Belinda Says Hay: “A Tax Day Surprise”



Hello. It’s Belinda.

Nothing new to report on my roommate’s sneaky phone call about “Earth Day cards.”

Dusty Bunneh wrote on the company Facebook page that he’s not after my job. Everyone could see his comment so I guess I should stop worrying.

I have other things on my mind anyway. Big changes coming.

First of all, I have a big birthday coming up on April 22. So I’m trying to focus on that instead of nonsense from my roommate. She hasn’t even mentioned my birthday because she’s in a panic about taxes.

That’s the second thing on my mind. Turns out you’re supposed to send papers to the government if you have a job. After they check your math they send you a “tax refund.”

The TV commercials talk about it. “Enjoy your tax refund with a trip to Disney World.”

Well I wouldn’t mind tapping into that Disney money. But I would go to New Zealand. If I lose my spokesrabbit job maybe I’ll just stay there.

The thing is I need help getting the numbers together. I haven’t been paid since I started this job back in September so not sure what to send in.

My roommate isn’t sure either but with her own taxes. She has been sitting at the dining room table all week moving papers from one side to the other.

Some little scraps fell to the floor and I ran over to help and she yelled, “No! My receipts!”

That’s what it’s been like here. I was digging in my kitchen box like usual and I hear, “Belinda! I’m on the phone with my CPA!” Which meant I was too noisy.

Later I got onto my roommate’s laptop and looked up “CPA” to see what the big deal was. That’s when it all clicked. A CPA could help me get my refund money.

But that’s not all.

Some CPAs are also notaries. That means they put a stamp on your papers to make them official. If I hand you a document and you see a notary stamp you have to do what it says.

And that is how I dug up my birthday gift to myself. Because I’m going to be five years old and it’s time to do things my way. Especially at work.

And with help from my new friends at the notary office, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

Sincerely,

Belinda

Spokesrabbit, Small Pet Select

The Best Treats for Ferrets

​Ferrets may be close in size to our favorite vegans - rabbits and guinea pigs - but that's where the similarities end. Your ferret is a carnivore, although not a steak-and-potatoes kind of guy. His diet more closely resembles that of a cat. In fact, too many fruits and veggies can cause intestinal trouble for your little weasel. 

A ferret needs a high-protein, meat-based diet low in fiber, sugar, and carbohydrates. While treats aren't intended to make up a large portion of any pet's diet, it's always a good idea to make sure anything your ferret eats is nutritionally appropriate.

So, can ​I feed my ferret cat treats?

​Yes and no. The problem with cat treats isn't necessarily that they are, well, made for cats. Many, if not most, commercial cat treats aren't great for cats either. Ferrets (and cats) need a high-protein diet that's mostly meat. The American Ferret Association recommends at least 36% protein for ferrets when buying packaged diets. You may be a pro at looking past the shiny packaging to check the protein content on the back. But, that little % symbol doesn't tell the whole story. ​​Plant-based proteins can skew the picture. Make sure your treats are meat-based, listing one or two animal proteins as the first ingredients. If what you're feeding is made mostly of corn or other cheap fillers, call the guaranteed analysis a liar and toss it in the trash.

​​Healthy packed treats do exist

​Packaged treats aren't all bad. It can just be a treasure hunt to find a good one. Commercial treats don't need to be marketed specifically for ferrets; the ingredients are what's most important. You can't go wrong with a starch-free raw meat treat. 

​In general, the fewer ingredients the better. You want a treat without added sugar and an ingredient list you can understand and pronounce. This doesn't mean treat-time has to be boring! Try a variety of different protein combinations and chances are your ferret will pick a favorite and be dooking in no time.

​DIY recipes

​If you want to bust out the apron, there are plenty of safe recipes for ferrets that offer more nutrition and less fillers and preservatives than many store-bought treats. Truth be told, your buddy may be just as happy with a tasty morsel that takes a bit less effort. Avoid table scraps, but go ahead and tempt your ferret with freeze-dried or cooked meat like turkey breast without added salt and seasonings. A bit of 100% meat baby food (no starches added) or egg is usually appreciated also. 

Avoid feeding any foods high in carbohydrates as a treat. Peanut butter, rice, fruit, sugary cereal, chocolate, and dairy products are inappropriate for ferrets. Sharing a salad may seem like a healthy choice, but ferrets aren't able to utilize the nutrients in vegetables due to their lack of a large intestine to digest fiber. The fiber can also fill them up, making them less likely to eat their meat-based ferret food. A ferret's diet should be less than 3% fiber, even lower than the guideline for cats and dogs.

​Treats aren't a necessary part of your ferret's diet, but they can make for a fun reward and bonding experience. Make sure all treats are ​species-appropriate and the bulk of your ferret's diet is nutritionally complete, healthy food. You don't want to create a picky eater or let your ferret train you to give more treats to replace a balanced diet. Older ferrets with decreased activity levels may put on weight, so adjust your treat allowance accordingly. 

References:

http://www.ferret.org/read/faq.html​

https://www.vetbabble.com/small-pets/ferrets/food/

Escaping Domestic Violence with Pets

​Our pets are family members. They quickly become integrated into most aspects of our lives. It can be hard enough to make arrangements for pets when needing to move, or even just go on vacation. When it comes to leaving a domestic violence situation, it becomes exponentially more complicated. 

People facing abuse often hesitate to leave the situation due to fear of abandoning their pets. Women are usually the primary caretakers of household pets, and don't want to leave animals in harms way or risk not seeing them again. According to RedRover, a nonprofit organization dedicated to taking animals out of crisis situations, 48 percent of women in shelters delayed leaving an abuser, or have returned after leaving, out of fear that their animals would be harmed. 

​The consequences for pets living in an abusive home 

​The connection between animal and human abuse is undeniable. ​According to Rachel Stevens, a program manager with RedRover, 71 percent of pet-owning women entering shelters reported that their batterer had hurt or threatened family pets for revenge or control. "Both pets and people are at risk in an abusive household, but unfortunately most domestic violence shelters do not accept pets," she admits. RedRover created the Safe Housing grant program, which helps shelters create safe spaces for furry family members in need. "We want shelters to know that offering pet-housing options helps families remove a barrier to safety and allows people and pets to escape abuse together."

​Breaking free from domestic violence

​Stevens believes removing this hurdle for women is the next logical step in the evolution of services and resources available to survivors. No one should have to choose between family and safety. "Pets provide comfort and stability during a tumultuous time, especially if there are children involved. The pet is perhaps the one thing reminding the family of home while they are in the shelter, and can provide unconditional love and support needed to make it through a challenging time," Stevens says.

There are several online directories, like SafePlaceforPets.org, that list domestic violence shelters with pet resources by area. The first step is to let the domestic violence shelter know you have pets. There may be a local organization with resources to house the pets while staying at the shelter. If not, reaching out to friends and family may be worthwhile. The Humane Society of the United States encourages victims to contact nearby animal shelters, veterinarians, or boarding kennels to see if they have a safe haven for animals program or can provide temporary care for your pet."If the domestic violence shelter cannot accept pets, and there are no community resources available (such as foster homes), RedRover offers Safe Escape grants, which will pay to board the animal while the client is in shelter," Stevens recommends. 

​Starting over, pets included

The resources available for pet owners in a domestic violence situation will vary greatly by area; this can be good news and bad news. Sharron Brady, Director of the Kedish House Domestic Violence Program in North Dakota, actually believes their rural setting is an advantage over more urban areas. ​"I've sheltered pets at my own house, and some of the motels we work with for shelter will allow animals in so they can stay with their families ... A local groomer has even offered to board pets. There are a lot of people we could call if we needed help locating a place for a family's pets in need," she thankfully notes. Law enforcement can rescue and remove an animal from the home that is suspected to be in danger. ​Brady has even had the ability to include pets in protection orders as "property" so the survivor can regain ownership. "I would never tell a victim to just leave a pet. We will find a way to handle the situation ... Pets play a very important role for victims leaving an abusive home. They help soothe kids that have had to leave everything behind. Just to hold them and stroke them is comforting," Brady says.  

Even if temporary housing doesn't allow animals, community organizations may be able to offer financial assistance for cat/dog boarding kennels, and small animal rescues may volunteer to find a temporary foster for exotic pets. Keep in mind the transition is stressful for the pets, too, and it's ideal for them to stay together if there are multiple. "It helps to send them with a soft towel or blanket that smells like home if the animal has to be housed separately or put in a kennel," Brady advises. 

No one should have to choose between safety and ​a beloved family member. While it's true only a staggering 3 percent of domestic violence shelters have ​accommodations for pets, resources are available. Luckily, organizations like RedRover exist to provide financial assistance for domestic violence survivors and their pets. RedRover offers grants to local shelters wanting to make more room for pets from violent households, so hopefully this small percentage will continue to increase. 

​If you are a victim of domestic violence and need immediate assistance, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1 (800) 799-7233.

References:

http://www.thehotline.org/help/pets/

https://www.livescience.com/41292-domestic-abuse-pet-shelter.html

​https://redrover.org/resource/domestic-violence-and-pets/

​www.safeplaceforpets.org

https://barkpost.com/animal-and-domestic-abuse/

http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/abuse_neglect/tips/safe_havens_directory.html

​http://alliephillips.com/saf-tprogram/saf-t-shelters/


Can My Ferret Catch My Flu?

Photo Credit: i.pinimg.com

Prime time flu season is upon us (may seem like it’s over, but it’s not… did you know it ends in May?), and according to the Center for Disease Control, this year’s influenza activity is widespread across the United States (with the exception of a few states.) And if you or a member of your human family contracts this year’s influenza virus (A or B), it’s possible that your ferret can, too. (It’s also very common for diseases to spread from people to other animals and those animals to people. Learn more here.

Rather than treating the flu in ferrets, it’s ideal that we take preventative measures to ensure our furry friends don’t fall under the weather, as we know how this virus makes us feel: yucky (and ferrets can’t binge watch their fav Netflix season while they rest and recover).

PREVENTION

  1. Keep yourself healthy! The best way to keep your ferret feeling fine is to take care of yourself. Eat a healthy diet (go to the store and pick up some extra yummy avocados) and make sure that you’re consistently washing your hands (a no-brainer :)).
  2. Clean environments. Even if not under the weather, your baby needs a healthy place to live… at all times. 

TREATMENT

1.  Give them LOTS of water. And because cold water can upset their little tummies, luke warm is best. They need as much hydration as possible.

2. Proper diet; they need their nutrition. Can you believe that ferrets are so similar to hoomans, that the number one thing you can give them if ridden with the flu is soup broth? Try Duk soup recommended by Dr. Pesce, a ferret expert who graduated from Cornell vet school in 2012. WOW.

3. Vet care. If your ferret is super lethargic and none of the above has worked, please take them in to a veterinarian who specializes in ferret care. Because their nasal cavities are likely congested, they can’t smell food, and if your comfort and healing prayers haven’t worked, they need more help. Your vet can prescribe an antibiotic that can help. Ferrets are very similar to humans (a week to recover from the nasty flu is normal, but can take up to a few weeks). 

Remember, take the season seriously for your ferrets. They need you this year. (But they need you every year.)

Belinda Says Hay: “Something Weird is Happening”



Hello. It’s Belinda.

Something fishy is going on and I’m not a fan. It all started with my roommate acting funny.

A few days ago, I woke up from my half-nap because I had an itch. Hay crumb in my ear.

I heard her upstairs in the kitchen on the phone. She was laughing and carrying on about something and I heard my name not once but twice.

No way to sleep after that so I walked up the steps as slowly as I could. Skipped the one that creaks.

Stopped near the top with just my head showing. Didn’t dare step onto the kitchen floor with the clicking.

 “She has no idea. Her agent told everyone to keep quiet.”

Her back was to me and she was fiddling with something at the counter. I heard bags.

“Right, it’s a Sunday. April 22.”

I turned so I could listen with my strong ear. She started banging things around, opening and closing drawers.

Mumbling but it sounded like “Earth Day cards” and “Rusty Bunny” and “great to work with.”

Rusty Bunny?

I kept hearing that over and over, like it was doing laps. Rusty Bunny Rusty Bunny. Finally it stopped doing laps because I realized she meant Dusty Bunneh. From California.

Who I thought was my friend.

I was so startled I tilted forward a little and then it happened. I tripped and stumbled into the kitchen and that was the end of that.

My roommate spun around and said “Ah-Belinda-hi!”

Then she said I’ll call you back and put the phone in her pocket.

Now this may not seem like a big deal but here’s the problem. I have been living here since September 2013, when I was six months old. I will be five in a few weeks and the fact is my roommate has never spun and said “Ah-hi!” to me before this.

She smiled at me but her eyes were funny, like she was watching a bug fly around. I went back downstairs and tried to sleep. Kept waking up thinking about Rusty Bunny Rusty Bunny.

I figured the only way to get to the bottom of this would be to stick my neck out and just ask Dusty Bunneh. Not sure if I’m supposed to use the Small Pet Select social media sites for personal business but I have no choice. They won’t give me the email password after what happened back in October.

That’s when I saw it. A post on the company Facebook page with comments but it was all in grey. Just a bunch of shapes instead of words. Like I was blocked. Clicked on it but nothing happened.

Since then I have spent most of my time under the steps. Not sure if I should ask Dusty Bunneh anything. Because when you see grey shapes instead of words you might really be seeing the writing on the wall, if you know what I mean.

My roommate and my agent are trying to get Dusty Bunneh on the team. That’s all I can think. To replace me as spokesrabbit. Sounds like they are starting with some sort of special cards for Earth Day.

I probably shouldn’t even be writing this but I can’t think about anything else right now. Not even alfalfa, that’s how much of a wreck I am.

For those of you who missed seeing a post on Easter because I had the day off, thanks for having my back and asking about it. I’m sorry today’s post is so gloomy but if I’m right and Dusty Bunneh takes over maybe he won’t be such a “Debbie Downer.”

Sincerely,

Belinda

Spokesrabbit, Small Pet Select