Archive for February, 2012

William O.Douglas, Supreme Court Justice, first head of the SEC

February 29, 2012

I was a teenager in the late 1960’s.  We had the Conspiracy 7 trial in Chicago. The music group Chicago, and Crosby Stills & Nash sang about it. The whole world  (is)watching …The Democratic Convention  in 1968, which the Yippes, working with other left groups, were  going to disrupt if the Democratic Party if they didn’t  put  planks in to end the war in Viet Nam, and address civil rights. The Black Panthers were active, and President Johnson, who only became president due to the death of Kennedy, declined to run.  Hubert H Humphrey lost to Nixon, who promised to end the Viet Nam war.

Of course, it backfired.  Nixon got elected.  About this time, William O. Douglas  published Points of Rebellion  .  He addressed what progressives expected   of their elected leaders…everything from civil rights to an end to unjust wars, to environmental conservation.  He really spoke to me.

Douglas  wrote a lot of books.  In retrospect, it is hard to believe he found the time, and I will explain.  He was the  first head if the Security & Exchange Commission.  He was appointed by FDR.  He saw straight away that  it would be virtually impossible to regulate public companies, and their official, legal filings were always inaccurate—to use a term.  He saw that  ultimately  staff would be in league with the  entities they were charged to regulate—-&  told FDR that the  SEC should be abolished in 10 years, and reformulated another way with other employees—and that  government employees should never be allowed to work for the  companies they  once regulated (it took over 50 years to get some sort of law addressing this—&  there is no retrospective on this…Newt Gingrich, the  most obvious…).

Douglas had a lot of integrity when it came to addressing what affected the citizens of the USA.  Check him out on Wikipedia….  so, then you wonder….

When did he find time to court the 4 women that he married—-& if you notice  the chronology, he was always cheating.  He was a womanizer.  &, you have to wonder about the 2nd, 3rd, & 4th wives…the last one being about 40 years younger than he was.  All you can think is that he was charming beyond words.

I recently read one of Douglas’ biographies, Go East, Young Man  .  Having been  IWW, I was very interested, as I was a Wobbly, and because he had so impressed me in my youth—-but I got to thinking….we really don’t teach out own history very well to our  high school students—the ones who will be voting.  I had no idea how the SEC came into existence, but what  with what happened at the end of the Bush administration—-running into what Obama inherited, and the bailing out of AIG and many, many other public companies—bailouts that  did NOT help  the majority of Americans deal with the fall-out they caused—and—in fact—-kept us all in horrible economic circumstances (so—if you believe Obama is a socialist—this bail out was proof he is not—-he is in league with the rich) where so many  families lost their homes…& nobody explained what could possibly have happened if AIG actually failed…..this is a travesty.

In any case, Douglas was a progressive, an environmentalist, and had a huge effect on what is now conventional wisdom in this country, womanizer or not. Do we really care about his sex life?  No.  But you would think, in writing Go East, Young Man, with all the name dropping…he would have said something about his wives!

The Dog Breeding Pyramid Scam…Afghan Hounds, Pit Bulls

February 23, 2012

I was a pre teenager when I got my first Afghan Hound. My parents had told me that if I obedience trained the Miniaure Schnauzer  I had, they would  buy a show dog for me. I wanted an Irish Woflhound, but my mother said an IW was too large for our house. But an Afghan Hound was ok. So, that became my breed.

This was in 1967.  The hippie era, in terms of fashion. Bell bottoms and long hair were in.  I  wouldn’t have chosen an Afghan Hound on my own. I am not sure what my next choice might have been at that time. I was still choosing a pet based on the  appearance of the breed.    I found an ad in the paper, and the Afghan was what I got.  A young married couple of college students had been encouraged to breed their 2 Afghans.  I never saw the parent dogs. However, their  pedigrees were phenomenal.  Both the sire and the dam (father and mother dogs) were from litters that produced  many champions.

I don’t think the young couple repeated the breeding. They were going to keep Khyber, the dog they sold us, but the father  dog didn’t like him.  No matter. It wasn’t four years later that I left home, at age 18, and about a year later decided to buy a bitch pup from Wally Pede.  His dogs were  of English bloodlines, relatively well known, and  they had the structure I wanted.  Then, reality set in.

I had this fantasy that, in a few years time, my fiance & I would buy a kennel, and then I would be able to raise dogs, and make a living boarding, grooming, & training dogs.  But that’s not what happened.  My fiance had another dream.  and while we were doing ok financially, we were renters.  But more, I  was learning, from being a dog groomer, that people who bought long haired dogs weren’t taking care of their dogs. I had to shave the few Afghans that I groomed.  I was a member of the Afghan Hound Club of Greater Chicago, and everyone was breeding their dogs based on —not the conformation of the dogs—but the dogs pedigrees.  My  male, Khyber, has a great pedigree but he was  not a show or breeding quality dog, and neither was the bitch, Aswan, that I got from Wally Pede.  I knew that no matter what dog I bred her to, no matter how good his quality,  the pups would carry her head, her lack of body, and her bad front.  I knew that I would not be able to find good homes for puppies, nor did I have the capacity to keep an entire litter indefinitely.  In fact, I met a fellow groomer, Romaine Michele, and she had at least 4 of a litter until they were  over a year old. Nobody wanted them. The market was saturated.

& the many backyard breeders were not  screening potential buyers to make sure they knew what they were getting into—but they were convincing  buyers of females to   do a contract where the  buyer would pay for the stud the breeder of this pup would choose, and then get a 1st, 3rd, & 5th pick of litter pup back to the  original breeder…thus the pyramid scam.  I had that agreement with Wally if I bred my bitch, Aswan.

Suddenly, there was a need for Afghan Rescue.  A few non-breeder club members gave me money to set up  a project, but the fact of the matter  only one club member—the late Fredric Mark Alderman—would take his puppies back. & , in fact, he insisted you spend a day with him, grooming—before you even got a dog he bred.  The other breeders just complained about  selling to people who weren’t committed to an Afghan.

In the lat 1970’s, the year I did Afghan Rescue, we got an average of 1 dog a week— well—people calling to give up dogs, or shelters calling to say they  had an Afghan. Of course, I didn’t take most of them.   Only the ones already in area pounds & shelters.  There were too many.  I suggested these people return the unwanted dog to the breeder—but the breeders wouldn’t be responsible for the dogs they bred.  Many were not housebroken, and the  fact is, very few adult dogs can be housebroken.  &— because the market was saturated, and the novice dog breeders could not sell puppies, they  gradually  disappeared. Many euthanized their dogs or  dumped them in animal shelters.  Some sold entire litters to pet shops, and  40 years later, we are still seeing dogs of their breeding coming from puppy mills.  this is how puppy mills get dogs of good bloodlines.

The popularity of breeds goes in cycles—so they say—but the ones that make good pets are always popular.  Labrador Retrievers, Beagles, Shih Tzu.  Jack Russell Terriers came & went, as did Tibetan Terriers, —- as are Shiba Inu coming & going.  People tend not to like their personalities as much as they thought they would—or thought all dogs are the same. They are not.

The breeders of Portuguese Water Dogs saw this, and  set up a stringent code of ethics for their members. They do  not sell breedable bitches  to  novice Porty owners, and must take back dogs they bred or the club will  not help them sell their pups.  There was a spike in interest when the Obamas got Bo, but the Porty fanciers are of like mind when it comes to protecting their breed.  Check out   the section on breeders codes of ethics.

Not so the  owners of Neopolitan Mastiffs or Cane Corso…nor Pit Bulls.  Every idiot in the world is breeding these dogs, and they do make good family dogs—but they are  strong, and  not all of them are good with other dogs.

I work at a business that does dog daycare.  On any given day, 1/3 of the dogs are Pit Bulls, and we hardly ever see a fight. But it does happen.  Fighting is not the problem.  The issue is, that many of the owners  just wanted a dog and because they were  willing to take any dog from a shelter that needed a home, and because up to 70% of dogs in metro area shelters are Pits or Pit mixes, they  took Pits because those dogs needed homes.

& there are so many in shelters because that’s what the idiots are breeding—-all those dogs they were told have excellent bloodlines and are hoping to make their money back on.  They may have gotten into contracts, where  they paid something for  their bitches & then agreed to a puppy back scheme…and  so it goes…They sell to whomever comes by with cash. They don’t ask to meet everyone in the household. They don’t ask to  see proof of home ownership or a signed long term lease, they don’t ask when the buyer will have time to train the dog. They  are just thrilled to GET RID OF another puppy they didn’t have plans to keep.

Go on Craigslist, and you will see that  80% of puppies offered (in any metro area) are Pit Bulls. The people posting litters—ignoring the posting rules about NO ANIMAL SALES OR BREEDING are selling Pit Bulls.

It’s legal… totally legal to breed animals and not be responsible for them. It becomes a public health issues, if you  don’t car about the humane aspects of it. The  people who bought these  dogs  believed the sellers had more integrity than the buyers had. Neither of them  had or have any integrity.  The rest of us have to deal with the problems they cause:  dog bites & maulings, and the  idea that we have to pay to  either kill—or feed—the unwanted dogs we did not choose to produce.

I understand that idea of adopting shelter dogs.  My last several dogs have come from rescues….but  when you allow the irresponsible breeders to  choose what dogs are available for YOU to LOVE, you are not solving the problem, and not  contributing to a humane  society or community. You a are allowing the imbeciles to control  you…and  we have enough politicians who  tax us  for stuff we know  destroys us….so think about this….

True story: family mishegas

February 15, 2012

My father has always been difficult.   I now realize he had Asperger’s Syndrome, but no matter.  he has alienated friends & family members, & what follows are  2examples of the reasons why.

I had called my sister  on the phone to  tell her I was doing my taxes, and I had gotten a 1099, forwarded to me by my father, for  dividends on a life insurance policy he had taken out for me, on me,   in 1972.  About 3 year ago, I called State Farm,the issuer, to find out what the policy was worth, and they told me it was $13,000 and some change.  Now, because I am looking to pay down my mortgage,  I called again, and they told me the cash value is $8200.  It has fallen in value.  How does that happen?  State Farm is not  transparent about its investments.  My father paid in to the policy until the  dividends paid the premiums, and that started so long ago, he really doesn’t remember what the premiums were. Worse, he claims he paid $7000  cash for the policy  in 1972.  If he had just put $25 a month into some bank account, even with no interest, the  account (with the $7000) would now be worth $19,000. Yet I am the bad one for not adding to the policy (a policy I probably signed, but did not have a copy of), and for wanting to cash it in—& for calling his insurance agent dishonest.

My sister has a better story of aggravation with my father.

Let no good deed go unpunished.  Remember, comedy is tragedy plus time….

As she told me:

My dad and step-mother are in Florida until end of March. They go for 3 months each year.   My step mother insists, and she may even  pay for the trip.
My dad owns a small chemical cleaning company. He sells soaps and cleaners to businesses.  He had me go to his house every other week to take his car out to drive it so it moves while he’s away. I take it to the post office. Go to his lock box and grab his business mail and deposit any checks he gets. All should take about 30 minutes of actual time. From start to finish about an hour from my house.   I do not have a key to the house. I just go into the garage.  The reason for this is….my step-mother does not want her stepchildren going into the house.  No other reason.    This is an important part of this story.
So yesterday was my day to do it. I also needed to go to the grocery store and few other errands. It’s almost 11am.
Now to add to the story, my parents have a neighbor who lives one door down. She has MS. She sold her house  and is waiting for her new apartment to be completed which it should be in an about a month.  She is staying in my father’s townhouse until her place is ready.
Two weeks ago my dad tells me I need to go to his house and go down stairs to his office to send him some business checks. Normally I never go inside the house when I visit. There is a key pad on the garage door so I usually just go in through the garage, take his car, close the garage door and do my thing. However, they have left the inside door to the house unlocked if I ever do need to get in and in this case, I needed to for my dad.
I go in, go downstairs to get the checks and call my dad. I’m on the phone with him and he tells me at that time that Seri, the lady with MS is going to be moving into the house. I then hear someone upstairs and it’s her daughter, Andi,  who is just beginning to bring things to the house. I finish with my dad and speak to this adult daughter, Andi. I introduce myself and let her know what I do regarding my visits. Advising her  I do not have a key to the actual house and normally I do not have to go inside. This was an unusual exception for me having to come inside to get these business checks. She tells me her mom would probably feel better if she could lock the garage door leading into the house and I told her that was fine and for any reason I need to get back inside, I would call Andi and we would arrange a time for me to come to the door for her mom to let me in, if I needed to get back downstairs to my dad’s office. Okay… following me so far?
Also the daughter, Andi,  asked me if I had a spare garage door clicker. I told her I only had the one in my dad’s car and gave it to her for her mom to have her mom’s car’s remote set up so that the clicker in her mom’s car would get set to the house code so her mom, with MS , didn’t have to get out of the car to open the garage door. This makes sense to me. Oh, if it had only been that simple.
I went to my dad’s last week and used the key pad on the outside of the garage door to open it and it did open with my code, but Seri, the lady staying at the house had not returned the garage door clicker to my dad’s car. Okay, a bit annoyed, I pulled Dad’s car out, got out of the car and manually closed the garage door on the key pad. I had also rung the door bell to the house since Seri’s car was in the garage, but I got no answer.
I did my thing, ran the post office and bank errands and returned the car to my dad’s. Again opening and closing the garage with the key pad that is attached to the outside of the garage door.
So, if you’re still with me, I begin my day yesterday. It was sunny and I knew the snow was coming so I decided to do a quick run to my Dad’s to take care of the mail.
I get  to the house and I see 2 days of newspapers on the driveway. I grab them and go to the front door and I see another newspaper. What the hell is going on? These are  Seri’s newspapers and here my parents are not home and now it shows everyone no one is picking up the newspapers. I ring the door bell and get no answer. My day is just beginning.
I go to the outside garage key pad, put in the code and nothing happens.  I try it again. No luck. Great!! I get back into my car, which is not parked in the driveway, but across the street in the visitors parking space. I call my Dad in Florida. He tells me Seri fell, broker her hip earlier in the week and is in the hospital. Great. I tell him I can’t get into the garage. Remember, I do not have a key to the house. He tells me to call the daughter, Andi. He has no idea why the garage door won’t go up. I hear my step-mother in the background asking why am I trying to get into the house. I have NO business going into the house!!! Remember:  she is very aware that Seri is NOT in the house at the moment, but yelling at my father that I am NOT to go into the house. He only briefly yells back at her that I need to get in since the keypad is not working. It’s at this point, I really should refer to her as the wicked queen. Hansel and Gretel have no idea how good they had it.
I call the daughter, Andi and she tells me when they found her mom, they just grabbed her and went to the hospital and she says she believes they left the key to the house in the house. I tell her I will call my step sister, Laurie, to see if she had a key to the house. I don’t have her phone number as she just moved, but is in the  same  town as my parents.
Andi also said if Laurie has a key, I have her permission to go into the house. I would not just walk in without her or her mom’s okay, as they were given the house by my Dad and  Iwould not presume to just walk in, as I had stated earlier when I first met her. I call my Dad.
Here where Ripley’s Believe it or Not begins. I call my Dad. He is standing right next to my step mother. She is on her phone talking to my step-sister, Laurie. I need Laurie’s phone number.  Dad is trying to look it up and can not find it. I tell him I can hear my step-mother in the background talking to Laurie, just ask her for it. My father yells at me he can NOT Interrupt them. WHY NOT??? He says he just can’t.  I tell him, if I can’t get to her, I can’t get to his car and in his car is the bank key to his PO box and the deposit slips to the bank. It’s his business and he needs to do something to get this resolved. He finds a phone number for Laurie, who you and I know is being spoken to by my step-mother right then on the phone. Laurie is at work and I need to leave her a phone message to call me TONIGHT to resolve this. Really?? He messes up the middle 3 digits of the phone number and I try calling a few versions of it. 2 don’t go through and one is a baby talking. Okay, I huff and call my dad again. Dad is getting pissed, my step-mother is still on the phone with Laurie and I’m sitting there thinking, let’s all say it together, WTF! I tell him about the baby voice and he says yes, it’s the right number:   Laurie’s youngest, who is now like 9 or 10 years old, I think, recorded that 9 or 10 years ago. OMG!! So I hang up and leave a message for Laurie to call me. Oh and my father reminded me to leave a nice message and not be mean to her. Really? Why would I be mean to my step-sister? I have no grudge with her. So I leave the message and I am about to pull out of my parking space to leave but I see a car NOW is in my parents drive way!
Are you still with me? I re-park my car, get out and it’s my step sister, Laurie still on the phone with my step-mother Biv.  Really. My step-mother could not tell my father that Laurie just happened to be around the corner from the house and was on her way there right now and for me to wait.  Really?
Okay, taking a breath. I walk over to Laurie who is out of the car and is trying the code. Again, no results. She hangs up with my step-mother and we talk. She thinks she has a key at her house, near by. We get in her van and drive over there. I tell her on the way there about not having a key and Andi saying if Laurie has one we have her ok to go into the house. Laurie then tells me “oh, that is not what my mom told me! She said you wanted to walk in, that is what your Dad told her”.   One: my step-mother never talked to me and TWO they both know I don’t have a key to their house because that is what my step-mother wanted. Crazy!!
We get to her house, she finds a key, we drive back and get in my dad’s  house. We open the garage door by the button inside the garage. We go to the outside key pad and we still can’t get it to work. Laurie walks back in the house to find a screw driver thinking the battery to the key pad is dead. She then calls Andi and begins a long conversation with her and I’m stuck there because Laurie is parked in the middle of the drive way and I can’t get my dad’s car out to run the errands. But wait… it gets better.
She finishes the call, unscrews the key pad,  and promptly looses the mini screw holding the bottom half of the keypad. Pad still on the wall, and thankfully,  the bottom with the battery pops off and can be re-snapped back on. Okay I say, I’ll get a new battery. We’re about to leave and Laurie says she has to use the bathroom. I’m in the garage again because I can’t leave until she does and she then comes out and asks if there is a toilet plunger in the garage!!! LMAO NOW, not then. Are you with me? I’m thinking, Really??
We go back into the house and I use the plunger on the toilet, she flushes and you guessed it, it overflows!!! Of course it does! She grabs towels (my stepmohther’s fancy guest towels. I ask her if she know if there is a paper cup I might be able to take some of the water out of the toilet so I can plunge it again and she goes and gets me a coffee mug!! OMG, I’m thinking, really?
Okay, it’s her mom’s house, not mine. I use the mug to get the water out. It’s a slow task. We flush and it over flows again. It’s not the first time today, I’m beginning to question if someone has it out to get me today. We clean it up again.  All now all is flushing fine. She takes the towels and begins the washing machine. She tells me I can when I get back, put the towels in the dryer. I again remind her I don’t have a key to the house. She says she will come back after work which she had left when her mom called. Okay. I empty the dish washer which was locked and put the mug in it per Laurie’s instructions. Let this be a warning to everyone to avoid coffee mugs at my step-mother’s house.
Okay, she locks up and then it occurs to me, does the garage door clicker that the woman finally re-placed back into my Dad’s car work? And the answer is – – NO!! Of course not.  Hmmm, the key pad doesn’t work and now his clicker doesn’t work. Great. Laurie and I decide, I will put my car in the garage and I’ll run get batteries, to the post office, bank and back. She locks the inside  door leading into the house and the front door and she’ll return later and will re-close the garage door from the inside and use her key to re-lock the door when she leaves. Okay …we have a plan.
Not so fast my friends. I go to Walmart and they don’t have the A23 or the V12 mini batteries. I go to Walgreens and they have the garage door clicker battery, A23. I purchase one. Go back into the car and before I open the new battery, it looks like maybe the clicker should have 2 batteries in it? Did Seri take one? I don’t know, but I walk back into Walgreens. Return the 1 battery and purchase the 2 pack battery pack. Back to the car and no, it does only need one. Okay we have an extra. I don’t care. I run to the post office, no checks to deposit. I go back to Dad’s. I click the garage door click with it’s new battery and guess what? It doesn’t close. Okay so it’s not the battery. It could be the door itself, but I’m thinking  Seri… when she took the clicker to the dealer somehow the code got changed. Not sure how that could possibly happen, but honestly, It’s 2pm and I really just don’t care anymore. I didn’t find a V12 battery, so I put it back inside the outside garage key pad. Click the bottom in place, as you recall Laurie accidentally lost the screw and I call Laurie to let her know Dad’s car is in the garage. I have taken the car key, the bank key, the deposit slips and I won’t be running the car anymore until he gets home at the end of March. I’m done. She said she’ll look to see if she finds a V12 battery.
I then leave the scene of the crime, realizing I must go grocery shoping and it’s 3pm before I get home.
I sigh in relief after my story is done, but the punch line doesn’t come to this story until later that night. My dad calls me and says, are you ready for it?….. He says, “Okay, I need to tell you where the hidden key to the house is.”  Honestly?? Really? OMG! Welcome to my life.

&  it’s stuff like this—-all the time…

Good-bye, Reggie, Good-bye, Luke

February 9, 2012

In my small community of dog lovers who have also  competed in performance events with their dogs, we’ve lost 2 recently.

I met Luke, the Whippet, well, it had to be about 14 years ago. His people , Nancy Fagin and Ron Weber, booksellers, came into the resale shop I worked at and he came along for the walk.  Since I had had a Whippet, I was just immediately charmed.  Luke was extremely well behaved.  I lived with  a Saluki at the time, and it turned out Ron & Nancy knew Gregg Gammie, and Nancy was very  interested in straight racing. We became good friends, often having dinner together, bringing our dogs to each others homes.  Apparently Luke came some racing bloodlines, but along the way, his first owner could not keep him.  That’s sort of how I got my second Whippet, Bebop—but his owner had died, and that was how he wound up in rescue.

In any case,  Nancy made the very tough decision to euthanize Luke a few weeks ago. He was  about blind, almost deaf, and more importantly, he was hurting. His digestion was no longer  good, and poop just came out of him, and he had tumbled down the stairs a few times and was no longer putting weight on one of his front feet. He was 16.

This was just a few weeks after Janie Wondergem lost TSH Crystal Payday, UD (“Reggie”).  I met Janie at one of the International Kennel Club benched shows.  It was where my dog, Dazzle, took his first AKC point. We had to be there all day, that’s how it goes, but I was hoping to meet other  Saluki fanciers by being there.

We got together a few weeks later.  I was a bit adrift at the time.  Ans there was tension among us about buying a grooming shop together.  I understood her hesitation completely, but felt the  business was a good one.  I didn’t think she would ever get Reggie trained, as Janie is  a small-boned woman, and Reggie was powerful.  I was working with Dazzle, but I  knew he wouldn’t be ready for any  obedience competition in the foreseeable future.  He just didn’t have the personality for performance.

Reggie was an extremely  smart dog, but a Saluki.    Janie was taking him to conformation classes, to get him used to strange dogs, and to being touched. He’d lean all the way over rather than allow himself to  be touched in any way.   From that, and her perseverance, and  just keeping at it—-all with positive re-enforcement, she got Reggie to the point that he could be left in the  obedience ring, on the stand for examination, and not flinch.  Janie said that obedience was  Reggie’s job.    She was  campaigning  Reggie for an obedience championship, but she felt the jumping was really getting hard on his hips and knees, so she started training him for tracking—Janie said to keep his mind engaged.

She called me and told me she could tell by the way he was standing that she knew he was dying. Her husband scoffed, but Janie took him to the emergency veterinarians (it’s always on Saturday night, right?), and they said he was bleeding internally.  They said it could be a few days to maybe a few weeks, and Janie had him about 2 weeks more, when he was just too weak to get up.  She allowed him to die on his pillow.

We dog lovers sort of mark our lives by our dog companions.  Many of us are getting older. The age of the average performance fancier is past 50.  We are not attracting younger fanciers.  Most don’t have the patience, and then  combine that with traveling to dog shows or events, we just can’t afford the travel.

This is only important because our dogs have been our partners.  Because of the training, we’ve met our friends, we’ve learned  so much, and we have great memories of the times we had with our dogs.

When you see animals suffering in a pet shop….

February 1, 2012

I recently had the experience of working in a pet store that sold animals. They did not sell dogs or cats, but they did sell  herps (snakes, lizards), birds, rabbits, ferrets, mice, gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, and fish.  My job was NOT to take care of the animals, but I could see how they were being taken care of.

In fact, in this particular pet shop, the animals were all taken care of first thing in the morning: bedding changed, food and water put out.  Is that enough?

One of my co-workers saw that a desert animal was not being kept in a dry environment. In fact—he had a huge water bowl taking up half his habitat.  Another co-worker was very  demoralized because a tank of feeder fish was over stocked, with no aeration or filtration, causing almost all the fish to die in less than a week.

We could all see that  virtually all the animals were under some stress: they had just been moved around, and had people staring at them or poking at their glass all day long.

We—as employees—have no say in how animals are treated. They will fire us if we raise concerns. That is a fact. IT IS UP TO THE PUBLIC TO ADDRESS  CONCERNS TO THE MANAGER—AND THE COMPANY. It does no good at all to tell an employee, nor does it any good to BUY THE ANIMAL. That  only re-enforces the business’ policies.  In fact, there are many pet store managers who are not animal lovers. They are retail managers. They have been told by  their corporate managers how to run the store.  They do not care either way if an animal has tipped over a water bowl, or is in a stressful environment. It is an unwritten policy that if the pet buying public is concerned, the  empathetic pet lovers will buy the animals and ‘rescue’ them from the horrible pet shop.  People do this all the time.  When they do this—the pet store buys another animal to sell, and the problem does NOT get solved.

I thought  people knew this—but the pet stores and COMMERCIAL ANIMAL BREEDERS—breeding pets as livestock—do a better job of marketing that the humane activists.

We are not all PETA. We don’t believe that pet animals should be eliminated from the earth, but  PIJAC—the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council—the pet industry lobbying group—is pretty slick at painting us all with a broad brush.

So, what should you do?

1.Talk to the pet store manager directly. If he is not there, ask if he has an email address.

2. Ask if there is a corporate entity that controls policy for the stores, and address them.  Tell them you will give them (x days) to correct the problem, and if they don’t, you will post on social media:  Yelp! & Facebook come to mind;

3. Contact your state department of Agriculture—but also, you have to be a little more sophisticated: you are going to email them, as well as your state senator, state representative, and local humane organization—and ask when you can expect a response;

4. If you don’t get a satisfactory response in a timely fashion (and YOU have to decide what that is), contact local media: television stations, newspapers and magazines;

5. You must work with other concerned animal lovers. Getting organized is very  difficult, but it is the only way to affect change.

6. Talk to your friends about what you  experienced.

Something you should know:  while designers and inventors are always  coming up with new pet products to sell, very few of them are the Furminator or the Kong toys.  Most don’t sell well enough to make manufacturing them worthwhile. However,  it is because of consumer activism that we now have  many high quality, premium pet foods. They  didn’t become successful because of marketing—they became successful because of  word-of-mouth.  You do make a difference.