I was recently interviewed by Neighbors Magazine for an article about service animals and was asked to supply a picture of myself with my fur kids. So we headed to Otter Creek for a photo shoot! After seeing thousands of pictures of people with their photogenic pups I thought for sure it would be a breeze. Apparently they have skills I do not possess. I hope you enjoy the ridiculousness that ensued! =)
Do you have tips and tricks for your fur-family portraits? We’d love to hear them!
One of my favorite childhood memories was waking up with my sister to my dad’s homemade cinnamon rolls. He especially loved to make them for us in the winter months; the hot gooey treat was the best way to kick-start a day of playing in the snow. When I came across this recipe for cinnamon roll dog cookies I knew I had to make them for my fur kids, and was just a little too excited to wait for snow.
Me and my twin sister Kathleen
(That’s right, I had a robo-cat, it was awesome.)
These small cinnamon roll biscuits are made with whole wheat flour and canola oil, which contains heart healthy mono and polyunsaturated fats as well as omega 3 fatty acids. They look as good as they taste; having been rolled into a log and sliced they resemble the real thing – even more so if you drizzle them with cream cheese, thinned with a little water. Drizzling is easy if you put the sugar-free cream cheese “icing” in a zip-lock bag and snip off one corner to squeeze the mixture out.
Cinnamon Roll Biscuits
2 cups Whole wheat flour
1 tsp. Baking powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/2 cup Water or milk
1/4 cup Canola oil
1 Large egg
2 Tbsp. Honey
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 cup Finely chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
Cream cheese drizzle (optional):
1/4 cup Light cream cheese
1-2 Tbsp. Milk or water
Whisk together into an icing consistency
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl stir together water, oil and egg. Add to the dry ingredients and stir just until you have a soft dough.
On a lightly floured surface, roll or pat the dough into a rectangle that measures roughly 8×14-inch. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with cinnamon and nuts, if using.
Cinema’s Secret To Successful Baking: Taste Testing
Starting from a long edge, roll up jelly-role style and pinch the edge to seal. Using a sharp serrated knife or (even better) dental floss, slice half an inch thick and place slices cut side down on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.
Bake for about 15 minutes, until springy to the touch. Wait until they have cooled completely before you drizzle the cream cheese on them.
“Lord, Please let it grow legs and jump into my mouth!
Oh Please Oh Please Oh Please!”
Makes about 2 dozen biscuits. Store extra in a tightly covered container and freeze. If they are frosted, store the container in the fridge. Or better yet, share with friends!
No puppies were left hungry following the completion of this recipe. 🙂
Both Nestle Purina PetCare and Milo’s kitchen are voluntarily recalling chicken dog treats nationwide due to the potential that the products may contain trace amounts of residual antibiotics that are not approved in the U.S.
The recalled products include Purina’s Waggin’ Train and Canyon Creek Ranch dog treats, as well as Milo’s Kitchen Chicken Jerky and Chicken Grillers. Canyon Creek Ranch dog and cat foods are manufactured in the U.S. and are not included in the recall.
On Monday, the New York State Department of Agriculture discovered that traces of unapproved antibiotics used on poultry had made its way into the Chinese-made food products. The antibiotics in question are approved by China and the European Union, but not in the U.S.
Purina and Milo’s Kitchen say the products are safe but are recalling their products because of the difference in regulations. The general manager of Milo’s Kitchen, Rob Leibowitz, issued a statement, saying “Pet safety and consumer confidence in our products are top priorities. While there is no known health risk, the presence of even trace amounts of these antibiotics does not meet our high quality standards. Therefore, today we decided to recall both products and asked retailers to remove the products from their shelves.”
Since 2007, more than two thousand pet owners in the U.S. reported dogs falling ill or dying after eating tainted treats made in China. Symptoms reported to the FDA include gastrointestinal problems like vomiting and diarrhea, as well as kidney problems, which can cause dogs to drink and urinate more than usual.
The Food and Drug Administration continues to investigate jerky treats, but the agency said no definitive cause had been identified yet. FDA officials also said they were confident that the detection of antibiotics “do not raise health concerns,” and that they are “highly unlikely” to be related to the reports of pet illness linked to jerky treats, according to a statement published late Wednesday.
For Waggin’ Train product refund or more information, consumers can call – 1-800-982-0704 or go to www.waggintrainbrand.com
For Milo’s Kitchen product refund or more information, consumers can call 1-877-228-6493
Whether captured in the wild or born in captivity, parrots are not domesticated animals like cats and dogs. They are still wild animals. Their natural curiosity, sensitivity, intellect, playfulness, and ability to form bonds with humans can tempt people to keep them in captivity. Unfortunately, the traits that make parrots so intriguing are the same ones that make them extremely difficult to live with as companion animals. Many parrots find themselves displaced as their natural behaviors and needs clash with human expectations. Before you buy or adopt a parrot, consider the following facts:
Parrots bite and instictively chew — you and your home!
Parrots are messy and active and require space to move about and play!
Birds continuously shed “feather dust” – particles of feathers, which may aggravate asthma.
Parrots scream, but many do not talk!
Most parrots won’t learn cute tricks!
Parrots are social and need daily attention!
Some parrots never bond with humans!
Parrots need to be served a varied diet, not just seeds and pellets but grains, beans, fruits and vegetables as well!
Parrots are very sensitive to air quality! Tobacco smoke, hair spray, cleaning products, etc., can all be very dangerous for them.
Parrot cages, toys, and vet visits are expensive!
Large parrots can live up to 80 years — will you?
Educating yourself about parrots before bringing one into your life is crucial to solving the homeless parrot problem! Only people who thoroughly understand that parrots are wild animals and who can commit to meeting their demanding needs should consider providing a home for one. Only then will all parrots kept in captivity be properly cared for and appreciated for the wild animals they are, the pet market’s demand for “impulse purchased” baby parrots will decrease, and the homeless bird epidemic will become a thing of the past.
This was one of the happiest holidays I can remember, filled with the love of family, friends, and the wonderful dogs that came to play with us. But I never would have expected that the greatest holiday blessing of all would come from one of my foster dogs. Rolo gave me something that money can’t buy: a deeper, stronger, and happier bond with my recently adopted fur kid Max.
Max, a beautiful and laid back 6 year old Australian Shepherd, came to live with me after being severely neglected and abandoned at a vet’s office in Indiana. Though I’m told he was only with his previous family for a short time, it was clear that he was emotionally affected by the experience. I struggled to get him to play with me and, even though he’s an incredibly sweet and gentle dog, he rarely initiated affection. It’s a well known fact that there are few things more important to me than my dogs so it was nothing short of heartbreaking to me that even though he loved our hikes, our trips to go swimming, and all the tasty treats, he never seemed to connect with me on a deeper level and therefore couldn’t tell how much I adore him.
Over the last few months I was the lucky foster mom to a wild and crazy Aussie puppy named Rolo. Max has always enjoyed the company of his foster friends but his bond with Rolo was something truly special. Rolo was a constant firestorm of playful energy and Max was his favorite target. Hours upon hours a day were spent wrestling, chasing, and pummeling each other with reckless abandon. Max instantly went from being the wallflower to being the most popular guy in school and he loved it!
When Rolo was adopted, Max spent several days in a deep depression over the loss of his friend and I was scared that all the progress he’d made would vanish. But Max wasn’t about to let Rolo’s absence keep him from being the center of attention. My heart now soars every time Max picks up a teddy bear and hurls himself into my lap for rowdy belly rubs and vigorous wrestling; and every time I walk in the door to see his huge smile and his whole butt shaking with joy I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. Today he’s an affection loving playaholic, and I can’t help but feel truly blessed and enormously thankful to have had Rolo in my life.
Lots of attention and publicity is given to abandoned and displaced dogs and cats, but many forget about more exotic pets like birds. With YouTube videos popping up all over the internet of dancing and singing parrots, it’s no wonder they have grown in popularity. Unfortunately, most families purchasing these wonderful creatures are unaware of the enormous responsibility they are undertaking and the wild, noisy, and often destructive nature of the animals they are bringing into their home. This has lead to a dramatic increase in birds in need of Rescue. In honor of Adopt A Rescued Bird Month, we will be sharing information about the growing need for avian education. Though I don’t generally like to copy the work of others, I thought the Avian Welfare Coalition described the problem better than I ever could:
The displaced captive bird population is increasing at a frightening rate. Like other exotic “pets,” parrots are often much more difficult to keep than people anticipate because they are wild animals like tigers, monkeys, and reptiles, not domesticated as human companions for thousands of generations like dogs and cats. High care demands, behavioral challenges, and an extremely long life expectancy leave many parrots unwanted and displaced as they mature. Only a small fraction of birds — especially large parrots — will remain in their first home for their entire lifetime. Unfortunately, public education has not yet caught up to these realities of birdkeeping. The throwaway bird population has recently boomed as people have tired of the now mature, demanding exotic parrots they purchased during the affluent 90s.
Although parrot breeding is expensive and labor-intensive, many people have chosen to breed their birds as a hobby or business. Some do it as a ill-conceived solution for un-petlike wild breeding behaviors. As their parrots reach maturity and start to show aggression, many people find it easier to place them in “breeding situations” to produce more temporarily sweet babies than it is to work to understand and tolerate their birds’ natural behaviors or their frustrations with their artificial captive life. Others breed birds because they want to supplement their income, or because they enjoy bringing new life into the world. These are not necessarily bad motives, but as the displaced captive parrot population has exploded, it is now critical for aviculturists to reassess the impact of their business or hobby on the lifetime well-being of the animals they love.
Hand-feeding baby birds is extremely time-consuming. Some breeders attempt to cut corners and increase their profit margins by selling unweaned hand-fed chicks for a buyer to “finish off,” claiming that this ensures a strong bird/human bond. While selling unweaned babies is now frowned upon, most breeders still wean their baby parrots far too early — long before a baby would be independent of its parents in the wild and properly socialized for a successful, happy adult life. Many also still clip babies’ wings before they learn to fly (fledge) in order to make them easier to manage. Mature flying, adult behavioral modeling, and proper weaning are closely linked behaviors. A wild baby bird must be able to travel to locate food and learn how to be a bird from its parents. Forced weaning, lack of exposure to adult bird role models, and premature wing-clipping can cause long-term physical and emotional health problems that can permanently undermine a parrot’s well-being. This results in the majority of baby birds hitting the pet market programmed for long-term failure as pets. The most conscientious breeders make little, if any, money from their time investment.
Large-scale “parrot mill” breeding operations, such as Kaytee Preferred Birds,* which supplies PETsMART, are now producing thousands of chicks each year, with a goal of producing even more! They have a network of breeders that mass-produce both parent-raised and hand-fed birds, which are transferred to hand-feeding facilities and stores at an early age. While it is in the company’s best interest to raise these birds in relatively clean, regulated, disease-free facilities, it is next to impossible to properly, personally socialize and educate baby parrots under such assembly line, parent-free production breeding conditions. To make matters worse, when these birds are sold through warehouse pet stores like PETsMART and PETCO, buyers rarely receive quality products or solid care advice from the inexperienced, transient staff often employed at these stores. In addition, the display and marketing of gentle, beautiful, juvenile birds in pet stores leads to many being purchased on impulse, and a parrot purchased on impulse without a foundation of education rarely finds a lifelong home.
Because of all of these factors, thousands and thousands of captive parrots are displaced each year, and bird rescue and adoption shelters and sanctuaries are full to capacity with unreleasable wild animals that are extremely difficult to place in proper new homes.
1) Education BEFORE Commitment
The public MUST be educated about how demanding captive parrots and other birds can be before they purchase or adopt a bird. Thousands of captive parrots lose their homes each year because they were bought on impulse by someone unaware of a bird’s potential noise, mess, aggression, destructiveness, longevity, expense, time commitment, and daily care needs. It is a rare person or family that can make a lifetime commitment to a parrot — they are wild animals! If you are thinking of purchasing or adopting a bird, first read current bird books and magazines, join a local bird club to learn from other members, and volunteer at a local bird adoption and rescue organization for hands-on bird care experience. If you are an experienced birdkeeper, share your knowledge with novices whenever possible. Be creative, and be honest! Describe not only the wonderful things that you enjoy about your bird, but the challenges you face every day in caring for him or her. Explain why your lifestyle and personality are suitable for birdkeeping, and be clear about what a big commitment and sacrifice living with a parrot demands.
2) Don’t Breed Birds!
Breeders and pet stores must stop supplying more and more “fresh” baby birds to a highly uneducated market that is already spilling over with displaced birds at the other end. Why bring more birds into the world when the ones who are already here don’t have homes? If you are currently a bird breeder, consider taking down your nestboxes, giving your bird pairs a comfortable retirement together, and volunteering during your spare time for a local bird adoption group.
3) Adopt, Don’t Buy!
People who love birds, know how to properly care for them, and are dedicated to the rigors of birdkeeping MUST adopt and nurture the displaced birds already in the system. If you have done your research and are ready to make a commitment to your first parrot, or you have room and time to add another bird to your life, contact your local bird adoption group to find a wonderful second-hand parrot in need of a home instead of purchasing a bird from a pet store or breeder. You have the ability to make a critical difference in the life of a displaced parrot!