Holiday Pet Music?

Music Pets Love: The Holiday Edition CD, Strikes a Chord With Pet Owners!

Following the success of the “Music Dogs Love” and “Music Cats Love” CDs, composer Bradley Joseph has released “Music Pets Love: The Holiday Edition”.

PRLog (Press Release) – Nov 19, 2008 – Following the success of the “Music Dogs Love” and “Music Cats Love” CDs, composer/pianist Bradley Joseph has released “Music Pets Love: The Holiday Edition”. This unique CD has one hour of relaxing holiday music classics, mixed with soft nature sounds and short stories. It creates a peaceful environment for pets who are left alone.

After years of touring with Yanni and Sheena Easton, Bradley Joseph ( has completed over a dozen relaxing piano CDs released on his own record label Robbins Island Music

“The Holiday Edition” is Bradley Joseph’s seventh pet title in the popular “While You Are Gone” series. Other CDs in the collection are created specifically for cats, dogs, or birds, and includes two DVDs that take your dog or cat on a virtual walk through the woods.

“Both my cat and dog have roamed my recording studio for years”, explains Bradley. “They listen to music all the time and I began to realize they reacted differently to (different) songs. I noticed it changed their behavior”. Bradley began experimenting with different music, sound effects, and voices until he created a mixture that pets seem to enjoy the most.

Bradley Joseph’s pet collection has found a niche among the 200 million pet owners around the country who want to help their pet relax when they leave the house, or are too busy to give them the attention they need.

Bradley Joseph’s pet CDs and DVDs have taken the idea of leaving your radio or television on to the next level.

For more information or to listen to samples, visit

Robbins Island Music
PO Box 270371
Vadnais Heights, MN 55127

How Bunny Got Her Wag Back
By LANA BERKOWITZ Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle

Disabled dog gets wheelchair and therapy, but she still needs a home

Bunny is a bundle of problems.

First of all, she’s a dog not a rabbit. It’s painfully obvious that her legs are deformed so that she can’t walk. And because of setbacks caused by Hurricane Ike, she needs a home.

She’s also a bundle of happiness.

Bunny was about 3 weeks old in May when she was found in a park and taken to Montgomery County Animal Shelter, which, like any shelter, is full of sad stories.

The sick puppy with leg problems was scheduled for euthanasia the next morning when she caught the attention of rescue volunteer Jane Ward.

“We couldn’t let a little puppy go on to heaven without knowing love,” Ward said. Ward and her husband, Mike, have been fostering dogs for 15 years. They take last-chance animals, get them healthy and happy, and send them to a foster homes to await adoption.

The Wards took Bunny home, and she got worse.

Dr. Gordon Parham at Petcare Express was the first veterinarian to see Bunny, who had distemper, which causes severe neurological problems.

“She was walking at first but started falling down. Eventually she was so weak that she stopped walking at all,” Ward said. The couple fed her with a syringe for five weeks.

“One day, like a miracle, she started to lap at her food and water. Since mid-August she has been on a path of recovery,” Ward said.

Parham credits Ward’s dedication. “If she hadn’t given it so much home-nursing care, the poor little animal probably would not have made it even with all the medical attention in the world,” Parham said.

After saving Bunny’s life, Ward knew she needed help getting Bunny back on her feet. The rescuer was pleased when two occupational therapy students at University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston saw Ward’s online plea and volunteered to take Bunny as a therapy project.

“Just talking to them and listening to what could be done to help a dog or even a person in this situation opened my mind to the possibilities for Bunny,” Ward said. However, when Ike hit, the students lost their apartment, and Bunny went back to Ward’s home.

Ward applied for help with the vet bills and inquired about a doggie wheelchair for Bunny, whose two front legs flip out to the side rather and down. An anonymous donor gave about $550 to cover the cost of Bunny’s quad cart from Doggon’ Wheels that arrived in early October. Once she got her twisted body off the ground, Bunny’s tail wagging became more infectious as she pushed herself with her back legs and gained more freedom.

“She was so thrilled. It made me just cry,” Ward said. “It was a joy that she could be off the floor.”

A bit later Ruffwear selected Bunny to be a tester for its new Portage Float Coat for hydrotherapy. The mutt also got a free physical therapy evaluation from Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists, which wasn’t optimistic, Parham said.

Ward knows Bunny probably won’t make a full recovery, but she hopes the pup can find a home with someone who can continue the dog’s therapy and vitamin regimen.

“We’ve had other (disabled) dogs that come in, and they are grumpy and grouchy, and she’s just happy as can be. She’s really funny.”

Hearts are melted by the 22-pound hound dog’s enthusiasm, Ward said. She runs to strangers with her tail wagging furiously.

She would be a great pet, everyone agrees, if you can make the commitment to a handicapped dog that needs two 30-minute neuromuscular retraining sessions daily.

“Dogs that are sick like that, they get so much attention as puppies that it’s just intense socialization for them,” Parham said. “They turn out to be just about the best pets you can imagine in their efforts to please and bond and relate.”

Ward sees a bigger mission for Bunny. “I think Bunny has a future, whether it’s motivating disabled children or visiting nursing homes.

“You look at this little dog who is as happy as sunshine itself. You wake up in the morning, and she wags her tail. She talks to you. It’s amazing.”

Pet Q&A: Slimming a Fat Cat? Start at the Vet
By Dr. Marty Becker - Sacramento Bee

Q: I know you've said there's no reason for a fat pet, but I can't get any weight off our 17-pound cat. I don't think it's possible. Also, I'm not sure it would improve our cat's life to cut back on his food because he's such a happy eater. Any advice? --S.W., via e-mail

A: Would it improve the quality of your cat's life--or yours--if he became diabetic? Because that's one of the risks of chronic obesity in cats. Overweight cats are also prone to joint, ligament and tendon problems, difficulty breathing and even skin problems because they can't groom themselves properly.

Talk to your veterinarian about your cat's overall health and a plan for slowly trimming down your overweight pet. Quick-loss programs can make your cat ill or even kill him, which is why a vet-approved slow-reduction plan is best.

Pay attention to what you're doing to contribute in ways you may not even be fully aware of. For example: Do you share your meals with your cat, handing him the choicest tidbits off your plate? Do you love to give him cat treats several times a day? These things all add up!

Make food harder to get. Our pets are now "born retired," and food takes no effort to find. Break up the daily portions and put them in places that are harder to get to--on top of a file cabinet or cat tree, for example. Also make use of food puzzles that make animals work both their minds and their bodies to get the yummies.

Most of all, remember that food is not love. Instead of interacting with your cat over food, bond over grooming or play. Your cat will love you just as much for a loving session of gentle brushing and combing, or a playful half-hour spent being teased with a cat "fishing pole" or other toy. Time spent in either pursuit is better for an overweight cat than eating, and the exercise will help take the weight off.

Check out Dr. Marty Becker's new book, "The Ultimate Cat Lover" - Advice, Stories and Photos of Fabulous Felines. Click here to visit HCI Books.

Local Woman Takes Her Dog to Hospitals and Homes to be Cheerful Therapy to Patients

Sunday Brown loves the volunteer work she does with her therapy dog so much, not even a broken leg could stop her.

"I made the rounds in my wheelchair with my leg up in the air," said Brown, who broke her leg two years ago and had her husband, Jack, drive her to assignments. "I don't miss unless I'm sick or I'm away. It's like a job, because people count on me."

For the past seven years, Brown has volunteered her time and the services of her therapy dog, Cheyenne, a 9-year-old female yellow Labrador retriever, to area medical facilities such as Beaufort Memorial Hospital.

Cheyenne brings comfort to patients who spend time petting and playing with the animal, and some let her lick their faces.

"Cheyenne goes to the hospital every Friday morning," said Brown. "We're usually there for about two hours. We go to the ER, into the waiting rooms, pediatrics, rehab, the surgery center, in and out of the offices, the mammogram room, all over. Then we work our way up to the floors."

After spending time with patients at BMH and eating lunch in the cafeteria, Brown then spends the rest of the day with people at Bayview Manor nursing home, where Cheyenne started as a therapy dog seven years ago.

"Cheyenne loved it, and I did, too," said Brown. "If Bayview is having a party going on, and there's like 30 people in the room, she'll go up to every single person, and they'll pet her. When you (volunteer), you appreciate how lucky you have it."

Certified in the United States through Therapy Dogs International, Cheyenne also has spent time with patients in their homes as well as at Morningside of Beaufort assisted living, Summit Place of Beaufort and Friends of Caroline Hospice.

"I've given almost 500 hours to (Friends of Caroline Hospice)," said Brown. "Cheyenne has received a couple of awards. She has the distinction of being awarded Therapy Dogs International Remarkable Volunteer because of the amount of visits. We're up to about 300, maybe 350 visits. I have to keep records of every visit I make."

Brown also belongs to the Savannah-based Coastal Therapy Dogs, and she has been involved in various community events to promote the idea of people getting their pets to become therapy dogs. She finds the work extremely rewarding.

"When I go in the hospital, there are a lot of people that are depressed," said Brown. "It's a stressful thing to be in the hospital. You get in the rooms, and they all tell you stories of their dogs. It really helps. I think people respond more to a dog sometimes than another person coming in. Most people love a dog."

A native of New Jersey, Brown and her husband retired to Beaufort 11 years ago after falling in love with the area on a visit. Brown used to be a registered dental assistant.

"I had Cheyenne as a pet first, and I was reading an article in a magazine one day about people visiting with therapy dogs in nursing homes," said Brown. "I was in the medical field and loved working with people. I said, 'Cheyenne loves people. I'm going to give it a try.' "

Brown said a neighbor who had a therapy dog helped Cheyenne train for the certification test, which is made up of about 10 different tasks the dogs must perform, including following commands and not being distracted by yelling or food.

"It was a very stressful test," said Brown. "You can't fail any part of it."

As the coordinator of volunteers at BMH, Jamie McMahon has seen firsthand the impact Cheyenne has on patients.

"She's had a very positive effect on both the patients and employees," said McMahon. "Both the patients and employees really look forward to the weekly visits.

"I think it's very important, (because) you're going after more than just the clinical. You're trying to meet emotional, spiritual and holistic needs, and it really lifts their spirits."

Brown said Cheyenne has been through a lot herself, including three or four cancer surgeries for a recurring sarcoma in her chest.

"Hopefully we got it the last time," said Brown. "She's a good dog, and she's friendly. I love her."

Brown has made a lot of friends through her volunteer work, but, she added, most volunteers do not stick with it. She makes a point of visiting her nursing home friends at hospitals when they move, and she mentioned a friend of hers who recently passed away.

"She was from another country and had no family here," said Brown. "She just loved Cheyenne. I was with her in the hospital like an hour before she died.

"People don't realize that the patients they're seeing, especially the long-term patients, they count on it. I've become almost like a family member to some people. It's changed my life."


Old Men and Shaggy Dogs: A Partnership That Just Seems to Work
by Gary Ott - Midland Reporter-Telegram

It was a cool, crisp morning. The old man was wearing a light jacket and had a wool scarf wrapped around his neck. It was shortly before 8 a.m. on a weekday and he seemed in no hurry to move on with his day. Instead, he was walking at a leisurely pace and admiring his surroundings. There was a look of contentment on his face. Then he knelt to one knee and began rubbing his dog's face. Both looked as happy as could be. And the sight -- a man and his best friend -- warmed my heart. Then I made a right-hand turn and headed for work.

Still, the image remained with me. I couldn't help but wonder about the old man. Was he a widower? Did he live alone with his beloved dog? Did the two of them share a walk each and every morning?

And for some reason, those thoughts reminded me of the great Jerry Jeff Walker song, "Mr. Bojangles," in which he describes an old man he first met in a New Orleans jail cell. This part has always stuck with me:


He danced for those at minstrel shows and county fairs

throughout the south

He spoke through tears of 15 years how his dog and him

traveled about

The dog up and died, he up and died

and after 20 years he still grieves.


That, I suppose, is the true essence of loving a pet, one that has become a part of your life. It seems particularly so when a person, especially an elderly person, lives alone. The pet -- a dog, a cat or what have you -- is a valuable source of company, almost like a member of the family.

How that animal becomes a part of the family can differ wildly. Some people will take months -- and spend thousands of dollars -- to make just the right choice. Others tend to have one fall in their lap.

I would be a member of the latter group. I have a cat who was given to me as a stray kitten. I was less than thrilled, but agreed to take her nonetheless. Still, I offered the following advice:

"OK, kid," I said, as she licked her left paw and ignored my words. "You'll always have food and a place to sleep, but other than that, you're on your own."

Sixteen years later, we're still together. And, yes, when she goes to that big litter box in the sky, I'm sure I'll grieve ... just like Mr. Bojangles. But I do hope it's not in a New Orleans jail cell.

But, really, it's dogs and old men I like best to see together. They just seem to form a perfect partnership. Maybe it's because old men are really just little boys at heart, unable to outgrow their affection for shaggy dogs, especially the kind that jump up and down when their "master" enters the room.

The joy on the dog's face is almost as great as that being experienced by the old man. It is as though they share a certain pride in one another. It has even been suggested they eventually take on similar facial expressions and mannerisms.

Unable to get that thought out of my head, I turned the car around and drove toward home. Sure enough, they were still walking together, the old man and his dog. The man sported a huge grin. And from what I could tell, so did his dog.

More power to them. Everyone should be so loved.

Dogs Win Spot in Writers’ Hearts
By Dennie Hall - NewsOk

PetsBooks offer glimpses of how and why people love their canines

Ever notice that dogs are listed often as survivors in obituaries? It’s no wonder. They are the closest and dearest friends and companions of many people. So, it is not unexpected that books dealing with dogs are numerous, with more arriving all the time.

Vicki Croke and Sarah Wilson have written "Dogology: What Your Relationship with Your Dog Reveals About You” (Rodale, $17.95). The authors ask, "What does the dog a person selects as a pet tell us about the owner’s personality and emotional quirks?” They use psychological insights, quizzes and humor to analyze why owners turn to certain breeds as pets. The book is touted as making "a welcome addition to any of the 43.5 million American households that now own at least one dog.”

A clever new book, "Indognito: A Book of Canines in Costume” (Little, Brown, $19.99) is Karen Ngo’s contribution to doggie literature. Her book is filled with beautiful dogs in a variety of costumes, many with a Christmas theme. She has worked as a creative director and entrepreneur in New York City and is the founder of Scout, a dog boutique in New York’s East Village.

Speaking of the holiday season, Greg Kincaid’s novel, "A Dog Named Christmas” (Doubleday, $14.95), will put anyone in the mood. It is described as "a heartwarming ... tale about the irresistible power of innocence, generosity and love.”

A slim book that will take only minutes to peruse has the cute title "BowWow: The Somewhat Comprehensive Book of Dog Names” (Gibbs Smith, $9.95). Faye Passow has compiled lists of names suitable to various kinds of dogs. For example, there are human names: Barney, Fritz, Jarvis, Max, Moe, Rex, Rufus, Wally, Doris, Hazel, Pat, Tess. (Max, incidentally, is the most common dog name.) Also listed are ideas for names including purebreds, Dickens characters, leaders, history’s bravest, good dogs, mutts, bad dogs, worldly dogs, colors, double dog (Bobo, Toto, Lulu, etc), secondhand Rover, action figures — the list goes on.

A book for cat lovers as well, "Mutts Shelter Stories: Love. Guaranteed.” (Andrews McMeel, $16.99) is Patrick McDonnell’s effort to get people to "turn away from the pet trade and toward our shelters, where you can make a friend for life.”

"Their Dogs Came With Them” (Washington Square Press, $15) is a paperback reprint of a novel Helena Maria Viramontes wrote last year illustrating that dogs will go through all kinds of hardships with their masters.

Readers Say Sick Pets Come First
By Catharine Hamm - Los Angeles Times

Experts and owners weigh in on what do when a furry friend falls ill in the midst of travel plans.

Pet lovers and pet experts responded to a question about whether postponing a vacation for a sick pet was an obvious choice or an obsessive one. From e-mails and interviews, here are some of their responses:


I have seen people incur great personal sacrifice in order to accommodate their pet's needs. Many clients have cut their vacations short when the family pet fell ill. One couple flew back from France when it looked like their Chihuahua might succumb to heart disease. They spent hours sitting by the oxygen chamber with him. I believe it helped this patient pull through. Another family planned a special vacation for their golden retriever after she was diagnosed with lymphoma. They frolicked together at a lake resort for a week. The happy memories from that trip comforted them once she was gone.

Life must go on. Yet it is essential that we pause and reflect on the lives of our precious animal companions.

-- Kristen L. Nelson, D.V.M., Scottsdale, Ariz.


Being with Tatianna, my 16-year-old Siamese, in the last minutes of her extraordinary life was not unlike how we had shared thousands of ordinary days. I was always there for her, and she was always there for me, loving me unconditionally. As Thomas Wolfe said, "I am a part of all that I have touched and that has touched me."

The last commandment of "A Pet's Ten Commandments" is this: On the ultimate difficult journey, go with me, please. Never say you can't bear to watch. Don't make me face this alone. Everything is easier for me if you are there, because I love you so."

-- Linda A. Mohr, Author, "Tatianna: Tales and Teachings of My Feline Friend"


As a business owner and a pet lover, I have had employees who need to take off time for their pets and I am 100% OK with it.

I have three dogs. For one in particular, a rescue pit bull that was found roaming the streets of Inglewood, I have a love so deep that it does not compare to any love I have ever had for a human.

Pets are part of the family. Not all children have two legs. Mine have four.

-- Beth Shaw, Torrance


A 27-year-old cat is an extraordinary animal. I honor the reader's choice to postpone her vacation to be with her cat. I have a dog that is half that age, and while our bond is strong, I am inspired as I imagine the blessings (and sacrifices) around being with a pet for twice that span.

There is no "should" about stopping everything for an animal; there is only "choice." The reader can take faith that her next vacation will be all the more inspired for her present choice.

-- Larry Kay, Sherman Oaks, President and creator of, teaching kids to care for animals


If you have taken on the responsibility to be a dog or cat Mom or Dad, you must realize that you now have a four-legged toddler for the duration of its life. By accepting that responsibility, you have agreed (and hopefully desire) to give that animal love, care and companionship beyond his basic needs, through good times and bad. Just as a sick child or a sick spouse needs a little TLC to encourage him to fight and heal more quickly, so do Fluffy and Fido. Love can truly heal many ills.
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Unique Pet Meets Needs of the Elderly
By Elena Tucker - Staff Writer - The Boerne Star

Freddy Jr. could be just any ash-blond lab mix, just any dog with laughing eyes, happy grin and an enthusiastic bounce. He could be any shelter dog, doted on by a loving owner.

But Freddy Jr. is not just any dog. He’s a certified therapy dog who makes weekly rounds in three San Antonio nursing homes while visiting Boerne and New Braunfels’ facilities too.

"He’s my full-time thing and I’m his full-time thing,” Freddy Jr.’s “assistant,” Bo Doyle said.

Not so many dogs have business cards either but Freddy Jr. does. According to the card, Freddy Jr. specializes in “replacing sad faces with happy faces, sharing unconditional love, and lowering high blood pressure.” Pretty good a puppy that Doyle found at the San Antonio Humane Society four years ago.

Typical for this duo, even the doggie-adoption wasn’t exactly normal. Doyle was searching for a dog to replace Freddy Sr. who’d been Doyle’s companion for well over a decade prior. According to Doyle, he scoured area shelters until he found the right pup.

“I was looking for a dog exactly like Freddy Sr.,” he said.

When he finally found the right one, he came to believe that Freddy Jr.’s resulting uniqueness was not a coincidence.

“Freddy, Sr. sent Freddy Jr. to me ��“ he knew I needed a special dog,” Doyle said.

Which may seem a bit incredible until one begins to realize just how unusual Freddy Jr. actually is as he interacts with wheelchair-bound adults in Boerne’s Town and Country Manor.

“As soon as we walk in, people start hollering, ‘Bring him over here. Bring him over here.’” Doyle said. And that’s, indeed what happens when Freddy Jr. enters a room. Cloudy eyes brighten, drawn faces lift, and listless hands come alive. Everybody wants to pet Freddy Jr. Everybody wants to tell their stories about pets once cherished.

Doyle, a retired medical technology engineer, said that Freddy Jr. is his only family. After teaching himself to sew, Doyle now wears vests made to match the monogrammed kerchiefs that he also stitches up for his pet.

He also makes the many floats on which Freddy Jr. appears for local parades. That includes a haunted house, complete with sound effects for a Hill Country Halloween event. And Freddy Jr. always appears in Boerne’s Christmas parade as well.

Believing that “spiritual connections” exist between animals and humans, Doyle also knows that Freddy Jr. performs a possibly more banal task in the life of his human.

“We spend a lot of time with a lot of people which is good for me,” Doyle said in acknowledgment of his own shy tendencies, “because I need to be socialized too.”

“In his leisure time, Freddy Jr. loves to watch TV,” Doyle said, producing photos to prove it. “His favorite shows are, The Dog Whisperer, old John Wayne movies and National Geographic ��“ or any show that has dogs on it. He normally lies on his bed in front of the TV. When they bring on a dog he will right away jump up and watch the show. When he really gets interested he will go up and smell the TV screen to check out the dog.”

What Is Melamine? An Explanation
By Marshall Brain - - Hartford Courant

For the last year or so, we've been hearing shocking stories involving China and a chemical called melamine.

It started in 2007 with the pet-food scandal. Pet food sold in the United States and Canada contained contaminated wheat gluten that made thousands of animals sick. Many of the animals died from kidney failure. In 2008 we are hearing about China's infant formula scandal.

Melamine in the formula is poisoning tens of thousands of babies in China. And there is concern that the chemical might be making its way into the U.S. food supply in the form of milk or powdered milk added to food products made in China.

All of this news raises some obvious questions, like, what is melamine? Why would anyone want to add melamine to food in China (or anywhere else)? And why is it so deadly? Let's take a look at how this chemical works.

Melamine is a fairly simple chemical. If you examine a molecule of melamine, it looks like a hexagon made up of three carbon atoms and three nitrogen atoms. Three arms connect to the hexagon. Each arm has a nitrogen atom and two hydrogen atoms. In other words, melamine is a chemical containing three carbon atoms, six hydrogen atoms and six nitrogen atoms per molecule. By weight the molecule contains 64 percent nitrogen.

Melamine is an extremely useful chemical because it is the foundation of a common plastic. Mixed with formaldehyde, melamine forms a resin that is easy to mold into any shape. Formica contains melamine, and so do many other countertop-like products like dry-erase boards and floor tile. Melamine plastic can be glued onto plywood or particle board to make shelves and cabinets. You can make bowls, cups and plates out of it. Melamine is hard and durable. Unlike some other plastics which burn very easily, melamine resists combustion.

So how does a plastic like melamine get into the food supply? To understand this, you need to understand a little about what goes into "normal food." Normal foods contain carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Carbohydrates don't contain any nitrogen, and neither do fats. But proteins do. Proteins are made from chains of amino acids, and each amino acid contains a nitrogen atom. In other words, in any normal, unadulterated food, protein is the only source of nitrogen. Therefore, the common tests that scientists use to determine the amount of protein in a food simply look at the amount of nitrogen in the food. Up until last year this seemed reasonable, because up until last year the only thing supplying nitrogen in any food was amino acids.

Now imagine that you are an unscrupulous food company and you want to make an extra buck. You would do that by "watering down" your product. With milk, you literally add water to the milk. The problem is that your milk will now come up short when it is tested for protein. But the protein test isn't really looking for actual protein — it is simply measuring nitrogen. Recall that melamine contains six nitrogen atoms per molecule. So what if you add melamine to the food? China is one of the world's largest producers of melamine for plastic, so the chemical is cheap and readily available. Now when your watered-down milk gets tested for protein, it will look like it contains the right amount of nitrogen, even though the nitrogen comes in the form of plastic.

This wouldn't really matter from a health-danger perspective if melamine was benign. Unfortunately, it is not. It gets into the kidney and causes kidney failure if you eat enough of it. Most of the pets that died in 2007 died as a result of kidney failure. In 2008, the same kind of kidney poisoning is happening to tens of thousands of Chinese infants whose parents fed them tainted infant formula. The melamine is causing kidney stones and has killed several children.

There are products made in China, particularly chocolate products, that contain milk and milk powder. Are these products contaminated with melamine? The FDA says it has been testing the food entering the U.S. and it thinks the food supply is safe. But some people are expressing concern that bad candy made in China might be slipping through. If you are worried, a possible precaution might be to check your Halloween candy for a "made in China" tag. If you find Chinese candy, throw it away.

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