Yearly Archives: 2011

New Year’s Resolutions for Cats

Rocky

By Rocky Williams, Feline Guest Blogger

Lately I have been hearing my hoomin, aka the Warden, talk a lot about something called resolutions. From what I gather, these are things that people resolve to change or improve about themselves in the New Year. Now, being a cat I generally think I am purrfect as is, and need not change a thing. However, just for fun I decided to make some resolutions of my own. Who knows, it might even inspire other cats who feel they need to improve upon purrfection!

According to just about everybody you could ask, the most popular New Year’s Resolution is some version of the “eat right, exercise more” mandate. But that one is just not necessary for me because I already eat great, thanks to the Warden. If there’s one thing she knows well, it’s how to tell which cat food is the good kind, and if she’s sold on FELIDAE that’s all I need to know. However, I suppose I could use a little more exercise to keep my handsome mancat body in tippy top shape. But just a little, mind you. I don’t want to become so muscular that every ladycat in town is meowing at my door for a date. I don’t have the stamina for that!

Speaking of food though, there are umpteen resolutions I could attempt. Such as, I resolve not to wolf down my own portions at lightning speed in order to “help” Mickey and Annabelle finish theirs. This will inevitably free up a lot of the Warden’s time, since she has to stand guard until those two painstakingly slow eaters empty their bowls. Talk about torture!

I could also resolve not to steal food from the Warden’s plate when she’s trying to eat it herself. Generally speaking, the paw is faster than the hand, which gives new meaning to the term “grab-and-go.” I always come away with something, but it’s not always something I want to eat. Case in point: the “mustard incident.” In a kind of slow-motion horror movie, the Warden watched as I mulled over what to do with a paw covered in mustard, until I finally decided to just put it down on the couch. That will teach her to eat in the living room!

I could resolve not to eat the Warden’s bread in the middle of the night, but it’s not really necessary since she started using the microwave oven as a bread drawer. Foiled again, at least until I figure out how to open that thing! I could resolve not to dig in the garbage, but this one is also not necessary since the Warden installed baby-proof latches on the cabinet door where the can is kept. Oh, I know! I will resolve not to scare the Warden by trying to get the cabinet door open, which makes a nice loud bang-bang-bang noise in the middle of the night.

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When Should You Rush Your Pet to the Vet?

By Linda Cole

It’s not always easy trying to determine if a pet’s injury or condition needs a vet’s attention. If it’s after hours, you don’t want to waste your vet’s time with a minor problem that can wait until the office is open, but you also don’t want to not call just in case your pet needs professional help now. Emergencies happen and most vet clinics have numbers where they can be reached after hours and on holidays. Every pet owner should have that number written down and kept in a convenient place. Not all injuries or conditions require rushing your pet to the vet; however, there are warning signs and symptoms that can help you decide if it’s a true emergency.

Minor injuries and some medical conditions can be taken care at home, but many pet owners haven’t the foggiest idea what to do. There’s nothing wrong with that, and it’s why we have a trusted vet. Nevertheless, as responsible pet owners we should have a general idea of how to care for minor problems at home. An emergency trip to the vet is more expensive than an office call. One of the best ways to know if you need to call your vet is to know your cat or dog well. If your pet isn’t acting like themselves, that’s cause for concern and warrants a watchful eye from you.

Understanding how the weather can affect a pet is important because when it’s hot outside, pets may not have their normal appetite. As long as they are drinking plenty of fresh water, skipping a meal now and then or not eating as much isn’t a problem. But if they refuse to eat after missing one or two meals, that is a reason to be concerned. Hyperthermia (too hot) and hypothermia (too cold) are weather related conditions that can turn into an emergency.

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Lifestyles of 5 Rich and Famous Shelter Dogs

By Langley Cornwell

Bradley Cooper with Charlotte

How does this sound… one day you’re sitting in a cold, damp shelter eyeballing everybody that walks by. Wondering with each passing visitor if the next one will be ‘your’ person, the one to take you home and give you a place to feel warm and secure. Days pass slowly. Then one fine day, someone spends extra time in front of your cage. You are escorted into a ‘get acquainted room’ with that person and notice they smell really good. It’s nice the way they scratch behind your ears and call you ‘buddy’. After a short time, you’re escorted into a long black car and whisked away with the guy who smelled so good. Next thing you know, you’re eating a premium quality dog food like CANIDAE and sleeping in a deluxe bed. Suddenly, you find yourself in the lap of luxury!

That very thing happened to these lucky dogs when their paths crossed with these celebrities.      

Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper may be People magazine’s 2011 Sexiest Man Alive because of his blue eyes and his mischievous grin, but he’s tops on my list because of his love of rescue animals. In a 2009 interview, Cooper was more interested in talking about his shelter dogs than promoting his upcoming movie. At the time, Samson and Charlotte were his cherished companions. Samson was around fourteen years old and Charlotte was 6 or 7. Cooper talked about falling in love with each of them immediately, and referred to the dogs as his kids. Since then, Samson has crossed over the Rainbow Bridge but Charlotte is still right by his side, living the high life and even accompanying him onto movie sets. When it comes to women, one of the most important characteristics Cooper looks for is a love of animals. He claims that for a girl to stand a chance, she’s got to like his dogs. He staunchly declares that he and his dogs are a package deal.

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Got an Extra Minute or Two? Train Your Dog!

By Linda Cole

We miss so many opportunities to work with our dogs. Relaxing in the backyard or on the deck after work, waiting for supper to finish cooking, watching TV, waiting for your turn to take your morning shower or any other times where we have a few extra moments. Training a dog is important, but there’s no rule that says you have to make a big production out of it, and there’s no law that says you have to spend a certain amount of time doing it. Dogs are smart and more than capable of learning most commands quickly. One minute at a time is all it takes.

Dog training is all about reinforcing a desired behavior. Once most dogs have learned the basic commands, it’s just like riding a bike, so to speak. I have to giggle here, because as I’m writing this, I’m listening to a dog training minute happening in the kitchen while supper is being cooked. We’re working with our dog Keikei to teach her a new command – turn around. If your dog is like Keikei and wants to be with you wherever you are, the opportunity to work on their training is always there. Take advantage of it.

Dogs end up in shelters because of behavior problems their owner couldn’t or wouldn’t deal with. It’s no secret that the best way to ensure you have a well mannered and happy dog is by taking the time to teach him how you want him to act. Training your dog is also one way you can help keep him safe. Teaching your dog doesn’t require hours and hours of time, but it does require three important rules to follow.

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Meet the Blind Dog Rescue Alliance

By Langley Cornwell

Established in August of 2009, the Blind Dog Rescue Alliance – started by Karen and Eric Belfi – is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit group that spans the United States and Canada. Run entirely by volunteers, the organization’s mission is to aid blind and visually impaired dogs. Their work includes rescuing blind dogs from shelters, assisting blind dog owners, and educating the public about these wonderful canines and the joy of caring for one.

The Belfi’s interest in visually impaired dogs began when they were searching for a companion for their Siberian husky. As they combed the Internet for an available orphan, the dog that captured their hearts was blind (appropriately named Ray Charles). As a responsible pet owner, Karen Belfi located an online discussion group dedicated to blind dog care and advocacy; she wanted to learn about a visually impaired dog’s special requirements. The group assured Karen that a blind dog’s needs aren’t much different than the needs of a ‘regular dog,’ so a match was made.

Karen and Eric remained active in the Internet discussion forum. They watched as the list of visually compromised adoptable dogs increased. Sadly, the list grew so large that otherwise healthy dogs were not finding homes in time, and were being euthanized. Unable to stand by and watch this trend, they joined forces with a few others in the discussion group and formed the Blind Dog Rescue Alliance.

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The Luckiest Cats

My Silly Annabelle

By Julia Williams

My good friend Kevin has been volunteering for his local animal shelter for many years. Kevin, aka meowmeowmans, writes about the homeless cats on his wonderful blog, Animal Shelter Volunteer Life. He tells of the lucky cats who find their forever homes, and he also features the many sweet souls still waiting to be adopted. I love to read the adoption stories, because I know just how much the lives of the animal and their new family will change for the better. I celebrate each of these adoptions, sometimes silently with a smile but very often with a “wahoo!” or a “yay!” In stark contrast, the stories of those not yet chosen make me melancholic. No animal should have to know abandonment and homelessness, yet far too many do.

Recently, Kevin posted about the kitties not yet chosen, and said he hoped they could find a home before Christmas. We know the reality is that most will not, and yet we can’t stop hoping that some will go from unlucky to lucky, if not before Christmas then at least sometime in the New Year. When faced with a reality that is less than ideal, hope is what keeps us going; it keeps us doing what we can do in the moment until a better time.

My version of a Christmas miracle would be loving homes for every homeless pet, nutritious food for every hungry pet, and love for every animal who is alone and lonely. I shudder to think what would’ve happened to my precious cats Rocky and Annabelle if I hadn’t been asked to water someone’s plants, only to discover two tiny kittens badly in need of rescue. If they had somehow managed to survive – which isn’t likely considering they were very ill and no one was caring for them – they wouldn’t have a better life than the one they have now, with me.

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