By Tamara L. Waters
Growing up, I had lots of dogs as pets, but it wasn’t until I was 18 years old that I picked out my very first puppy of my own. He was a mixed-breed puppy, blond with a stripe of white on his forehead (see photo at left). I’ll admit he was spoiled, and I named him Twinkie.
Yes, Twinkie. That’s right; I named the poor little guy after those delicious cream-filled sponge cake treats. Why did I name him Twinkie? My brother made the comment that he looked like a Twinkie due to his blond fur and the white stripe. My immature teenage mind thought “Awwww, Twinkie! That’s such a cutesy wutesy wittle name for the puppy wuppy! *squeal*”
Looking back, I can see that my choice of name for this little guy doomed him to being the butt of every doggy joke, and friends and family alike viewed him as a frou-frou dog, even though he wasn’t – all because of his name. He developed a little dog attitude that said to the world “Pamper me. I am the sweet Twinkie baby!”
By Julia Williams
Many things that originated in Japan have since become commonplace in America and other countries – origami, anime, martial arts, Pokémon, karaoke, teriyaki and sushi, to name just a few. In the animal arena, the Japanese have given us the Maneki Neko (Beckoning Cat), Hello Kitty, the Japanese Macaque (Snow Monkey), the Japanese Bobtail cat breed, and the Shiba Inu and Akita dog breeds. “Cat Cafes” are the latest Japanese craze. Although wildly popular in Tokyo and surrounding areas, it’s too early to tell if cat cafes will ever be found in America. I like the idea of cat cafes myself, but then I do have my reputation as Crazy Cat Lady to uphold.
What’s a cat cafe, you ask? It’s a quiet, cozy place where people can go to sip tea or a latte while enjoying the companionship of a room full of friendly cats. A “cat menu” introduces patrons to each of the different felines in the cafe, with photos and information on their name, breed, gender and age. The fee varies by establishment, but typically costs around $8 to $10 for an hour of feline friendship. The meticulously groomed resident cats are free to lounge wherever they please – on the sofas, chairs and tables, in cat trees and baskets, and even on your lap, if you’re lucky.
By Linda Cole
Dogs are not only “man’s best friend” – they are also aiding researchers who study dogs to discover better ways to treat humans. Because dogs live in the same environment that we do, they are also exposed to the same sort of things that cause cancer, diabetes and other diseases we share with our dogs. By discovering the genome responsible for a disease in dogs, researchers have a better understanding of the disease in humans, and know what to look for. New research in dog health is helping scientists learn more about people health.
A genome is one single set of chromosomes that contain all of its genes, i.e., the total genetic makeup of a cell. A genome contains all of the biological information all living things need that makes each species unique, including humans. The information in the genome is encoded in the DNA and divided into genes. Because our genetic makeup is so diverse, it’s been difficult for researchers to pinpoint exactly where diseases like cancer and diabetes originate in our complicated makeup.
By Lynn Taylor, Team Dogs Unlimited
A versatile hunter and all-purpose dog, the German shorthaired pointer (GSP) possesses keen scenting power and high intelligence. The breed is proficient in many different types of recognized sports, but primarily bred for upland bird hunting, pointing and retrieving.
They’re a medium-sized breed, can be solid liver or black, liver and white, or black and white in color. The height of the breed, measured at the withers, is 23 to 25 inches for males and 21 to 23 inches for females. The weight is 55 to 70 pounds for males and 45 to 60 pounds for females. Their short coat sheds, but grooming is minimal.
The GSP loves interaction with humans and thrives as part of an active family who will give them an outlet for their energy. The GSP is usually very good with children, although care should be taken because the breed can be boisterous especially when young. They’re an even-tempered, intelligent and loyal family watchdog that has enthusiasm for their work. An athlete, they can adapt to their living situation, but require consistent exercise. The German shorthaired pointer needs plenty of vigorous activity. This need for exercise (preferably off lead) coupled with the breed’s natural instinct to hunt, means that training is an absolute necessity.
By Suzanne Alicie
As firm believers in responsible pet ownership, we never advise giving a pet as a gift unless you are sure it is wanted. Many times parents take advantage of a holiday or birthday to give their children a much desired pet, or one weekend they simply give in to repeated requests for something furry and fun. No matter what the occasion of welcoming a new pet into your home, there are many ways in which your family will have to adjust. There are also ways you can prepare beforehand to make it easier on everyone involved.
A family discussion of the responsibilities that each person will have once the pet arrives, the doling out of pet chores and preparation of the home for the presence of a pet will help everyone be prepared for the excitement and upheaval that a new pet can cause.
By Linda Cole
Puppies are so cute, until you find a little surprise waiting for you on the kitchen floor. Hopefully, you didn’t discover it in the dark. Housebreaking a puppy can be frustrating, but it’s not impossible nor is it the puppy’s fault. Stay calm and committed and you’ll be surprised how quickly you can train your puppy where to go.
A puppy can’t control his bladder muscles properly until he’s at least 12 weeks old, and he simply can’t “hold it” for very long. He doesn’t know going inside is bad. Housebreaking a puppy takes patience and consistent training to teach him where the appropriate place to eliminate is. Yelling at a puppy for going inside the house won’t teach him anything positive. He will understand you’re upset, but he doesn’t connect his mess to why you are angry with him. Because dogs live in the moment, he relates your anger with whatever he was doing at that moment. If he eagerly greets you at the door and you respond by yelling at him, he learns greeting you makes you unhappy and he’ll stop greeting you. You want your pup to have only positive thoughts about you. Inappropriate discipline creates unnecessary stress and a confused dog.