December 11, 2011

O Groomers!

Always the tchotchkes. Poor Grayling. "Get these things off me!" I did, right after I took a few snaps.

I got Jasper's license last week, and the clerk wrote "Whippet x" on the form. I said, "You think so?" and the clerk said, "We put down whatever the vet says on the rabies cert." OK. He does look whippety. The tail, though, is all Chihuahua.

Then this weekend a customer at the groomers looked at Jaspie and said, "Oh, a pit mix!" I was like, "What?!" She misunderstood my surprise. "Oh, they're very nice dogs!" she said. "My sister has one..."

It's fate, people. Lookit the boy ;~)

November 22, 2011


Smoky and Jasper make the most of a beautiful morning.

Zoomies, how we love zoomies!

Grayling [whose left front leg is perfectly normal, thanks], Jasper, and an orange. Mmmm, oranges.

As they say, a tired dog is a happy dog. [Jasp'll be neutered as soon as our vet says it wouldn't be detrimental to his health in any way. He was one miserable puppy.]  Can't believe the difference four weeks has made. Has it been a whole month already? Unreal.

Inside, earlier. Rraaarrrrhh!!!

November 20, 2011

Not the last dog I'd bring home, but close.

You know the old story about the dog stuck between two food dishes? I've been feeling like that for months, immobilized between this blog and my newer birding blog and too busy to do much of anything with either one. Then this dog showed up on Facebook.

She was a little pit bull [rare blue!], she was terribly skinny and suffering from mastitis, she had the sweetest smile, and she needed a foster home. I volunteered.

You know where this is headed, right? Oh, no, you don't.

It turned out that a most excellent rescue group in Utah had decided to take the blue pit bull, so when I arrived at the shelter on the morning of Oct. 22 to pick her up, my buddy C said, "Foster this poor, um, Doberman instead." I'm not even a little bit wild about Dobermans, so I prepared a quick no-can-do speech as we walked down the hall. I needn't have bothered.

A little red pup was standing in the corner, on his last legs. He was in bad shape. C had fixed him a bowl with tempting cheese and other tastiness, but he wouldn't touch it. When I put some canned food on my fingers and offered it to him, he turned his head away. I was enlisted to take him to the vet. Things weren't looking good.

Long story short: I got the green light to take him home a couple hours later. Took "before" photos as per C's instructions.

Aaaand now the very happy "after," wherein we bond, I fail as a foster, and pup gets in touch with his inner zayde. "So then I said to Morrie, I said..." All that's lacking is the upturned paw ;~)

Bark! Bark!

Cute, no? And smart...! You have no idea. Friendly, too. His name is Jasper, for his red color and in honor of a good kid in Five Little Peppers and How They Grew. He met everybody last week. The collies are... tolerant. Smoky is happy. Smoke is showing him the ropes, teaching him about the joy of zoomies, etc.

[It's pouring rain now, and the south forty will soon be muddy green! Yay!]

In case you missed it: this is a Chihuahua mix, people. In my home. A dog that is going to need a sweater. Facepalm. Facepalm. Facepalm.


Note: I have no Dr. Mom skillz to speak of, but man, you should see me set a kitchen timer. Truly impressive. The first day, I fed Jasp a couple teaspoons of food and a dab of Nutri-Cal every hour. Sometimes he'd eat, sometimes not, but the next morning he was eager to chow down, and it was nothing but steady improvement after that. Amazing what a pup can do with food, a little TLC and a warm, quiet place to sleep. As always, thanks to the wonderful folks at our local shelter — you're the best.

August 13, 2011

I've found my people [Brown Recluse division]

That would be the Brown Recluse spider, ha very ha.

So many years...! So many years I've spent patiently explaining that your aunt in Pacoima or your grandfather in Carmel was actually not, I repeat, not bitten by a Brown Recluse spider, because the Brown Recluse doesn't live in California, and even where it does live, it isn't running around biting people. It's shy and, well, reclusive. And did I mention that most medical doctors are not arthropodologists? May I add that most medical doctors do not spend their days researching bacterial infections, Staph infections in particular? Here's someone who does. Oh, kids, how this makes me smile:

It's not a freaking spider bite

Via this:
MRSA, spider bites and denial

And here's more:
“Spider bite” lesions are usually diagnosed as skin and soft-tissue infections

And more:

And more:
Male funnel-web spider [ at — awesome-sauce, I'm telling you]

All with lovely linkage. Like this:

An approach to spider bites: Erroneous attribution of dermonecrotic lesions to brown recluse or hobo spider bites in California Canada [pdf]

California does have a Desert Recluse. [Spider!] It's shy, reclusive [quelle surprise] and reluctant to bite. Just for you, Californians:
Brown Recluse and Other Recluse Spiders

Photo credit: awesome shot of a spider at Kent Ridge Park in Singapore, by Tripod Ape, at Flickr.

July 6, 2011

Stainless Steel Flat-Sided Pails - Half Price Today Only

Hot tip from Diane at DeltaBluez Stockdogs: these stainless steel pails are on sale from Jeffers Equine, half-ish price, today only. [Doctors Foster and Smith link here, for comparison shoppers.] If Diane recommends these, they're the real deal. I love pails like this and have a bunch of 'em, all sizes.

Again, Diane says these pails are on sale today only. You snooze, you lose, etc. Thanks, Diane!

July 3, 2011

Link dumpage for a lazy holiday weekend

First off, via Janeen of SmartDogs [on Facebook], here's the Poop Fairy PSA. Awesome. And from the beautiful Northwest via Rachel Maddow, here's a swell video on the same topic. Martin Luther [with sidekick Lola] sings it:

More Dog Doogity goodness here [and a free sticker!].


"Corporate personhood": much like a dog turd, it smells nasty, fosters parasites, and needs proper disposal. Consider that one little house on the prairie serves as the headquarters for 2,000 different corporations, some linked to criminals:
[The Reuters article] shows how critical these secrecy jurisdictions are to making corporations a vehicle of crime and other abuse. And, as [Nicholas] Shaxson has shown, secrecy jurisdictions are also a key tool for corporations to avoid paying their fair share and for dictators to loot their countries. These kinds of incorporation services are a key tool to sucking the money out of the legitimate economy.

At a time when SCOTUS is giving corporations –- even flimsy entities like the scraps of paper at 2710 Thomes –- more rights than actual citizens, it pays to understand how easy it is for people to avail themselves of corporate personhood.
The good folks at Move to Amend have the novel idea that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights. "End corporate rule. Legalize democracy," is their motto. Good luck [wry face]. Seriously, it would be nice if some vestige of government of the people, by the people and for the people rose up and kicked corporate personhood's fat butt to the curb.


Poop Week over at the most excellent 10,000 Birds was totally awesome.
"First of all, every birder backpack, rucksack, or other holder of materials should have toilet paper, or, failing that, tissues. Don’t resort to what I had to do once in the vicinity of the East Pond of Jamaica Bay and emerge sockless from the bushes."
Still laughing at that one. Yes, I'm twelve. Check out links to all the posts here.


You knew possums are resistant to snake venom, right? Turns out their ossum super power has to do with one blood protein:
Since the evolutionary origin of the family, the vWF [von Willebrand Factor] of opossum species that prey on snakes has accumulated more changes than vWF in non-snake-eating species. That's circumstantial evidence for the effect of natural selection continuously acting on vWF over millions of years. Jansa and Voss picked out several specific changes that are unique to snake-eating opossums, and found that they're associated with a region of vWF that is known to bind with one of the toxins in pit viper venom.
Read all about it at Jeremy B. Yoder's terrific Denim and Tweed science blog.


India's vultures have all but disappeared. Feral dogs have filled the void:
In the decade of major vulture decline, from 1992 to 2003, one estimate showed dog populations increasing by a third, up to nearly 30 million. The escalation of the dog population corresponds perfectly with the disappearance of India’s vultures.
Read about the dogs and the last Indian vultures here.

[Both links above from Ed Yong'd addictive blog, Not Exactly Rocket Science.


More links, and Pam Kling's you-are-there-as-the-rattlesnake-strikes photos, over at my newish, mostly-birding blog, Crow and Raven.

June 16, 2011

After the mauling

During his years as an RCMP officer in the northern communities, Clare Kines recognized the important role of the sled dog in local history and culture. "But because of the ubiquitousness of dogs in the north there have been attacks," he writes. "Too often I've seen the results of children and adults severely hurt or even killed by a group of dogs."

An attack earlier this month involved a dog he knew.
I played with that dog a lot, it bounded with energy and I never saw a hint of aggression from it. It was engaging, and although untrained would easily be led by the collar. Hell, my children played with it. A couple of weeks ago it was off its lead, bounding amongst kids never touching them. It came quickly to my whistle and walked back with me to its spot on the ice. It was playful and gentle, and yet it participated in a savage attack on a little child. Of that there is no doubt.

And that is why this won't escape from my mind. If this is a dog that can do this terrible thing, then any dog can. That the wild in their ancestory must lie in them underneath. Since the attack I look at my children playing with our big gentle puppy, Bolt, and wonder, if the circumstances were just right, what might happen?
Read the whole post at Clare's blog. [Clare is a favorite blogger/photographer of mine — in addition to The House & other Arctic musings, he contributes to 10,000 Birds, covering, natch, the Arctic beat.]

In Clare Kines's photo, above, his children Travis and Hilary play with their dog Bolt. See more photos in the post Sledding. The beautiful, unnamed sled dog at the top of this post was also photographed by Clare. As always, click photos to embiggen.

Kozue's custom dog stamps

ETSY artist Kozue makes wonderful custom pet portrait stamps like the one on the left, which is totally awesome. I want a bunch of these. Kozue is on vacation at the moment, but you can see more of her dog stamps here, courtesy of Design Milk's artful canine sidekick, Dog Milk.

Please hurry back from vacation, Kozue!

June 15, 2011

So not Rick Perry

True story: while riding through a remote meadow in the Colorado Rockies, a mountain biker who is not Rick Perry startles a mother bear with cubs. The mother bear is hella upset. Did I mention that the mountain biker is not Rick Perry?

Shots were taken, which is to say photos in this case, and you can read the whole excellent thing here. Biker/blogger KB also loves trail cams and dogs! Romping and Rolling in the Rockies is one to bookmark, if you ask me.

H/T: the most excellent CougarMagic.

[Wonderful photo by Jim Liestman at Flickr/Creative Commons. Click to embiggen.]

April 17, 2011

"We have met the enemy and he is us."

Peter Houser of Living with Birddogs visited China earlier this month and caught a glimpse of the future:
[N]early all of the enviroment that I saw was horribly damaged. During the entire time in country I saw only a handful of songbirds, a few magpies, no rodents, no hawks. Certainly no game birds. Anything that looks green is under mono-species cultivation. Most of the country is covered by a cloud of smog from the coal-burning electric plants. 5,000 years of human occupation have left a mark on the land and the animals that will not disappear until the next ice age. So, get out your checkbook and send some money to your favorite environmental advocate group. This trip really brought home to me how much we stand to lose if we do not learn to live in a balanced relationship with our environment.
Peter is just one of a number of fine hook-and-bullet bloggers to sound an alarm. Check out Chad Love here and here and here [and, heck, just nab Chad's RSS feed. He's good].

And don't miss Hal Herring's great editorial in Field & Stream, and Bob Marshall's special report, here.

Maybe you saw the April 15 NY Times article: G.O.P. Push in States to Deregulate Environment. [Alternate link via Google.] Quote:
In the past month, the nation’s focus has been on the budget battle in Washington, where Republicans in Congress aligned with the Tea Party have fought hard for rollbacks to the Environmental Protection Agency, clean air and water regulations, renewable energy and other conservation programs.

But similar efforts to make historically large cuts to environmental programs are also in play at the state level as legislatures and governors take aim at conservation and regulations they see as too burdensome to business interests.
If we hope to save our country from the big oil billionaires business interests that control so many of our politicians, we better get busy. Don't wait until the next Ice Age. Get busy now.

That fresh hell in the photo at the top of this post? Not China. It's Canada. And it kills me to think of it, but that toxic landscape used to be a boreal forest. Did I mention that Canada is the #1 supplier of oil to the US? Countless wildfowl die in those tailing ponds. The air, the rivers and the people — the men, women and children — who live nearby are being poisoned. But we mustn't burden the business interests! Oh, no, mustn't do that.

See also:
Boreal Songbird Initiative
Contact Elected Officials Seriously: they are public servants. They work for us. Because mountaintop removal mining is in a horror category of its own.

The Mountain

Terje Sorgjerd, who created last month's awesome video of the Northern Lights, has done it again: another great video, this one filmed on 12,000+ ft stratovolcano Pico del Teide in the Canary Islands. Terje writes:
This was filmed between 4th and 11th April 2011. I had the pleasure of visiting El Teide.
Spain´s highest mountain @(3715m) is one of the best places in the world to photograph the stars and is also the location of Teide Observatories, considered to be one of the world´s best observatories.

The goal was to capture the beautiful Milky Way galaxy along with one of the most amazing mountains I know El Teide.
Read more here. Oh, and play the vid on full screen — it's beautiful.

H/T: the most excellent Starts With A Bang, who knows a thing or two about the night sky.

March 25, 2011

This most inconsolable of sorrows

Bounce at the cabin, looking for the bobcat. August 2009.

She's gone. My good girl, best, dearest, friendliest, happiest, smartest, kindest. She had the biggest and most joyful personality. All heart. All good.

Found out last fall that she would not, in fact, live forever, but I kept hoping. It's impossible that she's gone. Dear, brave, noble to the end.

Went to the shelter later, looked at the run where I first saw her 13 years ago. Everyone who knew her, loved her.

I can't believe she's gone.

I hope to heaven Julie Zickefoose can forgive me for repeating this, since it comes from a post honoring the memory of a human loved one, but I'll say it anyway: "Death is undone by love." I love you, Bounce.

March 22, 2011

Seismology quote o' the day

The San Andreas Fault runs through Cajon Pass [lower left to upper right] in Southern California. See Lost Lake in the middle of the photo? Good place to bird — I saw a Purple Martin there last year. Photo by cocoi_m on Flickr.

A most excellent comment from geologist [specializing in tectonics] and science blogger Chris Rowan, on Twitter:
Anyone using the word 'overdue' automatically forfeits their right to be taken seriously.

Chris tells it: How to (and how not to) talk about earthquake hazards in the media. USGS seismologist Susan Hough, A+! Newsweek and "journalist" Simon Winchester, F- and dunce caps all around.

H/T: Ed Yong on Twitter.

March 17, 2011

Nature, you so scary

"Vladimir! Put the !@$*!! camera down and get this thing off me!"

This lucky shot of an unlucky videographer [I've messed with the quality - follow link to the original] was taken by Vladimir Zaikin of Kazakhstan, and is posted on his photography blog here, in a post with other shots of raptors and their handlers. Mr. Z has some impressive landscape photos as well [and some NSFW shots elsewhere in the blog, FYI]. The photo above did some viral rounds a year or so ago, but never, as far as I can tell, with any kind of attribution. Thank you, TinEye and Google Language Tools.

March 14, 2011

Fear not, till Birnam Wood do come to Dunsinane

A couple videos of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and what you can do to help:

Reclaimed land and liquefaction: Californians will feel a chill.

This is one of the most hair-raising videos I think I've ever seen. The sight of the roofs moving in the smoke and dust...

Gracious my lord,
I should report that which I say I saw,
But know not how to do it.

Well, say, sir.

As I did stand my watch upon the hill,
I look'd toward Birnam, and anon, methought,
The Wood began to move.

************* has an excellent round up of "many options for online donations, as well as sites that will help you keep tabs on the rescue effort." I recommend California's own International Medical Corps: "The group said it will focus its efforts on earthquake and tsunami affected communities that have not yet been reached. To donate, text MED to 80888."

Our hearts are with Japan.

ETA: Satellite before/after shots at the NY Times here.

March 5, 2011

Quote of the week

From Language Log:
I am sure I have said this before, but here I am saying it again, for the Guardian's editors to hear: you just cannot exaggerate the stupidity of the brigade of morons who carry on the "things they don't have words for" trope. (I should add that I hope it's stupidity. It may be worse than that: mere bullshit, written by sophisticated people who know they haven't looked for the relevant facts but couldn't care less.

Here, for good measure, is Language Log's 'No word for X' archive. Awesomesauce.

H/T, again: the most excellent and essential Ed "No one puts baby in a cohort!" Yong. I am so stealing for a tag line his "Nature! Hell yeah!" aside.

Well written

Jessa Gamble had a close and unforgettable encounter along a frozen lake in Canada’s Northwest Territories: read A Dead World at Sunset over at the science blog The Last Word On Nothing.

H/T: the most excellent and awesome science journalist Ed Yong, whose most excellent, awesome and totally addictive blog is essential reading in these parts.

January 29, 2011

Super Cool Vid o' the Day

As it happens, the day this went up on YouTube was December 3, 2007. But still: super cool.

[H/T: Will My Dog Hate Me?]