a position on a popularly-debated question of the day: whether all four of a horse's hooves are off the ground at the same time during a gallop.

Stanford sided with this assertion, called "unsupported transit", and took it upon himself to prove it scientifically. Stanford sought out photographer Eadweard Muybridge and hired him to settle the question.

A series of photos taken in Palo Alto, California, is called Sallie Gardner at a Gallop or The Horse in Motion, and shows that the hooves do all leave the ground — although not with the legs fully extended forward and back, as contemporary illustrators tended to imagine, but rather at the moment when all the hooves are tucked under the horse as it switches from "pushing" with the back legs to "pulling" with the front legs.

Muybridge used a battery of cameras lined along a track. The first camera had to be triggered manually, but the rest were automatically triggered by an electronic apparatus he designed.

This series of photos stands as one of the earliest forms of videography.


How to Make Your Human Do What You Want

By Rocky Williams

I am ecstaticat that my “Warden” is letting me write another guest post here. Well, actually I demanded it, and since I have her wrapped around my little paw, she had to say yes. So today I want to offer a sort of “public service” post for the cats of the world. First things first – all human beans need to click away now – this information is not for you! Don’t make me hunt you down and claw you up, because I will.

Okay…onward. As a cat, I’ve learned many things about how to get my way. Once you understand a few simple rules, your Warden will be putty in your paws, and you’ll be able to do anything you want to.

Rule #1: Be Persistent

When my Warden is lying on her back in bed, her plump tummy makes a very comfy pillow. I climb onto it. “Ooof, Rocky! You’re too heavy,” she says, pushing me off (yes, I am a BIG boy!). Undeterred, I climb back on. She pushes me off, again and again. But here’s the thing: a determined cat will always be able to outlast a human bean. Guaranteed! All you have to do is be persistent, and eventually they will give up. I use this technique for when I want to counter surf too. The Warden knows it’s fruitless to make me get down, because I’ll just get right back up there.

Rule #2: Be Annoying

I use this technique when I think it’s time for my noms but the Warden is still in bed. I do things like rustle plastic bags, scratch at the door, paw the dresser drawer open, claw the carpet, and bite the fleshy part of her arm – basically, anything that will irritate her enough so she has to get up to make me stop. It works like a charm!

I also use this technique when it’s my dinner time but the Warden won’t stop typing. I jump up on her desk and rub my furry self all over her monitor. I walk on her keyboard making sure to hit the delete key at least once. I meow loudly in her ear, chew on her papers and just generally make a nuisance of myself any way I can. It doesn’t take long before she realizes that whatever she’s writing will have to wait until after I get my noms.

Rule #3: Be Noisy

My cellmate Mickey and I work together on this technique that we use to get the Warden out of bed, or when we want her to pay attention to us. We engage in mock battles, making loud war cries that sound like we’re in a fight to the death. It’s all fake, but we sound so convincing that she rushes in to save us from each other. Haha!

The noisy technique works wonders for mealtimes too. Mickey, Annabelle and I all begin meowing incessantly in the kitchen whenever the Warden is in there. We meow so loudly and plaintively that it makes her race to give us our yummy FELIDAE cat food just to shut us up.

Rule #4: There’s Power in Numbers

As I said above, my cellmates and I often team up to get the Warden to do what we want. So if you live in a multi-cat household, it’s infinitely easier to get your human to do what you want! No matter which technique you employ, you’ll get your way much faster if you join forces with the other feline inmates.

I hope you find these four tips helpful for training your human. And remember – it’s your house; you just allow them to live in it with you, because they feed you!

P.S. That's me in the photo, when I was inky dinky.

Read more articles by Rocky Williams

Today's awwww

Photo credit: Jeff Christensen / Associated Press

10 Downing Street has a new ratcatcher

The news of Larry's arrival at 10 Downing Street had reached the rodent community just after midday.

In the sewers beneath Westminster, along the rat-runs that criss-cross the Number 10 lawn, and in every dark corner of the corridors of power, it set tiny hearts a-beating.

Downing Street had a new cat. Not just any cat, either.

This was the one they called the rat-catcher. And from the moment Larry the white-and-tabby tom crossed the threshold, it was probably a bad day to be vermin.

Nothing is known about Larry’s past, save that he is aged about four and was rescued early in January after apparently living rough. He was taken to Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, neutered, and nursed back to fine fettle by its rehoming team.

When Downing Street asked for a suitably friendly cat to deal with rats scurrying about in the buildings and on live TV broadcasts, the home volunteered Larry.

David Cameron gave a warm welcome to the four-year-old feline – who promptly fell asleep on a sofa rather than getting to work tackling the rat infestation.


Read about other famous cats

Photo: Mark Large / Getty Images

Edible Giant Toasted Leafcutter Ants


A delicacy in many parts of Northern South America, these ants - the largest type of leafcutter ant in the world - are thought to be aphrodisiacs, and are therefore quite a common wedding gift.

They also make a nice snack, which is why ThinkGeek is selling Giant Toasted Leafcutter Ants.

(via The Presurfer)

What are the Benefits of Grain Free Pet Food?

By Suzanne Alicie

When I found out that CANIDAE offered a grain free line of pet food, it piqued my curiosity. Until then the only reference I had concerning grain free food was when I had gone to a small feed store to pick up a bag of dog food. Limited funds at the time had me inquiring about the least expensive brand they had, so I could get through a few weeks and go back to my regular dog food.

The man at the feed store told me what the price was and mentioned that my dogs might appear to love it more than what I usually fed them, but that would be because they needed to eat more to be full or gain energy since it was mostly grain and rice. I had never given any real thought to what dog food was made of; I always assumed every brand was rich in protein and contained meat. My dogs did eat the inexpensive food as if they were ravenous, and an amount of food that normally would last three weeks was gone in about two weeks. I went back to my regular dog food and didn’t give it another thought.

While interviewing Bryce of Bryce Mann’s Gun Dogs and Guide Service, I found out a great deal more about grain free pet food. Bryce had problems with one of his dogs several years ago before he became part of the CANIDAE Special Achiever program, and was told by his vet that the dog needed a lot of high protein foods. Foods such as eggs and potatoes were recommended to supplement the food his dog was eating at the time. Now, instead of cooking for his dogs while he’s on the road, they eat the CANIDAE Grain Free pureELEMENTS™ food.

The benefit of grain free pet food really depends on the dog. Grain free food provides lots of energy and nutrition for your dog, but if you have a house dog, an older dog, or one with limited mobility, grain free food might cause your dog to gain weight. Grain free food is recommended for active dogs that need to draw on that excess energy. Your veterinarian can help you decide which type of dog food is ideal for your pet, but it is definitely worth looking into grain free food if you have a working dog of any kind.

Another reason some dogs may need grain free food is if they suffer from grain intolerance. This can often result in bloating, vomiting and other forms of stomach distress for your dog. CANIDAE Grain Free Pet Food contains no grain, and includes meat, vegetable and fruit proteins to be easy to digest. Grain free food that is rich in real meat products and protein can improve the skin and coat of your dog while providing energy and well balanced nutrition with vitamins and minerals.

Grain free food is often recommended for pregnant dogs and lactating dogs, to provide the energy the dam needs to produce healthy puppies and provide them with nutrients as well. If you’ve looked into grain free dog food and have decided with your veterinarian that it would be a good choice for your dog, it’s important that you follow some basic guidelines to transition your dog to this type of food.

A dog’s sensitive digestive tract requires gradual changes in diet that allows their system to acclimate to the changes. The easiest way to introduce a new diet to your dog is to begin adding the new food to your dog’s old food over the course of a week. For the first two days, add 25% of the new food to the old food. For the third and fourth days serve your dog a 50/50 mixture. Continue on the fifth and sixth days by serving 75% of the new food and only 25% of the old. On day seven you can feed your dog the new food only. If you notice any stomach upset or reactions from your dog, stick with the mixed products for a few more days to allow him to acclimate.

The CANIDAE line includes four holistic Grain Free pure formulas for dogs, and two for cats. Right now, for a limited time, you can save up to $5 on the grain free dog food and up to $4 on the grain free cat food. Simply visit the CANIDAE website to request a coupon. (Offer limited to the U.S. and Canada).

Grain free pet food is an excellent choice for many dogs and cats, but it’s not necessarily perfect for every pet. It is up to you as a responsible pet owner to do your homework or consult with your veterinarian concerning your animal’s individual needs. You can also call CANIDAE Natural Pet Food Company at (800) 398-1600. Their customer service reps are very knowledgeable, and happy to discuss the benefits of grain free pet food with you.

Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie

Today's awwww

Flickr, katie de bruycker

Diseases You Can Get From a Cat


Pet lovers commonly ask this question. Are there any diseases that humans can catch from pets?

The answer is yes.
Diseases or infections that are transmitted from animals to animals and animals to humans are called "zoonoses", and they can pose serious health risks.

Diseases you can catch from your cat include:

Cat scratch disease - This is a disease that is caused by bacteria that are carried in cat saliva. The bacteria can be passed from a cat to a human through biting or scratching.

Rabies - This infection is caused by a virus found in the saliva of infected animals and is transmitted to pets and humans by bites. Infected bats, raccoons, foxes, skunks, dogs or cats pose the greatest risk to humans.

Toxoplasmosis - You can acquire this parasitic disease from soil or other contaminated surfaces by putting your hands to your mouth after gardening, cleaning a cat's litter box, or by touching anything that has come into contact with cat feces.

Parasites - They include roundworms and hookworms, which can all be transmitted from cats to humans. These parasites are transmitted through contact with feces or the soil it contaminates. Hookworms can even infect humans through the soles of their feet. For these reasons, children are especially at risk, so make sure they wash their hands thoroughly after handling the cat.

Ringworm - This contagious fungal disease can affect the scalp, the body (particularly the groin), the feet and the nails. Despite its name, it has nothing to do with worms. The name comes from the characteristic red ring that can appear on an infected person's skin. Cats are primary carriers of this disease, much more so than dogs.

All animals can acquire zoonotic diseases, but animals at increased risk include: outdoor pets, unvaccinated animals, pets that are immunocompromised (they have a suppressed immune system), poorly groomed animals, and animals that are housed in unsanitary conditions.

People with immune disorders or those on chemotherapy or immunosuppressive therapy may be at increased risk of infection.

Animals with zoonotic diseases may exhibit a variety of clinical signs depending on the type of disease. The signs can vary from mild to severe. As a pet owner you should know your animal and be aware of any changes in behavior and appearance.

The MOST important thing you can do for protection is to make sure that you and your family wash your hands after any contact with any urine and feces. Always wash your hands before eating.

Wednesday Pet Roundup

Hi and welcome to Wednesday Pet Roundup.

Jocelyn from has once again offered me a great product to review, and I can't wait to show you. It could be something for grooming, or travel, or play...I'm keeping it a secret for now. csnstores carries everything for pets: dog beds, cat trees, pet toys, aquariums, even rabbit hutches. And, when you're done browsing the pet supplies, check out something for the rest of the family too, such as outdoor playsets and things for spring!

Now, here are some facts about guinea pigs. (That's little me with my guinea pig, Gulliver.)

Guinea pigs:

1. are rodents, not pigs. (although some scientists now say they are a class of their own.)

2. squeak.

3. purr.

4. can swim.

5. can hop and jump.

I also thought I'd share with you some facts I learned while writing my Guideposts column, Pawsitively Pets.


1. are one of the smallest type of parrot.

2. don't need to be kept in pairs.

3. bond with their human parents.

4. like to cuddle.

5. love to clown around.

Interspecies Love: A man and his duck

ECHO PARK, LOS ANGELES -- In recent months the popular lap around Echo Park Lake has included a man and a goose, and together, they make for one unlikely love story.

"I never thought I'd be 65 years old and in love with a goose," said Dominic Ehrler.

Ehrler would take his daily walks, and pretty soon, the goose, nicknamed Maria by locals, was shadowing him every time he showed up.

Maria sticks by Erhler's side, even soaring alongside his red scooter as he rides home for the day.


Dancing Pet Speaker

Connect your new pet to any mp3 player, iPod or computer and watch it project and dance along to your music! Requires 2- AA batteries; connection cable included. Dance kitteh!

$40.00 at Urban Outfitters

Qualities of a Good Search and Rescue Dog

By Linda Cole

Some dogs are just naturals at searching for people who have become lost in the wilderness or buried under rubble or snow. In London during WW II, dogs that had never been trained in search and rescue (SAR) found people buried in debris after bombing raids destroyed their city. Dogs have been by our side for centuries helping us locate those in need. However, along with proper training, there are specific qualities a good SAR dog needs to reliably aid his human handler. Like people, some dogs aren't suited for rescue work.

Last year, Suzanne Alicie introduced us to Scout, an avalanche rescue dog in the CANIDAE Special Achievers program. Like all search and rescue dogs, Scout has the training and qualities needed to locate his victims. Scout is a purebred Chocolate Labrador retriever, but a good search and rescue dog can be any breed – purebred or mixed breed. The pedigree of a dog isn't important, but their character is.

Man has been using dogs to search for lost souls for centuries. Barry the Great Saint Bernard lived with monks during the early 1800s, at a hospice that had been built in a mountain pass to give refuge to people crossing over the Alps between Switzerland and Italy. Barry, along with a team of dogs, patrolled a 49 mile route used by people traveling through the pass. The dogs could smell someone buried under snow and were trained to sniff out and rescue travelers who had become lost or stranded in the mountains.

The dogs proved to be so capable of working without the monks that they were sent out on their own in groups of two or three to patrol the area. One or two dogs stayed with the victim, lying on them to keep them warm while the other one raced back to the hospice for help. Barry is famous as the dog with the most rescues. These dogs were the early version of today's Saint Bernard. The breed was named after the Augustine monk who established the hospice, St. Bernard de Menthon.

The dogs trained by the monks possessed the same qualities then as do today's search and rescue dogs – hard working, dedicated, well socialized with people, strong, smart and a good nose. A SAR dog must be able to cover all kinds of terrain or debris and have the stamina to handle distance and the time needed to complete the job. He must be intelligent, agile, have good balance and strong legs for digging, jumping or climbing.

Search and rescue dogs must be confident, friendly and outgoing. They can't be bothered by loud or sudden sounds, and must be able to get along well with other dogs and people. A good rescue dog is focused and ignores distractions. A strong work ethic is essential in rescue work, but to the dog, it's not work – it's a game they love to play. Too many times during a rescue operation, the victim is out of sight and it's essential for the dog to have an excellent nose and a willingness to listen to their handler.

A good search and rescue dog can be male or female; there is no advantage to one or the other. Newfoundlands make the best search dogs for water rescues, while dogs from the herding, sporting or working groups are generally regarded as being the best breeds for rescue work on land. However, any breed or mixed breed that weighs at least 50 to 70 pounds can be trained to do this grueling work. Although smaller dog breeds are not typically used in search and rescue work, some can be capable of it. In London during WWII, a wired-haired terrier was used to search bombed out buildings for people and animals that had been trapped inside. Her name was Beauty, and because of the many human and animal lives she saved, Beauty received the Pioneer Medal that normally was only given to humans. Beauty also received the Dickin Award, the highest honor given to animals for bravery which is equal to the Victoria Cross.

Without the help of well trained search and rescue dogs, many souls would have been lost. We owe these exceptional dogs and the people who work with and train them, our gratitude for the job they do. CANIDAE understands the commitment it takes for SAR dogs and their handlers who risk their lives to save those in need. Their Special Achievers program was created to support these extraordinary canines and others like them – dogs that make a difference in the lives of many. You can read about Scout and other Special Achievers on the CANIDAE website.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

Please dont pet the cassowary

Australians trying to rebuild in the wake of Cyclone Yasi have been warned to stay away from cassowaries – huge flightless birds with claws that can disembowel a human – on the hunt for food after their habitat was destroyed by the storm.

Residents of communities around Mission Beach, on the north Queensland coast, which was almost flattened by the category five cyclone earlier this month, have been advised to beware of the 6ft tall birds, which are known to attack if they feel threatened.

In 2007 cassowaries were named the most dangerous birds in the world by the Guinness Book of Records.


Photo credit: Robert South

Milk mustache?

Excellent photo collection at Buzzfeed: 35 Fancy Cats With Mustaches

I love this one:

A Volunteer's Story

In this blog, I've had the opportunity to share stories about patients and pets from several of our hospice partners. Typically, the stories come from the local PPOM Coordinators at each hospice. This time, though, I have the wonderful privilege of sharing some personal journalling complied by a Pet Peace of Mind hospice volunteer, Valerie Canepa. Listen to her perspective as she recalls the assignments at Columbus Hospice in Georgia.

April 2010: It's 7 a.m. and my mission is to take two dogs to the groomer, drop them off and then pick them up later in the day. The owner is confined to a wheelchair and does not drive. Armed with two sturdy pet carriers and directions to the home, I am confident I'll be at my office job by 8 a.m.

Until I see the dogs.

Both are friendly, sweet dogs, but I was told one would be small and the other "medium." I have crates for small and medium pets, but the Lab mix is several inches taller than the door of the larger pet carrier.
I prod and push and attempt to bribe the oversized dog into the undersized carrier with a dog treat. No luck. The dog's owner, from her wheelchair in the kitchen, tries too, but the dog digs her haunches into the linoleum floor. Rule #1 of the Pet Peace of Mind training program specifies that pets must be transported in carriers, for safety reasons. This means I can't just throw the dog in the back of the car and speed away.

"How about tomorrow?" I say to the owner. "I can get a larger carrier and come by at the same time tomorrow."
"Let's do it today," she says, setting the brake on her wheelchair and regrouping for another round with the stubborn dog. Although I have more muscle to apply to the task, she clearly has the edge in determination. "Let's try it again," she insists.

And at that moment, I learned an important lesson. For me, tomorrow is just another day at the office. Yet for a patient in hospice care, tomorrow is a goal and not a given. Decisions about life and living, even seemingly minor ones, must be made today.

And, a few hours later, I bring home two clean and happy dogs to a grateful owner.

I can't think of any better description of what it means to be a hospice volunteer than the words Valerie uses to tell this story. It's funny how those of us who volunteer or work in hospice think we are there to teach others, to help them out, to make their lives easier. The truth is, patients and families and yes, even their pets, have so much more to teach us---about how to live, how to love and how to make today count. Please consider becoming a hospice volunteer--even if your local hospice doesn't have a Pet Peace of Mind program yet, you might be the person who helps make it happen!

Pets for Vets Heals Hearts and Saves Lives

By Julia Williams

Last month, Linda Cole wrote about Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet, a wonderful organization that helps U.S. servicemen and women by providing temporary foster homes for their pets while they’re deployed overseas. Today I want to tell you about another important nonprofit organization that not only helps our military veterans, but countless shelter animals too! The Pets for Vets program brings together two wounded souls, so each can have a second chance at life.

Pets for Vets is a nonprofit organization created by 27-year old animal trainer Clarissa Black, in connection with local Veterans Affairs Hospitals. Their stated mission is “to heal wounds through friendship.” They do this by placing homeless shelter pets with veterans who need the special love and companionship an animal can provide. The Pets for Vets program is a way to give back to those who serve our country, while also giving shelter pets the opportunity to live in a loving forever home. It’s a win-win situation for humans and animals alike!

Many veterans suffer from physical and emotional injuries that make it hard for them to return to civilian life after military duty. As a result of their time in a war zone, many returning soldiers struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, addiction, nightmares, anxiety, anger management and other ailments. Pets for Vets believes that companion animals can provide the life-saving “therapy” these men and women so desperately need to turn their life around. In return, the veterans provide the pets with the friendship, affection and permanent home environment they deserve. In essence, together they help each other heal!

What makes the Pets for Vets program unique is the hands-on training the animals receive before being paired with a veteran. Clarissa Black, an animal lover since childhood, trained elephants and dolphins before deciding to become a professional dog trainer. In addition to training dog and cat “actors” to work in film and television, Black works with pet owners who need help with behavioral issues, basic and advanced obedience, and behaviors that facilitate relationship-building between dogs and their owners.

Pets for Vets is a Los Angeles-based charity, and any veteran in the southern California area with a condition that could benefit from having an animal companion is eligible to receive one from the charity. The veterans interview with the Pets for Vets team so they can determine what kind of pet would fit their needs and lifestyles. Once the perfect pet/veteran match is found, Black takes the animal to her home, where she trains it in basic obedience, socialization and behaviors it will need in order to live with the new owner. This might include becoming comfortable around wheelchairs and crutches, or important behaviors needed to help a veteran with brain injuries or PTSD.

Black’s training goal is to help ensure that the pet and vet are lifelong companions. Once the pet is fully trained and ready to go to his new home, Pets for Vets provides all of the necessary equipment for the veteran, such as food and water bowls, leashes, collars and crates. Although this program is currently only available to veterans in southern California, Black hopes to be able to expand the program to other areas soon.

If you’d like to help this worthwhile organization, there are several different ways to do so. You can make a tax-deductible monetary donation, or donate new or gently used items they need, including food bowls, dog toys, grooming supplies, towels and a good quality dry dog food that doesn’t contain wheat or corn, such as CANIDAE ALS (see their complete wish list here).

Pets for Vets also sells a variety of merchandise online, with all proceeds going to the charity. Items include T-shirts for people and dogs, hats, mugs, bumper stickers, tote bags, keychains and more. To learn more, visit the Pets for Vets website.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

Wolves: leave Montana, now!

"If there is a dang wolf in your corral attacking your pregnant cow, shoot that wolf. And if its pals are in the corral, shoot them, too," says Montana governor Brian Schweitzer.

Schweitzer declared he was ready to order state game officials to kill off entire wolf packs in defiance of federal protections under the Endangered Species Act.

In a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, the two-term Democrat cited his authority as governor to uphold citizens' rights "to protect their property and to continue to enjoy Montana's cherished wildlife heritage and traditions."

Schweitzer said he was driven to act out of an urgent need to assist ranchers and sportsmen left unable to control wolves posing a serious threat to livestock and elk herds.


Book Review: Photobooth Dogs

Photobooth Dogs is a wonderful collection of 100 portraits, taken in photobooths, of folks who love their dogs and decided to create a photo memory of that love.

Cameron Woo, co-founder and creative director of The Bark, collected the photos from flea markets and attic boxes and documented 80 some years worth of memories.

Looking at some of these nostalgic photos makes me want to run out and find a photobooth and bring my cats to pose with me.

(via Dog Art Today)

Photo : copyright Cameron Woo, 2010

Dog Behavior: Does Your Pooch Act Like You?

We all know that yawning can be contagious, especially in late afternoon meetings. Same thing seems to happen to dogs, according to one study. In it, dogs were paired with a person they'd never met before and placed sitting face to face. Researchers found when people yawned, the majority of pups yawned back, which suggests a certain level of empathy in the dogs.

Another study found dogs actually may be more interested in doing what their owners do than in getting food rewards. In the study, dogs were trained by their owners to open a sliding glass door using either their head or paw. Half of the dogs received treats when they opened the door the same way their owners did. The other half were rewarded only when they opened it the opposite way their owners did. Researchers found that the dogs seemed to be more motivated to open the door exactly as their owners had than to open it differently and get a treat.

If you tune in to some of your dog's subtle behaviors, you'll probably notice other human-like qualities. Heck, he may even remind you of yourself!

Dieting with My Dog--My First Models

The book is written, the contract with a publisher signed, and the release date set (this August!) But my work isn't done. Now I am spending time on the promotional material needed to get the word out and let people know when Dieting with My Dog hits the shelves! One step is to create a video book trailer-- a teaser; to give you a flavor for the book. Just like a movie trailer, but for a book.

I'm keeping secret the exact details of the trailer, but I'll be so excited to share the finished product with you when it's ready! One thing I will tell you: for my video book trailer, I need a lot of different dogs. We just set out filming our first group of dogs, and they were amazing. You might even recognize one or two of them! I can't thank the participants enough, each dog is a superstar to me. Check them out! (above is foster dog Rockette.)


Maggie Mae

Levi Mac


The moms with the kids.

Me with the models. Thank you superstars!

Video: Cat Laser Bowling

I really, really MUST try this with my own cats ...

(via The Daily What)

Video: Kitten in Slow Motion

Video: Corgi Tetherball


It's Pet Dental Health Month

Have you taken a good look at your pet's mouth lately? According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats show signs of oral health problems by the time they're only 3 years old. Like us, pets need dental care, not just to keep their teeth pearly white, but for their whole health. Poor dental health can contribute to conditions such as liver disease, heart disease, intestinal problems and more.

Thanks to petsitusa for the info!

If your pet has bad breath, swollen gums (or red or bleeding gums), yellow teeth, tartar, missing teeth, or is reluctant to chew it's definitely time for a visit to your veterinarian. The best way to avoid problems like this though is by having regular checkups with your veterinarian, and preventive care. Brushing your pets' teeth and giving chew toys to help scrub away tartar are excellent ways to help your cat or dog have a healthy mouth. So, in honor of Pet Dental Health month, make a commitment to your pets. Learn how to brush their teeth, and if they haven't seen the vet recently, make an appointment today.

The Ultimate Pampered Pooches

31-year-old Louise Harris has to be one of the craziest dog owners in the world, having spent over $160,000 in the last six years, buying jewelry and accessories for her three pets.

Harris' 3 dogs, Lola, Lulu, and Larry only wear collars and tiaras studded with rubies, emeralds and Swarovski crystals, as well as the latest designer accessories, and receive weekly massages and deep coat conditioning treatments. The dogs sleep in a $3,200 four-poster bed and are featured in a commissioned oil painting that cost $8,000. Oh, and last Christmas they received $6,500 worth of presents.

Change your name to an "L" word & maybe she'll adopt you?

(via Oddity Central and Daily Mail)

Can Computer Games Teach Kids about Pet Care?

By Tamara L. Waters

Computer games have become a way of life for kids and adults alike. When it comes to pet-related games, do any of them actually teach skills or instill learning that will help a kid become a responsible pet owner? My own children have enjoyed computer games that involve caring for pets and while some are silly and useless entertainment, a few can actually introduce responsible pet care to children who have never owned a pet.

Pet Vet 3D: Animal Hospital

With this game, the player becomes a veterinarian who takes care of an assorted variety of animals – from horses and ponies, to cats, dogs, bunnies and even piglets. My daughter really enjoyed this game as she learned facts about the animals “she” was treating, and it piqued her interest to learn more about these animals and their care.

There are other similar computer games that allow the player to “become” a veterinarian and provide care for furry patients. There is Paws & Claws Pet Vet, Paws & Claws Pet Vet 2, Pet Vet 3D: Wild Animal Hospital, and Happy Tails: Animal Shelter which allows you to care for animals and find them a forever home.

Petz 5

This has been a favorite game for my kids. While the pet care obviously isn't realistic, I found that this game helped my kids learn about caring for pets in a fun and easy way. With this game, you choose a pet (a dog or a cat in your choice of breed and color), name it and then set out to play with and care for your pet. The animals in Petz 5 want affection (just like a real pet), need to be fed, played with, and paid attention to. If you don't feed your pet, he or she might run away.

What I found with this game was that while it was mostly for fun and entertainment, it introduced my kids to the concept that pets aren't toys that you just put away or care for when you feel like it. After the first time or two my kids forgot to care for their virtual pets and they ran away, they were more vigilant about making sure they took care of and fed their pets.


The Facebook game Petville is a game that my nine-year-old daughter enjoyed but it was simply for entertainment purposes. I played it with her several times and found that it wasn't a game that really provided more than that. The care for the pet isn't very realistic and even though a pet will run away if you forget to feed it, you can easily pay to get it back from the pound.

In real life, this isn't how it works. Thankfully, my children have real pets to care for, and they understand that feeding, socializing and regular care is just part of daily life when you have a pet.

How can these computer games help kids learn about responsible pet ownership? I do believe they provide value by introducing kids to the concept of pet care, but all in all, they are just games. Nothing is the same as the actual hands-on care of pets. If you would like an opportunity to teach your children hands-on pet care with real pets, check with your local animal shelter. Many shelters appreciate and need volunteers who are willing to come in and play with the animals, walk them, brush them and provide actual care. This is a better way to help your kids learn about caring for real pets prior to bringing a pet into your home.

Read more by Tamara L. Waters



So, who is cuter?

In light of Hickory, a Scottish deerhound, winning Westminster, Hollywood Life wants your opinion - who's cuter - Hickory,

or the pink poodle, who is an accomplished runway model.

Cast your vote.

Best in show: Scottish deerhound

Hickory, a Scottish deerhound from Virginia, took top honors at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Tuesday night. She is the first member of her breed ever to win best in show at Westminster.

The Scottish deerhound, a large sighthound originally used to hunt stags, has existed in much the same form since around the 16th century. A deerhound was once the prized pet of Sir Walter Scott, who described the breed as "the most perfect creature of heaven."


Need some social networking? Get a dog!

For this cold winter weather, I have quite the appropriate guest blog: how dogs are the perfect ice breaker. Okay, so it's not that kind of ice breaker. But dogs can help us break the ice, socially, as guest blogger Heather Reynolds shares.

How Dogs are the Perfect Ice Breaker
Guest Post by Heather Reynolds

When I first moved to the Seattle area, I was right out of college and still a small town girl looking to make her way in a city. I lived on my own in a small apartment and while I had an internship three days a week, I was shy and didn’t really meet any real friends.

About six months into my life as a city girl, I decided to start looking for a canine companion. I had always been a pet lover and grew up with pets, and was excited to bring the first one into my life as an adult. I did a lot of research about the best pets for city life, and decided on the Italian Greyhound. As luck would have it, a friend of mine worked at the local humane society and alerted me to an Italian Greyhound that was brought in as a surrender. I immediately went to visit with her and brought her home that same day. (There she is in the photo, above!)

From that day on, I had an instant connection with several other people in the city. No longer was I ignored on my evening walks around my neighborhood. I was stopped several times by others walking their dogs to chat for a few seconds about how the neighborhood was so dog-friendly and did I see the new pet supply store that opened down the street?

And it wasn’t just other dog owners. Others out walking by themselves or sitting at outdoor cafes would stop me to ogle my cute little dog. This increased if I dressed her up in a coat or cute shirt – she was a celebrity!

I met new people every day and many of the same people who walked on our schedule. I got to know them and looked forward to chatting with them while we were out.

Dog parks also became a mecca for meeting new people. Pet owners trust other pet owners, of that I was starting to learn. I would discuss training techniques, health conditions, toys, crates, and clothes with complete strangers like we had known each other for years. I would pet their dog and my dog would jump up onto their lap for a snuggle. We would laugh as our dogs chased each other around the park, and look for other dogs like our own. It was an instant bond that I had never experienced before in my life.

I met some of my best friends by starting a conversation about our dogs and even now I have a job that is centered around my love of pets. Dogs are absolutely the best ice breaker if you are new to an area or simply a touch shy.

What has been your experience with using dogs as an ice breaker?

* Heather Reynolds is a pet lover and internet journalist at Trupanion. Feel free to contact her with any questions related to cat and dog insurance at

Help Surf Dog Ricochet Take a Bite out of Breast Cancer!

By Julia Williams

When I first wrote about Surf Dog Ricochet early last year, I knew she was incredibly special and destined to do great work during her lifetime. CANIDAE knew it too, because not long after that article ran, they honored Ricochet with a coveted spot in their Special Achievers program. CANIDAE created this sponsorship program as a way to support exemplary pets and their owners, and Ricochet and her amazing “Mom” Judy, certainly qualify.

What makes these two so extraordinary in my eyes is not that Ricochet can surf (which is admittedly very cool) and that Judy found a unique way to use her dog’s talent and pawsome personality to help others. It’s not even that Surf Dog Ricochet has become a famous fundraising “Super Dog” who supports a variety of worthwhile causes for humans and animals alike, or that Ricochet received the AKC Award for Canine Excellence last year, a national award given to only five dogs every year.

Don’t get me wrong. All of those are inspiring accomplishments, and Ricochet and Judy deserve to be commended for all of the wonderful work they do. But what makes these two so special in my eyes is something not everyone has – the right attitude. Despite the disappointments, setbacks and challenges they encounter, Surf Dog Ricochet and Judy display great courage, heart, hopefulness, and a positive CAN DO attitude unlike any I’ve ever seen. And they never miss an opportunity to turn a negative into a positive. Imagine what this world would be like, if everyone could embrace this philosophy!

With Judy’s help, Ricochet has embraced a lifestyle of helping others by “pawing it forward” while raising awareness and funds for various charities. They raised countless thousands last year, including over $9000 for the Surfin’ Santa Paws toy drive. More recently, Ricochet began helping a no-kill shelter called Target’s Bunker get off the ground. Target’s Bunker was started by SGT Terry Young in memory of his dog Target, a true canine hero if ever there was one. Target saved the lives of many soldiers in Afghanistan by thwarting a suicide bomber. Target came to Arizona to live with Young and his family, and soon after, was erroneously euthanized after escaping from their yard and ending up in a shelter.

In January, Ricochet organized a very successful blanket and towel drive for the Helen Woodward Animal Center. Her latest charitable endeavor is serving as spokesdog and fundraiser for Reality Rally, a “Fun for Funds” event that takes place in Temecula, California in April. Reality Rally is a fundraiser for Michelle’s Place Breast Cancer Resource Center, a nonprofit created to help women cope with the challenges of breast cancer. Reality Rally was conceived and organized by Gillian Larson, a former contestant on the hit reality TV show Survivor.

Reality Rally is a four-hour “Amazing Race” type of event where teams consisting of the public and reality stars from Survivor, The Amazing Race, Big Brother and other shows race through Temecula and compete in fun activities. Ricochet has been challenged to raise more money than the reality stars, and so far she’s in the lead! If you want to help Surf Dog Ricochet take a bite out of breast cancer – and show these reality peeps that this dog has some serious fundraising chops, you can visit Ricochet’s Fundraising Page to donate a buck or two. The deadline for Ricochet’s Reality Versus FUReality showdown is February 24, but fundraising for the Reality Rally continues until April. 

Go, Ricochet!

Read more articles by Julia Williams

Stubby, the heroic dog

The single most decorated dog in U.S. history.

See my earlier post about Stubby, or
read more about Stubby at the Smithsonian Museum.

Today's awww

via Reddit

Growing number of farm animals spawn new diseases

A growing number of livestock, such as cows and pigs, are fueling new animal epidemics worldwide and posing more severe problems in developing countries as it threatens their food security, according to a report released by the International Livestock Research Institute.

Seventy-five percent of emerging infectious diseases originate in animals. Of these 61 percent are transmissible between animals and humans.

A new disease emerges every four months; many are trivial but HIV, SARS and avian influenza illustrate the huge potential impacts.

The report warned that rapid urbanization and climate change could act as "wild cards," altering the present distribution of diseases, sometimes "dramatically for the worse."