Monday, December 29

After Christmas Stuff

What did I get for Christmas?

The flu.

Thanks a lot Santa!

And it's no joke trying to run your dog through an agility course when you'd much rather be sleeping underneath the electric blanket in your snug, warm bed, oblivious to everything and heavily medicated.

But Santa Paws brought Popper and Merlin a new 18' agility tunnel, so of course I HAVE to try it out. I put together a mini course that goes tire jump, two side by side bar jumps (for working on handling), then the tunnel in a half circle, then back over one of the bar jumps and back through the tire. I have the weave poles set up too, but I'm rather unconcerned about them at this point because Popper won't encounter them in the upcoming trial. He was being a bit antsy about tunnels, but he has shown absolutely no anxiety over his new one. Zooms right in, around, and out, no problem.

Of course, they say how they run at home and at class can often be quite different from how they run at a trial.

I'm pretty amazed at how well Popper listens to me. I've gotten a lot better at handling, and if he's paying attention (which is hard, one of my instructors told me he has the attention span of a gnat) he's unstoppable. I'm a bit worried he's going to be mightily ticked off at me for sticking him in a crate all day at the trial, though, and when he's sulky, well, let's just say he may plop his butt down and ignore me instead of running through the course.

Friday, December 19

Dogs Listen More than We Give Credit

Two stories-
Yesterday I was watching "Single Santa Seeking Mrs Claus" and there was a part where Quark goes, but she doesn't believe in Santa! I looked at the tv and said, "That's probably because there IS NO SANTA!"

And at that instant, three dog heads popped up and gave me a look. A scathing look of disbelief and hatred. I spent the next several minutes apologizing to my boys (the girls are hard of hearing) and telling them there really is a Santa Paws. When my SO got home, he told the boys that people like me don't get presents from Santa. :p

Second -
Today Blossom was doing her normal whining and squeaking because she couldn't get past the other dogs into my room to lay down while I work. I managed to make a path for her and got her settled onto her doggie bed (with her quilt snuggled up just right.) I said, "Okay, NOW are you happy?" And she promptly rolled over onto her back for a belly rub.

I think I'm going slightly bonkers with no one around all day but the dogs...

Thursday, December 18

Happy Birthday Merlin!

Merlin, our Pembroke Welsh Corgi, turns four years old today! How time flies. I still remember when he was five weeks old and a little ball of fur that looked like my brother's golden hamster he had as a child. Which is, of course, how Merlin got his name.

Have a great one today, Merlin!

Monday, December 15

Power out

At least once a month we have a power outtage that lasts for more than a few minutes. I live in an area where people are stupid and like to hit power lines. Normally we get a quick off-on once a week, a couple times a month we get a few minutes, and then there's that one that lasts longer.

Shortly after midnight on Sunday, yet another idiot hit the power lines and we lost electricity for nearly two hours. It was a cold, cold night so I had to set to protecting my saltwater tanks immediately (fresh water being much more tolerant). I have one of my tanks hooked up to a battery backup, so it continued to function and heat the water just fine. One major concern with my SW tanks is that they are both nanos, so they lose heat REALLY fast! The other tank I wrapped in thick towels and began manually circulating the water.

My un-backuped nano lost 2 degrees but corals and fish were just fine. Little Nemo gave me a bit of a scare the next morning when I fed Lorelei, and he did not appear. I fed her again and he shot up to the surface for his share. Guess he was just sleeping. :) The smaller nano did not lose much heat at all, and the battery backup died about 45 minutes before the power came back on.

Note to self: Buy two really big battery backups...

Saturday, December 13

Sadistic Mini Macaw

This morning I got Havoc out for a shower. I have a perch in the shower so we can both shower at the same time.

First, she refused to spread open her wings or do anything but stand there until she had a thorough tickling - around her face, under her wings, and on her tummy. Then, while I was getting ready to exit the bathroom with her, with parrot in one hand and bathrobe in the other, she reaches out and grabs my bathrobe. I said, "NO Havoc, this is MINE." She looked at me for a split second, before reaching down and biting my finger. And then she laughed maniacally.

I think I've just been snarked by a bird.

Friday, December 12

Rally and Fun Games

Anyone in Central Ohio interested in doing some casual classes with fido should check out I signed Roofus, my big sheepdog, up for a "games day" class and a Rally workshop. It's nice because they offer weekend workshops and things on Saturdays fairly cheap, and you don't have to commit to a weekly class. It's about an hour's drive for me, so I don't particularly want to drive out there every week for a class. The prices are extremely reasonable, however, if you would want to. I'm doing the rally workshop to see if Roo enjoys it, and if it's something that we'll be able to do. There's another training facility much closer at Wild Weavers ( that I may sign up for in March if all goes well.

I'll post about how the games day goes... it's on the 20th, and $10 if anyone else is interested. We're going to do egg races and musical sit... should be interested to do egg races with a big clumsy oaf. :D hehe

Tuesday, December 9

Popper's going to trial

It seems like lately all my posts have been about dog agility - and I suppose that's true. But it's become a big part of my life, so I have a lot to say on the subject!

I just sent off the form for Popper's FIRST EVER agility trial. It's not until February 1st, and I've already got a lot of knots and butterflies in my stomach. See, I really hate performing, and I don't like pressure. When I was deciding whether to be a music major or a biology major, I choose biology simply because I couldn't even stand to THINK about performing in front of people. I get so nervous my hands shake and I want to pass out, vomit, or a delightful combination of the two.

I am doing dog agility for FUN - and I want it to stay fun. You would think that would make a difference, but I played music for fun too, and it still terrified me. I have no idea what I'm scared about - if Popper messes up, that's okay. It's his first one. Sure I'd love for him to zoom out and get a Q (unlikely), but I anticipate he'll go off sniffing or begging for treats from the judge. I guess I might be more worried about ME screwing up - sending him to the wrong obstacle, running into an obstacle... it's pretty likely. I'd be mad at myself for ruining the run, but I don't think I'd ever be mad at da pop pop.

I've entered him in a CPE trial, level 1 Standard and Colors. I wanted to do Wildcard instead of Standard, but it was on a different day. I want to sort of slide into the sport with as little trouble as possible, and keeping him crated for two straight days would probably piss him off. He's the kind of dog that would smile about it and give you kisses, and then the first time you left him alone, he'd trot off and destroy your most treasured posession in retaliation. So we'll try standard, which unfortunately is before colors (unfortunate because it's a longer course), but at least maybe he'll "click on" and do colors really well. :) Assuming I don't mess up...

We decorated our Christmas tree last week... it's right next to Havoc's cage. Everytime my SO would bend in to string the lights or to put up an ornament, she'd stretch her beak out and try to bite him. At the end of the day, his shirt looked like confetti.

Wednesday, December 3

Fantastic agility class last night!

Last night was our next-to-last class.. and boy, Popper could do no wrong! We learned rear crosses - he did it perfectly the first time. He did his "away" command flawlessly. The next station was weave poles - he did twelve in a row on both sides, and you only need to do 6 straight poles to pass the class! At the teeter station, doing ground to ground wasn't such a big deal, he's done that for months... but last night she set up a mini obstacle course so he had to do teeter, teeter, teeter, teeter in a big circle. We got creative and threw in rear crosses, front crosses and the dog walk too.

Now I'm seriously considering entering him in the trial in February. Agility is so effortless for him!

Sunday, November 23

Poor Blossom!

Poor b dog. :( She's gone through a little "rough patch," so to speak. First, she started scooting around. She really only does that when she's allergic to dog food. So I start thinking about what food I'll switch her to - when she gets a urinary tract infection. All over my brand spanking new carpet. Sigh. Well, thank goodness for pet stain and odor remover! I get her over the UTI, and she's still scooting. I switch her food. She gets WORSE. I'm at a loss - I went to California Natural, which has about three ingredients. I really, REALLY doubt she's allergic to lamb, but I suppose it could be rice... I contemplate the situation, decide to leave her on it longer to see if I'm just being impatient, and look at her anal glands to see if they need emptied. Now Blossom has a sore butt and we're not any closer to the answer - because they were empty. So I figure, maybe she has worms! I deworm her with safeguard. Butt scooting gets better. Hmmmm. She finishes her bag of California Natural and I put her back on what everyone else was eating. Butt scooting continues to improve, until yesterday, when she scooted no more.

I still don't know why she was scooting. I'm going to have to assume she did actually have worms, somehow. There aren't many reasons a dog would scoot across the floor (I did eliminate fleas from the equation early on), and I addressed them all. I didn't feel it warranted a vet visit because nearly all of the possible issues can be resolved at home (depending how comfortable you are expressing anal glands, what worms they are, etc). So she's back to her normal whining self now. Oh joy!

Friday, November 21

New Dog Agility Store!

I am very pleased to announce the grand opening of Popper's Agility T-Shirts, located at The focus is on agility, but you can find other dog sports merchandise there as well, like flyball, disc dog, herding, and more. In addition, I have a lot of breed specific designs, so if you want a tshirt or coffee mug with your border collie running flyball, or your corgi catching a flying disc (aka frisbee), I've got those too. I rounded up the best designs available and put them all in one location, easy to find. :) I hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, November 12

My experiences so far in dog agility...

When I first started agility in June, it was with the knowledge that I was entering a fiercely competitive dog sport divided down the center - on one side are the folks that are doing it to have fun with their dogs, on the other are the folks doing it to win.

Now, it may not sound like a huge difference, but it is. The attitude difference is astounding. Generally, the fun people are helpful, friendly, and they don't get upset if their dog doesn't get a Q or whatever the heck else. They might be a bit sad, but the important thing was they had a great time with their dog. The folks doing it to win are another story. They are a little helpful, but generally in a degrading manner as if agility were so complicated only the most intelligent and athletic dogs should compete, as well as handlers who have years of experience. They get upset when their dog doesn't perform, and turns an otherwise enjoyable sport into fierce competition. They tend to be a bit arrogant, as if ordinary dogs can't possible compete in agility.

I've recently had to deal with the latter through online forums. I don't want to go into too much detail, but if you have ANY agility questions - always ask your local dog agility club or trainer. Don't ask online. Because they're never going to see you, they can treat you like crap. If you're already in a class, their methods of doing things might be different from your instructor's. There are many, many ways to train agility. Keep it simple by just asking your trainer.

Wednesday, October 29

Fall - time for hot spots!

It's that time of year again, when Roofus starts ripping out his hair and getting scabs in a large patch on his back from hot spots. When I'm talking about hot spots, I mean the itchy itchy spots where dogs chew and chew and chew for no apparent rhyme or reason, not to be confused with any kind of skin parasite, fungus, or food allergies (which are usually accompanied by licking the front paws).

If you've never had a hot spot before and you suspect that's what it is, you should go see the vet. Yes, gripe about the cost for a minute, then suck it up and go. You want to rule out other stuff before you attempt a hot spot treatment. Also, the vet can prescribe things like prednisone if it is seasonal allergies that are out of control.

How I cope:
Again, always consult your vet before trying ANYTHING.

1) Humidifier. It can't hurt, after all. Your home's humidity should be 30-50%, and if you had a humidistat you'd find out that yours likely is well below this line. Cold air does not hold humidity very well, and running your heat further makes the air dry. It's also healthier for YOU to have a humidifier. But too humid isn't good either, so keep a firm eye on your home's level.

2) Apple Cider Vinegar. This stuff is great for people too! I put it in my dogs' water bowl everyday with fresh water, roughly 1 tsp per gallon. It's definitely homeopathic, but I think it helps so I use it during this period. I've heard it's also a good wormer. Don't use too much, that's really bad!

3) Grape Seed Extract. I used to give this to my sheepdog for his very sensitive tummy. Later I found out it helps with allergies too! It can be found in pill form in the human vitamin area. You might have to try several stores - Grapefruit extract and grape seed extract are NOT the same thing.

4) Get a really good, high-quality allergen air filter for your furnace and replace it monthly. Yep, you get what you pay for. Buy the good one - you'll feel better too.

5) Benadryl. ALWAYS CONSULT A VET BEFORE USING ANY MEDICATION. I HATE giving my dogs drugs, but with Roofus, it's a necessity if I don't want him to be miserable and rip all his hair out.

6) Allercain. This stuff is great. It's a spray on antiseptic, anti inflammatory with pain reliever. It has some nasty taste in it which isn't TERRIBLY effective if the dog is really bent on chewing on that spot, but it seems to be safe. I've used hydrocortisone with better results, but you definitely don't want the dog licking it off.

7) Bathe once a week. Yup, you heard me. Nice oatmeal and/or tea tree oil baths once a week actually cuts down on dry skin. You can also use hydrocortisone shampoo, but only use on the affected areas!

Wednesday, October 22

Agility Class last night

Last night was the first night of Session 2.5, Weaves and Teeters. My SO built me a teeter, and during the break between classes, I taught Popper the teeter by gradually raising it (3", then 6", 12", 18", 24") one level after he was extremely comfortable on it. Took roughly one week of practicing 3-5 times each day. I set it on my wooden deck first at the lowest height, so it would make far more noise than normal, and sometimes I'd just walk by and bang the crap out of it and give him bits of hot dog to desensitize to the noise. ALWAYS use a high value treat for these "scary" obstacles!

Popper did awesome last night, he was the only dog already doing ground to ground on the teeter. There was another dog that did it but was iffy, so they went back to using the tables. I was really proud of da Pop Pop! Weaves, well, they use the channel method. I've been trying to get Popper's speed up and to get him working independently, but it's not happening. I'm probably going to buy a set of channel weaves (which are expensive!!) and retrain them that way. Everybody was really impressed he's already got the teeter and weaves. It's a class people commonly have to repeat - and I really, REALLY don't want to! I don't like doing things twice, that's why I have my own teeter and weaves and other equipment.

Well, we'll see how it goes. Now I'm off to eBay to see if there are any used or less expensive channel weaves for me to buy.......

Tuesday, October 7

Popper's Weaves - Video

Well, everyone who wants an update on how Popper's weaving is coming along, here's a video!

He does REALLY well when I'm on the opposite side of him... not so great when we're on the same side. :( So we're going to go back and start working with just three poles for that side, then add a pole at a time until he's simply amazing. :) Popper's awesome that way.

See? You CAN teach weave poles at home by yourself! It did help though that I take agility classes so I could ask the instructors for help if I needed it. :) We start actually learning the weave poles in class at the end of October. Hopefully I've given Popper enough of a head start!

Next up, teaching the teeter totter! First, though, I have to find out how to paint it. :)

Thursday, October 2

Teaching Weave Pole Entry

Well, today was the 2nd day and I just finished the 3rd training session with Popper on weave pole entries. It is working so well so far that I thought I would share the method that was shown to me. Today, after several successful entries, I sat Popper offset to the left of the pole by about 6 inches. I called him, and boom! Successful entry! It was the only time I offset him because I was so proud and happy I didn't want him to mess up, LOL. We do at least two training sessions a day so I figure we'll work on offsets more later after he's solid in entries.

The method used, which is harder to explain than to show, is to only use two weave poles. Put the dog in a sit-stay directly in front of the first pole, centered so he has to choose himself if he's going to the right or the left. You go and stand behind the second pole like a statue, treats out of sight (but in your hand). Call the dog. If he enters correctly (weave pole to the left of the dog) you give him a treat, quickly, at nose level of the second pole. It's very important to not use body language to influence your dog! Just reach down quickly after a successful completion, click or use your cue word (I say "GOOD!" since he's afraid of the clicker and so are many of my other dogs) and give a treat at nose height, right next to the weave pole. If the dog messes up, don't say NO or anything else that's negative (which is really hard for me, as I am accustomed to say no or AHT! if the dog does something wrong). You simply go oops, try it again, and put them back into their sit-stay. Never ever ever get frustrated with your dog. Always act happy and excited (especially when they do it right!), but you can act a bit sad if they do it wrong, just don't yell at them. Don't do this more than ten times in a row. You don't want your dog to get bored with it.

Once you're confident your dog knows where the entry point is, change the dog's angle. Offset a bit to the right, then a bit to the left. Next session, offset even more. See how it's going? You're reinforcing the dog's entry without telling him all of the sudden to find the entry point from twenty feet away.

Wednesday, October 1

Happy October!

Well, I finally got grass seed planted yesterday... I overseeded the entire yard, and did some bare spots too. I used about twice the recommended amount because I did plant so late in the season. So if half of it (heck, even 1/4) comes up, I'll be pretty happy. When I first went to Wal-Mart, the guy told me to just put straw down for the whole winter. Uhhh, so I can have MUDDY straw brought into my house? How is that better than just plain mud? I picked a perennial rygrass dominant mix so it'll come up faster... but since it's cooler out it'll still take a while. It might not even become decently established before winter hits. Sigh.... I have to reseed or resod my lawn twice a year because of the dogs. I just wish I'd done it a couple weeks ago!

Last night was the last night of Session 2 agility. Popper finally got over his fear of the teeter totter board (just the board) and was zooming happily across for a piece of hot dog each time. I asked one of the instructors about some weaving help with entries, and she stayed after class and showed me how to teach it. She's such a great teacher. :) I have to start working on it today with Popper... I think it'll really click into him where he's supposed to enter. Right now I have to tell him every time.

I asked for some help on a message board I go to with the same issue, and they were pretty less than helpful... in fact, I kept getting attacked for methods I'm using and stuff like that. It's exactly that kind of "queen of agility" attitude that kept me away from this sport for so long. Like I'm some kind of jerk for working with my dog OUTSIDE of classes. Yeah, what was I thinking, trying to interact with my dog and give him a headstart in class. There is absolutely NONE of that in my class - they encourage you to work at home, and not a one of the instructors had a problem with me teaching Popper the weaves or buying a teeter. I guess some people just have a need to try to put others down or make them feel stupid. I know where I WON'T be going for help from now on. Glad the agility club is so awesome!

Saturday, September 27

Cleaned out the bird room

Well, my bird room needed a really good scrubbing, so today i took everything OUT, washed the windows, walls, and scrubbed the floor (a couple of times) and then stuck everything back in. It took about two hours. I'm just sad because my little area rug I throw in there, I could only air out.. my vacuum burnt a belt out yesterday and the SO hasn't replaced it yet. Sigh... but I rearranged the birdies as well, so everyone is in a totally different spot! I really need to organize the sink area, but I'm too pooped to pop just now...

I'm taking all the dogs (except Murphy) over to my parents' house today. They have a very large, fenced-in backyard that Roofus can actually get to a full gallop in, unlike my house! I've been walking them everyday but I did not get to it today, so they can run around like maniacs over there.

Thursday, September 18

Learning the Weaves - Part II

Okay, I've tried this new weave pole method - and it's awesome!! Popper doesn't have that "what the heck does mommy WANT??" look on his face anymore. I can just walk beside the weaves, and he automatically starts weaving now. Better than last week, where I had to lure in, lure out, lure in, lure out. We practice at least once every other day (I'm shooting for twice a day, it's hard with all the other dogs around) and he drastically improves each time. I can't wait until we're running through them!

The method I keep referring to is at BAD Agility, the bearded collie agility website. If you think about it, it makes total sense! I love that it's something you can do at home, that it relies heavily on YOUR body language, and that there are no stupid wires or guides required. Since I'd been using food luring, it only took Popper two times before he caught on to what I was doing and now he wiggles his way through, prancing the entire way. I'm going to work on stepping it up a notch now. Hopefully I can get a video on here to show his weaving skills! I'm so proud this is one agility obstacle I have taught Popper 100% on my own.

Dog Fighting - My Solution

On the episode of Bones last night, Dr Brennan and Booth were investigating a dog fighting ring and a death to a human from a dog. Turns out the dog was ordered to kill a person. They made it clear the dog was very nice, but was forced to kill and hurt people to please its master.

Now, I'm sick and tired of all these jerks killing people with dogs and fighting dog against dog. It's just sickening. If anything has been made obvious, it is that the penalties for these crimes are far too lenient. And who suffers? The dogs!

So, my solution. Henceforth, all dog fighters will be rounded up and thrown into a barbed wire pit, in a gigantic fight to the death, until there is only one person remaining. That one person will be the lucky one who gets to decide if they want the bullet in the back of their head, or right between the eyes.

Now, it may seem a little extreme, but be honest - would you engage in dog fighting if that was the penalty? Right now, they either get little slaps on the wrists with fines, or a bit of jail time. Now, the jails are overcrowded and it costs US money to keep these idiots alive. If we simply eliminated them and their violent tendencies from the gene pool, there would be a lot more happy dogs and pet owners. AND, best of all, the punishment fits the crime.

Agree with it, or don't. I think it's a workable solution.

Friday, September 12

Learning Weaves

So I have been taking Popper out nearly every day, a few times a day, trying to get him to do the weaves consistently, and most importantly, on his own. He's caught on to the point where if he isn't quite sure what I want, will start weaving in and out of a few poles to see if he gets rewarded for it. He hasn't caught on, unfortunately, to enter on the right side. I found a webpage that had some great tips for teaching weaves, but I'm not coordinated enough at this point to follow them. I'm working on it, though, because it relied HEAVILY on body language, and Popper definitely follows my body language intently.

Since we've been focusing so much on dog agility, I made a bunch of general dog agility tshirts and other cool products. They're all cartoons, and the dog in them isn't breed specific (though I did base him on my Popper!). The crying dog at the teeter totter, in particular, is Popper... he really REALLY does not like the buja board so far! I'm hoping we'll have more success with the teeter since it only goes ONE direction.

So please, check out my cool agility apparel. Starving artist here! :D

Tuesday, September 9

Not all fun and games...

Just sometimes!

I get asked a lot about dog aggression in my multi-dog household. While it rarely occurs, the fact is, it does. Anyone with more than one dog can report a scuffle from time to time.

Last night, Popper had a really, really off day. He's normally only ball aggressive, and he's not *horrible* about it, and he has a couple other minor issues where if he gets frustrated or bored, he takes it out on one of his brothers. I know this and so it's not too difficult to keep him in check.

Yesterday was "attack Blossom day." TWO dogfights and one quick nip. The first time, it was over food - food not even in his dog bowl, food in a bowl he can't even reach. Didn't matter. Blossom mosied over to grab a few bites and he launched into beagle warfare on her. I had to restrain him for several minutes after it was finished, because he was still visible and audibly upset. Blossom was quite a scrapper in her youth, but has mellowed considerably in her old age. She was shaking pretty badly but was unhurt.

The second time, I was working with popper on weave poles in the back yard. I was tossing treats to all the dogs. Blossom missed hers and started sniffing around for it. Apparently that offended Popper, he again attacked her. I was only a step away and curtailed it REALLY quick.

The quick nip was before bedtime, when Blossom was on my bed, Popper in Roofus's bed, and Roofus also on my bed. Roofus leapt off the bed because my SO was being annoying to me (Roofus is my gallant knight), which startled Blossom (who is deaf) so she too leapt down - unfortunately right next to Popper, who had just been trompled by Roofus. Popper nipped her in the face. :(

I have seen absolutely NO trace of this aggression today. Normally he ignores B, and B ignores him. That's how it is again today... though when I fed Blossom a little extra in Roofus's bowl as a treat, and to watch and correct Popper, she did eyeball him several times before she would eat from the bowl. Popper was fine with her.

I attribute most of Popper's behavioral problems to the half of his pedigree that makes him such a great agility dog - the Australian cattle dog part. They are known for a tendency to be dog aggressive, and have extremely high physical and emotional needs. They need a JOB to be completely happy, which is partly why we started agility in the first place. I actually don't care for cattle dogs at all, and never expected to own even a part heeler, but now I find myself thinking that as I am becoming more and more familiar with the breed, I may just keep getting cattle dog mixes. There's tons of them in pounds and rsecues.

Wednesday, September 3

Popper is an agility pro! And Halloween design...

We had another agility class last night, it's the second session (out of seven), so hopefully Popper finishes up next year... sure hope so, since he'll be getting older and older. I actually kinda wonder about this place, because it takes a good year and a half to train your dog going just once a week, with nearly a month break between classes. I can't imagine a lot of people do that - you're losing a lot of "prime of life" time, in my opinion. Well, hopefully when I one day get my farm, I can own the teeter and a-frame and not have to worry about it any more.

Popper is absolutely amazing - it is I that sucks. One thing, though, was the building isn't air-conditioned, and it was ungodly hot last night. When it gets hot like that, Popper gets unresponsive and doesn't want to do ANYTHING. I saw him slowing down... we got on the dog walk, and he started slowly trudging onwards... until he decided he'd had enough, and jumped off in the middle. I made him do it again, and the instructor gave him an insane amount of treats at the end. She made me do it one more time, and this time he raced to the end like he normally does.

I was thinking about Halloween coming up. Every year except last year, I passed out candy. I kinda hate to NOT pass it out, except I don't have any kids, don't plan to have any kids, and there are so many children in the neighborhood that we easily spend $50+ on candy, and we don't have the kind of money that $50 is easily spent. However, we do usually spend less if I let Roofus sit outside with us. He's so big, a lot of people are scared and as such keep walking (but I still see their costumes!). If they were REALLY smart they'd be scared of Merlin or Popper. Anyhow, I made a cute little corgi Frankenstein design. It's fairly spooky, I think, or as spooky as a corgi cartoon can be made. It's got bats and a jack o' lantern and I think it's adorable. I am going to buy myself one on a black t-shirt.

Monday, September 1

Easy way to Exercise your Dog(s)

If your dog likes water, that is!

Go into the backyard with the hose, and just slowly turn in circles so your dog has to chase the water. I always keep it *just* out of their reach, with an occasional dousing to keep them interested. I don't have a treadmill, so doing this I can keep my dogs running for 15 minutes or more at a time - and not worry about overheating! Plus it's just a fun summer activity for when it's too hot to do anything else.

Never exercise your dog 2 hours before or 2 hours after eating a meal.

Happy September everybody!

Friday, August 29

Poor, poor Bently!

My mom's new rescue dog, that I drove a distance for to rescue from euthanasia, was neutered two days ago, after he had gained some weight and gotten over a nasty case of kennel cough. Bently was advertised as a 10 year old dog, but the vet believes his age his probably half that! I nearly bought him a can of tennis balls to replace the ones he had lost.

But, all in all, he's recovered quite well. I was talking to my mom when he walked up and put my hand in his mouth. When I glanced down at him, he wiggled his tail and gave me a "big brown eyed" look, which I am a sucker for, and he's got a pretty good one going for him. Actually, that's probably the one thing I'll remember about him, long after he's gone and I'm getting long in the tooth myself. When I picked him up from the dog pound, he was curled tightly into a ball. He didn't even stand up, he just raised his head slightly and gazed up sadly with those two big brown eyes.

Now he's gaining about 3 pounds per week, getting way more hugs, scratches, and treats in a day than most dogs get in a month, and quite happily terrorizing my dad's dog, a former princess who still doesn't understand why her daddy hasn't cast out "that filthy mongrel."

After an early lunch today, I was pondering what the heck I could draw when I thought of one feat Merlin the Corgi has not yet attempted - surfing! Now, I was perhaps a bit more ambitious than I had talent, and was clueless about how to create waves crashing. However, after the fact, I think I ended up doing a marvelous job and I still can't believe little ole me drew it! So if you want a really cool surfer corgi t-shirt, well, support a starving artist and buy one of mine. Coming soon - hippie corgi!

Thursday, August 28

So I've been really busy...

Busy designing new stuff, that is! I FINALLY, almost four years later, got the hang of drawing cartoons. So I've been drawing away! I'm trying to do a lot of breed specific stuff, which can be kinda tough, because a lot of breeds look so similar anyway. Add in the genericness of a cartoon, and poof, it COULD be that dog... or it could be another... Anyhow, I've been giving it my best shot. *I* like them, and I suppose that's what matters, right? Merlin our Pembroke Welsh Corgi is the subject of a good many designs... he's so freaking cute, I just can't help it!

I was having some little flashbacks the other day, about working in a pet store. Boy, if you love animals, I don't recommend working in a pet store! At least not a big chain. A smaller one is usually okay (I've done that too). I was reminded of some experiences I had, mostly because I am a huge bird lover. And, of course, I had to make some funny drawings about it. I think that a lot of it is stuff most people don't think about - until they've worked in a pet store.

The dogs are really itchy lately. I've tried, REALLY TRIED to do holistic flea control this year. I honestly think that if we hadn't had such a warm winter that it would have worked. As it is, it's only this month, really, that the dogs have started itching. I can't find a single flea anywhere, though, and nothing's biting me. Even after flea baths, I find nothing. So I'm not convinced it IS fleas, because I've never NOT seen a flea. I've had the humidifier on because that solves a lot of problems (and is GREAT for birds!) but it's not solving this one. Roofus did have some flea dirt on him at his last bath. But again - where are the stupid fleas??? I'm going to buy a couple single doses of Advantix or Frontline Plus and hopefully it's the only time I'll have to use it this year. I am not fond at all of putting powerful chemical pesticides on my pets. Especially when they have warnings all over the box that I have to wash my hands, not touch my pets for a while, etc. Scary!!

Friday, August 22

Not animal related...

So one of the people i chat occasionally with has some awesome artwork and drawings on sale at Cafepress. My absolute favorite design is this Geisha Girl design. Isn't it FABULOUS? This dood is really talented. I still can't make up my mind whether I want it on a t-shirt, magnet or what, I just know that it's great.

If you want to purchase this Geisha Girl t-shirt, the url to do so is Of course, he has many great designs including urban wear, dragons, and other fantastic art. I wish I were that talented!

Wednesday, August 20

Pit Bull Saves Family from Fire

Dog credited with saving family from burning home

By Norb Franz
Macomb Daily Staff Writer

A bite to Matthew Duda's ankle by his pit bull terrier probably saved his life and the lives of his family.

Duda, 21, was jarred out of his sleep by the pain in his foot and tumbled out of bed early Thursday morning. From the floor, he saw Roxie staring at him - and flames along a wall, part of the ceiling and floor.

The Clinton Township man began yelling "Fire!" to alert his mother, Lori Duda, and his sisters, Amy, 24, and Alicia, 19, who were sleeping. They escaped the burning colonial on Touraine, near Canal and Hayes roads. Matthew let the family's other two dogs into the yard before he ran out - followed the whole time by Roxie.

"If it wasn't for my puppy I probably wouldn't be standing here," he said Friday afternoon in front of their charred home and debris scattered in the front yard.

Matthew, who suffered second-degree burns to his hip, said he didn't fully realize the heroic action of his 10-month-old dog until he was outside and noticed two red dots where he felt pain.
Teeth marks.

"It didn't dawn on me," he said, adding that Roxie doesn't fit the stereotype viciousness of the breed. Matthew figures Roxie was returning a favor; he says he rescued the malnourished puppy earlier this year from an acquaintance of a friend in Detroit.

Amy Duda said she was awakened by her brother's yelling. She grabbed a cell phone, the family's pet Calico cat and fled.

"I think I'm alive because of my brother Matt," she said. "All the firemen said if it wasn't for the dog we wouldn't have woken up."

When she initially heard her son yelling upstairs, Lori Duda didn't realize her family's safety was in jeopardy.

"I thought Matt was dreaming and yelling in his sleep. I went upstairs and saw smoke," she said.

The cause of the fire was an electrical short circuit, linked to a portable fan. The 1,600-square-foot house was destroyed by a combination of flames, smoke and water. The family is insured for their losses, but what remains of most of their belongings now fits into eight plastic storage bins.

The fan was in Lori's bedroom. She had suggested that Matthew sleep there instead of her late Wednesday because he arrived home late and she was still cleaning downstairs to prepare for a visit from out-of-town relatives.

Ironically, Lori initially opposed her son bringing Roxie into the house when he first got the pit bull because of the breed.

The playful pet is very friendly and quiet, although Roxie has ruined several shoes since they got her.

For grateful family members, that's now easily forgiven.

Thursday, August 14

Terrible Car Accident

Popper was involved in a horrendous car accident!!

Popper's Stuffed Taxi

hehehee! He got the car as his reward for completing the first class of agility at BRAG. Three weeks later, he destroyed it. Easy come, easy go, I guess!

Monday, August 4

Interesting weekend...

Thursday evening I found an emergency post about a dog about to be euthanized at Muskingum County dog pound simply because he was old and they had to make room for the younger dogs that were more likely to be adopted. That was absolutely appalling to me, to put to sleep a perfectly good animal just because he's got higher mileage.

So I trotted on down there (120 miles round trip) and rescued him.

Then I had a minor panic attack about what to DO with him - I have five dogs of my own, after all!

Well, without going into too much detail, the next day I brought him to my parents' house with me while I went swimming... and he never left there again. :) My mom adores the dog, and he adores her right back. He was a very nonresponsive dog towards EVERYTHING - food, scratches, etc - he just stood there and acknowledged nothing. The first time he saw my mom, he trotted right up to her wagging his tail.

She's named him Bandit, and he is extremely underweight, has kennel cough, and god knows what else, but he's going to the vet to get all checked out and NEUTERED (yeah, pound neglected to mention he had his little friends) after he's recovered from his stay at the pound.

All's well that ends well. :)

Can't wait until one day when I have a lot of land - I'm going to set up a nice kennel area in a heated/ACd barn, and REALLY have my dog rescue going - Senior Scamps - where I'll only take in old dogs. When I was trying to find Bandit a home, rescue after rescue kept turning me down, because "older dogs are hard to move." Like they're merchandise!! So I will ONLY take in the older, the decrepit, the "retiring" pooches. This was my second rescue that I've rescued and rehomed... it's a good feeling. :)

Monday, July 21

Update and PETA tactics

It's been a while since I blogged, and I apologize. While I was vacationing in Mexico late May, I became very ill, and it was only a week and a half ago I was finally diagnosed with a kidney stone that was blocking my ureter. It was extremely painful, and very frustrating to not be able to pin down a diagnosis. After my visit with the urologist, he scheduled an emergency surgery to remove the stone immediately. I am still in a bit of pain, mostly soreness, but I feel a thousand times better than I did pre-op and look forward to posting more in my blog!

I just dewormed all the dogs, they were eating a LOT more grass, and for some reason, dirt, than I was comfortable with, and Blossom has had a hacking cough for months now. She's also started actually wanted FED, if you can believe that. I think she might have switched from anorexia to bulemia. She's a weird dog. They're all dewormed now, and B isn't coughing as much and nobody's eating dirt. That makes me a lot happier. :)

Here's a bit from one of the dog forums I frequent, about the latest monstrosity committed by PETA. It's ludicrous what they'll go through to try to get their point across. Maybe if they weren't so much like terrorists, more people would try to work with them.

Bogus ad placed in Dog Fancy Magazine by Peta:

"Just bought a brand-new purebred puppy? Welcome him or her
into your home with a free gift bag! Call us today at 1-866-834-6061 to
claim your bag and hear about our products,"

Reads a new ad appearing in the July 7 issue of Dog Fancy magazine, which is on newsstands now. But when respondents call the number, they'll learn that the ad was placed by PETA and that the bag offered is really a body bag--for the unlucky dog in an animal shelter who is "sentenced to death" because the respondents bought a purebred pup from a breeder or a pet store.

Dog Fancy rsponse

Hello fellow dog lovers,

Lots of comments have been circulating on the Internet this week about the following ad that appeared in the August issue of DOG FANCY:

"ABC PUPPY PRODUCTS -- Just bought a brand-new puppy? Welcome him or her into your home with a free gift bag! Call us today at (xxx) xxx-xxxx to claim your bag and hear about our products."

This ad was placed by a private individual on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

DOG FANCY does not knowingly accept advertising from PETA and does not agree with its extremist views. Unfortunately, the organization resorted to guerilla tactics by placing an ad in DOG FANCY under a pseudonym to deceive readers with a free gift bag offer, opting to use shock tactics to try get its message heard.

DOG FANCY promotes responsible dog ownership, including the responsible breeding and sale of purebred dogs. This is the first time in many, many years that the organization has succeeded in slipping past our screening measures, and we accept responsibility for the failure to catch this ad before going to press. We apologize to all who have been offended by this offensive and misleading stunt, and will continue to refine the systems in place to prevent our readers and advertisers from being exposed to such distasteful hoaxes.

Susan Chaney, Editor

Saturday, June 28

New corals!

I just got back from Phishy Business, where I got two new corals - a Hammer and Frogspawn coral. They're just so cool... it seems to me that the coolest corals are always labeled as "beginner," which makes me feel a bit stupid every time I buy one, but oh well. The salesguy was reasonably impressed when I described my black and orange sun coral tank so that made me feel a bit better. I'll have pics tomorrow, I hope... the lights are off to give everyone a chance to adjust, although the frogspawn already has its sweeper tentacles out looking for tidbits.

I also got a peppermint shrimp for that tank to take care of any little stray aiptasia. Still working on the darkness method in my 7 gallon nano, but I have the feeling I'll be back to injecting with kalkwasser here soon. Sigh!

Monday, June 23

Pesky Aiptasia and Libby

First things first- I am trying a new method to get rid of all that freaking aiptasia that has multiplied overnight as well as some red bubble algae. I saw one of my sun corals had an aiptasia attached - there's not much I can do about that, as any chemical treatment will likely kill off the coral as well. I can't use a peppermint shrimp because my strawberry dottyback will eat it. I'm not interested in trying to keep berghia alive since the dottyback will probably kill them too.

So, I opted for total darkness. For at least one week, there'll be no lights on in the tank. I'll reevaluate the situation then. None of the corals in there need light to live, the only things that'll suffer will be the aiptasia, algae, and my live rock, unfortunately. I've been battling it for a year and a half, but it has recently gotten waaay out of control.

Libby is my parents' dog, and she's staying with us for a week or so while her parents go on vacation. When I went to get her, I let her out first since it had been about 7 hours since she was last out, and she peeked off the deck... the next door neighbor's five german shepherds all started barking and snarling, and she raced back into the house. Poor dog! She can't even piddle in her own backyard. :( I hate people who take no responsibility for their pets.

Libby has stayed with us before, but for some reason this time my SO's dogs are being pretty unfriendly about it. I know they'll settle down eventually but Libby is very attached to my dad and is stressed enough without them adding to it!

Monday, June 16

Arkansas solves animal problem

This is a true news story, dated 6-13-08. Apparently, the mayor of Arkansas has decided that instead of taking care of homeless pets, the best thing to do is release them into the wild.

You've heard it before.....Arkansas animal shelters struggling to take care of unwanted dogs and cats. One mayor has decided the best way to fix the problem in his town is to set the animals free.
KARK visited the Helena-West Helena animal shelter back in January. Conditions were dirty and animals were in poor health.
Thursday, KARK learned the town's mayor James Valley has taken the unconventional approach of releasing the animals into the wild.
In a press release, the mayor says "we fed and watered them and took them to the St. Francis National Forest."

We're told about ten dogs, including several pit bulls were set free and that some of the dogs were sick.

Here is Wednesday's news release from Mayor Valley:

Ladies and Gentlemen:
This morning we began the process of dealing with our animal shelter problem. I have met, today, with Ms. Gloria Higginbotham. She is heading up a committee to create a county-wide animal shelter and perhaps with the participation of all governmental units, we can provide the kind of facility that will be deemed appropriate.
In the mean time, we are or have released all but a few our those animals heretofore housed at the sanitation shop. We fed and watered them and took them to the St. Francis National Forest and released them to freedom. We are disassembling the pens or fences and will not any longer house or keep any of these animals. This problem is dogging us and taking away from our ability to focus on the greater good for the community as a whole. One of our animal control officers has been to the hospital three times in as many months. Twice for bites and once for a severally sprain ankle growing out of incidents with these animals.
When Ms. Higginbotham's full plan is revealed, I plan to support it and assist her and the group in caring for our animals.
I just wanted to let you know.
James F. Valley

Friday, June 13

Silly Havoc

Today, I had Havoc in the shower with me, which I do at least twice a week. I was soaking my pancake tortoise in the sink at the same time, and she had pooped right away. So after I set Havoc on her shower perch I took care of my tortoise, since showers with Havoc have a tendency to be lengthy.

I told her I'd be right back. After I shut the door so she wouldn't fly out, I hear a tentative "squawk?" I call, I'm coming back, don't worry. SQUAWK?? I'll be right there, hang on!
SQUAWK SQUAWK SQUAWK SQUAWK!!!! until I open the door, and she's sitting calmly on her perch. I close the door behind me and she says, "Bad Girl!!"

hehehe What a goofy bird. :)

Wednesday, June 11

Agility Equipment at Toys R Us!

The AKC Junior Handler's agility equipment is 40% off right now at Toys R Us. These are great if you want inexpensive equipment to practice on at home. It is a little smaller, though, so if you've got a dog 50# or more it probably won't work. They have a bar jump, weave poles that slant, tunnel with detachable chute, and a "tire" jump. It should be on sale through the end of the week.

My significant other bought us the set, and when we got home after agility class, I demonstrated Popper's newfound mastery of the chute. :)

Monday, June 9

Herding Clinic This Weekend!

I, for one, was delighted to see there was a Herding Clinic in Ohio this weekend (June 14th and 15th), just outside Cincy. Two of my pooches are booked for Saturday, and I will of course be blogging about it! Hopefully with a few pics.

Here's the info in case anyone else is interested:

There's still space available in the sheep and duck herding clinic June 14 and 15! Please email me if you plan to attend.

Here's all the info:

Sheep and Duck Herding Clinic Schedule for 2008

Mark your calendars! Below is the sheep and duck herding clinic schedule for 2008! All clinics will be taught by Kelly Malone and held at the Stocker farm just outside of Lebanon , OH . Please let me know which dates you’re interested in and send me a check at least 2 weeks before the clinic date to hold your registration.

If you’ve never taken your dog to a herding clinic, give it a try! It’s a lot of fun and most of the other dogs are beginners, too!

Check out Kelly’s website for more herding info and events:


Attn: Herding Dog Owners

Herding Clinics: Maineville , OH (near Lebanon )

All breeds welcome

Sheep and Duck Herding Clinics ’08 event dates:

June 14 & 15; September 13 & 14; and October 25 & 26.

We are scheduling sheep/duck herding clinics for the above dates in 2008. Charlene and David Stocker have again offered the use of their farm in Maineville (just south of Lebanon ), Ohio ( 896 E. Foster-Maineville Rd. ). Kelly Malone ( will be our instructor and she’s bringing sheep and ducks, too! Most of the dogs will be beginners. Come on out and join the fun! Sign up for one day or 2!

The cost is $60 for both days of a clinic (if you can only make it for one day, the charge is $30, please email me a to make sure we can schedule something for you). Please bring cash to the clinic to give to Kelly. There is no need to mail a check ahead of time.

All days will start at 9AM and go until about 4PM. Saturday morning will be instinct testing, and then we proceed to instruction tailored for you in the fenced areas with you and your dog. Sundays proceed the same way if new dogs join. We adjust the day for the attendees and the dogs’ abilities. We all watch and learn from one another as Kelly instructs each dog/owner pair.

If you have more than one dog you’d like to have instinct tested, there will be a $15 charge for each additional dog. However, you can only work with one dog (typically the one with the better instinct). If you also have a non-herding dog, you can bring it so you don’t have to run home to let it out.

Space is limited so please respond as soon as possible. We’ll have the clinics rain or shine – there’s a nice barn we can use in case of rain. There will be water for dogs but please bring crates – depending on the weather, we may not be able to park close to the herding area, and there may be a large number of dogs around. You will also need a crate if you use the restroom, etc. If you cannot bring a crate, please email Charlene Stocker ( to see if she may have a crate you can use for the day. You'll also need folding chairs. We’ll send out directions & further instructions to everyone who registers.

Registration is by email should be received at least 2 weeks before the clinic date to hold your registration. Please bring cash to the clinic to give to Kelly.

Any questions, please contact me (Beth) at or call Charlene or David Stocker at 513-899-4764 for more information.

Please feel free to give this info to anyone who might be interested.

Maineville is in the northeast suburbs of Cincinnati, Ohio


Please arrive by 8:45AM to have time to park your car, set up your crate and
get your dog settled in.

Please remember to bring the following:
- Crate for your dog(s) - you will not be able to park your car in the shade
nearby. There is a barn nearby where we can put the dogs in the crates when
they're not herding and a fan to keep them cool. Also, if you have a
non-herding dog feel free to bring him/her with a crate so you don't have to
run home to let him/her out. With possibly a large number of dogs, a crate is recommended. You will need to have your dog crated if you use the restroom, etc. If you cannot bring a crate, please email Charlene Stocker ( to see if she may have a crate you can use for the day.

- Water bowls for dogs and a water bottle for you. There's also a pond the
dogs can swim in.

- Lawn chair.

- Sunscreen

- Hiking boots or tennis shoes to wear in the barn and/or pasture.

- Bring your own lunch

The clinic will be held at Charlene and David Stocker's farm, which they
have kindly allowed us to use again.

Charlene's cell number is 513-479-8994 in case you get lost. If you get her
voice mail - leave a message and she'll return your call.

(keep in mind Internet maps may be wrong due to construction)

from Dayton :
I-75 S to exit 29 Monroe OH Rte 63 E. Turn left off the exit
ramp. Rte 63 becomes Main St in Lebanon . Stay on Rte 63 ( Main St ) for
about 10 miles and turn right onto 48 S near the BP Station. Stay on 48 S
for about 8 miles until you reach the small town of Mainesville . Turn left
at the only stoplight in Mainesville onto E. Foster-Mainesville Rd. The
place will be on the left in about a mile. The Stockers' address is 896 E.
Foster-Mainesville Rd. When you see the white 3 rail horse fencing, turn in
the next driveway. The driveway has a stone entranceway with coachlights.

from Bellbrook:
Take 42 S to 48 S. Turn left onto 48 S near Wal-Mart.
Stay on 48 S until you reach the small town of Mainesville . Turn left at
the only stoplight in Mainesville onto E. Foster-Mainesville Rd. The place
will be on the left in about a mile. The Stockers' address is 896 E.
Foster-Mainesville Rd. When you see the white 3 rail horse fencing, turn in
the next driveway. The driveway has a stone entranceway with coachlights.

from Beavercreek :
Take I-675 S to the Rte 48 S exit. Go south on 48 for about 20
minutes. When you see the Lebanon City water tower, take the next left,
which is Miller. Stay on Miller and it will become 48 S again. Cross 42
and go under I-71. Stay on 48 S until you reach the small town of
Mainesville . Turn left at the only stoplight in Mainesville onto E.
Foster-Mainesville Rd. The place will be on the left in about a mile. The
Stockers' address is 896 E. Foster-Mainesville Rd. When you see the white 3
rail horse fencing, turn in the next driveway. The driveway has a stone
entranceway with coachlights.

from Springfield :
I-71 South to exit 28 (Rte 48 South Lebanon). Turn right onto 48
south. Go about 5 miles until you reach the small town of Mainesville .
Turn left at the only stoplight in Mainesville onto E. Foster-Mainesville
Rd. The place will be on the left in about a mile. The Stockers' address is
896 E. Foster-Mainesville Rd. When you see the white 3 rail horse fencing,
turn in the next driveway. The driveway has a stone entranceway with

Friday, June 6

BRAG agility hosts agility trials THIS WEEKEND!

Well, anybody going to BRAG agility's trials this weekend in Powell, Ohio, I'll see ya there! I'm only going one day, and as a spectator (this time), but if you see a shy red and white corgi being walked around by a guy and a woman, well, it's probably me! I'll be taking photos so if your dog is competing let me know what it looks like, I'll go through my photos and see if I took one of your pooch.

Schutzhund suitability

So I was searching for the correct way to spell Schutzhund for a new design I'm creating - and I found quite possibly the best schutzhund page ever!

Directly from their FAQ:

Q. My dog has bitten several people and I think he'd make a great Schutzhund dog.
A. The polite answer is that it depends a lot on the circumstances that induced him to bite. The direct answer is that your dog almost certainly has temperament flaws that make the dog totally unsuitable for Schutzhund. The rude answer is that if your dog bites people and you LIKE that, then YOU have temperament flaws that make YOU unsuitable for Schutzhund.

hahaha it's so rare anymore to hear people tell it like it is. :) If you're interested in the sport of Schutzhund, I suggest you check out Big Sky Schutzhund Club, which is where I found that amusing tidbit.

Tuesday, May 20

Ohio wants to ban Pit Bulls

okay, now I'm irritated.

My SO's aunt's maltese was viciously attacked and killed by an off leash Malamute that was roaming her neighborhood. The dog warden, sheriff, etc all told her there was nothing they could do. Now, had that dog been a pit bull, it would have probably been euthanized, and its owners would have been charged with a misdemeanor of failure to control a dog. Sound fair? No, it's not. The owners got off scott-free even though their aggressive animal, which may go on to kill someone else's dog, took someone's loving pet away from them. I mean, at the very least, some kind of fine!

Now the Ohio government thinks it's going to solve some problems by banning pit bulls. An outright ban, not just the "vicious dog law" we currently have. So, if you have a very sweet, loving pit that you are following all the current rules for, guess what? If the bill passes, they will take your dog from you and kill it.

It doesn't matter how nice your pit bull is, if it loves kids, other dogs, or anything else. If you have five acres of 6' privacy fence all the way around, if you have a pit bull that doesn't even have teeth - they'll take the dog and kill it.

I don't even own a pit bull, and I likely never will - AND I AM OUTRAGED! How can anyone allow this to happen? I've met plenty of sweetheart pitties and even more aggressive little chihuahuas and pomeranians who have bit me - are we going to outlaw chihuahuas next? I could bend to the part where anyone wanting to own a powerful breed (including german shepherds, labs, berners, pretty much anything over 60#) should have to have some kind of permit. But to just tell people because their dog had the misfortune of being the wrong breed that they are going to take it away and kill it is just WRONG. Breed specific legislation does not work. (or as I call it, bull shit legislation BSL)

Here's the article from the AKC website:
[Tuesday, May 20, 2008]

Ohio House Bill 568, introduced by Representative Tyrone Yates of Cincinnati, seeks to prohibit the ownership, keeping, or harboring of a dog that "belongs to a breed that is commonly known as a pit bull dog." Furthermore, if this bill is passed and adopted into law, all such dogs will be seized and euthanized. It is imperative that all concerned dog owners in Ohio contact their elected representatives and express their vehement opposition to this draconian legislation.

The American Kennel Club supports reasonable, enforceable, non-discriminatory laws to govern the ownership of dogs. The AKC believes that dog owners should be responsible for their dogs. We support laws that: establish a fair process by which specific dogs are identified as "dangerous" based on stated, measurable actions; impose appropriate penalties on irresponsible owners; and establish a well-defined method for dealing with dogs proven to be dangerous. The American Kennel Club strongly opposes any legislation that determines a dog to be "dangerous" based on specific breeds or phenotypic classes of dogs.

HB 568 unacceptably provides that:

  • No person shall own, keep, or harbor a dog that belongs to a breed that is commonly known as a pit bull dog.
  • No later than 90 days after the effective date of this bill, a person who owns, keeps, or harbor a pit bull dog will be forced to surrender the dog to a dog warden.
  • Within ten days of surrender, the dog warden shall euthanize the dog.
  • If an officer has probable cause to believe that a dog is a pit bull, the officer may apply for a search warrant. After obtaining a search warrant, an officer shall seize the dog and transfer the dog to the dog warden, who shall euthanize the dog within 10 days.


All concerned Ohio dog owners should contact their elected representatives and express their strong opposition to HB 568. To find your elected representatives, click here.

For more information, please contact AKC's Government Relations Department at (919) 816-3720, or e-mail

Sunday, May 18

People who shouldn't own pets

It has long been said that owning a bird is not like owning any other type of animal. Because of their sensitive and highly advanced respiratory system, they are extremely susceptible to all kinds of breathing problems, and you shouldn't burn candles, have oil warmers, or any other kind of fragrance enhancer in your home. They need a very special diet, because the majority of these birds eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, and certain grains in the wild, which are NOT recreated in any pelleted food or seed mix. ANY. The closest I've found is bird-e-licious, which costs an arm and a leg.
What really gets me is when I log onto a bird forum, and all these owners who are supposed to know better, post that their bird drinks tea or plays with the dog. Number one here, tea can kill a bird pretty easily. That's a LOT of caffeine for a little tiny animal. Birds do perfectly fine with water. Filtered water is best. That's all they need. Maybe some 100% fruit juice if you want to add variety. But that's IT! Number two, playing with the dog is extremely dangerous... you can say all you want your dog would never hurt a fly. That's fascinating and all, until you remember dogs are carnivores, and even if his prey drive isn't particularly high (most dogs WILL go after a flapping bird), he could still step on the bird or bat at it playfully, causing serious injury. It's just STUPID to allow your dog to interact with your bird at all.
Am I saying that you're a horrible owner that shouldn't have a bird if you let it drink tea and play with the dog? That's precisely what I'm saying.

Wednesday, April 23

Justice for Gage!

Gage's Story

March 12, 2008 was a cool morning (45 degrees) as I drank my coffee on the way to work. Peaceful and calm, with what should have been a great day. The phone rang and my world exploded. My wife was babbling and screaming incoherently into the phone "Gage is dead". "Gage has been shot”.

Shortly after I left for work, my wife had let our Yorkies and Gage out for a quick "potty" break. My wife was at the back of the house when she heard a loud noise come from the back yard. She immediately ran to the back door but Gage was not there. The Yorkies were standing at the door frantically trying to get inside. You could see the awful look of fear in their eyes. She opened the door and yelled for Gage, but for the first time in his life he did not obey. He could not...for he was dying. (Keep in mind, our backyard is over an acre-fenced in)

Where to start? Gage came into our life seven years ago. Newly married and having almost grown children from previous marriages we found the house was getting quite (despite our loving Yorkies) so we talked and decided that we wanted to add another dog to our family. We were deploying overseas and I work nights mostly and I wanted my wife to feel safe. So precious little Gage came into our lives. Gage was not just a "dog" or just a "pitbull" to us. He loved everyone; cats, puppies, bunnies and kids. He made friends easy. He would endure great pain from a small child "as long as he was the center of attention" he was happy.

Gage was about two months old when we moved to the Azore Islands in Portugal. We worked so hard at teaching him proper social skills. We made sure that he knew what "NO" meant and we always had him in large groups so that he would be used to being around people. A stranger was never a stranger as long as he knew we approved. He was taught what his boundaries were, where he could and could not go. The house in Portugal had a three foot high wall and Gage never left the yard unless he was told he could and then he was on a leash. He never showed any interest in trying to escape the safety of “his” backyard. By the time he was six months old I knew my family was safe while I was at the base.

Gage traveled the world with us. He loved everywhere he went. Gage was an adopted brother to my troops and companion to my friends when they were lonely. The cable guy even loved him. He was loved by everyone who knew him except one person, my neighbor.

Ray Stanfill, the neighbor who had a tree cut across my fence and did not fix it. Ray Stanfill, the neighbor who asked for permission to keep his boat on my property because he did not have access to the lake. Ray Stanfill, the neighbor who asked for permission to build a small fishing pier on my land which I had no problem letting him. It was later that I learned that Ray Stanfill, overheard by my brother in-law, taunted Gage on many occasions telling him (Gage) that he was going to shoot him if he did not stop barking.

Mr. Stanfill's story for the day he murdered Gage was that he had seen a snake on his property and went to get his shotgun to shoot it. Keep in mind it was 45 degrees and snakes are cold blooded. On the way to shoot the snake he say's that Gage jumped the fence into his yard and then jumped back into our yard. He said that he was "scared" that Gage was going to jump back into his yard so he shot him. "Sorry I had to shoot your dog." was all he said to us "after" he came back outside when he saw me home. Gage had never attempted to jump our fence. In the seven years Gage was on this earth he never bit anyone, never even tried.

Looking at the crime scene, Gage was dead on our side of the fence, shot through the neck, collar blown off and blood was everywhere. He did not die instantly, for my wife was holding him, trying to stop the bleeding as he breathed his last breath. He was shot at close quarters; the shotgun wadding did not separate from the shot before it entered Gage. Gage was burned from the blast. The fence was not hit from the blast. The only angle the wounds could have been made were for Gage to be standing, all four paws on the ground and Mr. Stanfill kneeling at the fence sticking the barrel of his shotgun through the fence and firing into my yard, into Gage. There were suspicious marks on the back side of his collar that led me to believe either before or after Mr. Stanfill shot him he tried to pull Gage over the fence to his yard to try to prove his story that Gage had jumped the fence. No one gets that close to an animal that they are "scared" of. They would shoot from a distance. The Sheriff's Office issued Mr. Stanfill a summons for Animal Cruelty and told him to get his boat and pier off my property.

The rest off the 12th was a blur spent building a coffin, digging a grave, and laying Gage to rest. We answered over one hundred phone calls as the word spread to former troops and friend in far off places. Everyone wanted to know what happened to the lovable goofball that was always the center of attention. There was a lot of anger and tears all over the world. A lot for a dog, especially a pitbull, but Gage was no ordinary dog to us. He did not have a mean bone in his body.

To add insult to injury, Mr. Stanfill now claims he owns the land and will not move the boat or pier from my property. The sheriff is unable to do anything about the property dispute because they cannot decide the lines without a court order. The legal deed shows none of his property comes close to the lake. If I remove the items from my property I could be at fault. He is going to tie this up in legal fees that I can not afford.

I have warned the neighbors on the other side of Mr. Stanfill to be careful. He has complained about their dogs as well. They said they have had numerous run-ins with him about their dogs.

I want him to pay for what he has done to Gage and my family. Don't take that the wrong way. I don't want money. We only want to see the right thing done. My kids can't sleep and my wife is a mess. My children want to move and I may have to get them counseling. What was a home is now a scary nightmare. If he will do this to an animal what would stop him from doing it to a human or child he does not like.

This morning I watched my wife let the little ones (Yorkies) out and saw her cry at Gage's grave. I stood there watching the scene from the backdoor not sure if they were safe to be out there. Worried about what might happen. No one should have to live this way. No one should have to die the way Gage did.

Please sign the petition to bring this murderer to justice!

Tuesday, April 22

It's time for frisbee!

Okay, technically, it's not supposed to be called frisbee - it's "flying disc." Frisbee is a trademark held by Wham-O corporation. Silly, isn't it? I was under the impression that when something became a common use name like that the trademark disappeared. But what do I know?
Anyhow, Roofus is already a "flying disc" dog. He's caught frisbees for as long as I can recall. He's pretty good, too, especially if he's shaved and can see where the darned thing is. I've been teaching Popper, though not with the kind of dedication I did with Roofus, and I'm working on Merlin, too. Once I had them consistently catching from a stand-still with the heavy nylabone frisbee (which falls too fast for learning), I got out the cheapy plastic one and low and behold - frisbee dogs! I can throw it about fifteen feet away from me, they'll scurry after it and snatch it out of the air. We're going to practice that for a while, then go for more distance. After that, it's weaning onto the nylabone frisbee. The bad thing about the more durable flying discs is that they fly faster and fall quicker, being heavier. But the good thing is, you buy one $15 frisbee, and it'll last at least a year. I left Roofus's outside all winter, and we're still using it. it's got a slit in it, and it's pretty gross, but it still flies as well as it did new. Can't say that for $1 plastic ones! Those last me about a day. Unless Roo gets ahold of it. Then they last about 30 seconds.

Thursday, April 17

Renaming Popper "Pooper"

At noon yesterday, I went into the backyard to play with the dogs, when I noticed Popper was behaving pretty strangely... He'd go out to poop, and then as he pooped, he'd suddenly jump up, tuck his tail between his legs, and run to the door, and sit down looking scared. I saw that his poop was liquid and black. Where he sat on the deck, there was more. And it trailed off as he ran off the deck. He would not retrieve his ball at all (a SURE sign something's wrong!!).

I looked black diarrhea up on the internet - and made an emergency appointment at the vet. (not our regular vet, nor our backup - BOTH were unavailable!) Turns out, Popper has colotis, which is inflammation of the colon, probably from eating something (he eats everything). He's on two different meds and a special bland diet. I'm very upset with the brand of the prescription diet, it is something I swore I would NEVER allow into my house, it's so crappy. I would have been happier feeding him some California Natural canned, at least it doesn't have corn or soy in it (and never used BHT in its food either).

Popper was enjoying all the attention his illness got him, and last night he produced a semi-firm poo. YAY!

Tuesday, April 15

Another example of owning a bird...

This morning I got my Severe Macaw, Havoc, out for a little TLC before we had our shower together. I had been rubbing her belly through the cage (tickle tickle tickle!) and rubbing her head (at her request, I might add), so I got her out and told her what a pretty girl she is (she tries to anticipate what I'm going to say - but usually goes with "Pretty Boy" instead). As I was withdrawing her from the cage, she suddenly lunged upwards and grabbed my bottom lip.

Long story short, she pierced both my inside lip and the outside of my chin. It bled pretty good for a while, and now I have a fat lip. I had been expecting a serious bite for some time (though this still isn't what I'd consider serious, since many bird owners get sent to the hospital if their bird feels like it). A lot of avian behaviorists will tell you that it's the owner's fault for not correctly interpreting the bird's body language and other tells. Having now experienced the bite myself (and I've been bit other times, just not on the face), I can tell you that's USUALLY true. But keep in mind that animals are capable of deceit. There are plenty of books on ethology that will give many examples of animals lying, most noticeably, of course, in primates. Owning as many pets as I do, I can assure you that lying, cheating, and scheming occurs in nearly all animals.

I do not let Havoc near my face, ever, and she knows it. She is NOT a shoulder bird (though she tries to sneak up there) and she wasn't what I considered close to my face as I removed her from the cage. She purposefully leapt up at my face with the intention to do SOMETHING. Perhaps it wasn't ill-will, I don't know. Maybe she just wanted to grab my juicy looking lip. Maybe she wanted me to shut up. Maybe she just was so overcome with wanted to do something she lashed out. And it doesn't particularly matter to me - I do not harbor any bad feelings towards her. Granted, I did not take my shower with her today - but I think that's understandable. I was a little worried about stemming the blood flow at the time. She is a bird, and birds bite.

I think that's a HUGE part of bird ownership that most people don't understand. There are NO domesticated parrots, no matter what the pet store tells you. Some of the larger birds are only a few generations removed from the wild. You can't expect them to act like a dog or a cat, not only because they are NOT a dog or a cat (and are many times smarter), but because they retain pretty much all of their instincts and behaviors. Parrots allow us to live with them - but every day is a challenge. Body language is a big thing, learning to interpret it correctly can help you tremendously in bonding more closely with your bird, as well as avoiding a lot of bites. But one day, when you're not expecting it, your bird will bite you. It will hurt. You may be bit again. You might have had your pet for years, and you're saying, "This chick's crazy, Baby would NEVER bite me." Toots, you're wrong. It might not have happened yet - but it will. The trick is to minimize the damage by keeping your bird away from your face at all times. And, as I said in my story, even that may not protect you. But it was better for my lip to get bitten than, say, my eye.

You cannot effectively punish a bird for this behavior, though it is conceivable the bird may feel "regret" (I apologize for my anthropomorphizing). Birds are pretty emphatic, and pick up on your emotions fairly easily. Yelling at the bird is also pointless, and may encourage further acts of "aggression." I put quotes around aggression because while we may interpret it as aggression, as I stated early, there are any number of reasons why Havoc might have bitten me. Frustration, rough play, just being Havoc....

My point is, always be cautious when playing with your bird. Do not intentionally allow it around your face and head. Remember that your bird may injure you at any time, it simple chooses not to. This doesn't mean your parrot is a jerk, or aggressive. It means it is a PARROT!

Friday, April 11

Dogster's GOFA Contest Over

We sponsored the prize for 8th place in the Annual Go Orange For Animals photo contest on Dogster! We are pleased to present our prize to Luckee who won 8th place with a really groovy photo. Congratulations Luckee.

Wednesday, April 9

Flyball at Home

We've stopped going to flyball classes for several reasons, and now we are doing this great dog sport only at home. It's going VERY well! The dogs will completely do it all on their own - including triggering the box. At classes, they wouldn't even do a dead retrieve, which they do marvelously at home. Merlin, because he was terrified of everything, Popper, because he is a bit ADD and was constantly worried about where Merlin was. We tried having Merlin and Mickey both leaving the room, but then Popper ran over to the door and would not focus on anything.

So we've been doing it at home, with just three jumps because of the room issue, and they love it. If it can stay dry for more than a day at a time we will move all the jumps outside and do it there. Our backyard is a big mud pit when it rains (and sometimes a pond!) so I CURSE THIS BAD WEATHER!

Tuesday, April 1

Happy Adoption Day!

Which just happens to also be April Fool's Day. :) Six years ago I brought Blossom home from the Capital Area Humane Society. She had been waiting for someone for two months, passed over for younger dogs (she was seven at the time) and many were wary of her dalmatian side. I, however, enjoy the company of older dogs, have no problem handling bad doggie behaviors, and brought her home with me.
She's now 13, almost totally deaf, but still as active and spry as she was those years ago. I found her on, so if you are looking for a dog, purebred or not, look there first! They even have puppies. One might be waiting there for you!
So Happy Adoption Day Blossom! She has a bully spring waiting for her to celebrate. :D

Thursday, March 27

Flyball Box Training

Well, thanks to the good folks over at, I've gotten a few ideas on how to get my dogs to use the box. They were doing great, and then we set the trigger so that they'd actually get the ball sprung if they stepped on it right (which they do). The noise scared them senseless and they didn't want to have anything to do with it again.

Essentially, we're desensitizing them to the noise. We've been working on it in short spurts and it's been great so far. It helps to have three other dogs that aren't bothered by it at all. A person with a lot of treats slowly moves closer and closer to the box, which the other person triggers repeatedly. Treats are constantly given, and no human reacts to the box noise or to the dog's reaction. We've managed to work to within a couple feet with no reaction at all!

We're also putting duck jerky and treats like that all over the box so the dogs get back into the "flyball box is goooood" mode. One has no problem with that at all - the other is still iffish. Our class instructor told us to just not use the box - how silly is that? Can't get used to using something that you never use!

The progress is pretty amazing considering the corgi is a HUGE wimp. Any little noise sets him scurrying away. He has adapted the best to the sound of the trigger mechanism, and yet he's the same one that won't touch the box anymore. Oh well, we're working on it. It's only been two days!

Tuesday, March 25

Yay for Squidoo!

I just started using Squidoo, and here is my very first lens:

it's all about Old English Sheepdog disc dogs. For all I know, Roofus is the only one, but I figured in case any one else was interested, there you go. I also have an OES Disc Dog design in my online store, which I also wear all the time.

Tuesday, March 18

Annual Go Orange For Animals Photo Contest (GOFA)

Menagerie Mayhem is proud to sponsor one of the prizes in the third annual GOFA photo contest. You may submit up to two photos PER DOG, and they must have the dog, you, and orange somewhere in it. You can photoshop them or not. For more details, head over to and sign up your dog for an account. Check out the forums under "Other Barks and Woofs" for a complete list of prizes. Add your dog's pictures to his account using the tag GOFA 08 to be entered. You must submit your photo(s) by April 8th, prizes will be announced April 10th.

Monday, March 17

Matchbox dog tees and Flyball Updates

In my travels I found a website that takes old matchbox covers and turns them into t-shirts - a very novel idea! I have one on the way for myself, called "The Dog" matchbox label. If you're looking for a cool retro tee you might want to have a look. There are other animals available too, a giraffe, panda, tiger, seal, elephant... basically a bunch of neat stuff. Check it out, the place is called Dream Dogs Art.

In flyball news, Mickey's been working on a flyball box so we can run flyball properly. To buy one online costs between $300-600, which is just obscene since we do this sport for fun, not competition. Right now we use a bucket with a notch and just set the ball on top of the bucket (which we have to weight at the bottom so it doesn't go flying). The dogs run down, grab the ball, and run back. I just introduced my old english sheepdog to it yesterday and he did it correctly on the very first run! Well, he had trouble finding the ball... I need to cut his bangs again. And he's not the brightest animal either. If you're interested in the box plans, we found them at Chakotay's Flyball Equipment Page. We did make a few modifications but it's a good starting point. I don't advise using PVC pipe jumps... there are plans out there for the real wooden ones and they aren't hard to make.

Sunday, March 16

School Defies Agency Order to Admit Service Dog

I'm curious to know how a service animal poses a safety risk to students. I could see where the dog's paws might get stepped on during a class change, but considering service animals have been used in public for decades, I think these school officials are just on a power trip - and it's going to come back to bite them in the butt.

Read on:


Defying a state agency's order to comply with New York's human rights laws, a Westbury principal yesterday refused to allow a deaf student to bring his service dog to school.

Principal Timothy Voels stood outside the main entrance of W. Tresper Clarke High School yesterday morning when John Cave, 15, of Westbury, arrived with his hearing dog, Simba. Voels and a sign language translator spoke to the teenager, his mother, Nancy Cave, and family attorney Paul Margiotta as reporters watched from a distance.

John Cave left and did not attend classes yesterday. The minute-long confrontation was the latest salvo in the yearlong battle between Cave and East Meadow school district officials, who have said the Labrador retriever, trained to alert Cave to noises and oncoming vehicles, poses a safety threat to students.

The school's refusal to let Simba attend classes with Cave sets up a possible showdown with the state Division of Human Rights, which on Monday told the district to change its policy on service animals.

"I don't think they know what they're doing," John Cave said of district officials. "I think they're going to be in big trouble with the state."

The human rights agency yesterday did not immediately seek a court order forcing the district to allow the dog into school. "At this point, we are not ready to comment on what, if anything, we may do," spokesman Thomas Shanahan said. Generally, the agency's orders are carried out without having to resort to a court order, state Human Rights Commissioner Kumiki Gibson has said.

On Monday, Gibson said the district's refusal to allow Cave to bring Simba to school constitutes discrimination. East Meadow Superintendent Leon Campo said the district would appeal.

Campo said yesterday the district would allow the dog inside the school if a court orders it to do so. "Whatever the state courts decide, how they rule on this matter, we will abide by," Campo said. "We'll continue to make the arguments that we're not only acting in the best interest of John Cave ... but all the 8,000 students that we are responsible for."

Cave, a sophomore, has hearing implants but doesn't always wear them because he says they are uncomfortable. During the long-running conflict, he has been attending school without Simba, though his family believes separating the two during school hours will cause the retriever to forget his training.

"This has been a terrible, stressful year-and-a-half for our family," Nancy Cave said. "I'm tired of people discriminating against my son."

With Simba lying at his feet, John Cave told reporters he was nervous before school yesterday. "I didn't get enough sleep last night, so I'm going to go home and rest," he said.