Saturday, December 28, 2013

Who Is Pooping on My Lawn?

Do you ever wonder where that dog poop on the front lawn is coming from? You never see which dog in the neighborhood is relieving himself in your yard but there it is, every day.

An apartment complex owner in Massachusetts has solved the poop mystery after repeatedly telling apartment renters to pick up after their dogs. When a dog owner rents one of her apartments, she requires them to have a DNA test done on their dog, and then if she finds a dog poop on the grounds of the complex, she takes a sample.

The apartment manager then sends the dog poop sample to a DNA testing facility and gets the results back in a few days. The dog’s DNA is matched up with the DNA records she has on file from the dog owner’s in the apartment complex.


When she discovers which dog owner is not picking up after his or her dog, the dog owner must pay a fine. If there are repeat offenses, the dog owner must either to move out of the complex or find another home for the dog.

So, if you really want to find out which neighborhood dog is pooping on your lawn, you could try DNA testing. Even if you don’t have a record of the dog’s DNA, the poop sample can be tested for the breed of the dog.

Image Credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ADog_defecation_1.jpg
By Minghong (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Monday, November 25, 2013

What Is My Cat Trying to Tell Me?

If you’re a cat owner; you know all the different sounds and body language your cat uses to communicate with you. Sometimes, however, it’s hard to decipher just what you’re cat is trying to say.

The first thing you want to do when trying to figure out what your cat is feeling is to take a look at his face and eyes. Just like people, cats communicate with their eyes. As the old English proverb says, “The eyes are windows to the soul.” This goes for cats too. I hope that all these signs of communication will help you understand a little better what your cat is trying to tell you.
Two cats content in each other's company.

Size of the Pupils

If your cat is in bright light, it may be difficult to tell what she is feeling because her pupils will be narrow. When your cat is content and feeling calm, her eyes will be narrow, as well.

When your cat has dilated pupils, either she is in a darkened room or she is ready to fight. If your cat’s pupils are dilated, this is not a good time to start playing with her. Her eyes tell you that she feels threatened and you might end up with a painful scratch if you start rubbing her head or belly. You can try to calm your cat down by talking softly but don’t make any sudden movements.

Whiskers Tell the Tale

Your cat moves his whiskers around in certain ways to communicate with you. He also uses his whiskers to determine how close he is to objects and for navigating around in the dark. When you look at your cat, check to see which way his whiskers are pointing.

If the cat’s whiskers are facing forward, this means he does not feel threatened and is happy. Now is your chance to play with him.

When your cat holds his whiskers straight out to the side of his face, this means he is excited and anxious. Your cat holds his whiskers straight out, trying to collect information from the environment. Don’t approach your cat when he is tense but let him decide when he wants to come to you.

If the cat’s whiskers are flat against his face, then he is most likely afraid of something or feeling shy. The best thing to do is to leave your cat alone until he feels more comfortable. Many times, if other cats are nearby, your cat will tense up and hold his whiskers close to his face. You can help by shooing any other cat away.

Ear Positioning

Your cat can hear noises that you cannot, which is why she can become tense when you don’t notice anything is a threat. She also needs her ears for balance and to land on all four feet when jumping from high places.

Ear movement in your cat is a huge sign of communication. If your cat’s ears are pointed forward, it means she is curious about something. She will be focused and alert, checking out her surroundings.

Ears that stand straight up but point slightly backward means that your cat is worried about something and hesitant about what to do. When your cat is frightened, her ears will be flat against her head and you should definitely give your cat space until she calms down.

Telltale Tail

A cat’s tail seems to have a life of its own but your cat knows exactly what his tail is doing at all times. I’m sure you've noticed that sometimes your cat holds his tail straight up in the air and the tip moves back and forth. When he does this, it means he is not afraid but excited about something.

I know when I pat my cat too much, her tail starts wagging back and forth quickly, showing she is getting annoyed with me. If I continue, she grabs my hand with both paws and bites. So, if your cat is waving his tail around, be aware that he is becoming agitated.

What you really should look for is when your cat holds his tail straight out behind him. This tail position is telling you that he is aggressive and wants to be left alone. Sometimes it helps to let your cat hide under a blanket or inside a paper bag to calm down.

Raising the Fur

If you notice the fur on your cat’s back is raised along her spine, it indicates that she is alarmed and feels threatened by a predator of some kind. If you approach your cat while she is like this, you will probably be scratched or bitten. Your cat may also flatten her ears and hold her fur close to her body to make herself seem small, usually backing into a corner. If this is the case, she will definitely attack to defend herself if anything or anyone approaches her. Try not to make eye contact and just let your cat calm down.

Body Language

Crouching down with the front legs indicates that your cat is defensive, especially if her ears are flat. Another sign of aggression happens when your cat arches his back and holds his legs further apart than usual. If your cat gets into this position, he will probably be growling or hissing, as well.

Affectionate Signals

Purring is the most common sign of affection and contentment for your cat but there are other ways to tell that your cat wants your attention. When your cat rubs against your legs, she is saying that you belong to her.

Blinking is another sign of affection, showing that your cat is calm and happy. When your cat licks you, she is affectionately grooming you. Other signs of affection from your cat include bumping her nose or head against you.

Reference:
Cat Fancy: Learn to Read Your Cat's Body Language: June, 2012

Friday, November 15, 2013

Check Out Dogs 101 on the Animal Planet

Have your checked out Animal Planet's Dogs 101 website? The site includes these sections:
  • Choosing the right dog breed
  • Learning about different dog breeds
  • How to take care of your dog
  • Adopting a dog
  • Videos all about dogs

Animal Planet also has a schedule listing for the show, Dogs101, so you can see when the show for your favorite breed is scheduled. For example, on Sunday, Nov. 17, Animal Planet will present a show about Designer Dogs at 9:00 am and at 10:00 am; Dogs 101 highlights Komondor, Samoyed, Shiba Inu and a few other breeds.


Check out the Dogs 101 schedule on the Animal Planet website and set your DVR for your favorite dog breed. It’s really a great informative site for all dog owners.

Image Credit: By Discovery Communications (http://animal.discovery.com/) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Friday, November 8, 2013

Some of My Colored Pencil Pet Portraits.

Just wanted to share a few of my colored pencil pet and wildlife portraits. Hope you like it.

kcurleyart@gmail.com



Thursday, October 31, 2013

Think About Getting Your Dog the Flu Shot

Many people don’t realize that dog can get the flu virus, just like humans. Canine influenza is extremely contagious, especially if your dog attends doggy day care or visits dog parks.

According to veterinarian, Cynda Crawford, dogs spread the flu to each other in the same way that children in kindergarten do. If your dog is in contact with other dogs, you might want to consider vaccinating him against the flu.

The dog flu virus was identified in 2004 when a research team found that it originated from horses. The majority of dogs have a natural immunity to canine influenza but they are still at risk of contracting the virus.
If you travel with your dog, getting a flu shot can help protect him from infected dogs. 

Symptoms are very similar to the flu symptom that people experience.
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Pneumonia, resulting in death for some dogs

Ask your veterinarian if your dog should get the flu vaccine. The shot minimizes the symptoms of the flu and is available for dogs 6-weeks old and over. The flu vaccine is given with two injections, up to one month apart.

Consult your vet about the canine influenza vaccine to protect your dog from symptoms.

Resources:

Dog Fancy: A Flu Shot for Fido?, May 2012

Photo By Sonia Sevilla (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Go Red Sox from Your Little Fan

A friend of mine sent me this photo of her little Yorkshire Terrier in her Red Sox shirt. I thought it was adorable, so I figured I would share. Go Red Sox! This little dog in a Red Sox shirt is ready for the 2013 World Series!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Touching Dog Quotes and Sayings

I hesitate to call my collie a dog – he is my best friend, companion and confidante. When I look at him, I don’t see a dog but a member of my family. Many people don’t seem to understand this relationship but the few who mention dogs in the following quotes, better express my feelings about my dog. These are my favorite, inspirational dog quotes. They give me goose bumps when I read them and some even bring a tear to the eye. I hope you enjoy these touching dog quotes about a dog’s life, death and love as much as I do.



  • He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.-- Author Unknown

  • Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the center of their universe. We are the focus of their love and faith and trust. They serve us in return for scraps. It is without a doubt the best deal man has ever made. -- Roger Caras

  • Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring--it was peace.-- Milan Kundera

  • A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself. -- Josh Billings

  • If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went. -- Will Rogers

  • Petting, scratching, and cuddling a dog could be as soothing to the mind and heart as deep meditation and almost as good for the soul as prayer. -- Dean Koontz, False Memory

  • No matter how close we are to another person, few human relationships are as free from strife, disagreement, and frustration as is the relationship you have with a good dog. Few human beings give of themselves to another as a dog gives of itself. I also suspect that we cherish dogs because their unblemished souls make us wish - consciously or unconsciously - that we were as innocent as they are, and make us yearn for a place where innocence is universal and where the meanness, the betrayals, and the cruelties of this world are unknown.-- Dean Koontz, A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog

  • Dogs, lives are short, too short, but you know that going in. You know the pain is coming, you're going to lose a dog, and there's going to be great anguish, so you live fully in the moment with her, never fail to share her joy or delight in her innocence, because you can't support the illusion that a dog can be your lifelong companion. There's such beauty in the hard honesty of that, in accepting and giving love while always aware that it comes with an unbearable price. Maybe loving dogs is a way we do penance for all the other illusions we allow ourselves and the mistakes we make because of those illusions. -- Dean Koontz, The Darkest Evening of the Year

  • The greatest fear dogs know is the fear that you will not come back when you go out the door without them. -- Stanley Coren

  • References:

    Sunday, August 18, 2013

    Facts About Silkie Guinea Pigs and Abyssinian Guinea Pigs

    Intro
    Silkie and Abyssinian guinea pigs are friendly, active little fellows, which greet you with excited squeaks when you visit them. The main difference between a Silkie and Abyssinian guinea pig is their hairstyles. The Silkie and Abyssinian diet, behavior and communication methods are the same as the other 11 breeds of guinea pigs recognized by the American Cavy Breeders Association.
    Silkie Guinea Pig by Christine Majul

    Silkie Guinea Pig
    The unique characteristic of the Silkie guinea pig (Caviidae porcellus) is his soft, silky, floor length hair. It you enjoy brushing hair, then the Silkie would be a good match for you. Silkie guinea pigs need their hair brushed daily to keep it free of mats, bedding pieces and food remnants. In England, Sheltie is another name for a Silkie guinea pig.  

    Abyssinian Guinea Pig by Just Chaos
    Abyssinian Guinea Pig
    One of the most popular guinea pig breeds, the Abyssinian has whorls of hair on both shoulders, across the back, on both hips and on his rump. The thick, rough hair grows to 1.5 inches. You can keep your Abyssinian’s short coat healthy with weekly brushing to remove dander, bedding particles and food. 

    General Facts
    There’s a color for everyone when it comes to guinea pigs. You can choose white, red, black, chocolate and sandy in striped patterns, tricolors or bicolor . A guinea pig lives from five to seven year but can live one or two years longer with good nutrition and veterinarian visits. A healthy guinea pig should weigh from 1.5 to 2.5 pounds and grow to 8 or 9 inches.Guinea pigs are small, inquisitive pets with big personalities.

    Diet
    When feeding your guinea pig, keep in mind that he needs to eat constantly. Don’t let his small size fool you. Unlike dogs or cats that you feed once or twice per day, a guinea pig’s speedy metabolism keeps him munching all day. Providing a nutritious, vitamin rich diet of high-fiber plant food, such as hay, leafy greens, vegetables and guinea pig pellets will keep your guinea pig happy and healthy . One unknown fact to many new guinea pig owners is that these little guys eat about 40 percent of their own poop, according to veterinarian, Anne Fawcett . This is normal and provides your guinea pig with healthy bacteria for digestion, although many guinea pig owners are squeamish about this habit.

    Communication

    Guinea pigs are very vocal. You will hear your guinea pig chirp, purr, rumble, squeak, chatter, whistle and whine  When your guinea pig squeals or squeaks, he is hurt or afraid. When you feed him, he may whistle and chirp, indicating that food is available. Sometimes guinea pigs chase each other and may whine when the chase is over. 

    References:

    Animal Diversity Web: Cavia Porcellus Guinea Pig 


    2013 Annual Critters USA: Eating Well the Guinea Pig Way: Anne Fawcett, BA, BSC, BVSC, CMVA


    S

    Friday, June 14, 2013

    Gouramis Are Fun Additions to Your Aquarium

    Gouramis are the comedians of the fish world. They exhibit so many unique behaviors that make
    
    them a delight to watch in the fish tank. You can mix and match different types of gouramis too because they are a docile, friendly fish most of the time.

    Read about all the interesting habits of the gourami and pick up a few for your aquarium.

    By Jörn (Flickr: küssender Gourami II) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

    Saturday, June 1, 2013

    How to Teach Your Dog to Go Through an Agility Tunnel

    Is your dog afraid to go into an agility tunnel?
    Does he pull back or run around the tunnel?

    Following these "Tunnel Training Tips" will have your dog charging through the tunnel to meet you at the other end.

    The article gives a step-by-step guide for training tunnels that helps even the most fearful or jittery dog to learn entering straight tunnels, curved tunnels and agility shoots.

    I followed these instructions with my own dog and the tunnel is one of his favorite obstacles now. Good Luck!