Captain's Cabin

Pirate Lord of the Platinum Coast
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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Pop culture main reason Calif has Chihuahua crisis

I have write about this before, but from the Associated Press:

LOS ANGELES – California has more Chihuahuas than it can handle, and it has Hollywood to blame.

There are so many Chihuahuas at shelters in Oakland, they have started shipping the dogs out of state, said Megan Webb, director of Oakland Animal Services. They have sent about 100 to Washington, Oregon and Arizona, she said, "and as soon as they get them, they are ready for new ones."

Chihuahuas make up 30 percent or more of the dog populations at many California shelters. And experts say pop culture is to blame, with fans immitating Chihuahua-toting celebrities like Paris Hilton and Miley Cyrus, then abandoning the dogs.

The problem appears to be specific to California — shelters elsewhere would love to share the wealth, said Gail Buchwald, senior vice president overseeing the ASPCA adoption center in New York City.

"We never have enough supply for the huge consumer demand for small dogs," she said.

One of Webb's biggest problems is a lack of money to fly the dogs to other states. Buchwald said she would be happy to help.

"Nothing is outside the realm of possibility here. We have a supply-demand isssue," she said.

Chihuahuas are the most popular breed of dog in Los Angeles, so it makes sense it is the most abandoned breed, said Madeline Bernstein, president of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles. In Oakland, some days, they get 10 of the 5-pound dogs a day, Webb said.

The problem is so bad that shelters all over California that were built for big dogs had to remodel to accommodate the little guys.

Among the reasons for the glut is the breed's popularity in movies like "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" and as celebrity pets, said Dave Frangipane, senior coordinator for Chihuahua Rescue of Beverly Hills. A cute puppy can grow up to have adult health problems or become protective and aggressive.

There are less glamorous reasons, too, like the high vet bills Chihuahuas can bring. And the biggest spikes in California Chihuahua populations are probably due to puppy mills and backyard breeders, Buchwald and Frangipane said.

Chihuahas are cute, but vulnerable, Frangipane said. "People think nothing of kicking a small, yappy dog. And they can be abused by people of all sizes. A toddler can snap a Chihuahua's leg in a second," he said.

On a side note, my bean is going to see the doktor to day to see if and when they can fix her leg. She has been very sick and have something wrong with one of her leg, she has hard time walking. Please purr for her to get better soon.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

8 Wonderful Holly Day Cat-ditions

Get me outta this mess

Do you have favorite holly day traditions you celebrate with your humans? Many of us do. Cats are an important part of the family and many of us are included in holly day plans. In some cases, cats are an integral part of the holly day.

I'd like to share some holly day traditions with you and even learn about some of your favorite traditions so that we can share them with other cats that are developing their own traditions.

1.Hang Cat Stockings. Why not? If your human has a stocking, you should too. Many of the cats I know have stocking each year that are proudly displayed in their homes. Most pet stores sell some adorable designs.

2.Go See Santa. How about a photo of you and your human with Santa? This also makes a great holly day card. This works with cats that do well with going out.

3.Blessing of the Animals. Find out if there is a local event in your area. Check your local paper or pet store bulletin board.

4.Make Some Cat Treats. Help your humans make some cat treats! You get to snoopervise and be master sampler as well. Make extras to share with your cat friends.

5.Quiet Time. Spend a little quiet time with your human. Even an evening when you helping to decorate the tree or just listen to some holly day music is often a welcome time for you to enjoy your human's company.

6.Bandana. Some cats like to be dressed (most don't) but most will tolerate a simple holly day bandana. How about dressing up with a special holly day-themed bandana?

7.Plan Something Special. A very sweet tradition for many Cats is to do something nice for people that have been nice to you. That may be sending a special card or buy a small gift with your mouse money.

8.A Little Eggnog. Maybe while your human is enjoying some wonderful holly day eggnog, you can be treated to some cat-approved creamer. There are different manufactures of products such as "CatSip".

And don't forget to look under the tree on Christmas Day, especially if you have been a good cat as Santa Claws will leave a present for you!

Now it's time for your holly day tradition. Please leave a comment and let me know if you have any holly day traditions you like to share with your humans!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Myth Monday - The Candy Cane


A candy cane is a hard cane-shaped candy stick. It is traditionally white with red stripes and flavored with peppermint or cinnamon (also known respectively as a peppermint stick or cinnamon stick); however, it is also made in a variety of other flavors and may be decorated with stripes of different colors and thicknesses. The candy cane is a traditional candy surrounding the Christmas holiday, particularly in the Western world, although it is possible to find them throughout the year.

In its early form, the candy cane began as a simple white stick of sugar for children to enjoy - there was no "cane" shape or stripes to speak of. While it is uncertain where the first canes originated, it is clear that by the mid-17th century, if not earlier, its use had already become widespread across Europe. These sticks were made by confectioners who had to pull, cut, twist, and (in later years) bend the sugar sticks by hand, making it a time-intensive process. Candy cane production had to be done locally, since they were easily damaged and vulnerable to moisture. The labor and lack of storage combined to make these candies relatively hard to get, although popular.

The cane shape

The distinctive "hook" shape associated with candy canes is traditionally credited to a choirmaster at Cologne Cathedral in Germany, who, legend has it, in 1670 bent straight candy sticks into canes to represent a shepherd's crook, and gave them to children at church services. The shepherd's staff is often used in Christianity as a metaphor for The Good Shepherd Jesus Christ. It is also possible that, as people decorated their Yule trees with food, the bent candy cane was invented as a functional solution.

(There is a modern allegorical tradition that reinterprets the candy cane's shape as a "J", standing for Jesus Christ. The stripes are said to represent his sacrifice, with the red being blood, and the white being purity. However, there does not seem to be any historical information to support any claim that the cane was originally made with this allegory in mind.)

Christmas usage

In Europe, candy canes were used to decorate Yule trees along with other items of food. In North America, the first documented example of the use of candy canes to celebrate Christmas occurred in 1847, when a German-Swedish immigrant by the name of August Imgard hung the candy canes from the branches of a Christmas tree. Christmas cards from the following decades show Christmas trees decorated with candy canes, first white canes, then striped ones in the 20th century. This then spread to the rest of the continent, where it continues to remain a popular Christmas tradition.

Candy canes are primarily used as a decoration for Christmas trees. This is done by using the "hook" shape of the candy cane to hang them on branches of the Christmas tree. A single tree can have many candy canes.

Red stripes and peppermint flavor

The stripes are made similar in fashion to a barber's pole, with the red stripes twisting around the white stick of sugar. These signature stripes did not become part of the candy cane until the 20th century. It is uncertain who first started using the stripes, but evidence of their use only appears after the turn of the century. At around this time, candy makers began using peppermint as a flavor.[12]

Mass production

Bob's Candies was the first company to successfully mass-produce and distribute candy canes while preserving their freshness. Lt. Bob McCormack began making candy canes as special Christmas treats in the 1920s. That decade also saw the company's use of cellophane as a wrapping to keep moisture from damaging the candies, and by the 1950s, they were using a candy cane machine invented by his brother-in-law Gregory Keller to mass-produce them. These two inventions made it feasible to mass produce, ship, and distribute candy canes. The following years saw further refinements in packaging and design to protect the candies from being broken, making it more practical to store them and ship them for longer periods of time.

Candy Canes are a seasonal treat for human children. They should not be given to Cats or Dogs or other companion animals as they can splinter easily and stick in a windpipe, causing aphexiation and death. They only sort of Candy Cane you should get for the Holly Days is the ones that have cat nips in them!