Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Am I dreaming? Decent dog food at the grocery store?

Somebody pinch me.

I was at the grocery store (Hannaford) the other day, and wandered down the dog aisle, as one does. An unfamiliar bag of food caught my eye. Oh, Nutrisca? What are you? Grain free? Potato free? At my grocery store?!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday Mischief October 29 2012

Elka cannot claim dibs on this iteration of Monday Mischief, and to protect the embarrassed, I will not name names. Suffice to say, a certain young dog that I know of was home alone. And bored. And...found a library DVD.

Really, I learned something. I knew that DVD's (and CD's) had a plastic bit, and a coating that contained the actual data, and all that. But I didn't quite realize that they were two parts like that. Because the above picture is of a single DVD that fell to dog jaws. I'm just glad that it doesn't look like any actual pieces came off, and I do know that she's all right, as this happened a few weeks ago.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dogs I've known (part one)

Time and again, I've mentioned that Elka is my first dog. This is after having wanted one my entire life, but you know how kids are sometimes. "I want/need it!" can fade pretty quickly once the object of desire is obtained.

I'm happy to say that I value Elka, every day. I think that every dog is the "best" dog; it's what they're for, as part of their Platonic Dogness. She makes me laugh, she makes me cry. She does her Dog Job.

She's of course not the first dog I've known; I've encountered many, and I think I even remember most of their names.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Trail Treats Chicken Jerky

After all of the problems with Chicken Jerky that's made in China, I was ready to say that no chicken jerky in the world could possibly be safe. Then I got an email from a representative at Chewy.com, asking me if I'd like to do a review of Blue Buffalo dog treats. I rushed to say yes before my brain caught up and said "Wait, chicken jerky? Nooooo!"

Blue Buffalo's Wilderness Trail Treats Chicken Jerky has two very, very big things (in my eyes) going for it, however:

1. It's made in the USA
2. It is not treated with irradiation.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Doberman Assistance Network 2013 Calendar

It's getting to be that time of year again: Calendar buying time. If you're into that sort of thing.

I wonder, sometimes, if people buy calendars at this point for the artwork. They're a distinct niche of ephemera, with all of the electronic reminders that junk up our lives.  But, I digress.

The 2013 calendar that the Doberman Assistance Network puts together is now available for purchase! You can pay for it via Paypal, or snail mail a check. It's just $25, and chock full of lovely Doberman pictures. The proceeds, of course, go to help the Doberman Assistance Network in all of the find work that they do, and I hope that you consider buying one, and telling the other dog people that you know that they are available.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Halloween Dog Costume Photo Contest!

So, I wasn't going to do this (on my own, anyway), but I received an email inviting me to host a microcontest as the first leg of a larger contest. For Halloween costumes, of course!

Now, I thought about figuring out a photo op costume for Elka, but ultimately haven't worked anything out. Of course, I have a few "costume" pictures in the wings. More like a seasonal calendar selection:

And really, you guys can do better than this, right? 

The rules:  Phase one: Submit pictures of your best doggie Halloween costume. That's from now (October 21) until November 1.  How to submit? You can either email me the picture, at TheElkaAlmanac AT gmail DOT com, or you can put it up on The Elka Almanac Facebook page, whichever catches your fancy. On November 1, I then have the Herculean task of choosing the winner. My "microwinner" will get a $25 Target gift card. Then, the big contest.

The winner will be submitted to this page on the Dog Fence DIY web site, where the one with the most votes will be the Ultra Mega Grand Prize Winner (Okay, so they just call it the "Grand Prize Winner", I just got a little excited) and win the Grand Prize of a $500 Target gift card. Which is pretty sweet. The Grand Prize phase runs until November 12.

So, snap some pictures and send them my way! Unfortunately, I don't think Elka will be aiding me in the selection process this time around, or at least not in the traditional "random choice" way. She'll be a part of the discussion!

FTC disclosure: As a micro host of this contest, I will receive a $25 Target Gift Card from DogFenceDIY, and also a shot at the Grand Prize.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Yoghund Frozen Yogurt Dog Treats Recall

If you're like me, you've noticed the recent peanut butter recalls and thanked your lucky stars that nothing you bought fell within that category.

I haven't bought Yoghund products either, but thought that I ought to mention it here, that the Organic Banana and Peanut Butter frozen yogurt flavor has been recalled for possibility of Salmonella contamination.

According to the FDA release:

Although there have been no reported incidents of human or animal illnesses in connection with their product, the company has elected to recall all case product of Lot Code 268 12 and earlier, cup and four pack Best By Date of 9.24.14 or earlier.
Pets with Salmonella infections may have decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. If left untreated, pets may be lethargic, have diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Infected, but otherwise healthy pets, can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.
Individuals handling the frozen yogurt product can become infected with Salmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with surfaces exposed to this product. People who believe they may have been exposed to Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. According to the Centers for Disease Control, people who are more likely to be affected by Salmonella include infants, children younger than 5 years old, organ transplant patients, people with HIV/AIDS and people receiving treatment for cancer.
Product was distributed through retailers nationwide.
Pet owners who are unsure if the product they purchased is in the recall or have additional questions may call us at 603-775-7772 x1007 between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

I've noticed Yoghund on the shelf in one of the stores around here, and while I considered it, I don't tend to spend that kind of money on ice cream for ME, yet alone Princess Elka. So, if you have bought it, check your "best by" and Lot Code dates, just to make sure you and yours are safe!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Lost Angel in Michigan, a sad update

On Tuesday, I posted about a lost dog in Cheboygan, Michigan. The unfortunate update from 24 Paws of Love is that Angel's owners found her body by the side of the road.

I can only imagine how very heartbroken Angel's people are, in addition to the writers of 24 Paws of Love (who were Angel's breeder, if I understand correctly). 

Angel's owners did a lot of things right as soon as she was missing. They got the word out, and they searched for her tirelessly. Equipment failures happen; if Angel had never before slipped her collar, there was no reason to anticipate that she would at that time. There are any number of things that startle a dog into running. It's a sad fact, and my heart hurts for them.

"Collar security" as such didn't initially occur to me as a beginner dog owner. Elka in fact slipped her collar once, but it seemed more like it was for fun than any other reason. I talked about an equipment epiphany when I got Elka's new collar, and also Liberty's Attachment, and an EzyDog Harness. I self deprecate myself a bit, calling myself paranoid and a crazy dog lady, but stories like this make me want to wrap Elka in cotton wool and never leave the house ever again. There's just no anticipating what can happen in a day.

My thoughts are with Angel's family, and I hope they heal well and soon.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Angel: Lost dog in Cheboygan MI

Angel is a black lab/husky mix who has been missing since Tuesday. She slipped her collar, and though her people are searching, they haven't seen her since!

Angel is about 60 pounds, though her bushy fur might make her look bigger. She has a curly Husky style tail. She has white paws, white on her chest, and white under her chin as well. She slipped her collar, so she is not wearing a collar, or tags. I don't know if she is microchipped.

If you're in Michigan, please spread the word! If you've seen Angel, or know somebody who has, please alert the Cheboygan Humane Society at 231-627-8221. 

You can also email 24pawsoflove AT gmail DOT com

Monday, October 15, 2012

When is a debt paid? What does forgiven mean?

So, I'm sure it's not a surprise to anybody at this point that Michael Vick is a dog owner again. Or a "pet owner", according to his carefully worded official statement:

“I understand the strong emotions by some people about our family’s decision to care for a pet. As a father, it is important to make sure my children develop a healthy relationship with animals. I want to ensure that my children establish a loving bond and treat all of God’s creatures with kindness and respect. Our pet is well cared for and loved as a member of our family. This is an opportunity to break the cycle. To that end, I will continue to honor my commitment to animal welfare and be an instrument of positive change.”

He was sentenced, he spent 18 months in jail on charges related to dogfighting, and his three years of parole are up. During those three years, he had psychotherapy, and did some speaking out against dogfighting with the Humane Society CEO, Wayne Pacelle. So, do I think Michael Vick should be able to own dogs again?

Well, from what I understand from having read The Lost Dogs, he himself had a personal hand in the killing of several of the dogs that he owned. From what I've read when he was interviewed on the topic, the language he used wasn't very sorry. Or, scratch that; the language he used didn't reflect that he was sorry he had tortured and killed dogs. The language he used indicated that he was sorry he was caught and punished. During his enforced three years of no dog ownership, he has said how "unfair" it was that his daughters could not have a dog, and it was "hard for him to explain" the reason behind it. I confess to feeling a lack of empathy for him; he made a choice, many times, to do horribly cruel things for his dogs. I'm supposed to feel bad that he's suffering for his choice, and that the consequence reflects on his daughters? Sorry, but no.

I see in articles that Michael Vick and his family was encouraged to adopt from a shelter or rescue. I'm not sure if they're familiar with the fact that these organizations tend to do background checks. As the Best Friends Soceity points out, "have you owned a dog before?", among others, will be a pretty tricky question to answer. I do wonder who it was actually gave this man a dog.

The bottom line is that it really doesn't matter what I think. The crimes are not mine to forgive. There are a lot of people who think it's no big deal that he fought dogs. There are a lot of people who think he should have had a far worse sentence, including being barred from owning dogs for the rest of his life. There are people who only care whether he plays a good game of football.

I will say this for him: he didn't have to enter a partnership with the Humane Society. He didn't have to speak to Congress in support of an anti-dogfighting bill. He didn't have to go to schools and talk to kids in an effort to steer them away from dog fighting (if I'm wrong about any of this, and these things were actually part of the terms of his supervised release, please tell me and link me the sources. I do not want to spread any incorrect information).

So, do I think Michael Vick should be able to own a dog again? No. I'm not sure if I think it's too soon, or if he's entirely unforgivable, but I do not trust the safety of a dog under his care.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Pet Blogs United Feature Blogger

Hey, guess what? This week, I'm the featured blogger over on Pet Blogs United!

There's a bit of a writeup that I did, with info that you may or may not know. There are some pictures of the lovely Elka, that you may or may not have seen. And now we have a snazzy "featured blog" button on our sidebar, from PBU!

Thanks to Pet Blogs United for featuring me (and Elka)! I know that I've found new pet blogs to read thanks to the featured blogs feature, and it's always nice getting to know somebody new.

So, welcome new readers! And thanks for reading, everybody!

Friday, October 12, 2012

A Dog Named Boo: Winners!

The moment you've all been waiting for: the winners to the A Dog Named Boo giveaway!

As has been long-standing Elka Almanac tradition, I wrote the names of the entrants on pieces of paper and threw them on the floor. Then I looked at Elka and said "Pick it up!"

She looked down (notice Gumby? He has to help, evidently)

There was a lot of consideration here. But she picked one! I told her how awesome she was, and looked down again and said "Pick it up!"

Unlike the last time, Elka had no problem with me asking her for the same cue twice, and our winners were selected.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Search Terms I've Seen Lately

I kind of have a cold which is making me somewhat miserable an unfocused. The good news is I've watched all of Supernatural on Netflix (well, up to season 7's end. Season 8 just started on television last week). My public, though! So, I've fallen back on an ever interesting topic: some search terms that brought people to my blog recently.

Resident Evil Dog breed: this doesn't get you to The Elka Almanac 'til page 5. In my eyes, it's a dedicated searcher that goes to page 5 of a Google search. An image search of "Devil dogs" also goes to that particular post.

Sleeping Doberman:

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tasty Tuesday: Lickety Stick product review

Like many people, I took advantage of the Free Lickety Stick promotion that was on Facebook a couple of months back. I received mine in the mail about two weeks back, but didn't really give it to Elka much. I think I was keeping it in mind as a treat to use on walks in the winter, when it was cold and I wouldn't necessarily want a handful of cutup hotdogs, but rather something I could handle while wearing gloves. It's even made in the USA!

Well, I'm glad that we tried it out earlier.

Monday, October 8, 2012

One Lovely Blog Award

Thanks so much to Sue Kottowicz, over at Talking-Dogs! Blog awards are a lot of fun, and kind of a break from my normal blogging mindset. Blog outside the box, friends!

The rules for this award are:
  • Thank the blogger bestowing the award and provide a link back to their blog.  
  • Share seven things about yourself.
  • Share the award with seven other bloggers.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Name Your Own Price Pet Adoptions

October is "Name Your Own Price Pet Adoptions" month at the Broome County Humane Society.

From their web site:

You can’t put a price on love.  Or can you?  This October, you are invited to name your own price on all cat and dog adoptions, all month long.  It is the ultimate “re-tail” event, to encourage adopters and find new homes for dozens of loveable pets.
Simply pick out your favorite dog or cat, determine that furry face’s value, and make an offer.  In addition to special adoption rates, we will also be giving away a $10 gift card to Hoffman’s Car Wash with all approved adoption applications.
The Name-Your-Own-Price Adopt-a-thon will kick off this weekend with two adoption events.
Friday, September 28th we will be at PetSmart on the Vestal Parkway from 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM and Saturday, September 29th we will be at Hoffman’s Car Wash from 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM.
How many homeless pets do you know?  We know 150!
We currently have over 50 dogs and 90 cats in our shelter all looking for a good home.  Stop in to find a new “best friend.”  Normal adoption fees range from $65 to $187.  Standard adoption criteria apply.  Offer excludes puppies & kittens (under 6 months old).

What an interesting thing for a shelter to have! I'd never heard of such a strategy before, have you? You know what the best news is, that I've noticed on the Broome County Humane Society web site? Storm isn't on there any more! I'll take that as the best sign, that the very last of the Conklin Dobermans was adopted! I couldn't be more happy for him,

We've had a couple of visits here from owners who have adopted some of the Dobermans from the Broome County Humane Society, which is totally awesome. Who knows, maybe we'll here from Storm's new family!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Remember Abbey? She really needs a home pretty quick!

Remember Abbey?

Evidently, the poor little girl is losing her foster home. She needs to be adopted (or maybe another foster home?) like, yesterday. According to the Last Hope Dobermans Facebook page, she can be adopted in Texas or Oklahoma, and some parts of surrounding states as well.

Would you like to give this pretty girl a home? From Facebook: "She loves other dogs, loves to play, is learning her leash manners, is crate trained." Spread the word, help her get set for life. You can email DobeMomx2 AT yahoo DOT com for information, if you're looking to adopt her. 

She was anesthetized and pulled of the euthanization table once before, clearly she has good things in store for her!

Here is her Petfinder page as well, if you would prefer to go through that kind of a channel.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wordless Wednesday October 3 2012

For my birthday, my cousin Nora painted a picture of Elka from the blog and sent it to me. It's so awesome I have to share it with you (albeit belatedly. My sharing, that is, not the gift itself)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A kinder, gentler animal study (now more kawaii)

I'm rather fond of looking at puppy pictures. Especially if you replace "fond of" with "addicted to". Imagine my surprise and delight when I saw the CBS headline "Baby animal pictures may boost focus at work"!  The article states that "researchers at Hiroshima University wanted to find out whether looking at a cute object does more than produce temporary positive feelings and if it could actually influence a person's behavior." Boy am I glad they asked that question! I especially like it when there is science to justify my habits.

(Puppy Elka. Because why not? Boost your focus today!)

Researchers reported: "The present study shows that perceiving cuteness not only improves fine motor skills but also increases perceptual carefulness...This study provides further evidence that perceiving cuteness exerts immediate effects on cognition and behavior in a wider context than that related to caregiving or social interaction." So, yet another way in which our dogs and cats (and gratuitous puppy and kitten pictures on the Internet) improve our cognitive function, physical function, and quality of life.

(look at how much bigger the pillow was than her!)

If you're interested, the research is on PLOS One, which I had never heard of until right this second. Apparently it's a peer reviewed, open access journal. Free science for everybody!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Book Review: A Dog Named Boo, by Lisa J. Edwards

I had the honor of being approached by a publicist at Harlequin to read and review the book, A Dog Named Boo: How One Dog and One Woman Rescued Each Other, and the Lives They Transformed Along the Way, by Lisa J. Edwards. Intrigued, both because I'm a sucker for dog books and because I thought Harlequin only published romance novels, I accepted. I'm glad that I did!

To kick off Lisa Edwards' blog tour, I've read and reviewed A Dog Named Boo, and have copies for giveaway!