|Expert Advice on Caring for Pets
by Sharon Brewer
Step inside Shirley Junker's house, and you'll see why her business is pet care. Poodles, parrots and lots of other birds all join in to say hello. Shirley has always enjoyed animals, so grooming and pet sitting seemed like a good job for her. Shirley takes care of people's pets when they aren't able to, like for a vacation or even during the day when people have to work away from the house.
Here are some pet care tips that Shirley uses to keep her pets in super shape.
Love and kindness go a long way: Think of how you would want to be treated and treat them the same way. Talk nicely to them - and give them lots of kisses and hugs.
Next comes good food: Make sure you give your pets a nutritious balanced diet that has some variety. Birds can see color and shape, and Shirley suggests that you feed them bird pellets that come in bright colors and shapes. The birds will pick out their favorite shapes while getting the vitamins that they need.
Don't forget the water: All animals need lots of fresh, cool water to drink. Baths are good, too. Birds love a shower. Cats keep themselves clean, but every dog needs a bath now and then.
That beautiful coat: Comb or brush: take your pick. Horses, dogs and cats love it. All animals with fur need to be combed or brushed regularly. It helps keep off the ticks and fleas and keeps them looking great.
Pitch a tent: If your animals live outside, make sure they have a place to get out of the hot sun and the rain. If the temperatures get too cold, make sure your pet is inside a place that is warm and protected.
Play, play, play: Have fun with your pets. Play with them. Go for a walk or a run. Play chase or fetch. Let your hamsters and guinea pigs run around in the grass for a while (they can eat the grass, too). Activity is fun for everyone.
Special Treats: Your pets make you happy, so give them a yummy treat. Hamsters, rabbits and other rodents love fresh vegetables like lettuce and carrots. Cats are crazy about catnip, and horses love apples.
Pets bring you happiness and love. Follow these simple tips, and you'll show them just how much you love them.
Smart Pet Tricks
Many pets can easily be taught some neat tricks. The secret to success is the 2 R's: Repetition and Reward - and lots of praise.
1. Flip a Treat
Balance a yummy treat on your dog's nose. At your signal, the dog flips it into the air and catches it. Practice makes perfect.
2. Shut the Door
Most dogs can easily be taught to push the door closed with their nose after someone comes in. Place the dog's nose against the door, say NOSE. Push against the door, say PUSH. Repeat and Reward.
Got your own ideas? Use your imagination. Some dogs have even been taught to play the piano. Roll over, Beethoven!
My Wonderful Pets
When I was seven, I dreamed of having a bird so I wrote it on my Christmas list, and sure enough I got one. On Christmas morning, no one was awake in my family, and I sneaked down the stairs to see if I had gotten my wish. I saw a big box. I lifted up the blanket that was on top of it, and there was my bird, I loved him so much. I had to clean his cage and feed him. He was very colorful so I named him Rainbow. He died last summer. It was very sad for me. I would do anything to have him back, but I know he is still in my heart.
Next, my sister's hamster had babies and I got one for myself - he was the runt so I named him Baby. He is real easy to take care of and he loves lettuce as a treat.
Rainbow and Baby are my own pets. Our family has pets, too. We have a dog named Leo, two cats, Simba and Jake and some fish.
Loving Care for All My Pets
I love animals and I've had lots of pets. First I had two hermit crabs. They were pretty easy to take care of. All I had to do was put a damp sponge and some food in their cage. They were interesting pets. The next pet I had was a parakeet. I named it Sunshine because it was yellow. I gave it food and water and changed its cage, but I got tired of it chirping 24 hours a day. My aunt was looking for a bird, so I gave it to her.
My next pet was a hamster named Peach, and I would often let her roam around in her ball. Sometimes, I would let her play in the grass, but I kept a close eye on her. She was my favorite out of the 11 hamsters that I had.
The pet that I have now is a Chameleon. Sometimes he's hard to find because he changes color and blends in with the leaves. His tongue is 1-1/2 times longer than his body. It is neat to watch him catch crickets with it. I have to give him 5 crickets a day. I spray his water on the leaves of a plant, and he licks it off.
It is a lot of work having pets, but I enjoy it.
Some pets are EXTRAordinary.
Match these unusual pets with their own unique trait.
5. pot bellied pig
10. boa constrictor
A. funny smile, carry you a mile
B. a tight squeeze
C. color coded
D. beady eyes
E. sticky feet
F. dragon look-alike
G. proud feathers
H. prickly to touch
I. cute squeals
J. wooly coat to wear
K. amour plated
Fantastic Food Fun
Fri. May 26 (10am)-If you love to eat, you'll love to learn about making a special treat. Fun books, Maisy Makes Gingerbread and Spot Bakes a Cake make you want to bake your own. Preschoolers. Barnes & Noble, Harbour Center Annapolis: 410/573-1115.
Lunch and Musical Goldilocks
Sat. May 27 (Doors open 11:30am)-Children's Theater brings a fairy tale musically to life. Enjoy lunch at noon followed by Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Ages 2-12. Chesapeake Music Hall, Annapolis: $9.50. rsvp 410/626-7515.
Prehistoric Creature Hunt
Sat. May 27 (10pm-midnight)-Grab a flashlight and snack to enjoy around the campfire and help count horseshoe crabs. The beach will be crawling with these ancient critters! All ages, with adult. Flag Ponds Nature Ctr, Port Republic: 410/535-5327.
Kids Fishing Derby
Sun. May 28. (10-1pm)- 'You should'a seen the one that got awayÉ' Bring your own fishing gear or borrow ours. Lots of prizes. Good luck. Ages 15 and under. Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary, Upper Marlboro. Register at 9:30am: rsvp 301/888-1410.