Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sick People = Sick Dogs

I'd like to think that people are, on the whole, a decent lot, but one only needs to read a newspaper to discover just how screwed up some folks are. In a Toronto off-leash park this past weekend, six dogs were poisoned with anti-freeze. Two are not expected to survive, and the others will most likely suffer lasting kidney damage. Police believe the poisonings may have been perpetrated by someone protesting the city's recent decision to continue allowing a large area of the park to be used specifically for off-leash dogs. They don't hold out much hope of finding the culprit.

On the news last night, one of the owners, while hugging her dying Golden Retriever, was interviewed. It was absolutely crushing to look into the eyes of that beautiful dog -- such sadness and fear.

I can't imagine what kind of sick person would do such a thing. It's bad enough dogs ingested the poison, but that same sweet-tasting anti-freeze is attractive to young children and wildlife. I hope they catch the bastard.

UPDATE: Two of the dogs have died, and many dead raccoons have been found in the park.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Fate of the Animals

Grand Canyon Nevada
The History Channel's documentary, "Life After People", gives viewers an idea of what might happen to our world if humans suddenly disappeared -- forever. I find this sort of thing fascinating, so much so that I based my fantasy books Key to Aten and Return to Aten on just such a premise. Of course, in my books, some humans did survive -- the reading would have been terribly dull without a few people sprinkled about.

Back to the documentary:

If you get a chance, do watch it. It's a bit frightening to discover how nature would cover up all traces of our existence, and interesting to know the fate of the animals.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

What People Want

It's interesting and helpful to know what brings people to my blog, so occasionally I check the search terms readers use. By far, the most common inquiry is "how to get rid of stray cats". That search will take them here and here (Note: the second link is far more useful). I had no idea there were that many unwanted cats in the world. The worst search string is "how to poison feral/stray cats". It's so upsetting to know that people are actually considering this option. I do not, under any circumstances, condone poisoning an animal.

Disheartening as it is to discover that people are looking for ways to kill an animal, I'm happy to report that many folks are looking for ways to help sick pets, feed bunnies living in their backyards, or ideas on how to keep their pets entertained.

A few other memorable searches:

"What to do when dog eats thong"
I have no idea. In fact, I can't recall ever using the word 'thong' in my blog.

"Wearing fur for bugs"

"Alcoholic names for pets"
This is searched quite often, so don't be surprised if you meet a Chocolate Martini or Bloody Mary next time you visit the dog park.

I hope that no matter what brings readers here, they will return to share some of their own stories and comments.

Update July 8, 2008: Yesterday, someone discovered my site with the search "is rabbit safe to eat from the backyard". I wouldn't recommend it. I don't think the rabbit would either.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

This is What Happens When You Let Your Mind Wander

I'd always been curious as to why zebras hadn't been domesticated. Other than the jail house duds, they look pretty much like horses, so wouldn't it be handy to saddle one up before making the long trek across the African plains?

After a bit of research, I've discovered that zebras are near-impossible to tame, and their body shapes are different from horses, making them difficult to fit a saddle. I kind of like the fact that zebras have successfully maintained their freedom.

On the other hand, why did anyone even consider domesticating a Madagascar hissing cockroach? They can grow to three inches long, are wingless, live up to three years, and make great pets for young children. I just can't imagine bringing a cockroach into my home.

As pets or tools (and let's face it, we do use them), animals play important roles in our lives. And yet, many people continue to abuse them. Do you think they'll revolt one day, take over the world before we completely screw it up?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Enjoying the Outdoors

I've been somewhat lax in updating my blog. My only excuse is that I'm spending more time outside -- gardening, cutting the grass and generally reveling in the warmth after a very crappy winter. We've bounced straight into the hot weather. Today it's 30 degrees celsius (86 fahrenheit); way too hot for me, so I'm back indoors. I'll post something new in the next day or two. Until then, enjoy the sunshine if you have it.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Animal Myths

Black Cat
In my last post about composting, Raggs wondered if it was true that a worm would survive being cut in half (apparently not). That got me thinking about other animal myths.

Frightened ostriches bury their heads in the sand

Not true. This myth may have started because, from a distance, it's difficult to see their tiny heads as they peck at the dirt.

Touching toads will give you warts

Although the toads may have bumps, touching them will not cause a breakout of warts. This reminds me of two things:

1) When my mom was a little girl, she was told if she buried a cut potato in her yard, her wart would disappear. Amazingly, this advice turned out to be false.

2) If you get the opportunity, watch the hilarious Australian "documentary" Cane Toads: An Unnatural History. It details, in comedic fashion, what can happen when an unnatural animal is introduced into a new environment.

Bats are blind

Strike "blind as a bat" from your vocabulary -- not only do bats have exceptional hearing, they can also see.

Black cats bring bad luck

I have no idea how this superstition began, but I do know that my local pet adoption centre won't sell any black cats in the weeks preceding Halloween. I don't even like to think of the reasons why they have to take this precaution.

By the way, that's a picture of my cat, Meeko.