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 Featured On This Week's Program

Animal Radio® for May 24, 2014  

Amazing Acro-Cats
Samantha Martin, Amazing Animals

Amazing Acro CatsSamantha Martin, of Amazing Animals, has been training animals for film and advertising for over twenty years. All of the animals are professional animal actors. Besides dogs and cats, Samantha has trained an American Alligator, Red Tail Boa, Chinchilla, Coatimundi, Ferrets, Kinkajou, Monitor Lizard, Tegu Lizard and Red Foot Tortoise.

Samantha explains that rats and chickens are the easiest to train. They learn super fast and are not affected by external stimuli. One of the most challenging animals to train is the raccoon. They are very smart and have a temper. They can go from wanting to lick your face to wanting to bite you in half a beat.

Currently, Samantha has put together a bunch of really talented cats, called Amazing Acro-Cats. She and her 15+ cats travel the country entertaining crowds with her circus cats. She'll tell us what it takes to put a musical band together consisting of only cats.... oh, and one chicken.

Samantha's cats consist of former orphans, rescue and strays that came into her life over the years. She was able to find each individual's strong point by just watching them. She was then able to coordinate a trick by using their natural talent. For example, if she had a cat that likes to paw things, she would come up with tricks where they use their paw. If she has a cat that is racing up the curtains or cat condos, then she would capitalize on something that that would utilize that skill.

Rock CatsSamantha started her Amazing Acro-Cats about 8 years ago. It was much simpler then, with maybe ropes, ladders and pedestals. The show now consists of around 2,000 pounds in props, ending in a finale with the Rock Cats, which is a 5-piece cat band, or 6 pieces if you count the chicken! She has a cat on the drums, one on the piano, another on the guitar, one on a cowbell, another on chimes and the chicken on tambourine. When her gong is repaired, she will then add a groundhog to the band to play that instrument.

Everyone knows that most band members don't always get along, so does Samantha have any problems with her band? Each members has their own instrument to play, but sometimes if, for example, the guitar player gets too close to the drummer, then there might be some swatting going on in the middle of the show. It's unprofessional, but even cats have their egos. The chicken might even fly up at the keyboard player, upsetting him. So there are definitely problems in the band.

Because they are cats, they are never 100 percent cooperative. A cat decides what they want to do and when they want to do it. This keeps the show fresh and exciting. You can watch the show a dozen times and every show will be different.

Tortoise Talk
Lisa Winn, TOOSLO

African Tortoise and Chihuahua with antlersMore and more pet lovers are choosing turtles and tortoises over the traditional dog or cat. Lisa Winn owns 8 African Spurred Tortoises and she is the VP of a tortoise organization, TOOSLO (Turtle Organization of San Luis Obispo). She says they are a lot of fun and even dresses up her shelled-friends.

Lisa got her first Tortoise in 2010, which is an African Spurred Tortoise. She then joined TOOSLO about month later, becoming the Treasurer/Membership for 2 years, and for the last two years she has been the Vice President of the club.

In her four years with the club, she has adopted 8 African Spurred Tortoises. These animals are the 3rd largest tortoises in the world, which can weigh up to 200 lbs and live over 100 years. There are exceptions, and Lisa knows of one who weighed 250 pounds, age unknown.

The African Spurred Tortoise doesn't hibernate. The males can become aggressive during mating season and will ram each other, trying to flip each other over. If they have been flipped over, they can right themselves, but it is extremely difficult for them to do, because when they are on their backs, they are actually laying on their lungs.

African Spurred TortoisesPeople who have these animals usually put them in their will, because they will probably be outlived by them.

Do they make good pets? Lisa tells us that her tortoises have great personalities and make great pets. They are quiet, they don't bark and they don't meow, and they will mow down the grass in your yard. But be careful if you are wearing red or pink toenail polish, because they will mistake them for berries and will try to bite them.

Lisa explains the differences between turtles and tortoise. She tells us a tortoise lives on the land and it usually either tropical or desert. A turtle needs water, and will come on land to lay eggs. There are no laws against owning these reptiles, but there is a law against owning a desert turtle, which is the California State Reptile. It is an endangered species and cannot be taken from the wild.

Is salmonella something we need to be worried about when owning these pets? Lisa tells us we only need to be careful with the red eared sliders (water turtles) and that any turtle smaller than 4 inches is illegal to own.

It's Like Christmas Every Month For Your Pet
Sean Conlon, PetBox PetBox.2.755.jpg

Dog with Pet BoxSean Conlon started a pet-box of the month subscription service. Imagine being able to customize a monthly delivery of toys and treats to your dog. Sean's business is doing great. He's shipped over 66,000 boxes this last year.

PetBox is a premium monthly delivery service for dogs and cats that is dedicated to sniffing out the best in pet products for their customers. Each month, your pet receives premium goodies delivered right to his or her front door.

What makes PetBox different from other subscription services, is that owners decide what goes in doggie's or kitty's personalized PetBox, which is filled with up to 6 items and is shipped the very next day.

A subscription ranges form $29 to $39 per month, depending upon which plan you choose. If you purchase it for one year, it only costs $29, with anything less than that at $39 per month. Each PetBox has a retail value of $50 or more, plus it comes with free shipping in the United States.

The PetBoxes include treats, toys, accessories, grooming items, t-shirts and collars. This not only allows you to try new items every month, it also lets you try some cute new items you might never have purchased. Plus, you can select items, which are age and size appropriate for your pet.

Best of all, you don't have to worry about any of the edibles in the PetBoxes. All edibles are made in the United States.

PetBox evens gives back. For every PetBox purchased, a rescue animal is fed. Every Friday, PetBox sends out a huge shipment of dog & cat food to a rescue shelter – picked by PetBox fans.

Joey VillaniThe Dogfather's Grooming Tip with Joey Villani

Regularly Groomed Dog Still Get Matted
If you take your dog to a groomer every two weeks, you shouldn't have any problems with their cats, right? Wrong! A dog who is groomed regularly can still sometimes have problems with matting between visits if you don't do anything to their coats at home.

First, you should check to see if your groomer is doing a good job. You can check this by running a comb through your dog and see if they are tangle free.

Having your dog groomed every two weeks should normally be good enough to ward off any coat issues in between visits, unless there are extreme things going on with your pet.

Some extreme things would be if your pet were getting wet. For example, does it go out in the rain? Does it go swimming? Both of these things can cause their coats to knot up.

Dog being bathedSometimes grooming your dog every two weeks is not a good thing, depending upon the types of products they use. Your dog can come down with chemical matts, which is caused by buildup of products. If they are using silicone based products, which most groomers use because they can get a really great instant result, it can build up in their coat.

This will tack the coat up so it is going to pick up every piece of dust and dirt and will become static. This will cause it to keep bonding and the hair will stick to itself, causing matts.

A dog that visits the groomer every 4 to 6 weeks will usually not experience this type of product buildup.

Ask your groomer if they can use a clarifying shampoo. This will flush out the old product, so they can now add new product without a buildup. Their coat will be fresh every time so you don't have any buildup.

If this doesn't correct the problem, then you will probably need to brush and comb your pet between visits. Some dogs, if they have a really thick coat, may need more attention in between groomings.

Animal Radio® News with Tammy Trujillo

Baby Bear and Vicks VapoRubVicks VapoRub & The Three Bears
Three Michigan orphaned bear cubs have a new mom thanks to Vicks VapoRub after the Michigan state wildlife officials coated the orphan cubs with the cold ointment. The Vicks masked the scent carried by the little, furry guys. When the surrogate mom found the cubs covered with something gooey, she started licking them. The cubs soon carried the new female's scent and she started to care for them.

May is Pet Cancer Awareness Month
May is Pet Cancer Awareness Month and the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital has come up with a terrific program to help both kids and pets with cancer. It's a special pen pal program and is part of YAPS (Youth and Pet Survivors). Kids who have cancer write letters to pets that are also dealing with the disease. Pet guardians, of course, write the return letters and share stories of their pet's own struggles and triumphs. Annie Gillespie founded YAPS in 2001 and says even though most of the kids know the animals aren't writing the letters, they still write their letters to the pets and express themselves in ways that they don't verbally express themselves to parents or doctors. And it turns out to be a win-win situation. The kids get a totally accepting pet and the pet guardians get emotional support from the letters.

Dr. Lou Tierce and Sid$1-Million-Dollar Lawsuit Over Dog Being Kept Alive
Here's the latest on the story that we reported on last week and that has been on fire on the Internet. The couple whose dog was supposed to be euthanized but was allegedly kept alive and used as a blood donor by a vet in Fort Worth, Texas have filed a $1-million-dollar lawsuit against Dr. Lou Tierce. Jamie and Marian Harris say that their new vet says Sid was 'abusively kenneled' and now the 4-year old, 170-pound Leonburger has many serious problems, including needing surgery for bulging discs and some paralysis. What he doesn't have is the congenital spine defect that Dr. Tierce cited as a reason to put him down. Tierce has reportedly admitted to the Texas Veterinary Board that he kept five dogs alive to be used as blood donors, including his own personal pet.

War Between Pet Food Rivals
A war in the pet food industry is heating up. Nestle's Purina PetCare has filed a lawsuit against Blue Buffalo. Purina accused it's rival of false advertising about what's in its dog and cat foods. Blue Buffalo promotes its foods as all-natural, with no poultry by-products meals and no corn, wheat or soy. But according to the lawsuit, Purina says it hired an independent lab to test several Blue Buffalo foods and found all those things. Purina wants the court to force Blue Buffalo to run commercials correcting it's claims of being all natural and to pay damages to Purina for profits it says were a result of the false advertising and amounted to unfair competition. Blue Buffalo is standing by its products and says Purina's lab results were based on some kind of weird science.

Reckless with familyFamily Goes to Adopt A New Dog And Finds Old One Instead
Another story that proves you should never give up on a missing animal. This one is about a family in New Jersey whose terrier-pitbull mix got out of their backyard during Superstorm Sandy in October of 2012. Chuck James and the family looked everywhere for Reckless and finally just a few weeks ago gave up home and went to the animal shelter to adopt a new dog into the family. You can probably guess what happened next, even though it is amazing. Yes, there was Reckless in the first kennel they went to. The shelter said he had been picked up as a stray. No one knows where he has been all this time, but he was in pretty good shape. He's back with the James family who are still living in a hotel while their home is being fixed.

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