Monday, June 30, 2014


Last Monday, I mentioned that pets are good for your health. Did you know there’s a technical term for that?

It’s zooeiya.

You may have heard the term zoonosis used when discussing pets and illness.

 Zoonosis comes from the crashing together of two Greek words, “animal” (zoo) and “disease” (nosis). We’ve known for a long time there are diseases we can pick up from our pets, such as ringworm and rabies.

More recently, there’s been talk about the diseases that we can give our pets. It’s called reverse zoonosis, and it refers to such cases like the ones where our pets catch the flu from us.

Zooeiya is literally the opposite. Zooeiya is “animal” (zoo) “health” (eiya). Canadian veterinarian Dr. Kate Hodgson coined the term.

She spoke last month at BlogPaws on behalf of HABRI, the Human-Animal Bond Research Initiative. Some of what she shared with us is stuff you may already know, and that’s what I’ll share today.

Next Monday, we’ll talk about some of the things she mentioned that were unexpected – at least, to me.

The Stuff You May Know

Pets can help reduce
your blood pressure

Research gathered over more than 25 years has borne this out. And in fact, a 1995 study of 369 patients with heart disease showed that the ones with pets were 4 times more likely to be alive one year later.

Pets can help boost
your immune system

This is based on the scientific theory known as hormesis, which states that exposure to toxins in small amounts is beneficial. It’s basically the science behind allergy shots: introduce minute amounts of an allergen into the system to toughen it.

This goes hand in hand with the next observation, one that has done a full 180 in the past 30-40 years: Owning a pet as a child can help reduce the risk of developing allergies and asthma (see excerpt from WebMD at end of post).

The frequency at which
a cat’s purr resonates
has healing properties

Studies on the felid purr have shown that “domestic cats, servals, ocelots, and pumas produce fundamental, dominant, or strong frequencies at exactly 25 Hz and 50 Hz, the two low frequencies that best promote bone growth/fracture healing.” (see abstract from study at end of post.)

A waveform I captured of an actual domestic cat's purr

If you have ever suffered an injury that required physical therapy, you may have experienced human medicine’s mechanical analogue to this in the form of ultrasound therapy.

Honestly, the affection our three show us would be reason enough to have them in our lives. Increased health? Those are fringe benefits.

Next week: the benefits of pet ownership that I didn’t know about! 


Pet ownership, social support, and one-year survival after acute myocardial infarction in the Cardiac Arrhythmia Suppression Trial (CAST). National Institutes for Health, PubMed.
Excerpt: "Dog owners (n = 87, 1 died) are significantly less likely to die within 1 year than those who did not own dogs (n = 282, 19 died; p < 0.05)"

WebMD: Health Benefits of Pets
Excerpt: "A growing number of studies have suggested that kids growing up in a home with "furred animals" -- whether it's a pet cat or dog, or on a farm and exposed to large animals -- will have less risk of allergies and asthma."

Journal of the Acoustical Society of America: The felid purr: a healing mechanism?
Excerpt: "Purr frequencies correspond to vibrational/electrical frequencies used in treatment for bone growth/fractures, pain, edema, muscle growth/strain, joint flexibility, dyspnea, and wounds. Domestic cats, servals, ocelots, and pumas produce fundamental, dominant, or strong frequencies at exactly 25 Hz and 50 Hz, the two low frequencies that best promote bone growth/fracture healing [Chen etal., Zhong. Wai Ke Za Zhi. 32, 217–219 (1994)]. These four species have a strong harmonic exactly at, or within 2 Hz of 100 Hz, a frequency used therapeutically for pain, edema, wounds, and dyspnea."

Sunday, June 29, 2014

National Camera Day

Faraday: Nooo-o-o-o, Mommy!  I need this lens cap. Seriouslies.

How do you expect me to properly celebrate
National Camera Day if you take away my LENS CAP?!?!

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Sunday's Shelter Sweetheart: Patty Cake

"Patty Cake, Patty Cake, kitty cat. Make me some biscuits as fast as you can!"

"Maybe they were thinking of biscuits when they named me, because I'm not quite sure why they called me Patty Cake. But, I think I'll keep my name since it was these nice people who gave it to me.

They found me at a store not too far from the shelter, and my arm was really badly injured. The awesome vets here got me all fixed up though, so all that's left is a funny haircut. Don't worry, it'll grow back!

I'm just a little scared here, because it's so different that what I've been used to (I was already spayed when I got here, so they know I was somebody's beloved kitty cat). But, let me tell you - I love to be petted.

Just go slowly to show me you're a nice human and I will warm right up! So, if you're looking for a gorgeous black tabby or just want to meet the sweetest girl (me!), I'll be waiting for you here at Great Plains SPCA.

Patty Cake"

This sweet girl is available at the Merriam Campus of Great Plains SPCA!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Come to the dark side, Luke.

Wait for it. The last one's CLASSIC.
One might even say epic.

(cue Darth Vader SFX) "The Force is powerful in this one."


Cue light saber SFX . . .

 We now resume our regular programming.


Friday, June 27, 2014

Fashion Faux Paws

Allie: The Fashionable Feline knows exactly when to demonstrate her hunting prowess.

First, one must always be seen in the Best Light.

It's always Fashionable to appear modest (difficult, I know, but one must occasionally suffer for one's art).

Next, be sure to select a neutral background, such as packing paper, when demonstrating one's hunting prowess.

Allow me to elucidate.

This concludes today's lesson.

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Dog's ... Breakfast?

Have you ever heard the term, "a dog's breakfast?"  We hadn't!

In 1973, renowned British lexicographer Eric Partridge attributed this phrase to a slang term originating from the lower Glasgow region of Scotland.

Calling it “a very common Scottish and North Country variant since circa 1920,” Partridge stated it simply meant “a mess”.

Perhaps breakfast was served too early for this pup? Photo: Weaselmcfee on Flickr, via Creative Commons 2.0

Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang calls it “a distasteful mess”. Does it suggest slovenly habits of the canine kind?

Before we jump to that conclusion, we must point you to a related phrase: "a dog’s dinner."
If a dog’s breakfast was a distasteful mess, a dog’s dinner was something else entirely.

"Seriously? This better not be all I get for dinner." Photo: Fernando on Flickr, via Creative Commons 2.0

Oxford tells us that to be dressed up like a dog’s dinner meant you wore ridiculous or ostentatious clothes:

“LIKE A (or THE) DOG’S DINNER (also done up like a dog’s dinner, got up . . .) Of dress, etc. [1930s and still in use]: Ostentatious, flashy, or over-elaborate; (also) in an ostentatiously smart or flashy manner; dressed in the height of chic and fashion. [[Note: It’s hard to see any connection between this definition and dog food.]]”

(We got a kick out of Oxford's notation at the end!)

The phrase is probably British in origin, and most likely evolved from another phrase we’ve researched in our Word Origins series – “to put on the dog” (read about that phrase’s origin here).

This dog is ready for dinner. Please...? Photo: Jenny on Flickr, via Creative Commons 2.0

Oddly enough, tells us the first known use found in print came from an American source: the Miami News, in October of 1933:

"And on a bus top at a 57th St. trafic halt a youth from the sidewalk called to a young caigaet-smoking lady at the rail: "What you doing sitting there all dressed up like a dog's dinner?" "


A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English, Eric Partridge, 1st edition: London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1937.

Wikipedia on Eric Partridge
Word Origins
Oxford English Dictionaries Reference #1
Oxford English Dictionaries Reference #2
Word Wizard  

Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang, Jonathan Green, Orion Publishing Group, Ltd., 2006.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014


You're doin' it right. 

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Wednesday's Waif: Mitch

"Thanks for taking a moment to read about me! My name is Mitch."

"I don't like to brag, but everyone here at Wayside has been talking about what a looker I am. I have to be careful, or it might go to my head!

I'm a stunning, longhaired black cat with a gorgeous smoke colored mane and beautiful, expressive golden eyes. I have a cute little meow and a great purr.

I was adopted from Wayside once before, but the family had children and a dog, and it was just too much stress and commotion for me. I need to be in a calm, quiet, stress-free home, and my wonderful personality will come shining through.

Here at Wayside I'm becoming known as an affectionate, playful boy who loves batting at the feather wand. I enjoy attention and affection, but I prefer it on my own terms, and I'm not fond of being held. I do give great head butts!

I like being petted, but I will let you know when I've had enough. At 8 years of age, I'm right in my prime, ready to be a mature, loyal companion.

My Felineality is Sidekick. That means I'm moderately brave in new situations and I enjoy the company of people. Usually, I will want to be your side, but I'm not needy and I can entertain myself. If you're looking for a beautiful boy kitty who turns heads and warms hearts, come to Wayside and ask for Mitch!

Love, Mitch"

Handsome Mitch is available at Allie's Alma Mater, Wayside Waifs.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Funny But No: So far.

Yes, that's actually what the Shoebox team has been calling these rejects for the (many) years our mom has worked there. "Funny, but no" is a legend around Hallmark. So we thought we'd add some of these "rejects" into the 'Toon Tuesday rotation. 


Toon Tuesdays feature animal (and sometimes human) humor created by the peeps over at Shoebox Greetings (a tiny little division of Hallmark) - where our mom works, too!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Monday Funny.

Ground Control to Major Tom...



Healthy Pets, Healthy People

Go hug a puppy. it's good for your health!
Photo courtesy nick chapman, via Creative Commons
So are pets good for your health?

Those of us who choose to have four-footed companions know this to be the case. Procter & Gamble knows it, as well - and they're promoting it, too.

I'd never seen the P&Geveryday page before a few days ago, but it's got an entire section dedicated to pets. And that's always enough to make me want to sit up and investigate!

The articles there discuss how they enrich our lives, provide advice on how to introduce a new pet to the family, and you might even find a recipe or two to help your pet stay cool during the hot summer days: pup pops.

And in case any of you have seen the Facebook tale that's been making the rounds about ice being a dangerous way to cool down overheated dogs, that's been completely debunked, so go ahead and download the P&G recipe. Really. It's okay.

(Here's how the story went: "Dog dies from bloating from eating ice!" Um, no. Actually, it's not ice that did the poor pup in. It's the amount ingested that causes bloating, not its temperature. Doesn't matter if it's liquid or frozen. Myth:busted. You're welcome.)

I have to say, I saw some pretty sweet DIY tips over there as well. I am especially fond of the cat bed made from an old TV console. (Now to get my husband to decide it's his idea to make it, and we're golden...!)

But I have to say I kind of fell a little bit in love with the site when I ran into this article that talked about how clay litter is not such a good idea for you, your pet, or the environment.

If you have followed A Tonk's Tale for any length of time, you might have caught on that I'm not a fan of clay litter, for a variety of reasons (although it does make a great packing material for nuclear waste...)  So we give P&G Four paws WAY up for highlighting that!

Kind of digressing a bit, so back to the first question in today's post: are pets good for our health? I'll let you hop on over and read their take on it for yourself. The article's nice and brief, but it hits on more than just physical health, which I like. Especially because it highlights how pets can positively influence children's attitudes and behaviors.

Photo courtesy Jan Giesen, via Creative Commons

I'm partial to that line of thought, in no small part because of the amazing program designed by our shelter, Wayside Waifs. Our "No More Bullies!" is taught to grade-school age kids and it uses shelter dogs to teach the core character traits of Responsibility, Compassion, Self-Control and Integrity.

So, go hug a puppy or snuggle a kitty. What are you waiting for? An invitation?
Snuggles, cheap! (You can pay me in Bonito flakes. Just don't tell Mommy.)

P.S. While you're over on the P&G site, you might even find a recipe or two for human treats. Rumor has it our human might have swooned a tiny bit when she saw the words "chocolate lava cake recipe" on their Facebook page. Sadly, we cannot confirm or deny that at this time....


I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Tomorrow: National PINK Day

Guess you saw that coming.  :-)

Goats' Milk Soap Giveaway
We have a WINNER!

Congratulations to Nicole M., who has won THREE bars of Happy Goats' artisanal soap - your design choice!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Shelter Sweetheart: Formerly Feral Edition

Today you get a twofer!

"Hi! We're two very handsome tabby and white kittens - frisky and frolicky and full of love. And looking for our forever family.

My name's Ray, and I came here with my sister Cookie. She and I live together in a playroom and we're finally starting to learn just how great life is!"

"You see, Cookie and I were left off here by someone who thought we were wild. Well, we were a little bit wild at first I guess, but that's just because we'd never really had anyone to love us before.

But once we got here, some of the volunteers started working with us. And you know what we found out? That Cookie and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE people!

Now, don't get me wrong. We can both be a little on the shy side, especially at first. But that's just because we don't have a whole lot of experience yet. So, we're a little careful to start off. But once we know you're the friendly type, we warm up real quick.

I've even been known to push another kitty gently out of the way to get some petting. For somebody who started out shy like me, that's a pretty big step forward! Cookie and I both just love to be petted! And to play!

And every day we're learning about this wonderful world we live in. What we both really need now is someone of our very own to love! And someone who will help us catch up with all the affection and fun experiences we missed out on before we got here. What do you say?

Would you be willing to give one or both of us a second chance in exchange for a life time of unconditional love? Please come down and meet us today! We're anxious to start making up for the time we lost before we came here and found out how great it is to be a kitty who is loved by humans!

Hoping to see you soon!

Both Ray and Cookie are available for adoption today at the Merriam Campus of Great Plains SPCA.

Ray's Video:

And Cookie's video:

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Kitty Selfies Gone Wrong.

Faraday: Whatchoo looking at, Mommy?
Maxwell "Wait, I think I have something in my teeth."
"Did I get it?"
Um, just in case you were wondering, today's PhotoHunt word is...selfie.

(Bonus post for today, because, well, we just couldn't help ourselves!  ;-)

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Photohunt: Selfie

How'd I do?

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Friday, June 20, 2014

Fangs on Friday

Say "Cheeeeese!"

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Cats in boxes?

Rumor has it that today is International Box Day.
What self-respecting cat passes this up, we ask you?
Here, Maxwell demonstrates the art of sitting on a flimsy box.

Maxwell: Take my paw if it collapses, and I'll pull you to safety.
: You sure about that?
Allie: I ...I...can't look...

Allie and Faraday are brave, indeed, wouldn't you say? Although, Allie does look as if she's a bit...concerned....

Allie: If you fall on me, Maxie, be prepared to PAY.


Goats' Milk Soap Giveaway! 
Happy Goats' Soap is giving away THREE bars of their artisanal soap - your design choice!

Giveaway open through tomorrow, to U.S. residents.

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