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Archive for November, 2009

Fox squirrel and black cat give each other the evil eye

Photo by Elke & Walt Torgersen, San Ramon, CA

Hi Gary:
We thought you would like to see this fun picture. Our neighbor’s cat, Kiby, loves our backyard as we have several bird feeders and a large flower garden. Kiby enjoys hiding in the roses and flowers. She often encounters our squirrels and as you can see in this picture, Kiby and our squirrels often check each other out.
Elke & Walt Torgersen, San Ramon, CA.

Hi Elke & Walt (and Kiby):
This is a great photo. It’s a nice thing to come back to after I was gone last week (Thanksgiving week) on vacation.

Sigh … but now … back to reality. /Gary

Posted on Monday, November 30th, 2009
Under: Cats, fox squirrel | No Comments »

Old English Bulldogs: Need a cure for a stinky bulldog?

Old English Bulldog. Photo by Flickr user Cindy Funk used under a Creative Commons License.
cindy funk 3

In my Nov. 10 daily newspaper column (, Aldo in San Mateo, CA, wrote asking, “How do you clean a stinky English bulldog?” Aldo has a 21-month-old bulldog that smells and he has tried everything he can think of to resolve this problem. Bulldogs are naturally smelly animals.

Here are some of my reader responses to Aldo’s smelly problem:
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, November 20th, 2009
Under: Bulldog | 5 Comments »

Thanksgiving: The dogs who sailed over on the Mayflower

MayflowerII. Photo by Flickr user Paul Keleher used under a Creative Commons License.
MayflowerII Paul Keleher

With Thanksgiving just around the corner (next Thursday), this seems like an appropriate time for this information I just received from the American Kennel Club (AKC):

Research confirms that pilgrims weren’t the only passengers aboard the Mayflower.  Turns out man’s best friend also made the transatlantic voyage from Southampton, England to Plymouth, MA in 1620.

In other words, two dog breeds were apparently the first to make dogs a part of everyday life for the earliest Western settlers. I figure that’s worth a little celebration, don’t you?
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, November 19th, 2009
Under: American Kennel Club, dogs, Thanksgiving | 1 Comment »

Farm Sanctuary: Celebrate Thanksgiving with the turkeys!

Turkey dinner. Photo by Jo-Anne McArthur, Farm Sanctuary
jo-anne mcarthur

I look forward to getting this press release every year. What can be more fun than celebrating Thanksgiving with the turkeys? What a blast! /Gary

ORLAND, Calif. – Nov. 17 – Farm Sanctuary, the nation’s leading farm animal protection organization, will host its annual Celebration FOR the Turkeys at its shelter in Orland, Calif., on Saturday, Nov. 21. At this popular event, part of the organization’s national Adopt-A-Turkey Project, participants gather to celebrate a cruelty-free Thanksgiving.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, November 18th, 2009
Under: Farm Animals, wild turkeys | 1 Comment »

Desert tortoise: Mining ban saves 1 million acres of tortoise habitat

Desert tortoise. Photo by Beth Jackson/USFWS

From the Nov. 12, 2009, weekly e-newsletter of the Center for Biological Diversity:

… late last month the Bureau of Land Management blocked new mining claims on nearly 1 million acres of southern Nevada land for the next 20 years. The land in question, made up of federally designated “areas of environmental concern” due to encroaching development, is home to threatened desert tortoise and endangered birds, fish, and plants. These areas also happen to be historic hot spots for gold mining.

Read more in the New York Times at:

Dear Bureau of Land Management:
Don’t stop now! /Gary

Posted on Tuesday, November 17th, 2009
Under: Desert Tortoises | 2 Comments »

Gray Fox: Drop right in and make yourself at home

Fox1 nicola jetland

Nicola Jetland of Walnut Creek, CA, took this photo of a gray fox relaxing in her backyard.

Proving, once again, that wildlife is learning to adapt in the Urban Wilderness (your backyard). /Gary

Posted on Monday, November 16th, 2009
Under: Gray foxes | 3 Comments »

Hummingbird high: Nutsy the “hummer,” bright-eyed and bushy tailed

Photo by Roger & Diane Craig, Danville, CA
hum squirrel1 roger craig

This is our friend Nutsy who thinks he’s a hummingbird.
Roger & Diane Craig, Danville, CA
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, November 13th, 2009
Under: hummingbirds, Squirrels | No Comments »

Ferrets: Three more pet ferrets diagnosed with pandemic influenza H1N1

Ferret. Photo by Flickr user brian.gratwicke used under a Creative Commons License.
ferret brian.gratwicke

Hey folks:
I just got a report that more pet ferrets have been diagnosed with the H1N1 flu virus in Oregon. You can read the whole thing below. If you follow the links to other Web sites below at the end of the story, you’ll also find out the latest information on H1N1 and our other pets and animals (dogs, cats, birds, etc.) Pay particular attention to the link to the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association. It really goes into other animals besides ferrets. By the way, in case you didn’t know, it is illegal to possess ferrets in California. There are, however, supposedly thousands of pet ferrets in California. I sure hope their humans are reading this.  /Gary

SCHAUMBURG, Ill., Nov. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Three more ferrets in Oregon have tested positive for the 2009 pandemic influenza H1N1 virus, state officials confirmed this afternoon, bringing the total number of cases affecting ferrets in the state to four.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, November 12th, 2009
Under: Ferrets, H1N1 Flu virus | 1 Comment »

California condors: Get the lead (poisoning) out!

California condor by Scott Frier, USFWS

From the weekly e-newsletter of the Center for Biological Diversity:

Just weeks after filing court papers to intervene in the Center for Biological Diversity’s lawsuit to stop the shooting of wolves, the National Rifle Association is trying to stop the Center’s lawsuit to save condors from being painfully killed by lead poisoning.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, November 11th, 2009
Under: California condors | 2 Comments »

Mark Twain: Was he our first animal welfare advocate?

Mark Twain. Photo by Flickr user sfjalar used under a Creative Commons License
sfjalar mark twain

I just received the following note from my friend Camilla Fox. Check it out:

For all of you literary buffs …

“(Reuters) — Leading Mark Twain scholar Shelley Fisher Fishkin`s latest research suggests that Twain was the most prominent American of his day to throw his weight behind the movement for animal welfare. In her new book entitled ‘Mark Twain’s Book of Animals,’ Fishkin, a Stanford English professor, examines how Twain`s fascination with and advocacy for animals reveals itself in many of his works. In the book’s introduction and afterword, Fishkin suggests that Twain’s works played a pivotal role in raising Americans’ concerns about cruelty to animals and the exploitation of non-human animals by humans.”

More at

Not vouching for her accuracy of literary interpretation as I haven’t read this yet, but sharing with those I know who love literature (and animals!).
Camilla Fox, founding director, Project Coyote & Wildlife Consultant, Larkspur, CA

I definitely have to get a copy of this book and read it! Thanks for the tip! /Gary

Posted on Tuesday, November 10th, 2009
Under: Animal welfare, Mark Twain | 1 Comment »