December 11, 2012

Happy holidays! Tribute to a dog

by winecountrydog Tilin Corgi, with Jackie Nippers

"The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is the dog.

"A man's dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near his master's side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer; he will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounter with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince.

"When all other friends desert, he remains. When riches take wings and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens."

-- Senator George Vest, 1870

Paw-note: Senator Vest's wonderfur nineteenth century tribute to ourwoofselves is quoted in Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook, 4th ed. 2007.

November 30, 2012

Keep dogs safely away from powerful Pacific surf

by winecountrydog Tilin Corgi, with Mum

Heard round the world is the story of the three Kuljian family members who were drowned off the Humboldt County coast, near the Northern California community of Arcata, on 24 November 2012.

We offer this post to honor their memory and to support Olivia Kuljian's wish for "people to stay out of harm's way."

Here is a summation of reports about this tragedy:
Howard Kuljian and his wife, Mary Scott, and teen son, Gregory ("Geddie"), and teen daughter, Olivia, were out walking on an overcast morning at Big Lagoon beach. They were playing fetch with the family dog, Fran.

The family tossed a stick that took the dog down to the water's edge, and in an instant, a wave swallowed Fran the dog, setting off a nightmarish scramble.

"Everything kind of snowballed from there," said U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Bernie Garrigan.

Sean Ledwin, a senior fisheries biologist with the Hoopa Valley Tribe, said he was walking along the beach at Big Lagoon with his dog and girlfriend when the tragedy struck.

"The dog was kind of getting rolled in the waves," Ledwin said.

He said the teen boy, Gregory Kuljian, went into the water and grabbed the dog's collar, but it fell off. Then Gregory got swept up in the waves.

The father, Howard, then went in after his son. But Howard got swept up.

The two became separated in the surf.

Ledwin said his girlfriend called 911, as he and the mother, Mary Scott, and the daughter, Olivia, and also a female friend of Gregory's stood on the beach, watching the water and waiting to see if there was an opportunity to grab hold of the father and son.

"They were getting rolled in the ocean, in a circular motion," Ledwin said.

Mary Scott went in to try to grab her husband and son. She made an attempt to grab her son, in shallow water, but she got pulled in too. Olivia tried to pull her mother out, but the current was so strong that a bystander had to pull Olivia to safety.

Those remaining on the beach, including Cal State Park Ranger Greg Hall, tried to track where each of the three people were in the water.

By the time first responders from the U.S. Coast Guard and fire departments arrived at the beach, it was too late to save anyone.

But Fran the dog had been able to climb out of the water shortly after Mary Scott had gone in.

In a statement released later, Olivia said that her family members were in only mid-calf deep water when they got swept in.

"The events were not a case of the family thoughtlessly rushing into the ocean after each other. Rather, they were attempts from shallow water that were overpowered by the hidden strength of the ocean."
All dogs love walkies on beautiful and wild Northern California beaches. The smells are intoxicating. But the surf is dangerous. The beaches on many stretches of the California, Oregon, and Washington coast get unexpected surges from sneaker waves and rogue waves, and also have strong undertows and rip currents that pull you in.

Mum sez, "You don't mean to throw the ball or stick into the ocean, because you know your dog will chase after it. But it's easy to misdirect your throw, or for a ball to roll down a steep sand bank into the water. And sometimes your dog doesn't hear you when you call him back.

"On beaches with rip currents and undertows, or where large waves suddenly appear without warning, playing near the water can lead to disaster. If your dog gets sucked in, you know you're going to run in and try to pull him out. It looks so easy to do in shallow surf. Besides, that rush of adrenalin catapults you into action, and you'll do whatever you can to save your dog. Then, in an instant, you're both lost.

"You just have to stay away from the water on beaches like this. You've got to believe that rip currents and big waves can take you or your dogs by surprise and wash you out to sea. And even if you're a strong swimmer, the coldness of the northern Pacific water quickly saps your energy. You can't last long out there."

Please follow these tips to stay safe when playing on the beach.
  • Never turn your back to the water when you're walking or playing with your dog on the beach.
  • Don't walk your dog near the water's edge on beaches that are unfamiliar to you or have warning signs of rip currents, sneaker waves, or strong undertow.
  • Keep off jetties, rock formations, and cliffs near the water's edge on beaches posted as dangerous.
  • Play 90 feet (27 meters) away from the water's edge on dangerous beaches. Learn to estimate distance by measuring with strides.*
  • Train your dog to come when you call. This will help you stop the dog from running after an object that's gone into the water.
  • Respect the "hidden strength of the ocean" and remember Olivia Kuljian's wish that everyone stay out of harm's way.
*You can find instructions on how to estimate distance in the out-of-doors on Brian's Backbacking Blog.

Read about beach safety issues on the Pacific coast at the California State Parks website and the U.S. National Parks website. The NOAA Weather Service website also has useful info on rip currents and how to swim out of them.

Paw-notes: Thanks for the use of photos and quotes. We do not profit by their usage. Our aim is to honor the Kuljian family and to help spread beach safety awareness.

October 16, 2012

Great Pumpkin celebrating Hallowine

by winecountrydog Tilin Corgi

Mywoofself met a strange Halloween pumpkin fella who got lost leaving vineyard. Himself smells like wine . . . Hallowine.

Wondering howl da Great Pumpkin got good taste in wine. Look, his big orange self has bottle of Joseph Swan Russian River Valley Gewürztraminer and also bottle of Cline Cellars Ancient Vines Zinfandel.

Now ere is a really pawsonal question for Great Pumpkin: Wot keeps da wine from pouring out da holes?

Even scarier question: Wot was mywoofself thinking, talking to a pumpkin? BOL!

September 30, 2012

Disaster preparedness is 4 everybuddy

by winecountrydog Tilin Corgi

Every September is "National Preparedness Month" in the U.S.

This is definition of basic preparedness: Being able to be on your own for at least 72 hours during/after a disaster.

Being prepared requires that each of us four-legged and two-legged family members, including finned and feathered friends, has enough supplies to either shelter-in-place or evacuate and survive for three days. And being prepared requires having a realistic evacuation plan.

In September, Mum gives our disaster Go-Bags the annual makeover and Go-Packs the semi-annual makeover. "Go-Packs" are our small packs, often just a Ziploc bag containing pet or people supplies like supplements, meds, and frozen foods. They are stored in different locations like fridge, freezer, Go-Bag, or car. 

Mum does also review evacuation scenarios and make us do practice drills. Herself marked up some new maps covering Pacific coast, mountains, and valleys where we often travel these days.

Meezer did enjoy sticking her nose in Go-Bags and doing drills, taking rides in the car in her carrier.

Meezer meows that everybuddy should have a prawpurr evac carrier.

This is a prawpurr kitteh evac carrier? BOL!

Certainly not. But it makes as much sense as some of the crazzy pet preparedness info we read.

Disaster preparedness is for everybuddy -- people and pets, horses and farm animals, big cats and other wild animals who live in captivity. Yet much of the pet preparedness info is mediocre at best and sometimes even dead WRONG. 

Consider this advice: A certain Southern Cal NGO tells pet owners "Know which hotels and motels along your evacuation route will accept you and your pets in an emergency. If you learn that you may need to evacuate, you should call ahead for reservations." Know ahead of time where a disaster will strike and what your evacuation route will be? Good advice for psychic pet owners eh.

Do not expect to get through on the phone to hotels or motels during a disaster, and do not count on them to hold a room. Depending on the type of disaster, a better plan could be to drive like howl out of the disaster region and then see what kind of pet accommodations are around. But if the disaster is an earthquake, you likely not going anywhere, not even leaving da house for a while. By the woof, we believe that concierges should waive no-pet policies in times of disaster.

One resource for help in making grrreat Pet Go-Bags and pet evacuation plans is your veterinarian! Remember to ask your vet for help in customizing your pet first aid kit.

Paw-notes: Mum sez, "At the very least, keep maps, cash, contact phone numbers, and cell phone chargers handy at home, in your car, and in your workplace. Encourage pet rescue organizations and animal shelters to do the same. Find time to learn local, county, and state geography, and to become familiar with main highways. As you learn more, mark-up your maps with information such as alternate evacuation routes, hospitals, county fairgrounds, veterinary ER clinics, and pet-friendly places such as Motel 6 locations. The more thought you give to preparation, the better off you'll be in an actual disaster."

Thanx woofs to @hollygomadly for tweeting the great cat pic. Someday ourselves will offer our own pet checklists and other disaster prep tips we have been compiling.

August 19, 2012

Welsh corgi dog scene from Elvis movie Blue Hawaii

by winecountrydog Tilin Corgi

Mum told ourwoofselves that the first Welsh corgi she ever saw was when she was taken to the theatre to see an Elvis movie called Blue Hawaii.

Mum sez she had been too little to understand the silly movie let alone know what a corgi was. In dog-honest-fact, sez Mum, herself didn't remember the movie or the corgi till Blue Hawaii was on TV a couple of years back.

Doo you think Mum could have been left with a subliminal corgi image from very early childhood? Is the image what caused her pawsitive response when she saw a corgi again years later? . . . Who does know.

Anyhowl this is youtube of the corgi scene in Blue Hawaii.

That corgi was a smart fella eh!

August 6, 2012

RIP Rita Miljo, wildlife conservationist of African baboon sanctuary C.A.R.E.

by winecountrydog Tilin Corgi

We would like to remember conservationist Rita Miljo, renowned for caring for orphaned and injured wildlife and for reintroducing baboons into the wilds of South Africa.

Ms Miljo was the founder of C.A.R.E. -- the Centre for Animal Rehabilitation and Education -- in the bush of Limpopo province, on the banks of the Olifants River near Phalaborwa in the Northern Province, about 250 miles northeast of Johannesburg.

On 27 July 2012, Ms Miljo died in a fire which destroyed much of the headquarters of C.A.R.E. Ms Miljo was 81 years old, and had been working in Africa since 1953. Three of her beloved baboons died with her in the tragic fire.

Here is Rita Miljo speaking in a 2007 video interview by

"You can never over-spoil a baboon. The more love you give him, the more love he gives you back."

A lovely quote from a very caring human. Rest in peace.

July 30, 2012

July birthdays!

by winecountrydog Jackie Nippers

I am the only four-legger round here whose birth date is known. Always when we celebrate myself's July 23rd birthday, we doo have a pawty for Ani Meezer as well.

This year we did pawty fur three days. Here is myself on the furst pawty morning.

And here is Ani Meezer. She is eating her birthday bouquet of wildflowers which we collected on walkies.

Mum did take myself and furbro Tilin Corgi out fur my birthday ice cream.

OMD deeelicious!

Furbro Tilin loves ice cream too.

Next day Mum did take myself on special wine tasting adventures. Just the two of us.

On the third day of pawtying, Mum did share some of her nommy Pinot poached salmon.

Then Mum did serve a doglicious dessert of blackberry Cabernet sorbet.

Myself and Meezer fell asleep on the bed together. We were full and happy and tired from pawtying.

A lovely time twas had by all.

July 11, 2012

RIP Lennox dog

by winecountrydog Tilin and family

Today, 11 July 2012, Lennox dog was destroyed by Belfast City Council.

Lennox was not a 'dangerous dog.' He was a victim of humans who had the power to apply BSL in the cruelest way possible.

We hope that Lennox's legacy will be to galvanize solidarity for BSL repeal. May there be a new era of dog laws that focus on curtailing 'dangerous owners' rather than on banning dog breeds.

We will remember Lennox always.

Condolences to Caroline and Brooke Barnes.

RIP Lennox.

May 31, 2012

To search for a lost dog

by winecountrydog Tilin Corgi

Howl we doo luv this narrated cartoon video about a zany rescue. Tis the story of trying to catch "Jarhead," a stray dog running loose in New Orleans with a jar stuck on his head. Wot a wonderfur storyteller author Julie Klam is!

Another kind of dog search is the (ongoing) search for lost dog Andy Corgi. Andy went missing in Fairfield County, Connecticut, when he got scared by some fireworks.

Andy Corgi's owners and their 'Bring Andy Home' search teams have learned howl to apply grrreat tools, tactics, and technology. Furhaps other searchers will benefit from studyin' their methods.

February 22, 2012

Valentine's Day gift of health

by winecountrydog Tilin Corgi

As some of you doo know, my ancient woofself was suddenly poorly in early February 2012. Acutely poorly.

Myself could read what Mum was thinking when -- for the furst time in my long life -- I stopped eating: She feared mywoofself was so ill that I was not long for this world.

An investigative drama of grrreat pawportions took pawlace. Mum did many health researches, notes, cajoling of mywoofself, talks with vets, and veterinary tests. ... Tests on myself, they were, not on Mum. BOL

Poorly tho myself was, I did retain commonsense. I withdrew from food for a few days but pawtook of water from my bowl. I barked often at Mum to open the door, as I did feel urges to doo activities of the gastrointestinal kind. Furtunately there were no violent activities within my dogbody. There were, howlever, moments of expression from the nearer and farrther ends.

Ani Meezer was worrying about mywoofself. She did sleep next to me at night and give extra cuddles.

Long story shortened, tests and investigations revealed nothing.

Finally, after pawssage of days, Mum got a big happy Valentine's Day gift: Myself was bouncing back. Mum could just tell. Then offurr course of a few more days, I bounced back so strongly that Mum said I showed the Chi of a dog half my age.

To what can one attribute vigorous recovery of my 14-plus-year-old woofsterness? Nobuddy does know. Surely, without paw shadow of a doubt, it does make a pawsitive diffurrence that my daily diet is healthful.

By healthful I doo mean that we eat fresh whole seasonal foods -- humanely and organically produced in our U.S. Pacific region. Ourselves also have some nutritional supplements, judiciously chosen and rotated.

Humans round ere think it good that myself and my furthren no longer eat commercially processed food such as kibble or canned UFOs (Unidentified Food Objects). We doo know eating well does not guarantee well-being or longevity ... but not eating well furrly much assures that health pawblems will be more furrequent or harder to offurrcome.

January 3, 2012

Riding round on New Year's day

posted by winecountrydog Tilin Corgi

Here is my happy woofself ridin round in the WCDmobile on New Year's day. Furbro Jackie Nippers is sitting to my left. Himself is wearing his seatbelt harness too. Apawlogies fur leaving Jack out of picture. Seem our chauffeur could not shoot piccies behind er head while driving.

This is a rare piccie of myself dooing The Wave dance. Simpawly stand on hind legs, wiggle, and wave paws. Easy to keep oneself's balance when wearing seatbelt harness.

When not dooing The Wave or snoozing, myself does like to study the scenery and pawsersby. We were traveling through a small town in some rural pawlace. Myself will remember the interesting smells.

Furry best wishes for a grrreat New Year. May you ave lots of fun quality time with beloved furriends.