Monday, January 31, 2005

A Dog Coat I made for a Friend's Terrier

I sewed a dog coat made out of a blanket that had patches from some kids "Beaver" - one of the branches of Boy Scouts - memorabilia. It'll be a warm coat. I made the mistake of testing it out on Buttercup just before we were about to leave for Seaview and putting a coat on Buttercup is one of the main signals we are about to leave for Seaview, so taking good pictures was pretty much impossible - when we're going through the motions of getting ready Buttercup has to rub herself on every surface, put every toy in her mouth and growl and lunge at every animal in the house. So this is the best I could come up with:

I'm hungry, I need to eat this toy! Posted by Hello

A shot of the coat - as good as I could get, anyway... Posted by Hello

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Mr Dog Aggressive & Miss Diva Share a Seat

Philip and Buttercup tend to share the front seat on the way home from Seaview every night because neither will give up the spot to each other - so Buttercup sits UNDER Philip's legs. It's amazing what dogs will put up with. Both dogs are dog aggressive - with OTHER dogs, and with each other I suppose under other circumstances - but like with proper brothers and sisters it's not in their interest to fight when riding shotgun together. Philip also will ride with his bum in the back seat and his head right next to mine. In these photos his head is also right next to mine - that's where it always is, regardless of where he is in the car. He's a very good boy.

Mr. Dog Aggressive & Miss. Diva Stand Their Ground Posted by Hello

I have GOT to vacuum! Posted by Hello

Another shot... Posted by Hello

It Sounds Like the Public Hearings in Ontario are going Pretty Good for the Dogs!

The first 2 days of public hearings in Ontarion have finished up on the proposed bill to ban pit bulls in Ontario and by the sounds of the below article it sounds like the right things are being said so far. I hope they make the right decision!

Groups: Target owners not pit-bulls By Ling Hui, Special to Canoe

Despite two emotional testimonies from parents whose children have been attacked by dogs, animal rights groups believe that a pit bull ban would not reduce the number of attacks in Ontario. Breeders, trainers and animal welfare groups dominated the first day of public hearings, stating that the clause in the Dog Owner's Liability Act banning pit bulls should target the owner of a dangerous dog, not the dog itself. Most breeders and animal welfare groups felt that a breed ban fails to address the "root cause" - irresponsible breeders, trainers and owners of dangerous dogs. The proposed amendments to the Bill would make it illegal to own, breed or sell pit bulls. The Bill also increases the maximum fine for owners of dangerous dogs to $10,000, and/or a six-month maximum jail sentence for owners. Though many were touched by the testimonies of two mothers whose daughters died after being attacked by dogs, groups such as the American Staffordshire Terrier Club of Canada and the Canadian Dog Judges Association stated that they were against a specific breed ban because it unfairly targets owners and their dogs. Louise Ellis spoke of the severity of a pit bull attack, describing the "gaping hole just under the eye" of her five-year-old daughter's face when she was mauled by a "friendly" pit bull in 1994. Donna Trempe, whose eight-year-old daughter Courtney died after being attacked by a bull mastiff in her neighbour's backyard in Stouffville, Ont., stated that she was opposed a breed-specific ban. Drawing attention to the lack of government attention on the issue of dangerous dogs, Trempe noted that only nine of the 36 recommendations proposed at Courtney's inquest in 1999 were implemented. "Heavier fines and jail sentences for drunk driving, along with increased public condemnation, have reduced the amount of drunk driving fatalities," Trempe said, comparing irresponsible dog owners to car owners. Taking Trempe's argument further, Member of the Provincial Parliament Julia Munro (Progressive Conservative- York North) added, "We aren't talking about banning cars. And yet, on this piece of legislation we're talking about banning a particular dog." Many opposed to the breed ban also stated that breed identification is impossible. This is especially true in identifying a pit bull which is not an official breed but can refer to various types and mixed breeds of dogs. Dogs that are not pit bulls, but possess the physical traits of a pit bull, will be unjustly targeted, trainers and members of animal welfare groups said. Even seasoned dog professionals have difficulty identifying pit bulls, said Nelson Ross, a member of the Dog Legislation Council of Canada. Groups against the pit bull ban also urged members of the committee to model Ontario's approach to the measures taken in Calgary, Alberta, where dangerous dog legislation treats all dogs the same. "Breed-based legislation has not worked elsewhere, and will not be effective in Ontario," Tim Zaharchuk, president of the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association said, referring to the problems with Britain's breed ban. Other groups, such as Banned Aid, a group representing pit bull supporters, stated that New Brunswick's recent move to abandon a proposed breed ban is proof that Ontario's Bill deserves reconsideration. After two days of public consultations, the New Brunswick Bill targeting pit bulls and rottweilers was dropped in favour of non-specific breed ban legislation. While Ontario's Attorney General Michael Bryant told reporters that the public hearings into the Bill would be the most widespread public consultation on dog bans in Canadian history, Toronto Humane Society Inspector Mike Connor said the legislation was "written in haste," without proper consultation with the animal welfare community. The hearings continue in Toronto on Thursday.

Monday, January 24, 2005

And then another kiss... Posted by Hello

I don't know why I don't have pictures of the cat's daily life here - I think that should change. Here's Liam giving Whisky a kiss this afternoon... Posted by Hello

Here's my living room on a typical Sunday afternoon - toys everywhere and everyone in their usual spot and all the dogs in line waiting for someone to start entertaining them... Posted by Hello

Sunday, January 23, 2005

The 3rd Blizzard this Week!

I think even the dogs are getting tired of all the snow that's fallen this week - we're currently in the midst of another blizzard that's supposed to get even worse this afternoon. Buttercup especially doesn't like them because she can't walk because the snow is way deeper than she is tall.

A collective blech is going up to playing in the back yard - but for some reason they still will get in the car to go play somewhere else! Dogs are funny!

How come Mommy's taking our picture and not opening this door? I'm cold! Posted by Hello

Here I come, I'm all finished pooping! Posted by Hello

The Vacuum Cleaner Glutton...

I guess I should have mentioned to the potential adopters of Philip who returned him because they "couldn't keep up with his hair" that he loves to be vacuumed! That's pretty typical of formerly chained dogs - they can tend to atypical responses to common household appliances - like going crazy every time the washing machine turns on. Philip didn't know how to use the stairs the first few times he came up them. It's pretty funny because the rest of the dogs are afraid of the vacuum cleaner and they look at him like he's crazy because he follows me around wanting to be vacuumed and they're running around trying to avoid me but they're now looking at me and him and going "what the hell are they doing?"

So I could've told them that they can stop the hair right at the source with him and do some extra bonding at the same time! He really is such a good boy. See below for confirmation...

Philip rolling over onto his belly so I'll give his belly a scratch with the suction hose! Posted by Hello

Giving his back a good scratch with the suction... Posted by Hello

Getting rid of all that problem hair right at the source with the marvelous power of a vacuum cleaner! Posted by Hello

Friday, January 21, 2005

Philip, the dog who sheds too much...

The dog with too much hair to love... Posted by Hello

I took this picture on Monday during the blizzard when we were all hanging out on the bed - this goes with the earlier blog posting - those other pictures are also Philip - the one of the dog whose head is on my belly is also Philip - that's an amazing picture.

He's currently available for adoption and a married couple had applied to adopt him this week. They had an excellent application and I did a great home check - they said they'd be willing to work with any behaviour problems that might crop up and I said he was a good barker and would bark at everything at first. But I also said that he was a super loving dog and that whoever adopted him would be very lucky people because the kind of love he gives is very special. I've waxed poetic about him in several spots on this blog before - so on Wednesday night they took him for a try-out. And tonight they returned him because they couldn't keep up with the hair.

I could think of a lot of reasons to return him - dog aggression, bad breath, barking, snapping - but shedding too much? Why did they pick that excuse - why did that one seem okay to them? But I readily took him back with a smile and no recriminations and a hearty thank-you and a suggestion that they might want to focus their dog search on the non-shedding breeds from here on in. And I gave Philip a big hug and some extra cookies and here we are back at square one. He's not been himself all night - it'll probably take him a while to shake off the last couple days - I hope it wasn't too traumatic for him.

Results of the latest Alberta Clipper

We're supposed to get another big storm this Sunday - oh Boy! Tonight it was so cold Buttercup was in her bag almost all night. She's got a bag that I made out of a winter coat that I bring into the park that I carry her around in when it's too cold for her to be on the ground. She's got very sensitive feet and luxating patella - so I assume that she's got arthritis because of it and she's also at least 10 years old - as well as being a PRINCESS - tonight it was probably close to minus 25 at least. That's too bloody cold. But the big dogs have still got to run - they don't care at all!

Buttercup in her winter coat Posted by Hello

Buttercup peeing in her winter coat... Posted by Hello

Leonard in that milli-second before she starts barking - kick this ball NOW, NOW, NOW, NOW, NOW!! Posted by Hello

Monday, January 17, 2005

During the blizzard we had a heavy day of...

It was nice to get a day's worth of extra sleep, I must say.

We had a heavy day of this... Posted by Hello

this... Posted by Hello

this... Posted by Hello

and this... Posted by Hello

It was bloody cold at Seaview tonight though and none of the snow was packed down yet so I had to carry Buttercup in the whole way until we got to the hill that's in the middle of the park - it was windswept so there wasn't any snow on it. She only ran around for a few minutes though and then wanted to get in my coat, which I obliged her immediately. It made for a physical night for me though - I'd do it every night for her though.

This picture reminds me of one I took years ago that I have on my website on my "Tips for being a benevolent alpha" page. Charlie really is a camera's best friend.

Charlie was feeling very deep tonight Posted by Hello


Chipper Posted by Hello

Yesterday I went to visit Chipper's foster Mom out in Tantallon. Is he cute or what? It was really neat to go there because she's got 5 dogs too but the dynamics of a house with 5 little dogs is COMPLETELY different than a house with 5 big dogs. They were doing all the exact same things that my dogs do except it was coming out of 5 dogs who all weighed about 5 pounds each instead of 70 pounds each. For some reason when it comes out of a 5 pound dog it's so much more excusable.

Chipper is proving hard to find a forever home for because he attacks any dog who's bigger than him and he'll also attack humans too and his foster Mom wants to be really careful that he goes to a home that has a full understanding of what they're getting themselves in for. He's going to need really good boundaries because he's basically been allowed to be completely feral his whole life. He needs a really calming influence. Sometimes pocket dogs can be as hard to place as big dogs.

Stay tuned for later today - we're having another huge blizzard here - I'm completely socked in - hopefully I'll get out and take some pictures, but I'm not looking forward to shovelling. One good thing about Spryfield though is no sidewalks to shovel. I love the boonies.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Am I Philosophically Wrong Somewhere Part II

So I didnt' feel like I finished that email properly yesterday. I felt like I'd left something out - so being the blabbermouth that I am I sent her an unsolicited continuation today:

Hi again Heather - I wanted to write you again because I forgot to say
something yesterday that I should have. I don't agree with the seal
hunt! I also don't agree with baby cows being kept in blacked out
stalls and force fed for a couple weeks and then being carried out to
slaughter. That's what I meant when I said it's all bad. And I don't
think geography should have anything to do with a person's calling to
a cause - you obviously have a connection with the seals, and the
seals definitely need people to save them. And there are definitely
people here trying to do that too. The organization that I know about
is because it's a Nova Scotia
organization and it's the seals that I see dead on the beaches.

I should probably also explain that I'm not episcopalian but Buddhist
so maybe my take on life and death is a little more fluid. I don't
see death as being such a big thing and know that it can happen at
any moment and I think it's just all part of the ebb and flow. My
dogs having a good rub on the dead seals is just a part of the beach
experience if you know what I mean.

So in my email yesterday I wasn't condoning the seal hunt - I was
saying that it was on par with all the other factory farm operations
going on in the world in everyone's back yard - including the back
yards of Virginia. This hunt just happens to be going on in my back
yard. But it's like I said at the beginning of my email, I don't
think that saviours have to do with geography - you can save the seals
even though you live in Virginia - and I don't need to live in Nova
Scotia to save the seals. Although if you need a place to stay (and
you aren't afraid of being licked by 5 dogs at once!) because you're
coming to camp out on an ice floe in March or you want some advice on
a good vegetarian restaurant because you're passing through on your
way to the ice floes - you have definitely contacted the right person!

I hope this 2nd email has helped your sadness a little bit. I've been
thinking about my original email and I know I didn't state the above
clearly enough. I just sort of said that everything suffers and ended
it there. What I should have said was that everything suffers but
that shouldn't stop people from trying to alleviate it once they've
found out about the way that the torture is happening. If you believe
that the seals are being killed inhumanely then you should do
something about it!


She hasn't emailed me back but it's only been a few hours. I don't imagine she will email me back and it's okay if she doesn't. I hope I didn't hurt her feelings too bad. I think I might have hurt them when I inferred that she might be trying to save the seals because they were cute and had big eyes. But I think that IS a trap that a lot of people fall into. They see the cute seals being bludgeonded on the ice floes and are horrified and think nothing of the chickens with their beaks being burned off and the cows with their skin being torn off and the pigs being lifted off the ground by one foot so that they can be bled to death while they're still alive - and all of this is happening in their own counties and countries. And people look to Canada and Atlantic Canada and particular and think we're awful savages because of the seal hunt. My point was that seals aren't any better than chickens or cows or pigs. Okay, I've driven that right into the ground now.

But my point today is that they are all equally wrong and should all be stopped. They all are sentient beings and have as much right to life as you and me. Or maybe I should say that they all have as much right not to be born as you and me. That's what PETA would say! Because if we shut down those industries there wouldn't be a need for those animals anymore so they wouldn't be born anymore. The seals would be - but the cows, chickens and pigs wouldn't be.

And so here ends my sermon.

This is Meatout's Logo:

Meatout's Logo Posted by Hello

I have it at the bottom of the main page of my website - the tag line is: Which do you pet, and which do you eat?

There's also a spectacular lady named Karen Davis who's got this organization called "United Poultry Concerns". She's completely insane, and completely committed to chickens - she's amazing - and can make you see that the food you're ingesting isn't food, it's another sentient being who because of commerce and factory farming is being treated very badly while they're alive and killed in an absolutely inhumane way.


Monday, January 10, 2005

Am I Philosophically Wrong Somewhere?

I had an email today from a lady in the States who was asking me about the seal hunt and what I thought about it as a Canadian and what other Canadians thought abou it. She said in the States many people were appalled by it and were doing things to try and put a stop to it and she was wondering if we were doing anything to work towards working towards banning it and if there was anything in the media locally while the seal hunt was going on during the hunt in March.

I emailed her back what I thought and I don't think it was the reply she was expecting. It was my standard reply when talking about any kind of animal rights type thing though - I really don't see any kind of difference between any species - seals are no better than any other - so it's wonderful that she's fighting to stop the killing of seals, someone's got to do it. Maybe I should have said that in my email. But I really can't understand why people are so horrified at the seal hunt and not horrified at a pig abbatoire and then at the bacon they're eating. Every time I eat bacon I think of the pig that died for it and realize that my body has become his graveyard and I am suffering the consequences of it. It's like it's faulty logic. So please tell me if I'm completely wrong in thinking that way. That it's okay to kill a cow, but not okay to kill a seal. So this is the email I sent back to the lady:

Hi there Heather - thanks for your email! You know it's interesting -
living so close to what the rest of the world views as such an
atrocity and feeling myself that I'm an animal lover - and a lover of
every species equally - cows, pigs, dogs, mosquitoes, seals -
everything. When a mosquito bites me in the summer I don't kill it, I
just blow it off because I realize that once it starts biting me that
the amount of swelling won't be any different if I kill it or if I
blow it off, so what difference does it make to me? But it makes a
big difference to the mosquito! Sometimes I don't notice that it's a
mosquito that's biting me though and I think it's just an itch so I go
to scratch it and inadvertently kill the little guy - and that bothers
me - and then I apologize to him and wish him better luck in his next
life. That's about all I can do, really.

Because I'm so close to the seal atrocity I actually see dead seals on
a regular basis. Fishermen see seals - grey seals in particular as
being a threat to their fishing life and when they see them out on the
ocean they shoot them - and it's perfectly legal - so seals wash up on
the shore of the beaches here quite regularly. If you go back through
the "blog" that i posted an entry from this morning you'll see a post
called "who's shooting the seals off Sambro head" which has some
pictures of a seal that I took this past fall at a beach that I go to
all the time with my dogs - there were 3 dead seals there at that
time. There's a couple new ones there now. That's because off the
shore of that beach is a particularly luctrative fishing spot.

My take on the whole thing is that seals aren't any different than
cows or dogs or chickens or you or me. They have as much right to
life as anything else - just because they have big pretty eyes doesn't
mean they deserve to live any more than anything else - and they don't
deserve to die anymore than anything else either! I don't imagine
their life or death is any more or less horrible than veal cows. It's
all bad. All bad. Horrible. But that's my own thoughts on it - I
don't see any difference between killing a cow or killing a dog for
food - it all depends on your culture as to what you think of it. The
culture in Newfoundland sees nothing wrong with killing a seal, and
the native community sees nothing wrong with it either. I see all 3
as being equally reprehensible. To some they're all livestock.

So you also asked whether the local media covers very much of the
local hunt and what local people think about it. I'd say it's made up
mostly of mass confusion. The east coast of Canada by and large made
most of it's money from tourism and the fishery, but for some reason
all the fish went away and nobody can figure out why. Some people
think the seals ate them all - so they decided to kill the seals to
make the fish come back. It's as simple as that to a lot of people.
They prefer not to think about the ugly stuff. But the media doesn't
cover the seal hunt very much - only when outsiders come in and cause
trouble does anything get covered. If Greenpeach comes in and does
something - that'll get covered. But if there's blood and guts and
normal seal hunt stuff - none of that gets covered. That's just
normal stuff - there's no outrage at what goes on normally. Because
that's just normal practice. No one freaks out at normal practice at
an abattoire - that's because it doesn't happen out in public - like
the seal hunt does. That's one of the problems with it - they can't
run and hide from the media. They can't clean the blood off of the
ice floes. So they're also an easy target. But I am not sticking up
for them either! I'm just making an easy point.

You have unfortunately come upon someone who's got a nihilistic
approach to this sort of thing Heather - I see so much suffering in
the world, life is so cheap - millions of cows, chickens, dogs, cats
and sentient beings of every type die torturous deaths every day - the
seals are just a little bit of added white noise to the Canadian daily
life, fabric and soul, sadly. I'm sure we'll be called to pay for it

That's neat that you visited Halifax - it's a great place to live - I
couldn't live away from the ocean, that's for sure. I have to see the
water everyday or I'd be no good! Feel free to reply back if I didn't
answer all your questions!


The response she sent back was:

"Sad thanks"

That was it. So I don't think I gave her the answers she was looking for.


Sunday, January 9, 2005

Anatomy of a dog roll...

Anatomy of a rolling session at Crystal Crescent beach today Posted by Hello

The first dogs go in for the rolls... Posted by Hello

Coming up for air for one second Posted by Hello

Moving off to let the next dog in... Posted by Hello

Pure esctasy! Posted by Hello