Keep Your Cat Healthy over the Holidays

While scientific studies show that pets who are even slightly overweight have decreased vitality and are at risk for complications that shorten their lifespans, still 56% of cats and 60% of dogs in the U.S. qualify as overweight or obese.

So while we love to give cats the food and treats they love, it’s important to make sure we’re helping keep them maintain a weight that lets them live their best lives—especially during the holidays when our schedules and habits tend to shift for a few weeks.

  • Keep up the exercise. You don’t need a treadmill to keep your cat active. A little bit of time each day with a favorite ribbon or string will keep your cat moving.
  • Ingredients tell an important story. Read the label of your cat’s food and treats to make sure it’s loaded with real, WHOLE meat, vegetables, and other quality ingredients you’d find in your own kitchen.
  • Measure your love. Check with your vet to make sure you know how many calories your cat should get each day and then measure the exact amount into the bowl.
  • Choose healthy treats. With clever names and playful shapes, it’s easy to lighten up our diligence with treats, but don’t slip. Read the ingredients label and make sure it’s made with real food that’s good for your cat.
  • Filling up without filling out. Diets aren’t fun, but with healthy weight cat food, you can help your cat reduce his or her calorie intake and still feel satisfied.

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The Hound and the Wild Bitch

plott hound

He bought the young Plott and named her Crockett, and he trained to hunt rac oons and gray foxes in the overgrown coverts that stretched out behind his house.

He was a school administrator by trade, but the demands of the job meant he could slip in and out when the cold nights of November came slipping down upon the hills.

He had run Walkers on red foxes as a boy, and he’d always had a beagle or two, but when his last beagle passed on to that Valhalla of cottontail chases, he went looking for a big hound to run.

When he saw the ad in the farm classified, he rushed off and plunked down the $ 250 for a little long-eared brindle pup and began the process of turning her into a first-rate varmint dog.

Crockett came from a long-line of hard driving bear dogs, but in these hills, the bears rarely graced the overgrown woods, and the law strictly forbade anyone from running bears with hounds.

So Crockett’s education was to run the raccoon and the gray fox until they took to the trees, where the man would come and blast them out of the trees with his .17 HMR.

Their fur would be sold at auction in the coming spring. It would sell for a pittance, but man and dog were united in their common cause, the cause of pursuit, the cause of the hunt.

She learned that tracking deer would make her neck burn with electricity, and she learned the same when she struck off after rabbits.

She learned that the gray fox scent and that of the raccoon were the great ones to follow, and like all proper trail hounds, she let loose the cries of the ecstasy of the pursuit while her nose breathed in the spoor and enlivened her very being.

One clear night in early December, Crockett was let loose from her dog yard, and she began casting her way through the coverts, casting her nose over the brush and briers and mud and rocks for the scent of the brier fox and the ring-tail.

She caught scent of a gray fox and began a baying run down its track. She was hot-blooded and alive, as only a scenthound can be when it’s on the trail of its quarry.

The fox heard her the banshee baying into the night and began his escape, running long hand hard down little ‘coon trails that course their way through heavy thickets of autumn olive. But the hound knew her trade, her passion, and she kept coming, screaming hard on the fox’s long tail.

So the fox changed his tactics and ran hard until he hit the big sycamore where he would sometimes spend long afternoons sleeping out out the day. Night was his time to prowl, and the tree was the perfect shelter until that sweet veil of darkness surrounded the land. It was along a remote little creek, where the thorny thickets drew in close, and no idle man would be willing to approach it, and any many with gumption would make enough noise on his approach to alert the fox’s ears and black quivering nose.

To get to the tree the fox began to double back on his track, trying to throw the hound’s questing run, and for a few minutes, he succeeded, and he used those few minutes to bolt fort the sycamore.

He raced up the tree as if he were a barn cat and not particularly canine. The gray fox is unique among North American canids in that it can climb trees, readily does so, especially when it wants to escape a predator.

The fox rested his form hard against a big branch and waited for the coming dog.  Crockett hit the tree hard about five minutes later, and she began singing the song of a hound that has finally treed. The man would be there soon,  the strap on his rifle would creak along with the cadence of his boots in the leaf litter. It would be the orchestra of death, the baying treed hound and the creaking rifle strap and the shuffling of boots, and then would come the loud boom. The fox would fall from the tree, and the hound would sent casting the woods once again.

But this time, another creature heard the whole song. It was a bitch coyote. 31 pounds of snapping, snarling fury, she had come to work the creek for any hidden vole or deer mouse trails, and now, she heard this other coyote screaming like it owned the place. It more than piqued her interest. It brought up her territorial spirit, and she came rushing down toward the sycamore, incensed at the interloper.

Crockett had never met the coyote before.  She’d smelled her track a time or two, and she sometimes smelled coyote’s mate’s tracks a well, but they mostly stayed far from the gray fox and raccoon haunts, preferring to stay so far from man’s dwellings that they would never meet a dog.

The coyote came with jaws open in a gape threat, and the hound turned from the tree.  She raised her tail and all her hackles. She let loose a few growling barks.

But the coyote tucked her tail between her legs and hackled up and began her intimidating circling of the dog.  A tail between the legs and jaws wide open are the war stance of the coyote, and a dog with its tail up and crooked forward is making its war stance.

And so the two stared each other down beneath sycamore, but this would not be solved without a fight.

31 pounds of coyote and 52 pounds of Plott hound collided with each other in a fury of fangs and fur. The coyote was an experienced scrapper, and her long canines cut deep into the Plott ears.

But Crockett came from a line of bear dogs. In her blood, coursed the veins of the German forester’s hound remodified over the centuries in the Appalachians into the gritty bear hound. Rumors and lore persisted that the Plotts had a bit of wolf crossed into them, and if it were true, then it would just add a bit more grit and fighting spirit to the hound.

Two or three good bites from the coyote was all it took to release the fighting fury of the big game hound. Her greater mass and thick muscle were more than the coyote bitch had reckon for.

And soon the coyote was down. The Plott’s jaws were on her neck, pumping hard for the kill, and the coyote slipped into death beneath the sycamore.

The gray fox stared down at the hole scene. He didn’t move, for he had not expected such a thing to develop.

The man began calling for Crockett as he came down into the creekbed.  He had heard the wild fighting the blackness of night, and he feared what might have happened to her.

Crockett ran to her master’s voice. He knelt to stroke her and talk the sweet lovings of a man greeting his dog. He was shocked to find the blood dripping from her right ear.

It was a big gash, and he wondered what could have done such a thing. Almost as if she read his mind, Crockett dashed off towards the sycamore. The man followed, casting his head lamp before him on its highest setting.

Its beams finally cast down into the thicket that led to the sycamore and then caught the Plott hound eye-shine. He plodded through the thorns to where he saw the dog standing, and then came upon her standing with her tail wagging.

The dead coyote bitch lay below her, and at first the man had no idea he was looking at. Had his dog killed a husky or a Norwegian elkhound. But one good look at narrow muzzle and long fangs told him otherwise. Crockett had killed a coyote.

He had never heard of a dog doing such a thing before, but his gritty little bear dog had done it.

He leashed Crockett and stroked her bloody ears. He told her what a good girl she was, and then he grabbed the coyote up by the hind legs with his other hand and began working his way back home.

He had bragging rights and a good dog, one that had taken out a wild bitch in the woods.

And as man and hound and quarry left the scene, the gray fox watched from his treetop vantage. He waited and waited until the hound and human feet no longer made a scratch on the leaves.

He shimmied down the tree, smelled the coyote and dog blood. All his hackles were raised at that hot scent, and his black tail hackle stripe rose up like a spiky flag.

If he could reason, he would have bet his life of that hard coyote bitch coming hard to fight the dog, but he’d spent much of his life keeping as far from their jaws as much as the hunter’s gun.

The night haunt of the gray fox was not ruined now, and after sniffing the blood for a bit, he slunk down the trail that he knew would lead him to a quiet lane of tram road where many cottontails sat out on cold December nights.

And so the hound and man left their mark of savagery upon the land.  Organic beings made of nature, but now wholly contrived into the modern era of varmint and raccoon hunts. they were but reenactors of the old hunter-gatherer men and their wolfish dogs that went questing out for big game for survival. Two beasts of prey working in confederacy, man and what became dogs were the apex predators of yore.

But modern man has long since abandoned this life, but a few souls participate in the hunt of game and use their dogs and perhaps feel that old partnership rekindled in the darkness. Yes, it is ersatz, but it echoes pretty loudly in their psyches.

And it is the echoes that drive them and their hounds into the cold crisp darkness in search of game.

And so the hound will go into the brush in search of quarry and man will be following after.

 

 

 

Natural History

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Go Out and Vote!

Is this the bus to the polling place? I’m hoping you’ve all exercised your Constitutional right to vote today! Until next time, Good day, and good dog!


Doggies.com Dog Blog

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Small Joys

Have you seen Small Joys yet? They have lots of categories, but the animals/pets section never disappoints with cuteness! Check out this group of pictures of cats who love them some doggies. Or these randomly hilarious animals. Enjoy! Until next time, Good day, and good dog!


Doggies.com Dog Blog

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National Canine Lymphoma Awareness Day | Facts to Know

The Origin of National Canine Lymphoma Awareness Day Her name was Reveille, and like her moniker (which translates from French as “wake up”) the legacy of the dog agility competitor who…

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DogTipper

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Halo’s Garden of Vegan® Named Best Dog Food

Best Vegan Dog Food

Dogs aren’t the only ones going garbanzo over Halo®Garden of Vegan®. With more than 1 million votes cast by readers in the largest survey of vegan products in the world, Garden of Vegan® won the prestigious 2018 VegNews Veggie Award for “Best Dog Food,” leaping ahead of the competition.

Dog moms and dads love Halo® Garden of Vegan® for dogs with protein sensitivities, if they want to include their dog in their vegan lifestyle, or if they want to combat climate change by reducing their carbon pawprint.

“We are honored to have Halo Garden of Vegan Dog Food recognized by VegNews and its highly food-conscious community,” said Myron Lyskanycz, CEO for Halo. “Vegan is our fastest growing category of pet food and this award is a testament to pet parents who feed their dogs a vegan diet for its high quality whole-food ingredients and because their dogs thrive on this delicious complete and balanced food. It’s also a great alternative for the many dogs with meat, dairy, corn, or wheat sensitivities.”

Made with plant-based protein from whole grains, green peas and chickpeas, and non-GMO fruits and vegetables, our vegan dog food is complete and balanced, and made without any of the leading allergens, including meat, dairy, corn, or wheat. Garden of Vegan® is also made without fillers like rice.

We at Halo are thrilled to receive the most prestigious honor in the vegan industry, and delighted to be able to announce it on World Vegan Day.

Past Veggie Award winners in other categories include: Ben & Jerry’s, Naked Juice, Sabra, Stella McCartney, Ellen DeGeneres, Farm Sanctuary, Daiya, Vegenaise and LaraBar.

Learn more about Halo® Garden of Vegan® dog food and delicious vegan dog treats.

 

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The Beginning of the End of Greyhound Racing

Beautiful  N Red

Beautiful N Red at turn out at Derby Lane. St. Petersburg, Florida, on Christmas Day 2010.

I am not known for my conservatism. Indeed, I am definitely on the other side of the spectrum, but on some issues, I am not an ideologue, especially those issues that deal with animals that have a purpose.

What I am about to write might cause me to lose some readership, but I feel I have to say what I do think about this issue. This issue is the continued existence of commercial racing greyhounds in North America.

Many states have banned wagering on greyhound. My native state of West Virginia is still one that is very much into greyhounds and wagering on them. The former governor’s family was a devotee of greyhounds and greyhound breeding, and his successor has made a point to keep the hounds subsidized in the state budget.

But West Virginia will not keep the practice alive. The real market for greyhound racing is in Florida, and now Amendment 13 is on the ballot for this coming election.  My guess is that Florida will ban it. Democratic voter enthusiasm is way up in Florida, which is a good thing for 95 percent of the things I care about, but the odds that the typical Democratic voter is going to see through the nonsense that everyone “believes” about greyhound racing are not particularly high.

Greyhound racing may have been cruel in the past. They may have shot the racers after they couldn’t run anymore. They might have let the dogs run live meat rabbits that would be hung down from the lure.

I saw all these things on tabloid news shows when I was a kid, but I didn’t assume that the entire enterprise of greyhound was immoral. Even at that age, I thought they should just ban cruel practices, and I thought that greyhound adoption was just a great idea to stop people from shooting their retired dogs.

star in a crate

Star enjoying her spacious crate.

In the end, that’s what most states did for a while, but big money wanted the practice to end entirely. Casinos didn’t like having their revenue tied to racing, and many states had requirements that casino licenses be tied to greyhounds. Ban the practice, and the casino licenses would be liberated from the dogs and whatever fines and regulations go along with them.

I have come to know several track insiders, including my current partner. I’ve heard stories about the old trainers, true dogmen of the highest order. These were men who could tell which muscle was pulled simply by how the dog was limping and could tell you the bloodlines of the greyhound simply by looking at it.

They were not like the horse trainers who make massive salaries training their racers. These were men who made money on the dogs, but they lived mostly austere existences. The dogs were their passion, and the skillset was passed on from generation to generation. Whole families devoted themselves to breeding for and caring for the dogs.

If this Amendment 13 passes, the biggest state with legal greyhound racing will end this whole culture. All this knowledge and all this passion will be dashed away.

And all because people simply believe that greyhound racing is inherently cruel. I’ve been told by my friends in Florida that many dishonest political ads are filling the airways. Some are making claims of mass fatalities at tracks, with no supporting evidence given.  One wag even put up a Halloween display showing greyhound tombstones with the names of greyhounds that supposedly died at the tracks.  Strangely, people on social media who owned the dogs wound up sharing live photos of the dogs named on the fake monuments, showing that the dogs were not dead at all. They had been adopted.

Further, the end of greyhound racing is also the end of greyhound adoption. Many people have relied upon a steady supply of retired racers to fill their homes with their favorite breed.

What likely will happen is that those in the know will buy up racing greyhounds from the trainers and kennels. NGA dogs can still be registered in the AKC, and these dogs certainly will be.  They will then be bred for amateur racing and dog sports, and because they will be bred like any other sport breed, you will likely be able get an eight-week-old puppy from a breeder. But you will pay a big price for it. The racing greyhound will become like the racing whippet, a dog owned by amateurs only, and not one easily procured at retirement.

derby land greyhounds

Fuzzface Monte counter-surfing at Derby Lane. Note the size of the crates in the background.

So people who own retired racers now are essentially setting up a situation where when their current dog dies, it will become so much harder to find another dog to fill the void.

I would urge Florida voters to vote down this Amendment 13.  I would urge them to speak to the real greyhound people, who are not the monsters portrayed in 30 second ads.  These are among the last of the true dogmen, and their ideas and thoughts and expertise are not to be laughed at.

And certainly not squelched because a well-funded animal rights campaign has deemed them and their livelihoods undesirable.

 

 

 

Natural History

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De-stressing with Dogs

Reggie Campus Corgi

Any dog lover can testify to the restorative powers of petting their pupper. Even the sight of a happy tail, a wiggly butt, or a cocked head can turn a frown upside down. But more than just dog bias, studies show that dogs can reduce our stress—instantly. Petting a dog has been proven to make us relax, mentally and even physically—slowing down our heart rate, decreasing our blood pressure, and making our breathing more regular, with positive effects lasting up to 10 hours.

In the last few decades, with the creation of therapy dog programs, we see dogs doing good for humans in all sorts of stressful environments, like hospitals, prisons, nursing homes, hospices, and disaster recovery areas. Most recently, therapy dogs have been showing up on college campuses across the country.

One of their earliest appearances was in 2010, when “Therapy Flufflies” visited campuses in the University of California system. Today, Reggie the Campus Corgi is a local celebrity on the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor. While Reggie is actually a service dog who’s trained to help his owner should he have a cardiac problem, the corgi spends lots of time on campus soothing students during the tenseness of midterms or other stressful aspects of college life.

While it’s true that our dogs depend on us for pretty-much everything, we believe that animals help us as much—or sometimes more—than we help them. That belief impacts not just how we feel about them, but how we feed them with unconditional love, using a dog food that pursues a different notion of animal husbandry, one where all animals are respected for the role they play in improving our well-being.

My friends in the Glee club!

A post shared by Reggie Campus Corgi (@reggiecampuscorgi) on

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I’ve come to find my breed

It’s a weird thing. Not a gun dog at all. But I just feel a stronger connection with this dog than I have with any other in my adult life.

anka is blowing coat

Natural History

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Are You Ready for National Fetch Day? | #MakeFetchHappen #NationalFetchDay

Gretchen Wieners may not have been able to make fetch happen in the classic cult comedy Mean Girls, but just watch as determined dogs from coast to coast turn the phrase into their own pet holiday:…

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DogTipper

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