Thursday, August 29, 2013

Donations and Puppy naming through the Doberman Assistance Network

This is Nola

(photo from DAN Facebook)

She's currently in the care of the Doberman Assistance Network. She also just had puppies. 11 of them! They need names, of course. I don't know the color breakdown, but one of the cuties is below:

(photo from DAN Facebook)

Over the next 24 hours (well, they started at 2 a.m., I think, but for the remainder of that time!), for ever $10 you donate to Nola and her family, you win a chance to name one of the puppies. You can donate to the Doberman Assistance Network via Paypal on their web site, and, say it's for Nola and her family, and in the Nola post comments on the Doberman Assistance Network Facebook page add a name.

Please consider donating to help Nola and her puppies! The Doberman Assistance Network has been swamped with new cases, so every little bit helps.

Canine Distemper outbreak in Texas Big Cat Sanctuary

In June, when I wrote about Canine Distemper affecting big cats, I didn't expect it to have United States implications.

(image from Wikimedia commons, not one of the tigers affected)

There's a wildlife refuge in North Texas, In-Sync Exotics Wildlife Rescue and Education Center, they've lost their 6th tiger to distemper; they think it may have been spread by raccoons clambering about the outdoor cages. According to the Washington Post article, there is a distemper vaccine for ferrets and for canines; "the canine one is unsafe for big cats, and there's no evidence of the ferret vaccine being effective in the cats."

The refuge is still open, evidently, and the virus poses no threat to humans. But what a tremendous shame, all of those beautiful animals. According to another article on the Dallas-Fort Worth CBS web site, 15 other cats are currently suffering from canine distemper. I hope that they're somehow able to pull through.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Can you believe it? Beau and Mordecai both still need homes.

I've gone back and looked at some of my Tuesday Tails postings (and rescue postings) and realized that Beau and Mordecai are still looking for homes!

Beau is a handsome Doberman (he's named appropriately) who I first mentioned when I posted about Doberman Rescue Minnesota.

(image from DRM web site)

Monday, August 26, 2013

Calming Signals, illustrated with Aussies

I talk about "calming signals" with regards to canine body language once in awhile here. I even reviewed Turid Rugaas' book on it.

Well here, on Quality Aussies, is a fabulous page on Calming Signals (though unfortunately, the linked Rugaas web sites at the beginning of the page are no longer up). I really know little about Australian Shepherds, and have never interacted with one, but that doesn't matter in this context. These are things that every dog does, naturally. Instinctually.

Now, does every dog listen to the calming signals of others? Even if they're doing some of their own? No, I can't say that they do. I think dogs are rather like people in that regard (or people are like dogs) in that we can miss the messages that are right in front of our faces, and end up making poor decisions.

I've got a good "yawn and head turn" picture of Elka:

The "sideways approach" illustrated by the Quality Aussies is one that I do frequently with a library patron's dog. She's a little mini Aussie-Border Collie cross (okay, so I've interacted with half an Aussie), and she's demonstrated herself to be rather fearful. So, I sideways approach. I turn my head. I let her come to me. Typically, she'll wiggle over to me, and then turn her back to me and sit. Then she looks at me, grunt-whining, and I scratch her rump and haunches, which makes her get up again and close her eyes with happiness.

Really, I'm jealous of all those great Aussie pictures (though if I'd properly socialized Elka, I'd be able to take pictures of her playing with other dogs. Sigh.) I do have a piloerction one:

But really, situations in which Elka is doing a play bow, or the occasional whale eye, or anything like that, I don't have a camera out. I'm typically interacting with her, or watching her interactions.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Dobermans help woman in car crash

In Shropshire, England yesterday, two Dobermans were out with dog walkers.

Star and Storm suddenly began pulling said dog walkers. This was out of character for the dogs, and the walkers, bless them, went along with it. They ended up nearly a mile away, on a low traffic road, to find a woman had lost control coming off an embankment and crashed. The dog walkers were able to call emergency services for help, and the woman was taken to the hospital, though the article I linked does say there were no serious injuries.

So, Dobermans in England are quite the Good Samaritans, aren't they? Remember a year and a half ago, when a Doberman puppy alerted people on the beach to a struggling swimmer? Good stuff. And people wonder why I love the breed so much!

(Elka, who has not yet saved anybody's life. I hope she never has to.)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Jasmine, Red Doberman with Illinois Doberman Rescue

Meet Jasmine. She's a lovely 2 year old redhead with the Illinois Doberman Rescue.

Product Review: Halo Healthsome Biscuits

I've plugged FreeKibble for about as long as I've known about it. It requires almost zero effort, just a couple of clicks, and you help feed homeless pets Halo brand dog (and cat) food.

So, imagine my surprise and pleasure when I was offered the opportunity to review Halo Healthsome Biscuits (dog treats, don'tcha know), from  I selected the "beef and liver" flavor (Elka has loved liver when she's gotten it) and we received the package very quickly.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Proctor and Gamble Dry Pet Food Recall

Proctor and Gamble has voluntarily recalled a number of their dry pet food brands for possible salmonella contaminations. No salmonella related illnesses have been reported in conjunction with these foods.

Included in the recall are a number of Eukanuba dry dog foods, Iams dry dog foods, and Iams dry cat foods. You can follow this link to see the sizes, lot codes, UPC codes, and best by dates.

If you have questions and/or concerns, you can contact

Proctor & Gamble: P&G Consumer Relations: 800-208-0172 (Monday through Friday, 9 am to 6 pm Eastern). The media contact is Jason Taylor, at 513-622-1111

You can also contact them via website at or at

If you have any of the listed foods, they advise that consumers should discontinue use, discard, and contact Proctor and Gamble through one of the means I've listed for you above.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tuesday Tails: Sandy, with Illinois Doberman Rescue

This is Sandy:

(photo from Illinois Doberman Rescue web page)

She is an 8 year old fawn Doberman from North Carolina. She was surrendered to the Doberman Assistance Network by her owners, and transported to live with an Illinois Doberman Rescue foster.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Book Review: The Possibility Dogs, by Susannah Charlson

I read Scent of the Missing by Susannah Charlson more than two years ago, but it is the book that brought home for me what Search and Rescue really meant.

When I heard The Possibility Dogs was coming out, I didn't even need to know what it was about. I knew I would read it, and fully expected to enjoy it. I was correct on both counts.

The lead in is about a former fire fighter and his service dog, Haska. This encounter was also Charleson's introduction to the world of psychiatric service dogs, and perhaps service dogs to people with "invisible" disabilities.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Doberman: Dentition

There are only a few things that will disqualify a Doberman in the show ring. A shy or vicious Doberman will be dismissed from the ring. A Doberman of incorrect color (meaning an albino). And third, a Doberman missing 4 or more teeth, with an overshot bite of 3/16 of an inch or an undershot bite of 1/8 of an inch.

While the AKC breed standard does not include a toothy picture, there was one I found attributed to the Doberman Pinscher Club of America.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Senior girl Blue still looking for a loving home

Senior girl, Blue, is still looking for a loving forever home through Distinguished Doberman Rescue. Remember them? They're the ones with the lovely Seniors for Seniors program I talked about last month.

Blue is a natural eared blue Doberman who is 10 years old. In her pictures, she appears to have a lovely full coat. She loves being with her human, and also loves tennis balls and Kongs.

(picture from

Monday, August 5, 2013

A walk in the other park

On occasion, Elka and I hop into the car and go to another park that's just outside of town. It's nice and quiet there, and there tend to be few people or other dogs around. 

Friday, August 2, 2013

July CampNaNoWriMo: The End!

It is August now, another NaNoWriMo done until the Big One in November. This year's Camp sessions were different, because you could set your own word count goals. So, I wrote 35k in April, and 35k (well, 36 and change) in July. Put 'em together, and I need a few more chapters (still going!) and the story is done. 

A lot of interesting things happened in July, in the context of my novel, The Last Song. It's set in Detroit, more or less (there's an otherworld, underworld, Alice in Wonderland sort of questing thing going on with it). Detroit ended up declaring Chapter 9 Bankruptcy, the largest municipality to have done so. It's apparently holding an auction of some of its artistic treasures, so make up for some of that 22 billion dollars. 

But good things are happening in Detroit too. There's the riverfront, slowly being rebuilt, and the Riverwalk. There are businesses moving there. Previously a food desert, both a Whole Foods and a Meijer opened there. Real estate is cheap, and developers are snatching buildings up, including the abandoned Packard Plant. Young people are moving there, artists and innovators, because it's economically feasible to have a beautiful place to live there while building your dreams. 

That's not why I picked Detroit, initially. I picked Detroit because I wanted urban decay. I wanted a not nice city in which to place my narrator, a formerly drug addicted rock star (think Kurt Cobain), who was kind of a not nice person. And with Detroit, you get decay, and a strange sort of rugged, stubborn beauty. As I researched Detroit further, prowled its streets in Google Street View and read about its trials and tribulations, I realized the level of respect I needed to treat this city with. A great American city, formerly population 2 million, now around 700,000. A great American city, large enough to place Manhattan, Boston, and San Francisco in. Floundering, rusting, growing over. This is not my city. But people still live there, and people are still trying to make it work. Cities are more than novel settings, they are living things. And sometimes, novels are more than just screwed up fairy tales, they're cautionary and end up in teachable moments.

There are no dogs in my novel. It's kind of an unusual thing, I'm realizing at this point. A lot of my fiction contains dogs. However, much like when I see a dog on the show Supernatural, a show I love dearly, I felt nothing good could happen to a dog in this story. And Detroit has its stray dog problems. In fact, Rolling Stone even did an article on Detroit's 50,000 stray dogs.  Fifty. Thousand. The numbers involved with Detroit are staggering, as a rule.

There are people working to make a difference for Detroit's strays as well, though. There is the Detroit Dog Rescue, whose mission is to create a no kill animal center in Detroit. They are a 501(c)3 non-profit dog rescue (info detailed on their Facebook pagestarted by rapper "Hush" Carlisle and TV producer Monica Martino.   There was originally going to be a Discovery Channel series on Detroit's stray dogs, but the mayor's office said no (perhaps not without good reason, reading that article). So, Carlisle and Martino got together and did the Youtube video, and I guess things went from there. You can view their available dogs here, and even if you're not in the market for a Detroit dog, you should take a look. They've got what appears to be a seriously talented photographer taking the dogs' pictures, which is a very smart thing to have done. They appear to do temperament evaluations (they mention evaluations in at least one dog's description, though don't appear to describe the process on the site, unless I missed it).

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Recall: Dogswell Chicken and Duck Jerky Treats

Dogswell has voluntarily recalled chicken breast and duck jerky treats for "antibiotic residue". Products affected are those with a "Best by" date of January 29 2015, and earlier.

(image from Amazon)

The treats are made in China. According to the Dogswell web site, they manufacture their treats in China because:

China is a country where dark meat is more popular due to its inherent fat and flavor. DOGSWELL believes it is less wasteful to obtain our white meat in China where it is abundant, rather than sourcing it domestically, where white meat is less available and held at a premium. Not only do we care about your pet's health by sourcing only the healthiest meat available, we also practice sustainability by reducing as much waste as possible.
Personally, I don't think dogs care if they're eating chicken breasts or not. People who feed raw will feed necks and feet. So really, it seems to me more that their answer is "Making treats in China is cheap." Good spin, though. And really, it could be more sustainable to source the protein in China. I don't know about comparative poultry markets, and that's a fact. According to the Dogswell link above, the chicken is cage free, which I dig. I do know that I no longer buy dog treats or food that are made in China, because there have been so many recalls, and so many problems I've read about.

Granted, it's hard to find safe things anywhere. Seriously, our bagged salad is apparently suspect. But, you do what you can.

The article on mentions that the antibiotic is one that is not approved for use in the United States, but is in Europe. For what that's worth.

Consumers can email with questions and concerns, or call 1-888-559-8833