Posts Tagged ‘animals’

Out of the Mouths of Babes - Meow 101

Friday, July 17th, 2009

Gus Gus and Willow Berman ("Husband and Wife"). Kitten is hiding.

At Dinner one of my girls was speaking in a strange made-up language. When I asked her what she was doing, she said:

“I’m speaking “cat english” so our cats can understand me better.”  - Sakura, age 7

You and your little one will have a blast when you join this group of adorable toddlers as they explore the farmyard. Come along on their delightful and joyful journey as they try to discover just which animal says ”boo.” ”Does a pig say boo? Oh, no! A pig says oink! And a pig goes grunt as it sqwuffles in the mud. Oink, oink! Grunt, grunt!” Could it be the cow? The dog? How about the horse or the mouse?

You’ll be smiling right along with the children and the animals as you moo, whoo, buzz, and cheep your way to the surprise at the end when the mystery is revealed and you find out that it is you who says ”boo”!

Review by Tina Elliott

Drama Trauma Flower Essence for Pets - 4th of July & Beyond

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

Who wants a quiet 4th of July? Do thunderstorms frighten your pets?  Going on summer vacation with your pets? Does Your Pet Need a Little Extra Help?

Just like people, some animals suffer from anxiety, depression, fear, and panic attacks. Although our pets can’t talk to us, we don’t have to be psychic to know when something is going on with them. Now, there is help for them when they sometimes so desperately need it.

Flower essences are remedies that work on a subtle energy level, much in the same, rather mysterious way that aromatherapy or homeopathy works. Hard to explain, but powerful nonetheless. They were developed in the 1930s and have been used for generations with people to help ease moments of tremendous shock, fear, or trauma. Now we can bring that same help to our animals thanks to Meg Harrison. A horse trainer for 20 years, Meg discovered the value of flower essences when she saw unexpected progress after giving essences to ”damaged” horses. Fast forward to today, and Meg is at the forefront of this modality, with animal care specialists and behaviorists, shelters, and Best Friends Sanctuary asking for her blends by name. Dogs, cats, horses, birds — virtually any creature can benefit from the appropriate flower essence blend.

Drama-Trauma is especially good for cats, but works for other animals as well. Use this blend if your pet suffers from anxiety, fear/panic, stress, inattentiveness, and if he/she has drama queen tendencies. This blend eases the ride on life’s rollercoaster and is very similar to the Rescue® Remedy blend sold for people.

Made especially for animals, these flower essences have proven to help soothe, comfort, encourage focus, and generally enhance the emotional well-being of your furry, feathery, or scaly pal. Packaged in a handy spray bottle, each blend can be administered by adding it to the water bowl (it is ok if other pets share the water bowl), spraying directly onto the animal, or by spraying your hands, then petting the animal. Please use the bottle within 3 months after opening.

Review by Ann Ruethling

Available on our sister site, Isabella: Drama Trauma Flower Essence for Pets.

Product Photo Review - Cozy Cat Hot Water Bottle

Saturday, April 4th, 2009

This nice letter and oh-so-cute photo was sent in to us by one of our treasured Chinaberry customers.

Prevent a Litter: Fix Your Critter

Friday, March 20th, 2009


This morning my 3 cats watched with anticipation as I filled their food bowls. Today is the 1-year anniversary of the day Stanley, my 2-year-old dog, found the litter of kittens with their mother in the bushes in my backyard.

That morning I was in the house when I heard Stanley barking in the yard.  It was his “there is an animal that doesn’t belong in the yard” bark.  A momma cat had evidently moved her litter of 3 kittens into a box in the bushes. The stray momma cat has since been spayed, the 3 kittens, Dominic, Harvey, and Fluffy, have been neutered, micro-chipped, and now live with me.

My intention was to foster them and find them good homes. I tried for months, with ads in the paper, signs around town, etc., but there were no takers. The shelters were overflowing, and I could not bring myself to turn them into animal control. Of course they are now “my boys,” and you could not take them from me if you tried. This is, however, a reminder of the importance of spaying and neutering.

Each spring animal shelters all over the country fill up quickly due to the number of cats and kittens that are turned in.  The Humane Society of the United States estimates that each year approximately 2 million cats and kittens are brought into shelters. Approximately 70% of these relinquished kitties are euthanized each year. Since most do not have ID collars or microchips, their owners cannot be located. The cats that do not make it into a shelter become strays. An un-spayed female cat, her mate, and all of their offspring can produce 11,000 kittens in just 5 years!

The solution to the cat over-population problem is simple. It begins with every cat owner being responsible enough to get their cats fixed. This is just as important for indoor-only cats.  No one can guarantee that the cat will never make a break for it and make it outside where they will encounter un-fixed cats.There are also many behavioral and health benefits to spaying and neutering.

There aren’t enough homes for them all. Please spay and neuter your pets and encourage your friends and family to do the same.

Product Photo Review - Dear Zoo

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009
“Our grandson loves his books from Chinaberry. My daughter-in-law took a picture of our son reading Dear Zoo to him. He is totally captivated by it. What a treasure.” — BM, via email

Is there a Chinaberry book, toy, craft, etc. that a child in your life loves? If so, email us with a short review and photo or video.

Introducing Stanley

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

Stanley was born under a pile of construction rubble in Mexico on Dec 6, 2006.

Sadly, one week later he became an orphan.  Through an honest gringa mistake at the border crossing, the wrong word for “puppy” in Spanish was used when describing what was in the box. “CUCHARA,” the Spanish word for spoon, is awfully similar to the Spanish word for puppy, “CACHORRO.” The litter of 9 “spoons” made it through customs and back to San Diego.  Ann, Chinaberry’s founder, brought the little ones to work with her the next day as they needed to be bottle fed every few hours. That is when I met Stanley for the first time. The litter was about 2 weeks old at this point.  Unfortunately, they were not thriving.   A sad Christmas Eve was spent in the emergency veterinary clinic. Only one puppy was diagnosed to have any chance of surviving, and that he did.

Stanley’s first few months of life here in San Diego were spent being schlepped back and forth to work with me every day along with a dog pen, pee pads, puppy formula, bottles, clean blankets, washcloths, and towels.  As the months progressed, toys were added to the trunk full of supplies.

Stanley is now over 2 years old and quite a character. I keep waiting for him to grow out of his puppy stage and wonder if he ever will. One of his favorite places to visit is Chinaberry.  He can hardly contain himself when we pull into the parking lot. His excitement runneth over as he systematically visits all of his friends in various parts of the building.

His constant canine companion is a 4-year-old shepherd mix named Stella, along with 4 cats (three of the cats are brothers from a litter that I fostered last year). If you have an idea what Stanley’s breed is let me know!

Who knew that a life begun under a pile of rubble in Mexico would end up bringing such joy to so many people.

A Home for Cats

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

If you’re a cat-lover like I am, you just have to check out this video of a great cats’ house, created by home owner Bob Walker.

You can also “visit” The Cats’ House own website: www.thecatshouse.com.

Wild and Wintry - Searching for Animals During Wintertime

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

The following excerpt is taken from I Love Dirt by Jennifer Ward.

Cold winters are certainly a bit quieter than the summertime, regarding what’s out and about. It’s a less active time for many species that adapt to cold temperatures by seeking shelter or migrating to warmer climates. However, it’s not a completely vacant time in nature. Many animals remain active throughout the winter, even in the coldest temperatures. You need only look and see.

Have your children search for animals that are present in the wintertime, such as cardinals, owls, deer, squirrels, blue jays, nuthatches, chickadees, titmice, bunnies, foxes, and so on. Even though you may not see an animal, chances are you’ll see evidence that it has been around. The lack of foliage on trees makes spying a bit easier, however, and animals leave tracks and trails though the snow. Chances are you’ll have great luck finding wintry wildlife.

Look for evidence with your children, be it in your backyard, at a park, or throughout your neighborhood:

  • Food caches, such as seeds and nuts. Look but don’t touch. Animals hid these food stores specifically to help them survive the winter, when less food is available.
  • Chew marks. Many animals will nibble and eat bark from trees, since leaves are sparse. If you’re near a natural water source, beavers are probably burrowed in their dens, but chances are you can find evidence of their existence from chewed branches and logs.
  • Tunnels and burrows in the snow.
  • Sounds. Can you hear birdcalls? Squirrel chatter? A coyote’s howl?

Keep a journal of your discoveries, and use a sketchbook to render what you see.

Henry the Three-Legged Cat Helps Sick Children and Wounded Veterans

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

Henry, the Three Legged Cat

Henry, the Three-Legged Cat

I ran across this inspiring article about our favorite three-legged cat, Henry. I hope you enjoy it as well.

Henry the three-legged cat’s ‘Just Me Project’ extends his healing paw to children and wounded veterans

San Diego Pets: A Lifestyle Magazine for Pet Lovers
DECEMBER 2008–JANUARY 2009
By Nicole Sours Larson

A homeless mountain kitten, Henry was taken in by a family staying with Cathy Conheim and Donna Brooks at their Julian home after the family was burnt out by the Cedar Fire. When he showed up with a dangerously dangling left front leg and needed an emergency amputation, no one would have imagined the transformative effect he would have on so many lives.

Conheim and Brooks, confirmed dog lovers, had not planned to adopt Henry, but he came into their lives at a time of great loss and grief. Henry, like many pets, filled an unrealized void. Kind-hearted animal lovers, rather than euthanize the trusting kitten they chose to pay for Henry’s life-saving surgery and promised to find him an indoor home. Henry rapidly wormed his way into their respect and affections and inspired them to publish his story to benefit other injured and disadvantaged animals. Now, having raised more than $50,000 in four years through sales of his books and other publications to support animals and animal welfare organizations, Henry has become spokescat for a new crusade, partnering with his poodle sister, Dollydog.

Henry’s Just Me Project taps into the powerful human animal bond to extend the three-legged cat’s healing message of overcoming obstacles to help both ailing children and their siblings as well as wounded war veterans and their families.

Conheim, a psychotherapist and Henry’s “cat scribe,” and Brooks, a retired physician, thought they disliked, even hated, cats until Henry took over their lives. The La Jolla residents began to comprehend the power of Henry’s story once they received an overwhelming response to Conheim’s initial email sent to 20 of their friends detailing the indomitable kitten’s tale of survival and triumph. That email boomeranged around the world. (more…)

This is for the Birds: A Midwinter Tree

Friday, December 26th, 2008

Making a feast tree for the birds and small woodland animals that live by our home has always been one of my children’s most treasured holiday activities. They love the whole process—making the food, decorating the tree and then watching through the kitchen window as the little animals eat their treats. We usually make our tree for the birds out of our own Christmas tree after we have dismantled it, but most any tree will do. We drag it outside to a sheltered spot in the backyard where we can unobtrusively observe the animals’ doings and then decorate it with all kinds of yummy bird and squirrel treats. This is a fun activity that preschoolers manage with ease. In case you are interested in trying this out for yourself, here are a few ideas on how to decorate your tree.

  • Strings of Popcorn—All you need to make this welcome delicacy is plenty of freshly popped corn (omit the butter and salt) and a needle and thread for each person. Knot the thread and then carefully push the needle through the popcorn. Some young children have trouble making these, as the popcorn needs to be threaded with a light touch or it tends to crumble. You’ll have to judge your child’s dexterity level. Some enjoy this activity greatly; others find making popcorn strands tedious. Our family has found that if we appoint one person to read aloud and have the rest of the family stringing, our popcorn strings grow much longer with much less effort. We have tried stringing cranberries but the animals in our area, anyway, don’t seem to care for them.
  • Peanut Butter Pinecones—This treat is always the first to be eaten by the birds at our house. They’re simple to make and a big hit with the preschool crowd. Be forewarned, these can be a bit messy to make but are always worth the effort. You’ll need pinecones (most any kind will do, the more open the better), string, peanut butter, birdseed and sunflower seeds. To begin, knot a string loop on the cone so it is easy to hang the finished product on the tree. Next, mix the seeds together and pour them into a shallow pan (a pie pan or a small roasting pan will both work well). Slather pinecones with peanut butter, using a knife or your fingers to gently push the peanut butter into the cracks. I tend to assign this task to the oldest child, if she is willing, since it is the messiest and small children have trouble getting enough peanut butter on the cone. If there are no older children available, an adult might want to do this. And last, roll the cone in the seeds, trying to get as many seeds as possible onto the peanut butter. (Many two-year-olds are fabulous at this messy task!) It should look like one big blob of seeds when you are done.
  • Fruit Strands—Slice apples and oranges in rounds and string like the popcorn.
  • Suet Balls—For this nutritious tidbit, ask the butcher for suet. You will need to have a few empty paper egg cartons on hand, as well as some birdseed and a bit of yarn or string. To begin, melt the suet over low heat (be very careful with the hot fat and young children). Add in an equal amount of birdseed and stir. Gently stir the suet-birdseed mixture as you pour it into the egg holes in the egg carton. Make a loop of yarn or string and place it into the melted suet mixture. (This is a great job for three- or four-year-olds.) When the suet cools, the yarn will become the handle with which you hang the suet on the tree. Some people like to add some peanut butter to this mixture for extra nutrition. Allow the suet to harden and then gently peel away the egg carton to hang the suet balls on the tree.
  • Once you have gathered enough goodies to decorate your tree, make it an event. (For inspiration read Night Tree by Eve Bunting. After you decorate your tree, don’t forget the ground-feeding birds. Leave a few peanut butter pinecones and some extra birdseed on the ground for them to nibble, too.