Friday, June 29, 2007

Man’s best bud may be first to try ‘ingrown’ leg

In trial that could aid humans, fake limb would be grafted to injured pooch.

DENVER - A puppy found hobbling in the Kuwaiti desert has ended up at Colorado State University, where she might be a candidate for an experimental prosthesis that could one day help humans.

Sally, a Saluki, was spotted in the desert several months ago by a volunteer with animal welfare group PAWS and taken to a shelter in Kuwait City. It’s unclear how the dog was injured.

Part of the dog’s left hind leg had been severed and a veterinarian in Kuwait wanted to amputate the remaining leg. PAWS volunteer Steve Holden e-mailed his alma mater, CSU, and its veterinary hospital to ask whether that was sound advice.

CSU animal surgeon Erick Egger responded that it was, but that Sally, who he estimated was about a year old, might make a good candidate for new research on grafting prosthetics to bone, which would prevent her from losing more of her leg.

PAWS then flew Sally with Holden to Fort Collins, arriving Tuesday.

While humans can be fitted with a prosthetic limb to be strapped on, dogs don’t take to them well. Egger wants to try an “ingrowth” prosthesis.

One concept involves inserting a metallic implant at the bone, attaching an artificial limb to the implant, and then allowing bone to grow around it.

“The real critical part that will make it work or not is whether we can get soft tissues like skin and muscle to grow into the metal that extends into the body,” he said.

Veterinarian Robert Taylor in Denver has been working on the concept, which perhaps one day could be transferred to humans, Egger said.

It could be a month or two before Sally gets her new leg, he said. He is looking at ways to raise funds to pay for materials, which he estimates could cost about $5,000.


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Fish Genders

Unfortunately, fish are not like mammals. Whereas most mammals have fairly distinctive sex organs and gender traits, the same is not true of tropical fish.
Depending on the species, determining the sex can be fairly easy or is can be near impossible. Some of the more difficult fish to sex include freshwater angelfish, catfish, and gouramis.

Other fish, such as the Betta (Japanese Fighting Fish), are easy to separate by gender. Males have long, flowing fins and bright, brilliant colors, while the females are drabber and have shorter, almost stubby looking, fins.

If you are interested in breeding fish, for most species the best way is to purchase a half-dozen or more young fish of the same species and raise them together. When they mature, they will pair off, and then you can try to breed them and raise the fry (babies).

Before buying any fish, however, it is best to do research to make sure you have the proper set-up (including proper tank size, proper PH, proper water hardnes) for the fish you wish to keep. Within this research, you can find out the best way to sex and breed your favorite fish. Different species have different needs and have different traits for trying to determine the gender.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Posing Dog

It's like he was posing for this picture.

Trackposted to Outside the Beltway, The Amboy Times, Big Dog's Weblog, and, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Dog drama in West Hartford, CT

(West Hartford-WTNH ( _ A West Hartford woman has filed a lawsuit against the town of West Hartford to keep her precious pups in her home.

Faith Kilburn lives in West Hartford with her 21-Shih Tzu dogs. But a complaint from a neighbor has led to a 3-year battle with the town. A town ordinance says that residents may only have 2-dogs in a home.

"I'm hoping that the zoning board will realize that this isn't really a problem, they are making it a problem," said Kilburn.

Back in 2004, the town gave her a special use permit providing she reduce the number of dogs in her home. In that time, only one of the dogs has died and she does not want to get rid of the others. Now that the permit has expired, the case will go to court next month. Kilburn is planning to hold a rally in the center of town on Saturday to raise support for her case.

"Don't try and stop me from loving my dogs. I will not stop," said Kilburn.

The dog warden says her house is immaculate and all the dogs are well cared for but she is still 19-dogs over the limit.

"I only want a temporary permit until my dogs die. In fact, one died last week, my youngest one. I never expected it and you don't know what it has done to me," said Kilburn.

----------My take on this....21 dogs are a bit much, but at the same time, she's living in a clean environment and the dogs are all healthy. It's a lot more then others who abuse and neglect their dogs. At least this person is caring for them and treating them well. Here's hoping the town will let her keep her pups.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Birds in the picture

Fort Collins - A tourist-filled raft slammed into the Class 3 rapid Sarah's Hole on the Cache la Poudre River one morning this week.

Some rafters grimaced, others screamed or laughed as they punched through the waves. Their faces were captured by photographer Charlie Malone.

When Malone was done shooting, he pulled the memory stick out of his Nikon camera and slipped it into a tiny Lycra backpack worn by a gray pigeon named Lucky.

Malone gently released the bird riverside, and Lucky took wing.

Malone and the company he works for, Rocky Mountain Adventures, were relying on the uncanny - and scientifically mysterious - ability of homing pigeons to fly for tens and even hundreds of miles and find their way home.
No one knows how they do it, said pigeon expert Charles Wolcott, a professor of neurobiology and behavior at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.

Wolcott believes pigeons rely on "multiple, redundant systems" to navigate accurately - using vision, smell and even the Earth's magnetic field to orient.

Researchers have covered pigeons' eyes or capped them with magnetically active hats to try to disorient the birds. Still, they locate their home base more often than not.

"It's like wearing belts and suspenders - you can disable any one thing, and they still find their way home," Wolcott said.

Dave Costlow, owner of Rocky Mountain Adventures, estimated that last year, 91 percent of the time, his pigeons delivered film or memory sticks fast enough to print and display rafting pictures before clients, still dripping from their ride, walked back into the store.

They get more and more reliable as the season goes by, Malone said.

"I've had people watch me release the birds, and they still don't believe me," Malone said. "They think it's a stunt."

So while other rafting companies race their film back by car or kayak, Rocky Mountain

Rafters, Fred and Shirley Kremer, from Holland, pick out photos from their white water adventure June 21. (Special to the Post / Nathan W. Armes)takes it on the wing. He is, Costlow said, the only one that does it that way.
"We may not increase our profits because of the attraction of the birds themselves," Costlow said, "but we do increase our profits by having our photos ready."

The pigeons, which fly about 60 mph, make that possible. Most of the time.

This year's rafting and pigeon-training seasons began late, slowed by a chilly spring. Costlow's 16 birds still haven't completely adjusted to their work, he said.

Lucky flew just 15 feet from Malone's hands and landed on a pine branch.

"Go, Lucky! You're the one with the film today," the 27-year-old Malone called.

The bird looked calmly down at the photographer and then gazed across the river.

Three of her nest mates - released with her for company - were soaring in wide, high circles, gaining altitude and their bearings before heading back down the canyon.

Lucky stayed put.

"Come on, Lucky," Malone urged. He needed to get back in his car to shoot pictures of another rafting group on a longer trip upstream.

During homing-pigeon races, birds may fly hundreds of miles in a day, and they almost always make it, Cornell's Wolcott said.

"And then there are these strange occasions - called smashes - where for reasons unknown, you'll let 20,000 go and three appear at the home loft," Wolcott said. "We don't know why."

This day, Lucky wasn't racing - or even in a hurry.

At about noon, back in Fort Collins, the morning's soggy rafters returned to the Rocky Mountain Adventures store.

The photos of the rafters and flailing paddles were there, thanks to a backup driver and car.

Lucky arrived later.

"It's early in the season," Costlow said. "They'll get better."

Friday, June 22, 2007

Cat Rescue
Click the link above for the source of the article. Great stuff about a kitten being rescued.

Question: What does it take to rescue a kitten?
Answer: Two fire trucks, 5 firefighters and 250 gallons of water
PARKERSBURG, W. Va. - It took two fire trucks, five firefighters, several animal rescuers and about 250 gallons of water to rescue a 2-pound kitten.

Animal control officers tried coaxing the gray tabby out of a storm sewer drain with encouraging words and food Monday before giving up after about an hour and a half.

Firefighters tried banging tools on one end of the pipe and flashing lights Monday night in hopes of driving him out the other end — but that didn’t work either.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Why We Love Dogs

Dogs are one of the most popular pets in the world. Here are some thoughts on why we love our pups so much:
• A dog ordinarily remains loyal to a considerate master, and because of this the dog has been called man's best friend.
• Class distinctions between people have no part in a dog's life. It can be a faithful companion to either rich or poor.
• Dogs have been domesticated for most of human history and have thus endeared themselves to many over the years.
• A dog fits easily into family life. It thrives on praise and affection. When a master tells a dog that it is good, the animal happily wags its tail. But when a master scolds a dog, it skulks away with a sheepish look and with its tail tucked between its legs.
• People in the city as well as those in other areas can enjoy a dog. Medium-size or small dogs are best suited for the confines of the city. Large dogs need considerable exercise over a large area.
• Dogs exist in a wide range of sizes, colors, and temperaments. Some serve as alert and aggressive watchdogs. Others are playful family pets, even though they were bred for hunting. Still others can herd farm or range animals.
• Dogs have been with humans since prehistoric times. Over the years they have performed various services. They have pulled sleds over snowy tracts. They have delivered messages, herded sheep and cattle, and even rescued persons trapped in the snow.
• Dogs are trained as guard dogs in peacetime by the United States Army and other military services.
• Because of their keen sense of smell, dogs are used by police at times to track down escaped prisoners. Law enforcement agencies also rely on the dog's acute sense of smell to uncover illegal drugs. And specially trained dogs serve as the "eyes" of the blind, guiding the steps of their sightless masters around obstacles and hazards.

Trackposted to Outside the Beltway, The Amboy Times, Conservative Cat, The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns, Right Truth, and Gone Hollywood, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Walk Your Dog to Stay Healthy

Taking your dog for a regular walk can improve her health – and yours.

Walking your dog can make you healthier. According to a recent study by the American College of Sports Medicine in New Orleans, owners who walk their dogs are more active and have less body fat than non-owners and non-walkers.

The study included nearly 2,200 participants from 32 neighborhoods in the Seattle and Baltimore areas. Neighborhoods represented both high- and low-income households and were rated for walkability. Overall physical activity was measured by seven days of step counting and participants reported their time spent walking for leisure each day.

About 28 percent of the sample consisted of dog owners who were divided into groups of those who walked their dogs and those who did not. Nearly 27 percent met physical activity guidelines of 150 minutes per week because of dog walking, while 30 percent of owners spent no time walking. Dog walkers were more likely to live in highly walkable areas than non-dog walkers.

According to Dori E. Rosenberg, lead author of the study, encouraging dog walking among owners who don’t normally walk their dogs can promote improved health.

"More dog walking appears to be a health benefit of living in walkable neighborhoods" says Rosenberg.


Trackposted to Outside the Beltway, Blue Star Chronicles, Webloggin, The Bullwinkle Blog, Big Dog's Weblog, and OTB Sports, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Pick up the Poop

I've written about this in past posts, but it still irks me at times. I was out walking Rocco this morning and of course, he finds some poop that some other dog left in the neighborhood. Luckily I got him away from it before it got in his fur. It wasn't like it was in someone's yard, I was in a public area.

As a "responsible" dog owner, it always amazes me when people don't clean up after their pets when walking outside. There continue to be articles about public parks and walking trails looking to ban dogs. The main reason? Because of the mess dogs leave. The problem is, it's not the dog's fault, it's the owners.

And now, responsible dog owners are suffering because others aren't cleaning up after their pets. If you don't want to clean up a little dog poop, why get the dog in the first place? That's one of the very simple responsibilities of having a pet. And for those of us who do clean up, we're stuck suffering the consequences of those who leave a mess behind.

Clown Loach Pic

Pics of the clown loaches under the natural arch in my community aquarium. (The pink fish is a "Blind Cave Tetra")

It's hard to imagine that this beautiful fish is eaten as food fish in Indonesia and Borneo, where it grows to over a foot in length. Fortunately for the clown loach, among aquarium enthusiasts it's a staple in the community tank rather than on the dining table. Its orange and black striped body, red fins, and active behavior has made it one of the most popular loaches. At times, the fish will lay on its side, almost looking sick. But as soon as you approach the tank, it starts moving around again.

Unlike many loaches who are only active at night, the clown loach is very active during the daytime hours. Peaceful with its own and other species, it prefers to have companions with which it will form a school. Water quality is critical for keeping clown loaches healthy. Care should be take to keep water very clean, well aerated, and warm.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day

Rocco would like to wish everyone a happy Father's Day.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Canine Neighbors

On a recent morning walk with my dog, Rocco, I ran into a friendly neighbor.
“He’s been voted one of the cutest dogs in the neighborhood,” she said to me.
“Thanks,” I reply.
“Hi Rocco, how are you? You’re such a cute dog,” as she pets his head.
“He’s a crazy puppy,” I reply jokingly. “He has more energy then I do.”
The small talk continues as she asks me various questions about the dog, his breed, age, etc.

Now, I don’t mind chatting with the neighbors and it’s good to know people are generally friendly and enjoy pets. Except there is one thing that bothers me…she knows my dog’s name, so obviously we’ve met before… but I don’t think she knows my name. And I don’t know her name either.

As I’ve lived in this area now for almost two years, I’ve noticed this is a common trait among the neighborhood. People who are out with their dogs on a regular basis get to know each other….or should I say each dog.

So, I’ve met several dogs in the neighborhood, and only recognize the owners by their dogs. There is Angus, Reilly, Haley, Laz, and Kasper who are regulars on my walking route. The names of the people walking them??? I have no idea! Granted, it’s my fault too for not introducing myself either; but I suddenly feel unimportant once the dogs are introduced. I guess it really is a dog’s world.

Thinking back, I’ve never really met any of my neighbors until I got a dog. Rocco is a conversation starter and people will stop to greet him and say hello. However, in some ways I still don’t feel like I’ve met any of my human neighbors. But at least Rocco has met his canine neighbors!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Pet Industry Growth

According to a blurb in Kiplinger's Personal Finance:

"The pet industry is growing twice as fast as the economy...Americans pamper their little friends. Dog and Cat hotels are one of...(an) expanding business."

I admit, I'm guilty of pampering. I've written posts about this in the past as I'm not always sure if the clothes are helpful to the pet, but it sure makes me feel better when my dog has a nice coat on in the winter. And of course, the Halloween costume!

There are so many aspects to this industry, and it just keeps getting bigger and bigger.

Trackposted to The Random Yak, Maggie's Notebook, Pursuing Holiness, The World According to Carl, and OTB Sports, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Angelfish pics

Angelfish have been my favorites for a long time. Here are some pics of the ones I keep in my community tank.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Dog Breed Info Website

I found a great resource site that gives detailed information and pictures for almost every breed of dog imaginable. The site,, is a great reference for learning about dog breeds and their traits. It includes a breed description, living conditions, average height & weight, origin, and more. Also great for dog pictures.


Monday, June 11, 2007

Common New Aquarium Mistakes

I've been talking to several people who have an interest in starting a new fish tank. Having tanks my whole life, I've learned from my mistakes. Although you can't avoid all mistakes when starting a tank, here are some of the more common problems.

Starting Too Small
In some ways, having a small aquarium is more difficult then a bigger one. When the water volume is small, key water parameters change very quickly, leaving no room for error. However, you need to find an aquarium that fits your budget and space. Just keep in mind, the bigger the tank, the less impact a mistake will have on your fish.

Adding Fish Too Soon and too fast
Any newly set up aquariums will suffer from “new-tank syndrome.” The entire reason for this is somewhat complex, but basically, there are good bacteria that grow in the tank. As fish swim and excrete wastes, these wastes turn into ammonia. The ammonia is basically removed by the “good” bacteria. Unfortunately, these bacteria need time to grown and establish naturally during the break-in cycle of a new tank.

In addition, the water in a new tank hasn't stabilized yet. The water should be treated to neutralize harmful materials, and allowed to stand for several days to allow dissolved gases to escape and the pH to stabilize. Only then is it safe to introduce fish to the aquarium.

For the same reason, you shouldn't add too many fish at once. Until the “good” bacterial colonies have fully established, the aquarium cannot safely support a full load of fish. Only add a couple of small hardy fish initially. Wait until both the ammonia and nitrite levels have risen, then fallen to zero, before adding more fish.

Keeping incompatible fish
New aquarium owners often choose fish that look appealing to them, without knowing their environmental needs. Some fish may fight with one another, or require very different water conditions. Either way, they should not be kept together. Before adding any fish to the aquarium, do plenty of research on the species to determine if they are compatible and work within your current water parameters including PH and water hardness.

Failure to do research
As mentioned above, it is important to know as much about the fish as possible before taking it home. Improper care of any fish will lead to death (and a waste of your money)

The top mistake made by all fish owners is overfeeding their fish. Fish are opportunistic and will seek food at all times. They will always appear to be begging for food. However, it is important not to feed them more then what they can consume in about two minutes. Feeding this way once or twice a day is sufficient.

Uneaten food will decay in the tank causing an increase in ammonia (Ammonia will burn the gills of the fish, and could lead to fish death.

Insufficient Filtration
An aquarium filter should run all the water in the tank through it at least three times per hour. If it doesn't, you don't have adequate filtration. If in doubt about filter size, go to the next size up. You can't over-filter, but you can definitely under-filter, and the results can be harmful to your fish.

Failure to test water
When the tank is first set up, it should be allowed to run for a couple of days, then the pH, hardness, ammonia, and nitrite levels should be tested. During the startup cycle it is important to test the ammonia and nitrites often. Once the tank is well established, test the water monthly to be aware of unseen problems that may be brewing. If fish suddenly die, test the water to see if anything has changed.

Failure to do water changes
Just because you are filtering the water, doesn’t mean every bit of waste will be picked up by the filter. It is important to do regular water changes (about 20% of the water every two weeks is sufficient). Wastes build up in the tank that can only be removed by vacuuming the gravel and removing some of water and replacing it with fresh water.

Trackposted to Pet's Garden Blog, Pirate's Cove, Webloggin, The Amboy Times, The Bullwinkle Blog, Big Dog's Weblog, and High Desert Wanderer, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Leopard Attacks Halted by Cell Phone Ring"

According to this story on by National Geographic, Villagers in India are now using "clucking," "bleating," and "mooing" ring tones to distract the big cats and lure them away from human settlements.

By attaching a mobile phone to a cage and playing one of the animal ringtones continuously, local forest guards can lure the leopard into the trap without harm.

"The moos of a cow or bleating of a goat from the phone has proved effective," D. Vasani, a senior forest official, told the Reuters news service.

Since the new ringtone method was introduced a month ago, guards have captured five leopards and released them successfully back into forests.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Yankee Dog

Rocco decided to lounge on my Yankees blanket.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

States cracking down on puppy mills

Great news article about states (this one from Nebraska) who are cracking down on the inhumane practices of puppy mills. My main concern is that the commercial breeders who do care about their animals are going to suffer because of the "mills" who allow their pets to live in inhumane conditions.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Dog Poop Disposal

I found a great blurb from Housetraining for Dummies about what to do with dog poop. It is important to properly dispose of this waste.
The link for the full article is
But I've paraphrased it below:

"Curbing is the polite term for a canine waste disposal method that really should be called the Shove-It-Into-the-Sewer approach. A curbed dog is one who's been taught to poop in the street, right by the curb, so that the next rainstorm can sweep his deposits into the nearest gutter. Once in the gutter, the poop and lots of other waste wind their way through a city's sewer system and, eventually, into nearby creeks, streams, and rivers. Those final destinations are one reason curbing is a questionable canine waste disposal method.

Scientists have discovered that dog poop is a major cause of water pollution, and that such pollution poses a significant hazard to human health.

Canine waste contains lots of nasty bacteria with almost unpronounceable names: fecal streptococcus and fecal coliforms are just two examples. In sufficiently high amounts, these bacteria can make people sick — sometimes very sick.

Dog waste also contains other not-so-lovely disease-transmitting organisms such as roundworms. These parasites can cause their human victims to lose their vision temporarily, as well as trigger coughs and fevers.

Never thought your dog's doo could do so much damage, did you?

Bagging it
The quickest, easiest way to get rid of a dog's poop is to put it in a plastic bag and either drop the bag in a trash can or flush the bag's contents down a toilet.

You might think that this method would have a high gross-out factor. And it does — if you use the wrong size bag. There's nothing more disgusting than using a teeny-tiny bag to pick up a great big piece of dog poop and having some of that poop end up on your hand instead of in the bag. But that doesn't have to happen. There are two keys to effective bagging: using the right size bag and developing the proper bagging technique.

For all but the tiniest dogs, a sandwich-sized bag or smaller just isn't big enough to pick up poop. It's far better to choose a larger size, such as an empty bread bag or the plastic bag that your morning newspaper was delivered in. Both these types of bags also carry a second advantage: They're oblong, which greatly eases your ability to get the poop into the bag instead of on yourself.

Before you use your bag, though, check to make sure that it doesn't have any holes. Picking up a bunch of dog doo only to have it hit the ground again is a surefire recipe for frustration.

After you have a large enough bag, it's easy to gather up the poop. Here's how:

1. Pull the plastic bag over one hand like a glove.

2. Pick up the poop with your bagged hand.

3. With your other hand, grasp the open end of the bag and pull the bag inside out.

The poop will now be inside the bag.

4. Knot the bag and drop it into the nearest trash can.

Alternatively, take the bag inside and flush the contents down the toilet. Throw the plastic bag in the trash.

Of course, if there's no trash can nearby, you'll need to carry the bagged poop until you find a suitable receptacle. But take heart. Soon, not even the thought of having to tote your dog's poop around town will gross you out. It'll just be a fact of life.

Scooping it
If you simply can't bear the idea of handling your dog's poop — even if there's a bag between the poop and your hand — you may want to consider using a pooper-scooper.

Pooper scoopers are a good choice for owners whose dogs confine their defecating to their own yards. Even though pooper-scooper laws don't apply to dogs who eliminate on their owners' property, it's still a good idea to pick up your dog's doodoo. That way you'll avoid stepping in it while you're gardening, mowing the lawn, or running to catch an errant toddler (and the toddler won't step in it, either). However, scoopers aren't as good as bags for owners whose dogs potty while walking, because the scoopers are relatively cumbersome to carry."

Monday, June 4, 2007

Purify Tap Water for Aquarium

Purify tap water

Everyday tap water is dangerous to fish. Tap water includes chemicals that make it safe to drink for humans, but damaging to aquarium inhabitants. Chlorine, chloramine, copper, nitrate, and other heavy metals found in typical drinking water must be removed before adding it to your aquarium.

In a freshwater aquarium, removing the chemicals can be as easy as adding a commercial “Tap water conditioner” found at most pet stores. These conditioners must be added to the water before exposing the fish to the water. There are many available brands on the market. Usually, once added, they work instantly to detoxify chlorine and heavy metals that are within the water.

However, in a salt-water set-up, where the fish can be much more sensitive to the effects of these chemicals, it is best to purchase a reverse osmosis/deionization system to purify the water. The system, referred to as RO/DI, consists of a reverse osmosis membrane through which the water flows (and is purified), followed by a deionizing resin that removes any residual charged compounds. Typically, other parts of the system ensure that these two main parts function properly. These other parts may include sediment filters, activated carbon filters, pressure gauges and conductivity or total dissolved solids monitors.

As with anything in the aquarium world, doing extensive research will go a long way in making sure your fish live a long, healthy life. This will help prevent you from making mistakes that could potentially harm or even kill your fish. It will also save you time and money in the long run.