Thursday, November 26, 2009

Forever homes: A myth or just plain cruel

This quote is in response to an earlier entry. I'm quoting first and then will follow with my response. I'm doing it this way because I honestly believe it is a very important point and a way of thinking that needs further consideration.

wow, you are on the roll!
But I have to admit you confused me with this one. Maybe the idea of fostering an animal from the shelter for the holiday is a lame one, but I think you a bit overstretching the consequences.

I doubt lots of people would run into the shelter on Black Friday to get a dog. Life is
not Hollywood. But even if someone does, I doubt the experience will turn him or
her into the animal hater.

The only people I see doing something like this are those who would buy a puppy for Christmas and then take it to the shelter when he becomes big and unmanageable. But those are the people who do not put much thought into anything and I doubt any thought at all will cross their mind after the shelter door closes behind them.
now, do you really don't think that adopting a dog from the shelter is rescue? Maybe from "no kill" shelter it's not, but I think if you save the dogs life it is a rescue.
Here is a story of the dog that our friends had adopted:
It's true that our society overly humanizes animals, but I don't think it's
right to put down the dog just because no one wants it. And I don't think there
is anything wrong with wanting to give that dog home for the rest of it's life.

I have come to believe the constantly voiced/written animal radicals dream of "forever" homes falls in either the myth or cruelty category. We live at a point in this country's history where the majority of adults either don't bother to ever form long term relationships with other humans or think a long term relationship is 10 years or less. When two humans come to a point in their lives where their interests have completely diverged they don't start stressing about "forever marriage" anymore. They just pick up the phone and make a appointment with a good divorce attorney and get on with the business of moving on with life.

So what I want to know is why, please someone tell me why, must dogs and cats be forced to remain in a "forever home" that is not a good fit? How much kinder and more realistic is to to admit that the puppy you had such glowing plans for has grown up to just flat out hate those plans? I think about all the times over the years that an owner has come to me for help, because of the problems they were having with their dog not fitting into the roll planned for them. I could just as easily turn that around and say they were the driver and the payer of fees, but it was the dog who was complaining about the problems he was having with the humans.

Either way, the real solution, the thing that worked the very best for all parties was for the humans and dog to get that divorce. This then freed to dog to find a much better set of humans and it freed the humans up to either continue their life dogless or enter into a relationship with a dog that was more suitable.

Don't go getting all fuzzy brained and weepy on me. Consider just these two examples.

First was a young Border Collie. She had the misfortune of landing in a "marriage" with a family that consisted of 7 children under the age of 10. The parents were nice a couple. They were also overwhelmed by the children. The children raced around yelling, crying, laughing, talking, eating and not paying much, if any attention to either parent.

T0 this mess was added a Border Collie. By the time I saw them, she was almost totally insane. Frankly I didn't blame her one bit. I wanted to bark and bite most of those kids myself. To keep my sanity I did end up insisting all 7 of them do a "long sit/stay". Did I mention the reason they came to me was because of the dog's constant barking and the the fact she had now started biting the children?

This Border Collie got lucky. She was the right age and I just happened to know of a farmer who had lost his hard working farm collie to old age. He had ask me to keep my eyes open for a new dog for him. I talked the family out of their dog and she went off to live with the farmer and after a 3 month decompression period turned into what he many years later told me was the very best dog he had ever owned.

Second dog. A very large, male Akita. This fellow was overbearing, suspicious of all new things, hated having to live inside and had zero respect for either of his very well educated, wealthy, over achiever owners. I managed to get him out of that home. A home, I might add, that the radicals labeled as the almost perfect home and one he hated. He went to live, work and pretty much worship the owner of a scrap metal lot. This lot and the building were cold in the winter, hot in the summer, dirty all the time. Here he was free to be as nasty as he pleased to the unwanted and very questionable humans that sometimes came around after dark. He lived a long and very happy life.

I'm going to add a third dog to this list. Some of you know her through this blog and some of you know her in person. I am speaking of Sanity's little Yorkie. I really have no right to say if she was happy in her first home. I have no doubt that she is happy now. The first home said she was dangerously dog aggressive. The first home said she wasn't safe around children. The first home said she was fearful of strangers. Turns out not a one of those things were true. Lucky her, the first "marriage" ended in divorce and she was handed over the fence to me. This marriage sure does look like a keeper.

Bottom line here is the "forever home" claptrap is dooming many dogs to a life of misery and what under other conditions would be a good home is in truth a very bad home.

Many, many times a person gets a puppy or a dog for the right reasons at that time, but time and changes make the choice not so perfect. Why, oh why does a certain part of our population want to insist that the poor dog must be forced to live in a constant state of misery just to meet the requirements of a "forever home".

All this wandering about really does have something to do with the beginning and taking dogs home just because it is Thanksgiving or Christmas. The dogs don't worry about human designated holidays so they will be much happier to got to what might turn out to be a new marriage when the humans have more time to give, have more quiet in the house and fewer guests, no parties and definitely no overly rich foods to make things extra difficult. The time between November 15 to January 2 have got to be the worst time of the year for adding a new animal to the household.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Foster a pet for Christmas? BAH! HUMBUG!

After yesterday's blog I seem to be on something of a roll. Please refrain from reading my comments until after you have read what the below link has to say.

Foster a dog for Christmas? What ever happened to the warning, "Never bring home a new animal during the holidays?" Funny thing, that. Seems to me I don't remember at time in the last 40 years when many people thought getting a puppy, kitten, dog, cat between Thanksgiving and New Year's was a good idea.

Well, that may be a tad bit too all encompassing. While it has always been true that those who already know how to handle, train and care for a house pet are able to do so anytime of the year it's still not easy to do during the major holidays at the end of the year.

Just about every place that has an animal control department also seems to have limit laws. What this very efficiently does is make sure the only people available to take part in this harebrained scheme are those who know the very least in the way of practical knowledge of good, honest animal husbandry type care of the fosters they will be taking in.

How many will understand the need to maintain some sort of quarantine to protect the resident dogs/cats from any disease being harbored by the incoming foster? How many will understand how to orchestrate a safe introduction between the resident animals and the incoming foster?

The few questions I just posed hardly touch the tip of the iceberg when it comes to bringing a new animal into a household with resident dogs/cats firmly in place.

Then again, maybe the entire plan is to turn down those who may actually have the experience and know how and replace knowledge with warm fuzzy thinkers who don't have a clue as to what it takes to properly care for, feed, train and exercise a dog or even a cat. When they fail, as a very large majority will, the number of anti-animal people just increased yet again. After all, the thinking goes, if I can't even take care of one dog/cat then there is no way Sally Smith or Jill Jones can take care of 50. Never mind that both Smith and Jones have the proper set-up, coupled with some full time help and a part timer or two. Nope, if Ms. Fuzzybrain Lovesdogs finds it next to impossible to love her just 'rescued' 90 pounds of wild, untrained young, male Lab, then it's a slam-dunk that neither can anyone else.

The entire "Foster a Pet for Christmas" just stinks. If you are just itching to help then actually go do some volunteer work. Take a couple 40# bags of food, bedding, even toys to the local shelter and then should you decide that giving temporary housing is something you want to do, do it AFTER January 1.

Besides which, the generic you needs to remember the reality is you are not strictly speaking engaging in rescue when you go to a shelter, group, pound to pick out a pet. You are doing the equivalent of going to a used car lot, only instead of cars/trucks you are buying a used or what do they call them now? Previously owned. That's right, you are buying a previously owned animal. Mind you there is not a single thing wrong with buying a previously owned animal as long as you admit that is what you have done. You didn't rescue it. You bought and paid for it.

Just do the homing, rehoming stuff after the first of the new year.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dog Show Victim

I've been sitting on this story for almost a full week now. Much as I wanted to talk about it, I also wanted to wait until it was confirmed and both sides had a chance to weigh in. Well that has now happened and so I'm going to start by posting both sides. Then, I'll follow with my thoughts on the issue. This is one time I really do hope readers will share their thoughts and will also forward a link on to others.

Cross-posted with permission from the author, Margaret Byrd:
Everyone needs to know that a dog club member was stopped by police near Birmingham, AL on the way to the Magnolia Classic Trial. The actual law enforcement officer was a sheriff's captain for Jefferson County. They held her for 45 minutes on the side of the road with 6 patrol cars flashing red lights. She was treated like a criminal. She and her daughter were both very frightened by the way they were treated. The policeman asked her if she knew why she was stopped and she told them, "No I don't". He said, "I stopped you because I saw you had dogs in your truck". Her dogs were in secured kennels elevated by a table in the back of her truck to be near the topper windows. Equipment was then stored under the table.

They said she didn't have water in the dog crates. She explained she had just stopped at a rest stop, let all the dogs go to the bath room, offered them water and they didn't do well with water in the cups while the truck moved. Then she poured water in the cups and none of the dogs drank. He then said that the back of the truck was not air-conditioned. She pointed out that the temps were 58 at the time. Then he said she had inadequate ventilation. She told him the dog's hair was moving as they traveled and there was plenty of ventilation.

He wanted to know where she was taking the dogs and why they were in her truck. She told him she was headed to a dog show. He asked where the show was taking place. She stammered and he was sure she was lying. He asked for documentation to prove she was attending a dog show and proof that she was entered as a contestant. She didn't have a flyer so she told him to go the JRTCA web site and the trial would be listed. He called his main office and had someone go on line to view the site. He told her if she was going to a dog show why didn't' she have entry forms with her. She told him that she was going to enter when she arrived.

He looked in the van and asked about the research foundation equipment. She told him what it was and he stated it looked like drug paraphernalia to him. She showed him paper work for the DNA study to prove the equipment was for legitimate purposes.

He told her he wasn't convinced that it was a proper way to carry her dogs and he was going to call animal control to come and investigate. When he called them they said they couldn't come for an hour and a half so he took photos of her truck and dogs to show to animal control so animal control could decide if her set up is acceptable or not. They informed her they had all her information and knew how to contact her if animal control decided her set up was inadequate. Fortunately, animal control couldn't come immediately so they let her go.

She had forgotten her brief case with her rabies certificates in them. It was the greatest good fortune that they failed to ask. You all need to know that in many areas animal terrorist (nothing they do is right) groups are in control of animal welfare and of animal control.

During this event they would not let her daughter get out of the car to smoke a cigarette. One officer went to the side of the car after she asked and stood there to prevent her from leaving the vehicle. She became very frightened and called her father. Then she heard them tell the others to turn off the cameras and she became even more afraid. Both were made to feel like they were in a third world country because they had dogs in the car.

The following are some of the things that are critical to know to keep you & your animals safe:

1. Dog owners need to be alerted to the current climate. Please understand this current outrage may be the direct result of the influence of animal activist groups disguised as animal welfare groups. Law enforcement is on board with them in many areas because they view them as experts. HSUS gives law enforcement positive press. HSUS donates money to many reelection campaigns. Some officials have been given nice jobs with HSUS when they retired from public office.

Animal Terrorists are succeeding in getting laws passed that restrict our freedoms of animal ownership. Their influence is sometimes apparent among public officials at every level including law enforcement and animal control.

If you read Saul Alinsky - "Rules for Radicals" you will see the method they use to enact new laws that seem so warm-and-fuzzy but in reality are aimed directly at each of us. They don't want us to have (pet owners you are not exempt) or breed animals and they are willing to do anything to stop us - lie, cheat, steal.

According to Alinsky "Rules for Radicals", to affect radical change, First: you create a problem (out of thin air). Animal Terrorists have created the language which includes the term "puppy mill", "back yard Breeder", "hobby breeder", "vanity breeder", "basement breeder". The uninformed jump on the band wagon and the next thing you know commercial breeders just breed another litter of pups to offset new costs while you and I are forced to become criminals, give up our dogs, or to sign away our constitutional rights in order to have a dog.

2. Keep your dog papers in your vehicle when you travel with your animals. I can't stress this enough. I've been guilty of driving without them but no more. It could cost you thousands of dollars, or worse you could lose your dogs. Your dogs could be taken into custody to a pound till you could get your papers to show authorities. You would be powerless to stop them. Meanwhile, no telling what they would be subjected to in that environment. Further, some communities/states have laws that state any animal confiscated and taken to a shelter must be spayed or neutered before it is returned. These things might be fought against in court but your animals would already be spayed or neutered, or even euthanized, before you could win in court. It has happened to others. Eventually some others have won in court but their animals were all already dead, spayed, neutered, and/or sold to pet people that "rescued" them from the shelter (who happened to make a chunk of change off your stolen dogs and from the PR of having "rescued" them).

3. Stay Street-Legal. Make sure your car is travel worthy before any trip. No lights burned out, no out-of-date inspection sticker, etc. Give them no reason to stop you for a minor infraction. The constitution still protects us against illegal search and seizure without probable cause. Above all DO NOT SPEED. If you are in a big hurry, leave earlier. Giving the police a right to stop you under color of law has officially just gotten way more expensive. Apparently our fellow club member was stopped unconstitutionally - IMO. Right or wrong, she was victimized only because they could see her dogs in her car. It is a sad state of affairs when our constitutional rights can be violated because we have a visible dog in the car. Sadly, you might have to consider this when you get your next vehicle.

4. Buy or borrow a video camera. Video tape your dogs kennels, the condition of the kennel, your dogs' condition, water containers, bedding, etc. Have a video of your dogs competing at a dog show. If animal control shows up video tape the entire event. If they take your dogs, go to the shelter & video tape the place they take them if possible. One fellow in AL with show pit bulls did this and he got his dogs back.

5. Keep a contact person's number in your cell phone. If you get into a situation like the one that happened near Birmingham you might need someone to call that can send help. We need to develop a system of hot lines through out the country so a volunteer in each state or area could come to help in an emergency.

6. JRTCA members and the Magnolia Group should join with the My Dog My Choice members and contact the elected state officials for AL and the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce &/or Jefferson County officials to lodge a formal written complaint. We need to organize a letter writing campaign. I will create a sample letter and get us addresses to use. Email me at for this information.

If an area gets the reputation of being in an unsafe place for dog owners to travel, exhibitors will not attend events in that area. The person that had been victimized went home through Birmingham after dark and went to a different town to spend the night because she was afraid. Even then she was afraid in the motel so close to the area.

It is bad for the local economy to lose a source of revenue. How many people would go to the GA trial, for instance, if they worried about traveling through AL? Dollars spent in a community roll over 9 times in that area.

Having a dog in the car does not automatically make us criminals and remove our 4th amendment rights against illegal search and seizure.

7. Just so you know, TN is the state where police shot a man's dog and victimized his family when he accidentally left his wallet on top of his car. They thought the money blowing off was evidence that he was a robber. The man has won a suit in court over it but his dog is dead, his wife and children are traumatized and his knee is permanently injured.

In LA a man's pit bulls were taken and killed within 24 hours. He proved he was innocent in court but all his animals were already dead. He is suing.

The newest hype they are introducing as another "First create a problem" is the idea that dogs have a larger carbon foot print than an SUV. Think that is too far out to be believed or to matter? Will you still think so if they pass a law which requires you to pay a Cap and Trade tax to keep your dog, or a national limit on the size and number of dogs you can own?

You can't begin to imagine the things I'm reading about the victimization of animal owners & the loss of our freedom of animal ownership in communities all over the USA. We must all wake up and become proactive before it gets any worse.

Don't be sucked into any of the animal terrorists' agendas (like puppy mill bills etc). And for heaven's sake don't send money to any of them or let your families and friends do so. It's not just the commercial breeder. It's not just the pit bull people. It is not just the other guy. It is your personal freedom of quiet enjoyment with your animals and it is happening TODAY. We can stand together or we can all fall one by one. Think about it please.

And now I finally have a copy of what appears to be "the other side of the story". Here it is.

Here is an email from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department and their
version of the traffic stop. Similar but still a bit different and they
felt they had a reason to stop her.

From: Christian, Randy <_christianr@jccal.org_>
Subject: Email circulating about Jefferson County Sheriffs
Date: Monday, November 23, 2009, 1:31 PM

Thank you for the opportunity to set the record straight. We have a great
reputation for caring for animals and seeing that abusers are brought to
justice and we are very offended that someone would attempt to stain that
good reputation.

The Facts:

She was stopped driving a Truck with a Camper Shell. Multiple dogs were
visible in rear camper window. This Captain is familiar with people who run
"puppy mills" and these were all the same breed and were puppies. The 3
visible in the back window were visible panting.

Our Captain was in an unmarked unit so he called for a marked unit to stop
them. 2 showed up (not the 6 described) and initiated the stop. The Welfare of the dogs was checked and the driver was advised that the stop was to check the welfare of the dogs, plus her car tag was covered by extra dog crates and not visible. Finally, she was found to be in possession of a case of untaxed liquor.

The entire stop lasted 17 minutes (certainly not the 45 minutes described)
as documented via our communications bureau. The delay was because the
driver did not have any documentation showing where the dogs were being
taken, no registration for the show, etc.

Our Captain called the Animal Cruelty Officer who advised that the shows require pre-registration and she should have some type documentation. She provided web site and once it was verified there was a dog show and this person was a participant, then she was only verbally warned about the blocked car tag and the untaxed case of liquor that was stored under the dogs.

The Captain, an actual animal lover, owner of a registered purebred
daschund, and an investigator who has headed up several animal cruelty
investigations, including "cock" fighting was only verifying the well being of the

This driver thanked our Captain for caring about the dogs and checking on
them when she left the traffic stop. The Captain even provided her his
business card with his phone number and told her in case she got stopped by
someone else, they could call him to verify she had been checked and warned
about the violations.

All the extraneous information provided by this person is exaggerated and
it is not known why she has decided to change her parting words of thanks
into an obvious attack. It has been my experience that true animal lovers
appreciate that we would take the time to investigate the well being of man's
best friend.

Lt. Randy Christian, Office of Sheriff
Jefferson County
2200 8th Ave north
Birmingham, Al 35203
Office (205) 325-5711
Fax (205) 325-5702

So even if we go with the old saw that says the truth is somewhere in the middle of two reports as far as I am concerned there are still major problems.

Let's just start at the top. Our dog show exhibitors failed to be proactive, or even truly protective of the dogs they were carrying. Specifically, they had no paperwork with them. Granted, I haven't carried a van loaded with dogs and gear to a cluster of trials in many years, but back in the day, when we were trialing almost every single weekend, we CARRIED PAPERWORK with us for every single dog.

That meant we had copies of rabies certificates, current health certificates, entries for each dog, most of the dogs were tattooed, and we had at least one trial premium. The word was there was always a chance you would be stopped when carrying out-of-state tags on your van and traveling in the south.

Since I always had dogs that belonged to other people I felt I had to be especially careful about ID and pretty much stayed away from trials held in outlying areas of the south. Like it or not, it was just a fact. Besides which, there were plenty of trials in other locations that weren't so iffy. Moving on.

What's with risking carrying something that will be called illegal just as soon as you cross a state line? Again, why take the risk? Is it really worth it? A complete case of untaxed liquor? In a southern state? Better if you had been carrying moonshine.

Why have rig set-ups that actually put some or all of the dogs at window height? That always did seem to me to be just asking for trouble. Trouble from the LE. Trouble from busybodies. Trouble from thieves. The same thing goes for bumper stickers that advertise the fact you are carrying dogs, much less show dogs. And those kennel signs, let's hope they are the magnetic type and that you remember to remove them BEFORE you start the trip. Sure, put them back on the van while you are on the trial grounds, then remember to remove them again before you get back on the road.

As to why this person or anyone else would be unfailingly polite until the stop was over and the LE long gone. That is only common sense. To do anything else but basically grovel is to risk serious bodily harm, loss of personal freedom, complete and permanent loss of the dogs and most if not all of your gear. Best believe no matter what you feel, be so polite it hurts and be even more polite. In a word, grovel.

Remember, if you screw up and they do take the dogs YOU WILL LOSE THEM. Should you, by some wild twist of fate, get some of them back you will not get all of them back. The ones returned will be missing body parts for starters. Most will come back in such poor physical and mental condition that you will not be able to save them even if you are willing to spend thousands of dollars in veterinarian care.

The people who wear the Animal Control(AC) hats are not the brightest bulbs in the LE package. They are frequently hard pressed to tell the difference between a dog and a cat, much less the difference between the various pure breeds. They are most definitely not your friend. The LE who doesn't own a dog, owns a mixed breed, or out of control pet dog is not your friend.

While I am sorry this happened, I can't say I'm at all surprised. Frankly, the thing that does surprise me the most is that it hasn't happened sooner and more frequently. If this is what it takes to wake up the complacent kennel club members than I make no apology for what I am about to say.

H$U$ is not your friend. PETA is not your friend. More than likely the local AC wants your dogs. Wake up breeders and owners in this country to the truly awful creeping black death that is coming. A death that will bring an end to dog and cat ownership as we have known it for just about forever. That cloud will also begin to kill off all our farm animals, but that is a topic for another time.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Kids, drugs, training

I think I can claim one more victory that is related to my dog's
aggression. For some bizarre reason every time my dog would get into the fight
with another dog my daughter would be by my side. This must've been really bad
luck because I always was insisting on walking the dog alone as it would give us
"our time" without worrying about anyone else.
As traumatic as it was
for me, and I am not a wimp, watching my dog attacking another dog, I can't even
imaging how 7 year old must've felt then. For two years my daughter would become
hysterical any time we would consider taking Brandy to public or
When I started going to Margot for private lessons...

To read the rest of this entry please go to the following blog:

Thirty years ago I was warning people that if we didn't do something about teaching children about animals we would stand to lose them. No one wanted to listen. I begged and I pleaded with dog owners I knew to help stop PETA and H$U$. The problem was that everyone just knew PETA believers were just a radical fringe group and no one knew anything at all about H$U$.

Meanwhile for the same thirty years PETA and H$U$ have been in our children's schools handing out comic books like: and of course the most recent madness:

So after thirty years of steady brain washing techniques starting in kindergarten and continuing all the way through graduate school is it any wonder we are losing our rights to own animals? Is there anyone, anyone at all reading this blog who can say they live in a city/town/village/county that doesn't have a pet limit? Gone are the days when we could own as many dogs or cats as we could feed and care for. So just what does this rant have to do with the quote from Yuliya's blog and the problems she was facing with her daughter?

Everything. Yuliya knew she needed help with her first dog. She did all the things she was told were the correct things to do. What it did get her was a dog that was pretty much out of control, has a record with the county and a child that was truly terrified of dogs. So what can be done?

I feel really confident in saying that using any form of a "drug cocktail" would not have solved the problems for either dog or child over the long term. Being a "damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead" sort of person, once I learned just how deep the problem ran it only made sense to have the training include both dog and child.

And so, almost every week we had a 7 year old sitting on the sidelines in a huddle, with tears flowing and most of the time eyes squeezed tight shut. I just kept on insisting both dog and child would heal at about the same rate of speed. And so they did.

One of the things I did was to assign a task each week that a 7 year old could do and be successful at doing. It was when they finished up the private sessions and moved to the group class that is when things started to speed up as far as healing was concerned. For the first month, at least once every single class I had to deal with a 7 year old rushing out on the training floor to place herself between one of the little dogs and Brandy.

As she became more comfortable with doing the examination part when I called for a class stand for exam exercise, there was less and less tension in her. The more she was engaged in helping with other dogs the less time she had to worry about Brandy. I think we were lucky since instead of one child we had 3. Neither of the other two children were worried and that helped to make it more difficult for her to worry.

The thing that finally made a difference was when I told "Miss Worrywart" she had to join a close order drill I was getting ready to start. Sam was generous enough to allow Rugby to help with the changes. Once she got a taste of being responsible for a dog and realized she didn't have time to worry about what either her Mother or Brandy were doing things really started to fall into place. As you watch the short video of the work, take note of the children on the sidelines. The bike and also a scooter are there and being used at my request.

Don't know about anyone else, but I get such a kick out of watching this footage and getting to see just how far not one, but several dogs, one child and a couple of adults have come in just a couple of months.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

97+ and going strong

Someone sent this video to me, thinking I might be interested. Might be? Good grief! What I really want to know is "how does he do it"?

I was told Mr. Richards is over 97 years young and just earned a 1st place in Utility B with his dog. Watch it here and be truly amazed.

George Richards & Hummel at Dachshund Speciality 2009 from John Richards on Vimeo.

I have watched this video several times now and still find I'm forgetting to breath for rather long periods of time. Hope all of you find it as wonderful as I do.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Murder Hollow Basset Pack Update

UPDATE: If you want to donate a few or many dollars to help this battle along here is what you need to do:

You can donate online at You can
donate on-line by entering an amount under "Legal Defense Fund Donation, " entering any amount and clicking on the "Donate Now!" button or you can can send it snail mail to:
NAIA Trust
PO Box 66579
Portland, OR 97290

Below is the most recent update in the battle to locate and return the Murder Hollow Basset Hounds that were stolen under cover of "law".

This battle is being fought for all of us. For the person who owns one dog or cat to the person who owns, cares for, trains and works entire packs of dogs this battle is being fought. A win in this case will not only make it possible to find out exactly what has been done to and with the hounds that were taken, but will be an important step in the taking back of the rights of property that has been and is being taken away from all of us.

Please spread the word and if you know of any group that can help with the heavy financial burden, please see the word reaches them. To read some of the back story:

The two noise code violation complaints that were filed against Wendy Willard by
the PSPCA and issued by the City of Philadelphia, Department of Health, alleging
animal noise and excessive animal sounds, under sections 10-105(4) and 10-403(6)
of the Philadelphia Code, respectively, were dismissed at an administrative
hearing today. This victory was the first action on the case. These were the
original charges that lead to PSPCA to want entry to her property.
We still are unable find out the whereabouts or condition of the hounds that were
seized by the PSPCA and probably won't until the hearing on the cruelty charges
in January. This is still a complex case and we are spending about $10,000 a
month to get this prepared. If any of you know groups that might want to
support this other than our current supporters (NAIA, Master's of Foxhounds,
Pennsylvania Federation of Dog Clubs, National Beagle Club, National Basset
Club, U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance), please let us know because we need to keep the
money coming in to take this to a successful conclusion.
A full win on this will overturn the mandatory spay neuter laws for anyone having over 4 dogs in Philadelphia and eliminate the arbitrary limit laws there. This would
establish a precedent based on constitutional grounds and will be useful in
fighting these laws in jurisdictions across the country.

I will keep you posted as the case progresses.
Permission granted to
Julian Prager
NAIA Legislative Coordinator
PFDC Legislative

Monday, November 16, 2009

Birds and Drugs, but not together

Last week I posted a short video of a part of the large flock or flocks of big, black birds that stop off here every year in the fall. Even though it wasn't the clearest of footage you can still make out the fact they were eating something.

Knowing how many walnuts fall to the ground in my yard every year, one reader suggested "maybe they are eating the nuts". Nope. Not possible and that's a not possible on two fronts. First, it isn't possible because neither of the areas the birds were interested in were areas that had walnuts on the ground, because no walnuts trees grow in those areas. In the back the trees in question are 2 mulberry trees, a large locust and a maple. In the front its 2 large maples and a couple of blue spruce. It is worth noting than none of the trees are less than at least 50 years old, so we aren't exactly talking about small trees.

As for eating the walnuts, not possible. When the walnuts first fall they are about the size of a baseball and covered in a green outer casing. They are also hard enough to do some damage when they hit things. After they have been on the ground for several days the green covering turns brown and then gets soft and mushy underneath. They are true ankle breakers at that stage. Next the mushy stage passes and what is left is the hard shell nut most people are accustomed to seeing. The big, black birds in question don't have the right sort of beak to hammer open one of those shells. So, no they aren't eating the nuts. That job is left to the truly amazing squirrel colony that lives in the trees.

DRUGS and dogs

I got to attend a lecture on Sunday. This lecture was given by one of the big authorities on animal behavior modification via the brave, new world of drugs. Since I went as someone else's guest I was sworn to keep my mouth shut. By noon I honestly thought my head was going to explode.

When the reservations were made for us the person taking the reservation was told there would be a service dog coming. She promptly told my friend "no dogs allowed". Which triggered a reminder that the lecture was being held in a public place and service dogs were allowed by law.
Now the only reason I am bringing this up is because of what was said next.

You see, the response to the "service dogs are allowed by law" was the statement that the same law allowed them to turn away any noisy dog or any dog that caused a problem. Don't you sort of wonder why they would make such a statement? I know I have my own ideas. I honestly believe that while they call themselves dog trainers and animal behaviorists, they have actually never seen a trained dog actually working.

Several people came up to me during one of the breaks or at lunch time and wanted to know what "program" trained my dog. I guess I'm sort of snotty, cause I said I'm the program that trained this dog. It sort of acted as a conversation stopper. I make no apologies for my lack of patience with the clicker, food, play group and their lack of ability to actually get a dog trained.

Cranky. Yes.

Annoyed. Yes.

Miffed. Oh my, yes.

What fun (not) to sit and watch a 'famous' person proudly announce how wonderfully friendly her super dog was. Why he even jumped up on a counter at Petsmart and gave the clerk a big kiss.

I confess at this point that I too once had a dog jump up on the check-out counter at a PetCo. The clerk offered her a treat without asking my permission first. This was Wrap as a young, very exuberant dog. Before I could so much as blink, much less stop her, Wrap had elevated from the floor to the counter, snatch, eaten the cookie AND...

And knocked the clerk out of the way, stuck her nose into the cash drawer, grabbed a mouthful of 10 dollar bills and floated back to the floor. Do I need say I was upset, mortified, angry at the clerk, ashamed that I didn't catch the beginning of her jump and a host of other things. None of them were good. Meanwhile, Wrap thought it was one of the funniest stunts she had managed to pull off so far. Now I look back on that day with fond memories, but never have I bragged about how friendly my dog was that day.

WHATTHEFU**? She also was so kind as to share a video of her rapid stuff method of treat training. With a dog in a tight and very controlled environment we got to watch her use food to get the dog to "hold its breath". For the life of me, I never did see the dog actually stop panting and close it mouth on command and, honestly that is what I expected to see.

I almost forgot. Sanity had to retrieve her bed so I could roll it up when we left. And she had to figure out how to get through the press of people and the chairs blocking the way when I sent her back to where we had been sitting to retrieve my jacket.

Most of all she had to deal with a large number of pretty clueless people in a rather small space. As you can see it is going to be a tight fit.

Here we go, working our way between the tables on the way to the restrooms.
Look closely and you can just spot us beginning the return trip.

In order for her to do two of those jobs I had to repeatedly ask people to please leave her alone since she was working. The really funny one happened after the third person picked up her leash and tried to stop her. After I told that person to leave her alone, she gave them a dirty look, picked up the leash in her mouth and carried it herself. I'm thinking she was just flat tired of what her body language was calling the 'stupid humans'.
Sticking close so as to avoid getting kicked, stepped on or fondled by strangers. Amy's not a stranger, but a friend. Just seconds before this picture was snapped two different strangers wanted to fondle her. I said no they couldn't pet her or touch her because she was working. And I'm not all fire breathing dragon, I did thank them for asking.

Finally I was totally blown away by the number of strangers who came up to me and wanted to know if I would like them to "take her outside?" for me. I continue to try really hard to see that as well-meaning, but clueless offers of help. Mind you, I'm not at all ungrateful of help given to move objects out of the way of the scooter or open the restroom door or any other heavy door. But take my service dog away from me? Not on your life. I work very hard at developing a high level of trust between myself and my dog. No way am I willing to endanger that trust by handing her off to a complete stranger to take her where? And do what with or to her?

Now I'll stop this, cause I actually do feel a little better and who knows? Maybe I'll manage to find it in my heart to better understand the drive away from actually training a dog to using different drugs as a blanket to over the dog's problems.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Birds

This happens every year about this time. I don't even know for certain just what sort of bird they are other than that they are quite large, black and noisy.

When the flocks start to arrive I have gotten into the habit of bring all the dogs in the house. What I learned was that if I leave the dogs out the birds just sit up in the trees, crap all over everything including the dogs and don't leave until they are allowed to lite and eat whatever it is they eat when they stop here.

I'm sorry the video isn't any clearer. One of the things you really can't see is just how many birds are perched in the trees around the "eating" area.

Every since I got it in my head that the birds were actually eating some nasty that if left alone would harm and maybe kill my trees, I've been content to let them have use of both front and backyard until they have finished the meal. Gee, does that mean I'm a green?