The One She Saved
Sometimes its hard to imagine what your veterinarian is thinking. This honest report from the trenches by buckeyedoc, a veterinarian-turned-veterinary pathologist, provides some heartfelt insight.
Toy Requires Tongue Amputation
If your dog plays with a pimple ball with bell (pictured here) manufactured by Four Paws Inc., please remove it immediately. Then read what happened to 10-year-old Lab mix Chai, whose tongue had to be amputated after playing with the ball.
When Chai's owner first brought this to Four Paws' attention two months ago to demand a public recall of this product, he was ignored. Then he was told that all of his correspondence had been forwarded to its insurance company! Four Paws did not publicly acknowledge the defective toy and recall it until August 27, 2008. The long-time dog toy manufacturer claimed that this had never happened before.
Daniel planned to accept a financial settlement from Four Paws to cover Chai's vet bills and rehab until he learned that a 5-year-old Lab mix named Cole died from his horrific tongue injuries sustained by the ball back in 2005. Four Paws was aware of this and did NOTHING. Who knows how many other dogs suffered or died over the past THREE YEARS due to this company's negligence and greed?
Julia Kamysz Lane
Happy Pup-Friendly Earth Day
Stain-repellant chemicals from the lining of a dog food bag, phtalates in toys, arsenic-treated deckwood, mercury in cat food--the environment our companion animals inhale, lick and slurp is often loaded with toxins and pollutants. One dog is mad as hell and not going to take it any more. (Although, he's too sweet to put it that way.) On this Earth Day, read Eddie's story and learn more about taking action for animals (and people) to better the environment in your home and beyond.
PETA No Fan of Best In Show
Animal-rights organization PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is no stranger to stirring up controversy. In the past, some dog owners have questioned PETA president Ingrid Newkirk's canine devotion as a fundraising ploy or worse.
So it comes as no surprise that PETA debuted a provocative ad campaign (one commercial compares purebred dog breeders to the Ku Klux Klan) during Westminster Kennel Club's annual show, the Superbowl of dog shows. You can watch all three commercials through You Tube or the New York Times.
What do you think of the new PETA commercials? Are they fair? Or too over the top?
Julia Kamysz Lane
Is Vick Apology Acceptable?
This past Monday, Michael Vick finally did something right off the football field. He pleaded guilty to federal charges regarding his role in a large dogfighting operation. He also offered a meandering, informal apology directed at NFL employees and children who had looked up to him as a role model.
What about the dogs whose lives he took so cruelly? And the dogs who suffered from their physical and psychological wounds? Vick categorizes what he did wrong as "immature acts." Excuse me? An immature act is a teenager shoplifting a CD, not an adult professional football player drowning, strangling and fighting dogs he deliberately bred and trained to kill each other. Does Vick honestly not know the difference? Or does he think we, the public, don't know or care about the difference?
So many questions remain: What will be the fate of Vick's dogs? Will the NFL's indefinite suspension lead to an outright firing? How much jail time will he serve? Newport News (Va.) reporter Alicia P.Q. Wittmeyer does her best to answer those questions and more.
If you're still outraged by the whole tragic situation, as am I, then please voice your concerns to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Atlanta Falcons head coach Bobby Petrino. You can also support nonprofit organizations like HSUS, the ASPCA and your local shelter, all of which strive to end dogfighting and care for its many voiceless victims.
Julia Kamysz Lane
A Dogged Quest
Meet Ace, Baltimore Sun reporter John Woestendiek's faithful companion. Like our fellow Bark blogger Lisa Wogan, Woestendiek--driven largely by curiosity--set out to discover his shelter mutt's roots. In the process, he not only achieved his goal, but also gathered enough material for a seven-part series detailing all the avenues (and blind alleys) he traveled. Each of the print segments has a corresponding video clip. Be sure to watch the clip for the fateful moment that Ace learned his genetic heritage (I don't know, maybe it's just me, but he didn't seem impressed). Definitely a good read!
Have You Seen This Dog?
Here's a clever idea: wander around San Francisco taking pictures of dogs tied to things (usually parking meters), awaiting their people. Recognize anyone on Jon's Dogblog?
To the man with all the answers
In the newest issue of The Bark is a letter written in response to an article about the things people do for their dogs. It was authored by Sam Foster of Denver, Colo., and while I hate to misjudge the guy, I'd say that his intention was to yank the chains of the "over the top" dog owners who get carried away with "designer clothing... doggie day care ... (and) gourmet human grade dog food." Or even really crazy stuff like medical care for a sick dog.
No, not for Sam's dog anything zany like cancer treatment. No siree bob, in his own words, he's a "normal dog owner":
No birthday parties, no massages, no spa, no staying in hotels with me on vacation. And if he gets very ill, there'll be no extreme medical care such as kidney transplants or chemotherapy or surgery; he'll be euthanized when the time comes.
You'd think given what I've been going through with losing my deerhound Raven to cancer this week, I'd have felt my chain well and truly yanked and gotten furious at this guy, but I didn't. I burst out laughing.
I mean, Sam has it all figured out, doesn't he? Not just dogs, but life itself. Because in his long litany of things he won't do, he leaves absolutely no room for forces outside his control, for new information, for new ideas, for his own heart not agreeing with his preconceived plans. Master of his fate, captain of his soul, hey, this guy actually can control the future! I have this to say to you, Sam:
Your little list of rules to live by? It's just silly. You don't know what you'll do, and you SHOULDN'T know what you'll do, in a given situation until faced with it. Decisions like this need nuance and context to be rational. Without nuance and context, they're like the little rules your mother gave you when you were in kindergarten: Don't run with scissors, don't cross the street without looking both ways, don't eat your crayons. At some point, maybe around college or so, most of us realized we could and probably should develop a certain level of personal discernment and power of judgment, or we were going to be shit out of luck when the decisions were more complex than "Should I color Santa's coat or chow down on the red Crayola?"
After all, some cancers, unlike the osteosarcoma that took Raven, respond very well to chemo, and dogs going into long-term remissions is the norm -- with lymphoma, for example, a very common cancer in "man's best friend" breeds like Goldens and Labs. The chemo is not costly and dogs typically tolerate it with few or no side effects. Categorizing that as "extreme" and in the same category as a kidney transplant is ignorant and childish. If you can afford it and the prognosis is good, it's really kind of stupid and shortsighted to say, "Oh whoops, no, can't do that doc -- it's on my list!"
Same with surgery. What, you won't even remove a foxtail from your dog's paw, or fix a fractured tooth? Of course not! That would be as stupid as, you know, giving your dog a massage or taking him on vacation with you.
Of course, with guys like this (and I say "guy" not just because he IS a guy, but because this is SUCH a "guy" thing to say), there is no such thing as taking each situation as it comes and deciding things on their own merits, and not worrying about the small stuff. No, it''s all about being resolute and having backbone and being strong and smart and not getting bogged down in sentiment or sucked up by fads.
You can see the appeal of this approach. You never feel pain or indecision or doubt or loss. It's just, after all, a dog, and it's not like you bought him "posh beds or personalized bowls," or anything. Everyone knows that guys who have their dogs eat grocery store kibble don't get their hearts dragged into the burning fires of hell when they die.
So my laughter was for the confident optimism of Sam Foster of Denver, Colo., who came to us Bark readers to revel in his absolute control of the future and firm grip on his own heartstrings. Bravo, Sam! Really. Those of us who derive pleasure from spending our money on personalized dog bowls and chemotherapy are in awe of your strength.
Hey, and good luck to you with that. You'll need it, because one thing I've noticed, life doesn't always work out exactly the way you plan, and most of our little lists don't survive the first encounter with reality. -- Christie Keith, editor, PetHobbyist.com
The new issue ...
... is out, with a special emphasis on humor. Take a look at what's inside.
Don't forget to check out the online extras, including this piece on 10 essential items to pack for a getaway with your dog, and this link to more examples of canine comics. (By the way, if you're itching to check out that exhibit at the Charles M. Schulz Museum, here's the link to more information.) You'll also want to check out these canine-friendly vacation resources.
On a more serious note, there's this piece on the controversy over the temperament tests many shelters use to make life-or-death decisions on which dogs will be put up for adoption. (For another look at the issue, check out the discussion here on the Dogged blog.)
We're off to a great start with comments! Click on the comment links at the right or after every post to read what others are saying, and then be sure to let us know what you think. -- G.S.