Name The RPO Hero Contest Feature #2: Our Photogenic Mascots!

(A new contest is coming your way very, very soon. Check back here often for more details!)

By now, you could probably tell that our RPO Heroes are quite playful and love to be in front of the camera whenever we bring them out on "field trips" (aka talks or events). Feast your eyes on some of their model-worthy shots!

Temasek Polytechnic, Yesterday

RPO @ Toh Estate, February 2012

Bishan Public Library, July 2012

Workplace Talk @ Singapore Zoo, September 2012

And just a while ago, two of our heroes decided to take over the office!

So if you have any of our RPO Heroes paper models at home, in school or at work, be sure to keep them somewhere safe. You never know what they are going to do when nobody's watching (*wink*)!

Missed our previous Name The RPO Hero Contest feature? Fret not! Check it here!

Join our very cool group on Facebook and send us your tweets via Twitter

[Event Info] 2013 Cat Adoption Drives by Cat Welfare Society (March)

Days, Dates: Sunday, 3 March 2013

Venue: The Pet Safari @ Nex Mall 

Time: 1pm to 6pm

If you missed the drive at at The Pet Safari @ Vivocity last month for the second Cat Adoption Drive for 2013 by Cat Welfare Society, don't fret as there is another one taking place this Sunday at The Pet Safari @ Nex Mall!

In fact, all throughout this 2013, you will get to meet some adorable cats and kittens and have the opportunity to give them a home. Check out the poster and mark the dates on your calendar!

Potential adopters will be screened for suitability and commitment. Successful adopters will each receive an exclusive starter kit worth $50!

For more information, visit Cat Welfare Society’s Facebook page.

Join our A Pet is For Life Facebook group and follow us on Twitter.

RPO Roadshow Feature #5: Programme Feature: Humane Society (Singapore) and Awesome Pawsome

Dogs are such endearing animals because of their sociable nature, intelligence and adaptability. If you love dogs and want to learn more about them, do make a trip down to our roadshow to get valuable advice from our canine experts – Humane Society (Singapore) and Awesome Pawsome!

FROM HUMANE SOCIETY (SINGAPORE):

 

How much is the doggy in the window?

4.00pm - 4.30pm, 16th and 17th March

Thinking of getting a dog? Or adding another dog to your family? Being a responsible pet owner starts from getting a dog from the right place!

Learn about the options available to you in finding the right dog for your family, and why adopting a dog may be a fantastic option. Find out the true cost you may be paying in buying that doggy in the window! Be a responsible pet owner right from the start and avoid the common pitfalls of getting a puppy!

FROM AWESOME PAWSOME:

Kids and Dog Ownership

11.00am – 12.00noon, 16th March

12.00noon – 1.00pm, 17th March

 

The programme includes:

- "Amazing Dog Idol ..." (Doggie Show): Showcase of doggie tricks. This is to educate kids that dog training is fun and entertaining.  (Note: This will be excluded for Saturday's programme.)

- "Ring Master" (Training): Kids attempting to train and command our dogs under the dog owner’s supervision.

- “Show and Tell” (Dog Maintenance Tips): Kids will be shown various dog grooming and maintenance chores (eg. brushing the dog’s coat and teeth, clipping nails, cleaning eyes).

- "Do you know .." (Quiz & Trivia): Kids get to answer simple quiz based on responsible dog ownership tips (eg. dogs must be leashed when in public, owners must pick up dog’s poo etc).

- "Up Close and Personal" (Meet & Greet): Kids being taught how to properly meet and greet dogs.

- "Walkies" (Doggie Parade): Kids get to walk our trained dogs under the owner’s supervision. The purpose is for the kids to discover the joy and benefits of having trained dog.

 - “Kodak Moment” (Photography Session): Kids get to take photo with the dog of their choice so that they take away a souvenir to share with their family and friends. Kids will have to provide their own cameras.

So, come on down and learn more about our woofy friends!

Pet Care Tips: Trim my Claws!

Like our nails, dogs' claws are also growing constantly. Besides the four ‘toe nails’, dogs have dew claws. Dew claws are considered vestigial digits -- that is, they were once important to the early ancestors of dogs, but their importance has decreased over time.

Taking good care of your dog's claws is a crucial part of their grooming regime, on top of the weekly baths and brushing.

Let us give you some pointers on how to care for your pooch’s claws:

It is manicure time! 

Overgrown claws can cause pain and pressure on your dog's toes and paws. Trimming your dog’s nails regularly is essential in preventing them from growing too long. But how often? You can determine when to clip when you observe that their nails protrude out from their pad or touch the ground when they walk. If the nails are too long, you can hear their nail clacking on hard surfaces!

Most dogs do not like having their claws trimmed. It’s often best to start getting them used to this regime while they are young. You can reward them afterwards for being a good doggy and sitting through the session. If you have missed the boat, fret not. You can still start introducing nail clipping to your dog slowly and gently (and reward him) or otherwise, send him to the groomer or the vet.

The dew claw needs to be clipped or trimmed more often than other nails because it rarely comes into contact with the ground. Dew claws cause discomfort to dogs if allowed to grow too long. The dew claw can snag on carpet, toys or furniture and rip off. Veterinary attention is needed to repair the damage and prevent infection if the dew claw is severed.

Check out the video below to learn about nail-clipping!

 

Here’s a recap of how to clip your dog’s claws from the video you’ve just watched:

You’ll need:

  • Table or counter
  • Towel
  • Dog Nail Clippers
  • Tissues
  • Styptic powder or cornstarch
  • 1 inch wide emery board
 

Instructions:

Step 1: Check dog's nails
Check to see if your dog's nails need clipping. If her nails are clicking against the hard ground, it's time for a clipping.

Step 2: Position yourself
Your dog probably won't enjoy this procedure, so some form of restraint may be required. Hold your dog in your lap, or spread a towel on a sturdy table or counter and place the dog on top. Stand on the side of the table opposite the nails you'll be trimming and lean over her, so you can hold her down with your body, if necessary.

Step 3: Clip nail
Holding one paw gently but firmly, clip the tip of the nail. Clip from underneath, holding the clippers at a slight angle in keeping with the curve of the nail.

There are several tyoes of nail trimmers which you can use, including a guillotine type (which is the easiest to use for dogs) and a scissors type. 

Step 4: Clip carefully
Be careful to avoid the blood vessels and nerves that run through a dog's nail, called the quick. If you cut into the quick, it will cause pain and bleeding.

Step 5: Stop bleeding
If you cut into the quick, place a tissue over the nail and apply pressure until it stops bleeding—or try dipping the nail into styptic powder or cornstarch. It's unlikely that the bleeding will continue for longer than 5 to 7 minutes, but if it does, or if the blood is spurting, call your vet.

Step 6: Trim dewclaws
Don't forget to trim the dew claws, located slightly behind the paw on the inner part of the leg. Some breeds have more than one pair on their hind legs.

Step 7: Use emery board
If your dog still has some patience left, it's a good idea to use an emery board to lightly file the nails smooth.

Step 8: Praise your dog
Praise your dog lavishly before you let her go. That way she'll come to associate these beauty treatments with extra attention from her owner!

Walk your dog! 

Yes, this is another fabulous reason why your dog needs to be walked. Many dogs tend to wear their nails down by walking and playing, especially on hard surfaces. An inactive dog may not be able to wear his claws down. Since aged dogs may prefer walking on softer ground and thus, not being able to wear their nails down, they may require your help to groom their claws for them.

So remember, caring for your dog’s claws is part of your responsibility as a pet owner. It is not difficult and should not be overlooked!

Adapted from: Ezine ArticlesThe Purpose of the Dew Claw on Dogs | eHow.com, Dummies, dfordog

Images from: The Denver Dog Blog, Petside, Puppy Band, Times Union, Lunch

For more Pet Care Tips, browse through our past articles here.

Join us at our "A Pet is For Life" Facebook group and tweet to us on Twitter.

RPO Roadshow Feature #4: Programme Feature: House Rabbit Society (Singapore)

If you love rabbits as much as we do, then you have to come down and see what HRSS has in store for you at the RPO Roadshow on 16 and 17 March.

1. "What Makes A Binky Rabbit?"
12.00pm - 12.30pm, 16 March
1.00pm - 1.30pm, 17 March
Are rabbits boring animals incapable of expressing themselves? Let HRSS volunteers show you the things that make a rabbit happy and what a bun does to let you know that he's happy!


2. "Rabbity Puppet Show"
4.30pm - 5.00pm, 16 and 17 March
Let our 2 new puppet bunnies, Kiki & Lala tell you the basic facts of keeping a bunny as a companion and the dos and dont's of keeping a bunny friend. Also, learn how to make your very own towel bunny! Suitable for all kids and the young-at-heart!

We look forward to meeting you there!

Couch Pawtato: Bolt!

Now, here comes an animation that stars an adopted pet! Adopted from an animal shelter, Bolt is a small white dog who, having spent his entire life on the set of a television series, thinks that he has super powers. When he believes that his human (his onscreen ‘owner’), Penny, has been kidnapped, he sets out on a cross-country journey to "rescue" her.

Along the way, he strikes up friendships with Mittens, a female alley cat who loves bullying pigeons out of their food and Rhino, a fearless and TV-obsessed hamster who firmly believed that Bolt does have superpowers indeed.

Bolt is a 2008 American computer-animated adventure produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and directed by Chris Williams (Mulan, The Emperor’s New Groove) and Byron Howard (Lilo & Stitch, Brother Bear). The film stars the voices of John Travolta and Miley Cyrus, amongst others.

My thoughts...
Released with a 3D version in 2008, it was definitely one of the most memorable movie experiences I've ever had.

Although just an animation, real issues like pet abandonment and the great bond between pet and owner were brought up by the expressive characters.

Bolt’s great determination to find his owner despite all the obstacles in front of him, is adorably admirable! Not only was the movie a blast, the original soundtrack is fantastic as well. Like me, you will have the theme song “I Thought I Lost You” stuck in your head for weeks after hearing it!

"I Thought I Lost You" by John Travolta and Miley Cyrus

Pawsitive Rating (out of 5):

Photos from: Impawards, Santabana, Shine On Media and Zap2It.

This is an excellent family movie for the weekend! Why not rent it from the National Library Board? Details here.

Just caught a really good pet-related movie, tell us on our “A Pet is For Life” Facebook group or mention us on Twitter and we might just feature it in our next movie review!

RPO Roadshow Feature #3: Programme Feature: Cat Welfare Society

Welcome to our very first programme feature of our partners!

For a start, we have details of Cat Welfare Society’s programmes that will be showcased during our RPO Roadshow.

1. "Loving Cats, Winning Hearts"
6.30pm – 7pm, 16 and 17 March

There are many everyday heroes out there winning hearts for their community cats by being active, responsible and extraordinary caregivers. Win prizes by playing a life-sized board game and find out what it is like to care for cats, rain or shine! Supported by SAVA Essentials.

2. Healthy Happy Cats
3.30pm – 4pm, 16 and 17 March

Find out what makes up a complete healthy diet for cats, grooming tips and how to keep our home cat-safe!

3. Cat Ownership Olympics
2pm – 2.30pm, 16 and 17 March

Are you a good cat owner? Win prizes by participating in a relay game about what it takes to be a good cat owner!

4. Cat Show & Tell
5pm – 5.30pm, 16 and 17 March

Children, get a chance to come up close to some friendly cats and how to befriend them in a safe and rewarding manner!

Look out for our post tomorrow on House Rabbit Society Singapore and Awesome Pawsome’s programmes!

Beat the Monday Blues: Byron the guide dog

Have you ever seen a dog withdrawing cash from an ATM machine?

Meet Byron the Golden Labrador - a guide dog who helps handicapped owner Ms Kate Cross to do everything that she is unable to do due to her weak joints. Byron enhances Ms Cross's life by being a great and faithful helper.

We hope this puts a smile on your face on a Monday!

We first came across news on Byron from Stomp.

For the latest news and updates, join our "A Pet is For Life" Facebook group and follow us on Twitter.

Name The RPO Hero Contest Feature #1: Stick around!

(Psst! We have a new contest happening very soon. Be sure to stick around as we will share with you more details!)

You have probably seen them at our community events or when we make our visits to your school!

You might also have one set yourself and you like them so much that you stick them on your favourite things!

So what are we talking about here? It's our RPO stickers!

The final product above was not the first design that was proposed to us. The sticker artwork had to go through a series of edits before making the final cut (sounds like a reality show competition!). Edits were necessary as we had to make sure that the images fit well with the correct key messages, like:
1) Do not abandon your pet
2) Do not buy a pet on impulse
3) Sterilise your pet to prevent unwanted litters
4) A pet is a lifetime commitment
5) Be a considerate pet owner

Today, we are going to give you an exclusive look at the transformation photos of our stickers!

Design #1

BEFORE

AFTER

From a dog that was sad and frowning, we have evolved him to look happy (with movement lines to show him wagging his tail!). Between the two images above, see if you can spot which one's the final one that we have decided to go with (:

Design #2

BEFORE

AFTER

In the earlier design, we had 4 people to represent the different races in Singapore. We did not have trees too. After some edits, we have decided to reduce the number of people as it was getting too cluttered, became more environmentally friendly and reworded the message. See if you can spot that one!

Design #3

BEFORE

AFTER

For the above design, we only had to make some minor changes. We moved the message to the centre and used a round shape for the sticker. Oh, and we put a cat at the window to show that they could climb out of the house if the windows are not meshed up! Find our more about sterilisation here!

We would like to give a special shoutout to Scrawl Studios for the amazing artworks!

Get a sheet of our sticker when you see us at community events and at our

Animals & Our Community event in March.

Join our very cool group on Facebook and send us your tweets via Twitter

Pet Adoption Friday: Lucky from Save Our Street Dogs

Lucky is a very friendly, gentle and mild-tempered buddy. He is gentle and tolerant of his fellow shelter mates even when they are game for rough play. Lucky enjoys the outdoors and absolutely loves his walks – he will be a great jogging partner. His gentle and undemanding nature makes him a wonderful joy and companion to any family. He is happy to just chill and hang out with you.

This very charming and endearing boy deserves a wonderful family... 

Name: Lucky
Breed:
Local Cross
Age: 1 year old (Male)
Size (Full Grown): Medium
Personality: Friendly and Charming
Characteristics: Gentle Temperament
Good with people: Yes
Good with other dogs: Yes
Health: Good
Vaccinated: Yes
Sterilised: Yes

If you wish to know more about Remy, please send an email to sostreetdog@gmail.com.

To visit Save Our Street Dogs’ Facebook page, click here.

Join us at our “A Pet is For Life” Facebook Group and follow us on Twitter!

RPO Roadshow Feature #2: Harmony In The Hood E-Game

Hello everybody! If you have read yesterday’s article on our RPO publications, you will know what you can expect to take home with you at the roadshow coming up on 16 and 17 March!

Today, we want to introduce to you one of the interesting showcases at  our RPO Roadshow  – the Harmony In The Hood e-game.

Does the name above ring a bell? If you are still wondering, Harmony In The Hood is our very own microsite game that was unveiled last November. We’ll have this exciting game again at our 2 computer booths at the roadshow in March.

If you have not played Harmony In The Hood before, let us take you through some of its key features.

1)      There are 3 exhilarating levels and a bonus round after each level! If you feel that you have under-performed during the first level, it is okay! We have a bonus round after each level to boost your score. In fact, the bonus rounds are where your scores will start soaring!

2)      Don’t worry about being new to our game!
We will guide you through the game step-by-step. If you are still unsure, you are welcome to approach any of us!

3)      Each level holds different scenarios.
Every level will present new challenges. It requires the awareness of general animal welfare and knowledge about what pet-owners and non-pet-owners should do around the individual household animals included in our game. Increase your knowledge right here!

4)      Be famous!
Finally, submit your name on our leader board at the end of the game and stand a chance to be our top contender!

Some other screenshots from Harmony In The Hood:

So, come on down to have a go at this informative and interactive game at our roadshow! If you can’t wait, start honing your skill here!

RPO Roadshow Feature #1: Our RPO Publications

Hello there animal lovers!

It’s less than a month to our upcoming RPO Roadshow at HDB Hub!

Get ready to bring home useful publications that you can pick up at our event:

Care For Your Pet (CFYP):

In our Care For Your Pet booklet, read all about pet ownership and what it means to be a good pet owner.

This insider’s guide comprises of details on pre-ownership, how to go about getting a pet, comprehensive write-ups about our household animals, what the vets can do for your pet, answers to your queries about sterilisation and how to be a considerate pet owner.

It is a must-have for all pet-owners, regardless of your experience and background in owning a pet!

Animals & Our Community (A&OC):

In our Animals & Our Community booklet, learn what challenges pet owners and non-pet owners face and how we can all live harmoniously despite our differences.

Although there are more people gaining interest and concern for animals, there is also another group of folks who do not fancy animals or are afraid of them.

This is a manual that teaches pet owners on how to keep their pets under control, how to walk your dog responsibly, ways to keep pet noises down and others. For non-pet owners, this is also a highly recommended read on how to deal with pet/stray nuisance, what to do around animals if you are fearful of them, what to do if you are being injured by an animal and much more.

To contribute positively to animal welfare in Singapore, you can refer to our booklet for ideas. You may also wish to contact the animal welfare groups should you wish to volunteer with them!

Remember to come down to our “Animals & Our Community” roadshow at Toa Payoh HDB Hub on the 16 and 17 March to collect them all!

Pet Care Tips: Do you have what it takes to embark on an adventure with Fishy?

This year being the Year of the Snake, our local Chinese daily reported that the sale of snake fish is expected to rise as these fish symbolise good luck.

Reed fish, or more colloquially known as the snake fish or rope fish, is a type of freshwater fish with an elongated body that resembles a snake.

Snake fish

Besides the snake fish, here’s a few other popular fishes that Singaporeans like to keep as pets.

The responsibility and commitment of owning a pet fish is similar to the ownership of the other pets which we have discussed during our previous Pet Care Tips.

So, you’ve been in love with fish for a while and would like to try keeping some on your own? Let us share with you what pet fish owners-to-be need to know before buying any fishes.

a) Prepare all necessary aquarium accessories a week before getting your fish

Aquarium Tank
Get the biggest tank you can afford. The larger the tank, the easier it is to maintain it. Choose the tank according to the space that you have, and the type as well as number of fish you intend to keep. You may speak to the shop owner to find out more.

A fish tank

Location
Choose a location at home that allows your tank to stay away from direct sunlight and sheltered from rain. Excess sunlight and rainwater encourages algae overgrowth and overflowing of tank water respectively, thus causing you to lose your fish. The stand where your tank will be placed on should be sturdy enough to hold the tank’s weight.

Decoration
Avoid overcrowding your aquarium. Placing some gravel (amount depending on the kind of filtration system used) at the bottom of the tank helps give a “natural” look to the tank. Inert rocks and seaweed (artificial or natural) can also be used to offer security to your fish as some fishes do like to hide.

A typical fish tank decoration

Filtration System
Buy the best filter that you can afford; it will save costs for you in the long-term. Reading the instructions from the manufacturers may help you to choose the right filter. In general, over-capacity is better than under-capacity.

Your fishy’s health depends on the state of the water that it lives in.

With a filter, it removes waste to keep the water clear and clean. Also, the beneficial bacteria in the filter are able to break down the harmful fish waste into biologically safe compounds.

A hang-on filter

Lighting
Lighting is important for optical reasons. Also, without the artificial lights, the aquarium would be half attractive. Fluorescent tube is the most common form of lighting, is very economical and provides good illumination.

b) Set-up Steps

Pre-ownership of fish:

1. After buying all the necessary aquarium accessories, choose a location to place your fish tank.
2. Singapore’s tap water contains chlorine that is harmful to fishes. Check with the pet shop staff on how to de-chlorinate tap water. The preferred pH for water is 6 to 8 and generally hard water (high mineral content) is preferred.
3. Fill the tank to 2/3 full of water.
4. Install the filter and let it run for about a week before getting your pet fish to allow the tank to settle.

To begin your fish ownership journey:

1. Place the transport bag into the aquarium for an hour to allow the fish to acclimatise to the tank’s water temperature.
2. Scoop off 1/3 of the water from the transport bag and replace it with the water from the aquarium.
3. Drain off all the water from the transport bag and release the newcomers into the aquarium.
4. And ta-dah! You have just completed your very first task as a pet fish owner!

Remember that the above guide is just the start of a long journey that has to be sustained through passion, dedication and responsibility.

Adapted from: Qianhu

Images from: Arowana stories, Wikipedia, Holiday on Koh Samui, Saltwater Aquarium Supplies, Aqua-fish, Teske Pet and Garden, Oscar Fish Lover, Free Pet Wallpapers, Peixe Ornamental, Fish Tank Decorations HQ

Join us at our A Pet is For Life Facebook group and follow us on Twitter.

Sticky Post: Learning is FUN with the RPO Exhibition @ United Square!(Extended till 15 March!)

Good news! We have extended the date of our RPO Exhibition at United Square Shopping Mall to 15 March 2013!

From now till 28 February 2013, head down to United Square Shopping Mall for the RPO Exhibition!

Venue: Level 3, United Square Shopping Mall Time: Daily during the mall's opening hours (10.30am - 9.30pm)

Make learning fun with the FOUR Giant Interactive Displays on stand!

Our RPO heroes had a field trip to the mall. They got a little playful and were hiding in the various exhibits. Spot them in these photos!

Don’t miss your chance to see the exhibition while they’re there!

Snap alongside the exhibits and tag us your photos on our "A Pet is For Life" Facebook group!

Beat the Monday Blues: Impatient Kitty!

Today is the ninth day of the Lunar New Year! Are you doing well in recovering from the festive holiday mood? If you are already feeling impatient for the weekend or to the next festive occasion to arrive, we are pretty sure that you can relate to Simon’s cat!

 

We hope this adorable video has made your day! (:

Join our A Pet is For Life Facebook group and follow us on Twitter for the latest news and updates.

What does Valentine’s Day mean to you?

Did you have a great Valentine’s Day yesterday? We sure hope you did because every time it comes to this day, the very first thing that we think about will always be: Love. The love that we are referring to is not just the commercialised lovey - dovey kind, but also the warm and fuzzy love shared within the family, between our friends and last but not least, with our pets!

As the Pet Central team is still in the mood for love, we would like to share with you a touching and sincere love story captured by Japanese photographer, Miyoko Ihara, and featured in a photobook – “Misao the Big Mama and Fukumaru the Cat”. Her photographs honour her grandmother’s remarkable life and her special friendship with her “odd-eyed kitten” during her golden years.

Pet Central had the chance of writing to Ms Miyoko Ihara and here’s what she shared with us about her inspiration for her book:

"One day 9 years ago, my grandmother found a kitten in the shed. She named the kitten “Fukumaru” in hope that “God of fuku (good fortune) Comes and everything will be smoothed over like maru(circle)” Grandmother whose hearing become weak and Fukumaru who has hearing disabilities ara always looking into each other’s eyes and feeling warmth each other. Under the sun, grandmother anto Fukumatu go out into the field today too. Grandmother and Fukumaru, thank you always and forever.”

This is not any other cliché romantic fairytale ripped off from novels. It is a real-life documentation of a simple and pure affection between two most unlikely protagonists.

Snapshots from the photobook:

They aged and lived their days doing everything in each other’s company.

Personally, this article has revealed to us that we also can share an intimate bond with our pets if we desire for it. The love between our pets and us can be noble, great and salient too.

So, if you yearn for a deeper relationship with your pets, it’s still not too late to make a commitment this Valentine’s Day to dedicate more time to them! (:

Happy Belated Valentine’s Day <3

More about the author:

Born in 1981 in Chiba, Japan, Ms Miyako Ihara studied under Kenji Higuchi, after graduating from Nippon Photography Institute, Press Photography Course in 2002. Received Encouraging Prize in 1st Younosuke Natori.

Special thanks to Ms Miyoko Ihara for sharing her story and allowing us to use the pictures from her book.

via My Modern Met

Get up to date with the latest news and information by joining our A Pet is For Life Facebook group and follow us on Twitter.

Pet Adoption Friday: Chiko and Cassie from Noah's Ark CARES

Chiko!

Name: Chiko (charcoal grey)
Gender: Male
Breed: Mongrel
Age: 1.5 months old
Personality: Playful and leader of the pack
Paper trained: Yes!

Cassie <3

Name: Cassie (cream)
Gender: Female
Breed: Mongrel
Age: 1.5 months old
Personality: Playful and sweet (manja)
Paper trained: Yes!

We were starving before wewere found and rescued from a factory. Mummy was not allowed to enter the premise to feed and nurse us so we were left alone at barely 3 weeks old. Thankfully, 3 of our siblings are with families now and now it is our shot at getting a home too!

For more information, please send an SMS to Ms Madeline Chia at 9270 8612.

Do also check out Noah's Ark CARES blog and their official Facebook page.

Join us at our "A Pet is For Life" Facebook group and follow us on Twitter.

Pet Care Tips: Parrots Galore

Did you know that there are more than 350 species of parrots in the world? You may just well be familiar with some of these common names that we call them by - macaws, lorikeets, lovebirds and cockatoos.

The Rainbow Lorikeets

The Long-tailed Parakeet

Many parrot owners are fascinated with their pets' sociable disposition and ability to communicate with humans, verbally or non-verbally. Here in Singapore, parrot enthusiasts love and keep a variety of these chatty birds including the Rainbow Lorikeet, Yellow-crested Cockatoo, Tanimbar Corella, Blue-rumped Parrot, Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot, Rose-ringed Parakeet, Red-breasted Parakeet, Long-tailed Parakeet, etc.

The Yellow-crested Cockatoo

The Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot

Let us share with you some interesting things you may not quite know about these inquisitive and gregarious birds:

Parrots have complicated brains

The Tanimbar Corella and The Red-breasted Parakeet

Not only do parrots have complex bodies, but they also have amazing minds. There is a lot going on in that feathered head and a parrot is never satisfied with just being cooped up in a cage with some toys.

Parrots require more than just time outside of their cage. They need to engage in activities to keep them contented. As an owner, it is your responsibility to keep Birdie happy. Having contact time and lots of interaction with you are key to a healthy and emotionally-balanced parrot. Talk to Birdie, bring him out for a walk with you (provided it is safe and won't fly away!), engage in some informal training, enter a bird contest together or simply groove along to the music on the radio!

A well-stimulated parrot is also less likely to squawk the whole house down and get you into trouble with your neighbours.

Parrots are omnivorous

The Blue-rumped Parrot

A parrot fed on a pure seed-based diet is sorely missing the protein necessary to keep him healthy. If you want your bird to live to a ripe old age, you have to feed him properly. Studies have shown that if you don't feed a parrot the correct diet, he may just pass on well in its youth. In fact, some birds have virtually starved to death because their owners were ignorant of this fact.

Therefore, it is very important that you find out what your parrot needs to eat in order to stay healthy. Do your research and it should be way before you even get a pet parrot. Join a forum, speak to other bird enthusiasts and owners, visit the library, or scour the internet! You'll be rewarded for your hard work!

Parrots are the only animals capable at mimicking human speech

All individual parrots are uniquely vocal, and many species likely imitate for different reasons. When parrots are kept as pets, they learn their calls from their adoptive human social partners. They are capable of singing lower notes than smaller birds and so they are better at reproducing human voices, hence their attractiveness to be kept as pets. In the wild, though, their calls may go much higher in pitch and much faster in tempo than any human's voice.

The Rose-ringed Parakeet

So, contrary to the term "bird brain", a parrot is highly intelligent and requires a substantial amount of attention and interaction each day. Coupled with a long lifespan (a macaw could live as long as 80 years!) and specialised care, this is one pet ownership that nobody should dive lightly into.

A pet is a lifetime commitment. We hope this article introduces you to the world of parrots. However, one should never go out and get a pet without being sure that everyone in the family can commit to one.

Before getting a pet, do have a read at this.

Adapted from: NParks, National Geographic, Bird Channel, Scientific American, Facts About Parrots & Learn About Parrots

Photos from: Wallpaper Fun, What I Figured Of Oz, Red Orbit, Blogspot, World Bird Watching, Flickr, Blogspot 2, and PCDN

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Beat the Monday Blues: Family pets wishing you a cheery Chinese New Year!

Happy Lunar New Year!

This morning, we are sure there aren't any Monday blues because it’s either a pleasant occasion or a holiday for you! Grab this golden opportunity to eat plenty of CNY goodies and collect as many red packets as possible (if you are single)!

This is also a superb time re-charge for the new Year of the Snake that is ahead of us and to build stronger rapport with our family and friends.

Below are two jolly Lunar New Year Youtube videos performed by adorable animals for your entertainment!

Greetings from the parrot!

The dog is in the mood for CNY too!

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Snakes…should we keep them as pets?

Folks from many countries keep snakes as pets. True enough, snakes are such exotic animals and it can be really thrilling to keep them as pets. However, there are so many issues that pet snake owners have to deal with, this ownership is really not something recommended for most people.

Moreover, it is illegal to keep snakes as pets in Singapore.

As we welcome the Year of the Snake, our RPO partner from Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES) has a message on why it isn’t wise to keep wildlife as pets.

With the Year of the Snake slithering towards us in just two days, the Pet Central team have collated some statistics about snakes. Let us share with you some fun facts about them with this infographic.

We hope that you are convinced that we should not be keeping our sleek and sexy snakes at home! Nature is the best place to leave them be!

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Pet Adoption Friday: Buttercups and Jerry from Humane Society (Singapore)

Buttercups

Gender: Female
Breed: Domestic Short-Hair
Personality: Affectionate and loving
Age: 4 years old
Size (Full Grown): Small
Characteristics: I am a very laid back girl who will shower you with affection
Good with other cats/dogs: Good
Toilet trained: Litter-trained
Health: FIV/ FELV negative
Vaccinated: Yes
Microchipped: No
Sterilized: Yes
Special Needs: Nil.

I was once a house cat together with two other girls. One day, grandma decided that we do not belong in the house and left us outside Mutts & Mittens Pte Ltd. We are confused and do not know what we did wrong. Fortunately, the people at Mutts & Mittens Pte Ltd took us in and found a home for the other two girls. Oh well.... Here I am writing this, hoping that someone will be able to give me a home.

Jerry

Gender: Male
Breed: Local
Personality: Affectionate, playful and loving
Age: 7 months old
Size (Full Grown): Medium (Not HDB approved)
Characteristics: The human says that I am a clueless boy but I feel that I am just blur most of the time. Just like any puppy, my energy level is extremely high and can be slightly mischievous if I do not get my exercise. Ok, slightly mischievous might be an understatement but I am just being a puppy.
Good with other cats/dogs: Good
Toilet trained: No
Health: Heartworm Negative
Vaccinated: Yes
Microchipped: No
Sterilized: Yes
Special Needs: A lot of patience and exercise.

My litter of 7 and I were taken away from our mummy when we were 5 weeks old and left outside the gate. It was raining heavily that day and we could only snuggle up to each other to seek warmth. We did not have to wait too long before someone noticed us. The humans said that I used to have food aggression. Be patient with me and I will be a very good boy. Stay tuned, for my siblings will be featured on the next Humane Society (Singapore)'s pet for adoption post. (:

If you wish to find out more about Buttercups or Jerry, please send in an email to Ms Judie Chang at judie.chang@humanesocietysingapore.org or call the Humane Society Singapore hotline at 6583 7371/ 6583 7372

More information can be found at Humane Society Singapore’s Official Facebook page,

Join our “A Pet is For Life” Facebook group and follow us on Twitter for more news and updates!

Let's say hello to the Year of the Snake!

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Happy Lunar New Year to all our Chinese readers! And to everyone else, happy holiday!

We’re welcoming the Year of the Snake this Sunday. It’s a brand new year, a new beginning!

From all of us at Pet Central, we have decided to post something still animal-related but more relevant to you than your pet. Yes! It’s the 2013 predictions for you and your loved ones!

Let us take a look at the 2013 Chinese zodiac as to how each animal sign will fare in this Year of the Water Snake!

We wish you and your loved ones a fulfilling year ahead!

Adapted from: http://www.futuresobright.com/article/217-2013-chinese-astrology-predictions/

Introducing Crystal - our new Pet Central blogger

Hello there!

Great to meet all of you, readers of Pet Central! My name is Crystal and I am also known by the nickname "ball" because of the word – crystal ball. I have recently completed my 'A' Levels at Yishun Junior College and I will be working as a Temporary Admin Executive here with the AVA’s Community Outreach Division for the next 6 months. During this period, I will be writing articles for this blog including some of the staples that you may already be familiar with such as Beat the Monday Blues, Pet Adoption Friday, Pet Care Tips!

Besides blogging, I will be assisting with community outreach events like exhibitions, road shows, pet carnivals, school talks, learning journeys and more (I will blog about these as well).

Work aside, I take an interest in hanging out with my friends, café-hunting, food-hunting, reading and shopping. Honestly, that is not a very comprehensive list of all my hobbies but it will do for now. I am sure many of you share similar favourite past-time as me! If not, we can always share a common passion – animals! (:

Hopefully, through my time here, I will learn more about animal welfare and ways to contribute positively to it.

I am thrilled to post up interesting articles for all of you and hope to hear from all of you soon!

Till then,
Crystal

Pet Care Tips: Red-eared Sliders – Who are they?

The Red-eared Slider is also known as the terrapin, an Algonquian name from the North American native language. These two names can be used interchangeably.

Watch them grow, grow, grow!
While a baby terrapin is tiny, an adult reptile can be huge as he ‘expands’ about 15 times from his original puny size! At 2cm, a baby terrapin can be cute and easy to manage. However, the real test for a terrapin owner starts when his terrapin matures to about 30cm (the length of a long ruler) or larger. Often by this time, the owner realises he may not have sufficient space to house the giant, is no longer cute and thus starts to lose interest in the terrapin.

Live strong, live long
Similar to the Koi fish, terrapins have a very long life span! They can live for well over 30 years. While some owners may be comforted by the fact that their pet terrapins will be able to live with them for an extended period of time, others may feel otherwise as they are unwilling to spend that amount of time taking care of one.

Do not abandon your terrapin!
With the two characteristics above (the huge size and long lifespan), some owners become unwilling to take care of their terrapins as time goes by. Many choose to ‘release’ their terrapins in ponds or reservoirs. Many of these abandoned terrapins end up drowning or dying of starvation.

The introduction of domesticated terrapins (those that manage to survive) into the nature reserves and reservoirs also affects the ecological balance.

Some of the introduced terrapins that do survive are usually more aggressive or prolific breeders and may compete with the native animals for space and food, or prey on the native animals.

While terrapins may make good pets, they certainly require you to put in a lot of effort and commitment into caring for them.

So, before purchasing a terrapin, please give this thought serious consideration. Otherwise, a cute plushie could do an even better job at keeping you company!

*Under the Animals & Birds Act, anyone found guilty of animal cruelty, or pet abandonment, can be fined up to $10,000 and/or sent to jail for up to 12 months.

Adapted from:
/library/terrapins.html
http://www.redearslider.com/basic_species_info.html
http://www.nparks.gov.sg/cms/docs/operation_no_release.pdf
/library/terrapins.html

Images from:
Pet Care Portal Backyard Zoologist

Sticky Post: Join us at our next Animals & Our Community event at Toa Payoh HDB Hub! (Updated on 6 March!)

Our next "Animals & Our Community" event will be happening this March school holiday (16 and 17 March) at Toa Payoh HDB Hub!

Relive the moments from our 3 Events last year with our special posts!

Jurong Point - June 2012
Causeway Point - August 2012
Singapore Expo - November 2012

So mark your calendars and join us at this fun-filled event.

Programmes!
(click on the images for a larger view!)

Day 1: Saturday, 16 March 2013

Day 2: Sunday, 17 March 2013

Look out for more updates as we get closer to the date!

Don't forget to check out our Roadshow features as we build up to the event!

For the latest news and information, join our A Pet is for Life Facebook group and follow us on Twitter!

Grab our latest issue of the i-Pet newsletter!

Hot off our virtual newsstand, we bring you the latest issue of our bi-monthly newsletter - the i-Pet!

Download the PDF Version

Would you like to receive the next issue of the i-Pet newsletter? Click here to subscribe to our mailing list and receive the latest issues of i-Pet as well as other Pet Central news!

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Beat the Monday Blues: Super Bunnies!

Felt like you woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning? Or because it's Monday? Come be our guest! Watch these adorable bunny cuties in action as they jump over hurdles on their very own obstacle course!

Now don't you feel like jumping as well? (if you're in the office, do it at your own discretion *wink*)

Here's wishing you a great week ahead (:

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[Event Info] 2013 Cat Adoption Drives by Cat Welfare Society (February)

Days, Dates: Sunday, 3 February 2013
Venue: The Pet Safari @ Vivocity
Time: 1pm to 6pm

This drive is a whole year affair! Please see event poster for a detailed breakdown of the dates and venues of the adoption drive throughout 2013!

If you missed the drive at at The Pet Safari @ nex Mall last month for the first Cat Adoption Drive for 2013 by Cat Welfare Society, don't fret as there is another one taking place this Sunday at The Pet Safari @ Vivocity!

All throughout this year, you will get to meet some adorable cats and kittens and if you wish to give them a home, this is your opportunity to do so!

Potential adopters will be screened for suitability and commitment. Successful adopters will each receive an exclusive starter kit worth $50!

For more information, visit Cat Welfare Society’s Facebook page.

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Pet Adoption Friday: Julian from House Rabbit Society Singapore

Name: Julian
Gender: Boy
Breed: Jersey Wooly Mix
Color: Orange
Age: 2 years old

Julian is a shy but friendly boy. He is active and loves his food. He also has very good litter habits. (:

If you wish to adopt Julian, send in your email to info@hrss.net.

For more information, visit www.hrss.net and 'Like' their Facebook page.

Do also join us at our “A Pet is For Life” Facebook group and follow us on Twitter.