Monthly Archives: September 2011

The Healing Power of Purr Therapy

By Julia Williams

I have nothing against medical doctors. They’ve certainly played a role in my care since birth, and have even helped me a time or two. But there are times when I opt for a more unconventional mode of healing, one I’ve taken to calling “Purr Therapy” for lack of a better term. Sometimes, Purr Therapy is all I need to cure whatever ails me. Whether I suffer from a physical, mental or emotional malady, Purr Therapy can miraculously take me through the illness and into perfect health.

What is this strange healing power I call Purr Therapy? Well, it’s not some mumbo-jumbo snake-oil tactic, I assure you. Purr Therapy is simply believing in and allowing the natural healing power that my cats have. Though some might dismiss this notion as fallacy, the miraculous healing powers of pets have been well documented by doctors, veterinarians and animal lovers alike. And truly, just about everyone who has a close bond with their pet has experienced this natural healing ability firsthand. Purr Therapy – and its companion Wag Therapy – can be holistic complements to your wellbeing regime.

Purr Therapy allows my body’s own natural healing ability to shine, thereby creating health and wellness in every cell. Purr Therapy centers me, lifts my spirits and makes me feel glad to be alive. Who can feel sad or sick with a cat lying on their chest so close to their heart, purring like mad? Certainly not I. Who could allow pain to diminish their happiness when there is a pet nearby, so willing to give and receive love? Oh…not I, that is for sure. Purr Therapy has the miraculous ability to make everything seem all right, even when it isn’t. In fact, I think Purr Therapy can be a thousand – no, a million! – times more effective than any anti-depressant medication.

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Moscow’s Subway Riders Include Stray Dogs

By Linda Cole

It’s one thing for stray dogs to hang around a local butcher shop or search for food in dumpsters and trash cans, but for dogs living in Russia it’s just a matter of catching the subway into Moscow, where they can find plenty of opportunities to fill their tummies. What’s amazing about these subway riding canines is that they have riding the tube down to a fine art, and scientists have been learning some interesting things about how man’s best friend has learned to adapt to their environment.

In the days when Russia was still the USSR, there were no dogs allowed in subways and even if they had been welcomed, dogs had no reason to go into the city. There were no street vendors or restaurants in the downtown area of Moscow, just industrial buildings. The stray dogs living on the outskirts of town found food digging through garbage dumps and trash cans. When the old USSR fell in the 1990s, everything changed for the people and the stray dogs. Restaurants, street vendors and fast food joints sprang up in Moscow, and the only challenge for the dogs was how to get from the suburbs into the downtown area where all of that easy food could be found.

Dogs are opportunistic and intelligent, and when they figured out they were no longer chased away from the subway stations, they began hopping trains for a lift into the city. The Moscow subway system is a maze that can be confusing for people, but the dogs appear to have learned the system. Scientists have been studying the train-hopping dogs to learn how they know which train to catch and when to get off. Researchers believe the dogs know their stop because of their ability to judge how long they’ve been on the train. It appears some of the dogs recognize the names of stations from the announcement over the loudspeaker or can sense the different smells of each station. It’s possible that it’s a combination of knowledge the dogs have learned. Some may even recognize certain people who exit at a specific station each day and simply follow them when they get off.

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Heroic Acts of Pet Owners

By Langley Cornwell

We buy the good brand of dog food, always have clean, fresh water available, take long walks and enjoy unstructured playtime together. We are committed, responsible pet owners and think we would do anything for our pets. But would you put yourself in real danger to save your animal? These pet owners went to heroic lengths to rescue their pets from harm.

Punching a Bear in the Face

Alaska resident Brooke Collins tangled with a bear to save her dog’s life. It all started when Fudge, a senior dachshund, slipped out the door and into the jaws of a black bear. According to, 22-year-old Collins was startled to see a bear bending over her dog, squeezing the dog with its paws and biting the dog’s neck. She immediately sprang into action and made a huge commotion, screaming and flailing her arms. The bear seemed unfazed so she ran right towards him. The bear continued to maintain his grip on Fudge, so Collins reared back and punched the bear in the nose. The bear released the dachshund and Collin’s boyfriend scared him off. Fudge was lucky and escaped with only minor wounds.

Facing Down a Coyote

Minnesota has its share of coyotes and they are encroaching on the neighborhoods in Edina, notes CBS Minnesota. When Becky Bennett’s dog Smokey was playing in their backyard, a coyote boldly came onto their property. Within seconds the coyote grabbed Smokey, an 18-year-old Schipperke, and carried him towards the edge of the yard. Without hesitation, Bennett raced towards the coyote with her arms waving; she screamed and yelled and charged forward. The coyote was startled by Bennett’s actions and dropped Smokey, but the dog suffered from the attack. It took 10 days for the senior Schipperke to recover from puncture wounds and regain the strength to walk again.     

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The Best Books about Dogs

By Suzanne Alicie

Those of us who love animals and dogs in particular often enjoy reading about them as well. When you think of great books about dogs you may picture children’s books such as Clifford the Big Red Dog or The Incredible Journey, but there are many books about dogs that are wonderful reads for adults.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: What I Learned from the Dog/101Stories about Life, Love and Lessons is an amazingly heartwarming book with essays that will make you laugh and cry, and make you realize just how many things we can learn from our canine family members.

Merle’s Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog is a heartwarming story about the author and his dog Merle, and how they came together despite Merle’s freethinking ways. This book is a great look into the relationships between humans and dogs.

The Art of Racing in the Rain explores all the things that humans do from a dog’s point of view. It’s much more than a story about a dog though. The Art of Racing in the Rain tells of a race car driver and his dog, but goes on to detail the family that follows and the companionship that a dog named Enzo offers to them all.

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Can You Tell if Your Dog is Depressed?

By Linda Cole

Dogs can get down in the dumps just like we can. Depression can be a serious and life threatening condition if it’s not recognized and treated. However, dogs can’t tell us when they don’t feel right, so the only way we can tell if something is wrong is by observing how they act.

A dog’s personality can be just as complicated as their owner’s. Just like us, dogs have their own favorite areas of the home where they feel secure and comfortable. If that area is an out of the way spot, like under the bed or in a closet, it can be misread as the dog hiding. A depressed dog may hide, but he could also just want a quiet place to relax. There are other symptoms to look for that are better indicators of depression.

Symptoms of depression in dogs

Depression works much the same with a pet as it does for us. There’s an apparent lack of interest in food and sometimes even water. If your dog misses one or two of his CANIDAE meals, there’s no cause for concern as long as he’s still drinking water. But if his lack of appetite lasts longer than a 24 hour period, and he isn’t drinking water, you should have your vet check him out to make sure there’s not a medical problem or injury that’s causing him to not want to eat or drink. Sometimes a depressed dog may go the other way and overeat.

Besides loss of appetite, other symptoms to watch out for can include no energy (lethargy) in a normally active dog or sleeping more than usual. A depressed dog may appear to be easily startled by a noise or another pet or person in the same room. A dog that wants to be left alone, won’t move his head to look at you when you call his name, or paces from one room to another and can’t seem to find any place where he’s comfortable, is showing symptoms of depression. Your dog may be depressed if he constantly follows you around the house or yard but doesn’t want to interact with you, especially if he always has in the past.

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The Cat Commandments

By Rocky Williams (Feline Guest Blogger)

I’m told you hoomins have something called the Ten Commandments. Now, I like the sound of that because I have things I want to command my hoomin, aka the Warden, to do. And I should think that all felines might want to adopt these cat commandments too, for they are the word of one who clearly knows how to manipulate his hoomin, and is known throughout the land as King of the castle. Which is exactly as it should be, of course. But being a crafty cat, naturally I have more than ten commandments.

Here are my 18 Cat Commandments:

You shall not put any other cat before me, nor any dog, horse, hamster, gerbil, rabbit, chicken, or other creature that inhabits your world.

You shall honor all things Feline as divine.

You shall not call me Boo Boo, Bubba, Bugaboo, Chi Chi, Fatty, Floppy, Fluffy, Moo Moo, Noodle, Pookie, Snookums or any other any silly name that makes people laugh when they hear it. I am a dignified cat, and I shall not respond to any name that is beneath me.

You shall not ration my Tidnips Treats, for my desire to nom these tasty things knows no bounds, and my appetite for them is insatiable.

You shall not baptize me in water for any reason whatsoever!

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