<![CDATA[NBC 6 South Florida - ]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcmiami.com/feature/all-about-animals http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC+6+LOGO+GOOGLE.png NBC 6 South Florida http://www.nbcmiami.comen-usMon, 27 Feb 2017 09:00:39 -0500Mon, 27 Feb 2017 09:00:39 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Linda]]> Sat, 25 Feb 2017 10:57:11 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/218*120/pet+of+week+linda.JPG

Our pet of the week is Linda, a 2-year-old Terrier mix, who is looking for her forever home.

Allison Nash with Humane Society of Greater Miami stopped by NBC 6 on Saturday with Linda. She says Linda has a great personality. She is playful, loving, and easygoing.

Linda would make a great pet for a family with kids or a single person. She gets along great with everyone and plays nicely with other animals.

If you're interested in Linda or other animals up for adoption, contact Humane Society of Greater Miami at (305)-696-0800.

For more animal news or to view other pets up for adoption, visit our All About Animals page.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Don’t Fat Shame My Pet!]]> Fri, 24 Feb 2017 19:55:09 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/022417+dont+fat+shame+my+pet.jpg

Several years ago, I overheard my wife checking in a new client at the front desk. She took a detailed patient history that included vaccine history, heartworm prevention status, recurring medical problems, and diet. It soon became obvious that to this gentleman, a muscle-bound hulk of an individual, “diet” was a four-letter word.

“My dog’s diet is fine,” he growled as he loomed over the desk, “And as long as you’re writing down the story of her life, let me make something clear. My dog is fat. I know she’s fat. She’s fat because she’s loved, and I don’t wanna hear any crap from you people about it. Half the children in this country are fat. Their parents love them, and I doubt their pediatricians lecture them about how they feed their kids. So write this in your chart - don’t fat shame my pet! And make sure you tell that doctor of yours, ‘cuz I don’t wanna hear it from him either!”

Our clinic is small. Rants such as this are often heard by the entire staff - and this one was no exception. A collective gasp went up from my staff, and all eyes turned to me. To intervene, or not to intervene? I checked the security cameras to see if my wife needed help. What I saw instead was an impish grin, that after ten years of marriage, I recognized as the look that meant “this is going to be fun!”

I leaned back in my chair, wishing I had some popcorn - air popped and unsalted, of course.

“First of all,” Lynn began, “I’m pretty sure pediatricians talk to parents of overweight kids about the dangers of childhood obesity. Second of all, fat shaming is a form of bias and discrimination against people. It’s an unfair social attitude towards people who may be overweight for all sorts of complex reasons. But Pepper isn’t a person. And I’m willing to bet her life is not that complicated. She doesn’t know some foods are bad for her, and she can’t speak for herself. That’s where we come in. What you call fat shaming, we call doing our jobs. So while I promise we won’t be jerks, and we won’t belabor the point, we will do our jobs. And you need to let that happen. Capisce?”

Amazingly, we kept the client. He stuck with us through an orthopedic surgery, and a particularly harrowing case of pancreatitis (pork rinds - yum!). When Pepper’s size brought on crippling arthritis, we had to have yet another uncomfortable talk. This one involved fully disclosing the long term side effects of the drugs needed to relieve her pain. He understood. He wanted her to be happy.

Pepper belonged to a breed of dog well-known for energy and longevity. She experienced neither. The time to help her cross the Rainbow Bridge came way too soon. When she took her last breath, her owner broke down, shaking with sobs that wracked his entire body. My whole team was either in tears, or fighting them. When Pepper’s dad walked out the door, he left behind an eerie silence. For some reason, I felt obligated to break it.

“He loved that little dog,” I said.

Then one of my nurses hit me with a question to which I have yet to find an answer:

“Yeah, but...what kind of love does nothing?”

Whenever I meet with colleagues, I hear all-too-familiar grumblings. Ugh...the fat talk. Clients hate the fat talk. Truth be told we hate the fat talk! But given that 90-95% of clients with overweight pets perceive their pet’s body type as normal, it’s a talk we need to have. That extra weight can lead to diabetes, liver problems, hypertension, cardiac issues, joint pain, orthopedic injuries, increased anesthetic risk, arthritis - bottom line, it shortens their lives. It decreases their overall quality of life, and those last few precious years with them are often marked by suffering. I’ve heard all sorts of objections: a fat pet is a happy pet...I can’t say no to that face...food shows him how much I love him... but he’s just so cute this way.

No. Just no.

A client once told me I should stop implying she was somehow killing her pet, that her choices were none of my business. If you’re on her side, I’m here to tell you and believe me, I don’t want to, that you are killing your pet. And someday, you too will ask a veterinarian to help you make a difficult and heartbreaking decision.

None of our business? Um, yeah, actually it is.

I’ve written a lot on this topic in the past year. By now you should be able to tell if your pet is overweight. We’ve talked about the difference between hunger and food drive, and the marketing machine that promotes overfeeding, and spends billions of dollars promoting calorie-laden treats.

Ask the veterinarian who best knows your pet what kind of food he should be eating, and in what amounts. Give small, healthy treats sparingly, and as a reward for actually doing something. Substitute food with praise and activity. Play games that require your pet to move and burn calories.

If you’ve checked all those boxes and your pet is still overweight, it’s time for a veterinary visit. Just like their human counterparts, dogs and cats sometimes develop medical problems that can wreak havoc on their metabolisms. Hypothyroidism, diabetes, and Cushing’s disease are just a few of the reasons your pet may be slowing down and plumping up. When caught early, these conditions can be managed with minimal hassle and expense.

So if you find yourself on the receiving end of a veterinary “fat talk”, please don’t get angry. It’s awkward for us too, and most of us would love to just let it slide. We know you love your pet. That’s why we want to make sure he stays with you for as long as possible. We’re here to help, so if you need help, by all means ask for it! We don’t care how your fur-kid looks. We care about his health. And if ever we do resort to fat shaming, guess what?

Fluffy. Will. Not. Care. Chances are, he’ll be checking us out, wondering how he can hit us up for a treat.

And who knows? If everyone behaves, we might just give him a little, teeny tiny one!

Dr. Kupkee is the lead practitioner at Sabal Chase Animal Clinic

Do you have a question for Dr. Kupkee? Send him an email.

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<![CDATA[Humane Society of Broward County Pets of the Week]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 12:14:09 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/182*120/NBC6-Walk_Bunzilla.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Miami-Dade Animal Services Pets of the Week - February 20]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 11:55:27 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/022217+China-A1851647.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Proposed FL House Bill to Force Animal Abusers to Register]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 10:18:41 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Puppy-Kitten-GettyImages-71919616.jpg

A house bill in Florida may change the way animal abuse offenders are dealt with - forcing convicted animal abusers in the sunshine state to register with the state.

HB 871 would require the department of law enforcement to post a photo on its website and specify the offense. Those on the registry would also unable to own a pet.

Last September, Hillsborough County passed their own county wide registry.

"If you're going to be charged with a felony you don't need to own a pet,” said Manatee County Commissioner Carol Whitmore, who has proposed a similar law in her county.

Those convicted would be on the site for two years or more depending on if they are repeat offenders.

Whitmore is keeping her fingers crossed that the bill gets the green light.

"I’m a nurse and statistically people who abuse animals, you're totally going to abuse an adult or child,” she said. "The state of Florida is very compassionate to their animals"

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Annual Manatee Count Breaks Record in Florida]]> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 14:34:49 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/manatee+stock.jpg

Manatees are continuing to thrive in the Sunshine State, according to a new survey conducted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The FWC reported at total of 6,620 manatees in Florida waters – 3,488 on the east coast and 3,132 on the west coast.

The 2017 survey represents the third consecutive year with a minimum count higher than 6,000 manatees.

“The relatively high counts we have seen for the past three years underscore the importance of warm water habitat to manatees in Florida,” said Gil McRae, head of the FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in a release.

Completed after a cold front, the warm, sunny weather with good visibility helped to make this year’s survey a success.

Florida has invested more than $2 million annually for conservation of manatees and the FWC says it will continue to work to ensure the well-being of the animals’ population.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[First Baby Anteater Born at Zoo Miami Making Debut Tuesday]]> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 13:08:56 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/022117+bowie+the+anteater+zoo+miami.jpg

A new friend is joining the wildlife here at Zoo Miami. The South Florida attraction introduced “Bowie” on Tuesday, the first ever giant anteater to be born at the zoo.

He was born two months ago, but Tuesday the park introduced him to the world – as he was strutting his stuff on his mom’s back.

“These guys are amazing and this is a huge thing for us because it's the first anteater birth in history of Zoo Miami,” said Zoo Miami’s Ron Magill.

“They are so powerful. They get up if threatened they get up on their hind quarters and will grab you with their claws,” Magill said. “They can eviscerate you in a heartbeat.”

The animal feeds on termites and ants – eating up to 30,000 termites or ants in a single day. The newborn is expected to hang on his mom’s back for up to a year before becoming more independent.

Magill says the animal was named as a tribute to the late singer David Bowie, who some keepers were fans of. Bowie will be at the Amazon and Beyond exhibit, but you have to catch him early.

Photo Credit: Zoo Miami]]>
<![CDATA[Humane Society of Broward County Pets of the Week - Feb. 10]]> Fri, 10 Feb 2017 13:54:57 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/182*120/NBC6-Valentine_Rufus.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Humane Society of Broward County Pets of the Week]]> Tue, 07 Feb 2017 11:31:08 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/182*120/NBC6-Valentine_Binky.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Giant Burmese Python Found on Abandoned Golf Course]]> Tue, 07 Feb 2017 07:18:20 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/020717+burmese+python+homestead+golf+course.jpg

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue crews got quite the surprise when they found a giant Burmese python on an abandoned golf course in Homestead on Monday.

Members of the Venom One Unit responded to the scene near 2500 E. West Palm Dr. shortly before 4 p.m. after receiving calls of people spotting the reptile in a large bush area. One member of the unit found the snake, which was measured to be 10.5 feet in length.

Witnesses say the snake had been seen out of the bushes by a nearby school as kids were walking by.

"Burmese pythons, famous invaders of the Florida Everglades, although they pose little threat to humans, they can take down animals as large as alligators and deer,” said MDFR public information officer Erika Benitez.

The snake was turned over to biologists from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.

Photo Credit: Miami-Dade Fire Rescue]]>
<![CDATA[Miami-Dade Animal Services Pets of the Week - February 6]]> Mon, 06 Feb 2017 13:06:09 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/020617+Marty-A1845176.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[South Florida Animals Taking Part in Annual 'Puppy Bowl']]> Fri, 03 Feb 2017 09:02:10 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/2017-01-26-puppy-bowl.jpg

While Super Bowl 51 will have the interest of many in South Florida – with three players in the game who grew up in the area along with others who played college ball in the area – another event Sunday has a South Florida connection.

Four dogs from Miami-Dade Animal Services have been selected to take part in the annual “Puppy Bowl”. The annual event, which will take place for the 13th time, is broadcast nationally as dozens of dogs up for adoption take the field of “battle” – trying to score touchdowns with chew toys in the fun event.

M-DAS is holding a “TAIL-gate” celebration for the public to come watch the South Florida stars - Penny the Cocker Spaniel, Blitz the Golden Retriever, Tink the Terrier mix and American Bulldog/Beagle mix Stella – Sunday from 10 AM to 4 PM at the new Pet Adoption and Protection Center off NW 36th Street and 79th Avenue.

Pets can adopted at the event – all adoptions include spay/neuter surgery, microchip, deworming and vaccines – and watch the game at 3 PM in the lobby. It’s the second year in a row that four pups from the South Florida facility have been selected.

Photo Credit: Miami-Dade Animal Services]]>
<![CDATA[Miami-Dade Animal Services Pets of the Week - January 31]]> Tue, 31 Jan 2017 13:57:48 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/013117+Matt-A1845938.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Viral Video Shows Dog Rescue Pup Pal From Rushing Water]]> Fri, 27 Jan 2017 13:47:23 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/dog-collar-generic.jpg

Video showing a dog rescuing his canine pal from rushing waters in Argentina is going viral.

The video posted to YouTube by a man named Rafael Franciulli shows a black Labrador jump into the water to chase a stick before it gets dragged down a narrow opening by a fast current.

The Labrador's quick-thinking friend comes to the rescue, grabbing the stick in his mouth and holding on until the lab can be pulled to safety on some rocks.

Franciulli posted other videos of the dogs swimming and diving in the nearby water.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Broward County Pets of the Week ]]> Wed, 25 Jan 2017 18:58:37 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/182*120/NBC6-Valentine_Alex.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Miami-Dade Animal Services Pets of the Week - Jan. 24, 2017]]> Tue, 24 Jan 2017 14:14:00 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/Bane-A1581066.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Rescued South Korean Dogs Going Up for Adoption in Broward]]> Thu, 19 Jan 2017 16:50:24 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/011917+rescued+dog+south+korea.jpg

A group of dogs that were headed for someone's dinner table in South Korea are now going up for adoption in South Florida.

The group of dogs were wrapping up more than 17 hours of travel time at the Humane Society of Broward County Thursday afternoon.

"Look in their eyes, you know. They just want to be loved, they want to be part of a family," the Humane Society's Cherie Wachter said. "They came from a South Korean meat farm where they were housed and eventually going to be sold as dog meat for people to consume."

Wachter estimates that every year anywhere between two to two and a half million dogs are slaughtered for consumption in South Korea. Some of the saved dogs were bred specifically for meat.

"And others look like they were people's pets at one time. So it's hard to comprehend that that's where these animals would have ended up," she said.

Humane Society International is working with farmers to end the practice of dog meat. Part of that is changing public perception of what it means to have a companion animal in the region.

"If a family really doesn't want their dog anymore there are really not a lot of alternatives for them to take them to shelters, so sometimes if someone doesn't want their pet they turn it over to dog meat farm," Wachter said.

The next step for the group is rest and evaluation, followed by vacations, spay or neuter. A dog trainer will work with each pup individually to learn more about their personality.

"So that we can see about their personality and what's going to be involved for a family that wants to adopt them. Some of them might walk on a leash, great, others it took a lot just to get them out of the crate," Wachter said.

Some of the dogs could find a new home as early as next week. Those interested in adopting a pet must complete a application form, that way staff can make sure the dog and family are a good match.

Photo Credit: Humane Society]]>
<![CDATA[Officials Continue to Monitor Potential Screwworm Threat]]> Thu, 19 Jan 2017 12:28:38 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/101816+screwworm.jpg

A South Florida community is on high alert as screwworms are popping up in homestead and targeting animals.

Defending South Florida from an infestation means fighting a battle the Sunshine State hasn't seen in decades.

Thursday, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is examining surveillance efforts in after a stray dog suffered an infection there earlier this month.

“New world screwworm is a significant threat, not only to Florida’s agriculture and livestock economy, but to our precious wildlife resources,” Putnam said.

Adult screwworm flies infest wounds and their larvae literally eat away at the host animal, leaving a deadly, gory mess. Humans can become infected, but that is rare. Eradication efforts include checkpoints, and pet examinations, plus the release of sterile flies to reduce screwworm breeding.

“Female screwworms breed just once in their lives,” said USDA Veterinarian Sherry Shaw. “If that breeding is with a sterile male, we’re done.”

Those efforts began last October when investigators confirmed a screwworm outbreak in endangered key deer.

Photo Credit: Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services]]>
<![CDATA[Pets of the Week: Humane Society of Broward County]]> Wed, 18 Jan 2017 13:53:08 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/182*120/011817+NBC6_Clover.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Miami-Dade Animal Services Pets of the Week - January 17th]]> Tue, 17 Jan 2017 10:56:03 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/011717+Harley-A0812175.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Actress Calling For Release of Lolita From Miami Seaquarium]]> Tue, 17 Jan 2017 19:41:28 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/lolita+toothache.jpg

One animal rights group is hoping star power from a well-known Latina actress will help in their calling for the retiring of Lolita at the Miami Seaquarium.

At a scheduled press conference Tuesday, Mexican actress Kate Del Castillo will urge tourists to boycott the attraction until the park releases the orca into a coastal sanctuary.

The event will come with the premiere of a new video the actress filmed for the animal rights group PETA promoting their efforts.

Seaquarium officials released a statement Tuesday saying it would be "reckless and cruel to jeopardize Lolita's health and safety by moving her from her home of 46 years."

"An actress looking for publicity and an activist organization committed to the elimination of zoos and aquariums are not experts when deciding what is best for Lolita the killer whale. She is healthy and thriving in her home of almost 46 years where she shares her habitat with Pacific white-sided dolphins. There is no scientific evidence that the approximately 50 year-old post-reproductive Lolita could survive if she were to be moved from her home at Miami Seaquarium to a sea pen or to the open waters of the Pacific Northwest," Seaquarium General Manager Andrew Hertz said in a statement.

The 20-foot long, 7,000 pound creature has been living at the park since 1970, when the then six year old orca was captured off the coast of the state of Washington. Protesters have argued that Lolita is being treated cruelly by the Seaquarium – including being housed in a tank that is smaller that guidelines set for her size.

Several lawsuits against the park have been filed over the past few years, with each being dismissed. In 2015, Orca whales were placed on an endangered species list – but Lolita was exempt from that ruling since she is a captive animal.

"Miami Seaquarium is not willing to experiment with her life in order to appease a fringe group. These individuals will never be satisfied with the care she receives," Hertz said in the statement. "Lolita is part of the Miami Seaquarium family and is as active and healthy as ever, a true testament to her care."

<![CDATA[Video Shows Shark Jumping Out of Water in SW Florida]]> Mon, 16 Jan 2017 18:23:12 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/011617+jumping+shark+on+video.jpg

A group of young fishermen landed quite the catch off the coast of Indian Rocks Beach this weekend.

Kellen Keglor told NBC 6 affiliate WFLA-TV, he and a handful of friends were boating back to shore on Sunday when they noticed a shark swimming near their boat.

The young men decided to toss some bait into the water and the shark was quick to snatch it up.

In cell phone video taken by Keglor, you can see the shark swimming closer to the boat after taking the bait.

The shark then disappears for a brief period of time under the water before video captured it jumping out of the water several times.

"We knew we had a once in a lifetime fish,” Keglor recounted.

Amid a background of excitement and loud screams from the fishermen, Keglor said the whole ordeal lasted about 30 minutes.

<![CDATA[Massive Gator Spotted in Nature Preserve in Lakeland]]> Mon, 16 Jan 2017 13:26:00 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/011617+massive+gator+lakeland.jpg

Footage of an alligator that looks almost too massive to be real was posted to the Lakeland Police's Facebook page Monday.

According to the post, Kim Joiner was taking an afternoon stroll Sunday in the Circle B Bar Reserve when the gator was spotted.

The big gator is seen lumbering across a grassy path as a group of spectators take photos.

Lakeland Police told NBC 6 that the gator is real.

Photo Credit: Lakeland Police Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Hero]]> Sat, 14 Jan 2017 10:51:42 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/pet+of+the+week+hero.jpg

Our pet of the week is Hero, a 1 year old Terrier mix, who is looking for her forever home.

Allison Nash with Humane Society of Greater Miami stopped by NBC 6 on Saturday with Hero, and she really is one! She says Hero saved two other dogs from drowning in a pool. Hero is playful, loving, and easygoing.

Hero would make a great pet for a family with kids or a single person. She gets along great with everyone and plays nicely with other dogs

If you're interested in Hero or other animals up for adoption, contact Humane Society of Greater Miami at (305)-696-0800.

For more animal news or to view other pets up for adoption, visit our All About Animals page.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Pets of the Week: Humane Society of Broward County]]> Wed, 11 Jan 2017 13:35:41 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/182*120/0111+NBC6+new_Princess.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Goodbye, Tilikum]]> Wed, 11 Jan 2017 13:02:08 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*120/011117+tilikum+goodbye.jpg

Last year, SeaWorld announced that Tilikum, the killer whale featured in the documentary “Blackfish”, was gravely ill. A video statement was given by his veterinarian. I was not in a place where I could turn up the volume, but it didn’t matter. The look on his face said it all. His patient was dying, and there was nothing he could do. I’ve been there myself, and I know that look.

I was not going to write this piece. It’s a sad story with a sad ending, but that wasn’t the cause of my reticence. I held back because, like most sad stories, Tilikum’s is complicated. So too is the gamut of emotions that are stirred when the arc of such a story nears its end.

The outpouring of emotion on social media, however, was immediate and intense. Amidst all the expressions of sorrow, anger, and heartache, one comment in particular caught my eye:

“Violent, savage monster. Good riddance.”

Emboldened, another commentator chimed in, “Seriously. They’re called ‘killer’ whales for a reason.”

Perhaps it was a similar, latent sentiment that was causing me to drag my feet. Tilikum was involved in the deaths of three people. For the loved ones they left behind, those broken families, this news cycle will be especially painful. We must not let our compassion for Tilikum displace empathy for our fellow man.

That being said, there is another broken family in this tragic tale. It’s a closely-knit family of sentient beings, swimming through Icelandic waters. It’s a family that watched in agony as one its youngest was corralled into a net, and flown to the hell that is, for orcas, captivity. Years later, the calf who cried for his mother would make headlines as the beast whose rage took the life of someone who loved him dearly.

Such rage is the product of captivity. It is the bastard child of isolation from family, and crippling silence, conditions orcas were never meant to endure. Dawn Brancheau’s autopsy lists blunt force trauma and drowning as the official causes of her death. But ultimately, it was captivity that killed her. The silence took her, just as it took Tilikum the moment he was torn from the sea.

Some of Tilikum’s followers have vowed to meet him at the Rainbow Bridge someday. For those of you who have never lost a pet, the Rainbow Bridge is a place in Heaven where the souls of the departed are reunited with the souls of the beloved pets who passed before us.

Tilikum will not be there. He was not a pet, and while we may have taken him, he never belonged to us. I pray his final performance will be to leap over the mythical Rainbow Bridge, and swim as far as possible from even the most sainted, and immortal human hands. We destroyed him in this life. May his life eternal be free of us at last.

“Violent, savage monster. Good riddance.”

Perhaps, as he begins his journey, he is thinking the same of humanity.

As I struggled with how to end this piece, I asked my wife if she thought there was a Heaven for Tilikum.

“Um, yeah,” she scoffed, without missing a beat. “It’s called the ocean.”

And there it is.

I found my final wishes for Tilikum in a book of ancient Celtic prayers:

“May the clarity of light be yours.

May the fluency of the ocean be yours.

May the protection of the ancestors be yours.”

Safe journey, Tilikum. Don’t stop at the Bridge; we don’t deserve you. Peace and rest await you. Perhaps the silence has you still, but softly at first, you will start to hear the budding of eternal sound.

Your ancestors call to you. No man will follow. The ocean’s vast embrace is yours again.

Only this time, it’s forever.

Dr. Kupkee is the lead practitioner at Sabal Chase Animal Clinic in Miami, Florida.

<![CDATA[Cow Goes for Walk on Turnpike in Miami-Dade]]> Tue, 10 Jan 2017 08:48:44 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/011017+cow+on+turnpike.jpg

A cow that was apparently sick of traffic decided to take a stroll on the side of the Florida Turnpike in Miami-Dade Tuesday morning.

The cow was spotted in the northbound lanes of the Turnpike near Okeechobee Road.

Officers responded and the cow was herded away from the highway and ito a wooded area.

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Miami-Dade Animal Services Pets of the Week - January 9th]]> Mon, 09 Jan 2017 10:43:20 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/010917-1+Mona-A1819651.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Miramar Firefighters Rescue Guinea Pig From Blaze]]> Thu, 05 Jan 2017 21:11:18 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/010517+miramar+guinea+pig+saved.jpg

A family's pet was saved by firefighters Wednesday after flames filled a home in Miramar.

The ginger-colored guinea pig was pulled from the blaze that started in the kitchen of a home located on the 6300 block of Southwest 35th Court.

Miramar Fire Rescue quickly doused the flames. No humans were injured.

However, Miramar Fire posted to Facebook a photo of the family pet wearing mini oxygen mask. The guinea pig was treated and released on scene.

<![CDATA[Broward Pets of the Week]]> Wed, 04 Jan 2017 16:15:38 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/182*120/NBC6_Bandito.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Miami-Dade Animal Services Pets of the Week]]> Wed, 04 Jan 2017 15:53:33 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/America-A1835811.jpg The Pets of the Week from Miami-Dade County Animal Services.]]> <![CDATA[Former President Carter Helps Release Turtle in Florida Keys]]> Fri, 30 Dec 2016 16:37:49 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/181*120/123016+potus+carter+sea+turtle.jpg

A rehabilitated loggerhead sea turtle got some presidential help as it was released back to the wild Friday.

Former President Jimmy Carter visited Marathon's Turtle Hospital and joined the efforts to release 70-pound "Salty".

Mr. Carter is in the Florida Keys vacationing for the holidays.

He toured the hospital with about 40 of his extended family members, including his wife Rosalynn and their 11 great-grandchildren.

The sub-adult loggerhead sea turtle had convalesced at the hospital since October after it was discovered floating about six miles off Sombrero Reef lighthouse.

""Salty" suffered from an intestinal impaction and a lung infection, and was successfully treated with antibiotics.

<![CDATA[Plantation Firefighters to be Honored For Saving Young Cat ]]> Tue, 27 Dec 2016 13:26:25 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/121616+plantation+cat+rescue.jpg

A national organization is honoring members of the Plantation Fire Department for their work in saving a kitten that was trapped inside a parking garage wall earlier this month.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, is giving the department their Compassionate Fire Department Award for the incident, which took place December 16th off Broward Blvd. and West 82nd Avenue.

"Thanks to the kind actions of some concerned citizens and a group of determined firefighters, this cat escaped what could have been a frightening, miserable death," says PETA Vice President Colleen O'Brien. "PETA hopes this story will inspire others to take action to help animals in need."

Firefighters spent hours freeing the young cat, who was taken to a nearby animal hospital and is expected to be okay.

The department will also receive other gifts from the group – including vegan cookies.

Photo Credit: Plantation Fire Department]]>
<![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Hogan]]> Sat, 24 Dec 2016 11:15:01 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/pet+of+the+week+hogan.jpg

Our pet of the week is Hogan, who is 8 years old and is looking for his forever home.

Tracy Calvino with Pooches in Pines stopped by NBC 6 on Saturday with Hogan. She said he is very chill and obedient. He loves to relax inside and is playful when he's outside.

Calvino said Hogan is great with others and is fully grown. He'll need to go to a loving home. Hogan loves to be around people, other dogs and even gets along with cats!

If you're interested in Hogan contact Pooches in Pines at (954) 431-2200 or visit their Facebook and Twitter pages for more information.

For more animal news or to view other pets up for adoption, visit our All About Animals page.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Pets of the Week: Humane Society of Broward County]]> Wed, 21 Dec 2016 13:49:09 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/182*120/122116+NBC6+winter_Coco.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Pets of the Week: Miami-Dade Animal Services December 21]]> Wed, 21 Dec 2016 13:43:44 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/122116+Checkers-A1654246.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Presents For Pets: Creative Holiday Pet Toys]]> Sun, 18 Dec 2016 11:12:52 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/kupkee+xmas+gifts.jpg

According to a recent survey, over 95% of Americans routinely buy gifts for their pets during the holiday season. At Casa Kupkee, our dogs take great delight in tearing open their gifts from Santa on Christmas morning.

Many pet owners, however, admit to giving little thought to the types of gifts they buy. Pets are not usually picky about toys, and inclusion in the holiday fun is all our pets truly want for Christmas.  But the right kind of toy can be a gift that keeps on giving long after the lights and tinsel have been packed away.

Preventative Presents

Many of the behavioral problems I see in pets can be linked to a lack of sufficient cognitive enhancement. In other words, our pets are bored. Many of us spend long hours away from home on a daily basis. Our evenings tend to be consumed by television, computer use, and other sedentary activities. Such diversions are no fun for our pets, and the resulting boredom can lead to all sorts of unwanted behaviors. Nuisance barking, destruction, hyperactivity, self-mutilation, and failure to use the litter box are just few of the problems I see in pets who literally have nothing better to do. Since some such behaviors can also be linked to medical problems, the first thing to do is have your pet examined by a veterinarian.  If the behavior has no underlying medical cause, it’s time to ask Fluffy to put on her thinking cap!

Interactive Pet Toys

These toys come in all varieties and price ranges, but they all have the same goal in mind: encouraging your pet to interact with the toy, and use her brain to get what she wants. Dogs are often intrigued by large toys stuffed with small toys which the pet must figure out how to remove.

A toy that moves or makes noise when touched by the dog can also keep them entertained for hours.

Cats are huge fans of these types of toys as they appeal to their natural hunting instincts.

Anything that bounces, wiggles, squirms, or rolls will probably be a big hit with your feline friend. And if you can find something with a timer that will entice your kitty at random intervals, even better.

Food Puzzles

If your pet is not particularly motivated by brain teasers, try tempting him with a food puzzle. These toys encourage both dogs and cats to move and manipulate the toy until a treat is dispensed. Food puzzles come in an endless variety of shapes, sizes and degrees of difficulty.  Owners of especially high drive pets will often serve their entire meals in these sorts of puzzles. Such toys encourage pets to think, solve problems, and burn calories without involving any extra time or effort on behalf of their care takers. If you’re shopping on a budget, or looking for a fun holiday activity for the kids, there are all sorts of ways to make DIY food puzzles for cats using items you probably already have in the house.

If you have multiple dogs, and plan to leave them alone with food puzzles, be sure each dog is confined to a separate part of the house.  Food puzzles can be very stimulating for dogs, and you don’t want to run the risk of a fight breaking out while you are away from home.

Continuing Education

If you have the time, why not consider treating Fido to some scheduled classes? A Certified Professional Dog Trainer can teach you how to have all sorts of fun with your dog. Whether it’s nose work, trick training, agility, or obedience, these activities are fun for both dogs and humans. In addition to keeping Fido happy and fit, they provide him with something to think about besides which designer handbag to destroy next. Learning new behaviors not only reduces both boredom and anxiety, but help active dogs burn up some energy as well.

Many trainers and behaviorists are fond of the adage, “A tired dog is a happy dog.”  While I don’t disagree, I’ll take it one step further: “A cognitively enriched pet is a happy pet.”  By putting a little more thought into shopping for our pets, we can create a happy holiday for the entire family.

Dr. Kupkee is the lead practitioner at Sabal Chase Animal Clinic.

Do you have a question for Dr. Kupkee? Send im an email by clicking here.

Click here for deals and discounts exclusively for NBC 6 viewers!

Photo Credit: Dr. Ian Kupkee]]>
<![CDATA[Clear the Shelters: Nadine]]> Sat, 17 Dec 2016 11:10:08 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/228*120/pet+of+the+week+nadine.jpg

Our pet of the week is Nadine, a 12-year-old Chihuahua mix, who is looking for her forever home.

Laurie Wax with Humane Society of Greater Miami stopped by NBC 6 on Saturday with Nadine. She said Nadine is very cuddly, calm, and friendly.

Nadine would make a great family pet.

If you're interested in Nadine or other animals up for adoption, contact Humane Society of Greater Miami at (305)-696-0800.

For more animal news, visit our All About Animals section.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Florida Bear Undergoes Tooth Surgery]]> Fri, 16 Dec 2016 21:51:53 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/121616+bear+undergoes+surgery.jpg NBC 6's Trina Robinson shares the story of a Florida bear that underwent surgery for a bad tooth.]]> <![CDATA[Firefighters Rescue Cat Stuck in Wall in Plantation]]> Fri, 16 Dec 2016 13:17:27 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/121616+plantation+cat+rescue.jpg

Plantation firefighters were able to rescue a cat that spent days stuck inside a concrete wall at an office building.

Firefighters spent several hours Friday morning working to free the cat, which was stuck inside the wall at the building at 8211 W. Broward Boulevard for three to four days, officials said.

After chipping away at the concrete wall firefighters finally freed the cat. It was taken to Hollywood Animal Hospital but is expected to be okay.

Photo Credit: Plantation Fire Department]]>
<![CDATA[Pets of the Week: Humane Society of Broward County]]> Thu, 15 Dec 2016 06:40:53 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/182*120/NBC6+winter_Kary.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Snake Found With Mouth Sewn Shut Outside SW Miami Home]]> Wed, 14 Dec 2016 16:12:23 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/121416+snake+mouth+sewn+shut.jpg

A member of the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Venom Unit responded to a strange call Sunday about a snake found in a peculiar position. The baby Ball Python was discovered with its mouth sewn completely shut.

A family spotted the reptile outside a home in Southwest Miami-Dade and immediately called Venom One.

The discovery baffled Lt. Scott Mulin so much so that he posted the encounter on his Facebook page. "Now, you may think any call I run at Venom One would be strange but this one was a first," Lt. Mulin wrote on Facebook.

Pictures posted online showed the tiny serpent with thread sewn through its mouth.

The Ball Pythons are the most common types of pet pythons and are known to be docile. Officers at Venom One don't know who could have done such a thing to the animal.

Lt. Mulin said he was able to get a friend who breeds Ball Pythons to gently remove the stitching. Sadly, the snake's mouth rot after being shut for so long. It is currently being treated.

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<![CDATA[Pets of the Week: Miami-Dade Animal Services]]> Tue, 13 Dec 2016 22:43:28 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/Blanca-A1831065.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Cat Found in Trash Bag Recovering at Local Animal Hospital]]> Tue, 13 Dec 2016 18:41:42 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/cat+found+in+trash+Miami.PNG

A cat that was found in a trash bag in Miami Shores is recovering at a local animal hospital.

Public Works employees found the cat this week inside a black garbage bag on the side of the road on northwest 2nd Avenue.

The feline, which was most likely someone's pet, was found moving and meowing in a trash bag that was placed inside a crate covered in urine and feces.

Saving Sage Rescue was called in to help the cat.

"Whoever put that cat there intentionally wanted this cat to die a slow and painful death," said Cathy Bieniek of Saving Sage Rescue.

Animal cruelty is a felony punishable by up to five-years in prison.

Miami Shores Police detectives are investigating the case, but the rescuers say they did not fingerprint the crate or the garbage bag. "We need to find out who did this, to bring this person or animal to justice. This can't continue, people cannot to think that animals are disposable. They are lifetime commitment and part of our family," said Bieniek.

Rescuers named the cat Kringle. It was taken to Pet Express in Davie to be treated for dehydration and heat exhaustion. Kringle will then be put up for adoption. 

<![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Toby]]> Sun, 11 Dec 2016 13:01:04 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/219*120/pet+of+week+toby.jpg

Our pet of the week is Toby, a 2-year-old mix, who is looking for his forever home.

Lisa Mendheim with Broward Animal Care stopped by NBC 6 on Sunday with Toby. She said Toby is very energetic and loyal, and friendly.

Toby would make a great family pet. He'd be the perfect pet for a family with kids.

If you're interested in Toby or other animals up for adoption, contact Broward Animal Care at (954) 359-1313.

For more animal news, visit our All About Animals section.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>