Happy news about animals
If you’re looking for a good pet companion, think old – consider adopting one with a little gray hair, maybe to match your own.
Puppies and kittens, although irresistible at first sight, can be a handful. Soiled carpet, chewing, whining, and jumping are just some of the behavior challenges new owners may confront.
“Many times, older pets are available for adoption and are in need of homes,” says Dr. Lore Haug, a veterinarian in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M. “They can make excellent companions, but are often overlooked.” Older pets are defined as mature animals that have reached approximately two-thirds of their life expectancy. Before choosing a pet, each person should analyze his or her specific needs and desires, recommends Haug.
“For example, older pets can make excellent companions for senior citizens by improving their mental attitude, overall well being and keeping them physically active,”she explains.
There are many advantages to adopting an older pet. One significant advantage is that the new owner will already know the size and basic temperament of the pet.”Many mixed-bred, and even purebred, puppies and kittens attain sizes that are unexpectedly larger or smaller than predicted. With an older animal, the mature size of the pet is already known,” Haug explains.
“Even when the pedigree of a puppy or kitten is known, the adult temperament and behavior is still difficult to predict. An older pet’s behavior around children, seniors and others may be more easily identified,” according to Haug. “Because of desired lifestyles, cats are sometimes more suitable than dogs. Cats tend to require less exercise and are more independent in nature.”
Although many older pets still demand a significant amount of time and energy (normal feeding schedule/maintenance, regular exercise, bathing, etc.), puppies and kittens generally require even more attention and commitment (behavior training, housetraining, playful interaction, etc.).
“For instance, all pets require regular exercise, but puppies generally need much more,” says Haug. “Most older pets are usually already housetrained and may know simple behavioral commands. If they have not been previously trained, older pets can learn new behaviors.”
One reason why older pets may not get adopted is that people feel they have more health problems and require more money to maintain. While this can certainly be true, it isn’t always the case.
“Although older pets often require more preventative health care and screening, the expense of routine puppy/kitten care is typically comparable,” Haug explains.
Before adopting an older pet, Haug recommends a few simple steps to maximize the likelihood of a good match. “Interacting with the animal before adoption may help a new owner become acquainted with the personality and unique behavioral characteristics of the pet, but keep in mind that the pet’s true character may not be apparent at the adoption facility,” she says. “Additionally, the pet should receive a thorough veterinary exam before being taken to its new home if at all possible.You might consider adopting an older pet because it can bring much joy and companionship.”
A Quaker parrot named Bobber, who weighs less than a quarter pounder, rules the roost in my house. Every gram of bird is manipulative.
Right now, Bobber is feigning illness. He wants to go to the bird hospital, a place I call the spa. Life there includes sunning to music, high-class human and avian companions and superior food.
In the past, I bought him a new cage, a $150 mansion, big enough for him to take flight, a little, because he could dismantle the older, smaller one and knock his food all over the floor, even when the cage was reinforced with mailing tape.
He can talk, but he’s been stuck for a year or two at five words and phrases. Words like “hello” and “peek-a-boo” and “gimme, gimme, gimme.” “Gimme, gimme” is really all he needs.
He will sit with his claw resting softly on your finger, which sounds sweet, until you realize he is keeping you from petting him. He doesn’t like to be touched.
Now he is trying to get to the spa, Kersting Veterinary Clinic and Bird Hospital in Chesterfield, by puffing himself up, shaking and flapping his wings. He looks as though he has a neuro muscular disease. The behavior is a sign of illness, amour or a desire for attention.
Dr. Jennifer Cira of the clinic said attention was likely. I knew, as soon as she said it, the attention he yearned for was the spa. He had stopped shaking as soon as we walked in the clinic.
Before the clinic, Bobber and I were happy together. He gave me kisses. When I was sick and napping, he was quiet. Once, after a bad day, I asked him what he had done for me recently. He climbed up my arm and gave me a peck.
Then one night, last year, he crawled up my arm, across my chest and burrowed himself under my fuzzy robe, over my heart. He could barely make the climb. I told him, “I’ll take care of you, buddy.”
Bobber would lose nearly 20 percent of his weight before his ordeal was over. He would stay in the clinic’s hospital for about a week, have dozens of tests and take two kinds of medicine.
At any point that I might of ceased care, Bobber would bow his head and peek up at me imploringly, rather like Princess Di. He seemed to be saying, “I know you’ll take care of me.” In the end, the bill was nearly $1,000.
While he was in the bird hospital, Bobber basked under a heat lamp, was swaddled in a towel and fed warm food. He squawked with the other birds. A radio sat in one corner. As Bobber got better, he began dancing to its music. He head goes up and down like a bobble head in time to music. He rocks out to salsa and soul. The staff loved him.
He is often home alone. I couldn’t blame him for preferring the spa.
I began racing around, trying to enrich his life. I felt guilty about denying my buddy happiness. A bird friend might do, but there would probably be a fight. Bobber actually sits on top of his mirror to show his reflection who is boss. In the parrot kingdom, the highest bird rules.
I bought three sets of bells. The parrot books say parrots get a lot of satisfaction — wink, wink — from bells. Bobber proved too smart to become romantically involved with a bell, no matter how appealing.
With great sorrow, I thought about finding him a home with a flock of people and birds.
But then he began to shake less. He forgot to shake if I played peek-a-boo or told him stories. So I upped our time together. I got him more toys and a heat lamp. He gets swaddling and baby bird food until he fattens up.
Now I’m looking for a gadget that will provide him with television at two hour intervals and I realize that the bird brain in my house weighs a lot more than a quarter pounder
Scientists conducting the first-ever South American river dolphin census have sighted hundreds of dolphins, raising hopes about the survival of some of the endangered species’ populations.
The survey counted 520 dolphins — 321 grey (Sotalia fluviatilis) and 199 pink (Inia geoffrensis) — during a 294-kilometre voyage down the Amazon, Atacuari and Javari rivers in Colombia, Brazil and Peru.
According to the team of scientists —led by the Omacha Foundation, with support from the Wildlife Conservation Society, Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society and WWF-Colombia — the results obtained in previous expeditions helped confirm that the Amazon dolphin populations are in better condition than those surveyed in the Orinoco River.
“The river count showed that although the dolphins face various threats, such as pollution, they have been able to survive in the Amazon in Colombia,” said Sauo Usma, WWF-Colombia’s Freshwater Programme Coordinator.
“We have noticed a change in the places where they are found, rather than a change in the number of individuals.”
The overall aim of the survey is to gather data on one of the endangered freshwater species in the world in order to design a management and monitoring plan, as well as get to know the state of the rivers and watersheds of some of South America’s largest rivers.
In previous legs of the expedition the team recorded: 270 dolphins in Venezuela (June 2006); 40 in Ecuador (July 2006); 131 on Colombia’s Meta River (August 2006); and 818 in Peru (September 2006).
A fifth and last expedition is planned for Bolivia between May and June 2007.
“Once we complete the Bolivian part of the survey, we will finally have dependable results on the state of river dolphin populations in the Orinoco and the Amazon basins,” Usma said.
“More importantly, we will be able to consolidate the necessary resources to set in motion a conservation strategy for these iconic species.”
Bangladeshi demolition workers have deployed a new heavyweight tool to get rid of illegally constructed buildings.
Suffering from a shortage of tools and heavy equipment, city chiefs recruited a circus elephant to come to the aid of workers in the city of Barisal.
The animal rapidly reduced the illegal properties to rubble, carrying out the work of 10 men in a matter of minutes, reports say.
Illegally built properties have become more commonplace over the last decade.
In towns and cities all over the country, large blocks of flats have been built by property tycoons who often do not have the necessary planning permission.
The interim government has pledged to demolish all illegally constructed buildings, arguing they place too much stress on an already over-stretched infrastructure.
“We didn’t have any bulldozer to conduct the demolition drive in Barisal, so our officers had to hire an elephant from the circus,” city corporation Chief Executive Abdul Mannan told the AFP news agency.
The flimsily-built structures had little chance against the elephant.
Workers with pickaxes were then able to finish off the job.
In Dhaka, several luxury residential tower blocks have been constructed in the up-market Gulshan and Banani areas, which critics say blight the landscape and add to pollution problems, because the sewerage system is over-burdened.
In some cases the authorities say that property millionaires illegally forced residents who live on building sites to leave the area before construction work commenced.
San Diego’s Wild Animal Park has a new elephant in its herd. A 17-year-old African elephant gave birth to a male calf Sunday.
Images taken by park staff Monday morning show the calf is healthy, but not too steady on his feet yet.
That’s a normal development according to park staff. The calf’s muscles are still developing. It won’t be too long before the baby is trotting around the enclosure.
The mother, Litsemba, gave birth at 9:14 p.m.
Keepers are watching mother and baby around the clock to make sure the first-time mother takes care of her newborn.
The calf doesn’t have a name yet and tests indicate he won’t be the only baby elephant to arrive this year.
Progesterone tests indicate two more elephants, Umoya and Lungile, are also expecting and should deliver later this year.
Elephant females give birth every four to six years. The average gestation period is 649 days or about 21 months.
A newborn calf is about 3 feet tall and averages between 250 to 300 pounds.
An Alaskan husky puppy dog is back at home with his 8-year-old owner, Friday, but Orlando police want to talk with the cruel man who stole it last weekend.
The boy was walking Snowy on Cava Alta Drive on Sunday night, when a man came up, pulled the puppy off its leash, jumped into a car and drove off.
Thursday night, someone called the boy’s family and said they found the puppy wandering along Colonial Drive.