Fat Cats & Big Dogs: Michigan’s Pet Obesity Problem

Walk this way, photo by Alissa Hankinson

Here’s an article from a couple of weeks ago about Michigan’s fat cats & dogs:

When it comes to paunchy pooches, Michigan ranks No. 3 nationwide behind only Minnesota and Nebraska, according to a newly released study.

Michigan felines fared better — but only slightly, with the state ranking No. 6 for overweight cats, behind Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, Idaho, and Delaware.

…The Vancouver, Washington-based Banfield Pet Hospital, a nationwide chain, on Tuesday released its 2017 State of Pet Health report. It found that one in three pets that visited a Banfield hospital in 2016 was diagnosed as overweight or obese. In the past 10 years, Banfield, which operates many clinics inside of PetSmart stores, witnessed a 169% increase in overweight cats and a 158% increase in overweight dogs, the news release stated.

Michigan pets tipped the scale in comparison to their counterparts nationwide. Dr. Kirk Breuninger, the lead researcher on the study, said 38% of dogs in Michigan were overweight, compared to 30% nationally. Thirty-nine percent of Michigan cats were overweight, compared to a 33% national average.

View Alissa’s photo bigger and see more in her Dogs slideshow.

Michigan’s Lake Effect Snow and the Ice Beast of the Frozen Tundra

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Ice Beast of the Frozen Tundra, photo by Mark Miller

As Michigan deals with the first winter storm of the season, it’s a good time to brush up on how Michigan’s lake effect snow machine works with a nice video (below) from mLive chief meteorologist Mark Torregrossa who writes:

The areas hit by lake effect are called snowbelts. Some parts of the snowbelts typically get much more snow than other parts. This is because some locations get lake effect from multiple wind directions. Good examples are in the heart of the northwest Lower Peninsula snowbelt. Mancelona and Gaylord get heavy lake effect with northwest, west and slightly southwest winds. Also, the Keweenaw Peninsula, sticking out into Lake Superior, can get lake effect snow from west winds to north winds to northeast winds. That’s why they often shovel over 200 inches of snow in Houghton, MI.

The opposite is true for Grand Rapids and to some extent, Traverse City. Grand Rapids needs a west to southwest wind for heavy lake effect. West winds are common in winter, but don’t tend to last for more than 12 hours. That’s why Grand Rapids often gets only 12 hours of heavy lake effect and a few inches of snow. The wind then veers to the northwest and areas around Holland and Allegan get buried. Downtown Traverse City has a hard time getting heavy lake effect also. Traverse City needs a north-northwest wind to straight north wind for the heaviest lake effect to move into downtown. That wind flow does happen, but it only lasts 24-48 hours a few times each winter.

Thanks to another Mark, Mark Miller, for today’s photo of the Ice Beast of the Frozen Tundra aka Major. View the photo bigger and see more in his “Major” slideshow.

Here’s Mark Torregrossa’s video:

On the Hunt … Interview with Jim Harrison by Jerry Dennis

On the Hunt

On the Hunt, photo by PortrayingLife.com

The Cheyenne had a saying, and the Lakota, too: “When your life is tepid and you’re bored just follow your dog and act like your dog all day.” That’s been known to perk you up.
~Author Jim Harrison

One of my favorite Michigan authors, Jerry Dennis,  interviewed Michigan literary icon Jim Harrison in Traverse Magazine. Jerry is a noted outdoor writer, and I think his interview of Harrison is one of the best. A little taste:

JD: You often describe yourself as an “outdoorsman and a man of letters.” Why is being outdoors so important to you?

JH: Very early my dad would take me trout fishing because you know I’d had my eye put out and I needed extra attention. I remember asking him the difference between animals and us and he said, “Nothing. They just live outside and we live inside.” Which struck me very hard at the time, because I could look at animals and say, “I’m one of you.” The real schizophrenia of the nature movement, if you ask me, was to think you could separate yourself from nature. Even Shakespeare says “we are nature, too.” So there’s this sense of schizophrenia to think you’re different or more important than a bird.

JD: In your writing you’ve mentioned the “mythical underpinnings” that connect us with animals. Is that something you can elaborate on?

JH: Oden, that Scandinavian god, always had ravens standing on his shoulders. Myths, of course, are full of our other creatures. I would see bears almost daily in the U.P. They would wander around my cabin, hog my sunflower seeds, and I got to know a couple of them real well. I’d come home from the bar and a bear would be standing by the side of my driveway and I’d open my window and he’d put his chin on my door sill and I’d scratch his ears. They get used to it. But I’d never feed them near the cabin, that’s where you make a mistake. I’d put a fish on a stump about a hundred yards from the cabin.

There’s lots more,  I really encourage you to read it!

View Michael’s English pointer photo bigger and see more in his HuntTestDigital.com slideshow.

More books & authors on Michigan in Pictures.

Ice Kingdom

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DSC08043RP, photo by Scott Glenn

Incredible what wind, water and way too cold can do! More about the St. Joseph lighthouse on Michigan in Pictures.

Check this out on black and see more icy goodness in Scott’s lighthouse slideshow.

January 26th is Michigan’s Birthday!

Leaping in a Winter Wonderland

Leaping in a Winter Wonderland, photo by karstenphoto

Today is Michigan’s 176th birthday. For the 175th birthday last year we compiled some fun facts that you can check out. Here’s hoping that you get a chance to get out and celebrate what Michigan has to offer this weekend!

If you’re staying warm inside, consider reading about Michigan’s statehood and associated documents at Seeking Michigan.

Check Steven’s photo out big as Michigan and see this and more winter fun in his winter slideshow.

Dogs vs Seagulls (and bacteria)

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Untitled, photo by jenny murray

The Great Lakes Echo has a feature on an Environmental Science & Technology journal report on how scientists have used dogs to rid a Lake Michigan beach of seagulls. Why do that you ask? While gulls are certainly part of the Great Lakes beach experience, seagull waste contains bacteria that harms water quality & sometimes closes beaches. The test took place in Racine, Wisconsin and they explain:

For eleven days researchers calculated the concentration of different bacteria on the Lake Michigan beach. They measured E.coli and Enterococcus concentrations to calculate fecal contamination. In addition, the study collected information on potentially pathogenic bacteria, which can cause infectious diseases.

Researchers then used two trained border collies with handlers to harass gulls while continuing to survey the water quality.

The dogs prompted the gull population to drop 98 percent, from nearly 670 birds to just fewer than 20.

Fewer gulls meant better water. E.coli bacteria decreased nearly 30 percent with the removal of half the gulls. Before the dogs started working, water samples tested positive for potentially infectious bacteria on seven out of eleven days. After the dogs chased the seagulls, researchers failed to find any contagious bacteria.

Read on for more about this innovative solution.

Check this photo of Dot out on black and see more in Jenny’s dot slideshow.

More beaches on Michigan in Pictures.

Frankenmuth Dog Bowl

Champion coming!

Champion coming!, photo by Frankenmuth Fun.

Frankenmuth invites you to Dog Bowl 2011, the Midwest’s largest Olympic style event for dogs. This annual event takes place Memorial Weekend (May 28 & 29) at Frankenmuth River Place and includes events for dogs including agility competitions, dock dives, dog disc competition, fashion shows, canine cruise and (of course) biggie dog & weiner dog races! The event is FREE – there’s even a hot air balloon show – and you can click the link above for all the details!

Check this out bigger than a beagle and also see their huge 2008 Dog Bowl and 2009 Dog Bowl slideshows!