Welcome Home My Florida!
Pets... What would we do without them? My life would be different, I can tell you that much.
They're always there for you, always forgiving, always loving you. What person has ever filled
that little hole in our hearts that a pet fills quite adequately? The stories I could tell about my
life with cats could fill a book! Life without cats? I don't think so!
The Family Pet
JANUARY 2008
Adopt a stray!
They need you.
Spay or Neuter your
outdoor animals!
Don't buy, adopt!
New
Beginnings!
BIRD
MAN
ALEX
IS
HERE!
For those of you
who've followed the
saga of Sampson
the Brute verses
Lilo the lamb, this is
proof positive that
love moves
mountains! Don't
know the story?
Click here to read
all about it.
In the cage next to the Kestrel was a Bard owl.  The Bard Owl was blind in one eye and almost blind in the
other.  At the bottom of his cage, there were some gopher tortoises.  They are listed in Florida as a
threatened species.  They can live to be 60 years old, but these were quite young and small.  The owner had
raised them from eggs.

In another area they had some Monk parakeets which are sometimes called Quaker parakeets.  They had a
crow named Kenny who is one of the few registered talking crows.  He knows how to say, “Kenny is a pig.”  
According to the owner, Kenny really is a pig.  They had a cardinal which looked as a Cedar Waxed Wing.   
They had a female bow tailed grackle.  All these animals had something wrong with them, and had to live in
this sanctuary.  

After we exited the aviary, we went to outside exhibits.  The first one we stopped at was a group of Great
Horned Owls.  Did you know they can actually kill people?    If you are walking in the woods with fuzzy head
coverings they might consider you prey and attack with strength in their talons which can kill you
immediately.  This happened to a park ranger.  When he was found, it looked like he had been shot by
poachers, but after the autopsy, they discovered it was a case of mistaken identity where the Great Horned
Owl thought his hat was a rabbit.  The owner held one without putting on a glove.

Another cage held had a goose and two ducks which had been abused and cut in many places.  It is too
sad to describe the conditions they had come from and their injuries.  Also in the same area there were
some barn owls, bard owls and another type.  They only had two barn owls.  They were mother and son,
who had been hit by cars days apart.  The mother has exceeded its normal longevity.  It was around 17
years old.    

The next cage held some Muscovy ducks that had been abused and that cage also held a female
pheasant.  They found the pheasant that was originally from Michigan but found in Florida because a hunter
had released it on his land in Florida to hunt.          

The place was a great place to visit.  They are in the middle of construction to make an even better place.  
The construction will expand the exhibits and will even provide them with the opportunity to put in an Eagle
exhibit.    Hope you had a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!          
WANTED: YOUR PET PHOTOS AND STORIES!
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PETsMART
PETsMART
THE YEAR OF THE DOG?
Dr. Carla Haddix DVM
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Actually, 2008 will be the Year of the Rat. However, this article
isn't about Chinese astrology; it's about the answer to that
perennial question, "How old is my dog (or cat) in human years?"
A standard and simplistic formula for converting "dog years" to "human years" is that every year of a pet's life is equivalent
to seven years of a person's life. According to this method, you take the age of your dog, multiply by 7, and that gives you
his corresponding "human" age.

This 1:7 ratio may offer an adequate estimation for some dogs in the middle of their lifespan, but is inaccurate for certain
breeds. It is also inaccurate for all pets who are very young or very old. In fact, due to
canine breed and size variation, it would be impossible to come up with a universally-applicable formula for calculating a
dog's age in "human" years.

It is more useful to compare corresponding periods of development, maturation, and aging in animals and people. For
instance, puppies and kittens are weaned and master the ability to walk in a fairly coordinated fashion at around 3 to 5
weeks; human babies achieve these same milestones between 6 and 12 months. That comparison is, roughly, a 1:7 ratio
with considerable variation. Puberty occurs at around 6 months in pets and around 12 years in humans. That is a ratio of
1:24!

In senescence (old age) there is much variability among dog breeds. While many small breeds such as miniature poodles
can live to age 16 or 17, giant breeds like Great Danes or Mastiffs may only reach 8 or 9. Therefore, both the 17-year-old
poodle and the 9-year-old Dane can be likened to a human of 80 -90. (In general, smaller dogs live longer than big dogs.)

Thinking of "life-cycle" comparisons in this way can help you more accurately estimate your pet's rate of aging, in terms
you can relate to your own human experience. There are also tables which help predict a dog's expected lifespan no
matter what its breed (check the internet.)

Keep in mind there are always going to be extremes outside the "average." Due to genetic predisposition or uncontrollable
circumstances, some individuals will die unexpectedly early (such as the rare 40-year-old man or woman who dies of
cancer or a heart attack), or survive to an unusually advanced age. Not many of us will achieve the long life of Jean Calmet,
a French woman who died at age 122, the longest officially documented human lifespan.

The oldest dog on record was "Bluey", an Australian Cattle Dog who reached 29 years. The oldest cat was named
"Granpa" and lived to be 34. I'll bet by then they were calling him "Great-great-granpa!"
Hello and welcome to this month’
s edition.  This month I want to
share with you about a neat non-
profit organization called
Owls of
Ocala
. Owls of Ocala rescue all
sorts of animals.  
When we first arrived, I noticed
they had a Koi pond.  It was a
beautiful pond with about three
Koi and a few guppies.  The
owner took us inside an aviary
where we saw a few ducks
running all over and a blue and
gold macaw that flew all over.  In
one cage there was a Kestrel,
which is a type of falcon.
Cedar Waxed Wing
Monk Parakeet
Great Horned Owl
Owls of Ocala
A Non-Profit Birds of Prey Rescue Group

Let's start out with some interesting facts
about Owls. Did you know...

* ”Owls feed on a wide variety of prey
including mammals, other birds, insects,
and reptiles. Owls cannot chew their prey
since, like all birds, they do not have teeth.
Most owls are active at night.

* Owls are unable to move their eyes within
their sockets to a great extent, which means
they must turn their entire head to see in a
different direction.
* Owls have developed special feather adaptations that enable them to minimize the sound made when flapping their wings.
Owls' ears are located on the facial disc behind the eyes and are concealed by feathers. They have an acute sense of hearing that helps
them locate and capture prey.

* The structure of an owl's foot is referred to as zygodactyl, which means that two of the toes face forward while two face backward. This
arrangement enables the owls to capture and grasp prey with greater ease.

*Sounds owls might make include hoot, screeches, hisses, and screams.”
Excerpt from Laura Klappenbach  http://animals.about.com/od/owl1/a/tenthingsowls.htm
Owls… They’ve always been a wonder of mine… I’ve wondered this and wondered that about their species. They appear calculating;
always looking down from a high branch in the early evening watching for anything that moves that might make a tasty meal.  The quiet flight
and the distant stare… Quite frankly they’ve always intimidated me. So when I heard about
Owls of Ocala I was excited at the opportunity to
learn more.

Specializing in injured Birds of Prey,
Owls of Ocala provides a place for the wounded to find shelter, medical attention and a safe place to
heal. If, after an appropriate period of time, the bird is able to return to good health, able to fend for itself, it’s released back into its original
habitat.
Owls of Ocala believe in rehabilitation and release when birds are able to recover.

If a bird has gone through major trauma, such as a wing loss or blindness for example, yet healthy in all other respects, they are able to live
out the remainder of their lives as a source of education for people such as you and me.  Before coming to
Owls of Ocala, I had never seen
a Great Horned Owl within touching distance and I was amazed! It commanded a respect something like that of a lion! I was in awe of this
wide-eyed creature who was staring at me as if I was about to become lunch. Total r-e-s-p-e-c-t!  

This recovery center is located in the heart of Ocala and offers tours free of charge for small groups. When I asked Keith why he didn't
charge, he explained that it would break his heart if a person didn't come with a group because they couldn't afford the fee. He feels it's
more important to educate others how important birds are in the ecological system and that we need to be aware of our wild animals just
as we would a pet in our own home. Due to major growth in Florida, wildlife keeps getting pushed farther and farther from their natural
habitat. I think we all agree that our natural wildlife should be considered precious cargo.
Varied animals are brought to Owls of Ocala, like three little bunny
rabbits. Each one of them suffered at the hands of man so Keith is trying
to provide comfort and healing where he can.

Keith’s rescue mission is different from even the most famous
organizations in the fact that their main goal is to rehabilitate and return
the bird back to its original habitat. 'Some' rescue groups are really
looking for birds that are not able to be returned to the wild so they can
be used as a source of 'education' or in other words, a source for
'funding' the supposed care of the one's they keep. In reality some of
these missions are simply used as a front for encouraging others to
jump on board to support their agenda… whatever that may be. Keith’s
agenda is preservation of Florida’s natural wildlife. Period.

Before donating to any rescue group, go visit. Find out what they're about
by asking questions. Find out how many animals they have had
euthenized in the past year and why. (Please note that even the finest
groups must include euthanasia in the process of helping injured
animals due to the fact that some animals just cannot be saved.
Euthanasia at that point is simply a manner to save the animal undue
suffering).
Ask to see their books. Any legitimate group will be happy to show you how they spend their funds. Keith has told us he has wide open
books for anyone to see. From what he explained, he could really use everyone’s help in dealing with the cost of his rescue mission. Not
only with daily care for the animals, but to finish work on a building that was severely damaged in the hurricanes. His dreams include
opening part of this structure to create a classroom environment for others to learn. It will also be used for increasing the ‘hospital’ section,
where injured birds are kept in a quiet, low light environment, separated from the healthy creatures. His ‘big’ dream is to purchase a larger
piece of property to accommodate all the needs of the area.
Make a PhotoShow Full Size

Becoming a rescue mission isn’t something I’d advise just
anyone to start. There’s never enough money, time or help to
do all the things these animal lovers want to do, so they do their
best… not for appearance sake, but for the animal’s sake. The
one thing I’ve noticed about all the rescue groups I’ve met so
far, the leaders aren’t doing this for money, for recognition or
because it’s glamorous. They do it because they love the
creatures… They do it because they want to help. You can be a
part of their work by sponsoring animals, or cages or food or
construction materials. There’s an unending source of needs,
so just ask them where they need help.

If you’re in the Ocala area or traveling there soon, give Keith a
call… Let him know you saw this article and would like to visit
and help him see their dream come true. Ask to be placed on
his email list for whenever a ‘release’ is about to happen! Can
you imagine seeing a Great Horned Owl who would have died if
Keith hadn’t stepped in, fly away to regain its freedom! While
Alex and I were there, he was waiting on a call about a hurt Bald
Eagle! It didn’t arrive while we were on property, but if they got it,
I’m hoping it will soon be able to be released with others.
Take a moment to view some photos we were able to
take while visiting!
Step up to the plate and help. Just think... If
one person can move mountains, imagine
what 100 could do!
(Non Profit status Confirmed)

The website is:
http://www.owls-ocalainc.org/
Email Address is:
owls-ocalainc@hotmail.com
CLICK ON PHOTOS FOR A LARGER & CLOSE-UP VIEW!
Mango loves to play cat
and mouse games on
the computer!
KitKat is brushing up on
geography, preparing for a
test.
Baby Girl, well, she's just
here to be pretty!
Thanks to Candy from
Belleview!
When I walked around the
corner and saw them together,
I squeeked with delight and
grabbed the camera! I wouldn't
have believed it could happen.