Saturday, August 30, 2014

Sepia Serenity

When the going gets tough Jedi and I go for a hike. I find serenity in the woods. Unfortunately the heat and humidity have been oppressive, so we can only take short hikes in the early morning. On our last hike we found a shady spot to take a break as well as take a few pictures. I'm looking forward to cooler weather and longer hikes -- and more photo ops.

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

Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Finds #9

It's Friday, the day of the week where I share various things that piqued my interest during the last week.

Here's a nice article on 10 Steps To Great Leadership With Your Dog from Animal Wellness magazine. It's practical, common sense stuff that you've heard before. But if you're like me, you could probably hear it again. Plus the author put it all together nicely.

The ABC's of animal speech: Not so random after all suggests that animals aren't just making random noises, but in fact have some form of language-like structure. It's an interesting article. Of course, those of us with animals have believed this all along!

By now we've all seen the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. I don't know about you, but I'm tired of watching people wet themselves. Jen over at Dogthusiast shared the About the World Dog Trainers’ Motivation Transparency Challenge -- which I find much more interesting. Dog Trainers around the world post videos that share their answers to three questions:
  1. What will happen to my dog if she gets it right?
  2. What will happen to my dog if she gets it wrong?
  3. Are there less invasive alternatives to what you propose?
These are questions you should ask any trainer before entrusting your dog to them. I enjoyed the videos (especially the ones posted by non-Americans). However, when I saw some of the things the dogs on the videos were doing I felt a teeny tiny bit inadequate.

Finally, Scientific American asks Do You Know a Fat Dog When You See One? Make sure you follow the link to the YouTube video to Dogs: Their Secret Lives. It'll be an eye-opener.

I hope you enjoyed these as much as I did. See you here next week! -- K

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

We were able to take a walk in the woods between showers and look what we found -- rainbows! 

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

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

National Dog Day

Did you know that today -- August 26th -- is National Dog Day? Me neither. And the day even has it's own website. (Sheesh, they'll give a website to anybody! Even a crazy dog lady like me.) But I'm not going to pass up a chance to "celebrate" with the dogs. Looking for some ideas? How about:
  • Turn off the TV and step away from the computer. Give your dog your undivided attention. Talk to him. Tell him about your day. He won’t understand the words, but he’ll be thrilled to hear your voice. On the plus side, he’ll always agree with you. According to Jedi: yes, my boss was being unreasonable yesterday; I am the best Animal Control officer in the entire world; and I totally deserve a raise.
  • Be Silly. I once read that dogs enjoy a Three Stooges slapstick-type humor. True or not, I believe that dogs do have a sense of humor. I know they respond to laughter. I’m talking about real belly laughs, not that fake stuff you show to the in-laws. (Dogs can tell the difference.) And I may be anthropomorphizing, but I'd swear that dogs smile when they're happy.
  • Play a game. Fetch, tag, tug-o-war, chase the laser pointer -- it doesn’t matter what you play. Just play.
  • Take a walk. I'm not talking about the “hurry up and pee” walk, or the “I need some exercise” walk that we're all familiar with. Take a DOG walk. Put away your cell phone and enjoy the moment. Stop and smell the flowers -- or whatever you feel like sniffing. Your dog will love it!
  • Find the sweet spot. You know what I'm talking about: that one spot that makes your dog’s feet kick and tongue loll? Every dog has one. Pepper’s was at the base of her tail. Logan would actually groan during ear massages. Roxy loves having her belly rubbed and Jedi can’t stay still when you scratch his back. Where is your dog’s sweet spot?
  • Go out for a burger. When the weather is nice we like to go to Sonic. We’ll sit at a far table under the awning. Hubby and I enjoy people watching while the dogs split a plain cheeseburger and cup of water (no ice). If we go between 2-5 PM I can get a lemon-berry slush for half price! Cheap date, hunh?
  • Set up a play date. Does your dog have a canine BFF? Why not invite the dog and his owner over for some butt sniffing (the dogs) and margaritas (the humans)? We have friends that Hubby, Jedi and I visit regularly, though not as often as I would like. Friends have four shepherds of their own, so their house is very dog-friendly (as in no crystal vases at tail level). The puppies run amok while the adults play board games.
  • Go for a ride. This is one of Roxy’s favorite pastimes. A trip around the block with her head out the window is the Best. Thing. Ever. Want bonus points? End up at the park or pet store.
  • Learn a new trick. This is a great bonding experience for the two of you. Your dog wants to please you. Seeing you happy because he figured out “roll over” will make his day. Need ideas for tricks? Check out Janet Wall's site or one of the many books from Kyra Sundance.
  • Take an afternoon nap together. Spoiler alert: I let my dogs in bed with me. There’s not enough room for two big dogs and two not-so-small humans to fit comfortably all night. However, there is plenty of room for one human and two dogs to enjoy an hour-long nap. I’d like to think that we all benefit from the closeness of sleeping together.
How are you celebrating National Dog Day? -- K

P.S. To my regular readers: Yes I recycled this from a previous post. I was too busy playing with the pooches to write something fresh. To my new readers: Disregard the previous statement. Enjoy!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Dog Park Etiquette

Not a dog park
Between me and you, I'm not a fan of dog parks. I've discovered that some of the patrons are real jerks. My dogs aren't that fond of dog parks either. I took Pepper to one a few times. She couldn't have cared less about playing with other dogs. I took Jedi to the dog park here in my little beach town once when he was younger. He didn't seem overly impressed. Jedi and I prefer hiking in the woods; there are more exciting things to see and fewer people. If it were up to me I'd never go to another dog park, but . . . it's not up to me. My little beach town now has two dog parks. And even though they clearly say "use at your own risk" I'm required to patrol them and play peacemaker. UGH.
As I've ranted about mentioned before, one of my many "other duties as assigned" is to write articles for the local paper. But before any article is published it is "tweaked" by a sergeant, a commander and an admin assistant (none of who know a damn thing about animal control) and the poor excuse for an article never sounds like the original. More often it sounds like a third grade writing project. Thankfully they don't give me the byline, which would only reinforce the public's belief that I'm a total moron. The last article I wrote was a sterile piece on "Dog Park Etiquette." Here's what I wanted to write:
  • Leash all dogs outside of the park. Yes, this includes the parking lot. Yes, even if you're "only walking 10 feet." Excited, unleashed dogs have jumped on and knocked over people, once causing injuries to an elderly woman. Excited, unleashed dogs have started fights with other dogs. Loose dogs have run behind moving cars, nearly getting hit. One dog ran out of the parking lot and down the street. We didn't catch him for two days. And let's not forget, dogs off-leash outside the dog parks are in violation of the leash law. Animal Control officers will write tickets.
  • NO leashes inside the park. This is a fight or flight thing (Google it). A leashed dog surrounded by unfamiliar loose dogs can feel threatened and become aggressive. Being unleashed gives your dog the option of walking away from a situation that makes him uncomfortable, thus reducing the chances of violence. If your dog is on a leash in the park because "he doesn't like other dogs" then maybe the dog park isn't for you.
  • Don’t crowd the entrance. This can be overwhelming and/or frightening for incoming dogs. It's also annoy to others trying to get in. The dog park is the size of a football field, so move. Head towards the back of the park and let dogs meet each other on their own terms. If you can't walk more than 6 feet without getting winded then maybe the dog park isn't for you either. And to that woman who had to be by the entrance so she could see her car because one of her dogs was locked inside (he was being "disciplined" for barking): you're an idiot. And the fine is doubled for your next ticket.
  • Save the small dog area for small dogs. Again, this is directed to Mr. My-Dog-Doesn't-Like-Other-Dogs. The small dog area was created so that the little dogs can feel safe and have fun without being overrun by dogs twice their size. Big dogs -- yes, that includes labs -- can be scary and overwhelming. However, if you have a small dog in the big dog area and you don’t like the way the big dogs are playing, take your dog to the designated small dog area. Stop calling the police. They don't care. Really.
  • Do not bring in food. Whether its treats for the pups or a sandwich for you, leave it in the car. Even the nicest dogs can become aggressive when food is involved. Think about all the dogs in the park, not just yours.
  • Pay attention to your dog. Dog behaviors can change quickly. You can’t stop -- let alone prevent -- a dog fight if you’re not looking at your dog. Leave your cell phone in your pocket. Leave the magazine at home. Avoid engrossing conversations with other dog owners. Every single incident Animal Control has had to handle in the dog park happened because the owners were too busy doing something else.
  • Pick up after your dog. This should be a given. Unfortunately, it’s not. Whether due to inattentive owners or inconsiderate owners, there are stinking piles of feces left in the park daily. Bags and trash cans are provided for your convenience, so the only real excuse is that you are rude and lazy. I bet people would pick it up if my "Non-Compliance Poo Flinging" clause had been included in the park rules.
    STILL not a dog park
  • Remove your dog if he becomes over stimulated. Sometimes a dog becomes over excited or overwhelmed. He may be cranky or timid or annoyed by a particular dog. If this happens, take him home. You can always come back later. However, ignoring the fact that your dog is being a jerk and/or making excuses for his bad behavior is unfair to everybody else.
  •  Leave children at home. This is not the time to multi-task. It’s difficult to watch dogs and children at the same time. Just because YOUR dog is tolerant of children doesn’t mean everybody else’s is. And it's na├»ve to assume everything will be OK in spite of dogs running and wrestling with claws and teeth flailing about. This is a DOG park. Leave the kids at home and take them to a kiddie park later.
  • Stay calm. Despite your best efforts, sometimes things go wrong. Dogs fight, someone gets bit, shit happens. The best thing to do is calmly remove your dog from the park, call Animal Control, and/or exchange information with the other owner. Remember that your dog picks up on your emotions. Yelling and screaming will only make things worse. A bad attitude doesn't work well with the police or animal control officer either.

I promise that this version was much more entertaining (and probably more informative) then the one that the City sends out. I hope you enjoyed it!

How about you? Do you "do" dog parks? Why or why not? Do you have any other tips? -- K

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Memories in Sepia

Remembering old friends who have crossed the Rainbow Bridge.

I don't know what's gotten into me lately, but I've been feeling nostalgic. I've found myself looking through old pictures and listening to 80's CDs. Does anybody else do that? Or is this just another example of Kelley being not quite normal? Maybe it's just stress. I was talking to my 21-year-old the other day and I told him "When I was your age I thought I'd have my shit together by my 40's. Turns out I just have more shit."
If you're another 40-something person thinking back to simpler times, then I'm sure you'll enjoy the following video too. (And seriously, when did Motley Crue become classic rock?)

It's Sepia Saturday. Quick, hop around before my nostalgia turns to melancholy. I'm going to. Maybe I'll take a nap first. Yeah, nap . . . . -- K

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday Finds #8

It's Friday! Truthfully, this last week hasn't been any better than the week before. But I did get a little time to read and found a few goodies to share.

I think dogs are a lot smarter than we give them credit for. Just the other night Hubby gave Jedi an empty ice cream container. When Jedi finished licking it clean, Hubby asked Jedi to bring the empty container to him -- and he did. This is not something we've ever taught him. I often wonder what cool things can I teach him? How about the difference between "left" and "right"? Seriously! Clicker guru Karen Pryor has a fun article on How to Teach Your Dog Left and Right. I know people who can't even figure that out!

Dogs are fun and generally good natured about the odd things we do to them -- like dressing them in funny hats and T-shirts. I get a kick out of silly dog tricks too. And I'm always impressed by dogs that balance stuff on their heads. (What can I say, I'm easily entertained.) Check out Maymo the beagle balancing 100 fruits and vegetables in 100 seconds:

We Live In a Flat poses the question: Are we teaching or forcing the dog to balance things on her head? Hmmm, good question. But then the post goes on to tell how to teach a dog to do this silly trick.

Ok, now that you're laughing at Maymo, and seriously considering learning how to balance stuff on your dog's head, take a look at this post from Mother Nature Network: 11 things humans do that dogs hate. Balancing stuff isn't on the list per se, but I think it may apply. Hmmm. I suppose you should ask your dog. I know when my dogs really dislike something versus when they're tolerating something to humor me. But if you're going to do it, make sure you're using positive reinforcement with some extra-special rewards.

A blog that I really enjoy is Walks with Rama. I identify with the author: she also lives in Florida, shows her dogs (better than me), and has "personal issues" (which she handles better than I do). She has Cane Corsos -- large Italian mastiff dogs, often mistaken for giant pit bulls. She also has an interesting take on things. I often finish one of her posts with a "Hmm. Never thought of it that way." Last week she had a great post on Obedience Time–Equipment & Watch Command. Did you know you're not suppose to put your hand through the loop?

Another interesting blog post (with a contest no less!) is Dog Safety For Your Good Buddy from the All Things Dog Blog. This author is from central Florida and discusses dogs and gator safety. Yep, you read that right. We have alligators here too, so I urge all my local friends read this post.

I hope you enjoyed this week's hodgepodge post. See you next Friday with a new group of things that made me laugh and made me think. TTFN, -- K

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Ugly

Animal Control Officer is weird job. People ask me questions all the time. Some are annoying -- usually complaints disguised as questions, as in "If you had a neighbor who . . ." Some questions are funny; my favorite: "How do I get the raccoons to stop eating the food I put outside for my cats?" (BTW, the answer -- stop feeding your cats outside -- is always followed by a whiny justification.) Most are genuine requests for information, and I (usually) enjoy the opportunity to help. The question that bothers me most is "What's the worst thing you've seen?" Why would someone ask this?! Are they sickos looking for ideas? I usually say "embedded collars" though what I want to say is "[censored horrible thing done to an innocent animal] for pure entertainment. Now you can have nightmares about it too."

I've shared a lot about my job. I've shared funny stories in posts like It's True! and Freaks on the Beach. I've shared frustrations like I Am Not The Dreaded Dog Catcher and Wanna Be An ACO?

But truth be told, I don't want to share the ugly parts. If I say them out loud they become more real. I have a small group of ACO friends who I vent to when needed. My husband gets a condensed, cleaned up version -- if anything at all. I compartmentalize the horror; I lock the sorrow away where it can't hurt me. (My therapist calls this a "coping mechanism.") Most of the time that works. When it doesn't, I try to fill my mind with funny cat videos like this one:

Have I seen horrible things? Yes. Neglect. Abuse. Embedded collars. Hoarding. Puppy mill busts. It takes it's toll on the soul. Just last week I had a day long seminar on animal abuse and dog fighting investigations. There were videos. They were awful. Trust me. But don't ask for details. Instead, let's watch another kitten video:

Seriously, this works. And unlike wine and brownies, I can do this on duty and without worrying about my uniform getting too tight.

It's Thoughtless Thursday! Hop around and see what other mindless stuff you can fill your head with. I will. -- K

P.S. Got any cute videos you'd like to share?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Weird Dog Terms

Jedi's side gait.
It's Training Tips Tuesday. I'm sure that the other hop participants have got great tips. I don't have tips, just tribulations! As I've mentioned before, I'm trying (poorly) to show Jedi. It's not easy. I'm still trying to teach him to stack (stand properly). And we're still working on trotting at the right speed.
Showing dogs is a lot harder than it looks on TV. And to make things worse, there is an entire lingo that goes with it. Things like: it's a "lead" not a leash. And "dog" only refers to males; your female dog is a "bitch." Sometimes I feel like such an outsider. I'm learning though. And sharing, so the next newbie doesn't feel as awkward as I do. Below are 26 terms just for movement and anatomy.

Bandy-Legged -- Wide, bow-legged rear

Cat Foot -- Short, round feet

Crabbing -- Side winding gait

Croup -- Lower spinal region containing back of pelvis and root of the tail

Drive -- Strong thrust from the hind quarters

Easty-Westy -- Feet turn outward, pointing away from each other

Flews -- Upper lips

Hackney -- High-stepping front movement

Hare Foot -- Long, narrow feet

Hock -- Bones that form the joint between the knee and the toes

Loin -- Area between last rib and beginning of pelvis

Lumbering -- Heavy, ungainly gait

Occiput -- Highest point at the back of the head

Pacing -- Moving both legs on same side in unison

Pastern -- Area between dog’s paws and lower leg

Pigeon-Toed -- Feet point toward each other

Rangy -- Long-bodied with a shallow chest

Reach -- Length of forward stride

Roach Back -- An over arched, convex topline

Side Gait -- Dog's movement as seen from the side

Splay Foot -- Toes that are not close together

Stifle -- Curved area of rear leg containing thigh and knee

Stop -- The point on a dog’s head where the skull and muzzle meet

Swayback -- A sunken, concave topline

Trotting -- Moving diagonal legs in unison

Withers -- Point where shoulder blades meet (and where actual height of dog is measured)

Do you feel any smarter? Have you heard any of these terms before? Are there others you know that I don't? Let me know!

Like I said, it's Training Tips Tuesday. Hop around and see what you can learn today! -- K

P.S. Want to learn more weird dog show terms? Check out this post from the American Kennel Club.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday Finds #7

It's Friday! It's been a busy week so I haven't had much time to read. But don't worry, I still found a few goodies to share.

I really enjoyed reading 5 A Week: Essential Exercises for Every Dog from Dog Tread. I need a better shape -- I'm tired of "round." Jedi could use some muscle building too. Maybe focusing on him will make it easier for me to slim down. What I really need is a big, ugly drill sergeant, but . . .

Have you seen Failing to Give Your Pet an ID Tag Could Become One of Your Biggest Regrets? Granted, the title doesn't exactly roll off your tongue, but the post is full of great tips on pets and various forms of ID. Who knew there were this many options? Thanks to Slim Doggy for sharing this. Seriously, I get a lot of good stuff via Slim Doggy.

Here's an interesting quiz: How Fluent Are You in Dog-Speak? There are 19 pictures of dogs with multiple choice answers. You're mission is to figure what the dog is trying to communicate. It's harder than I thought. I missed two and guessed a couple more. How well did you do?

I spent waaaay too much time with Confessions of a (Not) Crazy Cat Lady. I laughed so hard I may have peed a little. TMI? I know this is Kelley's Dog Blog, but who couldn't use a little Feline Fun once in a while? Besides, all her cats have Harry Potter names. And I love Harry Potter almost as much as I love Star Wars.

And finally, this meme had me rolling. Every kid needs a canine partner in crime. I had Eli, and he was great. Thirty years later the family still has "Good Old Eli" stories.

I hope you enjoyed today's treasures. Did you think? Did you learn? Did you laugh? Good! See you here next week. -- K

Thursday, August 14, 2014

You Do What?

I posted this picture on Facebook last week with the following: "I was digging through my purse for a brush and found these. Does anyone else carry training treats in their purse, or is it just me?" The responses showed me who my dog friends were (one replied "at least yours are in the package") and who weren't (I got several "uh, just you" responses).

This got me thinking. What other things do I say and do that non-animal/animal control people might think odd?
  • A friend texted me on Monday asking how I was doing. I texted back "It's noon and I don't smell like cat pee. Good Day!" Probably odd if you didn't know what happened 24 hours earlier.
  • On Sunday I posted "I smell like feral cat pee. Why am I in this predicament? Because a woman decided to trap a cat on my day off. Then she felt sorry for it and let it out on her enclosed patio, so I had to grab it with a catch pole. Pissed kitty jumped, and flailed, and sprayed everywhere while on the end of my pole and some of it got on me. My only consolation is that the woman's patio smells 100 times worse than I do."
  • I actually picked a flea off of my new partner. Neither of us were grossed out about it.
  • I have the numbers for twelve different veterinarians in my phone. I also have the numbers for three microchip registries and a pet crematorium.
  • I found two unused poop bags in the washing machine after washing my pants (I must have had them stuffed in a pocket). I was upset because they were the extra large, thick ones that I really like.
  • A friend posted a picture on Facebook of her son playing at the park. All the comments were "He's so big" or "He's so cute." Except mine. I asked why her dog was off-leash.
  • I have stainless steel water bowls tucked under the front seat of each car -- just in case.   
You can have too many leashes?
I visited a non-dog friend at work. She noticed that Jedi had a different leash from the time before and asked how many leashes I had. I said about 15 and she thought it was excessive. I explained that there were two 5-foot nylon leashes in each car, three or four more in the house, a couple rope slip leads, a 20-foot long line, one braided reflective leash for night walking, a bungee leash for hiking, a 42" leather leash for obedience training, and two 6-foot, 1/2 inch leashes for the conformation ring. I asked her how many pairs of shoes she had. She said about 20. She didn't understand my confusion. Seriously, who needs that many shoes?

  • Apparently I unconscientiously spot -- and comment about -- unneutered dogs while driving. My kids have said "Mom, stop looking at dog balls!" on more than one occasion. 

What kind of weird things do you say or do without thinking? Please share. I won't judge you! -- K

It's Thoughtless Thursday. Hop around and see what oddities others are sharing today.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Jedi and I enjoy a nice hike along Pablo Creek. What a view!
It's Wordless Wednesday. Hop around and see what others are doing today. -- K

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Luckee Dog

I scream,
You scream,
We all scream for ice cream!
Some of my most vivid childhood memories are chasing the ice cream truck with a couple quarters in hand. The ice cream man was the embodiment of summer vacation. I loved the ice cream man. I'll tell you who else loves the ice cream man -- Jedi!
Dogs in Jacksonville have their own ice cream man complete with an ice cream truck. Cool hunh? Guy Leblanc and his dog Luckee can be seen at various dog-friendly events around town serving homemade frozen treats for dogs out of the super cool truck. They're proud of the fact that Luckee Dog K9 Kool Treats have no preservatives, no added sugar, no artificial flavoring/color, and no milk/milk by-products. Jedi couldn't care less about any of that, he just likes the fact that it tastes good. (Peanut Butter Bacon is his favorite.)

Me and the Doggie Ice Cream Man
Last week I discovered something really exciting. Several stores around town are now carrying Luckee Dog. Now Jedi and I don't have to comb the internet to figure out which event the truck is at to get our ice cream fix. Even better, a store in my tiny beach town is carrying it too! We saw the truck outside Salty Paws Healthy Pet Market while on routine patrol. I was so excited. My new partner was confused by my enthusiasm, especially when I handed her my phone and said "Take my picture!" New Girl isn't a dog nut like me -- yet -- but I just had to share the ice cream man with you all. (BTW, who else is humming the Van Halen song right now?)
It's Tasty Tuesday, where Kol's Notes and Sugar the Golden Retriever host all kinds of yummy stuff. Hop around and see what I mean. -- K

Monday, August 11, 2014

That's A Mazee!

I like Planet Dog toys. They're fun and well made. But they're also pricy and hard to find in my area. I could only get them online -- until now! I found a place at the beach that sells them and I am thrilled.
I saw the Orbee-Tuff Mazee on Amazon and it's been sitting on my wish list for months. Salty Paws Healthy Pet Market had three available last week so I grabbed one for Jedi.
This is yet another puzzle food toy. It's a five inch ball with a hole on top. Inside is a plastic maze. You put food inside and shake it to the bottom. It'll hold at least two cups of dry dog food. As your dog rolls the toy across the floor, food tumbles through the maze and comes out of the hole. I was surprised to discover that the outer ball is not hard plastic. It's actually rubbery and quite pliable, making it bouncy and slightly harder to roll. The puzzle inside is rigid so the toy keeps its shape. And like all the other Orbee-Tuff toys, it has a pleasant minty smell -- not that awful rubber smell that you find on most dog toys.
Jedi figured this one out pretty quickly. I stuffed the ball full of his regular kibble. He enjoyed pushing the ball around more than eating the food. He batted it up and down the hallway, emptying it in less than five minutes. Roxy ignored the ball but ate everything that Jedi left behind. Next time I'll try odd shaped biscuits (like in the picture) to see if Jedi slows down.
We use puzzle toys a lot when it's hot and/or wet outside. We have 5 or 6 of them. They help keep Jedi's mind busy. Trust me, nobody is happy when Jedi gets bored! Poor old Roxy gets annoyed by his insistence to play. Grumpy old Gucci scratches Jedi's face when he gets too "curious" about the cat. The humans can only take so much whining and pacing. And somewhere in the mix, electronic items get eaten. (Don't make me tell the cell phone and Nintendo DS stories again.) Jedi's boredom may make for more interesting Monday Mischief posts, but . . . no.

Do you use puzzle toys? Which puzzle toys does your dog like? -- K

It's Monday Mischief! See what kind of trouble others are getting into (or avoiding!) today.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Sunset Pier -- Sepia Style!

On this Sepia Saturday Jedi and I took a trip to the Tideviews Preserve. It's a small nature park tucked along the Intercoastal Waterway. It's a gem that nobody seems to know about, so shhh! We always have the park to ourselves -- unless you count frogs, birds and fiddler crabs.

We took a break under a giant live oak before walking down Sunset Pier. The pier juts way out into the marsh and the view from there is breathtaking. Those pictures need to be seen in color to get the full effect, so come back on Wordless Wednesday for more! -- K

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

Happy Birthday Sugar!

Sugar the Golden Retriever is turning 13 and the entire doggie blogosphere is celebrating! Jedi would like to add to the well wishes.

Happy Birthday Sugar!
Maybe we can convince Jedi to wear a real hat for your 14th birthday. -- K

Friday, August 8, 2014

Friday Finds #6

It's Friday, the day where Roxy and I share the treasures we've found over the past week. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did. Let me know!

First on our list is a blog post that hit close to home for me. The thing I hate most about my job is dealing with callous people. Stupid people are frustrating, but callous people just tear at my soul. I've watched people dump their pets at the shelter for trivial reasons, knowing the animal will be euthanized and walk away no more concerned than if they were throwing out empty pizza boxes. Apparently veterinarians have similar issues. (I'm surprised that this surprised me!) Diary of a Real-Life Veterinarian articulates it beautifully in the post Taking A Stand And Facing Consequences.

I absolutely loved Five Fun Ways to Get Fit With Your Dog from Rubicon Days. Make sure to follow all the links within the article for even more info. Then get up, grab the leash and go outside. Your dog will thank you!

I enjoyed Train Your Dog for a 5K Run from Dog Channel. The article is ok (go ahead and read it), but it's the idea that gets me excited. This is something I'd love to do (even though I'm fat and lazy). Jedi and I planned to walk one last February but a bout of pneumonia knocked me on my butt and I was out of commission for weeks. Still, I'd like to try again (even though I'm fat and lazy). A girl can dream, right?

I'm obsessed with pet photography. (With two gorgeous German Shepherds, how could I not be?) I have learned that it's not easy getting a good picture, so anytime I see tips I pay attention. I was amazed by 5 Dog Photography Ideas You Can Shoot At Home. They're so simple! This was passed to me by Kol's Notes and I thought it so good that I'm passing it on to you.

On the left is a meme that made me giggle. Hope it makes you smile too.

Finally, I loooove raffles and contests (though I seldom win). Here's a fun contest I found. Enter to win an embroidered cap, a silhouette t-shirt and a personalized travel mug, all featuring the breed of your choice from Your Breed Clothing Company (make mine a GSD please).

Thanks for joining us on this week's Friday Finds. I hope these things have made you think, laugh or feel inspired. Meet us here again next week. TTFN, -- K

P.S. Did you find something you think is share-worthy? Let me know!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Freaks on the Beach

I'm an animal control officer in a tiny beach town. A while back I posted some crazy work stories. (Go here for that post.) At the time I said that "Some of the complaints I get are so bizarre that I really don't know what to think about it. I thought it would be fun to share some those situations." I was surprised by the feedback and absolutely floored that people asked for more. I don't know if I should be honored -- or concerned -- that others find my job so entertaining. (Fortunately, it's Thoughtless Thursday, so I'm not going to think about it.) Who am I to not give the people what they want? Where do I start? How about on the beach. 20-30% of my day is spent patrolling the beach front. Take it from me, there are a lot of weirdoes on the beach. Just like last time, ALL these stories are true, but names have been changed or omitted to protect me. (To Hell with everybody else.)

  • The first story goes back almost a decade. I'd been on the job less than six months. We had been receiving complaints about dogs running loose on the beach before dawn. Like a good little ACO, I was on the beach at 6 AM, ready to write some tickets. What I wasn't ready for was sex on the beach. And we're NOT talking about the delicious cocktail. A couple was actually having sex on the beach. I totally forgot all my official police 10-codes. I called in on the radio. It went something like "Uh, HQ. I'm, like, on the beach. Near the pier. And there's, um, this couple having sex. And going at it like rabbits. Could you, um, have an officer come check it out? I don't thing think they're going to stop. I'm looking right at them and they're not stopping. For crying out loud, what is wrong with these people?!" God love my dispatcher. She answered -- in a very professional voice -- "10-4 309. Signal 80 beach front, 8th Street. Signal 35 en route." Of course she laughed at me about it until the day she retired!

  • Then there's this guy that shows up on my beach every now and then. I don't know his real name, but we affectionately refer to him as Mr. Sunny Buns. He lays out in a thong that would make most strippers jealous. And he must get a Brazilian wax or something, because there is nary a hair on that man. Not one single hair! Sunny oils himself up and basks in the sun so much that his skin is the color -- and I imagine texture -- of an old leather purse. I think he fancies himself sexy as he always gives me an alluring look when I drive by. BTW, he's not. So, gag! (Truthfully, I'd be more excited about an old leather purse.) One day, however, he wasn't looking as my truck passed, so I snapped this picture:

I know what you're thinking: "Dammit. I need a new purse."

  • Occasionally we get marine mammals washed up on the beach. It's sad. We are required to guard the animal until Fish and Wildlife shows up, keeping bystanders from messing with the carcass. Because they do. GROSS! Did you know that both male and female dolphins have slits on their underbellies that house all their "naughty bits"? I didn't. I was also surprised to learn that a male dolphin's . . . um, tallywacker . . . pops out like the thermometer on a Butterball turkey when he dies. So one day I was protecting the body of a dead dolphin and a woman walks up to ask the usual question "Why did it die?" I gave the perfunctory answer: "I don't know ma'am, but Fish and Wildlife is on the way. They will make that determination." Instead of saying ok and moving on like everybody else, said woman started screaming. "Oh My God! Someone mutilated that dolphin!" I tried to calm her down but she kept yelling "LOOK! Someone cut open the dolphin!" pointing right at the genital slit. A crowd quickly gathered. Great. I discreetly told her "No ma'am, I think you're mistaken. That's a vent. You know, like on a bird." She wasn't consoled. "What does that mean?!" she demanded. I quietly whispered "It's a girl dolphin." She turned bright red and slinked away.

  • For years the 911 dispatcher would relay calls about a "giant pit bull" roaming the beach. I'd arrive on scene to find the most docile American bulldog you'll ever meet. I'd drive through the panicked crowd, open the passenger door and say "Luna, get in." She was a great dog who loved to be around people (and apparently learned how to open doors). I felt bad about leaving her in my kennel, so we'd usually drive around the City for a couple hours until her owner got home.

  • When I mention that I'm on the beach several times a day, every F-ing day, people tell me they're jealous. I guess in their mind's eye the beach is full of gorgeous Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson and Pamela "Baywatch" Anderson look-a-likes. Unfortunately, that is so NOT true. I see men with backs so hairy that from a distance I would swear they are wearing brown shirts. I've seen fat, European, and/or 80 year old men wearing Speedo bathing suits (proof to the right!) among other atrocities. One day my boss complained that I interacted with people through my driver's side window. She wanted me to get out of my truck and lead violators to the front so that the in-car video would pick up the entire interaction, not just the audio from my body mic. I begrudgingly agreed. The very next day I saw a boxer off leash and bouncing around the beach. I pulled up to speak to the owners, Ms. Nasty and her boyfriend, the Tattooed Midget. Ms. Nasty was 5 foot tall, the color of cottage cheese, and pushing 225 pounds. AND she was wearing a size 5 bikini. At least I think she was. From the front I couldn't tell because her ample pasty-white belly flopped over, completely covering the bottom half. Lucky for me, she was just as attractive on the inside. Boyfriend was equally pleasant, with a Napoleon complex to boot. Both had vocabularies that would make Chris Rock blush. I made sure to bring them to the front of my truck for the entire process, thus in full view of the camera. As soon as I left the beach I asked my boss to pull the video from my truck, claiming I thought the citation would be contested and I wanted her opinion of the interaction. I got a call 20 minutes later. Boss said "Really? You couldn't have warned me?! I just ate lunch!" Tee hee hee. I innocently replied "You said you wanted to see the entire interaction."

  • One of the weirder beach calls came a couple months ago. Ten minutes before my shift ended (yep, that's how it happens) I was asked to assist the rangers in a neighboring city's park. There was a raccoon on the beach at 6:50 PM and people were freaking out. In the 15 minutes it took me get to the park the hysterical beachgoers had scared the raccoon from the dunes into the ocean. I heard "It's out during the day, it must have rabies!" two dozen times before I could convince everybody to go away and let me do my job. (Note: Raccoons are not vampires; They are allowed to be out during daylight hours. It's very common with urban raccoons.) The young raccoon was soaked, terrified and exhausted from fighting the incoming tide. Without taking off my shoes (argh) I waded into the water and looped my catch-pole around the raccoon's waist. I put him in a transfer cage and drove through the crazy mob, now shouting "He must have rabies, what are you going to do with him?" I smiled and waved, because I knew they wouldn't like my answer. The raccoon wasn't sick, just young and overly curious about the park's overflowing trash cans. I took him deep into the wooded part of the park and let him go, admonishing him to "Stay away from the beach. Crazy people hang out there!" I hope he listened.

  • To be totally honest, this job's not all bad. I enjoy being on the beach during a storm, watching the waves violently crash on to the shore. There is nothing more breathtaking than seeing the sun rise over the ocean. And if the dolphins are breaching, I couldn't care less who's running loose on the beach. And then there's this:

    FYI: That's Kyle Brady, former Jacksonville Jaguar and my celebrity crush. He used to live in my jurisdiction. I would watch him bike and run down the beach every day. (I'm not a stalker. Don't judge me!) One day I had my officer friend, Sherri, riding in the truck with me. I saw Mr. Brady on the beach and started to hyperventilate. Seriously, this is one good looking man! Sherri said "Talk to him. I dare you!" I pulled over and said "Mr. Brady? You're my son's favorite player. Can I get a picture with you for my son?" Surprisingly, he agreed! (BTW, I was lying my ass off. Son liked Donovin Darius at the time; he couldn't have cared less about Kyle Freaking Brady.) Without even unbuckling her seatbelt, Sherri shot this picture through the driver's side window. The fact that the picture is in focus is amazing. Photography was not one of Sherri's talents. The genuine smile, however, is no surprise. Truth is, some days I LOVE my job, crazy and all! Weird enough for you? Come back later. I've' got more. LOTS more. -- K

    Hey! It's Thoughtless Thursday! Hope around and see what craziness others are sharing today!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

What has Jedi's attention? I have no idea, but he is really focused on it!

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

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Train Your Dog Like a Pro

I read other blogs regularly. The less-than-professional quality photos (no offense to Greyhounds CAN Sit, those pictures are breathtaking!) and the back-and-forth conversations make blogging feel more genuine. I pick up all kinds of information and enjoy the different points of view. And when I find what I think is a real gem I like to share it with you.

Months ago I read Why I Like Jean Donaldson on Damien's Best Dog Toys. The author was so passionate about one book -- Train Your Dog Like a Pro -- that I had to check it out. I put the book on my Amazon wish list -- and promptly forgot about it.

Eventually I ordered it and read half the book before I misplaced it. Recently I found the book again and am really enjoying it. Jean Donaldson breaks behaviors down into tiny pieces and gives a step by step progression for each one, along with the science behind it. Her Push-Drop-Stick is an objective method to gauge when to increase the difficulty level.

True confession: I'm a horrible dog trainer. I don't find the intrinsic joy in it that some of my friends do. When I come home from work I want to flop on the couch and watch mindless TV, not "work the dogs." Jean Donaldson addresses this in Chapter 4 with some practical tips to keep the trainer (me!) motivated.

So I'm finishing the book and trying to put her methods into practice. Jedi's a great dog, he deserves a better trainer. I'm trying not to beat myself up (too much). I'm trying to be more consistent. I love dog classes because they force me to be accountable. With that in mind, I just signed up for a class at the Humane Society. By October Jedi should have his CGC (Canine Good Citizen) title.

I know this is a Training Tips hop. I'm attaching this for all of you not-so-stellar trainers like me. My tip: Stop beating yourself up. Then hop around and see what others are sharing. There's some great stuff out there. -- K

Monday, August 4, 2014

Jedi's Bath

It's bath time for Jedi! You would think that bathing an 85 pound, double coated dog would be difficult. Lucky for me, Jedi is pretty cooperative. And with the right tools, it's not bad at all. I start by breaking out the grooming table. It's 24" tall and 42" wide -- low enough for me to reach his back without bending over and long enough for him to stand comfortably. Jedi jumps on and off the table willingly. He thinks it's a game.

I run the rake through his coat to pull out any loose hairs. We end up with a Chihuahua-sized fur ball. I'm glad we're doing this outside.

I wash Jedi right on the table which saves my back. I use a Pocket Hose and adjustable hose end nozzle to wet him down. Then I soap him up really good, massaging the shampoo all the way to the skin.

See Roxy lurking in the background? Roxy HATES baths, but loves the hose. She stays close by when I'm rinsing Jedi off . . .

 . . . so that she can bite at the water that misses Jedi's belly. She's having a blast, oblivious to Jedi's displeasure. (BTW, Jedi can lay it on thick when he wants to.)

When all the soap is gone I tell Jedi to shake it off. That dog can shake! I don't know why I wear the apron, I always get soaked.

I have Jedi jump off the table so I can wipe it off and move it to a dry spot on the patio. He then jumps back on and I use a forced air dryer to blow him dry. This thing is awesome! It gets all the way to the skin, blowing water and hair everywhere. (Again, I'm glad we're doing this outside!) I can have Jedi completely dry in less than 30 minutes.

You will never see pictures of Roxy getting a bath. She hates the table, so we have to use a kiddie pool. It takes at least two people to bathe her, because if someone doesn't have a firm grip on her she's running down the yard. And she hates the dryer. We soak up what we can with towels and then let her air dry. It takes hours.

It's Monday. Hop around and see what kind of mischief others are getting into. I bet some of them will need baths afterwards! -- K

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Stormy Sepia Saturday

Jedi and I were out hiking and saw a storm rolling in. I took a few pictures before heading home. The pictures are even more spectacular in sepia. (Seriously, look at that sky! Isn't it gorgeous?)

In Florida we get afternoon showers for about two months straight. It can be annoying. I grew up in the Mojave desert and I doubt we got this much rain in an entire year. Funny rain story: When I was a child my mother would make bread on rainy days because the extra humidity was good for the yeast. I would come home from school and the house smelled of fresh potato rolls and challah bread. Thirty years later, my mouth still waters when I smell rain!

Rain also reminds me of music. Some of my favorite songs are rain-related. Songs like Riders on the Storm by the Doors, Have You Ever Seen the Rain? by Creedence Clearwater Revival and Here Comes the Rain Again by the Eurythmics. What are you favorite rain-related songs?

It's Sepia Saturday. Stay dry, and hop around to see what others are sharing today. -- K

Friday, August 1, 2014

Friday Finds #5

Welcome back to Friday Finds. Roxy and I have found some goodies for you this week!

Let's start with veterinary care. Truth is, finding a knowledgeable, affordable and trustworthy veterinarian isn't easy. I had a rough time switching vets this year. It's very important to find someone you feel comfortable with. But have you ever wondered how your veterinarian feels about you? VetStreet shares 7 Things Pet Owners Do That Drive Veterinarians Crazy. Take a look, and adjust your behavior as required!

I know I talk about Go Pet Friendly ALL the time. It's one of my favorite blogs. Truth is, I want to be Amy when I grow up, travelling the country with my dogs in a Winnebago blogging all about it. (Seriously, who wouldn't want that?) Until then, I can only take small trips and dream big. Truth is, even short trips with dogs can be a bit hectic. Go Pet Friendly has an article entitled Preparing & Packing for a Pet Friendly Road Trip to make things a bit easier.

Another one of my favorite blogs comes from Dr. Sophia Yin. Her blog is just full of medical and behavioral info, along with some great videos. I can -- and do -- get lost in her blog for hours at a time. Her latest post Dog Bites: What To Do When You’re Attacked is something everybody should know. Nobody wants to get bitten, but it happens  -- and it happens a lot in my profession! -- so you might as well prepare yourself.

I recently stumbled upon a new (to me) blog called My Kid Has Paws. I'm really enjoying this blog and hope you'll check it out as well. The author has a new(ish) segment called Medical Mondays -- It's kinda like my Friday Finds but more intelligent! The post that really made me sit up and pay attention was about Degenerative Myelopathy (DM), a spinal cord condition that affects many German shepherds (and apparently corgis too). Fortunately, researchers and responsible breeders are trying very hard to eliminate this.

Does your dog seem to know when it's time to eat, take a walk or go to bed? Isn't it uncanny how he knows when you're coming home? Here's a fascinating article about how dogs tell time: What's Up With That: Why Does Your Dog Seem to Know What Time It Is?

And finally, will someone please take away my debit card?! I keep finding -- and buying -- dog-themed T-shirts. Here is my latest one. From Canada. (Yeah, they'll take my money too.) If you're interested you can find the order form here.

I hope you enjoyed this week's Friday Finds. I'll meet you back here next week! -- K