Pajama Press

Posts Tagged ‘animal-rights’

CM Magazine highly recommends Cat Champions

Posted on November 1st, 2013 by pajamapress

CatChampions“Laidlaw, author of No Shelter Here: Making the World a Kinder Place for Dogs, now provides a book that will empower you to help homeless cats…An index and resource guide (cat protection and information websites) can be found on the back pages. This book worked for me…

Highly recommended.”

– Tanya Boudreau

Click here to read the full review.

Quill & Quire calls Cat Champions “ideal” for cat lovers

Posted on October 17th, 2013 by pajamapress

CatChampions“Cats may have conquered the Internet, but every year thousands still end up homeless in shelters, sanctuaries, and feral colonies. Cat Champions is about some of the people – most of them kids – who dedicate their personal time, imagination, and resources to care for them.

The book starts with a brief overview of Felis catus, or the domestic cat: its social, physical and behavioural characteristics, as well as various breeds. This section also profiles some unusual felines, such as the Hemingway cats, a colony of six-toed kitties that roam Ernest Hemmingway’s historic home in Key West, and the inhabitants of Japan’s famous cat islands, who vastly outnumber human residents.

In addition to those interesting tidbits, Laidlaw offers practical information about what to consider when adopting a cat, what makes a good shelter, the pros and cons of kittens versus adult cats, whether to allow your cat outdoors, and the truth about declawing. The author also suggests considering a cat’s colour – black cats tend to be adopted less often (a phenomenon known as Black Cat Syndrome) because of enduring myths that they are evil or bring bad luck.

The highlights of this book are the profiles of the cat champions themselves. Readers may be inspired to take action after learning about kids like Harley Helman of Ohio, who had the idea of collecting blankets for shelters and rescues when she was only eight, or 17-year-old Kieran Zierer-Clyke, who socializes feral kittens in his Toronto home to prepare them for adoption.

Written in a clear unpreachy style and brimming with lovely full-colour photos, this is an ideal volume for any young cat lover who wants to take his or her passion a little further than simply clicking “like” on YouTube videos.” – Emily Donaldson, a freelance reviewer and editor in Toronto.

Rob Laidlaw’s Dog Tales: Visiting Hachiko

Posted on August 31st, 2012 by pajamapress

Dog Tales is a series where author and animal advocate Rob Laidlaw shares stories and facts from his travels and work in dog advocacy.

When I was in Tokyo, I went to see the memorial statue of Hachiko the dog just outside the Shibuya train station. While Hachiko is extremely famous in Japan, he’s not quite so famous in other parts of the world—but he should be.

In 1924 Hachiko’s “owner” would take the train to work and return each evening. Hachiko would wait for him to return, but in May 1925 his owner passed away and did not return. Hachiko waited faithfully at the train station every day for nine years. During that time he became famous. In 1932 Hachiko also passed away, but his memory lives on today. In No Shelter Here: Making the World a Kinder Place for Dogs I tell the story of the Greyfriar’s Bobby, a small Skye terrier who also spent years waiting for his “owner” to return. Hachiko, Bobby and other dogs like them can teach us a lot. Perhaps we should all be a bit more like dogs.

Rob Laidlaw’s Dog Tales: Encountering Wild Dogs

Posted on August 17th, 2012 by pajamapress

Welcome to Dog Tales, a series where author and animal advocate Rob Laidlaw shares stories and facts from his travels and work in dog advocacy. 

4248297963_ea53a8f7c0I’m always amazed at how wild dogs can exist in the midst of heavily urbanized environments. A year ago I even saw a big coyote casually trotting down the sidewalk of a busy downtown street.  But it’s not that surprising when you think about it. Both wild dogs and feral domesticated dogs have integrated themselves into human environments for a very long time and I can’t see that changing anytime soon.

One of the dogs that criss-crosses that amorphous dividing line between wild and domesticated is the dingo, a wild dog found everywhere in Australia except on the island of Tasmania. With a short, usually golden-yellow or brown coat, dingoes are stunning dogs that inhabit a wide variety of habitats. They tend to live in pairs, but can occasionally be found in small family groups.

While no one knows for sure how dingoes came to Australia, genetic testing has confirmed that they are descendents of dogs that probably came from southern China many thousands of years ago. Their scientific name is often cited as Canis lupus dingo (meaning it is a subspecies of the grey wolf) or Canis familiaris dingo (meaning it is a subspecies of the domesticated dog). There is a lot of argument about which one is right.

2829178725_491b3721e3When Europeans first arrived on the remote island continent, they discovered dingoes living in relative harmony with Aboriginal people, sometimes serving as camp sentries or as hunting assistants.

When sheep farming was brought to Australia, dingoes found a new and easy food source. Unfortunately, killing sheep led to dingoes being treated as pests and they’ve been mercilessly hunted and killed ever since.

To keep dingoes out of southeast Australia, a 5,614 km (3,488 mile) fence was erected. Construction of the 180 cm (5.9 ft) high fence began in the early 1880s and was completed in 1885. North of the fence, dingoes are treated as wildlife, while south of the fence they were killed as pests. That’s still the case today.

However, the biggest threat to the dingo now is hybridization (breeding with domesticated dogs). Pure dingoes are very rare and many wildlife experts consider them an endangered species.

Primitive dogs, often dingo-like, can be found around the world. The New Guinea Singing Dog is a primitive dog that is thought to have been brought to the island several thousand years ago. Left alone, they developed into their own breed. Other early dogs are North America’s Carolina dog, sometimes called the American dingo,  Israel’s Canaan dog and the Pariah dogs of India.

5850114465_abdd12623b_mWild and feral dogs have been with us for a long time and for much of that time they’ve been mercilessly persecuted. That’s been the history of coyotes in North America—people waging an endless war against them. But coyotes have beaten the odds and they’ve survived and prospered. I hope the other dogs do too.

Rob Laidlaw’s Dog Tales: the Issue of Dog Fur

Posted on August 6th, 2012 by pajamapress

Welcome to Dog Tales, a series where author and animal advocate Rob Laidlaw shares stories and facts from his travels and work in dog advocacy.

Animal Aid Udaipur April 16, 2010 338 (151)According to the Humane Society International an estimated 2 million dogs and cats are killed for their fur every year. While the trade in dog fur is mostly in Asia, it seems to be growing in Russia and Eastern Europe as well.

After the dogs and cats are killed and their skins are dried, their fur may be dyed so it doesn’t look like your neighbourhood companion animal, and then mislabeled as rabbit, Asian wolf, fox or mountain cat. If it goes to buyers in other parts of the world, they may not have any idea they’re receiving the fur of dogs and cats, some of them former pets.

A few years ago, dog and cat fur trim was discovered on garments in the United States. That led to the government passing the Dog and Cat Protection Act, which banned the importation of dog and cat fur. A number of European countries, such as Belgium, Denmark, France and Italy, have also instituted bans.

In some countries however, the dog and cat fur industry is alive and well. According to the Bulgarian SPCA in 2006, there was at that time a massive industry based on the killing of dogs. Another group said almost 10,000 dogs were collected and killed in the City of Sofia every year, some of them shipped straight to fur factories from the dog pounds.

Dogs used in the fur trade may be picked up as strays, obtained from pounds, or bred specifically for fur. They may even be stolen pets.

Stopping the dog and cat fur industry is going to require a combination of education to change attitudes and new laws that prohibit the production, sale and trade of fur from companion animals. Animal welfare groups in many nations are hard at work trying to achieve both. I’m optimistic that one day, possibly soon, we’ll see a time when the only dog and cat fur we encounter is on a live, happy dog or cat.

 

Rob Laidlaw’s Dog Tales: Bedbugs Beware

Posted on July 16th, 2012 by pajamapress

Welcome to Dog Tales, a series where author and animal advocate Rob Laidlaw shares stories and facts from his travels and work in dog advocacy.

Photo of KelseyI recently read an article about dogs checking for bedbugs at a third of Hamilton’s public libraries. That’s one I’d never heard of. I’d known about dogs sniffing out loads of other things, such as bomb making materials, drugs and endangered species products, but this one was new to me. While researching my book No Shelter Here: Makingthe World a Kinder Place for Dogs, I came across some astounding “feats of the nose,” particularly in the medical field, including dogs sniffing out cancer tumors. But I’d never heard about them being used to find bedbugs. Well, apparently they do.

For any Hamilton library-goers who might be reading this, fear not. While the bed bug sniffing dogs did pick up the scent of the little critters, no actual bedbugs or eggs were found.

Rob Laidlaw’s Dog Tales: Subway Dogs

Posted on July 9th, 2012 by pajamapress

Welcome to Dog Tales, a series where author and animal advocate Rob Laidlaw shares stories and facts from his travels and work in dog advocacy.

Subway dogs editDuring the past year I’ve come across numerous articles about some amazing dogs in Russia. Apparently there are about 35, 000 stray dogs in the City of Moscow and 500 of them have learned to use the subway system. My guess is that the cold Moscow winters forced the dogs to find shelter and the subway system, being underground, was a great escape from the cold. Well that’s pretty smart, but what’s even more amazing is that about 50 dogs have learned to use the trains. They hop on in the morning—usually on the front or rear car because they’re the least busy—and then take the train downtown. They get off at their stop, go up to the surface, forage for food and then repeat the travel process in reverse later in the day. Essentially they commute to work. No one knows who was the first commuting dog or how they learned to recognize the stops, but it’s thought that they might know how long it takes to get to a particular stop or they may be triggered to get off by an odour or sound that is specific to certain stations. No matter how they do this, it’s pretty amazing. I don’t think we give dogs (or other animals) enough credit. They’re usually much smarter than we think.