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This Wingman Has Real Feathers

Wednesday, March 28, 2007 by Tony Haffner

no price on friendship

ORIGINAL CAPTION: This wingman has real feathers — Dutch Kaffel cruises down his street with Harley, the Canada goose he raised after finding him on the lawn of his Frankfort, IL home 5 months before. Kaffel "flies" Harley, who prefers to go about 35 mph, up to four miles just about every day. Kaffel has resisted calls to take his goose to Hollywood and hopes Harley will join a flock when mating season comes next spring. (Joseph Meier / Daily Southtown)

Click for Video: Motorcyclist and Goose Take a Spin Together

Cycle ride-loving goose was not born to be wild
By Steve Schmadeke Sun-Times News Group

A fuzzy baby bird Dutch Kaffel took for a duck showed up on his Frankfort front lawn. The chick was still there nibbling grass that night. Fearing for its safety, he put the bird in a box and brought it indoors.

Almost five months later, the Canada goose, now named Harley, has become the talk of the neighborhood. Kaffel, a 54-year-old father of six, demonstrated why last week. He backed his gray Harley-Davidson out of the driveway, calling "hey-hey-hey-hey." Harley the goose lifted his head, honked and waddled forward as Kaffel hit the gas. By the time Kaffel was in second gear, Harley was flying alongside the motorcycle, just a few feet off his right shoulder.

The pair have traveled up to four miles this way, says Kaffel, who "flies" Harley just about every day. Harley prefers to cruise at about 35 mph, but once got up to 43, Kaffel says. "All I've got to do is pull out, call him and then down the road we go," he said.

For Kaffel, a former boxer who grew up in Harvey and now owns a construction business, raising a goose had never been a desire. "You talk about (coming) full circle," he said. "I used to hunt duck and geese and pheasant and all of a sudden I'm raising one."

Wildlife experts -- who called Harley's behavior a first -- said Kaffel may mean well, but is violating federal law. "You know what, that must be neat as hell, to have that view (on the motorcycle). But it is against the law to take in a baby goose," said Jacques Nuzzo, program director at of Illinois Raptor Center in Decatur. "One of the reasons is so you don't imprint them to fly along with your motorcycle, because that's not what geese do. I know this guy had the best intentions, but in the long run, he really screwed the goose over." Nuzzo explained that soon after goslings hatch and develop vision, they "imprint" on their caregiver. When the bird matures, it will want to mate with the same species it bonded with as a chick -- in this case, a human. For that reason, the bird cannot be returned to the wild, Nuzzo said.

But other geese lovers defended Kaffel. They say he rescued a bird that may have otherwise died. "I think they are wild birds, but to each his own," said Margaret Love, a Winnipeg woman who in April started a Web site, www.lovecanadagoose.com, that is a forum for goose fans. "They seem to have a love for Harley, so why can't he stay? Who's to say that's the wrong thing?"

Kaffel said he only wants what is best for the goose. He says he's resisted calls by friends and others to take Harley to Hollywood. The only time the bird is inside is at night, when he beds down in a large dog cage. Once, though, the family watched Fly Away Home with Harley. It's a movie about a teenage girl who, with help from her father, teaches some orphaned geese how to migrate. "We had him in the cage and put him on the coffee table. In the movie, when the geese got old enough that they started honking, he'd stick his head up and he'd look," Kaffel said. "As soon as the honking was over, he'd go back to cleaning himself."

Kaffel still wonders how Harley ever came to his doorstep. "It's a mystery we will never know," he said.

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Are Black Cats A Curse!

Monday, March 26, 2007 by Tony Haffner

What's up with people right now? I can't believe it. I read some article that just before Halloween, people adopt black cats from the pet shelters and after the event, these cats are returned to the shelters and why... 'coz "He just didn't work out." It's as if these people just wanted another Halloween decoration for their home - a black cat in the window, perhaps, or a new member to wear a "witch" costume. It probably never occurred to them that this practice is cruel and inhumane -this kind of individual typically thinks of cats as property, and not as an able companion. The poor cats are tortured and traumatized a lot during this time of the year.

Historically, black cats were symbolically associated with witchcraft and evil. Although, in Japan, Britain and Egypt, it is considered as good luck. In Hebrew and Babylonian folklore, cats are compared to serpents, coiled on a hearth. In the USA and parts of Europe which were affected by the witch hunts, the association with witches caused them to be considered as bad luck. Cats are believed, to have the ability to sense the presence of spirits before humans can notice them. And, because of their "black" fur, they remain unseen in dark places or at night, and hence considered ideal partners for witches. Some witches were purported to have the ability to shape-shift into a cat nine times, hence the belief that cats have "nine lives". Belief that black cats affect your luck goes far back in time. The King of England, Charles I, owned a black cat. His fear of losing it was so great that he had it guarded all through. The day after it fell ill and died, he was arrested. Fishermen's wives would keep a black cat at home to prevent disaster at sea, consequently the cats became very valuable and were often stolen. If a cat ran ahead of a sailor to the pier that would bring good luck, but if the cat crossed his path it means bad luck. For luck, cats were often kept on board ships. If a sailor was approached by the ship's cat it meant good luck, but if the cat only came halfway and went away again it meant bad luck. Black cats were also valued for medicinal purposes.

Hence all these superstitions led to the belief "Black cats cause bad luck" Hey! Do you know, one of my cousins owns a black cat and she is fine and happy as ever! I often visit her place and she has crossed my path hundreds of times but I see no degradation in my social life or work. We must see them as one of our feline friends' n not a terror!! So whether it's a black or a white, it's a feline friend to you.

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Swing Your Partner ...

Friday, March 23, 2007 by Tony Haffner

Dancing with the kitty.....

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For Dog Lovers ...

by Tony Haffner

Even if you don't have a dog, you gotta love this one.

A chinese soldier trains a dog by skipping a rope at a military base in Nanjing , east China's Jiangsu province. Picture taken in 2006. China Out Reuters/China Daily

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Peeping Tom!

Thursday, March 22, 2007 by Tony Haffner

This Girl I know is one of Martha's neighbour who lives on the 4th floor of an apartment, and even though it is a fairly good neighborhood she has been having trouble with a Peeping Tom that lives next door...

Every time she goes out on her balcony to catch a bit of sun while wearing her bikini this peeping tom looks over from his balcony, as soon as she removes her top, and stares at her...
She has complained to the superintendent about this peeping tom, but he says she must have positive proof before he can do anything!

She FINALLY got a picture of him while he was staring at her...


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Dog's Dictionary!

by Tony Haffner

Hey! Have you ever thought about a dictionary for our canine friends... Check out I have a whole list of words pertaining to them:

LEASH: A strap which attaches to your collar, enabling you to lead your person where you want him/her to go.

DOG BED: any soft, clean surface, such as the white bedspread in the guest room or the newly upholstered couch in the living room.

DROOL: Is what you do when your persons have food and you don't. To do this properly you must sit as close as you can and look sad and let the drool fall to the floor, or better yet, on their laps.

SNIFF: A social custom to use when you greet other dogs. Place your nose as close as you can to the other dog's rear end and inhale deeply, repeat several times, or until your person makes you stop.

GARBAGE CAN: A container which your neighbors put out once a week to test your ingenuity. You must stand on your hind legs and try to push the lid off with your nose. If you do it right you are rewarded with margarine wrappers to shred, beef bones to consume and moldy crusts of bread.

BICYCLES: Two-wheeled exercise machines, invented for dogs to control body fat. To get maximum aerobic benefit, you must hide behind a bush and dash out, bark loudly and run alongside for a few yards; the person then swerves and falls into the bushes, and you prance away.

DEAFNESS: This is a malady which affects dogs when their person want them in and they want to stay out. Symptoms include staring blankly at the person, then running in the opposite direction, or lying down.

THUNDER: This is a signal that the world is coming to an end. Humans remain amazingly calm during thunderstorms, so it is necessary to warn them of the danger by trembling uncontrollably, panting, rolling your eyes wildly, and following at their heels.

WASTEBASKET: This is a dog toy filled with paper, envelopes, and old candy wrapper. When you get bored, turn over the basket and strew the papers all over the house until your person comes home.

SOFAS: Are to dogs like napkins are to people. After eating it is polite to run up and down the front of the sofa and wipe your whiskers clean.

BATH: This is a process by which the humans drench the floor, walls and themselves. You can help by shaking vigorously and frequently.

LEAN: Every good dog's response to the command "sit !", especially if your person is dressed for an evening out. Incredibly effective before black-tie events.

BUMP: The best way to get your human's attention when they are drinking a fresh cup of coffee or tea.

GOOSE BUMP: A maneuver to use as a last resort when the Regular Bump doesn't get the attention you require... especially effective when combined with The Sniff. See above.

LOVE: Is a feeling of intense affection, given freely and without restriction. The best way you can show your love is to wag your tail. If you're lucky, a human will love you in return.

WALK or WALKIES: When you run where you please, using your person's distant calling of your name to keep a tabs on them, but not needing to hurry back... they know you're here somewhere.

CHEWS: Rubber toys you use your teeth to reduce to the smallest bits, and leave them all over the floor, so your person knows how much you enjoyed them.

BALL: When your person throws it in the park, make sure you put as much dribble and drool on it as you can - the owners love to pick it up and watch the droplets fly off when they throw it.

ZOOMIES: You know, when we run around uncontrollably (usually in circles around a room!) and make our humans laugh hysterically!


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Pets are not just pets - faithful friends of humans!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007 by Tony Haffner

Hi Friends! Welcome to Tony's world of pets... oh! I forgot to tell you about my family. Well I have 2 dogs, 2 cats and 1 parrot and it's an expanding list. I will let you know about the newcomers in my family as and when they come in. Do you think pets are just pets... think again! I am sure that if you are having a pet you will say... obviously not! They are more than just being pets. Yes - they are the faithful friends and companions of humans. They are a part of the family and provide fun and enjoyment to the members. Every family needs a pet for companionship. The companionship of a pet in one's life plays a vital role in changing the life style of a person by bringing in joy and entertainment in a daily fixed schedule. No matter whether it's dog, cat or a rabbit, it's for sure that the the pet would give you all it can to make you happy, without asking anything in return.

Researches have shown that pets especially dogs and in some cases miniature horses can relieve stress and remove loneliness and anxiety. Pets are now being a part of the therapeutic treatment for the depressed. They act as a soothing remedy to the ailment. Pets have better sense of responsibility and understanding. I have observed it several times myself. It was this summer when my mom got sick and I was in Charlotte at that time. I got the news and came back to LA and I found "Jack" sitting right beside my mom and he is down. Jack is the eldest member in my pet family- He is a Golden Retriever. Even I heard from Melinda that he has not taken his meal and has never moved from his place till it was needed.This is just an example of pet behavior which many of the animal lovers have noticed among their pets. All of you and your children can learn the value of your animal pets with people who are going through a hardship in their lives. So the message goes right from all of us that Pets are invaluable friends of humans. Those of you there who are still thinking on having a pet, should ideally wait no longer in choosing your new member in the family.


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Hi!! This is Tony from Los Angeles , CA . A gizmo geek by nature and fond of all sorts of odd gadgets . I have a passion for pets and..Oh Yes! I have 2 dogs , 2 cats , 1 parrot and a cage full of finches . You can learn about interesting pet news, pet photos, pet videos, pet products, and pet care tips from this blog.. That sums of all about me. So come in with all ur aarfs and meaws and enjoy blogging.

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