September 29, 2008

My personal best today!

by winecountrydog

I had my PERSONAL BEST DAY today since major life-saving spinal surgery!

A lot of humans had a personal worst day, sorry to hear. That was 'cuz of the record single-day drop of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Today I did two things dog-ma and I thought we'd never see me do again in my doglife:
• Stand up on my hind legs and do my wave dance with my front paws.
• On my own, carefully jump out of the backseat of dog-ma's car.

Dog-ma and Tilin Corgi at Bodega BayDog-ma was in awe and got a wee teary. She started to tell me not to stand on my hind legs, then thought better of it. After all, doing the wave has been impawtant to me since puppyhood. Humans love to watch and wave back.

I'm almost eleven years old, and the wave is still truly one of doglife's great pleasures. But dog-ma won't be allowing me to do it much, I can tell you that.

I tend not to paw-write about landmarks in my recovery. Dog-ma and I have been trying to get our minds off pawsonal trauma and drama. I mean, we're exhausted from worrying about me. Every time I have a setback in controlling my muscles, or have a day where I'm doggone tired or off my food, dog-ma gets that "911 look" in her eyes. Then I think, "Uh oh, I'd better get better before dog-ma goes over the worryin' edge again."

Dog-ma has dutifully protected me throughout my journey to mobility. She has lifted me at least 500 times. I don't jump up into a car or bed; I get lifted. Dog-ma sez that her biceps are the only things better off than before.

Except fur my rear leg muscles: They're better, just as my vet surgeon (Russ Gurevitch DVM) predicted they would be. My hindquarter muscles are really rebuilding. At the same time, the rest of me has gotten skinny. All my nourishment is going into helping atrophied muscles and nerves. Dog-ma sez I look like Popeye in the behind region.

While I'm on the subject of muscles and personal best, I have to say that dogs show great muscle strength in the sport of weight pulling. We corgis admire them.

The International Weight Pull Association (IWPA) promotes the sport of dog pulling through organized events.
The purpose of IWPA is to promote the working heritage of all dogs. The IWPA also promotes a program to keep your dog in good physical condition with a constructive outlet for canine competition.

Dog Pulling is akin to a tractor pull. Dogs compete to see who can pull the most weight 16 feet. They pull a wheeled cart on an earthen surface, or a sled on snow. The handler has no contact with the dog during the pull, so it is up to the dog's willingness to pull. Safety of the dog is of paramount concern. Since IWPA's organization in 1984, no dogs have been hurt in competition.

Our fellow herders, the Australian Cattle Dogs, are really good pullers. Finn was the first Australian Cattle Dog to attain a Weight Pulling Championship in the history of the UKC.

Finn -- the late, great Australian Cattle Dog champion weight puller
Other canine breeds do great weight pulling, too. Check out pullers like the Mastiffs, including Bullmastiffs, and also Old English Mastiffs at Devine Farm.

And paw-leeze read good articles about this dog sport. I like the article at Pet Tech Transport. I always like the articles and photos at See the article "Australian Cattle Dogs Excel at Weight Pulling" by ACD lover and author Teressa Keenan.

September 27, 2008

Newman, Woodward, and dog . . . back in '58

by winecountrydog

Big love woofs out to you, Joanne Woodward. Thanks for being a lifelong dog lover!

Everybuddy in the world knows why I'm posting Paul Newman's photo here today.

Joanne Woodward, Paul Newman, and their dog (1958)
We hope animal lovers will always remember that Paul Newman, along with daughter Nell Newman, chose to donate the charity money generated by sales of Newman's Own Organics pet food products to organizations that support animal well-being.

Sources this past year said that Paul Newman quietly turned over to charity the entire value of his ownership in Newman's Own. Over a two-year period in 2005 and 2006, the amount of his donations to Newman's Own Foundation Inc. is said to have been more than $100 million.

Imagine the pawsitive effect that Paul Leonard Newman (26 Jan. 1925 – 26 Sept. 2008) has had on our world.

Our sympathies to Ms. Nell, Ms. Joanne, and the entire Newman family.

September 25, 2008

'Uncaged' YouTube hit comedy fur 'Yes on Prop 2'

by pawlitico

It's hard to keep a sense of humor during a pawlitical campaign.

But yesterday somebuddy called us "libturds," and we're still giggling. You see, we're supporters of California Proposition 2 — the ballot initiative for Standards for Confining Farm Animals. The libturd name-caller mistakenly assumed that all humane-farming supporters are liberals. Oops! Not true.

But now we like to refer to each other as "libturd dogs"!

We got an even bigger laugh from viewing the howlingly funny YouTube called "Uncaged."

This comedy vlog was made for the 'YES! on Prop 2' campaign by Free Range Studios, whose vision is this.

We envision a world where transformative social messages rise to the top of the media marketplace. In this world, organizations and inspired individuals who seek to create lasting positive change and expose essential truths will massively influence culture. We believe this vision will lead, inevitably, to a more sustainable, just and tolerant society.
PAWS UP fur Free Range Studios!

September 23, 2008

Polar bear Knut loses foster father

by winecountrydog

Celebrity polar bear Knut of Zoo Berlin has lost his foster father, zookeeper Thomas Dörflein.

Baby Knut polar bear with foster father, Thomas Dörflein
The 44-year old zookeeper, who became known worldwide as Knut's surrogate father after the baby cub's own mother, Tosca, rejected him, was found dead in his Berlin apartment.

Knut liked to rub noses with his foster father, Thomas Dörflein, who died on 22 September 2008.
It's hard to imagine what confusion and grief Knut will feel about the disappearance of his human "dad." Knut was so bonded to Dörflein — as you can see in "Knut goes exploring" ("auf Entdeckungstour") from ballynow.

When Knut's mother rejected him after his December 2006 birth, Dörflein stayed with der kleine Eisbär, baby Knut, around the clock for 150 straight days. Daddy Dörflein handfed him milk and porridge throughout the nights and days, and played with and cared for him.

Mourners visiting Zoo Berlin have left a white rose and a letter of condolence on the fence of Knut's enclosure.

White rose and letter left on fence of Knut's enclosure by mourners
Knut looks pensive now. He has certainly gone through a lot in his short life.

This photo of Knut was taken the day after he lost his foster father.
As a tiny cub, Knut's life was almost cut short by humans who protested the idea of the zoo handraising him. There were some who said that Knut should have been euthanized rather than being raised "as a domestic pet." Some protestors accused Zoo Berlin of violating animal protection legislation by keeping Knut alive.

I don't think there was any perfect solution. My response is to bark the slogan on the German stamp that bears beautiful Knut's image:

Natur weltweit bewahren. Preserve nature worldwide!

September 19, 2008

California 'Prop 2' egg battle

by pawlitico

Here in California we're having an egg battle. We're not throwing eggs: We're throwing comments back and forth between factory farmers and humane-farming advocates.

In the middle is the future of millions of hens and the California egg industry.

Laying hens stuffed into battery cages, where they can't stretch out or lie down
When humane Californians vote YES! on Proposition 2 in November, they'll be ensuring that California eggs will be cage-free eggs.

In other words, 'Yes on Prop 2' voters will be casting a vote in favor of enforcing the cage-free ethic for all egg farming.

Opponents of Prop 2 say this'll kill the California egg industry. No way! We believe those who say this'll convert it to a more profitable industry. We say this knowing that many of us in California — both we pets and our humans — already consume only regionally-produced cage-free eggs.

Here's an egg-cerpt about the egg battle from a piece by The CA Majority Report's Donald Lathbury. It's entitled "No on Prop 2 Campaign Funded by the Same Out-of-State Egg Producers that the Campaign Claims would Benefit if Prop 2 Passes?"

Surely out-of-state egg producers are chomping at the bits to see Prop 2 passed then, since they anticipate a flood of new business as California's egg producers are put out of business, right? Curiously, no:

"Thirteen Iowa companies have made nearly a quarter of a million dollars in donations to 'Californians for SAFE Food - No on Prop 2,' a coalition organized to fight a ballot measure amending the state's health and safety code in relation to the confinement of livestock."

Ok, I'm confused. Riddle me this, factory farmers: why would 13 Iowa egg producers dump a quarter million dollars into an opposition campaign to a California proposition that would increase Iowa egg producers' market share? If the No campaign's talking points were true, Iowa egg producers (along with donors from factory farms in Nebraska, Maine, Colorado, Utah, Missouri, Arkansas, Alabama, and well, every state in the country with battery cage egg production), if anything, would be giving money to the Yes side. That's business, right? Make your profits where you can by digging into the markets of your competitors.

Something doesn't fit here. Maybe, just maybe, the outside egg producers that have dominated the finances of the No campaign are afraid that the old adage, 'as California goes, so goes the nation,' applies in this situation.

And if that's the case, then far from exporting our egg production to other states, Prop 2 actually exports our more humane farming practices to other states, hence the fervent opposition from folks who love to squeeze as much profit as they can from stuffing six-to-eight hens in cages so small that they cannot turn around or expand their wings. . . .

Howl, we want California to export humane business ethics, thereby promoting humane farming practices everywhere.

Under the Prevention of Farm Cruelty Act, pigs and veal calves will be humanely treated too.

Now's the time for conversion to cage-free production.

A happy cage-free hen!
California humans, paw-leeze end the inhumane-ity and the egg battle: Cast your YES vote on PROP 2!

September 17, 2008

Wondering where the big cats are

by winecountrydog

The Texas Gulf waterfront at Gilchrist
Sun's up, uh huh, looks okay
The world survives into another day
And I'm thinking about eternity
Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me

I had another dream about lions at the door
They weren't half as frightening as they were before
But I'm thinking about eternity
Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me . . .

Walls windows trees, waves coming through
You be in me and I'll be in you
Together in eternity
Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me . . .

Freighters on the nod on the surface of the bay
One of these days we're going to sail away,
going to sail into eternity
Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me

And I'm wondering where the lions are . . .
I'm wondering where the lions are. . . .
Bruce Cockburn "Wondering Where The Lions Are" (1979)

Shackle, an 11-year-old African lioness, spent the night in a church with her human and others who couldn't make it off Bolivar Peninsula on the Texas coast, near Galveston, before Hurricane Ike struck.

Shackle the lioness sought refuge from Hurricane Ike
AP News, 16 September 2008
Many years from now, a small group of Hurricane Ike survivors will probably still be telling the story of how, on the night the storm flattened their island, they took sanctuary in a church — with a lion.

The full-grown lion was from a local zoo, and the owner was trying to drive to safety with the animal when he saw cars and trucks stranded in the rising floodwaters. He knew he and the lion were in trouble.

He headed for the church and was met by a group of residents who helped the lion wade inside, where they locked it in a sanctuary as the storm raged. The water crept up to their waists, and two-by-fours came floating through broken windows. But the lion was as calm as a kitten.

When daylight came, everyone was still alive.
"They worked pretty well together, actually," said the lion's owner, Michael Ray Kujawa. "When you have to swim, the lion doesn't care about eating nobody."
Shackle the lion and her human friends escaped the wrath of Ike at First Baptist Church in Crystal Beach.

Shackle the lioness in First Baptist Church, Crystal Beach, Texas
The towns of Crystal Beach and Gilchrist are on the Gulf of Mexico, along the 30-mile peninsula that stretches across the southern part of Galveston Bay. This is an area of seaside getaways, and of fishing and shrimping operations.

But not anymore.

Bobby Jobes, one of the many Texas Parks and Wildlife game wardens who've been deployed since Hurricane Ike, was quoted as saying, "There's nothing there. . . ."

"Nothing" except some animals — including stranded big cats!

According to Texas blogger Susan Evans, there's at least one tiger loose.

I'm wondering where and how the cats are. . . . I hope they get through this alive.

September 14, 2008

Vegetarian motorist's pig nightmare

by winecountrydog

When humans' food preferences don't mix with automobile driving, accidents can occur.

These pigs are feeling pinched. Ouch! It's too crowded!
Spiegel Online International ran a story entitled "Road Hog: Vegetarian Driver Suffers Pig Nightmare on Motorway."

A vegetarian woman driving down a motorway in Germany was so traumatized at the sight of a truck loaded with pigs that she lost control of her vehicle and careened into another truck, which was also filled with pigs, police said.

"The woman found herself driving next to a large pig transport truck and the sight of the pitiful animals made her feel so sick that she jerked her steering wheel and started swerving," police in the western town of Gütersloh said in a statement released on Thursday.

"The result of her swerving was that the woman's van struck the side of another truck … which was also loaded with live pigs. The woman suffered little more than a fright but we were unable to ascertain anything about the state of the pig's health," police said.

What lovely pig friends!Vegetarian motorists, beware of large open trucks.

Photo credits: Farm Sanctuary and Californians for Humane Farms: YES! on Prop 2

September 12, 2008

eBaying wolves

by pawlitico

What an interesting eBay sale by glitteralex:

2 Gorgeous Wolf Pelts Fur White Arctic Black Phase Huge
Extra Bonus FREE Coyote Pelt Long and Soft NO RESERVE!

This auction is for three LIVE pelts! That's right, ON THE ANIMAL! You are bidding to come and pet my animals, right here in Lake Tahoe. Their fur is sumptuous, plus "the boys" enjoy the attention. Way more fun than petting a dead wolf or coyote. We can even brush them and give you some fur to take home - it's great for felting or spinning into yarn. Our animals are gentle and well-trained.

Plus, I'll throw in a nice bottle(s) of wine, a homemade Italian dinner, some 8" telescope viewing, and a nice hike/mountain bike to some local lakes. Also available are basic rock climbing lessons. The package is transferable and has no expiration. All proceeds go to our cohorts at Never Cry Wolf Rescue in Sacramento, CA.

Thank you for bidding to save the wolves....

Such a great idea fur a wolf rescue benefit!

We recommend taking a few moments out of your day to watch this beautiful "Dance of Wolves."

Piccolo Vegeta, a young woman from Finland who loves animals, uploaded this video. It features "The Mummers' Dance" — a song by Loreena McKennitt. Thanks, Piccolo!

Pawnotes: You'd surely enjoy reading about Loreena McKennitt at her site Quinlan Road. Ms. McKennitt reminds us to "Be compassionate and never forget how to love."

Our thanks to Northern California Sled Dog Rescue fur pawmailing us about the eBay sale!

September 10, 2008

Tiny Taffy barker

by pawlitico

We corgis are talkative dogs, but we don't bark continuously like Taffy the West Highland white terrier.

Taffy yips and yaps 24 hours a day, not even stopping while eating and sleeping.

Tiny Dog Has Been Barking Nonstop For 6 Years

Taffy's record for barking breaks the previous record in Rapid City, South Dakota, which was eight minutes of continuous barking.

Her neighbors must have quite an earplug collection.

Video: The – Onion News network

September 8, 2008

Pets in hurricane shelters

by winecountrydog

The scale of the pet evacuation and shelter efforts in the NOLA area before Hurricane Gustav dog-boggled my mind.

Pet carriers setting on top of wire pet crates at Hurricane Gustav Pet Shelter

Lots of pets ended up in the state fairground shelter in the Shreveport area, about 340 miles northwest of New Orleans. (This is on Interstate 20, 150 miles east of Dallas – Fort Worth area in Texas.)

kitty at Hurricane Gustav Pet Shelter

A local Shreveport human named Darrell Rebouche photographed the shelter pets on September 1st and uploaded the photos to

puppy at Hurricane Gustav Pet Shelter

See all of Daddy D's great pet photos in the set "Hurricane Gustav Pet Shelter" at darebouche.

Hurricane Gustav Pet Shelter at fairgrounds in Shreveport

I'm glad that some of the kitties could sleep through the shelter noise and commotion.

kitty sleeping in pet crate at Hurricane Gustav Pet Shelter

Can you imagine the HSUS, the ASPCA, the LA SPCA, and all the other pet-helpin' organizations and individuals having to do all that movin' and shelterin' again!?

HSUS Animal Disaster Services truck on LA state fairgrounds outside of the temporary pet shelter building

Hurricane Ike is expected to strengthen to Category 3 when it reaches the U.S. Gulf coast the end of this week. It could make landfall around east Texas, but it might hit Louisiana west of New Orleans, not far from where Gustav hit.

September 5, 2008

New goat buddies

by winecountrydog

We've got new goat buddies! They live with our friend Leslie in Rogue Valley, in southwestern Oregon. You remember I told you about the nice Oregonian human who knows herbs and gardening? Leslie also takes care of goats, who in turn take care of the interesting and delicious weeds in her field.

Here's little Sweetie.

Sweetie the Kiko kid
Sweetie is a Kiko goat, a New Zealand breed that was developed fur use as a "food animal." Kikos aren't dairy goats like the breeds at Redwood Hill Farm who make our favorite goat milk cheese and yogurt.

The three Kiko babies below are very special to Leslie. The one in front is Bosco. His nanny goat mom rejected him when he was born. Leslie had to figure out how to nurse him with formula in a bottle to keep him going. Then along came two more fur her to save.

Kiko kids Bosco, Sister, and Little Guy
The other two kids above are Sister and Little Guy. All three like each other and play together.

Below you see adult goats in the field, encircling two of the kids. Their trailer door makes a nice shady spot.

happy Kiko campers
I'm told baby goats like horsing around. As a dog, I'm not sure exactly what this means. But I see that the kids like playing King of the Mountain on their trailer wheel well.

Kiko kid version of King of the Mountain
The goats have a nice garden patch. Undiscovered by them, thank dogness. You can figure that Leslie wouldn't want to have to make the garden all over again if it got eaten.

one of Leslie's lovely Rogue Valley gardens
Leslie told us that the Kiko kids had been coming in her house. They were gonna eat it and everything else too! Apparently, goats have appetites less discriminating than we dogs.

You can learn a lot about Kiko goats at the educational American Kiko Goat Association website.

Photo credit: Leslie Pedrick

September 4, 2008

Careful! Phishing season is open

By winecountrydog

It's a weird day when a dog's gotta worry about cyber-crime. A doggone weird day.

But it's impawtant to know about info security and be on the lookout fur cyber-mean humans taking advantage of everybuddy during a time when we're all looking at news about the hurricanes.

Actually, any time there's a disaster or other big media event, the cyber-meanies can't seem to resist creating phony websites with domain names that sound just like the real thing.

We need to research the website owners to see if they're legitimate charities. Otherwise, we could be giving our contact info and our donations to some Animal Hater Co. instead of an impawtant animal welfare organization like the Louisiana SPCA.

Come Stay Heal at Louisiana SPCA
Two paws up fur Stefanie Hoffman at The Channel Wire Blog fur bringing up phishing and other cyber-dangers in her piece "Phishers Exploit Hurricane Gustav, Hurricane Hanna."

We already know about spamming. Phishing is something we dogs need to be careful about, too.

Here's what ChannelWeb Encyclopedia tells us.
Pronounced "fishing," it is a scam to steal valuable information such as credit card and social security numbers, user IDs and passwords. Also known as "brand spoofing," an official-looking e-mail is sent to potential victims pretending to be from their ISP, bank or retail establishment. E-mails can be sent to people on selected lists or on any list, expecting that some percentage of recipients will actually have an account with the real organization.

E-Mail Is the "Bait"
The e-mail states that due to internal accounting errors or some other pretext, certain information must be updated to continue your service. A link in the message directs the user to a Web page that asks for financial information. The page looks genuine, because it is easy to fake a valid Web site. Any HTML page on the Web can be copied and modified to suit the phishing scheme.

Anyone Can Phish
A "phishing kit" is a set of software tools that help the novice phisher imitate a target Web site and make mass mailings. It may even include lists of e-mail addresses. How thoughtful of people to create these kits. In the meantime, if you suspect a phishing scheme, you can report it to the Anti-Phishing Working Group at (See pharming, vishing, and smishing.)

The "Spear" Phishing Variant
Spear phishing is more targeted and personal. The e-mail supposedly comes from someone in the organization everyone knows such as the head of human resources. It could also come from someone not known by name, but with a title of authority such as a LAN administrator. Once one employee falls for the scheme and divulges sensitive information, it can be used to gain access to more of the company's resources.
You can read Ms. Hoffman's phishing blog here.

You can visit ChannelWeb Encyclopedia to learn more definitions of information security issues and other computing and Web topics!

Photo credit: Jackson Hill Photography

September 2, 2008

Katrina pet 'lessons learned worked'

By pawlitico

We're relieved to hear that Gustav evacuation policy has been much more "pet-owner friendly" and pet friendly than in past disasters.

Did Hurricane Katrina and other disasters teach authorities to care for animal friends during emergencies?

"Yes, in fact, lessons learned worked," said Scotlund Haisley, Senior Director of Emergency Services for the Humane Society of the United States.

Mr. Haisley was interviewed in "Animal Evacuations" today by FOX & friends. He said there were two "massive" animal evacuations over 4 days: The evacuation of owned animals to temporary "co-located" shelters and the evacuation of existing shelter animals to other animal shelters.

At the New Orleans Evacuation Center, puppies like our buddy here were cooled down with water while waiting to be loaded on refrigerated trucks headed fur safety.

This little guy was trying to keep cool.

©The HSUS/Kathy Milani

Pets were able to get on animal transport vehicles while their humans boarded buses so they could evacuate together and stay together, or right near each other -- this is co-located sheltering.

During Katrina, many humans didn't leave their homes because they didn't want to leave their pets behind. But this time, the co-location policy made the difference.

"There's no doubt that this step saved both human and animal lives, because many lives were taken during Katrina, because they were unwilling to evacuate without their animals, and as you know, they were told they had to."

The HSUS helped evacuate hundreds of Louisiana shelter animals, and is also assisting in the operation of a huge evacuation shelter in Shreveport, Louisiana. Pet owner/guardians are staying at the human shelter across the road and are able to provide care for their own pets.

See HSUS Emergency Services for more information.

September 1, 2008

When Labor Day is a disaster

By winecountrydog

I've been "MIA" 'cuz of readin' and compilin' info about animal rescue and evacuation before, during, and after the hurricane.

I'd planned this Labor Day to enjoy and then paw-write about Sonoma Wine Country Weekend. This has been the first weekend in months that I felt up to visiting wineries with dog-ma.

Instead, I've been pawing and twittering about pet evacuation and disaster survival. Now I'm looking at post-Gustav animal rescue efforts.

Some news made me growl. After Gustav made landfall, there were reports of abandoned dogs in the New Orleans area. Best Friends Rapid Response Team went around to houses to follow up on the reports. Many dogs weren't just left behind: They were left tied up in yards, left to suffer and die!

The team's field leader, Rich Crook, has been still compiling lists of confirmed addresses with dogs abandoned and dogs chained in the yards. Mr. Crook and a Jefferson Parish Animal Control officer go out and check on the dogs' well being, and, if need be, rescue and hold them until their guardian/owners return.

my little Dachshund buddy
I have to ask: Do they really return the dogs to the same humans? . . . And what can rescuers do about all the abandoned pets inside evacuees' houses?

Oh howl, I won't dogress into pain and controversy. It's not gonna help right now. Besides, many compassionate humans refused to evacuate and weren't about to abandon their pets.

Oscar the dachshund, who lives in St. Bernard Parish, told roving reporters today that his human, Gerald LeBlanc, has a boogie board fur him and a life preserver jacket fur himself. They aren't going anywhere. Oscar munched on bacon as Mr. LeBlanc, whose home had been destroyed once in Katrina, explained, "I'm staying right here. I'm tired of running."

In another part of the same parish, which has been under 24-hour curfew, a human named Anthony Stipelcovich risked arrest today to make several miles-long round trips on foot. Mr. Stipelcovich used a gardening cart to ferry his dog, his seven cats, and his aquariums of hamsters and mice to his sister's house.

When sheriff's deputies came upon Mr. Stipelcovich at one point, he had to talk his way out of being arrested. He says, "I guess they were just being compassionate, being merciful. I'm glad they didn't do that. I'm saving my pets."

Woof! What a nice human.

We need to share info and resources to help animals to find temporary shelter, to get through the next storm, to get back their proper homes, and to stay safe and fed.

Pawleeze me and I'll post what you find.