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Archive for May, 2008|Monthly archive page

Cool tips for hot summer pets

In Uncategorized on May 30, 2008 at 7:55 pm

Summer is officially here. How do I know this? Because my chubby Chihuahua “gave up the ship” (as my dad likes to call it) and refused to go any further on our last walk. He wandered under a neighbor’s tree and collapsed, tongue-out-of-mouth panting. We had to carry him home.

There are certain precautions you should take with your pet now that the “heat is on”—the ASPCA offers a great list of safety tips on their website. Here are a few:

-Don’t make the mistake I made and try to walk your pet too far in the heat. Make sure he has plenty of water and shade if he’s going to be outdoors.

-Though your dog may have his “Feed me!” innocent puppy face perfected, be careful what you feed him during a backyard barbeque. Especially keep alcoholic beverages away from pets—they can cause comas or even death! If your pooch feels left out of the party, try a pet-friendly non-alcoholic beer like Bowser Beer or Happy Tail Ale.

-Keep your pets off the grass if it’s recently been treated with insecticides, they can be harmful if ingested.
Image courtesy SatelliteBeach.org


Friday feline film

In Uncategorized on May 30, 2008 at 7:46 pm

A Tails reader recently introduced me to Henri. And of course, I fell in love. Take a look.

Pet Pic of the Day

In Pet Pic of the Day on May 29, 2008 at 7:24 pm

“My name is Root Beer” by flickr user patricialyn2.

Want your pet’s mug to be our pic of the day? Join our flickr photo group and upload your images.

Pet Renting Bill Gets Hearing

In Uncategorized on May 29, 2008 at 5:57 pm

Pets enrich our lives in so many ways, that it seems strange to criticize a company that helps people who can’t have a pet full-time feel the joy of pet companionship. Yet when I look at Flex Petz critically, I can’t help but think the company’s product isn’t one that I support.

The company, which operates out of New York, L.A., and London, rents pets to people who want the joy of spending time with a dog, without the commitment (and hassle) of actually taking the dog home. According to the company’s website, many of the dogs are rescued from shelters; without Flex Petz, one could logically conclude, these animals may have faced far worse plights.

Except… I find myself thinking that these pets aren’t getting the loving homes they deserve; they are getting passed around from person to person. While I’m sure Flex Petz members have the best interests of the pets at heart, I can’t help but think that at the end of the day, pets aren’t like a video game or a Frisbee, something to be played with and then set aside. As the MSPCA in Boston so eloquently put it, “The practice of renting pets treats dogs and cats as commodities and is not something that is consistent with society’s views toward our ‘best friends.'”

The MSPCA isn’t the only organization in MA that doesn’t like the idea of renting pets. A proposed house bill would prohibit the renting of pets in the commonwealth (Flex Petz has plans to open a Boston branch this year). Supporters of House Bill 4753 can visit the  MSPCA’s website to find more info on how to make their voices heard.

The search is on!

In Uncategorized on May 29, 2008 at 3:24 pm

I love reality TV shows, especially when they have to do with pets! Now I found out (via) that CBS has a new show this fall; America’s Greatest Dog.

About the show: “Calling all talented dogs! CBS is looking for the most extraordinary teams of dogs and owners across the nation to compete for the title of “America’s greatest dog.” From purebreds to mutts, show dogs to stunt dogs, Pugs to Great Danes and agility dogs to dogs who dance the Tango – we want all types of talented canines. The winning team will walk away with bragging rights and a significant cash prize!”

Those interested in competing with their pooches can download an application and fill it out. Let us know! What qualities do you think America’s greatest dog should have?

Pet Pic of the Day

In Pet Pic of the Day on May 27, 2008 at 5:15 pm

“Martini” by flickr user yukagolan.

Want your pet’s mug to be our pic of the day? Join our flickr photo group and upload your images.

Tabby cat credited with boosting railway revenue

In Uncategorized on May 27, 2008 at 3:54 pm

Although she apparently has her own line of merchandise and even a book, this is the first I’ve heard of Tama the Tabby, a stray cat that was named “Station Master” of a Japanese railway company. Awww. Tama has been credited with a 10 percent increase in revenue for the company.

$24 million settlement agreed upon

In Uncategorized on May 23, 2008 at 3:56 pm

More than a year after Menu Foods recalled tainted pet food, a $24 million settlement was filed today in federal court. The cash fund will compensate pet guardians whose dogs and cats ate contaminated food sold by Menu Foods and others. Under the terms of the settlement:

The vast majority of the fund will go to pet owners whose pets were injured or died as a result of kidney failure, which was linked to the contaminant discovered in some of the recalled pet food.

Damages supported by documentation, such as veterinary receipts, may be paid in full. Claimants also could get $900 per claim for undocumented losses, according to the agreement filed in U.S. District Court in New Jersey.

The settlement requires that eligible claimants’ dogs or cats ate a pet food recalled between March 16, 2007, and now. Coverable expenses include veterinary bills, pet food costs, burial costs, replacement pet costs, property damage and lost wages to care for sick animals.

The fund includes only $250,000 to compensate pet owners for food purchases, because most people have already been reimbursed for recalled pet food. Another $400,000 is allocated for people who had pets screened that were found to be healthy.

The settlement will resolve more than 100 lawsuits that have already been filed. While the $24 million is a good start, the larger issue remains: how can we ensure that our pets’ food is safe? One way is through legislation, like the proposed Human and Pet Food Safety Act of 2007. Another way is to be proactive. For example, Natural Balance Pet Foods (one of the contaminated brands), now tests all of its food and consumers can go online to see testing results. It’s not a perfect system… but it’s a good start.

Don’t call it a comeback

In Uncategorized on May 23, 2008 at 2:31 pm

I received an email this morning from Karen Quigley, mom of Elwood, the 2007 World’s Ugliest Dog. “Although we were going to let Elwood retire on top,” she writes, “He has been doing such great work for homeless animals and others spreading his message that ‘it’s OK to be different’ we agreed to enter again.”

Karen and Elwood are both total champs. After winning last year’s contest, Elwood went to work as a goodwill ambassador for homeless pets. He also penned a lovely book, Everyone Loves Elwood, which offers up a heartwarming tale of a homeless pet who finds love in a new home, despite his unusual looks.

One component of the World’s Ugliest Dog contest is online voting, which you can do here. Elwood looks like her has some pretty formidable challengers in the 2008 contest. Our picks for biggest challengers are Pee Wee Martini, 2006 winner Archie, and Princess Chelsea. Which pooch do you think will bring home the prize this year?

When nothing but the original will do

In Uncategorized on May 22, 2008 at 5:11 pm

Saying a final goodbye to a beloved pet is never easy, but one company is trying to make it a wee bit less painful; BioArts International will be hosting an online auction in which the rights to clone a pet will be sold to five of the highest bidders. Say what? That’s right. The “Best Friends Again” program offers those with the money to spare the chance to genetically clone Fluffy or Fido. But this type of everlasting love (everlasting, because if you’ve done it once, why not do it again?) doesn’t come cheap. Bids start at $100,000 and that’s only the opening bid.

I’m not going to sit here and say that the death of a pet is something you get over. On the contrary, I still miss my cat, Kitty, who we put to sleep more than 10 years ago. But since he was put to sleep, we’ve adopted new cats who have enriched our lives. Yes, they are different than Kitty. But would I really want a clone of Kitty? Probably not.

Here’s what I propose: Instead of paying $100,000+ to clone your pet, donate $99,900 to a local shelter or rescue group, and then adopt a new furry friend (I’m guesstimating the adoption fee is around $100 at most shelters). Complete resources for local animal shelters are available on the Tails website.