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.

Wednesday Woof – 101 Dalmatians

Okay, so it is not exactly 101 Dalmatians but a dalmatian named Pebbles had a litter of 15 puppies back in 2011. That is the same number of puppies as Perdi had in the Disney movie 101 Dalmatians. 15 puppies is quite a litter size!

Just look at them all!
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You can read more about Pebbles and her litter on BBC News.

So many cute little dalmatian pups! I cannot imagine having so many puppies around at one time.

- Fizz

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

Squirrel Pictures!

Mary Krupa, a student at Penn State University, befriended a squirrel on campus she calls Sneezy. For treats, Sneezy will sit with tiny paper hats on his head and pose with props for photos! Sneezy even has a Facebook page – Sneezy the Penn State Squirrel.

Squirrels easily adapt to “begging” and taking food from people (especially on college campuses), but they usually are not this compliant or tame.

Check out some pictures of Sneezy:

At a picnic:

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Joker for April Fools:1795283_699596433416322_1342478381_o-698x1240

Squirrel Appreciation day:Penn-State-Squirrels-04
It must have been difficult to get this hat to stay on with the fuzzy stuff on the brim. Genius idea though!

Halloween costume of Frankenstein’s Monster:
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The little “shoes” make this even more adorable! The plastic pumpkin is a very nice touch.

Cowboy:
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I love the idea of papercraft for light outfit props that can easily be shaken off and do no damage to the animal. Look at those adorable boots!

All of these photos and more can be seen on Sneezy’s facebook page here. Like Sneezy’s page to see future pictures and to show your support!

We here at FT think that we might be trying on some papercraft hats in the near future. I mean, it would be far better than some things our human has made us try on…

- Cola and Fizz

Awesome Google April Fools’ Day Jokes

Even if you didn’t enjoy my Cabbit joke, Google always has awesome April Fools’ Day jokes! This year was no different. Here were my favorites:

1. Google maps Pokemon Challenge

Here is a video that explains how they planned to hire the Pokemon Master who was able to complete the challenge of finding digital Pokemon hidden all over the world. Of course, technology is not advanced enough for this to really happen. But it does look like fun!

Google actually put 150 different Pokemon all over the world on their map application and allowed users to search for them and “catch” them. Each catch updated your Pokedex, so you could see which ones you found.

Here are screen shots of a Pokemon on the map and what catching it looked like:
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Here is what your Pokedex looked like once you caught all 150 Pokemon:
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2. Emoji Translation for Chrome
Have you ever wanted to translate everything you type into picture Emoji? You know, those little face pictures that convey meaning like happy, sad, excited, etc. I have not either, but the concept is really funny:

3. Chromecast for Squirrels
Squirrels can now use Google’s Chromecast device to stream videos, movies, and more with new paw friendly technology:

I loved this one, I mean squirrel superheros?!

4. Google Apps for Business Dogs
This one was my second favorite! Apps just for your dog so they can participate in doing business too, how useful! And of course the dog they feature in the video is simply adorable.

Cabbits

Have you heard of the new scientific animal hybrid, the Cabbit? It is a cavy (guinea pig) and rabbit hybrid! They are sooo cute! And not to be confused with the made up cat rabbit which is also called cabbit and everyone knows doesn’t exist.

It can only be created through genetic manipulation in a lab because you cannot breed a guinea pig with a rabbit.

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(credit)
This adorable little guy is from Germany.

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(flickeriver)
Meet Charmain, who has a wonderful Himalayan coloring.

Sometimes the crosses don’t go so well and you get animals that look like these:
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(source)
The ears here have an appearance more like a rabbit but short, and the face has a very guinea pig like look.

Or like this:
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(source)
Here the outcome is very much like a large guinea pig, without the rabbit cuteness desired.

Cabbit facts:
1. Cost?
Extremely expensive! Not many of these little guys exist and each one is a unique creation. You cannot just find a breeder or try your hand at it either.

2. Life span?
4 to 8 years, but some scientists believe that life spans closer to a rabbit can be possible depending on care.

3. What do they eat?
Hay must be provided at all times for teeth wear and proper digestion. A special pellet mix should be purchased which contains vitamin C because Cabbits require this just like guinea pigs. Being a combination of a couple animals it is still unclear all of the exact veggies or fruits which should be avoided. Tested safe in observed lab Cabbits: veggies- peppers, carrots, tomatoes, most green lettuces (not iceberg), beans, herbs like parsley, broccoli stems, cucumbers, summer squash, and pea pods. Fruits – apple, banana, kiwi, mango, berries, melon, and nectarine.

4. Physical Characteristics
Cabbits can be large or small depending on the breed of rabbit involved. They most desirably maintain the best characteristics of both guinea pigs and rabbits – the shape of a guinea pig face with similar ears, with rabbit like paws and carriage. They still hop like rabbits, but make noises similar to guinea pigs. Any coat color is acceptable, and coat type can range from long to short, wavy or even curly.

 

Happy April Fools Day!!!!!

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
mickey
(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
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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

New Movie – Peanuts

A new movie featuring the Peanuts will be coming to theaters in 2015! Blue Sky Studios is behind the movie, and the look is very different than previous Peanuts animation because it will be in 3D.

Here are a couple stills:
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snoopy-001
(coming soon)

While it is 3D, it still manages to keep the look of the original animation. Snoopy even has a fuzzy look to him which is interesting. I am kind of excited for this one!

You can check out the teaser trailer here:

-Cola