Category Archives: Pet Stories

Your pet cats Egyptian ancestors

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After the pyramids and the kohl painted eyes, almost nothing evokes more awe and mystery than the fascination ancient Egyptians had with cats.

They were not only the most popular pet in the house, but their status rose to that of the sacred animals and then on to the most esteemed deities like no other creature before them.

Cats domesticate the ancient Egyptians

Although no one can pinpoint the time exactly, we know that the cat was domesticated in Egypt, probably around 2000 B.C., and that most modern cats are descendants of the cats of ancient Egypt. One reason it is difficult to say precisely when domestication occurred is that the ancient Egyptians did not distinguish between wild and tame cats in their descriptions of them. There was one word for cat-and that was miu or mii, meaning “he or she who mews.”

So then how did domestication of the cat come about? Dogs, associated with hunting, had actually been domesticated thousands of years before, according to archeologists. But cats, being the aloof, aristocratic creatures they are admired for, apparently took their time in fully befriending the ancient Egyptians.

There is a cat known as the African wild cat (Felis silvestris libyca)-one of the closest wild relatives of the modern cat. It is larger than the average domesticated cat of today. The feline’s tawny, yellow-gray fur, long tapering tail and striped markings, affording it ideal camouflage among the rocks and sand of the desert. This cat is known as a predator-a hunter of small game-rather than a scavenger. The other cat native to Egypt is the swamp or jungle cat-(Felis chaus), but it is the wild cat which is believed to have been the cat to “domesticate the Egyptians.”

In the villages, the greatest danger to Egyptian households were the numerous poisonous snakes, rats and mice which attacked food supplies in the home and the village granaries. The wild cat, it is assumed, strayed into the villages and hunted down the vermin, keeping them at bay. It’s easy to imagine the grateful Egyptians leaving out scraps of food to encourage the wild cats on their vigils. A symbiotic relationship occurred between animal and human. Next, the felines found their way into the Egyptian homes, spent some time there, allowed themselves to be tamed and raised their kittens in a human environment. As soon as the Egyptians began supplying the cats with food, thereby significantly changing their diet, and breeding them for certain characteristics, the cats were domesticated. They were perfect pets-playful, intelligent, affectionate and helpful to the farmers who sustained life in ancient Egypt.


All Good Dogs Go To Heaven

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If “all good dogs go to heaven” and all dogs are good; then heaven is overflowing with dogs…and cats…and a plethora of other animal companions. Good for us, I say. I, for one, look forward to being reunited with my animal companions.

Our beloved corgi; Buddynwolf Rowan Crowfeather, most affectionately known as Buddy, crossed over the Rainbow Bridge on Mother’s Day. We had shared (almost) 15 years together. His passing was unexpected. We were not ready. But then again, when is anyone ever ready to be left behind? Buddy fought the good fight and survived his bout with cancer last year, gracing and blessing us with an additional 14 months of pure joy, delight and unconditional love. Buddy truly lived every moment he was alive!

Buddy was a great teacher. I vow to uphold and share the lessons he has taught us, (and I do believe he will continue to teach us from a distance)… He taught us how to love without judgment and without conditions. One of his closet sidekicks and trusted confidantes was Toka, a cat. Buddy showed us how to find joy and happiness in every moment. He would delight in rolling in the snow and never ever became dismayed because it was raining. He loved to share his life and his possessions and never complained when his (new) canine companion Charlotte ‘stole’ his favorite treat… sure he grumbled for a moment, but he let go and moved on.

He taught us how to forgive and how to be happy, despite whatever obstacles we were faced with. Having short legs (he didn’t know he wasn’t a wolf) he would be confronted with challenges while ‘out and about’ on a trail, however, he simply chose another route, another way around things. And he taught us to find the answers deep within our hearts and souls. He chose love.

Those of you who have had to let go of a dearly beloved animal companion, are more than likely remembering your life with that great animal as you read my words. You feel my pain and grief in your heart and there is knowingness that we are not alone.

Animal companions have presented themselves during readings so I know heaven is full of our friends and I find comfort in that knowing.

Diane Marie Ford, CHHC, AADP, Nourishment Counselor & Spirit Medium is the founder of Whole Soul Nutrition™.

For more information or to 
talk with Diane call 508.947.5348
Please visit her web site;

Alaska dog honored for leading troopers to fire

Photo and story courtesy AP.

In the US state of Alaska, Buddy the German shepherd was hailed Friday as a hero for guiding State Troopers through winding back roads to a fire at his owners’ workshop.

“Buddy is an untrained dog who for some reason recognized the severity of the situation and acted valiantly in getting help for his family,” Col. Audie Holloway, head of the troopers, said Friday at a ceremony for the 5-year-old dog, who stood quietly before an adoring crowd.

Buddy, whose good deed was caught on a patrol car’s dashcam video, received a stainless steel dog bowl engraved with words of appreciation from troopers for his “diligence and assistance.”

Buddy also received a big rawhide bone, and his human family got a framed letter documenting his efforts.

“He’s my hero,” owner Ben Heinrichs said, his voice breaking. “If it wasn’t for him, we would have lost our house.”

The dashcam video shows Buddy meeting the trooper’s vehicle, then dashing to their property about 55 miles north of Anchorage on April 4.

Heinrichs said he was working on parts for his truck when a spark hit some gasoline and ignited, lighting his clothes blaze. The 23-year-old man ran outside to stomp out the flames by rolling in the snow, closing the door to keep the blaze from spreading.

Heinrichs then realized Buddy was still inside the burning building and let the dog out. Heinrichs suffered minor burns on his face and second-degree burns on his left hand, which was still heavily bandaged Friday.

Buddy was not injured.

“I just took off running,” Heinrichs said. “I said we need to get help, and he just took off.”

Buddy ran into the nearby woods and onto Caswell Loop Road, where the dog encountered the trooper, Terrence Shanigan, whose global positioning device had failed while responding to a call about the fire. He was working with dispatchers to find the property in an area with about 75 miles of back roads.

Shanigan was about to make a wrong turn when he saw a shadow up the road. His vehicle lights caught Buddy at an intersection, and the dog eyed the trooper and began running down a side road.

“He wasn’t running from me, but was leading me,” he said. “I just felt like I was being led … it’s just one of those things that we’re thinking on the same page for that brief moment.”

The video shows Buddy occasionally looking back at the patrol car as he raced ahead, galloping around three turns before arriving in front of the blaze, which was very close to the Heinrichs’ home.

From there, the trooper guided firefighters to the scene.

The workshop was destroyed and a shed was heavily damaged, but only some window trim on the house was scorched.

The Heinrich family said they knew Buddy was smart ever since they got him six weeks after he was born to a canine-officer mother and that he was brave, twice chasing bears away while Ben Heinrichs was fishing.

But saving their home beat them all.

“Downright amazing, I would say,” said Tom Heinrichs, Ben’s father. “Maybe there was some divine intervention.”

Hungry pet snake Reggie eats its own tail

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This pet snake got itself into a twist after mistaking its own tail for dinner – and eating it.

Poor Reggie couldn’t let go and only a quick dash to the vet stopped the hungry reptile from digesting itself.

“Its backward-facing teeth were acting like a ratchet,” vet Bob Reynolds from West Sussex, England, told Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper.

”The snake had also dislocated its jaw in its attempt to get its mouth around the tail and this isn’t easy to reverse.”

Mr Reynolds was able to gently untangle Reggie by prising its jaws open and sliding the teeth off the flesh.

”I have never seen a case like it, although I have head about it happening,’ the reptile expert added.

“There is a temptation for a snake-eater like this one to lunge at its own tail, especially if kept in a small enclosure. They can’t spread themselves out and think their tails are another snake.”

Luckily the tip of the 18-year-old snake’s tail hadn’t entered its stomach so it hadn’t come to any harm. All Reggie was left nursing was perhaps wounded pride.

Do you have an interesting pet story that you would like to share with others? Why not create your own website with Living Years Pets; an easy to create, affordable and highly engaging website to celebrate your beloved pets. It will allow family, friends and colleagues, from around the world, to communicate and frequently relive precious memories forever.

From Service Dog to Surfing Dog

Judy Fridono sees the positive side in many situations. Diagnosed with a degenerative disease, Judy doesn’t focus on her constant pain; instead, she turns her energies toward training service dogs. Ricochet, her 2-year old Golden Retriever, was slated to become a service dog, but didn’t make the cut. Ricochet now works as a surfice dog.

Judy with Ricochet, her Surfice dog.

From almost the moment she was born, Judy worked with Ricochet. She was so proud of the progress Ricochet was making.  She learned how to fetch, how to turn on and off light switches, how to zip a jacket, and other tasks taught to service dogs.

Ricochet also loved chasing birds. “She would be in a field, and as soon as she saw a bird, she would run after it,” says Judy. “I was disheartened. She was doing so well with her training, but you can’t have a service dog that chases birds.”

Making the Cut

Any number of factors can disqualify a dog from becoming an assistant to a person with disabilities. Judy is well aware that all dogs don’t make the cut. It was eight years ago that she started Puppy Prodigies, a neo-natal and early learning nonprofit program that trains puppies for service work. “Most of us would agree that it is difficult to predict the adult personality of a puppy,” says Judy. “Since that’s not possible, Puppy Prodigies focuses on the puppies’ early weeks which are crucial to their later success in training, and in life. We specialize in early learning and development from birth to 7-12 weeks of age. This gets the puppy ready for the next phase of their training by learning to learn.”

Ricochet came close, and Judy didn’t want to give up on her. “I was frustrated and knew that she wouldn’t be able to assist someone who was blind or deaf, or had some other disability,” says Judy. “Then I thought about her surfing abilities.”

Ricochet loves the waves.

As part of her training, Judy would place Ricochet (and the other service dogs she trained) in a kiddie pool with a wooden plank. She put Ricochet on top of the plank, and she would balance. “Not all dogs like the motion of an unsteady surface,” says Judy. “It’s a good idea to get service dogs to feel comfortable in all sorts of situations. Not all grounds are steady, and if a blind person is walking with a service dog on a wobbly sidewalk or even an escalator, the dog should feel confident guiding the person who can’t see.”

Surfing Dog

It turns out that Ricochet has incredible balance, and a love for the water. Judy would take Ricochet to the beach near their home in San Diego. She entered Ricochet in a local surfing contest, and she won.  Since then, Ricochet has entered several contests, and won most of them.  She just loves surfing.

Judy turned this love into a way to raise money for people with disabilities. “Ricochet became a surfice dog,” she says. “And I started Surfin’ for Paws-abilities,” a nonprofit assistance dog program.

People make tax-deductible donations to specific charities, and Judy searches for sponsors. Ricochet’s first fundraiser was to help 15-year old Patrick Ivison, a quadriplegic surfer. Ricochet would ride tandem with Patrick. When he fell off his surf board, Ricochet pulled him back on.

Judy was able to raise $10,000 for Patrick’s therapy, and her sponsor, the Rose Foundation awarded a grant to cover three years of Patrick’s physical therapy. In addition, the donation covered enough for Patrick to get a service dog of his own.

Judy and Ricochet continue to raise funds. As of this date, they raised a total of $20,000 thanks to a video Judy made about Ricochet and his surfing abilities.

Judy, who is a certified dog trainer, trains other service dogs. She is looking into training shelter dogs for her program. “We don’t need to breed more dogs,” she says. “The shelters are filled, and I’m sure that there are many dogs that would greatly benefit from this program.”

Lessons Learned

“When I stopped focusing on what she couldn’t do, and focused on what she could do, everything fell into place,” she says. “By listening to Ricochet, and letting her do what she does best—not what I wanted her to do—she accomplished amazing things.”

She is still winning the hearts of all who meet her, and working hard to raise awareness and funds for people in need.

Do you have a pet who’s amazing tricks you would like to share with other pet lovers? Why not create your own website with Living Years Pets; an easy to create, affordable and highly engaging website to celebrate your beloved pets. It will allow family, friends and colleagues, from around the world, to communicate and frequently relive precious memories forever.

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Scratch Scratch

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Scratch Scratch. Bite Bite. Gnaw Gnaw. Lick Lick.

How many of you watch your beloved dog chronically scratch, bite, gnaw and lick all day? It’s heart breaking. How many take our beloved to the vet for cortisone shots, tablet, antibiotics or all of the above, only to find it is a temporary fix and the problem is getting worse?

Deep down we know the use of cortisone and antibiotics is not a great idea for our pets, but most feel there isn’t any other option. Luckily there are many other options and they don’t require expensive allergy tests or allergies shots.

Firstly we need to understand the allergy. Allergies can be air borne or food related. What many don’t realize is it can also be what your pets sleep, play or walk on. I have seen every type of allergy come through my clinic. Finding out which is the problem is the trick. What happens when you do find the offending allergen and your dog keeps itching? Is there another allergy? Have we discovered the correct allergen? Was an allergen the problem in the first place? Is stress involved?

Treating an itchy dog isn’t an easy task as no two dogs are the same. When a dog has suffered with allergy symptoms for a long period of time and has had multiple courses of antibiotics and cortisone, other complications can begin to arise.

The first step to treating a dog with itchy skin is to have a close look at their diet. I very rarely have dogs on natural diets come in with skin problems. 99% of my itchy patients are on processed dog food. A natural diet does not consist of packaged food with the word natural or holistic on it. This includes Supercoats “natural” food, Nature’s Gift and Eagle Pack amongst a few. If it doesn’t look like real food, than it isn’t.

A true natural diet consists of real “raw” meat and “blended” raw or semi cooked fruit and vegetables. Always avoid beef and lamb as these meats can cause further irritation. Meats I recommend are kangaroo, chicken, pork (must be frozen for 2 weeks before eating) and turkey. Vegetables: Beans, silver beet, carrots, snow peas, cauliflower, celery, broccoli, cucumber, asparagus, pumpkin, eggplant, zucchini, bean sprouts, capsicum, spinach and sweet potato *All green vegetables *No tomato, onion, leeks, white potatoes. Fruit: Banana, apple, pear and seasonal fruits *No citrus

AND NO RICE OR PASTA! Dogs require only 5% carbohydrate in their diets. They obtain their energy requirements from animal fat (which should be raw). Rice, pasta and processed dog foods are too high in carbohydrates. These foods not only cause obesity and metabolic disorders but contribute to skin diseases.

For a natural diet to be successful, it is important to add the correct nutrients. Omega 3, 6, & 9 is of extreme importance. Most will say I’ve tried fish oil capsules and flax oil but it didn’t work. Omega oils must be fed for 4 weeks before it begins to absorb in the body at full capacity. Animals with any form of illness must take Omega Oil in therapeutic doses. This means larger than the standard dose advised on the packaging. Most over the counter Omega oils have very low potencies and some even at large doses may not be enough. We must choose the correct Omega Oil blend for our dogs and feed the correct doses. I will prescribe approximately 1 tablespoon per 10 kilo’s of body weight of Natural Animal Solutions Omega 3, 6 & 9 for Dogs.

I then recommend adding a complete multivitamin and multi-mineral. I use DigestaVite Plus.

My final recommendation is to add a high potency Vitamin C with antioxidants. A good vitamin C works as a natural antihistamine. Dogs suffering with allergies will benefit significantly from Vitamin C as it will reduce their excessive histamine levels, reducing their itching.

From experience most itchy dogs and cats will significantly improve on a natural diet and the correct supplementation. More serious cases will need further assistance and guidance from an animal naturopath that is able to prescribe naturopathic medications.

Do you have a special method for keeping your dog in great shape that you would like to share with other pet lovers? Why not create your own website with Living Years Pets; an easy to create, affordable and highly engaging website to celebrate your beloved pets. It will allow family, friends and colleagues, from around the world, to communicate and frequently relive precious memories forever.

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Cat Bed – All About Cat Beds

Cat beds come in a vast array of colours, shapes, sizes & styles. You are only limited by budget & taste. Cats spend around 15 hours a day sleeping, so a cat bed is going to be a well used purchase.

Types of cat beds:

Wicker baskets (see above). These traditional style baskets are cheap, but can be difficult to wash & can be easily chewed by your cat.

Plastic baskets. Similar in shape to the wicker baskets & should be lined with soft blankets or cushions. Advantages with plastic beds are that they can be disinfected in the event of a disease/parasite outbreak (such as ringworm).

Donut caT beds (see below): Made of soft material & stuffed with a soft lining these beds have slightly higher sides.

Cat hammocks/radiator beds. These beds are usually made of wool & hung over radiators. Advantages are that they also provide a perch for your cat to watch the world go by, disadvantages are that kittens or older cats may find it difficult to jump up to.

Enclosed/cat igloo beds. Usually made from fabric, with a stuffed lining these beds offer security, warmth & privacy to your cat.

What to look for in a cat bed:

There are many factors you should look at when buying a cat bed. These include;

Size. It should be large enough for your cat to stand & turn around in, but should be snug enough to make your cat feel secure.

Warmth. It should have high enough sides to keep your cat warm. Enclosed beds hold the heat in better, if it is an open bed, it can be placed close to a heater, but not close enough to be a fire hazard or burn your cat.

Ability to wash/clean. If you decide on a fabric cat bed, look for one that is machine washable. This is important as your cat bed will need to be cleaned frequently to remove dirt, fur & in the event of a disease/parasite outbreak.

Comfort. This goes without saying. Either opt for a bed that has adequate filling, or if choosing a plastic style bed, line it with soft blankets.

Where to buy a cat bed:

Pet shops & online stores are the best place to buy cat beds.

Where should the cat bed be placed?

Beds should be placed out of high traffic  areas but still within view of family members. So in a quiet part of the lounge room, preferably by a window.

I have more than one cat, how many cat beds should I buy?

You should have one bed per cat, although ats who are especially close may prefer to sleep together.

Encouraging your cat to use it’s bed:

It is always best to encourage cat bed use when your cat is still a kitten. Start by placing some treats, toys or catnip in the bed. If the cat goes in, heap praise on it.

Cat beds for sick cats:

Sometimes your cat’s bed will have to double up as a hospital. Again, it is important to be able to clean the bed, especially if the cat is suffering from a contagious disease.

Sick or elderly cats may also appreciate a heating pad if the bed can not be placed close to a heater. The heating pad should be set to low, and there should be enough space for your cat to move off the pad if it becomes too hot. Electric heating pads should be avoided.

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