The Adventures of the Sometimes-Not-So-Great Gatsby – Part 2 – The Trainer

Hole in the wall, courtesy of GatsbyLast time I introduced you to my “problem child”, Gatsby. When I first noticed his destructive behaviors I chalked it up to puppyhood, since he was only 10 weeks old. I moved everything out of reach (or so I thought) and gated both dogs in the kitchen/dining area while we were away, to minimize their reign of terror. As the months progressed and he became more and more destructive, chewing the table legs and shredding areas of the carpet – I decided to step up my game. I bought him teething toys, assuming that teething was partly to blame. I also bought them each a filled marrow bone and slathered the inside with fresh peanut butter after they had eaten all the original filling. They got the marrow bones every time I left the house. Those seemed to keep them occupied and I (again) breathed a sigh of relief. Read More »

Man’s Best Friend – On Land and At Sea

Original Parson's Terrier, TrumpHello, Eileen here. Dog people are familiar with the long history of dogs as not only companions, but as workers, trained to herd and hunt amongst other things. As a marine scientist, dog owner and history buff (especially English Tudor and Renaissance), a recent news story caught my eye and I couldn’t resist sharing it. Researchers working on the Mary Rose, a 16th century English warship made a surprising discovery on the sunken vessel – the almost-intact skeleton of the ship’s dog. Read More »

Skunk Encounters with Pets – Dealing the Fog of Eternal Stench

So now that Spring has sprung (YAY!), pet owners across the nation may find themselves dealing with more than foul weather and slick roads. The warmth of the sun and the extended daylight becons the emergence of dormant wildlife from their cozy winter dens. Perhaps none is so dreaded than those with tell-tale black and white markings and unmistakeable scent – the skunk.

Mojo and the Fog of Eternal Stench

I know a Great Pyranees named Mojo that has a particular fondness for wildlife. He can often be seen roaming the farm fields and woods edge in search of something to make friends with (or harass) whether it be a herd of deer or a plump groundhog basking too far away from his hole. Unfortunately for his family he doesn’t discriminate – he’s happy to greet anything he comes across, even the local skunks. I often wonder if he likes the smell or if his gentle, fun-seeking nature just makes him keep trying to get aquainted with them. Regardless of his motives, it seems as if he constantly reeks of his overnight encounters, much to the dismay of his family. My guess is he’ll never learn or accept that the fascinating striped “cats” don’t want to be his friend, and the noxious perfume is supposed to be a hint. Read More »

Rats as Pets – Looking Past Stereotypes and Misconceptions – Part 2

Now let’s talk a little about what you’ll need if you want to keep rats as pets.

fuzzy the pet rat
All in all, rats need large wire enclosures with plenty of levels or lofts for climbing. You may want to look at cages designed for ferrets. Cages designed for hamsters and other small rodents will not be adequate for the much larger and stronger rat. The ideal cage for two adult rats will be at least 2ft L x 1ft W x 3ft H, but this is the minimum and bigger is always better. Make sure the cage bars are less than one inch apart so that small rats can’t get out. If their head fits through, their body will too! Also keep in mind that the size of the cage depends on the number of rats you plan to keep. They are very active animals and will utilize all the space you are willing to provide. Read More »

The Ferret’s Long Journey – European Polecat to Human Companion

Mustela putoriusFerrets seem so “mainstream” these days that it’s easy to forget their unusual natural and “unnatural” history.  Please read on…

Classification:  Just What Exactly is a Ferret?

The domestic ferret is classified in the order Carnivora, family Mustelidae, along with 75+ species of weasels, otters, skunks, badgers, wolverines and related animals.

Ranging in size from the least weasel (which, at 2.5 ounces in weight, is the world’s smallest carnivore) to the 7-foot-long, 100 pound Giant Otter, the family Mustelidae includes familiar animals such as skunks and sea otters as well as the little-studied Chinese Ferret-Badgers and tayras.  Read More »

Ten Tips for Trouble-Free Dog Training

Over the course of the last year, I’ve learned a lot about training new dogs, especially puppies. I thought I might share some of the tips I’ve learned and found useful with my “kids”.  Here goes, hope you find them helpful! Read More »

The Manx – Though They Lack in Tail, They Don’t Fall Short in Personality

I don’t really consider myself a “cat person”.  Though I don’t have anything against cats, and grew up with lots of them, I typically prefer the company of dogs. But despite minor allergies and my preference for canines,  I find myself developing an admiration for a specific cat breed, the short-tailed or tail-less Manx.  My mother has always had a thing for this unique breed, and for as long as I can remember there was at least one Manx in the family.  The more I watch them, the more I understand why they are easy to love. Read More »

Rats as Pets – Looking Past Stereotypes and Misconceptions

Hooded RatOf all of the animals we carry in Critter Corner’s Small Animal Room, rats evoke the biggest reaction. Most people who see pet rats for sale cringe at the idea of having one in their home, let alone as a well loved companion. Who would want a pet rat? What could you possibly get out of having a pet rat? Well, despite the stereotype of rats being flea carrying bringers of disease, domesticated pet rats are clean, intelligent, personable animals that rarely bite, can be trained to do tricks, and make wonderful pets for gentle children and adults alike. Read More »

The Guinea Pig or Cavy – Wild Ancestors and History in Captivity

When the Spanish conquistadors breached the Andes Mountains and entered Peru, they found that the Inca people were breeding an animal unlike any that had ever been seen in Europe. The wild ancestor of these rodents, later christened guinea pigs or cavies, was lost in antiquity, as cavies had been domesticated as a food source 5,000 or more years earlier. Read More »

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