Dog Blog

Thursday, September 28, 2006

SB1578 was signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger. The anti-chaining law makes it a punishable offense to tether a dog to a dog house, tree or other stationary object for more than three hours. Violators can be fined up to $1,000 and serve jail time. Here, here! The only thing better would be if owners who have subjected their dogs to this cruel treatment could be chained to a tree or dog house indefinitely with no food, water, or shade within reach. Now THAT would be a fitting punishment.

I found another basset hound. "Belle" was posted on the Sacramento City Animal Care & Regulation Website. She was a year old and very pretty, but her bio said she'd nipped at a young child and that's why her owners were surrendering her. They said she was a "nice dog" and was "housetrained." It said they saw only a dog who was outgoing and good with people, which made me think that perhaps the child did something to hurt the dog and that's why she nipped. Frequently, parents do not supervise their children around dogs, and a basset's ears are too tempting to tug for some. I was prepared to go see her today, but when I called to see if she was still available, I was told that she had failed her behavior tests and that she tried to attack the pound attendant and was very food aggressive. She was not put up for adoption, I was told, and of course I knew what that meant. That beautiful little dog was euthanized. Poor Belle. Having just been through 10 years with a difficult dog who had similar issues, I would certainly not have wanted to embark on adopting another problem dog, but was she beyond hope? Couldn't she have been trained and might she not have settled down with the right home? I had to wonder how a dog is expected to react when it is torn away from the only family it has ever known and thrust into a stressful situation. Putting a young dog in a cage with dozens of barking dogs to be peered at and poked at by strangers can drive some dogs crazy in short order. Imagine putting a one-year-old child through something like that. Under those circumstances, anyone might exhibit some behavior problems.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

I gave Bubba a bath yesterday and he's been digging in the dirt ever since. Isn't that kind of like when you wash your car and it rains? Wash a dirty dog and he'll just get dirtier.

Notable news: My book, "What's Your Dog's IQ?" is being paired with Cesar Milan's DVD "The Dog Whisperer" on Amazon. Bow WOW! Nice to be running in the pack with the big dogs.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Some good news for dogs in California. Governor Schwarzenegger just signed a bill that makes it a punishable crime to leave a dog in a car in weather that is too hot or too cold. Offenders will be fined $100 for the first offense and more on subsequent offenses. It also gives animal control officers and police license to break into the car to rescue the animal if the owner cannot be located. A $100 fine is not enough, in my opinion, and the average citizen should also have the option of breaking a window to save a dog since by the time the police or animal control arrive the dog could be injured or dead. Even so, the Hot Dog Patrol rejoices at the news. The governor may also sign into law SB 1578, the anti-chaining bill, which will help protect thousands of dogs that leave lives of misery at the end of backyard chains. Currently, animal control officers cannot cite owners for chaining their dogs unless they find other signs of neglect, such as lack of food or water. The law will also help reduce the number of dog bites and attacks from chained dogs, which are more likely to aggressively protect their territory. Kudos to the Gov for his efforts on behalf of California's pets.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

We took Bubba for a nice, long walk along the river this morning. It was lovely and cool, and the foliage is beginning a subtle change to autumn colors. As he was sniffing along the trail below and we were watching him from atop the levee, here came a big gray squirrel walking right toward him on the path, switching its beautiful bushy tail. Bubba spotted the squirrel right away, but I'm not sure the squirrel saw him until practically upon him. Either that or he wasn't afraid of him. They were almost nose to nose, when at the last moment the squirrel realized his mistake and bounded up into the tree with Bubba bounding right after him. That was the most life I've seen out of Bubba in quite some time, although earlier when I was returning home from my walk, he was waiting for me at the front gate just like Daisy used to. He was even vocalizing. It was a wonderful treat for me to have a dog barking at the fence again like before, but of course, it made me miss Daisy because she would have been there barking her head off, too. I'm grateful to still have Bubba, though. He was dashing around through the house the way they used to. I joined in the chase, and it was almost like old times.

I attended a pet emergency class last night, mostly for background on an article I'm writing for my monthly Pets & Their People column. It was very informative, and we got hands-on experience with the three dogs the vets brought with them to the class. The handouts could have been better prepared, but I learned a few things I didn't already know, such as the fact that in addition to chocolate, grapes, raisins and onions also harmful to dogs are tomatoes, garlic, and macadamia nuts. Daisy once ate a bunch of my late neighbor, Bernice's fabulous fudge. She loved it as much as I did, I guess. She survived eating it, but in retrospect I realize she was showing some signs of toxicity, namely agitation. She was normally such a hyper dog, though, who could tell? That's why I missed the signs in her. Fortunately for her, that little dog was as hard as nails, right up to the last day of her life. Her size may also have been a factor in her survival of the chocolate-eating incident. I swear her eyes were a little browner after eating Bernice's fudge, and I always called her my "chawklit eyes" from then on. Now I would know to get a dog to emergency right away if I knew it had eaten chocolate in any quantity. I'm glad I took the class and would recommend any dog lover do the same.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Bubba's dad is back from visiting his family in the Northwest. He has been clinging to my husband like lint on a lollipop since he returned yesterday. Bubba's definitely Daddy's boy, although he and I did bond some in his absence. I feel outnumbered with two guys and only one girl in the household now. Things seemed more balanced when I had my Daisy around. I still miss my garden girl a lot when I'm sitting out front reading or painting. She was so much a part of that. I bought Bubba a McDonald's sausage biscuit on Saturday, like I used to do for both of them when Daisy was with us. They always seemed to know when it was Saturday and that it was McDonald's Day. Bubba was starting to come out into the garden with me toward the end of the week, but somehow I felt it was because he was still searching for Daisy. He sits on her chaise mat and I brush him, which he enjoys, but as soon as I stop, he gets off the mat and lies down on the concrete looking mopey. Wish I could read his mind.

I planted the daisy seeds my sister-in-law sent me after Daisy died. I do not have a green thumb, as she does, but I'm watering them a little daily in the hope that they'll emerge and brighten my little garden. It may be rather late in the season, though. I probably should have saved them until spring. Oh, well. Que sera sera.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The first hint of autumn was in the air today. The weather must have dropped 30 degrees from yesterday. It was downright cold! The skies were gray and threatened rain this morning, but then in the afternoon the sun came out and the skies were clear blue, a welcomed change from the smoke-clogged air of the past week due to forest fires in California. A splendid day. Bubba got to go the park with my friend Nancy's basset, CC. Both dogs are about the same age, although since both are rescues we aren't sure. They get along great, as do their owners. We couldn't let them off leash in the public park, though. The pooch police would have descended on us for sure.

Afterward, we took them to Bella Bru, a dog-friendly cafe nearby. One of the servers even brought a bowl of water out to Bubba and CC, which was so nice of her. I sure hope that more al fresco restaurants and cafes in Sacramento become Fido friendly, although the trend is very slow in catching on. The usual reason is that it's not considered sanitary for dogs to be near eating areas. As for me, I'd a lot rather sit next to a dog than a smoker when I'm dining. As long as owners control their dogs and don't allow them to soil the patio (and I've never seen this happen yet), there shouldn't be a problem. If they did, though, "Pass the Grey Poupon" would have a far different meaning.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Today was the day Longfellow came up for adoption. I drove out there, mostly just to be sure that he got a home. He was still in kennel #20, only his cocker spaniel cellmate was gone. To a good home, I pray. The little basset was curled up in his plastic bed, but when I said hello he came right over and reared up against the fence, barking. I had forgotten what a beautiful dog he was. He seemed more desperate for liberation today than when I first saw him a week ago. I suppose a week in solitary confinement will do that to you. He'll be sprung soon, though, because the sign on his cage said "Adopted." When I asked about putting my name down in case they changed their mind, the volunteer showed me a photo of his new mom & dad. They were a nice looking middle-aged couple so I felt assured Longfellow was going to a good home with them. They are getting a nice dog. The purpose of my visit accomplished, I gave him a farewell pet through the fence and wished him a happy life. Just in case, though, I wrote down his inmate number. I'll check in a week to be sure the adoption took.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

I crossed a picket line this afternoon to visit the county pound, but it was worth it. Guess what I saw? Yep, a basset hound. I was just crouching down to say hello to a pretty cocker spaniel when in the door from the outdoor pen bounded the most beautiful, glossy tri-colored basset. My heart did a little skip-beat in my chest when I saw him. He was really friendly, but not overbearing. A real sweetheart. He leaned into my hand and closed his eyes as I tried to pet him through the gap in the fence. When I stood up, he reared up on the cage door to reach my hand. He was pretty young, probably about a year old. He got along very well with his cell mate, also a male. His sign-up sheet was full, though, so he's probably going to be adopted. I'm not sure how well Bubba would accept a male in his territory, anyway. It still feels kind of soon to be embarking on adopting another dog; I'm still sad about Daisy and miss her terribly. But I might go out there on the 12th just to make sure someone takes him. The attendant said often people put their name on the sign-up sheet then don't turn up on the date because they make an emotional, spur-of-the-moment decision. So what else is new? That's pretty much the reason pounds and shelters exist. This dog was a stray (typical of a male basset; so was Bubba) and had no name, but I know the perfect name for him: Longfellow. He was one long dog!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Sacramento County went on strike today to demand better healthcare. Many services are being impacted in our area, including garbage pickup, childcare, and the county animal control facility. There will be fewer staff there to care for the animals, and I fear that will be disastrous for the dogs, cats, and other pets housed there. Fortunately, volunteers are stepping in to cover for the strikers. I was thinking about going out there to help out, but I have always understood that I couldn't work around a place that kills adoptable animals. I'd come home with a dozen dogs for sure. I hope the strike ends soon for all our sakes.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Quite a shocker about the strange death of Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter. He'll be missed by many, and I feel sad for his young family. I fully expected that one day his reflexes would be just a tad too slow and one of those crocs would make a meal out of him (or one of his kids or his dog, Sue), or he'd get bitten by a cobra or one of those venomous spiders or other deadly creatures he was always handling in such a cavalier manner. But who would think he'd be impaled in the heart by a sting ray's barb? That's a real fluke. Tempt fate often enough and she finally takes the bait. I thought he was very entertaining and a funny guy, though. I enjoyed watching his TV show and loved his movies (although they often made me cringe), but I think you have to treat wild animals like wild animals. They're not pets, and it's better to treat them with a healthy respect and keep your distance. It's brave and rather foolhardy to kiss one, as Steve and the Grizzly man (who was killed by one) did, but sometimes it's the kiss of death. There's a reason why they call the feel-good hormone that's released in the brain of such brazen risktakers DOPEamine.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

We had nice dog-walking weather this morning, so we took Bubba to Stansberry Park that skirts the American River. It was new territory for him, although we've walked our other dogs there in the past. He enjoyed plodding along the path beside the river, but a woman walking her Boston bull terrier warned us that her dog had a close encounter with the rattlesnake the other day. We know there are snakes down at the river, but none of our dogs has ever encountered one. My mom's Scottish terrier, however, was bitten by one right in their own back yard, which backs up to the river. Fortunately, Laddie survived with no ill effects. The snake was a large one, and larger snakes typically don't inject as much venom as smaller ones, which don't have as much control over the amount they release with a bite. Rattlers are usually more plentiful in the spring when the runoff from the Sierras is high, but they are releasing a lot of water out of Folsom dam right now, so snakes are probably washing down from the foothills. Best to be cautious when walking the river trails.

Friday, September 01, 2006

It wasn't quite as hot out today. Autumn is not yet in the air but will be soon, I hope. It's my favorite time of year. Oktoberfest, Apple Hill, the riotous colors in the foothills. Hard to believe that it's September already. The summer passed so quickly and unfortunately won't be remembered as a particularly happy one for me.

We took Bubba to the park, and he was dashing around like a pup. It's hard to tell he's eleven (as far as we can tell, not knowing his birthdate). He seemed so happy that we were both there with him. He was so full of life. I couldn't help thinking of when Daisy was with us, too, and how they'd both chase full speed across the field, ears flying behind them. Such joyful times they had together. Like childhood summers, I'd give anything to have those happy dog days with Daisy back again. I often think of Cher's song, "If I could turn back time, I'd give it all to you."

Had some bad news today, though. My cousin in Texas died around 2:30 this afternoon from a brain tumor, and a good friend was also diagnosed with what may be cancer. What's with all this cancer, anyway? It's all around me. Family and friends are succumbing to this devastating disease, and I'm beginning to feel like I'm dodging bullets. Even our dogs are dying. One thing is certain: Something is very wrong with the world we live in, and we've caused it. Time to clean up our act and cherish our home to make it safe and peaceful for humanity. What we do to the earth we do to ourselves and those we love.