Cloning Your Pet

If money were no object, would you clone your pet? While cost is the most limiting factor at the moment, and it seems only South Korea is providing the service now, as science and technology move forward it will become cheaper and maybe even common place.

We here at FT love pets, LOVE them. People do crazy things for their pets, spending so much money to get them, keep them happy, treat them when sick, and more. But cloning? That may be going too far.

There are so many unknowns. Will the pet act the same way as your old pet? Just because a clone is genetically the same as your old pet does not mean they have the same memories or experiences, will learn the same tricks, or even have the same personality. So much is dependent not on genetics, but on how a pet is treated and what they experience. Therefore, they may never be the “same” as your beloved pet in the way you expect and that could be much more off-putting (and potentially heartbreaking) than actually getting a different pet. Even with all that, would you take the chance to maybe get your pet back or keep the same pet forever?

The story which prompted this post is Britain’s first cloned dog.

Here is “mini Winnie” – the puppy which is a clone of the dachshund dog Winnie:
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Mini-Winnie-3390200

Mini Winnie is a clone of Winnie, a 12 year old dachshund created in a lab in South Korea. Sooam Biotech will clone a pet for 60,000 pounds, or about $100,000 us dollars. Winnie’s owner saw a contest where you could enter to win a clone of your dog, she sent in a video about she wanted Winnie to live on, and everything went from there. The process (very simplified) involved taking a skin sample from Winnie, which was stored in liquid nitrogen and flown to South Korea. Her cells were then transplanted into donor eggs from a different dachshund and electricity was run through them to make them embryos. The embryos were then placed into a surrogate dog womb. Mini Winnie’s owner flew to see her after she was born, but due to quarantine laws Mini Winnie must wait 6 months before flying to Britain. Only time will tell how much Mini Winnie is like Winnie.

The first Winnie:
The-original-Winnie-3390204

– Cola

These pictures are from the original story in the Mirror.

You can read why Winnie’s owner wanted her cloned here.

Goodbye Shadowfax

I just learned today that the horse Blanco, who played Shadowfax in the Lord of the Rings, passed away.

Shadowfax

Blanco was a beautiful horse, spirited and willing, truly worthy of the role as Shadowfax the Lord of Horses.

Here is Blanco with his owner Cynthia Royal:
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(Facebook – Cynthia Royal)

If you have never seen LOTR, Shadowfax is the stunning white horse which Gandalf rides. The books describe him as a silvery-grey horse that is the Lord of all Horses, capable of understanding human speech. He was incredibly fast and strong, but so spirited that he could never truly be tamed by men. He was owned by the Lord of Rohan, and eventually given to Gandalf who bonds with the animal and is able to ride him. It is due to Shadowfax’s strength and speed that Gandalf is able to make it to many places in time and through many battles. It is believed that Shadowfax goes with Gandalf across the Sea and into the West.

Below is the letter from Blanco’s owner about his final days and passing:

Dear Family, Friends, Fans and Followers,

Over the past few months, my equine friend, partner, teacher and guide ‘Blanco’ – known around the world for his staring role as Shadowfax in the Lord of The Rings movies – suddenly and without warning fell critically ill. During this time, he required an array of urgent medical care and a lengthy stay in a horse hospital.

A battery of tests were performed which pointed to inconclusive, but none-the-less extremely serious issues with his intestinal tract and liver. To my dismay, this left the exact nature of his illness, as well as the best method of treatment, an illusive guess at best. As a result, a host of supportive therapies – from conventional to alternative – were provided, in addition, to an outpouring of healing energy, prayers and blessings that came in from his fans and supporters all over the world.

While Blanco was in the hospital, my family and I visited him daily, so he would continue to know that he was loved and supported even though he was away from home. Some days, he was distant – a physical shell devoid of the opinionated Blanco I’ve known so well. Other days he would rally as soon as he heard my whistle from afar. On those days we’d go on short walks together, allowing for scratches, hugs and a few nibbles of the green grass on the hospital’s lawn.

One day in particular toward the end of his hospital stay, Blanco returned to his old enthusiastic self, demonstrated by an alert ‘head’s up’ and a loud and joyful whinny to see me. After the hospital staff disconnected him from the IV, he snacked on carrots I’d brought him from home and we went for a long walk around the hospital grounds, even doing a little trotting in unison. When we arrived back at his stall, I told him if he continued to feel better, that we planned to bring him home the following day to continue his rehabilitation there.

Early the next morning, I received a call from one of the many vets overseeing Blanco’s case, informing me that he had taken a turn for the worse overnight and that I should come to the hospital right away. When I approached Blanco’s stall, he was in an obvious state of shut-down and distress – a situation I know well from recent experience with my own life-threatening illness. So, after stepping into his stall, I laid my head on his back and placed my hand over his heart for a few moments of meditative connection. Then, while kneeling down by his side, I asked Blanco if it was his ‘time’. Without a second of hesitation, he turned his head to me, looked me straight in the eye and at that moment, I knew he was ready.

While the decision was made to help Blanco transition, due to safety concerns the hospital had a strict policy of not allowing non-staff to be present during euthanasia. This was something I was simply unwilling to accept, as I knew my duty to to Blanco and our extraordinary relationship would not be complete without being able to be present to support him during this final leg of his earthly journey.

Instead of allowing him to be taken away to an isolated room to die with strangers, they agreed to euthanize him in his stall and allow me to be by his side – as long as I could persuade him to lay down on his own. Although it took several tries and lots of encouragement due to his severely weakened state, Blanco gave me the gift by laying down for me one last time in response to my gentle request. Although my heart was breaking, as my final gift to him, I stayed strong, balanced and focused, gently repeating, “Relax Blanco. Let go. Walk into the light. Relax and let go” as the Blanco I’ve known so well and loved so deeply slipped away.

While this leg of Blanco’s journey has passed and my heart still aches, I will live in peace knowing we gave our all to aid in his recovery. We spared no effort nor expense, even though doing so in conjunction with the on-going expenses of my own health challenges has placed an additional financial burden on my family.

So, if seeing Blanco in the movies or in one of our many videos, clinics or appearances has touched your heart or inspired you in any way, I invite you to make a donation in memory of Blanco that will help us pay for his extensive medical care. In doing so, your show of support will mean Blanco’s message that we have love and compassion not only toward our horses, but with each other, will truly come full circle.

In gratitude ~ Cynthia Royal and family

Vet care for horses is very expensive. If you feel so called, you can help donate to Blanco’s medical fund here.

Goodbye Blanco! We here at FT miss you!

- Cola and Fizz

Lexus Project

Time for a controversial topic readers!

Have you seen the story of little Kevin Vincent? He was mauled by a pit bull, named Mickey, in the face receiving a broken eye socket, jaw and cheek bone and will need lots of reconstructive surgery. Mickey was kept outside on a chain, and the child picked up a bone by the dog while not being properly watched by his baby sitter. The response to the story was something interesting – while there was support for the child so many people wanted to save the dog from being put down. People went on social media and expressed support for the dog, there were vigils for the dog, and petitions to put the dog down received little attention.

Mickey
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(AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Michael Schennum)

Here is where the Lexus Project comes in it. It is a nonprofit organization which comes to the legal aid of dogs who are accused of vicious attacks against humans and other animals, helping to save them from being sentenced to euthanasia in court. They claim to have saved more than 100 dogs from certain death. They also aid animals that are in kill shelters, and those facing euthanasia simply because of a shelters breed policy (like for pit bulls). The project began back in 2009 when they saved a grey hound named Lexus, who killed a Pomeranian puppy in a park while off leash, from doggie death row.

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With the intervention of the Lexus Project, Mickey has been saved from being killed. Instead the judge ordered that the dog be neutered, defanged, and microchipped.

The Lexus Project is trying to find a rehabilitation shelter for Mickey. Can he be rehabed? It is cruel to defang a dog? And does removing the fangs prevent any future damage the dog could do if it bites another child?

Only time will tell for Mickey, but below are a couple other dogs which have been saved by the Lexus Project and how they are doing now:

Sheba
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This white shepherd and husky mix attacked a dog while off leash. Even though the other dog lived and recovered, the town attorney wanted her killed. She was saved, and when her family could not keep her was moved to a sanctuary. After observing her, it was thought Sheba might be a wolf hybrid and went a facility for such hybrids and is enjoying a very happy life.

Sheba’s case shows the need to understand mixed breeds and the different needs of dogs who are mixed with wolves.

Brooklyn
brooklyn
Brooklyn is a stafford hire mix who bit a child that fell on him. After being seized from his owner and spending a year in a facility waiting for some type of decision the Lexus Project arraigned for the dog’s release. It was discovered that Brooklyn was deaf and did not hear the child coming. The dog is now being worked with so he can be safely rehomed with someone who understands a special needs dog.

Brooklyn’s case is one of an owner who did not understand their dog’s medical condition, and that need for an educated or experienced future owner.

Alexi
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This German Shepherd was rescued from a kill shelter, neutered while still under a healthy weight for surgery, and then placed with a foster who was perhaps not careful enough. The bio for this dog was written with a lot of bias in Alexi’s favor, but what is said of the situations is enough to explain why he reacted the way he did. Alexi was taken to a dog park a day after surgery in a new place which put him under too much stress, he then had a fight with the foster’s other dog at home when he just had too much the very next day. The foster attempted to break up the fight and was bitten. Alexi was again going to be put down but with intervention from the Lexus Project he was freed and is under going training from an elite German Shepherd trainer. After this he will be placed in with a GS educated owner.

Alexi’s story shows the need to really observe your pets for signs of stress and introduce new situations slowly under safe conditions. It also serves as a reminder to not go into the middle of a dog fight.

Discussion Time:
Should “dangerous” dogs who have mauled or killed someone, especially a child, be saved?

Of course circumstances are the most important consideration. But, can anyone be sure a dog which killed a child won’t get into a situation in which it can happen again? Where is it safe enough to keep such dogs? I know dogs aggressive towards other animals can be placed in homes with knowledgeable owners who can keep them away from others, but dogs who have hurt children?

It is also important to remember in cases involving children that it can seem like animal lives are valued over a human life in a society that is so sensitive (or often insensitive) to life issues. So many innocent and good dogs are put down in kill shelters every day simply because there are too many dogs without homes, and yet so much has to be done to “save” one aggressive dog. To say the least, wanting such dogs to live is controversial.

Most aggressive dogs are only that way because of owners who do not know enough, are abusive/cruel, or are careless. Dogs know no better, and they follow their instincts. Children should always be monitored around dogs and every step should be taken by an owner to understand their animal and do what needs to be done to keep everyone/every animal as safe as possible. In an ideal world, no dog attacks would happen.

Even more importantly, the people involved should be prosecuted too. Nothing will be solved, even if a “dangerous” dog is killed, if the people responsible can continue to abuse or mishandle other dogs or their children/themselves. This is true not only for the specific owners involved, but also for other people out there who read the story. Nothing is learned if the final and only answer is to put the dog down. So much can be learned all around if those who treat their dogs so badly that they lash out at other people/children/animals are either not allowed to keep dogs or be educated and checked up on. What about those who allow a child to play near a dangerous animal, or allow an aggressive dog off leash at a park? People need to understand proper ownership, and that when things like this happen that there are consequences.

What do you guys think? Is the simple solution killing the animal, prosecuting owners, maybe both? Is there more that can be done to educate owners and prevent dog attacks? Have you ever been bitten? Do you have any personal stories of dogs successfully rehabilitated after aggressive behavior?

– Fizz

Be Careful Feeding Your Dog Jerky Treats

I saw in the news today that Federal animal health officials are warning that Chinese made jerky dog treats (sweet potato, dried fruit, duck, and chicken flavors) are causing illness and pet death.

Here is a screen capture of the FDA’s website:
fdawebsite

The story I read in TIME cites that over 3,600 dogs and 10 cats have become ill, while 600 pets have died after eating these jerky treats. After running many tests it is still unclear what is making pets sick. There was a different incident last January when a couple well known brands of chicken jerky treats were removed from shelves voluntarily over a scare they contained unapproved antibiotics.

Please, if you feed your dog or cat jerky treats check where they were made (for those you have in your home now and before buying any at the store). It is always better to feed your pets as naturally as possible, and to know what kind of quality control the brands you use have in place for food safety. Given the multiple scares, it is probably better to not feed your pets this kind of jerky treat.

If your pet has become ill from eating jerky treats please take your dog to the vet and contact the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA lists a few things you can look out for in your pet should they consume bad jerky treats: decreased appetite, decreased activity, vomiting, diarrhea, increased water consumption, and/or increased urination. Some cases involve animals with other symptoms including convulsion, collapse, or skin problems. If you suspect that jerky treats made your pet ill the FDA may want any leftover treats, or the packaging itself, for testing.

You can read the story in TIME or there is a lot of good information on the FDA’s website.

IKEA Monkey Update

Darwin, the infamous “IKEA Monkey,” escaped from his owner’s car in Toronto, ended up inside a nearby Ikea, found by store staff, and taken to an animal sanctuary. Owning a pet monkey in Toronto is illegal.

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(source)

Darwin’s owner took the case to court against Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary to have the Japanese macaque returned to her, stating she was the best owner for him because he bonded with her and would be happiest in her home. Darwin lived for 5 months with his owner and her family, with many Youtube videos as proof of this and how well they cared for the monkey.

On Friday, September 13th, an Ontario judge dismissed the suit and stated that Darwin should remain at the animal sanctuary. The judge felt Darwin was a wild animal and not a pet, and that his owner lost custody of the animal when he escaped the car. After Darwin was taken to the sanctuary, his owner signed a paper turning him over to the city but later said she was tricked into signing the document.

The judge explained that the case shows the problem with having different laws about exotic or wild animals as pets in different areas, and enforcement of these laws. The judge stated:

“A high onus regarding provision of secure housing for wild animals is appropriate to place on their owners,” her decision reads. “Wild animals, particularly exotic ones, can be dangerous to the public.”

So once such an animal escapes the owner no longer has valid ownership.

I do not know if Darwin’s owner has further legal recourse, but for the time being Darwin remains at Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary.

This case is a difficult one. I do not truly know if Darwin’s owner knew it was illegal to own him in Toronto, and I do think she would have moved to keep him. Their family had bonded with Darwin. But, I also agree that he could be considered a “wild animal.” Primates are very intelligent and often require levels of care and socialization that a normal family simply cannot provide. Maybe they were properly educated on everything they needed to do and know, maybe not. He probably should not have been in a cage in his owners car while they were off doing other things. I am not sure what kind of proper care that is for any animal. Moreover, Darwin was young and there is no telling what would happen to his personality once he reached maturity. An animal that is not domesticated will still have wild instincts and unpredictable behavior.

Under how the law was written I am not sure if the seizure of Darwin was correct, but being with others of his own kind in an environment made to be like his wild home in an animal sanctuary seems to be in his best interests.

What do you think? Was Darwin a truly “wild animal” and if he escaped could cause harm? After only 5 months of life with people, would he be more happy there or in a sanctuary?

– Fizz Pig

Origianl story: The Globe and Mail

Hayao Miyazaki Retiring

The wonderful director Hayao Miyazaki, of Studio Ghibli, has decided to retire.
hayao-miyazaki-retirement(source)

The news came out at the Venice Film Festival. Miyazaki is a director of Japanese animated movies, an animator, producer, screen writer, and co-founder of Studio Ghibli. For fifty years he has influenced and helped set the standard for animation.

I absolutely love his work, it is beautiful and inspiring, especially Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, and My Neighbor Totoro. I suggest seeing Miyazaki’s movies (and those of Studio Ghibli) if you love animation.

If you are looking specifically for animation involving adorable creatures you cannot miss My Neighbor Totoro.

My-Neighbor-Totoro(image source)

A children’s movie from 1988 written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, it is beloved by all ages and is very whimsical.

The plot focuses on two young girls living with their father while their mother is in the hospital. The movie does a great job of showing the world from a child’s point of view. In the movie the girls come across a giant forest spirit they call Totoro.

my_neighbor_totoro_full_342681(image source)

The movie also has smaller spirits which are also different Totoros:
my-neighbor-totoro-crawling-through-bush(image source)

 

Mr. Miyazaki, your work will be enjoyed for generations to come and your direct influence will be missed!

-Fizz Pig

New Look!

Welcome to my new website! We moved to our own domain but will continue to post all the same fuzzy and wonderful content!

With the new domain comes a brand new name – Fuzzy Today! This better reflects who we are and our content.

I will be working on giving the site a facelift, so for the moment do not worry about the drab and unfinished design as it will be gone soon.

Hopefully everything will be up and going as soon as possible. In the mean time, please feel free to follow what is now Fuzzy Today on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Thank you for visiting!

colablue
- Cola

Giant Panda Cams are Back!

The giant panda cams at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo went down for maintenance but are now back in full HD, with uninterrupted video! You can currently watch on their website at AnimalCams on your computer, tablet, or phone.

The female panda Mei Xiang might be pregnant, but since cubs are born so small it is impossible to tell on ultrasound until the final weeks of gestation – you can follow cub updates on twitter at #CubWatch.

PandaUpdateApril17
(source: Panda Updates)

You can see the video of Mei’s latest ultrasound, which she voluntarily participates in when she wants (she gets treats for it of course). Even though it is too early to see if she is having a cub the training involved in making such a medical procedure happen is quite interesting:

Again, you can watch all the adorable panda action on the Smithsonian’s website at AnimalCams.

IKEA Monkey

Did you keep up with the news story about that pet monkey Darwin who was lost at an IKEA? His case is now in court to decide if he will be returned to his owner.

Here is the now famous “IKEA Monkey”

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(nydailynews)

If you did not see the original story, a year old rhesus macaque named Darwin was found wearing a diaper and faux shearling coat in a Toronto IKEA parking lot last December. He escaped his crate in owner Yasmin Nakhuda’s car while she was shopping in the store. It is illegal to keep monkeys as pets in the city so once caught by Toronto animal services Darwin was taken to Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary. Yasmin was charged with animal abuse but that charge has been dropped.

Yasmin wants Darwin back and is currently in a legal battle. She says she was tricked into surrendering the animal once coming forward as Darwin’s lost owner, did not know it was illegal to keep him, and that she is willing to move where it is legal to own such pets if the court allows his return.

She has a facebook page dedicated to her cause called Darling Darwin Monkey, which features pictures, videos, and a lot of debate amongst people for and against her cause.

The contents of the Facebook page depict her as a loving owner whom Darwin bonded with. But many animal activists believe it is cruel to own primates because of their needs and intelligence. Some can become aggressive and dangerous as they reach maturity. Macaques are known to carry diseases like Hepatitis B and Herpes which can be transferred to humans.

What do you guys think? Would it be better for a monkey born in captivity and bonded to a human to be given back to that person, or should the animal go to a more natural environment in an animal sanctuary?

I will update when the court makes a decision later this month.

 

Here are a couple pictures from Darwin’s Facebook Page:

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