If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.
--Paul McCartney, singer-songwriter, composer, poet, and activist (1942- )
If some evening you spot a squirrel who looks hurt . . . or if some other small wild animal appears to be injured, you can help. The Mercer County Wildlife Center is open 365 days a year, and its hours for receiving patients vary: summer, 9 am-6 pm; winter, 9 am-4 pm daily.
If you miss those hours, (1) use gloves to place the animal in a box in a warm, quiet place away from pets and children, (2) don’t handle the animal, and (3) don’t try to feed or force water.
The center’s phone number is 609-303-0552, and it’s at 1748 River Road, Hopewell Township (mailing address = Lambertville). The Wildlife Center is the last item under “Facilities” at MercerCountyParks.org.
Changing times & dog houses
When two “women of a certain age” recently talked about pet dogs when they were growing up, one remembered only dogs who lived outside, in dog houses. That was the norm.
These days, the notion of “dog houses” is archaic, even cruel. Today’s dogs typically live in the home, often sleeping on their people’s beds. And still other “luxuries” abound.
No wonder then, that a Dodo story about a rescued puppy in Brazil who shared her cozy blanket with a stray dog, drew numereous comments – not about the pup’s generous act, but the fact that Lana lives outside her adoptive family’s home, in a dog house.
Not the “cat’s meow,” but “the cat’s whiskers”
The story appeared in the “Wellness” section of the NYTimes, which sometimes features news and views about pets as well as people. It easily caught my attention because of the cat connection – then the concern about cats’ whiskers that has led to new food bowl designs.
Pretend you have sensitive whiskers that stick out from your face three or more inches in each direction. Then imagine having to eat by sticking your face into a narrow, deep bowl with sides that would rub against those whiskers. Finally, picture yourself reaching into the bowl to pull out food instead, or getting grouchy or just giving up.
That’s called “whisker fatigue,” the dilemma some cats are thought to face when their info-gathering whiskers are tampered with by . . . a bowl! The solution: bowls designed with whiskers in mind: shallow, with no rim or sides to brush against whiskers. Mealtime becomes happy time again.
(Note to readers who may have or know a cat with food issues that suggest whisker fatigue: I have two of the "Dr. Catsby” bowls described in the article. They’re free to the first two responders here.)
Deep in dog days
Does anyone doubt we’re deep in the dog days of summer right now? Think hot, sultry, fevered kind of weather that promotes lethargy – a good reason for those dreamy images of lounging under a tree, reading.
The name “Dog days” alludes to the “dog star” Sirius, part of the Canis Major, or Large Dog constellation, which at this time of year rises near the same time as the sun in this hemisphere. Depending on your info source, dog days run from July 3-August 11 or July 24-August 24. We’ll soon find out.
abattoir (AHB-a-twar) From French. Slaughterhouse; butchery. A place where animals are killed for their meat.