Easter bunnies are a lifetime commitment

April 20, 2014 by Samantha Ricketts
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To some, Easter means the end of Lent. To others, coloring and hunting for eggs. To me, it’s a chance to see my pet everywhere.

Not him, specifically, but his species.

He’s a bunny. And his name is Jacques.


All my life, I’ve had various rodents and the like for pets. My dad is allergic to cats, and my mom just didn’t want a dog to mess up her house. So my options were confined to caged animals. I’ve had guinea pigs, rats, mice, hamsters, gerbils and bunnies. I’d recommend some more than others. Guinea pigs and rats are great. Hamsters, not really.

I’d love to own all the pets in the world. But for now, I’m content with just my bunny.

He’s the perfect pet.

He doesn’t make any noise, so I can keep him in my apartment without any problems. He also doesn’t make any messes, except in his cage. And that just needs cleaned once a week. He doesn’t eat or drink much, and is content with just a wooden box to jump on, a blanket to dig in and a paper towel roll to play with. Mine is a unique bunny in that he doesn’t enjoy carrots or other vegetables, but he snacks on a few select treats from the pet store.

But bunnies are not for everyone.

If you’re thinking about getting a bunny for Easter, make sure you’re ready for a commitment. They live for 8 to 12 years and have strong personalities. Be prepared to play with them daily. They like attention and they need a good-sized area to run and jump. Although they don’t need baths, you’ll need to cut their nails every few weeks, or take them somewhere to do so. You’ll also need a stockpile of newspaper and bedding to line the cage, as well as rabbit food, treats and toys.

They don’t cost as much as a dog or cat, but they require the same amount of love. Please don’t buy one as a cute addition to your Easter basket just to turn it in to the animal shelter in a few weeks.

Stuffed toys are for baskets; animals are for life.


Reading Up on Pet Food

April 15, 2014 by Dana Smook
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What type of food does your pet eat? Do you know what’s really in that food?

In 2013, the news story every dog owner was talking about involved tainted jerky treats, which sickened nearly 3,600 dogs and killed hundreds. A newer article from the Washington Post brings up those bad memories again, saying the FDA is still trying to “nail down what might be behind the illnesses.”

Our furry children are our family, and many Americans are thinking harder about what they’re feeding their families, moving toward less processed, more organic options. So of course there are many questions surrounding the kibble our pets eat. Do all store bought pet foods provide the same nutritional value? How can we be sure the food we buy is safe? Should we go with dry or wet foods? You want to choose the very best nutrition for your pet at a price you can afford.

At Kanawha County Public Library, requests for books about pet nutrition and health are increasing. If you’re like me, you find the food aisles at your favorite pet store overwhelming, and maybe you are struggling to understand the choices there. Here are some resources that you can trust to help you navigate food choices for your dog or cat.

Online Resources

The Chemistry of Kibble,” by Mary Roach, featured in Popular Science.
While this article won’t help you choose a brand or type of food, it is an engaging peek into the pet food industry, written by a favorite author of nonfiction readers.

FDA and Pet Food” (Online video).
This is a video from the FDA which discusses roles the agency plays in regulating the manufacture of pet foods. The information is a little dry, but if you’re wondering just how much oversight there is over your pet’s food, this may answer some of your questions.

Choosing the right pet food” by Dr. Cynthia Maro, featured in the Ellwood City Ledger.
Here’s the short and sweet: what to look for in a pet food, from a veterinarian, written for the layman.

Books Available at Kanawha County Public Library

Pet Food Politics: The Chihuahua in the Coal Mine, by Marion Nestle
In 2007, reports of sick animals led to a massive recall of pet food. The “trail of tainted pet food ingredients” led officials to sources that involved human food supply. This expose highlights connections between pet food and human food manufacturing and identifies gaps in international food safety oversight.

Feed Your Pet Right, by Marion Nestle
Nutritionist Marion Nestle, author of Pet Food Politics and What to Eat, teamed up with veterinarian Malden Nesheim to create this guide on selecting healthy food for pets. The authors shine light on industry practices and marketing tricks to help pet owners objectively evaluate pet food labels and nutritional quality.

Healthy Homemade Pet Food Cookbook, by Barbara Taylor-Laino
Not satisfied with commercially available foods? Frightened by the massive contamination scares of the last decade? This book includes recipes for feeding pets at every stage of life, including snacks and treats and suggestions for supplementing store bought pet food with homemade.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats, by Liz Palika
You might scoff at the “Complete Idiot’s Guide” series, but these are excellent, highly researched reference books. This one is no different. While this book covers a range of topics, there is special focus on food and nutrition. You’ll find lots of excellent information here on how food can affect your pet’s health.

Adoption event at Green’s Feed and Seed

April 10, 2014 by Brad McElhinny
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The Boone Animal Rescue Coalition will have an adoption event/hot dog sale from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Green’s Feed and Seed, 319 Piedmont Road. There will be several adoptable dogs there as well as a hot dog sale complete with homemade chili and slaw, chips, drinks, baked goods and homemade candy.

All proceeds benefit the homeless dogs of Boone County in the care of BARC, a West Virginia-based rescue organization focused on eliminating euthanasia at the Boone County dog pound.

For information or if anyone is interested in fostering a pet, call 304-389-8009 or email barc_wv@yahoo.com.

Mom and Daughter Labs Need A Furever Home

April 2, 2014 by Brad White
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STELLA , the mom (bottom photo, is a 2-3 year old lab/mix), and Lucy, the daughter (top photo), are loving, well-trained dogs currently being fostered in Charleston, WV, and need a loving home. Kind hearted Lynn Ugland said, “they came to us malnourished and abused.” Stella has since gained more than 14 pounds and is healthy and Lucyhappy. Lucy is a frisky 50 pounds.

They have received all of their shots, have been spayed and are house broken. They are great with other dogs, love kids and are very obedient, loyal Stelladogs.

Throughout their ordeal, Stella and Lucy have become very close and it would be ideal if they could be adopted as a pair. Having a handful of dogs myself, a couple more makes a home all the merrier. All the these adorable creatures want is to love and be loved. Lynn says they will make wonderful additions to any loving family.

For more information, you can contact Lynn: email – Ldugland@aol.com or call 304-546-5966.

Please spread the word and make these sweet animals and a prospective family very happy.

Why my dog is better than a boyfriend

April 1, 2014 by kelseythomas
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Recently, my brother and I got a new dog.

Meet Ruthie.  She’s a 6-year-old Shiba Inu and a retired show dog.  She came with a shiny piece of paper showing off national championship titles, and that makes me prouder than it should.

Just look at how cute she is.


Clearly, I’m obsessed. I love showing her off to my friends.  I talk to her in public — like, legitimate conversations about dinner and the news and the weather — and I don’t even care. I secretly don’t even mind the strange looks I get from passersby when she gets so stubborn on walks that I have to sling her over my shoulder and carry her home, straight up wounded-soldier-style (that happens more often than you’d think).

Yep. It’s true. I am deeply, madly in love with someone I’ve only known two months. Ruthie’s got the boys beat, and here’s why she makes me happier than any boyfriend ever could.

1. She knows when I’m sad, AND she doesn’t ignore it. Tears are Kryptonite to boys. I’ve witnessed a guy pretend to be asleep so as not to address the tears on his lady. ASLEEP! I kid you not! Ruthie would never do such a thing.  In fact, I think she’d awake from a slumber just to lick the tears off my face.

2. The later I am, the more excited she is to see me. She never asks where I’ve been or who was there.  Even if she’s close to peeing her non-existent pants, she holds no grudge.

3. In theory, Ruthie is trainable (we’re still working on that one).  If you tell a boy to do something, he’s probably going to do the exact opposite.

4. I am completely in charge of my pet’s appearance.  If I see a neon pink bow-toe I think she’d look good in, I’ll just slap that baby right on. Hair’s getting a little shabby? Eh, I’ll take a couple inches off here aaaaand… here.  If a boy shows up to meet my parents with a mullet and hole-y boyband jeans, well, I’m just out of luck.

5. I never have to worry she’s going to leave me for another, more beautiful human.  I could send her to dinner with Jake Gyllenhaal, Brad Pitt AND Robert Pattinson, and she’d still prance home to me and my commoner lifestyle.

6. There’s no such thing as too clingy. I could Photoshop her head into kissy photos all day long, and she wouldn’t even mention that things were probably getting out of hand.

7. She never calls me out for bad habits.  I can leave stuff all over the floor and she’ll never say a word– in fact, she quite enjoys the occasional orphaned sock.

8. When she hogs the bed, I say “Hey! EVERYONE! Look how cute she is in my bed,” and then continue to accommodate her position, even if that forces me to compromise mine.  I don’t care if I’m pulling fur off my pillows for days — but if a human dare drop a crumb in my bed… now that’s another story.


Kanawha Shelter full and will offer adoption discount

March 20, 2014 by Brad McElhinny
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The Kanawha-Charleston Humane Association animal shelter in Charleston reached its capacity for animals yesterday, and will offer a discount on adoption fees through Sunday.
All animals at the shelter will have 50 percent take off the price of their respective adoption fees.
The shelter has tried to avoid euthanasia for space reasons, and has not conducted a euthanasia for that reason since Sept. 1.
Photo albums of cats and dogs at the shelter are available on the humane association’s Facebook page.

Puppy Found in Longridge Area of South Hills

March 20, 2014 by Brad White
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Good four-legged Samaritan, Caroline Copenhaver found this sweet young boy over on Longridge, no tags. Just a pup, under 6 months. Looks like a Yellow Lab mix. He’s very calm and needs a furever home and Caroline would prefer not to take him to the shelter.

lewispupIf interested, please call Caroline – 304-382-3383.

Lost Puppy Near Charleston Tennis Club

March 18, 2014 by Brad White
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Jeff Wong’s puppy ran away from home near Charleston Tennis Club on Sunday evening. He answers to Sammy and has tags. You can contact the Wongs at 304-542-4235 if you have any information about Sammy. Please spread the word and help the Wong family.sammy

What should Charley and Ginny name their new cartoon cat?

February 28, 2014 by Brad McElhinny
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This year, the Charleston Daily Mail is celebrating its 100th anniversary. And one way the newspaper likes to celebrate is to bestow a new animal upon the household of Charley West and his long-suffering wife Ginny, the illustrated punsters who comment on each day’s news.

Love on Four Legs

February 14, 2014 by
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Sadie's little gift for her Dad, but the saying also describes her.

Sadie’s little gift for her Dad, but the saying also describes her.


This is the day set aside for love. Florists are going crazy getting flowers delivered in the winter weather. Restaurants are overbooking reservations for romantic dinners and jewelry stores have a million different kinds of diamond heart necklaces. However much I love my boyfriend, it’s my dog Sadie that taught me the real meaning of love and to her I owe a deep appreciation on any day that celebrates it.

Sadie came into my life expecting nothing. I brought her home not even knowing why I went and got a puppy, but that simple act has turned out to be the most important decision I ever made in my life. It didn’t take any time at all to fall in love with her and realize…this is puppy loves me just for me. That is a confirmation of my own worth that I don’t get from many people.

Sadie won’t be looking for a present today even though she’ll be getting some special heart shaped treats. She didn’t drop any hints about a new rhinestone collar or fancy outfit. Through all the good and tough times in my life, she is there as a constant source of comfort, encouragement, and inspiration with her good nature and unconditional love for me.

Early on in my life together with Sadie, someone gave me a copy of the Ten Commandments for Dog Parents. One stood out and that one I have made my mission to follow as Sadie and I share our lives together:

 “Please limit your time away from me. You have your work, your friends. I have only you.”

  That simple sentence said it all to me. She needed me and I had come to need her so very much. No matter what you give your dog this Valentine’s Day; please make a pact with yourself to give her the gift of time. Shut the TV off and make time to play with your dog. Get out the brush and brush her coat…it feels good to her and it’s a bonding time. Learn how to cook a good meal you can share with your dog and make sure your get regular veterinary care to keep her healthy. Take your dog with you everywhere possible. Sadie loves going places and I’m much happier with her at my side.


I have no reservations for dinner, but the three of us will celebrate this day of love just by being together. I’m lucky…Sadie loves the man I love and she loves him. Include your dog in your Valentine’s celebration even if it’s just bringing her something home from you dinner at a restaurant.  Spend the evening together and give her some extra belly scratches or a small gift. And if your sweetie gets you some chocolate candy, make sure it is completly out of reach for your dog. Chocolate might be a great sign of romance for people, but for dogs it’s deadly.

Through it all, Sadie and I are a pack of two and that is a very good thing to celebrate not just Valentine’s Day, but every day. Happy Valentine’s Day to you and that special four-legged soul mate you cherish.