Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Tonight we went to the Dingle

The weather was appropriately rainy so I thought it'd be pretty safe to venture down to the Dingle - no joggers or bikers for Daisy to become upset over. We only saw one other dog who looked exactly like Charlie and Leonard.

The Dingle park part of the park scares me though because I think that around every corner is going to be a road and a dog is going to get hit by a car. I feel a lot safer at the Frog Pond end. You also get the feeling that you can end up in someone's back yard like at Hemlock Ravine Park too. I just have SUCH a bad sense of direction. I can never tell where I am. It's pretty sad.

On the beach... Posted by Hello

Running over hill and dale Posted by Hello

Richie Riches to the left AND to the right Posted by Hello

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Chester's Benefit Happened Tonight!

I don't know how much money they made yet, but I think it was pretty successful. I don't imagine they raised the whole $5,000 they need but they probably are getting close. Here's some pictures I took tonight - I also posted a bunch of pictures I took on my Yahoo photos site that has all my Seaview park photos at http://ca.f1.pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/joan_sinden/my_photos - they're in the section under "Chester".

For some reason I really wanted this teddy bear. Sandra who owns Piper and Chandler got her for $65. She's worth about $600 - a vet in Bedford makes them by buying old fur coats, tearing them apart and then sewing up these teddy bears. I was unhappy.

The teddy bear I wanted - and didn't get... Posted by Hello

Here's Chester and Sasha - Lori had said I could bring Buttercup but then Sandra said I couldn't. I should have just brought Buttercup anyway. Now I'm sad that I didn't take her.

Chester - the star of the evening Posted by Hello

The little red basket in the front is the thing I bid on and won - it was a "health and beauty basket" - it had a nail clipper, some moisturizer and a couple things like that in it. I also wanted a 256 megabyte usb port that Lori got for $35. But I didn't get that. This auction business is as bad as gambling. I've got to stay away from it because it gives me a bad feeling in my tummy. When I don't get something I get sick in my tummy.

That little red basket in the front is the thing I bidded on and got for $20 - you want to trade me something for it? Posted by Hello

Thursday, August 26, 2004

It's been a busy week for "Charlie loves Halifax"

At the beginning of June I was interviewed by CBC radio for this thing called the "Dog Days of Summer" and it was about my website - Charlie Loves Halifax. They aired it at 7:20am on Tuesday and it's been pretty busy since then. I've gotten several emails from people asking stuff, and an editor from the Chronicle Herald heard the interview and thought it would make a good story for the paper so a guy came over and interviewed me and it was in the paper yesterday. Too bad the picture was of me instead of all the dogs - my arm looked like the arm of a 300 pound woman, even though I am not - although I DO have 3 cats. But I'm not 300 pounds - yet. And a few hours previous to receiving the email asking for an interview I had started to cut Buttercup's hair which is a several day process, so she's looking pretty rough in the picture. But I thought Eileen MacInnis - who was the producer for the CBC Information Morning piece did a super job of saying the things that I had said but she said them articulately! And the newspapers article was pretty good too. I wonder if Peter Duffy read it though... I'm looking forward to the letters to the editor from all the dog haters in the city who are going to say that dogs SHOULD be left at home and away from them. I'm sure they're coming.

I put a Adobe Acrobat file of the Chronicle Herald article on my server at http://users.eastlink.ca/~joansinden/chAug252004.PDF - it's funny that the guy who came to take the pictures was the same guy who just happened to take a picture of Buttercup at Seaview one night in May - I also have that as an adobe acrobat file at - http://www.geocities.com/joan_sinden/Buttercup_Herald_May704.PDF

If you want to go try the Chronicle Herald's link - go to http://www.herald.ns.ca/stories/2004/08/25/pMetro193.raw.html

Have you seen the Gary Larson Cartoon about cat fud?

Here's the original cartoon from Gary Larson:

The original thought... Posted by Hello

Last night I went to empty the dryer and there they were... normally when you start taking pictures of animals who are doing bad things they immediately scatter. I was able to take TWENTY-NINE pictures of this spectacle!!

This was the first picture I took when I discovered where 2 of the cats were spending the evening! Posted by Hello

And this was picture #11! Posted by Hello

A Beautiful Addition to my buoy booty & rope collection!

Please behold an old-style lobster trap that was all ripped to shit that I found at Crystal Crescent Beach tonight at a section of the beach we'd never been to before. I almost broke my leg a couple times trying to drag the thing out of there, but it was worth it. But a word to the wise - do NOT take a valium before going rock climbing. It's counter-productive!

My most recent find tonight - an old style broken down lobster trap at Crystal Crescent Beach! Posted by Hello

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Please Come Help Chester This Friday night!!

Chester's had a rough life up until now and he needs some expensive surgery so that he can live the rest of his life pain free - he needs about $5,000 worth of reconstructive surgery over at the vet college in PEI. There's going to be a dance and auction this Friday night, August 27th at 6331 Lady Hammond Road Lower Door)from 8pm - 1am and also an Auction, with Spot Dances, and a Cash Bar. Advance tickets are available or you can buy them at the door. Or you can just give a donation! You can email me at dogkisser@gmail.com Tickets are $10.00 each plus there'll be a ton of fabulous items to place auction bids on. It's going to be a fun night to help Chester. See the below pictures to help convince you of his loverliness!

There's also more info posted about the benefit on the main page of my website at http://www.geocities.com/charlieloveshalifax/

Chester looking pensive Posted by Hello

Chester avoiding me Posted by Hello

Chester enjoying the bosom of his family! Posted by Hello

Saturday, August 21, 2004

I am an avowed Dog Kisser...

It starts off with just a peck on the cheek... Posted by Hello

But then without Buttercup even noticing - a big lick straight on the lips! Posted by Hello

And then a kiss on my nose... Posted by Hello

And Buttercup says - forget Charlie - what about me? Posted by Hello

Oh yeah - and I got a really swanky thick piece of blue rope today - we were at Crystal Crescent. The rope's been there for awhile but I couldn't get it because it's been stuck under a rock. Today I took a knife with me so I could cut it free - which I did! Blue rope is my favourite! Posted by Hello

Thoughts on Puppy Mills and Factory Farms

I was talking to a friend in an email the other day about PIJAC (Pet Industry Joint Advisory Counil) which is a lobbying group for pet stores) and puppy mills and Snookums and the PEI Humane Society (among other things) and I thought it was interesting enough - to me anyway!! - to put here.

> Yeah, the sad thing is that Snookums is not breaking any laws. That's the
> real problem...

But my question is - how can they be a thorn in the sides of the PEI Humane Society if they're passing their inspections? Their website (Snookums website) makes it sound like the PEI Humane Society and the Department of Agriculture gets along well with them and they pass with flying colours. I went to the PEI Humane Society's website and there is
absolutely nothing there about puppy mill brokers or puppy mills and
what they're trying to do to stop them - even though they have the
largest one in the Maritimes in their jurisdiction! Now that to me is

Snookums isn't breaking any laws because they're treating the animals
like any other piece of livestock - that's how all animals are treated
that are used as commodity's. It's just that for some reason we're
demanding that cats and dogs need to be treated differently than cows
or pigs. THAT'S the REAL problem, as far as I'm concerned - as far as
treatment of the animals before sale is concerned. It's such a huge
thing with so many ramifications and so much cultural bullshit and so
much political bullshit and so much money tied into it - and people
can't afford to think about it TOO much because they WOULD start
having to think about the cows and pigs and chickens. And what would
we do then?

Now that's a predicament!


That's the email I sent and to me that's SO true - for some reason we're demanding that cats and dogs must be treated differently because they sleep in our beds - we don't eat them.

It's just like "dolphin friendly" tuna. Have you ever thought about that? Really thought about it? Why is the dolphin so special? I suppose you could say it's because the dolphin is just wasted in it's death - or is it because it's got a cute face and we associate it with the tv show "Flipper"?

There's been recent press about some inhumane treatment of chickens down in the States at a processing plant. You wouldn't BELIEVE the way they kill - or attempt to - kill chickens. It really is unbelievable. From a humane point of view chickens are the worst treated animal on this planet. Forget about puppy mills. If you want to do anything to stop a little bit of suffering - cut down you consumption of chicken.

I have a friend who makes fun of me because I DO eat meat. Even though I have a big vegetarian section on my website. But I keep telling him that I've never said I was a vegetarian - I don't think on my website I say I'm a vegetarian either. But I'll have to go check that. I say that my meat eating is karma based. It takes a long time to eat a cow whereas scallops or shrimp is one sentient being per bite. I feed the dogs the same way - they eat beef almost exclusively. With as little chicken and pig as possible. Because our bodies become the graveyards of the animals we eat. But to me eating a dog is the same as eating a cow - it's the exact same thing - you're eating another sentient being. So a puppy mill and a factory farm are also the exact same thing, and equally reprehensible. And equally hard to get rid of in our current culture. There's too much demand for both.

And until we start having more compassion for one (the cows and the pigs and the chickens) we won't have compassion for the other (the dogs and cats) - and we won't be able to help any of them. I don't imagine we'll see it in my lifetime anyway. Which is good for me because I love rescue dogs and there's never a shortage of those around!

Life is all about suffering. Unfortunately.

But I would like to say one other thing about this - the method that all animals are killed can be changed without costing too much extra money - and sometimes the method that they are killed is done because of culture - like in parts of Korea dogs are killed slowly because it's believed that the enzymes made makes the meat extra tasty. That really is super wrong by anyone's standards. It's one thing to eat any kind of meat in any kind of circumstance - and then in chicken factories the chickens are supposed to be stunned before their heads are chopped off but depending on the speed of the conveyer belt alot of them get missed - that's a quality control problem. These are things that are fightable. And these are things we can change. To stop at least a bit of the suffering along the way.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Post to Maritime Show Dogs

First off - I'll say here that there's no "no cross-posting or you're kicked off" nonsense at the end of each Maritime Show Dogs message (YET haha!) but you will also notice that the following is only MY post and no one else's words - and I'm giving myself full permission to crosspost them here. Besides - it's not the post I'll get in trouble for - it's the opinion at the end that people will get all riled up over. That's what couldn't be handled last time (for those of you new to this blog the posts were deleted and I'm not going to go into that bullshit again).

But anyway - Maritime Show Dogs is a group of people who are mostly people who own purebreed dogs and a lot of them show their dogs and just about all of them belong to the CKC. I'm not a fan of the CKC. That could perhaps be an understatement, but that's another post.

So someone posted asking advice for one of their dogs who was having bad separation anxiety and was barking whenever she went out and the neighbours were complaining. One person posted that they used a shock collar but you may have to shave some fur away to make the connection work properly (?!?) And then another person posts that another option is to just have the dog debarked. And conversation ensued about the merits of that and why it's good as if it's the usual thing to do. Luckily some people started posting opposite opinions about that and a bit of a flame war started. But the funny thing is - no other options were presented! So I sent a post to the group today:

Other Options for Separation Anxiety/Barking Problems

Hi there - I'm not a trainer or a behaviourist, just the owner of a pack of naughty dogs - so I've had to do a lot of research into ways to try and help them be good dogs. Sometimes it's worked and sometimes it hasn't! I went back to the original post about the "debarking" thread and it's because Brenda is having a problem with
one of her dogs - Sibe - howling the whole time she's gone. He has separation anxiety. It's as simple as that and that's what she has to deal with.

Certainly debarking should be included in any persons tool box of options to consider - it is an option. When it's a choice between euthanasia and debarking - I would certainly go for debarking! But you could consider options being like on a graph with debarking being the last option before euthanasia in my opinion (and that's my opinion). Someone mentioned that cats get declawed very easily - that's only because we have culturally decided that it's easy to do and not thought about it when actually it is an amputation cutting off their "fingers" down to the first knuckle. Circumcision of babies (human boys) used to be almost automatic too!

But anyway - other things you can try are - distraction - with things like stuffed kongs, hidden chew treats, those treat balls that they have to roll around in order to dispense treats - if the dog is food motivated those can work perfectly for separation anxiety because it keeps them occupied while you're away. I made a big list of different kong stuffing recipes at
http://www.geocities.com/joan_sinden/kong.html if you're interested in trying that. Also, crate training has saved many dogs lives - there's tons of information on the internet about crate training and why it's good and why it's good for separation anxiety in particular so I won't bore you with any of that here - you can just go do a search about it.

Even in a house with multiple dogs if only one of them has separation anxiety from another dog or another human it can be managed without having to go to really violent extremes - or maybe Sibe will need the extreme of being debarked, but surgical intervention should never be the first thing you try. It's probably also the most expensive option too! I also think it's the most lazy option from the humans point of view. And none of this has to do with it being inhumane. What would
be inhumane is rehoming Sibe, or putting him in the basement, or putting him to sleep. There's tons of other things that could be tried first.


So that was the post that I sent to try and send some levity to the group. But the thing is that it didn't seem to occur to most of the people posting to be thinking about the DOG at all and that seems to be so typical of CKC types. It wasn't about why the dog may be barking, but only the problem with the neigbours and how to solve the problem with the least amount of work to the owners. Because after all, the dogs are just a piece of livestock to these people - they are breeders as opposed to just pet owners of mixed breed dogs who have acquired dogs as companions. They haven't gotten these dogs because they want to share their lives with and give pleasure TO these dogs - they want to get as much as they can FROM these dogs. As many titles, as many puppies, as much adulation, as much money, as much experience in husbandry, as much furthering of the breed that they've chosen as they can.

I'm not saying that all CKC members or all breeders or all owners of pure-breed dogs are like that. Not all bald men have no self-confidence and not all fat women own too many cats. (I only have 3).

But when presented with a problem - non-stop barking caused by separation anxiety and making the neighbours complain - the consensus of the group was to do the easiest thing for the human - debarking. It's like getting liposuction instead of going on a diet.

So anyway, that's my rant. It's not the post that'll get me in trouble - it's the rant that follows. Now you can discuss this. Flame away...

Monday, August 16, 2004

August 17th is Buttercup's Birthday!

August 17th is the day that I took Buttercup home to foster last year. She was 9 pounds when I got her with awful luxating patella and she was severly kennel stressed. She was absolutely pathetic at the shelter. It was so sad. I fell head over heels in love with her and she is just about the best gift that I've ever been given - first from Tara, and then from my Dad. Every moment we have together is a treasure and a bonus that I don't take for granted. I don't know how I ever got so lucky as to share some time with her and I definitely don't deserve her. She is a spectacular example of a dog and I don't know what I'm going to do when she's gone. I worry about that moment all the time. It scares me. But I have no control over that - I can only control how fabulous her life is, so that's what I try to focus on instead.

I've often wondered what her life was like before she came into my life - she was a stray picked up by Animal Control and then handed over to the SPCA and that's where I got her from - she wasn't house trained and she wasn't spayed and had obviously had puppies at some point in the past. She's about 10 years old now, so most of her life will have been apart from me - but she knows how to play and knows how to love, so she must have gotten both. But how can someone just let a dog get lost? If one of my dogs got lost everyone in the Halifax Regional Municipality would know about it. I guess maybe she was just thought of as a dog until I came along. Thank-dog she got lost so I could have her for a little while. Because I definitely needed her. And I still do.

There's a couple pages on my website dedicated to her at "I Love Buttercup - or why rescue dogs are better than pet stores dogs" and also a page called "Indulgent pictures of Buttercup" - I haven't quite finished with that page yet because I've got a LOT of indulgent pictures of Buttercup!

One of the dangers of having a digital camera and a tripod is the below examples that I took in honour of tomorrows anniversary. Buttercup was very gracious about the whole thing and didn't seem to mind too much and didn't really wake up for the session at all. She was just happy to get some good lovin'.

Me & Buttercup #1 Posted by Hello

Very nice picture of the "man hands" Posted by Hello

What in the H-E-Double-hockey-sticks did we just both see? Posted by Hello

Buttercup isn't a big fan of the flash... Posted by Hello

I think this should be our "signature photo" - don't you think? Posted by Hello

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

The Co-mingling of rats has begun

I took a vacation day today so this morning I let Jada out of her cage and went and had some breakfast. When I came back both rats were in the nesting box together and appeared to be sleeping, and I thought "how sweet - I'll get the camera!" When I stuck the camera - poor Jada was being the victim of some serious bullying I think. Mrs Dingle seems to be taking the upper hand in this relationship so far. Although I did notice tonight that Mrs Dingle's got a big lump on her neck which I'm hoping is from a nip from Jada - rather from a fast growing cancer - because it wasn't there yesterday and it's a pretty big lump. But there does appear to be a red spot there too - so hopefully it's from a nip.

I really didn't think Mrs Dingle was going to have so much hootzpah. She's a firecracker, that's for sure. But I'm sure that they'll be in love within a very short amount of time.

Mrs Dingle has found a new pillow to lay on... Posted by Hello

I'm not sure what Jada thinks about it! Posted by Hello

But she can't mind too much! Hopefully tomorrow she'll be the one on top! Posted by Hello