Saturday, January 29, 2011

I'm Rooting for you Spring

I cannot wait for spring to get here. And the lupines. Glorious, glorious lupines.

California wild blue lupines

Just Them Two Other Dogs

It's like journalists - or what passes for journalists this day and age - hear Pit Bull and start salivating. How Pavlovian of them.

In Crittenden County, outside city limits, leash  laws are for losers.

Without a leash law, it's legal for these two kids to let their three dogs run loose. The instigator is a small terrier mix with a bad attitude. The dog who likes to help the instigator is a larger terrier mix, also with a bad attitude. But the only dog who gets a real SHOUT OUT is a Pit Bull mix who joined in on the bite, but also has a bad attitude.

Pit Bull is mentioned like five million times. When referring to the guardian of the dogS (to emphasize plurality), he is referred to as the Pit Bull owner. Like is this crap for reals? YES AND IT IS SO SAD! Mutts got the short end of this stick, they don't even get a mention.

Oh well, hope this poor woman who got bitten is successful in her attempt at getting a leash law in place. She was traumatized and deserves not to be in fear of taking a leisurely stroll down to the pond.

Sherman Has a Meeting Sunday!

Think good thoughts for the little man. He is meeting an interested adoptive family on Sunday.

I have told him to be on his best behavior. This includes, but is not limited to - refraining from humping anyone, not chewing on pant legs, and not embarrassing himself too much.

The girls and I are crossing paws and fingers that this will be a good match!

Friday, January 28, 2011

25 Years Ago: The Challenger

When I was five, I remember with excitement - along with all my other Kindergarten classmates - preparing to watch the first teacher, Christa McAuliffe, fly into space aboard the shuttle Challenger.

Schools across the country gathered their students, turned on the television to watch a teacher, one of our great educators, fulfill every child's dream of going to space, of traveling somewhere so foreign.

For 72 seconds, they were "normal" astronauts, lifting towards the stars. The next second, they disappeared.

For many of us young children, it was perhaps our first experience with death, that incomprehensible moment when a person, full of vitality and spirit, is here and then suddenly gone. I don't know if I understood the magnitude of that explosion, the arcing and billowing smoke. I knew it was not right.

How awkward it must have been for our teachers left on earth, left to face horror-struck children, left to try and explain what had happened.

We are all little moments in time. Beautiful, perfect moments. Cherish the seconds you have. It means something. I know it meant something to me as a 5-yr-old kid sitting in that California classroom. It means something to me now. For McAuliffe and the other astronauts, those 72 seconds were amazing and chilling and wondrous. But I wish I could erase that 73rd and bring them all back to be with us here on earth. I'm sorry I can't.

Best of This Week's Police Blotter

Psychic Network Fail: 1:26 p.m. — A woman reported having a vision that the Nevada Woods apartments on Old Tunnel Road were burning down. The apartments were not burning.

The rest:

Anti Patriotism Rears Its Ugly Head: 8:12 a.m. — A person from the 200 block of East Main Street reported the theft of an American flag.

Edward Scissorhands Strikes Again: 10:08 a.m. — A caller from the 100 block of Race Street reported someone had cut back landscaping.

Speed Limit: 2 mph! 12 p.m. — A caller from Spring Hill Drive reported a person driving a cart on the sidewalk too fast.

Where my painkillers at?  3:05 p.m. — A woman reported her grandmother had been prescribed Vicodin for a year, but had never received the medication.

If the Name Fits: 5:24 p.m. — A caller from the 400 block of Nimrod Street reported shooting on vacant land behind the baseball diamond.

Dude, Where's My Exclamation Point At? 7:53 a.m. — A caller from Main and Alta streets reported a man followed a woman in his vehicle and tried to pull her into the vehicle. She pulled away and screamed “Leave me alone.”

It's Christine All Over Again:  9:47 p.m. — A caller reported a “muscle car” had been racing through North San Juan for several nights. The California Highway Patrol was advised.

Geez, Leave Us On A Cliffhanger:  8:15 a.m. — An officer found “a pool of blood” in the Commercial Street parking lot. A case number was issued.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Around the Intarwebz

Rooster being fought decides to kill the man forcing him to fight because what's a better use for those 4-6" blades strapped to his legs? FOWL PLAY! HA!

Aberdeen is acting all crazy reactive and wants to ban Pit Bulls. Why? Because instead of two attacks, there were ZOMG EIGHT. CALL OUT THE NATIONAL GUARD. Guess what? ALL DOG bites increased, and at pretty much the same rate as Pit Bulls. ZOMG CALL OUT THE LOCAL STATISTICIANS.  Aberdeen has like 24,000 people in it, so I'm gonna go out on a limb and say eight bites from Pit Bulls is not statistically significant, unless there are like only eight Pit Bulls in Aberdeen. I care about you, dog bite victims, I do. I just happen to care about ALL of you, not just those bitten by dogs who look a certain way! My compassion knows no dog breed!

Max, a Pit Bull mix, got really annoyed when three armed robbers tried to kill his human. So he pulled a Hooch, knocked one over and just stood atop him...unfortunately forgetting that whole gun thing. The jerkwad shot the dog three times, but Max is super-dog and will recover fully! Go Team Max! It's not just the big dogs helping out their guardians - Baby Girl, a small service dog, came to her guardian's defense when a burglar was choking him. She suffered a few broken ribs but the burglar ran off, and the dog will be fine.

Broward County is FINALLY changing it's draconic BITE U DIE law. Dogs now have a second chance if they bite another dog or person before a death sentence is doled out. Some dogs may still be killed after their first bite. The case stems from a really stupid situation in which an idiot owner let their poodle run loose. The poodle ran up to a leashed Husky and attacked her. The Husky defended herself and ended up killing the dog. Under the law, the dog was sentenced to DEATH FOR DEFENDING HERSELF, what is wrong with you people? Luckily, the Husky is back with her guardians and the law has been changed so that dogs are not needlessly killed.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Three Dog Night

Managing three dogs is hard, especially when one requires potty breaks every four hours including at 2 in the morning. This lack of sleep makes me irritable so I solace myself with wine and chocolate. This too shall pass.

Sherman no longer appreciates his crate. I use bits of unmentionables (animal products) to lure him in. He is catching on to the con.

Celeste spends all her time in my room, hiding. She leaps with joy when its time to go to work, away from the puppy.

Mina is refusing to come when called and looks at me with such woe to make a person without tear ducts cry. Am I giving off some unhappy chemical concoction that makes her afraid? She still curls up next to me on the sofa.

Sherman is convinced Mina is a goddess of some sort. While Mina would normally appreciate the attention, she is a firm believer goddesses should luxuriate in the sun and be proffered food. Instead, she gets Sherman.

Celeste paces a lot when the puppy is in the crate. She looks forward to our walks, just me and her.

Mina likes that Sherman likes to bark at other barking dogs. She has a partner in crime.

Sherman is learning to drop his toys. His "come" is only functional without Mina around. She is a bad influence.

These are the downsides of adding a third temporary dog. The whole household is disrupted, the norms are transformed into different. Habits, those comfortable and comforting things, must change and new ones made. Adjustments take a bit of time, but they too will come.

I love some of it, hate some of it.

I miss sleep the most.

Monday, January 24, 2011

No Surprise, the USDA Kills Animals

Everyone! Please stop being surprised that the USDA is behind some of the mass bird die-offs!

The USDA's Wildlife Services kills millions of wildlife annually. It has for decades.

In 2009, 4.1 million wild animals were killed, including 1.2 million starlings and nearly a million blackbirds.

Birds are killed primarily with compound DFC-1339, an avicide that is a slow killer of birds. It metabolizes quickly so secondary animals are generally not harmed. Which still sucks for the birds.

The birds are killed because they eat seeds and can defecate in the grain fed to animals people slaughter and eat. If you eat sunflower seeds grown in the midwest, you can bet a lot of blackbirds were poisoned.

Granted, the USDA disperses far more than they kill, but for those of us who like wildlife to stay wild, to take precedence over grain and raising animals for their flesh, it is unacceptable.

You can see the 2009 stats of killed/displaced animals here.

Sherman See, Sherman Do

Yes, you will have to endure regular Foster Dog postings. I figure including pictures of adorable puppies AND MINA will be acceptable.

I called the rescue and found out if it would be okay to introduce Mina and Sherman sooner rather than later. All signs indicated a peaceful interaction and Sherman REALLY wants to be around the ladies. Celeste might get to go on a walk with him, but no way in hell is she going to like Sherman, and I don't want Sherman to have super negative interactions with other dogs (I love Celeste dearly, but she is afraid of other dogs and reacts inappropriately). They were fine with that, plus they approved Sherman meeting another dog who I think will *hopefully* fit his play style better.

Because Mina is 12. And while she has it in her to play with a puppy, she is a sun-bathing queen more than anything else. Sherman LOVES Mina and used every behavior he could think of to get her to play. It worked but only briefly, then Mina went back to the sun spot.

Sherman shows us how to mimic. Sorta.

He tries to nonchalantly sidle up and sit off to the side:
What we doing, Mina? Please for it to involve play?

And then he tries the lay down method:
Sherman wills mina to play
I love you, Mina.
Sherman has appropriate dog play skills. Mina is set in her ways, for the most part, so it was really up to Sherman to adjust his play to her style. And he did great. He was not too mouthy, and although I think he wanted to wrestle, he played her "run around in circles" game very well.

When Mina corrected him, he reacted appropriately by slinking off embarrassed by his social faux pas, but immediately came back with different tactics.

It was fun to watch him read and respond to Mina. I think he will be a bit of a pushover when he is larger and older, but now is a great time for him to learn some social skills with different dogs.

And wow, he is BIG! He's almost as tall as Mina, who is at about 17" inches at the shoulder. He is way bulkier than her...and his paws! They are twice as big! He is going to be a big lug of a dog, and I hope whomever adopts him sends me pictures of him as an older bloke.

Sherman is available for adoption through A New Hope Animal Foundation.

Human Food Not For Dogs

I wonder when this myth got started. The idea that there is "human food" and "nonhuman food". It is the silliest and strangest notion ever.

There are edible foods, processed edible foods, and foods that are inedible or toxic at certain levels. That is it.

So why are shelters and rescues still making statements like those found in this article?

Why is anyone, actually?

There is a lot of misinformation in the article. Too much for me to even bother with, really.

I would encourage people to stop saying there is "human food" and "dog food" and that the latter can only be found in the form of irradiated kibble or that the former is inappropriate for dogs.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sherman Has Many Good Sides

It's true. Pictorial evidence ahead. Also, more Things You Should Know About Sherman, just in case potential adopters are reading all about Sherman. They should be, because he is pretty awesome.

Things Sherman Likes to Put In His Mouth
  1. Leaves, see above
  2. Toys, see below
  3. Bones
  4. Tree limbs
  5. Seatbelts and consoles
  6. Tree roots
  7. Hands. Until a squeaking sound occurs, and then he is horrified.
  8. Treats and with great gentleness.
Things You Should Know About Sherman and Playing
  1. He loves to play
  2. Sherman is superb at the zoomies, if not a bit awkward. Awkward = entertaining. 
  3. Sherman is unaware of where his legs are going. They often disagree with his head and body.
Sherman Can Sorta Run

Things You Should Know About Sherman
  1. He is insanely adorable
  2. Sherman is cute
  3. He is going to grow up to be incredibly handsome
Sherman Loves Toys

Sherman is available for adoption.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Things You Should Know About Sherman

Sherman has been here for a grand total of 2.5 hours, not including the 40 minute drive to my house.

Let's start there.

Things You Should Know About Sherman In the Car
  1. Sherman does not get carsick
  2. Sherman believes the console and seatbelt are edible
  3. Sherman loves to play with a stuffed snowman in lieu of a console and seatbelts
  4. Sherman respects boundaries and does not want to drive for you
  5. However, Sherman wants to sniff you ear. A lot.
Things You Should Know About Sherman and the Crate
  1. Sherman is not crate-trained.
  2. Sherman knows how to bark.
  3. Loud.
  4. Sherman is Concerned about being Left Alone
  5. Sherman does not hate the crate.
  6. He hates when you leave.
  7. Sherman likes when you move the crate to the living room and tell him he is beautiful.
Things You Should Know About Sherman and Other Dogs
  1. Sherman likes other dogs.
  2. Sherman would like to be outside of the crate to be with other dogs.
  3. Sherman eyes Mina like she is going to be a giant chew toy. Mina has other plans.
Things You Should Know About Sherman and Intelligence
  1. Sherman is smart.
  2. Sherman already knows how to sit and watch.
  3. Sherman likes to make eye contact and snorgle
  4. Sherman thinks kongs and occupi toys are neato bandito
Sherman loves toys. A lot. We went on a short walk and a toy served as great reinforcement for "come".

I have to admit, it was incredibly stressful bringing Sherman in. Dog-arranging is more art, than science. I was initially planning on introducing Sherman to the girls tomorrow, through the crate. But everyone wanted to meet, and Mina was calm but stressed. She toted a kong around the whole time, but she would take treats and sniff Sherman politely through the cage. Celeste did not issue one growl.

Everyone is zonked out right now. I think Sherman will always have to be where me and the girls are.

I will feel slightly bad for the neighbors when I have to go to work. I come home at lunch, but I don't think Sherman is going to be quiet. Oh well, I will try and get him to mold with the crate tomorrow and Monday, my weekend.

One more thing you should know about Sherman: He's Cute. Pictures tomorrow.

Oh, one MORE thing. He's available for adoption. ADOPTION!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Ontario Dog Guardian Faces NO Charges After Dog Attacks

Yeah, that dog? He was left loose outside a supermarket while his nitwit guardian mindlessly shopped for crap he probably didn't need anyways.

I hate seeing dogs outside of supermarkets, leashed or - like this dog - just roaming free. You know how dogs hate going to the vet because it's smelly and loud and scary? Yeah, well the supermarket is an outdoor vet with a lot of weird people (NOT ME) walking by, screaming kids, loud carts, moving cars, and a lot of strange smells.

Dogs are uber unpredictable in these types of settings, I don't care if you're dog thinks exploding bombs are awesome.

This German Shepherd wasn't leashed, which means people who are afraid of dogs become moving targets who can't get away from large, aggressive animals who want to bite them. And so this dog first bit a 16-yr-old girl on the shoulder. As in the dog did not react fearfully by just trying to, I dunno, bite a leg or arm anywhere near him. He was going for the neck/throat/face area. Another man wasn't as lucky - he was bitten in the face and neck, requiring 20 stitches to close the wounds. The third victim froze like a tree and only her jacket suffered under the dog's wrath.

But get this, the owner of the dog? No criminal charges whatsoever!

In Ontario, it's criminal having a dog in your possession who resembles a Pit Bull.  Free pass to everyone else, I guess.

It Could Be The Coffee Talking

But I am excited about fostering dogs again. This is Sherman (the tank) who I am pretty sure is a lumbering doofus. I will be picking him up Saturday evening as my Very First Foster since the MINA DEBACLE '01. Celeste doesn't count because I knew she was a keeper when potty-training took two hours. FOR REALS.

I will be fostering for A New Hope Animal Foundation.

What I like about them is that they think it's absolutely fine and dandy if you happen to live with two dog-selective (or just plain dog-intolerant) canines or your dogs are Weird. My dogs are both. For the first week or so, the dogs are not to interact out of the crate with each other. For example, after Sherman has had a few days to settle in, I will bring Mina into to sniff through his crate and get loads of cookies for being her super awesome self. Celeste will probably not want to enter, but she'll get cookies for looking at Sherman nicely.

And if Sherman isn't adopted in a couple weeks, a rescue volunteer will come out and help me introduce him out of the crate to my dogs individually. THEN IT WILL BE ON. I'd say like Donkey Kong but Nintendo might sue me. Celeste will of course hate him but will walk with him politely on a lead and teach him SUPER LEASH MANNERS. Mina will be smitten with him and teach him How to be a Dog and also How Not to Chew On Dogs. She is good like that. She will also teach him how to be Very Bad while also being Super Awesome.

It will be stressful, I know. It's why I'm picking an easy dog as my first foster. In fact, my first several fosters shall be easy! I want to make sure my dogs can handle the stress with grace and a modicum of dignity. Two dogs is hard for me, especially the two dogs I currently have. I don't want a third, but I so desperately want for other dogs and people what me, Mina and Celeste have.

Fostering is both a selfish and selfless act. It's incongruous. You bring into your home an unknown, strange and unpredictable canine. You give them attention, teach them respect (hopefully), some manners, and love them unconditionally. And you hope for a separation that will be painful and joyous at the same time. You give a dog a chance at life and, for me, the perfect moment is when dog and human connect and you know that partnership will last that dog's lifetime. That is what I love about fostering.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Pink Nose of Doom

In college, I saw my first diagram of the human sensory homunculus, which is a scale model of how much "nerve power" our brain devotes to our different senses, like touch or taste. Our feet and hands are REALLY big. So is our mouth and tongue. What I find intriguing is our eyes - they're not disproportionately large, even though sight is arguably the most important sense upon which we rely. How strange it would be if we looked how our brain thinks!

A dog's sensory homunculus would have to be all nose. Big, bold and the most important ability the canine world has to offer. It parses through the minutiae of the scented world and makes sense of it. I can't say I envy them this trait.

I have a strong fascination with dog noses, but particularly Mina's. For one, it's pink. Pink! She's homozygous recessive for that trait, for goodness sake. Not that that means anything, of course, but it adds a bit of pizazz to the discussion of her nose. Which I have all the time. Mostly with Mina, who is not just a superb sniffer but an excellent listener.

Mina's nose is always figuring out the world. It inhales, inhales, inhales, and sometimes when she finds an especially provocative smell, it exhales sharp, a slap of air against earth. I used to give Mina "nose walks" but we never left the front yard.

Now I just admire her perfect nose. Its properties of wet and soft. How it points toward what intrigues, fascinates or frightens her. The way it flexes and stretches every so slightly. Her nose is the first explorer, the primary discoverer. Her nose leads, and she follows perfect and content. I love that about her.

The Nose Knows

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Shelters Doing Good 5

The Brown County Humane Society is struggling to reduce its population of cats from 76 to 45. The no-kill shelter is waiving all adoption fees for cats, which is definitely one way to expand your adoption pool. The shelter has a 95% adoption rate for dogs and cats.

The Dane County Humane Society is continuing its program Second Chances, a partnership program with the local correctional facility. Dogs needing behavior modification or socialization go to the prison and work with screened and selected inmates. They are then placed into new homes. Dogs not on shelter property open up kennel space for more animals. Plus, inmates are learning valuable skills and empathetic traits integral to being a functional and happy member of society. The Dane County Humane Society  has an approximate 70% adoption rate.

If you are a city, maybe instead of running a government-funded shelter (something I think *should* be a government-run facility), pair up with the local SPCA to create a better, more friendly the city of Aiken. It is partnering with the SPCA to build a $1 million dollar facility that will house animals in better conditions.

Macon County Animal Care and Control saw a threefold increase in adoptions with their holiday foster-adopt program. Folks interested in adopting but not sure if the animal will fit in their household were given a chance to foster...if the animal fit in with the household? The adopters only paid half the adoption fee. The shelter is also offering an enormous discount on cats who have been at the shelter for more than a year.

The Humane Society of St. Lucie is full, and they are offering a discount on their cat adoption fee. Any shelter can put out a press release - cultivate those relationships with members of the media, they always love a cute animal story!

I would love to profile shelters YOU know that are doing good. Feel free to email me here.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Around the Intarwebz

It's a doozy!

A mixed breed dog maintains a vigil on her fallen 11-yr-old guardian's grave. The child died during massive floods that have ravaged Brazil...the dog watched her buried and remained grave-side for three days. This is so sad, someone needs to rescue that dog stat and give her so much love, she bursts.

Companion animals may improve our moods but "evidence" is thin they improve health...granted, improving one's mood can create a cascade effect of improving one's health, but whatevs.

Oops, our bad! SWAT strikes again, raiding the wrong home, holding an innocent family at gunpoint and threatening to shoot their family dog. Sorry! In another, oops, our bad, police shoot a Foxhound mix twice when they illegally enter the dog owner's backyard looking for a SUPER THREATENING PROWLER doing prowly things like lurking.

The Fraternal Order of Police are holding a rally for a police officer who received a reprimand for letting loose his police dog on a 10-yr-old boy guilty of, I don't know, looking black or something. MY BAD FOR IMPLYING RACIST UNDERPININGS! The boy was just wandering around, minding his bizness, when KABOOM! a giant dog is dangling off his legs. The Fraternal Order of Police are all upset the officer has been reprimanded even though the internal audit of the debacle stated that the officer did not follow proper protocol in releasing his hound on the hapless yoot!

Also, comply with officers requests if you are in Portland, Oregon, because zomg! they will tackle you to the ground, taser you multiple times and then let their police dog maul you hard enough to rip open your knee tendons and leave you permanently disfigured. Sorry that you were the wrong dude! Or maybe don't, you might get 1.3 million out of the city!

New Zealand fear mongering after a dog hugged by a strange toddler finally gave up his tense struggle to resist biting and nailed the child in the face. Once. But let's call it a good 'ol fashioned mauling by a dog who FLIPPED IN THE AIR. Call some records book, b/c it's crazy amazing a mastiff did a full 360 flip in the air. Goodness knows why a mum would let an itty-bitty tyke wander up to an unrestrained MASTIFF who are, in fact, the size of small horses. Now she is afraid for HER LIFE b/c obviously the dog was owned by a gang member. No duh.

To Try Next Time Dog Begs at Table

When a person with a sandwich is either blindfolded or facing away, dogs suppress the urge to stay as close as possible to the sandwich. Instead, if there is a non blindfolded person nearby, they go beg to him instead.

Inside of a Dog, Alexandra Horowitz

We should all just eat blindfolded so we don't even see when the dog just takes the food straight off our plate.

Chickens Are a Serious Lot

About 80 hens arrived from an egg farm that was depopulating. They are 3-yrs-old and super adorable and inquisitive. Another 110 hens will be arriving today from another farm. They are only a 1-yr-old. All will be placed into new homes. I visited the 80 yesterday and got some shots of them being, you know, chicken-y.

Chickens are very serious. EXHIBIT A:
Serious Hen is Serious

Chickens also should have arms. Imagine how much more awesome they would be with little T-rex arms.
Chickens Should Have Arms

Grass nomming is an ancient Chicken Art. Dogs pretend they are chickens when they eat grass, but they can never achieve Great Chicken-ness like a chicken can.
Hens Nomming On Grass

Chickens Are Serious - EXHIBIT B:
Black Hen is Serious

These two hens are BFFs. Yes, chickens have social preferences.
Best Friends

Chickens can have graceful lines, all curving symmetry:
Grooming Hen

But mostly, chickens are serious. EXHIBIT C:
Serious Hen is Also Noble

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Misunderstanding of Dogs

Alexandra Horowitz writes in her book Inside of a Dog,
To see a (hand-raised) wolf on a leash, sitting and lying down on request, one could be convinced there is little difference between the socialized wolf and dog. To see that wolf in the presence of a rabbit is to see how much difference there still is: the human is forgotten while the rabbit is relentlessly pursued. A dog near that same rabbit may patiently wait, gazing at his owner, to be permitted to run.

I have never had this happen! My dogs turn into fierce predators when faced with fast moving prey. It would take much convincing for them to believe me when I move in the other direction. Mina is more likely to return to my side but only on her own terms. Celeste will do so if I am excited enough to convince her to come with me...but she quickly realizes the prey is moving in the other direction (she is appalled by my inability to hunt properly). She always comes back, but no way in hell is she going to "patiently wait, gazing" at me.

When faced with a rabbit, are your dogs so unlike wolves?

2013 Book List


  1. An Invisible Thread - Laura Schroff - 2/25/2013
  2. A Long Long Sleep - Anna Sheehan - 2/27/2013
  3. Incarnate - Jodi Meadows - 3/1/2013
  4. Moon Over Manifest - Clare Vanderpool - 8/23/13
  5. We are Completely Beside Ourselves - Karen Joy Fowler

Friday, January 14, 2011

Confessions: Animal Hoarding

ETA: Well, disappointing barely describes what Animal Planet just did. I'll talk about it later, after the sanctuary comes up with some sort of game plan. 

At the risk of embarrassing myself or alienating some of my less "animal righty" readers, I wanted to let you know that the organization I work for will be seen rescuing 140 chickens from a hoarder featured on the show. You might even see me. If you do, YOU MUST SAY I WAS AWESOME. Otherwise, keep it to yourself.

The show is called Confessions: Animal Hoarding and will be on Animal Planet at 7pm pacific, 10 pm eastern time.

I am not sure what classifies a person as a hoarder. Some of the people featured on the Animal Planet show range from having 15 dogs to 85 cats...or 140 chickens in an urban neighborhood. They all seem like people trying to fill a void in their lives but not all seem mentally incompetent. Compared to the people featured on A&E's Hoarders, the Animal Planet people seem almost angelic. Almost.

The man with the chickens. I don't know what to say about him, as a person he was nice enough. It was surreal to walk into a home that reeked of chicken feces, to learn three rooms were converted to "chicken rooms" and hadn't been cleaned in years, to walk outside and see a completely dessicated kitten enmeshed in wire and rats the size of small dogs running wild and fearless.

He gave them food and water.

The outdoor birds had acceptable sized enclosures.

He cared deeply about these birds. Love does not = ability to properly care for another living being.

Those are the only positives. Some might even say that we should have left the birds there. I cannot argue verbally, but I know one walk through of that home would convince most nay-sayers. Those left unconvinced must have very low levels of acceptable standards of health and hygiene.

Also. No comments about eating chickens as being awesome. I will delete your comment, even if I like you. Pretend these chickens are dogs and thus deserve compassion and rehoming.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Around the Intarwebz

Layla the Pit Bull Mix is being trained to sniff out peanuts, hopefully providing protection to her young guardian, a 6-yr-old child with severe peanut allergies.

A man who has been arrested 41 times tried to sexually assault a woman. Her neighbor heard the screams and came to her aid...along with his big Great Dane. The dog cornered the suspect until authorities could take him away.

Mounting public pressure has forced a school to permit a 12-yr-old's epileptic service dog at school...not to mention the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Kennel Club Will Require Veterinary Inspection of Fifteen Breeds

“The guidance which we will issue to Show Vets will focus on clinical signs associated with pain or discomfort which will come under the main headings of external eye disease, lameness, skin disorders and breathing difficulty. The show veterinary surgeons will be looking for signs such as ectropion, entropion, corneal damage, dermatitis, breathing difficulty on moderate exercise, and lameness. The fifteenth breed is the Chinese Crested where the principal issue will be the presence of skin damage arising from hair removal and thus signs of clipper rash or chemical insults to the skin will be looked for.

Starting with the 2012 Crufts dog show, individuals of fifteen breeds must pass health inspections from a veterinarian before they can win any ribbons.

The fifteen breeds are: Basset Hound, Bloodhound, Bulldog, Chow Chow, Clumber Spaniel, Dogue De Bordeaux, German Shepherd Dog, Mastiff, Neapolitan Mastiff, Pekingese, Shar Pei, St Bernard, French Bulldog, Pug and Chinese Crested.

It will be interesting to see what happens.

Zombie Goats, Mina & Sally, Football Fail

Oh man, how 'bout them Saints? AMIRITE? That was a horribly painful wildcard play-off game. There is something intrinsically wrong with the former Stupidbowl (Superbowl) champs being beaten by a 7-9 team.

On to the Jets-Colts game. Yes. I like football.

Anyways, to make up for epic football fail, here are some zombie goats and Mina with a little dog.

This is what it looked like at work all day long. Three miles away, bright and sunny. ZOMBIES ARE AFOOT. These are rare goat zombies. They are still herbivorous. THEY LIKE VEGETABLE BRAINS.

Mina and I made it past the zombie goats in time to let out tiny, ancient Sally for a potty break.
Mina put on the I AM SO CUTE look, hard. Sally is cute too. She is also older than a fossilized T-rex.

Faulty football play is superseded by zombie goats and geriatric little dogs. All is trounced by super cute Pit Bull in a coat.

Shooting of Democrat and the Issue of Language

Arizona Democrat Gabrielle Giffords  was shot dead * by a young gunman, allegedly Jared Lee Loughner.. A 9-yr-old boy, a federal judge, an aide to Giffords and two others were killed. An unknown number of people were injured. Giffords was hosting a "Congress On Your Corner" program and was talking with a couple of constituents outside a supermarket when the gunman approached and began firing. He was later tackled by a bystander and taken into custody.

Giffords is one of 20 Democrats Sarah Palin painted targets on in 2010 for supporting the health care reform bill. She encouraged people not to retreat but to "RELOAD!"

No, that is not correlation = causation. Which is to say, I am not claiming Sarah Palin is responsible for Giffords death shooting. But just like I can't scream fire in a crowded theater, it would - in my mind - seem prudent not to cry "RELOAD" or paint targets on people's names in this charged climate (which includes early 2010).

My heart goes out to Giffords family and the families of all the victims. I wish a speedy recovery to the injured.

And I hope those in political office stop with thinly veiled encouragements of violence against people.

Giffords conservative tea party opponent also encouraged people to shoot her:
(h/t: YesBiscuit!)

*She is alive and being operated on for a bullet wound to the head

Best of this Week's Police Blotter

Few cities publish a police blotter in their newspaper. Larger cities that do report rather depressing stuff. But where I live (pop: 10,000), every day there is a summary of police calls. I feel it is my civic duty to share with you each week, the best of my town's police activity. Pretty hopping criminal activity.

2:40 p.m. — A woman from the 12000 block of Greenhorn Road reported a man stole her Blackberry. She called back to report it was returned to her.

12:01 p.m. — A man at a business in the 100 block of McKnight Way reported a woman tried to run him over with her wheelchair. She was advised not to return.

3:08 p.m. — A caller from the 13000 block of Alpha Toll Road reported a man yelling at the top of his lungs.

12:30 a.m. — A woman from the 200 block of Dorsey Drive reported her Facebook account had been hacked.

1:35 p.m. — A woman from the 13000 block of Greenhorn Road reported she was driving and a woman jumped in front of her vehicle. The woman told her she was being held hostage and asked her to call the police. The woman was described as having a bloody lip. She was located and was not injured; the blood was lipstick.

9:57 p.m. — A caller reported people “prowling” around the high school and ducking behind bushes. It was determined to be church activity from across the street.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Celeste Lives to Play

I fall more in love with Celeste each day. She has such a zest for life and exploring all opportunities.

Every day, if I cannot take her on a jog, I take her out to the 20-acre pasture in front of my office. She runs free, and I hope she never notices the feral cat lurking. Seriously, feral cat death wish much? And every single time, she comes over to check in and invariably does this:

It's a Let's Play precursor to the infamous Play Bow, which I did not capture because my shadow was in the way. Celeste loves to play. She loves play-bowing. I will find her sometimes performing the behavior in the absence of any meaningful play-worthy item. She bows to Mina a lot, but Mina ignores her. Which gets her to try other techniques, like the Play-Bow Air Snap and the Play-Bow Nose Bop. If she REALLY wants to play, she'll play-bow air-snap and yip-bark. Mina always responds to this.

And sometimes, Celeste is sneaky about her intentions. She's incredibly smart and manipulative that way. Today at lunch, she really wanted to sit up on the sofa with me. Mina was, though, and Celeste didn't want to be up there with her. So she play-bowed. I thought she was being so cute, trying to engage Mina with play. She did the play-bow-air-snap-yip-bark. Mina responded, happily leaping off the sofa to play with her. The millisecond Mina's back paws touched floor, Celeste was on the sofa staring gleefully at me.

Admittedly, I told her to get the hell off, because no one plays Mina for a fool. Except Celeste. Mina did not care. She grabbed a toy, splayed out like a frog and wagged her tail happily. That is why I love Mina the most, though. She may be needy, sassy, picky...but she is painfully honest and is never insulted. Ever.

Celeste would be a good spinmaster. And not just because she spins in circles really well.

Dogs are the best.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Mina In A Green Coat of Awesome

Mina rocks her green coat
Mina is striking and stylish.

Around the Intarwebz

A woman walking her Beagle was attacked at knife-point and dragged back to her home (no mention of what happens to the Beagle). The man assaulted her. As he was about to rape her, the woman's other dog, a Pit Bull named Purple, ran into the room and bit the man. She was able to escape. Authorities are looking for the suspect.

Two years ago, a homeless man and his dog were attacked by thugs. The man was stabbed multiple times. The dog, a Pit bull, came to his defense, biting the attackers. She was stabbed as well. Tragically, the man died and the dog was left with multiple injuries. She ended up at a shelter and eventually at a no-kill sanctuary where she remained...until recently. Samantha has now been adopted!

Dog Attacks - none reported by
Favorite quote: "I'm not against dogs. What I'm against is the dog biting my daughter"
A small mixed breed attacked a 7-yr-old girl riding her bike. The wound required 11 stitches to close.

Two Beagles at a doggy-day care center mauled to death a Pomeranian.

A German Shepherd in the UK bit a child in the face. The dog belonged to the child's family.

Two German Shepherds and an Akita, permitted to run off lead, in the UK attacked a Jack Russell Terrier, but his owner was able to intervene.

A mixed breed dog, who attacked a postal worker in 2009, has bitten again. The victim this time is a 71-yr-old woman who was bitten multiple times. You can see a picture of the dog at the article.

A 6-yr-old Belgian Malinois police dog was shot dead after he went missing and charged at someone. Well, story is more convoluted than that, but that's the gist.

A German Shepherd police dog being walked off-leash attacked a Finnish Spitz. The dog later died from her wounds.

An officer responding to a silent alarm call was bitten by the owner's dogs, a German SHepherd and mixed breed. The other officer present fired a warning shot, and the dogs backed off. The wounds were minor.

An elderly, geriatric 25-yr-old swan was mauled by a Jack Russell Terrier. The swan died from the wounds.

Two Huskies in Australia killed a Jack Russell Terrier and injured the dog's owner.

A Labrador Retriever cross (they say German Shepherd, looks like a big black Lab mix), attacked the 4-yr-old niece of the dog's owner in the face when she was alone in the kitchen with the dog. The owner of the dog then proceeded to take the dog out back and shoot him twice, only causing injury. The dog was later shot dead by police.

A Labrador Retriever and Boxer running loose attack a man and his dog in his garage.

A Labrador Retriever mix and Greyhound being walked off leash attacked a smaller dog, knocking the dog's owner over in the process. The owner of the larger dogs left without rendering assistance.

Two Alaskan Malamutes killed a Jack Russell Terrier.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sheep Tails

Interactive fun time! Go to google images and type in "sheep tails".

If everything goes smoothly, you'll come up with a photo I took of Aiden the sheep's tail:

Aiden sheep's tail
Sexy, amirite?

This is how I imagine people find this photo.
Friend #1: Sheep don't have tails!
Friend #2: They do too!
Friend #1: No, they don't. In my dreams, they are TAILLESS leaping dramatically and with great frivolity over fences and stuff.
Friend #2: Mutant sheep!
Friend #1: GOOGLE-FU!
*google-fu commenced*
Friend #2: Told you!

My imagination is full of win, I know. This photo, though, is one of my most popular ones. Amazing. It's not even that good.

That is all.

San Jose Mercury News Shows Media Bias in Reporting Dog Attacks

The San Jose Mercury News reports on a dog attack that occurred December 21st:

Dec 21, 2010San Jose woman viciously attacked by pitbulls
* breed mentioned in title
* breed mentioned twice in article
Dec 22, 2010 Pit Bull that San Jose woman captured, one still loose
* breed mentioned in title
* breed mentioned three times in article
Dec 27, 2010 San Jose: Investigators believe they know who owns pit bulls that attacked woman 
* breed mentioned in title
* breed mentioned once in article

The San Jose Mercury News reports on a dog attack that occurred January 4th:

January 4, 2011 Loose dogs attack elderly man in south San Jose
* As of 12 pm, 7 comments
* breed NOT mentioned in title
* Pit Bulls from Dec 21 attack mentioned BEFORE actual dogs involved in attack are mentioned (5th paragraph)
* Breeds of dogs involved in attack mentioned in 8th paragraph - Boxer and Labrador Retriever
* Breed of dogs mentioned twice, once in the article and once in a quote from the victim
* Dogs have an actual history of aggression, unlike the two Pit Bulls.
* Dogs are described as "attacking", severity of attack is diminished as compared to the attack by the Pit Bulls.

The language used for both attacks is very different. The Pit Bulls "viciously mauled" a woman while the Boxer and Labrador Retriever "attacked" and, you know, didn't cause much injury...except for multiple bite wounds, similar to the Pit Bull attack.

No media bias? Indeed!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Breed Bias in Similar Dog Attacks

Spina bifida is a spinal birth defect that affects 7 out of every 10,000 births. There are two forms of spina bifida, one that causes paralysis to varying degrees. Children with spina bifida can develop sores on their feet they cannot feel.

Dogs have a sensitive olfactory ability. They are used to sniff out bombs and bodies. Research is being done into their abilities to scent out cancers. That they would be capable of sniffing out a wound on the foot of a child is not in question.

Puppies like to chew. When not told otherwise, they will chew anything. This includes body parts.

A child with spina bifida must be constantly monitored and supervised when living with a dog...especially during bedtime.

In 2007, a Pit Bull puppy was left alone with a 4-yr-old child with spina bifida. The puppy chewed off one foot. The mother was prosecuted for child endangerment. She was sentenced to four years in prison. In August of 2010, she was released early. She is not permitted to have dogs. To be clear, Martina Jennings - the mother - was an abusive parent. The father of the child sued child protective services after they refused to heed his and doctor concerns over abuse in the mother's home. The child lives with his father.

In nearly every article, the breed of dog was included in the title. Sensationalistic words like "maul" were also found. The puppy did not merely "chew" on toes, he was said to have "eaten the baby's toes". The story made national news.

The puppy was four months old and was immediately killed after the attack. No one defended the dog. Most discussions surrounded the issues of Pit Bulls.

Flash forward to December of 2010. On December 31st, a 10-yr-old girl was attacked by her family's 2-yr-old Labrador Retriever. The dog chewed off several toes. The girl had sores on her feet that physicians have been treating for over a year.

The dog will not be killed. In fact, unnamed "experts" are letting us all know that this is perfectly normal behavior for dogs. Charges are unlikely to be filed.

So here we have two very similar dog attacks. One involving a teething puppy, one involving a young adult dog. One involved a 4-yr-old child, the other a 10-yr-old child, both with spina bifida. Both children were left alone with dogs, even though both children suffer from paralysis and lack of lower limb sensation.

And yet, only one attack - by the teething puppy - warrants loaded language, the mention of the breed in the title, and sensationalistic reporting. Only one attack warranted killing the dog. Only one attack resulted in child endangerment charges being issued for that particular incident. Only one attack required discussion of breed-related problems.

No bias, indeed.

Happy New Year!

It was a big year for me. Namely, I bought my first home and moved 90 miles to where the sanctuary I work for relocated. And after having the title of "manager" for nearly a year, I finally got a staff. Of half, but I'll take what I can get.

Mina aged.

Celeste did too.

I am hoping to get back into fostering dogs this year. Maybe kittens, if I can convert one of my rooms. I want to do more volunteering, and really figure out what I want to do with my photography.

Mina will age. But slowly.

While I think picking the first day of the year to "start anew" is arbitrary, I am looking forward to 2011. I will read more books, of that I am sure. Which will make 2011 pretty awesome.

Hope yours is too.