Tuesday, January 31, 2006

I am absolutely in LOVE with Google

I have always loved all things Google. I wish that I could install Picasa on my pc at home. My computer at home is too old to handle Windows XP so I can't have that version of Windows, and therefore can't install the Google product Picasa - but I installed it at work, and it is a beautiful program for working with pictures. I think so anyway. Maybe it's because I've used such shitty programs in the past, but I think it's awesome. Look at what it did to a picture of Buttercup...

Turned them into bloody works of art as far as I'm concerned.

Monday, January 30, 2006

I bow at the altar of my new to me 17" monitor

I was able to procur a used 17" monitor at my work today for $30. It's very nice - I don't even have a 17" montitor on my computer at work, so it looks very spanky to me. Delovely! It doesn't take much to make me happy. Now I need to buy a new program because my photos look like shit - I need something so that I can touch them up and make them look better quality - who knew - when you've got a 10 year old 13" monitor that you're looking at?

Category: [Geeky Stuff]

Saturday, January 28, 2006

I am very unhappy

My computer monitor went tits-up today and I spent all my money on sunshine and lolli-pops so I had to go to Value Village to buy a replacement monitor for $5 and let me tell you - it is only worth $5. Everything is very dark and nothing is looking right - I can't do anything with any of my pictures that I took today, and a couple of them were pretty good, too. We went to the beach and had a good time.

But they're going to have to wait until I can come up with some money to buy a better used monitor - they usually have some for sale at my work for $20 that are quite sufficient. Here's hoping they have some next week.

I did take a picture today though that I'm pretty sure turned out that I could tell even in my camera that it was going to be pretty cute - I don't even need a monitor to tell me that Buttercup was looking par excellence in it - she was standing on my chest at that moment - trying to take over the conversation I was having with Teddy who was sitting on my lap while we were having a smoke break during our hike over hill and dale at the beach.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Greta and Jada are gone

This was one of the first pictures I took of Greta and Jada together.

I had an email from the lady who took Jada - a little before Christmas I gave Jada, Greta and Poppy back to the rat rescue lady who had originally given me Jada as a companion to Mrs Dingle. For some reason Poppy had decided that she really wanted to kill me and everytime I put my hand in the cage she was attacking me and had become super dominant - it had become no fun for anyone - including Jada who was losing the hair on her head - and I didn't know what else to do. I had done everything I could think of. So Sonia agreed to take them back - and when they went to her house they were perfectly fine - it seems that maybe Poppy just couldn't handle all the stuff going on around her outside the cage - and I will admit that life inside my house can be a challenge to live with - Daisy alone is equal to 2 or 3 normal dogs and there's 3 more dogs besides her - not to mention 3 cats roaming around. I had their cage out of the way in a room pretty much dedicated to just them - but you can only isolate so much before it becomes a jail, and I didn't want that. I wanted them to be part of the family.

So anyway - back to Eastern Passage they all went in their excessively huge cage and there they lived together until Monday night. Sonia said that Jada had been becoming increasingly frail and had developed a small lump under her chin but other than that had appeared fine until the last week or so. She hadn't been eating very much in the last week - and Monday night she died in her sleep. She and Greta - who I got from Sonia to be a companion for her once Mrs Dingle died - had grown very close - and for some unknown reason - she also died Monday night - wrapped up and nestled into - Jada. So they died together.

I had asked Sonia if when Jada died that she contact me because I wanted to cremate her and add her ashes to Mrs Dingle - I am now going to also cremate Greta as well because I think at this point it would be wrong to separate Greta from Jada.

One of the last pictures I took of Jada, Greta and Poppy

Category: [Rats]

Category: [Rescue]

Thursday, January 26, 2006

My Muse

My Charlie...

And then Charlie says - "enough is enough"

Category: [Pictures]

Category: [Charlie]

Langerous Pools of limpid flopsweat tears

It's hard to believe that a face like this inflicts wounds upon me on a daily basis that would make your teeth curl. It's mostly in bed when I'm in a dead sleep - that is, until I move and Teddy lunges out and chomps down on some part of my hand because he thinks I'm about to kick him across the room so he wants to make sure he's going to get me good first. All I wanted to do was roll over - but his past experience has told him that any movement could mean that he's going to become a canine football. I have not been able to convince him otherwise yet. My hands are hoping that he starts to understand soon - the scars are starting to pile up.

Sitting in my lap...

My finger this week...

A compilation of recent wounds from the last week...

Category: [Teddy]

Category: [Rescue]

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

My Opinion about Paul Watson is Changing

I don't know if I've had an epiphany or what - or if - you know how sometimes changing you point of view just slightly changes your whole world-view completely.... shit, that maybe what the definition of an epiphany is.... but anyway, I got emailed another piece about Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd this morning - because they're in the news in the last couple days again, so once again they've got me thinking about the whole sealing - the slaughtering of animals in a public place (out on the ice) as opposed to the slaughtering of animals in private - in a slaughter house where they kill chickens and cows and pigs - and WHY IS IT so much worse to kill a seal than it is to kill a chicken? And my only answer is because the killing of the seal is done in public - so my opinion has always been to tell the Paul Watson's of the world to go back to "where they come from" and do what they're doing to their local slaughterhouses and shut them down before they come here and shut down one of our niche industries that isn't any worse than what's going on in their own back yard - but that's going on in private. And this is coming from an animal rights advocate - a bleeding heart liberal who won't kill a house fly (literally) but instead traps it and takes it outside where it will be free to try and get inside my house again.

But this morning a thought occurred to me that has begun to ruminate. I'm beginning to think that the seals are very lucky to have Paul Watson and people like him. I've always said that the seal hunt is wrong - but it's AS wrong as killing chickens and cows and pigs. But the idea that I was missing before is that chickens and cows and pigs don't have any Paul Watson's. The chickens have Karen Davis and United Poultry Concerns - and laboratory animals have a whole bunch of kooks who're willing to blow up buildings and set people and things on fire - but no one has the flair of Paul Watson and his crew. Or the stamina - and the branding of him either.

So today I've started to think about Mr Watson differently - and I wonder where my thinking is going to end up. Right now I'm feeling somewhat conflicted, but I think my point is - if cows and pigs and chickens had their own Paul Watsons' - I am QUITE sure that there would be 1,000's - and maybe 10's of 1,000's MORE vegetarians in Canada and the United States. Of that I am COMPLETELY QUITE CONVINCED.

Here's the article I was sent this morning from Karen Dawn at Dawnwatch:

National Post (f/k/a The Financial Post) (Canada)
January 23, 2006 Monday
National Edition

Confessions of a career criminal

Paul Watson, National Post

I must confess it: I am a proud and unrepentant career criminal.

Since 1976, I have repeatedly disobeyed my government by opposing the annual Canadian slaughter of seals.

I refuse to call it a "hunt." Bashing in the heads of helpless young seals in a nursery is an obscene slaughter. It is not a hunt.

I have been repeatedly beaten, arrested, threatened, jailed and fined for three decades, and I will continue to be a repeat offender for the next three decades if need be.

They arrested me in 1979 for painting baby harp seals with an indelible organic dye to damage the commercial value of the pelts. They arrested me again in 1981 for taking a kayak out to the seals. And again in 1983 for blocking sealing ships in the ice. They arrested me in 1993 for chasing foreign draggers off the Grand Banks and they arrested me in 2005 for the "crime" of approaching within half a nautical mile of a seal hunt without permission from the government.

In total, the government of Canada has spent many millions of dollars trying to punish me and my crew for our compassion for the seals.

In the latest round, the government charged 11 crew members of the ship Farley Mowat (of which I am captain) after they were assaulted by sealers on the ice off Prince Edward Island on March 31, 2005. The crew were under orders by me to photograph the sealers and not to defend themselves if attacked. They were hit with fists, boots and sealing clubs. They took the blows, and despite two cameras being destroyed, they documented the entire assault.

The sealers weren't charged because, according to the RCMP, my crew provoked the violence by filming them.

Instead, Fisheries officers accused my crew of violating the Marine Mammal regulations, which state that "no person shall, except under the authority of a seal fishery observation licence ... approach within one-half nautical mile of a person who is on the ice fishing for seals."

A few months later, they decided to charge me, too. They also threw in some charges under the Canada Shipping Act for good measure.

We responded by initiating a legal challenge to the regulations preventing our access to the seal hunt. Our position is that depriving us of access to the area where seals are killed is a violation of the free-expression rights contained in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

In her judgment, Prince Edward Island Judge Nancy Orr exhibited some appreciation for this argument. She wrote: "The applicant's right to freedom of expression has been infringed in this case by the provisions of sections 32 and 33 of the Marine Mammal regulations."

But in the next paragraph, she ruled that the government's infringement of our rights was justified under the loophole contained in Section 1 of the Charter: "The [Canadian government] has clearly shown on the evidence in this matter that these regulations are demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society." And so, our defence on Charter grounds was rejected.

We also noted that the regulations do not apply "to a person who resides within one-half nautical mile of a person who is on the ice fishing for seals." And we argued that our ship, the Farley Mowat, was our place of residence.

The judge accepted this argument and I was acquitted because, as captain, I never left the ship.

My crew, on the other hand, had walked across the ice to document the sealers' actions. And so they were judged guilty of the dastardly crime of documenting the seal hunt. They have been ordered to pay $1,000 in fines each.

They will not do so. They have elected to go to jail and to engage in a hunger strike on behalf of the seals instead. We also intend to launch further appeals.

Moreover, we intend to return once again to oppose the cruelty and the obscenity of the largest mass slaughter of marine mammals in the world.

During the last three years, the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans has permitted the destruction of over one million young seals in a heavily subsidized program that has sullied the reputation of this great nation with the stain of cruelty. As long as seals are clubbed and shot, their bodies skinned alive, and the ice nurseries of the harp and hood seals stained with blood, my crew and I will continue to oppose the policy of the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

If opposing this slaughter is a crime, then we are proud to be compassionate criminals defending life from the profits of destruction.
(DawnWatch is an animal advocacy media watch that looks at animal issues in the media and facilitates one-click responses to the relevant media outlets. You can learn more about it, and sign up for alerts at http://www.DawnWatch.com.

Category: [Sealing]

Category: [Animal Rights]

Sunday, January 22, 2006

I learned something new today

Today I learned that it's possible to paint wood work AND hold a dog in your arms at the same time! (and also take a picture of yourself holding a dog in your arms while painting woodwork! haha!)

Category: [Teddy]

Category: [House]

IS this the same dog?

Daisy as you know is a rescue dog - she was chained to a dog house for the first 3 years of her life and I got her fresh from the experience. I think photos can tell a lot. I got Daisy in December 2003 and the first picture was taken shortly after I got her. The second picture I took this morning - Teddy and Buttercup wouldn't let her up on the couch so she said "screw you" and jumped up on the red chair - the same red chair that she used to lay in all the time she did shortly after I got her - so I jumped at the chance and took some pictures. And here is what I saw.......

Category: [Daisy]

Category: [Rescue]

Category: [Chained Dogs]

Buttercup was happy to be free of her suitcase!

We went to the beach yesterday and it always amazes me how much Buttercup loves to run. She has to be at least 11 years old now, and she can outrun just about any dog on the planet. She's an absolutely amazing dog - the only thing is that her back legs move together and sometimes they give out on her and she ends up doing a face plant - she doesn't seem to notice though, and just keeps on going.

#12 in my series of photos of Buttercup running at full speed towards me -

Category: [Buttercup]

Category: [Photos]

Category: [Walks]

Friday, January 20, 2006

Teddy says - "DUDE, I feel so BAD for you!!"

It's like Teddy's looking up at Buttercup and saying - I'm glad it's you and not me!

The first time I saw one of those carry your dog as a piece of luggage contraptions years ago I've wanted one - the idea just really appealed to me - it's such a neat and tidy idea. I also have a great weakness for purses, and bags and am on a life long quest for the perfect wallet - of which I have yet to find.

So when I was at Global Pets today - which is the best place to buy that kind of stuff locally because they don't sell live animsl - and saw that they had some of those carriers that allow you to carry your dog as a purse - I was able to tick off that item from my list of "I'm going to find one of those some day". I had gotten a gift card for Christmas for Global - and was saving it for something good - and this seemed like just the ticket.

So I brought the thing home and put it on my most obliging and beautiful of delicate soulmates. And I don't think she had the same reaction that I did:

I mean, talk about a limp dish rag. I don't think a dog has ever spoken any louder with their body language in the history of canine-human communication.

This dog that does not want to be on the ground at all - does not want to be a piece of luggage either! She just wants to be carried around in my arms all the time because she likes the attention and the body contact I guess - but having her 4 legs poking out of the bottom of the fabric container is not her idea of a good time. And I paid $50 bucks for this thing! So I guess I'll take it back tomorrow and trade it in for something equally useless but more wanted by the dogs - like bones and toys.

Category: [Buttercup]

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

PETA has declared January to be "Unchain a dog" month

I wrote an email to PETA a few days ago. It read:

Subject: Hypocrisy within the PETA organization

I receive the "PETA Weekly E-News" emails that go out to - I'm sure tens of thousands of subscribers around the world. And I am like thousands of other people who receive that newsletter - an animal lover who belongs to animal welfare niche organizations.

PETA's mandate seems to try and cover a lot of bases - but there seems to be several glaring places where hypocrisy shines out bright and clear. My email tonight is pointing out one spot that I am trying to rationalize in my mind in order to continue to have intelligent conversation when anyone brings up the topic of the organization "People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals" and the ending of chaining and tethering of dogs.

The issue has come to a head for me because today when I read the newsletter - the Friday January 13th, 2006 edition - one of the catalog items - one of the items that you'd like me to click on and buy - the link is:
http://www.petacatalog.org/prodinfo.asp?number=TS179&variation=&aitem=2&mitem=31\&int=weekly_enews - is for a t-shirt with the text that reads "Friends don't chain
friends" - with a burly cowboy sporting a t-shirt.

By the same token - you have a department that SUPPLIES dog houses - which is linked at http://www.petacatalog.org/prodinfo.asp?number=AFASD2&variation=&aitem=3&mitem=3
- so you are enabling the chaining of dogs. Not only the current dog that the dog house is being provided for - but any future dog that may be owned that comes into the house of the human chainer in the future.

So I'm hoping that you can give me some clarity on this issue - if you can help me with the dichotomy - as a Humane Organization - how can you generate money from both sides of the issue - from supplying the means to chain the dog - and also advertising that you are a person who doesn't chain dogs. It's a conundrum.

Sincerely, Joan Sinden

When I sent the email I copied it to my local rescue group and to my anti-chaining group that I belong to - Dogs Deserve Better. Dogs Deserve Better is about the ONLY anti chaining organization that is AGAINST supplying dog houses as a philosophical idea. The money that goes into supplying dog houses for people unwilling to bring their companion animals inside could be better spent in SO MANY other ways.

Tammy Grimes, the founder of Dogs Deserve Better, put out a fabulous press release when PETA started advertising this program at Christmas 2005 - it read:

Dogs Deserve Better is asking Peta to STOP Building Doghouses and asks Animal Lovers to Sponsor a Fence instead!

Peta's Campaign Entitled "Sponsor Shelter for a Needy Dog" sounds innocent enough, but will damage both Peta's and Dogs Deserve Better's campaigns to stop chaining of dogs.

This program enables the chainer to continue the chaining lifestyle, apparently now with the blessings of Peta. It also enables them to chain not only this dog but all future dogs to their 'new doghouse'. Lastly, Peta, by providing this house, could be keeping children in danger, as the dog remains unsocialized and angry despite his new
doghouse, still able to reach any child wandering into his territory. See http://www.mothersagainstdogchaining.org/dolanmiller.html for photos of a child lucky enough to survive such an attack.

On their site page http://www.angel4animals.com/indexn.asp, Peta states they have built and delivered 571 doghouses "IN POOR COMMUNITIES NEAR THEIR NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS." 571 new doghouses handed out in what is likely a three-four county area near Norfolk Virginia and nearby North Carolina.

How much education would that have paid for?

Given their estimated cost per doghouse of $205, they spent $117,055 building doghouses last year. At a conservative estimate of $500 per billboard, that would have paid for 234 educational billboards for that three-four county area in ONE year. This would have literally saturated the area with education, and the repeated message would have convinced more than 571 people to never chain their dog again. That would have been $117,055 well spent.

How much spay/neuter would that have paid for?

Once again, given the estimated $117,055, at a clinic cost of $50 each, they could have spay/neutered 2341 dogs in a three-four county area. In one year, who would be left to chain?

How much fencing would that have paid for?

Dogs Deserve Better provides fencing at $150.00 per fence, getting dogs off chains and keeping children safer. This same amount would have fenced 780 yards, allowing even multiple dog families to be together and no longer isolated.

Or, let's get Peta Creative.

What if this same amount of money, $117,055, was spent on a HUGE party with naked women and all the booze they could drink! The only cost of admission to chainers for this splendid event would be a signed agreement to take their dog off chains and to never chain again. A safe guesstimate would be that this party alone would release at least 1000 dogs from chains and save 1000s of future dogs from chains.

So far this year, at least 250 doghouses have been sponsored since their e-mail went out, by kind people who only think they're helping.

That's $51,250 dollars, buying 102.50 educational billboards, 1025 spay/neuters, or 341 fences.

Dogs Deserve Better provides fencing help at $150.00 worth of welded wire fencing from Lowe's or Home Depot for anyone agreeing to bring their dog into the home to live. If there is more than one dog, the fencing is provided even if the dogs aren't brought into the home to live, so they can at least play together, live together, and sleep as a pack at night. Doesn't that sound like a better way to spend your
money? This money is available as fencing help for any dog nationwide and in Canada as long as funds permit.

Please sponsor fencing and not doghouses; go to http://www.dogsdeservebetter.org/fencing.html.

We don't buy puppymillers new cages. We don't buy pig farmers new gestation crates. We don't buy puppies from pet stores. And we don't supply dog chainers with doghouses. Write Peta today at info@peta.org and tell them NO MORE DOGHOUSES!

So when I copied my email to PETA to my local rescue group - I got a reply back today in which the person said that as "responsible pet guardian" she has a dog house in her backyard for her dogs and she plans on "putting more dog houses" in her back yard for her other dogs - and it doesn't mean that she chains her dogs to them - it just means that she provides shelter for her dogs in her back yard. She also said that almost all responsible pet guardians WOULD have dog houses in their back yard. When I read that - I was like - "are you kidding me?" So at the risk of getting kicked off my list - once again, because I am such a troll - I wrote the following:

I'm afraid I have to disagree with your comments - I think that such a small minority of responsible dog owners have dog houses in their back yards with no associated chain on them that the percentage associated with them is absolutely negligible - so much so that it makes them null and void in the world in chained dogs versus non-chained dogs and dog houses.

And I can most certainly 100% guarantee you that that is NOT the demographic that PETA, or any ogranization - because Noah's Wish ALSO builds dog houses for people unwilling to stop chaining their dogs outside even when they won't provide shelter for them and are also unwilling to bring them inside or give them up to rescue - are going after. They are providing dog houses for people who are unwilling to treat their dogs like responsible pet "guardians" as you call them do - like members of their family - who actually live under the same roof as themselves - and in order to keep them attached to that house they have to be chained to it the majority of the time.

The demographic of the responsible pet owner would understand that the abandoned sentient living being living in the muck and sludge of the back yard should never have to live like that. That's why an organization like Dogs Deserve Better isn't only fighting to end the chaining and tethering of dogs - we're also fighting to shed a different light on the what we believe to be the tools of the torture
- the dog house itself - and what that means philosophically.

It could've have been made any more horrifically plainer than with Hurricane Katrina - how many hundreds, maybe even thousands of dogs died simply because they were chained to their dog houses and had no way of escaping when their "owners" abandoned them. If you want to see some visual proof of that you can go to a "blog" entry I wrote about it with some pictures at
- and then the ultimate irony of all that is that part of the great rebuilding of the Gulf Coast included Noahswish.org building and giving out tons of free dog houses to hurricane victims who had lost their homes. How many dogs had just died because they'd drowned from being tied to dog houses?

I live on a moment to moment basis with the effects of having a dog chained outside and how horrible it is for the dog - one of my dogs is a former chained dog - and she is not a normal dog by any stretch of the imagination. I've had several dogs come through my home that were former chained dogs and they were not normal dogs either. Solitary confinement staring at a back door waiting for someone to come out and rescue you - year after year, does something to an animal who is meant to live in a pack. And a dog house - for better or worse is a symbol of that torture. Just as a swastika is a symbol of nazi evil, and the "n" word is a symbol of white oppression - I think and hope - that the dog house will become an anachronistic symbol of a misunderstood need.

Instead of cluttering up your backyard with more dog-houses this summer - why don't you install a doggy-door so your dogs can come and go into and out of the big house as they wish since you're lucky enough to have a fully enclosed back yard? That would make more sense to me, and be cheaper - and you could put something else in the spots that you were going to put the dog houses in.

A dog house just isn't a dog house - 99% of the time if there's a dog house, there's some animal tied to it who's suffering - and NOT some responsible "pet guardian" waiting to see if that animal if finished peeing and wants to come in. That is the unfortunate reality. And to say anything different is absolute blather.


I do have to sheepishly admit here, and anyone who is a regular reader of this blog will know that - I LOVE ending posts with sentences with statements like - any opinions other than mine can be nothing but absolute blather. I love that. That's the beauty of one way conversations, isn't it? One more reason why I love the internet.

But anyway - I think there needs to be a change in the way we think about the idea of the dog house. It should not be associated with Mom and Dad and apple pie and picket fences and hanging out in the back yard and Snoopy and Charlie Brown. It is an implement of torture for tens of 1,000's of dogs around the world. If you find a family that has a dog in their yard that hasn't given it shelter and is also unwilling to bring it inside for whatever reason - don't give it a dog house - take the dog away - there's no reason for the dog to be there in the first place. End of story. Period. This is the 21st century we're living in - not the 19th century. We now realize that dogs really are just like us and don't enjoy being abandoned for whatever reason.

Category: [Chained dogs]

Category: [Rescue]

Category: [Letters to the Editor]

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Halifax and Nova Scotia ARE Shang-ri la!

I've decided that Nova Scotia and Halifax in particular are the fabled Shang-ri la.

I have only had to shovel once so far this winter. The weather here is improving every year. Except for Hurricane Juan in 2003 - which was a once in a century storm - and it wasn't really all that bad in hindsight and it taught us a lot of lessons - we here in Nova Scotia have got just about the best life any where in the world. Literally. So by that what I mean to say is that all over the world all kinds of freaky weather is happening that is killing thousands and thousands of people and here in Nova Scotia the weather is getting more and more beautiful as time goes on - the winters are becoming mild and the summers are becoming warmer. I've only had to shovel once this winter and usually we'd be up to our eye balls in snow and ice and slush and grossness. Yuck. But I tell you, it's been lovely.

We don't have any killer bugs - we don't even have rabies in our dogs, or heartworm. We don't have tornadoes, landslides, floods, and we've only had a couple hurricanes in the last century that's made any impact on the landscape.

We get lots of rain and lots of sun - we have never had any drought long enough that has made us have to ration out our water or made the grass turn brown or lose our crops. We've also never had so much rain that our crops have been ruined.

Right now today, there's landslides happening, floods killing people, wildfires in California, tsunamis, drought, civil wars, religious wars making people kill each other, earthquakes and their aftermath like in Pakistan, overpopulation causing starvation, Japan this year has had more snow than any year in their history - freaky weather is happening all over the world. But here in Nova Scotia the kind of freaky weather that we're having is that the weather is becoming BEAUTIFUL.

That's why I think that Halifax, Nova Scotia is Shangri-la. I think that perhaps Halifax is the new Noah's Ark - and maybe some people might want to think about hitching a ride. Because it's pretty nice here.

There's also no breed specific legislation here. And I'm working on making it a bit more dog friendly. If there were some more compatriots it might be easier though.

Category: [Halifax]

Another New Family Member Today

Apologies to the parents once again - but at least it's not another dog...

I drove out to somewhere behind the airport to pick up a red betta fish that was looking for a new home today and brought him home. I guess he wasn't moving too much in his old house - which was one of those little betta things - he's now in a 5 gallon tank and sitting on my computer desk with some aeration and heat and 3 white cloud minnows to keep him moving - and a belly full of defrosted frozen blood worms. It was funny when I fed them to him - he immediately greedily started eating them like he hadn't eaten in weeks - and then he started turning from red to blue, and he collapsed on one of the fake plants in the tank like as if he had the WORST belly ache! 1/2 an hour later though he's now very busily swimming around the tank though, which is super to see.

What was super was that the lady who gave me the betta fish also gave me the 5 gallon tank - she had it in her basement and had never had the time to clean it out and put the betta fish in it - which is what I did this afternoon. It's one of those really etched old ones that needed about an hour's work before it was usable - but now it's in tickety-boo condition. And I hate gravel - so all that's gone - I consider gravel to just be a shit collector - I like a clean glass bottom, with rocks that I get from the beach.

Anyway - here's a couple pictures of the new "Mr Betta" and his tank - the white cloud minnows are too small to get a picture of ...

After he ate - the whole middle part of Mr. Betta's stomach turned the blue colour that's on his tail!

Category: [Rescue]

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Today my blog is now complete!

For weeks I've been searching around the internet - trying to find some way to put categories into the side bar of my blog. 95% of you just went - "what in h-e-double hockey sticks did she just say, and why should I care?

Well, my blog is up to over 200 posts now - and wouldn't it be nice if you could go and look at all of the posts I've made about Daisy? Or if you are my Father - all the posts I've made about what I haven't done to my house?

It turns out that "Blogger" - the software I've been using to write this blog - doesn't support categories, so I thought I was shit out of luck. But I was also sure that there must be someone out there who was very smart who had written code to get around it. And today I found that person! So now I am super happy that I finally have categories in my blog.

I had even been thinking about moving my blog away from Blogger - which I absolutely didn't want to do - Blogger is a Google product, and I LOVE Google. I was one of the first people in the WORLD to have a Gmail address. If they opened up an office in Halifax I'd camp out on their doorstep until they hired me. So I did NOT want to leave Blogger.

So feel free to check out the categories to the left - at the bottom. I got them from http://netcf2.blogspot.com/2005/11/blogging-categories-categories.html - I love smart people! I got the link from a Yahoo group I joined called "Yahoo blogger user support" at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/blogger_user_support/ which is proving to be very helpful. Very geeky, but very useful.

.NET Compact Framework Tutorials: Blogging_: enable categories in your blog

Addendum January 23rd, 2006 - I've dropped the original category type I was going to go with and went with Pico search categories instead - I found that using Blogger search wasn't coming up with any search results prior to June 2005 - which wasn't any good at all. Pico search has indexed my whole blog - which has tons of posts prior to June 2005. I'm liking it a LOT better.

Category: [Geeky Stuff]

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

I'm sure this cartoon is appearing on blogs all over the world today!

I love this cartoon - and when I read it in today's newspaper I thought it was exceptionally funny, even though I've never been on a date in my life, so I've never had to worry about being punched out for THIS specific reason!

Today was a great day for climbing on the rocks

I love this time of year when there's no snow around - everything is the same colour as the dogs - black, tan, brown, beige, and white. They blend in beautifully with everything. Especially at the beach - so taking pictures is extra fun. At Crystal Crescent there's also these red bushes everywhere and the grey rocks - so it's especially awesome. Today it was windy and cold and bleak, but once again the dogs didn't notice but just ran around and had a ton of fun.

My perfect dog Charlie

Teddy saying - "I am appalled that I am still on the ground!"

Category: [Walks]

Category: [Pictures]

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Milner Ridge Manitoba - they consider abandoned dogs the lucky ones!

Some days when you read the newspaper you just have to shake your head and go - have I just been plunked down in an alternate universe? I read a story in the newspaper this morning, and all the facts in the story were horrible - and yet the story was written as a heartwarming, feel good story. Here are the facts of the story - 6 years ago a dog is abandoned when it's owners move away - they leave the dog behind at the old house. People see that the dog has been abandoned and call all the authorities - the humane society, the dog catcher - everybody, but no one does anything and the dog just continues to live on the vacant property until today when he is now 12 years old - still alone. And to top it all off - a year ago - down the road a female dog - who is kept outside all the time - and TIED UP ALL THE TIME - is impregnated by him and has puppies and all the puppies look exactly like him - and the owner of the female dog is absolutely mystified how this dog could have impregnated her dog because her dog is TIED UP ALL THE TIME. And the story is written as a feel good story. A male, unneutered dog is abandoned and alone on a vacant lot for 6 years - left to his own devices, adding to the unwanted companion animal population, having to fend for himself and deal with all types of severe weather - and someone thinks this will make a happy story. Actually 2 happy stories - because when I went and did a Google search - I found a SECOND news story about the dog.

All I can do is shake my head.

Here are the stories for your disbelief - if they showed up in your daily newspaper - PLEASE write a letter to your editor!!


Dog living on own has life of Reilly

By The Canadian Press

MILNER RIDGE, Man. — For six years, Patches the pooch has lived on his own in an abandoned house, relying on the kindness of strangers.

The springer spaniel was left behind when his family pulled up stakes and left the house in a clearing in the woods of Milner Ridge, 75 kilometres east of Winnipeg.

Pitying passersby called the Winnipeg Humane Society, animal control and even the provincial veterinarian, but an investigation by those agencies discovered that despite his solitude, Patches is living the life of Reilly.

He has two dog houses, water from an underground spring, three types of dog food that people bring him (in addition to a deer scraps from hunters), an old shack for shelter, a dense woods where he catches bush rabbits, and a community that loves him.

"If we have a steak dinner, we always leave a little meat on the bones for Patches," said Ernie Okrainec, 67, who drops off food every Sunday, and brought 12 bales of flax straw to make a bed for the dog.

Okrainec also brings treats on special occasions like Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Other people drop off food and water on other days. Nearby residents decorate Patches' yard at Christmas and Halloween.

Neighbour Brian Zolinski said Patches is a friendly dog who always comes out to greet visitors and hardly ever barks.

People have tried to adopt him but without much success.

One well-intentioned family loaded him up in their vehicle once and started driving down the highway.

Patches went crazy, tearing apart their van. They quickly brought him back.

"He would have just come back anyway," said Okrainec.

There is a dogcatcher in the community but some residents had a little confab with him years ago concerning Patches.

"The dog isn't bothering anyone," explained Marlene Watson, chief administrator for the Rural Municipality of Lac du Bonnet.

Okrainec said Patches, who is now about 12 years old, will leave his own legacy behind when his time comes. About a year ago, a female dog of a different breed, who lives about five kilometres down the road, had a litter of eight pups.

Every one looked like Patches.

"The owner doesn't know how he did it," Okrainec said. "She says she keeps her dog tied up all the time."


It takes a village to raise this springer spaniel

Mon Jan 9 2006 By Bill Redekop

MILNER RIDGE -- The Winnipeg Humane Society was called, and animal control, and finally, the provincial veterinarian.

The people calling felt sorry for the dog that lives in an abandoned house in a clearing in the woods here, 75 kilometres east of Winnipeg.

Instead, what investigators found was a dog leading the life of Riley.

Patches, a springer spaniel, has two doghouses, water from an underground spring, three types of dog food that people bring him (in addition to deer scraps from hunters), an old shack for shelter, a dense woods where he catches bush rabbits, and a community that loves him.

Patches lives here. He's lived alone ever since a family pulled up stakes and abandoned him and the house six years ago. "If we have a steak dinner, we always leave a little meat on the bones for Patches," said Ernie Okrainec, who drops off food every Sunday, and brought 12 bales of flax straw to make a bed for Patches.

Okrainec also brings treats on special occasions like Thanksgiving and Christmas.

It's a community effort.

Other people drop off food and water on other days. People decorate the dog's yard at Christmas and Halloween.

Patches can often be spotted on a pile of logs in the yard watching cars go by, or sleeping. Someone decided to build him a doghouse and placed it on the logs. Patches sometimes sleeps on top of the doghouse, à la Snoopy, but won't go inside.

So, someone built him a bigger doghouse. That didn't fly either.

The doghouses now serve as pantries: deer scraps go in the smaller one, and dog food kernels in the larger one.

When you visit Patches, it feels like you're on his property. Yellow-stained snow lines the top of the unshovelled driveway, like a gate. On our first visit with neighbour Brian Zolinski, Patches trotted out cautiously from the house to check the guests. Patches also walked us to the highway when it was time to leave. (Or maybe it
was his way of hinting it was time we left!) But it also feels weird: a dog and an empty house.

He's a beautiful dog. He lowers his head and looks up at you with sweet eyes, masked with black patches. The only explanation that evolution could have for a springer spaniel's black-and-white markings is camouflage for sleeping on a patchwork quilt.

Patches isn't a barker either, and no one has ever complained about him. His long hair protects him in winter. When it gets really cold, he goes under the house or into a shack in back.

People have tried to adopt him. A well-intentioned family from Lac du Bonnet loaded him up in their vehicle once and started driving down the highway. Patches went crazy, tearing apart their van. They quickly brought him back. Another family from Beausejour tried the same thing, with the same results.

"He would have just come back anyway," said Okrainec.

To hear people talk, Patches belongs with the Savage Sams, Big Reds, Call of the Wilds, even the B-I-N-G-Os of children's books and songs.

Patches does some hunting, too -- his breed is traditionally a sporting dog used for finding and flushing out game. "I saw some blood on his nose and I thought, 'What the heck? Was he in a fight?' "Okrainec recalled. "Here it was he'd caught a bush rabbit. My wife said she wouldn't be surprised if he had a deer hanging in the bush."

Patches has almost certainly encountered wolves, considering his postal code is the edge of Agassiz Provincial Forest. Okrainec thinks he had a run-in with a bear once. "What happened to you, boy?" Okrainec said, when he saw a piece of flesh the size of a bear paw torn out of his back. A cloud of flies hovered around, trying to lay eggs in the wound.

Okrainec drove back to Lac du Bonnet, got some salve and tick powder, and treated Patches until his wound completely healed. Okrainec, 67, seemed to get a bit misty-eyed talking about it, and it's a good bet he was. He's a softy. His own springer spaniel passed away about four years ago, so Okrainec knows the breed and how attached the dogs become to a single master and place. He didn't get another pet dog
because he worried what would happen if he suddenly couldn't care for it anymore.

Ernie and his wife -- whose name is "Leave me out of this," she said, when asked -- have stacks of photographs of Patches, including a framed picture for the mantle.

Okrainec even has two bobble-head dog dolls on his dashboard. When Okrainec drives up in his van, Patches comes tearing up a path of the long country driveway, and is at the van door before Ernie rolls to a stop.

Patches, now 12 years of age, has also left a legacy. About a year ago, a female dog of a different breed, who lives about five kilometres down the road, had a litter of eight pups. Every one looked like Patches.

"The owner doesn't know how he did it. She says she keeps her dog tied up all the time," Okrainec said.

There is a dog catcher in the area who gets paid $75 per dog, but some people had a little confab with him years ago concerning Patches. "The dog isn't bothering anyone," maintained Marlene Watson, chief administrator for the RM of Lac du Bonnet.

The community is protective of Patches. People either don't know or won't say who owns the land where Patches lives, even the municipal office. It seems to be provincial land, part of Agassiz Provincial Forest. In the 1960s, a lot of squatters lived on adjacent land.

People were concerned that writing about Patches would prompt a humane society to take him away. Vickie Burns, executive director of the Winnipeg Humane Society, said they don't have to worry.

She looked into the case of Patches years ago. Because Patches lives outside the humane society's Winnipeg jurisdiction, Burns called the provincial veterinarian to investigate. The vet looked into it, took some photos, and came to the conclusion that Patches is one lucky dog. "The dog is being cared for. It would be cruel to take it away," said Burns. "There's no point in us picking up an animal just to euthanize it."


Category: [Rescue]

An offshoot of Ebay is selling live animals

There was an article in todays Halifax Daily News sent to me by my friend Lisa - who owns Delta and Oscar - about an online trading/selling thing that's supposed to be like a regifting online place - she didn't notice that it also was selling live animals! Luckily they have a forum section that you can post to - so I made sure that I posted what I thought about selling live animals - it only let you post a measly 2000 characters though - so I also emailed the support people a longer post - and they actually emailed me back a super nice email saying that they were going to be emailing it to the other support people to consider whether they should be having the live animals section on the forum.

Because when it comes down to it - it really is not a good idea I think - especially after you've talked to me! haha!

Here's the link to the regifting site: http://halifax.kijiji.ca/ - it's all supposed to be local - but I am sure that the animals are NOT. Here's the link to the article that was in the newspaper today - http://www.hfxnews.ca/index.cfm?sid=3425&sc=2

Here's the email that I sent:

The problem with selling animals for profit is that you run the risk of coming into contact with people who treat their companion animals like livestock - they don't particularly care about the well-being of the animals in their care - they just want to make money off of the product that they're selling. What you the consumer wants is a lifetime best buddy - a canine lifetime companion - but what they want is money - they don't care about the health or well-being of the sentient being that is in the dark, filthy, feces filled shed that houses the parents of the animal that is going to be sleeping in your bed for the rest of its life. They don't care about the genetic heritage - about whether or not that dogs hips or eyes or mental health is solid and worthy of carrying over from generation to generation - and quite often - when a puppy is born with some form of mutation that makes it impossible to sell, but still healthy enough to live - they use that puppy to breed the next several generations of product.

That is what a "puppy farm" and a "puppy mill" is - and that is what is so impossible to see on the internet - you can't see the "home raised" puppy from the "puppy farm" puppy. And it's not rocket science. If you want a pure bred puppy - your first stop should be the Canadian Kennel Club - the certifying organization for pure bred dogs - get a list of who is breeding dogs locally in your area and registering their dogs through them. Then go contact THOSE breeders. If a mixed breed dog is fine with you - go to a shelter and SAVE a dog, rather than BUY a dog.

Forums like this are HIGHLY INAPPROPRIATE and COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY ways of looking for sentient living beings and companions that are going to be sharing your bed and your life. They are perfect ways to look for chairs and jewelry - I love them for stuff like that - but for companion animals selling them for profit is wrong.

Even responsible breeders will tell you they are NOT in it for the money - they are in it for the love of the breed. They believe that they have dogs that are the best examples of the breed and they want to improve upon or add something to the breed - not make money for themselves. When done properely - they don't make money - they're
spending too much money testing for genetic malformities and going to shows and buying stuff for their dogs!

So yes, please - take down the section on "animals sales" - Ebay itself won't sell live animals - so why would Kijiji? Just that should be enough!!!

Category: [Rescue]

Category: [Letters to the Editor]

Category: [Puppy mills]

Sunday, January 8, 2006

Daisy was on FIRE Today!

When we went for a walk up in the woods behind the house today Daisy discovered a big pile of shit from some animal that was not herself and she was very happy to roll in it so that both sides of her body were absolutely covered in it - and it was only about 1/2 way through our walk when she did it. She spent the rest of the walk running around at top speed being very proud of the fact that she no longer smelled like Daisy Doodle, but smelled like something very different. Fate is very lucky that no one encountered us - can you imagine encountering a 90 pound rottweiller you've never met before coming at you at top speed that smelled like horrible shit - and you don't know if she's going to attack you or kiss you - but never the less still smells like shit? As far as she was concerned, she was cock of the walk, and since I love her more than life itself I let her enjoy herself and then kept her in the back yard when we got home and gave her a bath. She's nice and shiny now - and definitely less fragrant.

Daisy running at high speed completely enjoying the fact that she is invisible to everyone around her as far as she's concerned!

Teddy taking a treat this afternoon - I don't know if you can tell that he's up on his back legs in this picture - that's how he takes his treats. Isn't that cute!

Category: [Daisy]

Category: [Pictures]

Thursday, January 5, 2006

Okay, I'm sorry but my dogs ARE the cutest in the world!

Yes, I have been wavering on whether or not my dogs are the cutest in the world since I've been surfing several blogs lately and seeing that there are other canines out there who are quite cute. But really, all you have to do is go back through the archives and there's really no competition. And all I have to do is sit on my couch and turn my camera on - and I don't have to do anything. Charlie just turns the other dogs ON.

And then he continues to enthrall Daisy for a while longer by hogging all the chewing bones.

"Pictures of the dogs"

Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Another blog that's cuter than mine?

A couple of weeks ago I discovered "Technorati" and installed it on my sidebar and I discovered this blog "Roy the pug"'s blog. He lives down in the States somewhere with his pug sister Gwen and his blog doesn't seem to have anything political on it like mine does from time to time - but damn, that dog is cute.

Can you imagine living in a place where there would be enough pugs living around you that you could organize regular "pug socials"? Pug play dates of just pugs playing together? How much fun would that be? Just imagine!

While I'm at it, some other amazing sites that I've found lately are - http://oodlemaker.blogspot.com/ which I found after going to http://www.oodlemaker.com/ which is a site all about transforming your regular dog into a "doodle" type dog. One of my close relatives just got a doodle dog and I'm sick to death about it. If you can't properly educate your own family - who can you educate? The war has been completely lost as far as I'm concerned.

I also found a really neat and huge blog written by dog groomers that's really neat and interesting to read - especially since I groom Buttercup myself, and Teddy has so many abuse issues around being groomed. It's called "BBird's Groom Blog" and it's got tons of pictures which is really neat.

But I still refuse to believe that Roy can be any cuter than Buttercup - she can out cute any dog in this world. Especially if it's me taking the picture!

At The Beach Yesterday

It was a cold and grey day at the beach yesterday, but the dogs didn't notice - well - Teddy noticed. As soon as we got to the beach part of Crystal Crescent Teddy stopped walking, started shivering, and wouldn't move until I picked him up and put him in my coat. That's where he stayed until the end of the hike.

Do you know how hard it is to hike over boulders the size of your 100 pound dog when you've got a 10 pound dog stuffed in your jacket? It makes the day challenging.

Needless to say I didn't spy any buoy booty. But I did get a couple of very cute shots of the dogs when we stopped for a liver break.

"Walking the dogs"