Animal Radio® Network Newsletter May 2009

In this issue:

  • Naming diseases after animals can have disastrous results
  • Eating the family pet for dinner is not recommended!
  • Top 10 Cat Friendly Cities
  • What Recession? Red Boswell turns dog poop into gold!
  • Blown-away Chihuahua reunited with owners

A note from the editor: As the Swine Flu dominates the news, all of us at Animal Radio® are concerned how it affects the animals, most especially the pigs. The media is in a frenzy and many are overreacting with irrational drive. Several countries are slaughtering hundreds of pigs simply becuase of their namesake. While we can share this virus with swine, it is believed to be a young child in Mexico who started this pandemic. The child has recovered. No pigs are to blame for the current pandemic. The Pork industry has launched a major campaign to rename the bug 'H1N1' so that's profits won't suffer from the stigma associated with the virus. While we continue to cover this important news story, it is key that you're aware of the facts and how it can affect you and your pets, even your pig. Please keep up to date at with the latest developments.


Animals and Disease: What’s in a Name?

By Rae Ann Kumelos, Ph.D., Voice of the Animal

Swine Flu –Bird Flu- Mad Cow- Horse Flu – Dog Flu. Have you noticed how these diseases are named after an animal?  All of them, whether affecting humans or animals, are awful. Yet, there is an alarming consequence to naming a disease after an animal, because it often results in unnecessary and unwarranted fear of the animal.

The current outbreak of the “Swine Flu” virus has produced news articles that show photos of pigs under headlines that read “Killer Swine.” The result? People are terrified of pigs and all pig products. The National Pork Producers Council is currently experiencing plummeting sales of pork, and they are lobbying heavily to educate people that direct contact with swine (living or packaged…..) is not the cause of this virus  (actually, studies show that the horrific conditions inherent in factory farms are the cause of the outbreak). Lobbying efforts have paid off for the National Pork Producers; this strain of flu now has a new name: H1N1.  But in the minds of the public, the association of pigs to this strain of flu is set. People will now associate pigs with flu, in the same way that only a year ago, headlines that read, “Killer Bird Flu: Only a Breath Away,” terrified people of all winged creatures.

The scientific name for Mad Cow disease is Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE); it is a horrible malady that affects the central nervous system of cows, and can be passed on to people if that cow enters the human food chain. But how did the disease affect cows to begin with?  BSE is caused by feeding ground up dead cows to living cows. Cows are herbivores – they do not eat meat – and they certainly do not eat other cows. If I were a cow and were forced to eat one of my kind, I would be mad too – and partly because this disease is named after me, and it is not my fault.

There was a time when naming a disease after an animal would have been taboo.  In many cultures, nature was once believed to be imbued with a divine essence and presence. Animals were revered as totem members of a clan or community of people. To be associated with the power of a certain animal – including pigs, cows, birds, horses, and dogs—was a sign of power and respect. In ancient art and texts, animals were considered vehicles for the divine to travel from one realm to another– the animal often appearing as a physical manifestation of a sacred god or goddess.

Yet over time, that thinking changed, and religious texts began to focus on the human being as the main moral interest of God. The transcendent nature of that thinking pulls the human being out of the realm of the here and now, the world we co-inhabit and share with everything that creeps, crawls, swims, and walks on four-legs. And although there are spiritual benefits to these belief systems, the moral consequence of a telescopic vision focused on a God way up in heaven rather than dwelling within all of life, has caused devastating consequences to the natural world, resulting in an invisibility of the actual animals that inhabit the planet with us today; in research labs, in factory farms, in shelters, in the disposability and dispensability of disease-ridden creatures deemed responsible for the malady du jour – be it swine flue, mad cow, bird flu, or Sars. Animals, the once divine carriers of grace and guidance, are now considered vehicles of disaster.

The loss of human and animal life to disease is tragic. Compounding the tragedy through aligning a disease name to an animal only amplifies the negative and damaging effects of the disease. It’s time to retrieve the dignity of the animal. Galaxies, freeways, and IRS forms are named with simple letters and numbers we all recognize– why not do the same with disease, and create a signature that heals rather than harms.

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Top 10 Cat-Friendly Cities

PHOENIX, American Animal Hospital Association Conference What makes a cat-friendly city? The love and care cats receive, says the CATalyst Council.  The recently formed organization is set to raise the stature of America’s number one companion, the cat, by announcing the CATalyst 2009 Top 10 Cat-Friendly Cities. The CATalyst Council, a coalition of the veterinary community, academia, nonprofits, industry and animal welfare organizations, hopes to call attention to how much the cat is loved and cared for in these cities, and set the bar for other cities to follow in the annual rankings.

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The cities named include:

1.  Tampa

2.  Phoenix

3.  San Francisco

4.  Portland (Ore.)

5.  Denver

6.  Boston

7.  Seattle

8.  San Diego

9.  Atlanta

10. Minneapolis.

The list was compiled after reviewing the top 25 standard metropolitan areas for such data as cat ownership per capita, level of veterinary care, microchipping and cat-friendly local ordinances. The CATalyst Council hopes to include shelter data in the 2010 list.

“Cats really are America’s number one companion,” said Dan Kramer, senior marketing manager of industry relations for Pfizer Animal Health and chair of the CATalyst Council. “Our goal is to recognize and celebrate why cats are such popular companions. We applaud the efforts of these major metropolitan areas for providing a wealth of resources for cats and their owners along with their earned accolade of being one of America’s Top 10 Cat-Friendly Cities.”

The CATalyst Council also noted for honorable mention, Ithaca, N.Y., home of the Cornell Feline Health Center, which educates the public about felines and their health. Education is key in understanding cats. By and large, each community has the tools and resources to properly care for cats. Too often, though, cats can hide symptoms so owners do not realize any health problems exist. This makes it even more important for cat owners to visit a veterinarian on a regular basis because many of these illnesses are preventable.

“Cats outnumber dogs by nearly 10 million among the pet-owning public. This list clearly shows cats are loved by many,” said Steve Dale spokesperson and a CATalyst Council board member. “However, in my work as a journalist, I’ve spoken with animal control officials, welfare organizations and veterinarians across the country and often hear that cats are more likely to be neglected than dogs, more likely to wind up in shelters and less likely to be seen by veterinarians. Obviously there is room for the nation to improve the overall status and care of cats, but these cities are overcoming the current standard.”

Dogs have long been called man’s best friend. Recent data suggests that cats truly are America’s number one companion. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association’s 2007 U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook, the number of cats owned (81.2 million) outnumbers that of canines (72 million) by nearly 10 million among the pet-owning public. In addition to the rise in cat population, the AVMA reported cat visits to the veterinarian fell some 11 percent between 2001 and 2006. A 2006 survey by the Society of Animal Welfare Administrators (SAWA) also showed that overcrowded animal shelters are seeing more cats given up than their canine cousins.

“There is a higher number of cats than dogs surrendered to shelters nationwide, increasingly so in these economic times of financial strain and home foreclosures,” said Jan McHugh-Smith, Society of Animal Welfare Administrators (SAWA) secretary, president of the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and CATalyst Council board member. “We are eager to showcase these cities that demonstrate outstanding compassion and resources for cats and their owners in order to elevate the status of the cat.”

The CATalyst Council is also continuing its outreach to educate the public and the veterinary industry through the It’s All About the Cat campaign. Initiated by the CATalyst Council, the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) are partnering to develop feline life-stage wellness guidelines for veterinary professionals. The Winn Feline Foundation will coordinate the writing of a consumer version of the guidelines with the assistance of writers on its media committee. Once adopted, the CATalyst Council will work with other animal organizations to share this information with consumers.

“We are reaching out to all parties – the pet healthcare community, shelter and welfare organizations, government and the public – to ensure that cats receive the proper care and attention they need and deserve,” said Dr. Jane E. Brunt, executive director of the CATalyst Council. “It truly is all about the cat.”

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Blown-away Chihuahua reunited with owners

WATERFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Tinker Bell has been reunited with her owners after a 70-mph gust of wind picked up the six-pound Chihuahua and tossed her out of sight. Dorothy and Lavern Utley credit a pet psychic for guiding them on Monday to a wooded area nearly a mile from where 8-month-old Tinker Bell had been last seen. The brown long-haired dog was dirty and hungry but otherwise OK.

The Utleys, of Rochester, had set up an outdoor display Saturday at a flea market in Waterford Township, 25 miles northwest of Detroit. Tinker Bell was standing on their platform trailer when she was swept away.

Dorothy Utley tells The Detroit News that her cherished pet "just went wild" upon seeing her.

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Keep Your Dog Healthy This Spring

Longer days, warm weather, and weekends spent frolicking with your furry friends all mean one thing--spring is here! As we emerge from our winter hibernation and prepare our yards, gardens, and home for the upcoming months, we don't want to forget our pets. Increasing temperatures also mean the return of several health threats to our dogs and cats. Use this simple guideline to help make the blue skies and sunshine as fun and safe as possible.

Use heart worm and flea and tick preventive. Now. For everyone except those living in the coldest environments, your dog or cat should be receiving year-round monthly heart worm preventive. If you've been off heart worm preventive, be sure to have your pet tested prior to starting. As temperatures reach the 70s, biting insects like mosquitoes become very happy and prolific. In no time you'll be swatting and reaching for the repellant. Now is also the time to make sure your pet is protected against fleas and ticks. If you wait until you see fleas and ticks to prevent them, it's too late. You've got an infestation in your yard, house, or both. This year brings some new options for flea preventives so be sure to ask your vet about the latest advancements.

Avoid weekend-warrior syndrome. Each spring it inevitably happens: the first warm weekend appears and people think they need to make up for four months of inactivity. They take their out-of-shape, overweight selves with their out-of-shape, overweight dogs and decide to walk five miles, hike up their favorite mountain trail, or play an intense game of catch or Frisbee. Whatever it is, it's too much and somebody gets hurt. This is the time of year when human ER clinics see injured knees, backs, and shoulders and veterinarians see torn cruciate ligaments, strains and sprains, and a variety of aches and pains. Take it easy. Gradually build up your strength and stamina and understand your dog needs time to adapt as well. This is especially true in older pets. What is only four to six months to you is more like two to three years to them. And if you do overdo it, be sure and have your pet checked out immediately. The sooner you have even a minor injury checked out and treated, the sooner your pet can return to enjoying the season.

Get the right gear. Today's active pets can be better equipped than ever before. Having the right gear can increase not only the number of activities you can do with your pet but can also increase you and your pet's enjoyment. High-quality harnesses, portable water bowls, and cool toys are items every dog lover should have on hand. For the more adventurous, doggie backpacks, protective clothing and glasses, life vests, and water toys are available. Whatever your interests, the correct equipment makes the time spent with your pet pal that much more fun.

Spring clean carefully. As you hasten to clean out your garage and prep your yard, remember these activities may pose a risk to your pet. Many cleaning agents, fertilizers, pesticides, weed-killers, and even mulch can all be dangerous to dogs and cats. Last spring I had a client who accidentally left a container of liquid plant food out on her porch. Her cat drank some and developed kidney failure. Luckily, the cat survived, but it could've easily been much worse. Remember, our pets can't read warning labels. Look out for your little ones as you go about greening your homes.

Save a life this spring. Longer days also mean pets go into "heat." For many stray, homeless, and neglected dogs and cats, this means unwanted litters. Animal shelters and rescue groups are typically stretched to capacity during spring. The economic downturn has resulted in fewer donations and more abandoned pets, creating even tougher conditions for animal shelters. Do what you can: volunteer, help with a pet adoption drive, promote spaying and neutering in your community, collect food, whatever. If you know someone looking for a pet, encourage adoption or rescue. We often think of November and December as a time of giving. Make Christmas come early for needy pets in your area this spring.

With a little foresight and planning, spring can be the best time of year for your pet. Go out and catch some rays, break a sweat, and give thanks for the times you share with your loved ones, both two- and four-legged!

Ernest E. Ward, Jr., DVM is the owner and chief-of-staff of Seaside Animal Care, a nationally recognized award-winning small animal practice. Dr. Ward is the current veterinarian for the Rachael Ray Show and is a spokesperson for Rachael's Rescue. He has been featured on NBC Nightly News, Animal Planet, CNN, Animal Radio and numerous television and radio talk-shows around the country.


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On Animal Radio® this month

Iron Chef Cat Cora comes from a long line of Chefs.  Cat made television and culinary history in 2005 as the first and only female Iron Chef.  She shares the “wall of fame” in the Kitchen Stadium with other iron chefs Mario Batali, Bobby Flay and Masaharu Morimoto. At age 15 she had already decided should would open her own restaurant, and while Cat does cook with meat, she still feels that you should show humanity to all creatures. Currently Cat is boycotting Canadian food in protest of the seal hunt which involves the clubbing of baby seals for their fur and would like you to join her! 

HGTV's Steven Lee gave up being a nuclear physicist to be an actor. Go figure! Steven is now the host of HGTV's Leader of the Pack, where a family in New Jersey (complete with Mom, Dad and three kids) want a family pet.  So instead of searching for one dog, why not have them start out with eight!  Even though in every episode a dog gets voted off the property, it will go to an adoptive home.  Steven describes the show as "Doggy Bachelor." For those that tune in, you will also find some tidbits on how to doggy proof your house.  Hmmm... sounds more like “American Fido” meets “Canine Design"!!

Live from America's Family Pet Expo, the largest consumer pet show, Vladae, Judy and Bobbie broadcast live. Bobbie's Twittering about Tyson the Skateboarding Dog. Susan Sims grabs a moment with Toyota's PR guru to talk about the battle for pet-guardians. Dogtime's Leslie Smith gets face-time with Tony LaRussa.

Ladybug the Animal Radio® Studio Stunt Dog, has been learning agility. Thanks to Affordable Agility, we had everything we needed to get started. Pamela Spock, the President of Affordable Agility and a 10-year veteran in agility training and research, has been coaching us along the way. She states that any dog, with the proper training, can learn agility. Tune in every week to see how Ladybug (and Judy) is progressing.  Just look at that form!


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Eating The Family Pet For Dinner!

Vinnie Penn, Animal Radio's Resident Party Animal

I’m just going to come right out and say it.  My sister and my brother-in-law killed the family pet and ate it for dinner.   I’m just going to say it; with my nephews, my two small nephews.  If that’s not further proof of the economy being in turmoil, as if any of you needed it, I don’t know what is, killing the family pet and eating it for dinner!  You heard right.  But, I guess I should explain that the family pet at the time, and just for a few days, was a lobster. 

Get a load of this – my nephew has just begun fancying lobster.    They went out for a seafood dinner and he tried lobster for the first time and he loved it.  So me being the good uncle that I am and a big fan of “Lobstergram,”  (I don’t know how many of you out there are familiar with Lobstergram, but you can go online and send a variety of different meals like chowders, even steaks, and things like that, but of course, seafood and namely obviously lobsters), I said I’m going to be the good uncle, Uncle Vinny, even though they call me Uncle Sam, but that’s a real long story. 

So I sent them out a small order of lobsters for the family.  Well, my sister’s got the bright idea that she’s going to open the crate when it shows up, with the boys.  When they see the live lobster in there that was sent with some chowder, as I said and with some whatnot’s, the kids screamed in ecstasy and immediately named him “Plankton.” 

My sister and my brother-in-law didn’t know what to do.  The kids think it’s a pet.  They’re calling him Plankton, and they can’t process that the lobster that they’ve eaten at restaurants, even though it looks exactly the same just not moving, is the same thing.  And, they would never hear of eating him.  So for three days they had to let the lobster hang around.  I don’t know if it was three days, I’m kind of running amok right now, and then ultimately do what all parents do, and lie and say that Plankton ran away one day while they were at school, but hey, lobster’s for dinner tonight!  They just kind of served it in a way that the kids didn’t know they were eating Plankton. 

Am I the bad guy in this?  Because my sister screamed at me that when she opened the crate.  She didn’t know it would be alive and waving it’s arms at them.  I said, “What am I going to send you a dead lobster? “  That’s what Italians do when they’re threatening your life.  Of course it’s going to be alive.  It’s a Lobstergram.  I’m not going to send a dead lobster!

My sister said she had to let it crawl around on the carpet for a while and the kids were playing with it, because of course the claws were closed up with elastic bands and whatnots, and I’m made to look like a bad guy.  And now, of course, the children think that Plankton made his way all the way from Las Vegas to Reno and is living a good life on a farm somewhere with Sunny, my sister’s collie that died a couple of years back.  Plankton and Sunny, sounds like a Fox TV show!

Listen to Vinnie Penn on Animal Radio®




What Brings Iron Chef Cat Cora to Animal Radio®

Cat Cora is an Iron Chef (in fact, she is the only female Iron Chef) and is also the executive chef for Bon Appétit Magazine.  Food that feeds the body and soul is her number one passion, but showing humanity to all creatures is something that she holds just as dear.

That is why Cat has teamed up with the HSUS (Humane Society of the United States) to help end the cruel Canadian commercial seal hunt.  In the last four years, more than one million seal pups have been killed - clubbed, shot and even skinned alive on Canada's ice floes - in the largest marine mammal slaughter on Earth.  And it's all in the name of fur fashion!   

Cat is committed to ending this senseless slaughter by sending a message to the fisherman who kill the seals for a little extra cash and the seafood industry that supports the hunt.  She has pledged to stop cooking with Canadian seafood until the hunt is ended.   The Canadian seafood industry and the Canadian sealing industry are inseparable.  As long as consumers support one, they can't help supporting the other.  By refusing to purchase seafood from Canadian companies, consumers are telling Canada's seafood industry that it must use its influence with fisherman and the government to end the commercial seal hunt.

It is hard to believe that baby seals are still being clubbed to death these days off the east coast of Canada.  To stop this hunt, go to to join the boycott.  Keep the pressure on Canada’s fishing industry!

Iron Chef Cat Cora currently lives with her rescued dog, a Chihuahua named Harlow, a lap dog that thinks she’s a fierce guard dog, in Santa Barbara, California!

Listen to Cat Cora on Animal Radio®


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Eight Doggies Duke It Out

Steven Lee, HGTV – Leader Of The Pack

The “Leader of the Pack” is a seven episode series which premiered on Sunday, April 26 at 8pm ET on HGTV.   Steven Lee, the Host, says the show is like “Doggy Bachelor.” 

This show was originally shelved over controversy of message. Animal Planet passed on the program and HGTV picked it up almost a year later.

For the Leader of the Pack series, HGTV found a family in New Jersey consisting of a mom and dad and three kids who wanted a family pet. The Reckseit family believes that their home isn't complete without a dog, but they can't agree on what kind to adopt.

So instead of just searching dogs one by one, they decided that the family should live with eight dogs at the same time!  Along the way, there are training exercises and fashion shows.  In every episode, a dog will get “Voted Off” the property.  However, the dogs that get booted off go to an adoptive home. 

You can imagine that everyone in the family has some strong attachments to all of the dogs.   In fact, the kids would be willing to move into the garage if they could keep all of the dogs!   And unlike most kids who would sabotage each other and would be willing to do everything to make sure that their dog stays on, these kids really love each other and want to make sure that everyone is happy.

You will also find some tidbits on how to doggy proof your house.  Hmmm... What is this, “American Fido” meets “Canine Design”???

Who will the winner be -- Buster the energetic Beagle, Louie the lackadaisical Bichon mix, or Ginger the overbearing Hound mix?  Tune in to find out!

Listen to Steven Lee on Animal Radio®


Official food of Animal Radio's Ladybug!


Poop Scooping Business Does Well in This Economy

Red Boswell, CEO “Chief Excrement Officer” The Pet Butler

If you're unemployed or looking for a new career, you might be interested to know that one of the few businesses still making money in this economy is the Pet Butler. The Pet Butler provides professional pet waste cleanup and removal services plus pet stations and supplies to individual yards, parks, and multi-family communities across North America. The Pet Butler really is #1 in the "#2" business!  Pet Butler has been cleaning up poop and deodorizing the outdoors for close to 20 years.

They currently have over 130 franchises in 28 states and clean up dog poop for about 16,000 dogs each week, and they even clean kitty litter boxes.   Their “Poop Central Command” headquarters are located just north of Dallas.  Nationwide they made 4.4 million dollars and are growing the company at a rate of 50-75% each year. 

And they don’t charge extra for small poops – yes, I said small poop, which is actually harder to find in the grass thank larger ones! So no matter if they use a microscope of a backhoe the cost is the same to you! 

When asked what do they do with all of that poop – Red Boswell, CEO (Chief Excrement Officer) states they are a marketing company first and foremost and want to get their word out, so they throw it in the neighbor’s yard and leave a card!

To subscribe to their services or to get information on starting your own franchise, please call 1-800-Pet-Butler or visit

Listen to Red Boswell on Animal Radio®


Does Your Dog Need A Job?


We check in with Pamela Spock, the President of Affordable Agility and a 10-year-Veteran in Agility Training and Research, to see how Ladybug is doing on her second week of training in agility.  We are working with Ladybug using the Agility-In-A-Bag.

We were at first worried about whether or not Ladybug would be able to do this, but she seems to be a natural.  She learned the adjustable jump and the adjustable tire jump in just a matter of minutes.

Pamela assures us that once a dog gets the confidence to do one obstacle, that the next one is easy.  She was, however, amazed when Ladybug took it upon herself to run with her Frisbee through the tire hoop without any coaching.   Who knows, we might have the next Agility Champion here!

Next, we will work on the tunnel & chute along with the weave pole set.  Hopefully she will do as well on these as she did on the others. 

Pamela states that Agility makes a dog feel like it is doing something useful and while it is work, it is also play at the same time.  That is the appeal of agility for the dog.  Plus, it’s a teamwork effort between the guardian and the dog and bonds them together as a team.  She feels that all dogs can do agility, from the littlest dogs to the largest dogs. She even once saw a bulldog running through an agility course! 

Does your dog need a job? Check back every week to see how Ladybug’s Agility training is progressing. If it looks like something you'd like to try with your dog, go to  to learn more.

See a video of Ladybug in action.

Listen to Pamela Spock on Animal Radio®

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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