My daughter sends me a nice email from Zambia today:
My daughter sends me a nice email from Zambia today:
Who has not lived in fear of how they will be able to waste time when their internet is down? Sure, you probably have a deck of cards in your emergency supplies (or junk drawer) so that you will be able to play solitaire, but man does not live by solitaire alone. What about your compulsive need to look at cute animal pictures with heartwarming/funny captions? How will you get your fix when your devices cannot connect?
Just add this little book to your emergency supplies (next to the deck of cards). It doesn't take up much room, and has gobs of the pictures and captions you need. I'm not sure why the title focuses onthe scatological. Your dog is probably more thankful for a lot of other things. For more info, check out the author's blog.
In some primitive societies (and some ancient societies, and some societies in literature of the fantastic), it is believed that names have great power. One never reveals his true name to a stranger, lest they gain power over him by using it. And, of course, we give a lot of thought to our own names.
Consider how heated the debate can be over naming a child. Parents spend a lot of time thinking about the perfect name. They do not always reach a particularly good decision. Sometimes they have too much imagination, and sometimes not enough.
In the “too much” category, I put the folks who make up new and bizarre names that are very difficult to decipher from their unique spelling. I would also include folks who give the child a pretty normal name, but spell it in such a way as to doom them to a lifetime of mispronunciation and repeated explanations. I mean, theoretically, you can spell “fish” as “ghoti”, but most people don’t get it immediately (“gh” as in cough, “I” as in women, and “ti” as in caution; English – you gotta love it).
Then there are the names that are easily spelled and pronounced, but… I’m thinking of people who name their kids after motorcycles, pickup trucks, and so forth. Or the school that had three little girls who were each named “Unique”. I’m ignoring the urban legends of Lemonjello and Orangejello.
Too little imagination may not be a problem. If you use this year’s trendy name, at least the kid will feel like he fits in. In my generation, there were tons of Steves and Mikes, and Lindas and Debbies. Thirty-five years ago there were Jasons and Heathers all over the place. There can be drawbacks, though. I well remember one of my son’s ball-games when there were two boys named Cody on each team. Four Codys on the field at once makes it a little confusing with coaches and parents trying to yell out instructions.
My uncle was doing genealogy research and found one family with eleven children, the eleventh of whom was christened “Eleven”. You have to wonder if they lost their Bible or just got tired or what. That is seriously not enough imagination.
My parents decided to call me by my middle name. No problem back in the day, I suppose, but by the time I started school everything was “first name, middle initial, last name”. Going by your middle name is not handy. I determined that I would give my children simple, strong names, easy to say, easy to spell, and call them by their first names.
I guess I’m in the “names have power” school. There may one day be a Supreme Court Justice named Candy, but I don’t think it would be helpful. My sister’s middle name is Candace, and my grandfather is alleged to have been pushing for Penelope Candace so that she could be nicknamed “Penny Candy”. Great name for a stripper, but not for a Supreme Court Justice. [Disclaimer: one of the very nicest, most capable ladies I know is named Candy, and it hasn’t slowed her down a bit that I can tell. Still…]
Names are important for the dog, because you’re going to use that name, and he will respond to it. Most obedience trainers recommend a two-syllable name. Too many syllables and the dog has gone on to something else before he realizes he’s being called. The commands are one-syllable, so you don’t want any confusion there, certainly not like the old Steven Wright joke: “I named my dog Stay. It didn’t work out. Come here, Stay.”
Which brings us, finally, to cat names. Kind of like “Alices’s Restaurant” (“Remember Alice? This is a song about Alice.”) Cat names have no power. It’s not that cats cannot recognize or respond to their names. It’s just that they frequently choose not to. The dog is alert for his name, and anxious to come running when he hears it. He wants to please you. The cat pursues his own agenda. It may include interaction with you, and it may not.
This is why instead of “Yo, Fluffy!”, you hear grown men calling “Here, kitty, kitty, kitty” in a falsetto voice like a little girl. Somehow that has become ingrained in our culture as something cats respond to. Maybe they respond to it because it strikes them as hilariously funny and they love to see you making a fool out of yourself. Cats definitely have a sense of humor, and it frequently does not correspond to our own.
So, really, it doesn’t much matter what you name the cat, because he doesn’t much care what you think. He may have some secret cat-language name which you will never know.
Naming children weird stuff is cruel, and naming the dog weird stuff is counterproductive because it makes them more difficult to call.
Cats give you a wide-open field. You’re just giving them names for your own entertainment, so you can absolutely go hog-wild. Some friends of mine named a cat “Ace Baby Toad-flakes”. The dog would have been run over by a car before you had him called out of the road. The child would become an axe-murderer. The cat is paying no attention, so knock yourself out. Looking for suggestions? Take a look at this really fun website: catnamescity.com
Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is relatively well tolerated by most people. It is in lots of "sugar-free" or artificially sweetened products, from candy to gum to nutritional supplements like melatonin.
Now there are a few brands of peanut butter that contain it. Xylitol in pets can cause life-threatening episodes of low blood sugar, and can cause severe, even fatal liver damage.
Here's a link to more about the Xylitol in some peanut butter:
Dogs love to play, and they need to exercise. The bigger they are, the more room they need to run and play. People know this, but they don’t always have a nice fenced yard. Sometimes they let them off the leash. Of course, I’ve seen so many pets who have been injured or killed by automobiles, that I really hate that. Fencing can be expensive, or unattractive, or sometimes just ineffective. I’ve always liked the concept of the “invisible fence”, or underground dog fence, but hesitated to recommend it until now. That’s because you absolutely MUST train the dog to understand it for it to be safe and effective. I’ve just recently found a company that doesn’t just sell you equipment, but also provides you with a complete training program. I rarely endorse a commercial product, but Dog Fence DYI looks like a great outfit to me.
Some folks put them outside, but keep them tied up. You have a more interesting view, but staying tied up all the time makes a lot of dogs wacky. It messes with their heads. They are not happy.
“Man, I’d love to have a big fenced yard like that, but I can’t afford it.” (That’s the exercise yard behind Kennett Veterinary Clinic). Other people look at a five-foot chain-link fence like that, and think “That would be great for my dog, but it looks way too industrial. That would NOT go with my house.” I have a fence like that at home, too, and my dad used to call it “the compound”.
Here we have a neat shot of two types of fancy privacy fence right along with the chain-link. They look great, but the cost sure goes up, and you have to enjoy that feeling of living inside a fort. And of course, sometimes dogs dig right out of the prettiest fence in town (or even climb over it). That is pretty unlikely to happen with the “invisible” type of fencing system, provided that your dog understands what is going on. Hey, I guess you need to understand what’s going on, too.
Here is how this type of fencing system works. It is a type of electric dog fence. You have a radio transmission unit that you install in a sheltered area (garage, porch, utility room, etc.). From this, a wire extends and you bury this underground around the entire perimeter you want to fence. This is a transmitting antenna for the radio signal. Your dog wears a collar that is the radio receiver, tuned to this precise frequency so other things cannot set it off. When he approaches the buried wire, the collar receives the signal and beeps. If he gets even closer, he gets a static electricity type of shock, as you would in the winter when you touch the doorknob. Stay away from the wire, no beep. Keep on going after you hear the beep, and the dog gets a mild, but unpleasant surprise.
The problem I have had in the past is that my clients haven’t really understood how to train the dog to understand his limits. If you just bury the wire, turn on the juice and buckle on the collar, it’s not going to work. The dog will blast off chasing a squirrel, and get shocked on the way out, but he’s so excited that he keeps on going. Later on, he’s calmed down and it’s time to come home, but he keeps getting shocked when he tries to come home. This is a mess.
These extensive electric dog fence training resources that Dog Fence DIY has put together make it much easier to be successful with this type of fencing.
I haven’t done any comparison shopping as to the pricing or reliability of equipment, but here are some underground fence reviews that DIY has put together on their website. Their commitment to training for dog and owner makes me pretty confident that the equipment will be pretty good, too.
One cool thing about this type of fencing system is that no matter how big your yard is, the cost of a few more yards of antenna wire is about nothing. This means that the cost of putting in this type of fence doesn’t get much bigger with a really big yard. You could fence five acres for little more expense than the average backyard. Here is an overview of the cost of an underground dog fence.
If you have a hedge or ornamental fencing, you can keep it. It just helps to reinforce where the dog’s boundaries are. You get to keep your lovely view and your fence doesn’t detract from the appearance of your home.
You can go around irregular boundaries with ease, and also use the same system to keep your dog out of your flower beds without concealing your flowers.
As I say, I’ve always liked the idea of this type of fencing, but without good training, it was usually a bust. The reason I’m now pumped up about it is this company’s commitment to providing that training, complete with a hotline for any questions or problems you have. It’s not going to be for everyone, and here are some guidelines to help you decide if a wired or wireless dog fence is right for you and your dog.
Whenever I see a new patient, I try to find out about its lifestyle. “How long have you had him? Are there other pets in the home? What does he eat? Is he inside or outside?" If the patient is a dog, then I would also ask, ”When he’s outside, is the yard fenced, or does someone stay with him?” I usually add that “I’m not selling fences, I just need to know how he lives.” That’s true, but a fenced yard is a big protector of your dog’s health.
I’m all about protecting your dog’s health, and seeing these extensive training resources makes me enthusiastic about promoting this type of fencing system.
I think my worst dog and fireworks injury was the dog who snatched up a lit firecracker and it blew up in his mouth. The inside of his cheeks and gums were severely burned, but he did make a full recovery.
I suspect that if you search the internet, you can find a video of a dog running around with a Roman candle in his mouth, shooting people.
Certainly fireworks and pets don't really play well together directly, but mostly it's the noise.
Veterinary Partner has a great article about this, and it's worth reading.
This little guy evidently did something to antagonize his adult buddy in the home. Apparently, the big guy bit down on his head - ouch. He didn't crack it like an egg, but close. His owners found him with a severe nose-bleed, a few puncture wounds, and the top of his head puffing in and out when he breathes. Here's a link to the video.
I had hoped it was just a puncture to his sinuses, but his nasal bones were broken and caved in, as well. Every time he breathed, air was puffing under the skin. We also found that the muscle and periosteal membrane (that covers the bone, usually), were stripped away from the top of his skull. There were big blood clots over both eye sockets, as well as in his nasal passages. You don't want to see that picture.
We cleaned things out, and put him back together (pretty much - there were a few things we had to toss out). He looks pretty "Frankenstein-ish" in the post-op picture, and you can see there's a lot of swelling still present. Even though this doesn't look so great, this morning he was up, and willing to eat and drink. Hooray! We sent him home on antibiotics and more pain medicine, and I think his prognosis is pretty good.
You can see in this video that he is feeling much better, even though he doesn't look so great.
At this holiday time of year, we think about giving and receiving gifts, and about helping those in need. Kennett’s Humane Officer, Tena Petix, has been going above the call of duty in helping the animals in her care. Dr. Mobley and Dr. Brigance and the whole team at Kennett Veterinary Clinic are helping her help again this year with “The Pet Angel Tree”.
During the month of December, you can bring a donation for the shelter animals to Kennett Veterinary Clinic at 1704 Saint Francis Street on the west end of Kennett. Donations can be monetary, food, treats, towels, blankets, or pet-toys. When you bring in a donation, your name will go up on the The Pet Angel Tree, and you will receive a $5.00 credit toward your own pet’s next examination at Kennett Veterinary Clinic.
For the last four Decembers, clients responded by donating generously. We’d love to see even more this year.
I was a little surprised to find my last post about our animal control situation printed in the Daily Dunklin Democrat newspaper as a letter to the editor. I'm not upset, just surprised, as they didn't talk to me about it, and I didn't send it to them. Of course, anything on the internet is fair game, so no worries.
There were two reasons I didn't send it to the newspaper. The first is that I figure people who read my blog are at least half-way interested in what I have to say, whereas the general public may not be.
The second is that I thought my discussion was too long to be printed as a letter to the editor. Since the whole point of the discussion was trying to be balanced, I really didn't want things cut out willy-nilly.
The post was printed in its entirety, without any editorial changes (at least I think so; I might have missed a typo). I'm pretty sure it took up more space than the original coverage of the city council meeting. Slow news day, I guess.
Some surprises are okay.