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

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