15 Facts about Birds on Born Free USA’s 15th Annual National Bird Day

Today is Born Free USA’s 15th annual National Bird Day: a day to raise awareness for wild and captive birds everywhere.

National Bird Day

According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation: “We want to use this day to remind the public that birds belong in the wild. They do not deserve to be bred in captivity in unregulated, often miserable conditions. They deserve to fly and not be traded and sold as pets where they spend their lives in cages, and where people cannot possibly meet the complicated needs of a bird.”

“National Bird Day is a time to celebrate birds for the true wild animals they are,” Roberts adds.

Born Free USA’s facts about birds:

  1. How many species of birds are there? There’s no single correct or universally agreed-upon number, and that’s because there is more than one definition of “species.” By one definition, there are 18,000-20,000 bird species; by another definition, there are only half that.
  2. Blackbird singing in the dead of night. “Blackbird,” a song on the Beatles’ White Album, is said to have been inspired by the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.
  3. The Birds. Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 film The Birds employed live birds in many scenes. To attract the birds, actors often had ground meat or fish smeared on their hands.
  4. Indeed, a very Big Bird. Big Bird, a beloved character on the children’s program Sesame Street, debuted in 1969. He is 8 feet 2 inches (249 cm) tall.
  5. Keep on Rockin’! The common pigeon we see in cities around the world (and sometimes in rural or wilderness areas) used to be called the Rock Dove, but it’s now called the Rock Pigeon. It’s a feral, domesticated variation of the wild type found in Europe, Africa, and Asia.
  6. Edgar Allen Poe’s famous narrative poem, “The Raven,” was first published in The Evening Mirror on January 29, 1845.
  7. Now, that’s old! Parrot fossils have been found that date back as far as 60 million years.
  8. The bald eagle. The bald eagle is the national bird of the United States, but Benjamin Franklin had originally argued that the turkey would have been a more appropriate symbol.
  9. This is what it sounds like. Prince’s 1984 song “When Doves Cry” stayed at number one on the Billboard Music Chart for five weeks, keeping Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark” from reaching the top spot.
  10. Kept captive around the world… Turacos and louries—long-tailed, medium-sized birds—are only found in the wild in Africa, but we commonly see them in zoos.
  11. Beep, beep! Looney Tunes characters The Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote debuted in 1949. Their adversarial relationship was inspired in part by Tom and Jerry.
  12. The bird is the word. “Surfin’ Bird” by The Trashmen was released in 1964. The song regained fame and notoriety after it was featured in a television episode of Family Guy.
  13. I smell an advantage for this owl. Great Horned Owls are found in every mainland state and Canadian province—and they have a really bad sense of smell! But, that’s good for them, because a major prey species for this owl is the skunk. The skunk’s best defense, a foul-smelling spray from their anal scent glands, does not deter the Great Horned Owl. Museum specimens of the owls, decades old, often retain traces of the skunk odor!
  14. The Last Suppers. In his two frescos of “The Last Supper,” painted in Florence in 1480 and 1482, Renaissance artist Domenico Ghirlandaio prominently featured flying peacocks. Art historians believe the peacocks are meant to emphasize the “Oriental” setting of the Last Supper scene.
  15. And, a partridge in a pear tree. In the song “The 12 Days of Christmas,” a holiday season standard, the singer’s true love gives her 364 gifts—184 of which are birds.

For more information on how to celebrate the wildness of all birds and help birds in captivity, please visit www.nationalbirdday.org. For bird owners looking for support, visit www.nationalbirdday.org/a_happy_bird.php.

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Surfing dog raises ½ MILLION dollars for charity on New Year’s Eve

More than 250 human/animal causes benefit as Surf Dog Ricochet achieves this major fundraising milestone on New Year’s Eve!

Surf Dog Ricochet celebrated New Year’s Eve by reaching a new milestone… raising ½ million dollars! These funds have helped more than 250 different causes, as well as Ricochet’s programs and initiatives.

Reaching this major milestone demonstrates how much Ricochet’s worldwide community supports her efforts. She sincerely thanks her individual donors, social media followers, corporate sponsors and members of the media for their continued support.

Most of Ricochet’s fundraising has been done through social media, such as her popular Facebook Page with more than 259K supportive fans, Instagram with more than 104K followers and her inspirational video “From Service dog to SURFice dog” with more than 6.4 million views.

Ricochet has been raising awareness and funds for human/animal causes since 2009 when she made an independent decision to jump on a surfboard with Patrick Ivison, a quadriplegic surfer. As a result, she became the only SURFice dog® on the planet who creates unique programs, initiatives and surf therapy experiences that empower kids with special needs, people with disabilities, wounded warriors & veterans with PTSD.

Prior to Ricochet, there were no dogs committed to adaptive surfing. As such, she became the Canine Ambassador for Surfers with Disabilities, and revolutionized the healing power of the ocean, and the healing power of dogs. As the years passed, there have been a number of surfing dogs inspired by Ricochet’s work who are now sharing the stoke of surf therapy, such as Leia from Walking on Waves in South Africa. Ricochet acted as a mentor to their program, and made a $500 donation to one of their surf sessions this past summer.

Having more dogs in the line-up comes at a time when Ricochet’s grassroots initiatives have organically evolved to the next level. One of those initiatives is her Waves of Empowerment program that empowers individuals to help themselves by helping others, while maximizing their well-being. These are folks that Ricochet has previously surfed, or worked with, who are now volunteering to help the next wave of disabled surfers get on board with her.

A look at Ricochet’s achievements, aside from fundraising, includes a wide variety of projects that focus on community outreach including her PTSD Battle Buddy Initiative, Operation Socialization, Friends of Bethany Hamilton Beautifully Flawed Retreat, ISA Adaptive Surfing Championship, Surf Away SMA, Life Rolls On, The Best Day Foundation, Veteran’s Adaptive Sports Camp, The Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation Ocean Therapy program and many more that can be found on her website at http://www.surfdogricochet.com.

A key to Ricochet’s success was retiring from surf dog contests. Although she typically placed in the top three winning positions, she found adaptive surfing to be the ultimate prize. She has a powerful ability to make immediate, deep, heart-to-heart connections with the individuals she interacts with. She intuitively and empathically alerts to their emotional and physical changes which allows for profound paws-on healing interventions. She balances boards… and lives!

Next up for Ricochet is her 9th birthday on January 25. She has also been cast as one of the dogs in the upcoming IMAX film, Superpower Dogs. In addition, Ricochet is currently training her new puppy, a golden/lab mix named Encore (Cori). Although it’s not known if Cori will follow in Ricochet’s pawsteps as a surFUR, it’s a given that whatever she does will be in the spirit of pawing it forward!

Ricochet graciously thanks her generous supporters for these crucial donations that make it possible for her to carry out her work, proving what dogs are capable of.

Note: For more information visit http://www.surfdogricochet.com. On Facebook & Twitter: “Surf Dog Ricochet” https://www.facebook.com/SurfDogRicochet

ABOUT SURF DOG RICOCHET
Ricochet is a world famous, award-winning surfing dog who surfs for fun, wins surf dog contests & most importantly… SURFS WITH PURPOSE! She surfs solo, with children, adults, pros, celebrities, other dogs, a goat & even Rob Machado!

She is a certified and registered therapy dog who lives a lifestyle of helping others by pawing it forward while raising funds and awareness for human/animal causes. Her life story is penned in a book called Ricochet: Riding a Wave of Hope with the Dog Who Inspires Millions (available on Amazon).

She has gone from service dog to SURFice dog and back again! She holds the titles of AKC Therapy Dog Distinguished (THDD), American Humane Association Hero Dog, ASPCA Dog of the Year, AKC Award for Canine Excellence, Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Surf Dog Hall of Fame, International Surfing Museums Surf Dog Walk of Fame, San Diego Humane Society Animal Compassion Award, and many more that can be found on her website.

Posted in dogs, people helping animals | 2 Comments

Fancy Feast Feastivities (giveaway and a gift guide)

This post is sponsored by Purina. As always we only share things we think our readers will love. All opinions are our own.

The holiday season is here, and with it comes gift giving, getting together, and celebrating! And of course, our pets are always a big part of the fun. We are happy to help add to the spirit of the season with a special giveaway, so be sure to enter below.

Fancy Feast believes that with intention and love, unique details can come together to create extraordinary experiences. That’s the thought behind the Fancy Feast Medleys line, and the inspiration for this year’s Fancy Feast 2016 ornament. Feastivities is a celebration of ways to delight cats and cat lovers during the holiday season, and for years to come!

Fancy Feast Medleys feature combinations of ingredients in delicious recipes your cat will enjoy discovering. They make the perfect gift for any kitty in your life, any time of the year. With so many combinations to choose from, you can really give your cat a treat when it’s time to eat. They are truly made with the enjoyment of your cat in mind.

The Fancy Feast ornament, a yearly tradition, sold out online already, but we have 5 to giveaway to you dear readers! All proceeds from the ornament sales went to AdoptAPet.com to help homeless pets find forever homes. It’s really beautiful this year too!

feastivities-gift-guide

That’s not all though, this year Fancy Feast partnered with Brit+Co and blogger Jojotastic to create a gift guide full of unique gifts for the cat-lover in your life. The gifts are handmade, making them even more special and unique. Pair your favorite pick with a few Fancy Feast Medleys and you have a gift that any cat lover will adore!

Are you ready for your chance to win this year’s ornament? Enter via the form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Open to those in the USA. Winners will be chosen at random. For more ideas on how to create Fancy Festivities with your cats, be sure to check out Fancy Feast on Facebook, and on Instagram!

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The Holiday Gifts You Hate Getting Can Also Sicken Your Pet

Bella, an eight-year-old cat from Conshohocken, PA, racked up a $2,004.70 vet bill for a linear foreign body on December 27, 2015. The culprit: holiday gift ribbon. Petplan reimbursed $1,804.70 of the cost. Photo courtesy of Amanda Tollen.
Bella, an eight-year-old cat from Conshohocken, PA, racked up a $2,004.70 vet bill for a linear foreign body on December 27, 2015. The culprit: holiday gift ribbon. Petplan reimbursed $1,804.70 of the cost. Photo courtesy of Amanda Tollen.

Petplan lists 10 terrible gifts that can cause a costly trip to the vet

They say you should never look a gift horse in the mouth, but finding flaws in holiday presents could save pet parents an unexpected trip to the vet—and a blow to their budgets.

Petplan claims data shows that treatments during a holiday week can cost twice as much (or more!) than at other times of the year, mainly because pets end up at emergency vets when their regular docs close for holiday hours.

“Never has the phrase ‘the gift that keeps on giving’ been more ominous for pets,” jokes Petplan Veterinary Manager Elyse Donnarumma. “When you consider that the average claim paid for food poisoning is $585, or that foreign body removal surgery costs an average of $1,327, it is sobering to realize that those costs can easily double during the holidays.”

Which gifts top the naughty list? Many of the same ones you dread getting yourself! According to Petplan, these are the top 10 gifts that can unwrap disaster:

10. Bows & Ribbons
Most presents do come wrapped, but the danger of gift ribbon adds insult to injury with less-than-stellar gifts. Ribbons can easily become linear foreign bodies. Avoid an expensive surgery by tossing wrappings in the trash (whether you pitch the gift, too, is completely up to you).

Just ask Petplan policy holder Amanda Tollen of Conshohocken, PA, about holiday ribbon. Her eight-year-old cat, Bella, racked up a $2,004.70 vet bill for a linear foreign body on December 27, 2015, when she got into the gift ribbon. (photo below)

“I am so happy we got pet insurance for Bella,” said Tollen, who was reimbursed over $1,800 thanks to her policy option. “It really saved us a ton of money during one of the most stressful times of the year for our budget. You never know what your pet is going to get into or what illness they will come down with. Having Bella Petplan protected was one of the best decisions we ever made.”

9. Fruitcake (and its modern-day equivalent, Panettone)
If it wasn’t bad enough that someone spoiled good cake by adding fruit, fruitcake contains a trio of ingredients that can make furry friends sick. Currants, raisins and nuts are toxic to pets, and the spirits the cake is soaked in can be deadly to dogs and cats.

8. Holiday Plants
The fact that this gift will die in a few days isn’t even the worst thing about it. A snack on Christmas cactus can upset tummies. Christmas lilies can cause kidney failure in kitties. And while poinsettias aren’t as toxic as previously thought, its sap can cause an unpleasant rash.

7. Scarf/Mittens Set
You probably have half a dozen sets of scarves and mittens, but you’re bound to get another one during the holiday season. Donate the duds before your pet gets his paws on them; yarn can become a linear foreign body if swallowed.

6. Lottery Tickets
You may have a 1 in 14 million chance of winning your gift, but your pet is much more likely to suffer a foreign body ingestion if he eats the envelope and paper.

5. Houseguests
There are inevitably some relatives who believe their presence is your present, but they’re not always welcome in the eyes of furry family. Extra people in the house can trigger stomach upset due to stress, and all that coming and going can make it easier for pets to dart out the door and get hit by a car.

4. Coffee/Hot Chocolate
Coffee mug gift sets are a staple of office holiday giving, but whether there’s beans or cocoa inside, be sure to keep them away from your pet’s paws. The caffeine in coffee and chocolate can trigger hyperactivity, elevated heart rate, seizures and even death.

3. Bath Products
Nothing says, “I bought this present on the way here,” like a basket of bath products like lotions and salts. It also poses the very serious threat of salt poisoning to your pets. Bath salts often contain magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts) and sodium chloride (table salt), both of which can kill or permanently injure furry friends.

2. Boxed Chocolates
While it can be argued that chocolate is always a good gift, even a diehard sweet tooth is on overload during the holidays. Extra confections lying around the house can be a recipe for disaster. Chocolate contains theobromine, which can cause illness or even death in dogs and cats.

1. Socks
You don’t want them, you hate getting them, and you’ll loathe them even more when you’re forking over upwards of $1,000 to have them removed from your pet’s intestine. Socks take Petplan’s top spot for the worst holiday gift, whether you’re on two legs or four.

Donnarumma concludes, “For the safety of all involved—including your wallet—we suggest sticking to electronic gift cards for holiday giving.”

For info about Petplan and more pet safety tips, point your paws to www.gopetplan.com.

Posted in holidays, pet care | 3 Comments