On safari: In search of the vetpanzee

To say I am a little stressed right now is an understatement. They say moving is one of the most stressful life events there is, up there with death and divorce in terms of sheer ability to induce cortisol production. Combined with a bunch of other incredibly time consuming commitments I have no business doing without the advantage of a time machine that can give me an additional 10 hours each day, I’ve devolved into a mess who had a handful of Trader Joe Jo Jos and a glass of wine for dinner last night simply because it was all I could find at 10 pm when it finally occurred to me I should eat something.

Point is, I apologize for not writing as frequently as I normally do. It will get better, but not in the next couple of weeks. Unless you want to see posts entitled “Today I sat with my face buried in Brody’s neck and rocked back and forth for three hours” I don’t have a lot to say, because the only thing worse that packing is reading a post about packing.

So instead, I’m going to take a deep breath and rewind to one year ago today, when I posted one of my favorite posts of all times. Oh, to be a carefree vetpanzee once again. Enjoy.

 

On a quiet afternoon on the shore of Lake Tanganyika, the vetpanzee colony takes a siesta, safely hidden from hungry leopards in their thatch caves.

Vetpanzee sighting

All, that is, but one. A female, alone, restlessly paging through a vetpanzee favorite, In the Shadow of Man by Jane Goodall.

Note the concentration she devotes to her task. Vetpanzees are single minded in their pursuit of knowledge, at least sometimes. If they are not distracted by chocolate or puppies.

Unfortunately the click of the shutter annoys the vetpanzee, and with a hoot and a grunt she takes off down the beach. Vetpanzees are solitary creatures and do not like to be disturbed in their repose.

The photographer gives her a moment, then gives chase down a vetpanzee trail. Where did the she run off to?

The watering hole? Empty, at least until the evening congregation hour.

Gone for a swim? Unlikely. Vetpanzees are terrified of crocodiles.

Napping in an old nest? No, vetpanzees prefer new nests every night.

Vetpanzee nest

Ah. There, in the distance. A vetpanzee feeding ground. Perhaps she is there.

The other vetpanzees have awoken and are actively searching out food. Our photographer must be careful as he skirts the edges of the feeding ground not to disturb them as it appears the alpha male has made an appearance.

Vetpanzee nest

Our photographer spots fresh size 8 flip flop prints leading up into the cave. Upstairs, an alcove has been carved away and filled with the young vetpanzee’s favorite treat: words.

There is also pen and paper. This is promising. Has he found the fleeing vetpanzee?

Quarry

He has. She is exhibiting classic happy vetpanzee behavior as she cradles another book.

Cornered, the vetpanzee stiffens. What are you reading, vetpanzee? Just let us look.

What nerds read at chimp camp

With a dangerous baring of teeth, the vetpanzee complies:

“Best Practices Guidelines for the Prevention and Mitigation of Conflict Between Humans and Great Apes.” (Vetpanzees are often nerdy.)

One tenet of such conflict prevention, by the way, is do not stalk and photograph the vetpanzee when she is trying to relax.

Pawcurious: With Pet Lifestyle Expert and Veterinarian Dr. V.

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Why Dog Lovers Should Care About California Proposition 37

The general election is less than a month away, and California voters face a ballot initiative involving genetically modified food. Dog owners should give this one some thought.

It’s Proposition 37, the California Right to Know Genetically Modified Food Act. It would require most genetically engineered food sold in California to be labeled, with a few exceptions. So, if salmon is genetically modified and farm-raised, or cereal is made with “GMO” corn (“genetically modified organism”), consumers would be able to read that on the package label.

Most environmental groups support Proposition 37, while the majority of the scientific community opposes it. Both sides are collecting donations to further their goals. According to the Organic Consumers Association, “Monsanto and Dow and DuPont and major food processors like Pepsi and Coca-Cola have already put up $ 25 million to defeat GMO labeling in California.” The controversial biotech firm Monsanto is the leading donor to the No On 37 campaign, according to the group, having provided more than $ 7 million.

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Some food was engineered in a lab. Do you believe that fact should be on the label? Photo: Experiments with fruits in laboratory in blue light by Shutterstock

Why should dog owners care, even if feeding and eating organic food isn't a high priority? Because if you care about the ingredients in your dog's food, it could get very difficult to find out what you're feeding your furry family member. Shortly after he was elected, President Obama promised, "We'll let folks know whether their food has been genetically modified, because Americans should know what they are buying."

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Food-labeling could help you help your dog with digestive issues. Photo: Beagle puppy pushing shopping cart filled with dog food by Shutterstock

If Proposition 37 is defeated, labels won't tell us whether genetically modified organisms are in that bag or can of dog food. Many dog food brands are manufactured using GMO corn as a filler ingredient in addition to meat taken from animals fed GMO corn. So if your dog develops a digestive issue, say, it will  be that much harder for Spot's vet to make a diagnosis if Spot's owners don't know exactly what their dog has been eating.

As someone who reads food ingredient panels very carefully, especially pet-food ingredient panels, I'm all for transparency in labeling. I have digestive issues, and I eat organic as often as possible. (Even my preferred multivitamin brand is non-GMO: it's New Chapter Organics.) I cannot risk ingesting genetically modified foods, because they don't agree with me physically. I know from experience that when I scarf something made of nonorganic corn -- which is to say, GMO corn -- I always regret it, no matter how delicious that taco or movie-theater popcorn was at the time I ate it, because I get very sick to my stomach. But when I diligently avoid GMO food, I'm fine.

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What's inside? How can you tell? Photo: Group of food tin cans with empty white label on a white background by Shutterstock


 

Incidentally, if you offer Spot the occasional popcorn treat, you might be interested to know that conventional, nonorganic popcorn is on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's 1999 Total Diet Study that lists the top 10 foods most contaminated with pesticides and chemicals. Nonorganic popcorn is listed as containing toxic chlordane, dieldrin, and toxaphene. (Also on the people-food front, I was surprised to learn that Horizon, producers of supposedly organic dairy products that I trusted for years, is on the "No on 37" side, so I've stopped purchasing its products.)

What we don't know about the foods we consume and feed our loved ones could hurt us. Many dogs have digestive issues. As our pets' guardians, we risk their well-being if we inadvertently feed them food whose ingredients we can't readily identify. So in order to make an informed decision as to what -- and what not -- to feed our dogs, we need to know what's in the package we're buying. It's as simple as that.

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Knowledge is power -- and that applies to food labels. Photo: Portrait of mature man showing bag of dog food to female customer by Shutterstock

Dogster readers, is this an issue that's close to you?

Please take a moment to read up on this issue, follow @CARightToKnow on Twitter, and make an informed choice on Election Day.


The Scoop | The Scoop

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What should I do if my guinea pig might have mange mites but my dad won’t take him?

Question by joseph_cariz: What should I do if my guinea pig might have mange mites but my dad won’t take him?
Hey everybody I’m not sure if he has mites; he barely scratches himself, but when you pet him some hairs fall of and I can see that he has dandruff. He also squeals slightly if you pet his back or rub his fur. My dad doesn’t want to take him to the ve, saying that it’s just a guinea pig. Answers?
How much would taking him to the vet cost?

Best answer:

Answer by oo_siouxsie_oo
Sorry but you shouldn’t get any pet if you (or your parents) are not prepared to take it to the vet should something go wrong. Most pets will need vetinary treatment at some point in their lives, even guinea pigs.

The squeaking is normal and it will be normal for a small amount of hair to moult off in your hand. It doesn’t sound like mites but one here can diagnose them without seeing your pet, keep an eye on him and if he starts itching lots, losing lots of fur or his skin gets all scaly you should convince your dad to take the guinea pig to the vet or take it yourself to a free charity vet if money is an issue.

Give your answer to this question below!

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Operation Anti-Lick

Lacey has always had a habit of licking things… not us, or herself, but things like the floor or pillow she is laying on. I think it is a bit of a soothing habit – kind of like a young kid that sucks her thumb when she is just sitting around. Lacey used to do it once or twice a day and if we were home, we would just say her name and she would stop.  Recently however, it has become more constant and we come home to soaking wet pillows.  She’ll still stop when we say her name, but we seem to be asking her to stop much more often.

This past year she has changed quite a bit – she is sassier and more playful at home but she is also less settled.  I don’t mind the sass or the playfulness (I kind of like it!) but the less settled part is the concern and I think it is due to the reduction in exercise.  We now only walk every other day at the most and these walk are shorter and less active than before.  If I don’t want Coulee to run, Lacey can’t run either as one doesn’t happen without the other.  Lacey doesn’t run at all without Coulee along so going on off leash walks with just Lacey is a bit dull – for all of us.

But I think we are all going to have to suck it up, so today was the start of “Operation Anti-Lick”.  I leashed up Lacey and left a crying Coulee behind (she really piled on the guilt this morning!).  Instead of a boring leash walk though, we met up with friends and the dogs had a bit of a romp.  I brought my camera but didn’t take any pictures because we were too busy chatting.

I’ll be loading up the iPod for Thursday’s walk to take an edge off the boredom.  As an added bonus, Lacey’s leash manners should improve, although they are actually pretty good when she doesn’t have her sidekick with her.  We walked by someone today with little more than a sideways glance but if it had been all three of us, I would have been trying to control two barking, lunging dogs.

Crazy Coulee and Little Lacey

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Is It Easier to Potty Train a Male Dog That Has Been Neutered?

My dad has a female dachshund, and he's wanting to get a male also. Potty training a male dog has him a little worried. If he has the male neutered, won't the dog be less likely to want to mark territory?

Suggestion:

Yes, if the male is neutered it will make him LESS LIKELY and prone to urinate/scent mark around the house, but there is no %100 guarantee. Males can still learn to scent mark, even if neutered and it's a learned behavior, so once it's started, it will almost be impossible to stop. If the male scent marks already and is neutered, most likely he'll continue scent marking.

The best thing to do is to get a puppy and potty train, then neuter at the appropriate age of 6 months.

As for actual potty training, there is not difference really.

Source: Is It Easier to Potty Train a Male Dog That Has Been Neutered?

FunnyDogsVideos.com

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Nice Skin Allergies photos

A few nice skin allergies images I found:

Skin Allergy on Left Hand
skin allergies

Image by Wootang01
15.5.09

We’re driving towards the orphanage. The highway is lonely, save for a few languid trucks ambling along. It is damp too, and a thick fog covers the countryside: a single light here or there provides the only hint of civilization amidst the interminable verdure. Inside the van, the smoke of cigarettes past wafts in the air, lingering like a lost soul. I inhale, and quickly cough. I subsequently open the window to the enveloping darkness outside, so slightly as to not disturb my companions in the back. The roar of the road echoes in my ears.

An unexpected wrench was thrown into our travel plans today. The trip began expediently enough as the bus on which Candy and I rode reached the Shenzhen airport with hours to spare; however, the unscheduled hiccups soon followed. We received an announcement over the public address system notifying us of a flight delay, due to a mysterious military maneuver, we deduced, high in the Shenzhen skies. Several more sonorous reminders came in punctual succession over the next six hours. It seemed as though we would be stuck, stranded really, at the airport forever, or for the day at least. Thankfully, after the police arrested some of the more aggrieved passengers, we finally boarded the plane and took off for central China. We were blessed to be on our way at last, none of us having blown a gasket during the afternoon tedium.

One more pitch black road awaited, down a single lonely lane lined with swarthy trees, standing as though sentries, and at length we arrived at the orphanage. The car stopped in a clearing, and we stepped out, onto a cement lot with soft puddles spread silently beneath our feet. We squinted into the twilight, our eyes trying to make sense of the surroundings. Our bags were unloaded, we made our way to the rooms, and soon enough fell asleep. I think we all enjoyed the repose, rendered especially comfortable by the new guest rooms in which we were staying.

16.5.09

We have only been here for barely 24 hours, yet it feels as though we have been here for much longer, as if time at some point in our journey decided to slow itself to a crawl. Maybe it was because of the litany of activities that we packed into the span of several hours, or perhaps it was the lack of worldly distractions, allowing us to focus solely on our mission, that caused us to suspend the hands of that imaginary clock in our mind. Whatever the case, we’ve enjoyed every minute at the orphanage; it is time definitely well spent in service!

Morning call was at 6:20; and after a prayer meeting we went down to finally visit the kids. They were playing on the vast driveway of the orphanage, savoring their moment of freedom before breakfast. To see so many friendly faces, in spite of their precarious physical and filial circumstance was definitely encouraging. I made a multitude of new friends; and did my best throughout the day to impact those kids with joy, honesty and patience. It is a powerful cocktail which brings love immediately to many.

The food at the orphanage is without processing, as natural as victuals can be in these days of impersonal industrial production. Large chunks of mantou, steaming bowls of soupy congee, and salty vegetables with slivers of meat have characterized our meals. It is the kind of humble stuff that lengthens life spans, and disciplines the palate.

We presented a wide range of activities – structured and unstructured; whole class and small group – to the kids, in the hope that we would manage them as much as amuse. In the morning, as though breaking the ice once were not enough, we ran through a series of dizzying, if not at times totally incoherent, activities designed to familiarize our dispositions to each other. Later, we established a makeshift fun fair, at which we ushered the children to rooms filled with (board) games, and puzzles, and other, more colorful activities such as face painting and balloon making. The kids couldn’t at length contain their enthusiasm, busting into and out of rooms with impunity, soaking in the rapturous atmosphere. In the afternoon, our team attempted to tire them out: running topped the agenda, and by leaps and bounds, the activities, whether straightforward relays or schoolyard classics like duck duck goose and red light, green light, indeed began to tucker our charges out. We, too, were pretty beat by the time night began to creep over the horizon!

17.5.09

Yesterday evening, we surprised the students with a musical performance, followed by forty minutes of bubble-blowing madness; to be sure, the students could not appreciate our somewhat accurate rendition of Amazing Grace so much as the innocent madness of dipping one’s hands in a solution of dish detergent and corn syrup and then whispering a bubble to life; and indeed, the moment the Disney branded bubble-making machines churned the first batch of bubbles into the air, with much rapidity weaving their frenetic pattern of fun, chaos erupted in the room. The students stormed the soap basin, and almost overwhelmed my teammates who valiantly held the Snitch and Pooh high above the heads of the clamoring kids.

During the evening’s festivities, I grew progressively ill, until at last I dashed out of the room to sneeze. Outside, in the cool of the night, under a cloud of stars beaming so far away in the deep of space, I exploded in a rancor of sneezing. The fit lasted for five minutes, an inexorable depression in my system which sent both my body and my esteem tumbling down. I felt bad, not only for my exceedingly rickety health, but for my teammates and the children who may have been exposed to my sickness as it incubated within me; furthermore, everyone in the classroom was saying goodbye and all I could do was rid myself of a sniffle here and there, in between rounds of bursting from nostrils and sinuses. I was impotent, as though one of my insignificant droplets on the floor!

18.5.09

We are in a car heading towards a famous historical site in Henan. The driver’s drawl slips slowly from his mouth, and what he says resonates intelligibly in our ears. Candy, Tanya and the driver are discussing Chinese mythology, and history, which, for better or for worse seem to be inextricably intertwined. We narrowly just now missed hitting an idle biker in the middle of the road; in dodging our human obstacle, the car swerved into the oncoming traffic, sending us flying inside the cabin. Reciting a verse from a worship song calmed our frazzled nerves.

How to describe the children? Many of them smiled freely, and were so polite when greeted that undoubtedly they had been trained well at some point in the tumult of their life education. Precociousness was also a common characteristic shared by the kids, whose stunted bodies belied the mature, perspicacious thoughts hiding just underneath the skin. Of course, in our time together we were more merry than serious, that quality being best left for the adults working silently in their rooms; and to that effect, the kids brought out their funny bones and jangled them in the air to stir up the excitement and to destroy by a jocular clamor any hint of a dull moment – we really laughed a lot. At last, although not all of them seemed interested in our staged activities – rather than feign enthusiasm and eagerness, some skipped our events altogether – those who did participate, most of them in fact, enjoyed themselves with abandon, helping to create that delightful atmosphere where the many sounds of elation reign.

Of the students whom I had the opportunity to know personally, several still stick out in my mind, not the least for my having christened a few of them with English names! David was bold, and courageous, willing to soothe crying babes as much as reprimand them when their capricious actions led them astray; he had a caring heart not unlike a shepherd who tends to his young charges. Edward, who at 13 was the same age as David, definitely grew emotionally, not to mention physically attached to me. He was by my side for much of the weekend, grabbing onto my hand and not letting go, to the point where I in my arrogance would detach my fingers within his, ever so slightly, as if to suggest that a second more would lead to a clean break – I know now that with the cruel hands of time motoring away during the mission, I shouldn’t have lapsed into such an independent, selfish state; he should have been my son. Another child who became so attached to the team as to intimate annoyance was the boy we deemed John’s son, because the boy, it seemed, had handcuffed himself to our teammate, and would only free himself to cause insidious mischief, which would invariably result in an explosion of hysterics, his eyes bursting with tears and his mouth, as wide as canyon, unleashing a sonorous wail when something went wrong. On the other hand, Alice remained in the distance, content to smile and shyly wave her hand at our team while hiding behind her sisters. And last but not least, of our precious goonies, Sunny undoubtedly was the photographer extraordinaire, always in charge of the school’s camera, snapping away liberally, never allowing any passing moment to escape his shot.

That I learned on this trip so much about my teammates verily surprised me, as I thought the relationships that we had established were already mature, not hiding any new bump, any sharp edge to surprise us from our friendly stupor. So, consider myself delightfully amazed at how a few slight changes in the personality mix can bring out the best, the most creative and the strangest in the group dynamic: admittedly, Candy and Tanya were the ideal foils for John, they eliciting the most humorous observations and reactions from my house church leader, they expertly constructing a depth of character that even last week, in the wake of the Guangdong biking trip, I never knew existed! Most of all, I’m glad to have been a part of such a harmonious fellowship, for the fact that we could prayer together as one, and encourage each other too, and all the more as we saw the day approaching.

allergies
skin allergies

Image by ejhogbin
My guess is an Aveda skin cream that I haven’t used in ages.

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Summer Tastes So Sweet

We bought our little Red Haven peach tree back in early Spring.  It is not yet 6 feet tall, but it has given us 2 nice big peaches this summer! I call it the ‘Charlie Brown Tree’ because these big plump peaches were hanging off tiny little twig size branches, which has been quite comical to watch! We ate our first one just last weekend and WOW was it sweet! We are waiting for the last one to ripen. Shoudn’t be long now! Just has to have a little squish to it before we can pluck it :)

This is what our tree looked like when we first bought it. Lots of beautiful pink blossoms all over it.

Now it is full of leaves and giving us peaches already despite its age and height!

And here is the yummy peach we have left on a scrawny branch. We have to pluck it before our scavenging tortoises get to it! ;)

It’s like growing candy! :)

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Black Friday Coupons Offer Tremendous Savings

True American Dog

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The Pups

We went off to Fort MacLeod yesterday for our dog walk.  It is a town about 30 minutes away and their off leash area is usually deserted. We don’t understand it as it is a great place to walk.  But we don’t mind having the place to ourselves!

There are so many things to see and sniff and explore that we’ve never brought a toy to play fetch with and it is the perfect place to walk if we don’t want Coulee running.

The only problem is there is quite a bit of wildlife here.  They never seem to spot it, but they do find lots of poop and bones.

And of course there are plenty of sticks for chewing and attempting fetch.  She gives up pretty quick though when we ignore the stick at our feet.  It is never more than a half hearted attempt at best.

It is also the home to my favourite fence line.  :)

I was hoping there would be lots and lots of yellow but we had missed most of it. There was still some up in the tops of the trees but everything at ground level was pretty brown.  We managed to find this small patch of grasses though.  It was near where there is standing water in the spring so it is obviously a different species than the other stuff.  I even got Lacey to pose in it and not look beaten!

I only need to ask Coulee if she is beautiful for her to not look beaten.  ;)

I love the dreamy quality of the photo below.

I think it must be the colour of these bushes that make them so cool.  This photo didn’t go exactly as planned but the shot where she is where I wanted her, she has a funny expression.  But I don’t mind the runner up.  :)

The bushes were too tall to get a decent picture of Lacey walking through – so I had to satisfy myself with grasses.

You’ve probably noticed the girls are wearing their “emergency” leashes (the bright red tab you can see is the end). They are leashes that wrap around their neck like a collar so if you need them, they are there and already attached.  I HATE having them in all my photos but in public places, I feel like we need them.

On Coulee you don’t usually notice it as much.

Speaking of not noticing… We also saw this cute little bird nest that was right along the side of the path at chest height that we never would have spotted if the trees still had leaves.

This girl was hard to miss though and I was very thankful the girls had their leashes.  He came up to “chat” which made the girls go wild.  We had seen him coming so we found a patch on the trail where we could pull way off but he stopped anyway.  Marlin left me with the dogs and walked about 10 feet away so he didn’t feel the urge to come any closer than he already had.  He was very nice, but his big friend was really causing mayhem for us.  The girls did eventually settle… but would start up again if the horse moved or made a noise or looked at them.  LOL.

I wish I’d had a different lens on, but I had two excited dogs attached to my arm, and I didn’t think a lens change would have been wise.

Someone was feeling a little insecure after he left but once they discovered the fresh poop along the trail, everything was good again.

Crazy Coulee and Little Lacey

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Q&A: Wat mite b the benefits & dangers of establishng databases on every1? How should such a program b instituted?

Question by Misty T: Wat mite b the benefits & dangers of establishng databases on every1? How should such a program b instituted?
Keeping DNA databases of convicted felons has led to the solution of many crimes, and the exonerations of many innocent people.Wat mite b the benefits & dangers of establishng databases on every1? How should such a program b instituted?

Best answer:

Answer by Gregory
interesting question. well like you said, it has led to the solving of many crimes by keeping felons information. but because there are corrupt cops out there, alot of innocent people are arrested ans sent to jail for crimes they had nothing to do with. now in terms of keeping control over that program, idk really. you cant keep some people out of that database and others out(talking of cops and crime and evidence departments) i think the best thing to do is when searching through this data, if anyone is found to be the suspect of a crime, keep properly go through the files and info. best thing you can do.

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!

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