Animal Radio® Network Newsletter August 2009

In this issue:

  • This actor's cat is in therapy
  • Free vacations - what's the catch?
  • Do you live in the most friendly dog city?
  • If you think your home is the safest place for your pet - guess again!
  • An unusual cat and dog duo
  • Just because it's natural doesn't mean it's good for your pet
  • Animal Radio's Summer Giveaway is back!


Jay Thomas

You may remember actor Jay Thomas from Mr. Holland’s Opus, Mork & Mindy or Cheers.  But his biggest role was the Best Man at Hal’s many weddings!  Jay was a smart "Best Man," as he always saved the receipts for any wedding gifts he bought Hal! 

We ask Jay the question we have been asking many of our listeners:  Do you let your pet in the bed with you?  Jay states that he has always had either a cat or a dog in the bed with him and his wife over the last 20 years.   And to make a long story short, I believe his cat is now undergoing therapy!

Jay is a big animal lover and is a fan of flies.  Yes, flies!  He feels they provide a service.  If he finds one in his home, he will actually take it outside.  When asked how he catches them - Jay states using a hand-held vac is a great way to catch and release them.  It is also a fun form of entertainment!

Jay currently hosts The Jay Thomas Show M-TH 3pm - 6pm on Sirius XM Stars Too (SIRIUS channel 108, XM channel 139).  Also look for Jay in his upcoming move, “Pool Boy” which will be out in mid-August. 

Listen to Jay Thomas on Animal Radio®


Volunteer Vacations

Dena Jones World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA)

On your next vacation you could be feeding sick or injured wildlife at a sanctuary in Namibia, patrolling a beach in Costa Rica to protect sea turtle nests, or assisting a vet with animal treatments in Mongolia.

If you are worried about the environment and your carbon footprint, you can give something back when you travel.

Numerous opportunities exist for individuals, couples and families who want to volunteer some of their vacation time helping animals. To find a volunteer opportunity, you can contact one of the many non-profit recruiting agencies that specialize in international volunteer work, or you can make your own arrangements through the individual organizations offering volunteer assignments.

A volunteer vacation can be free or cost several thousand dollars depending on the type of accommodation and services provided (some offer local tours and recreational activities, some don’t). Generally, lodging and food is included in the fee but flight costs are extra. Vacation volunteering for animals can be done in as little as a day to as long as a year, but regardless of the length of service, the memories and satisfaction gained are guaranteed to last a lifetime!

Following are some of the opportunities available for those who wish to volunteer for animals while on vacation:

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Argentina - Wildlife Sanctuary and Rehabilitation Center

Brazil - Pink River Dolphin Conservation

Cambodia - Sanctuary for Rescued Bears

Costa Rica - Animal Rescue Center or Turtle Conservation Project

Galapagos Giant Tortoise Conservation Project

Greece - Stray Dog Project or Turtle Conservation Project

Guatemala - No-Kill Animal Shelter or Wildlife Rescue and

India - Animal Rescue

Kenya - Elephant Sanctuary or Monkey Conservation Project

Mexico - Veterinary Hospital Project or Animal Shelter

Mongolia - Veterinary Medicine Project

Panama - Leatherback Turtle Conservation Project

Peru - Rainforest Wildlife Reserve

Romania - Bear Sanctuary

South Africa - Monkey Rehabilitation Center or Animal Care Project

Spain - Chimp Rescue and Rehabilitation Center

Sri Lanka - Elephant Orphanage

Thailand - Animal Sanctuary or Langur Conservation Project

United States - Farm Sanctuary

US Virgin Islands  - Animal Care Center of St John, Inc

Zimbabwe - Black Rhino and Elephant Conservation Project

Listen to Dena Jones on Animal Radio®



Animal Radio's Summer Giveaway

It’s back!  Animal Radio’s Summer Giveaway for 2009 and you can enter as many times as you would like before September 30th.

This year’s Grand Package includes items from Celestron, the world’s leading designer and manufacturer of high quality optical products, with the Regal 65F-ED Spotting Scope; Bissell, with the Life-Off Revolution Pet Vac; Automated Pet Care Products, with the Litter-Robot; Disney, with the Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park passes; and recently added from SCS from the Disney G-Force movie which opened on July 25th, plush characters, t-shirts and trading cards.

The five runner-ups can win packages, which include the Outland Waterproof Binoculars from Celestron; the Pet Hair Eraser Corded Handheld Vacuum Cleaner from Bissell; and the  "UP" DVD, Leapfrog Reading System and "UP" Leapfrog Storybook from Disney-Pixar.

You may enter as many times as you want, but no more than 5 times a day prior to September 30, 2009. This contest is open to US residents 18 and over. Winner is responsible for all taxes on prize packages. Winners will be announced on Animal Radio® and notified by email or telephone. You may also enter by sending us a postcard with the requested information to Animal Radio -Summer-end Giveaway, P.O. Box 197, Shandon, CA. 93461. A complete list of rules is available at the Animal Radio Network™ Studios.

What are you waiting for?  Get entered now!


10 Most Dog Friendly Cities


Thinking of heading out of town for a little R&R, but don't want to leave your pup behind? Save the money and guilt that would have been spent boarding your dog in a kennel, stop worrying about who you can call to pop in to your house to take your dog for a walk, and plan a vacation that both you and your dog can enjoy. has released its annual list of dog-friendly U.S. cities to visit, with San Francisco topping the list for their better than average amenities like dog-friendly beaches and recreational areas, restaurants that allow your dog to hang out on the patio with you while you eat, and pet-friendly hotels. Whichever city you choose, you can bet that you will have a great time, and you won't have to Photoshop your dog into any of the pictures this year!

#1 San Francisco, CA
A transportation-friendly kind of town, you can take your dog on the cable cars with you to visit the waterside, where you will find plenty of pet-friendly patio restaurants. Lots of beaches and parks for you and your doggy to have fun, and don't miss the Golden Gate Bridge, one of America's celebrated man-made wonders, where you can take your dog along to share the lovely view of the colorful, hilly city.

#2 Austin, TX
Spend the afternoon at one of Austin's off-leash parks and then take your dog on a chill walk along the water to see the Congress Street bats take flight at sunset before heading to one of the dog-friendly outdoor cafes in the neighborhood.

#3 Boston, MA
When you don't feel like driving and parking, take your leashed dog onto the subway with you. Then relax and watch the world go by as you hop from place to place in this historic city by the bay. Visit the Freedom Trail, and see where one of America's most famous protests took place at Boston Harbor.

#4 Northern Virginia, VA
Take your dog out on the water on a fun Canine Cruise. Plus, you'll never go hungry again with a great choice of dog-friendly restaurants in Alexandria. If you still have plenty of time in your schedule for some historical sightseeing, you can ramble over to nearby Washington, DC.

#5 Portland, OR
First thing's first. The beginning of any vacation should start with a relaxing drink, and the Lucky Labrador is just the place to serve it up. The Lucky Lab has three fresh brew locations that you and your pup can check out while you're in town. Plus, make sure to visit the well-known Rose Gardens and the Saturday Outdoor Market.

#6 Charleston, SC
See this historic town in all its glory. Charleston has a number of tours that you can take your dog along to, including the Boone Hall and Magnolia Plantations. Or you can go on a ghost tour (don't forget the Scooby snacks!), and wind down after a night of fright with a day of fun at the beach.

#7 Chicago, IL
Take advantage of this gorgeous city on the water by taking your dog on a Canine Cruise, or just hang out and be amused at Navy Pier. And you'll have plenty of culinary delights to choose from with Chicago's dog welcoming patio restaurants.

#8 San Diego, CA
Take your dog shopping with you at the Otay Ranch Town Center and hang out at the dog park after, go hiking or take your dog to one of the friendly beaches.

#9 New York, NY
Dog-friendly luxury hotels, Central Park, lower Manhattan, and the Brooklyn Bridge. Walk 'till you can't walk no more!

#10 Ann Arbor, MI
Dog-friendly canoeing, gardens, and farms, and don't miss Nichols Arboretum, the 123-acre botanical collection at the University of Michigan.

By Victoria Heuer of PetMD

DogTime's mission has always been about helping dogs, specifically keeping them happy, well-behaved, and in good homes by providing straightforward information to the humans who love them. Save a Dog is DogTime's brand-new Facebook application--and the only one leveraging social media to help real dogs in need of homes. With Save a Dog, we're taking the effort a step further by actually supplying needed resources to shelters and the volunteers who run them. The way it works is simple. Once you install the Save a Dog application, you earn points by simply selecting one of the actions presented (for example, "foster a dog" or "walk your dog").  For every 2500 points you earn, Dogtime donates the financial equivalent of a cup of food to Here's the great part: It's free to use. The only thing you spend is a moment of your time. And yep, you're helping to save real dogs.

Visit Animal Radio® partner



Dr. Jim Humphries - Veterinary Minute

Indoor Dangers to Pets

We assume our homes are the safest places for our pets.  When in fact, potentially fatal dangers lurk on countertops, inside cabinets and behind closed doors and grow inside planters.  

Pet owners often do not realize that dogs can crush and open any childproof prescription vial.  This highlights the fact that poison proofing a home for a dog requires even more attention to detail than for a toddler.   And remember that only flea and tick products labeled for cats can be safely used on cats.  Mistakes have been deadly. 

In 2005, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center managed over 100,000 cases involving animals exposed to just about every substance imaginable.   Veterinarians are now working with the AVMA to help educate people about the potential hazards that may be present in their pet’s everyday environment. 

Pet owners should be aware of substances and objects that can sicken pets.  From pennies and plants to human prescriptions, and helps pet owners reduce or eliminate pet access and exposure to health threats.  For more information, visit the ASPCA Poison Control website, at

Listen to Dr. Humphries on Animal Radio®



On Animal Radio® this month


Animal Radio® has been asking their listeners whether or not they let their pets sleep in the bed with them. We have received many responses both in phone calls and emails.  It seems the biggest problem occurs when one of the partners wants the pets in the bed and the other doesn't.   One listener said if he gave his wife an ultimatum, he would be the one kicked to the curb.  Also, what do you do during those "special" moments?   A caller actually admitted that they go to a hotel! When actor Jay Thomas appeared as a guest, we had to ask him the same question.  I won't go into details here, but he does let his cats sleep in the bed and now I believe they are in therapy!  Do you have a funny story about your pets in the bed?  If so, we want to hear from you!  Call us at 866-405-8405 or email us at

Michael Vick has been in the news a lot lately. You may remember him as the NFL player who was convicted with the crime of dog fighting.  Michael Vick has served 23 months in prison and was recently released from federal custody. While in the NFL, Vick had a multi-million dollar contract.  The question on everyone's mind now is whether or not he should be allowed back in the NFL.  Ed Sayres, President of the ASPCA, states that “Regardless, Mr. Vick most decidedly deserves to be employed. However, the question isn’t whether he deserves to earn a livelihood. The question is whether Mr. Vick should be able to re-join the ranks of the elite athletes in the NFL."   The athletes in the NFL are viewed as heroes and role models and he now feels that Vick doesn't fit that mold.  What do you think?  Most people will be seeking a cut-and-dried answer to the question of whether Mr. Vick should be allowed to return - this is the challenge that awaits NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Do you think Michael Vick be allowed back in the NFL?  We want to hear from you!  Call us at 866-405-8405 or email us at

The summer's not over yet and there is still plenty of time to travel, and if you travel with your pets, you want to make sure that you have access to your pet's medical records.  Susan Sims of Fido Friendly Magazine, speaks with John Underwood of Check Your Paws who has created the Pawpass, a digital ID tag which replaces your pets traditional tag.   No more printing and making copies of your pet's medical records.  You can store and update all of your pet's medical records in one place and view your pet's medical records immediately.  Tune in to hear how you can win one of these Pawpasses for your pet!


HOW TO LISTEN to Animal Radio®:

-XM Satellite Radio ch. 158 Saturdays at Noon eastern - and again on Sundays at 5pm eastern.

-On any of the 90+ AM-FM Radio Stations including KOST 103.5 Los Angeles.

-Download the weekly two-hour Podcast from iTunes or



Plagued by Skunks

Vinnie Penn, Animal Radio's Resident Party Animal


I’m back once again because all of you have demanded it by sending emails saying that there should be a TV show titled Vinnie Penn’s Animal Radio.  Everyone is saying that they want my segment extended to a full half hour long… all right, no one’s emailing me in this regard.  But you can email me at

Okay, this week’s topic is a true story with no exaggeration.  We’ve been having a problem in my neighborhood for the last couple of summers being plagued by skunks.  We’ve been having a real skunk problem.  The stench of them from just firing off their skunk “lasers” in the middle of the night can wake you from a sound sleep at 3:00 in the morning.  I even set traps.  I hate to do, I don’t want to harm anything, but I plead the 5th or just say it naivety, but I had someone come out and set a trap.  I have two small children and the stench was waking us up every night. 

Lo and behold one day a couple of weeks ago I heard “Ker-plunk” in the middle of the day in the pool in the backyard.  I look out, and the skunk has fallen in the pool in the middle of the day, which suggests rabies. Am I right or is that an urban myth?  Is that a wives tail?  I heard that if you see a skunk or a raccoon in the middle of the day, since they are nocturnal creatures, they could be rabid.   I don’t know if that is urban myth or not, but he falls into the pool.   I’m an animal lover, but I just stand there and think this is it, this is how it’s going to have to end, I’m just going to have to let him go this way.  But I couldn’t take it.  I couldn’t take being in the house when there’s an animal splishing and splashing around in my pool. 

So I went and I told my wife that we had finally resolved the skunk issue and that it was in the pool right now.  She said, “What!” and looked at me kind of funny.  And I said, “I know, I hate that it has to wind up this way.  But, it’s finally going to solve the issue of this skunk who had been terrorizing the neighborhood.” 

So I just left the room and didn’t think anything of it, when all of a sudden I heard the sliding glass door open and close.  I looked out the window and my wife is out there with the pool skimmer, true story, and fishes the big, fat, stinky skunk out of our pool.

Now, there’s a part of me that’s livid, because this issue had been going on for three summers and it was finally resolved.  But, she’s fishing it out.   So I’m thinking, I just want to see that tail come up on this rabid skunk and just blast her, because then she’d have to take a bath in tomato juice (which would actually be kind of sexy to me, but I’m into some strange stuff!). 

And lo and behold, it was strange, it was like she dropped it off in the lawn and the skunk was like Pepé LePew or something, and just looked at her as if to say “Emm, thank yeew, my Cherié” and then gave her a wink.  I think I saw the skunk wink!  And then he took off. 

How would you feel if this skunk was plaguing your neighborhood, fell into a neighbor’s pool and the issue could have finally been resolved and some “Little House on the Prairie Housewife” had to save it with a pool skimmer?  You let me know!


Listen to Vinnie Penn on Animal Radio®



The Cheetah and the Golden Retriever

Janet Rose, Trainer - San Diego Wild Animal Park

You’ve probably heard the expression “fighting like cats and dogs.”  Well, it doesn’t apply to this unusual cat and dog duo! 

We speak with trainer, Janet Rose from the San Diego Wild Animal Park, to get the scoop.   She states that they currently are on their third cheetah and dog pair.  The first pairing was done many years ago with a young cheetah named Arusha and a Golden Retriever named Anna.   One of the conditions when the cheetah first arrived at the zoo was that he had to be provided a canine companion.

Many people wonder why the cheetah doesn’t eat the dog!

The reason why they foster this relationship is that cheetah’s are not an aggressive cat nor a dominant predator.  When it comes to “fight or flight” a cheetah can outrun everything, as they can run 70 miles per hour.   The cheetah, however, is a nervous animal.  They think that someone or something is out to get them around every corner.   By putting them together with a dog, the dog actually serves as a comfort source for the cheetah.

They develop a lifelong relationship and curl up and sleep together.  They play together.  The only thing they don’t do together is eat together – not because the cheetah would eat the dog’s food, but the dog would eat the cheetah’s food! 

While they do have a developed relationship, they are not together 24 hours.  There are times when the dog is out of the enclosure, perhaps walking with a trainer around the zoo.  This way, the cheetah gets used to the times when the dog is not around and he doesn’t get separation anxiety. 

They try to start with both a young cheetah and a young dog.   The dogs are adopted from shelters.   All of this is important to bring exposure to the zoo to help bring awareness that the cheetah is an endangered species.

Listen to Janet Rose on Animal Radio®



Are Natural Remedies Safe?

Doc Halligan

Just because something is natural doesn’t mean it’s good for your pet.  Herbs and plants can be a wonderful addition to your pet’s diet, but they can also be toxic.  Veterinarian Karen Halligan shares her wisdom on the subject here.

Although they aren’t recognized as drugs, herbal and natural remedies are used for a drug-like effect. Therefore, they can potentially cause the same adverse reactions that prescription drugs can cause, including allergic reactions and interference with other prescription and/or herbal medications. Just because the label says “natural” or “herbal” doesn’t mean it’s safe to give to your cat or dog. Keep in mind that some extremely dangerous substances are natural. For instance, cyanide and arsenic are natural compounds that are certainly lethal. If cats chew on white willow bark, they essentially get aspirin in its natural form, which can be toxic.

You need to be cautious when using herbs if your dog or cat is on prescription medication such as steroids, cardiac drugs, diuretics, central nervous system drugs, hormones, antibiotics, diabetic drugs, chemotherapy agents, bronchodilators, or aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication. Pets with kidney, heart, autoimmune, liver, or thyroid disease can have serious short-term or long-term reactions to herbs. Herbs that may cause interactions with certain drugs include aloe, garlic, ginger, ginseng, ginkgo, St. John’s wort, and many Chinese herbal combinations.

Common herbs that are potentially dangerous for use in animals include:

    * Pennyroyal oil

    * White willow bark

    * Garlic

    * Tea tree (melaleuca) oil

    * Comfrey

    * Ma huang (ephedra)

    * Coltsfoot

    * Borage

    * Hops

    * Oil of wintergreen

    * Citrus oil

    * Several species of eupatorium

Here’s a summary of tips to help you make the right decisions about giving supplements to your pet.

    * Talk with your veterinarian before adding anything to your pet’s diet. Your vet can guide you and give you an objective opinion on the effectiveness, safety, and toxicity potential of the supplements.

    * Read labels and avoid products that make outrageous claims. Chances are, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Beware of product labels that make wild claims to cure disease.

    * Always give recommended doses.

    * Don’t forget to tell your vet about any supplement you’re adding to your pet’s diet, especially if your pet is being treated for a medical condition.

    * Always choose a reputable company, check out the manufacturer’s reputation, and look for quality ingredients.

    * Call the manufacturer and ask questions.

    * Avoid high levels of supplementation of any single nutrient unless prescribed by your vet.

    * Be cautious of terms like “natural,” “holistic,” “wholesome,” and “organic.”

    * Be sure to check with your vet about discontinuing all natural remedies two weeks prior to surgery.

    * Cats tend to be much more sensitive than dogs and should never be given supplements without the advice of a vet.

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My Year Of Competing Dusty, The World’s Least Likely Agility Dog

Robert Rodi – Dogged Pursuit

Robert Rodi had previously trained a Sheltie for agility, who was a natural.  She has since retired and Robert was looking for a new Sheltie.  He went to a Sheltie rescue and saw many dogs who were “go getters” and possible candidates.  He then saw Dusty, whom who called a misanthropic, sociopathic fear biter, who had been lingering on their adoption list forever.

Robert’s heart got the better of his head and he took Dusty home and tried to go ahead with his original plan.  Comparing Dusty to his previous agility dog, he says it was like going from a Ferrari to a tricycle! Not only that, he says Dusty is a strange looking Sheltie and looks like Willie Coyote.

Despite the odds, Robert was determined to tame his unlikely partner and take him all the way to the pros.   Dogged Pursuit follows a year spent of this crazy owner-pet relationship – the victories, defeats and roster of hilarious characters they meet along the way!

You can now follow Dusty’s pursuit on his twitter page

Listen to Robert Rodi on Animal Radio®


If you could feed your dog the best - this is the food you would feed your furry-friend.

Official food of Animal Radio's Ladybug!


A Date With Butterflies By Karen Lee Stevens

I have been thinking about butterflies a lot lately. Perhaps it’s because everywhere I look—from the card I purchased for a friend’s birthday to the cover photo of Dr. Wayne Dyer’s book, “Inspiration”—images of beautiful butterflies abound.

Butterflies also make an appearance in Julia Cameron’s book, “Finding Water: The Art of Perseverance.” In the third installment of this best selling trilogy, which gives readers simple tools to get their creative juices flowing, Cameron reflects: “The softly folding brightly colored wings, like tiny stained-glass windows….feed our inner artist, awakening a sense of wonder.” Cameron encourages all artists—whether they are writers, poets, sculptors, painters or musicians—to spend an hour or an afternoon…..with themselves. No spouses, significant others, friends, or children are allowed on an “Artist Date,” a term coined by Cameron to describe an artist’s solo journey, where the goal is to get in touch with their intuitive, spiritual selves.

On a recent “May Gray” afternoon, after a particularly demanding week of deadlines and the sudden demise of my computer monitor, I decided to heed Cameron’s advice and take myself on an Artist Date. I chose the Museum of Natural History as my destination for I knew that here, tucked among the majestic oak trees, I would find solace and serenity at the Butterflies Alive! exhibit.

My heart began to flutter as I entered the pavilion and gazed in awe at hundreds of colorful creatures flitting about. Knowledgeable volunteers pointed out several species such as the iridescent blue Pipevine Swallowtail and the Zebra Longwing, with splashes of bold yellow stripes on its wings. And of course, there was the Monarch, perhaps the most well-known of the butterfly family. Easily recognizable by its orange and black wing pattern, I noticed that several had alighted on a large plate of thinly sliced oranges and watermelon, a veritable smorgasbord to tempt the butterfly palate. Butterflies, I learned, use their proboscises like straws to sip liquid from the fruit. They also drink the nectar from a multitude of plants, such as the aptly-named butterfly bushes. During my self-guided tour, I also learned that the Endangered Species Act currently protects 13 species of the California butterfly and that, in 2003, two additional species—the Hermes Copper and the Thorne’s Hairsterak—were imperiled by wildfires that devastated their habitat.

Delving further into the study of this interesting and inspiring insect, I discovered that, throughout history, the butterfly has been seen as the personification of a person’s soul. One Japanese superstition suggests that if a butterfly enters your guestroom and perches behind a bamboo screen, the person whom you love is coming to see you. In Chinese culture, two butterflies flying together are a symbol of love. In yet other cultures, the butterfly symbolizes rebirth into a new life after being inside a cocoon. And of course, there’s the proverbial “butterflies in the stomach,” which denotes nervousness or excitement. I have often heard of butterflies that have touched people’s lives by bringing a message from someone who has died or by giving a feeling of peace by the simple act of alighting on an outstretched finger.

I left the exhibit feeling relaxed and reflective and better equipped to tackle a large writing project. As a writer, I’m continually searching for that elusive word, sentence or paragraph that will entertain as well as educate my readers. Outings such as the one I took to the museum allow me to replenish my supply of images and ignite my imagination. Now, when I am at a loss for words, I need only dip my quill into my inner well and a wealth of words spill forth. Like the delicate butterfly who seeks nourishment from nectar, I drink deeply from this source of inspiration and open myself up to the wonder of the world around me. I spread my wings and begin to write.

If you haven’t been out on the town lately, Karen suggests going out—with yourself—to the Butterflies Alive! exhibit, on display now through September 21, 2009 at the Museum of Natural History in Santa Barbara. Visit for more information and be sure to email Karen at to let her know all about your date. For more of Karen’s columns, visit


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Animal Radio's Dream Team of ExpertsListen to Animal Radio® every weekend on 90+ AM-FM stations. Click for airtimes in your city. Animal Radio® also airs twice weekly on XM Satellite Radio channel 158.

We're live Saturday 12 noon eastern and re-broadcast Sunday 5pm eastern. You may call our Dream Team to ask your pet-related questions - toll free at 1-866-405-8405. You may also find emails for everyone at

Animal Radio's Dream Team: Executive Producer Judy Francis, Host Hal Abrams, Vladae the World Famous Dog Wizard, Animal Radio® Vet Dr. Debbie White, Animal Communicator Joy Turner, Comedian Vinnie Penn, Musician Britt Savage, Dr. Jim Humphries, Animal Radio® News Dir. Bobbie Hill and Fido Friendly's Susan Sims.

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