October 1, 2010

Coyotes: Misunderstood, Out There and Here to Stay


Did you know that our domestic dogs can successfully interbreed with wolves and coyotes? These three are all species in the genus Canis, to which the dog, as you likely know, belongs. This has led to a "genetic mess" that researchers sometimes refer to as "Canis soupus", according to a recent NY Times article on coyotes, Mysteries That Howl and Hunt:

Domestic dogs (Canis familiaris), coyotes (or Canis latrans, meaning "barking dog") and and every kind of wolf, from the red wolf to the Eastern wolf to the gray wolf (Canis lupus), can mate and produce perfectly healthy pups.

It's worthwhile getting to know coyotes, the wily but misunderstood cousin of our beloved domestic dog, since most of them live in suburbia, where a lot of us live. And apparently there are more around than previously thought. This short article will get you started. Here's a clip:

For a better understanding of these mysterious animals, read Coyote at the Kitchen Door: Living with Wildlife in Suburbia by Stephen DeStefano, a wildlife biologist with the United States Geological Survey's Massachusetts Cooperative Research Unit. He narrates the travels of a female coyote, portraying coyotes not as urban "pests" but as animals that deserve our respect.

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September 28, 2010

Amazon Hot New Pet Book Release -- Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It's So Hard to Think Straight About Animals


We humans certainly are ambivalent about our relationships with animals. Ever wondered why dogs are food in some countries, but members of the family in others? Or why we happily wear leather shoes but condemn cruelty to animals? Most of us would say it's okay to feed a mouse to a pet snake, but not a kitten.

Hal Herzog, a professor of psychology at Western Carolina University, is regarded as a leading expert in the psychology of human-animal relations. He looks closely at the ethics and philosophy involved in our animal relationships in his new book, Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It's So Hard to Think Straight About Animals.

Here's a quick take on the book from Super Cool Pets favorite Patricia McConnell, author of The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs:

The book combines stories and science in an accessible way. For example, researchers found that people really DO look like their dogs (at least, people can match which dog goes with which person, a fact I personally would argue is not quite the same thing) and that cat and dog lovers really do have slightly different personalities (dog people are more extroverted than cat people, but ironically, cat people are slightly more likely to be open to new experiences.)

But most of all, the book constantly reminds us that our interactions with animals are in part driven by genetics, in part by culture and experience, and as a result, are often irrational and contradictory. But if you're like me.... they are always fascinating.

Browse Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It's So Hard to Think Straight About Animals.

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August 8, 2010

Sunday Comics -- Breakfast at Ginger's

Super cool find via The Big Picture

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August 6, 2010

William Wegman 2011 Wall Calendars -- Man's Best Friend and Puppies


The William Wegman 2011 calendars are just out if you want to grab a few now to budget your holiday gifts over a few months -- William Wegman Man's Best Friend 2011 Wall Calendar and William Wegman Puppies 2011 Wall Calendar.

Author and photographer William Wegman's many books for children and adults have sold more than 500,000 copies, including the popular Man's Best Friend and its companion calendar, the New York Times bestseller William Wegman Puppies and its companion calendar, plus most recently Fay, a chronicle of his star Weimaraner model Fay Ray.


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August 3, 2010

Three for the Price of One


Photo: Submitted by Scarker @ Reddit

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July 31, 2010

Amazon Hot New Pet Book Release -- An Eagle Named Freedom: My True Story of a Remarkable Friendship

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If you are interested in the spiritual bonds humans form with their pets, here is an inspiring tale for you. When we are lucky enough to spot a soaring eagle above, we admire their majesty and beauty, but don't generally feel all warm and fuzzy. That's why this unusual story by Jeff Guidry, An Eagle Named Freedom: My True Story of a Remarkable Friendship, caught our eye, telling the tale of how the author rehabilitated an eagle who bonded with him during his battle with cancer.

From the moment Jeff Guidry saw the emaciated baby eagle with broken wings, his life was changed. For weeks he and the staff at Sarvey Wildlife Care Center tended to the grievously injured bird. Miraculously, she recovered, and Jeff, a center volunteer, became her devoted caretaker.

Though Freedom would never fly, she had Jeff as her wings. And after Jeff was diagnosed with stage 3 non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2000, Freedom returned his gift. Between sessions of debilitating chemotherapy, Jeff went back to Sarvey and began taking Freedom for walks that soothed his spirit and gave him the strength to fight. When he learned he was cancer free, Jeff's first stop was Sarvey to walk with Freedom. Somehow this special bird seemed to understand the significance of the day. For the very first time she wrapped both her wings around Jeff, enveloping him in an avian hug.

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July 27, 2010

PetScoop: CatWalk -- Some Cats Can Be Walked Happily On a Leash


This CatWalk YouTube clip demonstrates that cats can indeed be walked happily on a leash.

But there are plenty of cats who literally find it a drag. How about your cat?

Check out more cats on leash videos over at Salon.


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July 19, 2010

Increase Litter Box Appeal for Your Cat


A common problem for cat owners is getting their kitties to actually use their litter box. Recently we ran across a helpful article on the subject, 10 Tips for Maximizing Litter Box Appeal. These tips are offered by animal behaviorist Pam Johnson-Bennett, author of Starting from Scratch: How to Correct Behavior Problems in Your Adult Cat where you can find more useful information. A summary of the litterbox tips:

1.  Most cats prefer a soft, unscented scoopable litter. Texture is important to cats and the feel of a soft substrate on their paws is generally more appealing. Also, with a cat's excellent sense of smell, the highly scented litters can be offensive.

2.  Use an uncovered box to allow for maximum comfort and to increase escape potential. Cats, especially in a multicat environment, need to feel they can easily escape from the box in order to prevent being ambushed by a companion cat.

3.  Keep the litter level of the box at about three inches. As you scoop soiled litter, be sure to top off the box to maintain a consistent level.

4.  Scoop waste from the box twice a day. Nobody wants to use an unflushed toilet.

5.  Thoroughly dump used litter and completely scrub the box once or twice a month. If the box still smells after being thoroughly scrubbed then it's time for a new one.

6.  The box should be the appropriate size for your cat. Don't ask a large cat to squeeze into a small box.

7.  In multicat households you should have the same number of boxes as cats.

8.  Don't place litter boxes all in one area. Scatter the boxes throughout the house so lower-ranking cats don't have to pass a higher-ranking cat's area and risk conflict.

9.  Don't locate the litter box near the cat's feeding station.

10.  Don't use litter box liners.

Photo: ScoopFree Self-Cleaning Litter Box. Shop Litter Boxes.

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July 7, 2010

Amazon Hot New Pet Book Release -- A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron


Most of us have wondered about reincarnation, whether people live multiple lives, and if our lives have a purpose. How about our pets? Are they reincarnated and do they have a purpose in life?

Just released, A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron tackles these pithy questions. The story is narrated by Bailey, a wise and funny dog, who finds himself reincarnated and wonders why. He decides there must be a purpose for him to fulfill, and until he does so, he'll continue to be reborn.

W. Bruce Cameron is the author of 8 Simple Rules For Dating My Teenage Daughter, which was adapted into a TV show for ABC, and 8 Simple Rules for Marrying My Daughter: And Other Reasonable Advice from the Father of the Bride (Not that Anyone is Paying Attention)

A Dog's Purpose is available in Kindle edition, too. If you don't yet have a Kindle Wireless Reading Device, click the link for information on the latest generation Kindle.

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June 28, 2010

Amazon Hot New Pet Book Release -- Pukka: The Pup After Merle


You may remember Ted Kerasote, the author of the best-selling and most enjoyable book Merle's Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog. The long-awaited follow-up Pukka: The Pup After Merle is now scheduled for release. The narrative on the author's web-site describes it best:

In 2009 I met Pukka, the pup who won my heart after Merle. This is his story, told in his words and accompanied by about 200 photos that I and others took. Though it's uniquely Pukka's story, it also recounts how puppies grow and learn and become dogs.

Pukka: The Pup After Merle is told in Pukka's voice and is chock full of gorgeous photos of America's West. The book is scheduled for release this fall and is available now for pre-order.

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