Monday, March 30, 2009

Sam, the dog next door

A reader wrote to us about the issue he has with his neighbours’ dog. As Sam, the aforementioned dog, howls incessantly whenever his master leaves the house.
The reader complained of a sense of hopelessness as he understands that the owners have no control over their pets’ vocal chords, yet he still agonises for the loss of his peaceful Sunday afternoons. What to do?

Unfortunately, many people struggle with this and unfortunately there is no solution, save moving house (either party), shock collars or even voice-box removal - not much of an option!

Despite the negative attention these animals receive from sleep deprived neighbours, the reason they are howling is because they grieve and miss their owners' attention and presence and not because they really hellhounds, punishing you for some evil past deed.

Friday, March 27, 2009


Recently there was an article in the April issue of Animal Talk that spoke of the first cloned puppy. There was a dog cloning auction where a couple won the privilege of having their late dog, who died of cancer in 2008, cloned in a scientific South Korean project. This issue is very controversial, and to tackle all the ethical and moral debates surrounding it would take many hours and many informed professionals. The main issue that I have with this is that when we contemplate cloning we inevitably have strong reactions pertaining human cloning, but to clone an animal, a pet is accepted enough that all know of Dolly, the cloned sheep, and now we can win the opportunity to have our beloved lost pets cloned too.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Have you ever noticed how you make up stories around your pets behaviour? A friend told us recently how she would sit and watch her animals interact only to notice that she explains their behaviour to whomever she is around. It is quite typical to note animal behavioural patterns and then to try and decode these actions and reactions into little neat boxes that for us, forms part of the characteristics of our pets. When we see two cats playing in the garden with a bug, and chasing it around, we immediately note that one is more successful and always in the lead while the other tries to get a hold of the prey, and as such we connotate personality to our furry friends, for then we can relate which means we can love.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tail Docking

The issues of Tail Docking is a heated argument today that is still quite debateable in many circles but, morally, the deliberate infliction of pain on a defenceless animal is out rightly wrong no matter how you spin this tail.
The SAVC states that ail docking is unethical as there is no justifiable reason to cut a puppies tails off. While in the past it was excused and permitted as reasonable, with today’s knowledge of animal welfare, pain perception and animal psychology it is inexcusable for a vet to perform this service. How do we as pet owners request this, for adopting a pet come with inevitable compromises that we have to undertake, whether it is a few precious ornaments broken from a wayward tail, or some bruises that remind you of your pet's happiness and excitement to see you, the simple and emphatic answer is… deal with it.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Supply and Demand

Recently there was an advertisement for a couple of pure breed puppies, and a reader commented about the absurd price for these furry companions as a few grand for one pup is considered a bargain. It lends one to think about human’s obsession with commodity and possession, and the innate instinct to own and conquer. We put a price on life, not just animal life but human life as well, or in particular. When we advertise a pure breed in a magazine, aren’t we catering for a market of supply and demand? We are succinctly saying that this living being is worth x amount and as such it borders on this superiority complex humans constantly exhibit. While it is easy to say that this is exploitation, we have to consider the fact that we all to buy into it.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Steps To Win Your Pet Over.

How do you make someone love you? Gosh, if we knew the answer to that question I’m sure a few more people would be much happier on this planet. But, we do not, and as such we have the wonderful gift called free will. But pets though, have much simpler needs than we do, and so winning them over is a bit easier. The main ingredients are quite simple, namely; a little food, fresh water, a comfortable home, a comfortable bed and some toys. But let us not forget the main and most integral part of this whole combination. Attention and love. A little bit of the old age adage… give and you shall receive is very appropriate here for if your pet feels valued and loved he will obviously reciprocate…eventually.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Dogging Around

Have you ever noticed how human and animal behaviour is so similar that sometimes it’s difficult to distinguish between the two? Look at the way a dog tilts his head when curious, and correspond that with the way your daughter tilts her head when she doesn’t want to hear what it is you are saying. When your puppy stares into your eyes dolefully, begging you not to leave him, I’m sure you can see your lover in his eyes, asking you to stay just a little longer. Look at the way your cat purrs when content, and the way she gently rubs her head against your arm and think of your baby, contentedly cooing and cuddling deep in your arms. Thus next time you angrily despair about the flower bed that’s been dug up I’m sure you will understand the small cry for attention that your animal companion displays.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Cat Talk

Many dog owners assume that cats are extremely aloof and stand-offish as they don’t show much affection or enthusiasm when with others. But cats do, if only subtly, show just as much emotion as their canine companions do.
When you next look at a feline reclining on the couch, stretching and kneading your precious plush upholstery, know that he or she is utterly content with their life at that moment. When you see your kitten rolling on his back, presenting you with his tummy for a little scratch, believe that, despite the reputation of cats not being straight forward, he does literally just want you to tickle his tummy. A cat is a simple creature, slightly more complicated than a dog, definitely less complicated than a human but unique in their behavioural habits, like all of God's creatures.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Sad Realisation.

A reader wrote to us about a truly horrible experience that she went through. Her little Maltese Poodle passed away after 17 years of loyal and happy friendship. When you lose a pet that is so dear to you it is very difficult to deal with the loss. Many people struggle to come to terms with how deeply they feel when this happens, but as with any loved one, who was constantly there to greet you when you got home, and a huge part of your life, you must grieve. Grieving is a long process that totally consumes you. But as with all difficult things in life, it is imperative that you accept and embrace the sorrow. It will only make you grow and become a wiser person. One of the unpleasant facts we have to face is that our pets will pass in our lifetimes, and at one time or another we have to come to terms with their loss from our lives.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Mommy, Where do dogs come from?

Dogs orıgıns, like every other living (and non-living) species on earth, is a mystery, philosophically speaking that is. But we do know how our pets came into being though. The dog is a subspecies of the gray wolf, and as such retains many characteristics that this ice age species displayed. They are primarily pack animals who travel and coexist in group habitats. The wolves’ body language and primary needs have not altered that much from its ancestors.

The domestication of this animal took place roughly around 15 000 years ago. And as such has become an integral part of human development and life since then. The taming o this species has resulted in an animal that has a keenly developed intelligence and sensitivity to its human counterparts. These social skills have helped them perform many important roles in human history, ranging from hunting to protection and assistance.

Thus, next time you find yourself looking into your companians eyes imagine those of the wild and fierce wolf staring back at you.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

We Are All Related

Throughout history, animals have and always will play a major part in how we interperate and understand our world and ourselves. It is easy to see how we, as sensitive beings find parallels between our behavior and animals, and as such we have created myths and legends so as to both exaggerate and understand the actions of our ancestors and the actions we exhibit as a modern society. A few examples of this incursion of animals into mythology and life is; Romulus and Remus, the brothers raised by a wolf who founded Rome; Asena, a Turkish legend of the product of a blue maned she-wolf and a injured boy who becomes the leader and founder of the Ashına clan; Mowgli, a young boy raised by wolves who becomes the leader of the jungle and finally Tarzan, a hero raised by apes.

It is only natural to assume that this tradition will continue to be a large factor in human history as we will always relate with them, for are we not all animals?

Monday, March 9, 2009

How Did Superman Sleep?

Dog senses are highly developed compared to us humans. We do not look and experience the world as they do and we should be grateful for that little fact. Can you imagine being able to hear noises that span such a range that we would be able to detect the slightest scratch of a mouse at the far side of the house? A dog can hear sounds at four times the distance compared to our limited perception. If that were the case it is fairly conclusive that rest would be a long forgotten memory. It would be even more disturbing if our sense of smell was as sensitive to that of our furry companians we would definitely not be able to cope with the amount of information that is present in our smelly everyday life. Dogs can discriminate smells nearly 100 million times more than humans can!

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Difference Between Cats and Dogs

A reader sent us thıs amusıng emaıl forward that he has recently recıeved, and ıt ıs quıte evıdent that the author of these lıttle facts, ıs defınıtly a dog lover...

Dogs come when you call them. Cats take a message and get back to you when they are good and ready. Dogs will give you unconditional love forever. Cats will make you pay for every mistake you"ve ever made since the day you were born. Dogs will let you give them a bath without taking out a contract on your life. Dogs will tilt their heads and listen whenever you talk. Cats will yawn and close their eyes. Dogs will bark to wake you up if the house is on fire. Cats will quietly sneak out the back door. Dogs will sit, lie down, and heel on command. Cats will smirk and walk away. Dogs will bring you your slippers or the evening newspaper. Cats might bring you a dead mouse. Dogs will greet you and lick your face when you come home from work. Cats will be mad that you went to work at all. Dogs will play Frisbee with you all afternoon. Cats will take a three hour nap. Dogs will sit on the car seat next to you. Cats have to have their own private box or they will not go at all.

And a cat hater!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Forgetful Fıshıes

A recent study has claımed that fısh cannot feel paın, and whıle thıs ıs an ongoıng debate one has to argue that thıs would be a rather convıenıent excuse for avıd anglers and large fıshıng corporatons. But whıle conflıctıng ıntrests may be satısfıed wıth thıs study’s conclusıon ıt ıs not purely a questıon of paın, but a questıon of sensory perceptıon. Do fısh sence threat? And ıf so whıle thıer braıns may not be equıped wıth a nervous system ıt ıs possıble for the anımal to sense danger, just a look at the way they scatter when approached. So many chıldren may feel that thıs ıssue ıs not even debateable, as Nemo and hıs father are quıte real and capable of a large number, ıf not all sensory perceptıon that humans experıence.
Another very apt argument ıs that, just lıke Dorı, the ıssue of fısh wıth a 5 second memory span does not warrent thıs debate, for whıle they may feel paın, ın a few seconds they wıll forget that they do.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Animalistic Idioms

In the Mıddle ages ıt was a common occurance for cats and dogs to walk around on the thatch roof as ıt was the only place anımals could get warm ın the long cold wınters, but as england ıs known for ıts wet and dreary clımate ıt was not unusual for cats and the dogs to slıp on the wet thatch. Hence the sayıng; ıts raınıng cats and dogs. Thıs common ıdıom ıs used even today when ıts raınıng heavıly but how often ıs ıt that we are aware of the orıgans of the sayıngs we use? It ıs very often that these sayıngs have some or another form of anımal analogy ın ıt. A few common examples are; Every dog has ıts day, Barkıng dogs seldom bıte, You cant teach an old dog new trıcks, Curıosıty kılled the cat, To play cat and mouse, let the cat out of the bag, to have kıttens, lıke a cat on hot brıcks among many others examples. Next tıme you use one of these try to ponder the ıdıomatıc roots of the common expressıon.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

To choose, or not to choose.

A reader once wrote to us once about the difficult decision of letting her pet go. How do we, as living human beings, actively and in good conscience make the choice between life and death? She struggled with this paradoxical question as her beloved dog lay in discomfort after an unfortunate accident with a car. When we are faced with situations like this it is easy to understand the obvious hesitancy we have, because we are aware that that power and that the decision is not ours to determine. But as our companions are unable to express there will, it is our responsibility, as friends, parents and trusted caretakers to determine the best course of action when our friends are in pain. It is a personal decision that we make when no other options are available.

Monday, March 2, 2009

SEE more.

Our sensory perception is a rather limited one. This can be seen when we look at our animal companions, for they experience the world rather differently from the way we do. While dogs see no colour, their hearing and smelling senses are amplified. Bats see the world through sonar vibrations, experiencing everything in three dimensions, reptiles see their world in heat, and only through life do they identify. Does it not make you wonder limited our perceptions of the world is? We really don’t have the capabilities to fully understand and appreciate our environment to its fullest extent. The possibilities out there are infinite, for we can only imagine, and never fully comprehend what our world consists of. If we know of so many other layers of the world, is it not idiotic to imagine ourselves supreme beings? If we don’t ever admit to the probability that there are different ways to view existence, then there is truly no limit to the human ego.