Our New Year's Wishes for You (Photos)

Pup Swallows Toy Fairy
Wand Half Its Body Size!
By ANI - taragana.com

LONDON - A pet puppy had a miraculous brush with death when it swallowed a toy fairy wand almost the length of her body.

Pip’s owner Ashleigh Fisher, 18, noticed that the five-month-old pet whippet had something lodged in her throat.

“We had no idea what it could be that she’d swallowed,” the Daily Express quoted Ashleigh as saying.

And when she took the pet to the vet the next day, an x-ray revealed the problem - the toy wand stretching from the dog’s throat right into her stomach.

They couldn’t get any success, even after several attempts to dislodge the wand, and thus Pip had to have an operation costing 500 pounds to remove it.

The fairy wand belonged Ashleigh’s twin sisters Emily and Beth.

“She’s doing fine now. Luckily for Pip, the wand did not appear to have done any damage to her insides,” said Laura Lamb, trainee nurse at the Bridge Veterinary Group in Middlesbrough.

Ashleigh did not have pet insurance for Pip. (ANI)

Pet Lovers Column

If weather prognosticators are correct (and it appears they are), the northeast is in for a brutal winter. Bitter cold, snow, and ice can be as hard on pets as it is on humans. Rule of thumb: If you're dressed properly yet feeling chilled in sub-freezing temperatures, your pet likely is too. As you enjoy hot cocoa by the fire, here are some tips to keep your furries safe and warm during Old Man Winter's tirades. Warmth

Contrary to what many folks think, dogs and cats are vulnerable to hypothermia. Both need a dry, warm, draft-free place to sleep. Outdoor beds should be raised off the ground and the enclosure insulated with straw. Pampered indoor pets (even some long-coated breeds) shouldn't be left outside for extended periods in bitter cold. Short-coated breeds may require a sweater or jacket and, possibly, boots. A shivering pet is too cold and should be brought inside. Seniors & babies

Puppies, kittens and elderly or ill pets don't tolerate the cold as well as animals in their prime. Because they lose body heat faster, these pets should limit exposure to temperatures below freezing. Make an extra effort to keep them warm. Housetraining puppies during winter can be a challenge. Cut a path through the snow to make pottying easier and help train the little one to void near the house when spring comes.

Paw care

Clean paws and belly thoroughly when pets have been exposed to roads laced with salt or other potentially dangerous chemicals (including antifreeze). Ingestion through paw licking can cause severe stomach upset and paws may crack or bleed. Keep hair between paw pads trimmed and remove ice balls that may accumulate. Infrequent baths

Pet skin drys out in winter just like ours, so keep baths to a minimum and never bathe an animal outside in the cold. Use moisturizing, emollient type products as opposed to harsh shampoos and dry animal thoroughly before allowing outside. Freezer on wheels

Never leave pets unattended in vehicles when the mercury dips below freezing. The surrounding metal creates a refrigerator-type environment and pets can easily freeze to death. Winter nutrition

If your pet is active through the winter months, assure his diet includes high quality protein to thicken coat and keep insulating body fat at optimum levels. Supplementing dry kibble with wet food can help furries brave the elements. Water

Even in bitter cold, pets can dehydrate, so keep those water bowls filled. Avoid metal bowls outside, as tongues can stick causing injury and excruciating pain. Use plastic bowls and check/change the water frequently to assure it hasn't frozen. Engine trap

Outdoor cats and small wild animals seeking warmth often find car engines a cozy place to sleep. Whether parked in a garage or on the street, always check for furry hobos before starting your vehicle. Banging on the hood or blowing the horn will startle them awake and, hopefully, out. Leash and I.D.

Resist the temptation to allow Fido to run free in the snow unless he is totally reliable on the "come" command. Many dogs are lost during winter because they lose their scent in the snow. Leash walk, especially during snowstorms, and attach proper I.D. to collar. Microchips are great, but a tangible, visible I.D. with phone number may help others identify and return your dog home faster. Outdoor cats should wear tags as well.

Reach Karen Steinrock at ksteinrock@comcast.net

A Holiday for Two:
Travel Tips
Posted by: Leda33 - CatDiaries.com.au

Travelling with your cat can be a daunting task. Most felines don’t take favourably to the jostling around. Still, with summer and, with any luck, Christmas time off coming up, some owners will be forced to deal with a feisty feline during holiday travels. If you are going to travel and take your feline friend with you, following is some advice I found to be particularly useful in making holiday travel as stress free for me and my cat so that we can both enjoy it!

Planning Ahead

The majority of cats do not tolerate the hustle and bustle of travelling well. Finding a friend to cat-sit is the best option. This way your kitty is able to stay in the comfort of their home and a familiar face can keep an eye on them. If you are unable to find a reliable sitter, boarding facilities are always a second option however may cause your cat as much stress as travelling, particularly if your cat is unused to new situations or staying away from your home.

Sometimes though, you may have no other choice than to tote your kitty along. With the right preparation, travelling can still be enjoyable for both you and your feline. The most important thing before leaving is to check with the hotel, friend or family member you are staying with to confirm that bringing a cat along is all right. Often hosts are happy to accommodate an extra kitty but sometimes allergies and residential pet restrictions can pose a problem. By calling beforehand, you can ensure that you will arrive to a welcoming bed for both you and your kitty. The same applies when travelling by air as all airlines require several forms to be filled out before transporting your cat.


Whether travelling by plane or car, a cat carrier is necessary to ensure your cat’s safety during travel time. Get your cat familiarised with their new carrier before the trip. Placing favourite foods and toys inside the carrier will help get your pet familiar and excited to enter the carrier. Make sure your carrier is approved by your veterinarian and has adequate ventilation, which is crucial during long journeys.

Food and water are also important in keeping your cat happy and healthy throughout the duration of your trip. Stressed animals must be closely monitored for dehydration and ample fresh water can help prevent this, particularly if travelling to hot areas. Also, bringing your cat’s everyday food means that you won’t have to worry about them being picky with new foods you may be forced to try while travelling.

Finally, ask your vet about final feeding times before beginning long journeys. This often varies depending on whether you will be travelling by plane or car. Finding out beforehand will ensure that your cat is comfortable and you won’t have to worry about making any unnecessary rest stops.


Many owners have found mild pet travel sickness or other types of medications helpful during long journeys. Ask your vet to recommend some that are best suited for your breed. Often medication can help keep your kitty remain stress-free throughout the journey.

In the end, just relax! An anxious owner will only ensure an anxious cat. You aren’t the first and most certainly won’t be the last owner to travel with their cat. Don’t be afraid to ask friends, family or vets for advice to help ensure a happy and healthy holiday for two!

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Our New Year's Wishes for You....
Thanks to Bob in BHC, AZ

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Hints From Heloise
Washington Post

The Name Reflects the Pain

Dear Heloise: When we adopted our two cats several years ago, their MEOWING gave me a headache, so I named them Advil (Addy) and Motrin (Mo)! -- Karen S., Colorado Springs, Colo.

Here are some other reader pet names:

- H.G. of Staten Island, N.Y., says: "My cat is named Hankie. He was named that because a previous boyfriend gave him to me as a gift. He is a sweet young cat. I call him Hankie because of all the tears I've shed over losing the relationship." - § Jerrye K. of Weatherford, Texas, says: "My great-grandsons have a little Chihuahua named Chili. The dog had stayed with me for several days while the family was moving. One cold afternoon, I decided to make a big pot of chili for dinner. The dad and boys dropped by, and I asked if they wanted to stay for dinner. Dad asked what I was having, and not thinking, I replied, 'Chili.' The boys' mouths dropped open, and tears filled their eyes as they thought I had cooked their pet. They were relieved when the little dog jumped up on the door and surprised them." - § Susi Martinsen of Naples, Fla., says: "We have a menagerie of animals with mostly holiday names. It started with the dog that we got three days before Christmas. We named her Christmas Carol (Krissy). Next came Sandy Claws the hamster, Snowball the umbrella cockatoo, Mistletoe (Missy) the Labrador retriever and Jingle Bells (Jingles) the cat. And they all get along well!" -- Heloise


Dear Readers: Judith Weinstein of Flemington, N.J., sent in a photo of her half Siamese cat, Punim, lying comfortably on a blanket inside "her" wooden doghouse.

To see Punim, visit www.Heloise.com. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: We recently adopted a shelter dog, Dusty. He actually adopted me when I was volunteering at the shelter.

His vet examination showed conditions that required daily pills. Other dogs we have had took the pills with peanut butter and bread. I tried this, and no dice -- Dusty wasn't going to take the bait.

I was frustrated and called the vet's office. They suggested putting the pills in peanut butter, shoving it into his mouth, closing his snout and blowing into his nose while rubbing his throat. This blowing action causes him to swallow. Imagine my surprise when this worked.

I don't know if other people have had this problem, but I thought this hint would help. -- Pat Z., Warren, Ohio


Dear Heloise: I have read different letters from readers about what they use for their dog's bed. I have found that a crib mattress works great. It keeps its shape better than the purchased dog beds. It can be covered with a crib sheet (which I bought at a resale shop), and the sheet is easy to keep clean by simply tossing it in the washer. -- Linda Johnson, via e-mail

How to Care for
Your New Pet Rabbit
by Mary Kirkland - AssociatedContent.com

Having a new pet rabbit in your home can be a rewarding experience as long as you know what to expect and have all the necessary supplies to take care of him properly.

What supplies to have before bringing the rabbit home.

It's important to have all the necessary supplies on hand before bringing a new pet home, no matter what kind of pet it is. For a rabbit you'll want to have a large wire cage, Timothy hay, water bottle, fresh vegetables, leash or harness, nail clippers, brush, rabbit pellet food, salt
wheel, wood chew block and a litter box.


Bunnies will over eat if given the chance. They may give you the sad eyes and look down at their food bowl like they are starving but they do not need to eat all day long. You should only give them food according to their weight. So if you have a 6 LB bunny, you should give them approximately ½ cup of rabbit pellet food per day. Do not feed rabbits the mixed foods that have pellets mixed with dried fruits, seeds or beans. This is not good for your rabbit.

You may leave unlimited amounts of Timothy Hay or Grass in their cage for them to eat. They need this for good digestion. Treats are to be given sparingly and only certain foods can be given as treats. You should avoid iceberg lettuce, onions, tomatoes or potatoes. These foods can give them diarrhea and cause a bunny to become dehydrated.

Good treats would be apple pieces, carrots, strawberries, bananas, pineapple and raspberries.


Your bunny needs exercise everyday. You must take your bunny out of his cage and let him run or as it may be, hop around. This is where that leash or harness would come in. You can buy a bunny leash or harness and take him for a walk. Bunny harnesses can be found at most pet stores.

Bunny proofing your home.

You will have to make sure that your home is safe for your rabbit to hop around in. Using a baby gate to keep your bunny in one room is essential if you only bunny proof one room. This will make it easier for you and safer for your bunny.

Bunnies like to chew on things, everything. Electrical wires, important papers, remote controls, and everything else you don't want chewed up should be put up out of the bunnies reach while he is out running free.

Health Concerns

While most bunnies don't need vaccines like a dog or cat would. There are things every rabbit owner needs to be aware of. If your rabbit stops eating and drinking and is lethargic, you should seek immediate medical attention with a veterinarian that specializes in either rabbits or exotics.

Diarrhea can be a very serious condition in rabbits and should be dealt with by a veterinarian. Also if you notice mucous or other liquid substances coming from the bunny's nose or eyes, you should seek immediate medical attention.

Rabbits are labeled exotic like most other small animals. Other exotic animals are rats, hamsters, mice, and gerbils.

Spend time with your bunny and let him get to know you as you get to know him. Before you know it he will be hopping up in your lap waiting to be cuddled and petted.

For the Love of the Dog
AMY OBERLIN - amyo@kpcnews.net

Training a dog isn’t always easy. A dog may be “trained one day, then seemingly go wild the next.

Even Pawsitively Paradise trainer Ken Blackburn had a few issues with Bindi, a pit bull-Bordeux mix also known as a French mastiff, during one a class this fall.

In reality, it’s often not the dog that’s being trained, but the owner.

“When you’re talking about a group class you’re doing people training,” said Blackburn.

The classes can be chaotic at times, with dogs more interested in playing with one another than learning something new. But by going over simple steps, such as “sit” and laying down, pet owners learn how to practice at home.

Blackburn taught a few tricks and a lot of basic dog logic in a seven-week course this fall.

Dogs are happier when they know what is expected of them, Blackburn said.
Commands should be consistent and simple. For instance, when working with reliable recall — assuring a dog will come when called — the same one-word command should be used every time, and not overused. “Now” or “home” are good choices. Blackburn has a pair of dogs that took such a shine to orange root vegetables that for them his call is always “carrots.”

Treats, of course, are a great stimulus. Blackburn teaches with treats, but also abundant praise and attention.

Positive reinforcement helps dogs learn to work for a reward rather than to avoid punishment. It builds a bond between dog and owner and encourages the animal to respond favorably.

Different breeds react to different stimuli. Over a seven-week period in Pawsitively Paradise’s basic obedience class, it became apparent that all the dogs in class were wired differently. For example, a sheltie-blue heeler, no matter how well trained, will have a hard time breaking his instinct to “herd” things, such as wagon wheels and house cats, by barking and nipping. There are ways to deter him from running after cars, but it’s hard to remove the animal drive that makes him want to chase cars, squirrels and other fast-moving things.

“Repetition and consistency” are keys to good training, said Blackburn.
The dog also needs to know that it is the dog.

“Probably the most important thing is that the dog realizes its place in the household,” said Blackburn.

During one class, he concentrated on how to be a dog’s leader. Among the keys is that the leader always eats first. Blackburn said food should not be made available to dogs at all times; instead it can be spread over a few feedings a day.

“This will let the dog know you are in control of the food,” says a flier distributed in the classes. “If possible let the dog know when you are eating and feed the dog after you have finished.”

Other tips to subordinate behavior include the owner going through doorways first, staying calm and not letting dogs pull on a leash or jump on a person for attention.

In her book, “Rescue Matters,” Sheila Webster Boneham says many problems with pets occur “when we fail to recognize and honor them for what they really are.”

“We are their owners, friends, playmates and protectors, not their mommies and daddies,” Boneham says.

She notes that even well-cared-for animals can be neglected through the lack of proper exercise, mental stimulation, nutrition, good grooming and basic training.

The entire family can get involved in making sure Rover is part of a stable, happy household. Blackburn encourages groups to attend training classes. Children, especially, may like honing the techniques.

“They have more time to devote to it,” said Blackburn. “They have a little more enthusiasm about it.”

Pawsitively Paradise’s “golden rules” for dog training include never getting angry or taking frustration out on a dog and earning the dog’s respect through meaningful corrections.

Dogs should be rewarded when they come to their master.

“Never punish a dog when it runs away and then comes back or you are punishing the dog for coming back,” the rules explain.

While some dogs learn some tricks better than others, almost all of them can be taught to be obedient and pleasant.

Bad behavior is a leading cause for dog deaths in the U.S., statistics say, and often the reason animals are taken to shelters.

It has been said that dogs love unconditionally, and may even give more love than some people are able to accept. It is an owner’s responsibility to repay that devotion with an equal dose of structure and respect.

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Useful Tips On Purchasing
Your Next Horse

When searching for horses for sale, there are a few points which are worth considering to make the buying process run smoothly, and to ensure you end up with your desired horse.

--Every horse has niggles – just make sure that the one you buy has issues that you can live with and that won’t lessen your enjoyment.

--Take an expert along, someone who is informed of your capabilities and strengths. Ideally take someone experienced who is capable of spotting {whether the horse is lame} lameness or illness. Or even your instructor who will be able to tell if the chosen horse is right for your style of riding – your aptitude and confidence.

--Always check the horse’s documets and passport. A passport is not legal proof that your chosen horse is owned by the person selling it so ask if there is a receipt to prove purchase. Remember it is unlwful to sell or purchase horses minus a passport.

--Find out if all vaccinations are current. A course of innoculations can cost a lot of money and take months to come into effect before you can compete. It will not go down well moving a horse to a new horse if it is carrying an illness along as well.
Once you’ve chosen you new horse, ask a vet to carry out the highest inspection that you can buy. Don’t rush or be pressured into buying if you believe you need the horse examined by your vet.

--Try to see the horse or pony carrying out the trials you would like it to do. Having to reschool a horse will add a considerable amount to the total cost if you are unable to do this yourself.

--Try to negotiate a trial period in which the horse can be returned if it is not suitable.

--Be realistic when buying a young horse, ask yourself if you have the required experience to bring it on. Another thought is that, a more mature horse may just have the stability and maturity to give you confidence and help you learn you the basics.

--Don’t feel pressured to buy the first one you see and don’t be pressurised by the many others just waiting to buy the horse if you don’t – very often this is just a ruse to rush you to make an impulse purchase. Take your time when buying a horse.
Once the sale is agreed take out insurance on the horse before you transport it. Most injuries occur during transit or whilst introducing a new horse into a new yard with other horses.

--Trust your judgement – if you believe the vendor is concealing something from you then the likelyhood is they are.

--Be mindful that your horse is a huge investment of both your time and your money – be sure you have budgeted accurately for all the expenses that you are likely to encounter.

Finally, have fun with your new horse and enjoy many hours of horse riding fun!

Aquarium Care for Freshwater Fish

Freshwater fish are perhaps the easiest fish to care for in comparison to saltwater species because they are usually hardier fish. A basic aquarium set up will be required. You will need a tank, some rocks or substrate to line bottom of the tank. You will also need a filter, and some lighting. When choosing fish, it is imperative to make sure the fish are compatible. Not only do they need to be compatible for water temperature and P.H., but they also should have similar food requirements. Try to keep the fish relatively the same size. It has been said that if a fish is small enough to fit in another fishes mouth, that is usually where it ends up. So don’t be discouraged if this happens. Even fish that have been housed together for several months have been known to disappear on occasion.

Freshwater fish should be fed twice daily. Feed only a small amount that can be consumed within the first two to five minutes. Over feeding is a common mistake among novice fish keepers. Any excess food should be lifted with a net if possible, as it will become debris and quickly dirty the tank. Water should be kept regulated and tested weekly. Any discrepancies in P.H. and water temperature should be corrected immediacy in order to minimize stress caused to the fish. Stress is significant because it causes illness in fish. It is important to monitor the activity and overall well being of the fish in an aquarium. The signs of stress will be fairly obvious. Slow moving or lethargic looking fish will require a stress coat that can be purchased at a local pet store. Try to avoid overcrowding the tank. This should help to reduce the amount of stress caused to the fish.

Change about a third of the water in the aquarium at a time, because this type of change will cause the least amount of disturbance to the fish and other inhabitants. This will need to be done every two to three weeks. Use either a bucket or a siphon to remove the water from the tank. Try to remove any loose or floating debris at this time. When adding the new water to the aquarium, be sure that it is within approximately two degrees of the tank water. The sides of the aquarium should be scrubbed regularly to remove an algae build up. Again be careful not to disturb the fish. Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling the aquarium. Lastly, check the manufacturer’s recommendation on filters and change them accordingly. Filters collect any fish waste or left over food. They can’t function properly unless they are clean.

Introduce hardy fish to a new tank. These fish can withstand higher nitrite levels that are present in a new aquarium. Choose fish such as danios, barbs, gouramis, and live bearers. Don’t add more than three to four small fish per week. Acclimation times vary per species, so check with your retailer before adding any other new fish.

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