Beyond Fido - Page 2

PETS ISSUE: SF's most unusual pet owners share their parenting tips

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"But for me, they're not props." Jim Berenholtz dances with his snakes and snuggles them when they are cold.

Like most Rexes, Sugar is often cold. The cats are known to hang out around light bulbs and computer monitors, but Sugar takes a more straightforward approach: she'll simply jump under the bed covers and stay curled up all day, Royall says. Luckily, if you're considering a Rex of your own, Royall has found a convenient solution for the chills. She uses a microwaveable heating pad that stays hot for about nine hours. Try a SnuggleSafe heat pad (www.snugglesafe.co.uk/), available at Pawtrero pet supply store (www.pawtrero.com).

What about baking in the summer sun? Royall has heard that some people use sunscreen on their Cornish Rexes, but — given how cats groom themselves by licking — she doesn't think that's the best idea.

 

CUTE COOING

Elizabeth Young is the founding director of Mickacoo Pigeon and Dove Rescue (www.mickacoo.org, a division of SF-based Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue), but if you're thinking about the greasy green-and-gray birds you plow through every day on the sidewalk, think again. The birds Young rescues are primarily king pigeons, a pure white domestic breed that — unlike San Fran's feral flocks — can't survive outdoors on their own.

"They're good-natured, easygoing, adaptable pets," Young says. "They're experts at the leisure arts — lounging, flirting, snacking, napping." She adds that because of their mellow nature, they're not demanding companions and do very well indoors or in an outdoor aviary.

Young says her seven pigeons have distinct personalities and form monogamous pairs — a characteristic that leads her to personify her birds' love lives as though they were soap-opera biddies, describing, for example, how once-shy Frances eventually won the heart of widowed Country.

The birds are affectionate toward people, too. The aforementioned Frances comes hurtling down the hall when Young calls him, screeching by and then turning on a dime to locate Young. Because the birds are quiet, don't chew, and don't bite, they are ideal for homes where dogs are not an option.

The only problem with pigeons is that, unlike dogs, they can't be housebroken. Luckily, the fine people at BirdWearOnline.com (www.birdwearonline.com) have invented pigeon pants — stylish suits that Young heartily endorses.

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