ANIMAL RADIO® Network Newsletter
March 2008
Programming with a Purpose
In this issue:

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    Protect your dog, your family... and your neighbourhood!
    Adult dogs who carry intestinal worm infections often show no symptoms. Yet, they continue to shed worm eggs and larvae in their feces.

    These worm eggs and larvae can survive for months even under harsh weather conditions, increasing t he worm burden in your environment ­ which presents a health threat to both dogs and humans.

    Help break the vicious cycle. Make intestinal deworming an important part of your dog's routine health care with Safe-Guard® (fenbendazole) Canine Dewormer ­ a safe** and effective way to eliminate and prevent the major intestinal worms that can infect dogs. Just sprinkle it on your dog's food for three consecutive days twice a year, for complete peace of mind!

    Visit for information on treating and preventing intestinal worms, and to sign up for our free e-mail reminder service

    * Some heartworm prevention products may not protect your dog against all types of intestinal worms.
    ** Approximately 1% of dogs had vomiting associated with this product.

    Safe-Guard is a registered trademark of Intervet Inc. or an affiliate
    © 2008 Intervet Inc. All rights reserved.


    Animal Radio® made possible by:
    Did you know that Urine Off is the #1 Vet recommended Urine Odor and Stain Remover. In fact, for the last 3 years THOUSANDS of Vets nationwide have recommended Urine Off to their clients, solving their #1 Household problem, unsightly urine odors and stains. Urine Off's professional strength formula is designed to remove odors and stains ­ even old ones, by getting down to the source of the problem and removing it permanently. Endorsed by many of the leading animal organizations, and sworn on by our thousands of loyal customers, who after using it always say the same thing: "Thanks Urine Off, finally something that works."

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    IS YOUR POOCH A GENIUS?- Simple tests to find out
    PET EMERGENCIES ON THE ROAD - 24-hour and after-hours veterinary facilities
    FELINE HEARTWORMS - A hidden and deadly threat
    MOCKING BIRDS MIMIC - But do they have their own voice?
    YEAR OF THE RAT - Consultant for Ratatouille says rodent misunderstood.

    Also in this issue:
    Shelley Morrison was the fiesty maid Rosario on Will & Grace. In real life she's a major animal advocate. "Whatever cache we have as celebrities must be used to shine light, educate and give back," she tells Animal Radio®

    Dean - The Combat Therapy Dog. Dean was deployed to Baghdad to serve as a therapy dog to the soldiers. Animal Radio® connects live to Iraq and the 64th Brigade Support Battalion.
    Listen to a LIVE STREAM of
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    Animal Radio® with Hal & Judy
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    Green Dogs for St. Patrick's Day? Don't Do It!
    St. Patrick's Day honors St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. We celebrate St. Patrick's Day on March 17, even though March 17 was not the day St. Patrick was born but the day he died. We don't know the exact date of his birth, but most scholars believe the year was 385 AD and the year of his death was 461 AD. St. Patrick is believed to have driven the snakes from Ireland.

    Americans march in parades, dance the Irish jig and gather to sing Irish songs. People wear green in memory of Ireland, the Emerald Isle and wear shamrocks, which are clovers with three leaves. All things seem to be green, from green beer to green dogs.

    But wait, while eating and drinking things are a personal choice, our dogs don't chose fto begreen. While they may look cute and some may even seem to enjoy the attention, it can actually be bad for their health.

    The ASPC "Animal Poison Control Center" views on dyeing your pet green for St. Patrick's Day is clear. Don't do it. When asked "If, under any circumstances, is it safe to dye your pet green for St. Patrick's Day?" Dr. Hansen, a veterinary toxicologist and senior vice president of ASPC's Animal Poison Control Center, replied, "When dyeing animal fur, there is always a chance that animals may not tolerate odors or residues left by these products. Further, they may not react favorably to the change in response that humans will exhibit when they encounter strangely colored pets, or they could have allergic reactions or eye irritation depending on the product formulation."

    So go ahead and indulge in all of that green fair, but please leave Fido the color he was born to be!

    This weekend on Animal Radio®

    Shelley Morrison, Will & Grace
    Shelley is an animal lover and involved with many animal charities. But what you might not guess is that Shelley Morrison has had a remarkable and fascinating forty-plus year career in show business, from co-starring in feature films with the likes of Hollywood legends Gregory Peck, William Holden and Anthony Quinn, to co-starring on one of television's most acclaimed situation comedies. Or that this talented woman of Hispanic descent, born and raised in The Bronx in New York City, whose first language was Spanish and whose parents were Spanish Jews, has embraced the spiritual tradition of the Lakota Sioux. But Shelley Morrison is better known as Rosario, the feisty maid on NBC's hit comedy series "Will and Grace."

    Morrison has also become tirelessly involved in charities close to her heart. The first, A.N.G.E.L.S Day (Animals Needing Generous Endowments of Love & Support), is an organization dedicated to help senior citizens take care of their pets in times of crisis such as during hospitalization. "One woman broke her foot and was unable to walk her dog," Morrison explains, "and we had a volunteer come every day for a year to be sure that the dog was taken care of." L.A. Shanti is another organization that Morrison has dedicated time and resources to; it was the first organization in Los Angeles founded to help those with HIV and AIDS, offering support, prevention advice and volunteer training for the last two decades. Morrison, who has survived two bouts with cancer, has also raised money for the American Cancer Society and this year led the "Sea of Pink" Survivors' Ceremony to kick off the Ninth Annual Susan G. Komen "Race for the Cure" in Los Angeles.

    Shelley is one of the special hosts of the Farm Sanctuary's Anniversary Gala, which will be a glamorous evening of entertainment and education, bringing together celebrity supporters, key legislators and animal advocates in honor of farm animals and those leading the movement to protect them from abuse.

    Hear Shelley Morrison on Animal Radio®

    Combat Therapy Dog
    Capt. Phillip Rittermeyer - Pfc. April Campbell
    Hearing a noise in the hallway, the long-nosed creature gets out of his bed on the floor and trots to the door as he searches the cool February air for a clue.

    Once he confirms the presence of friendly forces, Dean cocks his long face around to see if his companion wants to go visit the Soldiers in the hallway as much as he does. With all four limbs on the ground, Dean will certainly need the chaplain's help to open the door.

    Dean is a three-year-old black-Labrador mix and serves as a therapy dog. He deployed to Camp Taji with the Soldiers of the 64th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division Baghdad.

    Capt. Phillip Rittermeyer, a Kansas City, Mo., native, who serves as the battalion chaplain for the 64th BSB, adopted him from a shelter one month prior to the unit's deployment.

    Rittermeyer, who works with and cares for the dog, brought Dean with him to Iraq on orders to provide comfort and boost the morale of the Mountaineer Soldiers during their day-to-day activities as they operate in the northern outreaches of Baghdad province.

    "I worked with a dog previously in civilian ministry," Rittermeyer said. "They help comfort people as well as lower stress and blood pressure."

    Capt. Christi Moreno, a San Antonio native, who serves as the brigade mental health officer with 3rd BCT, also sees the benefit animals such as Dean provide to Soldiers in an environment with increased stress.

    "Animals are very therapeutic," she said. "They show unconditional love and they're not judgmental."

    When Rittermeyer must attend a meeting or preside over church services, other Mountaineer Soldiers, such as Sgt. Tasha Jackson, a Colorado Springs, Colo., native, who serves as a supply sergeant with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 64th BSB, spend time taking care of and getting to know Dean. Caring for 'man's best friend' is nothing new to this dog lover.

    "Dean reminds me of my very first dog, Raider, who I had from the time I was in second grade until a few years after high school," said Jackson.

    The loving canine helps her overcome some of the difficult times during her deployment.

    "If I'm having a down day and the chaplain brings Dean over for me to watch," she said, "it usually helps to cheer me up."

    Between teaching the playful four-legged creature how to dance and trying not to let the dog walk her when he needs to be taken out, Dean provides her with comfort, which reminds her of home, she added.

    Dean stays connected with the Soldiers by communicating his own needs or wants as well.
    "If I'm working, he'll put his head on my lap so I'll pay attention to him," she said.

    "(Animals) bring the best out of people," said Moreno. "People tend to have an inherent connection with them."

    As their deployment continues, Dean will continue his morale support operations with the Mountaineer Soldiers, often bringing smiles and an eager hand to pet his black and white fur wherever he goes.
    Hear Capt. Phillip Rittermeyer on Animal Radio®

    Hear breaking news as it happens - Animal Radio® is streaming online 24/7  Listen LIVE Now!

    Fred Willard, Back To You
    Fred Willard is an actor, comedian, writer and animal lover. He recently hosted the Canine Film Festival in San Francisco with Jane Lynch, to present the film "Best in Show, " where his improvisational performance as dog show commentator Buck Laughlin earned him the adulation of critics and an American Comedy Award for funniest performance by a supporting actor in a feature film.

    Fred and his wife live in Los Angeles where they run a weekly sketch comedy workshop. While Fred currently does not have any pets, he has been feeding homeless cats for the last 8 years, even though he is allergic to them.

    Look for Fred as Marsh McGinley in the new television comedy Back to You also starring Kelsey Grammer (Frasier) and Patricia Heaton (Everybody Loves Raymond).

    Hear Fred Willard on Animal Radio®

    Wendie Malick, Just Shoot Me
    Emmy-nominated actress Wendie Malick has starred in such television hits as "Just Shoot Me" and "Jake in Progress," but her most important role is as a devoted animal advocate in real life.

    A vegetarian and self-described animal lover, Wendie has spoken out against the use of chimpanzees in Hollywood, written legislators to ban canned hunting, and appeared in anti-fur television commercials telling consumers that compassion is the new fashion.

    She also served as a presenter at IDA's 2nd Annual Guardian Awards, as well as a presenter at the Genesis Awards, which is an annual event to honor outstanding individuals in the major media for raising awareness of animal issues presented by The Humane Society of the United States.

    Wendie tells Animal Radio® that she grew up with dogs, and in fact, states her older sister was a collie!

    Hear Wendie Malick on Animal Radio®

    Rue McClanahan, The Golden Girls
    Rue McClanahan is an Emmy Award-winning American actor, best known for her roles acting alongside Bea Arthur on the television sitcoms Maude (she played Vivian Harmon) and The Golden Girls (she played the man-crazed Southern belle Blanche Devereaux).

    A lifelong animal-rights advocate, McClanahan was one of the first celebrity supporters of PETA.

    Rue doesn't have a preference of cats or dogs, she loves them both, and currently resides in New York with her husband and her cat.

    Look for her new movie later this year where she plays Lady Rochford in "The Other Boleyn Girl," a movie about two sisters contending for the affection of King Henry VIII.
    Hear Rue McClanahan on Animal Radio®

    Is Your Pooch a Genius?
    Stacy Stubblefield,
    You can find out if your pooch is a genius with 15 simple exercises designed to entertain and challenge your pet. The Pooch IQ Kit is a first-of-its-kind tool that lets you accurately test your pooch's intelligence level while having loads of fun with your pup!

    Think you know everything about your dog's personality? Think again! Almost everyone we know who's given their pup the Pooch IQ Test has been shocked by their dog's reaction to at least one (and usually more) of the exercises. After the test is done, you'll not only be able to calculate your pup's IQ score, but you'll also understand your dog and his or her behaviors on a much deeper level.

    Inside the Pooch IQ Kit, you'll find a booklet with 15 mentally stimulating exercises for your dog and a scoring key you'll use to calculate your pup's IQ. Plus, the IQ Kit includes all the toys and props you'll need to do the exercises with your pet.

    The IQ Kit contains 15 thought-provoking exercises that test skills like:

    * Learning from Experience
    * Short-Term Memory
    * Persistence
    * Ability to See Similarities
    * Problem-Solving Skills
    * Ability to Recognize Patterns
    * Many more!

    And remember, a low score on the IQ test isn't an indicator of the quality of your dog. As long as you have a pooch that makes you happy, his/her intelligence shouldn't really matter. Plus, super-smart dogs tend to be a lot more mischievous than their peers, so be happy you don't have a pooch who can outsmart you!

    Hear Stacy Stubblefield on Animal Radio®

    2008 Year of the Rat
    Debbie Ducommun, "The Rat Lady"
    With 2008 being Year of the Rat in the Chinese calendar, rats are being celebrated for the unique qualities that make them excellent companion animals. And who knows better how to celebrate a rat than Debbie Ducommun "The Rat Lady!"

    Debbie Ducommun, known as "The Rat Lady," is internationally recognized as an expert on domestic rats. She has worked in the animal care industry for over 18 years and has a background in animal training, nutrition, and animal health care. She is the founder of The Rat Fan Club and writes, edits, and publishes The Rat Report. Ducommun has promoted rats on television and radio including appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Howie Mandel Show, To Tell The Truth and Ripley's Believe It Or Not. And, she was a technical consultant on the Pixar movie Ratatouille!

    Listen in as Debbie speaks with a caller who wants to know if rats get lonely when left alone for long periods of time? Do you know the answer?

    Hear Debbie Ducommun on Animal Radio®

    Pet Emergencies on the Road
    Cindy Halley, Pet E. R. Guide
    While this book was intended for the RV lifestyle, everyone who travels with a pet can benefit. And, if you travel with a pet, what do you do if something happens to your pet along the way? A sudden illness or a run in with wild life can put them at risk. Where do you turn when you are away from home on the road?

    This guide is a must have for anyone who travels with a pet. It is a directory of 24-hour and after-hours veterinary facilities throughout the United States. It will direct you to the nearest facility closest to you so you don't waste precious time trying to find a veterinarian in cities you are not familiar with.

    While you hope you never need it - you can't afford to be without it!

    Hear Cindy Halley on Animal Radio®

    Pet Kit
    Take some time out and create your own doggy or kitty first aid kit. If they could thank you, they would.

    Chances are, your family knows exactly which cabinet to turn to at the sight of a runny nose, a splinter, blood, or tummy ache. But when your cat or dog is in need of more than a scratch behind the ears, are you ready? Proper preparation is the best tool to arm yourself with in case of a pet emergency. A pet first aid kit is a smart, personalized, easily created resource that will prepare you to think quickly and logically. Here, The Animal Medical Center in New York shows what should be readily available now to aid in quick thinking for the future.

    It's all in the bag
    It's a good idea to put everything related to your pet's health issues in one, easily accessible bag. A clear, plastic tote is a smart option; you can place emergency numbers on the inside facing out for quick retrieval, and the flexible bag makes storage easier than a rigid box.

    Reaching out
    The most vital emergencies are the ones where you'll need outside assistance. Make sure that essential emergency numbers are the easiest to find. If you don't already have an emergency card number, write the following on an index card:

    • Animal Poison Control Contact Info
    • Your pet's regular veterinarian
    • Local Veterinary Emergency Animal Hospital Info
    • Emergency Pet Taxis (for urban areas many taxis don't allow animals)
    • Pet's health records in case your vet is not available

    The Prep Work
    You may be able to lessen the impact of an emergency by simply being well prepared. Start by buying a book on pets the knowledge you'll gain from this information may help when you really need it. Pay special attention to the list of substances commonly found in your home which are toxic to your pet. Keeping a "thumbs down" list handy will allow swift action in case of accidental ingestion. Secondly, travelers should make a copy of their pet's medical records that stay with the animal at all times, in case the vet or sitter isn't as familiar with your pet as your family. Additionally, a blanket or large towel can be a lifesaver for a cold pet, a transporter for a large dog, or a bandage for an injured or bleeding leg.

    Dr. Mom
    Many minor injuries can be self-treated with proper knowledge and equipment.

    • Tweezers: For splinter or foreign object removal
      Nail trimmer: Ask your local pet supply store for the style of trimmer right for your pet.
    • Scissors: Handy for hair clumps and foreign object tangles
    • Betadine Sponges: For cleaning of cuts and wounds, to be used with an antibacterial cleanser
    • Sterile Vaseline for eyes: If you're bathing your pet, this will prevent soap and water from getting in their eyes
    • Saline Solution: Regular human contact lens saline solution can be used with a to flush out dirt, sand, or other irritant - just squeeze the contents directly into the eye.
    • Peroxide: To only be used to induce vomiting when Animal Poison Control says to do so. You should call Animal Poison Control when your dog or cat has consumed something from the "no" list. Not to be used for cleaning wounds.
    • Triple antibiotic ointment: To place directly on a cut
    • Sterile telpha pads (no stick): Sticky bandages and fur don't mix. Wrap the wound with the pads before placing on the bandage
    • Bandages

    Remember, proper, immediate first-aid is only the first step in the treatment of a pet injury or emergency. While your intervention may prevent serious harm, you must always seek veterinary care as soon as possible to assure the best outcome for your companion.

    How Pets Can Reduce Our Stress and Anxieties
    By: Stanley Popovich
    Animals and our pets can be a great way to reduce our every day stresses and anxieties. It is not easy to deal with our fears and anxieties, however, spending time with animals can makes us feel better. Here is a list of ways of how animals can help us to better cope with our fears, anxieties, and stresses.

    Spending time with animals can be a great source of companionship. Whether you have a pet or go to your local shelter, spending time with an animal or pet can help us to feel better. Also many people talk to their pets and this can help us to get their problems out in the open. Animals can be of good company to all of us and can prevent the fear of being alone during our troubles.

    Helping animals and other people through community service can be a great way to overcome our anxieties. There are many animals out there who could benefit from your time and talents. Doing something that will help your pet or other animals can give you a source of pride and accomplishment and also can lead to possible friendships with others.

    Sitting around and accomplishing nothing will not make things any better whether its dealing with the fear of being alone or something else. Animals can help us to be active and to focus our energies on working with them instead of worrying about things that may or may not happen. This will prevent us from worrying about our current situation.

    One of the ways to manage stress is to challenge your negative thinking with positive thoughts. Animals can help us to relax and help us to focus on the good things in our lives. This will help us to focus positively on any situation. Playing with animals can help reduce our fears and anxieties in any situation.

    Animals can get our minds off of our problems. A person could do an activity with their pet or other animals that will give them a fresh perspective on things. Spending time with animals will get your mind off of the problem and give you the energy to do other things. Most importantly, playing with animals will give you the self-confidence that you can cope and that you can get through the day.

    Remember that there are many ways that animals can reduce the stresses of our every day life, however, they are not a substitute of getting professional help. If your fears and anxieties become overwhelming, then you will need to talk to a counselor. The next time you feel stressed, spend some time with your pet or other animals and you will be better able to cope with your worries.

    Stan Popovich is the author of "A Layman's Guide to Managing Fear Using Psychology, Christianity and Non Resistant Methods" - an easy to read book that presents a general overview of techniques that are effective in managing persistent fears and anxieties. For additional information go to:

    Coming Up on Animal Radio®:

    Bob Barker
    Even though Bob Barker retired from the Price is Right, he is definitely not retired! Bob has kept himself busy by helping the animals. He was involved in the removal of two elephants, Ruby from the Los Angeles Zoo and Maggie from the Anchorage, Alaska Zoo, to the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) in Northern California, where the habitat is more suitable for elephants.

    As you will recall, Bob always mentioned at the end of every Price is Right Show to "Spay or Neuter Your Pet." Now, Bob has been directly involved with the enactment of a Spay-Neuter Ordinance by the City of Los Angeles, which was signed by the Mayor the morning of February 26; as well as with AB 1634 which has been passed by the California Assembly and is to be considered by the State Senate shortly. We also just got word that House Bill 1185 is up for a vote by the Colorado State Assembly, the development of which was influenced by Bob's efforts on behalf of spay-neuter legislation in California.

    Find out what we can we expect next from Bob - this weekend on Animal Radio®

    Over Your Head (HGTV) with Eric Stromer
    Eric Stromer is the host of Over Your Head, a series that focuses on how homeowners deal with the aftermath of a renovation project gone bad. That's when Stromer's team comes to save the day.

    Eric has remodeled homes for Mel Gibson, Dylan McDermott, Elijah Woods and Jasmine Guy as well as Sally and Erv Stromer (his own mom and dad!).

    Eric tells
    Animal Radio® about his show and how one guardian contacted him after his "dog ate his yard." His Cocker spaniel evidently chewed up the drip system, dug up the plants and used the new flower beds as bed cushions. Eric came to the rescue and the dog has a new yard (which hopefully he won't destroy!).

    Is A Skunk Your Next Pet or Do You Currently Own One?
    If you are thinking of acquiring one of these animals as a pet, educate yourself and your family members on raising and living with a skunk.
    Animal Radio® discovers that skunks have unique personalities, health and dietary considerations. A baby skunk is not a puppy or a kitten, but an intelligent animal with its own set of natural actions and strange reactions!



    (rated 4 out of 5 paws)

    Doggy Java
    You share so much with you dog, why not share your morning cup of coffee? Because, regular coffee is not good for our animals (and while we are on the subject ­ is it really good for us?). Anyway, now your dog can have his own version of morning coffee.

    And, it is not just flavored water (and not a coffee product) but it also contains vitamins specially formulated for your pooch. It comes in a powdered form and all you have to add is water.

    Here is one more activity your dog can join in on. It also comes in a great kit perfect for gift-giving! And don't worry if your cat tries a cup, it will not harm him.

    See other reviews at Send products for review on-air and in this newsletter to: Animal Radio Network™ Product Reviews, 233 East 330 North, Kanab, Utah 84741. Product may not be returned. Allow 5 weeks for review.

    Animal Minute on Animal Radio®
    with Britt Savage

    Monkeys Are As Smart As College Students
    It's pretty common knowledge that some college students have more than studying on their minds. But even with all of that monkeying around, you'd think that students at Duke University would be smarter than a monkey.

    A recent study at Duke pitted two female monkeys against fourteen college students. Both were asked to solve math problems. They were shown two sets of dots on flashcards, which they had to mentally add. The humans were not allowed to count or verbalize as they worked. Surprisingly, the monkeys did about as well as the college students.

    The research pointed to the importance of language in helping humans solve more advanced calculations. Both teams were paid for the efforts. The college students received $10, and the monkeys, they got their favorite drink ­ Kool-Aid.

    Miracle Dog ­ Lab Survives With Arrow in His Body
    When the Cornelisse family adopted Remington, a 2-year-old Chocolate Labrador Retriever, little did they know he had an arrow stuck in his chest.

    The Cornelisse family had Remington for about 6 months when they noticed he wasn't acting like his normal self. He wasn't interested in playing, nor did he seem to even want to move.

    When Scott Cornelisse picked Remington up, he felt a lump in his chest, which he thought might be a broken rib. X-rays later showed that the lump was actually an arrow which had entered Remington's body under his armpit, just missing his heart. The arrow had also been there for sometime.

    The Cornelisse family was not in a position to pay for the necessary operation, but a local veterinarian volunteered to remove the arrow at no charge. "There are still Good Samaritans out there who are willing to go the extra mile," the dog's owner said.

    Remington is now in recovery and doing just fine.

    Britt Savage is a regular Animal Radio® correspondent as well as an incredibly talented musician! She can be heard daily on Animal Radio Network.LISTEN TO ANIMAL RADIO NETWORK NOW

    Veterinary Minute on Animal Radio®
    with Dr. Jim Humphries

    Feline Heartworms...A Hidden and Deadly Threat!
    Dr. Jim Humphries, Veterinary News Network
    Most cat owners don't worry about heartworm disease and fewer still use any sort of heartworm preventative. But, as veterinary scientists continue to discover, feline heartworm disease has become a severe threat to our cat companions.

    Fred Thomas is religious about giving heartworm preventative to his three dogs. On the first of every month, Fred breaks open a new package of medication and every dog gets their monthly treat. Looking over at his cat, Fred grabs the kitty treats and tosses a few to the feline member of the pack. What Fred doesn't realize is that he is leaving his cat unprotected from a deadly killer.

    Like Fred, most cat owners are unaware of this often fatal disease. Heartworm disease was found in cats as early as the beginning of the 20th century, but few cat owners or veterinarians were concerned about it. Recent studies have shown that 26% of cats from the Gulf Coast have signs of heartworm infection at some point in their lives and 10% have actual adult worms. These prevalence rates are significantly higher than rates for Feline Leukemia or for the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. Yet, according to the American Heartworm Society, only about 5% of cat owners use any sort of heartworm preventative for their cats! Like dogs, cats acquire the parasite from mosquitoes but this is when any similarity ends!

    Heartworms continually evolve to exist in their canine hosts, but cats are abnormal hosts and these heartworms will live stunted and shortened lives. You might think that this is a good thing, but due to our cat's strong immune systems, heartworms actually can cause more serious and severe disease than they do in dogs. It is not unusual for a dog to live for years with 20, 30, or even 50 worms in their heart. But a cat with a single heartworm can die suddenly, often with no apparent clinical signs whatsoever. In addition, your "inside only" kitty is just as susceptible as the outdoor tomcat.

    Upon infecting a cat, the heartworm larva will travel to the blood vessels of the heart and lungs, where it will grow to be about two inches long. At this time, cats may exhibit respiratory symptoms that are often misdiagnosed as bronchitis or asthma. Veterinary scientists studying heartworm disease in cats have given this stage of the disease a name: Heartworm Associated Respiratory Disease, or HARD.

    As the heartworms mature, signs of their presence will often diminish. In fact, evidence suggests that the live heartworms can actually suppress the cat's immune function and the cat appears to tolerate the infection. However, when the mature worms start dying, massive inflammation can occur, leading to acute lung injury and even sudden death. Your cat can literally die within an hour!

    So, what signs should you look for to keep your cat safe? Cats with heartworms may exhibit difficulty breathing, coughing, vomiting, weight loss, sudden collapse, or even sudden death. Because this disease can cause such a terrible outcome in a short period of time, your veterinarian should immediately examine any cat exhibiting these signs. Tests are available to screen for heartworm disease, but again, unlike dogs, testing cats is a complex, often confusing, endeavor. To make matters even worse, there is no effective or approved way of treating adult heartworms in cats. So prevention is really the key!

    And on that front there is good news! Heartworm preventatives are available for cats and are as easy to give as the medications designed for dogs. These preventatives are available in both oral and topical formulations and your veterinary staff can help you choose the right one for your pet. Your veterinarian can also help you make sense of heartworm testing options for your cat. Although the Heartworm Society does not mandate testing cats prior to using a preventative, it is recommended as a baseline for future reference.

    Preventing heartworm disease in cats is only one step to helping our feline friends live long and healthy lives. Twice yearly physical exams, blood tests and appropriate vaccinations can all do their part to insure your cat's health. To learn more about how heartworms can affect your cat, visit or see a video at

    Dr. Humphries is a veterinarian in Colorado Springs and the National News Director for Veterinary News Network. Hear the Veterinary Minute exclusively on Animal Radio®-LISTEN TO ANIMAL RADIO NETWORK NOW

    Ask the Cat Coach with Marilyn Krieger

    Dear Cat Coach,
    Fat is beautiful. I have a very fat cat. She is the love of my life, but she is so fat that she doesn't clean herself and doesn't use the cat box to do her business in. She was originally rescued from a shelter and now is on a diet, though I haven't seen any results. How do I get her to use the cat box? And what should I do to encourage her to move around in order for her to get down to a fighting weight?

    Dear Concerned,
    Let's encourage her to move around to help shed some of those calories! Start by having her work for her food. Instead of putting her dry food in a bowl, put it in treat balls. Treat balls are hard plastic balls with holes in it. In order to eat, she will have to bat the treat ball around so that the food drops out of the holes. You may also want to consider accustoming her to a harness or a walking jacket and taking her on short jaunts around the house. It is very important that you don't over due the walking or exercise. Build her up gradually and be very watchful of how she's responding to the activity. Interactive toys such as puzzle boxes and turbo scratchers will also keep her busy and moving around. Teaching her parlor tricks through clicker training will also up her activity level and burn calories. Before starting her on this new activity schedule, check with your vet and get his feed back.

    After cleaning up the targeted areas with a good enzyme cleaner, scrutinize the litter box situation. Make sure that you have enough boxes throughout the house that are assessable to her. The boxes need to be big. Commercial boxes are not large enough to accommodate a plus size cat. Instead, consider the large storage containers that have no top on them. If your kitty has problems jumping, consider buying the large under the bed storage containers. They are shallow and easy to jump into. Locate the boxes in different areas of the house. Whenever you see her using a box, praise her.

    Marilyn Krieger, CCBC is a Certified Cat Behavior Consultant certified through, and a member of the Board of Directors of, The International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. She can be reached for phone and on-site consultations to help solve cat behavior problems either by e-mail or by phone: 650 780 9485. Marilyn is the Cat Behaviorist for the Cat Channel, Cat Fancy Magazine's web presence . Additionally, Marilyn teaches cat behavior classes and is available for speaking engagements. You can find out more about The Cat Coach, LLC® at Copyright 2008 Marilyn Krieger, CCBC All Rights Reserved.

    For Pet's Sake with Karen Lee Stevens

    'Tis Better to Adopt than Shop
    Excuse me. Yes, you with the three tots clinging to your coat, cell phone dangling from your ear like an oversized earring. I'm over here in the cat food aisle, picking up some tasty treats and a new brush for Miss Bella. I couldn't help but notice that you're about to buy that cute little bunny rabbit who's huddled in his pen next to the equally cute little puppies for sale. Your kids are begging for the bunny. The store clerk is tapping her fingers on the counter, not so subtly urging you to hurry up and hand over your credit card.

    "Mommy, I promise to feed him every day," says your tiniest tyke, a boy who couldn't be more than four years old. Yeah, right, how many times have we heard that one before? You can't blame the little ones for their piercing pleas. After all, they're only kids. To date, their biggest life decisions have been whether to continue wearing the big-boy Pampers or climb atop the big porcelain toitee, that brass ring of the pre-school set. It's you, mommy, who needs to be the grown-up here and tell your boisterous brood that you'll get them a pet when: a) they're a little older; b) they've read up on rabbits and know exactly what's involved in caring for them; or c) they're 18 and have moved out of the house. (Just kidding on the last one, but you get the idea.)

    Instead, the kids repeatedly tug on the terrified rabbit's ears and squeal in disgust when his bladder lets loose and covers the floor with pungent pee. All that poor cringing critter wants to do is run for safety. And all you want to do is shush your kids and hightail it out of the store, four-legged purchase in tow. Of all the harebrained ideas

    If I sound hopping mad, well, I am. As an ardent animal lover and foster mom, I see all too often what happens to that furry new acquisition that has been bought on a whim at a pet store. Oh, he may spend a few months being fussed over by the family, but then one day when the novelty wears off, the bothersome bunny is banished to the backyard. And there he'll sit, day after day, month after month, waiting patiently for someone to notice him, to feed him, to love him. Finally, mom or dad wises up and realizes that they can not (or will not) continue to care for this cute cottontail. So, up goes the ad on Craigslist, where some other unwitting family may scamper over and rescue the rabbit. More than likely, though, the bunny ends up in an overcrowded shelter with other bunnies in the same boat.

    But back to my pet store predicament: Mom, you keep asking your kids if they are really willing to take care of the rabbit. Good God, mom, they've barely grasped the concept of sippy cups, let alone the importance of caring for a live animal. I guarantee you that there will be times when they will forget to feed their new pet, and on more than one occasion they will leave his cage door open. He'll escape, of course, and may dash outside to supposed freedom but because he's a domestic pet, he won't have the slightest idea how to forage for food or protect himself against predators. Mark my words, he'll become roadkill or another animal's lunch before the week is over.

    And where will that leave you? Back at the pet store, I suppose, picking out another bunny. You admitted to the store clerk that your last rabbit "ran away." Did she raise concern about this tidbit of information? Quite the contrary. She jovially said, "Well, if your other bunny returns, this one will have a friend!" So glad that someone is looking out for the welfare of the animals.

    What if, instead of buying a bunny (or puppy, kitten, bird, or hamster) from a pet store, you collected up your children and paid a visit to your local animal shelter, where they really care about animals? Trained volunteers can help you determine if your kids are ready for the responsibility of a rabbit and then help you select just the right furry friend for your family. Pet store personnel, on the other hand, are only concerned about the bucks, not the bunnies.

    Pet store mom, by choosing to adopt rather than shop, you'll not only be saving a life, but-to paraphrase that popular Jefferson Airplane song-you'll have some bunny to love.

    Karen is the founder and president of ALL FOR ANIMALS, INC., a pro-animal, educational organization based in Santa Barbara, California. You can reach her through her Web site at


    Talk With Your Animals on Animal Radio Network™
    hosted by Joy Turner Check Schedule for Airtimes

    Not "Just a Chicken"
    I receive a lot of calls from people requesting help with an animal family member being placed or moving to a new home or adjusting to their new family. These calls usually involve things like behavioral changes, eating changes, potty habit changes, along with a much longer list of "issues". People don't understand why these problems exist. After all, the humans know what's going on and why things are happening and what they expect in the future. Even people who deeply love their animal kids have these same kinds of issues. They forget that animals need to also understand what's happening to them and - most importantly - why. So they either don't think to or forget to talk with the animals about what is taking place. There are people who love their animals very much and know about communication and assume the animals will know what the humans know. People assume that everything is OK and treat the animals like they know what's happening in these types of situations. Very often, the animals don't understand what they should. They understand something very different from what is actually happening. I love to ask people how they would feel in a similar situation where they are the one who didn't know what's going on and had to either guess or try to figure out what someone else was thinking. I have yet to find anyone who would be alright not having information about what's changing in their world. Animals are the same way. They need to be talked to just like they are smaller human counterparts of the family and have things explained to them in ways they understand. It makes them feel safer, more valued. It really doesn't matter if the change is from a move, a death in the family, or any other reason. They may also need more time to "come around" to the change. There may be a need to grieve, have remorse, or any other emotion that a human might have in a similar situation. They may not want the change, agree with it or want to cooperate. These are all emotions they should be allowed just a much as you would want to be allowed the emotions you were feeling.

    Here is a wonderful example of how to be the most loving you can be to an animal - even if it is not technically "yours". As you might know, among other things, I do a radio show called Talk With Your Animals During my last few shows a caller was very concerned about a chicken who was essentially wild. Many people would not assign a chicken to the same category as a dog or cat. Luckily, this gentleman did. This chicken was important to this man even though the chicken was not "his" and was living on a neighboring property. The woman who used to live in that house moved. While she had been there, she fed and cared for the chicken. After she moved, the other people in the neighborhood fed and looked out for the chicken. The current owner of the property was not pleased with the chicken being there or people feeding her on his property and had decided it had to stop. As the neighborhood they lived in changed, it was no longer a safe place for the chicken. Instead of discounting the chicken, the man called the show to ask for help. His goal was to find the best possible place for the chicken. He wanted me to ask what she wanted and if she understood what and why her life was in turmoil. He expressed to her how important her welfare was to him and requested her help in relocating her if that was what she wanted. After a period of time seeing what her life would be like should she stay where she was, she agreed to consider possibly moving. This was quite a feat for this particular chicken as she was used to roaming free and not really having human contact, let alone being put into a crate and transported. She did not want to be caged and did not want to be killed and said she had to have the information about what, when, where, etc the new place would be like for her before she would agree to cooperate. The man got all the information she needed and we set up a game plan for her to be placed in a crate and driven to a wonderful place called Pigs for Peace Sanctuary where she would be fed, cared for and allowed to roam free including flying (some places require birds to have their wing feathers clipped so they can't fly). She agreed. On the day of the transportation, instead of having to be caught, she actually walked right into the cage. (What a wonderful display of mutual trust and understanding.) She knew what needed to be done and was willing to do it because she understood.

    After the move was accomplished, this gentleman called back to let everyone know that she was now at the sanctuary and to find out how the chicken felt about her new home. Even though it had been only a few days, she felt like she was going to enjoy her new digs after she got used to them. The chicken was very proud of herself because of how she handled the situation and was very impressed with this gentleman because of the way he cared for her. This caller continued to warm my heart because he was concerned about the fact that there were other chickens at the sanctuary with the same name. He wanted to know if she would like a new name and, if so, what she might like to be called. She was not sure because she had that name all her life. Her last request for now was that he and her lady friend come visit - which, of course, he plans to do.

    This is a wonderful example of a person opening their heart to an animal even if it is "just a chicken". The man was willing to wait as the chicken decided she would stay where she was and continued to talk with her about changes and how they would affect her without trying to force any particular decision on the chicken. Then, when she realized she could no longer stay where she was, the man got all the information she needed so she could cooperate with the relocation. This is a wonderful example of each Being treating the other like equals. It's a much kinder and, in my personal opinion, a much better way to relate. This type of interaction takes all the guess work out of changing situations for the animals and they can move forward in more peace of mind, feeling more involved, more loved, which usually means there are not the unwanted behaviors which are more common when people think of their animals as possessions or forget to let them know exactly what's going on.

    As you might imagine, living with someone who treated you like a possession is not a happy place to be for any human or animal. One of the really wonderful things about animals is they can teach us to open our hearts. They give us a safe place to learn what unconditional love is all about. As we grow and understand, we can then in turn appreciate and love more fully all our family members. Learning to communicate with animals like you would want to be communicated with is a marvelous way to learn to communicate with all living things the way you would want to be communicated with. There is no hierarchy in love. It does not matter whether you are a child, a parent, grandparent or an animal, love species dependent. It says, "Here is the situation. What do you want to do about it?" And moves from the mutual response.

    Please keep in mind that even though I am a professional in my field of talking with animals, you, too, can talk with your animals using pictures, words and feelings and speaking more slowly. Use simple words and be sure to pause often so your animal companion can integrate what you say. You'll love the experience and so will your companion.

    Until next time, I'm Joy reminding you, you can never love your animal companions too much. You can only love them, hopefully, enough.

    If you would like to schedule a private session with Joy, call 425-867-1779 or go through If you are interested in being a caller on Talk with your Animals, please email to make arrangements. Joy Turner is a regular Animal Radio® correspondent. She can be heard daily on Animal Radio Network. LISTEN TO ANIMAL RADIO NETWORK NOW

    Public Events:

    Email your events to:

    16th Annual Walk With the Animals
    Saturday, March 22, 2008
    8am to 12 noon
    Fairmont Park
    Riverside, CA

    Riverside Humane Society Pet Adoption Center presents its 16th Annual Walk With The Animals fundraiser ,with Mayor Ron Loveridge as Grand Marshal.

    Classic rock station KOLA 99.9 FM to broadcast from the event. Riverside (CA) Humane Society Pet Adoption Center (RHSPAC) presents its 16th Annual Walk With The Animals March 22 from 8 am to noon at Fairmount Park in Riverside. Grand Marshal for the two-mile walk is Riverside Mayor Ron Loveridge with his adopted dog Sundance. Proceeds will help provide care and shelter for the cats and dogs awaiting adoption at RHSPAC.

    Registration for walkers and their pets starts at 8:00; walk begins at 9:00. Walk With The Animals is free and open to the public. Participation in the walk is not required. There will be food, entertainment, animal-related exhibits, and activities for all ages. Classic rock station KOLA-FM 99.9 with Patti Banner will broadcast live from the event. Walk participants are encouraged to collect pledges to sponsor their effort.

    Rover, Get Off Her Leg! with Darlene Arden

    ASK "THE DOG EXPERT" - by Darlene Arden, Certified Animal Behavior Consultant

    Q. Dear Darlene Arden,
    Is it true that being overweight is as bad for our dogs as it is for us?
    - Lizzie

    A. Dear Lizzie,
    It certainly is! Overweight dogs are subject to the same health problems as their owners. This would include increased risk of cancer, diabetes, cardiac problems, asthma, and collapsing trachea (which is always a risk in small dogs, with or without the weight problem).

    Like us, dogs need proper diet and exercise. To tell if your dog is overweight, look down at him and see if you can see an indentation, or "waistline." If you can't, then it's likely that your dog is overweight. The best person to help you make this determination is your veterinarian. Your veterinarian can also help you put your dog on a proper diet. And remember that all training treats must be figured into the amount of food your dog consumes each day.

    If your dog isn't used to exercising, start with slow walks around the block and gradually increase the amount of walking. You can also get involved in dog sports like Freestyle, Rally-O, Agility and Frisbee to mention a few of your choices. Remember to do warm-ups and cool-downs just as you would for yourself before and after exercising.

    Dog sports are fun for you and your dog, will give you the opportunity to make new friends, bond even more closely with your dog, and help your dog stay in good condition as long as you are careful of the type of moves he's making to be sure he isn't accidentally injured.

    "Ask the Dog Expert" is a regular column by Darlene Arden. This month's column features information found in her book, "The Angell Memorial Animal Hospital Book of Wellness and Preventive Care for Dogs," (McGraw-Hill), which helps you, in concert with your veterinarian, design a wellness program based on your dog, your lifestyle and the place where you live, and "Small Dogs, Big Hearts," (Howell Book House), and the newly released, "Rover, Get Off Her Leg!" Further information may also be found on her website: Copyright 2008 by Darlene Arden. All Rights Reserved.


    \(rated 4 out of 5 paws)

    The Dangerous Book for Dogs
    By: Joe Garden, Janet Ginsburg, Chris Pauls, Anita Serwacki and Scott Sherman

    Hardcover: 208 pages
    Publisher: Villard (October, 2007)
    ISBN- 10: 0345503708
    ISBN-13: 978-0345503701

    You mainly see animal books listed as "a book your animal wants you to read." However, this book should be listed as "a book you don't want your dog to read!"

    Written (with help) by dogs for dogs this book contains everything you try and teach your dog not to do from chewing on your best shoes to making toys out of household items.

    For everyone who has loved a dog, you will probably find similar situations that you have gone through with your puppy. But I warn you - don't let this book get into the "paws" of your four-legged friend as this truly is a "dangerous book for dogs!".

    \(rated 3 and 1/2 out of 5 paws)

    Paws & Effect: The Healing Power of Dogs by Sharon Sakson

    Hardcover: 231 pages
    Publisher: Alyson Books (December 2007)
    ISBN-10: 1593500386
    ISBN-13: 978-1593500382

    It has been long known that dogs are our faithful companions, but now it has been proven that they are also our healers.

    In Paws & Effect you will find stories about dogs that can detect certain types of cancer such as ovarian; dogs that can predict seizures; and dogs that can even relieve the pain of arthritis.

    You will find documentation from academic institutions,, veterinarian offices, charitable organizations and even the military to back up threes stories.

    After reading Paws & Effect hopefully you will communicate more effectively with your animals and listen more closely when they speak.

    See other reviews at Send books and literature for review on-air and in this newsletter to: Animal Radio Network™ Book Reviews, 233 East 330 North, Kanab, Utah 84741. Product may not be returned. Allow 5 weeks for review.

    Questions to Ask Yourself Before Adopting a Pet
    Having a pet is so rewarding. It also requires some work and effort on your part. wants to help you find the right pet for you and your family. If you are considering getting a pet, first of all, please adopt. Secondly, take a second to answer the questions below before you begin your search. It will help you and the adoption counselor help choose the perfect companion for you!

    1) Do you have time for a pet? Do you have a busy lifestyle? Do you have a great many responsibilities and commitments? Do you spend a lot of time at home or are you frequently away? As with people, pets need daily love and attention. It can be time consuming to devote this daily attention of keeping a pet clean, well fed, healthy and providing daily exercise. You will also want to spend some time training your pet and socializing him.

    2) Have you considered the other pets in your home? Will they need to adjust or will they get along with your new pet?

    3) Do you want a calm, low-keyed pet or an active one?

    4) Are you permitted to and do you have room for a new pet? Do you transfer and move a great deal? Could you be moving on short notice? Do you think you would be able to look in advance to find a place that allows pets? Is there a deposit? Can you afford the deposit? Will the landlord increase your rent for each pet you have? Is there a size and/or weight requirement? Does the landlord allow only a certain number and kind of pet? What will you do if you get caught with a pet if it is not allowed? Don't forget, cats love to sun themselves in windows and dogs bark at least once in a while. All pets, no matter how small, need a place to sleep and room to roam around the house. Inside cats need to have an area for their litter box, while dogs should have fenced yards in which they can play safely.

    5) Can you afford a pet? There are basic expenses that go along with pet guardianship that must be considered. Grooming, pet food, general pet care supplies, as well as annual inoculations and license fees can add up. It can be considerably more costly if your pet has an unexpected injury or illness. If you travel, there will be boarding costs or transportation fees if your pet travels with you. It would be unfair not to be realistic when budgeting for your new pet, to ensure you are able to sufficiently and comfortably provide for it.

    6) Do you or does anyone in your family suffer from allergies? Would that person be willing to take allergy shots? (Spend a substantial amount of time with the animal in a small, confined area to verify that allergies will not be a problem, if you are not sure. Always put the safety of your family member first!)

    7) Do you have patience? No matter how well trained and behave a pet is, there will be times when accidents occur. Nobody's perfect! When a pet is brought into a new home, it needs time to adjust, it can take up to several months for your pet to become totally comfortable in its new environment. When animals are ill, just like humans, they need an extra dose of tender loving care. Can you be patient, forgiving and loving?

    **Keep in mind that while you have several options as to where to buy or adopt a pet, your local animal shelters are a great place to start. The variety of pets will assure that you find your perfect companion. Plus, you'll be saving a new best friend that really needs you.

    Pets 911 Will continue this article next month with "What to do When Your Bring Your Pet Home."

    Animal Radio® is a proud partner with Pets911! Hear about the latest Pets911 activities on-air on Animal Radio®

    Pet Talk Radio! on Animal Radio Network
    with Brian and Kaye Pickering Check Schedule for Airtimes

    G'day from down under!
    Last month we mentioned our trip to the states. We went to LA, Ventura, Las Vegas (in fact we stayed at the Monte Carlo that had that fire there last month) San Diego, Boston and New York.

    Everywhere we went we saw nice pets with very nice and very helpful people from all walks of life and no-one made fun of our accents (you guys have accents too ok!!)

    But it was New York pet owners that made us sit up and take notice. We stayed in Greenwich Village in an apartment opposite NYU. Every day in the elevator, dogs and their owners would come and go.

    No fuss ­ no yanking on leashes to control jumping dogs. Often there would be two or three at a time. No worries.

    This city full of apartment dogs and with only one minor exception (accidents happen!), we saw no evidence of forgetful owners picking up after their dogs. Even in the local parks where dogs go two, three or more times a day to 'empty' as we call it, there was no visible evidence of them having been there.

    Was it the fact it was winter ­ get out and back inside as fast as possible? Maybe, but it showed us ­ albeit from a spectators point of view, that New York dogs are probably the most socialised of all dogs anywhere.

    Here in Australia it's getting harder and harder to have dogs and cats or any pet for that matter ­ whether it be in apartments or free standing homes with backyards on a single block.

    The reason? ­ officially because of 'health and safety reasons' Some councils actually limit the number of pets to just one or two ­ after that you need a special licence.

    So why is this happening?... There are many reasons including some animal activist groups who don't want anyone to 'own' a pet.

    But we think some Aussies themselves might be partly to blame.

    A lot of Aussie pet owners simply leave their pets ­ mostly dogs ­ in the backyard and these dogs rarely get out to socialise with other dogs or people or get exposed to kids on bikes or traffic etc.

    And when they do get out they become a nuisance... jumping, barking and behaving badly or even escaping and running wild ­ so it's easier to ban something than to try and find ways of fixing it.

    Even though we didn't get to interview any New Yorkers about their pets, we spoke with several of them and certainly have a good overall picture what life is like for apartment pets. And we'll be telling our listeners what we think the secret is.

    Socialise socialise socialise your pets from as early an age as possible. Dogs especially who are used to all kinds of people, other animals, cars, bikes and young children especially, are bound to grow up 'sensibly', providing they have 'sensible' owners too.

    Ask any postman or pizza delivery guy what it's like to be bailed up by a snarling snapping schnauzer or rottweiller!

    If you have a story about socialising your pet we'd love to share it with our Aussie listeners ­ we can all learn from each other and we know they'd like to hear from you too. Just email or get in touch with Hal & Judy from Animal Radio.

    Hugs for your pets from Brian & Kaye!

    Hear Pet Talk Radio! on Animal Radio Network - LISTEN TO ANIMAL RADIO NETWORK NOW - Check schedule for showtimes.

    Voice of the Animal on Animal Radio®
    Rae Ann Kumelos Ph.D.

    ONCE UPON OUR TIME: The Fairy Tale Animal Helper
    Before time. Beyond time. Once upon a time. When we read these words, we know we are in the realm of enchantment. Narratives that begin this way are fairy tales. Fairy tales are timeless and placeless; they evoke a realm where anything is imaginable and probable. There is a pause in eternity, a spaciousness of time to a fairy tale that allows for suspension of disbelief about what is or is not possible. In the world of fairy tale, animals talk with people to inspire, guide, assist, and protect. Might this have actually happened? And, if so, is this still possible today?

    One way to interpret the fairy tale animal is as an image that conveys archetypal patterns-universal images and blueprints--that serve as reflections of our own inner nature. Marie Louise von Franz, the famous student of psychologist Carl Jung, discovered a remarkable fact about the role of the animal in fairy tales. In the many hundreds of stories she studied over the years, always on the lookout for some basic overall guidelines that could be applied to human behavior, she found only one rule for which there is no exception or contradiction: "if you do not listen to the helpful animal or bird, whatever it is, if any animal gives you advice and you don't follow it, then you are finished." Finished! It did not matter what the animal told the hero to do: lie, don't lie, fight, don't fight. What mattered was following the animal's advice. Not to do so invited certain disaster.

    As psychologists, both von Franz and Jung interpreted this remarkable finding of the role of the animal in fairy tale as embodiment of our own animal instincts. We see examples of comparing instinctual animal behavior to our own in our everyday colloquialisms: "clever as a fox;" "the eyes of a hawk;" and "horse-sense." These instinctual and psychological perspectives hold value; they give us a language of analogy that is implicitly understood in our culture. Yet, they do seem to privilege human beings over our animal companions. What about the actual physical presence of a fox, hawk, or horse? Is their appearance or companionship in our lives reduced only to observing their instinctual characteristics for guidance in our actions? Does that mean that if I happen to see a fox in my backyard, I am to assume she is telling me to be clever and cunning in whatever I happen to be doing? Is this what the role of the animal helper in fairy tale meant?

    That is one possibility. Another idea comes from the world of the shaman. The mythologist Joseph Campbell called the shaman a "walker of worlds between ordinary and non-ordinary reality." Shamans see the universe and all of the creatures in it as part of an interconnected web of life, or whole, based upon their own experiences within that web of life. A shaman's spirit journey into another realm allows him or her to directly experience the web of life and a mystical unity with all of nature. It is while in this intentional trance state that the shaman meets up with his animal spirit guide, in fairy-tale language, an animal helper, who in turn guides him/her in some area that will elevate and inspire his soul, and through him, enriches his community. In the fairy-tale world, this guidance and inspiration eventually culminates in a 'happily-ever-after' ending.

    We see this shamanic 'walking between two worlds' motif in tales when the hero is out in a forest and suddenly finds himself in a timeless Otherworld, usually inhabited with talking animals that help him in his quest. (In Celtic tales, if these animals are white with red ears, then one knows they are in the land of faerie). In the Cinderella fairy tale, which is a story found in cultures all over the world, we see Cinderella traveling back and forth between the otherworldly realm of the magical ball and her mundane life in the cinder-ashes. In the Disney movie of this timeless tale, the version we in America are most familiar with, rats and lizards are transformed into horsemen and footmen who ferry Cinderella back and forth between the two worlds. In the Irish version, Cinderella is assisted by a tortoise-shell cat who gives her all she needs. The Egyptian Cinderella's wishes are granted from a tree that grows on the grave of her pet animal. In all these versions, she is helped by her animal friends. Might Cinderella be a shamaness, dancing between the realms in slippers of rainbowed glass, her various animal helpers partners on her enchanted dance card? We all know what it is like when we are engaged in an activity we love and lose all sense of time; it is magical. At that place and space, are we perhaps walking in the Otherworld of fairy tale? Might we be able, like Cinderella, to enjoy an enchanted Otherworldly state where we too can ask our animal friends for wisdom and guidance?

    Maybe so. I do like the idea because Cinderella's Otherworld brings us a little closer to appreciating the animals that live with us in this world. Here is one more lens through which to view the fairy tale animal helper: dreams. Scholars speculate that fairy tales may have come from nighttime dreams in which a person was helped by an animal; the next morning over the day's chores, trips to the local well, or in gatherings with the royal court, the dream was then recounted, perhaps as fact, and a fairy tale was born. Today, in modern-day dream work when the focus is on the animal dreams of the individual, it is not just for the instinctual 'horse-sense' reasoning the animal brings, but to hear the actual voice of the animal in the dream. Just what is it that polar bear, tiger, lizard, dolphin, or ladybug is trying to tell you? In a harried and hurried society where we often do not take the time to pay attention to the natural world, whether it is the presence of our own cats and dogs, or the appearance of the fox in the backyard, our dreams can act as a radio through which other voices are broadcast. It is one place where we let go of the craziness of a busy day long enough for us to hear the wisdom and guidance of the animals. And, the animals need us to hear them, for their message and wisdom lies mute until the dream is engaged. And from that engagement-something we can actually do through journals, meditation, active imagination, even discussion over our modern-day wells and royal courts, the office water cooler--will emerge stories and images of divine guidance and inspiration in a fairy tale narrative to carry us back and forth between the otherworld of dream and into our waking lives.

    Whether we choose to believe that the animal helpers of fairy tale are purely instinctual parts of the psyche, that they actually exist in the timeless realm of the Otherworld, or that they speak to us through our nighttime dreams, one fact remains consistent: their message is essential to our individual and collective well-being. Once upon our time, we can choose to follow in the dance steps of our fairy tale heroes and heroines. We too can choose to engage and embrace the four-footed, crawling, swimming, and winged helpers that consistently envelop and protect us in a timeless weave of inspired grace. And that is no fairy tale.

    Visit us at to hear more stories and to order CD's of Voice of the Animal programs. Copyright ­ 2008 ­ Voice of the Animal. Rae Ann Kumelos is a regular Animal Radio® correspondent. She can be heard daily on Animal Radio Network. LISTEN TO ANIMAL RADIO NETWORK NOW

    Ask the Bird Folks with Mike O'Connor

    Dear Bird Folks,
    Here is a question that I'll bet you've never been asked before. Mockingbirds are great at mimicking the calls of other birds, but what does their real voice sound like? Do they actually have their own voice or are all of their vocalizations a copy of some other bird?
    - Melissa, Avon, MA

    Don't bet, Melissa,

    I wouldn't bet that I haven't been asked this question before. Last year a third grade school teacher asked me the same question. The question was put to her by one of her students and she came to me looking for the answer. Unfortunately, the teacher couldn't remember the student's name, so I wasn't able to use it in a column until now, thanks to you. You get credit for asking the question, but it's not a new one; therefore, you would have lost the bet. And believe me, after this last Super Bowl, I know all about losing bets. Grrr.

    Even though this bird is typically found south of Canada, it is still called a Northern Mockingbird. The reason for the "northern" part of the name is that there are several species of mockingbirds living in the Americas, with the bulk of them living further south of the Northern Mockingbirds' range. One species, the Chalk-browed Mockingbird, which looks as dull as it sounds, can be found as far south as Argentina. In fact, most mockers are fairly dull-looking. But beauty isn't what these birds are all about. With their vast array of vocal skills mockers don't need to waste their time on growing fancy-colored feathers. They leave the colorful stuff for the tone-deaf birds.

    Like Rich Little of the last century, or perhaps Frank Caliendo of this one, mockingbirds are masters at imitating the voices of others. Some mockers have been known to incorporate several hundred different calls into their songs. Most of these calls are borrowed from other birds, but they also may imitate the sounds of barking dogs, chirping insects or squeaky doors. And we are not talking cheesy Vegas imitations here. Mockingbirds, with their little bird brains, are able to formulate superb imitations that are dead-on like the original. Mockers are quite often able to fool experienced bird watchers, who, in theory, have much larger brains. More than one birder has gone running off to see a particular bird only to come back mumbling something about a %#$%!#?! mockingbird. Even sonagrams produced by sophisticated machines can't tell which is the original and which is the impostor. Yet, mockingbirds are rarely good enough to fool the real owners of the call, which is a good thing. The last thing a male mockingbird wants is to attract every available female wren, blackbird, or cardinal and have to explain that he likes them, but he only wants to be friends.

    Even with all of their vast ability to learn many different songs, calls and sounds, mockingbirds have their limits. They don't seem to be able to master complicated birdsongs and they may only learn simple snippets from long songs. I think mockingbirds are a lot like us in this ability. Most of us can sing short parts of many songs but, with the exception perhaps of Happy Birthday to You and One Hundred Bottles of Beer on the Wall, most us can't sing an entire song. However, unlike us, mockingbirds don't sing for pleasure or to help pass the time on a long bus ride. They sing to impress the ladies. A male mockingbird that sings the loudest, the longest and with the greatest variety of sounds has the best chance of attracting a mate. And let's face it, mate attraction is much more important than passing time on a long bus ride.

    The vast assortment of songs that mockers use to attract a mate are made up in part, if not entirely, of songs lifted from other sources. But in addition to their songs, mockingbirds also have an assortment of call notes, which are different from songs. Call notes are used to communicate information. Mockingbirds have series of raspy "chur" and "chuck" sounds that they use to warn of danger or to alert their chicks when they bring them food. They also have aggressive scolding sounds that they use when driving out predators or chasing away other mockingbirds that have intruded into their territory. These nonmusical sounds are probably the real voice of the mockingbird. They are specific to them and aren't stolen from some other bird species. I guess if all you can say with your real voice is "chur" and "chuck," it's a good reason to imitate others. Hmm, I wonder if Rich Little has the same problem.

    What a mockingbird's real voice sounds like is a very good question, Melissa, and you shouldn't feel that it isn't just because a third grade kid has already asked it. Third graders are much more advanced than when I was in school. We never studied about birds back then. The only thing I remember learning in third grade was how to hold scissors, how to tie my shoes and, of course, the words to One Hundred Bottles of Beer on the Wall. I definitely don't think I was in the advanced class.

    Besides being a frequent guest on Animal Radio® - Mike O'Connor is the owner of the Bird Watcher's General Store on Cape Cod, which opened in 1983 as one of the first stores in the United States dedicated solely to birding. His column, Ask the Bird Folks, appears weekly in The Cape Codder, The Register, The Harwich Oracle, and The Upper Cape Codder newspapers, and his writing was included in the Best American Science and Nature Writing 2004. Copyright 2007 by Mike O'Connor. All Rights Reserved.

    Reader and Listener Comments:


    To Whom It May Concern:

    I felt a bit nauseated after reading the comparison of Hillary to a Pit Bull (Animal Radio® February Newsletter). I am not a supported of Mrs. Clinton however I do support Pit Bulls, the most maligned breed on the face of this earth. I have raised 3 children with American Pit Bull Terriers and am helping raise my little grandson with one. Pit Bulls were very popular pets in the 1800's and early 1900's. Times have changed but they remain stable, loyal, loving and to this day score very high on temperament test. According to The American Temperament Test Society pit bulls consistently rate higher every year than many common "family" dogs, including the Golden Retriever and Greyhound. You can go to and see the test results of all breeds.

    I have attached a picture of Roxie, my Pit Bull and my grandson dressed in their Halloween costumes. As you can see my dog is a huge part of our family, she is 5 years old and NEVER attacked anybody or anything. She sleeps with two cats every night. Unlike the myth propagated by the mass media, human aggression is NOT a problem specific to the breed and they are NOT attack dogs!

    While the idea behind the piece was fun, it was terribly written and not well thought out. Most of all it was inaccurate, I was not impressed and felt a bit insulted for Pit Bulls and their owners everywhere.

    Thank you,
    Tammy Townsend

    Dear Animal Radio:

    We thoroughly enjoyed this month's newsletter article on the presidential candidates and comparison to their respective breeds. And we especially enjoyed the Russian Dog Wizard's take on it. I'm sure you've seen this week's latest pick to come from the Obama camp - appealing to the pet-lovers nationwide. Thanks! Remy Florence


    If you would like to tell Animal Radio® how you keep the peace in bed, or have any other comments, call toll-free 866-405-8405 or email


    Final Thoughts:

    Who's a "Copycat"? Where did that "coin of phrase" come from?
    Certainly, not from any respectable cat with dignity. Although it's been said, to copy or mimic is the highest form of flattery, maybe the human species would do well to copy or mimic others who seem to possess the art of living to it's purrfection or at least to a degree of higher standards.

    You know....sniff around more. Be fully aware of your environment and surroundings.

    Take an eye- opening look at nature. Watch the birds and squirrels. Study how they save and horde for rainy days.

    Exercise in ways you never thought of. There's a lot to be said for jumping to catch butterflies or running from bees and other flying insects.

    I, myself have perfected this small but dynamic form of getting in shape.

    Every bee I encounter has me running and jumping in place, or even out of the house till I am breathless. So this action is good for the lungs as well. My cats always inform me if a bee is in our territory, as I am sure they get a big kick from watching "much to do about nothing".

    S T R E E E E E E E T C your cat. Get on your hands and knees. Lower the front torso to the ground, point the rear upward and

    WOW! This takes all the kinks from your back. You will have a feeling of wellbeing and contentment.

    When feeling bored, stressed or for no particular reason, just find the nearest, soft, place to curl in a ball (this is why the above stretching exercise is so important) and dose off for a bit or the whole rest of the day or night.

    After the rejuvenating nap, it will be time for a nice meal to pick at. No need to gorge your self, as there will be nibbling later. It's best to eat less in more intervals throughout the day and night. This will keep you svelt and able to leap tall furniture or shelving. Even the top of the refrigerator will be attainable. Then you can have the ability to view your territory.

    Tips & Advice from "Secrets of Cat Attitude Revealed" A Cat's Step-By-Step Living Advice by Carolyn Bartz


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