Dog Blog

Monday, August 30, 2010

Hey, art lovers!
This is not doggy related, but I'm pleased to announce that during the month of September a collection of my pastel artworks will be on exhibit in Davis at Gallery 1855.  





         Top: Hexworthy Bridge
         Bottom: Autumn Fields

This two-person show is with Betty Berteaux, a Davis watercolor artist. A reception for us will be held on Second Sunday, September 12, from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m., at 820 Pole Line Road in Davis, California.  Hope to see you there!


Saturday, August 28, 2010

The grave of a dog named Jolie at Tallac Historic Site, Lake Tahoe

Remembering two dear friends lost to the dog days of August 
Butterscotch - August 9, 1987 
Patience - August 15, 1996

                        "He Prayeth best, who loveth best; 
All things both great and small; 
For the dear God who loveth us; 
He made and loveth all." 
— Samuel Taylor Coleridge (The Rime of the Ancient Mariner)


Monday, August 23, 2010

And while we're on the subject of this undercover HSUS video (if you can) of the cruel "sport" of bear baiting, which incredibly is still legal in one state of the US.  How can a country that permits this and other kinds of abuse of defenseless animals presume to call itself civilized?

Back in Sac after a couple of heavenly weeks at Lake Tahoe.  Peaches, Beau, and I enjoyed the cool and quiet of the Sierra while I gathered some fresh inspiration for my next novel. I had another bear encounter, although this time I only saw the aftermath of the bruin’s visitation.  Unaware that the previous tenants at the cabin hadn’t discarded their trash, I left the garage door open while I took the dogs for their walk.  It wasn’t until later when I went to put the car away that I noticed all the trashcans had been upended and their contents sorted through.  What this bear was looking for I haven’t a clue, because I never saw so much wasted food as was collected in those cans. What a smorgasbord! He had flipped the cart right up in the air and both cans had flown out of it.  I spent some time shoveling up the mess and made sure I closed the garage door until garbage pickup day.  Evidently, the bears have been trying to force their way through the closed garage door, too, since the bottom of the door was dented and the rubber trim shredded from claws or teeth! I’m glad I wasn’t there with the dogs at the time this was going on, though Peaches' barking might have scared him off.

There have been more bear encounters in Tahoe, as is also the case in Yellowstone with the Grizzlies, I read in the Bee this morning.  It will escalate as winter nears and they try to fill their tummies for hibernation. I collected some bear tales from a neighbor. She told me a big black bear and a smaller brown one make their rounds regularly in our area.  I think I saw that big black one once when I was riding my mountain bike on a trail behind the cabin.  A Momma and her cubs broke into one cabin and wintered inside it last year. While I was visiting this time, another bear decided to join a neighbor’s barbeque, sitting up and begging for its share of the feast.  

Could this increased bear activity be the result of the widespread forest clearing that’s going on at Tahoe, purportedly to reduce fire danger in the wake of the Angora firestorm and keep forests healthy? I read a lot of propaganda about forest "management" at the State Fair and wasn’t surprised to discover that the literature was published by a family-run forestry operation that sells the lumber harvested on their land for profit. I read an interesting article in the Tahoe Tribune titled, "Is This What a Forest Looks Like?" It showed the aftermath of the clearing being done at Tahoe, which looks like a nuclear holocaust, as the entire basin looked in the mid-1800s during the Silver Rush. Nearly all of Tahoe's timber floated down the flumes into Nevada for building and shoring up the silver mines. It's oxymoronic that the timber clearing now is being done on land owned by the Tahoe Conservancy.  What are they conserving?  Not the trees, that's for sure.  It's not hard to imagine that there is money to be made from the lumber being harvested.  It makes me sad to think that the pines that once shaded our cabin and made the forest dark and deep will not grow to their former majesty in my lifetime. Lucky Baldwin, Tahoe's first conservationist, is probably spinning in his grave. The few pines that survived the clearing of forests in the 19th Century still thrive on his Tallac property. 

Food sources and shelter for the animals are destroyed whenever forests are decimated by the Masticator, man's über efficient weapon of mass deforestation that rips old growth trees right out by their roots, strips them of their foliage and, chops and drops them back to the torn earth. I watched Golden Mantle Squirrels scurry to hide among scrub and Manzanita (which does not burn easily, by the way) that was no longer there. Whoever is profiting from this abomination, it's certainly not the wildlife or ultimately, human beings. From Earth we continue to wantonly take, rape, steal, and then we punish the animals for trying to survive in our trashed world we’ve created.  The decimation of forests is aggressive and widespread and shows no sign of slowing.   

As they like to remind us so often, "a fed bear is a dead bear." Pity the bears. Pity us.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Here's some professional advice on crate training, courtesy of my guest blogger, Dr. Jessica Bradford:

Crates are a useful addition to any dog owning household. Whether you are at home, in the car or on vacation, a crate will make life easier for both you and your dog.


1.    What type of crate should I buy for my dog?

Crates can be made from wood, metal or plastic, and the choice of material depends on your budget and what you plan on using it for. Plastic crates are easiest to move in and out of the car, whereas a wood dog crate is a more attractive crate to have in your lounge room. The most important thing is to have a crate that is big enough for your dog to stand up, lie down and turn around in.


2.    What do I need to put inside the crate?

Your dog will appreciate a soft bed or some blankets to lie on. However, if he likes to chew, this might not be a good idea, and he may just have to put up with sleeping on the floor. There should always be water available to your dog while being crated, and this is easiest done by wiring a metal bowl to the side of the crate. You can give your dog some chew toys while he's in the crate, but make sure you keep an eye on him while he is chewing.


3.    Where should I put the crate?

Ideally, put the crate in the room where most of the family activity happens. That may be the lounge room or the den, or even the dining room. That way, your dog will still feel involved with his family while he's crated, and he won’t feel so lonely.


4.    Do I need to clean the crate?

It’s a good idea to wash your dog’s bedding on a regular basis, because this is where any fleas will breed. Sweep out the floor of the crate and wipe it down with a dog-safe disinfectant to remove any food spills.


5.    How long can I safely leave my dog crated without a break?

The general guideline for this is your dog’s age in months plus one. So, a 12-week-old puppy should be comfortable in the crate for around 4 hours. This doesn’t mean you should leave your adult dog in its crate all day. Make sure your dog has the opportunity to come out and stretch after about 5 hours, no matter what his age. If your dog will be crated while you are out for long periods of time, arrange for a neighbor or family friend to visit him and let him out.


6.    My dog’s crate training was going well, but suddenly he doesn’t want to go inside and appears to be afraid of the crate. What do I do?

Something may have happened while your dog was in his crate, which gave him a fright. He may be remembering that and is worried that it might happen again. Your dog can get over this, but you may need to go right back to the beginning and retrain him to go into his crate. Don’t rush it, and even though it is frustrating for you, don’t get cross at your dog – that will only make things worse.

Thanks, Dr. Bradford, for that valuable information.


Monday, August 09, 2010

The month of August is Pet Appreciation Month on KCRA TV.  You can upload photos of your pet and describe what's special about him or her to

So, how will you demonstrate to your pet that (s)he is appreciated?  In the words of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways."  

And please let it be not just this month but every day of the year that pets are appreciated. 


Sunday, August 08, 2010

Are you a responsible dog owner?  Here's a checklist from the American Kennel Club.  Take their Pet Promise.  You can also host an AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Day this September.  Contact the AKC at or visit

Glad to see that the AKC does much more these days to benefit canines than issue pedigree papers to "purebreds" (not show dogs) produced by breeders of every ilk.  They now  do a lot of medical research on canine diseases, which I could have used years ago with Butterscotch and Dolly, who succumbed to hereditary conditions no one knew much about at that time.  Why, they even host an AKC mutt show!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Continuing with the Kindness to Bovines thread, I'm pleased to learn that at long last the cruel "sport" of bullfighting has been banned in the Catalonia region of Spain, which includes the city of Barcelona.  One of the reasons I never wanted to visit Spain was because of their inhumane treatment of these animals.  

I'm always rooting for the bull in a bullfight or during the running of the bulls in Pamplona, in which people have actually set enraged, terrified animals' horns on fire. It's clear who are the real animals. These kinds of barbaric activities must go the way of bull baiting and throwing Christians to the lions in ancient Rome.  Torturing animals is just not acceptable in modern society. What civilized person would ever want to see an animal treated so cruelly?  Bully for Catalonia!  I hope this trend will continue and bullfights will be outlawed throughout the country.