Sunday, 17 October 2010

People Who Don’t Like Dogs

“A dog is the only thing on Earth that loves you more than you love yourself” -Josh Billings

I truly believe there is a physiological difference between people who don’t like dogs and those that do. There is also a big difference between “not wanting” and “hating” dogs.

People that do not want dogs are an okay group. It may be that their lives do not allow time for them to properly care for a beloved companion. Others may have allergies, or a true fear of animals. Whatever the reason they choose to not own a dog is acceptable in my world.

It breaks my heart for someone who owns a dog but doesn’t treat them like a part of the family. They only provide the necessities and no companionship. Why then even have a dog? Dogs like humans need love and caring for their well being. For a dog to be tied up or left in a pen outside with minimal contact is incomprehensible to me. If one cannot be good to a creature, how are they going to be kind to a human who is way more demanding than a pet could ever be?

Then there are the people who say they hate dogs. They really bother me! Hate is such a definite statement, people should think twice before saying it. In my opinion it is an insensitive statement from an ignorant and closed-minded person. Their opinions and attitudes are of a hostile nature, right up there with the “I hate this or I hate that” type. I am more of a dog person than a cat person but to say I hate cats would never enter my mind. I don’t hate them, I would just rather not have one as a pet. I feel the individuals who aren’t into dogs are more wrapped up in themselves and emotionally incapable of any particular real depth of feelings or displaying affection. If one has that trait how then can they have any meaningful relationship? I will admit that I am a little biased!

A lot of the people I know who hate dogs, cats, or pets in general are also really picky about a lot of other things. We all know the persnickety anal types who could not stand to clean up a mess or ever get dirty. I don’t understand them and find them to be very cold hearted individuals lacking the nurturing and loving instinct.

My grandmother always told me beware of someone that children and dogs do not like or trust. I have always found this is an excellent measure of a person.

Now I feel much better for getting that off my chest!

Tagged as: animal cruelty

Fable of the Porcupine

I received an email from a dear friend with the “Fable of the Porcupine” and some adorable pictures of a baby porcupine. Not knowing very much about porcupines I searched the internet to learn more. I was very curious if they also could be a pet. Much to my amazement there was a vast array of information on porcupines.

Of course National Geographic has a wonderful informative description of the porcupine. We all know that they are a prickly rodent, but did you know the Latin name means “quill pig”? There are about two dozen species that all have a coat of needle-like quills. Considering there are only two species of beaver, twenty-four porcupine species surprised me.

The quills usually lie flat until the porcupine is threatened. Their soft hair is mixed with sharp quills on their back, sides, and tail. The quills detach easily when touched, but do not shoot out as once thought. An encounter with a threatened porcupine may leave humans and animals with embedded quills that are difficult to remove. The quills will grow again to replace the lost ones. There can be as many as 30,000 quills on a porcupine. It would be a good idea not to threaten a porcupine!

The average life span of a porcupine is 5 to 7 years. There head and body is 25 to 36 inches, and the tail 8 to 10 inches. The weight can be from 12 to 35 pounds. A litter is between one and four. Babies are born with soft quills which harden in a few days. Within two months the young porcupines are ready to live on their own.

To read more visit the National Geographic site

Can they become pets? Yes they can!

A porcupine who thinks it’s a puppy! This 5 year-old porcupine was someone’s pet. He is romping around in circles and jumping in a desperate puppy-like plea for attention, even dropping onto his back for belly rubs.

On 07-20-10 the Huffington Post posted this video and also stated that at HuffPost Green they in no way condone keeping wild animals as pets. (I felt their opinion should be mentioned)

Another “pet porcupine” story told of a little baby weighing about one pound sitting out in a field all alone. The people who found him wrapped him in a jacket and brought him home. Their only intent was to nurse him back to health, fatten him up a bit and then take him back to where they found him. The story was posted about 34 months ago, at that time he was almost a year old, ten pounds and a spoiled porcupine who was named Spike.

According to the owners he is a wonderful pet, very affectionate and loves everybody. His favorite friends are their two dogs and three cats. He interacts and plays with all of them like any other pet would. He is a lot of fun to have around and enjoys being petted. Spike has no idea what a threat is so therefore always has his quills down. Although he is nocturnal he likes to be awake when people are.

People have been know to have skunks, opossums, raccoons, monkeys, and many other odd animals as pets. Bottom line, you be the judge of whether or not you would like a porcupine as a pet! Anything is possible since porcupines are rodents and there are no laws against owning them.

Read the fable and you must admit that it’s a grand way to live.

Fable of the Porcupine

It was the coldest winter ever – many animals died because of the cold.
The porcupines, realizing the situation, decided to group together.
This way they covered and protected themselves;
But the quills of each one wounded their closest companions even though they gave off heat to each other.
After awhile they decided to distance themselves one from the other and they began to die, alone and frozen.
So they had to make a choice:
Either accept the quills of their companions or disappear from the Earth.
Wisely, they decided to go back to being together.
This way they learned to live with the little wounds that were caused by the close relationship with their companion,
But the most important part of it, was the heat that came from the others.
This way they were able to survive.

Moral of the story:

The best relationship is not the one that brings together perfect people, but the best is
when each individual learns to live with the imperfections of others and can admire the other person’s good qualities.

Tagged as: choosing a pet, monkeys, NatGeo, opossums, porcupines, raccoons, skunks

Dog Whisperer – Season 7 Begins Friday


Actress Rhona Mitra and Missi Pyle, Wildlife Expert Casey Anderson and NASA Astronauts Suni Wiliams and Leland Melvin Also Featured in New Episodes This Fall

Season Seven of Dog Whisperer Premieres Friday, October 8, at 8 PM ET/PT

(WASHINGTON, D.C. – SEPTEMBER 14, 2010) Howie Mandel may be a beloved comic and television personality, but his wife’s Chihuahua Lola is not a fan. In fact, every time Howie is around Lola she tries to attack him. If Howie could have his way, he would never go near the dog at all. His OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) makes him content to love animals from a good, comfortable distance. No need to touch them. He does however want to be close to his wife Terry, but Lola won’t let Howie anywhere in sight of her. Before Howie gives up and declares this doggy dilemma a “No Deal,” he calls for backup.

Enter Cesar Millan, The Dog Whisperer – winner of the 2010 People’s Choice Award for Favorite Animal Show. When good dogs go bad – and Lola’s gone bad – Cesar steps in to save the day.

Now entering its seventh season of National Geographic Channel, Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan returns with 15 all-new episodes featuring canine calamity this October. No dog is too much for Cesar to handle. Cesar rehabilitates dogs and trains people. Find out how Cesar helps Howie and Terry deal with little Lola when the new season premieres Friday, October 8, at 8 PM ET/PT. The premiere is timed to the release of Cesar’s new book, Cesar’s Rules: Your Way to Train a Well-Behaved Dog, on sale Tuesday, October 5th.

The world of unfulfilled canines keeps Cesar employed with plenty of dog problems. But he encounters a whole new set of issues while working with dogs that have been crossbred with wolves. In a special episode this season, Cesar enlists he help of wolf-dog expert Jennifer McCarthy to bring balance to three canine hybrids who display the confused behaviors of a while animals trapped in a dog’s body.

Cesar’s influence reached out of this world, literally, when he chatted with United States astronaut Suni Williams via satellite while she served as a flight engineer aboard the International Space Station. Cesar gave Suni some long-distance coaching on how to manage her Jack Russell terrier Gorby when she returned to Earth. Now back safely back on the ground, Suni and fellow astronaut Leland Melvin invite Cesar on a tour of NASA’s mission control in Houston, Texas. It’s not all play and no work though. Cesar makes sure Leland has the “right stuff” to condition his dog Scout beyond bouts of aggressive behavior.

Cesar’s reputation for successfully rehabilitating problem pouches has made him a go-to resource for Hollywood pet owners starring in their own doggy dramas. Actress Rhona Mitra (The Gates, Boston Legal) was drawn to her French bulldog Oscar because of her fondness for pigs, seeing a resemblance. But when Oscar was attacked by a pit bull at age 4, his personality changed for the worse. He now lunges after other dogs when Rhona walks him. She enlists Cesar to help Oscar with the award for best behaved bulldog.

Wildlife expert Casey Anderson is no stranger to wild animals. He and his 900-pound black bear Brutus star in Nat Geo WILD’s series Expedition Wild, and Casey spends a good deal of his time tracking grizzly bears and other fierce predators in North America. But when it comes to the aggressive animals living in his own home, Casey is at a loss. Casey’s wife, film and television actress Missi Pyle, can’t get a handle on her two dogs, Ellie and J.J. Ellie is aggressive toward other dogs, lunging and snapping at them as they leisurely walk by. J.J. likes to join in on the fun, and once the two dogs get started they become completely uncontrollable. Missi looks to her husband for help, but even Casey’s girzzly-taming techniques don’t seem to work, and Cesar is brought in to help Missi and Casey “bear” the burden.

Meghan Plunkett, daughter of former NFL quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Jim Plunkett, began caring for her brother Jimmy’s black-and-white pit bull Gotti after Jimmy unexpectedly passed away in 2008. But once she took ownership of Gotti, he started to exhibit nervous behavior and began barking and lunging at other dog walkers. Meghan’s call to Cesar for help was bittersweet. Jimmy loved watching Dog Whisperer and modeled Gotti’s training on the relationship Cesar had with his dog Daddy. In an emotional and touching story, Cesar works with Meghan and the grieving Plunkett family to help resolve Gotti’s aggression and to begin restoring his confidence and sense of calm.

Season seven features 15 new episodes beginning Friday, October 8 – returning after a summer of fan-favorite encore episodes airing every Friday night.

About Dog Whisperer

Each episode of >Dog Whisperer follows dog behavior specialist Cesar Millan as he goes directly into the homes of dog owners – without any prior information about the dog’s case – and documents the remarkable transformations that take place under Cesar’s calm, assertive guidance.

The hugely popular series has grown into a pop culture phenomenon, including parodies on South Park and Saturday Night Live; references on popular shows including Jeopardy! and Bravo’s series Work Out; appearances on Oprah, Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Martha Steward, Today Show, The View, and Live with Regis and Kelly; and a guest star role for Cesar on the hit series Ghost Whisperer and The Backup Plan. Dog Whisperer has also been nominated three times for the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Reality Program.

About Cesar Millan

With more than 20 years of experience working with canines, Cesar has been called a “Dr. Phil for Dogs,” and for good reason. He has a unique gift of rehabilitating dogs and training their owners. His talent with dogs first developed on his grandfather’s farm in Mexico. His Dog Psychology Center in Los Angeles received as many as 100 calls a week from owners desperate for help and confronting a crisis with their beloved pets. Cesar has now moved his center to Santa Clarita, where he is at work on building a true sanctuary for his canine companions. Often, the dogs Cesar works with are “red-zone cases” that trainers or veterinarians have told the owners to put down. Cesar believes every dog deserves a chance at rehabilitation before such drastic measures should even be considered. His pack of dogs are largely dogs no one thought should be left alive – and they now live in harmony as part of Cesar’s pack, and make frequent appearances on the show. Millan was made an honorary member of the International Association of Canine Professionals and was presented The Michael Landon Award for Inspiration to Youth Through Television at the 28th Young Artist Awards.

Cesar has published four best-selling books, and launched a new magazine, Cesar’s Way, in the fall of 2009. Other things Cesar include the following: The first four seasons of Dog Whisperer are available on DVD; Cesar founded the nonprofit Millan Foundation, providing financial support and rehabilitation expertise to shelters throughout the United States; Cesar has an exclusive product line available at Petco; and he is giving online seminars, “Sessions with Cesar,” an interactive coaching course. Additionally, Cesar’s new magazine – Cesar’s Way – from IMG Publishing is available on newsstands now and features celebrity dog stories and everyday dog lovers who have built a lifestyle around their companions.

For more information about Dog Whisperer, visit

Tagged as: dog whisperer

Saturday, 16 October 2010

A Mini-Tribute to Pets

by Gary Kurz

Pets are amazing creatures. They give and give and give again and expect so little in return. We often focus on the heroics of pets that make the news and celebrate all of them vicariously through the one that becomes a public star, but again, each deserves the spotlight. Here is yet another area of life where animals serve mankind in a very special way.

There are few things in life that give us as much satisfaction as when we are loved and appreciated. When we know that we are important to someone else and that we are on their minds, we have a deep sense of worth and purpose.

Sadly, there is an increasing number of people in society who never enjoy being the object of another’s attention or interest. For one reason or another they live unto themselves. They may be shy or self-conscious, or they may have developed a distrusting spirit for people. Whatever the reason, aside from work and shopping, they have become virtual hermits in society.

Such circumstances do not eliminate the basic need we all have to feel that we are loved and needed. Whether our loner status is the result of being shunned by society or a self-imposed moratorium toward gregarious behavior, the need to feel important remains and there needs to be an accommodation of this need in our lives.

Enter the beloved pet. For those who cannot or will not develop human bonds, there is the alternative of pet friendship. Of course, keeping a pet is something anyone can enjoy. Great relationships with pets are enjoyed by everyone. Still, somehow for those who are lonely for human companionship, it seems they cling more closely to their pets than those of us who balance our lives with both human and animal friends. The pet is all they have. All of their social need is vested in their relationship with that pet.

In all probability, we all know someone like this. To some they may seem odd, almost anti-social. However, it is nothing more than someone trying to fill the basic desire they have for friendship or companionship. No doubt they would prefer to also have human relationships, but again, for whatever reasons, this just is not likely.

A young lady who worked for me while I was on active duty is a good example of this. She was relatively attractive and a nice person. She was a hard worker and did a good job. She was well-liked and friendly. However, she just could not seem to forge a relationship with others. She did not date and she did not have friends outside of work.

She funneled her need for companionship into her pets. She kept cats. In fact, she had nine of them. Her whole life apart from work centered on her animal friends. Her time and money was spent making their lives comfortable. In turn, they made her feel that she was needed and appreciated.

Although one of my majors was Psychology, I am not a licensed practitioner and I do not suppose to have all the answers to anti-social behavior. Still, common sense and experience tells me that people who have difficulty relating to people seldom will change their outlook without professional guidance.

For these people and really for the rest of us too, those animals we label “pets” are God-sends. Much has been written about the courageous and valor of these wonderful creatures who have graced us by walking alongside us through history. There are stories of heroism and bravery, of perseverance and strength. We immortalize our pets with statues and memorials and capture their contributions in song and literature.

They are marvelous creatures at those celebrated levels, but they also fill the gaps and voids in uncelebrated ways. They companion the unwanted. They befriend those that no one else wants. They are everywhere, silently doing their jobs, making those who feel unloved, loved and adding importance to their lives.

The author, Gary Kurz, helps those grieving the loss of a pet to understand the Biblical evidence that proves they live on. His most popular book, “Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates” delivers hope and comfort to the reader in a very gentle, yet convincing way. Visit at (for more information, tips and gifts or write to Gary at

Tagged as: pet loss

Large Parrots as Pets

People often associate the word "parrot" with large, colorful, powerful birds, and rightfully so. As pets, large parrots are certainly bold, eye-catching, dynamic companions. However, not every large bird is a good pet, and not every bird lover is suited to being a large parrot owner.

If you've toyed with the idea of adopting a large parrot, then take a look at the information in my article on Large Parrots as Pets before you do. There are many facets of bird ownership that can slip your mind when you're excited about getting a new pet. Make sure that your enthusiasm doesn't cloud your expectations by thoroughly researching any bird species before brining one home!

Getty Images

Mars Petcare Launches Program to Highlight Health Benefits of Pet Ownership

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Sept. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Mars Petcare today announced the launch of The Power of Pets™, a new community-focused initiative that brings scientific research to life on the ways pets and their owners can help each other live healthier, happier lives.

As the cornerstone of The Power of Pets™ program, Mars Petcare is collaborating with YMCAs in five cities to bring pet-friendly health and physical activity education and programming to communities. The collaboration marries Mars Petcare’s passion for serving pets and pet owners with the YMCA’s longstanding dedication to the holistic health and wellness of the communities it serves. In its pilot year, The Power of Pets™ will roll out at YMCA locations in Washington, D.C.; New York City; Nashville, Tenn.; Chicago; and Portland, Ore.

“Mars Petcare, through its world-renowned WALTHAM® Centre for Pet Nutrition, has long been a leader in researching the meaningful physical, psychological and social benefits that pets bring to individuals and communities,” said Debra Fair, vice president of corporate affairs, Mars Petcare US. “The Power of Pets™ program is the perfect way for us to share this research and really bring these benefits to life. Pets make us healthier and happier so we believe it’s our responsibility to make the world a better place for pets.”

Exercise is a vital component of a healthy lifestyle, and research suggests that owning a pet helps increase levels of physical activity. A recent survey of 1,000 U.S. pet owners conducted by Mars Petcare revealed that more than half of pet owners would prefer to exercise with their pet instead of alone. The survey also revealed that 39 percent of pet owners feel that making sure their pet is more active has made them more active as well.

“At the YMCA, we believe healthy lifestyles are about nurturing the spirit, mind and body – and pets certainly play a role in that,” said Ted Cornelius, Executive Director, Tennessee State Alliance/Pioneering Healthier Communities, YMCA of Middle Tennessee. “We encourage families to play together every day, and incorporating the family pet is a great way to make everyone more active.”

In the coming months, Mars Petcare will sponsor family-focused healthy living fairs for pets and people at the following locations:

* New York City – The Prospect Park YMCA, October 16
* Chicago – The Hastings Lake YMCA, October 23
* Washington, D.C. – The YMCA of Silver Spring, October 24
* Nashville, Tenn. – The Brentwood YMCA, November 6
* Portland, Ore. – Spring 2011

Additional on-going activities, such as community dog-walking programs, will debut in specific markets in the coming months.

Mars Petcare and Human-Animal Interaction

For decades, Mars Petcare – through its world-renowned WALTHAM® Centre for Pet Nutrition – has led the way in research in Human-Animal Interaction (HAI), the scientific field that studies the bond between humans and companion animals. WALTHAM® scientists not only conduct their own research, they have formed a partnership with the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development to fund over $9 million in studies that seek to establish a scientific link between pet ownership and better physical and mental health.

It was Mars Petcare’s long history of leadership in HAI and desire to bring this beneficial information to a larger audience that prompted the creation of The Power of Pets™ program.

“WALTHAM® has established an incredible body of evidence on the health benefits of pet ownership and The Power of Pets™ program will help us translate that research to people and communities,” said Dr. Karyl Hurley, global director of scientific affairs, The WALTHAM® Centre for Pet Nutrition. “With obesity levels rising and health levels falling, we want to contribute our knowledge and expertise to help address those very serious issues, and at the same time, call attention to what we can do as humans to ensure the pets in our lives are also healthy and happy.”

About Mars Petcare

Mars Petcare is the world’s largest petcare manufacturer, with 2009 global sales of approximately $12 billion. Headquartered in Brussels, Mars Petcare produces brands such as PEDIGREE®, WHISKAS®, SHEBA®, CESAR®, ROYAL CANIN®, NUTRO®, GREENIES®, KITEKAT®, CHAPPI®, and CATSAN®. Mars Petcare is also home to Mars Fishcare, Mars Horsecare, Petservices and Banfield ®, the Pet Hospital. The WALTHAM® Centre for Pet Nutrition provides the science behind our leading petcare brands. Mars Petcare is a segment of Mars, Incorporated, a private, family-owned company employing more than 65,000 associates in 68 countries worldwide. Headquartered in McLean, Va., U.S., Mars, Incorporated is one of the world’s largest food companies, generating global sales of more than $28 billion annually.

For more information, please visit

Tagged as: press release, YMCA

Hybrid Parrots: What Do You Think?

The breeding of hybrid parrots has led to an almost endless array of color combinations and other traits within certain birds like Macaws, but many bird lovers argue that breeding hybrid parrots is wrong.

What is your take on the issue? Is it okay for bird breeders to continue hybridizing parrots, or are they tampering in areas that are best left to mother nature? Voice your opinion by filling in the simple form at Hybrid Parrots: What Do You Think? You can contribute your answer and then browse what other bird owners have to say about the breeding hybrid parrots.

Image: / CC BY 2.0