Animal Radio® is America's Most Listened To Pet Talk According To ArbitronAnimal Radio® Show #552 July 3, 2010




Cleaning the Birds of the Gulf

Jay Holcomb, IBRRC (International Bird Rescue Research Center)

Jay Holcomb is the Executive Director at IBRRC (International Bird Rescue Research Center).

He responded to California oil spills during the 1970's and early 80's as a volunteer before joining the staff of IBRRC during the ARCO Anchorage Spill (1986). He has either led or been on staff for virtually all IBRRC spill responses since 1986 including the M/V Treasure oil spill in Cape Town, South Africa (2000).

Now, the IBRRC has been hired by BP to clean up the birds after the Gulf Oil Spill.  However, Holcomb states that he has freedom of speech and his organization provides this service as an independent contractor to the oil industry and anyone else who spills oil.  They have been doing this for 40 years. 

In all his years of experience, Holcomb has never seen an oil spill that kept gushing.  It’s almost like a new spill everyday and some people have likened it to a “bleeding” earth.  This is creating a nightmare and catastrophic impact to the coast.  But this is nothing compared to the inevitable catastrophe when the hurricanes and big storms hit.  For example, about five years ago, just before Hurricane Katrina hit, there was a pipeline break near an island in the gulf where pelicans nest.  While it dumped a relatively small amount of oil, by the time the tropical winds hit, it blew this oil over one small island, covering over 1,000 baby pelicans in oil.  When the storm subsided, they went in and were only able to save about 250 of these babies, as the others had become to badly sunburned by the oil.   Holcomb sees this potentially happening in the Gulf.

In this oil spill, by the time the birds get to shore for help, some of the oil has evaporated off their bodies, which in time would become tar if left untreated.   The good thing is as it dries, they ingest less of it.  However, it still gets them gooey and wet, and even in this warm climate, they can get very cold and suffer from hypothermia.   If a bird is in good shape, there should be no lasting long term affects once they have been cleaned up.  The problem then becomes where to release them.  Since they can’t go back to their “oily” homes, the birds now have to be relocated.   Unfortunately, these are birds that have chicks and eggs and they want to go back to their nests, as they are right in their breeding season. 

Holcomb has a blog where he has written about the “blame game,” for this latest spill.    He is sick and tired of people not taking responsibility. He states we have this incredible technology to find this oil and suck it out of the earth, but we don’t seem to have the technology to stop this gusher.  In a way, we all use these products so we are a part of it and we need to assume some level of responsibility on this.     He does mention, though, that BP is paying for all of the animals, no matter what the IBRRC requests.  But, if they don’t, the government will step in, which they fortunately have not had to do. 

It is hard to say when the area might recover from this disaster, as it cannot even be assessed while the oil is still gushing. 

Over all, Holcomb says that BP has been great in dealing with the IBRRC and has an “open checkbook” when it comes to helping the birds. However, he is shocked by some of their behaviors and their inability to find the technology to shut off this well. 

Holcomb wants to believe that there is a silver lining in all of this in that he hopes that the world will look at how we use oil, how we get it and how we can stop gushers like this.   Also, is it worth this risk to our birds and land to be addicted to petroleum products?   If so, then this is something we will have to get used to. 

With an oil spill response team of more than 25 wildlife experts, IBRRC has managed the oiled bird rehabilitation efforts in over 200 oil spills in 11 states, including the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska. Their international work has taken them to seven different countries and two U.S. territories.


Steve Garvey - Take Your Dog to a Baseball Game

Steve Garvey is the new spokesperson for Natural Balance Pet Food. Garvey says he's the opening act for “Tillman the Skateboarding Dog” at his new job as spokesperson.

However, when Natural Balance asked if Garvey would skateboard alongside the famous Tillman he replied "absolutely NOT … unless you strap me on and put cement around my ankles."

If you recall, Tillman, received global visibility on the 2009 Natural Balance Float in the Rose Parade.  This past year, the 2010 Natural Balance Float had Tillman snowboarding.  It was also recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s longest float.  How will they top that?  Next year they will have him skim boarding on water!

Garvey will be hosting "Dog Days" at several baseball games across the country on behalf of Natural Balance.  He will host the “Dog Day” event on July 25th, at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas; the “Dog Days of Summer” at the AT & T Park for the San Francisco Giants; City Field in New York City for the Mets; and the Los Angeles Dodgers in August. 

People usually come two hours early to these games where there is a special area to bring your pets.  They sometimes have a “Pup Rally” a fashion show and even a parade around the warning track of the stadiums before the game.  After that, the dogs and their owners sit in the stand and watch the baseball game. And despite 500 or so dogs inside an arena, it all goes smoothly.

"Ironically the dogs are very quiet during the game until the fans start cheering." The only times the dogs actually bark, is when the fans start!”  Garvey also said,  “There's nothing more American than pets at a baseball game.”

Garvey played for the Dodgers from 1969 to 1982. He then played for the San Diego Padres for five seasons from 1983 to 1987, helping the team to the 1984 World Series.


Four-Legged Creatures Who Made Their Home at The White House

Chuck Zoeller, Associated Press – First Pet 

In an age of often-bitter partisan politics, The Associated Press celebrates White House residents with the widest bipartisan appeal – the first family’s pets.

There have been many prominent First Pets throughout the years. The most famous was Fala, a black Scottie who was one of nine canines with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt during his twelve years and one month at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  Fala accompanied Roosevelt to meetings and press conferences.  His last trip with the President was riding alongside the First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, in the funeral cortege of the President.  When Fala died a few years later, he was buried next to his master, as the President wished.  Recently, Bo the Portuguese water dog the Obama family brought home to the White House last year has received the most attention.  

There was also Millie, the Springer Spaniel, who was the dog of George H.W. Bush.  Millie, who wrote a best-seller with the help of first lady Barbara Bush, actually outsold the President’s own memoirs. 

The Coolidges were crazy about animals and the White House was like a zoo under his Presidency.  You often see photos during the Coolidge administration of the President or First Lady holding a raccoon.

The biggest dog to take up residence in the White House was Lara, a 170-pound Newfoundland belonging to President James Buchanan.  President Buchanan also owned a pair of bald eagles.

President Thomas Jefferson received two grizzly cubs (a male and a female) as a gift from explorer Zebluon Pike, who had been exploring along the Arkansas River.  Jefferson felt that the bears were too dangerous to keep and sent them to (Charles Wilson) Peale’s Museum.  However, during their two-month stay at the White House, they outgrew their original cage and were transferred to a new cage-like enclosure on the White House South Lawn where the public could view them.

Perhaps the strangest pet was an alligator.  During the Presidency of John Quincy Adams, his houseguest, the Marquis de Lafayette, the Revolutionary War Hero, brought an alligator with him.   For two months, the alligator took up residency in the East Room of the White House.  When Lafayette left, he took the alligator with him.  

The First Pets were also not without their rivalries.  If you recall, the pets of the Clintons, Socks the cat and Buddy the Labrador, did not get along. 

In First Pet, there are more than 150 extraordinary images that tell the stories of the 400 or so “First Pets” – the dogs, cats, horses and others who lived with our nation’s forty-four presidents and their families.


The Dogfather's Grooming Tip with Joey Villani

Doggy Deodorant

How many dogs smell a couple of days after their bath when that doggy smell returns?  How about making your own doggy deodorant!

To make your own natural doggy deodorant, you will need to make a trip to the health food store.  You need to get about a handful of pennyroyal herbs, either fresh or dried.   You will then place them in two cups of water and bring them to a gentle boil and then let it cool.  (It will smell real mice!)   To that, add 10 drops of rose geranium oil and 6 drops of lavender oil. 

Put it in a bottle and spray it on your dog.  You can apply it everyday, because it is safe. Keep the unused mixture in the refrigerator. 

And if you want, add 20 drops of tea tree oil.  This will be the best insect repellent you can have.  It won’t kill the insects, but it will repel fleas, mosquitoes and flies. 

How great – both a natural doggy deodorant and insect repellant all in one!




Animal Radio® News with Bobbie Hill

Wildlife Death Toll Climbs in the Gulf

The wildlife death toll from the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico continues to climb.  The International Bird Rescue Research Center has reported (IBRRC) 783 dead birds, 353 dead sea turtles and expects the number to continue to climb.  The Deepwater Horizon explosion may have also killed a sperm whale; NOAA spotted the mammal floating 77 miles south of the spill site.  To put these numbers in perspective after 1989’s Exxon Valdez ran aground off Prince William Sound 250,000 birds were killed, as were 2,800 otters.  But experts say the gulf spill is more ominous as it spreads.

Dogfighting DNA Database

The ASPCA of Missouri and Louisiana have established a dogfighting DNA database in hopes of catching those behind the cruel so-called sport.  Since it is rare to catch a dog fighter in action, forensics are being used to nab the bad guys. The Veterinary Genetics Lab at U.C. Davis operates the Canine Combined DNA Index System with the goal of using 21st century technology to investigate and prosecute dogfighting cases.

Most Unusual Pet Names

A rose is a rose is a rose but is a Pickle Von Corndog a pet name or something you really shouldn’t eat at the county fair?  The nation’s oldest pet insurance company came up with a list of the most unusual pet names for 2010  - for dogs.  Yes, Pickle Von Corndog topped the list followed by Lord Chubby Pruneface; Badonkadonk; Ninjastar Dangerrock; and Molly McBoozehound rounded out the top five.  For cats – Purr Diem won; Bing Clawsby was second followed by CleoCatra; Admiral Pancake; and Optimus Pants.

Canine Influenza Vaccine Gets Approval

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has finally given the stamp of approval to the first ever canine influenza vaccine.  Canine flu, or H3N8, is highly contagious and outbreaks have been reported in 33 states since first being identified at a Florida greyhound track in 2004.  The vaccine, Nobivac, had limited usage over the past year while safety tests were conducted

Tortoise Thieves Escape

Customs officials at Kuala Lampur International Airport in Malaysia noticed movement in two bags and after investigating found 300 tortoises taped up inside sacks hidden in shredded paper. The tortoises were identified as endangered species native to Madagascar.  Officials also found two 4-pound slabs of cannabis in with the turtles.  The passenger who left the bags fled after seeing customs officials going through his luggage.

City Requires Cats To Be Leashed

Back in 1949 the Illinois state Legislature passed a law, “To provide protection to insectivorous birds by restraining cats.”  In this century, more cities around the country are considering “cat leash laws.”  Case in point – the Barre Vermont city council – where last month’s meeting drew a crowd of angry protestors. There’s a clause in the city law that requires cats to be on leashes and now one resident who’s garden has become a “litter box” is asking the law to be enforced.

GET $3.00 OFF World's Best CatLitterNEWS UPDATE Brought To You By World's Best Cat Litter™



Listen to Animal Radio® Now!Listen to the entire Podcast of this show (#552)

indicates XM Satellite Radio and Podcast versions only.