By Julia Williams
When it comes to their attitude towards food, dogs and cats typically fall into one of two categories – foodie or finicky. A foodie pet will wolf down their food every day like they haven’t eaten anything in weeks, while a finicky pet eats well today but may or may not eat well tomorrow, even when offered the same food they normally love. A foodie rarely presents a problem for a pet owner, but having a finicky pet can certainly be frustrating. After all, a responsible pet owner does a lot of research before deciding which food to buy, and they obviously want their pet to like the food.
I feel lucky that my cats have all been foodies. For one thing, I get to smile every day at their over-the-top antics when it’s time for their breakfast, dinner or TidNips treats. It’s always the same – copious leg rubbing, prancing, pacing, and meowing with a volume level that could wake the dead. There’s no question that they love their food. I’m happy that I can feed them a high quality cat food like FELIDAE and they will scarf up every last morsel day after day, year after year.
Another advantage of having a foodie pet is that it’s an immediate clue when they aren’t feeling well. This happened to me recently with Rocky, who I’m convinced loves food more than any cat on the planet. When he didn’t want to eat one day, I knew there was a problem, and off to the vet we went. Thanks to modern medicine he’s fine now, but if he wasn’t a foodie, it wouldn’t have been nearly as easy for me to know he had a problem. Cats are masters at hiding illness, but even a diehard foodie like Rocky will lose his appetite if he’s not feeling well.
By Suzanne Alicie
For decades the cartoon world has been filled with notable pets. From Tweety and Sylvester to Tom and Jerry, there have been all sorts of animated pets. Julia Williams has written an article about Famous Fictional Felines, so on the other side of that coin my favorite animated animal characters are usually of the canine persuasion. Let’s have a look at some of the famous cartoon dogs that we all know and love!
Scooby Doo and Scrappy
Okay, talking dogs are always fun. Scooby Doo is a lovable, mystery solving scaredy-cat Great Dane who was introduced in 1970. He is also one of the most popular cartoon dogs ever, with his famous phrase “Ruh-roh Shaggy” being well known by kids of all ages. His nephew Scrappy is a much braver and tougher cartoon dog that’s also a favorite of many cartoon viewers. You can find Scooby begging for some Scooby Snacks on Cartoon Network and Boomerang, as well as on the big screen.
“No need to fear, Underdog is here!” Quiet, unassuming Shoeshine Boy has an alter ego; he is known as Underdog and since 1964 he’s been saving Sweet Polly Purebred from the villains. I look at Underdog as the canine version of Superman, and when I was younger I could sing along with the theme song as if I’d written it myself!
By Linda Cole
Where would we be without the dedicated truckers who move products and food all around the country? No matter where you live, trucks deliver anything and everything to communities and businesses. Operation Roger is a nonprofit organization made up of long haul and regional truckers who use their trucks to transport a very precious cargo – homeless pets – to new locations around the country.
America has always been a country made up of people with a “can do” spirit that never wavers. After Hurricane Katrina swept across the Gulf Coast in 2005 devastating the area, one pet loving trucker wanted to do something to help pets left homeless by Katrina. The only thing she could think of was to use her truck to help transport shelter pets from the area to give them a better chance of finding a new home.
Sue Wiese had the courage to go on a trucker’s radio show to ask if any truck drivers would consider moving pets in their rigs to new locations across the country. She was surprised to discover that yes, they would. So on September 16, 2005, Operation Roger…Truckers Pet Transport was created. It’s a nonprofit organization that moves shelter pets and pets from rescue groups to new homes no matter where they are.
By Julia Williams
Stories surface from time to time about unusual friendships between animals of different species. Last year in “True Stories of Interspecies Animal Friendships” I wrote about several such “animal odd couples” that play together, eat together and show affection for one another, including a dog and deer, giraffe and ostrich, and kitten and crow.
I recently learned of the unlikely yet strong bond between three animals that would be mortal enemies under any other circumstance. Although it might seem more like a Disney movie than real life, the tale of a lion, a tiger and a bear who became best friends is true, and very heartwarming.
Leo the lion, Shere Khan the tiger, and Baloo the bear live together at Noah’s Ark Animal Rehabilitation Center in Locust Grove, Georgia. Eight years ago, three tiny cubs barely two months old were rescued during a police drug raid in Atlanta, Georgia. It was thought that the three exotic animals were being kept as status symbol pets. The cubs were taken to Noah’s Ark, where the decision was made to keep the trio together because they came as a kind of family and seemed to have already formed a bond. Whether it would work long term or not was anybody’s guess, because this unlikely animal friendship was one of a kind. “To our knowledge, this is the only place where you’ll find this combination of animals together,” said Diane Smith, assistant director of Noah’s Ark.
By Linda Cole
Cats have 12 whiskers on each side of their nose. These whiskers help a cat navigate through darkness, and they can also tell us how the cat is feeling. A cat would be lost without their whiskers, which are remarkable communication antennas that make it possible for a cat to “see” in the dark.
Each whisker on a cat’s face has nerve endings that lead to the brain. Cat’s have reinforcement whiskers on the back of their front legs, a few on the cheek, under their chin and above their eyes. The whiskers on each side of the cat’s face are set in four rows. Most cats have 12 on each side, 24 in total, but some can have more. The whiskers on the top two rows can move independently from the bottom rows and the middle is where the strongest whiskers are found.
Cat whiskers are super sensitive, and cats receive valuable information via their whiskers by picking up air pressure and air currents. Changes in air currents and vibrations help cats locate prey in the dark. They can’t see a mouse rummaging around at night or in a darkened room, but they can feel its presence via their whiskers which also help them smell. Cats are able to navigate around the furniture or outside the home at night because as air currents move around objects, the whiskers pick up the change in the current which tells them exactly where an object is. It’s the same for a mouse or other small animals cats prey on. Their whiskers tell them how far away the prey is and even “shows” them the shape of the prey.
By Julia Williams
If you’re thinking of taking your canine buddy along on your summer vacation, you will certainly want to know ahead of time that your destination is dog friendly. But what does that mean? Essentially, it means that where you’re going offers some of the following: dog-friendly lodging, beaches, parks, shopping, campgrounds, transportation, attractions and outdoor restaurants. You need to know ahead of time that your chosen vacation spot will welcome your dog and result in a memorable vacation for the entire family – Fido included!
If you’re really serious about taking the dog on your summer vacation, and think you might want to make it an annual affair, I recommend investing in one or more of the travel guides from dogfriendly.com. You could go with their all-inclusive dog-friendly Travel Guide (774 pages) which covers the U.S. and Canada and includes over 20,000 dog-friendly places including hotels, resorts, vacation rentals, tourist attractions and National Parks. The 2010 4th edition has current information on every aspect of dog-friendly travel. At $17.95, it’s reasonably priced and a good resource for any dog owner.
Dogfriendly.com also has more specific offerings including a Campground and Park Guide, a Lodging Guide, and regional guides such as East Coast, Napa Valley and Central States. Of course, you don’t have to spend a penny to take advantage of what dogfriendly.com offers. Their website is chock full of useful information for dog owners who travel, including a state-by-state guide to lodging and attractions. Another website I like that offers similar information is doggieswelcome.com.