Pet News and Pet Advice

Rabbits: the Quiet Pet
by Cindi Hinton, Dallas Small Farms Examiner

If you’re looking for a pet that is quiet, not too big, does not require much vet interaction and takes up very little room, then a rabbit is the way to go. Rabbits only have a few requirements. Fresh balanced rabbit pellets, fresh clean water, clean cage and love. They are a good indoor or outdoor pet that makes very little noise.
Rabbits do not require regular check-ups at the vet. They do not require yearly vaccinations that some other pets require. While visits to the vet are not discouraged, it is certainly not a requirement.

There are many different sizes and breeds of rabbits. We raise Polish and Holland lops and used to raise Netherland Dwarfs. These breeds range from 2 ½ pounds to about 4 ½ pounds and are considered “fancy breeds” which means their primary purpose is raising for pet or show. There are other breeds; The ARBA (American Rabbit Breeders Association) recognizes over 30 different breeds.

I invite you to visit where you can click on their “breed” link and view pictures of every breed they recognize. Most of the breed pictures on their website are linked to that breeds website. There you can learn about that particular breeds characteristics and even its history. If you or someone in your family is considering a rabbit as a pet or even interested in showing I encourage you to go the ARBA website and look at the breed pictures, read about the ones that catch your eye. Then locate a breeder in your area. Most breeders are more than willing to teach you about their breed.

Lucky Dog: Bakersfield Man Performs CPR to Save His Pet
By STEVE E. SWENSON, Californian staff writer

Bakersfield is fast becoming the Chihuahua revival capital of the world; a second one was saved within two months.

Dale Griffin saved his dog Clyde and became the second person this year in Bakersfield to rescue an electrocuted dog by giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

This wasn't the first incident involving a Bakersfield man and his electrocuted dog!
Dale Griffin of southwest Bakersfield was in a back room last Wednesday when he heard “an uncharacteristic yelp” from his Chihuahua mix, Clyde, and rushed to the front room to see what was wrong.

“He was attached to the (heater) cord by the mouth, nearly in a fetal position and his muscles were tightened up completely,” Griffin said in recounting the story Monday.

“I could see sparks inside of his mouth. That’s when I grabbed the cord and yanked it out of the wall.”

The 1-year-old dog involuntarily bounced behind a large television where Griffin had to reach in and grab him.

“He was making strange sounds. I realized he wasn’t moving. He wasn’t breathing either.

“I remembered a story about the other Chihuahua.”

That would be the story of Bubba, who in November chewed through an electric blanket. His owner, Della Hendricks, gave him chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth to revive him.

Griffin said he tried to remove Clyde’s tongue from being lodged in his throat, but couldn’t. “In my mind he was dead,” he said.

“I did a few compressions on his chest, cupped my hands around his face and blew as hard as I could.

“I felt (mucus) going into his lungs, but he was still not breathing. I gave him a couple more chest compressions and put my mouth over his nose.

“I prayed to my lord, ‘Don’t take this dog from me now.’”

At that point the dog’s feet were pointed up to Griffin’s hands. He turned the dog over, thinking all was lost, “but he took off running.”

Clyde was a rescue dog when Griffin’s wife, Vanessa, found him seven months ago near Kmart on Wilson Road.

He didn’t bark or chew, and his owners couldn’t be found, so the Griffins decided to keep him. “The first thing he chewed on was the cord,” he said.

Griffin said his only CPR training was 27 years ago when he was in junior high school. Looking at Clyde, Griffin said, “He’s lucky to be alive.”

Oprah Is Hollywood’s Number One Pet Lover
Written by: Kevin Krizmanich - Celebrity Cafe

Oprah, arguably the most popular talk show hostess in the country, has always been known to use her position of power to give back to the community. Now she has even been recognized by PETA for her support when it comes to the rights of animals.

Winfrey, as reported by the L.A. Times, was named PETA’s Person of the Year because she has devoted episodes of her popular daytime talkshow to helping expose the problem of animal cruelty.

Earlier this year, to protest factory farming and other mistreatment, she went on a 21-day vegan diet, influencing countless fans to do the same. She also focused several episodes on puppy mills; most famously when animal rescuer Bill Smith asked her to address the problem on a Chicago billboard stating, “The dogs need you.”

“It is appalling and beneath our humanity to allow the torture of animals . . .” Winfrey says.

Oprah’s list of good deeds only continues to expand.

Rise and Shine … A Pet Pic to Start Your Day
by Greta Van Susteren - FoxNews

The pics have been flying in at .. here is one sent by a GretaWire blogger to start your day:

My beloved rescue donkey Eeyore and fawn born on our property who stayed until big enough to jump the fence. she still comes to visit every evening to eat with Eeyore.

Airlines Pooh Pooh Pets on Planes

By eTurboNews Staff Writer

BOSTON, MA - Airlines seem to be waging war on passengers who carry pets in the cabin, judging by a recent rash of fee hikes and new rules. And a recent poll reveals that 58 percent of respondents believe that pets should be allowed in the cabin, while 42 percent would ban them entirely. The founder of airfarewatchdog, George Hobica, wonders if the airlines are sending a message by raising both in-cabin and cargo fees, and in some cases by banning pet travel entirely.

Hobica notes that "an estimated 63 percent of American households own pets, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, and an even larger percentage fly commercially. So these higher fees and tougher rules will be a burden on pet owners who travel and wish to carry their pets in the cabin for safety and other reasons."

Airfarewatchdog points out some reasons why flying your pet may become not just more difficult, but also as expensive as flying an additional person:

- Frontier Airlines banned pets from the cabin on June 9 this past summer and now charges up to $400 to fly pets in the cargo hold.

- Delta and American Airlines have recently raised their in-cabin pet fee to $300 - up from $200 previously.

- United has raised its in-cabin fee to an industry-leading $350, and $500 for cargo.

- For years, Southwest Airlines, one of the nation's largest, has banned pets entirely except for fully-trained assistance animals accompanying a person with a disability or being delivered to one.

Quips Hobica, "At $350 a trip, we might be better off enrolling Browser, our canine mascot, in some hang-gliding courses, or - if the fees keep going up - tie some helium balloons to the kennel, toss in a tracking device and hope for the best. His chances of an on-time arrival couldn't be any worse than on some airlines."

Sick Man Searches for his Dog
By SUSAN E. LINDT, Lancaster Online

Owner was in hospice. Doctors said he wouldn't live.

In fact, Darren Frey's health was in such dire condition that doctors said he had better put his affairs in order.

And one of those affairs was Dodger, Frey's short-legged, low-slung, doe-eyed, 1½-year-old tri-color Basset hound — who was as perfect a specimen of his species as the famous Hush Puppy.

But a lucky turn of events — sort of — has left Frey alive but Dodger missing in action.

"It's a nightmare," said family friend Jeff Dissinger of Salunga. "It's a sad thing the whole way around."

For three years, Frey struggled with his health after two liver transplants. When he entered hospice care, Dodger went to a kennel.

Frey's family and friends rallied to do what they could for him.

"The doctors called the family and said, 'You better go see him — he doesn't have more than a day or so to live,' " Dissinger said.

Meanwhile, Dodger's care cost $20 a day at the kennel. With Frey's health unquestionably terminal, Dissinger and his family decided to find a home for Dodger.

"We sat around a table and said, 'What can we do for him?' Three or four of us made a decision to find him a home because we were all working and none of us could take him," Dissinger said.

Dodger went to temporarily live with Frey's sister in Conestoga until a home could be found for him. One day, possibly the Saturday before or after Thanksgiving, a hunter came to the home asking to cross the property to retrieve an eight-point buck. The hunter took a liking to Dodger, who Dissinger said is a neat and fun dog.

"(The hunter) was petting the dog and (Frey's sister) said, 'We might be getting rid of the dog because the owner is terminally ill.' They exchanged numbers and the man came and took the dog," Dissinger said.

A few days later, when the hunter called to say he wanted to return Dodger because the 55-pound dog wasn't doing his carpet any favors, Frey's sister was unable to give him a permanent home because she lives in a rental property that doesn't permit dogs. The hunter said he'd find a home for Dodger. And that was the last they heard from him.

In the meantime, Frey left hospice care and was taken to several hospitals, Dissinger said. He called to tell his family he was recovering, but no one knew what to believe because Frey was heavily medicated. The next thing they knew, Frey was back at home in West Lampeter. And he wanted his Dodger back.

"I'm stunned," Dissinger said of the turn of events.

And aside from being stunned, Dissinger feels awful about Dodger and Frey being separated.

"We thought we were doing the right thing," Dissinger said. "I told him, 'You have to realize what we were told by your doctor.' (Frey) said he didn't think he would live either. He's a very nice man. He accepted his death. So now it would make me happy if we could help him."

Since Dodger left Frey's sister's home, the hunter's telephone number was lost.

Dissinger said he checked with neighbors in the area where the hunter shot the buck, but no one knew him.

"I think his name was Jeff and he was hunting at the tree farm off River Road and Shenks Ferry Road," Dissinger said.

They offered to help Frey get another dog, but Frey wants Dodger — so much so that Frey is willing to get another dog for the family who has him now, if they can be found.

Dissinger hopes the family who has Dodger or the hunter who placed him with the family will read this article and contact him so the hound can be reunited with his human.

Dissinger said he thinks the family who has Dodger has four children and lives in the Conestoga area on a large property. He believes the hunter may have known the family from his church.

And while it might be hard for the family to give up Dodger, especially during the holidays, Dissinger said it would mean the world to Frey to have him back home.

"(Frey) bought the dog for his son, and now he doesn't know what to tell him," Dissinger said.

If anyone knows any information about Dodger, Dissinger asks they please call him at 330-9103.

"It's just a sad thing. And now we may have to take a dog from children at Christmas," Dissinger said. "He just wants him back. I'm doing whatever little thing I can do to help make that happen."

Choosing the Right Pet is a Big Decision
By Pete Keesling - The Gilroy Dispatch

Q: We read your column and listen to your radio show and think we want to get a pet. We just don't know whether we want a dog or a cat. How does someone choose? Do you have a recommendation for a young couple, no kids who live in an average size house in the middle of Gilroy?

A: Adopting a new family member is a huge decision. And it's important for you to be sure that you're ready for your new addition, whatever your choice might be. There are several factors to consider. First, you need to understand that a new pet is a long-term commitment. There are inconveniences that come along with any new addition. And there are financial costs, both for food and health care. And last, but certainly no the least, you'll need to match the personality of your pet to your lifestyle.

Potential new pet owners need to take lots of time learning more about the world of animals. Go to a dog show as well as a cat exhibition (there's one in San Jose in January) to see what's out there. Read some books and get all the information you can. You've taken a good first step by listening to others talk about their pets in this column and on the radio. And if you're still looking forward to getting a companion pet, I think it's only a matter of time before you find the right one. The right pet will come to mind when you least expect it … during a walk in the park or while visiting a friend with a dog, cat or other furry friend. In the end, you might pick a purebred or mongrel, but be sure to go the local animal shelter before you decide. There are a lot of very adoptable pets there. And please, let us know what you decide. We'll be interested in how you make your decision.

Q: A while ago, there was so much news about poisonous contaminants in pet food. Is the pet food in the stores safe now? I heard the other day that there are still some toxic foods out there.

A: There are still some spotty reports about food products that might be unsafe. The latest, about a chicken jerky product with salmonella, comes at the same time as another recent story about commercially prepared infant milk containing melamine. These stories continue to raise doubts about the safety of our food supply.

I think we need to assume at this point that some food in our stores might possibly be unsafe. And I, for one, am avoiding food products that have been imported from China. There seems to be poor quality control in many products that originate there. Domestically produced foods are usually the safest, unless they use ingredients imported from abroad. A while back, some domestic products were unsafe because they had tainted components imported from China. Still, I believe that our overall safety is good, provided we buy products from well-known producers, especially those that no longer use ingredients imported from China.

And needless to say, everyone should watch the news regularly in case there are any new product recalls. Stay tuned here, as well. We'll alert our readers if we hear of any other food safety issues.

Q: I saw a television report about an elephant rescue group in Kenya where orphaned babies are raised by surrogates and then later released into the wild. The interviewer talked about "the memory of an elephant," telling us that these creatures have an incredible recall of events and people. All this made me wonder. Which animals are the smartest? Are elephants on the top of the list?

A: I suppose it all depends on what standards are used to determine intelligence. In a recent interview, primatologist Jane Goodall discussed her thoughts on this subject. She used several different parameters in her evaluation, including communication skills and the ability to use tools. Her "top 5" list put elephants in third place, behind the great apes, and whales and dolphins.

Apes, chimps and orangutans have shown they can not only learn sign language, but they can also teach it to others! And Goodall spoke of one ape that's absolutely hooked on his computer and remembers many things he sees on his screen, even after it is turned off.

Whales and dolphins have an incredible ability and need to communicate. They can send high frequency signals very long distances to "discuss" things with their peers.

Why are elephants higher than parrots or dogs or cats on this list? It seems that elephants, like the great apes, have tremendous compassion and empathy (they even bury their dead companions). And their incredible memory is demonstrated by their ability to establish long-term relationships. They recognize friends even after years of separation. And finally, here's something else you may not have heard. Like great apes, elephants have an artistic side, painting original artwork that shows an intelligence that far exceeds that of other animals.

So as smart as I think Rumpy the Cat might be, I know he'll never pick up a paintbrush. Still, I think he's one of the great creatures of the world and a wonderful companion to me.

And as the year comes to an end, Rumpy, Peg and I have a wish for everyone. May we all enjoy peace and good health in the coming New Year. I'm looking forward to another year of doing what I enjoy the most; living the good life here in South County and caring for family and friends and their pets.

Peace to everyone and Happy New Year!

Pete Keesling

Pete Keesling is a veterinarian at San Martin Veterinary Hospital. He writes a bi-weekly column for South Valley Newspapers and hosts a radio talk show, Dr. Pete’s Petpourri, Sundays at 1 p.m. and Friday mornings at 7:10 on KSCO 1080 AM. If you have questions about pet care, e-mail them to

As Recession Bites, Germany Opens Pet Soup Kitchens

BERLIN (AFP) — In a sign of the times in Europe's biggest economy, poodles, pinschers, terriers, and sheep dogs are queuing up for rations at Berlin's first soup kitchen for pets.

The venue is a disused nightschool in the former communist east Berlin where the smell of straw, dry food and wet dog lingers in the air as a Jack Russell in a checkered coat waddles past on its way to the kibbles line for biscuits.

Pensioners and those on the dole qualify for the free pet food buffet which opened in the district of Treptow in mid-October, allowing those with no disposable income the chance to hold on to their beloved dogs and cats.

"We've already signed up nearly 400 people. And our stocks are dwindling fast. Today cat owners are just getting a single tin each," said Julia Raasch, who heads the capital's sole animal soup kitchen, run by Tiertafel (Animal Dining Table), a pet welfare association.

Berlin, where unemployment hovers around 13 percent, has some 100,000 registered dogs, many of them owned by pensioners.

The soup kitchen also caters to other pets -- including cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, and budgerigars. Twelve volunteers hand out food and advice, while keeping an eye on the animals' health.

Food rations, donated by individuals and food companies alike, will normally cover the animal's needs for four to five days.

Tiertafel, launched two years ago, now runs 19 soup kitchens across down the country. With the looming prospect of the longest and deepest recession in Germany since World War II, the group is planning on opening 30 more.

Claudia Hollm, who owns three dogs herself, said she came up with the idea of pet soup kitchens after seeing a television report about a family having to give their dog away to an animal rescue centre after the father was made redundant.

"The dog didn't understand what was going on; all the family was upset, and we just thought -- it just can't be that for the sake of 30 or 40 euros (42 or 56 dollars) they've got to turn their pet out," she said.

"Everyday we see people who can't keep their pets anymore because of the cost," according to Evamarie Koenig, spokeswoman for Berlin's central animal rescue centre.

The facility takes in more than 10,000 animals each year, with one in three handed over by owners who say they can no longer look after them, she added.

At the Treptow soup kitchen, animal owners -- known as "customers" -- must initially turn up with the animal in order to register. And they must show proof the pet has been vaccinated.

They must also prove financial need by showing their welfare papers, unemployment registration or pension card.

"It's easy for someone to go from middle-income wage earner to someone on Hartz IV," Hollm said, referring to the state allocation granted to people on long-term welfare which is worth about 350 euros a month.

And poverty further isolates people who sometimes must rely on their pet for their sole company, she added.

"Half our customers are old people for whom a cat or dog is their last social link," she said.

It also quickly became obvious that people needed more than just a tin of animal food, Hollm said, pointing to the need to make sure pets stay healthy.

Amid the holiday season, the association is calling for extra donations so that volunteers can lay out bones, pigs' ears, toy mice and scratching posts under the Christmas trees set up in each of its soup kitchens.

What You Need to Know About Marine Aquarium Circulation
By Darin Sewell

Having adequate marine aquarium circulation is critical to the success of your tank and to the health of your fish. Unfortunately most new saltwater aquarium keepers do not set their tanks up right and have poor circulation that can lead to a variety of problems.

Problems Associate With Low Aquarium Circulation

Algae Growth- When the current in the tank is not strong enough to keep fish waste and un eaten food in suspension long enough to be removed by the filter system it often settles and begins to decay adding nitrates and phosphates to the tank.
Low PH- Due to the low flow the oxygen levels i the tank will be low and this will lead to a low PH in the aquarium. Low PH under 7.8 can harm fish, coral and other invertebrates in your system and also help algae grow.

How Much Water Flow Should You Have

The general rule of thumb when it comes to adequate marine aquarium flow is to have about 15-20 times the volume of the tank. So for example a 55 gallon saltwater set up would need to 825-1100 Gallons Per Hour of flow, this however can vary higher or lower depending on the tank and the type of flow you have.

What Is Flow Velocity and Flow Volume

When it comes to marine aquarium circulation you need to be aware that not all flow is the same and you have to consider velocity as well. For example water flowing from a garden hose at 1000 gallons per hour will have much more speed then water being poured from a pitcher a 1000 gallons per hour because the pitcher has a wider area. In a nut shell the water has the same volume it just moves slower and covers more area.

This carried over into saltwater aquariums and the many different pumps and power heads that are available. Many newer models use a propeller to create high flow wide pattern of low velocity water flow which is more natural for your fish but also covers a wider area of the tank.

To create a stunning and easy-to-maintain saltwater aquarium grab a copy of our Saltwater Aquarium Guide. This illustrated guide will show you step by step how to properly set up your aquarium. It's crammed with tips and tricks that the pros use to create stunning aquatic displays! Learn more at

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