Saturday, November 29, 2008

Holiday decorating and pets

There are times I look at well appointed holiday homes, those places where the lights are perfectly hung and the tree are exquisitely decorated, and I fantasize about having ahome of my own that can show off the beauty of the season.

Then I remember our current residents and I begin to laugh.

Gorgeous Bo Kitty, featured in the photo, is nothing less than a wrecker of all things holiday. He never met a vase of flowers that wasn't worth chewing up or a wrapped box that wasn't good for teething practice. We gave up Christmas trees for good the year he managed to chew through three (yeah, three different) sets of lights within a week. Between his decimation of the twinkling lights and Weebs non-stop war against any bright shiny ball draped on the end of limb, it was obvious that the amount of joy we were getting from seeing the tree was far outweighed by the nonstop hassle of keeping it issues aside.

But after close to five years with almost no decorations to ring out the year, we think we may have a plan. The one place we think we can install a little season's greeting without fear of mayhem. Yes, folks, we'll be decorating the ceiling.

Or, to be more exact, the large beam that runs the length of the living room. We figure it's the only place that's left where the little buggers can't reach out and touch, well, anything. I even think I have a plan for displaying some of my pet-themed ornaments, which are some of my very, very favorites.

If we manage to do anything interesting looking I'll snap some shots and post them. In the meantime, if anyone else has stories of surviving holiday decorations while being out-manned and out-gunned, I'd love to hear about it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

On Thankfulness and Pets

While I hope my pets are thankful for their lives with my husband and me, I suspect that as long as they cannot open the refrigerator or the container of dehydrated salmon on their own they will always consider their circumstances a bit less than idyllic.

So, on their behalf, I am thankful they have a warm, safe, loving environment in which to call “home”. Their lives are free of the trials and tribulations that pets still awaiting their forever homes are going through at this very moment.

I am thankful I was working the day Weebs needed a nursemaid and the day Muse got dumped. Had I been off, we may have missed having them in our lives. I’m happy we did all the work we did before we got Bo Kitty, who has never known a day of anything less than a loving household. And I’m grateful that the woman who nearly ran over Darby when he was a lost puppy wandering the streets stopped her car and took him to the SPCA. Without her, Darby and I may never have met.

I’m grateful that our quadrupeds live in a house without chains, shock collars or outside-at-all-times edicts. Where the cats will never have to worry about anything more harmful being done to their claws than the occasional trimming, and where none of our four-footed friends is contributing to our pet overpopulation problem, having been altered before they had a chance to reproduce. I’m thankful that we believe in clickers, positive motivation and downright bribery for special occasions, and for knowing that dehydrated salmon will get you further than a rolled-up newspaper.

I’m even grateful that we have increased yoga-master skills, the result of years of trying to fit three cats and a dog in a queen-sized bed with us on cold winter nights. Yeah, we know they are only using us for our body heat, but it’s wonderful to have so many snuggly pieces of goodness to share it with.

Finally, I remain ever grateful that our cats and our dog mean the world to us, and that we would never, ever consider a life, or a life-change, without them. And I’m grateful for all of the pets who came before. Their presence in our lives deepened our understanding, broadened our perspective and helped build the foundation for the lives our current pets live.

May you and yours have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Tuffie's toys are the best!!!

Darby loves his Tuffie doughnut! These things are built to take all the abuse a huge chewer/tugger can dish out.

I love the Tuffie because where else am I going to get full-on doughnut-head?

Lovin' the happy face.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The 575 Project

While going through my pet-related emails I came across this piece from Best Friends Animal Society. Apparently when Cyrus Mejia did the math regarding the five million animals killed in shelters each year, he calculated it down to 575 pets per hour who lose their lives waiting for a forever home.

Through that came the 575 Project as part of a multi-artist exhibit called Art For Animals. The full story on the exhibit can be found here.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

"All it was was dogs"

So goes the quote from Miami Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter, referring to imprisoned ex-QB Michael Vick. Porter went on to say other brilliant gems like, "They act like they don't even like pit bulls anyway. That's the funny thing about it if you want to get back on that topic. I got pit bulls, I got to put them under a different breed just to travel. So you can't even fly pit bulls nowhere.

"It's a breed they don't care about. It's not like he was fighting cocker spaniels or something that they like. They don't really care too much about pit bulls."

Funny thing about quotes. Turns out that the recently released USDA report on Michael Vick's activities around dogfighting included putting family pets in the ring with fighting dogs and watching the trained fighting dogs kill or severely injure the helpless pets.

Joey, maybe it's time to quit while you're ahead on this whole issue. Pit bull lovers are insulted, and dog lovers are appalled.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Contacting Petland

Ordinarily I wouldn't work this hard to tell someone their practices annoy me, but these folks have gotten under my skin a bit.

If you want to contact them, Petland can be reached the following ways:

Corporate Offices
250 Riverside Street
Chillicothe, Ohio 45601
(740) 775-2464
(800) 221-5935

If you missed the prelude, this all started over the HSUS investigation of Petland's puppy suppliers:

Puppy Mill Inc.
Petland linked to Puppy Mills
Former Petland Kennel Manager Speaks Out

Still grinding on Petland

After two rejected emails I decided to go to the Petland site and see if there is another way to let them know that I'm way not cool about their practices (including telling me they don't like me without even reading my email).

Apparently someone got through to Petland, because at the very top of the site is the phrase "Petland responds to the HSUS".

If you're interested in reading what they have to say, head on over. What I found interesting is what they didn't say.

What they didn't say is that they condemn puppy mill facilities and are committed to never obtaining pets through puppy mills. They do not welcome people to report any concerns they might have about breeders who sell to Petland. Petland doesn't mention the words "puppy mills" at all.

They do, of course, reprint attacks made against the HSUS by the group Center for Consumer Freedom. You may have seen Rick Berman on 60 minutes some time back. If you want to see what CCF is all about, head here.

Yeah, those are the folks I trust to give me the straight story. After all, look who's interests become their interests.

Petland does not like me

Or, to put it a little more accurately, they don't like my email addy. I tried to send my email to them again. I cut and pasted the body of the email into a new email and sent it off. This time it took mere minutes before I got my mail delivery failure notice. The thing I love about this one is the reason given for the email delivery failure:

<>: does not like recipient.

They don't like me??? They haven't even met me. They certainly didn't block me after reading my last email, since that got bounced back as well. Not big on hearing for the pet-owning public, I guess.

Being the curious gal I am, I decided to plug in the IP addy that was provided. Turns out it belongs to Petland's mail server. Maybe it's just the server that doesn't like me.

Petland rejects my email

So, like a number of other people who received the email from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) regarding their investigation of Petland pet stores and their connection to puppy mills, I signed the action form that sends an email to Petland asking them to stop selling puppy mill puppies.

Twenty-four hours later I got the always popular delivery failure notice.

The following message to <> was undeliverable.
The reason for the problem:
5.4.7 - Delivery expired (message too old) 421-'4.4.5 Directory harvest attack detected'

Petland Headquarters
250 Riverside Street
Chillicothe, OH 45601

Dear Petland Headquarters,

Despite assurances by staff at many Petland stores visited by
The HSUS and on Petland's corporate website that the company
knows its breeders and deals only with those who have "the
highest standards of pet care," many of the puppies sold at
Petland stores come from massive commercial breeders in Missouri
and other Midwestern puppy mill states, where hundreds of
breeding dogs are packed into cramped, barren cages. This
support of cruelty needs to end now!

I will not only not spend a dime in your stores, I will continue
to tell as many people as I can, both face-to-face and via the
Internet, to stop supporting you until you end your practice of
carrying puppies.

Honestly, I have no idea how you all sleep at night.



I guess a harvest attack is some tech term describing a bombardment of emails, which sort of makes sense given that the HSUS has a pretty good reach. There certainly wasn't anything attached to the email, nor did I send multiple versions. No matter, I'll just try again outside the HSUS system.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Petland = Puppy Mills?

After an eight-month investigation, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has concluded that many Petland stores across the United States are selling puppies from puppy mills. I'm not sure that exactly surprises folks who are concerned with animal issues, but perhaps the investigation might finally force some changes from the pet store chain, which has done everything possible to try and deny what an awful lot of us already knew.

For more of the story, head to the HSUS story and video here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I rescued a human today

This is currently floating around the Internet. I thought it was sweet enough to share here. Hope you enjoy.

I rescued a human today.

Her eyes met mine as she walked down the corridor peering apprehensively into the kennels. I felt her need instantly and knew I had to help her. I wagged my tail, not too exuberantly, so she wouldn't be afraid.

As she stopped at my kennel I blocked her view from a little accident I had in the back of my cage. I didn't want her to know that I hadn't been walked today. Sometimes the shelter keepers get too busy and I didn't want her to think poorly of them.

As she read my kennel card I hoped that she wouldn't feel sad about my past. I only have the future to look forward to and want to make a difference in someone's life. She got down on her knees and made little kissy sounds at me.

I shoved my shoulder and side of my head up against the bars to comfort her. Gentle fingertips caressed my neck; she was desperate for companionship. A tear fell down her cheek and I raised my paw to assure her that all would be well.

Soon my kennel door opened and her smile was so bright that I instantly jumped into her arms. I would promise to keep her safe. I would promise to always be by her side. I would promise to do everything I could to see that radiant smile and sparkle in her eyes.

I was so fortunate that she came down my corridor. So many more are out there who haven't walked the corridors. So many more to be saved. At least I could save one.

I rescued a human today.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Humane Scorecard now available

The 2008 Humane Scorecard is now available from the Humane Society Legislative Fund. For people interested in laws that affect companion animals, farm animals and wildlife in the United States, the scorecard provides some eye-opening information about how your local representatives voted on a number of issues surrounding animals and animal treatment.

Sadly it's no surprise to see that my local congressman Kevin McCarthy (who ran unopposed in the latest election) voted in favor of exactly one item in the 2007-2008 congressional session, giving him an overall score of 8%. Guess somehow even he couldn't find a way to be in favor of dogfighters. Fortunately both of my senators scored 100% in their support of animal issues.

Items like this provide one more reason for people who care about animals to pay attention to who is representing them at the highest levels of government. Take a peek at your own representatives and let me know what you think.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

This woman has my dream life...

Cat House on the Kings link to You Tube Video

And it's bad enough that she has it, but she doesn't even have the decency to be located far, far away. She's only a car ride away.

What an amazing facility. What an amazing woman. Stories like this are the reason my husband doesn't play the lottery. Not because he believes we'd never win, but for fear that we might and he'd be sentenced to live a life like this one :o)

If you have a couple of dollars to spare, you could do worse than sending them here.

Cat House on the Kings

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The last link of the chain

A press release on noted that a three year old child was attacked by a Pit Bull. I sighed as I read the headline, since there's nothing more the media seems to like than to sound the pit bull alarm as often as possible, to the continuing detriment of a breed that is wholly undeserving of the unyielding assault on its being.

I might not have bothered to mention the story at all had a second item not been posted an hour or so later detailing the incident.

It turns out that the dog in question was chained. Chained to a tree in the backyard. How long had the dog been chained? Who knows. Apparently the family who owned the dog missed the memo that chaining a dog for longer than three hours is now against the law in California. And they surely didn't take the time to read that chained dogs are nearly three times more likely to bite than are dogs that are unrestrained.

Perhaps if the owner of this dog taken the smallest amount of time to think about the long term needs --- social, emotional and physical --- of another species they chose to bring into their home, this whole incident could have been avoided.

It's simple, folks. Dogs deserve more than to spend their lives at the end of a chain. They deserve more than to be cast out into the backyard, separated from their pack and from the comfort of a warm, safe environment. They deserve, before being brought into a home, for someone to spend more than ten minutes thinking about the long-term needs a social creature has. They deserve not just to be thought about, but to be thought of.

The injuries to the child, according to the post, do not appear to be life-threatening, and for that I'm glad. Don't think that caring about one side of the equation means that there is no concern for the other.

But perhaps a little clarity of writing was due in the composition of the piece. The injuries were not life-threatening for the child. The dog in question, a dog who in all probability had spent far more time on a chain than off one, is most surely dead as I type, having been taken away by Animal Control at the owner's request.

To find out more about why chaining a dog is never a good option, look into these resources:

Dogs Deserve Better
Unchain Your Dog
Humane Society of the United States

Sunday, November 9, 2008


It looks like the lives of animals got a tiny bit better on Election Day. In California Prop. 2 was passed, bringing a teeny-tiny bit of compassion to the world of factory farming. Granted, the egg farms here in the valley aren't all that thrilled, because they may actually have to hire another person or two (under 100 people caring for nearly 2 million chickens ---seriously?), but I am thrilled!

I really didn't think that the measure would pass on the first try, but maybe that's just a reflection of having spent so much time in Bakersfield. Anyway, yea California!

The other item I think worthy of mention is the abolition of dog racing in Massachusetts. Another move towards compassion. Way to go!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Prop. 2 - for the benefit of all

As election day (finally) arrives, I'd just like to mention one more time the importance of voting yes on California's Prop. 2 - The Humane Farm Animal Act.

I've heard the arguments against the measure. Naturally, the majority of them coming from the pro-factory farming crowd and those who believe the best business is big business. But there are times when people really need to look beyond the hype and think about an issue on the basis of its merits. No matter how you couch it, animals living in the conditions that currently exist in factory farming, particularly on egg ranches, are living a pitiful existence. We have it in our power to change that if we don't allow ourselves to be driven by fear.

Opponents argue that it will make our food less safe. Let me tell you, I subscribe to the FDA's list of product recalls and most people have no idea how many products are recalled every week of safety concerns. Since most of the recalls are regional, and not national, unless you're in the affected region you may never hear about them at all.

Allowing farm animals to have one small concession in exchange for our use of them is the only compassionate thing to do. Now is your chance. Vote for compassion by voting yes on Prop. 2.


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