Sunday, November 28, 2004

This is a picture of Philip yesterday at Conrad's beach - isn't he pretty? He is such a good dog! (Just as long as he doesn't come upon some male dog he doesn't like - then watch out! But we're working on that...) Posted by Hello

A Couple pictures from this evening...

Daisy had everybody on her tonight! Posted by Hello

And then after we got home and I was on the computer (like I am right now...)

Leonard and Philip relaxing with Charlie's legs in the corner of the picture - Daisy's already gone to bed and Buttercup's behind me while I take this picture Posted by Hello

Saturday, November 27, 2004

I received an amazing (ly sad) email on Thursday

I belong to a great Yahoo group called Episcoveglist that I joined when I was trying to find information about Buddhist funerals for animals - I came upon a super blog called Episcoveg done by a lady named Sue Grisham. The list is manned mostly by Episcopalians but they let other people in too - I got an email from them the other day that had a link to a blog with an entry that you've got to go to.

It's called "He Died for your sins" - once you get there you'll know why you had to go there. The blog is called Poor Mojo Newswire. The whole blog is excellent and I'll be adding it to my list of blogs on the left.

At the bottom of the email was the signature of the sender which I thought was also super - it said:

"Animals are God's creatures, not human property, nor utilities, nor resources, nor commodities, but precious beings in God's sight....
Christians whose eyes are fixed on the awfulness of crucifixion are in a special position to understand the awfulness of innocent suffering. The Cross of Christ is God's absolute identification with the weak, the powerless, and the vulnerable, but most of all with unprotected, undefended, innocent suffering."

The Revd Professor Andrew Linzey, PhD, DD

5 dogs is a lot of dog

Having 1 dog was a breeze - I only had 1 dog when I had a husband and we had George. And she was the first dog either of us had ever had. She was our trainer dog. We learned a lot from her, and made a lot of mistakes with her - she was a beagle shepherd mix, but mostly beagle and all bark. God she barked. Then having 2 dogs wasn't twice the work of 1 it was just twice the expense - Charlie and Leonard really were a dream. I was very lucky - I'd take them for group walks with other people and they'd listen to me (mostly) and go home and wonder how people couldn't have control over their dogs like I did over mine, and I'd be so proud of my guys because I had such gentle control over them. And then I had a series of foster dogs who had a range of issues and the dog count went up and down and Eddy the bouvier was here and she didn't have any big behavioural problems because she was old; and then Buttercup came and stayed while Eddy was still here - making 4 dogs - but she's only small. But she can get everybody going like you wouldn't believe. And then Daisy came, and now Philip's here.

I think I may have to sub-contract out the head scratching. It's really interesting though, because except for Buttercup - they all patient stand in line. When I finish with one the other one will get up and come over. It's like they're all watching and when I tell one that I've had enough of scratching them the next one will come over. But it takes up a big chunk of one's day to give one-on-one time to 5 dogs, 3 cats, 2 rats and a betta fish. Let me tell you. As well as keep a house clean, answer emails, keep a website updated, and have chronic migraines which make me stay in bed for days at a time. And now I'm thinking about going back to work too... shit.

But maybe once I go back to work everybody will get into the flow of things, the dogs will get used to me not being here in the daytime so they won't have such bad separation anxiety so they won't act up so badly when we go out at night so I won't be so stressed out about taking them around other dogs. Do you know which dog is currently being the worst around other dogs currently? Charlie - my dream, perfectly trained, socialized, well mannered dog - has become the most goombah dog. He has started charging, and barking at the top of his lungs whenever he sees another dog or human on the horizon. He's blowing me away. And all the other dogs just follow him gleefully. And when I tell him to stop he doesn't. He used to listen to me 100% of the time. I don't know if it's because I've changed their dog food - but he doesn't have any sores on his back which usually coincide with him having a reaction (he's allergic to wheat - which can also make him act aggressively which is one of the first signs he's having a reaction to wheat from something) - so I'm tending to think it's something else. He's obviously going through some crisis and doubting my leadership. hmmmm. Isn't it amazing how you can discover the answers to something as you write about it?

But with 5 dogs you've definitely got to run a tight ship, because 5 dogs is a lot of dog - and Charlie's most certainly not the leader - I am, and I'm a most benevolent leader - and a leader who doles out very yummy dehydrated liver treats - but they are exhausting me the way they are right now. I haven't even been carrying my camera - if you notice I've put no pictures on my blog lately - that's because I haven't taken any pictures.

So the head scratches will continue on unabated. The charging and barking will not. So spoke the benevolent leader.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Maggie Carruthers - the Animal Communicator was over

Maggie having a talk with Daisy Posted by Hello

I love Maggie - I like to have her over whenever I get a new dog - it always helps with the transition and I think it helps the old dogs feel more comfortable with the new dog - and helps the new dog feel more comfortable here because Maggie is able to somehow transmit to them that they're now in a safe place and they're not going anywhere and they don't have to worry anymore. And then as people start scoffing at that I also say that she does "therapeutic touch" as well - so if all that is hocus pocus I get my money's worth with the therapeutic touch at the very least! Isn't that right, Maggie! haha! So it's win-win all around!

It always takes Leonard at least an hour to calm down when she's here - for some reason Leonard is always absolutely frantic - and anyone who's seen Leonard when a visitor come to the house would say she's always like that - but with Maggie she's 100 times worse - it's like as if she's terrified Maggie's going to get inside her head or something so she tries to cover it up with demanding her to play.

I have no memory at all of what Maggie and I talked about Friday night - due to the fact that I currently have no memory of anything anyway - but I remember that it was very good while it was happening and the dogs enjoyed themselves, and Buttercup especially seemed to have a good time. Charlie outdid himself once again - he has empathic qualities - both Maggie and I think he believes one of his major reasons for being here is to help other dogs heal themselves - and he's done a fabulous job so far! He's got to work his magic on Philip now - which will be extra special since he's like his mirror twin.

I have Maggie listed on my Resources page on my website at if you want to check it out or you can email her at

Charlie likes to help Maggie when she comes over! Posted by Hello

Friday, November 19, 2004

Don't get me started

I got forwarded this email last night from the hfx.for sale newsgroup. Stuff like this really gets me going, so this morning I posted a response on the newsgroup.

This was the original guys post:
> Can anyone suggest what to do with two dogs that I can no longer keep?
> I would rather not have them "disposed" of. > One is a beagle mix I call "Tigger".He is about 5 years old.
> The other is mostly black Lab, named "Deefer" ( "D", 'fer-dog). Deefer is
> 3
> and a half years old.
> They were both strays that I took in.
> If anyone would like to have them, call ***-****, and ask for Dave or
> Kelly.

My response:
What do you mean by "disposed" of? When you bring a companion animal into your home it's supposed to be a life to death committment - would you "dispose" of your 2 year old child when they were no longer convenient to your lifestyle?

I have to tell you that beagles and black labs are a dime a dozen - there's a million of them out there and they're really hard to dump off on other people - now if you had a shih-tzu or a little poodle mix - we could talk. But a beagle and a lab? The only person they have any value to is the family who they (the dogs) think of as being their family. But if you think of them as being so highly "disposable"
maybe they'd be better off somewhere else anyway. They're probably tied outside in your back yard right now so that you don't have to look at them, right? Because that's where dogs should be? Don't tell me - you're moving to an apartment and that's why you need to "dispose" of them? You won't have a backyard that they'll be tied out in for 24 hours a day anymore so you've got to get rid of them now.

By asking to have someone else "dipsose" of them you're foisting your responsibility onto someone else. It was a birth to death committment as I mentioned earlier. If you put them into the shelter system - ie take them to the SPCA and surrender them - you may very well be giving them a death sentence. You have no control over that. And you are also putting their death on someone else's conscience which is WRONG.

My suggestion to you if you are an upstanding human being is to be there for those dogs because those dogs love you and you alone and you owe it to be there for them at the end of their lives in that vet's office and not have some stranger killing them when it should be you who does it and it should be YOU who sees the confused look in their eyes when the needle goes into their hip and the life drains quickly
from their body - because THEY WERE NO LONGER CONVENIENT FOR YOU. And then it will be YOU who has to live with that and not the shelter worker.

That's what my suggestion is.


Man stuff like that really gets me going.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Crystal Crescent Today

I was able to get my ass out of bed long enough to take the dogs to Crystal Crescent Beach today. I let Philip off leash for the first time today too - it's always terrifying the first time you do it with a new dog - are they going to just run right away? He was super though. He came back each time I called him and always stayed with us. I was really happy with him. He even seemed to try and play with Charlie and Daisy for a bit - he was running around them in circles while they were wrestling, barking at them and giving them really hard pokes. Charlie and Daisy weren't sure what he was doing but he looked really happy and his tail was wagging, so I'm sure he thought he was playing. It was awesome to watch.

The photographing gods were very good to me today - I never set any of these up - can you believe that Charlie and Buttercup would stand on the edge of a cliff with the sun at their side while I had my camera turned on so I could take a picture of it? Neither could I - I almost keeled over after I got that picture. Amazing.

Buttercup and Charlie surveying their kingdom Posted by Hello

A picture of the 4 of us the only way I know how - Leonard, Charlie, Philip - and my shadow! Posted by Hello

The second of hopefully what will be a million pictures of Leonard, Charlie and Philip in the same shot! Posted by Hello

Charlie ponders the heavy load he carries as head of household - or maybe he's just looking at a rock. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

I'm very easily amused - today's Petpourri column

"Charlie loves Halifax" made it into the Kibbles and Bits section of today's Petpourri column in the Chronicle Herald -


Get your pup's picture taken with Santa Claus this Sunday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at The PawPlex, 42 Borden Ave., Burnside Business Park. A fundraiser for the SPCA, one snap is only $6. For an extra $2, you can get the digital photo e-mailed to you. Thanks to Joan Sinden at Charlie Loves Halifax ( for the tip. Speaking of SPCA fundraisers, they're also raising money by selling fudge, truffles, fruitcakes, cookies, tea, popcorn, mixed nuts and scented candles - in time for Christmas. To place an order, call 902-835-4798 by Nov. 25.

I had emailed him about the Santa Pics since I'm the photographer for it - and I didn't make any mention that I was the "Charlie loves Halifax" person - so it was nice of him to make the plug too! That was a nice surprise this morning.


It's weird but I haven't taken hardly any pictues in the last week - especially weird since I have a new family member - Philip. For some reason I have been feeling the need to sleep an extra extra amount the last several days and have done almost exactly nothing. I'm hoping that will improve shortly so that Philip will know there is more to his lifestyle than just hanging out on the living room floor. But tonight he did spontaneously steal Leonard's ball at Seaview and start chasing the ball - which completely blew me away. After almost a week it was the first time he has shown any knowledge of knowing how to do any kind of play type activity so it was quite amazing to watch. Hopefully there will be pictures to come.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

David Templeton's Seldom Seen: A life among dogs is a life worth living

I really like this article - I got it from one of the groups I belong to. People don't seem to understand that volunteering at a shelter is a win-win situation - they always say they couldn't be there because it would be too sad to see all the animals in the cages and they'd want to take them all home with them. But what you're doing by volunteering there to walk the dogs and cuddle the cats is helping them in their journey to their final home - making their wait more comfortable and fun. Making it less crazy and awful. And you get to know that you're doing something to help the animals - so it's win-win. Right? And if you're there often enough you get to know the animals so you can help the people coming in looking for pets so you can help them pick out the perfect companion for them. So you can be an even bigger help. None of this scenario is sad I'd say...

David Templeton's Seldom Seen: A life among dogs is a life worth living
Sunday, November 14, 2004

By David Templeton, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Because of health problems in 2000, Dr. Al Sorensen retired from his
dermatology practice, only to find himself moping inside his Peters home.

*Seldom Seem, David Templeton's whimsical perspective on life and times
in and around Washington County, appears weekly in Washington Sunday.*

Even when his health improved, Dr. Al continued moping. He was bored. He
was antsy. He lacked purpose without the challenge of treating people's
rashes, moles and psoriasis. The retired dermatologist was itching to do
something worthwhile.

In November 2001, he went for a drive with no destination in mind and,
on impulse, pulled into the Washington Area Humane Society in North

He knew it would be emotional to walk through the shelter and see
bright-eyed dogs barking for attention and yearning for a friend. It's
an overpowering place for big hearts. He went inside against his better

Then he returned the next day, and soon he was spending countless hours
walking dogs on the humane society's path, where he enjoyed the
tranquility and how good it made him feel. Dr. Al was hooked. "I felt
this was a calling."

Inside the humane society, Dr. Al had found a world unlike any other, a
wonderland, Oz, Middle Earth. Or perhaps it was Hotel California: He
could check out but never leave.

So began his big adventure: "Al in Wonderland," "The Wizard of Dogs,"
"The Lord of the Leash." His is a grand tale about becoming a dogaholic,
imbibing their barks, high jinks and tail wags as miracle drugs against

Three years later, he's a dyed-in-the-fur volunteer, working three hours
a day, seven days a week at the shelter. Allergic to cats, he cleans dog
cages in the puppy room, walks about six to eight young dogs a day and
makes sure they're petted, loved, fed and watered. Then he bids them
adieu, turns off the lights and departs with his own tail a-wagging.

"People wonder why I'm so committed to the place, and I don't understand
it myself. But from the day I stepped into that place, I was committed,"
he said. "This was the place to be."

In truth, the dogs reminded him of himself. They were moping inside
cages just as he was moping inside his. So why not turn mopes into hope?

"I love it here," he said. "I could have a bed up there and be the night
watchman of this place."

Which confirms our first dog quote, this one from American writer Corey
Ford: "Properly trained, a man can be dog's best friend."

Dr. Al is so well trained he offers personality profiles and color
commentary about each dog. Each day, he hurries to the shelter to see
which have found a home and what new ones have arrived.

But he said he was the selfish one, benefiting from his canine
encounters more than the dogs. He describes them as four-legged
psychiatrists, with the humane society being one big couch.

Or as Bern Williams noted, "There is no psychiatrist in the world like a
puppy licking your face."

At 70, upbeat Dr. Al now challenges mopers and retirees to reap the
benefits he has: Volunteer time and see the results. Happiness builds
and sadness halts. Visit the shelter and climb from your rut. Meet good
people and befriend a dear mutt.

"I try to make them laugh and make a little better world for them," he

Oh, some are quirky characters, others shy, and yet others outright
Tasmanian devils. But each relishes a run down the hallway while Dr. Al
cleans the cage, refills food and water bowls. They revel in their late
afternoon strolls, which sometimes deteriorate into slapstick ballet.

Dr. Al gets tugged, twisted and even hog tied with the leash on
occasion. One big dog caused him to fall and break a kneecap, so he no
longer walks the big dogs. Walking smaller ones, he looks like a water
skier struggling to stay upright. "I need the exercise so I am deriving
benefits," he said.

During each walk, he sits on the bench with the dog on his lap for a
royal petting. In a touching moment, he kisses the dogs atop their heads
and talks to them as long lost friends.

Or as Franklin P. Jones noted: "Scratch a dog, and you'll find a
permanent job."

His daily dedication to dogs has made Dr. Al a canine advocate, focusing
on the plight of pit bulls, one of which he's adopted. He also is
lobbying the humane society to create a special fund to treat dogs with
cataracts and leg problems, both expensive procedures.

Yet he takes no credit for humane society accomplishments, pointing
instead to employees working for low wages who keep the place hopping.
Of 100 volunteers, he said, only 15 are active, but integral to society
success. He introduces employees and volunteers as though they're family
and implores the community to make donations to keep the shelter open.

Doing their part, Dr. Al and his wife, Sandy, have adopted four dogs --
a pit bull named Chloe, a terrier mix named Dexter, a Pomeranian named
Boston and a blind and deaf cocker spaniel, Moe. He rescued all four
dogs from death row.

"[Moe] has taught me more about patience," Dr. Al said. "He walks
without hitting anything. He goes to the door when he has to go, and any
accidents are our ,fault." Old Moe is thriving, despite disabilities.

Which gives credence to words from Napolean Bonaparte: "Hey, gentlemen,
a dog teaches us a lesson in humanity."

I spent four hours with Sorensen on a recent Friday and was impressed to
the point of tears. We walked dogs and cleaned cages, lining them with
newspapers, including copies of the Post-Gazette. I'm sure my face is an
easy dog target.

Dr. Al bought soft dog food for a skeletal German shepherd who couldn't
chew hard dog food. The dog gulped down several packets of soft food
before Dr. Al walked him. Afterward, the dog lay content with a full
belly and gleaming dark eyes. I doubt he'll forget Dr. Al.

Which would prove what Andy Rooney said: "The average dog is a nicer
person than the average person."

"This is a place where I can make a little bit of difference and make
them happy," Dr. Al said afterward. "You think your world is tough? Just
think about their situation."

But my favorite moment occurred while walking a young dog who kept
rubbing against my legs. He was a lonely character, who only wanted a
friend. So I kneeled down and petted him for minutes at a time,
prompting him to throw back his head, snout to dark sky, and look me
square in the eye.

How I melted. It was a memorable moment, communing, the dog and I, in a
vast, cold universe.

Proving to me what Dr. Al realized long ago: "Dogs are miracles with paws/."

I've changed Molson's name to Philip

When the husband and I were together we had named our dogs after American composers. Our first dog's name was George. That was for me. I had always wanted my dog to be named George because of the Bugs Bunny cartoon - when Bugs Bunny goes to the Arctic and the Abominable Snowman takes Bugs Bunny as his pet he says "I will love him, I will cuddle him, and I will call him George". So I wanted to name my first dog George. And my favourite American composer - and my favourite movie of all time was the George Gershwin story. Our second dog was named Leonard - the husband always wanted to name his dog Leonard - and our second dog was his dog. For Leonard Bernstein. Our 3rd dog was Charlie, my dog - for Charles Ives. I liked Charles Ives. And then we split up so the tradition ended. And I got Buttercup and Daisy. But I thought since Molson is a littermate of Charlie and Leonard I would revive the tradition one last time because it seems appropriate so I'm changing Molson's name to Philip - for Philip Glass. And he immediately started responding to the name and he looks like a Philip and Charlie, Leonard and Philip just sort of rolls off the tongue. So that's what they are now. Now I just need to get a picture of all 3 of them together! Good luck with that though because both Leonard and Philip are pacers - so to get both of them in one frame will be amazing!

But I have completely fallen in love with Philip. He is a mirror image of Charlie. He is exactly what Charlie would be like if Charlie would've been tied to a dog-house for the last 6 years. Which is really sad. So it's like Charlie and I have been given an opportunity to watch something that we know to be absolutely beautiful blossom - we know it's beautiful because we know how beautiful and perfect Charlie is. And when you look in Philip's eyes you see Charlie. I literally cannot tell them apart. I had the same collars on them that Lee Anne Tibbo had made and I had to change them because when I look at their faces they're the same. Their bodies are different - Philip is completely emaciated at this point - but their eyes are spooky in their likeness. I can't wait until Maggie Carruthers meets him. She's going to be blown away!

So I'm looking forward to having and adventure with Philip and Charlie and Leonard. Thank-dog the SPCA deemed him unadoptable so that I could adopt him! What luck for me! Charlie is a once in a lifetime dog and now I have 2 once in a lifetime dogs. Buttercup is my heart and soul, just to look at her is to feel like my destiny has been fulfilled, and to have Daisy squish up next to me in bed is to feel such comfort and solace that I never want to get up.

People ask me how I can have so many dogs - I have to ask - how can people live with so few? Their lives must be awfully empty!

Philip making sure all his pee spots are covered...with pee. Posted by Hello

Daisy checking out the snow Posted by Hello

Friday, November 12, 2004


Molson's fitting in pretty well. Charlie's doing what he does to every new dog - won't let him in whatever room we're in and stuff like that - but it's more funny than scary. I've been having to do everything with one hand because Molson wants his head scratched all the time. He's needing a lot of love. So I'm pretty much just giving it to him. The other dogs - and especially Daisy - are being very solicitous. Except for Buttercup - if he gets too close to her bed on the table, or too close to her spot on my lap she's all business. And there's still no getting on the bed as far as anyone but me's concerned. The bed is the last place he'll be able to get. That place is s-p-e-c-i-a-l. Right now Charlie won't even let him in the room.

The only thing that's really different about Molson are the condition of his fur, the condition of his teeth - and his bark. He's got a low husky bark. I think he's barked a lot more in his life than my guys have. Probably for hours and hours at a time. He seems happy to only bark to join in with the others currently, though. I hope it keeps up!

Molson Posted by Hello

Charlie Posted by Hello

This picture is to prove there are in fact TWO of them! Posted by Hello

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Did you hear the one about...

Today was just a super hard day. Unbelievable. And it's got nothing to do with Molson. He's been perfect. He's an awesome dog. I'm looking forward to spending the rest of his life with me - he's got Charlie's disposition with the love lust of a former chained dog. And he loves to be brushed - which will be so important with their awful sheltie/lab coat. Maybe it'll even get Leonard and Daisy jealous enough that they'll let me start brushing them too. I should be so lucky.

Suffice it to say that if you were thinking about sending me a joke or joking about how I'm going to have an even dozen dogs in a year or something in that vein - don't bother. I'm a little fatigued of that topic of conversation at this point. We all have our choices in life to make and we can stand up and walk away or we can look something in the eye and say that we are not going to abandon it. I am also not a hypocrite - I made a pledge to a big black dog a few years ago who was chained to the side of his house for too long and he died because the people who finally rescued him didn't understand his special needs - they had good intentions, but they expected that they could just bring him in from the mud and he'd be perfect. He wasn't so he died. Daisy's still here because I was willing to take a chance - and Molson is going to get that same chance too. But I don't imagine I'll have a dozen any time soon.

Please direct your wittisicms to some catholic family that has too many human children instead. They're sucking up way more public funds than I am. I'm not taking anything from you at all.

Today was the 1 year anniversary of Eddy finding her Mom Shannon - below are a couple pictures from the festivities!

The original triumvirate - Eddy, Leonard, and Charlie Posted by Hello

My 2 guys - Molson, Charlie - and a very handsome Daisy Posted by Hello

They published the letter I wrote to Pet's Atlantic!

I got an email from someone yesterday saying that they liked the letter I had written in the current Pet's Atlantic - it's in the fall 2004 issue. I had completely forgotten that I had written them a letter about an article they'd written about the dangers of a raw food diet. I can't believe they published just about the whole thing - because it was a long letter! The magazine isn't online so I can't give any links - but here's the letter:

I would imagine – or at least I hope! – you've gotten a lot of mail about the article written by Dr. Alice Crook, DVM "The risks of raw food" which was in your summer issue 2004.

To use some of her words – many people ARE singing the praises of raw food diets – and it's precisely because of some of the worries that she lists when she's talking about why a kibble diet is better! She mentioned concerns with food safety and nutritional deficiencies with diets based on raw meat.

I'm not saying that a "Biologically appropriate raw food" diet is the best diet for every dog, or that it is the only way we should be feeding our lifetime companion animals. I don't even feed my own animals a completely raw diet – but it IS part of their healthy, varied, interesting, balanced over time way of eating. Most people
discover this way of feeding our animals because we've come up against serious health issues caused by the way big conglomerate dog food manufacturers – who veterinarians sometimes seem to be coached by – have been telling us that we must feed our pets. I have yet to come upon any dog anywhere that's been fed a grocery store dog kibble ONLY and lived to be old and healthy with a shiny coat, good joints, bright eyes and good teeth. Whenever a dog's health impresses me enough to
ask what they're fed and their owner says "I feed them X (kibble)" – I always ask the second question – "and what else do you give them?" Invariably they always get selected table scraps, supplements, sardines, and sometimes even raw chicken necks and eggs – whatever – but they're never just fed the kibble only. Ever.

I have great respect for Dr. Crook – she is a super advocate for the welfare of our companion animals – but she neglected to mention in her article any of the downfalls of a kibble diet. The only thing she mentions is right at the end is where she says "check the ingredient list, and look for meat or meat by-products as the principal ingredients". I REALLY wish she could have talked a little bit more about ingredients that go into making kibble pet food and how important it is to only buy food that have labels that say "fit for human consumption".

Grocery store and most pet food store kibble is made from all the indigestible garbage that is produced by the human food preparation industries. That's a fact. I don't think anyone who's done any research will dispute that – there's historical precedent to say that and it's still happening today. Would you feed your child "wheat middlings" or "animal digest"?

Our companion animals have such short lives – a couple years is a lifetime to them, and that's how big a difference in lifespan a super healthy diet can make – along with increased quality of life. I'd like to get as many days as I can with them. I feed my animals the same food I eat – I've never gotten salmonella or trichinella and I don't think my animals ever will either – I don't treat their food like it's "dog food" – if you know what I mean!

There are risks to raw food as there is to everything – but to me, based on my research and the research of a lot of people who are a lot smarter than me – the risks of a kibble diet are much higher on the long-term health of my lifetime companion animals.

So that was a nice surprise to see and read when I picked up Molson last night at Dr. Carnegy's! Especially since today is the day that Eddy who used to be Ebony found her new Mom - and her life was literally saved because of a raw food diet! How sweet is that! (plus a little Sinden mojo...)

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

My online confession to my parents

Molson surfing the floor for food crumbs... Posted by Hello

Earlier this week my Dad made me promise that I would NOT adopt a littermate of Charlie and Leonards that was at the Dartmouth SPCA. I said something like I promised that he would never have to meet the littermate of Charlie and Leonard, and then I might have something said something else, and then I said what I always said when stuff like this comes up - it's all his fault that I have all these animals anyway - he's the one who's taught me everything I know about compassion. He's the one who I always saw drinking water to hide the fact that he was crying at sad commercials. He's the one who never took me fishing when I was a kid because he couldn't bear the fact that once you reeled in the fish you had to hit it over the head to kill it. I have never once in my life ever been fishing. He gave me glimpses of what absolute true compassion was and I have just tried to emulate it a little bit. So really, I am blameless.

And then there's my mother who whenever I talked about the reason I never wanted to have children was because I didn't want to relegate myself to an eternal cycle of poverty always said "you always find the money somewhere". I've just transfered that over to animals.

There's a saying in rescue - and I'm not saying I'm a rescuer, because that's a very noble word - and I'm just a pet owner who's working at becoming an eccentric old woman - but there's a saying that goes - there's always room for one more. I was never told directly that Molson was going to be killed - he wasn't on the euthanization list for this week - but he had been deemed unadoptable because he had shown he had some issues, and someone affiliated with the shelter described me adopting Molson today by saying "I was taking him out of harms way". That's what I've done Mom & Dad.

I had already considered him to be a member of my family because he's a littermate of Charlie and Leonard - so he was already a member of your family too. I think when you look at the pictures below you'll agree. And if you meet him you'll see that he's had a much different life than they've had. You didn't meet Daisy when I first got her, but right now he's a lot like she was when I first got her - except that he's calm like Charlie. And he's been here about 4 hours and hasn't tried to start a fight with anyone yet. But he's skin and bones with hair like straw and eyes that are haunting. Just like Daisy was. Check back in 10 months and you won't recognize him. You love Daisy now don't you? I'm hoping that he'll bond with Leonard. She needs a boyfriend because Daisy and Charlie's love affair is so deep - it would be good for her.

I hope you aren't too too mad. It can't be as bad as when you found out I was smoking cigarrettes.

I really hope I can bring him with us when I come for pizza. Let me know if I can. If you don't want me to bring him I can leave him at home. But he really is something to behold. And it would be neat to see him now and then in 6 months when you come home.

After all, you know I never do what I'm told and I'm totally incorrigible. And he really needs us.

Please tell me this isn't a littermate #1 Posted by Hello

Please tell me this isn't a littermate #2 Posted by Hello

A Super, Super True Quote from - pass it on!

I got an email from yesterday and at the top was such a simple truism that it just blew me away:

"Because of the ignorance promulgated by Michael Bryant, more innocent people are being harmed by dog haters than were ever harmed by dogs."

I had a post a couple days ago just about that - about how people are getting their dogs kicked and people are starting to turn their dogs into shelters because they can't handle it. And shelters are NOT allowed to re-adopt those animals out anymore in Ontario. Any bully type dogs MUST be destroyed now. So to surrender your canine life companion is a death sentence. The blood is beginning to flow from Michael Bruant's hands very freely, and I'm sure he's quite happy about it. I've never seen a picture of him, but I wonder if his hair hides the horns very well.

That quote was at the top of an open letter to Michael Bryant where Marjorie Darby asks why Mr Bryant hates pit bulls so much. I too wonder why it is that society has allowed people to have absolutely demonized a whole species of sentient being that probably a lot of them have never even seen - and if they have they don't even know that they had - because if they did, they definitely would'nt be so terrified of it.

Is it the word pit bull? When I think of bull - I think of the cartoon of the bull in that field who would smell flowers and wouldn't fight, and then I think of bull fighting and how the bulls get killed by the guy in the stupid hat, and then I think of the bulls in Pamplona running down the streets absolutely terrifed goring whatever they run into so that they can get the h-e-double hockey sticks away from them. And when I think of pit I think of dark and empty. So none of that is good, I guess. But when I see a pit bull dog I usually see a long tail that's ready to whack my knees it's wagging so hard, the body's ready to be cut in half it's wiggling so much, the head is bobbing, the eyes are wide and playful, the huge tongue is hanging out - and the bark is huge. And that's about it. They're pretty good dogs - I'm not a fan of that kind of dog hair because it sticks straight in the upholstery and is impossible to get out. But the kind of love they give is absolutely fantastic - their one on one humman love bond is unbelievable and that's why people love them so much. And that's why they're so easy for bad people to manipulate.

Maybe that's why Michael Bryant wants to wipe them off the face of the earth - he can't stand to see that kind of pure love exist between 2 sentient beings. Between a human and a dog - free from any kind of sexual or physical connotations - just pure love when you look in their eyes and know that it's just for a short time because a dog's life is so damn short - he's jealous because he a sociopath (or is it a psycopath?) so he can't experience it, so he doesn't want anyone else to have it either....

Anwyay - here's's open letter to Michael Bryant.... - it's super!

An Open Letter to Michael Bryant

Friday, November 5, 2004
Dear Mr. Bryant,

There is a saying that has been taken from the words of Chief Dan George. It goes like this: What we don't know, we fear. What we fear, we hate. What we hate, we destroy.

I can't think of anyone who embodies that sentiment more than you, Mr. Bryant, in relation to your view of 'pit bulls'.

I haven't heard you say that you've owned a 'pit bull'. So, you don't really know them, do you? Is this why you fear them? Is this why you hate them? Is this why you're trying to destroy them?

You say they're "inherently vicious beasts" yet, using of the city of Toronto's own records so far this year, 97% of licensed 'pit bulls' and significantly more than 99% of the estimated overall 'pit bull' population has harmed neither man nor beast. Can any group be considered "inherently vicious" when fewer than 1% of its members are dangerous?

You've said that, for every person who tells you his/her 'pit bull' is a "pussycat" (to use your words), there's someone who's emailed you about being attacked by a 'pit bull'. In fact, the statistics above show the ratio is at least 99 - 1. For every person who tells you they were attacked by a 'pit bull' there are more than 99 completely innocent 'pit bulls' who never have and never will attack anyone or anything.

You've told the public that thousands of "'pit bull' attacks" have gone unreported. But why do you think a 'serious dog attack', especially those attributed to already much maligned 'pit bulls', would go unreported by victims? Could it be those incidents were not as serious as these people are now leading you to believe? Could they even by lying to you? How serious could a bite be, if even the victim doesn't deem it necessary to contact authorities?

I find your references to these alleged "thousands of unreported 'pit bull' attacks" to be as dubious as the rest of your "facts".

You have said that 'pit bulls' are a threat to the safety of people and their pets. Yet when I contacted insurance companies to ask about dog bite claims, I was told "they don't happen often", and the only ones the employees could remember involved Labrador Retrievers and small dog breeds.

You suggest that 'pit bulls' bite more often than other breeds. Yet in a study that ranked dog breeds from one to one hundred, in order of how likely they were to bite, the 'pit bull' ranked fourth...from the bottom.

Kitchener-Waterloo banned 'pit bulls' after 18 bites reported the previous year. During that same period, there were 85 bites attributed to German Shepherds.

You hail Winnipeg as the success story that proves how beneficial banning 'pit bulls' can be. Well, let's look at Winnipeg, then.

The city of Winnipeg banned 'pit bulls' in 1990. But, according to a report provided by the Dog Legislation Council of Canada (DLCC), in 1991, the number of bites by the following breeds in Winnipeg INCREASED immediately after 'pit bulls' were banned:

Alaskan Malamute, Beagle, Blue Heeler, Border Collie, Boston Terrier, Boxer, Bull Terrier, Chihuahua, Collie, Dachshund, Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd, German Shorthaired Pointer, Great Dane, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Labradors, Rottweilers, Shetland Sheepdog, and Springer Spaniel; with large spikes in bites by Shepherd mixes, and Lab mixes.

That same report shows the information you are dispensing about the "success" of the Winnipeg ban is completely fabricated. Total reported bites went from 214 in 1990 (the year of the 'pit bull' ban), to 275 in 1991, 264 in 1992, 256 in 1993, 301 in 1994, and only came down below the 1990 numbers in 1995 at 188. After that, the bite numbers jumped back up to 283 in 1996, 328 in 1997, 213 in 1998, 200 in 1999, 239 in 2000, 225 in 2001, 161 in 2002, and 166 in 2003.

In short, in the past 13 years since Winnipeg's ban on 'pit bulls', reported dog bite numbers have only gone below the 1990 numbers 5 times.

It is obvious that a ban on 'pit bulls' couldn't possibly result in a reduction in bites by other breeds. That implication would be ridiculous. What would a Labrador or German Shepherd care about what the government is doing to 'pit bulls'?

The measures that are likely to positively affect dog bite numbers are things like public education about responsible dog ownership and dog bite prevention (something we specialize in here at, as well as licensing, and enforcement against habitually negligent dog owners.

In 2003, 13 years after the ban on 'pit bulls' was implemented, Winnipeg reported 166 dog bites caused by the following dog breeds:

Shepherd cross (38), Terrier cross (11), Rottweiler (11), Lab cross (10), German Shepherd (8), Husky cross (7), Border Collie cross (7), Bearded Collie cross (6), Rottweiler cross (5), Chow cross (5), Lab (5), Great Dane cross (3), Golden Retriever (3), Dalmation (3), Poodle cross (2), Golden Retriever cross (2), Cocker Spaniel cross (2), Boxer cross (2), Australian Shepherd cross (2), Terrier (2), Pomeranian (2), Chow Chow (2), Boxer (2), Border Collie (2), Samoyed cross (1), Mastiff cross (1), Heeler cross (1), Great Pyrennes cross (1), Doberman cross (1), Dachshund cross (1), Dalmation cross (1), Corgi cross (1), Akita cross (1), Springer Spaniel (1), Siberian Husky (1), Shih Tzu (1), 'Pit bull' type (1), Miniature Schnauzer (1), Irish Setter (1), Great Dane (1), Doberman Pinscher (1), Dachshund (1), Cocker Spaniel (1), Bull Mastiff (1), Brittany Spaniel (1), Bloodhound (1), Bichon Frise (1), Akita (1).

Does this list make a damning statement about any one breed? Even the breeds and crosses with the most numbers are still mere fractions of the number of those dogs in Winnipeg. Dogs of all shapes, sizes, and original breed purposes continue to bite in Winnipeg, despite the ban on 'pit bulls'. More importantly, nearly all dogs of all breeds in Winnipeg, rarely bite.

All the 'pit bull' ban did was cause the deaths of countless innocent dogs who never had and never would have harmed anyone; not to mention the emotional and financial suffering that 'pit bull' owners must have endured. Since banning 'pit bulls' does nothing to directly reduce the number of bites by Labradors and German Shepherds, it is clear that any reduction in bites by other breeds is the result of other measures...i.e. We can reduce dog bite numbers without banning any one dog breed.

According to the Centers for Disease control, for the two years spanning 1995 and 1996, 'pit bulls' accounted for 3 American fatalities, while 87% of dog-related fatalities were attributed to other dog breeds.

Boulder, Colorado, considered banning 'pit bulls' until their own statistics showed the number one biting breed was the Labrador Retriever, with twice as many bites as the next highest breed, the German Shepherd. A ban, such as the one you are proposing, would now be illegal in Colorado, along with several other U.S. states who've proven your theories to be false.

In its 2002 ruling, the Supreme Court of Alabama ruled there was no genetic evidence that one breed of dog was more dangerous than another, simply because of its breed.

In Perth County, Ontario, dog bite statistics compiled since January 2002 show just 1% of bites attributed to 'pit bulls'. One third of reported bites were caused by mixed breed dogs, and the top five biting breeds were, in order: Chow Chow, Jack Russell Terrier, Labrador Retriever, Dachshund, and Rottweiler. (The 'pit bull' is number 22 on that list, by the way, after - in order of percentage of biting incidents - Scottish Terrier 3.8%, Springer Spaniel 3.5%, Beagle 3.2%, Doberman 2.6%, Lhasa Apso 1.6%, Collie 1.6%, German Shepherd, St. Bernard, Cairn Terrier, and Bernese Mountain Dog all with 1.3%.)

You say large dogs are a danger. Yet 'pit bulls' are typically only 30-60 lbs.

You say large dogs are capable of greater damage. But the facts clearly show that the very largest dog breeds are rarely involved in serious biting incidents, and the very smallest dog breeds have actually killed people.

You've suggested that the size of the dog predicts the potential severity of injury, even though it is clearly the size of the victim that predicts how severe an attack is likely to be. Even such tiny dogs as the Yorkshire Terrier, Pomeranian, Lhasa Apso, and West Highland White Terrier have killed people in the U.S. Dachshunds, alone, have been attributed with four human fatalities.

You claim dangerous dogs are a serious threat to public safety, yet dog bites rank 12 out of 12 in the United States for causes of non-fatal injuries. Dog-related fatalities are absurdly negligible when compared to just about every other human activity, sport, or crime.

You say children need to be protected from dangerous dogs, yet when compared to the average number of Canadian children killed by dogs, more than 1,200 times as many children were killed by their own parents in one year, in the United States.

You say dogs are dangerous. Yet one in three women will be sexually assaulted at some point in their men. You're a man, aren't you, Mr. Bryant?

You say dogs are a serious threat to public safety, yet every recent fatality case and most serious biting incidents involve dogs and victims residing within the same home. They haven't involved "the public" at all.

You say 'pit bulls' are inherently lethal, but we have yet to confirm even one unprovoked dog-related human fatality officially attributed to a 'pit bull' in Canada. Other dog breeds have actually killed people, most of them the dog owner's own children. Why haven't you suggested banning the breeds of those killer dogs?

You say 'pit bulls' must be muzzled in public to protect people from their attacks. However, unmuzzled dogs being walked in public already account for the least number of bites, making this actually the safest way to encounter dogs. Most bites take place inside the owner's home or on, or directly adjacent to, the owner's property, where there is no expectation of leashing or muzzling. For those measures to have any impact on the number of dog bites, they'd have to be enforced at all times inside the home and on the owner's property, where nearly all dog bites occur.

Really, Mr. Bryant... ...Is there anything about your proposed 'pit bull' ban that is accurate?


Marjorie Darby, Director,

I hate to waste time

I lost my cell phone tonight. So I spent the evening retracing my steps to try and find it. There are few things in this world that piss me off more than having to repeat something. Whether it's having to repeat what I just said - and my former husband can attest to that, and sometimes I'd get so pissed off I'd start refusing to talk - but even when I am feeling the lowest of the low, I still can't stand to waste time. Luckily I've never considered sleeping to be a waste of time - so sleeping for 24 hours at a time doesn't bother me. But spending 5 hours looking for a cell phone and I'm about ready to have a heart attack. I did find it - at 11:30pm in the sand box at Seaview Park - it must have fallen out of it's clip as I was leaving there tonight. The men are still in their cars at that time of night - even though the park is closed to users at 10pm. I wonder how they justify their being there when the police do their drive-bys? Ugh. Anyway - I took a couple cute pictures tonight...

Duffy is a friend of mine's sisters dog - she's an 8 month old west highland white terrier that terrorizes Buttercup some nights - or is that the other way around?

Buttercup and Duffy have really started to play at night Posted by Hello

All Leonard cares about is her ball -

Leonard let me take a picture of her she was so happy to have a new hockey ball! Posted by Hello

Monday, November 8, 2004

Man bites dog-owner

I was forwarded this article from one of my groups today - here's the article and my response. Oh dear. The article was from the Globe and Mail this past Saturday. Sickening is what I say.

Man bites dog-owner

Disputes about pit bulls are turning city parks into battlegrounds


UPDATED AT 9:16 AM EST Saturday, Nov 6, 2004

Not long ago, Darlene Reid looked forward to walking her dogs through the streets of Toronto as a peaceful interlude from big-city life. Now, she considers it an ordeal.

In the past two weeks alone, she has had shouting matches, nasty looks and one physical battle. In the interests of safety, she no longer allows her 13- year-old daughter to walk the dogs.

"The whole situation sucks," says Ms. Reid, the owner of three Staffordshire terriers. "It can't go on like this."

Like many other Toronto dog owners, Ms. Reid has found a dramatically changed environment since the province announced that it would pass a law banning pit bulls and related breeds. Her dogs, which would be affected by the proposed law, have become a red flag.

"It's brought the dog-haters out of the woodwork," she says.

Two weeks ago, she was confronted in Riverdale Park by two young men who told her she had no right to be out in public with her "killer dogs." When she tried to reason with them, things went downhill.

One of the men kicked one of her dogs. When she tried to stop him, he knocked her to the ground. As this went on, her dogs looked on from the sidelines, according to Ms. Reid -- "so much for the killer dogs," she says.

"I don't feel safe in my own city now," says Ms. Reid, who suffered minor injuries in the attack. "People seem to think they can do or say whatever they want because you've got a dog."

Ms. Reid is not the only dog owner who has faced hostility since the breed ban was proposed. The announcement has clearly heightened the social tensions that surround urban dog ownership.

Although there are no official numbers (Toronto Police don't keep statistics on minor assaults and confrontations), officials with the Toronto Humane Society say there have been numerous disputes.

"Dog owners just can't deal with what's happening," says Romeo Bernadino, managing director of animal care services at the THS. "It's not a good situation."

M.T. Kelly, a Toronto writer who owns a pit bull named Maggie, says the past three weeks have been marked by outright intolerance: "When we go into a park now, it's like we're wearing the Scarlet Letter," he says.

Susan Coutts, who lives near North Bay, says the tension surrounding dogs isn't confined to the big city -- or to owners of pit bulls. Last week, she and a friend got a tongue lashing from a woman outside a shopping mall where they were with their dogs -- a black Labrador and a German shepherd.

"She told us that it was illegal for us to have them in public without muzzles," says Ms. Coutts, whose dogs often visit seniors homes as part of a community outreach program. "It was ridiculous."

Ms. Coutts feels that a handful of highly publicized attacks have driven the political process, and that the proposed ban will do nothing to protect the public. "I feel like every person in Ontario who has a dog is being made to pay for the mistakes of a few irresponsible dog owners."

Casey Conklin, a member of the Withrow Park Dog Owners' Association, says the ban on pit bull breeds has affected virtually all breeds, and has divided Toronto into two camps: those who like dogs and those who don't.

"I used to get just about zero reaction," she says. "Now, I see both extremes. Some people go out of their way to pat my dogs. And some people yell at you -- 'get your goddamn dogs out of here.' "

Ms. Conklin has three dogs. None of them are pit bulls (two are retrievers, the other is a Lakeland terrier).

Last week in Withrow Park, she found herself in an ugly confrontation with a man who told her she had no right to bring her dogs out in public. Although she tried to remain composed, the man's continued intransigence wore her down, and the exchange ended in a full-on screaming match.

"I'm from New Jersey," she says. "At some point, Jersey girl kicks in."

"This seems to have given carte blanche to people who hate dogs," Ms. Conklin says of the breed ban. "It validates their intolerance. They feel like they have a right to express ignorant views."

Ms. Conklin sees the pit-bull ban as pure demagoguery, and accuses Ontario Attorney-General Michael Bryant of playing to people's irrational fears. Mr. Bryant has referred to pit bulls as "ticking time bombs" and "inherently dangerous animals."

"Every time he has a press conference, he has a pit bull that's attacked someone," Ms. Conklin says. "He's created the impression that if you have a pit bull, you have no regard for other people. He makes it seem like you're walking around with a loaded gun."

Teresa Rickerby, a Coburg pet shop owner who belongs to an advocacy group called People for Pit Bulls, says the politics surrounding the breed ban have made it impossible to hold a meaningful debate about the issues.

"No one discusses the facts," she says. "It's all driven by emotion and fear."

Ms. Reid says the attack in Riverdale Park was just one part in a much larger picture. Since the ban was announced, she has been subjected to nasty looks, lectures and profanity-laced tirades.

"People come up and yell at you," she says. "They tell you that you've got no right to be out in public with a dog. They say, 'Get your killers off the street.' "

In one instance, one of her dogs was kicked while he was tethered to a lamppost outside a restaurant on Danforth Avenue.

"There's harassment that has been going on for a long time," she says. "But now it's way worse. You never saw anything like that before. No one kicked my dogs until now. What we're seeing here is prejudice. . . . We're being treated like criminals and we haven't done anything wrong."

For Deoin Greaves, a 26-year-old Toronto man, the hostility he has encountered with his pit bull Red since the breed ban was announced has been too much. On Wednesday, he took his dog to the Humane Society for adoption.

"I didn't want to give him up," he says. "But I can't stand it any more."

© 2004 Bell Globemedia Publishing Inc. All Rights Reserved.


My response:

Well the last sentence in that article is the most pathetic - "I didn't want to give him up," he says. "But I can't stand it any more." - Buddy can't stand to watch his pitbull be discriminated against so he takes it to a shelter to be killed. Ridiculous. But that's what going to be happening thousands of times over all across Ontario.

Angry hateful people are turning their irrational feelings that they have no reason for onto dogs and dog owners and the hysteria is just going to grow if we let it. I was at my local dog park the other night - and there was a non dog-owner there - and one of my dogs went up to him sniffing him for cookies and the guy hollered at the top of his lungs with the most righteous indignation - and this is in the one
of the city's only 2 official "off-leash dog parks" - "if your dog bites me I'm going to f****ing kill it!!!" - I just stood there with my mouth wide open. I hesitate to tell you the reason why this non-dog owner was at this off-leash dog park, but suffice it to say that we share this space with a segment of the male population who like to do salacious activities in the bushes with members of their
same gender and then go home to their wives. He was on his way to his favourite bush when Charlie encountered him.

All we can do is to continue on with our lives as if those people don't exist. I refuse to let the a**holes of the world compromise my lifestyle that I've worked very hard to build with my canine life companions. I'm not going to relegate my dogs to my back yard and basement because I'm afraid that they're going to get kicked if I dare to bring them out into the light of the day and walk down the street
with them. Access to the world - which is where they belong as much as anyone else - is too important to their well-being, and the quality of their life, and the quality of my life - than some yahoo who thinks they don't deserve it, or that dogs are dirty, or might pee in some corner. Screw them is what I say.

I'm a responsible dog owner and I want my dogs with me, and I'm going to have them with me and I'm willing to fight for it. And I hope there's other people out there who love their dogs enough to do it too. The Republicans may have won the election down in the States, but it's still a free country up here. You may be afraid of dogs, but I'm afraid of teenagers - why are you so much more important than me?


Sunday, November 7, 2004

Have you ever seen anything so cute?

I went in to clean the rats cage tonight and have my nightly bonding session with them and this is what I found - both of them in the hammock together asleep. I think winter is coming and they're finding ways to cope.

You'll notice the sores on Mrs Dingle's face - they've never completely gone away. I think it's partly behavioural and I'm at a loss as to what to do next. I've done everything I can think of to fix it - although I got some excellent advice yesterday from a lady in Montreal who has rats and does rat rescue that I'm going to follow up on.

But damn these are cute rats...

Jada gives a big yawn... Posted by Hello

And then leans in for a sniff... Posted by Hello

And then decides that the warmth of the hammock is much better than any silly camera being stuck in her face! Posted by Hello

Friday, November 5, 2004

It's been a super stressful past couple days

There's been dog issues, clandestine relocation issues, going back to work isses, and some other stuff - so the dogs have been very generous with me and allowed me to get a couple beautiful shots of them. I've also done a bit of sewing and quite a bit of cutting of fabric in the last few days too, which is good.

I've also started to give Buttercup a haircut which is a several day torture for both of us. She does not like to get her hair cut. It would be so much easier to take her to a groomer, but who wants to pay $50 bucks and they always cut her elbows to make her bleed and never cut enough away from her bum hole. And I have a knack for cutting dog's hair (I don't know if anyone else would agree!) so in the long run it's worth it. But it's hard on both of us.

Anyway - here's a couple pictures from the last 2 days - the first 2 pictures are from Spectacle Lake today where we went after our ill-fated visit to Molson...

Any idea what these little orange fungi/mushroom thingis are? Posted by Hello

Another neat angle Posted by Hello

Further proof of Charlie's photographic perfection... Posted by Hello

And Buttercup couldn't be outdone by Charlie! Posted by Hello

Charlie gave his snif of approval to a test-dog quilt before it went to Cape Breton today... Posted by Hello