A Dog Park in Pisa

Well, I suppose I should begin by explaining my long absence for the blogosphere (I am so behind on blog reading and am unlikely to catch up). But there’s a good excuse, I promise: the Husband and I went off to western Europe for 24 days.

And it was awesome! We had so much fun and went to so many cool places!

But I didn’t completely forget about the Soapbox while I was away and have some travels to share.

For example, did you know there’s a dog park right next to the Leaning Tower of Pisa?

Me neither!

IMG_8801

I don’t know if it’s an official dog park, but there were quite a few pups gathered there having a great time.

IMG_8805

Perhaps it’s the Capitoline Wolf sculpture that welcomes them?

It depicts the legend of Romulus and Remus (sons of Mars), who were rescued by a she-wolf after being cast into the Tiber River. They were then raised by a shepherd, grew to overthrow their great uncle (as prophesied, hence the banishment in the first place), and eventually established the city of Rome. (Later Romulus kills his brother, often taken to represent the city’s history of conflict.)

IMG_8808

IMG_8812

This little dude was chewing on a stick solo nearby, in front of the Pisa Baptistry

This little dude was chewing on a stick solo nearby, in front of the Pisa Baptistry

So, now that I’m back, what’d I miss?!

This post is part of the Thursday Barks & Bytes Blog Hop, hosted by 2 Brown Dawgs and Heart Like a Dog. Go pay a visit to the hosts and check out other hop participants.

Barks&Bytes

Advertisements

Monday Mischief 22: Good Morning!

The alarm hasn’t gone off, so it’s not time to get up quite yet.

At least, not according to me.

But I can hear it. And feel it. Panting. Hot breath.

Sure, it could be a serial killer like in a movie, but I know it’s not.

I open one eye.

IMG_7181

Good morning, Moses!

"Just checking to see if you're awake yet."

“Just checking to see if you’re awake yet.”

Alma’s definitely not left out of this routine.

Moses and Alma wake-up call

Moses and Alma wake-up call

Even Crosby, who stayed with us for a couple of weeks but went home this weekend, checks in.

Crosby

Crosby

"No, no, just get up on your own time. I'll be here when you're ready."

“No, no, just get up on your own time. I’ll be here when you’re ready.”

Though, this weekend Moses and Crosby eventually decided to start the day without me.

Mo vs Crosby

What do you wake up to?

This post is part of the Mischief Monday blog hop – to see what everyone else has been up to, visit Snoopy’s Dog Blog here, My Brown Newfies here, or Alfie’s Blog here.

monday-mischief

I am well aware my dogs are not kids

Moses and Alma are not my “children”.

They – and the cats – are not our “furbabies” and we are not using them as practice kids nor for exhibiting nesting behaviour (unless, perhaps, the nesting period is longer than a decade?).

Both the Husband and I grew up with pets in the home. Dogs and cats are part of what makes a home a home; even once out on my own, it wasn’t long before there was an unauthorized cat smuggled into the apartment.

I say Moses and Alma are not kids because I am acutely aware they’re not. It’s intentional.

We have our pets on purpose; we also don’t have any children on purpose.

Dogs, not kids

Dogs, not kids

The Husband and I are happily DINKs. That’s double-income-no-kids, for those who forget their junior high social studies. Or, perhaps, we’re DONKs: dogs-only-no-kids. (But I don’t think sociologists recognize that term… yet.)

Sure, I may be occasionally tempted to respond to a story about a toddler’s drool with a story of Moses’ drool, but that’s not because I think he’s the equivalent of a toddler; it’s because I find some common ground with my own experience of sharing a home with a drooly creature. It’s intended to be funny – and probably gross – but it’s not supposed to be insulting or demeaning to the child.

Moses exhibiting frozen drool

Moses exhibiting frozen drool

And it certainly doesn’t mean that I think my role as a dog owner – no matter how extreme I take it (raw diets, crazy vet bills, hours of training, a blog…) – as anything at all equal to the responsibilities of parenthood.

Any dog/child comparisons I may make, though intentionally rare, do not mean I think of Moses and Alma as children. They’re dogs. They’re part of the family, of course, but they fill the role they’re supposed to: pets.

Sure, they’re a commitment that requires training, a good diet, medical costs, daily walks, etc. I frequently stress the importance of being a good pet guardian. But they’re still not kids, which (I can only assume) are a whole different, scary-looking thing. They certainly appear to be, anyway. I mean, I’m able to  leave my dogs home alone for ten hours while I’m at work. You can do that with a two year old dog. You can’t do that with a two year old human.

IMG_5609

The Husband and I are soon to celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary and we continue to be childfree.

Something about this piques interest in people, and, for whatever reason, it is a frequent go-to for small talk with acquaintances, coworkers, and business associates.

Truthfully, I have no idea when ‘small talk’ was expanded to cover biology, reproduction, bedroom activities, and major life decisions; that sounds like pretty big talk to me.

No kids? Why not? Well when are you going to start? Don’t wait too long. You’ll change your mind. You’ll regret your decision. Don’t worry, your clock will start ticking and you’ll get baby fever when you turn 30. [I’ve since turned 30, and my temperature is fine.] There’s no point in waiting – you’re never truly ready, anyway. If you wait until you’re ready, it’ll never happen. You don’t know unconditional love and happiness until you have a baby. Don’t you feel like you’re missing out? That’s a selfish decision. Having kids is part of being human. Everyone should have kids. [Have you read the news lately? Not everyone should reproduce.] Don’t you want to pass on your genes/your name? It’s part of God’s plan, to populate the earth and whatnot. [Personally, I’ve never been a fan of the buffet approach to religious texts.] Who is going to take care of you when you’re old? Don’t you want to give your parents grandkids?

stop listening

I’ve mentioned before that I am an introvert, which means personal stuff is off the table for sharing with… well,  all but a select few. But the intrusive nature of these exchanges isn’t the only thing that raises my hackles, though that’s certainly a big part of it.

It’s also the ridiculousness of it.

Most of the people who interrogate me on the state of my ovaries won’t be affected in the least if we decide to have kids in the future or not at all. And even if they are affected, that impact does not at all put any weight on our decision to create and be responsible for a new human life. Those aren’t decisions to be made by committee.

Not to mention, my reproductive status reflects nothing about your family and your own decisions, or my opinion of them. Someone having a child does not validate someone else’s similar decision to have children. Nor does not having kids insult those who do.

That’s the most irritating part about this issue: just let everyone live their lives.

If you ask, and I confirm I don’t have kids, just move on. No need to badger with “Why not? When are you going to?” I’m not a riddle that needs to be solved.

It’s none of your business and it doesn’t matter.

To you, anyway. It actually might matter a great deal to the person being asked, but it is certainly not your place to pry (consider how much pain you might cause when harping on this issue and the person in question has been struggling to conceive or may never be able to).

Unilaterally turning my reproductive status into a big deal, and a defining part of my identity, is disrespectful and incredibly close-minded. I don’t know if you got the memo, but women are much more than just their uteruses. (Uteri?)

feministrants

Sure, I realize that by being a married, thirty, and childfree female I’m not necessarily following the status quo. But who cares? And if you do: why?!

This is not intended to equate childbearing with death.

This is not intended to equate childbearing with death. [Comic: Pearls Before Swine, Stephan Pastis]

The Husband and I make decisions based on our lives and our goals. I expect you to do the same. And I don’t expect our decisions to be the same as yours, because I don’t expect our experiences and situations to be identical. No one’s are.

So when you harass someone about having kids, or not having kids, or having only one kid, or having too many kids, or adopting kids… what’s the point?

Or if you question someone’s choice to not get married; or keep/change last names after marriage; or have a home birth; or get an epidural; or breastfeed; or bottle feed; or be a stay-at-home parent; or a working parent; or an attachment parent; or two working parents… what’s it to you? Shouldn’t you be too busy with your own goings-on?

No one should be expected to quantify major and personal decisions to every person with whom they have a fleeting conversation. It is just concern-trolling? Or is it to validate your own decisions and ideas of happiness in the choices of others? Because that would be ludicrous.

For example, I do not at all understand how someone could decide to have six kids. That sounds ridiculous (and expensive, and tiring) to me. But it’s not up to me. And as long as I’m not on the same airplane as them, it doesn’t affect me. If they’re happy and capable – great! Who am I to weigh in on that?

Or if someone says “I don’t like big dogs” or “I’d never have a big dog” or “I don’t want a big dog”, I don’t take that as a personal insult. They like small dogs. Their experiences have lead to a conclusion and it’s a statement of opinion and preference. They’re not saying “everyone should have a little dog” or “no one should have big dogs”. They’re just saying what they like. And that’s totally fine because someone else choosing something different from me is not an affront to my own decision.

How one person lives life is not a judgmental statement on how someone else lives his or hers. Thus, our decision to be childfree does not mean we think everyone should make the same choices, or even expect that everyone else could. And it doesn’t mean we don’t understand that people change their minds as their lives change.

I expect this sentiment to be reciprocal.

And if you think I’m overreacting… I’ve actually had a 60-something male coworker tell me my eggs will dry up if I don’t have a baby soon. I’ve been told my life will be incomplete without kids by a 20-something male business acquaintance during an introductory meeting. I’ve actually had to sit a female coworker down and utter the words “my reproductive potential is not appropriate office conversation” (even then, it hasn’t worked). I’ve, more than once, had people start to whisper that I “must be” pregnant simply because I didn’t order an alcoholic beverage (sick, tired, working, driving, going diving, simply wanting something else – all apparently less reasonable excuses).

Drawing an obvious parallel here.

Drawing an obvious parallel here.

So yes, my experience is that people are intrusive on this issue. I find it perplexing, discomforting, and irritating.

As the saying goes, live and let live.

Or, more contemporarily, you do you.

WhatYouShouldFocusOn

So, no, random acquaintance, we don’t currently have kids. It shouldn’t matter why and you shouldn’t think yourself privy to that information.

And no, Moses and Alma are not our pseudo-kids; they’re our dogs. But if you’re just looking for something to converse over, I’m happy to talk about Moses and Alma for hours.

So how about you – any other DONKs out there with similar experiences?

For more great reading on this subject, check out this post: You Shouldn’t Need a Reason for Not Having Kids. Though this post has been in my head for a long time, reading the Thought Catalog one definitely prompted the timing. 

This post is part of the Thursday Barks & Bytes Blog Hop, hosted by 2 Brown Dawgs and Heart Like a Dog. Go pay a visit to the hosts and check out other hop participants.

Barks&Bytes

Black & White Sunday 15: Greetings

The faces who welcome me home, all taken on different days.

Moses & Alma

Moses & Alma

Soggy faces

Soggy faces

Messy faces

Messy faces

Nice of Alma to get up

Nice of Alma to get up

IMG_1536 - Version 2

Portrait of a messy dog

"Oh, you're back." - Moses

“Oh, you’re back.” – Moses

IMG_3983 - Version 2

Moses doesn’t get up right away, but he wags his tail

Moses, with Emma chasing the wagging tail in the background

Moses, with Emma chasing the wagging tail in the background

IMG_4162 - Version 2

Crosby edging out Moses to be welcoming while her folks travel abroad

Crosby edging out Moses to be welcoming while her folks travel abroad

Alma, Crosby, Moses

Alma, Crosby, Moses

The Black & White Sunday bloghop is brought to you by Dachshund Nola and Sugar the Golden Retriever. Click to visit the hosts and check out everyone else’s photos.

nolasugar_bwbadge_pm

“My dog doesn’t like to go on walks.”

“My dog doesn’t like to go on walks.”

Ever have someone say that to you?

I have. And obviously recently, or I wouldn’t be spurned to write about it.

My response is usually one of two things:

1. Changing the subject. “Right… so I spent an inordinate amount of time last night trying to ace this quiz where you name all the countries in the world in 12 minutes. I swear it’s impossible.”

Sometimes, I just... can't.

Sometimes, I just… can’t.

2. Challenge it. If I’m feeling particularly spry or comfortable or bored, I’ll be up front: “You’re going to have a tough time convincing me that’s true.”

Because when someone says to me that his/her dog “doesn’t like” walks, my bullshit detector sounds pretty loudly.

will smith bs

Barring some sort of medical condition, or mental condition that should be addressed, I don’t think saying your dog “doesn’t like” walks is entirely truthful.

Instead, I think that statement can probably be replaced with one or more of the following more accurate statements.

  • I don’t like walking my dog. People project a lot of things on to their dogs, and I’d say it’s pretty likely that people who think their dogs don’t like walks are just making excuses because they don’t want to walk them. I mean, dogs spend most of their days confined to a house or yard – of course most of them like to get out and explore and spend time with their family! If you don’t like walking your dog, to that I say: TFB. Who obtains custody of a dog these days without realizing they need regular exercise? Exactly – no one who intelligently pondered the decision. Walk your dog!
  • I haven’t shown my dog that walks can be fun. If you don’t like spending time with your dog, they’ll pick up on it. It’s not necessarily the walks they dislike, it’s the owner begrudgingly doing it. Make it fun – for both of you! Go interesting places, play fun games, meet up with friends, enjoy your time outside. Make the best of it, because it’s your responsibility and a key part of their overall health.
  • Walking my dog is hard. Dog walks can be a real challenge if you’re working through some reactivity or anxiety issues with your dog. That is certainly no reason to make up excuses to avoid it, though. Avoiding walks just ignores and compounds the issues, meaning the fewer walks you go on, the tougher they will be. Seek a good trainer for help with this if you need to.
  • My dog doesn’t like walking in this weather. -25°C in the winter is not a condition all dogs like, or are built to tolerate, and that’s fair. But it’s not the walk they don’t like – it’s the wind or the ice. If this is the case, make sure you keep them active in the house until it warms up. Walk time shouldn’t be foregone, but it should be replaced with something else. However, if you’re trying to claim your dog dislikes the when it’s +5°C in February… well, most any dog acclimated to Alberta’s usually unusual weather should be able to handle that. Grab them a sweater and boots if you must. Or schedule walks appropriately – for example, in the summer when Moses and Alma can get uncomfortably hot, we’ll walk late at night when it’s cooler or ensure there are swimming opportunities on our routes. The benefits of regular dog walks outweigh any initial protests you may get. If they’re physically able to do it, you should teach them they can.
  • I don’t like walking in this weather. If your dog is on the same page as you, fine and see above. If you’re like me, and have dogs that thrive in winter, you’re going to need to suck it up and buy yourself some snow pants.
  • I usually take my dog for short walks and the one time I expected him to go on an usually long walk he got tired and sore. I bet he did! Let’s say I suddenly decided to forego the elevator and take the stairs up to my office on the 25th floor. This is not something I usually do and it would certainly leave me tired and sore. Does that mean I’m not physically built to do it? No. If I did it regularly, I’d have the stamina. The situation with the dog isn’t much different; if they’re not used to exercising, then the one time you ask a lot of them is going to be too much. They won’t be conditioned for it. But that is your fault, not theirs. All dogs were bred for active reasons, whether it be giant working breeds or small rat-hunting breeds. Your dog being out of shape is a sign to you that you should fix it – but don’t suddenly amp it up. You’re going to need to slowly increase their walk distances to something every healthy dog should be able to handle (say, an hour or 5km?).
  • I’ve taught my dog I will always carry them around when they ask. Is your dog begging for attention, whining, exhibiting a learned behaviour, or are you carrying them because you actually observe that they are tired and sore?
  • I interrupt my dog to go for walks. Wake them out of a dead sleep? Take away their toy or bone? Sure, in those cases they might not seem stoked to drop what they’re doing to leash up. Observe their behaviour when out on the walk to determine if they like it – are they engaged, relaxed, interacting, wagging their tails? They may not have wanted to go for a walk in that moment, but I’m sure they enjoy it once they’re out there.
  • I don’t know my dog that well. As I mentioned before, what’s not to love about a walk if you’re a dog? It’s a chance to socialize, check out the scenery, exercise, and spend quality time with their owners. It’s possible that any perception that the dog doesn’t like walking is a gross misinterpretation of something else.
  • I don’t know (or – worse – care) how important walks are to my dog’s mental health. Yes, your dog can suffer from what is essentially cabin fever. A lack of exercise and stimulation can result in all sorts of anxious, destructive, and hyperactive behaviours. They will be as bored and frustrated as any person locked in a confined space for days on end.
  • I don’t know how important walks are to my dog’s training and social skills. Does your dog bark a lot? Chew your shoes? Dig in the yard? Race around the house like a maniac? Lunge at other people or dogs on walks? Ignore you when you want them to do something? There’s a reason one of the first questions most trainers ask their clients is “how often do you walk your dog?” Walks won’t necessarily resolve these behaviours, but they sure do shave the rough edges off undesirable behaviours and make training easier. Spending regular time with your dog improves the relationship you have with them and increases how much they pay attention to you. And getting out and experiencing the world – people, dogs, cars, bikes, wildlife, etc. – is essential to a socially well-adjusted dog.
  • I don’t know (or – worse – care) how important walks are to my dog’s physical health. If not for regular walks, how else would the average pet dog get exercise? Exactly. Regular exercise – just like with people – is essential to their overall health. Obviously regular walks will help prevent or cure obesity, but a dog can be a perfectly appropriate weight and still be out of shape if they’re not regularly exercised. Regular walks help with muscle tone, joint issues, heart disease – the same sorts of things regular activity does for me and you. Every breed has conditions they are prone to, but ensuring dogs are generally healthy with a good diet and regular exercise is your best defence to them.
  • I’m lazy. Or neglectful. Or my dog isn’t a priority I want to make time for. Yeah, I said it. It’s very easy to explain away guilt if you put the onus on the dog – “they don’t like walks anyway, so I don’t have to worry about it.” Wrong! Everyone has busy lives, but if you choose to have a dog, you’ve also chosen the affiliated responsibilities. This should surprise no one. But there are lots of options out there to help if you need it: dog walkers, doggy day cares, several short walks per day, treadmills, or having the whole family pitch in with dog responsibilities.

With all of these potentially truthful explanations (did I miss any?), I find it pretty hard to believe someone’s dog “doesn’t like” going for walks.

Feel free to prove me wrong.

Moses and Alma definitely enjoy walks

Moses and Alma definitely enjoy walks

A Waiting Room Rant

This has been a long time coming, and it’s been a while since I really dusted off the Soapbox for its original purpose – a place for me to complain.

Dear Other Patrons in the Veterinary Clinic Waiting Room,

Re: Public Service Announcement

The waiting room of the vet’s office is neither (a) an on-leash or off-leash play area for pets, nor (b) a petting zoo.

Before you consider me a complete ogre for these statements, let us ponder for a moment about the reality that is the veterinary clinic environment.

Consider a veterinary office part family doctor and part walk-in clinic or emergency room; most of the people waiting in that office with their beloved pets are not exactly thrilled to be there.

For instance, many patients are waiting there in advance of a routine procedure or check-up.  But do not be fooled by the comfort implied by the word “routine”.  Even if you are taking a cat in for shots or a dog to get spayed, there always remains a certain amount of worry – and a definite amount of monetary cost – associated with the trip.  Even the most optimistic people do not look forward to a vet visit.

And the routine stuff is the best it gets!  Because if you’re not there for a planned appointment, you are there because you are concerned your dog is sick or, worse, there has been a medical emergency such as injury or sudden illness.  Those people REALLY don’t want to be there.

So you know what this means?

It means if I am in the waiting room, you can bet I have a lower-than-my-already-low tolerance for idiotic behavior and poor social decorum.

Which brings me to you, and your delusions of fun pet-to-pet or pet-to-people greetings while we wait.

Please be advised: I will not let it happen.

You know how I just explained why people are never excited about going to the vet?  Well now consider the pets themselves.

First of all, you have no idea why pets are there.  So if you even think about asking if our dogs can meet and/or play while we wait, you have another thing coming.

Many pets go to the vet because they are sick or injured.  This means they are not feeling well and, just like people, can be a bit more sensitive and intolerant when under the weather.  So there is no way I want to risk any dog-to-dog greetings no matter how friendly you assure me Fido truly is – it is just too unpredictable.

Even in the event of animals there for “routine” procedures, the veterinary clinic is a weird place to be, and the environment alone can result in bizarre and uncharacteristic behavior.  The smells, the noises, the overall “vibe”… our pets know when something is “off”.  And I bet if you looked for behavioral stress signals such as panting, lip-licking, and yawning, you would notice them in abundance.  Instead, I prefer my dog just sit as calmly as possible unbothered, allowing her to cope with the situation in her own way, without adding even more stress or stimulation.

And THAT is why I won’t let her play with your unruly beagle.  It has nothing to do with my dog being “aggressive”, but everything to do with your apparent lack of awareness and my prioritization of my dog’s mental state.

Speaking of things I won’t allow brings me to my next and last point: please prohibit your unruly children from groping my dog.

If you cannot keep your other human family members under control, they probably should not accompany you to medical appointments – even if it’s for the family dog.

First, remember all that stuff I just said about stress and unpredictable behavior?  Well, if your offspring goes in for an unauthorized full body hug with my dog while I’m distracted, I’m sorry (I’m really not), but any adverse reaction there may be from the dog was completely deserved.

And second?  Well even if we weren’t in the vet’s office, I do not allow children who do not ask to pet my dog.  Ever.  Children should ALWAYS ask first.  And if you can’t teach them that, I will help them to learn the hard way with my own negative reinforcement – better it is from me in verbal form than by way of the teeth of the unsuspecting dog.

I thank you very much for your consideration of these issues and I look forward to somewhat more pleasant interactions in the veterinary clinic’s waiting room in the future.  Though, truthfully, I hope neither of us finds ourselves there if at all possible.

Yours very truly,

Jen K

For further information and an illustration, please see this handy chart from Dr. Sophia Yin:

BtC4A: Kijiji Pet Sales and the CHS

It’s that time again!

This quarter, I would like to bring attention to the latest development between the Calgary Humane Society and the online marketplace, Kijiji.

Now, everyone should know by now that searching for a new pet through websites like Kijiji is generally a bad idea.  Everyone should.  But, because it remains prolific, clearly they don’t.

Why are Kijiji sellers bad?

Easy.  Because there is no transparency or regulation.  Online pet sales are where puppy mills, backyard breeders, and accidental breeders do their business.  And as soon as your money goes into their pockets, you have helped them to profit and condoned their practices.

Taken straight from the Calgary Humane Society’s official position on breeding companion animals:

There are a variety of types of irresponsible breeders and the CHS strongly opposes the practices of the following:

• Backyard Breeder: A backyard breeder breeds an animal for financial gain and not for the purpose of betterment of the breed, with little or no thought regarding the consequences for or the well-being of the animals. Backyard breeders usually breed animals without proper regard for pedigree, proper planning for future homes, spay/neuter planning for offspring, and/or little knowledge of proper rearing techniques.

• Puppy Mill: “A puppy mill is a breeding operation in which dogs are repeatedly bred for financial gain and are kept in substandard conditions” (Ontario SPCA, as cited in No Puppy Mills Canada, 2001).

• Accidental Breeder: An accidental breeder is someone that has not had his/her animal spayed/neutered and an unplanned breeding occurs as a result. Many animals end up in shelters as a result of such accidents. Failure to control animal breeding is connected with other forms of neglect.

These three categories of breeders play a significant part in buyer misinformation and pet overpopulation.  Ease and price often cause the public to seek out these sources for new pets, rather than researching reputable breeders or adopting from a shelter or rescue agency.

Rescue agencies have long been aware of this fact and have made endless attempts to educate the public.

And now the Calgary Humane Society is blazing a trail with a new strategy.

Earlier this week it was announced that CHS and Kijiji have teamed up to regulate breeders selling pets online.

The CHS will inspect and certify online breeder listings through a new Breeder Inspection Program.  Approved breeders will then be given a particular badge on their ad that acknowledges their certification and CHS approval.

To earn the badge, the CHS must approve the provided space and shelter, sleeping conditions, supply and quality of food and water, the number of animals in the home, general cleanliness, and vet inspections.  There will be follow-up inspections to ensure the “breeders” remain credible.

One of over 300 Calgary ads for cats/kittens currently on Kijiji - also an example of an Accidental Breeder.

Now, before you start nit-picking, I request you acknowledge the innovativeness of this new idea and that is really is better than nothing.

In fact, I must remind myself of that, as cynicism often takes over.

Do I wish Kijiji ads were now limited to ONLY breeders who receive CHS approval?  Sure.  I mean, this badge strategy will not reduce the number of pet ads online, nor will it make it more difficult to advertise on Kijiji or find a pet breeder on Kijiji.

Do I wish the solution was a bit more active than passive on the part of buyers?  Of course.  People will still be able to see non-CHS approved breeders in with the CHS-approved ones, and only people who’ve heard about the program will know to look for a CHS logo.  Not to mention it does little to stop the impulse purchase of that cute kitten based on a picture – regardless of what badges appear.

Do I wish we educated the public so greatly that they didn’t go to Kijiji for a pet in this first place?  Indeed.  This may be considered an example of treating the symptom and not the problem.

But you know what?  As I said, it’s still better than nothing.

It’s a concrete step forward that other cities have yet to take.

And if it causes just one person to re-think their potential purchase of a backyard bred puppy, then I say a small improvement is better than none.  And if the press release about the partnership educated more people about the perils of online pet ads – great.

There are many pieces to the puzzle of pet overpopulation.   This is one.

It would be a mistake to think we’re done now, though.

To watch the news report on this program – and see ASLC’s comments – check out the CTV video by clicking here.

One of over a thousand current Calgary Kijiji ads for dogs/puppies.

To see what others are writing about for Blog the Change for Animals this April, view the list by clicking here.

Good Friday

Today is Good Friday.

Good Friday means millions – if not billions – of people will meditate on something like this at least once during the day:

cardboiled.com

But that metaphor makes me think of how I have this:

Foot – and paw – prints in the snow.

And it’s Easter.

Which also means lots of this:

Yum.

Happy Easter; Happy Passover; Happy Long Weekend, however you spend it!

Comparisons

Remember not so long ago when I shared this video of Alma and Moses and how they each make use of off-leash time?

To me, the video is a great illustration of one of the big differences between Moses and Alma.

Sure, they have a lot in common: they’re both black Newfoundlands, they’re both respectful of the cats, they both are happy to just sleep at our feet when we’re at home, and together they create a symphony of snores.

But they are pretty different, too (in more than just size), and I think the video shows a good example of how Alma really capitalizes on a good energy burst.  When Moses discovers the effort it would require to play chase with Alma, he lets inertia take over and has a seat, while she gallops around like a lunatic in the background.

Now, that’s not to say they don’t play; they often do.  But Moses has never been one to entertain a game of chase for more than a few strides – the games can come to him.

Similarly, I recently took this photo which I also think illustrates what the two of them do and do not have in common with one another:

Moses and Alma

If I had to get all sentimental and pick adjectives that generalise each of them, I’d describe Moses as calm and pensive and Alma as inquisitive and merry.

But then I looked a bit closer at that picture and noticed another major difference:  Moses is filthy!

Seriously.  Especially compared to Alma, whose shorter coat and smaller jowls keep regular grooming much easier to stay on top of.

Alma and some grubby dog who couldn't possibly be Moses.

How on earth did I not notice that before?  It really took a more objective – and shocked – examination of a photo of my own dog to realise he looked like some neglected homeless mutt.

Well, someone* sure has been neglecting grooming duties.  And in spring of all seasons!  For shame!

So out came the rake, comb, and pin brush, as well as the spray-in conditioner (a must!), and after some quality grooming time, Moses is once again ready for public appearances.

Much better!

At least until the next time he goes outside.  Or eats.  Or drools.

And there it is.

Well, at least I tried.

 

*It’s me.  I admit it.

Dog People Problems

You’re probably familiar with the meme.

It comes in two formats:  “_______ People Problems” or “_______ Problems”.

For example:

Don’t like how your new Mercedes rides?  First world problems.

Mistakenly went to the wrong Toyota Rav 4 in the superstore parking lot?  Middle class problems.

Can’t get into House of Lies because every time Don Cheadle breaks through the fourth wall you have Saved by the Bell flashbacks?  Twenty-something problems, Preppy.

Hipster problems.

Drug store out of SPF 70?  Ginger problems.

90 minute daily commute – one way?  Calgarian problems.

FIrst world problems.

Legend has it, the meme evolved from lyrics to a Matthew Good Band song.

So as I was complaining to the Husband that our sedan is no longer big enough to accommodate long family road trips after adopting Alma, it hit me: dog people problems.

Moses snoozing in the back seat of the car - back when he didn't have to share.

And there are a lot of dog people problems.

Brought only two poop bags on a walk where you needed three?  Dog people problems.

Don’t have a leash and collar set that match?  Dog people problems.

Tripe-based food is a heinous assault on the senses?  Dog people problems.

Lunchtime patio is not fido-friendly?  You guessed it: dog people problems.

Complain about the weather for Monday Mischief and get exactly what you ask for in less than 24 hours? Dog people problems. (Or Calgarian problems.)

Turns out that park isn’t off-leash after all?  The free treats offered by the bank teller aren’t grain-free?  Your local politician won’t answer your letters about the injustices of Breed Specific Legislation (BSL)?  Filled up your memory card with pictures of your pets?

Dog. People. Problems.

So let’s hear ’em – what are your dog people problems?

Annoying human won't stop taking pictures? Alma problems.