Posted: February 27th, 2009 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
Wolves (and dogs) are in-your-face poopers- Scat locations maximize visual impact and odor distribution, study reveals
By Jennifer Viegas–Discovery Channel, as found on MSNBC.com
Wolves do not do their business in any old place, but they instead choose locations that maximize visual impact and odor distribution, according to a new study that may also help to explain why dogs frequently relieve themselves on fire hydrants and other prominent urban landscape features.
The study is the first to examine the physical characteristics of substrates that wild wolves choose for what is called “fecal marking,” when an individual’s feces can provide information to others about territory control, identity, mating status, foraging efficiency and more.
While feces odor dispersal via wind appears to be a factor, author Isabel Barja told Discovery News, “The results of the study indicate that in wolves, visual aspects govern the choice of plants for fecal marking.”
Barja, an Autonomous University of Madrid zoologist, inspected wolf scat in a mountainous region of Spain’s northwest Iberian Peninsula. The area is occupied by at least two Iberian wolf packs containing nine to 10 individuals and multiple lone wolves.
During the study, 101 wolf scats were identified on plants, with 74.8 percent of them placed on conspicuous substrates, indicating they served a marking function. Computer analysis of these choices revealed that plant selection by wolves was not random, with the wily animals consistently defecating on plants of a certain diameter, height and species.
Barja said that, “the wolves select positively only poplar-leaved rock rose, Spanish white broom and maritime pine for fecal marking.” These are plants that can match wolf heights and also that “stood out against the homogeneous background of more common plants.”
She never observed foliage that was killed or even damaged by such marking, but sometimes up to three wolves would defecate on a single, “popular” plant.
The findings are outlined in a paper published in this month’s Animal Behavior.
Where the plants grew was also important. Human-constructed roads wind through the areas where the wolves roam. Taking advantage of these, wolves would defecate on certain plants at crossroads.
“Since crossroads are multi-directional, scats placed at them have a higher probability of being detected,” Barja explained. “Wolves can reach these points from different directions and are therefore more likely to encounter them.”
The same logic may explain why dogs often do their business at particular places when on walks with their owners.
“In an urban setting, a fire hydrant can be a prominent landmark,” Lisa Peterson, director of communications for the American Kennel Club, told Discovery News. “If a dog relieves itself there, other dogs could smell its presence 30 yards away.”
She also said that canines appear to emphasize height when marking with urine, with dogs “trying to pee as high as they can on fences and other objects in their environment.”
Like a person pumping up their chest and muscles to look big and impressive, highly placed urine could suggest the individual may not be one to reckon with.
Peterson added, “That’s probably why when little dogs urinate, they often lift their back leg up as high as possible – sometimes looking as though they’re nearly falling over — because they’re trying to pee as high as they possibly can.”
While fences, fire hydrants and other urban landmarks are usually in no danger of disappearing anytime soon, Barja worries that clear cutting of vegetation in the wild could disrupt wolf fecal marking.
“It is important to maintain the vegetation of the human constructed roads in the territories of the wolves,” she advised.
© 2009 Discovery Channel
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Posted: February 26th, 2009 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
Are you by any chance looking to adopt the most perfect puppy ever? Well here he is! His name is MacGyver- don’t ask, one gets a little creative and goofy when one has named so many dogs- and he is puppy perfection. He is good with all creatures big and small- kids, cats, people and big dogs.
All MacGyver wants to do is give kisses and cuddle. He has very good potty habits–no accidents in the house so far– now who can say that for most puppies his age.
With Best Friend Barzini (150lb Sleeping Mastiff)
He is about 5 months old (still has puppy teeth) and he weighs about 17lbs. MacGyver looks to be a cross between many breeds- a perfect mutt. But if I had to describe him, it would be a Lab crossed with a Whippet. He’s warm and cozy like a Lab but delicate and gently like a Whippet or an Italian Greyhound.
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He was found running in traffic, but is now ready and waiting for his forever home! Could it be you?!?!?
If you are interested please email his foster mom at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact me at email@example.com!
More MacGyver Pics!
MacGyver and Mama
Posted: February 25th, 2009 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »
Aside from being a crazy dog rescuer and an author, I am lucky enough to have a great job at the Center for Governmental Studies in Los Angeles. I am the Director of Video Voter; an innovative media project that seeks to promote a more inclusive democracy by producing voter education programming. That means I produce debates, interviews with candidates, candidate statements and a format called Voter Minutes which explain ballot measures in a brief, easy to understand videos. For this election cycle I decided to take a leap of faith and tried my hand at hosting! Check me out!
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Posted: February 23rd, 2009 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »
Make giving pills easy!
I recently bought 5 bags of Pill Pockets- the best things that were ever invented- for about 40 dollars from Pet Treats Plus. In the store these would have set me back about 60 dollars at least. That’s a pretty remarkable savings considering I go through pill pockets at quite a pace now that Bella is on so many medications. Pill Pockets by they way, are an easy way to trick your dog into taking their pills. You just stick the pill inside the little pocket, and present to your dog. They love them so much that they don’t even notice they have injested a pill.
So that’s a good savings right there, but it’s small potatoes compared to the amount of moola you can save on at least some of your dog’s meds. Check to see if any of the meds your dog is on are actually human medications. It is quite common practice these days to give dogs human medications for everything from anxiety (Buspar, Valium, Lorazapam, Prozac, etc.) to pain and anti-flammation meds (Mobic, Robaxin, etc.) The cost of these prescriptions are often astrinomical at your vet, but did you know that you can have your dog’s prescriptions filled at a regular pharmacy for so much less! Yep! It’s true.
Our little Brownie- my parent’s spaz-tastic Yorkie who we love more than life itself– has a bit of anxiety problem. So our vet prescibed Buspar. Instead of the 60+ dollars we were paying at the vet, my mom goes to Walmart for his medications and it’s just 5 dollars! This is because Buspar is now available in generic. I never thought I’d say this, but GO WALMART!
I recently clued a friend of mine in on this little med-for-less work-around. His dog Gumbo has major anxiety issues and is on Prozac. At his vet he got 7 Prozac pills for 30 dollars and at the Costco pharmacy he got 30 pills for 27 dollars! How great is that? That took the price from about $4.28 per pill down to 90cents a pill. The only hiccup was that the dog’s Prozac was written to be 32 milligram instead of 30. So the Costco Pharmacist had to call Gumbo’s vet. But for an almost 80% savings I’d say it was well worth the cost.
Another thing that makes it well worth the cost, is hearing the Pharmacist announce, BROWNIE ROSENFELD your prescription is ready. Classic!
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Posted: February 21st, 2009 | Author: admin | Filed under: Dog Lifestyle | 1 Comment »
Bella has gone through many doggie beds in her time, and whenever I’ve needed a new one, I’ve always tried to strike the right balance between durability, price and of course cuteness. I’ve tried the more affordable ones but they are almost always disappointing- oddly bunchy, ugly patterns, and of course quick to fall apart. However for her size, a decent dog bed can be well over 100 dollars sometimes up to 250 dollars. Who has that kind of cash right now!
Why are Dog Bed's So Pricey?
So frustrating, particularly when dog beds should be so simple to make! It’s just circles and squares, right?
Being a little on the crafty side, I decided to see what kind of dog bed patterns I could find. I headed out to the fabric store and took a look at their offerings. The patterns looked simple enough on the package, So I bought them and brought them home, where upon a little more investigation- i.e. opening the package to find 7 zillion pieces and directions that made no sense, I decided to take a new approach— I got online and Googled “easy dog bed pattern”. Google really is a dog owner’s best friend.
Sadly my favorite pattern is no longer available online- if you need it I’ll send it to you, by email (firstname.lastname@example.org). But here are a two extremely simple, affordable and fun patterns for the crafty yet- skill challenged among us.
1. Take an old pillow case, stuff with a blanket or an old pillow. Sew in the stuffing, or put velcro on the ends to remove the pillow when needed. Just stuff and stitch.
2. Cut out two large circles of fabric (fleece is a very forgiving and cozy fabric but you can use most any fabrics- even try a towel). To get a nice round circle, create a pattern using your newspaper. On the edge of the paper draw a semi-circle- the radius of the circle will depend on how big your dog is. Take the semi-circle pattern and lay it down on your fabric folded in half. Then cut around the pattern. When you open the fold you have a nice complete circle. Do it again and you have two. Simply sew the edges, leaving a little space so that you can stuff. Turn inside out so the seam is on the inside and then stuff. You can use traditional stuffing which can get pricey, or you can get creative. Use old blankets, towels, even sock. I’ve have gone to discount stores (99cent store, Marshall’s, Anna’s Linens) and bought pillows. I took the stuffing out and used it to stuff my dog beds. Sew up the gap where you stuffed and while it might not be the most perfect thing you’ve ever seen, it’s cozy and dogs love these beds!
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Bella on Her Homemade Bed!
Posted: February 20th, 2009 | Author: admin | Filed under: Dog Health, Dog Lifestyle, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »
One week after radiation Bella is doing so well!
She is still limping a little bit, but it is truly incredible to see how much the radiation therapy has helped to ease her pain. I have to admit I was somewhat suspect of the procedure. But really, there is a noticeable difference. I am very grateful to Dr. Lyons at The Veterinary Cancer Group.
Today Bella insisted on walking all the way around the block, tried to chase some pigeons and somehow convinced my boyfriend to feed her an extra meal. Bella was already a master at giving that puppy dog look. But now she’s upped her manipulation game; adding to her repertoire with a new look that somehow screams, but Mom, I have cancer… you can’t not give me that treat, that spot on the couch, that spot on the bed, that last piece of your bagel, a little bite of your chicken, and so on and so and so on. But of course, I wouldn’t want it any other way.
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Thank you to everyone who has been so supportive. Now go on and spoil your dog like I spoil Bella. That way I won’t feel as though I’m the biggest pushover dog mom I know.
P.S. Isnt’ this the greatest picture of me and girl? My friend Kristin Chalmers took it. She lives in Boston now and she is an amazing photographer. So if you live there check her out at http://www.kristinchalmersphoto.com/.
Have a Great Weekend!
Posted: February 19th, 2009 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »
One of the fun things about living in LA is that there is always something fun and fabulous going on. I do get invited to some of these Hollywood fetes, but probably too much of the time I opt out to stay home in my jammies with Bella because:
1. I love her dearly
2. Bella always thinks I look pretty and thin
3. I never have to put on make-up or high heels for Bella
4. Bella rarely gives me the bitchy LA girl once over.
The A-List Playbook
While the draw to stay home after work yesterday was strong, I fought it off and decided to head to a party at Book Soup for a great new book by E’s Answer Bitch, A.K.A. the lovely and talented Miss Leslie Gornstein. The book, The A List Playbook , is a humorous and thoroughly entertaining “how-to” on Hollywood life. Written in her signature cheeky voice, the guide includes sections like “A-Lister’s Survival Kit,” which includes a puppy, a blackberry, iPod, press clippings, drugs and Chanel sunglasses.
Author Leslie Gornstein
Listening to her read selections from the book was great, you really should get this book, but equally fun was happening upon a group of fellow dog-crazy women. I found them because I overheard one talking about how her vet told her that her dog was overweight and might have hip displaysia. I was like a moth to a flame.
Turns out all the woman in the circle were both beautiful and instead of being a parent to a a human child, we all had dogs. Within about a nano-second each of us whipped out blackberries, pda’s and iphones showing off pictures of our beloved four legged children; each one cuter than the next. We were like a bunch of PTA moms, except we decided that we were far luckier than the mothers of two legged children because none of our kids will ever tell us they hate us, borrow the car or tell us that we are ruining their lives!
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Canine Dog Moms Unite!
Posted: February 18th, 2009 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »
Throughout Mickey Rourke’s triumphant comeback with his film The Wrestler, Rourke has spoken about his entourage of devoted dogs.
In Rourke’s acceptance speach at the GoldenGlobes in January, he thanked his dogs, “Sometimes, when a man is alone, that’s all you got is your dog. And they’ve meant the world to me.” Rourke also brought one four legged friend to the Venice Film Festival- a particularly adorable Chihuahua named Loki. Sadly, on Monday night at the tender age of 18 Loki passed away.
Mickey Rourke & Loki
Loosing a dog, even when they’ve lived a long wonderful life as Loki did, is devastating. Dogs are love and support. The sudden absence of that love can send people into a tail spin. If you need help after the loss of your dog, don’t feel like a freak. Know that it’s totally normal and there are places you can go for support.
Check out the following resources:
Ten Tips on Coping with Dog Loss
State By State Listing of Pet Loss Support Resources
Pet Loss Support Helpline from UC Davis Vet School
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Posted: February 17th, 2009 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
Friends of mine took their adorable Corgi Mutt, Pig and her German Shepherd friend, Lexy, on a fun vacation to Baja California. They literally hopped in their car and headed south. I just had to share these photos of their trip to La Pinta Hotels and The Inn at Loreto Bay- both were very dog friendly spots about a day’s drive due south of LA!
Pig and Lexi enjoying the Hi-Life
Pig and Lexy were welcomed with open arms at the hotels, and as these picture clearly show, they had a very good time South of the Border.
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We love Mexico!
Posted: February 17th, 2009 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »
Traveling with your dog can be a blast, especially now that many hotel chains have gotten smart and changed their policies to allow guests to bring dogs along for the ride. Bella and I have partaken in this fun. We stayed at the Hotel Monoco in Portland, Oregon. Hotel Monoco is part of the Kimpton Group of Hotels which offers some pretty amazing petcare options. Some of their properties (they have hotels across the country and some in Canada) offer a Pet Concierge who can arrange for everything from a dog walker, to Canine Massage, to a Psychic Reading.
So if your planning on taking a trip soon, why don’t you take Fido along . This way you can avoid that sad feeling of leaving him behind, he can get to see a new town and you can save money on boarding.
Visit Kimpton Hotels’ PET FRIENDLY HOMEPAGE to learn more and watch their fun video!
Love Bella & Betsy
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