Thursday, January 31, 2008

Have Pet, Will Travel

Hoping to travel soon with your pet? Don't do so without checking out, which lists over 30,000 hotels and other accommodations that allow pets.

"When we first started 10 years ago, it was nearly impossible to find a place that allowed pets," said Jerry Hatfield, who runs the site for the Pet Travel Store of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. "Then, as major hotel chains realized they were missing a huge part of the market, it exploded."

Now, you'd have a difficult time finding a hotel that doesn't accept the family dog or cat. In fact, the competition to lure guests and their pets has almost become a dogfight as hotels try to one-up each other:

Loews Hotels offers a learning program at several properties, where dogs can take singing lessons and cut a CD in Nashville, take a surfing lesson in Coronado Calif., or — for city dogs — go on an off-leash guided hike in Denver.

The Benjamin Hotel in New York provides dog bathrobes, a choice of orthopedic beds and a consultation with a pet psychic.

• At the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota, dogs can submit to massage therapy — from therapeutic Swedish to full-body relaxation — in the hotel's "Privileged Pup" program.

"I've had a couple of people snicker," said Liza Kubik, a spokeswoman for the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota, Fla., "but we have so many more people who appreciate the fact we're offering a treatment like this to enhance the well-being of not only their pet but their overall experience at our resort."

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Another Reason to Kick the Habit!

If you really love your pet, stop smoking.

We all know that secondhand tobacco smoke is bad for people, but ongoing research indicates that it poses health risks to pets as well. Secondhand smoke has been linked to lymphoma in cats, as well as lung and nasal cancer in dogs.

Arden Moore, a nationally recognized pet expert, says that many pets — especially cats — spend most of their lives indoors, subjected to air pollution left by tobacco smoke. And because their body mass is so much smaller than humans, they are at increased risk of being adversely affected by that smoke. Smoke particles can also be ingested by cats, dogs and other pets when they groom themselves and lick their fur.

(From the Washington Post, Jan. 14, 2008).

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Five-legged cat!

EIGHTY-FOUR, Pa. - Cats may have nine lives, but one unique feline has five legs , for now.

The cat, named Babygirl, will undergo surgery to remove the extra leg and another crippled leg.

The operation is expected to improve Babygirl's quality of life, according to the Washington Area Humane Society, where the cat will live until a home can be found for her.

Chrystin Rice, a kennel associate, said a woman brought Babygirl to the shelter on Jan. 19. The woman had first seen the stray animal as a kitten about a year ago in Canonsburg.

Aside from the extra leg, Babygirl appears to be in good health, Rice said Saturday.

"It's actually a really, really nice cat," she said.

A doctor at Metropolitan Veterinary Center in Robinson Township has agreed to perform the operation, though the surgery has not yet been scheduled.

Some people have expressed an interest in Babygirl, but no one has applied to adopt her, Rice said.

"We've had a few calls come in, but everyone's just kind of asking how's she doing, when's the surgery," Rice said.

Associated Press

Friday, January 25, 2008

Sugar & Champagne

Last night, GreenPets attended the Sugar & Champagne gala, a fundraising event for the Washington Humane Society.

The event was hosted by Ellen and Todd Gray of the DC restaurant Equinox. Miss District of Columbia, Chelsey Rodgers (see photo), coordinated a gold sparkling dress with her little pup’s attire, which proclaimed him a “gold digger,” while Apple, a four-month-old American foxhound up for adoption, was easy to spot in his orange vest. Traer Scott, author of the photo books Shelter Dogs and Street Dogs, signed copies.

David Guas, 2005 Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington Pastry Chef of The Year, kicked off the night by demonstrating his butterscotch pudding and shortbread biscuits. Heather Chittum of Hook offered “whoopie pies”; Butterfield 9’s Manubu Inoue, formerly of Morimoto, created a trio of pink Champagne; and Robb Duncan’s Dolcezza, a Georgetown gelato shop, dished out tiramisu and dulce de leche gelato. Hand-painted chocolates graced Artisan Confections chef Jason Andelman’s table, while Jenny Webb of Sticky Fingers Bakery created fudgy vegan brownies and “pup-tarts” for the dogs. Doug Hernandez of Central Michel Richard presented an opera cake, and Cheesetique handed out four cheeses as a savory alternative to sweets. Tori Tyree of GreenPets offered visitors all-natural beef and liver treats (that is, the dog visitors!)

About 400 people and 200 dogs wore only the finest outfits for this event. A black pug, Molly, donned a pink frilly dress that she last wore to her owners’ wedding. Another dog was wrapped in a zebra-striped vest, and a few others sparkled in rhinestone collars. Pink bows graced the heads of many female pooches, and a shaggy golden retriever wore a festive red bandana. The Galleria made for a dramatic setting with a split staircase and balcony; high ceilings and marble floors created acoustics that amplified barking and yapping—but luckily no growling. Most of the dogs, in fact, were playful and excited for the extra pampering. A silent auction included a number of dog-related baskets with toys, leashes, and dog bowls as well as artwork and gift certificates for cooking classes. Other items included rhinestone collars, politically inspired Bush Biskits, a T-shirt (for humans) that claimed “I sleep with dogs,” and heart-shaped dog treats. Halfway through the event, Lisa LaFontaine, president and CEO of WHS, lined up animal-control officers on the two staircases and honored each with a plaque. “Where else can you leave your diet behind and bring your dog along?” she asked.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Cat in the Bag

A kitten went on an adventure thousands of miles across America after being carried away in its owner's suitcase.

The pet, named Gracie Mae, belonged to Kelly and Seth Levy from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Gracie Mae got a little more than she bargained for after the suitcase she was sleeping in was zipped up and carried off by Mr Levy, who then embarked on a trip to Dallas, Texas.

The kitten was trapped in the bag as it went through the Fort Lauderdale baggage process, was scanned by X-ray machines, loaded onto the plane, flown four hours to Texas and unpacked.

To further complicate the situation, Mr Levy's bag was accidentally picked up by another man at the airport, giving the feline inside something of a shock when the suitcase was opened.

Rob Carter, the traveller who picked up the bag, said: "I went to unpack and saw some of the clothes and saw it wasn't my suitcase. I was going to close it and a kitten jumped out and ran under the bed. I screamed like a little girl."

Mr. Carter called the number on Gracie Mae's collar and was able to meet Mr Levy at Dallas Fort Worth airport so the stowaway could be sent home.

Tim Wagner, an American Airlines spokesman, said it was difficult to understand how airport workers failed to notice the presence of a cat in a bag.