Pet News of the Day: Man Marries Dog

'Tis the Season...

Cat Calls Police

Police in the UK responding to an early-hours emergency call were stunned to discover a slumbering cat at the other end of the line.

Ginger never dreamed of the trouble he would dial up when he took to regularly sleeping on top of a telephone.

Howard Moss, 64, was at a loss to explain how an emergency call had been traced to his home when police turned up on his doorstep.

The retired lecturer was woken in the early hours at his home in Swansea, South Wales.

In bleary-eyed embarrassment he assured the officers that he was alone in the house and had certainly not made the call.

'The police insisted that it was not a spook call because it had originated from inside the house,' Moss said.

'Then one of them noticed Ginger the cat sitting on the phone and he twigged right away. He said 'The cat's done it', it was the only possibility.'

He said his 12-year-old pet had recently taken to sprawling over a small downstairs telephone table in the evenings.

'Ginger had somehow managed to ease off the receiver and by a bit of a miracle one of his paws had pushed the 9 button on the large keypad three times.

'Obviously, he couldn't leave a message but when the police got no answer they treated the call seriously.'

He added: 'When the police realised what had happened they were quite amused. I asked them if they had ever had a call-out like that before and they shook their heads.

'The thing with Ginger is that he moves around from place to place when he sleeps and he had only started sleeping there a few days ago.

'You would think that he would be uncomfortable on the telephone and the chances of him doing something like this is really remote.

'But since it happened, the more I think about it, the funnier it seems.'

Protecting Yourself Against Holiday Pet Scams

If you are thinking about purchasing or adopting a pet this holiday season, you must be aware of pet scams and how to protect yourself. The International Pet and Animal Transportation Association, the non-profit, worldwide trade association for professional pet shippers, provides tips for families so they don't fall victim to scammers.

Many families purchase or adopt a pet around the holidays. For those looking on the Internet, beware of pet scams and review the tips below from the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association, the non-profit, worldwide trade association for professional pet shippers, before sending any money.

“First thing to consider is the fact that adopting a pet is forever, not just the holidays,” says IPATA President Sally Smith. “For those families who have found an animal over the Internet, be cautious. As a professional pet shipper, I have seen hundreds of scams and advise you to educate yourself on how scammers operate so you won’t be their next victim.”

Many scams begin with an advertisement – an adorable puppy or an exotic animal at half the cost. Once someone responds, most likely over e-mail, they will soon learn that the animal is located overseas. The scammer’s only request payment for the inexpensive shipping fees, usually by Western Union or MoneyGram, before the animal can be shipped. But additional costs will soon follow – extra shipping costs, customs clearance fees, vaccinations and insurance. Once the money is sent, the person learns there is no animal.

Scammers are luring pet lovers out of thousands of dollars with photos of cute animals, heart-breaking stories and irresistible prices. Sometimes it is difficult to determine if it is a scam, until it is too late. Here are some tips on identifying pet scams and how to purchase a pet safely:

Always insist that the seller enter into a formal contract. The document should detail the method of transportation, timeframe, the airline of carriage, all associated costs, and copy of the health certificate.

Check references. If the seller indicates that a specific company will handle the shipping, get complete details for the shipping company and then check them out! Use Google to research them and call them to confirm that they know the breeder.

Check affiliations. In order to convey authenticity, scammers may claim to be a member of the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association (IPATA). If this is the case, simply look up their company name in the IPATA member directory (visit and click on “Find a Pet Shipper”). If they are not in the directory, they are not a member.

Insurance. Scammers will try to charge for “refundable insurance” in case the pet is lost or hurt during the trip overseas. As everyone knows, there are no refunds when it comes to insurance!

Most importantly – Be wary of sending funds by Western Union or MoneyGram! Scammers will say this is the most inexpensive and fastest way of doing business. Most reputable dealers will request that you wire transfer funds to their company bank account or will accept a credit card or PayPal payment.
Families with pets must also know how to travel with their pets around the holidays.

“Your pet is an important member of your family and you want to make sure they have a safe, comfortable travel experience,” continues Smith. “Whether you are flying or driving, pets need to prepare for a trip just like a person does. They need a health certificate or passport, vaccinations and appropriate carriers to meet pet travel regulations. If you are traveling a long distance, a professional pet shipper can help with all the details to make your pet’s travel experience as stress-free as possible.”

For more information, please visit

The Independent Pet and Animal Transportation Association International, Inc. (IPATA) is a non-profit, worldwide trade association for animal handlers, pet moving providers, kennel operators, veterinarians and others who are dedicated to the care and welfare of pets and animals during transport. The organization was founded in 1979 – it began with six founding members and now has more than 325 members in 69 countries. IPATA serves its members, the pet transport industry, and the public at large. For more information, or to find a professional pet shipper, visit

3 Eco-Friendly Tips for Pet Owners
Green Earth Voices Show

Trying to live an eco-friendly lifestyle can be an annoying task at times, but there are many simple steps you can take to start. Truth is it is easier to go “green” with your pets in mind than it is yourself, so take advantage of the ease of doing so. Here are three easy changes that you can make today:

Change your cat’s litter. I know you do this anyway, but I mean for good. Most cat litters are made from clay-based materials. Choose an organic cat litter and decrease the amount of non-biodegradable waste from your feline friend.

Fur-Zoff. Fur-what? A Fur-Zoff. It is an eco-friendly tool used to clean pet hair from fabrics. It is made from recycled materials and it lasts forever. A Fur-Zoff is a much better option for pet hair removal than wasting money and resources on lint rollers or other similar products. At .99, a Fur-Zoff will save you hundreds of dollars over the years (and thousands of lint roller papers!).

Recycled pet toys. This is something you can get creative with if you want. Some people make their own pet toys with “junk” in their garages, or if that’s not for you, check out They have reviews on many eco-friendly pet toys.

These are just three of the many steps that you can take to lead a green lifestyle with your pets in mind. Take the time to make the changes now and you’ll find it will make your life easier in the long-run, as you will see the benefits of eco-friendly pet products.

Bases Going to the Dogs - and Cats
By Jon Rabiroff - Stars and Stripes

U.S. Army Spc. Jimmy Labbee uses some food to lure Smoke out of his doghouse at a base in the Arghandab District of southern Afghanistan. Soldiers at the Operational Control Center for the district have adopted four stray dogs.Jon Rabiroff/Stars and Stripes

ARGHANDAB DISTRICT, Afghanistan — U.S. soldiers and Marines are smuggling them onto bases across the country.

The military leadership seems to turn a blind eye, though regulations specifically prohibit them.

They go by names like Smoke, Bacon, Mickey Blue Eyes and Butterscotch, and they can be coerced with as little as a pat on the head, a scratch behind the ears or a tasty treat.

They are the stray dogs and cats of Afghanistan who, at many — if not most — U.S. bases here are adopted by soldiers and Marines individually, by squad or platoon, and spoiled as much as any mutts or felines in suburban America.

While no one will say so officially, it appears commanders recognize the value that pet dogs and cats bring to the morale of a base, so they look the other way as long as the animals do not interfere with the mission or present health concerns.

You might call it a policy of don’t bark, don’t smell.

“It is common in both Iraq and Afghanistan for units to adopt local dogs and cats,” said SPCA International spokeswoman Stephanie Scott. “We have been told time and time again that these dogs and cats can be of great comfort and a little piece of home to our troops.”

Spc. Jimmy Labbee, of the 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment’s Company B, based in the Arghandab district of Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan, said: “I can honestly speak for everybody else — it definitely boosts our morale and gives us another bit of responsibility. It keeps our energy positive, playing with them and spending time with them.”

‘Conduct that is prejudicial’

In 2000, U.S. military General Order 1A was issued, “To identify conduct that is prejudicial to the maintenance of good order and discipline of all forces in” war zones.

More than 20 activities are listed as prohibited, including having sex with a foreign national, drinking alcohol, looking at pornography or removing national treasures. Another prohibited activity — punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice — is, “adopting as pets or mascots, caring for, or feeding any type of domestic or wild animal.”

Despite that, you can close your eyes, pick any U.S. military base in Afghanistan and find yourself a heartwarming pet story worthy of an “Animal Planet” feature.

In a secluded corner of the U.S. Army’s Operational Control Center for the Arghandab district, there is a wooden dog house surrounded by a generous supply of tennis balls that is home to Momma, Bacon and Smoke. Smoke and Bacon have their names written over the entry to the shelter.

“Smoke, he’s our squad dog, but he goes around to all the squads,” Labbee said. “We all pretty much look after the dogs.”

One or more of the dogs goes out on virtually all foot patrols, according to soldiers at the base.

“When they see us out here getting ready, they usually sit around and wait for us to go [on patrol],” Labbee said. “They usually hang out with the front guy.”

Body armor be damned, the dogs are protective of their military mates.

“They keep a lot of the rambunctious kids away — the ones who throw rocks and stuff like that,” he said. “Bacon just mostly tries to play with them, and they run off. But Momma, she’ll actually run after them and scare them off.”

At an outpost adjacent to the Afghan National Police headquarters in the Garmsir district of Helmand province, the U.S. Marines in recent months launched a catnapping mission during which two felines were taken from nearby Forward Operating Base Delhi for the purpose of taking care of the outpost’s mice problem.

Weeks later, the mice were gone but the cats remained as the constant objects of affection and, at one point, a spirited discussion among the Marines about which had the more interesting personality traits and habits.

“They’re more like dogs than cats,” one Marine said, as if bragging about his children.

At FOB Edgerton in Kandahar province, soldiers recently discovered a litter of abandoned kittens and promptly went about spoiling them. Two Canadian servicemembers fashioned a house for the six felines by putting a blanket down and cutting a door into an upside down crate.

As word spread about the kittens, it was not long before a crowd of a dozen Canadian and American soldiers were standing around cooing at the squirming fuzz balls. By the following day, the kittens had all been given names, including Mickey Blue Eyes, Fear Factor and Butterscotch.

The kittens were never left wanting for attention. They ate eggs, tuna and chocolate milk brought to them from the dining facility; one soldier made a point of putting drops in their eyes every day to ward off conjunctivitis; and there always seemed to be at least one soldier sitting with the felines no matter the time of day.

Stray saviors

The IED-detecting successes of military working dogs used during the war in Afghanistan have been well-documented. But they are not the only animals in Afghanistan credited with saving the lives of servicemembers.

In February, a suicide bomber reportedly snuck onto a U.S. military base in the Dand Aw Patan district of Paktia province and was headed toward a barracks when three stray dogs attacked him, forcing him to prematurely detonate his explosives, killing himself, one of the dogs and injuring five soldiers.

The surviving dogs, Target and Rufus, were credited with saving dozens of American lives and subsequently appeared on “Oprah.” They were even adopted by families in the U.S. Unfortunately, Target eventually wandered away from his Arizona home, was picked up and mistakenly euthanized at an animal shelter.

In September, at Combat Outpost Ware in the Arghandab district, stray dogs Thumper and George, who liked to go out on patrol with their two-legged base buddies, were killed when one of them stepped on an IED.

“It’s good that they kept a human from getting injured, but it was also bad because they were our pets,” said Spc. Sean Hutchinson of the 1-66’s Company B. “But, better them than a human.”

U.S. military officials in authority were reluctant to talk about stray dogs and cats taken in as pets by their soldiers and Marines, because it is still against regulations no matter how often it is done.

In fact, when a Stars and Stripes reporter recently started making inquiries about getting photographs of stray dogs accompanying troops on patrol, soldiers at one base made a point of not taking the animals with them outside the wire. They said they were afraid someone high in the chain of command might order the killing of on-base pets if the widespread practice were publicized.

One official who was willing to address the controversy was Lt. Col. Matthew Reid, commander of the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, who essentially said he has a lot more important things to worry about in the life-and-death world of a war zone than who might be sneaking a puppy or kitten into their bunk at night.

“I really haven’t given it too much thought, to be honest,” he said, adding that he was aware of cats employed on some bases to address rodent concerns. “My focus is usually elsewhere, and my mind is always going 100 miles a minute.

“It’s probably not wise to allow troops to keep indigenous animals as pets, for many reasons. Although, with 50 outposts in my [area of operation], there may be a few violators.”

Looking for a Pet Portrait Artist

It’s not always easy to find a good pet portrait artist, especially when there are so many that claim to be good or even excellent. One way that you could guarantee to commission a piece from a quality artist, is to go with one that you have heard only good things about. Word of mouth always has been the best indicator. Sometimes that is not possible though. You may not know anyone who has had a pet portrait done.

Your next choice could be to do an online search for a pet portrait artist. In this case, you would start your search with keywords such as pet portrait artist, dog portraits, cat portraits, or animal portraits. If these keywords give you too many results, you could narrow your search with keywords by artistic “medium” such as pencil pet portraits, pet portrait paintings, pet portrait watercolors. Some other keyword options are oil, pastel, color pencil, charcoal, etc. Whatever keywords you choose should give you a good result of artists to look into.

The next thing to do is to review each of the pet portrait artists information and bookmark any that look like what you are looking for. Review their testimonials. Check out their portfolio to see if their style of art is what you like. All artists have their own style, some you may like, others you won’t. It doesn’t mean that their style isn’t good, just that it is not your cup of tea. If the pet portrait artist has a social network page such as Facebook, you should check that out too. If there is a lot of positive activity on the page, it is a good indicator of quality. Another good sign would be if the pet portrait artist has a waiting list for his or her work – that would mean that a lot of people like the art so much that they are willing to wait to have theirs done. If you have the time to wait, it is something you should consider.

Once you have only a few artists selected, you should email them and ask all the questions you have in mind. If the artist responds in a timely manner, and has answered all your questions thoroughly, that would be another good indication.

Pet portrait artists are not cheap so you should take your time and choose the one that is best for your needs.

Would you like more information about pet portrait artists? Pay a visit to M. Paige Portraits where you’ll find out all a very popular pet portrait artist, you’ll see samples of her work, and find out how to commission your very own pet portrait.

The Weather Outside is Frightful...
But a Warm Pet is so Delightful

The harsh winter weather set in this week in Riverhead with many of us pulling out our heavy jackets and bundling up. But what about the animals in our lives? How does the cold weather affect them and what can we do to help them deal with the harsh conditions?

Here's a top five list of things you can do to make sure your pets are safe and warm this winter.

1. Bring your pets inside or set up a warm place for them outside during freezing temperatures.

Just like humans, pets can suffer from hypothermia and frostbite. When the weather is below freezing, you should not leave your pets outside for extended periods of time. Veterinarians often recommend that you bring your pets inside. However, if that is not an option for you, set up a warm shelter for them outside. Make sure the pets have a suitable house or other form of shelter to go into and inside that shelter, make sure to have blankets and/or straw set up for added warmth.

2. Have plenty of fresh water and food for your pets.

One way animals keep warm in the winter is by eating more. So don't be surprised if your pet's food bag runs empty a little earlier than normal. If you keep a water bowl outside for your pet, keep a close watch on it. There is a good chance that the water in the bowl will freeze, leaving your pet without the hydration that they need. You may need to refill the bowl several times a day to make sure that your pets have the water they need.

3. Keep an eye out for antifreeze spills and snow removal chemicals and salt.

Even a small amount of antifreeze can be lethal to your pet. So, if you have a spill, make sure to clean it up immediately. The majority of salts put down on sidewalks and roads after a snowstorm as well as other snow removal chemicals can be painful for your animals. Cuts and infections caused by snow, ice, and the rock salt can create a real problem. To help prevent this problem, examine your pet's paws after they come in from playing outside. If need be, run warm water over their paws to ensure that any chemicals are removed. You can also buy pet safe rock salt at your local pet store for your own home's walkways.

4. Get your pet a sweater.

You don't like to put your pet in clothes. I get it. But when your short hair, 14 lb. cat is in 8-degree weather, do you think that she might want a little protection against the wind? Or what about when a foot of snow drops into your front yard and your little one has to go to the bathroom – do you think he deserves a little protection against the wet and cold? A sweater or pet snowsuit is the perfect answer. I've heard my Barnum's teeth chatter. I've felt his body shiver against the cold, and I know he's appreciative when I put his sweater on him.

5. Give your pets extra love.

Nothing warms us in the winter months like a hug. Give your pets hugs this winter, belly rubs are good to and extra playtime is even better. All of these things keep your pets active and moving, helping to build up their body warmth.

We of course love our animals and want them to be happy and healthy. Follow these tips, and your pets should be just fine this winter.

Anglesey Cat's 30 Minute Car Engine Trip

A cat which crawled into a car engine space to keep warm has survived a 30 minute journey after its unwitting owner travelled to work.

The black cat called Giggs was found after his owner's colleagues heard a meowing noise coming from her car.

Giggs's owner Cerian Griffith, from Anglesey, said despite missing a few claws, the cat was unscathed.

And incredibly Giggs did the same thing a second time, but was found before Ms Griffith left home.

"I hadn't thought anything about the fact that I hadn't seen the cat before I left for work," said Ms Griffith, who works at Ysgol David Hughes secondary school in Menai Bridge.

"A colleague said he'd heard a meowing noise coming from my car but I thought he was pulling my leg, until my mum sent me a text to say the cat was missing."

Ms Griffith said she immediately put two and two together.

"I went across the yard shouting 'puss, puss' but there was no response and I thought he must have been a goner," she said.

When she opened the bonnet however "a head popped up" and Giggs was perched to the side of the Vauxhall Corsa's engine.

"He was just sitting there, and I can't understand how he managed to stay there as my journey involves going around a few roundabouts and along the A55," she added.

Ms Griffith said she then had to "embarrassingly" ask the head teacher for permission to take the cat home.

"He was lovely about it, and the cat fell asleep as he was being driven home," she added.

'Fast asleep'

Despite being 13-years-old, and not in the best of health, Giggs survived unscathed, apart from missing "a couple of claws".

The experience has not made him any wiser though as he was again found in the engine a second time.

"My mum said she'd seen him near the car and for me to check," she said.

"I didn't think he'd do it again, but there he was, fast asleep.

"I've no idea how many lives he has, but that one journey must have used up at least three," she added.

An RSPCA spokeswoman said it was not uncommon during cold weather for small animals to crawl beneath cars and climb up inside the engine compartment, seeking warmth and shelter.

"If you do discover an animal hitchhiker - and you do not know its identity - we would advise people to contact the RSPCA 0300 123 4999, and we can try to help trace the owner," added the spokeswoman.

Gary Bogue:
My Cat: Why Does It Keep Coming Home
 with a Greasy Face?
By Gary Bogue - Contra Costa Times

I can't see the wind,

but I hear the wind crashing

on my window pane.

-- Virginia Larson,

San Ramon

Dear Gary:

Question on cat behavior for you.

My 8-year-old male cat, Hugo, occasionally comes in with car/truck undercarriage greasy dirt on his face, which really shows up on his orange and white fur.

I figured he spends time under vehicles to either evade predators or exploit a shady spot on a hot day.

But recently I was driving up our street and there he was, under the front end of a neighbor's pickup, standing up on his hind legs to rub his forehead on the underside of the front axle.

Why on earth would he do this? I hear that dogs roll in dead things to disguise their scent; could this be the reason?

Or do cats just enjoy cleaning themselves that much?

Bob Benson, Lafayette

Dear Bob:

Cats have scent glands on each side of their heads and will rub their faces on objects to leave their scent and mark their territories.

You've probably seen Hugo doing that here and there around the house (look for dirty spots and cat hair on the wall about cat level).

Another cat may have scent-marked that area under your neighbor's pickup, which stimulated your kitty to do the same. ("My turf." "No, MY turf!")

Or maybe Hugo just likes the smell of undercarriage grease.

He could also be doing that just to make you crazy. Cats do things like that, you know.

Dear Gary:

Because the crows persisted in entering our patio for a drink, I had to remove the bird bath! Any suggestions as to how to get rid of the "black beasts?"

Amos Carey,

Foster City

Dear Amos:

What was wrong with letting the crows have a drink?

Crows are actually very beautiful and fascinating birds. Just stop being angry at them for a while and then start watching them like you do the other birds.

You may find yourself enjoying them.

If that doesn't work for you, just make sure there's no food lying around for them to eat (dishes of pet food, bird seed, etc.) and leave the bird bath out of sight. They won't stick around very long where there's no food.

They'll move on to bother someone else in a few days. Then you can put the bird bath back out.

Dear Gary:

I live in the Oakland hills and am used to viewing Bay Area nature in its wildest form. However, now I have a beautiful tan praying mantis living near and on my front door in the sun.

If no sun, he doesn't appear but stays in my potted plants.

My neighbor suggested I bring the mantis indoors for the winter. Where would I keep him and what would I feed him? He is fun to watch.

Ellis W., Oakland

Dear Ellis:

If it freezes, it can kill the mantis, so that might be a good idea.

You could keep the mantis in a small terrarium: an aquarium with a top, or a gallon (or larger) jar with a lid and air holes. Put some soil in the bottom and a few twigs for it to climb up and perch on. And maybe some dried grass for a place to hide. A bottle cap with water for drinking would be too small for it to fall in and drown. Keeping it at room temperature should be fine.

They eat small insects like crickets or meal worms.

Don't get attached and be sure to release it back in the yard next spring.

A final note

If you have a Christmas tree and pets, make sure the dog or cat can't drink any water from the tree stand base.

It's not good for them.

Animal Lovers Still Pampering
Their Pets Despite Recession
By Brian Badzmierowski - GateHouse News Service

HINGHAM — Dog owner Kristin Higgins walked into Maggie’s Dog House in Hingham with her chocolate Labrador retriever. Although it was time for a new bag of food, Higgins also sprung for a bag of homemade dog treats for $8.99. Then she found the perfect Christmas gift for her Lab, also named Maggie: a waterproof toy that floats. It cost $16.99.

“She loves the water,” Higgins said.

While retailers have suffered during the recession, the pet industry has seen growth, from $28.5 billion in 2001 to an estimated $47.7 billion this year.

Last year, Americans spent $45.5 billion on their pets for food, vet care, pet accessories and other products. That was more than double what they spent on children’s toys for the year.

Some pet lovers, including Carolyn Craine of Hingham, are buying gifts for their own pets and pet friends.

Craine went to Maggie’s to buy a dozen goodie bags to hand out to dogs she met while walking her black Lab at a park. She said she’ll treat her own dog to something special on Christmas Day.

“I think the right gift will jump out at me,” Craine said.

Bob Vetere, president of the American Pet Product Association, said in a recent statement that the quality of pet food, clothing and health care are increasingly on par with their human counterparts.

Department stores are responding to the trend. Target has its own Boots and Barkley line of pet products, including memory-foam beds and pet carriers for pets with a penchant for traveling. Pet beds, leash hangers and other accessories take up an aisle in HomeGoods.

What is it about dogs that humans find so irresistible?

“It’s the unconditional love,” Melissa Compston of Quincy said.

Compston owns a dog and three cats, and she finds, especially in these times, that they are an indispensable part of her life.

“This decade, we’re filled with more gadgets, more stress, more aggravation ... As things get more hectic, the animals are the stable ones,” Compston said.

Questions You Should Ask Before Buying a Pet

As we all should know by now, a pet is for life, and not just for Christmas. Many owners unfortunately do not realize this basic fact of pet ownership, and fail to see that the cute little kitten or puppy they hold in their hands will one day grow up to the more akin to a Cujo or Digsby than a Scrappy-Doo or Pongo.

With this in mind, there are a few basic questions you should ask yourself before making a long-term commitment to pet ownership, which we have listed below for your consideration…

How much responsibility do I want to take for my pet?

The level of responsibility you need to give a pet very much depends upon which type of pet they are. As a general rule, Fish, spiders and lizards are fairly low maintenance. This is followed by birds, who really shouldn’t be left for very long times alone, then come cats who need daily attention and finally dogs, who should not be left by themselves for more than a few hours at a time. If you work and there is nobody at home, then you should not really own a cat or dog, as the period of time you are away from them is too great. This is an important point to consider, as many owners will think nothing of leaving their dog at home or just putting the cat outside for the day whilst they go off to work, and it is not really on. You pet needs regular attention, and unless you can provide this then it is not fair to keep them while you are away from home for so long.

Is my home a suitable environment to keep a pet in?

Whether you live in a bedsit, flat or house will affect the choice of pet you would consider owning. If you live in a large house, then a dog is a great choice, whilst a cat can live quite happily in a flat. For bedsits and small accommodation, you would be better off deciding on a pet such as a lizard or fish…

What do I expect from my pet?

This is a simple one to answer. If you want your pet to be protective of you and add security to your life, then a guard dog is the natural choice. If you are looking for a low-maintenance pet that will not require much effort to keep, then a fish would be perfect for this. Consider exactly why you are looking to purchase a pet and then set your mind on achieving just that.

And remember, especially with the festive season coming up – a pet is for life, not just for Christmas! But you knew that already, right?

Dog Training Advice: 6 Basic Tips

Tip 1, Remember You're The Boss
Training your dog can be a worthwhile endeavor but before you start, there are some things you need to know in order to make training easier and more pleasant for both you and your dog.

The very most important thing you must always remember is that you are the boss! This is very important dog training advice. By nature dogs are pack animals and adhere to a strict hierarchy with every pack having a "leader". In order to train your dog properly (and easily), you need to establish yourself as the leader early on in your relationship.

Tip 2, Show Your Leadership With Your Actions
The next bit of dog training advice I will give you is. Some dogs may be more aggressive than others, some more dominant, some are more easy going but no matter what your dogs personality, you must be firm in your commands.

Have you lost count of the number of times your little pawed pal bombed the carpet? Sometimes, even the most well-behaved dog acts in ways that can only be described as, well, doggone. But, with the right dog training advice on hand, you can make any problem pup properly house trained.

Training your dog is important. It's important for his safety, your safety, the safety of your property and home, and the safety of other people that come in contact with your dog. Since this is so important, you definitely want to make sure that you do it the right way...Don't let your dog get the upper hand or he will start to think that he is the leader. Now, I don't mean that you need to be physically abusive to your dog - far from it. You need to show your leadership with your actions.

Tip 3, Dont Expect Your Dog To Behave Like A Two Year Old During Training
Another piece of dog training advice is to consider that while your dog understands you at about the same level as a two year old, he is not a human. In fact, your dog has many differences from humans that cause him to interpret your commands and act much differently than a 2 year old child would. So, do not expect him to behave like your 2 year old during training.

Tip 4, Be Consistent When Training Your Dog
The dog training advice here is when training your dog, you need to be consistent. Set aside about 45 minutes or a half hour every day to work on training. You can start training your dog as young as you want but don't be discouraged if you have an older pet as training can be done at any age.
You want to start training your dog with the basics. The sit command is a good place to start as getting your dog to sit is the basis for many other commands. Work on this one command every day until your dog has it down cold, then move on to the next command.

During training, you want to be firm. Always use the same word for each command and say the word clearly. Never punish your dog when he does not do what you want but, instead, use positive reinforcement when he DOES do what you want. Punishing or scolding will only confuse your dog so have patience when he is not behaving the way you want - the best thing to do is ignore him and he will soon learn that he only gets the reward when he performs the desired action.

Tip 5, Try To Work On Training Everyday At First
The good dog training advice, I can give you here is. Try to work on training every day at first. As your dog learns more and more commands, you can slack off a bit, but training should always be a part of your relationship with your dog. It can be fun and rewarding for both of you to keep learning new behaviors and taking the training to the next level.

Tip 6, Make Training Fun
Dog training is a task that takes, consistence, persistence and patience but your efforts will be well rewarded with a well behaved dog as well as a stronger bond with your 4 legged friend. Training your dog properly insured not only his safety, but the safety of those around him and it can also be a lot of fun for both you and your dog! Making it fun is the best dog training advice you can have.

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Faced with Illness,
Couple Hunt for New Homes for Cats
By Jacques Von Lunen - Tri-City Herald

A family that has welcomed thousands of children to its homegrown petting zoo through the years now needs help finding new homes for their cats.

WEST RICHLAND — A family that has welcomed thousands of children to its homegrown petting zoo through the years now needs help finding new homes for their cats.

Dan and Ruby Barnett once kept rabbits, pigs, goats and even snakes on their property in West Richland. From the late 1970s through the '80s, the "Touch-Me Farm," as it was called, was open to anyone wanting to meet the critters.

Every year, more than 2,000 children and their parents took them up on the offer, Dan Barnett said.

The star of the show was George, an enormous pig.

"Kids would hand feed him," Barnett said. "He was such a gentle pig."

But the couple had to scale down the farm after Ruby Barnett's health began to deteriorate a couple of decades ago.

One day, 16 years ago, Dan Barnett went to town for some errands. As he got back in his truck, a cat jumped out of the side window.

"I'd seen that cat by the house, and she'd looked pregnant," he said. "But now she was skinny."

Sure enough, Barnett found three little kittens under the back seat.

The feral mom had crawled in the truck overnight to give birth.

He nursed Leo, Cuddles and Gremmy with a bottle. They're still at the house.

So are more than 25 other cats that turned up injured or homeless through the years. There are bundles of cats napping on just about every surface in the house.

But the Barnetts have to find new homes for them now because Ruby's health has taken a turn for the worse.

She was diagnosed with cancer last year. After treatments last spring, doctors said she was cancer-free. But last month, the cancer returned and Barnett had surgery Tuesday.

She won't be able to go back to the farm.

"I'll be in the hospital for 10 days, and then in a nursing home," Ruby Barnett said.

Now most of their cats are up for adoption.

"We hate to get rid of them," Dan Barnett said. "But with my wife's sickness, we really can't afford them anymore."

Each animal is spayed or neutered, and healthy, he said.

The cats range in age from kitten to senior.

The Barnetts won't ask for an adoption fee, but will keep the name and contact information of each adopter on record.

They would prefer people adopt two cats at a time, because the animals are used to company.

They will take cats back if things don't work out.

"If they get a cat and don't like it — don't dump it, bring it back to us," Dan Barnett said.

And no, you can't have Leo, Cuddles or Gremmy. They hope to be able to keep caring for them.

Britains Oldest Cat Turns 24

Blackie, a cat from Leicestershire in Britain, will turn 24 in January and lay claim on the Guinness World Records as the countrys oldest feline.

Quentin Shaw, 49, who has owned her since 1987, said the cat has even outlived three of her own litters along the way, The Sun reported.

"Ive had her since she was just a few weeks old. I was 25 when I got her and her brother and it feels like 100 years ago. She had a black spot on her head and her brother had a brown spot, so we called them Black and Tan," Quentin said.

"She doesnt hunt any more, she cant see in the dark and if you try to brush her she usually falls over, but shes very determined and still going strong."

Her brother Tan was killed aged five when he was hit by a car, but Blackie has battled on to reach a mammoth age.

"I took her to the vets a couple of weeks ago and they told me she was the oldest cat they had ever seen. Shes had three litters and I think shes probably outlived all her offspring," Quentin said.

Blackie lives with Quentin, his fiancee Kim and her children, Scarlet and Tom, both 11.

The couple are now registering Blackie with the Guinness Book of Records.

"There is no current holder of Britains oldest cat, so we will be very interested to hear from Blackie and his owners," a Guinness spokesman said.

Australian Man Marries a Dog

An Australian man has surprised friends by getting married — to his pet dog of five years, a golden labrador called Honey.

Twenty-year-old Joe Guiso said the "marriage" ceremony performed by a friend in the Queensland town of Toowoomba was simply a creative and light-hearted way of bringing together family and friends.

"This was just an event for my friends and I to get together," he told AFP on Friday. "It really was fun. We all dressed up in suits and everything.

"But you can't actually marry a dog."

Guiso, who revelled at a stag night at a friend's house before the event, says while he loves his dog, it is "just Plutonic love."

"There's nothing sexual," he said, adding that he hoped no one was offended by the unconventional pooch partnership. "It really should be taken lightly."

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