Happy Endings: Dog found floating 3 weeks after tsunami

This lucky dog was found on a flotilla of debris three weeks after the Japan tsunami. He looks to be in great shape for three weeks on scrounging on scraps.

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Health: Breeding for extremes

Last week the Guinness Book of World Records held an event in NYC to show off the world’s newest smallest and largest dog record holders.

“OMG HOW KYOOT!” and “CUTENESS OVERLOAD!” messages abounded as the story made its way across Twitter and animal-related blogs.

Cute? Really? They look more like genetic nightmares to me. When is breeding to exaggerate a single feature ever a good thing? Answer: never.

We’ve got HUGE dogs who only live six or seven years maximum. Are the attention and the “WOW, he’s BIG!” comments really worth the health and longevity trade-offs to the people who are buying these dogs?

We have so many smashed face breeds now that are wheezing and snoring their way through life, there ought to be a whole group dedicated to them at Westminster. Is it really THAT adorable to listen to these dogs strain just to breathe?

Of course those BIG EXPRESSIVE EYES on pugs and the like are totally worth the risk that they’ll get knocked out of their shallow eye sockets with a tap to the side of the head.

How about another dog show group for the breeds who can no longer conceive naturally and whose every pregnancy is “high risk.” Frenchies are my favorite on this count. AI to breed, C-section to deliver followed by immediate surgeries to correct their palettes and nostril passages so they can actually breathe and eat. But SO CUTE! Right?

Barf.

What’ll it take for the functional conformation, health and longevity to be the new “OMG KYOOT! I’LL PAY $2,000 FOR THAT!”?

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News: Good Samaritan Saves Dog

If you see an animal in need, whether it’s actively being abused, or neglected or starved, report it. If nothing happens or the owners clean up their acts for a bit but return to abuse, report them again. And again. Sometimes you’re the only advocate that animal will ever have.

There, on the evening news, was footage of an enraged Queens woman, Maria Aguilar, brutally beating Spike, her 11-month-old English Bulldog puppy, on her porch. The puppy was howling in pain and fear. Sick of Aguilar’s constant abuse of the puppy, a Good Samaritan neighbor yelled at Aguilar to stop. When she didn’t, he made a video of her violence on his cell phone camera, thereby capturing undeniable visual evidence of what was a truly heartless act of animal cruelty. The Good Samaritan and several other concerned citizens reported the horrific abuse to ASPCA.

That dog was saved. 11 months old, multiple injuries including old fractures, missing teeth and nearly blind in one eye.

Hey lady, a punching bag would have been a whole lot cheaper than an English Bulldog. AND it wouldn’t have landed you in jail. Jerk.

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News: Cop shoots dog

It seems that not a week passes without another story of a cop shooting a dog out in public. The accounts of these incidents always vary depending on who is telling the story, but the police almost always maintain that the shooting was justified.

Dogs have been shot after attacking other dogs, for actively attacking or threatening people, because they were running loose and couldn’t be caught, for being one of those breeds that just look menacing and while tied to a police car bumper because the cops felt they had no other option.

Unless you were there, it’s impossible to know what the right course of action was at the time. Did the dog(s) really need to be shot dead? Could the dog owner, animal control or another dog savvy person have prevented the shooting?

These stories are coming from all over, from big cities to rural areas. Common themes seem to be that in many areas, there is no protocol to follow for dealing with potentially dangerous dogs and loose strays. Often it’s pretty obvious that the cop doing the shooting has zero training in dog behavior and may have overreacted. And once a dog is shot for legitimate reasons or not, the law doesn’t really seem to care. Just a dog, right?

I’m not blaming the police out of hand in these cases. If a dog is actively attacking another animal or a person, shoot first, sort it out later. The frequency and often disputed nature of these events, however, call into question how police in every town/city/county are prepared and equipped to handle stressed animals.

Aside from responsible ownership, which would solve 99% of these conflicts, more education and training ought to be mandatory across the board to mitigate dogs being shot in situations where it’s not best, nor the only possible outcome.

See:

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DogTrips: Dog UNfriendly Santa Cruz, CA

Recently we found ourselves out of house and home for three days for while some work was being done, so we decided to head on down to Santa Cruz, CA for some sand and salty wind with the Big Black Mutts.

Santa Cruz, the hippy-filled, anything goes college and surf town. Should be a great place for the Mutts, right?

Well, no.

Dogs have been banned since the 1970’s from Pacific Avenue downtown and from its cross streets since the 1980’s. You cannot walk down the street with your dog, no matter if it’s licensed, vaccinated and properly leashed. Huh?

Who in the world thought that was a good idea? It certainly meant that we spent exactly ZERO dollars at any of those stores and restaurants.

Most of the popular beaches there do not allow dogs, leashed or not. There are some beaches that allow leashed dogs (6 ft max length), but only one at Lighthouse Field State Beach, that allows dogs off-leash during certain hours of the day. And even that seems tenuous at best as the California State Parks authority battles it out with dog-owning locals.

We did manage to find a dog-friendly vacation rental and some restaurants with outdoor seating that allowed the Mutts. Most importantly we did hit up the one beach with official off-leash hours.

As you can see by the amount of sand on their snouts, they had a great time.

If you go…

Off leash beach access

  • Lighthouse Field State Beach – mornings until 10 AM and evenings after 4 PM

Nice on-leash beaches

  • Twin Lakes State Beach
  • 21st Avenue County Park
  • Seabright Beach

Nice places to sit and have a bite outdoors

Kelly’s French Bakery – pastries, quiche, salads, sandwiches
402 Ingalls Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060-5800
(831) 423-9059
kellysfrenchbakery.com

Seabright Brewery – Beer’s better than the food, but can’t beat the relaxed patio vibe.
519 Seabright Avenue
Santa Cruz, CA 95062-3482
(831) 426-2739
seabrightbrewery.com

Betty Burgers – nice big burgers, great sweet potato fries
505 Seabright Avenue
Santa Cruz, CA 95062-3748
(831) 423-8190
Elizabeth’s Market
(super casual, breakfast/brunch place with great breakfast burritos and chilaquiles)
23040 East Cliff Drive
Santa Cruz, CA 95062-5454
(831) 475-3356
Betty Burgers Address:

Rated 4.0 out of 5.0 8 reviewsmore info »

505 Seabright Avenue
Santa Cruz, CA 95062-3748
(831) 423-8190
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Health: Feeding your dog part II

Dr. Patty Khuly writes the Fully Vetted blog over on PetMD. She updates several times a week on everything from rehabbing her rescue mutt, current trends in vet med, her mini-menagerie of farm animals to what peeves her most about the owners of her patients. Most of the time she’s a great read. Just avoid the know-it-alls in the comments section if you can.

Dr. Khuly just kicked off the hot button issue of how to best to feed your pet with her first missive on the topic–is switching brands of food unhealthy for your dog? She’s since posted two more installments and promises plenty more talk on the topic. I really hope she covers off on price versus quality. And addresses the raw food diet idea.

And…

Addresses brands carried by vets. Vets are courted the minute they enter school with access to free and heavily discounted food from brands like Purina and Hill’s Science Diet. They then go off to work at clinics with sweet deals to sell those same brands to their clients. And there’s some serious debates about whether those brands are worth the higher premium they cost. And if they should even be promoted by vets at all.

As usual, her posts are both interesting and informative.

Bookmark it!

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Health: They are what they eat, right?

Should you feed kibble, wet, or raw? Is an expensive brand name promoted by your vet really necessary? Or will the Costco brand do just as well? Should you change your foods up or keep it steady eddy with one type of food that works well for your pets? And what the heck should a dog eat anyway?

There’s no doubt that we’ve all asked these questions at one time or another, especially if you’ve ever owned a dog with tricky digestion or thought about switching to a less expensive food option to keep costs in check.

By far the most comprehensive resource for information on dog food is Sabine Contreras’s site:

The Dog Food Project

Sabine shows you how to read dog food labels, translate marketing speak into plain language (For example, do you know the difference between “Lamb Formula,” “With Lamb” and “Lamb Flavored?” These are legally defined phrases.) and she even provide a nutrition primer for better understanding of all the components needed for a dog’s balanced and appropriate diet. She’s spent a lot of time analyzing dog food labels, so you can look up the brand you feed for a full breakdown.

And to top it off, dog food and treat recalls are posted on the main page in a timely fashion as well.

Bookmark it!

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