Four Legs Good

Four Legs Good is a place to talk about pets, and the joys and frustrations of owning them. Netguide Award-winning blogger Nick Barnett writes about the animals in his life and pet issues of all kinds. And though 'Four Legs Good' is true, he’s just as fond of animals with two legs, many legs – or none.

Furry Friday: Persuasive pets

05:00am 05 Feb 2016


Among a pet's powers, and perhaps its greatest, is the power of persuasion.

When pets want something to happen, something you can make happen, then they use all the persuasive devices and tricks at their disposal. Eyes, ears, tongue, paws, posture, voice - all are weapons in a pet's arsenal. Its hairy arsenal, if you will. 

The goal is always to get you to do something, or to not do something. And be honest, that goal is usually achieved. You, mere human, cannot hold out against the full force of a pet's will. All you can do, before succumbing, is take a photo and record just how potently persuasive a pet can be.

Like Maggie. One moist flash of her eyes, and you are putty in her paws.


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Pets whose lives are a battle

09:33am 03 Feb 2016


If you have a cat, answer me this: have you ever gazed in wonder at how perfectly set up it is for its life? Its strength, agility and balance; its senses honed like a samurai's blade; the miraculous way it seems to leap free of falling stuff and seem to possess, as the adage says, nine lives?

That's all true for most cats - cats that have all their limbs and organs and senses working well, along with their talent for being lucky. But not all cats do.

  Lyra's curious look.
Here are the stories of some cats whose lives are a bit more of a battle than usual. But with typical feline aplomb and some human help, they live pretty good lives.

Lyra is not yet a year old. Blog reader Beth, who adopted her as a kitten, says Lyra has an unknown neurological condition that makes her head tilt off to one side.

"She doesn't really notice it so much, but her balance is a little wonky. And she really only turns one way - either 90 degrees to the left, or 270 degrees to the left to go right!"

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Furry Friday: Cool in the heat

05:00am 29 Jan 2016


Where I live, the past week has brought the hottest weather of the summer. My dogs have reacted more or less the same way I have: seeking shade, keeping still, and sipping something cool.

In our kitchen we keep a water fountain filled and running, and lately we've taken to leaving bowls of ice cubes for the dogs to lick. We walk the dogs in the cool evening - the midday sun is no place or time for any of us.

Pets feel the heat. They may like it for a while, but then they need to get cool. And the best place to get cool is outdoors, where the grass is cool and the wind is a balm. Here's a collection of pets getting cool - and in most cases being cool too.

Meet Frankie, a mere 14 weeks old. But soon the word "mere" won't describe her in any way. She's a Mastiff-Rottweiler-cross and from the evidence of those enormous paws, Frankie will be a very big girl indeed. 


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Gutsy, gorgeous tripod pets

05:00am 28 Jan 2016


Most of us humans, if we lost a limb, would be hit terribly hard. We'd mourn and perhaps suffer all the stages of depression, even while we tried to adapt to life without part of our body.

josiePets do feel sad - they do mourn, I believe. And pets certainly can suffer depression. But when they lose a limb, their power of adapting seems to be in a different category from people's.

The world is full of countless cats, dogs and other pets that have lost a leg. Often, the loss came with or after pain - accidental injury, or human cruelty, or disease. Yet pets seem to leave behind that pain, and the memory of the lost limb, and, crucially, self-pity over their new limb-deprived state.

We often call them tripod pets - pets that thrive while owning only three legs. 

Tripod pets have to adapt the way they run and walk - but adapt they do. It's engraved into their DNA to move at will, and nothing will thwart that powerful will. 

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Furry Friday: Ready to play

05:00am 22 Jan 2016


Imagine that attached to your pet is a dial labelled Degree of Stimulation. The bottom setting, before you start turning the switch, is sleep - that's the default. The top setting, with the switch turned all the way, is a full-on case of the zoomies.

It'd be a useful switch to have, wouldn't it? Imagine being able to turn up, or down, your pet's energy. So convenient...

Anyway, between sleep and the zoomies are many spots on the stimulation dial. This edition of reader photos is devoted to pets on the mid-to-high settings and on the way up - pets that are just starting to get playful and sociable. Scroll on - you may meet a familiar pose or expression...

This is Rosie. She's followed mum into the bathroom and is now up for some fun.


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