Friday, June 29, 2012
As a responsible pet owner, I have to be diligent in making sure that my dog Bear doesn’t bite someone. When we go for a walk most adults know how to approach a strange dog, or at least know better than to run up squealing and jumping around. Children, on the other hand, are naturally exuberant and excited to see a dog and they all want to pet her; she’s big and fluffy, and just draws them in.
Unfortunately, Bear is not very social and really does not appreciate the excitement of children that she doesn’t know. This can lead to heart stopping moments when I’m praying that Bear won’t snap at someone, or that the parents will take charge of their children so that I don’t have to tell the child, “STOP, don’t touch the dog.” Because then children cry and parents get angry because I’ve yelled at their child. They don’t realize that I’m trying to protect them.
I’d rather yell at their child than have my dog cause them to be hurt or even scared of dogs. Sometimes her barks and growls are pretty scary too, and she does get vocal when she feels crowded or threatened. I believe children should have a healthy fear of many things, but especially dogs. This is different from a real fear, and is more of a respect and knowledge of the possibility that the dog could bite.
As parents, it’s important that you teach your children not to approach strange dogs and if you have dogs and children you must teach your child to respect your dog as a member of the family. They have to understand that they could harm the dog if they play too rough, which could also make the dog bite them. Children aren’t mean intentionally, but sometimes they forget that their dog isn’t a stuffed animal and may try to pick him up by his tail or pull his hair while they are playing.
Thursday, June 28, 2012
When we agreed to foster a friend's dog almost two and a half years ago, we didn't think he'd still be with us today, but he is. Dozer is actually a great dog and he will remain with us for as long as he needs a home. He's loving, smart, and ‘almost’ willing to do what we ask of him. I say almost because it's taken us this entire time to teach him to come to us when he's called. I don't know for sure, but it's possible he was punished in the past when he did come, and that's the best way to teach a dog to not come when called. I understand it can be hard dealing with an independent spirit some dogs have, but people don't always understand how their actions are viewed by a dog, nor do they understand why their dog misbehaves or won't follow commands. Sometimes you have to step back and try to get into the head of a dog to try and see things from his viewpoint. Sometimes dogs need us to be understanding.
Dozer is a handsome and sweet pit bull mix. He loves to cuddle, and when he was a puppy he spent many evenings cuddled up with his owner on the couch. But sometimes things change and for Dozer, the changes began when his owner moved into a house that didn't allow pets. Dozer found himself spending most of his time outside, away from his human. When he was allowed inside, it was to a crate on the back porch. Not because he was bad, but because that was the only solution available to my friend who was trying to figure out how to keep his dog. Dozer was about a year and a half when he came to stay with us.
Change is hard for us, so you can imagine how it can affect a dog, especially one that's sensitive or timid. Dozer came into a home with multiple dogs and cats. He had to learn how to interact with them and us. His routine was drastically different and he was very unsure and confused about what was happening to him. As far as he was concerned, he had been abandoned by the person he loved.
Dozer has a confident independent streak, but he can easily get his feelings hurt. We teach dogs basic commands and reward them with their favorite CANIDAE treats. They reward us by learning how we expect them to behave. Training a sensitive dog requires understanding, calmness, and time for a dog to learn at his own speed.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
According to the ASPCA’s official database, there are close to 400 plants that are toxic to cats. For pet lovers, that’s a lot of plants to avoid. And what’s especially troublesome is that the list isn’t comprehensive; it’s a compilation of the most common toxic plants. There are more unsafe plants that didn’t make the list. On the flip side, the database names well over 500 plants that are cat-safe.
I point this out because with an internet connection and some awareness, it’s easy to plan a safe garden for your feline friend. Presumably. I have an internet connection and a modicum of awareness, yet our yard is not safe for our cat.
We live in South Carolina, where the sun scorches the earth at least 4 months out of every year. Because of that, gardeners wisely use many drought resistant plants in their yards, including a big offender – sago palms. This plant peppers the landscape of most South Carolina homes, mine included. The previous owners planted one and these palms are not pet-friendly; 1 to 2 seeds can be fatal.
My dog and my cat love to roll around in the yard and hang out with me while I’m outside gardening. All three of us enjoy that time together. We usually get out there early in the mornings (because of the aforementioned scorching earth), and on the weekends we may spend hours planting, pruning and playing. But I’m always afraid the animals will get into the sago palm. As a responsible pet owner, I plan to replace the plant and I’m researching options to determine what to put in that spot. I want something that is safe, sizeable and evergreen, so I’ll probably go with a Fig-leaf Palm (Fatsia japonica), also known as a Castor oil plant, Formosa rice tree, Glossy-leaved paper plant, or Big-leaf paper plant.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Few things are cuter in the summertime than a dog frolicking in the sand and surf, and I can't wait until my own Wuppy gets in on the action. All of that fun can come at a price, though, and I know from past experience that I need to be vigilant about keeping my dog's paws safe while at the beach. Watching out for his tender pads is the least I can do for my furry BFF. So, after deciding on the best sunburn protection for your dog, here are some more precautions to take at the beach:
Check the Area
Finding dog-friendly beaches in your area means more than just 'dogs are allowed.' The terrain should be pet-friendly, meaning there should not be many sharp rocks, shells or other things on the beach that could cut your dog's paws. This is easy enough to figure out by going alone to first scope out the beach and shore before you ever bring your pet there.
Timing is Everything
There's a reason commercials featuring a dog and its owner blissfully running along the shoreline are back-dropped by the colorful skies of a rising or setting sun: the sand is hot during the day. Ever run across the hot midday sand without sandals as a child? That's an intense burning sensation you don't want your dog to experience. Go to the beach during the morning or evening hours to prevent painful scorched paws.
Avoid Hot Coals
Responsible pet owners will steer their dogs clear of any cookouts or campfires. Not only can there be mishaps with the fire or food, but it takes longer for hot embers and coals to go out in the summer.
Monday, June 25, 2012
To me, there's nothing better than an intense workout to help me feel good. I don't care what the activity is; running, tennis, softball, racquetball, volleyball or biking, they all fit the bill. I like physical exercise because of the ‘high’ it gives me when I'm done. We know how important exercise is for our dogs, but do they get as much enjoyment as we do from an intense workout? Do dogs get the same kind of ‘runner's high’ we get?
Like humans, some dogs enjoy sports more than others. For a high-energy dog, racing around off leash is what they live for. If you've never experienced a runners high yourself, it's hard to describe the euphoric feeling one gets after a strenuous workout. Stress is reduced and you feel on top of the world. According to a recent study, dogs do get that same feeling after a good run or workout.
The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, found that both humans and dogs have a release of mood altering chemicals after running. Research was done at the University of Arizona where they compared humans, dogs and ferrets to see if we shared an endorphin rush, or second wind. They found that ferrets don't get a high from exercise. They aren't exactly the long distance running types. Dogs and humans, on the other hand, do experience a runner's high and it's more intense in dogs than it is in humans. The high happens when neurochemicals activate endocannabinoid receptors in the brain. Scientists also discovered that walking doesn't produce a high for humans or dogs. Nevertheless, a walk around the neighborhood is still good for both of us.
When man and dogs began their evolution journey together, humans had to travel away from home to find food. They needed to be able to push themselves through sore and tired muscles to keep going. Since dogs traveled with humans, they also needed to be able to push themselves when needed and dig down to get a second wind. Without the feeling of euphoria, there is no reward to encourage the body to keep moving. The runner's high is probably one thing that helped hunters locate and stalk their prey and then return home with supper. And since dogs aided in the hunt, they also needed to be able to keep up.
Friday, June 22, 2012
By Julia Williams
If your cats are anything like mine, they’re probably allowed to sleep anywhere they want. Actually, ‘allowed’ is not the right word; it’s not like you can really stop a determined cat from sleeping somewhere once they decide it’s where they want to be. But I digress. If your cat likes to sleeps on the bed, sofa, your favorite chair or in the linen closet (on your clean towels, naturally), why do you even need a cat bed? For starters, cat beds provide a comfortable, cozy, soft and warm place they can curl up in for those 16 hours of beauty sleep. If you slept for two-thirds of your life, wouldn’t you want your naptime to be as comfy as possible? I thought so.
Aside from the comfort issue, cat beds can also help to keep the cat hair and dander off your furniture and carpet. Cat beds are also easier to clean than the furniture – just try throwing your sofa into the washing machine! If fleas are an issue where you live, a washable cat bed can really help to combat that awful pest. One last reason I buy cat beds is not for them, but for me. You just can’t beat the ‘awwwww’ factor of a cat curled up all snug in their little bed. It’s a sight that warms my heart no matter how many times I see it.
Choosing the Purrfect Cat Bed
There are so many styles of cat beds available, that trying to pick the best one can make your head swim. Price is all over the map, too. Size, materials, quality and maker all influence the price, as will where you buy it. Sometimes, a cheap cat bed can be just as comfortable as a higher-priced one, though beds with special features like luxurious fabric and cat-safe heaters will obviously cost more. Ideally, you should shop for cat beds in person rather than online, so you can see and feel the fabric and check for quality, construction and safety issues.
Cat beds come in a myriad of shapes including round, oblong, cube, tunnel, ball and pyramid. Some cat beds are open on the top, while others offer a cave-like hideaway. The ‘sleeping bag’ cat beds are perfect for felines who like to get underneath the bedcovers. Heated cat beds are wonderful for older, arthritic cats or kitties recovering from an illness. Remember those plush beanbag chairs from the seventies? Slumber balls have the same spherical shape but they’re sized for cats, who can burrow into them to create a cozy nest. You can also find fancy cat beds in fun designs, but they’re more costly. One I covet is a leopard print kitty-sized ‘loveseat’ that looks like the coziest place ever for a catnap.
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Anyone with a high-energy dog knows there are few experiences more treasured than a shared adventure, and fishing together rates high up on that list. I can't wait to get my chocolate Labrador, Wuppy Teddy Bear, out on the bank, but there are some precautions I need to take to ensure his safety during the trip. The list includes precautionary prep, some essential packing and an end-of-trip to-do list, but it is all totally worth it to share some quality bonding time. You can use this list yourself to make sure you and your dog have a safe fishing trip.
A dog's nail length is important to how much they will enjoy the trip. Nails that are too short won't have enough traction, and too long of a length will be painful to your pet. Medium length nails are best for outdoor excursions. Also check for cracked or sore foot pads. No one wants to run around for very long on painful feet.
Not Too Far
How far you can take your dog in search of the perfect fishing hole will depend mostly on their endurance. If your animal isn't conditioned to walk across fields or other long distances, then leave them at home or pick a location with easier access. Be especially wary in heat or humidity, to prevent heatstroke.
Some dog breeds, such as Labrador Retrievers, are prone to Exercise Induced Collapse, since they are unaware that they have passed their endurance limit. So, even if you have a high-energy pooch, keep them walking by your side.
Know the Fish
It is a bad idea in general to let your dog eat raw fish, as they can contain bacteria that cause food poisoning. Not only that, but there are certain fish, such as salmon and rainbow trout, that can contain a parasite which can be fatal to dogs. Always check fishing guides to see if these fish are prevalent where you will be going. If so, you may want to reconsider letting any dog that is a fetcher go for a swim.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
With millions of cats and dogs in animal shelters, there's a lot to pick from. Different sizes, colors, mixed breeds, purebreds, personalities and ages. A study done by the ASPCA looked at reasons why people adopt the shelter pet they pick. This is important research because it can give shelters insight as to why certain pets may be overlooked by possible adopters.
Shelters are already aware of black dog syndrome, a bias against black dogs and black cats. For some reason, people looking at pets miss seeing the darker colored ones. It's possible they are overlooked because some people are superstitious about black cats, in particular. The lighting in shelters isn't always good and if a darker pet is hiding in the corner of his cage or sitting way in the back, they may not be seen as easily as the lighter colored pets.
According to the study, it may be the ‘cuteness factor’ that attracts people to certain pets. Last year, the ASPCA set out to try to figure out why people picked the specific pet they did. They asked 1,500 people who adopted a pet to fill out a questionnaire at five shelters across the country. Was it the pet's age or physical appearance, or perhaps their behavior that caught the person's eye? They discovered that when someone adopted an adult cat or dog, behavior was at the top of the list for consideration. The age of the pet made no difference. When it came to kittens, age was the deciding factor, and people chose a particular puppy based on physical appearance. For the cat loving adopter, what the kitten looked like didn't matter, and a puppy's behavior was ranked at the bottom for those who picked a puppy.
The purpose of the survey was to shed light on how a potential adopter’s thought process worked and what they looked for when making their decision. The results have given shelter workers insight as to how and why certain pets may be overlooked. It also points out the importance of talking with people looking to adopt to help them see the potential in all of the shelter pets. The study can help workers learn how to show off a pet's ‘inner beauty’ for those animals that may be less likely to be adopted because they aren't as cute as others. A pet may have the perfect personality and behavior for someone, and the survey suggests shelter workers may need to point out the benefits of another pet that might be a better match for the adopter's lifestyle.
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Rocket’s wife Ashley is the canine coordinator and commentator for the show. Together with their four legged family members and teammates, they travel the country doing performances at State and County Fairs, NFL and NBA halftime shows, and corporate and special events. They have been featured in countless newspaper articles as well as on TV shows including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, Fox News, ESPN and Animal Planet.
Back in 1998, Rocket and Ashley met Scott Whipple, one of the owners of CANIDAE Natural Pet Food Company, when Scott was personally handing out free samples of their dog food at the Jurupa Rodeo not far from where the CANIDAE Corporate offices are today. Rocket’s K-9 Comets were doing the half time entertainment for the enthusiastic crowd at the Rodeo. Scott saw how amazing the Frisbee Dogs were, and how much the crowd loved the show. Soon after, CANIDAE became the Official Dog Food of the K-9 Comets, and has been their sponsor for over 14 years.
Monday, June 18, 2012
When it comes to tickling those ivory keys, Nora the Piano Cat is still in a class all her own. Unfortunately for Nora, there's always another prodigy waiting in the wings for their own crack at stardom. In this case, it's two talented dogs that have woofed their way into the hearts of animal-loving YouTube viewers.
Don't get me wrong, I love Nora and her piano playing antics. Her obvious enjoyment at tickling the ivory keys is unsurpassed by any other feline. And there are plenty of Nora wannabes on You Tube these days. However, now there's a dog duet pawing out a tune on their own specially made piano, with a cuteness factor that’s through the roof!
The You Tube video of two piano playing Golden Retrievers has been delighting dog lovers ever since it was first posted. The dogs are playing “Waltz of the Fleas” on an oversized keyboard as their owner sits in front of them playing a small flute-like instrument called an ocarina. The piano playing pups watch their “conductor” and then step on the piano keys matching the note she's playing. And they do a pretty good job getting the right note!
At first glance, one would say the dogs are just doing what they were trained to do. As you watch the video, though, the lighter colored dog seems to be anticipating the coming note. However, they may also be responding to the musical note they are hearing, according to Charles Snowdon, an animal psychologist and zoologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Snowdon theorizes that the dogs are following cues by their owner, which is not the same as them memorizing what's next. He believes it is possible the dogs are able to understand the notes their owner is playing and know which key on the piano will duplicate the sound from the ocarina.
Friday, June 15, 2012
Yesterday I was awakened from a catnap by a loud sound. Naturally curious about this cacophony that had so rudely interrupted my peaceful slumber – I went in search of it. I found the Warden sitting at her computer, cackling loud enough to wake the dead. She was watching a YouTube video of a commercial for Cravendale Milk which posed the question, “What if cats had thumbs?” The commercial features a polydactyl feline named Bertram, a social media ‘celebricat’ famous for plotting world domination with the help of his Facebook and Twitter minions. The ad also features the voice of Rocky Horror Picture Show star Tim Curry, who asks “Why do cats stare when you’re pouring milk?
Cats with opposable thumbs are shown bouncing a ball, filing their nails, doing needlepoint and reading a book. “Imagine that. Cats with thumbs. And what if they got together? Gangs of cats with thumbs! Organized crime, with one thing on their mind,” says the voiceover. The cat gang opens the door and stares at the man eating his cereal. Terrified, he grabs his carton of milk to make a run for it.
Yeah, okay…it was really funny, but I still wasn’t amused that the Warden interrupted my beauty sleep. It did, however, make me think about all the things I’d do if I had thumbs. Top of the list, of course, would be to end the rationing of my FELIDAE cat food. Yep. I would get that bag of kibble down from the cupboard straight away. Feeding frenzy for all! The TidNips treats would flow freely, too. But I wouldn’t stop there. I love all food, and if I had thumbs I would raid the fridge and pantry every day. The Warden uses her microwave oven as a bread drawer, to stop me from carbo loading in the dark of night…but if I had thumbs, the bread buffet would be open 24/7.
If I had thumbs, no more ‘indoor life’ for me! Out I would go, as I pleased, to snoopervise the neighborhood and visit that cute ladycat down the block. If I had thumbs, I would watch Animal Planet on the Telly all day long. And in the middle of the night, I’d give the Warden a fright – I’d crank up the volume so she wakes up thinking there’s an introoder in the house. Hee hee! No, tis’ only me, watching Jackson Galaxy whip unruly felines into shape on My Cat From Hell.
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Many years ago I worked for an uptight company. At this particular organization, we outsourced most of our marketing communication duties to local firms. Luckily, I had the opportunity to spend a great deal of time in a variety of creative environments. As you might expect, most of these businesses had a relaxed atmosphere and an upbeat feeling, much different from the office where I worked. Visiting those creative firms was a nice break from the strict corporate structure I worked in. There was one specific advertising agency that I gravitated towards more than the rest, however, and they continued to earn our business. For some reason their campaigns were especially fresh, exciting and on target. Not only did I find myself granting them the majority of our business, I also found myself spending more and more time in their offices. I liked being there for many reasons but I have to confess, the main I wanted to hang out there is because I fell in love.
I fell in love with their office dog! As I said, the environment I worked in was tight, but when I walked into their workplace I was greeted by a big, goofy, sweet mutt. Being able to step out of the rigors of my job, being able to pet and love and smell a dog in the middle of the day was like drinking a tall glass of cold water on a scorching hot day. Suddenly I had a better perspective on things; suddenly things didn’t seem so difficult. It was wonderful.
The owner of the advertising agency believed that having a dog in the office improved his employees’ creative output. He was convinced that he had a brighter, happier, healthier organization because of their four-legged mascot. I agreed with him, and longed for a job where I could take my dog to work with me.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Like humans, pets may need to find a way to release stress and pent up energy now and then. A bored pet can be destructive if left to find their own entertainment. Many a couch, window blind, pillow and lamp have fallen prey to a bored dog or cat searching for something fun to do. As responsible pet owners, it's up to us to find ways to help keep our pet happy…and it's also one of the best ways to help prevent bad behavior.
Think back to when you were a kid. Remember the conversation that began with “So, what do you wanna do?” followed by “I don't know.” Periods of boredom follow us into adulthood. Instead of the child's version of the question, adults are more creative, saying things like “I'm so bored I could kiss a bear” or some other statement that indicates a need for some excitement. Dogs and cats have their own version of that same conversation, except they act out their boredom by chewing on whatever they can find, destroying our furnishings, getting into the trash or attacking the shower curtain. Their need to get rid of pent up energy and deal with being bored is just as real as it is for us.
One way to help pets left home alone deal with boredom is to leave some of their favorite CANIDAE treats stashed throughout the home. Searching for treats gives them a chance to use their hunting skills to find where you've hidden the goodies and helps them burn off energy.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
If your dad or husband is the type of dog lover who takes his canine companions everywhere he can, then he's just the type of guy who would get a kick out of Father's Day plans that include them as well.
To let Dad enjoy the day with his best friend, you need to plan activities that will make them both happy, but are still safe for his pet. Even better, most of these activities do double duty by providing gift ideas.
Here are six great activities and gift ideas to ensure your favorite guy has a wonderful Father's Day with his favorite pet:
Is your dad often bemoaning the issue of not being able to take his dog fishing, because he would be uncomfortable? You can put an end to that and a smile on Dad's face by planning a pet-friendly excursion to a fishing hole that allows animals. Treat him to some new fishing gear, and his faithful sidekick to the pleasure of a family outing—and the promise of more to come.
Supplies you'll need to make sure his pet is well taken care of during the excursion include traveling food and water dishes, a blanket to lie on and an umbrella to help shade from the sun. Include a new lead and stake for dogs that tend to wander, and a towel if you have a swimmer. Don't forget plenty of water and CANIDAE dog food if you'll be out past feeding time.
Pampered Pa and Paws
You know his dog enjoys a good rubdown and chances are Dad does too. Turn your living room into an impromptu spa by arranging for a masseuse to come over and work all the tension out of Dad's muscles while you or the kids focus on his dog. Just remember to avoid chatting away, since this should be an opportunity for them to relax.
Monday, June 11, 2012
Dogs have been selectively bred with specific characteristics and temperaments that help them perform certain jobs for us. Some breeds, however, are known to be more affectionate than others. I wrote an article recently on why dogs like to lean on us. All of my current dogs are leaners, but my Huskies never were. Priscilla, Eva the Sheltie's mom, wondered if there's a difference between dog breeds and if that's why some dogs lean on their owner more than others. It's a good question, and I decided to do some research on the most affectionate dog breeds. Is your dog a leaner, regardless of his/her breed? It could be leaning is more of an individual preference all dog breeds do.
The Golden Retriever was developed by Lord Tweedmouth. He wanted to create a solid retriever that could stand up to the Scottish Highlands weather, terrain and game found in the countryside. In the late 1800s, the Golden Retriever was used mostly for hunting. Lord Tweedmouth used his Yellow Retriever, which was the original breed, with the now extinct Tweed Water Spaniel. The Irish Setter and Bloodhound were also used to produce today's Golden Retriever. This devoted, patient, affectionate, easygoing, energetic and loving dog is great with kids, and friendly with other pets and people.
The Labrador Retriever originated in Newfoundland. The dog's job was to help fishermen catch fish that escaped from fishing lines, and swim in the freezing waters to help pull in nets. English sailors brought them to England in the 1800s from Labrador. Easy to train, these dogs were crossed with setters, spaniels and some other types of retrievers. Labs have a very reliable temperament, are friendly, devoted to their family, good natured, eager to please, and great with kids.
Friday, June 8, 2012
Until about six years ago, I had indoor/outdoor cats. As their guardian, I made this choice for them knowing there were risks involved. At the time, I weighed the pros and cons of indoor versus outdoor, and also took into consideration that my country property was as safe as any outdoor place could be. Various reasons led me to rethink my decision and begin the arduous task of trying to convince my outdoor-loving kitties that being indoors wasn’t so bad.
It’s been a challenge, and while there have been no converts per say, Rocky and Annabelle seem okay with indoor living. I still let them go outdoors some, usually when I’m in my garden or playing with them. Since they were outside at will for their first three years, I won’t deny them these moments in the sun they clearly love. But when I tell them no, they don’t appear to mind.
Mickey is a completely different story. During the harsh winter, he seems resigned to being indoors, but come spring he is desperate to be outside. He cries nonstop, paces, jumps on me, scolds me loudly, and tries to escape at every opportunity. Only someone with a heart of stone could ignore his distress and keep him indoors. I want him to be safe, but what’s the point if he’s completely miserable?
Making the Switch
There are things you can do to help an outdoor cat come indoors, which I’ll share with you here. Rocky and Belle are proof that some cats adjust and are happy indoors. However, if you have a cat like Mickey, be aware that they may never take to indoor life no matter what. An article I read said cats like Mickey would eventually give up demanding to go out if you ignored their pleas, but I disagree. I don’t believe Mickey would ever be okay being an indoor only cat. First, he’s 13 and was allowed out for 7 years. Secondly, I think it’s his nature. I’ve become convinced that some cats just have more ‘wild’ in them.
Thursday, June 7, 2012
It’s always fun to hear how people picked the name they gave their pet. For starters, there are plenty of great stories about how a pet got their name. There are numerous tales of the inspiration behind a certain name, and just as many stories of names that fit a pet’s personality or names that just ‘clicked’ when someone saw their pet. Sometimes the name we pick means something to us or stands for something, and other times we just like the sound of it.
Regardless of how a pet got their name, I have yet to hear anyone say they picked the wrong name for their dog or cat and decided to change it later. No matter what name we decide upon, it’s seems as if we just somehow know it’s the right one, and it fits. This reminds me of a story about my own name.
When I was born, my mother named me Julia and put that on my birth certificate. However, a day or so later she changed her mind and decided to call me Julie instead. All through my childhood, I disliked my name. I felt it didn’t ‘fit’ me somehow, but didn’t know why. I wasn’t aware that the name on my birth certificate was different than the one everyone knew me by. I eventually found out, and decided I would rather go by Julia.
Once I decided to be Julia instead of Julie, my name instantly felt like it fit. Now, you might not think one little letter would make a difference, but it did. What I realized was that my mother had known the ‘right’ name all along! Thus, I believe that when it comes to picking the right name for your pet, all you really have to do is trust your first instinct.
The great thing about naming our pets is that we can choose any name that floats our boat, no matter how oddball it might be. No one’s going to stop you. Well…that’s not entirely true. When I was 4, we had a yellow kitten I desperately wanted to name Blackie, but my family nixed that idea. In my young mind, I saw nothing wrong with the name and was very upset. Now that I’m an adult and can choose any pet name I want, I have two black cats – and neither one is named Blackie! Go figure.
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Protecting the environment and being good stewards of the land is a common sense thing to do. Healthy ecosystems are directly related to our good health and well being. Trees are the lungs of the world. One tree can absorb up to 48 lbs. of carbon dioxide in a year and releases enough oxygen for two people. Trees provide habitats for birds and other animals that live in the forests.
Technology is making our lives easier, and it can also help preserve our environment by reducing our need for paper. CANIDAE Pet Food Company has taken an important step to help preserve trees and provide better service to their customers by outfitting their entire sales team with iPads.
Jason Castillo, CANIDAE Controller, explains how making one small change to the way they do business can make a big difference in serving their customers. “The iPads are a sales team tool. Every sales person uses them every day as a key tool. They are used at each sales call to display valuable and up-to-the-minute data, as well as take orders. Because the retailer sees the order and then signs it, they are more accurate. Signed orders are then sent immediately via email for fulfillment.” Jason went on to say that “Customer service via our sales team has already been improved in terms of accuracy and speeding up the delivery of orders to our retailers because of the iPads.”
According to the Environmental Center at Westminster College in Utah, more than two billion trees are cut down in the United States every year for use in the paper industry. Depending on the business, paper costs can be a big part of their yearly budget. I asked Jason if he had any idea how much CANIDAE could save by switching to the iPads. “We don't have an exact estimate on the paper savings, but with over 7,000 retailers and old order forms that were in triplicate, we expect the first year's savings in our paper usage to be substantial.”
I've had jobs where I needed to finish up paperwork at the end of the day before going home. It can be tedious and time consuming, and mistakes can easily be made when you're tired. The CANIDAE sales team has embraced the iPad, as one might expect. “Not only has the sales team responded very well, so have our retail customers and distributors. The sales team enjoys them because they can record their order and data in real time instead of taking paper notes and then transferring them later to a laptop. Because the data is input in real time, the information is more accurate and the sales team can eliminate end of the day paperwork which saves them valuable time.”
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Our cat and our dog are completely bonded, with one another and with us. I’ve had dogs all my life but this is my first cat. As such, I’d never had the opportunity to observe feline behavior; the only thing I knew about cats was what I’d been told. One thing I heard over and over was how independent cats are. Sure, they are socially quite different than dogs but still, our cat loves his family time. He and his sister (the dog) play together, hang out together and even sleep together. The cat follows right along on our dog walks, which keeps the neighbors laughing. He’s an indoor/outdoor cat and enjoys his time patrolling the neighborhood, but whenever we come out for dog walks, he magically appears by our side and trots right along.
I certainly wouldn’t classify our cat as the independent type. I’ve always attributed his loving, bonding nature to the fact that we rescued him at a tender age (he wasn’t properly weaned). Moreover, we rescued our dog at the same time, so they were raised right alongside one another. We think both of our animals have a bit of species confusion; our dog digs a hole before she eliminates, but that’s a different article entirely.
Several years ago an older male cat named Jack moved into the neighborhood. It wasn’t long before the two cats were best friends. They hang out on one another’s front porch. They wait at each other’s door if the other one isn’t out yet – just like kids who go to their friend’s house to see if ‘Johnny can come out and play.’ It’s gotten to the point where Jack likes to hang out in our house and vice-versa. My cat and Jack have even shared a meal or two, especially now that I have Jack’s guardian feeding him FELIDAE cat food. Jack’s human companion is absolutely amazed, because until they moved into our neighborhood, Jack had always been a solitary cat. She says he used to get into ferocious cat fights in their old neighborhood. Not here, Jack and my cat are tight.
Where is all the aloof, standoffish behavior I’d been told of? I thought cats were not a social species, but my observations (granted, of a very small sample size) made me think otherwise. I started wondering: do cats form social bonds? Do groups of cats form a hierarchal structure?
Monday, June 4, 2012
Dog parks are great because they provide a place where your dog can interact with other canines on a regular basis. However, sometimes a dog that used to get along well with other dogs and people appears to have had a change of heart and isn't too keen on being around other dogs, and you have no idea why. Even well socialized dogs need practice to stay friendly with other dogs and people.
Sometimes the problem isn't with the dog, it's with his owner. Because dogs are social creatures, we think they should always want to be around other canines. That's not always the case. Some dogs just don't like being with other dogs. We take our pets to the park so they can interact with other dogs and then don't understand why conflicts develop. According to dog trainer and writer Diamond Davis, “It is actually more 'normal' for a mature dog to NOT be able to 'play nice' with strange dogs in a dog park.”
If your pet isn't enjoying himself at the park, that doesn't mean he isn't socialized or is becoming aggressive. It most likely means he’s uncomfortable with other dogs at the park running up and getting into his face all the time. There's a reason why dogs mark their territory and why wolf packs attack other packs that intrude into their space. Canines aren't wired to socialize with dogs they don't know, and we may unknowingly put a dog in a situation where he's uncomfortable.
Socialization takes practice and it needs to be constantly reinforced to keep a dog friendly with other dogs and people. Teaching your dog basic commands is what helps keep him polite and under control when he's not in the mood to be social. Think about it – we react the same way when our personal space is invaded by someone we don't know who stands or sits a little too close when talking to us. If your dog isn't the ‘dog park’ kind of canine, there are other ways to give him exposure to other dogs and people to help keep him socialized.
Friday, June 1, 2012
Last week, Langley Cornwell discussed the feline behavior known as kneading, which is often called “making biscuits” or “making bread.” The comments poured in, which led me to conclude that many cats knead, but they all do it in their own unique way. I really enjoyed reading about everyone else’s cats and seeing how a common behavior could be carried out in so many different ways. It got me thinking about another funny feline behavior that some cats engage in: drooling when they are happy.
I confess – I have a drooler in my family. Her name is Annabelle, and when I am brushing her or petting her on my bed, her drool machine is turned on high. I have learned that unless I want a damp bedspread I need to place a towel under Belle during our brushing sessions. So, I always knew she drooled when she was happy, but I didn’t know how much until the day I bent down to give her paw a quick kiss after her brushing. That was one soggy paw! Ewww is right.
The interesting thing is that although Belle is a drooler, she doesn’t do it every time I brush her. Moreover, sometimes she drools only lightly while other times it’s like a waterfall. Of my two boy kitties, Rocky has never drooled a day in his entire life, while Mickey will drool once in a great while. So…why do some cats drool, and others don’t? And why, like my Belle, does the drooling vary from a river to a trickle to nothing at all?
Firstly, if your cat has never drooled and suddenly starts, there may be a problem with their teeth or the inside of their mouth. You should have your vet check your cat’s mouth for ulcers, tooth damage or periodontal disease. If your vet finds that your cat’s mouth is normal and there’s no medical reason for the waterworks – congratulations! You have yourself what is called a “happy drooler.”