Monday, December 31, 2012

A Dog’s Take on New Year’s Resolutions

By Cody Yost, Canine Guest Blogger

Humans think they are the only ones who like to make New Year’s Resolutions, but the truth is us dogs don’t mind a little self improvement. As long as it’s tastily rewarded, that is. But I can’t help noticing that my humans, Mike and Tamara, aren’t usually very successful with theirs. Why? They’re going about it all wrong.

So I decided to take their New Year’s resolution list and improve upon it with canine logic. Maybe now their resolutions will last past spring.

Exercise is Good

Especially for me. But it’s silly to buy some expensive and scary thingamajig to walk on. That’s so boring and we can’t do it together. You’re just going to start throwing clothes on it anyways. So what’s the point?

Instead, grab a leash or a ball and we can go outside! We can play chase or catch and I can show you all of my favorite spots in the neighborhood, like the fascinating dumpster in the alley, or we can investigate that backyard where all the rabbits live. I can even teach you how to sniff out the best stuff and which leaf piles are optimum to roll around in. Plus, we can explore new places.

See how I just saved you money?

Budget the Right Way

Speaking of which, my humans are always trying to cut more expenses from their budget, yet they pick the silliest, counterproductive things to get rid of. For example, in the past they’ve cut movie channels and gotten rid of cable (that didn’t last). First of all, I like the talking picture box, so that was just rude. Secondly, when they do this they have to leave the house (sometimes without me!) and spend money. Silly people.

They’re also always talking about buying less food. Not my CANIDAE dog food – I will say they are super good about keeping that in stock – but the yummy stuff they make for themselves. So when they can’t find anything to eat, sometimes they go out and eat somewhere else. Without me. Again, rude! That just means I have to dig through the trash, and you can bet I don’t like to leave the bag intact. Otherwise, how would they learn?

Friday, December 28, 2012

An Unforgettable “Citizen Ride Along” with K-9 Samson

By Julia Williams

Most cities have programs where civilians can spend a few hours riding shotgun with a police officer out on patrol. It's a great way for ordinary citizens to get a behind-the-scenes look at law enforcement, whether for a future career or just to satisfy their curiosity. As a Journalism student in college, I was assigned to the “police beat” and took many such rides. For a young girl who’d never been in trouble with the law, these adventures were all quite fascinating, but one in particular was unforgettable. I was allowed to go on patrol with a K-9 cop and his four-legged partner, a German Shepherd named Samson. Decades later, I can still vividly recall this ride along.

It was a dark and stormy night. Just kidding! It was probably a night like any other for Officer Kaiser and Samson. As for me, I could feel the excitement in the air. I was ready for the “action” I hoped would ensue, because I wanted to write a story that would blow the socks off my Journalism teacher.

Prior to riding with Samson, I’d been forewarned by fellow officers that “the dog stunk to high heaven, paced back and forth all night, and barked at anything and everything.” Most of that was true, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

When I first saw Samson, he was inside the police car. Kaiser called Samson over, ordered him to “stay” and sauntered back to the car. I said something dumb like “Nice doggy” as I held my breath and waited for him to bite my leg. He didn’t bite, of course, and off we went on patrol. Samson rode in the back seat; a partition separated us, but this didn’t stop him from periodically sticking his furry face through a little window to lick mine.

We drove around for a long time, and just when I thought we’d never see any “action,” a call came over the radio about a fight at a liquor store. Kaiser spun the car around, flipped on the lights and accelerated. Samson went wild in the back seat, barking and pacing in a frenzy. When we arrived at the scene, three men were standing around a hippie sitting on a moped. Fighting? Not so much. I was disappointed.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Handling Jealousy and Favoritism in Multi Pet Homes

By Linda Cole

Pets can and do show signs of being jealous of another family member, including other pets in the home. I have wondered, at times, if my pets understand the concept of having a favorite one among them. I love and treat them all equally, but will admit, I do have my favorites. I think that's just human nature. However, our pets do have emotions, and there may be times when we have to contend with a dog or cat that may feel left out.

A jealous pet can make life difficult in a home with multiple pets, if you don't establish yourself as the leader. Even cats need to know who makes the rules in the home. Dogs and cats in households with more than one pet do compete with each other for their owner's attention. Being a multi pet home, I understand the need to make sure each pet receives attention throughout the day. And as individuals, some require more than others, which has nothing to do with jealousy.

Cats, by nature, are more reserved than most dogs. Some of my cats are more loving, and ask for more attention than others. Each one has their own personality and preference when it comes to whether or not they want to sit on my lap and cuddle. Some decide when I'm allowed to hold them, and for how long. Jabbers is a huge black cat who loves to sit and talk with me, but he's not one that wants to be held or cuddled, unless he makes that decision. Still, he is one of my favorites because of his personality.

Because I've brought many cats into my home over the years after rescuing them off the street, my four legged family members takes newcomers in stride, and treat them like they've always been part of their family. This makes socializing easier for a new arrival who is just waiting for their forever home. None of my cats are jealous because they know I love them, and understand what I expect from them.

Jealousy becomes a problem when a pet feels he's lost your love. The bond we share with a pet is as special and sacred as it gets, in their eyes. A strong bond requires trust, and when both are established, the pet will never break his end of the bargain. It's our job to nurture that bond every day by making sure we are the ones who set rules we expect pets to follow, and be fair and positive when disciplining, if it's needed.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Four Furry Beneficiaries Worth Millions

By Langley Cornwell

There have been more pets with large bank accounts than you might imagine, and they didn’t all start out as pampered, pedigreed pups. Of course some of them did, but around this time last year a rescued alley cat named Tommaso became one of the wealthiest animals in the world, adding to the growing list of animal millionaires.

Stray Cat Strut

A lonely heiress, Maria Assunta, rescued a stray cat from the streets of Rome and cared for the cat as if he was her own son. When the wealthy lady died at the age of 94, having no children to leave her estate to, Tommaso the cat inherited her fortune: $13 million dollars in cash along with property in Milan, Rome and Calabria.      

Assunta, the widow of an Italian property tycoon, had a trusted nurse caring for her in her final years. When her health began to decline, the heiress began to put her affairs in order with a particular interest in securing a comfortable future for her precious cat. Her original plan was to bequeath her fortune to a suitable animal welfare organization that would commit to caring for Tommaso. When none of the animal associations met her standards, she left everything she owned to the cat, with the agreement that her nurse would agree to care for him.

German Financier

A German shepherd named Gunther IV is supposed to be the wealthiest dog in the world, but some say his story is a giant publicity stunt. Whatever the case, the dog is mega rich. His father, Gunther III, was the beloved companion of Karlotta Liebenstain, an eccentric German countess. Karlotta died in 1992 and left her dog, (Gunther III), an inheritance of $124 million dollars. Apparently that German shepherd was quite a good money manager. During the elder Gunther’s lifetime, he grew his fortune to $372 million dollars which was passed on to his son, Gunther IV at his death. It’s safe to say this family of German shepherds has plenty of nutritious CANIDAE dog food to go around.  

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Pet Version of "The Night Before Christmas"

By Linda Cole

It's the night before Christmas, the house is all quiet. That fat man who falls down the chimney is near. He steals through the house, grabbing cookies and milk. But not this year – not while I'm here. A right jolly old man, as the story goes, who has reindeer as pets; one with a big red nose that shines through the night, showing Santa the way with an eerie (and unearthly!) magical glow.

He creeps through the house in the dark of the night. Dressed all in red, BOL, what a funny sight. I'm watching and ready this year when he comes. That plate full of cookies will be mine this night. You know who I mean, he's a plump little fellow. Rosy cheeks, and belly shaking just like Jello. He swoops down the chimney with a bag full of loot, yelling Ho Ho Ho in a booming bellow.

I'm on the job, patrolling my home and guarding my humans as they dream in their beds. But just in case I get tired this night, I've enlisted some help from a cat friend named Fred. Oh Fred, stay on your toes, he'll be coming soon. Fred! Stop playing, leave that poor mouse alone. I told you no playing, and you promised to be good. What did you say? You don't like my tone?

And then it happened, as quick as can be. A noise on the roof – Fred, that fat man is here. Scoot to your post, as fast as you can. Now where did Fred go? He's disappeared. I hear a noise from behind the couch, a muffled meow in the quiet old house. Well hello Fred. Why are you tied? What's that you say, it was a ninja mouse!

Just then from the chimney came a noise up above. Forget that mouse, and hide over there. A cloud of soot suddenly appears, catching Fred by surprise who stops with a bewildered stare. My plan will fail if Santa sees Fred! I must spring to action; there's no time for delay. I quickly grab Fred by the nap of his neck, but he doesn't budge. Fred, how much do you weigh?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

2012 AKC Awards for Canine Excellence (ACE) Winners

Keahi, Search & Rescue
By Langley Cornwell

The American Kennel Club has a deep respect for the canine-human bond and the extraordinary ways in which dogs contribute to people’s lives. Inspired to formalize their appreciation for this symbiotic relationship, in 1999 they started The AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence (ACE), and had their first presentation year in 2000.

For a dog to qualify, he must have done something that benefited an individual or a community. The dogs do not have to be AKC registered for this award; mixed breeds are given equal consideration. The AKC presents one award per year in these five categories: Search and Rescue, Law Enforcement, Service, Therapy, and Exemplary Companion Dog. The 2012 ACE winners each received an engraved silver collar medallion and a check for $1,000 at a presentation ceremony in Florida on December 15th. The winners for this year are:

Search and Rescue

A seven-year-old Belgian Tervuren named Keahi is one of Arizona Search Track and Rescue’s most valuable assets. Certified in air-scent, avalanche, cadaver, evidence and human-remains searches, this dog’s services have helped search and rescue efforts in nine states and Canada. Keahi and her owner/handler Kristi Smith conduct around 43 searches per year.

Smith and Keahi have led investigators to the bodies of murder victims and drowning victims (including one who was found 170 feet underwater), found wandering seniors and lost children, and discovered crucial evidence in criminal investigations.

Wednesday, December 19, 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.”

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

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.

Monday, December 17, 2012

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.

Friday, December 14, 2012

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.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

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.”

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

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 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
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.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

City or Country Life…Is One Healthier for Dogs?

By Linda Cole

What dog wouldn't love to live in the country where there's wide open spaces to explore, plenty of room to run, critters to chase and ponds to cool off in? We have a tendency to think of city life as more cramped, but there are good things and bad things about living in the city or country. Whether one or the other is a healthier lifestyle for a dog depends more on his owner than where he lives.

When I was a kid, my family lived in the country. My dog Trixie and I explored every country mile we could find. Well, at least the ones that were within the distance I was allowed from home on my own. Trixie, being a farm dog, would roam on her own at times, and brought back some interesting “trophies” from her travels around the farm. One time she trotted up to show off the snake she'd just caught. Thankfully, it was just a garter snake.

As far as I was concerned, life on the farm was perfect, but there were hazards we had to contend with. There was always a chance of meeting wild animals, especially around sunset or sunrise, and there were stray nails that I always seemed to find – with my foot. I had to look out for puddles of oil or antifreeze that leaked out from vehicles, things Trixie found to eat that she shouldn't, or getting scratched by a rusty wire sticking out, just to name a few dangers. However, when we moved into town, some of the same hazards were also present, especially my ability to find stray nails the hard way.

According to veterinarian and founder of Peachtree Hills Animal Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, Dr. Duffy Jones, country life gives dogs a higher risk of getting injured. More farm dogs are allowed to roam unsupervised which means they can encounter more falls, run ins with wild animals, being hit by a car or some other type of farm equipment, or being infected with worms from eating things they shouldn't. Ticks are also a bigger concern for dogs living in the country. Deer ticks are a danger to us as well as our pets, and wherever you find deer, there is an increased chance of finding a deer tick on your dog.

Monday, December 10, 2012

DIY Dog-Themed Christmas Tree Ornaments

By Tamara McRill

I’m not sure if it’s the mad love for my dogs or all those hours spent on Pinterest, but I have decided my boys deserve their own little Christmas tree. Decorated completely in – you guessed it – handmade dog-themed ornaments. From photos to paw-tastic ribbons, there are so many options to choose from and each one can be customized to fit in with my current holiday decor. Since I am in full-on craft mode, I decided to make the ornaments myself. Figuring that my fellow dog lovers might also want in on the fun, I’m sharing some of the easier ornaments I’ll be making and others under consideration. Enjoy!

Frame Ornaments

This one is easiest if you already have some photo frame ornaments sitting around. Then all you have to do is print out some pictures of your pets and put them in the frames. To match your current decorations and make the look more cohesive, also frame other graphic images of dogs, bones and paw prints. You can find these in your Christmas colors online, or buy some dog-themed wrapping paper and cut out the details you like best.

I don’t have any frame ornaments on hand, so I am turning to my trusty glue gun and silver spray paint. Here are the steps:

Supplies: Cardboard, scissors, exacto knife, glue gun, glue sticks, silver spray paint, ribbon and your image.

1. With scissors and an exacto knife, cut out ornate frames in different shapes from cardboard.

2. Poke a small hole at the top, wide enough to string ribbon through.

2. Spray paint them and allow to dry.

3. Glue the edges of your image to cardboard backing.

4. Glue the backing to your photo frame.

5. String a ribbon through the top hole and tie the loose ends in a knot.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Cat Chat: Text Abbreviations for Tech-Savvy Felines

By Julia Williams

The advent of computers and cell phones spawned a new way of communicating for many people. Words and phrases became abbreviated to save time while typing in chat rooms, online forums, mobile text messages and on Facebook. Chat abbreviations have become so commonplace that most of us know what LOL, BRB, TMI, ETA, IDK, OMG and BFF mean. However, I saw a text abbreviation recently that stumped me, so I did what I always do nowadays when I need information – I googled it. Paydirt! I not only found the one that had baffled me, but a comprehensive A to Z list that blew me away. Who knew there were thousands of text abbreviations just waiting to make our lives easier by shaving two seconds off our typing time? Wut?

Naturally, that got me to thinking about texting abbreviations cats would use in their everyday communications with other cats (and perhaps even a stray human or two). Never mind the lack of opposable thumbs. Plenty of cat crazy people are willing to buy into the fantasy that felines are capable of typing. Why wouldn’t cats want to save precious time by using text abbreviations? After all, that leaves more time for what is really important to kittehs – such as, eatin' a big bowl of FELIDAE cat food, then settling down for a long nap as only a cat can do.

As responsible pet owners, we should be keeping tabs on Tabby while she’s online and especially when she’s texting that Tomcat hotty who has a reputation for wooing every ladycat within hissing distance. To make it easy for you, I spied on my own wily felines and compiled a list of all the texting lingo that tech-savvy cats use.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Are Pets Part of Your Holiday Traditions?

By Langley Cornwell

Several years ago, Julia wrote a thoughtful article about Including Family Pets in Your Holiday Plans. With the season upon us, I thought it would be interesting to take a poll to see if my friends included pets in their holiday traditions. I’m happy to report there are no “Scroogely Curmudgeons” among my friends!

Many people hang stockings for their pets and give them special presents. In fact, lots of my friends acted surprised that I even asked; I received answers like absolutely and of course and even a few why yes, don’t you?

Sherrie’s pets receive presents and get extra treats. Christina’s dogs get presents – toys, cookies, clothing, the works – and they let their dogs open gifts before the people do. Sharon’s dogs have stockings and get special gifts and doggie treats. Jo says: “Of course our furbabies get some Christmas dinner and they have stockings with toys and treats. Don't all pets?”

Brandi’s dog and birds have stockings hung right alongside the family’s, and theirs are always filled, just like everyone else’s. Rissa’s dog has a stocking and gets gifts; he loves getting all his new toys on Christmas morning! Luchrisa says her pets help her and her husband open their packages and then have a great time playing in the wrapping paper.

Alina hangs tiny stockings filled with a few treats for their cats. Her kids think it is the funniest thing ever. Michelle always makes sure to buy a little stocking for each of her animals and puts them up on the fireplace with treats in them. Scott’s pets all get their own stocking on the fireplace filled with goodies. His family thinks making the stocking with their pet’s names in glitter is part of the fun.

I got a lot of answers that involved dressing up or otherwise adorning pets for the season. Tania’s greyhound is going to get a red scarf-type collar with bells this year. And she always paints her Diva dog’s toenails in Christmas colors. Starr’s dogs wear Santa or elves hats and have their own stockings filled with CANIDAE treats. Deborah’s “little girls” each have her own Christmas sweater; one says “Naughty” and the other says “Nice.” David dresses up his dog like Santa, but he says the dog acts more like a devil.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Ethos Pet Nutrition - Our Advanced Research and Development Center and Manufacturing Facility

All of us at CANIDAE are proud to share with you a milestone event. This November every CANIDAE and Ethos team member came together in Brownwood, Texas for a company tour of our recently finished facility.

This new facility -- named Ethos Pet Nutrition -- is our advanced research and development center as well as our pet food manufacturing facility.

Here at CANIDAE Pet Foods and Ethos Pet Nutrition we are committed to all of your families enjoying long, happy and healthy lives together. And that is why the foundation of the CANIDAE culture will always be to provide the best in pet and equine foods and treats so that your pets can enjoy A Healthier Today for a Longer Tomorrow™.

Please enjoy these pictures of our team standing in front of our facility and a few photographs from inside our research and development center and manufacturing facility. To see more, visit

Automation –
Total process and formulation monitoring throughout the facility allows for quality control during the entire manufacturing cycle… From the delivery of ingredients, to the cooking, adding of nutrients, extrusion, the addition of probiotics and fats, last stage finishing and bagging – the final pet or equine product being manufactured is exactly what was intended.

Extrusion –
Once our natural ingredients have been carefully blended to our specific formula, they are conveyed into the extruder.  Here the ingredients are carefully cooked through the process of controlled steam and pressure.  This process of both art and science also changes the texture of the food mixture so as to allow it to be formed into the desired kibble size.  The result – a superior tasting kibble that is both more nutritious and more highly digestible.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Be a Secret Santa for a Needy Pet this Christmas

By Tamara McRill

In my house, we’re big believers that the joy of the holidays isn’t just reserved for the special people in our lives. We like to extend the love and gift giving to their pets and even have friends that do the same for ours. But this year I’ve been thinking about those pets that don’t have the benefit of a loving circle of friends or our friends who may not be able to afford gifts for the pets they adore. Instead of feeling sad about this, I’ve decided to start a new holiday tradition. This Christmas we are going to become Secret Santas to some less fortunate pets in our community, and you can too!

Here are a few considerations and tips you can use to help out needy pets this holiday season:

Being a Secret Santa to Pets You Know

We’re no strangers to the sleuthing it takes to give the perfect gifts to needy pets that we know. It’s usually not hard to get fellow pet lovers to open up about their fur babies. Some details you may want to ask (or fish for depending on the person’s pride):

- What types of toys does your pet like to play with?
- Which toys aren’t a match for his jaws or personality?
- Is your pet supervised with toys?
- What kind of treats does your pet like best?
- Is there anything your pet needs or could use replacing?
- Does your pet have any phobias?

These questions are important, because you don’t want your being a Secret Santa to turn into a trip to the vet for the pet. The power of a dog’s jaws and how often they tear things up are crucial to the type of toys and even food dishes you consider giving as presents. Some dogs – like my chocolate lab Wuppy – have powerful chompers that destroy most dog toys. Even most of the super durable kinds. Most toys pose a choking hazard for my dog if they aren’t taken away as soon as he goes out of play mode and into destruction mode. Other dogs – and most cats – are kinder to their toys and don’t require that high level of supervision.

Finding out a pet’s phobias may seem like a strange thing to ask regarding a Christmas present, but there are actually lots of pets out there who have a strong aversion to common things. I’ve had a wonderful, but picky, white cat who wouldn’t sit on anything not – you guessed it – white. So a different color pet bed would have been a waste on her. I’ve also known dogs who were afraid of balls!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Why Did Dogs Become Our Best Friends?

By Linda Cole

No one really knows exactly how dogs were domesticated, although there is evidence pointing towards a mutual benefit for both man and canine. “Why” dogs became our best friend has been more elusive. However, research into dog behavior has been giving scientists a better understanding of the reasons.

Scientific understanding of how dogs came to live with humans has led researchers to conclude there were most likely three females, referred to as the “Eves” in the early years of domestication. In 2004, scientists took 85 dog breeds and traced their genetic pattern. They consider 14 of the 85 to be ancient breeds, and seven of the 14 are classified as having the oldest genetic footprint. However, even the ancient breeds can only be traced back to around 2,000 years or so, which is far from the time when dogs were first domesticated.

The seven ancient breeds are from Alaska (the Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute), China (the Chow Chow and Shar Pei), Japan (the Shiba Inu and Akita) and Africa (the Basenji). According to researchers, the history of how dogs became various ancient breeds is difficult to determine because of interbreeding and how they were moved to different areas around the world. It's a complicated history scientists are still trying to unravel.

Most of the dog breeds we know and love today were created during the 1800s. Different dog breeds were interbred to create our modern day breeds and each one was bred to do a specific job for man. Some of those earlier breeds used are now extinct. Interestingly, the Saluki was isolated by geography during the time when breeds were being created in the 19th century, and their genetic makeup appears to be different than other breeds for that reason.

Dog owners know what scientists are just beginning to discover when it comes to why dogs became our best friends. Anyone who has lived with canines already understands how in tune dogs are with us and our emotions. A study I reported on earlier explained how dogs are capable of being empathic, which is something any dog owner who pays attention to their dog already understands. According to researchers, dogs became our best friend because we reward them when they show empathy towards us. They believe their study suggests that we've simply conditioned our dogs to respond to us.

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