Friday, March 30, 2012

Cat Tricks

Have you ever trained a cat? Is it possible? See for yourself!
This cat can point, high five, and more:

And here's a kitty who signs for food:

It's just a little gross that the man picks the food out of his mouth like that. But success is success! Have you tried to train your cat? How'd it go?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wednesday Pet Roundup- Butterfly Friend

Hi and Welcome to Wednesday Pet Roundup! Here's Kelly and a friend who stopped by for a visit.

* Five retired Mine Detection Dogs from Iraq are getting new homes. Way to go Blek, Malyish, Miso, Nero and Rocky!

* Mashable lists the top 10 puppies to follow on Social Media. Do you follow them?

*The Washington Post reports on a man who got his Pomeranian-mix incredibly drunk on vodka. Sad.

* Yahoo Finance reports on the richest pets in the world, including Pontiac, Betty White's Golden Retriever, set up with a trust fund of 5 million dollars. Okay well Kelly may never be rich in worldly goods, but she's rich in love!

*Sugar the miracle cat survives a 19 story fall. CBS news reports how acting like a flying squirrel saved her.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Heart to Heart, Hand in Paw

My new book!
Animals Heal. That's something I've witnessed, experienced, and written about. A deep and emotional topic. I love learning how dogs guide the blind, comfort the ill, sense seizures, and sniff out cancer. I've written about how a miniature horse helps a little girl. A cat helps a young couple. And now, I'm excited to announce my greatest work about how animals heal, my new book

Heart to Heart, Hand in Paw
How one woman finds hope and faith through the healing love of animals.

This is the true story of Luanne, a Vermont woman in her middle years, who dreams of living a simple life in the beautiful country with her second husband. They struggle to build their own log cabin tap maple trees, and fill their little farm with animals. However:

• the dog has separation anxiety
 • the goose is afraid of water
• there's a fox in the pig pen and raccoons in the henhouse
 • their homesick donkey cries all night
 • and their truck has somehow slipped into the pond
One of Luanne's sheep

And from there things only get worse! Drawing upon a lifetime of meaningful relationships with animals, Luanne finds the courage to persevere. Luanne's story shares how our pets can love, comfort and teach us as we take our own journeys through life.

Heart to Heart, Hand in Paw is my second book, just released and available on Amazon, your favorite bookseller, and through Inspiring Voices website. It's also available in e-book. I hope you'll check it out (and if it looks good maybe give it a "like" on Amazon, too! Thanks!) And watch for my blog contest soon, where I'll be giving away a copy of the book.

*You can keep up with news about this book and more on my new Facebook page. I'd love to see you there and it would be fun to hear about your bond with your special pets there too!

Friday, March 23, 2012

How to set up a Cat Cam or Dog Cam

Have you ever wanted to spy on what your dog is doing while you're away? Or capture your cat's antics on a web cam? Here's what you need to know! I spoke to Mary Beth of Orientation: Quilter blog about her Cat Cam.

Me: Mary Beth, what is the Cat Cam?

MB: The Cat Cam is a way to see if there are any cats in the neighborhood of my downstairs computer. The most recent photo shows on my blog's main page and there's a link at the top of the blog to a separate page of cat cam images.

Me: How did you get the idea for a Cat Cam?

MB: Web cams have been very popular on the web for quite awhile and showed all kinds of things - boardwalks along vacation destinations, chickens, coffee makers, you name it. I thought it would be a cool thing to be able to see what my own little herd was doing throughout the day.

One of the things that makes web page visitors happy is new content. A web cam lets you show photos that change over time, and you only have to set it up and get it going. Since I blog about my cats sometimes and show other photos that I take of them, the Cat Cam fits right in. You might show your dog's favorite places to be or a view out a window that shows different things throughout the day - a sidewalk view or a busy bird feeder etc.

Keep checking back. This image changes and updates!
Me: Where did you set up your webcam?

MB: The location of my webcam is good because there's a sunny window with a nearby cat roost near my computer. The cats take advantage of the sunny spot and recently I hung a couple bird feeders outside to keep the cats' interest. Sort of a "kitty TV".

Me: What is the funniest thing you've observed on your Cat Cam?

MB: Cats don't really get aggressive over spots - I heard it described once as cats having a time-share plan for all the best spots. But occasionally I'll see one lay down next time the one already there and sort of streeeeetch out, until the other one leaves in disgust. 

Me: What equipment do you need?

MB: The basics: a computer with internet access, a webcam of some kind, a website and some space online to upload photos. You also need a bit of software to handle taking the photos and uploading them to your website's folder.

I used to use an iSight camera attached to my mac. Now I have a Microsoft LiveCam HD attached to it. If my computer was facing the right way I could have used its built-in web cam.  I use EvoCam software but there are lots of them out there that do similar things and work for both MAC or WIN computers. Evocam lets me set up a motion sensitive area of the area being photographed which triggers the photo to be taken.

You'll notice on my webcam page that I have the ten most recent photos showing, along with shots of the individual cats so viewers can try to ID them.  I started showing more than one photo because folks kept seeing "no cat" and teased me that I really didn't have any cats at all. I realized it was a lot like the Schrödinger's cat problem so I re-wrote the page to explain how the motion sensor works and why there were often shots of "no cat".  Having a few recent photos increases the chances of actually seeing a cat or two.

Me: How can we set up our own Pet Cam?

MB: Get a webcam, a bit of software and follow the directions to upload your webcam shots to your website. Play with the settings of the software to make it work best for your view and show the world a part of your world!

Here are some handy links to let you look for a software that will work for you.

Thank you Mary Beth for sharing your expertise. Okay, now I hope you'll hop over to take a peek at Mary Beth's page, and if see if you are lucky enough to catch any cats on the Cat Cam. If you do, leave a comment here and let us know what you saw!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wednesday Pet Roundup

Hi and welcome to Wednesday Pet Roundup! Kelly and I took a nice walk in along a little creek. She's enjoying what little water was trickling along there. The grass hasn't greened up yet, but the temperatures were in the 70's...I'll take it for March!

*This piece by Josh Dean comments on why we love our dogs so much. Of course, we don't need to read an article to tell us that, but I really like this quote:
"And the best part of this relationship is how simple it is. While we often ask so much of them, they require almost nothing in return. You can ask your dog to chase a Frisbee, take a nap on the couch, herd some sheep, or run around a show ring and he’ll do it, happily, for hours on end. He only wants to be fed, and told he’s good, and most of all loved. If a dog has love, he really needs nothing else."

* Can you name the Top 5 Health Issues our pets face today? Web MD reports. As you may suspect, obesity is near the top of the list. 
*Most of us know that chocolate is bad for dogs, but this article in mental floss tells us why. Can you say methylxanthines? 

(AP Photo/Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species)
*The Boston Globe reports on this test tube kitten, the wild black-footed cat. Check it out (left)'s the world's smallest wild cat, even smaller than a domestic cat.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Why do dogs need toys?

One of Kelly's favorite toys, Snakey, (She likes real snakes, too!)
Kelly loves to play and I love playing with her. One of her favorite toys is the good old fashioned tennis ball. I think she'd continue chasing it for hours...that is, if I had the energy to continue throwing it! Playing is great for Kelly, and it's great for Kelly and I bonding.

In addition to tennis balls, Kelly has a basket full of chew toys, rope toys, stuffies and other toys. Since Americans spend so much money on pet products, including toys, I wonder-- Is there some value in play, or is it just purely for fun?

Why do dogs need toys?
1. Chew toys keep jaws and teeth healthy.
2. Balls and fetching toys give a dog exercise.
3. Toys keep a dog from getting bored.
4. Problem-solving toys keep a dog's mind stimulated.
5. Stuffies and other special toys can help bring comfort.

Kelly loves to snuggle with her stuffie.

6. Bonding with your dog is another benefit of toys. (Sometimes playtime doesn't even have to involve toys, but involves chasing and roughhousing. And programs such as Pooch to 5K, and also the upcoming Koly and Kelly's K9 Kamp are a few ways to get fit and have fun with your dog.)

Lots of toys to chew and chase.

Of course, it's a whole other question-- How long do the dog toys last!! 
What do you think? What is your dog's favorite toy? Does your dog rip apart stuffies, or carry them lovingly around? How many hours a day do your dogs spend playing with toys? What would be your dog's idea of The Perfect Toy?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Friday, March 16, 2012

In Love with a Bully

Beautiful Jasmine loves soccer!
Guest Post
In Love with a “Bully”: My First Doberman
Guest Post by Catherine Madera

Until recently, my opinion of the Doberman Pincher was shaped by Hollywood. In films such as Beverly Hills Chihuahua they are predictably typecast… as the bully.

Last November I purchased my first purebred Doberman, a female we named Sweet Country Jasmine. Since then, I have become a huge fan of this dog and continue to be surprised by traits that make them wonderful family pets.  Here are some common myths about this often misunderstood breed. 

Myth: Dobermans are victims of a strange condition where their skulls stop growing but their brains do not. Your sweet Doberman may one day “snap” and become aggressive.

Truth: Not only is that myth physiologically impossible, Dobermans rank # 5 on the list of ten most intelligent breeds. The genetically/temperamentally sound (reputable breeders are always key) Doberman is known for its emotional stability under pressure, something that makes them excellent police and military dogs.

Myth: Dobermans are mean attack dogs.

Jasmine is looking at you!
Truth: Dobermans are a working breed with a keenly honed guarding instinct. This is what they were bred for. However, they are also affectionate and sensitive dogs that can have their spirits damaged easily. A protective instinct, married with undying devotion, make them very good family dogs.

Dobermans are not for everyone. Because of high intelligence they need a lot of mental stimulation. If left to their own devices they can be destructive. They enjoy working, are easy to train, and thrive in obedience. The guarding instinct in a Doberman is strong and well-defined. They are reserved, even aloof, with strangers, the opposite of happy-go-lucky breeds such as the Labrador or Golden Retriever. Jasmine demonstrated obvious protective instinct at only 8 weeks. Because of this, Dobermans should be well socialized. They can be dog aggressive, especially males. This trait is actually part of the breed standard in the AKC.  They need a confidant human partner to give boundaries and training.

 Dobermans have a fairly high exercise requirement and, though a large breed, need to live in the house because of their sensitivity to the cold. Despite their reputation as a guard dog, they are not a breed to be left outside, looking after the property. They crave attention. Jasmine’s favorite place to be is on my lap or sitting on my feet as if she wants to know my whereabouts at all times.

Now nearly 6 months old, Jasmine loves to go for walks and play soccer, something we do every day. She is a very savvy player and watches my feet rather than the ball to figure out which direction I will kick it. Jasmine also loves her special wool blanket. She sits with it and sucks it—literally!—in the morning upon waking and at night before going to bed. We call it her “blankie,” and it’s hilarious. Some mean guard dog!

Fun Breed Fact
Many Dobermans fought, and lost their lives, during World War II where they were used in the South Pacific. Some 40 purple hearts were awarded to various dogs for acts of bravery. There is a life-size statue of a Doberman in Guam with the Marine Corp motto, Semper Fidelis—“Always Faithful.”

Thank you Catherine for sharing about your experience and giving us some insight into this wonderful breed.
Catherine Madera and Eli
 **Guest Post by Catherine Madera, author of YA novel Rodeo Dreams and editor of Northwest Horse Source magazine. She also shares her home with her family, several horses and a min pin named Chloe.

If you have any comments, or questions for Catherine about dobermans, please leave them here and she will respond. Thanks!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wednesday Pet Roundup

Hi and welcome to Wednesday Pet Roundup! Kelly has some spring flowers for you!

* Amazing report on abc news about a musher who gave mouth-to-muzzle resuscitation to his husky on the Iditarod.

* Can dogs help the war on elephant poaching in Africa? tells us about these bloodhounds with a mission!

* Robotic pets? Smart fur? Is it really true? Ubergizmo has more.

* Pythons. Alligators. Monkeys. If you've got an exotic pet you can no longer manage, the Miami Zoo is sponsoring a Pet Amnesty Day Saturday March 10 and will accept unwanted exotic pets which may otherwise be abandoned.

What do you think? Have you ever given an animal mouth-to-mouth? And what is your opinion on owning exotic pets? Or robotic pets, for that matter?!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Messy Job

What is this, you ask?

There's a little spoon inside.  Hint: I was given this at the veterinarian's office.

I'm strangely happy about receiving this because it's designed to contain ...well, poo.
No more collecting samples in tin foil...baggies...margarine tubs.
Now I have just the right tool for the stool!

If you need to collect a stool sample from your dog before her next check up, maybe you can ask your vet of these things (no idea what its called). It might just make a messy job a little easier.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Low Cost Boarding for Tough Times

If you're temporarily in a tight situation such as being evicted,moving, a victim of a disaster such as fire, domestic violence and other situations---and you want to keep your faithful companion animal friend but need time to sort things out, there's help.

My good friend Sharon, of Woof! wrote to tell me about The Safety Net Program of Animal Care & Control of New York City. The Safety Net Program has very affordable boarding rates available through participating veterinarians, boarding facilities, and foster homes. The cost is only $8 per day for dogs, regardless of the size, and $6 per day for cats. Families are always able to visit their pets while being boarded, however animal must be reclaimed within a reasonable amount of time.

This can be a helpful service to those undergoing financial struggles or transitions. Although the cost is lower than most kennels, it still may be impossible for some people, especially over an extended time or if they have several pets. This can help a family  keep their pet while going through a difficult time, and reclaim the pet as soon as they are able.

Pick up the Safety Net super low cost BOARDING CONTRACT or download it from the Safety Net web site at .
Safety Net at 718-544-PETS.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Pooch to 5K motivates Kelly and me

Kelly says "Let's Go!"

Several months ago I attempted the Couch to 5K, a fitness training program for running a 5k, with a gradual increase in intensity. Now, I've discovered a new option: Pooch to 5K! A training program for running with your dog!

Dogs rely upon us to give them what they need for physical fitness. Pooch to 5k is designed to bring your dog from doing nothing much, to comfortably running 5km. And, because you'll be running with your dog, you'll benefit too! Probably the only thing that could get me motivated to run 5k is if my dog really enjoyed doing it with me!

The site is run by Audrey, a veterinarian and Francis, a dog trainer and certified athletics coach. You can visit their blog, subscribe to their newsletter and download their training material.

Exercise can be tough work for some of us (like me!). I know I need a little encouragement to get out there and push myself. And exercising with my dog really makes the experience more enjoyable. That's why I'm going to give it a try and see how far we can go. Check out Pooch to 5k, and you and your dog may soon be on your way to an enjoyable fitness program ...together!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wednesday Pet Roundup

Hi and welcome to Wednesday Pet Roundup! Here's Kelly taking me for a walk. Over my shoulder is my fancy mini tote bag for containing empty (and full) little plastic poo bags!

* ABC News reports that a woman and her dog were reunited after the dog spent 53 days in the dessert. The dog went missing after a car accident in which the woman was badly injured and her husband was killed. The return of her sheltie, Dooley, is giving her the strength to recover.

* According to an article on the Huffington Post, public health official now say it is okay for LA restaurants to allow dogs to join their companions in outside dining areas.

* On the flip side, Reuters shares that new laws placing some restrictions on Tokyo's cat cafes, where people drop in for tea and a snuggle with a cat.

* In the past I've written about Caboodle Ranch, the Florida cat sanctuary where hundreds of cats roam around in their own heavenly village of mini houses, nature paths and more. Today, Huffpost Miami reports that 700 sick cats were just removed from Caboodle Ranch, and authorities report inhumane conditions there.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Hats of Hope Day

Miss Judi, pretty please get better soon!

We're joining other pet bloggers in support of Judi from SASS- Sammy, Andy, Shelly and Sierra. She's known for "hatting" dogs and cats. She's facing some pretty serious health issues now, so Kelly is donning her very cheeriest sunflower hat in her honor, and we hope it will help cheer her up. We're praying for you!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Stella Steals the Show

photo from The New York Post  2/2/12
One of my favorite TV shows is Modern Family, and of course, my favorite character on the show is Stella!

Stella is performed by canine actor Brigitte, an adorable (is there any other kind?) French Bulldog. According to an New York Post article by Michael Starr, she's a favorite of all the cast.

Brigitte was born in South Dakota, and was going to live with a businessman in Russia. Fortunately, the deal fell through and Good Dog Animals swooped in and scooped her up. Good Dog Animals supplies dogs and cats for TV and movies. And Modern Family called!

Modern Family executive director Christopher Lloyd liked her immediately!

Here's Brigitte aka Stella in a scene from the show:

Friday, March 2, 2012

Fun and Games for Cats

I don't share my home with a cat right now, but one thing I know for sure, most cats love to play. My creativity in playing with cats, however, doesn't extend far beyond dangling a piece of string for them to bat. If you'd like to discover unique ways to play with your cat, check out this book:

Fun and Games for Cats by Denise Seidl by Veloce Publishing.

Do you have a cat who turns up his nose if you try to involve him in a game? Or perhaps your cat is a loner, reluctant to interact with you? Maybe you think that cats are impossible to train. This book will introduce you to the games that your cat will want to play, and have great fun doing so!

An expert in cat behavior, Seidl explains some of the many benefits of playing with your cat:
improves communication
increases physical fitness
helps regulate emotions
helps motivate to learn
relieves boredoms
releases pent up energy

The games and puzzles involve hiding treats, using different sounds and textures such as feathers, paper bags, and boxes, and hunting games.

In one game you hide a toy under a small throw rug. It sounds simple, but it is fun to watch the cat work the toy out from under the rug.

Another game is Cat Soccer.  Your cat is the goalie, as you try to roll a small ball past him.

I think any cat owner will enjoy these games and puzzles. I bet your cat will teach you a few variations on the games too!

Paperback • 17x22cm • 128 pages • 191 color pictures
HH4387 • ISBN: 978-1-845843-87-8 • UPC: 6-36847-04387-2

* Hubble and Hattie provided me with a copy of the book to review. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.