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The Feeding Frenzy

Yesterday I picked up an assortment of canned cat foods for Whit when I went grocery shopping. He’s always eaten dried food and was such an excellent rodent-hunter that I tended to think of what I offered him more as supplemental feeding. Even so, I always provided him with what I considered the best, although I admit that I’ve made adjustments several times over the years when new data about feline physiology made it clear a particular era’s best wasn’t as great as we thought it was. But when I went shopping yesterday, the cardinal rule of nutrition was

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The Whittington Journal Begins

This post inaugurates a new blog category, the Whittington Journal. Ironically, in March of this year, I wrote In Praise of Whittington, a commentary that described my feline companion of almost 14 years. At the time, I did this because he was doing very well for his age and I didn’t want to wait until he was gone to write about him. I say “ironically” because two weeks after that commentary was posted, I had to euthanize my old dog, Watson, a loss I’ve yet to put into words. Wats and Whit were so much like an old married

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Animal Talk Naturally Show Available for Downloading

Below are links to the show I did with Drs Kim Bloomer and Jeannie Thomason on June 17th about human emotions as they affect animal health and behavior. But as always happens with these two great folks, the conversation strayed to other areas, too. For the written/streaming version, click here. For the mp3/download, click here.

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Firefly Love

It’s that time of year again in New England when the fireflies flash their distinctive calls as they court members of their own kind. On clear,  moonless nights, they look like low-lying twinkling stars. On foggy ones, the tiny points of light become fuzzy golden globes zipping around the yard and garden. Although we humans with our complex relationships might find their simple on/off form of communication simplistic (or even enviable!), when it comes to courting, it’s not without its unique twists. Each firefly species has its own distinct flash pattern to avoid breakdowns in communication, but as we

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The Zen of BeeBee

One of the wonderful things about working with companion animals is that I get an intimate view of how behaviors change as the animals mature. The puppy and kitten toddlers we get at 8-12 weeks give way to adolescents, young then mature adults, and then senior citizens, with each life stage adding its own unique spin to the basic canine or feline behavioral repertoire. It’s unfortunate that as our society has become more remote from animals as animals, we no longer recognize these changes as normal. Quite the contrary, when these occur, and sometimes they may occur as suddenly

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When Animals Mess with Our Minds

Do you ever get the feeling that your dog or cat is trying to drive you crazy? I’m not referring to the way you feel when your dog rolls in maggot-infested dead animal guts 5 minutes before your boss arrives, or when the cat pees on your $75 French bra just because it’s new. I’m referring to more subtle behavior of the things-that-go-bump-in-the-night variety that makes you think neurons are leaking out of your brain when you’re not looking. Such has been my experience for the past week or so. At first I attributed it to the fact that

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Late Night Adventures with Animals and Fans

Human and animal perception, particularly as it relates to the same event, always fascinates me and last night’s events gave me a good example of this. It’s been extremely hot and humid, the kind of heat and humidity that has me leaving key pieces of clothing at strategic locations so I can grab them and put them on as I race between the office and the front door if someone arrives unexpectedly.  Because the nights are also exceptionally hot and humid, I dragged the large fan out of the closet, aimed it right at the bed, and turned it

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BeeBee and Baby

The Baby in this post is my 2-year-old granddaughter, but for alliterative purposes, I co-opted the name her cousin Lauren calls her, Baby Geneva. BeeBee and I stayed with Geneva last weekend while my son and his wife took some much needed time off and I saw a side of Bee I’d never seen before. Even more interesting, I didn’t realize its full meaning until after we were home again. When we first arrived, Geneva was still at daycare so I wasn’t paying as much attention to what was going on as I should have been. Consequently, I didn’t

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Post-Op BeeBee

At the end of my last entry about BeeBee, I was sitting in my car sobbing, but I didn’t remain that way for long. For one thing, there were too many nice people coming to the clinic who would surely come over to ask me what was wrong.  If they did, I knew I would immediately start blubbering along the lines of, “I just left my brain-damaged, deformed dog to be spayed and what if her too long upper jaw and too short and crooked lower one makes it impossible to pass the tube into her trachea and give

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BeeBee Goes in for Surgery

On the drive to the veterinary clinic, BeeBee looked out the window for while, or at least she faced it for a while, then shifted her focus to the air coming in the vents. She soon tired of that, too, and curled up on the passenger seat and went to sleep as if riding in the car was something she did every day. Because it wasn’t, I was impressed. When we got to the clinic, at first Bee wanted to take a closer look at the donkeys and the llama, but as we got closer to them she decided

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