Saturday, April 3, 2010

killing our pets with kindness

overweight dogs (notice they do not look very 'happy')

ideal weight. this is my male pit bull, angel. you can clearly see he is very fit. he has good muscle tone evident on his hind legs, shoulders, and neck. he does not have much extra fat as you can see his ribs under a thin layer. he is quite ideal as far as weight is concerned. he has a lot of energy, and is very STRONG.

The "ideal" weight for a dog is approximately the weight where the last 3 to 5 ribs are just barely visible or can be felt with a very light touch. Many dogs are overweight and many dog owners feel their dog is too thin if they can see any ribs. It is better from a health perspective to be a little too thin than to be a little too heavy, though. (from
this is a topic that is on my mind a lot. i see so many pet dogs that are overweight, and their owners have no clue that they are. it is not a matter of it not looking "good," dogs do not care about their appearance. it is a matter of health. dogs carrying even just a few extra pounds of weight place extra demands on virtually all the organs of their bodies. when we overload these organs, disease and sometimes death are the consequences. a few examples of what we can cause to our pets are diabetes, damage to joints, bones and ligaments, heart disease, difficulty breathing, heat intolerance, decreased liver function (from that organ storing fat and being unable to function) decreased immune function, skin and coat problems, and a very important one- decreased length and QUALITY of life. to explain a bit, obesity causes an increase in the secretion of insulin in response to the increased blood glucose level in the overweight dog. Insulin is also more in demand because there is a greater amount of tissue in an overweight dog. When requirements for insulin exceed the ability of the body to produce insulin, diabetes develops. overweight dogs tend to have increased blood pressure. The heart has to work harder since it must pump additional blood to excess tissues. This can lead to congestive heart failure. in overweight animals, the lungs can not function properly. The additional fat in the chest restricts the expansion of the lungs. The extra fat in the abdomen pushes against the diaphragm, which separates the abdominal cavity from the chest. This results in less space in the chest for the lungs to expand. an overweight dog in the heat of summer, can not regulate his own body temerature, and the fat acts as an insulator, causing the dog to overheat and possably die as a result. even if he does not die, it is very uncomfortable and miserable.

this terrier is quite overweight

As i always say "fat is NOT happy." people do not understand that their dog may be suffering due to them trying to be kind by feeding them too big of portions, or giving treats too often. we control everything a dog eats (for the most part, i have a few "garbage hounds" which i am told is a common breed.) so how does a dog become overweight? same as any mammal, too many calories, not enough burning of said calories. it is very easy to keep most dogs fit and healthy, feed them a good dog food in moderate amounts and get them moving around. some dogs are easier to exercise, they will love to fetch balls or frisbee, others you will have to drag off the couch to go for a little walk. be creative and have fun!
on the other side of that coin is how thin is too thin? that too is hard to explain. i tend to like to keep all my dogs very lean. it is far healthier for them. before i go any further i will say i would rather see a chubby dog than an emaciated dog. most people are so used to seeing (unhealthy) overweight dogs, that when they see a fit and trim dog they think it is too skinny. i have working dogs, meaning exactly that- they WORK. i can not expect a dog to pull very efficiently if he is also toting around a few extra pounds of fat, and i would guarantee he is going to injure himself. there is a fine line between lean and too skinny. lean and fit you can feel the ribs easily and perhaps some of the spine (depending on breed, some hounds are rather spiny even with extra fat on other areas of their body) and hip bones, you should see a "tuck up" behind the ribs, where the belly is, they will have muscle on their hind legs, along the sides of the spine, and shoulder blades. they will be strong and light on their feet, with lots of energy. if they are too thin, you will notice a lack of muscle tone, and may even see/feel tendons that are not normally seen/felt. all the bones will be visible (all vertebrae, hip bones very pronounced, all ribs showing all the way up to the elbows, his face may be sunken in. he will seem "weak" and may lack energy. i am including some pictures to describe better what i am trying to say.

this dog is way too skinny. you can see every bone in his body, and there is NO muscle tone to speak of. he is probably not too far away from starving to death.

this dog of the same breed as the skinny one above shows a good weight, not a lot of extra fat, good muscle tone, nice coat, one HAPPY dog!
so do your dog a favor, keep him lean and fit, and he will be healthier and happier.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Galahad found a home!

i am very happy to say Galahad found a new home yesterday. i had put him on craigslist, and had a few responses. i had emailed with a lady a few times, but was having a hard time setting up a time for her to see him, working nights makes it hard. anyways, i got a call from her husband, she was at work, he was home and wanted to surprise her when she got home. i took him over to meet their dog, a beautiful australian cattle dog mix. they got along and their dog kept trying to get Galahad to play. he is going to live a good life, never be hungry again. they said they will update me on how he is doing, and i will update it here.

Monday, March 29, 2010

It has been 4 months

it has been four months since i posted anything here. it has been a long winter, i have been working two jobs, and still taking care of all the critters and even running the team some, though not enough to enter any races. there is much i want to post about, but time is hard to come by, spring is just around the corner, there are fences needing repair, gravel to be put down, and i still have to go to that pesky job of mine. i did come home late one night after work (just about a week ago) and one of my shetland ewes had given birth to a little black ram. he was all dry and nursing well when i got home and went out to feed. his name is "Lambchop" he is very cute, always doing something to make me say "awwww, that is the cutest thing ever" then he does something even cuter. i also have two goats due to kid any day, one is a Boer goat and one is a Toggenberg, and another that may be pregnant that a friend gave me a few months ago, she is a Lamancha/Toggengerg/Alpine. i am looking forward to making some cheese and i may even try making some goat's milk "beer"

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Ummmm, OK......

male siamese cat (north pole)
Date: 2009-11-20, 11:51PM AKSTReply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]
He is less than 1 year old. He is very loving, gets along with our 3 kids and 7 dogs. He does not do well with caged birds. If aloud he will sleep on my feet at night. Has beautiful blue eyes. I would like for him to find a good home. Only asking the $80 fee for the neutering we spent. We planed on haveing him around for a long time but he killed my son's parakeet so I must find him a new home. Call 488-xxxx or email.

I am not really sure i even need to comment on this...........
you can see for yourself how absolutely ridiculous this is.
people all too often think that animals will not act like animals. then they "get rid of" them when they can not or will not either accept it, or prevent accidents from happening. if you are going to have the damn food chain living in your house, you need to be RESPONSIBLE, and keep the pretty little birdies out of reach of the predators. now not all cats will have a high prey drive, but most will, especially a young, energetic year old cat. my own cats kill voles (we do not have mice in ak, but a vole is very similar) that find their way in the house, but i have had rats in cages (snake food), and they pretty much left them alone. the cage was not easily accessible to the cats, and i shooed them away if they tried to peek. would i have gotten rid of my cats had they eaten one of the rats (2 of them were pet rats, not for food) NO WAY! they are cats, and i accept them as such. people just do not think things through. i really hope this nice cat finds a good home. i hope the child did not learn a poor behaviour.....
did these people not watch Looney Toons? Don't they remember sylvester always trying to eat tweety bird?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

.....but he is a nice guy........

this is a bit of a continuation of the "Galahad" story below. many people in this community are still friends with the man who starved Galahad nearly to death, and has let numerous dogs starve/freeze to death in his yard over the last few years. people know this goes on. they choose to "look the other way." i had tried to help by giving advice to this "man," it was not taken. i remained friends with him too, because "he was a nice guy" i would encourage him to take his dogs out for runs, would feed/water his dogs when they left on vacations, euthanized a dog he brought to us that was on it's last breath, always hoping my advice would make some sort of differance to his dogs. it was all falling on deaf ears. it was wasted breath on my part, wasted on someone who i think is just plain lazy. i am perplexed at people who have seen his dogs, walking skeletons, dehydrated, starving (in the winter, they usually look ok in the summer, but dogs can get by on very little food in the summer) and yet still remain friends with him. i understand they want to try to help him, i tried for many years, but they can see from their own experience, he does not take anyone's advice, not for very long anyways. i hope and pray that the fact that people know the story of Galahad now will embarrass him into actually doing something about his skinny dogs. i will leave you all with this question, a question that a great friend of mine brought have a friend. he is a nice guy. you go to bbq's at his place, go golfing with him on occasion. then you find out he has been molesting (or beating, or any number of wrong/immoral things) his kids. do you stay friends with him "because he is a nice guy?" only you can answer that question for yourself, i know what my answer is.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

How could you?

HOW COULD YOU? - By Jim Willis, 2001

When I was a puppy, I entertained you with my antics and made you laugh. You called me your child, and despite a number of chewed shoes and a couple of murdered throw pillows, I became your best friend. Whenever I was "bad," you'd shake your finger at me and ask "How could you?" -- but then you'd relent and roll me over for a belly rub.

My housebreaking took a little longer than expected, because you were terribly busy, but we worked on that together. I remember those nights of nuzzling you in bed and listening to your confidences and secret dreams, and I believed that life could not be any more perfect. We went for long walks and runs in the park, car rides, stops for ice cream (I only got the cone because "ice cream is bad for dogs" you said), and I took long naps in the sun waiting for you to come home at the end of the day.

Gradually, you began spending more time at work and on your career, and more time searching for a human mate. I waited for you patiently, comforted you through heartbreaks and disappointments, never chided you about bad decisions, and romped with glee at your homecomings, and when you fell in love. She, now your wife, is not a "dog person" - - still I welcomed her into our home, tried to show her affection, and obeyed her. I was happy because you were happy.

Then the human babies came along and I shared your excitement. I was fascinated by their pinkness, how they smelled, and I wanted to mother them, too. Only she and you worried that I might hurt them, and I spent most of my time banished to another room, or to a dog crate. Oh, how I wanted to love them, but I became a "prisoner of love." As they began to grow, I became their friend. They clung to my fur and pulled themselves up on wobbly legs, poked fingers in my eyes, investigated my ears, and gave me kisses on my nose. I loved everything about them and their touch -- because your touch was now so infrequent -- and I would've defended them with my life if need be. I would sneak into their beds and listen to their worries and secret dreams, and together we waited for the sound of your car in the driveway.

There had been a time, when others asked you if you had a dog, that you produced a photo of me from your wallet and told them stories about me. These past few years, you just answered "yes" and changed the subject. I had gone from being "your dog" to "just a dog ," and you resented every expenditure on my behalf.

Now, you have a new career opportunity in another city, and you and they will be moving to an apartment that does not allow pets. You've made the right decision for your "family," but there was a time when I was your only family.

I was excited about the car ride until we arrived at the animal shelter. It smelled of dogs and cats, of fear, of hopelessness. You filled out the paperwork and said "I know you will find a good home for her." They shrugged and gave you a pained look. They understand the realities facing a middle-aged dog, even one with "papers." You had to pry your son's fingers loose from my collar as he screamed "No, Daddy! Please don't let them take my dog!" And I worried for him, and what lessons you had just taught him about friendship and loyalty, about love and responsibility, and about respect for all life. You gave me a good-bye pat on the head, avoided my eyes, and politely refused to take my collar and leash with you. You had a deadline to meet and now I have one, too. After you left, the two nice ladies said you probably knew about your upcoming move months ago and made no attempt to find me another good home. They shook their heads and asked, "How could you?"

They are as attentive to us here in the shelter as their busy schedules allow. They feed us, of course, but I lost my appetite days ago. At first, whenever anyone passed my pen, I rushed to the front, hoping it was you that you had changed your mind -- that this was all a bad dream... or I hoped it would at least be someone who cared, anyone who might save me.

When I realized I could not compete with the frolicking for attention of happy puppies, oblivious to their own fate, I retreated to a far corner and waited. I heard her footsteps as she came for me at the end of the day, and I padded along the aisle after her to a separate room. A blissfully quiet room. She placed me on the table and rubbed my ears, and told me not to worry. My heart pounded in anticipation of what was to come, but there was also a sense of relief. The prisoner of love had run out of days.

As is my nature, I was more concerned about her. The burden which she bears weighs heavily on her, and I know that, the same way I knew your every mood. She gently placed a tourniquet around my foreleg as a tear ran down her cheek. I licked her hand in the same way I used to comfort you so many years ago. She expertly slid the hypodermic needle into my vein. As I felt the sting and the cool liquid coursing through my body, I lay down sleepily, looked into her kind eyes and murmured, "How could you?"

Perhaps because she understood my dog speak, she said, "I'm so sorry." She hugged me, and hurriedly explained it was her job to make sure I went to a better place, where I wouldn't be ignored or abused or abandoned, or have to fend for myself -- a place of love and light so very different from this earthly place. And with my last bit of energy, I tried to convey to her with a thump of my tail that my "How could you?" was not directed at her. It was directed at you, My Beloved Master, I was thinking of you. I will think of you and wait for you forever. May everyone in your life continue to show you so much loyalty.

A Note from the Author: If "How Could You?" brought tears to your eyes as you read it, as it did to mine as I wrote it, it is because it is the composite story of the millions of formerly "owned" pets who die each year in American & Canadian animal shelters. Please use this to help educate, on your websites, in newsletters, on animal shelter and vet office bulletin boards. Tell the public that the decision to add a pet to the family is an important one for life, that animals deserve our love and sensible care, that finding another appropriate home for your animal is your responsibility and any local humane society or animal welfare league can offer you good advice, and that all life is precious. Please do your part to stop the killing, and encourage all spay & neuter campaigns in order to prevent unwanted animals.

Please pass this on to everyone, not to hurt them or make them sad, but it could save maybe, even one, unwanted pet. Remember...They love UNCONDITIONALLY.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


i am going to take a moment to try to dispell some common myths. myths about Pit Bulls. if you have any to add, or have heard something that sounded like it was too crazy to be true (about any breed) please let me know, and maybe we can straighten some of them out.

myth 1- Pit Bulls have "locking jaws"-
this is not true. a pit bull does not "lock" it's jaws. they are very determined animals, and it may appear they are "locked on" to an object (toy, stick etc) or in the case where they get into a scrap with another dog, the other dog. you do not have to take my word for it though, here is a quote from an expert on dogs (i discovered his work while looking into a breed of dog called the New Guinea Singing Dog) Dr. Brisbin: "The few studies which have been conducted of the structure of the skulls, mandibles and teeth of pit bulls show that, in proportion to their size, their jaw structure and thus its inferred functional morphology, is no different than that of any breed of dog. There is absolutely no evidence for the existence of any kind of "locking mechanism" unique to the structure of the jaw and/or teeth of the American Pit Bull Terrier.

keep checking back for more myths. it is 10am, well past my bedtime.

myth2-MYTH: Pit Bulls brains swell/never stop growing.
i first remembering hearing this one about the Doberman, and has since been said about pit bulls. The concept of an animal's brain swelling or growing too large and somehow causing the animal to "go crazy" is silly at best. Their brains grow at the same rate as any other dog, and stop growing when it reaches it's full size. If an animal's brain were to grow too big for its head, the animal would die rather quickly.

myth 3-MYTH: Pit Bulls are all mean or vicious.
This is so far from the truth. Pit Bulls, like any dog can be abused/trained to be mean, or suffer a genetic defect predisposing them to abnormal behavior. A proper pit bull temperment is one that loves all people, confident in himself, will not back down from a challenge from another dog (unless told to back off by his owner) see my website for an explanation as to how this people friendly dog came to be-
The American Temperament Test Society states that Pit Bulls had a passing rate of 85.3%, American Staffordshire Terriers-83.9% and Staffordhhire Bull terriers 88% -- compared to only 77% of the general dog population. compare that to some "good" breeds of dogs- German Shepherds-83.7%, Golden Retriever-84.6%, Beagle-81%, Collie-79.4% Any signs of unprovoked agression or panic during the temperment testing result in failure of the test. All breeds are tested the same and held to the same standards. The achievement of Pit Bulls in this study disproves that they are inherently aggressive to people. (Please visit for more information)