Thursday, January 31, 2013

Tibetan Spaniel, the “Little Lion” Dog Loved by Monks

By Linda Cole

The Tibetan Spaniel is an old breed, dating back at least 2,000 years. Like the Saint Bernard that was raised and bred by Augustine monks living in the Western Alps, the “Tibbie” was developed by Lamaist monks living in the high Himalayan mountains of Tibet. These little dogs were highly prized by their owners. According to legend, the Tibetan Spaniels were used to turn prayer wheels in monasteries, but in reality, they had a more important job.

In the Buddhist religion, Buddha was able to tame the lion, and in doing so, he taught the mighty cats to follow him. Because the Tibetan Spaniel is so loyal, they were in the habit of following the monks everywhere around the monastery, and the breed became known as the “Little Lion Dog.” With thick hair similar to a lion's mane surrounding their neck, and a confident plumed tail held proudly over their back, this little dog looked like a small lion to the monks. According to Buddhist belief, the lion represented Buddha's triumphal win over violence and aggression. And since the Tibbie reminded the monks of a lion, it made them a popular breed to have.

The monks treasured the Tibetan Spaniel so much that they were given as gifts to visiting dignitaries and ambassadors from Japan, China and other Buddhist countries. Chinese diplomats presented their own “lion dog,” the Pekingese, to the monks, and there was most likely interbreeding between the Tibetan dogs and the Pekingese. People living in the villages also bred their own dogs, and then gave the smallest ones to the monks, who used them in their breeding program, producing a well balanced and stable breed.

The Tibetan Spaniel was kept primarily as a companion pet, but the monks discovered the dogs were excellent watchdogs, as well. The little lion dogs found the high walls surrounding the monastery to be a good place to sit and watch for approaching strangers or wild animals. When an intruder, human or animal, was seen, an alarm was sounded to alert the monks. Tibbies are known to have a keen sense of hearing, a good nose and eagle sharp eyes, able to see clearly into the far distance.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

How to Help Your Dog Overcome Noise Phobia

By Lisa Mason

Many dogs suffer from noise phobia wherein they become anxious and act in an unusual manner not characteristic of their normal behavior when exposed to loud noises. It’s important to understand that your dog won’t just get over his noise phobia without help from you. The sounds can be terrifying to him and if not treated, the problem could escalate until your pet becomes fearful of other things.

A dog suffering from noise phobia will experience one or more of the following signs of anxiety:

• Shaking
• Aggression
• Whimpering
• Digging and scratching
• Excessive barking
• Uncontrolled urinating or defecating

If you notice these symptoms immediately after hearing loud noises, then you’ll need to take steps to help your dog overcome noise phobia. Here are some things you can do.

Provide a Safe Haven

First, your dog needs to feel safe. When your pet begins to exhibit any of the signs above, talk to her gently and pet her. Let her know everything is okay and that you are there with her but don’t baby her. If you overreact, she may get the wrong message and think that you are worried, too. When your dog feels safe and secure, she will begin to calm down and relax. Stay with her until the noise subsides, and once she’s calm you can offer her a CANIDAE treat.

If for some reason you must leave your dog alone or for times when you are not around, have a special place in the home where he knows he can go and feel safe. Dogs like to be in small spaces when they are scared because it makes them feel more protected.

If you crate trained your dog, this will make the perfect place for her to go when she is scared. If not, make her a home in a corner, under a desk or even in a closet where she can go to calm down. Place a couple of her favorite toys in the area and depending on the dog’s age, you can put a blanket in the spot to help calm her.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What’s the Smartest Thing your Cat has ever Done?

"Smart cat" Figg

By Langley Cornwell

Well, the cats caught wind of the article I wrote titled “What’s the Smartest Thing your Dog has ever Done?” and demanded equal time. I should have known; cats have been bossing me around for years now! They kept pointing to Julia’s article: Are Cats Smart? Smarter Than Dogs Even? as evidence that yes indeed, they are very smart and I should write about it.

As instructed, I posed this question to my animal-loving friends: What’s the smartest thing your cat has ever done? I received lots of fun answers.

Many cats have learned how to manage without opposable thumbs. Chris once had a Persian cat who would turn door knobs with her paws so she could go outside. Dana’s cat could open door knobs and pull the door open towards him. And Priscilla’s cat Peppy opens the kitchen cabinet by using his front paws and pulling the door open in order to help himself to his own food.

Juniper’s cat loved attention and knew how to get it. He would pet himself to show that he wanted someone to pet him. He would rub one paw on top of his head while meowing frantically until someone would understand what he was “saying” and would pet him. If he did it for a while and the person still didn't pet him, he would start petting them by repeatedly stroking their thigh with his paw. That’s pretty impressive language for a cat!

My friend Charles and his wife have three indoor cats, Maggie, Sally and Daisy, as well as two outdoor boys, Spinner and Webster. Two of the girl cats have learned how to team up to pilfer food. Maggie, an eight pound shorthair tuxedo, throws herself incessantly at the door handle until she is able to hang on to it just long enough to cause the door to open. Daisy, a big 17 pounder, then goes to work on the FELIDAE bag. Whether it takes 30 minutes or several hours, Daisy gnaws away at the bag until she is able to tear open a hole in the side big enough to let the kibble cascade onto the floor. They then feast until their humans catch them, at which point they scatter like the wind.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Why Some Dogs Need Winter Coats to Stay Warm

By Linda Cole

My first dog, Jack, was an American Eskimo. He had a thick undercoat that kept him toasty warm through even the coldest winter blast. Most of my dogs have been large with warm coats, and I never thought much about winter coats for dogs until my two Jack Russell Terrier mixed siblings, Sophie and Kelly, got older. Our Midwest winters can be harsh, with snow and subzero temperatures. Both Sophie and Kelly took the cold in stride when they were young, but as they aged I discovered they got cold when we were outside. Some dogs do need winter coats to help keep them warm!

Winter coats, sweaters or booties are to some people nothing more than an owner pampering their pet. I’ve had people stop me and actually complain because I had a winter coat on my dogs. Some people think dogs don't need anything on because they already have a perfectly good, natural winter coat. Sometimes, however, a dog's natural coat isn't enough to protect them from winter weather. There are reasons why you may need to put warm clothes on your dog.

Older Dogs

I had an older dog, Rex, who would get so cold his teeth chattered. He loved playing outside with the other dogs, and putting both a sweater and coat on him helped to keep him warm and made it possible for him to enjoy being outside – without shivering so hard his teeth chattered. Older dogs can have a harder time generating and holding body heat. Putting a sweater and/or coat on your dog when he's outside is a practical way of dealing with colder weather. It's important to keep an eye on an older pet to make sure the cold isn't bothering him.

Another consideration to keep in mind is even inside the house, an older dog can become chilled. If you need a sweater because your thermostat is turned down to conserve energy or there's a chill in the house just before the furnace comes on, your older dog may also need a sweater.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Does Your Pet Have a Doppelganger?


By Julia Williams

I can’t count the times I’ve looked at someone – either in person or a photograph – and thought “Gosh, they sure look like so-and-so.” I hear about this happening to others too, so often that I’m sure every person on the planet will have this same experience many times over the course of their life.

I once hypothesized (not seriously, just in fun) that the reason it happened was because our faces were created from “molds” that were reused. Some molds were eventually altered to create different features, but overall a finite number of molds were available. Hence, in our lifetime we were bound to come across people who looked remarkably like other people, and even…people who looked just like us!

These body doubles are sometimes called doppelgangers, a German word meaning “double-goer.” In folklore, doppelgangers were malicious ghostly doubles that haunted their more innocent counterparts and confused their friends and relatives. (Could the doppelganger legend possibly be where the term “evil twin” came from?). Nowadays, a doppelganger is simply any double or look-alike of a person.

Some people say that everyone has a doppelganger. Although there’s no proof of this, there are many stories about cases of mistaken identity, and some have disastrous consequences. For example, a doppelganger commits a crime and an innocent man is sent to jail. I have never seen my doppelganger, but I sure do hope she is a law abiding citizen!

If we believe that every human has a doppelganger out there somewhere – I’m not convinced but I haven’t rejected the theory, either – then what about our pets? Could dogs and cats have doppelgangers, too? Well, sure. Why not!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Top Five Grossing Dog Movies

By Langley Cornwell

Like most animal lovers, I enjoy reading books about pets and watching movies about them, especially if the movie involves real animals. When looking at the top five grossing dog movies, it’s interesting to note that there are a mix of cartoon dogs and real dogs in the films. Here is a list of the highest grossing dog movies as published by Box Office Mojo:

1. Scooby-Doo (released on 6/14/02), has a Lifetime Gross (Theaters) of $153,294,164.
2. Marley & Me (12/25/08), has a Lifetime Gross of $143,153,751.
3. 101 Dalmatians (11/27/96), has a Lifetime Gross of $136,189,294.
4. Beverly Hills Chihuahua (10/3/08), has a Lifetime Gross of $94,514,402.
5. Cats & Dogs (7/4/01), has a Lifetime Gross of $93,385,515.

Scooby-Doo topping the list makes sense; when kids love a movie they beg to go back to see it multiple times and this is definitely a kid’s movie. The characters were first seen in 1969 on the long-running Hanna-Barbera cartoon called Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? The movie is a live-action comedy/adventure. Scooby-Doo himself is computer-generated. The movie was so popular, a sequel called Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed was released two years later and ranks as number 6, grossing $84,216,833. Scooby-Doo received 2.5 stars from the Internet Movie Database.

I loved the Marley & Me book so much that I was hesitant about seeing the movie. I’m glad I did. The film stars Jennifer Aniston, Owen Wilson and twenty-two different yellow Labradors playing Marley at various stages in his life. The thing that I liked the most about this story is that it’s autobiographical and it illustrates the power of the canine-human bond. This is a must-see for dog lovers. The Marley & Me movie received 3.5 stars from the Internet Movie Database.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Separation Anxiety in Cats

By Linda Cole

Separation anxiety is a problem for some dogs. They can experience mild to severe reactions when left home alone. Because cats are thought of as being solitary, independent and aloof, the idea that they miss their owner and experience anxiety when home alone is scoffed at by some people. However, cats are social animals, and some can develop separation anxiety.

The cause for separation anxiety in cats is unknown. Scientists can only speculate, and think it could be caused by genetics and environment. Felines more inclined to become anxious are kittens that were orphaned, weaned too early, or came from a pet store or shelter. If they never learned how to be a confident kitten, s cat has a greater chance of developing separation anxiety A change in routine, like a vacation, new job, loss of a person or pet she was close to, or a new baby can cause a cat to become stressed.

What is Separation Anxiety?

Cats suffering from separation anxiety have a fear of being left alone, even if there are other pets in the home. They become anxious and stressed while you're getting ready to leave and when you're walking out the door. They can become upset and anxious when you leave a room or go outside for just a few minutes. You don't have to actually leave the house to have your cat become distressed. Just the thought of you being gone is enough to trigger an emotional response before you're out the door.

Cats express themselves in more subtle ways than dogs, and don't try to scratch through the door, wall or floor, or crash through a window. They aren't as apt to destroy trim around a door or tear up a couch, and they won't bother the neighbors with barking, whining or howling. You may not even notice your cat is stressed when you leave the house, if you've missed the signals she's giving you.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

5 Fun Snow Games to Play with Your Dog

By Tamara McRill

Do you have a dog that just loves burrowing through the snow? Don't you just love those big doggy grins when they get to frolicking in the powder? I have three snow-loving pooches and, aside from making a dog snowman, playing in the snow is our favorite winter activity.

Of course, we certainly take safety precautions, and winter paw care is a must, but these snow games are easy to safely set up. Here are my dogs' paws-down favorite five snow games:

1. Hide and Seek

Since dogs like to dig in the snow, give them something to find. Bury toys, sticks or even dog treats in the snow and ask your dog to find them. For dogs that aren't good at seeking, you might have to tip them off on where to look. I like to up the excitement and competition by letting the dogs think I'm looking for their toy too.

You might want to avoid playing while snow is falling and accumulating though. That makes it harder to see where you buried stuff and you don't want to have to wait until spring to uncover their favorite bone.

2. Snowball Catch

This is an excellent game for dogs who like to play catch and “kill” things. Pack a snowball, making sure there aren't any ice chunks or rocks in the mix, and lightly toss it for your dog to catch. When they do, they will get the fun and satisfaction of chomping down and destroying the snowball.

Monday, January 21, 2013

What is Limber Tail Syndrome in Dogs?

By Linda Cole

My dogs wag their tails a mile a minute every time I talk to them. Even a playful stare from me can get their backside wiggling in happiness. Thankfully, my dogs have never lost their ability to show me their contentment by wagging their tail, but some dogs can develop a syndrome called Limber Tail. This is a condition that can affect any dog whose tail hasn't been docked, but it's mainly seen in hunting dogs like pointers, retrievers, foxhounds and beagles.

Limber Tail syndrome is also known as broken wag, cold tail, dead tail, limp tail or rudder tail. It's when a dog's tail hangs limp, like it's broken, and it can be painful. No one really knows for certain how a dog actually develops this condition, but they do know it's brought on by overexertion, swimming in water that may be too cold or too warm, cold and wet weather conditions, an out-of-shape dog, or being confined for long periods of time in a crate when traveling. Even something as simple as a cold bath can affect a dog that's more sensitive to temperatures than other canines.

It's also possible the condition could be due to a poor diet. That’s another reason why providing a premium quality dog food like CANIDAE can help your dog maintain his good health. Poor circulation may also be a culprit for a droopy tail.

When a dog is swimming in water, he works his tail like a rudder. If he has been sitting around during the off season for hunting or has been relatively inactive during the winter months, and isn't in shape when he hits the water for a swim or to retrieve something from the water, he can injure his tail and develop Limber Tail because his muscles weren't properly conditioned before the workout. When the tail is overworked, the muscles at the base of a dog's tail swell, causing connective tissue to tighten and cutting off blood flow to the tail.

For the most part, Limber Tail syndrome isn't a big deal, and it will correct itself in two to seven days. The condition can be mild where the tail is held just below a horizontal level, severe with no wag and hanging limp, or something in between. The tail can be permanently affected, but it's not usually a problem. Sometimes, the dog will hold the tail out just a few inches before letting it sag down. You may see raised hairs at the base of the tail, which is due to swelling, and the swelling can make sitting or lying down more difficult for some dogs, depending on their tolerance for pain.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Funny Sayings from Comedic Pets

By Julia Williams

The advent of the internet has given dogs and cats a voice like never before. True, talking animals have been around for a very long time in literature. However, it was oft said that no good writer would ever stoop to such low levels.

Nowadays, you can’t be an animal lover and spend time on Facebook without seeing dozens of witty quips every day, made by the animals themselves of course. The lack of opposable thumbs for typing appears not to be a hindrance for these clever pets who are always coming up with funny quotes to amuse their fans.

I must confess that when I read their humorous status updates, I never think “Haha, Fluffy’s owner is so hilarious.” No, in fact I don’t think about the human at the keyboard at all. Ever! And gauging by the thousands of fans I see interacting with animals on Facebook every day, I am not alone.

Vive la animals! Here are some of the things they’ve said lately that made me laugh:

“Every morning my human shaves off all of his face fur. He’s funny like that.” ~ Tuck the Cat, Shelter Pet Project ad

“Every snack you make, every meal you bake, every bite you take. I’ll be watching you.” ~ anonymous dog

“Sometimes it's better not to ask why the cats do the things they do.” ~ Phaedra and Phriends

“Did anyone ever stop to consider that maybe it's boxes that like cats?” ~ Henri, le Chat Noir

“Day 2 of my diet and I'm doing some wishful shrinking. The trouble is, I can resist everything except temptation!” ~ Uggie the Artist

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Original Jobs Small Dogs Were Bred to Do

By Linda Cole

Over the centuries, humans and dogs have traveled down the same road, side by side. When you think about it, our relationship with canines is a unique and mutual one that serves us both. Today, small dogs are more likely to be just a household pet instead of doing the jobs they were originally bred to do. Like our ancestors, we appreciate the warmth of a snuggling dog curled up next to us on a cold winter night. Some breeds were bred only for companionship, and some are mighty hunters, in a small body.


Even small dogs can hit the trail as a scenthound or sighthound. A newly recognized AKC breed, the Russell Terrier, was originally left behind on hunts because his small size wasn't thought to be useful for hunters. His first role was as a companion dog around the home, and as a ratter to keep vermin at bay around sheds and barns. That was, until it was discovered the Russell's smaller size made him ideal for hunting prey that went underground. The dog was easy to carry over rough terrain in a “terrier” bag or across the saddle of a horse, and he had the desired temperament and drive to handle himself against a red fox and other small prey.

Small dogs were often used to seek out, track, follow and find small prey as a pack. Dachshunds were used to hunt badgers, while Yorkshire Terriers were used by miners to help get rid of rat infestations in the mines. They were also used to hunt fox, badgers and other small prey, and follow them into their holes. Italian Greyhounds chased down rabbits. Dogs bred to work as a pack generally get along well with other canines in the home.


Small dogs are not good guard dogs, but they make great watchdogs. If they see someone who isn't suppose to be in their territory, these alert little dogs will let you know in no uncertain terms. In the old days, small dogs were put up on the top of walls where they would patrol during the night and warn their owners if someone was around. Small breeds like the Brussels Griffon, Pomeranian, Miniature Pinscher, Shih Tzu and Lhasa Apso were used as watchdogs to guard the palace chamber of the lady, or guard their owner when they traveled.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

How to Make Your Cat Feel Special

Jet feels special!!
By Langley Cornwell

Our cat, Jet, got sick recently. This four-year-old guy is an iron-clad warrior; we’ve never seen him truly sick. Yes, we’ve rushed him to the veterinarian many times for what turned out to simply be hairballs, but this was different. We found him in a corner, hunched in a ball and foaming at the mouth. We scooped him up and rushed to the vet where they ran every test possible but couldn’t identify the cause.

Because he was heaving and miserable, the vet gave him a dose of fluids and anti-nausea medicine and then sent him home with us. Seeing our robust, fun-loving kitty uncomfortable broke our hearts. He already gets plenty of attention from me, my husband and our dog. He gets rub downs from us and full facials from the dog (she loves to lick his face and he encourages it). He enjoys laying on us when we watch TV and he sleeps with us in the bed. He has a special cat window perch in the front of the house. We talk to him and play with him a lot. In other words, he’s spoiled rotten. But, not knowing what else to do for him while he was sick, we wanted to make him feel extra special. Here are a few things we did:

Built a nest. When we got home from the vet, he hid under the bed. I know other cats that spend a lot of time under beds but this was the first time he had ever done that and it made me feel bad. So I got a large cardboard box with high sides (typical cat, he loves boxes), put a feather pillow in the bottom and put a wadded up soft blanket over the pillow. I put the box up on a chair in the quietest room in our house and waited. Within the hour Jet made his way out from under the bed and into his new nest. He loved it.  

Kept the cat warm. I prefer our home to be somewhat cool but knew our cat would be more comfortable in a warmer environment, so we set the house temperature to 74 to 75 degrees F during the day. There was no way I could sleep in an overly warm house, though, so I had to figure out what to do about the evenings. I researched those heated cat mats but decided against it and instead put a hot water bottle underneath the wadded up blanket in his cardboard box/nest in the evenings. He seemed to love it and rested comfortably.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

How to Make a Dog Snow Sculpture

By Tamara McRill

What snowman would be complete without his own snowdog? It seems only fair to provide them with a little frosty canine companionship. At least that’s what I always thought in college, when I would leave little snow families, including pet snow sculptures, all over the campus.

I graduated to making bigger dog snow sculptures when I had a yard to call my own again. It can be really cute introducing your pet to their frozen doppelganger!  I’ve had dogs get excited, bark at, lick and rub up against these snowdogs.

Thinking my fellow dog lovers and CANIDAE RPO readers would also like to have a go at a dog snow sculpture, I thought I’d share how to build one:

Lying Down Snowdog

Although there is a little more sculpting involved in making a sculpture of a dog lounging in the snow, it’s actually a little bit easier than building a standing dog. This is because the base of your sculpture rests entirely on the ground. Here are the steps for the body, hind legs and tail:

1. Make a mound of snow, slightly curved in the back, as long and wide as you want your snowdog to be.

2. The mound should be shaped and packed down to be narrower at the front, which would be the neck, and wider where it curves in a bit at the back, which would be the dog’s hind end. Make sure the center bulges out just a teensy bit, to represent the belly.

3.  For the hind legs, start with a thin packed roll of snow about half the length of the body.

4. Place this roll alongside the back end of your snowdog, sticking out an inch or two from the back.

5. Above the back leg, pack on a half circle of extra snow to form the upper thigh. You’ll want this to look connected to the back of the leg, but defined with a groove from the rest of the leg and top of the dog body.

6. Repeat steps 3 through 5 on the other side of your snow sculpture to make the other back leg.

7. The tail should start wider at the base of the hind end. You can either make a roll of snow or just shape it by packing snow on the ground. It should curve around the front and end in a point.

Monday, January 14, 2013

12 Unforgettable Pets of 2012

Grumpy Cat

By Linda Cole

If you spend time on Facebook or like to search the web for cute pets, you've likely seen Grumpy Cat with the sour puss frown and Boo, the super cute Pomeranian. It seems we can't get enough of these adorable pets. Below are some of my favorite pets that were “all the rage” in 2012. If you have a favorite that I didn’t mention, please let me know!

Grumpy Cat, aka Tardar Sauce (Tard for short), has an adorable scowl that makes it hard not to smile when you see her. Bryan Bundesen was visiting his sister Tabatha in Arizona last fall when he snapped the now famous frown of her 8 month old cat. Tardar Sauce was given her name by Tabatha's daughter, who noticed the kitten had speckles in her fur that reminded her of tartar sauce. She misspelled it but the name stuck. Grumpy Cat really isn't grumpy at all! She's a sweetheart, and loves to play. Tard isn't going away anytime soon. There's a children's book series, and a line of stuffed animals being discussed for 2013. Tard's official Grumpy Cat Facebook page has almost 315,000 fans.

Chopper the Biker Dog
Chopper the Biker Dog is one cool dude that rides around on his custom made motorcycle. He has his very own handmade biker leather jacket and sunglasses, but this Boston Terrier is about as mellow as a dog can be, and thoroughly enjoys his job as a therapy dog. His goal in life is to make a difference in people's lives. Chopper lives in San Diego, CA with his owner Mark Shaffer. His Facebook page currently has almost 20,000 fans.

Hank the Cat is a Maine Coon cat that decided it was time for a feline to toss a his hat in the political ring, running for the open US Senate seat in Virginia. A true grassroots campaign pushing a simple message, “It's OK to vote the humans out.” Hank netted over 7,000 write-in votes and also raised $60,000 for animal rescue organizations. Will Hank run again in 2014 or 2016? According to his campaign manager, Hank retired from politics, but Hank is staying mum on any future plans, sidestepping reporters' questions.

Venus the Amazing Chimera Cat is a beautiful tortoiseshell kitty with the most striking physical appearance. Her face is two colors perfectly split down the middle, the right side is black, and the left side is orange. Plus, one eye is green and the other is blue! Some people say this unusual looking feline is just a photoshop trick, but Venus is definitely a real kitty, and she even went on TV to prove it! Venus was a stray cat found wandering around on a dairy farm in North Carolina. She has 92,000 Facebook fans.

Henri, Le Chat Noir (Henri the Existential Cat) wants the world to feel his tortured soul living with humans and other pets, as told to us in a black & white YouTube video that went viral in 2012 with almost 6,700,000 views to date. Henri 2: Paw de Deux netted Henri's owner, William Braden, top spot at the Internet Cat Video Film Festival. Not bad for a shelter cat turned actor. (There are five videos to date, and all are exceptional!). Henri's real name is Henry, and in real life he's an easygoing, laidback kitty that loves to purr. And his online contempt is, well, just good acting, as he tells it.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Have You Ever Fallen in Love with a Pet at First Sight?

By Julia Williams

Of all the great mysteries of life, “love at first sight” is one of the most puzzling. If you’ve ever experienced this phenomenon – whether with a person or a pet – you know it defies rational explanation. Nothing about love at first sight makes sense to our logical human minds. There’s no scientific evidence for how it can happen, and it’s nearly impossible to explain to anyone who hasn’t experienced it themselves. I’ve experienced it twice: once with a person many years ago, and more recently with a beautiful kitten named Kimber.

The best description I can give is that there is a very strong “pull” combined with intense emotion and a feeling that you’ve known them forever. You also know without question that you love them. You might not understand how or why you could love them given that you just met, but you absolutely know you do.

I’ve loved many pets deeply throughout my life, but I’d never fallen in love with one at first sight. It happened while I was casually reading the Facebook posts of friends, acquaintances and pet rescue groups. I certainly wasn’t looking for a cat to adopt; in fact, that was probably the furthest thing from my mind. Yet all of a sudden, there she was – the most beautiful, long-haired calico kitten I’d ever seen.

So what, right? It’s not like I don’t see dozens of beautiful cats every day on Facebook, all in need of a good home. I don’t linger, because although I have room in my heart for a thousand cats, my small home is full with three. I definitely didn’t “need” another cat, especially one that just happened to be 1,300 miles away!

But I couldn’t look away. I stared at the photo of this lovely little kitten, and I was smitten. I didn’t know a thing about her other than her name. I guessed that she was about three months old, and she had the sweetest, wisest, gentlest face. I knew without a doubt that I loved her, and wanted her to join my family. I didn’t know how I’d make it work, but I knew I would do everything humanly possible to see that it did.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Biography of Eddie, the Dog from Frasier

By Langley Cornwell

Being an animal lover, my favorite character in quite a few television shows and movies is often of the four-legged variety. This was certainly the case with the long running TV show Frasier, which aired from September 16, 1993 to May 13, 2004. In my opinion Eddie, a feisty Jack Russell terrier, stole the show. Niles, Frasier’s brother, ran a close second.

Eddie’s real name was Moose and he was born in Florida on Christmas Eve, 1990. He was the youngest and the biggest puppy in the litter and, once he went to his forever home, his antics proved to be too much for his original owners to handle.

Moose was surrendered by his owners because he was so mischievous. He had a habit of getting into trouble; he chased cats and climbed trees. He dug and barked and destroyed things. He was always escaping, running away and ruining property. One time he got out and chased a neighbor’s horses, which caused quite a stir. Another time, he got out and killed a neighbor's cat. That was the last straw.

Luckily for this overly energetic Jack Russell terrier, he ended up with Mathilde Halberg, a Los Angeles dog trainer who worked for a show-business animal company. She rescued him in the early 1990s, saving him from the pound or worse. That’s when Moose’s luck changed.

With training and a focused outlet for his energetic natural drives, Moose started to calm down. After only six months of training, he was cast on Frasier as retired policeman Marty Crane’s dog.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Safety Tips for Pets Who Love Heaters and Fireplaces

By Tamara McRill

When I was growing up, the merry crackling of a fire always seemed to entice my pets to curl up near the hearth and take a nap. Now that I’m older and, sadly, without a fireplace, I’ve noticed that my dogs are just as attracted to heaters on a cold winter day. Snuggling next to the heat can be comforting for pets, but it can also be dangerous.

That doesn’t mean we have to ban our furry friends from one of their favorite winter pastimes. All we need to do is make sure safety precautions are taken, so sitting near a fire or heater can be enjoyed without any disastrous results. Here are some tips to consider:

Fire and Fur Don’t Mix

For obvious reasons, we need to take precautions to make sure our cats and dogs don’t get singed by errant embers. Fireplaces will need a fireguard screen to make sure any popping flames don’t shoot out too far. This will also prevent wagging tails from entering flame territory.

Dampers and Detectors

Carbon monoxide poisoning can be deadly to pets and humans, not to mention it can cause health issues from exposure. This is especially a concern if you have a gas fireplace. If your damper is closed, then all of the carbon monoxide comes back into the room and your pet, being the closest, will be the first one affected.

In addition to making sure your fireplace damper is properly adjusted, you should also place carbon monoxide detectors near the fireplace and throughout your home. This is so important to check every time you turn on your gas fireplace. Especially given that a gas fireplace burns so cleanly that you likely won’t even notice if the damper is open or not.

Regular fireplaces should also be adequately vented, so smoke and carcinogens don’t get in your cat or dog’s lungs. It’s a good idea to keep any heat vents near your fireplace closed when it is lit, so nothing is spread through the home heating system. Also be sure to check the batteries on smoke alarms, to make sure they are in working order.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Dog Breed Profile: the Elegant Pharaoh Hound

By Suzanne Alicie

We’ve looked at many different dog breeds here on the CANIDAE Responsible Pet Ownership blog. This is a learning experience for those of us who write the posts as well as our readers. Today I have the pleasure of sharing what I’ve learned about the Pharaoh Hound. While this breed is known as a Maltese hunting dog, those interested in the breed have concluded that it originated in Egypt. When the Phoenicians settled on Malta it is believed they brought the breed with them. The Pharaoh Hound is one of the oldest domesticated dogs, recorded since around 3000 B.C. They were first brought to the United States in 1967, and the American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1983.

Upon first glance, the Pharaoh Hound appears similar to a Greyhound but the differences are notable. They have a fine, short coat that doesn’t stand away from the skin; coat colors come in shades of red that range from tan to a deep chestnut. White markings on the chest, toes, tip of the tail, center of the forehead and the bridge of the muzzle are common to this breed. Pharaoh Hound’s are born with blue eyes that change to a light gold or amber color. One unique trait of the Pharaoh Hound is that it blushes when excited – the nose and ears turn a deep rose color.

This breed is elegant while maintaining a powerful and athletic shape. Typically perceived as a medium sized dog, the Pharaoh Hound stands between 21 and 25 inches at the withers and typically weighs between 40 and 60 pounds, with the males being somewhat larger than the females.

When it comes to personality, the Pharaoh Hound is very intelligent, eager to learn and please, playful and active with its family and other dogs that it knows. However, it can be quite aloof or reserved with strangers, and defensive with strange dogs. This independent and strong minded breed is also known to be stubborn, so proper training is important.

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Healing Hands of Brigid's Crossing Cat Sanctuary

By Linda Cole

I remember “rescuing” my first cat when I was a child. I also remember learning the difference between a stray/lost cat, and a neighborhood outside cat with that first rescue. However, I didn't let that minor setback discourage me from rescuing cats that really needed saving when I got older. Millions of stray and feral cats spend each day trying to survive the best they can, living in the shadow of our busy lives, unnoticed by most people.

Brigid's Crossing Foundation (BCF) was founded in 2008 by Heather Burch. It's a unique nonprofit, holistic cat sanctuary and rescue in Naples, Florida, dedicated to making a difference in the lives of cats in their care. Awhile back, I shared a story with you about an unlikely friendship between a kitten and a wild crow. Lisa Fleming, author of the children's book “Cat & Crow, an Amazing Friendship,” volunteers at Brigid’s Crossing, and I had a chance to talk with her about this truly amazing cat sanctuary.

Cats living at the sanctuary are free to roam in the nature-oriented center. BCF is a no- kill rescue with a focus on rescuing and caring for homeless, sick and abandoned cats, giving them a second chance. The sanctuary even cares for cats with feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), which is not the same as feline leukemia virus (FeLV), although they are in the same family of viruses.

Unfortunately, there's no real treatment for FIV. A cat can carry the virus for years before symptoms begin to appear. It's diagnosed through a blood test. I asked Lisa how infected cats are treated at the sanctuary. “It's completely holistic, with raw food and purified water served. Natural remedies are always chosen first before prescription. Through a healthy diet and nutrition, there has never been a cat at the sanctuary who went into full blown aids. Cats with FIV do not have to be euthanized; they can and do live a healthy life. Many shelters can’t spend the time or money to care for them with the proper nutrition they need, so they call Brigid's Crossing. Cats do not give or receive the virus from humans, only other cats. The FIV's do get adopted and find their forever families.” You can lessen the chances of your cat being infected with FIV or FeLV by keeping her inside.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Tips for Raising Animal Loving Kids

By Julia Williams

We’re all ardent animal lovers here at the CANIDAE RPO blog, and I know you are too or you wouldn’t be reading this. We all share a deep and abiding passion for pets, and we want nothing more than to see every animal treated with compassion, kindness and love. What better way to work towards that common goal than to instill those values in children at a young age?

Whether it’s with our own kids and grandkids, nieces and nephews, neighborhood kids or a friend’s child doesn’t matter. What’s important is that we help all children learn to form loving bonds with animals. We know from experience that pets enrich our lives in so many wonderful ways, and they teach us vital life lessons that make us better human beings. Sharing this knowledge with the young ones in our lives is a great way to pay it forward.

Kids learn by example, and it’s up to us as adults to show them not only the right way to treat animals, but how to develop a strong pet-human bond. The results are so worth it!

Adopt a Pet

Having a pet in your own home is the most obvious way to foster a child’s love of animals. They get to see firsthand just how special animals truly are, and each passing day is an opportunity for their relationship to blossom. If having a dog or cat in the family is not feasible, consider getting a smaller pet such as a hamster or gerbil which still provides a way for kids to bond with a living being.

Involve Kids in Pet Care

Learning how to care for their pets teaches kids about responsible pet ownership, but it also helps them build a lasting love for all animals. If you’re unsure which chores are appropriate for the age of your child or the type of pet you have, the ASPCA has a nice Pet Care Section with kid-friendly tips on caring for dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, birds and other pets.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

What’s the Smartest Thing Your Dog Has Ever Done?

Jo's "Smart Dog" Sadie
By Langley Cornwell

Pet people love to brag about their pets, and we love to read about them. So I asked this simple question: What’s the smartest thing your dog has ever done? I got loads of fun and interesting answers.

A common theme among the answers I received was “dogs trying to outsmart their humans or the other pets in the home.” Laura’s Dalmatian Sparky hated to be cold. If he was outside and wanted in, he rang the doorbell. If she didn't answer right away, he kept ringing. He wore out several doorbells with his big paws! When she looked out, she’d see him standing up, looking back in the window chattering his teeth as if he was freezing to death. The family caught on to his act when one summer day he decided he wanted in and started ringing the doorbell. When they looked out, he was chattering his teeth – but it was 95 degrees outside!

Deborah’s dog is rebelling because he's on a “diet.” The other day, when no one was home, he got into the box of dog treats. He hid them all around the house, in different rooms. He knew he'd get in trouble for spilling the box, so he hid each treat individually and genuinely thought he wouldn't get caught going back to snack on those treats later on. This smart pooch also uses a bell at the door when he needs to go outside.

Jo’s Bichon Sadie will stare at her brother (a rat terrier of limited intellect) to try to get him to move from a spot she wants to occupy. If he ignores her, she runs to the front window and barks. Since terriers must guard and protect, the rat is easily lured to the window, at which time Sadie runs to claim the spot she initially coveted.

Sangay volunteers at a wolf and wolf dog rescue, and there is a pair of low ranking omegas who learned to separate other dogs and people from their treasures. Ex: One will pester the eating alpha male. When the alpha gets up to chase the pest away the other steals the prize and they both meet up (far away) to enjoy it.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Can Dogs Really Understand Our Words?

By Linda Cole

Anyone who has lived and interacted with dogs knows how closely they pay attention to our words. I've even been known to spell out my intentions in an attempt to keep my dogs from knowing what I'm saying so they don't get overly excited. In reality, I'm the one being fooled, and can attest that my dogs have mastered the spelling of certain words. There's no question in my mind that dogs comprehend a lot more than they are given credit for, and can understand our spoken words and even some spelled words.

The Border Collie holds the top spot when it comes to the most intelligent dog breed, so it was no surprise that Chaser, a female Border Collie, was crowned the smartest dog in the world in 2010. Within a three year period, she learned the names of 1,022 different toys, and even learned how to correctly categorize them.

Understanding words and vocalizing, of course, are two different abilities. Dog owners learn how to read their dog's body language and recognize their dog's unique yips, yaps, whines and barks. We can communicate with our best friend with or without the use of words.

Dogs learn language skills from us when we repeat and reinforce what we say to them. That's all training is – telling your dog what you want, and then reinforcing his compliance with a tasty treat, like soft and chewy CANIDAE TidNips™ or crunchy Snap-Bits™. Some breeds are more stubborn than others, which require his owner to be even more dedicated and consistent when it comes to teaching basic commands. However, after living with multiple purebred and mixed breeds dogs, I am convinced dogs do have an innate ability to learn. We just need how to learn to focus on motivating them so they are interested in learning.

Chaser's owners Alliston Reid and John Pilley, who are also researchers, conducted a study with their dog at Wofford College. The study showed that their dog had the same vocabulary skill as a three year old child. Their research also concluded that dogs have the ability to learn and develop a more extensive understanding of words than was once believed. They even believe the study proves our canine friends can learn words for specific objects and put them into categories according to shape and function. Chaser was also able to pick out a new object in a group of familiar ones by using reason. She knows proper names and remembered the names of toys better than they did. Reid and Pilley believe Chaser is capable of learning even more words if they take the time to teach her.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Cheers to a Brand New Year!

"An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves" ~ Bill Vaughan

Happy New Year everyone!!

From all of us here at the CANIDAE RPO Blog, to all of you, your family and your furry friends, we wish you the very best today, and every day.

May 2013 be filled with an abundance of love and laughter, happy wagging tails, precocious kitty headbonks, and silly pet antics that make you smile.

Photos, top to bottom:
Faith Goble
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