Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Your Seat is Waiting and Trick #5

There were 8 valid entries in the 
Love Is All Around  Giveaway.
There were more comments but there were many
who knew that they would not be able to attend.
So I used the Random Generator thingie
but it won't let me show it on here,
or more precisely I cannot figure how to show it,
and I am done fussing with it, 
especially since I never did get that nap.......
soooooo
Number 2 was generated randomly,
 and the second entry was
Tanya!
Your seat at the table is waiting for you.
Love Is All Around
I am very  happy that  you will be joining us.

I wish I could have you all sitting around,
chatting and creating for the day.
We do have fun, and oh my, 
the topics we cover!! I blush..
Stop laughing girls! I can so blush!
Just cause I haven't in over 40 years.. hush now.

Howie ( Eisenhower)
Right after we adopted him.
Who could resist this guy with his different eye colors?
Everyone could but us.  No one else wanted him.
This has absolutely nothing to do 
with this post, I just came across the old pic today.
*******
anyhoot
I know the typical advent calendar is for 25 days,
but my countdown as of the first, 
is a mere 21 days.
21 days till my chicks come home.
All you moms who have your family close by,
or close enough for weekend visits, count your blessings.
This long distance dance is awful,
but oh, the visits are so dear to my heart.
*******
Tanya is planning to post good pics 
of her pendants on her blog today. 
Check them out...
*******
Trick # 5

Pair up for decorating.
Gather 1 or two friends together and 
take turns going to each other's
 homes to decorate.
Draw numbers to see whose home 
is done in what order..
Preset definite days for decorating,
and no excuses, this is pinkie swear.
The home host feeds the friends.
You will get fresh insight into your decorating, 
it will get done much faster with friend help,
( we know we rarely get any other holiday help)
and you'll have fun.
I would recommned no more than
 three sign up together.
Too many opinions can slow things down,
and save the margaritas for after.
Tis the season to be merry,
Just not THAT merry!

z

What I planned to do and what actually happened

  
See this beauty? It is one of dozens 
of incredibly gorgeous art jewelry made by
 Tanya of Bead and Needle
Yesterday I asked Tanya to bring them 
over to my house so that I 
could photograph them, as they are
 so incredibly beautiful I wanted you all to see them.


Tanya will be taking these to the local Boulder City
Doodlebug show this weekend 
and if you don't get one now 
you may have to wait  until she makes more, 
and with the holidays coming 
who knows when that will be?
Tanya makes these beauties out of antique
 tin plates and then painstakingly beads
 them for many long hours
 into these pendants that are traffic stopping, 
and yes those are beaded ruffles you see.
They are impeccably finished 
and all are done with her one little needle,
amazing patience and incredible talent.
Do you want a breathtaking vintage piece
 that everyone will covet?
Have a little black dress that 
will grace a party this holiday, then 
top it with one of these for the WOW factor.
Want to own a one of a kind piece of
 art jewelry or give one to your BFF?
They are enhanced with vintage buttons,
crystals and hand dyed beads from 
Vintage Meadow Artworks.


So the plan was, I was going to take 
some great shots and
share these pieces with you.
What  happened was I photographed 
them on vintage tin, on greenery, on glass, 
on mirror, on snow, on burlap.
I photographed from 8 -10:30
I did not even make coffee, so I feel a mite
BI-Zitchy
Do you see any of the photos?
Nope
Why?
Because all the shots sucked.
There - I admit it.
All 147 of them
They were down to the bottom 
of the muck and the mire, bloody awful!
So here is the new plan.
Take my word for it, I have not lied to you yet,
Well, I did take the first 2 shots here, 
so yeah I lied a little,
BUT TRUST ME
these are scrumptious, and 
if you go to Tanya's blog
you can see them in progress
the colors are very muted not 
as bright as they look there, 
and Tanya just got a new camera,
so pick a tintype and maybe she can send 
you a decent shot of your necklace of choice,
or go on blind faith,
 ( I would, there is not a loser in the bunch)
and have her hand select one for you.
Quite a few already found homes when
 she brought them to our recent craft day, 
and we can be a persnickety bunch. 
So, coffee is needed,
camera instruction is needed,
and since I have had 4 hours of sleep, 
a nap is needed.
It's what I plan to do...
but if I were you, I would not lay odds.

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Family fun or frenzied festivies


We went to visit the family yesterday and had a lovely time on the Gold Coast. It's such a busy place and a big contrast to where we live, but although we were close to shops and department stores, and drove by Ikea, we didn't enter, we concentrated on the family. It was easy to do. We passed by so many people shopping, it reminded me  how easy it is to get sucked in by expectations and be left

Seven Pups for Seven People




Watch this video.  It's long, but it's worth it.

This kind of autopsy on what really happens to litters of puppies is too rarely done.

From what I can tell, most "dog breeders" are little more than "hump and dump" dog dealers.

Yes, there are people who will REALLY take back a dog any time it needs to be re-homed, but NO, those people are NOT the norm in the world of dog sales, and there is a LOT of difference between saying it and actually doing it.

The simple truth is that about 20 percent of all dogs born in the U.S. every year are abandoned to their death, and an equal or higher number end up being bounced from their first "forever" owner to their second or third owner, without any continuity of care or training.

One of the few writers to ever give an unblinking look at what really happened to a litter that they themselves bred, was J.R. Ackerley, the author of My Dog Tulip

Ackerley starts off breeding his dog with all good intent, but in the end the litter that is produced is whelped by a temperamentally poor bitch (Tulip) to a stud dog of no consequence. 

The eight pups that result quickly overwhelm Ackerley and his apartment to the point that, despite all apparent intention of doing the right thing at the front end, on the back end he ends up abandoning the pups to anyone with a fiver who will walk one out the door.

What happens next is predictable:  disease, disappearance, abandonement and death. 

And this was J.R. Ackerley!  He was not a mean person, a knuckle-dragger, an illiterate, or a person without some means. 

This was simply one more person who did not understand the full responsibility that comes when you bring a living thing into this world.  When faced with shouldering that responsibility he failed.  Yes, he lost a little of his dignity but those pups lost their life.




Responsibility. 

It's the R-word no one really wants to talk about too much in the world of dogs.  

Instead, people want to talk about property rights and ribbons.  But responsibility to the dog?  Responsibility to the puppies being whelped? 

When was the last time anyone said too much about that?
.

Happy Birthday Mark Twain!



Mark Twain (aka Samuel Langhorne Clemens) was born on November 30, 1835. This is his best dog story.

A Dog’s Tale, by Mark Twain

My father was a St. Bernard, my mother was a collie, but I am a Presbyterian. This is what my mother told me; I do not know these nice distinctions myself. To me they are only fine large words meaning nothing. My mother had a fondness for such; she liked to say them, and see other dogs look surprised, and envious, as wondering how she got so much education. But indeed it was not real education, it was only show; she got the words by listening in the dining room and drawing room when there was company, and by going with the children to Sunday school and listening there; and whenever she heard a large word she said it over to herself many times, and so was able to keep it until there was a dogmatic gathering in the neighborhood, then she would get it off and surprise and distress them all, from pocket-pup to mastiff, which rewarded her for all her trouble.

If there was a stranger he was nearly sure to be suspicious; and when he got his breath again he would ask her what it meant. And she always told him. He was never expecting this, but thought he would catch her; so when she told him, he was the one that looked ashamed, whereas he had thought it was going to be she. The others were always waiting for this, and glad of it and proud of her, for they knew what was going to happen, because they had had experience. When she told the meaning of a big word they were all so taken up with admiration that it never occurred to any dog to doubt if it was the right one; and that was natural, because, for one thing, she answered up so promptly that it seemed like a dictionary speaking, and for another thing, where could they find out whether it was right or not? for she was the only cultivated dog there was.

By and by when I was older, she brought home the word Unintellectual, one time, and worked it pretty hard all the week at different gatherings, making much unhappiness and despondency; and it was at this time that I noticed that during that week she was asked for the meaning at eight different assemblages and flashed out a fresh definition every time, which showed me that she had more presence of mind than culture, though I said nothing, of course. She had one word which she always kept on hand and ready, like a life-preserver, a kind of emergency-word to strap on when she was likely to get washed overboard in a sudden way—that was the word Synonymous.

When she happened to fetch out a long word which had had its day weeks before and its prepared meanings gone to her dump-pile, if there was a stranger there of course it knocked him groggy for a couple of minutes, then he would come to, and by that time she would be away down the wind on another tack and not expecting anything; so when he’d hail and ask her to cash-in, I (the only dog on the inside of her game) could see her canvas flicker a moment—but only just a moment—then it would belly out taut and full and she would say as calm as a summer’s day, “it’s synonymous with supererogation” or some godless long reptile of a word like that, and go placidly about and skim away on the next tack perfectly comfortable, you know, and leave that stranger looking profane and embarrassed and the initiated slatting the floor with their tails in unison, and their faces transfigured with a holy joy.
.

Dorothy Parker Had a Dog Named Cliché


The writer Dorothy Parker owned a series of dogs, including one named Cliché. 

The entire roster of Parker's dogs, listed alphabetically, include:
  • Amy — Mutt
  • Bunk — Boston terrier
  • C’est Tout — Poodle
  • Cliché — Poodle
  • Cora — Bedlington terrier
  • Daisy — Scottish terrier
  • Flic — Boxer
  • Fraulein — Dachshund
  • Jack — Dalmation
  • Limey — Poodle
  • Misty — Poodle
  • Nogi — Boston Terrier
  • Poupée— Poodle
  • Rags — Boston Terrier
  • Robinson — Dachshund
  • Scrambles — Mutt
  • Timothy — Dandie Dinmont Terrier
  • Troy, aka Troisiéme — Poodle
  • Wolf — Bedlington Terrier
  • Woodrow Wilson — Boston Terrier

As one might expect, Parker also wrote a litle poetic ditty to her dogs.

Verse For a Certain Dog

Such glorious faith as fills your limpid eyes,
Dear little friend of mine, I never knew.
All-innocent are you, and yet all-wise.
(For Heaven's sake, stop worrying that shoe!)
You look about, and all you see is fair;
This mighty globe was made for you alone.
Of all the thunderous ages, you're the heir.
(Get off the pillow with that dirty bone!)

A skeptic world you face with steady gaze;
High in young pride you hold your noble head,
Gayly you meet the rush of roaring days.
(Must you eat puppy biscuit on the bed?)
Lancelike your courage, gleaming swift and strong,
Yours the white rapture of a winged soul,
Yours is a spirit like a Mayday song.
(God help you, if you break the goldfish bowl!)

"Whatever is, is good" - your gracious creed.
You wear your joy of living like a crown.
Love lights your simplest act, your every deed.
(Drop it, I tell you - put that kitten down!)
You are God's kindliest gift of all - a friend.
Your shining loyalty unflecked by doubt,
You ask but leave to follow to the end.
(Couldn't you wait until I took you out?)

My favorite Dorothy Parker line:

The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.
.

Welcome to the Future

Future pets?


Future fox hunting?
.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Working Fox Terrier?


Someone wrote to me the other day:

I am interested in a working fox terrier dog puppy or a type of dog similar.... I am interested in hunting foxes and possum. I do have 4 cats.  Do you think this would pose a problem?

My answer:

I don't breed dogs or sell them, but recommend you look at Jack Russell Rescue and The JRTCA. Fox terriers do not hunt fox -- they are a show dog. Hunting fox or possum requires you to be able to dig 3-5 feet and carry about 40 pounds of tools with you into the field on a very cold day with ice and snow on the ground. Fox do not go to ground in warm weather. Cats and hunting dogs may or may not get along well -- its depends on the dog and the cats and when and how they are associated. My suggestion is before you get a dog, buy a book on working terriers and contact someone who can show you what it really means to hunt with terriers. There are a number of diggers in Ohio; the JRTCA should be able to give you a name or two.

Of course, I suspect this person is not really interested in a hunting dog. She is interested in the fantasy of hunting.

Rather than have a simple pet terrier, she wants to be able to tell a longer story -- that her dog is from hunting stock.

She knows that when people see her with a dog, the conversation started is always "what kind of dog is that?" and she wants to be able to have an intrepid-sounding answer, and who cares if it's actually true?

I get it.

But no, I am going to be no help if a person has done this little research before they write me.

If you really want a hunting terrier, buy a book and follow directions because, along with a dog, there are tools to buy and a lot to learn if you expect to keep your dog healthy in the field.   Green cash and paper pedigree does not make a dog a working terrier.
.

Go-to-Ground Lurcher and Hawk



A nice little video from T.S. Wright showing Cog, the Hybrid Falcon, and Loki the Lurcher digging a Jackrabbit out of a hole after a long flight.  

This is real four-species interaction, and real three-species partnership!

Jack Rabbits are actually a type of hare and do not den underground (neither do Cottontail rabbits), but will bolt into a hole if chased in hot pursuit.   I am not sure what made the original hole, but given the area, it would have to be badger, fox or prairie dog I would think.

Vets Invested in Defect, Deformity and Disease


A while back, in a post entitled For Veterinarians, Silence Has Been Golden, I noted the complicity vets have in the diseased, deformed and defective pedigree dogs that we see today:

Pencil it out, and the big money in veterinary care is not in once-a-lifetime vaccines, but in the big stuff: shot hips, wrecked eyes, recurring skin conditions, Cesarean births, and mounting rates of cancer.... The vets are nearly silent about the litany of pain, suffering, shortened life, and rising expense...

For those who think my post was too cynical, I recommend going over to the Purina Care blog, where veterinarian Larry McDaniel writes about the recent New York Times piece on English Bulldogs (for my take on that, see here).  McDaniel writes

I vividly remember a conversation I had with an established Veterinarian when I was starting out in practice in Montana. He told me that one sure fire way to get my practice going was to help establish the Bulldog as a breed in Western Montana. I thought he was joking, but he was serious. All the Bulldog people in the Western Part of the state saw him as the expert and brought their dogs to him. He told me that much of his success was based on the Bulldog.

Is this kind of advice rare in the veterinary field?

Apparently, not at all.   Veterinarian Emma Milne, in the U.K., once gave a presentation about health problems in pedigree dogs to the British Veterinary Association when an opthamological veterinarian stood up and said, point blank:  Why would I want a healthier dog when it's the wrecked Kennel Club dogs that bring in the money? 

Was this being said as a joke?  At the time, some thought so, but maybe not! 

One things for sure, as I noted in my earlier piece:

Just go to your vet and ask if he or she has a written list of breeds they actively caution against.

It's not going to be there.

Fact sheets on heartworm? Check. Even vets in Maine will have that in hope of maybe making a sale to a gullible customer.

But a fact sheet that says "avoid these breeds which are walking cancer bombs?"

A brochure that says "just say no to anchondroplastic dogs and brachycephalic breeds?"

Not there.

Nope.  Still not there.  Some things never change.
.

Lemony Snippets


I can't tell you how much we appreciate the good wishes and loving words sent yesterday. Thank you all.



~*~*~

There are a few ways to get the taste and smell of lemon into your cooking and cleaning products without having to use fresh lemons.  The best way is to use lemon myrtle or citric acid. Lemon myrtle has a wonderful lemon sherbet scent that is almost addictive.

We are growing lemon

Mosquitos? Kill Them All!


Eradicating any organism from this earth would have seriously bad consequences for entire ecosystems, right?

Well maybe not says Janet Fang, if the organism is the mosquito.  Writing in Nature magazine,

Malaria infects some 247 million people worldwide each year, and kills nearly one million. Mosquitoes cause a huge further medical and financial burden by spreading yellow fever, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, Rift Valley fever, Chikungunya virus and West Nile virus. Then there's the pest factor: they form swarms thick enough to asphyxiate caribou in Alaska and now, as their numbers reach a seasonal peak, their proboscises are plunged into human flesh across the Northern Hemisphere.

So what would happen if there were none? Would anyone or anything miss them? Nature put this question to scientists who explore aspects of mosquito biology and ecology, and unearthed some surprising answers....

...Most mosquito-eating birds would probably switch to other insects that, post-mosquitoes, might emerge in large numbers to take their place. Other insectivores might not miss them at all: bats feed mostly on moths, and less than 2% of their gut content is mosquitoes. "If you're expending energy," says medical entomologist Janet McAllister of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Fort Collins, Colorado, "are you going to eat the 22-ounce filet-mignon moth or the 6-ounce hamburger mosquito?"

With many options on the menu, it seems that most insect-eaters would not go hungry in a mosquito-free world. There is not enough evidence of ecosystem disruption here to give the eradicators pause for thought...

...Ultimately, there seem to be few things that mosquitoes do that other organisms can't do just as well — except perhaps for one. They are lethally efficient at sucking blood from one individual and mainlining it into another, providing an ideal route for the spread of pathogenic microbes.
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Monday, November 28, 2011

Busting Dogs Off Deer



Few things are cheaper and more reliable than a simple leash.

A video of a man screaming at his deer-chasing dog in the U.K. seems to have created a small interest in how to bust dogs off deer.

Dogs chasing deer is not a new problem but an old one, and it is not limited to deer. Dogs may bust on fox, geese, feral cats, horse, sheep, bear, and even cars and bicycles.

Anything that moves away quickly -- and especially anything that moves away while making noise -- will tend to trigger the prey drive in a dog.

What to do about it?

Well to start, recognize that prey drive is a deeply-seated code that is curled up like a watch spring in some dogs, and that pursuit is a self-reinforcing behavior.

What's that mean?

Simple enough: It means the dog gets a great deal of pleasure from the pursuit itself.  

For a dog, chasing things is a peak experience in and of itself.  It is FUN in capital letters. 

What that means for you, the owner or trainer, is that you are going to have to use all three legs of operant conditioning in order to achieve success if you have a dog with a lot of prey-drive.

As I noted in an earlier piece entitled Milking Stools and Operant Conditioning, the complete tool box of dog training (i.e. operant conditioning) can be thought of as:
  1. Reinforcement (treats, play, etc.);
    .
  2. Punishment (voice corrections, leash corrections, etc.), and;
    .
  3. Extinction (no reaction from behavior, desensitization).

So where to start?

Well a short history tour will do no harm.

One common way that working dog men and women have brought on new dogs in the hunt field is to couple them to old dogs so that the new sapling learns to "pack up" with the group. 

Once experienced and inexperienced hounds and terriers are coupled together for a while, the young dog tends learn that the goal is not to chase ANY scent, but a specific scent.  Hound and terrier couples are still sold, of course, but coupling an old working dog with a new prospect is not too useful a tip for the typical pet owner who has a single non-working dog.  So what else is there to do?




Another ancient technique for busting dogs off deer is to extinguish the dog's interest in deer scent by flooding the dog with deer stink. 

One method of doing this is to tie a deer's tarsal gland to a hound's collar.  Glands are actually sold for this -- see page 18 and 19 of the last (2010) Bill Boatman Catalogue -- as well as special collars and deer scent preparations sold by others.  I have never tried this method, but folks like Bill Boatman who have run beagles and large hounds longer than I have been alive (I am 52), are due some respect. 




The more traditional method of busting dogs off deer is to teach the dog a sit, to sit-stay, and to whoa (a command that simply means "stop and do not move until I release you".

All of this is done with a flat collar, a slip collar, or a prong collar, and a 6-foot leash, a 15-foot leash, and a 30-foot leash, using traditional methods that may include food rewards, clickers, pushing down bottoms, stepping on leashes, etc. 

There are a dozen ways to teach sit and sit-stay, and different dogs seem to "get it" quicker with one system or another depending on age, temperament, and the ability of the owner to communicate consistently.




Once your dog KNOWS sit and sit-stay on leash, and is 100% on these commands without distraction, you will want to take the dog to places where distractions such as other dogs, wildlife and farm stock (sheep, feral cats) are abundant. 

Work the dog on a short leash, and then on a long leash or check cord, and be quite tough on the dog when it starts to move towards a distraction and ignores a sit command.  Sit means SIT 100 percent of the time and whoa means NO moving forward!  Do not repeat commands. 

Once the dog understands that you consider deer scent and chasing cats and others dogs complete nonsense, and once the dog always obeys a sit command when on leash, you now want to move to the next stage which is making the dog bomb-proof off leash.  If your dog has a low prey drive, and is a soft and compliant dog in general, you may find it is pretty bomb-proof right off the mark, in which case lucky you!

More commonly, and especially with working dogs that have strong prey drives and no outlet for them, you will see compliance slip a bit when a dog is taken off-leash.  Old military trainers like Konrad Most and William Koehler could be pretty tough on dogs that would regress when off-leash, and for a pretty good reason:  a bolting or barking dog in a military situation can end up killing an entire platoon of humans.  Tolerance for disobedience, especially when given a sit, sit-stay, or whoa command was very low and for a darn good reason.

The good news is that today we have a new tool in hand, and while it is not the right tool for most training jobs, an e-collar is a very good tool for teaching a whoa and for busting dogs off deer provided it is used correctly.

As I note in an earlier piece entitled The Limits and Strengths of E-collars, electronic collars are NOT for teaching basic obedience, but are excellent tools for long-distance reminding.  This kind of long-distance reminding is particularly useful for deer-chasing dogs that have already been been taught sit, sit-stay, and whoa, and which have been long-lined on a check cord with distractions such as deer scent and running deer.


Again, to go back to basics, you do not start off with an e-collar by turning it up to 11.  You start with a setting so low it barely tingles, and you start using it with leash on to remind the dog that scent is a NO. 

The dog already knows this because you have taught it -- you are just reaching out and tapping the dog on the shoulder as a reminder if it forgets on a long line.  Yes, you may have to jolt the dog once or twice when the dog is a bit too excited fully off-leash at the beginning, but I have busted my own dogs off deer and never moved the collar past 3.  Remote collars are not about frying a dog -- they are about reminding a dog from a distance.

Go through the old Bill Boatman catalogue or that of any other hound and working dog shop, and you will see all the basic tools ever used to bust dogs off deer -- brace tethers, deer tarsal glands, check ropes, and e-collars. 

Here is the entire history of busting dogs off deer and other "trash" wildlife, and it all works, but the check cord and the e-collar together are the basic tools for modern field dog training because they both work well separately, even if they work best together, as described

But, of course, all of this is likely to be far too much work and bother for the owner of Fenton, the dog seen rioting on deer in the video at top. 

Here, what is needed is nothing more than a leash, or perhaps a simple 20 foot length of parachute cord tied to a belt clip on one end and a leash on the other.

It is an old truth that few things are cheaper and more reliable than a leash, and in this particular case Fenton's owner, an architect and father of two, should have known that Richmond Park, south west of London, has a herd of deer, and it is illegal to run dogs off-leash as a consequence.

Now, the poor fellow is keeping his head low, and thinking of changing the dog's name so he does not get in trouble with the authorities.  

That's a lot of trouble that could have been solved with a check cord or a leash of the simplest variety.
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Here it is - the book cover


I have some exciting news and a photo to share with you today. I have wanted to show you this for the longest time and I finally have the go-ahead from my publisher, Penguin. My book will be published on 22 February 2012, it's a hard cover and will cost $39.95. Here is the beautiful cover. It was designed by Allison Colpoys, Greg Elms took the photographs. The page design is by Nicki Townsend

Holiday Decorating Made Easier Trick #4


Let me rephrase that. 
It may not make your decorating easier,
 because that depends on just how much 
holiday decor you have, but you will have less
chaos and mess.
No matter which tree I am decorating, this one,
 or the next one, they all get the same treatment.
A box system.
Everything that goes on a tree goes in a 
specific box for THAT tree, or 2 boxes, or three.
Lights from that year, hangers, all of it. 


When I decide which tree to do on any given day
 I bring in the tree and the corresponding boxes.
 I don't have to haul in 16 different mismatched tubs,
 taped together boxes etc. No fuss, no mess.
If I remove anything in that room to decorate,
 I place it into those same boxes
 for storage over the holidays. 
I can do a room at a time 
or all the trees first, my choice.
All other decor is placed in large tubs via category;
Garlands, large picks, wreaths, stuffed figures etc.
I can then easily go through the rooms adding garland,
picks, or the figures, all the while my home is
undisturbed except for a tub or a few boxes.
The guest rooms have so little decor, 
that the entire room fits in one small box.
If I change a tree a certain year, and I frequently do,
I simply change the labels on the box
 during the take down process. 

( these are not all the holiday boxes - if you enlarge  lol)

If you haven't seen it before,
 this is my system in the garage.
These boxes and tubs are 2 deep with the box contents
behind each front box labeled on the shelf 
for easy retrieval. When I first started many years ago, 
the set of boxes at Costco were around 10.00
 and I bought 2 sets at a time as I could afford them.
 Now they are around 16.00 I think but 
this system could save your sanity.
 Just think how easy I can pack
 when it comes time to move.
 Oh yeah, I'm done already.

Right now this box system in the garage 
is being completely draped with drop cloths
 and twinkle lights are going up and tables set for 
a classroom studio for my next Gathering. 
I always planned to do this, but was happily forced 
to do so because of the upcoming photo shoot.
This class will be a trial run for the system
( it has to be entirely removable, so cars can
be re-parked in here). I am not truly  happy 
with the effect so far but just like my box system,
 this will evolve and get better.
I will drape better, paint more things out,
 figure out how to hide the ugly etc.
We are usually having so much fun, no one cares.
(I hope)

coming up next
Sharing the Decorating Trick #5
*******
Rant update:
just so ya know
I received almost 40 emails
All positive - no negatives this time
I coined "pop up bloggers", 
don't know any other terms, if there is one
please let me know.
I shut off comments because I guessed
( correctly) that many would hesitate to 
comment publicly about their opinion of the practice
..and boy did they have opinions.
A sampling...

"bravo on the rant!!"

"...to me it seems selfish and so while I may “see” what they are doing (promoting themselves, manipulating stats, etc) I guess I don’t “get it” as you do.  For me, it’s just all out selfish and I can’t and won’t do that."  

"..it's about what you think to be right and fair and true for you and the people that matter to you. I recently switched my blog links to this format and was appalled to see from the beginning that this is done as often as it is.... "

  "Some of the ones that bump are ones I like, so I put them on their own blogroll.  Now they just bump each other all day long......."
( This 4th one may be a solution for some of you who wish to keep following these gals. I love the image of them jumping over each other all day long, no one staying on top for long)

"I'd never heard of pop-up bloggers before. At least I've never noticed them on my blog roll anyway. As a blogger I can't imagine ever doing something like that. Some people will do anything to be noticed!
 You know, now that I think about it ... is _______one of them?"


"I wanted to thank you.  I had been having this happen recently and had no idea why
and I thank you for the education...uh duh - I didn't know. (And happen to agree with you whole-heartedly.....)  Rant on my friend....rant on..."


Don't forget the Crazy Giveaway for a free space in 
my Gathering class December 10th 
Love Is All Around.
You must comment on that post to be entered.
Please do not enter if you 
do not plan to attend if you win.


 You must comment before midnight
November 30. 
Good Luck!

Killing Dogs at Battersea


At Battersea Dogs and Cats Home outside of London, they are killing bull-staffie crosses left and right.  

Watch the whole video, above.  It's important and worth it.

Why is the Battersea "shelter" killing so many pit-bull type dogs? 

The short answer is because people continue to breed these dogs indiscriminately, and no one wants them in the number they are being bred.  That's as true in the U.K. as it is in the U.S.

Of course, this is not the story the Panorama TV crew started off to film!  They started off to say that these dogs were being put down because of the Dangerous Dogs Act.  And yes, they did find a few dogs that were put down merely for what they looked like.  On the main, however, they found something different:  that bull staffie crosses (i.e. pit bulls) and butcher dogs of other types (Rottweiler- and Boxer-crosses) were being bred and dumped indiscriminately in the U.K.,  same as they are in the U.S.  The dogs being put down are healthy and available, but no one wants them, and at Battersea perfectly fine dogs are coded "aggressive" just to make the whole thing a little easier to deal with

What's going on? 

What's going on is SILENCE in the pit bull and staffie community, and in the dog community in general, when it comes to the wholesale slaughter of these dogs.

Silence.  No one is talking about the FAILURE of the Pit Bull and staffie communities to spay-neuter their dogs, and as a consequence no breed is being killed as often.  Let me say it plain:
 
Silence = Death 



Look at the numbers above, which show how few Pit Bulls are neutered.  There's the Pit Bull problem -- both for the the dogs and for people.

San Francisco, which has mandatory spay-neuter for Pit Bulls has seen a steep decline in the number of Pit Bulls that are coming in to their shelters, and the numbers they are having to put down.

San Francisco appears to have found a solution. Since 2005, when the city adopted a mandatory spay-neuter law for pit bulls in the wake of the mauling death of 12-year-old Nicholas Faibish, the number of pit bulls impounded and euthanized has dropped dramatically, according to animal control officials.

"It's absolutely made a difference," said Capt. Vicky Guldbech of San Francisco's animal control department. "When I started this job, pit bulls were feared. We were afraid of them. Now when I see pit bulls in the field, they have cute wagging tails."

The shelter has seen a 25 percent decline in seized pit bulls at the shelter, and a 33 percent drop in pit bulls that are euthanized, according to animal control Director Rebecca Katz.

That's a story that the property-rights Pit Bull crowd do not mention too often.

Nor do the property-rights Pit Bull crowd talk about what happened outside of San Francisco with an un-neutered Pit Bull owned by a vocal supporter of BadRap.   Anyone want to guess what happened there?   No, it was not pretty.

But of course, the Wall of Silence remains.

We cannot talk about the nearly one million dead Pit Bulls that are killed every year in this country.

We cannot talk about the failure of the Pit Bull community to spay-neuter.

We cannot talk about the success of mandatory spay-neuter with this dog.

All we can do is bury the dead in silence, dog and human alike.

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Electronic Collars are 50 Years Old


Electronic collars are 50 years old.

The ad, above, is from the 1962 Bill Boatman catalogue, and shows Bill Boatman that year with a four of his own dogs, and a couple of pets borrowed from neighbors.

By 1973, Field & Stream magazine was writing sensible articles about e-collars, including a clear and strong admonition that they were not for training, but for correction. i.e. to remind an already obedience-trained dog to do what it knows it should be doing.

Field & Stream noted that bad trainers with traditional methods are even worse trainers with e-collars, and that to be effective using an e-collar correction on a bird dog, two kinds of good timing are needed:
  1. Good timing in the field so that the correction is well-timed at the moment, and also;
  2. Good timing as far as the dog's life is concerned. If you correct a dog for chasing birds too soon, you diminish the dog's bird interest but if you wait too long and let chasing become a habit. it is much harder to break the habit once it has been started.


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Pet Wolves, Hawks for Hunting, and $30 Dogs


This ad for Maryland hunting dogs is from the July 1969 issue of Field & Stream magazine.

The ad below, from the same magazine, advertises pet raccoons, pet wolves, and "hawks, falcons and owls for hunting."  Below that is an ad for a get-rich-quick scheme for raising mink. 

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Creating Christmas traditions and memories


The year is winding down fast, soon the summer school holidays will start and then, Christmas. We have extra excitement over Christmas this year - this is our first year with grandchildren. I have a million wonderful memories of our own children at Christmas, now it feels like we're being given another ride on the merry-go-round. Now Alexander and Jamie are here. It will be exciting to have our

Before They Were Called Dog Crates


Before they were called dog crates, they were called terrier boxes or kennel cages, as seen at top, and were frequently used to ship dogs by rail.

Somewhere around the turn of the century, a gentile version was made and sold as a "snuggery" for lap dogs -- the first "sherpa bag".

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In the 1940s and 50's, production wooden boxes were produced for airline travel using a new material -- plywood.
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Then in the 1970s, the airlines began selling fiberglass (not plastic) "Sky Kennels" produced by Doskocil (now called Petmate) which could only be bought directly from the airlines (they were not sold in stores or by mail).  Sky kennels were produced through the 1980s until they were replaced by injection-molded plastic crates.

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The local Petco shelves.

Today's injected-molded crates made by Sky Kennel or Vari Kennel are now lighter, sturdier, and more secure than previous models, and have become the backbone of not only pet travel, but night time pet containment.
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Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Bad Idea for 70 Years

From the Jan, 1941 issue of Popular Science comes this idea that has crippled people, killed dogs, and resulted in endless amounts of canine confusion:

Click to enlarge.
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Wrench Rhetoric


I came across the calendar picture, above, and just a little earlier in the day I had sent someone a link to a post in which I had talked a bit about monkey wrenches.

It turns out I talk about wrenches a lot:
  • June 5, 2011: "[A]s a general rule I am not one to encourage the use of dogs as a wrench to tighten just any loose nut."
  • June 17, 2010:  "Dogs have been around a long time, and a few of us have owned dogs for more than 10 years. Use common sense. Observe. Read. Go slow. Remember that one wrench does not fit every nut."
  • March 11, 2010:  "[I]f you have a dog that is phobic, or is routinely ripping into another dog (or your child or wife) then the girls at PetSmart might not be the right wrench for that nut."
  • March 8, 2010:  "An e-collar is like a monkey wrench; it appears to be a useless and thuggish tool you will never need, right up until the minute you need it, and then its use becomes both transparent and necessary."
  • July 19, 2008:  "A judge has thrown a wrench into the push to delist the gray wolf in the northern Rockies, saying two things that seem imminently sensible to me..."
  • February 27, 2008:  "The National Rifle Association is a direct mail fear factory of the same stripe (albeit catering to a different demographic) as the Humane Society and PETA. Most gun owners see them for what they are; a useful wrench to grab and twist the gun-grabbing nuts on the far left, but not the kind of organization they actually care to support with membership dues."
  • June 16, 2007: "Dogs are a bit of a mystery, and it may take a few more turns of the wrench before I get the nuts set right."
  • January 9, 2007: "The only benefit of an e-collar is that it works long distance, which is very useful if you have a strong prey-drive in a very smart hunting dog as I do with Mountain."
  • August 31,2006:  "The simple but harsh truth is that the psycho-demographic watching the National Geographic channel tend to be people with two types of common "dog problems": They think their dog is their child, and their dog is over-fed and fat. The dog is, quite simply, being 'loved to death.'  Cesar has antidotes for both problems. He is the right wrench for this nut."
  • Dec 13, 2005:  "The world of the working terrier allows for different sized dogs for different earths, situations and quarries. Different wrenches for different nuts, so to speak.  A badger sette and a fox pipe are not the same size, nor are the animals that dig them.... The true history of the AKC breed standard seems to be that they have a breed standard written by a badger digging club that they are now presenting as a breed standard for working red fox in a natural earth.  No wonder there are so few Kennel Club dogs found in the field! It's a bit like an American mechanic showing up at a Volvo factory and wondering why none of his wrenches fit!"
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