Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Movie Review: Temple Grandin

I've always liked Claire Danes as an actress.  "My So-Called Life" was aimed right at my demographic when it was on TV; Baz Luhrman's "Romeo + Juliet" is still beautiful and amazing and heartbreaking to me (which is a wonderful testament to the power of the Bard as well, of course).

When I found out that she played Temple Grandin in a movie of the same name, I was perplexed, perhaps, but certainly willing to give it a go.  The cover, of her grinning awkwardly, was winning.

Wordless Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tasty Tuesday: No-Bake Peanut butter Dog Treats

Here it is, my first Tasty Tuesday post!  I've been thinking and talking for awhile about how I'd like to try my hand at making treats for Elka.  It's easier to talk about things like that than actually get to it, as you well know, but finally, I've taken the plunge.

Originally, I was going to make a roll out and bake peanut butter biscuit recipe that a fellow blogger published last week; but, it's late Monday night (so, technically Tuesday morning) and after a long day at work, and then making the human dinner, I decided to wimp out and go with a no bake recipe, found here at

I halved the recipe, because, well, I love my dog, but there's only so long I want to stand hand mixing and shaping dog treats at 1 o'clock in the morning. Granted, I'm up at 1 o'clock in the morning anyway, regardless of whether I'm making dog tretas.  But I digress.

Elka was, shall we say, extremely interested by the goings-on in the kitchen.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Help Stop Dog Fighting!

A few years back, in California, the Human Society started an anti-dogfighting hotline.  It was so successful and received so many tips, that the hotline is now nation-wide.  There is up to a $5000 reward for a tip that leads to the arrest of somebody involved in dog fighting, and the number is 1-877-847-4787.  You can also go here for more phone numbers to resolve dog fighting in your area.

Dogfighting is something that just makes me very sad, and makes me feel sick.  I don't even have a good comparison point, to help explain my disgust to other people.  Maybe the child soldiers in Africa, who are kidnapped from their families, drugged up, and given guns?  Children are not dogs, I know that, but neither should have to fight each other because humans say so.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Dogs will be Dogs

Elka is a very clean dog.

It's against all odds, really. Our back yard can be very muddy.  Our walks in the park are not entirely grassy areas.  She frolics in the creek.  Oh yeah, and in the occasional mud puddle (this is new).  And to top it all off, I let her sleep in our bed!  

Lots of people don't let dogs on furniture because they think letting them on a "high place" will "make them dominant".  Same with not letting dogs in bed.  Or, the latest claim, having a dog in bed will make you sick.

I don't buy it.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Whisper update!

Back on July 16, I posted about Special Needs Dobermans, and about Whisper, the Doberman in West Virginia who was hit by an SUV, and whose owner needed help in providing her medical care.

Well, there is news! Thanks to the donations that came in to SND, Whisper was able to receive the initial care she needed at Virginia Tech, and get fitted for the orthotic that her leg would require.

Here she is, looking spaced-out and hopeful at the hospital:

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Product Review: Whole Life Pet treats

I like finding free samples to order online. "Free stuff" is a hard thing to resist, for sure.  It might be genetic.  So, finding free dog stuff online is even better!

I have a profile on and was glancing through the forum one day when I saw a post "I got my free samples!"  I thought, "Oh?"  and clicked, and was taken to the Whole Life Pet web site.  Made in the USA? Quality ingredients?  Single protein sources?  Okay, where do I sign up?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My first guest blog, over at Doodling Dogs!

Go on over to Doodling Dogs and check out the guest blog that I wrote.  Emily kindly asked me to do one for her breed of the week, the Doberman!  I really enjoy reading Doodling Dogs, and I was excited and grateful for this opportunity. I hope you go read it, and look around at the other great posts that Emily has written there!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Command Clinic: Go to your Bed

Elka is allowed on the furniture.  I declared this early in our relationship.  There are, however, times it would be really useful for Elka to lay on her own bed.  When the couches and chairs are full of humans, for instance.

If all of the "comfy" spots are taken, Elka will frequently pace around for the entirety of the time, sometimes soliciting play or pets, sometimes not.  Judicious application of a Kong or Monster Mouth frequently helps.  But having her realize she can lay down on her bed would help a lot more! I mean, really, I can't blaming Elka for preferring the furniture; it's clearly warmer and more comfy. However, we've begun to work, in earnest, on "go to your bed!"

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Military Working Dogs

I've mentioned before, I think, that I'm a nerd for working dogs.

I'm fascinated by dogs performing work duties, be it something they were bred for (Border Collies herding sheep), or something they were taught to do (Dobermans as Service Dogs).  A dog performing work that he or she loves is a beautiful thing to watch, and a good dog-human partnership is a well-oiled machine.

Military Working Dogs fall into this category, of course.  In fact, there are around 2, 300 dogs currently deployed by the U.S. Military to perform a number of tasks with our troops.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Puppy Mill Awareness Day: September 17

Today is Puppy Mill Awareness Day.

I posted once before about puppy mills, in Where do Puppies Come From?  It's a message that bears repeating.  Awareness is important because, literally, most people just don't know about what's going on.  They don't know that Missouri is the puppy mill capital of America.  They don't know that Amish puppy mills are responsible for supplying a large amount of pet stores with fluffy cute merchandise, from Pennsylvania and Ohio (and other places as well, I'm sure).  They don't know that good breeders care about their puppies as they would their own offspring, and that a good breeder will be there for you throughout your dog's life, to help you, to give you advice, to take your dog back if, God forbid, you couldn't keep her anymore.

A movie came out on HBO recently, Madonna of the Mills (website here:, following a woman who goes to puppy mills and does things like rescue the breeding females from certain death, when they can't breed any longer.  Why would the mills allow filming?  Well, puppy mills aren't illegal.  There are laws about cruelty and the conditions in which animals can be kept, but even when complaints are made, it's hard to prove anything. And it's hard for legislators to be motivated on this issue.  It's a hard thing, legally and morally, to say "Yes, you own those dogs, but though they are your property, you can't breed them until they can't anymore, and then take them out back and shoot them."  You can't legislate how many litters a breeder can have a year.  You can't legall quantify how much attention can be paid to a litter of puppies, to make sure they're appropriate stimulated and socialized, so that they'll live full and wonderful lives.  You can't require that people health test and only breed remarkable specimens of the breed.

It's up to the consumer to make those choices about who they buy from.  And the consumer isn't.  The consumer is shelling out hundreds or thousands of dollars for "designer hybrids" that are actually mutts you can find at the shelter, if nothing else for far cheaper.  The consumer doesn't know why show people are so stuck about papers and Championships and things, not thinking that Championships and competitions are a concrete way to say "yes, this is a good dog.  Yes, this dog's genetics should be passed on."

Know your breeder, folks.  Don't buy from pet stores.  If you don't want to deal with a breeder and papers and things, go to the shelter.  Go to a rescue.  Heck, go to a breed rescue!  There are a lot of dogs out there.  One of them might be yours.

House and Home

It's fall, or getting to be close enough.  That means a couple of things in my town.

For one, it's getting cold already.  We have frost advisories this week.  The leaves are falling now, and starting to blow around (which Elka loves to chase; it's very adorable).

It also means that the college students have moved back in.  There are two colleges in my town; the one that I went to, and a state school.  As a result, there are many student rentals around, including many of our neighbors.  Which means many people outside at all times of the night, and many car doors slamming.  After a nice quiet summer, Elka does not approve of these things.

Friday, September 16, 2011

5 Books I Think Every Dog Owner Should Read

You may have noticed, I read a lot of books.  I work at a library, which makes them readily available in quantity and variation.  Since getting Elka, dog books, of course, have been a favorite.  Here are five that I think every dog owner should read.

Elka agrees.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Life with a Doberman: the elevator pitch

Well, a couple days late is better than not at all.

I've belatedly decided to join the 31 Days to a Better Blog Challenge, courtesy of Dawn Miklich, who writes the blog afFURmation.  Really, I saw a bandwagon, and thought I'd jump on it.  After all, not a whole lot of people know who I am just yet; this is a blog that was only just born in April!  This kind of challenge can be very good for me, and for Elka, and for bloggery.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What's the point?

Topic of note: dogs reading, not dog body language, but human body language.  How good do you think they are at it?

Pretty good, one would think. If nothing else, dogs know when we're happy, or sad, or angry (at them!).  But what about gestures?  If you point, does a dog know what you mean?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Book Review: On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals, by Turid Rugaas

This is a very small book, with a lot of information in it.

There are certain behaviors dogs will use when they want the one they're communicating with (dog or otherwise) to understand that they're stressed, and to calm down, back off, and take it slowly. Turid Rugaas describes these, and illustrates them with fantastic photographs, in this book.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Walking on a sunny day

With fall fast approaching (here, anyway), the sunny days seem that much more precious and few.  

When Elka and I take our walks, we don't just walk. If we're on the sidewalk, we practice "automatic sits" (Elka sits when I stop, preferably at heel).  We practice "look at me".  And oh yes, we practice heel.  Sometimes that goes better than others; at the beginnings of our walks, Elka is very excited to go go go, and has to be reminded, sometimes frequently, that she really should be walking with me.  Frequently, "excuse me" is enough to reach her. Other times, I have to stop walking and wait, and then she comes back to me and sits.

Friday, September 9, 2011


Looking over my stats, I see several people come here by using the Google to search "mean Doberman".  I'm not really sure of the goal of that search; nobody's emailed me or posted any comments about being mislead by coming her.  Those kinds of searches suggest to me that a lot of people haven't really changed their mind about the breed, either, and are passing faulty information along.

The Doberman is not a perfect breed.  As is becoming my refrain, bad owners make bad dogs.  But the Doberman has the remarkable ability to make good decisions even when the people around are making bad ones.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Product Review: Purina Dentastix

Normally, I steer clear of the "grocery store brand" dog foods and treats.  However, I don't exactly brush Elka's teeth, and I've noticed in some pictures, and in person, that she's got some tartar buildup on her molars.  I've heard about how expensive vet dentistry could be, so I went to the pet aisle at Wal Mart.

I've heard that enzymatic chews can be a good way to go, because you aren't necessarily relying upon "chew action" to remove the buildup, but rather a combination of the enzymes and the chewing.  The Pedigree ones don't appear to be enzymatic (none of them did, actually. I'll have to look online for that, if the problem persists).  The Dentastix were cheap enough, though, and are 7 to a package, so even if they didn't really "work", Elka was almost sure to enjoy the treats anyway, and my money wouldn't be totally wasted.

Wordless Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Monday, September 5, 2011

Doberman Assistance Network Flower Power fundraiser

I mentioned back in June that the Doberman Assistance Network had a fundraiser through Flower Power fundraising.  Well, the fundraiser is still going until October 28, though currently The Doberman Assistance Network has only raised $114 out of their $500 goal.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Book Review: The Social Life of Dogs, by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas

Previously, I read The Hidden Life of Dogs, by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, which was a book about dogs with dogs, and the sorts of lives they form and decisions they make without human intervention.  The fact that Thomas did this "study" with her own dogs in her house (and later in a fenced area of her  prodigious yard in Virginia) made this very strange to me.  It was well enough written, however, that when I saw The Social Life of Dogs in a used book store in town, I bought it with the change in the bottom of my purse, willing to give it a whirl.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

We Won A Contest!

Or, more correctly, it was a Giveaway from Modern Dog magazine.

I entered the giveaway for Canine Caviar sometime in July, and then mostly forgot about it.  This blogging and social networking thing can be hard work!  The Internet is so big, you get stretched out all over the place.  Then, August 3, I received the email: we won!  Elka was very excited.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Dogs Barking

I don't want to be seen as anti-dog.

However, we have neighbors down the street who this spring, apparently procured two beagles.  They already had a small white fluffy dog (and I apologize, but I can't tell the under twenty pound, ungroomed, fluffy white dog category apart; bichon frise?  Maltese), and the small fluffy white dog has a very peculiar bark, that sounds like the signature scream of women in horror movies.  The beagles, well, howl and bark like hounds in those movies where they chase escaped prisoners.