Saturday, September 27, 2014

Fall Is Coming!



It's still hot and muggy outside, but the overnight temperatures are dropping. And I saw a fallen leaf earlier today. Fall is coming to Florida. I'm ready to unpack my sweaters, cook hearty stews and take long afternoon walks without sweating profusely. Jedi and Roxy seem to be excited about it too. -- K


P.S. It's Sepia Saturday! Hop around and see what silly things others are sharing today.


Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday Finds #13

Wow, it's already Friday! Time to share all the goodies that I've found over the past week. Wanna see?

I read everything I can on non-verbal communication, so I just loved What is My Dog Trying to Tell Me? from Modern Dog. A big part of my job is reading a dog's body language: Is that dog going to run away or attack me if I approach? Can I walk that dog on a slip lead or do I need a catch pole? The better I can read a dog, the safer it is for everybody.

Along the same lines of canine body language is Why dogs don't like to be hugged from Mother Nature Network. The condensed version: dogs don't like it, so stop doing it. However, the article admitted that feelings may vary with each individual dog. I've seen it with my own pets. Logan hated hugs, and was very uncomfortable with just me standing over him, though I know he adored me completely. Pepper on the other hand, would actually relax when we would lay on her. She loved it, but only from family members.

I loved, loved, LOVED the post Quick Ways To Relieve Dog Boredom from Puppy Leaks. Seriously, this should be printed out and pasted on the refrigerator of every dog owner. If Jen practices what she preaches, she must have the happiest dogs in the world.

And finally, contests. I love contests. (Did I mention I actually won one? Yep, right here!) I've got two to share this week. Create with Joy is giving away a copy of Chicken Soup For The Soul – The Dog Did What? here. Do you feel lucky? How about a free t-shirt from Righteous Hound? Tales From the Back Road is giving one away here.

Happy Friday! See you next week with more fun stuff. -- K

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Jedi's New Ball

I was at the Navy Exchange buying booze and make-up (I know, what a combination) when I saw the Meteorlight K-9 Dog Ball. I'm a sucker for odd things, so I just had to get it. Unlike other balls that glow in the dark, this one actually lights up from inside. When we play outside in the dark it glows this creepy, sci-fi alien green. Jedi loves it, and it makes me laugh to see his mouth aglow as he runs back to me. This is a dense, hard rubber ball about the size of your average tennis ball, but much heavier. It bounces surprisingly well.

What I don't like, however, is how difficult it is to get the plug out to flip the batteries before you can use it. It's even harder to put the stupid plug back in. I'm hoping these batteries last a really long time because I don't want to do that again any time soon. The ball is also hard to turn on and off. You have to press the plug just right with lots of force. (I make Hubby do it.)

All and all, I think this ball's a keeper. The chuckle I get from the glowing grin is worth the $8. If you happen to see one of these while running out for Moscato and mascara, go ahead and pick one up. -- K


It's Thoughtless Thursday, where a group of goofy pet bloggers write about goofy pet-related things. (MY PEEPS!) Hop around and see what fun things they have to share today.



Wednesday, September 24, 2014

We Won!

Jedi did not want to stop playing with the gator to pose for a picture.

Back in Friday Finds #8 I told you about the Dog Safety For Your Good Buddy contest from the All Thing Dog Blog. Well, we won! Jedi got a fun gator toy, a bunch of yummy treats and two awesome bandanas. Hubby and I have been away for four days, sans dogs. It was nice to have a package waiting for us. Thanks Carrie! (Psst: I'm going to continue to let Jedi think the goodies were from me, OK?)


We came back just in time for Wordless Wednesday! Hop around and see what others are sharing today. -- K

P.S. We want to give a big HEY Y'ALL to the wonderful women I met this week who actually stop stamping long enough to read this silly little blog.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Awww...PUPPY!



Jedi at 10 weeks old. How's this for cute?!

Want to start your week with a smile? Click around and see other things that make you say "awww." -- K



Saturday, September 20, 2014

A Sepia Request


These beautiful pups are itchy! I have no idea why. We haven't changed food or cleaning products. Hubby suggested we try Dinovite. I'm concerned because it's awfully pricy and I know nothing about it. I'd gladly spend the money if I thought it was worth it, but . . . Anyway, here's my request:
  • Have you used the product? Did it work for you?
  • If not, is there anything else you've used/tried that has worked to stop itchiness?
Jedi, Roxy and I thank you for your time. -- K

P.S. It's Sepia Saturday! Hop around and see what others are sharing today!


Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday Finds #12

It's Friday! I love Fridays because this is the day that I share all the articles, posts, pictures and videos that made me think, made me laugh, or made me scream out loud over the past week. (Yes, I scream at the computer screen on a regular basis. Jedi is worried about me.) Anyway, I hope you enjoy this week's goodies as much as I do.

I went to a dog event last weekend and we had a terrible dog bite. I don't know the all details, but a woman brought her dog to the show to be "evaluated" and dog bite the evaluator in the face. Witnesses said that the dog had shown signs of aggression in the parking lot. Others stated that the evaluator leaned over the dog and got into it's face (NEVER a good idea with strange dogs). All club members are in shock and wondering what could have been done to prevent it. Two days later I read this great post from Dr. Sophia YinHelp, My Dog Bites! How to Deal with Dogs Who Bite is a must-read for everybody.

Dogs Naturally has an interesting article about Three Things Every Dog Owner Should Know About Antibiotics. Honestly, doctors have been saying the same thing about human antibiotics for years.

Have you heard the story of Chaser, a border collie that knows the names of 1000 objects? It's fascinating. Modern Dog interviewed her owner in Build Your Dog’s Vocabulary. Neil Degrasse Tyson explores Chaser's intelligence in this short video. Are you as amazed as I am?

And under the category of "Things I Don't Want to Know First Hand" Kimberly at Keep the Tail Waggin' shared How to Remove the Anal Gland Scent from Your Sofa. Yes, gag. But good to know just in case.

Regular readers know that I LOVE puzzle toys. I have spent waaay too much money on puzzle toys. But Jodi over at Kol's Notes says I can do it myself. Really? Check out DIY Treat Toys to Keep Your Dog Busy for details.

Regular readers also know that I am not crafty, but like to pretend I am. One of my favorite sites for these delusions of grandeur is Sew Doggy Style. When I saw a pattern for a DIY Recycled Pocket Poop Bag Dispenser I squealed with delight. Then I promptly sent the pattern to my uber-crafty mother (apparently the crafty gene skipped a generation).

And finally, I'd like to share a cartoon that had me giggling all day:

Thanks to Kol's Notes for sharing this. It's nice to know there are other twisted people out there. See you here next week. -- K

Thursday, September 18, 2014

We Got Some Trainin' To Do!

Run, Jedi, Run!
Saturday was a busy day for Jedi. We started the day at 8 AM. We played ball in a large open field to burn off some energy. Look how happy he is! [ACO disclosure: this is private property and we have permission from the owner. No leash laws were broken.] We then drove to the Humane Society for our first class. He was nervous and not as focused as I would have liked, but he did well none-the-less. We were clicking and treating with the best of them.

Jedi, look at the judge, not the
camera!
We left the Humane Society and rushed to K9 Obedience Club. The German Shepherd Dog Club was hosting a fun match (kinda like a practice dog show) and we made it 10 minutes before ring time. Jedi hasn't been in the ring since our shows in April -- and boy was it obvious! I handed Jedi off to Sweetie, the same teenager that handled him in April. They took Best in Match then. This time he got the orange ribbon because he was the only one in his class. He wasn't focused at all. But he was having a good time and seemed to ignore the ringside chaos, so I'm not going to complain. When we finally got home around 2 PM, Jedi sprawled out on the floor and slept until dinnertime. I guess we wore him out.

Anyway, now that things are slowing down at work, it's time for the two of us to get back into shape. Jedi needs to remember how to stack and trot; I need to be able to go around the ring without throwing up. I had hoped to be in Deland this weekend for the Sunshine State Herding Group Association shows but we're just not ready. Besides, in a few days I'm heading north to visit family I haven't seen in eight years. Family comes first. (I guess I'm not THAT dedicated.) Wednesday handling classes should start up again in October. Maybe we'll be ready for a late November show. Cross your fingers that Jedi's big boy chest will be here by then. His brothers are already filling out and looking good. Jedi seems to be a late bloomer. I'll keep you posted!

So obviously I didn't think things through. I should have done conformation training over the summer. And I should have walked more and eaten fewer brownies. And maybe I should have refrained from starting obedience while still working on conformation. Oh well, not going to worry about it now. Thankfully it's Thoughtless Thursday, so I'm not even going to think about it. I wonder what others are thinking -- or not thinking -- about today. Why don't we hop around and find out! Until next time, -- K


Monday, September 15, 2014

Awww...Monday



Look what I found while patrolling -- ducklings! They're so cute that I just had to stop to take pictures.

Sometimes my job is rough so I try to find joy in the little things -- feeding turtles, watching the surf, a good cup of coffee. Ducklings are always a plus too. This is probably the last batch of the season too. Glad I got to see them.

Stupid trivia time:
  • A group of ducklings is called a brood
  • A group of ducks on the water is called a raft or a paddling
  • A group of ducks in flight is called a flock or a brace
Want to start your week with a smile? Click around and see other things that make you say "awww." -- K



Saturday, September 13, 2014

Sepia Cowgirl?

No, it's just a city girl on a horse.


A couple years back the Florida Animal Control Association held it's annual conference at the Westgate River Ranch in Lake Wales, Florida. It was off season, so animal control officers had run of the place. My partner and I stayed an extra day and took full advantage of the amenities. We made smores around the campfire, took a hay ride, had drinks at the saloon, played with the goats the petting zoo, and went horseback riding. I even went to my first rodeo! This is the first time I'd been on a horse in 20 years.


It's Sepia Saturday. Hop around and see what oddities others are sharing today. -- K


Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday Finds #11

It's FRIDAY! I've been looking for goodies to share all week. Want to see what I found? 

I love pictures, I just can't seem to take good ones. (Confession: my Wordless Wednesday posts are the result of a lot of editing.) I was thrilled to find Take Way Better Photos of Your Dog from Modern Dog magazine. I hope it helps -- for your sake!

As the weather cools Jedi and I are looking at dog show schedules. The most difficult part for me (besides my nerves!) is finding an affordable hotel that will accept Jedi. I've discovered that "pet-friendly" hotels often limit breed and size, or tack on expensive pet fees. USA Today has an interesting article entitled Have dog, will travel: Top pet-friendly hotel chains. There's even an informative video with a Newfoundland. If a place can accommodate a Newfie, then a German shepherd so be a piece of cake.

Here's a short video on dog training from Dr. Sophia Yin. We've all heard Cesar Millan and his "Pack Leader" stuff. Victoria Stilwell is very vocal with her Anti-Pack leader stuff. (In nearly every post she spends as much time bashing Cesar as she does on the content.) Dr. Yin has got a third analogy: dancing. I found it interesting.

I've had a bad week at work. I touched on it yesterday when I talked about Shitty Pitty People. (They're open cases and I can't go into detail. Just know that it's be tough lately.) So when I read 21 Reasons Dogs Are Better Than People from Something Wagging This Way Comes it made me smile. I'd like to add reason #22: Dogs are not vindictive jerks.

And let's close out with something fun. Are you a big movie buff like me? If so, you'll enjoy this quiz. Can You Match the Dog to the Movie? gives you 20 dogs with multiple choices per dog. It was harder than I thought!

See you next week! -- K

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Shitty Pitty People

It's Thoughtless Thursday. Unfortunately I'm full of thoughts today. I've had a few tough cases lately, all involving pit bulls. One dog is dead, a couple have been declared dangerous, and still another may be confiscated and euthanized soon. It sucks, especially when I feel that under different circumstances, all of these dogs could have been good pets.
 
I don't hate pit bulls, but some days I really, really hate pit bull owners. Every single day on the job I'm defending pit bulls to people. "They're loyal, they're great for active people, they have a high pain tolerance so they're great with kids, how could you not love that pitty smile?" and "No, they're not naturally mean. No, their jaws don't lock. No, they don't have a taste for blood." But then some asshole comes along and ruins it for everybody. My credibility is shot. The stereotype is reinforced. And I'm writing police reports that I know will result in another dog's death.

There are a few things I'd like to say to current and potential pit bull owners.
  • Stop breeding your dogs! You're not going to sell the puppies for $250 each. More than likely you're going to sell one at a reduced price, give away half of them and then dump the rest off at the shelter three months later. The county shelter is full of pits and pit mixes, with 30-40 available for adoption at any time. These dogs (and puppies!) have already been fixed, microchipped and vaccinated. And they're available for $50 or less, City license included.
  • Yes, pit bull puppies are adorable! But in a few months they turn into destructive teenagers. They poop, they chew, they dig, they bark. And before you know it they're trying to make puppies of their own. If you're not prepared for this, don't get a dog.
  • All dogs -- not just pit bulls -- require food, shots, and routine medical care. If you can't afford it, don't get a dog. The pits around here tend to be more susceptible to skin issues like demodex and flea dermatitis. It costs money to treat this. I'm tired of people dropping dogs off at the shelter because they can't -- or won't -- pay for necessary vet care. Or food. Yes, people turn in their dogs because "food costs too much." The fact that we have a pet food bank is irrelevant because this is really just a lame excuse. 
  • Stop trying to make pit bulls look mean by mutilating their ears, using spiked collars and heavy chains and giving them vicious names like Diablo and Killer. You don't look "gangsta" you just look like a stupid wannabe thuglet. If you feel you need a scary dog to make people respect you, then maybe you need a new set of friends. And perhaps a therapist. And definitely a bitch slap or two.
  • Pit bulls are active dogs. They need lots of physical exercise and mental stimulation -- neither of which can be found at the end of a chain. Pit bulls are also social creatures and need interaction with their people. If all you want is an alarm system then call SafeTouch.
  • Pit bulls are strong and athletic. If you're going to own one you need to be able to contain it on your own property. A 4-foot chain link fence will not do the trick. Screen doors don't cut it either. Doors and gates must be able to latch and stay closed. Yes, any dog could get out, but none of them cause a panic like a pit bull.
  •  Pits need training and structure at least as much as (if not more than) every other dog. Teach them how to walk on a leash, to come when called, and a reliable "leave it" command. I've handled many, many pit bulls with strong prey drives and/or dog aggression. With proper training these behaviors can be redirected into sports like fly ball or agility, or minimized through socialization and desensitizing.  
  • On that note, if you adopt a dog with issues, you cannot just love the issues away. We've all seen the heartbreaking backstories and want to make a difference. But it takes work -- and time -- to properly rehabilitate a dog. Not everybody can do that. Be honest about your capabilities before bringing home a troubled dog. Otherwise, Animal Control has to get involved and it never ends well for the dog. This is especially true of large, powerful, scary-looking dogs, regardless of the breed.
  • Pit bulls are not welcomed everywhere. Some landlords, insurance policies and even entire cities prohibit pitties. Moving with a pit can be difficult, requiring extra time and research on your part. DO IT! Dumping your pet at the shelter because "it's too hard" is a shitty thing to do.
Let's face it, pit bulls already have enough problems. Between the mass hysteria fueled by the media (gotta get those ratings!) and the entertainment industry portraying them as vicious, it's no wonder that breed-specific laws are popping up everywhere. Pit bulls don't need any more bad owners making things worse.

It my area it seems like pit bulls are being disposed of faster than any other breed. Here are a couple sobering statistics:
  • 1 out of every 4 dogs that comes through my tiny shelter is a pit/pit mix. However, only 1 out of every 10 pit bulls in my facility is reclaimed by their owner.
  • I was at the county shelter the other day and saw about 40 dogs available for adoption. All but three of them were pits or pit mixes.
I have friends in other areas with similar stories. People suck!

Sorry for the rant. I'm frustrated. I don't know what to do. But I'd like to end on a positive note: If you're NOT a Shitty Pitty Person, here are a few really nice dogs at Jacksonville Animal Care and Protective Services looking for a home.

Duvall, 2 year old male, ID #A823992

Lynx, 18 month old female, ID #A816812

Rosie, 3 year old female, ID #A821698

These above photos were taken from JACPS's website. I'd like to give a GIANT thank you to the unknown person who took such beautiful pictures. The ones I took in the shelter look like this:


Aren't the top photos so much better? Do you think those photos are more likely to get the dogs a home than the ones I took?
 



Like I said, it's Thoughtless Thursday. Hop around and see what others are sharing today. -- K


Monday, September 8, 2014

Awww...Monday

 
The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens has a new tiger exhibit. This guy decided to take a nap in the pool next to the waterfall. 
 
I LOVE the zoo. I can (and do) sit in the aviary for an hour to decompress after a long week. Hubby gives me an annual pass for my birthday every year (LOVE that man!) so I can go to the zoo anytime I want. What do you do to de-stress?
 
Want to start your week with a smile? Click around and see other things that make you say "awww." -- K
 
 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Sepia Beach Fun

A couple months back I read a blog post that had me in tears. In Do Overs the author laments over the fact that when her dog died at 17 she made a horrible discovery:
I have hundreds, actually probably thousands of photos of Woody. I don’t have any pictures of Woody & I together. Because, because my hair wasn’t brushed (it never is). Or my make up wasn’t done. Or I didn’t like my outfit. Because I don’t like haven’t my picture taken.
I have similar stories. I have one picture of me and Eli, one of me and Logan, and only three or four of me and Pepper. I did the math: in the 29 years we spent together, I only have a half dozen pictures. Yes, that's pathetic. And my excuses are no better than the author's -- I don't like the way I look, you can see that extra fat roll, all my chins are showing, I hate my nose. But I've decided to say screw it. Sooner or later (God, please let it be later) Roxy and Jedi will be gone too. I don't want to regret the lack of pictures. I'm going to take them, and I'm going to share them (otherwise I'll lose them). Here are two from Beach Day back in March. I still hate the way I look -- even in sepia -- but not as much as I love those doggies. And they're so gorgeous that nobody notices me anyway, right?


Roxy, Jedi and me enjoying a cookout at Hanna Park
 
Me and Roxy. Look how happy she is!
 
Next time you're out with your dogs, hand the camera over to somebody else and get a few pictures of you together -- before it's too late. We don't get any Do Overs.
 
 
 It's Sepia Saturday. Hop around and see what others are sharing today. -- K
 
 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Friday Finds #10

Guess what day it is my friends. It's Friday! This is the day of the week where Roxy and I share things that made us think and made us laugh over the past week. (OK, I'm sharing. Roxy's been slacking on her part.)

On a serious note, Roxy is almost 10 and she's slowing down. It's hard to believe that she is now a "senior dog." Where did the time go? I've noticed that she gets stiff and it looks like she's losing muscle tone in her back end. I was thrilled to see the post Back Leg Exercises for your Dog from SlimDoggy.

As I've mentioned earlier, the heat has caused us to look for ways to entertain Jedi inside. Jen over at Puppy Leaks suggested doing some nose work. I know there's a group that does this at K-9 Obedience Club, but I'm not that organized. I was happy to see Jen's post Teach Your Dog Some Basic Nose Work.  Apparently I don't need to be, especially if I'm not doing it competitively. Yep, I'm breaking out the popcorn!

Here's an interesting article from Discover magazine: Shut up and pet me! Normally I'm against doing experiments on dogs but I think these test subjects didn't mind, so maybe I shouldn't either.

The I Love Dogs Site often has good information, though I hate their format (I usually give up on a post after two clicks, especially if I'm on my cell). However, I found 5 Ways Owners Unknowingly Stress Out Their Dogs worth the effort. I hope you enjoy it too.

5 Tips For Training Stupid Humans from Something Wagging This Way Comes had me laughing out loud. What until you read the positive punishment for people who don't pick up their dog's poop. Warning: don't read this post while drinking coffee. Coffee hurts when you do a spit take. And it's messy to clean up.

Thanks for stopping by. See you next week. -- K

Thursday, September 4, 2014

I Didn't Know . . .

OK friends, time for another round of weird work stories. This post's theme is I didn't know. (Rather appropriate for a Thoughtless Thursday, don't you think?) All of these situations are funny because someone (usually me) didn't know something. Enjoy! As usual, the stories are all true but I've changed names to protect  . . . ME.
NOT Timothy
  • I worked at the county animal shelter for two years. We took in everything: dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, rats, guinea pigs, chickens, goats, pigs, snakes, lizards, sugar gliders, hedgehogs, birds and even a turkey vulture (that's a story for another day). The vet would post notes on different cages depending on an animal's particular needs. Above the rabbit cage was a sign that said "FEED ONLY TIMOTHY HAY" because the alfalfa hay was too harsh for their digestive systems. Everybody got a good chuckle the day New Guy came into the break room  frustrated, asking "Which one of the rabbits is Timothy?"
  • One day at the shelter I was in the front office doing paperwork. A Hispanic couple came in to reclaim their dog. The man spoke broken English; the woman none at all. Our receptionist asked a series of standard questions, including "Is your dog neutered?" The man didn't understand the question. The couple went back and forth in Spanish. Then the receptionist asked "Is your dog fixed?" There was more confusion and more chattering from the couple. I could tell that everybody was getting frustrated. I know a little Spanish -- mostly food and swear words -- and asked if I could help. In the best Spanish I could muster I said "Se┼łor, su perro, con cajones o no?" Loose translation: "Sir, does your dog have [slang word for testicles] or not?" He gave me a giant smile and said "Si! Con cajones!" I looked at the receptionist and said "His dog is not neutered." My high school Spanish teacher would have been proud.
  • My partner and I were sent to Mr. Smith's house -- again -- regarding a cat complaint. The neighbor's cats were constantly lounging on Mr. Smith's patio furniture, sleeping on his car, invading his garage and digging up the garden. Besides irritating Mr. Smith, this is in violation of the leash law. Neighbor refused to believe it because his cats "never left the yard." [BTW, everybody says this. It's a lie. Cats don't give a damn about property lines. If they're outside, they're leaving your yard.] Partner and I agreed to speak with Neighbor. Usually I would do the talking, and Partner would just stand behind me and nod. He was 6-foot 5 inches tall, 280 pounds and black as coal. His very presence scared the crap out of our lily-white beach town. However, things went differently this time. Neighbor answered the door and I was suddenly speechless. I didn't know that Neighbor had snow white nose hairs that stuck a good inch outside of his nostrils. And that they wiggled when he talked, back and forth like a couple of albino tarantulas trying to dig their way out. Partner and Neighbor talked for a good five minutes while the monolog in my head went something like: Doesn't that tickle? Surely he knows they're there. He must be single. No woman alive would let her man walk around with that growing out of his nose. When we got back in the truck Partner looked at me and laughed. "You didn't hear a word he said, did you?" Nope!
Doesn't say "Thank you"
  • And I didn't know that the same partner was a germaphobe. (He must not have gotten the memo: This a dirty job. Some days are down right Mike Rowe worthy.) One day we were patrolling and I saw turtle in the road crossing from one construction pond to another. I yelled "STOP!" hopped out of the truck and moved the turtle. I let it go at the edge of the pond and it swam off without as much as a thank you. (Turtles can be such jerks.) When I tried to get back in the truck the door was locked. Partner rolled down the window about 5 inches. "Why did you do that?!" he demanded. "Because I didn't want it to get hit." (Duh.) "Not that," he said. "Why did you touch it with your hands?!" I had to stick my hands through the window and let him pour an entire bottle of Purell on them before he would open the door.
  • Flower Lane is at the edge of my jurisdiction and butts up against the Intercoastal Waterway. The residents there have a lovely view of the marsh -- if they can look past Trashman's house. I've never been inside Trashman's house, but all the junk in his front yard (not to mention the familiar smell seeping out the front door) indicate that he's a hoarder. As you can imagine, there is tension between him and his neighbors. For weeks Trashman would call my office saying that his feral kittens were disappearing and he knew it was the neighbors' doing. I investigated the complaint but couldn't find any evidence supporting Trashman's claim. Then one day I got a call from a neighbor on Flower Lane about a giant cat in the yard. I went out with catch-pole in hand expecting a large tom only to find two bobcats. I didn't know we had bobcats at the beach! But at that moment I did know what happened to the kittens. Case closed.
  • I was dispatched to the Nature Preserve. A park ranger said that three pit bulls were hanging out at the boat ramp. I arrived on scene and discovered that two of the dogs were very friendly. I leashed them up right away and put them in my truck. But I didn't know what to do with the third dog. She was definitely wary of me, and I only had two transfer cages. Another internal monolog ensued: Should I leave her and come back? No, she might run off or bite someone in the interim. Could I squeeze her in a cage with one of the other dogs for the five mile trip to the kennel? No, they're pretty big. If I caught her could I ask a police officer to transfer her in the back of his squad car? While trying to make a decision I found myself chasing the dog 'round and 'round my truck like some perverted children's game. It seemed like she didn't want to be too far from the other dogs, so I thought maybe I could distract her with part of my breakfast sandwich and get the noose around her. (Don't laugh, I've caught many a dog with Egg McMuffins.) I opened the driver's side door to grab my sandwich and walked around the truck. She wasn't there! She had hopped inside the truck and was sitting on the passenger's seat, glaring and growling. The voice in my head screamed: Holy shit! Now what? I eased into the driver's seat and we drove all the way to the kennel, each of us plastered against a door saying -- in our own way -- "Don't you touch me!" That was probably the scariest 10 minute drive of my life. [P.S. Her owner reclaimed all three dogs that afternoon. She turned out to be a sweetheart.]
SURPRISE!
  • I got a call from one of the park rangers about an alligator sunning itself on the bank of the culvert. Bobby said the gator was about 3 feet long and was lying on the cement with it's mouth open. I asked him to keep eyes on it and said I'd be right there. But when I arrived Bobby wasn't there. Instead, another ranger was nonchalantly picking up trash along the culvert. I told Jim to be careful, Bobby just told me he saw a gator. "Don't worry about. I took care of it." Jim laughed at my confused look and handed me the most realistic looking plastic alligator I've ever seen. Poor Bobby was razzed about it for weeks.
Want more crazy work stories? Check out It's True! and Freaks on the Beach. Then hop around and see what silliness others are sharing today. It's Thoughtless Thursday! -- K

 
 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Hermione Goes to the Vet

 
Hermione went to the vet for a nail/beak trim and a check-up. The staff fawned all over her. (With a face like this I can't imagine why!) For some unknown reason, Minie loves blonde women. Good thing the vet is blonde! -- K
 
P.S. Animal friends, is it really that weird to have one vet for the bird and another for the dogs? My non-animal and single-species friends say it is. What do you think? Be honest. (You're not going to change my mind. I'm just curious as to what others think.)
 
 
It's Wordless Wednesday! Hop around and see what others are sharing today.
 
P.P.S. Thanks for stopping by in spite of the funky thumbnail. I don't know what gremlins have gotten into linkytools this week! 



Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Shop? Adopt? There's a 3rd Option

I'm a member of many online groups, communities and bulletin boards -- both personally and professionally. Because of this I get all kinds of email. Some I find interesting and pass along. Some I feel don't apply to me and I quietly hit delete. Then there are some that just piss. me. off. I got one Anti-Puppy Mill message a couple weeks back that had me swearing like a sailor. I don't like puppy mills (who does?) so I read it. Most of it was informative. Then I got to this part:

Please urge your friends and family to adopt — even if they have their hearts set on a purebreed dog there are rescues for most all breeds. Check them out. Don’t shop pet stores.

Really?! First of all, it's purebred. (Sorry, Grammar Nazi strikes again.) And then there's the gross misconception that you either get a dog from a puppy mill stocked pet store or you get it from a rescue/shelter. I'd like to remind everybody that there is a third option: RESPONSIBLE BREEDERS.

I've had many dogs throughout my lifetime (and cats. and birds. and rodents. and reptiles. and fish. but I digress . . . ) and I've acquired them many different ways. Eli and Logan were from the pound. Sitka and Pepper were "free to a good home" puppies. (I actually found Pepper in the Pennysaver!) Roxy was a foster failure. Jedi was purchased from a breeder (who is now a dear friend of mine). All of these dogs are precious to me, and all of them have a special place in my heart. So why is it that I have to justify my decision to pay for Jedi? Not that it's anybody's business, but:
  • I wanted a show-quality dog. I've wanted to show dogs (you know, like Westminster) since I was nine years old. A dog must be registered/pedigreed to do that, which means you have to know the dog's history. And to compete in conformation, a dog must be intact. Papers or not, I don't know any shelter that would adopt out a dog with reproductive organs.
  • I wanted a dog that met the AKC breed standard. Every breed has a blueprint of the ideal dog called a breed standard. A responsible breeder doesn't breed dogs that are too big/small, has bad joints, bowed legs, poor movement, missing teeth, is a funky color or knowingly carries other unhealthily/undesirable recessive genes. If -- despite a breeder's efforts -- an "out-of-standard" puppy is born it is spayed/neutered (so it won't pass on those traits) and placed in a loving home to live out it's life as a beloved pet.
  • I wanted an idea of what I was getting. Dogs were bred for different purposes, so some behaviors are innate to certain breeds. For example: beagles bay, dachshunds dig, greyhounds run, collies herd -- whether you want them to or not! The problem (and joy) of mixed breeds is that you never know which breed-related characteristics are going to be present.
  • I wanted a puppy. Puppies are hard to come by in shelters, especially purebred puppies -- unless you count the sickly, unsocialized, poorly-bred ones confiscated in the latest puppy mill raid.
  • I wanted a dog that came from healthy stock. Pepper's hip dysplasia and Logan's heart problems adversely affected their quality of life. It was painful to watch. Jedi's ancestors were all tested for a slew of genetic problems. Responsible breeders ensured that. No, the tests aren't a guarantee that my dog will be problem free, but it does stack the deck in my favor.
  • I wanted a dog with an even temperament. A responsible breeder doesn't breed unstable, fearful or aggressive dogs. I got to spend time with Jedi's mother and half-brother before he was even born. Both have beautiful temperaments so I had a good idea what to expect. Plus, the breeder knew her pups intimately so she was able to help me find the right one to fit my family.
  • I wanted a dog that was well-socialized. My responsible breeder started working with the puppies at birth. By 8-weeks old they had been touched extensively, cuddled continuously, exposed to everyday household noises and various surfaces, they ran outside, climbed a puppy-sized jungle gym and played with dozens of toys. The puppies went to their new homes strong, curious and confident. Conversely, Roxy's life before us was horrible. She was a mess when we got her and it took years for her to trust us. I didn't have the time or energy to do that again.

This moment was worth the wait!
Yes, I had a lot of criteria. But I have the right to be picky. It's MY money. I earned it. I can spend it however I want. My friends don't have to justify holding out for a new Volvo or a Coach purse. They're not chastised because there are already so many other cars out there. (So what if they're all Kias?) And why buy a new purse when there are perfectly good knock-off bags at the flea market just waiting for a new home? Granted, dogs aren't cars or purses, but a dog is a long-term commitment. What's wrong with waiting for the right dog? And by the same token, what's wrong with someone ethically and lovingly breeding the happy, healthy dog that I want? I assure you, my breeder's pups are never unwanted (she has a waiting list) and they'll never see the inside of a shelter (she will take back the dog at any time for any reason).

In society's push to promote the rescue and adoption of homeless animals (of which I am a BIG proponent) it seems that all deliberate dog breeders have been vilified -- regardless of their intentions. Responsible breeders have been lumped in with puppy mills and unscrupulous dog owners looking to make a quick buck. This is so sad . . . and so wrong! I know people who think it should be illegal to intentionally create ANY puppy. Many rescuers think it's vulgar to make money selling pets (though if you call it an "adoption fee" and make a profit it's OK.) But let's think this through: If we don't have puppies being born -- period -- dogs will cease to exist. I doubt that will ever happen, but if we don't have responsible breeders out there breeding happy, healthy dogs then all we will have to choose from are dogs from puppy mills and backyard breeders. (BTW, where do you think those purebred dogs in the shelters and rescue groups are coming from? Hint: Not the responsible breeders with 10-page contracts and regular check-ups.)

Ok, yes, I'm a little touchy about this subject. I actually lost "friends" when I paid for a puppy. I thought my animal community colleges would be happy that I was getting another dog, especially after the devastating loss of Logan. Some did, but not everybody. Others berated me. Belittled me. Un-friended me on Facebook. (Seriously, I've eaten hamburgers in front of vegetarians and gotten less venom.) I ask that you please think of me and Jedi before mindlessly spouting out "Adopt. Don't Shop." There is a third option.

This guy is from a responsible breeder
and I will be forever grateful to her.
OK, the rant is over. You may now return to your regularly scheduled program. -- K



Monday, September 1, 2014

Awww...Monday

 
This little guy fell out of the nest. I couldn't find his mother so he was transported to the Wildlife Rescue Coalition for rehab.
 
 
Want to start your week with a smile? Click around and see other things that make you say "awww." -- K
 


Tug-a-Jug

It's been unbearably hot lately. Our highs have been in the mid 90's. Even worse, the humidity has been around 80% -- until the afternoon rains come, then it's 100%. ugh. This sucks all the energy right out of me. I can't seem to find the drive to do anything more than sweat -- no walks, no hikes, no chasing the dogs around the yard. Unfortunately this leaves Jedi with energy to spare. And a bored, restless dog is a big pain in the tookus. I've been looking for ways to entertain the dog inside that don't require a lot of energy on my part.

A friend gave me the Tug-A-Jug Meal Dispensing Dog Toy from PetSafe. It's a hard plastic bottle with a rubber chewy thing on the end and a rope coming out the top. The bottom screws off so you can put food inside. There are holes in the bottom allowing the dog to smell the goodies inside. The rope has knots on both ends and the dog is suppose to tug on the rope to get the food out (though we've discovered shaking it does a better job). The advertising describes the Tug-A-Jug as an "Interactive dog toy [that] provides multi-sensory appeal to keep your pet engaged." Jedi disagrees. He was bored with it in about five minutes. Roxy wasn't interested at all.

This toy is a bust in our house. The Kong Wobbler is still king of the food toys around here. What works for you? -- K


Luckily, it's Mischief Monday. Maybe we can find a few ideas to wear Jedi out. Why don't you hop around and see for yourself.