Saturday, November 29, 2014

Sepia Seniors

I saw this sign online and it made me cry.


Lately I've been reminded that I have two senior pets. Both my girls have lost some of the spring in their step.
 

We adopted Gucci in Japan 16 years ago. The vet estimated she was about one at the time. This old girl has accompanied us from Tokyo to Los Angeles to Baltimore to Jacksonville. She's travelled by bus, plane and car. She's slowed down a lot of the past year. We've discovered that she's gone deaf and she sleeps more than she used to.


We brought Roxy home in the spring of 2009. Our best guess is that she was two at the time. That means she's pushing eight now. She's already got some arthritis in her left rear leg. She use to run around like a black and tan tornado. Now she'd rather nap. It's sad to see her slowing down too.

But I'm not going to dwell on their mortality. None of us are promised tomorrow. Instead, I'm going to cherish every minute I have with them. I'm going to make sure I have time for rubbing bellies and scratching behind ears. I will share my roasted chicken with any furry face that asks and I will kiss fuzzy heads every chance I get. How about you? Have you loved on your pets today? -- K


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

Friday, November 28, 2014

20 Questions

OK, so you've read all my posts and STILL think you want to be an Animal Control Officer? Even Help Wanted! and I Am Not The Dreaded Dog Catcher? And the one about ugly things people say when you're writing tickets? Really?! Well, if I haven't dissuaded you then I guess you're ready for an interview.

About six years back -- when I lost Partner #1 -- the Lieutenant asked me to come up with a list of questions for Animal Control applicants. Even more exciting, she asked me to sit on the interview panel. (BTW, you learn a lot sitting on the other side of the table!) Anyway, I got together a group of ACO friends and wrote down all the weird questions we had been asked (or should have been asked) when we started out. Then we narrowed it down to 20 questions. This is what we came up with -- along with the answers we're looking for. Wanna see how you'd do?


1. Why do you want to be an Animal Control Officer?
This is always the first question. Whatever you do, do not answer "I want to be a voice for the animals." (I swear 50% of the applicants actually say that!) Truth is, Animal Control works for the people. So if you care more for the animals than for people -- (it's OK, we all do) -- don't say it! Instead, think about how you would serve the people of the community in relation to animals.

2. What do you think the responsibilities of an Animal Control Officer are? 
Short answer: Animal Control Officers enforce animal related ordinances. Yes, we get the occasional cruelty and neglect case. Most of the job, however, is routine and sometimes tedious. We patrol, write tickets for dogs off leash and poop that's not picked up, catch dogs running at large, trap feral cats, and try to make peace between neighbors over barking. We clean the truck. We clean the kennels. And we do paperwork. Lots and lots of paperwork.

3. What do you know about local and state animal-related ordinances or laws?
All ordinances are online, so you better have an answer for this one. When someone says "Well, I haven't read them . . . but I'm a quick learner." What we hear is "I don't care enough about this job to even look up the rules." Chances are your application just went to the bottom of the pile.

4. What type of animals do you have experience with through employment or personal knowledge?
This one should be easy. If it's not, maybe you're not looking for the right job. Every ACO I know has had dogs, cats, rodents, reptiles, fish and more.

5. Are you able to identify different breeds and types of animals? Which animals are you most familiar with?
See above. Seriously, most ACOs know so much weird animal trivia that it makes NON-animal people uncomfortable. Sure everybody knows that calico cats are almost always female, but ACOs will engage in a long conversation as to why.

6. Do you own any pets? If so what kind? Are they licensed, vaccinated, and spayed/neutered?
Is this a trick question? You bet! We are judging you on the kinds of animals that you have (as in why does he have 25 snakes?!) and whether or not you abide by the rules we're asking you to enforce. If you're going to answer no to the last part of the question, make sure you have a reason (i.e. Jedi is not neutered because I actively show him in AKC Conformation.)
 
7. Are there any animals that you are afraid of or cannot work with? 
A yes to this is not necessarily a bad thing. For example, I'm not fond of snakes. Since my job deals primarily with dogs and cats, that's not a big deal. However, if you said you were afraid of pit bulls that would be an issue since two out of every three dogs we pick up is a pit bull. I've also seen a variation of this question where they asked if you are allergic to any animals, so be prepared. My answer was "I have a mild allergy to most rabbits and some cats. Knowing this, I carry Benadryl in my purse."

8. Have you ever been bitten? Describe the incident and how would you handle a similar thing again.
OK, this one is just because we're weird. We all have bite stories and they're fun to share. You get extra points for scars. It also gives an insight into how careful and perceptive you are. It's perfectly okay to say you were inexperienced or did something stupid and you won't do that again!

9. What is your definition of euthanasia? Have you had any experience with euthanasia procedures?
This question usually takes people by surprise. It also tells us a lot about who's on the other side of the table. I've seen people break down and cry at the mere thought of euthanasia. (BTW, they didn't get the job.) Nobody likes euthanasia, but for now it's part of the job. Even no kill shelters have to euthanize sometimes.

10. Could you euthanize a sick pet? An injured pet? A healthy pet?
This is a tough one and takes quite a bit of soul searching. I was asked this the first time I applied at a shelter. I was honest and told the interviewer that I wasn't sure how I felt about it, but I hoped that when the time came I would do it as quickly and compassionately as possible. I got the job.

11. If you were approached by a vicious dog how would you handle the situation?
There's no real right answer to this question, but there are definite wrong ones! Just remember: safety first, for both you and any possible bystanders.
 
12. How would you get a 100 pound dog into a vehicle?
Another question with no one right answer. This is a creative problem solving question. Remember your tools, including the radio. Funny story: I once had a 150 pound Great Dane that wouldn't fit in the cages on my truck. I called the station for back up and the dog was transported to the kennel in a police car.

13. What experience do you have working with the public?
As I've mentioned before, I deal with five people for every one animal, so this question is very important. Be detailed, especially if you were in a position of authority.

14. How would you deal with a difficult person?
See above. FYI: "By hitting them with my truck" is not the right answer. This is a major stress in my life.

15. How do you handle stress?
Thankfully, I didn't get asked this question. I don't think they would have appreciated my answer: brownies, booze and profanity. Seriously though, this can be stressful job and it's important to have positive ways to decompress. I enjoy hiking with my dog, reading/writing/blogging and grown-up game nights with my friends.

16. Can you work weekends, holidays, early mornings (6-7 AM) and late evenings (8-9 PM)? Are you available to be on call?
If you can't say yes -- and mean it -- then this is probably not the right job for you. Animals in the kennel need to be walked, fed and cleaned up after every day, even on Christmas. The public is not kind enough to only break ordinances during normal working hours. And dog bites always seem to happen just as you sit down to dinner.

17. Do you have experience in radio communications? If so, how much experience and where? 
This is self explanatory. It's okay to say no. In fact, sometimes it's easier to teach someone fresh than to have someone un-learn old codes to learn new ones. (Different jurisdictions use different 10-codes.) Partner #3 had a really hard time with this and kept coding for lunch when she meant to say she had arrived on-scene.

18. Are you/have you ever been FACA (Florida Animal Control Association) or NACA (National Animal Control Association) certified?
A yes to this one would be a big deal for you. Certification/recertification is expensive and time consuming. Hiring a pre-certified ACO saves the City time and money -- and the City is all about saving money. If you have these types of certs, do everything you can to keep them current. And by all means, speak up if you've got them!

19. Have you received the rabies pre-exposure vaccine? If so, when was the last time you had your titers checked?
Same as above. A rabies pre-exposure shot for humans can cost $600 or more. (Yet I can find one for my dog for $10. Go figure.) The good news is that your immunity can last for decades. Whether or not you're safe can be determined by simple -- and not nearly as expensive -- titers test. So again, speak up.
 
20. What experience do you have that qualifies you over other candidates for this position?
This is no time to be shy or modest. We're asking because we really, really want to know. It's not always easy choosing one person over another. Not only are we trying to see if your qualifications fit our needs, we're also trying to determine if you -- as a person -- will fit into our organization's culture. Are you too rigid? Too aloof? Do you have a sense of humor? What are your personal ethics? Seriously, it's tough!

You made it to the end! I guess I didn't scare you off. So, how'd you do? If you're still intent in joining the club: Welcome! It's not a bad job. As I said in Wanna Be An ACO? (you read that one too? Really?!) this job is seldom boring. I do a wide variety of things. My list of "Other Duties As Required" shows that! I enjoy being outside, meeting people and making a difference in the community. The uniform is ugly, as are the local politics. I try no to wear either of them any longer than absolutely necessary. I would really like more money and less crap -- both literal and figurative. But then, wouldn't we all? -- K
 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

T-Shirt FAIL!

Ok, friends, you know how I feel about dog-themed shirts. [New readers: I LOVE them! Now you're caught up.] So I just couldn't help myself when I saw the Personalized Dog Walker Athletic Dept. T-Shirt from Gifts For You Now, especially when they sent me a coupon. This is what I ordered:

What the website said I was getting . . .

Cute, hunh? I waited two weeks for it to come. When it finally arrived the first thing that I noticed was that the lettering was white -- but it looked good, so I didn't mind. It was a good quality Hanes T-shirt, even though the iron-on letters were a bit chintzy. Then I noticed -- to my horror -- that shepherd was spelled wrong. It was "SHEPERD." I looked at the invoice -- it said black letters, "GERMAN SHEPHERD." I immediately called customer service. The woman apologized and promised to send me a new one right away. I told her that the invoice was correct, and "German shepherd" was spelled correctly. And please tell the t-shirt guy it's shepherd, as in "herds sheep." I also told her that it looked good in white, and since they were making another anyway, could I switch the lettering to white? She said "no problem."

Six days later my replacement shirt came. And guess what . . . it said "SHEPERD." The letters weren't even the same size as the first incorrect shirt. Adding insult to injury, there was an extra spot of white shmutz in the lettering between the H and the E, ironed on nice and tight. See:

What I actually got -- twice!

I looked, and the invoice spelled shepherd correctly. Again. I called customer service. Again. I even spoke to the same person. She remembered me from the week before. She apologized -- again -- and said she would overnight me another shirt. I said no. By this time I just wanted my money back. Obviously there is no quality control at the company: the T-shirt guy isn't looking at the invoices, nobody is double checking his work and apparently the company doesn't own SpellCheck! (OK, maybe that was a little mean.)

So, my internet friends, stay away from Gifts For You, especially if you have a breed name more complicated than Pug. Can you imagine how badly they'd butcher Dachshund, Weimaraner, Lhasa Apso or Shih Tzu? I'm really disappointed too, because I had already planned out fun t-shirts for Christmas gifts. Unfortunately, most of my friends are German shepherd owners. Now I need to come up with a Plan B. Ideas anyone?


It's Thoughtless Thursday! And apparently T-shirt Guy is "devoid of or lacking the capacity for thought" (as thoughtless is defined by dictionary.com). Click around and see what others are sharing today! -- K



Monday, November 24, 2014

Awww....Birdie


It's gotten cold and dreary. While patrolling the park I saw this bird taking a rest in the lake. This is as close as I could get (with the zoom). I have no idea what kind of bird it is, but it sure looked comfortable.

Can you guess the bird species? It has webbed feet and a pointy beak. This was taken on the northeastern coast Florida, about a half mile from the ocean. Comorant maybe?

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


Thursday, November 20, 2014

When Pets Go Missing

ACO humor. Sorry.
Today's Thoughtless Thursday is asking you to think about something unpleasant: What do you do if your pet is lost? As an animal control officer I get frantic calls about missing pets on a regular basis, even more so during the holidays. Sometimes pets go missing despite an owner's best efforts. If it happens to you take a deep breath and then do the following:
 
Call Animal Control immediately! Many people make the mistake of waiting a few days, assuming the pet will "just come home on his own." That is a gamble you shouldn't take. Most animal control facilities can only hold animals for a few days. When the hold time is up animals are deemed property of the shelter and then transferred to another facility, rehomed or euthanized. If you wait, your pet may not be there when finally show up. Please note: Dogs and cats don't care about jurisdictional boundaries. If you live close to another city or county be sure to call their animal control facility as well. When you call, the following information is extremely helpful:
  • Your name. It's awkward to say "I got a call from an unidentified woman about a lost dog." If that is not the person who answers the phone, I can spend five minutes trying to figure if I even have the right number. Please let me know that you are "Mary Johnson."
  • Your phone number. Please say your number clearly and slowly. Even better, repeat it at the end of the message as well. (If you don't hear from me in 12 hours, please call back. Chances are that I don't have a good number for you.)
  • Species and breed or breed mixes. Please be specific. I get "Did anyone call about a missing animal?" all the time. Does this mean the caller lost an animal? Found an animal? And what kind of animal is it?
  • A good physical description. "Stocky brown pit bull with a white chest, cropped ears, long tail and black spot on the rear, left leg" is much easier to identify than "red nosed pit" -- especially when I have three in my kennel.
  • Your animal's sex. Yes, you read that right. I had a woman last week that didn't know if her cat was male of female, but swore the neighbor stole it. (Story for another day . . .) Also, is your pet spayed/neutered? That factors into the search pattern.
  • Any ID. Was your pet wearing a collar? Tags? Is it chipped?
  • Time lapse. When did the pet go missing? 30 minutes ago? Three days ago? It makes a big difference in the size of the search area.
  • Your address. I'd also like to know where the pet went missing from, if it's different from your address. I'm not being nosy. I want to make sure you're looking in the right place. I had a 10 minute conversation with a guy last month before discovering his dog went missing in North Carolina. (Same city name, different state. Sometimes 411 makes a mistake.)
Call your microchip company. (If your pet is not microchipped please remedy this ASAP.) Tell the chip company that your pet is lost. They will flag that chip number in their system and notify you right away if somebody calls in that chip number. (This also keeps people from changing the contact info to theirs, essentially stealing your pet. It happens!) Some chip companies even send out lost pet alerts to local shelters and vets. While you have the chip company on the phone, verify that they have the correct contact information for you. Sometimes people move or change phone numbers and forget to update the microchip information. Remember, the chip doesn't do any good if nobody can find you.
 
Get on the internet. Let all your Facebook friends know that your pet is missing and ask them to cross post. Make sure you have a recent picture. (Don't have one? Stop reading this post and take a picture. Right now. I'll wait.) Next, post a lost pet ad on Craigslist under the "Lost and Found" section. I don't know why, but people often go to Craigslist instead of calling Animal Control. We return dogs from Craigslist ads all the time.
 
Make a flyer. The Missing Pet Partnership has some great tips here. Start by distributing flyers to your neighbors. Remember, you can't leave flyers in mailboxes -- it's a federal offense -- but you can stick them in door jambs or on car windshields. Don't forget to take copies of your flyer to Animal Control, nearby veterinarians and any other local shelters. Check with your city to see what the rules are about hanging lost pets signs. You don't want to waste time and money on signs if code enforcement is going to pull them down as fast as you hang them up.
 
And finally, a few miscellaneous tips. (OK, really they're pet peeves of mine, but "miscellaneous tips not to annoy the animal control officer" sounds a bit self-serving.)
  • Leave a message on the answering machine instead of calling back 20 times trying to catch me. I'm out of the office more than I'm in, but I return to the office regularly to check messages. If you don't leave a message, I don't know you called.
  • If your voice mailbox is full or not set up, leave an alternate call back number.
  • If you're going to screen your calls please listen to the message before you call me back. It drives me bonkers when people call and say "someone called me from this number" after I left a detailed message on their voicemail.
  • And on the same note, if I have to listen to loud, annoying music while your server is "locating the subscriber" I'm going to hang up.
  • I really don't care what name your animal "answers to." Truth is, half the dogs I deal with respond to anything said in a happy voice, including "Pup Pup," "I have cookies" and "Wanna go for a ride?" The other half are either so scared -- or excited -- that they don't respond to anything. And then there are cats. Remember the joke "Cats don't come when you call, they take a message and get back to you later?" Yeah, it's like that.
  • Call back and let us know when your pet returns home so we can stop looking. Please!
I hope your pets never get lost. But if they do, the above tips will help bring your pets home faster and make my job a lot easier. -- K

Looks like Ruckus isn't going anywhere!
P.S. It's Thoughtless Thursday! Hop around and see what others are doing today.

 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Nose Knows

The maze of identical boxes
Jedi and I are really enjoying our nose work classes. He thinks it's the best game ever! In fact, he sticks his head in every box that comes in the house just in case there's a piece of chicken in it. Unfortunately, not everybody thinks this is as funny as I do.
 
We're progressively making this game harder. I've begun hiding food in boxes on the couch, under chairs and in corners. Sometimes the food isn't in a box at all! I've hidden food in shoes, under pillows and even on the windowsill. We practice in the house as well as outside. Jedi is learning to check everywhere. He's has to learn to trust his nose, not his eyes. It's fascinating to watch him. I can tell when he gets a whiff of the chicken. I can actually see him trying to pinpoint where the smell is coming from. Sometimes he gets so excited he smashes the box. Good thing we have a steady supply of boxes. (Hubby does shipping and receiving.)
 
Hey! There's food in this one!
Last night's class was the most challenging so far. We're working on leash handling. My job is to keep the leash from getting tangled up without distracting or impeding Jedi. (That's harder than it sounds, especially since neither of us are very graceful.) I also need to make sure that Jedi searches the entire area. I try not to look where the instructor hides the food so I don't inadvertently clue him in. Last night all the boxes were identical, so I really had to pay attention to which ones he whas checking. In his excitement sometimes he would skip over a box (or section of boxes) and I had to lead him back to the missed area. I also have to be aware of air currents. Jedi is most successful when he's downwind of the odor. Who knew *I* had to pay so much attention!
 
We've started pairing the food with the target scent. We're using sweet birch oil (Betula lenta) which reminds me of Wint-O-Green Lifesavers. (This is not to be confused with oil from other types of birch -- apparently there's a difference.) We were asked to bring a small, glass jar to class. We did, and Instructor gave us sweet birch scented Q-tips so we can practice pairing at home. And we were advised NOT to phase out the food for a very long time, no matter how much we want to.

Sorry again about the quality of the pictures. Maybe one day I'll get a decent camera phone. Until then, you're stuck with these. TTFN, -- K

 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Awww....Gucci

I know this is Kelley's Dog Blog, but we're doing something different today.


This is Gucci in her younger years. She's old and deaf now, but she still runs the show. Dogs cower before her and humans do her bidding (aka provide wet food and scratch her head).

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


Saturday, November 15, 2014

What Is That Doing Here?!

I've mentioned many times that one of my favorite places to take Jedi is the Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens. I love being surrounded by trees, listening to the wind, running streams and singing frogs. We can walk the trails for hours and not see another person. This is my happy place. In fact, I'm hesitant to talk about it because I'm afraid others will find it and infringe upon our solitude -- so let's keep it between us, OK? Anyway, last time we were at the Arboretum Jedi and I found this in the middle of the woods:

 



I think it's suppose to be some sort of art. Apparently I don't "get" art. Nonetheless I had Jedi hop inside so I could take a picture. Be happy the picture's in sepia. In real life this wayward bed frame is painted bright aqua and puce (that's a purple-brown color as hideous as it sounds). See what I mean? ==>


It's Sepia Saturday! Hop around and see what others have to say. And let me know if this thing in the woods makes any sense to you, OK? -- K


Friday, November 14, 2014

Love That Leash!

Jedi & Roxy -- leashed and loving life
I was on a call last week and had a guy tell me -- with pride! -- that his two Australian shepherds have never been on a leash. He was taken aback by my response: "Oh, how sad." Then he proceeded to tell me that his dogs were so well trained that they never left his property. (Mind you, the area of his front and back yard combined was probably 1600 square feet.) Guy reiterated that his dogs have never been on a leash, like it was some sort of supreme accomplishment. Or maybe leashes were for lower class dogs. For mutts. He had no clue why I thought this was such a tragedy.
 
I've mentioned the importance of leash training before in relation to animal control officers, veterinary clinics and boarding kennels -- all of which use leashes on dogs. You never know when a dog may end up at one of these places. But think of all the other things that Guy's poor dogs have missed out on because they're owner was too proud (lazy? ignorant?) to teach them how to walk on a leash:
  • Long walks on the beach
  • After dinner strolls around the neighborhood
  • Trips to the pet stores
  • Shopping at Home Depot
  • Dining at pet-friendly restaurants
  • Going to the Pet Expo
  • Perusing the Riverside Arts Market
  • Raising money with charity dog walks
  • Holiday costume parades
  • Nursing home visits
  • Competing in dog sports like obedience, rally, nose work or barn hunts
  • Hiking the Arboretum
  • Attending concerts in the park
  • Checking out the Artwalk
  • Running the bases at a minor league baseball game
  • Meeting the kids at the bus stop after school
  • Jogging the track with Dad at the high school
  • Running alongside a bicycle
  • Becoming an AKC Canine Good Citizen
I'm not saying that every dog needs to be able to heel perfectly -- Lord knows mine can't! -- but all dogs should know how to walk on the leash if they are to be a part of today's society. Leash laws are nationwide. On a happier note, more and more establishments are opening their doors to well behaved, leashed dogs. Confining a dog to the same 1600 square feet for its entire life because you're too conceited to leash train your dog is just plain mean. And in my book, it makes you a Dumb Ass Dog Owner. "My dogs have never been on a leash" should be said with shame, not hubris. Dumb Ass.
 
Want to read about more Dumb Ass Dog Owners? Click around below to see some of the other posts in this hop. You'll laugh, you'll scream, and you'll thank God you're not "That Guy."-- K
 
P.S. What fun things do you so with your leashed dogs?
 
 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Fall is Here!

Look how happy that makes Jedi.

 
Fall finally came to Florida. We broke out the hoodies and everything!

 
It's Wordless Wednesday. Hop around and see what others are sharing today. -- K


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

DADO-Inspired Laws

We are joining Tales from the Backroad and Heart Like a Dog in this Dumb Ass Dog Owner hop. DADOs are everywhere.

My job as animal control officer is to enforce all the animal-related laws in our city. People bitch when I write tickets, but the truth is every single one of those laws is in place because of a past Dumb Ass Dog Owner. Why else would someone go to the trouble of spelling out these "should-be-common-sense" laws in such detail? We have laws regarding:
 
Running at Large: In my city it's against the law for a dog (or cat) to be out in public by himself. So there's no confusion, the law specifies "any of the public streets, parks, playgrounds, alleys, beaches or vacant lots in the city."
 
Leashes: Our laws are very specific about this. It says no dog can be off the property of its owner without a leash. That includes all the public places listed above. Our law also specifies that the leash be "of dependable strength [and] not to exceed 12 feet in length." So no, that 20 foot clothesline doesn't count. The law also requires the leash to either be attached to an immovable object or "specifically held by a person capable of controlling the animal." Yes, people will get a ticket if their dog is dragging the leash behind him. Electronic leashes don't count either. People still argue with me. Those people are usually why this law was written in the first place. Dumb Asses.
 
Tethering: Despite my best efforts, our city still allows people to chain their dogs outside. I did, however, get the law to specify chain length (at least 10 feet with swivels on both ends) and weight (no more than 1/8 the animal's body weight). Tethered dogs must also have access to fresh water and shelter. You would think "well, duh." Unfortunately, there were several Dumb Ass Dog Owners here in town that prompted this law.
 
Poop: It should just be common courtesy to pick up after your dog. It's not. This is one of my biggest complaints. Our law says that if an animal poops anywhere other than the owner's private property it must be picked up immediately and "deposited in a trash container." If I catch the dumb asses who are leaving the bags of poo alongside the road I will write them tickets. Our city leaders were so concerned with poop that the law states that people walking a dog -- or cat -- anywhere other than their own property are required to carry "some sort of material, utensil, or suitable container with which to dispose of the defecation." Yes, I can write someone a ticket just for not having a bag. (I don't. Despite public opinion, I am not a Dog Nazi.)
 
Shelter: When I started working here there was a guy who kept his dogs in rabbit hutches. Since there was no ordinance prohibiting that, legally there was nothing I could do about it. Even more upsetting was the fact that I had to fight City Council to change the law to define a sufficient shelter as three walls, a roof and a floor, and it must be able to protect the animals from extreme temperatures and direct sunlight.
 
Sadly, in the past 10 years we've also had to write or change the laws making it illegal to:
  • Leave a dog in a hot car
  • Allow a dog to ride in the open bed of a pickup truck untethered
  • Fail to seek medical attention for sick or injured animals
  • Abandon an animal
  • Fail to provide sufficient, wholesome food and clean, potable water
  • Participate in dog fighting
  • Beat, torture or overburden an animal
  • Engage in sexual activity with an animal
I've learned that laws are written for the lowest common denominator. Unfortunately, sometimes these laws infringe upon the rights and sensibility of everybody else. So the next time you see a stupid law ask yourself "Which Dumb Ass inspired this one?"

 
Want more Dumb Ass Dog Owner stories? Want to share your own stories? Hop on! -- K

 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Dumb Ass Dog Owners

When I saw the title of this hop I laughed so hard I couldn't breathe. As an animal control officer I deal with dumb ass dog owners (DADOs) on a daily basis. (To be fair, there are quite a few dumb ass cat owners as well.) With a little more time -- and a lot more talent -- I could write a book on this stuff! But because stupid people (indirectly) pay my mortgage, I have to be careful what I say. Piss off the wrong person in this overly litigious society and I'm out of a job. So with that in mind here's my disclaimer: All of these stories are true. However, names have been changed and identifying facts have been omitted to protect me.
  • Our ordinance allows dogs off leash in the surf as long as the owner is in the water too. I watched one woman unleash her dog and then stand on the shore while her dog frolicked in the water. When I confronted her she actually told me that she paid $150 for the shoes and there was no way she was going to get them wet. I wrote her a $30 citation. (Yes, one fifth of what she paid for the shoes.) She was so outraged that she wrote a letter to the editor and contested the ticket. In her letter, titled Animal Control Out of Control, she said that she couldn't believe she got a ticket when she "was only 30 feet from the water." (I saved that paper!) She put on quite a show in court too. On cross-examination I asked her "did you write this letter to the editor?" When she indignantly answered yes the judge ruled the newspaper as admissible evidence as well as an admittance of guilt. I won. 
  • A woman call to complain about her neighbors. (I later discovered it was in retaliation because she thought the neighbors had reported her to code enforcement. They hadn't.) As I was talking to the woman on the front porch her Chihuahua came outside and bit me on the ankle. Since the dog had never been to the vet it was impounded and quarantined, and the woman received a citation. All in all it cost this woman over $200 in animal control fees. The code enforcement board also fined her for all the garbage in her yard. You know what they say about Karma.
  • A mangy sharpei mix had been terrorizing a neighborhood. He would chase cars, growl at people, pick fights with other dogs and poop in everybody's lawn. All the complainants said the dog lived in the dilapidated trailer on the corner. When I spoke with the residents, they were just as pleasant as the dog. I was greeted with "F"*** you, bitch, get off our property." Several weeks later I saw the dog running at large and followed it home. I told the residents that I was writing a ticket and asked who owned the dog. One guy spoke up saying "It's my dog, bitch. What are you going to do about it? Are you going to write a ticket to a blind guy?" The answer was yes. I wrote a ticket to a blind guy. He was right, I am a bitch.
There are two nasty women here in the city that remind me of Cinderella's stepsisters. They are that pleasant and attractive. All the neighbors hate them. I've written seven running at large tickets to "Anastasia" because her dog "won't defecate while on leash." She lets it run loose in the park across the street instead. And I've written five running at large tickets to "Drizella" her next door neighbor. She told me that she pays so much in taxes that the park is really an extension of her front yard. By the way, I continue to catch these women because their neighbors call the police station every time the dogs are out! The lesson here: if you're going to intentionally break the rules, don't be ugly to your neighbors.
  • We have a beautiful, controlled-access dog park. To join, people must prove that their dogs have been sterilized and are up to date on shots. The city charges an annual fee to use the park. The money is funneled back into park maintenance and improvements. Several months ago I wrote a $55 ticket to a woman who was letting her dog run off leash in the church lot next to the dog park. Why? Because she didn't want to pay $50 to join the dog park.
  • Last week I was dispatched to a house on Bonehead Boulevard. (Seriously, the entire neighborhood couldn't collectively find their way out of a paper bag.) A woman was terrified of her own dog. Her 9 month old, intact pit bull had suddenly become aggressive and she had no idea why. She led me to a room where the dog was sitting next to a travel crate. Apparently the female dog inside the crate was "not spaded" and "had blood dripping from her coochie." Then the light bulb came on, albeit a 30 watt bulb at best. "Is she in heat? Do you think that's why he's acting weird? Is this normal? Are we going to have to do this every month?!" I took a deep breath. "Yes. Yes. Yes." (I think I use the phrase cock block). "No, dogs only go into heat twice a year." I educated her on hormone-driven behaviors, told her about pet over-population, stressed why she should not let them breed and gave her some information on a low cost spay/neuter program. If she calls me in 6 months to unload a litter of puppies we'll know that she didn't pay attention.
Dumb ass dog owners are probably the most frustrating group of people I deal with. Ignorant owners can be educated. Cruel owners can be prosecuted. DADOs are just annoying. Since bitch-slapping them is illegal and tolerating them is difficult, I'm glad there are forums and blog hops like this to vent. It's nice to know that I'm not the only one trying really really hard not to hit people with my truck. (There are others who want to hit people with a truck, right?)

Want to read about more Dumb Ass Dog Owner Hall of Fame candidates? Hop around below. Thanks to Heart Like a Dog and Tales from the Backroad for hosting this cathartic hop. -- K

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Sharing in Sepia

I've mentioned a dozen times that the dogs looooove to go to Sonic for burgers after we run errands. They even share the water bowl. For some reason they are always on their best behavior while at Sonic (even though the look kinda evil in the picture).


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


A big thanks to Ruckus the Eskie and the pups at Earl's World for hosting this hop. -- K


Friday, November 7, 2014

Jedi Works That Nose

Monday was our first Find the Odor class at K-9 Obedience Club. The club's training program is very similar to National Association of Canine Scent Work (NACSW), but since they trademarked the term K9 Nose Work, the club calls it "Find the Odor." This program is just like the one used to train bomb and drug sniff police dogs. Since the general public can't get explosives and narcotics to practice with, our dogs find essential oils -- anise, sweet birch and clove. Which, IMHO, smell much better anyway.


Lesson one is to teach the dog to stick his head in a box. You wouldn't think that's so tough, but some dogs aren't too keen on it. The instructor scattered various boxes across the ring and stuck something really yummy inside one. (In Jedi's case it was roasted chicken.) My job was to let Jedi go and figure it out for himself. Yep, my job is to do absolutely nothing. In fact, the more I help the worse it is for the dog. Jedi figured it out pretty fast. Other dogs went straight for the instructor and tried to get the yummies from her. She ignored them and eventually they all found the right box.

 
Lesson two is to make it a little more difficult to find the goodies. The treat box was slightly covered by another box. Jedi wasn't slowed down a bit. We've been working on it at home too. (Hubby's job gives him access to LOTS of used boxes.) We've put boxes on the couch and under chairs as well as the floor so that Jedi has to learn to search a little harder. So far, no problemo.
 
Jedi thinks this is the best game ever! My favorite part is that I don't have to worry about heeling. (Jedi's heeling -- more accurately, lack thereof -- is embarrassing.) I just take him to the search area and let him go. I'm sure things are going to get more difficult for the both of us soon enough, but for now the hardest part is keeping Jedi from sticking his head in every box he sees. The boys brought home a couple boxes from Total Wine and Jedi had to make sure there wasn't any chicken inside. I thought it was funny (the boys, not so much).
 
Jedi's staring at me as I type this. Surely he can't know I'm writing about him! Just in case, I'm going to wrap this up and break out the boxes. TTFN, -- K
 
P.S. Sorry about the picture quality. Hubby took them on his phone while trying not to distract the dog.
  
 
Today we're joining Rascal, Rocco and the whole Pet Parade gang! Click the button to hop around and see what others are doing today. Seriously, who doesn't like a parade?
 
 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

No Thoughts Before Coffee

Put a German shepherd face on this and you
have my morning wake up call.
Jedi is up with the chickens and ready to take on the day. He's a great dog for morning people. There's only one problem:
 
We are not morning people.
 
Jedi wakes up between 5:30 and 6:00 every morning -- no alarm clock needed. He has this move we call "the Shamu" where he jumps up and slides the front half of his body onto the foot of the bed with a giant grin on his face. It has all the flare (and force) of an orca at a SeaWorld show. When the Shamu move doesn't work, he will not-so-gently tap you with his cold, wet nose. Repeatedly. And his "Get Up" whine rivals any annoying alarm clock I've ever owned. The worst part of all: there is no snooze button.

           OMG, I WANT this mug!
I get up with him every morning -- though not always by choice -- and shuffle to the back door to let him out. While he's bouncing, sniffing and peeing I'll make coffee. Several moments later he'll start barking I shuffle back to door and call him back in with a "quit-barking-dammit-the-neighbors-don't-want-to-hear-that-shit-this-early-in-the-morning" grunt. On work days I stumble back to the bathroom to start my day. I'm functional after a long shower and a cup of coffee. On my days off I'll give Jedi a chew toy and (hopefully) catch an extra 30 to 45 minutes of sleep on the couch while coffee's brewing. I'm usually cognizant by 8:00. Either way, the house rule is: "Don't talk to Mommy before coffee." (Not surprisingly, both my children learned how to make coffee while still in grade school.) 

Me minus the hair and make-up. Seriously,
who can do make-up before coffee?!
But today there was a coffee catastrophe. Sometime between yesterday morning and this morning my airtight plastic coffee container had been moved to the stove and the bottom melted. While I was trying to scoop grounds from the top of the container, the rest of the grounds were pouring out the bottom onto the stove, counter and floor. Before I fully comprehended what was going on I had a pound of coffee strewn all over my kitchen. This was quite a predicament -- especially considering that I hadn't had my coffee!

Have no fear, I soldiered through and was able to clean up the grounds and still make coffee. It must be kicking in too, because I can actually put sentences together and everything! But I need to cut this short and head to Walmart for coffee and another airtight container to keep it in. I can't do this two days in a row.


It's Thoughtless Thursday. Click around and see what others are thinking -- or NOT thinking -- about today. -- K

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Shepherd at Sunrise

Last weekend we turned back the clocks and got an extra hour of sleep -- yea! The day before Jedi and I went to the beach to see the sunrise. Beautiful!




A view like that can turn a Wordless Wednesday into a Speechless Wednesday.


Hop around and see what others are sharing today. -- K
 
 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

DIY Cavaletti

Jedi drags his rear feet. It's something that I'm hoping we can fix in Body Awareness and Targeting class. I had a friend suggest using cavaletti. They are small jumps used to strengthen muscles and adjust stride in horses. Apparently there are dog versions too. I was really excited until I saw how much they cost. The average price was $50 for a set of three, and everything I read said at least five cavaletti are needed to be effective. ugh. I found some plans on the internet to make your own cavaletti as well, but most of those required skills and tools that I just don't have. But then . . .

I was surfing the internet on my phone and saw a picture that made me squeal with delight -- Dollar Store Cavaletti! (I have never been able to find it again to give credit where credit is due.) Here's what I came up with based on what I remember:
  • I found these bright little baskets for $1 each. I bought a dozen.
  • I had some 1/2" PVC left over from a home improvement project. I cut it into six 48" pieces.
  • I bought a roll of fancy tape for $2 at Wal-Mart to decorate the PVC -- just because.
Assembly is super easy: Run a PVC piece through the middle holes of two baskets to make hurdles a.k.a. cavaletti. (Use higher or lower holes to increase/decrease the difficulty level.) Spread the baskets far enough apart that your dog can walk through them comfortably.

Cavaletti should be spaced shoulder height apart. I had an extra piece of PVC that I held up to Jedi and marked at the withers (the highest point behind the neck). I taped that spot and used the pole to measure the distance between cavaletti. Then I ran Jedi through.

 
Did he knock them down? You betcha! The fifth and sixth one were knocked over every time. But it didn't scare him and he willingly ran through again and again. And when we were done everything disassembled easily and takes hardly any room to store. Score!
 
What do you think? Do you have any fun crafty things? Let me know! -- K
 
P.S. Like the idea of going cheap? Check out my recycled perch and ghetto travel plank here.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Awww....Kitten!


This is Sammy. He was dumped at the Nature Preserve and had pneumonia when I picked him up. I was able to nurse him back to health and find him a new home. Now he's living the good life at the beach. Lucky cat!

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


Saturday, November 1, 2014

What's Cooking?

Jedi LOVES Satin Balls
Did you know that today is National Cook for Your Pets Day? Did you even know that was a thing? If you go to the website you can get some free recipes.

I don't cook for my dogs often (I cook for Hubby even less). But when I do, I make Satin Balls. They are a healthy and high in calories. Jedi goes through periods where he burns more calories than he can take in with his regular kibble, so I supplement with Satin Balls to keep him from losing too much weight. (I wish I had that problem!) Here's the recipe:

Satin Balls
  • 5 pounds ground chuck or high fat ground beef
  • 1/2 large box of Whole Grain Total (about 6 cups)
  • 1/2 large box quick-cooking oats (about 7 1/2 cups)
  • 5-6 eggs, with crushed shells
  • 1/2 jar of wheat germ (about 2 cups)
  • 5 packets Knox unflavored gelatin
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 2/3 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Pinch of sea salt
Mix all ingredients in a giant bowl or a clean 5 gallon bucket. You'll need to use your hands for this! I divide the mixture in to 1/4 cup patties, putting four each into Ziplock freezer bags. Store in the freezer until ready to use. I'll pop two in the microwave for 90 seconds and serve them warm over a little bit of kibble.

Satin Balls are used in the dog show community to improve coats and put weight on a skinny dog, quickly. Many recipe variations are on the internet, but this is the one that I like best. The dog rescue community also uses Satin Balls to put weight on underweight dogs.

About the Ingredients

Obviously this isn't an exact recipe, but here is the reasoning be the ingredients:
  • Beef: If the goal is to improve the coat, use leaner ground beef. If the goal is to put weight on, quickly, use ground beef with higher fat content. Ground turkey can be used as well.
  • Whole Grain Total: The cereal provides Vitamins A, C, D, E, B6 and B12, calcium, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc. Some recipes discourage the use of Total cereal due to its sugar content.
  • Oats: This is a good source of fiber and other nutrients.
  • Eggs: I have a friend with free range chickens and he sends over a dozen eggs every other week. I rinse off the eggs and break the shells up into tiny pieces and add them for the calcium.
  • Wheat germ: This provides vitamin E, folic acid, phosphorus, thiamin, zinc and magnesium.
  • Gelatin: This helps the ball hold their shape. It also adds collagen and nitrogen.
  • Molasses: This provides manganese, copper, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6 and selenium. (It also makes them smell really good when you heat them up. But don't eat them!)



Are you cooking for your dog today? If you're looking for something fun and creative, check out Kol's Notes. Seriously, the stuff you find there is amazing! And don't forget to hop around below. It's Sepia Saturday! -- K