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  • Behavior Problems? We have answers.Behavior Problems? We have answers.

    Behavior Problems? We have answers.

    Learn about behavior from our team of experts. Whether you have cats, dogs, reptiles, horses or birds, we can help you learn to live with them. Read More
  • All About HorsesAll About Horses

    All About Horses

    Learn about equine science, whether you're an aspiring rider or a long-time owner, we have the latest in products, breeds, and more. Read More
  • Traveling with PetsTraveling with Pets

    Traveling with Pets

    Be sure to check this section out before you hit the road with your pet! We've got a look at pet-friendly hotels, the guidelines of air, train, bus and auto travel, and much more. Read More
  • All About CrittersAll About Critters

    All About Critters

    Take a look at what it means to have ferrets, rabbits, mice, rats, guinea pigs, and more. Read More
  • All About ReptilesAll About Reptiles

    All About Reptiles

    A look at our cold-blooded friends and discovering how to care for these fun loving creatures! Read More
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  • Take Your Dog To Work Week

    While we're lucky enough to spend just about every waking with our dogs and cats, we know a lot of you don't have that luxury. Next week, every one will have the opportunity to take their dogs to work - because it's officially "Take Your Dog To Work Week" (#TYDTWW)!

    Having an official week like this is important for corporations, because if it's done correctly, everyone can benefit from having dogs in the workplace. Dogs promote a happier work environment, can keep employees calm just be being around them, and can give everyone a chance to laugh when they may otherwise not do so. We all know how important laughter is in the workplace.

    Today, you should talk to your boss and see what the office policy is on this holiday next week. If they aren't totally sure about allowing this, we have some office antics that can help even the most reluctant boss change their mind...

    Read More
  • TrackR Uses Crowd GPS To Locate Your Pets

    It's tough finding a GPS collar or tag that is small enough for your cat or tiny dog to wear, but the TrackR tag meets that requirement. This tiny device attaches to your pets collar and uses "Crowd Tracking" (more about this below) to locate your lost pet (or luggage or car or anything else).

    The tracking is not as detailed as the standard tracker, but it's new technology. Rather than pinpoint the item, it tells you when you're near it by using "hot" or "cold" cues (which we all remember from our childhood games).

    A 2-way separation alert (when you pet gets too far from your phone) alerts you so you never have to worry about leaving a pet behind.

    Read More
  • Installing a Pet Door for Summer

    This time of year, I spend most of my day letting dogs in and letting dogs out. It’s annoying. Since I live in the hottest place of the world (in an environment that is actively trying to kill us), every single time I open the door, I let out about $30 worth of air-conditioned comfort.

    My pets don’t really care about our loss of air conditioning - they would be totally content to stand in the doorway letting the cool air waft over them while they were warmed by the sun.

    Their lack of empathy means I have to take precautions to conserve my air conditioned comfort. I don't want to knock a hole in the wall, so what’s a girl to do? The answer is simple, really...

    Read More
  • Protect Our Water by Picking Up After Pooches

    Despite the fact that water covers 71% of the earth, we are finding ourselves with rapidly dwindling water supplies. Those of us in North America are very fortunate because we have large aquifers and a good amount of rain (if you're not in the Southwest).

    But every year, our large population consumes far more water than we should and most of our states are in drought conditions. This makes it a precious resource we should never take for granted. Instead, it's a resource we should be fiercely protecting.

    Contamination is one of the biggest problems and while most of the water contamination comes from humans, dog waste is the third leading cause of water pollution.

    Every single gram of dog waste hosts over 23 million fecal bacteria. This bacteria seeps into the soil, is absorbed by groundwater, washed into storm drains into our aquifer, and then filtered and recycled through waste water treatment plants. Eventually, it ends up right back into our water supply with a final arrival out of our taps.

    And who wants to drink that?!

    Read More
  • Synthetic Dog Could Replace Shelter Dogs for Veterinarian Training

    Just when you think the fate of an abandoned animal can't possibly get any worse. ABC News recently reported that many of these dogs and cats are sold to terminal surgery laboratories where they are used for testing and surgery training, and then euthanized.

    Now, I have to say, we have our doubts about this practice and that story's accuracy. The veterinary schools we know and work with abandoned that practice many, many years ago and only perform surgeries on shelter animals who require surgery. Even then, then they do their best to find homes for the animals through legitimate rescuers.

    On the other paw, many laboratories do purchase animals from "B dealers" (aka puppy mills, horses from slaughterhouses and others who just breed to sell to laboratories).

    Regardless, SynDaver Labs, a Florida-based company, is planning to change any need for anyone to ever have to purchase a live dog for experimentation or training DVMs by replacing them with lifelike and very realistic synthetic dog that mimics nearly every part of a live animal.

    Read More
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Dogs that can't Swim and Some that just aren't very good at it

Summer is officially here in the desert and we have reached temperatures in excess of 100 degrees, so you know Read More

Disaster preparedness with pets

September is National Animal Preparedness Month. Some natural disasters require that you evacuate your entire family, pets included. Wildfires, floods, Read More

Keeping Aquariums Alive During Summer Blackouts

Summer is on the way, and that means possible brown outs (power shortages) and even blackouts (power outages) for most Read More

Keeping Pets Safe from Coyotes

No matter where you live, you’ve likely had to deal with wildlife. Whether its mountain lions and coyotes, or squirrels Read More

10 Ways to Help Cats #AdoptAShelterCatMonth

June is #AdoptAShelterCatMonth and that means it's time to join in the festivities and celebrate all thing cat! We really Read More

Teaching Children to Approach Horses

I have a problem with parents who just allow their kids just run up to strange animals. In fact today, Read More
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A bitter old man, an "ugly" cat, and a Christmas miracle or three. A new story by Jim Willis, author of "How Could You?" and the book "Pieces of My Heart - Writings Inspired by Animals and Nature."

If anyone had bothered to pry, or follow Elmer around town, they might have learned more about him than anyone knew. Instead, they were comfortable with their opinion of him as the crankiest, stingiest old man around. Many were relieved that he lived on the outskirts of town and most avoided running into him during his monthly shopping trip if they saw his dented and rusty pick-up truck parked in front of any business establishment.

Elmer only entered the post office lobby during the postmaster's lunch hour and since he never put a return address on anything he mailed - his way of daring the US Postal Service to lose anything - nobody knew that the letters addressed in spindly block lettering to US military addresses were from Elmer. He wrote dozens of appreciative letters to service member strangers in far away places and always enclosed a ten-dollar bill, "for a beer or something stronger." Many a military chaplain has been surprised by Elmer's largesse and his vernacular about the Communists, the liberals, and whomever happened to be Commander-in-Chief ("and probably never did a lick of work in his whole life"). Elmer was completely non-partisan in his hatred of politicians, he hated all of them, and as for love of his country, it was about all the love that Elmer had left.

Elmer had been a coal miner until the mine had closed "thanks to those damn environmentalists." He occasionally ran into former coworkers in town and gave them a nod, never asking how they were and figuring that most, by the look of them, should qualify for some kind of public assistance if it weren't for "the state of our damn social security system." If there had been one thing he had done well, it had been to save money and he was comfortable, but with every passing year, Elmer grew more sour and intimidating. It had been years since any children had walked up the driveway to his well-kept but plain looking home that always had the curtains and window blinds shut and rung his doorbell on Halloween, or anyone had called asking for a donation. Even the postman dreaded delivering anything to him that required a signature, although Elmer had enormous respect for anyone in uniform, even if they worked for the "damn US Postal Service."

In short, nobody in the world could have been more surprised than Elmer, one cold evening in late November, when he heard a strange noise outside, set his beer bottle down hard on the kitchen table and opened the door to the back porch. Not only was the most ugly cat he'd ever seen sitting in front of the door, and Elmer hated cats as much as liberals and Communists, but the cat walked directly into the kitchen and then disappeared down the cellar stairs. Elmer turned on the porch light and looked around into the darkness, to make sure it wasn't some prank or Communist plot, and then he slammed the door shut. He decided to have another beer first, "to steady his legs," before going down to the cellar and evicting the "damn cat." The cat was nowhere to be seen at first, and then Elmer found him curled up in a laundry basket of dirty laundry on top of the washer. He pulled the cord from the light above the laundry tubs and glared at the cat. The cat blinked and stared at Elmer with an unconcerned air. Elmer bent down a little closer to the cat, inspected him, and agreed with himself that this was indeed the ugliest cat on the face of the Earth. The cat had a fresh scar down his nose that was still pink, the tip of one ear was missing, and the edge of the other ear was notched. One eye was gray-blue and clouded. It was difficult to tell from all the scars and patches of missing gray and white fur if the cat had won or lost his fights. That may have been the first inkling that Elmer had that he and the cat had something in common, but mostly he was sure he hated cats.

"Get out of my damn laundry you damn ugly cat!" Elmer said.

The cat showed no fear and instead yawned and snuggled deeper into the pungent tangle of soiled clothes.

Elmer stood there and crossed his arms. He uncrossed his arms. He put his hands on his hips. He removed one hand from his hip and scratched his head. If this had been a liberal, a Communist, or even a postal worker, he would have known what to say to get them out of his laundry basket, his cellar, his house - but he didn't know what one did about a trespassing cat. He didn't know anything at all about cats.
Elmer leaned over the laundry tub and forced the rusted window latch open, then opened the window a few inches.

"You finish your nap, then you go back where you came from," he said to the cat in the laundry basket and then he made his way unsteadily back up the cellar stairs, grabbed another bottle of beer from the refrigerator, and sat back down at the kitchen table. He swished the first swig of beer around in his mouth and thought for a while. He rubbed his unshaven chin. He drummed his fingers on the tabletop. He thought about eating something, maybe a can of soup, and then decided he wasn't hungry. He was too upset to eat. The whole order of his day and his comfortable existence had been upset by a trespassing, most likely Communist cat asleep in his cellar. He finished his beer, turned out the kitchen light and headed toward his bedroom. He looked in the direction of the cellar door and yelled, "Don't think I'm giving you anything to eat, 'cause I ain't!" The cat was still there in the morning and he announced that he was hungry by high-tailing it up the cellar stairs into the middle of the kitchen and yowling - which caused Elmer to drop his English muffin on the floor, because he had forgotten all about the cat. The cat licked the butter off the muffin and then howled some more. Elmer stood there with his mouth open while the radio announcer finished both the traffic and weather reports. The cat licked his muzzle, saw that nothing more was being offered, and went back down the cellar stairs. Elmer grabbed his truck keys off the hook next to the kitchen door and slammed the door on his way out. As Elmer's truck pulled in at Fields Farm Supply, Fred Fields looked up from loading a fresh roll of paper into the cash register and thought "Oh no! It's Elmer and it isn't even December yet."

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