It takes a creative mind to find solutions that can make daily life easier or better. When there’s a need, someone can usually find a solution – often times in unlikely ways. Sometimes a creative invention is inspired by dogs and cats.
“Cat Eye” Road Reflectors
On a foggy night in 1933, Percy Shaw was driving home along a dangerous stretch of road with a perilous, sheer drop off on one side. Drivers knew where the edge of the road was when their headlights reflected off of tram tracks, but the tracks had been removed for repairs. As Shaw strained to see through the blackness, his headlights caught the eyes of a cat sitting on a fence. As he pondered the possibility of replicating how a cat’s eyes reflect light, an idea took shape to make dark and dangerous roads safer for drivers. Shaw began manufacturing reflective road markers in 1935. Today reflective “cat eye” road studs are incorporated in roads worldwide.
Biomimicry is science that studies nature to find solutions to problems. The thumbtack was invented in 1903 by Mick Clay, an English inventor. Looking to nature to find a better way to construct the tack, New York design engineer Toshi Fukaya wanted to improve the thumbtack to avoid pricked fingers when pulling one out of the box. His inspiration – the sheath of a cat’s claw. The new innovation in thumbtacks has a hollow silicone sheath that holds the pin inside until it’s pressed into a board, wall or other hard surface. When the tack is removed, the pin withdraws back into the silicone sheath.
I always have a great time helping to choose the winners for each CANIDAE photo contest. I mean, come on – who wouldn’t enjoy looking at a bunch of photos of adorable pets? The hard part for me is when I have to get down to the business of choosing my favorites. It was even more difficult with this contest, because the theme was rescued pets. So there was the usual menagerie of cute photos, but also heart-tugging stories of how the pets found their forever home.
The #CANIDAEfureverhome Contest, as it was called, received hundreds of submissions. How could we possibly declare one of these beloved pets the winner? They are ALL winners, because they were rescued, and they now have a wonderful home with people who adore them!
Nevertheless, the CANIDAE pet loving panel hunkered down and picked their favorites. I wanted to share their photos and stories here, and a few of the finalists too. I truly wish I could share every one of the touching rescue tales we received because, as I said, all of the pets win by getting adopted!
Dog Winner Chosen by CANIDAE: Macy
Macy is a 2.5 year old shepherd/collie/mystery rescue from Washington state. She was on her way to the shelter when I found her at 12 weeks. She had already had 3 families that couldn’t handle her energy, but that is what makes her the best hiking/running/adventure partner I could ask for.
Cat Winner Chosen by CANIDAE: Boots
You can see in this picture by her ear clip that Boots was originally a true born feral. I finally lured her and her sister inside, but Boots has become my savior and hero during some difficult times the last 2 years. I can do more to her than my other cats like toe rubs, belly rubs and much more. She saved my life.
Coughing is usually a clue we have a cold or the flu, and it’s also how we clear our throat. For humans, a cough may sometimes indicate a serious medical issue. Dogs can also develop a cough that could be nothing to worry about, or an indication of medical issues you need to be aware of. If your dog has a persistent cough, call your vet.
Although highly contagious, most dogs who develop kennel cough will recover on their own. However, it can take up to three weeks depending on your pet’s age and health. Older dogs, puppies and canines with a depressed immune system can take longer to recover. Your dog can be infected if he has spent time in a kennel, at the groomer, a dog park, a training class or anywhere there’s multiple dogs. A kennel cough is characterized by a deep, dry honking or hacking cough that might cause gagging afterwards. It gets worse when he’s playing or running. If his cough persists or worsens, call your vet. A serious bout of kennel cough can lead to pneumonia.
Like us, dogs can get a sore throat. It’s rare, but canines can also have tonsillitis. If you notice your dog licking his lips and making swallowing motions, and he has a high pitched gagging cough, it could be a sign of a sore throat, or an indication he has something caught in his throat.
We’ve all read the romantic stories of artists and their muses. The muse provided the artists with companionship and sometimes appeared in their work; the artists often created work that either directly or indirectly included their muse. To prepare for this article, I got lost in the research. I came across a story about two socialite sisters named Claribel and Etta Cone who provided motivation and inspiration for Henry Matisse; another about how a beautiful young woman named Joanna Hiffernan inspired some of James Abbott McNeill Whistler’s most important works, and another on how Dora Maar, a French poet, painter and photographer, was the muse for several of Pablo Picasso’s sad portraits. As was his custom, another woman named Marie-Thérèse Walter became the inspiration for many of Picasso’s later portraits.
Andrew Wyeth was inspired by a woman named Helga Testorf, who was his sister’s housekeeper; Edouard Manet saw Victorine Meurent running through the streets and was instantly intrigued. She became such an important catalyst for him that she inadvertently inspired him to change his artistic style. There is the beautiful but tragic story of Auguste Rodin and Camille Claudel and the equally sad story of Edie Sedgwick, who became one of Andy Warhol’s primary muses.
But it’s not just other humans that provide inspiration and companionship to artists. Some very special canines played the role of muse for many famous artists of the past, and wound up making an appearance in their paintings and photographs.
Today’s technology allows for new advances in many areas of our lives. Manufacturers often develop innovative products that make everyday tasks easier and more efficient for us. As responsible pet owners, we have to be aware of changes in cleaning products to make sure they are safe for use around our animals.
Laundry pods are small, single-use detergent packets in round or rectangle shapes. Shortly after pods hit the market, warnings were issued to keep them away from young children because the pods looked like candy and kids were putting them in their mouth. Since 2012, poison control centers have received thousands of pod-related reports regarding young children. But what about our pets? Do laundry pods pose a danger to our furry friends as well? Yes, they can. In 2013, detergent pods were on the ASPCA’s top ten toxin list.
Most pet owners know that certain household cleaners can be toxic to their dog or cat and take precautions to store these items where their pet can’t find them. Landry detergents, however, are more often stored in a convenient, unsecured place by the washer, or in a laundry basket or bag if you have to go to a laundromat. This makes it easier for pets to find them.
Fleas are more than just an annoyance for our dogs and cats. They can cause health problems that go beyond mere itching and bites. They can also spread to everyone else in the house. These insects may be tiny, but they can cause a world of discomfort.
What is a Flea?
A flea is a parasite that sucks blood from its victims. Their bodies are made for jumping and running, so they move easily from animal to animal, including the human members of the household. They can populate quickly if left unchecked. The female feeds on the blood of the dog or cat and then leaves droppings that are a source of nutrition for the larvae they produce. If you see specks that look like dirt on the skin or in the fur of your dog or cat, you are looking at a food source for the female flea’s offspring.
You can wait to see if your dog gets fleas, but sometimes a proactive treatment to prevent them is a better option, particularly if you live in a region that is prone to the growth of flea populations. They are drawn to warmth and humidity, and they like low altitudes. Check with your vet or pet store to get an appropriate medication to help prevent the fleas from getting a hold to populate on your pet’s skin.
The personal opinions and/or use of trade, firm, corporation or brand names, in this blog is for the information and convenience of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable. All opinions in this blog are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company.