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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Christian, the pet lion

Lion hug, anyone?

I was amazed at this video posted on YouTube about two guys who reared a young cub and named it Christian. However, they had to let it loose back into the wild in Africa after authorities thought there was not an ideal place for the lion in London. Watch and bawl:

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Mama Mia!

Mama is a beautiful black female German Shepherd Dog and Chow Chow mix. She is approximately 3 years old and weighs about 45 lbs. She has been spayed, microchipped and tested negative for heartworm.

As her name suggests, Mama is very loving and likes to give kisses every now and then. A real Mama mia! Mama is also mature and seems to be friendly toward other animals (including deer as can be seen from her photo), although a proper introduction is still advisable. Mama is all set to go to her new home!

Mama is one of the adoptable dogs available at the Peninsula SPCA. Information about her adoption requirements can be found at the Peninsula SPCA website or call 757-595-1399.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Family Day Happy Endings

It was a happy ending for two Peninsula SPCA dogs as they found their forever homes during the “Sunday in the Park” Family Day held at the Peninsula Fine Arts Center in Newport News , VA on Sunday, July 20. Adopted were Toby, a male beagle and hound mix, and Hula, a female rough collie mix. Each went home happily with their new families.

The Family Day provided a great venue for the adoptable dogs to meet and greet families and hobnob with other dogs that came to the event. Even the sweltering heat did not hamper Toby, Hula and lovable senior dogs Lucy and Lany from mingling and charming park visitors.

The Peninsula SPCA joined other local groups for an afternoon of crafts, music and other fun activities. PSCPA product lines such as shirts, caps and chip clips were sold that day, while Petting Zoo tickets and “paw tattoos” were given out to lucky visitors. But what made the day for the PSPCA were the adoption of Toby and Hula, which both have found a loving family.

The Peninsula SPCA is a non-profit organization that provides shelter for animals that are surrendered by their families and animals that are caught by Animal Control. It serves the cities of Newport News, Hampton, York County and Poquoson in Virginia. It maintains an open-door policy accepting all animals regardless of age, health, temperament, or species. More information about the Peninsula SPCA and animal adoption can be found on its website,

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Home again with a microchip

There's a story on NY Post today about a beagle named Rocco that has been found after missing for five years. Even the family who owns it could not believe that they have been reunited with their beloved pooch after all these years. According to the article, it was a "combination of chance and chip" that brought them together. But when a pet is lost, one may not have control on chances, but there is certainly something one can do with the chip part.

What is this chip anyway? A microchip is a tiny capsule, as small as a grain of rice, that is implanted in an animal's skin for identification. Consider it like the social security number for your pet. Each microchip contains a unique identification number. The chip is inserted between the shoulder blades for dogs and cats. Although the procedure does not require an anesthesia, it is usually quick and not traumatic for the animal.

When I first heard of microchipping on animals, I thought it is like a GPS navigator or a lojack for cars. But as high-tech as it may sound, a microchip does not work that way. It may not tell you where your pet is, but it serves as a useful identification both for your pet and you, as the pet owner. When a pet is lost or stolen, and is found and surrendered to an animal control office or taken to a shelter, it is scanned to check if a chip exists. If they detected a chip, the authorities call a recovery service and gives them the ID number and location of the animal. Thus, a reunion is set between a pet and its owner.

Many families have benefited from having their pets microchipped, as it prevents loss, theft and provides proof of ownership of the animal. It is more reliable than just buying a collar for your pet. Animal shelters are also microchipping animals before they become available for adoption. It is something that every pet owner should consider.

If you haven't done so, ask your veterinarian about microchipping. You'll never know when you might get separated from your pet. With its microchip, you can always have that hope that it can be home again.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Photo shoot with Koala

Taking photos of animals can be challenging. We may not be able to make them "pose", but the "natural poses" they do are far better than a staged one.

Here is a behind-the-scenes photo shoot with Koala, an adorable black and white female Staffordshire Bull Terrier mix:

Koala tries to be comfortable with her surroundings. However, she gets distracted by people coming in and out of the shelter. So, I tried to let her lie down and rubbed her stomach, which she totally loved.

Once she got comfortable, this little "love bug" showed how she can pose for the camera naturally:

Perfect shots Koala! But, I guess she got tired after doing those poses. Must be tough being a model.

She definitely deserved a treat after the photo shoot!

Koala can be adopted through the Peninsula SPCA. Koala has an outgoing personality and has lots of love and kisses to share. She has shown to be accepting of other dogs and would certainly want to have a little brother or sister to play with. She has been neutered and micro chipped. Please visit the Peninsula SPCA website or call (757) 595-1399 for more information on Koala or on other adoptable animals.

Update (July 14): Koala's been adopted! :)

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Fabulous FBI Working Dogs

I have always had a high regard for working dogs - those that are used for search and rescue, detect bombs and narcotics, and assist physically-challenged individuals. Working dogs are truly heroes, not just of the dog world but in the human world too. Just imagine the rigorous training and discipline they go through to perfect their "craft." That is why I was pleased to learn that the FBI has a dedicated website for their working dogs. I think it is one way of showing appreciation for such amazing canines.

Simply called FBI Working Dogs, the website is targeted at children to understand and learn how such dogs work. The site is very educational and explains about working dogs in a fun way - from the point of view of the dogs themselves, which are featured based on their duty.

For chemical explosives, there's Kurt, Power, Atwood, Bismarck and Disco. They can "sniff out" 19,000 different combinations of explosives. Wow, that's truly a lot to remember! Three of them are based in Washington, DC., one in Philadelphia and one in Los Angeles. I think Disco, being in Los Angeles, has the most "glamorous" duty, going to such events like the Academy Awards and the Golden Globe to help ensure safety of the Hollywood stars.

For detecting narcotics, there's Axel, a German Shepherd-Rotweiller mix, that was rescued from the pound. In her story, she mentioned about going through a truckload of pineapple searching for drugs. Yeah, that was "prickly" indeed!

The FBI also has Lady and Drago for search and rescue. They help during rescue operations especially when natural disaster strikes like earthquakes or hurricanes. They track people who are trapped or missing, and they can sniff them out even when they are underground or underwater.

Finally, there's Malea, a service dog. She knows 50 commands such as, turning on and off the light. But according to her, her favorite is "lap" where she put her front paws up while her handler gives her a hug. Malea is probably similar to those that wear a vest that says, "Don't pet me. I'm working."

These working dogs' stories are truly heartwarming. They work hard, but they play hard too. They take their duties seriously, but they never forget the "pet" side of them. But what is more interesting is, not all the dogs were from a special breeder. Axel, the narcotics dog, came from a pound, while Lady was adopted after she was hit by a car. Both are now helping rescue or protect people.

The next time you are thinking of getting a pet which you might want to train as a working dog in the future, check out your local animal shelter. You may just find the world's next canine hero.

For more information on the FBI Working Dogs, visit their website at

Friday, July 4, 2008


Today, the whole United States of America will be celebrating its independence day with patriotic parades, concerts and lavish display of fireworks. Its that time of the year to commemorate how the country earned its freedom from the Kingdom of Great Britain and become one of the freest nations of the world.

But freedom applies to all living creatures, not just to us humans. Inside animal shelters across America, dogs and cats are also dreaming of their own independence day. A day where they will be accepted into a loving family, out of the shelter.

Adopt a pet now!

In photo: Goldie, a 4-month-old Golden Retriever mix. She can be adopted through the Peninsula SPCA.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

5 Important Things To Consider When Owning A Pet

You come home tired from work and you see your pet excitedly welcoming you and giving you that unconditional love and loyalty. Truly, having a pet can be rewarding. Some people even say a house is not complete without Fido or a feline at home. But even with the great rewards, there is also a big responsibility attached to owning a pet.

So before you rush to the nearest pet store, consider these 5 important factors which may help you decide if you really are capable of owning one.

  1. Own a pet for the right reason

Ask yourself why you want to have a pet. A lot of people wants to get a pet for the wrong reasons such as, make a money off of them or giving the animal as a gift. Dogs and cats are living beings. They are not toys you just play with and then disregard after you’re tired with them. Also, it is not good to get a pet just because your child wants one, unless they are old and mature enough to help care for the pet.

Committing yourself to give an animal a loving and caring home is the perfect reason for owning a pet.

  1. Devoting Quality Time

As in every relationship, having quality time for your pet is important. They also need your attention. Evaluate your schedule if you can devote the much-needed time for your pet or if you are too busy to even feed it. Dogs, for instance, need their regular walk and exercise. Perhaps you can look at it this way, now you have more motivation to have a good exercise outside.

  1. Financial Consideration

Not a lot of people are aware of the real cost involved in owning a pet. Regular check ups at a veterinary clinic, vaccinations, food and grooming are the regular expenses you need to shell out for your pet. Add to that the extra expenses like toys, treats and training. The average cost of owning a dog or a cat is estimated to be more than $1,000. With the prices of goods rising, evaluate your budget if you are capable of financially supporting a pet.

  1. Providing a Good Place

Pets are family members, thus, they are also entitled to have a comfortable and appropriate place to stay in. They also need a good place to move around or a venue to jump and play. Chaining a dog outside the house is NEVER the proper place.

Also, if you are renting, make sure that the pet you want to own is in compliance with the guidelines of your landlord. I love big dogs and would like to own one. But since we are not allowed to have pets in our apartment (not even a fish!), we can’t have one yet.

  1. Consider Adoption

What better way to find a pet than in an animal shelter. Visit an animal shelter and you might find a diamond in the “ruff.” Animals in the shelter can make good pets too. Plus, you can be sure that they have been vaccinated, spayed or neutered, and even microchipped. Talk to an adoption counselor who would be happy to help you find the perfect pet for you.

Also, check out several websites that provide listings of animal shelters and rescue groups and animals that are ready for adoption. Some of these websites are, 1-800-Save-a-Pet, and Pets911.

Being aware of these factors is the first step to becoming a responsible pet owner. If you think you are not yet ready for such responsibilities, then you shouldn't be bringing an animal home, lest they might end up neglected or being surrendered to an animal shelter. Please remember that no matter what type of animal you want to get, animals also deserve love and respect from us humans.