Archive for September, 2012

In or Out

September 27, 2012

I own a home with a fenced yard. One of the selling points was the fenced yard.  I got it so I could let the dogs out.

I have a little Whippet who likes to bask in the sun. The Saluki likes to  keep an eye on the yard and see if any squirrels are trespassing. In his younger days, he’d fly down the stairs—and never bark. That’s the nice thing about Salukis—they don’t waste energy.  Now, he is too old and  frail.  He is unsure on the stairs, especially at night.  But he still enjoys  sniffing around & watching what goes on.

I’ve always had dogs that would spend the warm weather in and out, up and down the stairs.  I remember  over a decade ago, with another Saluki.  I was watching TV, and he ran past the doorway carrying what I thought was a fur hat.  It took me a few minutes.  I mean, where did he find a fur hat out in the yard on a summer night?

It was not a fur hat, it was an opossum.  Big mess. Lots of fleas.

I’d ask  Bebop, the Whippet, if he wanted to go out on a winter day.  He’d put his head down, narrow his round eyes into slits and put his ears back, stretching his neck out, but not move a foot. He did not want to go out, too cold.  In fact, for a couple of years,  I often could not get the dogs out after  8 p.m. on a cold night…but then, of course, they’d get up early, because they had to pee, so then I insisted they go out between  9 and 10 at night.

I can’t imagine living with dogs & not having a balcony, yard, or patio where you can just let them out to sit.  Dogs just  love being in the fresh air. They can smell so many things we can’t, and it’s a real pleasure to them.  It’s 1 reason I really don’t like the totally indoor ‘kennels’ & daycare facilities that are springing up around the large urban areas.

I know, it’s a modern world, and dogs don’t ‘need’ to go out, and they can get exercise all sorts of ways, but if your first thought about getting a dog is not how you are going to  exercise the dog and keep him mentally and physically fit, you are on the wrong path to dog ownership.

Maltese, and the book: Scared Poopless, by Jan Rasmusen

September 20, 2012

Maltese are delightful little dogs.  They tend to not be barkers unless you spoil them, and tend to be good with kids if raised with them. They are patient, and like to be held and cuddled. They are smart little dogs, and get along with most dogs.  They don’t shed, but they do mat, and need to be brushed about once a week.  I doubt you can go over a month without giving them a bath.    Being a toy breed, they are delicate, and  due to the many people  who seem to think that breeding dogs for ‘fun & profit’ is ok, they are prone to the genetic maladies of luxated patellas & liver shunts.  Also, being toy dogs, many are born  deformed.  This is  the reason they end up in rescue:  puppy mill breeders either ‘retire’ or go out of business, or dump the non-breeders. But sometimes it’s because older owners die or go into nursing homes.

I found this book at the annual North Central Maltese Rescue gathering. Using the pseudonym “Chiclet T. Rasmusen”, she subtitled the book,   The Straight Scoop on Dog Care.

She indeed covers a lot of  information you won’t find in many books on dog care.  She addresses  preservatives and additives in dog food, vaccinations (we tend to over vaccinate because if veterinarians didn’t get us in once a year, they’d be out of business), parasites, dental issues (a huge problem for many dogs), why  pet dogs should not be bred,  and  many other health & safety issues.  Most of this really  is directed at the owners of the toy breeds, but any  loving dog owner could benefit by reading this book.  She’s done her research, and is a very good writer.

Yet, with all the  issues  Rasmusen addresses in the book, she doesn’t address grooming at all.  The irony is that  when you groom your dog, you are touching your dog all over, and that is when you  learn  if your dog has a health issue.

I was  surprised by this, but still, if you are a toy dog lover, this book is worth checking out.

The End of Poverty, by Jeffrey Sachs (book review)Now all we Need is the Money!

September 13, 2012

We all want to end poverty and injustice.  It’s why I joined Peace Corps:  t do my part.  There are some small things  people can do that make a big difference.    The Grameen Bank was revolutionary.  However, where there is no local political will things get complicated, and unjust.  You can not give people power, They must take it.  Also,  you can’t do just 1 thing.

Worth  reading is Jeffrey Sachs book, The End of Poverty.  It’s much longer than it needs to be, but  he spends about half the book  justifying his credentials.  I have no problem with that.  He’s obviously an extremely talented economist.  He also managed to be in the right place at the right time to be able to earn his street cred.

When I originally hears about his Millenium Developement Goals, I thought he was very arrogant. This guy is, essentially, a jet setting  policy wonk, flitting all over the world and hob-nobbing with elites.  What could he possibly know about  poverty?  Well, he made a point to educate himself.  He understood, that for every  economic crisis he  helped fix, he caused other problems.    That was before he started addressing acute poverty.

What I particularly like about the book, and what absolutely everyone in the developed (that is, North America, Europe, much of Southeast Asia, and a few very wealthy islands) world should understand,is,  what he addresses on pages 252—255 in his Chapter 13:  Making the Investment Needed to End Poverty.  He justifies why governments need to make infrastructure and social investments that ultimately benefit us all.  That  create economic vitality.  That’s it. Bottom line.

The trouble is….the IMF and World Bank are still their own fiefdoms and supported,  for no logical reason, by donor countries, including the USA…And they still allow—heck—they FUND  corruption and mismanagement.

Sachs discounts the impact of corruption (it probably is only 20% of why there is poverty in Africa), and spends a decent part of this book explaining to  World Bank and IMF funders that if they  funded what is proven to work, instead of their cronies’ schemes,  all humans could have a decent standard of living—but they don’t give a shit.  Full stop.  However,  while he is excellent with the numbers, as an economist, he  believes the  amount of aid should be based on a country’s GNP.  In theory, that’s a great idea.  Unfortunately, for the developed world,  were there surplus GNP,  we’d be paying the debt for the  stupid wars we’ve engaged in, as well as the politicians/government workers unfunded pension plans.

Sachs then  expresses astonishment at the Bush era tax cuts to the wealthy, making the rich richer.   While he got the Gates Foundation, and a few other  compassionate uber-wealthy  donors on board—well, he didn’t get Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and a bunch of people who believe that capitalism is really about who dies with the most money. Otherwise, their greed & selfishness makes no sense.  I think that Sachs  realized he’s been working for the wrong team for too many years.

As a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, working in Malawi, where hunger, chronic disease, and lack of political will destroyed a society, I agree with Sachs’ approach, and in fact, there are many small groups trying to help distinct communities. I  support several.  However, Sachs is right:  the capital is there.  Just not the political will.  & face it: our  ‘development’ policy, whether put forth by Republicans or Democrats, is to make the rich richer.

The late Wangari Maathai really did so much in Kenya, and her work was often sabotaged by the Kenyan government.  I  believe  Sachs gives too big a pass to the many  sub-Saharan governments he claims are well-managed, without addressing their political will.

If you don’t know anything about why so much of Africa is impoverished, this is a good read  to supplement much of what else is written about development economics. As Americans, we have to understand that  we have allowed our government to support war to benefit elites over  poverty  eradication which, ironically, would have gotten rid out our enemies for good more quickly.

I got bit by a dog wearing a harness.

September 6, 2012

I have written about how important it is to choose the right collar for a dog, and how bad prong or ‘pinch’ collars are for the average dog.  Many veterinarians  suggest  harnesses, so the dog’s trachea doesn’t become collapsed when he pulls the owner, but this doesn’t  solve the problem of the dog pulling the owner, or the consequences of  what happens when a dog pulls.  What happened was I had a very stressed out dog come in for grooming, and neither the owner nor I knew how stressed out he was at the time.  I  wasn’t fast enough.  He was so scared.

He came in to  be groomed, first time client.  The client  had just moved to the neighborhood.

He was a cute little Cockapoo, and he came out of the cage just fine, because he was still wearing his harness with a leash.  But I  clipped his hair, bathed him, & put him in a crate to dry, and when I went to get him out, he  freaked out (not unusual),  reared up, bit me—badly, jumped out of the crate,  ran around & shit all over, & then had a seizure.

I called his owner, & his owner came & held him while I finished the grooming, and  told me that they had moved  twice in 3 months,& they were stressed, & as a result, the dog was stressed.

It happens.  Dogs can take a lot of stress. They manifest it in different ways. Some lose weight. Some get diarrhea. Some chew their hair. Some  can only take so much change & then  freak out.

Well, the little guy got me good on the knuckle, and although I flushed it, it probably should have been stitched.  I have a $10,000 deductible insurance policy. I  didn’t want to pay $500 for a dog bite….but here’s what happened:

It would not heal.  I went & got a tetanus shot at Walgreen’s ($65) & neosporin &  bandages with anti-biotic (another $10), but   it was not getting scabbed & it was swollen).  A friend —an emergency room nurse,  looked at it, and told me to go to CVS to see the nurse practitioner….which I did, but they don’t deal with dog bites.

So, I had to go see my doctor. That was  $150 to say hello. She gave me a prescription of Amoxicillan ($40).  My friend warned me about getting  a yeast infection. Sure enough. Monostat ($10)

This was about three months ago. I would like to see the little dog again, but chances are, his people will go to another groomer, & the little guy will have to adjust to yet another personality.

Could this have been avoided?  Probably.  But we groomers assume we are NOT going to be bitten, and stuff happens.  You just have to be prepared. I will say this:  had the dog been walked on a regular buckle collar (or martingale) and leash, I know that would have lessened the chance of  my being bit. How?  When a dog is on a collar and leash, he receives cues from the owner/dog walker. When he is in a harness,  he isn’t getting those cues, and he has to make more decisions on his own, and this is extremely stressful for dogs.

We see this all the time:  owners tell us their dogs pull all over the place. Right. Because the dog is not getting the cue from the owner —-for where the owner wants to lead the dog. So, the dog has to lead—and the dog doesn’t know where to go.

“But his neck!”  Right—and this is why it is so very important to take the time to train the dog to walk on a leash without pulling. If you practice just five minutes 2 or 3 times a day for a couple of days, your dog will get it. Save him from freaking out!