Pet Preparation Prior to Disaster Striking

June is quickly approaching and for most coastal regions the thought of a hurricane begins to creep into our minds.

We become concerned about the safety of our homes, our pets and ourselves.

However, hurricanes are not the only disasters that can confront our well being and that of our pets. Floods, wildfires, tornadoes, riots and terrorists attacks add to the list of things that can happen.

The important thing is to have a plan. Hurricane Katrina was a disaster that displaced not only thousands of people but displaced many animals and unfortunately many died along with their owners. It is said that approximately 44 percent of Hurricane Katrina’s victims were pet owners that would not leave their pets.

Until Katrina hit, our country was not too pet friendly in the light of disasters. Most, if not all, did not allow pets of any kind to be brought to a designated shelter.

Currently many states are now providing shelters for owners and their pets providing they follow certain restrictions. Red Cross shelters however, will not allow pets. It is not their rule, but that of the local health departments. A Red Cross shelter is for the benefit of those who do not have pets, who are afraid of pets or who have allergies to pets.

It is up to “you” the pet owner to check your local facilities and see what shelters will allow pets and what size and kind of pet is allowed.

Planning ahead for yourself and your pet should be at the top of your list of things to do. The problem with advance preparing is that many of us go into the “denial mode.” We tell ourselves that whatever the disaster is “it is not going to involve us.” Then it hits and we are not even prepared for ourselves let alone our pets.

So what should a pet owner do? In the following paragraphs I am going to give you some tips on how to keep your cat or dog as safe as humanly possible. The important thing is to remember you need to prepare before a disaster strikes.

A disaster kit should be large enough to contain all the things you normally need for your pet for at least a 7-day period. It should be waterproof (a plastic container with a tight fitting lid) and labeled “disaster supplies cat or dog.”

Food: Pack the brand your pet is used to eating, both canned and dry. Smaller cans are better, as pets in a disrupted setting tend to eat less.
Take along a can opener (even if the cans have lift tabs, some times they do not work.)
Bowls for food and a plastic lid cover for uneaten canned food. Keep uneaten opened cans in a cooler. A spoon or two might be helpful to dish out the canned food.

Water: Enough water for at least a week. Do not keep water in a disaster kit for more than 3 months at a time and store it in a cool dark place.
A water bowl along with a small bottle of bleach, to use if necessary to purify undrinkable water.

Sanitation Supplies: Kitty litter and a litter box for the cat. Take enough litter to use for at least a week along with small plastic bags to dispose of the litter when cleaning out the box.
For your dog take a “pooper scooper” and plastic bags to dispose of the waste.

Cleaning supplies: Paper towels for accidents and to use for cleaning litter box, food dishes, crate or carrier.
Dish soap and some disinfectant for cleaning crates, carriers and assorted possible messes.

Pictures: Have recent photos of your pet, take several or make copies in case you need to do posters if the pet gets lost.
Have a picture of you with your pet, great for identification should the pet get lost and someone finds it. This is very important.

Veterinary Information: You will need the recent records of your pet’s shots and vaccinations.
You need to take a supply of any medication your pet is currently taking.
Write you Vet’s name, address, and phone number on a piece of paper. Include also a note giving permission for another person besides you to get emergency treatment for your pet if you are not available.
Also have your name, all available telephone numbers that can reach you, address and any other info, so if you and your pet get separated you can be found.
Put all this information in a zip lock plastic bag.

Collars, tags and ID: Get your cat used to wearing a break away collar with an ID tag on it.
Have your dog wearing one at all times.
Get your pet a microchip and sign up with the national registry.
Have several ID tags in case one gets lost.
Use a harness on your cat to keep it on a leash, do not depend on the collar. More cats have been lost with collars on as they can get out of them. Have your cat practice wearing a harness at home a few hours at a time,
Have several leashes (one may get lost) and keep your pet on a leash if it is not in a crate or carrier.
Always know where your pet is at all times.

Miscellaneous articles: Toys, grooming supplies, dry shampoo, flea protection, extra towels, and treats.

Crate or carrier: Make certain the crate or carrier is big enough for the pet to move around comfortably and has room for food dishes and water if necessary.
Crates (for dogs) take up a great deal of room and the ideal product would be a collapsible wire crate with a sturdy lock.
Possible containment for a small or mid sized dog could be a collapsible exercise pen, just make certain the dog cannot dig out or crawl under it. Fasten it down with a stake driven into the ground and fastened to the pen.

First aid kit: Put together a small first aid kit that contains bandages, gauze, antiseptic wipes, some medicated cream recommended by your vet, some tweezers and scissors and a cold/hot pack.
Keep in a watertight container.
These are just a few suggestions to guide you in preparing for a disaster. The most important thing is to be prepared and ready to move when the time arrives.

If you are in doubt as to whether or not you should take your pet ask yourself this question; “would I leave a young child here to cope?” If the answer is no, than take your pet.

What can you do for your pet if you cannot take it
with you? This is in the case of a hurricane or flood. In case of a fire or a tornado warning do not leave your pet.

If you are facing a hurricane, do not leave your pet outside. A bathroom, a closet or a room without too many windows is a good place to start. If you have a basement, keep your pet there.

Here is where a “self feeder” for dry food comes in handy. Fill it with as much dry food as it will hold. If you are leaving several pets get several feeders. If the self-feeders are not possible, leave dry food in containers the dogs or cats can get to. Leave plenty of water in containers that cannot be knocked over.

Leave several articles of clothing that you have recently worn with the pet, your scent will provide some comfort.

Expect a mess when you come home.

Put ID tags on the pet with all necessary information.
Leave your vet’s name and information along with a note giving permission for someone other than you to get treatment for the pet if necessary. Put this information in a plastic bag and nail it to a wall or door so it is visible.

If there is danger of a flood you need to provide places of higher elevation for the pet to get to.

In case of a flood, the cellar is definitely not the place to keep your pet. If you have an idea of the possible flood level, construct some type of area for the pet to climb onto to stay dry. Pile up furniture and create a level space that the pet can reach. Make certain there is food and water available for your pet to eat at floor level and on the higher space.

If you are leaving your dog outside, do not tie or chain it up. Dogs can be left in garages, barns, sheds or even a flat roof (provide a large board in case you are in a sunny area, as a roof can get very hot and burn a pet’s pads.)

Wherever you leave your dog, be certain that it can reach a higher level and that there is food and water there for your pet to eat and drink.

Do not leave treats, vitamins or supplements out for your pet, provide only dry food and water.

If your pet is a cat the same instructions apply. Make certain that the cat has a high place to retreat to in case of high water and that you have placed food and water in that location.

Refrigerators, tall entertainment centers or a shelf in a closet can provide safety for your cat. Regarding cats leave a litter box in the location you have chosen.

Making arrangements with a neighbor to keep an eye on your pet if you are not around when the disaster is due to happen is a good idea. Give your neighbor the necessary veterinarian information and a note allowing permission for treatment if you are not available.
Above all preplan and be ready.

If you are going on vacation be certain to check with the kennel or with the person who is caring for your animals to see if they have a disaster plan. This is where preplanning on your part is important. Have your disaster kit ready for them to use if necessary.

Leaving a pet is a heart-wrenching thing to do and please do not do it unless it is absolutely the only thing you can do. Just writing that sentence has reduced me to tears, as I know I could not leave my pets under any circumstances.

However, if it is necessary, please do your best to provide for the safety and well being of your pet.

Disasters do happen and you can be prepared.

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Pros and Cons of Wild Animals As Pets

Many people find the idea of having wildlife as pet as exotic and exciting. However, if you want a wild animal as a pet, you should have thorough understanding of the animal and its behavior and needs. The people who have these animals as pets are invariably trained to handle them, but even they will tell how unpredictable these animals can be. You may have read stories in the newspaper of zoo keepers being mauled by their wards.

So, having wild animals as pets has become quite a sensitive and controversial issue. Some people like to highlight the pros, while others just point out the cons. However, both should be weighed equally and only then a decision should be taken to keep a wild animal as a pet.

Here are some pros and cons of wildlife as pets.

Sometimes, conventional pets like dogs and cats cannot be kept due to lack of space. In such circumstances, one can keep a wildlife like a hedgehog or gecko as a pet as they do not require that much space. Some wild animals have their own benefits. Like a hedgehog can be used to keep insects and others pests at bay in a house.

Often it has been seen purchasing a wild animal can be cheaper than purchasing a pet that is popular and has a pedigree.

Also, many proponents of wild animals feel that some species have a better chance of survival if they are adopted. It has been seen that the dart frog is facing a problem in the wild as its natural habitat is diminishing. Hence, if this animal is adopted, it will have a better chance of survival.

However, there are sufficient cons and disadvantages of owning wild animals as pets. First of all, one has to take into consideration the welfare of the animal. Having a wildlife means giving due consideration to its diet, exercise and social interactions. Often, the animal will not have any interaction with other animals of its own species and will be left to leading a lonely and solitary life. Also, the owners will not be equipped to provide proper care to the animals as they may not be well-versed in these things. Many wild animals look cute and cuddly when they are small. However, as they reach adulthood or sexual maturity, their wild side takes over and the animal becomes aggressive. This is the time many owners abandon their pets or give them away to zoos.

Wild animals are carriers of many diseases that are lethal to humans. For instance, reptiles and amphibians are carriers of salmonella infection and each year thousand of people in the US contract this disease due to their pets. Also, rats imported from Africa are known to carriers of monkey pox. An outbreak of this disease occurred in the US in 2003 when Gambian rats brought in the monkey pox into the country.

Above all, the demand for wildlife as pet is increasing. So, many illegal traders are taking advantage of this demand. Most of the wild animals are captured and then transported in cruel and inhuman manner to reach their owners. In addition, majority of the owners do not know to take care of the animals and this causes them to fall sick or even die.

So, weigh the pros and cons of having wild animals as pets before jumping to adopt one. Make sure that you are properly equipped to handle the care of the animal. Do not adopt one if you have any doubts.

No Animals Were Harmed – All About Animal Actors

ANIMAL ACTORS: Interview with Sandi Buck, American Humane, Certified Animal Safety Representative

Q: What is the American Humane Film & TV Unit?

A: American Humane (AH) Film & TV Unit is based in Los Angeles and we monitor the use of animals in media. American Humane is a national organization with headquarters based in Denver, Colorado. I’m one of the Certified Animal Safety Representatives who go on set and monitor the use of animals in film and television. We award the “No Animals Were Harmed® in the Making of this Movie” disclaimer seen at the end of the credits in a movie.

Q: How did the American Film & TV Unit start?

A: Back in 1926, AH set up a committee to investigate abuses of animals in the movie industry. At that time, horses were the most at-risk animal actors. But, then, as now, animals have no inherent legal rights, so we couldn’t mandate the safety of the animal actors. In 1939, for the film “Jesse James,” a horse and rider were sent hurling over a 70-foot cliff into a raging river for an action shot. The stuntman was fine, but the horse’s back was broken in the fall and it died. Outrage over this sparked a new relationship between AH and some motion picture directors and producers and caused the Hays Office to include humane treatment of animals in the Motion Picture Code. The following year, AH received authorization to monitor the production of movies using animals. We worked on set for quite a while after that until the Hays Office was disbanded in 1966, ending our jurisdiction and excluding us from sets. This was a pretty dismal time for animal actors who were being used in some brutal ways. Then, in the early 1980s, another incident caused another public outcry and American Humane was added to the agreement with SAG that mandated that union films contact us if they were using animals. This agreement now includes any filmed media form, including television, commercials, direct-to-video projects, and music videos. A more detailed history is on our website. Right now, we monitor about 900 films a year, maybe more. That’s not counting commercials.

Q: Did you say animal actors no have legal rights?

A: That’s correct. Animals have no “legal” rights in the sense that humans have. But because of our SAG agreement, animal actors in SAG films have “contractual” rights because the AH office must be contacted by productions using animals and an AH Film & TV Unit representative be on set during the filming.

Q: What about nonunion productions?

A: Nonunion productions are not contractually bound to contact us, but we find that a lot of people want us there anyway. I’ve worked with several productions that say – “We want you here. We want that rating at the end of our film and we want people to know what we had you on set.”

Q: So people on set are happy to see you?

A: Generally yes, but sometimes no. Actors always love seeing us there. They look at the AH patches on my jacket and come up to me constantly on set and say – “Oh, you’re here for the animals. That’s so great, I’m so happy you’re here.” That’s what we want. We want people to look for us, to know we’re there, and why we’re there. As for production, it depends on their perception of us and if they’ve worked with us in the past. People we’ve worked with before love having us there. The ones who haven’t worked with us before sometimes think “oh, no, here comes the animal police to patrol us,” like I’m going to stand there with my hands on my hips telling them what they can and can’t do. It’s not like that. We’re not there to criticize. We’re there to work with filmmakers, not against them. If we see a problem, we’ll address it and work it out together. In Florida, for instance, one of the big concerns is heat. During one production, the producer wanted a dog to walk back and forth across the pavement. I told the director there was a problem with this. I already knew he didn’t like having me on set, but I told him anyway, “You take off your shoes and walk across that street.” He went out to the street, put his hand on the pavement, and said – “Yeah, you’re right.” He wasn’t trying to harm the animal, he just wasn’t thinking about the animal, the heat, and the pavement. That’s part of the reason we’re on set. We don’t expect filmmakers to also be animal experts. Even producers who personally don’t care about animals usually realize it makes sense for them to have us there. Many people say they won’t watch a movie in which they think or have heard that an animal was injured or killed. People look for the AH disclaimer at the end of movies saying – “No Animals Were Harmed® in the Making of this Film.”

Q: How do filmmakers get a “No Harm” disclaimer for their movies?

A: The process starts when production contacts our Los Angeles office to let us know that they plan to use animals. We direct them to our Guidelines which are available on the internet and we request their script. We review the script and arrange to come in and observe the animal action to ensure that the conditions in which the animals are working and kept is safe and comfortable. This doesn’t cost the union production anything – that’s part of the arrangement with the SAG office.

Q: What about nonunion productions? Can they get this “No Animals were Harmed®” disclaimer?

A: The process to get the disclaimer is the same, only there’s a $30 an hour fee for the hours we’re on set. The time we spend in pre-production script evaluation and then screening the films and writing up reviews is included in that $30 an hour on set fee.

Q: Can student and independent filmmakers get your disclaimer?

A: Definitely, if they meet the guidelines for it. If they have questions, all they need to do is call our LA office and ask. Our LA office is happy to help young and aspiring filmmakers with guidance and information on safely using animals in their films. If they’re in the process of writing a script, they can call us and ask if certain scenes are feasible and for advice on how to get the scenes and action they want. Productions who can’t get an AH representative on set because of cost or scheduling conflicts can write down what it is they plan to do, document the filming of the animal action with a little video, a behind the scenes – this is how we did it, kind of thing – and send it in. We review it and though we can’t say we were actually there, we can say that through our review, it looks like the production followed the Guidelines. That rating is called: “Not Monitored: Production Compliant.”

Q: How many ratings are there?

A: We have several ratings which range from our highest “Monitored: Outstanding” and receiving the “No Animals Were Harmed”® disclaimer which appears in the end credits of the film, to “Not Monitored,” to our lowest rating which is “Monitored Unacceptable” – where our guidelines and animal safety were disregarded and or negligence caused the injury or death of an animal. Striving for a good rating helps ensure that the production will go well. If a production is half way through shooting and an animal that is key to the movie gets spooked and gets loose or injured, it’s like losing a lead human actor. What’s the producer going to do? Re-shoot the animal scenes with another animal actor? Rewrite the script? Scrap the movie? Professional trainers have several different dogs with different talents that look alike. One’s a really good barking dog, one’s a really good jumping dog, another does something else. That helps in the event one dog gets sick or injured, it won’t halt filming. A lot of the worst scenarios can be avoided with planning. I look for potential problems and to keep everything as safe as possible for everyone. There can always be accidents, there’s no way to prevent that. That happens in life. You can work to make things as safe as possible, but there can still be accidents. We understand that. The bottom line is at that any time filmmakers plan to use animals, even their own pets, they should contact our LA office.

Whether or not one of us comes out to your set, they should refer to our Guidelines For the Safe Use of Animals in Filmed Media so they know what they need to prepare for, to say to themselves – this is what I need to prepare for if I’m going to use an animal on my production. Am I prepared to do what I need to do to make sure that everything is safe for my animal? Having us involved benefits the production in that if there’s ever any question as to how a stunt was done the filmmaker can say – call AH. Filmmakers with the reputation of abusing animals for the sake of producing a film or commercial won’t get hired and people won’t want to watch their movies. We are the only organization authorized to make and uphold these standards and people look for it. When people see animals in films, they look to see that no animals were harmed. If they have any questions on how things were done, they can go to our website and read about it. They can see that this stunt that looks absolutely horrible was actually done with computer graphics, a real animal wasn’t even involved.

Q: Are personal pets allowed to be in movies?

A: Our Guidelines recommend that filmmakers use professional animal actors obtained through trainers, but we know that filmmakers, especially small independent and student filmmakers are going to use their own pets or the pets of friends and family in their movies. We understand that, that’s a reality in this business. But even if it’s no more than filming their own pet cat or dog sitting in a chair or walking across the room, filmmakers should get in the habit of contacting our office. When producers choose dogs, for instance, they should look for dogs with outgoing personalities, dogs that aren’t afraid of people. Fear can cause a disaster. The dog can bite someone out of fear if they get in a situation in which they’re not comfortable. If more than one dog is to be used on set, the dogs should be used to being around other dogs. If one dog shows aggression toward another dog on set, the aggressive dog must be removed. Dogs that live together and are accustomed to being with each other are good choices.

Q: You mentioned education as being part of the goal of AH. Would you talk some about that?

A: We’d like to work more with film schools developing programs where as part of the curriculum, students take a course or attend a seminar held by an AH representative about using animals in film. If the school can’t put us into their program yet, just having our Guidelines available at the school or distributed to students will help educate them. The earlier we reach the students, the better. These filmmakers will grow in their careers and will eventually be involved in large productions where they might end up working on films with large animals. That’s the point where you really worry about safety, so the earlier we can educate students, the better.

Q: What can you advise students or aspiring filmmakers wanting to use pets? Your Guidelines can look daunting.

A: If filmmakers choose to use a pet instead of trained animal, we have no control over that but we still recommend they review and adhere to our Guidelines. If the Guidelines seem overwhelming, call our LA office with questions, say – “All I want is for my dog to sit in a chair or walk across the room while we’re doing our filming, what are the guidelines?” Most of it is just common sense. Know that the animal you’re using is friendly and completely safe to be around people and other animals. You don’t want an animal on set that’s aggressive, skittish, or snaps. Think about what you’re going to do with this animal while you’re setting up shots. How many times do you actually need the real animal? Can you use a stuffed animal if there’s any concern about using a real animal? You don’t want a real dog sitting under hot lights while you’re setting up. Go to a toy store and get a stuffie look-alike of whatever animal you’re using. Make sure the animal won’t be in the way of a moving dolly and that she won’t be in area in which she can get stepped on. When she’s not being used on set have a suitable place for her to hang out, that she’s not running around loose. There needs to be a safe area like a crate or separate room for the animal. Make sure the pet has breaks and gets to lie down and rest or get something to eat and drink. If the pet isn’t kept in a crate, make sure it’s on a harness or leash so that should she get spooked by a loud noise or quick movement, she can’t jump down and run away. Plan ahead and prepare for all possible scenarios. That’s critical. If an animal won’t do what you want, what are your options? Have back up plans. How far should you go to try to get an animal to do something? If the animal won’t or can’t do what you want him to do, forcing him is inviting disaster. Even if the animal normally does something, an animal is an animal. You can never predict what it’s going to do or not do. It’s like working with a child. The producer has to be prepared.

Q: Who is responsible for the safety of a pet during filming?

A: The ultimate responsibility lies with the owners as they will suffer the anguish and grief if something happens to their pet. I recommend that pets not be passed around to people on set to play with. That can be overstimulating to animals, and if they’re all excited, they may not be able to perform the action you want them to perform. Many trainers make a general announcement on set – don’t touch animals while they’re working. Obviously, with the exotics, people are pretty good about asking before touching them but a lot of times, with dogs and cats, people just walk up and pet them without asking.

Q: Does AH have a problem with certain action shots?

A: If filmmakers wonder if a certain action shot can be obtained safely, call and ask us. If a filmmaker wants a dog to run off the end of the dock and jump into a lake to get an exciting shot, they should make the obvious choice. Pick a Labrador Retriever who loves to swim and run and jump off the dock and has actually practiced this. They shouldn’t choose a little Chihuahua that’s never been in the water.

Q: How did you get into the field?

A: I grew up in Michigan in a very animal-oriented family. We had the house with the invisible sucker sign hanging on the front of it – animals could see the sign, but we couldn’t. Animals constantly showed up at our door and people dumped their puppies and kittens off in our barn. We had dogs, cats, horses, guinea pigs, and hamsters, and just about everything else. As a teenager, I raised and trained a working Seeing Eye dog. After that, I raised a wonderful Doberman for obedience. After college, I tried a few careers, but didn’t really care for any of them. In the early 1990s, I moved to Key West, Florida. That was about the time the series “Key West” with Fisher Stevens and Jennifer Tilly was being filmed as a pilot. I accidentally met the medic on set and we started talking. He learned that I was a dive master with dive master medical training and said they’d been looking for someone else to work on set when they went to series. He asked if I was interested and I was. So, I went and got EMT certification and worked on that series as the medic when the other medic wasn’t available. After the series ended, I worked fulltime as an EMT paramedic and part time as paramedic in film. I also volunteered with my dog in the education department at the Humane Society of Broward County. We went around to schools and taught pet education to the kids. Through that, I began working as a surgical assistant for the shelter. I was basically done the same things for animals that I was doing for humans. It was hard working for the shelter, for obvious reasons, but it was also very rewarding and I loved it. One day I was watching a movie through the credits and saw the “No Animals Were Harmed® in the Making of this Film” disclaimer and that a representative was on set to monitor all animal action. A light went off in my head – “Hey, that’s a job. If somebody was on set that means it’s an actual job.” I sent my resume to the recruiting office in LA and got an interview. My background with horses and dogs, and dog training, and medical and film experience worked well together for the position. I then went through the AH training which basically teaches film and set etiquette, which I already knew from my experience on set, and learning report writing and the Guidelines. Right now, I live in Virginia. As my husband is in the military, we move around a bit, but as my job requires a lot of travel, I can do it from wherever we’re based. Though most of my work is in this area, I’ve traveled all over the country. I’ve been to Mexico, Canada, Wyoming.

Q: What films have you worked on locally?

A: Susan Jackson, our representative based in Richmond, and I have worked independently and, in the case of large films such as “Dreamer,” we’ve worked together. During the filming of “Dreamer,” producers wanted something that looked like ointment to slather on an animal and they didn’t know what to use. Susan suggested a solution of milk and water. So they mixed the milk and water and said – “oh, that’s looks really good.” Another instance on “Dreamer” was a barn scene. The crew needed the barn cats out before they could start filming. Susan came up with and organized a plan to catch the cats and send them off to be spayed and neutered. By the time filming was done, the cats could come back. It helped everybody. These are simple solutions that have helped producers get the scenes they want. We don’t expect filmmakers to be animal experts; that’s why we’re there. We’ve been in this business a long time and have a lot of training behind us. A lot can be done with camera tricks, computer graphics, stuffie stunt and photo doubles and some creative solutions. Most recently I was one of the Safety Reps on “Evan Almighty.” “Birds and Animals,” a huge animal company for the film business supplied the animal talent. They have offices in Florida, California, New York, overseas and have all kinds of animals and I’ve worked with them for years since I started at AH seven years ago. They’re great to work with and have excellent trainers who very concerned about the safety and welfare of their animals. Another huge part of our job is perception. It’s often the perception of actors who aren’t familiar with animal training. For example, when I was on “Evan Almighty” there was a scene with all these different small animals. One way to lure small animals like skunks, rats, and porcupines from point A to point B is with a buzzer. These little animals can’t be trained to come like dog or even a cat. These little animals are taught that when they walk across the room to the buzzer, they get a food reward. One of the actors watching this came over and asked – “Are these animals being shocked?” I said, no, and explained the whole buzzer thing. Without someone like myself being there to ask, this actor could have walked off set thinking that the animals on set were being shocked. It was amazing to watch the whole process on “Evan Almighty.” A huge ark was built in Charlottesville, VA, and they had a special camera that exactly replicated every single move of the animals. Animal were brought in one at a time, so if there were forty animals in a scene, they did that take forty different times at least, each time with each different animal. Sometimes there were pairs of animals, sometimes there was only one – the same animal walked across the room twice. It was all put together by computer to look like all these pairs of animals were in the same room, even though they weren’t. That was a lot of fun to work on.

I also do the “Puppy Bowl” in Silver Spring, Maryland, at the Discovery Channel which airs on the Animal Planet at the same time as the Super Bowl. A little stage is built that looks like a football field and puppies go out there and play. They have “Kitty Half Time” and a “Tail Gate Party” for the dogs that didn’t get into the game. It’s hilarious. Initially, they were a little wary of me, but now we have a great relationship. It’s nice when you walk off the set and the people you met when you first came in were looking at you like – “here she comes,” then say – “thank you so much for being here, we want you back next year.”

American Humane was founded in 1877. It is the oldest national organization dedicated to protecting both children and animals. Through a network of child and animal protection agencies and individuals, the American Humane Association develops policies, legislation, curricula and training programs to protect children and animals from abuse, neglect and exploitation. The nonprofit membership organization, headquartered in Denver, raises awareness about The Link® between animal abuse and other forms of violence, as well as the benefits derived from the human-animal bond. American Humane’s regional office in Los Angeles is the authority behind the “No Animals Were Harmed”® End Credit Disclaimer on film and TV productions, and American Humane’s office in Washington is an advocate for child and animal protection at the federal and state levels. American Humane is endorsed by the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance and has been awarded the Independent Charities Seal of Excellence.

Animal actor “Angus,” Actor Ken Kline’s black Labrador Retriever was cast as “Dog with Man” in “Capitol Law,” an ABC Pilot filmed in Washington, D.C., and also on “Shooter” as a quadedestrian in Baltimore’s Federal Hill. Ken met American Humane Film & TV Unit representative Sandi Buck on the set of “Evan Almighty” in Richmond, Virginia, where she was overseeing the use of wild animals like bears, wolves, and mountain lions on set. Angus decided stay to home for that particular film.

3 Important Things You Can Learn From the Wild Animal Kingdom

Have you ever stopped, I mean really stopped for a minute to listen, hear, smell and feel the sounds of the wild animals around you?They’re everywhere…in the city, in the suburbs, in the skies and underground.And they have something to say to you…can you hear them?If there is something on your mind, a problem you’re trying to solve, a situation that needs a resolution or an unanswered question in your head, chances are the answer is right in front of you. Animals are a symbol, a secret society that has a vast and amazing collection of communication, strategy and survival techniques that are as important in our everyday lives as they are in the wild.Animals use their natural abilities to get what they want. After all, you’ll never see a skunk trying to reach the tall tree leaves so easily accessible to a giraffe! Yet, we humans spend so much time looking elsewhere and making things harder than they need to be.Here are 3 things you can learn from animals in the wild:1. Find new ways to get what you want.I live in a 3-acre ranch in the desert foothills in Arizona. It’s surrounded by a block fence and a gate, and features a large pond filled with fish on the front acre of the land. Our home is a sanctuary for us and also represents comfort and safety to a variety of wild animals. Outside the fence, every night, is a group of coyotes. In the middle of the summer, they get thirsty.Very thirsty.They want the water that’s in the pond. And a fish might taste good too.Now, when the gate is open, sometimes the coyotes just help themselves, coming right in through the front, going directly to the pond and enjoying themselves. They might even go for the easy prey. But mostly the gate is closed. They still want the water.We now have one very enterprising (and fearless) coyote who has figured out how to get to the water with very little effort, even when the gate is closed. You see, coyotes can jump quite a few feet in the air, even with a lame leg (which this one has). So Mr. Coyote has found the point on the fence lowest to the ground, and simply jumps up and over the block wall at that exact point to get to the water.How many times have you jumped over, gone through, around, under or just plain broken through an obstacle to get what you want? Animals do it all the time and never think twice about stopping because of the obstacle. What’s stopping you? How can you be like Mr. Coyote and get to what you want using another method?2. A simple, repeatable strategy always gets you closer to your goal.Sitting poolside at a hotel recently, I had the pleasure of interacting with a wild squirrel. I’d love to say that the squirrel was hanging around because of my wonderful, magnetic and charming way with animals, but I’d be lying.He wanted my bag of pretzels.I watched carefully as the squirrel calculated different ways to get at the bag of pretzels, laying wide open on a low table between two pool chaise lounges. First, he sat up on the fence far away. Then he moved in a little closer…and closer…and closer to get a good look. Then he scampered away to reevaluate his strategies and options.If he could talk, he probably would have said “Let’s see. I could run up and grab the pretzels, but the human would probably try to catch me. I could try sneaking in when she isn’t looking, but that’s too risky. Wait a minute – I know! I’ll use the patience strategy – works every time”.And sure enough, the little guy sat down, just out of my reach, and waited.He didn’t wait long. I threw him a piece of pretzel within 5 minutes.The little squirrel grabbed the pretzel, held it with both hands and ate it right there, on the spot. I swear he was grinning.Next, I held a piece of pretzel in my hand, just to see if he’d come closer. Again, he played the patience game and won. And again, and again and again. Finally, with his full stomach, he left to take a nap.How many times have you found something that works, only to change the strategy to something that seems “better” or “faster” or “different”? Changing strategies constantly will only serve to cause false starts, delays and frustration. Use a strategy to grow your business that works for you, not against you. Who cares if it’s not the most recent, most popular or most unique? Do what works and you’ll never go wrong.3. Act in spite of fearRabbits are notoriously fearful. They run away at the slightest movement, sometimes even afraid of the wind. But have you ever seen rabbits work together to accomplish a goal? They do, and it’s pretty amazing.On our ranch, we have bunches of rabbits. Spring is always a time for new, little furry bundles to show up with their brother and sister bunnies and begin to explore the world.In their world, there are juicy, tasty hibiscus and desert flowers available, but they are hidden behind a retaining wall. It’s a “no rabbit” zone. Or so I thought.Yesterday, I went out to my rabbit free zone to find – yes – a rabbit! A very small one at that, casually grazing on my off-limits flowers. A quick check outside the area and I saw 4 more full grown rabbits waiting patiently on the other side of the wall, presumably for the little one to come back with its report.Well, report he did, because today I have full grown rabbits eating the hibiscus in my no rabbit zone. Overcoming their fear, they have figured out a way to get in (I’m still not sure how they did it) to get at the really good stuff.If a rabbit can overcome its fear to get good food, what can you do? Is that fear of failure really so bad? What’s the worst that can happen? What’s the best that can happen? Is it worth it to you to really truly face your fear head-on in exchange for success? I hope so.I recently faced my fear of heights for the final time. For years, I was unable to even go into a glass building for fear that I would fall out. To overcome it, I began riding roller coasters all around the country. A few months ago, I faced the biggest one – the one that goes off the edge of the Stratosphere in Las Vegas – 100 stories in the sky – and lived to tell about it.So next time you’re outside, look around. The animals have something to say to you. Are you listening?

San Diego – Wild Animal Park

If you are touring San Diego, do consider to visit the Wild Animal Park. This park is situated some 34 miles north of San Diego, outside of Escondido. The 1,800-acre park houses some 3,500 animals representing 429 different species. This is truly a remarkable park that you will not want to miss when you are in San Diego.The uniqueness of San Diego Wild Animal Park is that, the animals are allowed to room freely in this vast enclosure. They live just like they would be in their natural habitat. In the park, you will find giraffes, antelopes, rhinos, endangered California condor among others, wondering at the mature landscape amidst the exotic vegetation from many parts of the world.The central attraction of San Diego Wild Animal Park is the 5-mile Wgasa Bush Line Railway. This is a 60 minute monorail ride (price included in admission). The monorail will bring you through areas designated as East Africa, South Africa, Asian Plains, and the Eurasian Waterhole. As you wheeled through these landscapes, you will see animals such as the white rhino and the rhinoceros which will enchant you.After the monorail, you might want to take a walking tour. You can take a 2-mile Kilimanjaro Safari Walk which you can experience the re-created African and Asian landscapes. In the park, you will also experience various simulated natural environment, such as the Australian Rainforest and the Hidden Jungle. You can also visit the new Lion Camp and the Cheetah Run Safari. At the Cheetah Run Safari, you will be able to see the world’s faster land mammal in action, sprinting after a mechanical lure.If you want to have a close-up view of the animals, you can take the Photo Caravans which uses an open-topped truck to shuttle small groups around the park. You will go to the animal’s turf meeting the rhinos, ostriches, zebra, deer and giraffes. Perhaps, you can even feed the giraffes alone the journey.You will end your day tour at the Nairobi Village. This is the park’s commercial center where most of the facilities can be found. It has many shops selling Africa-related books and souvenirs. There is a nursery area where irresistible young ‘uns can be seen frolicking, bottle-feeding and sleeping.Finally, if you do not want to go back to San Diego city for your sleep, you can sleep with the animals! Not exactly. There is a Roar & Snore Program which runs every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from April to October. This program allows you to camp out next to the animal compound. From where you camp, you will be able to observe the nocturnal movements of the rhinos, lions and other animals. If you are excited about this program, check out with the park. Otherwise, head back to San Diego city and have a good night rest.During summer, there are lots of visitors to the park. Therefore, it is better to visit early. On the other hand, there are usually less visitors during winter. The temperature here is usually 5 to 10 degrees warmer than in San Diego city. Bring along your sunscreen and plenty of water as summer in California can be a bit of a scorcher. So, be prepared for the hot weather and the sun.The San Diego Wild Animal Park is one of the three major animal parks and the “Big Four” in San Diego. Visiting the park should be one of your outdoor activities in your itinerary. Plan your San Diego Travel today.