October 14th 2006


Doggone Crazy!
Teresa Lewin
Doggone Crazy! A game that teaches kids and families how to read dog body language and be safe around dogs. Players race around the board collecting bones. For ages 4 and up. 4-6 players. One player with 3rd grade reading skills required. Takes about 40 minutes to play with 4 players The Clicker Puppy DVD shows children teaching young puppies using clicker training. See how fast puppies can learn with no physical correction and no leashes with this all-positive hands-off approach to training. The techniques shown are easy and gentle enough for children and puppies and powerful enough for anyone and any age of dog.

Also listen in as Teresa gives more great information on dog body language, for both children and adults.



Scoop Free Cat "Horror Stories" Halloween Contest
Lucky Litter LLC, maker of the ScoopFree™ automatic litter box that you can leave alone for up to 30 days per cat, and Animal Radio
® are marking the Halloween season by kicking off a contest seeking the best "horror story" in which your cat lost one of his nine lives.

"This contest is in the playful spirit of the scary stories told around the campfire," said Alan J. Cook, president of Lucky Litter. "We want to hear your favorite story on how your feline proved that cats indeed have nine lives."

Share your cat's story and enter the contest, which runs through Oct. 31, by visiting www.scoopfree.com/contest. Please include a picture of you and your cat with your entry.

Winners, to be announced by Nov. 17, will receive a free ScoopFree automatic litter box or a case of six ScoopFree Litter Tray Cartridges if they already own a ScoopFree. The contest is not valid where prohibited by law.

ScoopFree is available at selected PetSmart stores and can be purchased online at PetSmart.com, Target.com, Amazon.com and Costco.com. For more information on this major innovation in cat care, visit www.scoopfree.com


Scoop Free / Animal Radio Horror Stories Contest

Rudy and the Garbage Disposal
This is the story of the night my ten-year-old cat, Rudy, got his head stuck in the garbage disposal. I knew at the time that the experience would be funny if the cat survived, so let me tell you right up front that he's fine. Getting him out wasn't easy, though, and the process included numerous home remedies, a plumber, two cops, an emergency overnight veterinary clinic, a case of mistaken identity, five hours of panic, and fifteen minutes of fame.

First, some background. My husband, Rich, and I had just returned from a five-day spring-break vacation in the Cayman Islands, where I had been sick as a dog the whole time, trying to convince myself that if I had to feel lousy, it was better to do it in paradise. We had arrived home at 9 p.m., a day and a half later than we had planned because of airline problems. I still had illness-related vertigo and because of the flight delays had not been able to prepare the class I was supposed to teach at 8:40 the next morning. I sat down at my desk to think about William Carlos Williams, and around ten o'clock I heard Rich hollering something indecipherable from the kitchen. As I raced out to see what was wrong, I saw Rich frantically rooting around under the kitchen sink, and Rudy -- or, rather, Rudy's headless body -- scrambling around in the sink, his claws clicking in panic on the metal. Rich had just ground up the skin of some smoked salmon in the garbage disposal, and when he left the room, Rudy (whom we always did call a pinhead) had gone in after it.

It is very disturbing to see the headless body of your cat in the sink. This is an animal that I have slept with nightly for ten years, who burrows under the covers and purrs against my side, and who now looked like a desperate, fur-covered turkey carcass, set to defrost in the sink while it's still alive and kicking. It was also disturbing to see Rich, Mr. Calm-in-an-Emergency, at his wits end, trying to soothe Rudy, trying to undo the garbage disposal, failing at both, and basically freaking out. Adding to the chaos was Rudy's twin brother Lowell, also upset, racing around in circles, jumping onto the kitchen counter and alternately licking Rudy's butt for comfort and biting it out of fear. Clearly, I had to do something.

First we tried to ease Rudy out of the disposal by lubricating his head and neck. We tried Johnson's baby shampoo (kept on hand for my nieces' visits) and butter-flavored Crisco: both failed, and a now-greasy Rudy kept struggling. Rich then decided to take apart the garbage disposal, which was a good idea, but he couldn't do it. Turns out, the thing is constructed like a metal onion: you peel off one layer and another one appears, with Rudy's head still buried deep inside, stuck in a hard plastic collar. My job during this process was to sit on the kitchen counter petting Rudy, trying to calm him, with the room spinning (vertigo), Lowell howling (he's part Siamese), and Rich clattering around with tools.

When all our efforts failed, we sought professional help. I called our regular plumber, who actually called me back quickly, even at 11 o'clock at night (thanks, Dave). He talked Rich through further layers of disposal dismantling, but still we couldn't reach Rudy. I called the 1-800 number for Insinkerator (no response), a pest removal service that advertises 24-hour service (no response), an all-night emergency veterinary clinic (who had no experience in this matter, and so, no advice), and finally, in desperation, 911. I could see that Rudy's normally pink paw pads were turning blue. The fire department, I figured, gets cats out of trees; maybe they could get one out of a garbage disposal.

The dispatcher had other ideas and offered to send over two policemen. This suggestion gave me pause. I'm from the sixties, and even if I am currently a fine upstanding citizen, I had never considered calling the cops and asking them to come to my house, on purpose. I resisted the suggestion, but the dispatcher was adamant: "They'll help you out," he said.

The cops arrived close to midnight and turned out to be quite nice. More importantly, they were also able to think rationally, which we were not. They were, of course, quite astonished by the situation: "I've never seen anything like this," Officer Mike kept saying. (The unusual circumstances helped us get quickly on a first-name basis with our cops.) Officer Tom, who expressed immediate sympathy for our plight -- "I've had cats all my life," he said, comfortingly -- also had an idea. Evidently we needed a certain tool, a tiny, circular rotating saw, that could cut through the heavy plastic flange encircling Rudy's neck without hurting Rudy, and Officer Tom happened to own one. "I live just five minutes from here," he said; "I'll go get it." He soon returned, and the three of them -- Rich and the two policemen -- got under the sink together to cut through the garbage disposal. I sat on the counter, holding Rudy and trying not to succumb to the surreal-ness of the scene, with the weird middle-of-the-night lighting, the room's occasional spinning, Lowell's spooky sound effects, an apparently headless cat in my sink and six disembodied legs poking out from under it. One good thing came of this: the guys did manage to get the bottom off of the disposal, so we could now see Rudy's face and knew he could breathe. But they couldn't cut the flange without risking the cat. Stumped.

Officer Tom had another idea. "You know," he said, "I think the reason we can't get him out is the angle of his head and body. If we could just get the sink out and lay it on its side, Ill bet we could slip him out." That sounded like a good idea at this point. ANYTHING would have sounded like a good idea, and as it turned out, Officer Mike runs a plumbing business on weekends; he knew how to take out the sink! Again they went to work, the three pairs of legs sticking out from under the sink surrounded by an ever-increasing pile of tools and sink parts. They cut the electrical supply, capped off the plumbing lines, unfastened the metal clamps, unscrewed all the pipes, and about an hour later, voila! the sink was lifted gently out of the countertop, with one guy holding the garbage disposal (which contained Rudy's head) up close to the sink (which contained Rudy's body). We laid the sink on its side, but even at this more favorable removal angle, Rudy stayed stuck.

Officer Tom's radio beeped, calling him away on some kind of real police business. As he was leaving, though, he had another good idea: "You know," he said, "I don't think we can get him out while he's struggling so much. We need to get the cat sedated. If he were limp, we could slide him out." And off he went, regretfully, a cat lover still worried about Rudy. The remaining three of us decided that getting Rudy sedated was a good idea, but Rich and I were new to the area. We knew that the overnight emergency veterinary clinic was only a few minutes away, but we didn't know exactly how to get there. "I know where it is!" declared Officer Mike. "Follow me!" So Mike got into his patrol car, Rich got into the driver's seat of our car, and I got into the back, carrying the kitchen sink, what was left of the garbage disposal, and Rudy. It was now about 2:00 a.m. We followed Officer Mike for a few blocks when I decided to put my hand into the garbage disposal to pet Rudy's face, hoping I could comfort him. Instead, my sweet, gentle bedfellow chomped down on my finger hard, really hard, and wouldn't let go. My scream reflex kicked into gear, and I couldn't stop the noise. Rich slammed on the brakes, hollering "What? What happened? Should I stop?", checking us out in the rearview mirror. "No," I managed to get out between screams, "just keep driving. Rudy's biting me, but we've got to get to the vet. Just go!" Rich turned his attention back to the road, where Officer Mike took a turn we hadn't expected, and we followed. After a few minutes Rudy let go, and as I stopped screaming, I looked up to discover that we were wandering aimlessly through an industrial park, in and out of empty parking lots, past little streets that didn't look at all familiar. "Where's he taking us?" I asked. "We should have been there ten minutes ago!" Rich was as mystified as I was, but all we knew to do was follow the police car until, finally, he pulled into a church parking lot and we pulled up next to him. As Rich rolled down the window to ask, "Mike, where are we going?", the cop, who was not Mike, rolled down his window and asked, "Why are you following me?" Once Rich and I recovered from our shock at having tailed the wrong cop car and the policeman from his pique at being stalked, he led us quickly to the emergency vet, where Mike greeted us by holding open the door, exclaiming "Where were you guys???"

It was lucky that Mike got to the vet's ahead of us, because we hadn't thought to call and warn them about what was coming. (Clearly, by this time we weren't really thinking at all.) We brought in the kitchen sink containing Rudy and the garbage disposal containing his head, and the clinic staff was ready. They took his temperature (which was down 10 degrees) and his oxygen level (which was half of normal), and the vet declared: "This cat is in serious shock. We've got to sedate him and get him out of there immediately." When I asked if it was OK to sedate a cat in shock, the vet said grimly, "We don't have a choice." With that, he injected the cat; Rudy went limp; and the vet squeezed about half a tube of K-Y jelly onto the cat's neck and pulled him free. Then the whole team jumped into "code blue" mode. (I know this from watching a lot of ER.) They laid Rudy on a cart, where one person hooked up IV fluids, another put little socks on his paws ("You'd be amazed how much heat they lose through their pads," she said), one covered him with hot water bottles and a blanket, and another took a blow-dryer to warm up Rudy's now very gunky head. The fur on his head dried in stiff little spikes, making him look rather pathetically punk as he lay there, limp and motionless. At this point they sent Rich, Mike, and me to sit in the waiting room while they tried to bring Rudy back to life. I told Mike he didn't have to stay, but he just stood there, shaking his head. "I've never seen anything like this," he said again. At about 3 a.m, the vet came in to tell us that the prognosis was good for a full recovery. They needed to keep Rudy overnight to re-hydrate him and give him something for the brain swelling they assumed he had, but if all went well, we could take him home the following night. Just in time to hear the good news, Officer Tom rushed in, finished with his real police work and concerned about Rudy. I figured that once this ordeal was over and Rudy was home safely, I would have to re-think my position on the police.

Rich and I got back home about 3:30. We hadn't unpacked from our trip, I was still intermittently dizzy, and I still hadn't prepared my 8:40 class. "I need a vacation," I said, and while I called the office to leave a message canceling my class, Rich made us a pitcher of martinis.

I slept late the next day and then badgered the vet about Rudy's condition until he said that Rudy could come home later that day. I was working on the suitcases when the phone rang. "Hi, this is Steve Huskey from the Norristown Times-Herald," a voice told me. "Listen, I was just going through the police blotter from last night. Mostly it's the usual stuff breaking and entering, petty theft but there's this one item. Um, do you have a cat?" So I told Steve the whole story, which interested him. A couple hours later he called back to say that his editor was interested, too; did I have a picture of Rudy? The next day Rudy was front-page news, under the ridiculous headline "Catch of the Day Lands Cat in Hot Water."

There were some noteworthy repercussions to the newspaper article. Mr. Huskey had somehow inferred that I called 911 because I thought Rich, my husband, was going into shock, although how he concluded this from my comment that "his pads were turning blue," I don't quite understand. So the first thing I had to do was call Rich at work Rich, who had worked tirelessly to free Rudy -- and swear that I had been misquoted. When I arrived at work myself, I was famous; people had been calling my secretary all morning to inquire about Rudy's health. When I called our regular vet (whom I had met only once) to make a follow-up appointment for Rudy, the receptionist asked, "Is this the famous Rudy's mother?" When I brought my car in for routine maintenance a few days later, Dave, my mechanic, said, "We read about your cat. Is he OK?" When I called a tree surgeon about my dying red oak, he asked if I knew the person on that street whose cat had been in the garbage disposal. And when I went to get my hair cut, the shampoo person told me the funny story her grandma had read in the paper, about a cat who got stuck in the garbage disposal. Even today, over a year later, people ask about Rudy, whom a 9-year-old neighbor had always called "the Adventure Cat" because he used to climb on the roof of her house and peer in the second-story window at her.

I don't know what the moral of this story is, but I do know that this "adventure" cost me $1100 in emergency vet bills, follow-up vet care, new sink, new plumbing, new electrical wiring, and new garbage disposal, one with a cover. The vet can no longer say he's seen everything but the kitchen sink. I wanted to thank Officers Tom and Mike by giving them gift certificates to the local hardware store, but was told that they couldn't accept gifts, that I would put them in a bad position if I tried. So I wrote a letter to the Police Chief praising their good deeds and sent individual thank-you notes to Tom and Mike, complete with pictures of Rudy, so they could see what he looks like with his head on. And Rudy, whom we originally got for free (or so we thought), still sleeps with me under the covers on cold nights and unaccountably, he still sometimes prowls the sink, hoping for fish.


Untreated Illnesses Lead to Behavior Problems
Dr. Jim Humphries, Veterinary News Network
Suppose you have an older cat with an undiagnosed allergy to fleas. One fleabite leads to a constant itching for several days. Suppose this same cat also suffers from arthritis, which causes a chronic dull pain and prevents jumping onto high surfaces. On a day when this poor cat is particularly itchy and in pain, a four-year-old neighborhood boy visits and demonstrates a tenacious liking to the cat. This normally tolerant, friendly cat bites the boy after thirty minutes of persistent harassment. On another day, this cat may have jumped on to the top of the refrigerator to escape the attention of the annoying child, but today his hips hurt and he's feeling particularly irritable after days of itchy skin. So he hisses at the boy, and when that doesn't work, he bites.

Physical health has a bearing on animal behavior just as it does in people. Undiagnosed and untreated medical conditions can lead to behavior problems. Pets cannot tell us when they're feeling ill. So sometimes misbehavior is the first indication of a health problem. Get your veterinarian involved at the early onset of behavior problems. Before assuming that the problem is a training issue, you should schedule your pet for a good thorough physical exam and possible some tests


Dog, Family Reunited After Nearly 5 Years
Britt Savage
A couple says they are thrilled to have their dog back nearly five years after it disappeared.

Holly and Troy Webb said they thought the worst when Gidget, their Lhasa apso, ran away in 2001.

"We thought maybe she got hurt or something, but nobody called or anything like that," said Holly Webb.

But the South Bend Animal Control officials called the Webbs last week, saying they found the dog, still wearing the collar and tags she had on when she disappeared. The dog was found tied to animal control's front door, the Webbs were told.

"When I saw her, it was like seeing a ghost," Troy Webb said.

Gidget, missing for four years and seven months, is now 12 or 13 years old. She came home with matted fur and moves a bit slower but was otherwise all right, the Webbs said.

"If she just wants to be a lap dog, that's fine with me, too," said Troy Webb.
The Webbs said they believe someone had their dog. She had been fed but not groomed.


Solve the Mystery of Your Cat's Behavior
Vicky Halls, How to be a Cat Detective
Many cat owners cope with mysterious and often destructive behavior problems from their pets. But now, Vicky Halls has taken her sleuthing techniques and made them available to everyone.

One of the most problem mysteries is when a cat won't use the litterbox. If your cat won't use his litter box you need to go back to the basics. Just because you picked out the litter, as well as picking out the location, doesn't mean that your cat will agree. Sometimes they want their box placed in a more private location, or may just want the cover removed.

If you cat has always used his litter but now goes besides the box, perhaps he never liked it in the first place and sudden stress, brought on by any changes in the household, have made him decide that he isn't going to tolerate it any more.

You may also find litter problems with cats that have been declawed. Because their claws and "knuckles" have been removed, it can sometimes be painful to use litter. You may find these cats urinating in smooth places, such as a sink or bathtub, where they don't have to scratch any litter.


"Undo" The Damage We Inflict on Our Pets
Dr. Anyes Van Volkenburgh, "Loving Your Pet to Health"
Do you know that we cause damage to our pets by exposing them to stress, city life and problems like smog, pollution and noise? Our cats and dogs (and other animals as well) are so enmeshed in our hectic, busy lives, that they cannot help but absorb all the stress and worry we experience. But the good thins is, we can undo that damage by learning how to mediate with our pets.

Dr. Van Volkenburgh is based in Malibu, CA and has become known as a vet who heals animals that other health care providers believe are too far gone. She is a pet psychic and an intuitive healer. She combines her extensive knowledge of animals and veterinary medicine with her psychic and intuitive gifts to create her own unique method of healing. Your animal's mind, body and soul are considered by Dr. Van Volkenburgh in her Loving Your Pets to Health CD series. These CDS will help bring awareness and new understanding about natural healing for pets. These programs deliver the best of meditation and visualization exercises to promote optimal health, wellness, and healing of various conditions found in domestic pets of all kinds.

So, bring out your CD player, grab your pet, and sit back for and relax.

Talk With Your Animals
Joy Turner
Joy speaks with Chase, who is unhappy when left home alone and destroys his guardians personal belongings.


Migration - Frequent Travel Miles for Birds
Rae Ann Kumelos, Voice of the Animal
Just think of all the things you need to take with you when you travel on an airplane. Imagine being a bird and relying only on the power of your two wings to propel you across an ocean or continent. Discover how we can learn a thing or two from the birds when it comes to traveling from north to south and back again every year.


Winner of Animal Radio's Summer Giveaway
Congratulations to Bob Favor and his dog Leo from South Lake Tahoe on winning the Summer Giveaway. Bob entered and won the contest by sending in his used ink cartridges. See what Bob and Leo won.




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