Sunday, 22 May 2011

Expression Explained ?

In George Washington's days, there were no cameras. One's image was either sculpted or painted. Some paintings of George Washington showed him standing behind a desk with one arm behind his back while others showed both legs and both arms.

Prices charged by painters were not based on how many people were to be painted, but by how many limbs were to be painted. Arms and legs are "limbs," therefore painting them would cost the buyer more.

Hence the expression, "Okay, but it'll cost you an arm and a leg."

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Wild Horse Seizure Averted

Mixed Breed Horse 

Mixed Breed Horse
Wild horse preserve operator Slick Gardner recently saved approximately 500 horses owned by two Western Shoshone Native Americans from being seized by the United States Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management, (BLM) and very likely ending up in slaughterhouses.
An agreement reached by Gardner and sisters Mary and Carrie Dann calls for most of the horses to be relocated from Western Shoshone land in Nevada to the Gardner-Arciero Ranch in California.  The others will be sent to a refuge operated by The Fund for Animals in Texas.
The BLM, which claims the horses were trespassing on federal land, had planned to place the animals under the jurisdiction of the Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA). The NDA was going to make each of the horses available for purchase by animal welfare organizations for $50 and then auction off any remaining.
"Most of the horses would have ended up being auctioned off to slaughterhouse operators," said animal welfare activist Steve Barth.
"The rescue of these horses firmly opens the path towards the implementation of the Western Shoshone Goodwill Horse Management Program," Western Shoshone National Council Chief Raymond Yowell stated.  "The preservation of these herds is especially significant given the unique Shoshone heritage of the horses.  The horses have been owned and controlled by Shoshone people for as far back as can be remembered and may in fact constitute their own breed of Indian horses."
"Although the best scenario would have been to leave these horses on their homeland, especially given the good condition of the horses and the potential harm in moving the pregnant mares and new foals, we are thankful to the many individuals and horse groups who have assisted us in finding alternatives to BLM impoundment of these animals," said Julie Ann Fishel, an attorney who represents the Western Shoshone Defense Project.

Friday, 20 May 2011

The Lizardman

Erik Sprague (born June 12, 1972, Fort Campbell, KY ) better known as The Lizardman, is a freak show and sideshow performer, best known for his body modification, including his sharpened teeth, full-body tattoo of green scales, bifurcated tongue, subdermal implants and recently, green-inked lips. There have been rumors of him hoping to get a tail transplant, however those have been debunked because according to Erik himself, it would be impossible.
The Lizardman makes his living as a freak, performing before audiences all over the world. He also makes numerous paid television and public appearances. He has mastered and regularly performs many classic sideshow acts such as the human blockhead, fire eating and breathing, gavage, sword swallowing, the bed of nails, the Human Dartboard, and the insectivore. He also participates in many public and private flesh hook suspension groups and events, and is highly involved in the body modification community. He also writes articles on the Body Modification E-zine. His rock band, LIZARD SKYNYRD, will release a self-titled album in late 2010.
The Lizardman was a Ph.D. candidate at the University at Albany before beginning his transformation. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York.
The Lizardman also hosts the J├Ągermeister Music Tour, with bands including Disturbed, Slayer, and Slipknot.
The Lizardman currently lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife Meghan and their pet ferrets.

Other appearances

The Lizardman had a small part in the 2007 independent mockumentary comedy film Boxboarders!.
On July 24, 2008, the Lizardman was a guest on The Tyra Banks Show.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Cats Shown To Offer Many A Better Night's Sleep

Forty-four percent of respondents to a survey of cat owners in England recently conducted by Cats Protection, the UK’s oldest and largest feline welfare charity, indicated that they "enjoy a better night's sleep with their cat on their bed than with their spouse."
Only 26 percent of the men who were polled agreed with the statement, but a majority, 51 percent, of the women did.
"Those who said they enjoyed a better night's sleep with their cat stated they felt safer and more comforted with their feline," said Cats Protection Head of Promotions, Judy Bernstein.
Among the other advantages of cats cited by respondents were more space on the bed, purring, and an absence of harassment and/or snoring.
A total of 420 individuals took the survey.  All of them were at least 20 years old, but no older than 40.
Most of the individuals – 55 percent – indicated that they would be willing to allow their cats to "hog the covers" in order to make themselves more comfortable, but not permit their spouses to do so.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Alternative Drug-Testing Method Announced

The European Commission for Research (ECR) recently announced a method of testing drugs for fever-causing agents called pyrogens that if widely adopted could prevent the killing in laboratories of approximately 200,000 rabbits per year.

The method, which involves the use of human blood cells grown in test tubes, not only requires less labor than the test for which rabbits are necessary, but is more accurate and cost-effective.

European Union law requires alternatives to laboratory experiments involving animals to be used after they have been proven reliable.

The new method is currently being validated by the ECR.  Its approval is expected to be given shortly.

"The European Union's validation of this new testing method will encourage its broad take-up by industry and reduce the use of animal research," said European Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Software Replacing Animals in Drug Research

The Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI), which is located in Lucknow, India, has begun using a computer program that will allow the organization to reduce the number of experiments it conducts on animals by approximately 90 percent.

The program -- Drug Discovery Assistant (DDA) -- enables medical researchers to test the suitability of selected molecules for use as drugs by checking the molecules against databases containing information about diabetes, dyslipidemia, central nervous system diseases and cardiovascular system disorders.

In addition, the software provides information about currently used, no longer employed, rejected and pending drugs.

"Now only two or three of the trials (for each drug) will be conducted on animals, compared to between 20 and 30 in the past," CDRI Director C. M. Gupta told a British Broadcasting Corporation reporter.

According to New Delhi-based Invenio Biosolutions, which developed DDA, the program not only reduces the need for animals to be used in drug development, but significantly decreases the cost and amount of time involved.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Scientists 'Discover' Emotions In Animals

Researchers working in neurobiology and behavioral observation seem to be learning what pet lovers have known all along: animals have feelings.
New evidence gathered from actually studying dogs, chimps and other animals, supports pet owners' firm convictions that animals experience fear, jealousy, grief and love.
"Five years ago my colleagues would have thought I was off my rocker," said biologist Marc Bekoff. "But now scientists are finally starting to talk about animal emotions in public. It's like they're coming out of the closet."
For example, recent studies show dogs excel at reading human emotional cues which enables them to be equally astute at expressing their own feelings.
Samuel Gosling, a biologist at the University of Texas at Austin, said dogs have proven to be quite emotionally complex. He said there are four dimensions of canine personality: sociability, affection, emotional stability and competence (a word used to represent obedience and intelligence combined).
According to Gosling, these dimensions are "remarkably similar to the four basic categories of human personality found in standard psychological tests."
Veterinary consultant, Dr. Jean Swingle Greek, said the "news" comes as no surprise to her.
"To those of us who share our lives with animals, the surprise was not in the scientific confirmation of the emotions that we take for granted, but more in the fact the scientific community has stayed in denial this long.
"It is amazing that time and resources still need to be wasted convincing some that what looks like distress in a rat, is, in fact, distress," Greek said.
And yet, despite mounting evidence to the contrary, some scientists are still arguing animals have no emotions, that they merely respond to incentives, such as food.
But for Greek, and millions of people who enjoy the companionship of animals, behavioral studies in lab animals has become an oxymoron.
"Either the emotions of animals are like man's, in which case it is wrong to subject them to such tests, or the animals' emotional lives are so different from man that studying their response in the lab is unlikely to ever yield any tangible gains for human health. They simply cannot have it both ways," Greek said.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

David Duchovny Hosts New Film About Abandoned Pets

Clover the dog and Oreo the cat may be a couple of strays, but they are about to change a lot of lives. They are the stars, along with host/narrator David Duchovny, of an inspiring new documentary that explores the lives of abandoned pets.

The film, 'Best Friend Forgotten,' will premiere in more than 20 cities in the US and Canada as part of a Hollywood-style tour from November to February that aims to raise awareness of the pet overpopulation crisis in America.

The red carpet premiere was the idea of the film's executive producer/director, Julie Lofton, a television writer/producer and founder of Give Voice to Animals, a national animal group focusing on creating wide spread media products.

The cities that were selected for the premiere tour have highest populations of stray animals in the nation.

"The plague of pet overpopulation is invisible to most people, and this movie will bring it home to them. They will get to meet the people at their local shelters and join forces with them to help end this crisis," said Lofton.

Up to 50 percent of the funds raised at the premiere will benefit local shelters who are participating in the event.

Remaining funds will go to the sponsors of the tour, Give Voice to Animals, a national non-profit organization that promotes human responsibility to animals through the media.

The theatrical tour is presented in partnership with, a national online pet adoption Web site, and with the assistance of PBS affiliate stations.

The film will also air on PBS Animal Planet Canada this winter.  Director Lofton, a former stand up comedian, decided to get serious about the problem of pet overpopulation after volunteering at a Los Angeles shelter where she saw countless animals euthanized because the shelter was overcrowded.

"Working in the entertainment industry, I saw the media's power to get out a message. I felt the most effective way to promote human responsibility to our animal companions was to make a film that moved and entertained people," said Lofton.

The film is a heartwarming and heart wrenching story that takes viewers on a journey that begins on the streets of Los Angeles and Chicago where Clover, a Lab mix, and Oreo, a black and white cat, are rescued and taken to animal shelters.

The film follows the two through the shelter system where they will either be adopted or meet the fate of millions of other homeless pets who are euthanized.

The film offers a thoughtful and balanced look at the controversial practice of euthanasia and the alternative "no-kill" movement.

"My hope is that this movie will motivate people to go to their local shelter and take home a loving animal companion. For those who have dogs and cats at home, I hope the film will encourage them to spay and neuter their pets," said Lofton.

Actor David Duchovny ('X-files', 'Evolution', 'Return to Me') became friends with Lofton after the two met at a Los Angeles vegetarian lunch spot.

Duchovny, an animal lover himself, hosts and narrates the film with his trademark wit. He appears with a German Shepherd mix Lenny, a stand-in for his own camera-shy pooch. The actor looks into the camera and deadpans, "If my dog Blue is watching at home, this stuff with Lenny, that's just acting?it meant absolutely nothing."

Other entertainment celebrities such as musician Peter Gabriel have become fans of the film.

Gabriel called the film "A brilliant documentary that needs to be seen by anyone who loves animals."

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, also a friend of the animals, appears in the documentary to offer his official view on the problem of pet overpopulation and the $2 billion that it costs the nation every year.

"Animals can't speak for themselves. They can't tell you that they are sitting in shelters waiting for you to adopt them. That's why it's so important for us to get the word out for them. I believe this film will give the animals a voice," said Lofton.

More information about the screenings and Give Voice to Animals can be found online at

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Unsung Hero Rescues 20 Pets From Flood

A 'random act of kindness' during a flood on July 21 saved the lives of 20 pets living at the Versailles Condominium Complex in Hudson, Ohio.
Local veterinary technician Diane Jamieson organized a rescue effort by calling the Hudson Police Department to gain access to the complex, and the owner of the Chalet, a local pet boarding and grooming facility.
Chalet owner Susan Orth agreed to help by housing the displaced animals and lent Ms. Jamieson a pole and some gloves to use in the rescue effort.
Jamieson pestered the police from 8:00 in the morning until 2:00 p.m. that day, when police sergeant Rob Walker escorted her into the building to search for animals trapped inside.
In the interim, she went to the local high school, where evacuees from the condominium complex were taken, to obtain a list of pets.
During the next seven hours, Jamieson rescued pets from remote hiding spots such as piles of debris and the springs under sofas and mattresses. She made three drop-offs to the Chalet that evening by nine o'clock.
One particularly brave cat, a white female named Lily, remained fearless throughout the entire rescue operation. She greeted  Jamieson by rubbing against her ankles and purring, and when asked, went into her carrier without a struggle.
Hudson police Sgt. John E. Lowman said Jamieson was the flood's only creature guardian angel.
"We were thankful. You can plan for only so much," he said. "We didn't expect for three apartment buildings to become uninhabitable. A lot of elderly people live there, and that's all they had were their animals. She's an unsung hero."

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Tough Guys Care For Thoroughbreds At New York Prison


At Walkill Correctional Institute in upstate New York, some street-savvy tough guys tremble before an even bigger adversary: the horses in their care.
Jim Tremper, who runs the program for the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF), said the life-changing ties forged between hardened criminals and their horse charges are incredible.
"The tougher inmates, the ones that are more hardened, are the ones who seem to change the most. Once they don't have a knife or a gun in their hands or aren't empowered by their size, things are different. A horse, particularly a tough one, can keep them in check," Tremper said.
That certainly seems to be the case for Efrain Silva, whose life changed for the better nine years ago when he became the groom for a racehorse way past his prime named Creme de la Fete.
"I fell in love with that horse," Mr. Silva said. "The day I met him, I looked into his eyes. I says, 'I'm going to take care of you, Creme. You watch.'"
Mr. Silva was sentenced to fifteen years to life for shooting a man to death while drunk at a Bronx liquor store in 1981. When he learned that Creme, who had a tumor in his thyroid, had to be euthanized, Efrain Silva wept openly in front of his fellow inmates in the mess hall where he was having lunch.
Creme, Mr. Silva said, was like his second family, and the only creature on earth that he had any meaningful relationship with on most days.
Jim Tremper said he had seen the thoroughbreds change the prisoners' lives as much as they changed the horses'.
But it's not just the inmates who get a second chance at life.
The horses who come to Walkill get there thanks to the efforts of the TRF, the nation's oldest and largest thoroughbred-rescue operation.
For the past 18 years, the prison has worked in partnership with TRF to bring together inmates with former champions, runners-up and perennial losers.
Most of the horses who end up at Walkill have no economic value - other than the $600 they might earn as meat - before they arrive at Walkill to live out their final years. The horses, like the inmates who care for them, are in desperate need of a second chance.
There is Quick Call, a Saratoga favorite, who won at least one race every year from 1987 to 1990. In 86 starts, he won 16 races and earned $807,817.
Or Klabin's Gold, the son of Strike the Gold and Splendid Launch, who won 11 times and had career earnings of $346,179. But as of March 2002, Klabin was finishing last and making next to nothing.
He was found 100 pounds underweight with three fractured legs last December in his stall at Suffolk Downs, a minor track in Boston.
Or Banker's Jet, who earned close to $1 million, who was found standing up to his knees in manure at a riding ranch in upstate New York before he, too, was rescued and found his second chance at life among prison inmates.
Growing concerns about the fate of retired thoroughbred horses have been mounting since the story of Ferdinand, a 1986 Kentucky Derby and 1987 Breeders' Cup Classic champion, was killed last year in Japan and used for pet food.
Exceller, who outran Affirmed and Seattle Slew, becoming the only horse to defeat two Triple Crown winners, met a similar end. After a failed breeding career, Exceller was killed and sold as meat in Sweden.
Monique Koehler, an advertising agency owner, founded the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation and got seed money for the program from a $200,000 fund-raiser held at Belmont Park in 1983.
When the foundation went looking for land, Ms. Koehler discovered that prison systems owned thousands of acres of land that were perfect for horses.
That's when the idea of bringing together inmates who needed to learn a vocational trade and develop compassion for living creatures with horses desperate for respect and care was born.
The foundation also has partnerships with the Blackburn Correctional Facility in Lexington, KY and the Marion County Correctional Institution in Lowell, FL.
TRF provides homes for former racehorses at farms in Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin, and through private adoptions.
A hallmark of TRF is that many of its farms are at correctional facilities (like Walkill) or homes for troubled youths.
It's the best of both worlds for man and horse.
Lorenzo Parker, who is serving time for attempted robbery, now works with Quick Call at Walkill. As he said, "If you never make a million in life, at least you can stand next to a million."

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

New Airline to Cater to Pets

Companion Air, an airline intended to provide low-stress travel for pets and people, will soon begin operating in the United States.

Individuals flying in Companion Air's specially configured planes will be seated in the front, and their companion animals will be placed in a kennel area in the rear. Once flights are underway, individuals will be permitted to visit with their pets if there is no turbulence.

Some of the major airlines allow small pets to travel in the cabin, but larger and/or unaccompanied ones are usually placed in the cargo hold.

Animals in holds often experience stress caused by extreme heat or cold, noise and/or limited oxygen during flights. In addition, animals sometimes are injured or killed while being loaded into or unloaded from holds.

"Stress-free travel for pets and owners is our mission," said Rick Roof, who founded Companion Air with his wife Diana. "We don't think any pet should be considered cargo."
Companion Air plans to keep its fares competitive with those of other airlines and minimize waiting times by making use of smaller planes and airports.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

British Cat Saves Lamb from Drowning


A lamb who escaped recently from his pasture in England was saved from drowning in a swimming pool by an alert cat.

Puss Puss, a black and white cat, discovered the lamb's predicament and frantically meowed, running back and forth between the pool and the garden where her owners were working, to alert them to his plight.

Puss Puss's owners, gardeners Adrian Bunton and Karen Lewis, had taken her along with them to work at the garden of Cotswold District Council chairman Tim Royle in Icomb, Cheltenham.

Jill Royle said, "She was in a very, very agitated state, meowing and calling and crying and being an utter pest and dashing back and forward between them and the pool."
"They found the lamb in the swimming pool," Royle said. "They got it out and it was OK."
When Bunton and Lewis found the lamb he was under the pool cover and his head was entangled in the pool cover straps, which actually were keeping him from drowning.
Bunton jumped into the pool to rescue the lamb while Lewis went to get help.

Puss Puss is "a real little superstar," said Lewis. The actions of the quick-thinking feline are all the more remarkable because she is disabled.

"As a kitten she had an accident and had to have her tail amputated, " Lewis explained. "She hasn't grown properly, has arthritis and can't curl up, jump or climb like other normal cats."

Mrs. Royle wrote about the incident in the village newsletter and told readers, "If you see a little black cat with no tail walking in Icomb, it will be gallant Puss Puss, who deserves a medal."

Monday, 9 May 2011

Believe It Or Not Animal Stories

Knee-On Lights:  In Israel’s Negev Desert, camels are required to wear reflectors on their knees at night.

Better Late Than Never:  Clem, a cat, returned to his owner, Kurt Helminak of Bancroft, Wisconsin, after an eight-year absence.
Pod Squad:  In 1991, a pod of dolphins protected a group of shipwrecked sailors from circling sharks off the coast of Florida.
Purr-fect Foster Mom:  A cat owned by A. W. Mitchell of Vancouver, British Columbia, nurtured 25 baby chicks.
Guard Goose:  A Canadian goose on a farm near Yakima, Washington, has bonded with a Siberian Husky.  It sleeps in the doghouse, shares the dog’s food, and fights other dogs that try to enter their doghouse.
Seeing Eye Horse:  A miniature horse named Twinky has been trained as a guide animal for the blind.  A horse has a life span four times that of a dog, a 350-degree field of vision, and an inexpensive diet – the bale of hay it eats per month costs just four dollars.  Twinky tends to slip and slide at the mall, so he has been fitted with little sneakers to improve his traction.
Did You Miss Me?  Popcorn, a cat owned by Nancy Beecham, disappeared when her family moved from Oahu, Hawaii, to La Mesa, California.  The cat was found seven weeks later in a cat carrier, elated to see her owners after having gone 49 days without food.
Gorilla Grief:  Koko, a gorilla who understands the meaning of at least 500 words in sign language, cried for two days when she was told of the death of her pet cat.
Canine Cat-Scanner:  Ginny, a dog owned by Philip Gonzalez, seeks out and rescues stray cats from Dumpsters, air conditioning ducts, and other dangerous places.  Sometimes she rescues as many as eight injured cats in a week.  There’s even a charity named after her, the Ginny Fund, that provides money to help cats find good homes and to help pay their veterinary bills.
Snooze Alarm:  Novelist Charles Dickens (1812-1870), who wrote many fine classics, including A Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist, had a deaf cat that reminded him when it was bedtime by snuffing out the candle on his desk.
Ruling The Rooster:  O. J. Plomessen of Luverne, Minnesota, owned this rooster named Golden Duke, who could actually pull a carriage containing Plomesen’s baby daughter down Main Street.
My Dog Did My Homework:  Isaac, the calculating canine, is a five-year-old golden retriever that can add, subtract, multiply, divide, and even do square roots.  When Isaac was a puppy, his owner, Gary Wimer, began spending 20 minutes a day teaching him to count.  The puppy loved his lessons and soon began astounding everyone who came into contact with him.  All Wimer has to do is ask the little genius what the square root of 36 is, and Isaac will bark six times.  He even helps Wimer’s six-year-old with his arithmetic.  Now that’s a dog you can count on.
Good Mews:  Fluffy, a kitten owned by Mrs. Clyde McMillan, appeared at the newspaper that had published a want ad asking for its return.
I’m Back!  Trixie, a collie lost from John Eaton’s car in Oklahoma, appeared a month later at her owner’s home in Phoenix, Arizona, a distance of 1,000 miles.
It’s A Good Thing I’m So Smart:  Bobby, a parakeet lost for 18 hours in Withywood, England, was returned to its owner after announcing its name and address.
Leave It To Beavers:  In 1938, 60 beaver colonies in Stony Point, New York, fought back rampaging flood waters.  The dams they built – many of which measured up to 600 feet long and 14 feet wide – were responsible for saving major highways, bridges, and hundreds of acres of valuable land.
Tree Service:  In 1997, Sergeant Cyril Jones, attempting to parachute into Sumatra, crashed into the forest and was suspended in the trees for 12 days.  He survived by eating fruit brought to him by a monkey.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Half-Blind Kangaroo Saves Life Of Unconscious Man


A farmer who suffered serious head injuries after being struck by a falling tree branch was rescued by a partially blind kangaroo who is being hailed as a hero.
Lulu the kangaroo banged on the door of the family's home in Morwell, Gippsland in southeast Australia after discovering the farmer lying unconscious in a field.
According to Rural Ambulance Victoria paramedic Eddie Wright, the man had been checking his property for damage following a severe storm when he was struck by the branch.
Wright said that if Len Richards' family had not found him so quickly, he might have died.
"The kangaroo alerted them to where he was and went and sat down next to him, and that's how they found him," he said.
Richards was taken to an Austin hospital.
Richards' daughter Celeste said, "Lulu and Dad are very close and she follows him around, but we all just love her so much."
About ten years ago, the family found Lulu in the pouch of her mother who had been killed by a car. The authorities allowed them to care for Lulu and adopt her because she is missing one eye.
The Australian Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) has urged the family to nominate Lulu for its National Bravery Award.
"From my point of view, it's a darn good story, and I would hope Lulu is nominated," said RSCPA president Dr. Hugh Wirth.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Leave It To Beavers!

After 15 years of persecution, beavers suddenly have won exalted status in Knowlton, New Jersey, in the shadow of the Kittatinny Mountains according to the Associated Press.  Children sing beaver songs and write essays on ways Knowlton's beavers and humans can live in harmony. 
"The state actually told us we've got some of the smartest beavers in the world," Mayor Frank Van Horn often declares, daring anyone to challenge this sweeping statement.
From schoolchildren to elected leaders, the sharpest minds in this town of 2,800 have failed to find a way to stop the flooding and clogged pipes caused by the beavers' single-minded upkeep of their dams and ponds.
Graceful in defeat, the town now celebrates the creatures' perseverance with the same enthusiasm, beginning with its first-ever Beaver Day this Saturday.
Last year, Knowlton made its surrender official in a document that is equal parts peace treaty, fish story and excuse for a town-wide party.
According to the resolution, the beavers are "long standing residents of the Township of Knowlton, perhaps even longer than the Taylors," and "it has been demonstrated on numerous occasions over the past year that the Beavers of Knowlton Township are both clever and cunning, having thwarted all attempts to dislodge them from their preferred lodge."
The resolution designates the beaver as the town's official animal and gives the mayor the authority to annually proclaim Knowlton Township Beaver Day, "at which time the Deputy Mayor shall dress in the likeness of a beaver during all official functions."
Each morning, the mayor goes to the same woman's home to unblock her pipes. Beavers follow, diligently plugging them up.
In less enlightened times, dams were torn down; in fact, the deputy mayor and his wife-to-be were rumored to don hip-waders on dates.  The beavers simply rebuilt. Engineers proposed beaver-proof pipes, supposedly with too many holes for the critters to clog. Guess again.
Students from Knowlton Township Elementary School offered "Poppy and Rye," a children's book in which deer mice and a porcupine overcome the arrogant beavers who flooded their home.
"I went to Frank and said, 'My fifth grade wants you to read this book because, from what they read in the papers, you need help with beavers,'" Superintendent Mark B. Miller said.
At the height of the man-versus-beast power struggle, the mayor swears beavers began singling out local leaders, gnawing their trees and making "obscene" tail gestures. Said Van Horn: "That was premeditated!"
Whether Knowlton's latest gambit will end its beaver problems remains to be seen, but its past schemes have met with success.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Most Individuals Shown To Say 'I Love You' To Pets

A survey recently conducted by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) has shown that 63 percent of pet owners in the United States and Canada say "I love you" to their companion animals at least once per day.
The poll, which was taken by 1,225 individuals at AAHA-accredited veterinary facilities, also showed that 83 percent refer to themselves as the mother or father of their pets, and 59 percent celebrate their companion animals’ birthdays.
Ninety percent would not consider dating someone who wasn’t fond of their pets.
In addition, 61 percent greet the companion animals first when visiting others who have pets, and 52 percent are better at remembering neighbors’ pets’ names than neighbors’ names.
"There has never been a greater time for our companion animals," said Kathleen Neuhoff, president-elect of the AAHA. "Thanks to advances in veterinary care, as well as a stronger bond between pets and their owners, pets are living longer and healthier than ever before."
The survey was the 11th annual poll of pet owners conducted by the AAHA. 

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Desperate Duck Saved By Coat Hanger

A female mallard duck in Scotland was recently plucked from the jaws of death by two engineers after being sucked in from the sea through a pipe into a power station's water tower.

The men, using only a rope, a couple of coat hangers and a healthy dose of Scottish ingenuity, rescued the duck after workers at Cockenzie Power Station in East Lothian heard a distressed squawking inside the tower at 8:00 a.m. The frightened duck was bobbing around 20 feet down inside the shaft, in imminent danger of getting squashed in the crushing machine.

The workers immediately contacted the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) to help rescue the duck.

"When the SSPCA had difficulty, we called the fire brigade around lunchtime but they found the situation impossible as well because [the duck] kept diving away from their nets," according to a spokesperson for Scottish Power, which owns the power station.

Seven hours later, the duck was still enduring her terrifying ordeal. But at last, engineers Brian McEwan, 50, and Jimmy Miller, 55, came up with an ingenious solution.

"They put a piece of rope with a lasso inside a 25-foot long piece of pipe to stop it from blowing about. They managed to hoop it over the bird's neck and pulled it back up the shaft gently so as not to injure the creature," the Scottish Power spokesman said.

"It was getting a bit dodgy as the turbulence was sloshing her around," said McEwan. "We were quite relieved when we managed to use the lasso to get her out."

After rescuing the duck, workers named her "Lucky" and handed her over to the SSPCA, who returned her to the sea.

"Lucky has now been released back beside her friends," an SSPCA spokeswoman said.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Dogs Shown To React To Music

Two recent studies have shown that the behavior of dogs can be affected by the type of music they are hearing.

When a team of researchers led by Deborah Wells, an animal behaviorist employed by Queens University in Belfast, Northern Island, exposed 50 dogs in an animal shelter to Vivaldis, The Four Seasons, Greigs Morning and other classical pieces, the dogs became calm and laid down.

When the researchers played music by Metallica and other heavy metal bands, the dogs became agitated and began barking.

Pop music and radio talk shows seemed to have little effect.

A similar research project conducted at the Rehoming Center of the National Canine Defense League in Evesham, England yielded comparable results.

"It is well established that music can influence our moods," said Wells. "Dogs may be as discerning as humans when it comes to music."

"Dogs have a taste in musical styles just as people do," said Alison Jaskiewicz, cofounder of the Canine Freestyle Federation, which is dedicated to broadening the scope of dog training by adding choreography to it.  "If you move dogs to different types of music, you will see their preferences reflected in their bodies, in their eagerness to move, in their tail set, in their ear set, etc."

An Arizona Animal Welfare League has started playing classical music to calm animals at its no-kill shelter.
The music comes courtesy of Scottsdale residents Scott Goldberg and Hannah Romberg, who paid for the installation and service for the Muzak system that provides the music continuously via satellite, said Cheryl Weiner, the league's Vice President.
A United Kingdom study published in the journal Animal Welfare revealed that shelter animals overwhelmingly spend more time in a relaxed state when exposed to classical music.
Goldberg said he noticed the calming effect of music on his two cats and two dogs, and he wanted to extend the service to the shelter animals.
There are other benefits.
"The dogs bark less and are more relaxed when people visit the shelter," Weiner said. "Visitors stay longer and spend more time with animals, so more may be adopted."

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Cat Saves Owner's Life!

Persistent feline earns place in Hall of Fame
Cat keeps his dying owner awake long enough to call 911

From The Province; The Canadian Press
Tyson is a Siamese cat who is getting the royal treatment after his licks saved the life of his owner.
We're talking a sheepskin-lined carrier, limousine rides, a medal, a certificate, a place in the spotlight and all the cat food he can eat for a year.
Eight-year-old Ty is deservedly enjoying all the pomp and circumstance that comes with being inducted into the Purina Animal Hall of Fame, said his owner, Myrna Birch of Trail.
"I've sailed the Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean, survived a shipwreck in the Red Sea, also survived a plane crash on the island of Crete," Birch said. "But nothing has compared with the emotion I have felt of this guy having saved my life."
From the ceremony in Toronto yesterday, Birch recounted the July night last year that earned Ty his place among animal heroes.
Birch, a retired industrial nurse, said she woke up at midnight and bent to put crunchies down for Ty "and the lights went out. I lost consciousness.
"I kept coming in and out of consciousness because Ty was licking my face and my eyes and my nose and screaming in my ear, just hollering his head off. I would come to and then I would hear this horrendous roaring in my head and then I would pass out again."
Birch, suffering heart failure and fading in and out of consciousness, remembers telling her cat she would die if she wasn't able to reach the phone. After many attempts, she grabbed the cord, yanked the phone to the floor and phoned 911.
"When the paramedics got there, I had zero blood pressure and my heart rate was 20 beats per minute," said Birch, who hours later had a pacemaker installed in hospital.
Birch is sure that if it weren't for Ty, whom she rescued from a Vernon animal shelter, she would be dead.
"He recognized right away that there was something horrendously wrong. If he hadn't been persistent and kept at me, I would have just slowly slipped away. He kept me going," she said. "He is a love muffin. We're having a hoot, indeed."

Monday, 2 May 2011

Dog Walks To Hospital After Being Hit By Car

BELLFLOWER, Calif. An injured 6-year-old German shepherd mix walked himself into a hospital emergency room after apparently being struck by a car, according to animal control officials.

Buddy the dog limped into emergency at Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Bellflower Wednesday and laid down in the waiting area at about 1 p.m., security officer Daniel Carrillo told the Whittier Daily News.

Hospital officials called the Southeast Area Animal Control Authority in Downey, and agency officials picked up Buddy and brought him to the shelter for treatment of a fractured leg, Capt. Aaron Reyes, SEAACA's director of operations.

"We don't know where he got hit by a car, but we're happy he chose the right place to get help," Reyes said.

Through an identifying microchip implanted in Buddy's skin, SEAACA officials were able to locate his owner, who adopted him from the animal shelter about five years ago, Reyes told the newspaper.

Fabian Ortega, Buddy's owner, owns a construction equipment rental business about a block from the hospital, according to the paper.

Ortega said he had been scouring the area for his dog since he ran away about two weeks ago from the yard of the business while the fence was being repaired.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Royal Teeth Tattoo

Would you pay £1,000 ($1,671.05) and spend 6 hours in a dentist chair for a tattoo on your teeth? What if it was commemorating a wedding to which you weren’t even invited to?

British plumber Barmy Baz Franks, 29, got a dentist to use ultrafine brushes and stencils to paint images of the smiling royals. The temporary ivory art – known as “gnasher tats” – will last roughly three months, depending on how much Barmy Baz Franks brushes. The patient says he was just doing his part to help celebrate the April 29 nuptials. “I love the royal family and this was my way of lending my support to their big day,” said Franks.