Monday, April 29, 2013

A Special Service Dog. Ellen Helps Animals. Dog Bites? Toxins Harming Sea Mammals. ‘Trained’ Tama! Why Do We Love Cats? How to Feed Your Cat. Baby Seals. Primate Lab. Gulf Dolphins. Joan of Arc. Vietnam War Ends. William Weds Kate.


For “Mammal Monday”:

Adorable Dog and Teen Swimmer Have a Life Saving Friendship

“Dakota is one special Labradoodle. Day after day, he hangs out at the pool with the swim team. However, he isn't their mascot. He is actually a service dog that is there to keep his owner, Ben Ownby, safe.  Ben is a freshman at Churchill High School that has Type 1 diabetes. That means he must manually inject insulin seven to eight times a day. He can't even use monitors that would be attached his body because he is allergic to adhesives.

That's why Ben has Dakota. The dog can detect Ben's blood sugar levels and know when he is in danger. When they're high, Dakota tugs on a bracelet and when they are low, Dakota will jump on top of Ben.”  More at:


Share This Video to Help Animals

“Wayne Pacelle, President of the Humane Society of the United States, was here to discuss new and important legislation about animals that you need to hear. He and Ellen asked for you to share this video to help raise money for animals.”


Six Tips for Dog Owners to Prevent Biting

“Children are the victims in over 60 percent of all dog bites. They are also the group for whom bites are most often fatal.

As a general rule, State Farm doesn't refuse insurance based on dog breed. The insurer believes a dog's propensity to bite is based on several factors including heredity, obedience training, socialization, health, and the behavior of the bite victim.  The company warns that under the right circumstances, any dog might bite.”     More at:    and:


New Diseases, Toxins Harming Marine Life

A sea otter eating shellfish.

A sea otter eats a clam in Monterey Bay, California.

“Dolphins and other marine mammals weakened by pollution, scientists say.

The dead sea otters arrived at Melissa Miller's Santa Cruz, California, lab with bright-yellow eyes and gums, their livers destroyed.   One by one, Miller, a marine-wildlife veterinarian, eliminated the potential causes of death until "the last thing I was left with seemed so implausible that I thought I was going crazy."  The otters had been poisoned by a "nasty toxin" called microcystin, which is produced by cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae. Such toxins can appear when human sewage and fertilizers run into lakes and rivers, adding nutrients that spur the growth of algae "superblooms," Miller said.

But sea otters stick to the ocean, never entering the polluted lakes and rivers where these blooms occur.  "I said, OK, we have to figure out how the otters are getting into this," said Miller, of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the University of California, Davis.  Miller's sleuthing led her to California's Pinto Lake (map), a water body about 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) from the ocean and so prone to superblooms that Miller said "it'll blow your mind—it looks like fluorescent green paint."  Sure enough, she found that Pinto Lake eventually drains into the Pacific Ocean—close to where the dead otters were found in 2007.

An algae bloom at Pinto Lake, California.An algae bloom in Pinto Lake, California. Photograph courtesy Robert Ketley

Later experiments revealed the algae's toxins can live for long periods of time in shellfish—otters' main diet. Toxins from the polluted lake were traveling downstream into the ocean, Miller concluded, where they were getting into shellfish and killing otters.”  More at:


Tama: Station Master Extraordinaire

“Kishi station in Kinokawa is at the end of the line – the Kishigawa line in Japan.  Financial troubles and a lack of passengers almost shut the station down.  Then, a whimsical informal station manager made friends with the stray cats in the area.  One of them was a friendly little calico named Tama.

In January of 2007, the title of station master was officially conferred on Tama, and she became the first of the feline persuasion to become an executive of a railroad corporation.  Tama rocketed the little town of Kinokawa to stardom.  Now, Kisha station is a destination for hundreds who want to see the adorable celebrity in her home station, which has been remodeled just for her. Watch the video:


Why Do We Love Cats So Much?

social“Humans have been obsessed with cats basically since the beginning of time. Egyptians thought they warded off evil and, in the Middle Ages, they were considered evil themselves. Today... we think they're hilarious. So, why do we love cats so much?”  Read all about it here:


How to Feed Your Cat What She Wants - and Needs

imagesCAGAQ2P4 “A recent study on nutrition and pet cats shows your kitty has the ability to select and combine different types of foods to meet his daily nutritional requirement for protein, fat and carbohydrates.  The study was conducted at the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition in collaboration with scientists from two universities. It was rather elaborate, involving three phases within four separate experiments, six different types of wet and dry commercial cat foods, and 18 domestic cats.

The study cats consistently selected combinations of food that provided about 52 percent protein, 36 percent fat, and 12 percent carbohydrates. These proportions are in line with the results of a 2011 study that represents the most extensive analysis of macronutrient regulation ever conducted on a carnivore.

imagesCA93ORR9 One of the Waltham scientists recommends cat owners offer a combination of wet and dry foods so their pets can mix their own diet and sample different foods. We agree dietary variety is good, but recommend other types of foods in place of dry kibble, which doesn’t provide the moisture cats require.

We also recommend portion-controlled meals, typically a morning and evening meal, rather than free feeding, since most house cats will overeat given the opportunity.”  Complete article at:


Court Dismisses Fur Industry Attempt to Overturn EU Ban on Cruel Seal Products

Humane Society International applauds ruling

The European General Court's ruling only ratifies the EU's brave stance against the shameful and dying Canadian sealing industry. Katie Carrus/The HSUS

MONTREAL — “The European General Court has wisely decided to uphold the European Union’s ban on commercial trade in seal products. The court rejected a spurious attempt by the sealing and fur trade industries and some Inuit representatives to undermine the ban, which plays a key role in curbing the cruel global trade.

“We are thrilled that the European General Court has rejected this shameful attempt by the commercial sealing industry to overturn the EU ban on seal product trade,” said Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of Humane Society International/Canada. “Hundreds of thousands of baby seals have survived the seal hunt in recent years because Europeans have said no to the products of this cruel slaughter. Eighty-six percent of Canadians support the EU’s right to ban seal products, and the sealing industry’s constant efforts to force their products onto an unwilling international market is a true embarrassment to Canada.”” More at:


Harvard Medical School Plans to Close Primate Research Lab

Tom Landers/Globe

“Harvard University announced on Wednesday that it would shut down its primate research center. The facility has been cited for animal welfare violations in recent years, but the university said the closing stemmed from a tough economic climate and shifting strategies.

images[9] About 2,000 monkeys at a Harvard Medical School research center will be moved to other laboratories around the country as the school shuts down the troubled center, an official with the National Institutes of Health said Wednesday.

April D. Truitt, executive director of the Primate Rescue Center, a private sanctuary in Nicholasville, KY., that is home to more than 50 monkeys and apes, said she was “a little skeptical” of Harvard’s claim that the closing had nothing to do with the animal-welfare violations. If the school wanted to put some or all of the monkeys in private sanctuaries, she said, there was plenty of room at facilities around the country. “It’s just a question of money,” she said.”  More at:


Dolphin Deaths in the Gulf Three Years After Oil Spill

“In August 2011, scientists did a comprehensive examination of a 16-year-old male bottlenose dolphin. This dolphin — dubbed Y12 for research purposes — was found near Grand Isle, a Louisiana barrier island that was hit hard during the Gulf oil disaster.  Like many of the 31 other dolphins examined in a recent study, Y12 was found to be severely ill: underweight, anemic and with signs of liver and lung disease. The dolphins’ symptoms were consistent with those seen in other mammals exposed to oil; researchers feared many of the dolphins studied were so ill they would not survive.  Seven months later, Y12’s emaciated carcass washed up on the beach at Grand Isle.

More than 650 dolphins have been found stranded in the oil spill area since the Gulf oil disaster began. This is more than four times the historical average.

More at:


On This Day:

Joan of Arc relieves Orleans, Apr 29, 1429:

“During the Hundred Years' War, the 17-year-old French peasant Joan of Arc leads a French force in relieving the city of Orleans, besieged by the English since October.

During the next five weeks, Joan led French forces into a number of stunning victories over the English, and Reims, the traditional city of coronation, was captured in July. Later that month, Charles VII was crowned king of France, with Joan of Arc kneeling at his feet.

In May 1430, while leading another military expedition against the English occupiers of France, Bourguignon soldiers captured Joan and sold her to the English, who tried her for heresy. She was tried as a heretic and witch, convicted, and on May 30, 1431, burned at the stake at Rouen. In 1920, Joan of Arc, already one of the great heroes of French history, was recognized as a Christian saint by the Roman Catholic Church.”


Operation Frequent Wind begins, Apr 29, 1975:

“Operation Frequent Wind, the largest helicopter evacuation on record, begins removing the last Americans from Saigon.

The North Vietnamese had launched their final offensive in March 1975 and the South Vietnamese forces had fallen back before their rapid advance, losing Quang Tri, Hue, Da Nang, Qui Nhon, Tuy Hoa, Nha Trang, and Xuan Loc in quick succession. With the North Vietnamese attacking the outskirts of Saigon, U.S. Ambassador Graham Martin ordered the commencement of Frequent Wind.

In 19 hours, 81 helicopters carried more than 1,000 Americans and almost 6,000 Vietnamese to aircraft carriers offshore. Cpl. Charles McMahon, Jr. and Lance Cpl. Darwin Judge, USMC, were the last U.S. military personnel killed in action in Vietnam, when shrapnel from a North Vietnamese rocket struck them as they were guarding Tan Son Nhut Airbase during the evacuation. At 7:53 a.m. on April 30, the last helicopter lifted off the rook of the embassy and headed out to sea. Later that morning, North Vietnamese tanks crashed through the gates of the Presidential Palace. North Vietnamese Col. Bui Tin accepted the surrender from Gen. Duong Van Minh, who had taken over from Tran Van Huong (who only spent one day in power after President Nguyen Van Thieu fled). The Vietnam War was over.”


Apr 29, 2011:

Britain's Prince William weds Kate Middleton

“On this day in 2011, Great Britain’s Prince William marries his longtime girlfriend Catherine Elizabeth “Kate” Middleton at Westminster Abbey in London. Some 1,900 guests attended the ceremony, while another 1 million spectators lined the streets of London and an estimated 2 billion people around the world watched on television.”



My daughter, Wendy slept in my bed as it is a memory foam, and she wanted to try it out.  She said that it was great, as she didn’t wake up with a back ache like she usually does.  I slept on the couch, and I'll never do that again. It is fine for taking a nap, but not wide enough for all night.  I didn’t get much sleep. Until I get my Grooming Room made into a second bedroom, any time there needs to be an extra bed, it will be the airbed that is stored in my attic.  It’s time to find it and check it out for leaks.

After our coffee, Wendy took off to visit the patient in the hospital, and then go to their lake house at Somerville.

Pierre, the poodle visiting my neighbors across the street, was coming for me to groom him, so I got ready for that.  Poor Pierre, I told them that he had something really wrong with his left ear last time I groomed him, and now it is getting very serious. He can’t stand to be touched any where near that side of his head and it has even affected his left eye now. 

He wasn’t mean about it, but he kept on whining and shaking his head, and it was very difficult to groom him.  I called his ‘Mom’, so she came over to try to help me, and now she says that she will have her vet look at it.  Why would anyone let their beloved pet go through that for so long?

Jay came up here and worked on one of two 12’ x 6’ driveway gates that he is making for someone.  I have the work tables and tools for doing that here, but we don’t know how he will get it to the site.

The weather was mild and not too hot, so Jay screwed a temporary piece of plywood over the hole at the top side of my screen porch.  That hole will be covered up when we get the extension over my front porch done.   Now, Gumdrop can go out there on the nice days.


Sandra Merrikin said...

People are very irresponsible when it comes to pets. The case you mentioned about your neighbour's dog is just one case. Vets are expensive. If you can't afford to take your pet to the vet, don't own a pet! People also don't pick up after their dogs. That really annoys me to see dog poop on the sidewalk when I go for my walk in the morning. RANT!

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

Thank you for your comment, Sandra.

A lot of pet 'parents' think of ears as not important, but they can affect their pets whole well-being.

It's just like dental care on a pet. Bad teeth can infect their sinuses, eyes, and the infection can even go up to their brain. My Misty had to have extensive dental work when I got her, but we caught it just in time.

A lady who walks her dog past our place learned about picking up after her dog. Every time she let it poop in our front yard, we handed her a baggie!

Happy Trails, Penny, TX