Sunday, March 30, 2008

Training at the Dude Ranch


Left to right: Humdinger & Susan, Coco/Maisy & Sandra, Chelsea & Gayle, Dixie & Debbie, Chloe & Terry, Ryleigh & Mitch, Huntley & Kerry, Nike & Elena. These are Top Dogs!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Blue the Great Dane


Blue is a terrific student. He has amazing obedience skills for a young dog, interrupted only occasionally with silly puppy behavior. His parents are doing everything right.

Two Labs and a Buzzard

Walking my dogs on leash in our suburban neighborhood always has the potential to be interesting. They learned to leave squirrels alone last fall. They've gotten darned good at tucking in close to me—usually in a nice sit/stay–when a car approaches. They even manage to walk comfortably in tandem (no more tangled leashes) without pulling my arm out of the socket. Since they weigh a combined 160 pounds (70 and 90 pounds, respectively), that's an important one. Now, understand, we don't have sidewalks. Fortunately, we have wide streets. So a few days ago we were rounding the corner about 30 minutes into our walk when I see a buzzard on the road in front of us feasting on something. First, this is not a small bird. Second, anything new (and the dogs had never been this close to a bird this big before) is of huge interest to my dogs. Not wanting to get into a pulling contest with them, I decided to try getting both of them to heel on my left side (the side away from the bird and his meal). To my amazement they did it, focused on me, and ignored the bird. Not only did they heel together, but they did it perfectly aligned at my side, shoulder to shoulder.

Cody Girl is six years old. Murphy is almost three. The hundreds of hours spent training these two paid off in that moment. Keep working with your dogs. They'll make you proud.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Mandatory Spay and Neuter

Note: Thanks to Susan for making me aware of this. I'll post anything I learn that is Virginia-specific. Dee

“ONE GENERATION AND OUT”, NOT WHILE I’M STANDING

“One generation and out. We have no problems with the extinction of domestic animals.” Wayne Pacelle, President of the Humane Society of the US

Many American citizens do not realize what is going on with the future of our companion animals behind our backs. In this time of a nationwide financial “crunch” for most of us, while our attention is focused on interest rates and soaring gas prices, animal rights groups are moving in to annihilate the thing many of us hold most precious, our dog and cat companions.

Several mandatory spay and neuter laws have been passed in major cities across the United States while our backs are turned. These laws have one thing in common, the mandatory spay and neuter of ALL dogs and cats. A similar bill is currently being proposed for the state of Virginia, HB1570. This bill is an attempt to amend the current bill that requires adoption agencies to have a mandatory spay/neuter policy. The new bill would include any dog or cat purchased or acquired to be spayed or neutered by the age of 6 months. While the bill says that “hobby breeders, breed improvers, and breed fanciers” are exempt from this mandate, it also lists these same three as “dealers” that would be subject to the requirements of this bill. What does all of this mean? That every dog or cat purchased or acquired in the state of Virginia would have to be spayed or neutered, even if you didn’t adopt from a local animal shelter, effectively decimating the pet population in Virginia.

Outside of the personal and species wide impacts a bill such as this will have, they will also have major economic impacts. The pet care industry is a multi-billion dollar industry that employs thousands of individuals per year. These places include pet food factories and their associated shipping agencies, veterinary clinics, pet stores, grooming facilities, boarding facilities, etc. What jobs are these people supposed to do if reproducing their "product" is banned? If bills such as this are passed, eventually all dogs and cats will die of old age, if nothing else, and a very limited supply will remain. I doubt that enough will remain to keep all these places in business.

For years, animal rights groups such as PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and the HSUS (Human Society of the United States) have pounded the public with atrocities of pet over-population. And their solution to the problem seems to be a government mandated EXTINCTION of all dogs and cats through mandatory spaying and neutering. Take a minute to think about it, if all dogs and cats are sterilized, where will our pets come from? It’s simple, they won’t come from anywhere, they will be gone, and our local, state, and federal governments do not seem to see this. But the HSUS and PETA do, and they are lobbying for it.

It’s time for all of us as pet owners to take action. It’s time to tell these animal rights zealots that we will not stand for this. Here are a few things you can do to help fight these groups and save our pets:

1. Write to your local, state, and federal government officials voicing your opinion AGAINST mandatory spay/neuter legislation for ALL animals.

2. Stop donating to PETA and the HSUS. They have no power without money. And for those of you who don’t know, the HSUS is NOT affiliated with your local animal control, animal shelter, or SPCA at all. This means, while you may be giving them money thinking you are helping homeless pets, you are not. Much of the money is going for legislative lobbying and paying high priced salaries of the HSUS’s employees. As for PETA’s animal shelter in Virginia, a recent release from PRNewswire-USNewswire states than in 2006 PETA euthanized “more than 97 percent of the dogs, cats, and other pets it took in for adoption in 2006. During that year, the well-known animal rights group managed to find adoptive homes for just 12 pets.” This is almost triple an average euthanization rate of just over 34% in animal shelters nationwide for the same year. So, they are no better at saving our pets than the HSUS.

3. Donate to your local shelters and SPCA’s instead of the HSUS and PETA. This is a must if we are going to stop them.

4. Vote only for pet friendly candidates and educate others about this fight. Remember, when we vote, our pets vote, make their voices heard.

5. Get your local veterinarians and pet supply stores involved. This will affect them hardest.

While I firmly believe spaying and neutering pets is important, mandatory spaying and neutering of ALL pets will be devastating personally and economically, a clear violation of our democratic rights, and will be nothing less that the government mandated extinction of our dogs and cats. Speak up now for our rights and the rights of all of our pets and companions. Speak up for the rights of the animals that help save our lives, the search and rescue dogs, the police dogs, the seeing-eye dogs, and all of the service dogs. Speak up now to save the jobs of all people in the pet service industry. Help save our pets from extinction by these animal rights zealots who seem to feel that the only true right our pets have is to not be allowed to live or exist in this country.

Keep your dog safe as the weather gets warmer

As the weather warms, get out there with your dog and enjoy yourself. Here are a few reminders to help keep your four-legged friend safe...