Monday, October 21, 2013

Vet Students At Shelters. Black Cats. Gulf's Dolphins. Captive Dolphins. Mouse Bait. Medicine Lodge Treaty. Vietnam War Protest.


For "Mammal Monday":

Texas A&M Vet Students Get Hands-On Experience in Shelter Medicine

image "A new program implemented at the Houston SPCA will provide fourth-year Texas A&M vet students the opportunity to immerse themselves in shelter medicine and animal welfare issues, including rescue and forensics investigations.

During the program, students work closely with HSPCA veterinarians, providing treatment and care of animals, including spays and neuters. The program includes 4 days of surgery, 4 days of intake and triage, and 4 days of fieldwork. Around 130 students are expected to complete the rotation each year, and starting with the 2014 graduating class, every Texas A&M veterinary student will have spent 12 days training in shelter medicine.

Students will be exposed to a large, complex and medically challenging caseload, and they will also gain insight into investigations of animal cruelty, as well as the realities of practicing high volume, high quality shelter medicine. The two-week rotation will also provide students with real world examples of how and why veterinarians must be involved in animal welfare issues."  More at:


5 Fascinating Facts About Black Cats

"Black cats remain the target of many absurd myths, legends, and old wives’ tales. It’s why most black kitties dumped at animal shelters never find new homes. Here are five things you may not know about black felines."

Some cultures view black cats as good luck, including in Europe and Asia.

There are numerous cultural superstitions where a black cat portends good luck. Here are a few examples:

  • In many Asian countries, owning a black cat today is considered lucky.
  • In England, a black cat is good luck – unless you live in Yorkshire and then it is deemed bad luck!
  • In Scotland, a black cat suddenly appearing on your doorstep is a sign of future prosperity.
  • In the 18th and 19th century in Northern Europe, a fisherman’s wife would actively seek out a black cat as it was believed it would ensure her husband’s return home safely after a fishing expedition.
  • In Japan, black cats are a sign of good luck. Many single women seek a black cat as this cat is believed to bring many suitors.
  • In ancient Egypt, the black cat personified the goddess Bast, and was believed to bring good fortune.

Unfortunately, many in the U.S. consider them the opposite, and will take extreme measures to avoid crossing the path of a black kitty. Sadly, this unfounded fear means black cats relinquished to animal shelters have a much harder time finding forever homes.

Some gamblers are particularly wary of black cats. It is believed that if a black cat crosses your path on the way to a casino, you should turn around and go home as you are now marked for a run of bad luck. (I cannot help thinking that this last superstition was created by a gambler’s wife who purposely – and regularly – planted black cats in her husband’s path when he was off to squander the family fortune!)

image Melanism, which is black or nearly black pigmentation (and is the opposite of albinism), is seen not only in domestic kitties, but also in 11 of 36 wild species of cats. The trait is most prevalent in males. Melanism produces yellow irises due to the high levels of melanin in the pigment of black cats.

Melanism may enhance the immune systems of black cats, strengthening their resistance to pathogens.
It's also theorized that black pigmentation may help cats trap prey.

Solid black is a permitted color option in 22 cat breeds registered by the Cat Fanciers Association."  More at:


13 Reasons to Love Black Cats

"You’ve heard the superstitions about black cats being unlucky, right? With Halloween coming up, I wanted to remind everyone of how silly those superstitions are and how awesome black cats really are. Let’s look at some reasons why you shouldn’t judge cats by the color of their fur.

1.  Black cats were worshiped in ancient Egypt, and owning black cats was thought to bring good luck.

2.  Lots of famous cats have been black. Black cats have been featured in popular shows and movies including The Simpsons, Star Trek, Looney Tunes, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and Coraline.

black kitty with moustache

This kitty says, “I mustache you a question.” Do you not like a cat with many neat designs?

3.  Black cats are so elegant. They’re always ready for a fancy black tie affair. Black and white cats, or tuxedo cats, come with some pretty cool coat patterns too, like this guy’s epic moustache.

4.  Black cats are the ninjas of the domestic cat family. They’re practically invisible at night; all you might see is a glowing pair of eyes. Wouldn’t you like to have your very own ninja running silently through your house?

5.  The richest cat in the world is a black cat from Italy named Tommaso. His owner left him $13 million when she died, giving Tommaso a place in the Guinness world records.

6.  Black cats can look good in photos, if you’ve got the right photographer. Read these tips to find out how easy it is to bring out the best in your black cat during a photo shoot.

7.  In Great Britain and Japan, black cats are considered lucky.

black cat

Why not adopt a mini panther?

8.  Black cats are like mini panthers. The Bombay is a lovable breed distinguished by its sleek black coat and gorgeous golden eyes. Their nickname is the “parlor panther,” because of their resemblance to the big cat.

9.  Black goes with everything. Place a black cat on your lap and notice the slimming effect. No matter your décor or color preference, black is the perfect complementary color, much like a black cat’s personality can be the perfect match to yours.

10.  Black fur won’t show up on black clothes, so whether you’re wearing comfy black sweatpants or a little black dress, you won’t have to worry about those little black hairs giving you away as a cat lover.

11.  Lots of sports teams have black as one of their colors, and some teams even have black cats as their mascots. Any Vanderbilt fans out there adopt a black cat for their black fur and golden eyes?

12.  Black cats are just like other cats. They can be loving and sweet or demanding and aloof. Lots of people claim black cats are more loving than other cats, and all of the black cats I’ve known have been very sweet.

13.  Black cats (and black dogs) are usually the last to be adopted. They are half as likely to be adopted as other cats, so they need your help more.

If 13 reasons aren’t enough for you, the San Francisco SPCA has even more reasons adopting a black cat brings good fortune. I hope you’ll consider adopting a black cat (or dog) the next time you’re looking for a new furry member of your family."  From: By Roslyn Ayers, PetSafe Web Content Specialist


From me:  I will be taking care of Midnight's remaining two black kittens next week, as their foster parents are going out of town.  They cannot stay at the Cat Habitat, as in the USA the SPCA does not offer black cats for adoption before Halloween. 

I’d like us all to remember the feral black cats who don’t have laps to sit in, and who risk injury and cruel pranks this Halloween season. They remind us of the violence that haunts humanity far worse than any horror movie character could. I know that once we rid ourselves of the underlying causes like poverty and ignorance, all creatures will be safe. 

Please remember that the Bible tells us not to be superstitious.  Deuteronomy 18:10-12  Leviticus 19:31


Will BP’s Fines Help Dolphins in the Gulf?

Bottlenose dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico. Flickr photo by pmarkham.

Bottlenose dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico. Flickr photo by pmarkham.

"Bottlenose dolphins are dying in unprecedented numbers in the region affected by the BP oil disaster in the Gulf  of Mexico. Dolphins in the most heavily oiled areas are suffering from anemia, painful damage to their lungs and livers, and low hormone levels—symptoms that may be have been caused by oil exposure. Dead bottlenose dolphins continue to wash up on shores along the Gulf of Mexico and populations living closest to the oil spill were hit particularly hard. In fact, a study of dolphins off the coast of Louisiana concluded that the survival prospect for many is grim. And sadly, stillborn bottlenose dolphins have been found at nearly four times historical rates during just the first four months of this year.

It’s not only critical that BP be forced to pay fines that reflect the full magnitude of the damage done to wildlife in the Gulf, but also that the money goes toward restoring the Gulf of Mexico’s delicate ecosystem."   More at:

image"Help protect dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico—urge the Secretary of Commerce to make sure oil spill money is used to restore dolphin  and other habitats."


The Alarming Truth About “Swim with the Dolphins” Programs

image "From the outside looking in, swim-with-the-dolphin (SWTD) programs appear to be a fun, safe opportunity for people to interact with one of the most appealing animals on the planet, the dolphin.

Upon closer inspection, however, like so many wild animal attractions designed by humans for humans, SWTD programs are bad news for dolphins (and they’re not all that safe for people, either). Dolphins are uniquely unsuited to captivity for a variety of reasons including their social structure and natural drive to swim long distances, dive down hundreds of feet, and spend most of their time underwater.

SWTD attractions in countries outside the U.S. pose an even bigger problem due to lack of regulation and poor conditions. Abuses include dolphins kept in small pools surrounded by jagged, rusty fences or near sewage outfalls, diets of rotten fish, disease, and starvation.

Wild SWTD programs are also a bad idea. Studies show that the presence of tourist boats and swimmers among wild dolphin populations is incredibly stressful for the animals, preventing them from resting, feeding, and caring for their young.

If you’re interested in the welfare of dolphins and want to help, avoid SWTD programs, and also consider avoiding resorts, cruise lines and other businesses that promote the exploitation of dolphins for entertainment purposes."  More at:


Please, let the dolphins go

Go to  to find out more.


Taiji, Soon to be the Home of a Dolphin Park?/ Is the Slaughter Simply Tradition?

image "Yes, you all read that title correctly. It seems that Taiji is currently looking into turning one of it's coves into a park where visitors can swim and kayak with dolphins and small whales. The town is apparently trying to transform itself into a place where people around the world can come to and enjoy marine mammals. You will be able to go to Taiji, swim with the dolphins and whales, and then eat imagethem for dinner.  Something just does not sound right about that. I mean that's like going to your favorite zoo or aquarium, going to the food court, and eating your favorite animal. Personally, I wouldn't have the stomach to do that.

The plan is calling for a 69 acre area to be netted off. The whales and dolphins will be taken from the cove and transported to this other cove while those that are not sent to the park will be stabbed to death and sold as food. Taiji's government has stated that they already use dolphins and whales as a part of tourism by allowing visitors to watch animals being freed from "a partitioned off space".

If only those people were aware of just what those animals were being let go from. While on the outside, the idea of this park may appeal to a lot of people who may be interested in these animals, on the inside, those people who go and pay money at the park will most likely be helping to fund the slaughter that will be going on just down the road. Essentially this park will be nothing more than a slap in the face to anyone who is trying to see this slaughter come to an end."  More and graphic pictures at:


Better Mouse Bait.

"Mice don’t spend all their time foraging for food. They also search for bedding materials. Instead of baiting traps with cheese or peanut butter, try cotton balls. Just tuck the cotton into the trap mechanism. While the mouse is trying to tug it free, the trap is sure to spring. You can use the trap again and again without re-baiting, and your pets won’t be tempted by the bait."


On This Day:

Plains Indians sign key provisions of the Medicine Lodge Treaty in Kansas, Oct 21, 1867:

image "On this day in 1867, more than 7,000 Southern Plains Indians gather near Medicine Lodge Creek, Kansas, as their leaders sign one of the most important treaties in the history of U.S.-Indian relations.

With the treaties signed on October 21 and 28, the old idea of a giant continuous Great Plains reservation was abandoned forever and replaced with a new system in which the Plains Tribes were required to relocate to a image clearly bounded reservation in Western Oklahoma. Any tribal member living outside of the reservation would thereafter be in violation of the treaty, and the U.S. would be justified in using whatever means necessary to force them onto the reservation. Likewise, the new policy of "civilizing the tribes" meant that the U.S. would no longer allow the Indians to preserve their traditional ways, but would instead use schools and agricultural education programs to try and eradicate the old customs and assimilate Indians into white culture.

image Although most of the major Plains Indian chiefs agreed to the treaty provisions, they did not necessarily speak for all of their people. The authority of chiefs was always highly provisional, and many bands of Plains Indians considered themselves free to accept or reject such treaties regardless of the wishes of their chiefs. When the full import of the Medicine Lodge Treaty became clear to them, some of these bands refused to abandon their hunting grounds and traditional ways, causing decades of violent conflict all across the West."


Thousands protest the war in Vietnam, Oct 21, 1967:

"In Washington, D.C. nearly 100,000 people gather to protest the American war effort in Vietnam. More than 50,000 of the protesters marched to the Pentagon to ask for an end to the conflict. The protest was the most dramatic sign of waning U.S. support for President Lyndon Johnson's war in Vietnam. Polls taken in the summer of 1967 revealed that, for the first time, American support for the war had fallen below 50 percent.

The rally in front of the Lincoln Memorial started peacefully, though Dr. Benjamin Spock—baby specialist, author, and outspoken critic of the war—did call President Johnson "the enemy." After the rally, the demonstrators, many waving the red, blue, and gold flag of the Viet Cong, began marching toward the Pentagon. Violence erupted when the more radical element of the demonstrators clashed with the soldiers and U.S. Marshals protecting the Pentagon.

The protesters surrounded and besieged the military nerve center until the early hours of October 23. By the time order was restored, 683 people, including novelist Norman Mailer and two United Press International reporters, had been arrested. This protest was paralleled by demonstrations in Japan and Western Europe, the most violent of which occurred outside the U.S. Embassy in London when 3,000 demonstrators attempted to storm the building."



Ray and Shay stayed close to home nursing their sore muscles from clearing those lots.  Jay wanted to work, so Misty and I went to get him. Misty and I had a good long stroll down there while she inspected every new smell.

Jay and I got out the little red black wagon, and loaded it up with extension cords, hedge trimmer, sharp shooter shovel, branch clippers and other tools.  Some obstinate weeds were growing outside the fence, coming inside the fence and into the privet, and they needed to be dug up.  He worked on that, while I trimmed the hedge on the inside of the fence, then he took over.  Jay isn't as picky about trimming the hedge as Ray is, but it had to be done as the recent rains had really made it grow.

Jay also got on a ladder and cut off some annoying low pine tree branches that always seemed to have spider webs at face height.

Then we turned our attention to the workshop, and put away a lot of trim and lumber up in the racks. The tables in there are still holding many jobs waiting to be done, and I hope we can get them all done one day.

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