Thursday, March 29, 2012

Does Dr. Dunbar Hate Adult Dogs?

I don't mean that super seriously, but in his recent Forbes interview, he sure makes the argument for puppies and, by default, against adult dogs.

Like this little gem, "How long did it take to house train it? I would say we’ve just about done it. A year.  A year of constant work with a ten-month-old dog."

Now maybe this is because the dog is a Beauceron or previously an outdoor dog or whatever, but damn! A whole year? I have no training prowess as compared to Dr. Dunbar, but Mina - an outdoor/garage dog for 3 years - was house-trained in two-weeks. 

I don't hold up Mina as the bastion of ideal dog behavior nor do I consider myself all that fabulous when it has come to training her (although we have had three different trainers who all concluded Mina was just a leash-reactive bitch and I should just deal with it). But I do believe each dog is an individual, and I really wish Dr. Dunbar had conveyed that to this audience.

Because when I read the first 3/4 of the article, I feel like no one will want to adopt adult dogs ever ever in a million years.

I like his bit about dog bites and bite inhibition, because people are so in love with dogs but so petrified of them biting. It is such a strange paradox.

More importantly, vintage Celeste shot when she was a PUHPAY!

Celeste and Mina

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Chicken Welcome

Welcome committee
Rescued hens greeted by current hens
Random fundraising text factoid: Always place your photographs to the right and always add a caption. People are four times more likely to read captions than copy. People like to read left to right without interruption. Marketing science!

The hens in the crate are from the largest rescue of farmed animals in California history. They are from a family-run California egg farm that decided feed was too expensive. So obviously they stopped feeding the birds, because that makes sense.

For more than fourteen days 50,000 hens were left without food.

17,000 died and >25,000 were gassed by state officials. We were permitted to take the "healthiest" hens, which ended up being 4,460.

Which is totes sad, but really, their entire lives prior to this point were sad. They are the 95%. That is the percentage of hens on egg farms who are crammed into wire, metal cages so small the hens cannot spread their wings.

Their beaks have been trimmed, a nifty chicken industry euphemism for lopping off an integral body part without pain relief. It's painful. And it looks like this.

Pretty hen
This hen has more than 2/3 of her beak cut off

About 100 of the 4,100 hens the sanctuary I work for took in were integrated into the permanent sanctuary flock (the remaining hens we are placing into permanent homes). The resident hens greeted the newcomers with great kindness and generosity. I'm serious. They peered into the crates and clucked to the incoming hens in gentle coos. The new hens were unimpressed and needed to be escorted out.

Once they got out, their first order of business was to dust-bathe like nobody's business. Which inspired the rest of the chickens to dust-bathe, because apparently they failed to realize how super-duper awesome dustbathing with gusto really is.


Cool stuff. These hens are one of the kabillion reasons I'm vegan. For reals, kabillion. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Celeste, Mina, Snow

I took video of Celeste and Mina in the snow this morning.

Some fun stuff I learned about my dogs:

1. Celeste always keeps an eye on where Mina is and tries to use her attention-seeking skills to engage with Mina.

2. Celeste loves snowballs and gets confused when they disappear.

3. Mina plays too rough and Celeste gets grouchy, but they both relieve the tension by engaging in body shaking and then joint sniffing.

4. Mina doesn't really like the snow but will be out in it because everyone else is in it.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Senior Dogs

Do you provide any special treatment to your senior canines? Medicine, supplements, food?

I'm worried I do not give Mina all that she needs to grow old gracefully. I'm pretty sure she is somewhat arthritic, not severe, but it is hard to tell with her because she is stoic.

Right now, she cannot jump up, even two feet onto the sofa. She is sensitive with her lower back, but again, it is so hard to tell with her. She handles pain better than most dogs (and humans) I know, so whenever she reacts I figure it has to be unusually painful. I gave her some pain meds, but I'm wondering if it is just a side effect of her growing old.

Mina makes me worry like no other.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Perching on food dish is cool

Perching on food dish is good

Perching on top of your food dish is number one on this hen's daily to-do list.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Celeste Lets Mina Touch Her

BREAKING NEWS Celeste lets Mina rest her head and paw on her

Celeste is not big on other dogs touching her, even Mina. So it's a real joy when I turn around and see this sight - Mina resting both head and paw on Celeste's back paw and butt. Celeste can be a real charmer sometimes. :)

Saturday, March 3, 2012



Can you imagine not being able to stretch your arms out for years? When a hen comes out of a traditional egg farm (>95% of hens live in cages) alive, she can finally stretch her wing. And she will, just for the thrill of it.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


I'm sorry if your comments are not showing up - I am not doing it intentionally. It seems blogger has updated their comment system to the detriment of any comment system already installed. If you know how to fix it, let me know.

Because I was there, you should watch this

If you like any of my posts, please watch this. If you enjoy reading about Mina and Celeste's antics, please watch this. I don't overwhelm this blog with one of my most heartfelt passions - farmed animal rights. Because of that, I ask you to give me five minutes of your time.  I know you've probably spent more reading some of my lengthier posts!

I was at this farm. And maybe, because of that, you will honor my wish for you to view this video. Five minutes. I promise there are happy moments, but there are sad ones too. Just watch. Afterwards, maybe think about how you can help - you don't need money or volunteer time or anything fancy.