Sunday, April 29, 2007

Why pets are important

Pets are very important parts of our lives because they help us cope withlife, are understanding, and have unconditional love for us I also would like to share a few amazing things that pets have done for people so below I put in some stories from

Forget the dog park! Kato, a German shepherd mix, preferred to spend his downtime at Brooklyn’s Coney Island, in New York. At night, he guarded the Wonder Wheel, an eight-story-high Ferris wheel. But during the day, he rode it! It all started when someone put Kato on the ride to get him out of the way while cleaning. “He really liked it,” says John Vouderis, whose family owns the ride. Before long, he had his own special car outfitted with blankets, water, food, and weights to keep it from rocking. “When we’d start turning the wheel in the morning, he’d bark and scratch to go on it,” says Vouderis. He also barked to get off—for “bathroom” breaks.

Someone had set off the security alarm at the Gladstone Library, in Oregon—again. But when librarian Catherine Powers accompanied a police officer to the library, she found everything in order. This was the fourth false alarm in three months. Fed up, Powers called a repairman. After a thorough investigation, he came to an unusual conclusion. “I think it’s the cat,” he said, after repositioning the motion detectors. “He’s sliding down the banister.” Page, the library mascot, did have the run of the place. And there was a staircase. But still … a cat sliding down the banister? Powers was doubtful. Weeks later, however, another staff member looked up to see Page on the banister at the top of the staircase. “She saw him turn and slide to the bottom,” says Powers. “Then he just strolled away.”

One night, when Hazel Woodget lay down on the couch, only three of her four pet Chihuahuas snuggled beside her. Pepe, the most devoted pup, perched on her tummy, stared into her eyes, and kept sniffing her armpit instead. Annoyed, she pushed him away. Then the determined dog pounced on her chest. That’s when Woodget, of Wiltshire, England, in the United Kingdom, felt a pain that made her visit a doctor. Days later, a biopsy revealed a fast-growing cancer in her body. Woodget underwent surgery, and as soon as she was home and recovering, Pepe returned to snuggling. Months later, however, he started staring as he’d done before. Sure enough, Woodget’s cancer had spread. She was treated again.

Woodget’s cancer reappeared two more times after that, and both times Pepe alerted her. “He knew I was sick before I knew I was sick,” says Woodget. “It’s because of what Pepe did that I’m still here.” Pepe was so reliable that his story was used in a medical research study to see if cancer sniffer dogs could be trained. Turns out the answer is yes. That means hospitals may begin putting sensitive-sniffing lifesavers on staff.

When Tee Cee sits and stares directly into his face, Michael Edmonds immediately finds a chair. That’s because Tee Cee is warning him that he’s about to suffer an epileptic seizure. Edmonds, of Yorkshire, England, faints from the seizures. They can strike as often as three times a day. But Edmonds won’t get hurt if he’s sitting down. Not only does Tee Cee warn Edmonds, but the cat also finds and alerts Edmonds’s wife by biting and tugging on her pants. Then the cat stays with Edmonds until he regains consciousness.

“None of us knows how or why Tee Cee does this,” says Samantha Laidler, Edmonds’s stepdaughter. “But it’s quite reassuring. He hasn’t been wrong yet.” All this love comes from a cat that was saved from drowning in a river as a kitten. No wonder the Cats Protection organization named Tee Cee the 2006 Rescue Cat of the Year!

Zion, a Labrador retriever, reacted fast. He was paddling after a stick in Colorado’s Roaring Fork River, when Ryan Rambo, 8, floated by. Ryan’s life jacket made him look like one of the summer people who float down the river for fun. Only this was early May. The river was full of melted snow, and Ryan was so cold he could barely whisper. His body temperature was dropping dangerously low. Ryan had been kayaking with an adult when their boat flipped. The adult swam to shore, but Ryan got whisked downstream to where Chelsea Bennett, 13, of Glenwood Springs, was playing with her dog, Zion.

Zion knew the boy was in trouble and needed help,” says Chelsea. “Ryan grabbed onto the dog’s collar, and Zion just turned around and came straight back in to shore.” Friends for life, Ryan visits Zion whenever he can.

Normally, Joey is a quiet lap-sitter. But last summer, the kitty created a ruckus. “I was napping in my bedroom, and I woke up to Joey screeching and running back and forth,” says Bernice McDowall, of McKenzie, North Dakota. Opening her eyes, McDowall found herself in a smoky haze. With Joey running alongside, she made her way through the living room, kitchen, and then out the door. By then, flames were shooting from the basement. As McDowall and Joey watched from the safety of the sheriff’s car, the firefighters who responded to her 911 call managed to quench the blaze.

McDowall had found Joey abandoned as a kitten—stuffed into a mailbox. She saved him and he’s lived with her ever since. “I feel very fortunate,” says McDowall. “Without him I’d have probably died in the smoke. Joey saved me and the house.”

It was an ordinary Saturday. Addilyn Carter, 4, and her friend Joshua Basti, 5, were playing in Addilyn’s Seabrook, New Hampshire, backyard. Their moms were nearby, and Addilyn’s dog, a Shetland sheepdog named Cinnamon, was standing guard, as usual. Suddenly a fox—acting strangely aggressive for no apparent reason—burst out of the nearby woods and headed straight for the kids. Joshua tried to run, but the fox bit his leg. Next the fox grabbed Addilyn’s pants and would have bitten her, too, if not for Cinnamon. The brave dog, barking fiercely, caught up to the quick-moving attacker and chased the fox away. Afterward, an animal control officer reported that the fox had bitten another child earlier that day, and that it had rabies. Both injured children received treatment and are fine now. “It was scary,” says Shelly, Addilyn’s mother. “Addilyn says Cinnamon is her hero and her pal.”

Don’t mess with Jack! That’s been the word around West Milford, New Jersey, ever since a young black bear dared to step onto Jack the cat’s home turf. “Jack goes out every day and patrols our perimeter,” says owner Donna Dickey. He chases off groundhogs, rabbits, and wandering cats. But bears? While black bears do live in New Jersey, they usually stay out of suburban neighborhoods.

Dickey thinks Jack—who often teases her dog—was hiding under a bush just before leaping out, spread-eagled. Startled, the timid bear scurried up a tree. And there he stayed, while Jack guarded the base. The stare-down lasted 15 minutes. When the bear did try to escape, Jack stood up and hissed, sending him up another tree. Only after Dickey called her pet home did the scaredy-bear slide down and run away. “He didn’t stop to look back!” says Dickey.

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