Cats and Dogs rounded-up in Islamic pet-keeping ban. Pets are seen as a sign of Western influence.
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MY PUPPY PLAYS TOO ROUGH - Darlene offers help for the biting pup.
ISLAM ENFORCES PET BAN - HSUS Int'l: "pet-keeping not exclusive to westerners."
JOBS IN THE ANIMAL WORLD - From Pet-sitting to Animal Cop.
DOG PERFORMS HEIM-LICK MANEUVER - Toby saves choking guardian.
FELINE HYPERTHYROIDISM - Could household products be the cause?
NEW PRODUCT SHOWCASE - Live from SuperZoo in Las Vegas.
DOGS THAT KNOW - Your psychic dog can make $1000!
CELEBRITY COLLAR AUCTION - 9 yr. old Kyle Orent's fundraiser going strong.
What's on Animal Radio®:
Vladae The Dog Wizard is a phenomena in the dog world. He is a former KGB dog-trainer, attributing his techniques to his deaf-mute mentor. Hear Vladae talk about Kids N' Canines.
Are Your Pet's a Blessing? No matter what your answer - birds, dogs, cats, and other creatures are common-place in businesses, churches, and other religious centers as pet blessings and other ceremonies are sweeping the nation.
If you pre-print and post "Not Missing Yet" posters, you may be raising a Jewish Dog. Has our obsession with our furry-friends become so pronounced that we can actually stereotype it? What won't we do for our pets? Barbara Davilman and Ellis Weiner explore this territory.
Glenn Close is a five-time Academy Award-nominated American film and stage actress. You've seen her as Alex (Fatal Attraction) and Cruella di Vil (101 Dalmations). Now, you can see her every week in FX's Damages. Glenn is a dog fanatic and takes her two dogs to work with her. She shares her celebrity blog with Animal Radio®
Jane Lynch, writer, actress and comedian is the host of the 2nd Annual "Race for the Rescues" Animal Rescue 5K Run/Walk and Adoption Day at the Pasadena Rose Bowl, Sunday, October 28th. Animal Radio® will be broadcasting live!
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Cats and Dogs Banned
Cats and dogs are being banned in Saudi Arabia and Iran. Religious police authorities, who are normally tasked with chiding women to cover themselves and ensuring men attend mosque prayers, are turning to a new target: cats and dogs.
The police have issued a decree banning the sale of the pets, seen as a sign of Western influence.
The prohibition on dogs may be less of a surprise, since conservative Muslims despise dogs as unclean. But, the cat befuddled many, since Islamic tradition holds that the Prophet Mohammad loved cats.
The decree which applies to the Red Sea port city of Jiddah and the holy city of Mecca, bans the sale of cats and dogs because "some youths have been buying them and parading them in public," according to a memo from the Municipal Affairs Ministry.
Pet ownership is not common in the Arab world, although dogs are kept for hunting and guarding, and no other Arab country restricts pet ownership
Dr. Bernard Unti, Senior Policy Advisor for the Humane Society of the United States reports for Animal Radio®.
Citing a core tradition of
concern for animals within Islam, and the universality of the
human-animal bond in all cultures, Humane Society International
(HSI) the global arm of the The Humane Society of the United
States (HSUS) has called upon the Islamic Republic of Iran
to end its crackdown against petkeeping by Iranian citizens.
Hear breaking news as it
happens - Animal
Radio® is streaming online 24/7 Listen LIVE Now!
The $12 Million Dollar Dog
(Or $84 Million in Dog Year's Money)
Ms. Helmsley's brother Alvin Rosenthal, who received only $10-million, will take care of the pooch and administer the fund.
Anatomy of a will:
* $12-million to Trouble, Ms.
digs deep, examining pet-trusts for the "not-so-wealthy."
Animal Communicator Joy Turner talks with Trouble. Attorney Adam
How You Can Make $1,000
Lets Replicate the Experiment!
The "Dogs that know when their owners are coming home"
experiment is being funded in cooperation with University researchers.
Besides fame and notoriety for special dogs, there is the offer
of a $1,000 prize to any dog owner willing to successfully participate
in the study.
Vladae - The Dog Wizard
Listen as Vladae lists the best and worst kid-friendly breeds. He also explains what he thinks the real problem is you need to establish human authority over your dog.
St. Francis of Assisi is known as the patron saint of animals, birds, and the environment, and it is customary for Catholic churches to hold ceremonies honoring animals around his feast day of October 4th.
Did you know that pet blessings
pre-date St. Francis?
Do you know what critter ceremonies
are causing the fur to fly?
in the Animal World
HLE/AC officers inspect
kennels, pet shops, stables, and other places where animals are
kept to make sure that animal welfare regulations are being followed.
HLE/AC officers respond to reports of animal cruelty, investigate,
and if warranted, may make arrests. HLE/AC officers also enforce
licensing laws and rescue trapped animals. For example, there
was a fire in a building in Manhattan and ASPCA HLE officers
went into the building with the help of the fire department and
rescued the animals that were trapped in the building.
Starting a Pet-Sitting Business
But, pet-sitting isn't for everyone. Here are six things to be aware of:
1. You're going to get dirty.
2. You'll need transportation.
3. You won't have steady hours.
And because business naturally fluctuates, Deason can't guarantee her sitters, who are independent contractors, a set number of hours.
4. Your vacation time will
5. You'll need to be flexible.
6. You'll need to be an animal
and people person.
Who would have thought that
caring for pets could be lucrative? The fact is, over 69% of
U.S. households own one or more pets and the demand for specialized
pet care services outfaces the supply of professionally trained
operators. In 2007, Americans are projected to spend over $41
billion on their pets - double of just a decade ago. By 2009
this number is projected to grow to over $52 billion.
The use of PBDEs has been under scrutiny for several years as a potential health risk for humans, potentially causing problems in both the nervous and reproductive systems. The recent attention towards its effects on cats is fueled in part by concern regarding what these findings may indicate about potential problems affecting humans in the long run.
What are PBDEs?
What is feline hyperthyroidism?
Is feline hyperthyroidism fatal?
Do PBDEs cause feline hyperthyroidism?
How can I keep my pet safe
from such potential PBDE dangers?
When a patient is near death, Oscar curls up to them during their final time. He has been accurate in over 25 cases. Now, when the staff see Oscar with a patient, they call family members to come to their loved ones bedside.
The patients that get a visit from Oscar are very ill and probably ware not aware of his presence. However, family members are comforted knowing that their family member was not alone.
Oscar recently received a wall
plaque publicly commending his "compassionate hospice care."
New to Animal Radio®? Listen to Kyle's Journey
Some of the collars that are
up for auction are signed by Donald Trump, Billy Joel, Leslie
Nielsen and Payton Manning to name a few. Hurry and bid for yours, there are a few left!
Not only will you receive a great collar autographed by a celeb,
but also the money goes to a great cause, Canine Companions for Independence. Everyone
Leashes and collars donated by Bamboo.
counts down the top
25 new pet products from the industry trade show. Our fav's this
year? The Mouse In the House Cat Toy and Ruth Regina's
Wigs For Dogs. See the
Dr Danielle Gunn-Moore, at the University of Edinburgh's Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, said: "This newly discovered protein is crucial to our understanding of the aging process in cats. We've known for a long time that cats develop dementia, but this study tells us that the cat's neural system is being compromised in a similar fashion to that we see in human Alzheimer's sufferers. The gritty plaques had only hinted that might be the case now we know.
"The shorter life-span of a cat, compared to humans, allows researchers to more rapidly assess the effects of diet, high blood pressure, and prescribed drugs on the course of the disease. However, we also need to understand more about our geriatric cats for their own benefit, so we can slow down the degeneration the disease brings and keep them as happy cats for as long as possible."
"As with humans, the life expectancy of cats is increasing and with this longer life runs the greater chance of developing dementia. Recent studies suggest that 28% of pet cats aged 11-14 years develop at least one old-age related behavior problem and this increases to more than 50% for cats over the age of 15."
Experts suggest that good diet, mental stimulation and companionship can reduce the risk of dementia in both humans and cats. Dr Gunn Moore explained: "If humans and their cats live in a poor environment with little company and stimulation, they are both at higher risk of dementia. However, if the owner plays with the cat, it is good for both human and cat. A good diet enriched with antioxidants is also helpful in warding off dementia, so a cat owner sharing healthy meals like chicken and fish with their pet will benefit them both."
Coming Up on Animal Radio®:
Glenn Close has had a lengthy career as a versatile actress and performer. Glenn is remembered for her chilling roles as the scheming aristocrat Madame de Merteuil in Dangerous Liaisons, terrorizing puppies as Cruella di Vil in 101 Dalmations and as the psychotic book editor Alex Forrest in Fatal Attraction. In her new series, Damages, Glenn brings force and power as Patty Hewes, a fierce litigator who has a dog killed. Listen in as Glenn reveals that she is nothing like the characters she plays, and in fact is a big animal lover!
Comedian, writer and actress, Jane Lynch 's breakthrough film role was as Christy Cummings, the masculine-lesbian personal dog handler to trophy wife Sheri Ann Cabot (Jennifer Coolidge) in the director Christopher Guest's 2000 mockumentary Best in Show. Jane is the host of the 2nd Annual "Race for the Rescues" Animal Rescue 5K Run/Walk and Adoption Day at the Rose Bowl, Sunday, October 28th. Animal Radio® will be broadcasting live!
Cesar Millan, America's most-popular dog trainer is back for a fourth season of The Dog Whisperer. Millan has released a new book, "Be the Pack Leader." Animal Radio® welcomes him back for his fourth appearance. Last time, it got intimate. Don't miss him on his favorite radio show. He gets personal on "breed-bans."
Best-selling author Robert Fulgham's
(Everything I need to know I learned in Kindergarten -
16-million copies) new book begins with a question we've
all asked ourselves: "What on Earth have I done?" Animal Radio® is
proud to have this current-day philosopher as a special guest.
As an ordained minister, he often deals with animal issues, especially
related to grieving and death.
GOOD DOG: Dog Performs Heimlich maneuver
Little did Debbie Parkhurst know that when she found a dog in a dumpster 2 years ago, that he would save her life.
Debbie Parkhurst, 45 years old from Calvert, Maryland, found a Golden Retriever in a dumpster years ago and took him home and named him Toby. Recently, Debbie was eating an apple in her home when she got a piece of the apple stuck in her throat. She immediately tried to remove it by jumping up and down, with no luck. She then started beating on her chest, and when Toby saw what was going on, he got involved. He jumped up; putting his front paws on her shoulders and knocked her down. He then started jumping up and down on her chest, dislodging the piece of apple.
While some skeptics believe Toby thought it was a game, Debbie truly believes that Toby knew what he was doing and saved her life.
The designer pooch, a cross between a golden retriever and a poodle, is believed to have switched on a knob, which ignited the cardboard underneath the pizza. The flames spread to a nearby plastic cutting board, and then to the cabinets above the stove, Naperville fire officials said. Haines, 32, said he had been running five minutes late: "I didn't do my typical sweep through the kitchen to make sure Skylar couldn't get at anything," he admitted.
Firefighters broke down a door after neighbors raised the alarm and rescued the unconscious Skylar. Paramedics used oxygen to revive her. "Skylar's fur is white, but when I saw her that day, she was literally a black dog from the fire's soot and ash," Haines said.
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
Pets and People
It's a very frustrating and somewhat common situation. Pet owners by the millions flock to their veterinarians in the hope of relieving their pet's itchiness. For many people, the constant chewing, licking, and scratching can test their love for their pets.
Current estimates show that about 20 million pets suffer from some sort of skin condition and many of these are allergies. Allergies are an over-reaction of the body's immune system to a foreign substance, such as pollen or flea saliva. For people with allergies, we sneeze and sniffle as our bodies respond to histamine released by immune cells. These symptoms are due to the reaction of histamine with receptors in our nose and upper airways.
Our pets, however, react somewhat differently. Dogs and cats have many more histamine receptors in the skin and fewer in the nose. As histamine is released, the receptors cause an itchy feeling and the pet reacts by scratching at that site. Scratching can generate more histamine release, thereby causing more scratching. The constant assault on the skin by the pet's claws can actually damage the skin, leading to bacterial infections. Areas of hair loss and oozing sores known as "hot spots" are very common with allergies.
Fleas are often found to be the reason for a pet's itchiness. However, the pet who is truly allergic to fleas will often appear to have no fleas at all! Why? Because these pets are the ultimate flea catchers, doing everything in their power to bite or scratch the discomfort of the flea away. The flea's saliva sets off an allergic reaction leading to a flurry of chewing and digging at the skin.
Allergies to airborne substances, such as pollen and mold spores, are another reason for itchiness in pets. This is known as atopy and affects many pets from springtime straight through until fall. This condition can be inherited in certain breeds.
If your pet has signs of allergies year round and you see little or no improvement with certain medications, you may have a pet that has food allergies. Contrary to popular belief, food allergies take time to develop and are not due to recent diet changes. Most pets who develop food allergies have been eating the offending food with little problem for years. Common food allergens can include any major protein or carbohydrate source in the pet's food.
In some mild cases, the itchiness can be treated with anti-histamines or even steroids for a short period of time. However, pet owners need to be aware that allergies are not a condition that can be cured. The good news though, is that they can be well-managed with a team effort from the pet owner and the veterinary team.
Utilizing diagnostic tests such as blood testing and even skin allergy tests, veterinarians can often find ways to reduce the pet's discomfort level. In some cases, your family veterinarian may refer you and your pet to a veterinary dermatologist. This specialist has many more diagnostic and treatment resources available to bring relief to your pet. In all cases, you, the pet owner, are a vital part of the team. It will be up to you to make sure that all pets in the household are treated for fleas or that your pet stays on the recommended hypo-allergenic diet and doesn't sneak other treats!
Allergies are not only one
of the most frequent reasons for a trip to the veterinarian,
but are also a big reason for pet owners becoming frustrated
with their pet. Working with your veterinary team to identify
what is causing your pet's symptoms will help keep your four-legged
family member right where he needs to be with you! Visit www.MyVNN.com to
see a video of how pet owners deal with their pet's allergies.
Merlin - Master of Animals
Merlin is best known as magician and indispensable guide to King Arthur. But he is also closely connected with the world of animals. One theory of the origin of his name links it to the French word, merle, meaning blackbird, while another suggests the twelfth-century English word merilun, the name of a falcon that was used by nobles for hunting. Both of these names relate to various portraits of Merlin as the poet-enchanter he has the bold and audacious manner of blackbird, while as a falcon he is familiar with the forest.
Merlin is often depicted riding a stag, accompanied by a wolf or owl. He is also sometimes known as the Master of Animals with the ability to shapeshift into any animal form. The Celtic people of Great Britain in the fifth and sixth centuries, the time frame Merlin and King Arthur were believed to have lived, considered the arts of talking with animals and shapeshifting as part of the birthright of the druid, and the Merlin we know certainly has all the qualities of a druid.
Forged from a single sheet
of silver, the Gundestrup Cauldron, a famous Celtic artifact
of the first century, depicts an antlered man surrounded by animals.
It is Cernunnos, God of Animals, whom many believe to be a druid
or shaman. A version of Cernunnos, also known as the Horned One
or Wild Man due to his antler headdress, occurs in some of the
earliest legends of Merlin. In the Prose Lancelot, this Wild
Man is summoned by Julius Caesar to interpret a vision of Caesar's.
After correctly interpreting the vision, the Wild Man says, "Know
that the great antlered stag that was hunted in Rome, as well
as the Wild Man who interpreted the emperor's dreams, was Merlin."
In this story, Merlin demonstrates the druid's gift of prophecy,
while continuing the Celtic tradition of the stag as an Otherworldly
messenger, bringing power and knowledge from another realm.
The Celtic scholar, Jean Markale, writes, that Merlin and St. Francis, although each a proven historical person, are incarnations of the same myth meaning they both are figures that represent the great brotherhood between all living beings-- a mythic brotherhood that lives on today with our non-historical wizards and their animal familiars Gandalf and the majestic horse Shadowfax, and Harry with his owl Hedwig.
But it is Merlin to whom all
wizards pay ultimate regard. Like Arthur, the Once and Future
King, it is said that Merlin still lives imprisoned by
a secret spell in an airy castle of glass. Counselor to Kings,
Enchanter of Excalibur, Druid who Knows and Sees All, Master
of the Animals -- Merlin- break the spell and come back to us
1. No chocolate... matter how
cute they look in their costumes! Chocolate is toxic to animals,
in fact according to the AZ Humane Society, a 10 pound dog can
have a fatal reaction to just a few ounces of chocolate! Play
it safe, don't give your animals any treats besides their regular
chews, bones and Charlie Bears!
3. Trick or Treaters equal
open doors keep your pet away from doors and make sure
they are wearing their collars with current tags at all times.
T get your dogs or cats licensed or up to date, please contact
your county or city animal control for licensing fees and information.
Animal Radio® is a proud partner with Pets911! Hear about the latest Pets911 activities on-air on Animal Radio®
Help From A Friend
Email your events to: root@AnimalRadio.com
ANNUAL "RACE FOR THE RESCUES"
Event to Also Include a Celebrity Art Auction, Pet Halloween Fashion Show & Adoption Event, Pet Psychic and More
Actress Jane Lynch Returns
The date for the premiere fundraising event for the Los Angeles animal-loving community has been set. The 2nd Annual "Race for the Rescues" 5K Run/Walk at The Rose Bowl in Pasadena will be held this year on October 28th. The event will benefit non-profit animal rescue organization The Rescue Train, as well as Best Friends Animal Society, Kitten Rescue, Animal Alliance, A Dog's Life Rescue, Four-Legged Friends Foundation, The Lange Foundation, and Molly's Mutts & Meows. Each year these groups care for and find homes for almost 1,500 abandoned dogs and cats annually. Celebrity host Jane Lynch (THE 40 YEAR-OLD VIRGIN, BEST IN SHOW) will be returning to emcee the event again this year and PETCO, Natural Balance, Animal Specialty Group, and Eye Care for Animals have already signed up as sponsors.
"What many animal lovers don't know is that here in the City of Angels, hundreds of dogs and cats are euthanized each week in our city shelters," explains Lisa Young, Director of the Rescue Train. "It is our mission to bring the community together with the common goal to eliminate this suffering through hands-on rescue, education and awareness." Last year's inaugural event, the only one of its kind which brings so many groups together for this common cause, had hundreds of participants and raised $63,000. This year's turnout promises to be much larger, bringing together Girl & Boy Scout troops, school classes, corporate teams, families, and other groups and individuals for a day of fun and fundraising for our furry friends!
In addition to the 5K run and walk, Race for the Rescues will also feature:
Alley Cat Allies' National Cat Advocacy
Join Alley Cat Allies, the nationally recognized experts on improving the lives of outdoor cats, in our nation's capital. Learn how you can unite and mobilize to make nonlethal policies and Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) the norm. Topics include best methods of feral cat care, how the law supports our goals and reforming animal control policy. Presenters are Becky Robinson and Wendy Anderson of Alley Cat Allies, Dr. Christine Wilford of Seattle's Feral Cat Spay/Neuter Project, and Dawn Kua of Singapore's Cat Welfare Society.
CONTACT: For Alley Cat Allies
Grand prize will be a weekend
stay with your dog at the Circa 39 hotel in Miami Beach FL
Hemopet/Pet Life-Line will hold its Second Annual "Walk-A-Pet For Life" dog walk to benefit the Center for Greyhound Rescue and Pet Animal Recovery, the nation's first non-profit alternative medicine rehabilitation center for restoring the health of pets.
Hemopet/Pet Life-Line, the nation's largest animal blood bank, is raising funds for the nation's first center focused on restoring health for dogs, cats and other pets with special needs and during recovery. This campaign is for a permanent two-acre, environmentally friendly, pet rehabilitation facility in Garden Grove. The new Center will also serve as the permanent home for Hemopet's unique greyhound rescue-donor-adoption program and related community service activities. Upon completion, this new project will feature unique group apartment-style units for the rescued greyhounds with outdoor exercise yards and playgrounds. The new greyhound village suite concept is also intended to create a favorable setting for prospective adopters to view and connect with the greyhounds.
Ray of Hope Humane Society
We Need Your Help Over
50 Cats Looking For Homes. The Ray of Hope Humane Society is
located in Hawthorne, NV. We are open from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm
every day of the week.
ASK "THE DOG EXPERT" - by Darlene Arden, Certified Animal Behavior Consultant
Q. Dear Darlene Arden,
A. Dear Inez,
"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: www.darlenearden.com. Copyright 2007 by Darlene Arden. All Rights Reserved.
Dear Bird Folks,
How often do hawks need to eat? I know that they eat a variety of prey, but some prey is larger than others. Is a single mouse going to keep a hawk satisfied for an entire day or will it need to continue hunting? And what if, instead of a mouse, the hawk catches a squirrel? Will that keep it full for an entire day or maybe two? If a meal is large enough, can a hawk go more than a day without hunting?- Ann, Wakefield, MA
I'm wondering, Ann,
I'm wondering why you asked this question. Are you trying to win some kind of weird bar bet about hawks' dietary habits? Did someone wager that a hawk could go for a month on a single squirrel? Or perhaps you are starting a specialized Weight Watchers group just for raptors. Let's see, eating a mouse counts as two points, five points for a chipmunk, and a whopping twenty-seven points for eating an entire jackalope at one sitting. But who hasn't done that?
Well, whatever the reason for your question, I'm glad you asked it. Many people don't realize that birds really do get full. The feeder birds we see chowing their brains out at 8:00 AM probably won't be the same birds we see at two hours later 10:00. The early birds fly off to some protected area to digest and gossip, while a new group of similar-looking, but different birds, hit the feeder.
For small birds, with their high metabolism, resting time is short. Their tiny bodies don't allow them room to store much food and they must get back to eating fairly quickly. This is good news for people who enjoy watching birds at their feeder and even better news for people like me who sell birdseed. And yes, Ann, I know you asked about hawks. I promise I'll get to that next. But since nobody has asked about feeding birds for a while I wanted to slip that in. I have mortgage payments, you know.
For the most part, raptors don't need to eat as often as the smaller birds do. As you suggested in your question, one good meal may be enough for an entire day, or even longer. Also, as you noted, hawks eat a huge assortment of prey. Red-tailed Hawks can make a nice lunch out of: worms, crickets, snakes, lizards, bats, birds, mice, squirrels or rabbits. (I know you didn't mention any particular hawk, Ann, but I've decided you were thinking about red-tails, since they are so common. Plus, they are one of the few hawks I actually know a little about.)
Obviously, there is more meat on a squirrel than there is on a mouse. A hawk has to catch and eat several mice if it wants to be full. The exact amount of food a hawk needs to make it through the day depends on the time of year and the weather conditions. In order to survive the frigid northern winters, hawks must generate additional body heat. More heat means more food. Their food consumption drops during the summer, which is good news for the hawks since they like to look fit and trim for the beach. However, the good news doesn't last long. Once the baby hawks start hatching, the adults shift their hunting skills into high gear, which means just about every small creature in the area had better have its life insurance policy paid up.
During the breeding season, if a parent hawk catches a rabbit, or some other large prey, it simply shares the catch with the family. However, after the fledglings have moved away an adult hawk will have no one to share a freshly caught rabbit. How sad. Not wanting to waste the delicious bunny the bird will eat as much as it can until its stomach is filled and there's no more room. This is when the hawk switches to plan B. Many birds hide or cache extra food for later, when the midnight munchies strike. But red-tails usually don't hide surplus food. Instead, they stuff extra food into their crop. The crop is a weird little storage room that's just off the esophagus, between the mouth and stomach. It's like having a built-in doggie bag. Extra food is swallowed and stored in the crop until the stomach is able to make room for it. Between the stomach and the crop, a hawk may indeed eat enough food at one sitting to keep itself satisfied for several days.
This begs the question: If a hawk isn't hunting, what does it do with its time? It probably does what we do when we have extra time - nothing. When birds aren't feeding, roosting, mating or migrating, they do what is referred to as "loafing." You probably don't need a definition of loafing, Ann, especially if you've seen any of my employees, but bird loafing is much like our loafing. They basically rest, digest their food, do a bit of preening and wonder why the kids don't call. See, just like us.
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. http://www.BirdWatchersGeneralStore.com
Let's go back thirty years to a time when Irene Pepperberg, Ph.D., first began studying the intelligence and reasoning abilities of the African Grey parrot. After completing her doctoral thesis in theoretical chemistry at Harvard University, Pepperberg acquired a 1-year-old African Gray that she named him Alex (an acronym for Avian Learning EXperiment). Together, Pepperberg and her protégé shattered the myth that birds are, well, bird brains.
Over the years, Alex developed a vocabulary of 100 words and demonstrated an ability to count and recognize dozens of different shapes and colors. He showed the emotional equivalent of a 2-year-old child and the intellect of a 5-year-old.
Alex's gift of gab and his amazing ability to understand human language became the subject of many scientific journals and numerous television programs, including PBS's "Nature" series and an episode of "Scientific American Frontiers" with actor Alan Alda. Through his interactions with Pepperberg, Alex helped define the bond between humans and animals and showed us that these brainy birds are capable of much more than simply mimicking sounds; they excel at cognition and communication as well.
Last month, Alex, 31, died
suddenly and Dr. Pepperberg and the entire avian community mourn
the plucky parrot's passing. On the Alex Foundation Home Page
a heartfelt note reads: "Please bear with us as we move
through this difficult time of grief and regain our composure.
We have received thousands of emails and continue to go through
them. The support you have shown us is overwhelming and we are
Speaking of talking animals, do you remember Koko, the gorilla who can "speak" in American Sign Language? In 1972, Penny Patterson, a young graduate student in developmental psychology at Stanford University, volunteered to teach sign language to a 1-year-old female gorilla named Koko. Within two weeks of beginning her experiment, Patterson had taught Koko the signs for food, drink, and more. Today, Koko, with an IQ of about 90, can sign more than 1,000 words, understand 2,000 spoken words, and can initiate conversation and ask questions. She's also a pretty darn good artist, as portrayed in the original watercolors displayed on her Web site www.koko.org.
Koko's intelligence and her ability to express empathy and deep emotion have forever changed our perception of gorillas and how we relate to them. Who can forget the touching images of Koko cuddling her first kitten, "All Ball" in the January 1985 issue of "National Geographic" magazine? Not long after the photos were published, All Ball was tragically killed by a car and Koko's wrenching sobs and her distraught sign, "Koko Sad," still haunt us today.
Not only is Koko the world's most famous gorilla, she is also an ambassador for her species. As part of the Gorilla Foundation, Patterson and Koko are working to save the species from extinction. This inevitable outcome could occur in the next few decades if the gorilla's natural habitat-the forests of Africa-are not kept from being destroyed and poachers continue to hunt the gorilla for "bushmeat."
The Foundation, currently located near Santa Cruz, California, is raising funds to construct a gorilla preserve on west Maui, Hawaii. The 70-acre sanctuary-provided by the Maui Land and Pineapple Company-will allow Koko, her mate, Ndume, and many other gorillas to live in a more natural environment and afford Koko the chance to have children and teach sign language to the next generation. To learn more about the preserve and how you can help, visit www.gorilla.org. As Koko says: "Time Hurry Go!"
Alex and Koko have proven that animals have much to teach us about compassion, communication, and conservation. Isn't it time we started paying attention?
My Cat Plays Too Rough
Instead of using your hands, use a fishing pole toy when playing with Ninja. Imitate the hunt. Pretend the object on the end of the toy is a wounded animal, causing it to scurry, change directions and speed, going under sofas, etc. The goal is to get little Ninja very involved in playing with the toy. When you are ready to stop playing don't abruptly stop the action. Instead, gradually slow down the play, cooling her off. Look at it like any other exerciser regime. When exercising hard it's recommended to slow down before stopping. After you stop playing, feed Ninja something really yummy, or you can feed Ninja her regular meal. Most cats will groom themselves after eating and then go to sleep.
Little balls that she can run after provide another entertaining way to engage her in play without using your hands. Make sure that the balls and toys you give her do not have any parts that can be chewed off and swallowed.
When Ninja does attack or bite you don't punish her. Instead give her a time out by you turning around and leaving the room for a few minutes. Yelling at her or punishing her can reinforce the behavior, escalate the behavior, create other unappreciated behaviors or make her afraid of you.
Marilyn Krieger, CCBC is
a Certified Cat Behavior Consultant. She can be reached for on-site
consultations to help solve cat behavior problems either by e-mail
or by phone: 650 780 9485. Marilyn teaches cat behavior classes
and is available for speaking engagements. Find out more at www.thecatcoach.com.
Copyright August 2007 Marilyn Krieger, CCBC All Rights Reserved.
G'day from down under!
It was a news story about dog owners being warned about Fox Baits. We thought Fox baits? News?... we often mention it when we get media releases from local councils but it's rarely 'news'.
In fact Fox baiting is a very common procedure mostly September through October here in Australia.
Just so you know, each year in Australia Foxes actively target farm animals (mostly sheep) kill them by their thousands and leave them to die a slow death. They are now in our suburbs and also target domestic animals much the same way.
But you may think like Hal (and a number of Aussies too we should add!!) that "this is a pretty cruel thing to do to a sentient being!" but the little Fox is considered a highly dangerous pest down here!
So how does Fox baiting work? Here's an excerpt from one of many 'official' websites:
'1080 has been used for
many years in Australia for control of introduced pests such
as foxes and rabbits.
This allows the use of tiny amounts of 1080 in each fox bait - in fact just 2.5mg per bait (two and a half thousandths of a gram). At this ultra low rate it is sufficient to kill an adult fox (and unfortunately most dogs), yet too low to cause serious injury to most wildlife. All baits are meat-based, which makes them unpalatable to herbivores. Each bait is buried 10-15cm deep in the ground, which greatly reduces the chances of carnivores and scavengers finding and taking them, and thus preventing foxes from eating them. All uneaten baits are also recovered after 21 days and destroyed.
In combination, these factors create a baiting system that makes the baits hard for wildlife to find in the first place, unpalatable to most species if they do find them, and even if they are found and consumed, the amount of 1080 ingested should be below a lethal dose. On the other hand, foxes, with their keen sense of smell and natural habit of burying food for later consumption, are able to locate the baits readily and will be poisoned by ingesting a single bait.'
More reading reveals:
'Nearly on an annual basis, we get a fox come into the Park and we may lose anything from a couple of animals to last year where we had a family of foxes and they came here for nearly two months and we lost 22 animals in two months, which is pretty catastrophic. We had them indiscriminately going from one yard to another, so they weren't hitting the same spot, they knew their way around the Park.' Google (Australia) 'Fox Baiting 1080' to read more..
So is Fox baiting 'cruel'?
well that opens up a whole Pandora's box of questions doesn't
it? Is it cruel to kill ANY animal. What does 'to kill humanely'
We might save some of those
questions for a show sometime but we'd love to hear your feedback
on Fox-baiting here in Australia. Check out our new Forum at
What do we think? you'll
have to listen to Pet Talk Radio to find out. Meantime hugs for your pets from Brian
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