Happy Halloween!

Deployed Airman Seeking Help Finding Missing Pet

An airman deployed overseas is seeking the public’s help in finding her missing cat.

The black and white cat, named Baby, went missing about two and half weeks ago from her Fort Walton Beach home.

According to her owner, Baby was not wearing a collar when she disappeared from the home near Hollywood Boulevard and Jet Drive.

Anyone with information about the cat is asked to contact SOCKS at (850) 863-5756 or by email at shelter@saveourcatsandkittens.com.

Minneapolis Man Charged in Drowning
of Girlfriend's Pet Ferret
Article by: ABBY SIMONS , Star Tribune

A Minneapolis man, in the process of a breakup with his girlfriend, allegedly drowned her pet ferret in its water bowl, according to felony animal cruelty charges filed Friday in Hennepin County District Court.

Thomas James Hart, 23, is charged with two counts of animal torture or cruelty to a companion animal resulting in death and one count for the purpose of terrorizing a person. According to charges, police were called at 1:49 a.m. Wednesday to the apartment Hart shared with his girlfriend at 1524 LaSalle Av. They found the girlfriend crying hysterically and repeating, "He drowned it! He killed my pet ferret!"

The woman told police that Hart was her boyfriend, she was trying to break up and he agreed to move out of her apartment at the end of the month. Earlier in the evening, he went to a bar with her and another friend, but he left angrily because he felt the women were having a "girls' night." The women returned to the apartment at 12:30 a.m. The girlfriend told police she went to feed the ferret when she noticed its head was wet and the rest of its body was dry, then realized it was dead.

Hart then allegedly pulled a knife from his backpack and ordered the woman's friend from the apartment. Both women ran across the street and called police. Hart had previously threatened to kill the ferret, the girlfriend told police.

Officers searched the building and found Hart hiding beneath a piece of plywood. He was arrested and allegedly said, "I didn't kill that ferret! I opened the front door and just let it go!"

Police noted that the ferret's water bowl had been taken from the cage and was lying on the floor, and that a couch cushion was soaked. The woman told police she believed Hart drowned the ferret in its water bowl.

Police found the ferret's body behind a Dumpster in the alley. The fur on its head was wet while the rest of it was dry. Animal Control took the body; an autopsy is pending.

Hart was arrested and booked into Hennepin County jail in lieu of $25,000 bail.

Firefighters Help Rescue Westport Cat
From Storm Drain
By Chris Rueli - patch.com

Arriving firefighters were met by the cat’s owner, Dick Fincher, and directed to the storm drain in front of his residence, according to Assistant Chief Robert Kepchar.

"Mr. Fincher explained that his cat, “Nip,” somehow had found his way into the storm drain,"Kepchar says. "Firefighters removed the grate and attempted to lure “Nip” to the opening of the pipe so they could pull him out of the drain."

Several attempts were made, but it was a can of cat food placed at the opening of the drain, and "Nip" hearing Fincher’s voice that brought him within reach. Firefighters held Fincher by the waist as he reached in the pipe and retrieved “Nip”.

Both were Fincher and “Nip” happy to be reunited, Kepchar says.

For Jogging Vancouver Cat,
Life’s a Walk in the Park
By Kim Pemberton, Vancouver Sun

‘Doglike’ three-year-old Abyssinian has been trained to go for strolls on a leash and to sit on command

Jafari Jamison Underfoot, or JJ for short, loves to jog the Stanley Park trails, wade into the waves of English Bay and has learned to sit on command.

JJ happens to be a cat, but not just any cat.

This nearly three-year-old feline is an Abyssinian, which owner Christopher Weeks explained is a breed with many “doglike” qualities.

Weeks and his partner Rick Bellairs have taught JJ to sit, walk or jog alongside them without pulling on his leash and to politely wait instead of lunging for his food. JJ is also willing to be carried about in a snuggly.

“Cats can get a bad rap. We almost feel like cat ambassadors. It shows people you can do a lot with your cat than just have a furry lump that does nothing,” said Weeks, who grew up with both dogs and cats but considers himself a cat person.

“I have to side with the cats. I like the personal interaction you get with a cat and while I know you can have that with a dog, there’s something about the gentleness and trust of a cat,” he said, adding he realizes some people reading this might think, “Oh boy, another crazy cat person.”

But Weeks is unapologetic as he gushes about JJ, who he describes as the “most diplomatic, polite cat I’ve ever met.”

Weeks said one of the reasons he and Bellairs have been able to train JJ is the bond they established with him as a kitten. The couple bought JJ from a Port Coquitlam breeder and would regularly visit him from the age of four weeks until they brought him to their West End condo at 12 weeks.

“People who research cats say the first 12 weeks of life are important for you to be able to show the cat you’re safe and trustworthy. When you take the time to negotiate the rules you can get a very deep inter-relationship established [with your cat],” said Weeks.

This strong bond made it easier to get JJ to do what most cats won’t — allow himself to be leashed and walk around as if he were a dog, Weeks said.

The couple was also able to train JJ to sit on command, much like how you would train a puppy, by using treats as a lure and giving a hand sign for him to sit. He said JJ mastered this skill after the fifth try. It comes in handy since the couple are landscapers and often take JJ with them to work, where he’s willing to wait patiently for them to finish.

When work is over, JJ travels in style. He recently went with them to the pet-friendly Fairmont Olympic Hotel in Seattle, a luxury five-star hotel that delivered JJ’s favourite treat, freeze-dried smelt, via room service on a silver platter.

“He was like a little rock star. He walked around the place like he owned it.”

This is also the stance JJ takes on his local walks. Even crossing paths with dogs doesn’t faze him. “He’ll just put his tail up, be very assertive and walk right up. [Dogs] don’t know what he is, since most dogs are used to cats running away,” said Weeks. “It’s kind of amusing to see them run instead.”

(Note: JJ also has his own website which is at www.facebook.com/jafariunderfoot.)


Did Kourtney Kardashian Really Just Buy
Baby Mason a Snake?
by sunnychanel - babble.com

Kourtney Kardashian Goes Snake Shopping!

Call me a wee bit old fashioned, but I believe one should buy their children pets only untill they are old enough to comprehend the whole “custodian of another living creature” thing.

And when one does buy your child a pet it usually is in the form of a kitten, puppy, turtle or a gold fish. But Kourtney Kardashian? She bought something way more..err…interesting.

On Wednesday Kourtney was spotted with sister Khloe at a pet store in New York City where Kourtney reportedly bought her 22-month son Mason a pet snake. Let’s hope he’s a gentle sort (both Mason and the snake!).

And what did Auntie Khloe wear on such an errand? A pair of the Tres Contente thigh high black leather Christian Louboutin boots (that retail for $2500). Nothing says ‘going to the local pet store’ more than those!

Dog Brings Traffic to a Standstill on Interstate 84

As a pet owner, I am constantly concerned about my dog managing to wiggle off his leash while walking in the city. The threat of cars and trucks running him over is a real possibility if he were to escape.

So I can't imagine what the owner of this 3-year-old Pomeranian felt when her dog slipped off her collar and ran down a high-traffic section of Interstate 84 near Portland, Oregon.

Linda Dowdy was walking her dog, Mango, near the 102nd Street Halsey MAX station Monday when the pup wiggled out of her collar and took off running.

Mango entered onto the interstate and immediately brought traffic to halt as motorists tried to help capture the dog and bring it to safety. Some drivers even got out of their cars and tried to throw blankets over the dog in order to stop her from running.

But the pooch was scared by all the commotion and continued to run. Luckily, Mango eventually found her way off of the interstate and ran to a local high school where Dowdy's husband Dan tried to capture the pet and bring her home.

With the help of a local news cameraman and the coaxing of Linda Dowdy, Mango turned herself in and is now safely at home.

9 Tips to Prevent Dog Bites on Halloween
by Amy D. Shojal - pawnation.com

Many dogs enjoy the holidays. Nonstop doorbell rings and visitors showering attention may be doggy bliss for your pet. But even friendly, laid-back pooches get their tails in a twist over the disruption to routine. That can be dangerous for pets and for people.

Dogs recognize people by smell but also by sight. A dog may not recognize a favorite human behind that Halloween mask. Miniature goblins, witches and other ghoulish visitors often are strange children he won't know. A flowing cape or sparkly fairy wings can be scary. A frightened dog easily mistakes a waving "light saber" or pitch fork as a weapon aimed to hurt.

Halloween is a high risk holiday for dog bites with children in costumes that scare dogs encountering strange pets on their own turf. And when hero dogs defend themselves, their homes and their people from "space aliens" your child could get bitten. Wolfsbane, garlic and holy water won't help but these tips can keep trick or treaters safe and the dogs happy, too.

Call Ahead. It's best to plan trick or treat visits with people you know-and ask them about confining their dog before you arrive. Pet "parents" want to keep their "fur-kids" safe, too, and should appreciate your thoughtfulness.

Keep Doors Clear. Closed spaces and especially entryways get dogs excited. Your pet will be hyper-protective of doors and gates. So when the kids arrive, keep King in his own room. Advise your children to avoid entering a stranger's gated fence when a dog is inside-that keeps him from escaping, too.

Admire From a Distance. Costumed kids should not approach, touch or play with any dog they don't know. Even a known pet may be suspicious of a three-foot Sponge-Bob. Cute dogs may be friendly but swipe candy or knock down a toddler.

Supervise. There's nothing better than parents eyeballing their kids and dogs. An adult should always be present when kids and dogs mix. Petting any dog requires permission first from the person who knows the dog best.

Ask Before Treating. Candy can be dangerous for dogs. And some owners may not want you to treat their dog with food rewards, either, so always ask. Offering a treat to an unknown dog might tell him you're a walking smorgasbord open for business so he pesters you-or mugs you-for the trick or treat bag.

Look Away. Should you notice a strange dog, don't stare. In dog language that can challenge to dog to show you the sharp ends of his teeth.

Be a Tree. Loud giggly voices, running and arm waving can be so exciting to dogs they chase kids out of reflex and perhaps knock them down. So if a strange dog does approach standing still-like a tree-helps keep him calm.

Be a Log. Dogs instinctively jump up to check out a human's face, and that Halloween mask may prove too intriguing. But if your child gets knocked down, coach her to act like a log-roll up and be still-until the dog goes away. Otherwise a wriggling kid teases the dog to grab the costume-or an ankle-and play tug.

Avoid Doggy Gangs. Just like rambunctious kids, when a bunch of friendly well behaved dogs get together they can egg each other on and paw-step over the line. So give doggy gangs some space. If their approach concerns you, don't run or yell-stay still. You can sacrifice the candy by throwing it far enough away to entice them to munch while you walk away.

Approximately 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs each year with 800,000 individuals-half of them children-requiring medical treatment. Half of all children in the US experience a dog bite by age 12, with 5 to 9 year olds and boys at significantly higher risk. That's actually a low percentage compared to other types of injuries, but still scary enough for Halloween. Use these tips and avoid adding to the statistics.

Amy D. Shojai is a certified animal behavior consultant and the award-winning author of 23 pet care books, including The First-Aid Companion for Dogs & Cats. Amy also appears on Animal Planet's CATS-101 and DOGS-101, writes for puppies.About.com and lives in North Texas with a senior citizen Siamese and smart-aleck German shepherd dog. Read her blog on Red Room.

Pets Instinctively Hide Their Pain
By Dr. Eric Heitman - The Holland Sentinel

Holland — Dr. Heitman: My vet sent home some pain meds for my dog after surgery, but I didn’t give them to him because he seemed fine to me. When I went back for my check up, my vet seemed a little perturbed that I didn’t follow the directions. Should I have given the meds even if he didn’t show signs of pain?

Answer: I’ll try and answer your question by looking at the bigger picture, because I believe your veterinarian sent the meds home because he/she believed they were important, but at the same time, your perceptions of your own pet mean a lot as well.

Most of us grew up watching Lassie. She made it kind of clear when she was in pain; she’d whimper, hold her paw up, and Timmy would pull the thorn out and all would be well. As such, most of us associate pain with obvious signs in dogs. Some of the obvious signs might include: whimpering, limping, hunched back, guarding of the belly, tense belly, different posturing (such as a “praying position” when the pooch lays down the front end but keeps the back end up off the ground), growling or snapping for no apparent reason. When we see these symptoms we are pretty sure our friend is hurting somewhere. But what about less obvious symptoms?

Our domestic dogs have descended from their wild ancestors, and as such still retain many of the instincts of wild animals. One of these instincts, as it relates to this discussion, is the fear of showing weakness.

In Mother Nature’s world, showing weakness is serious. A prey animal slowing down behind the herd (ie showing weakness) is prime pickings for predators.

A wolf or wild dog showing weakness may be shunned from the pack and left to fend for themselves. As such, they are programmed to hide any signs of weaknsess, one of the most important of which is signs of pain. This means that our pets are often good at hiding their discomfort.

I saw an intersting video a few years ago which showed the difference between how pets respond to pain when we are with them as opposed to when they are alone. A dog was videotaped during the recovery period following a routine surgery. When he was with his family, he wagged his tail and seemed to act fine. But, when he was alone, with the camera still running, he sat curled up, very quiet and didn’t act as good. This suggested to me that he probably was a little achy, but tried not to show that to his “pack.”

In a nutshell, most of our pain medications nowadays are safe and have few ill effects (they are not perfect and a small percentage of dogs do experience difficulties though). As a veterinarian, I wouldn’t mind being accused of treating pain that wasn’t present, but I’d feel awful if there was the possibility of pain and I didn’t do anything about it.

In your specific situation it is difficult for me to know the right answer. My best advice is that if you have questions about whether medications should be discontinued is to check with your veterinarian. Depending on the procedure, it could be that you were fine without giving the meds. Hope this helps.

My Pet World:
Socialization Can Ease
Shy Dog's Anxiety About Strangers
By Steve Dale - twincities.com

Certified applied animal behaviorist Patricia McConnell answers selected reader questions this week. McConnell has written some of my favorite books about dogs. Her most recent effort (with Karen London) is "Love Has No Age Limit: Welcoming an Adopted Dog Into Your Home." Learn more at patriciamcconnell.com.

Q. We recently adopted the most precious little dog, some sort of terrier mix. But she was obviously abused because the poor thing is shy of strangers who want to pet her. Any advice?

— B.H., Orlando, Fla.

A. "Good for you and congratulations on your new family member," McConnell says. "Lots of dogs from a variety of backgrounds are afraid of strangers. This doesn't necessarily mean the dog was abused; more likely, it means the dog wasn't appropriately socialized."

Get some really tasty treats, and when strangers come to the house, their job will be to ignore the dog - except to toss treats in her direction. Over time, they can just drop the treats near where they're sitting, so your dog comes closer. Still, they shouldn't force themselves on the pup, but wait until they're approached.

"Soon, take the treats outside on walks, and ask people to offer your dog some," McConnell says. "It's best if people can squat down to the dog's level, which isn't as intimidating as standing over the dog."

McConnell adds, "Be patient and don't push too hard. It may take a year for your dog to come out of her shell."

Your dog will be pleased to get all these treats, but do remove some of her kibble, so you're not writing me in six months about an overweight pooch.

Q. We adopted Ricky, our 1-1/2-year-old beagle, six months ago from a college laboratory. We love him to death, but he follows me everywhere; he's very needy. He cries when I go to work and has huge separation anxiety. Also, he's stubborn. When we go for walks, he sits down wherever he wants, even in the middle of the road. I use treats to bribe him, but he manipulates me to give him a treat by sitting down on purpose. He's too smart, isn't he?

— A.M., Buffalo, N.Y.

A. "Beagles are smart and were bred to work independently of people; their partner may be their nose," says McConnell, of Madison, Wis. "Ricky is training you faster than you're training him. So, don't wait until he sits to offer treats; do that all along the walk. In fact, replace dinner with tasty training treats."

As for the separation anxiety, McConnell says to begin by teaching your dog some independence and that life goes on even if you're not in the room. Toss kibble around the room. While Ricky is searching for the goodies, walk out of the room for just a few seconds. Do this as often as you like, and over time, stay out of the room for longer periods of time. The idea is for you to return before Ricky cries or comes to find you.

"Similarly, you may want to leave him a chew treat and then leave the house, but at first for literally just seconds," McConnell suggests. "This may seem tedious; the progression is gradual at first and then happens more quickly."

Also speak with your veterinarian or a qualified dog trainer about additional tools, including an Anxiety Wrap (a fabric the dog wears that provides comfort by fitting comfortably yet snugly); D.A.P. (Dog Appeasing Pheromone, an analog of an appeasing or calming pheromone that comes as a collar or a plug-in diffuser); and Chinese or homeopathic methods. For serious separation anxiety issues, an anti-anxiety medication is often suggested. McConnell authored a booklet about helping dogs with separation distress called "I'll Be Home Soon."

Q. I have two male Yorkshire terriers, father and son. One of them isn't neutured. In the past, they've gotten into arguments and scrapped, but we were able to break them up fairly easily. Now, the fights are more frequent and serious. Both dogs were injured in the last go-around. I'm afraid one of them may be seriously injured or killed. Any advice?

— E.P., Cyberspace

A. "The problem between a father and son, an intact dog among the two, and the fact that they're both terriers — yes, this is potentially very serious," McConnell says. "Your first job is to keep both dogs safe — and that means separating them. The second job is to bring in a qualified dog trainer or a veterinary behaviorist. You really do need someone to personally assess what's going on."

The expert will likely ask you to consider neutering the dog that's still intact. While lowering rocketing testosterone may help, you're no doubt now dealing with an entrenched behavior, which a professional can help you to manage.

Hints From Heloise: Emergency Pet Info

Dear Heloise: I want to let you know that I have followed your column for years. I am sending you a copy of a book that I had made up with phone numbers, pictures and emergency information in case of an accident. I have a service dog that goes everywhere with me, so I felt it was important to have information that is readily available. I have showed other people who also take their dog with them, and they love the idea.

I keep mine in the car on the seat, where it is visible in case of an accident. This doesn’t necessarily have to be only if you have a dog; it can be used for any type of emergency information. -- Ruth in Salem, Ore.

Ruth, we love your hint, and this is one that folks who travel with their dogs should consider. I’m sure Brandy, your Shetland sheepdog, is a wonderful help to you. Woof! Woof! -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: Sometimes my dog scoots his bottom across the carpet. Why does he do this? It’s embarrassing, especially in front of company! -- Sandy in Texas

Sandy, here are a couple of scenarios of what could be going on:

* Dogs, like skunks, have anal scent glands. The glands can become clogged, which can irritate the dog. This usually will require a trip to your vet to express the glands.

* Watch your dog’s bowel habits. If the dog has had diarrhea, he may need extra cleaning.

Talk to your veterinarian. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: My terrier had a skin rash, and I didn’t know what was causing it. I showed the rash to my vet, and he did some tests.

I researched a bit also, and found that dog food containing corn can cause allergies. It seems some dogs may be allergic to corn or wheat in their food. We found a dog food that is free of corn products, and the dog’s skin cleared up right away. -- J.H. in San Antonio


Dear Readers: When you bring a new fish home, introducing him into his aquarium is very important. The fish needs to acclimate to the water correctly.

Keep the fish in his original bag from the pet store and have him float on top of the tank water for about 30 to 60 minutes.

The bag will slowly reach the temperature of the aquarium water, and the fish will not be “shocked” by a water temperature change. -- Heloise

Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE or e-mail it to Heloise@Heloise.com. Please include your city and state.

Gary Bogue:
Cats & Dogs: Just How Clever are They?
By Gary Bogue - Contra Costa Times

Liquid amber's glow

tells me fall is here again.

Red salutation!

-- by Gun Johnston, Diablo

Dear Gary:

My 2-year-old red tabby male cat, Sunshine, opens a jar of cat food by pushing the jar over and stroking the side of the lid until the jar opens so he can enjoy an afternoon or nighttime snack whenever he wants it.

Some years ago I also knew an Albany dog who was proficient in unscrewing lids to water bottles whenever he desired a drink. I helped put in a garden with soak hoses set up. The dog fully disconnected all the hoses with his remarkable skill. I believe he was at least part Australian cattle dog.

Ann Chappell,


Dear Ann:

I never cease to be amazed at the cleverness of our pets. You could let the cat feed himself (yeah, right). And the dog could have helped you with your gardening. Less work for you to do. Works for me.

Can anyone else top that?

Dear Gary:

I was admiring a garden spider in a tomato plant wire cage. The spider became agitated. A hummer zipped by my ear and the spider was gone.

I think the hummer went on through the cage but it happened so fast I didn't see it. Part of the Greatest Show on Earth.

Chuck Glass,

Walnut Creek

Dear Chuck:

Hummingbirds prefer spiders for lunch. They're partial to drumsticks.

Dear Gary:

So many hummingbird stories this year, but I needed one of them last year.

I was spraying my flowers when a hummingbird flew within 18 inches of my head, stared at me, then backed off before coming even closer.

It finally gave up and flew away.

I wondered what it wanted but know better now ... all it wanted was a shower.

Olive Miller

San Mateo

Dear Olive:

A friend takes a spray bottle of water into her yard, holds up a finger and when the hummer lands on it, gives it a good spraying.

Everyone has a fun time.

Dear Gary:

A story told by a colleague of mine from years ago had me wondering often about a cat's capacity for vengeance. She, a single woman, had always shared the bed with her cat. But when her feline-averse boyfriend moved in, the cat was banished from the bedroom.

One night as they were getting ready for bed, they discovered to their shock that the cat had left a calling card -- the solid kind -- atop the boyfriend's pillow.

My colleague thought it was hilarious, as did I when she told me the story. We joked that at least it wasn't a horse head.

According to her, the cat was housebroken and had never done its business outside the litter box. So was that a vendetta? Or was kitty merely scent-marking what was once its territory?

York Lee, cyberspace

Dear York:

Cats don't have any problem communicating their feelings. Just ask any cat owner.

A final note

O'dark thirty this morning I woke up to the sounds of thrashing just outside the open window -- not a sprinkler, not the wind. Looked out the blinds, it was a buck marking its territory as rutting season has started. Since does hang out in the area, the bucks show up this time of year. Time to be mindful and keep pets out of the way of rutting season in our backyards. (Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek)

Happy Halloween from Mila
Our 4.5 lb Watchdog & Bundle of Joy
Thanks to JL and Ginger in Houston, TX

I'll get you, my pretty! And your little dog, too! Heh heh heh heh

Pet Costumes

Firefighters Give Dog Mouth-to-Mouth
Resuscitation After House Blaze Rescue
By Natalie Evans - mirror.co.uk

Wausau firefighters Jared Thompson, left, and Jamie Giese give artificial respiration to a dog that was rescued from a house fire (Pic: AP)

FIREFIGHTERS Jamie Giese and Jared Thompson performed an unusual rescue when they gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to a dog.

The pair attended a house fire in Wausau, Wisconsin, where the family’s pets were still trapped inside the burning building.

Dwight Borchardt, 17, returned from walking one of his dogs at around 4pm on Tuesday to find smoke billowing from the second floor.

While dad Todd Borchardt and his fiancee Kim Carlson were out of the house, pet cats Lavender and Mocha, and pet dog Coda were stranded inside.

The teenager attempted to search for the missing animals but was overwhelmed by heavy smoke.

Firefighters Jared Thompson (L) and Jamie Giese rush pet dog Coda to safety

The firefighters found seven-year-old Labrador Retriever in shock, sitting in a rocking chair in the room where the fire is believed to have started.

The men carried the stricken pooch to safety where they performed mouth-to-snout resuscitation.

They also poured water over his soot-covered fur and used an oxygen mask to try and revive the animal.

Coda gets a kiss from owner Kim Carlson

Speaking after the rescue, Giese admitted “It was all improvised” while Thompson said he had remembered tips from former reality TV show Rescue 911.

The heroes’ quicking thinking paid off, as Coda was taken to two different pet hospitals, staying overnight at the second to recover.

The lucky mutt had only been with the family for four days after previously living with a family friend.

Speaking to the Wausau Daily Herald, son Dwight said: “He’s just a sweetheart. He’s been following me around for two days straight.”

And the rescue has a happy ending – moggies Lavender and Mocha were found safe and well in the basement.

Police Say Someone Broke a Window
and Took Oregon Death Row Dog
from His Kennel

ALBANY, Ore. — Blue the dog had spent his days locked up in the Albany Pet Hotel, waiting while his death sentence is appealed. Now police say someone climbed the fence at the hotel, smashed a window and helped Blue the dog escape death row.

Albany police Lt. Casey Dorland said Monday that the only thing reported missing from the kennel is the fugitive canine. Police believe he was taken sometime Sunday night or early Monday morning.

Blue was sentenced to die last fall after he bit a toddler, but his owner appealed. The dog has been housed at the pet hotel waiting for his case to be resolved.

Woodland Woman Says Dog Held for Ransom

WOODLAND, Wash. — A Woodland woman says her pet bulldog named Jaggar is being held for ransom by thieves demanding money and her prescription drugs.

Jennifer Thomas told KATU she noticed her dog missing more than a week ago after she saw a man and woman in her driveway. Since then she has received text messages from people threatening to torture the dog to death unless she pays the ransom.

Thomas uses a wheelchair, says she doesn't have the money and needs the medication because of an accident.

Despite warnings not to call police, she asked the Cowlitz County sheriff's office for help.

Mountain Lion vs. House Cat

DENVER - Gail Loveman was working at the computer when she turned around to see a very disconcerting staring contest.

A mountain lion was looking through her sliding glass door right at her cat, Zeus.

"I was sitting here working at my computer and as you can see my back was to the glass sliding doors, and I heard some rustling, but I have two Maine Coone cats, so I figured they were messing around in some papers and at some point, she said.

"Maybe it was the noise - I turned around and this mountain lion was at my sliding glass door about 4 feet away from me."

"So luckily my camera was sitting here and I grabbed it and started taking pictures," she said.

Those pictures quickly spread like wildfire over Twitter and Facebook.

Loveman says the mountain lion walked along the deck and then came face-to-face with Zeus.

"I have one very fuzzy [picture] where he is just sort of kissing the mountain lion," she said.

After looking in her yard, she realized there were several more mountain lions. The one at the window was a teenager and the mother stayed farther away.

"My guess is they climbed up these rocks here because this is where the mother was," Loveman said. "One of them was up here on the fence and they say mountain lions can jump 10 feet with 100-pound deer in its mouth, so I knew they would be able to get out, but this lion was poised on the fence with all four feet."

She says the encounter is a lesson for people living near wildlife.

"My number one thing I would say is: don't let your animals out. Don't let your cat go out. There are hawks, there are eagles, there are is foxes - if you care about your animals keep them close. Keep your cats inside and your dogs by your side," she said.

Kangaroo Mauls Woman Walking Dogs

An Australian woman mauled by a kangaroo as she walked her dogs said on Wednesday it was a miracle she survived the attack, in which the native animal clawed her head and body.

Janet Karson told The West Australian newspaper she was walking her three dogs in the bush near Manjimup south of the western city of Perth on Saturday when a kangaroo leapt out in front of her and one of her dogs gave chase.

When she caught up with her dog the kangaroo had hold of it, so she grabbed a stick to lever its claws off the dog.

"And then it reared up in front of me -- it was huge," she told the paper.

"All I can remember is its claws going to work on me and the smell of my own blood when my head fell on to its chest.

"I thought, 'That's it, I'm finished'."

Karson, who suffered cuts to her neck and back and needed more than 20 stitches to her battered ears, is not sure whether the dogs fought off the large marsupial or whether it "just hopped off".

"I honestly believe it's a miracle I'm alive," she added.

Kangaroos are found across Australia but attacks against people are rare.

In July police were forced to pepper-spray a giant red kangaroo after it bounded into an elderly woman's garden in outback Queensland as she was hanging out the washing and attacked her.

The giant red can grow up to two metres (more than six foot six inches) tall.

My Pet Tiger
by Alexis Willey - timesunion.com

My cat and I!

She has soft fur, glowing green eyes and the most annoying ‘meow’ in the world. But she’s not a REAL tiger. Her name is Callie and she’s just my pet cat that I hate to love, especially when she wakes me up in the middle of the night looking for food.

Rounding out the whopping three animals my family owns (we also have two Labradoodles who I’m sure I’ll blog about eventually), Callie is an established member of my household and a genuine goddess.

Apparently though, a large and continuously growing number of people are no longer satisfied with keeping domestic animals as pets. Where a ferret used to be an unusual sight, many families are now calling alligators, sugar bears, foxes, tigers and monkeys by familiar names and sticking them in cages. The demand for exotic pets has created a multi-million dollar a year industry for the legal and illegal sale of bizarre house pets.

On Oct. 18, an Ohio man and owner of an ‘exotic-animal park’ released his pets from their cages and committed suicide, creating a panic in the community and endangering the lives of hundreds of people. Police responded immediately and after a night of hunting, nearly 50 exotic, endangered and majestic animals were killed. Murdered. Shot down hopelessly in the attempt to protect community members from the dangerous “pets.”

18 Bengal tigers as well as numerous other animals were among those killed.

Personally, I’m outraged. I understand the threat to the public and sheer confusion the situation must have created, but why couldn’t the guns have been traded for tranquilizers sooner?

A small number of animals were tranquilized and taken to the Columbus Zoo, but why did 49 animals have to die in the crossfire? The public was alerted to the situation and advised to remain indoors and schools were closed to protect residents.

The few extra minutes it may have taken for a plan to be made and precautions to be taken could have saved the lives of the helpless animals. Obviously agitated and out of their natural environment, the animals weren’t friendly, but should the mistreatment and instability of their owner determine their fate, and ultimately, their doom?

A Bengal tiger similar to the 18 that were killed. Photo by Associated Press.

The problem lies not with the individual situation, however, but with the society in which this kind of “collecting” of exotic animals for personal pleasure is accepted. Occurrences like this are becoming more and more frequent yet law enforcement agencies are still at a loss with how to deal with them properly.

The problem lies at the source; the only way to stop this, is to keep wild animals in the wild. Why are these animals allowed to be pets at all? And why aren’t measures being taken to prevent these sort of problems before they occur? Frankly, I think people should be happy with a pet dog or fish. Fish never charge at police officers…

Cat Hit by Car Rescued from Inside Dashboard

A three-hour rescue mission saved a cat that had been hit by a car and became stuck behind the car’s dashboard when the driver tried to take it to an animal shelter.

The driver, Nehal Dhruve, pulled over to see whether the cat was OK after striking it Thursday on Leap Road in Hilliard.

Dhruve said she wanted to take the cat to the Capital Area Humane Society, so she put the cat in her car.

“Instead of staying in the seat, she went under the dashboard,” Dhruve said.

The humane-society staff called in a mechanic to take apart the dashboard and attempt a rescue. However, his hands were too big to get to the cat, so an animal-care staff worker gave it a try.

The worker freed the cat and handed it to veterinarians, who checked it out.

Dhruve said she wants to adopt the cat but wanted to talk it over with her family.

Daryl McKay, the mechanic who suffered some cuts on his hands, donated his services.

Help Your Pet Handle Halloween's Scares
By Jennie Willis, usatoday.com

The air is getting crisp, the leaves are turning and Halloween is approaching. Children will be putting on costumes, obscuring their faces, and houses will be decked out with lots of strange decorations. Halloween might be fun for us, but it can be downright spooky for our pets.

Halloween night can be particularly scary for pets that don't like doorbells, strangers and people passing the yard. Pets that have not been well socialized can react with fear or aggression towards new experiences and strange people.

To be sensitive of your pet's needs, here are things you can do to make Halloween a good experience for your pet:

• Keep outdoor cats and dogs inside, minimizing their exposure to lots of people. Dogs barking at strangers passing the yard can invite pranksters to throw things at them. Outdoor cats will encounter new situations that may cause them to behave in an unsafe manner.

• If you take your dog with you trick-or-treating, keep them on leash and watch for signs of stress. These can include panting, pacing, drooling or barking reactively at the environment. Trick-or-treating isn't for everyone, so if your dog is stressed, take it home.

• Put candy away in a pet-safe container. Chocolate is toxic for pets, and eating candy with wrappers can cause choking or obstruction of the digestive system.

• Don't have pets come with you to the door when you answer it. There is a risk they could escape in the confusion; also, some children don't have experience with dogs and might be frightened.

If your pet is afraid of knocking or the doorbell, try these steps to change how your pet feels about what the doorbell means. Dogs that bark at the door are often anxious about what these sounds signal.

• Practice ahead of time. Make a small door-knocking sound (even from the inside of the door) and feed your dog a treat. Repeat this until the dog doesn't bark and waits expectantly for the treat. You have now established a predictive relationship between the knock and the treat.

• Increase the knocking sound gradually, repeating a dozen times at each level of intensity, until the pet is non-reactive at each higher level of sound.

• The doorbell usually represents the highest level of reaction. Sometimes cooperating with a family member with the door open is important. Start by feeding the treat exactly at the same time as the doorbell rings and progress to a slight delay (half a second) between the sound and the treat.

If done correctly, you will watch your pet progress from a fear response to anticipating the next sound with pleasure.

If your pet is extremely nervous about the doorbell and you can't make progress with counterconditioning, consider leaving a basket of candy with a sign on your doorstep allowing children to bypass the doorbell ringing all together.

Have a safe and happy Halloween.


Dr. Jennie Willis is an instructor of animal behavior at Colorado State University and owns a private pet consulting business. For more information, visit www.Animal BehaviorInsights.com

Ahwatukee Couple Open Pet Resort in New Home
by Allie Seligman - The Arizona Republic

When Tammy Teeter moved to Arizona four years ago, she left behind the dog-boarding kennel she opened and ran for 12 years.

She didn't leave behind her passion for training animals, though. For the past three years Teeter and her husband, Howard Teeter, have run a mobile training business that has served more than 700 customers.

The couple went to customers' homes, but also brought dogs back to their own house in Ahwatukee, sometimes boarding them for owners who were out of town. "Our customers just kept saying, 'we want more,' " Tammy said.

Ahwatukee couple Howard and Tammy Tetter opened their Wiggles and Wags Pet Resort after three years of running a mobile training business in the East Valley. Nick Oza/The Arizona Republic

It came to a head this year, Tammy said, when they were "busting out" of their home. Now the couple have a new venue, Wiggles and Wags Pet Resort, at 1811 E. Baseline Road in Tempe.

The dog boarding, grooming, training and daycare business opened officially on Oct. 1, and Tammy said the response has been great. Several hundred people came to the grand opening, she said, and many of the mobile business customers have transitioned over to the pet resort.

The couple met when Howard was visiting his brother and ran into Tammy at an event. "I got to know her a little bit, and she was giving me advice," he said. In 2007, she and daughter Nina moved from Georgia to be with him.

Between learning about a new state, raising Nina and taking care of her own dogs, Tammy said she wasn't ready to open another business. "I had just run the other one for so long," she said. "Maybe I did just need a little break."

Instead, she wanted to open a small, mobile pet-training business. Howard retired early after 30 years in sales and marketing management in the technology sector, and offered to help Tammy start her new venture.

"I'm the business side, and Tammy brings all the credentials," he said.

After three successful years, though, Tammy said she realized that her passion is in training dogs and running a boarding business. "That's what I'm really good at," she said.

Wiggles and Wags is split between two buildings: one where Tammy teaches obedience classes and grooms dogs, along with two other groomers. Dogs are boarded in the other building and play outside in a shaded play area complete with play pools.

Howard opens the shop at about 6 a.m. each day, and Tammy leaves at 10 p.m. At night, they can watch what's going on with the boarded dogs through cameras that stream to their iPhones.

"When I get a buzz, I can look at the feed and tell you exactly what's happening," Tammy said.

There's not much chance the dogs will be able to leave their rooms, though, Tammy said. She recently locked herself in one by accident.

"I know the dogs can't get out because I couldn't get out, and I have thumbs," she said.

Each room has a large glass door so the dogs can look out and a "shy panel" if they prefer privacy, Teeter said. Owners are encouraged to bring in the dog's bedding and toys to make the animal more comfortable.

"It actually becomes their room and they can just settle down," she said.

Rooms range from 4-by-5 feet to 5-by-7 feet, and prices are from $30 to $40 a night for one dog. Additional dogs can be added to the same room at a reduced price.

It's also easier for the dogs to relax if they get worn out during the day, Teeter said. The dogs go to a large yard area in shifts. Some dogs go alone, and others are grouped by temperament and size.

The dogs go out as often as they need to, Teeter said, without the extra play time fee many kennels charge. "It is unheard of here in Arizona," she said.

Dividing the dogs into groups means play time isn't too chaotic. If all the dogs were free at once, "you just end up with mounting and fighting type behaviors," she said.

Wiggles and Wags also offers pet daycare for $20 a day. Dogs play and rest in air conditioned rooms from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Some customers bring their pet every weekday, and some come two or three times a week, Teeter said.

"It's basically structured around what the owners want," she said.

Tammy's main focus is still on training dogs. She teaches group obedience classes, meets with owners and their dogs individually and trains rescue dogs.

Small changes in behavior can make a big difference, Tammy said. In most cases, her customers just a few gripes that make life with their pet less than ideal, she said.

"I find that most people are pretty happy with their dogs," she said. "They just have one or two things that drive them crazy."

Tammy said she has also seen the impact training can have on rescued dogs, who may come to new owners with unwanted behaviors.

Wiggles and Wags works with dogs taken in Lost Our Home Pet Foundation, a rescue group for pets abandoned because of foreclosures or financial hardship. The return rate has gone down significantly since she started training with them, she said.

Karen and Jim Donker of Scottsdale met the Teeters earlier this year when they needed help training their puppy, Majerle. Karen heard Tammy's name from a friend and gave her a call.

"They were just completely awesome," she said. "They have some sort of a command over dogs that's just wonderful. You look at it and go, 'I want that.'"

Karen said she was impressed right away with the way Tammy could read her dogs.

"She's way more than a trainer," she said. "She just has a really special way with animals that is amazing."

When the pet resort opened, Karen signed Majerle up for obedience classes, something she said has proved to be a good investment.

"They call it dog training, but it's really people training I think," she said. "I am 100 percent convinced that it isn't the dog. It is the owners."

The Donkers returned home from a trip Monday, and Majerle and 14-year-old Picasso spent the time they were away at Wiggles and Wags.

This was the first time either dog has been boarded, Karen said, and though she was nervous to leave them, "I was comfortable."

"Knowing Tammy and Howard as well as I do, I know they're in great hands," she said.

For rates or more information, visit www.wigglesandwagsboarding.com

9 Things You Must Know Before Purchasing a Parrot
Written by Melissa Sutton - petanim.com

If you are considering getting a parrot, here are 9 things you need to know that could change your mind.

Number 1 is that parrots must have daily contact with their owners. The Cockatoo, Lory and Jacob will require special care everyday, while the Amazons, Budgie, Conures and small African parrots don`t require quiet as much daily attention, to stay healthy & happy. Daily attention is extremely important in socializing these birds and the more time spent, the better!

Number 2 is that it is expensive to own a bird, not to mention if you are interested in breeding them. With food, the huge amount of toys you`ll need, vet care, nails, beak and wings care, etc., it will be costly, as bird medicine is a specialized field. Because a bird`s instinct is to hide illness, for fear of the flock protecting itself, thus attacking them, it is often times in the advanced stages before discovered, which will require more intense treatment.

Number 3 is that parrots are VERY loud! In the wild, they live in huge groups and that loud voice is how they contact and communicate with each other. Be aware that they will accept you into their flock, so every morning they call the nock to start the day and every evening they call the nock to get ready for night time & sleeping. You should NOT restrain them or get upset at them for this, it is their natural instinct! as per http://limoeg.articlealley.com

Number 4 is not all parrots will talk. Even though most parrots have the ability to talk, not all of them care or have the desire to speak. A few of the most talkative are the Budgie, Jacob, Yellow-Fore Headed Amazon and Double Yellow-Headed Amazon, but there`s still no guarantee they will talk!

Number 5 is that birds love to make a mess everywhere, because in the wild, the bird`s job is to “afforest” the wood, meaning they take a piece of it`s food and the rest goes on the ground. Be prepared to spend at least 30 to 45 minutes every single day, to clean up your bird`s cage, water/food bowls, floor and all messes.

Number 6 is that parrots must take a bath regularly. Find the method that suits your bird best, whether it`s in the shower, splashing water from a bowl or in the kitchen sink.

Number 7 is that parrots love to destroy things and spend 90% of their time, in the wild, consuming and looking for food. You MUST supply tons of toys and different kinds of foods, such as fruits, nuts and veggies, to keep them from getting bored, or they may direct their attention to your furniture!

Number 8 is that parrots bite! All birds bite! Usually out of fear or anger, and it`s their way of telling you ” I don`t like that!” as they bite each other in nature to communicate, they think it`s perfectly fine to bite you. There are many ways to teach your bird not to bite, it takes time & patience, but SOCIALIZATION is key!

Number 9 is that birds are NOT for children. Because they are so intelligent, live a long time and require daily interaction with their human flock, a child is not the right owner for them as they go through many changes like school, college, moving out of parents home, etc., which makes it virtually impossible to keep such a long time companion. For more info, you can visit: www.BirdCagesBlog.com

Halloween Pets


Had mammoth bone in mouth

(NATIONAL) -- How long has man’s best friend been man’s best friend? Answer: a very long time.

The remains of three Paleolithic era domesticated dogs, including one with a mammoth bone in its mouth, have been unearthed at Předmostí in the Czech Republic, according to a discovery.com report here

The Paleolithic (or Palaeolithic) Age, Era or Period, is a prehistoric era distinguished by the development of the most primitive stone tools ever discovered and encompasses roughly 99% of human technological prehistory.

It extends from the earliest known use of stone tools, probably by Hominins such as Australopithecines, 2.6 million years ago, to the end of the Pleistocene around 10,000 BP (before the present era).

During the Paleolithic, humans grouped together in small societies such as bands, and subsisted by gathering plants and hunting or scavenging wild animals.

What is particularly interesting about the case of the dog with the bone is that researchers believe a human inserted the mammoth bone in the dog’s mouth after the death of the animal -- meaning it might have ritual importance.

The large bone in the dog's mouth could signify "that the dog was 'fed' to accompany the soul of the dead person, the dog’s master, on its journey into the afterlife.

Rob Losey, an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Alberta, told Discovery News that the new study is "very convincing," and shows "quite clearly that the dog domestication process was underway thousands of years earlier than previously thought."

He thinks the “distinctive treatment given some of the remains also is compelling,’ and this indicates to him that a special connection had developed between people and some dogs early on -- long prior to any good evidence for dogs being buried.

The dogs that were unearthed were described as large animals with an estimated body weight of just over 77 pounds and a shoulder height of at least 2 feet.

The shape of their skulls resembles those of a Siberian husky, but these animals were larger and heavier than the modern Husky.

The dogs died when they were between 4 and 8 years old, suffering from numerous broken teeth during their lifetimes.

Based on what is known of the human culture at the site, the researchers believe these dogs were used as beasts of burden for the hauling of meat, bones and tusks from mammoth kill sites and of firewood, and to help with the transport of equipment.

World's Shortest Cat is 6 Inches Tall

SAN DIEGO -- Guinness World Records says a Munchkin Cat from California measuring only 6 inches tall has been certified as the world's Shortest Living Cat.

The record-keeping organization marked Tuesday's World Animal Day by certifying 3-year-old Fizz Girl, owned by Tiffani Kjeldergaard of Southern California, as the feline with the shortest stature in the world.

Fizz Girl is a Munchkin Cat, a breed known for its unusually short legs.

Kjeldergaard said she has bred Munchkin Cats for years, but Fizz Girl is by far the shortest.

"Fizzgirl knows that she's short, but she has no problems climbing and getting to the highest places in the house," she said.

The previous record holder, a Himalayan/Siamese mix named Itse Bitse, measured 3.75 inches tall, but later went missing.

Pet-Napper Nabbed,
Pug Puppy Reported Safe,
say Colo. Cops
By Barry Leibowitz - cbsnews.com

Pug puppy stolen from, and returned to, a Lone Tree, Colo. pet store
(Credit: KCNC) (CBS/KCNC)

LONE TREE, Colo. - A puppy pilfered from a pet store - a pug, no less - has been returned to its proper owner, and the perpetrator has been arrested, say Denver area police.

Surveillance video recorded the suspect playing with the $1,200 pug in the store in Lone Tree, Colo. Monday afternoon, reported CBS affiliate KCNC.

The woman spent some time with the dog, then left and returned to Just Pets a few hours later.

"(She) really liked her, said she was in love with her; was going to think about her and come back," store owner Lisa Stone said, according to KCNC.

Stone said the woman said she wanted to buy the dog but needed a few more minutes. Meanwhile, another customer came in to look at kittens. When Stone went to the back of the store the pug-napper dashed out the front door.

"I didn't see anybody anywhere; nobody running, no car, no nothing -- gone," Stone said.

According to the American Kennel Club, pet theft is a growing problem nationwide. Approximately 224 pets have been reported stolen in the first 7 months of this year compared with just 150 in the same period of time last year.

Starving Dog Leaps from Third-Story Window

Animal control officials in New Bedford, Mass., are seeking the public’s help in finding the owners of two pit bull-type dogs left in a vacant apartment — one of which, apparently starving, jumped out of a third-story window.

The emaciated 1-year-old female jumped from the window on Sept. 30, breaking her hip and hind leg, according to South Coast Today. She’s now being treated at Cape Cod Veterinary Specialties.

The second dog, a four-month-old puppy (pictured above), was found inside the apartment. The two were believed to have been abandoned two months ago when the tenants moved out.

The Animal Rescue League of Boston is asking for the public’s help to offset the costs associated with the dogs’ care and rehabilitation. Those interested in making a donation can call (617) 426-9170, Ext. 615, or visit www.arlboston.org/donate.

Anyone with information about the dogs or their owners is asked to contact New Bedford Animal Control Officer Emmanuel Maciel at (508) 991- 6366.

“This constitutes felony cruelty against an innocent animal,” says Lt. Alan Borgal, director of the Center for Animal Protection at the Animal Rescue League of Boston. “We are counting on the public to step forward with information to help bring the person or persons responsible to justice.”

Kidnapped Cat Back with Owner
Written by Sharon RoznBk - northwestern.com

TOWN OF CALUMET — A kidnapped cat named Slim is back home with its owners.

The tabby cat was sleeping comfortably at home on Saturday afternoon, said Linda Struye, who owns Little Farmer Orchard on Highway 151 north of Fond du Lac.

"I'm sure he's had a few rough nights. He deserves a rest," Struye said.

Literally hundreds of people contacted Struye with offers to help find her missing cat. She said if it were not for the goodness of strangers, he probably still would be missing.

"It was unbelievable. People called me from as far away as Ohio and Indiana," she said.

The story of Slim was reported Thursday when Struye noticed the friendly feline missing and knew he wasn't the kind of cat to wander away. After posting a lost cat message on the Little Farmer Facebook page, Struye got a call stating a woman with some children was spotted at the Little Farmer around 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 2, carrying the struggling cat to the car.

Like something out a dimestore detective novel, Slim was traced to a residence in Ripon, but nothing could be proven and the woman wasn't talking.

Then one night, almost a week later, a vet technician who lives in Ripon spotted a strange cat in the neighborhood she thought might be Slim. When the cat still was outside Saturday morning, she contacted the Green Lake Animal Shelter.

"When I got the call about the cat, I was reasonably sure it was Slim," said shelter manager Janine Rubeck. "When his owners came to get him, he settled right into her arms and started to purr."

Struye said she doesn't know if Slim was let go by his captors or ran away. He seemed no worse for wear, just happy to be home to cuddle with his cat buddy Crispy.

She said everyone from a pizzeria employee to a retired policeman had been on the lookout for her beloved pet. There were midnight forays to scour the city of Ripon. A woman from Oshkosh offered to come down and search the area.

"The fact that people do care and put all this pressure on the family who took Slim is why I have him back. I am overwhelmed right now by the goodness of people," Struye said.

The Green Lake Shelter microchipped Slim to keep him safe in the future.

"It's great to be part of a happy ending like this. It makes everything we do worthwhile," Rubeck said.

Bo Obama Plays Soccer at the White House

Let's move! Bo Obama knows what to do.

When it comes to the First Dog, he's just a chip off the old First Family block. With mom Michelle Obama spearheading physical fitness and healthy eating in her initiatives as First Lady, Bo has an accessible role model and has been following her lead.

During a youth sports clinic at the White House on Thursday, the Portuguese water dog got onto the field and got in some playtime with a soccer ball.

The energetic pooch took the ball in his mouth at one point and even got the First Lady's trip director, Alan Fitts, to kick it around with him. That's some fancy footwork!

Jennifer Aniston Has Puppy Love
Moment Sans Justin Theroux

Jennifer Aniston was spotted solo Monday morning as she headed to Good Morning America to promote the Lifetime movieFive.

After her appearance on Good Morning America, Jennifer stopped to pet and snap a quick photo of an adorable Dachshund puppy. So cute!

The actress directed one of the five shorts, making it her directorial debut. She said of the project earlier this year:

“Our hope with Project Five is to entertain, inform and inspire dialogue, research and prevention. Otherwise, our goals are small. We want these films to move people and empower those affected by breast cancer to stand tall through this challenge, which impacts ALL of our lives, no matter who we are.”

Meanwhile, Jen’s ex Brad Pitt‘s movie Moneyball didn’t win at the box office as expected. The film was beat out by the likes of Lion King in 3D which grossed $22.1 million, while Moneyball only pulled in $20.6 million.

Jen’s appearance heading into GMA is one of the few we’ve seen without her new beau Justin Theroux by her side. The two were out and about in NYC all last week.

5 Pet Costumes for Halloween
By Kevin Letourneau - patch.com

This October, transform man's best friend into the costume contest-winning pooch he's destined to become. Here are a few ideas to get you going.

Put your paws up — October is in full swing and we are at Halloween Ground Zero. Calling all boys, ghouls, critters and creatures. Whether or you love it or leave it, this is our time. Whip out the sewing machine and paint those faces, but please, by all means, don’t leave Sparky behind. It’s his time too.

While you’re sifting through the attic trunks of costume wigs and rags, take a moment and think of what your little pal may be feeling like rocking this season. Charles Barkley? Octokitty? Bunny Madoff?

Here are 5 pet costume ideas to get you going:

Penelope's Castle — Storm the living room castle in one of Penelope's Pet Boutique's medieval line of costumes ranging from Knight, King, Queen and Dragon. We recently bumped into Wendy sporting the fire-breathing dog breath-look.

Batpup and Super-Dog — Comic book legends from the Justice Breed come home with these super powered and super cute costumes from Living With Pets. A perfect pair for a doggy play date, this team-up is sure to keep Kitty Wonder Whiskers at attention and on her paws.

Bat Wings — Go batty with flying rodent wings from Living With Pets. Bat wings make for an easy accessory for the big night. Made by a mother-daughter team in Seattle, all products sold at Living With Pets are made in America.

The Boo-cage — Okay, so the logistics of taking Polly out to play Halloween night might sound like a nightmare, but why not keep things festive by decorating the birdcage? Take an old bed sheet, cut out a couple holes and put your parakeets to sleep with a ghost costume that'd even Charlie Brown would envy.

The Red Baron
Speaking of the Peanuts gang, you could always grab your beagle a pair of goggles, drawstring hood and red scarf to pay tribute to the World War I Flying Ace like Snoopy from It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.' Doggles can be purchased at Penelope's Pet Boutique.

Halloween Pet Safety Tips
By Jasmine Viel - kionrightnow.com

SANTA CRUZ, Calif.- Halloween is a fun time for kids and many adults, but can be a frightening and stressful time for pets.

The Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter is reminding pet owners about safety during the upcoming Halloween holiday. Pets can get very startled by costumes and other unusual activities surrounding the Halloween celebrations. Constant door knocking, bell ringing, and unusual appearing guests can stress pets or spook them. This can contribute to escape or aggression.

Learn what to be aware of to protect your pet and stay safe this year!
Halloween Pet Safety Tips:

•Keep animals confined indoors on Halloween. Seclude them safely in a room away from the door and distractions.

•Walk pets before dark to avoid any altercations with costumed characters.

•House animals indoors just before and during Halloween. This protects pets from pranksters who tease, injure, steal, or harm animals.

•Make sure pets are wearing collars with current identification. Many pets get spooked and escape. Unfortunately they end up in shelters without identification.

•Keep pets away from costumed ghouls and goblins. Halloween bites are not uncommon. Even friendly animals may bite due to stress, fear, or protective aggression.

•Store and dispense candy so that it is not accessible to pets. Many treats are toxic and even lethal to pets. Especially poisonous are "sugar free" sweetener xylitol and chocolate.

•Don't dress up pets unless they love it. If you do dress them up make sure the costume isn't annoying or unsafe. Avoid restriction of movement, vision, hearing or the ability to breathe or vocalize. Costumes should not contain small dangling accessories that could be consumed or cause choking.

•Restrict your pet's access to decorations. Jack o' lanterns with candles are obvious fire hazards, but cats can also get tangled in streamers. Pets can also become ill from eating holiday decor.

Wagging Tails Pet Tips -
My Puppy Is A Chewer,
What Can I Do To Stop Him?
Written by Tracy Blackmore, WaggingTailsKennel.ca

Many new puppies chew on everything when they start teething. The need hard stuff to chew on to help break the teeth through the gums.

There are many people who figure they can just take a soup bone and toss it to the puppy and it will be ok. BUT, this is not always a good idea. A soup bone in the raw state (before cooking) can cause harmful bacteria to your puppy and can cause food poisoning.

Ok, so what if I boil it to kill the bacteria?

Boiling will kill the bacteria, BUT it also softens the bone so that it can splinter and break apart. The best thing to do with a soup bone for a puppy is to microwave it for about 2 minutes to kill the bacteria, let it cool for 15 or 20 minutes then give it to the puppy, but keep a close eye on it, once the puppy starts making ridges in the bone take it away. When a bone splinters it can get into the puppy's throat and cause bleeding, or it can cause splinters in the stomach lining and all this can cost major amounts for vet bills and possibly even death in some cases.

What about rawhide?

The problem with rawhide is that a puppy can not digest it. It is ok to give them a pressed rawhide for a few minutes, but even that is not recommended for puppies under a year old.

So what can I give my puppy to help stop the chewing?

It is recommended that "natural" treats be given to help with chewing, a good sturdy toy, rope toy, solid toy, etc. To help with the chewing phase. Another treat would be a raw carrot, depending on the size of the puppy a carrot stick or for larger puppies a whole carrot, or even some frozen green beans, the whole type. These are terrific natural treats for puppies.

What if they don't like them?

Well, there are also natural biscuits on the market that are hard and take smaller puppies a long time to get through them, the larger puppies are a little harder to help out. But with perseverance you will be able to find natural treats to help with the chewing.

Mutt-I-Grees Mania
Written by - Sharon L. Peters | Special for USA TODAY

Dogs help schools lick bullies

Model Beth Ostrosky Stern poses with puppies for the 2011 North Shore Animal Mutt-i-grees Mania in New York. Mutt-i-grees is a program from the Yale University School of the 21st Century and the Pet Savers Foundation of North Shore Animal League America. / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Sweet-natured dogs lolling about classrooms are helping take a bite out of bullying -- and other bad behaviors -- in Kansas City schools.

No More Bullies teaches, with dogs’ help, responsibility, compassion, self-control and integrity. Since its small launch five years ago, teachers and counselors have become so convinced of the positive impact on kids’ behavior that it’s booked into the 80-classroom max it can handle, and there’s a long waiting list of requests for next year.

The curriculum, developed by ex-teacher Jo Dean Hearn, humane education director at animal rescue group Wayside Waifs, is presented an hour a day for five days by trained volunteers -- accompanied by irresistible canines.

“The animals are the glue that helps the children stay focused and understand the message,” Hearn says.

Adds teacher Peggy Everist: “There’s a lot of specific language, like being fair, and using compassion or integrity, that plays out with the students throughout the year.”

A growing number of programs use animals to get kids’ attention while teaching respect and conflict resolution. Most are free; some charge nominal amounts to cover expenses; some help schools apply for grants to cover costs.

Mutt-i-grees, a program from the Yale University School of the 21st Century and the Pet Savers Foundation of North Shore Animal League America, is just barely out of the gate and is already in 900 schools in 28 states. The curriculum consists of at least 25 age-appropriate 30-minute lessons, each aimed at building social and emotional skills.

Real animals aren’t necessarily in the classroom (though some teachers invite therapy dogs, and many visit shelters). Teachers use dog-shaped hand puppets as instructional aides for younger grades; animals are the pivot point of lessons; and there’s information about keeping safe around dogs developed with dog trainer Cesar Millan, whose foundation pledged $1 million.

“It’s a highly scripted, user-friendly … blueprint teachers can adapt to their own styles and needs,” says Matia Finn-Stevenson, an expert on child development, schools and learning and director of Yale’s School of the 21st Century. She and her team have spent two years developing the Mutt-i-grees curricula now used in two grade ranges (pre-K through third grade, and grades 4 to 6). Grades 7 and 8 are in testing.

Why it works is simple, says Finn-Stevenson: “Children have an affinity for animals. When animals are the topic of their writing or reading exercises, they are engaged.”

The long-term effect on civility is indisputable, says Cheri Brown Thompson, founder of the Orangeburg, S.C.-based Healing Species, a decade-old program that uses rescued dogs in a 13-week classroom course. “Even academic scores go up,” she says, citing the group’s studies comparing standardized test scores a year before and after the class. “The teacher is spending less time refereeing, and kids settle down better.”

Thompson aims to interrupt the violence cycle she learned about in law school: Most violent offenders “were abused as children and began abusing animals when they were still children. The missing component is compassion … not receiving it and not understanding what it is. We can teach compassion. What better way than through a rescued dog that returns love even in the face of hate?”

A Cat Lover Learns How to Talk to Dogs
Jennifer Reed - patch.com

A veterinary student finds that, as Martin Buber said, "an animal's eyes have the power to speak a great language."

In my life, I have always had cats. And I have always talked to them. First, it was the playful gibberish of a six-year-old's imagination, then the secrets of teen angst and eventually, a mutual understanding in silence as my pets and I grew older together.

I tell my cats every day that I love them, that their paws smell good, that they are my best friends, the loves of my life and that I am glad, so glad, they happened to me. Never once have they said anything back, and never once have they needed to.

It goes without saying for me that cats are my passion. I am an animal lover through and through, but for cats there is a special place in my heart — a place that jumps to life every time a feline comes through the treatment door.

Dogs are a different story. I have been pining for a pup of my own for the last decade or so and I gush whenever I see random dogs on the street, but truth be told, I'm kind of afraid of them. And during my first month at the Drake Center, I realized I really don't know how to talk to dogs at all.

I spent my introductory week at the practice tip-toeing around the jumpy, slobbering creatures. I had been around dogs before, of course, but not nearly enough to know what they were thinking, or when they might bite. In an effort to look like I knew what I was doing, though, I put my fear away and jumped into the world of dogs with both feet.

I went about handling them as best I could and the only way I knew how — which, apparently, was like cats. I knew that I was a novice by the way I too-gently restrained nervous patients and the lighthearted laughter of a co-worker who told me I was letting the canine beasts boss me around, but I truly realized the error of my ways when I found myself cooing and clucking for a dog's attention.

A gentle voice and some coaxing go a long way for a cat, a creature for whom commands fall on deaf ears. As any cat's human will tell you, it's the kitty who owns you — not the other way around. Dogs, on the other hand, love and need to be told what to do.

I'm still no professional canine wrangler, but over time my timid voice grew louder, my restraining arms stronger and my commands more confident.

I thought I was finally learning how to talk to dogs, but just when I had gotten the hang of it, I found a lump on one of my favorite boarding patients.

She was a beautiful, middle-aged golden retriever with a sunny personality and unbeknownst to me, she had cancer. The lump would not be removed, I was told, because she was already dying. A few weeks, maybe, was all she had.

That day I took her out to the yard, where for the first time, we did not play ball or tug-of-war. Instead, we sat together in the shade and I began to talk. I gave her a hug and told her she was a good dog who didn't deserve her fate. I told her that it would all be okay and that I would remember her. Then I told her I loved her, to which she responded by offering me her paw.

Some may not believe that animals can understand us, but if there was ever a time I knew they did, that was it. And I found in that moment that I knew how to talk to dogs all along, because the language of love and the bond between human and animal is universal.

Jennifer Reed is a writer and animal lover who recently left her position as a Patch editor to pursue a career in the veterinary field.

Dogs Eat More Than Homework:
Mishaps Often Behind Dog Illnesses

CINCINNATI -- After turning the house upside down in search of her diamond earrings, Deb and Merrell Wreden glanced down at their 2-year-old Jack Russell Terrier and wondered simultaneously the same cringe-inducing thought: "Could Lola have swallowed them?" After all, it wasn't the first time their otherwise lovable pooch had treated various household items as her own personal buffet.

A quick trip to the vet confirmed their suspicions, and the dreaded waiting game was on. Two days later, the earrings were back in place, albeit with a little less luster than before.

The Wredens – and Lola – were lucky. As thousands of pet owners find out each year, left to their own devices, many dogs will eat just about anything.

"Not a week goes by where I don't see at least one dog that has eaten something it shouldn't have," says Dr. Jennifer Coates, a Colorado-based veterinarian and author. "Whether it's from eating people food, gobbling up something disgusting or dangerous on a walk, such as poisonous plants, or chewing on a household item, dogs can get quite sick, and the cost of treatment – sometimes including surgery – can quickly climb."

According to Dr. Coates, some of the more expensive digestive afflictions to treat, which are seen on a regular basis, are:

•Pancreatitis. Dogs can get pancreatitis by eating inappropriate foods from the table – fat drippings from meat, chicken skin or other greasy, high-fat scraps are most commonly to blame. Symptoms can range from a tummy ache to vomiting and diarrhea, and severe cases can even be fatal. Sometimes, pancreatitis develops when there is no identifiable cause. Cost of treatment: averages $535

•Foreign bodies. Puppies, in particular, are apt to consume anything lying around the house – a tennis ball, a child's rubber duck, an empty plastic soda bottle, etc. It can happen to even the most responsible pet parents, and many times surgery is required to remove the item. Cost of treatment: surgery averages $1,800

•Medications. Whether it is a medicine prescribed for Lassie – heartworm pills are tasty, and dogs will polish off the entire package when given the chance – or drugs meant for a human family member where Fido chewed through the bottle, overdoses require fast action and can mean several days of hospitalization. Cost of treatment: averages $610

•Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Some dogs – both young and old – have persistent digestive problems without a history of eating what they shouldn't, and those diagnosed with IBD typically require lifelong treatment, including a special diet and medicines. Cost of treatment: averages $540

Given how common digestive afflictions are in dogs, Dr. Coates recommends that owners consider pet insurance.

Six Ways to Save Money With Your New Dog
By Ed Avis - foxbusiness.com

The kids have been begging for a puppy for six months, and you finally decide a dog might just complete your family. Plus, the canine may teach your kids a few things about responsibility and caring for others, right? Those are good reasons to get a dog, but before you bring Spot home, take a few minutes to consider the finances.

With shots, vet care, food, toys, boarding, insurance…that pup's expenses will add up fast. Here are six tips for trimming some of Fido's bills:

Don't buy from a pet store or breeder

There are several good reasons to avoid pet stores and breeders when you're seeking a new dog, perhaps the least of which is that you'll save money. Some commercial pet businesses such as dog breeders have been accused of mistreating their animals, and sometimes pure-bred dogs - which is what pet stores and breeders typically sell - have more medical issues than mixed-breed dogs.

A much better place to get a new dog is a shelter or canine rescue organization. These non-profit organizations take in animals that are abandoned, neglected, or abused, and try to find new homes for them. Many of these animals make great pets. They're not free - you probably will need to pay for the first round of shots and other veterinary care - but they will cost substantially less than the typical pure-bed puppy at Pet Palace.

Your kids will love the animal no matter where it came from, and a mixed-breed canine will provide essentially the same dog experience as any full-breed.

Skip the vet

One of the most shocking expenses new dog owners encounter is the fat bill from the vet. An urban pet owner will be lucky to walk out of a routine visit with a bill smaller than $300. It's highly likely that you'll want your dog spayed or neutered - figure $300-$500 extra for that surgery. Yikes! That's some serious dough. There are, however, some ways around those expenses.

First, have your animal spayed or neutered at the Humane Society or other shelter - these places will do them at-cost, which is more in the range of $50 to $100. Then, get your shots through organizations such as Luv My Pet. These businesses set up mini-clinics at major pet stores and provide all the necessary immunizations for about a third of the cost of your typical vet. Search under “low cost pet immunizations” to find an organization near you.

But there's a catch: Neither the Humane Society nor Luv My Pet provides regular veterinary attention. You may decide you'd like the comfort of having a regular vet check your pet, keep its records, advise you on diet, etc. You can still visit your vet for those things, even if you do the other things at a low-cost clinic. Your vet won't be happy about it, but she'll still welcome your business.

Skip the kennel

Another chunky bill pet owners face is boarding when they take a dog-less vacation. Depending on location and services, boarding can easily run $25-$75 per night. That week at grandma's suddenly got more expensive! Dodge that expense by hiring a neighborhood kid or nearby relative to walk and feed your dog twice a day. Pay that person $10 per day and everyone will be happy.

Nutrition matters, but you can save money on food

Sure, the ads are compelling: XYZ Super Dog Food will make your dog's coat sleek and keep the pep in his step. But less expensive dog food isn't going to poison Barky - buy him the normal-level stuff and pocket the savings. But don't try to compensate by giving your dog human food - it's not good for her and it will make her into a slobbering, jumpy beggar.

Keep your dog “toys” simple

Let's be honest: Does your dog really need the $25 pet toy in his stocking at Christmas? No, he'll be delighted and amazed that everyone is home an extra day. Give him a few old socks tied into knots and his eyes will bug out with joy.

Skip obedience school

How obedient do you need your dog to be? You can easily spend $150 for a group class or $100 per hour for private classes - crazy, right? Teach your dog a few key basics, such has coming when you call her name and not jumping on visitors, and you're good to go.

Any elementary dog training book from the library can help you teach your pet those tricks and dozens more. Yeah, if you have a problem dog that barks all night, you may need to shell out for professional help. But most families are pleased when Fluffy simply sits on command.

The bottom line

Dogs can be amazing companions that improve the lives of you and your children. But they can also be money drains. Apply the above tips and those expenses won't get between you and your enjoyment of Snowball.

Ask The Vet:
Dog is Friendly with Others
- Until They Get Close
Trish King - San Francisco Chronicle

Q: My 6-year-old chow/retriever mix acts friendly toward other dogs when we are out walking on a leash. She even wags her tail, but as soon as they get close she fiercely growls and lunges at them. How can I stop this annoying behavior?

A: This is often seen as a baffling behavior, and not only by dog owners. Professionals also disagree on why some dogs are friendly until they get too close.

When dogs meet dogs appropriately, they approach the last few feet fairly slowly, arcing their body and wagging their tails in wide sweeping motions to show goodwill. Generally, they sniff the other dog's neck, then hindquarters, and then move back to the neck. After that, both dogs will relax and go on their way.

Sometimes the greeting goes awry. The dogs will meet, and you'll notice one or both of them stiffening - their tails go up, and they rise on their toes. As soon as one moves at all, there could be a fight. It appears that they discover that they don't know each other, but they are too close to retreat.

When flight is not an option, fight can be the result. This is called conflict behavior. There are some dogs that actively challenge others - these dogs trot purposefully up to other dogs and sniff, but do not allow the other dog to sniff back. If the other dog does, they react unfavorably.

If your dog is otherwise friendly, behavior modification usually involves teaching the dog how to greet other dogs quickly and then move on. This process should generally be overseen by a professional who can read canine body language, because the timing can be critical. Sometimes dogs need to meet several times before they feel comfortable enough to actually interact.

Trish King, Marin Humane Society director of behavior and training. www.marinhumanesociety.org.

Lost in Suburbia:
Bathroom Etiquette for Dogs
By Tracy Beckerman - GateHouse News Service

Just when I got the kids to finally stop following me into the bathroom, the dog started doing it.

I thought, actually, that he might have gotten the idea from the kids. Maybe he thought it was a really fun place to be because whenever I was in there, it suddenly became the most popular room in the house. When your kids are little, you kind of expect this and grudgingly learn how to help someone with their two-times table while you are seated with your pants around your ankles. But once they become teenagers and they are still walking in on you so they can ask for money to go get pizza, it becomes significantly less acceptable.

Because we had moved into the house when the kids were little, we never put locks on the bathroom doors. And because we had a really old house, the doors never quite stayed closed when you shut them. Still, I thought that a knock on the door was more than reasonable to at least give me the opportunity to say, “I’m busy” before someone barged in on me.

The kids accepted this new rule.

The dog … not so much.

The first time it happened, I thought it was kind of cute. The second time, a little less so. But when the dog started following me into the bathroom every time I went to answer nature’s call, I finally had it.

“Out, Out, OUT!” I yelled. He tucked his tail between his legs and sulked out of the room, just far enough to get to the other side of the threshold before sitting down to wait. But wait for what? For me to come out? For me to invite him back in? To protect me in case Mr. Whipple arrived and yelled at me for squeezing the Charmin? I was perplexed. Why was the dog so fascinated with the bathroom?

Then one day when I was in there, he followed me in and I let him stay. As I wrapped up my business, I reached out for some toilet paper and dropped a spare square on the bathroom floor. The dog jumped up, dived on the toilet paper and devoured it instantly. I raised an eyebrow. Then two. I had a thought. To test my theory, I ripped off another square of toilet paper and offered it to the dog, he sucked it down like it was a T-bone steak.

So the mystery was solved. My dog was a TP addict. It wasn’t me that interested him in the bathroom, it was the squeezably soft and evidently quite delicious bathroom tissue.

I went to the TP website and checked to make sure there was nothing toxic in the paper and then phoned the vet to make sure this wasn’t a problem for the dog.

The vet said it should be OK, with three conditions:

- Don’t let the dog eat too much of it.

- Make sure the toilet paper is clean.

- Make sure he changes the empty roll when he is done.