pets

Along with picnics and barbecues, the Fourth of July brings a less pleasant yearly ritual for many dog lovers: worrying about a family pooch who panics at the sound of firecrackers.

Betsy and Andy Firebaugh of Santa Cruz, Calif., have reason for concern. They live on a mountain ridge overlooking the Pacific Ocean — a usually peaceful scene, except at this time of year, when people illegally set off firecrackers at local beaches. The explosive booms send their otherwise happy Australian shepherd — Seamus — into a frenzy.

Bears do it; bats do it. So do guinea pigs, dogs and humans. They all yawn. It's a common animal behavior, but one that is something of a mystery.

There's still no consensus on the purpose of a yawn, says Robert Provine, professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Provine has studied what he calls "yawn science" since the early 1980s, and he's published dozens of research articles on it. He says the simple yawn is not so simple.

Yes, you read that right – this month, cats will make an appearance at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

It's a break from 141 years of tradition. The cats will be part of a showcase designed to educate the public about different types of cats and dogs, called Meet & Compete.

The American Kennel Club describes the event as an "opportunity to meet and play with hundreds of adorable dogs and fabulous felines while learning about responsible pet ownership."

It's 3 a.m. and Whiskers has decided it's time for breakfast. He jumps up on your bed, gently paws at your eyelids and meows to be fed. Annoyed? Cat behavior specialist Sarah Ellis says you have only yourself to blame.

Ellis says that cat owners reinforce negative behaviors when they give in to them. "Cats are not necessarily born meowing and screaming at us for food, it's a behavior that they learned," Ellis tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

When you praise a dog, it's listening not just to the words you say but also how you say them.

That might not be huge news to dog owners. But now scientists have explored this phenomenon by using an imaging machine to peek inside the brains of 13 dogs as they listened to their trainer's voice.

NOAA Paducah, weather.gov

Temperatures are expected to creep back into the 90’s Monday and that can mean a health risk for outdoor pets. That’s especially the case when humidity levels spike as well. 

Matt Markgraf, WKMS

This month, in our Puppies Sound Good special series, featuring one or more puppies available for adoption at the Humane Society of Calloway County, we meet a lab mix named Squirt. He was very friendly with WKMS staff members and loved being cuddled. He fell asleep in the lap of Humane Society Executive Director Kathy Hodge during the Sounds Good conversation. Squirt was found as a stray and has since been given shots and wormed. He's currently being socialized with other dogs in a foster home.

Our monthly feature, "Puppies Sound Good" brings Kathy Hodge from the Humane Society of Calloway County and a puppy (or puppies) available for adoption to our studio in search for a home. Today, we met Chester, a black lab. Hodge says he's about 12 weeks old, but was brought in as a stray so they don't know much about his ancestry. Chester was shy at first (seeing more humans in one room than he had his entire life) but after a few treats, he warmed right up and sat in Todd Hatton's lap during the interview. He seemed very relaxed and laid back. Kathy and Todd Hatton also talk about what's going on at the Humane Society and some advice for those thinking about pets as a Christmas gift.

Today on Sounds Good we met Howie, a fluffy golden retriever mix puppy, available for adoption at the Humane Society of Calloway County. Howie is mostly black, with white paws and a white chest. He was very cuddly and playful at WKMS, and one of the more relaxed puppies to visit the station. When the conversation began, Howie gave Todd Hatton puppy kisses and fell asleep next to his seat. Humane Society's Kathy Hodge says that's the kind of puppy he is. They also discuss upcoming events and activities for pets and their owners.

forthepets.org

Tom Rottinghaus of the Humane Society of Calloway County stops by Sounds Good to show us a new, full-color calendar of pets from the area, now on sale at Animal Health & Wellness, Bark Avenue, Family Fitness Center, Little Shop of Collars, Precious Paws, Lee Jewelry Artisans, Warner Veterinary Clinic, Westside Veterinary Service, and the Humane Society office. The calendars are a $10 donation to the Society. Tom also talks about some of the items in the 5th Annual Online Auction, featuring hand-crafted items, jewelry, home decor, gift certificates and more. See both of these items, and adoption information, at forthepets.org.

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