Dog Blog

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I'm still stunned about the terrible event that occurred yesterday at the California State Fair, where the fair police shot a pregnant cow that went on a "rampage." In all my years of attending the fair, I've never seen anything like this happen, and I hope I never do again.  In the video of the incident, I think you'll agree it looked more like the cow was being chased by the police cars.  No wonder she was agitated.  Who wouldn't be?  It hardly looked like a rampage to me.  She was sauntering in the video, until the car threatened to run her down, then she sped up, but how fast can a pregnant cow run?  She may have been a big animal, but this wasn't exactly like the running of the bulls in Spain.  It was just one cow.  She had no horns. No one at the fair knows how to lasso a cow?  Don't they have a rodeo there?  That's another hunk of cud to chew on regarding animal abuse.
I'm glad that people who care about animal cruelty are up in arms over the incident, as am I, mainly because the vet made no real attempt to sedate her but just let the fair rent-a-cops, who I doubt were trained to deal with an animal emergency like this, open fire on her, killing her and her unborn calf.  The vet wouldn't approve her to be darted because of danger to the calf, but he lets them shoot the animal repeatedly in the abdomen? Her calf never had a chance. The Fair fuzz were probably thinking, "Whoopee, target practice!" This animal wasn't euthanized, as the vet claimed. In Greek, euthanasia means "good death."  This was hardly that. Very cruel.  

This was one of the animals UC Davis puts on display yearly in the birthing areas, where fairgoers gawk and taunt them while they're giving birth.  Imagine transporting a cow already in labor and taking her to a strange, noisy place to give birth.  No wonder the poor thing bolted!  When an animal goes into labor, it seeks quiet and solitude.  I've watched this go on year after year, and it always upsets me to see such callous treatment of animals. I wish I had spoken up about it much sooner and more people had protested it years ago. Imagine the stress these animals are under, being in labor and being put on public display at the same time.  I've always thought this practice to be extremely cruel to the animals and not a very good lesson in humane treatment of animals for the many children who attend the fair, and that includes the 4-H. Shooting the cow sure wasn't a kindness to animals example, either.  

I'm glad that the Sacramento SPCA staged a protest there today.  I wanted to be there, too, but couldn't go. I think humane officers from the organization should have been present long before now overseeing how these animals are treated at the fair.  I've seen some sad sights throughout the fairgrounds, from the sick, stressed birds at the Fur and Feathers exhibition to the animal barns, petting zoo, rodeo, elephant rides, and the live goldfish still being given away as prizes on the midway.  I thought this kind of animal cruelty had ended years ago.  I still remember the ducklings and chameleons from many years past, which probably all died soon after they were won at the fair.  What about the five-legged calf at the carnival, obviously surgically altered into a mutation. Then there was the year fairgoers were treated to seeing the insides of a live cow through a clear plastic plate surgically inserted in the animal's abdomen by UCD vets who mutilated this unfortunate animal for our viewing pleasure. I know the fair is supposed to be an agricultural event, but the quality of animal treatment there needs to be thoroughly examined and much better addressed than it has been until now.  I hear the HSUS is getting involved, so perhaps there will be some changes at next year's fair, assuming we still have one by then.  

From the callous responses I have read from some on various lists, too many people still think of farm animals as dumb, unfeeling creatures intended solely for our use and abuse. When you consider that humans do have canine teeth, perhaps we were meant to eat meat sparingly, only when we could catch it and kill it ourselves, as opposed to pounds and pounds of it delivered to supermarkets for mass consumption, to the detriment of our well being and that of all the animals tortured and butchered to feed us and fatten us, like we fatten them for the kill.  I believe we should treat our food far more humanely than we do, including the ill-fated animals at the California State Fair.  If they are destined for slaughter (which I hate the thought of), we can at least make their time up until then more pleasant and dispatch them humanely.  

I hope that this incident and the uproar over it will make the officials involved improve animal treatment at future fairs.  There should be no more live animal births at the fair.  Period.  I'm sure that Bossy would have agreed.  Do we really need to see animals giving birth at an entertainment venue?  This could be presented on a video and spare the animal undue stress.  Most of us already know where our steaks and chops come from, anyway.  I know because I see the feces-streaked cattle trucks roaring down the freeway headed for the slaughterhouse, with the animals crowded inside like the people on the cattle cars headed for German death camps.  I look into the terrified brown eyes peering out at me as we drive by.  Each time I see this, I weep and swear I'll never eat another bite of beef.  I go Cold Cow for a while, but I'm ashamed to say I eventually end up eating meat again. I was brought up a carnivore, and it's hard to give it up after a lifetime, but I know it's not healthy to eat as much meat as most Americans do, and I don't eat much of it any more. This may be the final shot in the butt I needed to go all veggie all the time. So, maybe there was an unintended lesson taught by the Gunfight at Expo Corral.  


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Last night I stopped along the American River Bike Trail by the river between Howe and Watt Avenues to enjoy the comparative peace and quiet (I could still hear the drone of Highway 50 in the background, though).  As I sat meditating on one of the picnic benches, I heard a rustling in the bushes nearby.  It sounded like something much bigger than one of the squirrels I often see there.  It was dusk, and I wondered if I might be about to have my first cougar sighting.  Suddenly, standing in the clearing was a beautiful boxer.  

He was a young dog with a brindle body and snowy white from the neck up.  He wore a choke chain, but there seemed to be no tags.  I tried to coax him to me to get a better look at his ID, but he ran off toward the levee, then backtracked and disappeared into the heavy growth along the river.  I felt bad for him because it was nearly dark, and I worried that he might get hit by a car during the night.  On my way home, I stopped to ask people if they'd lost a boxer or heard of anyone who had.  I later found out that he'd been seen wandering around La Riviera Drive in College Greens all day.  I hope when and if he is reunited with his owners, they'll take the trouble to put current ID on him, microchip him, take off that choke chain so he doesn't strangle, and make sure he can't get out of his yard again.  


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The 10 Canine Commandments

Author unknown


1. My life is likely to last ten to fifteen years. Any separation from you will be painful for me. Remember that when you buy me.

 2. Give me time to understand what you want of me.

 3. Place your trust in me; it's crucial for my well being.

 4. Don't be angry with me for long, and don't lock me up as punishment. You have your work, your entertainment and your friends. I have only you.

 5. Talk to me sometimes. Even if I don't understand your words, I understand your voice when it's speaking to me.

 6. Be aware of how you treat me.  I'll never forget it.

 7. Remember before you hit me that I have teeth that could easily crush the bones in your hands, but that I choose not to bite you.

 8. Before you scold me for being uncooperative, obstinate, or lazy, ask yourself if something might be bothering me.  Perhaps I'm not getting the right food, or I've been out in the sun or in the cold too long, or my heart is getting old and weak.

 9. Take care of me when I get old. You, too, will grow old.

 10. Go with me on difficult journeys. Never say “I can't bear to watch it,” “Let it happen in my absence,” or “I am tired of you.” Everything is easier for me if you are there.  Remember, I love you.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

When I was a puppy I entertained you with my antics and made you laugh. You called me your child and despite a number of chewed shoes and a couple of murdered throw pillows, I became your best friend. Whenever I was "bad," you'd shake your finger at me and ask "How could you?" - but then you'd relent and roll me over for a bellyrub. 

My housetraining took a little longer than expected, because you were terribly busy, but we worked on that together. I remember those nights of nuzzling you in bed, listening to your confidences and secret dreams, and I believed that life could not be any more perfect. We went for long walks and runs in the park, car rides, stops for ice cream (I only got the cone because "ice cream is bad for dogs," you said), and I took long naps in the sun waiting for you to come home at the end of the day. 

Gradually, you began spending more time at work and on your career, and more time searching for a human mate. I waited for you patiently, comforted you through heartbreaks and disappointments, never chided you about bad decisions, and romped with glee at your homecomings, and when you fell in love. 

She, now your wife, is not a "dog person" - still I welcomed her into our home, tried to show her affection, and obeyed her. I was happy because you were happy. Then the human babies came along and I shared your excitement. I was fascinated by their pinkness, how they smelled, and I wanted to mother them, too. Only she and you worried that I might hurt them, and I spent most of my time banished to another room, or to a dog crate. Oh, how I wanted to love them, but I became a "prisoner of love." 

As they began to grow, I became their friend. They clung to my fur and pulled themselves up on wobbly legs, poked fingers in my eyes, investigated my ears and gave me kisses on my nose. I loved everything about them and their touch - because your touch was now so infrequent - and I would have defended them with my life if need be. 

I would sneak into their beds and listen to their worries and secret dreams. Together we waited for the sound of your car in the driveway. There had been a time, when others asked you if you had a dog, that you produced a photo of me from your wallet and told them stories about me. These past few years, you just answered "yes" and changed the subject. I had gone from being "your dog" to "just a dog," and you resented every expenditure on my behalf. 

Now you have a new career opportunity in another city, and you and they will be moving to an apartment that does not allow pets. You've made the right decision for your "family," but there was a time when I was your only family. 

I was excited about the car ride until we arrived at the animal shelter. It smelled of dogs and cats, of fear, of hopelessness. You filled out the paperwork and said "I know you will find a good home for her." They shrugged and gave you a pained look. They understand the realities facing a middle-aged dog or cat, even one with "papers." You had to pry your son's fingers loose from my collar as he screamed "No, Daddy! Please don't let them take my dog!" And I worried for him, and what lessons you had just taught him about friendship and loyalty, about love and responsibility, and about respect for all life. You gave me a goodbye pat on the head, avoided my eyes, and politely refused to take my collar and leash with you. You had a deadline to meet and now I have one, too. 

After you left, the two nice ladies said you probably knew about your upcoming move months ago and made no attempt to find me another good home. They shook their heads and asked "How could you?" 

They are as attentive to us here in the shelter as their busy schedules allow. They feed us, of course, but I lost my appetite days ago. At first, whenever anyone passed my pen, I rushed to the front, hoping it was you - that you had changed your mind - that this was all a bad dream...or I hoped it would at least be someone who cared, anyone who might save me. When I realized I could not compete with the frolicking for attention of happy puppies, oblivious to their own fate, I retreated to a far corner and waited. 

I heard her footsteps as she came for me at the end of the day and I padded along the aisle after her to a separate room. A blissfully quiet room. She placed me on the table, rubbed my ears and told me not to worry. My heart pounded in anticipation of what was to come, but there was also a sense of relief. The prisoner of love had run out of days. As is my nature, I was more concerned about her. The burden which she bears weighs heavily on her and I know that, the same way I knew your every mood. 

She gently placed a tourniquet around my foreleg as a tear ran down her cheek. I licked her hand in the same way I used to comfort you so many years ago. She expertly slid the hypodermic needle into my vein. As I felt the sting and the cool liquid coursing through my body, I lay down sleepily, looked into her kind eyes and murmured "How could you?" 

Perhaps because she understood my dogspeak, she said "I'm so sorry." She hugged me and hurriedly explained it was her job to make sure I went to a better place, where I wouldn't be ignored or abused or abandoned, or have to fend for myself - a place of love and light so very different from this earthly place. With my last bit of energy, I tried to convey to her with a thump of my tail that my "How could you?" was not meant for her. It was you, My Beloved Master, I was thinking of. I will think of you and wait for you forever. 

May everyone in your life continue to show you so much loyalty. 

The End 

"The Animals' Savior" 
Copyright Jim Willis 1999 

I looked at all the caged animals in the shelter...the cast-offs of human society. 
I saw in their eyes love and hope, fear and dread, sadness and betrayal. 
And I was angry. 
"God," I said, "this is terrible! Why don't you do something?" 
God was silent for a moment and then He spoke softly. 
"I have done something," He replied. 
"I created You." 

image 1853003057-0


Friday, July 16, 2010

According to other reports, Max the chocolate lab was left in the car in front of his owner's house! She heard the honking outside her own home and looked outside, but wouldn't one go out and check to see what all the noise was about? Wouldn't someone recognize the sound of her own car horn?  Max was rescued after an hour when she finally went out to unload the packages from her shopping trip. Reports said she gave him some water and cooled him with wet towels before she took him to the vet.  I'm glad to learn that, but after she took Max to the vet, I hope this woman also went to her doctor to get tested for early onset Alzheimer's Disease.  Forgetting about leaving your dog, or your child, in the car is just being way too forgetful. I think people have to stop multi-tasking and pay better attention to what's really important.   


How many dogs have to suffer and die in four-wheeled ovens before people finally get the clue that you absolutely cannot leave your pet in the car when it's hot outside, or even warm? No, it doesn't help to crack the windows a couple of inches.  It doesn't help to leave the car in the shade if it's in full sun 20 minutes later. You probably will be gone longer than "a few minutes" because you'll get distracted by stuff.  I guess it's finally up to the dogs to save themselves, like Max in Mucungie, Pennsylvania, who honked the car horn until his stupid owner finally came out from her shopping errands to get her dog out of the car. According to the "Strange Stuff" story in today's Bee, the woman had even heard the horn honking repeatedly and looked outside but saw nothing out of the ordinary.  Gee, you think maybe she might have remembered at that point she had left her dog shut up in the damn car?   

The temperature was 90 degrees and the dog was left in the car for an hour.  Much too long, but then any time a dog is left in a car in 90-degree heat is too long.  The owner, Nancy Soares, claimed that Max was "very warm and panting heavily but had suffered no serious injuries, only heat exhaustion." Hello!  Heat exhaustion is a serious, life-threatening injury for a dog.  People like her always claim the dog is okay when confronted with their own thoughtlessness and ignorance.  I would seriously doubt that claim and hope that Ms. Soares rushed Max to the nearest vet for a complete check up to prevent permanent organ damage (and I hope Max left her closed up in the car wearing a thick fur coat while he was inside getting cooled down). If that action was not taken, I would be surprised if the dog doesn't die later on from internal injuries.  I hope the Bee will follow up on this "strange" and sad story and let us know what ultimately happens to Max.  

I'm sorry, but I am really losing patience with people like this who keep dogs as family pets but think nothing of leaving them to cook in a car while they do their silly errands.  For doG's sake, and dogs like Max, leave your dog at home where it's cool and safe. 

More information on this particular brand of animal cruelty from the ASPCA. If you are reading this blog and have a dog, please read it.  Print out the flyers and distribute.  Encourage stores where you shop to post one in the window.  Thank you!  The only thing ASPCA doesn't mention in the article, though, is what to do if law enforcement or animal control does not respond to your call for help if you see a dog like Max dying in a hot car.  Considering the current budget problems, I'd be frankly surprised if anyone came.  Anyone have a crow bar?



Thursday, July 15, 2010

Beau is hating the State Fair!  Every night at 10:00, he gets all crazy and out comes the trusty Rescue Remedy.  It tastes bitter, and he doesn't like it much, but it works like a charm.  I worried about him last night when I was out watching the fireworks at the fair.  I had a great time, as usual, and the Fab Four were just as fab as last year.  They really do look and sound just like the Beatles. Unlike Beau, I happen to LOVE the fair and have missed only one year my entire life, and that was when I was in the hospital.  But I still had someone smuggle me some of those wonderful Old State Fair Tacos. 

I have so many great memories of going every year to the old fair on Stockton Blvd. with my mom and dad. Dad took me to the horse races and whenever our horse we picked together won, he'd toss the winnings in his upturned fedora on my lap.  We picked them pretty accurately most of the time.  The money he won never amounted to much, but it looked like a fortune to a kid in the 50s. One year he won me a big stuffed bunny on the midway.  Mom had a lot of dishes in her kitchen Dad won pitching dimes.  He was good at it and knew just how to throw them so they'd stay put.  

I can still smell the green dampness of the soft grass that was everywhere, cooling you and cushioning your feet, instead of hot pavement at Cal Expo that cooks you like a weenie on a griddle.  I remember the graceful dancing waters in front of the Counties buildings and the delicious dinners and fresh pies offered by local church groups.  There was a big white bandstand on the green with plenty of chairs on the grass for older folks to relax and enjoy the music in the shade of mature trees.  I heard a senior lady complaining yesterday how hot it was and how little shade there is at Cal Expo, even after 40 years in this location.  I had to agree.  Cal Expo has never been the same experience for me, either, but I've come to enjoy it and look forward to it each year.  It's the only fair in town, so we'd better love it or we'll lose it.  

I sincerely hope that Sacramentans will not be done out of our State Fair in the Convergence deal for the Kings arena. We are the State Capital, after all.  The fair should stay here, and it should be the largest and best doggone fair in the state.  I seem to recall we were supposed to be the location of the Northern California Disneyland at the time Reagan gave us Cal Expo, instead.  I don't know what happened, but we fell a bit short of that grand vision.  There was plenty of land at that location to make a NorCal Disneyland a reality. Now, wouldn't that have made Sacramento a destination city?  If that is truly what we want.  

But I digress.  I just leave the R.R. out on the bookshelf all the time now, so whoever is here can dose Beau, if need be.  The grand finale of the fireworks just went off a few minutes ago, and sure enough, he was whining outside my door waiting for me to let him in and offer some reassurance.  He was immediately distracted by some popcorn puffs I'd dropped on the carpet and didn't react to the fireworks any more.  If there's one thing that works with this dog it's treats.  I'm hoping that by the end of this year's fair run he will be desensitized to the sound of fireworks, or I'll just have to pop up some corn for him whenever I know there'll be some going off.  

But that still might not work when my neighbor down the street fires up his electric leaf blower, which has an annoying high-pitched whine, instead of the equally annoying drone of the gas blowers. They both bug me no end. On Saturdays I can't even enjoy my front garden because of the mow and blow service that does numerous lawns in our neighborhood.  It goes on all day long, and even Sundays sometimes.  There ought to be a law.  No leaf blowers on the Sabbath.  Has everyone forgotten how to use a rake?  One thing I love when I go up to Lake Tahoe is the absence of the sound of leaf blowers, or even very many lawn mowers, because few people keep a lawn.  Fortunately, leaf blowers don't work well for clearing pine needles.   You still have to use a rake for that.  Beau and I would much rather live at Tahoe. 


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

I've always been a huge supporter of the Sacramento SPCA and have donated generously to them over the years. I haven't heard anyone at their organization explain why 100 Chihuahuas are being transferred to Sacramento. Doesn't Southern California have an SPCA or rescue groups in that region which could take the dogs? I counted nearly 100 Chihuahuas already in need of homes in the Sacramento City and County shelters and various rescue groups, not counting all the ones I see being "rehomed" on Craig's List. If no homes are found for them, those dogs held at animal control facilities may be destroyed because of budget shortages. 

I'm glad these little guys were rescued, but do we really need hoards of dogs coming from other cities to rehome in Sacramento? I'm just saying that perhaps we should first place all our own city's homeless dogs in permanent homes before taking on more. 


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Let it be known I 'm not a big fan of dog parks, mostly because of ignorant or arrogant dog owners, not the dogs themselves. It's not just dogs sometimes misbehaving at dog parks, it's their owners. People mistakenly think that the dog park is the place to initiate their unsocialized dog. That means dogs which may not get along well with other dogs can end up starting fights or reacting badly to other dogs that are too in-your-face for dog parks. Dogs should be well socialized before you ever enter a dog park with your canine. 

This happened yesterday at Glenbrook Park. I met a nice young woman with a young, exuberant German Shepherd Dog, but she was a bit clueless about dog park etiquette. The pup obviously hadn't had much socialization with other dogs and didn't know the limits. It was quickly taught to him by a testy senior Boston Bull Terrier, which got the young dog down on its back. That show of dominance caused the pup to react with aggression. Next thing you know they were fighting. Both women erred in not leashing their dogs immediately and exiting the dog park. If other aggressive dogs had been in the vicinity, things could easily have escalated with injuries and not just to the dogs, as in the case of the Playboy model who was punched out by a sheriff's deputy while trying to protect her Min Pin from two pugnacious Pugs.

People are on edge these days, on the roads, in the dog parks, and just about everywhere else. Tempers are shorter than the fuse on a Piccolo Pete, and the heat doesn't help. This doesn't seem like the best time to be relaxing gun laws, ya think? What if the deputy had been packing a pistol at the time the dog fight broke out? I really don't want to see a shootout at the local dog park, but I wouldn't be surprised if it ends up happening if things keep going the way they are. We already have road rage; we don't need Rover rage, too.

Problems like these at the dog parks can be alleviated if visitors take time to read the rules at the entrance and abide by them, and practice some civility to fellow dog park visitors. I have met some of the most unsociable people ever at dog parks. If they are not talking on phones or texting and tweeting (instead of minding their dogs and scooping poop) they are just plain rude. I find it quite puzzling. You'd think it would be different since you have a love for dogs in common. Apparently not. 

You may think your dog gets along fine with others, but he may not do well in a dog park setting, which can be pretty frenetic with dogs racing around uncontrolled. Considering the unruly behavior I see from children in public places when their parents are present and oblivious to the disturbance their offspring create, I really don't expect much better from dogs and their doting parents. Perhaps it's the people, not the dogs, who need socializing.


Monday, July 05, 2010

Yankee Doodle Doggy, Winston--I wonder if he is afraid of fireworks?

Beau almost made it through the Fourth of July bang, boom, bam.  We dogsat with him all night, missing the fireworks displays, which I love.  I have six documented patriots in my ancestry from the Revolutionary War, and some fought alongside General Washington, so July 4th is a day I love to celebrate, even if I turned traitor and married a Brit. Sorry, General Lewis! 

I did hop on my bike and buzz around the neighborhood for a quickie free fireworks show, but I raced right back home when the big guns went off. How I would have loved to see the Cal Expo display. I heard it was going to be a real dazzler this year, but since I was already worn out from watching the Davis Bike Races all afternoon in the heat, it didn't seem like too much of a hardship to skip the rockets' red glare last night for the sake of my chicken s--t hound dog. After skimming all the lost dog ads on Craig's List this morning, it's clear we made the right decision that many others unfortunately didn't. 

I did dose Beau with some Rescue Remedy herbal supplement, but I didn't end up using the heavy duty knockout drug I bought from our vet a week ago in preparation for the big night. He seemed to be doing fine without it. We just kept the TV turned up loud and the A/C humming, which worked fine to drown out the pyrotechnics--until time to hit the sack, that is.  Once the tube went off, so did Beau.  He freaked out and barreled into my bedroom, shinnied up onto the bed as fast as his stubby legs would allow, and there he stayed the rest of the night. His head popped up a couple of times when some cherry bombs went off, but I turned my TV volume up and he finally drifted off. 

LOST, FOUND, LOST, FOUND--I thought it particularly sad reading all the posts for lost and found pets on Craig's List, which I'm sorry to say were all too predictable. One post was from someone who lost his chihuahua last night. Another poster said one had been seen lying by the side of the road today on South Watt Ave.  It had apparently been struck and killed by a car. What a tragedy, and one that is entirely avoidable.  I guess people won't ever learn about pets and fireworks or thunderstorms.  Keep pets in, close pet doors, drug them if you have to. Make sure they have ID on them, just in case. 

Pets don't want independence from their homes on July 4, but you can be certain that the city and county shelters are much fuller on July 5; that is, if the errant pets ever make it that far. The poor chihuahua didn't. And if the owner doesn't claim that lost pet from the shelter in 72 hours, it's probably history, anyway. 


Friday, July 02, 2010


You would have been 89 today.  Your dear little doggie, Laddie, misses you, and so do I.  Every single day. Tell our Bubba we miss him, too.  He liked you so much, and I know you liked him, as this photo shows.