Thursday, February 28, 2013

Florida's Pet Lemon Law

I've been told that Florida has one of the better Pet Lemon Laws in the U.S. True or not, everyone buying or selling animals in the state should know what the law is. I'll try to break it down in plain English. (You can follow the link to read the exact legalese verbiage.) Florida State Statute 828.29 states that: 
  •  No one may transport into the state, or sell from within the state, any cat or dog less than 8 weeks old.
So, if someone is offering to sell you a 6 week old puppy – it’s illegal! Don’t take it.
  • All animals sold must have a certificate of veterinary inspection signed a licensed veterinarian within 30 days of the sale. Among other things, the certificate verifies that all vaccines have been administered and the veterinarian warrants that to the best of his/her knowledge the animal has no sign of contagious or infectious diseases and has no evidence or internal or external parasites.
    • Required vaccines and tests for dogs are: canine distemper, leptospirosis, bordetella, parainfluenza, hepatitis, canine parvovirus, rabies (if over 3 months), roundworms, and hookworms.
    • Required vaccines and tests for cats are: panleukopenia, feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, rabies (if over 3 months), roundworms, and hookworms.
If someone is offering to sell you a puppy or kitten, ask for the health certificate. It’s required! If there isn't one, look elsewhere.
As soon as you get your new pet home, take it to the vet! Why? Because you have legal recourse should something go wrong.
  • If within 14 days of the sale of the animal a licensed veterinarian of the buyer's choosing certifies that at the time of sale the animal (1) was unfit for purchase due to illness or disease, (2) had the presence of symptoms of a contagious or infectious disease, or (3) had the presence of internal or external parasites (excluding fleas & ticks)
OR
  • If within 1 year following the sale of the animal the veterinarian certifies the animal (1) to be unfit due to a congenital or hereditary disorder that adversely affects the health of the animal, or (2) the breed, sex, or health of the animal is found to have been misrepresented to the consumer.
The buyer may:
  • return the animal for a full refund of sales price (including sales tax) plus reimbursement for veterinary fees to examine and certify the cat or dog as unfit, and the cost of emergency services to relieve suffering. (The statue says reasonable costs, but doesn't specify what is reasonable.)  
  • exchange the animal for a dog or cat of equal value. The consumer can also have certain veterinary costs reimbursed including examination and unfit certification fees as well as the cost of emergency services to relieve suffering (limited to a maximum equal to the cost of the cat or dog).
  • Keep the animal and have vet costs reimbursed for treatment to attempt to cure the animal (up to the original purchase price of the animal).
A good breeder will have these provisions written into your contract. Mine did! If they're not in your contract, ask to have them added -- though you're protected under the law whether the provisions are in the contract or not. I'm not a fan of pet shops (so many just recycle puppy mill animals). However, if you're going to use a pet shop, make sure you know the law before you go. It'll protect you and your new puppy.

There are conditions and restrictions:
  • Unless specified in local ordinance, the health certificate requirements don't apply to “free to a good home” animals, so caveat emptor!
  • The buyer has 48 hours (excluding weekends and holidays) to get the animal examined by a veterinarian.
  • An animal may not be declared unfit "on account of an injury sustained or illness contracted after the consumer takes possession of the animal." 
  • If a veterinarian deems the animal unfit, the buyer must notify the seller within two days of the veterinary determination, and then written documentation stating the animal is unfit for sale must be provided to the seller within three business days.
  • The seller can require the buyer to take the animal to a veterinarian of the seller's choice for a second opinion. (Seller pays for the examination.)
  • The seller can specify in writing the presence of specific congenital or hereditary disorders. In that case the buyer has no right to a refund or exchange for those specific conditions.
  • County and City operated animal control agencies, as well as registered nonprofit humane organizations, are exempt from these provisions.
  • It's a great ordinance, but can be difficult to enforce. It's easier for the ACO to enforce when a municipal ordinance piggybacks the State ordinance, specifying "if [blank] occurs, then the penalties are . . ." (I'm learning this the hard way!)
  • Unresolved disputes between buyers and sellers are settled in civil court (a.k.a. small claims court). Civil court is not criminal court -- and can be slow and frustrating. (I'm learning this the hard way too!)
So did you learn anything? Good! -- K



Thanks to the Questions on Dogs & Cats blog for the great picture!
The blog is also full of interesting info. Stop by and take a look!


    

    Wednesday, February 27, 2013

    Neuter or Not?



    I'm conflicted. As an animal control officer I always preach spay/neuter. In the shelter we were sterilizing everything before it was adopted out -- often as early as 8 weeks -- because even with free spay/neuter vouchers owners were not returning to sterilize their animals. There are so many benefits to sterilizing pets, including:
    • Reduction of pet overpopulation, and fewer homeless animals = less euthanasia
    • Reduction/elimination of hormone driven behaviors (spraying, yowling, mounting, marking, roaming, fighting)
    • Less aggression/no sexual frustration
    • No testicles = no testicular cancer
    • Reduced chance of developing prostate cancer 
    • No uterus = no heat cycles or pyometra (a life-threatening infection of the uterus often requiring an emergency hysterectomy)
    • Spaying before a female's first heat cycle virtually eliminates breast cancer  
    These are several of the facts touted by the pro-neuter camp -- and I believe them! And there are other factors too. My experience is that the really bad bites are overwhelmingly from unneutered dogs. American Humane has statistics showing that approximately 92% of fatal dog attacks involved male dogs, 94% of which were not neutered. Also, most of the dead animals I find alongside the road are unneutered males -- probably out looking for love in all the wrong places. So where is the conflict?

    I’ve found several articles about some of the adverse side effects of sterilizing an animal. I had read several years ago that early sterilization can affect bone growth and density. Many owners of working and agility dogs advise waiting until a dog reaches sexual maturity before spaying or neutering. For some larger breeds that can be as late as two years old. In another article I found, a veterinarian questioned whether early neutering actually reduces prostate cancer. And now I just received this article which poses that the age of neutering (or even neutering at all) may affect a dog's risk of developing certain cancers and joint disorders, specifically hip dysplasia. As a German shepherd dog owner, this article really concerns me.

    I have sterilized all my dogs (cats too!) except for Jedi. The main reason is that he can't compete in the ring without his cojones. However, I have always thought that if I didn't succeed/like conformation (or his hips and elbows didn't pass OFA) I'd go ahead and have him neutered. Now I'm rethinking it. However, I won't stop promoting spay/neuter professionally. I think it's for the greater good of society. Does that make my a hypocrite? Any thoughts? -- K

    Tuesday, February 26, 2013

    King of Kongs

    Every year the FACA Conference holds a silent auction to raise money for Small Shelter Grants. I always take my checkbook! This year there were half a dozen giant Kongs up for bid. Jedi has outgrown his puppy Kongs, though he never seemed overly enthusiastic about them. I wanted to try out a big one, but they're $15+ in the store. I didn't want to waste that much money on something he might not like. I bid on three separate Kongs thinking I might be able to score one under my $5 limit. Silly me, I got all three for $14! I brought them home and Jedi loves them, though they're not much smaller than his head. He likes to chew them and try to throw them. Sometimes I'll put stuff inside to keep him busy in his crate while I'm doing something else (like blogging). I've smeared low fat cream cheese inside and frozen them. I stuffed one with peanut butter, banana and puppy chow. He seamed to like that too -- until Roxy stole it! Anybody else use Kongs? Do you have any fun recipes? I'll share anything I come up with as well. -- K

    Sunday, February 24, 2013

    True Confessions


    I have a confession to make. Until recently, I absolutely HATED little dogs. Every little dog I had ever known yapped, nipped, jumped on and peed on everything (and everyone!) in sight. I saw no purpose in living with such unruly, neurotic little dogs. As an animal control officer I’ve learned something: It’s not the dog. Through my job I’ve met lots of little dogs. Many of them are the nasty little dogs of my childhood. However, some are really neat little pets. The difference: the actions of the owner. (I know, DUH!) This is what I’ve discovered:


    Nasty little dogs:
    • Are treated as accessories. Think Paris Hilton.
    • Are often substitutes for friends, spouses or children. Poor things are never allowed to be dogs. (I know, people do this with big dogs too, though I don't see it as often. Trust me, a future rant is coming on this very subject!)
    • Are usually carried. They have purses, backpacks and strollers to keep them from touching the ground.
    • Are coddled -- often to their detriment. I've seen little dogs terrified of the entire world because their owners never let them "work through" something. These dogs were never socialized with strange people or situations. Not surprisingly, these dogs are often biters.
    • Have “pee pee” pads in the house. Though male dogs mark anyway. eeewww. I even had one pee on my leg when I was talking to the owner about a barking complaint. Surprisingly, the owner did nothing about it!
    • Have owners in denial. Jumping is considered “cute” (regardless of the feelings of the person being jumped upon); barking is ignored (the neighbors just have to suffer); growling is dismissed as “being protective” and bites are seldom reported. BTW, if large dogs do ANY of these behaviors Animal Control is called immediately.
    • Have little or no obedience training. Example: I have one woman whose three Chihuahuas get out on a regular basis and run the neighborhood, chasing children and running into traffic. The woman will spend an hour trying to shoo them back into her yard because they don’t come when she calls – ever! And want to talk about denial? Her daughter was outraged that I wrote Mom a ticket because “It’s not like they’re pit bulls or anything.”
    • Are often neurotic, much like the dog in this video. This won on America’s Funniest Home Video -- hear all the laughter? -- but in reality it's not funny. This is a scary, unstable dog.


    • Have no doggie etiquette. I’ve handled countless big dog vs. little dog calls. Overwhelmingly, the little dog started it! Unfortunately, the little dogs always get the worst of it too.

    Great little dogs:
    • Are treated like dogs.
    • Are socialized.
    • Are housebroken.
    • Are trained to sit, stay and be quiet on command.
    • Are leashed trained and walked regularly.
    • Can be excellent athletes. I was amazed by all the papillons I saw at an agility trial. And look at all the Jack Russell terriers participating in Flyball.
    • Can be obedience champions. Likewise, I saw some excellent little dogs at the last obedience trial I went to.

    Little dog owners, do us all a favor and PLEASE treat your dogs like dogs. To quote Cesar Milan: “Exercise, Discipline and Affection.”

     
    Interesting note: Some of our older German Shepherd Dog Club members have switched to Pembroke Corgis, saying that those little dogs think and train like German shepherds. Who'd of thunk it? How about you? What are your experiences with little dogs? -- K
     
    

    A purse to fit MY dogs!

    Thursday, February 21, 2013

    See You Later, Alligator


    There is no real reason for this post other than I really like this picture. See the pretty white teeth that Jedi won't show to anybody in the ring? Butthead.
     
    I'm leaving for the conference in about 30 minutes. I'm soooo going to miss this face! Hubby says he's not looking forward to being alone with all the beasties. (I don't believe him!) I would take Jedi with me if I could. However, I don't think anyone would mistake him for a service dog!! "See" you all in a few days. -- K

    P.S. The picture was taken in Hanna Park and yes, there are gators in the lakes. (Notice the leash? I'm holding it with one hand while taking the picture with the other. No gator's going to get my dog!)

    FACA

    GOOD NEWS: I’m attending the Florida Animal Control Association  (FACA) conference again this year! Animal Control Officers from all over the state get together to share ideas and learn new things. Some of this year’s topics include:

    *  Florida’s Pet Lemon Law  *  Compassion Fatigue  *
    *  Regulation of Pet Sales and Breeders  *  Hoarders  *
    *  Capturing and Caring for Exotic Species  *
    *  Promoting Pit Bulls  *  Making “No Kill” Work  *

    Exciting, hunh? I can't wait. I learn something new every time I go.

    BAD NEWS: I have to leave Jedi for three days. I’m sure Hubby and Sons will take good care of him while I'm away. Still, I’m going to miss my puppy. And I’m going to miss you too! My laptop has finally died so I won’t be able to post while I’m away (not that I'd have the time anyway). I hope to come back rejuvenated and full of information. I promise to share anything I find interesting. Catch you later. -- K

    Wednesday, February 20, 2013

    Conformation Woes

     
    Who's your Daddy?
    See the beautiful dog pictured right? That is Jedi's father, CHAMPION MAR HAVEN'S LAST COWBOY SONG. Unfortunately, his son looked nothing like that at conformation class last night. Jedi hid behind me and wanted absolutely nothing to do with the class. He was more interested in leaves that anything else. I know it was only our second class, but I found it very disheartening. Most troubling were:
    • Jedi doesn't seem to be comfortable with strangers, especially the instructor. He didn't want her touching him and he didn't like having his mouth opened. This is sad because I spent so much time and energy socializing him from Day 1. I discovered the teeth issue at our last class. Because of that, Hubby and I randomly say "teeth!" in a happy, high pitched voice and open Jedi's mouth a dozen times a day. He hates it, but at least tolerates it at home. He wasn't cooperating at all with showing his teeth in the ring.
    • Apparently my food-motivated pup has limits after all. His regular treats were not cutting it last night. I'm going to have to find something exceptionally yummy to use in the ring. Any ideas?
    • Since the beginning we have taught Jedi that sitting is the polite way to get what he wants. Maybe we should have thought this through! Now I need to teach him NOT to sit in the ring, and that standing is what I want. I'm hoping he'll pick up that the change in collars means a change in procedure. Since standing is such and issue, I haven't even begun to introduce stacking. Ugh.
    So I'm looking the calendar and feeling really anxious right now. The Greater Orange Park Dog Club Fun Match is in 24 days. That is our litmus test. If we don't totally bomb, we'll have four days to register for the dog show in April. Did I mention that this particular show is being sponsored by my Dog Club? I don't know if I find that comforting or not. Our Show Secretary sent me the premium list (application) last week -- "just in case" she said. So the big question: will we be ready? Truth is, we'll never be ready if I don't make an effort to practice. A LOT. Therefore, I'm going to cut this short and grab the leash. Wish me luck! -- K
    

    Thursday, February 14, 2013

    My Furry Valentine

    The day of our first Puppy Kindergarten class -- way back in January -- I got an email from the instructor saying that it was really cold and we might want to bring sweaters for the pups. I was short on time, so I popped into the closest pet store. I didn't find any Jedi-sized sweaters under $40 (twice what I wanted to pay). I found a tacky, fleece shirt that said "Mom's 'Lil Heart Breaker." I bought it, but never used it. After all, Jedi is a self-respecting German shepherd (with a thick double coat). Jedi is growing quickly and won't be able to fit into the shirt much longer. He's not too upset about that, but I spent $20 on the stupid thing! I thought I'd take a few pictures of him in the shirt. It wasn't easy. I don't see him having a future in doggie modelling. Enjoy! -- K


     

    The box is empty. Hubby found all the chocolate before Jedi.

    Wednesday, February 13, 2013

    Happy Valentine's Day


    I have grown to loathe Valentine’s Day. What happened to the cheap, punny cards and chalky, candy hearts of my childhood? When did the holiday become so commercialized? Why do you have to go into debt on over-priced flowers and fancy dinners to show someone you love them? It’s awful! Even the pet industry has gotten into the game. But before you spend any money on that heart shaped squeaky toy or rhinestone studded collar, stop and ask yourself: "Why am I doing this?" and "Does my puppy care?" Petsmart says your dog wants this stuff, but I’m sure your dog would rather just have quality time with you. Aren’t dogs great?! Here are 10 simple ways to show your dog you love him without spending a fortune. (P.S. They can be used anytime, not just on Valentine’s Day.)
    • Turn off the TV and step away from the computer. Give your dog your undivided attention. Talk to him. Tell him about your day. He won’t understand the words, but he’ll be thrilled to hear your voice. On the plus side, he’ll always agree with you. According to Jedi: yes, my boss was being unreasonable yesterday; I am the best Animal Control officer in the entire world; and I totally deserve a raise.
    • Be Silly. I once read that dogs enjoy a Three Stooges slapstick-type humor. True or not, I believe that dogs do have a sense of humor. I know they respond to laughter. I’m talking about real belly laughs, not that fake stuff you show to the in-laws. (Dogs can tell the difference.) And I may be anthropomorphizing, but I'd swear that dogs smile when happy.
    • Play a game. Fetch, tag, tug-o-war, chase the laser pointer -- it doesn’t matter what you play. Just play. Looking for a new game? Purina has a few fun ideas. 
    • Take a walk. I'm not talking about the “hurry up and pee” walk, or the “I need some exercise” walk that we're all familiar with. Take a DOG walk. Put away your cell phone and enjoy the moment. Stop and smell the flowers -- or whatever you feel like sniffing. Your dog will love it!
    • Find the sweet spot. You know what I'm talking about: that one spot that makes your dog’s feet kick and tongue loll? Every dog has one. Pepper’s was at the base of her tail. Logan would actually groan during ear massages. Roxy loves her belly rubbed and Jedi can’t stay still when you scratch his back. Where is your dog’s sweet spot?
    • Go out for a burger. When the weather is nice we like to go to Sonic. We’ll sit at a far table under the awning. Hubby and I enjoy people watching while the dogs split a plain cheeseburger and cup of water (no ice). If we go between 2-4 PM, I can get a lemon-berry slush for half price! Cheap date, hunh? Want something fancier? Al's Pizza and Joseph's Pizza in Atlantic Beach allow dogs on outdoor patios. Both restaurants have excellent food, serve wine, and are within walking distance of the ocean. ACO NOTE: If you’re taking your dogs to the beach, stay on Atlantic Beach (the north side of Atlantic Blvd). Neptune Beach (south of Atlantic Blvd) does not allow dogs during the day. I’d hate for your doggie date to be ruined by a $50 ticket.
    • Set up a play date. Does your dog have a canine BFF? Why not invite the dog and his owner over for some butt sniffing (the dogs) and margaritas (the humans)? We have friends that Hubby, Jedi and I visit regularly, though not as often as I would like. Friends have four shepherds of their own, so their house is very dog-friendly (as in no crystal vases at tail level). The puppies run amok while the adults play board games.
    • Go for a ride. This is one of Roxy’s favorite pastimes. A trip around the block with her head out the window is the Best. Thing. Ever. Want bonus points? End up at the park or pet store.
    • Learn a new trick. This is a great bonding experience for the two of you. Your dog wants to please you. Seeing you happy because he figured out “roll over” will make his day. Need ideas for tricks? Check out Janet Wall's site or one of the many books from Kyra Sundance.
    • Take an afternoon nap together. Spoiler alert: I let my dogs in bed with me. There’s not enough room for two big dogs and two not-so-small humans to fit comfortably all night. However, there is plenty of room for one human and two dogs to enjoy an hour-long nap. I’d like to think that we all benefit from the closeness of sleeping together. 
    So, are you feeling inspired? GOOD! Now get off the computer and go spend some time with your dog! Come back later and share your favorite ways to spend time with your dog. Until then, -- K

    Tuesday, February 12, 2013

    Spike

    I’ve had several people ask me about Spike. Sorry, I thought I told this story before, but apparently it was on Facebook. So here it is for the rest of you:

    The Tale of Spike the Guinea Pig
    (a.k.a. My Failure as a Foster Parent)

    In 2006 I was working at the county shelter. Back then we took in everything: dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, rodents, snakes, lizards, chickens, goats, pigs, ferrets, hedgehogs, sugar gliders and a sick turkey vulture. Caring for all of them was dirty work but it was never boring! One day we had a group of guinea pigs come in. (Useless fact: A group of guinea pigs is called a herd.) One of the guinea pigs was so pregnant that she was wider than she was long. I was never a fan of guinea pigs, but I felt sorry for the poor thing. A vet tech convinced me to foster her until she had her babies. She argued that shelter was loud and dirty, and not a good place to give birth. I agreed and filled out the necessary paperwork. The pretty little pig was named Speicher after a Navy pilot from Jacksonville, the first American casualty of the Gulf War. "Speicher" was a mouthful (and an awful name for such a sweet girl) so we shortened it to "Spike." We set Spike up in the dining room and waited for the big day.
    • A month went by and Spike had two babies. (BTW, they were fully furred with eyes and ears open, and each one was the size of a hamster. It would be like a human giving birth to 3-year old twins!)
    • Another month went by. Spike got annoyed with her offspring so I took the babies back to the shelter, keeping Spike for a little longer "to convalesce."
    • Six months later the foster coordinator at the shelter said "If you give us the $5 adoption fee you can keep the damn pig." I paid in cash.
    Spike was a great pig, overflowing with personality. She would squeal and spin when I came home; she would coo when I scratched her head; and she would chatter her teeth when I annoyed her. She loved tomatoes and cilantro; she hated having her ears cleaned. She never bit and was extremely affectionate. We had her for five years and I sobbed uncontrollably when she died.

    Lesson learned: I am a HORRIBLE foster parent. I love with all I've got and then can't let go. I truly admire those who can. -- K

    Spike and her babies, just minutes after giving birth

    Monday, February 11, 2013

    Oh Henry!

    WARNING: Kelley's Dog Blog has gone to the birds! 


    Hubby loves birds like I love dogs. This is not good. It’s not that I don’t like birds. I do! I enjoy watching birds. I’ve had various bird feeders throughout the years and I've spent hours in the aviary at the zoo. It’s just that I like birds outside. I really don’t trust anything that can’t keep from shitting on me. I’ve had birds over the years -- mostly cockatiels, but there have been parakeets and finches too. I guess they were too small for Hubby; he likes BIG birds. A few years back Hubby brought home Max, the evil red lory. Max was 16 years old. Her owner was moving and couldn’t keep her. Hubby felt sorry for the bird so she spent her twilight years with us. Apparently her previous owners went through a nasty divorce because Max could use the phrases “Oh Shit”, “Bitch”, and “Fuck You!” in perfect context. That bird swore like a sailor and bit the crap out of everyone, including Hubby. Even worse, she didn’t eat solid food. Lories only eat pureed baby food and nectar. It was liquid in and liquid out. That bird could -- and did! -- projectile poop through the bars in a 3-foot radius of her cage. yuck! We had to line the walls with plexiglass to keep them clean. Max was mean and filthy and lived with us for over 3 years before quietly passing away in her favorite box. Is it wrong to say that I wasn’t overly sad when she died?
    
    Frodo and Pepper circa 2003 (Pepper wasn't impressed)
    You would think that it would be me, the Animal Control Officer, who was always bringing home strays and rescues. You would also be wrong! Hubby has a soft spot for sad stories. Currently we share our tiny house with several animals, including Mr. Frodo, a gray cockatiel with a birth defect. Frodo was literally freezing to death at the flea market 10 years ago. As we passed by the pet booth Hubby said “Honey, look at the bird.” I said “NO.” (I know how this goes). Well, he persisted, I looked, and that feather-plucker has been in my house ever since. Mr. Frodo is allowed to stay because first thing every morning he wolf whistles and tells me I’m a pretty bird. Honestly, I know I'm not a pretty bird before coffee and make-up, but I succumb to the flattery. House rule: Make Mom happy or you’re outta here!

    So this brings us to Henry. Several months ago a friend mentioned that her son had bought a parrot, he couldn’t keep it, and it ended up at her house. Did we know anybody looking for a parrot. Uh, NO! I made the mistake of going to my (ex)friend’s house for the Super Bowl. Hubby spent a good portion of the night on the back porch talking to Henry, the yellow-headed Amazon. Dammit. Last week he broke out Max’s old cage and rearranged the living room. Then he said he wanted to “foster” the bird until we found it a good home. Long-time readers know that we are horrible foster parents, as in foster animals don’t leave (i.e. Roxy and Spike). I fought the good fight -- and I lost. While I was at work yesterday, Hubby picked up egg-laying Henry. He promptly changed the bird's name to Hermione. (Not a good sign!) Today Hubby hit all the pet shops in town buying a whole lot of parrot paraphernalia. I think he’s the only one who doesn’t realize that this thing isn’t going anywhere. Friends, say hello to my new bird. -- K

    P.S. Today we learned that Hermione will screech -- LOUDLY -- for attention. She doesn't want to be held, but she doesn't want to be alone either. Anyone have bird tips? I'm listening!

    Sunday, February 10, 2013

    Two New Toys + An Old Stand-By

    I went to Petsmart last week and saw that Toys R Us dog toys had been marked down. I couldn't resist, so I bought the second puzzle toy. (I reviewed the other one last month.) This toy is also a round, hollow box about the size of a dinner plate. There are four holes cut into the top cover. Inside those holes fit four, blue cups. Once the dog removes the cups, the entire top spins and the dog can access eight cavities for hiding treats. Like the other toy, this one has a tension knob underneath that increases the difficulty level. Non-skid pads are on the bottom so that the dog doesn't push the toy all over the floor. For giggles, I fed Jedi his lunch in the new toy. He figured this puzzle out faster than the last one, pulling the cups out right away. However, the non-skid pads are useless when the dog picks up the toy and lays it on his leg. This forces all the food to one hole, so the spinning top isn't much of a challenge either. Perhaps I should sign Jedi up to beta test puzzle toys. Maybe it'll save me some money! 

    We picked up a second toy at Academy Sports for about $10. This one's called The Doggie Bag. It's a burlap sack about the size of a one-pound sugar bag. Inside is a plastic orb, about the size of a racquetball. You need to insert 3 AAA batteries (not included) using a tiny Phillip's head screwdriver (also not included) before the dog can play with the toy. GRRR. The ball is motion sensitive. When you drop or move the bag it whines, barks and bounces all over the floor for 10 seconds. It's annoying as hell, but Jedi likes it. Go figure. He'll bat the bag around until I can't stand it any more (about 5 minutes). Roxy hates this toy. When we first got it she would leave the room as soon as it started to move. Now she picks it up and throws it into the kitchen. And we thought she was the "not-so-bright" one.


    On a happier (and cheaper) note, Jedi is learning to fetch. He'll bring the ball back 4 or 5 times before he gets bored. The hard part is trying to play without Roxy around. Roxy -- who never liked to fetch before now -- gets jealous and will grab the ball before Jedi can get it. Even worse, I have to hide the balls when we're done because Roxy likes to chew them in half. Bitch. Anyway, it's a beautiful day so I'm going to cut this short and go play with the dogs. How about you? Why not grab a ball and play fetch with your dog? -- K


    

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

    Puppy K Grad

    We did it! Last night Jedi and I graduated from Puppy Kindergarten. We were able to sit, down and stay. We can also (sorta) walk on a loose leash and (kinda) come when called. Fortunately this was Puppy Kindergarten, not Puppy Grad School! Jedi also performed his tap light trick for everybody. After an hour of "tests" Jedi's focus was shot, so this is the best picture we could get. I cropped out my friend holding a cookie. Can you guess where she was standing? Now we're going to work in earnest on conformation training. I bought a show lead from Cherrybrook Pet Supplies and we're gearing up for The Greater Orange Park Dog Club Fun Match on March 16th. If all goes well (or at least not horribly bad) we'll sign up for our first dog show! I'm excited and nervous all at once. There will be pictures, promise. And with that, it's time to go walk the dog. Later, -- K

    Friday, February 1, 2013

    A Story About a Dog and Dead People

    I haven't been able to read much since Jedi joined our family. He takes up most of my waking time (and a big chunk of my sleeping time too!) The other day my mother texted me saying she had just sent a book to my Kindle. Mom never texts me, so I was intrigued. The book was Suspect by Robert Crais, an author I'd never heard of before. The review on Amazon.com says:
    LAPD cop Scott James is not doing so well. Eight months ago, a shocking nighttime assault by unidentified men killed his partner Stephanie, nearly killed him, and left him enraged, ashamed, and ready to explode. He is unfit for duty -- until he meets his new partner.

    Maggie is not doing so well, either. A German shepherd who survived three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan sniffing explosives before losing her handler to an IED, her PTSD is as bad as Scott’s.

    They are each other’s last chance. Shunned and shunted to the side, they set out to investigate the one case that no one wants them to touch: the identity of the men who murdered Stephanie.
    Dogs AND dead people? These are two of my favorite genres. I was hooked! Before Jedi came I read a lot of Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch novels, which are also set in Los Angeles. Anyway, once I got started, I read this book in two days. I enjoyed it. I hope you do too. -- K