How does she not fall in! Another shot of Ambra taking a drink in the fountain at Airole.
How does she not fall in! Another shot of Ambra taking a drink in the fountain at Airole.
Are you ready for doggie trick or treating? We’ve been preparing some of Irie and Tiki’s favorite pumpkin and peanut butter treats, ones that are quick and easy to make. We’ll be…
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In the debate over whether nature or nurture is more important in a baby’s development, there’s one kitten who’s making a big case for nurture – a kitten raised by Siberian huskies who now seems to think she is one!
According to Life with Cats, Rosie was only a few weeks old when she was rescued and taken in by a family in California. The Bui sisters, Thi, Thoa and Tram, a family of animal lovers, already had a trio of beautiful huskies.
The first night Rosie was with her new family she didn’t seem to be doing well so the Buis let her snuggle with Lilo, a motherly, nurturing member of the husky clan. Lilo accepted her job and took it very seriously and soon was protecting and caring for Rosie as if she were her own puppy.
The Buis were a bit surprised by the depth of Lilo’s devotion to the kitten. The husky had never had puppies of her own and had been spayed just the week before Rosie came to stay.
Guide dogs are known to perform incredible duties for the humans they assist but one smart dog has become the first ever guide dog officially trained to accompany his handler on marathon training runs!
According to a story in Runner’s World, Klinger, a two-year-old German Shepherd, is the first dog to be specially trained through a new program by Guiding Eyes for Blind called the Running Guides. Klinger has been trained to assist veteran and triathlete, Richard Hunter.
Hunter’s love for running began when he was in the marines. Although the California resident began to lose his sight in 1989 due to a disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa, he has continued to compete in marathons, triathlons and even Iron Man triathlons.
Klinger serves as Hunter’s general guide dog but his special training will enable Hunter to go on runs without another human alongside.
I think it’s really hard for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere to understand what special place Australia is in terms of biodiversity.
It is largest area in the world that has been isolated from the rest of the continents long enough for evolution to take an entirely different course, but when Europeans came, so much of the biodiversity wound up disappearing. Unfortunately, this is still going on.
One animal I wish we’d been able to study more closely before it became extinct is the pig-footed bandicoot (Chaeropus ecaudatus). This animal was a bandicoot that had evolved something similar to cloven hooves on the front feet. Cloven hooves, are the trademark of the Artiodactyls, the very successful group of placental mammals that includes cows, sheep, goats, deer, and pigs. But here was a bandicoot that had them on its front feet. Its hind feet had a single “hoof,” with two vestigial toes higher up the leg, which were almost like the double dewclaws of a Great Pyrenees or Beauceron.
No other animal, placental or otherwise, has produced such an unusual toe arrangement.
We know very little about this animal. It was rare when Europeans arrived. It’s gone now. We don’t know what killed it off. Cats usually get the blame. The end of aboriginal burning also gets pointed out. Burning created areas where new shoots could pop up, and this omnivorous animal was able to us those areas as its main habitat.
The truth is there just so much we don’t know. There is even debate about how well this animal actually moved and why it would evolve such unusual toes.
We have eye witness accounts, and the animals were reported to be alive as late as the 1950s. But not enough zoologists were interested in them at the time, and they were exceedingly rare. So we’ve got horrible gaps in knowledge about them.
This actually isn’t that unusual. Look up the literature on marsupial moles, which are similarly quite rare and horribly under-studied.
Because the pig-footed bandicoot went extinct only in the 1950s, there is actually a bit better chance that there might be a few living out in some remote region than there is for extant thylacines. For some reason, this animal has never captured the imaginations of any naturalists in the same way the thylacine has.
But here we have a sort of marsupial “chevrotain,” which is every bit as interesting as a marsupial “wolf.”
Parallel evolution is always pretty cool.
It’s a shame that species go extinct before we can learn about them.
Dr. Donna and I recently had a most delightful participant in our Halo Healthy Weight Challenge. Lola was a chubby Pug (quite honestly I don’t think anyone has ever actually seen a slender Pug?!) whose Mom, Heather, was a champ at documenting every little thing Lola ate each day during the 3 month challenge, weighed her conscientiously every week, and had fantastic results, losing pounds, ounce by ounce, every week.
A couple of times Heather got a little frustrated with Lola’s progress. When I sneaked a peek at her food diary I was astonished to see that even though Heather had increased Lola’s exercise and was carefully measuring her daily rations of Halo Spot’s Stew, she had not changed her habits in the treats she gave to Lola.
And boy oh boy, those were some real doozies – popular treats with catchy names but with dreadful ingredients that make me “see red” – like Red Dye #40, an artificial colorant that is banned in human foods in Europe because of its link to cancer. And there were several other ingredients which are proven carcinogens- ingredients you would never let a child eat.
Heather had not stopped to study the ingredient panel except to notice that the calorie count for each treat was low – which is probably true of many people who care about the quality of their dog’s main meal but don’t fuss over what’s in a “few small treats” especially if their dog loves them.
But a few treats will lead to many, depending on how vigilant you are so I thought that including those treats would be a challenge in maintaining Lola’s weight going forward, after she successfully completed the weight challenge. Equally importantly, it might adversely affect the Pug’s lifetime health going forward.
Some of the nasty ingredients in the well-known brands of treats Heather was buying might be in your own treats, too. Please check whether you are giving potentially health-threatening snacks to your dog without realizing it. My book The Dog Bible also has an entire section documenting pet food ingredients to avoid.
Here’s what Dr. Donna recommends as treats for our Halo Healthy Weight contestants (all about 30 calories): zucchini (raw or lightly steamed), 1 cup; green beans, 1 cup; baby carrots, 8; green peas ¼ cup; apple 1/3 cup; broccoli 1 cup; blueberries 1/3 cup; cantaloupe ½ cup.
Myself, I buy brown rice cakes and break each one into 10 or more small pieces and my dogs adore them – no bad ingredients, inexpensive, good fiber, few calories and lots of crunch. I intersperse those with Halo Liv-a-Littles various freeze-dried proteins, so the dogs never know what’s coming next, which makes it more rewarding for them.
And I always have the option to give a good “butt scratch” in lieu of any edible treats – love is its own kind of treat, isn’t it?!
Tracie Hotchner is the author of THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know.
She is also a renowned pet radio host and producer, having spent 7 years on the Martha Stewart Channel of Sirius/XM with CAT CHAT® and even longer with her award-winning NPR radio show DOG TALK® (and Kitties, Too!) that continues to broadcast in the Hamptons and the Berkshires. Her most recent accomplishment is the pet talk radio network she has created on the Internet called The Radio Pet Lady Network.
Halloween is less than two weeks away, and although we’ve already carved a couple of pumpkins (I can’t get enough of the seeds, man; here is my all-time favorite pumpkin seed recipe), I’ve been thinking about carving another (or five) as the holiday gets closer. I genuinely love plain, old school carved pumpkins with uneven triangle eyes and jagged toothless smiles because they remind me of celebrating Halloween as a child. But I’m also a fan of more creative ideas for pumpkin carving, and that’s where today’s 10 Great comes in. While searching for inspiration for unique jack o’ lantern ideas, I came across the projects you see above. They range from beautiful to fun, intricate to simple. I’d love to do something similar to both #1 and #3 over the next couple of weeks.
And if you’re looking for another creative way to decorate your pumpkins this year (one that doesn’t involve having to use a sharp object), click here or on the image above to see the DIY painted pumpkin project we did last year.
Israel’s Mission Discovery Guide by Laan Vander Ray My rating: 5 of 5 stars A visual stunning DVD and accompanying study guide, “Israel’s Mission Discovery Guide” really challenges the reader to discover what it means to be an ambassador for Christ. An in depth dvd from the founder of “That the World May Know” and…
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Hey, Donna, I shared your "A New Dog in the House" handout with a friend who is hoping to bring home his first dog very soon and basically he freaked out and shut down. He thought maybe the content would be better served up in a blogpost, so I tried to share blogposts, but even the title "Boot Camp" (for the story of Tater), was so upsetting to him that he couldn't read it. He promises he's pro-structure (I explained that anxious dogs need this structure every bit as much as boisterous dogs), but he refuses to use these methods on the timid little fluff muffin he's applied to adopt. So… I was wondering if you have any favorite "new dog" resources that wouldn't be quite so intimidating to a soft-hearted first time dog-owner.
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