February, 2015

Pet Circkles.

"I am in favor of animal rights as well as
human rights. That is the way of a
whole human being." ~ Abe Lincol

Guide Horses?

By Redstone Promotional Communications / Circkles.com.

We know the first question that comes to mind: Why would you use a horse when there are already guide dogs? Well, the answers to that question are below. And the second question that probably comes to our reader's minds is at the end of this article.

The Guide Horse Foundation was founded in 1999 as an experimental program to access the abilities of miniature horses as assistance animals. There is a critical shortage of guide animals for the blind and guide horses are an appropriate assistance animal for thousands of visually impaired people in the USA. 

In early experiments, Guide Horses have shown great promise as a mobility option, and  people who have tried Guide Horses report that the Guide Horses perform exceptionally well at keeping their person safe.  These friendly horses provide an experimental alternative mobility option for blind people. People who have tried Guide Horses report that the horses demonstrate excellent judgment  and are not easily distracted by crowds and people.

Guide horses are not for everyone, but there is a strong demand for Guide Horses among blind horse lovers, those who are allergic to dogs, and those who want a guide animal with a longer lifespan. 

An international Poll by the Discovery Channel showed that 27% of respondents would prefer a Guide Horse if they required a guide animal.

The Guide Horse Foundation has had exceptional interest from the following types of people:

There are many compelling reasons to use miniature horses as guide animals. Horses are natural guide animals and have been guiding humans for centuries. In nature, horses have been shown to possess a natural guide instinct. When another horse goes blind in a herd, a sighted horse accepts responsibility for the welfare of the blind horse and guides it with the herd. With humans, many blind people ride horses in equestrian competitions. Some blind people ride alone on trails for many miles, completely relying on the horse to guide them safely to their destination. Through history, Cavalry horses have been known to guide their injured rider to safety. The Guide Horse Foundation finds several characteristics of horses that make them suitable to guide the blind.

We know the second question that comes to mind about using horses as guide animals: What do you do when they poop? Well see the little white bag hanging behind the horse in the photo above? This poop bag makes it a bit more sanitary to take a miniature horse in public without a blind person having to bring along their own stable boy. And see those cute little boots or shoes the horses are wearing? Those are to protect public surfaces from hoof damage. Every possible problem or concern has been addressed by the Guide Horse Foundation before these companions are put to work. Click this link For more information on The Guide Horse Foundation.



Best "First Pets" for Kids.

By Redstone Promotional Communications / Circkles.com.

Every kid wants one at some point; a pet of their own. However, most parents do not, or at least they hesitate mostly because they doubt Junior's enthusiasm will hold up when they have to clean the cage, walk the dog, or take care of it's needs every day.

Most parents take this into consideration before allowing their children to neglect some poor animal, so when you think you kids are old enough to handle the responsibility - or say you want to test their degree of commitment - there are a few pets that make better kid pets than others.

Guinea pigs:

Guinea pigs make the best first-pet. They are low maintenance, are not as susceptible to rough handling as smaller animals such as hamsters and they are not as easy to lose. Guinea pigs will eat lettuce, celery leaves and other veggies along with their pelleted food. I had a guinea pig as a kid that started squeaking every time she heard the lettuce drawer in the refrigerator open. How she knew that is where we kept the lettuce is anybody's guess. Her name ended up being Gweepers because that is the sound she always made: gweeeeep, gweeeep.

Guinea pigs are not as dumb as most people think. As evidenced by the one I mentioned above. They are easier to handle than rabbits and only live about 4-5 years - just about the time your child may be getting sick of cleaning up after it or feeding it. It's not that easy to lose a guinea pig or step on one as it is a hamster or gerbil, and they tend to be much more social than most rodent-type pets. They will sit in your lap like a cat and like to play in tunnels, on wheels etc. Guinea pigs get along with other guinea pigs very well. They like to eat grass and it's good to supplement their diet with veggies and grass for proper health, and since they don't run very fast, you are not likely to have one run away or get lost if you let it graze outside. They do need supervision outdoors however, since they can crawl into and under things. They do not bite or require vaccinations and are very docile, friendly animals.

Hamsters / Gerbils:

As mentioned above, these do not really make good pets for kids. They are too easy to injure, step on, lose, and are very susceptible to heat stroke. Hamsters are also very territorial and will fight with each other. Hamsters and Gerbils also love to chew, and will chew through cages to get out.


Can be good first pets, they are similar in temperament to guinea pigs and require the same type of care. Some breeds of rabbits can get very large; the size of a small to medium dog, so research the type of rabbit you are purchasing beforehand so as to make sure you can accommodate it's cage requirements. Some rabbits can be kept outside in a shed, barn or garage as well, which makes keeping the smell of having a pet down inside the house. While they are cute, they are not very active or social, so your child may become bored with it before they would a guinea pig.


We highly discourage people from getting ferrets even as adults and especially not for kids. While ferrets are extremely adorable and fun, they are very high maintenance and suffer from Ferret Tumor Syndrome in which they have a 90% risk of getting tumors and dying before they are middle aged. The surgeries to extend their lives due to complications from these tumors is very expensive, so if you take on a ferret, you have to be willing to take on their huge medical care bills as well.

A healthy ferret can live 7-8 years, but the majority of them only make it to about 3-4 years, thus breaking little Cindy's heart with the very high chance that it will get sick and die. Not a good first-pet experience for anybody.

Ferrets also get into everything. Any nook, cranny and hole an inch in diameter is just too tempting for any ferret. They often get out of houses and a ferret will not survive in the wild for more than a few days and will die because they are too domesticated to fend for themselves.

Snakes and Reptiles:

The concerns and dangers here are usually pretty obvious, but it's difficult to stop a young boy from wanting one at some point. They are not very high maintenance because they have to always be caged for the most part, but feeding reptiles can be inconvenient as their food is not just found at any store. Reptiles tend to be boring pets. You cannot take one for a walk or really play with it, so the chance of little Johnny getting bored with it in no time is very high. Then what do you do with it? Flush it? Snakes have been known to turn up in pipes in somebody else's apartment, so this is not a good idea. Setting it free is also not a good idea, because it can end up somebody else's problem.


A dog is really a family pet no matter who technically owns it. A dog cannot be kept in a specific room of the house or isolated from the rest of the family. So before getting your kid that new puppy, take that into consideration. Dogs live a fairly long time in comparison to other pets, so if your child gets bored with taking care of it, guess who will have to? You.


Cats are the same situation as dogs above. They cannot necessarily be isolated to one person, so they will end up becoming a family project in the long run.
Don't forget, cats are natural-born hunters and while it is nice to have them kill mice around the house, they also kill birds and tend to wander.

© 2015 Redstone Promotional Communications/ Circkles.com. All rights reserved to images and articles.

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Pets who look like their owners:

About Pet Circkles:

Allen M. Shoen, a veterinarian and author of "Kindred Spirit" wrote, "Although science has no definite answers, why not assume that sharing a home with a dog, cat or bird - or sharing our lives with a horse or other large animal - has therapeutic benefits that are deeper than simple stimulation of the opiate receptors in the skin through touch? Perhaps, through our connection with animals, we are stimulating some deeply buried aspect of nature within us, rekindling a lost connection that allows us to be more than solitary creatures, but part of something greater - and therefor, more healthy, more whole."

Much scientific and psychological research has proven just that. And also that the human animal bond is mutually beneficial under humane circumstances. Many great philosophers, such as Albert Einstein, recognized that we have a great deal of useful information to learn from animals.
In fact, animals are the great teachers, not us, for they have roamed the earth far longer than we and express genuine thought and expression true to their nature, which we do not. We have a great deal to learn from them. Pet Circkles helps us stay more in touch with their health, diet and social needs so we can give back to those who give us so much unconditionally.

Pet Circkles BACK ISSUES: You can find back issues of Pet Circkles by clicking this link or do a search by topic using the Google Search above.

Natural Pet Remedies: Apple Cider Vinegar for Pets.

Fleas, ticks, upper respiratory infections, cystitis, ear infections, and ringworm in pets have all been cured with apple cider vinegar.

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a popular home remedy for a nearly limitless count of human ailments. Its most famous advocate, however, Dr. Jarvis of Vermont studied its use for animals just as much as with people and often found it to be an excellent natural remedy for infections, infestations, skin ailments, digestive complaints, and general health conditions. Cat owners time and again find that this most popular health remedy for pets applies to their own furry friends as well!

If you would like to use apple cider vinegar to improve your cat's health, you can add a small amount to their food or water (if your pet dislikes the taste or smell in one of these, it will often tolerate it in the other). ACV can also be diluted somewhat for topical use.


Featured Monthly DOG BREED: Characteristics and Concerns. (We will get to cat breeds later.)


The Brittany is a breed of gun dog bred primarily for bird hunting. Although it is often referred to as a Spaniel, the breed's working characteristics are more akin to those of a pointer or setter.
The name "Brittany" is taken from the Brittany region in northwestern France where the dog originated. Images of orange and white Brittany-like dogs hunting and retrieving game were first seen on tapestries and paintings from the 17th century.
A Brittany is typically quite athletic, compact, energetic, and solidly built without being heavy. Their heads are of average size with floppy ears, expressions usually of intelligence, vigor, and alertness, and gait elastic, long, and free.
Some Brittanys are born with naturally short tails and others with long, normally docked to a length of 3–10 centimeters (1.2–3.9 in).
The breed's coat color is varied: orange and white coat or liver and white are most common in the American Brittany; other colors include orange roan and liver roan, all of which are acceptable in the show ring.
Bred as a hunting dog and noted for being easy to train and sweet-natured. The breed is generally more sensitive to correction than other hunters, and harsh corrections are often unnecessary. Brittanys can become very shy if not thoroughly socialized at a young age, and even among well-socialized dogs there is significant variation in levels of friendliness.
When well socialized, Brittanys are all around sound dogs, excelling as companions, family pets, field dogs. Eager to please and friendly, they generally learn quickly and are loyal and attached to their owners. They are energetic[5] and need at least an hour of vigorous exercise every day, with many needing more than this. Some animals will be over-active or hyper-sensitive, but these problems are almost invariably due to lack of exercise and training, and are not characteristics of well cared-for dogs.

Health Concerns: Generally considered healthy, hardy dogs, their floppy ears tend to trap moisture in the ear canal and should be cleaned regularly.
Diseases found in the breed include Hip dysplasia, with 14.9% of Brittanys tested between 1974 and 2009 by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals displaying the condition, and a lesser rate of 10.3% for dogs born 2003-2004. The breed is listed among those commonly affected by Canine discoid lupus erythematosus. Epilepsy is also found, with owners of affected dogs encouraged to submit DNA to the UC Davis Veterinary Genetics Lab's ongoing project on Brittany and canine health.

Size: Male 30-40lbs. Female 30-40lbs

Life span 12-13 years

Looking for a Brittany? Use our Pet finder tool below and search for an adoptable dog that needs a home in your area now.

To view breeds we've already written about, search our archives in the Google Search at the top of this column.

Isaac's Story

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Featured Animal Rescue of the Month:

Heartland Farm Sanctuary, Verona WI.

Located near Madison, WI in a town called Verona, Heartland Farm Sanctuary, which opened in 2010, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping homeless farm animals in Wisconsin, and building connections between animals and vulnerable youth. Created to provide a safe, peaceful environment where youth and farm animals could come together to heal, grow, and have fun.

Many children today face significant life challenges such as physical, emotional, or cognitive developmental delays, a history of delinquent behavior or other detrimental life choices, or an abusive or otherwise troubling home life. Research has shown that these children can benefit tremendously by taking part in animal-assisted therapeutic activities, such as those programs developed by Heartland using the farm animals we help.

Each animal rescued “gives back” to thousands of people each year. Led by licensed counselors and knowledgeable animal care staff, Heartland offers therapeutic animal assisted services to children and adults with special needs, at risk youth, and youth and adults who have been traumatized from abuse or other significant loss in their lives. Our therapeutic support programs provide healing and hope for hundreds of individuals and their families each year.

Our mission is to provide care for farm animals in need, nurture people through the human-animal bond, and foster respect and kindness toward animals and each other.

View their website.





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