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BEEN WAITING FOR SPRING? (PT. 2)....

Posted Apr 03 2011 12:00am

Last week's introduction to getting your pets ready for spring must have struck the right chord with many of you.  Helpful Buckeye received a lot of e-mails with further questions on our topics from last week...Pet Safety, Pet Allergies, Dogs Getting Sunburned, and Skin Parasites (fleas and ticks).  Many of our readers also indicated that they were ready for spring as far as their pets are concerned.  Desperado and Helpful Buckeye sort of bypassed spring and went right on into summer this week as our "See Arizona" tour took us into record-setting temperature areas of Phoenix.  However, we were ready for that as well.  More on that later in this issue.

Most of our readers (75%) said their pets do NOT show signs of allergies in the spring.  Only 2 respondents (5 %) said a dog of theirs had ever been sunburned.  A lot (90%) of you reported that you either have a plan for flea and tick control or you will be implementing one.  That's great to hear and your pets will appreciate it  also.  Be sure to answer this week's poll questions in the column to the left.

We left off last week with a discussion of flea and tick problems and some ideas for handling that situation.  Even though Helpful Buckeye has been a little skeptical about the benefits of natural products being used in the control of fleas and ticks, this is still an area that might actually provide an additional weapon against these parasites.  The folks at ZooToo are suggesting you consider these products
As spring arrives, balmy weather and blooming nature will lure pets and their owners into the great outdoors. But the season also brings unwanted guests: fleas, ticks and other pests.


While there are differing points of view on the best and safest choices for protecting your pets, if you want to go the all-natural route, there are many options to consider. To welcome in the warmer months, our friends at Zootoo rounded up some of their favorite all-natural flea and tick products to help your pets stay pest free all season.


A potent spray with a mild, pleasing scent, the Herbal Protection Spray from Dr. Harvey's helps prevent pests from making a home in your dog's fur, bedding or apparel. The mild formula features an all-natural ingredient list that includes neem and citronella oils -- common components of nonchemical flea and tick products -- as well as witch hazel and cedarwood oil, both natural astringents.


Featuring a sporty design and a comfortable fit, the Natural Fly Repellant Dog Collar from Fly Free Zone is a powerful, convenient weapon in the war against fleas and ticks -- as well as flies and mosquitoes. The collar's primary component is citronella, which seems to work as effectively in dog collars as it does in outdoor candles. And our tester dog showed no signs of discomfort from the collar's adjustable, sturdy construction.


For an all-natural flea and tick product that doubles as a regular grooming shampoo, try the Neem "Protect" Shampoo from Ark Naturals. This gentle cleanser has a refreshingly short ingredient list that includes citronella oil, eucalyptus and neem oil, and the shampoo can be paired with Ark Naturals' spray for tougher jobs, such as infestations. The product is appropriate to use on dogs, cats and other pets, making it ideal for multipet households.


Whether your pet needs a quick spritz before hitting the outdoors or a deeper preventive treatment, Protect Flea & Tick Repellent Spray for Dogs & Cats from Pet Naturals can help keep unwelcome visitors out of your pet's fur. The mild formula combines lemongrass oil, a naturally occurring pesticide, with other all-natural ingredients to produce an effective, nontoxic pest control option with a fresh, clean scent.
An all-natural flea and tick product that packs a lot of power in a small amount, the Neem Oil Flea & Tick Remedy from Richard's Organics offers 100 percent neem oil, which fans claim can repel many different kinds of pests. Because the remedy is undiluted, adding just 2 tablespoons to a 17-ounce bottle of regular pet shampoo or conditioner creates an instant flea and tick grooming product. And in its undiluted form, the remedy has the potency to tackle more serious infestations.

Pictures of these products as well as clickable web sites for their availability can be found at: http://www.pawnation.com/2011/03/24/zootoo-review-5-all-natural-flea-and-tick-products/

Another parasite, heartworms, used to be considered as a potentially deadly infection that showed up during the spring and summer months.  Even though we now know that heartworms can infect a dog during any month of the year, many dog owners still cling to the thought that springtime is when they should be more aware of this deadly disease.  For that reason, a thorough review of heartworm infection would be a good idea at this point.

Heartworms in dogs are easy to prevent but difficult and costly to cure. Our friends at WebMD Healthy Pets asked Sheldon Rubin, 2007-2010 president of the American Heartworm Society, to separate facts from the myths about heartworm infestations in dogs.

Q: How do dogs get heartworms?


A: Only by the bite of an infected mosquito. There's no other way dogs get heartworms. And there's no way to tell if a mosquito is infected. That's why prevention is so important.  Heartworm disease has been reported in all 50 states. And the bite of just one mosquito infected with the heartworm larvae will give your dog heartworm disease.



Heartworm disease has not only spread throughout the United States, but it's also now found in areas where veterinarians used to say, "Oh, we don't have heartworm disease." Areas like Oregon, California, Arizona and desert areas -- where irrigation and building are allowing mosquitoes to survive. And if you have mosquitoes and you have animals, you're going to have heartworms. It's just that simple.


It takes about seven months, once a dog is bitten by an infected mosquito, for the larvae to mature into adult heartworms. They then lodge in the heart, lungs and surrounding blood vessels and begin reproducing. Adult worms can grow up to 12 inches in length, can live five to seven years, and a dog can have as many as 250 worms in its system.



Q: Can people get heartworms from their dogs?


A: It can be passed on only by mosquitoes. It's a specific parasite that affects only dogs and cats and ferrets and other mammals. In rare cases, heartworms have infected people, but it does not complete its life cycle. The heartworm will migrate to the lung and cause a round lesion that looks like a tumor. But these are very rare cases.



Q: If one of my dogs has heartworms, can he give it to my other dogs?


A: No. Again, the only way heartworms are transmitted is through the bite of an infected mosquito. And even if an uninfected mosquito bit your infected dog, and then bit your uninfected dog the same night, he wouldn't transmit the parasite from one dog to the other. That's because when a mosquito bites an infected animal, the heartworm needs to undergo an incubation period in the mosquito before the mosquito can infect other animals.



Q: Is it OK to adopt a dog with heartworms?


A: It's a very common problem in animal shelters today, and public shelters rarely have the money to treat heartworm disease. It's perfectly acceptable to adopt a dog with heartworms, but you have to be dedicated to having the disease treated appropriately, because it's a horrible disease that can lead to a dog's death if left untreated.



Q: How can I prevent my dogs from getting heartworms?


A: For less than the cost of going to Starbucks for a weekly coffee, you can prevent heartworm disease in your dog. There are monthly pills, monthly topicals that you put on the skin, and there's also a six-month injectable product. The damage that's done to the dog and the cost of the treatment is way more than the cost to prevent heartworm disease. A year's supply of heartworm preventive will cost about $35 to $80, depending on a dog's weight.



Q: What are the symptoms of heartworm infestations in dogs?


A: Initially, there are no symptoms. But as more and more worms crowd the heart and lungs, most dogs will develop a cough. As it progresses, they won't be able to exercise as much as before; they'll become winded easier. With severe heartworm disease, we can hear abnormal lung sounds, dogs can pass out from the loss of blood to the brain, and they can retain fluids. Eventually, most dogs will die if the worms are not treated.



Q: Once my dog has heartworms, what's the treatment? How much will it cost?


A: The drug that you treat with is called Immiticide. It's an injectable, arsenic-based product. The dog is given two or three injections that will kill the adult heartworms in the blood vessels of the heart.  The safest way to treat heartworms includes an extensive pretreatment workup, including X-rays, blood work and all the tests needed to establish how serious the infection is. Then the dog is given the injections. With all the prep work, it can run up to $1,000. But just the treatment can be done for about $300 in some areas.



Q: Why do I have to keep my dog quiet during the several months he's being treated for heartworms?


A: After treatment, the worms begin to die. And as they die, they break up into pieces, which can cause a blockage of the pulmonary vessels and cause death. That's why dogs have to be kept quiet during the treatment and then for several months afterward. Studies have shown that most of the dogs that die after heartworm treatment do so because the owners let them exercise. It's not due to the drug itself.



Q: If my dog is diagnosed with heartworms, can I just give him his monthly preventive instead of having him go through treatment? Won't that kill his heartworms?


A: Studies have shown that if you use ivermectin, the common preventive, on a monthly basis in a dog with heartworm disease, after about two years you'll kill off most of the dog's young heartworms. The problem is, in the meantime, all of those heartworms are doing permanent damage to the heart and blood vessels.  But if there's no way someone can afford the actual treatment, at least using the preventive on a monthly basis could be a lesser alternative.



Q: Can I skip giving my dog his preventive during colder months, when there aren't any mosquitoes?


A: The American Heartworm Society recommends year-round heartworm prevention. One reason is, there's already a serious problem with people forgetting to give their dogs the heartworm preventives. It's a universal problem. Now if you use it year-round, and you miss a month, your dog will probably still be protected. But if you miss more than one or two months your dog could become infected.



The other reason not to stop is that many of the preventives today also include an intestinal parasite control for roundworms, whipworms or tapeworms. You want your dog to be protected against those at all times.



Q: If I don't treat my dog with heartworms, will he "outgrow" his heartworms?


A: No. He stands a good chance of dying from the disease.



Q: I've heard the treatment for heartworms can be dangerous. Are there any newer, safer alternatives?


A: We used to use plain arsenic to treat it, which had many side effects. What we use now is a safer product with fewer side effects. It's a safe product if used correctly.



Q: If my dog gets heartworms, and is treated for them, can he get them again?


A: Yes, he can get them again. That's why prevention is so important.

You can follow the text of Dr. Rubin's interview at: http://www.pawnation.com/2011/03/11/heartworms-in-dogs-what-you-dont-know-that-can-hurt-your-pooc/

Since heartworm infection is such a common and devastating disease for your dog, another portion of information cannot hurt. 

Now, you might well think that there is nothing new to know about a parasite that has been recognized for well over 100 years. Not so. Like most living things, Dirofilaria immitis undergoes constant change



For example, we have known for about five years that dogs on heartworm preventive have been getting heartworms at an increasing rate. Study after study shows that the leading cause is failure to administer heartworm preventive on schedule.


Here is a list of common mistakes:


  • Failing to give the medicine on the same day every month
  • Thinking that being a few days late is not a problem
  • Missing entire month(s)
  • Forgetting to refill the medicine when refills fall between doctor visits
These same studies show that pet owners (dogs and cats) who purchase their heartworm preventive 12 doses at a time are less likely to miss doses.

I must emphasize again: Heartworm preventive is a monthly medication. It is not an every-33-days medicine. It is not an every-other-month medicine. It is not a whenever-you-think-of-it medicine.


Having said that, we also know that while owner compliance is a major factor in this trend, it is not the only factor. Researchers are looking at a number of parameters about the heartworms themselves that are contributing to this trend.


Some of the things they are examining have to do with the adult worms. Some pertain to the microfilaria, the offspring of the adult worms. Some even have to do with changes in the intermediate host, the mosquito. Case in point: The introduction of the Asian tiger mosquito changed the picture of heartworm transmission significantly. An Oriental invader, it is a much more aggressive feeder than the native mosquito. Natives may feed primarily at dawn and dusk. This striped menace feeds all day long. Every bite has the potential to transmit heartworms to your pet.


That’s right. It takes only one bite from only one mosquito.


Researchers have no firm conclusions on the biological factors involved in heartworm preventive failure. Your pet’s veterinarian will keep you informed as more information comes to light.

This review, by veterinarian Jim Randolph in Mississippi, is from: http://www.sunherald.com/2011/03/24/2971141/dog-owners-cant-slack-on-heartworm.html

Helpful Buckeye has also addressed the problem of heartworms in previous issues of Questions On Dogs and Cats at: http://questionsondogsandcats.blogspot.com/2008/06/whats-new-pussycat.html  and http://questionsondogsandcats.blogspot.com/2010/07/heat-waves-heartworms-pet-air-travel.html

Many of our readers have cats that stay in the house for the most part.  However, a lot of those cats will be allowed to begin spending time outdoors when spring arrives.  This presents some problems, not only for the cats, but also for songbirds.  Read this interesting article from Peter Marra, in the Washington Post
I love cats. And perhaps I’m being overly generous to myself, but they have a strange affection for me, too. They’ve been among the many pets I’ve had over the years, and they’re a key part of my work as a conservation scientist at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute.



I love wild birds, too, but unfortunately so do cats, so much so that, according to some estimates, they kill upward of 500 million songbirds a year in the United States alone.


Gray catbirds offer one example of this devastation. Long-distance migratory birds native to the East Coast, catbirds breed in large numbers in the D.C. suburbs, arriving toward the end of April each year from their wintering grounds in Cuba, the Bahamas and southern Florida. Catbirds nests in shrubs, so our suburbs are especially attractive to them. What these catbirds and many other local songbirds don’t realize, however, is that a new (in evolutionary terms) danger lurks in those attractive bushes — the free-ranging cat.


In a recently published study, my Smithsonian colleagues and I demonstrated that cats are the primary predators of young catbirds soon after they leave the nest. In fact, in some areas, less than 15 percent of these fledglings survived, largely because of cat predation. Free-ranging cats have turned the D.C. suburbs into ecological traps for birds — sites that attract them for nesting but ultimately cause high levels of reproductive failure.


The free-ranging domestic cat, both pet and feral, has become by far the most abundant mammalian predator on Earth, numbering 80 million to 120 million in the United States alone. You need only look into a neighbor’s yard or down an alley to find one. Unlike our native bobcat and lynx, free-ranging cats are as invasive and disruptive to native ecosystems as gypsy moths or West Nile virus.


Whether they are pets allowed to roam, fully feral animals or feral members of a trap-neuter-release (TNR) colony, domestic cats are by nature predators of small animals such as reptiles, birds and mammals — even when they are well fed. It’s not surprising, then, that they have been responsible for numerous animal extinctions on islands. The millions of free-ranging cats in the United States are inflicting similar devastation on wildlife populations here.


I don’t enter lightly into the long-standing debate about free-ranging cats. On one side are people who think cats have a right to roam freely; on the other are those who believe a cat’s only proper place is inside a home. I come down with the latter because, apart from their impact on wildlife, outdoor lifestyles ironically also have negative consequences for cats. The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that free-ranging cats have half the life expectancy of indoor cats. Causes of cat death can be gruesome — getting hit by cars, being mauled by dogs or becoming a meal for foxes and coyotes. Life outdoors also means greater exposure to diseases such as toxoplasmosis and feline leukemia. Cats are now the most common domesticated animal to carry and transmit rabies to humans and other wildlife.


The most egregious example occurs with feral cats living in or near TNR colonies. Maintenance of such colonies remains common in many urban and suburban parks and even some national wildlife refuges. The cats in these colonies, although fed, not only suffer the same fates as those described above for free-ranging ferals but the places in which they live can become devoid of most wildlife. Worse, these colonies encourage the dumping of unwanted cats. While neutering can slow a colony’s growth, it is rarely fully effective because more than 70 percent of the cats must be sterilized. New cats arrive, and many go unneutered and unvaccinated. The result is reproductively active colonies that continue to devastate wildlife.


What’s the solution? It is unreasonable to expect to see the elimination of all free-ranging cats, but better education about responsible pet ownership, combined with effective regulations, could reduce their numbers. Such efforts will require more involvement by government at all levels and the implementation of mandatory licensing, more-engaged animal control programs, neutering and indoor-cat campaigns.


For starters, the effects of TNR colonies need to be made clearer to the well-meaning people who support them.


Although people on both sides of this debate feel passionately, there is an urgent need to come together to find common ground. Allowing cats to roam outdoors is no good for people, cats or native wildlife.

The text of this article is available at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/no-good-for-the-birds-but-also-no-good-for-the-cats/2011/03/17/ABLGkvr_story.html

With dogs and cats being allowed to spend more time outdoors as spring arrives, it stands to reason that there will be more people experiencing animal bites.  A physician from the Baltimore area provides an informative overview of this problem:

Animal bites can be serious. They can injure the skin and bones and joints, and the damage could have lasting impacts. Dr. Tanveer Giaibi, chief of emergency medicine at Northwest Hospitals, answers questions about the dangers of and treatments for all kinds of bites.


Question: How common are animal bites and scratches, and who is most likely to get them?


Answer: Animal bites are common, with 2 [million] to 5 million occurring each year. Children are bitten more often than adults. Children are typically bitten on the face and neck since they are closer in height to animals. Older children and adults are typically bitten on their arms. The majority of animal bites are caused by dogs (85 to 90 percent), followed by cats (5 to 10 percent) and rodents (2 to 3 percent).



Q: What are the dangers associated with animal bites?



A: Some of the dangers associated are rabies, although skin infection is the most common complication. Some bites can cause serious injury and permanent disability, such as bites to the hand. These are at higher risk for serious complications because the skin's surface is so close to the underlying bones and joints.



Q: Is it ever safe to treat yourself after being bitten, and if so, what should you do?



A: People should watch for signs of infection. These include worsening pain, redness, fever or puslike discharge. If the bite is near a joint, the person should monitor for pain, swelling and joint movement. Anyone whose wound appears to be worsening rather than improving should seek medical care.



Q: How do you know if you need to go to a doctor, and how will he treat bites?



A: You should seek medical attention if an animal bite has broken through the skin. Other reasons for visiting the doctor should include if a bone may be broken, or if there is other serious injury. Finally, victims who have a weak immune system due to underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, liver disease, cancer, HIV, or takes medications that could weaken the immune system.



The most common complication of an animal bite is infection. Antibiotics may be indicated to prevent infection in people with high-risk wounds, or for people with weakened immune system. Generally there is a higher risk of infection with cat bites, and many of these patients will need antibiotics.



Other treatments which may be necessary include a tetanus immunization, as these bites can be very dirty. Typically if it has been greater than five years since receiving your tetanus immunization, a booster will be necessary.



Finally, if the animal is at risk for carrying rabies, a series of rabies vaccine may be necessary.



Q: Are some places on the body worse to be bitten than others?



A: Bites to the hand can be especially problematic as they are at higher risk for serious complications because the skin's surface is so close to the underlying bones and joints.



Q: Do you risk infection more if you are bitten by a dog or a cat?



A: Generally cat bites and scratches are at more risk for causing infection.



Q: What is cat scratch fever, also called cat scratch disease?



A: It is usually a self-limiting infectious disease classically characterized by painful regional swelling of lymph nodes following the scratch of a cat. However, 10 percent of victims can go on to develop more serious complications such as altered mental status, vision loss, prolonged fever, joint pain and abdominal pain.



Q: When should someone get vaccinated for rabies?



A: It is dependent on the type of animal involved, and whether the animal exposure was provoked or unprovoked. Infected animals are more likely to attack even when unprovoked. Other useful information includes the vaccination history of the animal for rabies and the availability of the animal for testing or observation.



Q: What pre-existing conditions can make animal bites more dangerous and necessary to call a doctor immediately?



A: People who have a weak immune system due to underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, liver disease, cancer, HIV, or takes medications that could weaken the immune system.

This advice comes from: http://www.baltimoresun.com/health/bs-hs-ask-the-expert-0324-20110327057048.story  

Don't allow your pet to be the incriminated animal biter this spring...keep it under your direct supervision at all times when it is outdoors.

If your pet does get out of the house this spring and runs off, has the dog or cat had a micro-chip implanted?  Information-bearing micro-chips are being used much more as pet owners become aware of their value in returning lost pets to their owners. 


Perhaps some of you have had this very question arise, which has been addressed in the Baltimore Sun:

Q: How do I update or change the information on the microchip implanted in my dog, Ben? Do I need a new microchip? -- S.H., Nashville, TN


A: I'm so glad you microchipped Ben. Each microchip has a number that will never change. The microchip company recognizes you and Ben as a team because, hopefully, you've registered (online or by phone) with the company so your contact info is one file. If you change your address, cell phone number, email address, or other key data, simply update your information with your chip provider.

If Ben should get lost, a veterinary clinic or shelter would scan him for a microchip. But the chip number alone isn't helpful without your name and up-to-date contact information.

So, if you've moved or changed your phone numbers since the micro-chip was implanted, you need to update that information.  From: http://www.baltimoresun.com/features/sns-pets-mircochi6214639.story

The folks at PawNation.com have put together a list of 6 items that might give you a hand with spring cleaning...as it relates to your pets
Between muddy paws, messy treats and digestive difficulties, our dogs and cats really do a number on our homes. We find fur gathered in the farthest corners of our rooms, and the sliding glass door is always covered with nose prints. It's absolutely worth it, of course, but it's a lot to clean.


That's why we're sharing some of the pet products that have really worked for us for dealing with the day-in, day-out mess of pets. And then we need you to share some of your go-to pet-specific cleaning products or tools. Please tell us about them in the comments. (Seriously, please!)



For Cleaning Up Carpeting Mishaps: When we say that the Bissell Spotbot Pet Deep Cleaner saved Christmas for us this past year, it is no exaggeration. Our 60-lb. dog got into something that didn't agree with him and had horrible diarrhea for several days, meaning our carpets took a beating. (Gross, yes, but we know you've been there.) This tool saved us from spending hours (and hours) scrubbing -- you simply put it over the stain, select a setting, turn it on and wait. For small spots or spread-out stains, there's a little hand-held portion, but to be honest, we stick with the main machine. The fact that we can set this down on even set-in stains and walk away, only to come back to a clean section of carpet is still blowing our minds.



For a Fresher Pet With No Mess: Some cleaning problems can be helped with a preemptive strike. The folks who make the FURminator grooming tool know the importance of tackling pet hair and smell before it takes over the house, so, in addition to brushes, they offer waterless shampoos and sprays. We dig the deShedding Waterless Spray for keeping our pets a bit more pleasant to be around.



For Getting the Mud Off: Got a mutt who just loves roaming outdoors? Clean off his sweet little feet with an absorbent, quick-drying cloth like the Martha Stewart Microfiber Pocket Towel. The pockets give you better control -- always a plus when dealing with a dirty dog -- and the color makes it pretty enough to hang in the open where it is most convenient.


For Kinder Cleaning: The concern many pet owners share when it comes to cleaning is whether the products could be harmful to their pets. And to those owners we introduce PawSafe Household Cleaners, a line of pet-safe cleaning products. The toy cleaner is great for washing nasty Kongs as well as water dishes, and we love that we can feel good about our pups pressing their little noses to the glass after we've cleaned it with the window cleaner. Plus, it all smells really, really good.


For Finer Dining: Eating and drinking is messy business for some dogs, but you can't really blame them. You'd chow down the same way if you couldn't use your hands! The Neater Feeder takes care of the mess, trapping loose food in the top reservoir and catching spilled water in the lower, leaving your floors nice and clean.



For Spritzing the Ick Away: The Pawsitively Clean line of pet stain and odor removers from Bissel is a great addition to the pet cleanup arsenal. The cute names (Ewww, Dang, Ick) are just the beginning. Each is specially formulated for different types of stains and surfaces, and there's a handy guide to help you get exactly what you need. (We're partial to the Ick -- it's like magic on cat vomit. You know you wanted to know.) Bonus: The company actively supports pet adoption and pet charities!

Read more about the availability of these products at: http://www.pawnation.com/2011/03/18/spring-cleaning-6-pet-products-to-help-you-keep-your-house-cle/

To finish off this section on springtime interests of dog and cat owners, take a look at what this guy has trained his dogs to do
If you think your pooch is pretty impressive being able to sit, stay and roll over, take a look at these dogs doing the conga. Now that is a real trick! The coolest part of this video is the dog in front leading the whole thing on a tricycle.  That guy must have spent a fortune in doggie treats training these pups to do this. They are all ready for the circus. I am feeling inspired by this video. Starting tomorrow, I am going to teach my dog how to Dougie.

The video is at: http://www.urlesque.com/2011/03/22/tricycle-puppy-conga-line/?icid=main%7Chtmlws-main-w%7Cdl9%7Csec3_lnk2%7C207093

The lead dog that is pedaling the tricycle is really impressive.  Helpful Buckeye might have to take some riding lessons from this pooch!

SPORTS NEWS
Baseball season began this past week and the LA Dodgers opened with a 4-game series with our hated long-time rivals, the SF Giants.  To make it even more interesting, the Giants are now the defending World Series champs.  The Dodgers took 3 of the 4 games to get the season off to a great start.  Helpful Buckeye is really looking forward to seeing the Dodgers play this year, most likely down in Phoenix against the AZ Diamondbacks.

PERSONAL STUFF

Helpful Buckeye has been able to ride his bike outdoors a few times so far this early spring.  Even though the bike lanes are pretty clear of cinders, the springtime winds in Flagstaff have been a big factor in the decision of whether to ride indoors or outdoors.  This past week, during one of my outdoor rides, I came upon 2 large mule deer bucks, an 8-pointer and a 6-pointer, standing right in the bike lane.  They didn't show any fear and decided to stand right where they were...requiring me to steer out of the bike lane and around them.  A fascinating encounter!

Desperado and Helpful Buckeye took the next installment of our "See Arizona" journey this past week.  Using Scottsdale as our staging point, we covered a lot of ground on the eastern end of the Valley of the Sun.  Our stops included some Arizona history, some Arizona plant and animal diversity, some Arizona ethnic culinary sampling, the multi-faceted architectural styles of the historic WILLO district of downtown Phoenix, a wonderful music concert, and the wide array of animals at the Phoenix Zoo.  The record-setting temperature of 103 degrees, mentioned earlier, happened as we were leaving the Phoenix area on Friday.  Even though we had a really entertaining trip, we were glad to get back to Flagstaff where the temperatures will be a lot more comfortable...and we know that we won't see even close to 103 degrees during our summer.  Even as Helpful Buckeye is beginning to plan our next chapter on our "See Arizona" journey, here's a short selection of some photos from our trip
The Superstition Saloon, in Tortilla Flat on the Apache Trail, has its walls covered with $1 bills.   How many $1 bills would you guess are plastered all over those walls?  Send an e-mail with your guess.

The Superstition Mountains, east of Phoenix
Hedgehog Cactus

Beavertail Cactus, in the Prickly Pear family

Agave

Phainopepla, my first sighting of this species

Darwin Hybrid Tulips

White Pelican...what is that on its bill?

Galapagos Tortoise, weighs approx. 350 lb.

Can you spot the Softshell Turtle?
The concert we went to featured The Manhattan Transfer, a singing group we've always wanted to see but never were able to make the connection.  They were simply fantastic!  Here are 3 of their songs that we really like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7YsE-wQn9c&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARfARi-gpWc&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQwb4SpNuKo&feature=related

You'd think we would have done some of these short trips sooner during the 11 years we've lived in Arizona, but our current philosophy is that it's better late than never.  As T. S. Eliot, poet and playwright, wrote: "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go."   And, there are still a few sections of Arizona that are calling to us....



~~The goal of this blog is to provide general information and advice to help you be a better pet owner and to have a more rewarding relationship with your pet. This blog does not intend to replace the professional one-on-one care your pet receives from a practicing veterinarian. When in doubt about your pet's health, always visit a veterinarian.~~
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