Bob Barker, longtime host of the television game program, The Price is Right, might be interested to know he has a really, really big fan in Berlin Center by the name of Harry.
In fact, Harry waits eagerly for his favorite program at 11 a.m. and while he will watch a few other programs such as those made especially for the interest of cats, his enthusiasm for The Price is Right is quite evident.
Harry, you see, is a cat – a very big cat. Actually, he’s a 4-year-old lion who, for two years, has lived at Noah’s Lost Ark in a special heated (in winter) enclosure.
He has to live alone, because before he was rescued from a small cage that had been hauled around in a trailer to fairs, he developed severe health problems involving his spine and hind quarters and a companion might be too rough. Insufficient nutrition was also involved in his condition.
That is why the television set was installed so he can be entertained without any physical harm.
Since his rescue by Ellen and Doug Whitehouse, whose passion is their sanctuary for unwanted and abused exotic animals, Harry has been under the care of veterinarian Gary Riggs with the Akron Zoo, and the lion is making steady progress.
He is also very spoiled and dotes on Ellen, who actually feeds him by hand. He is very particular about his diet and will accept only chicken or pork. If strangers even come to look at him, he goes to a corner and curls up into a ball. His abuse must have been horrendous.
New additions to the sanctuary are two 6-month-old lionesses who are so giddy that Ellen has named them Paris and Nicole.
I asked Ellen how the big cats, more than 60 of them, handle the wicked winter weather.
She points out they are all captive-bred and don’t know they are supposed to be in a tropical climate, so they actually enjoy rolling in the snow in their enclosures. All are hog-fat, of course, so are well insulated. There are heat mats in their shelters if they want to use them.
Remember Ming, the tiger rescued from a New York apartment? He continues to be psychotic from his inappropriate confinement, but is thriving and contented at Noah’s Lost Ark.
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More animal news: Dr. Bob Reynolds is still beaming over the All Ages Championship earned by Luke (Kyle’s Hightailing Luke), his 6-year-old German shorthair pointer, at the recent National German Shorthair Pointer Association’s pheasant championship field trials at Wye Island, Md.
Bob has had the Ohio-bred dog since he was a 2-year-old, and Luke is the sire of another winner for Bob, Ruby, who won the association’s 2004 pheasant derby for dogs under 2 years old.
Last year she took second place in the American Kennel Club’s competition, and her recent accomplishment is producing six darling puppies, which have all gone to new homes in six states: New Jersey, California, Georgia, Wisconsin and Kansas.
“Dusty” is the walking horse Bob rides at these trials to keep up with the dogs during their hour-long free run, and the horses that participate have to be really well trained.
Bob, Luke and Ruby will be taking part in several other competitions this spring, and Dusty will literally go along for the ride.
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Since we’re on the subject of dogs, are you aware of the scams involving “designer dogs”? National Public Radio did an entire program about them and if you read the classified ads in the newspaper you’ll recognize them.
They are very expensive and go by such names as: chiapoms, cockapoos, peekapoos, pomapoos, pekapoms, puggles, schnoodles, goldendoodles, teddydoodles – the list goes on and on.
These dogs are simply mixed breeds – mutts, of you will – and represent human interference in the pure lines of classic breeds that have been around for a long, long time.
If you want a mixed breed, why not just go to a shelter or the dog pound and do a good deed while treating yourself to a terrific companion?
And have you noticed a trend in some of the “tributes” – they used to be called obituaries – in your daily paper? Frequently named among survivors is the “beloved dog” of the deceased.