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 Featured On This Week's Program

Animal Radio® for January 18, 2014  

Dog to English Translator
Tom Mazzetti, No More Woof

No More Woof LogoLeave it to the Swedes and Tomas Mazzetti, Project Manager of "No More Woof," a device that straps onto your dogs head, that translates their thoughts into one of eight different voices. While Tomas admits the technology is far from perfect, he has been able to raise over $10,000 on a crowd-funding website.

If so, then you aren't alone. A group of Swedish inventors has launched a funding campaign to produce a piece of technology that could one day help dogs better communicate with their humans.

The No More Woof, developed by Sweden's Nordic Society for Invention and Discovery (NSID), is the first gadget that translates animal thoughts into human language. Using existing electroencephalography (EEG) micro computing technology, the No More Woof headset prototype analyzes a dog's thought patterns, records them, then translates them into human speech you can understand and hear. The doggie headset includes a small gramophone-like loudspeaker, allowing Fido to "talk" to you in plain English.

If this sounds familiar, then it is, sort of. Remember the talking dogs in the 2009 Pixar film, Up? While the No More Woof isn't quite as advanced as the device worn by Dug, it is still capable of translating basic canine thoughts into words we can comprehend. NSID explains that while brain waves differ from dog to dog, there are common, more universal patterns they have been able to decipher.

Dog wearing No More Woof translatorNSID says, once released, the No More Woof will have at least 8 human voices to choose from, meaning you will be able to customize the device to match your four-legged friend's personality, or otherwise it would be an insult. Some of the phrases and voices are: Holly: This is splendid!; Harley: Leave me alone; Pudge: I am so very weary; Mandy: Who are you?; Vincent: Em, why are you guys leaving?; Da Vinci: Is that really you?; Roxy: Night-time!; and Abby: He must be a very nice animal.

At the moment the device speaks only English; Mandarin, French and Spanish versions are coming soon.

Since launching their product's funding campaign on IndieGoGo, NSID has seen a huge spike in interest in the No More Woof. With about 30 days still to go, the group has managed to raise over $20,000, which is double than their initial fundraising goal of $10,000, proving that there really is a market out there for this unusual product.

Young Parents Choosing Pets Over Kids
Ron Reich

Couple with a DogIt may come to you as a surprise, but young couples opting to have fur-kids instead of human children. While the causes are still unknown, Ron Reich's research suggests income and social media may play a role.

Ron Reich recently commissioned a survey on Google of over 1,000 people, and was surprised that survey showed younger parents (aged 25 to 34) are nearly 30% more likely to spend money on their pets than their kids during Christmas than parents over the age of 34.

The survey showed that trends are changing with the younger people, who would rather have "pet" children than a traditional household with human children.

Reich also noted that younger parents are more likely to use social media sites than their older counterparts. This allows them to post pictures of their pets. There seems to be more competition with social media to show how spoiled their pets are and to lavish them with as many gift as possible. Whereas older people are less inclined to spend their time on social websites.

"When it comes to the low end of the income ladder," Reich continues, "spending extra money on pets is still viewed as a luxury rather than a necessity. While there are many Americans who will not get that toy bike for their son in favor of more toys for their pets, this rarely happens with lower-income Americans."

The trend seems to be moving in the direction where this will continue to increase.

Ron Reich is a former attorney turned marketing consultant. After building up a successful publishing business in the relationship space he is now helping spread joy to the world by helping people maximize their relationships with their pets through sites like He lives in Claremont, CA with his dog, Sheba and two cats.

Life With A Vet A Continuous Pet Parade
Scott Reeder, Illinois Policy Institute

Scott ReederScott Reeder is a veteran statehouse reporter and the journalist-in-residence at the Illinois Policy Institute, who has been blessed with two veterinarians in his life, his father and his wife, Joan. Vets have an affinity for animals that most people don't understand. Animal doctors have such an intense love for creatures that their homes tend to become, well, menageries.

Life with a vet is never dull according to Scott Reeder. His wife is like most veterinarians. She ends up bringing homes animals that otherwise couldn't be adopted. If you walk into a veterinarian's house, you're likely to see animals that may be missing limbs, can't see or can't walk.

Scott tells us when he was eight; his dad came home with a billy goat. His dad was vaccinating cattle at a sale barn, and as a joke, bid $5 on a lonely billy goat that didn't have ears. The ruminant had no respect for fences or screen doors. No sooner had the goat been put in the pasture than it jumped the fence, ran across their yard, peered through the screen door and baaed loudly. Scott's mother took to chasing Billy off the porch with a broom, until he ate the broom. Having no respect for fences, the goat took to sunning itself on the front porch, where more than a few drivers nearly swerved off the road after observing it.

Given this history, you'd think he would have gone into marriage to a veterinarian with his eyes wide open. Dream on. His wife brought a cat into the marriage that hated all men. Within a week, the cat marked his suit and every freshly pressed white shirt of his hanging in the closet.

When he asked his wife for her hand in marriage, he made her promise - no animals would be added to their family unless they both agreed.

A menagerie of animalsA couple of years after they wed, his wife who was more than eight months pregnant with their first daughter, came home with a kitten that was born without eyes. Between sobs, Joan said, "They wanted me to put it to sleep just because it was born this way. I couldn't do it, Scott. What happens if our child is born without any eyes?" As his pregnant wife stroked the blind kitten, she added, "It's just a foster cat. It will stay with us just until we find someone who will give it a home permanently." The foster cat is still with them eight years later. It has the floor plan of the house memorized, avoids the kids' toys on the floor with an eerie sixth sense and lounges on the windowsill like a prince on a throne. And there are the other creatures that are members of their family.

Today, they have four dogs, two cats, two parakeets and a rabbit, and despite his childhood history with Billy, he finds himself the owner of not one but three goats.

And who knows, maybe one day one of his daughters will become a vet.

Kitten & Cat Proofing
Swheat Scoop Minute With Doc Halligan
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Before bringing your new kitten or cat into your home, you need to kitten and cat proof your house, garage, basement, and yard, as well as have the necessary supplies ready to make your pet feel comfortable. Kittens are big bundles of furry curiosity that can get them into a lot of trouble, but pet proofing is necessary for adult cats as well.

Just like a child uses its hands and fingers to explore, a cat natural instinct is to use its mouth and teeth to investigate all new things, which are plentiful in a new home.

Keep in mind the lower vantage point that cats and kittens have. They'll be attracted to things you won't see when standing, so you need to get down on all fours and look through their eyes.

Swheat Scoop Multiple LitterCommon Dangers:

Everyday dangers to kittens include plants, household garbage, food, cleaning substances, swallowable objects (this includes anything small enough for them to get a hold of), electrical cords and wires, curtain and drapery cords, plastic bags, shoes and clothing, children's toys and items, medicines, open fires, open doors, balconies and raised decks, pools and ponds, unsupervised small children and other pets.

Keep toilet lids, dresser drawers, trunks, and closets closed. Be careful when closing your refrigerator, oven, washer, or clothes dryer to make sure your kitten or puppy is not inside. Keep sewing supplies out of reach and never leave a hot stove unattended. Block off stairs and ledges with a baby gate. Keep poisons and all medications in a locked cabinet or room that your pet can't access. Examine your house and furniture carefully for small holes, gaps, and spots where a small animal could squeeze into and get stuck. Watch out for heavy objects placed on unstable bases, such as an iron on an ironing board.

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Joey VillaniThe Dogfather's Grooming Tip with Joey Villani

De-Shed Your Dog Properly
Are you thinking about shaving your dog yourself? Do you know how short you should cut it? These are questions that Joey answers frequently.

If you have a double-coated dog like a German Shepherd, it is better not to shave them down. By shaving them down, you are actually removing the working coat, which is an un-natural process. This throws everything off balance and leaves your dog with excessive undercoat growth.

The best way to explain this, is to compare it to removing a protective layer off a jacket, and having the "down" exposed to the elements, which will suck everything in. When their coat works right, you need both. You need the protective coating and you also need the down.

When you shave a dog that is not supposed to be shaved, the undercoat grows excessively and the new coat grows back differently.

During the winter, you should have your dog de-shed with a normal process done by a professional. During the summer, you should have a professional de-shed your dog completely, where everything is pulled out.

Your dog will look and feel better when their coat is taken care of properly.

Animal Radio® News with Stacey Cohen

Lucy, the worst dog in America  Worst Dog In America
We've all heard the popular phrase, "bad to the bone," but Lucy, an adopted husky mix, is so bad, her unmatched destructive nature earned her the title prestigious "Worst Dog in America." When Eve Memmer, of Greenville, S.C., adopted Lucy more than two years ago, it wasn't until the dog managed to chew through her metal crate they knew she was a prime candidate for Camp Bow Wow's contest to find America's worst of the worst. Lucy gnawed her way to the coveted crown. The prize was a year of pet "rehab" at Camp Bow Wow, where she began training in summer 2012, getting to work on focus exercises and group play. But this bad dog behavior is a real issue in homes across the country. "It's responsible for 80 percent of all animal abandonment in animal shelters," veterinarian Ernie Ward explained. Lucy is now very manageable," said Memmer. "She will listen to instruction and relax, whereas before, we could never have that." After more than a year of reining as the "Worst Dog in America," Lucy may finally be able to pass the torch to a more deserving pup.

Device Translates Dog's Woofs Into English
Soon you may no longer have to wonder what your dog's barking means: a device is in the works to translate the canine's thoughts into English. Coming out of Malmo, Sweden, No More Woof aims to translate your dog's thoughts via a headset that essentially reads your pooch's mind. Sensors in the gadget pick up EEG signals from the canine's brain, and software in the device attempt to translate those thoughts (however roughly) into English. No More Woof is currently being financed via IndieGoGo, and already surpassed its $10,000 goal in a matter of days. But, still, if you're sold, the devices run $600 and can distinguish four thought patterns. It's not just English, though: Spanish, French, and Mandarin are coming to the device soon.

Sea Lions on bluff   Sea Lion Poop Lawsuit
Sea lion poop is at the center of a lawsuit filed by an upscale San Diego neighborhood. According to Courthouse News Service, a group of La Jolla residents are suing the city to get someone to clean up the animal droppings covering the rocks by a nearby cove. The residents, who have dubbed themselves Citizens for Odor Nuisance Abatement, say the city has "Exclusive dominion, control, and responsibility" to maintain the cliffs and keep the area free of noxious odors. They also want the city to take down a new fence that's keeping people away from certain areas of the coast. The residents argue that the lack of traffic has gradually led to a buildup of excrement.

Bieber In Trouble With PETA Again
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) don't applaud Justin Bieber's decision to buy a dog. The Canadian pop star is criticized for failing to set a good example to his fans by purchasing a puppy from a pet store instead of adopting one from a shelter. PETA's Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations, said, "Whether or not reports are true that Justin Bieber purchased a puppy from a pet store for $600, PETA wants to remind everyone that when you buy a dog or cat from a pet store or breeder, you sentence an animal in a shelter to death." She adds, "Six to eight million homeless animals enter shelters every year, and half of them must be euthanized for lack of a good home, so there is no excuse for buying an animal, no matter who you are." The 19-year-old singer previously owned a hamster, which he gave away to a fan and it later died. He also abandoned his capuchin monkey, Mally, in Germany when he failed to obtain the proper permits to enter the country.

Hydrant Park in Las VegasPampered Pets Get Private Club in Las Vegas
VIP lounges and entrance fees are commonplace in Las Vegas, but now there is a social club downtown just for pampered pets and their owners. The view from the outside is what most of us are likely to see. You need a special key card to get inside the Hydrant Club private park. Members pay a monthly fee that many people would find expensive considering nearly all other dog parks are free to the public but these dog lovers say it is worth every penny. A field of grass feels good on the paws and some trees provide shade. However, it comes at a price. Membership fees can vary from around $40 to more than $200 a month.

Horse-Drawn Carriages In New York Galloping To A Close
The days of the horse-drawn carriage in New York City are galloping to a close. Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio said that he would make good on a campaign promise to end the practice in Central Park. "We are going to get rid of the horse carriages. Period," de Blasio said at a press conference introducing new schools chancellor Carmen Farina. Activists have long condemned the horse-carriage as cruel and outdated. De Blasio left little doubt about where he stands on the issue that divides many New Yorkers and inflames passion on both sides.

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