The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : February 2015 The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : February 2015

Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Western Lowland Baby Gorilla Was Born At The Lincoln Park Zoo, in Chicago, Illinois

Baby Gorilla
There's a new reason for families to swing over to Lincoln Park Zoo. A western lowland gorilla was born there in this week. Visitors can get their first glimpse starting Saturday.

The zoo is cautiously optimistic about the baby's health.

"The infant is looking very strong; it's clinging tightly to mom, and we're seeing a really good pattern of nursing for several minutes from both breasts then taking a nap afterward," said Maureen Leahy, curator of primates.

Mom Bahati, age 27, shows solid maternal instincts, Leahy said.

"At this stage, although the infant can cling on and sort of support herself, she can't do it for very long," Leahy said. "Mom will hold her close and tight to her chest even when she's out and about or climbing. We look for her to support the baby's head, very much like humans."

The newborn joins a troop of six individuals, including 2-year-old half-sisters Nayembi and Patty, born at the zoo in fall 2012. At one point, Patty approaches the newborn slowly, then reaches to brush her fingers over her nose as mom munches hay.

That's where silverback dad Kwan, 25, comes in.

"He is doing a really good job keeping a watchful eye over the new mom and infant," Leahy said. "The two toddlers are very curious; they've been approaching a lot and touching the infant, but when they start getting too bold, Kwan will come over and sit down next to Bahati and kind of cue the toddlers to take a step back and give the new mom a break."

Bahati had not given birth since 2004. Her two adult offspring now reside in other Association of Zoos and Aquariums accredited zoos.


Friday, February 27, 2015

Washington Animal Rescue League to Team Up with Animal Planet to Score Half Price Pet Adoptions on Road to the Puppy Bowl - March 1st

-- Join Animal Planet on March 1 for Half Price Pet Adoption Event --

WHO: Animal Planet, Washington Animal Rescue League & adoptable animals

WHAT:  The second annual Road To The Puppy Bowl is an all-star adoption event to help animals of all size, shape and breed find their forever homes, for half price! Those hoping to add a playful pup, a furry feline, a bouncing bunny or anything in between can join Animal Planet at the Washington Animal Rescue League for a fun-filled event with photo ops, giveaways and overly adorable animals. The best part, Animal Planet is helping cover half the cost of all adoptions on March 1.

WHEN:   Sunday, March 1, 2015

TIME:  12:00 Noon - 4:00 p.m.

Washington Animal Rescue League -
71 Oglethorpe St NW,
Washington, DC 20011

HOW: Visit to register for the event and to be eligible for the waived adoption fees.

WHY:  Each February, the most anticipated sporting event featuring the cutest – and adoptable – players arrives on Animal Planet.  Puppy Bowl has led to hundreds of adoptions over the past 11 years and is a key leader in Animal Planet’s ongoing mission to highlight the importance of animal adoption and responsible pet ownership. Now, the network is bringing the joy and goodwill of the big game to communities across the country on the Road To The Puppy Bowl.

*NOTE: Adoption fees covered by Animal Planet are on a first-come, first-serve basis while select animals and funds remain.

About Animal Planet
Animal Planet, a multi-media business unit of Discovery Communications, is the world's only entertainment brand that immerses viewers in the full range of life in the animal kingdom with rich, deep content via multiple platforms and offers animal lovers and pet owners access to a centralized online, television and mobile community for immersive, engaging, high-quality entertainment, information and enrichment. Animal Planet consists of the Animal Planet television network, available in more than 94 million homes in the US; online assets, the ultimate online destination for all things animal; Animal Planet L!VE, the go-to digital destination for round-the-clock, unfiltered access to the animal kingdom; and other media platforms including a robust Video-on-Demand (VOD) service, and merchandising extensions.

   Website: Animal Planet

About the Washington Animal Rescue League
Celebrating its Centennial Anniversary in 2014, the Washington Animal Rescue League is the oldest animal shelter in the District of Columbia and the only area shelter with a full service medical center.  Its mission continues to evolve as conditions change and animals face new and different challenges, but the core of that mission remains unchanged:  to honor and strengthen the human-animal bond by providing the best quality care for homeless dogs and cats, and supporting companion animals in their homes through affordable veterinary care, community outreach, and education.

Website:  Washington Animal Rescue League

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Five Amazing Elderly Chinese Women Run The Largest Dog Shelter

Five amazing women decided not to spend the Chinese New Year with family and friends. Instead they spent it with their family of 1,300 dogs. They have been spending their days taking care of the animals for the past five years.

The shelter was established in 2009, by Wang Yanfang for unwanted animals. After seeing so many dogs being taken to pounds in Weinan, Shaanxi Province, China, she decided she wanted to do something about it.

Around the time Wang opened the shelter, China introduced a “one dog rule.” This rule only permits families to keep one small dog and they must have the proper documentation to do so. As a result of this rule, they started getting more animals.

Wang enlisted the help of four other volunteers, all women in their 60s and 70s, as numbers continued to increase at her donation-run shelter These amazing women have been voluntarily taking care of the dogs every day, getting up at 4:00 a.m. to prepare the 400 kilograms of dog food needed to feed such a large pack of animals. They also spend time with the dogs and grooming them.

Wang and her volunteers have all been bitten by some of the less-friendly dogs, but feel that their work is worth it. They are all animal lovers, and are happy to save these dogs from a much worse fate. In a city nearby authorities euthanized about 37,000 dogs after a rabies outbreak..

“They’re like your children, you can’t bear to be apart from them, or to lose them,” said Wang.

These women are truly heroes for the dogs in their care.


Washington DC's Cat Café, Crumbs & Whiskers Kickstarter Launch - You're Invited to the Festivities - Sunday, March 1st

What is Crumbs & Whiskers?

Cats. desserts. Tea. Cats. Books. Coffee. Cats.

...Did we mention Cats?!

Crumbs & Whiskers brings together some amazing things. Specifically coffee, tea, desserts, and you guessed it...cats! DC's cat cafe will serve as a foster home for the Washington Humane Society's shelter cats and as a really fun place to hang out for DC residents. The concept is pretty simple. Cats in cages are sad, so we get them out of there. Anyone without a cat is sad (or should be), so we hook them up. Then, we give everybody desserts and coffee and tea. The end.

What: Crumbs & Whiskers Kickstarter Launch

Date: Sunday, March 1, 2015

Time: 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Penn Social
801 E St NW
Washington, DC 20004

For more information on this event, click here: Crumbs & Whiskers Kickstarter Launch


To learn how the Washington Humane Society is partnering with Crumbs & Whiskers, read my post:

Washington Humane Society - It's Official We're Partnering with Crumbs & Whiskers to Bring You DC's Own Cat Cafe

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Tips For Buying a Horse or Pony: Mistakes Most New Horse Buyers Make

Buying a horse or pony for the first time is an exciting experience. It's easy to get carried away by a big set of brown eyes, even though the horse batting them may not be the best beginner horse. However, the wrong horse can ruin the fun of horseback riding or driving and may be unsafe. Learn to avoid the top mistakes that new horse buyers make.

1.  Buying an Untrained Horse
Many experienced horsemen and women will tell you they see this too often. Because untrained horses are often cheaper, or for whatever other whim, beginner riders will choose untrained horses. Don’t buy a horse that you plan to train yourself or even send to a trainer. Training can take months. It can be dangerous if not done right. Young or inexperienced mature horses are not reliable. Beginners will be safer and happier with a horse they can enjoy the moment it gets off the trailer.

2.  Turning Down Older Horses
An older horse, who has seen the world, makes a great beginner horse. Beginners might shy away from a horse into their late teens and twenties. However, many healthy, sound horses can be ridden well into their senior years. In fact, light daily exercise, such as a quiet  hack or drive may be beneficial to both horse and rider/driver.

3.  Buying a Young Horse for Their Children to Grow Up With
This is a romantic notion, but the reality is that young horses and young beginner riders or drivers are not a safe mix. Buy your kids a mature, well trained horse they can saddle or harness up the same day you bring it home. Buy a horse that knows how to handle itself when all the scary aspects of the world present themselves—because a young beginner won’t know how. On an older, well trained horse or pony, kids will learn and have fun in greater safety.

4.  Buying at Auction
It takes a keen eye to pull a good horse out of an auction. Horses can appear docile at auction because they are so confused they ‘freeze’. Horses can be drugged to make them look calm or healthy. Things like heaves and lameness can be hidden easily with drugs. More » 

5.  Impulse Buying
Don’t buy a horse on first sight. Try the horse out, try it again, ask lots of questions. Go home and think about it for a few days. Look at other horses besides the one you’re smitten with and make comparisons. Be absolutely sure you’ve chosen the horse most suitable for you.

6.  Not Asking For a Trial Period
Don’t be afraid to ask the seller for a trial period. Most private owners want their horses to go to good homes, and are confident about the type of person they feel can handle the horse. Some dealers may agree on a trial period, or help you find another horse if the one you are looking at doesn’t work out. Just ask. And if you get a ‘no’ answer, ask why. There may be a valid reason. More » 

7.  Buying a Horse to Breed
Do you want to buy a horse so you can breed it and have a foal? Before you do visit an auction where horses are destined for rendering or meat. Pay attention to how many look like the result of backyard breeding experiments. Consider if you can live with this outcome for a horse you have brought into this world. Horses should be bred because they have outstanding qualities to pass on. The fact that you love it or think it would have a really cute foal is not an outstanding quality.

8.  Buying “Too Much Horse”
You may envision yourself jumping 5 ft. concrete culverts in a cross country event. However, the reality is you’ve only been riding six months. The type of horse required for high-performance sports may not be the one suitable for safe learning. Buy a horse to match your skill and fitness level, not one to match a dream that may not come true for five years or even vanish.

9.  Buying a Horse of a Particular Color
While it is perfectly reasonable to want to own a special coat pattern horse like a Paint, palomino or Appaloosa, it isn’t wise to buy for color only. If you have a choice of several horses, and all are of the same sane mind, and good training, of course buy the color you like. However, don’t base your decision on the color if the mind and training aren’t suitable. When buying a car the adage is ‘you don’t drive the paint’. With horses, you don’t ride/drive the color.

10.  Not Considering the Time and Expense of Horse Care
Horse ownership is a big responsibility. Horses don’t stop eating and drinking on the weekend when you want to go away. The expenses don’t stop because you want to spend the money elsewhere, or you’ve been unable to work. Be honest about the time and money you are able to spend on a horse. It's okay to admit you love horses, but would rather spend $30 on trail ride or riding lesson occasionally and leave all the other expense and fuss to someone else.


What is the Difference Between a Horse and a Pony?

If you are currently looking into horses for the first time and aren’t particularly familiar with them yet, then you may be forgiven for thinking that a pony and a horse are essentially the same thing – the common understanding it seems for many people is that ponies are just smaller horses. However this is very much not the reality, and there are many considerable differences between horses and ponies that you should familiarize yourself with if you have an interest in buying one. Here we will look at the differences between horses and ponies and examine the differences that are more than just skin deep…

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An Animal Obsessed Photographer is Looking to Eliminate the Stereotype of the 'Crazy Cat Lady' by Taking Portraits of His Male Friends and Their Felines - Proving that the Agile Pets Are Also Man's Best Friend

An animal obsessed photographer is looking to eliminate the stereotype of the 'crazy cat lady' by taking portraits of his male friends and their felines - proving that the agile pets are also man's best friend.

David Williams, who lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his own cat, has been photographing his male subjects and their felines since 2009 as part of his project Men & Cats.

"I found the way society genderizes animal ownership very compelling, as a portrait photographer I was interested in capturing the relationships of my male friends and their feline friends."

"It was also a good excuse to hang out with a bunch of cats", said Williams.

Williams explained that the subjects of his ongoing project are either his friends, or friends of friends.

Each thought-provoking portrait in the series features a man posing with one or more of his cats.

Although many of the shots were captured inside homes or apartments, there are images that show some men walking their cats on a leash or cuddling their feline companions outside.

"People have always responded well to the images and the idea," said Williams.

"Sometimes shooting personal work takes a very long time to pay off, so it’s also important to photograph something that you are interested in."

"I had the pleasure of photographing cinematographer, Ronen Schechner, with his cat Isabell while I was in Vermont. I never thought this project would take off like this, so thanks for all the love. Hope you enjoy this new "Men & Cats" photo, he captioned the picture.

The unique series is more than just a hobby, it's a way for Williams to showcase his work.

"I feel like shooting personal work is very important for a photographer, it gives me an opportunity to show photo editors, and art buyers what I am capable of doing when I have complete creative control. If I’m not shooting commissioned work, I am either shooting something personal, or working on ways for me to stand out as a photographer”, he said.

Man's best friend: Grant and his cat Tux posed on a green couch next to a portrait of another feline as a part of photographer David Williams's photo project Men & Cats.

Short leash: Williams, who lives in Brooklyn, New York, captured Brian while he took his cat R2-D2 on a daytime stroll through the city.

Model felines:Williams photographed Eric and his cats Pup and Bean for this bedroom portrait.

Strike a pose: Earlier this week, Williams shot this portrait of cinematographer Ronen Schechner and his cat Isabell.

       Into the wild: Brent cuddled with his feline companion Sammy for this unique outdoors shot.

Soft coats: Williams photographed Ross standing on his fluffy rug while holding his equally furry cat Jabsco.

Rock star kitty: Michael had his portrait shot in a room filled with guitars and records while his cat Sadie sat perched on his lap.

           Modern art: Matt showed off his tan and white cat Trixie along with his tattooed arm.

     Eclectic decor: Williams captured Josh relaxing with his cat Lucero inside his apartment.

Christmas kitties: Kent and his cats, Jessie and Micky sit next to holiday decorations in his home featuring leather couches and a leopard print rug.

Minimalist design: Williams captured Corey's cat Tess, as she sat narrowly perched on the corner of a side table.

Furry chef: Chad's cat Newton was comfortably sprawled on the kitchen counter in this feline friendly photo shoot.

          Unique scarf: Matt let his cat Pam curl around his neck as he posed in front of his kitchen.

    Black cat: Bird grinned from ear-to-ear as he and his feline Gertrude sat on his patio furniture.


Everything I know About a Good Death I Learned from My Cat: And I Have Her Vet To Thank

Picture of black cat
My cat has been dying for the last two years. It is normal to me now — it is simply the state of affairs. There's a rhythm to her medication: prednisone and urosodiol in the morning, urosodiol again in the evening, chemo every other day, a vitamin B shot once a week. And now, toward the end, painkillers. Over these last two years, I've come to suspect that my cat has gotten better, more comprehensive planning around her eventual death than most people do.

Dorothy Parker — Dottie, to her friends — is a cat I adopted in Brooklyn from a local vet; she made the cross-country hop with me to Oakland with minimal fuss. Her attitude, most of the time, is that of a 14-year-old Marxist in a Che Guevara T-shirt. One of her favorite moods is murder. She likes cuddling, hates strangers, and goes crazy for ice cream. She steals cheese. I live with a tiny, vicious alien, and I love her.

My cat has been dying for the last two years. It is normal to me now — it is simply the state of affairs. There's a rhythm to her medication: prednisone and urosodiol in the morning, urosodiol again in the evening, chemo every other day, a vitamin B shot once a week. And now, toward the end, painkillers. Over these last two years, I've come to suspect that my cat has gotten better, more comprehensive planning around her eventual death than most people do.

Dorothy Parker — Dottie, to her friends — is a cat I adopted in Brooklyn from a local vet; she made the cross-country hop with me to Oakland with minimal fuss. Her attitude, most of the time, is that of a 14-year-old Marxist in a Che Guevara T-shirt. One of her favorite moods is murder. She likes cuddling, hates strangers, and goes crazy for ice cream. She steals cheese. I live with a tiny, vicious alien, and I love her.

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Labs Reigned as the Nation's Top Dog Last Year for the 24th Year: But Bulldogs Are Close Behind

America's fondness for Labrador retrievers is still setting records, but bulldogs are breaking new ground.

Labs reigned as the nation's top dog last year for the 24th year after breaking poodles' decades-old record in 2013, according to American Kennel Club rankings set to be released Thursday. But bulldogs have hit a new high — No. 4 — and their bat-eared cousins, French bulldogs, sauntered into the top 10 for the first time in nearly a century.

German shepherds, golden retrievers and beagles are holding their own in the top five, with Yorkshire terriers, poodles, boxers and Rottweilers filling out the top 10. Dachshunds slipped from 10th to 11th.

Bulldogs' rise is no surprise to fans who extol their unmistakable, push-faced expressions and generally calm demeanors.

"They just have such character," says Bulldog Club of America communications chairwoman Annette Noble. The breed is known for being gentle but resolute — given direction, a bulldog may well want "to think about it first and decide whether it's worth it," as Noble puts it.

The smaller, less jowly French bulldog — sometimes dubbed "a clown in the cloak of a philosopher" — has surged from 49th to 9th in a decade.

Frenchies were No. 6 in the decade of the 1910s, but their prevalence later waned. Then appearances in movies, TV shows and advertising raised their profile in recent years.

Labrador retrievers hit the top 10 in the 1970s and haven't left since.

Originally bred to fetch game, Labs have proven able and willing to play virtually any canine role: search-and-rescue and police work, agility and other dog sports, guide and therapy dog work, and sensitive family companion. Breeder Micki Beerman recalls one of her Labs winning over a hesitant child by gradually moving closer, until the child began to pet the dog.

"They're just very intuitive," said Beerman, of Brooklyn. "They kind of know when you need them."

The AKC doesn't release raw numbers, only rankings. They reflect puppies and other newly registered dogs.

Dog breeding draws criticism from animal-rights activists who feel it ends up fueling puppy mills, siphons attention from mixed-breed dogs that need homes and sometimes propagates unhealthy traits.

The AKC says that its breed standards and recommended health testing help responsible people breed healthy dogs and that knowing breed characteristics helps owners choose a pet that's right for them.