J.R., Staten Island, NY
Tags: cat Staten Island NY
Mar 06, 2004
I have a Pomeranian who is about 8 years old. He is very affectionate, but at night I can be sitting with him on the couch watching television and, sooner or later, he will stare at me like he''s in a trance and then attack and bite me. Then he will calm down. Or I''ll be sitting on the couch with him and when my son comes down the stairs he will do the same. Also, when I shut off the television he doesn''t seem to like that and stares at me. Is it the breed, or what?.
J.R., Staten Island, NY Mar 07, 2004
My own three dogs usually ignore the television when it is on -- which is probably a good thing. As young adults fresh from the jungles of India, the first time they saw a television in my home in Washington, D.C., they took the images for real and freaked out. They now occasionally respond to TV images and sounds of animals, but otherwise ignore the set.Some dogs seem to become fixated on the screen, and the visual flicker that they can see but we can''t, in addition to the sounds and fleeting images, may be so intense as to cause seizures. Your dog is probably in a hypnotic state. I empathize with him; I recently went to a big-screen, surround-sound movie and almost walked out because of the overwhelming assault on my senses. That''s why some dogs, like mine, tune out when the television is on. Your dog doesn''t, so I advise that you watch your TV shows alone -- or sit together and listen to the radio or some soothing music on a CD player!
M.S., Flint, MI
Tags: small pet Flint MI
Mar 06, 2004
I have read your column religiously for several years, and I must say that you are such a voice for animal rights that other members of my family, who aren''t vegetarian like me and like to go hunting, sometimes laugh when I read your column to them. They are uncomfortable, I know. That''s why they laugh. But they say you put animals before people, and I don''t know what to say. What do you say?.
M.S., Flint, MI Mar 07, 2004
Caring for animals and advocating for such basic rights as humane treatment does not mean putting animals before people. Those who oppose such advocacy today are like those a few decades ago who opposed human rights and the abolition of slavery. All living beings should be given equal consideration and respect, which is the essence of democracy. The moral progress of a society can be judged by how well its animals are treated, just as the deliberate infliction of pain on an animal is recognized by the courts today as a felony, not a misdemeanor, and a sign of psychopathology in children and adolescents.ANIMAL ANGELSMany readers will enjoy a book I recently received for review called "Animal Angels: True Tales of Creatures that Changed and Enriched Peoples'' Lives," by Charlene R. Johnson and Michael Rebel (New Horizon Press, 2003). There are many other books, seminars, workshops and retreats that promote the educational, emotional and inspirational/spiritual powers of animals and nature.The human-animal bond
A.M., London, Ontario
Tags: dog London ONTARIO diet food
Mar 06, 2004
I am hoping that you may be able to address a question on which there is great debate.A person working for a major pet food company claims that, due to advances in commercial pet foods and vaccines, pets are living longer.I''m going by the Newfoundland dogs (Newfs) and cats we owned, plus the pets our friend had 30 years ago. The lifespan of the Newf then was approximately 20 years, and now it is unusual to see a Newf over 10. This also applies to cats and other breeds of dogs. Our pets were fed table scraps and never vaccinated, and yet they had a much longer lifespan.I would love to hear your input on this. Is there any documentation that pets are actually living longer than their counterparts 30 years ago?.
A.M., London, Ontario Mar 07, 2004
There is a similar question in regards to human medical "progress": Are people really living longer? Indigenous, pre-agricultural peoples lived longer lives than the average poor person during the industrial revolution, from the working class and disenfranchised peasantry. Past agricultural civilizations had many health problems due to poor nutrition and diseases from sickly livestock, linked with poor land-use and animal husbandry practices as well as lack of sanitation and pure water.We can look at the declining health of the populace today against the backdrop of human overpopulation, where millions endure malnutrition and lack of basic hygiene and health care, and millions of others suffer from over-consumption, environmental pollution, and contamination of air, food and water.The same applies to our companion animals. Pets that are overfed, over-vaccinated, under-stimulated, sedentary, afflicted with genetic disorders, and living with little or no contact with their own kind have a poorer quality of lif
M.C., Arlington, Va
Tags: small pet Arlington VA
Mar 06, 2004
I am interested in getting a large, purebred dog that is intelligent, affectionate, good around children and easy to care for. I''ve done a lot of research, gone to dog shows, and my cousin seems to have the answer -- he''s got an American field-trial yellow Lab who is very healthy but looks nothing like the "chunky" show-type Labrador retrievers many of my friends have.
M.C., Arlington, Va Mar 07, 2004
Many purebreds with American Kennel Club (AKC) "papers" are either show stock or come from puppy mills, and, while usually affectionate, aren''t always very bright or of a healthy constitution. So you need to find a breeding kennel that has preserved some of the intelligence and physique of the working or hunting breeds (like the Labrador) you are looking for; such dogs may not even be registered with the AKC. Some American field Labradors don''t look a bit like the show-dog standard.The important question is whether your lifestyle fits with the kind of active, outdoor life that you will need to provide for the kind of dog you want. I''m all for preserving the original working and hunting breeds rather than turning them into show-ring zombies and home-decor, but that means providing the right environment and training. Maybe you would be better off with a less-active, more easygoing mixed breed like a "labradoodle" -- a Labrador-standard Poodle crossbreed that, because of hybrid vigor, is healthier than either o