Cutting out the plastic bags

bags.jpgThis is a great link to a site that illustrates the importance of cutting back the use of plastic bags globally. Great photos and quick facts – worth sharing this link with others! According to this piece, China will save 37 million barrels of oil this year due to their ban of free plastic bags. When you visit the link, the scroll bar is alongside the pictures. Pass it along! Here’s an FAQ about Portland’s plastic bag ban We hope other cities will do the same!

Check out the Fremont Fest Pet Parade!

blueasgladiator2.jpgWhat fun we had this year at the 4th annual Fremont Fest Pet Parade! More than 40 dogs attended, many of whom were in costume. The Fremont Fest Parade is made up of a firetruck, a few hundred kids on decorated bikes, some old cars, and of course the Green Dog Pet Parade! Another treat was that one of our customers organized a whole group of people with Boston Terriers into a drill team – matching outfits (human and dog) and worked out a little routine that they performed a number of times along the way.
Check out some of the photos in our photo gallery!

A tip on getting your cats to drink more water

drinking_water_cat.gif Cats often do not drink enough water to stay as hydrated as they should be. This is because cats in the wild would get a lot of moisture from eating raw prey, but cats in our homes who are fed dry kibble are not getting that valuable hydration from their food. (Please see the blog entry about the value of feeding raw food, especially to cats) Kidneys are organs that are especially vulnerable to disease in cats, and they need that extra hydration to help them and their urinary tracts healthy, especially as they age. Canned food can actually go a long way towards helping them stay hydrated, especially if you add a few tablespoons of warm water to soup it up (kitties that like gravy like this, and it helps to make wet food that’s coming out of the fridge seem fresher). However, it would be good to get them to drink more on their own. Many cats like to drink from faucets. I know there are many folks out there that leave a little water running in the bathroom, just for the cats to drink. This is of course very wasteful. For those cats, please consider a drinking fountain for pets that recirculates and filters the water.
Another nifty tip is one that we stumbled upon entirely by accident. One day Mike was drinking water from a glass down in our basement TV room, and the kitty suddenly was very interested in what was in the glass. So, he showed it to her and she clearly wanted some – he put it down on the floor for her to check out. She drank about half the glass. We ended up refilling it and leaving it on the floor in the basement where it was, and every day she drinks quite a bit from that glass. I had been trying to get her to drink more (she’s about 20 years old, so I want her to drink), and though I thought is was silly, I figured “whatever works!”
The other day, our employee Julie was telling a customer that she had read that cats tend to drink better if you move their water glass away from their food, and it had worked really well for her cat. Brilliant! I was so interested to hear that this wasn’t just a quirky little thing unique to my very quirky cat, but something that might help other cats to drink more as well. I have also read that cats drink better from glass bowls than from metal (and plastic can sometimes be the source of skin irritation for cats around the mouth). If you’re looking to get your cats to drink more, get a glass or ceramic bowl and put it in another area of the house than where the food bowls are, and let me know if you find that this works for your cats as well. Have any other tips for getting your cat (or dog) to drink more? I’d love to hear them in the comments!
PS: check out this funny cat video of a cat drinking in a very silly way

Blue has a nightmare

One of our customers has a dog named Blue that runs in his sleep. I wonder how he gets any rest at all! His people made a funny video of him as if he was having a nightmare about wearing a funny Halloween costume.


Talking Kitties

Have you seen this yet? Insanely cute video of happy kitties vocalizing:


And here’s a clever translation:


Perhaps a Little Activism on Earth Day??

aluminumcans.jpgI just took a flight out to the east coast to visit friends and my folks. I was fairly shocked to realize that none of the 3 airlines I was on recycled their aluminum cans. It may seem like a little thing to worry about, but according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, about 780 million people took a flight in 2007. In looking around the plane, it seemed that about 75% of passengers used an aluminum can. When they come around to collect trash, it would be super easy to have two bags instead of one. The end result would be the same volume of refuse, but the can bags could be easily sent to recycling. The key to this equation, I believe, is that the airlines could be making money from this practice. I know that there are plenty of recycling companies that buy aluminum in large quantities, and will even pick them up. In these days of collapsing airlines due to financial constraints, wouldn’t it just make sense to be looking for ways to stretch their dollar? Couldn’t they also be using this practice as a PR move, showing us they’re getting in on the Green movement?

So, during this Earth Day week, perhaps we can get involved in a little green activism by writing to a few of the airlines and telling them they should come out of the dark ages and get with the program. Recycling aluminum cans seems basic, easy and money-making. Let them know!!

E-mail Delta

E-mail United

Write to Southwest
Southwest Airlines
P.O. Box 36647 – 1CR
Dallas, Texas 75235-1647

e-mail US Air

Fun Aluminum Facts:

Aluminum can be recycled an infinite number of times

The energy you save by recycling one aluminum can could power your TV for 3 hours.

40 aluminum cans equals the amount of energy of 1 gallon of gas.

The energy saved by recycling one ton of aluminum is equal to about the amount of electricity your house uses in 10 years.

If each consumer recycled on more aluminum can per week this would equal about 15 billion cans.

Now’s your chance to fight fleas through the whole season without chemicals!

flea-1.jpgIf you have pets that come in contact with your lawn, Beneficial Nematodes are an excellent weapon to use against fleas and their larvae. These Nematodes are microscopic and live below the soil surface. They like a moist environment, so our warm wet springs are a perfect time to apply them. As flea larvae emerge, they are eaten by hungry nematodes. Nematodes do not harm worms, birds, plants or the environment, in fact they are part of the environment and are found the world over.
Beneficial Nematodes are sold live on sponges that can be stored under refrigeration for a week or two before use. A few gallons of water is used as a carrying agent. This concentrate can be applied through a pump sprayer or with the use of a watering can.
Nematodes are available at local nurseries – I spoke to the nice folks at Portland Nursery for tips about applying in our region. The best time to apply them to fight fleas here in the Northwest is when the soil temp is over 50 degrees. Applying in late April or early May would be the perfect time to expose the emerging flea larvae to their nematode predators. Nematodes need moisture to establish themselves, so watering the lawn well before application is useful, as well as watering them in after applying. One sponge has about 11 million beneficial nematodes, which will cover about 1000 sq ft., and costs about $14- $16 dollars. Soak the sponge in a bucket of water to activate the nematodes, then put a cup or so in a watering can and fill up the can with water. there’s no real formula – you want to make your bucket of nematodes spread evenly around the yard one watering can at a time. You can use a clean pump sprayer for this as well, but if any chemicals have been in the sprayer, they will affect the nematodes. They will thrive as long as there are larvae to eat, but when there is no more prey, they die out. Some people reapply a few times during flea season to make sure they’re covering their bases.