Archive for February, 2015

Signs your animal really loves you

Animals can’t talk, but they sure do convey pretty much everything they need to say, don’t they? This includes our animals showing their deep love for us. Mystic, my rescue dog, for instance, shows her love for me by wagging her whole body, including her tail—which wags like a giant helicopter propeller! This greeting is reserved for a very special few. She also just loves my daughter, Indigo (her human “sister”). When Indigo finishes an especially tasty snack, Mystic loves to lick all of the morsels and crumbs right off her face. Yep, we don’t need napkins over here! Mystic also loves snuggling on our laps during TV time and is fiercely protective of us. She doesn’t like strangers approaching the house, including the rowdy squirrel that lives in the redwood tree next to our living room window. She goes crazy every time he comes down to investigate; she’s so worried he’s going to crawl through the glass window and terrorize us all. (Maybe she knows something I don’t know?)

My sister Charlotte has a cat, and she reports her sweet Persian shows love in these special ways: warm head butts and nose kisses, figure eights around her ankles when she walks from one room to the next, and shadowing her every move. When she sits down to work on her laptop, Paddington is right there by her side, cuddling and sleeping with his chin resting gently upon the top of her left hand even as she types. And anytime she’s down or blue, somehow he just knows and arrives just in time for a heartful snuggle.

My horses, on the other hand, show their love in less obvious ways—but I believe it’s still there. Shawnee, a senior enjoying his golden years, nickers every time he sees me and gives me a gentle greeting—a soft nuzzle against my stomach. Kodiak, on the other hand, is much too young and macho for such vulnerable signs of love. When he sees me across the pasture, yes, he’ll approach—but his greeting is more of a sideways glance followed by a playful push against my arm with his muzzle. It’s sweet but tough. But they both get extra loving when I bring carrots (of course).

There are some scientific reasons to explain our animals letting us in by letting their guard down. This article goes into that, along with five common signs your dog loves you. For the cat lovers out there, do you recognize these 10 signs your cat loves you? And, no, I’m not forgetting my ferret parents out there—here’s a roundup of telltale signs your ferret truly loves you.

I’d love to hear: How does your special animal show his or her love for you?

5 most inspiring animal amputees

I’m so amazed by the work being done by innovative prosthetists and veterinarians for amputee animals. Their forward-thinking work—often in the face of complaints such as, “Why would you spend so much time and money making a prosthesis for an animal, anyway?”—not only saves animals’ lives, but also often leads to new discoveries that help human amputee patients, too. With countless success stories out there, here are five beautiful animals and their amazing prosthetics:

Derby the dog:
Try not to cry tears of joy while watching this beautiful Husky mix with deformed legs run in his new feet. Once in line to be euthanized, Derby is now happy in his forever home. He even has a Facebook page! You can learn more about his special prosthetics here.

Oscar the cat:
Oscar lost his back feet in an accident, but thanks to supervet Noel Fitzpatrick (whom I’ve mentioned before on this blog) and his heartful humans, Oscar can now live a normal, happy cat life on all four paws.

Beauty the bald eagle:
You almost wouldn’t know this beautiful bald eagle has a 3D-printed beak; it looks that realistic. But after surviving a shot to the face by a poacher and being nursed back to health from the brink of death, Beauty’s beak was reconstructed by a team of scientists. The prosthetic beak now allows her to drink water on her own, groom herself and, basically, live a normal life.

Allison the sea turtle:
Following an attack by a predator, Allison lost all her fins but one and could only swim in circles. But thanks to a helpful intern and the “ninja suit” ultimately designed for her, Allison the Atlantic green sea turtle can now swim like a pro. Click here for a closer look at her awesome prosthetic fin and jacket.

Winter the dolphin:
The movies “Dolphin Tale” and its sequel are based on the story of Winter, who was found caught in a crab trap. Her prosthetic tail, which now allows her to swim normally, is made of silicone and plastic. Human amputees are now benefiting from the lessons learned in building and fitting her with this device.

{P.S. For a few more inspiring stories of animal amputees, including an Appaloosa-Shetland pony who lost a leg, check out this striking photo essay in Wired.}


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