February 23, 2009

Late afternoon at the farm

How quickly the light goes. There's a spot in this pasture that is markedly colder than the rest of the field — an eerie thing. A barn owl once flew at my first border collie here, when a friend and I were working our dogs at dusk.

Smoky's dragging a long line because I don't want him to start a rabbit and gallop into barb wire.

Spanked by a girl

It was a weekend of introductions. Smoky was eager to meet everyone. The border collies took one look at him and gave a collective shudder. Smoke is still a pup, so no blood was shed despite some dramatic snappage.

My pibble was the only one willing to run and wrestle with the new kid — no surprise, since she is the friendliest dog in the history of the universe. But when she says, "That's enough," she means it. Don't make her tell you twice. Everyone is sleeping very well these days, Smoke especially.

Girl, I can make things right: Smoove B strikes out again.

February 17, 2009

Worse than Vick

Because they pay lip service to the dog/human bond, and at the same damn time help to arrange a massacre.

Because they have a script. Because they've spent years rehearsing it.

"I think the HSUS is now permanently on my shit list[...] What utterly scummy, disgusting, hypocritical behavior."
[John Sibley]

Because Sue Sternberg is their pit bull "expert."

Because they don't know squat about dog behavior, and don't care to learn.

Because ACOs and/or shelter workers in Wilkes County, NC were forced to kill 146 dogs, including some 60 puppies, in a single day. Because a foster home that had nursed sick puppies to health was ordered to return the pups for killing. Because the pup in the post below never had a chance.

And because Wayne Pacelle, John Goodwin and other HSUS apparatchiks didn't "euthanize" a single dog themselves. Wayne and John didn't even have to watch. Michael Vick, take note: you are not in their league when it comes to killing dogs.
Who gets to do the awful deed; the dirty work? The low-wage shelter workers who have no say in the matter; usually the same people who have cared for these dogs, who've gotten to know the dogs and have seen for themselves how truly wonderful most of them are. How are they feeling right now? I think I know. [Bad Rap]
Mighty "humane" of you in every respect, wasn't it, HSUS? How proud and happy you must be. Here's one you missed:

Former Vick fighting dog Hector just aced his Therapy Dog certification. [Screen grab of Hector with Roo Yori in July 2008.]

Blog posts from blogs with spot-on coverage:

Numb [Bad Rap]
HSUS and the Ongoing Campaign to Kill "Rescued" Bust Dogs [YesBiscuit!]
HSUS in its own words. [B-More Bulldogs]
Court Order Issued to Euthanize Seized Dogs [Best Friends]
The Death of Hope at HSUS [Nathan Winograd at No-Kill Nation]
Dogs get death sentence [John Sibley]
The answer is "kill", now what's the question? [KC Dog Blog]
Of all the things I'm glad I'm not [Save the pit bull, save the world.]

February 16, 2009

The "H" in HSUS? It stands for hypocrisy.

This tyke is too dangerous to live, says "expert" John Goodwin of the HSUS, who explains that "re-training" this puppy to prepare it for adoption would be "very difficult and expensive." I'm serious — he actually said that. John Goodwin makes Michael Vick look like a piker, if you ask me. This pup is one of 127 dogs [including some 60 puppies] slated to be killed following a dogfight bust in North Carolina.

It may be too late, but call and fax anyway. Tell these officials that it's dead wrong to kill dogs without evaluating them, without allowing anyone to speak on their behalf. Tell them to listen to real expertsthe ones that have offered to help these dogs.

Please call and fax.
Wilkes County Board of Commissioners
110 North Street
Wilksboro, NC 28697
Phone: 336-651-7346
Fax: 336) 651-7568

Wilkes County Attorney Tony Triplett
Vannoy, Colvard, Triplett & Vannoy
922 C Street
P.O. Box 1388
North Wilkesboro, NC 28659
Phone: 336-667-7201
Fax: 336-838-7250
E-mail: ttriplett@vannoylaw.com

District Attorney Tom Horner
500 Courthouse Drive Suite 2022
Wilkesboro, NC 28697
Phone: 336-667-6361 or 667-2994
Fax: 336 667-7999
What just fries me about all this is that if you want to talk about dogs with psychological issues, abused dogs with enough crazy to make them "very difficult" to rehab — fearful, unsocialized dogs that need patient, compassionate, experienced caretakers — consider the dogs rescued from puppy-millers. Dogs like these.

You ever hear the HSUS call for the mass killing of mill-rescues? Hellz no. But that pit bull puppy in the photo up above? The HSUS wants some poor ACO to kill that pup and dozens like him. Sixty pups...!

And you know what else makes me so mad I could puke? The HSUS uses pit bulls to raise money. "Help us care for the Vick dogs! No, wait — the Vick dogs should all be killed! But send us money anyway! Look, here's a picture of a sad pit bull."

The HSUS makes my skin crawl. They're lobbyists, all right: lobbyists for the mass slaughter of good dogs.

Related posts:
What a terrible crime! We must execute the victims at once.
Straight dope on pit bull rescue

February 12, 2009

February 9, 2009

This just in, and it's important

The report — you can read it here — doesn't mince words: "Selective breeding for physical appearance — the cause of the problem." The publication of this independent scientific report, commissioned by the RSPCA, could be the dog news of the decade and perhaps of the century: the ramifications could be that huge. [See what has already happened in the U.K.]

Patrick Burns at the Terrierman blog has been all over this like white on rice, and thank doG for that. The man has his idiosyncrasies: he likes healthy dogs with brains and a talent for real work, for one. For another, he's not only baffled that some people breed ill, crippled dogs on purpose and win ribbons in the process — he's mad as hell about it.

The good news is that he's not one to stand by while dogs suffer, and he's not alone.

[The bad news is, the AKC and its breed clubs can be so intransigent and so clueless as to beggar belief. Thank God for the defenders of the working border collie, is all I can say.]

I hope the release of this study during Westminster will be the wake-up call the AKC and the breed clubs so desperately need. If you care about dogs, spread the word about this report: selective breeding for exaggerated physical appearance has made life hell for many dogs.

You can read the summary, the full report and Patrick's comments here. Again: spread the word.

Bulldog skull, via Terrierman. No dog that baited bulls ever looked like this poor, deformed creature.

February 8, 2009


How is it that after a person spends good money on Kongs and squeakies and Nyla-gummies and other most excellent dog toys, the pup's fave thing turns out to be a football — a small fossil football — found half-buried in the old driveway? Smoky loves 'im some little football.

No snotty nose since Friday, yay. [Don't talk to me about roundworms.] He can shake hands and fetch his football and "Are you looking? Good boy!" and he knows his name and everything. He met two new people on Saturday — just 98 to go. [Yes, we're playing catch-up. One does what one can.] I think he's pretty much perfect.

Go, Niners!

Death before doglessness!

Or so I hope. I'm from a long line of people who have shared their homes with all kinds of mutts and purebreds and have loved them from the back of the soul, and take it from us, a dogless life is scarcely worth living. Since elementary school I've been without a dog of my own for just one discombobulating month.

I spent most of the day inside with the new pup, scanning old family photos under his watchful eye. The flip side of the photo below lists my mother's name [she's the tall girl] and the dog's. [He was Pride, my great-aunt's collie. That's Pridey in the small photo above.] The kid sitting in the front apparently didn't merit recognition:

Fallen timber [firewood!] is a hallmark of our family snapshots. I could do a comprehensive photographic history of several generations of us at the cabin and never use a photo that didn't have somebody standing on, sitting on, or leaning against a fallen tree. With a dog.

My wonderful great-aunt is in the photo below, on the right. The dog was another one of hers. He's in a ton of photos.

All this is by way of introducing a newspaper article by Helen Elliott on the subject of doglessness. As she says, "A clean house and doing as you please are, frankly, overrated." Hat tip to Nag on the Lake, who sums up my feelings as well as anything: "I pity the dogless."

PETA wins coveted ALA "Doublethink" Award

The American Language Association has announced the winner of its coveted "Doublethink" Award, presented to the individual or group which best illustrates the act of holding two contradictory beliefs simultaneously and fervently believing both. From today's press release:
"The American Language Association is pleased to award this year's Doublethink to PETA. PETA members simultaneously believe

1) that all pit bull-type dogs should be killed by animal control workers rather than evaluated on an individual basis and offered for adoption — thereby promoting not merely a type of profiling based entirely on appearance, but a form of canine "genocide" as well; and

2) that the American Kennel Club, a dog registry and dog show licensing group, is similar to the Ku Klux Klan, a hate group with 'a record of terrorism, violence, and lynching to intimidate, murder, and oppress African Americans, Jews and other minorities and to intimidate and oppose Roman Catholics and labor unions.'

"The ALA further wishes to recognize PETA's imaginative use of Ku Klux Klan imagery and ideology during Black History Month — an action that helped to corroborate PETA's true-believer syndrome in the view of the judges.

"This is the second time that PETA has received an ALA award. Founder Ingrid Newkirk was honored in 1989 with the "Most Inaccurate Definition" Award for defining symbiosis as 'enjoyment at a distance.'"

Australia: "Scorching weather, drought and tinder-dry bush"

"A bushfire burned through a forest on the outskirts of Labertouche, east of Melbourne. The police said they expected the death toll to rise." Photo by Mick Tsikas for Reuters.

The news reports are gut-wrenching and the photos are terrifying. Over 100 people died as wildfires driven by high winds roared through Australia's forests and townships on Saturday, according to the NY Times:

“Hell in all its fury has visited the good people of Victoria.”

At least 108 people have died in a series of wildfires that tore across the southern state of Victoria on Saturday, the country’s deadliest firestorm. Some died trying to escapethe fires in their cars; others were caught up trying to protect their homes.

The fires were driven by hot winds of more than 62 miles per hour, and temperatures that peaked at 117 degrees in Melbourne, making Saturday the city’s hottest day on record.

“Hell in all its fury has visited the good people of Victoria,” Prime Minister Kevin Rudd told reporters on Sunday after meeting with emergency relief workers in Melbourne. “This is an appalling tragedy.”

Fires are common during Australia’s hot, dry summers, when the oil-rich eucalyptus forests become especially vulnerable during lightning strikes or sparks thrown from farm equipment. But a prolonged drought and the weekend’s searing temperatures made recent conditions particularly bad.

More than 700 houses were destroyed and two townships were almost completely leveled in the disaster. The police said at least two children were among the dead, and warned that the toll could rise as emergency crews searched for bodies in the hardest hit towns.

More than 80 people were hospitalized across the fire zone. The victims included at least 20 burn patients, some of whom were unlikely to survive, hospital officials told reporters.

The NY Times photos will look familiar to anyone who lives in SoCal. In summer and fall, conditions here are much like the current conditions [heat, wind, draught] in Australia. It's a strange feeling to be here on a cold day with rain falling outside, snow in the mountains, the foothills green, thinking of fire and saddened by Australia's losses.

Our thoughts are with the families of Australian fire victims.

NY Times: Death Toll in Australian Fires Climbs to 108

February 2, 2009

Pit bull... er, "pit bull" attacks

"The captured dog was a male pit bull." And I'm Vladimir Putin. Screen grab from The Indy Channel.

Speaking of regional differences: Selma over at Caveat has a nice collection of "pit bull" photos. If it has lop ears, four feet and a short coat... But what do I know? Maybe those animals are subspecies of pit bull. Pitbull americanus floridensis. P. a. californicus. As opposed to, I dunno, Canis lupus familiaris.

I particularly remember the dogs below, from a tragic case in Virginia. [The parents were charged with murder.] I commented on PBF:
There were no witnesses -- parents were upstairs. In their condemned home [sigh].

The doctor quoted in the article trots out the old bite-strength myth: "[Pit bulls are] definitely one of the stronger breeds their bite strength is probably the strongest; six to seven times that of a German Shepard." [It's shepherd, for crying out loud! You'd think a newsroom would have SpellCheck.] Strange to read the doctor's words, and then look at the small, malnourished animals:

The breed-bashers and breed-banners can't quite define exactly what a pit bull is, but they by God know one when they see it. And if this reminds you just a wee bit of the One-Drop Rule, well, you're not alone.

Related posts:
Dog bites and bite force
Bite force links from PubMed
“Dangerous breeds,” dog bite statistics, and the Merritt Clifton report

"Sounding Black"

Listen to Tony Award winning actress and playwright Sarah Jones talk with linguist John McWhorter about code switching, Barack Obama's blaccent, black English and southern English: ten minutes that warm a language-lover's ear.

Produced by Studio 360's Derek John. H/T: Jack & Jill Politics.