An old dog enjoying a stroller ride during a long walk
This is just a video with some of Flea’s best bass lines in songs with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. There is no particular order, though I decided to group son…
Video Rating: 4 / 5
What do the bassist of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and one of the NBA’s all-time point guards have in common? More than you’d think. In Part 2 of this VICE Spo…
Thanks to a microchip, a lost 6-month-old kitten is going home to her owner in New Mexico – who lives 2,300 miles from where the kitten was found!
According to Today.com, little Spice went missing on Halloween, when her owner believes the kitten slipped out the door during Trick-or-Treat night.
Spice turned up in Portland, Maine nearly a week later, in a duffle bag that also contained cat litter and food. Bob Watterson, who was shopping at the Catholic Charities Maine Thrift Store, noticed the bag was rustling.
He peeked inside and saw Spice. Not seeing collar or tags on the little cat, he took her home for a few days to care for her before taking her to the Animal Refuge League in Westbrook, Maine.
As we color nerds are all well aware by now, Pantone’s color of the year is Marsala, a deep, earthy red made for the warmer months. It’s wine-like without being too burgundy, and rich without being too bold. It’s a nice color and all, but there are other choices from their Spring 2015 Report to which I’m much more drawn – specifically Glacier Gray (a classic pale gray) and Custard (a sweet, subtle yellow). Those of you who read here often enough or know me in person are likely rolling your eyes (“wow, Melissa likes the yellow and the gray the best, shocker.”). And this, my friends, is why I decided to go against the predictable choices for this edition of Color Love, and instead feature a color from Pantone’s spring report that is quite out of the box for me: Lucite Green.
Normally, I shy far away from this pastel-with-a-punch sort of hue. I own zero articles of clothing in the mint, aqua, or seafoam family, nor is there a piece of decor in my home with even the slightest accent of this color. But something about it caught my eye, and I thought it would be a fun challenge to see if I could find some great pieces in this shade that I’d maybe even love. It turns out, I found quite a few, as seen above. I’m pretty sure I’d wear that slouchy knit hat time and time again, even well beyond when winter’s evil clutches release me from their grasp and I can frolic in the sunshine again. I’m also a huge fan of that gorgeous tempered glass iPhone case. You may not be my type, Lucite Green, but I’m majorly crushing on you right now. And I hope to see a lot more of you come March, when lighter, brighter colors start showing their faces on the regular again.
What about you guys? What are your thoughts on Lucite Green? What’s your favorite shade from Pantone’s spring report?
The 2014 Holiday Kibble Drop “Feed It Forward Tour” stopped at Tailwaggers in Hollywood, CA on Thursday, December 18 to spread more holiday cheer. Actress Linda Blair’s organization, the Linda Blair Worldheart Foundation received 20,000 meals of Halo Vigor and Halo Spot’s Stew.
Linda Blair celebrated the Kibble Drop with Mr. and Mrs. Santa Paws at Tailwaggers along with some very happy pups and customers! We suspect most of the pets were asking Mr. and Mrs. Santa Paws for homes at the top of their wishlists. We know how important nutrition is for helping pets find forever homes. GreaterGood.org Executive Director Liz Baker agrees, “A well-nourished dog is a happy dog, and that makes a dramatic difference when it comes to getting them out of the shelter and into a permanent, loving home.”
The 2014 “Feed it Forward Tour” is making 15 stops to deliver 500,000 healthy meals to pets in more than 30 shelters and rescues across North America. Halo, Freekibble.com, and GreaterGood.org are enjoying this fourth annual Holiday Kibble Drop. You enable us to donate more than 1.5 million meals a year. The Holiday Kibble Drop, part of the #HaloFeedItForward campaign, is just one part of that. When you share a photo of your pet on social media with #HaloFeedItForward, Halo donates a meal on your behalf to a pet in need.
We hope that the pets of the Linda Blair Worldheart Foundation find homes soon. Thank you for making it possible for us to fulfill some holiday wishes.
Some time ago, I was given the opportunity to read and review “Moms’ Night out” by Tricia Goyer and the accompanying devotional, “Moms’ Night Out and Other Things I Miss: Devotions To Help You Survive by Kerri Pomarolli, then the opportunity came up for me to see the movie. As I sat there with dear friends…
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The Incomparable Cat: A Mythical History
After all, we're talking about a small, mundane animal with four legs and a tail. A little pet who got aboard the Ark by being an itch in a lion's nose…well, that's another story. It just doesn't seem possible that so much mythos could be packed into …
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Products are a win-win for pets and people
Planet Dog Orbee-Tuff Mazee. Talk about a brainteaser! This twist on a puzzle toy engages a dog's senses of sight, hearing and smell as he works to release the treats inside. * Apoquel. There's almost nothing worse than an itchy dog. This anti-itch …
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New products can help you give your friends better care
There's almost nothing worse than an itchy dog. This anti-itch medication is so powerful that the misery some dogs have endured for years is gone after the first dose. (Tip: Always read the label with your veterinarian to make sure a particular …
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About one year after I graduated vet school, I took routine screening chest radiographs of my senior Golden, Mulan. I looked them over, frowning at a small, mottled spot near her sternum.
“She has cancer,” I thought. It’s not an unreasonable conclusion to come to with Golden Retrievers. Before I panicked, I asked my colleague to look at the x-ray, and she agreed it looked suspicious. I was devastated.
I took Mulan to the local specialty hospital, where an intern I knew from vet school patted me on the back while the resident internal medicine specialist pursed his lips sympathetically. He grabbed his ultrasound machine to prepare for a guided biopsy. Before starting, he asked the radiologist to stop by to give his thoughts as to what this strange radiographic feature might be.
“What are you looking at? That? That’s normal sternum,” he said, sipping his coffee with the mildest of eye rolls before strolling out of the now-silent room.
I knew just enough to be dangerous but not enough to actually come to the correct conclusion. Along the way I dragged two other very educated colleagues with me through sheer force of conviction. Mulan lived another 4 years, by the way.
Data and Interpretation
Lots of people have asked me about the controversial results from the Truth about Pet Food’s crowdsourced food safety study. I haven’t said anything, because I couldn’t think of anything to say. It’s the same response I have when people send me this picture over email and ask me what this lump is:
The correct answer is, “I need a lot more information before I can tell you that.” Which is about how I feel about the significance of this study.
As veterinary nutritionist Dr. Weeth points out in her excellent response, scientists kind of live to nitpick and poke holes in one another’s work. It’s necessary to allow criticism because there are so many ways one can go wrong with a project- from the way the study was designed, to the implementation, to the data interpretation. It was the persistent nagging of the science community that led to the eventual discrediting of Wakefield’s autism/vaccine research paper, the public health implications of which we are still dealing today, up to and including 19 people who were sickened with measles at The Happiest Place on Earth.
Without being allowed to evaluate the entire research process, we have no way of knowing how valid the results are. A pretty infographic does not science make. Nor does protesting “it’s not junk science” mean that it isn’t.
What We Know
I’m hopeful that the full set of data will be made public, including methodology. Until then, all we can do is go by what we have been told.
Dr. Gary Pusillo of INTI services, who has the misfortune of being out of the country while all of this debate is going down, was in charge of the testing process. Thixton writes that he is a board certified veterinary nutritionist, which in theory is fantastic because it means that he would have the background in both veterinary medicine and nutrition to not only perform the studies, but interpret the results. There’s only one problem: he’s not. (Nor does he in any way present himself as one, by the way.) A board certified veterinary nutritionist is a veterinarian who is also a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition. You may think that’s irrelevant, it’s just semantics, but it’s not.
Credentials are a big deal, as I’m sure Dr. Pusillo himself would tell you were he around. I would really love for Dr. Pusillo and Dr. Purejav to have been available to answer questions while we’re all begging to know what the heck they did, and I’d love to hear more about how they determined “risk.” They may be the most qualified people in the world, but for right now, all I have is an infographic and a consumer advocate’s word that they’re the best.
Dr. Pusillo is a PhD who provides forensic science services, which actually sounds really cool and I would love to hear more about it. I have no reason to doubt that he is an excellent scientist. He probably knows tons and tons about how to test a food for specific substances. What he may or may not know is whether or not those substances matter clinically.
Data Collection vs. Interpretation
Let’s assume that the data collection was carried out perfectly. Data collection is only half of the equation- you still have to know what to do with it. You can have all the answers in front of you and still not know the question. The scientists Thixton contracted with are out of town at the moment, so who are we going to ask to help us interpret things?
Given who’s around right now, who could interpret the limited data we have through the filter of what matters?
A microbiologist with a background in food safety would be a good start, as someone who can tell you whether or not particular pathogens are actually of concern.
Or a board certified veterinary nutritionist, who can tell you about nutrient analyses and why dry matter comparisons without calorie content is useless. Both of them have some big reservations about this project.
They know more than I do about such things, which is why I defer to their interpretation. Little things mean a lot- for example, when you say “bacteria are present” what do you mean? Does that mean live bacteria were cultured using sterile handling procedures to eliminate environmental contamination? Or did the test just look for bacterial RNA, which could come from dead bacteria that were killed during processing and therefore prove that production works as advertised? I don’t know, but that would sure make a difference.
When the company you contract with to run your tests asks for their name to be dissociated from any press surrounding you, there’s one of two conclusions: 1. They were not happy about how their data was manipulated in the interpretation stage and didn’t want to be associated with bad science; 2. Big Pet Food Cabal. We may never know. *shrug*
A victory for food safety
I like to look at the bright side of things, and for reasons I can’t fathom, what I’ve found to be the biggest findings of the study are barely mentioned.
What are the three most common concerns I hear about pet food safety?
- pathogens of most dire human significance, specifically Salmonella and Campylobacter
- pentobarbital contamination (implying euthanized rendered carcasses in pet food.)
Why were these not mentioned in the risk report?
Because they weren’t found. They did look for all of these products. All twelve tested foods were clear of the three biggest worries in recent memory to pet food safety. That’s something, don’t you think?
I’m an optimist. Let’s look at the bright side of things, what do you say!
So let’s review here: I like asking questions. I have no problem questioning consumers, colleagues, my own professional leadership. I think concerned consumers are good consumers, and I applaud anyone who is invested enough to care about what goes into their pet, be it food, drug, or plant. I have chosen not to work in the employ of companies in the field specifically so I can feel free to say what I want without worry about my job or advertisers.
That being said, I think we also have to take the Occam’s razor approach to life and assume at some point that companies are telling the truth when they tell us they aren’t actively attempting to kill our pets. There are problems, some big and some small, and those are worthy of being addressed, but if you can’t accept at the end of the day that they are generally trying to do the right thing, then we may not ever be able to come to an understanding. As part of a profession that deals with this type of distrust on a regular basis, there comes a point where you have to say, “If you’re going to insist I’m out to harm you no matter what I say then I probably should just leave now.”
So let’s end on a high note: a toast, to those who care. I think everyone’s here arguing for that reason even if the conclusions are different. Salmonella free appetizers for all.
Below is the official FDA statement on the recent pet food recall from Jump Your Bones, Inc. The Roo Bites (Cubes) pet treats are being recalled due to potential salmonella contamination.
Swept Away by Laura V. Hilton My rating: 3 of 5 stars Wonderful reading for a rainy day or vacation, “Swept Away” is a book that will sweep you away with unconventional characters that captures realist emotions. In what I felt, was a stronger male lead in the “Quilts of Love” series, Andrew is someone…
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