The owners putting pets on vegan diets: ‘We feed our animals without exploiting others’

Veganism is on the rise, and not just among humans. But is the trend safe especially when it comes to carnivorous cats?

The owners putting pets on vegan diets: ‘We feed our animals without exploiting others’

Veganism is on the rise, and not just among humans. But is the trend safe especially when it comes to carnivorous cats?


Experience: my dog rescues cats

We needed a quick learner; one small enough to fit into the nooks and crannies cats hide in. Mostly, we needed a dog with no desire whatsoever to chase cats

Molly is the worlds first trained cat detection dog. Her job is to rescue missing moggies. We had been looking for a dog with a particular temperament and intelligence to join our team of pet detectives for 18 months. We had scouts out and had spoken to the countrys top breeders.

We needed a quick learner; one small enough to fit into the nooks and crannies cats hide in. Mostly, we needed a dog with no desire whatsoever to chase cats.

I came up with the idea in 2014. Ihad been doing the job for 20 years and my business, Pet Detectives, was getting around 30 calls a week about missing cats. When cats go to ground, they go into a comatose-like state and if they are not found quickly, within a fortnight, they often dont survive after being rescued.

One particular couple who called me had bought their cat after struggling to have children. We found it in a neighbours garden shed, but it later died. Seeing them so bereft was a tipping point for me.

I worked in the police as adetective inspector for many years, and had seen dogs search for drugs and bombs and help with murder investigations. I figured, if a dog can be trained to find amphetamines, then it can be trained to find cats.

We found Molly, an 18-month-old black-haired cocker spaniel, on Gumtree. She was a giveaway. The ad said: Needs a good home, cannot cope. If cocker spaniels are not stimulated they become uncontrollable. She had been passed from pillar to post and had three owners in under two years.

I first met her in February 2016, at the home of Medical Detection Dogs, the charity that would help train her. We had already rejected 12 dogs without seeing them. Three others didnt make it through initial training: one was too timid, one got car sick and the other was too inclined to chase.

At first, Molly was anxious. But she had intelligent eyes and was a problem-solver. She was also hyper and fixated on catching tennis balls. She had the right temperament: abright working dog from a breed with a natural disposition to search for game. We just had to channel that instinct into finding cats.

She had to be cat-tested, so we took her to a farm with a dozen cats to see if she would chase them. She didnt even bark. Her focus was on interacting with her handler.

Her training took nine months with experts, including two doctors of canine behaviour. This had never been done before. She was aquick learner. The first phase was lab training, where we taught her to isolate scents. She then worked with a behavioural specialist who taught her to understand signals and commands. The final stage was teaching us to work together.

On assignments, Molly is trained to pick up cats scents from their bedding. When she finds the missing cat, she lies down to signal success, so as not to scare them, but you can see her trembling with excitement. She gets rewarded with her super-treat: black pudding.

Her first success was in February this year. A tri-coloured moggy had been sighted six miles from home on the roof of a garden shed. Molly quickly picked up her scent on the grass. I sent her across the back of 30 gardens until she started clawing at a fence. She charged across the lawn to a summer house and lay down. The cat was inside. The owners were over the moon and quite amazed by her.

Molly has helped to rescue 11 cats so far, and our search success has increased by a third. She wears afluorescent harness and has her own abseiling kit, which we once used to lower her over a 10ft wall. Were getting special boots made to protect her feet in outbuildings where there may be nails or glass.

Many people said that training a dog to rescue cats was crazy; that all dogs chased cats and it couldnt be done. Nothing has felt quite so rewarding as seeing it work. People are fascinated when they watch Molly at work, but shes not fussed. She still doesnt know that those things with four legs that she searches for are called cats. To her, itis just her favourite game.

As told to Deborah Linton

Do you have an experience to share? Email


Toy stormtroopers partner with adorable dog to set up a ‘Star Wars’ Christmas tree

The dark side never stopped anyone from having a little Yuletide cheer, as Star Warsfans andbrothersKyleand PhilShearrerproved yesterday.

The two redditors won r/StarWars when they posted a set of painstaking photographs taken by Kyle in which a horde of stormtroopers (and their canine companion) lovingly assemble a Christmas tree, all while an approving Darth Vader looks on.



Not to be outdone, Phil promptly turned the whole sequence into a short film complete with Sith Lord soundtrack.

Here’s the whole Imgur gallery:

Photo via Imgur


National emergency? Belgians respond to terror raids with cats

An official request for citizens to avoid tweeting anything that could inform terrorists what is going on resulted in a national outbreak of pet pics

When, on Sunday evening, Belgian police asked citizens not to tweet about the armed operations that were being carried out around the country, anyone could have been excused for reacting with fear.

Brussels in lockdown for a third day

Belgian forces searching for suspects in the aftermath of the Paris attacks told citizens to stay indoors and not go near their windows for safety reasons.

They also appealed for social media silence about any police action users might witness presumably to keep the suspects in the dark.

A tense time, no doubt. But Belgium reacted how else? with cats.

Instead of speculation about the sort of threat police might be reacting to, many people used the #BrusselsLockdown hashtag to post pictures of their pets.

Seimen Burum (@SeimenBurum) November 22, 2015

Don’t share info on situation #BrusselsLockdown that may help suspects. Confuse them with #cat pics @lopcute

Lore De Witte (@loredewitte) November 22, 2015

“I got this” #BrusselsLockdown

Delphine Jory (@Ladyblogue) November 22, 2015

#BrusselsLockdown en live.

anna-rose phipps (@lopcute) November 22, 2015

#BrusselsLockdown CodeNameSpinner

Amit Bhat (@amitbhatr) November 22, 2015

Don’t worry super cat is here #BrusselsLockdown

TineEeckhout (@TineEeckhout) November 22, 2015

May the force be with us. #BrusselsLockdown

JaneAustenMaMaschio (@ExTimUpperClass) November 22, 2015

#relax, Mes amis #BrusselsLockdown

melissa jacobs (@deathrep) November 22, 2015

#BrusselsLockdown You ROCK Belgian people! Showing the world how to deal with terrorism! Love from #NativeAmerica !

And after the all-clear was announced by officials with the news of arrests there was a sigh of relief and a message of gratitude.

CrisisCenter Belgium (@CrisiscenterBE) November 22, 2015

Thanks to the media and citizens for their silence online as asked during the juridicial intervention tonight #BrusselsLockdown

Belgian police later thanked the cats for their help.

Police Fdrale (@PolFed_presse) November 23, 2015

Pour les chats qui nous ont aid hier soir… Servez-vous! #BrusselsLockdown


Everything Wrong With The Secret Life Of Pets

A few hours ago Cinema Sins uploaded their new issue of “Everything Wrong With…”. This time the animated movie “The Secret Life Of Pets” gets a video critic – and you can be sure that this video will get a lot more than the 70,000 views it now has.

“Here is a movie that wants so very hard to be a good movie. It’s not, but it wishes it was. Instead it’s just… ugh.”


Google Photos can now recognize the lovable faces of your cats and dogs

I wish this was one of the approximately 8,000 dog photos on my phone.
Image: Ruud Lauritsen/Kennel Club/REX/Shutterstock

Google knows that your phone holds untold gigabytes of snapshots of your favorite animal friends. So the search giant is making it even easier to group those pics all together.

The algorithm behind Google Photos will now be able to recognize your Very Good dogs and cats automatically, and will group the reams of photos you’ve taken of them just like it does with pics of people. Google announced the new functionality in a blog post, which is alone worth a read for the sheer number of paw puns pulled off in five short paragraphs. 

You’ll also be able to assign a label to each grouping of pet photos, so when you’re in need of an Instagram-worthy pupper shot, you can just search your photos by your dog’s name. 

Image: google

Google claims you’ll be able search your photos by breed, too, but the company acknowledged to BuzzFeed that the algorithm could have trouble differentiating between multiple animals within that parameter. You’ll also be able to search using 🐶  and 🐱 emoji through all of your animal images, whether they’re actually your own, or just the funny cat pics you download from the internet.  

The new search and organization features are only available for dogs and cats, though. If you love your horse or iguana or massive rideable python, you’re sadly out of luck. You’ll have to organize those pics yourself.       


The Facebook study about cat v dog lovers misses the point: pets are gross | Ijeoma Oluo

The world isnt divided into cat and dog people, but pet and petty ones

To celebrate International Cat Day this week, Facebook put its best and brightest to work on this groundbreaking study: cat people are single; dog people like horrible movies.

As I read through the descriptions of things cat people like reading The Hobbit alone in a basement, apparently I was like, Thank god Im not a cat person. And as I read through the things that dog people like watching Duck Dynasty in a group I was definitely like, Dogs are the worst. I am, as scientifically confirmed by my dislike of all the things cat people and dog people love (including cats and dogs), not a cat or dog person. But try as I might, the cat v dog debate is not one Ive been able to avoid.

Ive always been a little surprised how often it comes up. Yes, I know its supposed to be lighthearted fun, but its still everywhere. Ive been asked if Im a cat or dog person in job orientations, on online dating questionnaires, at cocktail parties. My answer has usually been, Im whatever type of person doesnt ask pointless questions.

And as I was rolling my eyes in judgment of the tastes of both types of people as described in the Facebook study, I realized there are two types of people in the world, but they arent dog people and cat people: they are pet people and petty people, and Im the latter.

I scorn both cat and dog people alike. I wrinkle my nose in disdain at your pet pics. I judge your movie choices whether you are a cat person who loves Alien or a dog person who loves the Blind Side. I laugh inwardly at whatever music it is you listen to (which this study didnt cover, but Im going to go ahead and be petty and assume its awful, whatever it is).

I dont want your dogs slobber on me, and I dont want your cats hair on me. I cant tell if that picture you posted on Facebook is of a new cat or an old cat because all cats look like cats to me. I will not attend your pet weddings. I will not celebrate your pet birthdays. And unless your pet has learned how to tell some great jokes, I firmly believe it has no place in dinner party discussion.

And, petty as I am, Im really sick of this cat v dog discussion excluding people like me. So, using Facebooks ultra-scientific information on cat and dog people (pet people) and my own personal knowledge (petty people), Ive decided to reframe this data in a way that includes me and my petty brethren. Youre welcome.

Books and movies

Cat people tend to like sci-fi and fantasy, while dog people like books about love and animals, according to Facebooks data wizards. That is: pet people like books and movies. Petty people like Twitter beefs, Instagram fights and YouTube response videos.

Photograph: Facebook.

TV shows

Cat people like anime and cartoons, while dog folks like shows with oddballs, like Duck Dynasty or One Tree Hill. To which petty people say: Lol, seriously One Tree Hill? In 2016?

Relationship status

Cat people are more likely to be single, and dog people are more likely to be paired. That is, pet peoples relationship status: they have one. Our relationship status: petty.

So the next time youre at a dinner party and you feel the urge to ask about cat and dog people, instead ask: Are you a pet person or a petty person? A pet person will answer you by immediately digging their phone out of purse or pocket to show you 500 pictures of their cat laying on various surfaces, like all other cats in the entire world. A petty person will blink at you slowly and sigh.

Because whether a pet person likes their furry house animals to crap in a litter box or prefers that they crap out in the yard, they are being judged equally by those who do not like animal crap at all.


This Pet Food Bank Makes Sure Cats And Dogs Don’t Go Hungry During Their Families’ Tough Times

It’s not just human family members who can go hungry, when times get tough.

That’s why Kim OKonis founded a food bank for her area’s pets, about a year ago, with the goal of helping struggling families in Massachusetts “get much needed and costly food for their beloved dogs and cats.”

The Central MA Kibble Kitchen is an all-volunteer operation that distributes some 4,000 pounds of pet food every week, to about 200 pets. O’Konis estimates 70,000 pounds of pet food have been given out altogether, since the nonprofit got off the ground in January 2015.

The aim isn’t just to feed these animals, but to help families — including the furry members — stay together, and to keep pets from going into shelters, because of financial hardship.

“The main mission of the Central MA Kibble Kitchen is keeping pets with their families so they dont have to consider relinquishing them to shelters,” O’Konis told The Huffington Post.

O’Konis says her clients run the gamut. Some are homeless or in tough financial straights because they’re getting divorced or are escaping domestic violence. There are folks who are unemployed and finding it hard to get new sources of income. 

The circumstances vary, but what’s shared is a love for their pets and a commitment to doing right by their animals.

One client, whom O’Konis calls Jane, lost her home due to exorbitant medical expenses, and was worried she was going to lose her dog and chief source of comfort, a Boston terrier named Chiquita, as well.

But now, thanks to the Central MA Kibble Kitchen, Chiquita is fed as well as spayed, vaccinated and microchipped.

Most importantly, she and Jane are still together.

“I personally have had people collapse into my arms in tears to find that they could keep their companions and werent forced to face make other arrangements,” O’Konis said. “To see the relief on a parent’s face, when they don’t have to consider giving up a beloved family pet, is beyond words.”

Here’s Central MA Kibble Kitchen’s distribution schedule, if you’re in the area and need some help. 

The group relies on donations and volunteers. Find out more on the Central MA Kibble Kitchen website.

And get in touch at if you have an animal story to share!


Queen makes dogs’ dinner of corgi hierarchy

Animal psychologist reveals Queens feeding rituals for favourite pets, including homeopathic and herbal remedies

The Queens corgis, which have been described as a moving carpet preceding her as she walks round her royal residences, have become almost as emblematic of the British crown as their famous owner.

So few will be surprised to learn that Her Majesty likes to treat them like royalty, dispensing succulent dishes of steak, rabbit or chicken from individual menus and served from silver and porcelain borne by a liveried servant.

A stickler for protocol, she employs a rigid pecking order, with each receiving their dishes in order of seniority.

The fascinating secrets of her corgis daily dinner ritual is revealed by animal psychologist Dr Roger Mugford in a forthcoming special edition of Town & Country, dedicated to the Queens 90th birthday on 21 April. Having worked for the royal household for decades, Mugford has long observed the sovereign and her cherished pets at close quarters.

At feeding times, each dog had an individually designed menu, including an array of homeopathic and herbal remedies. Their food was served by a butler in an eclectic collection of battered silver and porcelain dishes, he writes.

As I watched, the Queen got the corgis to sit in a semi-circle around her, and then fed them one by one, in order of seniority. The others just sat and patiently waited their turn.

She has owned about 30 of the dogs during her long reign, breeding them from her first, Susan, given to her as an 18th birthday present by her father, George VI, and mother, Queen Elizabeth. They have since become a non-negotiable part of her life, though Prince Philip has been heard to exclaim: Bloody dogs. Why do you have so many?

When young princesses, she and sister Margaret, invented the dorgi, by cross breeding her corgi, Tiny, with Margarets dachshund, Pipkin. At the time, the Kennel Club snootily observed: The dachshund was evolved to chase badgers down holes, and the corgis to round up cattle. If anyone loses a herd of cattle down a badger hole, then these are just the dogs to get them out.


Princess Elizabeth with her first pet corgi, Susan, at Windsor Castle in 1944. Photograph: Getty

The corgis have featured in portraits, official photographs and on a golden jubilee Royal Mint crown. They have their own Wikipedia page, and the question What are the names of the Queens corgis? consistently ranks among the top 10 most asked questions on the British monarchys official website.

When Monty, 13, died shortly after starring in the James Bond/Daniel Craig sketch of a parachuting Queen during the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics, obituaries praised his on-screen tummy roll.

The Queen made a decision to stop breeding her dogs in recent years, so their numbers have declined. She now has just two corgis, Willow and Holly, and two dorgis, Candy and Vulcan.

Mugford told how the monarch showed deep compassion for her pets and was dismayed by any cruelty to animals, and took a dim view of US President Lyndon Johnson, who picked his dogs up by the ears.

When shes talking about her dogs or her horses, you see a completely different side to her: she relaxes. Dogs are great levellers, and theyre not influenced by social status, which must be a great relief to her. No wonder she enjoys being around them, he writes in the spring issue of Town & Country, which goes on sale on Thursday.

Royal staff have been known to take a less indulgent view of the dogs as they frequently tripped over them while forced to roam her palaces and castles armed with blotting paper and a soda siphon to clear up any little accidents. A few have also been on the receiving end of a sharp nip to the ankles.

One footman, in revenge, was once reportedly said to have spiked the dogs food with gin and whisky then watched them teetering tipsily around the palace gardens before his crime was discovered and he was dismissed.


Star Wars Halloween costumes for your pets, because they deserve to go trick-or-treating too

Who's a good Wookie?
Image: Rubie’s Costume Co.

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The galaxy may be far, far away, but Halloween is sooner than you think. It’s time to get those costumes figured out. Look no further than the Star Wars universe.

The only thing better than seeing a dog on a normal day is seeing a dog dressed up in a geeky costume for Halloween. Each of these Star Wars pet costumes come in small, medium, large, and extra large, so regardless of if you have a Maine Coon cat, Chihuahua or a bulldog, the nerding out possibilities are endless. 

A Bantha Not very cute in the movies, very cute as your dog

Make your dog feel very important as the noble steed for its Tusken Raider up top.  Anyone who doesn’t understand this costume is pure bantha fodder. (If only they could produce blue milk.)

A Dewback – Because we can’t get enough of riding costumes

Dogs have a way of making even the ugliest Star Wars creatures look cute. Let your dog become part of the Galactic Empire for a night by escorting an Imperial Sandtrooper around. 

Yoda ears – Judge me by my size, do you?

Cats love getting dressed up, right? If you’re having trouble getting the ears on your fur baby (I mean, have you met a cat?) remember this Yoda wisdom: “Do or do not, there is no try.” 

(Want a full Yoda costume for your pet? Check out the hilarious standing version here.)

Ewok – The good, the bad, and the fluffy

This one was probably obvious, but we had to include it. If you’ve got a teddy bear resembling cat or pup, an Ewok costume is too perfect to pass up. 

Princess Leia – Because costumes that make pets look like they’re walking on two legs are the funniest thing ever

You: I love you.

Your pet: I know…now please take this off of me.

(You can also get the Princess Leia buns separately if your pet isn’t feeling the dress.)

Darth Vader – I find your lack of treats disturbing

Perhaps the most recognizable costume on the list, your pet is sure to look impressive…most impressive. *Heavy breathing*

Jedi robe – For the pups in training

Having trouble teaching your dog tricks? Put him in this robe, put a treat on his nose, and say “Patience you must have, young Padawan.” A good boy, he is.

R2-D2This IS the droid you’re looking for

Your dog or cat will make the perfect droid companion as R2-D2 while you dress up as a Skywalker, Queen Amidala, or C3PO.

Chewbacca – *Cue Chewie noise*

The only thing cuter than dressing your pet up as Chewie is if you dress up as Han Solo with them. The best part is that when you return from the Halloween party, you can say “Chewie, we’re home” and then chuckle to yourself.


Overloaded college students turn to Facebook to give away pets

College students do too much. Theyre in a unique part of their lives hopping from class to class, balancing internships and part-time jobs. They have an infinite amount of student organizations at their fingertips and somehow find time to live by a social calendar. On top of all these commitments, the fact that some of them can handle owning a pet is a mystery.

The truth is many find out they cant. But that doesnt stop the romantic idea from forming. A roommate speaks the thought into the air, it gets momentum, and becomes a doable possibility in everyones heads”I can totally skip class to walk the dog so he doesnt chew up my shoes again,” or “sure, I can eat Ramen to afford a trip to the vet this month.”

They often end up at an animal shelter, having made a pact on the car ride there that they wouldn’t walk out with a pet. Before they know it, they’re on their way home with the furriest member of their tiny, student apartment household.

University of Texas student Kendal Tieu and her three roommates found themselves in a similar situation in October when they heard about a free adoption weekend at the Humane Society in Austin, Texas.

I wanted one but I knew realistically it wasnt a good idea. It was just kind of a spur-of-the-moment thing, Tieu told the Daily Dot.

Once they set eyes on a three-month-old black lab pup named Maggie, they were sold.

But after a couple of weeks of Maggies messes and pent-up energy from not being able to go outsidedue to their complex’s policy barring them from owning pets and the puppys lack of a parvo vaccinethe roommates were forced into a corner.

Someone would message the group and they would be really upset and you could tell they would be really upset over what Maggie did or having her, Tieu said. So someone was like, ‘Well we should really sit down and talk about it.’

The group decided it would be best to return the dog to the Humane Society. They tearfully drove Maggie back that afternoon.

Tieu and her roommates are hardly the only students who have experienced such a predicament. Countless pet postings are shared on UT Pets, a Facebook page that connects pet lovers and owners who attend the University of Texas. The group features everything from pet-raising tips, veterinary care suggestions, and cute pictures of animals. Students who find themselves incapable of keeping a pet turn to the page to post informal adoption notices, often shaking up this animal-protective community.

Just today, UT Pets is ripe with 423 postings for petsthe majority of them students needing to give away an animal. (Some are pet supplies on sale.)

Even if these people were irresponsible, theyre going to have to give up the pet somehow, said Kelsie Grimes, founder and administrator of UT Pets. I would rather have it go to a responsible UT student than just go to a shelter where you never know whats going to happen to it.

Its not hard to be seduced by the benefits of owning a pet. Having a furry pal to take on refreshing walks has a therapeutic effect on your average, stressed college kid. Those study breaks go a long way to maintaining mental health and wellness. When tragedy strikes, pets are a useful friend to have around. Eighteen percent of college students reported that their pet helped them through a difficult time, according to a research study at Ohio State University. The top reason students cited as being the most useful part of owning a pet is that it helps counter loneliness.

University of Texas sophomore Madison Holloway feels the same way about her puppy.

When I come home and Im having a bad day or Ive just bombed a test and I walk in through the door, hes just so happy that Im back. Holloway said. He doesnt even care. He just wants to cuddle and play. Its kind of the best thing ever, having something unconditionally love you.

Having a lighter schedule than usual this semester, she determined she would have the time necessary for raising a puppy. At the end of Christmas break, Holloway met Finn, a six-week-old Australian shepherd puppy, who is now an 11-week-old Instagram celebrity.

We made him an Instagram and we started taking him places around campus and taking cool pictures of him and then posting it to it, Holloway said. A few weeks and 34 photos later, Finn garnered a 2,215-person following. All these students are watching Finn grow up online.

~vibes~ on this beautiful Friday afternoon!!! #happyweekend

A photo posted by Finn (@finn_and_tonic) on

Holloway has nailed the balance between student life and being a pet parent, budgeting an extra $150 every month and planning breaks throughout her day to come home and check on Finn.

If you have to regularly balance a busy schedule and are considering owning a pet, keep these warnings in mind:

“If you have a giant block scheduledont get a puppy. It wont work out well for him,” Holloway said. “Hell be unhappy, he wont get enough exercise and everything.”

It’s also helpful to research the breed ahead of time, according to Holloway. If you’re an active person, it’s safe to get an active dog. If not, then you’ll risk not being able to keep up with your dog’s exercising needs.

But it’s not all about considering the pet. After owning Maggie as a college student, Tieu said research and communication between people sharing a space is the big problem students don’t consider.

“If you live with roommates you guys should talk it out more,” Tieu said. “Even if youre just by yourself, if youve never had a dog before or maybe youve had a dog but your parents mainly took care of it, you should do more research beforehand just so you know what youre getting yourself into.”

Photo via University of Liverpool Faculty of Health & Sciences/Flickr(CC BY 2.0)


The Secret Life of Pets review hyperactive with furry laughter

So what do humans really do all day? Their pets are baffled in this frenetic New York-set family animation

Toy Story has been rewritten for pets in this family animation, packed with quirkily voiced characters of all shapes and sizes, frenetically hyperactive, and crammed with detail in the traditional manner plenty of swooning images of New York that appear to belong to a more romcom-type of film. Just as pet owners wonder what their pets do all day while theyre out, pets are baffled as to what their human masters and mistresses find to occupy themselves with during this mysterious time of work. Max (voiced by Louis CK) is a terrier who is outraged when his owner brings home a new rescue dog that he must now live with: Duke (voiced by Eric Stonestreet). At first mortal enemies, they become pals when they find themselves collarless and menaced by strays. Its not ground-breaking, but there are laughs, and it is a good audience movie.

Watch the trailer for The Secret Life of Pets


Pot-loving dogs: why cannabis extract is the new trend for our pets

Advocates say CBD, a cannabis extract, can be used as medical marijuana for ill or anxious dogs

High summer is hell for my goldendoodle, Monty. At the park, grass seeds and burrs catch in his woolly mop of black fur. The pollen and dust set off his skin allergies.

The heat more severe every year in the Pacific north-west cuts fetch time in half. Worst of all, in our hometown of Portland, Oregon, July is the month of fireworks. Monty is usually affable and calm. But in the weeks around the 4th, and even sometimes into early August, hes regularly sent skittering down the stairs to the garage by the pop of a rocket or the sizzle of a fountain of sparks. Sometimes hell stay down there in the dark for hours, resisting treats even bacon.

At my local bar, where Monty is allowed on the patio, one of the staff told me months ago that she fed her pomeranian treats made from CBD, an extract from cannabis plants. She used them around the 4th to calm him down and beat the heat.

No stranger to the products of Oregons burgeoning pot industry myself, I wondered if her prescription might work with a rather larger dog.

Internet searches seemed promising. Advocates, entrepreneurs and even scientists have advocated CBD as a treatment for a wide range of canine and feline maladies from allergies to anxiety. There are widely-repeated industry claims that the pet market for CBD doubled between 2008 and 2014, with further projections of 3-5% annual growth in the market.

CBD is not psychoactive in humans, unlike THC, the compound that gets people and other animals high.

Max Daddy ponders the big questions. Photograph: Jason Wilson for The Guardian

But like THC and other compounds in cannabis plants, CBD interacts with the human and mammalian endocannabinoid system. The precise effects of CBD on our bodies are a matter of extensive ongoing research, but advocates of marijuana as a medicine have long held that CBD can treat epilepsy, chronic pain, anxiety and other maladies.

A selection of recent findings suggest that it may be useful for humans in treating problems like PTSD, chronic pain and the psychological effects of long-term cannabis use.

CBD also supposedly moderates the effect of THC, so it has been deliberately cultivated in certain strains and introduced into extracts on the theory that it creates a smoother high. (Informal testing supports this view.)

I wanted to find out more about how CBD could help Monty. My first port of call was with another Portland resident an English bulldog named Max Daddy, who is the face of a newly launched range of CBD remedies.

Max Daddy is no stranger to commerce, and this is not his first brush with fame. He is the live-in associate of another English bulldog, Zelda, who may be one of the best-known dogs in the country.

The current Zelda is the third in a line of dogs with the same name owned by Carol Gardner, a serial entrepreneur, author and former advertising executive. She started a company called Zelda Wisdom in 2000, which put pictures of Zelda the first in costume on greeting cards.

Hallmark sells 75m [Zelda] greeting cards every year, Gardner says at her home in Portlands west hills.

Zeldas fame has made her a hometown hero a statue of Zelda dressed as a Beefeater sits at the entrance of Portlands upscale Heathman hotel.

When Zelda the third came along, Gardner added a male rescue bulldog, Otis. When he died, Gardner says, Zelda was devastated. So they rescued a second male, Max Daddy, who had previously been imprisoned at a puppy mill.

He was kept in a cage for his first five years. He was kept for breeding, all they wanted from him was money.

Max Daddy studies a spot on the floor intensely. Photograph: Jason Wilson for The Guardian

Max Daddys health issues were worse than Gardner realized. He had severe joint problems and significant pain. His patellas are not really attached to anything, Gardner says.

When she picked him up in Illinois, he came with a fistful of drugs, from Prozac to painkillers. Gardner thought there had to be a better way.

She started researching CBD and tried it out on Max Daddy. It was natural, it didnt have the side effects of drugs, she says.

She liked the results but found the products inconsistent. She decided to hire chemists and develop her own line. Now, she says, Max Daddy is off his prescription meds and seemingly doing well. Zelda also takes it, and Gardner says it has reduced her anxiety.

When I met Max Daddy, he certainly seemed relaxed. He cheerfully submitted to yet another photo session, then jumped on the couch and drifted into a snore-filled sleep. Gardner credits it all to the CBD.

This year, Gardner and her business partners started selling the treats she has developed at fireworks stands in the Pacific north-west ahead of the 4th.

We have been amazed by the results, Gardner says. She plans to go national with a treatment she says is a near-panacea.

But what does the science say? At Colorado State University, the veterinary school has the wheels turning on a long-term study of the effects of CBD on pets, including any therapeutic benefits. So far, the results are encouraging.

A team led by Dr Stephanie McGrath found an 89% reduction in epileptic seizures for dogs treated with CBD. They are moving on to study CBD as a treatment for osteoarthritis in dogs, and are recruiting for a larger epilepsy study.

When I got home I tried Max Daddys treats on Monty. (Although Gardner says they offer a more consistent dose than other products, the treats, made with organic ingredients, are still very minimal doses for a 55lb pet.)

Although no fireworks have exploded recently, I did notice that Montys preternatural chill seemed to deepen after taking them. When we went to the park to play fetch, he didnt drag me in the way he usually does. A beloved visitor was not jumped on in the way the visitor usually is. Monty stopped scratching as much.

Max Daddy becomes inexplicably hungry. Photograph: Jason Wilson for The Guardian

While the jury is still out on the stronger claims of the CBD sellers, for now it appears that the treats do little harm, and there is emerging evidence that they may well do some good for certain conditions.

There is still, however, the delicate matter of the law.

Although marijuana has been legalized in the west coast states, Colorado and elsewhere, it is still illegal under federal law; as a consequence, pot products cannot be carried across state lines, and weed businesses still have problems with banking.

Many people in the burgeoning medical industry think CBD is different, based on their interpretations of the Drug Enforcement Administrations public advisories on the matter. The DEA says otherwise. A DEA spokesman, Special Agent Wade Sparks, says: CBD is a schedule 1 controlled substance, meaning as far as the federal government is concerned CBD remains in the same legal category as meth or heroin.

If there is limited enforcement, its because of the varying prosecutorial stances of federal prosecutors, especially in states where pot is legal, and the priorities forced on the DEA by epidemics of meth and opioid use.

I think reasonable taxpayers understand that we devote our resources to the most pressing issues in the community, Sparks says.

Although CBD products are widely available even in states where pot is not legal, people possessing or using it, as well as anyone shipping it across a state line, are taking a calculated legal risk.

Nevertheless, CBD has long been used in medical marijuana for humans. The legalization of recreational and medical pot up and down the western seaboard of the US, and now in Canada, means that it has become a key product of a massive international growth industry.

Urban dog owners ask a lot of the animals who live with them. Our environments are full of objects and situations that stress dogs out.

Our schedules dont always match up with our dogs needs for affection, attention and exercise. And our neighborhoods are full of humans who, for reasons best known to themselves, enjoy explosions. All of these things are a source of anxiety for our animals.

If CBD is proven to be as useful as its advocates believe it is, it may be revolutionary. In the meantime, it could at least be a salve for owners who, like me, cant stand to see their dogs in distress.


I have a loving husband and thought I was secure. Then a cat came into my life

Philippa Perry on her struggle with total devotion to her cat, Kevin

Pets can highlight your mental health issues. Ask my late dad how he was, he would tell you, Fine. If you wanted more information, it was best to ask him how the dog was. Oh, the dog is depressed. My dad was doing what Freud described as projection. This is when you split off a part of you that is too shameful for you to own and project it on to someone else and you believe your stuff is their stuff. My father could not own his vulnerability, but he could dump it on his dog. I hope I would be far too self-aware to project on to my pet. Id hate to think I was that dotty, but the magazine has just asked if they can send a photographer round. Kevin isnt too keen on photos, I said.

Our cat Kevin had been a stray and came to us from Battersea two years ago when he was around six months old. His body was the size of a can of extra-strong lager. That tubular torso would press against me all night, sometimes stretched alongside me, sometimes curled up in my armpit. In the evening, he would start on a lap but his thin body would elongate itself from your ankles to your thighs like a furry tube. He was playful, affectionate and excellent at being a cat.

We followed the Battersea instructions of keeping him indoors for a month and then only let him out accompanied until he knew where to come back to. When he was ready for unaccompanied roaming, I tried to get a collar on him, but however tight I made it, he could spring it off. Even if he left the house with a collar on, he came back without it. Then one day he did not come back at all. The first time he went missing, he turned up at the Blacksmith and the Toffee Maker, a gastro pub half a mile from our house. He was returned to us swiftly by the landlord, who had taken him to the vet to get his microchip read. Getting Kevin microchipped was a very good idea. My fantasy is that he had chased the pubs resident cat all the way home and then did not know how to get back.

How to describe how you fall in love with a cat? First, the softness of their fur and their choice of your ankles to rub around makes you melt a bit. Secondly, you get used to their presence in your home and come to rely on it for company; and thirdly I think we project our love for ourselves on to our animals and believe it is coming back our way. I like to think Kevin really does love me. Whether he does or not, I love him. For most of my adult life I have lived with a cat, sometimes two, and once I lived with three. I came to appreciate their individual characters and the different ways they kept me company, amused and comforted. But my love for Kevin seems more intense.

There is a type of interaction adopted by cults and abusers when they want total devotion from you, called intermittent positive reinforcement. They start the relationship by heaping praise and appreciations on to you and then gradually begin to mock you, or ignore you, or dish out other types of cruelty so you try harder to win back that approval that you became addicted to. Kevin, having got me smitten, now occasionally ignored me, or bit me if his food bowl got as low as half-empty. Oh, sorry Kevin, Id say, and do his bidding. People who are susceptible to intermittent positive reinforcement tend to be those who have an insecure attachment style. This means they feel insecure in their relationships and compelled to work extra hard at adapting, being too nice or too paranoid, and check up on their significant other as they cannot assume, like a secure person does, that their partner will not stray.

I have been in a loving and stable relationship for 30 years I believed myself cured; thought I was now secure. My unhappy youth, when romantic attachment was about the pain of longing rather than the joy of love, was, I thought, truly behind me, yet Kevin had reignited the feeling of longing.

Kevin reignited the feeling of longing. Photograph: Pal Hansen for the Observer

After the pub incident, I tended to check up on Kevin more. If he had owned a mobile phone, I would have broken into it. I followed him about. I may have scared away the wildlife he was stalking and he may have got irritated with me. People with an insecure attachment style can be annoying. He strayed again, this time he got himself stuck in a rear light well the other side of the square and was not discovered for two nights. His absences made me long for him more.

Kevin loved it when we went to the country. We followed the Battersea code again of not letting him out alone until he knew where to come back and where his food was and all was good. Well, it was fine for me not so much for the local rodent population but I love Kevin so much that even watching him crunch up the heads of mice, upsetting though it is, is wonderful because I am in his presence. Those with an insecure attachment style can feel they are nothing without their love object. I overheard my husband telling someone, Philippas mental health depends on where the cat is. He was probably not projecting either.

My daughter had taken a weeks holiday to spend with me in the country. On the morning of her arrival Kevin had still not returned from a night out. We were supposed to be enjoying a time of picnics, bike rides and swims but here was I miserable and ruining my daughters break. She and I asked everyone within a miles radius but no one had seen him. There was only one house we did not visit because the owners were on holiday. They came back the day my daughter was leaving. When they opened their front door, a speedy Kevin shot out and came straight back home. He was remarkably fit after his week living off flies and toilet water but I was a wreck. Next time, I told myself, I wont worry: a difficult resolution to keep because when he sees an open door he shoots through it into anyones house, shed or car. I have a dread of supermarket delivery vans those are his favourite.

A year later, hes missing again in London. I go to the pub, they havent seen him. I trudge about calling him. Days pass, nothing. My entire life is Operation Kevin. We tweet about his disappearance and the London Evening Standard picks it up. Hes on the front page (slow news day); I do posters; house-to-house enquiries; leaflets through letterboxes. Eventually the phone rings. Kevin had been spotted, stuck on a flat roof by someone who had a leaflet put through her door who had not realised he was trapped. I wept with relief. On getting him home we saw he had a nasty bite on his tail and required antibiotics for that to heal. Keep him in for a week, said Dale, our vet. Music to my ears. I hoped Stockholm syndrome would make Kevin love me. Stockholm syndrome is where a hostage develops a bond with their captor. Humans are pack animals and naturally create attachments and they may do it with whoever is around even when that someone is holding them prisoner.

Perhaps Stockholm syndrome is relevant to cats as well. To some extent, it seems to work: I am the recipient of many friendly head butts and sitting-on-lap sessions during his captivity. Can I keep him in for ever? I asked Dale when it was time for a check-up. That would be cruel, I am told. He is a wild animal that chooses to live with you. So Mr Kinky Tail, aka Bonzo Boots, aka Kevin (one cat can attract a lot of names) once more roams free.

Since the flat-roof episode, he has been relatively good. It is not that he is a reformed character, he will still make a dash for any open door. But Im delighted because in the night it is me he chooses to wake up so that I can admire his latest kill; it is my feet he wants to practise his biting on, and its my lap he needs to stretch out his tube-like body on when he is soaking wet. I weaned myself off indifferent men in my 20s and found a loving one, but a cat I adore whose affection and approval I must work for is a force I cannot resist. Now if youll excuse me, I must get the chicken livers to room temperature in case he comes home for lunch.


Savage trade in underage and illegal puppies highlighted by UK charity

The Dog Trust has evidence of hundreds of designer dogs smuggled in appalling conditions into the UK from eastern Europe

Thousands of designer puppies are being smuggled into the UK every year as part of a 100m black market that could expand further because of pressure on border controls, a leading dog welfare charity has warned.

Dachshunds, chow-chows, pugs and French and English bulldogs are regularly being brought illegally into the UK from central and eastern Europe with falsified pet passport data and fake vaccination records boosting the risk of foreign canine diseases spreading to the UK dog population according to the charity Dogs Trust.

The puppies typically underage are transported in inhumane conditions in cars, vans and minibuses for thousands of miles to be sold via online adverts to unsuspecting consumers in the UK. The majority are brought from breeding farms in Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, smuggled into Britain via Eurotunnel shuttle trains (arriving in Folkestone) and ferries (arriving in Dover) in the small hours of the morning.

Figures from the Dogs Trust reveal that one in every 10 puppies smuggled into the UK will die within their first three weeks here. The charity first highlighted the influx of puppies from central and eastern Europe in 2014, following a relaxation of the rules of the then pet travel scheme in 2012 for the purposes of EU harmonisation. Over six months 382 illegally imported puppies were seized at Dover and Folkestone although no prosecutions ensued but the trust says this is the tip of the iceberg.

Since December 2015, the trust the UKs largest dog welfare charity, which cares for nearly 17,000 stray and abandoned dogs each year has also provided care and support for illegally imported puppies through their time in quarantine. The RSPCA is supporting the trusts new campaign launched on Thursday to make consumers aware of the issue.

Dogs Trust says its investigations have revealed the lack of resources available to the agencies based at the ports. It fears many puppies are entering the country only because there is not sufficient funding to provide adequate staffing at the ports or for the costs of quarantine.

Deciding to get a puppy is a huge responsibility that should not be a snap decision, said Runa Hanaghan, the charitys deputy veterinary director. Nobody would dream of buying one if they knew it would have to go through appalling conditions to get to them. The figures from our landmark quarantine pilot make for grim reading; around one in 10 smuggled puppies are at risk of dying within their first three weeks in the country and those that do survive have suffered terribly in the process of getting here.


You’ll Feel Nostalgic When You See What These People Just Made For Their Cats

Cats are finicky creatures. While most dogs just blindly love you and everything you do for them, cats prefer to be impressed. I personally appreciate anyone who keeps their standards high, so I have a soft spot for felines (and the fact that they’re stunning doesn’t exactly hurt).

These cat parents know a thing or two about that. When they decided that their feline friends needed a cat complex to keep them entertained, they brought their favorite video game to life. Avid lovers of the Mario Bros. franchise, they created something incredible for their favorite kitties.

If you remember running Mario through those iconic tubes as a kid, you’ll appreciate what they pulled off.

Using simple materials, they recreated everyone’s favorite pixelated obstacles, and they all came together to form the most incredible cat complex of all time.

The best part is that these portals are fully functional. They really aren’t messing around.

Each portion is made of extremely lightweight birchwood, and the soft fabric that’s sewn onto the pipes helps cats get a firm grip when they start climbing around. Safety first!

Their kitties loved it so much that they decided to produce it and sell it online!

(via BoredPanda)

If you’re looking to buy something special for your four-legged friend, be sure to head over to the Catastrophic Creations website! Cats love to play, and they love to lounge even more. These clever elements will help them do both safely.

For regular updates, follow Catastrophic Creations on Instagram!


Smashing Car Windows Is Now Legal In Florida To Save Pets

The drops of sweat evaporate instantly as they hit the police car’s hood, but with your cheek pressed against the metal, ears ringing and wrists sore from too-tight handcuffs, it’s the crunching of glass underfoot that you remember during sentencing. If only someone would give you a glass of water. A radio squawks something about backup. You just wanted to help. And now this.

Are you a Florida resident? If the above story sounds familiar, then you can finally breathe easy. Effective as of August, thanks to the “Unattended Persons and Animals in Motor Vehicles” House Bill 131, you will now be able to free unattended persons or animals from a locked car.

Here’s what you need to know. Be sure to:

-first check that the vehicle is locked;
-call 911 or law enforcement before entering the vehicle or immediately after doing so;
-use no more force than is necessary to break in;
-and remain with the person or animal until first-responders arrive.

Get ready to get cracking!