Thursday, January 31, 2013

Liebster Blog Award (Thanks Ruby!)

1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
2. Share five things about yourself
3. Answer five questions presented by Ruby
4. Ask five new questions to your nominated bloggers
5. Reveal your top five picks {with less than 200 readers} and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog
6. Copy and paste the award on your blog
7. Hope that the people you’ve sent the award to forward it to their five favorite up-and-coming bloggers and keep it going

Sounds like fun, right?  Right!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Playing a game? Don't you need these?

This is a fun story to share, but a difficult one not to overexplain.

We're gamers in my house, of varying sorts. Video and computer games, but also tabletop role playing games. When you're playing tabletop games, you need various different books, and also dice. The dice are very important.

Monday, January 28, 2013

XL Fleece Jammies auction (Benefits the Doberman Assistance Network)

So, I don't know about you guys, but we've been freezing our tails off here. Such as we've got them.

We had several days in a row where 12 degrees (Fahrenheit) was a balmy heat wave, and as of this writing, it's 24 degrees and sunny and I just went outside with Elka in long sleeves and a hoodie because my coat was too warm. Comparatively.

So, as a result, Miss Elka has wanted her hoodie on every day. And we've also put her fleece vest on over her harness, so that she was toasty in that. Elka loves frolicking in the snow, which brightens things up a little, but frigid days of grays are not happy making.

So! If your dog is XL, and requires something to keep him or her toasty warm, you might consider fleece. Fleece pajamas, specifically. There's an auction on eBay right now, running until February 2 (That's Saturday), and the proceeds benefit the Doberman Assistance Network. I think my fiance, or Elka, or both would slay me if ever I put her in jammies, but that shouldn't stop me from making you guys aware of them, right? Right.

So here you go. Share the love!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Doberman Health: Parvo

Back in November, the Doberman Assistance Network took in three puppies that they suspected had parvo. This may or may not have been the case (I guess there was some shady vetting going on down there), but it occurred to me that I haven't really talked about the bogeyman Parvo here. It's not a Doberman problem, specifically, so much as a dog problem. A puppy problem. I have heard it said that Dobermans and Rottweilers might be more sensitive to the parvovirus, though, and suffer more severe symptoms.

So, what is Parvo?

(little Bluebell, who pulled through just fine, from the Doberman Assistance Network Facebook page.)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

One many ways?

Back in August, I posted Etsy Esoteria, and one of the items I discussed was a multifunctional European leash. Well, I asked for one for Christmas, and Aunt Alicia (Toby's mom) was kind enough to get me one! (Thanks Aunt Alicia!).

Of course, now that I have this glorious device, I have to figure out the way to properly use the freaking thing!

Wordless Wednesday January 22 2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Taste of the Wild Giveaway Winner!

Wow, guys, we had 38 entries for the Taste of the Wild giveaway! That's very exciting.

What's less exciting is my pictures of the winner selection. Elka, you see, was focusing very hard on this freaked out looking squeaky chicken that I got her from Wal-Mart. I figured, "Okay, she can do that while I write down all of these names, then I'll throw the names on the floor, per usual, and she'll pick one up and go back to chicken squeaking."

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Every "Like" Otto gets is $1 for the Doberman Assistance Network!

Otto is evidently a "Doberman Extraordinaire". I can believe it. If you go to his Facebook page to find out, click "Like". If Otto gets up to 1184 likes by 11:59 PM  CST on January 20, the Doberman Assistance Network will get $1000!

(he started at 184 "Likes", you see, and whoever is donating will match up to 1000 new "likes")

Have a minute? Have a Facebook? Click "Like" and help Dobermans!

(Otto from his Facebook, not my picture)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Dog attends Mass after losing his owner

I saw the "loyal dog" headline on the Yahoo news feed, and of course I clicked it.

Evidently the dog, Tommy, was allowed to attend Mass with his owner, Maria Margherita Lochi, in Italy. He's always been well behaved, and has continued to come to the church when he hears the bell ring for Mass. I guess he just sits to the side of the altar, and at the end, he's let out again.

(Nikonarte Fotografia/Daily Mail)

Maria adopted Tommy as a stray, according to Yahoo, who seems to have gotten it from The Daily News, and it seems like her community as a whole has continued to care for him, which makes me happy.

Books about dog behavior and training say again and again that dogs crave routine. We humans do as well, of course, and if Ms. Lochi attended Mass every day, then both the routine and the ritual were very important to her, and as a result important to Tommy.

I'm glad that the pastor there was willing to allow Tommy's presence in the first place, but has also allowed Tommy's continued presence. There's a lot of talk bandied about regarding dogs' capacity for both memory and emotions, interesting things to think about in general but also in regards to Tommy's situation. He certainly didn't sit at the altar when he attended Mass with his owner; is he sitting where her coffin was during her funeral? Does he go to Mass and wait because that's where he last sensed her? 

I believe firmly in a dog's capacity for emotions, but death is impenetrable to some of us humans. Does Tommy know his owner is gone? Does going to Mass help him remember her, even if he isn't hoping for her to come through the door? I wonder where he spends the rest of his day, and if it's further pilgrimages of the life he spent with her. 

It's a sad story, and a sweet one. Do dogs go to Heaven? Tommy seems to be observing all of the Holy Days of Obligation, so I would certainly hope so.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Rescued GA Doberman update (DAN still needs donations) (some pictures still graphic)

Last week I posted about Manny, a Doberdude in Georgia who had been found dumped, with a severe case of demodetic mange.

Well, I've been checking up on the Doberman Assistance Network's Facebook, to see about his progress. He apparently had to receive a breathing treatment back on the 13, but that could be a complication of all the swelling from his mange. Also, it turns out he's well enough to be in a foster home now (I think the same person who had the suspected parvo puppies, but I could be wrong), and he seems to be both feeling better and settling in nicely.

If you feel you can help Manny, renamed Blaise, please consider donating to the Doberman Assistance Network. Blaise is only one of the dogs that they're currently helping; there are too many that need it.

also, good news! An anonymous donor has agreed to match $600 dollars, if such an amount is donated to Blaise through either Paypal or mail (remember to put "For Blaise" in the special instructions portion!)

Or checks can be mailed to:
Doberman Assistance Network, Inc.
c/o Heidi Merriman
3852 La Colina Road
El Sobrante, CA 94803

Please be sure to mark on the check that the donation is for Blaise.

Still somewhat graphic pictures behind the cut

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Taste of the Wild: review and giveaway!

I used to feed Elka Taste of the Wild. When the voluntary recall happened back in May, though, I jumped ship for the time being. My most recently purchased bag of food had fallen in the recall, and I was just squidged out, frankly. Well, as it turns out, no Taste of the Wild actually tested positive for the Salmonella. Which is a pretty rad thing.

Interestingly, when I was contacted by a rep to see if I wanted to sample Taste of the Wild's new flavor, Southwest Canyon, and do a (very generous, I feel) giveaway for my readers, it was exceedingly good timing. Elka, though she'd previously been happy with the Blue Buffalo switch, appears to have become disillusioned with it. Overall, Elka is not a picky eater. Back in November, I groused about how she only wanted to eat from puzzle toys, but after I'd put them away for awhile, she returned to the bowl well enough. Poking around in her mouth, she doesn't appear to have developed anything wrong in there which would make eating kibble aversive, either, so I wondered if it was time for a switch. And then I got the email.

Monday, January 14, 2013

My face!

So, when I posted on The Joys of Dog Ownership last Monday, I didn't quite expect to have another entry of the same tone quite so soon. Maybe it's just my luck.

But, here we are.

I've probably mentioned here at least once, and I know I've occasionally wryly said, that I wish we'd been able to teach Elka "paw inhibition" just as well as her bite inhibition. She's never laid a deliberate tooth to anybody, not since she was an itty bitty puppy. She'll kind of "nibble" somebody occasionally, but I'm not even sure what the behavior is trying to express; perhaps it's an affection thing? It seems to be in moments of joy, anyway.

Another issue with Elka is that she'll occasionally head butt somebody. It's not really on purpose, it's just because of the way that she kind of plows through the world. Comically, it's sometimes in the hand, which is a "why are you hitting yourself?" sort of situation. Sometimes it's a leg. However, this past Saturday, it was my face (which puts me in mind of a joke some of us had in college, in which we would exclaim "My face!" because of Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark.")

I mean, I guess I'm lucky. Some owners on Doberman Talk have related broken noses and black eyes; we haven't had that issue. But, we had people over and Elka was pacing back and forth because there was no room for her on the couch. I finally got her up on the recliner behind me, and figured she'd quiet down. And she did, for a little while. But somehow, a single fly was in the room, and Elka has a fascination for all things flying. It buzzed past at one point, and she whipped her head around to watch it and laid the length of her muzzle right across my cheekbone. I'm confident that she almost knocked me out; she certainly made my eyes water.

I don't have a bruise yet, and I might not, which would be nice. It certainly aches, though. I made her get off of the chair and do a down-stay on her bed after that, because holy smokes, I can only take so many hits!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Ebay Fundraiser for the Doberman Assistance Network (ends January 12)

Auction ends tomorrow, January 12: it's a customized Cerberus Designs collar, with the proceeds from the eBay auction going to help save Dobermans! 

Cut and pasted from the auction site:

You read that right.  Not only are we auctioning off another gorgeous leather collar donated by Cerberus Designs (thank you!), but it is a jaw-dropping Princess Collar with rhinestones and hand-made quality to boot.  The goodness doesn't stop there!  Win this auction and you get to CUSTOMIZE this collar!  Pick the exact size that best suits your Doberprincess AND have her name stamped on the collar.  Wow, simply wow.  
Your size choices are as follows:
Width: 1.5", 2.0" or 2.5"
Length: 14", 15", 16", 17", 18", 19", 20", 21", 22", 23" or 24"
Feminine yet sophisticated, the Princess Collar closely resembles a crown.  A high-quality handmade piece of art which is as durable as it is beautiful, this collar would meet the expectations of even the most demanding of Doberprincesses.  So do Her Highness proud by biding high and often - she demands nothing less!
Your winning bid will help Doberman Assistance Network (D.A.N.) raise money to save our beloved Dobermans in need.  Without your support, D.A.N. could not have the nationwide reach that it does.  All the proceeds raised from this auction (minus EBAY fees) will go toward the costs associated with vetting, boarding, transporting and caring for the Dobermans who find themselves in urgent need of rescue.  Shipping for this collar is FREE in the United States and Canada.  For all other locations shipping costs will be applied.
Show your pride and support for our magnificent Dobes.  Bid high and bid often.  The Dobes thank you with wiggly nubs and loving nose pokies.  

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Third Annual Pet Blogger Challenge: January 10 2013

 Thanks to Something Wagging, and Tales and Tails, I remembered the Pet Blogger Challenge way in advance this time!

1. How long have you been blogging and provide a link to your post from last year’s Pet Blogger Challenge so we can refresh our memories.
I've been Blogging since April 7 of 2011. Last year I almost forgot!
2. What do you consider the most important goals you set out in last year’s post?
The educational ones. While not every post I have is informational, I do try to maintain a consistent level of points on what I feel is responsible dog ownership, good training, and good feeding. This year, especially in November and December, I tried to call more attention to Doberman rescue, and activities and fundraisers involving those. 
3. Have you made progress toward those goals, or have your goals changed over the past year?
I think I've actually read fewer dog training books over the last year, so I need to adjust that certainly. I do think I've maintained a goo dlevel of responsibility without creeping into self-righteousness too often (yeah, I know I do it. Don't worry.)
4. How often do you post?
Typically Monday through Friday, sometimes with extras. 
5. Has your opinion of blogging on a schedule or as the spirit moves you changed?
If you publish on a schedule, why? How strict are you about your publishing deadlines? What do you do for inspiration when it feels like you’ve covered every topic?
If you don’t publish on a schedule, why? How do you think your decision affects your audience? How do you know when a topic is “post-worthy?”
I started posting on a schedule mostly because I didn't want to have to scramble for material. If I know I'm doing M-F, other days optional, then I can actually compose posts ahead of time, take pictures with an eye toward entries, and lay out what exactly I'm doing, with or without blog hops. 
 6. How much time do you spend writing your blog per week? How much time visiting other blogs? Share your  tips for staying on top of it all.

Oh goodness, I'm pretty sure I don't actually stay on top of it all! I do daily try to go through my list of people I follow, and comment on the entries that have inspired a thought, or that I feel I can contribute to the discussion on. I'm not really sure how much time daily I spend on the actual writing and commenting, in addition to (rather sporadically, as of late) answering the comments on my own blog. At least an hour, certainly.
7. How do you measure the success of a post and of your blog in general (comments, shares, traffic)?
Do you look strictly at the numbers, or do you have a way of assessing the quality of those interactions?

I look at the numbers of pageviews, but also how many people commented, whether it drew in a new (non spam) commenter, that sort of thing. Sometimes I like a post, anyway, even if nobody else seems to have!
8. If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one issue you’re having with your blog, what would it be?
I'm not sure I can say right out that I'm having any issues. I feel as though my traffic is decent, I dearly love my readers and commenters, and really just take things as they come.

9. What goals do you have for your blog in 2013?
I'd like to continue to have videos on the Youtube. I intend to crack the books some more, both to do reviews of them and to learn/discuss more training techniques. I want to do more Command Clinic posts, as I've been more sporadic with them than I originally intended, and Elka certainly has a number of cues I can expound upon. I intend to continue posting about Doberman rescues, their fundraisers, and about dogs in need.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Atlanta GA, Urgent Doberman Assistance Network case (be advised, graphic pictures)

A male Doberman currently being called "Manny" was found in a parking lot somewhere in Atlanta, wrapped in a blanket. Animal control picked him up, and while he's at the vet's now, he'll (hopefully) soon be in foster with one of the Doberman Assistance Network members.

Manny has a severe case of Demodetic mange, with a secondary infection, and is also severely underweight at 56 pounds (Elka is 75 pounds, to give you a frame of reference.) You can make a donation towards his care via PayPal at the DAN web site, and in the "special instructions" indicate that it is for Manny. Donations to DAN are tax deductible. At current, his vet bill is $220, being covered by the Atlanta Doberman Pinscher Rescue; not sure if it's likely to go up from there or not, but there's clearly a road of recovery for this guy. If you prefer not to use PayPal, donations can be sent via mail to

Doberman Assistance Network, Inc.
c/o Heidi Merriman
3852 La Colina Road
El Sobrante, CA 94803

I'm putting the pictures of him after the cut, because they are graphic, and extremely upsetting. Take my word for it, these are heartbreaking pictures, and I apologize if I upset or offend anybody, but I didn't want to not show him either. I wonder if he ended up dumped in a parking lot because his owners couldn't afford or didn't know how to cope with his medical issue. He is clearly a very sad and scared dog, and I really hope that with care and love, he'll recover into a fit, handsome, and confident Doberman.

These are the cases that DAN deals with daily, and they rely heavily upon and are thankful from donations from kind dog lovers. Please pass the story along. You can keep up with current info on the Doberman Assistance Network Facebook page.

Wordless Wednesday January 9 2013

(I don't own this photo, or even know where the original came from. But here's the link to the Tumblr from which I viewed it: and felt compelled to share!)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Monday Mischief: The Joys of Dog Ownership

So, I may or may not have a Doberman hair in my toe like a splinter. As you might imagine, it's hard to see based on light, and I might be hallucinating. Not to worry, I'm not going to post a picture of my right big toe for your perusal. Or the sole of my left foot. Yup, two. It's so awesome.

But really, our dogs sometimes put us through a lot.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Snow, and 500th post!

Wow, post 500! How time flies, right?

We've gotten a lot of snow here, last week and this week. It held off for a good long time, really; most of the time, in Central New York, we have snow long before December. Sometimes even on Halloween, which as a child I certainly would have hated (though many of my Halloweens were rainy).

Elka likes the snow quite a lot. She bounds around in it, and runs as fast as she can. She tells us that she needs to go out, even though we know she's "empty", as it were, so that she can play in the snow. I admit, as a grumpy grown up (I liked the snow until I had to do things like drive in it), I don't always want to suit up and go outside and get cold and wet. But there are times that I do, because her joy is totally worth it.

I am, however, always ready to go back inside sooner than she is.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Freedom? Or Negligence?

Take a moment and read this article: Hold Tight? Or Unleash?. Don't worry, I'll wait.

Finished? Do you feel kind of ambivalent? Perhaps a little disgusted?

The article, should you decide not to read it, is written by a woman, Lissa Rankin, whose 6 month old puppy was struck and killed on the  road out behind her house, because (to paraphrase), said dog hated her leash and clearly wanted to be a country dog. The property is not fenced, and the author was inside preparing for a teleclass, when the poor man who struck said dog with his car called her, remorseful.

The author continues on, talking about how the dog, Bezoar (which I found to be a strange name, as "A bezoar is a ball of swallowed foreign material (usually hair or fiber) that collects in the stomach and fails to pass through the intestines." [PubMed Health]) could have been kept inside that day, much like how parents of the children at Sandy Hook might have kept their children home from school that day.


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Dreams of Summer (Happy New Year)

I confess, in December and January and February, I think of June and July and August an awful lot.

Maybe it's because, back in high school, we had a February break, and on that break, we took a trip to warmer climes a couple of times? Key West one year, Cancun another.

There are times when it's icy and cold and winter seems like it's going to last a million more years. I don't have Seasonal Affective Disorder, but I do get bluesy and irritable in the winter. I do think about green grass and blue skies and fireflies.

Elka gets cold, certainly. She rarely, if ever, seems to mind the summer heat. It can be ninety degrees out, with heat shimmers hanging over the pavement, and she wants me to throw a tennis ball, wants to go for a walk, wants a squeaky toy. She doesn't ask for walks in the winter; she asks for her hoodie. She asks to be under the blanket. 

But, wintry grousing aside, Happy New Year to my readers and bloggy friends. May your toes be warm enough and your houses draft free, and dreams of summer sun-kiss your face until it's again a reality.