Thursday, December 31, 2015

Year in Review

Works for me!
Wow, another year has gone by. Where did the time go? This time last year I decided not to make any New Year's resolutions since I had failed so badly the two years previously. Instead, I did a Year in Review thing. 2015 turned pretty good, so I think I'm going to do it again this year. Superstitious? Maybe.

Jedi had a busy year!
  • He competed in 18 dog shows, even going out of state for a few. Unfortunately, he still has zero AKC Champion points.
  • Jedi met sheep for the very first time and passed his herding instinct test. He is a German shepherd after all!
  • Jedi was introduced to the new sports of barn hunt and nose work. He like them both, and we're going to continue on with nose work in 2016. Stay tuned: there will be plenty more nose work news coming soon.
2015 was a busy year for the blog as well. Apparently I had a lot to say. This post makes number 168 for the year. In April I participated in the Blogging From A to Z Challenge. I shared everything I could about AKC conformation dog shows -- in alphabetical order no less! (You can see all those posts from here.) That was a lot harder than I had expected, and I won't be participating in the challenge next year. By the way, P-- Pedigrees and Registrations with the most popular post from that series. Go figure.


And then there's Drogo, the World's Most Famous Bearded Dragon*. He joined our family back in February and became the Fashion Dragon himself. There will be lots of new pictures in the coming year. Poor Drogo.

My blog life spilled over into real life back in September. I was paired up with Leah from Let's Go Dog during last year's Pet Blogger's Gift Exchange. I was so excited to hear that Leah and her dogs, Zack and Zoey, were coming to Jacksonville during their U.S. Perimeter Trip. Guess what? Hubby and I actually got to meet them! I'm hoping for a similar experience in 2016 with Pamela and Honey from Something Wagging This Way Comes. Cross your fingers!

Finally, on a personal (and sort of dog-related) level, I was elected President of the local German Shepherd Dog Club. That, too, has been a bit more challenging than I had expected. Lucky for me, I've got some great friends in the club helping me to not screw up move things along. You can expect to see more dog club news on the blog over the next year as well. We have some fun things planned, so you know I'll have to share!

Long story short: 2015 was definitely a better year for me than 2014 was. I'm hoping 2016 will be even better.

Before I go, I want to say that I am grateful for my friends and family - both on line and IRL. You all have made a big difference. Thanks for the humor, the encouragement and the accountability. Thanks for sharing your adventures and points of view. I look forward to even more next year. Be safe tonight. Love you, -- K


* There may be a little exaggeration on the "famous" part, but we won't tell Drogo that, OK? I don't want to hurt his feelings -- except for the humiliating photo shoots, but that's for another day.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Don't Be a Statistic

I didn't design this meme, but I think it needs to be shared anyway.


This time of year things are very busy in the Animal Control office. It's not unusual for me to spend the first half of January 1st trying to pair up lost pet calls with found pet calls. My kennel is always full with the runaways the police picked up over night. The other half of the day is spent writing tickets for dogs off leash on the beach and in the parks. And then there are the cranky, hungover people pissed off that they're getting tickets "on a holiday." (On a personal note: If pet owners would be a little more conscientious I wouldn't have to work on holidays. And if I don't work on a holiday then I don't write tickets on a holiday. Honestly, I'd rather be at home with my friends and family.)


It's the last Wordless Wednesday of 2015! Hop around below and see what others are sharing. Meanwhile, I'm going to bathe a couple of stinky dogs. I took this picture at work yesterday:


We've had record highs this week. The beach is packed. Today's forecast is 84 degrees. I know! I figure I may as well ring in 2016 with fresh smelling pups. See you all next year! -- K


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Another Reason to Tag Your Dog . . .

. . . well-meaning "animal lovers."

By the way, I've expressed how I feel about self-proclaimed "animal lovers" in the past, so regular readers can correctly assume that this is another rant.

Repeat after me: Creative editing, not real life.
I think people watch too much Animal Planet. People assume that every loose dog must be a homeless stray in need of rescue. And any dog that is shy, timid, or fearful must have been abused. These same people feel that any dog without a collar is obviously unloved. And for some strange reason, all animal control officers are evil and want to euthanize everything that comes through. Yes, these are the stereotypes that I deal with every day. Here are some true cases in point:

  • One Saturday night Hubby's band was playing at a biker event. The bass player's woman du jour walked in with a recently groomed Yorkshire terrier. No collar. WDJ said she just found the dog outside the bar, and since she was "an animal lover" she couldn't leave it there. Then she said she couldn't keep it and asked if anyone wanted it. A second woman popped up saying she had always wanted a Yorkie. I stepped in and said "That's somebody's dog, you can't just give it away." I told her that if she brought it to my kennel the next day -- a Sunday -- I would scan it to see if it has a microchip. If not, I would take it and try to find the owner. Both women told me to mind my "own fucking business" and the second woman walked off with the dog.

  • Atticus is a neurotic lab mix who lives along the beach. I've known him for years. His anxiety medications keep him really skinny (I have verified this with the dog's veterinarian), and his owners can't keep him from bolting out the door. I came into the office one Sunday and there were two messages from the night before. One was Atticus's owner saying that the dog had slipped his collar and was on the loose again. The other was from a woman saying that she had found an emaciated black dog and wanted me to pick it up right away. When I returned her call she told me that she'd already given the dog away because she was an animal lover and "obviously the owners were abusing it." I told her the dog had a medical condition and she needed to return the dog. She refused. It got ugly from there. The police went over and explained the situation to the animal lover using the phrases "stolen property," "petit larceny" and "misdemeanor arrest." She quickly produced the dog. Apparently she's a not-going-to-jail lover as well.

  • The stray GSD
    Last week there was a picture of a German shepherd posted all over Facebook. He had been running loose and was picked up at the National Park. The park rangers had tied him to a park bench, but the dog was becoming agitated and aggressive. There were 20 Facebook comments in less than 20 minutes from well-meaning citizens trying to send somebody to "Go get that poor dog." Fortunately, I knew the animal control officer in the area. She was on her way to my kennel but I asked her to go pick up the dog first before somebody did something stupid. (Good thing too, because the dog had already bitten one of the park rangers.) I saw the dog. He was thin, but very clean. He also had freshly clipped nails. He belonged to somebody, yet all these well meaning animal lovers were willing to take the dog without giving his owner a chance to find him.

  • Even police officers aren't exempt from bonehead "animal lover" mentality. My first year on the job I was sent to a crash scene. A woman was on her way to the hospital. She had a small dog in the car and no emergency contact info. As I showed up, one of the police officers was handing the dog to a passerby. Both the police officer and this random woman thought it would be better for the dog to stay with her then in my "cold dark kennel." I had to insist that they give me the dog. I asked the police officer if he was giving the passerby the victim's purse and other personal property for safekeeping as well. He finally got it (legally, dogs are property) and I took the dog. Good thing I was insistent! Several hours later I got a frantic call from the hospital. The dog in my kennel was diabetic and needed medicine right away or it would die. The owner gave me the name of her vet and I transported the dog for treatment and boarding until the owner was released. So what would have happened if the dog had died under the stranger's care? Who do you think would have been sued? (Hint: Who has the deeper pockets?)

There are hundreds of cute tags out
there. Pick one. USE IT!
Things would have been a lot easier if all of the dogs above had collars with tags. Medical alert tags would have been extremely helpful for the last dog. I'm constantly saying "Your dog should always wear a collar and tags." Still, people -- including many of my friends -- argue with me saying they don't like to hear the jingling. I recommend those people buy silicon tags. They don't make noise.

Despite all my arguments for collars and tags, I still get opposition. I'm constantly told: "I'm a good dog owner. My dog never leaves the house." Truth is, those statements aren't mutually exclusive. In just last month I've had dogs that:
  • Slipped out unnoticed during a holiday party.
  • Pushed through a gate that was left unlatched by the lawn guy.
  • Ran out a door left open by children home on winter break.
  • Dug under the fence for the very first time.
  • Knocked out a screen and jumped through the open window.
  • Were intentionally thrown outside by an angry soon-to-be ex-boyfriend.
  • And the worst story of all: A burglar broke into a house and stole all the Christmas gifts. Grinch left the jimmied door open and the dogs got out. They're still missing.
BTW, all those dogs belonged to people I would classify as "good dog owners."

Others tell me "I don't need to worry about a collar because my dog is microchipped." I've got bad news here too. Not everyone who finds a dog takes to be scanned. I have picked up numerous chipped dogs that were found and kept for weeks before Animal Control was called. Meanwhile, frantic owners had been calling daily. 

Also, most vets do not scan every animal that comes in. If you say you found the animal, they will scan it. Or if you're crazy like me, and have the vet scan to make sure the microchip is still working, they will do it just to make you shut up. But unless you say otherwise, the vet is going to assume the dog you brought in is yours and not automatically scan it. (And before you start screaming "Well they should," you need to know that scanning only shows whether or not a microchip is present. Tracing the alphanumeric code on the microchip through the various microchip companies to locate an owner is time consuming. Do you want those extra man-hours added to your vet bill? Don't lie!)

Here is my professional advice: Don't leave the safety and security of your dog to others. Don't assume that strangers will do the same thing you would. People are lazy. People are jerks. Always make things as idiot proof as possible; there are a lot of idiots out there. -- K 

Monday, December 28, 2015

Awww...Really Mom?!

So, I wanted to dress the dogs up in cute outfits and take Christmas photos. I had plans to turn them into stunning personalized Christmas cards that would impress all my friends and family. Truth is, my plans were nothing more than delusions of grandeur. Long story short: No personalized Christmas cards this year. This is the very best picture could get:


As you can see, it didn't go as planned. Jedi refused to look at me completely, whereas Roxy glared. GLARED! I couldn't get them to stay still at the same time. Also, filed under TMI, I had to shoot at an odd angle because Jedi wouldn't put away his lipstick (if you know what I mean). And that is something you just can't unsee. BTW this is a reoccurring problem with him, and I have actually Photoshopped his "doghood" out of pictures in the past.

Drogo's Christmas photo didn't turn out like I wanted either. Click here if you'd like to see that one.

I hope my photographic ineptitude made you smile this morning. That's the point of the Awww...Monday blog hop. Click around below and see what others are sharing today. A big thanks to Sandee over at Comedy Plus for hosting this. -- K



Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas

Drogo is wishing you a Merry Christmas reptile style!


Honestly, that's not far from the truth. It's been in the 80's all week. Nice and warm, just like he likes it. The rest of us, however, not so much.

I hope you enjoy Drogo's photos. You can see more on his very own Fashion Dragon page. BTW, I don't want to say that my family is encouraging Drogo's humiliation, but I DID get a DIY calendar kit for Christmas. Just sayin . . . Anyway, Merry Christmas to you and yours. -- K

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Shepherd Christmas Cookies

My friends wanted to make sure that Roxy and Jedi also have a Merry Christmas, so a couple of them sent over homemade dog treats. How cool is that?


Yes, those are German shepherd-shaped grain free dog treats. Did I mention that my friends are awesome, thoughtful and talented?
  

The dogs really liked them too. Even picky Roxy made sure to lick up every crumb.


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

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Sick Pup Follow-Up

Poor, sick puppy.
Four months ago I shared a sad story about the $3500 sick puppy. You can read the entire story at "Kelley Drinks Because . . ." The gist is:
  • Husband bought a "surprise" German shepherd puppy for his wife from an online broker. Husband never spoke with the breeder, nor did he interact with the puppy before purchase.
  • The puppy was delivered just before the wife's scheduled two-month trip to Europe.
  • Puppy showed up sick. The couple treated the infection, then they discovered serious genetic problems. The puppy was diagnosed with bilateral hip dysplasia (both hips) and bilateral distal femoral osteochondritis dissecans (excessive cartilage growing on the ball joints of both large leg bones).
  • The couple realized that their work schedules and finances weren't great for a healthy puppy, never mind one that would require thousands of dollars in orthopedic surgery.
  • The puppy broker stopped returning calls and the name of the breeder was never divulged.
  • The wife blanketed the local dog community with sad pleas, looking for someone to take on this "special needs puppy."
This is a healthy puppy.
Well, a friend of mine got involved. She was able to comb through the couple's paperwork and found some slightly good news. The puppy originated in Florida, so there was a mandatory health certificate, for what it's worth. Obviously the veterinarian didn't inspect the puppy as required. There was no way this puppy was fit for purchase. However, the name of the breeder was on the certificate. Word got out quickly. The breeder's Facebook page was inundated with nasty truths and was eventually shut down. Animal welfare groups have gotten involved and they are going after both breeder and veterinarian -- to what extent, I don't know. (Because of my job and position as an AKC-sanctioned club president, I'm trying not to get involved.)

The couple kept the puppy after all. They tried to make him as comfortable as possible while weighing their options. The puppy died quickly and quietly last week. They think he had a heart attack. (No autopsy was performed.) The puppy wasn't even 9 months old. The couple is devastated, but happy that their pet is no longer in pain. And they're feeling guilty that they're relieved the ordeal is over. This is not what they were expecting when they saw their little ball of fur 6 months ago.

I'm very sorry for the pain that this couple and their poor sick puppy went through. I'm sharing this story hoping that it will be a lesson to others. Here are some things I want people take away from this:
This is worth the work!
  • Never, ever, EVER buy from an online puppy broker. If you can't talk to the breeder directly, run away!
  • Living creatures should not be surprise gifts. Animals are a lot of work. Everybody needs to be on board before bringing one home.
  • A dog is a 10-15 year commitment. Make sure your schedule and finances have room for the new addition.
  • Just because you pay more for something doesn't mean it's better. This is especially true with dogs. My AKC show dog is no better than my "free to a good home" dog was.
  • Do some research beforehand. What should you expect from a dog of this breed/size/age? Does the breeder/rescue group/animal shelter have a contract? If so, what protections and recourses do you have should something go wrong?
If you don't like the answers you're getting, walk away -- no matter how cute the puppy is. It may sound callous. Sorry. But a little legwork up front can save you a lot of heartache later on.

My friend is still in contact with the couple. When they're done grieving she can help them find a happy, healthy German shepherd either through a reputable breeder or a good German shepherd rescue group. Too bad they didn't meet her last year. -- K

Monday, December 21, 2015

Awww...New App

Are you "photographically challenged?" I am! You wouldn't believe how many pictures I take just to give you what I do. Thank goodness for digital pics. Well, a friend shared a new app with me called Super Photo. Look what it can do now:


Here's the original:


What do you think? Do you want to play with all your old pics now too?

It's Awww...Monday. We're joining Sandee from Comedy Plus to share things that make us say "Awww." Jedi always makes me say "Awww" (but I'm a bit biased). Hop around below and see what others are sharing today. -- K


Sunday, December 20, 2015

We're Going For It!

Last month I lamented over ORTs. I'm still not sure if Jedi is ready, but I'm going to bite the bullet and drive to West Palm next month to find out. My friend and her dog, Semi, are going with us. Friend and two of her dogs took the ORTs in Jacksonville last month. Each passed two of the three target odors. Funny thing, they missed different ones. Semi missed birch, so he's going to retry with Jedi on January 9. Birch is the target odor for level one, and our dogs can't start competing until they pass the odor recognition test for birch. So, wish us luck!

To prepare for the ORT, we've been practicing here and there. (For Jedi, it's been more there than here. He has an inconsistent handler -- me!) Every other weekend, Friend's husband sets up various hides and we try to sniff them out. They have a large piece of property with lots of places to hide stuff along with a variety of distractions -- including chickens and feral cat poop. Yesterday another friend took a few pictures of the dogs in action. Above is one of Jedi zeroing in on the scent. (The scent box is hidden under the right corner of the trailer, and the wind is blowing towards me.) Friend's husband played a trick on us and used the level two odor. He didn't tell me what or where the hide was, so we searched as usual. Jedi found it and alerted. It wasn't until afterwards that I was told that Jedi had found anise. We're not even training with anise! I'm so proud of my boy. What a confidence booster -- for me at least; it's all just a game to Jedi.

Want to learn more about how incredible a dog's sense of smell is? Check out this article called The Dog's Nose. It's amazing. -- K

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Stop Talking!

My husband saw this meme on Facebook and tagged me.

DUH! What else would I talk about on Kelley's DOG blog?

He tagged me in this one too:

Seriously? There's not a German shepherd on this!

Do you think he was hinting at something? I don't know why he's complaining. I warned him in 1987, way back when we were still dating. I told him I liked dogs, that I really, really, REALLY liked dogs. I even specified that I liked big, furry, drooly dogs. It's not my fault that he didn't listen. -- K


P.S. I just tagged him on this meme: 

Who's hinting now?

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

That's My Spot

I took some personal time last week. It roughly translated to 10.5 days off. I didn't go anywhere special (other than the AKC Eukanuba dog show). Nor did I accomplish most of the things that I wanted to do, but it was still nice to relax. What wasn't nice though, was having a get up at 5 AM Monday morning to go back to work. It didn't make me feel any better when *someone* jumped in my spot while I was in the shower.


Jedi snuggled up next to Hubby and made himself comfortable -- on my favorite pillow!! He didn't even stir when I took pictures.

I channeled my inner Sheldon and told Jedi that he was in my spot. He didn't care. I don't blame him. I'd rather be in a warm comfy bed too. Anywho, it's Wordless Wednesday! Click around below and see what others are sharing today. Later, -- K


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Self-Righteous Raw Feeding Troll

Disclaimer: I am not bashing raw feeders. 
  • I have friends who feed their dogs raw diets. 
  • I have friends who supplement high quality commercial dog food with raw food. 
  • I have friends who swear by the BARF diet. 
  • And I have friends who cook their dogs' food from scratch with organic, human-grade ingredients. 
All of these people feel that they're doing the best they can for their dogs. And all of them will talk to you in depth about why they made those decisions. I respect all of them, even if I don't always agree with them. This rant is not directed to those people. This rant is about one particular woman: The Troll.

I went to the AKC Eukanuba National Championship over the weekend. It was awesome! (A gorgeous German shepherd bitch took Best in Show and she totally deserved it. But I digress . . . ) In addition to the thousands of dogs competing in conformation, agility and obedience, the Eukanuba dog show also offered demos, 100+ vendors, access to representatives of large dog-centric organizations and seminars on dog breeding, nutrition and health.

I attended an interesting seminar hosted by Royal Canin on breed specific dog food formulas. I'd seen the products before and always thought it was just a gimmick. I went to the seminar with an open mind and discovered the science behind it was pretty interesting. It was definitely food for thought (pun not intended). The speaker was knowledgeable and engaging. The woman in front of me, however, was a tiresome twat. She came in late and sat in the front row. She made it clear from the beginning that she was a raw feeder and had no intention of learning anything. Nor did she want to participate in an educated discussion. Instead, she felt the need to interrupt every five minutes with a condescending remark. I thought the speaker, a PhD veterinary nutritionist, handled herself well. Personally I would have said something snarky and inappropriate (like "tiresome twat.") Here are a few of the exchanges that really stood out:

  • The speaker was talking about a scientific study when Troll piped in saying she didn't believe the data because the dog food company paid for it so "obviously it's unreliable." The speaker told her that there were several studies, all with similar results. One was paid for by a competing dog food company, a second was done at UC Davis and a third was a privately funded study done in Europe. Troll said it was still bogus.

  • Troll said she didn't trust any studies done by conventional veterinarians. She only used holistic veterinarians and was suspicious because there weren't any studies done by holistic vets. The speaker said that one of Royal Canin's sister companies was looking for qualified holistic vets, but was having trouble finding some willing to do research instead of practice. She gave the names of the best, most comprehensive alternative medicine studies she knew of, but Troll just snorted.

  • The kicker was when the speaker was discussing the differences in dog coats. I don't remember the exact quote, but she said something about our purebred dogs having evolved from a common ancestor based on original function. Troll blurted out "I don't believe in evolution."

Let that sink in for a moment.
Note: We weren't debating whether or not Man evolved from some primordial ooze. The speaker was talking about how dogs -- for better or worse -- have changed over the past few hundred years because of human influence. Any middle school student can tell you that the development of dog breeds was controlled evolution!

Lucky for us, Troll received a phone call halfway through the seminar and had to step out. Unfortunately, the damage was already done. Troll had wasted so much time that the speaker wasn't able to finish the presentation and there was no time at the end for questions from those who really wanted to participate.

If Troll had come off her high horse for a moment I would have told her that I applaud her for doing what she feels is right and works for her situation. I hope she continues to learn so she can make the best possible choices for her dogs. That said, I would appreciate the same courtesy. I don't feed raw (expense, storage, inconvenience, sanitation and "the gross factor" being my biggest reasons). If things change I'll talk to Kimberly over at Keep the Tail Wagging, not some interrupting cow. Until then, I'm trying to learn everything I possibly can about canine nutrition and commercial foods so that my dogs will have the best that I can provide. -- K

P.S. A parting jab to our troll friend. Love the old man at the end. "Are you crazy? What are you, High?" Mean? Probably. But still nicer than "tiresome twat."


Monday, December 14, 2015

Awww...What?!

I have German shepherds. Contrary to what you may think, they're not all that hard to groom. I brush them about once a week (more during the spring and fall when they're blowing coat). I trim the long hairs between their pads so they don't slip on the linoleum. I trim nails, brush teeth and clean ears as needed. When they get stinky (every 4 to 6 weeks or so) I shampoo them in the backyard. Jedi has a lush undercoat so I will blow him out with a forced air dryer. Roxy hates the dryer, so she just gets rubbed down with a couple of towels and then air dries. Granted, it gets more involved when preparing for a show, but when you look at some of these other breeds German shepherds are really pretty simple. There is none of the stripping, clipping, shaving, plucking, picking or scissoring involved with other breeds. Needless to say, my grooming skills are pretty basic. So, imagine my surprise when I saw the extreme grooming competition at the AKC Eukanuba National Championship this weekend. (Please excuse the picture quality, we were in too much disbelief to check the camera settings.)

I think it's a dragon. Or maybe a swordfish. I know that the head is
hidden in the yellow somewhere.

I'm a Wolverine fan. I named my dog Logan, after the character.
This, however, is EXTREME Fangirl.

This burro-dog is the one that threw Hubby over the edge.

This Super Mario Bros. dog is the one that amazed my son.

As far as I could tell, that was all hair and dog-safe spray paint. So what are you think? Did they take it too far? Would you do that to your dog? Could you do that to your dog even if you wanted to? Seriously, anything more than brushing is too much for me. Lucky, lucky Jedi!

It's Awww...Monday! Want to start you week with a smile? Click around below and see what others are sharing today. A big thanks to Sandee over at Comedy Plus for hosting this hop. -- K


Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Promise

I haven't been reading much lately. I don't know why, but I do know that I don't like it. Reading is a great way for me to decompress. (So why do I watch mindless television instead?) My mother sent the latest Robert Crais book to my Kindle saying she really liked it. (She sent me one of his books in the past and I reviewed it here.) The Promise ties in with the last book. The review on Amazon.com says:
Loyalty, commitment, and the fight for justice have always driven Elvis Cole and Joe Pike. If they make a promise, they keep it. Even if it could get them killed.

When Elvis Cole is secretly hired to find a grief-stricken mother, he's led to an ordinary house on a rainy night in Echo Park. Only the house isn't ordinary, and the people hiding inside are a desperate fugitive and a murderous criminal with his own dangerous secrets.

As helicopters swirl overhead, Scott and Maggie track the fugitive to this same house, coming face-to-face with Mr. Rollins, a killer who leaves behind a brutally murdered body and enough explosives to destroy the neighborhood. Scott is now the only person who can identify him, but Mr. Rollins has a rule: Never leave a witness alive.

For all of them, the night is only beginning.

Sworn to secrecy by his client, Elvis finds himself targeted by the police even as Mr. Rollins targets Maggie and Scott. As Mr. Rollins closes in for the kill, Elvis and Joe join forces with Scott and Maggie to follow a trail of lies where no one is who they claim -- and the very woman they promised to save might get them all killed.
I know -- OOOOH. So, what did I think?

First of all, it was a quick read. I found it engaging. I liked this story better than Suspect, even though the dog -- a German shepherd! -- plays a much smaller part in this one. Now that Jedi and I are doing nose work, I really liked how the story touched on Maggie's scent work skills. However, I've never known a dog to be trained in tracking people and find explosives (it's always been either/or) as the alerts are very different. Think about it: an excited dog who jumps on his bad guy target cannot behave the same way when he finds a bomb. Other than that, it was a nice escape.

How about you, have you read anything good lately? Please share! -- K


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Downtown

Jedi and I explored downtown Jacksonville last weekend. It was a warm, windy, beautiful day. Not only was there a nice view, but many of the restaurants along the river front are dog friendly.


Along the St. Johns River. We have seven major bridges in Jacksonville.
The big, blue Main Street Bridge is behind us.

The city was named after Andrew Jackson. There is a statue downtown
commemorating our namesake. I have no idea where the wreath came from!



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

Friday, December 4, 2015

More Work Stories

It's been a while since I've shared some of the odd things that happen at work. Don't worry, my job hasn't suddenly become normal and/or boring, I just haven't gotten around to writing things down. As usual, names and other identifying facts have been changed or omitted to protect the innocent my butt. Enjoy the madness!

Not Snowball
Ms. Russo reported that her cat, Snowball, had been
stolen. The cat had been missing for 3 months, but she just saw it in a yard next to park. (The park is a half mile away.) When Ms. Russo told the family that the cat was hers they told her to leave and threatened to call the police. Then it got weird. My conversation with Ms. Russo went something like this:
Me: Is Snowball male or female?
Her: I don't know.
Me: How long have you had Snowball?
Her: About two years.
Me: Your vet will know if Snowball's sex. Why don't you call the vet's office and ask them to look it up?
Her: I've never taken Snowball to the vet.
Me: Why not? You know cats need rabies vaccinations too, right?
Her: Oh, Snowball had that when we adopted him. Or her.
Me: Great. That information should be on your adoption paperwork. Go ahead look that up. I'll wait.
Her: I don't know where that paperwork is. [Followed by some lame excuse because she doesn't know that I know she's a hoarder.]
Me: How old is Snowball?
Her: About 2 years. We got Snowball as a tiny kitten.
Me: Where did you adopt Snowball?
Her: From the Humane Society.
Me: Great. They sterilize all animals before adoption. When you got Snowball was the belly shaved or was the back end shaved?
Her: I don't remember.
Me: [exasperated]: Let's move on. Was Snowball wearing a collar?
Her: No, but there's a microchip.
Me: Great. What's the microchip number? [BTW, that info would also be in the adoption paperwork or vet records.]
Her: I don't know. You'll have to call the chip company and find out.
Me: No, you need to call the microchip company. It's your cat!
Not Snowball either
At that point I told her to look for the adoption paperwork and call me in the morning. I went and talked to the other family, who were a bit more sane. They had found the white cat a few months previously. They honestly didn't know whether or not it was the Russo's cat. I examined the cat and scanned for a microchip; there wasn't one. The following day Ms. Russo called me. She had found the adoption paperwork after all. She had the microchip number and discovered that Snowball was a boy. Surprise! I told her that the cat in question was not hers. She didn't believe me, and accused the family of cutting out the microchip. I told her if they had done that, they also performed a sex change because the cat they had was a girl.


Definitely not Snowball
I've shared this one before. Still funny though! Dispatch relayed that a citizen had called 911 to report a pig running down Main street. The pig was wearing a harness and dragging a leash behind it. I went to the reported location and sure enough, there was a pig wearing a harness. I wasn't surprised either. Why? Because it was a Monday. Mondays are always weird.


My phone rang at 6:30 one morning. The Lieutenant asked me to come in right away. There was an "incident" and they wanted my opinion before the news showed up -- and Channel 4 was on the way. Ms. Jackson, a local CCL (Crazy Cat Lady), found a dead kitten on her porch. It had been partially skinned and there was blood everywhere. She said that "obviously this was a satanic ritual," so she called the local news -- before calling the police, of course. I arrived on scene and met with the detective who was diligently taking photographs and measurements. Even crazy people get the best of service in our town! Sure enough, there was a kitten on the porch just as described. The Lieutenant asked my professional opinion. I flipped the corpse over and in my best Colombo impersonation said "foxes, not freaks." Why?
  • Ms. Jackson's property butted up against the nature preserve and I'd had several complaints about foxes recently.
  • The jagged edges of the skin were torn, not cut by a knife.
  • The soft, internal organs were missing. Predators often eat these first.
  • The body was not laid out on display. Instead, it was crumpled up in a heap in the darkest corner of the property.
Ergo, no animal sacrifices at the beach! Ms. Jackson and the police department were relieved by my determination. The News, not so much. Bloodsuckers.


Made me think of poor old Poopmeister
I received a strange complaint via email. A resident on Coastal Drive was "putting shit piles on the sidewalk and covering them with chemicals harmful to pets and children." (My first thought was "don't let your kids lick the sidewalk" but . . . ) I called the complainant. He lives around the corner from Poopmeister. Complainer said that the "chemical" was mothballs and he was upset because the poop placement meant he either had to walk in the busy street or through the stinky poop/mothball combo on his way to Starbucks. I thanked him for the information. (Psst: I didn't really mean it.) Then I went to visit Poopmeister. His house was on the main road, situated between town center and an apartment complex. His well-manicured yard was about the size of my office. (Please note: I have a teeny tiny office.) When I got there I didn't see any feces, but it did smell strongly of mothballs. Apparently Poopmeister was tired of the neighborhood dogs using his lawn as a public toilet and he blew a gasket. The most recent pile -- which "was so huge it must have been from a great Dane!" -- was the final straw, causing him to grab the shovel and start flinging poo like an angry chimpanzee. (I didn't get a clear answer about the mothballs.) Once Poopmeister calmed down he cleaned up his mess. I empathized with Poopmeister and we came up with some more constructive ways to deal with his problem. I also told him that he needed to focus on the grand scheme of things; I'd hate for him to have an aneurysm over a pile of poop. (P.S. I also spoke with several neighbors. Apparently Poopmeister is a bit of an ass and people may be letting their dogs crap in his yard intentionally just to piss him off.)


And the award goes to Chloe's dumbass owner . . .
A woman brought in a stray dog she found near the freeway. Both the woman and the dog were from outside our jurisdiction and technically we shouldn't have accepted the dog. However, the county shelter was closed and we had space, so we said we'd transfer it to the proper shelter later if we couldn't locate an owner. My partner copied the woman's driver's license and took in the pittie mix. Partner scanned the dog and discovered that she had a chip! Partner called the microchip company and the chip wasn't registered. However, it did trace back to the county shelter. The county's records showed that the chip had been implanted in a tan pit bull mix that had been adopted several months back. By whom? The woman who "found" it. But wait: that's not the surprising part. Unfortunately, people turn in their own pets and claimed they're strays all the time. No, the kicker was when my partner contacted the woman and told her to come get her dog or be charged with abandonment the woman had the audacity to say, "That's my dog? Oh my God! I thought 'Wow it looks like Chloe,' but Chloe ran away months ago. I wondered why the dog got into my car so easily. I can't believe it!" We didn't believe it either. Talk about a Poopmeister!

This job may not be glamorous or lucrative, but it is entertaining. Seriously, I can't make this stuff up. Until next time, -- K

Thursday, December 3, 2015

It's Official . . .

. . . I AM a crazy dog person.

Trust me, I am just as shocked as you are. I've just been told that it's "weird" to buy a car for your dog.

WHAT!?

You see, my 2001 Kia is a sweet little no-frills car. Jedi fits nicely in the back seat for trips to the park or Sonic. But it's not big enough to carry his crate and all the paraphernalia needed for a dog show. Hubby has a Ford Expedition. All the dog show stuff fits nicely in there, but the Ford has nearly 200,000 miles on it and is becoming more and more temperamental. Hubby and I felt it was no longer reliable for long road trips, so we've been renting vehicles to do dog shows. That gets expensive.


The all new (to us) Jedi mobile!
About a month ago we found a used Chrysler Pacifica for an incredible price. It had low mileage and all the bells and whistles. Best of all, it was big enough to hold Jedi's crate and all his stuff. (We measured it before making an offer.) So I bought it. For the dog. Come to think of it, many of my major decisions have been made with the dogs in mind.

  • I've gone to work sick so I could save my personal time for dog shows.

  • I turned down a job and stayed in an unhappy one because it would take me away from my dog.

  • I've bought furniture with my dogs in mind. You know, will it show hair? Is it easy to clean? Is the fabric dog nail resistant? (Is that weird? Or just being practical?)

  • And while I'm being honest, I should confess that we're stuck in Florida because of a dog. When the Navy transferred us here from Maryland, the waiting list for base housing was 18 months. We couldn't find anyone who would rent to us with a 100+ pound Rottie mix. There was no way I was going to get rid of my dog (yes, someone suggested that!) so we bought a house. For the dog. The sad part is that shorty after we bought the house the market fell and the house was no longer worth what we paid. I'd love to move but we can't afford it. Pepper has been gone for six years and we're just now getting equity in the house.

I've been called a crazy dog lady. OK, I'll admit that I'm a dog person. I won't admit to "crazy." (BTW, I'm not saying I'm not crazy I'm just saying I won't admit to it. -- How's that for a double negative!) I don't regret the decisions I've made. I know people who buy vehicles that suit their hobbies, furniture that's kid-friendly and houses based on a job location. For me, dogs are family, included in my hobbies and a big part of my job. Maybe it's not so weird after all, right? Maybe it's the critics who are "weird" or "crazy." Or maybe they're cynophobic . . . And why am I even entertaining their opinions anyway?!

So how about you? Have you made any major purchases around your dogs? Please share (and prove those jerks wrong).


OK, enough thinking about what constitutes a crazy dog person and a conscientious dog owner. Why? Because it's Thoughtless Thursday! We're joining Ruckus the Eskie, M.K. Clinton and the pups over at Love is Being Owned by a Husky and all the folks below to share what thoughts are (or aren't) in our heads today. Take a look! -- K

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Sweet!

Good thing it's Wordless Wednesday! I honestly don't know what to say about this picture. I don't even remember what I was thinking when I took it, other than "Please don't step in the cake. It looks yummy and I really want to eat it."


(BTW, Drogo did step in the cake -- and I ate it anyway. What can I say? I'm a sugar junkie.)


This is a hop. Click around below and see what others are sharing today. If you find anything stranger than a bearded dragon wearing a toque, please let me know! -- K