Yearly Archives: 2012

Hilarious and Heartwarming Holiday Pet Stories

Kim’s cat Libby

By Tamara McRill

What pet owner doesn’t have at least a few sweet or silly holiday memories spun from the antics of our fur children? Whether it’s the loving holiday traditions we carry out with our pets through the years or singular events that warm our hearts and uplift our spirits, these all become cherished stories. The best tales are meant to be shared, so I thought I would ask my friends about their favorite holiday memories starring their cats and dogs. Here’s what they had to share:

Kitty and Kiddie Sneak Peek

What’s a mom to do when the cat and children are in collusion to catch a glimpse of the gifts? Kim Morgan shares how her adopted feral cat Liberty, aka Libby, “helps” her spread the joy of the season:

“My kids want me to wrap their presents and put them under the tree early, because they know there’s a good chance the cat will tear the wrapping to shreds and they’ll get to see what they’re getting,” said Kim. “This Christmas, it’s already happened twice.”

Reindeer…err…Puppy Games

Santa’s not the only one watching to see if all little puppies are being good for Christmas, but that didn’t stop Linda Wolke’s Dachshund mix, Puppy, from trying to get his mom to join in a little holiday play. Puppy would tug his mother Rusty’s chain and try to drag her into a fun scrap. But Puppy must have known who was handing out the stockings in his house, because every time Linda would look out the window, he would stop and act like a perfect angel.

O Christmas Tree…

Kerri’s former dog Cody

How tempting you can be. Especially when all those brightly colored packages are piled up underneath. That goes double when they are under someone else’s tree. Kerri Hollingsworth shared how her former dog Cody, (now mine), took all the surprise out of Christmas one year. The  Australian Shepherd and Blue Heeler mix had a grand time unwrapping all the gifts under her sister’s tree – including her sister’s new PlayStation.

They laughingly made a quick getaway, but it’s not like the tree is any safer at her home, thanks to her cat. Like most kitties, Nala considers the tree her private Christmas playhouse. It’s too bad it gets infested with garland, which she – of course –  does her best to “exterminate.”

Read More »

EmailGoogle GmailBlogger PostTwitterFacebookGoogle+PinterestShare

Small Dog Breeds for Active Lifestyles

By Linda Cole

People who love to run and enjoy the companionship of a dog by their side have a tendency to pick larger dogs as a running partner. Small dog breeds aren’t usually thought of as being able to keep up the pace over the long haul. However, the cool thing about all dog breeds, large and small, is their unique and varied energy levels.

Small dogs can have as much energy packed into their little bodies as a Border Collie or Labrador, and are ready to show you what they’ve got. If you have an active lifestyle, you don’t have to look far to find a small dog breed that will relish a stimulating hike or run. After all, many small breeds were bred as working dogs, and have the tenacity, energy and loyalty to fit into most lifestyles.

High Energy Small Working Dogs

A small dog is usually considered to be less than 22 pounds. Not surprisingly, terrier breeds dominate in the group of small dogs with the highest activity level. Dogs who run on high octane were bred to hunt small prey like rabbits, foxes and rats. These little dogs had to be brave, fearless and tenacious to follow whatever they were chasing underground to root them out. Many times, their prey turned out to be bigger than they were. Today’s terriers haven’t lost their desire to chase prey. A rabbit bursting out from under a bush can quickly find a terrier hot on his heels.

With boundless energy, these dogs are always ready for a good run, whether it’s jogging with his owner or chasing a neighborhood cat. Some examples of small dogs with lots of energy include the Parson Terrier, West Highland White Terrier, Bull Terrier, Cairn Terrier, Norfolk Terrier, Jack Russell Terrier, Wire Fox Terrier, Border Terrier, Australian Terrier, Miniature Schnauzer, Basenji and Petit Basset Griffon. These breeds can learn to live with cats in the home, and they are great with children and other dogs in the home.

Read More »

How to Keep Your Dog Out of the Christmas Presents

By Tamara McRill

One of the greatest pleasures on Christmas morning is watching someone you love excitedly shred wrapping paper to get to the gift you picked out just for them. Except, of course, when that someone you love is your dog and those weren’t his presents. Nor is it Christmas yet. There’s no denying that some dogs just can’t resist the temptation of brightly wrapped packages and just have to go investigating.

So how do you keep your furry present-wrecker from getting into the gifts? Like most things canine, it depends on your dog, and one solution does not fit all. But here are some tips to try, most of which have worked for me in the past:

Reinforce Verbally and Redirect

Sometimes what should be the easiest thing to do can be the hardest. Every time your dog starts nosing around the presents, it is important to firmly tell them “no,” “stop” or whichever halting command is familiar to them. No matter how cute they look amongst the packages, don’t take the time to snap a photo or go get people to see.

Yes, I know it’s hard. I epically fail at this almost once a season. But if you don’t tell your dog no every time they get near your gifts, they will get the impression that it’s sometimes okay to go investigating. And we all know what an expensive mess that can lead to.

Not only should you verbally stop your dog when they take an interest in the presents, but you should also redirect them to do something else. Have them sit, go fetch something or any other activity. This gives them a defined course of action to take, hopefully getting their mind off of your pretty packages.

Fence the Tree

While I have had good luck (mainly in spite of myself and thanks to good dogs) with stopping and redirecting, sometimes that’s just not enough – especially if you can’t be there 24/7 to guard the gifts or you have an extremely willful dog. That’s when you have to get proactive on ways to keep your dog from the presents.

One way is to fence off the tree. Your dog can’t mess with what they can’t get to, right? Some people use baby gates around the Christmas tree for this purpose. I’m not a huge fan of how the taller ones block the tree from being seen, but there are alternatives. One is to use smaller garden fencing – decorated, of course – or run a working train track around the tree.

Read More »

TV NewsCATster Joey the Garden Cat Charms All

By Julia Williams

The story of Joey the Garden Cat is a “feline rags to riches” tale that just warms my heart. No one knows how or why the young tabby cat found himself living on the street in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas. But the plucky kitten refused to let his humble beginnings deter him from having a wonderful life …he took matters into his own paws and chose a TV station’s “Weather Garden” for his home. Soon, all of Little Rock knew his face and name, and Joey the Garden Cat went from feral to fame!

Watching clips of the purrsonable Joey “stealing the show,” it’s quite obvious this cute kitty was born for television and enjoys his job. And seeing Joey charmingly interact with his legions of Facebook fans, it’s clear he enjoys his high-profile life. Joey’s story serves to remind us that we should all dream big – because what we are born into doesn’t have to be what we become!

Joey the Garden Cat graciously agreed to an interview so our readers could get to know him. Enjoy!

Me: When you were an inky-dinky lad living on the streets, did you ever think you’d end up with such a great life? 

Joey: It was Christmas 2006 and I was on my own hunting down food in the streets of Little Rock.  I was tiny, fast and smart, cause across the street I discovered the weather garden where Larry the Garden Cat lived.  He let me eat his food and sleep in his heated house.  I never dreamed I would be a TV star, but it’s been a pretty cool gig with lots of perks.

What do you like most about being a famous Celebricat? 

All the attention!  So many new people to meet that come to the news studio or weather garden for interviews, and they want to meet and take photos with me – even other celebrities.

Who are three of your favorite people at the station, and what do you love about them?

Meteorologist Tom Brannon and morning show host, cause he’s my on-air buddy.  Momma/agent Theba Lolley, cause she found me and takes care of all my needs.  Feather/girl Kelly Tibbit, cause she plays with me every day with the feather toy.

Read More »

Is Your Pet on Santa’s “Naughty” or “Nice” List?

By Tamara McRill

Has your pet been good enough this year to merit a Christmas gift? Or has your fur baby been bratty enough for you to consider leaving their stocking unstuffed? Since it’s the holiday season, I thought it would be fun to ask other pet owners what their dogs and cats have done this year to land them a spot on Santa’s naughty or nice list, and what their pets should expect to find under the tree. After making a list and checking it twice, here are some of the stories pet owners shared:

Small Niceties 

Many people couldn’t think of one spectacularly naughty or nice thing their pets did this year, but spoke of the small things that made them deserving of Christmas gifts. Like Laura Gill, who bragged about her Golden Retriever Nikki not barking for the past week. Anyone who is trying to teach a dog to be a little less vocal can probably appreciate the quiet time. For her good behavior, Nikki will be getting a bone for Christmas.

For Goodness’ Sake

Sometimes it takes the thoughtless behavior of us humans to point out how good our pets really are. Rissa Watkins shared this story about her dog Mocha, an Aussie Shepherd/Chow mix:

“He has been a good dog this year. Someone closed the door, blocking the doggie door. Poor Mocha cried and ran around and acted strange. This went on for a few hours. I got home and realized the door was closed and let him out. Poor boy desperately held it instead of going inside.”

Will Mocha be rewarded by Santa for his good deed? “Heck yeah, he has his own stocking,” said Rissa. “He will also be getting a new bed.”

Read More »

What to Do If Your Dog Starts Choking

By Langley Cornwell

It always happens. Every time I write about a dog or cat, I fall in love with him or her. In fact, I become like a star-struck groupie, and celebrate each dog or cat’s successes as if they were my own. My husband laughs at me because I always update him: An ESPN writer just published a book about Wallace, the famous Disc Dog! Or – Fire Safety Dogs Tango and Siren just got a television deal! Or – there was a new monument erected for Stubby, the most decorated War Dog!

Recently, my news wasn’t so exciting: “Therapy Dog Stacey Mae died unexpectedly,” I told him through tears. She was only five years old and did so much for so many during her short time here. At first they thought the cause of death was choking, and I couldn’t shake the thought of how terrible that would be. I knew that if my dog started choking, I wouldn’t know exactly what to do. Would you?  

The veterinarians at PetPlace.com say that pets often come to the vet because of what people think is choking, but that many pet owners mistake vomiting or coughing for actual choking.

Signs that your dog may actually be choking: 

Acting anxious and in distress
Having difficulty breathing
Having difficulty swallowing
Drooling
Gagging
Pawing at his face
Throwing up

True choking can be caused by two major things: a foreign object stuck in your dog’s throat, or your dog’s throat swelling closed because his neck is overly constricted. In both cases this is a real emergency, and you must take action and get your pet to a vet immediately.

Dogs explore with their noses and mouths. It’s their curious nature and undiscerning eating practices that get them into trouble; all kinds of things can get stuck in their throats. Anything that can fit into the opening to their trachea can cause serious harm, but the most common offenders are small balls such as golf or ping pong balls, real bones, cellophane, plastic toys and pieces of wood or cloth.

Read More »