McIntyre: A perfect parenthood test run: Get a dog

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jul 30, 2014 in Rat News
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It seems one of the social problems we are facing is that
children are having children.

There are a lot of reasons for this I’m sure, but the fact is
there’s a lot to be learned before you take on having

My suggestion to anyone thinking of having a baby – and this is for
married couples as well as single mothers -is to get a dog

Sorry. Pet rats, gerbils, fish and birds don’t count. They can’t
look at you with sad eyes when you leave. I’m not sure cats count
either. They’re too independent.

I’m not kidding.

When you take on the obligation of having a pet you take on raising
another living breathing animal that needs attention and

Now, before anyone gets irritated, I’m not comparing children to
dogs. What I want to point out is the responsibility

This is not the same as the family pet that your mother took care
of either.

Remember the puppy you said you wanted as a kid and it became your
mother’s job to feed, clean up after and get to the vet? And dad
picked up the tab for the vet bills.

This is now your dog. It’s the dog that digs holes in the yard, and
gets out of the yard that you have to go find. And that’s surely
the same dog that the neighbor doesn’t appreciate making deposits
in their yard. If they don’t have a dog, it’s hard to claim your
dog didn’t do it.

This much beloved pet requires a lot of attention. Not just time,
but money too.

There’s food you need to buy, registration fees and certainly the
shots that they need for the proper registration.

Hopefully you have a healthy happy dog and they are not regular
visitors to the vet or you may have major medical expenses to deal
with too.

And what about that fancy free lifestyle you enjoy? Going out for
the evening or a weekend with friends? Who will watch the dog? Will
everyone appreciate you bringing your dog to the party? Will you
have to cut your outings short to go home to take care of the

What about a vacation? Can you take the dog with you or will your
dog be visiting the local all inclusive doggie resort at
considerable expense? Some hotels allow dogs if you are hunting.
Some even provide pooper scoopers and designated “walking” areas
for your dog. Almost like a playground for the kids!

You can put them in a kennel in the house or car and they can be
fed outside without too much mess.

If the dog doesn’t work out as planned what do you do? We’ve all
heard the reasons. We just don’t have enough time to spend with the
dog. The dog is not well behaved. The dog can’t be trained.

Do you find it a new home? Abandon it to the local humane society?
Placing an ad in the paper costs money.

Now multiply this scenario a thousand times or maybe a

Children can not be kenneled. Playpens don’t count. Children can
not be given back if they don’t perform as demanded and grandma can
only serve as the all inclusive resort so much. They are your

Do all dog lovers make good parents? Don’t know. I do know that
it’s a great test of patience, caring, and commitment. Call it a
test run.

One thing I know for sure is that I want to come back in my next
life as my brother’s dog.

Janette McIntyre lives in Custer. She can be reached at


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My Pet World:

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jul 29, 2014 in Rat Answers
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Q: I’m very concerned about coyotes; the problem is worse than ever around here. I’m especially worried about my little Bichon Frise, who has no way to defend herself. Recently, there was a coyote attack nearby on a dog who didn’t survive. I don’t want this to happen to my dog. Any advice?

– C.G., Schaumburg, IL

Q: Coyotes seem to be everywhere these days, even encroaching on urban areas. Do you have any tips to keeping pets safe?

– B.D., San Diego

A: When there are coyote sightings where you live, keep cats indoors and don’t allow dogs in the yard without adult supervision. While people are generally safe from coyotes, don’t allow young children in the yard without adult supervision — and never infants, even for a second.

You can protect your yard from coyotes. Some coyote-proof fences are about 8 feet tall and made of a material coyotes can’t climb, or at least 6 feet tall with a protective device on top, such as a coyote roller ( that pushes off any coyotes that try to scramble over. Adding PVC pipe or chicken wire to the top of your existing fence can prevent coyotes from getting the foothold they need to make it over. To prevent coyotes from digging under a fence, make sure it extends at least 12 inches underground.

Coyotes won’t be as motivated to enter our yards if we refuse to feed them and block their access to garbage. Tight-fitting, coyote-proof lids are available for trash cans.

Wolf urine (available at can deter coyotes. Just spray the substance on the fencing around your yard.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, hazing may be the best deterrent. Hollering at coyotes, throwing sticks in their direction and even chasing them screaming, “Go away!” can do the trick.

Most often, coyotes are solo hunters or travel with a mate, but sometimes they work in family groups, which can be intimidating. If you’re concerned about hiking with your dog, travel in a group of your own — friends with dogs.

Bottom line, coyotes are merely trying to survive and feed their young. Most attacks could and should be prevented by taking appropriate precautions.

Q: Jack, our Jack Russell terrier mix, has been terrifying the squirrels in our yard. I’m afraid he’ll catch and kill one. What can I do?

– B.D., Nashville

A: Your fear is well-founded. Jack Russells are hard-wired to do what they were bred for: hunting small furry things. Generally, they don’t distinguish rabbits from the squirrels we may not mind having in our yards, or between voles and the city rats we decidedly don’t want.

With their ability to climb trees, squirrels at least have a shot at escape, and may taunt their attackers from a safe perch. Should Jack catch a squirrel, the prey will do all it can survive, including biting your pet.

If you’re not in the yard with your dog, no amount of training will matter. I suggest you keep your dog on a long leash (purchase one triple the length of an ordinary 6-foot leash at a pet store or online) and allow your dog in the yard only with you and wearing that long leash. Also, play fetch with Jack so he’s focused on the game — not squirrels.

Q: Our cat has always been an indoor/outdoor pet. Lately, she’s started bringing dazed but living animals home. Last week, she dropped a mouse in the kitchen. Any advice?

– V.H., Holly Ridge, S.C.

A: Your cat is well fed, but hunting remains instinctive and it’s seemingly fun for many indoor/outdoor cats. Some experts suggest cats actually bring their catches home as “gifts” for us. In any case, I can’t tell you how to “train” your cat not to be a cat.

I don’t know your cat’s age, but older cats often appreciate living indoors only. Others will transition if you transform your home into a feline amusement park with lots of places to climb, new and interesting boxes to explore and rotating toys. One day, place a penny inside a milk carton; on another, offer catnip inside a shoe box; on a third, hide tidbits of tuna your cat can “hunt” for indoors.

As enriching as life may be outside, it’s simply not safe. Indoors-only cats don’t get hit by cars or chased by coyotes, stray dogs or other cats. Cats live longer indoors.

There are also ethical issues to consider. While bird protection groups exaggerate the number of songbirds killed by cats, this does occur. Also, cats allowed to wander outdoors may use neighbors’ gardens as their litter boxes. Their mere presence outside a window can wreak havoc among indoor cats.

My advice: Enrich the feline environment in your home and gradually keep your cat inside more and more, until ultimately she’s an inside-only pet.

Write to Steve Dale at Tribune Media Services, 2225 Kenmore Ave., Suite 114, Buffalo, N.Y. 14207. Send e-mail to Include your name, city and state.

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9 Camps and Retreats to Help Your Pet Sort Out Its Existential Crisis

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jul 28, 2014 in Rat Answers
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Lastly, we’ll throw cat owners a bone. At Morris Animal Inn in Morristown, N.J., lodging is made up of “condos”, duplexes with climbing areas, TVs, rugs, and mini versions of furniture humans use like dressers, nightstands, and sofas with wood frames. Felines feast on mahimahi, and staffers take them on “walks” along the nature trail on the grounds in strollers lined with lambswool.

Dogs can vacation here, too. In fact, the resort’s canine fitness camp for overweight pets recently made headlines, offering activities from “Barko Polo” to “pawlates.”

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Commonwealth Games 2014: Kemar Bailey-Cole brings his A game to pip Adam …

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jul 28, 2014 in Rat News
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From also-ran to Commonwealth 100 metres champion, the athlete long ago tipped as the next Bolt finally stepped out of the shadows of his more illustrious training partner last night, while England’s Adam Gemili took his first major medal, a silver, just a fraction behind.

In truth, Bailey-Cole was already part of the “A” team before arriving in Glasgow, winning Olympic gold in the 4x100m Olympic relay with Bolt and Yohan Blake, as well as the world title in the same event at the World Championships.

But an athlete labelled “the next big thing in Jamaican athletics” by his coach, Glen Mills, finally lived up to the moniker in his own right to bounce back from a disastrous start to win in 10 seconds flat and be crowned the fastest man in the Commonwealth.

Under a beautiful evening sky at Hampden Park, it also proved a coming of age for Gemili, the 20-year-old flying out of the blocks, and while he was run down by Bailey-Cole he held off Jamaican Nickel Ashmeade to take silver.


This was not even Gemili’s best event, the 200m, which he will tackle at next month’s European Championships better suited to his technique. With the wind whistling around, he was unable to join the sub-10-second club but that will come in time on the basis of this performance.

But Bailey-Cole was still the star of the night and the parallels with Bolt were in abundance: the lean frame, the long, loping stride and the sluggish start.

It was not, however, to be Jamaica’s night in the women’s 100m, although it was perhaps fitting that the winner, Blessing Okagbare, should meet Bolt’s parents in the build-up to the event, and pose for a photograph with them.

With Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce not in the individual event in Glasgow and with the season’s most consistent runner, Michelle-Lee Ahye, unbeaten in 10 races, pulling out the night before with a hamstring injury, Okagbare began as the favourite. That was cemented even more with a blistering run of 10.93sec not even at full tilt and into a headwind in the semi-finals.

But unlike the Olympics, where she had shone in the early rounds and faltered in the final, coming away without a medal, she blazed a trail in Glasgow when it mattered to upstage the Jamaican duo Veronica Campbell-Brown and Kerron Stewart in second and third respectively in a Games record of 10.85sec

Blessing Okagbare takes the womens eventBlessing Okagbare takes the women’s event (PA)

At her first Commonwealths she could become one of the stars of the Games as she goes in due course for further gold in the 200m and long jump.

Okagbare said: “My coach said to stay as patient as you can. After 70 metres it just felt easy. My work has been based just on the Commonwealth Games and I was happy just to be able to put up a show.”

VCB, as she is more commonly known, had provided a positive sample for the banned diuretic hydrocholorothiazide at a meeting in her native Jamaica in June last year but the ban was later overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport after the testing procedures were deemed faulty by CAS. For those who had tried to sanction her, the overall result may well have been a blessing in disguise.

Britain’s Asha Phillip equalled her personal best of 11.18sec in fourth, all the more impressive after she suffered a hideous knee injury in a trampolining accident in 2007, after which she pondered becoming an actor. On one of the biggest stages of her career, she produced the performance of her life. Fellow Briton Bianca Williams was sixth.

There was, however, to be no place in the final for the other English sprinters, Harry Aikines-Aryeetey and Richard Kilty, who were fourth and sixth respectively, both runners some way shy of their personal bests.

It raised question marks over British Athletics’ early selection policy for these Games, James Dasaolu and Chijindu Ujah overlooked for selection as Dasaolu was still recovering from a hamstring injury and Ujah having not at that stage recorded his personal best of 9.96sec.

Sophie Hitchon shows her bronze for the hammerSophie Hitchon shows her bronze for the hammer (Getty)

The biggest shock of the semi-finals saw pre-event favourite Richard Thompson, the second-fastest man in the world this year with 9.82sec, look out of sorts and unable to qualify for the final.

Elsewhere on the second night of athletes, former ballerina Sophie Hitchon, dubbed the girl who “puts the glamour into hammer”, who also has pet rats called Sid and Roddy, won bronze in the hammer final.

“The first few rounds were a little jerky and I only got it together later on,” said Hitchon. “This is what happens sometimes. But I am amazingly pleased with a medal but I just always want the very best as an athlete.”

The first gold of the day belonged to Dan Greaves winning an Anglo-Welsh battle against Paralympic champion Aled Davies in the para-sport F42/44 discus. It was an apt victory for an athlete whose life began during the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane 32 years ago. “I was born during the Commonwealth Games in 1982, my parents were avidly watching during my mother’s labour, so winning a Commonwealth title is right up there with any of my achievements,” he said.

John Lane, coached by Toni Minichiello who guided Jessica Ennis-Hill to Olympic gold, lies second at the end of the first day of the decathlon with team-mate Ashley Bryant fourth.

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Vietnam's taste for cat leaves pets in peril

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jul 28, 2014 in Rat Answers
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The enduring popularity of “little tiger” as a snack to accompany a beer in Vietnam means that cat owners live in constant fear of animal snatchers, despite an official ban.

At an unassuming restaurant next to a carwash in central Hanoi, a cat is prepared for hungry clients: drowned, shaved and burned to remove all fur before being cut up and fried with garlic.

“A lot of people eat cat meat. It’s a novelty. They want to try it,” said the establishment’s manager To Van Dung, 35.

Vietnam has forbidden the consumption of cats in an effort to encourage their ownership and keep the capital’s rat population under control.

But there are still dozens of restaurants serving cat in Hanoi and it is rare to see felines roaming the streets — most pet-owners keep them indoors or tied up out of fear of cat thieves.

Such is the demand from restaurants that cats are sometimes smuggled across the border from Thailand and Laos.

Dung said that he had never had problems with the law. He buys his cats from local breeders but also so-called cat traders, with few checks on their sourcing.

“Little tiger” is typically enjoyed at the start of each lunar month, unlike dog meat which is eaten at the end.

On a busy day, the restaurant can serve around 100 clients.

“I know in the United States and Britain they don’t eat cat. But here we do,” Nguyen Dinh Tue, 44, said as he chewed on a piece of fried cat meat.

“I don’t kill the cat! But this place sells it so I like to eat it,” he added.

- ‘We ate everything’ -

Vietnam’s penchant for eating animals that are considered pets in many other countries came about largely as a result of circumstance, said Hoang Ngoc Bau, one of Hanoi’s few trained vets.

“The country was once very poor, and we had a long war. We ate everything we could to stay alive,” he told AFP. “Insects, dogs, cats, even rats… It became a habit.”

Bau decided to become a vet after his pet dog saved him from a poisonous snake when he was a child. “From that time, I had a debt to dogs,” the 63-year-old said.

Dramatic changes to society and cultural attitudes in the once tightly-controlled communist country in recent decades mean that a growing number of Vietnamese now share his love of animals.

But old eating habits die hard and pet owners have a battle on their hands to protect their furry companions from the dinner pot.

“No one is breeding dogs and cats for slaughter. So nearly all the animals in restaurants are trapped and stolen,” Bau said.

“For me and other pet lovers in Vietnam, they’re our best friend,” added the vet.

Yet some people manage to reconcile society’s dual affection for cats.

Le Ngoc Thien, the chef at one Hanoi cat meat restaurant, keeps a cat as a pet — but when it is big enough he will cook it and get a new kitten to repeat the cycle.

“When my cats become old we kill them because according to our tradition when a cat gets old we need to change it and get a younger one,” he said.

“When I first started working here, I was surprised so many people ate cat. But now, fine, they like it,” he said, adding that demand appeared to be increasing each year.

“Eating cat meat is better than eating dog as the meat is more sweet, more tender than a dog,” Thien said.

A cat sells for between $50 and $70 depending on how large it is and how it is prepared.

Many pet owners get fed up of the risks of letting their cats go outside.

Phuong Thanh Thuy owns a Hanoi restaurant and has cats to keep rats in check, but she has had to replace them regularly.

“My family is sad because we spend a lot of time and energy raising our cats. When we lose a cat we feel pain,” she said as a newly purchased batch of kittens played at her feet.

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Nedrow son rescues family, around 10 pets from early morning blaze: ‘Noah ain …

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jul 28, 2014 in Rat News
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This story was written and reported by Julie McMahon and Jeff Stein.

Update 8:55 a.m. — Nedrow firefighters are back at the house for a reported rekindling. The extent of the new damage isn’t known but it’s likely much less significant than that caused by the first blaze, one Nedrow firefighter said.

Earlier –

Nedrow, N.Y. — Brandon Hollister was sitting in his room just before 3 a.m. Thursday morning when he heard the sound of a pop.

His TV, heater and lights shut off. He then looked up and saw flames coming out of the attic of his Nedrow home at 201 W. Roswell Ave.

“It just popped and everything shut down on me,” Hollister said. “I saw the fire and it was like, ‘woah.’”

Hollister, 27, ran downstairs and woke up his father, brother, nephew and mother. They all made it outside safely.

“If he wasn’t home we probably would’ve been dead,” said the father, Wayne Hollister Sr.

Wayne and Brandon stood outside in the -2 degree weather around 7 a.m. surveying the damage. Wayne’s lived in the house for more than 25 years.

Wayne said his wife is an animal lover who had more than a half-dozen pets in the house. Four dogs, two parrots, one cat, pet rats and turtles were all saved, Wayne said.

“Noah ain’t got nothing on us,” Wayne said.

With the fire raging, Brandon went back upstairs to save the parrots, he said. As thanks, one of them bit him on the hand. He rescued it anyway.

About a half-dozen fire trucks arrived at the house, near the intersection of West Roswell Avenue and Midland Avenue. The Nedrow Fire Department, TLC Ambulance and sheriff’s office were all called to the scene.

The house sustained significant structural damage, primarily to its roof and a top-story apartment, said Amanda Burke with the Nedrow Fire Department.

Firefighters were on scene for more than three hours.

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Kate Gosselin: Former Nanny Rats Her Out

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jul 27, 2014 in Rat Answers
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[ Life]

Kate Gosselin has at least one former nanny who clearly wasn’t fond of the Jon Kate Plus 8 star–so she ratted her out to the media. No, she didn’t spill heinous secrets like author Robert Hoffman claims in his book, Kate Gosselin: How She Fooled the World–but she did rat her out over an alleged rule book that nannies were to abide by.

An unnamed former nanny claims Kate Gosselin has a rule book that not only clearly illustrates the reality TV star’s pet peeves, but at times even instructs the nanny to ‘be Kate.’

As per the former nanny’s interview with Kate Gosselin, “When Jon called the kids on the phone, Kate said to us nannies, ‘You are Kate, so always listen in on the phone calls,’” she recalled how her former boss would want the nannies to put themselves in her shoes and do as she would.

“We always had to keep an ear and eye on what was going on. Kate would say she had no problem with the kids having a relationship with Jon, but it always felt like a façade to me.”

In addition to being super sleuths, Kate Gosselin’s nannies did housework, but could only vacuum at certain times of the day, had to be very careful about slamming doors, and were cautioned about “not putting anything on the ground.” Also, everything had to be wrapped up by 9:00 P.M.

Meanwhile, according to Kate Gosselin’s Twitter posts, life is grand in her home with her eight children.

Did this former nanny get done because of Kate’s rule book? No. It was supposedly when she witnessed Kate’s behavior toward one of her children that this unnamed nanny decided to call it quits.

“The nanny said that she ultimately quit after witnessing certain behavior she was uncomfortable with, such as Kate spanking son Colin—whom she described as the “busiest” of the eight kids and the one most often in trouble—with a plastic spoon in front of his brothers and sisters.”

What do you think? Is this simply a new case of more Kate Gosselin bashing or is it further proof that the pretty, smiling woman on the occasional TV talk show who wants to portray a loving-but-strict mom is really a piece of angry work? Might more nannies come out of the woodwork with similar stories now that this one has spoken out? Will any of them dare reveal their identities?

This former nanny did add, by the way, that the children love–and frequently watch–old episodes of Jon Kate Plus 8. The supposedly call it ‘Mommy and Daddy’s show.’

Are they mourning what once was or is this a case of Kate fueling her dreams that they will one day return to the world of reality TV?

Image via YouTube

Kate Gosselin: Former Nanny Rats Her Out
23 hours ago

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Living with rats

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jul 26, 2014 in Rat Answers
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Rats in a jar
Staffan Vilcans )

Rats are the most dangerous and arguably repulsive small mammal known to humans. We’ve lived side-by-side with the rat for centuries though, they’re in our homes and on our streets. Rats shape our history and have even crept into our language: ‘you ratbag!’

Intelligent and socially ordered animals, they’re almost impossible to eradicate. But why would we want to get rid of an animal we share so much with?

Nick Franklin explores our weird relationship with rats.

Literary works quoted in the program are:

Rats Lice and History by Hans Zinsser

Journey Without Maps by Graham Greene

The Rat by Gunter Grass

The Famished Road by Ben Okri

The Reivers by William Faulkner

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Living with rats

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jul 26, 2014 in Rat Answers
No Comments

Rats in a jar
Staffan Vilcans )

Rats are the most dangerous and arguably repulsive small mammal known to humans. We’ve lived side-by-side with the rat for centuries though, they’re in our homes and on our streets. Rats shape our history and have even crept into our language: ‘you ratbag!’

Intelligent and socially ordered animals, they’re almost impossible to eradicate. But why would we want to get rid of an animal we share so much with?

Nick Franklin explores our weird relationship with rats.

Literary works quoted in the program are:

Rats Lice and History by Hans Zinsser

Journey Without Maps by Graham Greene

The Rat by Gunter Grass

The Famished Road by Ben Okri

The Reivers by William Faulkner

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Portsmouth pupils take a new view of rats as they join them in the classroom

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jul 26, 2014 in Rat News
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By Aline Nassif

Published on Tue Sep 27 08:14:57 BST 2011

PRIMARY schoolchildren in Old Portsmouth are getting acquainted with two highly intelligent new classmates this term – rats.

The class pets who have been named after the American cartoon characters Phineas and Ferb are so popular that youngsters at St Jude’s Primary will be putting names in a hat to take them home during half-term.

Despite initial reservations, the boys and girls in year three are wasting no time teaching their furry friends new tricks.

They hope the resourceful rodents will soon be able to recognise their names, find their way through a maze and distinguish between two differently-coloured bowls with food inside.

Jude Peattie, seven, said: ‘They haven’t learned much yet but it’s still early days and I’m looking forward to the day they can perform lots of fun tricks.

‘When I heard we were getting pet rats I thought they would be toys, so it was a big surprise to find out they were real.

‘I hope I get to take them home in half-term, especially Phineas who is very friendly and likes to play.

‘Rats get a bit of a bad reputation.

‘People say they are scary and dirty, but we’ve all seen another side to them.’

Scarlett Harris, seven, admits her initial reaction to the rats was ‘they’re disgusting’.

She said: ‘My dad used to have a pet rat and when he let it out it would go to the rubbish bin and nibble away, so I didn’t like them at all.

‘But Phineas and Ferb are tiny and really cute and I’ve been amazed at how clever they are. We all sit in a circle to let them out for a run but they’ve managed to find little gaps to get out.

‘My favourite is Ferb because he is quiet and he doesn’t like to come out of his cage. I like to give him a cuddle and let him sit on my shoulder. This experience has taught me you can change your mind about things.

‘I like rats now and I know I’ll like them even when they grow very big.’

Nina Evans, a year three teacher who has owned rats in the past, said she thought they would make great pets.

She said: ‘Rats are highly intelligent and fun animals and they are not full of disease.

‘When I first suggested the idea to the class there was a little apprehension and one pupil said “they spread the plague” but now the children absolutely love them.

‘Phineas and Ferb are only six weeks old but I’m confident they will learn to do lots of clever things.’

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