Archive for July, 2012

Fixing a dog’s bad haircut….

July 26, 2012

Groomers get this all the time.  Someone at home decides the dog can’t see, or he gets something stuck in his hair. They start chopping.  They have no idea   what to do. They think the dog need’s something done, so  they take the dog to any groomer.  Sometimes,the groomer is a talented artist, but sometimes,the groomer  just learned to shave dogs & thinks that’s good enough.

So, they bring the dog to me, and  want me to fix it.  You just have to tell them, “You have to wait until the hair grows out….but in the meantime….”

So the choices are, either cutting it all off, and starting over, or having me  try to blend  the bad parts into the good parts.

Sometimes, it’s a judgement call.  I  frequently tell  people I can’t make it look any better.  They have to let it grow out…but  let’s not get our panties in a bunch:  If you brushed the dog properly with a proper slicker brush…just once a week…. we might have been able to avoid this. And—if you start brushing now, you will be able to avoid this in the future.

Many times, it’s because an inexperienced groomer left too much hair on the dog. My favorite is the ‘hula skirt’ which I call the dust ruffle—-hanging off the dog.  I think many groomers think all dogs are cocker spaniels.  I tell my clients it makes no sense to  cut off the hair that never gets dirty or matted & leave the  hair that always gets dirty & matted;  the hair on the BOTTOM of the dog.

When I fix a hair cut, people are usually overjoyed.  But there is a per centage of people who you can’t convince that cutting the hair is wrong. That the dog will NOT be cooler, nor will he look better.  Nobody’s happy, then.

What I suggest to anyone even tempted to  hack at their dog’s hair is to get a thinning shears.  You  won’t make any dramatic blunders with a thinning shears.

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Book Review: Travel as a Politcal Act, by Rick Steves

July 12, 2012

In 2005, I took a ‘package tour’ to Morocco with a company I had used before, to travel to Thailand. The Thai trip was the best vacation I ever had, because they guides were phenomenal.  So, based on that experience, I booked this particular tour.  Well, while the guide as  ok, he really discouraged  the participants from checking things out on our own.  I wanted to  visit a small market outside a bazaar, and he would not let me. Not only that, he  steered us to some less than ethical carpet and leather  dealers.  I was very discouraged.  Why didn’t I just  go out on my own instead of booking a tour?  I didn’t have that much time, and the travel arrangements  in country can be daunting.

Not all ‘package tours’ are like this. You can now check Lonely Planet and TripAdvisor and get good information.  Sometimes it’s the luck of the draw.

If you haven’t heard of Rick Steves, you don’t watch public television, nor are you interested in travel.  The guy is a genius. He turned his love of travel into  a great business, informing people, mostly interested in Europe, about how to find not just cheap places to stay and  interesting things to see and do, but how to really get the most out of their travel experience.

Published in 2009, with what I think of as a somewhat controversial title, I was immediately intrigues because….I don’t think of Rick Steves as the type to court controversy.  He doesn’t want to scare people.  He wants them to be adventurous.

As a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, myself, I feel travel is a political act if  you really try to take advantage of every opportunity.    I am recomending this book because  it’s a little class in  what kinds of things you should consider about your own values, and the  cultures you will experience while traveling. There are 9 chapters, and all are about places and issues that  are ‘oblique’ or ‘counter’ to  our  national mindset…particular his chapter on how Europeans  deal with drug abuse.

One thing that most Americans don’t understand is how heavily influenced our government policies are NOT by  us citizens, but by  organizations with an economic interest.

I also know that the economic interests use media in a more sophisticated manner than most people  realize.  We are   so subtly influenced about what is right and what is fair than we care to admit.

This book would be a great gift for anyone contemplating travel. It is  well written, easy to understand, has great photos, and gives great information in a very compact place.

Vaughn Neita “A Doggie Business” alert

July 5, 2012


Earlier in the year, I was looking for part time work, and briefly worked for a very charming guy who  has been charged with animal cruelty.  Details at the bottom of this blog post.

I learned  that Vaughn Neita was charged with several counts of neglect & dereliction of duties (not feeding, cleaning, etc).  I guess what happened was that  he brought 1 dead dog & 2 dying dogs to Chicago Animal Care & Control—the city dog pound. Why he didn’t throw them away (I am not advocating this—but  he had a dead dog he did not want, & 2 he obviously wasn’t caring for), &  drove them the 4 miles to the Pound, I have no idea, but the city workers  got all his contact info, & I guess CACC paid him a visit. The court case is pending.
Over  a year ago, Neita was looking for a groomer, He had done a nice build out on a store front, & had 3 of his own dogs, but no grooming equipment at all.  I made him a list of what he absolutely needed, told him where to get it, and told him to call me when he got it.


In January of this year, he started posting for a groomer again. I was only working 1 day a week (after being fired  from Pets Supplies Plus—which I blogged about), and  went to see him.  He had rigged up some tables, got a couple of Force ‘dryers’ (these are high velocity blowers that blow the water off dogs, but you can’t fluff-dry a dog with them), and  he told me he’d order the rest.
I told him I’d work for him for  4 weeks—1–2 days, but he had to get the equipment.  I came in on a Saturday, & dogs were tied all over the shop, & he had a sign in the window that said “Pit Bull puppies for sale.”   I told him that this did not work for me.
He told me  he took the litter from a friend who could not sell them, & often took dogs to find homes for that people could not keep.  It was not my business, but, in retrospect, I think they were actually stolen dogs.


In any case, I told him having dogs tied up was not safe, nor was it humane (he told me people didn’t like seeing their dogs in cages, and he’d put them in the kennel, downstairs, but he wouldn’t let me go down there), but I had enough on my plate.  I worked for him  2 Saturdays. He kept having teenagers ‘working’ the store & cleaning the kennel, & he wouldn’t be there, & I didn’t go for that, either, so I told him I could not do this.


He called me and begged me several times  to come back & co-own the business with him.  I knew he’d continue to not get equipment & not be honest, so I told him NO.  Even if I suspected things were not right, you can not call Animal Care & Control directly in Chicago. You have to call 311—have the operator fill out a form. and then—who do you nag to follow up on this?

I do community advocacy for a group that monitors the prosecution of cases involving animals, and  so I got an email about upcoming cases, with a link to a newspaper story.  Shocking.

This is why I ask a lot of questions and make demands of employers.  Since 2007, I have  been interviewed by over  20 businesses that  were owned by non-groomers or inexperienced groomers who wanted to hire me. They either had no work, didn’t charge enough, or had inadequate equipment.  One, as I blogged about early on, Dan London, of Doggie Bathhouse, tried to destroy my reputation & the reputations of the businesses he thought I worked for.  He is long gone, with a single blog post up about how crazy I am.  Well, I am proud to be crazy and skeptical.

The pet industry attracts people making excuses and compromising care.  Yet, pet owners just assume that if they have a business, someone inspects, and that these  business owners have more integrity than they—as pet owners—have. Integrity? From people who won’t tell you that the prong collar on your dog is hurting it, or that he is in pain due to a medical issue and must see a veterinarian before we provide  cosmetic services?

I wish all the shelter & rescue people would take this more seriously.

Until July 16, 2012, the USDA is taking comments regarding more enforcement of internet sales of pets. Please  ask that  the USDA work with local animal shelters and ‘deputize’ volunteers to visit people posting on sites such as Craigslist to get actual physical addresses of sellers, so they can be inspected.

Animals neglected, emaciated
Avondale, IL (US)

Incident Date: Tuesday, Feb 14, 2012
County: Cook

Charges: Misdemeanor
Disposition: Alleged

Alleged: Vaughn E. Neita

A man who runs a dog care business was charged with multiple counts of animal cruelty after bringing a dead poodle, a Boston terrier so emaciated it had to be euthanized and an undernourished Chow mix into a city animal care facility this week, authorities said.

Staffers at Animal Care and Control called police Tuesday afternoon after Vaughn E. Neita brought the animals into the facility, 2741 S. Western Ave., according to Animal Care and Control Executive Director Cherie Travis.

The terrier was so “extremely emaciated” it was defecating blood, and later had to be euthanized. The terrier only weighed 8.2 pounds, and normally should have been about 15-20 pounds, Travis said.

Neita told authorities there that he was surrendering the surviving Chow mix and terrier after they attacked and killed the poodle, which was deceased when he brought it in.

The surviving dog also suffered undernourished issues and is still being cared for at their facilities, where authorities have “strong concerns” about its health. Travis said the dog will likely be moved to a rescue and may be available at some point for adoption.

Neita was arrested “right in our building,” about 1 p.m. Tuesday and charged with two misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty, Travis said.

But a visit to the pet day care establishment he owns, A Doggie Business in the 1400 block of North Western Avenue, resulted in 10 additional misdemeanor counts of violation of animal owner’s duties, Travis said.

Neita, 41, lives in the 1400 block of North Western Avenue, according to police News Affairs.

Someone who answered the phone at A Doggie Business tonight said Neita was not available for comment.

Read more: Animals neglected, emaciated – Avondale, IL | Pet-Abuse.Com Animal Cruelty Database http://www.pet-abuse.com/cases/19306/IL/US/#ixzz1zZmB7Aa3