It's a Dog's Life

It's a Dog's Life
Furry Four-legged Fun

Family Felines

Family Felines
Cats Rule and Dogs Drool

Won't You Be My Neigh-Bor?

Won't You Be My Neigh-Bor?
Ride 'Em Cowgirl(boy)

Birds of a Feather

Birds of a Feather
Flights of Fancy

Finding Out What Horsing Around Is Called

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

In doing some web surfing looking for interesting things about horses, I came across this rather fun list of horse trivia. Sadly, I flunked but learned a lot for having read this. See how many of the 12 questions you can answer correctly. Then, quit "horsing around" and get busy!

1. What is the fear of horses called?
A. Hippophobia
B. Riddiophobia
C. Sadlophobia
D. Equiphobia
Answer: A. Hippophobia
TBD: Hey, you know we don't make this stuff up, right?!?

2. Which is NOT a form of horse racing?
A. Flat racing
B. Harness racing
C. Steeplechasing
D. Hop-scotching
Answer: D. Hop-scotching
TBD: Did you know that horse racing may well be the oldest sport? By the time humans began recording history it was already well established. Does that mean that book making may really be the oldest profession?

3. Which is NOT a breed of American saddle horse?
A. Tennessee Walker
B. Morgan
C. Quarter Horse
D. Kentucky Sprinter
Answer: D. Kentucky Sprinter
TBD: Although, it could be an unofficial breed!

4. The horse's single toe on each of its four feet is its most marked anatomical characteristic and makes it a perissodactyl or odd-toed ungulate. The horse shares this trait with which other animal?
A. Rhinoceros
B. Tapir
C. Elephant
D. Cow
E. A and B
F. C and D
Answer: E. A and B
TBD: Very curious, indeed.

5. Which is NOT one of the three classic American races that make up the Triple Crown?
A. The Bluegrass Stakes
B. The Belmont Stakes
C. The Preakness Stakes
D. The Kentucky Derby
Answer: A. The Bluegrass Stakes
TBD: Even though we live in Kentucky, we haven't attended the Kentucky Derby, but we have been to the Bluegrass Stakes (which is a precursor to the Derby) and won money!

6. How were horses introduced to the Americas?
A. They were brought by Spanish Conquistadors and explorers in the 16th century.
B. They crossed the land bridge with early man.
C. They were always there.
D. Leif Eriksson and his Viking crew brought them.
Answer: A. They were brought by Spanish Conquistadors and explorers in the 16th century.
TBD: Apparently a species of horse developed in America, but died out, possibly due to disease, so there was no native horse.

7. Is one of these NOT a breed of draft horse?
A. Belgian heavy draft horse
B. English shire
C. Clydesdale
D. Percheron
E. They are all draft horses!
Answer: E. They are all draft horses!
TBD: As primarily a visual connoisseur of horses, The QuizQueen is partial to the Clydesdale.

8. The Roman Emperor Caligula is famous for many things, but he was also a horse lover, so maybe he wasn't all bad. What did he once want to do for his favorite horse, Incitatus?
A. Name her his consort.
B. Name him his successor as emperor.
C. Appoint him consul of Rome.
D. None of the above, he actually ate roasted horse for dinner every night.
Answer: C. Appoint him consul of Rome.
TBD: As if we needed still further proof of what a very bizarre person he was.

9. The moons of Mars are named for the mythical horses that drew the chariot of Mars, the god of war. Can you name them?
A. There was only one horse, Pegasus.
B. Phobos and Deimos
C. Logos, Pathos, and Ethos
D. Alpha, Beta, Sigma, and Theta.
Answer: B. Phobos and Deimos
TBD: Hey, that was hard, but you had a shot if you knew either your astrology or your Greek mythology, right?

10. One of the most famous horses in television history is Mr. Ed. Which is NOT a true Mr. Ed fact?
A. His original name was Bamboo Harvester.
B. He lived to be 30 years old and died Feb. 28, 1979.
C. He was raised to be a parade and show horse.
D. He was Roy Roger's original sidekick, before Trigger.
Answer: D. He was Roy Roger's original sidekick, before Trigger.
TBD: He was however owned by the president of the California Palomino Society.

11. What was man's earliest relationship with horses?
A. Dinner: Man hunted the horse.
B. Dinner: The formerly carnivorous horse hunted man.
C. Transportation: Man used the horse for hauling and transporting himself and his goods.
D. Security: The early horse helped keep watch for danger.
Answer: A. Dinner: Man hunted the horse.
TBD: Although by the Bronze Age man was using the domesticated horse, in the earlier Stone Age the relationship was strictly food chain.

12. How many horses have been Triple Crown winners?
A. 11
B. 21
C. 31
D. 13
Answer: A. 11
TBD: They are Sir Barton, Gallant Fox, Omaha, War Admiral, Whirlaway, Count Fleet, Assault, Citation, Secretariat, Seattle Slew, and Affirmed. The last one was in 1978.

Written by Marcel Waller

About the Author
Find tips about pelvic hernia and male hernia at the Living With A Hernia website.

The Story of the Canadian Parliamentary Cats

Monday, August 30, 2010

What to do with a pack of stray cats? Especially if they happen to have a "royal" background.

Thumbelina, One of the Parliamentary Strays
In Ottawa, Canada, where the Canadian Parliament meets on Parliament Hill, there is a well-established pack of stray cats. So well-established, in fact, that they have a name (the Canadian Parliamentary Cats) and a home (or several homes: miniature buildings built just for them).

The Canadian Parliamentary Cats have been cared for by volunteers since the 1970s, but their origins go much farther back than that. Since well before exterminators even existed, cats were used in homes, on farms, and in businesses and government buildings to control mice, insects, and other pests. Such was the case with the Canadian Parliament. This laid the groundwork for the Cats of Parliamentary Hill that we know today.

However, cats would eventually be replaced by professional services, sprays, traps, and chemicals-at least in their capacity as governmental mousers. When this happened, the Canadian cats living near the parliament were still fed by the groundskeepers, but their role became less solidified as they were no longer permitted inside. Some wandered off, and the pack (which had gotten used to its inside role) was in question as to whether it would survive.

Local resident Irene Desormeaux stepped in, and voluntarily took over care of the cats. This was in the 1970s, and it was at this time that they really began to be known under their current name, the Canadian Parliamentary Cats (also the Cats of Parliamentary Hill). Like most Canadian cats who are strays, the hardest time of year for this pack is the winter. With no more access to Parliament's chambers, the cats were left to brave the elements on their own. In addition to ensuring that the Cats of Parliament Hill were fed, Irene Desormeaux also had some structures built to shelter them from the wind and the elements.

Not just any structures would do for the Canadian Cats of Parliament Hill. These structures are miniature buildings, with multiple floors, front doors, and in recent years, a "condo." The cats have decks and platforms and each tend toward certain areas of their shelter.

Maintaining the Canadian Cats of Parliamentary Hill

Rene Chartrand Tending the Cats by Montrealais
The cats are free to come and go as they please. They are still strays, but they do receive free veterinary care from the Alta Vista animal hospital, and Purina has donated quite a bit of food to keep the Canadian Parliamentary Cats well fed and properly nourished.

Rene Chartrand took over caring for the cats upon Irene Desormeaux's death in 1987. And in 2008, a small group of volunteers took over from him. They now share the duties, which include maintaining the structures, feeding the cats, arranging veterinary care as needed, and much more.

Occasionally, a cat will need to be removed from the Canadian Parliamentary Cats pack for behavior reasons. Other times, a cat will be adopted to someone in the local community. Though strays, these Canadian cats all have names, and the volunteers know well their different personalities. One could say that the Cats of Parliamentary Hill are as much a part of Ottawa's culture as is Parliament itself.

Written by Rob Zygelman

Learn more about pet care and insurance at
Pet insurance101 is an educational resource providing information about pet insurance and helping consumers make a choice. Robin Zygelman is thoroughly committed to saving animals one at a time.
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Parrot Busts Cheating Husband

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Hugo, the twelve-year-old parrot of the Ficker family from Freiburg, Germany, was instrumental in the detection of husband Frank's affair.

Wife Petra has said that Hugo always enjoyed imitating Frank and had his voice down to a T. One day Hugo, in Frank's voice, uttered over and over, "Uta, Uta". Upon searching the house, Petra discovered two airline tickets for a weekend tryst to Paris for Frank and the aforementioned Uta.

Petra kicked Frank's cheating tail right out of the family home, making Hugo the "man of the house".

So, if you have a parrot in the house, be careful what you say - you might get beaked by not only your bird but your wife too!

Article Resource: Written by Starr Hendon

Gerbils - The Best Pet Option for Young Children

Saturday, August 28, 2010

If you have young children under foot begging for a puppy, you're likely concerned that even after they've promised to feed it, walk it, and clean up after it, you'll in fact be the one taking care of the poor creature. Then you'll have a furry child to add to your brood.

Schimmel Gerbil Trio by Ben McKune
As a dog person - allergic though I am - I'm an advocate of children growing up with one (maybe even 2) but that said they are a lot of work, and where younger kids are concerned they may not be the best option. As kids get older and can appreciate that a dog or cat requires a lot of care and work, and is in fact a member of the family once adopted, this idea may be more appealing. However, if your tiny loved ones are just that, tiny, but you still want them to have a pet to love and learn to care for (with your guidance of course), let me make a case for gerbils. But before I do, let's run through a few other pet options that may seem appealing but may not be as suitable for a host of reasons.

Other small animals and their drawbacks

I suppose before I assume your little critters will want one of the furry and cuddly variety, I should address the cold-blooded sort. Personally I like snakes and lizards well enough, but I wouldn't necessarily want one living in my house. Also, young children are very tactile and many of these creatures need to be handled carefully or don't necessarily like to be handled at all. Beyond that, their set-up can be expensive and difficult to maintain. As reptiles can't regulate their own body temperatures it is crucial that their domiciles are maintained at a certain constant temperature. Their diets can also be tricky. For these reasons it is very easy for them to fall ill if not watched closely for signs of distress.

Now onto our fluffy friends. Bunnies are some of the cutest animals around but experts will tell you that they are not good pets for young children. They are prone to biting, even with a lot of gentle handling and "training" to get them used to being pet and cuddled. Of even greater concern is the fact that they are a lot more fragile than they look. Rabbits have very delicate bones and even older children and adults need to be conscious of how they pick them up, handle them, and replace them to their homes. They also need a lot of care, and can be a lot of work to clean up after to keep their cages neat and odor-free.

Guinea pigs have a lot of the same pitfalls as bunnies. Though they actually need a lot of love and attention which may seem like a match made in heaven for kids who want nothing more than to bestow hugs and kisses upon them, it's a lot more work than one would think. If you have one guinea pig, you must spend at least a couple of hours a day taking it out of its home and playing with it. If you have two (highly recommended as they are very social and get lonely), they still need to be taken out of their cage at least once a day for an hour or more for play time. They also require a lot of different toys to play with and places to hide and explore to keep them happy and healthy. Once again diet is crucial and clean-up can be a job unto itself. The benefits are well worth it - ask any guinea pig lover - but that's a lot of work for anyone.

Rats (if they don't creep you out) are very social but the downside once again is that they require a lot of attention and care. Mice are great but they are lightning-fast, pee a lot, and need a lot of things to climb and play on to be happy. They are a great option though, as they are easy to care for in terms of diet, don't require a lot of attention from you if they are kept in pairs or groups, and don't require a large cage. And, the more you give them to play with, the more entertaining they become. I would definitely rank them in the number two spot.

Hamsters, though one of the cutest little critters around, aren't all that easy to take care of. Diet is simple, and again they don't require a large cage (though with any animal the more space you can give it, the happier it will be). They do however need to be trained to be held without freaking out or biting, they are fragile, and they pee a lot too which means their bedding needs to be changed regularly. There are also different types of hamsters and each type has different requirements to be healthy and happy. Some can and should be housed in multiples, others need to be solitary, like Teddy Bear hamsters. And though this should be intuitive and applies to any pets you may have, don't house both sexes together or you will end up with more pets than you bargained for. Hamsters (any type) would be better for a slightly older child with a little more patience.

What's For Dinner? by hinayana
Gerbils really are a great option

We now come to gerbils. They should be housed in groups of at least two or more females to keep them happy as they are very social little munchkins. They are fast but they won't bite and they can be trained easily to get used to being held. They don't seem to mind too much if a child comes along, startles them, and scoops them up without warning. The only time a gerbil has even so much as nibbled on my finger was when I forgot to wash my hands after making a peanut butter-and-jam sandwich - who could blame the little guy?

Gerbils are desert creatures which means they drink less water than other furry animals and thus they pee far less. This means their bedding stays cleaner longer and they should never have a smelly cage for you to deal with. They also love to dig and burrow but introduce a wheel into their environment and once they figure it out it will be their new favorite toy!

Their diet is simple (you can buy a two-kilo bag of gerbil food at your nearest Walmart for $4.00 and it will last two gerbils quite a while) and so is their home set-up. The only thing I recommend you don't do is buy one of those Habitrail hard-plastic homes for them. They love to chew and will make cracks in the plastic eventually, but this doesn't mean they are difficult to house. You may like the look of the store-bought sanctuary but trust me, they don't care. All they want to do all day is burrow and run on their wheel, and maybe box a little - this is typical of gerbils, especially sisters like the gerbils I have, Lola and Yvette. They may squeak and fight but so long as they cuddle up together at bedtime, you know they're fine.

I bought my little duo the biggest Rubbermaid container I could find, filled it with recycled cardboard bedding (also available at Walmart and pet stores of course) - as wood chip bedding is not safe or healthy for any animal as it can cause respiratory issues - a wheel, a $5 wooden hut, food, and a water bottle and they're in hog heaven. They live an average of one to 3 years and mine have already passed the 3-year mark!

A reminder - lots of space is key to your new pet's welfare

As an animal lover I am a huge advocate of making sure you do all of your research before adopting a pet of any kind. This is essential to ensure that everything from their bedding to their food and home set-up is appropriate and of the highest quality.

Another crucial issue is space. Commercial cages aren't that big and pet store "experts" will be only too happy to direct you to a cage with all of the bells and whistles and convince you that this will keep your new pet happy, but this is not the case. Again, if you do your research you will find that commercial cages are made to be big enough to house the appropriate animals and give them room to move around a bit, but that doesn't mean they're adequate by any stretch of the imagination.

Imagine if someone had you in a cage for almost twenty-four hours a day. The issue is that manufacturers need to make cages that are easy to ship, can be easily stacked once they reach the pet store, and can be sold at an outrageous mark-up for what is little more than heavy wire and/or plastic. Down the road when the kids are older and you decide you may want to graduate to one of the animals I have mentioned, have a look online for easy and inexpensive DIY pet homes. It if often more fun to design and create your own habitat and this way your pet will have all the room it needs and then some. This will be evident in its behaviour and you'll all reap the benefits of a happy, healthy, and playful new addition to your family.

Author Resource
Written by Ardra Taylor

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A Mother Like No Other

Friday, August 27, 2010

A friend of mine shared this video on Facebook and it was so heart-warming I knew it had to be the first thing I posted to this new site.

It's all about natural instincts, but as is shown at the end, sometimes natural instincts are contradictory.