Monthly Archives: August 2011

Justice for Bow a Huge Success on Facebook!

By Suzanne Alicie

Everyone who uses social networks like Facebook and Twitter is aware of the possibilities of increasing awareness and receiving donations for worthy causes from the caring communities. Fellow RPO blog contributor Linda Cole has written about this phenomenon in her post “How Facebook Helps Pets in Need.” Today I’ll tell you how Facebook has been a huge success story for a special kitty.

A few months ago I saw that a friend of mine had “liked” a page called Justice for Bow; the notification had a picture of a cat so I went to check it out. I was horrified when I saw the pictures of Bow and read the story of what had happened to him.

Poor Kitty

Neighbors near Burton and US131 in Grand Rapids, Michigan often saw and fed a stray cat living in the area. When a few days went by without seeing the kitty, the concerned citizens began to worry. On May 10, 2011 the cat, which has now been named Bow, was found with an arrow through his face. Someone had shot the defenseless cat and left him to suffer or die all alone. The arrow had entered Bow’s left cheek, pierced his esophagus and exited near his right shoulder.

Saving Grace

The wonderful woman who found Bow took him to Michigan Veterinary Specialists, but she only had $200 to put towards his care. The caring staff at MVS removed the arrow and donated the antibiotics and IV fluids to keep Bow alive. Amy Smith Velthouse, a veterinary technician at MVS, also volunteered at Carol’s Ferals, which was the first place she turned for assistance for Bow. Carol Manos of Carol’s Ferals arranged for Bow to be transferred to the Animal Hospital of Lowell where Dr. Bruce Langlois took over his medical care.

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Can Dogs Read Minds?

By Linda Cole

After thousands of years of domestication, scientists have finally begun to do more extensive research on dogs to try to better understand man’s best friend and how they relate to us. Most of us have already figured out that a positive relationship with our dog depends on how attentive we are to them, and when we do pay attention to them it’s amazing to see how tuned in to us they are.

Dogs appear to have us figured out too. They seem to know what we’re thinking sometimes before we know. Some people believe their dog can read their mind, but critics claim there’s no way a dog knows what we’re thinking. However, there is research that says dogs can read our minds. I’m always interested in new studies that come out about dogs because it can give us insight into their behavior and help us understand them better. This new study was done at the University of Florida. Researchers make the claim that dogs can read our minds based on experiments they did using dogs raised in shelters, pet dogs and tamed wolves.

They took two people, one who was attentive to the dog or wolf and one who was reading a book, had their back turned to the animal or had their head covered with a bucket. Each person offered a treat to the dog or wolf to see who they would beg from. The scientists wanted to see if dogs responded better to someone paying attention to them versus the non attentive person.

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Grow Catnip for Your Kitty – and for You Too!

By Julia Williams

If you have a cat, you’ve probably bought them a nip toy now and then. Some kitties will lick, bite and rabbit kick the toy exuberantly while others may run around like a cat possessed. Some cats will show zero interest in catnip toys, but it has nothing to do with what the toy looks like. Some catnip is more potent than others and will elicit a stronger reaction, which may account for a cat’s interest – or lack thereof –in a particular toy. However, it’s also possible that your cat is among the 10-30% of felines who won’t respond to any catnip toy. That’s because the attraction to catnip is determined by genetics, and their reaction is hereditary. In other words, some cats are genetically programmed to respond to catnip while others are not. Most senior cats and kittens under six months typically aren’t attracted to catnip either.

Although it’s been called “wacky tobacky for cats,” catnip is not a drug. Catnip (Nepeta cataria) is an herb in the mint family, and it’s the essential oil in the blossoms, leaves and stems that are the main attractant for cats. But what you may not know is that catnip is not just for cats!

While catnip is a stimulant for cats, it’s actually a relaxant for humans, and it’s been valued for its herbal and medicinal properties for centuries. Combining one part catnip with three parts mint creates a soothing herb tea with a pleasant taste. Catnip tea can help you fall asleep, get relief from cold and flu symptoms or ease digestive upsets and tension headaches. Catnip is an excellent source of vitamin C, and like other mints can be added to salads, soups and other foods.

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CANIDAE – A Dog Friendly Company in Every Way!

By Linda Cole

Having pets in the workplace can give an office a more relaxed and friendlier atmosphere. According to the American Pet Products Association, approximately 17% of U.S. businesses allow employees to bring their pets, usually dogs, to work daily. CANIDAE Natural Pet Food Company is one of them. At CANIDAE, dogs have been known to be among the “executives” sitting in on meetings. I spoke with CANIDAE employees Diane Matsuura, Sarah DeNunzio and Carl Boley, as well as Anne Prinns who operates a dairy equipment repair company called J & A Enterprises, to get their take on dogs in the workplace.

For many employees, having their dog with them at work helps them feel more relaxed, but depending on someone’s workload and responsibilities, it can also create stress if there’s not enough time to properly care for a dog while trying to make sure their work gets done. Sarah prefers to leave her dogs at home because “Having my dog here stresses me out! I constantly worry about them getting along with the other office dogs, and I don’t have time to take them on potty-walks each hour.”

Working at a pet friendly company can give you more time with your four-legged friend, especially in multiple pet households. When I asked Diane what she liked about the pet-friendly policy at CANIDAE, she said “I spend so much time at work that I enjoy being able to bring one of my dogs with me. I can spend more one-on-one time with them which wouldn’t happen at home.” Carl also likes bringing his dog to work because “My buddy gets to hang out with me. Most of the time it is relaxing and a great ground breaker when potential clients come by.”

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Pet Memoirs are Taking the Literary World by Storm!

By Julia Williams

Our pets inspire and enlighten us in so many ways. They teach us important life lessons, and their very presence can help us overcome our struggles and bring about positive changes. Thus it should come as no surprise that countless pet owners with a story to tell have written books about their four legged friends. Moreover, the public is lapping up these heartfelt tales, and pet memoirs are dominating the publishing world like never before.

“The entire book industry has gone to the dogs,” said Diane Herbst in Newsweek. Books supposedly penned by the pets themselves are also barking and meowing their way onto bestseller lists in unprecedented numbers! These first person pet memoirs have effectively created brand new genres – they’re called “dogoirs” and “catoirs.”

How did the pet memoir trend start?

In the past, “dog books didn’t get on national bestseller lists,” said Publishers Weekly senior editor Dick Donahue. “That’s something we can credit Marley with.” He’s referring of course to the dogoir Marley & Me, John Grogan’s account of his family’s relationship with a mischievous yellow lab.

First published in 2005, the book went on to sell more than 6 million copies and was made into a movie starring Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson. After the popularity of Marley, “People came out of the woodwork with their own dog stories,” said Susan Canavan, executive editor of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

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A Dog’s Intuition

By Suzanne Alicie

We’ve all seen the stories of heroic canine rescues, and remarkable behavior of loyal and loving pets. We’ve heard of service dogs and rescue dogs, but what about the heroic dogs that aren’t trained in any way but still perform amazing intuitive acts? Some of these may not be newsworthy, but they are evidence of the intuition that dogs have, and how they use it. Dogs are naturally in tune with the weather, their surroundings, and the humans around them.


Dogs can feel and smell the changes in the air when bad weather is brewing, and if the humans pay attention to their dogs they may be better prepared for whatever is coming. Everything from earthquakes to tornados and blizzards cause dogs to adopt a pack mentality of gathering those they feel responsible for and settling in for safety. Our dog Bear can hear or feel thunder before any of us, and she begins to make rounds of the house. We can tell she’s getting nervous because she tucks her tail and constantly runs from person to person almost like she’s herding us. Once we begin to hear thunder as well, we know why she was rounding up the pack. She often hides under the bed or some other protected small space but she keeps an eye on us and will run out to check if one of us is in another room.

People Skills

One thing I’ve always stood by is the belief that if a dog immediately decides not to like someone despite being “introduced” and never having any interaction with that person, there is something about the person that the dog recognizes as a threat in some way. I’ve seen it happen with even the most amiable dogs – someone triggers some sort of defense response in the dog and it simply will not warm up to that person. In all the cases I know of, the dog was right.

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