Monday, August 31, 2015

Awww...Wow!

I share stuff about my crazy career in animal control all the time. Regular visitors know that my job can be funny or frustrating, heart warming or heart wrenching, weird, wild and/or wacky -- sometimes all on the same day! And some days I get a special treat that just leaves me speechless. Today was one of those days!
 
I know this is a dog blog, but truth is: I like wild birds. My favorites are birds of prey -- falcons, eagles, owls, etc. I have sat on the beach oblivious to dogs off leash because the osprey were fishing. And I LOVE red-tailed hawks. They're usually skittish and I have to admire them from afar. But today I had one let me get within 10 feet and I was able to snap a picture with my phone. Isn't he beautiful?
 
"HAWK EYE" is no joke! He stared at me the whole time.
Crows are also skittish but I like them. (Except for those bastards who stabbed Jon Snow -- sorry, nerdy reference.) Crows are also loud and cheeky and hop around with a goofy gait. They make me laugh. I saw these guys when I got home this afternoon and snapped this picture with my phone:
 
Do you see all seven?
I sent the picture to my husband with the message "There's a murder across the street." (Stupid trivia time: a group of crows is called a murder.) Hubby texted back "Sometimes you are so weird." Yeah, well . . . We've been together 28 years, so what does that say about him?!
 
Anyway, it's Awww...Monday! Want to start your week off with a smile? Click around below and see what others are sharing today. -- K
 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

More Dog Shows

We're at it again! I'm back from vacation, the weather is getting slightly less scorching and we're looking at dog shows. (Just indoor shows for now -- I still remember Alpharetta.)

Yesterday morning I filled out a couple dog show entry forms. We're headed back to Deland, the scene of our first shows back in 2013. We'll be at the Volusia County Fairgrounds September 18th through the 20th. It's a nice venue with things like adequate parking, flushing toilets and multiple concession stands. (Quit laughing about the toilets! Try wiggling out of a sweaty girdle in a dirty port-a-potty while trying to stay clean and you'll understand. Trust me!) In 2013 there was a really nice variety of vendors as well. I'm hoping they're returning this year.

The Friday show is being hosted by the Sunshine State Herding Group Association. This is a specially show for herding breeds only. They put on a really nice show last time and I'm excited to see what they do this time. Despite my "put on my big girl panties" speech after Alpharetta, I'm entering this one in the AM Bred class again. [Insert chicken noises here.]

The Saturday and Sunday shows are being hosted by the West Volusia Kennel Club. These are larger, all-breed shows. I remember their shows as being chaotic and a bit disorganized last time. However, I also remember that they had some incredible vendors and services available. I was overwhelmed by the variety. Now that I (kind of) know what I'm doing, I really look forward to checking out the vendor tents. Also, these shows offer an Amateur Owner-Handler class for inexperienced people like me, so that's where we'll be. (Friday's show does not offer this class, hence the AM Bred entry. Again.)

As usual, Jedi and I DID NOT practice over the summer. We've done nothing since Alpharetta. So, as usual, I'm stressing over the little stuff. One of these days I'll learn my lesson. Until then, I'm off to see if Jedi and I remember anything. Later, -- K

P.S. If you happen to be near Deland that weekend, please come by and say hi. I mean it! I could use a friendly face.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Jedi and Jet Lag

Jedi at dawn. Why are we awake?!
I spent 10 days in California. I've only been back for 36 hours and I'm exhausted. Jet lag always seems to be worse when heading east. It doesn't help that my body is still on California time. My problem: I can't seem to get to sleep until well after midnight -- and Jedi doesn't care. No matter what time we go to bed, he is wide awake by 6 AM. There is nothing I can do to convince him otherwise.

This morning he was stirring at 5 AM. took him out to pee and gave him a chew toy to keep him quiet. It didn't work. He was in my face panting and whining. I thought I had convinced him to settle down, but then he leaned against the bed and scratched. The whole thing shook like a California earthquake. He stopped when I fussed (loudly and harshly no less!) but that's when the licking started. He licked and chewed various body parts so loud that I'm sure they could him on Dagobah. I tried throwing Jedi out of the bedroom but then he just sat outside the door and whined. Eventually I got up. The dog won.

I feel like crap. My body's telling me it's still 4 AM. Now I'm sitting in the living room with a screaming headache and an upset stomach. (One of the many joys of getting older: lack of sleep feels like a nasty hangover, even if I don't drink the night before.) My dog is a jerk and apparently he doesn't care. I took this picture at 6:30 AM so you can see for yourself. Just look at the grin! Jerk.

It's Sepia Saturday! We're joining Ruckus the Eskie and the folks at Earl's World as we share our frustration with a soft brown tint. Click around below and see what others are sharing. I am. It's not like I can sleep or anything. (Quit smiling Ruckus, it's not funny.) I am not amused. -- K

P.S. As I was putting the finishing touches on this post I heard Jedi sigh loudly. I looked over and saw him sleeping -- sleeping! -- on my office floor. I don't know whether to quietly crawl back in bed or go wake him up out of spite. WHAT A JERK!


Friday, August 28, 2015

Why Kelley Can't Go To The Movies

Warning: If you haven't seen Jurassic World and/or Max and don't want any spoilers, stop reading now. However, if you want to hear me rant and nitpick then grab yourself some popcorn and enjoy!

To be honest, I'm not keen on paying $10 to see a movie at the theater. Add another $15 for popcorn and a soda and the cheapskate in me is screaming her head off! I'd rather wait 6 months to catch it on Redbox, order a pizza and watch the movie with my dogs instead. But I had the opportunity to catch a couple movies in the theater last month -- and they really pissed me off.

Those stupid heels
First up was Jurassic World. The special effects were amazing and the movie was alright, despite the lackluster ending. But there were two things that drove me nuts.
  1. The stupid bimbo was running around in heels the entire movie. Who in their right mind would wear heels and a skirt on a tropical island? I wanted a T-Rex to eat her just for being stupid.
  2. I had heard that the movie promoted clicker training. One of the main characters used it to train the Raptors. I'm all for promoting positive training, and it would have been cool if the guy wasn't doing it wrong! Seriously, click once when the desired behavior is given (not 20+). I've seen 6 year old children successfully master the clicker. Why couldn't an adult screenwriter figure it out? A simple five minute fact check could have properly demonstrated and promoted positive reinforcement training. Instead, it looks like a nervous guy with a ballpoint pen. click, click, click, click, click.
Max was equally frustrating -- and this is me speaking with my Animal Control Officer hat on.

That stupid, metal cage
First of all, giving a military trained Malinois to a family of inexperienced dog owners is down-right irresponsible. My Malinois-owning friends lovingly refer to the breed as "German shepherds on crack." I'm afraid that people are going to run out and buy Malinois puppies because of this movie -- it happens all the time -- and then become disenchanted when they realize that what they saw on screen is not what they brought home. (NOTE: Max was actually played by five highly trained dogs. Even that dog isn't what you think it is.) I cringe just thinking of all the adolescent Malinois that are going to be turned into animal shelters over the next couple of years because of this movie.

Simple tool, catching is the hard part
The movie makes sure you know the story takes place in Texas in July. Dad doesn't want Max in the house (jerk) so first he ties the dog outside, then he puts the dog in a metal cage not large enough for the dog to lie down and sprawl out. At no time is the dog provided with water or a shelter to protect him from summer sun. Can you say cruelty ticket?! But no. When animal control finally does show up they are portrayed as heartless and too stupid to properly work a catch pole. This is a simple tool that I've taught children how to use while at community outreach events. (Again, if a 6 year old can figure it out . . .)

I'm very disappointed that this movie -- which was designed for children! -- didn't take the opportunity to demonstrate the proper and humane care for animals. Nor did it portray animal control officers as the caring, knowledgeable professionals we strive to be. Instead, it reinforced the "dog catcher buffoon" stereotype. Thanks Hollywood!

So now that I've totally ruined these summer blockbusters, you may now return to your regularly scheduled programming. My rant is over -- for now. [Insert evil laugh here.] TTFN, -- K

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Jedi's Stand-Ins

I've been in California for over a week. It's been great catching up with friends and family, but I miss my dogs terribly. Fortunately there have been a few wonderful dogs willing to let me love on them while I'm away. In honor of National Dog Day I'd like to say thanks to the following West Coast pups.
 
Teemu 
 
Libby
 
Roxy
 
Eli
 
Weather permitting, I'll be back in Florida tomorrow night. I can't wait to love on Jedi again. This is the longest we've ever been apart and it's killing me! 
 
 
It's Wordless Wednesday! Click around below and see what others are sharing today. Talk to you later, -- K
 
 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Kelley Drinks Because . . .

I love my new t-shirt
  • It's illegal to hit people with your truck, no matter how much they really deserve it.
  • I haven't mastered the Force Choke yet, but Lord knows I'm trying.
  • We keep making laws to protect stupid people from themselves instead of letting natural selection take its course.
(Seriously, if you're not smart enough to know not to use the hair dryer in the tub without the warning label, maybe you should not be a part of the gene pool.)

In case you haven't figured it out, this is a rant. Proceed with caution because I'm in a mood today!

Ah, the Force Choke . . .
One of the drawbacks of being a dog club president as well as an animal control officer is that I get the same frustrating emails to both my personal and professional accounts. There is no "down time." The latest:

A woman says her husband bought her a GSD puppy as a surprise two months ago. She now realizes it was from a bad breeder. Three days after they got the puppy they discovered that it had a stomach infection. THEN they discovered that the puppy has bilateral hip dysplasia (both hips) and bilateral distal femoral osteochondritis dissecans (excessive cartilage growing on the ball joints of both large leg bones). Mind you, the puppy is only 4 months old. The woman wants to rehome her puppy because:
  • She can't afford the expensive orthopedic surgeries to treat these problems
  • The puppy is going to require life long medications and treatments for what may never be a good quality of life
  • They don't have time for a "special needs puppy" (her words, not mine) because her husband works 10 hour shifts, 6 days a week and she works a full 40 hour week, Monday-Friday.
  • She's leaving the country in four days and will be gone for two months
All of this was in a badly written generic email addressed to "To Whom It May Concern." (I'm assuming that English is not her first language.) She ended the letter saying that "I need help for him to find someone that will understand [his] needs and be willing to dedicate him a lot of time."

BTW, I have friends in other parts of the dog community and they received the same email. It's a small community. We talk. And since the initial email I've gotten more information. It only made the whole situation more depressing.

I didn't tell Mrs. X my personal feelings. Otherwise, I would have said "Talk to a trusted vet. The most humane thing could be to put the puppy down." I know that may come across as harsh and calloused. Based on the tone of her letter I don't think she would even consider that -- especially since she told one of my friends that her husband paid $3500 for the puppy. (I hope she was exaggerating. Otherwise, she was seriously screwed. I paid much less for the pick of the litter show-quality puppy from a responsible breeder.)

As a club president, I told Mrs. X that we are an enthusiasts club, not a rescue group. We don't have the space, funding or permits to take in animals. I suggested she try searching for rescue groups on the internet to see if one has space and funding available for a special needs dog. I also offered to forward her request to the rest of the Club saying that if anybody was interested they would contact her directly.

As an animal control officer, I recommended she return the dog to the breeder immediately. Florida has one of the best Pet Lemon Laws in the country. Then I took the time to spell it out for her, citing specific sections. Her response was disheartening: "We have 2 party involve and when the real breeder was contacted they didn't return any calls to the other party." What does that mean, you ask? It means that the puppy was bought through an online puppy broker. Yes, they exist. They're horrible. If you only learn one thing from my blog, let it be this:

DO NOT BUY FROM AN ONLINE PUPPY BROKER!!
NEVER. EVER. EVER!

This is what online puppy brokers don't want you to see
-- your puppy's parents!
Despite what the sites may say, these are puppy mill puppies. In the past 6 months, my rescue friends have picked up the pieces from several of these online deals after have gone horribly wrong. The puppies are overpriced, very often sick and unhealthy and the purchaser has no contact with the "breeder" (I use that term loosely.) There is no fair contract and when there's a problem the answer is usually "euthanize the puppy or take it to the pound."

Now that I've had time to calm down -- thanks Ernest and Julio -- I no longer want to hit the letter writer with my truck. I am truly sorry for her heartache. I just wish that her husband had called me and/or read my blog before he bought the puppy. I would have gladly talked to him. We would have discussed:
  • Why does want a puppy? Here are nine reasons NOT to get a pet. They should never be surprise presents, especially two months before a long European vacation.
  • Puppies take a lot of time and work. Are you sure you're ready? If your work schedule has you out of the house all the time, consider waiting. Until then, volunteer at the local shelter to get your puppy fix.
  • Here are some questions to ask before buying a puppy. These are questions for both you and the breeder. Also, if the breeder doesn't ask you some hard questions back, you should be concerned. If you can't speak to the breeder directly, run away!
  • Florida has one of the best Pet Lemon Laws in the country. Learn it and use it to your advantage. It can help you weed out bad breeders.
  • Are you sure you can handle a German shepherd? They can be a handful. To quote Peter Parker's Uncle Ben "With great power comes great responsibility." Here are 10 questions to ask yourself before getting a German shepherd, as well as some very serious things to consider. I've said many times, GSDs are not Labs, and they're not for everyone. And that's OK.
Instead, Mr. X went out uninformed and ended up with an extremely sick, poorly bred puppy. He thought that by spending more money he was getting a better puppy. (He was wrong.) Mrs. X immediately fell in love with the puppy -- seriously, who wouldn't? Then they threw good money after bad trying to fix an unfixable problem because their hearts ached with compassion and guilt. Now they're trying to assuage their feelings by passing the problem on to someone else, thereby avoiding making "the decision."

I don't know why people do what they do. It's frustrating. I'm trying to make the world a better place for animals and people alike. (Trust me, I don't do what I do for the money!) I try not to dwell on the ignorance/stupidity/apathy/cruelty of others. It stresses me out. I preach, I teach, I pray . . . and I wonder if I'm making a difference or just making myself nuts. Some days I just want to scream. Other days I just cry. And on really bad days I drink and swear. Today is one of those days. So friends, I'm off to open another F***ing bottle of wine. And in honor of Thoughtless Thursday, I am not going to give any more thought to people who don't think -- at least not for today. Talk to later, -- K

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Purple Wednesday

Jedi and I found this plant on one of our walks. It was growing wild along the woods. I have no idea what it is, but the beautiful purple berries make a nice frame for my beautiful black and tan dog. (I didn't let him get too close, just in case the berries are toxic.) Do you know what kind of plant this is?


It's Wordless Wednesday! Today we're joining Blogpaws and all the animal blogs below to share fun pics to get you through this hump day. Click around below and see if they don't make you smile. -- K

Monday, August 17, 2015

Stinky Jedi

This week's Mischief Monday story started out nice enough . . . but then it went south quickly.

There's a piece of private property where Hubby and I have permission to run our dogs off leash. It is probably the dogs' favorite place in the whole world. Seriously, it's right up there with Sonic!

Jedi, ready to go.
We've been busy lately and the dogs haven't been able to get their regular exercise. Since a restless dog is just mischief waiting to happen, I got up early Saturday morning and took Jedi to the property for a good romp.

Giant sticks are awesome!
Jedi had a blast. He chased squirrels, peed on a hundred trees and played fetch with a giant stick. It was a great morning, until I saw him do this:

Not Jedi. I was too horrified to take a picture.
At one point Jedi had run up ahead of me. There was a giant tree that I thought would make a great backdrop for a picture. I reached into my pocket and pulled out my camera. I looked up to see Jedi rubbing his face on the ground. I yelled across the field but he didn't hear me.

My response, reenacted by a cute squirrel.
Jedi has never done that before, but I knew what he was doing. I've read other Monday Mischief posts. And I was horrified.

I have no idea what it was that Jedi found under that tree. I looked. The best I could determine was "gelatinous and putrid." I leashed up Jedi and gagged all the way to the car. I had a bottle of water that I poured over his face and I found a rag in the trunk that I used to wipe off the chunky pieces, followed by more gagging. It didn't help much. He still reeked. I made him ride home with his head out the passenger side window (he thought that was great) and gave him a bath ad soon as we got home (he didn't like that). Then I took my second shower of the day.
 
It's Monday Mischief. Hop around below and see what others are getting into today. If you've got a mischief story, link up. If not, give your pup an extra cookie. He deserves it! -- K

Friday, August 14, 2015

Vote For Jedi!

This is a shameless plug.

My friend convinced me to enter Jedi in a GSD calendar contest. I did, using this picture that my Aunt took at the Alpharetta dog shows this past June:

 

Now I'm asking all our cyber-friends to vote for him. Please click on this link to his Facebook photo and hit "like." Voting ends at the end of the month. Jedi sends a virtual lick to all who vote for him. Thanks! -- K



Thursday, August 13, 2015

What's in a Dog?

When I took over as president of my German shepherd dog club, I said that I wanted to:
  • Familiarize everybody with the breed standard, terminology and what makes a GSD
  • Get out more with our dogs
  • Energize meetings with door prizes, guest speakers and mini-workshops
  • Network with other local dog clubs
Well, I'm trying. Last Tuesday was only my second meeting in the big girl seat, so I'm not sure how it's going. The guest speaker I had planned on bowed out, so I had to come up with a Plan B in four days. eek! I thought dog anatomy might be interesting, and a game would be fun. I couldn't quite find what I was looking for so I had to do it myself. I found a drawing of a GSD on the internet. (We ARE a German shepherd dog club after all) and designed the following picture. I had it enlarged to poster size (thank you Office Max), made two copies and then attached the pictures to foam boards. At the meeting I divided the club into two groups and had them race to see who could correctly label their dog first. Here's the picture:


I printed the 18 terms on card stock, and had the numbers 1 through 18 listed under the pictures. Using push pins, members had to match the term with correct corresponding number. Here they are in in alphabetical order:

Back, Brisket, Croup, Elbow, Flank, Flews, Front Pastern, Hock, Loin, Muzzle, Occiput, Prosternum, Rear Pastern, Stifle, Stop, Tail, Withers, and Wrist.

The members had fun and did surprisingly well. (However, I did see a couple smartphones in use).


It's Thoughtless Thursday, so I'm not going to ask you to think about how you would label the dog. Instead, hop around below and see what others are thinking (and not thinking) about today. Thank you Ruckus the Eskie, M.K. Clinton and the pups over at Love is Being Owned by a Husky for hosting this hop. -- K


P.S. You couldn't help yourself, hunh? You played along anyway, didn't you? That's OK, I wouldn't be able to resist either. Want the answers?
  1. Occiput
  2. Withers
  3. Back
  4. Loin
  5. Croup
  6. Hock
  7. Tail
  8. Rear Pastern
  9. Stifle
  10. Flank
  11. Brisket
  12. Elbow
  13. Wrist
  14. Front Pastern
  15. Prosternum
  16. Flews
  17. Muzzle
  18. Stop



Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Dragon Ass

The other day Jedi and I were hanging out in the bedroom. I was watching TV and he was napping. Hubby came in with Drogo.


When Hubby put Drogo on the bed he immediately started climbing Mt. Shepherd and made himself at home.



Jedi was not impressed. He gave me "the look" and a pitiful whine. I removed the lizard, but not before snapping a couple pictures. Sorry for the quality. I was laughing too hard to get a good shot.


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



Monday, August 10, 2015

Awww . . . Doggies!

We've had a few days of decent weather. No rain, relatively low humidity and temperatures under 90 degrees. What a nice surprise! To celebrate we packed up the dogs and took a road trip.

OK, it wasn't much of a road trip by people standards. We went to park, hit few pet stores looking for lizard stuff and made a pit stop at Jedi's favorite place, Sonic. Lucky for us, the dogs are easily impressed. You would have thought this was the Best. Day. Ever!
 
Roxy and Jedi enjoying a nice warm-but-not-hellish August day


Jedi would like a plain cheeseburger and a cup of water, no ice please.
 
Did you know that today is National Spoil Your Dog Day? It is! What do you and your pups have planned? If you're stumped, here are a few ideas from Pet Food Direct.

It's Awww...Monday! Start your week with a smile. Click around below and see other things that'll make you say "awww." -- K

P.S. Jedi wants everybody to know that Sonic is offering 1/2 price cheeseburgers on Thursday, August 13th.


Saturday, August 8, 2015

Be Clever or Be Quiet

My uniform has ANIMAL CONTROL written on the back in 3" letters. Most of the time that's a good thing. Before the lettering, one of my partners was mistaken for a prowler and nearly shot while chasing a stray dog. (Regular readers know that my city's residents are notorious for blowing things out of proportion.)

However, the lettering does make me stand out, especially when I'm eating lunch or at the grocery store after work. I don't know why, but when people see me they feel compelled to make stupid comments. I usually just give a weak smile, but what I want to say (dripping with sarcasm, of course) is "Oh Wow, I've never heard that before." What kind of things am I talking about?
  • At least once a week some skeezy man says "I'm an animal, wanna control me?" Yuck.
  • I'll walk into a business and someone calls out "[name] they're here for you."
  • OR someone pushes someone else in my direction and says "Here you go."
  • I'm asked constantly if I will take a person's husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend.
  • Parents tell their children that if they don't behave I'm going to put them in the cage on the back of my truck. (Way to go Mom and Dad! Teach your kids to fear those who are supposed to help them.)
  • I'm told I look "dog tired" entirely too often.
  • When I'm chasing a dog in public some bystander always has to sing Who Let The Dogs Out. Obviously these people don't know the true meaning of the song. If they do, then I am highly offended!
  • My truck is barked at daily when I'm patrolling the city

I know, groan. I assume that people are trying to be funny. (They're not.) Or maybe they think they're being clever. (Again, not.) Unfortunately, those trying to insult me are equally lame. I've heard:
  • Wannabe Cop
  • Rent-A-Cop
  • Puppy Killer
  • Dog Hater
  • Dog Catcher
  • Stupid
  • Fat
  • Bitch
  • Dyke
  • Barney Fife
  • and Paul Blart

I want to scream "Is that the best that they can do?" Seriously, how disappointing. Several years back an ACO friend of mine in a neighboring city was the subject of a letter to the editor. The author said that my friend "emerged from the truck like John Wayne with bright pink lipstick." Now that's what I'm talking about! My friend was so impressed by the creativity that she framed the letter and hung it in her office.
 
Now THAT'S funny!
My advice to you: If you feel the urge to say something to an animal control officer you should avoid the things above. We've heard it before. You won't get the reaction you're looking for. At best you'll get a condescending eye roll. If you can't be clever then please, just be quiet. Or better yet, be sincere. A friendly smile and a cheerful hello are always welcome. And silly pet stories will always get a warm chuckle.

It's Sepia Saturday! We're joining Ruckus the Eskie and the folks at Earl's World as we share our crazy lives with a soft brown tint. When you're through with my silliness, hop around below and see what others are sharing today. -- K

 

Friday, August 7, 2015

8 Photos of Happiness

Last week I was challenged by the crew from DZ's Adventures to share 8 Photos of Happiness. This is the brainchild of Ariel's Little Corner of the Internet and has spread across the internet like fleas in a boarding kennel.

This project got me thinking. What does make me happy? Truth is, lots of things make me happy: friends, family, spicy food, grown-up game nights, live music, sharing a good bottle of wine, strolling through the zoo, babies laughing, hiking in the woods and watching the sunset to name a few. But, this is Kelley Dog Blog so I'll keep it dog related. Here are the eight photos that I chose.

1.  Dogs have always made me happy. Here's a picture of me with my first dog, Eli. He taught me the true meaning of loyalty and friendship. I think this was taken somewhere around 1978 (hence the outfit).



2.  Puppies make me happy. This was Jedi's first bath, at about three months old. Obviously he was not as happy about it as I was.




3.  Working with my dogs makes me happy. Here's a picture of me and Jedi at handling class. In case you can't read it, the t-shirt says "My Dog Makes Me Happy. You, Not So Much."




4.  Hanging out with my dogs makes me happy. I love this picture of Roxy, me and Jedi at the beach. A big thanks to JLyn, the friend who took it!




5.  Being silly makes me happy. For Star Wars Day (May the 4th) I dressed Jedi as Yoda, the ultimate jedi master. I thought it was hysterical. Jedi thought I should fork over more Pupperoni.




6.  Goofy dogs make me happy. Roxy was wearing the Cone of Shame because she chewed out her spay stitches. It didn't slow her down though; she still wanted to play ball. Her goofy smile always makes me smile.




7.  Happy dogs make me happy. Pepper is no longer with us, but she was a happy dog. She always wanted to be with her people. She didn't care what we did as long as we were together. Sometimes we'd get bored and dress her up in Hubby's clothes. 




8.  Making my dogs happy makes me happy. Logan loved squeaky toys more than any dog I've ever known. Nothing made him happier than lying in the yard and chewing on a squeaky. He'd wear one out and we'd buy two more. He probably had 200 squeaky toys in the seven years he was with us.




Now for the rest of the challenge. I'm supposed to: 
  • Thank the blog that tag me. Thanks Not-Allison! (By the way, jump over to DZ's Adventures and check out Dante and Ziva, two of the most beautiful pit bulls on the net. They always make me smile.)
  • Link back to the challenge's creator, Ariel's Little Corner of the Internet.
  • Spread the happiness and tag other bloggers to share their eight photos. For that, I've chosen a few of my favorite blogs. (I hope you'll check them out as well.)
Let's Go Dog -- I love watching Leah and her dogs, Zack and Zoe, live the adventures I am too chicken go for (for now). I want to be her when I grow up. And I don't care what Zack says, that RV is awesome!

Puppy Leaks -- LOVE this blog. It's chock full of level-headed info. I always leave with something to think about. Check it out. FYI, grab a cup of coffee, you'll be there a while.

Walks With Rama -- Another fun blog from a fellow Florida girl. I love following the adventures of an active mom and her gorgeous Cane Corsos. And honestly, if you want to see photos of happiness, just take a look at her puppy pictures. I dare you not to squeal.

Anyway, if the blogs above want to play along then they will do the same: share eight happy pictures, link back to me and Ariel, then tag other blogs to keep the smiles coming. I can't wait to see the photos they chose! (By the way, the rules say that the pictures can be of anything -- not just pets -- and you don't have to explain why you chose them. I'm just odd that way. Big shock, I know.)

To be honest, there are another dozen+ blogs that I would love to share, and feel like a heel not including them too. Fortunately they're all phenomenal blogs and I'm sure someone else will tag them soon. Goggle+ and FB friends, I'll be sure to forward those when I see them. -- K



Thursday, August 6, 2015

So You Want a GSD . . .

I saw this meme on Facebook and it made me giggle, but there's something to it too. I've said many times that German shepherds aren't for everybody. Before adding one to your family you need to ask yourself these 10 questions:
 
How do you feel about vacuuming? 
German shepherds have been lovingly referred to as "German Shedders" because of all the hair that comes out when they're shedding their undercoats ("blowing coat") twice a year. It's enough to make another German shepherd! Truth is, they shed year round, even with regular grooming. You're going to want a good vacuum cleaner. I burned up my vacuum cleaners every other year until I finally broke down and bought a Dyson -- and boy does that thing suck!

Can you live your life with all the doors open?
German shepherds are herders -- it's in their name. Because of this, they want to have eyes on all of their people all of the time. Yes, this includes when you're sleeping and using the bathroom. Jedi hates it when I'm in the bedroom with the door closed while Hubby is in the living room watching TV. He'll whine and scratch and bark until I finally open the door. He's actually learned to open the bedroom door if it's not closed just right. Scary . . . and a tad bit annoying.

How attached are you to your personal possessions?
German shepherds have also been referred to as "German Shredders." They are very good at destroying things, especially during the frustrating adolescent phase. I've shared some of the Jedi's destructive stories, and even threatened to sell him to the next band of travelling Jawas. I've since learned that crate training, mental stimulation and exercise can help contain the mayhem.

Can you live with a dog who may be smarter than you?
Neuropsychological researcher Stanley Coren did a study on canine intelligence. His book, The Intelligence of Dogs, ranks German shepherds as the third most intelligent dog breed, behind the Border Collie and the poodle. While I may disagree with his ranking, I strongly believe that my dog is smarter than most people. Sure, having a super smart dog sounds great, but always trying to stay one step ahead of your dog is exhausting.
 
Can you firmly say "No, you cannot pet my dog" without feeling guilty? 
Let's face it, German shepherds are gorgeous. It's not surprising that people want to touch them. Unlike many dogs, however, German shepherds are not automatically everybody's friend. They need time to check you out to determine whether you're worthy enough for physical contact. Truth is, some people don't make the cut. I am constantly telling people that my dog does not want to be petted today. Surprisingly, some people get down right nasty when you tell them no.
 
Can you listen to a hundred "I was bitten by a German shepherd" stories without rolling your eyes?
This one is tough. It seems that nearly everybody has a bad German shepherd experience somewhere in their past. And when these people see a German shepherd owner, they're compelled to share the story. I listen politely, though I suspect many of them are the afore mentioned people who can't respect a dog's boundaries. Or they could have been dogs with irresponsible owners who ruin it for everybody -- but that's a rant for another day.
  
How do you feel about exercise?
German shepherds are large, active dogs. They were designed to work. If you don't have a flock of sheep that needs herding, you'd better think of something. German shepherds need to run and play daily, otherwise they'll drive you crazy. Trust me! They also need mental exercise in the form of training, puzzles and games. A bored and restless German shepherd will find something to entertain himself -- and you probably won't like it.

Food for thought
Are you willing to accept and/or fight breed-specific rules?
German shepherds are on many "Bad Dog" lists. Some insurance companies won't cover homes with German shepherds. I've heard of homeowners associations that don't allow German shepherds either. I've even seen dog-related Meet-up groups that exclude German shepherds. Stupid bigots. The best way to break these stereotypes is to show the world obedient and well-mannered dogs. That takes a lot of time and effort on the owner's part. If you're not willing (or able) to do it, please don't get a GSD -- you'll only make it worse for those of us trying to make a difference. Please consider getting a philodendron instead.

I have this on a hot pink t-shirt. People still talk to me.
Are you strong enough to resist choking everyone who is suddenly an expert on hip dysplasia and the evils of purebred dogs because they saw a documentary on PBS?
In 2008 the BBC aired a documentary called Pedigree Dogs Exposed. It was controversial and wildly popular. It was also filled with half truths and over exaggerations. I can tell who watched it because they use the term "frog dog" when talking about German shepherds. PeTA has also taken a stand against purebred dogs and continually spouts misinformation. I can always spot PeTA proponents because they like to compare the AKC to Nazi Germany. Other people have been so indoctrinated by the HSUS's "Adopt, Don't Shop" mantra that they seriously believe all purebred dogs are riddled with disease and are inherently unhealthy, despite the fact that science says otherwise. Unfortunately, when you're walking around with a beautiful German shepherd, all these people feel the need to tell you how evil, wrong and/or stupid you are. They're worse than door-to-door evangelists. If it weren't for the point above, I'd let Jedi eat them.

Lastly -- and this is a big one -- are you prepared to have your heart broken in the next 12 years (give or take)?
German shepherds (ok, all dogs really) are great at worming their way into your heart. They're loving, loyal, goofy companions. It doesn't matter how bad the day is, dogs are always happy to see you. They make you laugh, comfort you when you're feeling bad and think that spending time with you is the best. thing. ever! They don't care how much you make or what kind of car you drive. They never hog the TV remote or criticize your cooking. And then one day -- all too soon -- you have to say goodbye. Regular readers know that I started blogging because I had trouble getting over the death of my last German shepherd, Logan. (It's been 3 years and I'm still tearing up just thinking about him.)
 
So there you go, 10 not so tongue-in-cheek things to ask yourself before bringing a German shepherd into your life. If you still say "Yes, I really want a GSD!" I suggest you:
  • Read everything you can about German shepherds. Every breed has it's own challenges and nuances, so it's best to be prepared.
  • Find/join a German shepherd dog club. These groups of GSD enthusiasts usually contain experienced owners, breeders, breed rescuers/foster parents and dog sport competitors (obedience, rally, herding, tracking, agility, nosework, etc). They are a wealth of information -- and some pretty fun people too.
  • If you want a puppy, find a reputable breeder. They're out there. Here's a list of questions to ask before buying puppy. There are some not-so-reputable breeders out there too, so do your research!
  • Consider getting an adolescent or adult dog from a GSD breed rescue. There are some great dogs available. Most were dumped by not-so-great people who didn't ask themselves the ten questions above. If you're in Florida, check out Daytona Beach German Shepherd Dog Rescue. Several of my GSD dog club members work with that rescue.
  • Email me if you have any questions. There's a "Contact Me" thing on the right side of this page.


Here it is Thoughtless Thursday, and I'm asking you to think. Again! Thank you Ruckus the Eskie, M.K. Clinton and the pups over at Love is Being Owned by a Husky for letting me link up nonetheless. Anyway, this is a hop. Click around below and see what others are thinking -- or not thinking -- about today. TTFN, -- K