Dog Blog

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I had a fine time this evening meeting other local bloggers at the Sacramento Connect event at Revolution Wines down on P Street. Seemed like the perfect venue with another anniversary of the American Revolution approaching.  

The hors d'eovres were yummy and the wines enjoyable.  I met quite a few dog lovers there and had fun chatting with them and some of the other folks who attended.  I had an opportunity to talk to a lot of interesting writers and also some very nice staff members from the Sacramento Bee. Being a writer who lives in one's head much of the time can be pretty solitary, so it feels good to be connected with other writers who share their opinions on various matters via a Web log.  Some of us were having such a good time, we almost stayed 'til the last dog died.  On the way out attendees were gifted with a complimentary bottle of Revolution Zinfandel wine.   

It is great to be invited to connect with this online community by my home town newspaper.  I used to dream of writing for the Bee, and now I do, in a way.  I'm eager to participate in the growth of this new Bee venture that will lead more visitors to my Dog Blog.  Thanks, Sac Bee! 

There's a virtual wine tasting tomorrow night, but I don't know if I'll be able to find the wines they are planning to taste in time to participate.  If you have to Tweet to taste, I'm afraid that leaves me out, anyway. I may have to resign myself to becoming a "twit."  So far there's no law against drinking and tweeting, as long as you're not driving while doing both.  I think I'd have a terrible time abbreviating, though, or God forbid, misspelling words!  It's against a spelling bee winner's and English major's religion. 


Monday, June 28, 2010

This is where the breeders mistake usually ends up.  I'd much rather see them in this cage.

Daisy has come back in spirit to bite the backyard breeders who made her and other crazy, inbred dogs like her.  I was delighted to read in the Sacramento Bee that Congress may soon be "pulling the leash on puppy mills."  I hope they use a choke chain!  One can only hope they pass the PUPS (Puppy Uniform Protection Statute) law very soon and put some of these creeps out of business.

It's a hot button issue, but regardless what breeders say about "good" breeders" vs. "bad breeders," if there was no money to be made from breeding dogs, they probably wouldn't be doing it.  I doubt it is entirely love for the breed that motivates them, since some people charge thousands of dollars for their dogs, some of which are essentially mutts.  Can you spell Labradoodle?  Breeders don't police themselves, and all that most of them breed is misery (see above) for all the dogs that don't end up in loving, permanent homes or are surrendered to shelters and for the people who buy them.  Even if you don't pay a bundle up front, you'll pay at the vet's office for all the health problems most of these dogs inherit due to careless breeding practices.  

With the downturn in the economy, even more people are getting into the dog breeding biz to make money. What a lousy way to make a buck!  With countless dogs dying in shelters every day across the country, these people don't need to be churning out even more dogs, most of which don't meet AKC standards, yet are readily registered by that organization simply because they are purebred (or purebread, as I often see in ads posted on Craigs List--most can't even spell the names of the Chawawas and Dashhounds they are selling).  It would be funny if it weren't so sad.  Around our house, papers are for piddling on.

Daisy's first owners bought her as a puppy at a local pet store chain, where she was shipped from an Iowa puppy mill.  I doubt it was called Daisy Hill Puppy Farm, like the idyllic one where Snoopy in Charles Schultz's comic strip was whelped.  I don't even like to think about Daisy's life before she ended up a pet shop girl, but I'm sure it wasn't pretty.  Some of those places are concentration camps for canines, where they live in the same cramped filthy cage for a lifetime and are discarded when no longer of further use for breeding. After a year, Daisy's family gave up on her, as anyone in their right mind would have.  I answered her owners' ad in the paper, and I suspect they were glad I came and took her off their hands.  

She was my worst dog ever, but I loved her immensely.  In all honesty, her behavior problems were so severe (rage syndrome, food guarding, and more), most people would have put her down.  I probably should have, but I just couldn't bear to do it.  I was her last chance.  We somehow managed to live with her and tolerated her faults for the remainder of her lifespan, 10 1/2 years.  My husband deserves special praise for putting up with her behavior toward him (she didn't like men) and loving her in spite of it.

For Daisy's sake and for the sake of others like her and their unsuspecting adopters, it's high time to make dog breeders accountable for how they operate their businesses.     


Sunday, June 27, 2010

As my husband and I were leaving the Sacramento County Animal Shelter yesterday, we noticed a policeman diligently scribbling out parking tickets. He was placing them on the windshields of the long line of cars parked along Bradshaw Road in front of the shelter to attend the fundraiser flea market, which was being held there to help save the county shelter. Judging from the enthusiastic turnout, I trust the shelter made a good profit, but talk about robbing Peter to pay Paul...  

Yes, these drivers were breaking the law. There was a small sign posted at the roadside that stated No Parking Any Time, but there was also no room left to park on the shelter grounds other than a lot way at the back, which most of the people didn't know about, and it was a very long walk for some elders and disabled people. Some signs pointing attendees to this additional parking would have been helpful to those cited for a parking violation.  

Seems like that policeman could have turned his head for just a few hours on a Saturday morning so that all the caring people who had come to support this shelter would not be penalized for doing so. Come on, now, fellas! Cut us eager shelter benefactors a little slack. We were there to support our beautiful new community shelter and the many animals that may be at risk if it falters. Of course, I suppose this was just one more way to take in money to ease Sacramento's budget woes. One only hopes that all the money collected from those parking violations will go toward preserving our animal shelter.


Saturday, June 26, 2010

I just came from the "Flea" Market at the Sacramento County Animal Shelter where I stocked up with some great goodies and also made a generous donation to the shelter in the hope of helping them continue to perform their vital services for the Sacramento community and our animals. I also waited in a long line with a crowd of other people to tour this state-of-the-arf shelter to see what dogs were available for adoption. 

Surprise, surprise! Nearly all of them were pit bulls. Most were sporting E-collars because they are automatically neutered upon entering the shelter. Why? Because there are just too damn many of them. The rest of the dogs for adoption were chihuahuas. PLEASE, PLEASE stop breeding these dogs (and others) for profit, and those of you who are looking for pets to adopt, please visit the shelter today and save a life. The holding time at the shelter is currently three days. Staff are hoping they won't have to reduce that time at the end of the month when new budget constraints are put in force. Not much time for a happy ending, is it? But you can help. Adopt, don't purchase, a pet. Spay and neuter your pets. You can make a difference TODAY! 


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Fourth of July fast approaches, and that night of fireworks means a lot of dogs will go bonkers, jumping fences or digging under them in the vain effort to escape all the noise. Sadly, many will end up as fugitives in a shelter, if they don't end up as road kill first.  I know that Beau can't get out of his yard and wouldn't even try.  He loves his home and people too much to run away.  But I also know he is not going to react well to those Piccolo Petes and other loud fireworks, so today I called the vet and ordered a sedative for him to take that night.  I didn't think Rescue Remedy would entirely do the trick for the hours of racket he'll have to endure.  He is more frightened of fireworks and thunder than any dog I've had thus far.  Even our basset, Patti, who also had to be sedated, didn't get as upset as he does.

If you have a dog like Beau that freaks out during fireworks, here are some tips from Lisa Spector on how to calm your dog and avert disaster.  And don't forget to be sure your dog has his ID tags on or is microchipped, in case he does break out of your yard.  You'll stand a better chance of getting him safely back home.  (Be sure to read the comment at the end of this blog from an animal control officer who has had first-hand experience with this stressful holiday for pets.)  

Of course, this means we'll be celebrating the Fourth at home, but that's okay with me.  I don't much care for those noisy Petes, either.  We won't even talk about the illegal M-80s. I'll be quite happy to keep Beau company.  In fact, I may have to dose him a couple of times before the Fourth, since the stands open before then and kids will be shooting off fireworks before the big day, I'm sure.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

A prayer:  Lord, let me be the person my dog thinks I am.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Get thee to a shelter...

If all the people on this list who are looking for a pet to adopt would go to their local animal shelter today and adopt one that desperately needs a home, there will be one less loving dog or cat that has to be euthanized. There are purebreds and pups and wonderful mutts at shelters, all in need of permanent homes. 

The people who post on this list--breeders, sellers, irresponsible pet owners--you must not continue to fill our community shelters with unwanted pets who will die. Please make a difference and do something positive for animals and your city. Spay, neuter, and get thee to a shelter and ADOPT! But before you do, be certain you are able to provide the kind of home that animal deserves, one that is forever. Pets are not disposable. 


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Another response to my letter. Unfortunately, it's a done deal. They voted today. The shelter issue wasn't even mentioned by anyone interviewed on TV. The animals lose again, but at least they saved the volunteer coordinator position.  

Thank you for your email. As you likely know, Sacramento County is facing unprecedented funding shortfalls and the Board of Supervisors must make very difficult decisions about reducing funding to every program we provide, if not eliminating some entirely.


Unfortunately, the Animal Care and Regulation department is facing difficulties this year, primarily due to the debt service that must be paid on the costly new kennel facility off Bradshaw Road. Supervisor MacGlashan was concerned about the cost of this building and the potential for a situation like this years ago, and voted against constructing the facility. It is unfortunate that the County now finds itself in a position in which debt service on a building is eliminating services.


Thank you for contacting Supervisor MacGlashan with your concerns. I wish I had better news for you, but as I said the County is facing very difficult decisions right now. Supervisor MacGlashan’s top priority is to ensure that there is an adequate level of patrol staffing in the Sheriff’s Department. Please understand that the current budget proposal has restored funding for the volunteer services coordinator, so that we may continue to make use of our dedicated volunteers.




Ted Wolter

Chief of Staff

District 4, Sacramento County

Supervisor Roberta MacGlashan

A response to my letter from County Board Supervisor Susan Peters:

Thank you for sharing your concerns about possible budget reductions affecting the Department of Animal Care and Regulation.  


Please be assured there is no plan to close the County Animal Shelter.   Unfortunately, the economic decline in county and state revenues is expected to continue for the next fiscal year so budget cuts to some extent will have to be considered.


Please also understand that further reduction of animal care services is neither desired nor wanted by the Board of Supervisors.  This perilous financial situation necessitates finding a way to lessen the department’s dependency on general fund revenues.  An alternative business model needs to be developed to secure funding from other sources and/or utilize a regional/consolidated approach maximizing efficiencies among the various jurisdictions with respect to the way animals are licensed and regulated.


I appreciate very much the efforts being made by the volunteers and interested groups about promoting animal registration/licensing along with donations for the department (I saw a flyer at the pet/livestock feed store over the weekend where I purchase food for my dog).  There also have been collaborative discussions with municipal officials and the local veterinarian society about how we all can benefit by having a regional plan for animal care across jurisdictional lines and I understand those discussions are on-going.


The expressed desire by the community to save the shelter is evident that there are countless numbers of volunteers and animal supporters who remain committed to helping despite the financial challenges we face.


Thank you again for caring and expressing your support.





Supervisor, Third District

This video "What Hurts Most From a Dog's Eyes" created by young Joey Pacheco says it all...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Here's what I wrote to the County Board of Supervisors about the County Animal Shelter:

More often I speak for the animals through my books and my monthly column for Sacramento’s Inside Publications, Pets and Their People.  But I write to you now to beseech you to do everything within your power to keep the doors to the Sacramento County Animal Shelter open and retain the staff needed to operate it.  By so doing, you will be saving countless animals’ lives, spare workers their jobs, and keep the community safe from strays, which can transmit disease. 

What happens to all these animals if there is no shelter for them to be housed in and cared for when no one else will?  It is a potentially disastrous prospect that you and other county officials have not weighed carefully enough but must do so before your final decision on this vital issue.

I adopted quite a few dogs from the old Bradshaw Road facility, an antiquated, depressing lockdown which left much to be desired and at one time even sold pets to research labs to make ends meet. It was a horrifying prospect to think that a loving companion animal could be subjected to endless cruel experiments. One of the dogs I adopted there was a two-year-old basset hound named Bubba Gump.  I found my beautiful Bubba in 1997 on his last day before he was scheduled to be destroyed.  From that day forward, he enriched my life immeasurably and enjoyed a long and happy life with me to the age of 14, ancient for a basset. Bubba was my closest companion for all those years and inspired me to author theBeanie and Cruiser Mystery Series for dog lovers, which features a basset hound named Cruiser.

Without a county shelter to hold Bubba until I would be fortunate enough to find him, I’d never have been able to adopt this wonderful dog because he would have been needlessly killed and his life cut far too short.  Yet, this tragic scenario plays out every day in our community shelters, largely because there is not enough funding provided to educate the public about responsible pet ownership or enough space to house all the unwanted pets that result from that woeful ignorance. 

Have you ever observed the euthanasia of a perfectly healthy pet?  Perhaps everyone who is making these harsh decisions about our animals and community shelters (including our governor) should be required to spend one day in the shelter’s euthanasia room before taking a vote on the issue.  If they did, I suspect that they would not be so quick to axe the budget for the shelter.  There are so many others like Bubba at risk now at the beautiful new county shelter.  This state-of-the-art shelter should be preserved at all costs.  How much better it would have been for Bubba to be housed in a fine, modern shelter like this one.  He may not have developed kennel cough, which is rampant (along with other more deadly diseases) in antiquated, poorly managed shelters like the city shelter on Front Street, where I adopted a beautiful basset pup that died from distemper after two miserable weeks. 

Will you do what is needed to preserve this model shelter for our community and distinguish my hometown as a compassionate city that values life over basketball stadiums and downtown mall rejuvenation?  One that doesn’t needlessly destroy its companion animals?  Let Sacramento become a model community that makes the lives of its pets better and supports the people who care for them.  Surely, you and the other Sacramento County Supervisors can search your hearts and take the steps to ensure that the needed budget cuts come from other places, like unnecessary positions in your bloated hierarchy, inflated salaries, or programs that do not put the precious lives of people’s pets at risk.  I challenge you to look into the trusting eyes of just one of the devoted companion animals currently impounded at the county shelter, through no fault of its own, and ask yourself if you could be the one to inject death into its veins. If not, I hope you will reverse your decision to put thousands of healthy, adoptable animals at the sharp end of that syringe. 

Of course, pets can’t vote, so they are easy targets for the chopping block when budgets must be balanced and services cut.  But nothing (or no one) should have to die for you to accomplish that. There are not as many citizens who will speak out for these voiceless creatures, but we who care deeply about the welfare of animals can and do vote.  I assure you that we will remember at election time who helped the animals…and who did not.  Save Our Shelter!


Monday, June 14, 2010

Hot summer days are a good excuse to stay in your air-conditioned house and sort out all the stuff you don't need any more and can donate to the S.O.S. "Flea" Market being held on Saturday, June 26 from 9-4 to benefit the Sacramento County Animal Shelter.  Please help keep our new state-of-the-bark shelter open and help care for the 15,000 animals that enter the shelter each year.  Check out their flier on the link provided for more information about the sale.  
Note: donations cannot be dropped at the shelter due to limited space but drop-off and pick-up of items can be arranged.

The Board of Supervisors will make their decision about the fate of the shelter and staff budget cuts on Thursday.  There is still enough time for you to write a letter to your district supervisor to express your views.  I demonstrated with about 50 or so others at the administration building this afternoon.  Supporters from the Humane Society of the United States, United Animal Nations, and Sacramento SPCA were present. We marched around Cesar Chavez Park and through the downtown area to get some attention for the shelter's plight.  Granted, it was a hot day, but considering the population of this city, the number of participants was not nearly as great as it could have been.  However, I hope we made some impact on the decision makers.  It is too easy to target the helpless and voiceless in these hard times, but our voices can make a difference in the lives of thousands of homeless pets.  Please write your comments to your County Supervisor.

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Today I discovered the other thing Beau hates besides fireworks and thunderstorms--BATHTIME!  He should have had one long before now, but it's been too cold until recently and I can only bathe the dogs outdoors.  The time had come, though.  There was a lot of Tahoe dust to wash off of them.

We took both dogs out on the front lawn and tethered them to the fence with their extendable leashes to bathe them, but when we came at Beau with the hose (on low flow) he tried to make tracks in any other direction.  He wanted nothing to do with the business end of that hose. Evidently, his past experiences with baths have not been very pleasant ones, but I think we may have changed that today.  I hope so, anyway, because it was an ordeal.  

I had my husband hold him while I did the sudsing and rinsing, since I figured it might have been a man who made him afraid in the first place.  I massaged him as we soaped him and talked baby talk to him, which seemed to allay his fears.  I made quick work of it and then gave him a good towel rubdown and let him roll on the grass, which he loves to do.  Meanwhile, we washed Peaches.  He took a lot of interest in that, so we probably should have done her first so he could see it was no big deal.  

When we were finished with her, he wanted to help dry her off...with his tongue. He simply adores her.  After both dogs were clean, they had a grand time lying on the grass together, rolling around, barking, and playing their games.  It was delightful to watch them, and they obviously felt so good and clean.  So, Beau probably had his first happy bath.  We'll see if he likes it any better when bath time comes around again.


Friday, June 11, 2010

I just returned to Sacramento after two weeks at beautiful Lake Tahoe, my favorite place on Earth.  Of course, I took Peaches and Beau along with me.  It was Beau's first trip to Tahoe with me and probably his first ever, since I doubt his former owner took him anywhere fun. It all seemed new and exciting to him, and he quickly began to expect a car ride to Kiva Beach every morning, just like Peaches does.  Kiva is a leash-free beach for dogs, the only one at South Lake Tahoe.  

He and Peaches had a grand time, and here are some photos to prove it. Beau is now a Tahoe hound, just like his predecessor, Bubba Gump.  I think he loved it even more than Bubba did, if that's possible.  He delighted in ambling down the beach, sniffing everything, feeling the sand between his toes, and wading in the water.  Of course, he greeted everyone we met along the way and wanted to be petted.  He even got his photo taken professionally with a group out on a photo tour with Tahoe Photographic Tours.  I hope I can get a copy from the photographer, Robin Price.  Peaches and Beau made quite an impression, but especially Beau because he is so gregarious.

I actually managed to get some writing done on my next book between dog walks.  I hope it won't be too long before we can go to Tahoe again.