August 30, 2008

NOLA to "do this again"?

by winecountrydog

Today is the first day I've felt like my old dog-self since my many long weeks of recovery from back surgery. It doesn't matter that I can't jump anymore or stand on my hind legs to dance like I used to. I'm able to walk and prance around with a ball in my mouth, and to go up and down stairs without hesitation. I'm out of pain, and I feel doggone blessed.

But as I sit here paw-writing about my recovery, I have a heavy heart about the animals and humans in New Orleans and other Gulf Coast areas watching Hurricane Gustav approach.

Dog-ma has always told me it takes three years to heal from big losses. That's why I wanted to celebrate this week's 3rd anniversary of Katrina. I figured everybuddy would finally be healed.

But it wasn't to be. As of this afternoon, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has ordered a mandatory evacuation of the city. That changes the informal advice to flee from the approaching storm to an official order to get out.

NOLA dog waiting
Imagine all the distraught humans and animals in the path of Gustav -- now being called the storm of the century. It'll likely make landfall between East Texas and western Mississippi two days from now.

About one million people and countless pets along the Gulf Coast took to the highways today to escape Gustav.

One of those pets is a brown and white spotted hound dog named Lee Roy. He waited on a corner with his disabled human, Elizabeth Tell, said WRAL News. Fur three hours they waited fur a special needs bus to take them to the station. Lee Roy panted inside his kennel carrier as his upset human got more upset waiting.

A couple of St. Bernard Parish dogs and their four rabbit friends wanted to leave. They squeezed into their family truck alongside family belongings. Their humans, Gary and Deanna Sass, were reported by AP News to be hurriedly packing to get out before it's too late.

We all know that not everybuddy's gonna evacuate -- fur a variety of reasons. As one tired NOLA human summed it up: "I can't do this again."

NOLA dog
Paw prayers out to everybuddy.

Pawnote: Woof thanks to all journalist-humans who continue to report news on site in the threatened Gulf region. Pawleeze, everybuddy, read the personal pet evacuation info at Louisiana SPCA (LA-SPCA).

Photo credit: LA-SPCA in New Orleans

August 29, 2008

New Orleans pets brace for Gustav on Katrina anniversary

by winecountrydog

For the second day in a row, I feel compelled to re-paw a verbatim press release about New Orleans pets and the efforts of the Louisiana SPCA to rescue and shelter those in need.

LA SPCA animal rescue sign -- 2005 KatrinaThis isn't just another day in busy life of animal rescue: Today is the 3rd anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

Today was supposed to be a day of quiet remembrance and a dedication ceremony for the Katrina Pet Memorial. Instead, it's a day when nervous eyes in the U.S. Gulf are watching the approach of Hurricane Gustav.

Gustav seems headed to New Orleans. AP News reports the chance of New Orleans getting winds of 39 mph (63 kph) or more within next five days as 50 to 60 percent. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has declared a state of emergency to lay the groundwork for federal assistance. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin said he would order a mandatory city evacuation within 72 hours if/when forecasters predict a Category-3 strike — or possibly even Category-2.


Pet Owners Should Be Prepared to Activate Their Personal Pet Evacuation Plans
NEW ORLEANS, LA (8/28/08) – The Louisiana SPCA continues with the shelter evacuation of all its animals today through Friday. The transport will take place in advance of any mandatory evacuations so that shelter personnel will be able to return to the city and be able to assist as needed. The shelter remains closed to the public until further notice [after storm].

Although the exact path of Gustav is still unknown, LA/SPCA is urging pet owners to be prepared to activate their personal evacuation plans and evacuate with their pets should a mandatory evacuation be called. "This is not a time to panic," said LA/SPCA’s Ana Zorrilla, "but a time for pet owners to do a final review of their personal evacuation plans, and be ready to evacuate if needed."

Zorrilla said that should an evacuation be called, state officials will release information on multiple pet shelters that will be established throughout the state. The pet shelters will be adjacent to human shelters and the pet owners will be required to be with and care for their pets. The list will also be made available at Red Cross Welcome Centers along all contra flow evacuation routes. When pet shelter information is released by state officials, the locations will also be made available on our website.

Zorrilla said the state will not be setting up any pet shelters in Orleans Parish. "If there are people who do not have any means of transportation or have special needs, people should bring their pets to pick-up points designated by the city, but we stress very strongly that this should be a last resort," said Zorrilla. "We don’t want the public to rely on this as their best plan of action, but rather as their very last option."

Residents can search for pet-friendly hotels by going to or Zorrilla suggests that residents consider boarding facilities outside of the disaster area. "Although some may be full due to this being a Labor Day Weekend, we encourage pet owners to also look at boarding facilities that are not in disaster zones as another option."

Boarding facilities and hotels will require proof of vaccinations, which should be included in every person’s pet evacuation kit. The complete pet evacuation checklist, below, is also available in a detailed brochure. The brochure is available in three languages – English, Spanish and Vietnamese.

LA SPCA human rescues dog during Katrina 2005
Place the following items in a waterproof container so you’re ready to go if you need to evacuate.

Dogs and Cats
  • Your veterinarian’s contact name and phone number
  • Copies of pet vaccination records
  • Medications
  • Leash
  • Extra collar
  • Food and water bowls
  • Bottled water
  • Toys
  • Treats
  • Paper towels
  • Plastic baggies for picking up pet waste
  • Muzzle, if necessary
  • First aid kit
  • Current photo of your pet
  • 5-day supply of pet food and can with opener if you need one
  • Kitty litter
  • Small travel kitty litter box
  • Several pillowcases for transporting
  • Water bowl
  • Heating pad
Small mammals (in small carriers)
  • Bedding material
  • Food
  • Food bowl and water bottle
Birds (in carrier with perch inside)
  • Food
  • Water mister
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Photo credit: LA SPCA

August 28, 2008

Rescue dog wine label for 3rd Katrina anniversary

By winecountrydog

August 29, 2008, is the third anniversary of the Katrina disaster and an occasion for solemn remembrance of lives lost and lives forever changed.

It's also an occasion fur animal lovers to support rescue and groups like the Dog Lovers Wine Club, who are showcasing New Orleans rescue dog Jack (not my buddy Jack Corgi) to help raise funds. The Louisiana SPCA in New Orleans is one of Dog Lovers Wine Club's Bark Partners.

I think it's purrfect that wine sales should support pet rescue! Jack, a Chow/German Shepherd, appears on a wine label gracing a 2006 Sangiovese from Santa Barbara County, California.

Jack Chow/Shepherd, New Orleans rescue dog
In support of this effort, I offer today's PR release verbatim:
Buellton, CA (PRWEB) August 28, 2008 -- Dog Lovers Wine Club commemorates the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina by showcasing Jack, a rescued New Orleans puppy, in their current wine club shipment.

Dog Lovers Wine Club wines
Jack arrived at the Louisiana SPCA in New Orleans in the spring of 2007 with his sister, Sasha, and a few other dogs. The group was treated for heartworms and scheduled to be sent to Maine to be adopted. Jack, a chow/shepherd mix, was fostered at Canine Connection, a doggie daycare and boarding facility. While he was there, he had a severe reaction to the heartworm treatment and nearly died.

The staff at the Magazine Street Animal Clinic saved him, and he returned to Canine Connection to be nursed back to health. All of the employees loved him, especially Jenna Matheny, who says, "Jack stole my heart the minute I saw his sad brown eyes. Whenever he would come out of his kennel to go outside, he would come and sit in front of me with his head down to be petted. He would follow me around the courtyard and would accompany me as I worked in the boarding area."

"Since Jack was too sick to be sent to Maine with his sister and the other shelter dogs, I decided that if I could find an apartment that allowed dogs, I would adopt him. As luck would have it, I found a beautiful house where Jack would be welcome, and on the very day that the other foster dogs were put on the transport truck headed to Maine, I adopted him," Jenny says.

"The SPCA warned me that his severe reaction could lead to residual heart problems and that because his heartworm treatment could not be completed, he may have a short life span. I was saddened to hear this, but I wanted to give him a good life for however long he may have left.

"As Jack adjusted to his new home, he filled out and his energy level increased. He was already housetrained when I brought him home, and has picked up 'sit,' 'shake,' and 'lie down' very quickly. He will put his paws up and beg if you tell him to 'sit pretty.' He comes to work with me at Canine Connection every day. He likes to play with the other dogs, but he really loves to lie up front and greet customers as they come in the door. I think this is mostly because everyone who comes in has to stop and pet him and tell him how handsome he is.

"Jack is now two years old and recently had his annual exam for his vaccinations. He still sees the veterinarian who saved him when he was so sick, and she gave him a clean bill of health. He is heartworm free and has no lasting damage to his heart. I am thrilled that our time together will be much longer than anyone originally thought!" says Jenny.

The Louisiana SPCA in New Orleans is one of Dog Lovers Wine Club's Bark Partners. As such, they receive donations from sales of wine and other products to support their programs. Following Katrina, LASPCA rescued hundreds of animals, reunited many with their lost families, and has since played a crucial role in disaster planning in the area with regard to animals.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
For more information, or to request video and images, pawleeze go to the club website, or call toll free 877-919-WINE.

August 26, 2008

'Warnings' funnier than DNC convention

By pawlitico

I stayed home to finish paw-writing while my buddy, Tilin Corgi, went off to a bake sale fundraiser for YES! on Prop 2 -- CA State ballot initiative for the Prevention of Farm Cruelty Act.

I had time to check online news from the 2008 Democratic National Convention. My reaction? I don't know. I'm past the sell-by date on the presidential campaign.

I turned from the happenings at DNC Denver to the Los Angeles Times 'cuz State politics and pawlitics is more interesting at the moment than national politics.

I ended my night at Your Scene "Strange But True Albums" -- the funny page where citizens post tons of "Weird Warnings" photos.

Poop and run for your life?

poop and run!
Cougar non sequitur

cougar non sequitur
Lethal combination!

lethal combination
No comment . . . except ouch.

balls removed
Humans have weird ways of warning one another about stuff.

August 25, 2008

Lottery winner buys gold milkbones

By winecountrydog

I won the UK National Lottery online Sweepstakes this weekend.
his royal highness and the gold milkbone
Amanda and her human friends and lots of other dogs won too. Congratulations to us!
I've got more pound notes to convert into dollars than I know what to do with.

I'll be able to pay off my ortho surgery bills and buy dog-ma and my buddies those gold milkbones they've been lusting after. Yours truly will autograph them. Woof.

zero dollar bill by brian romero
I did find a real gold milkbone for sale online, under the heading "Green Dog Gift? Dog Milk Bone Dipped in 24 Karat Gold to Hang from Collar or Necklace." What the woof is green about this?

What a waste of a furfectly good milkbone.The ad copy says, "This is an environmentally Friendly Dog Gift. How lucky can your dog be to wear this real Milk Bone preserved and dipped in 24 karat gold! The ultimate pamper present for the one you love! Some real pet fans even buy it for themselves and wear it!"

Not this pet, nor my fans. I won't even mention the gift seller's name. I don't want to acknowledge or embarrass. I mean, how silly — not to mention wasteful! — is it to dip milkbones in gold and then claim them as environmentally friendly?

But one of the gift seller's products, the Recycled Bomb Aquarium, would be a nice green gift — if you waited and let the algae accumulate.

August 24, 2008

You want to do the funky chicken?

By pawlitico

I want to do the funky chicken. Look, I can do it without moving my legs or turning around!

I don't want to be free — I don't want to have to cross the road and then put up with humans asking me why I did it. I want to party like a battery-caged factory-farm chicken.

Factory-farm chickens in battery cagesDoggoneit, I was looking furward to shackin' up with some cute local chickens in a claustrophobic yet cozy cage. But in November 2008, Californians will vote on Prop 2, the ballot initiative for the Prevention of Farm Cruelty Act (see PDF).

The Act requires that "an enclosure or tether confining specified farm animals allow the animals for the majority of every day to fully extend their limbs or wings, lie down, stand up, and turn around."

When the Act becomes law, it will, among other things, require CA egg farmers to move their 19 million caged chickens into cage-free facilities by 2015.

Egg and poultry farmer Arnie Riebli is a smart human. He saw this cage-free day coming. His family's been in the egg business in Sonoma County for 100 years. They're Sunrise Farms, the county's largest egg farm, producing one million eggs a day. Mr. Riebli's prepared whether or not the new law passes: Some of his chickens are cage free and some are not.

You can see egg farmer Riebli, and also Hope Bohanec, coordinator for 'YES! on Prop 2' for Sonoma County. The video makers labeled this a "debate" and "a look inside the egg industry." Woof? In reality, it's a look inside Sunrise Farms, with some sensible commentary from the two interviewees.

Palweeze learn more and join in supporting the initiative at the official 'YES on Prop 2' website.

Pawnote: You want to "Do The Funky Chicken"? Download this hit song by the late R&B/soul legend Rufus Thomas, who also did "Walking The Dog." Let's get funky for freeing the chickens!

August 23, 2008

Sir Nils Penguin first winged knight

The king penguin known as Nils Olav waddled his way into history when he was knighted by the Royal Norwegian Guard. Sir Nils Olav resides at Edinburgh Zoo, Scotland, and is the world's first knight with wings.

King Penguin Sir Nils Olav inspects Royal Norwegian Guard in Edinburgh, Scotland
The knighting ceremony took place in Edinburgh on 15 August, just after Sir Nils inspected the visiting King's Guard regiment, in town for the annual Military Tattoo.

In a 2005 ceremony, Nils Olav had been made Colonel-in-Chief of the Guard. Just prior, he'd held the rank of honourable regimental sergeant major. Over the years, Sir Nils has worked his way up the ranks to become the highest-ranking bird in any armed or winged forces in the world.

King Penguin Sir Nils Olav, honorary member of Norwegian King's Guard, resides at Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland.
Retired Guard Major Nils Egelien explains the king penguin's relationship with the Guard: "It all started in 1961, when the King's Guard of Norway came to the Military Tattoo, and we were very very interested in the king penguins. In 1972, we came back again, and adopted a king penguin in the name of Nils Olav, with the rank of lance corporal. . . . In 1982 he was a corporal, in '87 a sergeant, and in 1993 a regimental sergeant major."

The current Nils Olav is actually the second king penguin to be adopted by the Guards. The first penguin died in 1987 and was replaced by the then two-year-old Nils, now the world's most famous penguin.

There's a bronze statue of Sir Nils at the Edinburgh Zoo. Another was supposed to be made for Norwegian King Harald V. Does anybuddy know if the king fur a king statue exists?

August 22, 2008

Confessions of a plum eater

By pawlitico

I've been finding fallen plums when I'm out in the yard. They're juicy Santa Rosa plums — one of the loveliest Nature-assisted Luther Burbank inventions.

dogalicious Santa Rosa plums
At first I didn't much care about the plums, except they're fun to squeeze, like a ball. But plums are such juicy, fresh treats. And the pits are fun to spit out all over the yard. . . . I'm addicted.

Yesterday, dog-ma looked at me in a strange way. She got up close and felt my tummy. "Good grief, Jack," she exclaimed. "You've gained weight around your middle!"

Today, when dog-ma greeted me, she said, "I've been thinking about how you could've gained weight. You know, fruit has a LOT of fructose sugar — a ton of carbs, really. I bet you've been sneaking several plums a day, haven't you?"

I slunk down sheepishly. Yes, of course I have. Whenever nobuddy's looking, I eat as many juicy plums as I can. I'm not a vegan or fruitarian. I'm an omnivore. (By the way, as an omnivore, I don't eat any animal who didn't have a free life and a humane ending, 'cuz I'm a Humane California Dog.) It's just I can't resist plums.

Anybuddy who sez plums are bad fur a dog's health will have to explain to me why I'm feeling great. Plums have nutritional value fur dogs — such as vitamins and antioxidants.

But anybuddy who sez that eating lotsa plums and other fruits is bad fur the waistline, I'll have to agree with.

Before all you dogs start some kind of plum good diet fad, hear me on this one BIG CAVEAT: Plum pits can cause serious or life-threatening obstruction of the doggie digestive tract. There are a lot of inner doggie places to lose a pit.
See canine veterinary medicine illustrations!Humans, if your dogs aren't the type who will spit out all the pits, you're asking for trouble to allow them to eat plums, peaches, and other stone fruits.

You've heard that the pits of many stone fruit contain the poison cyanide? This is true. But it would take quite a few pits to poison a mid-sized dog; there's so little of cyanide in each one.

If les fideaux insist on les fruits, pawleeze take les pits out before serving.

If some fideau happens to swallow a pit, watch her or him closely for signs of nausea or discomfort. Examine poo for pit. . . . No pit in poo? Call your vet!

The moral of the story: A pitted fruit in time saves nine — nine lives, nine hundred bucks, nine hundred trips to the ER, etc. You get the idea.

August 21, 2008

Builders eye dog daycare as amenity

By winecountrydog

These days I need more attending to than I used to. I'm not lonely — my corgi buddy, Jack "pawlitico," keeps me company. But, since my surgery, I need dog-ma more often than I did when I was a healthy young whippersnapper. I'm lucky my dog-ma's around to care fur me and take us walkies.

Me, Tilin, and Jack, right, doing walkies at Bodega Bay. You can see that the fur on my back is missing where my surgical incision was.I know a lot of you dogs need daycare to doo walkies and personal stuff. Day care, and sometimes night care, is an impawtant biz service! It helps dogs stay happy and healthy. And it keeps a lot of humans from going crazy — especially those who aren't active whippersnappers themselves and those who are never-at-home workaholics.

I'm excited to learn that a big human company thought of including DOG DAYCARE into its new condominium development plan. The development is Group Gemstone's ManhattanWest in Las Vegas. It's a mixed-use community with 700 residences, shops, restaurants, office spaces, and an all-suite hotel.

ManhattanWest in Las Vegas, near the Strip
Group Gemstone CEO Alex Edelstein (also on the board of Kiva, called the "hottest nonprofit on the planet" by Fortune) says, "Our mission is to build the best condominiums in the world by focusing on quality of life. By building in amenities like our own coffeehouse and wine bar, a 9th floor Sky Lounge with views of the Strip, and services like dog day care, we can truly impact the way our residents live."

Services like dog day care. Woofin' awesome! A developer actually thought to build a doggie amenity into their service and marketing plan! Group Gemstone has made dog daycare part of their "full-blown" concierge service, which can get groceries and run various errands as well as walk doggies.

Group Gemstone is not the first developer to offer dog daycare, but it is the only company to be named fifth-fastest growing company in the U.S. in 2008. This was announced in August by Inc. 5000, which measures revenue growth of only U.S.-based companies that are privately held, for profit, and independent (not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies).

Edelstein says, "Our success in a tough real estate market is evidence that products with great design and companies with great execution can thrive in any market environment."

You know I'm not what you'd call pro-development. I'm pro-community. I applaud developers who accommodate dogs, children, bicyclists, and other community members. Companion animals need services and areas to roam, human bicyclists need safe bike storage and practical pathways, and human children need fun, safe places to play. I think you humans call this a HEALTHY COMMUNITY. Woof!

August 20, 2008

Take whale calf out to sea mum!

By winecountrydog

I feel bad about the Humpback whale calf who mistook a Pittwater Bay yacht for mother and has been trying to suckle the hull. Baby whale is starving. He's only one or two months old — some said only two weeks old. He desperately needs to eat.

Instead, baby whale, named Colin by Australian media, circles around the yacht north of Sydney Harbour, New South Wales.

Everybuddy has been hoping that baby Colin would join other Humpbacks passing by on their migration. Helpful humans used the yacht to lead Colin back out toward open sea so a whale mum could adopt him. But no success yet.

Bringing Colin into captivity is not a great option 'cuz he should be breast fed by a Humpback mum. "It's a really sad and difficult situation," said a spokeswoman for the New South Wales Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC). "It's caught the heart of Australians, and at the moment the public is really, really desperately wanting something to save the whale."

Human officials think they might be able to use an inflatable sling to tow Colin farther out to sea, where he has a chance of being reunited with his mother or being adopted by a lactating female Humpback willing to be a surrogate. If this doesn't happen soon, Colin won't stand a chance of making it.

Somebuddy suggested saving baby Colin by feeding him from an artificial teat with a milk formula made for humans. Colin would need as much as 230 litres of milk a day for up to a year. So far there aren't any humans willing to pay for that much food.

Only one human team has ever successfully fed and weaned a stranded whale calf. These folks, at Sea World in San Diego, California, say they can't help. What the woof? Poor Colin!

Baby Colin Humpback whale circles and suckles in vain
I've stood on the shores of the Pacific U.S. Coast with my dog-ma as Humpback whales make their way past during annual migration. Whales are very beautiful and impawtant animals.

Here's what I as a dog don't understand: If humans can put other humans out in space, why can't they put one baby whale out in the ocean?

I feel sad. Dog-ma's cousin in Bayview, very near baby Colin, feels sad, too. Pawleeze, somebuddy, take baby Colin whale out to sea mum!

August 19, 2008

'Bark the Vote'

By pawlitico

Tilin Corgi and I keep saying that the canine pack is critical when it comes to pawlitics. Here's proof: A five-pound pooch named Schmitty who's taking a bite out of voter apathy!

See Schmitty the Real New Yorkie in "Political Pooch Holds News Conference":

At her website Bark the Vote, Schmitty says what we two dogs have been saying: "Just imagine if all the pet lovin' humans voted — what a kinder, friendlier place this would be." Woof!

Maybe you've seen Schmitty on TV talking about her DOGS WHO CARE foundation? She created the foundation to raise money for animals across the country who become displaced and homeless in everyday life and on account of disasters.

Schmitty makes cards, calendars, designer dog collars, and other products for pets and people to raise money fur her foundation. You can buy them at her online store.

When you order a Dogs Who Care™ Message Collar, 100% of the profit goes to a growing network of shelters and sanctuaries across the U.S. (including several on the West Coast) that are dedicated to helping displaced and homeless pets find loving homes.

Be sure to read Schmitty's platform at Bark the Vote so you'll know how she stands/sits/stays on some issues that we relate to!

August 18, 2008

Day at a dog show

By pawlitico

I got to see some of my Pembroke Welsh Corgi friends at a Lake County Kennel Club of Northern California dog show. It was like a mini-Olympics (though not quite as dramatic as Tuvshinbayar Naidan of Mongolia winning a gold medal on August 14, 2008).

Here's my grand-dog-mom, Maryanne, wearing her Woofstock tee-shirt. This is the dog-mom of my beautiful birth mom, Cinder Corgi!

Pawlitico Jack Corgi's grand-dog-mom
This next photo is of my buddy Jeannie. She hid in the shadow of her person, Gayle, 'cuz she wasn't digging the August sun at Sonoma County Fairgrounds. Woof! A three-doggone-digit afternoon. But in spite of the heat, Jeannie went out in the ring and did her thing.

Jeannie Corgi
Here's my buddy Strider and his handler, Carol, coming out of the ring. I heard a little sigh of relief when they made it to the shade.

Strider and Carol
Now, here's Bette, my petite tricolor buddy. She thought maybe she could squeeze in between some crates and escape the heat.

Bette the tricolor Pembroke
Nope, we all had to deal with the heat for a while. (Oh howl, didn't that judge take furever?)

Bette, too, dutifully went around the ring, lookin' good like a Corgi should.

Bette the tricolor Pembroke in the ring
I wonder how the points and wins all ended up. We'll have to ask dog-ma.

I went over to the indoor rings and met a darling two-year-old Schnauzer named Stormy. She asked me how she's related to us corgis.

Stormy the Schnauzer
I told Stormy I'm no expert on canine evolution, but I'd work on an answer. That's what we corgis do well: We work on things.

August 17, 2008

Dogtown redoo, or ale and tail again

By winecountrydog

I'm a Welsh Corgi who drinks beer so that I can relax and sleep without taking much heavy-duty doggie medication. (Lagunitas Dogtown Pale Ale and Mendocino Red Tail Ale are two of my favs.)

Me, Tilin Corgi, feeling yelpy and shakyHumans around the U.S. are going nutz over my being a beer-drinking dog after I paw-wrote about it. Some humans are howlin' more about my drinking than about the underwhelming news from the McCain – Obama campaigns.

I want you to understand that I drink beer for my tail — that being the end where my painful spasms radiate and make my back legs shaky and weak.

First, allow me to quote a certain veterinary professional, whose name I'll be yappy to provide you via email:

The folks who get irate about dogs getting beer, etc., are mad because of the numbnuts that use alcohol to intoxicate their pets for amusement — just to see them staggering around and falling down the stairs. I get pretty mad about that too. Sipping just enough to relax you so you can sleep better is a whole different story — like the difference between someone who enjoys a glass of wine at dinner vs. someone who drinks himself into an early death from liver disease.
This veterinarian also points out that "most medications, and even many vitamins and minerals, are poisons if taken incorrectly." Smart dogs will consult their vets before taking any kind of med or supplement — including beer.

Tell your vet which beer product you're looking to drink. You don't want, for exmple, a stout that's made with real chocolate, toxic to canines. Such is the case with Breakfast Stout from Founders Brewing Co. It's a lovely drink fur humans. But, like many stouts, it's brewed with chocolates and not good fur dogs.

A word to the wise dog should be sufficient here.

A pro-hops southern Oregon herbalist and animal lover reminds us that hops are a nerve tonic for many animals as well as humans. We're experimenting with recipes that use hops to provide nervine benefit.

We see that hops are helpful to horses, too, as Horsetalk NZ writer Robert McDowell explains. Here's a snippet from his "Nerve Tonics" piece.
There is a class of herbs called 'nervines' — herbs that have specific actions on the nervous system. Many of the nervines contain high levels of magnesium phosphate — a mineral that has been found to be very important to the health and well-being of nerves. Different nervines nourish different aspects of the nervous system; the job of the herbalist is to identify the nervine(s) that will suit a particular sort of nervous system.

There are around a dozen nervines that apply to humans, but there are four main nervines — Valerian, Vervain, Chamomile, and Hops — that apply to horses.
I wonder whether hops are in the diet of famous Welsh horse twins Bill and Ben — the world's oldest equine twins.

Welsh equine twins Bill and Ben
You can read about Bill and Ben in the Horsetalk NZ July 2008 piece "Celebrity twins chalk up a quarter century." You can also visit the celebrity duo at Veteran Horse Centre at St Dogmaels, Cardigan, West Wales.

Remember now, if you have serious spasms, take a bit of beer before walkies.

My previous "ale for tail" article is Dogtown days of summer.

August 16, 2008

Dog Days and St Roch

According to some traditions, August 16 is the feast day of Saint Roch, the patron saint of dogs and invalids.

St Roch and his dog
St Roch is a French Saint who, during the Middle Ages, developed a following because he cared for those who fell ill from the bubonic plague. When he became ill, he isolated himself in a forest, where a dog brought him food each day from his master's table.

We don't know of any local dog-friendly feasts today that commemorate St Roch, but we like the story of St Roch and his bond with a dog.

St Roch was said to have been the son of a rich merchant, born about 1350 in Montepellier, in Southern France. He chose to live as a hermit. On a pilgrimage to Rome, he caught the plague and, abandoned by others, was taken care of in a woodland by a dog who fed him and would not leave him.

Old English paintings depict St Roch — also known as Rocco, Roke, and Rollox — as a pilgrim with a sore on his leg who is accompanied by a dog with a loaf of bread in his mouth. St Roch was reputed to have cured many people suffering from the plague. After his death in 1610, a cult for the cause of St Roch as the patron of plague sufferers spread across much of Europe. Many miracles were claimed to have happened at his tomb.

medal of St Roch and his dog
Reynard of The English Chemical Theatre adds

It is possible that the Roman termination of the canicular days [Dog Days] was originally extended in England from the 11th to the 17th August to incorporate the feast day of St Roch, patron saint of dogs, on the 16th. Certainly within the Church of England it is reasonably common for some parishes to hold an animal service around this time, where domestic pets and animals are blessed within the church building. I can't say authoritatively whether this is connected to old traditions of the dog days and St Roch or not, although it is doubtful whether the practice itself has a lineage preceding the twentieth century.
The declaration of St Roch as a patron saint means that humans can pray for his intercession for the healing of invalids. We hope this typically includes dogs!

August 15, 2008

'Your Car Is Your Cage'

By pawlitico

"Your Car Is Your Cage" is a sign at the entrance of Great Bear Adventure near Glacier National Park, Montana.

The thought of automobiles as human cages gives me a strange feeling. I don't like cages. You know that I, as a Humane California dog, growl at the fact that factory farms keep "food animals" caged. "Factory" chickens, veal calves, and pigs live all their lives in cruel confinement.

When I saw the "Your Car Is Your Cage" sign, it made me wonder whether humans have gotten used to cages. A lot of humans talk about feeling like caged animals, and about being caged up in work cubicles. It seems that, when humans aren't in one cage, they're in another. Is this why not enough humans realize that animals feel awful about being trapped in tiny spaces? I don't know. I'm just a corgi.

I think bears are pretty exciting. They sure have a hard time nowadays finding places to live safely 'cuz they freak people out.

Big yawning grizzly bear
Dog-ma told me about bears in the Trinity Alps wilderness that she ran into. She said she wouldn't have been afraid of them if other humans hadn't been tormenting them with buckshot.

What happens is that many humans who live or camp in remote areas shoot at the bears, or at least scare them badly, to try to make them go away. Humans get especially aggressive when they're trying to keep bears away from their food. But once bears get a taste for "leftovers," they keep coming back. So humans shoot more. The bears end up feeling angry — not to mention hurt and in pain. Then the bears start hating humans.

What a "great bear adventure" this is, right?

In Montana, Great Bear Adventure is a place for humans to see grizzly bears, also known as brown bears, from the safety of their car cages.

There's great bear info at Great Bear Foundation. You can learn about grizzlies and the seven other bear species of the world at their Bear Species link.

Bears are wonderful animals. As the Great Bear Foundation people say, "It is possible for bears and humans to successfully coexist, but now it is the responsibility of humans to adapt and learn about ways to live with bears."

I just want to acknowledge this, and to remind humans to be kind to wild animals, not only to us companion animals.

August 14, 2008

Stick the bike pedals

By winecountrydog

Dog-ma loves bicycles. Dog-ma told me that her dad was a UK cycling expert back in the day. He knew about gears, panniers, and sidecars before Trek and trekkies were born.

As a dog, I could hate cyclists. But I don't even chase them. What I'm peeed off about is one human cyclist on a street by a local college — that is, one Bike Hotshot who didn't like sharing the road with our car.

Imagine what did the pedaling idiot deliberately did: He faked a left turn into a crosswalk right in front of our car.

Dog-ma had to hit the brakes. It's a good thing Jack Corgi and I were wearing doggie seatbelts.

May I interject this concept at this juncture — as Woody Allen once said so innocently, before he dropped a verbal bomb: May I suggest that the pedaling idiot stick the pedals where a pedal doesn't shine?

Howl, yes, I'm peeed off. You don't ever hear me bark like this unless somebuddy threatens my life. It's not bad enuff that I'm recovering from life-saving back surgery? Now I've got to have a pedaling idiot try to make me a vegetable?

Vegans, I'm not demeaning vegetables. You know I like It's just that, as a dog, I need slightly more mobility than a veggie has. human and her dogs
Paw-leeze, all you cool cyclists, tell fellow humans not to fake out car drivers with sudden bicycle moves. It only leads to accidents, which cause disability or death. Such a stoopid human trick it would be for a cyclist to mame or kill 'cuz of arrogance.

Dog-ma and I still think it's great to bicycle. Especially with a doggie sidecar.

bicycle and taxi sidecar
I wanna bark about nice bike tours: Tour d'Organics. It's a doggone great idea for human bicyclists to do a tour with organic venues.

tour d'organics
Local farms host the rest stops, which are well stocked with local produce and snacks. Howlingly terrierrific!

I'm an organic dog and a big Humane California farm supporter. So, I say, what could be better than Tour d'Organics? Paw-leeze check out the 2008 tours — the 4th annual. Ride first in Sebastopol, California, on August 17, and then in Portland, Orgeon, on September 6.

I can't go 'cuz I'm healing. But I hope you dogs get to go in your sidecars. Pawmail me about what a great time you have!

August 13, 2008

SF Giants Baseball Dog Days

By pawlitico

Hey, dog buddies, get your humans to take you out to the ballgame!

This year's annual Dog Days of Summer baseball game will be San Francisco Giants vs. San Diego Padres. It's on Saturday, August 23, 2008, at AT&T Park San Francisco.

Giants Fan dogAdvanced Dog Zone registration is necessary!

Look what dogs will get to do: Be in a doggy costume contest, parade around the field, and take home a doggy souvenir that's designed especially for the day. Woofin awesome!

A portion of the Dog Days Giants game ticket proceeds will benefit the San Francisco SPCA.

Humans, paw-leeze read the following Dog Days Park Rules, Recommendations & Info.

  • Any participating dog must be at least 6 months old.

  • Only one dog per human adult, and no dogs in heat, please!

  • All dogs MUST have ID Tags and current rabies vaccination.

  • The Park reserves the right to refuse entry to any dog.

  • Waiver forms must be completed before entering the ballpark.

  • All dogs must be kept on leash at all times.

  • Don't bring a dog who's unpredictable in crowds, with other dogs, or with strangers.

  • Use good judgment regarding dog temperament so event will be enjoyable for all.

  • Note that dogs and owners will be restricted to a certain area within the ballpark.

  • Please pick up after your dog. Be courteous and responsible.

A veterinarian will be on hand in case of an injury or emergency.

Remember, you've got to get your Dog Zone tickets in advance. This is true even if you're a human with season tickets. It's easy. Go to the SF Giants website. Buy a ticket and also paw out the registration form.

Enjoy those hot dogs at the game.

August 12, 2008

Dogtown Days of summer

By winecountrydog

The Dogtown Days of summer are upon me — that is, Dogtown Pale Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company. I'm drinking 'cuz ale is good for what ails me.

Good ol' Lagunitas. As they say, they brew "in a bizarre old world tradition using only water, hops, yeast, and malted barley." The result is something that humans and dogs call delicious and delightful.

In this dog's opinion, the Dogtown ale, which is fairly light-bodied, has a nice floral aroma with fruity and herbal notes, a fresh hoppy scent, balanced bitterness (not sharp), smooth mouthfeel, and a dogalicious finish.

That's pretty good describin' fur a dog, isn't it? Well, howl, I've had plenty of oppawtunity to think about how to describe things since my major back surgery.

Drinking good craft beer is a serious health matter for me. I have awful muscle spasms from time to time. I drink beer the same way I take pharmaceutical drugs: in a measured dose. Drugs like muscle relaxants and painkillers "zonk" me, so I try not to take them too much. I don't like feeling zonked. But sometimes I have to give in 'cuz the spasms get to me.

A bit of beer in a specified amount, based on my weight, really helps me relax, and it also helps my medications last longer in my system. I learned this "beer trick" from a veterinarian.

Some humans feel I'm nutz for drinking beer. And they feel my dog-ma is a criminal for buying me the beer. Humans have passionate opposing opinions on this subject!

Here's an example of the anti-beer position: "Owners must be made aware of the danger and consequences of alcohol consumption in the family pet and consider alcohol as a household poison. Veterinarians are reminded that any incident of alcohol poisoning in animals is not legally privileged information and, if abuse is thought to have occurred, the local humane society and police need to be involved." This statement is from The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (1993).

I'm not abused. I'm not poisoned. I actually feel better today than I did yesterday. But now, 'cuz of reading anti-beer literature, I'm paranoid.

Could you paw-leeze bail my dog-ma out of jail if they catch me with a beer in my paw?

Pawnote: If you'd like to bark about this subject, question my sanity, or get more info about how I use beer safely, paw-leeze email me.

August 11, 2008

Bentley Poodle's OCD story

Bentley is a big Standard Poodle. I met him at our veterinary surgeon's clinic in Petaluma. I also met his fun human buddies, Johnny and David. They gave me cookies. Woof thanks!

Bentley Poodle with Johnny and David and me
Bentley is only eight months old, but he's a veteran of surgery. He had to have both of his front shoulders operated on because of osteochondrosis (OCD).

Osteochondrosis is a painful condition in which there's an abnormality in the cartilage at a joint space. It occurs fairly commonly in the shoulders of large and giant-breed dogs. In a puppy, the first clinical sign would be lameness — oftentimes, lameness that worsens after exericse.

Joint cartilage is the tissue at the ends of long bones that allows pain-free motion. When there's an OCD defect in the cartilage, it leads to formation of a loose piece, called a flap of cartilage. The flap can fragment or break off in the joint. Ouch!

Bentley developed painful cartilage flaps in his front shoulders. Orthopedic surgeon Russ Gurevitch, DVM, fixed Bentley's problem. Different surgical techniques are used to fix OCD, but the goal is always to remove loose pieces of cartilage from the affected joint and scrape the area clean.

Bentley's raring to go these days. His guardian/owner, Lila, got him to stay still for a second.

Bentley with Lila, his guardian/owner
Somebuddy commented that Bentley and Lila look like they're made fur each other. They do go together well, don't they?

Another happy dog is Duke the Labrador puppy. He was with his grand-dog-mom. Duke's only 11 weeks old, and he was at the clinic fur a checkup. He's a healthy little guy.

me with Duke the Lab puppy and his grand-dog-mom
I got so excited talking to Duke that I forgot to ask his grand-dog-mom's name. Doggoneit. I apawlogize fur that.

August 10, 2008

Visit to my vet surgeon

By winecountrydog Tilin Corgi

Here's a bit of show-and-tell about my last veterinary checkup with wonderful surgeon, Russ Gurevitch, DVM.

What a nice human and great surgeon Dr. Gurevitch is. You can see me enjoying a treat with Dr. G. You can see my shaved back, too. That's where my nine-inch surgical incision was.

Tilin Corgi enjoying treat from Dr. Gurevitch
Dr. G performed an incredibly successful major surgery on my spine. I'm so lucky to be able to walk. Dr. G's been checking my progress and talking things over with me ever since the surgery.

me and Dr. Gurevitch
I asked Dr. G how he thinks I'm doing. He said I still have mild neurological deficits. This is actually good news for a dog like me. Remember, I wouldn't have been able to walk or go to the bathroom without surgery.

Dr. G made a bunch of notes about my progress.

Dr. G taking notes about me
I'm eternally grateful for Dr. Gurevitch's help.

I've met other dogs in the Sonoma/Marin area who are barking out big thanks to Dr. G for amazing surgeries on knees, hips, backs, and other doggie places. I'll be paw-writing some stories about these dog buddies.

I'm a grateful dog
You know, dog-ma is so grateful for my surgery and recovery that she gets almost too choked up to talk about it. Dog-ma and I are awfully tight after living together for 10-1/2 years. Howl, I can't picture life without us being together.

Pawnote: If you'd like to consult SF North Bay surgeon Russ Gurevitch, DVM, call Veterinary Referral Surgical Service in Petaluma, California, at 707-778-6065.

August 9, 2008

Music to a cat's ears

I've got cat stuff on the dogbrain 'cuz I've been dreamin' about cats.

My recent nights are restless. I keep wakin' up scratchin' an itch I can't reach. I itch 'cuz I roll in the dust every day. I'm addicted to summer rolling. Dog-ma's so annoyed she's gonna send me to doggy 12 steps.

Anyway, I dreamed I invented a cat toy. I howl a laugh at the thought. Why would I invent a cat toy? . . . My dogbrain works in funny ways.

Too bad I can't remember the dream clearly enough to make the toy. My young Ani Siamese would love to tear it apart and use the stuffing in one of her sculptures. Ani's a Neo-Synthesist artist working in sculpture and watercolor.

Artistic Ani sometimes dances with our dog-ma — who's obviously also cat-ma.

Ani discovered dancing serendipitously. She was cradled in dog-ma's right arm one evening, her paws in the palm of dog-ma's outstretched left hand. Dog-ma stood up and gently rocked Ani to the beat of a bluesy rockabilly tune. I was so surprised Ani didn't tell dog-ma she's crazy and make an escape. Nope. Ani liked it.

Who woulda thunk it? Music to a cat's ears.

Ani and dog-ma danced today to Carolyn Wonderland's "Miss Understood." Adolescent Ani identifies with the song title.

Another sound that's music to this Ani's ears is the whir of a blender. Ani does a solo dance on the counter when she hears it.

my Ani Siamese, lover of prey-model smoothies and veggies - not tomatoes actually
Dog-ma makes cat-a-licious smoothies. The combos vary. But they're always nutritious — based on a "prey model" diet, which include meat, bone, and offal in varying proportions.

Apawlogies to vegan humans, but we dogs and cats are still carnivorous.

If it were up to Ani, she'd eat raw liver by the pound, but dog-ma insists on "prey model" nutritional balance. It's great for dog-ma when she can use Primal Pet Foods raw frozen Chicken Grind 'cuz it's got bone, meat, and offal already ground up extra-fine — 3/16-inch grind — just purrfect for cat smoothies!

Sometimes dog-ma adds Ani's favorite veggies and herbs, too. I recall that Ani likes parsley.

Of course, the best cat herb is also the all-time best cat toy: The mint family herb Nepeta cataria: catnip!

cat-delicious catnip, aka catmint, plants
Catnip is a most exciting cat toy. You don't need to put it in a smoothie. Just sprinkle some nice, organic, locally-grown catnip on an old cat toy or on the floor. The whole floor will turn into a toy!

Why spend a lot of money on a cat toy that's fancier than a cat can appreciate? You humans can't beat the return on investment in catnip. Save your money for highest-quality pet foods. . . . Now, that's music to dog-ma's ears.

August 8, 2008

Compassion Day August 8th

By pawlitico

When a young dog like myself reads the news, it can make me howl in a way that isn't funny. I need to be pawsitive, so I am declaring August 8, 2008, the first annual Compassion Day for Humane and Human rights.

I came up with the idea after reflecting on the need for stronger protection of human rights and humane rights in the world. I'm having a moment of compassion meditation with my family to remember everybuddy who suffers.

Today is opening day of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. This makes me remember the May '08 earthquake in China that killed almost 70,000 people and countless animals.

This Beichuan pig survived in the rubble of her home.

Beichuan pig survives earthquake
Today is also the day after the world's attention was drawn to a statement made by a U.S. mayor whose two Labrador dogs were slain by police.

Below you can see the Labrador retrievers walking with Berwyn Heights, Maryland, Mayor Cheye Calvo and his wife, Trinity Tomsic, in an old photo. That's Chase, on the left. He was a four-year-old Lab. Payton, on the right, was a seven-year-old. They were shot and killed by a sheriff's SWAT team during a "drug raid" of their home on July 29, 2008. No one in the home was involved in drugs; all were innocent victims.

Chase and Payton out walking with Cheye Calvo and Trinity Tomsic
According to a Washington Post interview with Mayor Calvo, when the police went in, they shot Payton near the front door and followed Chase as he ran into a back room.

In the Mayor's August 7th statement, he gave further detail: "Payton was shot some distance from the front door. He was shot where his body was found, near the entrance to the kitchen. After Payton was shot, Chase reacted to the gunfire and ran away from the deputies. He was hunted down and shot in the back while he fled. His body was found in the rear of the house."

Such inhumane-ity. Such a violation of human civil rights.

Turning to the Olympics, everybuddy knows that China's hosting of the Olympics has been controversial. Controversy is fine with this dog. But I don't want humans to forget why there's controversy: Criticism stems from China's policies on Tibet, its lack of human rights for its citizens, and its lack of humane protection for animals.

The photo below says it all. A Beijing human is mimicking the Statue of Liberty at Miniature Manhattan in World Park, one of the three Beijing parks where Olympics protests have been permitted by Chinese authorities.

Beijing protestor makes symbolic statement for freedom
Chinese authorities have probably nixed many protests. One was Amanda Beard's event at Athlete's Village. But cancelation didn't stop Beard, the Olympic 200-meter breaststroke champion, from protesting outside the hotel: She unveiled a poster of herself naked in support of the anti-fur movement.

Pawnote: Our hearts go out to Mayor Cheye Calvo and Ms. Trinity Tomsic.