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18 February 2008

The Shaved Tummy Club gets another member

Felix finally became a member of the Shaved Tummy Club. All the other Indulged Furries have been indoctrinated into this club, and he's been holding out on joining. But today he needed an ultrasound to complete some medical tests and there was no escaping the clippers.

My concerns about how squirmy Felix would be and how hard the vet staff would have to work were so great that I brought homemade brownies for the staff. But Felix was a cooperative patient and it wasn't an ordeal for anyone. Of course I should not have been surprised. After all, the Sacred Paws were left untouched so there was no reason for him to put up much of a fuss. He wasn't even upset by the tummy bath and blow-dry he got at home to get the goopy ultrasound gel out of his remaining fur.

We're looking forward to giving him tummy rubs as his fur is growing back. It's a fun fuzzy texture that's as much fun to rub as a kitten belly!

13 February 2008

How to be 'Green' with pet waste.

I've been reading various articles about the eco-friendly way to dispose of pet waste. With one indoor cat and a Golden Retriever, we have plenty of poop around here!

Currently, I scoop the dog waste and toss it in the trash. Sometimes in a container I'm already going to toss, sometimes loose. One article I read expressed concerns about microorganisms contaminating landfills and leaching to ground water, but I have a hard time believing that is an issue. I'm not even remotely concerned with microorganisms in the landfil, and landfills have liners don't they? We're not talking radioactive waste here, so even leaching doesn't concern me. So, that article's recommendation about double-bagging in plastic to prevent contamination seems to me to cause more harm than good because then you've forever sealed your biodegradable pet waste in non-degradable plastic!

Burrying is an option, but a Golden Retriever generates quite a bit of waste (even on high quality food) and we'd need a large hole, or several holes. We garden quite a bit, and with a moderately sized yard it would be difficult to avoid pet waste burrial sites. The "yuck" factor of having latrine holes in the backyard is a big negative to this option.

Flushing pet waste in the toilet seems reasonable, as it gets treated just like human waste at the local sewage treatment facility. But carrying the dog waste into the house to flush it seems a bit unsanitary to me. The cat's litter box is in the bathroom and I use a flushable corn-based litter, so flushing is an easy option.

For now we'll stick with scooping & tossing the dog poop and flushing or tossing the cat waste.

Changing Habits - Plastic bags

I'm not yet in the habit of remembering I have my Baggu shopping bag in my purse, and forgot to use it during recent trip to Target. We managed to leave the store with only one bag, but only after repeatedly telling the clerk that we did not need our single cleaning product placed in it's own bag separate from our other items, which included food. It was remarkably difficult to convince the clerk a separate bag wasn't necessary, to the point where I was almost forced to take the item out of it's own bag because she was not going to do it.

Granted, the clerks are probably snapped at by customers who can't bear to think that their bottle of dish soap might come in contact with their box of cereal. But it's not like I was buying rat poison and asking it be put next to my loaf of bread!

The other thing that dismayed me was that she said the bag was "biodegradable". A plastic Target shopping bag is NOT biodegradable! Maybe one day they will be, and if that happens, I'm sure they will be putting as many items as possible in each bag due to the cost of each bag. But it was late, I could tell she just wanted her evening to be over, and I wasn't interested in correcting her.

I decided it was enough progress for one day that everything went into ONE bag.

02 February 2008

Going Green - Baggu reusable bags.

I've decided to try to eliminate bringing home any more plastic shopping bags. Sure, they can be used as a trash bag or recycled, but they're not eco-friendly and don't biodegrade, so I've decided to avoid them whenever possible.

I've been using 6 sturdy canvas bags for grocery shopping. They work great but one drawback is that they're a bit bulky, even when folded. I sometimes forget to put the empty bags back in the car so I have them for the next trip, then arrive at the store only to think "oh, I left the canvas bags at home". I try to forgo a bag, but if I need one, I choose paper. At least it can be tossed in with the newspapers for recycling.

I ran across Baggu bags on the web and decided to get some. They're a little pricey ($38 for 6 bags + pouch), but you can choose fun colors, they're generously sized, easy to carry, and made of durable rip-stop nylon. The feature that attracted me is that they fold into a very small pouch you can keep in your purse or throw in the glove compartment. Today I tossed one in my purse and one in the glove compartment before we headed out to do our weekend running around. Lunch, hardware store (purchased lumber....no bags needed), but then we ended up at the grocery store. Voila! I had my Baggu in my purse. We filled our hand-held shopping basket, plus a 6-pack of beer. The Baggu held almost everything, and we hand-carried the beer and big bag of chips. Had it not been for the dim-witted clerk who snuck my tomatoes into a plastic bag without my catching it, we would have made it home from the store bag free!

I still need to find a good alternative for those thin plastic bags in the produce department. I've combined different items that don't need to be weighed in one bag and the checkers are ok with that, but the baggers seem a bit perplexed on what to do with produce that isn't "contained" in a plastic bag.