Thursday, May 31, 2012

Free Advice Thursday: May 31 2012

My last Free Advice Thursday was back in October. Truth be told, I wasn't sure if it was going to be a regular thing. It still might not be.

Today, though, I actually heard advice requested on a topic that, in person, I wasn't really comfortable giving. Not at work anyway. Or maybe not at all. Advice that I give, here or in person, may not be taken as legal advice. If you actually have this kind of problem, you should contact a lawyer, discuss with police, at the very least call your vet or even your breeder!

The Disclaimer: I am not responsible for what you do with the information and discussion that you take away from here. I'm merely airing concerns.

So, what is is that has me bothered? 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act

In March, I first posted asking for readers to support the Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act (S. 2134).

Well, the wheels of the government indeed turn slowly. The ASPCA's Advocacy Center now has a form you can fill out in order to ask your senator to support the bill, which is a nice easy way to do it if you haven't done so yet.

Apparently, according to there is also HR 4103 Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act, the summary of which reads:

Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act - Directs the Secretary of Defense (DOD) to classify military working dogs as canine members of the Armed Forces. Requires that such dogs no longer be classified as equipment. Provides that if a dog should be retired, and no suitable adoption is available at the military facility where the dog is located, the dog may transfered to the 341st Training Squadron or to another location for adoption. Authorizes the acceptance of the donation of frequent traveler miles to facilitate the adoption of a dog. Directs the Secretary to establish and maintain a system to provide for the lifetime veterinary care of retired, adopted dogs. Requires such care to meet standards that the Secretary shall establish and periodically update. Provides for coverage of veterinary costs. Directs the Secretary to create a decoration or other appropriate recognition to recognize dogs that are killed in action or perform an exceptionally meritorious or courageous act in service to the United States.

HR 4103 is a step further along than S 2134, in that it has been both Introduced and also referred to Committee. The GovTrack page also says that the bill has a 4% chance of passing, which is kind of discouraging. It also has 15 co-sponsors, both Democrats and Republicans, so that's hopeful. This seemed like an appropriate topic for Memorial Day. Military Working Dogs deserve to be remembered for their accomplishments and duties carried out.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Travels with Elka

You may have noticed that some of the pictures lately are showing a somewhat different background. That's because we went on a vacation to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina!

It was Elka's first time at the beach, and she had a blast! More pictures of that will be forthcoming. She didn't swim, but she did splash around some, and enjoyed the new sights and sounds.

It was her first car ride that was quite so long (12 hours!), her first time at the beach, her first time seeing kites, and her first time seeing a pool!

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Gross Things We Give Our Dogs To Eat

It occurs to me once in awhile how very odd some things are. Things that "dog people" think are normal, and that non dog people look at askance.

For instance: the dried up gross things that we give our dogs to eat. Pig ears. Bully sticks. And now, beef trachea. Tracheas? Trachea. Or, in this case, fetchingly called "Toobles", because baby talk makes everything better. You'll also note that this bad boys are labeled "Made in USA". Hope it's true!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Gummy Bear!

One of Elka's birthday presents was a squeaky (well, it kind of squawks) gummy bear, manufactured by J.W. Pets. They're the company that makes the "cuz" toys, if you're familiar.

I've heard good things about the cuzs, but also valuable warnings: You see, there are two kinds. One with feet that are easily gnawed off and swallowed, the others not. You might guess which kind was available when I went to the local feed store. So, gummy bear it was!

Diamond Pet Food Recall part deux: Missouri plant

On Friday, April 18, Diamond Pet Foods announced another recall, this one for foods manufactured from a plant in Missouri. Once again, it was one of those "drop and run" recall announcements.


The recall announced Friday applies to samples, 6-pound bags and 18-pound bags of Diamond Naturals Small Breed Adult Dog Lamb & Rice Formula dry dog food manufactured on Aug. 26, 2011.

For bags with codes:

-- DSL0801, 26-Aug-2012
-- DSL0801, 27-Sept-2012
-- DSL0801, 18-Oct-2012
-- DSL0801 (samples)

Here is the link to the updated information on the Diamond Pet web site. 

Something that weirds me out about this one? "Product manufactured on Aug. 26, 2011 and packaged on Sept. 27, 2011" I am obviously ignorant about factory and manufacturing settings but...if you're making food, wouldn't you package it when you made it? I thought that was the last logical step on the assembly line: food comes in, kibble forms, feeds through, gets into bag, bag seals.

I guess I should stop making assumptions. I end up looking foolish, more often than not.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

FDA inspection on Diamond Pet Foods plant

So, apparently, from April 12 to April 20, there was an FDA inspection of the Diamond Pet Foods plant. April 10 is when I'd posted about their initial 2012 recall, and said that I "applaudeded" them for doing it voluntarily. With the information that I have now, including dates (and the fact that they'd had recalls in what, 2007? So, before I ever got Elka), I really think that they knew exactly what they were doing. Timing is everything, right? Well, apparently Diamond was notified as of April 2 that Salmonella had been detected in random testing of one of their foods.

May 4 is when I posted about the recall expansion (still voluntary), that included Elka's food.

And hey, you know what? Apparently the plant started operations again. On April 30.

But, here's the FDA report on the plant. Not only is there no place for employees to do basic things like wash their hands, but it also seems as though there are ingredients present that aren't actually on the ingredients lists of the dog foods produced there. Animal digest? No, I don't think Taste of the Wild has that.

So, why am I (and others) paying for premium food, if weird stuff like that is apparently included in the processing? Who's cutting the corners here? I can't help but think of a statement I made while talking about chicken jerky sickening animals: if this was baby food, people would be losing their shit. But it's only dogs, right?

Well. Handling contaminated dog food, and interacting with dogs who have consumed contaminated food can spread the infection to humans. According to the CDC, at least 14 humans have become sickened with salmonella from this food. I still haven't seen any official announcement that dogs have gotten sick, though people have been perfectly willing to snark at me in comments on other peoples' blogs about it. If it isn't reported, by you or your vet, than people don't know. I have finally seen an article about Salmonella confirmed in 2 dogs, in one of the homes in which a human had been sickened as well.

Information for Pet owners: on the CDC web site.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Reward and Punishment

Rewards and punishments get discussed an awful lot in the dog world.

If you want to be more precise, though, you need to go the behavioral route, and talk about reinforcement. In dog training books, and on sites, you may or may not have seen the little grid with "positive reinforcement", "negative reinforcement", "positive punishment", and "negative punishment" in it.

Now in this case, positive and negative may not mean what you think they mean. Nor does punishment.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Doberman: Feet

Yup, feet.

See, conformation standards cover everything, from the head to the tippy toes.

Dobermans are supposed to have cat feet, according to the AKC standard, meaning "well arched, compact...turning neither in nor out." Why, what did you think it meant?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tasty Tuesday May 15, 2012: Rachael Ray Nutrish Soup Bones review

I have a compulsion.

Even in the grocery store, where I know I will not find dog food I'm willing to give Elka, I still go down the dog aisle. I look at the treats, and the ingredients of food, squeeze squeaky toys and look for tennis balls that I have not bought before. I'm sure I must have an interesting look on my face, depending on the object of my attention; horror or disgust when it comes to the food ingredients, amusement when it comes to the durability of the toys (or lack thereof). I do buy things, once in awhile.

I do occasionally buy the Rachael Ray Just 6 treats, because they do, in fact, have only six ingredients (which could be worse), and Elka seems to like them well enough. There's apparently a "Just 6" kibble now as well; it has many many 6's of ingredients. I will not buy it.

Recently, I bought a bag of chicken flavored "Soup bones" for Elka. It's doggie junk food, I'm not fooling myself, but every once in awhile, I look for something to give her that I think might occupy her for a little while, or interest her.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Texas Justice? Man machetes his neighbor's dog.

I guess it's important to foster good relations with your neighbors. Or know whether your neighbors are horribly unbalanced people with machetes. I cannot imagine how both miserable and angry I would be if Elka slipped her leash, ran across the street, and was hacked with a large blade. Which is exactly what happened to a dog, Mijo, in Texas, or so his owner claims.

From: Justice for Mijo :

On May 10, 2012, my dog Mijo was killed by a minister in a public street using a machete. Mijo had gotten out of his leash to be with a female dog when one of my neighbors of a couple houses down crossed the street with a machete and struck him 4 times. 
He was struck 2 in the face, 1 splitting his nose in half, the other one on his mouth, and 2 on his thigh. Mijo limped his way back but could only make it to the front porch where he died.

When I found his body, I knew he was dead but I kept petting him asking him to wake up and please come home with me. I confronted the neighbor and he said he killed the dog with the machete. When asked why he did not respond.

The Sheriff was notified but didn't even look remotely interested in the report. I have called the office several times and they told me that they haven't even gotten an investigator to look over the case. I can't press charges until that is done.

2 news stations were contacted but told me that they cant do too much because it's still under investigation. Mijo did not deserve to die this way. I will try my best to get something done about this.

There is a petition on, because, as stated above, the police have not yet investigated into this. It would be nice if they would, to say the least. Frankly, I feel if a man is willing to casually kill his neighbor's dog, he probably isn't too balanced in other areas. Willingness to hurt animals is one of the three criteria that tend to crop up if somebody is a serial killer. However, there are people who look at a situation like this and think "well, it's just a dog". If nothing else, here is where "dog as property" may be a useful tool. This man's neighbor destroyed his property and should have to make up for it in some significant way. It's a horrible situation, and I feel so very badly for Mijo, and his family.

Edited to add: as several commenters pointed out, this story is rather one sided. And also anonymous, which I ought to have noticed. So, if I've got egg on my face, that's the way it is.

This man, a Minister residing in Alamo, TX, had no problem going into this house, grabbing a Machete, and striking the Yellow Labrador Retriever belonging to an Iraqi Veteran not once, not even twice, but FOUR times. His actions were thoughtless, careless, and inhumane. If he can snap at a harmless animal that was NOT attacking a human being, what could this man do to another person, or child?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Negligent to Own

I'm sure by now, Gentle Readers, it has come to your attention that a Court of Appeals in Maryland has ruled pit bulls "inherently dangerous" and also "negligent to own".

Calm your outrage for a moment. Lord knows it's hard.

It is important to know the details. I don't support them in any way, but it could be worse. Maryland has not outlawed the ownership of pit bulls. State law enforcement will not be knocking on doors with a measuring tape and removing peoples's dogs, as happens in a certain country in the UK.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Doberman: American and European

There's apparently a hot debate in the Doberman world, American Dobermans versus European Dobermans. It's a strange debate, muddled even further by this: there are American show line Dobermans, and American working line Dobermans. There are also European working line Dobermans and European show line Dobermans.

I also bring this up because on Monday, some lady thought I had a Greyhound mix and not a Doberman at all, because her historic Doberman wasn't "like that".

So. Uh. What?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tasty Tuesday May 8, 2012: Where the buffalo roam

So, after last week's Diamond Pet Food recalls, including their Friday "as we go out the door" announcement of recall expansion, we aren't doing Taste of the Wild anymore. I'm not saying that we're dropping it forever, necessarily, but definitely for the foreseeable future.

What have we gone with, you ask? Blue Buffalo Wilderness.

I actually had to sing the first verse of "Home on the Range" to remember the line about the buffalo. I hope you appreciate me. Elka did not.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday Mischief: Doberman imposter?

At the park yesterday, a lady looked as us walking past and said "Greyhound mix?"

I paused, and said "Purebred Doberman."

She frowned and walked closer. "Are you sure?"

I said "Five generations sure."

"Oh. Well, I used to have a Doberman. He just wasn't that skinny. Well, I don't mean skinny."

"No, you mean the tuckup. It's all right."

Then we stood for awhile, and we had Elka sit so that she and her very tiny daughter could give her treats. I'm still not sure if she believed me, but there you  have it. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Book Review: Teaching the Dog to Think, by Kimberley Davis

I learned about the book Teaching the Dog to Think, by Kimberly Davis, from a post at Chronicles of a Puppy Walker. It was many things that I'm interested in: a book about dog training, a book about "thinking dog" training, and free. For the Kindle, anyway. Not that I have a Kindle, but they have an application for every platform. So, I went to Amazon, downloaded the app, downloaded the book, and blitzed right through it.

Davis starts out the book with her first night going to agility class with her rough collie, Willow. Willow is a young, exuberant dog, and he frequently has problems with being nutso and pulling on the leash, so he wears both a flat buckle collar and also a choke chain.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Command Clinic: Recall Revelation

I've discussed recall twice now, in Command Clinic: Recall and Command Clinic: Recall Revisited. It doesn't mean that Elka's not still learning. And, it especially doesn't mean that I am not still learning.

Elka's recall at the park is very, very good. She's on a 20 foot leash, and 9 times out of 10, she'll recall on cue without further coaxing or further prompting. She runs at me, and typically hooks to my left (a definite improvement over the days when she ran at me and I caught her full on), where I catch her, then reward her, and then let her go. Taking pictures at the park the other day, though, I noticed something about that hook to my left.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Diamond Pet Food Expands Voluntary Recall

Diamond Pet foods has expanded their voluntary recall.

Here's the link here of the affected brands and affected states, on The Truth About Pet Food:

From that site:

  • Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul
  • Country Value
  • Diamond
  • Diamond Naturals
  • Premium Edge
  • Professional
  • 4Health
  • Taste of the Wild

Much to my dismay, the Taste of the Wild that we feed Elka is on that list. I thought I was so smart, but not smart enough; I didn't know that Diamond Foods owned Taste of the Wild.

More information is at , and they can be called 7 days a week, apparently, at 1-866-918-8756, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST

Also, here is a link to the Refund Protocol.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Doberman: Ear Cropping and Posting

In The Doberman: Do the Looks Make the Breed? I talked about cropping and docking. Today I thought I would take it a little bit further and talk about ear cropping and the aftercare, posting specifically.

Before I got Elka, I didn't really think much about how Doberman ears got that way. When I learned that it was a surgery at around 7-12 weeks, I wasn't too bothered by it, clearly. I wasn't even too phased by the notion of posting the ears (which is what you call it when you have them taped like that), though I should have given that more thought, I think. Imagine a 16 week puppy whose had the post pop out of place, whining as you fix her up again. It was a process, and we got off easy! Elka was cropped in July, and by the end of August, we were no longer taping her ears. Some people have to tape them for a year or more!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

ANOTHER (not so) Tasty Tuesday May 1 2012

I swear, they're going to kick me off the blog hop.

But really, this stuff is really bugging me.

According to Dogster, the first class-action lawsuit has been filed over Waggin' Train Chicken Jerky, which is made by Nestle Purina Petcare. Nestle Purina's reaction? Quoted from the Dogster article: "We believe that the claims made in the suit to be without merit and intend to vigorously defend ourselves. We can say that Waggin' Train products continue to be safe as directed." This is pretty much what they said in July 2011, according to the article: "The safety and efficacy of our products is our top priority, and consumers can and should continue to feed Waggin' Train treats with total confidence.

According to to the Reuters article on the lawsuit: "The biggest challenge to Adkins' Waggin' Train lawsuit will be proving that the treats resulted in Cleopatra's death. He claims that, other than feeding her the treats, her diet remained the same. Moreover, he did not feed the Yam Good treats to Pharaoh, his other Pomeranian. He remained in good health." Adkins dog supposedly ate a Waggin' Train treat a day for three days, and then got sick and died of kidney failure.

So let's see. Hundreds of dog owners are complaining about jerky treats imported from China. The FDA, since 2007, has warned against the feeding of them. I'm seeing claims that there are warnings on the bags (I keep forgetting to check this when I'm in the store. If I finally do remember, I'll take a picture), and Nestle Purina isn't going to consider the possibility that maybe somebody is dropping the freaking ball.

Business is business. I get that. But this sort of "It's safe because we say it's safe" attitude, coupled with stores' refusal to pull the products really bothers me. I mean, come on, Excedrin, Gas-X, NoDoz and Bufferin were recalled because they may or may not have been contaminated by opiates. But for Nestle Purina, 500 dogs actually getting sick, many also dying? Nah, we're safe. They all had to have gotten sick from something else.

This isn't one batch, folks. This is since 2007.

I wonder when dog owners are going to decide that enough is enough. After all, feeding chicken jerky and other jerkies seems like it should be super healthy, right? I'm sure many dog owners feel misled, and then, when hearing the Party Line response, betrayed. Why not boycott?

I'm not just talking about Waggin' Train products, though those should be gathering dust on the shelves at this point. I'm not even talking about just Nestle Purina products, though ditto with the dust gathering. I'm talking about the whole Nestle train. Here's an A-Z list of the brands that are all owned by Nestle. If we stop buying them, maybe Nestle will get the idea that we aren't partial to companies that are so cavalier about sickening and killing our dogs on our dime.

Here again is an FDA Q&A Regarding Chicken Jerky Treats From China, which includes a link to Customer Complaint Coordinator phone numbers for each state and also more information on How To Report a Pet Food Complaint.

Granted, not every illness and death has been from Waggin' Train. According to the article on, the other two brands are Milo's Kitchen Home-Style Dog Treats (a Del Monte brand) and Canyon Creek (another Nestle Purina brand). In that same MSN article, it is stated that since November, "more than 530 additional complaints of illnesses and some deaths have been filed."

Also, because I'm just a ray of sunshine, Diamond Pet Foods (who I already discussed here) has expanded their voluntary recall (voluntary, Nestle Purina, voluntary!) to include batches of Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul Adult Light Formula and Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food, in addition to the original Diamond Naturals Lamb Meal & Rice. According to the Washington Post article, "no canine illnesses have been reported".