Alone again, naturally

If you’ll be going back to work soon — or even not so soon — your pets may need an adjustment period to get used to your absence. Consider hiring a dog walker so your dog gets used to walking with someone else. Take some walks while your dog stays at home, to get your dog used to being home alone. When you’re gone, leave the television or radio tuned to a nature show or talk show so pets can hear friendly human voices. Give a puzzle toy filled with treats or kibble before you leave to keep your pet’s brain occupied.

Dogs with mussels

Invasive species such as zebra mussels are a big problem in lakes and rivers, but a former shelter dog named Puddles aims to make sure they don’t take hold in Washington state’s Columbia River, which is still free of the invasive mollusks.

She’s trained to sniff them out on boat bottoms so they can be eradicated before populating waterways and damaging the ecology. Trained mussel-detecting dogs can save states millions of dollars in cleanup. Puddles, who was trained as a mussel-detection dog by Mussel Dogs in Oakdale, Calif., is employed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Cat got your tongue

Cats make an appearance in many different words and phrases. The catbird takes its name from one of its calls, which resembles the mew of a cat. Catcalls are the whistles, shouts and rude comments made by audiences when they don’t like a performance. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the cat’s meow — or, in some cases, the cat’s pajamas — refers to anything considered outstanding. Both phrases date to the 1920s. A semiprecious gem called cat’s eye (usually chrysoberyl or chalcedony) is so-called because of the way it glows, like a cat’s eyes in the dark.

Dr. Dog

Labrador retrievers are capable of many things, but 8-year-old Moose has topped them all: He received an honorary doctor of veterinary medicine degree from Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine in Blacksburg, Va. Moose, a therapy dog, was given the honor for participating in more than 7,500 counseling sessions, contributing to the well-being of thousands of students.

Pet Connection