Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wonderful Christmas Cards

Hello everybody! As the biggest (not the eldest) dog in the family, I felt it was my job to report to you that mom has been bedridden for the past week, but she's getting better. At least, she can blog while she is stuck in her room with us:)

One thing that REALLY cheered her up was all the Christmas cards we received. They were OURS but Mom thinks they are hers. Here's Mocha Barney posing with the cards.

There were also cards that were received by email! They were so fun, great pictures of our pals, and some had music and were moving, too.

Mom sent out as many cards as she could, and then she got this mean virus. But she will be on her feet in time for Christmas:)

She really loved all those who sent us photos of our pal dogs in different countries! And Snowmen, Santa Clause, Peanuts (her favorite cartoon character -- Snoopy) and so much more. So we would like to say Merry Christmas to Finn, Maggie Mae and Max, Erica and Blair, Koda, Sophie, Indy and Jack, Fred and Gloria Gilbert, Oskar Hoerauf, Freedom, Casper & Nikki, Magic, Caoimhe, Alfie Crybbe and Aoife, Leigh and Judith, Sarge and his Peeps, Frankie Furter and Ernie, and our friends who sent cards online (another post on that, next time):)  Mom plans to print out even the online cards and then make a scrapbook of Christmas 2011, the first time she spent with lovely greetings from her (OUR!) blogger friends.

Some of the cards Mom sent by mail may arrive late, because she was sick and also Philippine Snail Mail has its own version of Snail Mail ergo.....really slow snails sometimes.  She also hopes to send out more cards by email. Her goal is to send them to everyone on the list:)

Here's a scanned version of the card. Mom thinks she is a designer, and she designed the card personally. We, uh,'s not Andy Warhol. Then like a true newsperson, she actually made the mistake of choosing GLOSSY paper which looks nice on magazines, but she discovered later, not really apropos on cards. But it's her, mistakes and all.

And then Mom made her own Christmas poem. Well, Shakespeare it ain't. But it was made with lots of love to all of our wonderful blogger pals. We hope she gets to send to everyone at least by email on the list before Christmas:)

Lotsa Christmas love, slobbers and licks,

Ashley Pumpernickel (because I'M sending this out as the biggest -- not eldest -- dog), Mocha Barney and Winniechurchill

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Jurong Bird Park, Singapore

By Mona Sabalones Gonzalez

Because of all my bird blogging friends, I was very much determined to visit Jurong Bird Park in Singapore. I don’t have the bird expertise of most of the bird blogs I follow, but going to the largest walk-in aviary with 1,500 varieties of birds, I felt, might give me a taste of what they enjoy every day.

You can see me here getting some bird love. The Jurong Bird Park has a metro rail of sorts that's elevated, so you feel you are on the same level as the birds, and looking down, you get a view of things in the same way that they see it.

There are stops along the way, and you can walk trails, then get back on the metro rail until the next stop. I made it a point to get down on every stop.

Here, you see a lot of lorries. You can feed them, and they all congregate on you. The feeling of tiny bird feet on the arms and face is like a soft touch massage.

The birds are affectionate to people, but can be competitive for the food.  We would see lorries push each other aside so they could get some food. It was kind of neat. 

 On the day we visited Jurong Bird Park, it was raining. We were worried that it would affect our trip, but were pleased to see that many others went to the park, too. We took the MRT and a bus, rather than took a tourist group. Ed and I like traveling on our own, much as possible.
 During the walking trails, you cross a lot of bridges. Above is a wooden bridge, and below is the cable bridge. The whole idea is for you to experience life from the perspective of the bird, so things are always elevated.

The whole idea of the bird park is to promote ecology and to have a concern for the maintenance of forests and animals, and in particular, the beautiful birds. Here is a display of tools and weapons that were used to destroy our lovely forests and trees.
 We were on ground level when we saw the water birds, and I was totally taken by these beautiful orange pelicans. Er, I think they are pelicans. Am I right? Bird blogger friends, help please:)  We also got to see penguins. I couldn't photograph them because my camera was battery challenged, but they were totally lovable. We also noticed that a lot of couples (ehem) find it very nice and romantic to visit the bird park. Love is truly for the birds:)

 When we went to Singapore (last November) they were celebrating the Deepavali festival. It was a lovely experience to see greetings such as this in the bird park, and all throughout Singapore. We loved Little India, which of course, is where Deepavali emanates from. Right now, everything in Singapore is filled with Christmas decorations. My daughter is there now, visiting her best friend. We love the multicultural quality of Singapore.
This is the souvenir store. I bought one of the red hats on the right, as it was raining. Nice hat.

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Monday, November 14, 2011

How To Make Your Dogs Feel Happily Satisfied

By: Ed Gonzalez
1. Make Sure Your Dogs Visit The Vets Regularly - Doing this will make sure that they will be healthy at all times. They must get their regular shots on time. If you feel that there is anything  wrong with your dogs, you must bring them to the vets. One sign that your dogs are not feeling well is when the tails of your dogs are always down.
2. Give Your Dogs a Bath – When you do this, you will be sure that your dogs will love you for it. This is a great way to connect with your dogs.  By doing this, you can get rid of their fleas, worms and insects that can cause a lot of health problems. Doing this will give you time to play and give them much -  needed attention. If you do this, they will remain cheerful.
3. Do Not Shout, Hit or Harm Your Dogs - Doing these things will scare off your dogs. Owners must show real affection to their dogs because they have feelings too.  Sometimes, they may misbehave but this could be corrected without forceful actions. Feed them on time and make sure that they eat good and healthy food. Make them feel  that they are part of your family. This will make them blissful and high spirited.
4. Show Them True Love - You can show this to them by commending them from time to time. You can rub your hands on their body or head and they will feel gratified when you do this. Keep them warm when the weather is cold. Make sure that they have sweaters and give them  proper shelter.

5. Never keep Your Dogs Tied Down - This will make them aggressive and crabby. Your dogs can develop physical and behavioral problems. Dogs need space to run around and keeping them tied down in one place will make them very moody  and unloving. Walk your dogs consistently and bring them with you on outings.

6. Let Your Dogs Come Inside Your Homes – They do get bored just staying outside and they must be given the opportunity to socialize and bond with other members of the family. Dogs love to socialize and they want to spend time with other members of the family. When dogs are inside, they do make good guard dogs.
7.  Remove Tight Old Collars – Tight collars can cause difficult problems for your dogs. Dogs must feel comfortable because tight collars can choke your dogs. A new nylon collar will be good for your dogs.

8. Give Fresh Water and Food Every Day - Your dogs must eat every day and they must have fresh water every time. You must make sure that the water bowl you put will not tip over. This can be done  by digging a small hole on the ground to place the water bowl or by placing it inside an old tire. By doing this, it will prevent the water in the bowl from spilling.

9. Give Them Dog Toys – Dogs need to play with toys and these items will keep them preoccupied. They are just like little children . Doing this will give them the enjoyment they need. Balls will be good for them and they will have a lot of fun playing with them.
10.. Train Your Dogs – This is a must because this will let your dogs know what they can and cannot do. Training your dogs is a nice way to get to know your dogs better. This is the best time you can bond with your dogs. It also helps to correct their behavioral patterns.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Ten Important Things You Must know About Your Dogs

By: Ed Gonzalez

Pet dogs are our loving companions in our homes. We must understand and know how to care for our dogs in a much better way. I hope the things mentioned in this article will really help you. These are solid facts that will help you learn more about your wonderful dogs.

History Of Dogs

While this can be a subject of many arguments, there are a lot of speculations of the origin of dogs. There have been talks that dogs and wolves split away from their own species almost a hundred thousand years ago. The oldest dog skull as of now was discovered in Goyet Cave, Belgium. These animals are known to have originated from Southeast Asia.

How Canines Grow Up

When mating starts, it will take more or less sixty three days before a puppy is born. These newly born puppies are deaf and they cannot see. It will take them at least ten to fourteen days before they start to gain their sense of sight. Their sense of hearing will follow after a couple of days. During the third week, their teeth will start to grow. The most vital period occurs during the fourth to the seventh month when their adult teeth starts to form. This is the time when they start to chew at almost anything. Be aware of your favorite books and your furniture.

The Usefulness of Dog Smelling

Humans have more taste buds than dogs. It is a fact that we have nine thousand of these taste buds while our pet dogs have only one thousand seven hundred. This is the reason why our dogs rely on smell when it is about food rather than it's taste. This is also the perfect reason why they will play with the garbage and smell if there are left over food. For these dogs, the scent is very inviting, no matter how it taste like.

Stay Away From Your Dog's Ears.

Your dogs have very sensitive ears. Do not even try to blow gently to it because it can cause them excruciating pain. It's not really the air that causes the pain but it depends on how frequently it is done. .It can be compared to running your fingers on a blackboard. This is a hundred times more intensified.

How Dogs Express Themselves
Dogs can also express themselves and they have a hundred ways of doing it. It is done through their facial expressions and try to notice their ear movements,. You must learn to read this and it will take some time but you will get to understand what certain expressions mean. You need to know the features of your dog's breed. This includes the physical features of your dogs. Studies have shown that dogs can read human facial expressions and they can sense your emotions too.

Why Male Dogs Mark Their Territory

Male dogs have this territorial characteristic and the most evident way is how they urinate.. The males are seen urinating with one of their legs up. This reflects that they are marking their territory. It is done even when they do not need to do so. The other dogs will pick up the scent and they can even know whether the dog is healthy from how the stain looks like.

Looking Through Your Dog's Eyes

It's not true that dogs are color blind. The true fact is that they can see colors. but not as clearly as humans do so. Canines can distinguish colors of blue, gray and yellow. If they are able to see red and green, it may not look the same way as we see it.
Those Hairy Issues

Almost every dog is born with a double coat of hair. The undercoat keeps your dogs warm when days are cold. The outer coat protects your dogs from elements that can harm them. Dogs are not guaranteed to be one hundred percent hypoallergenic because some of of it's hair is susceptible to dander and other forms of allergens.

Training Your Dogs Is A Requirement

This the best way to bond naturally with your dogs. Doing this will surely improve your relationship with your dogs. This is a nice way to communicate with your dogs. Dog care is not just about feeding your pet on time or bringing them to the vets for check ups. You have to train yourselves to be the best owner as possible. You must know their needs.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Why We Must Love Our Dogs and Not Be Dog Blinded

By: Ed Gonzalez
Pet Dogs are our friends forever and if they are properly taken cared of, they will show you how affectionate they are to you and your family. They will keep you entertained all the time. Having them around the house makes any loving dog owner's day brighter. Sure, at times they may be naughty but if they are properly trained, these issues can be dealt with. Dogs if they are treated correctly will be your staunchest ally. You can caress them and they will be fully gratified by it. Your pet dogs will make sure that they will repay your goodness by making you feel happy.

Our dogs may not have the splendor of other dogs that go through dog competitions but owners must never develop this treacherous disease called Dog Blindness. This kind of disorder makes the owner feel that they have a better looking breed of dogs than others. They make it known to anyone they know by actions or by bragging. These owners tell other people how great and wonderful their dogs are. Usually they do this with a demeaningful looks on their face. In other words they are very haughty. This kind of of disorder is very common with first time dog breed owners These type of owners will compare their dog traits with that of others. They do expect a commanding and eager approval of others. Dog owners of this kind do not recognize that other breeds have their own type of functions.

Dog Blindness is a type of disorder that these owners are afflicted and this makes them think that they have the best dogs in the whole wide world. For them whatever breed you have is incomparable to their dogs. They can be noticed while walking their dogs and they look around if anyone is paying attention to their dogs. At dog shows they can be spotted easily. Owners especially women owners have the habit of sitting at the nearest area where the dogs are being judged. Their eyebrows are raised and they usually try to smell if there is any bad smell around their area. They usually hold up a fan to try to hide what they are whispering or saying. They have this angry looking eyes focused at at a winning dog. If they are with a friend who is just like them, they try to find faults at the winner. If their dogs are contestants and if they do not win, they let out a short convulsive utterance. They start fanning themselves so fast just like if a jet plane that is about to take off. During this moment, they do not hide their lips with their fan anymore. They want everyone to know what they are saying. Ugly sounding words are said during this time.

There is no known cure for this type of affliction. Maybe they should realize that they do not have the best looking dog. Other dog owners must know how to live with these kind of owners. They might need a psychotherapist to help them get through this awful disorder. If you meet any of these dog owners, keep the conversation short and say goodbye. Never get into an altercation with these dog. Remember that are all pet dogs are loving and tender towards their owners. They will keep you in joyful bliss as long as you take good care of them. Pet dogs are precious because they do all sort of things to make you contented.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Singapore Night Safari organic gara rufa fish foot spa

 By Mona Sabalones Gonzalez

We just got back from Singapore, where among other things, we visited the Night Safari zoo. There will be a separate post about that. You aren't allowed to take photos during the Night Safari.

However, we did have the fish foot spa after, and we were allowed to take pictures of this.

Surprisingly, I was the one who insisted on our getting the fish spa. But the one who enjoyed it most was Ed, my husband. At the start it really TICKLES, but he didn't seem to be bothered by it at all.

 Above, you can see that I lifted one foot, but the lady encouraged me to soldier on. She said the first two minutes are really ticklish, but afterwards you get used to it.
 She was right. By the third minute, I found myself actually enjoying those gara rufa fish sucking on my feet. They take out the hardened skin and then leave your feet really soft afterwards. Once you get used to it, it can be really soothing.
 You can see that more of the fish were gathering around Ed's feet, since he kept them perfectly still the whole time.
 See what I mean...This was one of the times I lifted my feet.

Gara Rufa fish are freshwater carp fish that originate in Turkey. They have no teeth, so they really just suck on your feet. For some 400 years, these fish, which also abound in Syria, Iran, Pakistan and Iraq were used to treat people with skin problems like eczema and psoriasis. In some countries they have whole swimming pools where people can get in and the Gara Rufa suck at their entire bodies.
 But for me, the fish sucking on my feet were just fine. These fish have no teeth, and it is debatable whether they are actually eating all the outer skin of the feet. Some filter systems in tanks of these fish which were used for pedicures showed lots of skin that was not eaten. The theory behind this is that they are actually nibbling for food and when there is none underneath, they back off and other fish behind them get into the feet to do the same thing.

This would be similar to the tendency of fish to look around rocks and corals for food.
Many presume that gara fish are starved so that they will respond more to sucking out the outer skin layers of the body when used in spas. Actually, a reputable spa will feed the fish, and the tendency to gather around the human feet would simply be part of its instinct to look for food whether they are still hungry or not.
 There have been some health issues raised with these types of foot spas and a number of states in the U.S. do not allow them. Issues revolve around hygiene and the possibility of getting an infection. The way I saw it, this is a rare way to experience Singapore, and you can find hygiene issues in beauty parlors and dangers in crossing streets and flying planes. So I went for it.
I don't know if it was my imagination or not, but the fish struck me as an organic reflexology treatment. Afterwards, my feet felt very good, they didn't ache at all, and even a persistent back ache was gone. My husband and I felt completely rested.

Tonight I touched my husband's feet and they were softer than they had ever been before. So there was some good that came out of it. Certainly, for me it was a very interesting foot massage.

For more info on health and safety issues go to: One article says it's safe, another warns it may not be.

Here is also a video of a swimming pool of these fish where people dip their whole bodies inside:

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