DRAW A PICTURE OF A BIRD DAY: April 8, 2012 is Draw a Picture of a Bird Day! Also known as “DABDay” (Draw A Bird Day), the movement to acknowledge this day originated in the United Kingdom in the late 1940’s. Early rules were that the drawings could only be in pencil, but later evolved to include crayon and most recently electronics such as computer software. Currently the only restriction is that the picture must be drawn and it must contain a bird. The pictures are not submitted to win a contest—as this is not one—but purely and simply to spread joy! Believe it or not, there is actually an official website for Draw A Bird Day. For more information go to www.dabday.com and start drawing!
EARTH DAY 2012
Earth Day 2012 is April 22nd this year and celebrates its 52nd year! Begun in spring 1970, Earth Day was created after founder, Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, was disheartened by the effects of the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, CA. With sit-ins and marches so prevalent in the sixties and seventies, he took inspiration from them but went in a different direction with a “national teach-in on the environment”. On that first Earth Day , April 22, 1970, reportedly 20 million Americans participated in Earth Day celebrations ranging from educational classes on the environment to protests against the environmental damage caused by raw sewage dumping, industrial air pollution and the like. During that same decade, the Environmental Protection Agency evolved and eventually the U.S. Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts were enacted. (insert links to these acts and the EPA). Over the following 3 decades, environmental concerns have continued to be in the forefront of government officials, politicians and citizens; and the battle between environmental advocates and political interests continues today.
In 2012, Earth Day Network has set a goal of A Billion Acts of Green® which is a campaign to achieve 40 million environmental service actions. Celebrate Earth this Earth Day by taking good care of your little piece of it and all those that inhabit it, including your pets, of course! For more information on Earth Day, visit www.earthday.org.
HAIRBALL AWARENESS DAY 2012
National Hairball Awareness Day 2012 is April 27th this year. Always on the last Friday in April, the origin of this “holiday” is unknown—even Wikipedia does not list it. Although one might wonder if it was created by the manufacturer of a feline hairball miracle cure, research reveals that multiple commercial and rescue organizations joined forces to promote this day. Some of those involved include: cat lovers, cat calendar creators, cat rescue organizations, local newspaper events calendars and even the National Museum of Health and Medicine’s National Hairball Awareness Day Exhibit of human and animal hairballs in 2009! While we realize National Hairball Awareness Day is not on your personal list of reasons to celebrate this year, it is a great opportunity to draw attention to this important aspect of animal care and behavior.
Feline hair balls occur when a cat grooms herself by licking her fur to clean it. Cats are known to be meticulous about personal cleanliness and hygiene therefore, as cat owners know, cats are often seen grooming themselves, as well as their housemate cats, and sometimes dogs! A cat’s tongue has a rough, sandpiper-like surface which consists of many miniscule fibers that act like a bristled brush against the cat’s fur. Just as a brush pulls loose hair out, the cat’s tongue does the same thing thus enabling the cat to remove loose hair he/she is shedding. This is a great housekeeping tool for the cat’s owner, especially when compared to the cleanup required with a shedding dog; however some cats are unable to fully digest the removed hair and it accumulates in the digestive track. Periodically, being very self-sufficient, the cat will automatically have the reflex to eject the accumulated hair, a.k.a. hairball, from his/her body by vomiting. The vomiting is not a symptom of illness, unless occurring daily or the cat exhibits other common signs of illness such as loss of appetite, lethargy, growling/hissing, sleeplessness, cough, runny eyes/nose. In otherwise healthy cats, there are special diets and supplements that can assist the cat to more easily digest the removed hair. Should you have any concerns about your cat’s grooming, hairballs or overall health, consult your veterinarian at 508-829-6368.
WORLD VETERINARY DAY 2012 April 28, 2012, is World Veterinary Day. The World Veterinary Association (WVA) and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) started it in 2000. WVA represents veterinary associations worldwide. It works to set up common guidelines, standards, policies and programs for veterinary practitioners. The mission of OIE is to encourage international solidarity in the control of animal diseases, collect and analyze and disseminate veterinary scientific information, safeguard countries by publishing health standards for international trade of animals and animal products and promote animal welfare through a scientific approach. WVA works closely with OIE and other organizations to protect and improve animal welfare, animal and human health and the environment. The WVA is committed to setting standards for education, ethics and excellence in performance of all aspects of the veterinary profession. To read more visit www.worldvet.org