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 This Week From The Redbarn Studios

Animal Radio for July 4, 2020  

There's No Such Thing As A Micro-Pig!
Steve Jenkins, Esther The Wonder Pig

Esther as a PigletWhat happens when you adopt a 'micro-pig' without telling your spouse? And what happens when that pig turns out to weigh 600 pounds? Well, you raise $450,000 on Indiegogo to buy a ranch, of course. That's Steve Jenkins story. He tells all this week on the BIG show.

In the summer of 2012, Steve Jenkins was contacted by an old friend about adopting a micro piglet. Though he knew his partner, Derek Walter, wouldn't be enthusiastic, he agreed to take the adorable little pig anyway. Little did he know that decision would change his and Derek's lives forever.

Steve didn't have much time to decide, as the friend said someone else was interested in the pig and if Steve wanted her, he would have to act quickly. So, Steve agreed to take the pig and then surprise Derek with it later.

Needless to say, Derek was not happy. Steve was determined that Derek would come around to seeing the benefits of having her, and that, "It was one of those things where it seemed easier to beg forgiveness than ask permission." It wasn't the first time that Steve had arrived home with a new family member without consulting Derek.

Esther with Steve and DerekIt turned out there was nothing micro about Esther, and Steve and Derek had actually signed on to raise a full-sized commercial pig that was destined to wind up on someone's dinner plate. Esther currently weighs about 650 pounds. It is no surprise that they are unable to get in contact with the friend who originally gave them the pig.

While Esther is a good pig, she has her moments. Steve tells us about one day when he thought she could be left alone for a few hours. Plus, Steve felt that this would show Derek how Esther would fit in and be a perfect, well-mannered, part of the family. Derek was working so Steve left Esther and went to the store. He cleaned the house and went out to get groceries, all to surprise Derek when he got home. He was only gone about 40 minutes and came home to a mess like he had never seen before.

Esther had gotten into one of those big jugs, about 2 and 1/2 gallons, of vegetable oil. Steve said Esther had chewed into the container and spilled the oil all over the kitchen floor. He assumes she then rolled in it and then had to rub it off herself. So she rubbed against all of the walls and furniture from one end of the house to the other. This left her exhausted, so she decided to crash on Steve's bed.

When Steve got home expecting the house to be nice and clean the way he left it and expecting to surprise Derek with dinner, who would be home soon, he walked into a nightmare. He then needed to get Esther up so he could wash the bedding and then he had to clean the entire house. Needles to say, he didn't have time to make that surprise dinner for Derek.

Esther The Wonder Pig Book CoverUnlike with most dogs, the house needed to "pig-proofed." Pigs are extremely intelligent and Esther learned how to do many things like open doorknobs. On the other hand, she can let herself in and out to use the bathroom. She even learned how to open the freezer, which was a prime source of free food for her. She would open the freezer so much, as often 30 times repeatedly, to where she broke off the hinge. The freezer is now empty and taped shut. Currently they use a chest freezer and put it into a room that she doesn't go in.

Esther was taught how to use a litter box, but as she grew, they thought in order to have a liter box; it would need to be 12 foot by 12 foot, which just wasn't possible in the house. So after months of training her to use a litter box, which she was doing well at, they then had to train her to go outside.

It soon became clear that Esther needed much more space. That's when they thought about getting a farm. When they found their dream property in Campbellville (Canada), they got the gracious owners to agree to take it off the market for 60 days so Steve and Derek could raise the funds for the $905,000 mortgage. They launched an Indiegogo campaign, and by the time it wrapped up, they had successfully raised $446,000—more than 100% of their $400,000 goal.

After buying the farm, they opened Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary in 2014, where they could care for Esther and rescue other animals in need. They have given up their careers, Steve was a real estate agent and Derek was a professional magician, to run the farm.

You can learn more about Esther in the book, "Esther The Wonder Pig."

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Robots That Clean Up After Your Pet
Melissa O'Dea, iRobot

Braava JetThe makers of the Roomba robot vacuum are at it again and have come up with a robot mop. It makes cleaning up after your messy pets easy as pressing a button. Melissa O'Dea from iRobot is here to explain. She's even going to give away a Braava Jet! Do you need one?

iRobot Corporation is an American advanced technology company founded in 1990 by three MIT graduates. The company builds the autonomous home vacuum cleaner (Roomba), and the Braava jet Mopping Robot that scrubs and cleans hard floors.

While the Roomba has been available for about 15 years, iRobot has just created the Roomba 980, which is iRobot's most capable - and first cloud-connected - robotic vacuum to date. With the iRobot HOME App, users can start their Roomba from anywhere at any time, schedule cleaning jobs on the go and customize cleaning preferences directly from a smartphone. This is also the first Roomba 980 that can clean an entire level of a home, recharging and resuming as needed until the job is done. This is possible in thanks to iRobot's new navigation system that enables the Roomba to map its environment as it cleans, keeping track of its location in the home as it goes.

Another new creation is the Braava Jet Mopping Robot, which is designed to mop hard floor surfaces with high amounts of traffic, such as in the kitchen and bathroom. It uses cleaning pads - there are three different types Wet Mopping, Damp Sweeping and Dry Sweeping (kind of like a Swiffer), and it can automatically determine its cleaning action based on the pad chosen. It comes with extra pads, but if you run out you can purchase them at retailers like Bed, Bath & Beyond, Target, Best Buy, Amazon and iRobot.

So how does it clean? It actually has a jet spray when it is in the damp or wet mode. The cleaning head where you attach the pad also vibrates while it is moving along the floor for extra scrubbing. It is great at cleaning stains around your pet's food bowls and even picking up pet hair.

These products are great for the pet owner, but even if you don't have pets, you will love these!

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Dr. Debbie WhiteExtreme Heat Tips: Keeping Your Dog Safe When the Temperature Soars - Dr. Debbie

"Oh, but it's a dry heat." We've all heard that comment, used to describe the desert Southwest climate, one which becomes especially taxing on Southwest U.S. residents during July and August. The desert may lack the added humidity concerns that much of the country knows, but when temperatures escalate above 100 degrees, you can't dismiss the dangers of that infamous dry heat.

As the mercury rises, so too do the number of heat stroke cases veterinarians see. The basic reason why dogs succumb to heat stroke lies with their differing cooling mechanism. Humans sweat to dissipate heat, while dogs pant. When faced with high temperatures, high humidity, exercise or excitement, panting fails miserably at cooling dogs.

Pet owner should be observant for symptoms of heat stroke including excess panting, anxiety and thick ropy drool. As heat stroke progresses, dogs may exhibit vomiting, diarrhea, a dark to blue color of gums and collapse. Shock sets in as high temperatures damage the brain, respiratory system, kidneys, and digestive tract.

Be especially vigilant with at-risk dogs such as senior dogs, those with chronic illnesses and breeds like Pugs, Bulldogs and Boston terriers whose short face and upper airway conformation makes it more difficult cool off in high temperatures.

Here are the top 5 misconceptions about heat stroke in pets:

1. Heat stroke only occurs during peak daylight hours.
FALSE: Extreme temperatures continue to rise into the afternoon and remain a threat to pet even after dark. Dogs left outdoors in evening hours can still develop heat stroke long after the sun has set. For best safety keep pets indoors day and night during extreme heat. Limit exercise to early morning hours before sunrise, since evening temperatures are anticipated to remain high.

Dog with Heat Stroke2. Dogs can't get heatstroke if they are left with access to pools or shade.
FALSE: Outdoor cooling resources like doggie pools, misters, shade and ice blocks may not be enough to prevent a fatal heat stroke event. Access to these cooling means does not guarantee protection. Keep pets indoors during dangerous heat.

3. Heat stroke can be treated at home without veterinary care.
FALSE: Heat stroke is a life threatening emergency which requires appropriate intravenous and emergency veterinary care. Prompt veterinary care is important and delayed home care efforts can jeopardize survival. Plunging a pet into very cold water or ice baths will worsen a pet's odds of surviving heat stroke. Intense cold and ice causes capillaries to constrict, trapping heat in the body core and prolonging dangerous heats effects on the vital organs in the body.

4. Only dogs get heatstroke.
FALSE: Cats are less prone to heat stroke because they aren't as physically active, but elderly or chronically ill cats are less apt to recover from heat's effects. Rabbits and chinchillas are very sensitive to high temperatures, succumbing to heat stroke easily with temperatures just above 80 degrees. Caged pets like rabbits, ferrets, birds and chinchillas suffer heat stroke deaths when left home during family vacation and power outages shuts off air conditioning. Have a pet sitter check on any pets once or twice daily during summer months.

Dog in Pool5. It's okay to leave dogs in cars as long as you open windows wide, not just crack the windows.
FALSE: Never leave a dog unattended in a car during summer. Even if windows are fully open, the hot vehicle environment with little air circulation becomes a death trap for dogs. Even a few minutes in a hot car can prove dangerous.

Every second counts when a dog is faced with heat stroke. See a veterinarian immediately with any concerns of heat related illness and be especially cautious during the upcoming heat. Look out for your furry friend and keep him safe in the coming heat wave.

Featured veterinarian known as "Dr. Debbie" on national pet radio program, Animal Radio. Ebook author of "Yorkshire Terriers: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend"; "Pugs: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend"; "Mini Schnauzers: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend"; and "Shih Tzu: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend." Dr. Debbie's books.

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The Dogfather's Grooming Tip with Joey Villani

Cat WhiskersShould You Trim Your Cat's Whiskers?
What happens if you cut, trim or groom your cat's whiskers? Please don't., we mean Catman, Joey Villani, has more information than you probably need to know about whiskers. But you should listen anyway.

Believe it or not, Joey was asked the question as to whether or not their cat's whiskers needed to be trimmed. He explains that a cat's whiskers are actually one of their senses. Can you imagine if someone took away our sense of touch? While you might be able to live without the sense of touch, it would make things very difficult.

Cats use their whiskers not only to measure spaces (if their whiskers can fit into a crevice - then their body will be able to follow with no problem), but they are also used for vibrations. A cat's whiskers can pick up vibrations of prey running about. This allows them to hunt at night in the dark.

Whiskers are set deep into a cat's muscular structure, much more deeper than their hair is. This allows them to pick up vibrations and even change in the atmosphere.

So, the answer is - leave your cat's whiskers alone!

Animal Radio News - Lori Brooks

Lori and Flo BearPet "Bees"
Everyone has a different idea of what the perfect companion animal is. There are dogs and cats, fish, birds, reptiles, spiders and bees. Yep. There's a guy in Henderson, Nevada, outside Las Vegas who is being sued by his next-door neighbor who wants him to get rid of his "pet bees." To be specific, 5 hives of what he says are his pet bees. The neighbors, who have filed a complaint to have the bees removed, have three children and say they can't even enjoy their pool because of the pet bees next door. The state has done an inspection and says the bees are not aggressive or killer bees, but they've stung the couple's children. The man, who owns the bees, says, "They are friendly and they've never stung anyone before … No one can prove that those were my bees." He describes his bees as gentle and says raising them is a hobby he enjoys and that, "They are not looking to hurt anyone."

Prosthetic ShellBurned Tortoise Gets Prosthetic Shell
A tortoise whose shell was badly burned in a forest fire in Brazil has been fitted with the first ever-prosthetic shell. After she was found with 85-percent of her shell damaged, an animal rescue group called Animal Avengers decided to see if they could print her a new shell. Using 40 photos of healthy tortoises for reference, they created a 3D model and entered the specs into a computer, which allowed them to print four separate 3D pieces that fit around the burned tortoise. An artist provided the final touch, which was a very realistic-looking paint job. You wouldn't know the shell is not the one the tortoise was born with!

Eagle Attacking DroneEagles Trained to Take Down Drones
For hundreds of years people in Asia have used eagles to hunt for them with deadly results. And now with the large raptors in high demand again for their keen eyesight, powerful talons and lethal hunting instincts, they are being used to take down drones. The company Guard From Above describes itself as "The world's first company specializing in training birds of prey to intercept hostile drones." Their newest clients are police in Holland who are in the testing phase. The founder of the company says by using these birds' animal instinct, they can offer an effective solution to a new threat. They released a video recently that shows an eagle swooping in at high-speed to pluck a drone out of the air using its talons. The drone is immediately disabled as the eagle caries it away. A Bald Eagle's grip is believed to be about 10 times stronger than the grip of an adult human hand and can exert upwards of 400 psi or pounds per square inch.

BretagneLast Surviving 9-11 Search Dog Passes
Recently two-dozen firefighters and search-and-rescue volunteers in Cypress, Texas, stood in rows outside the entrance to the Fairfield Animal Hospital as Bretagne was walked into the hospital for her last day of life. They were there to pay tribute to the final walk of the 16-year-old Golden Retriever believed to be the last surviving search dog that took part in the 9-11 recovery effort in 2001 at the World Trade Center. It was her very first deployment. After that, Bretagne went on to work in many other disasters, including Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ivan. When she retired at age 9, she became a service dog in a local elementary school, giving first graders and special needs students a furry face to read out loud to. Bretagne also appeared on the Today Show with NBC News' Tom Brokaw.Her owner said she knew it was time to let her go when Bretagne didn't eat for three days and was suffering from kidney failure. The firefighters not only were there to bid Bretagne a hero's farewell, but also accompanied her flag-draped remains to Texas A&M, where she will undergo an autopsy as part of a study on 9-11 search-and-rescue dogs.

NY May Allow People To Spend Eternity With Pets
New York State may soon allow pet owners to spend eternity with their pets. The state Legislature has passed a bill allowing cemeteries to offer people the option of being buried with the cremated remains of a dog, cat or other tame domesticated animal, but cemeteries wouldn't be required to allow pet remains. Last year, New York lawmakers passed a law allowing dogs on restaurant patios and are now considering a statewide ban on declawing cats.

Child Sneaking a Dog HugBoy Caught On Camera Stealing Hugs from Dog
Did you hear about the little Louisiana boy went to great lengths to give some love to his neighbor's dog? It's the sweetest story. Every day when he left for school he would ride over to his neighbor's house and put his bike down in the driveway. He would then run into the open garage to play with and give hugs to the dog that lives there. Funny that the dog's owner had a video camera in the garage and saw this going on. She wasn't upset at all and posted the video on her Facebook page asking if anyone knew the boy, saying she would like to let him know he's welcome to stay and play because the dog loved the attention. The boy's mom recognized her son Josh immediately and told the dog's owner that he talks about her dog all the time. They just didn't know he was sneaking into their garage to see her. But that's understandable. Little Josh's own dog had died from old age. So now Josh is a welcome visitor for play dates with his favorite dog Dutchess, and he goes over almost every day now to see her.

Ear Listen to the entire Podcast of this show (#1074)

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