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 This Week on Animal Radio

Animal Radio for March 11, 2023  

Living In A Bathtub for 30 Daze
Danielle Daals, Living Like Lolita

Danielle Daals in BathtubDanielle Daals left her family in New Zealand to sit in a bathtub for 30 days in front of the Miami Seaquarium. Of course she had a good reason. She wanted people to know that Lolita the Killer Whale lived in the smallest tank in the United States.

Danielle Daals took up a 30-day ‘Living like Lolita’ bathtub challenge in Miami to protest the captivity of a killer whale named Lolita. For 30 days, the 29-year-old activist sat in a bathtub (without water) from 10am to 7pm outside Miami Seaquarium, in order to represent Lolita’s plight. She carried a poster with a picture of Lolita and the words: “Swims 100 miles per day; confined to equivalent of a bath tub.”

Danielle’s purpose was to bring awareness to a 22-foot whale Lolita, who had been nicknamed, “The World’s Loneliest Orca.” Lolita has been confined since 1970, a total of 46 years, to a 60x80x20 foot pen, the smallest whale enclosure in North America.

Lolita has been alone since her last tank-mate killed himself. The tank was too small for her and she couldn’t even dive and had no shelter from the sun.

After starting her bathtub crusade, Danielle had been receiving a lot of attention, most of it good. However, some people thought that Lolita should stay where she was.

According to Danielle, there was a really good sanctuary plan for Lolita should she be released and that she wouldn’t just be dumped back to the wild. Lolita would be transitioned into a sanctuary where she would be retrained how to hunt for herself before being released.

While Lolita, who was the oldest living Orca in captivity at that time, was around 50 years old; her mother was still in the wild at the age of 86. Orcas have a really large brain capacity, which is about 5 times the size of ours. Lolita was played her family’s vocals and she still reacted to their sounds and remembered her family.

LolitaWhen Danielle found out about Lolita and her sad, miserable, cruel life, she endeavored to sign every petition she could find in the fight for her freedom. She emailed Palace Entertainment numerous times, yet as no surprise, they never replied. She kept up to date with legal proceedings, constantly getting her hopes risen in the anticipation that they were finally getting somewhere, only to have them quickly dashed, all because Palace Entertainment was too greedy to allow her to be freed.

The one day she thought "Why doesn't someone do a demonstration and live in a bath tub for a while? That ought to gain awareness for her." The thought quickly raced to the back of her mind, as it sounded too crazy and impossible to give it any consideration. After all, she couldn't leave her child or husband and her mother and father would never allow her to do such an outrageous thing! And besides she’d never get that length of time off work. No, it was just too crazy and impossible. She was actually hoping someone else would come up with the idea and do it themselves and even waited for this someone for quite a while. Until she realized, “I am someone!”

Danielle did this because it spoke volumes not only for Lolita but all captive cetaceans, and in fact, all captive animals. Every species on this earth should have their freedom and the chance to experience love and happiness, not just the human species.

Danielle hoped that her campaign would be effective in freeing the 3.2-ton whale from captivity and reuniting her with her pod of extremely rare and endangered Southern Resident killer whales near Puget Sound, off the coast of Seattle. And if Lolita is never freed, at least Danielle wont’ be wondering if there was something she could have done.

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Pigs as Pets
Debra Jo Chiapuzio Emma Zen Foundation

Debra with Pig wearing oxygen maskThe very charismatic Debra Jo Chiapuzio is back to tell us about life with a pet pig. She says her dog thinks the swine is a yummy-treat. If you've ever considered a pig for a pet, you must hear this interview.

Baby Banks is Debra Jo's mini pig and is one lucky pig!!! She travels, swims and rides in a sidecar (#bikerpig) and in 2015 got married to a boar! Yep, her life is awesome. But there are so many pigs out there whose lives are not as blessed.

Debra Jo Chiapuzio runs a non-profit called The Emma Zen Foundation, which provides pet oxygen masks to first responders. The Emma Zen Foundation also offers an online course that provides hands-on approach to teach pet owners how to check their pet's vitals in case of an emergency, how to put a bandage or splint on an animal and how to do rescue breathing and CPR. Pet owners will also know the signs to look for in cases of bloating, choking, constipation, drowning, frostbite, heatstroke, insect bites, and what do in the case of a disaster.

Like most people, Debra Jo had a desire to own a mini pig. But unlike most people she went into it a little more educated, knowing that a mini pig could be anywhere from 150-300 pounds. Debra Jo wanted a mini pig because it is one of the only animals she didn't have growing up as child. She had horses, cows and donkeys but was lacking a pig.

She tells us that pigs are very smart and can be taught tricks like a dog. But since they are more intelligent, they can take those behaviors that are either taught or that they have naturally and link them together to get what they want. This takes a certain level of intelligence. So it is not only their large size, but also their smarts, that a lot of people end up turning them into shelters. Pigs need to use their brain every day, so if you don't provide some type of enrichment, they will create their own behaviors, which are usually unwanted.

Debra Jo claims that pigs are very clean animals. They even potty train themselves by going outside to the same place like a dog would. They also like their bedding kept clean.

Baby Banks in SidecarPigs also don't have any odors, unlike dogs do. So we had to ask - does her pig sleep in the bed with her? Surprisingly, she answered yes, "A pig in a blanket." She also states that pigs don't snore, but they do twitch in their sleep, the way a dog does when it's dreaming.

While there are many cute pictures of pigs all over the net, even with dogs, she states not to let them fool you. In the wild, pigs are prey animals and should never be left alone with a dog, even if you think your animals get along. Pigs want to challenge everyone, even people, along with the family dog and cat, just to see if they are still at the bottom of the hierarchy.

So are pigs good pets? Debra Jo states that they are only for people who are ready to take on the responsibilities for the lifetime of that animal. You must also be aware that they root. So if you want a nice yard and garden - forget about getting a pig!

After adopting Baby Banks, Debra Jo learned about all the pigs in the shelters, mainly because they are so popular again like they were in the 80's. As she mentioned, pigs are a handful, with many people giving them up after they grow too large. These pigs then end up in shelters or worse research laboratories.

Debra Jo has also started The Food Train, which purchases pig food and delivers it to the non-profit rescues that support pigs from research laboratories. They accept cash contributions and if you are located in California, blankets, beds, volunteers and veterinarian care are always needed. All donations are tax deductible, as they are an established charity. "You support, they purchase and deliver to those piggies in need!!! With your donation; the train can roll!!!!'

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What's Your Vet-iquette - How to Be a Good Veterinary Client - Dr. Debbie

Dr. Debbie WhiteSure you think your vet visits go off without a hitch, but do you know how to be a good veterinary client, the kind veterinarians rave about? Follow these suggestions to participate as a vital part of your pet's medical care, to ensure your pet gets the most efficient care and to always be greeted with beaming smiles.

Be Prepared
Before you arrive at the office with a sick pet, know your pet's ins and outs. Without a pertinent history from you, your veterinarian may need more diagnostic tests to sleuth out the answer to the problem. That takes time and can cost you more in veterinary bills.

Expect the questions your vet is likely to ask you. Has your pet been eating? What types and brand of food do you feed him? Is there diarrhea or constipation?

Bring Evidence
Nothing is more useful to your veterinarian as seeing something with her own eyes. Bring evidence like stool samples, vomited material, and medications your pet is receiving. Has your pet chewed on some unusual plant in the backyard? By all means bring a sprig of that plant.

Document video on your smart phone. This can be immensely helpful to your veterinarian to witness behaviors that may be intermittent. I've been thankful when owners bring smart phone video of seizures, separation anxiety behaviors, and respiratory ailments.

Video eliminates misinterpretation by pet owners, and can permit a quick veterinary diagnosis. Vomiting and regurgitating may look similar, but are caused by different disorders. Pets strain to defecate with both diarrhea and constipation. Inspiratory wheezing, coughing, congestion and reverse sneezing are often described similarly by owners.

Trust Valid Resources
By all means do your research in advance of your veterinary visit. Know what questions to ask. But remember that the internet is abounding with both good and blazingly incorrect information, some based on opinions and conjecture without any sound medical basis. Pet owners who value Dr. Google's opinion over their veterinarian, who has examined their pet, could put their pet's health care in jeopardy.

Confine Your Pet
Make sure your pet is secure before entering the veterinary hospital. Don't underestimate the unpredictable things pets do in a noisy, crowded waiting room. Birds fly off shoulders landing in snack zone of nearby dogs. Dogs instigate fights, and cats flee the waiting veterinary staff's arms. Pay attention to where your pet is and don't allow your pet to approach other animals without the owner's consent. Some animals are there because they are sick, and could bite in unfamiliar surroundings.

Dogs should be on a secure leash. Flexi leashes are dangerous in the veterinary hospital allowing dogs to bolt quickly toward another dog, or to entangle limbs of humans or other animals in the waiting room. Cats and exotic pets should be secured in an appropriate pet carrier.

If you have a pet that has been or could be aggressive to veterinary staff…absolutely share that information before the visit starts. Veterinarians look out for the safety of people in their employment and appreciate a heads-up in advance to avoid potential staff injury.

Cat at Vet OfficeOptimize Your Face Time
So now you are in the exam room with the doc, so make the most of it. Put the cell phone away and, by all means, don't waste time taking a phone call if medical staff is standing in front of you.

Avoid distractions that will limit your ability to communicate with your veterinarian. This might include a roomful of boisterous children or other pets. If possible, arrange child care or pet sitting so your sick pet gets prime attention and you don't miss any details of the visit.

Emergencies Happen
At the vet office, we recognize how valuable pet owner's time is and try to minimize the wait. But recognize that emergencies are unforeseen and create delays for other pet owners. Most folks understand that emergencies happen and are accommodating during situations as this.

But making a scene or outburst about your wait time, while the veterinary staff tends to a critical pet is just inconsiderate. Recognize that one day your pet could be in that same place and you would be appreciative that your pet's medical emergency was triaged ahead of the waiting routine appointments.

Don't Attack the Messenger
Emotions can run high when you have a sick or injured pet, but it isn't an excuse to be abusive to hospital staff. Obscene language and overly aggressive behavior doesn't help your pet get the care she needs, nor does it endear yourself to those people working hard for your pet's health.

Own Your Own Reality
Pet owners have the daunting responsibility for the health and well-being of pets in their care. That means accepting the level of veterinary care you can pursue, and recognizing choices if finances are limited. Pet insurance can help defer the cost of veterinary care, but there isn't government sponsored Obamacare for pets.

Don't blame your veterinarian for your pet's health maladies, or expect her to cover the costs of treatment. People in the veterinary field do what they do because they love animals, but they shouldn't be expected to take financial responsibility for everyone's pets. I once heard a veterinary colleague respond to an client's question, "Doc, why can't you just do my Sasha's surgery for free?" His response was, "Because my staff needs to get paid and my kids need shoes." Recognize that veterinary offices aren't lending institutions, but rather are small businesses with pressing bills, just as anyone.

Share Your Feedback
Share feedback with the hospital management about service excellence or shortcomings. Every hospital appreciates the opportunity to improve, or the chance to pat staff on the back.

Featured veterinarian known as "Dr. Debbie" on national pet radio program, Animal Radio. Ebook author of "Yorkshire Terriers: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend"; "Pugs: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend"; "Mini Schnauzers: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend"; and "Shih Tzu: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend." Dr. Debbie's books.

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Animal Radio News - Lori Brooks

NanoCat Trapped In a Woman's Body
You know what transgender means, but there’s a Norwegian woman who we guess would be “trans-species.” Nano, as she likes to be called, claims she was born in the wrong species and that she's actually a cat trapped in a human body! She said her personality and psychological features prove that she is more feline that human because she prefers walking around on her hands and knees to standing on two legs, and likes to sleep in sinks and window sills, despite her adult size. She also claimed she possesses a slew of catty characteristics like ultra-sharp hearing, laser night vision and fierce aversions to both dogs and water. The clincher that Nano is really a cat is seen in her You Tube video in which she says, "It's also obvious that I'm a cat when I start purring and meowing . . . Sometimes I hiss when meeting dogs in the street."

Restraining Orders Include Animals
Think of all the adults, children and pets who have been injured, maimed or even killed in some of the worst ways imaginable by the humans who are supposed to love and watch over them. When it comes to domestic violence, we, as a society, should help such people and the companion animals that share their lives to take steps to get away from their abusers. Fortunately, many states now allow judges to include pets in domestic violence protective orders which simply means someone can be ordered to have no contact with an animal owned by the person who is asking for the protective order or restraining order. On top of that, there was also a federal bill in search of congressional support to protect both animals and people. The Pets and Women’s Safety (PAWS) Act make it a crime to cross state lines to commit an act of domestic violence on a pet. Also, the grant part of the program provides support for animal shelters to offer space for the pets of people fleeing domestic violence. Offering these kinds of safe haven programs usually means finding a secret foster home and providing veterinary care over a period of months. The supporters of the PAWS program say a state’s borders will never stop abusers who mean to threaten, hurt or kill, so why not give federal prosecutors one more tool to go after domestic violence perpetrators!

JesperSled Towing Cat
A cat in Norway proved that sled towing isn't just a dog's job. If you have not seen this viral video, it shows Jesper pulling his owner along a mountain trail. But, after being towed for a while, his human mom put Jesper on her shoulder where he sat on the downhill parts of the trail so she didn't run over him with her skies. But in typical cat fashion, if the pretty orange boy didn't feel like being a sled cat, he just flat out refused, then jumped into his mom's backpack and sat there with a happy smile on his face, getting the day off.

Ear Listen to the entire Podcast of this show (#1214)

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