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".

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Indigo Children

Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Indigo Children

Category: Pets and Animals

I've heard the term "Indigo Children" before, have run across it when flipping through channels, etc. But not having children myself, never really looked into exactly what they were supposed to be. Hearing a mention of it today intrigued me enough to look up the definition. According to Wikipedia:


The Indigo child movement believes that the children in question are born with an empathic connection to Earth and others' thoughts. However, due to natural limits in infant communication, Indigo children's supposed abilities (empathy, telepathy, extra-sensory perception and extra-normal perception) are suppressed by negative parental or societal influence. The Indigo child movement therefore encourages parents to support those children in whom can be seen traits which are often labeled as negative by mainstream authorities but as positive by the Indigo child.[citation needed]

Adherents believe that this new type of child has come forward for a reason; most often suggested is that they will improve the world in some way. The changes generally discussed involve bringing peace, toppling corrupt institutions, and a shift from allopathic medicine to a greater understanding of more natural alternatives. Indigo children are said by proponents to be more in touch with something called the "Universal Truth," and do not tolerate or understand behaviors or systems that are not in harmony with it.[citation needed]
Indigo children are sometimes said to possess an extreme longevity,[citation needed] but the given birth dates do not corroborate this claim.

[edit] Characteristics

Carroll and Tober identify ten attributes that they believe describe Indigo children[1]:

  • They come into the world with a feeling of royalty (and often act like it).

  • They have a feeling of "deserving to be here," and are surprised when others do not share that.

  • Self-worth is not a big issue; they often tell the parents "who they are."

  • They have difficulty with absolute authority (authority without explanation or choice).

  • They simply will not do certain things; for example, waiting in line is difficult for them.

  • They get frustrated with systems that are ritually oriented and do not require creative thought.

  • They often see better ways of doing things, both at home and in school, which makes them seem like "system busters" (non-conforming to any system).

  • They seem antisocial unless they are with their own kind. If there are no others of like consciousness around them, they often turn inward, feeling like no other human understands them. School is often extremely difficult for them socially.

  • They will not respond to "guilt" discipline ("Wait till your father gets home and finds out what you did").

  • They are not shy in letting it be known what they need.

After reading this, I can't honestly tell you if I've met an indigo child or not, although some of them I know are certainly smart enough to qualify!

But I what I can say with all certainty, is that we must have some indigo dogs. That's right. Just look at that list! Full of self-worth? Not afraid to tell you what they need? Thinking outside the box? Isabelle and Rizzo must have the most blue auras, but the rest of them are pretty far up there, too.

Maybe we should change our website colors to blue. Gonna have to think hard on that one.

Dog Show Tales - Sharon

Monday, July 23, 2007

Dog show tales - Sharon
Category: Pets and Animals

When we went to the show in North Carolina last May, it was definitely an adventure. The accomodations were attrocious. They had people set up in a barn that had a red earth floor covered with sawdust. And to top it off, it rained... and rained... and rained. They had no decent facility for shampooing a dog - simply a table out back with a garden hose and it was so cold, any dog who attempted to be shampooed on site was immediately shivering. Then once they were primped and ready, the red earth stained their fur, the trenches of water would mess up their fur from the belly down, and sawdust was getting in their eyes. The men were lucky - they could put a large breed dog across their shoulders and run across the parking lot, but most people had to get creative. Some made little booties out of doggy poo bags, some had rolling carts that the put their crates in, some ran as quickly as they could and tried to undo the damage under the canopy outside before going into the building. Overall, it was one of the worst shows I have ever been to, and the over-inflated ego of the adversarial superintendent did nothing to help matters.

We met some wonderful people, though, and the dogs we took did quite well in the ring. One of the people we met was a vendor for some shampoo products. After she had been in the ring, she was relaying how she had not succeeded that day because her dog eliminated in the ring. Evidently he wouldn't go outside due to the rain, and she wasn't the only victim that weekend. But once she got rolling, she shared a few stories, then whipped out her motherload of funny show stories on us.

At one particular show, she had been assisting a friend with her vendor station. They had many general items, toys, squeaky toys with squeeze stickers, blinking lights that attach to collars for safety at night, etc. She noticed the time, and ran to get her dog to get ringside when she was due to show. Arching her neck, trying to figure out where things stood, she heard a noise and noticed that her dog had it's head in the glass of a woman sitting in a chair beside the ring. He was drinking her iced tea!! She apologized profusely and offered to buy the woman a new tea, which she politely refused.

Some announcements were made, and some shuffling occurred, and much to her horror, the woman in the chair stood up and entered the ring as the next judge!! She swallowed hard, and entered the ring with her dog. On their first go-around, she realized she still had a blinking light attached to her belt loop and she casually reached down to turn it off, hoping no one noticed. Still trying to maintain her cool, she followed judge's orders and finally got to the point where she put her dog up on the table, standing across facing the judge. The judge looked at her and commented in a cool voice, "Are you aware that there is a 'squeeze me' sticker on your left breast?"

Needless to say, she didn't win that day. But she sure had us laughing and made us feel better about our day! It would take quite a bit to top that one!!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Congrats Bandit & Tanner!

Congrats Bandit & Tanner!

Category: Pets and Animals

Tanner and Bandit have been putting in lots of hours working on obedience and agility through the local 4-H group. Together, they entered their first events at the county fair and they won ribbons in Dog Care and Obedience. They'll be entering agility later this week. They are doing so well that the advisor specifically asked the parents if they would allow them to do agility at the state fair level becuase "that dog will do anything for that little girl." Awwww.... They have a wonderful bond and they have both learned and grown so much through this process. Congratulations! We're proud of you!!

CA AB1634 Update & Suggestions

Forward permission granted.

As everyone probably already knows-- AB 1634 was pulled by Lloyd Levine. For all accounts, this bill is dead for 2007. This is where we can celebrate. Although Levine pulled this bill, it should be of no surprise that the reason it was pulled was because he did not have the votes. Essentially (although not officially and therefore not as gratifying), the Local Government Committee did "kill" the bill. Even if they had voted, Levine always could have reintroduced it in 2008 so rather than having his bill completely trashed, he wanted to "save face" and pulled it.

Anyone listening to the testimony could see that Levine was trying, up until the last four minutes to see if he could pass it on to the next level with the promise of amendments. Unlike in the Assembly, the promises did not work. He was told that they needed to see his amendments before they took action and they were not going to accept "fly by the seat of your pants" amendments made up in 30 seconds. Levine now has the next six months to either 1) amend the current bill keeping much of the current language, 2) gut it and basically reintroduce a new bill, or 3) let it die completely. He is not required to bring it back in January (but something tells me he will).

Today we celebrate. Tomorrow we fight.

Gone are the days when we as animal fanciers can just live our lives and hope that no one notices. We have seen that our passion and advocation is being attacked and we are being noticed. Yes-- we will be working on proactive legislation (that is already in the works). But we also need to become more visible in our communities- - as the experts and professionals. There are a number of action items that need to happen in the next few months:

1. We need to participate in the AKC Responsible Owner Day. Call your various breed clubs, training clubs, kennel clubs and organize something. Find a city park, get the necessary permits, set up booths, run a CGC. Even have your local animal control participate- - have them bring information for the public. Contact AKC for their packets and ROD materials. Then call the newspapers, invite the city councils and county supervisors. Let them see what RESPONSIBLE DOG OWNERSHIP is all about.

2. Maintain the connections you have made with your assemblymember and senators. If you do a ROD event, send the news clipping to your legislators. Invite these elected officials to your dog shows. Let them know about your agility trials and obedience trials. Ask them to present the Best in Show trophy. If they can't make it, extend the invitation to their Chief of Staff.

3. Money does need to be raised to continue the war because this is only one battle (a major one) but there will be others and not just in California. The idea of providing a voluntary donation on your entry forms (rather than increasing entry fees) was suggested today. There are many groups including NAIA, CDOC, AKC, and PetPAC that accept contributions and have worked hard to fight AB 1634. In the testimony today, all four of these groups were represented: NAIA brought in Angie Niles who did an excellent job on the statistical errors. CDOC brought in Dr. Hamil who made the wonderful points about the misconceptions of mandatory spay/neuter ordinances as well as the effects of surgical sterilization. Bill Hemby spoke on behalf of PetPAC and addressed the law enforcement dogs while other speaker (sorry I didn't get his name) addressed the issues relating to stock dogs. And the AKC spoke about the ever changing acceptance of various breeds and the fact that Californians already pay double the license fees. And of course, there was Joan Miller from CFA who represented the cats but spoke facts that all of us-- dog and cat alike-- face in terms of breeding programs. Donate what you can to the organization (s) but the contributions need to continue.

4. Get your club members active. I know that representatives from CDOC will go to club meetings and talk about legislative matters. There is a legislative seminar happening in Lompoc on July 28. Get someone from your club to go.5. Be aware of city council and county supervisor meetings in your local area. Find out where agendas are posted and keep an eye out for local ordinance proposals. Take what we learned here and fight. Remember that it is important that we show up at these meetings... no matter how tired we are. We must be a presence.

I know that Patti Strand (NAIA) and Cathie Turner (CDOC) will probably add to the action items that need to happen, but I wanted to get something out this afternoon.

Everyone should be very proud of how we, as an animal fanciers community pulled together even when Levine tried to divide and split us. We are a voice for Sacramento and the lessons we have learned over the last few months will push us forward and hopefully help others in various parts of the country.

Now, I have to finish some course reviews for an agility trial I am judging this weekend. Again-- thank you to everyone!!!

Laura Finco

Monday, July 16, 2007

Deer in the Living Room?

Monday, July 16, 2007
Deer in the Living Room?
Category: Pets and Animals

Petunia is one of our TV watchers. For an interesting article on why some dogs can watch TV and others can't, click here. And Tony likes westerns. So whenever the cattle dogs bark, or horses or cows cross the screen, Petunia pays close attention. If it looks like they might be exiting the tv and coming into the living room, she takes measures to protect us. Sometimes a simple growl keeps them at bay. Sometimes a woof. And occassionally, she is required to run up to the arm of the chair closest to the tv and stand her ground to keep the living room safe.

Tony is also a hunter. Last year he got a 10-point buck and had his head mounted. I've been dreading the day when the head came home, and yesterday was the day. At first it was on the front porch and Gator came out and was going to go to battle. He tried jumping on it, mounting it, and generally all around telling it what it could and couldn't do in his house near his woman, Mariah. The other dogs had varying responses when they saw it, then Tony hung it up on the wall in the living room above the tv until we find it a permanent home.

Well, Petunia hadn't met the head yet. And last night she was sitting with me working on the computer when one of Tony's westerns had a rambunctious scene. She darted into the living room to check out the intruders and was aghast to find that her worst fear had come true - one of them had come INTO THE LIVING ROOM!!! No amount of barking or positioning would send that wild beast back into the tv.

This morning the dogs are still circling and staring, but so far the beast hasn't moved, attacked, tried to hide, or charged anyone. But the jury is still out on whether it's a good thing or a bad thing.

Pictures at the Creek

Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Pictures at the creek

Category: Pets and Animals

I was inspired by the water and railroad pictures at, so I really wanted to get out and shoot some photos today. We have a little creek nearby, so I took Gator and Petunia out and got some GREAT shots. The light was just right, they were adventurous enough that they weren't just at my feet, so I could get far enough away to take some nice pictures.

I was very pleased till I got home and there was no storage card in the camera. It would have been nice of the camera to NOT TAKE PICTURES without one.

So I grabbed Gator, Jolene and Daisy and went back. Again, was getting some decent pictures, but then Daisy got a wild hair, found something worth running with, and led us on a merry chase round the bend and back up to the road. She's grounded. And there was a smudge on the lense, the camera was set to program instead of auto, so none of those really came out, either.

But hey, the afternoon was still young and I had another hour before my next appt, so back I went with Mushu and Fa Zhou in tow and although the light wasn't quite right, we still managed to have a good time The boys thoroughly enjoyed their run. It was the first day any of them had seen water like this except for Daisy.

New Information on Microchips & Cancer

Tuesday, July 10, 2007
New information on microchips & cancer
Category: Pets and Animals

Cross posted from Pet Law List...I
mplanted Microchips Cause Cancer
By Jane Williams GFN contributing writer---(For Publication in the January 2007 "American Family Voice")

At the National ID Expo in Kansas City, Arkansas Animal Producer's Association President Michael Steenbergen asked, "What safety studies have been conducted on the chips that are inserted into animals?" His question was met with total silence. Did these manufacturers not know, or were they unwilling to admit that research has confirmed that implanted microchips cause cancer?

Melvin T. Massey, DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine) from Brownsboro,Texas, brought this to the attention of the American Horse Council when he wrote, "I am a retired Equine Veterinarian and still breed a few horses. Because of migration-infection s-increased risk of sarcoids I will not want to have microchips in my horses."

The Institute of Experimental Pathology at Hannover Medical School in Germany reported , "An experiment using 4279 CBA/J mice of two generations was carried out to investigate the influence of parental preconceptual exposure to X-ray radiation or to chemical carcinogens. Microchips were implanted subcutaneously in the dorsolateral back for unique identification of each animal. The animals were kept for lifespan under standard laboratory conditions. In 36 mice a circumscribed neoplasm occurred in the area of the implanted microchip.Macroscopically, firm, pale white nodules up to 25 mm in diameter with the microchip in its center were found. Macroscopically, soft tissue tumors such as fibrosarcoma and malignant fibrous histiocytoma were detected."

Ecole Nationale Veterinaire of Unite d'Anatomie Pathologique in Nantes, France, reported, "Fifty-two subcutaneous tumors associated with microchip were collected from three carcinigenicity B6C3F1 micestudies. Two of these 52 tumors were adenocarcinoma of the mammary gland located on the dorsal region forming around the chip. All the other 50 were mesenchymal in origin and were difficult to classify on morphological grounds with haematoxylineosin. "

Marta Vascellari of Instituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie at Viale dell'Universita in Legnaro, Italy reported examining a 9-year-old male French Bulldog for a subcutaneous mass located at the site of a microchip implant. "The mass was confirmed as a high-grade infiltrative fibrosarcoma, with multifocal necrosis and peripheral lymphoid aggregates."

The Toxicology Department of Bayer Corporation in Stillwell, Kansas reported, "Tumors surrounding implanted microchip animal identification devices were noted in two separate chronic toxicity/oncogenici ty studies using F344 rats. The tumors occurred at a low incidence rate (approximately 1%), but did result in the early sacrifice of most affected animals, due to tumor size andoccasional metastases. No sex-related trends were noted.

All tumors occurred during the second year of the studies, were located inthe subcutaneous dorsal thoracic area (the site of microchip implantation)and contained embedded microchip devices. All were mesenchymal in origin and consisted of the following types, listed on order of frequency: malignant schwannoma, fibrosarcoma, anaplastic sarcoma, and histiocytic sarcoma.

The following diagnostic techniques were employed: light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and immunohistochemistry. The mechanism of carcinogenicity appeared to be that of foreign body induced tumorigenesis. "Additional studies related to cancer tumors at the site of microchip implants have been conducted in China; however, at this time these studies are not available in English. At this time, no long term studies are available covering more than two years. It only seems logical to conclude that if carcinogenic tumors occur within one percent of animals implanted within two years of the implant that the percentage would increase with the passage of time.

Additional studies need to be conducted, but don't hold your breath for the manufacturers of microchips to conduct such research and be leery of any such "research" they may conduct. Even the limited research available clearly indicates that implantation of microchips within an animal is gambling with the animal's well being.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Who says pugs aren't smart?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Who says pugs aren't smart?
Category: Pets and Animals

If you refer to the entry below entitled musings & pens, you'll see how the little terrorists of the house stole my brand new advertising pens. Like any intelligent person, I immediately collected the pens from them, made space in the cabinet for the box, and put them away for safekeeping.
At least I thought I was being intelligent. Turns out that pugs are smarter. When I wasn't looking, they opened the cabinet, and since the only part of the box they could reach was the bottom corner, they proceeded to chew a hole through the bottom corner of my pen box and managed to, once again, get out pens for everyone. There has to be a ringleader. I just can't decide if it's Izzy or Rizzo. Time to set up a in-house security system with a web-cam so I can monitor from other locations. The most devious pug must be caught and sent away to puggy reform school.

I've noticed two new fetishes in the house. Rizzo has taken a liking to terry cloth. Any towel in the house is subject, whether it merely has a corner sticking out of the hamper, or is innocently hanging to dry, or is actively being pulled to and fro across someone's back in a drying fashion, she is there to grab the corner and tug with all her little girl might. If successful, she will streak through the house with her towel, proudly going till she's caught or till she trips over it. Unfortunately, her passion for terry has now extended to my robe since it occurred to her it was equally fun.

And Jolene has a thing for shoes. She doesn't eat them, or destroy them, but she loves to carry them around. Usually the ones I'm currently wearing and may have slipped off for a minute as I sat down to eat or something. She will either fall asleep on them, bring a toy to chew while laying on them, or will move them far enough away from their original location that I have to do some searching. It amazes me how stealthy they are and how quiet they can be when doing their dirty deeds.

So if you're out there contemplating a pug, be sure to fine-tune your third eye. You'll need it.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Yummy Frosty Treats!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Yummy Frosty Treats!
Category: Pets and Animals

For those cool days when your poochie deserves a special frosty treat! These are like Frosty Paws which can be found in your grocer's frozen section, but healthier! :)

In a blender, mix 3 bananas, 1 large spoonful of peanut butter, 1-2 Tablespoons of honey. Blend and pour into a bowl. In same blender, add 1 pint of yogurt, start blending while adding the rest of the mixture back in. Pour into small cups, such as dixie cups, and freeze.


Remember not to overdo dairy products with adults. It takes 3x the amount of stomach digestion to process dairy and can be hard on them, no matter how good they taste! Should be used as an occasional treat only!

Rabies Challenge Study Begins!!

Monday, July 02, 2007
Hooray! The Rabies Challenge Study begins!
Category: Pets and Animals
From the Newsday paper:,0,6559208.column

Score one - a big one - for the underdogs.I've written before about Kris Christine, who is a prime example of what one woman with equal parts outrage and focus can achieve: She pretty much forced the state of Maine to change its annual rabies revaccination requirement from annually to every three years.

So when she called last week with news so exciting she could barely keep her voice from squeaking, I perked up.

"We did it!" she said. "The rabies trials are on!"

Maybe you have no idea what that means. If so, maybe you should read on.

While in recent years many vets have embraced progressive attitudes about vaccination, many still cling to outdated ideas. Among them: giving "annual shots" for core canine diseases such as distemper and parvovirus when three years is considered to be the minimum interval between boosters, or giving vaccines that are not recommended at all, such as coronavirus. (If this sound like your vet, consult the American Animal Hospital Association's newly updated canine vaccination guidelines at, and consider switching to a veterinary professional who is not still in the Pleistocene era.)

Of all the vaccines veterinarians administer, rabies is the most sacrosanct, largely because the disease is zoonotic, a fancy word that means transmissible to humans. Rabies in the only vaccine mandated by law for dogs and cats; New York, like many states, requires revaccination at three-year intervals, which is the longest. (A handful of states, including Alabama, still mandate annual boosters.)

But some veterinary immunologists believe the rabies vaccine confers a duration of immunity that exceeds three years - in fact, as much as five or seven years. Problem is, there have been no clinical trials - in which dogs are vaccinated and then exposed to the disease - to prove that. And vaccine companies, which normally conduct the trials, have a strong economic incentive not to. After all, how much sense does it make to spend a ton of money to be told consumers need less of your product than you are selling?

Which brings us to Christine. In her research on overvaccination, she came across two veterinarians who have made it their life's work to nudge their peers toward a less-can-be-more approach to vaccination: Jean Dodds of Hemopet in Garden Grove, Calif., and Ronald Schultz at University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine in Madison, who incidentally helped formulate the American Animal Hospital Association's guidelines.

Dodds has lectured endlessly on adverse reactions associated with the rabies vaccine. They include autoimmune diseases of the thyroid, joints, blood, eyes, skin, kidney, liver, bowel and central nervous system; anaphylactic shock; aggression; seizures; epilepsy; and fibrosarcomas at injection sites, especially in cats.

For his part, Schultz has performed serological studies that documented rabies antibody titer counts at levels known to confer immunity seven years after vaccination.

But what they needed to do was to formally prove the rabies vaccine's long-term duration of immunity, so state-mandated intervals for boosters could be extended.

So, two years ago, Christine teamed up with Dodds to create the Rabies Challenge Fund, which needed $177,000 to fund the studies' first-year budget.

Which brings us to Christine's euphoric phone call: Thanks to the contributions of many dog clubs, veterinarians and concerned owners, they now have the money to start.

The concurrent 5- and 7-year challenge studies trials will begin next month under the supervision of Schultz, who is volunteering his time as principal investigator. The University of Wisconsin will donate all the overhead costs.

"I've been an activist for a long time," Dodds says, "and this is the first time I've seen the public mount a grass-roots effort because the veterinary profession and the vaccine industry haven't done anything."

Five years from now, Schultz will likely have the proof of what he has known all along: That the rabies vaccine provides long-term immunity. In the face of that, the government can lengthen the mandated revaccination intervals.

This is too late to benefit my 7-year-old dog, who went for her rabies booster this weekend. But not for her 1-year-old daughter, who might be spared several unnecessary revaccinations over her lifetime.

Until then, the Rabies Challenge Fund needs more donations: Looming on the horizon each year is a $150,000 annual budget that must still be met.

The Rabies Challenge Fund is as grass roots as you can get. Individuals can and do make a difference. Send donations to The Rabies Challenge fund at Rabies Challenge Fund, c/o Hemopet, 11330 Markon Drive, Garden Grove, CA 92841. For more information on The Rabies Challenge Fund, visit


Sunday, July 01, 2007

Musings & Pens

Musings & pens
Category: Pets and Animals

Why is it that if one dog uses the very corner of the puppy pad, no one else wants to use it and get their feet wet, but if one dog poos diarrhea on your linoleum floor and you bend down with paper towels to wipe it up, they ALL want to run through it???

All us pug lovers out there know better than to miss the trashcan when we throw away a Q-tip or to leave a pen on the coffee table where it will surely be chewed on the sofa, leaving a lovely stain. Naturally, we keep our pens in a safe place. The other day I'm sitting at my desk, working on some papers and I realize it's very quiet. Then I hear some crunching. I look down and every dog has their own pen. Not just any pen, but my new pens I bought for advertising for my business. Where in the world did they get those?? The brand new, unopened box of pens I had brought into the house a couple of hours prior and sat by the cabinet till I cleared a space to put them away, had already been found, opened, and the treasures shared equally. They looked so content and happy, I almost hated to take them away!

Rizzo at the festival

Saturday, June 30, 2007
Rizzo at the Festival
Category: Pets and Animals

Last night my parents & I went to the local outdoor festival and concert. I was busy with projects, but decided at the last minute I could make it, so I cleaned up, grabbed a dog (can't go somewhere they're allowed and not take someone!) and off we went! Rizzo was the lucky candidate last night. She was all decked out in a new harness and tags. She is still such a pleasing puppy that there's been no need to leash her, so this was her first time in a harness and on a leash.

She did pretty good, though. Whenever a quicker set of folks would pass us as we made our way to the concert, she would fall into step behind them, prancing along happily at their heals, ears gently flapping. They they'd get too far ahead and her leash would run out of room. She'd flip her head back with an evil glare at the instrument of captivity and even give it a bite or two. When there was no one else around to follow, she'd fall into step just behind my feet. But when she stopped to smell something and I didn't notice till the leash pulled, I'd turn around to see her with her feet planted, and the harness pulling any possible loose skin up around her neck and face to make her look like a blow fish pug who was not happy about the whole leash thing. It really put a cramp in her free-spirit style.

Once we finally settled, she had many admirers stop to pet her. But as much as she liked them, she was REALLY interested in the people walking by with food. Unfortunately, they weren't as interested in her. The little girl next to us had popcorn and Rizzo pulled out all the cute stops, but all she got were hugs and kisses.

The man in front of us kept putting his hand down to pet her. When she finally worked her way up toward the front of his chair, he snatched her up into his lap and she licked his whole face while he pretended to try to get away from her, but he was chuckling the whole time. She did a complimentary pug job on his glasses, but he didn't even mind that for the few minutes they were able to do the love thing. He whipped out his handkerchief and cleaned them with a huge grin plastered on his face while telling us how cute she was. My kind of person :)

When the music started, she whipped her head around and cocked it back and forth listening for a few minutes, then resumed her intense observance of the food people walking behind our row of chairs. Even though she looked calm, her eyes and nose didn't rest the whole time we were there. Even in the car on the way back, she was so excited at all the fun, she wanted to watch every single thing that went by.

It was a good pug day for Miss Rizzo.

Izzy & the treats

Friday, June 29, 2007
Izzy & the treats
Category: Pets and Animals

This story is from November of 2006, but I just ran across it again today. That Isabella is such a trip - always into something!

Isabella has this thing for tableware. Silverware, plates, bowls, drinking glasses, corel, anything she can drag to another room. This is one of the greatest prizes in her eyes and when I find a bowl in my bed, I know who brought it there. She has unusual grip for a pug and I'm constantly confounded at how easily she carries things that most others could not.

I have a bag with all the nail tools in it: dremel tool, sandpaper bits, canine nail clippers, and treats for good dogs. I found this big canister of puppy treats shaped like beef jerky and it was part of the treats in the nail bag. Isabella had caught wind of the canister and followed that bag around for 3 days, waiting for the opportunity. On day 3, I pulled the bag down and went into the bedroom to get Angel to work on her nails. Angel was hiding under the bed, so I returned to the living room to put the bag back up and didn't notice that the canister of treats was missing. Although it should have been too large for her, I knew immediately that Miss Isabella had absconded with the canister and had eaten ALL the beef jerky when I saw the empty canister on the bedroom floor.

However, an hour later it was time to hit the road, work was calling. I took Gator and Izzy with me on my errands, including a visit with a new client. The temperature in the car was cool, so there were blankets to keep them warm while I was indoors. On the way to my first errand, my hair appointment, Izzy got in my lap and looked out of the driver's side window, turned to go back to the passenger seat and proceeded to whorf beef jerkey all over my shirt. Thanks, Izzy. She didn't even have the decency to look ashamed, embarassed, or heaven forbid, apologetic. In fact, I'd have to say she looked quite pleased with herself. She certainly felt much better - it was written all over her face. I cleaned up the best I could and got my hair done, then stopped by a clothing store on the way to my new client appointment.

My new shirt and I made it through the client's appointment. But on the way from the appointment to the humane society board meeting, Izzy had one more go-around on my coat and shirt. But I do have to admit that it seemed all worked out of her system at that point and she was much happier. Moreso than I, guaranteed. Never a dull moment.

Tripe Humor

Thursday, June 28, 2007
Tripe Humor
Category: Pets and Animals


When my new English import arrived, he was the picture of health. His coat was hard and dense. He had good weight and was in beautiful condition with plenty of hard muscle. His diet, in England, had consisted of raw tripe and kennel biscuit but, after two short months on a high quality North American kibble, he looked like a refugee from Bangladesh.

After listening to weeks of nagging by retired handler, the esteemed Pat Tripp,I finally succumbed and started searching for raw tripe. It could not be the bleached white variety found in the supermarkets. As Madame Tripp so eloquently explained, it had to be the uncleaned, green, slimy variety that was oozing with undigested crud. "Your Lakelands will think they have died and gone to heaven!" she promised.

I spent days on the phone, calling butcher shops and talking to people who thought I was a lunatic but eventually found a source quite close to home. Unable to drive myself as I was recovering from a bad cut on my hand, I invited my long-suffering husband, HG, to come along. (HG is short for Human God whichis how the dogs see him.) He knew I had been looking for raw tripe but what does he know about tripe? He's Japanese. He only knows raw fish.

It was a beautiful day and I found HG working in the garden. "I've found a place that sells raw 'meat' for the dogs. Want to take a break and drive me?" I innocently asked. "What is it, a butcher shop? How far?" he wanted to know. "It's called Grand Maison and it's about a ten minute drive." I didn't bother to tell him it was a slaughter house. He was going to find out soon enough.

Grand Maison was located on a quiet, country road, in a large, white building. The only indication of the type of business was the sign advertising the weekly special. So far, so good. We parked in the lot and looked about for the entrance. "Not very well signed for customers." noted HG, the ever efficient retailer. Spotting a door, we climbed the stairs and went inside.

Unfortunately it was the wrong door and we found ourselves in the heart of the operation, so to speak. Reeling backwards, HG bolted outside. I followed. "Have you lost your mind?" he hissed.

Before I could answer, a kindly gentlemen appeared and directed us to the front office. It was a small room with a little service counter, behind which was a rather robust woman wearing a white lab coat. "I would like about 20 pounds of uncleaned tripe." I told her. "Is this for his dinner?" she asked with a boisterous laugh, motioning towards H.G. He was not amused. As she yelled my order into the back, I turned to find HG staring at a sign with his jaw dropping to the ground. Obviously they did not believe in wasting any part of the animal.

In big, bold letters, the sign read, Ears - $5, Lungs - $10, Lips - $5, Testicles - $5, Dinks - $5, etc. H.G. stood there shaking his head, turning slightly green and muttering, "I don't believe this!"

Meanwhile, a fellow appeared from the back and informed the woman that there was no tripe. "Whaddya mean there's no tripe?" she demanded. "It's on the hook!" He insisted there was none. "Well, get some fresh stuff!" she ordered, flinging open the door and stomping into the back. About 5 minutes later she reappeared, face flushed, with red stains on her formerly white coat. "It'll be ready in a few minutes," she announced. In an attempt at humor, admittedly a weak one, I whispered to my husband, "She probably wrestled it to death." I could feel his glare burning into the back of my head as I went to the counter to pay for the tripe. The few minutes seemed to stretch on forever but, at last, the same man came out and presented HG with a medium size cardboard box.

Back outside, I got into the van as HG deposited the box in the back. Climbing into the driver's seat, he turned and just sat there, staring at me. "What's the matter?" I asked hesitantly. In very slow, measured words, he uttered, "It's still warm!" I could control myself no longer. It was not just the look on his face, although that helped. I burst out laughing. The more he stared, the harder I laughed. "Well, I told you she probably wrestled it to death." I howled. With tears running down my face and the windows wide open, because of the stench, we drove home. "You are NOT taking that stuff in the house!" he exclaimed as we pulled into the driveway. He got out of the van and headed back to his gardening. Pat had warned me that it would be difficult to cut so I got the sharpest knife I could find - HG's large Japanese chef's knife.

Donning a pair of rubber gloves, I spread a tarp on the lawn and meekly asked HG to get the box. I began to haul the tripe out and he was making a quick exit when he spotted his knife. Well, the way he carried on you would have thought it was a ceremonial sword. How dare I use his knife for something so disgusting! What was I thinking?

As he tried to convince me of my folly, the neighbor's dog appeared out of nowhere and plunged her head into the tripe. Hot on her heels was her owner. "Oh my Gawd," moaned HG "Get that stuff back in the box before he thinks we've gone mad!" It was a little late for that. The neighbors had decided long ago that we were mentally deranged. It might have been because of our killer duck who patrolled the property line and regularly beat the daylights out of their dog. It may have been the time I was hanging off the ladder to the tree house, screeching "KILL IT, KILL IT" to Molly and Winston, who had cornered a rat....but that's another story.

There I was, trying to cram the tripe back into the box but the dog's head kept getting in the way. Too late! The neighbor, eyeing the tripe, said a faint hello, hauled his dog out of the box and beat a hasty retreat home. HG forgot all about his knife and could not get back to his yard work fast enough. I busied myself cutting the slimy mess for about half an hour when HG reappeared to say he was leaving to pick our son up from school. "Wait." I said, trying to convince him that the whole episode was worthwhile. "I want to show you how much the dogs will love this." Now you would think that after living with Lakelands for over 30 years, I would know what they were about to do to me, but noooooo!

Calling the girls outside, I offered each of them a piece. Abbey took one sniff and high-tailed it back into the house. Molly reluctantly took hers and instantly spit it out. After a brief investigation, she ate it but then she considers raccoon droppings to be a delicacy. Not about to give up, I headed for the kennel runs. "C'mon, Rory will gulp this down." Rory (our English dog) drew back his lips, took the tripe with his front teeth and dropped it on the ground. After eyeing it for a few seconds, he went to the far corner of his run and sat with his back to us and his nose in the air. Winston, bless his heart, swallowed it whole, not even tasting it, which was probably just as well. We returned to the front yard just in time to find Molly, upchucking in the driveway. "Great idea!" muttered HG as he climbed in the van and drove away.

By this time my hand was more than a little sore but, within minutes of HG leaving, I had a brainstorm. My Mother had given me an electric meat grinder that had never been used. Rushing inside, I dragged it out of the cupboard and assembled it. Back outside I ran, cut several chunks of tripe and hurried in to grind it. I had to work quickly so I would be finished before they got home. Setting a stainless steel bowl under the chute, I began to feed the tripe into the grinder piece by piece. Nothing was coming out except for a tiny bit of liquid but I kept on feeding. Unfortunately, physics was never one of my strong suits. All of a sudden the grinder erupted like a volcano, shooting its contents everywhere. There was partially ground tripe on the counters, on the floor, dripping off the ceiling and walls, in my hair, on my clothes and all over Molly and Abbey (much to their disgust). I knew my life, or at least my marriage, would be coming to an end in about 15 minutes. Like a madwoman, I stripped off my clothes and shoved them and the grinder into a big plastic garbage bag. I ran my head under the tap and wrapped it in a towel. Grabbing both dogs, I hustled them down to the dog room, hosed them off and stuck them in crates. Back upstairs I flew with the bleach and I hurriedly wiped down the counters, walls and floors. I did the best I could with the ceiling, praying he would not look up. After throwing on clean clothes, I emptied a can of air freshener in the house and hid the garbage bag outside.

The weather had suddenly changed and it was now raining. Just as they arrived, I yanked the towel off my head and picked up the knife. Bolting out of the van with "I don't want to even know about it!", YGIT (Young God In Training) headed for the house. HG vanished but reappeared a few minutes later with an umbrella.

Holding it over me for a short time, he said in his gruff 'I am in charge' voice (the one I let him use when I've really screwed up), "You had better go in and dry your hair before you catch a cold. I'll finish this." He didn't have to say it twice. I was gone. By the time I got out of the shower, both of the Gods were gagging and bagging as they packaged the tripe into meal sized portions for the freezer. (Did I mention I am blessed?)

About a month or so later, HG was sitting in the kitchen, gazing upwards. "I guess I had better paint the ceiling.", he remarked. "It's looking a little stained. It must be from the explosion when you were canning pears." "Must be," I agreed as I walked into the other room and crammed my face into a cushion to muffle the laughter.

POSTED on the Natural Pug Yahoo group, but author not noted.

Daisy was spayed

Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Daisy was spayed
Category: Pets and Animals

My precious Daisy, who has nursed two litters of some of the most wonderful puppies ever, was spayed yesterday. Her puppies were some of the most wonderfully emotionally balanced and intelligent dogs I've ever seen. But the second litter was too hard on her physically, so we needed to do what was best for her.

The night before her procedure, I laid down with her to explain what was going to happen so she'd know what to expect. She moved over to the other side of the bed as I talked. When finished, she was still a little offish, so I asked her if she was mad at me and she flopped her body over into my armpit and gave me kisses. The vet staff said she handled everything well and didn't seem to be upset as she was waiting in her crate.

We kept little Rizzo out of her second litter to continue her lines. Rizzo has a nice balance of Daisy's intelligence, Tiki's (grandma) small size and nice nose-roll, and a strong dose of sassiness from somewhere. I'd like to say she inherited Cooter's sweetness, but her sweetness ends when she gets what she wants. For instance, she'll put her paws on my leg soft as a butterfly and look up at me with totally adoring eyes, but once she's in my lap, she just wanted to get there to find out what I was reading, eating, or what she could get into on the desk, table, bed, etc. She is a user and a charmer who has us totally wrapped around her little paw.

But no matter how much we love little Rizzo, there is only one Daisy. :)

Head-buttin' guard dog

Monday, June 11, 2007
Head-buttin' guard dog
Category: Pets and Animals

One of the things Gator loves about being a show dog is all the different people he meets. He struts through the show area, trying to sneak sniffs wherever he can and thoroughly revelling in all the attention anyone is willing to bestow on him. He gets a kick out of all the different people.

Well his benevolence ends when his girl comes into heat. When some folks stopped by the house, he and Mariah were out on the front porch and Gator kicked into a protective mode like we've never seen! He rushed to the edge of the steps and barked with all his fur raised up high. The guys on the front sidewalk ignored him as we talked. When they weren't paying attention to his important message, he actually ran down the steps and head-butted the guy's knee!!!

Turns out our visitor has a male blue pit boxer at home. Gator must have smelled the bully breed on this guy and was telling him to stay away from his woman! Once we put Gator and Mariah into the ex-pen, he was perfectly content, although he did keep an eye on those men just to be sure!

What is an obedience title, really?

Sunday, June 10, 2007
What is an obedience title, really?
Category: Pets and Animals

What is an Obedience Title Really? Not just a brag, not just a stepping stone to a higher title, not just an adjunct to competitive scores: a title is a tribute to the dog that bears it, a way to honor the dog, an ultimate memorial. It will remain in the record and in the memory, for about as long as anything in this world can remain. And, though the dog himself doesn't know or care that this achievement has been noted, a title says many things in the world of humans, where such things count.

A title says your dog was intelligent, adaptable and good-natured. It says that your dog loved you enough to do the things that pleased you, however crazy they may have sometimes seemed. In addition, a title says that you love your dog. That you loved to spend time with him because he was a good dog and that you believed in him enough to give him yet another chance when he failed, and in the end your faith was justified.

A title proves that your dog inspired you to that special relationship enjoyed by so few: that in a world of disposable creatures, this dog with a title was greatly loved, and loved greatly in return. And when that dear, short life is over, the title remains as a memorial of the finest kind, the best you can give to a deserving friend. Volumes of praise in one small set of initials after the name. An Obedience title is nothing less than true love and respect, given and received, and recorded permanently.

- Author Unknown