Tag Archive | animals

Return of the Jedi, King,..nah just LVT passionate about Fitness!

Hello everyone! Its the Return of the Jedi!


No the King!

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Ok It’s neither of those! It’s just me! Who finally is a LVT (Licensed Veterinary Technician!)

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It’s been a long while…

As in years…as in 3 or 4 years!!!! I But alas! I have returned. Many things have happened over the past few years, and now that I have:

1. Finished school officially

2. Got my veterinary technician license

3. Found an amazing job

I can finally start focusing on other parts of my life, such as sharing the ins and outs of veterinary medicine, spreading my passion of health and fitness (soon to be a coach), and motivating others to follow their dreams!

I have officially become a fitness coach for Team Beachbody! What does that mean? Aside from saving animals’ lives as a LVT daily, I am now here to offer help and support for anyone interested in changing their health and fitness status!

I am not a certified trainer (that may happen down the line, but one step at a time), and I am not a registered dietitian. However, by being a Fitness/Health coach for Team Beachbody I have access to tools and information by registered dietitians and certified trainers to pass along to you!  I am also getting certified as a nutritional therapist. Which means I will be certified to create adjust meal plans to help other people out.

*Disclaimer! I again am not a dietitian, nutritionist, or a doctor, but as a Nutritional Therapist can revamp your diet, make sure there are no deficiencies, and help you find a meal plan that you can stick to for your weightloss/ health needs*

My own personal fitness Journey Started in 2009 when I was diagnosed with Chondromalacia Patella aka arthritis in my patella bones. Between physical therapy and  weightlifting I am pain free 90% of the time. In 2013  I was also diagnosed with a severe gluten intolerance. So my diet has also had a huge makeover. I have been doing my own research, and getting advice and help from professionals for years, and now I am here to help you guys!

If you need help and advice on potty training your dog, or selecting food, I can offer advice and assistance. And now if you need help with figuring out ways to live a fit and healthy lifestyle I am also here for you!

If interested, please contact me via MWfitcoach@gmail.com

Moving onward, what can you expect from the revival of rainingdogsncats blog?  You can expect animal related posts like I did in the past- some for fun, some about behavior, pets, wild animals, etc. You can also no expect to see health and fitness related topics in the mix. So it will be a blend, of the two things that dominate my life:

20150528_192740Animals! (Yes that’s Zuzu, aka Joojdog. nearly 9 years old !)

IMG_2183And fitness! (This was a picture from a 6 mile race I did Memorial day weekend)

In the meantime, mark me on your bookmarks for animal information, fitness/health advice, and motivation


Animal Testing

Animal testing is one of those super opinionated/political/ avoided topics and very understandably so.

Like everything in life, animal testing has its pros and cons, its just a matter of which are more important to you. This is one of the topics that I am torn between the pros and cons.  In my mind, the biggest pro to animal testing is seeing something work “in vivo” rather than just “in vitro” aka seeing whatever is being tested worked on a living animal- whether it harms it or saves it.  Why is this important? Well modern medicine needs test subjects, and unfortunately humans are not allowed to volunteer. (We have prisons filled with potential volunteers right? hahahah I am a terrible person)

The main con is that they are animals, living creatures, who have done nothing wrong and could die from the experiments put into them. Huge clash of interests here I know.


I am currently doing research and yes I am using mice. Although not this kind….the ones I work with are bald (athymic) and look like this:

Regardless it is a constant battle on whether or not I should feel any guilt with these guys. They were bred for the sole purpose of this research I am working on, and likely wouldn’t be alive otherwise, but at the same time, they have short lives and are being used for research. Now granted the research would greatly help the medicinal world, I am still torn.


I am not the only one with research animals on the brain either, this is a topic that needs more light, at at the same time, research  that doesn’t involve animals needs to be given a chance as well.



Non-animal research needs more support

This week the Home Office publishes its annual statistics for scientific procedures on animals. If recent trends are repeated, we are likely to see yet another increase in animal use. As scientists, we believe reducing and replacing animal use is not simply a legal or ethical imperative. Other compelling drivers include the urgent need for more human-relevant research results to improve disappointing clinical success rates for new medicines, innovation as an economic stimulus, and remaining competitive with global science leaders.

A host of powerful human-biology-based cellular, genomic and computational tools are available that can often better predict people’s real-world reactions to drugs and chemicals than conventional animal tests. For many of us, replacing, reducing and refining animal experiments is driven by a desire to develop better approaches to researching human illness. Research innovation can bring huge societal benefits by improving the speed, reliability and human-relevance of the tools we use to answer biomedical questions.

Britain has, in recent years, increased investment in non-animal research. But there is still much more we could do to lead the world. The EU’s Horizon 2020 framework programme for research and innovation funding provides an opportunity for Britain to demonstrate that leadership. We urge the UK government to support substantial, dedicated funding for emerging and future alternative technologies including such endeavours as mapping the “human toxome”.

While there remains much vital debate within the scientific community about the efficacy of animal use, we scientists will undoubtedly be better equipped to tackle the major human health challenges of the 21st century if there is increased funding and support for sophisticated, human-relevant research.




What are your feelings on the subject?



Tomorrow I will be heading down the ATL aka Georgia to visit some family.

I am very excited about this, mainly because of the activities that I will be doing such as:

Swimming with Whale Sharks at the Georgia Aquarium like this scuba diver….

Potentially checking out other creatures at the Aquarium such as

The Beluga….who was preggers and hopefully had her calf!!!!

Potentially checking out the zoo for the land animals!

Not pictured, is helping train Mickey, my aunt’s dog who apparently just needs a visit from Cesar Millan….

Keeping this one short and sweet! Expect lots of photos and fun stories next week!!!


The Science of it all

I recently was told that I would be working on a research project at the Vet school this summer. It was by far the most exciting and goo news I have received in a long time…Now I just need to get these finals out of the way. I will apologize in advance for not posting much this week. I foresee that  I will be extremely busy.

But being that my summer will involve science, I decided to make today’s post about scientific news. Don’t worry, it still involves animals. But as I was reading both of these stories, I found them too fascinating not to share.

Mucus from Pig Stomachs Is Effective as Anti-Viral Agent: May Be Useful in Cosmetics and Baby Formula

Pigs. Scientists are reporting that the mucus lining the stomachs of pigs could be a long-sought, abundant source of “mucins” being considered for use as broad-spectrum anti-viral agents to supplement baby formula and for use in personal hygiene and other consumer products to protect against a range of viral infections. (Credit: © talsen / Fotolia)

ScienceDaily (Apr. 25, 2012) — Scientists are reporting that the mucus lining the stomachs of pigs could be a long-sought, abundant source of “mucins” being considered for use as broad-spectrum anti-viral agents to supplement baby formula and for use in personal hygiene and other consumer products to protect against a range of viral infections.


Their study appears in ACS’ journal Biomacromolecules.

In the report, Katharina Ribbeck and colleagues point out that mucus, which coats the inside of the nose, mouth and vagina, is the immune system’s first line of defense. The slimy secretion traps disease-causing microbes, ranging from influenza virus to HIV (which causes AIDS) before they can cause infection. That has led to consideration of mucin, the main component of mucus, for use as an anti-viral agent in a variety of products. However, existing sources of mucins, such as breast milk, cannot provide industrial-sized quantities. Large amounts of mucus exist in the lining of pigs’ stomachs, and the authors set out to determine if pig mucus — already used as a component of artificial saliva to treat patients with “dry mouth,” or xerostomia — has the same anti-viral activity.

They found that pig mucus is effective at blocking a range of viruses, from strains of influenza to the human papilloma virus, which is associated with cervical and oral cancer. They report that pig mucins could be added to toothpastes, mouthwashes, wound ointments and genital lubricants to protect against viral infections. “We envision porcine gastric mucins to be promising antiviral components for future biomedical applications,” the report says.


As if this article wasn’t interesting enough, there was another one to catch my attention that regarded cloning. While cloning can be considered a controversial issue, (I have no idea who would want to clone anything, they may have genetics but so far have been unable to create the same personalities of animals…guess its a nature v nurture afterall…..)I thought some may find this article informative.

World’s First Handmade Cloned Transgenic Sheep Born in China

Chinese scientists made a significant breakthrough in animal cloning. The world’s first transgenic sheep produced with a simplified technique, handmade cloning, was successfully born at 12:16pm, March 26, 2012 (Credit: Image courtesy of BGI Shenzhen)

ScienceDaily (Apr. 19, 2012) — Chinese scientists from BGI, the world’s largest genomics organization, together with the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), and Shihezi University, Xinjiang province, made a significant breakthrough in animal cloning. The world’s first transgenic sheep produced with a simplified technique, handmade cloning, was successfully born at 12:16pm, March 26, 2012, in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China.


“The transgenic sheep is named ‘Peng Peng’ (after the identical given names of the two cloners), his birth weight was 5.74 kg.” said excitedly Dr. Yutao Du, Director of BGI Ark Biotechnology Co., LTD. (BAB), one of BGI’s affiliates focusing on large scale production of transgenic and cloned animals. “Peng Peng is developing normally and appears healthy” she added.

The project has been launched more than two years ago. Apart from the general inefficiency of cloning (only a small fraction of the reconstructed embryos develop to healthy offspring) cloners had to overcome additional difficulties including the special climate and compromised laboratory environment with very basic instruments. Accordingly, an innovative simplified technique called Handmade Cloning (HMC) was used, with less demand for sophisticated equipment, simplified procedures, lower costs and higher production efficiency. In 2009, donor cells were collected from a Chinese Merino sheep, and by genetic manipulation a transgenic cell line was established. After numerous attempts, the HMC system for sheep cloning was successfully established in October 2011. The transfer of the produced embryos has eventually led to the present achievement.

The genetic modification may result in improved meat quality by increasing the unsaturated fatty acid content. According to the researchers, the gene associated withω-3 poly unsaturated fatty acid (ω-3PUFA) was successfully transferred into Peng Peng. ω-3PUFAs serve as essential fatty acids for humans reducing the risk of coronary heart disease and supporting the normal development of the brain, eye and neurons. “The birth of Peng Peng means that people could absorb ω-3PUFAs by drinking milk or eating meat in the future.” said Dr. Du, “The most difficult task has been accomplished, the transgenic sheep production platform is established, we are ready for the industrial-scale development.”

Since HMC was introduced in 2001, offspring of several important species including cattle, pig, goat and water buffalo have been produced by using this technique. The procedure may contribute to efforts to save endangered species and to produce medicines for human diseases through transgenic animals.

Last year, BGI has made great achievements on cloned transgenic mini-pigs and micro-pigs. Last August, a heroic pig, named Zhu Jiangqiang (Strong-Willed Pig), who had survived more than a month buried under rubble after the 2008 earthquake in China’s Sichuan province was also cloned, producing 6 piglets identical with the famous animal. “With each new species cloned, we learn more about the possible contribution of HMC to improve the health of animals and humans.” said Dr. Du. “I expect more breakthroughs on transgenic and cloned animal research in the foreseeable future.”

BGI Ark Biotechnology Co., LTD. Shenzhen (BAB), affiliated to BGI, is a high-tech enterprise, mainly focusing on mass production of transgenic and cloned animals.

Based on a core technology named Handmade Cloning (HMC), BAB has established a reliable and efficient standard production system, including vector construction, screening of genetically modified cell lines, reconstruction of cloned embryos, embryo transfer, among others.

Compared with traditional cloning, the benefits of handmade cloning are great. Low equipment costs, a simple and rapid procedure and a higher in vitro efficiency are valuable for large scale research in medical and agricultural sciences.

The project was also supported by the Animal Science Academy of Xinjiang.



Happy Monday Everyone!

For the love of animals

“Los animales son buenos amigos, no hacen preguntas y tampoco critican.”~ George Elliot

(Translation: Animals are great friends, they dont ask  questions, and rarely criticize)

Hello! Good Morning!

This weekend was both hectic and relaxing. Friday evening, directly after work I set off to travel to Richmond. Didn’t do much when I arrived (it was around 10) and hit the sack early. The next morning I got up, and got to see My sister and my niece before they headed out on a Trip to Disney (which I am very sad I am not going on). I had a hair appt, and then met up with my friend to try on bridesmaids dresses. I barely got in home in time to rush back out the door and go to dinner with Dad and nanny. We had some delicious Italian from Angelo’s.  Later in the evening, Dad and I went to see Underworld Awakening:

What can I say? I am a sucker for kick-ass females, vampires, and werewolves..

Anyways ….

In the animal world:

You may recall a post about Soldiers and dogs ( see A way to Heal). Well folks, (My country accent is coming out eeks!) I am proud to tell you, that other rescue groups have stepped up to help reunite Soldiers and the four legged companions that helped them when on tour. I do warn you that although these stories have happy endings, they did not always have happy beginnings (that would be for you cous)

Meet Willie. Willie has a Facebook page, or rather is part of a facebook page for Puppy Rescue Mission.  This is part of his story as told by a soldier who found him,

“The locals here some how got ahold of him when he was still young, and took him. They didn’t treat him well, and even cut his ears off. The poor guy came running back to base looking for help ears bleeding. The entry control point called up on the radio saying that Willie had returned to base and was bleeding pretty bad. Me and the medics wrapped him up and nursed him back to health. I think he eats better then most of us, since we all tend to give him food when ever we eat. He mostly sleeps with me, however the whole base loves him, and he tends to sleep around with who ever calls his name first haha. To be continued …”

I guess it would be good to point out at this time, although the stray crisis is large in America, it is nothing compared to other countries in the world like Afghanistan, a country were strays are tortured, abuses, maimed, and stoned on a  regular basis.

Willie was on of those unlucky strays, but fortunately for him he was found by the American soldiers. And he is in the works of being sent to America to live his life with the soldier that rescued him.

Another Happy ending goes to Trigger:

Trigger didn’t have as rough as a start as little Willie, but nonetheless his life wasn’t easy. But lucky for him, he is in America! Reunited with his Soldier owner, and happy as can be.

These are only two small examples of what people will do for the love of an animal. There are more extreme cases….

One extreme case (In which I will not go into details) is in a domestic violence case. The Rose Brooks Center is dedicated to helping women and children in case of domestic violence. In the past, there were many cases in which women would not seek the help they needed in fear of leaving their beloved pets behind. Susan Miller, CEO of Rose  Brooks said this in light of the situation, “Over the years, our crisis hotline has received countless calls from women who desire to leave their abuser, but ultimately decide to remain in their dangerous home because they fear their abuser will injure or even kill their beloved dog or cat.”  However one dog recently changed the no pet policy that the Rose Brooks Center had. The names will not be released, but a Great Dane, was the breed of the dog that cause the changes. It wasn’t just a simple matter of the owner not wanting to leave her dog behind, this Great Dane was a hero. During an attack, the Great Dane interceded and shielded it’s owner from the blows of a hammer. The dog saved it’s human, and inspired the Rose Brooks Center to Change its pet policy. Why? Because of the love of an animal.

We may take them for granted sometimes, but there is no doubt in my mind, if and when the time should arise, a loved will truly always be there should their owner need them.

Have a Happy Monday! Especially if you got snow! Enjoy the Winter Weather!

More than a pet

I think I am making a bad habit of not writing on Tuesdays. I apologize.

Yesterday was just soooo very busy, I didn’t have the time to write. Between working, going to the gym on my lunch break, giving Zuzu a much needed bath and going back to work…I figured skipping would be better than having a late night post. I wanted badly to wake up and do the gym before work, but of course Munchkin had other ideas…she decided at 5 am it would be a good time to wake me up and play. I had trouble falling asleep after that, so snooze went on and I skipped the morning gym session.

However I did manage to go during my lunch break and do some good leg weights/ exercises. And with going on Monday, I’d say my regime of working out is off to a good start. Maybe I will compete in May after all?

Anyways, The point of my title for today, more than a pet….Well animals are exactly that. Of course I have always believed this, and known it…but I am sure there is a large population who may disagree.  Animals are by far more than a pet for various reasons…

1. We eat animals..They provide us with nutrients, energy, and fulfill the circle of life. (Yes this video does help sum this idea up)

2. They have always helped humans…whether by helping plow farm land, to providing transportation, clothes, weapons etc

Sure technology has taken away most of these uses however there are still more

3. Animals help protect, save and rescue people….search and rescue, police dogs, drug dogs…..

*Beware of the following link…It made me cry* http://www.ctnow.com/news/connecticut/hartford/hc-police-dog-takes-one-last-ride-before-her-death-20120105,0,2255931.story

4. Animals provide constant companionship, love and affection. They help people grow, by teaching them responsibility, how to open their hearts, and to be kinder to those in need. (They do much much more than this for some people)

Why am I going on a rant about this? Well, let’s face it…humans suck sometimes and treat other humans as well as animals terribly. This happens everyday, all over the world. And also, seeing how animals can save and help a human being first hand today at work, also inspired me to point out how awesome they are.

Today at work, I had to help a client who was blind. His dog, was quite literally acting as his eyes, and the dog needed some vaccines and vet work done. I have seen on TV and in Movies guide dogs, but seeing it for the first time up close and personal puts it in a whole new perspective. Not only did the dog guide his beloved master and friend, but he did so with such a grace, I surely do not have the word’s to describe.  For me, what was even more heart-clenching was the fact that the blind man, was actually an elderly man himself.  When I asked if he was ready to go into the room so the Doc could look at his dog, he said yes and told his dog to follow. I stood there for moment and realized the dog was following me to guide his owner to the room. It was by far the most amazing bout of teamwork I have ever seen.

The dog today look similar to the one pictured here, although I believe he was a bit older.

So without trying to rant any longer, I shall go ahead and let you absorb my story from Tuesday.

Have you ever seen a guide dog in action?

What amazing animal feats have you witnessed?