Is There a Family Resemblance Parts 3 and 4 (Photos) PLUS Talking With the Animals

There are Rules for Leaving Pets Alone
By Hawaiian Humane Society -

Question: I'm a teacher and headed back to school and my son who spent the most time with our dog is headed for college. Is there anything we can do to make the transition easier for our dog?

Answer: For pets left alone most of the day, there are many things you can do to make the time more enjoyable.

Make your departure and return as nonchalant as possible. Install a pet door so they have access to the indoors and outdoors. Leave a television or radio on for sound comfort. Hire someone in your neighborhood to stop by during the day and take your dog for a walk.

Choose a Pet That Best Fits Your Lifestyle

Researching different breeds or species of pets before you adopt or purchase one will help to ensure that both you and your pet will live a happy life together.

Every animal has its own personality, of course, but many characteristics can be attributed to the specific breed or species of animal due to its ancestry. That is why it is so important to know ahead of time what type of pet might fit in with your lifestyle.

If you are active, exercise a lot, have time, and a yard, then the higher energy breeds of dogs like Border Collies, Brittany Spaniels, Jack Russell Terriers, Labrador Retrievers, and Australian Shepherds, to just name a few, might be the perfect match.

If you lead a very sedentary life then these breeds may be too much for you to handle.

Another consideration to think about is what size of animal you would like and how much maintenance he or she needs. If you live in a small condo or apartment, determine what kind of pet and how many are allowed, and if there is a weight limit requirement for the pet.

As far as maintenance, the Poodle, Pekingese, Lhasa Apso, Shih Tzu, and Chow Chow, are just a few dog breeds that need grooming frequently. Himalayan, Persian, and other long-haired cats also need grooming frequently.

The purpose for wanting a pet may also help in selecting what breed or species to get. If you are looking for a dog to hunt with, then the pointer, or site hound breeds may be perfect. If you are looking for a dog for protection, then a Pit Bull Terrier, Rottweiler, German Shepherd, or Doberman Pinscher may be a better choice. Breeds of dogs that are good with children and other pets are Golden Retrievers, Standard Poodles, Labrador Retrievers, Labradoodles and Golden Doodles, among others.

Probably the most important thing to consider when choosing a pet is if you can afford one. It is really easy to buy or adopt a dog, cat, bird, or other pet, but do you really have what it takes to care for this pet properly? Most pets need a lot of attention, training, exercising, and preventative health care. Dogs and cats get a lot of the same diseases that we get and therefore need treatment. There are so many pet insurance companies now that the rates can be really affordable depending on what you need coverage for. It pays to research the different pet insurance companies to see which one will be right for you. Don’t put yourself in the position of not being able to treat your pet’s sickness or injury because you can’t afford it. When you first adopt a pet, start putting money aside in a separate account like you would for a child for his or her college education.

Your pet has only you to rely on to make sure he or she gets everything they need for a long and healthy life.

To see what breed or species of pet is best for you, take a quiz online by searching “Choose a Pet” or ask your veterinarian for advice.

Kim Donovan, D.V.M., is an associate veterinarian at Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital in Seminole with 12 years experience and a special interest in feline medicine.

Animal Communicator, Cat Have a Talk
By Richard Ades -

When I found out author and self-described animal communicator Tim Link was coming to town, I couldn’t resist asking him to touch base with my resident feline.

Heidi has been a perky companion for most of her 16 years, but lately she’s been lying around the house and turning up her whiskers at just about everything I’ve put in her food dish. She’s also decided it’s more appropriate to take a leak on the basement floor than in her nearby litter boxes.

Link claims he can communicate with an animal without actually being in its presence—simply by making a spiritual connection—though he says it helps to view a picture of the pet first. Therefore, I sent a 3-year-old photo of Heidi to Link in Georgia and asked him to see what he could sense.

As it turned out, he couldn’t sense very much.

Speaking on the phone Saturday from his home in Cumming, Ga., Link said he had been in contact with Heidi and thought she might be bothered by another cat that lived in the house or used to live in the house. Are there any such animals, he asked me.

I told him I’d never had another cat, though it was likely other cats had lived in the house at some point during its 100-year history. Strike one.

Next, Link zeroed in on those much-ignored litter boxes. “Is one of them green?” he asked. “She has a green or blueish-green sort of color that she’s showing me, so it could be that that’s the one that she’s preferring or she had.”

I said I couldn’t remember what color they were, but when I returned home later and checked them out, I found the boxes were pink and yellowish, but not green. Strike two.

Link then asked if I’d bought a new brand of kitty litter recently. “She’s saying words like “change, changes” to me,” he said.

In fact, I had bought a new brand of litter, but only a few weeks ago—long after she began having “accidents.” Strike three—or was that a foul ball?

Finally, Link asked if Heidi could be suffering from any urinary-tract problems. I replied that her vet had done blood tests and found only a heart murmur, which was thought to be the cause of her general weakness.

“You know, interestingly, she’s not really sharing anything about the heart, per se,” Link said of Heidi. He stressed that he wasn’t questioning the vet’s diagnosis but was simply suggesting that her heart problems weren’t related to her reluctance to use her litter boxes.

“It feels more emotional to me than it does anything physical,” Link said. He then advised me to have a talk with my cat about her new out-of-the-box approach to elimination.

“What you want to do with her is, you want to explain, and I’ll do this as well…what the situation is, what you need her to do,” Link said. “And I’ll explain why it’s going to be a good thing for her.”

I said I would talk to Heidi, and I thanked him for his efforts.

Though Link is a full-time animal communicator, he’s a relatively recent convert to the field. He received a marketing degree from Indiana’s Ball State University in 1986 and spent the next 20 years working for Telecomm.

It wasn’t until 2004, he said, that he learned he had the ability to help owners understand what’s on their pets’ minds.

“About 95 percent of my consultations are done over the phone,” he said. “All I have is a picture of the pet, the name of the pet, and then we set up a conference call to go through your questions that you have about your pet. And the pet shares information back with me.”

Link wrote about some of his alleged communications with animals in his new book, Wagging Tales: Every Animal Has a Tale. On Saturday, he’s scheduled to sign copies of the book from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Columbus Zoo—an event Link said he was able to arrange due to his interactions with Jack Hanna, the zoo’s director emeritus.

Hanna endorsed his book, Link said, and then asked Link for his help in communicating with wild animals that had been captured after losing their parents.

A spokeswoman for the zoo said Hanna was “in the field” and couldn’t be reached for comment.

Link said about 50 percent of his work currently involves helping owners locate lost pets, while much of the rest centers on pets’ problems.

Is there any one problem that comes up more than the others? “Yeah,” Link said, “the infamous ‘Fluffy no longer uses her litter box.’”

Cats are such independent creatures, he said, that often their owners don’t realize something is bothering them unless they send a clear message—and the clearest way to send a message is by not using their litter boxes.

Whatever the problem is, Link said the pet’s answers are not always clear. “Sometimes it’s straightforward and other times it’s not,” he said.

Certainly, Link didn’t come up with much that was informative from his attempt to communicate with my cat. But he did share advice that was useful, even if it was coming from him rather than her. For example, he suggested piling the litter higher on the side of the box Heidi tends to favor.

I tried that, and it seemed to help, along with my previous decision to move the boxes to the part of the basement she apparently prefers anyway.

I have not, on the other hand, gone back to my old brand of kitty litter, as Link advised. Nor have I purchased a new, green litter box despite Link’s suspicion that Heidi prefers that color.

Just to be safe, though, I did find an old green Frisbee and placed it next to one of her litter boxes. Coincidentally or not, the box has now become one of her favorite places to hang out.

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Is There a Family Resemblance? Part 3 of 6
The New York Times

"This is me and my Basset Hound Riley. Both pics taken 1/5/2008. Riley died 7 months later." -- Spence Halperin - Location: New York, N.Y.

"English bulldog Wilberforce and grandpa John not only look alike, they also share many personality traits. Both bull-headed at times, big appetites and full of still can't resist them!" -- Noelle Pulliam - Location: Wabash, Ind.

"Our daughter, Lily, was adopted at age 15 in 2006. A week after arriving in the U.S. from St. Petersburg, Russia, she begged for a puppy. We could not handle a puppy AND a new daughter, but we did end up with a great rescue dog from the Humane Society. Lily named him Pinky. And they have been inseparable ever since. " -- Irmgarde Brown
Location: Chincoteague, Va.

"DeWitt Smith sits next to her English springer spaniel, Tracy, a month before the dog died. The look-alike features are reddish hair, freckles and sweet dispositions." -- Jane Shanahan - Location: Ojai, Calif.

"This is a picture I took of my puppy, Sailor, a 8-month old Goldendoodle and my husband Stephen while we were driving to Cleveland, Ohio. Their profiles were so similar I just couldn't resist!" -- Jessica McKenzie Peterson - Location: Cleveland, Ohio

"Summer and Sunny " -- Tamar Palotoff - Location: Rochester, N.Y.

"Picture of Pickles, at Sunset, on our favorite walk." -- Margaret Kearn - Location: San Francisco, Calif.

"Paula and I were hanging out in the Soho Grand Lobby. I think it conveys that dogs and their humans starting to look alike can be in attitude as much as actual features." -- Karen Dawn - Location: New York, N.Y.

"Our son is pictured driving home from picking up our labradoodle puppy, Hera, and her brother, Rocky. When we arrived to drop off Rocky with his new family in Denver, our son pulled me aside and said: "Mom, I really am the luckiest boy in the world, today, to have driven home with two puppies." Even now, three years later, the two of them are like mutt and Jeff." --Jean Macheledt - Location: Highway I70, Kansas

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Is There a Family Resemblance? Part 4 of 6
The New York Times

"I took this picture on Sam's 13th birthday, he was very energetic when young but as times goes by he enjoys napping and hugging more. Once I sold my motorbike to a guy - when he saw Sam, and said that we looked like we were only one person. We are still living together, near Lisbon, Portugal." -- Arthur Da Silva - Location: Lisbon, Portugal

"This is my official company (Kachingle) photo. I am the one without the collar. Ths name of my assistant is "Bunny". He is a 3 yr old neutered mutt. I found him as a stray puppy in rural MO, covered with ticks. He's a some kind of pit bull/white GSD/whatever mix, all white with one brown ear, one spotted ear and little brown spots all over. He's wonderful with people and other dogs, and especially loves kids." -- Cynthia Typaldos - Location: Silicon Valley, Calif.

"This is a picture of my husband Michael Fanelli and our vizsla Baci, enjoying one of our dog's favorite activities--going to the river. I thought they looked kind of "matchy matchy", given my husband's rust colored turtle neck." -- Renay Fanelli - Location: Asti, Calif.

"We had just finished our favorite walk, a three mile beautiful paved wooded path, that we go to several times a week. She looked so happy that I just had to take a few shots when we got back to the car." -- Susan Ticker - Location: Morristown, N.J.

"The girls hanging out at the beach." -- Pat Sutcliffe - Location: San Simeon, Calif.

"In this photo, I am on stage where I won a doggie-owner look-a-like contest at the Del Mar dog show. Animal Planet filmed the event and we were also on an Animal Planet episode." -- Mary June - Location: Del Mar, Calif.

"Jen and Mickey, the love of my life, he passed a year ago at 15." -- Jennifer Norris - Location: Portland, Ore.

"Another candid of Koshare and me enjoying the wind in our hair. Her beard and my ponytail, the top of our heads and sunny reflection in our faces against our coloring give us a "twins" appearance." -- Debbie Reed - Location: Boston

"Bella is probably wondering why I am taking so many pictures of her. (It's because she is wearing a t-shirt.)" -- Leigh Green - Location: West Chester, Penn.

"Dingo th' Dog, being his usual happy-go-lucky self. No tattoos on him." - Sue Gleason - Location: Portsmouth, N.H.

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Cats, Cats and more Cats at Catapalooza

One of my favorite things about volunteering at the Seattle Humane Society is the chance it gives me to spend time with animals. Coming from a house without companion animals, I relish every chance I get to be around them!

Last Saturday I was lucky enough to spend my morning volunteering at Catapalooza as a Cat Shopper. Three hours surrounded by cats, petting cats, chatting to people about cats, finding homes for cats – possibly a perfect day for me. Can't believe I get to do this for free!

I started the day by getting to know the cats I was looking after. As I walked into the Cat Library I was greeted by Piper streaking past; he dodged me and gleefully skipped out of the room - something that became a regular occurrence during the day. He definitely earned the title Escape Artist of the Day! Ginny, a one-year-old who's beautiful coat made her look like a cross between a tiger and a tortoiseshell was next to see me. Following her was Tammy an 11-year-old tabby who made me feel special by being absolutely thrilled to see me, until I realized she was possibly the friendliest cat in the world and was thrilled to see pretty much everyone.

The morning was a blur of people and cats being petted and adopted. There were kittens flying out the door and my library cats were in high demand. It was really good to see how many people wanted to adopt older cats, and as the adoption fees were waived for all cats over a year old at Catapalooza, these great cats were a fantastic option for a lot of people.

I answered hundreds of questions, listened to people's stories and helped them meet their perfect match- from the home schooled girl looking for a cat to keep her company while she did her schoolwork, to the single guy who'd wanted a cat all his life and now finally had the chance to find his ideal companion. The best thing about the day was helping people make that connection with a cat and sharing in the excitement as the cats were scooped up into a cat carrier to make the journey to their new homes. Even five days later I grin at the memory!

Tiger was first to be adopted, then Ginny, Girl and Jake – by the time I left there were people lining up to adopt cats all around the shelter.

The weekend was a huge success - 107 adoptions in just a single day, and 166 by the time the weekend was over!! Such an amazing number! I was very happy to hear that both Tammy and Belle, both my 11-year-old sweethearts from the Cat Library had both been adopted.

Thinking Of Buying A Parrot? Here Are Some Tips!

There are many bits of advice that can make parrot care very easy. The grooming for parrots is much different than for cats and dogs as your parrot is a bird and has a beak and claws. Much of grooming focuses on the claws, beaks and wings and keeping your parrot in top condition can be time consuming and challenging.

There are many scenarios that can cause cases of beak malformation, such as growing at odd angles. Many times an odd shaped beak can be something that occurred at birth or through an accident. Mites and fungus can grow in your parrot’s feathers and beak and you want to keep it as clean as possible so this does not occur.

It can be very dangerous to cut your parrot’s claws if you have never done so before and have not had the proper instruction. In such a case, it is best to take your pet to a professional who can safely trim his claws. It can also be harmful to let your parrot’s claws grow too long, as it is possible he could break a toe or develop problems walking and perching.

The wings of a parrot bird need to be correctly clipped so that they do not harm themselves when flying or landing. If the wings are not clipped then your parrot may be prone to flying into things and may have very hard ground landings. When keeping a parrot you want to remember that they are not wild as the length and breadth of their wings will not make them good at finding food in the wild.

Like any pet a parrot needs a well balanced diet, though your pet parrot should not be feed like a wild parrot. Seeds are good because they have a lot of protein and fat but your pet parrot may become fat because they do not get as much exercise as wild parrots. Pelleted diets can also be good for pet parrots as this can give them the proper nutrition without getting fat.

Before you look for a parrot for sale, be sure that you are aware of the parrot supplies that will be necessary for the maintenance of a bird. Some of the items you will find helpful in raising your bird are a parrot cage, food and water equipment, a spray bottle (with a mist setting), and even toys.

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