Friday, June 27, 2008

Happy Birthday Andrew

This is for Karazan Music of the Night, the sweetest thing one could ever hope for:

Sometimes I look for traits in you
Of a great big dog you never knew.......
A dog that loved me all his days
And understood in special ways.
But that's not fair to you, Andrew;
You're not a substitute; but yourself!
You've eased the loss, soothed the pain
And tugged my laughter home again.
Yet, "Puppy", at times I almost start
When your eyes recall him to my heart;
You'll never lack for love, it's clear
Because of him, you're twice as dear....

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Of Dogs And Men, Part IV

"The one absolutely unselfish friend that
a man can have in this selfish world,
the one that never deserts him,
the one that never proves ungrateful
or treacherous, is his dog.

"A man's dog stands by him in prosperity
and in poverty,
in health and in sickness.
He will sleep on the cold ground where
the wintery winds blow,
and the snow drives fiercely,
if only he may be near his master's
side. He will kiss the hand that has no
food to offer, he will lick the sores
and wounds that come in encounter with
the roughness of the world. He guards
the sleep of his pauper master as if he
were a prince.

"When all other friends desert,
he remains.
When riches take wings and reputation
falls to pieces, he is as constant in
his love as the sun in its journey
through the heavens.
If misfortune drives the master forth
an outcast in the world, friendless
and homeless, the faithful dog asks
no higher privilege than that of
accompanying him to guard against
danger, to fight against his enemies.

"And when the last scene of all comes,
and death takes the master in it's
embrace, and his body is laid away in
the cold ground, no matter if all other
friends pursue their way, there by the
graveside will the noble dog be found,
his head between his paws, his eyes sad,
but open in alert watchfulness,
faithful and true, even in death."

(From a speech given by
Former Senator George Graham Vest
of Missouri. Delivered in 1870 when he
was acting as a lawyer in a suit against
a man who had killed the dog of his
client. -- He won the case.)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Just Say "No" To Mandatory Spay-Neuter Laws (And Some Facts About PETA)

The dog-hating zealots that parade as "humane" societies are at it again in seeking to have mandatory spay-neuter laws imposed in California. The utter crazies at PETA are the major proponents of such legislation. So how about some facts about PETA, an organization that also uses the word "ethical" in its name.

State Average is under 35%

WASHINGTON, Jan. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "An official report from People for The Ethical Treatment of Animals ("PETA"), submitted nine months after a Virginia government agency's deadline, shows that the 'animal rights' group put to death more than 97 percent of the dogs, cats, and other pets it took in for adoption in 2006. During that year, the well-known 'animal rights' group managed to find adoptive homes for just 12 pets. The nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom ("CCF") is calling on PETA to either end its hypocritical angel-of-death program, or stop its senseless condemnation of Americans who believe it's perfectly ethical to use animals for food, clothing, and critical medical research.

"Not counting animals PETA held only temporarily in its spay-neuter program, the organization took in 3,061 'companion animals' in 2006, of which it killed 2,981. According to Virginia's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services ("VDACS"), the average euthanasia rate for humane societies in the state was just 34.7 percent in 2006. PETA killed 97.4 percent of the animals it took in. The organization filed its 2006 report this month, nine months after the VDACS deadline of March 31, 2007. 'Pet lovers should be outraged', said CCF Director of Research David Martosko. 'There are thousands of worthwhile animal shelters that deserve Americans' support. PETA is not one of them.' In courtroom testimony last year, a PETA manager acknowledged that her organization maintains a large walk-in freezer for storing dead animals, and that PETA contracts with a Virginia cremation service to dispose of the bodies. In that trial, two PETA employees were convicted of dumping dead animals in a rural North Carolina trash dumpster. Today in Southampton County, Virginia, another PETA employee will face felony charges in a dog-napping case. Andrea Florence Benoit Harris was arrested in late 2006 for allegedly abducting a hunting dog and attempting to transport it to PETA's Norfolk headquarters. 'PETA raised over $30 million last year', Martosko added, 'and it's using that money to kill the only flesh-and-blood animals its employees actually see. The scale of PETA's hypocrisy is simply staggering.' To speak with a spokesman contact Tim Miller at 202-463-7112. For more information about PETA's massive euthanasia [murder] program, visit for Consumer Freedom."

This is yet another example of humans having the audacity to decide what is best not simply for abandoned pets, but for the owners of all pets. What gets lost in this debate is the irony that human overpopulation presents exponentially far more dangers to the world than any perceived over-pupulation. (Isn't American waging a war as we speak?) Yet again, many of these anything-but-humane organizations attempt to justify the barbarism inherent in mandatory spay-neuter laws on the grounds that "it's just a dog". (Hey, parents, soon they'll be saying that about your kids.) Thus, a reprise is in order:

Just a Dog
(Richard A. Biby)

"From time to time, people tell me, 'lighten up, it's just a dog', or, 'that's a lot of money for just a dog.' They don't understand the distance traveled, the time spent, or the costs involved for 'just a dog.'

"Some of my proudest moments have come about with 'just a dog.' Many hours have passed and my only company was 'just a dog', but I did not once feel slighted.

Some of my saddest moments have been brought about by 'just a dog', and in those days of darkness, the gentle touch of 'just a dog' gave me comfort and reason to overcome the day.

"If you, too, think it's 'just a dog', then you will probably understand phrases like 'just a friend', 'just a sunrise', or 'just a promise'. 'Just a dog' brings into my life the very essence of friendship, trust, and pure unbridled joy. 'Just a dog' brings out the compassion and patience that make me a better person.

"Because of 'just a dog', I will rise early, take long walks and look longingly to the future. So for me and folks like me, it's not 'just a dog' but an embodiment of all the hopes and dreams of the future, the fond memories of the past, and the pure joy of the moment.

"'Just a dog' brings out what's good in me and diverts my thoughts away from myself and the worries of the day.

"I hope that someday they can understand that it's not 'just a dog' but the thing that gives me humanity and keeps me from being 'just a human.'

"So the next time you hear the phrase 'just a dog', just smile, because they 'just don't understand.'"

They do, however, understand war, torture, poverty, devastation of the environment, dependence on oil soley for profit, the death penalty, and so much other hyprocricy that not enough bandwith exists simply to summarize it all. And they want the power to tell me that I must castrate my dogs? Big Brother and PETA in the same camp. Life does indeed present us with strange bedfellows. I suppose they're "just human" after all.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Newfoundland and The Mastiff


"I must tell you one more anecdote of two dogs of a similar character to one I gave you a few pages back, but in this instance they were professed enemies. It happened at Donaghadee, where a pier was in course of building.

"Two dogs — one a Newfoundland, and the other a Mastiff — were seen by several people engaged in a fierce and prolonged battle on the pier. They were both powerful dogs, and though good-natured when alone, were much in the habit of thus fighting whenever they met. At length they both fell into the sea, and as the pier was long and steep, they had no means of escape but by swimming a considerable distance. The cold bath brought the combat to an end, and each began to make for the land as best he could.

"The Newfoundland dog speedily gained the shore, on which he stood shaking himself, at the same time watching the motions of his late antagonist, who, being no swimmer, began to struggle, and was just about to sink. On seeing this, in he dashed, took the other gently by the collar, kept his head above water, and brought him safely to land.

"After this they became inseparable friends, and never fought again; and when the Newfoundland dog met his death by a stone waggon running over him, the Mastiff languished, and evidently mourned for him for a long time.

"Let this incident afford us great encouragement to love our enemies, and to return good for evil, since we find the feeling implanted in the breast of a dog to save the life of his antagonist, and to cherish him afterwards as a friend.

"We may never be called on to save the life of a foe; but that would not be more difficult to our natural disposition than acting kindly and forgivingly towards those who daily annoy us—who injure us or offer us petty insults."

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Satchel's Philosophy On Life

Is best put by his namesake, Satchel (the Rage) Paige:

"I don't generally like running. I believe in training by rising gently up and down from the bench."

How civilized!

Monday, June 9, 2008

For Giacomo

"Only a moment; a moment of strength, of romance, of glamour — of youth! . . . A flick of sunshine upon a strange shore, the time to remember, the time for a sigh, and — good-bye . . ."

(Joseph Conrad)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Book Of The Month -- "NEWF"

'Drew and I have chewed through some really nice books recently, but we have to give four paws up to "NEWF", written by Marie Killilea and illustrated by Ian Schoenherr.

This old-fashioned dog story by the author of Karen and With Love from Karen exhibits the pathos of Lassie's adventures without the sentimentality. Sure to tug at animal-lovers' hearts, the tale concerns the tenderly burgeoning friendship of its only characters: a burly Newfoundland that emerges from the sea -- it is a puzzle whence he had come -- and a skinny, dirty, white kitten. Wary of each other at first, the two reconnoiter in a frisky game of wag, advance, pounce, retreat, then proceed to more loving, trusting recreation. The seasons pass; Newf rescues his feline pal from the sea, from a snowdrift, and the friends are happy in their no longer deserted cottage. In clear, active prose, Killilea unfolds her tale so directly that its emotional content may catch readers unaware. In Schoenherr's children's book debut, the artist provides bold, graphic images. These oversize illustrations, in earthy, textured colors, fill up space with a Georgia O'Keeffe-like spareness. A touching tale with a subtle message about interdependence, perfect for reading aloud.



Monday, June 2, 2008

The Incredible Artistry Of Will Obinyan

Every once in a while, you get to meet true artistry.

We've been fortunate enough to meet an incredible artist from Nigeria, Will Obinyan.

Will has phenomeol skill and an uncanny eye for capturing the soul of animals (and people, etc) on canvas (and other materials). Luckily, Will is in the Bay Area for a while. It would almost be an injustice (to you and your pet) not to have Will paint your loved one. If a picture says a thousand words, then one of Will's masterpieces says a million.

You can reach Will at He can create one of his masterpieces from a few pictures of your pet(s). Do it for yourself.

As you can see, he did more remarkable work in capturing Satchel and Andrew, and his work never ceases to amaze. This is not advertising; it's admiration and appreciation.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Multitasking Newfies

Sniffing's A No-No At Dog Show
(Yakima Valley Kennel Club Draws Hundreds Of Canine Competitors To Annual Dog Show, by Rod Antone, Yakima Herald-Republic)
"Those who think dog shows are for the poofy, foo-foo types that sit on pillows and eat bon-bons should think again.

"The pressure was on at the Yakima Valley Kennel Club All Breed Dog Show on Saturday, as man's best friend ran, stopped and ran again. Whether they were Alaskan Eskimo dogs, American Staffordshire terriers or Tibetan mastiffs, they all tried to walk briskly around cones and did their best not to sniff the ground, which is a real point-killer.

"But sometimes it was all just too much to take. For the owners, that is.

"'There was this one guy who started to walk in and his dog sniffed the ground and he just left, he didn't even try', said Jean Rodgers, who was competing in her first dog show with Jule the Rotweiler. 'She wanted to sniff the ground, but I talked her out of it.'

"Kennel club officials said there were about 820 dogs of all sorts and sizes ready to compete at State Fair Park on Saturday and today. The competition drew hundreds of entrants and spectators from all across the state and the West Coast.

"'This is our first time', said Teri Hamilton of Kimberly, Ore., who drove six hours to compete with Josie, her Australian shepherd. 'She did good.'

"Emily Allen of Walla Walla and her family brought three dogs to compete: Doberman pincshers Jato and Cali, and Dux, the Australian terrier. Allen says even though her family does not take the competitions as seriously as other dog owners, they still compete in shows all across the West Coast and spend hundreds of dollars for registration, gas, hotels and other expenses.

"'We try to get two a month in summer and spring', Allen said. 'For some people it's a job, for us it's a hobby.'

"For the Fish sisters from Camas, Wash., it's more like a career. Jenny Fish has been competing since she was 9 years old, and her sister Emily is a professional dog handler.

"Dressed in a suit and tie, Dennis Sieracki of West Richland had high hopes for Kelly, his English setter. 'She's been showing for about a year; she's got six points now and working her way toward the championship', he said.

"Debbie Jordan of Wenatchee said her two Newfoundlands, Sophie and Shiraz, aren't just for show. Both are training to be certified water rescue dogs. 'They also pull children in carts ... they're good all-around dogs', she said.

"Others, like Cindy Parson and her Old English bulldog Gemma, were there just to watch and support friends. 'She might compete one day, but she's got to mind her manners first', Parson said.

"The Yakima Valley Kennel Club is an American Kennel Club-recognized organization that holds dog shows, agility trials, handling seminars and other canine events in central Washington. Club member Bessie Pickens, who has been involved in West Coast dog shows for 50 years, said the Northwest in general is a good
place for dog owners, breeders and handlers. She said Yakima's show, in particular, has a more relaxed atmosphere than other shows, and attracts a lot of first-time entrants.

"'We do not attract the great big-time handlers', Pickens said. 'The breeder/owner handlers do much better. As far as new people go, they should go to a few dog shows first and talk to people. We'll be glad to help out with any questions or offer suggestions.'"

* * * * * * * * * * *

Okay, 'Drew and I have a question: How do we get out of this crazy show world?