Monday, May 14, 2012

Franklin, R.I.P.

Today is a day of mourning in our household. A great dog and good friend of Bingley and Magic has crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Franklin was the senior member of our walking group. Marilyn adopted him when he was a fifteen month old stray, covered with mange. She loved him and nursed him back to health. His mange-covered body was replaced by a beautiful red-tan coat. He turned eleven years old in February and tomorrow would have marked the tenth anniversary of his adoption. Franklin was a Greyhound mix--with what breed, it's hard to say. But he loved "passing" as a Greyhound, and until he became too ill, he was the star of Show and Tells. In spite of arthritis, Franklin loved his walks and was a real trouper right up to the end. But cancer of the liver put him into a steep decline over the past few days, and so Marilyn, Jerry and Josh, those who loved him best in the world, made the heartbreaking decision this morning and were with him at the end. Franklin is now free of pain, frolicking with Ariel, Ruby and Portia. We will miss you, Franklin. Deepest condolences to Marilyn, Jerry and Josh.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Good Intentions, Good Results, And A Challenge

For a number of converging reasons, Greyhound racing is becoming less and less of a money-making proposition. But Greyhound racing has continued in a number of states, including Arizona. Both Zephyr and Bingley raced at the track in Tuscon. If you want to read about how racing dogs live at the Tuscon track, go to the blog, savinggreyce, which is linked on the right hand side of the screen. I shudder when I think of my beloved dogs being subjected to those conditions. But today is a happy day for Greyhounds in Arizona. A law passed by the legislature and signed by the governor, will facilitate the winding down of racing in that state. Many people worked together to bring this about and it is a milestone toward ending an inhumane sport in the United States. However, we will now be entering a time of great jeopardy for many Greyhounds, because, as the racing kennels close, hundreds of sweet, sensitive dogs will become homeless. Greyhound Adoption Center has rescued hundreds of dogs from Arizona over the years, but the number of dogs needing to be rescued will soon multiply. In preparation for this day, GAC has enlarged its capacity, but even so, it will require all rescues in states bordering Arizona and even farther away, to redouble their efforts if all the dogs that will need to be rescued are rescued. If you have ever thought about donating to Greyhound Adoption Center, now would be a good time. A link to their website is on the right side of this screen. If you have ever thought of volunteering for a Greyhound rescue, now would be a good time. And, most importantly, if you have ever thought about adopting a Greyhound, now would be a good time to explore that possibility. There are going to be a lot of beautiful, funny, frightened dogs in need of loving homes.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Best Intentions

If you love dogs and care about their well being and you think you are too happy and really want to feel awful, start looking at advertisements for puppies for sale on the internet. One click on one of these advertisements reduces me to tears. To paraphrase Charles Dickens, Are there not enough pet stores? Are there not enough backyard breeders? I can barely understand someone who is so uninformed or impetuous that they purchase a puppy from a pet store or from an advertisement in the newspaper. But what possesses someone who buys a dog or puppy over the internet? How can they claim to have any knowledge about the dog's origins or care up to the time of purchase? Something clearly should be done to mitigate the suffering of pets marketed in this way. Enter the U.S. Congress. A bill is now working its way through those hallowed halls that would bring internet pet sales under the 1966 Animal Welfare Act. It will pass. Can you imagine any Congressperson, Representative or Senator, D or R who would wish to face a constituent and try to explain voting against such a bill? I pray that it will do no harm. But there are some reasons why I have little hope that it will do much good. Reason 1. Think very hard. Have you ever heard of the Animal Welfare Act of 1966? Reason 2. Do you have any reason to believe that the Animal Welfare Act of 1966 has mitigated the irresponsible breeding and marketing of dogs and the attendant suffering of said animals? Reason 3. What expertise do you think that the United States Department of Agriculture, the agency assigned the enforcement duties of the new law, has in detecting cyber crime? Reason 4. Given current harsh economic realities, how many new Animal and Plant Health Inspectors--the law-enforcement officers of the USDA--do you think can be hired to police the rampant internet marketing of puppies? To make matters worse, everyone who is involved in sponsoring the bill and everyone who votes for it, will believe that they have done all they can to mitigate untold suffering of puppies. But new generations of puppies will continue to suffer as will their poor, hapless parents. This blog was begun because our beautiful Greyhound, Portia, was killed by another dog, because the County of Sna Diego is too large and diverse a jurisdiction to adequately enforce reasonable county leash laws. After studying the problem carefully, I have come to the conclusion that animal welfare laws need to be made and enforced at a more local level. In the meantime, it would be a huge step forward if the laws already on the books would be enforced.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Dogs Are NOT Interchangeable

After reading the wonderful Dog's Will that is the subject of the last post, I took time to click around the Aussie Rescue of Southern California site. What I read and saw broke my heart. I have never had an Aussie or any other Herding breed, for that matter, as my own companion. I do have a dear friend who is an Aussie Person, so I have had some exposure to Aussies. And, of course, I read about dogs and dog breeds because I think dogs are God's very specific gift to human beings. And like all of God's gifts, they are not just for our enjoyment; they are also for the growth of our character and moral development and discernment. Whenever The Smartest Breed is being discussed or argued, three breeds are included in the mix: Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, and German Shepherd Dogs. Notice any common denominator among these breeds? They all belong to the Herding Group. They have been selectively bred over generations for their ability to perceive and follow sometimes very subtle signals from humans. Their ability to learn new behaviors can be stunning. (Particularly to those of us who adore and share our lives with sight hounds, who are the canine equivalent of legacy college admissions.) But all that canine intelligence puts extraordinary demands on humans. A bored Aussie, Border Collie, or German Shepherd is a destructive force that can also be quite stunning. People who take one of these breeds into their homes need to be willing to spend the rest of the dog's life training and keeping the dog occupied and busy. The number of Aussies--particularly older Aussies--in shelters and rescues is testimony to the ignorance and callousness of many people who acquire one of these Top of the Class canines without researching the breed or ignoring the research they do. Aussies are gorgeous dogs and the idea of having an intelligent breed appeals to some people's ego. But it takes a particular type of person to provide a safe and happy life for one of these dogs. If you think you might have what it takes, please visit Read all the caveats and search your soul. If you still want an Aussie, you won't want for choice. There are many, many Australian Shepherds in need of homes.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Must Read!

I just read "A Dog's Will to Another Dog" at the the Australian Shepherd Rescue of Southern California site. (Sorry, I'm still not able to give you hot links in posts, although I'll add this link to the rescues on the right side of the screen.) I have never read a more beautiful, powerful expression of what I want to say to people who have just lost a canine companion. Give yourself the time you need to heal, but never say you don't have room in your heart and home for another needy dog. Now. Go read that wonderful post.