Animal

How to Make Your Pet an Official Emotional Support Animal

As a pet parent, I understand the emotional benefits of having a loving four-legged friend by my side. My dog, Diamond, is one of the biggest calming forces in my life. Her mellow demeanor allows me to take her to dog-friendly restaurants, on pet-sitting gigs, and more. I had always considered making her an emotional support animal (or ESA), but knowing I didn’t have a medical reason to do so kept me from taking the plunge.

However, when I was diagnosed with an iron-overload disorder called Hereditary Hemochromatosis and learned I would have to deal with needles — my greatest fear — on a frequent basis, I decided to take the steps to make Diamond an ESA so I could have her with me at my doctor’s office.

If you are thinking about making your pet an ESA, here’s what I learned when I went through the process.

The difference between an emotional support animal and a service animal

The first thing to note is that under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), ESAs are not considered service animals. While service animals are allowed everywhere, ESAs have limitations on where they can go. This is because service animals are specially trained to assist a person with a diagnosed physical or mental disability, whereas ESAs are not.

Where you can take an ESA

Based on federal regulations, there are only two places your ESA is allowed:

A home you’d like to rent

Under the Fair Housing Act, all landlords must make “reasonable accommodation” to permit dogs that are ESAs.

When you fly

Under the Air Carrier Access Act, airlines are required to provide accommodation to passengers traveling with an ESA, upon review of required ESA documents.

You can also check with your state or local government to find out their rules on allowing ESAs in public places. I did find that many doctor’s offices and medical facilities in my area allow patients to bring their ESA with them to appointments, tests, and…

A Vegan Diet Is Not Only About Giving Up On Meat, It’s More Than That!

Ever wondered what it would be like only eat plant-based foods and completely remove any type of meat from your diet? Then ask a vegan! Veganism is a term that does not really refer to a diet, but rather a lifestyle as being a vegan does not only mean you are avoiding any animal-derived food, but it also means that you are completely avoiding the use of any products that are derived from animals. While veganism and vegetarianism are often associated with one another, it is vital to realize that there is a distinct different between the two. Where vegetarians solely avoid eating meat, vegans completely remove any animal products and animal derived products from their daily lifestyle – this does not only extend to meat and food sources, but also to non-consumable products such as leather handbags. In this post, we’ll discuss what veganism is, where it came from, what you can eat and, of course, what can’t vegans eat.

The original Vegan Society was founded in 1944, but the first traces of veganism dates back to approximately 500 BCE, as reported by The Vegan Society.1 At this time, the traces refer to a diet that is more similar to a vegetarian diet, but mentioning this discovery is important as it marks an entry point for the development of the vegan lifestyle. In 1806 CE, the vegan lifestyle became more developed when the lifestyle was promoted to be free of dairy products and eggs. The vegan lifestyle as we know it today, however, was developed in 1944 by Donald Watson – this is also now referred to as the modern-day vegan lifestyle. This lifestyle now includes a healthy diet plan, along with the removal of any items in your life that are made from any kind of material derived from animals.2 This includes leather, feathers and much more.

The vegan diet has received quite a lot of attention in recent years. Similar to how people have adapted their lives to becoming vegetarian or following particular diet plans, such as the paleo diet, many people have discovered that veganism is a healthy way of living and plant-based foods are still able to provide the human body with essential nutrients that are needed to promote overall wellbeing and longevity.3 It is reported that at least 2.5% of the entire American population are now following a vegan lifestyle and the consumption of meat are…

There’s A Nursery That Takes Care Of Hundreds Of Adorable Kittens

Tibbles J having a snack in 2015.

Newborn felines are some of the cuddliest members of the animal kingdom. But their diminutive stature—and the level of TLC they need to survive—makes them extra vulnerable, too. That’s why the San Diego Humane Society (SDHS) Kitten Nursery, the first of its kind in the U.S., cares exclusively for fragile fuzz balls.

Very young kittens, even healthy ones, require almost round-the-clock attention: They have to be fed roughly every three hours and need help regulating their body temperature. “Not all…

Minimalistic Animal Logos Created Using Circular Geometry And Line Forms

I’ve always admired illustrators who can turn simple forms into something spectacular, since the proper use of basic shapes is the foundation to a good drawing, but most artists try to hide their drawing’s underlying frame.

However, California-based Art Director Anuja Kanani doesn’t mind letting the world see the framework for her drawings, and she creates simply wonderful animal logos out of circles and simple lines.

Why We Should Have More Vegetarian Protein and Where Can We Get It

Tell someone that you are a vegetarian and it is quite likely that the first thing you will be asked is, “But where do you get your protein?” A vegan friend of mine used to say that she felt as though she spent a significant part of her life explaining vegetarian protein1 to people.

Consuming the right amount of protein is important but how does plant-based protein compare to proteins derived from meat?

Animal Protein vs. Vegetarian Protein

When digested, protein is broken down into amino acids which are required for most metabolic processes. The main difference between animal protein and vegetarian protein is the types of amino acids that they contain.

Animal proteins are regarded as “complete” since they contain all of the essential amino acids. Vegetarian protein are sometimes viewed as being “incomplete” as some may lack one or more amino acid.2

However, there are various plants that are “complete” such as hemp seeds, quinoa, chlorella, and bee pollen. Furthermore, it is easy to combine different plant foods to have complete protein in your meals.

What are the Health Benefits of Vegetarian Protein

The good news is that you do not necessarily have to be a vegetarian to benefit from a plant-based diet! You can simply incorporate more vegetarian meals into your lifestyle. In fact, according to the American Dietetic Association, “appropriately-planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.” 3

These are 5 health benefits of vegetarian protein:

  • You will lower your intake of cholesterol and unhealthy saturated fat which will lower the chances of heart disease.4
  • Animal proteins have little to no fiber. A vegetarian meal provides a good source of fiber which will…

Sea creatures’ sticky ‘mucus houses’ catch ocean carbon really fast

larvacean
MUCUS HOUSE The pale inner house (rounded flank in foreground) as well as a big, stickier outer envelope of a larvacean’s shelter could be important in ocean carbon cycles.

Never underestimate the value of a disposable mucus house.

Filmy, see-through envelopes of mucus, called “houses,” get discarded daily by the largest of the sea creatures that exude them. The old houses, often more than a meter across, sink toward the ocean bottom carrying with them plankton and other biological tidbits snagged in their goo.

Now, scientists have finally caught the biggest of these soft and fragile houses in action, filtering particles out of seawater for the animal to eat. The observations, courtesy of a new deepwater laser-and-camera system, could start to clarify a missing piece of biological roles in sequestering carbon in the deep ocean, researchers say May 3 in Science Advances.

The houses come from sea animals called larvaceans, not exactly a household name. Their bodies are diaphanous commas afloat in the oceans: a blob of a head attached to a long tail that swishes water through its house. From millimeter-scale dots in surface waters to relative giants in the depths, larvaceans have jellyfish-translucent bodies but a cordlike structure (called a notochord) reminiscent of very ancient ancestors of vertebrates. “They’re more closely related to us than to jellyfish,” says bioengineer Kakani Katija of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in Moss Landing, Calif.

The giants among larvaceans, with bodies in the size range of candy bars, don’t form their larger, enveloping houses when brought into the lab. So Katija and colleagues took a standard engineering strategy of tracking particle movement to measure flow rates…

Spaying/Neutering Is Up, Animal Populations In Shelters Are Down Across The U.S.

It’s good news for dog and cat enthusiasts.

The U.S. has seen a massive increase in the number of spay or neutering procedures as outreach and subsidization programs.

animal shelter good news

Right now, there are around 12.6 million spay/neuter surgeries performed on cats and dogs every year according to the Alliance for Contraception in Cats & Dogs. Most shelters also have requirements that any adopted animal be spayed or neutered immediately after adoption, or the shelter sets up the surgery…

A Completely New Kind of Symbiotic Relationship

We’ve seen animals and plants, plants and fungi, animals and bacteria, all with symbiotic relationships that benefit both species. Some combinations even take that relationship to the cellular level. But now scientists have identified algae living in salamander cells through the life of the animal, which is the first time a photosynthetic plant has been found in the cells of a vertebrate.

As a collaborative research team from the American Museum of Natural History and Gettysburg College revealed, the green alga Oophila amblystomatis makes its home inside of cells located across…

Does the U.S. President’s Dog Get Its Own Secret Service Agents?

Ryan asks: If the president has a pet dog, do their bodyguards also watch over his dog like they do his family?

Even before the U.S. president is elected such, if they’re considered a “major candidate” for the job, they get offered Secret Service protection. Whether they accept that protection or not, once elected until the day they die (unless they opt out after leaving office), they will be shadowed by an elite team of Secret Service agents. These individuals, while not actually sworn to do so (contrary to popular belief), are generally expected to, if necessary, give their lives to keep the president safe. While in office, this protection extends to a president’s immediate family. But does this ever include their family pet? Technically no.

According to former Secret Service agent Dan Emmett, as noted in his book Within Arm’s Length, the agents tasked with protecting the First Family are under no obligation to protect any pets said family may own. In fact, he noted that even beyond not directly having any obligation to protect the animals, “Walking the dog or cat is not and will never be a part of an agent’s job description.”

Emmett put this little tidbit in a section of his book specifically dispelling myths about the Secret Service. This is a section that humourously enough also includes this gem of a supposedly widely held myth:

Myth: All women are attracted to Secret Service agents.

Emmett goes on to explain that the truth is actually that only “Many women are attracted to Secret Service agents…” (Presumably to ones called Dan Emmett most of all.) On top of this, he states that the life of a Secret Service agent includes a

never-ending string of temptations sometimes literally thrust into one’s face by women who are impressed by such things as men who protect the president. It can be almost frightening at times when seated in a bar, and a woman recognizes and agent she has just seen on television with the president. On more than one occasion, my shift mates and I had phone numbers and hotel room keys shoved into our hands or thrown to us while working a rope line with the president…. For the single agent, it was paradise; for many married agents, it was a constant struggle between good and evil, which was sometimes won and other times lost.

Back to literal dogs (as opposed to the cheating kind)- although the Secret Service isn’t obligated by any means to walk or take care of the president’s pet dog or cat (Emmett tersely claims that White House custodial staff do this), it doesn’t mean they don’t necessarily do it.

For example, Bo and Sunny, the pet Portuguese Water Dogs of the Obama’s, were often pictured being taken for a walk by some member of Obama’s protective detail. Given there were presumably other staff available for the task when necessary, we can only assume they did this because of scenarios like that the president was in the midst of doing so himself when called away for a moment (so they had to take over temporarily), and perhaps because they liked to walk the dogs, so weren’t quick to call other White House staff in. After all, it stands to reason that Secret Service agents who spend a lot of time around the president would occasionally grow fond of the president’s pets, assuming they liked the type of animal, and thus wouldn’t mind the occasional pet detail.

Said agents have also been known to do such things as a favor to the president. For instance, the Secret Service agents…

The Star-Nosed Mole Is Almost Too Weird

The more we learn about the star-nosed mole, the stranger this animal gets—and that’s saying something. We learned just a little bit more this week, as mole expert Kenneth Catania presented his latest findings at the 2017 Experimental Biology Meeting in Chicago.

The neuroscientist has been obsessed with the lumpy, hamster-sized creatures since his days as a research assistant at the National Zoo.

Kenneth Catania

“Obviously they are among the weirdest looking creatures on the planet,” he said in a statement. “But when I began trying to understand the star, the mole’s brain organization, and its behavior—that’s when things got really surprising.”

In 2011, for example, Catania realized that the moles have developed a technique for smelling underwater. They aim their strange snoots at fish or other prey, then start blowing bubbles. The bubbles bounce off the hapless prey and are instantly…