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Animal Radio® for March 16, 2013  

Thoughts And Emotions of Our Fellow Creatures
Virginia Morell, Animal Wise

Dog with glasses reading bookJust how smart is your dog or cat? It turns out that scientific research says we've been underestimating the intelligence of a lot of animals. Take the earthworm for instance. Not only considered an animal, but able to make decisions; dolphins are self-aware and rats like to be tickled. Chimps grieve; dogs have thousand-word vocabularies; and birds practice songs in their sleep. Crows improvise tools; blue jays plan ahead; and moths remember living as caterpillars.

Virginia Morrell explains some of these discoveries to us, and states that dogs are very adept at reading our faces and taking emotional cues from that. So they not only look at our faces, but also our body language and can figure out what we are thinking.

But what about earthworms? There was an interesting test developed by Charles Darwin backing he 1870's where he decided to challenge earthworms. He gave them various materials to use to block their tunnels (their air holes) and they would come up out of their hole and with their feeling end, would touch the items. It turns out they were very selective about what they wanted. They were obviously making judgments and decisions, and nothing had surprised Darwin more than the discovery of some kind of intelligence in earthworms.

Animal Wise book coverThere was also another very interesting study at the Washington State University in Pullman by Jaak Pankseep. He was very interested in happiness, but had difficulty in getting funding to study happiness, so he studied depression instead. He had rats that were depressed, so he needed happy rats to compare them to. He discovered that the happy rats, as they played with one another, seemed to have their mouths open. He was very curious about that, so he decided to use a bat detector (a sophisticated instrument that register high-pitched sounds humans cannot hear) and discovered they were laughing and that they loved to be tickled. So how did he know the rats were depressed in the first place? Those rats were not allowed to play with other rats.

It is also amazing that moths remember living as caterpillars. These creatures have such a tiny brain, it is hard to imagine that they go through the pupa stage and come out transformed into a butterfly, and can remember it. This was tested when there was a food that the moth didn't like. When it was a butterfly, it remembered this food and also stayed away from it.

Read about this and other fascinating facts in Virginia Morell's new book, Animal Wise. Virginia is also the author of Ancestral Passion; Blue Nile; and co-author of Wildlife Wars.

Peeing on Snowmen
Vinnie Penn, The Party Animal

Dog peeing on snowmanI have three words I want to say. I don't want to say them, but it's something that I don't dig. Peeing on Snowmen. Now, you have to let your dog out, but things have changed so much you have to follow the dog around with the pooper-scooper, or whatnot, and of course the dog aims right for the fire hydrant, we all know that.

But if I see one more lightening yellow streak across a snowman that some adorable little children put together with their own tiny little hands, is it beyond you dog owner to shout at Thor or Monarch or Lucky or Rover, and say, "Scoot, Scoot, away from the snowman."

Don't let your dog pee on the snowman – children made it! Some of the pee will inevitably get on that scarf, and that scarf doesn't get washed, and the next thing you know, in February daddy is wearing that scarf to work and it has dog urine all over it.

If you see the dog heading for the snowman, teach the dog, "Pause, roll over, respect Frosty!"

The Dogfather's Grooming Tip with Joey Villani

Joey VillaniWhat To Do If Your Pet Smells Like Smoke
Even though it seems like less and less people are smoking, there are still plenty that do. And those that do smoke, they smoke around their animals.

Joey recently had two dogs come into his salon this week that reeked of smoke. One of these dogs was a 12-year-old poodle brought in by the smoker's daughter because of the smell. Joey groomed the poodle, but even after it's bath, it had a slight nicotine smell to him. The smoke was so imbedded into the dog's coat, it would have been best to shave the dog down and start over, even though that is no guarantee you will get rid of the smoke smell completely.

The daughter occasionally takes the dog and wants to know of a quick fix to get rid of the smell, as her mother's smokes up to two packs a day around him.

Dog with smoke in his faceUnfortunately there is not much you can do about the smell, even though some products on the market claim they will get rid of odors. The problem is that if the dog is in a household where there is contact smoke, even if you spray it and cover it up, as soon as that person lights another smoke around the pet, the coat is going to suck that smoke smell back in.

Nicotine smoke is oil based. So picture a room with one of those smoke-eaters. You might not be able to immediately smell the smoke, but if you look on the ceiling, or on the walls, you will find discoloration. The same thing will happen to your pet. The smoke is going to get on their coat, you will spray it and mask it, but because it is oil based (which is what makes it stick to the ceiling and walls) you are going to see it. What these products will do is break down the oils and dry it out. But as soon as that pet gets wet, the odor will start again, just as strong as it was.

The best thing to do is to wash the dog to rinse away the oil. If this oil is left on the dog, it can actually change their coat and make it look dull and unhealthy. This can either because the dog inhales the smoke or the smoke sits on their coat. Bottom line – don't smoke!

Animal Radio® News with Stacey Cohen

Man holding brown tree snakePoison-Laced Mice
The U.S. territory of Guam is going to extremes in order to get rid of an invasive species of snakes. The island nation is planning to airdrop poison-laced mice in an effort to eradicate the brown tree snake. Apparently, the reptiles were accidently carried to Guam by U.S. military ships during World War 2. The snakes found paradise at the island because there they have no natural predators. Since then, the serpents have become a pest that has nearly eradicated the island's bird population. To get rid of the slithering pests, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will be dropping dead newborn mice that have been stuffed with acetaminophen. The active ingredient in Tylenol happens to be poisonous to the brown tree snake. The airdrop will take place this March or April and will target the area around Andersen Air Force Base because of the dense vegetation surrounding it.

Crab walking on beachEver Wonder How The Word Crabby Got Started?
It turns out that noises from ships could be upsetting to crabs. According to, a group of scientists from two British universities set out to test the effect of ship noise on crustaceans and published their results in the journal Biology Letters. The teams from the Universities of Bristol and Exeter played recordings of ship engines to a group of crabs and found that the critters had an increase in their metabolic rate. The raised rate indicates that the crabs had an elevated level of stress. Apparently, the added stress could have a dramatic effect on the animal's growth and result in a smaller size crab. Dr. Steve Simpson from the University of Exeter says the results "Could have implications for fisheries in noisy areas." He explains that because noise could stifle the crab's growth, "Quieter farms may be more profitable."

James Humphries holding pearlPearls For Breakfast
One man in England found a small treasure in his odd breakfast choice. According to the British magazine The Mirror, James Humphries picked up a pair of fresh oysters for breakfast over the weekend and found a pearl inside of one. Humphries had just slurped up the mollusk when he felt a lump in his mouth. He admits at first he "Thought a filling had fallen out," but spit out the oyster and discovered it was a pearl. He says the pearl is small, but perfectly formed. Apparently, Humphries stops by his local fishmonger every Saturday and buys two oysters to nurse his hangover. He says the mollusks "Are the perfect hangover cure." Meanwhile, Humphries' fishmonger, Gareth Horner, is astounded that one of his customers found a pearl in his oyster. He says he's been at the job for 30 years and has never "Seen a pearl come out of one."

Girl holding giant goldfishThreatening Monster Goldfish
Goldfish are being found in Lake Tahoe and scientists say they're a serious threat to the area. Lake Tahoe straddles the California-Nevada border and is the second-deepest lake in the nation. Researchers say goldfish, some weighing four pounds, have somehow made their way into the crystal clear waters of the lake and threaten native species. Experts say goldfish are very good at getting what they need and can compete with native fish for food. It's thought the fish might have come from two sources: pet owners who no longer wanted them dumped them and others used as bait may have escaped into the lake over time.

Actor Charlie SheenCharlie Sheen Buys Therapy Dog
There's a 15-year-old Florida girl who didn't really know much about Charlie Sheen before this, but does now. The actor wired $10,000 to Teagan Marti and her family for a therapy dog to help in her rehabilitation from injuries sustained when she plummeted 100 feet from a Wisconsin amusement park ride in 2010. Teagan Marti suffered brain, spine, pelvis and internal injuries in July 2010 when nets and air bags that were supposed to catch riders on a free-fall ride were not raised. She had convinced her family to make the trip from Florida to Extreme World in Wisconsin Dells after seeing the amusement park's Terminal Velocity ride on the Travel Channel. She was hospitalized in Teagan Marti with therapy dogWisconsin and Florida for three months. She initially had no use of her arms or legs but through physical therapy is able to walk again with a walker. Teagan Marti's mother, Julie Marti, said they are financially in trouble from the medical bills and her recent divorce. Their house is being foreclosed upon and insurance isn't covering physical therapy anymore. She had no idea how they would pay for the English Golden Retriever puppy. "I like to pay it forward," Sheen said Thursday in a phone interview from Los Angeles. "People come into your orbit for a reason. You don't always know what that is ahead of time, but if I ignore these requests then I don't have any opportunity to see where these things lead us, or lead me." He said he doesn't like to publicize most of his donations, but wanted to talk about this one to inspire others to donate. Teagan Marti gets the dog on her birthday in September but hasn't made up her mind on a name. "I think they should name the dog Charlie," Sheen joked.

Philip Demers with walrus in the snowThe Walrus Whisperer
Dubbed the "Kanye West of walrus training," Philip Demers says he's more than ready to defend himself against the $1.5 million lawsuit a Niagara Falls theme park has brought against him for allegedly plotting to steal a walrus. "I look forward to defending myself against the claims brought about by Marineland and hope the focus can once again be concentrated on the animals I continue to care for," Demers, 34, said in an email to ABC News. The lawsuit, filed at St. Catharines courthouse in Ontario, Canada, alleges that the professional marine mammal trainer conspired to steal Smooshi the walrus from Marineland Canada, his former employer. Demers, known for his strong bond with Smooshi, resigned his position at Marineland in August. He has since become an outspoken opponent of the marine-animal theme park. Marineland, which declined to comment, purportedly alleges in the suit that when Demers' idea for a reality-TV television show, "The Walrus Whisperer," was rejected in August 2011, he became "upset and displeased." The television production company that helped Demers pitch the show cast him as the "Kanye West" of animal training because of his candor and outspokenness, Demers said.

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