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Animal Radio® Show #487 April 4, 2009


Swoosie Kurtz

Swoosie Kurtz is a two-time Tony award winning stage actress.   Her name, Swoosie, is derived from the airplane “Swoose” – half swan, half goose – which her father piloted in World War II.  Like most people, Swoosie states that animal move her deeply.  She sometimes even thinks that the animals are superior to us. 

Swoosie moved 17 times during school and lived in 8 different states due to her father’s job.  It was hard for her to have pets as a child because of this lifestyle.   Now, as an adult, she finds herself as a “serial pet person.”  It never fails that one seems to land on her lawn on in her backyard.   She once found a little dog in her front yard when she was in Los Angeles doing a series.  She looked for a tag and in the ads to see if she belonged to someone.   Her friends warned her not to get attached to the dog, as she may only be there overnight.   Swoosie then called her “Overnight” who ended up being with her for over 4 years. 

She then got a cat named Rose.  It seems that Rose lived down the block from her house but one day decided that she wanted to live with Swoosie instead.    She also has a cat named Myra who was rescued from an intersection in Los Angeles.   When she first saw her in the intersection, she thought it was a black bag blowing in the wind.  But, as it turned out it was a little black cat, who has now been with her several years.    She also feeds “Maury” a stray cat who shows up on her door, and also Myrna, a cat who lives across the streets.  She said that it is stating to look like Italy at her home with all of the stray cats just wandering around.  Swoosie now thinks that the neighborhood cats have rated her place with “4 Stars” as the place to hang out!

While she currently only has cats, she would love to have two or three gigantic dogs.  However, she is currently not in a place where she feels she can properly care for them, as she constantly travels back and forth from New York to Los Angeles.  Perhaps a small dog she can fit into her purse and carry to the set would work for her!


Dr. Marty Becker, America’s Veterinarian

Saying Goodbye To Pets – When Do You Know It’s Time?

There is no right “one answer” when you think about saying goodbye to pets.  However, Dr. Becker says that he would rather be one month too early than one minute too late. 

If you look back at a pet’s passing, there is no one right answer for everybody.   But when you look at a pets ask the following questions: 

Does it have an incurable illness?

Is it suffering?

Is the cost of a 5% chance of a cure worth $10,000 when you can’t afford it?  (Sometimes you have to make a decision that turns out to be an economic euthanasia.)

Is the pet still able to eat and drink? 

Does it have normal bowel movements? 

Is the quality of life still good?

If the bad days are outnumbering the good days and the animal is suffering and there is very little chance of cure, then that may be the time to think about saying goodbye. 


Accommodating the older pet

We need to understand a pet’s accelerated biological clock.  We know they don’t live as long as us, but somehow we are lulled into a false sense of security based on our dog’s natural exuberance and inability to bury signs of pain and discomfort.   So we pretend that they are not aging and that they are fine. 

Your pet’s age sometimes creeps up on you, but some signs you can look for are:

Cloudy eyes (most people think they are cataracts)

Graying around the muzzle and body

Lumps ands bumps

Stiff gait from arthritis (limping and slowing on rising along with hesitancy to go up stairs)

Don’t hear and see as well

Food is not as tasty and they might have trouble chewing their food

Muscle drooping

Bad breath as a result of dental problems

Many older pets could live a much happier, easier life if their owners only knew a few tips for accommodation. These tips include ramps/stairs, carpet runners, heating up food in microwave and or serving a senior diet, heated/softer bedding and medications for old age problems such as arthritis.  They may have vision problems, so please don’t rearrange furniture in the middle of the night!


Different Types Of Microchips

There are currently four types of pet recovery services that offer microchips.  They are:





While they appear to be similar, some may run on different frequencies, which all scanners may not be able to read.  Dr. Becker likens this to an example if you use a Mac computer and you try to run PC software – it will not work. 

Dr. Becker recommends looking for an ISO (International Standards Organization) chip, which can be read in any country.    You also want someone who has a scanner that can cross-read all other chip frequencies.


Dr. Jim Humphries - Veterinary Minute

Enrich Your Indoor Cat’s Life

Enrichment is important to a cat’s health and happiness.    Most cat owners feel if they provide their indoor feline family with good food, plenty of fresh water and routine veterinary care, they’ll live happy and healthy full lives.  But, cats destined to thrive and not just survive need a lot more says Dr. Tony Buffington, Founder of the Indoor Cat Initiative.  His goal is to enrich the lives of indoor cats. 

Here are seven things you can do to improve your cat’s environment that are proven to decrease your cat’s stress and improve its overall health:

  1. Be a friend. (Play with your cat)

  2. Be a “litter” bug.  (Keep his litter clean)

  3. Get you cat “high.”  (Make sure he has high places to go like window sills)

  4. Plan a hunt.  (Put treats around the house that he has to hunt for)

  5. Scratch an itch.  (Make sure your cat has an appropriate scratching post)

  6. Take on water.  (Provide you cat with an aerator pet water fountain)

  7. Be a Wizard of Oz (Cats like alone time)


Flea Infestations

Heavy rainfall in some parts of the country have caused the ground to be saturated with moisture, and that means the perfect conditions for a record infestation of fleas. Even more serious is the transmission of diseases fleas carry. Pet owners nationwide are visiting their veterinary clinics asking for help to control the fleas that are making their pets lives miserable. Once a flea infestation gets established in your environment, it's tough to bring under control because the adult fleas produce thousands of offspring. The adult fleas you see on your pet are only 5% of the total flea problem. And in some parts of the country we are seeing fleas even on dogs and cats treated with proper preventive compounds.


Animal Minute With Britt Savage

Cat Saves Family From Certain Death

The Keesling family was saved from an almost certain death by carbon monoxide poisoning by their cat Winnie.

The family had been sleeping when Winnie jumped on the bed of Eric and Cathy Keesling and started screaming.  Through the persistence of Winnie, Cathy finally got up and realized that she was dizzy and nauseous.  She then tried to wake her husband who had had minor surgery the day before.  Cathy eventually called 911 with some difficulty. 

When paramedics showed up, they found the couple’s 14-year-old son unconscious near his bedroom. The whole family was treated from carbon monoxide poisoning and has fully recovered.  This is not the first time, however, where Winnie has saved her family.  Last year she warned them of a tornado in the area.


Cat Falls Asleep in China, Wakes Up in Britain

A cat stowed away in a crate of crockery on a container ship and traveled 6,000 miles from China to Britain, living on cardboard and condensation. Nicknamed Chairman Miaow, the white tabby cat crawled into the crate before it was loaded onto the container ship bound for Britain.

It survived for 26 days on a diet of cardboard and condensation to arrive as an "illegal immigrant" in the county of Nottinghamshire, central England.

Staff at crockery suppliers Tabletop, in the town of Kirby-on-Ashfield, discovered the cat, which was then vaccinated and sent to a quarantine centre in the nearby town of Cottam.


Vladae, The "World Famous" Russian Dog Wizard

Dog Pees On Carpet – Is There A Scent That Makes Her Pee There?

This three-year-old dog has been peeing on the carpet and her guardian wants to know if there is a scent on the carpet which is making her go there.  Vladae says definitely!  Dogs can smell the urine and will return to the same spot over and over.  You need to clean up any areas where a dog has urinated with Simple Solution, which will take out the smell.  When it dries, use another product “No Pee” which will keep the dog away from the area.  Dogs are creatures of habit, and if the dog stays away for 2-3 days, he will not return to the spot. 

Vladae Reads His Top 3 Emails For The Month:

1. How can I stop my dog from begging at the table?

The problem is my husband gives her food at the table all of the time and I am against it.  Somebody told me that I should put a leash on my dog and correct her every time when she approaches the table?  Vladae suggests she put the leash on her husband!

2. Dog Steals And Shreds Girlfriend’s Underwear

My 3-year-old Lab likes to steal and chew up my girlfriend’s underwear and destroys it.  This is a dog looking for trouble and he knows what he is doing wrong.  Vladae suggests spraying something like Bitter Apple on the items to keep the dog away.

3. Mother-in-law complained that dog made cat uneasy

When the mother-in-law visits, she complains that her cat doesn’t have a good time because of the dog.   Vladae says the dog needs a little bit of obedience training, in particular, having her got to her “place” during visits and hopefully this will help everyone to get along.

Dog Is Now Afraid Of Riding In Truck

This 9-year-old Shih Tzu is now afraid of trucks.  It happened when the guardian was parked during on trip with extreme winds up to 80mph that buckled the metal on the truck.  The dog went ballistic and now he doesn’t want to get in the truck any more.   When he does get in, he goes crazy, jumping around and panting.   Vladae suggests playing an animal music therapy CD when the dog is in the truck.  He also suggests getting a crate and not letting the dog have free roam.    You can also put his favorite toys and blanket in the crate, which will give him a sense of security.    A good idea is to also crate him at home so he will get used to it.    He also suggests using a calming product that contains pheromones.


Vinnie Penn, Animal Radio's Resident Party Animal

Eleven Dogs Named Steve

I want to talk to you about a very popular commercial. It might be about saving money on your long distance.  It’s a disgruntled couple and they’re talking about how he doesn’t want to be committed to a phone plan.  The wife then says that they have been married for 40 years, when the husband says, 38!  He then says you know how I like variety, to which the wife replies, we’ve had eleven Bulldogs all named Steve!  And therein lies this week’s party animal. 

I can see getting the same breed of dog over and over, but 11 of them?  Over a span of 38 years!  Is that possible, to have gone through 11 Bulldogs?  Are you feeding them?  I want to write in to the producers of this commercial and ask how are they going through the 11?  Has Michael Vick been getting his hands on some of these dogs?  Eleven seems a bit much! 

Now, I am not going to go off on a rant about the fact that they named the dogs Steve, although I am not a big fan of human names for dogs.  That’s an age-old rant!  But, I stand by it.  Dogs don’t deserve human names.  But, I know a human family who had a beloved dog named Sport and when they replaced him, they named the new dog Sport II.   I can see the sequel – if you have a third one, just call it “Sport – the Return.”  I would understand that. 

But 11 Steves?  That’s insulting to Steve No. One, Steve No. Two, very insulting to Steve No. Three, because you know the “third times a charm” and 4 through 10, could you call him “King Steve,” or Steve-O for the next one, or Steve-a-Rino for another?  I would love Steve-a-Rino!  I would love to go to a house that had a dog named Steve-a-Rino!


A Snake is Not a Pet

I’ve got six words for you to kick off this week’s Party Animal installment.  “A Snake is Not a Pet!” 

Now, I am not talking about the dorm room snake where everybody sits around doing bong tokes and gathers in Chucko’s room to watch him feed a mouse to a snake.  I’m talking about when you’re at an outdoor festival, a flea market, as I was with my family recently.  And, you lean over and you see this guy who has this huge thing on his shoulders, and it’s rather still, and you think it’s kind of this funky new thing (if he wasn’t wearing his Harley T-Shirt) that is the latest trend in scarves.  And then it moves and you’re like, oh, it’s a massive white snake on his shoulders.  

I mean this guy had Anaconda on his shoulders at a flea market.  When the forked tongue started flicking out, my daughter shrieked like Jason Voorhees had just shown up.  (I took her to see the new Friday the 13th.  Not a good movie – she’s very young for that). 

But I must reiterate – the snake is not a pet!  Or at the very least, you don’t take your snake for a walk – and that’s not a metaphor!


Talk With Your Animals with Joy Turner

My Dog Won’t Listen Outside

Ruth wants to speak with her dog Jack, a 3-year-old Beagle, won’t listen when outside.  Normally, he listens to his commands very well when he is in the house, but when he goes outside he doesn’t like to listen to “come here.”  Jack the dog tells Joy that he thinks it’s funny, because in his mind he needs to spend more time outside, and he knows if he “comes” he will then be put inside.    Joy tells his guardian to make a deal with Jack and let him go out more if he will come to her when she calls him.



Animal Radio® News with Bobbie Hill
Iditarod Claims 4 Dogs

This year’s grueling 1150-mile Iditarod race has claimed 4 sled dogs.  The annual Alaska event involves teams of 12 to 16 sled dogs covering the almost 1200 mile trail in 10 to 17 days.  Necropsies will be performed to try to determine what killed the dogs.  One musher, Lou Packer who lost two dogs, told the Anchorage Daily News he thought they froze to death in the high winds. Critics compare the competition to canine torture. Organizers say the race commemorates the 1925 event in which mushers and their sled dogs brought life saving serum to Diphtheria victims in Nome over the same route. This year’s race was won by Lance Mackey for the third consecutive time.  Mackey retired his lead dog Larry and took home a 50-thousand dollar first prize.                  

Soldiers Use Four Legged Mode of Transportation

Soldiers and Marines are receiving special training at the Hawthorne Army Ammunition Depot on how to properly care for and use mules and horses.  U.S. taxpayer dollars fund not only high tech transportation for troops but also four legged modes of transportation.  In the rugged terrain of Afghanistan, troops have to be able to find an enemy that hides in mountain lairs.  The course trains soldiers and marines how to be prepared for something that doesn’t have a fan belt.  Marine Staff Sgt. Tyler McDaniel said, “with animals you have to think about stuff like shoes and grooming.”

People Magazine Lists Hollywood’s Most Recognizable Four Legged Actors

A recent issue of People magazine updated the lives of some of Hollywood’s most recognizable four legged actors.   The Sphinx cat that played Dr. Evil’s pet Mr. Bigglesworth in the Austin Powers movies is really 10-year-old Mel Gibskin.  His trainer says he loves being the center of attention.  Frasier’s “Eddie” was played by Enzo, a Jack Russell who lives with trainer Mathilde de Cagny, who says, “He’s loving retirement.”  And who will ever forget the Taco Bell Chihuahua.... no one!  Gidget is currently out of work but her trainer Sue Chipperton says the 15 year old loves laying out in the sun.

Be Wary of Flea Medications

Spring brings April showers and May flowers and fleas and ticks.  But before you run down to your local pet supply emporium veterinarians urge pet owners to be cautious.  Most over the counter flea medications contain Permethrin a pesticide that has been linked to health problems and in some cases pet deaths.  Symptoms include irritation on the skin, drooling or foaming at the mouth.  Vets say if your pet displays any adverse reaction to a flea medication wash your pet in dish soap and contact your vet immediately.  The manufacturers of the O.T.C. products in question claim it is a very small percentage of pets that experience temporary symptoms, which usually disappear in 24 hours.  However the Humane Society of the United States is speaking out against these products containing Permethrin saying, “ There are absolutely safer alternatives...” The E.P.A’s own website lists thousands of incidents linked to products containing pyrethrins including thousands of reported deaths.  A recent investigation by NBC 4 in Los Angeles revealed the EPA admitted it isn’t sure how many thousands of pets have been harmed by these pesticide based flea and tick products.

Traveling With Your Pet Safety Tips

If you’re planning to hit the road with Fido or Fifi here are some pet safety tips from Lauren Fix the Car Coach: Pets should ride in the rear seat in pet carriers or harnesses secured by seat belts - never in the front passenger seat! Airbags deploy at over 200 miles per hour and could cause serious injuries to an unrestrained pet.  Never let your dog ride with its head out the window of your car or in your lap.  Don’t smoke with your pets in the car and never ever leave any animal inside a locked car no matter what the temperature outside.  Hundreds of animals die annually from being left in a hot car, even on so-called cool days.

Pet Business Company Excels During This Economy

While the economy remains in the proverbial crapper across the country one company posted revenue exceeding 4-million dollars.  The Pet Butler, the country’s leading pet poop cleanup company, bills itself as the “number one company in number two”.  The franchised operation is thriving in one of the worst economic years on record.  Company founder Red Boswell says, “Yes, business stinks but it’s definitely picking up!”  The Pet Butler Franchise Services marked several milestones last year, like scooping its 50 millionth pile, came in number 56 on the list of fastest growing franchises and the company held their second annual CaCa Convention in Phoenix Arizona.

NEWS UPDATE Brought To You By Simple Solution Natural Line Of Products


Your Vet Questions Answered with Dr. Debbie

German Shepherd Arranges Household Items

This 7-year-old German Shepherd seems to have a behavior disorder.  When she is alone, she will pick up everything and put it in the middle of the room.   Dr. Debbie doesn’t feel that this is a separation anxiety problem in a destructive sense.  Perhaps she just copes with being alone this way.   She suggests when the dog is left alone; she should be confined in a crate or in an area where she can’t get at any household items.   She also feels that the dog is bored and might need some physical outlets for her energy, which will decrease her desire to “arrange” things.

Lab/Greyhound Mix Is Terrified Of Water And Rain

This 7-year-old dog is terrified of water.  He is afraid of everything from the water running in the kitchen sink to the rain outside.    Dr. Debbie feels it is hard to train a dog not to be afraid of something if they are constantly being exposed to their fears.  And in this case, he will be exposed to water with everything from washing dishes to his guardian taking showers.    She feels the dog needs to be distracted with obedience commands so he won’t think about the sound of running water.  She then suggests adding water (very little) to the situations around the dog, such as putting a wet towel down and having the dog walk across it.  You can then start adding bowls of water, to expose him to more water slowly. 

2 Cats Ride In Truck – But One Pees In His Truck

One of these cats will occasionally pee on a pillow about every month or two.  The guardian has a large litter box in his truck, which the cats will use even while he is in motion.   Since the cat does not always do this, it makes it a little harder to figure out why.   Dr. Debbie says to first check the urine for infections or crystals.  She also thinks it might be the substrate and that the cat just prefers the softness of the pillow.  She advises the guardian to keep the pillow in plastic and kept away from the cat when he is not using it. 

What Is The Life Expectancy Of A Starling Bird?

About two and a half years ago this man’s wife adopted a baby Starling bird, but he doesn’t know what the life expectancy is for this bird.    Because the bird is wild, there is not much known about their life expectancy, especially in captivity.   However, Dr. Debbie has heard of some cases of these birds living for decades. 

What Is A Bordetella Shot For?

Dr. Debbie explains that Bordetella is a component in kennel cough that is a bacterial related disease.  Generally, this shot is given about every 6 months because it doesn’t last a full year.   If your pet is not around other dogs, you might not consider this as a necessary vaccine.  However, if you board your dog at a kennel or they are around other dogs at the beach or at dog parks, you definitely should consider this vaccine. 

Puts Everything In Her Mouth

This Bull Mastiff puppy puts everything in her mouth, from rocks to cell phones.  Her guardian wants to know of it is specific to the breed, or is it a puppy thing that she has to test everything in her universe and she will grow out of it?  This, however, seems to be a “dog thing” as they explore the things around them.   But, there are some dogs that seem to have higher tendencies of picking up things and getting into trouble.  The top of the list is the Labrador, but the Bull Mastiff is not far behind.    In cases as this, you need to not get excited when your dog picks something up and to monitor his activities.   Also, give him plenty of physical activity, which will reduce his desire for these activities, as a tired dog is a good dog!

Dog Is Having Seizures

This two-year-old lab recently starting having seizures in the middle of the night, which at first didn’t last very long and didn’t seem to have lasting effects.  However, the recent seizures seem to be more frequent and also leave him a little disoriented where he doesn’t recognize his guardians.  His vet did not put him on any anti-seizure medications, as they felt that his quality of life wouldn’t be worth the effort on medications.   Dr. Debbie feels that if a dog is having multiple seizures you should definitely see about getting him on some type of medication. 


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