Archive for November, 2013

Bullying

November 28, 2013

When I was in 7th grade, I transfered from one junior high to another.  I was not even  three miles from  where I used to live. What a difference in culture!  I went from what I felt was normal, where everyone was friendly and nice, to  a society of cliques.  There were the ‘cool’ girls, socially/sexually precocious, who  put on make-up and nylons after they left the house in the morning, so their mothers wouldn’t know.  There were the rest of us—very few of the rest of us. The cool girls  were catty, and their boyfriends were positively mean.

I remember the  class where the student teacher wanted us to  be representatives of different countries, so we could  have a mock United Nations and experience trade.  It was a stupid, time wasting exercise that  taught nothing, but I was assigned Zambia.  Zambia is in southern Africa, and years later I would date a Ph. D. candidate from Zambia.  The main export at the time was cattle, soon to be copper, but no matter.  I am not sure why, possibly because I had frizzy hair when EVERYONE  had straight hair, but the cool/mean boys started calling me ZOMBIE.  The nickname stuck until I got into high school. The cool girls did nothing to stop the boys.  My  mother always asked why I didn’t bring some of the cool girls home after school, as she was friends with their mothers.  I told her they were in a different group.   She didn’t understand.  I hung with 2 other girls who also were taunted:  one because she was sort of quiet, and the other because she was very skinny but not as fashionable as Twiggy.

Of course, with high school being  fed by 4 different junior high schools, all that disappeared, and I even got a boyfriend.  I didn’t really think about bullying until  now, with so much media attention on it…and because I  have been bullied recently.  It is  way easier to be meaner on social media.  It used to be called  assault and defamation, but no longer.  On the internet, anything goes.

I originally started blogging because I was being harassed & stalked by Dan London, a man I refused to work for (here is the link to his blog about  me  :http://wallyroot.wordpress.com/).  I refused because he didn’t have enough dog experience to  run a dog business, and I knew he’d be out of business and  would cost me money in the mean time.   He had my resume, and as I posted in the past, posted libelous comments on yelp! about me and places I worked.  He even harassed several people I worked for—calling  constantly and complaining about me.  One of my employers told me he’d just ignore him.   You can’t:  these jerks  don’t have to work for a living and have all the time in the world to libel YOU. Several  commercial animal sellers who  posted on Craigslist also libeled me. They even threatened my employers with death.  I am not joking. Craigslist states in their posting rules that  you are  subject to a $10,000 fine for each incident.   Too bad  I’d have to pay a lawyer $10,000 retainer to start the process.  They apparently thought I had so much influence that I got their selling posts  flagged off.  I wish.  & the fact of the matter is—these idiots have no money, I win—what?  What do a I win?  They are raising pets as livestock.

I recently learned that a former boss had been libeling/slandering me.  I worked for Best Friends Pet Care in Chicago  in 2007 into  2008.  The manager there, Bruce Blaine, was the most verbally abusive, demoralizing  manager I have ever worked for.    I remember thinking, “I want to like this guy, but I don’t feel good about him.” When I  got the job there, a friend was training her dog at the  facility with an  independent contractor who rented the ring, and the trainer told my friend that she wouldn’t want to be caught alone in the building with Bruce.  Best Friends is not a well run corporation.  On their web site, it used to say that to apply for a job, go to the location you want to work, but  when you did that, the manager still had to get approval from corporate headquarters.  Do they not trust their managers?

I always showed up on time, worked with integrity, and I was told that I improved their  grooming net by 10% over the previous year. You’d think they’d reward an employee  who did that. But alas, no—they cut my benefits because I was not working an average of 30 hours a week. Why? Because I managed my time well.Bruce told me when he hired me that he’d clock me out, but he lied.  He actually had me  come in on my regular day off—a national holiday—to groom 1 dog that  didn’t go home  until the next day.  My supervisor  quit because of their crazy  policies and Bruce’s abuse.   When I didn’t get any  help from corporate human resources or the regional manager, and was offered another job—I quit.  When  people asked me where i worked, and I told them, there was always a groomer  who asked, “How did you get  on with Bruce?’  he was never aqble to keep a groomer—and corporate never  bothered to find out why, even when I reported his abuse to human resources. they sent out a regional manager to  ‘observe’ him, and things would change for a day or two, and then he went right back to being an asshole.

Well, apparently several months ago, Best Friends Pet Care was sold to another corporate entity.  You will be hard pressed to find the principals involved.  No matter. Bruce was demoted and moved to another  facility.  He was not fired, however.    I learned of this from one of my clients, and from another independent contractor dog trainer. So, I went to meet the new manager and told her if she needed a groomer, I’d be interested in returning (I have a job now).  She said to me, “Didn’t Bruce fire you?”  What?  I was not expecting that!  “No, I quit. I could not take his abuse.”   He apparently told several  people he fired  me. The damage is done. Nothing I can do.  Illegal? The Statute of Limitations is over on this.

When a spineless, anonymous asshole posts lies or calls you mentally ill (as though you should be ashamed of that!), or ugly, I know it reflects on them.  But it’s still aggravating.

Why the Concept of Breed Matters

November 22, 2013

People remark that my Whippets are so quiet.  I remind them that you do have a choice when choosing a pet.  They aren’t just  four legs and a tail.

I  find it shocking that people go  out and buy (or adopt) a dog, and then are not happy with the dog’s coat, or temperament, or size.  I  have to wonder: did someone trick them? Did they fall for the marketing?  Or did they really believe that all dogs are the same?

I have nothing against Pit Bulls.  I know they generally make good pets and are smart dogs and  shed  little.  They are big terriers, and too much dog for me.  I think they are too much dog for most people.  If they aren’t obedience trained (behavior shaped) they can be a challenge to handle.

I am frequently asked to shave  short-haired dogs because they  shed.  Shaving them will not make them shed less.  They will just shed shorter hairs for about a month.    In fact, clipping a double coated dog will often make the dog shed more. Yet,  crazy as it is, these  owners usually only have the dogs shaved  a couple of times a year.

People get small terriers and  are shocked that the dogs are yappers.

People get  ‘designer’ ( mixed breeds) dog bred for the market, really believing they get the best of both breeds, and never the worst.  We find  backyard breeders posting  designer dog puppies, calling them ‘rare’ (yeah—rare for a reason—they are mistakes), and  marketing that the parent dogs are AKC. So what?  AKC does not mean quality or genetically sound. I have groomed mixed breed dogs with juvenile cataracts and luxated patellas.

And we have  buyers  asking us to make a ‘cavashon (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel mixed with Bichon) look cute. All we  can do is shave these dogs.  Some parts or their coats are straight, some parts fluffy.  I do not see the point of buying a dog from a commercial breeder when you have no idea what the dog will mature to be.

For some reason—the influence of very poorly educated veterinarians who speak in generalities—- people believe mixed breed dogs are healthier than purebreds.  This is not true. Well bred dogs are healthier.  The  purebred or designer dog bred by a livestock breeder is not healthier than the dog bred by the hobby breeder breeding for the betterment of the breed.  That’s the point we are not getting across. When you buy a merle colored anything, you are gambling that YOUR dog will not be blind or deaf.  When you buy a giant mixed breed dog, you are gambling the dog won’t be dysplastic.  It’s not like these issues are unknown.  You can’t expect  people doing this  irresponsible breeding for cash to have any integrity.

Pretty soon, a because Americans are so stupid, and believe the marketing, virtually all dogs will be mixed breed dogs,  the  hobby breeders with integrity can no longer afford to breed healthy dogs.  people are  gravitating to sellers with no integrity.  There will  be no ‘designer’ dogs, They  will be mutts. and since   the  idiot buyers will never  learn to take care of their dogs…they will hall have to be shaved.

A White Woman

November 15, 2013

I am  almost embarrassed to title this particular blog this way, but  the fact is that this is still a racist country, and people have stereotypes in their heads.

My sister is a strong broad.  She doesn’t put up with any bs from her men.  She met her first husband as a teenager, and forgave him for his stupidity many times, and finally divorced him…but  the timing was that  by the  3rd or 4th time he had gotten drunk and abusive, she had found another guy.

Her first husband could not believe S was divorcing him, but no matter. S had moved on.
She  was with D for  about 10 years or so.   He was a very sweet guy.  They moved to a  house that he fixed up.  S even  paid for vanity license plates that said, “I love D–.” w

We’ll never get a straight story on this, but she met J at a Chamber of Commerce meeting, and  she & he moved in to one of her businesses. Sordid.  She just told me, “I fell out of love with D.”  No further explanation.  It was particularly sad that while D was suffering the loss of S, he was also diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, and it was a very bad year.  S was asking  friends & family to be supportive of D.
D had several years  before lost his son  in a horrible accident.  I felt so bad for him.  He did nothing to deserve this.  My sister  was  being unethical (to say the least).

My sister lived with J for  a couple of years. He was a very nice guy.  He did computer networking—installed hardware.   Our grandmother  mentioned that J was a LOT younger than S.  I didn’t see that much of an age difference.
However..as my sister  said, when J  got paid $500—he actually thought he had $500. He’d go to the bar and  buy everyone drinks & not pay his bills. She  saw that  they had very different views on managing money.

Then  S met  F—  through a dating site. She had been dating  a lot (S is very pretty and vivacious), but  felt F was the  one.  They  went to Las Vegas to marry.  It was very fast. At least it seemed that way to the rest of the family.

F had 2 daughters, young adults.  Both  were in their  early  twenties.  Both had babies.  1.  My very socially conservative  roommate overheard A complaining to  F, her father, that she wasn’t making enough working at  a Taco Bell to even pay for disposable diapers.  At the time, neither  girl was married to the father of her child.   B, while she ultimately married the father of her son, due  to  a very unfortunate set of events (enough for another blog),  divorced him and decided  she  no longer wanted to parent her infant son.  Since S  and F did not want the baby to go into the foster care system, they took him. Now, in Illinois, they would qualify as foster parents and be entitled to a subsidy (which they  need, as neither S nor F are  great money managers), but, because  B wants  to collect public aid—even though she does not have the child, S and F can’t file or B  will make sure the child goes into the foster care system.  It gets better. The B became pregnant again, and her aunt is parenting that child.  It doesn’t end there.  B became pregnant a third time, and  is living with the father (we think the guy is the father—a high school drop-out in his 30’s who does odd jobs).

The rest of us wondered  why  B didn’t just become a surrogate parent and get paid since she loves being pregnant, but not  particularly taking care of her kids.  S  just said, “You know,  she’s just stupid.  Some people are just stupid. They don’t plan ahead. Life just happens to them, and the rest of us have to pick up the  pieces.”  Do we?

Think about this.  We all resent these people, but  there is nothing we can do to stop them from being irresponsible. That’s just how it is.  I don’t believe we should give them any money  to  be stupid.  I think we should give them housing and food, and  make sure their  time is filled with learning to budget, plan, and what the rest of us expect.  The truth is, however, they are not as big a drain as the banks we bailed out in 2007, or the  giant automakers (we didn’t actually cut the salaries and bonuses of the people in charge), or AIG, or  the  Iraq and Afghanistan wars.  Plus, those wars  actually destroyed the lives of a lot of  productive citizens  who, for some odd reason, thought they were fighting for  our freedom.  Neither Iraq or Afghanistan will EVER be democracies with stable economies. EVER.

In Chicago, we’ve had a couple of mayors who’ve  sold our  economic stability to  private firms out of greed, and  we have a system where our alderman take no responsibility for signing off on this. I guess we have to choose what we get outraged about.

I am not sure what the solution is to  women continually getting pregnant by guys who have no intention of supporting a child, but I do know it is not a race thing.  It is a stupid thing.

Getting a Cat Groomed

November 7, 2013

I had an inquiry about  cat grooming from a woman who had been a  client of the animal hospital (where  I’ve been working).  The last time she  had her cat shaved  was over six months  ago ( according to my records), but  that  time, the cat was with us for over 6 hours, and when the cat  went home, the cat did not eat or drink for 36 hours. She slept.  The owner felt that this was too much stress, and attributed  the stress to how long the cat was with us.

I didn’t tell her this, but to a dog or cat, any  amount of time over  five minutes is an eternity.  That’s how animals are.  The woman  wanted to know why  we had to have the cat  for such a long period of time.

Here’s how it is:  the way we are ‘set up’ to do business,  we have to get all the  animals  in  by  about  10:a.m. or so, or  owners ‘forget’  to bring them in—after making an appointment, and we lose money.  Most people bring their pet in on the way to work, and we may  have the pet ready by  lunch time, or they  pick up the  pet on the way home.  Were it up to me, I’d take in pets every few hours, but  as it is, we  have a  ‘no-show’ rate  of about 5%, which is really very high.  As we start taking -pets in for service at 7:a.m., if they are not in by 10, we call  to find out if they are still showing up.  In the past, nobody  noted ‘no-shows’, but I do, as some people make a habit of forgetting.  I  tend to charge more for your grooming when you can’t  remember  appointments three times in a row.   Were this my business, I would ask for a deposit, but the animal hospital won’t do this. However,  this doesn’t matter to this cat owner.  I am just explaining.

Also, the way we are set up, in the past, the  groomers showed up  around  9:a.m., or  in the case of my co-worker, as late as 10:a.m.  This means many pets were just sitting around in a cage or kennel run for  several hours.  I  start at 8:a.m.  My choice, but I also don’t think it’s right for the old dogs to have to just sit in a cage.  Fact is, they all know they are in an animal hospital.  That’s a lot of stress.

What is relevant to the cat owner is that we have to start the dogs first, because the dogs are  one person jobs.  For me, a cat is often a 2 person job:  one person to hold the cat—or stretch the cat out,  and the other person—me—to shave.  Then, we bathe the cat, and then, it might take us several hours to get the cat dry.

The cat owner wanted to know why it would take so long to dry a shaved cat.  Cats  scrunch up in little balls when they are stressed…and believe me, getting shaved  once or twice a year & not being touched by a human otherwise is pretty stressful for a cat.  But the other problem is physics.  We are not allowed to use  a warm air blower on pets because management is afraid we will cook a pet.  It seems there are so many stupid, stupid groomers—and the stories about them— of them not monitoring pets being dried, and leaving them for over  five minutes and not checking them—and those animals dying of heat stroke, that all managers who are not  groomers think all groomers are irresponsible imbeciles.

So, if you  have your dog—or cat— groomed at a chain (PETCO, Petsmart, Pet Supplies Plus), or in a shop not owned by a groomer, your pet is  sitting there wet, with cold air blowing on him.  Most dogs  are groomed every  two or three months, so they are used to the stress.  If  it is a dry day with low relative humidity, they may dry quickly.  If it is a humid day, and the dog curls up in a ball, and the groomer never checks the dog, or brushed it up (this is a matter of surface area, and  air getting between the hairs), it could take hours. That’s the way it is.

I told the  client that some grooming shops have a day a week just for cats.  No dogs in the shop (that  will alleviate a lot of stress for cats afraid of dogs)  & since the groomers respect the cats and  know what they are doing, will probably hand dry the cats.  But we are not set up to do that.

Now, if you are not a cat owner, or your cat is short haired, you are probably wondering why people would get their cats shaved.  There are  two reasons:  with the short haired cats, the owners won’t brush the cat, and  the cat sheds too much for their liking. These people really don’t care if their pet is stressed. For the long haired cats—people just don’t brush them and they get matted.  Why do these people even own cats?  Because it’s a free country… because veterinarians don’t stress how important regular brushing is, and because  we still have  morons allowing unspayed cats to roam, kill birds, spread parasites…and breed…and all the do-gooders who  won’t work to make it illegal to  give away free kittens, but instead ‘rescue’ them  and beg for homes. To these people, a bad home is better than no home and euthanizing surplus pets.

Show kids the math for life security.

November 1, 2013

I  read an article about Black Millionaires. It addressed the fact that most were entrepreneurial from a very early age and could  do the math.  That is, they could  do calculations quickly in their heads, and figure out if they were making money selling newspapers, shining shoes, walking dogs, mowing yards.  They taught themselves to be good calculators, and how to understand risk.

These people were ‘outliers’ as they  didn’t come from families  who were entrepreneurial….  but there is another  issue.  They had the math skills to do the calculations, and for some reason,  kids today aren’t getting those skills.

There is no reason that a nine-year old  doesn’t know multiplication tables by rote…except that the adults who influence him won’t spend the time insisting he sit down and  study them.  If you can’t do basic multiplication in your head, you are screwed. The first thing any kid should learn how to do is determine how many  diapers an infant goes through in a week, and  how much disposable diapers cost.  No joke.

I have friends who are elementary  school teachers who shrug at the fact that the kids they ‘teach’ can’t make change  for a dollar, and can’t read an analog clock.

We are in a crisis here.  Many of these kids may get into college, but they will drop  out, or graduate not knowing how to do anything.  This is why so many  people carry more debt than they can  pay off.

I started thinking about this, because I am thinking of retiring, and several  people who are financial professionals have told me I have made uncommonly  smart decisions with very little money.  Nice compliment, but  now the issue is that I can retire, but what about the many people around me who think that  they can live on Social Security?  How ‘secure’ will I be if all my neighbors are beggars—or criminals?  Why would this be so?  They will be desperate.

I see so many people  seeing homelessness as a top issue.  Certainly, capitalism and the idea of land speculation  really doesn’t work for  about 90% of the population—but that is not going to change.  so—why would  anyone just keep having children they can’t afford to house, feed, and educate?

If you have traveled in the ‘developing’ world, you know what i am talking about. They are camping at the gates of the rich, who have their own private security .

So, say your  local primary schools aren’t doing the job, and you are innumerate  and don’t have any math skills,  You live from hand to mouth, and want a better existence for your kids. What to do?  Google Khan Academy. Start there.  Good luck!