Sailors and Cats: A History Together on the High Seas (Photos)

Plant City Firefighters Use
Pet First Aid Kit to Save Dog
By DAVE NICHOLSON The Tampa Tribune

Hillsborough Community College veterinary technician instructor Carrie Jo Anderson and veterinarian John Gickling show how to administer oxygen to a pet. HCC's vet tech students recently gave a pet first aid kit to Plant City firefighters, who used it to save a dog.

PLANT CITY - Firefighters used a new pet first-aid kit to save a 4-year-old dog that was trapped in a burning home.

Plant City Fire Rescue crews used the kit to give the Australian shepherd/border collie mix oxygen after she was pulled from her hiding place under a bed.

Plant City received the animal first aid kit two weeks ago from the veterinary technology class at Hillsborough Community College.

Students in the class based at the Plant City campus raised the money to furnish the kits, which included oxygen, to Plant City, Temple Terrace and Hillsborough County.

"They said they wanted to make a difference, and they certainly did. They saved this dog," said Jim Wilson, emergency medical services chef in Plant City.

Firefighters were called to the home 4727 Westwind Drive in the Country Hills subdivision about 4 p.m. Thursday. The homeowner told firefighters that everyone was out, but the dog was still inside, Wilson said.

Despite thick black some, "they followed her whimpering until they found her," Wilson said.

The dog was groggy, and firefighters administered oxygen using a mask in the kit designed for an animal's snout. They gave the dog water and checked her over and determined she wasn't burned, Wilson said.

"Before we left she was playing with her owner," Wilson said.

The home had extensive fire damage but the only injury was to the dog's owner, who tried to break out a window to rescue her.

Tripping Over Pets Sends Thousands to ER
By Bill Hendrick - WebMD Health News

Taking your faithful pet dog for a stroll may be good for cardiovascular health, but it can also be dangerous. According to a CDC report, many people get hurt every year when chasing or tripping over their pets -- cats as well as dogs.

The study, published in the Journal of Safety Research, shows that dogs and cats contribute to injuries that send an estimated 87,000 people to emergency rooms every year.

The study also shows that:

--Dogs are more dangerous to their owners than cats, associated with 7.5 times as many injuries as felines.

--Women are 2.1 times more likely to be injured by pets than men.

--Injury rates are highest among people age 75 and over, but pets are a hazard for people of all ages.

--Fractures and contusions or abrasions are the most common pet-related injuries.

--66.4% of falls associated with cats and 31.3% associated with dogs are caused by falling or tripping over the animal.

--21.2% of falls linked to dogs were caused by being pushed or pulled.

The statistics come from a study of nonfatal injuries in the U.S. that examined 66 emergency departments between Jan. 1, 2001, and Dec. 31, 2006.

Falls and ER visits suggest the need for more pet-obedience training for dogs, but basic prevention strategies should be implemented to help people reduce their risk of injury when walking Rover or reaching for the cat, says Judy A. Stevens, PhD, a senior epidemiologist for the CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

The researchers identified 7,456 cases of pet-caused ER visits, and estimated an average of 86,629 fall injuries associated with cats and dogs occur in the U.S. every year.

The researchers found that:

--Injuries are most frequent among children up to age 14, and adults between 35 and 54.

--Fall rates increase steadily with age, after people get past the 15-24 age group.

--The highest fracture rates occur among people 75 to 84.

--Among patients hospitalized due to accidents with their pets, 79.9% were for fractures.

--Injuries to extremities accounted for 51.8% of injuries with dogs and 47.6% with cats.

--Among falls caused by dogs, 61.6% occurred in or around the home, and 16.4% in the street or another public place.

--26% of falls involving dogs occurred while people were walking them, and the most frequent circumstances were falling or tripping over a pooch (31.3%) and being pushed or pulled by one (21.2%).

--8.8% of injuries were caused by people falling over a pet toy or food bowl.

"The report provides the first national estimates of fall injuries associated with cats and dogs and supports anecdotal evidence that pets can present a fall hazard," the researchers write. The study also shows that walking dogs and chasing pets cause the greatest number of injuries.

Comparing Cats and Dogs

Sandra Adamson Fryhofer, MD, an Atlanta internist and past president of the American College of Physicians, tells WebMD she sees pet-caused injuries quite often.

Dogs, she says, cause more problems to her patients than cats.

"I tell patents to be careful, make sure you walk the dog, not let the dog walk you," she says. "People of all ages can fall and skin knees or hands, but older patients are more likely to have weaker bones due to osteoporosis and suffer fracture if they fall."

Gail Hayes, a spokeswoman for the CDC Injury Center, says dogs may cause more problems when being walked simply because of their size.

"About 19,834 falls resulting in injuries each year happened while people were walking dogs, whereas a very small number of such falls happened while people were walking cats," Hayes tells WebMD in an email. "About 16,137 falls each year happened as a result of being pushed or pulled by dogs," compared to 91 for cats.

Stevens and colleagues caution that the number of pet-related injuries is likely higher than the 87,000 estimated in the study, because many people do not seek help in emergency departments.

The problem isn't insignificant, the researchers say, because 43 million American households own dogs and 37.5 million cats. And nearly 64% of households have more than one pet.

The report also details causes of injuries involving pets, reporting that:

--19,834 injuries involving emergency room visits occur when people are walking dogs, compared to 40 for that reason for cats.

--3,373 occur while people are playing with dogs, compared to 232 for cats.

--3,779 occur while people are chasing dogs, and 1,182 while chasing cats.

--449 occur when people are breaking up a fight involving a dog, compared to 18 for cats.

--23,886 occur with people falling or tripping over a dog, compared to 6,727 with cats.

Kim Kardashian Lets Cat Out of the Bag
Luke Dennehy -

Animal activists were outraged that Kim Kardashian picked up a kitty by its neck. Source: The Daily Telegraph

WHEN American reality TV star Kim Kardashian tweeted a photo of herself holding a cat by the scruff of its neck during the week, she caused an internet sensation.
Animal activists were outraged that she picked up the kitty by its neck, with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals admonishing her for not supporting it with her other hand.

Kardashian was posing for a fashion shoot for an issue of the Sunday Herald Sun's Sunday magazine, while she was in Sydney.

Kardashian defended her actions, saying: "The cat was not harmed in any way and is perfectly fine! I love animals and would never do anything to harm any animals."

Cute kitten Bindi, 11 weeks and rescued after being abandoned on the steps of a Sydney animal hospital, was a key accessory in the shoot.

RSPCA spokeswoman Kylie Hughes said while its not necessarily cruel to "scruff" a cat, ideally Kardashian should have been supporting its bodyweight two-handed.

Kardashian, who has 3,451,000 Twitter followers, was happy to chat with fans during her five-day trip for sponsor Optus, but she was more tight-lipped with the media when it came to her personal life.

Kardashian has made a living out of her reality show Keeping Up with the Kardashians, which follows her everyday life.

The Sunday Herald Sun had a video interview lined up with the reality star, but she cancelled at the last minute.

Apparently she was upset about some questions that were asked in Sydney about her former boyfriend Reggie Bush and rumoured flame Christiano Ronaldo.

A little hypocritical we think, of someone who is famous for being a reality television star.

American Airlines Pet Travel Guidelines
by Joshua Duvauchelle, Demand Media/

Flying with your pet can be a challenging, and often confusing, ordeal. To guide you through the process, American Airlines provides its ticketed passengers with specific policies and guidelines to help protect your pet's health and safety and the comfort of the flight's passengers. Your pet will not be accepted onto any American Airlines flight unless you follow these procedures.

Restriction on Species
Your dog or cat is welcome to travel with you on American Airlines. However, all other animal species, including rabbits, ferrets and exotic reptiles, are not allowed on any American Airlines flight.

Cabin Policies
You can bring one carrier per passenger, with a maximum of two pets of the same species in each carrier. The carrier counts as one of your carry-on bags. Your pet must be weaned and at least eight weeks of age, since you cannot remove your pet from its carrier while it is on the plane. Only five pet carriers are allowed in the general cabin and two in the first class cabin. Book your pet's travel as far in advance as possible or your flight's cabin allowance may fill up and you'll be forced to send your pet as baggage.

Baggage Policies
If the cabin is full or your pet is large, you can ship your pet as checked baggage. Each ticketed passenger can check-in a maximum of two pets, though there is no limit on the total number of checked pets per flight.

For in-cabin travel, the pet carrier can be a maximum of 19 inches long, 13 inches wide and 9 inches high. It can only weigh 20 lbs. or less with your pet in it. If you're sending your pet as baggage, the kennel must be made of rigid material, like hard plastic, and can be a maximum of 40 inches long, 27 inches wide and 30 inches high. The maximum weight allowed is 100 lbs. with your pet inside. Whatever your carrier size, your pet must be allowed to stand and turn, and the kennel must be leak-proof.

Distance Restrictions
Carry-on pets cannot be taken on transpacific or transatlantic American Airlines flights. Checked pets cannot be shipped on flights that have a duration of 12 hours or more. In addition, the airline will refuse all pets if the temperature at the arrival or destination airport is greater than 85 degrees F or lower than 45 degrees F.

Health Documentation
No certificate of health is required, but you must submit proof that your pet is current on its rabies vaccinations. If you're sending your pet as baggage, attach a signed note to the outside of your pet's kennel stating the time that your pet was last given food and water; it must be within the four hours preceding check-in.

Buddy the Dog Hailed as a Hero

Buddy the German Shepherd has been hailed as a hero for guiding an Alaskan State Trooper through back roads to a fire at his owner's workshop in Anchorage.

Owner Ben Heinrichs was working on parts for his truck when a spark hit some gasoline and ignited, setting his clothes on fire.

The 23-year-old ran outside to put out the flames by rolling in the snow.

But his dog ran off to get help, found the puzzled Alaskan Trooper Terrence Shanigan at a crossroads, and guided him to the blaze.

"Buddy was able to connect with me, giving me a lot of nonverbal cues, kind of loping, and wanting me to speed up at times.

"And when I finally pulled in, Buddy greeted me at the driver's side door and kind of nudged me towards the house. It was surreal," the Trooper told reporters.

Mr Heinrichs suffered minor burns on his face and second-degree burns on his left hand.

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Cats in the Sea Services

Sailors and cats have a special relationship that dates back thousands of years. It is likely that the ancient Egyptians were the first seafarers to realize the true value of having cats as shipmates. In addition to offering sailors much needed companionship on long voyages, cats provided protection by ridding ships of vermin. Without the presence of cats, a crew might find their ship overrun with rats and mice that would eat into the provisions, chew through ropes and spread disease. The more superstitious sailors believed that cats protected them by bringing good luck. It was also common for crews to adopt cats from the foreign lands they visited to serve as souvenirs as well as reminders of their pets at home.

Apprentices aboard the USS Pensacola pose with mascot cat and dogs in February 1888. The Pensacola was a screw steamer that participated in Admiral David Farragut's capture of New Orleans in 1862.

Crew of the USS Nahant with their two cats, ca 1898. The Nahant was an ironclad monitor that joined the fleet of Rear Admiral Samual Francis du Pont (for whom Washington, DC's Dupont Circle is named) in the attack on Charleston Harbor in 1863.

Crewmen on the deck of the USS Olympia using a mirror to play with their cats in 1898. The Olympia served as Admiral George Dewey's flagship at the Battle of Manila during the Spanish American War. The Olympia currently is docked in Philadelphia and is the world's oldest floating steel warship, but is in desperate need of restoration.

Crewman of the USS Texas pose with mascot dog and cat on the muzzle of one of the ship's 12"/35 guns, ca 1900. Built in 1892, The Texas was the first U.S. battleship and gained a reputation for being jinxed because of a series of accidents. The crew probably hoped the cat and dog would change the ship's luck.

"You may fire when ready, Muffin." Two cats pose in the breech of a 4" caliber naval gun of an unidentified ship prior to World War One.

"I'll be in my bunk." The cats of the USS Mississippi climb ladders to enter their hammock, ca 1925. The Mississippi was involved in several fierce battles in the Pacific during World War Two and was hit by kamikazes twice. It survived to be among the ships in Tokyo Bay that witnessed Japan's surrender.

"Do not want!" USS Flusser cat 'Wockle' on the capstan in Venice, Italy, 1924-25.

"Waiting instructions in the briefing room, pilots on a US Navy aircraft carrier relax by playing with the ship's mascot. Shortly after this picture was taken they were flying far above the Atlantic on a battle-mission." Probably the USS Ranger, July 1944.

"Why don't you leave me alone so I can get some shut eye?" New mascot 'Saipan' of the USS New Mexico tries to get comfortable. The New Mexico provided support during the U.S. Marine invasion of Saipan in 1944, so it is likely the cat was rescued after the battle.

"After the smoke of battle had cleared on Betio Island, Tarawa, this tiny kitten crept out from beneath a wrecked Japanese tank, to receive a drink from a U.S. Marine." Tawara Invasion, November 1943.

"Here is 'Bilgewater', the mascot of the Coast Guard Academy, circa 1944. He's modeling the new wartime grey cadet uniform."

"War Veteran - 'Pooli', who rates three service ribbons and four battle stars, shows she can still get into her old uniform as she prepares to celebrate her 15th birthday. The cat served aboard an attack transport during World War II." Los Angeles, 1959.

"I demand your terms of surrender!" French sailors play with a cat as they wait to take over six LSSLs (Landing Ship Support, Light) being given to France by the US Navy under the defense aid pact. Seattle, 1950.

"Accepting her fate as an orphan of war, 'Miss Hap' a two-week old Korean kitten chows down on canned milk, piped to her by medicine dropper with the help of Marine Sergeant Frank Praytor ... The Marine adopted the kitten after its mother was killed by a mortar barrage near Bunker Hill. The name, Miss Hap, Sergeant Praytor explained, was given to the kitten 'because she was born at the wrong place at the wrong time'." Korea, circa 1953.

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Pet Vet:
Canine Cataract Surgery Usually
Performed After Blindness Sets In
McClatchy Newspapers; By Jeff Kahler, D.V.M

Cataracts are one of the leading causes of blindness in dogs.

And like many dogs with cataracts, Bernie has simply adapted, so much so that he is commonly mistaken for a sighted dog.

Tom and Madeline, Bernie's owners, are considering having the 7-year-old schnauzer's cataracts removed and wonder about the possibility of regained sight for him. According to them, Bernie developed cataracts in both eyes when he was about 2 and eventually became totally blind.

A cataract is described as any opacity that develops within the lens of the eye. These can be focal changes that only obscure a portion of the lens, leading to some degree of blindness, or they can completely opacify the lens and cause total blindness. Dogs can be born with cataracts or can develop them at an early age, as I suspect is the case with Bernie. He may have started to develop his cataracts earlier in life, with Madeline and Tom noticing the change as his sight became affected.

There are cataracts that occur as a result of underlying metabolic disease, such as is diabetes mellitus.

Treatment is available for dogs. It involves a specialized surgical procedure and usually results in complete resolution.

I am sure there are many of you who have had cataract surgery and can attest to its merits. In humans, of course, the surgery is most often done well before blindness occurs. In dogs, the opposite is usually the case.

Cataract surgery in dogs is usually done by a specialist in veterinary ophthalmology. One point to consider before surgery is whether the eyes are able to function behind the cataracts, because if they are, removal of the cataracts can restore vision. There is a significant cost involved. Still, it is certainly worth discussing with your veterinarian.

Beyond the cataract removal, Tom and Madeline will have the option of having the ophthalmologist implant a lens replacement in one or both of Bernie's eyes, which then will allow for more normal visual acuity.

— — —

Jeff Kahler is a veterinarian in Modesto. Questions can be submitted to Your Pet in care of LifeStyles, The Modesto Bee, P.O. Box 5256, Modesto CA 95352.

Is Your Pet a Lemon?
By Lora Pabst, Minneapolis Star Tribune

State law was supposed to help consumers with refunds, but it can cost big bucks to enforce.

Danielle West's puppy was six months old when he started limping last October. A few hours later, he couldn't stand up. A veterinarian gave West the bad news: Henry, a $375 golden retriever, needed surgery for an improperly formed bone in his shoulder. The cause appeared to be genetic. The cost of the surgery: almost $3,000.

West and her boyfriend, Will Oosterman, did some research to find out whether their breeder could be held responsible. That's when they learned about Minnesota's "pet lemon law," which requires pet sellers to compensate buyers if their dog or cat develops a hereditary or congenital defect up to a year after purchase. Pet owners can recover as much as the original purchase price if they obtain a supporting letter from a vet.

Though West and Oosterman met all the criteria, their breeder disputed the genetic link. Now, the couple's only option is conciliation court, an expensive option for such a small claim.

"We were just hoping they would stand up and be accountable," West said. "We weren't asking them to foot the bill. It's just $375, but every little bit helps."

In theory, vets say, the law is a great tool for pet owners and breeders, but they admit it can be difficult to enforce. Often, pet owners must spend more to prove their case than the animal originally cost.

Dr. Ned Patterson, an assistant professor of small animal medicine and genetics at the University of Minnesota, said he has signed letters for just two pet owners who successfully used the law.

"A number of other cases, I suspected it, but there wasn't enough [research] literature to prove it," he said.

Patterson declined to discuss Henry's case without seeing the medical records, but he said the dog's condition is generally considered congenital.

'We felt so bad for him'

When West and Oosterman decided to get a puppy, the Minneapolis couple looked for a common breed that wasn't prone to major health problems. Almost immediately, however, Henry developed severe allergies. When the shoulder problems cropped up, they worried their pup would never have a normal life.

"He had been living in pain," West said. "We felt so bad for him. He's this little guy and he's been to the vet more times than we could count."

Henry, whose medical bills now top $5,000, has recovered and is "doing great," West said. Because the bone condition sometimes runs in litters, their vet suggested warning the breeder.

When reached by Whistleblower, Joan Ryan, the Hastings breeder who sold Henry, said she discussed the situation with her veterinarian and determined the condition was "not genetic." She declined to comment further.

"At the end of the day, if the breeder says no, there's not anything you can do about it unless you want to go to court," West said.

Some problems show up later

Patterson said the one-year claims deadline makes it difficult for some pet owners to use the law, since some inherited diseases don't show up until later in life. That was the case for Ashley Hildebrand, a college student, whose dog Bentley started having seizures when he was almost two years old.

Bentley's veterinarian suspects that he has a liver shunt, which hinders the flow of blood to the liver, but she can't confirm the diagnosis without performing a $3,000 surgery. Hildebrand, who has already paid more than $1,500 for an ultrasound and other tests, said she can't afford it. She is trying to raise money for the surgery through a Facebook page and neighborhood fliers.

Kristin Smith, who owns Four Paws and A Tail in Blaine, said she will work with Hildebrand if the dog turns out to have a liver shunt, even though she is no longer obligated to reimburse her $800 purchase price under the refund law. She agreed that liver shunts are typically considered a birth defect.

"We're not about making our customers jump through major hoops," Smith said.

State law requires pet dealers to provide a pet's birth date, pedigree and health status. A buyer may seek redress if a pet shows an undisclosed health problem within 10 days or dies or becomes ill from a hereditary or congenital defect within a year. Owners can get a refund or exchange their pet. Read the statute at www. Find information on health issues by breed at or • JANE FRIEDMANN

The 10 Commandments From a Pet's Point of View

1. My life is likely to last 10-15 years, any separation from you will be painful for me. Remember that before you buy me.

2. Give me time to understand what you want from me, don't be impatient, short-tempered, or irritable.

3. Place your trust in me and I will always trust you back. Respect is earned not given as an inalienable right.

4. Don't be angry with me for long and don't lock me up as punishment, I am not capable of understanding why? I only know I have been rejected, you have your work entertainment and friends I only have you.

5. Talk to me sometimes, even if I don't understand your words I understand your voice and your tone, "you only have to look at my tail".

6. Be aware that however you treat me I'll never forget it, and if it's cruel it may affect me forever.

7. Please don't hit me I can't hit back, but I can bite and scratch and I really don't ever want to do that.

8. Before you scold me for being uncooperative, obstinate, or lazy, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I'm not getting the right foods or I've been out in the sun too long, or my heart is getting old and weak, I may be just dog tired.

9. Take care of me when I get old. You too will grow old and may also need love, care, comfort, and attention.

10. Go with me on difficult journeys, never say, "I can't bear to watch" or "Let it happen in my absence". Everything is easier for me if you are there. Remember, irrespective of what you do I will always love you.

Thanks to Kathy in BHC, Az

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Top 10 Reasons Why a Bird Could
Be the Best Choice for Your Family
By Alyson Burgess,

If you are thinking about adding a pet to your family, it's important to keep in mind your lifestyle and living situation so that you can choose a pet that will be compatible.

Perhaps you are live in an apartment, are unable to take a pet outside for daily walks, or simply crave a companion that will be a little less common than a cat or dog. If you feel like a furry friend might not quite fit what you are looking for, read on for the top ten reasons that a bird would make a wonderful pet!

1. Birds are intelligent animals.
In the animal kingdom, birds rank near the top when it comes to smarts. Their capacity for learning and inquisitive nature makes them facsinating, captivating pets. Birds that are bonded with their owners constantly learn from the person's behavior, and often delight them with surprisingly human-like antics. Think about it: when is the last time a dog looked up at you and said "Hello"?

2. They are relatively easy to care for.
As opposed to four-legged pets that typically roam free within their owners homes, birds are much easier to care for. They can be placed inside their cages when you are at work or busy, they don't require daily walks outside, and housebreaking is not an issue. Many people prefer the convenience of cleaning a cage once daily to scooping a litter box or having to go for walks outside every few hours.

3. Birds are fairly simple to train.
Because of their above average intelligence, birds can be a joy to train and are typically eager to learn new things from their owners. Since birds are relatively small, training them can be less physically demanding than working with larger creatures, making them a good choice for the young, elderly, or disabled.

4. They require minimal grooming.
Birds are naturally very hygienic animals, and they preen their feathers daily to keep them shiny and clean. Rather than having to deal with smelly shampoos, flea baths, and expensive haircuts, bird owners can usually maintain their pet's health and good looks with a quick nail trim now and then and a shower of plain water once or twice each week.

5. Birds are extremely social creatures.
If you want a pet that will bond strongly with you, a bird is a wonderful choice. Given proper training and socialization, birds can be every bit as loving and affectionate as a cat or dog. Many pet birds are inseparable from their owners, some even accompanying them on daily errands such as trips to the bank or grocery store.

6. Birds are fairly inexpensive to feed.
It's important to provide pet birds with a high quality pelleted diet, but they can also benefit greatly from foods that their owners share with them. When you serve fresh fruits or vegetables in your home, you can set a portion aside for your bird's meal. This provides the pet with additional nutrients and variety, and allows owners to "stretch out" the commercial diets they buy. Just make sure that the foods you share with your pet aren't toxic to birds!

7. They can be kept in a small space.
Small bird species, such as budgies, canaries, and finches, make wonderful pets for those who live in apartments or condominiums with limited space. While larger pets require extra room to romp and play, a small bird's cage can easily fit into a cozier living space.

8. Birds are not considered "pets" at most rental properties.
Owners of rental property often impose monthly "pet fees" on tenents that have cats and dogs. Most landlords, however, do not consider birds to be pets, effectively relieving bird owners of the extra charges. For this reason, a bird can be a very economical choice for renters who wish to adopt a pet.

9. Pet birds are attractive to look at.
Obvious as it may seem, the aesthetic value of owning a bird should not be underestimated. It was, after all, a bird's beauty that attracted mankind to them in the first place. Birds display beautiful colors and comical behavior patterns that are interesting to watch and have even proven to lower stress levels in individuals! It can't be denied that birds bring a certain life and vibrance to the homes that they grace.

10. They are long-lived companions.
Those who have experienced the heartbreak of losing a long time pet are often not eager to repeat the process any time soon. Many bird species live extraordinarily long lives, some living more than 100 years! This often eases the concerns of people who want to make sure they adopt a pet that they can love and enjoy for a very long time.

Choosing a Fish Tank Heater

Aside from the condition of the water there is probably nothing as important to properly maintaining a fish tank then keeping the temperature of the water at a set level. Both salt water and fresh water fish thrive best in warm water that stays constant. They are after all tropical fish. Gold fish on the other hand are cold water fish and can handle fluctuation in temperature.

The temperature of the water is important for the health and welfare of your fish. If the temperature drops by one degree over a twenty four hour period it can leave many fish susceptible to diseases such as “Ick”. If not caught soon enough it can create irreversible damage and kill any and all the fish in a tank. This is why it is doubly important to keep a close eye on the water temperature during the change of season, particularly as winter approaches and temperatures drop.

There are a variety of different fish tank heaters on the market and depending on how much you are willing to spend will determine how functional the one you get may be. The cheaper ones may save you money but they are more likely to break or malfunction, thereby endangering the investment you have made in your fish. Many times the cheap heaters also do not have an accurate heat setting, which makes dialing in the temperature difficult.

For most people a mid priced heater will do the job they are looking for. Their thermostat controls are reliable and they maintain a constant temperature without having to make adjustments all the time. It is important to check your fish tank heater periodically to make sure it is operating correctly and after about a year of use there is a good chance that it may need to be replaced.

The best way to make sure your fish tank heater is working properly is to invest in a thermometer. These days you can purchase thermometers that stick to the outside glass of the fish tank. This makes it easy to monitor the temperature because it is always in a conspicuous spot. You can use the type that float around inside the fish tank but they are not always as easy to read and more often then not they float behind a filter or some other obstruction making it impossible to see what the temperature is.

Once you have your heater it is best to place it near a filter. This allows the heated water to be distributed throughout the tank keeping hot and cold spots to a minimum. A heater is an important part of any fish tank ecosystem and by keeping the water temperature at a constant level your fish will be disease free and entertain you for many years.

Pet Talk: Know Your Famous Cats and Dogs?
By Rene Knapp - For The Norwich Bulletin

There are so many cat and dog characters that have been in books, comic strips, cartoons, movies, television and on stage, that I thought it would be fun to see who knows their feline and canine stars. Now — no cheating allowed — see how much you can do on your own. Feel free to e-mail me your list when you are done or wait for the answers next week at the bottom of my column.

1. These two cats are in one of Disney’s best animated films. One has a penchant for talking in riddles and disappearing, and the other is a little black and white kitten who refused to go down into a rabbit hole.

2. Since her debut in 1977, Strawberry Shortcake is never seen without her little pink cat.

3. These two sinister Siamese prowl as one and wreak havoc on a home and a pretty cocker spaniel.

4. The sarcastic, lazy kitty who plays evil tricks on his owner and loves lasagna.

5. Since 1945, this black and white tuxedo cat has been chasing poor little Tweetie bird all over the world.

6. The 20 pound black cat who helps his human, amateur sleuth Temple Barr.

7. The nasty cat belonging to the wicked Lady Tremaine in “Cinderella.”

8. Dr. Seuss’ mischievous cat known best for his red and white striped hat.

9. Since 1973, this cat has pushed over trash cans, romanced his Persian girlfriend and enjoys making Spike the Bulldog’s life miserable.

10. The oversized, furry orange vegetarian cat who refused to eat Fieval.

11. One of the first silent film cats, this black and white cat really seemed to interest moviegoers.

12. Shirley Rousseau Murphy’s trio of feline detectives that can communicate with humans.

13. This kitty liked to insert meows into her sentence and adored children — but tended to be obsessed with her beauty while living in the neighborhood.

14. This not-so-smart Manx has a habit of getting into trouble with a crazy Chihuahua named Ren.

15. A novel by Paul Gallico with a young girl and her cat, later turned into a Disney movie.

16. One of my favorite book series involves two Siamese cats who help their mustachioed owner solve mysteries.

17. The cat who shared his life with three “charmed” sisters.

18. The witches’ cat from “Bell, Book and Candle,” often played by a Siamese.

Going to the dogs

1. The vicious St. Bernard who caused fear and terror in a young boy in this Stephen King novel.
2. Two great dogs on two sides of the fence so to speak, when it came to befriending a little red fox, in this Disney animated tale.

3. The three-headed boar hound and/or Hagrid’s pet in the “Harry Potter” series. (Two answers)

4. A white dog from the planet Krypton that was shot to Earth by Jor-el and found by his original owner on Krypton, Clark Kent.

5. The nurse dog of the children who end up following Peter Pan to Never Land.

6. The little terrier dog who belonged to Nick and Nora Charles from “The Thin Man” series.

7. The rottweiler employee of the Hammerhead in the movie “Barb Wire” that was trained to go for the groin (ouch).

8. The Great Dane in an ever-popular movie, cartoon and comic series.

9. The “biggest and meanest dog in the USA” from the Soupy Sales show.

10. Donald Duck’s dog (it is not Pluto).

11. The vampire Pomeranian in the move “Blade: Trinity.”

12. The dog who lived in the Old West at a fort and watched over a boy named Rusty.

13. The golden retriever Wonder Dog on “Punky Brewster” in 1984 and the cartoon series in 1985.

14. Bart Simpson’s dog for one episode who ended up with the Springfield Police as a drug- sniffing dog.

15. A beautiful collie whose opening scene was her jumping over a fence.

16. The beagle owned by Captain Archer in “Star Trek: Enterprise.”

17. The ghost dog with a jack-o-lantern nose from “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”

18. The other Great Dane who lives with a family and appears in a daily comic strip.

19. Of course, we can’t forget the popular beagle from Peanuts.

20. The little dog that shared an adventure with Dorothy in the land of Oz.

And the combined cat and dog question is: What is the name of the dog and cat from the Dilbert comic strip?

Have fun — I sure did.

Rene Knapp writes Pet Talk, which appears in The Sunday Bulletin. Reach her at

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