Monday, October 27, 2014

Being a Solo Dog owner

Vera & Avon hanging out with the dog sitter
As a person who lives alone, in term of human beings, it can be quite a task to look after my expanding number of pets.  (No more pets, I swear, I am at capacity). These days I have the financial means to fill in any gaps.  I have a dog walker who comes while I am at work, and also comes in and looks after the rats when I am away, and a pet sitter who looks after the dogs in her home when I travel for work or overseas vacation.

But not so long ago things were not so simple as I did not have the means to pay for these invaluable helpers.  So this is just a reminder, sometimes it takes a village to raise a puppy. If you have a friend with limited means with a pet, and you have a ability to help out with occasional walks or overnight stays--please consider making the offer. (Of course make sure you can pet sit safety and the dog is non-aggressive and vaccinated etc). You might be lessening a huge source of stress for your friend or neighbor.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Seeking Manuscript Reviewing Volunteers

I have agreed to sign on as an associate editor to the new open source journal "Frontiers in Veterinary Science: Animal Behavior and Welfare". there are a lot of open source journals floating around out there these days, but the Frontiers line seem to attract a better sort of material and they are run in partnership with the Nature Publishing Group.

So now I am trying to find some willing vic... volunteers to serve a manuscript evaluators.  So, well, anyone with a research background out there want to volunteer?  Just drop me a line by email or on the frontiers site.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Open notice to the woman with a large dog who lives in Chester, SC

If you live in Town and Country Lane or thereabouts in Chester, South Carolina and have a 70 pound dog that is a "desirable" large breed -- your boyfriend is showing his true colors.  But trying to use Craigslist to  give your dog to some profiteering stranger who has no problem with stealing someone's pet for profit.

"girlfriends dog.....has got-2-go. here's the scoop. i'd pay a GOOD home or connection to take it to a good home because she got a dog she cant handle. too big, and she doesnt even train it. i wont post pics here bc shes hard-headed. dog in great condition. its spayed so u cant get any puppies out of it but id say if u found it another home, its fetch a pretty penny or two. desired breed. large. 70lbs.

if you reply and can prove your not the GF (LOL!) and express interest, as long as u can get this dog discreetly (maybe during the nightt when everyones in bed) then praise the loRd almighty! liek i said, i'll pay YOU the re-homing fee for the hassle. otherwise good dog. house/crate trained. idk if shed liek cats much and might would need work. should be good with kids, def good with all the people she meets. no health probs.

so either u hold it and then keep it for yourself or rehome it on craigslist or otherwise. i just wnt u to promise you'll br a good home, not abandon to go thru the routine to rehome it well--and distreectly bc she'll be loking for this thing for a few months i bet???? i just dont have the time dedicated to train this dog to be good around another pet im getting. and i WILL be trainig my pet so my girlfriend shouda LISTENED and took care of her dog and trained it. so her Loss is your GAIN. ........................hit me up. you knwo the routine."

Monday, July 7, 2014

Enter the Rat

On Saturday a rat wandered onto my deck.  No one nearby seems to have lost her.

After trying to bite me.
She decides I might not be so bad after all.
Starting to look settled in.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Dog Paint

It looks like the dog paint I wrote about for Dogster has not been a big hit. It is already on markdown at PetSmart.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

National Geographic / Petsmart Betta Bowl Hall of Shame

Right in the product description they say: "National Geographic's mission is to inspire people to care about the planet. They believe that responsible Pet Parenting is a great way to experience some of the wonders of the world while developing a greater love and compassion for it."

Now I keep a betta in a five gallon tank, arguably he would like more space than that.  But even I find it very easy to see that a bowl that is only one gallon in holding capacity, and clearly considers aesthetic for the human much more important than comfort for the animal, is less than inspiring.

And if course this is an exclusive deal with PetSmart who state on their website that it is acceptable to keep a betta fish in 1 quart (0.25 of a gallon of water). That is, a 3.8 inch / 9.8cm cube.

My advice would be: if you are going to sell this thing show a photo with a full grown betta fish of the type PetSmart sells in it, to show the scale you are working on here.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Housing Lab Rats in Pairs

ressaure / Foter
Individual housed rats animal are widely considered to experience a syndrome called ‘isolation stress’.[1][2]. This syndrome includes hyper-reactivity to stimuli,[3] deficits in learning performance,[4] and altered reactivity to pharmaceuticals.[5]

When compared to other rodent species, rats are particularly susceptible to isolation stress, especially as juveniles (up to 50 days of age).[6][7] While housing in larger groups is often desirable, pair housing is sufficient to abolish the worst effects of isolation stress. Use of social contact substitutes such as mirrors has not been successful.[1]

 Social housing permits the display of highly-motivated social behaviors and helps moderate the effect of experimental or incidental stressors. When confronted with a novel or aversive event, paired animals experience significantly less distress as indicated by measures such as open field activity,[1] ethanol intake[8] and adrenal gland size.[4]

 As such, differences in social housing should be considered as a potential source of experimental confounds. Social housing is preferred as producing rats that display less severe physical and behavioral abnormalities[9] and are less susceptible to stressors.

  •  [1] Wiberg, G. S., and H. C. Grice. "Long term isolation stress in rats." Science (New York, NY) 142 (1963): 507.
  •  [2] Baer, Hf. "Long-term isolation stress and its effects on drug response in rodents." Laboratory animal science 21.3 (1971): 341. 
  •  [3] Lapiz, M. D. S., et al. "Influence of postweaning social isolation in the rat on brain development, conditioned behavior, and neurotransmission." Neuroscience and behavioral physiology 33.1 (2003): 13-29. 
  • [4] Reed, Phil, et al. "Effects of isolation rearing and mirror exposure on social and asocial discrimination performance." Learning and Motivation 27.2 (1996): 113-129. 
  •  [5] Jones, G. H., et al. "Dopaminergic and serotonergic function following isolation rearing in rats: study of behavioural responses and postmortem and in vivo neurochemistry." Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior 43.1 (1992): 17-35. 
  •  [6] Einon, Dorothy F., et al. "Isolation has permanent effects upon the behavior of the rat, but not the mouse, gerbil, or guinea pig." Developmental psychobiology 14.4 (1981): 343-355. 
  • [7] Lukkes, Jodi L., et al. "Adult rats exposed to early-life social isolation exhibit increased anxiety and conditioned fear behavior, and altered hormonal stress responses." Hormones and behavior 55.1 (2009): 248-256.
  • [8] Parker, Lorne F., and Barbara L. Radow. "Isolation stress and volitional ethanol consumption in the rat." Physiology & behavior 12.1 (1974): 1-3. 
  •  [9] Muchimapura, S., et al. "Isolation rearing in the rat disrupts the hippocampal response to stress." Neuroscience 112.3 (2002): 697-705.

Thursday, May 15, 2014


My short response to this post about how people should not take their dogs out into the world is this: dogs are no more or less disgusting than people.  Arguably rather less so.

I would rather not have to share my public transport, restaurant area etc with children in particular and people in general.  The difference is that I realize that my feelings in this regard are irrational.

My more considered attitude to dogs, children, and people in general is that if they don't smell and are well-behaved then what they are doing in my proximity is honestly none of my business. An attitude I expect to be reciprocal.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Of Rats and Women, follow up

Of Rats and Women
 "I received my PhD for studies into the how rat caging affects the rats' welfare. Every single rat used in my four and a half year course of study was female."

N.I.H. Tells Researchers to End Sex Bias in Early Studies
"...N.I.H. wants scientists that it funds to include female lab animals and female cell lines." 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Using Insects to Collect Blood Samples

Collecting blood samples is an important part of many research projects and clinical testing to keep animals healthy. It is also very stressful.  Not just the blood draw but the handling and restraint associated with it.

One of the more interesting approaches to making this procedure less stressful is to use another animals that has evolved to steal other animals blood without them even noticing --blood-sucking insects.Two different researchers have used Dipetalogaster maximus (common name: "the kissing bug:) to collect blood from rabbits and found the  blood collected equivalent in quality to a traditional blood draw with a hypodermic.

This technique is also promising for use with wild and captive exotic animals who are even more easily stressed than animals kept in a laboratory.It might seem like a complicated way of going about something that can be done more easily by using physical restraint, but I think this is the kind of innovation that will ultimately lead to animals living complete, enjoyable lives in the laboratory without the kinds of routine stress many currently experience.

  • Markvardsen, S. N., Kjelgaard-Hansen, M., Ritz, C., & Sørensen, D. B. (2012). Less invasive blood sampling in the animal laboratory: clinical chemistry and haematology of blood obtained by the Triatominae bug Dipetalogaster maximus. Laboratory animals, 46(2), 136-141. 
  • Voigt, C. C., Faßbender, M., Dehnhard, M., Wibbelt, G., Jewgenow, K., Hofer, H., & Schaub, G. A. (2004). Validation of a minimally invasive blood-sampling technique for the analysis of hormones in domestic rabbits, Oryctolagus cuniculus(Lagomorpha). General and comparative endocrinology, 135(1), 100-107.

National Pet Week

This is National Pet Week!  Which I shall take as an excuse to post pictures of Vera and Avon. As if I need an excuse....


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Mice are Sexist

theglobalpanorama / Foter
A recent study as found that mice find the scent from an unfamiliar male to be stressful, even if that male is human. It is interesting when you think of gender as a meaningful trait that crosses species boundaries.  In a way this suggests that domesticated mice place more weight on information about gender (male or female) than information about species (human, dog or mouse) when it comes to deciding how threatening a stranger is.

See: Olfactory exposure to males, including men, causes stress and related analgesia in rodents

Monday, April 28, 2014

Himalayan Dog Chews

There are some rather pricy dog chews on the market that go by names like Himalayan chews. The chew is a long rectangular bar that is very hard. They go for $5-$15 per large chew.

What is it?
Surprisingly what it actually is a basically a type of cheese.  Most of them are made of yak and cow milk with some salt and lime juice. It is nice to see a short and easy to understand ingredients list.

All of the brands that I have looked at source their product from Nepal where a similar substance is made for human consumption called churpi. There seem to be some other variants that might be made elsewhere in a less traditional way, like the Milkotein bars.

The Pros
These chews are very hard, almost as hard as antler and probably about as hard as bone.  So if you have a dog that makes short work of rawhide and bully sticks this might represent more of a long term challenge. Some of the brands such as churpi-chews and Yeti chews seem to be less popular as they are softer and so dogs finished them more quickly.

_tar0_ / Foter
And because of the way it is made dogs should find it more difficult to chew off pieces that might cause choking or intestinal blockages. That said,some still manage it, especially once they have chewed it down to a stub. They have very little odor and don't create a mess or stain the carpet.

The Cons
These chews are so hard that I guess my dogs just never got the idea that they should be chewed on. Some dogs may be sensitive to the ingredients. I might need to try those softer versions other people are complaining about!

Six Egrets

It's bit hard to see but yesterday I found six Great egrets on the little pond outside my apartment. That's the biggest turn out I have ever seen there!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Do "Bobcat Hybrids" Exist?

Ken Corregan / Foter
When a woman in New Jersey attempted to get a license for her "Bobcat hybrid", doing the responsible thing had unintended consequences.  The problem being: it is not clear that bobcat hybrids even exist, and if so whether "Rocky" is one.  Because if he is a pure Bobcat, and hence a wild animal, she cannot legally keep him as a house pet.

You will see people advertising bobcat hybrids online, but of course that is no guarantee that they actually exist as many breeders (willingly or through credulous rebreeding from "fake" Bobcat hybrid stock) are selling normal cats as hybrid.

Pixie-bob cats are sometimes described as carrying Bobcats genes but this is through vague attributions to Bobcat and barn cat matings that are only presumed to have occurred, not known or proven to have occurred. It might seem a plausible story given the pixiebob's appearance. However, genetic testing has not been able to find any evidence of this cross-breeding.

The fact is that while fertile mating cannot be ruled out, no Bobcat x domestic cat has ever been demonstrated to exist via genetic testing. If an animal is purchased from a breeder it is mostly likely to be a 100% domestic cat, or occasional a misidentified pure Bobcat or other hybrid cat.  One of the reasons misidentification can occur is that Bobcats actually have a surprising variation in appearance and will hybridize with other wild cats such as the lynx.

My best guess would be that poor Rocky will turn out to just be a cat, and get to go home (no license required).

Update: the test proved to be inconclusive.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Why I do not watch Animal Planet

Lorna is / Foter 
It is frequently the case that reality shows are not as "real" as they are made out.  And when it comes to adult humans making their own decision, I suppose it does not bother me all that much.  But I am going through some serious disillusionment when it comes to Animal Planet. 

I feel that the animals on this planet provide a good enough show without unethical manipulations.  We do not need to go back to the day when Disney documentations pushed lemmings around with boards?

The most famous case of these unethical manipulation right now is how the Call of the Wildman show procures and plants the animals that the main "character" is hired to capture and relocate.  Apparently including transporting and storing wild animals like a coyote in ways that appear to be both cruel and completely illegal.

But you don't have to look far to find other example like Schultz, the former host of Wild Recon illegally selling endangered lizards.

Pet fish enthusiasts mutter about how well the aquariums set up for Tanked would last in the long run.  Aquariums are long term commitments and what looks good after a day or two if often as unsustainable as a Chelsey Flower Show garden. So, yes, I want to see follow ups before I am going to be impressed by what they have done.

I expect a TV channel all about animals to have a deeply ethical approach to animals, their welfare, their protection and their conservation.  And I am not alone in losing faith that this is true for Animal Planet.  I expect to be able to watch these shows believing in their accuracy and integrity.  And right now I cannot do that. so I will not be watching them at all.

p.s. National Geographic TV, you are starting to head down the same road.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Dogs in a School Setting: Summary

mblouir / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
Visits from friendly dogs have been found to have a wide range of benefits for children in a range of settings, including reducing post-surgical pain[i] and providing emotional support during courtroom testimony.[ii]
            In a school setting, dogs have been used in a variety of ways.  Dogs in the classroom were observed to not detract from attention to the teacher and contribute to a reduction in aggressive and hyperactive behavior in students.[iii] (Risks relative to allergies or cultural differences need to be identified and managed as necessary.[iv])
            Use of dogs in one-to-one therapeutic settings arguably dated to the beginning of the field with Sigmund Freud, who was reported to include his dogs in many of his sessions. The practice was more formerly developed by therapists such as Boris Levinson. Currently, Animal-Assisted Activities (AAA) and Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) are recognized as potentially beneficial with a wide range of children.[v]
            In a counseling setting, dogs can significantly augment a reassuring human presence[vi] due to their attention being interpreted as implicitly supportive and non-judgmental.[vii] Thus the presence of a dog can assist in more rapidly and successfully establishing a relationship of trust between a child and a counselor.
            Dogs may also be used in specifically educational settings. For example a dog as audience has been shown to increase reading behaviors, reading fluency and enjoyment of reading.[viii],[ix]
            Across all of these applications it has been shown that an appropriately trained dog can be used to assist children in achieving a calm, alert and emotional positive internal state[x] that reduces stress and facilitates communication and learning.

[i] Sobo EJ, Eng B, Kassity-Krich N. Canine visitation (pet) therapy: Pilot data on decreases in child pain perception. Journal of Holistic Nursing;24:51-57.
[ii] Marianne Dellinger, Using Dogs for Emotional Support of Testifying Victims of
Crime, 15 Animal L. 171 (2009),
[iii] Kotrschal K, Ortbauer B. Behavioral effects of the presence of a dog in a classroom. Anthrozoos 2003;16:147-159.
[iv] Gee NR. Animal in the Classroom. In Animals in Our Lives
Human–Animal Interaction in Family, Community, and Therapeutic Settings Edited by Peggy McCardle, Ph.D., M.P.H., Sandra McCune, Ph.D., James A. Griffin, Ph.D., Layla Esposito, Ph.D., & Lisa S. Freund, Ph.D.
[v] Chandler C. Animal-Assisted Therapy in Counseling and School Settings. Greensboro, NC: ERIC Clearinghouse on Counseling and Student Services; 2001.
[vi] Morgan TD. An Examination of the Anxiolytic Effects of Interaction with a Therapy dog. Doctoral thesis: Indiana University of Pennsylvania 2008.
[vii] Oian CE. Animal-Assisted Therapy Using Dogs: The Benefits to Children. Master’s thesis: University of Wisconsin-Stout 2007.
[viii] Shannon M. The Benefits of Children Reading Books to Dogs in Public Libraries and after School Centers: An Exploratory Study. Master’s Thesis: Queens College of the City University of York 2007.
[ix] Friesen L. How a therapy dog may inspire student literacy engagement in the elementary language arts classroom. In LEARNing Lanscapes 2009;3:105-122.
[x] Schultz EE. Furry therapists: The Advantages and Disadvantages of Implementing Animal Therapy in Schools. Master’s thesis: University of Wisconsin-Stout 2006.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Dogster Round-Up

This is just an update on my Dogster posts from the last few months.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Black Dog Syndrome

OakleyOriginals / Foter / CC BY
Various journalist are going on about how there is no scientific data about adopting black dogs (in relation to a nice story about black dog pictures).  Clearly they did not bother to Google it at all.

  • Brown, W. P., Davidson, J. P., & Zuefle, M. E. (2013). Effects of Phenotypic Characteristics on the Length of Stay of Dogs at Two No Kill Animal Shelters. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 16(1), 2-18.
  • Diesel, G., Smith, H., & Pfeiffer, D. U. (2007). Factors affecting time to adoption of dogs re-homed by a charity in the UK. Animal welfare, 16(3), 353-360.
  • DeLeeuw, J. L. (2010). Animal shelter dogs: factors predicting adoption versus euthanasia.
  •  Goleman, Malgorzata, Leszek Drozd, and P. Czyżowski. "Black dog syndrome in animal shelters." Medycyna Weterynaryjna 70.2 (2014): 122-127.
  • Posage, J. M., Bartlett, P. C., & Thomas, D. K. (1998). Determining factors for successful adoption of dogs from an animal shelter. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 213(4), 478-482. 
  • Siettou, C., Fraser, I. M., & Fraser, R. W. (2012, April). A retrospective cohort study on investigating factors that influence ‘consumer’choice when adopting a shelter dog. In Unpublished paper presented at the 86th Annual Conference of Agricultural Economics Society, Warwick, UK.
Read together, this research suggest that "black dog syndrome" is a complete myth.  If it occurs at all it is under specific local circumstances possibly linked to breed.

See:  Black Dog Syndrome: A Bad Rap?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Bing seems to think that New Zealand has a "Federal" Government?

"How do rocks get special protection from the federal government?" 1) Move to a country with a federal government?

Snail Talk

I just finished talking about freshwater aquarium snails on Aquarium Wetline--a blogtalk radio show. So if you want to learn more about snails... try the freshwater invertebrate hour!
Find Additional Pets Podcasts with Aquarium Wetline on BlogTalkRadio

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Time to stop using Goldfish Bowl imagery

Pet care has gone through an evolution in the last 50 years with standards in many areas rising. The classic image of a small round goldfish bowl does not represent the standard of care most aquariists hold themselves to. Indeed, the are often only still sold with unfortunate creature like the betta fish in mind--but some pet store will still tell people that a simple glass soup bowl is suited to be a goldfish;s whole world..

When you go to authoritative sites and aquarium forums the common advice is that goldfish are "messy" fish with a large adult size.  The require a large aquarium for 20 gallons or more and with a filtration system. And this is entirely correct.

A "designer" 2.5 gallon bowl
So I, for one, would like to see advertisers, industries and hobby magazine from using the classic goldfish bowl imagery. The glass globe, without filter and often even without substrate in which a single goldfish waits to die.  I know that photographers probably pose these creature in bowl for reasons of visual style.  But it sets up completely unrealistic expectations in novel fisher keepers--and it is time for this to stop.

"Petworld" should be ashamed
Goldfish belong in aquariums, and many of them ultimately in ponds.  We should expect these fish to live long healthy live and to reach their mature size.  And we should keep them, and show them being kept, in a way that will allow this it happen.

Would you show a cat in a crate or a dog on a two foot tether has a "happy" picture, or "just an illustration"? No. Goldfish also simply should not be shown in habitats unfit for purpose.  Not on packaging, not for display purposes, nor for artistic effect. Never.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Operation Free TV #2

109 days into Operation Free TV via NCP:

32 inch television:290,000 Pts
Progress:  8,200 Pts (2.8%)

At this rate earning the TV will take approximately 10.6 years.


This is discouraging.

The "Jelly Bean" Frog

Pets stores are pretty notorious for giving inaccurate names to the livestock they are selling, but their latest fad product is not just confusingly names--it is cruel.

The so called "jelly bean" frog is an albino frog from one of many common pet frog species, that has been injected with a colorful dye to make it a brighter color.  They also go by names like "tutti frutti" and come in colors like red and bright green.

Even moderately respectable wholesalers seems to have fallen onto this band wagon selling albino frog with clearly modified color.  Segrest has dyed African clawed frogs (Pipidae Xenopus laevis)--shown right.

The reason you should not buy there frog include:
1) Injecting the dye is an unecessary and often painful procedure
2) The dye may negatively effect their health and life span
3) The color fades over time anyway
4) If you are really interested in frog shouldn't you get "frog"-colored frog pets?

I have not been able to discover exactly how the dye injection is performed but it appears to be similar to the "dyed fish" craze.  And that type of dying is done by injecting the dye into the fish with a hypodermic needle. This process causes direct toxic effects to the animal and makes them more susceptible to infectious diseases.

This kind extreme cosmetic modification tend to lead to impulse buys, which is why the aquatics forums are now being bombarded with questions from people who do not know what species they have, how to care for it, or why it is sick.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Lykoi Cats -- Why?!

Why did you do this to me?
Boing Boing recently covered someone who is trying to breed cats that look like wolves.  My response can be easily condensed to:

1) That's a dumb thing to try and do
2) They don't look even a little bit like wolves
3) They do look completely messed up and unhealthy

In my opinion breeders should focus on breeding cats to look like... [drum roll] [wait for it] cats.

Healthy, vigorous cats with all of the usual cat pieces, like a nice coat of insulating fur.

Cat breeders are normally pretty good about this sort of thing, but there are always a few trying to "invent" a new breed of flat-faced, mangy, dwarf, flopsy cats.  And apparently always people lining up to buy these pathetic creatures.

For more diseased looking Lykoi cats see their Facebook Page.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Wolf Dogs

cheetah100 / Foter / CC BY
When I wrote this Dogster post about wolf x dog hybrids I completely accepted the fact that wolves and dogs are, taxonomically speaking, the same species.

However, this article makes quite a compelling case for wolves and dogs to actually be considered different species--and even argues that we cannot be sure that gray wolves are the ultimate ancestors of domestic dogs.

Food for thought!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Dog of the Day

Avon seems to be "Dog of the Day" at Dogster.  A dog community that is soon to be permanently closed, sadly. 

His age is three years out of date because that is when he joined (it does not automatically update).  And besides, it is traditional to use an old photo and lie a bit on a social network.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Calling for the Cavalry

somegeekintn / / CC BY
New York carriage drivers are reported as hooking up with "anti-animal rights" concern the Cavalry Group.  I am sure it seemed like a logical thing to do when facing lobbying to put them out of business.  But the second you go to the site there is a large picture of archaic looking western spurs and you get some idea who they are getting in bed with.

I think the carriage drivers should think less about fighting their adversary, and more about their public image--because it is their general community that ultimate gives or withholds the freedoms they need to carry out their commercial activities.  And I would guess that the Cavalry Group may alienate the general urban public within a  matter of weeks, because while right wing and agrarian people don't like being told what to do by urban sophisticates, the reverse is equally true.

Do New York city residents want to be told what to do by a fee-charging PR concern out of Missouri funded by anonymous animal industry groups?  One that opposes regulation of puppy mills that sell online? One that downplays the seriousness of chronic wasting disease in deer? One that attacks Tyson for voluntarily working with animal advocates to improve animal care standards? One that supports ag gag bills?

Yeah, that is not going to go well for them.  In fact I suspect it has taken them one step closer to having horse carriages banned from the city. (An issue about which I, personally, have no strong views).

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

How Responsible Can We Realistically Expect People to Be?

I like the FixatFour campaign.  Well, not the name so much, but the idea.  And the posters are cute.

What the text say is is: "50% of all pets born are accidents".

And what this brings to mind the fact that half of all human pregnancies are also accidental, or in the parlance of human-related statistics, "unintended".

So we have got to the point where people, on average, are as careful with their pets as they are with themselves and their kids?  Is that good news?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Are Birds Critters?

bldesprit / / CC BY-ND
I have a question for my American friends: are birds "critters"?  My apartment association has distributed a strict edict.  We may not feed "the squirrels and other critters".

I has always assumed critters were things with fur, not feathers, but I do not want to attract the wrath of they who must be obeyed....