Sunday, December 30, 2007

Winter has arrived

Winter, the cat, that is. A couple of days before Christmas, someone creating very bad karma for themselves dropped off a young (approx 8 mo) pure white cat in town and dumped her because she was pregnant. She found her way to my porch and meowed at me, pleading. When she tried to come into the house despite the presence of the dogs, I knew she needed some help. Because she arrived near Christmas and she is snow white, her temporary name is Winter.

She is now comfortably established upstairs with the black cat and they are finding their way around each other. We will be looking for good homes for the kittens and the mom once they are all ready to leave the nest. I'm guessing that she's about 4 weeks away from delivery, but it's hard to tell for sure. She seems to be a very sweet girl.

Anyone willing to help socialize little kittens in preparation for their new home, let me know!!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Walking in a Doggie Wonderland

Sing along!
- author unknown

Dog tags ring, are you listenin?
In the lane, snow is glistenin,
It's yellow, NOT white,-I've been here tonight,
Marking up my winter wonderland.

Smell that tree? That's my fragrance,
It's a sign for wand'ring vagrants,
Avoid where I pee, It's MY pro-per-ty,
Marked up as my winter wonderland.

In the meadow dad will build a snowman,
Following the classical design,
Then I'll lift my leg and let it go man,
So all the world will see It's mine -mine-mine.

Straight from me to the fencepost,
Flows my natural incense boast,
Stay off my TURF, this small piece of earth,
I mark it as my winter wonderland.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Here we go round in circles

Rizzo takes her food very seriously. As it turns out, she has exposed my disfunctional habit of eating at the computer desk. Because when I have food in my hand, she will run past my feet and launch her body into the office chair full speed ahead, causing it to spin in circles. But she is very adept. Her little body counter-circles at the same rate of speed and she manages to continue to keep an eye on both me and my food!!

The other night when I got home from work, everyone was trying to greet me, but I was trying to change out of my work clothes into something more comfortable. With the snow outside preventing any desires of leaving the house the rest of the night, flannel jammies seemed like the perfect solution. Once I got changed, I reclined on the bed to wrestle with the dogs a bit. Petunia jumped up on my chest and started licking my face like I was a 2 year old who just ate ice cream. The paw in my throat cutting off my breath made me gently push her rear end over so that she would step off my body. In her excitement, her body continued to walk, all the way around my head and back up onto my chest while she was still licking my face in the same spot. Talented! There's no lack of love in this house!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Pug Movie Preview

Forgotten Dog's Christmas

Forgotten Dog’s Christmas
Although there are an untold number of great reasons to wish for a companion, everyone in the family should agree as to the proper treatment before one is brought home. This poem is a good reminder of an unfortunate circumstance that happens all to often.

~~Forgotten Dog's Christmas~~

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there

The children were nestled all snug in their beds
With no thought of the dog filling their head

And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap
Knew he was cold, but didn't care about that

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter

Away to the window I flew like a flash
Figuring the dog was free of his chain and into the trash

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the luster of mid-day to objects below

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear
But Santa Claus - with eyes full of tears

He un-chained the dog, once so lively and quick
Last year's Christmas present, now painfully thin and sick

More rapid than eagles he called the dog's name
And the dog ran to him, despite all his pain

"Now, DASHER! now, DANCER! now, PRANCER and VIXEN!

To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!
Let's find this dog a home where he'll be loved by all."

I knew in an instant there would be no gifts this year
For Santa Claus had made one thing quite clear

The gift of a dog is not just for the season
We had gotten the pup for all the wrong reasons

In our haste to think of the kids a gift
There was one important thing that we missed

A dog should be family, and cared for the same
You don't give a gift, then put it on a chain

And I heard him exclaim as he rode out of sight
"You weren't given a gift! You were given a LIFE!"

Author Unknown

Sunday, December 02, 2007

General Updates

Our little miss perky pants Jolene the show pug got evaluated by her breeder/handler recently and we're very sorry to say that right now, it looks like she won't make the cut for the show ring. What a shame, because she's a beauty! She has a sweet, positive disposition. She is bright and happy. She has a gorgeous diamond on her forehead and she's sooooo tiny you could tuck her into a jacket and take her everywhere! This little girl is destined for diamond studded collars, gourmet dinner on silver platters and the comfiest of pillows. So if you know of a perfect home for her, please have them contact us.

Also, our friends have a bassett hound that they are fostering and hoping to find a good home for, and we have a springer spaniel field-trained bird dog possibly available to the right home.

We heard from Gypsy's mom today, one of the pups from Ellie Mae x Cooter. She told us several times about Gypsy loving the water, but I figured that was just because it was summer. No, here we are in the winter and miss Gypsy jumped back into the bathtub after her bath 3 times before her mom could get her dry and out the bathroom door safely. What a goof! She also sent me a pic of her in her halloween costume and is she ever so cute!

We hear from others occasionally and always welcome stories and pictures!

As to this household, many of you might know from my other posts that little Fa Zhou has taken the german shepherd as his best friend. Together they monitor the activities in the neighborhood, patrol the yard, and keep the house safe. With the girls starting to come into season, we got Fa Zhou neutered, but the studs in the house are unsure whether he is a threat or not for their female attention. Well, the german shepherd is making sure that everyone is minding their own business. I went to find out why the dogs hadn't come back in from going potty and she was keeping the boys segregated - each had their own spot in the yard. lol... she's a great dog and a shepherd with a job that she loves. She's such a gentle soul with the pugs and a great guardian.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Should parents go to jail for not vaccinating kids?

Excuse me? With autism running rampant, deaths from the new papilloma vaccine, and many other adverse reactions, there are some out there who are trying to send parents to jail for refusing vaccinations for their children. And social services has taken children away for the same. What kind of country is this when pharmaceutical companies can dictate criminal policy??? Vote here

Friday, November 16, 2007

Speaking at the Speed of Light

Author: Kathy Coachpike

Life seems to be moving at the speed of light. I try to bring a grounded presence into every aspect of my daily life. However a fast paced world can often pull me out of my authentic self. Our culture is based on high-speed everything. Speed is becoming a value. The faster something can work or go the more desirable it is. The
element of speed brings many good things, and it may also be taking away just as much.

During EELC programs I drop into `horse time' a spacious place where the breath is deep, the mind reflects, and the pacing is slow. Years ago I would have resisted this. I thought that my quick mind and lightening fast ability to ask questions, solve problems, and jump to future scenarios for possible applications, was one of the most valuable assets of my being. Once I started to work with horses I
saw how this very behavior was not based on my authentic nature, but instead a hyperactive, over functioning performance behavior based on proving to myself, and others, that I was `smart' and that I was `right.' I was living in fear, not in my power. My behavior gave me a false send of safety and security.

This highly mental approach to communications and relationships was detrimental to my success. A heady and often defensive approach took me out of my heart. My breath would become shallow. My lightening speed communication style often over-lapped other people's sentences, cutting them off in mid-thought. Too busy in my own mind finding my next comment, reply or question I failed to hear others.

The last four years horses have taught me to let go of this `false' part of myself. When I attempt to create connection and train horses in this `false' state of being, the horses do not respond well. It takes us twice the amount of energy and time to achieve something together. They turn their hinds, move away, become agitated, or
simply tune out. This is my clue that my breath is short, my mind is full of racing thoughts, and I am trying to achieve through my head and my head alone. One can only imagine the discomfort this false heady approach creates for a sensitive creature.

To be authentic one must learn to distinguish what is real and what is false about the self. High-speed head based means of communication are false. All heart connections start from the heart, not the head. When a person cannot feel their heart it is difficult to create the heart connections.

Those who want to have more companionship (both with horse and humans) must learn the art of a heart-based communications. Heart-based communication occurs when a person is aware of their own heart space, breathing deeply into their body, and adjusting their style (timing, rhythm, and intensity) of communication so another can hear them. They must be willing to sit in a silent pause, not needing to fill it with words. They must be willing to reflect and listen deeply to the communications another is offering them. They must also be sensitive to the energy of those around them. In essence they must learn how to `graze' with inner peace to honor those around them. When two beings are heart based their hearts become synchronized and in essence they begin to see and feel the world in harmony, even if their views differ.

What might shift in your relations if you were to take a breath and pause after someone spoke and before you offered your next thought or question? When do you feel heart connections with others? What is false and what is genuine in your communications with others? Where do you spend most of your time, in your head or in your heart? How do your horses respond to you when you are breathing deeply into your heart space?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Can't get enough of pugs?

Check out the links to other cool blogs. We've added some of our friends and their pug blogs. Gotta love em!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Ellie Mae & Jolene at the Reservoir

What beautiful days we've been having! Inspired by pictures of dogs in leaves, after work we went to the reservoir knowing there would be tons of leaves to have in pictures. Not to mention the beautiful water in the background. We searched and searched and they must do a really good job of keeping the reservoir picnic areas clean. Or maybe the wind had blown all the loose leaves into the woods. But either way, we had no luck with the leaves. The setting sun was gorgeous. Ellie Mae decided she wanted to play some fetch. Jolene kept tossing her head over her shoulder and barking at the BBQ pit on a pole. It stayed right where it was, too! She must really sound ferocious to inanimate objects.

As hard as I tried to keep them on the side of me where the sun was shining on them, not behind them, they still kept going to the other side. And the props I had with me were cute, the reservoir was gorgeous, but no.... the best shot was with their heads in the Walgreen's plastic bag. Go figure. You'll see the abandoned fuzzy rabbit toy in the background.

As a perfect end to a perfect evening, in the midst of acres of perfect grass, Jolene peed on my jacket laying on the ground. They're a litte bit too trained with the puppy pad.

A Note From a Rescue

Cross posted from some different boards - original source unknown.

We don't get the elegantly coiffed, classically beautiful, completely trained, perfectly behaved dog. We get the leftovers. Dogs that other people have incompetently bred, inadequately socialized, ineffectively "trained," and badly treated. Most Rescue dogs have had it. They've been pushed from one lousy situation to another. They've never had proper veterinary care, kind and consistent training, or sufficient company. They've lived outside, in a crate, or in the basement. They're scared, depressed and anxious. Some are angry. Some are sick. Some have given up.

But we are Rescue and we don't give up. We never give up on a dog. We know that a dog is a living being, with a spirit and a heart and feelings. Our dogs are not commodities, things, or garbage. They are part of sacred creation and they deserve as much love and care and respect as the next Westminster champion. So please, please don't come to rescue in the hopes of getting a "bargain," or indeed of "getting" anything. Come to Rescue to give, to love, to save a life -- and to mend your own spirit. For Rescue will reward you in ways you never thought possible. I can promise you this -- a rescue dog will make you a better person.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Frenchies at halloween

Gator & Mariah got to greet the trick-or-treaters last night during Beggar's Night while being dressed as a dinosaur and a spider. They were very scary, as was witnessed by the screams heard behind the snickers as their spider legs and dinosaur tail bobbed happily behind them. It was as good a dog night as it was a kid night!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Help our local dog shelter win a makeover!

The fun site ZooToo offers a great way to support your local dog shelter!

For anyone wishing to join the site, it would be great if you would follow the instructions below so that I get referral points to help our shelter earn more points!

1. Go to the website:

2. Register, confirm your email address.

3. Now click on "volunteer" on the website header.

4. At the bottom of the page, click something (anything!) from section 1, and click add.

That's it! You've just earned the shelter some serious points. Now have fun with the news reviews, the product reviews, etc. Upload pictures of your pets utilizing the products you've reviewed! After each review or upload, you should see a message flash on the screen telling you how many points you've earned. Don't click on anything until you see this acknowledgement. I'm trying to work with them right now to recover another 100 points that should be showing for me!

The Clark County shelter is trying to accumulate enough funds to be able to expand their property. Right now, there is no good area for isolation. At some point in the future, they would even like to host a low cost spay/neuter clinic which would really help this area tremendously. Please take a look and write a few reviews to help either our shelter or yours. Thanks for investing the time!

Pet trusts?

All too often pets are left homeless when their owners die and haven't made preparations for their care. More and more owners are turning to trusts to care for their beloved pets after their passing. However, most trusts are expensive to set up, maintain, and amend. Meet PetGuardian LLC, a company that specializes in setting up trusts. In specializing, they are able to create and maintain trusts for much less than the average attorney fees. Setup fees for a simple trust run $1000-2000 through an attorney but cost a minimal $500 through PetGuardian LLC. For more details, visit their website:

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

AMVA Evacuation Disaster Preparedness Plan for Animals

In light of the fires in California, it reminds us all to have an emergency plan in effect, especially where our pets are considered. The AVMA has written an excellent guide outlining many of the aspects of emergency management where pets are concerned. Definitely worth bookmarking!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Mutts & Moms Rescue

The recent situation exposed on the Ellen show (Ellen adopted a dog with a signed contract not to rehome the dog, but return it to the rescue and she gave it to her hairdresser's family), many questions have come into light regarding rescue organizations. Some are more strict, some are more lenient. This particular organization has a rule about no small pets with children under age 14. Realize that many dogs in rescue have issues with children because of prior mistreatments, and only the rescue knows where the best placement for these dogs would be. However, it would have been nice if they would have been in a position to truly evaluate that particular family, the interaction of the children with the dog, and base their opinion on that.

We have been involved with personal and family rescues and with humane societies, and we do our best to help animals find loving homes, but it is not always easy. The rescues write the rules based on where they have been burned before. Like the dog who had multiple surgeries and months of recovery in the home of a foster to be placed with a nice woman in a nice home. The woman later sold the dog for $100 to a family who had no regard for the animal's health or well-being and the dog was eventually returned to the rescue malnourished, hair matted badly, and with serious dental issues and low state of health. If the dog had been returned to the rescue per the contract, then a more suitable home and the dog could have avoided that dark period of time.

Here is a cross-post relative to this situation that might help someone understand, in part, the daily frustrations of a rescue worker.

Hello: You have reached 555-5555, Tender Hearts Rescue. Due to the high volume of calls we have been receiving, please listen closely to the following options and choose the one that best describes you or your situation:

Press 1 if you think we are veterinarians and want free medical advice.

Press 2 if you know we are a rescue organization but want to save money and have us give you free, untrained medical advice anyway.

Press 3 if you make $200,000 a year but still want us to pay to spay the "stray" in your yard (house).

Press 4 if you have a 10-year-old dog (or cat) and your 15-year-old son has suddenly become allergic and you need to find the dog a new home right away.

Press 5 if you have three dogs (or cats), had a baby and want to get rid of your pets because you are the only person in the world to have a baby and pets at the same time.

Press 6 if your dog (or cat) is sick and needs a vet but you need the money for your vacation.

Press 7 if you just got a brand new puppy (or kitten) and your old dog (or cat) is having problems adjusting so you want to get rid of the old one right away.

Press 8 if your little puppy (or kitten) has grown up and is no longer small and cute and you want to trade it in for a new model.

Press 9 if you are elderly and want to adopt a cute puppy (or kitten) who is not active and is going to outlive you.

Press 10 if your relative has died and you don't want to care for their elderly dog (or cat) because it doesn't fit your lifestyle.

Press 11 if you are moving today and need to immediately place your 150 pound, 8-year-old dog or your 16-year-old cat.

Press 12 if you want an unpaid volunteer to come to your home today and pick up the dog (or cat) you no longer want.

Press 13 if you have been feeding and caring for a "stray" for the last three years, are moving and suddenly determine it's not you r dog (or cat).

Press 14 if you are calling at 6a.m. to make sure you wake me up before I have to go to work so you can drop a dog (or cat) off on your way to work.

Press 15 to leave us an anonymous garbled message, letting us know you have left a dog in our yard in the middle of January, which is in fact, better than just leaving the dog with no message.

Press 16 if you are going to get angry because we are not going to take your dog (or cat) that you have had for fifteen years, because it is not our responsibility.

Press 17 if you are going to threaten to take your ten-year-old dog (or cat) to be euthanized because I wont take it.

Press 18 if you're going to get angry because the volunteers had the audacity to go on vacation and leave the dogs in care of a trusted volunteer who is not authorized to take your personal pet.

Press 19 if you want one of our perfectly trained, housebroken, kid and cat friendly purebred tiny dogs that we have an abundance of.

Press 20 if you want us to take your dog that has a slight aggression problem, i.e. has only bitten a few people and killed your neighbor's cats.

Press 21 if you have already called once and been told we don't take personal surrenders but thought you would get a different person this time with a different answer.

Press 22 if you want us to use space that would go to a stray to board your personal dog (or cat) while you are on vacation, free of charge, of course.

Press 23 if it is Christmas Eve or Easter morning and you want me to deliver an eight week old puppy (or kitten) to your house by 6:30 am before your kids wake up.

Press 24 if you have bought your children a duckling, chick or baby bunny for Easter and it is now Christmas and no longer cute.

Press 25 if you want us to take your female dog (or cat) who has already had ten litters, but we can't spay her because she is pregnant again and it is against your religion.

Press 26 if you're lying to make one of our younger volunteers feel bad and take your personal pet off your hands.

Press 27 if your cat is biting and not using the litter box because it is declawed, but are not willing to accept the responsibility that the cat's behavior is altered because of your nice furniture.

Press 28 if your two year old male dog (or cat) is marking all over your house but you just haven't gotten around to having him neutered.

Press 29 if you previously had an outdoor only dog (or cat) and are calling because she is suddenly pregnant.

Press 30 if you have done "everything" to housebreak your dog and have had no success but you don't want to crate the dog because it is cruel.

Press 31 if you didn't listen to the message asking for an evening phone number and you left your work number when all volunteers are also working and you are angry because no one called you back.

Press 32 if you need a puppy (or kitten) immediately and cannot wait because today is your daughter's birthday and you forgot when she was born.

Press 33 if your dog's (or cat's) coat doesn't match your new furniture and you need a different color or breed.

Press 34 if your new love doesn't like your dog (or cat) and you are too stupid to get rid of the new friend (who will dump you in the next month anyway) instead of the pet.

Press 35 if you went through all these presses and didn't hear enough. This press will connect you to the sounds of tears being shed by one of our volunteers who is holding a discarded old dog (or cat) while the vet mercifully frees him from of the grief of missing his family.


Monday, October 08, 2007

Storytime - Mariah

Whenever I yell for the dogs, they always come running and whenever my dog partner Tony yells for them, they scatter to run under the bed or under the office desk. They figure he's either going to crate them or they're in trouble for something - lol. So when I'm gone I'll ask how things went and he'll tell me who he could and couldn't catch - lol.

Anyway, the other day I took Ellie out of her crate and I knew she had to use the bathroom, but I wanted to check her to be sure she's not coming into heat yet. As I was reaching for a paper towel with the other hand, she got away from me and ran toward the bedroom. I'm yelling "Elle Mae, darn you, get back here" and running after her because I'm scared if she goes that direction, she's going to wet on the carpet and I just shampoo'ed it. So I get to the bedroom in enough time to see 5 little tails going underneath the bed, including Mariah. Shoot, I thought some of those were too big to fit their hineys under there anymore, but they sure did.

So I sighed, went to the door, opened it and yelled, "who wants to go outside." I see those huge ears pop around the doorway of the bedroom horizontally like a kid spying. She was the ambassador sent to see if it was a trick or not so the others could remain safely under the bed. She realized the door was open and she starts her feet moving like the road runner in the cartoons, then all of a sudden they catch traction and she's off and running. The rest followed her outside and I didn't have any messes on my carpet!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation

This is a book review by an contributing author for the San Francisco newspaper. The review can be found here:

Is pet overpopulation a myth? Inside Nathan Winograd's "Redemption"
By Christie Keith, Special to SF Gate

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

In the still-heated debate over reducing shelters deaths in California, there is probably no more polarizing figure than Nathan Winograd, former director of operations for the San Francisco SPCA.

At first glance, Winograd has all the credentials any animal rights activist or shelter professional could ask for. He's a vegan. He left a lucrative career as a prosecuting attorney to devote himself to helping animals. Last year, his income was only $35,000. He has spearheaded the No Kill Advocacy Center, a national organization aimed at ending the killing of pets in animal shelters. While director of operations at the San Francisco SPCA, he worked with then-president Richard Avanzino to implement a wide variety of animal livesaving programs, and then went on to achieve similar success as director of a rural shelter in upstate New York.

But Winograd isn't making a lot of friends in the shelter industry these days. That's because he authored a book called "Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation and the No Kill Revolution in America" that challenges the very foundation of nearly every theory and principle of shelter management in this country: The idea that there are more pets dying in shelters each year than homes available for those pets.

In fact, with between 4 and 5 million dogs and cats being killed in shelters nationwide every year, denying the existence of pet overpopulation seems ridiculous. If there aren't more pets than homes, why are so many animals ending up in shelters in the first place?

Conventional wisdom tells us it's because of irresponsible pet owners who aren't willing to work to keep their pets in their homes. It's a failure of commitment, of caring, and of the human/animal bond. If fewer pets were born, there would be fewer coming into shelters. If people cared more about their pets, they wouldn't give them up so easily, would spay and neuter them so they wouldn't reproduce, and wouldn't let them stray.

That is exactly what I always believed, too, for the nearly 17 years I've been writing about pets. And yet, after reading "Redemption," I don't believe it anymore.

Winograd's argument is simply this: Based on data from the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Animal Hospital Association, the Pet Food Manufacturers Association, and the latest census, there are more than enough homes for every dog and cat being killed in shelters every year. In fact, when I spoke to him for this article, he told me that there aren't just enough homes for the dogs and cats being killed in shelters. There are more homes for cats and dogs opening each year than there are cats and dogs even entering shelters.

He's not suggesting this is really nothing but a numbers game, though. "When I argue that pet overpopulation is a myth, I'm not saying that we can all go home," he said. "And I'm not saying that there aren't certain people who are irresponsible with their animals. And I'm not saying that there aren't a lot of animals entering shelters. Again, I'm not saying that it wouldn't be better if there were fewer of them being impounded. But it does mean that the problem is not insurmountable and it does mean that we can do something short of killing for all savable animals today."

There is probably nothing Winograd could say that would more inflame the shelter and humane society establishment than calling pet overpopulation a myth. But Winograd doesn't just stop there. In "Redemption," Winograd lays the lion's share of the blame for shelter deaths not on pet owners and communities, but on the management, staff, and boards of directors of the shelters themselves.

"If a community is still killing the majority of shelter animals, it is because the local SPCA, humane society, or animal control shelter has fundamentally failed in its mission," he writes. "And this failure is nothing more than a failure of leadership. The buck stops with the shelter's director."

Redemption makes the case that bad shelter management leads to overcrowding, which is then confused with pet overpopulation. Instead of warehousing and killing animals, shelters, he says, should be using proven, innovative programs to find those homes he says are out there. They should wholeheartedly adopt the movement known as No Kill, and stop using killing as a form of population control.

Mike Fry, the executive director of Animal Ark Shelter in the Minneapolis area, was one of those who had a problem with Winograd's analysis. Interviewing Winograd on his radio show, he said, "I was one of those people, when I saw the title "The Myth of Pet Overpopulation ..." the hackles kind of went up on the back of my neck. This is a problem we're struggling and fighting with literally day in day out in the animal welfare community."

Winograd, who has been in the same trenches himself, responded with some specific examples of the buck stopping at the shelter director's desk. "Let's just look at various animals dying in shelters around the nation today," he said on Fry's radio show. "If ... motherless kittens are killed because the shelter doesn't have a comprehensive foster care program, that's not pet overpopulation. That's the lack of a foster care program.

"If adoptions are low because people are getting those dogs and cats from other places, because the shelter isn't doing outside adoptions (adoptions done off the shelter premises), that's a failure to do outside adoptions, not pet overpopulation.

"And you can go down the list. If animals are killed because working with rescue groups is discouraged, again, that's not pet overpopulation. If dogs are going cage-crazy because volunteers and staff aren't allowed to socialize them, and then those dogs are killed because they're quote-unquote "cage crazy," because the shelter doesn't have a behavior rehabilitation program in place, once again, that's not pet overpopulation; that's the lack of programs and services that save lives.

"And you can say that about feral cats being killed because a shelter doesn't have a trap-neuter-return program. You can say that about shy or scared dogs because the shelter is doing this bogus temperament testing that's killing shy dogs and claiming they are unadoptable. It goes on and on and on."

Winograd's not just talking about something that could happen, but something that has already happened many times in a number of American communities — including San Francisco, which in 1994 became the first city in the United States to end the killing of healthy dogs and cats.

Of course, the San Francisco SPCA was not the first no-kill shelter in the United States. There have always been individual shelters and rescue groups that have not used population control killing. What San Francisco did was to institutionalize No Kill on a county-wide basis, guaranteeing that animals would not be killed simply for lack of shelter space. The SFSPCA promised to take all adoptable, treatable, and rehabilitatable pets that came into San Francisco's municipal shelter, and find homes for them if the city shelter could not.

"If you look at what San Francisco did between 1993 and 1994, the number of deaths didn't decline by one percent or two percent," Winograd said. "In the case of healthy animals it declined 100 percent. In the case of sick and injured animals it declined by about 50 percent." Nonetheless, instead of adopting similar programs for their own communities, most observers of the time shrugged it off, saying that it wouldn't work anywhere else. San Francisco, they said, is special.

As a fourth-generation native, I'm the first to admit my city is special. But the reality is that No Kill has worked in a wide variety of communities. Winograd later left California and took over the SPCA in Tompkins County, N.Y., which held the animal control contract for the region and has an open admissions policy. One of the most compelling sections of "Redemption" tells how Winograd walked into the shelter and, literally overnight, ended the practice of killing for shelter space:

"The day after my arrival, my staff informed me that our dog kennels were full and since a litter of six puppies had come in, I needed to decide who was going to be killed in order to make space. I asked for 'Plan B'; there was none. I asked for suggestions; there were none."

He spoke directly to his staff, saying, "Volunteers who work with animals do so out of sheer love. They don't bring home a paycheck. So if a volunteer says, 'I can't do it,' I can accept that from her. But staff members are paid to save lives. If a paid member of staff throws up her hands and says, 'There's nothing that can be done,' I may as well eliminate her position and use the money that goes for her salary in a more constructive manner. So what are we going to do with the puppies that doesn't involve killing?"

The story of how Tompkins County stopped killing for population control and started sending more than 90 percent of the animals that come into its animal control system out alive may be one of the greatest success stories of the humane movement. It's certainly one of the most compelling parts of the argument laid out in "Redemption."

Because, although it wasn't always easy, these programs worked, and not only in San Francisco or Tompkins County. "In Tompkins County, we reduced the death rate 75 percent in two years. In Charlottesville, Va., they reduced it by over 50 percent in one year. And Reno, Nev. ... has reduced the death rate by over 50 percent," Winograd said.

"If all shelters not only have the desire and embrace the No Kill philosophy, but comprehensively put into play all those programs and services that ... I ... collectively call the no-kill equation, then we would achieve success."

The issue of pet overpopulation is only one piece of the story told in "Redemption." Within its pages, readers and animal lovers can find the blueprint not so much for our failure to save the animals in our communities, but for our ability to start doing so today. It challenges us to demand more of our shelters than the status quo, to insist on an end to the use of killing as a form of animal population control, and tells us to stop allowing our tax dollars and donations to support shelters and animal control agencies that refuse to implement programs that have been proven in communities across America to work to end the killing.

Bay Area residents will have the chance to hear Winograd speak on "Redemption" and the No Kill movement. He'll be at the Women's Community Building at 3543 18th St. in San Francisco on Thursday, Nov. 8, at 6 p.m. The event is free, and space can be reserved at There is also more information, and a list of speaking dates in other parts of the country, at

Christie Keith is a contributing editor for Universal Press Syndicate's Pet Connection and past director of the Pet Care Forum on America Online. She lives in San Francisco.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Diet Coke & Mentos Experiment

Reminder - keep artificial sweeteners away from your pets, especially xylitol!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Featured Artist - Amber Gooch

Amber has a talent for art in a number of different mediums and is currenty a teacher. Lucky for me, she got a hankering to break out her oils and try a few pug faces. I'm ecstatic with the results of her work and she was kind enough to allow me to purchase her paintings so that I can keep them on my wall to brighten my day. After doing two small examples of my pugs, she agreed to doing a commissioned work of my springer spaniel we had for 14 years and my dad's dog that he had for an equal time. If you'd like to see more of Amber's work and maybe even contact her for a portrait, visit her website:

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Can Rizzo Swim?

Well, we still don't know the answer. Took Rizzo and Daisy with me this morning to run an errand and we drove past the reservoir. It was a gorgeous day, perfect temperature, sun shining. Why not pull over for a couple of minutes and enjoy it before winter sets in? The dogs had fun walking down the trail, sniffing, meeting new people. They had fun playing in the water and Rizzo got braver each time she stepped foot in and splashed around. She got to where only her head was sticking out, but when she lost her footing, she bounced out of the water toward the shore instead of trying to swim! Here's a little video of the two of them playing in the water.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Dogs aren't the only ones who play with balls

Check out this stallion and his Equis-Spirit ball!

Dog Aggression

The issue of dog aggression comes up time and time again. If you are dealing with aggression in a dog, there are many sources out there to help you.

In a nutshell, the first step is to discover if this is a behavioral or physical issue.

Some dogs reach a certain age and try to change their place in the pack by challenging others. Or by challenging the humans. It is important to maintain the pack structure with the human as the pack leader to keep everyone in balance and the family in harmony. Being a pack leader doesn't mean that the human yells, shouts or hits. They maintain structure by teaching the pack members the rules of the pack (sit politely, respect boundaries, etc.). If there is not a human who adequately guides the pack, then a dog will rise into that position. They might not even want to be alpha, but they realize that the structure is missing and someone has to provide it.

A class with a qualified behaviorologist will help to determine a course of action for obedience training which would also give helpful pointers to the human so that the human better understands his/her role. Another great resource is the NILIF program easily found on the internet. It is based on the premise that nothing in life is free. You must sit politely as I prepare your food and only eat when I say ok. You will wait behind me as I go through the door and only exit with my permission. There will be time spent up front as you and your dog go through these exercises, but once the roles are firmly established, it will make for a smoothly run and happy household for many years to come. I would say we spent the first year with our springer spaniel working on the basics, but we had a well-behaved and happy dog for the next 13 years who earned compliments everywhere she went. We didn't know about NILIF at the time, but we worked with basic obedience and the rules that worked well for our family.

There are also internet groups through forums such as Yahoo and MSN where you can find qualified trainers and behaviorologists who will answer your questions online and help point you in the right direction.

Sometimes aggressive behavior is exhibited when the physical body is not right. A dog in pain, for instance, will lash out at anyone trying to touch him because the touch results in more pain and he's trying to warn the person away. This is an obvious case of physical problems, but what about something a bit more deep-seated and harder to determine?

Many people who have studied dog health and nutrition have found that there are two things which can help spur a sudden and unexplained display of aggressive behavior.

Thyroid disfunction can be a cause of aggression in dogs. You might even see other thyroid issues (unexplained fears, poor quality of fur, etc). Request that the veterinarian either run a full 6-panel thyroid test to determine if this is the issue, or have the blood drawn and send the sample to Dr. Jean Dodd's lab for anaylsis. Dr. Dodds is the leading expert on thyroid issues in canines and has an extensive background of knowledge as well as a database used for tracking trends in specific breeds.

Another major culprit in aggressive behavior is vaccinosis from over-vaccinating our animals. Most often vaccinosis displayed as aggression is associated with the rabies vaccine. Resolving this will require the assistance of someone skilled in healing. Most frequently homeopathy seems to have better results, although in most cases no matter the therapy, the aggression is minimalized and never thoroughly gone. This is why so many people are very upset that rabies is mandatory even when titer tests indicate that the immunity level for the virus is still very effective. In an effort to minimize the risk to our animals from these terrible side effects, the rabies challenge fund has been established to document and prove the effectiveness and long-lasting protection of the shots.

There are many resources out there and I strongly encourage a person to exhaust all efforts at attempting to work with their dogs in these issues. Sometimes we've done all we can and it is not enough. I read a story of a large powerful dog who was rescued and worked with, yet attacked and bit the elderly mother of the woman who took the dog in. They were forced to euthenize and found out later through an animal communicator that the dog had been kicked by someone in the head before it came to them. The pain in the dog's head was intolerable (like something wasn't attached right anymore) and it felt like it could not live with it. It appreciated the love from the family and was trying hard to fit in, but just couldn't take the pain and bit the mother, knowing what the result would be. Sometimes there can be a higher purpose in the events surrounding the experience and all we can do is our best to help those in our care.

Hero of the Year

Cast your vote for the Animal Planet's 2007 Hero of the Year award!

A husky and a polar bear?

Last weekend I tossed all my responsibilities to the wind on Saturday and went to visit the lovely horses at Serendipity Stables. Very talented and affectionate, it was definitely worth the trip!

In fact, one of the horses at Serendipity Stables won her own hero award!! This article was written a couple of years ago and Sweet Adeline has since had the surgery and is pampered with massage and reiki treatments as she continues to share her love and healing talents with the world.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Rabies Challenge Fund Meets First Year Goal

Kris Christine of Alna is surely proof of the adage that one person's determination and passion can make a difference. First, in 2004, she launched a successful campaign to change the canine rabies vaccination laws in the state, which were vague enough to allow vaccinations to occur every year as opposed to the every three years most states have on the books, and vaccine manufacturers recommend as well.

But, in the course of her research, she found information on studies indicating a possible longer immunity, up to seven years, from a canine rabies shot. So, in 2005 she started The Rabies Challenge Fund to raise money for the necessary challenge studies to be conducted to prove the preliminary research. And the fund has just reached its first-year goal of $177,000.

"It's a testament to how much people love their pets," Christine said, "because most of the money came from the public – from pet owners as well as dog associations and kennels. It came from a grass roots effort, not from professional veterinary medical organizations, except for the American Holistic Veterinarian Medical Association."

The challenge studies would not be able to go forward, however, Christine adds, if it weren't for the generous contribution of time and expertise by two leading veterinary vaccine researchers, Dr. W. Jean Dodds of Hemopet in California, who is co-trustee of the fund with Christine, and Dr. Ronald Shultz of the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine.

"This is one of the most important projects in veterinary medicine. It will benefit all dogs by providing evidence that protection from rabies vaccination lasts at least five years, thereby avoiding unnecessary revaccination with its attendant risk of debilitating adverse reactions," Dodds said. "And it's the first time in my 43 years of involvement in veterinary issues that what started as a grassroots effort to change an outmoded regulation affecting animals will be addressed scientifically by an acknowledged expert to benefit all canines in the future."

Adverse reactions to rabies vaccination can include autoimmune diseases affecting the thyroid, joints, blood, eyes, skin, kidney, liver, bowel and central nervous system; anaphylactic shock; aggression; seizures; epilepsy; and fibrosarcomas at injection sites.

The studies, of concurrent five and seven years, in accordance with FDA vaccine licensing standards, will be conducted by Shultz at the University of Wisconsin. Annual budget goals of $150,000 for the studies have to be met in the future. Current rabies immunization laws in the United States are not based upon long-term duration of immunity studies, Christine pointed out.

Schultz stated, "Showing that a vaccine for rabies can provide five or preferably seven years of immunity would have great significance not only in controlling rabies but more importantly in reducing the adverse vaccine reactions that can occur in dogs and cats after vaccination."

More information on The Rabies Challenge Fund can be found at

The US is free of canine rabies

Rabies Vaccine May Save Some Pain

Veterinarians Urged to Shift Away from Annual, Grouped Vaccinations - Adverse Effects Cited

Podcast interview with Dodds & Christine

How Often Does He REALLY Need A Rabies Shot?

Are We Overvaccinating our Dogs?

Maine Today blog on RCF

Other related podcasts

Anyone wishing to have a copy of the 1992 French challenge study data from a research team led by Michel Aubert in which dogs were demonstrated to be immune to a rabies challenge 5 years after vaccination,
Vascellari's study which documented cancerous tumors in dogs at presumed injection sites of rabies vaccine, please e-mail me at
ledgespring@ lincoln.midcoast .com

Kris L. Christine
Founder, Co-Trustee
The Rabies Challenge Fund
Edit 07-15-08
PETA has been abusing the RCF for their challenge to ultimataly save the lives of many animals and prevent unnecessary health risks for countless others. The government refuses to accept scientific studies that have been done outside the US since the pharmaceutical industry holds so much power and wealth. They don't want to lose their cash cow, no matter how many health problems are generated as a result. And PETA claims to be for the animals, but one has to question their true motives and desires. Here is information that has been sent as official responses to the PETA attacks:

Please see the series of e-mails and my responses to PETA. You'll see that I did
answer each letter in good faith in a timely manner and not as alleged by Dr.
Dozier. Additional information and responses are below.

By the way, perhaps the current PETA people are unaware that over the years I've
provided PETA --- upon their request -- pro-bono extensive review and scientific
opinion about the research records obtained under FOIA concerning certain
inhumane, invasive primate research experiments. I've been roundly criticized by
my peers for this activity, as you can well imagine ! I'm the Past
-President of the Scientist's Center for Animal Welfare and a 20 + year member
of AVAR -- the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights -- which has now
joined HSUS; among other long standing activities in the humane community [40 +

Here at last are my responses to the further comments on the RCF protocol and
PETA's allegations. Under separate cover, I'm forwarding you the actual letters
I sent the 2 people at PETA upon their initial and repeat inquiries. You'll see
that I answered them immediately and forthrightly.

Jean [W. Jean Dodds, DVM]
Thank you for your email regarding the Rabies Challenge Fund (RCF).
Please be aware that we attempted to correspond with W. Jean Dodds (co-trustee
and veterinarian responsible for the RCF) for a number of weeks in April and May
of this year. During that time, we tried to clarify a number of issues
surrounding the RCF experiments, yet we received nothing of substance in
response to our questions.

We have repeatedly asked the study organizers:

1. To supply a copy of the protocol so that we (and other experts
who collaborate with PETA) might help redesign the study so that dogs are not
killed at the end of the study, and so that the study might be done in the most
humane way possible). Did that in an attachment to my first response to PETA.

2. The number of dogs to be used as part of the two concurrent
studies, how far along the study had progressed (have the dogs been purchased
from a laboratory animal supplier, have they been vaccinated, are they already
housed in the RCF facilities, etc.). Answered that too. The study began last
fall, as described.

3. What efforts RCF had made to avoid killing all of the dogs they
are using in their study. Dr. Ron Schultz has undertaken informal dialog with
USDA senior officials , in his capacity as advisor to the vaccine industry and
regulatory body. He has decades of experience in the field and attends meetings
with these folks regularly. At this point, we have not made progress in changing
their views, BUT, he and I together are planning to present a more formal
proposal to them. We have 4 + years to accomplish what we view as an important
need to change the regulations as currently written for endpoint challenge
testing -- before anything involving challenge of these healthy dogs [vaccinates
and controls] with rabies virus has to take place according to the current
regulatory protocol.

In Dodd’s last response, (the third letter without substantive
information), she told us she did not have the information we were seeking and
referred our questions to another scientist responsible for the study – Ronald
Schultz. Please read my direct correspondence here. We never received any
response from Schultz. Dr. Schultz is a very busy Department Chairman, teacher,
and world respected vaccinology scientist. I do not know if he directly answered
any remaining questions PETA raised -- certainly we have nothing to hide here.

It is interesting that the Rabies Challenge Fund folks are now saying
they will attempt to make changes to the protocol after the experiments have
begun on the dogs (even though it is highly unlikely the USDA will agree to that
since the experiments have already begun). Nonsense. This has nothing
whatsoever to do with the fact that the study has begun, because no procedures
related to challenge with rabies virus will take place for 4 + years. We have
the interim years to dialog with the federal authorities, based upon Dr.
Schultz's expertise, and hope to amend the CFR regulatory requirements for the
end phase of their protocol. So it is still likely that many dogs will die and
many will die excruciating deaths. Absolutely untrue; all the vaccinates should
be healthy and survive challenge. Even if we're forced by the USDA to follow the
current challenge protocol at the end of the 5 and 7 year studies, there will be
no excruciating deaths among the control dogs, because at the very first
evidence of malaise and illness they will be sacrificed. The existing data on
rabies challenge trials that were completed for each currently licensed rabies
vaccine tells us what to expect as far as the number of days before any sign of
illness in the challenged control dogs shows up. Remember, this is a fatal
mammalian disease, so animal caretakers in these facilities will be ever
vigilant to spot the first signs of malaise and illness.

As far as we can tell, RCF has made no attempts to date to get a
serological protocol approved [i.e, titer testing commonly offered at many vet
offices to accurately detect the concentration of rabies antibodies at any
interval post-vaccination]. That is not true; most rabies titers done in the
county today are to satisfy export requirements for animals moving to
rabies-free countries. Relatively few clinical vets check rabies titers for
purposes of getting exemption waivers as justified only on a case-by-case basis,
and requiring approval by local public health regulatory authorities. In fact
most vets don't even realize that such tests can be done. The experiments
being conducted by RCF are purely elective. Also not true. Why not design a
tenable serological protocol that can be approved by USDA? They have always
deigned such methodology and every year the US State and Territorial Public
Health Officials unequivocally state that rabies titer serology is unacceptable
and unreliable -- this year's reiteration was published in a May 2008 issue of
the JAVMA. A serological method would allow data to be collected from
volunteers rather than dogs stuck in a laboratory. No , it will not suffice . I
don't know whether the PETA people are completely naive here, or knowingly
suggesting something to mislead their supporters into thinking that we've not
thought of or tried to get such testing allowed. Why were none of these
efforts made before PETA began to shine a spotlight on the myriad of problems
with RCF’s plans? This presumption without evidence to support their contention
is perhaps arrogant. These alternative suggestions have been made for years by
myself, Dr. Schultz and others; they have been the subject of seminars,
publications, and teaching handouts to both the profession and the public.

With regards to RCF's statement that PETA should be working on this
issue, we are indeed working on non-animal protocols for vaccine testing at both
the USDA and the FDA. PETA has spent more than three quarters of a million
dollars in recent years to develop non-animal testing methods. We're very happy
to put our money where our mouth is! IF that's true; we applaud the effort !

Despite repeated requests, the RCF folks have refused to provide details

• the actual number of dogs involved in each study. The USDA
gives only the minimum number of dogs that they must have data for at the
culmination of the study, so logically RCF must use more dogs than the USDA’s
minimum of 70. No we only need a few extra animals [should a few become ill
during the length of the study for some unforeseen natural disease] , and we
will not use more from both humane and cost issues. However, RCF has not
answered even this simple question.

• the conditions and socialization for the dogs. Dodds referred PETA to
USDA’s protocol for this information. USDA’s protocol does not specify that
dogs should be socialized, group housed, or that they should receive toys or
even a bed. The existing USDA CFR protocol is outdated in that regard, and the
law has not been updated, BUT, as we and PETA all realize, all current research
protocols are governed by the USDA Animal Welfare Act and the NIH Guide for the
Care and Use of Laboratory Animals for all institutions that receive federal
research monies. These regulations require socialization and exercise and
specify the animal housing conditions. So, this point is moot and they're
certainly are well aware of the current federal and state rules that apply.

• how and when the dogs would be killed. RCF referred PETA to the
USDA protocol for this information. USDA’s protocol stipulates that even
vaccinated dogs are to be killed and their brains examined. At the end of the 5
and 7 year studies, the current regulations do so state, but see above for our
plans to get some amendments accepted in the interim years. This is in direct
contradiction RCF’s current claim that it will adopt out the dogs who don't die.
No one in an official capacity for the RCF or any one else purporting to
represent us, to my knowledge, has ever said that. It would create a huge
liability issue.

RCF makes it appear that dogs will be killed at the first signs of
rabies. Rabies is painful and its symptoms can begin quietly. See above. Dogs
will likely die of painful complications related to paralysis and inability to
breathe. Not true; the end point will be recognized long before this end stage
of paralysis.

No one is disputing how the immune system works and that dogs are most
likely being over-vaccinated in many ways. However, much more good could have
come from an effort to change the way rabies vaccine efficacy is tested rather
than to use more than $1 million to kill beagles. This is just inflammatory

To paraphrase PETA's president, "A dog is a dog is a dog is a dog." It
is unfortunate the RCF chose to use crude and cruel methods in its attempts to
help other dogs." It is also unfortunate that PETA chooses to paint our good
will for the benefit of millions in this light.

It seems there are critical differences here, and I stand with PETA and
again demand [ hey -- how about a request rather than demand here ? ] the
issues raised by PETA be addressed AND FOLLOWED.


Below is a copy of Dr. Dodds' previous responses to two other PETA members who
have contacted her with concerns.

Unfortunately, this information from PETA is terribly misleading. See below.
We've tried to have a dialog with PETA about their RCF concerns and so hope that
they now understand what we're doing and why. We appreciate your concern about
the way in which we must conduct the RCF Research Study. Please allow me to
explain the regulatory requirements we must follow as specified by the Code of
Federal Requirements, USDA , Title 9, part 113.209. We cannot get a new rabies
vaccine licensed by the government with the extended booster periods of 5 and
eventually 7 years unless we strictly follow these regulatory requirements. The
protocol is not up to us .

The Rabies Challenge Fund is designed to prove to UDSA authorities that dogs
only need two booster rabies vaccines in their lifetime. This would
significantly reduce the tragedies outlined below, save countless animal pain
and suffering, and still protect the public health.

The public has little understanding of how all vaccines must be tested through
USDA -specified trials before they are licensed for veterinary use. Every
currently licensed rabies vaccine has been required to successfully complete
these specified trials; and these vaccines as you know are required by law.

Only purebred beagles raised in a dog breeding facility run by veterinarians are
involved in our project. This a large USDA licensed facility maintained in
strict compliance with animal care and use requirements. The dogs live in large
pens and are housed together in small groups for socialization and exercise.
Further socialization is provided by their caretakers.

Today, we have a formidable uphill battle compounded by inertia in trying to
change outdated rabies regulations to reflect what is truly needed to protect
animals and people from contracting rabies. The federal government is just not
interested in promoting a uniform requirement throughout the country that rabies
booster vaccinations be given every three years. A few individual states and
locales still insist on mandating annual rabies boosters when these vaccines are
licensed for three years by the USDA. The recent media furor over the annual
rabies booster mandate by the city of Wichita, KS is but one example.

While this travesty continues under the rubric of state's rights, countless
companion animals suffer from being required to receive rabies boosters even
when they're terminally ill, debilitated, very old or have a record of prior
serious adverse reaction to vaccination. This usually occurs when veterinarians
either don't believe that adverse events occur or are likely, or they use the
excuse that they're merely following the law. This situation is further
complicated when local or state authorities will not accept waivers of booster
requirement even with a veterinary letter of justification and/or a rabies
antibody titer beyond the 1:5 titer level deemed by CDC to be adequate for
people. Just today, a distraught caregiver was faced with having to revaccinate
a middle aged dog with prior history of collapse after rabies vaccine. The dog's
rabies antibody titer was 1: 3125, six hundred times that required for people,
and yet the local authorities refused to grant a waiver.

These all too common occurrences have resulted in an increasing number of people
simply breaking the law and not vaccinating their dogs at all. However, IF these
dogs injure someone, even accidentally, and they're quarantined without evidence
of an in-date rabies vaccination, the public health authorities have the right
to require surety and direct that the animal be killed; his/her head is then
examined for rabies. One such tragedy where a family was not given the chance to
appeal on behalf of their dog is in litigation as we speak.

Then, there are the heartbreaking adverse reactions and deaths that occur when
animals are forced to be given rabies boosters in lieu of waivers, when
justified, and the dog seizures uncontrollably and dies in the caregiver's arms.
Such a case also happened this past week.

Best wishes. With reverence for all life. Jean

More information on this subject from Dr. Dodds below responding to another PETA
Member's inquiry. None of the research dogs will be allowed to develop
full-blown rabies (see below).

1. Question: How many dogs actually suffer, per year, to make purposely killing
70 pure bread beagles acceptable?

Dr. Dodds' Reply: It has been estimated that the adverse reaction rate of a
serious nature to rabies vaccinations is in the order of 0.38- 0. 50 % , with
another 1-3% of vaccinates experiencing less severe reactions. of the millions
of dogs that must be vaccinated by law annually.

2. Question: How long does the dog suffer with obvious rabies before he is
humanely euthanized?

Dr. Dodds' Reply: Not at all ; as soon as any relevant sign is noted with
round-the-clock coverage --- at the end of the 5 and 7 year trials -- when all
the dogs must be challenged with rabies virus, they are humanely sacrificed. We
expect that all the non-vaccinated dogs will become ill, and that vaccinates
will survive. BUT, as all these dogs will be just housed in large family style
group pens, cared for and socialized for the entire trial period, without any
exposure challenge to rabies virus until the end of the study, we have at least
4 years of their routine husbandry and care in which to dialog with the
responsible USDA authorities to ask them to consider an alternative endpoint to
the trial -- for example, allowing us to run rabies vaccine serology titers as
proof of adequate protection from rabies rather than an actual live rabies virus
challenge. Dr. Schultz and I are both personally committed to work towards
changing the current requirements before the end of the trials.

3. Question: What makes you believe that if an owner does not vaccinate their
dog every three years because of the reaction the dog may have to the
vaccination, that that same owner WILL get the dog vaccinated every five years?

Dr. Dodds' Reply: We don't, but, if the law is changed , then a dog will only
need one more booster in midlife and none in old age - a bigger issue if they're
frail or ill. Also, remember that some states and locales within states still
mandate annual rabies boosters ! In Wichita, KS and Cheyenne, WY a huge recent
blitz of officials challenging their ignorant position of annual rabies
vaccination resulted in the city ordinances being changed for the future. Much
of this effort was spearheaded by Kris Christine and the RCF. ..

Question: As we all know, there’s a fine line between scientific experiments
that are worthwhile for the benefits of those in the future and there are those
experiments that are more harmful than what will benefit anyone in the long run!
I am a firm believer that the end must justify the means and I, at this point,
am not convinced that the ends of this experiment justifies the means, mainly
due to the fact that I’m unsure as to how many animals, per year, truly suffer
from five vaccinations in their lifetimes, rather than just three !

Dr. Dodds' Answer: Rabies vaccine is the strongest of all vaccines available
today, and so elicits the highest likelihood of adverse events , including
death. I deal with these tragedies almost every day from all over North America
-- as does Dr. Schultz.

Actually, this is what does and will happen -- once a rabies vaccine is licensed
for 5 years, a puppy would receive 2 initial doses, and then one more dose 5
years after the second one. IF we can show that a rabies vaccine can be
effective and licensed for 7 years, then the dog will require one more vaccine 7
years after the second one. As it now stands, dogs are required to get a rabies
booster either annually or every three years after the second one -- depending
on the applicable state or local laws, and so when these privately cared for
dogs become older and ill or frail - even with life-threatening diseases, most
states and locales refuse to grant exemptions from rabies boosters even with
justification provided by the primary care veterinarian and/or a high level of
rabies antibody titer.

Were the states to extend their rabies booster requirements without USDA
Title 9, part 113.209 challenge studies, accept rabies titers in lieu of
vaccination, or recognize the 1992 French rabies challenge study results
demonstrating a minimum 5 year duration of immunity, this research would not be
necessary. The Rabies Challenge Fund seeks to save the lives of thousands of
dogs and millions of others from suffering vaccinal adverse reactions.

If the USDA does not change their vaccine licensing requirements upon which
all state rabies immunizations laws are currently based, Title 9 Part 113.209,
by the time the first challenge is conducted in 4 1/2 years, then 35 of the dogs
will be required to be euthanized and their brain tissue tested for rabies
according to USDA's standard. Dr. Dodds and Dr. Schultz are committed to trying
to get the USDA to change that requirement, and we're all very much hoping that
they will be successful.

Looking specifically at the number of dogs for whom "death" is an adverse
reaction to rabies shots within days (not taking into account those which
develop cancers and other disorders over the course of several weeks or months)
of vaccination, 1,250 dogs a year could be saved if the challenge studies are
successful and states adopt the extended booster protocols.

The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association has published a
report in its April 1, 2008 issue, Vol. 232, No. 7, entitled: Postmarketing
Surveillance of Rabies Vaccines for Dogs to Evaluate Safety and Efficacy."

Despite the extreme under-reporting of vaccinal adverse reactions, this
report states on the second page that between April 1, 2004 and March 31, 2007,
the Center for Veterinary Biologics, "nearly 10,000 adverse event reports (all
animal species) were received by manufacturers of rabies
vaccines..........Approximately 65% of the manufacturer's reports involved

The report further states on the second page that: "Rabies vaccines are the
most common group of biological products identified in adverse event reports
received by the CVB," and they give the following description of the adverse
reaction followed by the % of dogs affected: Vomiting-28.1%, Facial
Swelling-26.3%, Injection Site Swelling or Lump-19.4%, Lethargy-12%,
Urticaria-10.1%, Circulatory shock-8.3%, Injection site pain-7.4%,
Pruritus-7.4%, Injection site alopecia or hair loss-6.9%, Death-5.5%, Lack of
Consciousness-5.5, Diarrhea-4.6%, Hypersensitivity (not specified)-4.6%,
Fever-4.1%, Anaphylaxis-2.8%, Ataxia-2.8%, Lameness-2.8%, General signs of
pain-2.3%, Hyperactivity-2.3%, Injection site scab or crust-2.3%, Muscle
tremor-2.3%, Tachycardia-2.3%, and Thrombocytopenia-2.3%.

Veterinarians are not required by law to report adverse reactions to
vaccines, to which the World Small Animal Veterinary Association stated in their
2007 Vaccine Guidelines that there is: "gross under-reporting of
vaccine-associated adverse events which impedes knowledge of the ongoing safety
of these products," and in an article entitled, A New Approach to Reporting
Medication and Device Adverse Effects and Product Problems, (JAMA - June 2,
1993. Vol.269, No.21. p.2785) Dr. David Kessler, former head of the Food & Drug
Administration, reported that "only about 1% of serious events are reported to
the FDA."

In light of the 10,000 adverse reactions to the rabies vaccine in the JAVMA
report, 65% of which were in dogs, the estimated 1% reporting of "serious"
events by the former head of the FDA means that the actual number of dogs that
had adverse reactions to the vaccine would be more like 650,000 -- applying
the 5.5% figure given by the CVB resulting in death indicates that 3,750 died
over the same 3 year period (1,250 a year or 6,250 over the course of 5 years,
or 8,750 over the course of 7 years).

Since April, PETA has been targeting The Rabies Challenge Fund, which seeks
to save the lives of thousands of dogs and ensure the well-being of millions of
others by funding research with the goal of extending state-mandated rabies
vaccination boosters from 3 to 5, and then hopefully 7 years.. If PETA is truly
concerned about dogs' lives, they will channel their concerns constructively and
launch a massive petition to the USDA to get them to change their
vaccine-licensing standards. Every member of The Rabies Challenge Fund team
would applaud such a movement.

Dog owners who would like to see PETA petition the USDA to change their Code
of Federal Requirements , Title 9, part 113.209 , please contact PETA's policy
advisor, Samantha Dozier at samanthapeta@... 757-622-7382 and let her
know how you feel.

Pet owners interested in learning more about PETA might want to read the
following articles: April 28, 2008 Newsweek article entitled PETA and
Euthanasia by Jeneen Interlandi "Since 1998
PETA has killed more than 17,000 animals, nearly 85 percent of all those it has
rescued. "

Channel 3 News in Kentucky May 7, 2008: OVER 90 PERCENT PUT TO
DEATH "WASHINGTON -- An official report filed by People for The Ethical
Treatment of Animals (PETA) with the Virginia government shows that the
organization put to death more than 90 percent of the dogs, cats, and other pets
it took in for adoption during 2007. "

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Parrot vs. Dog for Bone

Who do you think gets the bone?

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Journey

The Journey, by Crystal Ward Kent

When you bring a pet into your life, you begin a journey - a journey that will bring you more love and devotion than you have ever known, yet also test your strength and courage. If you allow, the journey will teach you many things, about life, about yourself, and, most of all, about love. You will come away changed forever, for one soul cannot touch another without leaving its mark.

Along the way, you will learn much about savoring life's simple pleasures - jumping in leaves, snoozing in the sun, the joys of puddles, and even the satisfaction of a good scratch behind the ears.

If you spend much time outside, you will be taught how to truly experience every element, for no rock, leaf, or log will go unexamined, no rustling bush will be overlooked, and even the very air will be inhaled, pondered, and noted as being full of valuable information. Your pace may be slower - except when heading home to the food dish - but you will become a better naturalist, having been taught by an expert in the field.

Too many times we hike on automatic pilot, our goal being to complete the trail rather than enjoy the journey. We miss the details - the colorful mushrooms on the rotting log, the honeycomb in the old maple snag, the hawk feather caught on a twig. Once we walk as a dog does, we discover a whole new world. We stop; we browse the landscape, we kick over leaves, peek in tree holes, look up, down, all around. And we learn what any dog knows: that nature has created a marvelously complex world that is full of surprises, that each cycle of the seasons bring ever changing wonders, each day an essense all its own.

Even from indoors you will find yourself more attuned to the world around you. You will find yourself watching summer insects collecting on a screen (How bizarre they are! How many kinds there are!), or noting the flick and dance flash of fireflies through the dark. You will stop to observe the swirling of windblown leaves, or sniff the air after a rain. It does not matter that there is no objective in this; the point is in the doing, in not letting life's most important details slip by.

You will find yourself doing silly things that your pet-less friends might not understand: spending thirty minutes in the grocery aisle looking for the cat food brand your feline must have, buying dog birthday treats, or driving around the block an extra time because your pet enjoys the ride.

You will roll in the snow, wrestle with chewie toys, bounce little rubber balls till your eyes cross, and even run around the house trailing your bathrobe tie - with a cat in hot pursuit - all in the name of love.

Your house will become muddier and hairier. You will wear less dark clothing and buy more lint rollers. You may find dog biscuits in your pocket or purse, and feel the need to explain that an old plastic shopping bag adorns your living room rug because your cat loves the crinkly sound.

You will learn the true measure of love - the steadfast, undying kind that says, "It doesn't matter where we are or what we do or how life treats us as long as we are together." Respect this always. It is the most precious gift any living soul can give another. You will not find it often among the human race.

And you will learn humility. The look in my dog's eyes often made me feel ashamed. Such joy and love at my presence. She saw not some flawed human who could be cross and stubborn, moody or rude, but only her wonderful companion. Or maybe she saw those things and dismissed them as mere foibles, not worth considering, and so chose to love me anyway.

If you pay attention and learn well, when the journey is done, you will be not just a better person, but the person your pet always knew you to be - the one they were proud to call beloved friend.

I must caution you that this journey is not without pain. Like all paths of true love, the pain is part of loving. For as surely as the sun sets, one day your dear animal companion will follow a trail you cannot yet do down.

And you will have to find the strength and love to let them go. A pet's time on earth is far too short - especially for those that love them. We borrow them, really, just for a while, and during these brief years they are generous enough to give us all their love, every inch of their spirit and heart, until one day there is nothing left.

The cat that only yesterday was a kitten is all too soon old and frail and sleeping in the sun. The young pup of boundless energy wakes up stiff and lame, the muzzle now gray. Deep down we somehow always knew that this journey would end. We knew that if we gave our hearts, they would be broken.

But give them we must, for it is all they ask in return. When the time comes and the road curves ahead to a place we cannot see, we give one final gift and let them run on ahead - young and whole once more. "God speed, good friend," we say, until our journey comes full circle and our paths cross again.

Fun at the Dash N Splash

Fun at the Dash N Splash
Saturday was the local Dash N Splash. WOW!!! What a huge event! There were dogs absolutely everywhere, and so many that people can't go in the water - just the dogs. So that means I couldn't go in and coax my guys into the water, but we had fun all the same. Truth be told, that many dogs in the water sure gave it a "different" look and I probably didn't want in anyway! lol

Tanner and I gathered up Bandit, Cooter, and Fa Zhou and away we went for our adventure. The water portion was in one fenced in area that was treated like a dog park - all the dogs had to be off leash. Oh no! I wasn't sure how well mine would stick with me with all the other distractions there because this was much larger and much more full than any dog park we had ever gone to.

Wasn't worried so much about Bandit - after all, he had been working on his obedience and agility training with Tanner. He's admittedly better at it in the ring and at home than with trying to mark over all the bigger dogs' scents (and there was that cute curly haired big girl who took him on a wild chase through everyone's legs). But overall he had a blast and minded her pretty well.

Cooter stuck with me at a reasonable distance, but he certainly made the rounds. People, dogs, water, he was ready to experience everything and make friends! He's such a good boy. He only got away from me a couple of times where I couldn't see him. And at one point he somehow got to the other side of the pool where it was really deep and this cute English Bulldog was jumping off the platform. It scared me, thinking he was going to follow her without me right there to save him if need be, so I shouted his name a few times. Tony never gets to name the animals again. Yelling "COOTER" over a crowd of people certainly got me some undesireable looks.

Fa Zhou was the wild card. We've had him out socializing and he does well with other animals, and is slightly reserved around people he hasn't met, so it was a guess what he'd try to do and who he'd try to follow. A few times he followed Cooter into whatever adventures he was into. But I think he sensed my worry trying to keep track of everything so he started sticking closer to me. Fortunately, he's a lot smarter than I am. I didn't realize he was near me, and I'd spin in circles looking for him, calling him, only to find out that he was behind my legs. As I turned, he'd jump and was trying to be a good boy by being right behind me where he thought he should be. He made some friends, in particular this white boxer puppy. They would love to be best friends!

We survived the water part, then got the leashes back on and went out to the main area with the vendors. They had lots to see and do. There were many interesting vendors, and they had a silent auction table full of bags of goodies. There was a grandstand where they had fun contests - costumes, best kisser, etc., going on. They even had food for the people and an animal communicator with quite a crowd around her.

It was hot and a bit of a challenge to keep the dogs cool outside of the water area, but they had some misting fans set up that were getting some good use. The event was well-planned and it was a great way to spend the afternoon. We'll definitely plan on it next year!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

CGC Challenge

Inspired by the progress that Tanner and Bandit have made, we'd like to issue a challenge to everyone who has either purchased, been given or rescued a dog through Briarwood Kennels.

The challenge is to become Canine Good Citizen certified. To become certified requires certain training and passing a test administered by a qualified CGC evaluator. Local specialty clubs, AKC judges, some 4-H leaders, therapy dog evaluators, veterinarians, vet techs, groomers, private trainers, kennel owners, animal control and police K-9 officers can give the test. Please visit the link above to the AKC's official website for more information and for a list of evaluators and classes.

Classes might be available for the training portion, or for those who wish to do-it-yourself, a highly recommended book is

The Canine Good Citizen

The intent of this contest is to strengthen the human/dog bond. With the use of positive reinforcement and the time and attention given to the dogs, everyone in the family will reap the rewards and benefits of having a well-mannered and close companion. Again, we must caution against using a choker chain of any sort or any other forceful/negative means of training for this goal.

Those who wish to participate should send us an email stating the intent to begin training so we can get an idea of who might working on it and so we can send you some motivational emails. The award structure is based on who achieves the goal first and those who sequentially follow.

On the date of the test, send us an email regarding pass or fail. The email will be the marker of who has completed first (with passing scores). The email MUST be followed by a copy of the test form that the evaluator will provide to at the time the test is given (this form is mailed to the AKC to acquire the actual certificate). We will respond with an acknowledgement email and an address to where you will send the scoresheet. Upon receipt of this document, awards may be given.

First Completion:
$50 Visa Check Card, Doggie Crate Mat

Second Completion:
$25 Visa Check Card, Doggie Plush Chew Toy

Third Completion:
$10 Gift Certificate, Doggie Chew Toy

Fourth and Fifth Completion:
2 Dog Toys each or $5 gift certificates each

This contest is good until all slots have been completed. It takes approximately 6-8 weeks to complete the training. At some point, this information will be moved to its own page for reference. In your emails to us with notifications of winning, please include a picture of the dog, its name, and whether or not you wish to have your name included.

We salute those willing to take the challenge and improve the quality of life for their loved ones.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Doggie Dash 'N Splash

Open swim and socialization time!

Pet related Exhibitors - Land & Water Games - Pet Microchipping
Product Samples - Concessions for Humans and Canines - Pet Psychic
Pet Photography - Canine Demonstrations - Silent Auction & Raffle
Lots of fun & prizes
Saturday, August 25, 2007
10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Fairground Recreation Center
210 Fairground Rd., Xenia
Free admission; $5.00 parking donation
All proceeds will benefit the Scout Burnell-Garbrecht Dog Park
All well-mannered dogs on non-retractable leashes are welcome

Humane Society Rescues Pugs - MO

Humane Society rescues Pug pups

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The Humane Society of Missouri and other authorities have rescued 36 animals believed to be endangered on a breeder's property in southwestern Missouri.

The group said the owner could no longer care for the animals and had voluntarily surrendered them.

The rescue happened Thursday on property near Collins, Mo. The St. Clair County Sheriff's Department assisted.

Rescued were 30 Pugs (both adults and puppies), two adult Boston Terriers, one adult Blue Heele,; two domestic rabbits and one cat.

Some of the animals were thin, had eye problems and appeared to have upper respiratory infections. They will be cared for and housed at the Humane Society and will become available for adoption.

Pugs were once companions of Buddhist monks and the favored dog of aristocrats and kings. Advertisement

Anyone interested in adopting a Pug may call the Humane Society at 314-802-5712.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A pug giving birth and the first 6 weeks

Here is a video someone made chronicling the birth of some pug puppies as well as their early weeks in life. A good documentary!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Pug Steals Food

One of my all-time favorites!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Bronze Medal

Bronze Medal
Category: Pets and Animals

After their impressive performance in obedience at the local fair, Tanner and Bandit made their way to the Ohio State Fair where they WHOMPED in the agility ring. They came out third place in their height and experience group (going against at least 8 shelties, some bostons, a beagle, some jack russells, etc) and walked away with a gorgeous bronze medal. Bandit was the only pug, forging the way for pugs after him, earnin' respect and admiration :D Can you tell we're proud of them??

Saturday, July 28, 2007

I'm a pug! Woop! (Video)

Cat predicts deaths in nursing home

Cat predicts deaths in nursing home
By Catherine Elsworth in Los Angeles
Last Updated: 7:54pm BST 26/07/2007

The New England Journal of Medicine: Aday in the life of Oscar the cat
American doctors are baffled by a cat that can apparently predict exactly when nursing home patients are about to die.

Oscar has apparently predicted 25 deaths.

Oscar, who lives at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Centre in Rhode Island, curls up next to sick patients in their final hours.

So far he has been right in 25 cases, leading staff at the home to alert relatives when he is seen settling on a patient's bed.

It usually means they have less than four hours to live.

"He doesn't make too many mistakes. He seems to understand when patients are about to die," said Dr. David Dosa, who describes Oscar's uncanny knack for predicting death in the New England Journal of Medicine.

"Many family members take some solace from it. They appreciate the companionship that the cat provides for their dying loved one," added the doctor, a geriatrician and assistant professor of medicine at Brown University.

Oscar, now two, was adopted as a kitten and grew up in a dementia unit at the home which cares for people with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease and other illnesses.

Staff first noticed the cat making his rounds after about six months, sniffing patients and curling up beside those with only a few hours to live.

Dr. Joan Teno of Brown University, who treats patients at the nursing home, said Oscar was better at predicting death than the people who work there.

The doctor wondered if the cat was noticing telltale scents or somehow reading the behaviour of the nurses.

Staff at the home say most families are grateful for the advanced warning, although one wanted Oscar out of the room, at which point he paced and cried outside the door.

The cat recently received a wall plaque publicly commending his "compassionate hospice care".