How much do we really know about our best pet friends? The Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter (FAAS) shares these fun facts with you:

Scientists believe that dogs have been living with people for over 36,000 years. Cats are estimated to have been our companions for only the past 12,000 years.

About 230 dogs have lived in the White House, but only 18 cats. The first cat was Abraham Lincoln's tabby.

The largest cat breed is the Ragdoll. The Singapura is the smallest. The largest known dog was an English Mastiff. The smallest was a (you guessed it!) Chihuahua.

The poodle's haircut originated to improve its swimming abilities with the pom-poms left in place to keep their joints warm.

The wild cheetah can run 70 mph and is considered to be the fastest mammal in the world. Greyhounds are the fastest dog and can reach speeds of up to 45 mph for short periods.

Dogs can warn epileptics that they are about to have a seizure. And a dog's brain is so good at detecting smell and movement that it knows what part of the home you are in, what you had for breakfast and whether you have a cut on your hand. You can't hide anything from your dog!

The nose pad of a cat is ridged in a pattern that is as unique as a fingerprint of a human. No two are alike. Your cat can see up to 120 feet away and its peripheral vision is about 285 degrees.

Each year, American households spend approximately $4 billion on pet food, and this is $1 billion more than what is spent on baby food.


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And some final trivia tidbits -- the American Animal Association estimates that 53 percent of owners take Fido and Fluffy on vacation; 25 percent of dogs in the United States sleep on their owners' beds; and it is thought that kittens begin dreaming when they are 1 week old.

PET OF THE WEEK: Baby is a gorgeous longhair tortoiseshell cat. She is 5 years old and here with her mom Keetchoon.

DOG ALLEY: The Alameda shelter has 18 available dogs. NAHLA is a black-and-tan Doberman-and-Rottweiler mix, about 1 year old and smart. BUBBLEGUM is a little white-and-tan Parson Russell Terrier that is about 5 years old.

CAT LAIR: The Alameda shelter has 32 available cats. MERIDA is a 2-month-old orange tabby snuggly girl. She and her brothers Hamish and Fergus are here waiting to meet you.

RABBIT ROW: HOLLY is a 4-year-old brown-and-white mini-lop.

Upcoming FAAS events

Maddie's Pet Adoption Days -- 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the shelter and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Bay Fair Mall on June 1-2. All feline and canine adoptions are free the entire weekend.

Second Annual Wiggle Waggle Walk -- 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., June 15, Harbor Bay Ferry Terminal, Alameda. Register at http://faas2ndannualwigglewagglewalk.eventbrite.com.

Mim Carlson, Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter's executive director, is filling in while Linda Treml is away. Visit the Alameda Animal Shelter at 1590 Fortmann Way at Grand Street, call the shelter at 510-337-8565 or visit petharbor.com to view the animals.