The World's Richest Pets

Florida Teen Reels in 800-Pound Alligator

It was a battle of man versus beast Friday evening on Florida's picturesque St. Lucie River.

The contenders: Tim Stroh, a 6-foot-3, 160-pound 19-year-old against a three-legged alligator, more than 12 feet in length and 800 pounds in weight. Armed with what his dad described as a "puny" fishing rod, the teen triumphed.

Gator-hunting runs in Tim Stroh's blood. His parents, Steve and Rachel Stroh, own a taxidermy shop in their hometown of Hobe Sound, Fla. Steve Stroh told Florida's that he's hosted guided gator hunts since 1989.

So naturally, the family was excited when they heard rumors of a large alligator in the locks of the St. Lucie River, reported The three of them, plus a friend, loaded up a gator-hunting boat Friday, not knowing what they would find — if anything.

Then, within an hour of being out on the boat, reported, they spotted it.

"I thought it was just a 9-footer," Tim Stroh told "Then I saw how big it was."

Others on the boat tried reeling in the alligator first, but couldn't. Then Tim, using a "puny bass rod," tossed his line, Steve said.

The 12-foot, 3-inch reptile chomped down, according to WPTV. It wasn't until he was reeling in the alligator that Tim realized its true size — its tail alone was as thick as his waist, according to To guarantee his victory, Tim hit the alligator with a "bang stick," a .44-caliber gun shell on a stick.

"I had adrenaline pumping through me and I was just like, 'Oh my God,'" Stroh said, reported The alligator "came up and he was popping his jaw and stuff."

Once on land, four more friends joined to help carry the alligator, which was missing one of its back legs, into the family's truck.

"We have a big box cooler we normally would put a gator into, but he wouldn't fit. We had to keep him in the truck overnight and throw in ice to keep him cool," Tim said.

Stuffing its head, eating its meat
Up until Friday, the biggest catch the Strohs had ever had was a 400-pound gator, reported WPTV.

The family has special plans for this one.

"I'm gonna mount the head for him so he can put it in his room," Steve told WPTV.

As for the rest of the creature? According to, Rachel Stroh will be making a lamp from the gator's back leg; the family has plans to make keychains from the gator's bony back; and there are 250 pounds of gator meat in their freezers waiting to be fried or made into gator sausage.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials say they have had bigger catches. The longest gator ever caught in the state was more than 14 feet long; the heaviest was over 1,000 pounds, according to

Alligator hunting season runs until Nov. 1. The Strohs have permits to legally hunt.

Tim Stroh, who did not return messages from, said the gator put up a good fight.

"He had a lot of character, and I had a lot of fun," he told

Pets That Inherited a Fortune
By Laura Moss -

The beloved pets of the rich and famous inherit more than just a doghouse — they often get the whole multimillion-dollar house.

Between 12 and 27 percent of pet owners provide provisions for their pets in their wills, according to the Washington University School of Law. In fact, pet trusts have become so popular that 39 U.S. states now have statutes outlining them. In most cases, these trusts are relatively small — typically in the $30,000 range — but some pampered pets inherit millions of dollars, in addition to property, jewelry and a lifetime of prearranged pampering.

Take a look at some of the world's wealthiest animal heirs:

Trouble: Hotel heiress Leona Helmsley, who died in 2007, made her Maltese her biggest heir, leaving a $12 million trust fund for the pooch in a will that disinherited two of her grandchildren. A judge later knocked the pup's inheritance down to $2 million, and Trouble took the money and retired, flying by private jet to the Helmsley Sandcastle hotel in Sarasota, Fla. The hotel's general manager cared for the dog and spent hundreds of thousands on her care annually, including $1,200 on food, $8,000 on grooming and $100,000 for full-time security. (Trouble had received death threats.) The little Maltese passed away in December at the age of 12, and her remains were supposed to rest beside Leona's in the family mausoleum, but the cemetery refused. Instead, Trouble was cremated and her remaining money went to the Helmsley Chairtable Trust.

Nicholas: When British singer Dusty Springfield died in 1999, she instructed that her money be used to care for her 13-year-old ragdoll cat. The will stipulated that Nicholas be fed imported American baby food and live in a 7-foot-high indoor treehouse with amenities that included catnip, scratching posts and a bed lined with one of Springfield’s nightgowns. Nicholas was also to be played Springfield’s recordings each night before bedtime. The singer even arranged for her cat to be “married” to a 5-year-old English blue breed that belonged to her friend, Lee Everett-Alkin, whom she named as and Nicholas’ guardian.

Flossie: In 2002, Drew Barrymore surprised her Labrador mix, Flossie, with a new doghouse — she placed her Beverly Hills home in trust with the pooch. What inspired such an extravagant gift? In 2001, Flossie barked and “literally banged on the bedroom door” to awaken Barrymore and Tom Green, her husband at the time, to alert them of a house fire. Flossie saved their lives and now stands to inherit a $1.3 million house, making her a milionaire mutt.

Bubbles: Michael Jackson left his chimp $1 million to ensure he would have a “secure long-term future,” but so far Bubbles hasn’t seen a penny of his inheritance. The chimp now lives in an animal sanctuary in Florida, and animal trainer Bob Dunne says he’s not sure if Bubbles will ever receive his share of Jackson’s money.

Minter, Juice, and Callum: Before British fashion designer Alexander McQueen hanged himself in 2010, he left a note that read, “Look after my dogs, sorry, I love you, Lee” — as well as $81,000 for the three English bull terriers’ care. The money was put into a trust for the canines and will pay for their care for the rest of their lives. Most of McQueen’s remaining fortune was donated to animal charities.

Tinker: In a true rags-to-riches tale, Tinker the stray black cat began frequenting the London home of Margaret Layne, a wealthy widow, and won the woman over, inheriting her $800,000 home when she passed away in 2003. But she didn't leave him just a house, she also created a $226,000 trust fund for Tinker and gave a hefty sum to her former neighbors so they could look after the cat and his new home. However, the inheritance came with strings attached — if Tinker returns to his straying ways, he relinquishes ownership of the house. But according to reports, Tinker has decided to settle down and has taken up with a single mother cat and her kitten.

Conchita, Lucia and April Marie: Heiress Gail Posner left $3 million to her three Chihuahuas, as well as diamond dog accessories and an $8 million mansion in Miami. The dogs’ live-in caretaker also inherited millions.

Gunther IV: When Carlotta Liebenstein, a German countess, died in 1991, she left her fortune to her dog Gunther III. The canine died a month later, but his wealth was passed on to his son, Gunther IV, whose estimated worth is $372 million, making him the richest pet in the world. Gunther is said to have a personal maid and a chauffer-driven limo, and there are even reports that he owns a home in Miami that once belonged to Madonna.

Blackie: When British antiques dealer Ben Rea died in 1988, he bequeathed his $12.5-million fortune to Blackie, the only surviving cat of the 15 cats he shared his mansion with. The recluse overlooked his family and split the majority of his wealth between three cat charities, with instructions to look after his beloved pet.

Red: Often referred to as the “million-dollar tabby,” Red was the beloved cat of Canada’s reclusive David Harper who died in 2005 with no heirs except his pet. Harper left his $1.3 million estate to the United Church of Canada, but in exchange for the money, he stipulated that the church would have to look after 3-year-old Red. The rich feline was the last in a long line of orange tabby cats named Red that Harper took in over the years.

Kalu: Once thought to be the second wealthiest pet in the world — worth roughly $65 million — Kalu the chimp seems to have lost his inheritance. Patricia O’Neill, the daughter of the Countess of Kenmore and ex-wife of Olympic swimmer Frank O’Neil, found Kalu tied to a tree in war-torn Zaire in 1985 and he quickly became her closest companion. She changed her will so that her estate in Cape Town would go to Kalu, and she set aside money so that he and her other rescued animals — 30 dogs and 11 cats — would be cared for after her death. However, in 2010, O’Neill learned that most of her money had been stolen, leaving her with just $100,000. “I don’t know how much will be left when I die,” she’s said. “I don’t want to spend much money because I am determined that my animals will be cared for."

Jasper: Diana Myburgh, a brewery heiress, rescued Jasper, a Labrador and Doberman mix, from an animal shelter and brought him home to live with her and her Whippet, Jason. She cared for the dogs until she died in 1995, but she left each of them a trust fund of $50,000 — in addition to her 1,236-acre estate that’s worth more than $1 million. When Jason passed away, Jasper inherited his money, and the dog moved in with Myburgh’s former son-in-law, Sir Benjamin Slade, who feeds him tripe, his favorite dish. Slade once considered having Jasper cloned, but this angered trustees who stand to inherit Jasper’s money when he dies.

Tobey Rimes: New York heiress Ella Wendel died in 1931 and willed $30 million to her French poodle, Tobey Rimes, who slept in his own brass bed beside Wendel. According to reports, that fortune has been passed down through the years to the descendants of the original dog — all named Tobey Rimes — and even grown over time. The current Tobey is said to be worth millions.

Oprah’s dogs: The retired talk show host — who’s net worth is $2.7 billion, according to Forbes — plans to take good care of her dogs even after death. She’s reportedly set aside $30 million for her beloved pack of pups.

Betty White's pets: According to newspaper reports, White plans to leave a $5 million trust to her animals.

Trekkie pups: Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry’s widow, Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, who was also an actress in the original series, set up a $4 million trust for her dogs. She even left $1 million to her domestic employee Reinelda Estupinian to take care of the canines. In the trust papers, Majel said that Estupinian "did an excellent job of caring for my animals, giving them comparable or better care than that which I gave them during my lifetime."

Captured Drug Kingpin Pets
 Strain Mexico's Zoos
By MANUEL VALDES Associated Press

TOLUCA, Mexico—For years, three tiny squirrel monkeys led a life of luxury on a 16-acre ranch surrounded by extravagant gardens and barns built for purebred horses.

More than 200 animals, ranging from mules to peacocks and ostricheslived on the ranch in central Mexico and hundreds more stayed on two related properties, many in opulent enclosures. Also kept on the grounds were less furry fare: AK-47 assault rifles, Berrettas, hundreds of other weapons and cocaine.

The ranch's owner was Jesus "The King" Zambada, a leader of the powerful Sinaloa drug cartel. He had developed a love for exotic species shared with other kingpins. Just two days before Zambada's arrest, police confiscated two tigers and two lions from a drug gang hideout on the forested outskirts of Mexico City.

As federal authorities capture a growing number of gang leaders, many of their pets are being driven from their gilded cages into more modest housing in the country's zoos.

That's proved overwhelming for some institutions, which are struggling to cope with the influx. But it's also giving Mexican animal lovers a bounty of new creatures to admire.

Like Zambada, who was apprehended in October 2008, the squirrel monkeys sit in state custody, chirping away at gawking children at the Zacango Zoo, about an hour outside Mexico City.

Their previous home "was a very big enclosure made of good quality material," said Manlio Nucamendi, the zoo's coordinator. "But they didn't have the right diet and medical attention."

Mexican forces have discovered drug cartel private zoos that housed tigers, panthers and lions among other animals of exotic breeds, though the federal Attorney General's Office, which supervises all seizures from drug gangs, couldn't provide an exact count of the number of animals seized.

Whatever the number, officials have been challenged to house the armies of confiscated drug cartel animals.

"Within the limited resources of the Mexican government, there are a lot of efforts to ensure the welfare of these animals," said Adrian Reuter Cortes of the conservation group the World Wildlife Fund in Mexico. "But even the zoos have limits, and can't welcome all the animals."

The government usually calls zoos for help because they have the expertise, equipment and vehicles to transport large animals, said Frank Carlos Camacho, executive director of the wild animal park Africam Safari in the central Mexico city of Puebla and president of the national association of zoos.

"There's some risk involved in handling animals like big cats, bears and large herbivores," Camacho said.

He said he has heard of drug cartel zoos that included giraffes, buffalos and camels.

As the cinematic gangster film "Scarface" portrayed in 1983, private zoos have long been considered status symbols for drug kingpins eager to show off their wealth.

Descendants of Colombian drug boss Pablo Escobar's hippopotamuses still roam his private zoo in Colombia, which became state property after his killing and is now a tourist attraction. Three of the beasts escaped and lived in the wild for two years.

Some kingpins also use the beasts for more nefarious purposes.

Leaders of the ruthless Mexican Zetas cartel have been rumored to feed victims to lions and tigers kept in their properties, local media have reported.

Animals are also used in the drug trade as smugglers. Over the past couple of years, traffickers have tried to ship drugs inside frozen, cocaine-stuffed sharks, snakes fed with bags of cocaine and bags filled with transparent liquid cocaine inside containers shipping tropical fish, Reuter Cortes said.

As with drugs, Mexico is a main corridor for the illegal trafficking of animals to the United States. The country also has a healthy domestic demand for animals, with big cats found in some urban markets.

In July, Mexican authorities seized more than 5,500 illegal animals and plants during a nationwide three-day operation.

Not all exotic animals, however, are as lucky as Zambada's monkeys. Many animals found in drug cartel captivity or in private homes suffer from malnutrition or have been de-clawed or de-fanged, said Nucamendi.

"It's a symbol of status and power," he said. "It's a bizarre psychology for the people that keep these animals."

As he showed off the zoo's grounds on a recent afternoon, Nucamendi jumped over a barrier and knelt to greet Diego, a 2-year-old jaguar, who responded by pressing his face against the chain-link fence. Diego's former owners in Tijuana used to charge for pictures with him, Nucamendi said.

Elsewhere in the zoo was a 3-decade-old elephant seized from a circus because his owners didn't have the proper permits. Workers joke that the elephant is an illegal immigrant because he was sneaked from the U.S. to Mexico.

An 8-month-old male lion cub, also called Diego, arrived malnourished from private owners. Now fatter, Diego plays with two other lion cubs also on exhibit.

As for the squirrel monkeys, they'll be moved to a bigger exhibit being planned in a remodeling of the zoo.

Although some of the confiscated animals had finer housing before, their new homes offer genuine care from the people watching them.

"It's more important for us to guarantee the welfare of these animals than the criminal investigations," Nucamendi said. "That's our duty. We offer our bodies and souls for the welfare of these animals."

Top 10 Pet-Friendly Hotels
By Jill Rosen - The Baltimore Sun

Vermont's Paw House Inn named one of TripAdvisor's Top 10 Pet-friendly accomodations (Paw House Inn)

The most pet-friendly places to stay in the U.S. with your pet include a boutique hotel in New York City and a Vermont inn with custom dog beds, according to the travel website TripAdvisor.

The site just released it's choices for the top 10 pet-friendly hotel properties in the U.S. TripAdvisor based its results on the opinions of travelers that frequent the site.

Nothing in Baltimore, alas. But there one of the Hotel Monaco properties made the list -- and Baltimore has one of those, just as pet friendly, downtown. And one hotel not too far down the road in D.C. made the cut.

Here's the list, in order:

Affinia Dumont, New York City, New York. The hotel in midtown boasts dog beds, trats and a pet psychic on call. Average rates $192 to $614.

Hotel Monaco Portland, Portland, Oregon. Ammenities include complimentary dog bowls and a personal greeting on the "pet welcome board." Rats from $126 to $325.

Ocean Park Resort, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. If there are posh offerings for the pup, the hotel isn't bragging about them. But the pet fee is $15 per night. Rates from $57 to $150.

Palomar Washington DC, Washington D.C., District of Columbia. The hotel's got pet peds, poop bags on hand and an evening happy hour where dogs can enjoy a pet lounge called "The Dish." Rates from $182 to $557.

A Laughing Horse Lodge, Port Aransas, Texas. These beach cottages offer treats and dog collars that say, "Return me to Laughing Horse Lodge." Rates from $59 to $239.

The Paw House Inn, West Rutland, Vermont. Custom pet beds, an off-leash dog park for a backyard, nearby hiking trails and homemade treats. Rates from $135 to $255.

Carmel Country Inn, Carmel, California. A bed and breakfast that claims "an unlimited supply" of biscuits for pups. Dogs also get their pictures taken for display in the lobby. Rates from $195 to $395.

Hotel Marlowe, Cambridge, Massachusetts. With no size or weight restrictsions, the Boston hotel welcomes all pets. Their "pampered pet package" includes a fuzzy blanket and gourmet treats -- even a scratching post if you bring the kitty. Rates from $204 to $489.

La Quinta Inn & Suites, Valdosta, Georgia. The hotel offers a sizeable pet walk, and there's no surcharge for animal guests. Rates from $89 to $128.

Cypress Inn, Carmel, California. Dogs can order from a "doggie menu" and mix it up at nightly "yappy hours." Rates from $150 to $575.

Tehachapi Dog Gets National Honor
for Search-and-Rescue Work

Tehachapi border collie Hunter and his owner, fire Capt. Billy Monahan, are seen in a photo provided by the American Kennel Club. Hunter's being honored by the AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence as the top search-and-rescue dog.

NEW YORK — Add another award to Hunter's impressive resume.

In 2010, the Tehachapi border collie became the first-ever nonhuman to be named Los Angeles County's Firefighter of the Year.

Now, Hunter is being honored by the AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence as the top search-and-rescue dog.

The awards, announced Wednesday, honor five loyal, hard-working dogs that have made significant contributions in each of the following categories: exemplary companion dog, law enforcement, search-and-rescue, service and therapy.

Hunter, who is owned by fire Capt. Billy Monahan, is being honored for his work in earthquake-stricken Haiti and earthquake- and tsunami-devastated Japan. He helped rescue three Haitian girls from a collapsed four-story building and worked through aftershocks and freezing temperatures in Japan.

"The AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence celebrate what dogs contribute to our lives, and these five exceptional recipients exemplify the selfless service canines perform for us everyday," said AKC spokeswoman Lisa Peterson in a news release. "The dogs we're honoring with the ACE award show the impact a single dog can make in a community."

Hunter and his fellow honorees will receive $1,000 and an engraved sterling-silver medallion Dec. 17 at the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship in Orlando, Fla.

Rabid Cat Exposes Three Cats, 10 Horses, Three People

A rabid cat found in the Ledford community Sept. 9 possibly exposed three other cats, 10 horses, two people and a veterinarian to the disease, according to a press release from the Davidson County Health Department.

The cat is the 13th case of rabies for the year in Davidson County. The three other cats and 10 horses all received rabies vaccinations booster shots, as did the veterinarian. The two people were referred to their physician for medical follow-up.

Do not handle an animal with bare hands after it has had contact with a wild animal. Saliva from the wild animal may still be present on the domestic animal's fur, and by handling the animal, you may expose yourself to the rabies virus.

Hutchinson Prisoners Have Begun Making Dog Beds

HUTCHINSON, Kan. - Some recycling efforts at the Hutchinson Correctional Facility have really gone to the dogs.

For more than a year, inmates at the local prison have been dismantling mattresses that would have otherwise ended up in area landfills.

The steel from the springs and the cotton batting in the mattresses are recycled, generating money for prison operations. Wood from the mattresses has been fashioned into flower boxes and benches. Through recycling, the metal and cotton from old mattresses has made more than $49,000 for the prison's general fee fund, said Steve Schneider, spokesman at the Hutchinson Correctional Facility.

And now, inmates are using the foam and material from the mattresses to make dog beds.

The beds are being donated to animal shelters and sold in a Topeka veterinary clinic to sustain the Hutchinson Correctional Facility's dog training programs, according to Beth Mechler, a program consultant for the Kansas Department of Corrections.

"It helps subsidize the programs and helps the community," Mechler said of the dog beds. "Every part of the mattresses is being recycled, which is awesome."

The dog beds made from recycled mattress materials are already being used by the Lucky Dog program, where inmates train dogs and prepare them for adoption, and by the prison's Canine Assistance Rehabilitation, Education and Services program, where dogs are trained to be service dogs, said Chandy Wylie, activities specialist who coordinates the two dog programs at Hutchinson Correctional Facility.

So far, only a few inmates at the Hutchinson prison have been working to make the beds, which they started doing about three months ago.

Using a donated sewing machine, inmate Steven Chritzer was busy Wednesday making water-resistant covers for the foam beds. He also makes a thinner dog bed made of the old mattress material and said two inmates help him measure and cut the material.

According to Wylie, Chritzer is the only one who has been charged with the sewing. In the past three months, nearly 150 beds have been made, she said. It takes at least six hours to make the larger dog bed and about 30 minutes for a smaller, thinner one, Wylie said.

About 30 beds were shipped to a Department of Corrections dog program in Topeka that involves female inmates, she said.

"All of the funds from these beds will go to take care of the dogs," Wylie said, noting the program might buy treats and leashes for the dog training.

Topeka Veterinarian Mike Esau, an Inman native, watched inmates working Wednesday in the C.A.R.E.S. program at the Hutchinson prison. Esau, a veterinarian for Mechler's dog, said Mechler contacted him and he agreed to display and sell the dog beds at his clinic to aid the prison's dog programs.

On Wednesday, the C.A.R.E.S. building at HCF was filled with inmates guiding and training dogs - from terriers to Labradors and Great Danes.

Chritzer said he prefers his new job making dog beds over the job he once had in the prison's print shop. He said he previously sewed leather clothing at the prison in El Dorado and worked in a garment factory in a Florida state prison.

Warden Sam Cline, who watched as the inmates worked with the dogs, said he was pleased to see mattresses that would have otherwise been thrown away being used for recycling efforts and "something positive" for inmates and the community.

"We hope to use any resources we have efficiently, especially since it offsets costs required of taxpayers," he said.

Cline said the prison's dog training programs helps the inmates "feel a sense of responsibility, similar to a family setting, since they're the caretaker of the dog."

"It brings out a humanness in some that they were unable to experience before," he said.

Beach Going to the Dogs?
By Kevin Herrera -

Local group renews effort to create dog beach in Santa Monica

WALK THIS WAY: People walk their dogs along Santa Monica Beach during the Best Friends Animal Society ‘Strut Your Mutt’ fundraising walk last year. These dogs were allowed on the beach for a special event, but there is a movement afoot to create a dog park on the beach. photo by Brandon Wise.

Click here to read story.

Daily Home & Garden Tip: Gardening with Dogs
By The Oregonian

Let's not forget the sheer decorative quality of dogs in the garden -- as with basset hound Beamer and the planter that West Linn artist Ann Munson modeled after him.

Think you have to choose between having a beautiful garden or an outdoor playground for your dog? Not so. Once you understand your dog's natural preferences, you can train it to be garden-friendly --and design your garden to be dog-friendly at the same time.

Designers Sarah Smith of The Gardensmith and Amy Whitworth of Plan-It Earth Design, along with the Eastside Study Group of the Association of Northwest Landscape Designers, offered these tips a few years back for dog-friendly gardening.

• Some dogs may never stop digging completely. In that case, consider training your dogs to dig only in specified areas: bury their favorite bone or toy there. Always redirect them to their assigned "digging spot" if they try to "help" you garden in other areas.

• Insert short, thick stakes in the ground, 6 inches apart, to keep dogs from trampling new plants or from digging in new mulch. (Make sure the stakes aren't sharp enough to injure the pet.) Installing hardware cloth or bird netting just under the soil or mulch also works.

• Does your dog like to patrol the perimeter, perch on a high spot to survey the area or nap under a shady shrub? Whenever possible, accommodate its natural tendencies -- by building circular paths, for example, or by strategically placing leafy shrubs in its nap zone.

• Large or extremely active dogs might need a dog run or agility/fitness area in addition to daily walks. A decorative fence can separate the special dog area without segmenting the garden too severely.

Sharing your turf

• You probably won't have a golf-course-quality lawn if you have a dog, but you can keep it presentable. Give your dog plenty of drinking water; it dilutes urine, which makes it less damaging to lawns. When possible, rinse fresh urine spots off your lawn promptly.

• Plant a low-growing orchard-grass mixture that includes wildflowers to help hide urine spots.

• Aerate your lawn every year to keep it from getting compacted by running dogs (and kids).

Take care with fertilizer

Organic fertilizers are supposed to be safe if animals accidentally ingest them. However, some pets -- probably drawn by the bone meal in the mix -- think the organic stuff is yummy. Keep pets out of your garden for several hours after spreading and watering in your fertilizer. Also, use the techniques already discussed to prevent digging. Don't leave rhododendron leaves (they're poisonous to dogs) or other debris on the ground with fertilizer sprinkled on it. Fido might nibble the leaves to get the fertilizer and could get sick.

Pet Photography —
Four Simple Tips For Amazing Pet Photographs

Author’s Intro: This is a guest post from Roxy. Roxy is a writer who loves to share ideas on photography, art and printing. Whether it is for personal or business needs, she can provide useful tips especially on creating postcard printing.

Photography is one of the most exciting and fun-filled activities or hobbies that anyone could like. You can easily fall in love with photography especially if you like capturing every great moments that pass by.

This art takes various forms and styles which can involve nature, people and even animals. Yes, your dearest pet can be the heart of what is known as the pet photography.

Pet photography is and can be done by anyone. You do not have to be a professional artist to get the right shots. You just need to be creative and enjoy the task with your huggable pets.

Before you start the session, here is a quick guide that can help you capture your buddy’s amazing moments.

1. Find The Right Location
The best of the bunch of tips and advice you get for pet photography is to select the ideal place for your pet’s photo shoot. A good location is a must for impressive pet shots.

Shooting in the places with abundance of natural light gives you an opportunity to effectively photograph the fine details like skin textures, feathery furs, sharp eyes and shiny hairs while keeping the problems like red eye effect at the bay. If it is not possible to shoot in such a place, you can always use a room with a big window or hold the photo shoot outdoors. This contributes in creating the mood while adding vibrancy to your pet’s color.

Dog Portrait

2. Capture the sleeping or lazy moments
One of the most fascinating moments for pet photography is when your furry friend is asleep or just acting plain lazy. Just strike the right position (the pose when your subject looks adorable) and take the shot to capture the charming qualities of your pets.

Sleepy Time For Baby Kitten

3. Create mood with your pet’s eyes
Capturing your pet’s eyes on photographic frame can be enchanting. You can portray a lot of emotions and mood in just one photo. So try to take the close-up photos of your pets — dog or cat. Be sure that you have the right amount of light to avoid over or under exposure. Try playing with your digital camera’s Macro setting which would be perfect for shots like these. Also, be smart enough to turn off the flash before the shoot.

Focus on the eyes

4. Take a shot of the playful times
Nothing beats the laughter or smile that your pets show. Carry your camera with you and be ready to take the shot when they are out there playing. You never know when they would pose for that perfect pose — those goofy and lively faces.

Playful pets

With these simple to follow tips, you will definitely get your desired photos. Hang on a sec! One more important thing — order the prints and share them with your friends and family. These pictures will definitely brighten their day! You can even turn these into custom postcards for using them for personal mailing. You can also investing on the postcard printing so that the quality stays the same.

So, enjoy capturing your shared moments with your pets and don’t forget to share the joy!

About Author: Roxy is a writer who loves to share ideas on photography, art and printing. Whether it is for personal or business needs, she can provide useful tips especially on creating postcard printing.

Turtles Use the Earth’s Magnetic Field
as a Global GPS

In 1996, a loggerhead turtle called Adelita swam across 9,000 miles from Mexico to Japan, crossing the entire Pacific on her way. Wallace J. Nichols tracked this epic journey with a satellite tag. But Adelita herself had no such technology at her disposal. How did she steer a route across two oceans to find her destination?

Nathan Putman has the answer. By testing hatchling turtles in a special tank, he has found that they can use the Earth’s magnetic field as their own Global Positioning System (GPS). By sensing the field, they can work out both their latitude and longitude and head in the right direction.
Click here to read article.

Five Tips for Proper Pet Dental Hygiene

September is Pet Smile Month, a time to remember the importance of proper pet dental hygiene. Studies reveal that 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of oral disease by age three(1). In fact, oral disease is the number one health problem diagnosed in both dogs and cats. Dental health is about proper maintenance, yet few pet parents follow their veterinarian's instructions. has pulled together the following recommendations for keeping pets' teeth healthy and clean.

1. Give Them a Yearly Checkup

Unfortunately, dental checkups are something most people don't think about as part of the yearly trip to the veterinarian. But, just like people, pets suffer from dental issues that if left unchecked can lead to serious health problems.

2. Grab a Toothbrush

Believe it or not, you can brush your pet's teeth. However, according to a recent petMD poll, fewer than 4 in 10 pet parents ever pick up a toothbrush. Fortunately, it's not too late. There are a variety of toothbrushes and toothpastes specially made for pets. Dog toothpaste and cat toothpaste even come in flavors they'll enjoy. Do NOT, however, try to brush their teeth with "people" toothpaste; they could ingest it and become ill.

3. Stimulate Their Gums

Don't forget to massage their gums regularly. Not only will this promote healing should your pet have an oral malady, it will strengthen their gums and make them less susceptible to problems like gingivitis and tooth decay.

4. To Treat or Not to Treat?

Dental treats for dogs and cats are okay in moderation, but they're not sufficient to effectively clean your pet's teeth. If, however, you regularly clean their teeth, special pet supplements and treats are a good addition. Try giving your dog or cat a chew or treat as a reward for good behavior while getting them used to having their teeth cleaned.

5. Don't Wait Until It's Too Late

Tooth decay and gum disease have been linked to heart, kidney, and other serious chronic illnesses. Don't wait until your dog or cat shows signs of distress to have their teeth checked out; your pet won't show signs of discomfort until they're in considerable pain. Preventative care, annual checkups and a well-balanced diet can ensure your pet stays happy and healthy.

Gary Bogue:
New Cat Toy is Called 'Da Bird'
By Gary Bogue - Contra Costa Times

There are no ordinary cats.

-- Colette

Dear Gary:

Some time back, you wrote about a cat toy. You didn't know the name but you described it. It is called "Da Bird." The toy is a cluster of feathers at the end of an elastic cord, on the end of a 4-foot plastic rod.

My cats and I have had so much fun with this toy. (I don't know who has more fun, me or the cats.) I play with two of them at the same time. I whip it from side to side and each cat leaps into the air. It is like a circus show!

This toy cost me about $10. Don't get a cheap one; they fall apart too fast.

When I am not playing with them, I shove the stick down between the couch cushions, alongside the arm.

It is a great stress reliever, too (for the human).

Toni Mathues,


Dear Toni:

I still call mine "The Thing" and it's basically like yours, with some little modifications. No feathers, just a 6-foot piece of inch-wide colored flannel cloth that I can lash around on the end of a plastic rod like a whip.

The cats love it! Jasmine grabs the cloth out of the air with her claws and we have a tug-of-war.

You're right, it's a stress reliever for all of us ... and GREAT exercise for indoor cats (and their couch potato humans), like my Newman, who spends way too much time snoozing on the couch.

Jasmine sits and glares at me every night while I'm drying the dinner dishes, waiting for me to finish and go get The Thing. She's very impatient.

Dear Gary:

My calico kitty, Callie, is very agile and loves to catch bugs. If a fly gets her attention buzzing on the deck doors, it's history! She will catch it, play with it and ultimately dispatch it by -- yes -- eating it. She seems quite pleased with herself and really seems to enjoy the "hunt"!

Is her health at risk from eating these unpleasant creatures?

Rod from Berkeley

Dear Rod:

Those creatures may be unpleasant to you, but to Callie, and I suspect every other predatory house cat in the country, they're fun and games.

My Jasmine likes the occasional fly, but spiders are her thing. She'll leap two feet into the air when she finds one. And when she gets tired of chasing, they're gone in a munch.

No, I don't think eating bugs will hurt Callie (unless she swallows a bee!).

Pets & hot cars

Even when it's just warm, your car will still be too hot inside for your pet to stay there, even for "just a minute while I run into the store." So please leave your dog at home when you go shopping. It's also against the law to leave pets in hot cars. Thanks for caring.

Tiny dog, tiny mouth

I am one of many volunteers at Contra Costa Animal Services, in Martinez. I walk and play with dogs.

It is nice to have some kind of toy for the dogs when we take them out, like a ball. We have tennis balls, but nearly 70 percent of our dogs are Chihuahuas and tennis balls are too big. If any of your readers has smaller balls to spare, we could really use them. About the SIZE of a ping-pong ball. Not ping-pong balls themselves, because the dogs would destroy them.

Please drop them off at our shelter, 4800 Imhoff Place, Martinez. Office hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday (open until 7 p.m. Wednesday); closed Sunday and Monday. Thanks! (Beverly the Volunteer)

A final note

Gary: It's about time someone stuck up for Wile E. Coyote. He, like the wolf, has been given a bad rap, and we know what happened to the wolf. Thanks. (Carole from Livermore)

Sara Pauff:
A Birthday Goes to the Dogs

Last month, my youngest sister invited me and my parents to a birthday celebration for a close friend of hers, Dunkin.

Plans were simple and included a dinner at an outdoor restaurant and a trip to the park with all his friends. The celebration was canceled due to work schedules, but Dunkin still got a “Happy Birthday!” greeting from my dad on Facebook and I’m pretty sure there’s a box of treats in the mail with his name on it.

In case you haven’t figured this out already, Dunkin is a dog. He’s a well-behaved, loyal and slightly clingy two-year-old yellow lab who follows my sister almost everywhere. There are so many Facebook pictures of him, I’m surprised he doesn’t have his own profile yet. If dogs (instead of Dawgs) were allowed in Sanford Stadium, he would have an invitation to her college graduation in May.

I often roll my eyes at people talk about their pets like their human beings, but secretly I’m jealous. I’m one of the few people in my small circle of friends and co-workers who doesn’t have a pet to talk about.

When you live in a small apartment by yourself and spend most of your day at work, it’s hard to find the right kind of animal. Dogs need attention and exercise, and depending on their breed and temperament, can be rather high maintenance. I’d feel bad leaving it at home alone all day without a yard to run around in. Cats aren’t an option either, since I’m mildly allergic. Also -- hairballs? Ew.

When I was growing up, I had rabbits, three of them in succession -- Snowball, PJ, and Tibbar (which is ‘rabbit’ spelled backwards). I like rabbits. They’re quiet, relatively clean and I know how to care for one, so that could be the pet for me, right? But I don’t really know where I’d keep a rabbit hutch and if let loose inside unsupervised, rabbits will gnaw on anything. I can just imagine turning my back for a second to find that Fluffy had scampered off and chewed through my computer cord.

Maybe I should start small and just get a fish. No one ever brags about their cute and awesome pet fish, but a fish is a relatively low maintenance animal. You don’t have to pay a pet fee or vet bills, just remember to feed remembered to feed it, right? You forgot again? Poor Flounder gets a burial at sea.

And therein lies my problem: I don’t know if I’m ready for the costs and responsibility of a pet. When I was a kid, my parents and sisters were always around to feed it, walk it and clean up after it if I forgot. I’ve never had to take care of an animal by myself before, so I second guess my desires for something cute and fluffy every time I pass a pet store. Instead, I dog-sit for my parents when they go out of town and of course, play with Dunkin when my sister visits. He’s an entertaining dog. Too bad I missed his birthday -- I’ll bet it was a blast.

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