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Sat 24, Jun, 2017
These beagles are rescue dogs.
‘Beverly Hillbillies’

When I turned 7 years old, my father, who instilled my love of animals by taking me via stroller to the West Los Angeles Animal Shelter on a regular basis, told me he wanted to adopt a rescue dog for our family. My dad had grown up with a menagerie of animals he had rescued from the streets of Cleveland, and had spent most of his summers visiting relatives who were farmers in rural Ohio. I was elated he thought I was responsible enough to care for a dog! My parents contacted the Tailwaggers Club of Beverly Hills nearby and applied to adopt a beagle. A few days later, they received a call from actress Nancy Kulp. At the time Kulp was starring on “The Beverly Hillbillies,” a popular TV sitcom that ran on CBS from 1962 until 1971. Kulp played Miss Jane Hathaway, the irascible, snooty secretary to Mr. Drysdale, the uptight Beverly Hills banker and financial advisor who tried to “civilize” the backwoods Clampett family. Patriarch Jed Clampett (Buddy Ebsen) had struck oil (“Texas tea”) in their Ozarks hollow, became a millionaire, and moved his family from their shack to a mansion in Beverly Hills. Among the show’s running gags was Mr. Drysdale’s failed attempts to keep the Clampetts from foolishly spending their newfound wealth, while usually making a fool of himself in the process. “The Beverly Hillbillies” was built on a classic fish-out-of-water premise, the gap between unsophisticated hillbilly and sophisticated urbanite hilariously exaggerated, funny even without […]

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Tue 06, Jun, 2017
Hawkeye Peeples, 1993
Hawkeye the Cat Adopts a

On a blazing hot Saturday afternoon in summer 1980, the baddest-ass black tomcat I had ever encountered, Hawkeye the Cat, decided to adopt me as his Pet Parent. First, second, or 45th choice, whatever, I’m glad he picked me, because the five years we had together were some of the best of my life. And, I’d like to think, his. Hawkeye the Cat was my faithful pal through a series of major life events – my engagement, marriage, a move, and my wife and I becoming proud parents of our first child, a boy. How Hawkeye adopted me, and how he got his name, are tales worth telling. (B)Lazing on a Sunny Afternoon I’d left my apartment front door open, to try to cool off my un-air-conditioned bachelor pad at Moorpark and Beck, in a quiet, verdant part of Studio City, in the San Fernando Valley “just over the hill” from my job in Hollywood. As I kicked back on the couch, watching a “M*A*S*H” rerun on TV, a medium-sized jet black cat casually sauntered through the doorway and into my living room, where he started eyeballing the accommodations and the help (me). My mental jukebox cued up “Ain’t Superstitious,” and the line, “….but a black cat just crossed my trail….” He was an outside cat, obviously, but wore no collar, no tag. Staying motionless, I casually watched him reconnoiter my living room for a couple minutes, hoping he wasn’t just casing my place as his new litter box. Through the years, since toddlerhood, I’ve had tuxedo, tiger and […]

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Sat 03, Jun, 2017
Tom Brown Worst Dog Ever Max crop
My Worst Dog Ever –

The story of Max, my worst dog ever, picks up some time after the death of Conan, my best dog ever. (Catch up on Conan’s Pet Tale here.) I am not one of those who must get another dog immediately after losing the best dog ever, although I’ve witnessed a great many people who are. But I just don’t get it. That’s why after Conan died I waited two years before I thought of getting another dog. I was positive I would never find a dog who was smarter or more well-behaved. But despite that when the opportunity arose to obtain another pure-bred Australian Shepherd I took a chance and placed my order. This was through a co-worker who knew the breeder in Texas who had a recent litter of pups that would be old enough to be adopted just about the time she would be visiting the Lone Star State. She offered to pick up the dog for me and transport it back to California, so I accepted her offer. She showed up at my door with a very small ball of black fuzz, who was just about as cute as a pup can get. It all went downhill from there. Max, the Barely Trainable I named the ball of fuzz Max and it didn’t take long to discover that not only did he have the sharpest teeth I’ve ever felt or seen in my life, but he had more energy than six small frenetic dogs put together. After […]

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Fri 02, Jun, 2017
Batman the Pet Me Happy Cat
Why We Love Batman the Ca

Batman the Cat was just six weeks old when he chose our high-school-age son Scot and his younger sister Veronica to be his People Parents. They brought him home and named him that because his ears stuck straight up, like Batman’s cowl. No one could come up with a better name, so Batman it was from the start. Goofball Cat Thinks He’s Human and Loves Cat Treats Born on the 4th of July 2005, Batman is a grey mackerel tabby cat with perfectly symmetrical markings. He was already litter-box trained when he came home with the kids, and has never, in a decade, missed the pan. Good kitty! Even better, he’s a total goofball character, has absolutely no clue he’s a cat, follows us around like a puppy dog, and carries on long call-and-response meowing/yeowling conversations with any human within hearing distance. We could set our clocks by his routine, which includes kitty treat breaks in the morning and after dinner, and bedtime at 10:30. He’s never known anything but unconditional love from his Pet Parents and Grandparents, and trusts humans completely. He’s so much fun, such a wonderful playmate and companion, that when our kids grew up and moved out and wanted to take Batman with them, we told each of them, “We love you unconditionally, but no way!!” Batman Spoiled Rotten with Cat Toys and Treats So Batman the Cat is now 11 years young, living large and loving life with his Pet Grandparents. We spoil him rotten and rub his chin, ears, forehead and belly whenever he requests. He greets […]

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Thu 01, Jun, 2017
Best dog ever -- Conan the Australian Shepherd
My Best Dog Ever –

If you’ve been lucky enough to have one dog in your lifetime that you can say was the best dog ever, you are indeed a lucky human. I had one of these guys for 9 years and it wasn’t enough, because when he died, it was a heart-breaker. And after all these years, I’m still not over it. Let your mind drift back…1983. My ex-wife had two Australian Shepherds with blue eyes, and decided to mate them, with the promise that I’d have the pick of the litter. We were living in very close proximity with one another and when Nell (the dog, not my ex-wife) finally went into labor I got a call, and was fortunate to be there to witness the doggie miracle. I wound up picking a male who was adorned with a mixture of black, brown and white fur and of course the mystical blue eyes, which always caused people to think he was blind. He was an incredibly handsome beast who never failed to catch a dog-lover’s eye. I named him Conan, which eventually became Cone. When he was old enough to come home with me, I was a little concerned that he was so frightened of being in the car. That turned out to be a joke on me, because riding in the car became one of his favorite things to do, and I took him everywhere because he was so well-mannered. When someone with a dog in their car would pull alongside us, […]

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Wed 31, May, 2017
The family that takes their pets to the vet together stays together.
At the Pet Doctor Office

The waiting room at the vet’s is the place pet-crazy people from all walks of life find common ground The waiting room at the pet doctor is one of the few places where people of different backgrounds and beliefs seem to get along harmoniously. Pet parents’ love of animals provides a common bond missing in so many other areas of life these days. Growing up in Southern California, where weird is normal (just ask anyone outside the state), I never really noticed the differences between other people in the veterinarian’s office. As a kid I was more interested in the different pets than their people. But later, as an adult, when I lived in Nashville for a few years and felt a little out of my element socially, I discovered the menagerie of pet parents at the vet’s was just as fascinating as the pets. When my cat Clarence was just a kitten and needed a checkup, a co-worker of mine recommended a local pet vet. As I walked into the waiting room with Clarence, it seemed the pet parents were right out of Central Casting. There I was, a Californian living in Music City. I’m sure the locals thought I was just as weird as I thought they were. It sometimes seemed hard for a West Coast Yankee to really get to know born-and-bred Bible Belt Southerners beyond the surface hospitality they offered. But at the vet’s office these distinctions didn’t matter so much. It was almost as fun to watch as the intergalactic bar scene […]

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Sun 21, Aug, 2016
Our Feline Family Member

Our tabby cat Clarence – more properly, Mr. Clarence – came into our lives 10 years ago last summer. He is full-fledged member of the family in all respects – in fact, he is in many ways the center of the household. He is as quirky, dignified and lovable as his name suggests, a gentleman with definite needs and a heart full of affection. My wife named him Clarence because we needed a nice, strong name to yell out when he committed some minor annoying act (knocking over papers, scratching on the carpet) to get attention. He does this when he thinks his feeding schedule is running a tad behind. Once he has had a meal or a treat, though, he is content to plop himself down on the rug or curl up beside us on the sofa. If left to his own devices, Clarence would be a rather overweight kitty. As it is, we help manage his hefty but not obese size by throwing an all-natural product suggested by his vet across the living room for him to chase. He seems to enjoy running after them. This limbers him up for more sustained play, like leaping into the air to catch a plastic ribbon or batting a rubber ball around the room. Clarence has many endearing habits, like grunting loudly when he stretches or lying on his back with his front paws curled up.  He is talkative and will modulate his meows according to the volume of my voice. […]

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