Archive for July, 2014

Too Many Good Dogs—& yeah, you DO want a show dog…

July 31, 2014
purebred Puli in cords.  you don't see them in pet shops. the breeders tend to be careful who they sell breedable dogs to.

purebred Puli in cords. you don’t see them in pet shops. the breeders tend to be careful who they sell breedable dogs to.

 

Last year, one of my old dogs died.  An opportunity to make a good choice in  adding another pet. While I feel bad for the many dogs in shelters, there were no Whippets in area rescues or shelters.    That’s what i wanted:  a dog to possibly fun race, do lure coursing, obedeince, rally.  A QUIET dog  who shed little.  I  knew exactly  what I wanted. Using my network, I located a breeder—a hobby breeder—who  is known for taking back dogs when owners don’t want them. In reality, most  Whippet breeders do this if they know a dog they bred becomes displaced, but Linda Larsen makes a special request, and has buyers sign a contract.   She often buys the dog back.

Dash  was returned because he chased the cat.  We  drove out to  nowhere (Rochelle, Illinois) to see him.   He and my other  Whippet, Bebop, seemed ok with each other, and after I returned from a brief trip, I returned for  Dash.  I always thought he was too tall to race (we measure dogs before every race, because the whole point is to breed good race dogs, and that they be uniform), so I didn’t  really think about it.  An opportunity came for a field trial (he ended up getting his preliminary title of Junior Courser, then Qualified Courser) and I decided to measure him at home with a yardstick and a comb—and he seemed  to not be oversize to me. So, I  called Linda, ans she said, “Oh, he will measure in, for sure!”

Yes, he has now measured in several times, I have no fear of driving 100 miles and being disqualified  for measuring out.  That said, why was he sold as a pet?  There are not enough people who want to show a dog in conformation.

As a groomer, I see dogs like this  virtually every day.  Mostly the popular breeds, of course, but dogs that would be show dogs if the breeders could have found  owners so inclined.  Yes, it’s expensive to show a dog between entry fees and  gas, and sometimes staying over in a hotel.  The thing is, if you saw dogs of your breed, chances are, even if they were  pet quality dogs with conformation faults, you  got a general idea of size, coat, shape, and personality.  Except for the breeds that are bred to be deformed (all the bracheocephalics:  Bulldogs, Pugs,  Frenchies, Bostons, Daschshunds), if you are getting a show dog, you are getting a  sound dog:  a dog bred to do what he was originated to do, and generally healthier than any designer dog.  I don’t know where the prejudice started  that show dogs aren’t good pets.  Most show dogs ARE pets!  They  just work, and are trained by their owners  to behave.

Why would anyone take a chance on any dog—particularly a puppy bred for the market—for money alone, when you  can get a dog bred for the betterment of the breed…especially if you are attracted to that breed?  Why would you go on Craigslist, Ebay, or another website & just throw a dart at anyone posting, trusting them to act with integrity.  I see so many unhealthy purebred dogs, mostly merles (in color), deaf, sometimes blind, bred for the market  by  what we call backyard breeders. some even proud that their puppies have blue eyes!.  Why are people so trusting of these people who are just breeding for profit?

You need to know  that  the dogs that hobby breeders keep are  often a dog kept as a show prospect that either grew too large, or not large enough, or developed a bad bite or front—BUT—the breeder worked with this dog. she groomed and trained this dog.  the breeder cared about this dog.  So, why isn’t the breeder  marketing this dog?  Or the retired show dog?  She cares too much about the dog, and  wants YOU  to do the research and  really seek out the dog!

Yes, I reel really really bad for the many dogs—particularly the Pit Bulls, but all the dogs bred by the slick  morons and thugs looking for ‘xtra income’.  & if you  have tons of money and don’t mind taking the gamble, and aren’t particular about  size, temperament, personality. or the dog’s general health, go for it, Many shelters and rescues do an excellent job of evaluating  abandonded dogs so they can find good homes for them,.  However, we have found that for every one of those, there are five who  just want to save dogs and don’t  do any evaluation.  Plus, that  dog may end up costing more than a retired show dog, or the dog that didn’t make it to show.  Be skeptical.

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Uproar Over immigration

July 25, 2014

Three of my  four grandparents were immigrants.  When they immigrated, there  weren’t so many regulations or controls, If you could get transport into the USA…you were IN.  That’s how it went.  In fact, my father’s grandfather came over before  WWI, looking for work…leaving behind (in Germany) a wife with 6 kids, He said he’d send for her.  I’m not sure how long the interval was, but she ended up coming to the USA with 6 kids, to find her husband, and  later had twins.

Over 20 years ago, I dated an African man who was in the  USA to  get his Ph. D.  His government was paying for it.  He was ABD (all but dissertation).  he told me he was working on it (he was defending single party systems, saying that they had factions, and that was like having a multi-party system in government..), but  some time just before i met him, his country devalued  their currency, and his  scholarship was cut.  He was floundering.  he  wouldn’t prepare to defend his dissertation because  nobody would hear it.  his tuition wasn’t paid, and he didn’t have the money to pay it. He was  really opposed to  taking  short term employment until his African friends made it clear to him he had no choice.

I knew there was a program to repatriate Africans who wished to return to their home countries.  I tried calling the Immigration and Naturalization office in Chicago, and  the line was busy constantly—like the phone was off the hook. After weeks of this, I gave up.

I don’t know how many Americans are aware of this, but around WWII, when many Jewish refugees from Europe were attempting to get into the USA, Congress started tinkering with the rules. There are arbitrary  quotas  for virtually every country:  if you are a political refugee, you get special consideration. Same for economic refugees, people fleeing violence…but also, if you want to come and invest money in the economy here, you can JUMP THE QUEUE.  That’s how many  Europeans manage to  do this. Same with Indians.  This is true  for most countries:  they have rules that state you are investing (so you are not a drain on their economies), and you can get permanent residency status.

Some countries pay lobbyists to lobby our congressmen  on behalf of well  connected individuals.  This is how the bin Ladin  family had so many people living in the USA at the time of 911—and why they were protected by the Bush administration.  This is not hearsay.

 

So this year, 2014,  due to a rumor (when you are illiterate, or don’t have access to news media—or your GOVERNMENT CONTROLS THE NEWS), we’re having an influx of CHILDREN coming from Central America.  Not Mexico—but Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, fleeing violence.

The way this is being reported, it seems as though their parents are sending them…to find relatives and have a better  shot at life.   Unfortunately, this is only  about 10% true.  How do I know?  I have friends who have supported   development in  central American countries for over  40 years.  How many governments  have we meddled in or over thrown?     http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/18/refugee-crisis-border_n_5596125.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000010     How many dictators have we supported so  United Fruit could sell us cheap bananas?  I know…’we’ didn’t know.  We didn’t have a clue.  We don’t read newspapers, and  if we looked at a world map, we could not even find these countries.

You might notice no kids are coming from Nicaragua or Costa Rica.  Their governments are more stable.  That is not to say we  didn’t meddle. It is to say that we meddled more in the other governments and  the result  is that there is no confidence in the governments of Guatemala, Honduras, or El Salvador to  invest in infrastructure or to protect citizens from violence.   Heck, we have the same problems here in many inner city neighborhoods:  the plan  is really to contain violence to  neighborhoods we ‘disinvest’. so the developers can get cheap land and start over.

I am  sort of  shocked by the  many pro-lifers (people who believe in the philosophy of when life begins) who are protesting  the kids.  In most cases, a parent did NOT send them here.  A mother might have kicked the kid out or not been feeding the kid—but the daddy is long gone, In fact, many countries do not let a mother bring a child over a border unless she has permission  from the father—a guy she hasn’t seen since the kid  was conceived.  Remember—many of the mommies are barely literate.  These are also ‘Catholic’ countries.  Even if you could afford  birth control—there is none to be bought.  They all have informal sector economies.  For most of the kids—some as young as  four years old…who followed older kids— they just kept walking.

Interesting…nobody in Mexico  notices.  They were just ignored. Not their problem.  They were heading for us.  We are  protesting that we can’t afford them.  Somebody tell me what we got for the trillions of dollars we spent on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars?  That money could have gone for schools and media infrastructure  in the USA and other places.  But Dick Cheney and Haliburton  knew who  to  impress.

I am not sure what the answer is  since we gambled  our future revenues away on Republican idiocy…with the tacit  approval of the Democrats…but we caused the problem.

So—here’s the REAL problem:  we are running out of clean water. Due to fracking, and pulling water out of aquifers without replacing it, we are in a crisis.  We know the solution is not just to be more conservative, but to quit breeding ourselves!  Yet, how many people in the USA have taken a high school biology or ecology class?  How many of us know  what population crash is?  Yet the media seems to glorify and honor  parents who choose to bear  over a dozen children!   18 kids and counting! What a miracle!  & they home school!  How many of those  future citizens are learning  actual  science?  Biology?  Ecology?   Physics?  That’s where our problem is—- not a bunch of desperate little kids!

Professional Dog Breeders: let’s not confuse the issue. with bad terminology

July 18, 2014
Ch. Scenario's Razzle Dazzle, JC (Dazzle) Saluki,  on the left, Bebop Whippet, on the right.

Ch. Scenario’s Razzle Dazzle, JC (Dazzle) Saluki, on the left, Bebop Whippet, on the right.

 

 

 

 

Someone contacted me recently, She had gotten her dog  from an animal shelter—or at least a business that calls themselves an animal shelter.  Unfortunately, the dog was very ill, and this was not disclosed to her, She doubts they knew how sick the  pup was, and, so far, she has spent over $700 in veterinary fees…and this doesn’t include the neutering, She  asked me what the $250 she spent covered.

Obviously…that ‘fee’ covered overhead:  the facility, and transporting  puppies from—well, they weren’t owner surrenders  in our area. So they had to pay transport.  Salaries.  This  is from an animal shelter/rescue I’ve written about before, Seems their public relations always trumps the truth.

Meanwhile, all the  people involved in  no-kill rescue have framed the terminology.  Apparently, they think that anyone who breeds dogs and either sells to  pet stores or shows dogs is a PROFESSIONAL breeder.  And—anyone who breeds their pet  and attempts to swell on Craigslist, or E-bay—-is NOT a professional breeder & not the  problem?

What is going on here?  In a  recent issue of PET BUSINESS(July. 2014, p.12), Andrew Hunte of Hunte  Corp—the largest puppy mill in the world (and damn proud of it) addresses what he calls the ‘real ramifications’ of the ban on  ‘live animal sales’ in pet shops.  Long story short:  because he thinks that  retail stores are the most regulated, the consumer looking for a pet has a better chance of buying  a healthy pet from a pet store than by dealing with the shady operations who post on various websites, or in newspapers.

There is no  proof of this.  In fact, the person who does their research and takes their time in choosing a pet usually  comes out ahead—at least ahead of those who fall for great marketing and  go with their hearts.

Is someone who is breeding dogs for the betterment of their breed, and/or to improve their bloodline, who knows a lot, and cares about who gets his pups—-a professional?  If they are not the cause of the  pet surplus….why are the activists ignoring the facts?  FACT: it is the puppy mills with surplus pups or dogs, and ‘backyard’ breeders who are causing the problem.  Why are they being ignored?  Because… it would actually take organizing and confronting these people—and the  rescuers don’t want to do this.  If they actually solve the problem, they have to come up with another cause.

I don’t mean to disrespect Mill Dog rescue—but how many of those breeding dogs can actually be pets?  Housebroken?  Interact with a family?

I am currently training a purebred dog.  I got him as an adult dog—from the breeder.  He was returned by his first owner.  He came to  me  with basic training, shots, and neutering, for  three hundred dollars. Did the breeder make money?  I doubt it.  She had to feed him and house him. I paid as much as I would have from a ‘non-profit’ rescue.  He had some bad habits, but  I was committed to working with him and he is on his way to several titles.

I really  had to  think about why I am showing him to titles.  It’s expensive, and most of the people I know really aren’t impressed.  I am doing this for the challenge, and because I enjoy teaching him  and reaching goals.  It’s also a chance to network with other dog lovers.

Yet, the irony is that all the activists who are actively ‘saving’ dogs—don’t train their dogs don’t know how to  guide people to  helpful trainers or products, and they  think  and act like they are doing more for dogs than I am.

Another irony is that my dog WAS a show quality dog.  He was neutered and can’t be shown in conformation.  I thought it was because  he was too tall, but he is not.  He is measured at every lure coursing event.  He was sold as a pet because the breeder could not find enough  people to show all the good dogs she bred!

Unfortunately, many of the ‘do-gooders’ have the ‘starfish’ mentality: that  you can’t save them all…but  it matters to the one you saved.  Interesting thinking. So…when we  get to discussing the logic of this way of thinking, we might actually get to understanding why this will not be a ‘no-kill’ nation  until we attack the people causing the problem.  The hobby breeders—who  THEY lump with the commercial breeders—are not the  cause of dogs being euthanized in shelters.

1/2 Million Ain’t What it Used to be

July 10, 2014
Balloons over Cappadocia

Balloons over Cappadocia

 

 

My parents set a really good example for me…but that was the culture they came from.  They  decided to NOT have kids until they were financially secure…meaning they    owned a house & weren’t subject  to a landlord’s whims, and if something happened to my father—the bread winner,  he had life insurance to take care of us kids.  It was middle class values.

I am afraid that, due to the news media and journalists looking for a sob story, the conventional wisdom is now that the rest of the community has to make up for  a  parent’s bad decisions.

I understand the average American citizen carries a balance on their credit card.  I also understand that the average American who  graduated college has college debt—but that only about 25% of adults have  college degrees.  I also understand that  since 2008, when the economy imploded, a lot of people were living to close to the edge of financial calamity and have not recovered.

I am clearly not rich.  I still  shop for clothes at thrift stores, and do all sorts of stuff to economize.  I didn’t think of myself as having assets, but  as I’ve been planning for retirement, I have been proved wrong.

If I retire at 65, will I have enough money to last me if I live to be 100?  Most people don’t  live to be 100, but I’ve had relatives live into their 90’s.  My father turns 88 in a few weeks and is still going strong.

In trying to protect capital from market losses, I started thinking about what *I would do to manage this.  Also,  as I was drafting this, a friend sent me a Zillow link that  showed the estimated valuation of my house.

It wasn’t luck that allowed me to accumulate:  it was pragmatic choices, and learning from my parents.  Sure, I made some choices I really regret (buying a business based on optimism, when I was set to retire at a very young age), but mostly I did ok:

1.  I did not incur college debt.  None. Zero.   I paid cash. In fact, I got an assistantship to grad school:  they PAID me to go.  I have written about this before, but my niece  got her associate’s degree from a community college, and finished her B.A. at a state school.  Her debt was for law school, but she crafted a career and is doing phenomenally well—BECAUSE SHE PLANNED.  Unless you  go to an Ivy League School, or a school kn0wn for a particular program (Johns Hopkins for public health, or Georgetown for International Development), your network or alumni association will be marginal in helping you get a job.  It’s stupid to incur over $20,000 in debt if you aren’t absolutely sure there is a shortage of employees in your field. Majoring in education, or business, or  liberal arts is plain stupid these days.

2. I didn’t have kids.  When you don’t take birth control as seriously as I did, you are gambling with being poor—and the odds are not in your favor.  You are expecting your community to  help you out, and the  politicians generally pay themselves too much money to be bothered with the likes of you—& why should they—or anyone—have to support YOUR PERSONAL CHOICE?  If you do some research about how people live, you will find a few enclaves in the world (Singapore, and even Kuala Lumpur come to mind) where even the poor live  more of a middle class lifestyle.  That is because of cultural sensibilities and the  people in power.  But most of the world’s poor live without running water.   Yet YOU want to have cable TV, a smart phone, and designer clothes?&  cigarettes and beer …& kids?

3.  That’s another thing.  When you CHOOSE to smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol…you are  saying you have more than enough money to  waste.  You do not look mature or sophisticated. You look stupid. that’s a fact.  This is not the 1950’s.  We  know these addictions cause health problems, It’s not loke the information is a secret.

4.  I bought my first house in what would be considered a slum area.  Funny thing, there was no ‘minority’ population, but the housing stock was old.  It cost me $24,000, with $2000 down.  I started building equity.  There was a lot wrong with that house—but the rent did not go up.  I ultimately sold that house, and my current home is worth considerably more.

With the market correction of  2008, this can be done again. Would you forego fast food, cable TV,  cigarettes, going out drinking— to  be stable and start building wealth? You can watch HGTV and learn a lot about looking at a neighborhood, and  ‘feeling out’ a property.  You are not  going to make an old, broken  down house livable on $20,000, but you might  with $50,000–especially if the plumbing and electrical infrastructure are ok.

4.  I chose to live with roommates. Yes, finding people you are compatible with is a serious issues.  I have lived with drunks and other who could not get their lives together.  I  contracted with a school that catered to foreigners  wishing to learn English in the USA.  I took several people from that school, and ultimately  got my current  roommate (12 years and counting) this way—to save money.

5.  I made a point to budget and save money. …and invest money.  Of course, I learned this from my mother.  She didn’t know investing however.  I was lucky one of my friends wanted to start an investment club.  They can be found.  You will learn together.  These days, you can get Money  or Kiplinger’s magazine, do really good research on Google finance, and open a Scottrade account (there are lots of discount brokers).  I also ’round up’ when I  deduct a check (or debit) from my checking account. I always have a cushion  of money I don’t even count on as there.

6.  In times of no employment or slow business, I find other ways to earn money.  I did over night pet sitting for years for a very reputable company.  I collect cans  on the street when I am out walking the dogs, I  find books, furniture, and clothing to resell. Some of my friends do baby sitting, tutoring, proof reading.

7.  I delay gratification. I have a list of ‘wants’, but  I only buy when I find something that’s a good value, and if I’ve met my savings goals.

I think these are all common sense ideas.  But if all your friends are idiots with no goals, who ridicule your  ideas, plans, and way of life, you will be  brought down.  Think about it.  Nobody is going to save your ass but you.  & what is $500,000?  Over  35 years….or 420 months…that’s $1190 per month (or roughly $297 per week).  Can YOU live on that?

 

Groomers: Good intentions are not enough

July 4, 2014
This is a mix of a Pit bull and a Shih Tzu--- can you guess what they call it?

This is a mix of a Pit bull and a Shih Tzu— can you guess what they call it?

 

 

I work for a kennel that offers  dog daycare and grooming.  The owner  often asks me how I get information.  I network.  I train my dog. I attend performance events.  I also  volunteer.

You would think that all groomers love dogs and  I believe that most of us do.  However, for a lot of us, there’s a limit to how much we can love.  some do not want to know any more than what they’ve already learned.  They do  other things—non-dog related things on their time off.  When I started grooming over 40 years ago, it was not this way. Everyone who groomed  either showed a dog in conformation or obedience, or  did tracking of field trialing.  There was no internet. It was the only way to learn.

I try to volunteer  for shelter dog washing events.  I usually cut toenails since I can do it quickly without hurting a dog.  I’ve volunteered  for animal shelters that have physical facilities.  Shelters where  I know  the boards of directors and people involved in the actual care of the animals. I know their policies.

What’s happened in the last  30 years or so is that  small rescue groups have sprung up.  The people who form these organizations either don’t like the policies of the animal shelters (particularly that they will euthanize  animals found unsuitable to be pets) and think they can either do a better job, or can save more animals.  This is what has  gone down in the metro Chicago area in the  last couple of years:

1.  Purrs From the Heart was a cat rescue.  They actually set themselves up as a  non-profit registered in the state of Illinois, I   made a donation-in-kind to them. Upon a random audit (by a state agency connected with the Illinois Department of Agriculture) it was found that they took  90 cats from Chicago Animal Care & Control (this is an open admissions pound which cooperates with  private shelters & rescues) which they could not account for.  No records? Trapped/neutered/released?   Given in bunches to kitten killers?  used as bait  for dog fighters? Were any spayed or neutered? No information is available;

2.ROMP—Rescue Our Mill Pups.  This is a private rescue run by Italian Greyhound breeder Liz Dobryzinski.  She says right on her web page that  she is NOT nonprofit. She will take in IGs, but she  will also buy  puppy mill  dogs to ‘rehome’.  She really does a very good job of this, and screens carefully….but is it rescue when you  pay for  a dog & don’t put the breeder  out of business?  One of our mutual friends defended her, stating not everyone could pay $1200 for an IG. Did they not deserve a dog? My response  was, “When that pup develops luxated patellas, and the operation to fix them costs  $2500 per knee, that  $1200 dog from OFA parents  seems like a bargain. Does she tell  buyers that  there is a good chance that the pup will turn out to have luxated patellas?  Or—that if they don’t crate the dog and use operant conditioning to get the dog housebroken, that it will never be housebroken?”

3.  Christine Poyner a/k/a Poyner Pet Rescue & Steppingstones for Pets is still in business, and licensed by the Illinois Department of Agriculture as not just a breeder, but a shelter.   A private shelter.  She’s a great business woman, buying low and selling high, but she is in violation of Ill. Dept of Ag laws about rescues including shots & NEUTERING in their fees.

4.  Wright-Way, in Morton Grove, Illinois, continues to  buy  pups( and rarely adult dogs), from  out of state, from dog pounds known to take surplus commercially bred dogs from puppy mills, ignoring the many locally  available dogs.  They rarely do any screening, any follow up on spay/neuter, and lie about the soundness of their dogs.  Although volunteers tell me they ALWAYS take dogs back, we know they tell  BUYERS (you can hardly call them adopters) to bring their dogs to OPEN ADMISSIONS  shelters if they don’t want them.    I thought it was my  skeptical imagination, but ah, no.  I learned from someone who volunteered with them, and also from a client who had no idea that they were not OPEN ADMISSIONS.

5.  Unnamed Rescues.  We have several that go by ‘adopt-a-pet and ‘save-a-pet’ but completely rely on volunteers to foster.  They have web sites.  They often have crippled or paralyzed dogs, and this means they need their bladders expressed manually.  They will tell adoptors they will pay all medical expenses for the lives of the dogs—and then they do not.

6. PAWS Chicago.  The largest ‘no-kill’ shelter in the city.  Will take an owner surrender if they have room—and charge your $200.  Hard to tell from  an annual report how many owner surrenders they have taken in. What we do know is, although they will pull dogs from the OPEN ADMISSIONS  shelter/pounds in our area…they do NOT take all adoptable dogs, If they did, over 60% of the dogs in the shelter would be Pit Bull or Pit mix dogs. They go out of state  often to get purebred dogs, or designer mixes (remember, this is the  shelter that Oprah Winfrey put in an  order for 2  brown cocker spaniel puppies, and later, 2 springer spaniel pups).

These ‘rescues’ deride breeders.  You see all over Facebook that they say, “Don’t shop, adopt!”    Or, another  guilt causer—the photos of dogs in shelters  with the caption, “Which one do you think should die because you bought a dog from a breeder?”  They do nothing to  stop the problem.  These dogs are not coming from ‘breeders’ who are breeding for the betterment of the breed. They are coming from the many backyard breeders who don’t think if themselves as breeders.  The veterinarians love these imbeciles as much as they love the puppy mills.  If they didn’t the veterinary community would  do all they could to stop them.

Google the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America and check out their code of ethics.  Notice, you NEVER see Scottish Deerhounds, Briards, English Setters….so many breeds—-in shelters or anything but breed specific rescues. In fact,  many of the  breed rescues don’t even have a list of ‘private placement’ dogs.  The breeders take them back.  Via networking, they manage to find good homes for dogs. So, the argument that hobby breeders ar the problem is specious.

I don’t want the ignorant idiots of the world deciding what kind of dog I should live with.  I refuse to  help a  shelter or rescue that pro0motes this  ignorant way of thinking.

How do you ‘vet’ a shelter or rescue?

1.  Ask to see a copy of their nonprofit status.  If they aren’t answerable to anyone, they make their rules up as they go along.  They might be dog brokers, as the groups I’ve listed above actually are;

2.  Ask for a list of their board of directors and their contact information.  If you check around, you see some of the groups actually have  puppy mill breeders on their boards. WTF?

3.  Ask for volunteers to contact you m so you can ask them about  their experiences;

4. Ask them for their adoption guidelines.

I am always happy to  groom a dog to make it more adoptable.  It just makes no sense for  a group to pander to a hoarder or a backyard breeder who disrespects my interest in planned breeding.