Monday, January 31, 2011
Posted by Brizel Handcrafts on Monday, January 31, 2011
Friday, January 28, 2011
1. Keep your piggie's cage clean and dry. Pine chips, straw, hay but NO cedar chips! They are toxic to guinea pigs.
2. Keep away from drafts! This is a big one. Once a guinea pig catches a respiratory illness, it is very hard for them to recover.
3. Keep their room at a consistent temperature. Gradual seasonal changes in temperature are not a problem. Just no abrupt changes. 60F - 80F degrees is suitable.
5. Give fresh pellets made for guinea pigs, not rabbit pellets, and water daily.
6. Daily vitamin C is essential. They are like humans in this regard, needing outside sources of this vitamin. Fresh, clean, raw veggies and fruits are best.
8. Keep their toenails clipped. This is an easy task- just like clipping your own! Be careful to clip below the 'quick', the fleshy part underneath the nail.
9. Examine your guinea pig often... so that you can catch any lumps, bald spots, runny nose etc. before they get serious. Playing regularly with your piggies will keep you more alert to any changes.
10. It -is- possible to transfer a respiratory illness to your pet... So be careful to keep your distance when you are sick and wash your hands before touching them.
Not eating or drinking, discharge from eyes or ears, diarrhea, hair loss, weight loss, dull ruffled hair, dull or half closed eyes, nose in corner of cage with little movement or hunched posture.
Yes! You CAN teach your guinea pig to play dead! But can you teach him to fly? I will let you know after I have some lessons with Tooey!
Posted by Brizel Handcrafts on Friday, January 28, 2011
Labels: guinea pigs
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Even though camels tend to be healthy, hearty creatures - anybody who eats thorns for breakfast probably isn't prone to heart burn - you should still consider whether your local vet will treat camels.
But what are you going to feed your new family member? In the desert, camels eat practically anything: low quality grasses, thorns, salty plants that other animals won't touch. If they are really hungry, they will eat meat, bones and fish. You can add a good quality hay or grain to your camel's grazing to keep him healthy - but watch out for the nutrition-packed hays that are available, you'll make you camel fat. Since the skinny ones are 660 pounds, I hate to imagine what a fat camel looks like. Camels are ruminants* like cows, so they spend about 8 hours grazing around and then another six to eight chewing the cud*. If you keep your camel near water, he may take sips periodically. But if his food is alive and green, he may not drink for moths because he gets all the moisture he needs form the plants. The most important thing you can provide your camel with is salt. They need eight times as much salt as cattle, so make sure he has plenty available.
Obviously, you shouldn't run out and buy a camel just for fun. They are sentient* and intelligent animals that deserve the same respect of any living creature. If you do decide to raise camels some day: educate yourself, be responsible in the care of your animal and keep up with the latest in camel current events.
It isn't really 'spit' - when camels get agitated, they might fling some of that cud around (hey, who wouldn't). Camels raised domestically (particularly those bottle-fed as babies) tend to be gentle and easy-going. Treat them with kindness and there will be no need for frequent showers. For spit, you'll have to get a Llama.
Exotic - Of foreign origin or character; not native*
Native - Related to the place or environment where a species of plant or animal came into being.
Ruminant - Having a multi-chambered stomach. Cows and goats are examples of ruminants.
Cud - a portion of food that returns from a ruminant's stomach in the mouth to be chewed for the second time. Ew.
Sentient - Conscious and having perception by the senses.
Posted by Brizel Handcrafts on Thursday, January 27, 2011
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
February's monthly challenge theme is "Companions Corner"; please tag your listing "teamefacompanion", without the quotation marks.
For EFA members when someone says the word "companion" we do not always and immediately think of a human; instead we think of our furry (scaly, feathered, etc) friends who are often much more to us than can be described in words.
For your "Companions Corner" Monthly Challenge entry: "pay homage to your non-human companions and family".
I hope that you will find that in all of the following definitions of "companion", our friends are the best representation of the word:
1. Somebody to be with: somebody who accompanies or shares time with another.
2. Somebody whose job is accompanying another: somebody employed to live with [or help] another person.
3. Matching article: an object or item that goes with another to make a pair.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Say it in Sign !
by Diana of SayItInSign
Almost everyone has heard of a seeing eye dog but a hearing dog, what is that ? Hearing dogs are specially trained to tell a deaf person when the phone rings, when someone is outside, etc.
Sadly the organizations out there have too few dogs for the amount of deaf that need them. It is absolutely amazing what the cost is for the training of one dog which can come to about $100k ! That is due to the cost of covering food, training, vets etc. The average person generally pays a fee of 100.00 and donations are raised to cover the balance.
Training organizations only use blood lines that they know are successful and even then the rate of how many are successful out of a liter is extremely small. IF the puppy raiser doesn't want the dog back then the dog sometimes is turned over to a rescue or to the animal shelter!
That saddened our hearts knowing that many of these dogs are not used to empower, improve and befriend someone just because they are not of a certain blood line or that they don't make the "cut" due to training. Sometimes trainers fall in love with a puppy and purposely don't train them so they can keep them for themselves.
At any rate, for our family a hearing dog was crucially important for Blake, our son, who is profoundly deaf. We toured Canine for Independence in Ocoee Fl a couple of years ago. CCI has strict rules, for example, someone under the age of 18 who needs a seeing eye dog or 21 if they are in need of a hearing dog... unless they are in a wheelchair are not allowed to have a dog. Most organizations abide to the 18 yr old rule.
Later on and with much research, we found an organization that will train dogs that are in shelters as hearing dogs. Regrettably, they don’t have the funding or staff to train as many as they would like to so only a few are selected. There is a high demand for trained dogs but few are able to do the training. The waiting list can be up to 5 years !
We decided that age was not going to stop us so we adopted a lab mix Odie from the SPCA. Odie was about two and our son & myself found an awesome trainer. Debby Snyder from Dog Sense Obedience. She had never worked with a deaf person nor had she specially trained dogs as hearing dogs. (You have to have a special license/insurance for training seeing eye or hearing dogs.)
However, Debby has trained dogs for over 30 years and the principles are the same... so we got started with basic obedience first. Then with Debby's help we trained Odie to Blake's specific needs. He doesn't need to know when the hearing phone rings he can't talk but he does need to know if someone is outside the house, calls his name or if his video phone rings etc.
Sadly though, even with Odie's special training we can't certify him as a "service dog" but Odie recently achieved & got his Canine Good Citizen Award!! He also has his Pet Therapy certification so that Odie, Blake and myself can share our love for him with those in nursing homes, hospice and assisted living facilities.
Besides from being a faithful loyal friend and companion to Blake and the rest of the family... what makes Odie so special ? He can understand true American Sign Language & hand signals... and not just the dog signals!
Oh and did I forget to mention that since no one told Odie that he is not the official service dog he thinks he is… regardless... he has twice saved my life when I had a medical emergency & stopped breathing.
So, April 2008 was the happiest of times for our family because it is when we met and adopted our Odie. And on a final note, the concept of adoption is very important to our family as we believe it is one way of blending lives and making forever families. Blake and his brother were also adopted and so adopting Odie for Blake facilitated a deeper meaning & connection for him.
Monday, January 24, 2011
Posted by Brizel Handcrafts on Monday, January 24, 2011
Friday, January 21, 2011
Let’s Hear it for the Squirrel !
by Corinna of TheFrogBag
Ahh, squirrels... so ubiquitous we may not even notice them. But doesn’t that very fact make them special ? Not many animals can make a go of it in our increasingly urban environment !
Lots of people label common animals like crows, skunks, and squirrels as pests. But stop and think: the only reason they are pests is because they can survive along side us, no easy feat if you ask a wolf, manatee or wolverine!
Personally, I became very familiar with squirrels during the time I spent working in a wildlife hospital. One season we raised over 120 injured and orphaned babies. And that was in addition to all of the adult squirrels that came in after tangling with dogs, cats, cars, and BB guns.
I became very well acquainted with squirrel teeth, too. I’ve spent the last decade working with animals, and have been bit by everything from baby rats to spider monkeys, so I can assure you that squirrel bites are among the most painful.
We only have three species of squirrel here in Southern California (of which only two are native) but there are at least 300 species found worldwide. The smallest is the African pygmy squirrel, which measures all of five inches. The largest is the Indian giant squirrel, which is three feet long! I have to say, I’m glad I’ve never been bitten by one of those!
But don’t let me leave you with the impression that squirrels are some sort of gladiatorial species, happy only when latched onto a hapless caretaker’s finger. On the contrary, squirrels are very good mothers. They take excellent care of their babies, building complex nests to keep them warm and dry. They are smart too: they often build an additional nest which serves as a get-away spot in case the babies need to be moved. Of course, nothing stops Mama Squirrel from taking a nap in the extra nest when the babies are being too rambunctious. Like I said, pretty smart!
Squirrels also might help us learn how to adapt to global climate change. Yukon red squirrels seem to be experiencing a rapid evolutionary response to the warming of their habitat, a finding that is among the first to document genetic change in a mammal. Perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised. Few animals are as adaptable as the squirrel.
So let’s hear it for that squirrel ! Or that 'skiouros', if you’d prefer to call him by the Greek word from which squirrel is derived. It means “shadow-tail”, a fitting appellation for an animal that is so often seen and so seldom noticed.
Posted by Brizel Handcrafts on Friday, January 21, 2011