Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tracks in the snow

You will read me complain about less than one inch of snow. I have low tolerance for coldness. Yes, I am a wimp.

Celeste makes me enjoy snow, because she is nuts in it.

She catches snow too.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What i want to do

It's going on day 8 of working straight and this is what i really would like to be doing. despite the fact this was taken on feb 10th, it remains true right now that Celeste and Mina are curled up next to each other snoring. FREAKING SNORING.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Reposting a Hen's First Foray Outdoors

That I posted somewhere else, because that is how I roll.

Seriously, it's awesome - you can watch a hen walk onto the ground for the first time, after spending more than a year in a cage so small she could not flap her wings.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Friday, February 24, 2012

My Office Assistant

She makes sure I don't spend ALL MY TIME working. Canine office assistants are a needy bunch. I cannot begin to tell you how much I adore being able to bring my pups to work. They make good days great and bad days better.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Idaho Wants to Use Live Bait to Hunt Wolves

Idaho Senate Bill 1305, the Wolf Depredation Control act, would give ranchers and farmers greater ability to go out and kill wolves who kill animals those same ranchers and farmers are planning on killing to feed people. Good times.

The bill allows farmers to hunt wolves within 36 hours of a supposed wolf kill. They can slaughter wolves at night, use live bait, including live sheep or dogs or cats to lure the wolves back so they can blow the wolves away. They can fly in helicopters and airplanes or send drones out to massacre the alleged wolves. And they can track them down using 4WD vehicles. I am totally envisioning that truly iconic scene from Marley Fowat's book, Never Cry Wolf.

I've always found these anti-native predator bills fascinating. For one, what do we expect when we throw a bunch of prey animals in an area with native predators? Two, I love when ranchers claim these bills are because they care about the animals they are raising for...slaughter. That argument feels a bit hollow. I would prefer honesty.

"He estimates the predators are costing the state's livestock industry as much as $2 million a year" He is the author of the bill.

Excellent and thank you. This guy performs a neat trick, though. Predators. Wolves are not the sole predators of sheep, goats or cattle. It is not wolves alone costing "people who raise animals for slaughter" $2 million a year.

But I was curious about the $2 million number.

Farmers lost $1.19 million from sheep predation (26% of all causes)

For cattle, farmers lost around 3.2 million (6% of the total amount lost each year from all causes).

So in actuality, predation costs farmers in Idaho around $4 million (out of a total of about $61 million in losses from all causes). For cattle, respiratory ailments kill as many as predators. For adult sheep, giving birth kills as many as ewes as predators.

But what about wolves?

Wolves account for 30% of cattle kills - less than $1 million. Wolves accounted for $146,000 in sheep losses. Coyotes comprise the majority of sheep and calf kills. I suppose the unique aspect of wolves is they hunt adult cattle, which would be difficult for coyotes.

Still, I have no clue where this guy got the $2 million number - it's not accurate on any front.

Humans are constantly trying to fight nature. It's a ceaseless war against natural predators and their prey. Why can hunters shoot bison if they wander off Yellowstone? Because magically they are going to have sex with all the female cows and give them STDs. We permit the hunting of "prey" animals that may compete with non-native domesticated animals for access to resources. We essentially have an open season on coyotes everywhere because they do what wild canids do. We try to relax federal and state protection for increasingly rare apex predator species - like wolves - because we want to eat beef or lamb or goat meat.

And that does not even touch on the fact we poison, by the millions, native (and non-native) birds who eat the seeds and grains we grow to fatten animals *we* want to eat. Animal agribusiness at its finest.

Despite all that, amazingly, many of these animals - especially coyotes! - manage to survive. I cannot fathom it. We push them off their habitats, keep them away from resources through fencing, shoot them, poison them, trap them, call them pests/dangerous/unwanted...and nature finds a way to keep some of them alive. That won't always be the case, of course. There will come a time when there won't be wild wolves, bison, mountain lions, elk, bighorn sheep, bears...and this world will be a sadder, emptier place. And when the non-native wild boars and native coyotes are gone, you know we're screwed - they are two of the greatest survivors, despite constant pressure from hunting, poison, encroachment, fear and hate.

I hope this bill fails miserably, but I also don't have much hope in the case of Idaho.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Gross Times Ahead - Reminder, Dogs are Dogs

Fair warning.

This past weekend, I helped plant strawberries at work. This is so I feel no guilt when I eat five million strawberries later this year. I can point to the strawberry and be all I PLANTED IT and then stuff it in my face.

I brought Celeste, because she is a certified Farm Dog. She really would be the perfect companion on any (VEGETABLE) farm. She respects big farm equipment, loves running appropriately behind the mule (of the non-equine variety), and can distract herself by rolling in the grass.

While I helped plant, Celeste busied herself. She fancies herself a grand huntress, but in her five years of existence, she has only caught one animal (a baby mole). I figured that was a good track record for the little bits in the field.

Wishful thinking.

Celeste is now a bona fide gopher huntress. I am not hiring her out, because I told her killing gophers is rude. She responded with a firm, goofy "BUT I EATS THEM!" If she could truly talk, it would be in caps.

She caught and ate four gophers. Yes, I let her eat them. I balked at her rolling in them, though, but she ignored me.

This is a dog who thinks babies are to be coddled. She adores human beings fiercely. Celeste is what I would describe as respectful and mostly polite. Around humans, she is submissive (grin!) and believes we can do no wrong.

Out in that field, though, she expressed her canine instincts. There was nothing grotesque or barbaric about it. She did not play with the gophers or prolong their deaths. Each was dispatched quickly and efficiently. That she did not need to hunt to survive could not dampen whatever primal urge she had to pounce and kill.

I am not glorifying her, I am recognizing her. The creature who digs in the dirt, rolls in poop, samples dead things, and at night, curls up next to Mina on the bed. In those moments out in the pasture, she reminds me of the divide between us. She may be a long-since domesticated wild canid, but nothing can tether or chain or collar her desire to express what are, to her, innate behaviors.

No, I will not encourage her to chase other animals. I have no right to do so - Celeste does not need to hunt to survive, so when I can, I will call her to me and walk the other way. But I offer no harsh judgment on her behavior. There is nothing malicious or unkind about it. While I do believe dogs are capable of mean-spirited acts and a canine version of compassion or kindness, what Celeste is showed me is far less complex. It's just her, channeling centuries of evolution unhindered by human domestication.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A translation for your benefit

This article is totes hilarious. That is different than the situation being funny, because it wasn't. An idiot walking his dog was confronted by a police officer after he crossed the street illegally. Instead of just stopping and being like "crap, mr. policeman, I'm sorry" the dude ran. And he dropped his dog's leash.

But what would be a Pit Bull article without a little drama? NOT NEWS, that's what.

In fact, the title of the whole article is "Suspect sics dog on officer". Now if you're me, this suggests a dog on human attack. Nothing of the kind happened, but again, a Pit Bull article is only the awesome if there is some epic stuff going on.

For example, "ordered the animal to bite the pursuing officer by saying "Sic him!" according to Krewson.The officer was able to outrun the dog"

Have you EVER been able to outrun a healthy, adult dog? Like ever?

I have. It has occurred under the following circumstances:
1. I have outrun a dog who did not chase me.
2. I have outrun a dog walking.
3. I have outrun a dog going in the opposite direction.
4. I have outrun a dog on a 6' lead when I was already 10' away.

I have not, however, attempted to or succeeded at outrunning a dog chasing after me at his full, healthy stride.

My theory is that the dog did not actually try to chase the officer but trotted after because, hey, his guardian went in the same direction so why  not follow?

The officer ended up cornering the suspect who was acting a fool and got himself tased.

Then multiple officers arrived. AND CHAOS ENSUED.

"By that time multiple officers were at the scene, and feared the dog might try to protect its owner and attack the police when they detained Gonzalez, Krewson said. The officers were able to "ruse the dog away from" Gonzalez, and into a patrol car before hand-cuffing Gonzalez"

Translation: Officer was all "get in my car" and dog was all "yep, sounds fabulous."

The only individual who posed a threat to anyone was the person, not the dog. A story without a Pit Bull acting neurotic is not a real story, though.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Goats Have Accents

Laura and Charlene
According to a recent study, goats develop accents dependent on their ecological niche (or location).

I think this is neat information, especially considering I work for an organization that rescues goats (and other farmed animals) from different locations and situations.

It makes me wonder if incoming goats have unique accents that may be misunderstood by the current herd. Or despite accents, is the content still understandable?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Did you ever know you're my hero?

That's what little Hen is saying, if she could say stuff. But she cannot, because she's a dog. A PUPPY, more importantly.

Mina would like Hen to know she does not think Hen was stupid for running back into a burning building. Actually, she does, because Mina can be pretty mean-spirited sometimes. But *I* don't want Hen to feel bad or anything about running back into a burning building. We're both happy she's alive and is also named after the female gender of the chicken species.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Friday, February 17, 2012

A lame law in Hays County you can now oppose

the owner of a dog that is known to have attacked sheep, goats, calves, or other domestic animals or fowls shall kill the dog.  A Sheriff, Deputy Sheriff, constable, police officer or magistrate may enter the premises of the owner of the dog if the owner fails to do so”.

Legislative wording, so important. Whoever created this law must have really disliked dogs. If only they had switched shall for may, all would have been fine with the world. May means may not. Same is not true for shall - that's a legal mandate, yo.

And it is totally stupid. 

Two dogs were killed for killing twelve chickens. One dog had been abandoned, the other has a current guardian. Had, I guess, because he's dead. The guardians of the dogs should be held responsible, and the law should permit leniency. 

You can find contact information for the commissioners here. I think it's a hoot they "hold court".

It's not fair for a dog not to have a home

From the mouths of babes, folks!

When a Pit Bull strayed upon the school grounds of Mound Elementary school in Ventura, he picked the right spot! 

They named the dog Chauncy. A teacher attempted to find the dog his home but was unable to. She drove him to the local animal control shelter.

Now in a healthy animal shelter world, dropping a stray dog off at the local animal shelter should be a good thing. In our dysfunctional animal shelter world, though, dogs like Chauncy are killed. Not because Chauncy is a bad dog or aggressive dog or medically untreatable dog.

Somehow Chauncy survived five weeks at the animal control agency. He wasn't killed like 800+ Pit Bull type dogs were last year. But when the kids heard he might be killed, they took action.

Okay, let me just say this: These kids are kick-ass. There should have been no need for them to be kick-ass, though. Chauncy should never have faced death, period, nor should he have needed 10-yr-olds to champion his cause and save his life.

And you know why Chauncy should be alive?

"I didn't think it was fair for him to be put down to sleep," said Brendan, 10. "It's not fair for a dog to not have a home."

True that, Brendan. 

Chauncy is safe and sound now, because a bunch of kids raised money for him. That's ridiculous, but awesome. Ridiculous because they should not have had to. Awesome because kids rule.

And so does Chauncy. 

David Yamamoto, Special to The Star

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Happy Pig

I was watching this video and it was so fucking depressing. It's all standard practice crap on farms and I wish more people gave a damn about farmed animals and just stopped eating them.

So it was nice to spend time with our most recently rescued pig as she was introduced to the rest of the sounder (herd) for the first time. She was exploited at a research facility where she never saw sunlight or another pig. Her life was a 10x10 concrete kennel. It's hard to fathom why she is so trusting of humans, but she is.

Tiffany is her name. Sweetness is her game. The introduction went beautifully because Tiffany is a gentle soul. Pigs are social creatures, but they also have shifting rules when it comes to hierarchy. The way her introduction went indicates she will most likely be a happily low-ranking adult pig.

Here she is pretending not to notice Benjamin in the background.

Tiffany Out in the Pasture

Something Elsie Likes to Paint in the Bathtub

Mina says this is silly. Bathtubs are evil. No good can come from them.
But Something Elsie sure looks adorable painting shit.

She's a 10-yr-old Pit Bull. She paints stuff. She's survived cancer. And like I said earlier, she paints stuff.

She also has a store. Amazing.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A dog with no face wins a stupid dog show

That is pretty much all I'm going to say about Westminster.

I am growing stuff

I win. I can kill cactus. So when I planted daffodils, tulips, hyacinths and crocuses, I was not sure that they would be able to overcome my death thumb. BUT THEY ARE GROWING. If this little bed of awesome is successful, I'm going to plant bulbs all over the freaking place.

I hope these little dudes know it's still February.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hey Ladies

Hey Ladies

Seriously, that's what they're saying with that swagger. They're from a large farm where they were de-beaked and de-toed (first digits of toes lopped off), all without pain relief. They would have been a Thankless main course. Now they get to puff up big and proud.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Henry the Handsome


This is Henry. He thinks he's the shit. Most roosters do. Their bravado is both admirable and foolish.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Just for Fun

These are quotes from a woman who is angry that a rabbit rescue posted photos of her friend's rabbitry.

She is a member or president or founding mother of an organization that wants to protect rabbit breeders who have been accused of stuff. Seriously, it says that in their profile.

But I am not going to give their name out, because I don't think they deserve any more web traffic. It's how I roll. If you have mad google-fu prowess, you'll figure it out.

What I want you to think about, though, is how you would react to a public relations issue as president or representative of your organization, be it non-profit or for-profit. Think hard. Are these things you would say to your supporters? The media? Your board? Your top donors?

To me, these quotes are great examples of how not to react to any perceived or actual crisis situation. Take heed and learn!

What not to do: Insult your entire audience.

"How dumb is the general public? I mean, daily we hear these things coming of rescues like "Help! I need help! I rescued 100 bunnies from a breeder, and I only have room for four and I have not enough feed or hay, and the bunnies are getting diarrhea! Please help". And what happens? Who knows? I know some of them get shunted around the country to other rescues who then yell "Help, somebody please help! we just took in fifty bunnies and we only have room for four...". I mean, what kind of a nutcase, a complete fruitcake, takes in 100 bunnies when they only have enough room and food for four? Rescue? Really? Is the public that dumb?"

What not to do: Ruin your position by calling your opponents names. 

"What we believe happened here with the bimbos...."

What not to do: Tell people not to adopt needy animals, because you don't like rabbitry photos being displayed on random internet blogs

"If you are in the neighborhood on February 19, which is a Saturday, the adoptathon will be at the REDACTED. Those so inclined please drop in and steer any good hearted person away from making a serious mistake in supporting this dishonest organization."
You'd probably get fired or your mouth forcibly taped shut if you acted this way on behalf of your organization.

Now on a personal blog, if you act like a rude punk...well, you're entitled. I don't always mince words. But when you claim to be a representative of a company or non-profit organization, your argument loses standing when you act a fool. You make your organization appear angry in a very bad way.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

I Should be Dead According to this Poster

I am guilty of every single "don't do it" thing on this poster. How did I manage to survive into adulthood? I suppose part of it is reading the dog in his entirety and adjusting my behavior to respond accordingly. Perhaps, luck.

A couple days ago, there was a big 'ol Husky in the back of a pickup truck. "Hey," I said,  nodded my head and then said in a girly voice, "You are super duper awesome handsome." And you know what? He wagged his butt, placed his head on the side of the truck and was all "I know. Please. Approach". I didn't because Mina was all "Oh hells no jerk, I will eat you and your mama." and then he was all "Try it, bitch."

Or outside of Petco, I saw a woman with a Pit Bull puppy and I immediately pulled into a parking spot, leaped out, and demanded (asked, whatever) to pet the dog. Not only did I squeal at the puppy, I stuck my face in his because he was sticking his face in mine and licking off several layers of epidermis. That's skin. I'm surprised I have a face left.

On the flip side, my mom and I were walking past a big Rottweiler in the bed of a pick-up truck. He gave us a nice, soft look, but he was also tense and woeful. I told him all about how gorgeous he was and how he should really have more self-esteem and confidence. And he just sorta stared at me all baleful like. I didn't bother him any further, because how rude would I be?

There are several studies that show humans are pretty decent at reading dog behavior. Instinctively, on some level, we recognize certain behaviors and translate them. Humans, unfortunately, have created myths around dog behavior - like a wagging tail = happy dog or that hackling = aggression. We've been told that eye contact = direct challenge and that yawning/panting = tired dog. Or that showing teeth = bad dog. We look to the parts and forget the whole.

Like Mina? She is patently offended if you do not make eye contact with her. She will go to extra lengths to stare at you until your eyes meet with hers, and then she will lick you, because that is how she rolls. Celeste? She is comfortable with minimal eye contact and if you offer it harshly or for too long, she bring out the big guns - the submissive grin. Mina piloerects like all get-out, and because it is a sign of arousal and hyperactivity, it could mean Mina is about to get all angry or play. Usually it's the latter. Celeste does not piloerect. Except maybe around parked motorcycles and that's because she's patently afraid of them.

I'm not suggesting ignore the good advice on this poster. I think the message would be more powerful if the "do this" was at the top and more prominent, but that's me. Do take each dog individually. Look at how all the parts work to make the complete package.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

This is gross

Pig farms are already totes gross, but now they are even more so with the discovery that they keep blowing up from foamy shit. Seriously. What are they putting in these pigs' feed that makes their poop so toxic that it blows up entire buildings? SCARY.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Celeste's Fear of Laminate and Wood Floors

This one is all my fault.

I have had Celeste since she was 8-weeks-old. It had been a long time since a puppy was in my life. So I worked really hard to expose her to all sorts of people and situations.

Today, Celeste is a people-slut. She is the dog who would get loose and run happily up to the first person she saw, entire body exuding joy.

But I failed with different flooring surfaces. Seeing her try to walk on wood floors or laminated floors is comically painful.

Several dog training classes and desensitization attempts have yet to work.

I was using paw pads that adhere to the pad of the foot during training. These helped a little, but Celeste would chew them off when we would get home. They're not cheap, and I'm not going to  invest hundreds of dollars annually for her foot problem.

So I am considering these.

I want to enroll Celeste in a rally class, because she really loves having a class where it's just me and her. It also exposes her to other dogs in a safe, controlled manner. Plus, she is so smart that I think it would be good for her brain.

I'm not doing paw pads, so I'm thinking specialized dog booties would be best.

I need ones that will grip on any surface, which is why I like the Ruff Wear tread. But any other thoughts or suggestions are appreciated.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Little Carmen Goes International

Our little rescued lamb has been featured at the Daily Mail in the UK.

I'm ignoring all the asshattery from comments who can only contribute "LEG OF LAMB YUM!" to the conversation.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Aiden's Shadow

Aiden and Little Carmen

Aiden is a ridiculous sheep. True story: Several years ago, Aiden was running down the hill so fast that he barreled right between my legs and I rode him for 10 feet before he realized a person was on his back. And then he was all WHAT THE HELL WOMAN. And I was all WHAT THE HELL AIDEN. Then we were friends again.

Aiden is a bummer lamb. On sheep farms, ewes may give birth to 2-3 lambs. They often can only care for one and will abandon the others. The farmer left the lamb in a field to die. Aiden was picked up by a passer-by who saw a bedraggled lamb out in the wide open during a thunderstorm. He suffered from pneumonia and took a long time to recover. He lived in the offices for awhile. He acts more like a dog than a sheep.

Carmen is the little tyke shadowing Aiden. She's a Barbados sheep, who have hair instead of wool. She has three legs because some idiot refused to treat her broken leg for two weeks and the limb died. She's hardcore cute.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Goat Love

Laura and Charlene


Charlene is the pygmy goat on the right. She used to look like this. Now she looks, smells and acts like a male goat. Even when she looked and acted like a female, she loved Laura fiercely. Always.

Laura was rescued at an auctionyard where she was being sold for slaughter. Workers were dragging her by a broken leg. She is named after her rescuer.

Charlene was bought as a young kid and lived in a condominium, in a dog crate for over a year. The moment she saw the goat herd, she knew they were her people and she never looked at us humans ever again.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Germingo Strikes Again

I'm going to clone Celeste and start breeding a rare line of hybrid German Shepherd Dingo crosses. I might have to throw in some Australian Shepherd or Catahoulas to get the all important blue eyes, but I feel like Germingocat does not have the same ring to it.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Mina is concerned about bed time

Mina likes to make nests. She likes to grab comforters and drag them to make a little bed. This is annoying and I tell her so on a regular basis. Because contrary to Mina's belief, I don't like holes in my blankets. True story. So anyways, this is the face Mina gives me when I demand she cease and desist. I believe it's her "Eff You" face.