Donkey’s, Tequila & Pet Insurance

Last night saw the Medipet crew embark on a teambuilding dinner, that would end with 10 people (and probably one dog) consuming vast amounts of toasted bacon, cheese and tomato sandwiches and about a gallon of jungle juice this morning.

We started the evening, dressed to the nines, at Beluga Café for cocktails (including long island iced teas, blood orange mojitos, white chocolate martinis & kir royales) and office banter.  After a pit stop at The Slug & Lettuce  (for old time’s sake snakebites and perhaps a smidgen of  initiation), we settled in for dinner and jugs of frozen margueritas at El Burro, an authentic Mexican eatery where the décor makes you feel as if you’ve stepped into a time warp.

In this little cantina, the warm earthy tones, with splashes of vibrant colour,el burro mrcapetown.co.za wooden benches and traditional Mexican dress can make you think that outside is the wind swept, cactus strewn desert and 90° heat, instead of a bustling, busy main road.  The only thing missing that would, in fact, complete this imagery, is the gunslinger, with spurs on the back of his boots and a couple of mustachio’d & inebriated mexicans.

Nevertheless, we got into the spirit of things with a round of tequilas*, a couple of jugs of frozen margueritas and a selection of tamales & chilli poppers.  The food was excellent, the conversation flowed easily and the company was special.  We ate, and drank and laughed and ate some more.  One of us rode the donkey, and another, the wheelbarrow.  At some point we may even have sang, or danced.  Or both.  I do know that we consumed more tequila than a high school football team (but then there were 10 of us).

The thing about Medipet is that we are not just an organisation, a group of people who work together, we really are a family.  We are people who spend 8 IMG-20130628-WA0000hours a day together.  We agree, we disagree, we stress out, we gym.  We go through the hard times together, as well as the good, and like all families, we annoy each other.  We may not steal each other’s clothes, only pens, mouse batteries and post it pads, but the point is, its possible I know my colleagues better than I know some members of my own family, and I love them all, and I wouldn’t trade in my place in this family for anything in the world.

* No tequila worms were harmed in the making of this teambuilding effort

Posted in Events, Heroes, Treats, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cats Really Don’t Care Whether You Know This or Not

It’s Wednesday morning, Im halfway through the week, and halfway through a cup of really bad coffee and, not being a “cat person” myself, am wondering why it is that they appear to not care. Are they really superior?  Do we live to serve them?  As a follow on to yesterday’s post, maybe we can find out.  All this information is taken from the random history site (posted in 2010), and they’ve got some pretty interesting information posted there.  To read more, visit their site at 99 Interesting Facts about Cats – Random Facts – Random History.  In the meantime, here is some awesome stuff I found out about cats

  1. On average, cats spend 2/3 of each day sleeping.  That means a 9 year old cat has been awake for only 3 years of its life.
  2. A group of cats is called a “clowder”.
  3. Female cats tend to be right-pawed, while male cats are more often left-pawed.
  4. A cat cant climb head first down a tree because every claw on a cat’s paw points the same way.  To get down from a tree, a cat must back down.
  5. Cats make about 100 different sounds.  Dogs only make about 10.
  6.  A cat’s brain is biologically more similar to a human brain than it is to a dog’s.  Both humans and cats have identical regions in their brains that are responsible for emotions.  (ah, about that indifferent superiority…)
  7. The first cat in space was a French cat named “Felicette” (also known as “Astrocat”).
  8. In 1963 France blasted Felicette into outer space.  Electrodes implanted in her brain sent neurological signals back to earth.  She survived the trip.
  9. Approximately 40 000 people in the US are bitten by cats annually.
  10. According to Hebrew legend, Noah prayed to God for help protecting all the food he stored on the ark from being eaten by rats.  In reply, God made the lion sneeze, and out popped a cat.
  11. A cat’s hearing is better than a dog’s.  A cat can hear high frequency sounds up to 2 octaves higher than a human.
  12. A cat can jump up to 5 times its own height in a single bound.
  13. Some cats have survived falls of over 20 meters, due largely to their “righting reflex”.  The eyes and balance organs in the inner ear tell where it is in space so a cat can land on its feet.  Even cats without tails have this ability.
  14. A cat rubs against people not only to be affectionate but also to mark out its territory with scent glands around its face.  The tail area and paws also carry the cat’s scent.
  15. Smuggling a cat out of ancient Egypt was punishable by death.
  16. Some Siamese cats appear cross-eyed because the nerves from the left side of the brain go to mostly the right eye, and the nerves from the right side of the brain go mostly to the left eye.  This causes some double vision which the cat tries to correct by “crossing” its eyes.
  17. A cat’s eyesight is both better and worse than humans.  It is better because cats can see in much dimmer light and they have a wider peripheral view.  It’s worse because they don’t see colour as well as humans do.  Scientists believe that grass appears red to cats.
  18. Spanish-Jewish folklore recounts that Adam’s first wife, Lilith, became a blackvampire cat, sucking the blood from sleeping babies.  This may be the root of the superstition that a cat will smother a sleeping baby or suck out the child’s breath.
  19. In the original Italian version of Cinderella, the fairy godmother figure was a cat.
  20. In Holland’s embassy in Moscow, the staff noticed that the two Siamese cats kept meowing and clawing at the walls of the building.  Their owners finally investigated, thinking they would find mice.  Instead, they discovered microphones hidden by Russian spies.  The cats heard the microphones when they turned on.
  21. The ability of a cat to find its way home is called “psi-travelling”.  Experts think cats either use the angle of the sunlight to find their way, or that cats have magnetized cells in their brains that act as compasses.
  22. Isaac Newton invented the cat-flap.  Newton was experimenting in a pitch-black room, and Spithead, one of his cats, kept opening the door and wrecking his experiment.  The cat-flap kept both Newton and Spithead happy.
  23. The world’s rarest coffee, Kopi Luwak, comes from Indonesia where a wildcat known as the luwak lives.  The cat eats coffee berries and the coffee beans inside pass through the stomach.  The beans are harvested from the cat’s dung, then cleaned and roasted.
  24. A cat’s jaw cant move sideways, so a cat cannot chew large chunks of food.
  25. A cat almost never meows at another cat, mostly just humans.  Cats typically will spit, purr and hiss at other cats.
  26. A cat’s back is extremely flexible because it has up to 53 loose fitting vertebrae, while humans have only 34.
  27. Approximately 3/4 of cat owners think their pets are able to read their minds.
  28. Cats have 32 muscles that control the outer ear (humans have 6).  A cat can independently rotate its ear 180°.
  29. One reason why kittens sleep so much is because a growth hormone is released only during sleep.
  30. A commemorative tower was built in Scotland for a cat named Towser, who caught nearly 30 000 mice in her lifetime.
  31. A cat has no collarbone, so it can fit through any opening the size of its head.
  32. A cat’s nose pad is ridged with a unique pattern, just like the fingerprints of a human.
  33. A cat’s heart beats nearly twice as fast as a human heart.
  34. A female cat is called a queen or a molly.
  35. The most traveled cat is Hamlet, who escaped from his carrier while on a flight.  He hid for 7 weeks, and by the time he was discovered, had traveled nearly 600 000 km.
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Interesting, Funny & Downright Weird Facts about Dogs

Well its a rainy Tuesday afternoon, and Im actually up to date with everything, so I thought I would troll through the internet looking for some interesting and little known facts about dogs and cats.  I found 99 interesting facts on a wonderful website,  99 Fun Facts about Dogs – Random Facts – Random History and really enjoyed reading through it.  Some of it might be old, as the article was posted in 2009, but it still makes an interesting read.  So, to credit the site, all info below is from facts.randomhistory.com.  

Ive only listed 35 of them, but that’s enough.  For more, visit their site

  1. All dogs can be traced back 40 million years ago to a weasel-like animal called the Miacis.  It later evolved into the Tomarctus, a direct forbear of the genus Canis.
  2. Rock Star Ozzy Osborne saved his wife Sharon’s Pomeranian from a coyote by tackling and wrestling the coyote until it released the dog.
  3. In 2003, Dr Roger Mugford invented the “wagometer”, a device that claims to interpret a dog’s exact mood by measuring the wag of its tail.
  4. Dogs have 3 eyelids.  The third lid, called a nictitating membrane or “haw”, keeps the eye lubricated and protected.
  5. A dog’s shoulder blades are unattached to the rest of the skeleton to allow greater flexibility for running.
  6. The phrase “raining cats and dogs” originated in 17th century England.  During heavy rainstorms, many homeless animals would drown and float down the streets, giving the appearance that it had actually rained cats and dogs.
  7. The shape of a dog’s face determines how long it will live.  Dogs with sharp, pointed faces live longer than dogs with flat faces.
  8. The most popular male dog names (at the time of this post) are Max & Jake.  The most popular female dog names (at the time of this post) are Maggie & Molly.  (We beg to differ, in our estimate, the most popular female dog name is Bella).
  9. French poodles did not originate in France, but in Germany.  “Poodle” comes from the German “pudel” or “pudelhund”, meaning “splashing dog”.
  10. Dachshunds were bred to fight badgers in their dens.
  11. Laika, a Russian stray, was the first living mammal to orbit the earth, in the Soviet Sputnik spacecraft in 1957.  Although she died in space, her daughter Pushnika had 4 puppies with President John F Kennedy’s terrier, Charlie.
  12. Dalmatians are completely white at birth.
  13. Puppies are born blind, deaf and toothless.
  14. The Basenji is the world’s only barkless dog
  15. A dog most likely interprets a smiling person as baring their teeth, which is an act of aggression.
  16. The origin of docking a dog’s tail may go back to the Roman writer Lucius Columella’s (AD 4-70) assertion that tail docking prevented rabies.
  17. President Franklin Roosevelt created a minor international incident when he claimed he sent a destroyer to the Aleutian Islands just to pick up his Scottish Terrier, Fala, who had been left behind.
  18. At the end of WW1, the German government trained the first guide dogs for war-blinded soldiers.
  19. A dog can locate the source of a sound in 1/600 of a second, and can hear sounds 4 times farther away than a human can.
  20. Touch is the first sense a dog develops.  The entire body, including the paws, is covered with touch-sensitive nerve endings.
  21. Eighteen muscles or more can move a dog’s ear.
  22. Dog nose prints are as unique as human fingerprints, and can be used to identify them.
  23. Petting dogs is proven to lower the blood pressure of dog owners.
  24. Dogs can smell 1000 times better than humans, they have 220 million smell detecting cells, compared to a human’s 5000.
  25. Dogs have a wet nose to collect more of the tiny droplets of smelling chemicals in the air.
  26. Different smells in a dog’s urine can tell other dogs whether the dog leaving the message is male or female, old or young, sick or healthy, happy or angry. Male dogs will raise their legs while urinating to aim higher on a tree or lamppost because they want to leave a message that they are tall and intimidating.  Some wild dogs in Africa try to run up tree trunks while they are urinating, to appear to be very large.
  27. In Croatia, scientists discovered that lampposts were falling down because a chemical in the urine of male dogs was eroding the metal.
  28. A lost Dachshund was found swallowed whole in the belly of a giant catfish in Berlin in July 2003.
  29. The best dog to attract a date is a Golden Retriever.
  30. The noisiest dogs are the Beagle and Collie.
  31. One survery reports that 33% of dog owners admit they talk to their dogs on the phone or leave messages on the answering machine while they are away.
  32. The grief suffered after a dog dies can be the same as that experienced after the death of a person.
  33. Hollywood’s first and arguably best canine superstar was Rin Tin Tin, a 5 day old German Shepherd found wounded in battle in WW1 France, and adopted by an American soldier, Lee Duncan.  He would sign his own contracts with his paw print.
  34. Dogs have lived with humans for over 14 000 years.  Cats have lived with people for only 7000 years.
  35. A person standing still 300 yards away is almost invisible to a dog.  But a dog can easily identify its owner standing more than 1.5 kilometers away if the owner is waving his arms.

Look out for the interesting cat facts tomorrow.  Or, if you’re cat, you’re probably indifferent.

Stay warm and indoors with your furry friends if you’re in the Western Cape tonight.

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Who’s a good boy then?

Winter is almost certainly upon us, and this is the time we all love comfort food.  And not just us, but our furkids too, so watch this space, over the next few weeks we’ll be bringing you a selection of tasty treats that are so easy to make, a good deal cheaper than store bought biscuits, and full of natural ingredients.  So even if you’re not a wizz in the kitchen, try these out, your pets will love them.Pawprint 1

Gourmet K-9 Biscuits

This recipe makes a beautiful, flaky, golden biscuit you’ll want to eat with your dog!  I know because I’ve made them.  Makes about 50.

  • 50ml cup of water                                                                                                                         2 eggs                                                                                                                                                2 cups all purpose flour (I prefer to use wholewheat as its healthier)                                                                                                     325ml cups grated cheddar cheese                                                                                                   3 garlic cloves                                                                                                                              125ml vegetable oil
  1. Preheat oven to 200°
  2. Whisk together eggs & water in a small bowl & set aside
  3. Blend flour, cheese, garlic & vegetable oil in a food processor for about 5 seconds.  Scrape the sides of the bolw and blend again.  The mix should be coarsely textured
  4. Drizzle in the egg & water mixture until a dough ball forms
  5. Divide dough into 2 balls
  6. Knead each ball on a floured surface
  7. Roll out with a rolling pin to about ¼ inch thickness
  8. Cut with a cookie cutter (try to source one shaped like a dog bone) and place on a greased baking sheet
  9. Bake for about 15 minutes, then turn biscuits over and bake for a further 10 minutes
  10. Cool on a rack

Pawprint 1

* All recipes courtesy of MacPherson’s K-9 Cookbook

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A ruff time for Fluffy

The true story of a devoted pet owner

Approximately 2 years ago I took my Fluffy(my angel baby boy), a lab cross to the vet for a routine check up/visit.  Whilst sitting in the waiting lounge I saw an advert regarding veterinary insurance for pets.  Immediately my thoughts were “I’m sure it will cost a fortune”

However, I still took a pamphlet and did indeed phone Medipet.  I was pleased and surprised to hear that the monthly premium was R170. I immediately went ahead and took a policy for my Fluffy who, at that time was a healthy dog, occasional, minor illness, nothing serious.

Fluffy Hiraman

I had my policy for approximately 18 months and actually didn’t even use it because Fluffy was in good health.

On 04 December 2012, my Fluffy “all of sudden” fell ill.  It started with an abscess on his back…

Since then, unfortunately, my Fluffy continued to fall ill.  I spent almost the entire festive season of 2012 at the vet.  It was just one illness to the next:

Bronchitis                                                                                                                                Removal of a foreign body                                                                                                 Diarrhoea                                                                                                                                        Paw injury                                                                                                                                    Colitis                                                                                                                                        Growth removal                                                                                                                        Various bloodwork

In a short period from December 2012 until May 2013, I had to use the policy.  The vet’s costs were continuously getting higher and higher, bills started running into thousands of rands.  Honestly when your pet/baby in my case gets ill, it’s a difficult, trying time.  If I didn’t have medical aid, where would I have got R25 000 to pay the vet?

Almost weekly, claims were being submitted to Medipet.  I was falling apart, my Fluffy was ill, and money issues was the last thing on my mind.

Medipet NEVER once phoned me to QUERY a claim, claims were submitted and promptly paid in FULL!

Apart from the financial benefit, the ladies at Medipet stood by me during my trying time.

Kerry and Gina, were extremely concerned about my Fluffy, almost weekly I had email/telephone contact with Kerry, and always her caring, calm, compassionate response and attitude was consistent, her exact words were:  “Don’t worry, your claim will be paid.  You just focus on Fluffy, so long as he is ok, that’s the most important issue right now  and you must stop stressing, please take care of yourself

Pet insurance for your pet is essential, just as you need medical aid for yourself, your pet needs it too!  It’s the best thing I did to ensure my Fluffy was given the very best medical care, without Medipet I would have been in a financial crisis!

Phone today, sign that policy agreement!  Even if your pet is healthy.

Thank You Kerry & Gina!

Medipet is the best!                                                                                                                      And a MUST have!

Please, I urge you, take the policy today, it only takes a phone call and 1 page form to complete!

No red tape!                                                                                                                                      No hassles!

Make that call  – 021 701 2023

Medipet Paw

Medipet PawMedipet Paw

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Sgt Stubby ~ War Hero

An email in my inbox this morning prompted a little bit of research on this amazing dog.  For more information go to Sergeant Stubby , a really heartfelt and inspiring story.

Sgt Stubby 1

Meet America ‘s first war dog, a stray Pit Bull/Terrier mix, named Stubby. He became Sgt. Stubby, was the most decorated war dog of World War I and the only dog to be promoted to sergeant through combat.  

One day he appeared at Yale Field in New Haven, Connecticut; while a group of soldiers were training, stopping to make friends with soldiers as they drilled. One soldier, Corporal Robert Conroy, developed a fondness for the dog. He named him Stubby because of his short legs. When it became time for the outfit to ship out, Conroy hid Stubby on board the troop ship.  to keep the dog, the private taught him to salute his commanding officers warming their hearts to him.

Sgt Stubby 2

Stubby served with the 102nd Infantry, 26th (Yankee) Division in the trenches in France for 18 months and participated in four offensives and some 17 battles. The loud noise of the bombs and gun fire did not bother him. He was never content to just stay in the trenches but eagerly went out, searched and found wounded soldiers.

Sgt Stubby 3Stubby entered combat on February 5, 1918 at Chemin Des Dames, north of Soissons, and was under constant fire, day and night for over a month. In April 1918, during a raid to take Schieprey, Stubby was wounded in the foreleg by the retreating Germans throwing hand grenades. He was sent to the rear for convalescence, and as he had done on the front was able to improve morale. When he recovered from his wounds, Stubby returned to the trenches. After being gassed and nearly dying himself, Stubby learned to warn his Sgt Stubby 4unit of poison gas attacks, continued to locate wounded soldiers in no man’s land, and since he could hear the whine of incoming artillery shells before humans could, he became very adept at letting his unit know when to duck for cover.

Sgt Stubby 5

He was solely responsible for capturing a German spy in the Argonne. The spy made the mistake of speaking German to him when they were alone. Stubby knew he was no ally and attacked him biting and holding on to him by the seat of his pants until his comrades could secure him. Sgt Stubby 8

Following the retaking of Chateau-Thierry by the US, the thankful women of the town made Stubby a chamois coat on which were pinned his many medals. There is also a legend that while in Paris with Corporal Conroy, Stubby saved a young girl from being hit by a car. At the end of the war, Conroy smuggled Stubby home. Sgt Stubby 9After returning home, Stubby became a celebrity and marched in and normally led, many parades across the country. He met Presidents Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, and Warren G. Harding. Starting in 1921, he attended Georgetown University Law Center with Conroy, and became the Georgetown Hoyas’ team mascot. He would be given the football at halftime and would nudge the ball around the field to the amusement of the fans.

Sgt Stubby 7Stubby was made a life member of the American Legion, the Red Cross and  the YMCA.  In 1921, the Humane Education Society awarded him a special Sgt Stubby 10 gold metal for his service to his country.  The medal was presented by General John Pershing. In 1926, Stubby died in Conroy’s arms. His remains are featured in “The Price of Freedom: Americans at War” exhibit at the Smithsonian in Washington DC. Stubby was honored with a brick in the Walk of Honor at the United States World War I monument, Liberty Memorial, in Kansas City at a ceremony held on Armistice Day, November 11, 2006. Sgt Stubby 11 Sgt Stubby 12

Posted in Dogs, Events, Heroes, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bonzo’s Story

Bonzo was bought, at 5 months old, from a vagrant, going from door to door in the Southern Suburbs, trying to sell him. He was in excellent condition, and so presumed stolen, but with no collar or microchip there was no way to prove this.

The value of his life was set at R400, and a good samaritan stepped up and paid this.  She then increased his value by having him vaccinated, microchipped and sterilized.

All Bonzo needs now is a forever home.  He is being fostered by his rescuer, but his foster mom is worried that he is going to be stolen again, as the person that sold him has been seen hanging around the house, and attempting to make friends with Bonzo.

Bonzo 1 Bonzo is now about 10 months old, he is the most beautiful black pittie cross, with white socks.  His big engaging smile melts your heart, and his exuberant, playful personality will win you over in minutes.  He is fiercely loyal, has a huge heart, loves children, gets along well with cats and other dogs, and loves long walks in the mountains and on the beach.

Bonzo is not for sale.  Although he was bought for R400, his life is worth infinitely more.  So is his happiness and security.  His foster mom does not want anything in return for him, just the knowledge that he is going to a good, happy home, and will not end up back on the street, or in a fighting ring.Bonzo 2

If you think this gorgeous boy can fit in to your family, and you want to give him a forever home, please contact Medipet on 021 701 2023 or karin@medipetsa.co.za for further details.

Posted in Adoptions, Dogs, Vaccinations | Tagged , | Leave a comment