Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Poison Alert!

Sago Palm or Cycad

Please allow me to share an alert with you that has been brought to my attention. It involves a houseplant that can cause serious poisoning in pets and children. The plant is called a Sago Palm or Cycad.

In Southern states, it is used in landscaping. As a matter of fact, my sister, who lives in Savannah, GA, has a huge one in her front yard, and less than two weeks ago, it was used as a backdrop for graduation pictures taken of Cierra, a 2009 graduate of Johnson High School.

Although it can only survive in the North as a houseplant, its popularity is on the rise and many home improvement stores have them on their shelves. Two days before receiving this alert, Mom almost purchased one at Lowe's. Thankfully, she didn't waste her money. Even though the lush Beulah Ruth Memorial Garden has provided a safehaven for many unwanted and needy plants, neither M nor D would allow a species capable of harming Rog or me to reside within the confines of the ever-expanding gardens.

All of the Sago Palm, including the seeds and root ball are toxic. Signs of illness first appear about 12 hours after ingestion and include gastrointestinal sign such as vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. The toxins in the plant lead to severe liver failure with progressive weakness, jaundice, bruising, bleeding, and other signs of liver failure that eventually lead to death.

If you have one of these plants in your home, be sure to keep it away from pets and children preferably by disposing of it safely in a covered trash can or re-home it with someone who does not have pets or young children.

Should you ever suspect ingestion of a potentially poisonous substance, it is important to act quickly and contact your local veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (1-888-426-4435) immediately for help.

According to the data compiled and reported by the ASPCA Poison Control Center, the five most potentially dangerous plants to companion animals are:
  1. Lilies
  2. Azaleas
  3. Oleander
  4. Sago Palm
  5. Caster Bean
Unfortunately, plants are not easily marked with Mr. Yuk stickers like bottles of toxic chemicals. In case you've never been introduced to Mr. Yuk, now's the perfect time for a note on his origin and purpose.

Mr. Yuk™ was created in 1971 by the Pittsburgh Poison Center. Since then, Mr. Yuk has been used to educate children and adults about poison prevention and to promote poison center awareness. Additionally, Mr. Yuk has helped raise awareness that poison centers are available 24 hours, 7 days a week to assist in the management of poisoning emergencies. In addition to his yucky face, every Mr. Yuk sticker displays the toll-free phone number for the national poison control hotline (1-800-222-1222).

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Big Hard One

Donut head in his donut bed

I'm sure that you have all heard of the Big Easy. Well, M&D have been talking about the Big Hard One a lot lately. Last week, Mom even brought Grammy Lee into the conversation, which, to me, was a little disturbing. Unfortunately for me, I discovered that the Big Hard One had nothing to do with unmentionable bedroom activities, but rather the decision about the fate of my family jewels. That's why Grammy Lee was consulted.

Because I am such a handsome and personable fella —even though I never garnered a point in the show ring during my short career, the decision was definitely not an easy one —at least not for M&D. If I had any say in the matter, the answer would have been a definite resounding —NOOOOOOOOOO!!!

Although I was rather groggy before entering Never Never Land, I can't seem to shake a very unsettling image from my mind. Every time I close my eyes, this horrible picture fills my head. It's far worse than Dad's recurring nightmare of being stark naked in a crowded mall surrounded by tons of teenage girls shopping for clothes and giggling uncontrollably at his lack of clothing! Enough about Dad and his dreams. Back to the frightening image that I fear will be forever etched in my brain.

In all honesty, I know that M&D decided to have me neutered with my best interests in mind. Heck, Mom's always on her soapbox about responsible pet ownership which includes spaying and neutering — but I'll save that for another day.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Hi ho! Hi ho! It's off to camp we go!

Even with our return from the OBX, Roger and I still have a fun-filled summer lined up. Today M&D are shipping us off to summer camp. Although we've been to day camp several times, we've never spent an entire week at camp so we're not exactly sure what to expect.

I'm sure that there will be the mandatory team building exercises. However, Roger and I are confident that Camp Director Kelly will incorporate fun activities like laser tag into the mix as opposed to the regular boring icebreakers like the Name Game where you are asked to come up with an adjective starting with the same first letter your name. Then you go around the room and each person must share them with the rest of the group. B-O-R-I-N-G!!!

One thing's for sure. We won't be bored. Since cousin Caleb asked that we bring an indestructible ball (he's tired of me killing his soccer balls), we figure that a game of soccer is definitely in order. And, as much as we loved being models for cousin Ally's fashion show during "Prickly Pear's Got Talent," we're really hoping that Mom packs us some more masculine clothing, like our Penn State jerseys, because we don't really like being dressed in drag.

In any event, computer accessibility at Camp Kelly is very limited so blog postings will be suspended for a week, or so. So, if you're missing my witty notes of wisdom, know that I am fine in my Aunt Kelly's confine!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Tarred and Feathered - Part II

As I alluded to in my May 7 post, like Roger, I also find feathers fun. While I did not kill any innocent birds to fulfill my feather fetish, I did, however, recently have an 8-hour feather fest to help alleviate the boredom of staring at the same four walls of my 4x3 cell while M&D were at work. Let me enlighten you as to how to host a fun-filled, feather fiesta when having to deal with such "downers."

  • One bored boxer dog (or bitch)

  • One 48" wire iCrate by MidWest (also known as "Cell Block B" for boredom)

  • One King Size Down Comforter within paws reach of the cell

  • One Queen Size Down Comforter within paws reach of the cell

  • One Full Size Down Comforter within paws reach of the cell

  • 8 hours of time to "kill" while parents serve their prison sentence (aka work)


  • After hearing parents leave for work, poke paw through wire opening in jail cell and extend until it comes in contact with first comforter. Using a repeated raking motion, continue to pull comforter closer so that it's within mouth-range.

  • After getting within lip-reach of the cell, administer the infamous lip-lock move and pull the comforter as far as physically possible into Cell Block B. When you can no longer pull any more fabric through the bars, attack the comforter's casing using both "tooth and nail."

  • After freeing as many feathers as possible from King-size comforter, proceed to Queen-size comforter and repeat process.

  • Perform same procedure on Full-size comforter.

  • Sit and marvel at the wonderful batch of Duck Soup you've created while waiting for M&D to return home from the Chain Gang.

  • Proudly perform the "Kidney Bean Dance" by bending body in half repeatedly from left to right as fast as possible to show M&D how happy you are that they are home.

NOTE: Click on slideshow for full screen viewing.