Friday, March 29, 2013

Doberman Assistance Network case: Demi (warning: picture is pretty bad)

Demi is a female Doberman afflicted with mange, pulled from a shelter in California. If you'd like to donate for Demi's care specifically, or see who else needs sponsorships, you can visit the Doberman Assistance Network's sponsorship page and click on the handy Paypal buttons.

Also, the Flower Power Fundraiser is still on until April 26. The goal is to raise $1000; the current total is $88.
(DAN logo linked from DAN Facebook page)

Picture of Demi is behind the cut, poor little girl.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Dog Named Leaf Giveaway Winner!

As always, entrants names were written by moi, and selected at random by Elkacopter.

The moment of choice:

And the winner is:

Congratulations! I ask that you email me your address by contacting me at TheElkaAlmanac AT gmail DOT com.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Safe Jerky Treats?

I occasionally go to both Walmart and Walgreens in my town, and of course I peruse the dog aisles. Cheap dog toys are a blessing sometimes. Of course, there's an increasing suspicion of anything Made in China, due to lead levels and other Bad Stuff found in everything from children's toys to baby formula to dog treats and toys. "Safe" is a state of mind, folks.

(pic unrelated. But seriously, remember spring? Summer?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Are you smiling at me?

Some Dobermans smile.

This is an unsettling thing to the unprepared owner. If you're not versed in the package of canine body language, such smiles might look like snarls. It is a lifting of the lip and a baring of the teeth. But there is no piloerection, no stiffness of posture; when I've seen it in pictures and video, it's been accompanied by body wiggles and airplane ears.

Of course, there are generally accepted "dog smiles" as well:

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Friday, March 22, 2013

The tribulation of Trixie the Doberman (don't worry, she's been adopted)

Spoiler alert: If you watch this, you will bawl your face off. Or maybe just tear up a little. 

The low down is that Trixie the Doberman's owner died 30 days ago (give or take, at this point) of natural causes, and she stayed curled up on the couch with him. She almost died herself, but neighbors called the police when they noticed the mail piling up. As is typically the case with stories like this, there were many offers to adopt her, but according to the above newscast, a vet tech fell in love with her and was bringing her home the next day.

Trixie is a sweet looking red girl, shaking very hard in the video. I wonder if part of this is because she was confronted by a camera. It could also be the shock of the shelter environment, which seemed very barky at the time, and is a whole lot of people when you've been with your dearly departed owner for a month.

I'm happy to hear that Trixie is going to a new and loving home, and I hope that she learns to love her vet tech as much as she did her previous owner. I hope she's never in a situation like that ever again, as it's a terrible thing for anybody to go through. In part, it's made me think of a post KB did a little while ago on Romping and Rolling in the Rockies, entitled "Do Dogs Understand Death?" My comment on the topic is currently thus:

I definitely read your post with interest, but I haven't really experienced dogs around death, so I don't really have a formed opinion on what they understand. Really, I don't understand death either, so I can't blame them if they don't.
I will say that Elka seemed particularly sad the first (and so far only) time that she killed a moth. She was following it and sniffing at it, and smooshed it against the glass of the front door. She then brought it to me and looked at me with big liquid eyes, like "Why won't it fly?" It was like a Disney movie.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Product Review: Rubit Clip (and giveaway!)

When I received Elka's swank new collar from my aunt, I realized that if I wanted to switch tags between collars with any kind of ease, I should probably look into getting a Rubit clip. I'd heard a lot of people mention them, and most people seem to like them. It isn't like it's a huge hassle to switch the tags, but most innovation comes from convenience, right? Right.

So, I wrote to Rubit, and they sent me not one, but three clips! A very generous surprise, I thought. So, I've used one, and I'm going to give two away!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Elka's Balls

At the beginning of this blog, I had many many tennis ball posts. I just could not believe how easily tennis balls designed for dogs were destroyed by Elka. Don't these people know? Is it just a cash grab? I still have no answer.

(in her lovely studded collar, from The Punky Pup, which closed its Internet doors)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Alpha? No, that's just not how I roll.

Fewer things are more alarming to me when I see one faceless person on the Internet say to another "Make sure you maintain your Alpha position. Your dog must be submissive to you. On his back or on his side. Bring him down and hold him there until he submits to you."

Paraphrased, but you get the gist. You probably have heard of the "alpha roll" before, but if you haven't, it's as physical and improbable as it sounds: you physically roll the dog onto his or her back. And hold him or her there until the dog submits to your dominance. Sound like a bad idea? Yeah, I think so too. Have I ever "alpha rolled" Elka? No. And I never intend to.

See the joy in this face? I don't want to crush that.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

FBI dog killed in Upstate New York

A two year old German Shepherd dog named Ape, an FBI K-9, was shot and killed in Herkimer, New York while apprehending an armed suspect. I don't know if Ape was wearing a bullet proof vest; my understanding is that law enforcement (perhaps even the FBI) is woefully undersupplied with regards to that sort of equipment for their K-9s.

It must be a hard thing, for a handler to make the decision Ape's partner had to. Law enforcement officials did not know where in the building the suspect was; apparently they tried to use a robot with a camera first, but there were mobility issues. Sending a dog against an armed suspect is not a fair fight, but I cannot believe that the intent was to risk the dog instead of a human. It a horrible situation, and Ape paid for it, in addition to the others the man had opened fire on the day before. Unfortunately, nobody seems to know why the suspect did what he did.

(not an image of Ape, as I don't own one, but a GSD from Wikimedia commons)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Book Review: A Dog Named Leaf, by Allen and Linda Anderson

Okay, I confess. A very awesome thing about dog blogging (dlogging, as my fiancé likes to call it) is that people want me to read their books. Me! And I freaking love reading books. Especially dog books. Said fiancé has remarked that he didn't even know this many dog books exist, and yet I keep bringing them home. Or getting them in the mail.

Obviously, when Allen Anderson (of the Angel Animals Network, I later learned) emailed me to see if I wanted to read and review A Dog Named Leaf, I said yes.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Roller Derby Benefits Glen Highland Border Collie Rescue

Sort of last minute, I know, but tomorrow night, a local roller derby team (the Derailing Darlings) will have a bout (or whatever they call it.) A portion of the proceeds will go to Glen Highland Farm, which is a Border Collie rescue. 

(apologies for the picture, I put the poster on the library floor to get the whole thing in the frame).

Doberman Rescue Minnesota

I've posted a lot about the Doberman Assistance Network, and about Special Needs Dobermans, and so I figured it was about time to talk about other Doberman rescue organizations in the country (seeing as how DAN, in and of itself, is not a rescue).

Special Needs Dobermans works with many organizations, and actually, in their most recent newsletter, had to announce that they're no longer funding private cases, due to a severe downswing in monies gained through fundraising. So, cases like Whisper in West Virginia will have to go unaided by SND and rely on private fundraising instead. One of the organizations that SND works with is Doberman Rescue Minnesota.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Beef and Green Bean Stir Fry

Though I have a couple of Chinese food cook books, when I do stir fry, I typically just play it by ear. A few years ago, that would not have been the case; I don't know why it was post-college before I really knew how to cook. I did, however, benefit from a Chinese food cooking lesson before that time, from my aunt and uncle. We picked recipes, went shopping for the ingredients (in Philadelphia!), and made the meal. I think that was also the first time I'd encountered a rice cooker (I have my own now).

Monday, March 11, 2013

What did that pillow ever do to you?

Those of you tuning into the new furniture saga know that Elka is all right with the love seat. She's slowly, slowly, warming up to the red couch. The love seat is undeniably comfortable. The arms are of a good height to rest her paws and/or head.

For some reason, though, if Elka is on the love seat, the throw pillows may not be.

Friday, March 8, 2013

What I think of Michael Vick's New Dog

I'm sure you know by now that Michael Vick has a new dog. Angel. He brought her to PetSmart for training! Ooh. Ahhh. Accompanied by his bodyguard, apparently. Perhaps a good move on his part.

It's legal. Nobody can do anything about it. We just have to hope that he does well by Angel. People are keeping an eye, evidently, so maybe that will help. ran an article about it (linked above), and in the comments I expressed my surprise that he'd selected a Belgian Malinois, typically used as Military Working dogs, police dogs, or for the sport of Schutzhund, and wondered at his plans for said dog. Somebody called me idiotic, which I thought was extra classy (I guess they don't moderate their comments. Though, all in all, this is the Internet. If being called idiotic makes me take my toys and go home, I should seek other hobbies). That individual wondered if I believed any "civilian" should receive that sort of scrutiny when selecting a Malinois. Well, maybe. But civilian isn't my keyword here.

(public domain picture of a Malinois from Wikipedia)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Product Review: Tuffie Toys

Elka loves toys dearly, and currently that includes squeaky toys as well. Her love is not a gentle one, however. Any stuffed toy that has fallen into her tender mercies has been loved to death in fairly short order. Once there is a hole in the material, or a split in the seam, the game turns into the removal of stuffing from the toy (which I may have brought upon myself, really....all of those Kongs....).

I received a Tuffie toy with Tuffness rating 10 (that's the Tuffest, folks) in one of my Pets Love Toys boxes. Happily, it was a squid, making it odd and interesting, and reminding me of Cthuhlu.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Beef Wellingtons

Oh college. There are times I really miss college. Strangely, some of the things I miss have to do with the cafeteria (which at my alma mater was "The Commons"). Everybody seems to have vehement complaints about the various cafeterias they've encountered in their lives; certainly my high school cafeteria wasn't anything special. They had good bagels, but those came from Outside. Fridays were Domino's day. But, I digress.

At college, in the week following a ham dinner night, there would be these magical things that appeared during a lunch time: ham and cheese Wellingtons. At the time, I wasn't culinarily knowledgeable in the least, so I couldn't tell what the flakey buttery golden dough was around the ham and cheese. I'd never encountered if before. Was it from the croissant dough (the croissants were also magical, by the way)? Was it filo? Gordon Ramsay's Wellington, I know now, uses puff pastry.

But, I didn't know that then, or even just out of college, when I tried to recreate the Wellington experience. I used canned crescent rolls (you know, the "peel 'til it explodes" type?). They were all right, but not the same at all. Even knowing about the puff pastry, I haven't tried that yet. But, the other day, I made a big hunk o' beef in the crock pot, to have for the week, and the day after, I rolled out biscuits and made some "beef Wellingtons" with that.

Still not the same. But very, very tasty.

I promise, every last thing I cook isn't carby and cheesy. Those just seem to be the ones that I post here!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Somebody's been sleeping in MY bed

We are a dogs on furniture household, that much is very apparent. Elka also sleeps with us, which is sometimes more pleasant than others.

She's also started a behavior that I had only heard about, never seen, until recently. Evidently, when I'm at work and if our room door is open, Elka will go upstairs and sleep on our bed. She doesn't mess with anything, trail clothes around, nothing. Just goes up and sleeps. She did this even before we got the new couches, which made sense because our bedroom is very warm, but with the new couches, she does it even when I'm here.

The first time, it was a little startling. I emerged from the shower. My fiancé and housemate were going about their business. No dog. "Where's Elka?" I asked, trying to play it cool, but seriously? Elka is never not there.

"Oh, she went upstairs," my fiancé said. Oh.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Roscoe update and DAN fundraisers

You'll be happy to know that Roscoe, the parvo affected Doberman, has been released from hospital care to one of the Doberman Assistance Network's foster mamas! This is great news; let's hope that the poor dude continues to improve, so that he might go on to rescue, and to a great forever home.

The CAPTCHA question

So, dear readers, I have a question to pose to you.

Some time ago (I forget when exactly), I ditched the CAPTCHA verification for comments. I've gotten more commenters, either by merit of exposure of getting rid of the CAPTCHA, I'm not sure which. I've also gotten a whole lot of spam.

For the most part, spammers do say some nice and flattering things. Word salad, but hey, any port in a storm, right? In general, the Google spam catcher is very good, only rarely letting undesirable things through, and it's equally rare that it grabs a non spam comment. There are spammers who post rather adult material, though, which in addition to being creepy, has no place on a dog blog. And it's a pain in the butt to go through and remove things every time  I look at my comment notifications.

So. What are your opinions on going back to CAPTCHA? I'd prefer not to, really. I know it can be difficult, and a pain. I know it can be outright wrong, which is a huge pain. There are some blogs I've tried to comment on in the past, and the CAPTCHA told me I failed when I knew I didn't. The kicker is that on some of those, when you fail, it wipes out the comment you typed too. Extra fun!

I'd also prefer not to go to moderated comments, because doing entirely moderated comments is just that much more annoying than getting rid of the spam that slips through the cracks. I also read an article the other day that said some sites are dropping CAPTCHA in favor of doing "ad verification", which irritates me thoroughly. I don't like ads for the most part, truth be told. They irritate me, they don't sell me things. In fact, if I find an ad or slogan particularly grating, it will cause me to avoid that particular company or  product.

The current situation isn't unbearable, mind you. I could just carry on as I am. But I'm interested in your thoughts.

Also, I've (finally!) added a blogroll page, up in the top there. I decided to have it as a separate page instead of crowing up the sidebar because, well. My sidebar needs all the help it can get. If you think I've forgotten you, please don't worry. It's a work in progress!