Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Shrewsberry Faire

I love ren faires. But I admit I go to them for two main reasons.

The animals:





And the costumes:




...and the animals in costumes:



... and the animals that are part of costumes:


(Also, I apparently can't tell the difference between "save" and "publish". So this entry is back dated to when I wrote it.)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

"Natural is Better!"

I hate when people argue thoughtlessly from this stance.

Check out the teeth of this wild dog (living the most natural life possible).

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I would like to show you something

You see this face right here?


This is the very face of Patience.


Also: more than a little skeptical.



Friday, September 18, 2009

Behold the carnage

Labor Day evening we had a little adventure. I'm only sharing about it now because our house is finally returning to normal. I've successfully made it to the "and now we can laugh about it" stage of this little journey.

Here's a tip, kids: don't try to multi-task while a quart of vegetable shortening is boiling on the stove. Fun fact: an electric stove does in fact put out enough heat to cause Crisco to spontaneously combust.




Another fun fact: when you use a dry chemical fire extinguisher in a room, it will get on EVERYTHING in that room. Including things inside cupboards and refrigerators.


this comic so perfectly fits my sense of humor there are no other words to describe it

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Vintage + dog = awesome

Via the Pet Connection Blog, we find this delightful website of vintage dog photos.

I want more!

So I'm totally going to steal Kim Campbell Thornton's idea and post some of my own. Or, really, my parents'.

Dad as a teenager(?) with the family dog Shadow.

Dad with a relative's dog during a family vacation by the lake.

Mom and dad with their dogs.

Dad's dog Zeke as a puppy. Zeke is actually pretty famous and deserves his own blog post at some point.

"Sky Burial" in Tibet

I would totally go for this for my own funeral. Beats polluting the atmosphere with smoke or drying out in a coffin sealed away from the bugs.

Caution: graphic photos at that link.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Zebrapacalypse

It's coming. They already have show standards.

All it'll take is one ranch (probably in Texas) with a breeding program and we'll have a truly domesticated strain of zebra. It took 50 years to
domesticate foxes, but zebras may have a leg up because they've been bred in captivity for so long.

What happens after that?


Domesticated Zebras
(Click to see larger version)

(That mini zebra may be the cutest thing I've drawn in my entire life.)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I wonder if he gets tired of being right all the time?

Edited to add: Smartdogs Webblog says it better. :)

Nathan Winograd has a(nother) great blog post up about the myth that there "aren't enough homes" for shelter pets. http://www.nathanwinograd.com/?p=1859

One of the huge obstacles to adopting out pets, he argues, is that shelters don't trust people. For many well-intentioned but overly suspicious shelter workers, "acceptable home" means a single-family dwelling owned by the adopter with a large, fenced yard and no children under the age of 12 where at least one person is home 24 hours a day.

Windograd says that everywhere he goes, people tell him stories of trying to adopt from a shelter and being denied for strange or nit-picky reasons. He himself (who fit most of the criteria above) was even denied by one rescue group because he didn't plan to install a doggy door to the back yard.

I've also heard many stories like this. My friend and her husband fell in love with a dog on death row at a local shelter that was also the county pound. But they weren't eligible to adopt because they were college kids. Apparently, the "shelter" would rather kill the dog than let it go home with 22 year olds.

My friend didn't give up. They went to extraordinary lengths to get her. They went back to the shelter the next day during a different shift so they wouldn't be recognized, lied on their adoption application, had a friend pretend to be their landlord, and then hid the dog from their real landlord for over a month while they got ready to move.

And you know what? They saved the dog's life. They loved that dog for another 10 years until she died of cancer. Even though they didn't fit the right demographic for the shelter, they turned out to be a great home. And they aren't the exception to the rule. All I have to do is walk around my neighborhood to see less-than-perfect pet owners that are still providing good homes.

The guy who lets his dog off leash in his unfenced front yard (but isn't causing problems).

The multiple families in cheap housing on fixed incomes (whose dogs always look happy as they're being walked and played with in the streets).

The family with small children who live in an apartment with no yard who got a large lab mix (who gets tons of love and attention and walks).

The mom who lets her young kids "walk" their large, nearly-out-of-control dog in the neighborhood (but the dog is friendly with everyone and the kids always have fun).

The college age guy who keeps his two hyper aussies inside for 9-10 hours a day while he's gone (but then spends 2-3 hours walking and playing fetch with them).

Me, who similarly keeps her hyper border collie in a crate for 8-9 hours a day (but then spends hours walking and playing fetch and doing training plus agility class once a week, plus hiking/camping on the weekends). I think if I hadn't "fudged" the amount of time Zelda would be alone on the adoption application, I would have been denied.


(A picture of Zelda the day we brought her home. We still lived in an apartment at the time)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Wildlife Safari: Roosevelt Elk

Last week we took a trip down to Winston Oregon and drove through the Wildlife Safari. It's a beautiful place. Wide open spaces for the herbivores to roam and mingle, and the carnivores in their separate enclosures have it pretty good as well; they apparently have one of the best cheetah breeding programs in North America. And they're accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

All of this is to say that I don't mind giving them my money. :)

It was especially interesting to see the herd of elk. The zoo is situated on several hundred acres of oak savanna right in the middle of wild elk habitat. They looked right at home.




Wednesday, September 2, 2009


You know, I like the idea of raw meat diet for dogs, I really do. I want to believe that it's more 'natural' or more healthy or what not. At the very least, I like reading about different feeding methods for domestic animals (yes, I'm just that exciting). Horses, goats, dogs, cats, whatever. I'm interested in the domestication process in general and different ways that humans keep animals in captivity.

I'm trying to show you where I'm coming from - this is something I'm interested in academically, and also more personally when it comes to dogs (and cats and rats and snakes). So every couple of months, I try to research these things, but when it comes to info on companion animal diets, the amount of bullsh*t I have to wade through every time I go to Google makes me want to hurl. I tried again this morning and yet again came away frustrated.

Yes, yes, I know that any internet research involves donning waders and rubber boots and carrying an industrial sized bottle of hand sanitizer, but for realz, this subject is especially rife with the piles of steaming FAIL. And what's worse, when I ask in dog forums for recommendations, they send me to some of the same gag-worthy places I rejected in the first place!

It's the anti-science, the made up facts, the denial of all risk of THEIR diet and exaggerated risk of THE EVIL KIBBLE, and the "my anecdotes are better than your anecdotes" (changing your dog's diet cured their cancer? Really? And in the very next paragraph you deny all stories of kibble-fed dogs living long, healthy lives?). Like changing the definition of words like "carnivore" to fit their agenda. How is that even relevant? Dogs are related to wolves. They are not wolves. It's helpful to look at wild canines to get an idea of what might be good, but it's not the be-all and end-all. All I want is a few controlled studies in dogs. Is that so much to ask?

It doesn't help at all that these BARF/RAW websites also seem to endorse a lot of tangential woo). Vaccines cause epilepsy in puppies? Pasteurization is evil? Oh, and I should buy your book? I try to avert my eyes, but these things are on the same pages I'm tying to glean information from. I can't avoid them, and it makes me give up that much faster. I feel dirty just clicking on some of these sites.

There are probably a lot of perfectly reasonable people out there (I can think of at least a few), but they are being drowned out by the fluffy-headed, rich white suburbanites with a computer, a starry-eyed Mission, and too much time on their hands.

OK, OK, rant over.