Saturday, May 28, 2011

These Hens Are The Best

I'm very proud of the Rescue Ranch program we started late last year. We work with egg farmers to offer an alternative to slaughter by taking in "spent" laying hens and then rehoming them into permanent, companion homes. Obviously we only work with a very small percentage of farmers and thus only save a tiny portion of the 400 million egg-laying hens in the country and the 18 million in California alone. But to date, we've saved and re-homed or retained at the sanctuary 1,912 chickens. More than 1,500 of those chickens were rescued in the first five months of this year.

These hens in the video are some of the sweetest birds alive. Watching them makes my heart ache for those we cannot save. While we struggle to create a kinder world through our outreach and education, we also strive to help the farmed animals already in existence. This is one way to do just that.

It is hard to see in the video, but these hens have been de-beaked, a portion of their nerve-sensitive and blood rich beaks were cut off at the hatchery. It is standard practice...and these hens did not come from an intensively confined farm. De-beaking is done on a range of different types of farms, even some of the more pastoral ones.

The hens are ISA Browns. They have been bred to be incredibly curious, docile, and of course, grotesquely absurd producers of eggs. On average, they will lay 250-300 eggs a year. A normal hen would lay 20-40. A lower producing layer would lay 120. Instead of living 8-10 years like other standard sized birds, these hens are lucky to survive to age six. Their reproductive system is not made to handle this egg production, so they often die of egg-related diseases, including most commonly ovarian cancer.

I love these hens something fierce.

Soon This Cone Will be a Thing of the Past

Woe Is The Cone

Friday, May 27, 2011

Results from My Anonymous Poll

You can still vote, if you want.

So, from my highly scientific survey, this is what I learned about you, my dear, amazing, wonderful readers:

15% of you are vegan, which is like 15 times more than the national average, go team!
14% of you are vegetarian.

17% of you were all OHMYGODMARJISTOPIT and I am here to say, no!

70% of you do consume animal products.

I wanted to know this so that when I do write about animal protection issues, I can frame my ideas better. It is a good, healthy challenge for me. Animal protection issues are important to me, and I want to write about them and share my passion with you as well. But I don't want you to feel helpless or hurt or judged. That helps no one. Sometimes I will fail at this, but I will try my best not to.

This blog has morphed into something I am proud of and love. In the past year, you have helped this blog's readership grow by sharing my posts on facebook or through email or, most appreciative of all, by just leaving a comment. I can't thank you enough, as I never thought this blog would take off in the way I wanted.

It will continue to have its ups and downs, but I am pleased with it. So, thanks, yo.

Brewer's Blackbirds Are Great Parents

They take parenting seriously. Very seriously.

I've seen parents dive-bomb hawks, turkey vultures, dogs, and yes, us humans. They are fearless and will do everything they can to distract possible predators from their clutch, even going so far as to land close by and feign injury (not in the extreme, like the killdeer).

There is a nest full of fledglings outside my office window. It's been a hoot watching them go from itty-bitty, featherless creatures to little fluffernutters. Today, one of them decided to become a full-on fledger.

But true to their superb parenting protocol, his parents made sure to feed the nest-abandoner as well. In fact, the father went so far as to taunt the baby bird with an insect, luring him off the bush and up into the air. Thus, he flew for the first time! It was fun to watch.

Sadly these birds are poisoned en masse by farmers. Blackbirds do eat grain, but they are also great insect eaters. 

The first fledge

When Sleeping, Stick Tongue Out Just In Case Food Might Walk In


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Burglary Less Interesting Than Non-Biting Dog

For reals!

In Bridgeton, New Jersey, the headline reads as follows: "Police shoot Pit Bull during investigation of home burglary".

I guess a 16-yr-old kid breaking and entering is far less important than a dog who looks like a Pit Bull getting shot in the paw because he was so violent that he didn't actually scratch or bite anyone, but apparently he "attacked" the officer. It is a unique definition of attack when there is a significant absence of any actual injury, except to the supposed "attacker", the dog.

The Sad Face

Hello I Have Benign Tumors

Saturday, May 21, 2011

In Better News, Celeste Has Graduated Training Class

Mina's surgery happened to fall on the same day as Celeste's last training class, but we still got a certificate and an invitation to continue on to the intermediate/CGC training class!

I was taking Celeste to training, not because she needs to learn how to sit or walk on a lead nicely (okay, sometimes she does!) but because she is anxious around other dogs and also hates wooden floors...both of which would be at the class!

By the end of six weeks, Celeste would even let a few of the calmer dogs sniff her butt, and she'd reciprocate. She started to get more comfortable on the wooden floor, to the point we could be off our mats and circling the large room without too much fanfare.

Celeste is a bright dog. I love this about her. Training has also meant spending more time with her, giving her and our relationship more of my undivided attention.

I learned that with Celeste it's all about food. She is a food whore to the 10th degree. This makes convincing her wooden floors are divine a whole lot easier. Just toss a Zukes peanut butter training treat a few feet ahead of her and bam! she's on it. Of course, this also made the "leave the treat alone" exercise a little more challenging for her.

I learned that Celeste is calmed greatly by the Anxiety Wrap which she now wears when she comes to work with me and Mina.

I learn that Celeste is also very sensitive to me and my moods, so I have to be very upbeat and confident when working with her. Otherwise, she sort of falls apart.

The training was a lot of fun, and I look forward to the intermediate class. I hope Celeste does too, in her little canine way.

Shelters Doing Good

It is easy to find nice, compassionate things shelters are doing to make life better for the nonhumans in their care! Some are obvious, others are creative; some require a lot of money, some need none. But all should serve as examples that even at shelters covered in darkness, a little smudge here and there will let the light shine through.

Other ideas (some may be repeats)

Make it easier for disenfranchised citizens to participate...AND double-whammy, talk about your program on the local radio station! The Humane Society of Huron Valley recently went on their local radio program in Michigan and talked about a neat program - Senior-to-Senior in which senior citizens are paired with senior dogs (8 years and older) and the adoption fee is waived! There's a senior Basset Hound mix there right now named Rooster, and that's maybe not because he crows in the morning! I don't know why that's his name but let's just go with it.

Have a message, get some kids to design it for you! So say you have a really important message you want to get out to the public. Like maybe you want to promote your low-cost spay-neuter program or your vaccine clinic or your Rags to Riches (made that up, use it someone) make over. Do what the Clay County Humane Society in Orange Park, FL does each year and ask local school kids to design a poster that will be placed on a real, honest, billboard for one whole month. But please share the poster on your website and at the news article, cuz I want to see what that genius kid came up with. Now the Clay County Humane Society does not have an actual shelter, but that doesn't mean other shelters couldn't do this too.

Work with local businesses: The Belfair PC Shop in Kitsap, Washington takes in older, unwanted computers and refurbishes them, then sells them. The profit they make (outside the cost of parts) is given to local charities, including their local humane society. Shelters don't have to do any of the work, except to build and maintain relationships with your local businesses!

Go Social:: It behooves every single shelter to have a social media presence. At the very least, set up a Facebook page for your shelter, and just hook it up to a twitter account so you don't need to be updating two sites at once (unless you have a dedicated social media person). This is one of those investments that costs very little to maintain (and if you're lucky, a good volunteer can run it and cost you nothing) and the return for relationship building is great.

Market your dogs with pizzazz! Like the Halifax Humane Society who is pleading with the public to help find Star a seeing-eye human! That's right, little Star needs a service human to be her eyes! My only suggestion to the Halifax Humane Society would be to update your "adopt a companion" page to include some biographical information on the adoptable animals. Like Star's page does not mention she is vision-impaired(!) and I would like to know about her personality.

Hipstamatic: Waiting


Friday, May 20, 2011

Animal Wellness Center - Goodbye

This morning, I called the Animal Wellness Center in Davis, California to see if Mina's test results came back.

Yes they had.

Could someone please tell me the results?

No, your vet is not here. You will have to wait until Monday.

Well, can the other vet who works there tell me?

No, because your vet is not there.

I call back later and talk to Lisa, the Office Manager.

Can you just fax the results to my other vet and she can at the very least tell me if my dog has cancer?

No, we are closing. And we are not open tomorrow. 

Wait, I've been a client for six years. 

Lisa interrupts me.

That does not matter. It's company policy.

I understand that, but please understand my frustration. This dog is very important to me; I have had her for 10 years and am very concerned about her health. It would be great if you would work with me so I don't have to wait another 48 hours. 

No, company policy.

I'm sorry. It's just that my other vet would do this for a long-term client. She'd find a way to get me the results.

Well, your vet OBVIOUSLY does things differently. *Proceeds to slander this other vet on an unrelated issue*.

Lisa, this is very disappointing. I have to tell you that after I get the results from my vet, I will never be a client at the Animal Wellness Center.

That's fine.

Throughout the conversation, while I was clearly frustrated, I was as polite as I could muster. If I ever talked to someone the way Lisa did to me at MY boss would either write me up or fire me on the spot. Especially when we are talking about the welfare of a client's dear companion dog. It's just mean and small and spiteful. Also very unprofessional.

And I am amazed this woman was promoted to Office Manager - she has the people skills of a jackhammer.

So I have to wait until Monday to get the results of Mina's biopsies. I'm a little drained and depressed by what has happened. I do not want to wait, and it hurts a lot to think that her test results are sitting in my (soon-to-be former) vet's inbox at the Animal Wellness Center. Just sitting there. Waiting. Because no one was willing to go that extra foot to find a way to get a vet to read the results and let me know if my dog has a life-threatening illness.

Right now, in this very moment, I have a large amount of - dare I say it - hate directed at the Animal Wellness Center and Office Manager, Lisa, in particular.

Mina's fine.

Hipstamatic: That Dog is Orange


Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Bullfrog and the Road

Driving home tonight, headlights shine upon a small hopping form in the middle of my lane. A controlled swerve to the left, but I'm not sure if I missed the frog.

A part of me wants to get home. It wants to pretend the frog hopped, hoppily after to wherever he was going. It does not want to think about the possible smooshing of said frog beneath wheels.

I don't know how big that part of me was, but it ended up being trumped by the part of me that needed to know if I had just killed a ginormous frog.

Hipstamatic: Shiny Baubles


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

An Anonymous Poll

I am curious about my readers dietary habits, because in my head I have an idea about the "dietary-demographics"of this blog's readers. I'm wondering if my head and reality match up. I'll leave this up for a few days and then share with you what I REALLY think about all of you! I kid, you know I love you.

Don't worry, I'm not here to judge (lest you judge me for being awesome) but I am actually super curious about your food choices. This poll is obviously not scientific and does not incorporate all dietary options or choices, because then it would be like whoa, super intense.

If you want to leave a comment in which you state that I convinced you to become a heathen vegan, yeah, I'm cool with that. Or you can leave a message for Mina, telling her MEAT IS GUD! Mina is not a hater, yo.

I eat a(n): free polls

Hipstamatic: Beaded Light


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Animal Control Adopts Out Dog After Owner Was in Hospital for Too Long

I want to first state that I do NOT think this is a particularly easy issue nor do I think there is an equitable solution. By equitable, I mean literally fair. That is not possible, since both guardians of the dog love him dearly and would not want to part with him - in the end, someone will suffer. At the very least, it does not sound like the dog is going to be one of those suffering, which is good.

So here is the deal: A man was in the hospital for eight weeks. Since he lived alone, animal control in Independence, Missouri, was legally bound to confiscate his dog, a Husky the man has had since 2003. By law, the dog could be held for 10 days, then placed up for adoption.

Animal control's "attempts" at contacting the owner seems to only include a note left on his door.

Hipstamatic: Dear Nature, It's Spring, Nearly Summer, Act Accordingly

Spring That Has Not Sprung

Monday, May 16, 2011

Be Gone My Lumpy Friends - Mina's Surgery

Lumpless Dog Is Sad Poor Mina! I took her to the vet today to have five lumps removed. This is a pic of the sad Mina and one of her suture sites. She is not happy. And right now, she is in pain and it is breaking my heart. Her food is being cooked up and I'll give her her evening pain meds and maybe that will help.

The vet was a little concerned, but tried hard to temper that with a "let's just wait and see". One of the lumps was far deeper than she would have liked to see and it was highly vascular. The other lumps, she was less concerned about.

I explained to the vet that Mina does awful in those metal cages and often self-mutilates. So I got to be there after her tube was removed. It was a rather surreal experience, more so for Mina.

I can remember getting my wisdom teeth removed and having to be anesthetized. I got to 7 from 10 before and when I woke up, it wasn't a very strange experience. It was like coming out of a deep sleep. But this is different. The quick-acting anesthesia means dogs wake up faster, so I think it can be more of a jarring experience. She was especially sound-sensitive, but that was partially helpful - every time she heard my voice, she looked for me and leaned into me.

She also tried to kiss me. A lot. It was hard for her, because her mouth was so dry. So it was really sandpaper kisses. Still, pretty darn precious.

I won't know the results for another five days. I hate that part the most.

But all in all, Mina is doing great and I'm hoping with my  hyper-vigilance, she won't have to wear the cone of shame! You may of course feel extra sorry for her ,preferably via cookies sent through the mail. :)

Now behind the cut is me whining a little. You've been warned

Hipstamatic: Glass Portrait


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Police Blotters Are Love

I Need My Coffee: 10:35 a.m. — A caller from the 100 block of South Auburn Street reported a man and a woman might have stolen six or seven coffee mugs.

Damn You, Tires, Damn You: 2:02 p.m. — A caller from the 24000 block of Camelia Way reported vandalism to a tire.

Mischief, Oh Wherefore Art Thou? 3:16 p.m. — A caller from the 10000 block of Sun Shadow Drive reported a lost donkey named Mischief.

Mortal Kombat! Or Wombat! Or Mutual Combat! 9:27 p.m. — A caller from the 200 block of B Street reported a physical fight. It was mutual combat.

We'll Even Save Your Car Battery: 4:52 a.m. — A caller from the 100 block of Joerschke Drive reported a vehicle with its headlights on since 1:30 a.m. The car was found running and was turned off.

Just Be Happy It Wasn't Christine: 1:39 a.m. — A caller from the 12000 block of Spanish Lane reported a Mazda racing around on the street for the past hour.

What Are Your Favorite Blogs Besides Mine, Of Course

I'm always looking for more blogs to read. Any you would recommend? I like dogs, photography, veganism, and dogs some more.

And any bloggers who link back to my blog but I am being a big fat fail by not linking back to yours? Tell me. If you do not blow up kittens for fun, I'll add you back!

Snippets of a Pit Bull's Life

Mina Best Dog EverStories of Mina would fill pages upon pages. Here are but a few.
Her first day. She has no name yet. Small and thin, unsure of the world, she gawks and gazes wide-eyed at the interior of the home. The human pats the bed with her hand. What does this mean? She has never seen or been on a bed before.

She jumps, leaps up, landing square in the middle. Twirling, she faces the human.

She playbows.

The human is hers.
Standing outside the coffee shop, waiting for a friend to bring back luscious iced beverages. A woman and her child approach as I coo over Mina, calling her silly names. My favorite is My Little Pea-Bow. It used to be Pibble, but everyone uses that now and Mina is a trend-setter. Pea bow.

"What kind of dog is that?", I hear a voice ask, from somewhere to my left.

"A Pea-Bow!", I proudly proclaim, internally grimacing at my verbal slip-up.

"Neat, never heard of them," the woman responds back. The little girl asks to pet the Pea-Bow and Mina obliges.

Hipstamatic: Hanging With My Squeaky

Sleeping Mina

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Fighting Foxtails

Anyone have cool solutions that will protect Mina and Celeste from foxtails this year?

I saw this posted on a friend's facebook page, but I'm reticent to spend $40 for what appears to be some mesh cinched around a dog's head.

Mina has had two foxtails here and Celeste has had one deeply embedded in her ear. We are foxtail central at the sanctuary, and I want the dogs to have free reign during the long summer days and nights.

Do you use anything?

Hipstamatic: Bawk, Bawk, You're In My Way

You Are In My Way

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day Cupcake

Vegan agave cupcake

And I have to wait for my mom before I get to eat it! Geez, get here already, mom! It's vegan, of course, and I tried a recipe with agave nectar instead of sugar. Peanut butter frosting, which I ate half of straight from the mixing bowl last night.

I will let you know if it sucks or not. Even if it sucks, I'm totally eating my two.

Hipstamatic: Pretty Dog in Barren Yard

Pantin In The Yard

Friday, May 6, 2011

On Teaching and Agendas

A teacher at a school in Virginia requires her students to write a four paragraph essay entitled "Why People Should Not Own Pit Bulls". The exercise is intended to encourage students to learn how to kiss-ass use teacher supplied "resources" and write stuff the teacher wants to hear.

Understandably, some folks are up in arms (figuratively) and now encouraging people to contact the school and ask that this topic be changed.

"“Yes, this is the paper asking students to use the topic “People Should Not Own Pit Bulls.” When we began this project, several students mentioned that they owned pit bulls. I said that they didn’t have to BELIEVE people should not own pit bulls, but for the sake of this four paragraph research experience, I wanted them to use the four articles/sources I had provided to discuss two reasons why owning pit bulls could be dangerous.”"


Is this teacher pushing her own agenda or challenging her students to rethink theirs? Is it good teaching to require students to take only one viewpoint to what amounts to an opinion essay?

Obviously without context, like the source provided, and the reasoning the teacher has for this assignment, we can only conjecture and presume. Is this really promoting hate and discrimination?

What say you, gentle reader?

My answer on why "People Should Not Own Pit Bulls"

Because they will mess you up with their ninja skillz.

Hipstamatic: Curling Up Next to Foliage

Spring Has Sprung

Thursday, May 5, 2011

I Want You to Know Chickens

Happy peeper is happyThe first time I held a chicken was in college. She was a small white creature with big amber-hued eyes. I imagine the most unwanted thing she wanted to endure was being passed amongst a bunch of college kids. Stiff with fear, it was not the best way for chicken and human to meet.

A few years later I started volunteering at a sanctuary for farmed animals. I wandered amongst the hens, roosters and turkeys roaming a verdant field. What I remember most is their song, their talking. If there is one thing anyone takes away from interacting with happy chickens, it's their conversation. Chickens and turkeys voice their thoughts and feelings and opinions on just about everything. It's a rather soothing chorus.

Not always true, though.

Nearly seven years ago, I stepped foot into the modern chicken shed. In each building, 80,000 hens lived in cages so small they could not stretch their wings or move without bashing into another hen. Their existence was crazed, winnowed down to a few inches and endless boredom, ceaseless frustration.

White leghorn profileOn egg farms, to prevent the fighting and aggression that comes with abnormally high stocking densities of living beings, farmers cut off a portion of each hen's beak. This leaves her unable to perform basic chicken things - preening, protecting, eating and drinking normally. A chicken's beak is innervated, it has sensory neurons running to the tip, along with a blood supply. It is vital for a chicken to feel what is touching her beak, to know where base begins and tip ends. So it hurts to have a part of it removed, always done without anesthesia. Sometimes the nerves hurt so much, are so damaged, that they never stop crying, never stop sending messages to the brain that ouch! it hurts.

And the sound these hens make. The cries. I have never heard anything like it. There is a cadence, a rhythm to it that would almost be comforting if it wasn't so jarring. You never hear this sound in nature or on sanctuaries or in little backyard flocks because it is impossible. No sanctuary has 80,000 hens running free, and if they did, on no sanctuary would you find hens so full of fear. The sound is a cross between the sound a hen makes when cooing to her babies and the sound she makes when fleeing a hungry fox. It is not right or normal.

I think perhaps, on that day, after hours of pulling (legally) hens from these battery cages, I decided not only to respect chickens but to love them fiercely, to pull them into my heart and let them nest. On that day, I saw how cruel and dispassionate people could be, from the worker who calmly cleaned feces-covered eggs to the transport catcher rip wings and break legs as he violently stripped birds from cages. I thought of the people who would see the brown cardboard boxes displaying a happy rooster perched on a fence, never knowing, never having any freaking clue of the suffering from which those eggs came.

And I thought of each hen. The one with a prolapse, her insides gruesomely displayed to the outside world. The one who gently, ever so gently, groomed another. The one with the four inch toe nails, scrabbling to find purchase on the wooden floor of the stock trailer. The bedraggled one who, after seeing the sunlight for the very first time, took a deep breath and died, just like that, deep inhalation, explosive exhalation, then nothing. I thought of them all, sitting in a horse trailer, with more room than they ever had...yet still clumped in tightly packed circles. To these deprived birds, freedom was not a victory, it was - in its own sad way - a torment.

It took them weeks to learn how to walk again, months to gain the necessary muscle strength to perch. The most beautiful moments were so simple, so plain in a chicken's world. The first time a hen learned she could stretch her wings. She would do it incessantly, feeling how her muscles and tendons worked, how they curved and bended and oh my! how they would lift her off the ground. The first time a hen saw and tasted grass, how she tentatively, gently grasped each strand with her mangled beak. Or the first time she chose where to roost at night, sometimes shoving other hens, even roosters, from her chosen spot.

Ferdie the exploring silkie
Where my ladies at?
I want you to know chickens. How they walk and strut and preen. I want you to know they hate liars. Ferdinand, a Silkie rooster, knows this well. He loves hens, but they don't really love him (no self-respecting hen likes a dude who immediately tries to have sex with her on the first meeting). So he would use his food call, the kind a rooster is only supposed to use when there is actual food. Hens would come running, Ferdie would get to mating. They learned quick, those hens. One time. Ferdie has to wait for new hens to try his odd manner of charisma on. They'll learn too, because chickens are smart.

Bertha and AuroraI want you to know some chickens are empathetic. Some are not. Some are mean, really mean. Spiteful, even. But some are kind and generous, sharing their warmth, their perch, their food with those less fortunate. When Bertha, an older, arthritic hen, saw Aurora, the smallest, skinniest, runtiest of all chick hens, shivering and alone, Bertha offered her space on the perch, a wing to stay warm by. For many days after Bertha died, Aurora maintained vigil on that same perch spot, even braving pecks from the bigger, meaner hens. I want you to know that some chickens mourn, fiercely.

I want you to know some chickens, even after being ignored or mishandled by humans, are genetically hard-wired to be curious and inquisitive. They will touch you with their beaks, gaze deeply into your eyes, and I want you to know that you will believe them alive and intelligent and you will know their otherness.

I want you to know that when a chicken takes their last breath on the sanctuary, it is like a person. It is in that moment they are so very alive, so vital, so full of spirit, and then they are not. Then they are a husk, a shell. Before, a chicken. Now, a corpse. Before, a human. Now, dead.

I want you to know that when a chick is growing in his embryo, he hears everything going on outside, just like a human baby. That he listens for his mother's voice, recognizing it as unique. He will not respond to any other hen's voice like this, not ever. Hers is a siren's song, and it keeps him rooted and calm. When he breaks out of his shell, he will need her help to push through. He will seek her voice, her face, her smell. He will be far more precocious than any human baby, but he will still cheep and cry the moment the outside air touches his nose and he breathes it in for the first time.

Kosmo and hen I want you to know that everything in between is just like our everything in between. There is drama and "things that must be done". There is love and jealousy and disputes over territory. There is fear and pain too. There are families and friends and enemies as well. There are songs and dances and things that keep the unit together against things that would tear them apart. There are brave heroics, like the mother hen who fights to the death against the shelter-seeking rattlesnake. There are cowards, like the rooster who does not warn the other chickens of the hawk but seeks shelter himself.

They are so like us, so different, so alien in many ways. Both their differences and similarities contribute to their specialness, so often neglected and ignored by most people. But not by me. And if you've gotten this far, I hope not by you either.

All I ask is this...think briefly, gently, and kindly of chickens. Think of how if you are given the choice between causing them more harm or less, that maybe you'll consider the latter. Imagine making different choices in what you eat, and then once your imagination has blown you away with its awesomeness, make those choices. You are more powerful than you think.

At least to her, you will be.

Rescued Hen

Hipstamatic: Check Out Celeste In the Back

Some Picture You Might See from 1970

Monday, May 2, 2011

On A Lighter Note: Elderbulls Video

ELDERBULLS: The Movie (2011) from Animal Farm on Vimeo.

You might even see some familiar faces! Like Mina's at around 1:20!

Denver Officials and Animal Control Thinks You Are Stupid

“We have always allowed pit bulls as service dogs,” he said. “I think what they’re talking about is it was memorialized in writing.” He is Doug Kelley, director of Denver Animal Control. And he's talking about how Denver apparently has always allowed Pit Bulls as service animals, stop being so mean!

Oh man, Kelley, you're a laugh riot! Wait, you're serious? That's even funnier.

Because back on December 6, 2010, your Denver city council voted against accepting Pit bulls as service animals. Here are the minutes and the 9 "home rule is sacred" members who voted against the civil rights of disabled persons.

A motion offered by Councilmember Hancock, duly seconded by Councilmember Linkhart that CB10-0724 be ordered published failed to carry by the following vote:


For: Boigon, Linkhart, Madison, Sandoval (4)

Against: Brown, Faatz, Hancock, Johnson, Lehmann, Lopez, Montero, Nevitt, Robb (9)

Absent: (None) (0)

I find it a smidgen difficult to believe you've had this unwritten ethereal policy in place for the past two decades when, in fact, your city council has staunchly stood against the civil rights of disabled persons and made that very clear. Here's one of them, " "We're going to stand up for our home rule authority. That's a very sacred belief that we have in our laws in Colorado that our local government can control our animal control ordinances," Denver District 6 Councilman Charlie Brown said. " 

That is a big fuck you to disabled persons, courtesy of Denver Councilman Charlie Brown. Why does he has hate Americans with disabilities so much? Don't be a hater, Charlie Brown!

So Mr. Kelley, I guess all those lawsuits filed against your city for violating the civil rights of American citizens were pointless? Because none of those people were denied Pit Bulls as service dogs in your city? Wow, I may  not know a whole hell of a lot about lawsuits, but I am pretty certain they aren't filed willy-nilly in response to nothing. That is, they don't appear out of thin air. Those lawsuits were filed for a reason. That reason is called your city violating civil rights. Ouch! I can see why you'd want to pretend that never happened.

You can read the policy change here.

Doug Kelley is a liar. The Denver city council are liars. And they are trying to con you into believing them. But the truth is easy to find. Denver has worked tirelessly to violate the civil rights of its own residents, by denying them access to a service dog. They have spent thousands of dollars to fight lawsuits that seek to rectify civil rights violations.

And even though they have changed their policy (because they were wrong but won't admit it), they are STILL not in compliance with the federal ADA:

This policy change permits Denver animal control officers to further investigate law-abiding citizens with disabilities if their service dog looks like a Pit Bulls. Wrong. The ADA allows you to ask two questions: Is the animal required b/c of a disability and what services does the dog perform. That's it. You don't get to throw food at the dog or try to incite him to violence or flash neon lights at him to see if he blinks.

In conclusion, things Denver hates: Pit Bulls and Civil Rights.

Denver...ites, don't let it be this way. Tomorrow, vote out those douche-canoes who hate your civil rights and think you're dumb, and vote in folks who think civil rights are neato.

H/T: KC Dog Blog

Hipstamatic: Cool Until It's Not

Hipstamatic is an application for your iphone that comes equipped with some nifty lenses, flashes and film (which add different borders). If you aren't a burgeoning photographer, this application is a lot of fun...because really, it can make almost any photo look neat. It's only a couple of bucks, which as far as additions to a camera go, is sorta like how when a movie ticket cost a nickel, old school fun.

I love the app a lot and of course inflict it upon my dogs like every five seconds; they're hoping the hype dies down soon, because I'm so annoying. So you are going to be seeing a lot more of these shots. Until I find myself irksome.

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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Long Term Analysis on Mortality in 80 Breeds of Dogs

Oh my gosh, that title is so boooooring and no one will probably read this, but hey I find this stuff fascinating. It's my blog, darnit!

Between 1984-2004, more than 80,000 dogs died at one of 27 veterinary teaching hospitals in North America that submit data to the Veterinary Medical Database (VMDB). Researchers at the University of Georgia used records from the VMDB to assess the cause of death in the more than 74,000 dogs who fit the research criteria for the study. More than 80 breeds* of dogs emerged from the results.

I originally wanted to do a little chart of all the breeds and stuff, but thought that would be stealing too much from the actual research report. Sorry. You can read the overview at ScienceDaily, where all the cool kids hang out. (As I was searching for that article, I found this one in which dogs are full of flame retardants. This is not as cool as it sounds nor does it make dogs fire-resistant.)

But I will post a few interesting tidbits and of course include pertinent information on Pit Bulls, tragically called American Staffordshire Terriers in the journal article. No offense to you ASTers out there.

Cause of death was categorized in two ways - OS and PP, because science likes coding. OS = organ system and PP - pathophysiologic. Science likes big words too. Pathophysiologic = progression of disease or something.

Enter neoplasia, which you could call cancer but you'd be right and wrong. Neoplasia is cell growth gone wild. Sometimes it's totally benign abnormal cell growth, like those fatty lumps on old dogs. Sometimes it's ugly, nasty stuff, like a malignant cancer. Of all 80 breeds, including mixed breed dogs, only individuals from 11 breeds died from a "disease" or "trauma" at a higher rate than from cancer (and for a couple of those breeds, the other cause of death beat out neoplasia just barely).

Those breeds are: Australian Heeler (trauma deaths reign); Chesapeake Bay Retriever (trauma again); Dachshund & miniature Dachshund (trauma, hello broken backs); Jack Russell Terrier (traumatical); Maltese (congenital disease barely beating out neoplasia); Miniature Pinscher (trauma); Pekingese (TRAUMA); Pomeranian (trauma); Toy poodle (trauma); and Treeing Walker Coonhound (infectious disease).

The frequency of death within organ systems varied much more so than how the disease or trauma progressed (trauma probably doesn't progress so much as just kill the dog). So I will just give highlights.

Organ systems were divided into the following: Cardiovascular, Dermatological, Endocrine, Gastro-intestinal, Hepatic, Musculoskeletal, Neurological, Opthalmic, Respiratory, Urogenital, Unclear. Or heart, skin, hormone/glands, guts, liver, bones/muscle, brain/spine/neurons, eyeballs, lungs, get your head out of the gutter, unclear.

The breeds with the greatest frequency of death within each organ system are:
Cardiovascular: Newfoundland, Maltese, Chihuahua, Doberman, Fox Terrier
Derm: No one
Endocrine: no one
GI: Great Dane, Gordon Setter, Akita, Shar Pei, Weimie
Neuro: Dachshund, Miniature Dachshund, Dutch Pug, Miniature Pinscher, Boston Terrier
Muscle/Bones: St. Bernard, Great Pyrenees, Irish Wolfhound, Great Dane, Greyhound
Respiratory: Bulldog, Borzoi, Yorkshire Terrier, Afghan Hound, Walker Coonhound

For Pit Bulls: Cancer and Trauma for progression of disease. Gastrointestinal and Musculoskeletal for organ systems most affected.

Golden Retrievers and Boxers at the highest rates of cancer, which is consistent with previous research. Nearly half of all the Golden Retrievers and 44% of Boxers died because of it. Interestingly, the Bouvier des Flandres, a relatively unheard of breed, also had a very high frequency of cancer - 46% of individuals died from it. Most other breeds did not go above 30-35%.

Surprising to researchers too was the high rate of cardiovascular disease in Fox Terriers, and the high rates of respiratory disease in Afghan Hounds and Vizslas.

Cautionary notes from authors: VMDB = people who take dogs to teaching hospitals, but authors think this still represents the overall dog population. Study = cause of death, instead of just morbidity...i.e. some breeds may have higher frequency of certain diseases that do not lead to death but still pose concern or problems. Diagnosis = discretion of the veterinarian at the teaching hospital, not in an official necropsy result. Breed = no pedigrees available.

Still, interesting stuff.

And that is my conclusion.

*These dogs do not have pedigrees, per se. A breed had 100 individuals to be included. Mixed breed dogs had their own classification.

Mina is hip

So I downloaded the Hipstamatic app for my iphone and immediately took photos of Mina. Because she is cool.