Monthly Archives: December 2013

Every Other Day Cat- Sits Are NOT An Option When Hiring Professional Pet Sitting Services.

Scoop The Poop!

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Pepper Grayson

This is Pepper Grayson, my gray tabby. As independent as Peppie is, I would never leave him alone for more than a day. I know others may say they would but let’s address some of those consequences.

One of the best things about being a professional pet sitter is the connection many of us share. Not only are we able to celebrate each other’s successes but we are able to share the lessons learned from the failures as well. Just this past week , one of my fellow professional pet sitters fosters cats along with her pets. After coming home late from pet sitting other’s pets , she noticed the foster cat was acting unusual and ill. It turned out the cat was extremely ill, he had an obstructed bowel. The cat is still in the hospital today. Some may say how often does that happen. More…

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5 Poisonous Plants That Can Ruin Your Dog’s Holiday Season

By Liz Acosta – Dogster

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Holiday plants can bring festive color to your home … and they can bring sickness to your dog. Check out our infographic and make sure to spread the word.

Some of the plants we bring into our homes for the holidays can be deadly if consumed. And we know you’re not planning on eating them, but you can’t really tell your dog friend, “Hey, dog friend, don’t eat that poinsettia unless you want to be really sick,” because we still haven’t figured out how to communicate directly with our canine companions. (Bummer, I know.)

We’ve put together a handy infographic of plants to avoid and listed why they’re potentially deadly.

  1. Poinsettia: This red-leafed plant doesn’t actually live up to all the hype — it’s actually only mildly toxic. However, even mild toxicity can be fatal when combined with other conditions. Better safe than sorry.
  2. Mistletoe: While the mistletoe may be a symbol of merry-making, it’s toxic if swallowed — but not as toxic as once believed. Again — better safe than sorry!
  3. Holly: Holly berries may be the most attractive to dogs, but the leaves, bark, and seeds are just as poisonous. The effect of holly on dogs is similar to that of caffeine and chocolate.
  4. Amaryllis: Less common than the other plants on this list, amaryllis causes abdominal pain and convulsions, so keep an eye out for it!
  5. Pine needles: Probably the least of your concerns here, pine needles may cause harm if swallowed, puncturing intestines or stomach lining. The tree oils might irritate mucous membranes, but just keeping your tree area tidy should prevent any problems.

Signs of poisoning may be:

If you suspect your dog may have been poisoned, please seek immediate medical attention.

Happiest holidays! Here’s wishing you and your loved ones a bright and warm celebration!

Scientists Sign Declaration That Animals Have Conscious Awareness Just Like Humans

An international group of prominent scientists has signed The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness in which they are proclaiming their support for the idea that animals are conscious and aware to the degree that humans are — a list of animals that includes all mammals, birds, and even the octopus. But will this make us stop treating these animals in totally inhumane ways?

While it might not sound like much for scientists to declare that many nonhuman animals possess conscious states, it’s the open acknowledgement that’s the big news here. The body of scientific evidence is increasingly showing that most animals are conscious in the same way that we are, and it’s no longer something we can ignore.

What’s also very interesting about the declaration is the group’s acknowledgement that consciousness can emerge in those animals that are very much unlike humans, including those that evolved along different evolutionary tracks, namely birds and some cephalopods.

“The absence of a neocortex does not appear to preclude an organism from experiencing affective states,” they write, “Convergent evidence indicates that non-human animals have the neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neurophysiological substrates of conscious states along with the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviors.”

Consequently, say the signatories, the scientific evidence is increasingly indicating that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness.

The group consists of cognitive scientists, neuropharmacologists, neurophysiologists, neuroanatomists, and computational neuroscientists — all of whom were attending the Francis Crick Memorial Conference on Consciousness in Human and Non-Human Animals. The declaration was signed in the presence ofStephen Hawking, and included such signatories as Christof Koch, David Edelman, Edward Boyden, Philip Low, Irene Pepperberg, and many more.

The declaration made the following observations:

  • The field of Consciousness research is rapidly evolving. Abundant new techniques and strategies for human and non-human animal research have been developed. Consequently, more data is becoming readily available, and this calls for a periodic reevaluation of previously held preconceptions in this field. Studies of non-human animals have shown that homologous brain circuits correlated with conscious experience and perception can be selectively facilitated and disrupted to assess whether they are in fact necessary for those experiences. Moreover, in humans, new non-invasive techniques are readily available to survey the correlates of consciousness.
  • The neural substrates of emotions do not appear to be confined to cortical structures. In fact, subcortical neural networks aroused during affective states in humans are also critically important for generating emotional behaviors in animals. Artificial arousal of the same brain regions generates corresponding behavior and feeling states in both humans and non-human animals. Wherever in the brain one evokes instinctual emotional behaviors in non-human animals, many of the ensuing behaviors are consistent with experienced feeling states, including those internal states that are rewarding and punishing. Deep brain stimulation of these systems in humans can also generate similar affective states. Systems associated with affect are concentrated in subcortical regions where neural homologies abound. Young human and nonhuman animals without neocortices retain these brain-mind functions. Furthermore, neural circuits supporting behavioral/electrophysiological states of attentiveness, sleep and decision making appear to have arisen in evolution as early as the invertebrate radiation, being evident in insects and cephalopod mollusks (e.g., octopus).
  • Birds appear to offer, in their behavior, neurophysiology, and neuroanatomy a striking case of parallel evolution of consciousness. Evidence of near human-like levels of consciousness has been most dramatically observed in African grey parrots. Mammalian and avian emotional networks and cognitive microcircuitries appear to be far more homologous than previously thought. Moreover, certain species of birds have been found to exhibit neural sleep patterns similar to those of mammals, including REM sleep and, as was demonstrated in zebra finches, neurophysiological patterns, previously thought to require a mammalian neocortex. Magpies in articular have been shown to exhibit striking similarities to humans, great apes, dolphins, and elephants in studies of mirror self-recognition.
  • In humans, the effect of certain hallucinogens appears to be associated with a disruption in cortical feedforward and feedback processing. Pharmacological interventions in non-human animals with compounds known to affect conscious behavior in humans can lead to similar perturbations in behavior in non-human animals. In humans, there is evidence to suggest that awareness is correlated with cortical activity, which does not exclude possible contributions by subcortical or early cortical processing, as in visual awareness. Evidence that human and nonhuman animal emotional feelings arise from homologous subcortical brain networks provide compelling evidence for evolutionarily shared primal affective qualia.

Read more about this here and here.