Sunday, October 31, 2010

Some Rights Flow From Responsibilities

Have you ever noticed that people who abuse dogs can conjugate all of their rights, but none of their responsibilities?

Take this paragraph from The New York Times article on Proposition B, the puppy mill responsibility law on the ballot this week in Missouri:

“I am an American; I have a right to raise dogs,” said Joe Overlease, president of the Professional Kennel Club of Missouri, who owns a large breeding operation of cocker spaniels in southern Missouri that was cited by the state this year for overcrowding and inadequate shelter. “I have a right to bark at the moon if I want.”

How come it's so hard for people to recognize that in the world of dogs, rights flow from responsibilities?

You have rights only to the extent you provide food, shelter, water, sanitation, heat, cooling, exercise, room, mental stimulation, and medical attention for your charges.
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Halloween Costumes Perfect for Jack Russells


If you don't get this Halloween costume, then you need to read this post and then see this one.
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Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Rally for Sanity With a Bad Sound System


I went to the "Rally to Restore Sanity and the March to Keep Fear Alive" event on the mall today.

Lots and lots of people (the official estimates are between 200,000 and 250,000), many great signs, some fun costumes (it being Halloween and all), and pretty horrible acoustics.  Honestly, I could not hear a thing.


Best sign of the day.

Oh well. It was great fun, and the weather was perfect. After biking down to the Mall (a late start!) the wife and I biked back to Arlington, and then went to a movie, and had meatloaf for dinner. A peaceful day.



Find Waldo


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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Puppies!


Jan D. with two fine-looking little pups coming to America from Belgium.  The bitch is on the left, the dog is on the right.  Another dog is going back to Europe, so it's not all a one-way trip.
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Chasing the Vermin

In lieu of anything about dogs, I leave you with this clip about the recent $750 million settlement with GlaxoSmithKline. 

The whistleblower in this case made $96 million, and as I note 100% of this award was paid for by GlaxoSmithKline.    The Government hits companies with up to triple damages in these case, and over $15 is returned to the U.S. taxpayer for ever $1 invested in prosecutions and investigations.  In case you wondered what I do for a living, this is it.  


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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Teddy Roosevelt's Dog Skip


Skip with Roosevelt on bear hunting trip. Skip liked to ride.

Today is Teddy Roosevelt's 152 birthday, and so I am going to put up some posts celebrating the life and dogs of one of our nation’s greatest presidents.

First up is this picture of Skip, presented to Roosevelt by John Goff during his bear-hunting trip with Goff and his hounds.  Check this link out for more pictures of Skip, hounds, bears and Roosevelt on the trip

For the record, the dog known as the "Teddy Roosevelt Terrier" has nothing to do with Teddy Roosevelt, Skip or anything else other than dog dealing. The story here appears to be that folks with short-legged rat terriers wanted to show their dogs in the UKC, and so they looked back in history to find a famous American dog they could claim as the progenitor of "their" breed.

In fact, as the picture above makes clear, Skip had long legs and was basically a black and tan with a tail that was docked too short. He did not have erect ears (as most Teddy Roosevelt and Rat Terriers do today), and the only white on his body was a blaze on his chest. In short, he has nothing to do with the so-called "Teddy Roosevelt Terrier"!

The Teddy Roosevelt Terrier is described in Wikipedia as being a hunting dog dog, but this is nonsense. The Teddy Roosevelt terrier is a back-of-the-pet-shop mutt that has been promoted to a "breed" in the UKC where cocking up fabricated terrier histories and new terrier breeds have become a kind of sport.

Of course dog dealers have been doing this sort of thing since the beginning, so it's no surprise that it is being done now.

As in all things dogs, caveat emptor!
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Coffee and Provocation

Get me a double espresso!

Real Hunters Don't Shoot Pets or Farm Stock:
That seems a fairly simple idea, but in fact that's what a lot of folks are doing.  It's called a "canned hunt," and from where I sit it encompasses quite a bit more than Ted Nugent shooting farm goats.   As Ted Williams' notes in Audubon magazine, "There’s no 'thrill of the chase' if there’s no chase. But with canned hunts, there’s no effort either, and that’s the selling point."  If folks are a glutton for punishment, they can read my musings on the same topic here.

The Return of the British Otter: 
In Great Britain, the Otter has gone from near-extinction in 1970 to biologically maximum attainable populations — limited only by their own territorial nature — in rivers across England.  As I have said many times before, if we will only take the boot off of Mother Nature's neck, she will rebound on her own.  In this case, the boot was pollution.

Slo-Mo Elephant Seal Battle: 
Check it out.

An Hermaphrodite Dog?  
Yep, it apparently occurs once in a blue-moon.  Over at the Cold Wet Nose blog, Beverley Cuddy reports on a one-year-old Staffie cross that has been given gender re-assignment surgery and is looking for a home.  George is now Georgie Girl.  In other nonsense, and just for my females readers with a shoe fetish (all women so far as I can tell), check out these jobs. Nice!

Mystery Solved:
Chupacabra's are just coyotes with mange.

Paint the Turbines!
It turns out all the wind turbines are painted the wrong color.  When painted white, they attract bugs, which attracts birds, which results in astounding levels of avian mortality.  The best color to keep both bugs and birds away?  Purple.
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Jack Russell Jack O'Lantern



If you are artistically-minded, get a large pumpkin and carve a nice "Jack O' Lantern" this Halloween (yes, all puns are intended).

Click here for a pretty large pattern to fit a good-sized pumpkin. You can enlarge the picture you see by going to the bottom right of the picture and clicking on the expanding arrows that should appear. This pattern is 800 pixels wide.

Transfer the pattern to the pumpkin by pricking along the lines with a needle.

Carve the yellow parts of the jack very deeply, but not so deeply as to go through the entire pumpkin. The goal is to leave a thin bit of yellow pumpkin flesh which the light will radiate through. You can use the needle to ascertain pumpkin thickness.

If you need a larger or small pattern, simply increase or decrease the pattern size on a Xerox machine.
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Smile for the Camera



This is a Goliath Tigerfish caught by Jermey Wade in the Congo River while filming his show "River Monsters."

Goliath Tigerfish are every bit as dangerous as they look. Says Wade: "If you aren't careful it could easily take your finger off or worse."
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Are You Dosing Your Dog With Estrogen?

Dogs with too much estrogen or the
worst Halloween costume ever?
The New York Times reports that hormone creams used by women can expose pets to side effects, even in spayed and neutered dogs and cats.

Veterinarians around the country are reporting a strange phenomenon: spayed dogs and cats, even some puppies and kittens, are suddenly becoming hormonal.

In female pets, the symptoms resemble heat: swollen genitals, bloody discharge and behavioral problems. Male animals are showing up with swollen breast tissue and hair loss. Standard treatments and even repeated operations have had no effect.

Now vets have identified the culprit. The pets were all owned by women who used hormone creams on their hands, arms and legs to counter symptoms of menopause. Animals who licked or cuddled their owners, or rubbed up against their legs, were being inadvertently exposed to doses of hormone drugs.
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Coch-Y-Bonddu Groundhog Fly... and Books

Groundhog fur Vermont Caddis fly.

For those looking for an excellent assortment of dog and field sport books, I always recommend Coch-Y-Bonddu Books in Wales -- excellent prices, good service and a nice web site.


Coch-y-Bonddu dry fly.


Some folks may wonder about the name -- what, exactly, is a Coch-y-Bonddu?

It's a type of dry fly that looks very much like what we would normally think of as a "caddis dry fly".

The good news for those of you who fish, tie flies, and hunt groundhogs (all three of you!) is that groundhog fur is a very superiour fly-tying material (as is border terrier fur!).

For a guide to tying four basic groundhog-fur dry flies, including a "Vermont Caddis," click here.
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Cruciate Ligament Injuries in Dogs

Reposted from April 2008.
Cruciate ligament problems are more common with big dogs than small, and with dogs that run and jump (think Frisbee) rather than those who merely walk around in yard and kitchen.

Keeping a dog lean, and not obese, can help prevent injury.

Small dogs (under 20 pounds) will often regain almost normal function without surgery (although they may develop some arthritis).

Finally, with use of anti-inflamatories and time, a lot of dogs will recover on their own. And even if they don't, a limping dog may not necessarily be in pain. The idea that every problem needs a solution is probably a concept we need to disenthrall ourselves of. This, of course, is not something you are likely to hear from a veterinarian.

An $80 Pet's $12,000 Bill

A Human Jock's Ailment Plagues Pooches

This Joint Problem Makes Dogs, Owners, Weak In the Knees

By Kevein Helliker, Wall Street Journal April 11, 2006; Page A1

A dog named Paddi was chasing a cat through a suburban Seattle neighborhood when suddenly she pulled up lame. So tender was Paddi's hind leg that her owner, physician Kevin Bulley, had to carry her home.

The diagnosis turned out to be a ruptured cruciate ligament, an injury that Dr. Bulley, a family practitioner, had associated only with humans. Cruciate ligaments hold in place the parts of the knee, and wrong turns on the athletic field often injure these cords.

The cost of fixing Paddi's knee was about $3,000. She had barely recovered from that surgery when the cruciate ligament in her other knee ruptured, prompting a second $3,000 procedure -- all for a mutt that Dr. Bulley and his family had adopted and grown to love. "She's the most expensive free dog I've ever heard of," says the physician.

Being an athlete is a well-known risk factor for cruciate-ligament injury. A larger -- but lesser-known -- risk factor is being a dog. The number of dog knees undergoing cruciate-ligament repair each year in America is estimated to now exceed 1.2 million. That's about five times the number of human procedures -- even though humans outnumber dogs in the U.S. by nearly five to one. And it's not as though dogs have more knees: The joint on their front legs are elbows that aren't vulnerable to the problem.

Dog owners often have no idea that this danger exists. Pennsylvania engineer Martin Yester, for example, investigated the medical history of his yellow Labrador, Sarah, before purchasing her as a puppy. Knee risks didn't come up -- until her cruciate ligament ruptured in December. Even though certain larger breeds have been shown to be more susceptible, "nobody talks about knee problems," says Mr. Yester.

The extraordinary rate of failure in dog knees is mystifying even to veterinarians. Is the prevalence of such canine injuries rising -- or are people less willing to let their pets hobble on three legs? "It's a bit of a mystery as to the cause," says Steven Budsberg, a veterinary surgeon who is director of clinical research at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine.

Today, cruciate-ligament repairs are the most common surgical procedures for injured or diseased dogs. And inside veterinary medicine, controversy is raging over the best treatments.

A relatively new technique, called tibial plateau leveling osteotomy, or TPLO, involves breaking and resetting the tibia, the long bone below the knee, in such a way as to obviate the need for a cruciate ligament. The surgery costs from about $2,500 to $5,000 per knee. That's about twice the cost of the conventional procedure, which like the human equivalent involves constructing a replacement ligament.

Many respected academic veterinary experts believe that TPLO offers a faster and fuller return of function. But published proof of that theory is lacking, prompting some to avoid the procedure.
For instance, surgeons don't perform it at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, says Gail Smith, chairman of the department of clinical research. He calls TPLO "a fashionable procedure."

Still, TPLO now is used for an estimated 50% of cruciate-ligament procedures in the U.S., and by all accounts that percentage is growing.

Such treatments have helped fuel a doubling of the number of veterinary surgeons in the U.S. in the last decade to 1,219 from 660.

It is also the largest factor in a near doubling of the average annual cost of veterinary surgery visits -- to $574 in 2004 from $289 in 2000, says the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association.

Like Dr. Bulley, hundreds of thousands of Americans are digging deep into their pockets each year for a surgery most never realized a dog might need. A November article in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association estimated that Americans spent $1.32 billion to fix dog knees in 2003.

Without surgery, only 20% of dogs will regain normal function, says Dr. Michael Conzemius, an Iowa State University veterinary surgeon and a co-author of the November JAVMA article.

Even if Americans increasingly consider dogs to be part of the family, health insurers don't. According to the pet products industry and insurers, fewer than 3% of dog owners have purchased a medical policy for their pet.

A spokesman for the largest pet insurer, Veterinary Pet Insurance of Brea, Calif., says that cruciate-ligament problems in dogs accounted for nearly $4 million in claims in 2004, and that no other condition had a higher cost per claim.

One claimant was David Wright, a San Jose software engineer who several years ago bought two Labrador Retriever mixes for $80 each. The male, Sage, tore the cruciate ligaments in both of his knees in 2002. "The $80 dog became the $6,000 dog," says Mr. Wright.

Then the female, Kenya, wrecked both of her knees. Of the $12,000 that Mr. Wright spent on those surgeries, he says Veterinary Pet Insurance reimbursed him about $5,000. "Thank God I had that insurance," says Mr. Wright, adding that reimbursement for other, non-knee-related medical expenses already had exceeded the premiums he'd paid.

Unlike human knees, dog knees don't lock -- their back legs are always bent. That means the ligaments of the joint are tense whenever the animal is standing.

This helps explain why canine cruciate tears often occur over time in middle-aged dogs, while human ruptures can happen at any age, and almost always result from an acute twisting or turning of the joint. As in humans, the dog knee contains two cruciate ligaments, and the front-most ligament is likeliest to tear. In humans this is called the anterior ligament, in dogs the cranial ligament.

Few warnings exist for puppy purchasers or dog owners. The Web sites of breeding clubs typically make no mention of cruciate-ligament injuries while offering warnings and advice about screening for hip problems in dogs. The Web site of PetSmart Inc., the nation's largest retailer of pet supplies and services, offers advice about problematic hips in dogs, but not knees.

Diane Dahm, an orthopedic surgeon at the Mayo Clinic renowned for her knowledge of cruciate-ligament troubles in humans, says she isn't familiar with similar canine issues. "I'm aware of hip dysplasia in dogs," she says.

In fact, hips troubles aren't as common as canine knee problems. But hip problems have received attention in part because of a proven genetic component. Puppy buyers can demand certification of a family history free of hip dysplasia, a debilitating condition in which the ball and socket don't fit well together.

Some research suggests that cruciate-ligament tears also bear a genetic component. There always had been anecdotal evidence: For instance, Mr. Wright's two affected dogs are half siblings. An article in the January issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association identified a gene that appears to predispose Newfoundlands to cruciate tears. Eventually, this discovery could lead to a test that would identify carriers of that gene, ideally enabling breeders to screen out problematic dogs.

Even now, some doctors say purchasers of puppies belonging to the larger, more at-risk breeds -- Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds and such -- should ask about family history of cruciate-ligament disease. "Unfortunately, there's little you can do at this point except ask about it," says Dr. Conzemius.

For many pet owners, the thought of spending thousands of dollars on a dog knee remains laughable. "I'd never spend more than $300 on a dog, no matter how much I loved it," says Roger Holwick, whose eastern Kansas farm is home to eight dogs.

The fastest, an Australian Shepherd, has a bum leg that Mr. Holwick never considered getting fixed. "She rules the roost, and she doesn't even know she has a disability," he says.

Blue Whale Skull



That's a Blue Whale Skull.    Just a small reminder that we had several hundred Blue Whales frolicking off the coast of California back in September.
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BBC 1 Animal Humor

Flying Monkeys!



Ever since I saw The Wizard of Oz on TV at age 5, I have not liked flying monkeys. This fellow is kind of cute, however.  He's a squirrel monkey who lives with two pet macaws at a countryside hotel in San Agustin, Colombia, and the bird routinely carries the monkey to the tops of nearby trees.
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Monday, October 25, 2010

At the Tipping Point



Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point. - C. S. Lewis
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Born Again on FaceBook?

A very nice Christian Woman posted "a funny" on Facebook today.  She wrote:

Regarding the Mosque being build near Ground Zero. I say let them build it. But then, across the street we should put a topless bar called "You Mecca Me Hot" and next to that a gay bar called "The Turban Cowboy" and next to that a Pork Rib restaurant called "Iraq-O-Ribs" and next to that a check cashing place called "Iran out of Money" then we'll see who's tolerant. Copy and paste if you agree.

I then "liked" the funny, and posted my own comment:

Welcome to New York, where tolerance is expected.   And for the record, I do not think the head of this mosque is going to have any problem with any of that.   But a church? They will FREAK OUT. Just say "God damn these fools that surround us," and some Christians will have a melt down, because "the Lord's" name is being used in vain.... as if God had a name, or cared what we called it.

A quick Freak Out then ensued:

Gosh Patrick - I guess I'd have to say I fall into that Christian category who freaks out hearing God's name in vain! I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to remove your comment.

At which point I provided a little Christian instruction:

How funny. You can sling contempt for other folk's God, but not your own? You can mock their ethos and institutions, but not your own? The Bible talks about that, doesn't it? See Matthew 7:3-5. And it also talks about what you should do to live a Christian life (See Matthew 7:12 or Luke 6:31). Just saying....

No names here, because none of this is personal.

But if we are to be Christians, then let us act like Christians.

In Matthew 7:3-5 we find:

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.

And in Matthew 7:12 and Luke 6:31, we find the Golden Rule:

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

That is all....
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Let Loose the Dogs of War!


From Wired magazine comes this little nugget about cost-effectiveness in the War on Terror:

Drones, metal detectors, chemical sniffers, and super spycams -- forget ‘em. The leader of the Pentagon’s multibillion military task force to stop improvised bombs says there’s nothing in the U.S. arsenal for bomb detection more powerful than a dog’s nose.

Despite a slew of bomb-finding gagdets, the American military only locates about 50 percent of the improvised explosives planted in Afghanistan and Iraq. But that number jumps to 80 percent when U.S. and Afghan patrols take dogs along for a sniff-heavy walk. “Dogs are the best detectors,” Lieutenant General Michael Oates, the commander of the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization, told a conference yesterday, National Defense reports. That’s not the greatest admission for a well-funded organization — nearly $19 billion since 2004 [funding DARPA’s budget since 2004], according to a congressional committee — tasked with solving one of the military’s wickedest problems.

No word yet on whether dogs are more fiscally-efficient at reducing IED attacks than removing all our troops from Iraq, stopping all funding to Pakistan, and ending all economic and military support for Israel.
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A Bumper Sticker Can Tell You Quite a Lot



This is the bumper of my friend Teddy Moritz, who has driven around New Jersey for 20 years with this creed on her various trucks and cars.

She says no one has ever flipped her off or said an unkind word about it.

And this is New Jersey.

Think about that for a moment.

In 20 years, no vehicle vandalism, no flipped fingers, no harassment.

And yet, to hear some folks say it, we are supposed to be cringing cowards living in fear of "the antis".

Not me, and not Teddy!

In fact, as I have noted before, most of those stoking the fear of "the antis" do not hunt themselves, and many are in such poor physical shape, and with such a tenuous grasp on wild places and wild life, it can be said they are incapable of hunting.

What they are capable of, however, is stoking the fires of paranoia to raise cash and manipulate people into a stampede. 

How do you make a stampede?  Well first, you make a herd, and then you make a lot of noise and maybe flap some blankets, and then....

It's an added benefit that those who seek to manipulate us all, can use this contrived fear of "the antis" as their personal (and very convenient) reason to never post a picture of themselves or their dogs with quarry

They hunt a lot, they will tell you, but NO there are no pictures of them with real game and real dogs in the field. 

"Never thought to bring a camera."

Right. 

And in the next 10 years, there will still be no pictures, because they have still never thought to bring a camera.

For these people, there's another sticker often seen on the bumpers of those who hunt their own dogs: "When the tailgate drops, the bullshit stops".


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Urban Camouflage?



I took this photo out the window of my car on the way to work.

It shows a mental patient abandoned to the streets (aka the "homeless") pushing a long train of "stuff".

In this case, however, we have the bizarre addition of two trees being added to the mix. These appear to be office plants -- Ficus benjamina.
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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Heels Over Head

The joy in a racing Jack Russell Terrier,
as seen at the Virginia Gold Cup Races.


Speaking of Dogs


I went to a series of lectures at the National Sporting Library and got a chance to say thanks to Harriet Ritvo for writing her great books and also to meet and talk a bit to James Serpell who was on the same Nightline segment as I was, and who was also quoted in the HSUS cover story on pedigree dog health.

A odd lecture was given by a woman who started off saying that she could not bear to see her own dogs kill anything, so she engaged her own sighthounds in lure coursing. Now, to be clear, I fully realize that coursing, shooting, digging, and hunting are not everyone's cup of tea, and I never tell folks they have to hunt in order to have happy, health dogs. But really, who starts a lecture off at the National Sporting Library, whose reason for existence is fox hounds, by telling the audience they recoil at hunting? A bit odd.  The lecture fell a bit father down the stairs when the presenter did not seem to know the difference between herding and livestock-guarding breeds, and slipped a bit farther when she suggested an ancient Greek carving showing an adult dog play-bowing before a puppy was two dog fightings. The basement grade was reached when she put up a list of sighthounds that included the Basenji (sighthounds in the Congo forest?), the Rhodesian Ridgeback (a pariah dog crossed with a Fox Hound), and the Inca Orchid Dog (a dog created as bed warmer). A small suggestion for the National Sporting Library: Maybe a lecture on sighthounds should be done by someone who actually hunts their dogs, and not by an AKC theorist?

Ah well, the other lectures were great!

Serpell detailed the origin of dogs (he noted that all the tales told were little more than "Just So" stories), and he stuck to science and common sense which was a breath of fresh air.

Emma Griffin gave a pretty good lecture on "Hunting With Hounds and the Pursuit of Status in Early Modern England." I enjoyed this lecture, but Ms. Griffin's research seems to have largely focused on the Medieval period, and to stop at the start of the early Victorian era. She never mentioned the Enclosure Movement at all, and seems to think trapping and poisoning fox is the same as "hunting."  Even when I asked a gentle question about vulpicide, she failed to return the volley in any meaningful way, continuing to confuse trapping and poisoning with hunting, and signaling that she did not fully understand the scope of the Enclosure Movement or its role in shaping hunting conflicts and the lands that were being hunted over in rural England.  For that part of the story, I have pasted up chapter one of American Working Terriers. Ms. Griffin's own book on the history of hunting in England is entitled Blood Sport: Hunting in Britain since 1066 .   I am waiting for that book to show up in the used market ($50 is a bit rich for me to shell out for a history book), but I cannot help noting that it carries an unnecessarily loaded title.  "Blood Sports" is the term universally used by the anti-hunting set.  

Harriet Ritvo's lecture was quite good and she noted, in particular, the decline of the Bulldog from healthy and nimble animal to wheezing mutant under the fashionable tenure of the Kennel Club. I tossed out a question about the future of the Bulldog.   She had heard that the UK Kennel Club had changed its standards, but she had not yet assimilated the fact that those standards have only barely changed, and that they have not (yet) resulted in any meaningful change in either breeding or ribbon-giving at Kennel Club shows. As for the AKC's embrace of Bulldogs and their promotion to the #10 slot within the AKC, there was no mention at all.   No worries; you cannot present the entire history of the dog in 30 minutes, and her excellent lecture was supposed to be centered on the Victorian period, not current developments.  Full score here!

Only at the end of the day did I realize that the only lecturer who seemed to actually hunt with his or her dogs was Benjamin Hardaway (the last lecturer of the day), who detailed the various strains and types of American foxhounds, as well as his own foxhound breeding program, which started in the 1950s. This man is clearly a font of knowledge, and someone really should do an oral history of how the rise in the U.S. deer population plagued the sport of fox hunting in the southern states. Interesting stuff!

Special thanks to Sarah B. for driving me out to Middleburg, and a hat tip to the hard-hunting Teddy Moritz who I was delighted to see again.  Also a nod to perhaps the most interesting person I have met in the last six months -- Dr. Anita H. who is a black, female, horse-riding, civil-war-history-loving reenactor.   A fun lady!  I look forward to attending her lecture in D.C. on November 26th! 
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Fox hunting, Virginia, 1924....
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Solomon Burke :: None Of Us Are Free



Solomon Burke with the Blind Boys of Alabama. Solomon Burke died on October 10th.
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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Skunks: When You May Need to Breathe for Two

For all the discussion and advice written about terriers skunked underground, it's odd that almost no one talks about the most common emergency, and how to address it.

That problem is lack of oxygen.

This is not a small point. Despite what has been written, most underground skunk sprayings do not end in tragedy -- they end in stink. The ones that end in tragedy most often end in immediate respiratory failure.

First, a little background. If a dog is skunked underground, most dogs will manage to get out of the hole on their own, and most will do fine afterwards.

Only a small percentage of dogs that are skunked underground express evidence of skunk toxic shock two or three days after the event. These dogs are animals whose kidneys are having trouble pushing the toxin out of their system, and there is some indication that this problem has a genetic component, as it seems to run in some terrier lines.

An underground skunking is a serious thing. But -- and this point is too rarely made -- if your dog dies, it's most likely to die either underground or right at the hole.

What you do immediately at the hole, then, is pretty important. And yet, on this issue, there is too often silence.

A Quick Review: Most skunked dogs die because the dog cannot get out of the hole quick enough and the dog is overwhelmed by skunk spray.

Skunk spray is pretty toxic stuff, as it contains a mixture of thioacetates and thiols (the stuff that stinks), mercaptans, and almost pure sulphuric acid (the stuff that will burns a dog's eyes and leave blisters on its snout).

If your dog is able to exit the ground quickly and on its own, you are likely to be in good shape. Skunk spray does not kill except underground, and though a dog may get chemical burning of the outer layers of the cornea, application of Mycitracin eye ointment, a running dose of antibiotics like cephalexin, and a week's rest away from the other dogs, will probably put everything right.

No dog has ever been rendered permanently blind by skunk spray alone, and all a vet will do is stain the eye a lot and bill you for the trouble. Staining a cornea does not promote healing -- it generally delays it. If you focus on preventing infection, the eye will take care of itself.

If your dog is pulled limp from the ground, and it is not breathing, your problems are very serious, and immediate action is required. What has happened is obvious -- your dog has succumbed to the skunk fumes and passed out. In fact, the dog may have more than passed out -- it may have suffocated due to the lack of oxygen in the sette.

If your dogs has passed out, or if it has suffocated and stopped breathing, you need to administer immediate mouth-to-snout artificial respiration.

Here are the basic steps:
  • Put the dog on its side on the ground, or cradle it in your arms, making sure the neck is straight and there is nothing in the mouth or throat obstructing breathing.
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  • Close the dog's mouth entirely, with your thumb and top fingers holding the snout LIKE A BEER CAN.
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  • Put your entire mouth over the NOSE of the dog, and puff a short breath into your dog's nose through its nostrils. Remember your dog is small -- you are not trying to blow up a hot water bottle, you are trying to get air into its lungs.
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  • Blow air into the dog's nose four or five times, and then release the snout and massage the chest at the point where the front elbows of the dog normally rest against its body. A terrier's chest should compress about a half inch (i.e. about half the width of your thumb).
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  • Continue to do mouth-to-nose artificial respiration on your dog at a rate of one breath every 3 or 4 seconds (about 15-20 breaths per minute), and do a chest massage/compression between every third or four breath.
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  • Continue doing mouth-to-snout artificial respiration for at least 20 minutes past when the dog stopped breathing.
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  • If the dog starts to breathe on its own, and begins to rally, stop -- a dog coming up out of a fog or comma may be very disoriented and bite, especially if it cannot see well.

If your dog begins to breath on its own, that's obviously a pretty good sign. If the dog is able to stand, let it do so. It may vomit, and if it does so, that is not a bad thing. If the dog starts to roll around on the ground to get the stink off of it, count yourself lucky.

You are not in the clear yet, however. Stake your dog far from the hole and in a comfortable location. Your goal right now should be to get the dog fully hydrated and urinating. The reason for this is simple -- skunk toxin is most easily expressed through the kidneys, and the more water you can get into the dog's system, the more the dog will pee and the less likely the kidneys are to shut down.

If your dog is alert and resistant (a good sign), but not interesting in drinking water, try to pour a slug or two of water down its throat. If you have an eyewash bottle with you in the field (and you should), use this to jet water down the dog's throat. Go slow -- but load up the dog with as much water as you can.

Every 10 minutes, check the color of your dog's gums. If the gums are getting pale or white, that's a very bad sign -- it means your dog is growing rapidly anemic as the skunk toxin chelates and explodes the dog's red blood cells (i.e. Heinz body anemia). You need to get the dog to a vet quickly. There are a limited number of things a vet can do, but here is the general protocol:

  • The dog needs to be fully hydrated. That means a simple IV with a bag of lactated ringers solution. Putting an IV on a dog is not difficult -- a hydrating IV can be administered subcutaneous and in the field. In fact, having a lactated ringers kit with you in the field is probably a good idea if you dig a lot (gotta order one!).
    .
  • Mucomyst (the same medication used to treat cats for Tylenol overdose) will help clear toxins from the dog’s system.
    .
  • An oxygen tent may be needed in extreme cases.


A final note: most veterinarians know nothing about skunks, skunk toxic shock or bite wounds
. What this means is that if you are working your terriers a lot, both you and your dogs will be better off if you learn to do basic veterinary care yourself.

In your vehicle, you should have a well-thought out veterinary box with antibiotics and VetBond (or SuperGlue), ProvIodine, triple-antibiotic ointment, a space blanket, a large irrigation syringe, an extra gallon of distilled water, a razor blade for trimming away fur, a canine nail cutter, gauze, tape, Mycitracin eye ointment, benadryl (for yellowjacket and copperhead snake bites), and a muzzle. My vet kit also includes a hypodermic set, a Percocet-5 (with dosage notes), a rectal thermometer (added after a black widow Spider run-in), a veterinary stapler, quick stop styptic powder, and a small bottle of epinephrine (with dosage notes). In the field I always have several small squirt bottles with distilled water in them -- useful to wash out an eye, irrigate a wound, or administer oral hydration to a skunked dog.

Working a terrier is not risk-free for the dog. Of course, neither is the drive to the farm or a dog show. All things have risks. That said, your job -- as owner -- is to reduce those risks as much as possible. That means having a pretty complete vet box with you in the field as well as a credit card, a cell phone, and the number of a near-by vet.

Above all, however, it means reading, researching and committing to memory some basic knowledge to avoid mistakes. One of those bits of basic knowledge is how to administer canine respiratory assistance.

As for getting rid of skunk stink, well good luck with that!   Skunk stink lasts and lasts because the thioacetates in skunk spray break down into stinky thiols over time, resulting in the stink coming back, especially after the dog gets wet. The thiols can only be eliminated by repeated application of a soap-and-oxygenater combination, such as peroxide and hand soap. No matter what you do, the stink will be with you for 30 days.

For more information on skunk spray odor remedies (and a little more information on toxic-shock syndrome in terriers), see >> http://www.terrierman.com/skunk.htm
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Why Skunk Stink Lasts and Lasts and Lasts



The stuff in skunk spray that stinks is a series of odorous compounds called thiols. Bonded sulfur and hydrogen atoms in thiols attach to the same nose receptors that sniff out hydrogen sulfide ("swamp gas"). Human noses are highly sensitive to thiols and can detect the smell at just 10 parts per billion.

Skunk spray also contains compounds called thioacetates, which slowly break down into thiols. When a skunk sprays a terrier, thioacetates in the spray (and absorbed into the skin of the terrier) break down and replace the old thiols, resulting in the skunk odor reappearing on the dog.

Water seems to rapidly speed the process of thioacetates breaking down into thiols, but part of the release seems to be time-sensitive. Getting a dog wet repeatedly over several days will not "drain off" all the thioacetates.

No matter what you do, it will take about a month or even 6 weeks before skunk odor disappears off a well-dosed dog.

For more information on skunk spray odor remedies and toxic-shock syndrome in terriers sprayed by skunks underground, see >> http://www.terrierman.com/skunk.htm
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Hello Ladies!


CBS - 60 Years of Actresses from Philip Scott Johnson on Vimeo.

Very cool even if nothing to do with anything ... 60 years of American women on television. Notice how few black, Hispanic, Asian, mixed-race, or older women there are and were. And yet, this clip still makes me happy as at least these ladies are lifted up and celebrated. And the last face? Of course. The seal, the great, the only.
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Your Film Sucks Because... Pick One


Undated form rejection from Essanay Film Manufacturing Company (which was in existence from 1907-1925).

Someone should do one for blogs.   

I'm pretty sure that on any given day I would get dinged for one, and sometimes multiple, failures.  Ah well.  The richest gold mine in the world is 99 percent dirt!

As for the reason checked above, we would never have West Side Story... or much of Shakespeare for that matter, as so many of his plays were ripped off from Livy's Lives.
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Friday, October 22, 2010

Talk to the Monkey

Jeezus, please stop!

This morning some payola pusher sent me this one:

I work for an online seller of outdoor/hunting gear and equipment that is trying to get more exposure online. I recently stumbled onto your blog and was curious if there is a possibility of getting a text link on your site. If you could help us out, we would be willing to send some cash to your Paypal account.

Please let me know your thoughts.

My thoughts are that I want at least $1 million to sell my soul.

My thoughts are that that no one with a credible service or decent product does business this way.

That is all.
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American Lion


The always amazing Camera Trap Codger (aka Chris Wemmer) has this shot up this morning from one of his camera sets, taken August 12 at 3:46 in the morning. 

Click to enlarge and, as always check out his terrific photo and commentary blog.
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Parkour Pit Bull from the Ukraine



Parkour Pit Bull from the Ukraine.

My dogs have had their own parkour moments, but nothing like this!
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Terrier Work in France

Digging deep in France. All smart and well-organized.

No one has ever wished the hole was a bit smaller around!

A very nice shot of a happy dog coming up!

I posted a little blip on terrier work in Australia yesterday, and I have mentioned terrier work in Germany, China, South Africa and other places in the past.

Here are a few pictures from France, where the work seems to be well-organized, and the dogs in fine fettle.

Terrier work is also done in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, Spain and Italy, as well as Canada, England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland.

Overseas readers -- send a few pictures and a few paragraphs, and we'll post a positive note here! 

Mark Erelli :: Volunteer (produced by Don Was)



I don't chase brands, but there are exceptions.

If a book is printed by Penguin paperback, I take a look.

And if Don Was produced it, I take a listen.

Was will tell you he doesn't do much -- he simply finds these terrific artists and then sets the recording equipment to the factory default and lets the musicians be who they are. He calls it zen-gineering.

This artist here is Mark Erelli.    Don Was writes:

Mark Erelli is a great singer/songwriter/guitarist from Massachusetts with a masters degree in Molecular Biology. He regularly tours with Iris DeMent, Catie Curtis and Lori McKenna. Music critics have lauded his latest album, Hope and Other Casualties.

Regardless of where you fall in the political spectrum, his brand new song, Volunteer, will provoke some consideration.

Yep.

I dare you to listen.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Terrier Work Down Under


A little terrier work from Australia with shovel, cross-bred fox terrier and side-by-side.   The full story, and more pictures, can be found here.  

The good news is that on this farm they have embraced terrier work for species protection and farm balance rather than the dreaded poison 1080.

Faulkner's Feist


I find that some paragraphs need shattering.

A case in point is this one from William Faulkner's The Bear in which he writes of the little bear-hunting terrier named Lion, the chief protagonist of the story.

The words are all Faulkner, but the carriage returns are my own.

Apologies if the addition of space to the text is an irritation, but this is such an intricate piece of work done in such dense rhetorical wood,  that I fear the good bits may get lost if presented too quickly as a whole.


..[A]nd a little dog,

nameless and mongrel and many-fathered,

grown

yet weighing less than six pounds,

who couldn't be dangerous

because there was nothing anywhere much smaller,

not fierce

because that would have been called just noise,

not humble

because it was already too near the ground to genuflect,

and not proud

because it would not have been close enough

for anyone to discern what was casting that shadow,

and which didn't even know it was not going to heaven

since they had already decided it had no immortal soul,

so that all it could be was brave

even though they would probably call that too

just noise.
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A Canine Book Review

Click to enlarge.  Any questions?

Sent by Jemima Harrison of the rescue dog, Pride.
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Explosive Combinations



Gasoline and Matches with Buddy Miller, Emmylou Harris, Shawn Colvin and Patty Griffin.



Gunpowder and Lead with Miranda Lambert.

>

Whiskey Lullaby with Brad Paisley & Alison Krauss.
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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Saving Money and Mind With a New Pup

Terrierman's Top Tips for Saving Sanity and Cash After You Get Your New Dog
________________

This piece appears in the November issue of Dogs Today.
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As a general rule, people spend less time researching and buying a dog than they do buying a new car.

And the result shows – dogs totally unsuited for people’s lifestyles, dogs wreaked by serious health defects, and scores of thousands of dogs abandoned because “the puppy,” which once seemed so simple and sweet, has become “the dog” which eats the couch, craps the rug, and barks to wake the dead.

Of course buying a dog is often a well-planned venture compared to preparing for the arrival of the dog itself. Talk to any owner of a pet store, and they will tell you people walk in everyday, new puppy in arms, without a collar or a clue.

So is there a better way? Do I have useful advice?

I do, and it’s pretty simple stuff designed to save you both money and grief.


1. Use the Internet.

If you are getting a new dog, you are going to need a few things, and it’s best to try to manage down the price, even as you brace yourself for the expense. Items on your list of necessities will include food and water bowls (hard plastic is best), a brush and/or de-matting comb, crates, leashes, a collar, tags, dog toys, and at least one book on puppy care and dog training.

More on some of these items in a second, but Tip Number One is to use the Internet to price shop. Combine items as much as possible to get free shipping. A crate that is $60 at the pet store will be $20 on the Internet, and similar savings will follow down the line.


2. Get more than one dog crate.

A crate is where your dog will sleep at night, where it will be confined when company comes over, and where it will travel when you go to the park, store, or veterinarian.

You will want at least two hard plastic crates; one for the house and one for the car. A car crate protects both the car and dog, and is especially useful with a young, undisciplined dog, which is otherwise likely to distract the driver and cause an accident.

In addition to two plastic crates, give some thought to getting a really large metal collapsible crate where the puppy can stay confined during the hours when you are at work, or when you out are on errands. I have used “X-pen” folding fences for containment in the past, but a large collapsible metal crate serves more uses over time, is impossible for a dog to climb out of, and folds flat for easy storage.


3. Get a simple nylon web leash.

Retractable string leads are inadequate to control even a small dog, are easily chewed through, are almost impossible to affix to a fence or post, and can easily trip you. In short, there ought to be a law against them. You can also skip an expensive leather leash, as a puppy will inevitably use it as a chew toy. Instead, get two 6- or 8-foot web leashes (you will want one for the house and one for the car), and affix a carabiner to each handle so they can be easily clipped to fence, post, or belt, as needed.


4. Get an expandable nylon web collar with a snap closure.

Cheap, expandable nylon web collars with plastic snap closures are better than expensive leather and buckle collars which have to be swapped out several times with a growing dog, and which will rot and fail over time. Coordinate the color of your new nylon web collar and leash, and your young dog will be styling on Day One!


5. Get a slide tag for your dog’s collar.

The “dangle tags” commonly sold at pet stores are made of soft aluminum and will quickly wear out at the hole, only to fall off and be lost forever. Instead, order a stainless-steel slide tag which will lie flat on the collar and never wear out.

Slide tags are made to go on snap-closure adjustable nylon collars or single- or double-thickness flat collars (leather or nylon), depending on which version you order. Slide tags can be ordered from Indigo Collartags at http://www.indigocollartags.com, or Boomerang Tags at http://www.boomerangtags.com.


6. The right dog toys will save shoes and avoid surgeries.

Young dogs like to chew on things, and if you do not provide your young dog with something to teeth on, it will find its own options: electrical cords, shoes, socks, books, cell phones, reading glasses, and even upholstery.

Your dog need toys, but not just any toy will do. Skip plush toys and soft rubber items with squeakers inside them. Your dog will rip these up in no time, and may swallow the pieces, leading to expensive surgery to remove the blockage. Instead, go for two standbys in the world of dog toys: a flat rawhide chew (not a knotted rawhide) and a hard rubber Kong. Flat rawhide pieces will disappear over time, but they are likely to give a young pup several hours of enjoyment before they are fully consumed (though you may need to soften one end in water to get a young pup started and interested). Hard rubber Kong toys will survive even the most aggressive puppy chewers if they are properly sized, and they can be packed with treats and even frozen to provide hours of canine entertainment. Order four or five Kongs, so that two or three are always stuffed and in the freezer.


7. Your weaned puppy cannot control its bowels, so you need to control its access to food and water.

A puppy should stay with its mother until it is at least eight weeks old. After that, a puppy will be weaned, but it will still have strong oral fixations. Unfortunately, a dog under the age of four months cannot control its bowels, and so a very young dog presented with constant food and drink will poop and pee all day long. The result: your puppy will have a constantly soiled pen, and you will feel your dog is never entirely “safe” outside that pen. When “accidents” are routine, tensions increase within the family and resentment toward the dog builds.

A better way to live is to limit your dog’s water and food intake to four times a day with outside potty breaks a few minutes after intake, and again 20 minutes later. The notion that a young dog needs constant access to food and water after eight weeks of age is nonsense. In the wild, fox and wolf dams exit their dens for long periods to hunt, eat, drink, stretch, and socialize. When they come back to the den or rendezvous site, the pups tumble out to feed and defecate. Food and water are NOT provided 24 hours a day.


8. Puppies need boundaries.

Your puppy should not be allowed to roam anywhere and everywhere inside your house or apartment. Your attention will eventually wane, and when that happens a rug will be soiled, an electrical cord chewed, a book ruined, or your puppy will take a tumble down the stairs. Fence up! The good news is that we all have a perfect puppy room available -- the bathroom. Hard-tile floors and surfaces mean the dog has little to wreck, while the limited floor space is easily covered with newspapers. Make sure the toilet lid is down, the shower curtain is up, and towels and toilet paper are out of reach, and the pup will do fine with just a child safety-gate to block the door. Just step over when you need to go!

9. Get a few books, and read them.

No one was born knowing how to raise or train a dog, and YES, there are things to learn. Get a book that gives simple instruction on training a dog to walk on lead, sit, come, stay, and lie down. You want an instruction book here, not a book on training party tricks, a book of stories, a dog trainer’s autobiography, or a broad treatise on dog training theory. A dog only needs to know four or five basic commands to fit well anywhere, and all the training systems will work provided the owner is consistent and works with the dog two or three times a day for a month or two.


10. Walk your dog every day.

Your young dog needs socialization and exercise, and one way to achieve both is to walk your dog at least twice a day, morning and night. It should be said that YOU are walking your dog; it is not walking you. A short leash and a firm walk should signal that your dog is to follow you, not dawdle at the curb sniffing. There is a time and place for sniffing, but you will determine where and when that occurs.


Do I have other simple and practical tips?

Sure, but these will have to wait for another time. A dog is not made in a day!
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Dogs are Not Kids


In Monday's post about dog training 101 and the toxic marketing that is not required, I noted that most dogs are "broken" for the same three reasons:

  • Not enough ACTIVE one-on-one time with the owner (including real exercise and long walks);
  • No consistency, and;
  • A confusion, by the owner, that the dog is a child.

A reader wrote to ask:

Could you explain your comment about confusing a dog with a child?

It seems to me that raising a dog to be a polite member of society and raising a child to be a polite member of society take basically the same skills. Adequate exercise and consistency in the rules are certainly the foundations of both a well behaved child and a well behaved dog.


Well yes, I can explain.

Lets start with reading the piece again, and paying particular attention to the fact that I note that dogs and humans are similar in many ways:

Dogs, like humans, are pack predators and scavengers that operate within a loose social hierarchy. Like humans, they have their own language, and like humans they learn best when instruction is clear and consistent and when it comes after a "recess" period involving physical exercise.

Like humans, dogs operate for rewards, but they also shy away from adverse consequences. Like humans learning the alphabet, dogs can learn to string small bits of knowledge together to form entire sentences of instruction, but first they have to learn the vowels and consonants.


That said (and I have said it!), dogs are not children.

As I responded in the comments, putting a bit more of a point on it:

A dog is a DOG.

Canis lupus familiaris.

It is NOT a "fur baby."

It does not speak English. It speaks DOG.

You cannot warn a dog about consequences, or explain to them why you are taking away their allowance.

A dog does not have morality, does not believe in heaven, and does not fear hell or what his grandparents will say when they find out.

If you punish a dog in the afternoon for what it did in the morning, it has no impact at all.

Not so with a child.

Know how to read dog and know how to speak dog -- it will save you a lot of time.

A dog eats on the floor and it eats dog food. As a rule, this is discouraged with children.

A dog needs a collar and a tag and it needs it to be walked on a lead for 30 minutes twice a day at the very least.   Do this with a child, and child protective service may be called.

A dog should sleep in a crate at night. Do this with a child, and child protective services WILL be called.

Do not give your dog the remote control to your TV and expect it to change channels. It will eat the remote, and you will have a very expensive veterinary bill.

Do not give your dog a computer. It will not turn it on, but it will eat your couch because it got very bored because you did not understand that dog's basic needs are NOT the same as a child's (or a fish or an elephant or a parrot).

Do not give your dog a book. It will only eat it.

Do not expect your dog to crap inside the bowl. If you do, it will crap on the rug.

Do not send your dog to a public school; they will not train your dog for you. Instead, they will turn your dog over to the pound where it will be put down, if unclaimed, within 3-5 days.

For more on dogs and dysfunction, see >> The Comedy of Dog Shows.

People who raise perfectly acceptable children may have dogs that are completely out of control.

Job One with a dog is to accept the dog AS A DOG.

A dog has different mental, exercise, social, and communication needs than a human.

It is NOT a child any more than it is a horse, or an elephant, or a squirrel or a fish.

A dog has a limited brain and the smartest dog does not think much better than a brain-damaged 4 year old. Accept this. A dog is not a child.

Dogs see colors differently than humans, and get most of their communication from scent. A dog is not a child.

Dogs are 100% fluent speakers of DOG but they generally only know 5 or 6 words of your language. A dog is not a child.

Dogs are social pack predators and meat-loving carnivores. They consider it normal to roll in shit and eat it too. They greet each other by sniffing butt, and they drink from the toilet if they have no other access to water because they do not have opposable thumbs to turn on a tap. Many dogs have strong prey drives and some will kill your neighbor's cat as quick as you can say "Bob's your uncle"

In short, a dog is not a child.

It is a dog.

Acceptance of this is the First Step to having a proper relationship with your dog.

I was not trying to be harsh, simply clear. Read through what I have written, and you will see that the notion that "a dog is like a child" underpins so much of what goes wrong with dogs.

A brilliant dog cannot reason as well as a stupid four-year old, has very little sense of the future, and cannot do much with even the simplest of abstract concepts.

Dogs drink from puddles, bark routinely, bite on occasion, and turn around three times before they curl up in the grass.

Do not deny the nature of a dog or its particular needs, any more than you would that of a woman, a man, a tiger or a hummingbird.

Not all dog training boils down to consistency and exercise. An acceptance of the dog AS A DOG, and not a child, is also fundamental.

As for children, I have raised two, and I have some thoughts here as well.

My kids are extraordinary individuals in their own right, but I cannot take much claim for that. Not only are my children adopted (yes, they really are good looking), but they were also raised by a community of people that included their mother, their grandparents, their friends, various schools and churches, the local police department, other parents, coaches, and even popular TV, music, and movies.

Even if I farked it up at times (and I did), the rest of the world did not.

And vice-versa.

But the dogs? If the dogs are a miracle or a mess, that's entirely on me.

The dogs are not raised in a community, do not go to school, do no watch TV or read books, have no experience with coaches or police, and their training (such as it is) has not been shopped out.

Do my dogs go to church? Oh yes. Most Sundays we go to the First Church of Field and Stream. It is an old church; the first church. And yes, we prey.

But that, as they say, is an entirely different post.
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Enough Irony Here for a Rustoleum Ad

Cheeta with Johnny Sheffield, Johnny Weissmuller, and Maureen O'Sullivan.

Johnny Sheffield dies at 79; played Boy in Tarzan movies. 

Yes, he fell out a tree.   That is all.
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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

White Wine and Oysters Rockefeller


Over at the Querencia blog
, they have taken the plunge and upgraded from OLD Blogger to "NEW and IMPROVED" Blogger.

I have been putting off doing the same thing for a long time, but I fear that I too must take the plunge sometime soon.   I must do what is necessary, not just what is fun.  Sigh....

I am flattered that Steve Bodio and Matt Mullenix have stripped in a line from an email of mine at the top of the rebuild:  

"The worst you could say about them was that too few of them knew anyone who owned a gun, and too many of them had an opinion on what type of wine went well with Oysters Rockefeller."

No doubt a placeholder, but for the record I was referring to the editors at The New York Times who are not bad people; they just see the world through a different set of lenses, which are too often set in Armani frames.  Somehow that seems to color a great deal of what they see. 



Steve and Matt are hawkers and dog men, and so they see the world through an older, more primitive, and more essential lens. 

As do I.

In the wild eye of the thing that is barely tamed we know that there is a code that pulses and which can explode, revealing the rust-free framework upon which all life is hung. 

As I wrote on this blog back in 2005:

One of the great things about going into the field with the dogs is that they are able to "see" so much more than we can.

For me, one of the great joys of working with dogs, is seeing the world through their eyes. With the turn of the seasons I am aware of what food sources are about. Walking across a field I think of drainage and look at slope and soil, and think about the distance to water. Are the fox mating now? Are the raccoons coming down from the trees and moving their young to ground dens? Are possums starting to jungle up in the trashier hedgerows to get out of the cold? Where have the gut-shot deer been dumped? What fields are in corn and in soy? What fields are in cut hay, and which are being grazed by beef cattle and will, as a consequence, have much harder ground and fewer critters about?

If you dig very often you cannot help but think about these things. You come to learn the difference between a black cherry and a black walnut, and to appreciate the birds that spend the Winter almost as much as you delight in the ones that return in the Spring.

It really is like seeing the world through a new set of glasses.

I suppose that sounds like nonsense to some, but I suspect Steve and Matt understand.

We would not trade what we can see through the eyes of a dog and the glare of a hawk, for all the chrome and glass to be seen through the clearest lens set in the most expensive set of designer shades.

And we are quite happy not to know too many people with strong opinions on what kind of wine goes best with Oysters Rockefeller!
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