July 31, 2008

Horse Trusts

by winecountrydog

Sometimes dogs and cats outlive their humans. Horses, who have longer lifespans than dogs or cats, are even more likely to outlive their humans. . . . Who cares for horses when their humans are gone?

our horse friend at The Horse Trust UKWe're seeing more legal structures in the US and the UK that support and enforce the care of companion animals after owners are gone.

In the US, changes of laws at the state level are making it easier to ensure that instructions for care of an individual animal are enforced according to an owner's last will, and also that funds designated in a trust for "after-owner" care remain in place to do so.

California joins the list of states with legally-enforceable pet trusts with the passage of SB 685, which will take effect in January 2009. Almost a dozen states still don't allow trusts for the care of individual animals!

You can find articles about horse legislation, welfare, and health at Recent News on TheHorse.com.

Here in the US, one group that helps horse owners set up "after-owner" finances and care management is Horse Trusts. They are attorneys at law who draft estate plans and legal instructions for creating trusts. If you'd like a starter packet for a horse trust, you can email or call them at 877-928-7887.

Horse Trusts points out the wisdom of purchasing a life insurance policy to fund a horse's trust: "Horses are expensive to keep and live long lives. Unless you are a person of considerable means, we suggest contacting your insurance agent and purchasing a fixed-term life insurance policy on yourself to fund the trust."

In the UK, there is an animal charity organization called The Horse Trust that was established in 1886 to help the working horses in London. It is the oldest horse charity in the world.

At The Horse Trust homepage is a PDF of the June 2008 "National Equine Welfare Protocol" — which includes horses, ponies, donkeys, hinnies, mules, and other equids. The document subtitle states "The prevention of equine suffering and neglect, and when necessary their rapid remediation, are the paramount considerations."

Paramount, indeed. Pawse and think about the UK org's statement of "Five Freedoms for Horses":

1. Freedom from Hunger and Thirst – by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour.

2. Freedom from Discomfort – by providing an appropriate environment, including shelter and a comfortable resting area.

3. Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease – by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.

4. Freedom to Express Normal Behaviour – by providing sufficient space, proper facilities, and company of the animal's own kind.

5. Freedom from Fear and Distress – by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.

July 30, 2008

Practice the rule of fair prey!

By winecountrydog and pawlitico

It's great that Humane California is building a big ark of animal-protection supporters for the 'Yes on Prop 2' initiative. We see names of new supporters all the time.

Vote Yes on California Prop 2
Proposition 2 is the November 2008 ballot initiative for the Prevention of Farm Cruelty Act. The Act will phase out cruel and inhumane factory farming practices in California.

Hey, not that Californians practice more inhumane-ity than anybuddy else, but this is where we live and eat — and where we must have an ethical food supply.

Can you imagine how many pigs, calves, and hens around the globe have to spend their lives in tiny cages, where they can't turn around or stretch their limbs? Even one would be one too many. As dogs, we're freaked out at the very thought of being caged up all our lives.

We and our dog and cat buddies will not eat any "food animal" who didn't live a good life of freedom. We're not only healthier: We digest a lot better knowing that we practice the rule of fair prey!

Humans who raise animals for food should stop unfair practices without being asked to by the government. But it seems that not all humans volunteer to be nice.

Many veterinarians are nice Prop 2 supporters. We're happy that one of our purrsonal vets, Jona Sun Jordan, DVM, is among them. Another pro-Prop 2 vet is Eric Barchas, DVM (who writes Dogster & Catster Vetblog). Paw-leeze ask your veterinarians about their Prop 2 support.

We're also happy when mayors endorse Prop 2. In northern California, we see these mayors who are pro-Prop 2: Sebastopol Mayor Craig Litwin, Novato Mayor Pat Eklund, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, and Sacramento Mayor Heather Fargo.

Mayor Fargo (seen in photo with Sac SPCA director behind her) was spotted at a 'Yes on Prop 2' event sponsored by the Sacramento SPCA and Sacramento for Humane Farms, held July 27 at the Sacramento SPCA on Florin-Perkins Road.

Sacramento Mayor Heather Fargo at Sac SPCADale Howard, campaign manager for Mayor Fargo, attended the event with the Mayor.

Mr. Howard tells us that Mayor Fargo is a longtime supporter of animal welfare issues and also cat-ma to a handful of happy cats. He adds, "The Mayor will be very active in supporting the measure as it moves forward. Animal issues are kind of a favorite subject. . . . The Mayor and I almost left the SPCA event with a carload of animals."

Wow. Animal shelters should host more events at the shelters, then the humans who could would take the shelter animals home with them.

Atlas the Labrador is another 'Yes on Prop 2' supporter. He wonders What kind of human wouldn't vote in favor of Proposition 2?

Atlas the 'pro-Prop 2' Labrador
Photo credits: Dale Howard (Atlas's 'pro-Prop 2' human)

July 29, 2008

Dog in Space Race

by winecountrydog

July 29, 2008, is the 50th annniversary of the National Aeronautics and Space Act (NASA).

Google image July 29 2008I wasn't born when U.S. President Eisenhower commissioned Dr. T. Keith Glennan as the first administrator for NASA in 1958.

Fifty-one years ago, in 1957 — when the space race first began — a Russian part-Samoyed terrier dog named Laika became the first dog to go into outer space . . . and to die in outer space.

cosmonaut dog Laika in her space harnessLaika died from stress and overheating, it is said, almost certainly the same day after being launched into space in Sputnik 2. There'd been never any intention by the Soviet space agency to bring back Laika or the space capsule.

A compelling retelling of "the story of Laika" is found at MoscowAnimals.org, an animal welfare site run by Mayhew Animal Home to benefit homeless Moscow animals. In the footer of Laika's page are these words:

"Laika represented for some the pioneering spirit which took us 'where no man had gone before.' For others, she symbolised the ruthless exploitation of innocent creatures for dubious benefits.

Perhaps this is best summed up in the words of Oleg Gazenko, a leading member of the Soviet Space Programme's scientific team. Speaking at a Moscow news conference in 1998, he said: 'The more time passes, the more I'm sorry about it...We did not learn enough from this mission to justify the death of the dog.'"
Laika the Russian Space DogInteresting reading about Laika: Ted Strong's Laika page and Laika on Wikipedia

July 28, 2008

The world's first 'cuil' dog!

KUT.org, Austin, Texas, streamed a review of "I Google Myself" — a theater show about ego surfing. The show's google-crazy character finds someone else with the same name and becomes obsessed with him.

Dogs never get virtually obsessed via canine-computer interaction. We have to smell something to get hooked.

Nonetheless, at around 11:30 P.M. on July 27, 2008, I became the world's first dog to cuil AND also the world's first dog to be cuiled when I searched Cuil.com for myself, Tilin corgi.

Cuil — an old Irish word for knowledge, pronounced 'cool' — is the Menlo Park, California, search engine company that launched its giant tool the very evening of my clever cuilerie.

Cuil is set to give Google a run for its milkbones with a starting index of 120 billion web pages. Cuil's inventor, Anna Patterson, a former Google engineer, claims that this is larger than Google's index.

If anybuddy can succeed in matching milkbones with Google, it'd be the ex-Googlites running Cuil.

You geeky dogs will have judge for yourselves who's cooler. So far, I like Cuil's privacy policy: "Cuil analyzes the Web, not its users."

Cuil and Google use different search strategies. Cuil has a significantly different way of indexing the web and handling queries by users. By the way, these functions are super-big biz costs for Google: about a billion dollars a year to run their back-end infrastructure. Cuil claims to have found a way to massively reduce these costs.

Cuil also claims to have better search results than Google and other search engines 'cuz of how they index websites. They don't just catalog keywords on a site and rank the site based on its importance. The Cuil engine also works to understand how words are related and 'spozedly returns more relevant results (for example: dog types > smart dogs > beer lovers).

By the way, my cuil-ego-surf moment led me back to Wayne Pacelle's blog, A Humane Nation, where I'd posted a June 2008 comment. Wayne Pacelle is president and chief executive officer of the Humane Society of the United States.

How 'cuil' is that?

Paw notes: It didn't go unnoticed by us here that Google had an in memoriam tag on their homepage over the weekend for the late Carnegie Mellon professor Randy Pausch (1960–2008). Pausch was a virtual-reality pioneer and human-computer interaction researcher. To learn about the legacy of Randy Pausch, visit the webpage of his colleague Gabriel Robins.

Thanks to Chicoer.com for picking up the Cuil story off the AP wire and running it before Cuil's launch, thereby beating enews services like Yahoo!News to the announcement.

July 27, 2008

Splash Dogs and Carolyn Wonderland!

by winecountrydog

I saw Splash Dogs dock jumping at the 2008 Sonoma County Fair on July 26! This is a cool sport for us dogs. It gives us a chance to show off strength, confidence, speed, and all-around canine athleticism while competing to see who can make the longest jump.

The Splash Dogs' humans set up a 40-foot-long dock and a pool. The dogs stand on the dock, one at a time, waiting until their handler tosses a toy in the direction of the water.

Dogs leap out over the water to try to catch the toy. They're not required to retrieve the toy. Scores are awarded by measuring the jump distance using the Splash Dogs Ruler.

I'm going back to the fair with dog-ma for the August 3 Splash Dog finals. I heard from Ursula Kinley of Crazy K9s that we might get to see a Welsh corgi competing!

If you dogs want to dock jump, here are some tips for getting started:

• Begin by teaching your human to throw you a ball or toy in shallow water.
• Learn how to catch a ball or toy while you're in the water.
• Practice jump height and strength on dry-land hurdles.
• Remind your human to throw the toy in the air to practice your technique.
• Keep the practice and jumping events fun for both of you; don't get growly.
• If you're not getting enough praise and rewards, sit-stay and refuse to jump.

As a dog, I wasn't allowed to go to other fair events. So, after sneaking a peek, I left. Dog-ma stayed to enjoy the performance of Texas rock/blues powerhouse Carolyn Wonderland, who was joined by keyboardist Cole El-Salah and drummer Eldridge Goins.

This is dog-ma's enthusiastic review.
"When Carolyn Wonderland played the fair's 2008 Sonoma County Blues Festival, she rocked seasoned festival goers to a new level of awe. Wonderland's intense delivery had our seated crowd on its feet. Just when we thought we'd seen it all, she set down her guitar, picked up a trumpet and took us to New Orleans.

Wonderland plays lead guitar and sings — and she's a heckuva songwriter. Six tracks on the latest CD Miss Understood are hers.

Progressive Radio once said, "If you put Melissa Etheridge, Chrissie Hynde, and Dick Dale in a blender and hit puree, you'd get a pretty potent mixture called Carolyn Wonderland."

Not good enough. It's like this: If you brought back Janis Joplin, and she could play guitar like Jimmy Page and Alvin Lee, then you'd be getting close to a description. You'd have to throw in some Billie Holiday, Muddy Waters, Aretha, and a handful of other great artists to get closer.

Who's going to believe all this about a petite, red-headed woman from Texas? Bob Dylan, for one. That's why Dylan asked Wonderland to come jam with him in Houston."
You can follow Wonderland's tour schedule and catch up with her in Washington or Oregon this August. She'll also be at Sings Like Hell in Santa Barbara, California. Or you can go to Hell to see her — Hell, Norway, that is.

Paw note: Dog-ma sez to say thanks to Angela Strehli and KRSH superman Bill Bowker.

July 26, 2008

Local Redwood Hill Goats Make Good

I've got goats on my mind 'cuz July–August is Sonoma County Fair time. The goats from Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery in Sebastopol, California, show off their bah-eauty and charm every year at the fair.

Redwood Hill Alpine doe Jambalya was the 2007 ADGA Alpine National Champion! You can see her here with Jennifer Bice, the wonderful human in charge at Redwood Hill.

Jennifer Bice with ADGA champion doe JambalayaRedwood Hill makes lusicous, gourmet goat milk yogurt and kefir as well several kinds of delicious artisan cheese.

My dog-ma and I visited Redwood Hill and met some goats and the humans who work with them. Dog-ma went on the creamery tour while I took a nap.

Goats and dogs don't go on the creamery tour 'cuz we'd shed hair all over the place — which is beautifully clean, dog-ma sez. I did get to meet Jennifer Bice. She's very nice, as is her sister, Sharon Bice. Everybuddy there is nice. Dog-ma sez they take time to answer all your questions when you take a tour.

We also got to go to their Certified Humane dairy farm. (We'd found the tour schedule at Sonoma County Farm Trails.) Dog-ma ewed and ahhed over the sweet and happy goats while I went nutz over the earthy smells. My nose kept me so busy that I didn't even notice I was waiting for dog-ma. I must've counted about 300 goats of the breeds Alpine, LaMancha, Nubian, and Saanen!

Last summer, the goats were entertained by The Ditty Bops — a Western swing, ragtime, gypsy-jazz duo band from LA. Their performance got YouTubed.

Abby of The Ditty Bops introduced the band as she got ready to play "Wishful Thinking" outside the barn. She said: "We're here at Redwood Hill Farm with Trinity and her lovely group of goats. . . . We would really appreciate if you could, uh, limit your consumption of our garments till after the song."

The Ditty Bops also performed inside the big barn. In the following "Walk or Ride" vlog, two goats showed Amanda their interest in joining the band:

I really like Redwood Hill goat milk yogurt. As a dog, I don't eat dairy often, but my Ani Siamese adores the plain yogurt and has a spoonful frequently.

My dog-ma is understandably addicted to the artisan goat cheese and is furever reconsidering which is her favorite. Lately it's Camellia, their award-winning Camembert-style goat cheese. It's so soft, buttery, and delicious.

Humans are 'spozed to enjoy this wonderful cheese at room temperature, paired with sparkling wine, Sauvignon Blanc, or Pinot Noir. But dog-ma's so crazy about Camellia that she often lacks the patience to pair it with anything.

For a dog like me, it wouldn't be too déclassé to lick good goat cheese off my paw, but I thought you humans avoided this practice.

Photo credits: RH Farm

July 25, 2008

'Pet trusts' and 'no downer' legislation

By pawlitico

There's a lot going on in California pawlitics these days. Governor Schwarzenegger's Labrador Retrievers, Spunky and Gustav, along with Cockapoo Sarge, say their guardian/governor signed two important animal protection bills into law this week.

Governor Schwarzenegger kisses Lab dog Gustav
The first is California Senate Bill 685 (SB 685) for the enforcement of pet trusts. The bill was authored by Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo), and its passage brings peace of mind to people who need to know that the trusts they establish for the care of pets will be legally enforceable.

According to the office of Senator Yee, SB 685, which goes into effect January 1, 2009, is "expected to reduce the burden on pet shelters, conserve public services and funds, protect defenseless animals, and guarantee that people’s wills are carried out as intended."

The San Francisco SPCA and the American SPCA (ASPCA) sponsored this bill, with support from the following groups:
The second piece of animal protection legislation is "no downers" Assembly Bill 2098, introduced by Assemblymember Paul Krekorian (D-Burbank). AB 2098 will prohibit any slaughterhouse, stockyard, or animal auction from selling meat or products from downed animals for human consumption. The law imposes stiff criminal penalties on those who sell such products. It also requires immediate action to either humanely euthanize a downed animal or provide veterinary treatment.

The AB 2098 bill is a great step forward in protecting animals as well as human food safety. It strengthens the initial downer legislation passed in California in 1994.

This legislation came about as a direct result of the 2008 downed-animal abuse scandal at a meat packing company. In January, the USDA learned of inhumane handling of downed cattle (non-ambulatory or disabled cattle) at Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company in Chino. In February, the company "voluntarily" recalled over 143 million pounds (65 million kilograms) of raw and frozen beef products because of the USDA's investigation into its animal cruelty practices.

Animal lovers who'd like to increase farm animal protection in California or other states and also nationwide should consider supporting Farm Sanctuary. This organization works to stop cruel practices in the "food animal" industry through research, investigations, legal and institutional reforms, public awareness and education projects, rescue efforts, and by providing lifelong refuge for hundreds of rescued animals.

July 24, 2008

'Vote Yes on Prop 2' House Parties

By pawlitico

You probably heard that I turned 21 in dog years on July 23? Now I can go out with the human party animals. But what I'm really into is finding all the HUMANE party animals.

Such good timing: On July 27, Humane California supporters from around the state will host or attend their local "Vote Yes on Prop 2" House Parties — a fundraising event for the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act, a November 2008 ballot initiative in California.

You can sign up to attend a party near you even if you don't have big bucks. Just show your face to support the initiative and the House Party hosts and to network! It's so easy to sign up. Go to HumaneCalifornia.org and click the link Find a party near you.

If you don't get to a party, you can still help support the initiative by making a small online donation, volunteering to distribute campaign materials, and networking on MySpace and Twitter.

As the Humane California people say, "It is cruel and inhumane to confine animals in cages so small they can’t turn around or stretch their limbs. All animals deserve humane treatment, including those raised for food. Vote YES on Prop 2 to protect animals from unacceptable abuse."

I can't imagine living all my dog years confined in a tiny cage! The thought of it freaks me out. I'd rather be euthanized. . . .

Paw note (from pawlitico): Re. "dog years," some humans say that one human year is equivalent to seven dog years. Other humans say that, for every calendar year, a dog ages between five and eight years. I wonder what humans say about how many "animal years" a confined animal ages in one calendar year.

July 23, 2008

Pawlitico dog's birthday

by winecountrydog

Today is the birthday of pawlitico! That's the nom de paw of my corgi buddy and fellow winecountrydog ezine™ author, Jackie.

As I was preparing to wish Jackie a happy 3rd birthday, I realized it's been a long time since I've wished a dog or cat a happy day on an actual birthday. Why? 'Cuz most of my four-footed friends are rescue animals.

I don't know when my own birthday is. It has always been estimated as mid-November. I and my sister were "Christmas puppy" presents to a woman who couldn't keep us. Dog-ma sez I was too young to be taken away from my birth-mum 'cuz I looked only six weeks old when she brought me home at New Year's '98.

My Siamese kitten's August birthday is estimated, too. Dog-ma found Ani Siamese at a feed store, where they had her up for adoption from the Sonoma County Animal Shelter.

My last two beloved cats, both departed now, were rescue cats. My late Siamese cat had been but a young kitten when dog-ma rescued her in '88. The kitten's whiskers were all burnt off, and some kids were trying to sell her in front of a downtown newstand for whatever amount someone would give them. My late, great Francis Topcat was rescued by dog-ma in '95 just in time to save him from death due to exposure and dehydration. Dog-ma named him "Francis" 'cuz she found him near a statue of St. Francis, the patron saint of animals.

If I asked dog-ma, she could give me a long list of beloved dogs and cats with no known birthdays. In of itself, this is no big deal, of course. But it serves to remind me of what a hard life many dogs and cats have.

Maybe the fact that Jackie knows his birthday — and can visit his mum and other family anytime he wants — makes him feel that he should help others less fortunate. Whatever his motivation, I'm happy to see Jackie coming out of his shell as a pawlitical dog who takes a stand for compassionate treatment of animals.

We're pooped after partying. . . .

July 22, 2008

'Taking Action for Animals'

By pawlitico

Taking Action for Animals 2008 was held July 19–21 in Arlington, Virginia. There was a huge turnout for this TAFA conference.

What's driving the tremendous growth of the animal protection movement? The best answer comes from Grace Markarian in her response to a question about her HSUS role: "There is no moral justification for cruelty to animals. Knowing this will be a beacon on those dark days when you wonder if you are doing any good. Because the answer will always be yes."

TAFA 2008 included more than 75 speakers who are experts in animal issues and campaigning. Highlighted speakers from the West included U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer from Oregon (Dem), who was 2007 Humane Legislator of the Year, and Jarrod Cooper, Oakland Raiders player (safety).

Some of my favorite causes were represented. The Dogs Deserve Better team was there.

Dogs Deserve Better org

Alley Cat Allies, the national group that helps feral cats, had a very nice booth.

Alley Cat Allies group

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) was well represented, of course. Farm Sanctuary's founder and president, Gene Baur, was a featured speaker. So many booths with impawtant animal people and organizations! Rabbits, chimps, and prairie dogs had advocates, too.

Michael Markarian, head of the HSUS Legislative Fund (HSLF), was there. The HSLF is a separate lobbying affiliate of HSUS. HSLF publishes the Humane Scorecard, a Voter Guide, and HumaneLines, a free electronic newsletter with news and action alerts.

I'm a political dog — that's why they call me "pawlitico" — and I'm in accord with the HSLF slogan "It’s time to get political for animals." In California, I'm helping to get the word out about the November ballot initiative to Prevent Cruelty to Farm Animals. Tell all California humans to Vote Yes on Prop 2!

"On those dark days when you wonder if you are doing any good," know that you are, just by caring about little four-footed friends and other animals.

Rare Breed of Love bus
Credit for photos: Grace Markarian, HSUS

Paw note: This article is the first piece by pawlitico, our new team member. Pawlitico is the nom de paw of Jackie — a young, energetic and politically-minded canine whom we'll be hearing more from in the months and years to come.

July 21, 2008

Moxie dog goes to permanent home

Moxie left her Petaluma foster parents yesterday and went to her permanent home . . . back to her foster dog-mom and dog-dad!

I thought I wouldn't get to see Moxie anymore. Oh howl, I'd miss my little cherie amour. I have a crush on her. Some people call it puppy love, but I quickly point out that we're both adult dogs.

Moxie's dog-mom "Weeza" and dog-dad Bob are very special rock stars for dogs. They're always taking care of at least a handful of small dogs, and they help them with difficult veterinary problems.

Here Weeza was holding Moxie and trying to help me stand up. I get off-balance since my back surgery. (That's why I've got the reverse mohawk hair style.)

Weeza — her real name is Louisa — found Moxie a veterinarian to remove Moxie's mammary tumors. She'd been told that Moxie had cancer and would die, but she didn't believe them. It turned out that Louisa was right, of course.

Louisa is right about a lot of things — like the fact that therapeutic assisted swimming, also known as canine water therapy and as hydrotherapy, is great for dogs in recovery. She completed intensive training a La Paw Spa Canine Water Therapy and currently does spa-based sessions.

Dog-ma and I are looking forward to Louisa setting up more pool services and all kinds of doggie things soon. Right now, though, if you're a dog who's had leg, knee, hip, or other surgery and needs water therapy, talk to your veterinarian about therapy recommendations. Please send your inquiries about Louisa's services via her email address: louisa [at] caninewatertherapy.com.


July 20, 2008

'Revolution' in Juilliard Park

We've been having total dog-friendly fun at an outdoor concert series: the Annual Live at Juilliard Summer Concert Series. It's happening Sundays from 5 to 7 in Juilliard Park — a nice, sprawling downtown park in the North Bay city of Santa Rosa.

See the Labrador? Her tail's pointing toward the Roshambo Winery van. Dog-ma says Roshambo's Carignane was a big, tasty pour for only 5 bucks.

Live at Juillard Summer Concert
Many dog lovers have stopped and talked to us. Dog-ma adored baby Lucia, who was enjoying herself with super-nice Auntie Lisa.

Baby Lucia and Auntie Lisa

Little Abbott the Scottie was grooving on the park lawn with Deb, his dog-mom.

Abbott Scottie dog and Deb

Every Sunday you'll hear amazing music. The Bay Area's alt rock band Luvplanet played this week.

Last week, the BBC, a Beatles tribute band, played to a large crowd. Dog-ma and the other dancing humans went nutz when the faux Fab Four played "Revolution."

the BBC Beatles tribute band

Event sponsors include the local Krush — KRSH 95.9 radio.

Live at Juilliard

Credit for Juilliard Park photos: Dog-ma

July 19, 2008

Dog-friendly Barley and Hops Tavern

The town of Occidental, just down the Bohemian Highway from the Russian River Valley, has a dog-friendly watering hole: Barley and Hops Tavern. It's the tall yellow house with dogs and humans on the porch.

Chloe and Squirt loved the porch. From their bench they kept an eye on the bar.

Chloe collie/shepherd and Squirt blue heeler
Chloe, Border Collie/Shepherd/Greyhound mix, is a rescue dog from Placerville. Her buddy and housemate Squirt is a Blue Heeler who does canine karaoke.

Chloe dog watches Squirt sing
From our porch pawspective, we could see people sitting inside downing craft beer and food.

Chloe dog looks longingly in the window
My dog-ma looked blissful with her Lagunitas Farmhouse Saison draught in hand as she surveyed the bottled brew list.

Tavern owners Noah and Mir are very nice. Also extremely efficient, smart, and friendly. . . . I'm talking highest paw rating. They're so spot-on that they're putting up leash hooks for dogs to sit-stay on the porch.

Dog-ma sez she couldn't help drooling over a grass-fed beef Occidental Burger. A customer was devouring one and praising it wildly. Noah was behind the bar. He finally quipped, "Yes, our food is every bit as good as our beer, and our beer is fantastic." Dog-ma raised her glass to Noah's summation.

Mir appeared with a tray of Lata's vegetarian samosas and mint chutney. Dog-ma and dining companion ordered quickly. I soon overheard dog-ma telling Noah they're the best samosas ever, and a perfect pairing with Saison ale. I wonder what they meant by "synergy" and "grassy" qualities. Woof?

Such juicy, on-the-dogspot, mouth-watering foods and beers. If only I'd been beneath the bar, catching scraps. Imagine the scraps that Porter the cat (seen on the tavern logo) must get.

Read Noah's lively blog. There you'll find Tavernmistress's lunch and dinner menus. Plus a brilliant beer menu and eclectic little wine list.

Shouldn't I go back right now for some Porter Walnut Pie and Guinness Mousse?

winecountrydog Tilin thinking about going back to tavern
Credit for photos: Pat (PR Petsitting, Napa) and Tina (Chloe and Squirt's dog mom, Placerville)

Credit for tip about this dogstination: Henry Ehlers (The Midglen Studio, architects & builders)

July 18, 2008

Sequim 'summer event of the senses'

There's so much blooming lavender in Sequim, Washington, that Google Earth shows a big purple spot where the Olympic Peninsula used to be.

At the annual Sequim Lavender Festival, you can get your own piece of the purple haze.

The 12th annual festival is being held July 18–20, 2008. The Street Fair boasts many freshly-harvested lavender varieties as well as wonderful locally-made lavender products and other herbal products. Nice culinary products include those by Cedarbrook Lavender & Herb Farm. For pet products, check out Moosedreams Lavender Farms' Full Moon Dog and Full Tilt Tabby.

There are art and crafts vendors, music, food booths, and a wine and beer garden. You'll find some other farm crops and goods for sale, too. Find Leeon of Angel Farms lavender and ask him about his goldenseal.

The list of lavender goodies and other wonderful things goes on and on. You might need some of Mike Reichner's lavender-infused coffee to keep you on your nose for the whole weekend.

The Farm Tours will dazzle your senses.

Dog-ma says Sequim's a great place to talk to growers and learn the difference between lavender cultivars. By the time the festival's over, you'll be able to tell a Lavandin from an angustifolia, maybe even a Grosso from a Hidcote . . . if you don't overdo the Deschutes ale or the Olympic Peninsula wines.

Attention, you dogs: You'll have to let your humans do the Street Fair while you hang out at Olympic Gentle Paws' dog-sitting area on 2nd Avenue in Sequim, near the Farm Tours bus stop. If you make your people feel guilty enough about leaving you, they might bring you back some lavender-grilled chicken, salmon, or prawns.

Credit for photos: Sequim Lavender Festival

July 17, 2008

eBay bans some sales of pet fur

eBay Inc. banned the sale of dog and cat pelts on its German-language websites, effective July 15, 2008. This was after animal rights groups hounded the online auction giant about concerns that pet pelts show up in goods labeled as other kinds of fur. . . . Like other kinds would be better?

The new eBay pet fur ban will extend to France, Italy, and Spain — with other Euro countries to follow, said eBay spokesman Alexander Witt. But it does not cover the United States. What the woof?

International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) program leader Peter Pueschel was quoted by AP as saying he welcomed eBay's decision as an important step in animal protection. He added, "We hope that others will follow worldwide, and that such products will be taken off the market." (At IFAW.org, you can read what the org has to say about the Internet animal trade.)

On another level, there's the China syndrome: Undercover investigators from Swiss Animal Protection toured "fur farms" normally closed to prying eyes in China's Hebei Province. The investigators concluded that 'Conditions on Chinese fur farms make a mockery of the most elementary animal welfare standards. In their lives and their unspeakable deaths, these animals have been denied even the simplest acts of kindness.'" They tell of the worst horrors — documented in words and pictures for those with strong stomachs.

How much slaughtered pet stuff does eBay sells on its Asian websites? Good question. But before we harpoon eBay, we need to line up and sniff out eBay rivals and other little Asian Net auction houses. The Net era has brought big Silk Road traffic with Chinese as well as U.S.-owned auctions in the China market. In the broader Asian market, there's Gmarket, Yahoo's pan-Asian Net dragon. (Business Week called the eBay–Yahoo Asian rivalry "ferocious.")

On July 10, 2008, the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) announced that Overstock.com has become the hundredth retailer to make a pawlicy of not selling any products containing animal fur. As a dog who dreams of an ideal world, I'd like to wear pelts of animals who died of natural causes to help stay warm in the winter — such an energy-saving idea! But I realize that humans can't stop the cruelty-based fur trade unless consumers and advocate groups take a stand against wearing, buying, and selling fur clothing.

Check out the HSUS list of Fur-free Retailers and Designers to see which companies decide to ban fur sales and avoid bad publicity and legal battles.

July 16, 2008

Occidental Teresa and Feral Tom

"Teresa Tudury channels Ethel Merman," said Ani Siamese as we listened to Ms. Tudury's song "Goodbye Philadelphia." What a singer, say I! "Who could ask for anything more?" quipped my Ani, an erudite young rescue kitty (photo below).

Ani Siamese rescue kittyWhat Ani wants is to meet the tomcat whom Teresa Tudury sings about. Tom and Teresa live in Occidental — in west Sonoma County, northern California. Charming Tom never comes inside. He just hangs out, appearing as if he'd like some loving. But, nope, Tom has his feral ways.

Tom isn't totally feral, though. Feral cats run when they see us, and have to be trapped to take them to the vet or relocate them. Nice organizations exist to humanely trap and then release feral cats after spay/neuter. Adult feral cats are often returned to their old habitat; many would have a hard time living with humans. But a lot of feral kittens get placed in permanent homes.

Too many feral cats in U.S.!People who do trap-neuter work are needed to help reduce the feral cat population and give cats a better quality of life. There are more than 60 million feral cats in the U.S. — a staggering number. The homeless U.S. cat population is close to being as large as the population of U.S. dogs with homes, which is 70-some million!

West Sonoma County has a special non-profit group called Kitty Committee. "Head cat" is Laura Comyns. Dog-ma first talked to Ms. Comyns when the group was getting ready for an annual rescue of feral beach kittens on the Sonoma coast.

Kitty Committee volunteers not only find homes for feral kitties, but they also network and act as liaisons with rescue and foster groups, people who find feral cats, local veterinarians, the Humane Society, and organizations like Forgotten Felines that do spay/neuter. Paw-leeze visit Kitty Committee's website to learn more and to support this small group of people with big hearts.

Forgotten Felines of Sonoma County helps feral cats in the county and beyond. This nonprofit org has about 200 volunteers, and the endorsement of animal control agencies. They spay/neuter feral cats; manage feral colonies; remove colony cats who are adoptable; provide food assistance to people caring for colonies; and educate the public about feral issues.

Forgotten Felines practices what's called TTVAR-M feral cat control: "Trap, Test, Vaccinate, Alter, Return and Maintain." At the Forgotten Felines website, you will find feral cats you can adopt and a lot of info!

July 15, 2008

Cami and Dusty survive Concow fire

Cami the Bullmastiff/Rhodesian Ridgeback and Dusty the ferret got to go home on July 14. They returned from an emergency shelter with guardian/owner, Virginia Beaudry, to their northern California home near Chico.

The week before, Cami and Dusty had been lucky to be safely evacuated. Their guardian had a few minutes to get them all out alive when the sheriff came to say that the Butte-Plumas wildfire was raging toward them. They left so fast that I doubt they had time to grab their food. Ms. Beaudry didn't have time to grab even her clothes.

Cami dog with guardian/person, Virginia Beaudry, on July 14, 2008
Cami dog and Virginia Beaudry at Concow home site

Going home is different this time. There's no house for them in the smoky, charcoal grey landscape of their Concow home site. There's nothing left. Not even Ms. Beaudry's stuff in the "fire safe," 'cuz everthing melted. They have to start all over. Home is a trailer now as they begin to clean up the property — an awful task.

The Three Rivers chapter of the American Red Cross has been out there, and maybe a lot of other people will pawse to help them.

I hope help is going to reach other Concow pets and people, too — like Kathy Lentz, who'd been staying in the shelter and caring for seven dogs. The California Conservation Corps really helped at the shelter by bringing a trailer filled with animal food and supplies.

(Somebody from animal control didn't help. They wanted to take Dusty the ferret away from Ms. Beaudry. Attention, animal friends: Remember to have your papers with you — maybe rolled up inside a tiny collar pendant — in case of disaster!)

The North Valley Animal Disaster Group (NVADG.org) has cared for up to 250 pets a day at the shelter. Folks from Yuba-Sutter Domestic Animal Disaster Assistance (www.ysdada.org) pitched in, too. The NVADG (530-895-0000) needs your help, so please contact them via phone or email to assist in sheltering or evacuations.

My dog-ma talked to Stacy at Chico Enterprise Record newspaper. Stacy commented that people affected by the fire disaster are talking about pulling together and building stronger community relationships. Paws up, everybuddy! Please visit www.ChicoER.com in the coming weeks to read stories about people rebuilding their lives after the fires.

July 14, 2008

Petaluma Sirius with LaLoo

Have you tried Lagunitas Sirius Ale with LaLoo's Deep Chocolate goat's milk ice cream? . . . No? Then you must've missed the Petaluma Art & Garden Festival.

Baxter and DoloresThe 2008 annual event in PETaluma was held on July 13th.

Big dog Baxter was there having a good time with Dolores.

Max and dog momMax was there.

His dog-mom was nice enough to carry his water bowl for him.

Sadie and Dad AaronSadie, posing here with her dad, Aaron, was so comfy in her stroller.

If my dog-ma had a stroller for me like this — one with a big bonnet to keep the sun out of my eyes — I could've gone all over the place!

Maggie May and AvaSee how blissed out Maggie May gets when her dog-mom, Ava, holds her.

Big dog at Lagunitas tableBig dog (above) met big beer . . . and who knows what else.
Baxter and lovely daschundBaxter met a beautiful little long-haired daschund (above). I understand why he really likes her.
Maggie May meeting MaxMaggie May met Max (in photo above). . . . a match made in downtown PETaluma.
Caitlin, Mary Ryan, Amelia, AliceDog-ma sez Caitlin, Mary Ryan, Amelia, and mom Alice (in photo above) are a study in design contrasts: paisley, polka dot, solid, and floral.

The whole afternoon at this "no pets" event was dogalicious. You might've missed it, but you don't have to wait till next year to try the local food at Tres Hombres, Pazzo, and other great places in PETaluma. You dogs can't have a table at most of them 'cuz they don't have outdoor seating, but you can ask your guardian/owners to get you a doggie bag.