Monday, December 20, 2010

Kroger Recalls Pet Foods Due to Possible Health Risk

The Kroger Co. said today it is recalling select packages of pet food sold in some of its retail stores because the products may contain aflatoxin, which poses a health risk to pets.

Kroger stores in the following states are included in this recall: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

The recall also includes Dillons and Gerbes stores in Kansas and Missouri; Baker’s stores in Nebraska; Food 4 Less stores in Nebraska, Illinois and Indiana (Chicago area); and Jay C, Hilander, Owen’s, Pay Less and Scott’s stores in Illinois and Indiana.

Stores the company operates under the following names are not included in this recall: Ralphs, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, King Soopers, Smith’s, QFC, City Market, Foods Co., and Food 4 Less stores in California and Nevada.

Kroger is recalling the following items:

* Pet Pride Cat Food sold in 3.5 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code: 1111088128
* Pet Pride Cat Food sold in 18 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code: 1111071357
* Pet Pride Tasty Blend Poultry & Seafood Cat Food sold in 3.5 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code: 1111088152
* Pet Pride Tasty Blend Poultry & Seafood Cat Food sold in 18 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code: 1111074580
* Pet Pride Kitten Formula Food sold in 3.5 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code: 1111071903
* Old Yeller Chunk Dog Food sold in 22 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code: 1111074566
* Old Yeller Chunk Dog Food sold in 50 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code: 1111074563
* Kroger Value Cat Food sold in 3 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code: 1111000018
* Kroger Value Chunk Dog Food sold in 15 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code: 1111071559
* Kroger Value Chunk Dog Food sold in 50 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code:1111000108

Aflatoxin is a naturally-occurring toxic chemical by-product from the growth of the fungus Aspergillus flavus on corn and other crops. If your pet shows any symptoms of illness, including sluggishness or lethargy combined with a reluctance to eat, yellowish tint to the eyes and/or gums, and severe or bloody diarrhea, please consult your veterinarian immediately.

The safety of our customers and their pets is important to Kroger. The company is using its Customer Recall Notification system to alert customers who may have purchased these recalled products through register receipt tape messages and automated phone calls. Customers who have purchased a recalled item should not use it and should return it to a store for a full refund or replacement.

Customers who have questions about this recall may contact Kroger toll-free at (800) 632-6900. For more information, please visit www.kroger.com/recalls9.

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Monday, December 6, 2010

Tricks To Get Your Dog To Behave

(StatePoint) You've trained him to sit, lie down and obey, but still your dog likes to take an occasional bite out of the sofa. What do you do?

"Many owners might be tempted to reprimand their dogs for what they interpret as bad behavior, such as inappropriate chewing and digging, but often such behavior is a sign of boredom," says Gina DiNardo, spokesperson for the American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Partners Program.

Here are some of the AKC Canine Partners' best tips to keep your pooch from becoming bored and acting out:

Take Preemptive Measures

An easy way to keep your dog entertained and prevent unwanted behavior is to give him a variety of toys and rotate favorites. Put "old" toys out of sight for a month or two, then bring them out again. Items in which you can put a treat will keep your dog extra busy.

Dogs that are left unattended for hours during the day often become restless and act out. Leaving the radio or television on when you are away should keep them company and calm nerves.

Also keep in mind that a well trained dog is a happy dog. A good training program, such as the AKC Canine Good Citizen Program, will teach your dog basic good manners such as sitting and coming when called, as well as other behaviors for daily situations. 

Spend Time Together

Like humans, dogs are social animals. Unlike humans, they rarely complain about where you go, so long as you're with them. 

"Owners can ensure their dog is happy and well socialized with some easy steps that will not only curb Fido's boredom but increase the bond you have with him," said DiNardo.  "Try incorporating your dog into your daily errands and activities, like exercise, to benefit his health and yours."

 Take your dog for walks or throw a ball around to get him up and moving. Or play hide-and-seek by keeping your dog occupied in one room with treats while you go and hide in another, then call his name and see if he can find you. Or conceal a treat in one hand while holding both arms out, and let your dog select one. He gets the treat if he picks correctly.

Put Fido to Work

When in doubt, give your pooch a task. Teaching him to fetch the paper or simply making him sit before getting a treat will give your dog a sense of purpose and accomplishment while keeping his mind occupied and body out of trouble.

For more ideas on having fun with your dog, visit the AKC Canine Partners website at www.MoreDogFun.com.    


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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Public Meetings Scheduled for December Re: Alligator Management Plan

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division will hold three public meetings to accept public comment on the recently completed Alligator Management Plan. Those interested are encouraged to bring these meetings to the attention of others that also may be interested in participating. 

“Alligators are a natural renewable resource and regulated alligator hunting is an important management tool. The objective of this plan is to ensure the long-term conservation of alligators while providing sustainable harvest opportunities through science-based management decisions, “says John W. Bowers, Assistant Chief of Game Management.

All meetings will begin at 7 p.m. on the following dates and at the following locations:

·         Dec. 14, 2010: Bainbridge College-Rm. 710, Bldg. D, 2500 E. Shotwell St., Bainbridge, GA, map to location available here: http://www.bainbridge.edu/aboutbc/map/campusm.htm

·         Dec. 15, 2010: Wayne County Courthouse-174 North Brunswick Street, Jesup, GA

·         Dec. 15, 2010: Henry County SPLOST Management Building – 116 South Zack Hinton Parkway, McDonough, GA

Any participant at a meeting may present data, make a statement or comment, or offer a viewpoint or argument, either orally or in writing. Statements should be concise to permit everyone an opportunity to speak. Participants must register upon arrival and notify the registering official of their intent to give a statement. Those unable to attend a meeting may submit written statements by December 31, 2010. Statements should be mailed to:                        

Georgia Department of Natural Resources
Wildlife Resources Division
Game Management Section
Attn: John Bowers
2070 U.S. Highway 278, SE
Social Circle, Georgia 30025

These meeting sites are accessible to people with physical disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Brandon Anderson at (770) 761-3045 no later than Friday, Dec. 10, 2010.

For more information on the scheduled public meetings, visit the Wildlife Resources Division website at www.gohuntgeorgia.com or contact the Hunter Services Office at (770) 761-3045. To view a copy of the Georgia Alligator Management Plan, visit gohuntgeorgia.com (select “Hunting”, “Game Management”, then “Alligator Management Plan”).

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Kudzoo the Gorilla is Expecting!

The late Willie B. will have another grandchild in 2011

One of Atlanta’s best-loved animal families may welcome a brand-new addition to its third generation in 2011. Kudzoo, a 16-year-old western lowland gorilla, is expecting her second infant. The newborn will be the third surviving grandchild of the legendary late Willie B.

The Animal Management and Veterinary Teams estimate that Kudzoo is roughly two months into her pregnancy. Gorilla gestation averages 8.5 months, suggesting a birth in late spring 2011. The Veterinary Team is monitoring Kudzoo closely and is conducting monthly pregnancy tests, as she is known to have experienced at least one previous miscarriage. She became pregnant in late 2009 but miscarried the fetus before summer 2010.

“We are very excited about anticipating Kudzoo’s infant, particularly given the fact that generations of Atlantans have followed this family, all the way back to Willie B.,” said Dwight Lawson, PhD, Deputy Director. “At the same time, we are keeping a close eye on Kudzoo, as the chance remains that she could experience another miscarriage.”

Born February 8, 2004, Kudzoo won hearts throughout the city as the celebrated firstborn of Willie B., who passed away in 2000. All four of her siblings – Olympia, 14; Sukari, 12; Willie B. Jr., 12; and Lulu, 11 – still reside at Zoo Atlanta, as does Kudzoo’s mother, Choomba. Kudzoo and her mate, 21-year-old silverback Taz, have one previous offspring, Macy Baby, 4.

Zoo Atlanta is home to the nation’s largest collection of western lowland gorillas, with 23 individuals living in distinct social groups, and is a global center of excellence for the care and behavioral study of these critically endangered great apes. Since the opening of The Ford African Rain Forest in 1988, 18 gorillas have been born at the Zoo, 16 of whom still live on grounds. Four of the Zoo’s gorillas – Ozzie, 49; Choomba, 49; Ivan, 48; and Shamba, 51 – are beloved senior citizens, as gorillas are considered geriatric after the age of about 35. Individuals, schools and groups can support the stewardship of western lowland gorillas at Zoo Atlanta, as well as help support efforts for their counterparts in the wild, by sponsoring a gorilla through Rare Care. Visit zooatlanta.org for details and program benefits.
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Monday, November 29, 2010

Giants among us: Paper explores evolution of the world's largest mammals

The largest mammal that ever walked the earth —Indricotherium transouralicum, a hornless rhinoceros-like herbivore that weighed approximately 17 tons and stood about 18 feet high at the shoulder, lived in Eurasia almost 34 million years ago. In a paper just published in the journal Science, an international team of researchers has compiled and analyzed an enormous database of information about the largest mammals across time and around the globe, revealing striking patterns in their evolution.

The research, funded by a National Science Foundation Research Coordination Network grant, was led by scientists at the University of New Mexico who brought together paleontologists, evolutionary biologists and macroecologists from universities around the world. University of Georgia Odum School of Ecology Dean John Gittleman and postdoctoral researcher Patrick Stephens were among them.

“We were invited to participate because the group wanted to take an explicitly evolutionary approach to size,” said Gittleman, whose research focuses on large-scale ecological and evolutionary problems, from disease to extinction to organism characteristics.

“John and Patrick were indispensable members of our team,” said Felisa Smith, associate professor of biology at the University of New Mexico and the paper’s lead author. “This really was a project that took all of us to accomplish.”

The goal of the research was to revisit key questions about size, specifically in mammals. “Size impacts everything, from reproduction to extinction,” said Gittleman. “And mammals are a good test case. There is so much variation—everything from mice to elephants—and there also is far more data available about mammals than other taxonomic groups.”

“There is a much better fossil record for mammals than for many other groups,” said Stephens. “That’s partly because mammals’ teeth preserve really well. And as it happens, tooth size correlates well with overall body size.”

The researchers spent two years assembling the data. “The database is powerful and unique,” said Gittleman. “It includes information on the size of all mammals, living and fossil, from around the world.”

With access to much information, the group was able to test a hypothesis about the evolution of mammal size.

“During the Mesozoic, mammals were small,” said Gittleman. “Once dinosaurs went extinct, mammals evolved to be much larger as they diversified to fill ecological niches that became available. This phenomenon has been well-documented for North America; we wanted to know if the same thing happened all over the world.”

The researchers found the pattern was indeed consistent, not only globally but across time and across trophic groups and lineages—that is, animals with differing diets and descendedfrom different ancestors—as well. The maximum size of mammals began to increase sharply approximately 65 million years ago, peaking in the Oligocene Epoch (about 34 million years ago) in Eurasia and again in the Miocene Epoch (about 10 million years ago) in Eurasia and Africa.

“Having so many different lineages independently evolve to such similar maximum sizes suggests that there were similar ecological roles to be filled by giant mammals across the globe,” said Gittleman. “The consistency of the pattern strongly implies that biota in all regions were responding to the same ecological constraints.”

Global temperature and the amount of land available as an animal’s range are two ecological factors that appear to correlate with the evolution of maximum body size, but Gittleman warned against assigning cause and effect. “A big part of science is seeing patterns, and then producing new hypotheses and testing them,” he said. “We now have identified this pattern very rigorously.”

Besides Smith, Gittleman, and Stephens, the research team includes Alison Boyer, Yale University; Jim Brown, University of New Mexico; Daniel Costa, University of California, Santa Cruz; Tamar Dayan, Tel-Aviv University; Morgan Ernest, Utah State University; Alistair Evans, Monash University; Mikael Fortelius, University of Helsinki; Marcus Hamilton, University of New Mexico; Larisa Harding, Umea University; Kari Lintulaakso, University of Helsinki; Kathleen Lyons, Smithsonian Institution; Christy McCain, University of Colorado, Boulder; Jordan Okie, University of New Mexico; Juha J. Saarinen, University of Helsinki; Richard Sibly, University of Reading; Jessica Theodor, University of Calgary; and Mark Uhen, George Mason University.

The group is meeting soon to determine the next phase of the project; more information is available at http://biology.unm.edu/impps_rcn/. For more information on the University of Georgia Odum School of Ecology, see www.ecology.uga.edu/.

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Iams Home 4 the Holidays Almost Meets Goal of 100,000 Meals with Fans

Iams Home 4 the Holidays has made a commitment to donate 100,000 meals to participating shelters in need when the milestone of 100,000 fans is reached on their Facebook page. 

Since October 1, the Facebook fans page is up to 87,700.  That's just 13,000 short of Iams reaching its goal. 

Want to help homeless pets in need?

Information on how to get involved, how to find a participating shelter in your area and other important tips for new parents can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/iams or on IamsHome4theHolidays.com

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The HSUS and Anonymous Georgia Donor Offer $7,500 Reward in Butler, Ga., Horse Cruelty Case

The Humane Society of the United States is offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for brutally attacking Molly, a 13-year-old quarter horse. An anonymous donor is adding $5,000 to the standard HSUS reward offered to help enforce animal cruelty laws, raising the total reward offered to $7,500

The Case:

The Taylor County Sheriff’s Department gives the following account: On Oct. 4, Molly, a former therapy horse for handicapped children, was found in her pasture in Butler, Ga., suffering from severe lacerations to her head, ear and neck. It appeared as if someone had attempted to sever Molly’s muscles and peel back her skin.

According to Molly's owner at the time of the attack, Bobby Bazemore, Molly and her pasture mate, Cisco, had only recently returned to their pasture, having spent several months on loan to a local riding camp. Bazemore was notified of Molly's injuries by a farm hand, and, upon seeing the mare, immediately called his veterinarian.

Due to the extent of her injuries, Molly was hospitalized for 17 days and she continues to receive rehabilitative care under the guidance of Dr. Charlene Cook of Central Georgia Equine Services.

"Molly's kind and gentle nature is what made us initially bring her into our family and has made her a favorite with the local children," Bazemore said. "I am glad that Molly is on the road to recovery and hope this reward will bring someone forward who knows something."

Cook said, "In my 25 years as a veterinarian, I have never seen an injury like this one. It would have taken a tremendous amount of force and a very sharp instrument to sever those muscles. I would like to know exactly what happened."

She added, "Especially in these trying economic times, many owners faced with an injury like Molly's would opt for euthanasia rather than putting the time and resources into rehabilitation. I commend Molly's owners for making the commitment to her recovery. She's a special horse and continues to be a wonderful patient."

Until Molly's abusers are apprehended, The HSUS is cautioning Georgia horse owners to be vigilant, taking extra precautions to ensure their horses are secure and safe.

Animal Cruelty:

Getting the serious attention of law enforcement, prosecutors and the community in cases involving allegations of cruelty to animals is an essential step in protecting the community. The connection between animal cruelty and human violence is well -documented. Studies show a correlation between animal cruelty and all manner of other crimes, from narcotics and firearms violations to battery and sexual assault.

“It is unconscionable that someone could so viciously mutilate an innocent animal. The crime is an especially cruel fate for an animal who served children in need,” said Stacy Segal, equine protection specialist for The HSUS’ Animal Cruelty Campaign. “We are so grateful to the anonymous donor who stepped up to provide Molly's continued care and add to the reward. We hope it will help bring Molly’s abusers to justice.”

The Investigators:

The Taylor County Sheriff’s Department is investigating. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call 478-862-5444.


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Secrets of suet: Why serving up suet helps birds weather winter

(ARA) So you think you know suet? Think again.

Today's suet is not the messy, hard-to-manage lump of congealed animal fat that your grandparents had to contend with. Modern suet has gone gourmet, and can be served in convenient suet cakes, suet kibbles, suet nuts and suet pearls loaded with treats that backyard birds adore, like nuts, grains and berries. You can even find squirrel-proof varieties that thwart the bushy-tailed bullies by including habanero pepper in the succulent fat.

As winter approaches, you may need to change some of the foods you offer backyard birds. Suet is an essential source of energy for birds during long, cold winter months. So if you've avoided serving suet in the past, or have been unsuccessful at attracting birds with suet while keeping squirrels away, here are some suet secrets to get you on your way this winter:

Fat is your friend

While many species, like robins and sparrows, will migrate south, many stay put, like cardinals and chickadees. These birds rely on high-calorie, high-fat foods, like suet, to help maintain their increased metabolic rate during a season when their normal food sources, such as insects and berries, are scarce. If you want to attract a bounty of birds to your backyard during cold months, fat is your friend.

Birds love suet, the solid fat rendered from beef, venison or vegetables that provides concentrated energy to help birds make it through freezing winter days and nights. Typical suet-eating birds include woodpeckers, bluebirds, chickadees, titmice and nuthatches, but you never know who might show up, like a kinglet or warbler.

Feeding birds through winter can actually improve traffic at your feeder, since many birds will find and stay where there is a reliable food source.

Supplement suet with seed

While birds need suet during winter, they also need a variety of foods that normally constitute their diets as well. Supplement your suet feeding with plenty of seeds, presented in a variety of feeding styles. Variety and reliability will attract birds and keep them coming back to your yard throughout the year.

One way to cater to birds that love seeds, nuts or berries is to try a suet-seed mix like Nutberry Suet Blend, offered by Cole's Wild Bird Products, which mixes human-grade cherries, apples and blueberry-flavored cranberries, preferred nuts, nutritious insect suet kibbles and whole kernel sunflower meats into an energy-packed, powerhouse feed.

Cole's suet cakes are offered in an assortment of blends, such as Blue Ribbon, mixing rendered beef suet, sunflower seeds, millet, and cracked corn, formulated to attract the largest variety of birds. You can also stir things up further by serving some innovative "gourmet style" suet products that are in forms other than traditional cakes. Try Suet Pearls, which offer sunflower meats buried within energy full suet pellets; Suet Nuts, that combine nourishing peanuts with berry suet; or Suet Kibbles, which mix berry flavor and dried insects in a convenient, non-messy, kibble form.

Squirrels love suet too, and can quickly consume a cake that would otherwise feed dozens of birds for days. To discourage squirrels, Cole's offers Hot Meats suet cakes, which uses a patented technology tested by scientists at Cornell University, consisting of rendered beef suet, red chili peppers, sunflower meats, corn, and oats. Birds love it but can't taste the heat that squirrels hate.

Feed 'em high, feed 'em low

Different species of birds prefer different types of feeders, so supply several styles of feeders arranged around your backyard. You can serve up suet in traditional suet cages as well as wood and cage style feeders that protect birds from the elements by making them hang upside-down while feeding. You can also use peanut feeders to serve newer, innovative suet products like Suet Pearls, Suet Nuts and Suet Kibbles.

Be sure to locate feeders out of the wind, positioning them near natural cover and perches like bushes and trees. For ground feeding, provide an area near cover with a clear view of the surroundings.

This winter season, boost backyard birds' energy levels and serve up suet. You'll enjoy winter bird-watching and the birds will benefit from the extra energy suet provides. Be patient though, it may take a few weeks before the birds discover newly placed feeders. While you wait, be sure to keep the feeders full. Eventually, the birds will come. For more information on Coles Feed visit www.coleswildbird.com.



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Monday, November 15, 2010

Protecting Whales From the Sky: EcoHealth Alliance's Annual Aerial Surveys of Endangered Right Whale Populations

/PRNewswire/ -- EcoHealth Alliance (formerly Wildlife Trust), is gearing up for the organization's annual aerial surveys for the protection of endangered North Atlantic right whales. For the fourth consecutive year, the South Carolina State Ports Authority (SCSPA) has pledged up to $200,000 per year for a total of five years to increase aerial surveys for the protection of endangered right whales off the coast of S.C. Aerial surveys provide valuable information to wildlife conservationists and researchers, including location and photo-identification of right whales during their winter calving season off the Southeastern coast of the U.S. "Through productive partnerships, we can develop new port business while also enhancing our natural environment," said Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the South Carolina State Ports Authority. "We'll continue to grow in a responsible way."

"Right whale populations were nearly hunted to extinction by whalers long ago, and they've been fighting their way back from the brink ever since," said Dr. Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance. "With fewer than 500 North Atlantic right whales alive today, EcoHealth Alliance's Aquatic Conservation Program is a key factor in ensuring the ongoing viability of this beautiful, critically endangered mammal."

North Atlantic right whales migrate from November through April to give birth to their calves off of the Southeast coast, which is the only known calving ground for the species. Aerial surveys give the EcoHealth Alliance team a bird's eye view of whales in relation to the heavily trafficked coastline navigated by cargo, military, and recreational boats. Flights are conducted an average of two days a week during the best weather conditions; the teams log an average of 600 hours of flight time at the conclusion of the calving season in April 2010.

"During our aerial surveys, we document the births of new calves, record sightings of returning whales, and alert shipping officials about the whereabouts of these slow moving mammals, to help keep them out of harm's way," said Cynthia R. Taylor, associate vice president of the Aquatic Conservation Program at EcoHealth Alliance. "The biggest threats to right whales are from ship collisions and entanglement in fishing gear, so we immediately alert rescue crews when we see whales that are in trouble."

Survey flights originate from Mt. Pleasant regional airport near Charleston, S.C. from November 15, 2010 through April 15, 2011 and from the Malcolm McKinnon airport on St. Simons Island, Ga. from December 31, 2010 through March 31, 2011. EcoHealth Alliance's aerial survey team in South Carolina, which covers the airspace from Cape Romain, S.C. to Fripp Island, S.C., includes team leader Dianna Schulte, Jonathan Gwalthney and Melanie White. The aerial survey team in Georgia, which covers the airspace from Sapelo Island, GA to Cumberland Island, GA includes team leader Patricia Naessig, Julianne Kearney, Lisa Barry, and Ashley Dobrovich.

EcoHealth Alliance partners in its efforts with The South Carolina Ports Authority, The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service, who provide funding annually for the intensive survey effort. For more information about this EcoHealth Alliance program, visit http://www.ecohealthalliance.org/wildlife/9-protecting_endangered_right_whales.

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Creative, Heartwarming Pet Poems By Kids

(NAPSI)-When it comes to describing the rewarding relationship between pets and their owners, sometimes a poem just says it best.

Recently, six poems summed up that sentiment so well that they won the American Pet Products Association's (APPA) 2nd Annual National Children's Pet Poetry Contest. Through the APPA's Pets Add Life (PAL) campaign, third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students were invited to write and submit a unique and creative poem about their pets.

Two students from each grade were selected to win a $250 gift certificate for pet products, and a "byline" in a nationally circulated publication. In addition, the six winning students' classrooms each received a $1,000 scholarship to spend on pet-related education.

Poems were judged on creativity, clarity, voice and the student's ability to reinforce the message of the joys and benefits of pet ownership. The panel of judges consisted of teachers, elementary school administration and APPA.

Here is one of the winning poems, in the fifth-grade category:

"My Dog, Bear" by Spring from Lincoln, Del.

When I think of you,

My heart shines bright,

Just like a

Baby bird's first flight.

First thing in the morning

Your nose I see,

An inch from my nose

Tickles me.

When you know I'm leaving,

Your head hangs low.

It breaks my heart,

'Cause I love you so.

And even though I'm angry,

When you chew my shoe,

Your sorrowful eyes

Make me forgive you.

When my sister died,

You comforted me.

You miss her too--

It's plain to see.

When I'm lonely,

Or I need a friend,

You're always there,

Your love to lend.

I love you Bear,

My adorable dog.

You've helped me

Through my own fog.

No other dog

Compares to you.

Taking care of me,

You'll always do.

To see other poems and for more information about APPA's 3rd Annual National Children's Pet Poetry Contest, you can visit www.petsaddlife.org.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Update: Iams H4TH Campaign - Helping Pets One Meal at a Time

Each year, many pets are either abandoned or lost and end up in homeless shelters. Iams Home 4 the Holidays is an annual campaign to find permanent homes for these homeless pets.

Iams is spearheading a campaign to provide 5 million bowls of food for these shelters and homes for 1.5 million pets in need by January 4, 2011.

The Fayette Front Page was recently invited by Iams to participate in the Iams Home 4 the Holidays campaign by joining in a blog hop about pet adoptions.  It was easy to share stories about the adopted pets in our lives.  With tissues in hand, our staff and readers shared moments of happiness and sadness that our furry companions have brought to our lives.

In appreciation of the growing momentum this project, Iams has released the following update numbers for this year's adoption campaign which runs through January 4, 2011.

Dogs adopted:  150, 037
Cats adopted:  131,956
Other adoptions:  6,191

Facebook Fans:  50, 551
Total Meals Donated:  439,746


A great big "thank you" is extended to all who participated in the Blog Hop which ran October 24-31.

Read the stories submitted during the Blog Hop by the Fayette Front Page. 

Did I Tell You About the Fish I Caught?

Saving Katie's Life

Thinking of Evidence

Grumpy Old Gal Photo Shoot

Saved from the Ashed on Her Last Day

I Want a Lap Puppy

Pillow Pup Update:  Every Dog Needs a Pal

Open your heart.  Remember homeless pets need love, too.

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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Turtle Watchers Cap ‘Good Year’ For Loggerheads

A record-breaking year came to a close recently as members of the Georgia Sea Turtle Cooperative met in Brunswick to wrap up the nesting season. There were 1,750 loggerhead nests recorded in 2010, topping the previous record of 1,646 from 2008. Last year’s nesting totals were much lower, with only 995 reported.

Members of the coop gave updates on various projects ranging from genetics data to predation issues. The overarching message: It was a good year for sea turtles.

For the last 22 years, Sea Turtle Cooperative members have worked to conserve Georgia’s turtles. Coordinated by the Wildlife Resources Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the group of volunteers, researchers and biologists from various agencies monitors turtle nesting activities on Georgia beaches.

This season, Cumberland Island led all barrier islands with 486 confirmed nests.

“Both our nesting numbers and our hatchling success numbers were really high this year,” said Doug Hoffman, National Park Service biologist on Cumberland Island. “An average year for us is around 225 nests and we doubled that this season.”

In addition, Cumberland saw its predation rate drop from 67 percent in 2000 to less than 1 percent this year, a figure Hoffman is proud to report. “I came on board in 2000 when predation was at the highest levels it has ever been,” he said.

“… In the last 10 years we have taken measures that include live trapping of raccoons, shooting hogs and placing screens on every nest – all of which have reduced the predation rate to almost zero. The only thing we still have a problem with is ghost crabs, but you see that on every island. “

Cumberland also accounted for about half of the strandings during the nesting season, or 43 of 119 sea turtles found washed up along the coast. This may be in part due to the length of the island’s coastline, which stretches for 17 miles. Whenever a turtle washes ashore dead or comes to the beach and then dies, it is referred to as a stranding.

On Tybee Island, the nesting storyline was a little different. Tybee recorded some of the lowest numbers, with only 10 confirmed nests. However, that number was still high for a developed beach.

Tammy Smith, Sea Turtle Project coordinator for the island, was very excited that her group of volunteers not only beat local rival St Simons Island, which reported only five nests, but also made strides toward improving the habitat for turtles.

“Lighting pollution is one of our biggest issues, being a developed beach, but this year we were able to get the hotel on the south side of the island, in an area we call the strand, to turn off the lights in the top three balcony levels,” helping limit the number of disoriented turtles, Smith said.

Turtles often mistake lights on the beach for moonlight, which they use to navigate back to the water after nesting. A turtle can become disoriented and then exhausted looking for the ocean and end up on busy roads or in backyards. Lights are also a problem for hatchlings, which may head toward roads and homes rather than the water, making them more vulnerable to predators.

Tybee turtle volunteers also had their first encounter with a live adult turtle this year, one that happened to have been tagged on Wassaw Island. “That was pretty neat; most of us had never seen a turtle actually laying a nest,” Smith said.

Jekyll Island had a decent year with 140 nests. Emily Walker, night patrol team leader for the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, reported that the last nest finally hatched in early October. Overall, Jekyll’s hatchling success rate has been holding steady at 62 percent. Walker attributes that to moving fewer nests this year due to less erosion. “We only lost two nests, so that was pretty exciting,” she said.

Another development on Jekyll had to do with lights on the beach. “We were able to get a new lighting ordinance passed this year that states that if you have suitable nesting habitat on the beach you have to use appropriate lighting for turtles,” Walker explained. “Already there are hotels changing their lights and there is a good chance it contributed to us having fewer disorientations due to lighting this season.”

Despite the record year for loggerheads, biologists urged caution. Federal criteria require that the population increase by 2 percent a year for 50 years for the species to be considered recovered. The 50-year nesting goal for loggerheads in Georgia is 2,800 nests a year.

Mark Dodd, a senior wildlife biologist and Sea Turtle Program Coordinator with Georgia DNR, said the loggerhead population in Georgia “has sustained a long-term decline, but over the last five years, we have seen average or above-average nesting years.

“We are hopeful that we are seeing the beginnings of a recovery, but it is still too early to say.”

Dodd praised the Sea Turtle Cooperative. “We are very grateful to our cooperators for all their hard work,” he said. “Without them, we wouldn’t have a sea turtle conservation program in Georgia.”

Loggerheads, the most common sea turtle on Georgia’s coast, are state-listed as endangered. The nesting season runs from May through September. Daily monitoring of nesting began in 1989.

Georgians can help conserve sea turtles and other animals not legally hunted, fished for or trapped, as well as native plants and habitats, through buying wildlife license plates that feature a bald eagle or a ruby-throated hummingbird. They can also donate to the Give Wildlife a Chance state income tax checkoff, or directly to DNR’s Nongame Conservation Section. These programs are vital to the Nongame Conservation Section, which receives no state funds.

Visit www.georgiawildlife.com for more information, or call Nongame Conservation Section offices in Social Circle (770-761-3035), Forsyth (478-994-1438) or Brunswick (912-264-7218).



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Giant panda born at Zoo Atlanta

Lun Lun, a 13-year-old female giant panda at Zoo Atlanta, gave birth to her third cub on November 3, 2010. The cub, born at 5:39 a.m. in a specially-prepared birthing den in the Zoo’s giant panda building, is the only giant panda to be born in the U.S. in 2010.

Lun Lun appears to be providing appropriate care for her cub, which is roughly the size of a cell phone. The Animal Management and Veterinary Teams will continue round-the-clock monitoring of mother and cub, and a preliminary veterinary checkup will be performed as soon as staff is able to remove the cub without disrupting maternal care.

“We are extremely excited about welcoming Lun Lun’s and Yang Yang’s third cub, and proud of the success of Zoo Atlanta’s giant panda program,” said Dwight Lawson, PhD, Deputy Director. “This is a joy we share with the City of Atlanta, our colleagues in China, and our counterparts at our fellow zoological organizations housing giant pandas in the U.S.”

Zoo Atlanta Members and guests can expect to meet the cub in spring 2011. The cub’s father, 13-year-old Yang Yang, and older brother, Xi Lan, remain on exhibit and will not be introduced to their new family member. This separation is normal for giant pandas, which are solitary in the wild.

The newborn is the third offspring for the Zoo’s famous panda pair. Born September 6, 2006, their firstborn, Mei Lan, has lived at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding since February 2010. Born August 30, 2008, the pair’s second cub, 2-year-old male Xi Lan, remains one of the Zoo’s most popular and precocious animal stars. As is the case with Lun Lun’s tiny newest arrival, both Mei Lan and Xi Lan were the only giant pandas born in the U.S. in their respective birth years. All three births have been the products of artificial insemination.

The birth is a significant achievement for global efforts to save a critically endangered species. Fewer than 1,600 giant pandas are estimated to remain in the wild. There are approximately 280 individuals living in zoological institutions, only 11 of which reside in the U.S.

In the months leading up to the cub’s debut, images will be available on monitors at the Zoo’s Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Giant Panda Conservation Center and on PandaCam presented by EarthCam. PandaCam streams daily, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fans are encouraged to stay abreast of all things panda by following Zoo Atlanta on our website and on Twitter, joining the Zoo Atlanta Facebook community, and registering for biweekly eUpdate newsletters.

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UGA study finds moving animals not a panacea for habitat loss

New University of Georgia research suggests moving threatened animals to protected habitats may not always be an effective conservation technique if the breeding patterns of the species are influenced by a social hierarchy.

Research, published in the early online edition of the journal Biological Conservation, found an initial group of gopher tortoises released on St. Catherine’s Island, Ga. were three times more likely to produce offspring than a later-introduced group, although the initial group had a much smaller proportion of reproduction-aged males.

"There definitely appeared to be an advantage to the order that the tortoises were released," said lead author Tracey Tuberville, an assistant research scientist at UGA’s Savannah River Ecology Laboratory. "The earlier the males were released, the more likely they were to be successful fathering offspring for the next generation."

Moving multiple groups of gopher tortoises at different times may disrupt their social structure, explained Tuberville, resulting in differential success in reproduction among potential breeders. Introducing a specific number of males to reach a target population size may not achieve the desired results if all of the males are not reproducing.

"We found that females released later were not excluded from reproduction," she said. "If you need to augment a population, you might consider targeting females as opposed to males or introducing more females than males, because females produce the eggs, and they also seem to be incorporated into the breeding and social structure faster than males."

Gopher tortoises are federally listed as a threatened species in the western part of their range, though not in Georgia and Florida, where much of the destruction of their habitat has occurred.

Gopher tortoises are highly social and live in sandy burrows. They prefer open-canopied longleaf pine forests, which now cover only two percent of their historic range. Gopher tortoise habitats are ideal sites for human development, and Tuberville said that in the past, land developers were required to do little to protect their habitats at development sites.

Gopher tortoises from various locations were first introduced to St. Catherine’s in the 1980s. A second group from a single population was later introduced in 1994. Biologists and veterinarians working on the island recorded health and survivorship data on the tortoises, each of which were permanently and uniquely marked to be easily identifiable. The researchers sought to identify which tortoises from each group were successfully reproducing after release. After a site-wide capture of all the potential breeders, researchers collected DNA samples. Once the eggs hatched, they also tested the DNA of the young to determine the parents.

"If we find that the pattern of differential mating success is consistent, or if it is observed in other places, it will inform us whether or not we want to establish populations through multiple releases and also whether or not we want to augment an existing population," said Tuberville.

Study co-author Travis Glenn, associate professor in the department of environmental health science in the UGA College of Public Health, said that new DNA technologies increasingly are being used in conservation and environmental health efforts. “We’re trying to use these techniques in new and interesting ways," said Glenn. "That requires partnerships between a greater variety of people."

"The technology is getting better and better, so the answers will be better and more informative," Glenn added. "The ability to address conservation concerns will be faster, cheaper and more accurate."

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The pet industry's dirty secret: What to know before you buy for your dog

(ARA) - For dog owners, there are no two ways about it - pets are part of the family. You want your four-legged companion to be as happy and healthy as any other member of your family. Many of the things you buy for your human loved ones - like food, medicine and beauty products - are regulated by agencies that make sure those products are safe. You might assume that there are similar restrictions on pet products, but unfortunately, that's not the case.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that accurate ingredient lists be put on human items like shampoos and soaps. The agency strictly regulates supplements intended for human consumption. Though laws regulate what advertising claims can be made on pet supplies for dogs, the FDA does not regulate shampoos used on pets unless the shampoo is classified as a drug, e.g., anti-dandruff. This means that many manufacturers are misleading the public as to what is in their shampoos. Even when some manufacturers claim drug facts, many forgo the costly product registration process and unfortunately are too low a priority to get noticed by the FDA.

Given the trend toward organic products, some vendors make claims about their products being all natural when they are not - often with impunity. Worse yet is the fact that they might not honestly list the ingredients in the product, which could be harmful for your dog. A short ingredient list is a red flag that you might not be buying an honest product.

"Without a thorough and honest ingredient list, it can be hard to recognize that some pet shampoos are actually products made for humans, just re-labeled," says Lorenzo Borghese, who founded Royal Treatment pet products out of concern for the skin problems his own dog was experiencing. He notes that while that might not sound too bad, human soaps are bad for dogs' skin. "Human skin is acidic, while dogs' is alkaline, and a product intended for human consumption has an improper pH which can cause the skin to burn or become irritated."

Adding to the problem, foaming agents like sodium laureth sulfate, often found in human shampoos, strip oils off the skin. Human skin is porous, so it can naturally replenish those oils, but dogs' non-porous skin can't, leaving them with extremely dry skin. That is often a big part of why veterinarians only recommend washing your dog every four to eight weeks.

For those looking for a natural dog shampoo, the problem of incomplete labels is frustrating, and even more so when trying to help a pet with skin and coat problems. Borghese's Royal Treatment line of shampoos and conditioners was formulated with ingredients that are ideal for animals' sensitive skin, all of which are listed on the label. Because the products are sold on television they have to meet rigorous standards and have complete and verified ingredient lists.

The same problematic lack of regulation that affects topical pet care products also makes it difficult for pet owners to know whether pet health supplements are safe and effective.

The low cost of overseas production often means that manufacturers will outsource the work of producing pet supplements. That also means that there is sometimes a lack of oversight and quality control - pet supplements might not contain the ingredients in the amount claimed on the bottle. For pet owners who want to take care of health issues like joint stiffness or a poor coat, it's almost impossible to verify whether the supplement they're giving their pet has the ingredients it claims in the active quantity listed on the label.

Working with renowned veterinarian Dr. L. Phillips Brown, Borghese also launched a line of supplements for dogs with the same principles of providing verifiable ingredients that are ideal for pets. "The ingredients in these supplements are standardized," Brown says. "They are made in the United States, and what's on the label is in the product." Batch testing helps to verify that ingredients are present in the correct amounts that are necessary for the supplements to be effective.

Knowing precisely what you're giving your dog is important. It can be difficult to take the guess work out of shopping for pet supplements and care products, but the most important thing to demand is information about the exact ingredients in everything from food to shampoo to supplements. Armed with that knowledge, you can give your pet a healthy, happy life. For more information on pet-safe products, go to www.royalpetclub.com.


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Monday, November 1, 2010

Trout Streams Ready and Waiting on Anglers-Delayed Harvest Begins Nov. 1st

Fishing and leaf-viewing opportunities combined – what a great way to combine fun fall activities! The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division has five delayed harvest streams available to anglers beginning Nov. 1.

“Georgia trout streams are designated as seasonal, year-round or delayed harvest, and different streams offer varying populations of rainbow, brown and brook trout,” says the division’s Trout Stocking Coordinator Perry Thompson. “The delayed harvest streams have special regulations from November 1 – May 14. Since these delayed harvest streams are regularly stocked and the trout are caught and released, catch rates remain high, making them a great destination for new and seasoned anglers alike.”

The five trout streams managed under delayed harvest regulations are the Toccoa River located on U.S. Forest Service land upstream of Lake Blue Ridge in Fannin County (from 0.4 miles above Shallowford Bridge to 450 feet above the Sandy Bottom Canoe Access), Amicalola Creek on the Dawson Forest Wildlife Management Area (from Steele Bridge Road downstream to Georgia Hwy. 53), Smith Creek at Unicoi State Park, the Chattahoochee River in Atlanta (Sope Creek, downstream of Johnson Ferry Road, downstream to the Hwy 41 bridge) and a portion of the Chattooga River (from Ga. Hwy. 28 upstream to the mouth of Reed Creek) on U.S. Forest Service land bordering South Carolina.

“Remember, these streams are catch and release only during the delayed harvest season and also are restricted to artificial lures with one single hook from Nov. 1 – May 14,” Thompson adds. “When May 15 rolls around, harvest is allowed under the general regulations pertaining to designated trout water.”

In addition to the excellent fall fishing opportunities delayed harvest streams provide, there also are ample year-round trout fishing opportunities in a number of Georgia streams. These designated year-round streams are open to fishing throughout the year.

Noontootla Creek Watershed: This watershed offers some high quality year-round fishing for wild brown and rainbow trout, with many of its tributaries offering a chance at a wild brook trout (a real plus since most other brook trout waters are closed to fishing after Oct. 31). Both Noontootla and its tributaries are managed under an artificial lure only regulation and have a 16” minimum size limit in order to “recycle” the 8”-12” trout that make up most of the population.

Dukes Creek: This stream, located on the Smithgall Woods-Dukes Creek Conservation Area offers year-round trout fishing by reservation (706-878-3087). All fish caught here must be released immediately and anglers must only use artificial lures with barbless hooks. The stream offers a great chance at a trout over 20 inches, so bring your camera for a quick shot before release. Best time to fish is after a rain discolors the water.

Chattahoochee River: For good trout fishing close to metro-Atlanta, the Chattahoochee River downstream of Buford Dam offers family-friendly and close-to-home, year-round fishing for stocked rainbow and brown trout and wild brown trout. Despite the recent rains, fishing in the Chattahoochee River will continue to be good and Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area parks offer good bank, wading and boating opportunities.  Be aware that some National Park Service parks downstream of Morgan Falls Dam are closed due to recent flooding.  Contact CRNRA (678-538-1200) to learn about park closures.  The river will be stocked through the fall months to keep angler catches high. Year-round harvest is legal from Buford Dam to Sope Creek. Best fishing is at low flow when the river is clear to slightly stained.

Some additional notable year-round trout streams include the Conasauga River, Tallulah River and the Chattooga River.

To download free Georgia trout stream maps and other trout fishing tips, or for additional trout fishing information, visit www.gofishgeorgia.com . Anglers must possess a current Georgia fishing license and a trout license to fish in designated trout waters. 


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Great Pyrenees Rescue of Atlanta Open House & Adoptions November 6

The Great Pyrenees Rescue of Atlanta and the East Coweta Veterinary Hospital invite you to an open house and dog adoption event November 6 from 2-5 pm.

There will be cute adoptable dogs along with a silent auction and raffle.  Come on out and have fun.


Sorry- no owner surrenders accepted at the event

3462 Hwy 34 E
Sharpsburg, GA

For more information:
info@greatpyratlanta.com or 404-829-2609

TenderHeartRescue@gmail.com or 770-304-2600

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Friday, October 29, 2010

Pillow Pup Update: Every Dog Needs a Pal

My little "pillow pup" is all grown up and is at the ripe old age of 7.  He's healthy and still is addicted to playing with a tennis ball.  Although we have noticed that he has reduced the number of times he has run in to a tree or pole while chasing the ball.

A couple of years ago, his companion who was an older female left us.  She had spent her life happily giving us love and bossing around the "pillow pup."  After her death, we spent many hours holding him and each other as we grieved for the loss of our girl.

What we didn't know was the effect her death had on our young dog.  He didn't want to eat, didn't want to play ball (much), and just generally laid close to my feet during the day.

Could he be depressed?

After a couple of months had passed, I suggested we look around for a lap puppy for me and as a companion to "pillow pup."

Times have changed.  This time around, we went online and looked at hundreds of dogs listed on a pet adoption site.  We could easily drive the distance for many of these dogs.

Finally, I found a puppy, and I mean a puppy.  I eagerly sent my application in and waited.  Now, rescue shelters have a tendency to check up on the prospective family.  They contact the vet and sometimes, even neighbors just to make sure you will provide a super home for the little tykes.

We fostered one little young dog for two nights.  It started out ok.  My older "pillow pup" ignored him for the most part.  But the young dog didn't ignore our household.  He started growling and showing signs of aggression to the children.  What was really strange was he would snap at them after getting out of their laps.  And then he snarled and chased the younger child.  Sorry, he was gone soon after.

So, back to the computer we went to find another lap puppy.  Oh, what a cutie this small puppy is.  Again, we sent off another application.  This time, I was interviewed for 1 hour on the phone before I could see the little tyke.

We agreed we would come to see the little guy on Sunday and we would bring the older dog with us.  After all, he also had to like the little tyke.  As we sat on the floor at the Henry County Humane Society, we enjoyed seeing and playing with so many of the little guys and gals.  We really liked the little tyke, but we weren't so sure that our older dog was really going to enjoy the puppy antics of having his tail constantly pulled by the little pup.

We were looking at some of the other dogs when the volunteer suggested we look at the black poodle in the back, the one who was cowering and didn't even come over to the fence to say hello.  She brought him out and he immediatly went from lap to lap and kissed everyone.  And then he decided to show us how perfect he could be.  We were stilling looking at the little tyke and had added another small dog into the contest to come home with us.

The black poodle was just kind of there in the background.  The little tyke would grab a toy.  The poodle would grab a toy.  The little tyke would roll over.  The poodle would roll over.  The poodle came and sat in my lap as we continued to look at other dogs.

We put him back so we could continue to look at the other lap puppy sized dogs.  The white poodle was snooty and wanted nothing to do with us.  As the volunteer took her back to the enclosure, the little black poodle came running out and jumped over the other 4 dogs there in order to get back out to us.

I guess he had already made up his mind and had packed his bags.

It took us four hours to decide that day as we wanted them all.  But, as you can guess, we brought the little black poodle home.  We just couldn't disappoint him after he tried so hard to impress us.

As for the 65 pound pillow pup, he started eating again.  He started playing again.  He now has a pal,   er,  Buddy.

And I have a lap puppy. Nearly.


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Thursday, October 28, 2010

I Want a Lap Puppy

After being pleaded with for a couple of years by the kids, we finally decided to go see what pets were available for adoption.  We had an older dog who was not a lap puppy by any stretch of the imagination, so I agreed we could have another dog if, and only if, it was a small lap puppy.

Walking in the big box pet store where there were pet adoptions being held, I heard a big bark.  So I followed the bark and went in search for my lap puppy.  The small dogs at the event were completely unappealing to me.  They just didn't look cute.  So I made the executive decision to leave them for another family.  We would just look another time.

While my kids were busy lapping up the attention by the bigger dogs, I turned my attention to the big bark.  He was a russet long hair something or another that was still a pup, but he was not a lap puppy.

I started to talk and pet him while waiting for the rest of the family to realize that I had not seen any lap puppy.  He was extremely eager for attention.  The adoption lady from the rescue group explained he was turned in by a family that had five boys.  Five?  Yes, five.  And not one of them seemed to have time to play with the dog or take care of it.  The mom wouldn't let him in the house, so he was cooped up in the garage until they decided to ditch him at a mere seven months of age.

"He's rather cute," I said as I petted him again.  "In fact, his head looks just like Rod Stewart with his blonde highlights on top."

My spouse walked up just as I mentioned Rod and he groaned.  Somehow he knew where this was headed as I was a true blue fan of Rod  "in the day."

"Just let me sit and hold him."  The older child came over and also commented on his highlights.  The younger child hung back as the pup's face was at the same height as hers.

"He's too big for a young child.  He's still too much of a puppy.  And we all know how puppies can play,"  said the spouse.

"Just let me sit and hold him."

So, I sat and held him.  Well, rather, he put his legs on either side of my body and just stood there as I was trapped underneath him.  The children were standoffish and refused to pet him.  "He's too big, and his mouth is huge."

"But he's so cute.  Tell you what, why don't we foster him since they need a spot for him for a couple of days?"

And with that statement, our lives changed.  The big dog with the Rod spikey blonde tips on top came home and promptly jumped up on the children and grabbed the mittens off of their hands.  Screams echoed in the air.

"He's just a pup.  He wants to play," my spouse said.

It was a mere 34 degress outside and the big dog with the cute Rod spikey blonde tips on top hopped into the pond.  Arrggggghhhhh.

Fast forward to a couple of days later.  The rescue people dropped by to check on him and to let me know they hadn't found another foster family.  How was the dog with the young children?

"The little one is just not sure about him.  His mouth is at her eye level and she is scared.  He seems gentle enough, as long as there are no gloves in the area.  And my fish are stressed out because he keeps jumping in the pond."

The rescue lady replied, "Look how much calmer he is than on Sunday.  Can you give him a few more days before I take him elsewhere?"

The next week, I decided to ask the children if they thought we should keep the dog.  The older one had gotten used to him and decided he was ok.  She even offered to pay half the adoption fee.  The younger one was still not convinced.

Another week went by and the younger child holds up her little hand with five fingers spread wide and says, "He can stay for another five weeks and that's it."

Weeks?  Maybe she meant days?  No matter, because by the end of the day, she was using him for a pillow as she watched Clifford on TV.

Ahh.  I didn't get a lap puppy after all. Instead I got a floor pillow.


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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Saved from the Ashes on Her Last Day

Our staff has accepted the challenge to participate in the Iams Home 4 the Holidays Blog Hop.  After you finish wiping the tears from your eyes, won't you help shelters with the stroke of your pen?  The Fayette Front Page will post your heartwarming adoption stories in conjunction with Blog Hop through October 31.

It was time.  I was ready to open my heart and love again after the death of my precious poodle Leo, who I had for 12 years.

I had never had a dog from a shelter before.  When I was growing up, we raised Dalmatians and so I thought I would find a reputable breeder and get one. On the other hand, my spouse had always gone to the local shelter to find his pets.

He talked me into going to the Cobb County Shelter just to see what they had.  I found a Dalmatian!  I was thrilled.  She was beautiful, weighed 90 pounds and could pull me around the bonding room.  I was in love.

And then my spouse made the observation that I might have difficulty with such a large dog as I attempted to take care of my toddler and the stroller on walks.

Reluctantly, I agreed.  Although I did put my name down on the wait list for this gorgeous dog.

We were leaving, when my spouse stopped at a cage and said, "I want to see that dog."

Why?  She was timid, and not pretty and I was not attracted to her at all.

The staff brought her in the bonding room where the dog shivered.  They said she was a stray and it was her last day.  No one had wanted her so she would be put down the next day.

My spouse said, "I'll take her."

"But I'm getting the beautiful Dalmatian."

"So, we'll have two."

He walked right up and paid for the scrappy looking dog and home she went.

That scrappy little black terrier mix was a gentle soul.  Her age was estimated between 2 and 4.  She was the perfect dog for my toddler.

We named her "Cinder."  Cinder wouldn't come out to my husband unless he was sitting down and had food.  She followed me everywhere.  We had beds for her behind and under furniture since that was her place of comfort.  She was so quiet that guests in our home would not know she existed as she cowered in her bed.

She was gentle with the babies and harsh on the young pups.  She didn't like to play, but she wouldn't let any other dog have any toys.  Instead, she would grab them, and put them in her bed to guard.

Dear, sweet Cinder.  We had her for 7 years.  She started slowing down so much that we were unable to walk her.  When she participated in her last Doggie Dash in Peachtree City, we had to flag down a golf cart as she couldn't make the 5 mile walk.  She and I were carried over the finish line accompanied by large applause.

Dear, sweet Cinder.  I held her paw on that last fateful day as she raised her head and licked me one more time.  After that, my daughter and I talked and petted her through to the other side.

Dear, sweet Cinder.  We thought we had saved her from the ashes.  Instead, she graced us with her gentleness and devotion.

Staff Report
Fayette Front Page





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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Thinking of Evidence

Evidence is a male zebra who was found on I-75 south of Atlanta in 2008.  His rescue and subsequent recovery by Noah's Ark in Locust Grove are encouraging and phenomenal.  I'm guessing the weather is just right to make the trip back down to see Evidence and his friends.

Click here to see Evidence as he made his public debut in the summer of 2008.


While Evidence is no longer homeless, Noah's Ark Animal Rehabilitation Center in Locust Grove, GA, is always in need of a helping hand with food.  Not only does Noah's Ark rescue wild animals, they also have rescue dogs for adoption, and they are the home for some abused children.

Wouldn't it be great if Iams would also donate food to this worthy group? 

Noah's Ark uses over 800 pounds of dry dog food each day. 

Learn more about Noah's Ark and let your heart be touched......

http://www.noahs-ark.org/

Update  10/27/2010:  Harry's Market in Atlanta (think yummy) has just asked what types of food donations Noah's Ark needs.  Perhaps they will be a huge blessing for the over 1000 mouths there that need food daily.  


Staff Reports
Fayette Front Page
Photo Credit:  AS Eldredge



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DogTime Media Partners with ASPCA to Support Adoption of Shelter Dogs and Cats Nationwide

/PRNewswire/ -- DogTime Media, the largest online vertical media community reaching pet owners, today announced a partnership with the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) that brings a database of national adoptable dogs and cats to the ASPCA website.

Visitors to the ASPCA website can now search through photos and profiles of over 70,000 adoptable dogs and cats currently in shelters across the country. Potential adopters can then contact shelters directly or share the animal's profile via Facebook® or e-mail.

"Millions of animal lovers already visit the ASPCA website regularly to stay updated on the vital work we do to fight animal cruelty and homelessness," said Betsey Fortlouis, Vice President of Member Communications for the ASPCA. "Now we can bring even more attention to the plight of homeless dogs and cats across the country by leveraging the power of social media to help drive adoptions."

The database of adoptable dogs and cats is the same one that powers DogTime Media's popular Save a Dog and Save a Cat Facebook applications. The data is provided by RescueGroups.org and is updated dynamically every 15 minutes.

"The ASPCA has added its considerable influence to the Save a Dog and Save a Cat cause that is central to DogTime Media's mission," said DogTime Media CEO, Trevor Wright. "We are proud to lend our support to the amazing work the ASPCA has been doing for nearly 145 years."

Qualifying shelters and rescue organizations can add their pets to the ASPCA site, along with all of the major pet adoption sites, for free. Simply sign up with the Pet Adoption Portal powered by RescueGroups.org, a non-profit organization that is 100 percent dedicated to helping welfare organizations work effectively to end the pet overpopulation problem.

The Save a Dog and Save a Cat applications by DogTime allow users to browse and virtually "foster" real animals in their neighborhood or anywhere in the country. Points are awarded to users for "petting" and "walking" fosters, and for inviting other Facebook users to co-foster an animal or to participate in a "play date". Users can also upload photos of their own dogs and cats, and vote to choose the Dog of the Week and Cat of the Week on Facebook.

For more information about DogTime Media and its Save a Dog and Save a Cat applications please visit http://www.dogtimemedia.com.

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Grumpy Old Gal Photo Shoot

It looks like Cookie, my grumpy old gal, has her fans. I guess her advanced age and grumpiness brings out the support from all of us who are getting older each year. We lived our lives-- now we can be grumpy.

I was asked to take a photo of her so everyone could see her. Wouldn't you know it? She decided not to sit still for the photo shoot. Nope, her grumpy old personality came shining through as she decided to be obstinate about it. No cute shot for her showing her age. No, indeed.

Here she is trying to look like a fun loving gal instead of Ms. Grumpy. After all, we did tell her that her story was going to help other homeless shelter dogs get food. And Ms. Grumpy C does like her food!





And here is Cookie after she settled down and decided that a photo shoot wasn't all bad after all.

That Cookie. She's a grump, and we love her. Even with her LDD-- that's Lap Deprivation Disorder.







Staff Reports
Fayette Front Page

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Saving Katie's Life

I predominately rescue Great Pyrenees dogs. Lately I have a little bit of everything from a beagle pup to an old senile Pyr. I was told about two Great Pyrenees dogs that wandered up to a house and were going to be taken to a kill shelter. My friend Michelle went to pick them up. When she arrived she found a small black lab with the Pyrs. She asked if she could bring the little girl along too since she seemed to have an injury and was limping. Seems we always go to pick up a Pyr and end up with just one more non-pyr!  Michelle named the lab, Katie. All three were taken to the vet the next day. The Great Pyrenees Rescue of Atlanta had taken the two Pyrs, 'Bonnie & Clyde' into their rescue and I was going to care for Katie.

Dr. Meredith Wesley at East Coweta Veterinary Hospital was examining Katie and sending me text messages. The first one said she had a fractured right femur that was old and poorly healed. The second one said, old badly healed fractures on left foot. Next came, cranial cruciate injury on left knee requiring surgery asap. And finally, Katie was heartworm positive.

I sat there in disbelief wondering how I was going to pay for this little dog that I hadn't even met yet. This was going to take thousands of dollars and who was going to adopt her? When I called to talk with Dr. Wesley, she told me that she knew this was more than my tiny rescue could handle and she would keep the dog herself and fix her all up. The only thing Dr. Wesley asked was that I take her afterwards if for some reason she did not fit into her household!

I am so amazed that Dr. Wesley saved Katie that day. What a huge act of kindness that I can never thank enough or repay. It just makes me so happy to know there are people like Dr. Wesley out there willing to help like she did. Katie is now on her road to recovery.

By Linda Palermo



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Help a Homeless Pet by Writing About Adoption

There's a great way to join in the giving of life with the Georgia Front Page and Fayette Front Page family this week with a stroke of your pen, er, computer keyboard.

For every blog written which focuses on the great benefits of pet adoption, Iams will donate 100 bowls of food to an Iams Home 4 the Holidays shelter in need.

It's easy to do.  Write your loving story about your adopted pet, and follow these instructions from Iams.

1. Write a blog post about Iams Home 4 the Holidays during the week of October 24. Save it as a draft and go to step 2.

2. Starting on October 24, go to www.PetCareBev.com. At the top of the blog will be a sticky post explaining how to enter your blog into the blog hop list.  Copy the HTML code and return to your blog post draft.

3. Add the HTML code from step 2 to the end of your draft blog post, in the HTML tab or view. Publish your blog post.

4. At the end of the blog hop list on your newly published post, you'll see a link named "Click here to enter." Click this link and add your blog post's title and URL link. This adds your blog post to the blog hop list!



Or you can enter your blog by clicking on our adoption experience post written on our If It Breathes.... blog.  Which ever way you choose, just write about a favorite adopted pet--  and help those who need some help while they wait for their new homes.

Editor
If It Breathes.....

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Did I Tell You About the Fish I Caught?

The tale of a dog who hooked my heart.

It all started on a warm summer Sunday afternoon when we went to look for a new fish.  Somehow, that fish turned into a beautiful old gal who hooked my heart from the first glance.

There she was in a small cage surrounded by other hopeful dogs looking for a new home.  There she was just barking her adorable little blonde head off.  And there I was on the other side of the store listening to the annoying sound.

The sound made me look at the cute poodle laying peacefully in the arms of a young girl.  Ahh, I just love poodles.  Why don't I go over and just pet the little darling?

By the time I wandered over to the adorable poodle, the barking dog was being held by Linda, the lady who runs the rescue group.  I touched the little blonde barking wonder and asked her name out of idle curiosity.  "Cassie."  Hmmm. I just love the name.

"Her owner turned her in when they lost her home.  I adopted her out last night, but she came back today with a puncture wound.  Her new home's pets didn't accept her."  My heart started to bleed.

I looked closer.  She had one patch of clear skin on her belly that was in the shape of a heart.  My heart began to bleed harder.

"She's older."  I looked at her again, and noticed the cataracts in her eyes.  And I was a goner.

"I'll adopt her on a trial basis and see if she gets along with my other two adopted dogs,"  I said as my amazed spouse and children looked at me like I had grown another head.  "She needs me."

And, so began our life with dear sweet Cassie, who we quickly renamed Cookie.  Cookie is a blonde terrier mix--  something like the front end of a Yorkie and the backside of a wire haired, with the coloring of a Westie.

She's old.  She's grumpy.  And our lives are brighter with her presence.

She's extremely addicted to laps.  Nothing makes her happier than a lap she can fill.  And nothing makes her sadder than being left alone.

We've had to work on controlling her nuisance barking with a bark collar.  She doesn't particularly like it, but she tolerates it.

She doesn't like taking pills.  In fact, she's the best I've ever seen at tricking us into thinking she has swallowed the pill and then gagging it up.

She's grumpy, but then she is an old woman.  What old woman do you know who feels her aches and pains and gets a tad bit grumpy?  What old lady needs to speak her mind--  and often?  I'd wager there are plenty of them around, but this little old dog gets to grumble until her heart is complete.

She's a sweetie and her presence has turned my poodle into a green eyed lap monster.  It used to be he really liked to have his own chair.  Now, he shares any available lap with our Cookie.

Our Cookie. The  adopted dog who started as a fish.

Staff Reports
Georgia Front Page


Friday, October 22, 2010

Giant Panda Lun Lun Confirmed to be Pregnant

Zoo Atlanta’s Veterinary Team has observed a viable fetus during routine ultrasound procedures on female giant panda Lun Lun. Ultrasound images obtained since Monday the 18th confirm a growing fetus with a strong heartbeat. Based on the size of the fetus, which is currently 2.24 centimeters long, the Animal Management and Veterinary Teams estimate that a birth should occur in 10 days to 2 weeks. While cautiously optimistic, experts caution that Lun Lun could still miscarry or reabsorb the fetus as her pregnancy progresses.
 
Round-the-clock birth watch began on Monday, October 18 and will continue through birth and the first months of the cub’s life. Giant panda gestation averages 135 days, but can range from 83 to 197 days.

A cub would be the third offspring for Lun Lun and Yang Yang, both 13. The Animal Management and Veterinary Teams opted to employ artificial insemination (AI) on June 13, 2010, after the pair failed to mate naturally. Lun Lun’s and Yang Yang’s previous offspring, Mei Lan, 4 and now a resident of Chengdu, China, and Xi Lan, 2, a resident of Zoo Atlanta, were the only cubs born in the U.S. in 2006 and 2008. Both were the products of AI.

Additional updates will be provided as details are available. The Zoo’s giant pandas are watched daily by fans around the world on PandaCam presented by Earthcam. PandaCam, which runs Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., has remained the most visited page on zooatlanta.org since shortly after the arrival of Lun Lun and Yang Yang in 1999.


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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Be A Responsible Owner: Pick Up After Your Pet

(NAPSI)-Pet ownership is at an all-time high, with 75 million dogs in 45 million households, according to the National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association. And more people are hitting the road with their dogs as well. Neighborhood walks and days at the park are now expanding to outings at the dog park and visits to dog-friendly local establishments.

Before hitting the trail or sidewalk with your dog, take a few steps to make sure that your best friend is a good neighbor as well.

• Leash training—Most communities have leash laws. Even if your dog is well trained, keeping him or her on a leash is a good idea because dogs can be startled by unfamiliar noises and run away or bolt into traffic.

• Dog parks and dog training—Many communities now have dog parks that provide open areas for your pet to roam, run or romp with other dogs. Make sure your dog has proper obedience training before hitting the park. If your dog knows simple commands, it makes for a more enjoyable experience for everyone.

• The tag’s the thing—Many dog parks and recreation areas require that dogs wear ID tags and their current rabies and registration tags. Even if your dog stays in your yard, tags are a good idea, so you may reunite quickly should your dog slip out.

• Cleaning up after your dog—An average-sized dog weighs 40 pounds and produces about ¾ of a pound of waste a day, which translates to over 13 million tons of waste a year for 75 million dogs. The bacteria found in pet waste poses health risks. Due to the carnivorous feeding habits of domestic animals, their waste contains bacteria, which in turn can cause diseases that are harmful to both humans and pets.

Pet waste has been identified by the EPA as a major cause of nonpoint source pollution caused by rainwater runoff. The EPA and CDC advise that the safest place for pet waste is bagged and placed in a landfill and discourage the composting of pet waste.

• Clean up in style—Since 1995, Bags on Board has encouraged pet owners to pick up after their pets using their stylish dispensers. The compact, refillable dispensers attach to any type of leash and contain a roll of pickup bags. Need a place to stash your keys, cell phone or other items? Adjustable and fashionable Purse Dispensers and Pouch Dispensers can be worn around the waist or across the chest and discreetly dispense pickup bags and provide storage for other items. Other fun dispensers, such as the Ball Dispenser, are also available.

For more information, visit www.bagsonboard.com.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

October brings milestones for four famous gorillas

 The concept of a legendary gorilla didn’t die with the iconic Willie B. Ivan, the silverback who became a figure of national interest when he arrived at Zoo Atlanta after 27 years as the “shopping mall gorilla,” has his 16th anniversary in his adopted city this month. Kuchi, the mother who astonished the zoological community by rearing a rare set of twins herself, turned 26 on October 10. Her celebrated offspring, Kali and Kazi, turn 5 on October 31.

“Gorillas have been a flagship species for the Zoo ever since Willie B., but events like Ivan’s anniversary or Kali’s and Kazi’s birthday remind us of the deep level of interest, empathy and love our collection inspires in the community,” said Dwight Lawson, PhD, Deputy Director. “Now that western lowland gorillas are critically endangered, it’s more important than ever that our individuals serve as ambassadors for their counterparts in the wild.”

Ivan’s story is one of Zoo Atlanta’s most memorable happy endings. Born in Africa in 1962, he was captured as an infant and sold to the owners of a department store in Tacoma, Wash., where he lived for nearly three decades in a solitary indoor enclosure. By the mid 1990s, the silverback’s living conditions had inspired a highly-publicized movement for his relocation, prompting Ivan’s owners to donate their celebrity tenant to Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo. Leadership in the care and study of western lowland gorillas were already trademarks for Zoo Atlanta, with the world-class Ford African Rain Forest having opened to national acclaim just six years earlier. Recognizing the importance of giving Ivan the opportunity to become a social gorilla and with the recommendation of the Species Survival Plan (SSP), Woodland Park Zoo placed Ivan on permanent loan to Zoo Atlanta in October 1994.

Now 47, Ivan lives with a female companion, Kinyani, 27. He is one of the Zoo’s most recognized and beloved individuals, widely known for his characteristic disdain of cold weather and for his paintings, which he “signs” with a thumbprint. Even after 16 years, his popularity with his original fan base remains undiminished. Zoo Atlanta receives letters, emails, calls and even Facebook posts every year from Ivan’s friends on the West Coast.

On the opposite end of the age spectrum, juvenile twins Kali (male) and Kazi (female) were a Halloween surprise for keepers reporting to work the morning of October 31, 2005. In the days and months following the births, Kuchi surprised experts worldwide by rearing both infants independently – a feat no other gorilla has ever accomplished – a distinction she still holds. Today, the 26-year-old has just one busy infant to supervise: Henry, born May 22, 2010. While he’s not yet old enough to roughhouse with Kali and Kazi and their half-siblings Macy Baby and Gunther, both 4, the youngsters will be ready playmates once their baby brother is allowed outside Kuchi’s famously protective grip.

Zoo Atlanta is home to the nation’s largest collection of western lowland gorillas, with 23 individuals living in distinct social groups. In addition to Ivan, the Zoo also houses three other gorillas over the age of 45: Shamba, 51, Ozzie, 49, and Choomba, 49.




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