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Checkers, We Salute You!

“There is one thing that I did get as a gift that I am not giving back…”

That was the beginning of a statement made by President Nixon during his infamous “Checkers Speech” on September 23, 1952.  He was referring to his beloved family dog, Checkers, a black and white cocker spaniel that had been given to his little girls as a gift.

Allegations had surfaced regarding possible gifts that had been received, but had not been accounted for in Nixon’s campaign fund.  He hoped that by giving this speech, he would garner enough support from the public to convince the Republican National Committee to keep him on the ticket.  Rather than deny or ignore the allegations made against him, Nixon gave this famous speech to millions of viewers across the United States.  He discussed, in great detail, his entire personal and professional financial status.

Approximately 60 million Americans pinned their ears back and listened as Nixon outlined sources of income, explained major expenses, and described his most valuable assets.  Among those items were the amounts of his two mortgages, his wife’s salary, and his precious dog, Checkers.

“There is one thing that I did get as a gift that I am not giving back… It was a little cocker spaniel dog in a crate that he’d sent all the way from Texas. Black and white spotted. And our little girl-Tricia, the 6-year old-named it Checkers. And you know, the kids, like all kids, love the dog and I just want to say this right now, that regardless of what they say about it, we’re gonna keep it.”

Nixon’s speech saved his campaign and made Checkers one of the most famous dogs in American history, which is a status that Checkers still holds today.  Other cherished presidential pooches include King Tut Hoover, Miss Beazley Bush, and Bo Obama.

For more information about patriotic pets through history, check out:

 Presidential Pet Museum.

The Kit ‘n’ Caboodle of Safe Pet Travel

Spring and summer are season of freedom and fun!  Of course, that means plenty of travel for the whole family, including our pets.  As you’re packing for your pooch and planning for visits to sunny destinations, remember to keep his safety and well-being in mind.  We’ve provided some useful guidelines for you here.  Let us know if you have any suggestions to add!

  • If you plan to fly with your pet, always make sure to read up on your airline’s pet policies before purchasing your ticket.  These tend to vary by airline, so give yourself some time to make whatever arrangements they may call for.  Also, you never know when they will make last minute changes, so be sure to check back frequently for updates or change bulletins.  (If a flight is fully booked or overbooked, it’s entirely possible that this may happen.  Changes are more likely to occur during peak travel season, which is NOW.)
  • If you are travelling with your pet by car, make sure to have your air conditioner checked out during your pre-travel oil change.  Pets are very sensitive to high temperatures, even when the car is moving and the windows are down.
  • Regardless of your mode of transportation, make sure to plan ahead for normal routines.  For example:  Who will stay with the pet while you are inside a restaurant having a meal?  How often will you stop for bathroom breaks?  Bring travel bowls and plenty of bottled water, as well.  If your pet is on any medications, bring enough to cover TWICE the length of your stay in order to account for any unforeseen travel delays.
  • Always schedule a wellness exam with your pet’s veterinarian prior to travel.  If you are travelling across state lines, you will also need to speak with the veterinarian about obtaining a health certificate.  Regardless of the destination, always remember to bring a current copy of your pet’s rabies vaccination certificate.
  • Make sure that your pet is wearing identification at all times.  Make sure that the information on file with your microchip company is current.  Also check that the information on any tags or collars is current.  You want to be certain that if your pet is lost and found while you are on vacation, the finder is able to contact you.  So, a cell phone number is best.

Travelling with your pet can be a fun experience, but you want to make sure that you cover all your bases.  Oh!  A don’t forget to bring a favorite toy and a whole load of treats.  Your furry passenger will thank you!

Want a Little Kitty With That Coffee?

That’s exactly the idea behind the newest trend in coffeehouses around the world!  The concept behind cat cafes is that patrons can watch and play with a bevy of feline hosts and hostesses while they enjoy a cup of joe.  We’re not sure how that works around local health regulations, but that’s not really our concern.  We think this is a great idea!  This is a great way for people to be around cats when they are kitty-starved.  It is also a very clever way of allowing local shelter cats or friendly strays have contact with humans.  It really is a win-win!

In countries like Taiwan and Japan, there’s nothing new about cat cafes.  The first Taiwanese cat café opened in 1998.  In 2004, a Japanese café owner followed suit and opened one in Osaka.  (As a side note, Japan offers tons of options like this.  They think of it as a form of “pet rental”, since most Japanese apartment communities won’t allow urbanites to own pets.  Along these same lines, various Japanese cities offer bunny cafes, penguin bars, owl cafes, and squirrel gardens.)  The concept has become so popular that Japan is now home to about 40 different cat cafes.

So, now these cafes are cropping up all over the world.  You can finds cat cafes in places such as Austria, France, Hungary, Spain, Germany, and Canada.  The most exciting part?  Cat Cafes have officially come to the United States!

San Francisco will soon be welcoming its first cat café, “KitTea”, later this year.  “Cat Town Café” is also expected to open in Oakland, CA in 2014.  Both cafes are still in planning, but be sure to watch for their grand openings if you’re in the San Francisco Bay area!  Let’s make sure cat cafes are a hit in the United States!  (…because we want one in our town, too!)

Tech Savvy Pet’s Rejoice! World’s First Laptop For Pets!

Every pet owner is constantly on the the lookout for new and exciting things for their pets to play with.

Well, look no further, this new product from Toshiba is exactly the thing you’ve been looking for:

Now you can save your own laptop from drool and chew marks by giving your pet his or her own laptop to play with!  The PetBook from Toshiba is the world’s first laptop for pets, and it is outiftted with a delicious and durable 100% organic rawhide casing.  While the rawhide enclosure keeps your dog’s data safe and tasty, the built-in doggy cam will keep his social life active during your long workday.  Your dog will never feel lonely, as long as he is able to have inter-canine video chats with his best dog park pals.

This machine offers a paw-print reader for security, but our favorite feature is the “bark-to-text” capabilities of the world’s first pet laptop.  This technology recognizes inflections in your dogs barks and ruffs and turns them into usable text that you can understand.  The feature claims to operate with 99% accuracy.

To find out more about the PetBook, go to: www.Toshiba.com/us/petbook

We thought this was such a brilliant April’s Fools Day joke made by Toshiba that we really just could not resist getting in on the action.

Of course, this is not an actual product offered by Toshiba, but it sure is a fun joke to play on pet-loving friends!

Colonel Meow Passes Away

The internet lost a huge feline personality Thursday. Colonel Meow, a lovable furry dictator who ruled over his minions on Facebook has passed. His owner Anne Marie Avery, lovingly referred to as Slave Beast by Colonel Meow, let his fans know in a post Thursday evening. The Colonel had recently undergone days of medical treatment for a heart condition, and we can only assume that was a major factor in his loss.

Colonel Meow was found along the side of the road and was rescued by Himalayan and Persian Society of Los Angeles and subsequently adopted by Anne. With his distinct looks and expressive personality, Anne created the online persona of the Colonel who gave orders to his minions and demanded scotch and treaties. He became a sensation, gathering over 359 thousand likes on his page.

He will be missed.

Cat Art Show

Captain America by Jenny Parks

Rhonda and Cat by Mercedes Helnwein

A new art exhibitions that will be ending shortly in Los Angeles focuses on what many of us already focus on, cats. The artists all used cats in their own ways to express different meanings. The video and link below have more information on the show and the artists that participated.

Click here to see the show’s website.