Samantha David is a freelance journalist and writes for various publications including BBC Online, the Sunday Times, the FT, Living France, everything France, and France Magazine

Samantha David, writer

Miscellaneous Animals - articles by Samantha David


Surfing for Animals

In the beginning there was this weird thing called "the web" - and I listened to the converts preaching and I heard all about how you could enter a strange thing called "virtual reality" and read peculiar Swedish magazines. Then I yawned and got on with combing the cat.

Finally however, I was dragged on-line by a fellow-writer. Reluctantly and with massive prejudice, I logged on and started stumbling around the net. If the addiction wasn't instant, it was pretty close.

Don't yawn! Don't comb the cat! (Well, do comb the cat, but do it later...) The internet is useful. You can find out information, see photos, get specific advice about your own animals, you can download pictures and cartoons, you can decorate your computer screen with animal art, you can meet and chat with other animal lovers, you can help animal charities, lobby politicians, volunteer for duty, buy animal-related products, books, insurance, videos, services and gifts, adopt an animal, find an animal-friendly hotel, and of course, laugh your socks off. Try this lot for size:

This is basically just a quirky cartoon page with funny music, but offices all over the country are logged on to it and I must confess that it makes me laugh too. (Also see sister site and the links to other "whacked up" sites.)

A huge site featuring lots of links: information on cats, dogs, horses, birds, fish and pets generally.

Kokos' Goldfish World supplies care information for goldfish and fancy fish: nice photos, lots of links and very useful in spite of the horrid black wallpaper.

This is the site for London and Whipsnade Zoos: adopt an animal, become a volunteer, get the latest news, how to get there, prices and opening times, events and forthcoming attractions.

Nicks Spiders has a links to Nicks Insects and both sites are fascinating, with some nice links and loads of information. Very funny and useful.

The Rabbit Charity tells you everything you need to know about caring for rabbits, including veterinary advice, adopt-a-bunny, a kids corner and more rabbit links than you ever dreamed possible.

You can also adopt a rabbit here. Or even give one up for adoption if you have to. You can also ask a vet about diet and behaviour, and explore a huge list of links.

Lots of info and links about gerbils.

This rescue charity site has articles, information, advice, photos, links and contacts.

The Quarantine Abolition Fighting Fund site has everything you need to know about quarantine, rabies and passports for pets. It also has lots of useful links to sites on the same subjects.

This Battersea Dogs Home site is marvellously packed with information including; lost and found dogs; their new kennels near Brands Hatch; the BBC; and how to help them.

The Peoples Dispensary for Sick Animals also gives masses of information, good links, and is looking for volunteers.

The National Canine Defence League has everything you need to know about looking after a dog, as well as information on their work and sections advising on how to adopt a dog.

News of the campaigns and info on how to join.

A glorious site devoted to polar bears and featuring some wonderful photos and lots of links.

GeoZoo is an outstanding resource with information on everything from bats to whales with kangaroos, monkeys, elephants and rabbits thrown in for good measure.

The Asiatic Lion Information Centre has links to lots of zoos, information on conservation, news and lovely photos of lions.

Another pretty silly site listing the meaning of your pet's name along with suggestions for naming a pet and the top ten most popular names for dogs and cats. (I had great fun here.)

Now if you surf through that little lot, you'll have found your way round a gigantic amount of information, and also had a good laugh on the way.

But if you still have an unanswered question, try the web's very own butler. Yes, go to:

Just type in your question and follow the suggestions made by Jeeves. If he doesn't quite understand, you'll have to phrase it another way but eventually he'll get what you're on about and give you the answer.

Even if you haven't got a computer at home, you can surf the net. Internet cafes, local libraries, evening classes and telecoms shops all offer internet services and for a few pounds, you too could be out there zooming through information, shops, services, jokes, chat and charity work.

So when you've finished combing the cat, why not give it a try? You never know, you might enjoy yourself more than you think.




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