Cloning Your Dog

Skier Documents Proof of Dog’s Burial,
Escape from Avalanche
by BRETT FRENCH - Billings Gazette

A Cooke City skier trekked into the Hayden Creek drainage on Thursday and found proof that Oly the Welsh corgi had indeed been buried alive and dug his way out of an avalanche that killed one of his owners just north of Yellowstone National Park.

Ben Zavora posted a video on his website, of his trek back to the site, which showed the dog’s tracks following along a ski trail as well as a 3-foot-deep hole 40 feet below where David Gaillard, 44, of Bozeman was found buried last Saturday.

The smaller hole had fur inside and was no more than about a foot in diameter. Corgis are small dogs, weighing up to about 25 pounds and standing only about a foot tall on stumpy legs. They were bred small as herding dogs to avoid being kicked by livestock.

“We were all over the place, six of us, and we never saw or heard a thing” during rescue efforts Saturday, Zavora said in the video.

Whether the dog tried to alert rescuers is unknown. During avalanche training for search dogs, Mark Staples of the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center has been purposely buried.

“You can hear everything,” he said. “But you could be screaming and it would be hard to hear” from above.

Passed on trail

According to the fatality report from the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center, Zavora and a companion had seen Gaillard and his wife, Kerry Gaillard, as well as Oly on the day of the accident. Zavora was on his way out of the area and warned the couple that his companion had been partially buried in a small avalanche.

The Gaillards continued and were searching for a lunch site when the avalanche broke, trapping David Gaillard and Oly. The slide narrowly missed Kerry Gaillard, who searched for almost three hours before skiing back to town for help. Both skiers were wearing avalanche beacons, but hers was old and the batteries may have been weak, complicating her search.

Zavora joined the Cooke City Search and Rescue that evening to help retrieve David Gaillard’s body.

“We were here 48 hours afterward doing an investigation and there was no sign of a dog or any other life around here,” Zavora said in the video.

Return to Cooke

On Wednesday, four days after the incident, the small, stout dog showed up at the doorstep to the room at the Alpine Motel in Cooke City where the Gaillards had stayed — four miles and a couple thousand feet in elevation below where the avalanche struck.

“We’re thinking it took him that long to get out,” said Kay Whittle, owner of Antlers Lodge in Cooke City. “It’s just bizarre, really. I wouldn’t have believed it was possible.”

Whittle’s husband, Bill, drove the dog to Bozeman on Wednesday to reunite Oly with his family. Bill was also one of the members of the search and rescue team that recovered Gaillard’s body, so he said it was nice to deliver the family some happy news.

Gaillard’s daughter, 11-year-old Marguerite, was putting photos of Oly on poster board as a memorial Wednesday afternoon when news of the dog’s survival was phoned in.

“She found out when she was halfway done with that that Oly was still alive,” Gaillard’s stepdaughter, Silver Brelsford, told the Associated Press.

Brelsford said Oly was tired but doing well.

Other incidents

Oly’s ordeal, although unusual, is not without precedent. According to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, in 1966 a dog was buried in an avalanche at a Colorado ski area. Although searchers organized a probe line, they found nothing. Three days later, the dog crawled out from beneath a small tree that had apparently created an air pocket and walked back to the lodge. In the spring of 1884, a dog named Bruiser was rescued from under a bunk in a snow-filled cabin 33 days after an avalanche hit a mining camp near Aspen, Colo., and killed five men.

Dogs have also been found days after their masters were killed, but it is uncertain whether they were buried in the avalanches or not. In 2004 a dog was found six days after its owner was killed in a Colorado avalanche. In 1995 a dog survived a 1,200-foot tumble when it was swept off a Colorado peak. The avalanche killed his master.

Family request

The story of the Oly’s survival captured the attention of news agencies and people across the United States and overseas. Calls came in from Stockholm, Sweden, The Weather Channel and Fox News to The Billings Gazette seeking information.

The deluge of media interest in Oly’s story prompted the Gaillard family, who held a memorial service for David on Friday, to issue a public request:

“David’s family appreciates the tremendous outpouring of support from the community in the wake of the tragedy that claimed the life of David Gaillard. We share the surprise and delight of his dog Oly’s unexpected return. The invincible spirit of the Welsh corgi who was able to dig himself out and return after four days in the wilderness is an inspiration and a joy to all of us.

“While our family understands the media’s interest in the situation, we are focused right now on celebrating David’s life. He was a wonderful young man who made an immense contribution to the community and to regional conservation efforts. He passed away far too soon and we are deeply saddened. David’s family will not be providing further interviews and ask that the media respect that request.

“Those interested in contributing to David’s legacy are encouraged to visit Thank you.”

Lucky Cat Survives Gas Chamber Twice

Andrea the cat is proof that felines really do have nine lives, surviving the gas chamber at a Utah animal shelter not once, but twice.

Officials at West Valley City's animal shelter told The Associated Press that Andrea hadn't been adopted for 30 days when shelter officials tried to put her to death in October. She survived, so they gassed her again.

Shelter officials detected no vital signs and presumed she was dead, placing her in a plastic bag in a cooler. A later check, however, found that Andrea had vomited on herself and had hypothermia, but was still alive.

Shelter officials said they then decided to stop trying to kill the cat.

"It was just one of those things where they thought this cat obviously really wants to live," West Valley City spokesman Aaron Crim told the Salt Lake Tribune. "Let's give it a chance to find a permanent home."

Andrea has since been adopted and shelter officials are investigating why the gassing failed, according to the AP.

"She's pretty tough, obviously," Janita Coombs, a shelter volunteer who agreed to take care of Andrea told The Tribune. "She's definitely got some will to live."

Rescued: Beloved 14-Year-Old Cow
Pulled from Cold Waters
Written by Trevor Hughes -

T-Bone, a 14-year-old cow, lies on the ground surrounded by Poudre Fire Authority, Windsor Fire and Loveland Fire Departments who responded after she slipped into a cold pond at the intersection of Ketchter Road and Colorado Highway 25.

Firefighters on Friday night rescued a pet cow named T-Bone from a lake south of Fort Collins.

Veterinarians said she is doing OK after spending more than five hours in the icy water.

The 14-year-old cow walked down a steep bank of the partially frozen lake at Island Lake Marina sometime Friday afternoon and couldn't get back up.
She slid partially into the water, and her owner, Lynn Williams, spent hours trying to rescue the brown-and-white Hereford from the lake west of Interstate 25 before calling 911.

Firefighters from several departments used rope, slings and a pulley system to haul T-Bone up the steep, muddy bank and onto a nearby road, where she was attended to by veterinarians Andi Lear and Tim Holt.

They fed T-Bone intravenously and gave her some feed to munch on while firefighters swaddled her in a blue tarpaulin and pumped in hot air from a portable heater.

"Praise the Lord," Williams said as T-Bone was winched onto the road. "Come on T."

Lear and Holt said T-Bone appeared to be in relatively good shape, given her ordeal.

She sat quietly and voluntarily on the ground for at least 30 minutes, her shivering body covered by makeshift warming tent. Lear and Holt are veterinarians with Colorado State University's Veterinary Teaching Hospital.
Holt said the fact that T-Bone was sitting quietly and eating was a good sign.

"She's doing pretty good," Lear said as she fed T-Bone and wrapped the tarp a little more snugly. "She's OK now. She's had a rough day, so we're just helping her relax."

Williams said the cow is allowed to wander the area and usually stays out of trouble. She said she was amazed by the response from the local fire-rescue departments, and impressed by the way firefighters worked together to rescue T-Bone.

"She's a real old cow but she gets around pretty good," Williams said. "We love her. She's more of a pet."

Firefighters with Poudre Fire Authority, Loveland Fire Rescue and Windsor-Severance Fire Rescue worked to extricate T-Bone from the lake, with assistance from Poudre Valley Hospital EMS paramedics.

Cloning Fido:
South Korea's Dog Cloning
Industry Raises Ethical Red Flags

Danielle Tarantola missed her dog, Trouble, so much that she paid around $50,000 to have his DNA harvested to create a clone she named Double Trouble.

Three years after losing her beloved dog, Trouble, the love of Danielle Tarantola's life returned from the dead.

A new puppy she named Double Trouble is an exact genetic replica of the original, developed in a petri dish by South Korean scientists in what has become a growing, high-tech and highly-controversial, industry of dog cloning.

Cloning first entered public debate in 1996, when researchers at the Roslin Institute in Scotland successfully produced Dolly the sheep, the world's first cloned mammal. Dolly opened the door for researchers across the globe to attempt to clone other animals, and there have since been successful horse, deer, cattle, dog and cat clones.

However, the laboratory environment in which these clones are developed, the surrogate mother animals who are charged with carrying the embryo clones to term, and the resulting multiple clones that sometimes have deformities are just some of the animal welfare red flags bioethicists raise with animal cloning.

Tarantola's journey to get Double Trouble started when she was 18 and she got a lovable mutt she named Trouble. She was so enamored with her new puppy, she painted Trouble's face on a wall in her house, printed his face on her pillows and on her bedspread, and dressed him up in an elaborate costumes.

"When I got married ... I had him in a tuxedo," Tarantola said. "I loved him to death. I couldn't, no, I probably did love him more than some people who were involved in my life."

Trouble died when he was nearly 18 years old, and Tarantola was crushed.

"He was like my baby," she said. "I didn't have children, so he was basically like my son. It was terrible. It was heartbreaking."

It was then that she reached out to an animal cloning company in South Korea and the only place in the world where people can have their dogs cloned.

The cost: $100,000.

At the time, Tarantola had recently lost her job on Wall Street and convinced the company to let her pay $50,000 instead because her journey was being chronicled by TLC for an upcoming hour-long special, "I Cloned My Pet," which airs on Jan. 11 at 9 p.m. ET.

"I was willing to do it for $100,000," Tarantola said. "I got a deal."

A few months ago, Tarantola got a phone call from the company's scientists, who informed her that the surrogate mother dog carrying the embryos developed from Trouble's DNA was successfully impregnated. Weeks later, the surrogate went into labor in the middle of the night, and Tarantola watched the birth over Skype.

But not all clients are so lucky. Quite often, the clones do not survive because of abnormalities or multiple clones are successfully birthed and the client only wants one dog -- but those are just part of the reason the dog cloning business is so fiercely controversial.

John Woestendiek, the author of "Dog, Inc.," a book about the dog cloning industry, said the practice is based in South Korea because it's a country with much lower ethical standards for the treatment of dogs than is the United States.

"You can rent [dogs] from farmers for the laboratory and, hopefully, everything goes OK, return them to the farmer, but everything's not going to go OK," Woestendiek said.

Woestendiek said some of the dogs used in the cloning process as egg donors or surrogate mothers are later sent back to the farms where they are killed and eaten. In South Korea, dogs are raised on farms for their meat.

Pet Pointers: Broken Bones
By: Lisa Chelenza -

A broken bone can happen in an instant. In this edition of Pet Pointers, Lisa Chelenza explains what to do if your pet has a broken bone.

Broken bones are a scary and painful traumatic event. They can happen as the result of a pet being hit by a car or an awkward landing just playing in the back yard. Even a small dog or young kitten can be injured falling from a high place. If you hear a yelp and see your pet has been injured, get them to your vet or emergency vet clinic immediately.

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Maureen Luschini has seen lots of broken bones and tells us what steps your vet will take to treat your pet.

“First thing is to evaluate the dog’s overall health status because often times a broken leg is due to a trauma, and if they have trauma to the leg, there could be trauma elsewhere in the body. The second thing we usually do is stabilize the patient, whether that means IV fluids or pain medications. If the patient is stable then definitely pain medication is the next thing we do,” said Dr. Maureen Luschini, veterinarian.

After your pet comes home, whether you have a large or small animal, there will be more care needed with recovery taking several weeks.

“Quiet and calm, no major activity, basically lying around inside comfortable on pain medications. Go outside to go to the bathroom and then come back in, so minimum activity is required to help a fracture heal,” said Dr. Luschini.

If your vet doesn’t offer pet rehabilitation, most can recommend a pet physical therapist in your area to help your pet make a complete recovery after a serious injury.

The most important thing you can do if you think your pet has a broken bone is get them to the vet as soon as possible.

"Bella" Becomes Most Popular Name
for Both Dogs and Cats

BREA, Calif.- Holding tightly to the title of most popular name for dog lovers, "Bella" shot into the lead among feline fans for the first time in 2011. Though the "Twilight"-inspired moniker has reigned as top dog since 2009, "Bella" trumped "Max" in 2011 as the prime choice for cat owners with a lead of less than 10 frisky felines. Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI), the nation's oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance, sorted its database of more than 485,000 insured pets to determine last year's most popular pet names. Following are the top 10 most common names for dogs and cats, as well as birds and exotic pets:

The tendency toward selecting human names for pets appears to continue with nearly every name on the top 10 dog names list doubling as a popular name for people. Of the nearly half a million pets insured by VPI, only 13 were named "Fido," and just 17 came running to the name "Spot," which indicates a decrease in the popularity of traditional dog names. Though dog owners are rapidly adopting this trend, feline pet parents seem slightly more traditional with the names "Tiger" and "Tigger" lingering on the top 10 cat names list.

Charlie remained in the top spot on the birds and exotic pets list, which consists of the most popular names for feathered friends, lizards, gerbils, rabbits and other companion animals. Several new names debuted on the top 10 birds and exotics list this year including: "Buddy," "Angel," "Daisy" and "Coco."

Although "Bella" and "Max" remain among the most popular names for pets, thousands of others are donning monikers of a less conventional form, such as "Shooter Mclovin" and "Mr. Meowgi." To see some of the more creative monikers selected for VPI's Top 10 Most Unusual Pet Names of 2011, visit

Do Dogs Go to Heaven?
The Bible Isn’t Clear,
but Animal Lovers Have No Doubt
by Brett Buckner - Anniston Star

Frankie the pug dog in the backyard pet cemetery where his owner, Joy Patty, has buried three previous dogs. Photo: Bill WIlson/The Anniston Star

Jennifer Moore can’t talk about pets without mentioning Pokey.

Moore was in the fourth grade and playing at her grandmother’s house when she all but tripped over what she thought was a rock. It turned out to be a baby turtle with a tiny crack in its shell. A born animal lover, Moore convinced her mom to make an appointment with the vet to have Pokey’s shell examined.

“My sister and I nursed him back to health, putting Vaseline on his shell daily,” said the now 30-year-old Moore, who lives in Heflin. “Every week for a year, I checked out the same book on turtles at the library. I became a young expert, or so I liked to think.”

When Moore left for college, Pokey stayed with her mom. He lived in a large cage built out of an old sandbox covered with chicken wire. A heating lamp fought back the chilly winter weather. Pokey loved people, often sticking his neck out from his mended shell just so visitors could pet him.

“At times, I swore he smiled at me,” Moore remembered. “I could even yawn in front of him and he would mimic me and yawn back.”

Two years ago, Pokey died. After being Moore’s pet for 18 years, his passing was very emotional. With tears in her eyes, Moore and her husband said a prayer before burying Pokey in the backyard.

“How could something as un-cuddly as a turtle make me cry?” asked Moore, who currently has six pets, including three dogs, two cats and a new turtle named Caesar. “The answer was simple. That turtle was part of my youth. When he died, I felt a chapter of my childhood had come to an end.”

But she also felt at peace. “I knew that Pokey was in heaven.”

Ask an animal lover if pets have souls, and the response is generally swift and certain.

“To say that only humans have souls is rather species-centric,” said Susan Sullivan of Anniston, who has two dogs, eight cats and a 19-year-old king snake named Stephen Kingsnake. “Some religions think animals are actually closer to God than humans are because of their simplicity. One can certainly learn and experience the basic tenants that loving, compassionate religions teach by caring for animals.”

The Bible on animals

The Bible is noncommittal on whether animals have souls, or whether they’ll be in heaven. Genesis states that both man and animal have the breath of life, the main difference being that man is made in God’s own image, while animals are not.

The prophet Isaiah said God will include animals in the afterlife. “The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent’s food. They will neither harm nor destroy on my holy mountain, says the Lord” (Isaiah 65:25).

In the book of Revelation, the Apostle John’s vision included Christ and the armies of heaven “riding on white horses.”

There is no question that man and animal are different. But this difference doesn’t necessarily mean a distance or separation from God’s favor.

“Logos” is Greek for “word,” but in early Christian philosophy it meant much more. Basically, “logos” meant the “essence of the divine,” the part of God that did not stay with God at the creation, but that traveled down into the world.

While humans obviously use this logos more perfectly than the rest of God’s creatures, it’s important to note that, even though animals can’t give voice to the logos in the same way that humans do, that doesn’t mean they don’t share it, writes Ptolmey Tompkins in The Divine Life of Animals.

“In other words, even if animals don’t manifest the logos or essence of the divine in the form of a conscious, rational ability, this does not necessarily bar them from participation in the immortality of the divine life that so many traditions promise,” he writes.

“That’s why Saint Francis could address all animals as if they were his brothers without fear of going against the truth he found in the scriptures, and it’s why so many Eastern saints and holy people could treat animals as if they were their brethren, as well.”

The legend of Saint Francis

Saint Francis of Assisi (1182-1226) was the patron saint of ecology, nature and animals, among other things, and was the poster boy for man’s harmony with nature.

Because he truly believed that all of nature was wondrous and all creatures sacred to God, Francis introduced a new way of looking at the world, one accessible to the rich and poor.

But it’s his relationship with animals for which he is most famous. It was said that birds would quiet down and listen when he preached, and there were many tales of his ability to communicate with animals.

It’s in the spirit of Saint Francis that various churches, including Grace Episcopal Church in Anniston, host a “Blessing of the Animals” service on the Sunday before Saint Francis’ Feast Day of Oct. 4. Over the years as a priest, Grace pastor Lee Shafer has blessed everything from cats and dogs to snakes – even a hedgehog.

For Shafer, who’s had both cats and dogs, it all comes down to one thing. It’s all about love,” she said. “On every level and in every bit of scripture, it’s all about love.

“Nothing shows us how to love better than animals, because their love is unconditional. That’s what we’re saying when we bless these animals. We’re affirming that they bring us joy, and it’s our responsibility to take care of them the way they take care of us.”

Backyard graveyard

Joy Patty always knew that one day she and her husband would move to the area outside of Piedmont where she grew up.

So when two of her beloved Chinese pugs died while they were still living in Prattville, Patty buried first Tang (1983-1997), then later Rocky (1996-2004), in plastic coolers in the backyard.

Four years ago, when they bought a house on Highway 9 between White Plains and Piedmont, Patty reburied Tang and Rocky, who were soon joined by Walker (2002-2011). She added headstones for each.

Now they have only Frankie, a rescued pug they found on St. Patrick’s Day in 2008.

While Patty hasn’t given much thought as to whether animals have souls, she knows that, for a couple who never had children, those dogs were a part of her family just the same.

“People go to the cemetery to visit the people they love who’ve died,” Patty said. “It’s different going to the grave than it is just sitting in the living room thinking about them. That’s the way I feel about my dogs. I know it might sound strange to some … but I wanted them close.”

There’s no question that losing a beloved animal is cause for grief. “It’s important to honor the lives of those we love,” Shafer said. “And these animals are often family members; they deserve to be treated the same way when they die.”

Shafer has officiated at several funerals for pets. She remembers one in another state where the family placed its beloved dead cat on a satin pillow on the dining room table.

“That was kind of creepy … and over the edge,” she said.

‘In my heaven’

After the funeral service, be it a simple prayer before burial in the backyard or something more elaborate, the question lingers … what happens next?

When Barry Nicholls, veterinarian at Animal Medical Center in Anniston, tries to comfort someone who has lost a pet, he’s reminded of what a preacher/client once told him.

“The Bible said that heaven would be everything you could imagine it to be. ... Since he could not imagine his dog not being there when he went to heaven, then dogs must indeed go there when they die,” Nicholls said. “They did not cover this in vet school, so I have deferred to the preacher’s opinion.”

Patty concurs. “We’re taught that everything is going to be wonderful up there, but how could it be without the pets we love best?” she asked. “In my heaven, all my dogs will be there.”

Shih Tzu Bites Off Tip of Home Depot Greeter’s Nose

OTTAWA — A greeter at a Home Depot store in Ottawa will have scars for the rest of her life after a customer’s Shih Tzu dog bit off the tip of her nose last week.

“It isn’t that nice to see. My little girl goes, ‘Mama, I don’t like you to have a boo-boo on your nose,” Anne Riel said. “It basically will never look like it did before.”

Riel, a 39-year-old mother of two, said she was working near the doors at the Home Depot in the Ottawa community of Gloucester on Friday when a woman entered the store with a medium-sized Shih Tzu in her shopping cart.

Riel greeted the woman and bent down to pat the dog, she said.
With no warning, the dog jumped out of the cart and bit off the tip of her nose, she said.

“No sooner did I touch this dog’s head and literally bend slightly, he bit my nose almost off.”

With blood gushing from her face, Riel said she started screaming for someone to call an ambulance. Other staff members came to her aid and a manager escorted the dog owner out of the store, she said.

Paramedics, police and City of Ottawa bylaw officers came on scene and made reports, Riel said. She said the dog owner showed little interest in her injuries.

“The lady didn’t say sorry, didn’t come see me. She was basically ready to leave,” Riel said.

At the hospital, Riel said doctors stitched her skin together over the tip of her nose and reattached her left nostril to her face.

They told her scars from tooth punctures on the right side of her nose will be visible for the rest of her life, she said.

Riel said she hopes to go back to work Monday, but she’s worried about the off-putting sight of the bandages on her face.

Home Depot has signs saying no dogs are allowed in the store, Riel said. She said she wasn’t sure if the dog was on a leash, but said if it was it wasn’t being held by its owner.

Riel said the dog should be put down. “Can you imagine if it was a child? The child would have no face right now.”

On Sunday, police referred calls the city bylaw department. A city spokesman said the case is under investigation and added the animal’s owner could be charged under the city’s animal care act.

Pet Sense: Teach Cat to Use Post

Declawing your pet cat may seem like the obvious solution to prevent unsightly scratching on your furniture. But declawing is actually a painful process that removes a portion of a cat's toes, rather than just its claws. Declawing can also have a negative impact on various aspects of your cat's behavior and its health.

Before you have such an extreme surgery done on your cat, there are many alternative options to consider.

Scratching is a natural behavior for cats, and they enjoy scratching because it provides a way to establish their territory, is a good form of exercise, and it feels good to them. You can't make your cat understand through physical punishment.

Follow these simple steps to have better looking furniture and a happier kitty.

» Provide your cat with a scratching post.

» Never try to show your cat how to scratch on a post, it will make kitty wary of using it.

» Have a rough surface on the post that the kitty can work on happily shredding.

» Make sure the post is tall enough for the kitty to fully extend its body (at least 28 inches) and it must be secure. Often if a post tips over, cats will refuse to try them again.

» Sisal textile material is a perfect texture for the cat to shred (these posts can be ordered at

» Keep your kitty's scratching post even when it's shredded, cats enjoy having a "broken in" scratching area.

Initially, put the post near the areas your cat goes to scratch and keep it in an area that the family is in, not hidden away. Feed your cat and play with her by the post to encourage more comfort with the post. If you cat enjoys catnip, rub dried catnip leaves or powder on the post. Try to ensure every experience with the new scratching post is a happy one. You can hang toys from the post or drag a piece of yarn over it while your kitty attacks it (never leave kitty unsupervised with yarn or string for safety reasons). If your cat has a special sleeping spot, you might want to add a second post in that area. Cats love to scratch and stretch right after they wake up.

If your cat is still hesitant about the new post but thrilled to destroy furniture, you can discourage scratching by covering the area with aluminum foil or double-sided tape that your cat won't want to touch. You might want to purchase a scent remover from a pet supply store to encourage your cat to stay away from that area. Cats usually do not like citrus odors; using lemon-scented potpourri or sprays will make former scratching sites less appealing.

The younger your cat is when you start teaching it appropriate places to scratch, the better your chances of success. You may decrease your cat's destruction of furniture by carefully clipping the clear tip of its nails, making sure to never clip into the quick of the nail, which is very painful. You can ask your vet about the best way to clip nails or find information through a grooming salon or cat care book.

You can also put Soft Claws on your cat's nails. They are a plastic cover which slip over clipped nails to prevent scratching. The covers fall off as the nails grow out and can work up to five months to prevent scratching. Soft Claws are available at any pet supply store or by calling 800-989-2542.

The best alternative to declawing your cat is to adopt an already declawed cat. You can ensure that you have a declawed cat that won't be able to destructively scratch, you will prevent an unnecessarily painful and expensive surgery on a cat, and you will provide a home for a homeless pet.

Liz Friedenfels is manager of the Lincoln County Humane Society.

My Pet World:
 Several Explanations Likely
for Yorkie's Picky Eating Habits
By Steve Dale -

Q: We've spent a fortune on dry dog foods for our 1-1/2-year-old Yorkie, but she won't touch them. We've also tried the best canned foods. I worry because now I've resorted to cooking for this dog, even though lots of times she won't even eat what I make. I'm sick of trying to figure out what she wants. (I do know she likes chicken.) I'm tired of giving away our expensive dog food to the neighbors. Any advice?

- S.L., Cyberspace

A: Dr. Jeff Klausner, chief of medicine for Banfield Pet Hospital (, says, "If you haven't done so recently, have your dog checked by a veterinarian. For example, portosystemic shunts (abnormal vascular connections) sometimes occur in Yorkshire Terriers, and weight loss and a poor appetite can be symptoms. But assuming your dog is fine physically, somehow this dog has trained you."

Another possibility is that you're simply offering too much food for too small a dog, and she just isn't hungry.

While some dogs may be picky eaters, anorexia has never been described in otherwise healthy dogs. Klausner says manufactured food is the best choice. Particularly with small dogs, obesity is more likely to occur when they're fed home-cooked meals. Also, home cooking is typically expensive and time consuming, not to mention the difficulty of preparing a well-balanced diet for dogs. For example, a diet of only chicken would not be a good idea for your dog over the long haul.

Klausner suggests adding a touch of moist dog food to your pet's home-prepared chicken meals. If she doesn't eat the mixture within 15 minutes, pick up the food dish and try again several hours later. She might even skip eating for an entire day. Once she begins eating regularly, however, offer less home-cooked chicken and more manufactured food.
Whenever your dog refuses to eat, simply remove her food and skip the meal. Over time, she'll skip fewer and fewer meals.

Q: I made a New Year's resolution, which you helped inspire, to keep our cat, Charles, indoors. Our veterinarian agrees with you on this, and since Charles is at least 13, the vet said it would be more challenging for the cat to handle our cold winters. Since you got me to make a resolution, what is yours?

- D.A., Lagrange, Maine

A: Your decision was a wise one. Even in the country, cats must contend with many dangers outdoors. It's also true that as cats age, keeping warm in climates like yours becomes more challenging, and some of the corners they choose to stay cozy in can be deadly.

Last week, I received an email about a cat who got stuck inside a home dryer vent. Cats sometimes snuggle under car hoods as if they were electric blankets. If an unknowing driver turns on the ignition, these cats can be severely mangled.

Older cats often slow down, and when their hearing declines, the combination could mean the difference between surviving an attack or being killed by a coyote or bird of prey or crossing a street safely vs. being hit by a car.

My New Year's resolution is to use my various media platforms, including this column, to support preventive care for pets. I don't have all the answers, but during 2012, I plan to offer many perspectives on this issue.

Sadly, veterinary visits are on the decline. As a result, preventable and treatable illnesses are on the rise, including diabetes, ear infections, hookworm and dental disease. Many diseases, even some cancers, can be treated more effectively and at less cost when detected early. Prevention, of course, is far less expensive than treatment. Cats, in particular, are missing veterinary care.

A visit to a veterinarian shouldn't be an ordeal or a last-ditch effort. At the same time, veterinary medicine, in some cases, does need to be more affordable, and options like pet insurance are a part of the solution.

Write to Steve Dale at Include your name, city and state.

There's Something Fishy About This Computer:
Photographer Creates Aquariums Out of Old iMacs
By Mary Mcconnell -

When Jake Harms was told to throw away an old iMac he couldn't bear to see the sleek computer dumped on a scrapheap.

Instead, bright spark Jake decided to turn the old machine into an unusual home for his pet fish.

The 28-year-old removed the electronics inside the G3 iMac and inserted a custom-made fish tank to create the iMacquarium.

Ingenious: Jake Harms has to remove all the electrics from this iMac computer before turning it into an aquarium

At first he just built them for family and friends but now he collects old computers from scrap yards and makes up to 75 iMacquariums year, which he ships all over the world, charging £160 apiece.

Jake said: 'I couldn't bear to throw the iMac away so I just took it home figuring I could do something with it someday.

A different kettle of fish: These iMacquariums are shipped all over the world

Fishy business: One of the iMacs Jake Harms has turned into an aquarium

'Then, after some planning and experimenting I had a working iMacquarium - everyone who saw it thought it was awesome and soon I was building them for family and friends. I started collecting broken iMacs from local recyclers, invested in all of the materials and supplies I would need, and started building iMacquariums in my spare time.

'The hardest bit was making the tank inside, because the computers are not a cube shape the aquarium had to taper at the back. Also, I also had to curve the face of the tank to fit where the monitor's screen used to be o eliminate the gap that would be there if it were flat.'

Jake, from Nebraska, USA, added: 'I only build about 75 aquariums a year and I have shipped them all over the world. It's a great feeling to take something that was on its way to be trashed and transform it into something that will be admired in someone's living room or office again.

'Most iMacs I get from the recyclers are very scuffed and scratched, I usually spend about two hours buffing the scratches out and polishing them until they look as new as possible. I've received several comments on how new they look for a 10 year old machine.'

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