Tag Archives: pets

How to get rid of that Smelly Dog smell.

18 Mar

My Golden Retriever asked me to pet her. But her hair is getting long and greasy. Her toenails click on the wood floor. Her breath is bad. She is smelly. I don’t want to pet her.

I thought, Well, whose fault is that? Is it her fault? Can she go turn on the bathwater? Can she brush her teeth? Can she trim her toenails?

Of course, it’s my fault. So this is to remind myself to take better care of this old girl who waits for me to come home from work every day and who is thrilled to play frisbee or get the leash and go for a walk.

Here she is after an indoor bath this winter.

Here she is after an indoor bath this winter.

An outdoor bath is easier and actually fun, especially on a hot summer day.

Start with the basic supplies. A pool of warm water. Shampoo, a brush, nail trimmers, a bag for hair, cotton balls for the ears and scissors.

Start with the basic supplies. A pool of warm water. Shampoo, a brush, nail trimmers, a bag for hair, cotton balls for the ears and scissors.

 

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We put dog hair around some plants to repel rabbits.

 

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I use these old nail trimmers. There are other designs available now.

 

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After trimming under the paws she won’t slide around on our wood floor.

 Use dog toothpaste.

Use dog toothpaste.

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Take off her collar and wash it at the same time. Don’t put it back on until the collar and the dog are dry.

Shampoo.

Shampoo.

Rinse with fresh water, then a big shake.

Rinse with fresh water, then a big shake.

While she is wet it's the best time to use a cotton ball to wipe out her ears. She loves it!

While she is wet it’s the best time to use a cotton ball to wipe out her ears. She loves it!

Everybody loves a clean dog!

Everybody loves a clean dog…

...especially me!

…especially me!

Wild animal pictures!

3 Dec

OK so these are not Wild Animal pictures, but they are close!

They are pictures of our cats because…EVERYONE loves cats.

No wait, that’s not right. Cat owners love cats. Lots of other people HATE cats.

I happen to think owning a cat is incredible. A domesticated animal that retains a streak of wildness. I love my dog the most, but the truth is dogs have become soft and dependent. Cats are still cunning and…wait a minute. One of my cats weighs 20 pounds. He’s a big, fat lazy slob of a cat. I have no idea what I’m talking about here.

Here are some cat pictures.

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Hard to tell what this is? A black cat contorting himself to drink from a faucet. A dog will drink from the toilet bowl.

Hard to tell what this is? A black cat contorting himself to drink from the faucet. A dog will drink from the toilet bowl.

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Hey what about me???? Woof.

Hey what about me???? Woof.

Get into shape. Buy a fish tank!

9 May

We’ve all seen those articles that claim having a fish tank is good for our mental well-being. The serenity, the calm, the interaction with nature.

What a load of CRAP!

Having a fish tank means always having something to worry about. Diseases like fin rot, and fungus, and especially ICH. Fish that fight, fish that devour their own babies!! Tanks that leak, heaters that stick in the ON position and COOK your fish.  $20 fish that jump out of your $500 tank. The kids putting cookies in the tank.

This hobby is a nightmare, and if you sit in front of the tank eating cookies or drinking beer it also ruins your physical health. My blood pressure goes up every time I see a fish!

I can’t help you with the mental stress of owning a fish tank but I do have some ways to improve your physical fitness.

First, don’t just sit there and stare at your fish like a zombie.  Place your dusty old exercise bike in front of the aquarium. Start out nice and easy. Soon, your legs will get stronger, your stamina will improve and you may actually go outside and ride a real bike someday.

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While you are on the exercise bike, you can ponder your aquarium and it’s inhabitants. You’ll think of ways to hook the bike up to your fish tank lights. Free energy!  Don’t hook the bike up to the air pumps, your fish shouldn’t depend on your lazy butt just to breathe.

To build strength, do a lot of water changes in your tank. Every week, drain out 20 percent of the water and refill it with clean fresh water. Don’t use some fancy-schmantzy automatic water changing device. Just use buckets of water and a short hose. The further you are from the drain, the better.

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A bucket of water weighs about 35 pounds. Don’t forget to alternate your bucket-lifting arm. You don’t want to start walking lop-sided. For those of you who want a more intense workout, carry the bucket outdoors and water your plants and trees. The best water for houseplants comes from your aquarium.

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Eventually, you may attempt a feat of Olympian strength that is known to fishkeepers world-wide.  This “event” requires you to remove a newly acquired 55  gallon (approx. 210 liter) aquarium from the backseat of your car, wrap your arms around it, lean against the back door of your home, quietly open the…dammit, the keys are in your pocket! Hunch down, support the tank on your knees, fish (ha ha, a pun) into your pants for the house-key. Now, QUIETLY, stealthily, tiptoe into the house, and quickly, like a cat, carry the tank into the basement. Even though you have the urge to gasp and groan, remain silent. If your spouse calls from another room  you must calmly reply, using short words like “Yes!” and “Fine!”.

Then, very importantly,  hide the tank! The best way to hide an aquarium is to tuck it BEHIND other unused fish tanks. Camouflage, as it were. This step may involve moving several tanks, buckets, wooden and/or metal stands. Once this is accomplished, you can collapse into a chair or onto the floor.

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It is recommended that you start practicing this phrase immediately:

“That big tank behind there? I’ve ALWAYS had that tank!”

 

Random thoughts, a post for those of us with no attention span whatsoever

1 May
My son gave me some candy called a Swedish Fish. Yummy! Are they made in Sweden?

My son gave me some candy called a Swedish Fish. Yummy! In America the Swedish Fish are made in Canada 😦

Treat your fish once in awhile. Here's a bowl of peas, brine shrimp and cocktail shrimp.

Treat your fish once in awhile. Here’s a bowl of peas, brine shrimp and cocktail shrimp.

Her'es an extra piece of pond liner that I gave to a friend who might make a pond this year...or next.

Here’s an extra piece of pond liner that I gave to a friend who might make a pond this year…or next.

My wife and i lined this planter with strips of pond liner. The planter dries out too fast. Water can drain out between the strips but hopefully not too fast.

My wife and I lined this planter with strips of pond liner. The planter always dries out too fast. Now, water can drain between the strips but hopefully not too fast.

All done, waiting for Spring!

All done, waiting for Spring!

A few weeks ago, the last bit of snow in the yard.

A few weeks ago, the last bit of snow in the yard.

Spring comes, then it snows again.

Spring comes, then it snows again.

...so feed the birds!!

…so feed the birds!!

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Finally the rains came, and the ponds filled with worms!! i have netted hundreds of worms form the pond. Great fish food, especially for Catfish and Cichlids. If you poison your yard, don't feed the worms to your fish.

Finally the rains came, and the ponds filled with worms!! I have netted hundreds of worms from the pond. Great fish food, especially for Catfish and Cichlids. If you poison your yard, don’t feed the worms to your fish.

Our Golden Retriever hears someone has just gotten home.

Our Golden Retriever hears someone outside.

A few warm days and we think Spring is finally here. We have been fooled 4 or 5 times so far.

A few warm days and we think Spring is finally here. We have been fooled 4 or 5 times.

The Chinese Curly Willow has made it through Winter!!

The Chinese Curly Willow has made it through Winter!!

Too much Caulerpa in the Saltwater tank.

Too much Caulerpa in the Saltwater tank.

I took some to a fish auction.

I took some to a fish auction.

I bought afish tank at the auction, and some plants but my favorite purchase was astack of this magazine from 1969 to 1971. Practical Fishkeeping!!

I bought a fish tank at the auction, and some plants, but my favorite purchase was a stack of this magazine from 1969 to 1971. Practical Fishkeeping!!

Winter is returning tonight , for the fifth time this Spring. My brother sent me this pic of the turtles in Missouri. But it will be cold down there, too. A strange year so far.

Winter is returning tonight, for the fifth time this Spring. My brother sent me this pic of the turtles in Missouri. But it’s getting  cold down there, too. A strange year so far.

A view of Red Swordtails and young Angelfish from above.

A view of Red Swordtails and young Angelfish from above.

A Spring salad today and the snow is coming again.

A Spring salad today and the snow is coming again.

This old girl, who I've had for 23 years , enjoyed the day as well.

This old girl, who I’ve had for 23 years , enjoyed the day as well.

More fun and freebies at the Fish Club

21 Mar

This is coming from a person who never joins ANYTHING!

JOIN YOUR LOCAL FISH CLUB!!!

I went to our fish club meeting last week. I joined 3 months ago so it was the third meeting I had ever attended.

I bagged 12 bags of assorted aquarium plants to sell at the meeting. I had saltwater Caulerpa, freshwater Java Moss, Hornwort, and Water Lettuce.

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There weren’t too many people at the meeting, only a dozen or so. They quickly snapped up the plants for a dollar or two per bag and I donated that to the fish club. Like I always say, I am in this hobby to lose money.

Earlier in the meeting there was a presentation on how to set-up a tank for a fish show. Every year, this fish club holds an aquarium show on Easter weekend at a city-owned greenhouse. I’m not displaying a tank there this year. I am a chicken, simple as that, but next year, look out!! I have some big ideas!!!

Two members brought in four Dwarf Red Gularis and those sold for $1 each. I’m sure those beautiful fish are worth much more but I knew nothing about them and I have tried to abide by the rule not to buy a fish until I know how to properly care for it.

Just to show you how pretty a Dwarf Red Gularis is, here is a picture I stole off the Internet:

Insanely beautiful fish. If only I had an empty tank!!!

Insanely beautiful fish. If only I had an empty tank!!!

Then, a fun part of every meeting is called Mystery Fish. Clues are given about a fish that is hidden in a bag. The clues start out vague and then get more specific until someone guesses what the fish is. The winner gets to keep the fish. At this meeting, a cute little Pearlscale Goldfish was the prize.

Finally, the raffle!!! I spent 2 bucks and got 6 tickets. Would I win anything this time???

The first number gets called and…It’s me!!!

Over 5 ounces of fish food! Great for Angels, Firemouths, and the catfish love it too!

Over 5 ounces of fish food! Great for Angels, Firemouths, and the catfish love it too!

A few minutes later, me again!!

A sponge filter. I love these! Very efficient design.

A sponge filter. I love these! Very efficient design.

Then, I had a third ticket number called!

Once the fish food was off the raffle table, I grabbed this water dechorinator.

Once the fish food was off the raffle table, I grabbed this water dechorinator.

I’m not especially lucky, I think nearly everyone at the meeting won 2 or 3 prizes.

On top of all that, there was a 12 oz. sample of this product given to every club member:

Start Smart Complete is live bacteria that allows you to add fish to a brand-new aquarium without waiting weeks for the tank to go through it's natural bacteria cycle.

Start Smart Complete is live bacteria that allows you to add fish to a brand-new aquarium without waiting weeks for the tank to go through it’s natural bacteria cycle.

You know that TV show “Tanked” where those weirdos set up crazy expensive fish tanks? They set up the tank and throw the fish right in. How can they do that?? I bet they use this Start Smart Complete or something like it.

This Spring I will try it in my outdoor 30 gallon pond. I’ll clean the pond , fill it up, dechlorinate it, add the Start Smart, and put in the fish.  I’ll be adding Velvet Red Swordtails and Marigold Variatus Platies.

I feel lucky to have discovered the fun of joining a fish club. The people at this club probably know twice as much as I do about fish but they don’t show off their knowledge , they want to share it. I bet most fish clubs are like that. Try it!

ICH!!! Why the aquarium hobby is dying! LISTEN PetCo and Petsmart!

9 Mar

All hobbies peak and then ebb in popularity. The aquarium hobby was most popular in the 1970’s. There were a number of tropical fish stores in our town. Now, only three. A PetCo, a Petsmart, and one family -owned store.

I propose two main reasons for the decline of fish-keeping as a hobby.

The main reason is the same one that kids don’t ride bikes, play “Army” or go explore the local creek.

Computers. Simple as that. Computers, cell-phones that do everything, gigantic TV’s with fantastic game systems. Here’s a picture of my son playing a basketball game on our new TV:

No competition I'm afraid.

No competition I’m afraid.

The second reason is ICH! The disease, the little white spots all over your fish. The parasite.

Most stores do not quarantine their fish before sale. Most stores do not have employees who can quickly recognize sick fish. Many stores keep these sick fish in tanks that are inter-connected with the healthy fish.

You just can’t win. I have bought Ich-infested fish 3 times in the past 18 months. A single Angelfish purchased at Petsmart infected all the Angelfish I had at the time. A group of four Tiger Barbs purchased at PetCo caused a mass die-off in my most populated community tank. I had quarantined them for two weeks.

Healthy Red Swordtails.

Healthy Red Swordtails.

Most recently, I bought 4 Black Phantom Tetras at Petsmart. I put them in a 10-gallon tank with some Corydoras and Red Swordtails. The tetras quickly became covered in Ich. After treatment all four were dead. The fish I owned all survived.

Red Swords with Photo-shopped Ich.

Red Swords with Photo-shopped Ich.

So, imagine a new fish owner. He or she is all excited about this new hobby. Buys a brand-new tank, socks a few hundred dollars into filters and food and water-testing supplies. Eventually spends another 50 dollars on fish.

The odds are some of those fish are diseased, and the most likely culprit is Ich. The fishkeeper buys medication, most of the fish die anyway, the enthusiasm is gone, and the tank goes in the garage or up for sale on Craigslist.

I just can’t believe that, in 2013, the fish we buy can’t be entirely rid of Ich. I’m telling you, Petsmart and PetCo, you might be making money selling a few replacement fish and the medication to cure Ich, but you are ruining potential life-long hobbyists by the THOUSANDS. Figure it out!

I don’t have time for a fish tank! (yes you do)

21 Jan

A fish tank takes very little time to maintain.  I’ve been sick this past week and haven’t done anything to my tanks except to turn the lights on and off and feed my fish. All of the tanks look great! The glass is clean.  The water is clear.

Daily chores are simple. Turn on the lights, feed the fish 2 or 3 times. Shut off the lights. Of course, you want to have some general awareness about the water temperature and overall health of the fish, but you will be watching your fish so that is easy to do.

Let’s do some monthly maintenance on one of my fish tanks:

This tank is about 35 gallons. It’s full of very active healthy fish. It also has a big clump of Java Moss and a large population of small snails.

It will take me longer to write this post than to spiff up this tank.

This tank has an outside filter.  I change the filter pad or just take out and wash the old one. One filter pad can last several months.

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The water level is already down a little bit so I can reach in and scrub the glass. I think this is an old piece of indoor/outdoor carpeting!

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Here’s one of the biggest snails in my tanks.  The SECRET to my tanks is two things. LIVE PLANTS and SNAILS!

I don;t have any Mystery Snails or Aplle Snails. I like the little Pond Snails. When they start to overpopulate I squish them and the fish eat them.

I don’t have any Mystery Snails or Apple Snails. I like the little Pond Snails. When they start to overpopulate I squish them and the fish eat them.

I keep a bucket or two of de-chlorinated water ready to go.

I siphon out about 20 percent of the tank’s water. I do this right after I scrub the glass.

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I keep my thumb ready to stop the water flow in case a fish gets too close to the other end.

I keep my thumb ready to stop the water flow in case a fish gets too close to the other end.

If your heater clips the the side of the tank don't drain the water down too far.

If your heater clips to the side of the tank don’t drain the water down too far.

I lightly scrubbed the heater tube.

I lightly scrubbed the heater tube.

DSCF5387You can see I do things the old-fashioned way. I have heard about a better way to change water without lugging buckets around. It’s a product called a Python.

So I went to the Petstore and bought a Python. I hate to say it but it didn’t help at all.

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I refilled the tank. After a few hours the water cleared up.

Cleaning the tank took half an hour.

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