facebok-icon pinterest-icon twitter-icon instagram linkedin-icon gplus-icon rss-icon

have you visited us, yet?

I hope you’re not missing the party over at the new pad. The pups are romping, the cats are scratching, and the snakes are…doing what snakes do. We miss you and we value your readership, so, if you haven’t already, please head on over to well minded, type in your email address so we can be sure to notify you of all the latest news in animal wellness, and enjoy our most recent posts. 

Meet you there!

we’ve moved!

In an attempt to streamline things a bit, I’ve integrated my blog with my business site. I don’t want anyone to miss this week’s installment of “silly state law Saturday” (or anything else, for that matter). Please come visit us at our new home and be sure to subscribe via email. It wouldn’t be a house warming without you!

Our new address is http://www.wellmindedpets.com. We’re still unpacking, so please excuse us if things aren’t perfectly put together, yet. Can’t wait to see you there!

Wordless Wednesday: Claire is aware

Wordless Wednesday: Claire is aware


seeing #Blackfish

photo source: blackfishmovie.com

photo source: blackfishmovie.com

I wrote a few months back about anticipating the release of Blackfish, the documentary about Tilikum, a killer whale captured, then raised in captivity. I must admit, though I’d committed to myself to see it, I let it come and go through the local theaters, thinking of excuses as solid as the ones I use when I skip my workout. It was when I saw it advertised on television that CNN would be premiering the film that I realized if I wasn’t going to the film, it was coming to me. I set the DVR.

It sat in my feed for a couple of days, then yesterday I mustered up the courage and pushed aside denial.

I expected the film to be centered only around the treatment of killer whales and their lives in captivity–why they shouldn’t be in captivity. It was about that, but it was equally about the cover-up by Sea World, mainly, of, not only known concerns about the animals, but about the safety of their trainers. The trainers who universally loved the animals and who built close emotional relationships with them were often kept in the dark and lied to about the reality of the situation they were central to. This was news to me.

I grew up going to Sea World, San Diego at least a couple of times a year. As I mentioned in my previous post about Blackfish, it wasn’t until I was halfway through college that I changed the course of my career from that of a killer whale trainer. What the Blackfish interviews captured from the trainers about how they got started was exactly how I felt. There is just this magnificent wonder. There is a burning desire to be near these animals.

But even if one doesn’t go so far as to become a killer whale trainer, there is still the magic of being in their presence that can’t be denied. Few of us have the means to go to the native waters of these pods of killer whales, so, instead, we go to Sea World, where we can view them close-up in a seemingly controlled environment and score ourselves a hot dog and a stuffed toy in the process. Good ol’ family fun. But at what cost?

If you want to know the answer to that question, see Blackfish, which, here in the U.S. is currently being shown on CNN and is available for order on DVD. I’m not one to cry out boldly about politics and sensitive issues, as I have friends, family, and colleagues on both extremes of the political spectrum. I have close friends who frequent Sea World with their families. I see their treasured photos with Shamu on Facebook. If you’re one of those people, I’m not going to turn on you. I believe you don’t know. Because if you did, you wouldn’t be so proud of those photos. See Blackfish.

It’s akin to my philosophy about eating meat. I’m not going go shun you for doing it. Heck, I’m an almost-vegan who enjoys a beef burger every so often. I get it. But know where your meat comes from. Make an educated choice, not one in denial. See Blackfish before you go back to Sea World.

I practically grew up at Sea World. Though I haven’t been back since my college days, I could still probably navigate the park with a blindfold on. It was like a second home. If I can say good-bye to it, so can you.

My kids (age six and four) watched Blackfish with me. Yes, it upset them, but that’s okay. I want them to know the truth and be able to make their own decisions. I paused the film (thank goodness for the DVR) in several spots to help them understand. A few minutes into the film, they asked, “so we can never go to Sea World?” At the end of the film, my four-year-old daughter declared, “we’ll never go to Sea World because it’s not okay to treat the killer whales like that. It’s wrong.” My six-year-old son sat there in silence with his head down.

And that sums it up. It’s okay for them to know the truth. And it’s okay for you to know it, too. See Blackfish.

You can check out the trailer, here:

silly state law Saturday: California


Ah, California, I miss you so. Though I’ve lived in Arizona since 2005, Californa will always be home. Nice to know they are up on their animal regulations. Check it out:

• Animals are banned from mating publicly within 1500 feet of a tavern, school, or place of worship. Because they totally know that it’s a tavern, school, or place of worship. Get a room.

• In Cerritos, all dog waste must be removed from any yard within seven days. That long, huh?

• In Norco, all persons wishing to keep a rhinoceros as a pet must obtain a $100 license first. I’m thinking the cost of the license is the least of their worries.

• In Ventura County, cats and dogs are not allowed to have sex without a permit. And where should said cats and dogs apply for their permit?

• In Belvedere, “no dog shall be in a public place without its master on a leash.” Finally, a solution for those unruly masters.

• In Chico, driving a herd of cattle down a street is against the law. I knew Chico was a party school, but I didn’t know they got this wild.

• In Temecula, ducks have the right of way to cross Rancho California Street at all times. I brake for ducks.

• In an animal shelter, lizards and snakes are to be treated under the same guidelines as cats and dogs. Equal rights for all! Except the other animals who are not lizards and snakes.

• In Los Angeles, it is a crime for dogs to mate within 500 yards of a church. The law is punishable by a fine of $500 and/or six months in prison. I don’t know about your dog, but mine doesn’t have that kind of money.

• It is a misdemeanor to shoot at any kind of game from a moving vehicle, unless the target is a whale. Because the whaling industry needs protection?

• In Hollywood, it is illegal to drive more than two thousand sheep down Hollywood Boulevard at one time. Because the traffic is bad enough as it it.

• In Portola, it is illegal to fish from an overpass in the city. I’ll be honest. I’ve never been to Portola, but I believe an overpass, by definition, passes over another roadway or railroad, no? Seems to me it would be enough of a challenge to get a bite. What do I know? I’m not a fisherman.

• In San Jose, it is illegal to have more than two cats or dogs. I’m supposing none of my readers are from San Jose.

• In Chico, it is illegal to own a green or smelly animal hide. Those frat brothers are at it again.

• In San Francisco, it is illegal to pile horse manure more than six feet high on a street corner. But as long as it’s not on the corner…

• In Lompoc, it is illegal to posses, own, or raise roosters, as it is considered disturbing the peace. Cock-a-doodle-doo!

• It is illegal to set a mousetrap without a hunting license. Love it. Love it. LOVE it! Go mice! The next time I want a law passed, I’m asking their lobbyists for help.

• In San Diego, it is illegal to shoot jackrabbits from the back of a streetcar. Use your own car, dammit!

• In Palm Springs, it is illegal to walk a camel down Palm Canyon Drive between the hours of four and six p.m. Any other time, have at it.

• In Oakland, it is illegal to rob a birds’ nest from a public cemetery. Who would do such a thing?

• In Pacific Grove, molesting butterflies can result in a $500 fine. It’s about time those butterflies got some respect, boys!

• In Fresno, no one may annoy a lizard in a city park. So take your lizard-pestering elsewhere.

• In Portola, no person may carry a fish into a bar. Unless he’s 21+, and then I’m buying that fish a drink.

• In Portola, one may not allow his or her dog to chase a squirrel in the summer. Any other season is fine, though, so let your dog know he only has to take a break for a couple of months.

• In Cathedral City, one may not bring their dog to school. In order to preserve California’s high education standards?

• In Shasta Lake, raffling off a dog as a gift in a public place is prohibited. Beware of underground dog gift raffling. Shasta Lakers, we’re on to you!

• In Glendale, one may not take his dog on an elevator with him. So I guess you’ll have to send your dog up separately, on his own. Let’s hope he can reach the buttons.

• In Arcadia, peacocks have the right of way to cross any street, including driveways. And, no, you may not just back over them, even if you’re late for work.

• San Francisco prohibits elephants from strolling down Market Street unless they are on a leash. I wonder what the street trolley fare is for those unleashed elephants.

• In Ontario, roosters may not crow in the city limits. You’ll have to buy yourselves alarm clocks, Ontario.

• In Los Angeles, toads may not be licked. No way, maaaaaan…

• In Blythe, you are not permitted to wear cowboy boots unless you already own at least two cows. But what if I’m just passin’ through?

• In Los Angeles, you may not hunt moths under a streetlight. Well, of course. That would be an unfair advantage.

• It is unlawful to let your dog pursue a bear or bobcat at any time. One bear law? That’s it? I say, if your dog has the cojones, let him go for it.

Check back next week when we take a look at Colorado! If you missed anything from past weeks, here are the links:





Law information source: stupidlaws.com and dumblaws.com.

Wordless Wednesday: merry Mini

Wordless Wednesday: merry Mini


okay…so now I want a pet tarantula

IMG_1043No joke.

We did the coolest thing after school yesterday! Our local library hosted a session with Travis Potts, local “Spider Man.” Not the kind that swings from building to building rescuing damsels in distress and battling villains, but a hero to the public, just the same. He’s a tarantula fanatic, and he brought his pets to share with us.

I have a morbid fascination with spiders. I think they are super creepy, but, yet, I can’t take my eyes off of them. Kind-of like a train-wreck. And there’s Charlotte. Who doesn’t love Charlotte? Spiders are completely enchanting. So when we heard that there were going to be spiders at the library, I was completely pumped. Porter, my six-year-old son, was excited, too. And Campbell, my four-year-old daughter, told me she didn’t want to go, but I made her, anyway, and when they opened the door to allow us to approach the spiders, she shriveled and cried, but, because I’m such an awesome mom, I drug her in. Yeah, I suck a little. SPOILER ALERT: She lived. And she loved it.

Travis brought four live tarantulas, and we got to view them and ask questions.

He shared all sorts of information about them that I didn’t quite absorb because I was keeping my eye on the creepy buggars, but as he talked about them and answered these crazy kid questions, the spiders became less creepy to me, and to Campbell. Porter dove right in. He asked tons of questions, and then when Campbell finally let her curiosity get the better of her, she asked more than tons of questions. I think she may have driven Travis insane. He got a small taste of what I deal with every day:

Excuse me. How much venom do they have? Excuse me. How many spiders do you have? Excuse me. Do they bite? Excuse me. What are their names? Excuse me. I think the baby one is really cute. What is her name? Spidey? Excuse me. What do they eat? Excuse me. How old is this spider? Excuse me. What is her name? Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me…

My daughter is a total chatterbox, but at least she’s semi-polite. With the excuse me bit. The first question of hers that Travis addressed was “how many knees does a spider have?” I chuckled a bit because spiders don’t have knees. So I made eye contact with Travis to let him know that Campbell was so naive to ask about spider knees. How cute.

Travis answered Campbell’s seemingly absurd question and explained in all seriousness that spiders have eight knees. And, better yet, if a leg gets caught in something, they can purposely separate at the knee to preserve themselves and then grow back the leg gradually with each molt. Huh? Yeah, that’s what I was totally thinking. I learned today that spiders have knees! Wow!

Porter asked some really valid and well-timed questions. So between the two of them, we learned a lot. And then I asked some questions, too, like how he got into this whole mess. He chuckled a little bit and explained that he took his son to a reptile show about four years ago and ended up with his first tarantula, Rosie. I loved hearing how he just stumbled upon being the local spider man. He taught us about their warning signs…how they “kick their hairs.” Porter was fascinated with that.


Porter questions Travis while Campbell tries to edge in.

The spider with the knees that Campbell asked about was his first, named Rosie, because she’s a Mexican Red-Knee (the official name to officially slam it home to me once again that spiders have knees). She was really beautiful, once you got to know her. According to Travis, her breed is one of the ten most docile tarantulas, and a great one to start with, if you’re going to go arachnid. We even got to see her feeding.



There were others. L.P. was an abbreviation for his scientific name–it escapes me–as well as being a “little Potts,” and he will someday be 12″. Wow! He ate a cockroach right in front of us and spun some silk to make himself more comfortable while he ate.


L.P. eating a cockroach.

And, then, there was Max from Argentina who was named after Travis’ friend, Max, from Argentina. Max was huge. Impressive.


Max from Argentina.

Campbell’s favorite was the “so cute” baby one who hasn’t been named, yet, because Travis wants to get to know her, first. Well, that’s awesome. Campbell took it upon herself to attempt a name, but I think Travis is looking for something more original than “Spidey.”


Baby no-name.

I am beyond thankful that my children and I had this opportunity to experience tarantulas up close. What was once creepy is still creepy, but not quite so much. Travis talked about how he can hold Rosie, and it made me want to hold her. And for the first time in my life, in the presence of spiders, I didn’t have the urge squeal as if I was in a horror movie.

So I asked one last question, which, is of course, the ultimate FAQ: “Have you ever been bit?” His response: “Not yet. But I know it will happen.” And it’s worth it to him. And that is completely awesome.