Blog Posts by Sarah D. Bunting

  • Na-meow-ste: yoga for pets

    The idea of pets doing yoga isn't that far-fetched; many of the poses take their names from animals, of course, and if you've ever spent even five minutes with a cat, you've seen them perform challenging stretches and inversions with ease. (If you've ever tried to do yoga in your living room with a cat, you also know that they can make it very difficult to empty the mind, or maintain a one-legged pose. But! Not impossible, as a recent viral video starring a sun-salutationing practitioner and her determinedly loving calico demonstrated.) There's a reason products like Rick Tillotson's Cat Yoga Postcards, or the Yoga Cat calendars, sell so well.

    And that reason is: they're funny...or so we thought. A handful of news items indicate that some animal-yoga devotees are totally serious about bringing the mind-body benefits of this ancient practice to their companion animals; not just cats, but dogs and horses, have gotten in on the (balancing) act. "Doga," already popular in Japan, has now

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  • GOP candidates in the doghouse: 6 must-click links

    Presidential hopeful Rick Perry, age 61. "Dogs and Presidential Candidates: Man's Best Friend Dominates the Race," The Daily Beast
    Leslie Bennett gives a snarky overview of the GOP hopefuls and the sometimes cynical, sometimes embarrassing pets stories that follow some of them around. Did you remember that Mitt Romney strapped his Irish Setter's carrier to the roof of the family car for a 12-hour road trip to Canada? Neither did we, but the Wall Street Journal did...

    2. WSJ asks for Romney's side of the Seamus story
    Asked to rebut charges that he's mean to dogs by the Wall Street Journal, Romney flailed a bit before an aide hurried to wrap up the Q&A. Watch the video at the link above.

    Elsewhere on Shine: Michele Bachmann ends her 2012 run

    3. Dogs Against Romney
    The dog PAC(k) (geddit) at DogsAgainstRomney.com haven't forgotten either; the blog tracks media mentions of the story and has renewed their anti-Romney campaign for the 2012 election.

    4. Pets With Newt
    Newt Gingrich seems to have fallen back in the GOP pack

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  • New Year's Pet-olutions

    Change is on everyone's mind at this time of year – as 2011 gives way to 2012, it's time to make resolutions. This year, you're really going to lose that last 10 pounds, drive down that debt, and get organized – right?

    We all have grand ambitions for every new year, but then a lot of us have trouble sticking with our new habits past, say, January 10th. Good news: if you have a pet, he can keep you motivated and help you meet those goals. How can you enlist your furry friend as a resolutions wingman?

    Losing weight
    The January 1st diet is probably the most common human resolution in the country, and a study released early in 2011 indicates that weight loss is a resolution we should make for our pets, too – a lot of them are overweight or obese, which shortens their lifespans and can cause painful health problems. Enlist your vet's help in examining your pet's diet and routine, and see if you can find ways to trim off the excess weight that can lead to joint problems and diabetes,

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  • 12 Days of Pet-mas: The last minute

    Don't beat yourself up -- waiting until the last minute to purchase those holiday gifts is a proud tradition.

    So is complaining about how expensive it is to own a pet, so a last-minute gift card to a pet-supplies retailer is seldom a bad idea for a pet lover. If you don't have time to stop by your local indie pet store, PetSmart and Petco, among others, offer e-cards for those Christmas-Eve "oops" shopping sprees. Just print out the gift certificate and tuck it into a stocking.

    Slideshow: Pet-related gifts to avoid at all costs

    You can also make a charitable donation online, in the name of a loved one and/or her pets. Pick an animal charity with meaning to the giftee, or one in her hometown; breed-rescue groups can always use your help, too. Even a few dollars is a thoughtful present that could help a lot of animals. (Check out our list of ways to help animals in need if you're stumped.)

    Shine contributors talk about their favorite Christmas memories with pets

    And what to get for the pets

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  • Most popular and kookiest pet names of 2011

    Petfinder has come out with their master list of 2011 pet names, including the most popular names for dogs and cats -- and extra categories for the weird ("Purr-etzle") and the celebrity-based ("Katy Purry"). Petfinder pulled both common and kooky names from their database, the largest one online of adoptable pets, and you won't see many surprises among the top names; "Buddy" held the top spot for dog names for the 5th year in a row, while "Lucy" took top honors among cats (and 4th place with dogs).

    Shine gets an exclusive sneak peek at VPI's list of most popular dog names

    Other names popular with both species: "Max" (2nd for dogs; 9th for cats); the possibly-Twilight-themed "Bella" (4th for dogs; 3rd for cats); "Daisy" (3rd for dogs; 7th for cats); "Charlie"; and "Molly." And it looks like the tradition of naming -- or letting the kids name -- black-and-white cats "Oreo" remains alive and well, with the name coming in 6th on the cat list. (Black cats made a slightly poorer showing,

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  • 12 Days of Pet-mas: The worst pet gifts

    A word of advice to those of you shopping for pet-lovers: pretend that they do not in fact love pets. Pretend that they do not own pets; pretend that they do not know what pets are. These people whom you love and care about enough to shop for them, they have other interests. They also have mothers who buy them gear with cats on it eeeeeevery yeeeeeear. So: consult their Amazon wishlists. Ask them what kind of movies or colognes they like. And unless they ask specifically for pet-related presents, don't go there. (Or stick to a gift certificate.)

    Otherwise, you risk ending up on the internet, the object of a scathing slideshow full of kitten sweatshirts -- and gosh darn it, you're better than that.

    And if you insist on buying a petsy gift? Please don't make it one of these. Please.

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  • State allows human burials in pet cemeteries

    Rhona Levy of the Bronx, NY got what she described as "sort of like an early Christmas present" -- the right to be interred with her beloved pets who have passed on. New York's state cemetery board has ruled that humans may now arrange for burial at Hartsdale Pet Cemetery and Crematorium, reversing a ruling from the summertime that prohibited the practice. The ban apparently had to do with the non-profit tax status of human cemeteries and memorial parks, but humans who had planned their post-lives to include the companionship of their pets protested. Now Hartsdale -- the nation's oldest and largest pet cemetery, with over 70,000 companion animals (and 700 humans) making it their final resting place -- can again allow owners to be laid to rest alongside beloved pets, as long as they do not advertise, or charge for, that service.

    Elsewhere on Shine: Pet loss -- 5 great books for kids

    Hartsdale, founded in 1896 by veterinarian Dr. Samuel Johnson, is no doubt a lovely facility, but we're not

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  • 12 Days of Pet-mas: Habitat

    The dog doesn't care what mat you put under her food and water bowls; she's too busy wolfing down kibble to notice. It's you who has to look at the mat, so why not get a clever one? Chiasso's Rodeo Pet Mat ($35; three colors) has a simple dog design in the center, and flares out in a bow-tie shape to accommodate bowls. It's made of vinyl, so it's easy to clean. (A more budget-friendly option: IKEA's Nackten bathmats. $2.99 a pop, and you can huck them into the washing machine. Stencil on a dog with a Sharpie first if you like.)

    But if nothing's too good for your furry baby in the bed department, I'd recommend the Divine Donut Pet Bed (Soft Surroundings; starts at $69.95 for an XS donut). Choose between a velvet bed (four colors, three patterns) or cotton twill in toile (two colors); the bed's cover is machine-washable. I would have asked Santa for a black toile version for my cats if I didn't know for a fact that they would rather sleep 1) next to it or 2) in a cardboard box.

    I think

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  • Fur Your Information: static-shock prevention

    Today we're joined by Steve Dale, certified pet-behavior consultant and author of "Good Dog: Practical Answers to Behavior Questions" and the upcoming companion volume "Good Cat." Steve's helping us manage the snap-crackle-pop of petting animals in cold, dry weather.

    Q: Now that it's wintertime, I keep "sparking" my cats whenever I pet them. Do you have any tips for pet-static-shock prevention at this time of year?

    "It's not so shocking – but the best thing you can do for your pets to decrease the odds of being shocked by static electricity in the house when you touch them, is the same as you can do for yourself so you don’t shock your spouse or kids. A humidifier can do the trick. It seems that’s the best solution.

    Mother Nature Network helps you build your pet first-aid kit

    If you have radiator heat – and covers over the radiator – place aluminum trays filled with water inside. Every few days, fill with more water. The little things add up, so when you take a hot shower, leave the

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  • 12 Days of Pet-mas: Art and decor

    When I say "pet-related art," what's the first thing you think of? It's "Dogs Playing Poker," isn't it? Of course it is. And that actually doesn't make a bad gag gift; it's also available in jigsaw-puzzle format ($14.99 from Newt's Games). Trivia alert: when you hear a reference to "the Coolidge Dogs" or "A Bold Bluff," that's the painting they mean. "A Bold Bluff" is the title and C.M. Coolidge is the artist. Thanks, internet!

    But you can find slightly more up-market art and decor that celebrates the animals in your life without going too kitsch. "Maggie" and "Oatmeal," a Lab and a Cavachon respectively, are made of recycled newspaper "fur" and wooden eyes and noses ($198, Olive & Cocoa).

    Can't spare the floor space? Pet blueprint wall art might be just the thing ($185, Uncommon Goods). It's got a vintage vibe; you can specify a dog OR cat breed -- or "American Mutt."

    For the more budget-minded, consider a poster from Andy Warhol's "Cats" series. They start at $7.99 on AllPosters.com,

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Pagination

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