Pets Bring the Spirit of Christmas Alive—All Year Round

Dogs and cat in front of Christmas tree

If the “meaning” and spirit of the Christmas holiday season could be summed up in a single word, that word would be Love. We give and receive it in abundance among our friends and family members…and then, after New Year’s Day, all that good cheer subsides a bit as we return to our daily routines. But when it comes to our pets, somehow that feeling lasts all year long. They never get tired of us; they always love us; and when they wake up, every day for them is like Christmas morning all over again. Continue reading

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5 Halloween Pet Safety Tips [Infographic]

Dog playing with pumpkin

Festive Halloween “nightmares” can be fun for children and grownups alike. For dogs and cats, however, they can just be—well, nightmares. All the loud, unfamiliar activities associated with the holiday are sure to put your pet on high alert, potentially making for an unpleasant experience. Minimize the stress (and worse!) by heeding the advice contained in this infographic. Continue reading

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When Disaster Strikes: Don’t Forget to Include Pets in Your Planning!

Space Station view of Hurricane Florence

“We cannot stop natural disasters but we can arm ourselves with knowledge: so many lives wouldn’t have to be lost if there was enough disaster preparedness.”
~ Petra Němcová
Co-founder and vice chair of All Hands And Hearts—Smart Response

The recent Hurricane Florence—whose tragically disruptive effects are still being felt in the Carolinas weeks after it made landfall on September 14, 2018—is a stark reminder of the importance of emergency preparedness, not just for the personal safety of ourselves and family members, but also for the animals in our care. After all, dogs, cats, and other types of pets with whom we share our homes are very much considered “family”; and, as such, they deserve to be included in our disaster planning.

The biggest challenge, of course, lies in the fact that the term disaster planning is an oxymoron: disasters, almost by definition, are never planned. Whether fire or flood, blizzard or hurricane, tornado or terrorist attack, they tend to occur unexpectedly, creep up on us with little warning, and create a whole host of possible life-threatening scenarios we can never fully anticipate. The best one can do, then, is try and prepare for the most likely of those scenarios.

Here are three steps you can take to help integrate your animals’ needs into your family’s overall emergency preparedness strategies. The rule of thumb is: what’s best for you generally is what will be best for your pet(s).
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Hog Tattooing Made Easy

Pigs at a farm playing in a trough

Whether destined for market or bred to live on the farm, it is important—and in most areas legally required—that livestock be clearly identified. Livestock identification can take several forms, including tagging, tattooing, electronic implants, high-tech transponders, or a combination of these methods. However, when it comes to hogs, one of the most common methods used is tattooing, as it is less costly than branding, damages the animal’s skin less, and is less painful and stressful to the animal.
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Diary of a Reluctant Cat Rescuer

Charles Darwin quote: The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.

Guest blog by Frank Weaver

“So first, your memory I’ll jog,
And say: A CAT IS NOT A DOG.”
~ T.S. Eliot, ‘The Ad-dressing of Cats’
from Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats

Perhaps it is due to a defect in my character, but the company of animals has for me often been preferable to that of human beings. Not that I am any sort of misanthrope. I like people, and get along well with practically all of them. It’s just that I find the complex machinations of the human mind—how to read it, how to respond to it, what to make of it—quite exhausting at times. Whereas the instincts, behaviors, and personalities of most animals lie much more at the surface, readily accessible if not always understood. Their innocence is profoundly appealing, and thus dealing with them is just easier for someone like me.

So yes, I love animals, all of them. I daresay, they tend to love me back most of the time. And how could it be otherwise?—given that my namesake saint is most famous for his inspiring rapport with birds and every other beast.

St. Francis with the Animals

Saint Francis with the Animals by Lambert de Hondt / Willem van Herp

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Beach Reading for Animal Lovers

Beach book

At long last summer has arrived, July Fourth is just around the corner, and temps are rising to unbearable levels. Time to break out the bathing suits and beach towels! And don’t forget to pack a book or two…or seven. Herewith we present a full week’s worth of vacation reading for you fans of our furry friends (including dogs, cats, cows, pigs, sheep, goats, and more) to enjoy while you soak up the sun.

(Click on a book’s cover image to view editions available from Amazon.)
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The Importance of Pet Rabies Tags

Medieval woodblock print - rabid dog

Woodcut from the Middle Ages depicting peasants fending off a rabid dog [source]

The primary responsibility of any pet owner is to make sure their animal stays happy; and the best way to do that is to keep it safe and healthy. For that reason, a pet ID tag for your dog or cat (attached to the collar, along with microchipping for added protection) ensures a speedy return home if it gets lost. In addition, a rabies tag indicates that your pet has been vaccinated against a frighteningly deadly—yet easily preventable—disease.
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For Fans of Felines,
Five Famous Poems

Japanese Cat Figurines

Celebrating Cats for National Poetry Month

What sort of philosophers are we, who know absolutely nothing of the origin and destiny of cats?
— Henry David Thoreau

The beginning of the relationship between humans and Felis silvestris catus is lost to time. It goes back at least 10,000 years—before even the inhabitants of ancient Egypt “tamed” those early housecats.

And that relationship has always been much more than just a convenient, mutually beneficial domestic arrangement between Man and Animal. Something about the eyes, the attitude, the motion of a cat opens doors into a world beyond the human experience that is exquisitely sensuous and mysterious, even magical.

Because of their own capacity for “seeing beyond” and delving into the mysterious, artists have always been attracted to cats as worthy subjects of their art: drawing, painting, and sculpting them in countless ways to reveal at least a little of that ineffable mystery which surrounds them like an aura. And, of course, for centuries poets have not been able to resist writing about them.
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The ABCs of Hog Tattooing

Hog with ear tattoo and ear tag

One of the most basic goals of good livestock management is to keep track of your animals, which means employing a reliable system of identification. Among the various methods available to positively identify cows, sheep, goats, pigs, and other livestock, the most common include tagging (with plastic ear or neck tags); and, at the high-tech end, RFID (radio frequency identification) using a transponder to relay the animal’s info and location.

Whatever method you adopt, it should be appropriate for the type of animal and the size of the herd. Moreover, since none of the aforementioned methods is completely foolproof—ear tags can fall off, transponders can malfunction—it is prudent to have a redundant identification system in place.

Whether used as the primary system or a backup, one of oldest and the most reliable methods is animal tattooing, which is especially popular among hog farmers. Not only is hog tattooing reliable, it is fast, simple, portable, and cost-effective. It is also suitable for every stage of the hog’s productive life cycle, from piglet to farm to slaughterhouse to market. Last but not least, hog tattooing enjoys the advantage of being a permanent form of identification.
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