Friday, May 30, 2008

Chihuahua Training is Easy!

Chihuahua Training is Easy!

You may be wondering if Chihuahua training is easy or hard. Well, from my experience it is very easy! If you've already managed to raise a dog with behavioral problems (this is easy too!) you can correct them in a very natural way by following a few simple recommendations.

There is one book that I highly recommend (I wish I had written it!) that goes well beyond what most dog trainers talk about and gets to the heart of how your dog feels about and experiences life. In the book The Dog Listener by Jan Fennell, you'll read that dogs naturally feel like they still belong to a pack and they want to interract with you as part of the pack.

Our Chihuahua is named Yoda (our son is a huge Star Wars fan) and he's so happy now that he doesn't have to worry about leading the pack anymore. He's no longer "top dog" ...unless of course we change our behavior in a way that promotes him up to leader of the pack again. But then it's easy enough to change positions again by performing our newly learned Chihuahua training methods!

You can try some simple things the book recommends yourself to see how they work, like making it look like you've eaten some food first and then giving your dog his/her food to eat. Then, if after 5 minutes or so the dog hasn't eaten the food, take it away. This lets the dog know that you're in control of the food supply...a classic top dog role! And the next time you feed your precious pet they wil be sure to gobble up whatever leftovers you've provided for them. With a small breed like the Chihuahua it's also important not to overfeed them, but that's a subject for a Chihuahua Health article.

Another thing to try is to ignore (this can be very hard with Chihuahuas since they're so cute!) your dog for the first 5 minutes after you come home. The top dog never makes a fuss over the pack when returning home. But it's OK to worry about and make a fuss over your Chi when it returns home (like after going outside to "do it's duty").

It's amazing to see the difference in Yoda's behavior when we follow a few simple rules of how to live life in a [Chihuahua] dog pack. Chihuahua training becomes easy!

If you're like me (I'm not known to be a patient shopper...I want it now!) you'll want to go out and pick up the book at your local bookstore today or check out your local library to see if they have a copy. I don't know the author and the only reason this was written is we both feel it can do so much good for so many people and their pets. Especially if you may be thinking your dog is out of control and may have to be put down. Please, please read this book before taking any such drastic action!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Cushing's Disease

As our horses enjoy a longer life and many live well into old age so the number of horses with Cushing increases as its more common in older horses especially ponies. It can however affect all breeds and ages.Cushing is caused by an abnormality of the pituitary gland that is situated at the base of the brain. This causes it to produce excessive amount of a hormone called cortisone, which is the body’s natural steroid hormone.

Signs of Cushing

· Long thick curly coat, which may not shred.

· They may grow their winter coat very early or shred it early as the swelling at the gland puts pressure on the part of the brain that is responsible for seasonal hair loss

· An increase risk of laminitis

· Excessive drinking and urinating

· Increase appetite

· Raised heart rate

· Muscle wasting

· In mares their cycle may be abnormal· Mare may not be able to conceive

· Lethargy

· Weight loss

Over a period of time an affected horse will show some or all of the above signs which are listed.


Within the brain a substance called Dopamine is naturally produce which prevents the over production of hormones. There is another natural substance called Serotorum which has the opposite effect and produces to much cortisone.

Treatment will consist of using a drug which mimics Dopamine the most commonly used one is Pergolide which is given in tablet form or using a drug one of the most promising being Trilostane that will block Serotorum.Your vet will decide on which cause of treatment will be most suitable for your horse or pony. Both types of treatment will bring about the same results, keeping the amount of cortisone produce under control.


The increase in cortisone in the body is similar to the effect of stress so to manage the condition we need to reduce stress levels as much as possible.

· Keep to a strict routine

· Ensure a comfortable quiet haven for the horse

· Avoid turning out with aggressive horses

· Keep feed and water easily located

· Clip out and rug in winter

· Groom well to help minimize skin diseases

· Keep hooves in good condition

· Check for signs of laminitis

· Minimize contact with new horses

· Immunize regularly

· Have regular dentist checks

· Feed only high quality easily digestible food

Treatment and management will be life-long as there is no cure for the condition. I know from my own experience as I had a old pony called Ringo who suffer with Cushing for many years but still live to the grand old age of 35 that horses can live a comfortable life for many years.The most serious complication is laminitis and this must be manage carefully

Monday, May 26, 2008

Rimadyl the Wonder Drug - Or Is It?

If Your Dog Suffers From Arthritis, Consider The Natural Alternative:

Rimadyl was hailed as a wonder arthritis treatment for pets when it came on the market in 1997. Over the next 3 years, due largely to an aggressive marketing campaign by the manufacturer, Pfizer, Rimadyl was prescribed for 5 million dogs.

But it hadn't been thoroughly tested. According to statistics compiled by the FDA (Food And Drug Administration), in 1997 alone, Rimadyl was implicated in 30 per cent of all veterinary adverse drug reaction reports received! Side effects included gastrointestinal, renal and liver problems, and death. Within those first three years, 10,000 dog owners had reported an adverse reaction to Rimadyl, and there were at least 1,500 deaths or euthanasias attributed to the drug. And it is generally accepted that many adverse reactions are not reported, so the real statistics are likely to be significantly higher.

You may remember the Rimadyl ads depicting older dogs bouncing around like puppies. Those dogs were the lucky ones. And of course, the success stories were many, and they were amazing. But you no longer see those Rimadyl ads, do you?

Is there a realistic alternative to Rimadyl? One that provides such a marked improvement without the possible side effects? Or should you take the risk that your dog won't develop side effects to Rimadyl?

The good news is that Glucosamine, a natural sugar produced by the body and found in some foods, plays an important role in the production, maintenance and repair of cartilage. Supplementation with Glucosamine can therefore provide not only the pain relieving effects of Rimadyl, but also helps maintain existing healthy joint tissue and aid in rebuilding healthy new cartilage.

Should Rimadyl be removed from the market altogether? No - there are certainly some cases where its use may be warranted - severe cases of arthritis which have been left untreated, or which have not responded to Glucosamine or other treatments. The results can be very worthwhile.

But it should never be given to a dog with pre-existing liver or kidney problems. Your dog should be tested for these conditions before being prescribed Rimadyl. Many vets do not do this unless you ask for it specifically. And many vets do not advise that there is a natural arthritis treatment for dogs available. Not because it's ineffective, but just because many vets, like doctors, are trained to treat symptoms with drugs. And the drug companies have huge budgets for pushing the benefits of their medications, both for humans and animals. It doesn't necessarily mean that the drugs are better than the natural alternatives.

So ask for Glucosamine, unless your vet can give you a compelling reason why your dog should use Rimadyl. And you don't even need a prescription!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Can Your Pet Stomach This?

Can Your Dog Stomach This?

There’s an old adage that says “You are what you eat”. While more and more Americans are becoming aware of the need to reduce or altogether eliminate processed foods from their diets, we need to do the same for our pets. The ingredients that make up most commercial, processed pet foods are not fit for even non-human consumption.

To be fair, not all manufacturers use poor or potentially dangerous ingredients. In fact, there are a few that use human grade, healthy ingredients. But most pet food widely available on the shelf of the local discount store should be a source of concern for pet owners.

The sources of protein used vary vastly. Any slaughtered animal, cattle, swine, poultry, lamb – is a source of pet food protein. Well, that doesn’t sound so bad but the question is this: what parts of that slaughtered animal is in my pet’s kibble? Bones, blood, intestines, lungs, ligaments, beaks, feet, undeveloped eggs, and feathers are termed by-products by the industry and are a questionable source of nourishment for our animals.

Fat is added in the form of discarded restaurant grease and “animal fat” that is a by-product of the rendering process. These fats are highly saturated and lack the linoleic acid essential to healthy coat and skin.

Many of the grains used come from wheat rejected for human consumption. Brewer’s rice, a low quality rice product is void of the nutrients found in whole rice. Corn gluten is the dried residue left from the milling process. Glutens are added to slow down the transition of rancid animal fats. This holds waste in which causes kidneys and livers to work overtime and our pets pay the consequences with ill health.

Fillers are often used that consistent of wood pulp, corncobs and peanut hulls.

Our pet’s food is filled with additives and chemical preservatives such as BHA, BHT and ethoxyquin which are potential cancer-causing agents.

According to the Animal Protection Institute, “to make pet food nutritious, manufacturers fortify it with vitamins and minerals. Why? Because the ingredients they are using are not wholesome…and harsh manufacturing processes destroy many of the nutrients the food had to begin with”.

It is not unusual for commercially prepared pet foods to be contaminated with bacteria and endotoxins from using diseased animals rejected by slaughterhouses for human consumption.

The bottom line here is that ingredients in many of the commercially prepared, pre-processed pet foods vary widely in content and quality and are marginally nutritious at best. Pre-processed foods are a major source of allergies and chronic digestive problems in our pets.

What can you do? Consider replacing commercial foods with an all- natural dry food. Supplement with fresh foods. Many people are trying raw diets for their pets and more and more pet owners prepare their pet’s food fresh daily. There are many books on the subject and lots of information via the Internet.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A New Nutritional Approach for Both Pet Allergies and Allergies to Pets

A New Understanding of Allergies

Allergies of all kinds seem to be on the rise--both for people and for their pets. The exciting new science of Glycobiology points strongly to a common basis for many of these allergies; and the revolutionary new nutritional technology of glyconutrition, which has developed from this new science, is proving to be a very effective--and natural--way to help both pets and their owners get marked relief from their allergies.

A recent 12-year longitudinal study with people who began the study as young, healthy adults found that the functional level of their immune systems declined, on average, at the rate of about 3% per year. This rapid decline is correlated with a corresponding increase in the incidence of auto-immune diseases and a proliferation of allergies of all kinds--including allergies to pets.

Ironically, however, pets also are commonly afflicted with stubborn allergies that are a source of much distress--and expense--for their owners. And, very commonly--just as with their owners--medical interventions that mainly focus on treating the symptoms are quite ineffective.

The findings of Glycobiology suggest that this prevailing approach may be barking up the wrong tree, so to speak, and that a nutritional intervention that, instead, supplies the body with crucial micronutrients that are lacking is likely to be far more effective.

Glycobiology has now established that every cell in the mammalian body requires eight necessary sugar molecules in order to function effectively. These sugars combine with protein and fat molecules into glycoforms that attach themselves to the surfaces of every cell in the body. Under an electron microscope, they look like weird trees growing on the cell surface. One of their most important functions there is to allow cells to communicate effectively with each other.

To the degree that these "super sugars" are deficient, cell-to-cell communication tends to break down and some form of illness starts to develop.

An insufficiency of these sugar molecules is particularly disastrous for the immune system, because it causes the cells of the immune system to become, in effect, partially blind. These cells can then become over-reactive in attacking allergens of all kinds and even in attacking the tissues of the body; on the other hand, ironically, they may become under-reactive in attacking true pathogens that are serious threats to the body.

Unfortunately, six of these crucially-important sugar molecules are seriously lacking in the modern diet. They are commonly found, however, in vine-ripened fruits and vegetables and also in many of the wild foods that our stone-age ancestors consumed in abundance.

When these glyconutrients, as they are called technically (glyco from the Greek word for "sweet"), are provided in adequate quantity to the body through supplementation, all of the cells in the body start functioning much more effectively. This is especially true for cells in the immune system. As cell-to-cell communication improves in this system, it tends to become better modulated--that is, less likely either to over- or under-react. Correspondingly, allergies and auto-immune conditions tend to diminish or disappear.

Just as these crucial glyconutrients are lacking in the modern diet for humans, they are similarly deficient in nearly all commercial pet food, which is also loaded with artificial dyes, perservatives and additives. The ancestors of our canine and feline pets--just like our human ancestors--have spent eons eating wild, natural foods, and this is what their systems are designed for. It is only in the last several decades that they--along with their owners--have been exposed to commercially prepared foods, as well as the chemicals these foods contain - chemicals that their bodies (as well as ours) cannot tolerate. In addition, artificial ingredients in these foods can trigger an immune response that, quite literally, can make pets sick.

An Example of Applying this New Approach

The following true story illustrates just how effective glyconutrition can be in helping to restore balance to a pet's over-reactive immune system.

Ted, a Golden Retriever, is the pride and joy of his owner, Mary. His chronic, severe ear infections and skin rash, therefore, distressed her very much. She consulted with various Veterinarians and tried every kind of treatment she heard of to get them under control. But nothing worked.

When a friend recommended glyconutritional supplements as a possible remedy, she was very skeptical. After giving Ted a teaspoon of glyconutritional powder, mixed with ice cream, once a day for about two weeks, however, his ear infections and his skin rashwa went away. Her skepticism continued, however, so she stopped giving it to him when her supply of these natural sugars ran out. Almost immediately, his ear infections and skin rash came back.

Still skeptical, Mary got some more of this product and resumed the previous regimen; and again, after just a few days, all of his symptoms went away. Around this time, a close friend and dog lover who knew Ted very well and who didn't know that he was receiving this daily supplement, commented to Mary that she had never before seen his coat looking so healthy and shiny. And then, as they both observed Ted more closely, they noticed to their surprise, that he had grown eyelashes that he didn’t have previously!

Ted then continued to be symptom-free for a period of several months. But then, once again, when the supplement supply ran out, Mary thought that he might not need it anymore. But, again, all of his symptoms quickly returned when she stopped giving it to him. She then quickly started him on this nutritional regimen once again, and this has continued to be a part of his daily diet to the present time—about two years since he first started. He remains completely free of his original symptoms and both he and his owner are delighted. After examining him, a Veterinarian who had treated him unsuccessfully for many years, was very impressed and decided to try this new nutritional approach with some of her other pet clients.

Impressive though they are, very similar results have been reported for animals subject to a wide array of health challenges that have also received glyconutrients. Some of these results have been presented on an audiotape by Arthur Young, DVM, a homeopathic Veterinarian with over 50 years experience. (Information about how to obtain a copy of this tape is available from the author.)

Anyone interested in learning more about glyconutrition--for their pets and/or for themselves--can do so by clicking on the URL below.

George Shears is a retired psychologist and wellness consultant living in northern Minnesota. He is deeply committed to promoting health and wellness. His main mission is to help people discover important alternatives to mainstream medicine in preventing and reversing chronic degenerative diseases.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Flea Control for Pets

Flea control can be a very hard thing to do especially if you live in areas where fleas are largely populated. Weather has a lot to do with fleas and trying to keep them outdoors and off of your pets can be very challenging.

You can try many of the products available to rid your pets of fleas and then find that you still have the problem. Fleas will lay their eggs in your carpet and on furniture and bedding that your pet happens to lie on.

The first step in flea control is to rid your pet of these blood sucking pests. Talk with your veterinarian to find out the best products available. You can have your pet dipped; buy flea collars, and other products that will eliminate the fleas from your pet.

Now, that your pet is flea free, how do you get rid of the fleas inside your home? You should now vacuum your entire home including any furniture that your pet has laid on. Once you vacuumed, be sure to throw the vacuum cleaner bag out immediately. The bag is probably full of fleas and you do not want to take the chance of them somehow finding their way out of the vacuum. If your pet has a pet bed, wash it completely or discard it and buy a new one. Any other bedding, towels, and rugs that your pet has been on also need to be cleaned.

Sometimes, the above steps may not be enough to rid your home of fleas. You may need to invest in an insecticide that can be used on carpets, baseboards, and cracks. Fleas can hide in very small places and if you have one flea, soon you will have many. Before using any type of insecticide, talk with your veterinarian to be sure that it is safe to use around your pet. You do not want your pet to ingest any type of toxic chemicals that could make them sick.

Pet Medication Supplies can help you get the best possible protection for your pet. Advantix, Arthramine, Cosequin, Frontline, Heartgard - find the best deals in pet medication for flea and tick control, arthritis and lyme disease. Upto 50% discount everyday on brand names. Dog News Center publishes news and articles about dogs and puppies.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

But My Pet Will Never Run Away (or Why We Need Licenses)

The city I live in just increased its fees for dog and cat licenses. It's now $30 a year for unneutered/unsprayed pets and $20 a year for sprayed/neutered pets.

Even though these are not major dollars, there wereplenty of complaints. Some people consider theincrease (we were at $5) just a way to raise moremoney during budget cuts. Some people who keeptheir pet - especially their cat - inside all the time think it is unfair to make them pay at all.

Please remember that licensing your pet has several benefits for all of us:

1. It ensures that dogs have had theirrabies vaccinations. Rabies is 99.9%fatal for dogs and humans and requiringproof of vaccination for a license protects the entire community. Thereare irresponsible owners who might notdo this if it wasn't required.

2. Licenses help cities keep track of how many pets a person owns and howmany dogs are in the city.

Many cities limit the number of dogs or petsany one household can have. Again, given thenumber of irresponsible or deranged peopleout there, this is a necessary limitation for community health.

3. Licenses tell the animal control officers that a dog has an owner and isn'tan abandoned or stray dog. In some cities,unclaimed dogs without licenses are euthanized in fewer days than dogs with collars.

4. Licenses may have contact information about the owner, thus helping reunitedogs with their owners. If you thinkFido would never bolt out your doorto chase a bike runner or butterfly, you don't know dogs.

5. Licenses requires collars which enableowners to include more tags. For example, you can note any serious illnessesyour dog has (e.g., diabetes) or note onthe tag that you guarantee payment of emergency medical bills for your dog.

6. License fees help pay for localanimal shelters and animal control officers.Yes, my city's increase is driven bybudget cuts and thank goodness, my cityis progressive enough to find the money to maintain our animal control department.

7. License fees help motivate owners tohave sprayed/neutered dogs through thecost reduction. If owners aren't planningto show or breed dogs, having the dogssprayed or neutered is a health benefitfor the animals.

No one likes taxes or fees, but sometimesthey do have good reasons to exist.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

5 Common Grooming Mistakes Made by Professionals

1. Using tranquilizers.

This is illegal in many states but other groomers still use them. It may be that the groomer is afraid of aggressive dogs but it's more likely to be that the groomer is running a production line and has no time to calm nervous dogs.

I never recommend tranquilizers – no matter how mild – for small dogs. Ask your groomer if she or he does this.

2. Leaving dogs unattended.

You might be surprised at how many dogs are harmed and even killed at salons. The problem is many groomers use a grooming noose (not as bad as it sounds!) or collar to attach the dog to the grooming table.

If the groomer leaves the dog alone, it’s easy for a dog to try to free himself and wind up choking or damaging his neck.

3. Taking shortcuts that violate breed standards.

It’s more time consuming and requires more skill to scissor rather than clip dogs. However, if your breed standard or style requires a scissor cut, you should tell the groomer you want this.

If you don’t speak up, they’ll most likely use a clipper. And if you expect hand stripping, you better call ahead to make certain there’s a groomer in the shop that even knows how to do that.

4. Not having facilities for dogs left all day.

This is only partly the groomers fault as many shops are not set up to provide day care for dogs, but owners use them that way. Some shops do not have sufficient cages, fresh water supplies, or staff to walk dogs.

If you want to drop your dog off on the way to work, visit the salon in advance and ask to be shown where the dog will be housed while he’s waiting for you and what care he will given.

5. Using dog dryers improperly.

Many dogs every year are injured or killed by groomers not watching closely enough while the pet is in an enclosed dryer.

As a result of poor airflow and high temperatures, pets get overheated in enclosed cages. The heat simply builds up and the dog is overcome or in extreme cases the dog may be burned by the pans and the cages themselves as they get hotter and hotter.

I think enclosed dryers should be illegal but if your groomer is going to use one, ensure s/he watches the dog, uses a timer, avoids high heat and has another fan at the front of the cage to encourage proper airflow.

Also a groomer should not use a hand-held hot dryer on a dog drying in a stainless steel cage. There is not enough ventilation for the air to flow properly and the bottom of the stainless cages get hot quickly.

These dryers are best used with wire cages that have plastic bottoms or grates to keep the pet off the hot floor of the cage. The grooming room should be open and airy when using heated dryers to prevent the room from overheating.

All the fans in the U.S., however, are no substitute for watching the dog while he is being dried and the mechanical devices are in use!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

5 Things to Know about Animal Rescue Groups

Over the past decade, breed rescue groups have become a major force in dog adoptions. These rescue groups limit their effort to a particular breed of dog including purebreds. This is a help to people who want a certain breed of dog but can’t or won’t use breeders.

To make the best use of a rescue group, however, there are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Watch out for scams.

Some wholesale breeders and brokers who can’t meet federal and state laws advertise themselves as “rescue” organizations. Crooks have even collected money for non-existent rescue groups.

Unlike animal shelters and local humane societies, rescue groups usually do not have storefronts. They are a collection of breeders and breed fanciers who perform their services from their homes.

Ask any rescue group if they are incorporated or registered as a nonprofit group in your state.

The best way to find a rescue group is to go to the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) website at and search under the breed you’re interested in getting. If no rescue group is listed, contact the national breed club and ask for references.

2. Don’t trust everything a shelter tells you.

In some areas, the county or charitable animal shelter feels they’re in competition with rescue groups and take pains to color these groups as irresponsible.

Some people who volunteer at shelters are animal rights extremists who despise anyone who breeds dogs to serve as pets. This is a source of tension as many rescue group members are hobby or professional breeders.

Some rescue groups have made this worse by advertising how they “rescue” dogs from the shelter implying they are the guys in the white hats.

A further issue of contention between the groups is the fee charged to obtain a dog. Some rescue groups deliberately undercut the fees the shelter’s charge.

Shelters may be limited by law or organization rules to charging a certain amount and can’t compete on price with rescue groups.

3. Ask about foster care for the dog you’re considering.

Responsible rescue groups place dogs in foster homes to assess the dogs and determine what behavior problems, if any, exist with the dog.

This information is crucial to determining what type of permanent home would be best for the dog. For instance, one without children or one without other pets.

Be leery of a rescue group that is trying to place a dog that it has just obtained without having an interim placement.

4. Expect to be interviewed.

Responsible rescue groups do attempt to match a dog and his personality with an appropriate owner. They can only do this by asking questions including what your experience is with dogs, what you know about the breed and what type of lifestyle you have.

Please do not be offended. I would never accept a dog from a rescue society that did nothing more than ascertain if I could pay the fee they want.

5. Be prepared for anything.

There are no overarching laws, regulations or oversight of rescue groups. Some are run very professionally and some are basket cases. Unlike shelters, they are rarely subject to any state or local inspections.

You may call a rescue group and never get a response. Part of the problem is the rapid turnover of volunteers involved in rescue groups. Realize that you may need to be very, very patient when dealing with a rescue group.

Always ask how the dog came into rescue. Some well-meaning group members “rescue” any dog, especially a neglected looking dog, they find outside without an owner.

The dog may or may not be abandoned but few rescue groups, in my experience, make much of an effort to try to find owners especially if in their opinion the dog does not appear to be well treated.

Find out if they check for microchips or tattoos and if you do get a rescue dog, have your vet check them right away for this as well as diseases.

You may expose yourself to emotional trauma and even liability issues if you wind up with a lost dog whose owner tracks him back to you.

As a final caution, it pays to make two or three visits with the dog you’re considering adopting before making the final decision.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Easy Tips for Healthy Pets

Do you want a long and healthy life for your pets?

There are things in our pets' environments that can rob them of precious health and long life. I'm not talking about cars accidents and mean kids in the neighborhood. I'm talking about things inside the home. Things like:

1) Food Food is meant to be good tasting and good for you. The same applies to our pets. Unfortunately, both people food and pet food are full of stuff. And most of this stuff isn't found growing naturally.

Manufacturers have taken the place of growers and cooks. To make foods taste better things are added.

To make foods last forever on the store shelf, things are added. For example, tomatoes are now designed to look good after a long trip to the store. They are not grown to be nutritious and safe.

On TV we see reports about how additives, preservatives and stuff are making our children unhealthy. The same thing applies to our pets' food.

Preservatives keep food fresh by altering the DNA of the creatures living on the food. What do these preservatives do to the DNA of the child or pet eating them?

See where I'm going?

Altered hormones, cell mutations (cancer), sickness !!!

The only way to minimize this stuff in our pet's food is to make the food ourselves. There are recipes all over the web for the kitchen literate.

Most people don't have the time to make their pet's food and treats. There are places where good wholesome pet foods can be purchased.

2) Chemicals in the home

What do you use to clean your counter tops? Where do you store it? Can your pet get to it? Can your kids get to it?

A large number of children and pets are poisoned each year because household products are very attractive to inquisitive minds. There are a lot of products on the market that won't harm anyone if swallowed.

We had one 6 month old child find and swallow a cleanser. The parents didn't think he was old enough to get to the open bottle.

3) Mold in the home Most people consider mold in the home an unattractive nuisance. But it can cause allergic reactions in children AND pets.

One house we investigated had two sick, allergic, asthmatic kids. But they called us in when the dog started sneezing.

Does your pet sleep in the laundry room? Lots of mold there too.

Mold can cause:

* Allergies,
* sinus problems,
* itching,
* stomach problems,
* hyperactivity,
* skin and hair problems.

This list applies both to kids and pets.

But be careful about what you use to clean away the mold. Bleach doesn't kill mold but does burn sensitive lungs.

Don't use any product that your store owner or pest control person won't drink in front of you.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Grave of Gelert

Just south of Snowdon, in the grey-stoned village of Beddgelert set among the wild mountains of Wales, is the Grave of Gelert. Here, in a beautiful meadow below Cerrig Llan, is a large stone slab lying on its side with two upright slabs which owes its fame to the legend of Prince Llewelyn ap Iorwerth and his faithful hound.

Llewelyn (1173-1240 CE) was very fond of hunting and in the summer he lived in a hunting lodge at the foot of Mt.Snowdon. Although he had many dogs, his favourite was the brave Gelert, his great Irish Wolfhound, not only a dog fearless in the hunt, but a loyal friend and companion at the fireside.

One fateful day on the hunt, Gelert refused to accompany his master further, but instead he ran howling back to the Lodge. When Llewellyn returned he was met by his dog, bounding to meet him, but splashed with blood around his muzzle. On entering his living quarters, Llewellyn found a scene of confusion with rooms disordered and articles scattered in heaps. Now Llewelyn had a son, barely a year old, and as the prince recalled how Gelert and his little boy used to play together, a terrible thought came to his mind !

He rushed to the nursery only to find the the cradle was overturned, the bed clothes bloody and though he looked frantically for his son, the child could not be found.

Turning to Gelert, whose muzzle was still wet with blood, Llewelyn came into a great rage and cried, "Thou hast killed my only son!", and drew his sword and drove it into the heart of the hound.

Then - as all was silent but for the steady drip of blood onto the stone flag floor, the wail of a baby could be heard. On searching further Llewellen found his son safe and well, lying next to the body of a large grey wolf.

It was plain to see what had happened !

Gelert had killed the wolf whilst defending the baby from attack. Overcome with grief at his hasty action, Llewellyn buried Gelert with all honour and raised a memorial over his grave.

From then on the settlement was known as Beddgelert, meaning "Gelert's Grave" and this is the traditional tale still told today.

Where do these tales come from ? It's possible that the village of Beddgelert received its name from an Irish Wolf Hound given to Llewellyn as a gift by his father-in-law, King John of England.

Irish Wolfhounds were known and admired in Rome as early as 391 C.E. when the first mention of the breed was written by the Roman Consul Quintus Aurelius, who had received seven of them as a gift which "all Rome viewed with wonder."

The story of a dog slain in error after killing a wolf seems to have been attached to Llewellyn about 1793-4 by a local inn-keeper. A common enough occurrence along the same lines of hotels and taverns placing signs like "Ye Olde Inne" to attract more custom. William Spencer visited Beddgelert and, on hearing the tale, wrote his popular ballad about the faithful Gelert and so the story grew into the speech and hearsay of Wales

However, the legend behind all this folklore is extremely old, though the animals involved originally were neither wolves nor dogs.

A mongoose who saved a Brahmin's son from a snake is found in the Indian Panchatantra. It was written in Sanskrit sometime in the third century C.E and later translated into Persian and Arabic. We find it in the Book of Sindibad and thence our own Arabian Nights

The mongoose wasn't known in the Arab world, so it became a weasel, and then a dog. The snake remained. A version of this story reached Wales and was recorded in the 14th century in the Red Book of Hergest.

In Welsh folktales the snake is replaced by a wolf probably because it was a more likely attacker and already had a fearsome reputation

So in this tale we see how time, folklore and story-telling around the fire has fused together traditions from many sources and created them into a legend still honoured at Gelert's Grave.