Saturday, September 18, 2010

New Grooming Tables, and other things...

I've been slacking off on blogging big time lately.  Nothing all that important has been going on around here.

We attempted to go for a "pull" in harness the other day.

This is what it looked like before we started moving.


It all went downhill from there.  Bailey and Lilly either have completely forgotten how this works or just knew they could get away with not doing it.  It was a total disaster.  Clearly, we need more practice.

I saw a cool sunset coming over Tower Drive bridge the other day and snagged a couple pictures.
I really need to stop taking pictures while driving, though.



Lilly is ready for Halloween, and wants to know how much longer until we go on this fun trip I keep telling her about.


The other day Bailey, Lilly, and I went to have pictures taken.  I'll be sure to share them as soon as I get them back.

Last night Lilly and I were having "Mommy and me time" and we watched "Best in Show".  
(Bourne is usually her favorite, but I told her watching something else would be fun)
I had to laugh when a husky came out into the ring and I thought to myself "Lilly moves better than that dog".  I'm not being biased, really, she does move better than that dog, but that's not something I would have ever thought to myself a year ago.

I've been working on making a couple grooming tables.  One for me (that will fit in my car) and one for a friend.  They turned out pretty nice.

Here's just the boards with the legs on them being modeled by Whitey and Lilly.


Here's what amounts to essentially the finished product.


The table actually has some textured deck sealant on it, but I like using a table cover.  This cover is my first practice version using cheap fleece I got in the bargain bin.  It doesn't match the tool apron, but it works well enough.  I'm thinking I will put some pockets on the carrying bags to hold the cover and a few other things.  I'm also thinking of a better tool apron design that would be all duck cloth that would actually velcro right onto a duck cloth table cover.  I'm thinking it will work pretty well, but I need more duck cloth.

Eventually I'm planning to put together a post that tells more about how I made my tables.
Sadly, I did not take many pictures documenting the process.

Whitey seems to think they're alright.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Today, a number of breakthroughs occurred at our house...

1.  Whitey slept in her spot without trying to sneak into Lilly's spot (or my whole side) on the bed all "night".  (Night isn't really night at our house because I generally don't go to bed until about 6am, but you know what I mean.)


2.  All THREE dogs played out side.  Like really PLAYED - chest bumping, body checking, alligator dueling and all.  I eventually had to break it up because both Bailey and Whitey were primarily playing with Lilly and it was overwhelming her in our small back yard (where she can't take off and outrun everybody), but they were PLAYING together. 
It gave me warm fuzzies.


3.  Bailey has not been nasty or intimidating (cold stare, rigid body) to Whitey in a full 5 days.  In fact, I think he's discovered she's not half bad.  (Well, that, and that he hates going to "jail".)  He no longer gets upset about her going anywhere in the house - even if he thinks it's his. 


4.  Whitey came running back into the house right behind Bailey and Lilly tonight after going potty.  This is a HUGE improvement over her sticking to me like glue in the hallway and having to be encouraged to come into the house every time.  (this is largely because Bailey decided to be nasty to her in the hallway once - she's learning he's not going to do that anymore)


5.  No water bowls have taken flight in a full 4 days. 

 6.  Whitey met lots of strange people (including THREE scary boy-types) at the park, and she lived to tell about it.  (she might not admit it, but I think she actually kinda liked some of them)

One lady was absolutely in love with her.  She kept telling her husband/boyfriend/significant other that THIS is the kind of dog she wants.  His first question was "How much do they shed?" followed by "How much do they eat?".  :) 
Boys are funny.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Scenes from the Pond

Things are looking lovely in the pond...


The Hyacinths have FINALLY decided to bloom.


They're quite lovely.



The pond is so much fun to photograph.




I've been posting a series I'm calling "Last Breaths of Summer" on my PhotogBlog
Check it out!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Feisty Friday - Fear Mongers

I was going to break up my rant with a cute warm fuzzy story about how Whitey is progressing, but given that it IS Feisty Friday - I'll save the warm fuzzies for tomorrow.

Let's continue our discussion of Pet Legislation, shall we?

Before I say a word more I would like to make it very clear that in no way do I wish to undermine the trauma experienced by those who have in fact been attacked by a dog, regardless of breed.  Nor do I wish to undermine the fear some people have of dogs even if they have never been attacked.  Dogs can evoke a tremendous amount of fear in people, and it is completely unacceptable for pet owners to allow the animals under their supervision to run wild and harass people no matter how friendly they think they are.  It's disrespectful, uncalled for, and it makes life difficult for all pet owners in the end.  I have personally had a few serious talks with pet owners who made the choice to not maintain responsible control of their dogs, and it disappoints me that I ever had to do it.  Far too many pet owners make the assumption that just because they find their dogs to be harmless, others will as well.

And you know what they say about people who ASS-U-ME...  

Fear Mongering
There is a website called that really makes my point about Fear Mongering.  It is my opinion that the primary driving force behind almost all Pet Legislation is fear.  More specifically, irrational fear.  It's easy for irrational fear to take hold.  The human species seems very susceptible to the notion of being afraid - even of things with such remote possibility they could easily be considered impossible. We are also very susceptible to Fear Speech.  By this I mean it is very easy for us to jump on an argument and follow it to the end without ever bothering to look at its' true validity, particularly when it suggests that something or someone is out to get us.  This characteristic is a human shortcoming, to be sure, but we have the capacity to make the choice not to believe everything we hear without our own investigation.

For example, states:

"Due to lack of breed-specific action, the pit bull population has exploded, pit bull euthanization rates have soared and pit bulls used in criminal operations, including dogfighting, has skyrocketed."
That's a pretty terrifying statement there, as long as you don't take issue with the fact that none of it is supported by any provided factual information.

Here, let me try:
"Due to a lack of mandatory sterilization of adult women, the human population has exploded, more people are dying of starvation and more children are joining gangs and becoming involved in illegal activities including shoplifting and scratching the paint on my brand new car." 
Ok, I'll stop being a smart ass... for now.

Certainly, anything that results in the death of innocent people is well worth close examination.  It's not a joke.

Let's look at some of the dangers lurking in our everyday American lives, shall we?

Car crash fatalities in the US, 2008:   37,261
Drunk driving deaths in the US, 2008: 11,773
Pedestrian deaths in the US, 2008: 4,378
Bicycle accident deaths in the US, 2008: 688
Icy road fatalities in Indiana alone, Winter 2008: 50
Deer crash fatality average per year: 150+ 
Fatal work-related injuries in the US, 2008: 5,214
Workplace suicides in the US, 2008: 251
Coal Mining fatalities in the US, 2008: 30
Child fatalities due to abuse or neglect in the US, 2007: 1,760 
Skydiving fatalities, 2008: 64
Struck and killed by subway train, 2008: 33
Average lightening deaths in the US per year: 62

What about dogs?  How many fatalities did they cause in 2008?

Are you ready?

Prepare to be afraid.

(Holy moses is he cute!  If you just fell in love with this guy, he's up for adoption!)

Fatal dog attacks in the United States, 2008:  23

The derogatory name I shouldn't use people over at would be pleased to tell you that “Pit bull type dogs were responsible for 65% (15)” of those bites.
For comparison, I feel we should consider another little factoid I found in my meticulous research: approximately 20 children under the age of 14 die every year while playing at playgrounds.  That's right, while PLAYING at PLAYGROUNDS.  

Perhaps, instead of banning dogs, we should start dressing our kids like this before allowing them to leave the house.


OR, we could just ban playgrounds all together... or cars... or bicycles...  or coal... or skydiving...

or work...   

YEAH!  Let's ban WORK!  I kinda like that idea.
Think of all the lives we would save! 

Ok, I'll stop being a smart ass, again, for now...

Hey, what did you expect?  I DID name the post Feisty Friday, did I not?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Rant: Pet Legislation

If you are involved in pets in the US to any serious degree at all you are aware of at least some form of legislation that either has been implemented or is being considered for implementation in your state, county, or city (or one near you) regarding pets. The debates over these pieces of legislation are heated, to say the least. My opinions on the majority of them are heavily pragmatic in nature.

I find that actually evaluating each of these proposed laws is relatively simple for me – it comes down to two basic questions:  What GOOD can it truthfully do?  What HARM can it cause? 

One thing I don’t find to be helpful is jumping to conclusions or maintaining the belief that any piece of regulation is ultimately aimed at total domination.  For example, there are many who believe that much of this legislation is simply a stepping stone for the government (or anybody else) to reach the ultimate goal of taking away our right to own pets altogether.  I don’t.  In fact, to some degree I loathe this argument – I hear it all the time with gun control.  The fact is, just as the majority of rational people who want some kind of regulation on guns do not have the goal of taking them away altogether, I don’t believe the majority of rational people who want regulation on pets have the ultimate goal of making it illegal to own one at all.  I just simply don’t see it, and I find that way of thinking to be not only unproductive, but a further perpetuation of the fear mongering I believe to be the root cause of much of this legislation in the first place.  (more on that later)  I realize this belief is just the beginning of my divergence from the basic arguments of many who oppose these laws.  I understand the opposition, I just think there are better ways to justify it.


Let’s begin with Breed Specific Legislation (BSL).  While a large portion of these laws are aimed at what is commonly referred to as “Pit Bulls”, many breeds are involved.  Never mind the fact that “Pit Bull” is just an arbitrary descriptor with no truly specific meaning at all, many of the laws essentially ban well muscled stocky dogs with broad heads that “look scary”.  The idea behind the legislation being that since many of these breeds were used for the purpose of dog fighting or other aggressive purposes, they must pose some kind of threat to mankind.  Therefore, if we ban people from having them, they can’t bite, maim, or kill us.  Easy enough, I suppose, even though it’s already becoming painfully obvious this is a blatant case of fear mongering in itself.  Anybody who actually knows a dog who might be classified as a “Pit Bull” is well aware that this fear is not only irrational, but in most cases down right laughable.  Let’s just look past all that and start with that pesky question number 1 – What GOOD can it truthfully do?  The answer – not much.  As a society, the dog breeds we have found to be most frightening has changed nearly every decade.  In the 80’s it was German Shepherds, the 90’s vilified Dobermans and Rottweilers, and now here we are on ‘Pit Bulls’.  None of these breeds (or vague breed classes) have changed all that much in 30 years as far as the danger they pose to us and yet our perception of them has changed significantly.  The reality is any dog can bite; any dog can do serious harm, regardless of size or breed.  In all my years of working with dogs, the only breed of dog I have ever experienced a true attack (and subsequent bite) from was a black Labrador Retriever.  She seriously wanted to hurt me (and the people I was protecting from her) and her aggression was a direct result of genuine fear and lack of socialization.  In my experience, this is a major underlying cause of a huge portion of bites/attacks.  At that moment, in her state of mind, her breed was the last thing on earth that mattered.  I have no doubt in my mind that situations like this are among the leading cause of attacks on children.  When a dog is backed into a corner or put in a position that threatens or frightens him, he has precious few options – when a child is the source of the threat, aggression is a perfectly viable option for most dogs.  Breed is irrelevant, but what a dog perceives as a threat most certainly is not.  When a dog is left to his own devices to determine who and what is a threat (because his owner did not bother to teach him) or to determine what behavior is or is not acceptable, he will find aggression to be a perfectly acceptable reaction to a great variety of situations that we might find completely unacceptable.  This failure on the part of owners is not a breed problem, it is a people problem, and the banning of breeds will not even begin to solve it.   
What about question 2 – What harm can it cause?  I will admit for the “non-dog person” who simply doesn’t see the value in dogs as companions and has sipped from the cup of fear Kool-Aid, the banning of a few breeds here and there to “keep us safe” really doesn’t matter much.  To some degree, they're probably right.  Of course, that doesn’t account for the fact that the laws are blatantly discriminatory and an infringement upon the rights of responsible people who own and love these particular dogs.  It’s with this argument I am reminded of a statement made by Mr. Benjamin Franklin: 


 I'm not going to sit here and tell you I think all legislation/regulation is bad, I don't.  I find that a whole lot of it is a good thing.  In fact, had there been stronger regulation of our banking sector restricting things such as usury loans, we wouldn't be in anywhere near the mess we are financially right now.  I am not a person who finds the "free market" to be the best and only way.  (if we're being real, the "free market" has for all practical purposes ruined a number of our breeds already, which is a terrible shame)  I am, however, a person who will always oppose regulation that can not possibly solve the problem it claims it will solve or that will take away rights from those who have done nothing wrong, unethical, or inhumane.  

to be continued...