Plans for pet care

You might have drawn up some plans in case you get laid up for a while — your contact information, doctors, medical list, etc. But have you thought of your dog, cat or bird?

It’s wise to consider the fate of your pet if you become ill. That’s good advice anytime. It’s excellent advice in the middle of pandemic.

“The first thing for sure is to make sure that you have somebody in mind to take care of your pet if you happen to get COVID,” said Mary Tan, public relations manager for the Animal Humane Society. “Try to get someone in line.”

That could be a family member, friend, co-worker or a neighbor. Make sure you talk with the potential caretaker about your pet’s needs, wants and quirks. Tan suggests having a backup in case the caretaker you’ve designated is unable to help.

“You also want to make sure that you have an emergency kit ready, as you don’t know when you’re going to get sick,” said Tan.

The kit should have food and treats tor two weeks, a kennel, leash or harness (if your pet uses them) as well as any medications and the name of your pet’s veterinarian.

Boarding options in the Twin Cities might be limited.

Unleashed Animal Care is open for new guests, said owner Jenna Nikodym. The Shakopee facility practices social distancing, so you’d drop off your dog in the vestibule, with “no belongings except for kibble, and then we’d have to take a bath,” said Nikodym.

James Lileks


Canine constellations

Spring is a good time to see the constellation Canis Major (Latin for “big dog”) in the night sky. Sirius, the brightest star we can see, is the eye of the dog. The story behind the constellation is that a magical hound named Laelaps, destined to always catch his prey, was set to chase another magical creature, the Teumessian fox, destined to never be caught. Zeus, the sky and thunder god of the ancient Greeks, put an end to the never-ending chase by transforming both animals into stone and setting them in the night sky, where they are known as Canis Major (Laelaps) and Canis Minor (the Teumessian fox).

Cats and coronavirus

Although two cats in New York state tested positive last week for the virus that causes COVID-19, experts continue to assure pet owners that there is no evidence that animals can transmit the virus to humans. That’s because there’s a difference between catching the virus and passing it on. “The virus may be able to infect tissues or cells in a host, but they’re not able to complete the life cycle in terms of transmitting to a new host,” Jonathan Runstadler, a professor at Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, told the Washington Post.

Bird is the word

The term “bird’s-eye view,” meaning a large view or panorama, first entered the English language around 1600. When humans were finally able to take to the air, they developed other bird-related terms to describe people who flew and the machines they piloted. Aviators were nicknamed “birdmen.” Helicopters are referred to as “whirlybirds.” Aircraft carriers are known as “bird farms.” Shipments combining the use of airplanes and trucks are said to be sent “birdieback.”

Pet connection