Archive for the ‘Dogs’ Category

There’s a feature this a.m. in the Life & Arts section about “bad mother moments” where moms wrote in to confess their failures.  For the most part, these true confessions were all very far behind the front line of battle between “tough love” and “I left my toddler in the house over the weekend with an open box of cereal and the TV on at the Cartoon Channel.  I needed some ‘me’ time.” Overall it was pretty wimpy stuff, although I admire the woman who stuffed her kid’s toy recorder with foam, telling her that it would “filter” the sound.  Some of it didn’t even register as “bad,” just the kind of stuff unimaginative types think qualifies as a major lapse of nurturing: mother of 4 month old FORGETS TO PACK EXTRA CHANGE OF CLOTHES IN DIAPER BAG.  When the kid needs changing, he doesn’t have a replacement pair of pants (diaper leak- oops.) So he has to endure the humiliation of only wearing his shirt, clean diapers, and his mom’s jacket at a dinner with family.  At the Salt Lick, mind you, not the Four Seasons.  I remember never dressing my daughter in anything more than a “onesie” until she was old enough to complain.  And now, three years later, she’s graduating from high school.  Time flies! (more…)


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I figure I’ll sound smarter if I rip off Thomas Sowell.

First, I want to rat out Philo.  He seems like a nice guy.  And I bet he was a serious nerdgeek in his day.  But he was easily led astray by the fidgeter-miscreant-note-passer par excellence, me, yesterday at a working group hearing in the Texas legislature yesterday.  The reason I like sitting next to Philo is that he cares more about my tiny feelings than he cares that the State Representatives notice that he’s giggling in the fourth row before he gives testimony.  So he laughs at almost everything I write in my running commentary about the witnesses.  As an added bonus, he wrote the funniest comment of all, his only one to my 15 or so, while simultaneously writing his testimony and laughing at my jokes.  If we had gone to college together, he would have gotten the “A,” I would have gotten the “C with commendation.”  By the way, that is how I went through college.

Speaking of college, I have been to several of these hearings with this particular committee, and I haven’t been to one yet where the chair fails to mention the grad school he went to.  Often, he goes on to mention that other committee members went to Harvard and Princeton.  It’s the Ivy League Litany.  There’s even one member who has mentioned, on more than one occasion, something that someone said when he was at Harvard…at a leadership conference [sotto voce].

Other randomness: our accident-prone dog was found to be bleeding profusely from a gash behind her ear in the wee hours of the morning.  I opted for the “let nature take its course” strategy, which paid off because she clotted nicely and we took her to the vet at a reasonable hour.  We couldn’t tell, really, because of all the blood-matted hair, what the nature of the injury was, and thanks to her generally stoic and slightly senile nature, we didn’t even know how or when she got injured.**  So I dropped her off at the vet and called later to see if she was ready to be picked up. Yup, said the tech.  “We cleaned the area, shaved it, and glued it back and she’s good to go.”  Glued it back?  I didn’t have the presence of mind to ask what they glued back.  Anyway, she’s back and the damage only cost about 40% of emergency treatment rates.

** This is not unusual with her.  She was once stabbed by a deer (those antlers are sharp) right above the collar bone but she hardly bled and didn’t limp or anything.  By the time we noticed it (“Oh, lookie here: Stripes gotta big ol’ hole in her chest”) the vet said it was healing nicely that’ll be $50 please.

Meanwhile, in other news: Arizona’s soon-to-be law cracking down on illegals is pretty draconian,  but when Nina Easton did her best to sound moderate in her critique of it,  Bret Bair got more worked up than I’ve ever seen him.  Granted, his “worked up” is Keith Olbermann’s comatose, but it made me sit up.  He said (paraphrasing from memory) that Arizona had the highest kidnapping rate int he world last year and that the cartels and the drug/human trafficking were making south Arizona a no-go zone (like Mexico proper, in other words.)  To that, Nina Easton said that the state should crack down on employers to cut off demand for illegals.  This obviously is a non-sequitor.  We’re talking violent crime and drugs: tossing the guy in the WalMart warehouse back to Mexico isn’t going to reduce the cartel activity.

Meanwhile, Elena Kagan is not a lesbian. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  The best part: Anita Dunn rebuking the CBS blog for saying so with this: “The fact that they’ve chosen to become enablers of people posting lies on their site tells us where the journalistic standards of CBS are in 2010.” I think this whole pot-calling-kettle thing is racist.  And for once, we Republicans are way ahead of the curve on CBS. I seem to recall an incident in 2004“Courage.”

Meanwhile, apart from all the other fishiness surrounding the Goldman Sachs suit (no warning, announced in middle of day on a week day, coincident with Obama’s Slayer of Financial Titans Act, etc.) I would like to point out that the person that the SEC has named as a bad guy isn’t the “boss,” he’s a trader.  He may have been intimately involved with shenanigans that may or may not be prosecutable in court, but he isn’t the “big fish.” He is, however, a French citizen living in London.  I think that’ll be pretty convenient for him and BO’s cronies back home.  Prediction: Goldman pleads down from charges involving stuff none of us really understand to misdemeanor spitting on the sidewalk, gets a slap on the wrist that has a monetary value of something less than they donated to BO,  Chuck Schumer, and Kirsten Gillibrand**, and we call it a day for Super Dooper Crimestoppers of the SEC, aka Bernie Who?  **BO “is not embarrassed by Goldman Sachs contributions” so he’s keeping the nearly $1 million the firm donated to him.  Hey, he takes a lot of money from a lot of people.  Good to know that his personal embarrassment is the measure here.  From my experience, pols are pretty shameless, so no rebates, folks.

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As of Monday last, we have a new addition to the family.  I got some feedback by email, too, and nearly all the votes went to Diamond, the German Shepherd.   A shout out to my friend Cathy, whose GSD Josie is a great advert for the breed.  Lovely dog.

My son and I went to check out Trista at her temporary digs up in Florence, Texas, where she is being trained for optimum adoptability.  That’s one thing I really like about ADR- their cooperative agreement with Southern Star allows rescue animals to be brought up to speed socially.  While we were checking out Trista (who is as exhuberant as she looks in the video- a very happy dog!) I asked about Diamond the black and tan shepherd.  Here’s her story:

Diamond was spotted by a dog lover on the streets in Dallas where she had given birth to a litter of 13 puppies in May, 2009.  She was so traumatized and afraid of people that the only way she could be caught was by using her puppies to lure her to the van.   She was kept with her puppies until they were weaned in August, then sent to the kind folks at Southern Star.  SS is a boarding/training facility whose bedrock business is to train narcotics dogs.  Because of her extreme fear of people, especially men, she was given to Ronnie, the senior trainer (normally, the rescue dogs are given to student trainers.)  Most dogs are only there for a four week “course” but Diamond was there for four months.  I asked Sharon about Diamond and it was clear from her manner that she thought Trista was the more adoptable dog.  Diamond was unpredictable in new situations (read: probably not good for visits with Mom); no, “playful” isn’t a word you would apply to her.  We got home and I received a call from the foster “dad” who told me that he was told to remind us (my husband and I) that German Shepherds are by nature aloof, that Diamond may take a while to warm up, like a week… OK, consider my expectations managed.  My husband, who was not sold on the idea of a 3rd dog anyway and who is still disturbed by our Corgi’s “quirks” was going to be introduced to an aloof basket case.  Got it.

So we went to Ryan’s house.  He opened the door and I could see Diamond in her crate- the door was open but she stayed there until invited to come and greet us.  She came out, tail wagging and snuffled Ryan, then my husband’s extended hand, then mine.  The rest of the visit could be charcterized as “friendly curiosity” with particular interest in my husband- she invited him to play several times and alerted every time he spoke.  Clearly, she’s over the whole “man fear” thing.

So- we adopted her.

In four days, she recalls to my whistle better than the “trained” dogs (Stripe the Wonder Herder is completely deaf, so she can be excused.) Sits on command.  Has been saintly with respect to the bossy herding of the elderly Aussie.  Has learned to stay out of the kitchen while I’m cooking.  Is too enthusiastic about going through doorways, but we’re correcting that.  Is so enthusiastic about car rides that when I opened the trunk to my sedan, she jumped in and sat there, looking at me.  She is playful.  Gentle.  Really, really smart.  Wants to be with her people.  Content in her crate.  In short, a most excellent dog.  Did I mention she’s beautiful?

There is, as usual, the bickering about the name.  I’m calling her “Deeds,” because I read somewhere that dogs are more attuned to “d” and “t” consonant sounds.  Plus, when I praise her I can call her “Good Deeds.” and when she’s naughty, “Bad Deeds.”  If I’m being polite, “Miss Deeds.” And of course, after all this rain, she is “Dirty Deeds.”  She likes the wordplay, even if everyone else groans.  I’m open to suggestion.  Other names I like:

  1. Chase
  2. Blitz
  3. Nola, in honor of the Saints Superbowl win on the same day we met her.
  4. Blackie (my daughter thinks this it too politically incorrect, but she needs to get over that.   I named my pony “Brownie,” and our Aussie is named “Stripe.”)
  5. Dina
  6. Bo (bwahahahhaha!)

Vote for the doggie name of your choice!

I’ll upload pics as I get them-  I have one of her in the trunk.

And by the way: we have only ever had purebred dogs- Australian Shepherds and Corgis.  While Diamond is obviously a purebred, who knows what her provenance is.  Probably the product of some amateur breeding program, and someone probably paid good money for her originally.  But they didn’t spay her and keep her safe.  So, for a grand total of tax deductible $165, I have a wonderful dog, thanks to the wonderful folks at Southern Star and ADR.  I’l never buy from a breeder again.  Too many fine animals, purebred and mixes, need homes.

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I know I voted for the Chinese Crested because it was obviously a collectivist.

But today I’m asking readers to weigh in on a possible- and I stress possible- acquisition of a third dog.  Here’s the back story: as you know, we lost Tristan the Happy Warrior last summer.  My dearly beloved really thought Tristan was the best and misses him, but has been loathe to “replace” him, because he wants Tristan.  I, on the other hand, would like a dog with a couple of key charcteristics to achieve optimum caninicity chez nous.  Those would be: large-ish, sweet tempered and cooperative, but optimally with a playful side.  The driver for me is my mother, who has some dementia but remembers with great fondness her childhood best friend, her German Shepherd who died historically and probably valiantly during the 1933 Long Beach/Huntingdon Beach earthquake.  Mom lives in a personal care home with 3 others who have more profound dementia, and they love seeing my Corgi, but she’s pretty reticent around them.  It dawned on me that I could be doing a lot of good if I adopted a dog who was in need of a home and put him/her to work as a pal of the impaired at my mom’s residence.  Anyway, dog needs to be big to see my mother, who has very limited mobility.  There isn’t much I can do for Mum, but I can do this.

I have tentative agreement from the SO, and have been looking for a while.  Here are two candidates from a rescue group that I have a lot of admiration for, Austin Dog Rescue.  They are entirely volunteer and they rescue dogs from kill shelters, spay/neuter them, vet them, and train them.  Really a nice group.

First, the lovely Diamond (click on the pic to go to her link):

And the loveable mutt with the spookily similar name, Trista (she’s the bouncy black dog):

Lemme know what you think!

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I’m really liking Jim Geraghty’s Morning Jolt.  Subscribe here.

In his “Addenda” bit, he notes that John and Elizabeth Edwards are separated.  It’s a shame- I had the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for E to give to J:

OK, maybe she could spring for an undetonated pair.  Gives whole new meaning to the phrase, “Blow job.”

Does “al-Qaeda’s Secret” have an 800 number?  Lemme ask Nadal Hasan.

Also, Mike Pence is not running for Evan Bayh’s seat because he thinks that Republicans will take back the House in November.  I like this on a number of levels.  Mike Pence has become one of my favorite pols because I trust a man who is all in for the team.  Mind you- taking the House will not be easy, but Mr. Pence is committed.  Excellent.

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Stripe the Wonder Dog is just like this.  As a puppy in a household of 14 dogs (they were breeders and competition herders: not a puppy mill,) she was extremely cagey about hiding the chewies.  I even caught her glancing side-to-side furtively before she dug a hole for her rawhide in a nook against the side of the house.

And, file this story under “Dogs: Doing Jobs Cats Won’t Do.”

And, this is a fascinating article in FT about Moscow’s stray dog population.  It’s not what you think.  At about 35,000, the population has reached ecological equilibrium keeps the vermin population down and have adapted to various sub-niches within the urban environment.  The are truly “feral” but not a danger to humans, apparently.  As a group, however, they cannot be domesticated without the same selection process that our ancestors used to domestic wolves.

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This story makes me want to sic a dog on someone. Do administrators have no common sense at all?

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