I'll right folks, I'll admit it. I've gone a bit YouTube crazy. After I saw the last animal video I started binge watching and I got hooked on people with odd pets. Since my school mascot was the Buffalo, this next one really got me. :-) If you are bored, have a look!
In case you haven't seen this yet, you just gotta:
Growing up in West Texas meant that we could have a season of drought or a season in a flatland rain forest. Yes, I realize that seems like an oxymoron, but the point is: don't call me names.
One late Spring we'd been through weeks of bone-dry weather, but then the rains came. It was hot, but the rain kept coming. Birds were regular visitors to our yard since my Dad stuffed birdfeeders all the time. The rain really excited the birds, so for days we had sparrows and finches everywhere. The larger birds seemed weighted down by the wet weather after the initial burst, so we didn't see many of the usual pigeons and such. The cats was miserable, stuck inside, watching a buffet of bird meat just hanging out by the window. Then the rain stopped. The heat didn't stop, though, and the smaller birds were thrilled by the full feeders and sunshine. My mother let the cat out to enjoy the sun, knowing the cat had never managed to catch the quick flying prey.
I wandered over to the kitchen window in the late afternoon and felt a hint of terror. I could see feathers all over the yard. I wasn't sure what was going on, but this was only a few years after Hitchcock's "The Birds" had hit the theaters. I also saw the cat stalking about the yard, hackles up and eyes glowing. I stood watching. A sparrow took off from the top of the east food fencepost and flew across our yard, but something was off. The fat bird wasn't flying quite right. The next thing I knew, it literally flew into the west fence as though it didn't see the wood. I called out to my parents and headed to the backdoor.
I wasn't immediately sure from the feathers everywhere if the cat had already nailed a bird or two, but I hustled her inside anyway. The bird that had flown into the fence was stunned, but seemed to be uninjured. It was my mother who inspected the feeders and realized what was happening. After the disappearance of the bigger birds that usually ate up the food, the heavy rain and the hot sun - the leftover seed had fermented. My Dad had inadvertently been serving the birds the best bird hooch in Hale County. The birds were so buzzed (or downright drunk) that the cat had been happily prepared to hand out FWI tickets and invite the birds to dinner.
I was rather disappointed (along with the cat) when my parents went to work cleaning the feeders and disposing of the boozy bird feast. If we had left the wasted birds and cat, the carnage might have damaged my young mind, though. Then the thousands (17) readers who are here would be deprived of these posts. You can thank my parents!
So, up front, this is "product placement" or whatever you want to call it because I'm just popping in to mention a product and link to it, plus this will be an affiliate link. It's not an expensive product so this is not a get-rich scheme, I promise, feel free to search for it in your local store or google it yourself. I just want people to know about it because I think it's new and it REALLY helped us.
One of our cats is 8 and has always been a picky eater and fussy drinker. She'll only drink out of sinks or fountains and some days she barely eats. We use treats, squeeze cheese (this plain people stuff that our vet also uses) to get calories into her, but we worry about her. Then I found this Purina Fancy Broths:
Help for Picky Cats
I popped on the blog tonight JUST to post about this because our cat is going wild for it. We ordered it about a week ago and she started getting the pouches as treats once a day 3 days ago. I thought she'd go the usual route and love it once or twice and then turn her nose up. Didn't happen. Now we are giving it to her 3 times a day and she is still going. Just one thing - don't give it as their only food no matter what you have to do to get something else in them. It is considered a supplemental thing and it does not have taurine which I promise is necessary - a story I'll tell that story another time. Anyway, if you have a fussy cat (or maybe small dog) that seems to like liquid foods, please try this Broth.
Earlier today I was dragged into a trip to the dog park even though the cats and I were planning to stay home and play Far Cry 5. When you are married, sometimes you find out you have other plans. The dog park was free of people and other dogs, which was great, but the grass had just been watered. Not great.
The dog thought it was wonderful and she proceeded to roll in every single mud puddle that was already there, plus she created an extra puddle herself. I guess when you have a 4 month old HUGE standard size (the big one) puppy whose breed sounds so much like puddle, you should know what you are getting into.
By the time we got home, we were all muddy messes. I got the first shower. The hot water loosened up my sinuses so then I started to cough. I hate to cough. (This has to do with one of my mental illnesses, but we'll discuss that another time.) I tried to suppress coughing, which made me cough more. Somehow I managed to curl my tongue up toward the roof of my mouth in the attempts to prevent the coughing.
A Tongue Cramp?
The weird curve of my tongue apparently didn't feel right to my body. To date, I've had cramps like most people - in my calves and hamstrings and feet. I've had period cramps. I've even had a cramp in the muscles of my throat and I think that might have been related to mental illness too. This time, though, I felt the beginning of a stuck curvature in the tongue region and for a moment I panicked. I imagined a "charley horse" of the tongue with intense pain and more need to cough. (In actuality the weird feeling in my tongue made the coughing go away.) I imagined that my tongue would be so stuck that I wouldn't be able to explain to my wife that I needed an ambulance for a thung clamp. She wouldn't know what a thung clamp is! (Before you wonder about me having period cramps and a wife, yes, I'm of the tribe of the gays.) Anyway, it was quite a terrifying millisecond.
It passed so quickly that I doubted it. I thought perhaps my tongue never did cramp, but just felt weird, which could happen to me since I'm weird. If any readers have had tongue cramps, PLEASE comment. I need to know. I rushed to write about this phenomenon before the government can wipe it out of my brain. Enjoy!
Most new bloggers and those with affliate product sites find out quickly that traffic is the toughest part. The pet and animal niche is hot because so many of us love pets, animals, livestock and wildlife and we go hunting for sites about our favorite things. We want to read about them and get the t-shirt! (My closet is filled with t-shirts and hats with my favorite critters on them. Cats in space... Funny dog faces... You know the drill!)
Most of us enjoy shopping for pet- related items since it's fun, and even those of us who don't know that we have to buy the basics. We are as likely to buy through an affiliate link on a site as anywhere, especially if we see a new product or pet store coupon code. That means good things for all of us that blog about pets - our version of the "Mommy" blog - but when we have a new site or even an aged site that isn't going anywhere, we need links on other sites that lead back to us (backlinks.) So, the Real Be Yourself site needs them and can also provide them to others!
If you want the easiest route to getting the kind of traffic that Google loves, having a guest post on other sites is the natural way to do it. You can contact me here to talk about building a guest-posting relationship, but if you just want to cut to the chase right now and send me a post or have me write one with your name on it, you can purchase a guest post with back link through this October 2018 offer (expires mid-October):
As I've mentioned before, my parents bought a pet store when I was a kid. I think they expected it to be hard work, fun, and an exciting way to see people happy with buying pets and stuff. From what they say today, they found it to be much harder than hard work, a nearly 24/7 job, and much crazier than anticipated. People were happy to come and hold puppies, kittens and talking parrots. Not all of those people bought anything. The ones that did were sometimes demanding and fussy.
Gerbils were a popular pet for kids and many people came in to purchase a gerbil, hamster or another small pet as a first animal for a child. (Check out the video below to see a little girl demonstrating taming gerbils.) Not everything went that smoothly...
Quite a number of parents thought that their children would find a gerbil an easy pet. Once a day feeding and watering should be pretty simple. Parents didn't always realize that children have little concept of time and that there are other icky tasks like cleaning up pee-soaked wood shavings and poop-filled food dishes. Some parents were back in the store within a day or two because they found the gerbil deceased and wanted to replace it before the child found out. Other parents were back demanding to know why the gerbil died and insisting that our gerbils were sick and should be able to live for three or four days without attention. (Sigh...)
We often had to go for a run to purchase more hamsters and gerbils since those were popular and sold out quickly. The store was open from morning until evening 6 days a week and the animals had to be fed multiple times a day, so that left mostly nights free. My parents would sometimes bundle me into the back of our station wagon with a sleeping bag at bedtime and we would go on a nighttime jaunt to pick up animals or supplies at 7AM and be back at the store as soon as possible. There was one employee/friend who would open the shop but couldn't run it on her own for very long.
One night we picked up gerbils from a private breeder in a rural area about two hours away. The gerbils were in small cardboard boxes and those were stacked in a large Styrofoam box at about 9PM. I was asleep while my Dad took a "shortcut" on dirt roads to get back before midnight. I was in a sleeping bag and the box of fun (gerbils) was in the back of the station wagon.
I was rudely awakened by my mother screaming "Cow!!" Impact was next. I don't recall everything that happened, but I do remember the jolt when car and cow made impact. I remember the sound of the rear wagon door coming open and the horrible crunch of Styrofoam hitting the dirt road behind the car.
My mother was asking if the cow was already, my Dad was screaming about the dents in the car and I realized gerbils were beginning to creep out of the broken box in the road. I hollered at my parents and we all began to grab for rodents in the dark. We managed to catch most of the escapees and patch the box up, though we were all emotional and upset about the poor creatures.
The old station wagon still drove fine and I guess the cow got away just missing some hair, so we rattled up to the pet store at about one in the morning. My Dad carried the taped-up box of gerbils to the room where the cages were. I went to help him check the gerbils and I was really worried if any had been hurt or might be missing.
At first count we seemed to have too many gerbils, though all seemed to be unscathed. Then we realized that one critter was a little bigger than the others and had some funny light colored strips in the coat. It was surprisingly gentle, perhaps due to sheer terror, so I placed it gently in a gerbil cage and studied it. My Mom came in to take a look. It seemed that we had inadvertently added some sort of little chipmunk-type thing to the box during our midnight road scramble. None of us were quite sure what to do with it, but my Dad and I took the cage out to the car and drove out to a cornfield. There was an abundance of food and water sources there, so we figured it was the best shot for the confused little guy. It probably fared better than the cow!
"my mother screaming 'Cow!!'"
Just to clear this up, this was the article i originally had scheduled for today, but when an issue came up with a big sale on a product I wasn't certain of, I decided to release that post first just in case I didn't have time to get to this one. Now that I do have time, I've been doing some marketing copy for a client about amino acid supplements and I decided to put up some info I learned during research. Enjoy if interested, and I'll try to get to some more fun stories either later tonight or in the next few days.
Nutrition is important for all animals but especially important in working horses. Working horses burn energy in performing their duties, whether they are racehorses, cow horses, or hunter jumpers. Energy requirements in these animals can be two to three times that of a horse at pasture.
Three main nutrient groups provide energy to the body. These groups are proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. While it is important to have a balance of all three nutrients in the diet, today we will talk about protein.
Proteins are complex structures made up of building blocks called amino acids. There are twenty-two different amino acids that combine in different chain lengths and orders to create a plethora of proteins. If it helps, just think of each amino acid like a letter of the alphabet. With the 26 letters of the English alphabet, we can create an endless variety of words. These amino acid chains are too large to be absorbed intact by the digestive tract, so enzymes break dietary protein into the amino acids for absorption.
Once they have been absorbed by the body, the amino acids can be combined to make a multitude of proteins to support body functions. Just a few of the uses for protein in the body are cell membranes, muscle fibers and a component of chemical signals throughout the body, such as hormones. Amino acids can be classified as essential or nonessential. Essential amino acids cannot be synthesized in sufficient amounts by the body, and therefore must be in the diet in order to prevent deficiencies. If a sufficient amount of an amino acid is not available, another amino acid cannot be substituted to make the proteins the body needs. This is why having a high quality balanced diet is important so that ample amounts of the essential amino acids are available for bodily functions.
Deficiencies of nutrients can appear as many different symptoms. Because hair is composed of protein, often deficient animals will have a rough, dull haircoat. This is completely different than the shaggy winter coat that animals grow during the fall. Another common sign of protein deficiencies is poor hoof quality, with the hoof wall being brittle and prone to cracking.
Working horses often have more muscle definition than nonworking horses, and protein is needed to build those additional muscle cells that allow peak performance. A quality feed will contain not only adequate amounts of protein but also carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Not all feeds are equal, and even the same type of hay that is harvested during a different time in the season will contain different amounts of nutrients. For example, more mature plants harvested later in the season will have a large quantity of fiber, but fewer vitamins and minerals than a younger plant grown in the same conditions. If you have questions about the foodstuffs you are using, you can contact your local agricultural extension agent to have a feed analysis performed. This will help you determine if any supplementation is necessary. Don’t be afraid to consult professionals to make sure that your working horse is getting the most suitable diet possible so that their performance will be the best it can be.
Today a friend told me he had heard that ecollars could be used in a proper way, but the ones they were told try try were expensive. He handed me a collar he got for a big discount and it is discounted. I'll provide a link here and it is an affiliate link, in the interest of fairness. However, I'm going to say up front that I personally would not buy this particular collar. It's called a Petrainer Shock collar which might tell you something up front and there may be a reason it's on sale at such a low price. The biggest issue I have with it is that the description is somewhat vague about how it works. I wonder if the promo code that is being pushed is to make quick sales before people realize that it isn't like a normal e-collar. I don't know for sure, but because it's a big promotional item right now, I want the word out.
I do believe in using many different tools to train dogs. That does include certain collars that use a technology that sends a vibration or sometimes an Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation at a very low level. This stimulation is delivered at a level that tingles very softly at minimum and contracts a muscle in a massage-like way at maximum. A good ecollar when used at low levels simply puts a tiny amount of pressure on a dog which gives the dog a signal that you want it to listen to a command. Some dogs need higher levels due to thick fur and some just need the smallest feeling or even just the vibration. (Subdermal or transcutaneous nerve stimulation is used by physical therapists to sooth sore muscles or help heal injuries. A "shock" is totally different, like what is given to cattle by an electrical fence and is unnecessary for dog training.)
A collar like the Ecollar Mini Educator is used by some of the most humane (and best) trainers and dog-training YouTube influencers. I'll do a whole topic on the training methods and some of my favorite videos later on. In the meantime, though, I wanted to say that even if you can buy a "shock" collar for a very low price, I very sincerely believe that it's worth the price to get a proper tool that delivers a light stimulation over something else. Otherwise, you don't really need the ecollar anyway, as there are plenty of other training methods that work great and I've used many of them myself since before they had good ecollars on the market. Give it some thought before you buy!
One last thing in case this is not clear. I've provided links to two training collars, and I do believe one (by ecollar - see image below) is a useful tool for some trainers. I do not believe that a ecollar is right for every dog or dog owner, and I do not think one is necessary for great dog training. Feel free to agree or disagree respectfully in the comments, I'd love to hear your thoughts on ecollars and the two collars I've mentioned here. Thanks for reading!
A Humane Training Tool
There are a couple of things I wanted to share with readers today and I picked now because of a promo code offer. I usually only share affiliate links when I writing on a topic that just relates to that item, but I got two things myself on Amazon this week. They just arrived and me and the dumb dog are happy with them, so I decided to share.
I've shared before that we currently have a standard poodle puppy. She's growing VERY fast and has big dog teeth coming in. My vet doesn't like rawhide and neither do I, but I've been giving her these meat-based chewies called Oinkies and she loves them. The problem is that I've been buying the tender ones for puppies and now she just eats those like they are a small piece of chicken or a cat. I needed to get something bigger but she hates most of the things I have tried, like plastic bones or the spare tire from my car.
We've been spending a lot of time in the yard to wear off the energy, so I ordered some things that are still Oinkies but are larger and for bigger dogs. Ripley LOVES them (see pic at the bottom) and they take her a good hour or two to get through. I also found a coupon code for some outdoor lighting and it's so cute. So, I'm sharing both with you guys. (If you order here I get a small cut and you get the coupon discount if you order the lights. I appreciate it, but if you are uncomfortable with buying here you can order directly on Amazon.) The Oinkies can be found here, or you can get the tender ones for smaller dogs here. The lights are so fun too and they are portable for camping and have a remote:
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