Saturday, February 28, 2009

News Reel - Dog Ban at Beach - what do you think

So, should your dog be allowed to run off leash at a beach where children are playing and swimming? The Blue Flag Standard doesn't think so. Blue Flag is an "eco-label" that is internationally recognized. If a beach has a Blue Flag than that means the water is safe to swim in.

What does this have to do with dogs? Read this article to find out. The short version is:

"Toronto City Council has approved a controversial plan that will ban dogs from Kew-Balmy beach so it can meet the international Blue Flag standard."

There is some controversy in Council regarding this decision - some are suggesting that the problem isn't with dogs, but with birds.

It is also upsetting many locals who frequent this beach with their dogs. Here is a CL post regarding it (see pic). It has gone around the dogs email lists for the area as well.
My opinion? If dog excrement weren't a problem than it wouldn't have come up in council and it wouldn't prevent Blue Flag from certifying these beaches. Obviously there is a problem with owners not cleaning up after their dogs (yes, this is an international problem).
If all owners pick up after their dogs than it wouldn't be a problem. But guess what? It's always going to be a problem because many owners don't.
There is also some controversy about urine and the safety of children playing where dogs may have relieved themselves.
You may be thinking: It's those asshat owners who are too lazy to pick up after their dogs it's their fault. Let me tell you something. Those owners are never going to go away so stop fooling yourselves.
What can we do? Well, if you are walking your dog and you see a pile - pick it up! Doesn't matter if it's your dog's or not. If you want to continue using these areas, than we all have to take responsibility to keep it clean. Yes, that means picking up after the asshats who can't be bothered just so you can continue to enjoy those off leash areas in your neighbourhood. It's unfortunate, but true.
What do you think?
Should dogs be allowed off leash at beaches where children can swim?
Should we as responsible dog owners pick up every pile we see since we have a bag anyway and it only takes a minute?
Should all dog owners be responsible for the sidewalks, parks and beaches where we walk our dogs?

Friday, February 27, 2009


It's Friday and I'm having troubles focusing on work today ... wonder why? So, I've been popping around looking at different things on the Internet. This is pretty off topic for my blog, but I thought I'd put it out there anyway. It's something I've been looking into recently and I thought I'd share about it a bit.

There are a bunch of free podcasts out there that you can download or listen live on the Internet - many of them are animal related. I find some of their shows are pretty good (when I can actually find the time to listen!) and some aren't. Take it with a grain of salt. Personally, I often will download it to MP3 format and load it onto my MP3 player (iPOD equivalent) to listen while I'm working (changing out computer parts doesn't take too much focus for me at this point!).

For any of you out there who are interested in publishing your opinion, be that in a podcast, blog or writing, I have found an interesting site you may want to check out. There are many different resources out there to help you with this, but while I was flipping through I found this site is a good general knowledgebase. This blog explains these things in pretty easy-to-understand terms (my kind of terms!).

Do any of you have podcasts you listen to regularly? If you do, tell us about them! I'm always looking for new ones to listen to.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Asshat Rant - Hoarding

I'm not going to get into too many details about why hoarding is bad - I'm sure you all already know why it's not good. I did want to comment a bit about it though. These hoarders don't start out planning to be Asshats, it's a step by step growing process they develop into.

It's not like most people get a new house and think "Great! Now I can pack it full of so many animals that I won't be able to afford, some will die, they will all get sick and then I can go to jail" That's just not how it happens (most of the time - there are some whack-jobs out there).

Usually what happens is they find an animal that needs a home and they think they're saving it by taking it home. Maybe they did. But then they find another and another and another. After a slow process of accumulation, they finally end up with too many pets and nowhere to go.

Step 1 is where it starts:
Maggy West who had 21 dogs and 3 horses seized. Now it is their own pets that need to be saved. This one let the situation get out of control

Step 2 is where it proceeds:
Unnamed woman had 22 dogs crammed in station wagon. SPCA contacted Adult Protection Services ... that means either she forgot to take her meds or she's got someone after her.

Step 3 is where it ends up:
Here is a case where the accused, Richard Anthony Delfeld, Jr., is alleged (why not charged?!) with animal cruelty for not providing adequate food and water for 185 animals (75 which were dead when investigators arrived). This guy was also arrested for not providing adequate care to a disabled person. Asshat.

Hoarding is wrong but not inherently evil. The people don't start out trying to be asshats. If you can't afford the animals you have, than you shouldn't have them. It's that simple. I've heard of a fair number of "rescues" ending up this way.

That being said, if you have too many animals and can't afford food, medical, grooming and other basic needs than you you should look into finding new homes for some of them. No excuses. If you don't, you're an Asshat.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

News Reel - Puppy Mill Dogs Available

Sorry to put up so many News Reels so close together, but I wanted to post this article. It's a bit of good news and sometimes it is really nice to pass on some happy stuff.

In December a puppy miller in Meaford, ON was charged with animal cruelty, the dogs seized and the mill shut down. There were a total of 100 dogs - all were in poor condition, some pregnant, and some with young pups. The dogs were Bichons, Lhasa Apso's, Pekingese, and Papillions.

The dogs have been kept at shelters in Ontario until they were deemed property of the OSPCA (don't forget that just because an animal has been seized, that doesn't mean that the owner is puppy-poop ... that person is still the 'owner' who may be finacially responsible for paying for all the bills accrued during the dogs' stay at the shelter including grooming, vetting, food and board).

Starting today the three shelters that have these dogs will be accepting adoption applications. Here is the article that details this event in the Kitcher-Waterloo Humane Society. The other two locations are the Newmarket/North York OSPCA and Lincoln County Humane Society.

As of today these little guys have a new lease on life, new hopes and new directions. I hope they do well ...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Featured Rescue - Apollo the Dalmation

Dalmations saw a lot of publicity when Disney put out their movie 101 Dalmations featuring real dogs. Everybody wanted one. Unfortunately, this resulted in a lot of dumped dalmations in rescues and shelters the following year. This happens anytime an animal is featured in movies or TV shows. At this point, the Dalmation "rage" seems to have subsided.

Dalmations are high energy dogs and are listed in the Sporting breed group. The Dalmation I've decided to feature is named Apollo. He's a lovely looking guy who is reportedly quite friendly. He's currently being fostered in Ohio


PLEASE NOTE -- Splash found an error in my post above! Please note that the Dalmation is actually a "Non-Sporting" breed, not a "Sporting" breed as I had originally posted. Sorry all for the confusion

Monday, February 23, 2009

What do you think? Euthanasia or Surgery?

Ok, so I have a question for everyone and I'm looking for your opinions. What do you think of the ads posted by people who own a dog that requires major surgery and they're asking for money to cover it?

Personally, I would never give money to them. I wouldn't donate because you don't really know if they are telling the truth or if they'll take your money and run with it. (Yes, I realize that this person is asking for help financially as well as asking if there is an organization that helps with this - props to that I suppose ... though a Google search may tell them the answer to their questions)

It sounds cold and heartless but I wouldn't offer my money to them. I would refer them to a clinic who I know will give very good prices to people in need and arrange payment plans, but that's it. If that's not good enough, I would suggest euthanasia.

The thing a lot of people don't think of is the after care. Say you actually do get the amount of money for the surgery ... now what? Are you really going to be able to afford the extra visits to the vet / specialist after the surgery? Can you pay for the pain meds required? What about the special food? How are you going to prevent this from happening again?

I know that slipped disks for Dachsies are very common because people allow them to jump onto the couch and they miss and land on their back and BANG! There goes another disk. That simple and that fast. If you couldn't prevent it the first time, would you really be able to prevent it again? And if it happens again, how would you pay for the surgery a second time?

I know how painful a slipped disk can be and if the dog is not recieving pain meds ... what is its quality of life like? If the owner can afford not only the surgery, but also the after care, than my opinion is to go for it. See if you can save your dog. However, I do believe there is a point where you need to consider if the best course of action for your dog is to do the surgery or to euthanize.

What do you think?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

News Reel - Shelters Fear Flood

Well ... better late than never I suppose. Here's an article from a Toronto, ON newspaper that talks about shelters being flooded with unwanted pets.

Don't know why they are so late to figure out that people losing their jobs will mean that they can't afford to keep their pets ...

Anyway, thought I'd share

Friday, February 20, 2009

Featured Rescue - Buddy the Bichon Frise

Good Grief it's been a while since I posted a Featured Rescue - sorry about that. Guess I got carried away with all my ranting. I thought I'd post a small dog today since I've been focusing on the big guys lately.

Here is a 3 year old male Bichon Frise. He's almost housetrained and good with kids, dogs and cats. He's located in Mount Giliad, OH
This rescue is called Thirdtyme Rescue. They look like they're legit - they pull dogs from local kill shelters. I found their phone number listed as a breed steward on the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America - not that this really means anything other than that one of the founders is a breed steward, but I thought I'd mention it.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Training Rant - Dominance

You know how I love the controversial topics! It's been a while since I posted a Training Rant so I thought I may as well put one of these up here. This one may get a few feathers ruffled.

Please feel free to post your opinion whether you agree with me or not - it's good to hear different sides of topics. I'm going to post my opinion on this topic. There will probably be many that don't agree with me ... I hope you post not only your opinion but also why you believe what you do.


We've all heard about it. It's on the dog training TV shows, it's on the web ... it's everywhere. If the dog doesn't do what the owner tells it to do (or if he goes the opposite way than the owner), than we blame it on the fact that the dog is "dominant". What a load of ... well, you know.

For most owners, you could ask the following questions: why in the world should the dog listen to you? What have you done to make that dog trust you or do what you ask? What have you done to earn this trust (trust is not simply given - it must be earned)?

My opinion ... it has absolutely nothing to do with dominance. Dogs are pack animals, right? Ok, so how many leaders are in a pack?? One leader. The rest are followers.

Believe it or not, Nature is a smart-cookie. Most puppies born are born to be followers, not leaders. If they were all born to be leaders, they would be more like cats; they would be solitary animals.

Ok, so take that thought and expand on it a bit.

Dogs need a leader. That's the way a pack works. Someone is the boss. Is this role going to be filled by you or the dog? It's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it. Most dogs don't want this job, but if their owners refuse to pony-up, than someone has to and guess where that leaves the dog? You've got it - making decisions.

Most of the time, your dog is not dominant - he's not trying to take over the world. He's just making the decisions that you don't seem to want to make.

After a while, he gets used to making these decisions because you haven't made them for 6 months or a year. Suddenly when you go to teach the dog something, you're upset that he won't do what you ask! Then you say "oh, well he's such a dominant dog and that's why he is the way he is - we're lucky to teach him to sit on command" ... *headdesk*

NO your dog is Not dominant! He's the way he is because you are a lazy asshat owner and you made him that way. He makes decisions because you either couldn't be bothered or didn't know how ... he makes them because someone needed to, you didn't and so he did.

If you don't show the dog that you can make the decisions for the pack, than someone's got to step up to the plate! He'll do it because you haven't bothered.

Dominance ... it's a convenient excuse.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

News Reel - Peanut Dog

Here's an interesting spinoff from sniffer dogs. This dog has been trained to sniff out Peanuts! Very awesome. Check out the article below. I had to copy and paste because the page it was on is really poorly set up and difficult to read. Here's the original page link if you are interested- it's the Denver Post.


Dog has a nose for peanuts, girl's safety
A child allergic to even a faint trace can get out more into the world, thanks to her buddy.
By Brian Newsome The Gazette
Posted: 02/18/2009 12:30:00 AM MST

MONUMENT — Eight-year-old Riley Mers still has a scar on her foot from a peanut shell that slipped into her sandal at a park, burning her skin like acid.

She has gone into hives and struggled to breathe from inhaling peanut residue too faint for humans to smell. In her short life, she has learned enough about emergency rooms to know she doesn't like the "dresses" she has to wear.

But the Monument child with the dangerous food allergy has an ally that might restore some sense of normalcy to her life: a Portuguese water dog named Rock'O. The dog has been trained to detect the presence of peanuts before she can, potentially saving her life and helping her to get out more in public.

Until now, every encounter has been nerve-racking.

"It's just so life-changing, you wouldn't believe it," she said, calling the black, curly-haired dog her "guardian angel."

The girl received her dog Sunday after he underwent six months of training. Rock'O will go wherever she does, alerting her to the presence of peanuts.

Peanuts are used in far more ways than providing spread for a sandwich or a salty snack, and her allergy is sensitive enough for the most minuscule exposure to cause problems. Some potting soils, for example, contain peanut shells as filler.

She attends a few classes at Kilmer Elementary School, in Lewis-Palmer School District 38, but gets most of her education online. The school does not serve peanut butter, but a child bringing a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich to school could create a danger for Riley.

Such situations won't change, but Rock'O will provide "long-range radar" for Riley, said her dad, Brett Mers.

The dog might stop her from going into a room if it smells peanuts. If a parent or someone is with her, they can enter the room with Rock'O and, like a bomb or drug dog, sniff out the source and remove it.

Rock'O was trained at the Florida Canine Academy under master trainer Bill Whitstine, who donated his services to the family. Although Whitstine has long trained dogs to detect bombs, narcotics, flammable materials and bed bugs, this was his first for peanut allergies.

"This really is a bomb dog for this child," said Whitstine, "because the peanut is a bomb for her."
While the new use of canines holds promise, it is not without potential problems. Chief among them is cost. The labor to train a dog to detect peanuts drives the price to about $10,000. And if a dog has an off day or is not properly trained, the consequences can be severe.

"It has to be done right, because somebody's life depends on this dog," said Sharon L. Perry, who claims to have trained the first peanut-detecting dog three years ago and is director of training at the Southern Star Ranch Boarding Kennel, in Florence, Texas.

For Riley, Rock'O means a chance to go to birthday parties and the mall with a little less fear.
"I could do a back flip," she said about her excitement. "My friends — it's not their fault that they eat peanut butter."

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Rescue Numbers - Update

On December 17, 2008 I posted some numbers from petfinder listing the amount of certain breeds available for adoption. We saw an overall count of 1325 less dogs in rescue at the beginning of December in comparison to two months earlier - in October.

Again, I'll re-iterate that I'm not posting this to depress anyone, but I believe that people should all be aware of the sheer numbers we face out there. As long as people continue to adopt animals from shelters than we're making progress.

Here are the numbers from that day in December:
American Staffordshire Terrier 3,276
Australian Cattle Dog/Blue Heeler 3,212
Australian Shepherd 3,424
Beagle - 7,851 dogs
Black Lab - 4,860 dogs
Border Collie - 4,829 dogs
Boxer - 5,793 dogs
Chihuahua - 7,434 dogs
Dachshund - 3,787 dogs
German Shepherd - 7,504 dogs
Labrador Retriever - 19,845 dogs
Pitbull Terrier - 10,355
Rottweiler 3,535
Shepherd 8,650
Terrier 7,204

Anything over 3,000 I have listed - anything less than that I have considered a manageable number. Our running tally of these breeds in December was 101,559.

Here are the numbers for today:
American Staffordshire Terrier 3,427
Australian Cattle Dog/Blue Heeler 3,016
Australian Shepherd 3,319
Beagle - 7,253
Black Lab - 4,606
Border Collie - 4,601
Boxer - 5,960
Chihuahua - 6,846
Dachshund - 3,481
German Shepherd Dog - 7,099
Labrador Retriever - 19,162
Pitbull Terrier - 10,968
Rottweiler 3,606
Shepherd 8,235
Terrier 6,662

That brings our running tally to 98,241! Wow - that is 3,318 less dogs! That's a huge amount of dogs that have found homes. Petfinder has a total number of 179,724 dogs available counting all the different breeds listed.

What does this mean? Spay and neuter your pets people. I don't care how kyoot your poopsie-poo is - that's not a good reason to breed him/her.

Don't forget - I don't have any problem with Responsible Breeding. But the keyword in there is "Responsible".

Monday, February 16, 2009

Asshat Rants and Advertising Etiquette

Lets talk today a little bit about advertising etiquette. All the time, I see ads for dogs by people who seem ... well, like asshats. They may not be, but thanks to their poor advertising etiquette, they create an image of themselves to be true and utter asshats. This ad was posted to CL and I would like to use it as my example to prove this theory.
Problem Statement: Owners advertising their dogs sometimes show that they are Asshats because they can't be bothered to type out a proper ad for their animals. Laziness proves nothing short of showing people you're an asshat.
Number one: ask for a re-homing fee. By posting a dog for free, you are only opening up the door to hoarders, collectors and brokers. Your dog may be picked up by one of these and unless you want your precious FiFi to be in a research project, ask for a fee. When you ask for a fee, the chances are still present, but they are lessened. Hey, maybe you're just another asshat looking to get rid of the dog as fast as possible and don't care where it ends up?? You did post that you want him to go to a "very good home", but you certainly aren't attracting one. Asshat.
Number two: it would be great if you could type in both upper and lower cases. By typing all in CAPS, it does not show the potential "buyers" that you really need to find your dog a home (which I can only assume is what you were trying to portray), but in fact it actually shows that you are an uneducated loudmouth who thinks he is above all others. Asshat.
Number three: What the hell does a "MINNI GERMAN SHEPPARD/ROTTI" look like?!?! You mean it's not as big as you'd hoped it would be? Most GSDs I know sit around 65-70 lbs (unless of course it's way overweight/fat), and most Rottweilers I've met sit around 75-85 lbs (for a healthy weight). There are, of course, always exceptions (I hate people who overfeed so their dog is heavier than it should be! With a few exceptions, most dogs should have an hour glass shape). What were you expecting? Research the breed before buying. Asshat.
Number four: Learn how to use spell check. There is a neat utility that you can download for free that spell checks in IE and/or Mozilla. If you don't want to download this, please type your ad in MS Word or some other program that does have a spell check utility built in and use it! I can't explain how irritating it is to read a post with no apostrophe's and shortened words such as "U" (instead of "you"). It only confirms our initial reaction ... you are an asshat. If you are unsure whether or not you really are an asshat, please refer to points One, Two and Three.
You are an asshat. I hope your dog doesn't end up somewhere terrible because you can't be bothered to use some common sense and etiquette. People should be required to have licenses to own dogs.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Featured Rescue Followups - January

For my Featured Rescue Followups of December, both Kobe Swims and Tahne were still waiting for their forever homes. Let's follow up with them and see if they've found their special someone yet. If any of you can open your home to a rescue dog, as always, I urge you to do so.

Kobe Swims the Kelpie listed as a GSD mix
Status: Still available ... NOT adopted
Featured on December 5, 2008
Follow link here to see blog entry.
Like I said before, I'm sure Kobe will be difficult for them to place since he's listed at a GSD/Rottweiler mix. We have emailed the rescue to suggest that he may be a kelpie and not a rotti, but have received no response.
Tahne the Cocker Spaniel
Status: Still available ... NOT adopted
Featured on December 13, 2008
Follow link here to see blog entry.
They've posted an update and new pictures for this little gal on petfinder. Sounds like she's making good progress.

Here's the Featured Rescue Followups for the dogs in January. As always, there is some good news and some not so good news ...

Duke the Yorkshire Terrier
Status: Adopted
Featured on January 4, 2009
Follow link here to see blog entry.

Lainey the Australian Cattle Dog/Blue Heeler
Status: Adopted
Featured on January 8, 2009
Follow link here to see blog entry
Rafe (left) and Redman (right) the Rhodesian Ridgebacks
Status: NOT Adopted
Featured on January 12, 2009
Follow link here to see blog entry
Rafe and Redman are both housetrained, neutered male RRs, but their similarities end there. Where Redman is young (4 yrs), Rafe is a senior (10 yrs). Rafe is in Muskegon, MI but Redman is in Advance, NC. Redman is spunky and full of life, and Rafe is slowing down and more calm.

Bella the Catahoula Leopard Dog
Status: NOT Adopted
Featured on January 21, 2009
Follow link here to see blog entry
Bella has already been adopted out once with poor results. If you have space in your home for another dog, please consider Bella. She is currently located in Alden, NY

Boo the Jack Russell Terrier
Status: Adopted
Featured on January 26, 2009
Follow link here to see blog entry
Boo is thought to be the result of a dumping. Looks like a cute little guy and from all reports - is making progress. If you want to welcome Boo into your home, he's currently located in New Castle, PA.

Dora (left) and Zoey (right) the Siberian Huskies
Status: Adopted
Featured on January 28, 2009
Follow link here to see blog entry


Well, that's some good news and some sad news for January/December. Both Kobe Swims and Tahne are still listed and they have been up since December. Rafe and Redman the two Rhodesian Ridgebacks are both still listed as well as Bella the Catahoula Leopard Dog.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Good News and Happy Valentines Day

First off, Happy Valentines Day (Or Feast of Vali - or whichever you celebrate!).

Secondly, I thought I'd let you know that the GSD I had last week went to his new home. He actually left earlier this week, but I just haven't had a chance to post it. His new family was so excited to hear that I picked them ... they were almost vibrating. It was great to see and somewhat entertaining :)

Now ... on to the next pups. They can't be touched apparantly ... might be interesting ...

Friday, February 13, 2009

Breed Specific Legislation - BSL

Please note that this is not a crazy rant. I want to touch on both sides of the coin here, so please take the time to read this entire post before commenting.

BSL stands for Breed Specific Legislation. BSL has become big news here in Ontario over the last few years. Ontario implemented BSL in August, 2005. See this link here to read about Ontario's DOLA (Dog Owners' Liability Act). The BSL in Ontario was basically used in an effort to ban dogs of a specific breed. The breed in question was "Pit Bull".

So, for those of you who don't have "Pit Bull" dogs and so therefore think that this BSL doesn't have anything to do with you, let me explain something. When the legislation first came out, a "Pit Bull" was defined as a short-haired, muscular dog. This could include any short haired dogs such as:

boxer, bull terrier, doberman, bullmastiff, rottweiler, great dane, foxhound, beagle, boston terrier, dalmation, dogue de bordeaux, jack russell terrier, rhodesian ridgeback, pointers, vizsla, weimaraner, labrador retriever, most hound dogs ...

The lists go on and on. After much fighting in courts, the Dog Legislation Council of Canada (DLCC) has won a few victories for dog owners. They have changed the legislation from what I explained above to define a "pitbull" as the following:
(a) a pit bull terrier,
(b) a Staffordshire bull terrier,
(c) an American Staffordshire terrier,
(d) an American pit bull terrier,
(e) a dog that has an appearance and physical characteristics that are substantially similar to those of dogs referred to in any of clauses (a) to (d); (“pit-bull”)
A friend of mine has a tattooed yellow lab (who looks everything like a lab should look) - I couldn't count how many times he's been stopped in the dog park and asked to muzzle his "pitbull". The only thing that has saved her from the "purple juice" is her tattoo.
There have been many dogs in the last few years who have been euthanized because they were accused of being a "pitbull". Here's the thing about BSL ... if you can't prove your dog is NOT a pitbull, than you may be forced to euthanize your dog. (Guilty until proven innocent)
I would like to mention that the Netherlands has had BSL implemented for 15 years. In June of 2008, the Netherlands lifted their BSL ban. Read the news article here. Apparantly, researchers found that while the amount of dogs of this breed were lessened during the implementation of the ban, bite counts were not. They found that bad owners just bought different breeds that weren't banned.

Authorities in Netherlands are now going to push education and ensuring local leash laws are enforced.

Now the flip side of the argument

Politicians are NOT always dog people (or people who know lots about dog training) but it is their job to ensure the safety of the general public. If they can do this job easily with BSL, than they will! We elect them to protect us. Sometimes they have to protect us from ourselves.
You may not like that they have to be your hero, but that's their job. As my dad has always said: it's a dirty job, but somebody's got to do it. Too many people have been hurt, injured or killed by dogs to just stand by and do nothing.

So, what can you do to prevent BSL from coming to your home? Train your dogs people! If you don't want BSL than stop teaching your dogs to be aggressive bitey dogs. It's really quite simple.
Stop saying that it's the few that ruin it for the many. It's obviously a lot of people who "ruin it for the rest" because if it weren't, we wouldn't see so many bites being recorded by the health dept every year.
If it were your child who was mauled and needed re-constructive plastic surgery or even worse - died ... would you honestly be opposed to finding any means you could to prevent that from ever happening to someone else's child?

I'm not a fan of BSL, but I do understand why they feel the need to implement it - because of stupid dog owners who can't be bothered to train their dogs and can only be described as ... Asshats.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Iams Links

Wanted to post these links to add to the Good The Bad and The Ugly post from a few days ago. One of the people who commented on the posting was someone who works for Iams. She kindly supplied some links for us to check out, so when you have some time, I encourage you to navigate to them and read away!

A link that shows you some Iams animal testing is done in consumers' homes

Here's a speech from Dr. Steven Hansen, a Senior Vice President of the ASPCA

And here are two commercials just for the fun of it

Remember - everyone is entitled to their opinion. The contradictions in life are what make it worth living.

Please don't delete your posts on my blog. It's the different opinions that make it interesting.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Featured Rescue - Ginger the American Staffordshire Terrier

The American Staffordshire Terrier is a breed that seems to be constantly under scrutiny. This breed seems to always have bad press about them - it seems to just cling to them like a bad smell. In fact, in Ontario (among many other states and cities), there is Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) that restricts and prohibits Am.Staff owners. (I will get into BSL another day - this is a featured rescue post!)

Am.Staff's are pretty small - not the monsters we've been taught to fear; anywhere from 17" to 19" at the shoulder (according to AKC Breed Standards). There are currently 3,433 available on Many people commonly mistake them for the American PitBull Terrier. If you're looking to see AKC Breed Standards for Pit Bull's you will be dissappointed. According to AKC, the American PitBull is not listed as a breed.

Today's Featured Rescue is a 4 year old Am. Staff named Ginger. She's reportedly good with other dogs.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

RAW Foods? What's your opinion?

Yesterday's topic was fun! I'll try to find more juicy controversial topics like that soon. I was pleased to see such varied responses. I hope no-one took offense to anyone else's opinion ... remember - everyone is intitled to their opinion regardless of whether or not it coincides with your own.

It also sparked some thoughts in my head about RAW foods after I read the comments in that thread. It's something I admittedly don't know a lot about - mainly because I haven't bothered researching it.

I know I'm not the only one who struggles with what to feed their dogs. How can you find the best food for them? Opinion varies about what is best to feed dogs - some push a healthy, rounded diet that includes grains, veggies and meat, while others push that dogs are carnivores and by nature's design should only eat meat.

Anyway, I'll stop rambling and get to the point. Being a pro-organic, no persevatives kind of person for the foods I eat, I would be interested in feeding RAW to my dogs.

I was told by one vet that the easiest raw foods diet is hamburger and cooked rice with some powdered supplements (which any vet clinic can order in for you). I don't know how true this is - like I said, I've not done enough research. I saw some raw foods pre-packaged (doesn't that sound like an oxymoron?) at the pet supplies store the other day when we were in there too ... but would it be cost effective as well as healthy to purchase foods like this?

Meanwhile, when I worked for a vet, he always pushed people away from raw and any other foods and told them the best food is what he carried. My point is, everyone thinks their food is the best. That's why they choose the one they do.

So, I'm opening up the panel for everyone. Here's a few questions to consider if you'd like to post and don't know where to begin.

Do you think raw is good or bad? Why?

Is the BARF diet the same as RAW or are they different?

If you don't feed raw, do you avoid feeding raw because you don't know enough about it or don't feel you have time to properly review and prepare it? Or is there another reason?

If you feed raw foods or have researched raw foods and had someone ask you what this "diet" is, what resources would you recommend? Do you have books you'd tell them to read? Or specific websites to check out?

Do you buy the pre-packaged raw foods or prep the foods yourself? If you prep them yourself, how much time per week do you think is spent doing this? (Keeping in mind that I already spend at least an hour per day prepping and cooking the meals for that day for us! That's 7 hours per week!)

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Good The Bad and The Ugly - Iams

Today I'm going to blog about something different. It's been a long time since I've posted a Good, Bad and Ugly (the last was about breeders I believe) and I thought I'd put this one out there.

One of my very strong beliefs (VSBs) is that everyone is entitled to an opinion - however, everyone should be given all the information they can to be able to formulate that opinion accurately.

Please note that I'm not trying to sway your opinion in either way regarding the following. All I want is for you to be able to make educated decisions about what you buy and see in the store.


So, we've all seen the Iams commercials - they make claims that their food is superior to other kibbles and in order to have a happy healthy dog, you should feed Iams. Their food was recommended to me by my vet (who also uses it on her 4 dogs - Eukaneuba High Performance). It's not a bad food as far as kibbles go (quality-wise).

Iams is also host of the "Home 4 the Holidays" campaign. This is a campaign where they send a bunch of free booklets and food to all shelters and rescue groups that sign up for it and they track all the adoptions through the months of October, November and December. This really helps a lot of shelters and rescues.

Iams does a lot of good out there. But there are some who strongly believe that the good Iams does every year does NOT account for all the bad things it does in its labs.

If you are not already aware of this, Iams tests their product on animals. There is, of course, a hung jury out on this one - for some, animal testing is wrong; while for others, animal testing is just another step to research breakthroughs. Check out this website here to see some information about IamsCruelty (note - it is a PETA site). Please take your time reading through it and educate yourself on this topic.


Personally, I continue to purchase Eukaneuba for one of my dogs even though I am aware of this testing and do not agree with it. I continue because she has severe allergies and Eukaneuba was the last step before moving her over to a RAW food diet. With every other food she's been on, her skin breaks out into an itchy rash and her skin dries up so it cracks open and bleeds. She also ends up with no hair (have you ever seen a hairless Aussie/BC mix? It's not pretty).

I do this and accept that my decisions affect many others. It is a difficult choice for me having always been an animal advocate, and a selfish one (since I could have gone with RAW - which yes, would have been against my vets recommendation), but it is the one I have made. Perhaps I will be ready to move over to a RAW diet at one point for her, but not yet - problem is that I don't know if the RAW food would poorly affect her and kick up her allergies or not?

I want each of you out there to make your decisions knowing as much as you can about the choices you make and how they affect others - other people and other animals. I hope I've given you something to think about.

Whatever you decide to do, please make sure you are aware of everything and everyone this decision affects.
DDF In After Publishing: Note that I want you to ask questions! Please feel free to ask as many as you want in the comments. If you agree or don't agree - post it. I like to hear your opinion whether it coincides with mine or not! (This could be stated for all my posts, not just this one). This is a controversial topic - that's my favourite kind because it sparks so much discussion! I love a good debate.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

News Reel - Remember the US Soldier and Dog?

Here's a bit of good news for a Saturday morning!

Remember the story that circulated in the news about how a US Soldier befriended a dog while serving her tour of duty in Iraq? (See original news article here) The military did not want her to bring the dog back. It created waves of protests from people, online petitions, news headlines, etc.

Well, this story has a happy ending. Check out the article here to find out what happened to this unlikely pair!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Featured Rescue - Sly the Boxer ... Adopting Seniors

I read a blog posting on Lucy the White Boxer Dog's blog that inspired me to put up a short note about adopting seniors. Please check out her post here about adopting senior Boxers.

If you are thinking about getting another dog, but just don't have the time for full-blown training regime, why not consider adopting an older or senior dog?

There are many older dogs out there looking for a nice home to spend their last few years. A place where they can be loved, fed and cared for. Somewhere they can call home.

Most senior dogs don't require much housetraining, likely won't chew excessively, don't require as much exercise as the "young pups" out there and will likely be calmer than a younger dog. Yes, there are always exceptions to these rules, but most are going to be quite easy to train - provided you aren't looking for a sport dog or a dog to learn 1001 tricks.

There are currently 6059 Boxers available for adoption on Petfinder. The Rescue I choose to Feature is Sly, a 10 year old boxer. Sly is reportedly good with other dogs, kids, cats and "everyone". He is currently located in Newark, OH and is fostered by a group called "Stop the Suffering".
I couldn't find any info about this group other than that they pull animals out of kill shelters and foster them until they are adopted. Dogpile search came up with little to no info other than their petfinder pages, their website, and their old website which has been redirected to the new one.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Asshat Rant - The 12 pups of Christmas

I know I said I wouldn't post any religious things on here (and Christmas "is" technically religious - if not also commercial), but I couldn't resist. If you have issues with this, please omit the word "Christmas" and replace it with the appropriate label (example - Hannukah, Solstice, Ramadan, etc)

It's the beginning of February. You all know what that means ... Christmas Puppy Rejects! Yep - this is the time of year that many people get rid of their Christmas puppies.

It's not necessarily the fault of the person who received the puppy as a gift. They don't always ask for it. Sometimes they just are "blessed" with a friend or family member who thinks they should share their home with a dog.

Seriously people ... that has got to be one of the worst insults! Do you not realize what you're not saying to these people?

So, the way we're going to do this is the pups will go from left to right and you can associate the number with the appropriate picture posted. (They are posted in numerical order)

The first pup of Christmas (top Left) is from Boston. It's listed as a 3 month old American Bull Dog mixed with a Pitty.

The second pup of Christmas is from Atlanta (top right). Another 14 week old American Pit Bull.

The third pup of Christmas is also from Atlanta (left). This one is a lab pup - no age listed. Again it was given to a child (now who the heck gives a 3 year old kid a dog?!) and the family is not able to care for it.

The fourth pup of Christmas. She's a blue pitty from Austin (right). Surprise surprise, the owners are having troubles finding an apartment that will allow her ... do you really think they're going to move to accomodate a puppy?!?

The fifth pup of Christmas is also from Austin (left). He is 4 month old Dachsund. He's crate trained and potty trained, but the hubby "changed his mind" and decided he doesn't want a dog.

The sixth pup of Christmas is from Dallas (right). This is a 4 month old Italian Greyhound. Another Christmas present that the new owners are unable to care for.

The seventh pup of Christmas. Another one from Dallas (left). She is 9 week old Lhatese pup. (This was posted on Jan 13, so add a few wks to is). For those of you who are like me and saying "what in the world is a Lhatese?" Well, it's another designer dog. It's a Lhasa Apso mixed with a Maltese.
The eighth pup of Christmas is from Baltimore (right). A wire hair fox terrier. Another present given to someone who didn't want it. Poor thing. Lukily this person is willing to hang on to him until he finds a home - this one's not going to the shelter yet.

The ninth pup of Christmas. A Houston pup this time (left). New owners got her for Christmas, but now they have been laid off. I expect to see a fair amount of these coming in the near future. Another Pitty Pup.

The tenth pup of Christmas is from all the way up in Alaska (right). Another Pitty Pup. Another relative giving out presents and not checking with parents first.

The eleventh pup of Christmas is from Orange County (left). Specifically Westminster. This little guy is a Mastiff/Boxer mix who is being advertised as good guard dog potential. Gee - that sounds just great. Let's teach it right from the get go to be a guard dog. That's just what we need.

And the twelfth pup of Christmas is from Phoenix (right). I think this is about the worst case of Verbal Diarreah I've seen in a long time! This one is a PRT (Parson's Russel Terrier) cross with a Yorkie. And ... you'll never guess ... its name is Happy. I don't think his ending is very happy. This poster just goes on and on about how wonderful a dog this is ... if he's so great, why don't you keep him?
There were many more than these 12 pups that were given as presents this holiday season that have ended up as rejects. Please don't give pets as presents - it's unlikely that the person receiving can actually afford to keep it, have facilities to house it, have time to train it, or have the desire to keep it. If all these things were something that person had available to them, don't you think they would have gotten a pup for themselves?
We can't post them all, and we can't save them all. But you know what?

One person can make a difference.

When you decide to go out next and get a new pet - please get a rescue from a shelter or pick up a dog that needs rehoming. Please don't go to a breeder unless you've already exhausted these resources, are planning on breeding, or are planning on competing / showing. If you're looking for a companion pet, you can very often find exactly what you're looking for in shelters (yes, often even purebred).

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Asshat Rant - Potential Adopters

Ok, so I'm going to go off on a limb here and tell you my current frustrations. I'm about ready to explode and I know that if I get this out, I will feel better (and if I get it out here, it won't come out to the wrong people). So if you don't want to read this rant, you don't have to, but I MUST get it out!!

Before I get started - please remember that I don't want to discourage anyone from adopting from a shelter or foster home. This is only the frustrations of a foster home who has dealt with too many asshats in the last week! Ok, here goes:

While I love working with dogs and teaching them how to deal with society and life in general, I hate working with potential owners and adopters.

Potentials are SO rude! It's like I'm expected to bend over backwards for them. While there are some exceptions, most of them leave a message on my phone that is horribly rude. If I don't call them back within one day, they are on the phone again leaving even worse messages on my machine about how I've not called them back ... Uh ... hello? Do you know how many calls I may return in a DAY about a dog?!? I promise - I will call you back as soon as I am able.

If I do contact them right away, they want to come over immediately. If I say no, they say "well, why not? If you want me to adopt this dog, then you need to let me see it. I want to see it TODAY". Let me tell you something ... if you're going to take THAT attitude than I don't want you to adopt this dog.

I'm trying to do what is best for the dog - not what is best for you.

I will fit you in when I can.

This is MY HOUSE people! Please realize that! Then they're cranked if I make them wait to come see the dog for a day or two. Guess what people, sometimes I even go to WORK! *gasp* Heavens no ... not WORK!

Sometimes I even have to schedule visits around my dinner! Yikes - that one's messy. Try explaining that one to potentials who turn around and say "well it's only going to take a few minutes - I'm sure you could spare that" ... Uh ... Hello ... some of us can't wait for medical reasons.

I also never have them come over when I'm supposed to be walking the dogs because that is not fair for the dogs - they require their walks both mentally and physically. I also don't allow more than one family to come per day if it is a work day because it is not fair for the dog. If it is a weekend, I may set up two families to come - one in the morning and one in the afternoon (with a doggie lunch in between and long walk to get rid of any lingering feelings).

People don't realize what their visit to the dog will mean to the dog!! For some dogs, it is the highlight of their day but for others, it is horribly stressful.

These people act like they're God's Gift to the world because they are thinking they may adopt a dog ... that means they're going to "Save" a dog.

I got news for you people. If the dog's in a foster home, it's already been saved. The last people that adopted the dog I fostered saved this one. Believe it or not, but you're going to be the one that saves the next one by opening up that space in my house so I can take it. When you adopt the dog I have, I get to take another one from a shelter facility - the one that comes after your dog is actually the one you're "saving". I'm sure that he or she will thank you if and when the time comes.

I know that's really splitting hairs, but I get so frustrated when they start acting like that because then I know that they're not adopting this dog to be its owner, companion and friend - they're doing it to be its hero and THAT'S THE WRONG REASON TO GET A DOG.

I'm not asking for thanks or anything - that is in fact the last thing I want. I do this because I love dogs and I know that every dog I take in helps. All I want is for people to realize and understand that "I'm only human and I have to work and eat and walk my dogs and feed my chickens and pay my bills just like everyone else" I do this in my free time, which, when I'm interviewing potential adopters - does not amount to much.

What I do ask from everyone is this:

** Please - if you're going to adopt a dog from someone fostering it, remember - this person has feelings and deserves a bit more than your contept. He or she is NOT going to keep the dog even if they really like it (unless it is absolutely the perfect fit) because if we keep this dog, than we can't help the next one so please stop acting like we should. He or she has just spent anywhere from a few weeks to a few months rehabbing a dog that has probably chewed everything in the house, soiled all the carpets, chased the cats, drooled on the birds, barked up a storm, possibly attacked other dogs/people/etc., may have had fear/agression/anxiety/socialization issues, and probably totally threw the house into turmoil.

I ask the following things from every adopter - I don't think it's too difficult to ask, do you?

1. Please call and let me know your name and phone number (sounds like such an easy task, doesn't it!?)
2. Please leave a POLITE message on my machine - you don't know if I have kids visiting when you call or not ... perhaps one of my nephews (ages 2, 5, 10)?
3. Please don't be too pushy when you call - I know you have questions, but so do I and if you don't fit the bill, I'll won't adopt this dog to you.
4. Please let me figure out when the best time for you to visit would be - I'm trying to set it up so you see the best of this dog, not it's worst!
5. Please realize that I'm looking for the best fit for the dog. I don't care how much money you make or what car you drive. If the person who makes $20,000 a year fits the requirements more than the ones who makes $80,000 a year ... well, guess who I'm going to choose??

And Finally ...


Good grief people ... I don't think that's too much to ask!?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Featured Rescue - Zoey the Beagle

There are currently 7206 Beagles looking for homes on Petfinder. This breed sometimes has the tendency to run if they are understimulated or not fenced, which may partly explain why their numbers are so high.

Today's Featured Rescue is Zoey the Beagle. Zoey is listed as 5 yr old and from the sounds of it, will get along well in just about any situation. She's located in Toronto, Ontario.

Monday, February 2, 2009

News Reel - Police Dogs

This is an interesting story about police dogs. This is sort of building off the idea of different breeds getting into doing jobs (or agility) that aren't the stereotypical breeds for these activities.

I particularly like this quote:

A pit bull named Elliot Ness is anything but untouchable. Loving and friendly, these traits keep most pit bulls from being good police dogs.
"The main problem we're finding with pit bulls is that they're too darn nice. All they want to do is just sit at your feet or crawl in your lap. They're very nice dogs," said Deborah Thedos, Cook County K9 Unit.

Interesting, eh? They can't usually use pit bulls as police dogs because they're too nice. Sure does conflict with claims made to implement BSL (Breed Specific Legislation), doesn't it?