Author: Mark Bacon

Cat Cats: Why Cats Are Afraid of Cucumbers

Cat videos have always been extraordinarily popular on YouTube, but more recently pet owners have captured a newer phenomenon: cats freaking out at cucumbers.

In these videos, cat owners will sneak up on their pets while they’re eating, placing a cucumber behind them.

Once the cats finish eating and turn around, they’re faced with the cucumber and react by jumping and getting around them to run away.

But why exactly does this behavior occur?

cat scared of cucumber

Cats Are Always on the Alert

As natural predators to the end, even the laziest cats are constantly aware of their surroundings and on the hunt for prey.

Their survival instinct makes them fearful of everything from flashing lights to noisy cat toys. Unfamiliar objects appearing at random near them can easily startle them.

Mistaking Cucumbers for Snakes?

While it may not be the cucumber itself that frightens the cat, it’s the overall change in environment that can evoke a scared reaction.

If something has silently sneaked into the environment in their presence, the cat could easily mistake the cucumber for a predator preparing to attack.

Cucumbers are long and green, which can cause cats to think a snake has crept up behind them.

gif cat scared of cucumber

Is It Cruel to Scare a Cat with a Cucumber?

It may be tempting to try scaring your feline friend with a cucumber based on the perceivably funny reactions you’re likely to get, but in reality this could be relatively cruel to your cat.

Tricking your cat into thinking a dangerous animal has snuck up behind him or her can cause traumatic stress, and doing this repeatedly could even lead to more aggressive or other troubling behavior, or even result in PTSD in some cases.

You won’t want to hire a pet travel service to haul your friend away to a retreat.

Cats can also hurt themselves when attempting to maneuver around the cucumber, jumping into nearby counters or other objects resulting in injury, or they may break valuable items nearby.

cat cucumber gif

However, if you have completely lost your mind and want your cat to become familiar with an inanimate cucumber as a lifelong companion, it’s better if you introduce the cucumber to them directly rather than have it sneak up behind them, as they’ll likely never get along if the latter keeps happening.

Try to Resist the Urge to Leave a “Cucumber Surprise” for Your Cat

Even if you simply want to present a cucumber as a surprise gift for a cat—which would be odd considering there’s nothing of interest in them for a felines—you would do well to avoid piquing their stress and instead piquing their curiosity.

And while the cucumber ultimately will never hurt the cat, the cat will likely have the same reaction over and over each time it’s presented as a surprise.

One way to see this differently is to imagine someone constantly dropping a fake spider on you when you have arachnophobia.

It wouldn’t be so funny, and while you may not fall for it eventually, a cat won’t likely ever learn that it’s just a prank.

So, please avoid doing the cucumber trick to your cat, as it does more harm than good.

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Benefits of Sending Your Dog to a Canine Retreat

There may come a time in a dog’s life when he or she feels increasingly blasé about life, growing disillusioned with the domestic lifestyle. After all, there’s only so much entertainment and spiritual growth a dog can experience from anticipating his or her owner’s arrival from work, being told to perform tricks, being taken for walks in the same neighborhood day in and day out, and sleeping at night.

Dogs are even likely to become so bitter to the point of rebellion at some point, as the movie White God warned us, although that movie is more a warning about the negative karma that comes with animal cruelty. Still, if your dogs appear somewhat bored and unfulfilled with the life in your home, and stress or depression seems to mount with every passing day as they plop down on the floor and sigh or whimper with malaise, it may be time to send them to a retreat to help restore a sense of purpose in their lives.

There are many benefits that come with a canine retreat.

Sending Your Dog to a Tropical Canine Retreat

Start by telling your dogs that they’re going to a “special place for dogs,” but don’t make it sound too happy or they may simply think you’re trying to make a mundane trip to a doggy daycare place sound more fun than it is. Don’t explain too much, because you want to maintain the element of surprise. Try to convince them that this trip will be “different, more exciting,” but don’t give too much away.

When you take them to the airport and give them their boarding passes (simply stick them in their collar) and walk them to the gate, let them know before they board their flight that they’ll have a chance to be independent and have some time to themselves. They might find this refreshing, albeit mildly stressful. Assure them that this time they’ll be the alpha, and this may help restore some confidence. They may even make some fellow canine friends.

Once they board the flight to their retreat, taking a seat along with many other canines headed for paradise, they’ll be on their way to reap the benefits of a canine retreat.

Increased Spiritual Awareness

happy spiritual dog

We don’t know what type of spiritual entity that canines worship. Maybe they worship us, their owners. They could even be predominantly agnostic or atheistic, for all we know, but in any case, sending them to a canine retreat can help them find their place in the world.

Many retreats have guides that will split dogs into groups of threes and assign them each a bamboo cabin in which they can freely sleep, eat, walk around, go to the bathroom, and meditate. They may not be inclined to meditate until the guide shows them how, as they’re likely unfamiliar with the very concept of meditation.

The assigned guide per group of dogs will show them to a spirit tent where they can each sit and observe a single pillar in front of them with a bronze canine head on top. By looking at this pillar, canines can peer into their inner selves and learn more about their identity beyond second-in-command to their owners. Again, we don’t really know if this works, but the canines appear to be happier. I know mine seem to be.

Following their time in the tent, they will be asked to return to their oasis cabins and meditate when they have the time, with detailed instructions.

Relieved Stress

dog looking stoned

Not only does meditation help canines find their spiritual center, but it also reduces stress in the long run. Canines can learn to relax through acupuncture, massages, mud baths, milk baths, facials, manicures, pedicures, aroma therapy, aura crystals, metronomic gongs (that ring thrice a day in sequences of 10 rings), alkaline water to improve their voltage, and more.

A view of the ocean is also a great way for your dog to alleviate stress, being able to sit and watch the waves fold and crash as the sun retreats and rises with each day. Nutritional juices will also be provided to improve chakras and other spiritual elements, further reducing stress.

My dog came back from his retreat looking perpetually stoned, and still looks as chill as ever. It’s nice.

Improved Confidence

confident canine

One of the biggest changes I noticed when my dog returned from the Bermudan island retreat of Guadanango was the surge of confidence he expressed. He’s had a crush on this bitch across the street for months, but he would always tremble when in her presence. Upon his return, the next time he saw her he ran up to her, sniffed her behind, and promptly courted her. They have a great relationship now, and my neighbor and I might spring for a doghouse meant for two pretty soon so they can spend time together in there. We may even send them to a couples’ retreat or pay for a night at a nearby romantic getaway hotel such as The Champagne Lodge, although we’re not sure if they’d accept couples outside of the human realm.

All in all, sending your dog to a tropical canine retreat may give your canine the rejuvenation he or she needs to find life completely fulfilling.

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The Best (or Most Dangerous) Alien Dogs

Dogs on this planet are for the most part indigenous to Earth, but what you might not know about are the nearly innumerable alien dogs in existence that aren’t actually dogs at all. I’m talking about the alien dogs that look like dogs, but are in fact anything but dogs on the inside, those rare aliens that can speak English or even kill us. Here’s a little guide to help you figure out which alien dogs to be on the lookout for whenever you’re wandering the streets.

1. The Dog-Thing

husky dog in The Thing

It looks like a normal snow dog, right? The kind the Eskimos, Antarctic explorers or Cuba Gooding, Jr. might rely on for transportation. But you’d be wrong, fatally so should you decide to let it lick your face. This dog isn’t a friend, but a deadly foe that comes from an unknown planet likely millions of miles away. This dog is what’s known as a Thing, and it looks more like this when it’s got enough privacy:

dog thing transforming in kennel

The Thing is an alien that can imitate any creature it absorbs or infects. If a single living cell of The Thing comes into contact with your skin, you’ll turn into a Thing on a molecular level as the cells eat yours and replace them with a perfect imitation. If you’re in a room alone with a Thing, it won’t even try to infect you stealthily, simply eating you whole until it divides and replaces you with a perfect imposter that has your memories, personality and appearance, plus an added desire to infect everything.

This dog and its spawn managed to infect and eviscerate nearly an entire crew of American Antarctic geological researchers in 1982. If you see a dog running away from a helicopter full of people trying to shoot it, you should probably just turn your back to it and run.

2. Frank the Pug

frank the pug in Men in Black

Unlike the dog-Thing, Frank is an alien that means no harm. In fact, Frank is part of a rather friendly race of alien dogs that want to make peace with other species. Frank specifically works for an organization called the Men in Black, which is responsible for managing human-alien relations on Earth and throughout the galaxy.

It’s unknown what Frank and his brethren look like beneath their pug exterior, but perhaps all pugs are part of his species and simply don’t talk to us to keep us from panicking. Frank sounds a bit like Danny DeVito and speaks perfect English when speaking with Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones and other aliens, but it’s also unknown if the rest of his race sounds similar, or if they have a language that’s different.

If you see Frank or any other pug, you’re probably fine to engage with them. If anything, they may help you survive an attack by an evil alien dog.

3. Body Snatcher Dog

body snatcher dog with man face

This is another dog to be wary of whenever encountered. Like the dog-Thing, you may not know that you’re in the midst of a Body Snatcher Dog, unless you encounter a mishap like the one pictured, which occurred in 1978.

Body Snatchers kill and replace life forms on other planets by using a spore that takes your DNA while you sleep and kills you in order to replace you with a replication spawned from a plantlike pod. The first disaster involving Body Snatchers occurred in 1956, during which the entire planet was almost taken over. Most people don’t know that this happened and don’t remember it for some reason, outside of the movie that was based on the incident.

The second incident occurred in 1978 and, again, almost everyone in the world was turned into Body Snatchers. During that incident, a hobo and his dog were in the process of being turned, but because of a damaged pod, the DNA became confused and a dog with a human face came out instead. Donald Sutherland was quite shocked when he came across it. If the body snatching process had succeeded, both a hobo and a normal-looking dog would have been there instead. So just be careful not to fall asleep beside a dog until you trust it completely.

If you want advice about what you should do when confronted with these or other types of alien dogs, contact us today with any questions.

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5 Most Misunderstood Breeds of Dogs

Doberman on fence with dog sign

The headlines make us wary of them: Rottweilers, Pit Bulls, Dobermans. All of them are to be feared and make people practically break their necks peering over their shoulders at them while walking away, making sure their backs aren’t turned to them until they go around a corner. They are vicious, horrible and possibly even demonic creatures that won’t hesitate to bite and tear until you’re another bloody victim of “the aggressive breed.”

Alright, there was a little exaggeration there, but the fact is that the media and a handful of bad dog owners managed to plaster a false and negative image on many breeds that can be just as loving as your Labrador. Here are some of the most misunderstood breeds in the canine kingdom.


Rottweiler puppy and full metal jacket scene

Anybody who’s seen any of the Omen movies knows the Rottweiler is something to be feared as a literal demonic force, with the ability to cause supernatural “accidents” to happen to people who get in the antichrist’s way. It’s also a popular choice for vicious junkyard dogs in many other films, and even in reality in many cases. Fiction and lack of understanding aside, the breed can be completely docile if raised the right way, and can make a great protector with a soft side.

American Pit Bull Terrier

American pitt bull terrier with bunnies and a chick

What was once regarded as a “nanny dog” of all things has become a pariah in the dog owning community, now considered by many to be a psychotic fighter that only people like Michael Vick could find appealing. On the contrary, when given a loving home this breed is potentially as sedate as a sloth.

Doberman Pincher

Doberman on fence with dog sign

With the same coloration and potential “guard dog” qualities as the Rottweiler, the Doberman Pincher has also gained an unwarranted reputation as a dangerous canine. It was even bred to look more aggressive with cropped ears. Little do many people know what loyal and loving dogs these guys can be when treated right.


Boxer terrier

While still a popular dog according to the American Kennel Club, the Boxer is poorly understood as well. They’re highly energetic, loud and playful, with a penchant for rough play that can be misunderstood as viciousness. Not the best dog to have around young kids, but a loving companion for dog owners nonetheless.


Dalmatian smiling upside down

Remember how Disney’s 101 Dalmatians made you want one, or how a fire truck used to make you envision the cookies-and-cream-colored dog riding it while wearing a fireman helmet? Sadly, it seems those visions are to remain a nostalgic point in history thanks to an increase in bad breeding. Over the years the breed has developed behavioral issues because of neurological problems spurned on by poor breeding.

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People Naturally Almost View Dogs as Their Own Children

There are a lot of crazy people out there who believe that their canine pets are their adopted children, enough so to announce it to the whole world with bumper stickers that say things like “Yes, I love my dogs as much as you love your children” and “My dogs are my only children,” but the fact is these people may not be as crazy as we may think they are.

Emotionally, humans and dogs have recently been proven to have more of a parent-child relationship than what was once thought. With the all-encompassing magic power of science, some clever dog-obsessed scientists have managed to turn a few dogs into people mentally by enhancing their emotions only slightly, using carefully placed electrodes behind their ears. The dogs then took the place of the children in the family, who were immediately put up for adoption.

Just kidding about that last part, of course. We’re not that close, but a recent neurological study has helped further understand the development of the human-canine bond.

dog delusion

Testing Mother-Child Bonding with Dogs

Through brain imaging, humans and animals were analyzed in a study that specifically explored the mother-child bond. The 16 participants in the study (which was conducted by the Massachusetts General Hospital) had to be mothers of at least one child aged 2-10 years, and they also had to have a dog who had inhabited their house for at least 2 years.

The study involved two sessions, one in which the participants answered questionnaires with questions regarding the relationship between their dog and kids. Photographs were also taken. The second session involved an fMRI that detected the mother’s emotional response when seeing images of her own child and dog vs. those of other participants.

The scientists then rounded up all of the data in a big puddle of info and whipped up some results.

The Results

What were the results, you may ask. Well, the study found both similarities and differences in the participants’ reactions. To quote the study, “Areas previously reported as important for functions such as emotion, reward, affiliation, visual processing and social interaction all showed increased activity when participants viewed either their own child or their own dog. A region known to be important to bond formation — the substantia nigra/ventral tegmental area (SNi/VTA) — was activated only in response to images of a participant’s own child. The fusiform gyrus, which is involved in facial recognition and other visual processing functions, actually showed greater response to own-dog images than own-child images.”

Pretty weird, right? According to the study, this indicates that there’s more of a reliance on visual communication with animals than verbal communication with children, and this also reflects some evolutionary changes in people.

In short, we are beginning to understand more and more the connection between us and our canine friends.

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What are the Best Dog Toys?

If dogs could talk, taking care of them and getting what they want would obviously be much easier. They could tell us about their favorite foods, favorite things about going for walks such as their favorite park, as well as their favorite toys. But, as it stands, dogs can’t speak English or any other language, so we have to make do with their vocal chord limitations and use our best judgment to determine what they like. Your dog is going to rely on you for providing entertainment, until they evolve to the point where they can do all this:

Thankfully, there are ways to find out what dogs like to play with based on their visible interest or disinterest in a particular toy. It’s just kind of annoying to have to buy toy after toy until you find out what they like.

So, what is the best way to find the best dog toy?

Understand Canine Psychology

When looking for that perfect dog toy that will become an icon for your pet, consider what the average dog looks for in a toy.

1. Dogs Want New Stuff

Just like us, dogs can grow jaded when overexposed to certain objects and experiences, except quite a bit quicker in many cases. Dogs like the thrill of something unfamiliar and exciting.

2. Dogs Want Something They Can Easily Manipulate

Dogs don’t want a toy that makes them work. The point of a toy for them is not to make them think, like putting a Rubik’s cube together; they want to be able to just rip into it and perhaps hear a little squeaky noise. If you treat your dog like a child prodigy and give them a painstaking challenge, you’re sadly overestimating their abilities, I’m afraid. Also, the less noise it makes, the more boring it is.

3. Dogs Want You to Have Fun with Them

We know that the main difference between cats and dogs is that cats are independent and like to indulge in their individuality, while dogs are extremely social and are always in search of a playmate. A toy that engages both the owner and the dog is typically a great choice.

4. Dogs Like to Hunt

No matter how much we domesticate them and feed them food that’s already been killed, processed and packaged for their convenience (and ours), canines refuse to let go of their hunting instincts. And when they play with a toy, they tend to activate those instincts. They see their toys as a meal that almost never ends, which is why toys with flavors, noises and removable parts are ideal for satisfying the predator within.

In the end, you should choose toys that appeal to your dog’s individual personality; also like us, they have their own likes, dislikes and quirks. After spending enough time with them and seeing what they enjoy, you should be able to find that perfect toy.

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What is the Origin of Dogs?

The canine is certainly one of the smartest domesticated animals you’ll find, and its evolutionary ladder had to have carried the species far in order to develop the way it has. At the same time, we don’t know where they truly come from. One of the reasons they are so developed is because humans chose to domesticate dogs before any other animal, as scientists have discovered. Some of the oldest human fossils, including the skeletons of 32,000-year-old corpses, were found buried beside their much-loved dogs.

But what did the early links in the chain look like? Unlike the evolutionary lineage leading up to modern day humans, we aren’t exactly sure what ancient dogs looked like, although modern dogs’ earliest known predecessors have been traced back to the Middle East and Asia.

How Wolves Turned into More Docile Dogs

The general consensus is that modern dogs derive from wolves. People gradually made them softer and less predatory over the years through domestication, which probably explains my housedogs look more big-eyed and cuter than wolves.

unnamed-dogmuzzle of a wolf over orange background

You’ll never see a wolf with an innocent face you want to cuddle beside; Liam Neeson in The Grey can back me up on that one.


“You’re bloody right I can!”

Wolves are believed to have started out as hunters and guards for humans who took them in. The reason humans were able to eventually tame them was because human hunters left scraps for many wolves, and over time they grew to trust us. As the years went by, these canines didn’t need to hunt for their own food and found humans to be suitable guardians as well, and they evolved into the more domesticated varieties we see today.

How Wolves Turned into Chihuahuas and Other Strange Breeds

Chihuahuas are certainly not intimidating dogs, and it’s clear they could never fare well in the wild when hunting for prey and avoiding predators, but they came from wolves too, right? The simple answer is that yes, they did. Populations of dog-wolves got so close and isolated from the others that they bred more closely as a result. This inbreeding caused genetic mutations to occur and led to the more individualized breeds of dogs that exist today. People have also seen these mutations in animals and bred similar dogs with each other in order to perpetuate these mutations.

Take pugs or Boston Terriers for example. These are dogs that have extraordinarily flat noses, big round heads, and they always remind me of Danny DeVito, like wide little guys that go around snorting and slobbering—no offense to DeVito. All that’s missing is a cigar hanging from their mouths (which I would never advocate you do with a dog!), and you’ve got this breed:


So, basically, dogs came from wolves and we are largely responsible for the large variety of dog breeds that exist. It isn’t just because of accidental genetic mutations, either. The kinds of people who primp their dogs for the Westminster Dog Show are also the ones who have purposefully bred dogs closely in order to maintain certain features, such as short, curled tails and those aforementioned flat facial features. It’s obvious that environment would play a part in different dog appearances as well, but many breeds that exist today are results of generations of domestication.

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