Pet Advice, News and Surfing Dogs (Photos)

Tips for Proper Pet Ownership

When owning a pet, it requires the same amount of dedication and attentiveness as caring for another person. More and more people are obsessed with a holistic, healthy lifestyle. This is important to consider for dogs as well. It could be beneficial to try to create a completely nutritious diet for your pet with dog vitamins. To be a responsible pet owner, you should look into the ingredients in the household products you use around your pet to prevent subsequent issues that could be caused by dog skin allergies or irritations. As people become more concerned with the ingredients of products used around them and their children, it is also important to remember to be as concerned with the products used around our pets.

It is undeniably important to make sure your dog makes regular visits to the vet. If you are a new dog owner, make sure to schedule an appointment with a vet to get acquainted and allow your dog to come to know the vet. Also, do not be afraid to seek out a different vet if your first vet does not work for you, just like people do with finding doctorshow people tend to go to multiple doctors before choosing one, which is not a bad idea for choosing a vet}.

Making a bond with your veterinarian will make it a lot easier for you to properly care for your dog. The vet can provide you with ideas about products to use for your dog or even just around the house that are safe for your dog. Also, sometimes it is helpful to get to know other people who bring their dogs to your vet because other pet owners can have a wealthof advice when dealing with issues with your dog.

It is also really important to consider some steps to “dog-proof” your house, similar to “baby-proofing”. My dogs really enjoy getting into our trash cans and dragging the trash all over the house, which is not only a pain for us to clean, but causes skin irritations and ear infections in my one dog. Some simple ideas to “dog-proof” are picking up garbage cans and moving them to a level that is too high for the dogs; removing food from countertops if you have larger dogs; and put away fragrant items that could be potentially harmful if ingested by your dog. Though it can be a pain, but could prevent future incidents with your dog.

If, however, your dog does somehow ingest something harmful or something that leads to an irritation, it is important to get ahold of your vet or an emergency pet hospital if it is after hours. Sometimes it is necessary to remove the item from your dogs system; we had a scare when one of our dogs ingested a large bag of chocolate. We called our vet and were instructed to try having our dog drink peroxide and remove the chocolate.

Furthermore, if whatever your dog ingested is not potentially poisonous, but is having a reaction to the vet will be able to recommend or prescribe something to aid the reaction. Be careful to monitor your dog if there is a skin allergy because dogs are likely to scratch until their skin is raw causing a hot spot, which can lead to severe infections. Do not ignore allergic reactions or strange spots on their skin, because an infection could be fatal if ignored. It is vital to find veterinary attention at the first sign of an issue before it is too late and you lose an important member of your family.

Lucky Dogs: Pet Resort Offers Pampering, TV
By Ben Penserga •

All Theresa Durham wanted was a good place to board her dogs.

"My husband calls them our 'furry children,'" said Durham. "But we could just not find a place for our kids."

So Frank and Terri Durham built their own -- the Maryland Shore Pet Resort.
It took years for the couple to find the right tract of land on the Eastern seaboard, but the culmination of their hard work happens Tuesday when the site has its grand opening.

Throughout the day, the Durhams and the rest of the staff will offer tours of the 440-acre facility off Route 50 between mile markers 92 and 93.

The couple will be joined by Cambridge Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley, and Dorchester County Council President Jay Newcomb to kick off the festivities. Sharon Keutmann, president of the board of directors of the Dorchester Humane Society, will also be on hand to receive a donation from the resort and share their plans to work together for the animals of the region.

Fully operational, the Maryland Shore Pet Resort will offer standard and luxury overnight accommodations, doggy day camp, full-service, all-breed grooming, numerous indoor and outdoor activities, a custom-built spa for the ultimate in fitness, and professional obedience and Retriever training in conjunction with its on-site sister company, Walker Branch Retrievers LLC.

Also on site are an elite pet supplies and gift boutique, the Best-Friend Bistro gourmet pet restaurant, and the Pure-Bred Bakery.
A night's stay starts at about $16, Durham said. But If people feel like pampering their pets they can go with the resort's "Platinum" package for $35 a night.

"It's our luxury suite -- it has a flat-screen TV with both a bed and a couch," she said.

The full-package also includes access to the resort's numerous activities, which include a aqua massage, room service and a nature walk, Durham said.
Durham said the resort had its unofficial opening a few weeks ago, but the buzz among pet owners has already started.
"You know, until (Thursday), all we've had is a small sign by the road and we already have about 100 clients in our database," she said.
As the resort finds its footing, Durham hopes to partner with other places, such as the Cambridge Hyatt, to maximize business.

Our Pets: Your Help is Needed to Save Pet Lives
By Gary Bogue - Contra Costa Times

Please get involved. The lives of our pets are at stake.

Dear Gary:

A decade after the California legislature affirmed a state policy that "no adoptable animal should be euthanized," lawmakers are poised to pull back in a way that could jeopardize the fate of thousands of healthy dogs and cats in the state's municipal shelters.

In the midst of this unprecedented budget crisis, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed to save money by cutting the holding period for stray animals back to a scant three days, down from the four to six days mandated by the Hayden law enacted in 1998.

The potential "savings" to the state amount to 0.1 percent of the state's deficit, a paltry sum representing nothing more than a symbolic sharing of the fiscal pain by stray or homeless animals and those dedicated humans who help them find their way home or to become part of new families.

These are the only state dollars that presently go to assist local governments with the costly problem of pet overpopulation and no doubt the loss of funding will present huge challenges. Cutting funds for the extended holding period will make it tougher for local animal shelters, already reeling under the weight of increased owner relinquishments and abandonments fomented by the foreclosure crisis, to help pet owners locate their lost animals, and facilitate opportunities for adoption or transfer to rescue groups.

These are tough times and lawmakers are under the gun to make very difficult decisions. We hope this won't be one of them.

Jennifer Fearing, chief economist, The Humane Society of the United States,Sacramento

Dear Jennifer:

This could end up costing thousands of pet lives.

Please call Gov. Schwarzenegger at 916-445-2841 and ask him not to cut back the holding period for strays. Also contact your state legislators and express your concerns. Find your local legislators at

Thanks for caring.

Dear Gary:

This is late and urgent, but I've been scrambling with other area animal rescue group volunteers to try to turn the tide.

We just found out the Alameda Board of Supervisor's budget hearing for the Sheriff's department will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday. The Sheriff's department is in charge of Alameda County animal shelters. I think they're going to finalize the budget on June 27.

State and Alameda County budget cuts have dealt us a double whammy. The sheriff plans on closing Fairmont Animal Shelter in San Leandro and sending our stray pets to the Dublin, East County Animal Shelter. The Hayden law's lack of funding drops the legal minimum stray hold to only 3 days. It hasn't triggered a change from 5 to 3 days yet, but the potential would be worse with less shelter space. Many more companion animals would be at risk of euthanasia with overcrowding. And with further to travel, it will be harder for people to reclaim their pets — especially on a Thursday or Friday with heavy outbound traffic.

Please mention this in your column! The response can make a difference.

Sue Perry, Castro Valley

Dear Sue:

The ripple effect is just horrible. Please attend the Alameda Board of Supervisor's budget hearing at the Administration Building, 1221 Oak Street (fifth floor), Oakland. Contact your supervisors to let them know how you feel. Contact information at

You can also speak for three minutes at the hearing. Write down your points and have copies to hand to the five board members.

Please help "...

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Pet Corner
By Dr Steve Surujbally -

Ailments of the nose

General considerations

Now that we have concluded the discussions on maladies of the ears, it is only fitting that we deal with ailments of the nose and nostrils. Later, we’ll dwell on maladies of the throat; after all, the ears, nose and throat are all inter-connected.

The functions of the nose (eg, sense of smell) are much more important to animals than they are to humans. As such, there are many more nerve receptors in the nostrils in animals. These nervous receptors carry messages to the highly developed olfactory (sense of smell) centre in the brain. Dogs also use their noses for burrowing; perhaps that is why the tip is made up of strong and hardy material (special cells).

Unfortunately, because of the position of the nose on the face, the nose tip gets involved when dogs fight. Even the slightest laceration of the nose tip will result in severe bleeding – which might need suturing to stop the haemorrhage.

Right at the outset, let’s dispel some of the myths and legends associated with the noses of our common pets. So often I hear that a dog is in perfect health because the tip of the nose is wet or moist. If the animal has a heavy nasal discharge that is by no means normal. ‘Moist’ should be the key word here. If the nose is moist (as opposed to dry) then that’s good. If there is excessive moisture which turns into thick slime before becoming purulent (with pus), then that’s bad.

The moisture comes from special glands in the internal coating (mucus membrane) of the nose. The nose does not have sweat glands, as so many people believe. (In fact, the entire dog has no sweat glands, except for some rudimentary structures between the toes). The inside lining of the nose does have a lot of blood vessels though. And, if these are damaged in any way, there will be profuse bleeding.

If the tip of the nose is dry and the skin is cracking, that could be representative of a fever, which itself might be reflective of a serious infection.

Having said all that, please allow me to share the following ‘great wisdom’ with you: Over the years, I have seen dogs with moist noses that were sick and even terminally ill. On the other hand, I’ve had dogs enter the clinic with dry noses, but with no other accompanying symptoms which would suggest a serious ailment. In other words, dogs might have dry nose tips and be quite healthy. However, I must mention that I consider the dryness of the nose tip to be more a cause for concern than a very wet nose.

The nasal cavities run the entire length of the muzzle and are separated by a dividing wall. The two independent cavities (canals) thus formed connect up (at the back) with the throat.

The colour of the nose tip is usually black, but there are breeds that have pink (even brown) nose tips. If there is a spot or two on the pale-coloured nose tip, that is no cause for alarm.

Lastly, please don’t go poking around inside the nostrils of your pet. You don’t need to clear the inside of the nostrils, even though wiping away a purulent discharge is recommended.

Next week, we’ll deal with the issues relating to nose bleeds, sneezing and runny noses.

Until then, please enjoy the week.

Please implement disease preventative measures (vaccinations, routine dewormings, monthly anti-heartworm medication, etc) and adopt-a-pet from the GSPCA’s Animal Clinic and Shelter at Robb Street and Orange Walk, if you have the wherewithal to care well for the animals. Do not stray your unwanted pets, take them to the GSPCA’s Clinic and Shelter instead. If you see anyone being cruel to an animal, or if you need any technical information, please get in touch with the Clinic and Shelter by calling 226-4237.

Dog Training Safety Tips for July 4th
by BarkBusters -

With the excitement and commotion surrounding Independence Day approaching, Bark Busters, the world’s largest and most trusted dog training company, offers helpful tips for the estimated 43 million U.S. dog owners on how to keep their dogs safe and calm during July 4th festivities.

“Independence Day celebrations are great fun for people, but the loud noises and flashes from fireworks can be traumatic for dogs,” said Patrick Logue, dog behavioral therapist and trainer, Bark Busters USA. “The explosions, excited voices, and visual stimulation can create confusion and fear. To avoid this, we humans must intervene.”

“Animal shelters report that the July 4th holiday brings record numbers of runaway dogs to their doors,” Logue continued. “Many of these dogs have been frightened by fireworks. By being aware and thinking ahead, we can keep our dogs safe and comfortable during the revelry.”

Logue offers the following tips for dog owners to prepare for Independence Day:

• If you are going to a fireworks display, leave your dog at home where he will be the most safe and comfortable.
• If you go to a holiday event, never leave your dog in the car. A partially opened window does not supply sufficient fresh air, and it creates an opportunity for your pet to be stolen.
• Always keep proper identification securely fastened to your dog’s collar in case he gets out. Talk to your veterinarian about implanting a universal microchip in your pet, and make sure that your veterinary clinic and animal shelter have your correct contact information in their database.
• Don’t leave your dog outside. If you cannot bring him inside, cover his dog house with a blanket to protect him from the bursts of bright lights and loud bangs. A dog’s sense of hearing is acute—about four times more sensitive than humans’.
• Create a special den-like area in your home where your dog feels safe. A properly introduced crate or kennel can be a calming refuge for him.
• Some dogs become destructive when frightened. If you don’t use a crate, remove any items in the room which your dog could destroy or which could hurt him if he chewed them.
• Keep your dog away from the front and back doors. Your dog may be under significant stress, which could result in unnecessary injury to others or cause him to dart out the door.
• Keep windows and curtains closed to reduce noise and bright flashes.
• Turn on a TV or radio at normal volume to distract your dog from loud noises and help him to relax.
• If possible, stay with your pet during the majority of the fireworks. A dog often reacts more intensely to loud sounds and flashes of lights when you are not with him.
• Consider hiring a pet sitter to stay with your dog while you are away from home.

“July 4 is a time for fun and celebration,” Logue said. “By taking these precautions, you and your pets can have a safe and happy holiday experience.”

Bark Busters dog behavioral therapists, such as Patrick Logue, are renowned authorities in correcting and managing dog behavior. Bark Busters’ natural training system can successfully train any dog, even a puppy, by leveraging the same communications methods—body language and voice control—that dogs follow as part of their instinctual pack mentality. Many of our clients require only one home visit from a Bark Busters-certified dog behavioral therapist if owners continue with follow-up exercises just 10 to15 minutes a day for several weeks. All training takes place right in the home where the problems generally occur. And Bark Busters’ training is the only service of its kind that is guaranteed by all of its trainers for the life of the dog. In every neighborhood where Bark Busters is established, a majority of veterinarians familiar with the technique recommend the company’s services.

What You Need To Train Your Own Mastiff

A Mastiff dog, when still young can be a pain in the neck, if left untrained. As dog, by nature, he would chew on anything that his teeth can get into. And you will be left hanging to dry when you find that your new $100 shoes will be turned into dirty slippers, not to mention the smell of pee and poop everywhere around the house. But is there anything you can do?

Mother Nature have created them to be that way and unfortunately, when you get one for yourself, they don’t come with instruction manuals but you can bet your life that you can find an English Mastiff training guide that can help you with the process of training your gargantuan pet dog. So, the best you can do to protect your home and of course, your kid, is to train your Mastiff the way you want them to be and a good training and caring guide is what you just need.

But the problem is, where can you find a training guide for Mastiff dogs? Why can’t just any Mastiff owner hire somebody like a dog trainer to do the training? Well, that could be a good suggestion. As a matter of fact, it’s the first thing that comes to mind to owners if they want their pet dogs to be trained and to be groomed. But there are various underlying reasons that you need to consider first. First of all, getting a dog trainer these days is very expensive and second, if you want to build better bonding and relationship with your furry buddy, it has to be you who will be the right person to train him.

On the other hand, it’s not really that hard to find a guide in learning English Mastiff training, or any Mastiff or any dog, for that matter. All over the Web, there are various sites today that are offering various guides for teaching you how to effectively train your dog. You just need a few minutes in getting to know some of them and then, choose from among the best one and once your Mastiff is fully trained, no matter how gargantuan he is, can be very loyal and the friendliest even to kids.

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Tips for Feeding Your New Puppy

Puppies need a different nutritional diet than that of adult dogs.

Their coat, bones, organs, and teeth are still maturing. The foods they eat must have an ample supply of nutrients to support their growth. Remember the difference in energy levels there come from puppies as compared to older dogs. In order to remain energetic, they need a constant supply of foods that provide a source of vitamins, minerals, and the right kinds of fats. In this article, we’ll provide 4 tips you can use to feed your puppy.

#1 - Buy Commercial Brands

Many owners are tempted to prepare specific meals for their pups, but it’s usually a bad idea. Without rigorous attention to detail, it’s practically impossible to measure the right level of vitamins, fats, proteins, and other nutrients.

By contrast, commercial puppy foods are specifically formulated to provide the right blend for a puppy’s growing body. Manufacturers understand the special needs of puppies. A healthy puppy needs high energy and protein diets, these formulas have taken this into account. As a side note, if you’re raising a large breed (for example, a Bernese Mountain Dog), visit your pet supply store to check whether they carry a breed-specific brand.

#2 - Be Consistent

Puppies like most dogs, are creatures of habit. Once they start eating a brand they enjoy, changing that brand - even for “variety” - isn’t normally welcome. Of course, a meal is a meal, and most dogs, young or old, won’t pass it up. However, unless there is a compelling reason to change brands, avoid doing so. If you must switch, try to wean your pup off the old food by gradually mixing the new food in.

#3 - Set A Time And Stick To It

In the same way people normally establish certain times to eat meals, you should create a feeding schedule for your puppy. Left to their own devices, puppies will often overeat (again, not unlike people). Because canine obesity is such a debilitating problem, try to encourage the right eating habits when your pup is young. Pick two or three times during which you’ll feed him. He’ll quickly come to recognize those times instinctively.

#4 - Make Drinking Water Available

Puppies need water just like people and some breeds require more than others. Even if your pup doesn’t normally drink a lot of water while eating his meals, you should make sure he has the option available. Puppies are constantly on the move and utilize more energy than the average adult dog. That means he’ll be drinking more water to keep hydrated. Provide him with all he needs.

It’s not difficult to design an easy feeding plan for your pup. Invest in a high-quality commercial brand, avoid switching it, pick feeding times and don’t deviate from them, and give your puppy all the water he wants. You can add all natural dog treats or dog chews as a special bonus for your dog as well. If you follow those guidelines, your pup should grow up to be a healthy, happy adult dog.

Essential Training Tips For Your Rescued Dog

Patience and dedication are a must when training a dog. To achieve the desired results in rescued dog will take double the dedication and patience. It’s a lot of work, but in the end it will be worth the effort.

Spaying and neutering has been common practice for a few decades, unplanned births continue to occur. Because of this it is hard to find loving homes for all of these newborn pups.. When we add the number of dogs that get lost or wander away, rescue missions and shelters everywhere are filled to capacity. Many of these dogs will never find homes in time and be euthanized.

A second chance awaits a lucky few. They could be adopted from shelters or missions or taken in off of the street and into the care of a willing family. However, these generous souls often find themselves at a loss with their new companion.

Rescued dogs are often in poor shape when they are brought in to a shelter. Horrible living conditions, abuse and neglect are often a part of their history. Sometimes these dogs can even be let go into the wild and they will have to fend for themselves.

In nature a dog is a pack animal. Even wild dogs don’t do well on their own. Released domesticated dogs do very poorly in the wild, without any animal or human interaction. However, with some training, these ‘wild’ dogs can learn to tolerate human touch and stop barking at the smallest noise.

As the first step in rescuing a dog you should take it to your veterinarian for a full exam. If the animal is sick or in pain your training efforts will be wasted. It is very important to give the dog enough time to regain weight and energy.

If possible try to get any information regarding the dog’s history. The information you gather about the animal’s medical history, past abuse or general temperament will aide you in training.

Take your time when trying to gain the dog’s trust. Do not force yourself on the dog. They will need to learn that they can trust you before they seek you out. Many dogs are food driven so using treats to build trust can help. Try stepping back a bit after putting a treat on the floor. Staring directly at the dog should be avoided at this point. When the dog takes the treat, praise him enthusiastically.

A few dogs that are rescued look for physical interaction from the beginning. Some can take weeks or more. But once you have got it you may want to attempt to gently lay the dog on its back and put your hands on its chest. You can expect that the dog will either resist if they tend to be aggressive or a fearful dog will accept. Aggression or fearful responses are not desirable. An aggressive dog would be forced into submission under normal training. A rescued dog will not respond well to this. Take your time and establish trust. Make sure that a fearful dog understands that being on its back is not a punishment by given it a belly rub and talking in a calm voice.

You may find that the training is slower and more difficult with a rescued dog. A rescued dog is often a mix, older and has a stubborn temperament which adds to the challenge of training. Hang in there. Your perseverance will pay off.

Avoid at all cost feeling sorry for the dog. It can make the training even more difficult. Be patient, loving and understanding but don’t let the dog have the run of the house. Be a pack leader and let the dog know that you are in charge.

It’s a lot of sweet and hard work but you will have a companion for life.

Stefan Hyross is a writer for All About Dogs ‘N Puppies. Learn about dog behavior problems and how to solve them. Also visit the site for tips on puppy
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Surfing Dogs Fetch a Look at Annual Event
By Jennifer Davies, Union-Tribune Staff Writer

The surf was ruff, but Dozer was ready.

He shifted his weight and looked around at the competition, his jaw jutting defiantly.

When others came close to his surfboard, he barked at them to get away – literally.
“He doesn't like it when other people get on his board,” said Doug Hokstad, 46, Dozer's owner.
The 75-pound English bulldog was just one of many canines trying to be top dog at the fourth annual surf-dog competition put on by Loews Coronado Bay Resort yesterday.

To lesser dogs, heading into the chilly surf under the gray skies at Imperial Beach might have given them – excuse this – paws. But not a fierce competitor like Dozer.
“He's a typical bulldog, with a low center of gravity. He just hangs on and refuses to give up,” Hokstad said. “He's not a water dog, so he's got the motivation to stay on the board.”

Despite Dozer's tough appearance – he was wearing black-and-white-striped shorts that looked like prison garb – he's a relative newcomer to the sport.
Last year, he attended the competition purely as a spectator. But when a board washed up on the beach, Dozer jumped on and wouldn't get off.
“I called Doug and said, 'Dozer is a surfer,' ” said Gigi Basaporo, 45, Hokstad's fiancee and co-owner of the dog. The couple went out the next weekend and bought Dozer a board.

Since then, Dozer has hit the surf-dog circuit, competing in Purina's Surf Dog contest last week and the Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon, held by the Helen Woodward Animal Center in September.

While new to the sport, Dozer's training schedule is hardly designed to make up for lost time, as most Sundays are lazy affairs spent on the couch. Also, there were no practice runs before the competition started.
“He gets tired out real quick,” Hokstad said.

Other canines – and their owners – weren't quite so sanguine about the affair.
Take Buddy, a Jack Russell terrier from Ventura who's considered the Tiger Woods of dog surfing. He first jumped on a board about nine years ago, and his owner, Bruce Hooker, 53, takes him out for training sessions three times a week.

“He barks at other surfers to get out of our way,” Hooker said.
Other competitors were in awe of Buddy, who with his owner's help waded far deeper into the surf than any other dog.

T.J., a spaniel mix found on the streets of Rosarito, won the small-dog category at last year's event. As T.J. hung out, wrapped in a towel and wearing sunglasses, owner Wendy Slijk wasn't expecting a repeat.
“Buddy's a pro. The reason we won last year is that Buddy wasn't here,” the San Carlos resident said.

Dozer, who was competing in the large-dog category, reserved for dogs weighing more than 40 pounds, was facing some tough competition, too.

There was Stanley, a Chesapeake retriever who was first in the big-dog category at the Purina surf competition last week. Stanley, a rescue dog, sat regally on his surfboard as he floated toward the shore, jumping off and running back into the surf, where his owner stood.

Dozer didn't disappoint, either.
While his first ride came to an end when a wave upended him, the next two were virtually flawless as his squat body rode all the way to the shore, his bulging eyes scanning the crowd imperiously.

When it came time for the awards, however, Dozer didn't walk away with the prize. Kalani, a golden retriever, took first place in the large-dog category and Stanley took second. Not surprisingly, Buddy won first place in the small-dog competition.
Hokstad was a bit disappointed, but Dozer took it stoically enough.
“All he cares about is his next meal,” Hokstad said.
Jennifer Davies: (619) 293-1373;

Dog, Owner, Reunited After 18 Months and 336 Miles
Miami Herald

BAYOU GEORGE, Fla. -- A 5-year-old dog named Bear who escaped from a Louisiana yard in 2007 turned up in Florida - and was reunited with his owner.

Bear, a Lhasa apso from Metairie, La., ran away from his owner's parents' yard in December 2007 without a collar or tag. Last Wednesday, Bay County, Fla. animal control officers picked up a stray pup and identified him thanks to a microchip implanted in his back.

Bear's owner, 27-year-old Amanda Wells, made the 336-mile trip to pick up her dog.

Wells says she was shocked that her dog turned up after all these months and adds, "I thought it was a joke."

Tips to Help Pets and Toddlers Get Along with Each Other
by emily.delphi

There is one thing in common between pets and toddlers in your household – both of them crave your love and attention, and both of them require your utmost care. If a pet has been staying in the household much before an toddler has come to stay there, the pet may feel threatened and even jealous of the attention given to the new toddler. It may tend to attack the toddler when unattended.

In another case, household pets may mistake a toddler for a game or an intruder and attack them accidentally. Sometimes, household pets are unable to gauge the strength and limits of a toddler and may unknowingly hurt the toddler while playing with it.

Here are some tips to ensure your toddler and your household pet live in harmony:

•Do not neglect your pet – pay the pet as much (or almost) attention as you did before the toddler arrived

•Let the pet know that the toddler is its friend and not a rival – you may introduce the pet to the toddler and familiarize them in a friendly way

•Train the pet to get accustomed to the toddler’s ways by playing tapes of toddlers crying and other means so that the pet is not frightened when the toddler cries in reality

•Do not leave your toddler unattended with a pet around – the pet may unknowingly (or knowingly, if not properly trained) hurt the toddler or indulge in things that may not be good for the toddlers welfare

•Keep the pet hygienically clean so that the chances of the toddler contracting diseases from it remain minimal

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Pet Photos: Mother and Baby Are Resting and Doing Well

Hints From Heloise
Washington Post

Carrier Trick

Dear Heloise: I read a hint in your column ON GETTING A PET INTO A CARRIER. Well, mine is foolproof. I saw them do it at my vet's office. Just sit the carrier on end with the open end up. Pick up your pet and gently deposit it into the carrier and close the door. Your pet does not see the carrier and does not fight your trying to put it in. My husband and I have four cats -- one shelter cat, two strays and one from a local family. They are Tucker, Taffy, Tracy and now Coco, who is a stray and part Siamese. Thanks for all your great hints. -- Dot Althouse, Smethport, Pa.


Dear Heloise: We might not realize when our older pets become arthritic, but grooming is especially difficult for them. Gentle brushing improves their well-being and is so good for them. Every furry or hairy pet needs to be brushed every day, or as often as possible. It is a sweet way to make the bond with them even closer. -- Shirley Paschal, Cresson, Texas

Shirley, Cabbie, our miniature schnauzer, agrees! I try to brush her and clean her eyes daily. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: My friend and I trade pet-sitting duties when we travel. I have one of those weekly pillboxes, and I measure out the fish food into each day's compartment, which makes it easy on the pet sitter. The fish can continue to have the variety that I would provide if I were home without any interruption and in the proper amount. I had used an auto feeder, but somehow my fish always gunked it up. After a trip, I'd come home to find they'd gotten it in the aquarium, so I don't use it anymore. -- Melanie Parrott, via e-mail


Dear Readers: Verdi Adam of Baton Rouge, La., sent a photo of her 3-year-old black-and-white Persian cat, Aslan, sitting pretty as can be in a little box. To see Aslan, visit -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: We live in an apartment and have to make sure we pick up our dog's waste when we take her out. Doggie bags are pretty expensive, especially now. So I save my sandwich, bread, fruit and vegetable bags. I put them in our dog bag. Then when we take her out, we just pull one out of the bag. It works very well and doesn't cost us a penny, either. -- Nan from Ohio


Dear Heloise: If you replace your old lawn-chair cushions, save them. They make great outdoor beds for your cat or dog. Most of them are made out of fabric that holds up well in outdoor conditions, and they are portable, which makes them handy when traveling with your pet. When they get dirty, just add a little mild detergent, hose them down and spread them out in the sun to dry. -- Mary Michelle Martinez, Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas

(c)2009 by King Features Syndicate Inc

George Clooney Hires Psychic to Contact Dead Pet

LONDON - Hollywood actor George Clooney hired a psychic to help him contact his dead pig.

The “Leatherheads” star is still mourning the loss of his pet swine Max, who died in 2006, and has asked a medium to get in touch with it, reports.

“The psychic told me Max had a great life with me. He is very happy in spirit and still hangs out with me sometimes. I am not sure she was telling the truth but I do want to believe her,” Clooney reportedly told a friend.

The actor was left devastated after the 300-pound pet passed away at home while the actor was promoting his movie “The Good German”.

Max, who had suffered from partial blindness and arthritis, had lived with Clooney for 18 years and the pair often shared a bed.

The 48-year-old actor regularly took Max to interviews and photo shoots and joked it was his longest-running relationship.

Hints from Heloise
Washington Post

Dear Heloise: I read a hint in your column on getting a pet into a carrier. Well, mine is foolproof. I saw them do it at my vet's office. Just sit the carrier on end with the open end up. Pick up your pet and gently deposit it into the carrier and close the door. Your pet does not see the carrier and does not fight your trying to put it in. My husband and I have four cats — one shelter cat, two strays and one from a local family. They are Tucker, Taffy, Tracy and now Coco, who is a stray and part Siamese. Thanks for all your great hints. — Dot Althouse, Smethport, Pa.

Dear Heloise: We might not realize when our older pets become arthritic, but grooming is especially difficult for them. Gentle brushing improves their well-being and is so good for them. Every furry or hairy pet needs to be brushed every day, or as often as possible. It is a sweet way to make the bond with them even closer. — Shirley Paschal, Cresson, Texas

Shirley: Cabbie, our miniature schnauzer, agrees! I try to brush her and clean her eyes daily. — Heloise

Dear Heloise: My friend and I trade pet-sitting duties when we travel. I have one of those weekly pillboxes, and I measure out the fish food into each day's compartment, which makes it easy on the pet sitter. The fish can continue to have the variety that I would provide if I were home without any interruption and in the proper amount. I had used an auto feeder, but somehow my fish always gunked it up. After a trip, I'd come home to find they'd gotten it in the aquarium, so I don't use it anymore. — Melanie Parrott, via e-mail

Dear Heloise: We live in an apartment and have to make sure we pick up our dog's waste when we take her out. Doggie bags are pretty expensive, especially now. So I save my sandwich, bread, fruit and vegetable bags. I put them in our dog bag. Then when we take her out, we just pull one out of the bag. It works very well and doesn't cost us a penny, either. — Nan from Ohio

Dear Heloise: If you replace your old lawn-chair cushions, save them. They make great outdoor beds for your cat or dog. Most of them are made out of fabric that holds up well in outdoor conditions, and they are portable, which makes them handy when traveling with your pet. When they get dirty, just add a little mild detergent, hose them down and spread them out in the sun to dry. — Mary Michelle Martinez, Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas

Lighting Aquarium Coral

Taking care of a coral is not something easy to do. But with the right amount of information and patience, you can do it also.

If you are not an experience coral breeder, choose a type of coral that can survive with normal light. Some species that don’t require special light are the Mushroom Corals and the Coral Polyps. There are most suited for first time coral owners. If you have one of these species, use normal lightning techniques.
Some species like the Small Polyp Stony Corals (SPS’s) – including the Porites, Brain Coral, Acoropora, Montipora, Bubble Coral, Cup Coral, Torch Coral, Elegance Coral, and Trumpet Coral – need an intense light. This means that they will need a lot of attention from the tank owner. Sometimes, providing these species with light can be a challenge. They need more intense light. This means that algae will grow in the tank, if the light is intense. This can be a challenge for most aquarium hobbyists.

The most common technique for keeping the coral safe is the LED - light emitting diode. Before the LED aquarists used the filament or gas based systems. But once the led appeared, these systems became obsolete. The LEDs have a big power, a longer lifespan, they consume less energy. All this means small costs and less hassle.

Also, keep in mind that the process called the zooxanthellae’s photosynthesis needs tow types of lights: blue and red. The lights in the aquarium often exude a purple hue. Many of them also provide the both colors. It is the standard in the industry.

During the zooxanthellae’s photosynthesis the light must be reduced to minimum. This is essential. Respect the tolerance limits as well. Keep the lights to a middle level or some bad things may happen to the coral and also to the zooxanthellae.

There are no exact measurements on how little or how much light it takes for the xooxanthellae to be all right. Usually, the amount of xooxanthellae in the corals is between a few thousands to some millions. Make sure the minimum light intensity is 3000-lux. Never go beyond 120.000-lux. Constantly observe the status of the coral while adjusting the light levels. Notice how they behave and act accordingly.

Also, use high quality lamps. Those ones include fluorescent. It is better to use six lamps if you tank is big enough. If you don’t have space for all of them, use high output lamps. They are more expensive than the other ones but they are very necessary. Replace the bulbs once at every half a year. The power florescent lams are in a U-shape and they are the best option. You only need for of those and not six.

In conclusion, corals are amazing for your aquarium. Many fish also like to feast on coral. Read all the instructions of the lightning systems carefully and if you have any more questions read on the internet or talk to a sales person from the pet shop. Whether you have decided to have coral in your tank or not, it is always good to keep the lightning levels to the right specifications for your fish species.

A Life Devoted to Animals
By Matthew Jackson -

If you’ve adopted a pet from the Rita B. Huff Animal Shelter any time in the past year, you’ve probably been walked through the process by an animal lover named Michelle Guidry.

A native of Houston, Guidry now lives in the Riverside area, and has devoted a large portion of her life to caring for animals, in Walker County and beyond.

“My first job was volunteering at a shelter in Seguin in the early 90s,” she said. “They had just a little facility, much smaller than this one.”

Guidry’s love of animals has always been a part of her life, ever since childhood, when animals of all kinds surrounded her.

“When I was growing up, we had anything from livestock to dogs and cats and birds,” she said. “I’ve always been around animals.”

Guidry first came to work for Rita B. Huff in 2002. She stayed for a year before leaving in the summer of 2003. She then returned in 2005 to work for another year, then returned again in July of 2008. That fall, she was named the shelter’s adoption consultant, a position she still holds.

“In between that I worked a bunch of other jobs. I did home health for a while, and I went back to school,” Guidry said. “But I keep coming back.”

As adoption consultant, Guidry advises every patron that visits Rita B. Huff through the adoption process, and provides tips and guidance for caring for new pets.

“Anybody that’s interested in adoption has to fill out an application, and then I forward the application to the manager to be approved, then I let them know if they’ve been approved or denied.”

According to Rita B. Huff executive director Marjolein Lemmon, Guidry’s time as adoption consultant has been marked by a greater involvement in the adoption process.

“The reason she became adoption consultant is because there’s more to the adoption than we used to do,” Lemmon said. “She’s really sitting down with these people and consulting them.”

Everyone adopting a pet through Rita B. Huff meets with Guidry, who walks them through a checklist of care concerns for their new pet.

“We used to tell people to just read and sign the form and a lot of times they didn’t really read it,” Guidry said. “So now, I sit down with them and go through the contract and answer all their questions.”

But Guidry’s help in the adoption process often extends further than what happens inside the animal shelter. A lifelong pet owner, her years of experience often serve to help new pet owners, who often call her for advice.

“I have 16 dogs at home, so personal experience is a big deal with me,” she said. “A lot of people call me with questions.”

Even at home, Guidry is constantly on the lookout for animals she can help. With 16 dogs and four cats, she claims she has rarely purchased a pet, preferring instead to rescue them.

“A lot of my dogs were rescue dogs,” she said. “I had a lab that someone dropped off that we just lost two months ago to cancer. We found him four years ago, and we took him in. He was an older dog, but we probably gave him the best four years of his life. Out of all my dogs, I think I’ve only bought two of them.”

Though she says some days, when the adoption rate seems to drop, her work can be a little discouraging, Guidry still finds endless rewards in her job.

“Sometimes it’s discouraging when the rates seem to drop off a little,” she said, “but I love it here. I get to meet people everyday, and I get to talk to them about our animals. And a lot of our animals do get adopted. Some people seem to think that we put some of the animals down as soon as they come in the door, but we don’t. We give them a chance here.”

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Could Big Bird Fly? Answer May Lie in the Feathers
By Shara Yurkiewicz - Los Angeles Times

The larger the bird, the more complex the molting process, which may hinder flying, researchers find.

What determines how big a flying bird can be? The answer, in part, is the time it takes for the creatures to replace their feathers, researchers have found.

The study, published Tuesday in the journal PLoS Biology, found that the larger the bird, the more challenging it is for the growth of new feathers to keep up with feather length. At bigger bird sizes, feathers wear out before new ones can grow.

It is even possible that feathers may dictate an upper limit for the size of flying birds, although that is not proven, said study coauthor Robert E. Ricklefs of the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

For birds to fly, their feathers must be in good condition. But continued abrasion and exposure to air, bacteria and ultraviolet light causes their gradual deterioration. Worn-out feathers must be shed and replaced in a process called molting.

But losing wing feathers hinders flying ability. For birds that depend on flight to find food and mates and evade predators, the process makes the animal vulnerable. So molting must occur in a way that minimizes flying problems.

Sievert Rohwer of the University of Washington and colleagues examined specimens of 43 bird species, comparing body size, length of flight feathers and their growth rate.

Larger birds have longer feathers: Length roughly doubles for each tenfold increase in bird mass, the scientists found.

Larger birds also have faster feather growth rates, but not enough to keep up with the larger feather size. It takes about 1.5 times longer to replace a feather with each tenfold increase in bird mass, the authors calculated.

These findings may explain why different birds have evolved different ways of molting, the scientists wrote.

Small birds -- ones that weigh less than 2.2 pounds and need less power to stay in the air -- shed adjacent feathers. This creates a featherless gap on their wing surface, but because of their light weight, they are still able to fly.

Heavier birds wouldn't be able to remain airborne if they had these large, featherless gaps on their wings. So they minimize the size of the gaps by shedding feathers on different parts of the wing or extending the molting process to years instead of months.

For example, California condors, which depend heavily on flight to get food, take two to three years to replace all their long flight feathers.

Species that do not rely on flight for survival, including ducks and geese, replace all their feathers at once.

It is not clear whether feather replacement ultimately limits the size flying birds can reach, Ricklefs said. Swans weighing 33 pounds hold the record. Birds such as ostriches can weigh up to 10 times that, but they are flightless.

But rewind 6 million years, and the extinct Argentavis magnificens of the Miocene Epoch in what is now Argentina clocked in at 154 pounds -- and flew.

Although no one knows how this giant bird molted, the study's authors speculate that it lost all its feathers at once during a period in which it fasted and lived off its fat, much like flightless emperor penguins do today.

"This paper could change the way we think about how different body sizes have evolved in birds," said Eli S. Bridge, a postdoctoral researcher with the Oklahoma Biological Survey at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, who was not involved in the study. The scientists "make it clear that finding time to molt places important constraints."

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Should You Allow Your Pet to Sleep in Your Bed?
By Colleen Mihelich

Many dog owners are extremely bonded with their pets. The animal is more than just a pet - it is a furry family member and companion. Since pets and humans are so closely bonded, many dogs and cats want to spend the night with their owners. Humans too, can enjoy the comfort and companionship of having a purring cat curled up at the side or a snuggly dog sleeping at their feet.

The benefits of allowing the dog or cat to sleep in your bed go beyond just having a companion in bed. This co-sleeping can be an important bonding experience for pets and owners, as animal packs generally tend to sleep together. For a dog or cat that is new to the home and separated form his or her littermates for the first time, the comfort of a human companion during sleep can be essential to helping the dog or cat feel safe and secure. A young puppy who cries when left to sleep alone will often feel comforted by the sound of a human heartbeat and will happily drift off to sleep.

However, there are some questions remaining as to whether it is a good idea, for the development of your pet, to allow your pet to sleep in your bed. Allowing a pet to sleep in your bed, especially a dog, can make that pet feel as though he or she is equal to a human. This can create dominance problems in the dog. A dog that feels that he or she is equal to their owner may be less likely to submit to commands or be trainable. Dogs that feel that they are equal or in charge within the relationship, may become tense and fearful as they assume the responsibility of being a pack leader, in a pack that contains an unfamiliar human member. Dogs may also become aggressive and overly protective of their human, if they feel that they are in charge of their human or responsible for their human.

These issues of dominance and submission problems can become especially pronounced if a new baby is introduced into a home where a dog sleeps in the bed. The dog, because he or she sleeps with the human pack leaders, may feel that he or she is of a higher status than the new infant. The dog also may begin to feel resentful towards the infant, or feel that they need to protect their place within the pack. These circumstances are rare and do not happen with all dogs, but they can and do occur especially in dogs that have an elevated level of status as a result of sleeping with their owners. It is these types of circumstances that can lead to surrender of pets to shelters, or in worst case scenarios to the premature death of a dog due to aggression. Owners who want to ensure a long life and delay the purchase of pet urns or pet headstones for as long as possible, want to do everything they can to avoid this situation.

While there are potential problems, as long as the bed is introduced properly, for most dogs there are no issues with co-sleeping with owners. Typically, a dog should not be invited to co-sleep with their owners until their place in the pack is already established. This can occur around six months of age, once a dog is trained and understands that he or she must obey. In addition, requiring the dog to sit and be invited into the bed before entering can also help to maintain the proper pack order within the household and minimize any potential behavior problems caused by co-sleeping.

In general, owners can enjoy this practice of having their canine companions close to them as they sleep, as long as the privilege is introduced properly. These hours of bonding and cuddling can add a wonderful level of enrichment to the relationship, and when the day eventually comes to say goodbye to your pet and write pet memorials, it may be a strong comfort to know that you and your companion had this extra time together to share love.

Colleen Mihelich
Owner, Peternity . . . honoring your pet for eternity

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How To Eliminate Pet Odors From Wood
Jeanne Huber - Washington Post

Q: When we bought our house last fall, we noted that the previous owner had left his dog indoors a lot and allowed it to do its business on the wood floor in the dining room. We thought that sanding, staining and coating the floor with polyurethane would take care of the problem, but the room still has a persistent odor. Any suggestions? We'd rather avoid sanding it again. The dining room, foyer and living room are connected, and it would mean redoing the entire first floor, which was expensive.


A: Unfortunately, when pet odors persist even after a floor has been sanded and refinished, that probably means the urine soaked through the flooring. Although enzyme products can neutralize pet odors, there's no effective way to get the liquid through thick wood. The only real solution is to replace the flooring.

But you may be able to do that in a way that minimizes your costs and doesn't require refinishing the entire floor. Tony Long, owner of D.C. Floors (202-291-1677), suggests contacting the company that did the refinishing. If it isn't equipped to do the carpentry involved in patching the floor, you may need to call another company, but the first company should at least tell you which stain and finish it used.

If you have an older house, search out vintage replacement flooring so that the tightness of the grain and width of the pieces will match. One source is Community Forklift (, a nonprofit organization with a warehouse in the Hyattsville area. The store generally has a supply of the wood flooring traditionally used in the D.C. area, including red and white oak ($2 and $2.25 a square foot), standard pine ($3) and heart pine ($5).

Removing the smelly boards and replacing them will cost about $15 a square foot, including materials, Long estimated. A good flooring company can probably blend the patch into the surrounding area without refinishing the entire floor, he said. But he cautioned that it is an art and is usually most successful with light-colored stains.

Send your home-improvement questions to Jeanne Huber at Please put "How To" in the subject line and tell us where you live.

Why Does Our Cat Like to Sniff Mint Plants?
By Gary Bogue - Contra Costa Times

I purr, therefore I am."

— Anonymous

Dear Gary:

We have some mint in a portion of our back patio in which Ebony, our beautiful black cat, has taken a great interest.

He will sit there for a long time, rubbing against it, relishing the fragrance and enjoying the taste.

He has been doing this for a couple of weeks and noticeably doesn't have any side affects. Is this latest fetish something to be concerned about?

Do you know anyone else who has a family pet with something similar to this?

Patrick Woods, Concord

Dear Patrick:

I know a lot of people who have cats that like to sniff "mint" plants.

I suspect if you check out that "mint" on your back patio closely, you may discover that it is really catnip plants.

Catnip is in the mint family, plus there's another mint called cat mint. Catnip and cat mint both turn on cats and they'll sit around rubbing on it, eating it, and sniffing it. It's harmless and those cats that are affected by it love it. (A cat's response to catnip is genetic, by the way. Some cats love it and some don't.)

Even if it turns out to be just plain old mint, it still wouldn't surprise me if your cat really likes to sniff it. Cats have this thing about minty smells.

Dear Gary:

I'm intrigued by the discussion of mourning doves' nesting inadequacies.

This house's resident pair has lost its last two nests to gravity and I'm wondering whether it's because the recent repainting of the house left the eaves too slippery? If so, is there something I could lay down that would help the nests grip?

Or should I try putting a shallow box on the relevant beam?

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Cosi Fabian,

San Francisco

Dear Cosi:

The new paint may be contributing to the problem by being slick, but mourning doves are basically just lousy nest builders.

I'd go with anchoring a shallow box or basket to the relevant beam. Mom and Dad Dove would probably appreciate it.

Dear Gary:

We are owned by two formerly-feral neutered male cats (ages 13 and 8) who are inside cats.

They get along fine with each other although acquired several years apart and they are fine (behaving quite normally, for the most part) with our family, but they immediately run and hide under the bed in the main bedroom when a nonfamily member enters our home.

This has really not been a problem until now.

Macmom, cyberspace

Dear Macmom:

This is pretty common with "former" ferals.

My Maine coon cat, Newman, and young orange cat, Jasmine, go POOF and disappear whenever the doorbell rings.

As these formerly ferals grow older and get used to humans, some of them will calm down.

Jasmine initially hides when a stranger enters, but she's already sneaking around the door a few minutes later to see what's going on. I suspect in another six months she won't even twitch a whisker when the doorbell rings.

Newman, on the other paw, has lived with us more than 10 years and he isn't going to change.

However it goes with your two kitties, you're going to have to live with it. But, hey, they're worth it.

Dear Gary:

Well guess what? I caught a blue-belly lizard and he's lived with me for 7 years and now I don't know if he is dead or not.

Max, cyberspace

Dear Max:

Why don't you pick him up and ask him?

Squirrels: Keep This in Mind If You Pet One
By Gary Bogue - Contra Costa Times

a wonderful show

polliwogs growing legs

baby frogs leaping

— haiku by Brian & Nona, Walnut Creek

Dear Gary:

Here's the latest from Squirrel Country, Kensington, CA, U.S.A.:

My favorite Peanut Monster has become so tame that he allows both my 20-year-old grandson and me to stroke his back (and ears) as he munches his peanuts.

He sits on the horizontal bar of the porch rail as he chomps away on a peanut delicacy, looking at us as he chows down. So at ease, so cute, so adorable.

It's amusing and endearing to be so close in spirit and harmony with this little guy. You would be filled with the same emotional high, Gary, if you could stroke his back as he enjoys his lunch.

Diane Severson,


Dear Diane:

I'm sure I would. I like squirrels.

I raised a lot of baby orphan squirrels and treated a lot of injured adult squirrels back in the days I was in the wildlife rescue and rehabilitation business. So I know a few things about those cute little characters that you may not know "... the most important thing being:

The tamest squirrels "... especially the ones that let you stroke their backs and ears "... will sometimes turn in a flash and take a BIG bite out of you.

Call it the nature of the beast. It's just the way they are. Kind of like the family cat that will sit purring as you scratch its head, and then suddenly turn and bite or scratch you.

So please be careful.

Dear Gary:

You are right about mourning doves nesting in hanging baskets.

My husband and I were delighted this last month as we watched doves nesting with two babies on our front porch in an empty hanging basket. We enjoyed seeing the babies come to life right before our eyes!

Here's the really exciting part "... two days after the family flew the coop, another female dove made her nest in the same basket! Does this happen very often?

I read on the Internet that the nest should be cleaned out after a dove family raises their young and treated with Sevin pesticide to kill any pests.

Renee Henry,


Dear Renee:

Take the used basket "nest" to the back of your yard and dump out the contents.

It is now ready to use.

Please do NOT use any pesticides in the nest. Residue from the poison will remain in the nest and can be absorbed by any new eggs, or chicks. That's not a good thing. No pesticides are necessary.

Also, the "new" female dove is/was probably the same mama dove that made the first nest. Doves will raise a nest full of babies 2-3 times a year.

Interesting pet stuff

ARF — Need a dog or cat? Visit Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation at the corner of Oak Grove Road and Mitchell Drive, Walnut Creek, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, and noon-4:30 p.m. weekends. Stop by to see their great pets and receive a free bag of beef-flavored Priority Pet Care Jerky Strips, courtesy of Safeway, while supplies last. See all adoptable ARF pets at

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German Shepherd Puppies, Cloned from Hero 9/11
Search and Rescue Dog, Come to L.A.
LA Unleashed

Last June, we told you about one of the strangest essay contests we've heard of yet. BioArts International, the California-based company known for selling the cloned copies of the dogs of deep-pocketed owners, famously cloned a much-loved Labrador retriever named Lancelot for the low, low price of $155,000. (The cloned puppy was dubbed "Lancelot Encore," and his human family, Edgar and Nina Otto, could afford it -- Edgar is the son of one of the founders of NASCAR.) But not everyone can afford that price tag, and so BioArts announced its Golden Clone Giveaway, through which one winner would be chosen to have their dog cloned free of charge.

The contest winner, it turns out, is James Symington, a retired Canadian police officer who now lives in Los Angeles. Symington wrote movingly about his dog Trakr, a German shepherd who participated in search-and-rescue efforts at the World Trade Center in the aftermath of 9/11. (Symington and Trakr eventually located the last survivor found after the attacks.)

"Once in a lifetime, a dog comes along that not only captures the hearts of all he touches but also plays a pivotal role in history," began Symington's essay about Trakr, who died at age 16 in April. In the years before his death, the dog had lost the use of his rear legs due to a degenerative neurological disorder that some experts believe was related to exposure to toxic smoke at Ground Zero.

Trakr's story "blew us away," BioArts CEO Lou Hawthorne said of the contest's selection process. "His many remarkable capabilities were proven beyond all doubt in our nation's darkest hour -- and we view the work of cloning him as a great honor." A few days ago, Symington was presented with five cloned mini-Trakrs.

Our colleague Shelby Grad has the details on the L.A. Now blog:

BioArts said in a statement that it partnered with South Korean cloning specialist Hwang Woo-Suk to clone the German shepherd. Woo-Suk is a controversial cloning pioneer who has been accused of faking human cloning evidence.

In a statement released by BioArts, Symington said meeting the new dogs was an emotional experience: "They're identical -- down to the smallest detail. Few dogs are born with exceptional abilities -- Trakr was one of those dogs. And if these puppies have the same attributes as Trakr, I plan on putting them into search and rescue so they can help people the way Trakr did."

Although Symington is clearly overjoyed about his five Trakr copies, L.A. Now notes that many animal lovers don't share his enthusiasm. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals issued a statement on the controversial practice of animal cloning: "Our current knowledge of animal cloning indicates that there are important welfare concerns at issue. Reports on the health and condition of mammalian animals produced by cloning have indicated a variety of anatomical and physiological problems."

BioArts doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon, so the debate is sure to continue.

Top 10 Most Unusual Dog and Cat Names of 2009

Nation's Leading Pet Health Insurance Company Reveals Wackiest Pet Names

BREA, Calif., June 17 /PRNewswire/ -- For many a pet owner, Max sounds mundane and Bailey is simply boring. In order to pay homage to those who take pride in their pets' unconventional names, Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI), the nation's oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance, set out for the second year in a row to find the 10 most unusual dog and cat names in the United States. VPI employees selected 50 unusual cat names and 50 unusual dog names from the company's database of more than 470,000 insured pets, and narrowed them down by voting for the 10 most unusual names in each category. Following are the results:

"Nearly every pet owner whose pet made the top 10 reasoned that a distinct name was only appropriate for their distinct pet," said Curtis Steinhoff, VPI spokesman. "Snag L. Tooth, for example, has a noticeable 'snaggle tooth' that juts out even when his mouth is closed, and Lunchbox the English bulldog has the stature of, well, a lunchbox. Whether a name reflected the appearance or quirky personality trait of the pet, each 'Wacky Pet Name' winner certainly earned or lived up to its clever name."

For the full lists of 50 unusual dog and cat names, pictures of pets who made the Top 10, and stories on the origin of each unusual name, visit

About Veterinary Pet Insurance

Veterinary Pet Insurance Co./DVM Insurance Agency is the nation's oldest and largest pet health insurance company and is a member of the Nationwide Insurance family of companies. Providing pet owners with peace of mind since 1982, the company is committed to being the trusted choice of America's pet lovers and an advocate of pet health education. VPI Pet Insurance plans cover dogs, cats, birds and exotic pets for multiple medical problems and conditions relating to accidents, illnesses and injuries. Optional Pet Well Care Protection for routine care is also available.

Medical plans are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. More than 2,000 companies nationwide offer VPI Pet Insurance as an employee benefit. Policies are underwritten by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company in California and in all other states by National Casualty Company, an A+15 rated company in Madison, Wisconsin. Pet owners can find VPI Pet Insurance on Facebook or follow @VPI on Twitter. For more information about VPI Pet Insurance, call 800-USA-PETS (800-872-7387) or visit

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What Causes My Pet to Have Blood in Its Stool?
By Dr. Jennifer Broadhurst -

Many different illnesses can cause animals to pass blood with their stools. If your pet has persistent blood in its stool, you should take it to your veterinarian immediately for treatment.

Two of the most common causes of a bloody stool are intestinal parasites and intolerance to diet, particularly in dogs that like to get into the garbage. If you have a puppy, your veterinarian will need to check your pet for parvovirus. As we discussed in a previous “Ask the Vet” column, parvovirus is a serious and potentially fatal disease that is much more likely to occur in puppies.


Animals that have blood in their stools may also have other accompanying symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, listlessness and even decreased appetite and water consumption.


Your veterinarian may be able to determine the cause of your pet’s bloody stool through a simple fecal examination. However, if the fecal exam does not identify the cause of the problem, your veterinarian may need to do further diagnostic testing. The veterinarian will most likely run bloodwork on your pet, including a blood chemistry and complete blood count (CBC). Additional testing may include a urinalysis, rectal examination, abdominal radiographs or an abdominal ultrasound.


If your pet’s bloody stool is caused by parasites, your veterinarian may prescribe deworming medications. Because different dewormers treat different types of worms, it is important that your vet determines which type of parasite is infecting your pet before selecting the dewormer and giving you advice on prevention.

If your pet’s bloody stool is caused by dietary indiscretion, your veterinarian will most likely place him or her on oral medications (including antibiotics) and a temporary easily digestible diet.


Monthly heartworm prevention medication not only protects your pet from deadly worms that can infect your pet’s heart, it also guards against many intestinal parasites, such as hookworms and roundworms. Heartworms, as we discussed in a previous “Ask the Vet” column, can be fatal and are very difficult and expensive to treat. Heartworm prevention is vital to your pet’s health and should be given to your pet each and every month.

If your pet likes to get into the garbage, you need to take precautions to make sure your pet can not access the trash. If you have a tendency to feed your pet table scraps, it is time to stop. It is much healthier for your pet to be on a steady diet of a high quality pet food.

There are many other possible causes of blood in your pet’s stool that are too numerous to discuss in this column. Your family veterinarian can determine the cause of the blood in your pet’s stool and recommend treatment for your animal.

Spotswood Pet Sitter Treats Animals Like Her Own

SPOTSWOOD — It hasn't happened to Teresa Herrera yet, but she knows it might one day: A client's pet, one that Herrera looked after for some time, will die, and Herrera will be deeply saddened.

"It's going to be heartbreaking for me," she said. "It's going to be very hard for the owner to deal with (the loss), but me too, because that was a life I once looked after."

Animals are Herrera's life. Case in point is her business, Whisker Away LLC, which was officially established last September. The young business currently has more than 20 clients, most of whom are from neighboring areas like Monroe, North and South Brunswick and, of course, Spotswood, where her home office is located.
"I feel like they (pets) are kind of our babies," Herrera said. "We have to care for them and protect them, like our own children. We're the only ones they can depend on."

Herrera, 39, worked with animals in some capacity for several years before opening Whisker Away, a pet-sitting and dog-walking business.

In addition to working for a veterinarian — where she assisted with medications, injections and surgeries — she also worked in a veterinary hospital and a pet store.
Herrera began a pre-veterinarian technician program 20 years ago, but neither she nor her family could afford the tuition payments after one year.
Herrera said she is registered with the state and is insured via Pet Sitters Associates.

Because she has two dogs, a parrot and a cat at home — all of whom can get very jealous when Herrera's attention is on another animal — Herrera generally brings her business to her clients.

At her clients' homes, Herrera feeds, walks, plays and spends time with the owner's pet or pets in roughly 30-minute time spans. Herrera said she is willing to watch after dogs, cats, fish, rodents and even horses — but not reptiles, particularly snakes.
"If someone told me to feed their snake a rat, I think I would have a heart attack," Herrera said laughingly. "I just can't seem to feed them (snakes) that mouse or rat that they seem to need to eat."

Herrera — who also owns a horse in Monroe — said she also brings her business to her clients' homes because pets tend to get emotionally down when their owner is away.

"Pets miss the companionship they get daily when they're owners are gone," Herrera said. "Even though I try to keep them to the same routine they always had, it's sometimes not the same with me as it is with the owner. So keeping the pets in familiar surroundings helps ease them."

In general, Herrera offers her services seven days a week from 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Depending on the client and their circumstances, Herrera will accommodate overnight requests from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. and extending stay sitting.

Most of all, Herrera is available in the event of an unexpected emergency.
"If someone comes home from work, and they can't take their animal that's lying on the floor to the vet, for whatever reason, they can call me," she said.
To make certain the pet is familiar with her prior stay sitting them, Herrera visits the residence beforehand to meet the animal, to make certain she and the pet are comfortable with one another.

Herrera said she also tries to limit each visit to two to three cats or dogs, so that she can give each animal adequate attention.

Herrera — who holds fundraisers for pets during the winter holiday season — requires that all clients provide her proper medical documentation before she takes care of them.

"Dogs especially must have their rabies shot," she said.

Fighting Fleas the Natural Way
By Stephanie Ernst -

In May I strolled into a vet’s office and paid for a box of Frontline. The next day, I was looking at the unopened box when the obvious question suddenly hit me: What the hell am I doing? I get anxious about getting this stuff on my own skin, so why am I putting something so noxious and toxic on the skin of friends I love?

I’ve used Frontline and products like it ever since adopting Chance several years ago because, well, that’s just what you do. It’s what mainstream vets and pet stores and your neighbor tell you to do. And so without thinking, you do it, apparently even if you’re a tree-hugging hippie who generally avoids all pesticides and chemicals--that is, you do it until you have that "what the hell?" moment, or someone points out that there’s a problem here, and you have other options.

The ubiquitous chemical flea-and-tick treatments are not our only choice when it comes to keeping our companions safe and comfortable, and those treatments themselves are neither safe nor natural. They can make dogs and cats sick, and it makes sense that they would.

After locating some good tips via online research into natural prevention and remedies, I followed up with a visit to Pets in the City, where Vera--a two-legged fountain of information on this topic--graciously directed me to the various products and essential oils available and offered me advice. (Seriously, if you want one-on-one help in this area, call Pets in the City ahead of time, ask when Vera is scheduled to work, and show up while she’s there.)

Here’s what’s happening in this house: The dogs’ latest bath included a new conditioner: Buddy Rinse Flea Formula, with neem and cedarwood. The neem oil in the conditioner, it turns out, is a natural insect repellant, and it’s the same important ingredient in some natural sprays (e.g., Ark Naturals Neem Protect Spray) that you can work into your companion’s coat once every week or two, as well as after they get wet. (Shampoos including neem oil are available and recommended also, but Chance is on a medicated shampoo for a yeast allergy, so we stayed with the conditioner.) On its own, neem apparently smells almost awful enough to knock fleas dead with its stench alone, but in these products, it’s mixed with other ingredients more pleasing to the nose. After the dogs had dried off from their baths, I worked some diluted lemongrass oil--again, a natural (and fragrant) insect repellant--into their coats, from head to tail, and rubbed lemongrass oil into their collars too, a process we’ll be repeating periodically.

Around here, we’re starting out with just the combination of the oils and sprays (accompanied by regular vacuuming and bathing and conditioning as necessary), but for keeping ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes out of your yard--and from hopping a ride onto your animal roommates from there--Vera also recommends Mosquito Barrier, which is actually potent liquid garlic; the effort will involve mixing some water and possibly cooking oil and soap in with the liquid and spraying it around your yard.

With your companion animals’ health in mind, please do consider giving the toxic treatments the boot--a bit of research and, if possible, consultation with someone such as Vera who has deeper knowledge of these natural routes can get you quickly and easily on your way. Also keep in mind that what’s safe for humans isn’t necessarily safe for dogs and cats, and what’s safe for dogs isn’t always safe for cats either, so quick research is important.

Keep an eye on the Pet Set section of the Vital Voice website in the next couple months for a report back on what kind of results we see in this house. Wish us a flea-free summer, and we’ll wish you one too!

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Cat Health Warning Signs
Seattle PI

According to Arnold Plotnick, DVM, "Cats don't let anyone know that they're sick until they're really sick and can no longer hide it. At that point trying to rescue them from their illness becomes even more difficult. This is why examining cats regularly and performing routine blood and urine tests as necessary are so important. It is much easier to prevent illness and continue to keep cats healthy than to try to treat an illness that has already become well established."

The Morris Animal Foundation health warning signs are as follows:
• Changes in chewing, eating and drinking habits
• Drastic weight gain or loss
• Withdraws from social interaction or avoids touching
• Changes in activity level including sleeping more or hyperactivity
• Increased vocalization
• Increased urination and/or "accidents"
• Inability to urinate (emergency situation)
• Grooms less or grooms certain areas excessively
• Acts out of character

If your cat shows any of the above signs, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Do you have a story of how early disease detection made a difference in your cat's life?

Happy Purrs!

Can You Put A Betta Fish In With Goldfish?

I have a betta fish and 3 goldfish. Problem is the betta fish is alone and in a not so warm place, last year i lost a betta fish becuase it was in a cold place and it froze. So i was wondering if i could put my betta in with the goldfish since they have a bigger heated tank. Im just afraid either the goldfish or the betta will eat each other. Anyone know?

12 Responses to “Can You Put A Betta Fish In With Goldfish?”

Cooking Games for Kids says:

Ok, let me clear up some things. Betta fish are very territorial. They will not kill just any fish though. They only attack fish that have long or flowy fins. Yes, your betta will attack your gold fish, that is not a good idea. On the other hand Gold fish do not make good tank mates with all fish, there is something about them (I do not know what) that bothers the other fish. Good tank mates for your betta are quick fish that have small fins. I have a female that will kill guppies, but she does just fine with algae eaters (I have a yellow Chinese one with her right now)
Long story short, do not mix bettas with gold fish, but you could use a divider in the tank. Buy a divider from a fish store, but make sure that water can flow through it so the tank stays filtered and also make sure it is high enough that the fish can’t jump over it. Canvas (you know the plastic sheet with the square holes in it) make great cheap dividers that can be cut to size or easily sewn together with fishline to make them bigger. Good luck with your fish!

Cristina M says:

NO the beta would kill the gold fish

Betta baby says:

You should NEVER put a betta with another fish, even it’s with another betta. Even though your fish may seem lonely, it’s best to just keep it in it’s own tank. You can always put a heater in the tank. But, make sure that it’s safe for your betta! Thanks, and, good luck!

James says:

“algae eaters (I have a yellow Chinese one with her right now)” Cooking Games for Kids

Algae eaters actually are dangerous fish when they grow up they will no longer eat algae but eat the slim off your other fish including the Betta.

Goldfish and Betta, the Betta might attack and might not but they do not thrive under the same tempature Betta likes warmer water then a gold fish.

Funky Baby Clothes says:

if the gold fish are under 5 inches they will get along and the temp for the mixture will be 74 degrees fairenheight they love each other

Free Smartphone Themes says:

If your Betta is a female then it should do fine with the gold fish, but if it is a male, the males tend to get more aggressive with brightly colored fish. You could put a divider in the tank and have the gold fish on one side and the Betta on the other side. That is what I do with my Bettas and Guppies

Smartphone Software says:

Betta and Goldfish thrive in diffferent temperature ranges. They are not fit to go together. Even different varieties of goldfish should not be put in the same tank. Single tails are fast swimmer and double tails with other characteristics like telescope eyes are slow swimmer and cannot see as well and compete for the food.

Funny Car Videos says:

Betta fish are aggressive. But mostly just with each other. I think they should be fine in a tank with gold fish. Just one question, is the Betta bigger than the goldfish? Because that might cause some domination problems.

krabbitr says:

NO don’t put the betta fish in with the goldfish because betta fish are very dominant and if you do this it will think that that is its tank and the goldfish know that it is their tank and they will fight. The three goldfish will gang up on the betta fish and kill her. So whatever you do, do NOT put them together. What you can do is put the betta fish tank under a lamp that can be on 24/7. Good luck.

Gerard S says:

No fish gets along with betta fish

Leah Remini says:

the beta and the goldfish will get along. you just cant put 2 beta fish together because then you will find aggression issues. good luck!

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