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Wayside Waifs Pet Behavior Helpline

The Animal Planet channel features a pet psychic named Sonya who talks to misbehaving parrots, goats, dogs, cats and alligators. Apparently, the animals aren't annoyed by her haughty accent or patronizing tone -- they tell her everything. ("Did another bird pass on recently? A smaller one?" Sonya recently asked the owners of a despondent turkey. "He says he's upset about that.") For those ungifted in interspecies communication, there's Wayside Waifs' Pet Behavior Helpline. The animal shelter set up the free service two years ago to help pet owners deal with behavioral problems that would otherwise land animals in shelters. "We wanted to work with the public to help solve the behavior problem before they get to the frustration level and stress level where they just dump their animal at a shelter," says behavior consultant Darice Heishman. Callers leave a voice-mail message, and the consultant returns the call within a day. Heishman works with the pet owner to establish reasons for -- and solutions to -- the problem behavior, whether it's aggression, digging, destructive chewing or humping the dinner guests. She'll follow up to see whether her suggestions worked.

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