Today is the 10th annual Celebrate Shelter Pets Day. This awareness event is designed to encourage the adoption of shelter pets by having owners tell their pet adoption stories on social media using the #CelebrateShelterPets hashtag.
As if we needed further proof that dogs are awesome, here’s a story about how specially trained dogs (and their sensitive noses) are helping conservationists study and protect endangered species in the wild.
According to an article on the CNN website, dogs are being trained to accompany researchers out into the field and help them identify the scents of endangered animals and their droppings.
Tracking droppings, also called scat, can tell researchers where endangered animals are living, how many of them are around, what they are eating, as well as parasite infection and overall health status. This tracking is also much less stressful for the animals than trapping.
These conservation dogs have worked on many endangered animal studies, including ones for foxes, wolves, cougars, bobcats, otters, minks, ferrets, and more! Some new training session are now focusing on teaching the dogs to track endangered lizards.
This act would expand on a prior law that criminalizes the production and distribution of animal torture videos. Passage of the PACT Act would criminalize acts of animal torture at the federal level as well.
Representatives Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) and Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) sponsored the bill, which states that any person who intentionally engages in animal cruelty would face federal charges.
A similar bill was introduced in the Senate in February. If the Senate passes the bill and the PACT Act becomes law, convicted individuals will face fines and up to 7 years in prison.
The Veterinary College at Texas A&M University has put out some very helpful tips on how to provide your pet birds with environmental enrichment and mental stimulation.
They report that birds are happiest when given many different forms of enrichment. Not surprising given their intelligence, curiosity, and sociability!
Here are a few tips, but be sure to read the full story for more ideas for your own bird!
Besides regular toys, birds also appreciate objects that provide visual and auditory stimulation like mirrors, music, bells, and rattles.
Birds are sensitive to the texture of objects; some prefer plastic, while some prefer wood or paper.
Birds are color-oriented and may prefer certain colored toys over others (some dislike red!).
Be sure to choose toys that are lead-free and made from safe forms of plastic. Be careful of toys with string as these can harm a bird.
Household objects can also be used as bird toys, such as paper towel rolls and popsicle sticks.
Place your bird’s cage in an area where the outside is visible through a window.
Lots of interaction with you (and even other animals in the home) is a key form of stimulation and enrichment for birds. Pay plenty of attention to your feathered friend. You can even teach it some tricks!
Interested in learning more? Check out this Avian Enrichment blog from the Association of Avian Veterinarians!