Friday, June 28, 2013

Reasons my Doberman is whining

So, there's quite the amusing Tumblr, called Reasons My Son is Crying. In homage, and because Elka whines all the time, I thought I'd make a gesture at Reasons my Doberman is Whining.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Banned in Beijing

Apparently, in 2003, Beijing, China banned a number of "large, vicious" dog breeds; linked is only an "example" list, as it's dogs with a mature height of over 35 centimeters are not allowed.

35 centimeters. That's 13.7 inches. If breed has been repeatedly been found not to have to do with aggression (in American courts of law, anyway. And with people who, y'know, know about dogs), then what does height have to do with "viciousness"?

Granted, this blog is not readable in China anyway. If that tells you something. I wasn't really sure what I'd "done" that got me banned. Perhaps it's because Elka is too big? Geeze, a 13.7 inch limit. That means Elka is like two dogs, with some wiggle room. She's 29 inches.

Interestingly, in this article in the New York Times about it, the billboard in the picture features a Doberman and a child (granted, the child is a little dubious looking, but the Doberman is cool). People in Beijing with huskies, labs, and Golden Retrievers are hiding their dogs in their homes, walking them only at night, or only allowing them to relieve themselves on balconies, for fear of their dogs being seized. I can only imagine that the seized dogs are then euthanized. People who can afford it are sending their "big vicious" dogs (boxers, poodles, collies) outside of the city, to be safely boarded in kennels there.

I'm very sorry for dog owners in Beijing, having to go through this. I can't imagine living in the fear that the police would bust down my door and take my dog away. In America, I luckily don't have to worry about that.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wordless Wednesday June 26 2013

(this is what happens when I'm all "Oh, I'll get a beautiful picture of Elka in front of the ferns....")

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

TailSpin Dog Lotto! (and giveaway)

Working in partnership with the Dog Saving Network, the Chicago based pet company Bumperpet  is holding a monthly lottery in which a shelter dog spins the wheel for the winners! You visit the link, and pick three numbers between 1 and 20 (the next drawing is July 1). 3 correct numbers is the grand prize, but the runner up (2 correct numbers) doesn't go away empty handed either!

For your edification (because I didn't know either), the Dog Saving Network is a positive reinforcement based training organization (and a 501(c)3 not-for-profit). Their goal is to help reduce the number of healthy dogs euthanized in this country every year; the statistic we often see bandied about is that behavioral issues are a top reason for dogs being surrendered to shelters. The Dog Saving Network would like to turn that around. The dogs they use in shows are rescued and have been clicker trained to perform their game show tricks.

So, not only do you have a chance to win a lottery, but one lucky Elka Almanac reader will win a t-shirt from Their dog breed t-shirts are really neat (and include Doberman! Is it necessary to emphasize how much this thrills me?); each shirt is a silhouette of a different dog, with words spelling out the qualities. If you're not really a "dog breed" person, there's also a "cat" t-shirt and a "dog" t-shirt! They have a lot of other neat products as well, so even if you don't want to enter the giveaway, you should really check them out. Then can even do a personalized shirt from a picture (not part of the giveaway)!

So, to enter the giveaway here (to enter the TailSpin Lotto, go to in the comments, tell me about a trick you taught your dog (or cat!) to perform. Please make sure you're either signed in, or include your name; I cannot give awards to anonymous entrants! The winner will be chosen, as always, by Elkacopter. Giveaway is open from today, which is Tuesday, June 25 2013 until 11:59 P.M. (Eastern) on Sunday, June 30 2013. Good luck, everybody! I look forward to reading your answers.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Natura Dog Food Recall

Natura Pet Products has now recalled all of its dry dog food lines. 

Quoted from

This recall involves ALL lot codes and ALL package sizes of the following products, affecting ALL expiration dates prior to June 10, 2014:
Innova Dry dog and cat food and biscuits/bars/treats
EVO dry dog, cat and ferret food and biscuits/bars/treats
California Natural dry dog and cat foods and biscuits/bars/treats
Healthwise dry dog and cat foods
Karma dry dog foods
Mother Nature biscuits/bars/treats

According to the Natura web site, this was due to a single positive test of Salmonella in product that was manufactured April 3. This is a voluntary recall, and I have to say that unlike the Taste of the Wild recall, Natura didn't drop the news on a Friday and go home for the weekend. They also have downloads for a replacement or refund voucher right on their web site, which is a nice touch, and if necessary, can be contact via phone at (800) 224-6123.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Doberman puppy lost the fight to Parvo at the Florida University Veterinary School

In Florida, a "breeder" had a litter of 8 Doberman puppies under his or her care. More than a week ago, all of the puppies got sick. And then five of them died. That breeder then got tired of it and took the three who were left to the Florida University Veterinary School and instructed for them to be euthanized.

The puppies all had parvo. Of the three, a little fawn girl died yesterday, and one of her red sisters died this afternoon. Only one is left, named Scorcha by those taking care of her. The Doberman Assistance Network has stepped in to help. If you'd like, you can donate to her care on the Doberman Assistance Network sponsorship page.

Sorcha has been sick for long enough that the deck is really stacked against her. She's under constant care in puppy ICU, on IVs for fluids and food. The best I can say about this is that she's under loving care, and if she pulls through, DAN will get her foster care with a rescue, and that rescue will find her a loving home.

I cannot countenance watching puppies grow that sick, for that long, and watching five of them die. I cannot. The details I've related to you are the only ones I know; I don't know the breeder's history of care otherwise, what vaccines the puppies did (or did not) receive, the condition in which they were kept. I can only make assumptions, and none of them are good. At least those poor little ones knew some love before they left us.

Edited to add:  As of 10 p.m., little Sorcha has died as well. I truly hope that the person who produced these puppies will take a hard look at how they do things in the future, or no longer keep dogs altogether. The Florida University Veterinary School tried their hardest, but sometimes it just isn't to be. So rest in peace, little ones. I'm sorry your stay here turned out the way it did.

New York City police dog injured in the line of duty

Bear, a 6 year old German Shepherd on the police force in New York city was injured while apprehending a suspect yesterday. He'll be okay, before you're too worried, but boy howdy. That does not sound like it was a fun law enforcement experience.

(photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Wordless Wednesday June 19 2013

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Mordecai! Special Needs Puppy with Doberman Rescue Minnesota

(picture from DRM blog)

Doberman Rescue Minnesota has Mordecai! He's a 16 week old male pup-super smart, great temperament, almost potty trained, crate trained, sweet little man, makes up for his disabilities! Breeder was going to euthanize as there was no money to care for him-we took him to the University of Minnesota Vet Center to get honest opinion on our options-The Docs at the U said we should give him a chance! So he is now with us and completely a joy to have in foster care! Mordy had a dislocated elbow that did not get placed back properly by the breeder, in fact breeder did not even notice it (!) until after Mordy was "sold", this will need to be addressed in the future and DRM is committed 100%.

Mordy also has congenital megaesophogus, which we are hoping he out grows one day-the vets are hopeful too! Mordy is super playful and acts like any other pup, he is just a little different as he eats in a high chair! We are also seeking donations to help defray his vet care as he grows. Mordy is currently eating Honest Kitchen-Embark, (we will take any donations for his food!) and we are looking at surgery for the future, the University estimates the cost to fix his leg at $3500. Please help us help Mordy! We are committed to helping him. If you are interested in adopting or helping us support Mordy with food or medical expenses please let us know!

(text from the DRM blog)

(picture from the DRM blog)

Product Review: Frosty Paws

A ways back, we won the Frosty Paws giveaway from Life with Desmond. I cashed in one of the coupons awhile ago as well, but since it had been cold and rainy still, I didn't give any of it to Elka right away. Not that she really has the warm weather + ice cream correlation in her mind, but it's in my mind, and I'm the one who opens the freezer.

We had a (still rare!) warm day, and so I busted out the Frosty Paws for Elka to try.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Playing Games

Elka and I have little games we play throughout the day. She doesn't really do "solo play", as she seems to think she needs to be in contact with one of us at all (or most) times. She also frequently doesn't play with only one toy at once, though that occasionally happens. With squeaky toys, we tend to tell her "I don't want that, it's yours" and then she'll go and play. Maybe Elka's just a really good sharer?

Friday, June 14, 2013

Vaccinations: helping and hurting

Vaccinations can be a touchy subject, both in the human world and the dog one.

In general, I feel that they help more than they hurt. When they hurt, they hurt profoundly, as Roxanne who writes Champion of My Heart has found out when her dog, Lilly, had an extreme negative reaction to her routine rabies vaccination (500 days ago, as of June 4). Lilly has been in medical distress since then, has almost died, and has had one severe relapse. Roxanne writes that Lilly can never have another vaccine in her life.

(picture from Wikimedia commons. You'll see "why a tiger?" after the jump)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

OCD in Dobermans may help shed light on OCD in people

So, last year I did mouth swabs for Elka and sent them in. I haven't heard a blessed thing back from the study, and bu there was another study that's being reported on this week, on hoarding genetics. I know I was excited to read the linked article, because I was all "Oh hey, Dobermans!" Then, of course, it was about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) which is a considerably less positive thing to associate with "my" breed. But there's discussion of how Doberman OCD can give insight into human OCD, and that's pretty rad.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Remmy, looking for love in Bangor Pennsylvania

Meet Remmy!

He was picked up as a stray on city streets; Dreaming of Better Endings Rescue (DOBER, inc) thinks that he's about 3. He may or may not be a Rottweiler mix, or just a "big solid" Euro Doberman. He has a weakness for socks (Elka can sympathize) but otherwise doesn't chew inappropriately, according to his foster family.

He's very sweet and eager to please, and is very much a people dog. He would probably do best as an only dog, but a home with a laid back resident dog may work well for him. He is untested on cats. He is crate trained, but if his adoptive family wanted to leave him uncrated, his housebreaking may or may not need a little bit of work.

(picture from Dober, inc web site)

He loves belly rubs, and sitting to give a paw is one of his best tricks. He isn't a barker, even when dogs walk past in the neighborhood. 

If you're interested in adopting Remmy (and if you aren't, but know somebody who is looking for a good boy, please please share his info!), you can view the adoption fees and process and fill out the adoptions application on the Dober, inc web site.

Dog Treat Review: Orijen

I was recently contacted by a rep to sample and review Orijen dog treats. Well, given our previous experience with, our positive training methods (and Elka's limpid Disney eyes), we go through a lot of treats in this household, so I of course said yes. All of the treats were single protein, so really, it was just a matter (in my mind) of choosing something that would be something of a novelty for Elka, so we went with the Ranch Raised Lamb.

(image provided by Mr. Chewy)

Monday, June 10, 2013

What is this "Frisbee" of which you speak?

So lately, I've been working to teach Elka how to play Frisbee.

Oh, she'll run and retrieve something very well. But run, catch something in the air, and bring it back? Well, that needed some work. See, her typical M.O. is to wait until something hits the ground, then pounce on it, then pick it up and shake it, and then bring it back. Then maybe she wants to tug it for a little while (which I discourage with tennis balls, as you may imagine. I've had to discourage it with frisbees as well).

But, I think we're actually making some progress!

Friday, June 7, 2013

The ONE thing

I see this topic a lot on dog message boards. I figured I'd ask it here, because after all, you guys are my "dog people" too!

What is the ONE thing you wish you knew before you brought your dog home?

I of course can't limit it to one. But I've got a solid five, anyway.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Family Tree

While I don't know anybody who has known the dogs in Elka's pedigree, I still find her pedigree very interesting. Granted, I met her sire (deceased as of December, apparently. Rest in peace, Gabriel; you seemed like an awesome guy) and dam, but I don't know them. I knew that Elka's dam loved babies, and her sire would "Smile" on command. Precious little information, when you get fixated on things in the way that I do.

However, I'm lucky in that there are some very good online resources for Dobermans, including and There, provided the information was uploaded, I can find birth dates, titles, health testing, and dates of death. Elka is spayed, and I never intended on breeding her, but it's interesting to see what's "in her woodpile".

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

New Canis Maximus hearing tomorrow, June 6 2013

At 2 p.m. on June 6, there will be a public hearing at 10 Hotel Street in Warrenton Virginia. to consider Irina Barrett's new special permit application for her kennel. 

I write about this back in February, when the story first "broke". It took this long because applications were submitted and then removed at the 11th hour when it looked like they would not be passed. Things like that. My understanding is that Ms. Barrett has continued to operate.

Regardless of peoples' feelings on her breeding practices (and not everybody agrees that there is a problem), the focus for this hearing, according to the above linked article, will be on the land use practices. When it comes down to it, she has too many dogs on that property.

Ms. Barrett has also brought a defamation suit against the humane inspector to the tune of $1.3 million. I've heard on the Internet that she's looked up nearly everybody that has mentioned her and included them in a suit as well, but that sounds a bit over the top.

The AKC (famed for their recent letter on how they're doing the best they can) did send an inspector to Ms. Barret's property in April. They sent a letter to the county's Sheriff, which was quoted in the above linked article, and I'm going to quote below:

An American Kennel Club field agent on April 17 found “very poor sanitary and/or health conditions” at Canis Maximus.
AKC’s director of compliance support shared the report and a summary in an April 22 letter to Sheriff Charlie Ray Fox Jr., whose department includes animal control officers.
The field agent reported “that water containers for dogs were empty. There was a protruding wire in the chain link kennels which needed to be repaired. The is a metal futon frame and debris in the kennels. The breeder needs ventilation in both the kennel building and puppy room as there was a slight urine odor in both places.”
Jack Norton closed his letter to Sheriff Fox with: “We trust that your agency will look in to conditions at this kennel.”

Even with pending hearings, neighbors who are unhappy with the amount of dogs, and public scrutiny, Ms. Barrett apparently has not improved conditions for the dogs on her property. The AKC field agent found remarkably similar issues to what the humane inspector found in the first place, kicking all this off.

I feel very bad for the dogs who live there.

Wordless Wednesday June 5 2013

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tuesday Tails: Tommy, a Doberman in Lycoming County PA

Tommy is a not quite two (1 year 9 months) old Doberman who has been at the Lycoming County, Pennsylvania SPCA since February. Poor guy! He evidently has a very strong "prey drive", which has presented a difficulty in adopting him out. I would speculate that a home with cats or small dogs is not one that would be able to welcome Tommy (but this is speculation, mind you). He's an energetic boy, still a puppy really, by Doberman standards. He is neutered. By accounts, he just loves to be constantly pet.

If you're active and energetic, and looking for a Doberman to do sports with, Tommy might be the boy for you! A prey drive might translate well into something like Flyball or Dock diving (yup, Dobermans can do these things!) or even tracking. 

Tommy is safe where he is, but the shelter environment does no dog favors. Tommy would love to go home with somebody who can love him and keep up with him!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Dogs and Babies

I got the New York Times "dogs" article alert and sighed when I saw the title: "The Dog Bit Me". Oh boy. I read it anyway, of course. I wanted to know how bad it ended up for the parties involved. For those of you whose stomachs dropped with mine, the kid was bitten, but not "mauled" or disfigured. The dog was also fine; already, in fact, in residence with the grandparents, but this was a family visit.