Sunday, December 30, 2007

Weird Logic . . . 3

(This blog originally posted on 6/14/2005.)

Did you know that "responsible" breeding is supposed to be problematic, troublesome and distressing?

No Kidding!

An experienced breeder described her philosophy for promoting natural birth (whelping) and mothering with minimal human interference. IMMEDIATELY, "responsible" breeders with more sanctimony than intelligence, dissed the experienced breeder for "making breeding sound easy".

I'd laugh if it wasn't so sad. Are we, or are we not, talking about dogs? Beasts that have been reproducing for thousands of years without human help?

Human help, if provided, should only optimize what nature has laid down over centuries of natural selection. If something more is required, then we are undoing what thousands of centuries time has perfected.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Why Dogs Still Get Hip Dysplasia

(This blog originally posted on 7/15/2005.)

It seems more and more that the portion of the purebred "show" dog world which preaches and practices genetic testing and culling based on genetic test results are heading down an increasingly narrow alley.

The path they espouse, that 'everything is genetic' and diseases in dogs can be cured simply by selecting against the genes that cause disease, is well, old school. It is a philosophy based on "Central Dogma". Central Dogma, according to Mae-Wan Ho (of ISIS), is the theory "of molecular biology [which] decrees that genetic information flows strictly one way, from DNA to RNA to protein, and by implication, to the characteristic determined by that protein."

The thing is this approach to genetics and the relationship between genes and disease has no room for acknowledgement of environmental influences. Thusly, dogs still get Hip Dysplasia despite decades of selection against the "HD genes".

Here are some highlights from the article: GENETIC DETERMINISM AS A FAILING PARADIGM IN BIOLOGY AND MEDICINE: Implications for Health and Wellness, by Richard C. Strohman, University of California, Berkeley

"The major new idea here is that these levels of control are not reducibly connected; it is not possible, for example, to reduce common cancer to rules that govern DNA, just as it is not possible to reduce intelligence simply to the laws governing ion fluxes in brain neurons. DNA is involved in the phenotype "cancer" or "intelligence," but the cause of both lies elsewhere at higher levels of organization, including the level of the cell as a whole and the level of cell-cell networking.
This short answer is already extremely complex compared to the idea of reducibility, that ultimate control is in the gene"


"We are becoming aware of theories of development that do not rely so heavily on genetic mutation as the source of new morphology and action but that instead emphasize the presence of robust generic processes of cells and organisms that generate new phenotypes."


"What used to be referred to as the book of life written in the concrete of DNA is now being referred to as the flexible genome. Genes alone are vitally important; they are necessary but not sufficient to determine function or dysfunction in cells and organisms (the exceptions are the rare monogenic diseases discussed here). "


"Second, real genetic diseases are rare and account for less than 2% of the disease load in the economically advanced sectors of the postindustrial world. Common diseases like most cancer and cardiovascular diseases that account for over 70% of premature morbidity and mortality are not genetic in the strict Mendelian sense. Nevertheless, the vast majority of our research budget is assigned to genetic-related problems. This 70% represents multifactorial diseases involving many genes whose interactions with one another and with their encoded proteins define an open network sensitive to environmental signals.1,15 The problem here is that, while the HGP [Human Genome Project] will be able to provide a detailed genetic map for complex polygenic diseases, it cannot provide the instructions for reading these maps. Therefore, insights into the vast majority of complex human diseases and into their prevention are not to be expected from the HGP as such. Third, therefore, multifactorial diseases and states of health and wellness are to be seen as emergent features of these interactive informational networks. They are not reducible solely to the actions of single or even multiple genetic agents or to the actions of their encoded proteins."


"Concepts of health and wellness are characteristics of whole organisms and of processes that are time and place dependent-dynamic processes open to environmental signals and contextualized by an individual's life experience."


"Here the focus is on redundant genes that more than one gene may specify any given function. In this case the reductionistic plan to associate genetic causality with complex phenotype is brought into question since the major research approach, saturation mutagenesis, depends completely on the uniqueness equation. This approach to understanding disease will generate a map or network of factors that interact to provide a useful background for a complex phenotype. However, as argued here, ultimate behavior is encoded not in DNA but rather in the environmentally interactive cellular epigenetic network, which includes the genome."


"It is as if the cell has interposed between its genome and its behavior a second informational system able to integrate environmental and genetic information into its dynamical process and able to generate from this integration responses that are functional, or adaptive.
Genetic pathways specify organismal function only in rare cases, as in monogenic diseases like sickle cell anemia or muscular dystrophy, where mutation produces dysfunction in a protein of crucial importance."


"The basic assumption is that complex disease states, at a cellular level, involve heritable changes that may include gene mutation but that also include persistent cytoplasmic changes. In addition, it must be clear what classical developmental biologists mean when they discuss complex phenotypes in terms of genotypes. What is usually meant is that all complex traits (e.g., intelligence, aggressiveness, and cancer) have some genetic basis. But this basis is so polygenic (interactive and epigenetic)-it may extend to the entire genome-that there is little in the way of practical meaning given to "genetic basis." For example, there is a genetic basis for speaking French, but the meaning of this does not go beyond the idea that there is a genetic basis for being human. In order to speak any language, we need to have something called a human genome (of which there are as many different kinds as there are humans) consisting of about 100,000 genes. But while these genes are necessary for speaking French, they are not sufficient. We also need the appropriate environment, the appropriate body, and the appropriate experience, all of which provide information not contained in the genome."


"Diseases may be distributed according to whether they are determined before or after fertilization.36,37 Those determined before fertilization (2%) are, of course, genetic and are mostly not preventable. Of those determined after fertilization (98%), there may be multiple causality, including early developmental effects, but in theory at least these are all preventable."


"The problem for medical genetic theory is that the common diseases of cancer and of the circulatory system appear to be new; they were not significant causes of death and disability in the early part of the 20th century.37 They are now the major cause of premature death and suffering in the industrial world. Clearly, this sudden shift in causality cannot be based on genetic change. Evolutionary theory and molecular biology agree completely that genetic adaptation due to mutation would take thousands of years and that change due to genetic recombination would also require much more time than the mere 50 to 100 years involved."


And, there's a lot more great information in this article. Take some time to read the full text. It's long, but you don't have to be a scientist to understand it, or to see it's implications for dogs.

Do yourself another favor and search for "fluid genome" on the internet. The information you get may permanently change your way of thinking about genetics.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Balanced Look at Neutering

I found this article on the internet not to long ago. It is VERY refreshing to see more and more people willing to take a close and objective look at the effects of this major surgery on their pets. And even more importantly, the more information available, the better informed decisions pet owners can make regarding the balance of their pets' health and well being and lifestyle with their own.

The Long-Term Health Effects of Spay / Neuter in Dogs by Laura Sanborn.

An objective reading of the veterinary medical literature reveals a complex
situation with respect to the longterm health impacts of spay/neuter in dogs.
The evidence shows that spay/neuter correlates with both positive AND adverse
health effects in dogs. It also suggests how much we really do not yet understand
about this subject.
On balance, it appears that no compelling case can be made for neutering most male dogs, especially immature male dogs, in order to prevent future health problems. The number of health problems associated with neutering may exceed the associated health benefits in most cases.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Wolves versus Dogs

Here are some more stories on Wolves and Dogs from the archives...

(This blog originally posted on 6/23/2006.)

Wolf Pack Kills Dogs

Story out of Idaho, hunting hounds on a bear training trip are killed by a wolf pack.

The Fish and Game department in the state of Idaho has a "fact sheet" about keeping dogs safe from wolves in the wild.

Others say the government should keep it's wild animals on a tight leash, just like private citizens are expected to do.

Still others suggest subscribing to the ol' SSASU routine...

At the end of the day, Ms. X predicts the push to re-establish the wolf population will result in having traded an abundance of many species in the wild (deer, elk etc.), for one species in the wild - wolf, that attacks the human food sources such as sheep and cattle.

(This blog originally posted on 7/16/2006.)

So far the wolves are winning.

From Wisconsin, another report of bear dogs killed by wolves. Interestingly, this article says the DNR (Department of Natural Resources) will reimburse hunters for dogs lost to wolves. I wonder what the going rate for that is?

(Ms. X notes the original article is no longer availabe for free. Here is an exert from it:)

Timber wolves killed one bear-hunting dog and injured another July 1 in southwestern Lincoln County, the first day of the hound training period for bear hunting, state Department of Natural Resources officials said. As a result, the DNR expanded an existing warning area between Merrill and Rib Lake to include the affected area northeast of Goodrich near the Taylor-Lincoln-Marathon county line.

(This blog originally posted on 8/6/2006.)

Wolves versus Pet Dogs

Wisconsin, and this time it's not hunters, but a woman from the burbs that wrote the Wausau Daily Herald about a wolf attacking her dog, in her backyard.

No word on the outcome for either wolf or dog. I guess we assume they both live.

Ms. Western? How is the doggy?

(Ms. X notes the original article is no longer available for free, but here is an exert from it, written by a Ms. Western:)

On Friday, July 21, at 8:30 a.m., our dog was mauled by a wolf in our yard. I
did not see the attack but did see the dog in the wolf's mouth. I called the
Department of Natural Resources and they referred me to the USDA-Wildlife
Services. They came to the house, found the attack spot and tracks and told me
it may be a wolf. They said it wouldn't surprise them but there are no
documented packs in the area. I have no pictures to prove it was a wolf.

(This blog originally posted on 2/16/2007.)

Idaho gets hit again. This time it is not hunters dogs that are savaged by wolves. It is family pets.

Read the Story Here

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Wolves versus Dogs (and Humans)

Seems like Alaska is quickly learning that wolves, in fact, don't fear humans as much as some people would like to believe. And, really, if you take 10 seconds to think about it, would dogs ever have been domesticated if they were half afraid of humans as people always say wild animals are?

Wolves become increasingly violent towards humans, pets

A pack of at least seven wolves surrounded the three women and their dogs
as they jogged just on Artillery Road. The lead wolves came within feet,
circling the women as they tried to get away.
"I was rainbowing my pepper spray, and they fell back a little bit. But as soon as we would turn our backs to try to go, they would run up on us, and we would turn around and start screaming again, and I would spray my pepper spray," said Eagle River resident, Camas Barkemeyer.

Here's a tip people, "rainbowing" pepper spray is a waste. You need to get some good strong shots directly to the nose of the animal.

Wildlife experts say wolves are smart animals and that they learn quickly. This means the pack will likely get worse before it gets better.
"If they figure out that dogs are easy to kill, and good food for them, then they can just come to the conclusion that there is a lot more dogs than moose, and 'let's just start eating the dogs for now.' I'm not sure they have quite reached that point,
but they are working on that concept right now," said Rick Sinnott of the Alaska
Department Of Fish and Game.
From another story at the same station: Fish and game officials hopeful wolf attacks will soon stop

The wolves living in the Anchorage Bowl are getting bold and no longer seem to be afraid of humans. . . Wildlife experts say killing certain members of the pack was the only thing that stopped a string of wolf attacks 13 years ago; and it could end up stopping this pack.
"Wolves are instinctively afraid of people, and it gets reinforced sometimes by trappers and hunters," said Sinnott.

I think that "instinctive fear" is a slender shield at best. Just ask that furry creature with sharp fangs and her head in your lap.

And when it comes to maintaining that fear in a wild predator, the only thing that works is the human not being easy prey, e.g. hunting and trapping.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Dog Friendly Britain?

A wave of dog-nappings, not for fighting or breeding, but for Ransom!!! is sweeping across Great Britain.

Criminals have had it too easy there ever since the moronic gun bans, and it should not be a surprise at all that they have found another hot lucrative market with easy prey.

Hayes's dog, Hermy, was dognapped from the 40-acre grounds of her home in
Nottinghamshire. She frantically called round local vets, kennels and the
police, put up posters and turned pet detective. After six and a half weeks she
discovered Hermy had changed hands three times in local pubs and was being kept
at a house nearby.
The police refused to help her retrieve her pet, claiming
it wasn't a criminal matter, so she resorted to snatching him back from the
family that had him.

On the bright side, maybe it will encourage many more millions in our own country to war against gun control and wholesale criminal enabling.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Keeping the Man Down?

Probably not what you're thinking, furry reader! Ms. X is in fact questioning modern day standards and breeding practices.

What started this train of thought was a fascinating article explaining how males of different species seem to evolve faster than the females of the species, hence the 'flashier' appearance a lot of males have.

In nearly all species, males seem to ramp up glitzier garbs, more graceful dance moves and more melodic warbles in a never-ending vie to woo the best mates. Called sexual selection, the result is typically a showy male and a plain-Jane female. Evolution speeds along in the males compared to females.

So what we have to ask, is what happens when humans are directing all the breeding choices of a species? And their choices are driven by a "standard" that defines appearance in exquisite detail? And worse, what if that "standard" of appearance is more appropriately descriptive of a female member of the species?

In other words, what great brilliance of look and action could male dogs have achieved, if the breeders weren't 'keeping the man down'?

Can you trust your vet?

(This blog originally posted on 5/6/2006).

As if dog owners didn't have enough to worry about from the FREAKS (I'd put a link to peta here, but they'd have to pay me for the advertising and that'd be a cold day I'm sure) out there these days, it seems we can't even trust our veterinarians.

No one knows better than the owner what the quality of life for his pet is, and how the relationship between the owner and his pet is affected by illness.

Most owners these days err on the side of personal selfishness. They will extend a dog's life until technology fails them, well past when the dogs' own system has failed him.

In this case, a family's treasured pet has epilepsy at an unreasonably young age. There is no cure for epilepsy, and it gets worse as time goes on. So this family decided, after living with their pet's epilepsy for a time, that it would be better for them and for the dog if they simply put the dog to sleep. They take Annie on her final trip, and stay by her side, tearful, sad, broken hearted, as the vet sends her on her final journey.

Or so they thought.

What really happened was the vet faked them out. He only sedated Annie, and then gave her to a friend, where she survived another 9 seizure-filled months only to slip into a coma. And guess what? She was back on that very same vet table again. Is she really dead this time? Why did the vet keep her alive?

The vet claimed the family was insensitive. I don't know. It's not like we can take his lying word for anything. Maybe he wanted to do drug trials on her. Who knows?

So the family sued. I hope they win. I hope that vet is disbarred. (Or whatever they do to vets).

My readers who have experienced seizures in dogs know it's not a pretty site. It's certainly not fun and it can even be dangerous if kids are around. And Annie's family included at least 2 children. Isn't that justification enough?

You think those kids cried and worried every time Annie had a seizure? I'll bet mom and dad even did!

And yet, somehow in this "vet's" mind that makes them less human than his "friend" who could care less that Annie had seizures every few weeks!!

I don't understand where these people get the idea that animals deserve to live at any cost. Animals don't care if they die! They just simply don't fear death. That's a human ailment.

Animals probably do fear pain and suffering, if they know it's coming. Like the old, wounded, antelope that sees the lion eyes staring at him through the waving grass. He'll make an attempt to escape.

But a cow calmly walks up the chute to the stungun at the meat packing plant, without any fear or nervousness because there is no indication that suffering is coming. (See Temple Gradin's interesting site for more about animals and suffering).

Do you think Annie knew when a seizure was coming on? If dogs can detect approaching seizures in humans 48 hours in advance, I would bet they have some idea. The fact that some dogs will act anxious or run and hide before they have a seizure (Canine Epilepsy Network) is a pretty good sign that they know.

And fear.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Osteosarcomas, Neutering and ... Fluoride?

(This blog originally posted on 4/13/2006).

Well here's a bit of an eye-opener to digest.

Fox news reports that increased amounts of fluoride in the water supply are linked to increased risk of osteosarcomes in human males. This raises questions about a link of canine osteosarcomas to fluoride in the water supply as well.

So is that it? Fluoride -> Osteosarcoma and the whole concern about neutering before one year of age was unfounded? Rottweiler Study

Sure a lot of the neuter early, neuter often crowd would like it to be. But there was something else in this report that caught Ms. X's eye.

The risk peaked for boys who drank more highly fluoridated water between the ages of 6 and 8 years -- a time at which children undergo a major growth spurt. By the time they were 20, these boys got bone cancer 5.46 times more often than boys with the lowest consumption.

"Major Growth Spurt". Well, when a dog is neutered young, the bones grow for a longer period of time than dogs that are not neutered, resulting in taller dogs and the distinct potential to accumulate more flouride in the bones.

Could fluoride be the mechanism that answers the question of how neutering effects osteosarcoma development?

Gosh, exciting stuff!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Tips for Buying a Healthy Puppy

(This blog originally posted on 8/4/2006).

The good thing is this list is really just common sense. Plus a few elaborations to help you understand why common sense is good.

First things first.

Things that do NOT affect the health of the pup:
1) Registries
2) Breed Clubs
3) Forms of advertisement

So you want a puppy? Here are the tips.

ONE Pick out your breed. This is step one because a lot of the information you're going to review will be best learned with a breed specific filter. Review the breed's history. Keep in mind what the breed was bred to do, versus what it does today.

TWO Learn what your breed should look like, and what a healthy structure should be. Read the book by R. Smythe, "The Dog Structure and Movement" and the breed standard(s) There are usually many different standards for a breed, each registering organization has one, and often there are historical ones as well. Read as many as you can find.

THREE Learn a little about the ailments that can affect dogs, and the ones most common in your choice of breed. This one is admittedly hard. It's hard to find information about non-genetically linked diseases, and many reported incidences of disease can be skewed by statistcs and alarmists. Learn what you can. Take what you learn with several grains of salt, and make sure you get a good guarantee (more on guarantees in a minute).

FOUR Nutrition of the parents is as important as what the pups are fed. Raw diets can provide optimal nutrition through generations, but they can go horribly wrong if the breeder doesn't know what she is doing. If you are interested in raw diets, read "Grow Your Pups With Bones" by Ian Billinghurst before you talk to breeders. For more information on how nutrition affects health and development through generations, read about Pottenger's Cats.

Ask the breeder what they feed their dogs. - Not what they recommend! But what they ACTUALLY feed. If they are feeding a wheat free, or corn free, or chicken or any sort fo specialty food, ask why. It might be a sign that their dogs have allergies, sensitive stomachs, history of bloat ect.

Puppies should be weaned onto puppy food, or adult food if large breeds, if they are not weaned onto BARF. Some breeders wean puppies onto baby cereals, like cream of rice. This practice is coming under scrutiny in humans as contributing to a rise in diabetes - a disease that also afflicts dogs - and obesity.

FIVE Meet the parents. Of all the things I can do when buying a puppy, missing this one is a sure deal breaker. Not only will you learn a lot about temperment of the dogs and the breeder when you see how she interacts with the male and female dogs, but you can visually look at appearant health. Ask the breeder to show you their teeth, ask about dental issues, abcesses, fast tarter buildup, lost teeth, extractions etc. (especially important in small breeds). Is there any fur loss on the parents? Untreated thyroid problems, mange and more can result in fur loss. Are they in good condition? Grossly fat or super skinny? Give the bitch a little leniency here, weight fluctuations (both high and low) are common as a result of pregnancy and nursing, just like humans. But the breeder should be able to tell you if weight anomilies are due to the puppies.

If the parents are sniffing and sneezing, that is a warning sign.

SIX Ask if the parents are on any medications or supplements or have ever been. It's fair to ask about every vet treatment, but realize you may not get a forthright answer.

SEVEN Vaccinations and worming. There are almost as many vaccination schedules as there are breeders. None are particularly right or wrong. In general, the bigger the breeders kennel, the more vaccinations the puppy will have had, while a holistic breeder may not have vaccinated at all. Be aware that an unvaccinated pup is more at risk of contracting some particularly nasty diseases and it may result in high vet bills or even the loss of the pup. Most breeders worm puppies at about 4 weeks, but worms are definitely something your vet will test for when you take the pup for it's first checkup.

EIGHT Inbreeding? One word. Run. A LOT of breeders inbreed, and they will tell you it is okay because they know their lines and there are no bad genes. Even if this were possibly true, inbreeding always doubles up the genes in the part of the body that controls the immune system. This doubling up weakens the immune system.

NINE Testing for genetic disease. There is a reason this is number 9. The most common screened for "genetic disease" is hip dysplasia. HD is only 30-40% genetic. Remember that just because both the sire and dam receive favorable ratings means nothing to the puppies. If you are considering a breed where HD is a serious problem, insist on seeing the screening results of all the sire's and dam's siblings, parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents, great aunts and great uncles. You want to see a overwhelming majority of good results in ALL those to gain any comfort that your puppy will be free of HD.

If all a breeder can offer is screening results for the parents and a few relations, that is virtually irrelevent. Make your decision to buy on other factors, and make sure you get a good contract.

Consider other genetic screening results in relation to the frequency of the disease in the breed, and it's treatability.

THIS LAST ITEM I'm not going to number because even if you throw everything else out the window, pay attention to this.

HEALTH GUARANTEE No matter who or where you buy your puppy, get in writing that
1) you can bring the puppy back with in at least 72 hours for a full refund if it does not pass YOUR vet of choice's evaluation.
2) you can get a replacement pup, or a refund, if your dog develops a true genetic defect within 2 years. Note that Hip Dysplasia is not a true genetic defect, and often won't be covered by the breeder. This is because the conditions the dog is raised in play as much or greater a part in whether the dog develops HD than the genetics. However, you may want to insist on HD coverage too if you are buying a breed with high incidence.

Also, beware of signing a contract that will make you return the dog to realize the genetic refund or replacement pup.

If you decide to buy a dog without a contract, recognize up front that you stand to lose the dog, the purchase price and any funds spent on vet bills.

A book could probably be written on buying a healthy puppy, but this will get you started. A little common sense goes a long way.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Weird Logic ... 2

(This blog originally posted on 8/22/2005).

I don't get "show" breeders. Almost every show breeder website says they breed to "better the breed", and they breed for health, for structure, for temperment, etc.

But for every single one of them, they all start their breedings with the same choice. And that choice has Nothing to do with health, temperment, structure. That first choice is only this: "Does the dog have a piece of paper registering him with my favorite organization?"

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Day That Will Live in Infamy

Today was the National Dog Show. I watched it on television this morning. When the hound group came up, one of the "new" breeds was highlighted - the Plott hound. I was reminded of this old post, and wanted to repost it as soon as possible.

(This blog originally posted on 5/16/2006).

Do you remember what you did May 10th, 2006? I don't.

The calendar tells me it was Wednesday. Get up, go to work, go home, play with the dogs, go to bed. A day like any other day. Right?

For you and me, maybe. But for the AKC it marked the beginning of the end.

AKC did 3 (at least) ominously significant things on May 10, 2006.

ONE, they officially pulled the poor Plott hound into the Hound Group, making it eligible to get AKC Championships in the Conformation ring. If Ms. X was a betting woman, she'd be calling her Vegas bookie right now. How many years will it be before the Plott in the ring is unrecognizable, or unfunctional as the Plott in the woods? 3 years? 5 years? 10 years?

There aren't many breeds left that the AKC hasn't pulled into the conformation championship ring. The Plott has been in Miscellaneous Class since 1998, which allowed show breeders to get a critical mass AKC registered so there would be enough to hold a show.

Now AKC will happily tell you if the Plott Hound breeder isn't a member of the AKC Plott Breed Club, you're not talking to a responsible breeder. Of course the breed club AKC has recognized has promised faithfully to involve the Plott in conformation shows.

For AKC, more breeds = more puppies = more money.

The SECOND ominous significant thing AKC did on May 10, 2006, was to formally launch its finger into the last big piece of the pie on the plate: Canine Protection Work.

Only AKC calls it "Working Dog Sport". In other words, AKC now hold Schutzhund trials. Now, AKC's mutant versions of Dobermans and GSD's can get bite work titles too, in a comfortable, non-competitive environment, to prove the crippled softies really are solid, sound and all-around superior specimens. You may want to know that even AKC versions of the Malinois aren't invited to these events. Why? I don't suppose, of course, that it would have anything to do with making AKC GSD's look bad, do you?

Let's stop for a quick vote - How many of my furry readers think Ms. X should lay off the vinegar with her morning coffee?

Of course this second move by AKC didn't occur just because AKC wanted to give some sort of legitimacy to their conformation championed "working" breeds. AKC itself is in competition. Registries like UKC and APRI are cutting into their profit. UKC attracts a lot of working dogs, hounds, terriers etc. APRI has made huge inroads into the high volume (commercial) breeders. CKC picks up a lot of business from family breeders who just don't want to bother with high-brow AKC. (Watch for more about CKC in the coming weeks).

Internationally, AKC is a small fish in a big pond. The FCI, which controls a LOT of purebred dog breeding and activity in foreign countries, is not terribly fond of AKC and tries to keep them out of Europe as hard as AKC works to keep FCI out of the States.

Internationally, AKC is playing a delicate game, crawling toward the FCI, head lowered, tail wagging, licking FCI's mouth...waiting for FCI to look away so AKC can mount the top dog and assert dominance.

Proof of this is in the THIRD ominously significant act of May 10, 2006. In the third
act, AKC prohibited it's judges from fraternizing with the enemy. Yup, that's what I said. Enemy.

No more working relationships with mutual professional respect for the other dog registries. Oh sure, they'll still accept your check for cross registration from those "other" registries, but that's about it.

No longer will their judges be free agents, judging for whichever registry is holding the show. And no longer will other registries be able to advertise that Dr. Know-all-dogs, who has judged over 300 shows (299 for AKC) will be presiding at the Spring Specialty for Registry X.

In the past, hard core AKCites would tell the public that shows held by Registry X weren't any good because the judges didn't know a good dog from a mutt. And then Registry X would fire back that they used the same judges as AKC.

Now, AKC is hoping to silence that argument by move three. With one exception. Only judging other competitions in the USA is prohibited. That means AKC left it's own legitimizer in place. AKC can still advertise Dr. Know-all-dogs, who has judged 50 shows for the FCI, will be presiding over this spring's Working Dog Sport Competition.

Ok, now before you can say "Gee, Gosh, Golly Ms. X, this is way more than vinegar in the coffee!" Let me remind you that AKC doesn't limit its efforts to increase market share to simply manipulating Fido and Fido's owner. AKC tries to manipulate the laws too.

Remember PAWS? AKC is still out there, lobbying for a huge increase in the number of government inspected breeders, where it itself will become one of the "government inspectors".

Now there is a market FCI will have a lot of trouble breaking into.

The Myth of the Myth of Hybrid Vigor

(This blog originally posted on 6/20/2005).

If you happen to mention 'hybrid vigor' in the wrong place, at the wrong time, you will likely find yourself attacked by the myth-ites. Their advances follow a consistent template- a split hair, some red herrings, the occassional split herring...

"WHAT" my ever observant readers demand, "Is a Split Herring"? Well that's easy. You take about 4 large herrings, split them, remove the backbone. Add a little salt and pepper and grill until nicely roasted. Then, you add a lovely concoction of pototoes, cauliflower, gherkins... Hey wait a minute! Stop Distracting me! This is important - people are spreading il-logic and it has to be stopped!

Okay, that's better. Still with me?

Let's start here - with Karen Peak. She opens with a split hair. Since dogs are of the same species she says, crossing them does not create a hybrid therefore no hybrid vigor. And if that's not enough, she says even in recognized 'hybrids', the vigor is questionable. Carefully ignoring the beefalo, yak crosses and the mule, she finds the health problems of ligers and tions and the tempermental quircks of wolfdogs all the evidence required to challenge hybrid vigor.

But hold on! It gets better! Darlene Arden doesn't waste time splitting hairs, she heads straight for the herrings. According to Ms. Arden because a dog could potentially inherit the genetic diseases of it's parents, hybrid vigor is a myth in dogs.

You see what we're up against! Now I know those of you who have raised cattle and pigs and crops are jumping up and down screaming right now. Hold your horses! I know what you're saying, but we have to quote some real experts.

“Heterosis (hybrid vigor) can improve the performance of crossbred animals, relative to the average of their parental breeds.” - Dr. Kent Weigel, Department of Dairy Science, University of Wisconsin

"Heterosis, known as hybrid vigor, is the added performance you get when mating parents of different breeds. It is free and nothing is spared to achieve it." - John Hough, Ph.D. Chief Science Officer, EPD International, Inc.

"Heterosis, often referred to as "hybrid vigor," measures the difference between average performance of crossbred animals and average performance of the breeds that were crossed to produce them." - T. A. Olson, associate professor of Animal Science, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida.

"B-b-b-utt I thought a hybrid had to come from two different species! What's all this nonsense about crossbred hybrids??"

Common mistake. Let's let Wikipedia do the talking.

In biology, hybrid has three meanings.
-The first meaning is either the offspring of two different species, or of two different genera.
-The second meaning of "hybrid" is crosses between populations or cultivars ("cultivated varieties") of a single species. This second meaning is often used in plant breeding.
-The third meaning is in molecular biology.

Seems it's all Mendels fault. He, like most plant breeders, called his heterozygous crosses 'hybrids'. And, since he was popular and did lots of research that had implications for breeding far beyond mere plants, people went with what he said. No surprise there!

Only the people stuck in high school biology are stuffing herrings. Certainly Ms. X, her intelligent readers and the real experts quoted above understand this complexity.

Now let's get out of the bean fields and find the dogs. Since Ms. Arden didn't trip over the definition of hybrid, but moved straight into the test for vigor, we should explain that.

Simply, hybrid vigor is defined by it's success. (Re-read the real experts quoted above). If the offspring has improvement in performance over it's purebred parents, hybrid vigor has surely occurred.

"Wow, so hybrid vigor doesn't mean the dogs will be physically and tempermentally perfect and never get sick?" Funny how the only people saying that are the zealots trying to disprove the scientific phenomenon of hybrid vigor. It's easy to disprove something that isn't true, now, isn't it?

Here are a few things to know about hybrid vigor (or heterosis) in animals.

"Level of heterosis tends to be inversely proportional to heritability. In moderately to highly heritable traits, such as carcass characteristics, level of heterosis is low. On the other hand, in traits having low heritability, such as fertility and livability, heterosis is high." -Crossbreeding Systems for Beef Cattle by Harlan Ritchie, B. Dennis Banks, Daniel Buskirk and Joel Cowley Michigan State University - East Lansing

"We found our F1 females became much superior mothers compared to the purebred animals, producing large quantities of milk and giving excellent care to their offspring, so that the F2's had a better start in life. These genetic and environmental advantages of the F1's and F2's are reflected in decreased mortality." - Genetics and the Social Behavior of the Dog by John Paul Scott and John L. Fuller

Scott and Fuller did the only scientific study I know of that looked at hybrid vigor in cross breed dogs. It wasn't the purpose of the study, but it was one of their oft noted observations.

And a final word about hybrid vigor- don't forget the key word is "hybrid"! By the time you get to the F9 and F10 generation, you're losing heterozygosity.

"The extrapolation of logic regarding color has led many beef producers to first make their cattle black, then to work on making their cattle genetically superior in regard to production, carcass merit and reproduction. Producers should not be criticized for this decision, they are simply responding to a market reality. By this response many commercial herds have been drained of nearly all of the hybrid vigor that was once there in their crossbred cows and calves. Three generations of Angus bulls on F1 Angus-Hereford cows results in 15/16 Angus cows and loss of 87% of the hybrid vigor, particularly in important reproduction & production traits. Hardest hit are the lowly heritable traits (such as conception, survival, fitness) which do not respond well to selection for the more highly heritable carcass and growth traits." - Balancing Angus Genetics and Hybrid Vigor in Breeding Black Cattle, Jim Gosey, Beef Specialist, University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Well, Ms. X's fingers are getting tired, but this last last thought just couldn't be left out. While the topic is beef, the implication is dog and in a nutshell it is the reason crossbreeds are sooo very popular today. Let's just hope those breeders take notes from industries that have been capitalizing on that 'hybrid vigor myth' for a long time and do dogs some good.'

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Animals as Property - something to think about

(This blog originally posted on 2/20/2005.)

Mary Ruwart address animal cruelty in a civilized society.

Someone said using property rights principles for animal ownership was a "slippery slope", presumably because it left other people unable to legally act in the face of blatant cruelty. (And, one can assume, in the face of any pet treatments your neighbor doesn't like).

But then they turned around and said they wanted the right to treat their animals as they saw fit.


Beware gentle readers, wanting the right to govern yourself AND govern your neighbors is the same thing as saying your neighbors (us) shouldn't have any rights at all!

Read L. Neil Smith's Treatise "Animals Are Property".

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Of Pet Peeves and Dog Choices.

(This blog originally posted on 2/25/2005.)

Maybe someone else can explain this phenonemon, because Ms. X can't seem to wrap her pretty, little head around it.

It starts with someone who wants to get into dogs, has a favorite breed they really want to own/show/breed, but common practices for this breed are 1) ear cropping and 2) tail docking.

So this person, lets call her Mrs. U, finds a breed about the same size and shape that doesn't "require" 1) ear cropping or 2) tail docking and starts breeding that breed.

Now is it just Ms. X, or is the WORST REASON EVER to choose a dog breed?

Shouldn't your breed of choice be selected because you love the personality, admire the function, like the way it's energy and activity fit perfectly with your lifestyle?

Shouldn't you breed your breed of choice because you want to preserve it's wonderful traits like courage, or it's ability to hunt?

After all, no one held a gun to Mrs. U's head and forced her to 1) crop ears or 2) dock tails. She thinks it's "icky"; but she can't resist the peer pressure she would get if she didn't 1) crop ears or 2) dock tails.

So she takes the cowards route and goes for a completely different breed because she can be popular with it and not feel "icky".

Then, she goes and 3) hacks off dewclaws because it's just darned hard to get into a breed where dewclaws are acceptable.

Honestly, Ms. X can't think of a worse person to have preserving a breed than Mrs. U, who doesn't have the courage of her convictions.

Civilized Society v. Responsible Society

(This blog originally posted 5/20/2005.)

The civilization of a society is not measured by the number of laws it writes, but in how few laws it has.

The notion of a 'responsible' society is one where some individuals deem themselves responsible for the actions of other individuals. When that happens, people who feel that burden of responsibility are forced into some VERY uncivilized actions against other people (resulting in lots of laws) to mitigate the weight of their conscience.

The end effect?

The more responsible a society deems itself the be, the less civilized it has become.

Friday, November 2, 2007


(This blog originally posted on 5/12/2005.)

I think I'm going to be sick.

Pet Roundup in Denver

Officer Lorraine Pacheco didn't know what to expect Monday - the first day of Denver Animal Control's enforcement of the city's ban on owning pit bulls.
"At first, I was like, do I even want to come into work today," Pacheco said from behind the wheel of her city-issued white van.
"People not wanting to give up their dogs, saying 'I love my dog, why are you taking him?' It's not a witch-hunt."
It is the law, though.

She's right you know. It's not a witch hunt. Nothing that significant. Just a good old fashioned dog hunt- only it's not a countryman protecting his flocks from roaming wild packs. It's the government and they're slaughtering your family pet.

The 50-year-old with long dreadlocks opened the fence's door a crack and slipped behind the chain-link door separating the officers from the snarling dog.

Remember Denverites, this law is for your own safety. Note the dreadlocks, crack and dog snarling at police officers? At least the propaganda machine is still keeping up the pretenses.

Pacheco said because Hollowell voluntarily gave up the dog, he wouldn't be ticketed.

Ah, the reward for compliance. The government is fair, you see. Now wear the star on your arm and you can continue to live in your own home. For now. Subservience is it's own reward.

"I don't have no dogs," the woman yelled. "There ain't no dogs in the basement. You want to search the house, get a warrant. And then I'll sue you."

Did you shudder in horror when you read this? You should. I'd say "have we come to this as a nation?" but Ms. X would point out we are already past.

"I've been called everything in the book," [Pacheco] said as she got in the van and drove away. "I just try and tell them I'm just doing my job."

Ms. Pacheco, many a Nazi slept at night on that same comfort.

Unfortunately I won't.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Weird Logic . . . 1

(This blog originally posted on 6/15/2005.)

Jane accepts crossbreeding for sled dogs. Tom thinks it's an acceptable practice to get a good hunting dog. Mary's Malinois has no paper pedigree, but is great at protection work so she breeds it.

Elizabeth thinks crossbreeding is irresponsible, but she'll look the other way for Jane, Tom and Mary.

One thing they all agree on is that most dogs today are pets. Not working dogs. So most dogs today should be bred for that calm, easy going, non-aggressive temperment that pet owners

But not one of them, Jane, Tom, Mary or especially Elizabeth, would EVER accept crossbreeding to produce a star in that most important job - being a pet with an calm, easy going, stable, friendly temperment.

Home-Grown Bomb Sniffers

(This blog originally posted on 9/16/2006)

This article reports that the LAPD is starting to breed it's own bomb-sniffing


Because since 9/11 the demand for good security dogs has sky rocketed and along with it the price. Demand is so great, that agencies are having trouble affording the best dogs which generally come from Europe.

That's kind of the significance of this story. Police and security agencies get good working dogs from foreign countries. Not the USA. Despite all the protestations that AKC show breeders are the most responsible, and their breed club members breed the best dogs, the LAPD is forced to breed their own to get something on par with the quality they are used to. Quality that comes from somewhere outside the showring stronghold.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Genetic Health of Mutts

(This blog originally posted on 1/28/2007)

In the 1990's Veternarian and Geneticist George Padgett wrote a book (Control of Canine Genetic Diseases) from which he is often quoted as saying that mutts are subject to more genetic diseases than purebred dogs.

What Padgett doesn't say in his book, though, is what the chances of a mutt getting any one of those genetic diseases is, compared to a purebred from a breed where the genetic disease exists.

Here is a study that provides us a partial answer to that question.

Prevalence of primary breed-related cataracts in the dog in North America

Fifty-nine breeds of dogs were affected with cataracts above the baseline prevalence of 1.61% seen in mixed-breed/hybrid dogs. The breeds with the highest cataract prevalence included: Smooth Fox Terrier (11.70%), Havanese (11.57%), Bichon Frise (11.45%), Boston Terrier (11.11%), Miniature Poodle (10.79%), Silky Terrier (10.29%) and Toy Poodle (10.21%).

11.7% compared to 1.6%. That's phenomenal.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

A Trip to Doggie Jail

Ever wonder what you'll face if the government gets control of your pet?

Rick Fisk lets you know in his piece titled "You Could Die".

Friday, October 19, 2007

To Neuter or Not to Neuter...

(This blog originally posted on 2/25/2006)

. . . the other side of the question.

"Just the facts, Ma'am."

It is no longer medically justifiable to castrate dogs for prevention of cancer. Castration predisposes to highly malignant prostatic cancer. Nearly all dogs afflicted with this nasty tumor are neutered individuals. Spaying helps to reduce the incidence of mammary tumors, if performed before the first heat. It does not eliminate the possibility, but does statistically reduce the risk. So, however, does lactation, as in humans.
Risk for bone sarcoma was significantly influenced by age at gonadectomy. Male and female dogs that underwent gonadectomy before 1 year of age had an approximate one in four lifetime risk for bone sarcoma and were significantly more likely to develop bone sarcoma than dogs that were sexually intact.
Similar to confined socialized cats, feral cats gained significant weight and body fat after neutering.
Puppies who get frequent puppy vaginitis or bladder infections and have an "Innie" vulva should NOT be spayed before their first heat.
There is no indication to perform an ovariohysterectomy in healthy, nongravid\r\nbitches.1,2 Since many of the complications seen with ovariohysterectomies can be attributed to the cervical stump and the transection of the broad ligament,3,4 many now advocate ovariectomy as the procedure of choice for the sterilization of female dogs.
[Ms. X notes that an “ovariectomy” procedure simply removes the ovaries, leaving the uterus intact in the dog.]
More on Ovariectomy:
Results suggest that the presence of circulating testosterone in aging sexually intact male dogs may slow the progression of cognitive impairment, at least among dogs that already have signs of mild impairment. Estrogens would be expected to have a similar protective role in sexually intact female dogs; unfortunately, too few sexually intact female dogs were available for inclusion in the study to test this hypothesis. There may be a need to evaluate possible methods for counteracting the effects of loss of sex hormones in gonadectomized dogs.
Two studies suggest that risk of prostatic adenocarcinoma is increased in neutered, compared to intact male dogs.
Substitution of castrated rats with a low dose of T [Testosterone], restoring their serum T concentrations to the normal range, completely abolished these perturbations of insulin sensitivity. It is concluded that T is an important regulator of muscular insulin sensitivity, which seems to be highest in a 'window' of normal serum T concentrations.
Hormones, especially testosterone, estradiol, IGF-1, and DHEA, influence muscle tone, insulin sensitivity, and lipid metabolism. And it's hardly coincidental that just at the time in a person's life that hormone balance begins to swing toward the lower end of reference ranges, cardiovascular dysfunction also increases.

A host of studies have demonstrated the effect of adequate levels of this hormone on general well being, lean muscle mass, and healthy metabolism, including cardiac function and detoxification. Along with its other benefits in aging men, testosterone plays a role in establishing a foundation for cardiac health.
The transgenic mice developed by Vicki Davis from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and colleagues provide further evidence that estrogen is essential for the inhibition of age-related cataracts and keeping the lens clear.
Infectious diseases, however, were more common in dogs that underwent prepubertal gonadectomy.
Among female dogs, early-age gonadectomy was associated with increased rate of cystitis and decreasing age at gonadectomy was associated with increased rate of urinary incontinence. Among male and female dogs with early-age gonadectomy, hip dysplasia, noise phobias, and sexual behaviors were increased, whereas obesity, separation anxiety, escaping behaviors, inappropriate elimination when frightened, and relinquishment for any reason were decreased.

More on Hip Dysplasia risk:
Onset of mineralization of the proximal femoral epiphyses and of the right proximal tibial epiphysis was significantly later in dysplastic than in radiographically normal puppies.
Environmental risk factors [for feline diabetes] in domestic or Burmese cats include advancing age, obesity, male gender, neutering, drug treatment, physical inactivity, and indoor confinement.
Urinary incontinence after spaying occurred in 9.7% of bitches. This incidence is approximately half that of spaying after the first oestrus. Urinary incontinence affected 12.5% of bitches that were of a large body weight (GT 20 kg body weight) and 5.1% of bitches that were of a small body weight (LT 20 kg body weight.\r\n\r\nHowever, compared with late spaying the clinical signs of urinary incontinence were more distinct after early spaying.
Early-age neutering does not stunt growth in dogs or cats (a once-held belief), but may alter metabolic rates in cats.
Tumors occurred with similar frequency in males and females, but the relative risk for spayed females was >4 times that for intact females. For HSA, spayed females had >5 times greater relative risk than did intact females. The risk for castrated males was slightly greater than that for intact males, which had 2.4 times the relative risk of intact females. Thus, neutering appeared to increase the risk of cardiac tumor in both sexes. Intact females were least likely to develop a cardiac tumor, whereas spayed females were most likely to develop a tumor.
Incompetence of the urethral sphincter mechanism is uncommon in male dogs. This paper reviews 54 cases. As in the bitch, the condition can occur either as a congenital or as an acquired condition, in which neutering may play a part; larger breeds appear to be at greater risk.
Neutering was determined to be the most significant gender-associated risk factor for development of hypothyroidism. Neutered male and spayed female dogs had a higher relative risk of developing hypothyroidism than did sexually intact females. Sexually intact females had a lower relative risk.
49 of 80 aggressive male dogs and 25 of 47 female dogs are more gentle after neutering. 10 bitches appeared to be aggressive only after being neutered.
These results confirmed the gain in body weight and body fat following neutering and demonstrated a strong linear relationship between body fat and serum level of leptin.
Sterilization of either gender increased the prevalence of anterior cruciate ligament injury, suggesting a potential effect of gonadal gender on prevalence of injury of this ligament.
Our research nevertheless demonstrates that ovariohysterectomy decreases smooth muscle mass and connective tissue; it also elevates vascular plexus volumes in the urethra of spayed animals. Moreover, our results imply a general weakening of the urethral wall as a sequel to ovariohysterectomy, and this, in turn, could be seen to affect the closure mechanism of the urethra.
Both human studies5-7 and animal models8-9 have demonstrated improved insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance during lactation compared with nonlactating mothers who served as controls. These differences were independent of weight change.

These findings suggest that maternal lactation may reduce future risk of type 2 diabetes.

(Ms. X again) Now is all this to say the neutering is all bad and intact is all good? Of course not. Because in the final analysis, there have been many, many, manymanymanymany animals that lived long, full, healthy lives both neutered AND intact.

However you won't find much of this information merely by Googling for "neuter effects". Instead you will find page after page touting the benefits of neutering at any ages - with little mention of risks.

So Ms. X provides this blog to help fulfill her mission of sharing real educational insights, and going to ground after emotional hype.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Before Ellen, there was the Oklahoma Rescue...

(This blog originally posted on 12/23/2006.)

Ms. X once wrote that the only morally mitigating circumstance for keeping a dog you know belongs to another person was abuse.

Well, the Beagle "Rescue" that is refusing to return a dog to a family (they do not deny the dog belongs to the family) has listed their reasons on their website. There are no allegations of abuse. Read it for yourself! Here.

The Beagle Rescue, "OKBR", only makes the claim that the family has to follow their rules in order to adopt the dog. They say they can't make an exception.

If the family had been willing to consider the safety and wellbeing of this dog and others currently in their possession, the adoption fee would have been waived and only reimbursement of vet expenses expected.

Well now, that's downright generous. They'll waive the adoption fee when returning your own animal to you. But all their other "criteria" and "rules" remain in effect. Nevermind that the dog lived with this family for several years, without meeting those criteria, or that the dog came into rescue's oversight (I won't say possession) against the wishes of it's owners.

What exactly are the elements of safety and wellbeing that the family are not "considering"? According to the OKBR website,

1) the dogs were kept outside, and at least one of the dogs was chained.

Ms. X says: A lot of dogs are outside dogs. Is it an ideal life for a dog? Who knows? A lifetime crated in a basement isn't ideal either, yet the "Rescue" says they require dogs to be indoor only dogs. Is chaining a dog ideal? In general, people are beginning to learn that a dog on a single chain can be more disposed to agression problems. But on the other hand, something as simple as attaching the dogs' chain to another stretched line (called a trolley) allowing an additional degree of freedom in movement significantly reduces these issues. Were these dogs on a trolley system? Would it have even mattered to the "Rescue"?

There's another question the OKBR has to answer though. If the presence of a chain is enough to refuse to return a dog to its rightful owner, does that mean they would take a dog away from somebody who had it chained in the yard? Ms. X is pretty sure what an extremist group like OKBR would say. But what about you?

2) "The dogs were not permitted inside the home nor were they provided with a dog house or any other type of adequate shelter."

Ms. X says: Again with the complaint about it being an outside dog. And again, the OKBR won't return the dog because the OKBR adoption contract requires the dog to live indoors. Does this mean the OKBR would have taken the dog away from these people solely because it lives outside?

No dog house. No adequate shelter. Almost every state animal cruelty law requires that dogs have adequate shelter. In fact, in Oklahoma depriving an animal of shelter is a felony. That's serious stuff. Has OKBR filed charges? Until they do, and a conviction is reached, we must assume the family is innocent until proven guilty.

3) The family's dogs were over 6 months old, and not neutered.

Both dogs were over 6 months old and had not been altered and had no medical explanation of why spaying/neutering would be a danger to the animals in question. OKBR will not adopt any animal to a family that has other unaltered animals due to the high volume of unwanted animals killed every year in the city/county shelters.

Ms. X says: This one's my favorite. What's that OKBR said earlier? "the safety and wellbeing of this dog and others currently in their possession" Okay family, here are plenty of medical reasons to not neuter your dog (Start Here). But don't forget to ask, what on earth does the "high volume of unwanted animals killed every year" have to do with the safety and wellbeing of YOUR dog?

4) The dogs weren't on monthly heartworm preventitive year 'round.

Ms. X says: Yes, heartworms are a devastating and expensive to treat condition. But so are many other diseases that dogs can and do acquire. There are many reasons why people DON'T do conventional heartworm preventative treatment. And many more people who only give the conventional treatment during high mosquito season, often due to the financial constraints.

And guess what? Their dogs live to ripe old ages too. So once again, OKBR, are you telling us that you would remove a dog from it's family just because they didn't give it conventional yearround heartworm prevention? And while Ms. X might risk guessing what the "Rescue's" answer would be, furry reader, what is yours?

The REAL Humane Society of the United States.

(This blog originally posted on 11/21/2006.)

This came in through the e-mail, and Ms. X wanted to share.


Dear (Furry Reader):

I found some information I thought I should pass along:
Humane Society of the United States
2100 L Street, NW, Washington, DC
Phone 202-452-1100 Fax 202-258-3051 Email


Humane Society of the United States

Despite the words “humane society” on its letterhead, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is not affiliated with your local animal shelter. Despite the omnipresent dogs and cats in its fundraising materials, it’s not an organization that runs spay/neuter programs or takes in stray, neglected, and abused pets. And despite the common image of animal protection agencies as cash-strapped organizations dedicated to animal welfare, HSUS has become the wealthiest animal rights organization on earth.

HSUS is big, rich, and powerful, a “humane society” in name only. And while most local animal shelters are under-funded and unsung, HSUS has accumulated $113 million in assets and built a recognizable brand by capitalizing on the confusion its very name provokes. This misdirection results in an irony of which most animal lovers are unaware: HSUS raises enough money to finance animal shelters in every single state, with money to spare, yet it doesn’t operate a single one anywhere.

Instead, HSUS spends millions on programs that seek to economically cripple meat and dairy producers; eliminate the use of animals in biomedical research labs; phase out pet breeding, zoos, and circus animal acts; and demonize hunters as crazed lunatics. HSUS spends $2 million each year on travel expenses alone, just keeping its multi-national agenda going.

HSUS president Wayne Pacelle described some of his goals in 2004 for The Washington Post: “We will see the end of wild animals in circus acts … [and we’re] phasing out animals used in research. Hunting? I think you will see a steady decline in numbers.” More recently, in a June 2005 interview, Pacelle told Satya magazine that HSUS is working on “a guide to vegetarian eating, to really make the case for it.” A strict vegan himself, Pacelle added: “Reducing meat consumption can be a tremendous benefit to animals.”

Shortly after Pacelle joined HSUS in 1994, he told Animal People (an inside-the-movement watchdog newspaper) that his goal was to build “a National Rifle Association of the animal rights movement.” And now, as the organization’s leader, he’s in a position to back up his rhetoric with action. In 2005 Pacelle announced the formation of a new “Animal Protection Litigation Section” within HSUS, dedicated to “the process of researching, preparing, and prosecuting animal protection lawsuits in state and federal court.”

HSUS’s current goals have little to do with animal shelters. The group has taken aim at the traditional morning meal of bacon and eggs with a tasteless “Breakfast of Cruelty” campaign. Its newspaper op-eds demand that consumers “help make this a more humane world [by] reducing our consumption of meat and egg products.” Since its inception, HSUS has tried to limit the choices of American consumers, opposing dog breeding, conventional livestock and poultry farming, rodeos, circuses, horse racing, marine aquariums, and fur trapping.


Furry Readers, can we animal afficionados allow these people to trample the progress we have made in gaining the rights to enjoy to the fullest the animals we love? Our interactions with animals fulfill us on an elemental level. Whether we are eating them, wearing them, petting them or trusting our very lives to them, animals exist in this evolutionary world to complete the nature of humans. They are an extension of ourselves, the 'wind beneath our wings'.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Real Dogs? or Pretty Dogs?

How many times have you seen the proud owner or the puffed breeder parade their favored muse and proclaim "My dog was bred to course hares" or "hunt badgers" or "flush birds" and you look at the primped and preened speciman and think "That??!"

Well guess what? You're probably right. Most of todays purebreds were not bred to do anything, other than look upbeat and pretty when they're led around a show ring. In fact, in many cases it's quite likely the sturdy little terrier with the ferocious bark couldn't even fit down a badger hole if he wanted to.

Livestock Judging Handbook by Julius E. Nordby, M.S,Agr (University of Idaho), W. Malcolm Beeson, Ph.D (Purdue University) and David L. Fourt, M.S.Agr (University of Idaho).

In a further consideration of utility type in draft horses it is of value to note carefully what Wayne Dinsmore, Secretary, The Horse and Mule Association of America, has recently found concerning type in the farm horse. This discussion is the result of a carefully conducted and extensive survey among farmers of twelve midwestern states, in which their choice is expressed with respect to the qualities that should prevail in the ideal farm work horse.
To get these facts and other information about horse and mule breeding, a trained horseman was sent on a trip which took him to [these twelve midwestern states]. ..[T]he route traversed was usually a mile or more away from paved highways, and the farmers interviewed were not selected, but 'run of the mine' farmers, taken as they came.
...[T]the farmer was asked: 'Have you a horse (or mule) that just suits you?' Where the answer was in the affirmative, the horse or mule was led out and ...accurately measured.

So this is the definitive test. Take those that best do the work (function), document their size and shape, and derive the standard (form).

Is there any better method for determining what a dog "bred to ...(fill in the blank)..." should look like?

Some people still think so. The terrier men at think so. And these sled dog racers think this old technique has value too - "Bones You Should Know and Love."

So the only remaining question is, are there enough dogs left doing the work to get a good sampling? For some jobs, there probably are. For others, the only thing to do is set the record straight.

"That dog was bred to prance around the showring looking upbeat and pretty."

Saturday, October 13, 2007

It takes a miracle to train a dog.

A rather remarkable story out of Southern California, two dogs are spared a one-way trip to the shelter by nothing less than the image
of Jesus Christ appearing on their doggy door.

It's remarkable because it took Divine Intervention for these two rather normal
sounding dogs to not be sent packing.

The reason dogs are in the shelter is not because there are commercial breeders, or
backyard breeders, or family breeders, or barbie breeders or (your favorite epithet here) breeders.

The reason dogs wind up in
shelters is because of OWNERS. Owners that take on a responsibility and then decide they\'d rather shirk it, thank you very much. So they
find some poor soul or a taxpayer funded collection site to exchange the problem dog for one that would be less troublesome (or so they

The only thinking solution is to educate owners. Cesar Millan is a great start.

What's needed is more charity put into free training and free education.

If any of my furry readers knows of free training classes around the country, I'll be happy to put up a notice.

A new home!

Yes, I know. I just moved a couple months ago. It was a long and arduous process that resulted in the blog being down for a very long time.

And now I've gone and done it again. And there are no archives!

But there is method to the madness. is . . . (drum roll) FREE!

The old blog software was free too, but it required a lot of time consuming manual maintenance, upgrades, etc. etc. A great software, but the coordination required to maintain a labor intensive software on a so-so server with no support to mention, was just a little more than Ms. X has time for. I do have to hold down a paying job to feed the fur kids. Oh, and the human ones too ;-)

So here's hoping I'll find someway to bring the old archives over. At the very least, over time, I will repost most of them.

Here's wishing us luck!