Animal Radio® Show #466 November 8, 2008

Where Is Her Prince Charming?
Valerie Clark, The Frog Licker
Valerie Clark licks frogs because she loves them.

"Sometimes I just can't wait till I get back to the lab to do the chemistry, and I want to get an idea if there is something nasty," she said. Clark's habit isn't quite as rare, or as crazy, as it may sound.

Research opportunities in remote tropical forests are often limited, and only so many specimens can be taken back to the lab for detailed chemical analysis.

"[But] I don't recommend this," the biologist cautioned, "because if you lick the wrong frog it can be very bad."

Clark, 28, who recently earned her master's degree at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, studies the ecology and evolution of frog chemical defenses.

Her research comes at a critical time, when many frog species are in worldwide decline, victims of habitat destruction and a deadly fungus called chytrid.

"Some frogs smell so repulsive that you just wouldn't even consider licking them," Clark said.

These days you'll often find Clark in Madagascar, attempting to trace frog skin alkaloids-naturally occurring nitrogen compounds-backward through the food chain to their original sources.

Clark's love affair with frogs began while exploring parks near her home in suburban Ellicott City, Maryland. "I got into them at age seven or eight, just like most kids like to catch things and check them out," she said. "I kind of never grew out of that. "As you can imagine, kids made fun of my love affair with frogs, but who could blame them? I am a bit different."

Valerie's father Bill built a backyard frog pond where his daughter could raise tadpoles. The house soon became packed with a dozen terrariums filled with frogs, snakes, and other creatures, Valerie recalled. By 1990 Valerie was entering her hand-raised frogs into local jumping races.

When a photo of her blowing on her favorite frog-to encourage jumping-landed in the Baltimore Sun, it was both exciting and worrisome: She had skipped school for the contest. Luckily, the school principal "thought it was downright hilarious," she said.

Today Valerie is still kissing frogs in search of the one that will turn into her prince. Watch the video.

For more information on Clark's toxic taste test, check out the November 2008 issue of National Geographic Magazine, and google Valerie Clark National Geographic for additional links and photographs.

Be The Advocate Your Dog Needs
Dr. Nancy Kay ­ Speaking For Spot
Dr. Nancy Kay wanted to become a veterinarian for just about as long as she can remember. Her veterinary degree is from Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine, and she completed her residency training in small animal internal medicine at the University of California-Davis Veterinary School.

"I hate to tell you this Hal, but there are some of my own veterinary classmates that I wouldn't let near my dog with a ten-foot syringe" says Kay.

When asked "how to pick a good vet" - Kay suggest you go to the dog-park and be a fly on the wall. "Guardians talk about two things, politics and their vet. You'll soon know which ones are keepers."

Her book, Speaking for Spot, was a labor of love for Dr. Nancy Kay, fueled by her passion to teach people how to be effective medical advocates for their four-legged best friends. Gone are the days of simply following doc's orders-today's dog lovers are confronted with health-care decision-making on many levels.

Kay provides an insider's guide to navigating the potentially overwhelming, confusing, and expensive world of veterinary medicine. Speaking for Spot is the consummate guide on how to be your best friend's medical advocate!

Dr. Kay's personal life revolves around her husband (also a veterinarian), her three children (none of whom aspire to be veterinarians) and their menagerie of dogs, cats, birds, horses, and goats. When she's not writing, she spends her spare moments in the garden or riding along the beach atop her favorite horse. Dr. Kay and her family reside in Sebastopol, California.

Vladae, The "World Famous" Russian Dog Wizard

Puppy Barks At Everyone
Behavior problems in dogs are the number one reason pets are given up. When a dog barks, they are telling us something. They are also saying that they are in charge. A bark is already a bite, which hasn't been connected yet. This is something that should be taken very seriously. Vladae explains how to nip this problem in the bud!

Terrier Climbs Fence And Escapes
After asking several questions, Vladae find out that this male dog is NOT neutered. And, it seems to be that this is the cause of this dog's problem. If he is neutered, he is less likely to want to run away to find a female. Plus, it is healthier for him!

Dog Pulls on Leash
This is such an easy dilemma to deal with. In less than five minutes, you can teach your dog how to properly walk on a leash. Use a 6-foot leash and keep it slack. Let your dog go wherever he wants to go, and just before it gets tight, momentarily turn around in the opposite direction and do a quick snap of the leash. This is a surprise for your dog and it immediately directs your dog to pay attention to you. If your dog gets ahead of you, you go in reverse and snap the leash and praise him when he turns around and follows you.

Vinnie Penn, Animal Radio's Resident Party Animal

Dog Visitation ­ What's Next?
I wanted to read this email to you. It's actually from a girlfriend that I haven't talked to in a long time. I actually worked with her many years back, and she's telling me how she recently broke up with a boyfriend of hers, and that they had been together for a long time.

At one point, this most ridiculous word pops up, and for all of you dog owners who got a dog together as a sign of commitment in a dating relationship, this word comes up and it is the stupidest word known to dog owners ­ visitation. Yes, they've broken up and now they're trying to determine what the visitation rights will be so they can both spend time with their dog Sarah. Sarah is short for "Serendipity" because that is the first movie they went to see together, a John Cusack movie with Kate Beckinsale. That's trouble right there, when you're naming animals after this one wonderful romantic night that they have together. So now they're discussing visitation rights. He's keeping the dog, since he had just gotten it when they first started dating. But I imagine there was an adoption process, a little ceremony, perhaps even a doggie treat with a little ribbon around it ­ whatever!

At this point, though, she wants to know when she can see the dog? Can the dog stay with her every other weekend? And, there's a lot of crying.

If you ask me, this is just another way to stay in relationship. You don't need visitation rights for the dog, as much as the dog may love the two of you. There's really no debating this as far as I'm concerned. She got the CD's he got the dog ­ end of story! To come to this, especially for her, who was a kind of "cut the chord woman," stating that he needed to "cut the chord with his mother." Well, she then needs to "cut the chord with Sarah" and move on.

Visitation rights for a dog? What if you bought an appliance together? "I need to see the refrigerator, it's stainless steel, I remember the day we move it in, it was a wonderful day, we ate Chinese food on the floor, it's the first thing we bought. I'm coming over next Thursday ­ don't be there, leave the key under the mat ­ I want to spend time with stainless steel. I want to spend time with Dipity, the refrigerator!"

Llamas at the Pumpkin Patch
I took my daughter and my son, I have a son too, his name is Luke and he is 2-years old, out to the Pumpkin Patch, way back when just before Halloween. And it was interesting because that had llamas there, which half of the day I spent calling "Yamas," until finally an irritated parent corrected me.

My children were fascinated by the llamas behind the fence. They had scheduled times when you could see the llamas, which I thought was great because they would say at such and such an hour bring the kids by and they would bring a llama out. So we did it twice, because my kids wanted to go back and see the llamas a second time. They were so fascinated by this creature as they should be. And, I want my children to be fascinated by animals. But it seemed as if the Pumpkin Patch scheduled the times that the llama would come out with his bowel movements times, because every time the llama came out, he defecated right in front of all of the children and parents.

Couldn't they have gauged or gotten a better handle on exactly when the llama would be having a bathroom break and bring him out afterwards? No matter how cute I tried to cover it by saying, "look Luke, there's the mama llama ­ eeewww!"

Dog Trainer to the Stars
Steve Brooks, K9U
LA based rocker turned celebrity dog training guru, Steve Brooks, whose expertise keeps him booked months in advance and sought after by Hollywood insiders and pooch-loving stars like Robert Downey Jr., Sheryl Crow, music producer Rick Rubin, William Petersen of CSI and Cheryl Tiegs, states, "My schedule is so full that I had to turn down training with Hillary Duff and her dogs!"

Steve tells us a story about Robert Downey Jr's dog, a Rottweiler named Bonie, whom Steve trained. When Steve trains dogs, he puts tags on the dogs that stay with him that say, "If Lost, Call Steve Brooks K9U" so if they do happen to become lost, Steve can be called. A few weeks afer Bonnie graduated, Steve got a call from some frantic people who had found a Rottweiler in their bed. Bonnie had broken through their screen door and was found sleeping in their bed when they got home. It turned out that Robert's girlfriend was watching the dog when it got out of her yard.

Brooks feels that training should be creative, fun, consistent, and trust building. "Being the alpha is really about providing resources ­ things your dog wants, like food, water, exercise, rest, attention and toys ­ to reward and reinforce good behaviors like waiting patiently to be fed, making eye contact and not charging wildly out the door before a walk. Your dog's listening skills and behavior are essential to survival in an urban atmosphere. Your dog should never be deprived of the basics, (food, water, attention, affection), but positively encouraged by pairing these rewards at times your dog shows self-control. This teaches your dog to have a mutually respectful bond and relationship with you as person he obeys and trusts, not just a food dispenser. "

Steve's inspiration is his dog Sven, who has passed on. Two young girls had witnessed Sven as a puppy being thrown from a moving car, and gave Sven to Steve while he was working as professional drummer in Nashville in 1993. In fact, Sven performs vocals, bass, piano and guitar on the K9 Fusion dog music CD "Who Really Loves You?"

Steve Brooks offers canines and their human companions reward-based, private training and customized techniques to transform all breeds into well ­ mannered members of the family. Steve is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer (CPDT), a credential granted by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT).

Steve and his wife, Yasmine, currently live in Los Angeles with their dog, Legali, and their cat, Fuego Caliente.

Animal Radio® News with Bobbie Hill

Hart Launches Recall
The Hartz Mountain Corporation, makers of chicken based rawhide chips for dogs, is launching a voluntary recall of that product. The company said earlier this week that there are concerns some of the bags may have become contaminated with salmonella. The recall affects only the two-pound plastic bags of rawhide chips with the lot code J-C 23282, that's J-C 23282. So far, there haven't been any reports of dogs becoming sick.

Pilot Program Helps Feed Homeless Animals
A Florida veterinarian has received a grant from Feeding Pets of the Homeless to treat and vaccinate pets in his community. The Ocala Animal Clinic will implement a pilot program with the objective to help pets of indigent people of Ocala. Two local agencies, Brothers Keeper and Interfaith, will provide veterinary examinations, minor medical treatments and vaccinations to dogs and cats every week.

Where is Ratchet, the Iraqi Puppy, Now?
The Iraqi puppy rescued from a pile of burning trash by two U.S. soldiers is now home in the Twin Cities. Ratchet, the six-month-old puppy Army Specialist Gwen Beberg rescued, arrived at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Thursday and promptly took a nap. The puppy reportedly was exhausted after the long flight from Baghdad to Washington to Minneapolis and fell asleep near the baggage claim. Beberg is due to leave Iraq in November.

Celebrities Rally for Pachyderms
Celebrities are rallying around pachyderms in California and Texas. On the west coast this week Bob Barker and Alicia Silverstone backed L.A. councilman Tony Cardenas' effort to move the elephants from the Zoo to a sanctuary. Cardenas is asking the city council to consider abandoning a three and a half acre 39-million dollar exhibit, he originally voted for but now says is too small, and instead use the money to build and operate a 60 acre sanctuary. Zoo officials say the new habitat will be sufficient for their elephants. The council will vote on the proposal next month.

In Dallas comedian Lily Tomlin paid a visit to Jenny the elephant who was pictured in a video showing signs of stress. Tomlin is supporting "Concerned Citizens for Jenny" who want to relocate the aging pachyderm to a sanctuary in Tennessee. But during last week's visit Tomlin said she was pleased to see a shade screen over Jenny's outdoor area which also had a full watering hole, treats and toys. Dallas Zoo officials say moving Jenny would be more stressful than keeping her where she is although they were planning to move her to a wildlife park in Mexico after her companion died in May.

Grey Wolves Return to Endangered List
Thanks to a court victory by environmental groups over the U.S. Government, gray wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains have returned to the endangered species list. A dozen groups challenged the government's de-listing two months earlier affecting the wolf populations in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming saying it would open the door to hunting. There are now an estimated 1200 wolves in the area where farmers consider them a threat to livestock.

Drug Sniffing Dogs Come Out of Retirement
Dogs trained to sniff out drugs are coming out of retirement and heading into the bedrooms of teenagers in New Jersey and Ohio. The cannabis sativa sniffing canines work for Sniff Dogs a company founded by a mother who was shocked to find her son smoking the devil weed. For 200 bucks an hour a handler will let the dogs sniff out illegal drugs in what the company describes as "a discreet service". The dogs can smell marijuana from 15 feet away as well as residue from a joint toked two days earlier left on clothing. If the dogs detect any contraband, they sit - leaving the final inspection to the parents. Critics say the invasive service may break down family trust.

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Talk With Your Animals with Joy Turner
Anabelle The Overweight Mini-Dachshund
Lisa speaks with her mini-Dachshund Anabelle, who she is just so attached to. In fact, she often gets ragged a lot by family members for treating Anabelle like she's human. While everything is good with Anabelle, Lisa is worried that she might be a little bit overweight, and she feels guilty.

Animal Minute With Britt Savage

Guinea Pig Gets Unwelcome Haircut
A British woman was recently shocked to find that someone had given her Guinea Pig, named Fluff, a haircut. At first, she thought that her other Guinea Pig, named Ginger, had actually eaten Fluff's hair off. She then took her less than fluffy Guinea Pig to the vet who told her that his hair was not cut by another Guinea Pig, but by a human. The mysterious haircutting caper is being treated as a case of criminal damage. She says it has been an upsetting ordeal for Fluff and for her five-year-old son who keeps on asking where fluff's hair went. She kept her Guinea Pigs in a cage in an unlocked garage, and although the haircutting mystery hasn't been solved, she's installed a lock to keep away any future haircutters.

Hated, Feared And Misunderstood
They're hated, feared and misunderstood. Still, they just keep on laughing. They're hyenas, Africa's most common large carnivore. That means they eat meat. But hyenas aren't picky; they also dine on bones, hooves, hair and even the droppings over other animals. They're also into cannibalism, which means they eat other hyenas. Female hyenas are dominant and outweigh the males. In ancient Egypt, hyenas were domesticated and eaten. Some African folklore depicts hyenas as super-natural. They have their own way of communication, using calls, howling, screams and that laughter they do when they've found food. A sort of hyena dinner bell that can be heard up to 3 miles away!

International Animal News with Kaye Browne

Dog Shut Downs Airport
Boston's international airport was shutdown and flights delayed ­ not by terrorists - but by a tiny terrier ­ a miniature poodle called Choochy who escaped her crate while being unloaded from a plane. More than a dozen state police, firefighters, operations personnel and even electricians chased Choochy late into the night ­ although she could only be lured to safety some 17 hours later with some dog food. Passengers on delayed flights were more amused than annoyed as they watched the little white 'runaway on the runway' evade her would-be captors in what they describe as a key-stone cop type comedy ­ she was just too fast for them. Pity they didn't call Animal Radio ­ we could have told airport staff ­ don't play chasey ­ you'll never win unless you can get the dog to chase you.

Killer Bees Attack Dogs
A 70-year-old South Florida woman has survived a rare attack ­ but her 2 dogs and a neighbor's pet weren't as lucky. Authorities say Nancy Hill is lucky to be alive after she and the dogs were attacked by a swarm of what's thought to be Africanized killer bees. They also found 45 pounds of honeycomb in the sidewall of her home.

Fisherman Catch Dog
Fishermen off the coast of Britain hauled in an unusual catch ­ a tiny Cairn Terrier - strongly dog-paddling against the tide about a mile out to sea! Turns out Freddie is a 14-year old dog who'd disappeared during thick fog while on his daily walk with his human mum on the beach. Instead of heading for the hills ­ the 14-year-old pooch somehow figured 'home' was in the opposite direction and started swimming ­ even though his owner says he hates water and even avoids puddles! Freddie now has an additional name ­ lucky!

Dog Risks Life in Fire to Save Kittens
Aussie fire fighters reckon a little dog named Leo is a bona-fide hero after risking his own life to protect four kittens trapped in a burning Melbourne home. Firefighters had to dodge fallen power lines to reach the animals ­ and found little Leo standing guard over the month old kittens. However by the time they got him out, Leo had stopped breathing. Fire fighters used their own breathing apparatus to pump oxygen into the little dog ­ and were delighted to see him recover. Leo's human family also escaped with only minor injuries.

The Color Red Drives Men Crazy
Scientists have discovered what male apes have known since birth ­ if a female wants to drive the blokes wild, she might want to dress in red. A New York University of Rochester study discovered that men rated a woman wearing red in photos as more sexually attractive ­ even if it was the same woman wearing a different color. Professor Andrew Elliot says this 'red alert' is probably related to the primate urge seen in baboons and chimps - where females nearing ovulation display a red rear end ­ which sends the male primates gaga. Incidentally ladies ­ the same study showed that men on a date would spend more money on a woman wearing red than when the same woman wore the same clothes ­ but in a different color. Now that's useful 'monkey business'!

Flatulence Translates to Great Blood Pressure
The next time someone passes gas ­ particularly horrible smelly rotten-egg type gas - don't complain ­ it's actually sending a message that the culprit has great blood pressure. How do we know? Thanks to scientists who study mouse farts. Researchers found that the cells lining mice blood vessels naturally make hydrogen sulphide gas and this helps relax the blood vessels and keeps the rodents' blood pressure low - preventing hypertension. They're convinced this gas is also produced the same way in humans ­ a discovery they're confident will lead to new designer drugs to stop humans getting high blood pressure. Who'd have thought mouse farts could produce such great results!
Listen to Current World News

Owners May Pass Super Bugs to their Pets SickCat.jpg
Dr. Jim Humphries, Veterinary News Network
People can get plenty of diseases from animals. Bird flu for one. Now there are signs that dogs and cats can catch a super bug from people. At a large Philadelphia hospital, scientists report that over a three-year period 38 dogs and cats and other pets caught a drug-resistant staff infection. They think six of the animals caught the bug from hospital workers. But, it's likely that at least some of the other cases were spread to pets by their owners.

Your Vet Questions Answered with Dr. Debbie

Dog Has Started Limping
This 5-year old Lhaso Apso has been limping for the past two years. X-rays showed no broken bones, but did show a mass that looked like possible cancer. It was also thought to be a bacterial infection. These both turned out negative and this mystery has been baffling. As the dog seems to be pain free most of the time and only limps occasionally, Dr. Debbie suggests to keep an eye on the mass through regular x-rays and see if it changes in size.

Dog Just Diagnosed With Diabetes
This dog's diet has been changed and he is now on insulin. However, the guardian is having financial problems with purchasing the medications and the necessary tests that need to be done. Dr. Debbie suggests contacting the AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association) Helping Pets Fund at 866-443-5738.

Can I Use Venison To Make Raw Food Diet?
This guardian is a hunter and as he recently switched his dogs' diet to include raw food, he wants to bring back a deer and make raw pet food out of the venison. Dr. Debbie states that she is not a big fan of raw food diets as there is a lot of stress and work on the guardian to become a pet nutritionist. She also states that bringing this raw food into the home not only puts the pets at risk for food born illness, but even the humans.
Are Nylabones Good For My Dog?
This listener heard someone mention on the show that their dog cracked a tooth after chewing on deer bones, and she wants to know if Nylabones are good for her dog to chew on. Dr. Debbie finds the Nylabone as an acceptable alternative to real bones. But if you see the Nylabone getting broken down, toss it out and replace it, as a piece could break off, be swallowed and can cause an obstruction. But be careful, because a dog can still crack a tooth on something like a Nylabone.

Rottweiler Has IBS
This 9-year-old Rottweiler has IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), which includes vomiting, and diarrhea and he cannot gain weight. After blood tests that were done ruled out other possibilities, Dr. Debbie suggests getting a biopsy as well as putting the dog on a hypoallergenic diet.


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