Thursday, July 31, 2014

Thoughtless Trivia

It's Thoughtless Thursday, but I'm going to make you think. How thoughtless is that?! Below are 15 dog-related trivia questions. How many can you get? (P.S. I originally wrote this for the German Shepherd Dog Club of North Florida, hence the GSD-heavy trivia.) Ready? GO!

1. What is the name of the phobia for someone who has a fear of dogs?
a) Cainophobia
b) Cynophobia
c) Doraphobia
d) Lyssophobia
2. According to archeologists, how long have dogs and humans shared a close relationship?
a) 5,000 years
b) 10,000 years
c) 15,000 years
d) 20,000 years 
3. Puppies are born how many weeks after conception?
a) 9
b) 16
c) 22
d) 36 
4. True or False: A litter of puppies can have more than one father.

5. Normal adult dogs have how many teeth?
a) 24
b) 32
c) 38
d) 42  
6. Through what part of the body do dogs sweat?
a) Mouth
b) Ears
c) Nose
d) Paws  
7. What is a dog’s most powerful sense?
a) Sight
b) Smell
c) Taste
d) Touch
8. True or False: Dogs see in black and white.

9. What is the most common command taught to dogs?
a) Sit
b) Stay
c) Shake
d) Speak
10. What breed was developed by a German tax collector to protect him during his dangerous collections?
a) Doberman pinscher
b) German shepherd
c) Rottweiler
d) Weimaraner
11. The first Seeing Eye dog was a ______?
a) German shepherd named Buddy
b) black lab named Bella
c) yellow lab named Max
d) golden retriever named Sandy  
12. According to the American Kennel Club’s registrations, what is the most popular breed of dog?
a) Chihuahua
b) German shepherd
c) Golden retriever
d) Labrador retriever  
13. According to The Intelligence of Dogs by neuropsychologist Stanley Coren, German shepherds are considered the ______ smartest dogs. 
a) Absolute
b) 2nd
c) 3rd
d) 4th
14. True or False: Dog nose prints are as unique as human finger prints.  
15. What was the name of Roy Rogers’ German shepherd?
a) King
b) Rin Tin Tin
c) Bullet
d) Trigger

Check Your Answers!

1. b. Cynophobia (FYI: Cainophobia is the fear of anything new; Doraphobia is the fear of fur; and Lyssophobia is the fear of rabies.)

2. c. 15,000 years

3. c. 9 weeks

4. True. The fascinating National Geographic documentary, In the Womb: Dogs, explains exactly how

5. d. 42

6. d. Paws

7. b. Smell. Dogs can smell 100,000 times better than humans!

8. False. Dogs see color, but not in the same way that we do. A dog’s vision is similar to the way a color-blind person views the world.

 9. a. Sit

10. a. Doberman pinscher

11. a. Buddy the German shepherd

12. d. Labrador retriever

13. c. 3rd, behind the Border collie and poodle. [I respectfully disagree!]

14. True. The Canadian Kennel Club has been accepting dog nose prints as proof of identity since 1938.

15. c. Bullet, whose preserved body sold for $35,000 in 2010.

How did you do? -- K

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


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wordless Wednesday in the Woods

When the going gets tough  . . . we go to the Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens. I try to take pictures but Jedi would rather keep moving, leaving all our worries behind us.

We have fun climbing over a giant downed tree . . .
and crossing narrow foot bridges over the creek.
I always come out of the woods physically tired yet feeling mentally refreshed. Jedi is right about just moving on and not thinking about our troubles. What a smart dog! How do you de-stress? -- K
It's Wordless Wednesday. See what others are sharing today!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Who Haz a Cheezburger?

The rain and heat has kept the dogs inside lately. Jedi gets bored and annoys Roxy. Roxy gets fed up with Jedi quickly. Then Jedi annoys me. We'll play ball in the house, get out various puzzle toys and wrestle, but it's not enough. He follows me around and whines. He's bored! He wants to go outside. I'll let him out but he comes right back in -- and sighs! (I tell him it's hot and wet, but he never believes me.)

There aren't many dog-friendly indoor activities in Jacksonville outside of a trip to a pet store. (BTW, we are not above doing a pet store tour to entertain the dogs!) I'll take them with me to run errands and then we'll stop by Sonic. Do you have Sonics where you're at? They're like old fashioned drive-ins. You can eat in your car or under a covered patio. Because it's outside, the dogs are welcome. I'll order a plain cheeseburger and a cup of water for the dogs, and a Slush for me (half off between 2 and 5. Score!) Want to see what they think?

Roxy wants some of the cheeseburger so she sits nice and pretty.
Not to be outdone by his sister, Jedi gives a perfect down.
They'll even share the water bowl afterwards.
A trip to Sonic always get such polite behavior. Unfortunately, an hour later things are back to normal: Jedi whines, Roxy growls, I pull out my hair. Got any ideas? -- K 
It's Monday! Hop around and see what kind of Monday Mischief is going on today.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Sepia Poetry

It's raining
It's pouring
The big dogs are snoring
They got to play
Earlier today
And now there's drool on my flooring

We were able to get some outdoor playtime before the rain today. Roxy and Jedi took full advantage of the dry period. They wore themselves out! Sorry for the photo quality. I was only able to get them to stay still for a minute, so this is the best I could get.

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

Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday Finds #4

Welcome back to Friday Finds. I've been reading and surfing all week.

When Pepper was diagnosed with cancer we spent over $1000 in the last six months of her life. Our financial situation has changed and I don't think I could do that again. So what happens if you have a vet emergency? The Dancing Dog Blog has a few ideas.  Hopefully Pet Health Care — What To Do When You Can’t Afford Vet Care will help put your mind at ease.

There have been a lot of "dog shot by police" stories in the news lately. It's sad and it's frustrating. As an animal control officer who works with the police department, I can say that most police officers are woefully under-trained in dealing with dogs. I hope that police departments around the country will 1) incorporate dog behavior, body language and handling into their training programs and 2) develop better relationships/partnerships with trained animal control personnel. Until then, dog owners have to be diligent. I think this sign is awesome:

I like that it doesn't say "Beware of Dog." That implies your dog is mean, and opens you up for law suits should someone get bit. "No Trespassing" and "Dog on Premises" puts the onus on the other person. (Sorry, I hang around with lawyers!) Anyway, if you like these signs too, you can learn more about them -- and place an order --at Protect My Pooch. The signs aren't any more expensive than the "Beware of Dog" signs at Wal-Mart either. I found this sign shared several times on Google+. Sorry I couldn't track down the original post for you.
Here's a crafty thing that made me squeal with delight: "Adopt Me" leash covers for shelter dogs from Sew Doggy Style. What a simple, creative project. Wouldn't this be a great project for a Scout Troop or Boys and Girls club?
You know all those silly quizzes you going around Facebook? Well, this one was fun: What Dog Breed Are You? I'm a German shepherd. (Surprise!) How about you? Do you agree with the answer?
So what do you think? Come back next week and see what I've found! --K

Thursday, July 24, 2014

You Idiom!

I have friends who aren't native English speakers. Sometimes I'll say something that confuses them. They'll ask me to explain but even then it doesn't make much sense. Have you ever given any thought to some of the things we say? Take idioms, which are phrases that represent something totally different from their literal meaning. For example, if I say that my neighbor "kicked the bucket" you know that he died. My foreign friends, however, think that the guy next door banged his foot against a pail. For this Thoughtless Thursday I'm sharing some of the crazy dog idioms we use regularly. How many do you know?
  • Call Off the Dogs -- Stop attacking or criticizing someone
  • Dog and Pony Show -- An elaborate performance or event put on to convince or distract people
  • Dog Days of Summer -- The hot, nasty days between early July and early September
  • Dog Eat Dog -- A situation where people will do anything to be successful even if it hurts others
  • Every Dog Has Its Day -- Everyone is happy or successful at some time
  • Fight Like Cats and Dogs -- To argue violently and all the time
  • Go See a Man About a Dog -- A euphemism for relieving one's bladder (Sometimes the word "horse" is used instead of "dog." Regardless of the animal, it's still about peeing.)
  • Hair of the Dog -- An alcoholic drink to cure the hangover from drinking too much alcohol the night before
  • Hot Diggity Dog -- An expression of excitement and delight
  • If You Lie Down With Dogs, You Get Up With Fleas -- If you associate with unsavory people you'll pick up their bad habits
  • It's a Dog's Life -- Life is hard and unpleasant
  • Let Sleeping Dogs Lie -- A warning not to instigate trouble
  • Like a Dog With a Bone -- Grabbing hold of something and not letting go
  • Shaggy Dog Story -- A long-winded story of irrelevant incidents that usually ends with a pointless punch line
  • Tail Wagging the Dog -- A situation where the least important part has too much influence over the most important part
  • The Dog Ate My Homework -- A poor excuse for something that isn't done on time
  • Three Dog Night -- So cold you would need three dogs in bed with you to keep warm (Also, an awesome Rock and Roll band from the 1970's)
  • Thrown to the Dogs -- To abandon someone to enemies or evil
  • Top Dog -- The most important and powerful person in a group
  • You Can't Teach an Old Dog New Tricks -- It's difficult to change after doing something the same way for a long time
Did I leave out any of your favorites? Let me know! Then hop around and see what silliness others are sharing on this Thoughtless Thursday. -- K

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Gucci's Nap

Who's been sleeping in my bed? It's Gucci! She's so cute that I had to take a picture.

Gucci rolls over to avoid the flash of my camera.

She finally opens her eyes -- and glares. "Can't you see I'm sleeping?"

She stretches and closes her eyes again. Did she just tell me to "Talk to the paw"?

It's Wordless Wednesday. Gucci says "Leave me alone. Why don't you around and see what others are sharing today?" Good idea kitty! -- K

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Grammar Nazis Anonymous

Hi. My name is Kelley and I'm a Grammar Nazi.

I don't mean to be difficult, it's just that the butchering of language affects me corporally. Think of the reaction you'd get from rearranging the stuff of someone suffering from OCD. Yeah, it's like that. This can make my job difficult. Here are some recent examples:
  • Last week I got a call about two dogs running around a neighborhood. The caller said that the dogs were emancipated. I assume she meant emaciated but I spent the rest of the day pondering the morality of capturing an animal that was freed from bondage by its master.
  • The same woman called back later to tell me the dogs were "pedigrees." What?! Did she mean purebred? Which brings me to another pet peeve: referring to an animal full-blooded. They're all full of blood; anything less and they die! Purebred is the correct term (not pure-bread, which I actually saw on a sign for cocker spaniel puppies).
  • I'm always conflicted when people tell that they spaded their dogs. If they mean spayed that's good. However, if they literally mean spaded -- as in "used a garden tool upon" -- then I need to start a cruelty case right away!
  • I get notices of lost Chiwawas and Rockwilers and Shit Zoos all the time. If you can't spell the breed maybe you shouldn't own one. On the same note, there is no such thing as a miniature Doberman (it's a miniature pinscher).
  • I have a hard time containing myself when people tell me that they "could care less" what their neighbor says. I want to ask them if we should wait then, maybe until they no longer care at all. I don't. They wouldn't get it. By the way, these are the same people that make the "Are you too stupid to get a real job?" comments as I write them tickets.
  • I hate getting emails like "make sure 2 take care of the k9 in the kennel B4 U leave." I cringe. By the way, these are people with college degrees!
  • I can't stand it when people use the word "they" in place of he or she. Facebook does this. I'll get a message that says "It's Bob Smith's birthday. Leave Bob a message on their wall." (Thanks for dumbing down America even more Mr. Zuckerberg!) What happened to pronouns? Why does Elmo speaking in third person? This is as excruciating as  fingernails on a chalkboard. 
Look at it again. Slowly.
Is this nitpicking? Yes. I try to ignore things. It's not easy. I blame my mother. She was (is?) a grammar Nazi too. I can still hear her: "Pictures are hung; people are hanged." Her voice has come out of my mouth as I yell to my children: "Snuck is not a word. The past tense of sneak is sneaked." Don't even get me started on conversate.

I wonder, is it better or worse that I'm just as hard on myself? I read -- and reread -- my posts constantly looking for errors. I have actually fixed a post six months later, even though only ten people have looked at it. (And I wonder if someone caught that typo.) I obsess over comma placement. I've Googled "lie or lay" more than once just to make sure I get it right. Who and whom keep me awake at night. I've got issues! I'd take drugs but some of those made up names stress me out even more. Abilify, Seroquel, Xanex, Zoloft -- it's like a Scrabble game gone amok!

Along with being a Grammar Nazi, I am also a huge fan of puns and parodies. This video had me laughing so hard that I had to watch it several times to catch everything. Hope you enjoy it too.
 True confessions time: Are you a Grammar Nazi too? Do you live with one? Let me know. -- K

Monday, July 21, 2014

Jedi Plays Spin the Bottle

A couple weeks ago I shared a video I found on Facebook of Bella the Malinois playing with a homemade dog toy. I thought the toy was really interesting. I sent the video to my friend Handyman and asked if he could make one. He did, and it's awesome!

It's a wooden frame with a dowel running through 3 1-liter bottles. Handyman made it big enough that I can use larger, more challenging 2-liter bottles later. The bottles spin around the dowel as well as move left and right. Yummy smelling treats are placed inside the bottles.
The design is simple enough. The dogs have to tip the bottles upside down to get the treats out.
It took Jedi a while to figure it out. It's harder than it looks!
Roxy wasn't sure about the hitting and spinning part, but she was more than happy to eat the treats!
This is a blog hop! Click around and see what kind of mischief others are getting into today. -- K

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Sepia Slobber

Sometimes I think Jedi's tongue is too big for his mouth. It's always hanging out, especially when I'm trying to take a picture. I would bet that Jedi has more tongue pics than Gene Simmons' Facebook page.

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

Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday Finds #3

I can't tell you how much fun I'm having with Kelley's Friday Finds! I find myself reading more enthusiastically and becoming very excited when I find something I think share-worthy. I hope you are enjoying these little tidbits too.

Can you identify the meaning between different barks? Are you sure? NOVA has a fun interactive quiz called The Meaning of Dog Barks. See how many you can get right the first time!

Here's a tough one: Is your dog smart? We all say yes, but how do you quantify it? And are there different types of "smart"? I had lots of fun clicking around the Rover Blog's How Smart is Your Dog? There are links to an adaptive intelligence test and a personality profile so you can see where your dog ranks. And if you find it interesting, there are links to further reading on the subject.

I am not a crafty person, so when I see cleaver projects that I can actually do, I go bananas. Here is my latest banana find: Luna Lovebug has a post on Making Your Own Weave Poles. The project costs about $20 (as opposed to $100+ to buy weave poles) and there is a cute video to go along with it. This is great for those who want to try weaving but aren't ready to fork over the big bucks (like me!).

Win a DayPak from Kyjen!
My favorite dog stuff company is Kyjen.They make the Hide-A-Squirrel toy that Jedi loves so much. I was thrilled to see that Kyjen is giving away a DayPak (doggie backpack) from their Outward Hound collection. Interested? Enter here. Good luck!

Something that always makes me say "hmmm" is the subject of pet insurance. It sounds great in theory, but I've heard so many stories -- most of them bad. Apparently I'm not alone in my confusion. I found this in the Sacramento Bee: Pet insurance complaints prompt California legislation. I'm curious to see how this plays out. And is this something that will be addressed nationwide? What do you think?

And finally, a video that made me laugh. Have you seen this?

I hope this week's Friday Finds made you laugh, made you think, and most of all made you want to spend more time with your dog. Until next week, -- K

Thursday, July 17, 2014

It's True!

As I've mentioned before, I'm an animal control officer. It's not an easy job and I've posted plenty of rants about it. (Check out the Animal Control category of "Stuff I Think About" to your right if you want to see a few.) But it's not all bad. One of the fun parts of this job is that you never know what's going to happen next. Some of the complaints I get are so bizarre that I really don't know what to think about it. For today's Thoughtless Thursday I thought it would be fun to share some those situations. Please note: ALL these stories are true, but names have been changed or omitted to protect . . . well . . . ME!

Mrs. Alvarado called the office saying she had trapped two cats and needed them picked up. When my partner and I got there she led us around to her back yard. She pointed to one of the traps and in a heavy Filipino accent said "That one is ugly. It has no hair on it's tail. Take it away." It was an opossum.

I had an angry resident call to complain that raccoons were eating the fish out of his koi pond. Of course they were!

There was a 911 call about an aggressive dog chasing people on Petunia Road next to the elementary school. I got there and saw a large, yellow lab sitting in a yard. If I stayed 50 feet away the dog was fine, but if I stepped into the yard it charged, teeth bared. I asked for police back up to keep pedestrians away until I could get someone with a tranquilizer gun to come from the county. The police lieutenant walked into the yard -- despite my warning -- and was chased to his car. I think he may have soiled his uniform. (30 seconds before he had said "What are you talking about? It's a lab, labs aren't dangerous.") Eventually the dog was darted and transported safely to the shelter where she was later reclaimed by her owner. The funny part: the dog was named Muffin. I have eaten many muffins in my life; that was the only time a muffin try to eat me!

A woman complained that an eagle was stalking her 4-pound Yorkshire terrier. I called Fish & Wildlife for advice. They said "Eagles are protected, Yorkies are not." The dog was not allowed outside for two weeks until the eagle got bored and went somewhere else.

I chased a wayward Weimaraner down a busy street. The dog stayed three feet out of my reach the entire time. Pretty soon I had an audience, and each bystander had a sarcastic suggestion or snarky comment. In frustration I said "Hey Buddy, wanna cookie?" The dog actually stopped and turned around! He got his cookie -- and a ride to the kennel.

I had a woman call to say that there was a sea turtle on her front porch. I was perplexed since she lived several miles from the ocean. I relocated the snapping turtle to a retention pond down the street.

A woman found a stray dachshund mix. She thought it was cute and took it home. It promptly bit her son in the stomach. HARD! She brought it to the police station on her way to the hospital. I put the dog in a cage in the back of my truck and got her information for the bite report. Then I discovered that my battery was dead. I opened the hood (the international sign for "truck broke") and stepped inside to call the mechanics to get a jump. The police department and the fire department share a building. My truck was parked right next to the fire bay. I was away from my truck for less than two minutes. I came out to discover that the dog was missing. The shift supervisor had thought the dog looked thirsty. He opened my tailgate and the cage door to give the dog some water and accidentally let the dog out. He thought it was funny until I told him that if I couldn't quarantine the dog a 5 year old child would need several painful -- and expensive -- rabies shots. And I would be sure to tell the mother who was responsible for it. The entire department spent the next four hours searching for the runaway bite dog before we finally caught it. I told them that the next time a fireman touched my truck I was going to touch theirs.

I've caught countless dogs by opening the door to my truck and asking "Wanna go for a ride?" Even the big, scary ones can't resist an R-I-D-E.

I got a call from Mrs. Smith. She said that a crow had been sitting on her deck chair for two days. I had no idea how to catch a crow, let alone what to do with it once I had it, so I walked up and told the crow he wasn't welcome at the Smith's house any more. He blinked twice and flew away.

The police had to serve a warrant on a house that had "two vicious pit bulls" inside. They needed my help. I hid behind a police car as ten guys in SWAT gear cleared the house. I heard someone yell "Animal Control!" and went inside. Four guys were handcuffed and lying on the floor as I walked through. I thought "Hey, this is like COPS." And then thought "OMG! This IS COPS!" I found the dogs cowering in a back room with two police officers in the doorway pointing guns at them. I looked at the trembling dogs and in a happy voice said "Hey puppies, want to come with me?" They couldn't stop wiggling. Vicious my ass! The big officer barked "What do you need us to do?" I said "Move out of my way." The crowd of armor-clad officers parted like the Red Sea as I -- an unarmed girl -- walked the leashed dogs to my truck.

When I come home from work Hubby always asks "How was your day?" Often the answer is just "Weird."

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

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Wet Wordless Wednesday

Florida + Summer = LOTS of rain.
Daily downpours have really cut into our walking time. We were able to take a short walk in between showers and I snapped this picture of Jedi.

Along with the rain comes some pretty oppressive humidity. This reminds me of a poem that a friend sent to me years ago. I don't know if she wrote it or just passed it along, but it went something like this:

As another heat wave approaches
I try my best to remember
That this is what I was praying for
While freezing last December.

It's Wordless Wednesday! Hop around and see what others have to share today. -- K

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Rear End Awareness

Breeder and I took a day off of work last week to attend a clicker confirmation workshop in Osteen, Florida. It was great! We learned so much. It was definitely worth the 2 1/2 hour drive. At one point I was working with Jedi to try to get him to free stack. (Free Stack: Jedi puts himself into the proper stance for the show ring. As opposed to Hand Stack, where I move his feet where I want them.) Here's what we're going for:

This is Jedi's father -- not my dog -- stacking beautifully.
Let's hope the apple doesn't fall far from the tree!
I spent about 15 minutes of slowly luring Jedi into position with steak while trying to remember to click the second he was where I wanted. I quit before we were frustrated. Then I switched dogs. (Breeder was tired from the heat and the long drive.) I was surprised at how much easier it was to get Chili (Jedi's brother) into the proper position. Chili has a nice muscular rear end and was much more aware of what his back legs were doing. I could see that Jedi and I had some work to do!

As soon as we got home I Googled "rear end awareness exercises for dogs." There are hundreds of videos on YouTube on this subject. Most of them recommend pivoting training. Here's one that I really liked: Key to Complex Tricks -- Rear End Awareness. (I tried to link it right to the post, but there's some anti-embedding thing going on. Sorry.)

Apparently pivot training is useful for lots of things. Not only does it help the dog notice where is rear end is (and what it's doing!), but it's great for clean turns during obedience trials. And there's lots of fun tricks you can do with it too. Yep, Jedi and I are now pivot training in earnest.

Meanwhile, I'm still trying to lure him into the proper show stance (Stack). Once he "gets it" we'll work on the front feet. Eventually we'll name it. I'm thinking "Strike a pose!" BTW, this show ring stuff is a lot harder than it looks on TV. I'll keep you posted on our progress. -- K

Guess what! It's Training Tips Tuesday! Hop around and see what people have to share today.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Help Wanted!

As I said last month, things have been hectic around here. But things are slowly getting better. For starters, I'm getting a new partner tomorrow. Being that this will be the fourth animal control officer I've trained in five years, I'm mildly cautious. I sat in on the interviews this time. New Girl seems nice, appears to be competent, and has some animal/ government experience. But then again, so did the other three. I listened to the Chief honestly tell her about the crappy schedule and she said that it was fine. But then again, so did the last three. I also heard him tell her half-truths and flat out lies. I wish I had been able to talk to her, to tell her the whole truth, before she made her decision about taking the job. I would have told her:
  • To do this job you need a strong stomach and a thick skin. You also need a sense of humor and great friends who will give you a safe place to vent. Wine and brownies don't hurt either.
  • When Chief said "No, you don't have to work Christmas" he meant "You don't have to work Christmas if it's not your regularly scheduled day." If Christmas falls on a Tuesday and you work Tuesdays, he expects you to be patrolling the beach for dogs off leash. I've worked 5 out of the last 7 Christmases. New Year's too. And I write tickets on the beach every Christmas (because I'm a "female dog" when I have to work on Christmas.)
  • When Chief said "The schedule varies depending on the season" he wasn't kidding. You will work four 10 hour days, but in the summer some days will start at 6 AM and others will end at 8 PM -- in the same week. It will wreak havoc on your eating and sleeping patterns. It'll screw up your dogs too. But when he said "The schedule is posted a month in advance" he was lying. I'm happy to know two weeks out. Some days I'm just making it up as I go.
  • Uniforms are ordered through catalogs and will take 2-3 months to get here. Shoes too. You will not get to try them on first. And they're men's sizes. Don't expect them to fit well. I could probably smuggle a litter of kittens in my shirt and nobody would notice.
  • The town is less than three square miles. For better or worse, you will get to know most of the residents by sight, if not by name. And they will all know you.
  • Become paranoid. Everybody really is watching you. They call the police department -- or the Mayor -- for every infraction, real or perceived. People have complained that I didn't make a complete stop at a stop sign, I didn't wave back as I drove by, and once I was laughing while sitting in my truck. A City Commissioner complained last week that I didn't patrol the beach in a straight line. (Apparently zig-zagging around people, property and holes wastes gas.)
  • This town wrote the book on making mountains out of mole hills. Yes, it's ridiculous. It's easier if you just play along.
  • Unlike the big city, in a small town all calls have to be answered, even the stupid ones. For example, this call from last month: "There is a tortoise in front of my house and I'm afraid of it." I drove to her house and moved the tortoise, though I'm sure she could have outrun it if necessary.
  • You're an Angel when you help somebody, and an Asshole when you write that same person a citation weeks later. Some people may substitute the words Genius and Idiot, but you get the gist.
  • You will be referred to as synonyms for "a female dog" and "a female body" part on a regular basis. Hold your tongue and hit record on your body mic.
  • Every sick animal is rabid. Every raccoon out in the daylight is rabid. Every stray dog is rabid. Every feral cat is rabid. You can tell them otherwise, but nobody believes you.
  • The word "Animal" is written on your uniform in 3-inch letters. Therefore the public expects you to know everything about every animal God has ever created (for slightly over minimum wage.) They will yell at you when you don't.
  • Keep an extra shirt in your car. Put it on before running errands after work, else you will be hounded by "Can I ask you a question?" and "Do you have a minute?" people. If you say "No" -- no matter how politely -- they will call your boss and complain that you are rude.
  • Most cops have no clue about dogs. They know even less about cats. They will call you constantly.
  • Learn to turn off your phone before bedtime, else the night shift guys will call and wake you up for stupid reasons. This is an actual call I got after midnight: "Ms. X removed a rat from her cat's mouth and the rat bit her. What should we do with the rat?" By the way, you do not get paid for that call, or the hour of sleep you lost.
  • Learn rules and policies quickly because they will be held against you. But don't become too comfortable with them, as they change constantly. The same goes for the leadership.
  • Learn the buzz words as soon as possible. Chief is a numbers guy. Talk to him using statistics. Words like "public perception" and "liability" go far. Don't say "I." Truth is, he couldn't care less about you.
  • Take all the training you can get, and not just in animal related things. Think about computer classes, interpersonal communication, first aid/CPR, report writing -- not only are they relevant to this job, they're transferrable to other jobs.
  • Learn to network. You can't save them all, but if you know enough of the right people, you can save most.
  • Take up a hobby that has nothing to do with animals/work. Do it at least once a week.
  • The apathy and cruelty of others takes it's toll on your soul. Some days it takes everything you have not to slap people. Or hit them with your truck.
  • Keep your resume current. One day you're going to wake up and say "that's enough." It's OK. You may as well be prepared.
I wish my last three partners knew this stuff. Would they have taken the job? First one, yes. She was here two years before a better opportunity came up. She and I are still friends and she keeps me sane. Love you D! Second one, probably not. She was here less than a year and left when the first opportunity came along. I think the pettiness of this place broke her spirit, and a bad relationship finished her off. She's left animal control for good -- after doing it 16 years. *sigh* Miss you F! And the last guy? I knew his was ready to bolt before his 60 day evaluation. I think he may have used the terms "Ass-Backward" and "Mayberry" in his exit interview. He was here less than eight months and left with two days notice. How about New Girl? Anyone want to take bets?

Wow, I don't mean to be such a wet blanket. Maybe my new meds aren't working after all! Seriously, sometimes writing things down helps me sort them out. I can't tell you how many posts I've written and then deleted. I'm leaving this one up though, hoping New Girl stumbles upon it. (I've promised my boss that I would be kind and cheery -- gag! -- for the next month and that I wouldn't taint her opinion of the department.) Even better, maybe New Girl can show this post to my replacement, because I'm checking out Help Wanted signs myself. Anyone looking for a slightly irregular, college educated, sarcastic (ex)animal control officer/wife/mother/dog lover/active member of the community trying -- albeit poorly -- to juggle it all?

I'll bring brownies! -- K

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Roxy Waits

Son #2 is Roxy's favorite person in the whole world. He went out for the day. Roxy has positioned herself on the back of the couch next to the front window so she'll be the first to see when he gets home.

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

Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday Finds

Welcome back to Kelley's Friday Finds! Here I share articles, blogs and pictures that made me think, laugh or feel inspired from the past week. (Click here if you missed last Friday's goodies.) Roxy and I have some fun things to share with you today.

We're going to open up this edition with an incredible contest. Fidose of Reality is giving away the Ultimate Summer Pet Friendly Road Trip Giveaway. The grand prize includes a hotel stay for you, a human companion and your dog. Yep, this could be yours! Click on the link above to enter -- and send us a postcard if you win.

Cesar Milan had an interesting article on 5 Steps to Becoming Calm. I know that there are many Cesar Haters out there. And there is validity to the anti-domination arguments. But I also believe he has some good teachings as well -- the importance of exercise, having rules and consistency, taking a leadership role (some call it parenting -- it's the same thing) and the "calm assertive energy" thing. Really, it works. As an animal control officer I deal with a wide variety of strange dogs in less than ideal situations. Things are much easier if I remain calm and try to project an "I'm in control" attitude. I call it channeling my inner Princess Leia.

It's summertime, waaay too hot in Florida to take Jedi with me when running errands. I hate leaving him at home, so I just don't go out. Now maybe I can. I found this in the Bark Post: Dog Friendly Stores That Allow Your Pooches. These are national chains. And it's more than just Petsmart!

"Spay. Neuter. Adopt." "Spay/Neuter Saves Lives." We've all heard these, right? This article from Healthy Pets says not so fast. Check out: Don’t Neuter Your Dog YET – Read This Life-Saving Information First! I know, now you're curious. And conflicted. Sorry.

And finally, look at the shirt I just ordered. Is that funny or what? It's a limited edition shirt, so if you want one too you need to go here now. They're only available until Tuesday at midnight.

I hope you enjoyed this week's Friday Finds. Can't wait to see what I have for you next week! TTFN -- K