Found on the web

Dog auctions: Where puppy millers do their dirty business
Envision rooms filled floor to ceiling with crates and cages each housing dogs whose sole purpose in life is to make puppies.

10 amazing camouflaged animals
Whether it's a gecko blending into bark, a jaguar fading into foliage or a Peringuey's viper sliding through sand, good camo can mean the difference between eating and being eaten.

World's Oldest Animal Life - 650,000,000 Years Old
Primitive ocean sponges discovered in Australia could be the worlds oldest animal body fossils.

The Cutest Interspecies Animal Friendships
These pictures will make your heart melt!

Special Achievers: Denver Explosive Detection Canine Unit

By Linda Cole

Bomb sniffing dogs and their handlers are one of our most reliable defenses against hidden explosive devices. These highly trained canines and handlers help keep our airports, borders and cities safe. I recently had the honor of talking with Officer Armando Cruz of the Denver Police Department Explosive Detection Canine Unit. Officer Cruz and his dog, Masc, are both skilled in the art of bomb sniffing – well, Masc does the sniffing – and Officer Cruz and Masc are stationed at the Denver International Airport along with seven other canine teams. CANIDAE is proud to sponsor this Explosive Detection Canine Unit through its Special Achievers program.

The DPD K-9 unit has three Labs, four German Shepherds and one Belgian Malinois. Along with their duties at the Denver airport, they also respond to calls in the Denver area and other jurisdictions when asked. The mission of the DPD Explosive Detection Canine Unit is to detect and prevent criminals from being able to use explosive devices by finding them before they can cause damage or injuries. Established in 1972, the dog teams are a proven and reliable balance to the DPD's counter-sabotage program, and they help prevent terrorist attacks.

Denver's K-9 unit is partially funded by the TSA National Explosive Detection Canine Team Program (NEDCTP). All but two of the dogs used in the DPD K-9 unit came from overseas breeders. The TSA has a puppy program located at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas and two Labs used in Denver's program came from the TSA's puppy program. One interesting footnote on the TSA puppy program is that each puppy is named after one of the victims from September 11 by using their first, middle or last name.

As with any human/dog relationship, a strong bond is very important. “When the dogs bond with us, they want to work harder for us, they want to complete their assignment, they want to please us. You absolutely have to have that bond to have a good working dog because we're a team. He doesn't do it on his own, nor could I do it on my own,” explained Officer Cruz. In fact, bonding is so essential when working as a team that each handler attends an extensive training mission for ten weeks at Lackland Air Force Base. After graduation from the training school, a handler and dog are then evaluated 30 to 90 days after returning home on an 11 day training mission to make sure they have a strong bond. “If you don't have a bond with a working dog, it doesn't work out,” said Officer Cruz.

Each dog lives with their handler. When a dog reaches retirement age (between 8 to 10 years of age) they are donated to the Denver Police Department and the department will then release the dog to his handler. If the handler resigns before a dog is retired, is promoted or transfers out of the department and the dog is still young enough to continue working, the dog is returned to Lackland Air Force Base and reassigned to a new handler. Officer Cruz added fondly, “My dog Masc is 8 years old and he still acts like a puppy. So I have a feeling this dog is going to work until he's 11 or 12. He's ready to go to work when I start up the truck and put the back tailgate down.”

The best explosive sniffing dog has a strong prey drive. Puppies who go in search of their toy when it's taken away and like to play hide-and-seek are perfect candidates. The dogs are given a scent to learn along with a sit command, and are taken back to a scent until they learn it. The sit command tells the handler the dog has found what he was asked to find. “So all the dog knows is, when I smell this scent and I sit, I get my toy plus I get all the verbal praise in the world and I get all the affection from my handler,” said Officer Cruz.

The dog is just playing a game of hide-and-seek, but his handler knows he’s performing a vital service in protecting the public. “They don't understand how valuable they are to us looking for explosives, but we know how important it is,” said Officer Cruz. When asked how many different scents the dogs are trained to detect, Officer Cruz told me “The dogs are trained on various odors that are associated with explosives.” But for security purposes, he couldn't tell me the exact number.

Some K-9 Units teach their dogs commands in German or Dutch to keep a suspect from being able to understand what command an officer just gave to his dog. The DPD Bomb Dog Unit doesn't deal with suspects, so their dogs are all trained in English.

According to Officer Cruz, the dogs have been eating CANIDAE for around 10 years. “They've been doing great on the CANIDAE Grain Free pureELEMENTS. It helps keep their digestive system working like it's supposed to. The protein in the food keeps their energy drive up, keeps them working well and as working dogs, it's so important for the dogs to have healthy bowel movements. The CANIDAE food keeps their coats shiny and healthy and they look good,” he said.

Officer Cruz wanted to pass along the department’s thanks to CANIDAE for the work they do in sponsoring these amazing dogs. I would also like to thank the handlers and dogs of the Denver Police Department Explosive Detection Canine Unit for the important work they do. Searching for explosives may seem like a game to the dogs, but we know how vital these K9 teams are in helping to keep us safe. The dogs may not understand, but we do.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

Carolyn Scott Photography

Carolyn Scott Photography is a pet and wedding photography business based in Raleigh, NC.

About the photo above, Carolyn said,
"Khia is a very well-behaved Australian Sheepdog puppy who belongs to one of my former wedding clients. Her owners had just gotten her a few months before and wanted some photographs to document the puppy stage in her life. Khia was so good throughout the shoot and listened, sat still, and posed quite beautifully! She also never barked once. She is a super adorable dog."

Carolyn believes in taking fun, original photographs of pets in their natural habitat in order to create a calm and relaxing atmosphere where the pets can be themselves. Although most of her pet clients are dogs, Carolyn Scott Photography has two spokescats, Buckles and Dolfy, both spoiled rotten rescues who enjoy meowing while we're on the phone with clients.

Please visit Carolyn:

PPOM + Patients & Pets= Even Better Hospice Care!

Sometimes it's easy to think about Pet Peace of Mind as a program that pays for pet food, routine trips to the veterinarian or flea/tick preventative. It's really so much more! The goal of the program is to keep the pet and patient together--to prevent the loss of a pet at the time when the patient needs their pet's companionship the most.
Terminally ill pet owners find themselves depending on others more and more for care as they approach the end of life. At the same time, they find themselves unable to maintain the care of the pet they love. Do you see their dilemma? How do you ask someone caring for your every need to extend themselves even more by caring for your pet? This is often the "tipping point" for patients and caregivers--ultimately, the pet ends up separated from its owner, leaving both of them grieving the loss. This is where Pet Peace of Mind comes in--before such a decision has been made. The program works through a PPOM hospice partner, providing in-home pet care with trained hospice volunteers, along with pet food delivery, trips to the vet and groomer and any needed pet medication--all free of charge to the patient and family! Now the owner and caregiver can just enjoy the pet's companionship without worrying  about pet care. Our hospice partners may also help find homes for pets that will become homeless when the patient dies---sometimes those adoptive families get to meet the patient and pet in the home, letting the patient determine the timing of the pet's transition to the new family.
This month's hospice story comes from Hospice Midland in Texas. Susie Mauldin, PPOM Coordinator, told us about a patient whose adult son was his only caregiver. The two of them lived in an apartment with an 11 year old cat named Elvis. The son died suddenly, and the patient had no choice but to move into an assisted living facility. The facility allowed pets, but given the circumstances of his son's untimely death, he could not afford the $300 pet deposit needed to bring Elvis with him. Susie found out from the hospice staff that he was trying to arrange a way to pay it in installments--his world was upside down and he desperately needed the companionship of his cat. Not only was Susie able to pay for the pet deposit, she was able to make arrangements to provide cat food and litter for Elvis on a regular basis, allowing the patient the ability to pay the extra $10 a month pet rent.
This gentleman was already facing the end of his own life, then lost his son unexpectedly, followed by the place they called home together. Imagine how difficult this would have been for the patient if he had lost his 11 year old cat, too! This type of supportive care builds relationships between hospice staff and patients--giving the hospice an opportunity to provide not only medical care, but grief support in a tragic situation. This is why we believe that Pet Peace of Mind adds another level of care to hospice.

PETA offers unusual prize to contest winner

The animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has long advocated for dogs and cats to be spayed or neutered. Now, it's extending the campaign to humans.

The Norfolk, Va.-based group is offering a free vasectomy to the winner of its "Why should PETA neuter you?" campaign. Applicants enter the contest by getting their cat or dog spayed or neutered and submitting an essay to PETA.

The group says human overpopulation contributes to animal suffering by draining water and land resources and causing pollution.

The contest runs through April 27.


Rockhopper penguins in danger on Nightingale Island

A cargo ship crash has oiled hundreds of rare rockhopper penguins on a remote Atlantic island—a ''grave environmental disaster,'' experts say.

On March 18, two days after it had run aground, the Malta-registered "M.S. Oliva broke her back in the force of a relentless swell," leaking oil that spread into an 8-mile (13-kilometer) slick.

Some 65,300 tons of unprocessed soybeans also spilled into the ocean, and the vegetables oil's impact to the sensitive marine environment are unknown. Hundreds of oiled birds are washing ashore, and a preliminary estimate suggests up to 20,000 birds may have been affected.

"The scene at Nightingale is dreadful," Trevor Glass, the conservation officer for the territory, said in a statement.

The oil spill may endanger not only penguins, but also millions of nesting seabirds and other wildlife.

Experts also warned of a "twin environmental catastrophe" if rats, which may be aboard the wrecked vessel, escape onto Nightingale Island, which is rodent free.

"If rats gain a foothold, their impact would be devastating."

Nightingale Island, part of the British territory of Tristan da Cunha, is home to 200,000 northern rockhopper penguins, half the world's population. The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the bird as endangered, due to its mysteriously rapid decline in the past three decades.


Kitty Wigs, Puppy Tweets and Other Funny Pet Products

By Julia Williams

It’s impossible to know just how many pet lovers there are in the world. The Pet Food Institute estimates there are around 75 million pet dogs and 85 million pet cats in the U.S. alone. Our penchant for pets did not go unnoticed by inventors either, as evidenced by the staggering number of pet-related products available today. Many of them are useful and necessary, while others are just plain dumb. Here are a few of my favorite funny pet products.

Kitty Wigs are colorful hairpieces created for fashionable cats. Technically, one might argue these are really wigs for cat owners, especially those who don’t mind their bodies being used as scratching posts. Or as one cat said on a pet blog I read, “If the Human ever put one of those wigs on me, she'd need a transfusion.” Kitty Wigs cost $60 and come in four colors. Founder Julie Jackson says “the wigs are NOT toys but a way to spend some fun time with your cat….especially fun for photo sessions.” Don’t laugh – with more than 5,ooo fans on Facebook and a selling-like-hotcakes book (Glamourpuss: The Enchanting World of Kitty Wigs) it seems there are legions of people who love Kitty Wigs. My take: they’re cute, but I like my limbs scratch-free, thank you very much. 

Fur Ever Keepsakes are made from your pet’s hair! You brush your pet, send in your fur and receive the handspun yarn back, or you can have it custom-made into a scarf, mittens, hat, photo frame, pillow, stuffed bear, bookmark and more. VIP Fibers claims to have spun over 1,858 pounds of pet fiber to date, producing nearly 2 million yards of keepsake yarn. My take: gives new meaning to pet owners who want Fluffy and Fido to be with them “furever.” 

Puppy Tweets: just about every dog who’s “anybody” has a Twitter account nowadays. But since typing without opposable thumbs is problematic, Fido usually needs an assistant to help him tweet. Not anymore! Mattel’s “Puppy Tweets” is a tiny electronic device that attaches to your dog’s collar. Once you connect the included USB receiver to your computer and download the software, Puppy Tweets translates your pooches barks and movements into humorous tweets. With more than 500 different phrases, your dog will always be the wittiest four-legger on Twitter. He’ll regale his followers with gems like “L'il help! Nose stuck in bird feeder!” “I've got a new leash on life!” and “I finally caught that tail I've been chasing, and ...OOUUUCHH!” Just don’t come crying to me when you realize that your dog has more followers than you do.

Cat’s Tongue Chocolates are made in Vienna by Demel, but can be ordered and shipped from their New York store. I’d not seen these until recently, but apparently they’ve been around for a really long time. My take: Who thinks up crazy things like chocolates in the shape of a cat’s tongue? I don’t know if I could eat them, but I want these for the super cute vintage box alone!

Pet Perfume: if your dog stinks but there’s no time for a bath, just dab on some Sexy Beast Signature Canine Fragrance and you’re good to go. One online pet boutique sells an extensive collection of doggie cologne priced from $10 to $3,000 (yikes!). My take: I seriously doubt any pet perfume could cover up the lovely smell of Eau de Dog. Just Say No! Seriously, if you really have an aversion to soap and water, let the groomer give your dog a bath.

Kitty Wigs photo by Jill Johnson

Read more articles by Julia Williams

Cute or not? Baby echidna

A baby echidna is called a 'puggle'.

Blended Families and Pets

First, I'd like to announce the winner of the DNA Test Kit contest, selected from among the comments left on that blog: Amber Jackson. Congratulations! Please send me your contact information and mailing address (peggyfrezon at gmail dot com) Now on to our guest post today!

Blended families--when two people marry, and blend together their existing families. This means children and also...pets.

Stacy Jensen of Colorado shares how she and her husband Andy, (affectionately known as Mr. Food Boy by the dogs) worked to make their new home happy for both her dog and his.

Q- How did you and Andy meet?

SJ: Andy and I were both new to North Carolina and met through eHarmony. On our fourth date, we introduced the dogs at my house. The dogs were one of many things we had in common.

Q- We'd love to meet your dogs!

SJ- Eddie is a Poodle-Pomeranian mix. He was 11 months old when we met. Eddie weighs about 9 pounds.

Mauly-Bones is a Vizsla. She was 5 months old when we met, and about 45 pounds (now she is about 55 pounds).

Mauly served as physical therapy for Andy following the discovery of blood clots that involved hospitalizations and rehabilitation. Eddie was a gift to me following my husband's death. He was a great companion for me, since I had decided to move to another state and begin a new job.

Q- How did you introduce the dogs?

SJ: They met at the front door of my house. They were allowed to sniff around and check each other out. We were there in case there was a problem. We pretty much let them get to know each another.

Q- Did one become dominant?

SJ: Neither really. It depends on what is going on whether they display dominance. Both are fixed, but Eddie will sometimes do the humping thing to Mauly. Mauly will sometimes show dominance due to her size. She can easily push Eddie out of the way. Eddie, of course, acts like he is much bigger than he is.

Q- How did you resolve any fights/disagreements?

SJ: We separate them. The only disagreements involve treats or food. Mauly is fairly mild mannered about even this. If Eddie abandons his food (because he gets distracted), Mauly will patiently sit next to his food bowl hoping for permission to eat it.

Eddie is overall more accepting of other dogs. Mauly had a dog try to steal her stick in the past, and ever since she will randomly be aggressive toward other dogs or 100 percent ignores them. This behavior is odd, because Mauly interacts well with other animals like calves, goats and horses we have encountered on walks.

Mauly is a bit jealous. If she hears Eddie's name or senses he is getting pets and affection, she runs into the room and will attempt to push Eddie away. Her size makes her triumphant in this endeavor. Eddie never seems to mind.

Both love people. Eddie sometimes is frightened by men with beards.

Each dog continues to have its own crate and bedding to lounge around the house. Eddie is a bit of a lap dog and Mauly aspires to be a lap dog, too.

Q- Any advice to others?

SJ: Our dogs have known each other since they were pups. They each lived a little more than two years alone, before we married and truly blended under the same roof.

Andy and I still note that each dog knows his or her person. I may be sleeping in, but Eddie will sit at the bedroom door waiting for me to get up and ignoring Andy. Mauly will listen to me while Andy is at work, but once he arrives home she looks to Andy for direction (unless I have a treat!).

When I am not at home, Eddie is happy to be with Andy and doesn't worry. Once I arrive, Eddie's following me.

This behavior is annoying sometimes, but I'm guessing it has to do with their idea of pack? As long as one of them listens to someone in the house, I'm good!

UPDATE: Eddie and Mauly are now adjusting to the addition of Stacy and Andy's new baby, Enzo.

Stact blogs at Writing my way through life. Look for Stacy's story "I'm not Crazy, I Just Have a Dog" in Chicken Soup for the Soul My Dog's Life.

Fashion for horse lovers

These knee-length and ankle-length shoes were commissioned to celebrate 100 years of the famous National Hunt festival in Cheltenham, UK. A carbon-fiber hoof and up to 5,000 individual horse hairs make up the $2,081 shoes.


Woman on boat in Florida Keys hit by Eagle Ray

An eagle ray weighing as much as 300 pounds landed on top of a woman on a boat in the Florida Keys last week, throwing her to the deck and pinning her underneath it.

The woman, Jenny Hausch, was on the chartered boat Friday with her husband and three children, taking pictures of a group of eagle rays as they flew out of the water.

"One of the rays jumped in the air and she gets this perfect shot," the captain said, adding that rays always jump twice.

On the second jump, one ray hit her in the chest and she fell down, hitting her head.

"It keeps slamming and slamming on top of her, trying to swim away," the captain said.

Hausch's husband and children watched in horror.

Two Florida Fish and Wildlife officers who happened to be on a nearby boat heard the screaming and came to help pull the ray off of Hausch. Everyone thought that Hausch was dead, but when she was freed she didn't have a scratch on her.


What is the Best Way to Feed Your Pet?

By the Drs4Pets Team

There really isn’t a single “best” way to feed every pet. It is important to make adjustments to your feeding regimen to fit the lifestyle that you and your pet lead, as well as taking into account any health needs that your pet might have.

Figuring out just the right amount of food to feed our pets can be a real challenge. While pet food packaging provides a detailed feeding guideline in most cases, it is important to realize that this really is just a suggestion, a place to start. Work with your vet to determine your pet’s ideal weight and body condition, and adjust the amount you feed up or down as needed to maintain this “ideal.” Puppies and kittens have higher energy requirements to support their rapid growth and development. Very young pets may need 2- 3 times the amount of food that an adult at the same weight would need.

Working dogs also have different requirements than normal adult dogs. It’s important to remember that a true working dog works or exercises multiple hours per day. Paying attention to lean body condition is especially important with working dogs. These dogs may benefit from a diet that is higher in protein and fat to provide them with the building blocks they need for strong, healthy muscles, and endurance for the work they do.

Cats with urinary tract problems may benefit from the addition of canned food to their feeding regimen. It is also best not to make too many changes with diet or environment for cats with chronic urinary tract problems, because changes can lead to stress that can trigger a relapse.

Dogs or cats that take insulin for diabetes need to eat regular meals at the time that they take their insulin. Free feeding does not work well for these special pets. Pets are individuals, just like us. Choosing the right food and feeding the proper portions will help keep your pet happy and healthy.

Question: I want to feed my dog (or cat) canned and dry food together. How much do I feed of each?

Answer: This is a great question and one that I hear quite frequently! It is important to take into account the calories that are coming from both the dry and the canned foods so that you do not overfeed. Most quality pet foods list the calorie information right on the package. Use the guideline to figure the number of calories your pet should consume each day, and then make sure that you feed the correct portion of dry and canned to make up the total calorie amount. For example, if your cat’s food has 400 calories per cup and you are supposed to feed ½ cup per day, this is equivalent to 200 calories. So, feed ¼ cup of dry food to make up 100 calories and then feed the correct portion of canned food to make up the other 100 calories.

Question: What is the best way to help my pet lose weight?

Answer: This is another great question. The obesity epidemic in our pet population rivals that in the human population, with about 2/3 of the pets in the U.S. being overweight or obese. Just like us, our pets will become overweight if they consume more calories than they burn off. And, extra weight is even more detrimental to the health and longevity of our pets than to us humans! Increasing activity (play or walks) is a great way for your pet to burn more calories. Replacing some treats with low calorie options such as carrots or celery will help reduce calories from snacks. Decreasing the feeding portion by 25% is a good start. Work with your veterinarian to monitor your pet’s weight loss and celebrate success. Studies done on weight loss programs for pets have shown that humans lose weight along with their pets during these programs, most likely due to the increased exercise!

Visit to learn more about pet health, nutrition and safety.

Photo by Brian Snelson

Snake hunt at Bronx Zoo

NEW YORK - The Bronx Zoo closed its reptile house exhibit over the weekend after workers discovered a highly poisonous Egyptian cobra was missing from its enclosure.


My cat Rusty on high

Photos by Julie Corsi

BFF ..... awwwwww

Best friends ... forever!

(via List of the Day)

When Can Children Be Responsible Pet Owners?

By Linda Cole

Most kids are drawn to pets like a moth is to light. We've all seen the cute videos of kids playing with dogs or being overrun by a litter of puppies. Screams of delight erupt from the child as they’re covered in puppy kisses and wiggling bodies. Kids can and do accept caring for pets all the time, but like anything that's learned, taking good care of a pet depends on the age and personality of the child.

I'll never forget the night my mom brought home my first puppy. I was only about 3 years old, but I remember that night as if it was yesterday. My mom wore a cream colored winter coat with huge, deep pockets. It was a cold night, and the smell of fresh winter air clung to her coat. She called my brother, sister and me into the kitchen. Grinning, she dug down inside her pocket. As she withdrew her hand, tucked inside her palm was a pure black, purebred Rat Terrier puppy with eyes that sparkled like stars. We named the puppy Susie and she, along with four wild kittens that came three years later from my Grandma's house, taught me how to be a responsible pet owner.

Children have a lot on their minds; growing up is hard to do after all. Being a responsible pet owner isn't usually on their agenda. But it is for some kids. Susie wasn't the best dog breed for small children and she put up with a lot from my siblings and me when we were little. But as I grew older, I started to learn who Susie was as an individual dog and discovered the joy of interacting with her. Taming four wild kittens taught me how to be patient and gentle.

Being a responsible pet owner means making a commitment to a pet to attend to their needs, care for them in sickness and health, and love them. Some children embrace responsible pet ownership from the day an animal enters the home, even if they don't realize it. However, most children need a chance to mature before they're ready to assume a responsible role in the care of a pet. Kids become responsible pet owners when they are ready to understand what the needs of a pet are.

Tamara Waters’ article, “How to Help Kids Learn Responsible Pet Ownership,” is filled with excellent suggestions for teaching kids about caring for a pet. All kids need a mentor to help them learn what it means to be responsible for another living being. It's up to parents to teach kids what it means to care for a pet as they embark on a journey to discover who their pet is. Caring for my pets was never a chore for me, because I wanted to play with them, and I loved to feed Susie because she did tricks. But just playing with a pet doesn't make someone a responsible pet owner. I had to learn about commitment, the proper way to teach a pet, and why it's important to treat them with respect.

When you love a pet or person, you want to protect them and make them happy. You learn to respect them as you earn theirs and a bond grows no matter which kind of relationship it is. Some kids are ready to be responsible pet owners at a fairly young age, while others may not be ready until they are older. It depends on the child and their level of understanding of what it means to be a responsible owner. It also depends on their ability to take the initiative to do something for the pet without having to be told.

A pet should never be brought into the home for the sole purpose of teaching a kid how to be responsible. Sit down with your child before getting a pet to make sure they are at least willing to learn how to care for a pet and take on some of the responsibility. If they are, then you can decide as a family what kind of pet to get.

Looking back, Susie and our four wild cats we tamed (Smoky, Cinnamon, Taffy and Coco) were my best friends. Learning how to be a responsible pet owner is a process we all have to go through. Some children learn at an earlier age than others. The important thing is moving from feeling like you're doing chores, to giving a pet what he needs without thinking about it. When it becomes an automatic reaction instead of a forced response to doing chores, this is when a child is on their way to becoming a responsible pet owner.

Photo by Sharon Lee

Read more articles by Linda Cole

Coon Cat Gone Wild

You be the judge. Is this a case of Coon Cat gone wild?

Taz (pictured) is a healthy, loving 9-year old cat. When my friend Leslie adopted the Maine Coon Cat, she noticed that he was active and fun-loving. She calls him a goofball. He purrs loud and follows the family on walks.

But Taz has a habit that is not too endearing.

One day Leslie's son startled the cat, and it scratched him hard across the chest.

Recently, the cat has "attacked" Leslie in bed. When she's sound asleep. The first time he sunk his teeth into her eyebrow. The second time he bit her arm, but didn't break the skin.

What could be causing this bizarre (and dangerous) behavior? Taz has been checked at the vet's and is up to date with rabies and distemper shots, etc. Taz has been on Feliway at times, which does help calm him down a bit.

Also, what can Leslie do? Shut him out of the bedroom and he throws a fit, she says, very loudly. Her friends say that she shouldn't keep him, but she loves this beautiful guy.
Any ideas? Thanks smart pet people!

Frame Your Pet!

"Frame Your Pet", a fundraiser for Angel PAWS, Colonia NJ.  Anyone (no matter how near or far you are) can have their pet "framed" digitally with one of these sweet frames I've created. 

I've created several sizes (5x7", 8x8" and 8x10") with both horizontal and vertical photo orientations.  All the samples can be viewed at Scrapbook Flair by clicking on the picture.
email me at for more info and to get started! Prices start at $5 if you print it yourself, $10 for professional printing.  100% of the proceeds (less printing and mailing costs) are given to Angel PAWS.  Customization is available.

Dog Food By Nature

I've made a commitment to give Kelly the best dog food that I can afford. I already see results, particularly in her bloodwork results. Labs that were elevated or borderline are now all normal. I definitely believe that her health is improved by quality food.

We haven't settled on one type of food, although we've found several that we like (and can afford.) Recently, Rob at by Nature® Natural and Organic Pet Foods contacted me and asked if Kelly might like to sample some of their food.

Here are some facts about by Nature®:

* small New England based company

* uses no fillers (such as corn, wheat, or soy)

* uses high quality, natural ingredients

* includes vitamins, minerals and antioxidants

* offers a natural, nutritionally complete organic line (organic meat, grains, fruits and vegetables, all USDA, Oregon Tilth or OCIA International Certified Organic.)

On their website, I visited "Share Your Story" where I learned about other pets who have benefited from by Nature® pet food.

When the big bag arrived, Kelly was ready to dig in. Kelly received the organic chicken formula for dogs. The number one ingredient is organic chicken. Among the other ingredients are brown rice, organic peas, and organic spinach. The food actually smelled good, and was in nice, little kibbles. Kelly loves this food, and gives it 4 paws up!
Thank you by Nature® for letting us sample this food, and for the neat canvas tote, too!

Note: by Nature® provided us with an 8 lb. bag of dog food to sample, but all the opinions in this review are my own (and Kelly's!)

Jones Natural - Recall of Pig Ears

Consumer Affairs Website annouced this recall this past week. Hopefully no pets were harmed.


The cutest thing you'll see today

from Flickr, by Vega's Photography

Spring Canine Care for Responsible Pet Owners

By Suzanne Alicie

Your canine friend is probably looking forward to warmer days as much as you are. He’s eager for longer walks and romping in the yard, visits to the dog park and the great outdoors. However, now that spring has arrived, there are some matters of canine care you should undertake as a responsible pet owner.

A vet checkup in the spring is always a good idea. You will get a general overview of your dog’s health and can also make sure he’s up to date on all his shots. By aligning these visits with the changing of the season, you are making it a routine that you will remember to keep up with.

Check your dog’s toys, leash, collar, harness and other equipment for signs of wear and tear. All of these things can present a danger to your dog when they break. Whether that means a loose dog running around the neighborhood or a choking hazard from a destroyed toy, either one is a problem for you and your pet. Make sure that everything is in good condition.

Give your dog a bath and apply a flea and tick treatment before you begin romping in the yard with him. A flea infestation is not only uncomfortable for your dog and possibly dangerous for his health, it will also affect your home and family. Ticks are also dangerous and carry diseases. It’s best to prevent them ahead of time using a powder, time released treatment or a spray to keep them away from your dog.

A dog’s claws can get long and unruly when they are kept indoors. To prevent torn or bent nails and sore feet, you may want to provide a doggie pedicure before you go outside to play. (See How to Give Your Pooch a Pedicure for more information).

Spring is a good time to resume your dog’s regular outdoor exercise routine. Be sure to stock up on healthy pet treats like CANIDAE TidNips™ to bring along on those invigorating visits to the dog park.

As the weather warms up and your dog is more active, you will need to provide plenty of cool water for him whether he is indoors or out. All that playing and running will make him tired, hungry and thirsty. There’s nothing like a dog sprawled out in the middle of the living room after a hard day of play. Some dogs can also get sunburn on their noses or if they have really short thin hair. Sunscreen is generally safe for dogs, although you want to avoid putting it on areas they can lick unless you choose a nontoxic, organic sunscreen product.

Taking these precautions now will help you and your dog enjoy a happy and healthy spring and summer outdoors. Remember, prevention is the best medicine. Make sure you provide all the preparation and necessities to keep your dog healthy through the heat of the summer.

Photo by Lindsey Higgins

Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie

Homeward Bound Rescue

What if there was a way to combine filming a video trailer for my upcoming book and promote pet adoption at the same time...

What if...

Enter Homeward Bound Dog Rescue, of Albany NY.

Recently my husband/videographer and I visited Homeward Bound's adoption clinic, held in a vacant storefront in a local mall, and were graciously allowed to borrow a few adorable dogs to star in our movie.

The dogs (pudgy or not!) are posing with a scale to help promote my new book, Dieting with my Dog.

Here are some of the pals we met:

lab puppy


There are more dogs up for adoption, keep scrolling! And if you see one you like, why not contact Homeward Bound right away!

Brodee and Sammy


Thanks to all my models. Sorry we tired you out!

The hairiest girl in the world

Remember Antonietta Gonzalez, a little girl afflicted with hypertrichosis, made famous because of a painting in the 1600's?

Another little girl, Supatra Sasuphan, is now famous for the same medical reason.

Guinness World Record has officially recognized Supatra as the world's hairiest girl.

The 11-year-old Thai girl from Bangkok has gradually been embraced by her community, and became a popular and outgoing child even though at one time she was teased and called 'wolf girl' and 'monkey face'.

Supatra is one of just 50 known sufferers of Ambras Syndrome (Hypertrichosis) - caused by a faulty chromosome - to be documented since the Middle Ages. Before the disease was understood, sufferers were branded 'werewolves.'

She has thick hair growing over her face, ears, arms, legs and back. Even laser treatment has failed to stop the hair growth.

As Supatra grows older, her hair is becoming thicker. Her mother trims it regularly.

Why Should You Foster a Pet?

By Linda Cole

My neighbor is a crazy cat lady, like me and my co-writer Julia Williams. We are proud of our label and would do anything to help a cat or dog. My neighbor is also a foster mom who nurses litters of kittens that have lost their mom. She gives pets a quiet place to mend a broken leg or heal from the abusive home they were rescued from. Working with our local animal shelter, my neighbor puts a lost soul back together so the pet can be adopted out to a forever home. If you love pets and have been searching for a way to help out your local shelter, opening up your home to animals in need is one of the best things you can do.

I recently wrote an article about an organization called Guardian Angels for Soldier's Pet. Instead of a soldier being forced to give up a family pet, this organization helps find foster homes to care for the soldier's pet while they serve our country overseas. Because of caring pet lovers who open up their homes to these temporary pets, shelters across the nation have fewer animals to care for. The soldier can deploy knowing their pet is being well cared for, and they don't have to wonder what happened to them.

Shelters have seen an increase in the number of pets surrendered to them across the country. An estimated 8 million pets end up in shelters every year and many healthy, adoptable animals are put to sleep because there just aren't enough people to adopt them. Friends, family and neighbors have all been caught up in an economic downturn that sometimes doesn’t leave them with a lot of choices when it comes to a family pet. I've been fostering a friend's dog to give my friend a chance to get back on his feet financially. It doesn't matter how long it takes; this is one dog that will not end up in a shelter.

Becoming a foster pet parent is something you can either do on your own to help out someone you know who needs a temporary home for their pet, or you can work with your local animal shelter. Adoptable pets that are sick or injured need a quiet place to recover and heal. Pets with behavioral problems need someone who can work with them to correct bad behavior so they can eventually be adopted. When you foster a pet, you're giving them a chance to find a permanent home instead of being put down because they are sick or injured. A pet with a behavior problem needs someone who can understand and help by giving them patience, love and training. For some pets, being in a shelter environment is the cause of their bad behavior.

Imagine being locked up in a strange place with no idea where the people you love are. A more timid pet has a harder time adjusting to life in a shelter. It's a big change and scary for some pets to suddenly find themselves surrounded by strange sounds, smells and people, along with other homeless pets. They don't know why their family is no longer around. Fostering helps to keep pets socialized in a more relaxed living arrangement until they can find a new home. It's also the best way to learn who a pet is as an individual, which helps match them up with a new owner.

Fostering does have a downside – it can be hard to give up a pet when a forever home is found for the animal in your care. But knowing you made a difference and helped save a life makes it all worthwhile. You cared enough to open your home to a pet in need.

Fostering a pet isn't for everyone, but if you do give a pet a temporary home, it'll be one of the most rewarding gifts you can give to a homeless pet and to yourself. All pets deserve a forever home, but sometimes, it's the temporary home that means the most in a pet's life.

Photo by Lenneke Veerbeek

Read more articles by Linda Cole

Cats adore women

The bond between cats and their owners turns out to be far more intense than imagined, especially for cat aficionado women and their affection reciprocating felines, suggests a new study.

Cats attach to humans, and particularly women, as social partners, and it's not just for the sake of obtaining food, according to the new research, which has been accepted for publication in the journal Behavioural Processes.

The study is the first to show in detail that the dynamics underlying cat-human relationships are nearly identical to human-only bonds, with cats sometimes even becoming a furry "child" in nurturing homes.

Cats approach female owners more frequently, and initiate contact more frequently (such as jumping on laps) than they do with male owners," co-author Manuela Wedl of the University of Vienna told Discovery News, adding that "female owners have more intense relationships with their cats than do male owners."


A Kitty Cat Trivia Quiz, Just for Fun!

By Julia Williams

If you’re a “cat person” like me (now…don’t go calling me crazy just because I love cats!) then you probably know a lot about them. Test your knowledge of kitty cat trivia with this fun quiz. 

1. Calico cats are almost always:
A. Left pawed
B. Female
C. Friendly
D. Finicky

2. A group of cats is called a:
A. Clowder
B. Pack
C. Hoard
D. Nothing. Cats don’t congregate in groups.

3. Which of these is NOT a well known cat myth or saying?
A. Cats always land on their feet
B. Cats have nine lives
C. It’s raining cats and dogs
D. Don’t throw the cat out with the bath water

4. What is a cat doing when it’s “making biscuits?”
A. Playing with bread dough
B. Training to be a chef
C. Kneading with its paws
D. Auditing for a Food Network show

5: A cat with Pica does which of the following:
A. Measures things
B. Eats strange non-food items like wool, plastic bags and yarn
C. Sheds profusely
D. Hides from strangers

6: What is the scientific name for hair loss in cats?
A. Balding Disorder
B. Minoxidil
C. Alopecia
D. Lymphadenopathy

7. Former “Price is Right” host Bob Barker recently helped rescue:
A. 10 monkeys from a movie set
B. 65 rats from a research facility
C. A three-legged shelter dog
D. 25 circus lions from Bolivia

8. Hemingway Cats are felines that have:
A. Written a best-selling book
B. An abnormally large head
C. A cropped tail
D. Extra toes

9. What is the scientific name for “Fear of Cats?
A. Felineophobia
B. Get-it-away-ophobia
C. Ailurophobia
D. There isn’t one because it’s not a recognized fear.

10. Giving your kitty catnip might cause it to:
A. Be sleepy
B. Be energetic
C. Do nothing
D. All of the above


Question 1: B. Female. Calico is not a breed of cat, it’s a three-color pattern. Calico cats are nearly always females, for complicated genetic reasons (just Google it, okay?). About one in 3,000 calico cats are male, and they’re usually sterile.

Question 2:  A. Clowder. And a group of kittens is called a kindle.

Question 3: D. Don’t throw the cat out with the bath water.

Question 4: C. Kneading with its paws. Some call this “making biscuits” because the motion resembles a baker kneading dough. Cats usually knead on a soft surface like a pillow, comforter, another cat, or their favorite human.

Question 5: B. Eats strange non-food items. Dogs and people can have this eating disorder too.

Question 6: C. Alopecia. This term is also used for hair loss in humans.

Question 7: D. 25 circus lions from Bolivia. Animal advocate Barker helped finance the $200,000 bill to bring the lions to a Colorado sanctuary.

Question 8: D. Extra toes. When a cat has more than 18 toes, it's called a “polydactyl,” but nicknames include mitten cats, thumb cats, boxing cats and Hemingway cats. 

Question 9: C. Ailurophobia. “Love of Cats” is called Ailurophilia.

Question 10: D. All of the above. Catnip makes some cats wildly energetic, while others get sleepy. Most kittens under 3 months and some older cats are not affected by the herb at all.


10 Correct: You are a feline fanatic!
7-9 Correct: You must love cats!
3-6 Correct: You like cats, but need to brush up on your feline facts
0-2 Correct: You are a dog person

Read more articles by Julia Williams

Wednesday Pet Roundup

Hi and welcome to Wednesday Pet Roundup. Here is a little friend I met named Otto.

* Fox news reports on pet rescue efforts in Japan.

*This aol news report focuses on the canine heroes in Japan.

*Also, the most comprehensive, sane, intelligent and compassionate report regarding the viral video of the dog best friends in Japan. via Neil Brogan of Life with Dogs. Thank you, Neil.

*Looking to help more pets in need? All it takes is a recipe. Pet Blogs United and Crossed Paws are gathering pet treat recipes, soup and casserole recipes. Visit Pet Blogs United for information on where to send your recipe. They may be included in a series of cookbooks on disc as an ongoing fundraiser to benefit pets in need.

*Will you be the next Purina Cat Chow Correspondent? Here's a great opportunity to travel the country, earn $50,000 and connect with fellow cat lovers! Deadline is March 28th. Apply at

*Finally, Forever Friends interviewed yours truly. Stop by and say hello!

*Now for your video, check out this dog and horse pals:

Is Your Border Collie Bored? Rent Some Sheep!

By Linda Cole

A Border Collie is a great dog to share your home with, as long as you can keep up with them. Because they are so smart, it's easy for them to dream up things that get them into trouble. They also need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation. The Border Collie was born to herd, but if you don't have any livestock, what can you do? One option to consider is renting sheep. In fact, sheep rentals are on the rise as owners with bored Border Collies search for ways to entertain their dogs and give them some much needed exercise.

Dealing with any bored dog, regardless of his breed, can leave your home in a shambles and a perfectly good couch ripped to shreds. It's not the fault of the dog who releases pent up energy while he's home alone. Border Collies aren't made to just sit around twittering their paws waiting for us to come home. They need plenty of stimulating action that allows them the opportunity to stretch their legs and minds. I've learned from experience just how smart a Border Collie is, and that they need lots of exercise. On the plus side, it forces me to get some much needed exercise as well.

Border Collies originally came from the border area of Scotland and England, and are thought to be descendants of dogs used by Vikings to herd reindeer. It's said that a Border Collie has a hypnotizing stare and is able to control sheep and other animals with their intense eyes. With no sheep to herd, they turn to cats, kids, adults and other dogs as the next best thing. They don't care what they herd, they just want and need something to control. After all, that's what they're good at and it's the reason for the breed.

The best solution is to have a herd of sheep for your dog, but if you don't have a herd of your own, the next best thing is to rent some sheep. Fido's Farm is located in the Evergreen Valley between Tacoma and Olympia in Washington state. For $15.00 a day, you can take your bored Border Collie to Fido's Farm to learn and practice the art of sheep herding. And if your dog gets bored herding sheep, there are ducks too, for an additional $5.00. If your dog has his eye on larger livestock to herd, $25.00 will get you cattle, when they are available.

Fido's Farm averages 18 dogs each day. But before a dog is turned loose on the sheep, they must be evaluated to make sure the dog won't harm the sheep. Most farms will give your dog a “herding instinct test” before allowing them the freedom to chase their sheep. Border Collies have a natural instinct to herd, but they still need to be taught what is and isn't acceptable behavior. Some dogs may be afraid of sheep, others rush headlong into a herd, and some may be biters. For a dog that has never seen sheep, let alone had a chance to actually herd them, the farm offers classes so your dog can learn how to do the job he was bred to do.

Fido's Farm also has agility classes for those who are just getting into the sport, those with medium skills and an advanced handling class. If you want to teach your dog flyball, rally, obedience or tracking, classes are offered for each one. There's something on the farm for every dog whether you have a Border Collie, one of the other herding dogs or a mixed breed.

The number of farms that rent sheep is on the rise – business has grown by 60% in the last five years. Not all of them offer herding classes, so if your Border Collie is just starting out, you will need to learn how to train him properly before turning him loose around a herd of sheep. And it's best to have different sheep farms you can visit to help keep your dog interested in sheep that haven't become “dog broke.”

To find sheep herding farms in your area, Google your town and state along with “sheep herding farms.” If you don't find anything, then your next option is to find where a sheep herding trial is being held. This is a good place to meet people who can help you find someone in your area that rents sheep. Finding a farm close by may be a challenge, but if you have a bored Border Collie, it's worth the time to search out a farm with sheep to rent.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

Bacon Biscotti (for Dogs!)

Bacon Biscotti (for Dogs!)

6 slices bacon, chopped
canola or olive oil (optional)
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) flour
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) whole wheat flour
1 cup (250 mL) oats
1 tsp. (5 mL) baking powder
1/2 cup (125 mL) water
2 large eggs
1/4 cup (60 mL) bacon drippings or canola oil
2 Tbsp. (30 mL) honey

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a skillet set over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until crisp; remove with a slotted spoon and set aside, reserving the drippings. Pour the drippings into a measuring cup; if you need to, add canola or olive oil until you have 1/4 cup. (If you like, discard the bacon drippings entirely and just use oil.)

In a large bowl, combine the flours, oats and baking powder. In a small bowl, stir together the water, eggs, bacon drippings and/or oil, and honey; add to the dry ingredients along with the cooked and crumbled bacon and stir until blended.

Shape the dough into a log that is about 12” long, place on an ungreased baking sheet and flatten until it’s about 6” wide. If you like, brush the top with a little beaten egg to give it a shiny finish. Bake for about 30 minutes, until firm.

Reduce the oven temperature to 250° F. Cool the log and cut it on a slight diagonal into 1/2” -1” thick slices using a sharp, serrated knife. Place the biscotti upright on the baking sheet, keeping them spaced about 1/2” apart, and put them back into the oven for another half an hour. If you want them hard, turn the oven off but leave them inside to harden as the oven cools.

Makes about 1 1/2 dozen biscotti. Store in a tightly covered container in the fridge, or freeze.


5 Items You Don't Need When You Have a Pet

By Tamara L. Waters

A pet can enrich our lives in so many ways, but there’s one way we probably never counted on –saving money. That's right! There are some normal household items you just don't need when you have a pet, so imagine the money you can save!

Back Massager: Kitties make perfect back massagers, provided you keep their claws trimmed. Instructions: Make sure kitty is in good mood. Place kitty on your back. Hope kitty decides to knead your back. If kitty complies, sigh loudly. Appreciate kitty.

Now, if your kitty isn't a kneader (seriously, what cat isn't?), perhaps you could demonstrate to them what type of a massage you need. After all, cats are known for their spectacular ability to follow directions. Or not.

Alarm Clock: This is my cat Garfield's favorite job around my house. I seriously don't need an alarm clock because he wakes me up. Oh, he doesn't just gently rouse me from my sleep, he stands on my chest batting at my face or rubbing my face with his own furry orange mug.

If I don't get up or I attempt to roll over and go back to sleep, he starts purring loudly while being more persistent in his personal "rise and shine" greetings. I only get to sleep in when Garfield allows it and thankfully, he knows that Saturday is my personal sleep in day.

Vacuum Cleaner: I only have cats in the house and they're not as inclined to clean for me, but my parents have a Jack Russell and he keeps their floors spotless! If food hits the floor, you can bet Odie makes sure that floor is sparkling clean in no time. He also does a fair job of sweeping the floor as he runs and plays with his stuffed toys. Low center of gravity makes little dogs perfect floor cleaners, and they can vacuum up any crumbs. The next time you spill some of your CANIDAE dog food on your floors, don't bother with the vacuum – let the pooch do his job!

Alarm System: Who needs an actual alarm system when you've got a dog? Canines are awesome early warning systems. My outside dogs let me knows the second a car hits the end of my driveway. I don't have to worry about anyone sneaking around my yard because I'll know. . .oh yes, I'll know.

My dogs have distinctive alarm system barks. One type of bark means "There are cats!" while another means "Some other small furry animal!" and another means "There's another darn dog in my yard! Get outttttt!" These alarm system barks are very similar and sometimes difficult to determine which is which. Fortunately though, they have very distinctive barks when there are people in the yard or driveway. These barks mean "Person we don't know! Red alert! Red alert! All hands on deck!"

Thankfully, they have not needed to escalate to the serious person alarm bark that means "Person up to no good! Everybody freak out!"

Dishwasher: Yeah, admit it – you've wondered if it would work. Can your pooch do the work of a dishwasher? Sure! Not only can your canine clean your floors, but he can do the dishes. Dirty plates are no match for the tongue action of your dog. Just umm, don't expect him to use dish soap, and don't tell your guests. Seriously. Don't tell anybody.

Photo by Jonathan Crowe

Read more by Tamara L. Waters

The Cat Knows Nose

flickr, by DGMiller777

by Samantha Baker

flickr, by dolce gerhard

flickr, by RoosjeVanDoorn

flickr, by corsi photo

flickr, by yokviv

Artist: SofiaYoushi

Flickr, by lissalou66