Blogs > Pets Unleashed

Those who love their pets tend to enjoy all animals. Our animal owners are no different. Check in on News-Herald staffers Robin Palmer and Cheryl Sadler as they share their own animal tales and announce upcoming events in Lake and Geauga counties.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ohio votes?

Over on the Northern Ohio Local Politics blog, David W. Jones writes:

Down in Columbus, word was out today (Wednesday) that the Humane Society, Gov. Ted Strickland agricultrual leaders reached an agreement for HS not to go onto the fall ballot with its farm animal cruelty bill.

Hmm. Itemizing in this writer’s Sunday column: “Some say both sides still talk of some kind of agreement to cancel the ballot fight in favor of some agreement on curbing cruelty to farm animals in small cages in Ohio.”

--David W. Jones

Friday, June 25, 2010

Bionic British cat gets faux paws

This cat lands on his feet even if they are fake -- Robin Palmer

LONDON (AP) — Oscar the cat may have lost one of his nine lives, but his new prosthetic paws make him one of the world’s few bionic cats.
After losing his two rear paws in a nasty encounter with a combine harvester last October, the black cat with green eyes was outfitted with metallic pegs that link the ankles to new prosthetic feet and mimic the way deer antlers grow through skin. Oscar is now back on his feet and hopping over hurdles like tissue paper rolls.
After Oscar’s farming accident, which happened when the 2 1/2-year-old-cat was lazing in the sun in the British Channel Isles, his owners, Kate and Mike Nolan, took him to their local veterinarian. In turn, the vet referred Oscar to Dr. Noel Fitzpatrick, a neuro-orthopedic surgeon in Eashing, 35 miles southwest of London.
Together with biomedical engineering experts, Fitzpatrick gave Oscar two metal prosthetic implants, or pegs. Those were attached to custom-built faux paws that are a bit wobbly, to imitate a cat’s natural walk. But first, he covered the brown implants with black tape to match Oscar’s fur.
Fitzpatrick said he and biomedical engineers designed the artificial paws so that they would be fused to the bone and skin. “That allows this implant to work as a seesaw on the bottom of the animal’s limbs to give him (an) effectively normal gait,” he said. “Oscar can now run and jump about as cats should do.”
The veterinarians then inserted the peg-like implants by drilling them into Oscar’s ankle bones in his rear legs. The metal implants are attached to the bone where Oscar lost his paws and were coated with a substance that helps bone cells grow directly over them. The cat’s own skin then grew over the end of the peg to form a natural seal to prevent infections.
After rehabilitation training that taught Oscar how to walk again, the cat was on all four feet in less than four months. Oscar’s owners said they hoped his new paws would also further the technology for developing artificial limbs for humans.
“This is a pretty lucky cat,” said Dr. Mark Johnston, a veterinarian and spokesman for the British Small Animal Veterinary Association. “Giving a cat artificial limbs is a very novel solution.” Johnston said that while there are many “perfectly happy” three-legged cats and dogs, animals that lose two legs do not usually fare as well.
Dogs might cope better with some sort of animal-wheelchair for their back legs, but cats don’t usually adapt to that because of their freer lifestyle, he said. “If a cat has two legs that are damaged beyond repair, it’s very hard to keep him going,” he said. “We would generally euthanize a cat in that situation.”
He doubted the technique would be widely available due to the cost and said it was still relatively rare for animals to lose two legs at once. Gordon Blunn, head of biomedical engineering at University College London, who led the effort to make Oscar’s fake paws, said they cost about 2,000 pounds ($2,996) to make, not including the cost for the operation itself.
In 2008, Fitzpatrick made an artificial knee for a cat named Missy who was struck by a hit and run driver. In the U.S., several animals have received artificial limbs directly attached to their bones at North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
Johnston said the next six months to a year would be critical for Oscar. He said veterinarians would have to closely monitor the feline to make sure no infections, sores or other movement problems crop up.
“It may not last forever, but even if you provide the cat with a few years of pain-free mobility, it may well be worth it,” he said.

Tiny turtle, big problems

Remind me to never fly AirTran -- Robin Palmer

ATLANTA (AP) — A caged, 2-inch turtle traveling with a 10-year-old girl caused a crew to turn around a taxiing plane, take the girl and her sisters off the flight and tell them they couldn’t bring their pet along.
The sisters threw the animal and cage in the trash and returned to their seats crying Tuesday after AirTran Airways employees on the jetway said they couldn’t care for the turtle while their father drove to retrieve it. Two days later, however, Carley Helm was reunited with Neytiri even though at first the family thought the pet was emptied with the trash.
Carley was heading home to Milwaukee after visiting her father in Atlanta with sisters Annie, 13, and Rebecca, 22, when the flap unfolded.
Rebecca said the three were led onto the jetway and told they’d have to get rid of the baby red ear slider — named Neytiri after the princess in the movie “Avatar” — if they wanted to reboard.
“I asked, ’What do you mean get rid of it?’ and they said throw it away,” she said. “I was very sad, and I felt bad for my littlest sister because it was her first pet and she was planning to take care of it herself.”
While the sisters say they were told to put the animal in the trash, AirTran says they chose that themselves, despite an offer to fly later at no extra charge.
AirTran company policy bars animals other than cats, dogs and household birds in the cabin, said spokesman Christopher White. White cited a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that says the reptiles have been known to carry salmonella bacteria.
The sisters say they made it past security screeners and an AirTran gate agent before boarding. One flight attendant told them to stow the cage under their seat, they say.
But with the flight rolling toward its takeoff, an attendant told them the turtle wasn’t allowed in the cabin.
Rebecca Helm called their father, and he began driving back to the airport. She asked an AirTran employee to make arrangements with her father to look after the pet until he could get there, but the employee refused.
“I basically had to make a really fast decision because the whole plane was being delayed,” Rebecca Helm said. The bin wasn’t very full and she thought the turtle could be found easily once her dad arrived, she said.
Rebecca twice declined the offer to take a later flight, White said.
“We don’t have the personnel or the facilities to care for people’s pets,” White said.
Rebecca asked if throwing the pet away would allow for them to get back on the flight, White said. The gate agent did not tell the sisters what to do but said they could not get on the plane with the turtle, White said.
“At no time did any AirTran Airways crew member order or suggest that they put the turtle in the trash,” he said.
Half an hour later, the sisters’ father called, saying he wanted to come look through the trash, White said. The gate agent looked, couldn’t find the turtle and assumed it had been emptied, he said.
The airline discovered Wednesday that the ramp supervisor had rescued the turtle from the trash “out of his own compassion” and given it to another crew member, who took it home for her 5-year-old son, White said.
AirTran told that crew member the original owners wanted it back, and the airline arranged for the turtle to fly as cargo to Milwaukee on Thursday, White said.
The sisters’ mother reported what happened to animal rights group PETA, which sent a letter to AirTran demanding an investigation and disciplinary action.
For their part, Rebecca Helm says her sisters “are very happy to have the turtle back.”

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Celebrating pets

A Celebration of Pets will be from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the Burton Public Library on Saturday, June 26.

Sponsored by Amy & Kevin O’Reilly of Geauga Feed and Grain Supply and the Burton Public Library, the program will include a parade of pets and a special storytime.

John’s Photography will be on hand to take a photo of you and your pet, and you will be able to make a frame for your photo during the program.

All ages are welcome, and the program is free of charge.

Dogs must be leashed and all pets must be under their owners’ control at all times during the program.

Call the Burton Public Library to register for the program at 440-834-4466.

-- Robin Palmer

Friday, June 18, 2010

Is this cute or cruel?

I can't figure out how I feel about this video. I love the cat in the hat (ha!), but he's just a baby!

--Cheryl Sadler

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Pet loss support group to meet

Animal Hospital Inc., partnering with Patty DeJohn of DeJohn Pet Services, is continuing to provide a Pet Loss Support Group to the community.
The loss of a pet can be a very difficult time to work through and often people do not give themselves permission to grieve for an animal with whom they have spent a very significant part of their lives.
The support group meets from 6:30 to 8 p.m. the third Thursday of every month in the Animal Hospital Inc. conference room, 2735 SOM Center Road in Willoughby Hills (across from Gale’s Garden Center).
The support group is free of charge and open to anyone who has lost a pet or is facing this difficult time.
Those interested are asked to call 440-946-2800 to reserve a seat.

Former News-Herald Staff Writer Sandra M. Klepach attended the pet loss support group last year. You can read about her experience here.

--Cheryl Sadler

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Mentor Family Devastated Over Missing Puppy

Most animal lovers would agree, when a pet goes missing, it can be one of the most heart-wrenching feelings imaginable.
Once the initial panic subsides, this kind of mournful ache sets in at the unknown, the worry, the need to maintain positive thinking.
For one Mentor family, the hope still thrives that their 8-month-old Chihuahua puppy, named Chosen, will turn up.
While on vacation in Florida to visit a sick family member on May 27th, the family, who wanted their last name to remain anonymous, received a phone call that their puppy had gotten loose from the dog sitter.

Read more here.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

They're having a party

The third annual birthday bash to celebrate the birthdays of all the cats at Caroline's cat sanctuary in Concord Township will be from 1 to 3 p.m. June 19.

And, you are invited!

If you would like to bring a gift, the boy cats are asking for Lowe's or Home Depot gift cards to help with all the work at the no-kill sanctuary, 7395 Morley Road.

The girl cats are asking for can or dry food, Temptations treats, scoopable litter and gift cards from Petsmart or Pet Supplies Plus.

The sanctuary is in desperate need of food.

It also is in need a Swiffer dry mop and refill sheets, Mr. Clean Magic Sponge, new brooms and dustpans, and every day supplies like paper towels, bleach, laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent and glass cleaner.

For the clinic, the sanctuary needs exam gloves (medium size) and peroxide.

The party will include refreshments served on the patio and deck.

For more information, call Judie at 440-449-3496.

-- Robin Palmer

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Four-legged friends on the roads

Just heard on the police scanner:

"There's a turtle walking down Mentor Avenue."

Remember to watch out for wildlife when you are driving -- especially at night when they might be hard to see.

-- Cheryl Sadler