Part of the Bay Area News Group

Archive for January, 2012

These special cats need homes

Simon and Simone need a home. (Martha Emry)
1simon and simone martha emry antioch

Dear Readers:
The cats below need homes. Anything you can do to help would be MUCH appreciated. Contact info is below. Thanks! /Gary

Two Cats Need a Home
Two sweet cats need a new home. Meet Simon and Simone (see above photo). Their human died recently. Both cats are under a year old, both are altered, in good health, and best buddies. (They are not litter mates but both were adopted at the same time last year.) They are indoor cats, and have lived with another indoor/outdoor cat.

They are being cared for by a neighbor who visits them every day (they are still in their old home). They need a new place to call home soon.
Can you help? The cats are in Antioch but can be brought to you.
Contacts: Joe Pavlin (925-470-6512) or Martha Emry (925-687-5197;

One Cat Needs a Home
I am a mature Calico cat. My human mother died 5 years ago. Now my human father had to go live with his son’s family far away. Cassy the dog went with them. I couldn’t go because I like to go outside and coyotes have killed their cats before. I spend the time alone at
the house living in the backyard. The neighbor comes over and feeds me daily.
Can you help me find a new home? /Darby, Concord, California

If anyone can provide a home for Darby … please contact me at my email, or phone number, 925-736-7940. Thanks.
Caroline Sanchez, Danville, California

Posted on Tuesday, January 31st, 2012
Under: Cats | No Comments »

Turkey vultures take a sun bath every morning.

Turkey vultures taking their morning sun bath. Photo by Dave Harper, Oakley, CA
1vultures2 dave harper oakley

Dear readers:
Here are some more GREAT photos by Dave Harper of Oakley, California. Turkey vultures regularly sun themselves when the sun first rises every morning. They spread their wings, which allows ultraviolet rays from the sun to kill bacteria the vultures may have picked up the day before while feeding on dead animals.

Turkey vultures also spray their feet with a mixture or feces and urine when they defecate. That’s why vulture legs and feet are white. Vulture urine is very acidic, which also kills  bacteria picked up by the vultures while handling and feeding on carrion.

Mother Nature takes pretty good care of her animals, don’t you think?

Thanks for the photos, Dave! /Gary

Turkey vultures taking their morning sun bath. Photo by Dave Harper, Oakley, CA
1vultures dave harper oakley

Posted on Monday, January 30th, 2012
Under: Turkey vultures | 1 Comment »

Cow Palace: Golden Gate Kennel Club Dog Show this weekend


1,200 Dogs … 136 Breeds … Benching … Flyball Demos … All-Breed Fashion Show


The 109th and 110th annual Golden Gate Kennel Club Dog Show, featuring nearly 1,200 dogs and over 135 breeds, is set for the Cow Palace, 2600 Geneva Ave., Daly City, Saturday and Sunday, (Jan. 28-29), 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. each day.

Wondering what’s new this year? Among breeds shown for the first time at the Cow Palace will be the Irish Red and White Setter, the Swedish Vallhund and the Cane Corso. From Affenpinschers to Portuguese Podengo Pequenos to Vizslas and Xoloitzcuintli, this show is your best opportunity to meet other dog owners and the perfect place to pick your next “best friend.”

“Best In Show” will be selected and cash prizes awarded daily. Numerous special events include daily fly ball competitions, the always popular all-breed fashion show hosted by media personality Greg Behrendt on Saturday, Junior Showmanship, Best Puppy, and breed rescue information.

The Golden Gate Kennel Club ranks as one of the most prestigious shows in the nation, having received the 100 Year-Plus award from the American Kennel Club. It is the oldest major event in Northern California and has long been acknowledged as “the Bay Area family show” for dog lovers of all ages.

Adult Admission is $12; $10 seniors; $7 children (age 2-12); Family Four Pack (2 adults/2 children) is $30/day. Parking is $12/day. No personal pets allowed. Lots more details at

As it says above, attending this great show gives you and your family an excellent opportunity to chat with other dog owners. It’s also the perfect place for you to go so you can check all the different dog breeds out and see what you think might be the best pet for your own family. Check it out and have fun! /Gary

Posted on Friday, January 27th, 2012
Under: Dog Show | 4 Comments »

Robins and cedar waxwings are in town for the berries

Robin Con 2012: Robins take a bird bath after feasting on messy Japanese privet berries. Photo by Jess Kolman, Pinole, CA
1robins2 jess kolman pinole

In response to your Jan. 24 column about robins and waxwings (, I’m attaching a couple pictures of what I’ve been calling Robin Con 2012.

Like others, we normally notice flocks of robins and waxwings in January, but this year the robin count has been off the charts. John H’s description in your column sounds much like our yard, with the birdbaths completely occupied and more robins waiting around and trying to muscle in. We had the waxwings for a few days, but sadly, not as many or for as long as most years. Last year we didn’t see the waxwings at all, so I hope they are not scratching the Bay Area off their winter visiting list.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, January 26th, 2012
Under: Cedar waxwings, Robins | 4 Comments »

Wild turkeys visit a local backyard (and roof). Great photos!

Wild turkeys on neighbor’s roof. Photo by Lynda Nunn, Walnut Creek, CA
1turkey lynda nunn wc

It’s not too often you can look outside and see this. These wild turkeys took up a warm spot on our neighbor’s rooftop . Such magnificent  creatures.  They would take turns resting and acting as watchful eyes. My camera clicking would alarm them some. We got to enjoy them for a good hour.

It was amazing to watch them so close up. Our daughters and Ruby (our Lab) were fascinated. You can imagine with that many in a group. The sounds were melodic.  I never knew they had those colorful feathers and how when resting, one was on lookout.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, January 25th, 2012
Under: wild turkeys | 2 Comments »

Looking for dogs, puppies, cats, kittens? Check these out

Chihuahua-mix dogs and puppies need homes. (Anna Fade, Martinez)
1chihuahua anna fade martinez

Dogs … puppies … cats … kittens available to adopt.

Hey, everyone, looking for Chihuahua mix puppies and adults? Cats and kittens? A miniature poodle? A cairn terrier? They are all available, FREE. You can call or e-mail the people who are trying to find homes for them below. Thanks. /Gary

This past Sunday someone dropped off 6 dogs in front of our house in Martinez (1 female chihuahua/dachshund mix, male chihuahua and 4 puppies (8-12 weeks old).  (See photo above) We rounded them up and got them inside and they are doing fine.  They are weaned from their mother, mostly crate trained and absolutely adorable/loving.  I have contacted many different rescue organizations in the area and they have all said no as they are at max capacity.  I have been told my best bet is to take them to the animal shelter.  They believe the puppies will be adopted, but don’t hold much hope for the 2 adults.  My family cannot continue caring for these dogs forever; we simply don’t have the time/capacity to do so.  I am trying to find an alternative to the animal shelter as I feel if I turn them in I will be abandoning these puppies again.  If you’d like to adopt one of them (or more!) I can be reached at or my cell 925-917-9136.
Anna Fade, Martinez, California
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, January 24th, 2012
Under: Cats, dogs, Kittens, Puppy | 1 Comment »

Robins & cedar waxwings bathing in backyard pond in Livermore

Robins and cedar waxwings bathing in backyard pond. Photo by Richard Sears, Livermore, CA.
1robins waxwings richard sears livermore

Pre-storm eating (Jan. 19) berries from trees in our yard, and then bathing in the upper pond.
Holly Sears, Livermore, California

The robins and cedar waxwings usually arrive in the San Francisco Bay Area from up north about this time of year to feed on the ripe pyracantha berries in our yards. They don’t come every year and it’s been a couple of years since they came in large numbers. But this year, looks like they’re back again in force! I’ve received 10 emails in the last week from all around the Bay, reporting LOTS of robins and some waxwings. You are the only one to send photos. Thanks for sharing them! Nice pond! The birds obviously like it. /Gary

Robins bathing in backyard pond. Photo by Holly Sears, Livermore, CA.
1robins waxwings2 holly sears livermore

Posted on Monday, January 23rd, 2012
Under: Cedar waxwings, Robins | 1 Comment »

Photos of coyote and deer in a standoff

Coyote and deer in standoff. Photo by Scott Campbell, Fairfield, CA
1coyote deer scott campbell fairfield

I’m that guy who captured the photo of the river otters in the Richmond Marina a year or 2 ago.

I was on a hike in the Marina Headlands National Park yesterday and saw something amazing.  I looked up the cliff and saw a deer and a big old coyote nervously watching each other.  The coyote was sizing up the deer while the deer stood motionless, and then I guess the coyote decided, “Naaa, he’s too big, I think I will just lay down tight here and chill.”  I was able to capture that moment with my camera.  The coyote was BEAUTIFUL!  HUGE for a coyote!  It was one of those moments photographers and nature lovers live to see!  Hunter and Hunted just chilling together.

Anyway, I just wanted to share these with you. Have a great day!!
Scott Campbell, Fairfield, California
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, January 19th, 2012
Under: coyotes, deer, River otters, Wolves | No Comments »

Top Pet Names of 2011. Is your pet’s name on the list?

Jasmine’s name didn’t get picked AGAIN this year. Boy is she mad. She’s going to bite Gary when he gets home from work today. Photo by Lois Bogue, Benicia, CA

Top Pet Names of 2011

Every year, the Veterinary Pet Insurance Company (VPI) sends out a News Release of the most popular pet names gleaned from its membership database. It’s always kind of fun.  Unfortunately, my cats, Newman and Jasmine, have never made the list. They always seem to blame me, for some reason. Needless to say, they’re not very happy about it.

Oh, well, here’s this year’s pet name list. I figured at least you might enjoy it:
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, January 18th, 2012
Under: Pet Names | 4 Comments »

State Park closures: Defend what’s yours!

CalParks sig


California State Parks Foundation releases stunning videos to inform Californians of park closures, encourage them to defend their parks

About State Park Closures
Years of budget reductions to California state parks have forced partial closures and severe service reductions across the 278-unit park system. Cuts enacted in the Fiscal Year 2011-12 state budget include an $11 million cut that was increased to a $22 million cut starting in Fiscal Year 2012-13 and will continue through future budget years. These cuts enacted by Gov. Brown and the Legislature are forcing the state to close 70 out of 278 California state parks by July 1, 2012, at the height of the summer season. Additionally, his 2012-13 state budget could eliminate all seasonal lifeguards and 20 percent of ranger positions in state parks, if Californians don’t pass the governor’s proposed revenue package slated for the November ballot.

SAN FRANCISCO — “California state parks belong to you, but not for long. Six months from now 25 percent of your parks will be closed unless you step up to defend them.”

The California State Parks Foundation (CSPF) is taking this message to the public by launching a series of television public service announcements (PSAs) that will air statewide with the tagline Defend What’s Yours The new public awareness effort aims to empower citizen action and mobilize grassroots support to save the nation’s biggest and best state park system.

Check it out … and then if you care about your State Parks … defend what’s yours! /Gary

Posted on Tuesday, January 17th, 2012
Under: Parks | 1 Comment »