Happy National Hug Day!

“I have learned that there is more power in a good strong hug than in a thousand meaningful words.”  – Ann Hood

Created on January 21, 1986 in Clio, Michigan, National Hug Day is all about encouraging that warm embrace. Whether you hug your parents, your friends, or a complete stranger, a quick body squeeze has the power to make everything better.

And we definitely don’t want to leave out our pets on National Hug Day! Because there really is nothing better than a mouthful of fur, and being wrapped up in four dirty paws.

Photo Via: Google Images

However, make your hugs quick, because a hug may mean something completely different for our furry friends. Pets, especially dogs, don’t necessarily like hugs. Biologically, a hug among dogs would be the equivalent of mounting or “standing over” – putting a leg over another dog’s shoulder. This behavior is seen as dominance and trying to gain control.

This may seem cute, but this is a common sign of dominance among dogs.

So, watch your dog’s body language if you embrace them today. If they pull or try to squirm away, let go. Instead, a pat under the chin will do just fine. And don’t feel bad. Your dog still loves you! They just wish to “hug” on their own terms in the form of wet kisses and warm cuddles.

So, enjoy National Hug Day and spread the love! And in the meantime, enjoy this video of animals who do want to be hugged!

*Sources: Mnn.com*
*Note: The article above was written by © Kalie Lyn, 2016*

List-It: The Achievements of Naturalist Joy Adamson

“Since we humans have the better brain, isn’t it our responsibility to protect our fellow creatures from, oddly enough, ourselves?” – Joy Adamson

106 years ago to this day, Friederike Victoria Gessner, more famously known as Joy Adamson, was born. An author, painter, and animal activist, Joy Adamson spent the majority of her life educating the world about the importance of preserving wildlife, specifically that in Africa.

Photo Via: Wikipedia.com

A strong-willed woman with a passion for animals, she lived in Kenya for nearly 4 decades with her equally famous wildlife conservationist husband, George Adamson. Together, the two fought for wildlife preservation and inspired the world with their work with big game in Africa.

As we celebrate what would’ve been Joy Adamson’s 106th birthday, we look back on her greatest achievements in the natural world.

 Her Rehabilitating of Animals – What is probably the Adamson’s most notorious accomplishment, and one that would gain them world-wide recognition, was their work with rehabilitating animals back into the wild, specifically the lioness Elsa. In 1956, after her mother was shot by George Adamson in self-defense, the Adamsons took in little cub Elsa.

Joy and George then spent the next years raising Elsa, training her to become a self-relying lioness, and eventually releasing her back into the wild where she went on to have 3 cubs of her own. Through her experiences Joy stated that Elsa “became almost like my child. Because I had no children, I have spent all my emotion on her and my other animals. But I cannot make them my own.”

Photo Via: fatheroflions.org

Elsa and Joy – Photo Via: fatheroflions.org

Chronicling their work with Elsa and her cubs in three books (which all eventually had movies made about them), Joy Adamson inspired millions around the world and taught the importance of preserving wildlife, and keeping the animals in their natural environments.

After Elsa and her cubs, Joy Adamson went on to adopt a young cheetah named Pippa, who was previously being used as a house pet. Adamson did the same with Pippa as she had done with Elsa and trained her to survive on her own in the wild, eventually releasing Pippa as well. Joy continued studying and working with all sorts of African animals including elephants, buffaloes, colobus monkeys, and leopards.

Her Writings – What helped Joy Adamson to inspire the world about Africa and its animals was undoubtedly her writings. Throughout the years she published many books about the different animals she rehabilitated, along with books of her drawings and sketches of African wildlife and plants.

Joy Adamson’s most popular book, Born Free (which she writes about her experience with Elsa), earned her a great amount of recognition and success that because of it, she was able to focus on raising money for wildlife conservation.

Born Free, along with the two sequels Living Free and Forever Free (both which Joy continues the story of Elsa and her cubs), were all made into movies. The actors of the films, Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers, were so inspired by the roles they played and the real life work Joy and George Adamson did, that they eventually founded the Born Free Foundation in the United Kingdom which helps support wildlife conservation.

Her Wildlife Preservation – Joy Adamson’s passion and love for animals was obvious with her activism. Setting off on an international tour in 1962, Joy preached the importance of wildlife conservation, and the damage that illegal poaching was doing to Africa and its animal inhabitants, especially in her adopted home of Kenya.

Joy also went on to create the Elsa Wild Animal Appeal, and her work with animals, especially Elsa, helped inspire many more conservation organizations. She spent her remaining years giving the proceeds she earned from her books to many preservation organizations and using it to secure the conservation of animals and wildlife.

Photo Via: pbs.org

It’s no doubt the lengths and efforts Joy Adamson went to protect and preserve animals and their environment. Tragically, both Joy and George were murdered (separate incidents and years – Joy in 1980 by an employee, and George in 1989 by poachers), so both of their work was cut short.

However, the impact they had on animal activism still lives on today. Because of Joy Adamson and her work, writings, and contributions, the world is just a little bit more understanding of the plight wildlife must face at the hands of humans. We must continue her work, and remember her words: “Wildlife is something which man cannot construct. Once it is gone, it is gone forever. Man can rebuild a pyramid, but he can’t rebuild ecology, or a giraffe.”

So, Happy Birthday, Joy. And thank you for the impact you made on the animal kingdom.

*Sources: Notablebiographies.com, Biography.com, Encyclopedia.com, Wikipedia.org*
*Note: The article above was written by © Kalie Lyn, 2016*

We Have a Dream [Celebrating MLK the Animal Culture Way]

“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tired into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one destiny, affects all indirectly.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today we celebrate the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr., who, because of his non-violent activism, played a crucial role in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. His peaceful stances and engaging speeches left a mark on this world forever, and by breaking the silence he was able to have a dream and help make it come true.

Here at Animal Culture we have a dream of our own.

We dream that animals and humans will be able to live in peace with one another, and that humans will start treating nature and its inhabitants as equals.

Photo Via: Pinterest.com

Photo Via: Pinterest.com

We dream that we see no more news articles of animals being beaten, tortured, and abused. Instead, we dream of seeing more of this:

We dream that one day the rights and welfare of animals will be a priority on everyone’s agenda.

Photo Via: animal-rights-action.com

Photo Via: animal-rights-action.com

We strive to speak up about animal abuse and educate the public about animal rights, and we try to live by the words of MLK, Jr: “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”

We will not be silent, and we hope you will speak up as well.

*Note: The article above was written by © Kalie Lyn, 2016*

Born Free [Book Review]

Relationships cross many different species, and animal-human relationships may be the most special. For today’s “Book Review Thursday”, Animal Culture would like to share a very special book about a human-lion relationship.

First, however, we would like to share one of our favorite videos, just to get the heart pumping and the tears flowing. *Note: The shirtless guy in the end of the video is George Adamson, the husband of the below book’s author, Joy Adamson.*

Happy Reading, All!

Title: Born Free: A Lioness of Two Worlds

Author: Joy Adamson

Synopsis: “Joy Adamson’s story of a lion cub in transition between the captivity in which she is raised and the fearsome wild to which she is returned captures the abilities of both humans and animals to cross the seemingly unbridgeable gap between their radically different worlds. Especially now, at a time when the sanctity of the wild and its inhabitants is increasingly threatened by human development and natural disaster, Adamson’s remarkable tale is an idyll, and a model, to return to again and again.” 

ISBN: 0375714383

Born Free: A Lioness of Two Worlds (Story of Elsa, #1)


The Adamsons – Joy and George – became recognized from the hit book, A Lion Called Christian, in which they had helped rehabilitate Christian, a pet lion, back into the wild (see video above).  However, their work with lions did not start with Christian, and Born Free takes you back to the beginning.

And it all began with Elsa.  Born Free is the account and adventure of lioness Elsa’s life, and the difficult task Elsa provided for her human parents, Joy (the author) and George (her husband) Adamson.  Raised by the Adamsons since she was a baby, Elsa treated them as her lion pride, and they treated her as their child, however never forgetting the fact that she was a wild lion.  Her life with them flew by as she grew from a cub into a full-size, and eventually a wild, lioness.

The story itself is touching, and it transports you through its writing.  Joy Adamson has written quite a few books, and her written language reads like she is having a face-to-face conversation with the reader.  Her writing flows, and it feels as if you are experiencing Elsa’s life with the Adamsons.  Joy is a professional painter and photographer as well, and her beautiful pictures of Elsa, Africa, and the unlikely family’s adventures are scattered throughout the pages, which makes it an even more intriguing read.  The ending of the book, which is comprised of letters from George to Joy, adds an even more personal touch to the readers.  

Animal stories have a way of providing a different perspective to the world – especially if they are true – and Born Free is one of those books that will touch your heart and stay in your mind for a while after it is read. The ending of the book, and ultimately the Adamson’s time with Elsa, made the entire book worth it, and you will walk away with tears in your eyes and a happy heart.

Purchase it at Amazon.com here: Born Free

Have you read this book? What was your take on it? Join the discussion below!

*Note: The synopsis was taken from Goodreads.com. The review was written by © Kalie Lyn 2011, originally published on her personal blog, Palm Trees & Bare Feet.*

Doggone Beautiful!

Being beautiful is a vain trait of humans alone, especially since animals don’t worry about such trivial matters. However, being and feeling clean is something that is shared by both people and animals.

For today’s “Random Musing”, Animal Culture‘s author, Kalie Lyn, shares with us the world of pet grooming, and how it truly benefits our pets.

Working in the pet grooming industry as a bather and groomer for the past year, I have seen my fair share of bad hair days (and I’m not talking about my own, which is usually an everyday occurrence). I have worked with breeds from tiny little Yorkshire Terriers to gigantic Newfoundlands, all with different attitudes, hair types, and problems. Needless to say, I have seen it all, and it usually goes something like this.

The Heaven Sent:

This is the dog who feels like it was literally sent from heaven to give you some much-needed relief in an otherwise hectic job. Aside from short-haired dogs – such as Labs, Boxers, Beagles, etc., which are automatically heaven sent since they require little work – these are the long-haired dogs that have been well brushed at home, so much so that the comb slides right through their coat like butter. Of course, however, these lovelies come through as often as Hailey’s Comet. But you better believe that when they do, they and their parents get a huge round of applause from us groomers.

(Photo Via: Everything-shih-tzu.com)

(Photo Via: Everything-shih-tzu.com)

The Regular:

These are the dogs that have the groomer on their monthly calendar. They enter in good shape, with maybe a few knots here and there, but nothing that can’t be easily brushed out without yanking on their skin. Their pet parents usually bring them in every few weeks, and brush them at least once a week at home between grooming visits. Just like a bartender, groomers know the names and personalities of all their regulars.

(Photo Via: Doggroomingaldershot.co.uk)

(Photo Via: Doggroomingaldershot.co.uk)

The Liar:

The liar isn’t the dog, it’s the parent. “I brush Tootsie every day at home,” they’ll say. LIAR! You can spot a “Heaven Sent” the second that dog walks into the salon, but the “Liar” takes some feeling. The liar’s dog will look brushed at first glance, but once the groomer starts to feel the dog the lies start to unravel. There are no knots or tangles because they have evolved into full-blown mats. This type of matting is usually tight, thick, and to the skin, and occurs in places that the pet parent doesn’t think to brush – the legs, stomach, chest, and behind the ears, all places that are prone to matting. Usually, in cases like this, the matting is too bad to get out without hurting the dog, especially in the sensitive areas listed above. A call to the pet parent must be made letting them know that their dog will probably have to be shaved. And most likely, that pet parent will stick to their lie, stating again they brush their dog on a daily basis. The pet parents are important to groomers, as they are the ones who pay the bills, but the dog is the number one priority. When a dog is badly matted, a groomer will insist on shaving until the pet parent finally lets up and agrees. However, in some cases, a dog must go home as it came in because putting the dog through hours of intense de-matting, in sensitive areas, is painful and stressful. Eventually though, the liar usually confesses, and the clippers come out.

(Photo Via: Skywriting.net)

(Photo Via: Skywriting.net)


It’s no joke when I say this is the dog who looks like it literally survived the apocalypse. I have seen this only a couple of times in my career, and thank god. There is no questioning the pet parent – trust me, they know – and there is no calling them. The clippers come out immediately and start shaving. In cases like this, the hair doesn’t fall off in pieces. It falls off in one giant matted clump, looking like an already knitted scarf or sweater. And, it’s no laughing matter for either the dog or the groomer. Shaving out mats that are that deep, mats that are pressed on the skin, can become very dangerous. Besides paying close attention as to not cut the skin, nicking sores that have formed from the moisture trapped in the matted fur is also something to watch out for. When seeing a dog like this, many thoughts go through your mind: Were they homeless? Are they abused? What is wrong with the people? There will never be a good explanation for a dog that has to suffer like that, with fur that is so matted they can’t walk, see out of their eyes, or use the bathroom properly. And though the dog may not be being hit or kicked, neglecting a dog to that level is still abuse.

(Photo Via: Gracielushihtzu.com)

(Photo Via: Gracielushihtzu.com)

So, how important is grooming for your dog? Very important!

Grooming isn’t just brushing or giving a dog a hair cut, grooming also consists of flea and tick checks during the bath, cutting the nails so they aren’t overgrown, and plucking ear hair that can cause ear infections.

It also helps socialize your dog with other people and pets, and the more your dog goes the groomer, the less they will hate it. Never give the excuse, “Oh, but my dog is scared of the groomers.” No, he’s scared because you’re scared. Once a dog leaves the arms of their pet parents, they enter an environment where dogs come first. Groomers are there to love, care for, and create a relaxed experience for your beloved pooch. We are trained to work with different breeds and personalities, and know what to do to keep pets calm and happy.

Another thing to keep in mind is, just like ours, hair grows back! If your groomer tells you your dog needs to be shaved, let them. Trust me, we’re not all shave-happy. Shaving takes time, patience, and focus, but the reason we suggest it is usually because of severe matting. It benefits your dog and you.

So, take a trip to your local groomer and treat your beloved family pet to some beautifying TLC. And remember, just like you tip your own hairdresser, tip your dog’s hairdresser too!

(Photo Via: Dogtemperament.com)

(Photo Via: Dogtemperament.com)

*Note: The article above was written by © Kalie Lyn, 2014*

Personality, Intelligence, and Cats vs. Dogs

Dogs and cats each have their own attributes and personalities, but does choosing to be a “dog person” or a “cat person” help determine our own traits?

It’s often creepy when we spot a pet and their pet parent who have an eerily physical resemblance to one another, however we don’t take much thought in similar personality traits between pets and their pet parents. It’s common knowledge that dogs are known as outgoing, active, and attention-loving animals, while cats are recognized as mellow, curious, solitude creatures. But does the type of pet a person brings into their home predict that person’s personality? According to a web-based study done in 2010 at the University of Texas, yes, yes it does.

Photo Via: Medicsindex.ning.com

Photo Via: Medicsindex.ning.com

The online study asked 4,565 different people if they identified themselves as “dog people”, “cat people”, both, or neither. They were then given a 44-question survey that measured their answers on the “Big Five” personality dimension spectrum which psychologists use to study personality – Conscientiousness (self-discipline), Extraversion (enthusiasm), Agreeableness (trusting), Openness (nontraditional thinking), and Neuroticism (stress).

46% of those surveyed self-identified as “dog people”,12% said they were “cat people”, and 28% were both while 15% were neither.

Dog People: The dog people were 15% more extroverted (outgoing and social), 13% more agreeable (trusting and kind), and 11% more conscientious (organized and self-disciplined ) than cat people.

Cat People: The cat people on the other hand were 12% more neurotic (anxious, easily stressed) and 11% more open (appreciative of art and culture) than dog people.

While this study is limited to only 4,565 people, and many are both or neither cat and dog people, this research has revealed that people may gravitate toward pets with similar personality traits as their own. An outgoing, dutiful, social person may prefer an equally outgoing, dutiful, and social dog. A reserved, introverted, more creative person may prefer a cat as their housemate. However, the lines do cross, and pets often balance out our different personalities.

Photo Via: Psychologytoday.com

Photo Via: Psychologytoday.com

Since being a pet parent to the animal of our choice can reveal more about a person’s personality, what can that choice tell us about a person’s intelligence? According to a more recent study, choosing “dog or cat” can reveal how smart we are.

According to the newer study done at Carroll University in Wisconsin, 600 college students were asked whether they were “dog people” or “cat people”, what qualities they liked best about their pets, and more questions that assessed their personalities.

Out of those 600 students, 60% said they identified more with dogs and enjoyed the “companionship” of their dog the best, while only 11% said they identified more with cats and enjoyed the “affection” from their cats the best – the remaining said they either liked both cats and dogs, or liked neither.

However, while the “dog people” reign once again in this study at 60%, it were the “cat people” who scored higher in intelligence. While dogs may be smarter than cats according to yet another study from 2010 (tired of the studies, already?) that found dogs have experienced greater brain growths in the past 60 million years compared to cats, it is the personalities of the cat people that make them smarter than the dog people.

Because dogs need ample exercise and walks outside, dog people spend more time outdoors and socializing. Cats however, are more comfortable indoors lounging on the couch, and usually their pet parents are the same. Cat people, who are usually introverted, are more likely to read a book and study their interests than dog people, who are usually more extroverted and social.

(Photo Via: Librarything.com)

(Photo Via: Librarything.com)

Of course though, just like with personality, the kind of pet a person chooses doesn’t necessarily determine their intelligence. Pets are here to bring us companionship and affection, to make us smile and lick our tears away, and to ultimately teach us to be better human beings. Whether we are extroverts or introverts, organized or creative, or relaxed or anxious, we all chose our pets for one reason: because we love them.

Are you a self-described “dog person” or “cat person”? Do you think the pet we choose describes our personality and intelligence? Let Animal Culture know in the comment section below!

*Sources: Psychologytoday.com, Pets.webmd.com, Time.com, Huffingtonpost.com, Livescience.com*
*Note: The article above was written by © Kalie Lyn, 2014*

Reuse, Recycle, Reduce

Earth is not only home to humans, and often times we forget that. We share this planet with a slew of other creatures, including winged, four-legged, finned, and some even unknown to mankind. In order to preserve these creatures and ourselves, it’s important to protect our environment.

With the smoke that billows from our factories, our skyscrapers that replace the nature, and the fumes that escape our cars, the majority of the world’s pollution comes from us humans. With improved technology and new products being able to be created, the negative impact we are making on the environment seems to be in the back of our minds.

However, going “green” has been the new trend for a while now, and with more and more people joining in, there are ways to help reverse our negative effects.


Many of the products we buy are unable to be recycled, and if they can be they take a while to decompose. Reusing products once we are done with them, instead of just throwing them in the trash, is one way to help the environment we share with animals.

Almost everything is made out of plastic, and plastic is very hard to recycle because it takes a long time to degrade completely. On average, a regular-sized plastic bottle, for example a water bottle, takes at least 450 years to fully decompose. That one bottle will still be here when our great-great-great-great-many greats-grand kids are around!

One of the most simple ways to reuse a plastic bottle is creating a vase out of it.

Animal Culture's author, Kalie Lyn, just finished this green tea. After, she used it to showcase the daffodils from her garden!

Animal Culture’s author, Kalie Lyn, just finished this green tea. After, she used it to showcase the daffodils from her garden!

And if a plain, clear bottle isn’t working with the decor of your home, add your own touch to it with a little decoupage.

Kalie Lyn also made-over this old glass bottle with some creativity and modge podge.

Kalie Lyn also made-over this old glass bottle with some creativity and modge podge.

Paper is another material that is used quite often, and while it has a less decomposing time (anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months), products made of paper are filling our landfills. As sad as it is to say, actual books may soon become obsolete. With eReaders, the internet, and our phones, more and more people are reading screens versus the printed word.

With less people buying and reading books, books end up in the trash. However, these once-loved items could be reused and made into something else, such as a clock.

Kalie Lyn created this clock from an old Hardy Boys book she found at a garage sale.

Kalie Lyn created this clock from an old Hardy Boys book she found at a garage sale.

Or maybe use the pages of a book, or even regular old newspaper, as wrapping paper. You could also use it to decoupage that plastic bottle vase!

(Photo Via: 2vintagesisters.blogspot.com)

(Photo Via: 2vintagesisters.blogspot.com)

There are many ways to reuse things we no longer need or want. The creative users of the internet are full of ideas, and a simple Google search such as: “Ways to reuse (plastic, paper, glass, etc.), is a great way to find inspiration. Oh, and of course there’s Pinterest!


When you can’t reuse things, recycling them is always the best bet. Recycling allows an old product to become a new one, and separates materials that can take too long to decompose and ultimately harm the environment. However, recycling just doesn’t have to mean throwing an old cereal box into a bin for the garbage men to pick up. You can do your own recycling right at home.

Most of the left-over foods and drinks we consume go directly into the garbage. However, some of those left-overs can go back into the land and fertilize Mother Nature.

Eggshells, banana peels, and used coffee grounds and tea leaves are all nutritious for the environment. They help fertilize gardens, and the acid in coffee grounds and tea leaves are perfect for plants such as tomatoes, roses, and azaleas. Using these types of unused foods as compost is a perfect way recycle them, instead of just throwing them in the trash.

(Photo Via: HuffingtonPost.com)

(Photo Via: HuffingtonPost.com)

While some foods are good to use as compost, others are not. Never use meat, breads, or dairy products while these can lead to bacteria and pests. If you are unsure what to use as natural fertilizers for your garden, make sure to look it up.

Another important item to recycle is unwanted or outgrown clothing, towels, and bedding. Linens made from synthetic materials, such as polyester and vinyl, do not decompose, and simply sit in landfills forever. So, don’t throw these out!

While it is now becoming more known to buy clothing and cloth products with biodegradable material, such as ones made from organic cotton or hemp, the jean pants we wore in high school, or that itchy wool blanket, doesn’t need to be discarded of. They can be recycled.

Donating your old clothes, towels, and bedding to a thrift shop is an excellent way to recycle and pass on fashion trends. And if you want to help animals in the process, animal shelters and rescues would be more than happy to use your old shirts and sheets as rags and beds for the animals awaiting homes.

(Photo Via: Michiganhumane.org)

(Photo Via: Michiganhumane.org)

No matter how you choose to recycle, whether it’s sorting by bins, using old food as compost, or donating linens that never decompose, just remember to do it!


Trash is everywhere. It’s in our homes, on the side of the road, and even in our backyards. Us humans create this trash not just by littering, but also by buying products that are bad for the environment.

One way to reduce the trash we create on this planet is by reducing the amount of non eco-friendly products we purchase. Take something we use on almost a daily basis: dish sponges. Not only are they dirty, but also terrible for the environment. 52,000 years – that’s how much it would take to decompose a year’s worth of dish sponges if you threw one out every week!

One way to end this insanely high degrading process is by creating your own dish “sponge”, instead of buying one. If you are crafty and know how to knit, you can make your own dish scrubbie within a day. By using biodegradable materials, such as hemp or organic cotton (as we talked about above), knitting yourself a dish scrubbie is not only better for the environment, but it also lasts longer and is more hygienic as you can put it in the washing machine to clean it.

Kalie Lyn knitted her own dish scrubbie, and it works great!

Kalie Lyn knitted her own dish scrubbie, and it works great!

If you are interested in creating your own dish scrubby, a little tip is to make every other stitch a knit and then a purl. This helps to create that ribbed effect, which will work better to get crusty food off. Cutting out a product such as a dish sponge from our grocery list, and instead creating our own, is one way we can reduce the trash on our Earth.

Another way to reduce trash is to literally pick up poop – dog poop that is. Because of the grain and meat in dog food, and the table scraps our pets sneak, their waste is not good compost.

Yes, nobody’s favorite thing involves picking up dog feces, but it is something that needs be done. Simple as that. Besides, it’s not fun stepping in dog crap, even if in some cultures they consider it good luck.

(Photo Via: Animalradio.com)

And remember how long it takes for plastic bags to decompose? Buying biodegradable doggy poop bags double helps the environment!

Besides the ones we provided above, there are many other ways to help combat the negative impact we make on our world. We share this planet, and for the sake of us, our children, and animals, it’s important to know and practice ways to keep our planet clean and around for a long time.

And because we are all in this together, Animal Culture would love to hear from our readers about the ways YOU Reuse, Recycle, and Reduce!

Sources: Home.howstuffworks.com, Mnn.com, Hoaxorfact.com, Postconsumers.com, Huffingtonpost.com, Womansday.com*
*Note: The article above was written by © Kalie Lyn, 2014*