Harvard rounds up hungry goats to clear weeds at arboretum
Officials at Harvard University have gotten creative with their effort to clear space for new plants at its arboretum.Four hungry goats have been tasked with eating weeds and other unwanted vegetation at the Ivy League school's Arnold Arboretum in Boston.Officials say the goats are being kept at the arboretum in a small, electrified enclosure that allows them to work on one area at a time. The enclosure will be moved around the preserve during the next few weeks to take advantage of the goats' voracious appetite.The arboretum says the goats have helped minimize chemical control and the program may be expanded if it proves successful.-----------------
Holy cow! California steer vies for world's tallest bovine
A giant, 1-ton Holstein steer who loves to eat bread and romps like a puppy at a Northern California zoo is vying for the title of world's tallest bovine.His name is Danniel and he measures 6 feet, 4 inches from the hoof to the withers, a smidge taller than the current record-holder.A veterinarian and his keepers at the Sequoia Park Zoo in the city of Eureka measured Danniel to confirm his height, but Guinness World Records has yet to verify it.According to the Guinness website, the tallest bovine ever was Blosom, a cow from Orangeville, Illinois, that measured 6 feet, 2 inches. Blosom died last year at age 13.Danniel is a gentle giant who loves hay and bread and trots over to whoever calls his name, owner Ann Farley said.He lives at the zoo after the Farleys inherited him from their late aunt, who owned a farm. They are looking to find Danniel a permanent home.Caring for the giant steer can be a challenge, said Amanda Auston of the Sequoia Park Zoo, adding that Danniel eats about 50 pounds of hay every day and produces up to 150 pounds of dung a day."It's a small enclosure, so we have to pick it up all the time," she said. "I would like him to have more room to wander around and graze and do some more natural behavior."--------------
When money trouble hits, don't leave pets behind
The Humane Society of the United States and The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals report that with the foreclosure crisis sweeping the country from the troubling economy, many families are abandoning their pets and leaving them behind. Often, lenders and bank employees entering homes that have been foreclosed on are required to leave property (including pets) until the legal proceedings are done. These pets sometimes do not receive the care they need, and according to the HSUS, these pets are often not found until they are on the verge of starvation. Every year many pets die this way. Although families may feel they no longer are financially able to care for their pets, there are alternatives. When pet owners become aware of foreclosure, it’s important to find a solution for the family pet. Taking a pet to the local humane shelter may not be ideal, but it is more humane than simply abandoning the pet inside or outside the home.
Pet owners suffering from financial woes can reduce the cost of pet ownership by purchasing only the necessities.• Cat and dog toys can be made for little cost, or check the clearance areas in the pet supply stores. • Keeping pets inside can help reduce veterinary bills. Dogs and cats that live outside are more prone to accidents, parasites and disease.• Buy quality pet food in bulk. Quality pet food contains fewer fillers, and your pet will more than likely eat less and be healthier requiring fewer veterinary visits. • Groom pets at home and use old sleeping bags or couch cushions for dog beds. • To cut the cost of cat litter, purchase the cheapest brand and mix in baking soda to reduce the odor.• Don’t cut your pet’s yearly veterinarian visit. This is important in keeping your pet healthy and can actually save you money by catching a potential illness early.• Spay or neuter your pets. You can avoid unwanted litters and keep your pet healthier in the long run. Pets deserve a lifetime of responsible caretaking.“It is difficult and heartbreaking to lose a pet as a result of economic hardship,” says Ed Sayres, ASPCA president and CEO. “But pet parents may take comfort in knowing that their pet will be better off, if they plan ahead and keep their cat or dog’s well-being in mind.”-------------------------
An unusual billboard featuring a dog is turning heads in Las Vegas...
The bond people share with their pets is often intense, and the loss of one's furry companion can be devastating.A couple in Las Vegas who recently had to have their beloved Yorkie terrier put down decided to honor his memory in a very big way.Judith Perez and her fiancé Steve Siegel put up two billboards featuring a picture of the dog, King Louie Siegel, and the message, "You will be missed. Thanks for all the great memories."Perez says her fiancé came up with the idea, which, at first, she didn't love.However, as the dog has once been featured on a billboard for an area resort, they said that they ultimately decided, "...it would be a beautiful tribute for all he gave us to let everyone know he had passed."---------------------
Here's what dogs see when they watch TV
Dog owners often notice their pets watching televisions, computer screens and tablets. But what is going on in their pooch's head? Indeed, by tracking their vision using similar methods used on humans, research has found that domestic dogs do prefer certain images and videos.This research indicates that dogs have a preference toward watching other canines – but our studies have also discovered that sound often initially attracts dogs towards television and other devices. Favored sounds include dogs barking and whining, people giving dog-friendly commands and praise and the noise of toys squeaking.How dogs watch TV is very different to the way humans do, however. Instead of sitting still, dogs will often approach the screen to get a closer look, and walk repeatedly between their owner and the television. They are essentially fidgety, interactive viewers.What dogs can see on the screen is also different to humans. Dogs have dichromatic vision – they have two types of color receptor cells and see color within two spectrums of light: blue and yellow. The use of color within media is very important for dogs and explains why canine TV channel, DogTV prioritizes these colors in its programming. Dogs' eyes are also more sensitive to movement and vets suspect that the improved flicker rate that has come from the shift from standard to high-definition television has allowed dogs to better perceive media shown on TV.But do they enjoy it?Multiple screens have also been used in research to see whether dogs can pick what to watch. Early research has shown that when presented with three screens, dogs are unable to decide, instead preferring to watch one screen no matter what is on it. This has still to be tested with two screens, and possibly more than three.While science has shown that dogs can engage with television and that they prefer certain programs, it has yet to delve into the complex question of whether they actually enjoy it. We as humans will often watch distressing footage or videos that make us feel a range of emotions, from distress to anger and horror. It's not always because it makes us feel good. We just don't know whether similar factors motivate dogs to watch.What a dog does engage with, however, differs from dog to dog, depending on their personality, experience and preference. This is speculated to be influenced by what their owner watches, with dogs following their human's gaze and other communication signals, such as gestures and head turns.Dogs, unlike humans, will also often have very short interactions, often under three seconds, with the media, preferring to glance at the TV rather than focus on it like humans. Research has found that even with media specifically designed for dogs, they will still spend the majority of their time watching nothing at all. The ideal television for dogs, therefore, should contain lots of snippets rather than long storytelling scenarios.But while dogs have their own TV channel, and have been shown to prefer to watch other dogs through short interactions with specially colored programs, many mysteries remain. Nevertheless, technology has the potential to provide entertainment for domestic canines, improving the welfare of dogs left home alone and in kennels. ---------------------