Receiving pet news from friends in other states is always interesting. During the past week, for example, I got to read about the Blue Ridge Dog Agility Trials in western North Carolina, where “over 400 dogs ran, jumped and climbed, navigating their way through tunnels, running across teeter-totters, weaving between poles and even doing some climbing as they flaunted their agility skills.” What a great way to build bonds between a two-legged and four-legged companion and also to make new friends among pet people! I haven’t had time to call her yet, but I wonder whether Cleveland’s agility judge, Carla Boudrot, who travels across the nation to events, was the agility judge at this annual event. (Cleveland’s Tri-State Exhibition Center is the site of our local agility trials.)
n From Wheeling, W.Va.’s Oglebay Park came announcement of a thrilling event at the park’s “Good Zoo,” where a rare Grevy’s zebra foal has been born. My friends reported this was a valued addition to the zoo’s “growing collection of endangered species.” The Grevy zebra is the rarest of three species of zebras and has experienced a 90 percent decline in the wild in Kenya and Sudan due to climate change, they explained.
n From Tulsa, Okla., friends I received a newspaper story titled in huge headlines: “Animal shelter overwhelmed.”
The article reported that in the first six months of this year 5,295 animals arrived at the municipal shelter with 1,142 adopted, 400 released to rescue groups and 268 returned to owners. A total of 3,372 were euthanized. “This community has a problem and is trying to solve it with very limited resources,” the shelter director stated. She added in her lengthy, heartfelt statements that education is the key to stopping the pet overpopulation problem and “It has to be a cultural change. ... I would love for the day that we would have to close down because there is no need for us,” she said. Her words were those that many of us express almost daily on our own local scene.
n Another Tulsa tale discussed two resident felines at the prestigious Philbrook Museum of Art. Perilla and Acer, as they are named, “pose for photographs for museum visitors, control rodents from the Philbrook gardens and even provide a unique view of the area via tiny cameras attached to their harnesses.” Anyone who wants to equip their kitty with a camera can get more information by going online to: tulsaworld.com/mreecatcam. Perilla and Acer also take naps. “A lot of naps,” it is reported.
n A Georgia friend sent news of a dog book he is enjoying. It is titled “Dogphoria,” by famed author/photographer Jim Dratfield. The picture of the dog on the book’s cover “is of a leader dog, a golden retriever, named Lucy, who is a guide dog for a blind lady who was formerly an obstetrician/gynecologist before she lost her sight. A portion of this book’s proceeds will go to Leader Dogs for the Blind,” he said. His message reminded me of Cleveland’s Larry Keller, now retired, who trained guide dogs for many years with such success and is greatly missed on the pet scene.
n From Asheville, N.C., came a letter about Asheville’s historic Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa which “is now pet-friendly for the first time in its l00-year history! The inn’s Vanderbilt wing and its l26 rooms caters to humans, dogs and cats. Guests with pets are charged an extra $95 per stay but they can order from a special pet menu such pet dishes as chicken pup pie and meatwoof! Another famed Asheville establishment that welcomes cats and dogs with guests is the Grand Bohemian. The Biltmore Estate permits only service animals.”
n In the Asheville, N.C., area a friend saw a “large black bear checking out a neighbor’s yard though this is not an uncommon sight at this time of year.” To avoid attracting bears he advised “securing garbage cans with latches and placing them outside as late as possible before pick-up — not the night before pick-up — cleaning food and grease (which emit odors) from grills; and stopping feeding birds in spring and summer.” He said this bear wandered into another yard and then later went away without incident.
Bear populations are growing in his state in both the mountains and on the coast, he added.
n In the “Did You Know?” category I received a clipping from Consumer Reports’ August issue which said we Americans spent “more than $48 billion on pet products and services last year.” That was more than we spent, they noted, in sporting goods stores or bookstores. From my weekly grocery expenditures I believe this is an accurate statistic!
Paws up this week to: Bill and Carol Creech; Teresa Doss and Easy Auto; Janie Arms and her Brewster; Ralph and Linda Johnson; Polly Murphy and her Shiloh; Fred Berganina; and all who adopted a shelter pet and saved a precious life! To reach the shelter, 479-2122. Call me with your pet and wildlife stories, 728-5414, or mail to: P.O. Box 4864, Cleveland, TN 37320.