Monday, December 8, 2014

Regarding the errors in your first draft

Saw this PSA-thing on facebook today:

Dear Mom and Dad,
I died today. You got tired of me and took me to the shelter. They were overcrowded and I drew an unlucky number. I am in a black plastic bag in a landfill now. Some other puppy will get the barely used leash you left. My collar was dirty and too small, but the lady took it off before she sent me to the Rainbow Bridge.

Would I still be at home if I hadn't chewed your shoe? I didn't know what it was, but it was leather, and it was on the floor. I was just playing. You forgot to get puppy toys.
Would I still be at home if I had been housebroken? Rubbing my nose in what I did only made me ashamed that I had to go at all. There are books and obedience teachers that would have taught you how to teach me to go to the door.
Would I still be at home if I hadn't brought fleas into the house? Without anti-flea medicine, I couldn't get them off of me after you left me in the yard for days.
Would I still be at home if I hadn't barked? I was only saying, "I'm scared, I'm lonely, I'm here, I'm here! I want to be your best friend."
Would I still be at home if I had made you happy? Hitting me didn't make me learn how.
Would I still be at home if you had taken the time to care for me and to teach manners to me? You didn't pay attention to me after the first week or so, but I spent all my time waiting for you to love me. I died today.

Love, Your Puppy 

It's really terrible, so I fixed it:

Dear Mom and Dad,
I died today. I was your first puppy, and you were ignorant. You got bad advice from friends, neighbors, even your vet and the internet; things weren't working and you didn't know where to turn. You were at your wits end, so you went to an animal shelter for help, but they just treated you like dirt. They took me from you without offering any advice or support, and sent you on your way with a sneer.

The shelter is overcrowded because they don't advertise puppies like me, even though there was the perfect home for me out there, they never got a chance to know I existed. I am in a black plastic bag in a landfill now because the shelter workers were too busy complaining in the break room about "irresponsible owners" to give me a walk or treats or some toys, or take a decent photo of me.

You took me to a place that calls itself a "shelter", but instead of protecting me, they killed me. If you had known there was a better way, that there are better shelters out there, that there are homes waiting for every single shelter pet, maybe you would have chosen differently. But you never had the chance. And neither did I.

Love, Your Puppy

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Poop

On a recent walk near the house I came across dozens of piles of coyote scat.  It felt like a good day to pull it apart and see what the local charismatic megapredators are eating nowadays. Quite the variety.


Here's the typical coyote scat you could find anywhere in North America. After a couple days it dries to a white color due to the large amount of undigested bone and teeth. Though this is the first time I've seen an entire face sticking out of a poop - learn to chew your food, coyotes!

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This looks like the foreleg of a mantis. Not surprising either, as they're still around due to the warmish weather we've been having, and big enough to attract the attention of a coyote looking for a crunchy snack.

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Feathers from a small bird.

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Feather shaft and bones from a slightly larger bird.

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Scales from a reptile, probably a snake, and juding from the size (and knowing how abundant they are right here) most likely a gophor snake.

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Watermelon seeds (and coloring). Less than a mile from this location is a large watermelon field with hundreds of abandoned melons still sitting out. It wouldn't surpise me in the least to see a coyote eating them. (There were also about a dozen smaller, looser piles nearby. I think someone ate too much candy and got an upset tummy).

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These seeds look suspiciously like apple or pear seeds (any other guesses?) Also abundant in back yards this time of year.

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And lastly, this pile of fur right next to this pile of scat. It wasn't digested, is it prey fur, or from the coyotes themselves?

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Child Development plus Dogs

A little dog/toddler interaction that I found interesting.

The other night we went to a friend's house, a place new to Cora, where she met six dogs for the first time. For the first two hours we were inside with just one, a large calm doberman, who Cora patted a few times but otherwise they ignored each other. Later, the rest of the dogs were let inside and a 9-month-old malinois ran up to Cora and greeted her very excited and roughly, nearly knocking her down and it was obvious from her face she was overwhelmed. The interaction only lasted a few seconds before I scooped her up, and by no means was she upset enough to cry or yell or do anything more than frown.

Over the next few minutes the other dogs came to say hi while Cora was in the safety of my lap, including a second (calmer adult) malinois who looks very similar to the first. Similar enough that I would have assumed a baby could not tell them apart after only just meeting them, but she treated the two very differently: for the rest of our visit, if any of the dogs brought their heads within reach, she would attempt to pet them, except for the puppy. She wanted nothing to do with him, if he tried to sniff her, even if it was polite this time, she had a very strong negative reaction, saying "no, no" (well, more accurately, "doh, doh") and emphatically waving her "stop hands" at him (the way she reacts to food she doesn't want, or a person she doesn't want to hold her). But later, when the puppy had been put away and Cora was back on the floor, she happily sought out interaction with the adult malenvois and two other smaller dogs she'd just me.



There's been some study on if and when babies can tell apart animals, but it's mostly been about monkeys.

15-month-olds can be very judgy, as I'm sure other parents can attest.