You Look Marvelous!

Due to not being able to get out in such heat, I’d like to keep Alfie in shape by working him on the treadmill. He’s really not too keen on it, though, and is too smart for his own good. I can tell when he is starting to tire of my demands, even though I am talking to him and cheering him on like a nut. It’s so funny, but as soon as I figure he is starting to build up a sweat (in doggie terms, that is), he decides that’s enough of this boring stuff and goes to jump off.

You can see Alfie from puppyhood to adulthood at his own Golden Gallery.

Our Alfie meets Lee Ann

Lee Ann, one of our Golden friends, members came to visit today. She is a Leba III convert and thought she’d pick up a much needed bottle so that she could get to meet us. It turns out (I actually didn’t know this) but there is difficulty with dental hygiene in Basset Hounds due to the shape of their mouths, and Lee Ann has needed to have repeated cleanings with anesthesia. But, not anymore. Her Lucy’s previous brown tartar-stained teeth have completely cleared up. And, her Golden pup Patty’s teeth just continue to stay white and super healthy. I am actually a convert as well, and am thankful to the “always has the best info to share” Suzi Beber for sharing this great find.

Alfie had a great time showing off his tricks and stuck to Lee Ann like glue. He was simply thrilled to have company. And, given the fleece toy present, Lee Ann was treated like royalty lol.

WARNING! Please excuse the videographer’s silly chatter during the clip. I don’t want to tell you how much ribbing I got from hubby Gary when he watched. He just wondered how I could talk that way in front of a total stranger. What a card, my husband is….

Little Lola

You do not want to miss seeing this little 7-week-old girl, Lola. With a walk all her own, she is rather unbelievable. She kind of reminds me of Golden Retriever Polar, who was also faced with a genetic hind leg paralysis

But, it is a rather funny story about how they managed to get this little one captured on film.

You can see a wonderful, ad-free, video version of this kitty in action by clicking here. Trust me, this special segment is not to be missed!

Buddy Spay-Neuter License Plate

Check out the new Georgia license plates which will be available beginning September 1st.

Now Georgians can “Drive with a Buddy.”

Georgia’s Dog and Cat Sterilization Program will once again provide spay/neuter subsidies to pet owners beginning Sept. 1, 2006, Commissioner of Agriculture Tommy Irvin announced this week.The DCSP provided more than $1 million in spay/neuter subsidies between November 2003 and April 2005, with 711 veterinarians performing spay/neuter procedures on pets in all 159 Georgia counties.

2006 AKC Awards for Canine Excellence

When I was active in agility with Darcy I got to meet a very special handler named Ron, who always had the crowds cheering him and his dogs on. So, it was so exciting to learn today that he had won this year’s AKC ACE Award in the category of Exemplary Companion Dog. These are wonderful awards and you should go and check out all the honorees for this year. Some years back, I actually nominated the winning dog (Senior Bullet) for this very same award.

Here is the write-up for Ron and his beautiful gal K.D.:

K.D. is a six-year-old Golden Retriever described as “the canine half of an extraordinary agility team”. She and Ron Heller have excelled in a sport that is said to require agility and speed, not only in the dog, but in the handler as well. Ron, affected by cerebral palsy and limited mobility, has proved that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. Together, he and K.D. have earned Master Excellent and Agility Excellent Jumper titles.As a team, they have overcome challenges by focusing on what they CAN do and are an inspiration to many. Watching Ron direct K.D. through a complicated course, it appears to bystanders as if K.D. is actually reading Ron’s mind. Ron has trained K.D. to respond to cues from as far as the opposite side of the ring. His success with K.D. has motivated Ron to become an agility instructor, specializing in teaching distance handling skills.

Outside the agility ring K.D. transforms into a gentle, quiet dog that walks politely on lead. The team has qualifying scores in Novice Obedience and Novice Rally. K.D. is also a registered therapy dog with Therapy Dog, Inc. Ron and K.D. are active in their local dog club and together they visit nursing homes, schools, and give training demonstrations at community events.

Urban Legends

I just received one of those emails that spoke of emergency information that needed to be known and passed on to others.

It was about 1:00 p.m. in the afternoon, and Lauren was driving to visit a friend. An UNMARKED police car pulled up behind her and put his lights on. Lauren’s parents have always told them never to pull over for an unmarked car on the side of the road, but rather to wait until they get to a gas station, etc. Lauren had actually listened to her parents advice, and promptly called 677 on her cell phone to tell the police dispatcher that she would not pull over right away. She proceeded to tell the dispatcher that there was an unmarked police car with a flashing red light on his rooftop behind her. The dispatcher checked to see if there were police cars where she was and there weren’t, so he told her to keep driving, remain calm, and that he had back up already on the way.Ten minutes later 4 cop cars surrounded her and the unmarked car behind her. One policeman went to her side and the others surrounded the car behind. They pulled the guy from the car and tackled him to the ground. The man was a convicted rapist and wanted for other crimes.

I never knew about the *677 Cell Phone feature, but especially for a woman alone in a car, you should not pull over for an unmarked car. Apparently police have to respect your right to keep going to a safe & quiet place. You obviously need to make some signals that you acknowledge them (i.e. put on your hazard lights) or call *677 like Lauren did. Too bad the cell phone companies don’t generally give you this little bit of wonderful information. Speaking to a cell phone service representative, I confirmed that *677 was a direct link to State Police Dispatch. So, now it’s your turn to let your friends know about *677. Let other folks know about this. It may save a life.

So, I went to a page on Urban Legends and found a great page about this particular Pullover email that has circulated for years.

Just click here and you can print out a listing of emergency cellular phone numbers for each state.

Lassie is Back

I grew up with small dogs, but hubby Gary had a ‘Lassie’ dog, but the dog was a ‘he’ and was named Laddie. It was his assurance that I could handle bigger dogs that I had the courage to go Golden in 1987. And, of course, I’ve never turned back.

Folks first met Lassie in 1938 and there are hopes that a new film to debut in September can spur a rebirth. Check out the Lassie Revival article and wonderful film clip.

You can also see another video clip of the dog playing Lassie via a visit to the WCCO Plaza to promote pet health and adoption and her new movie.

An Anniversary Ritual

While I don’t want to say how many years, yesterday, August 19th, was my wedding anniversary. Hubby Gary always tries to find a Golden card to celebrate such occasions, but it is pretty tough to find such anniversary cards. It did take him many stores, and he initially was going to settle on a birthday card. When the salesperson told him that he had not selected the correct card, he told her not to fear as he had a magic marker at home which would take care of that problem. He’s good at crossing out parts of cards to make them work. He’s very funny that way. But, then he by chance tried another store, and did have success.

I love the inside of the card, as he signs Golden Alfie’s name first, Kitty Cindy’s name next, and then finally his name. He typically also draws in different size paw prints. But, sadly, he said he could not do it as doing so reminded him too much of Darcy, who has been gone now 6 months, even though it feels like it was only yesterday when she left our side.

I’m Yours

I just adore some of the emotions captured in the following piece. And, the music is simply perfect (which is why I’ve provided the lyrics as well below). Be sure to watch until the end so that you do not miss anything. Those under the ear shots and laughing together shots are just classics.

Well you done done me and you bet I felt it
I tried to be chill but you’re so hot that I melted
I fell right through the cracks, and now I’m trying to get back
Before the cool done run out. I’ll be giving it my bestest
Nothing’s going to stop me but divine intervention
I reckon it’s again my turn to win some or learn some

I won’t hesitate no more, no more. It cannot wait, I’m yours

Well open up your mind and see like me,
Open up your plans and damn you’re free
Look into your heart and you’ll find love love love
Listen to the music of the moment maybe sing with me
A lá peaceful melodies
It’s your G-d forsaken right to be loved love loved love love

So I won’t hesitate no more, no more, It cannot wait I’m sure
There’s no need to complicate, Our time is short
This is our fate, I’m yours

I’ve been spending way too long checking my tongue in the mirror
And bending over backwards just to try to see it clearer
But my breath fogged up the glass,
And so I drew a new face and laughed
I guess what I’m saying is there ain’t no better reason
To rid yourself of vanity and just go with the seasons
It’s what we aim to do, Our name is our virtue

I won’t hesitate no more, no more, It cannot wait I’m sure
There’s no need to complicate, Our time is short
This is our fate, I’m yours

Well no no, well open up your mind and see like me
Open up your plans and damn you’re free
Look into your heart and you’ll find love love love love
Listen to the music of the moment come and dance with me
A lá one big family
It’s your G-d forsaken right to be loved love love love

I won’t hesitate no more, Oh no more no more no more
It’s your G-d forsaken right to be loved, I’m sure
Theres no need to complicate, Our time is short
This is our fate, I’m yours

No I won’t hesitate no more, no more
This cannot wait I’m sure, There’s no need to complicate
Our time is short
This is our fate, I’m yours, I’m yours

Meet Washoe

Washoe was born in Africa, estimated to be 40-years-old, was cross-fostered and acquired American Sign Language from her human companions. Washoe was the first non-human to acquire a human language.

The four chimpanzees at Central Washington University’s Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute (CHCI) – Washoe, Loulis, Tatu, and Dar – have acquired extensive American Sign Language vocabularies and live together as a social group. They gesture and vocalize as free-living chimpanzees do and also use American Sign Language in their interactions with humans and with each other to answer questions, make requests, and describe activities and objects.

The CHCI site is quite impressive and there is detailed Teacher & Student information.

The development of the “Next of Kin, A Compassionate, Interdisciplinary Science Curriculum” is part of an ongoing outreach program designed to help K-12 students understand the importance of conservation and compassion toward chimpanzees and all living creatures.

There is much to learn at the website for Friends of Washoe, and their mission statement is quite expansive:

Established in 1981, Friends of Washoe is a non-profit organization (501.c3) dedicated to establishing peace between the human species and all the other members of creation. … Protection, activism, education and research are integral parts of the mission of Friends of Washoe. All of Friends of Washoe’s efforts, especially in education and research, strive to enhance the well-being and respect for all our fellow animals with the eminent goal of protecting chimpanzees as individuals and as a species. Ultimately, Friends of Washoe seeks to play a role in replacing human exploitation with human compassion and looks to the day when our species will declare a peace with all of creation.

This is Dar, reminding me of the “Princess Dar” nickname I used to call my Golden Darcy.

You can learn more about the CHCI in the book, Next of Kin: My Conversations with Chimpanzees. It is written by primatologist Roger Fouts who has been involved for three decades with language studies of the chimpanzee. While the book is mainly a positive one that extols the gifts that these wonderful animals possess, he also notes that chimpanzees are regularly abused in laboratory settings, and that in the wild, during the last century, their number has fallen from 5,000,000 to fewer than 175,000.

Ruffling Scientific Feathers

I have always been intrigued by the African gray parrot and their amazing language capacity. Irene Pepperberg’s 20 years of research has shown that gray parrots are far more capable than mere mimicry, having written written the 1999 seminal work, The Alex Studies: Cognitive and Communicative Abilities of Grey Parrots. However, I had not known about a psychic parrot named N’Kisi.

Aimee Morgana, N’Kisi’s human companion and trainer has a project in which a language is being tested, using a parrot for telepathy.

Aimee is working with Rupert Sheldrake, biologist and author of the wonderful book, Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home and Other Unexplained Powers of Animals .

You can actually listen to N’Kisi speak here.

Let’s Say Thanks

The postcards, depicting patriotic scenes and hometown images, were selected from a pool of entries from children across the country.

All you have to do is click on your favorite design and either select the message that best expresses your sentiment or draft a personal note. The postcards are then printed on a digital production press and mailed in care packages by military support organization Give2TheTroops.

To date, more than 12,000 postcards have been mailed to soldiers. With the launch of www.LetsSayThanks.com, more soldiers can expect to receive messages from home. The launch of this program is aimed at reminding them how much Americans appreciate their service.

A Violation of Trust

Last night the CBS Evening News ran a story on the brown bears who live in the McNeil River, Alaska State Game Sanctuary. A limited number of visitors to the sanctuary have been permitted to watch the bears up close each summer as they catch migrating salmon. This has resulted in the bears becoming completely unafraid of humans. The State has announced that buffer zones adjacent to the sanctuary that protect the bears will be open to trophy hunters in 2007. Without a natural fear of humans, these bears will be easy targets.

Go read (or watch) the CBS report and then spare a moment to consider signing the Oppose Hunting of Brown Bears Near the McNeil River State Game Sanctuary, Alaska Petition, a petition sponsored by the Friends of McNeil River organization.

The photo above comes from Jon Pascal, who has taken many, many photos of these impressive animals.

Dark Water Rising

Dark Water Rising: The Truth About Hurricane Katrina Animal Rescues As the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches on August 29, questions that many ask are: “What really happened to the pets in New Orleans after Katrina?” “Will this happen again this hurricane season, or here in the event of an earthquake, volcanic eruption or tsunami?” Three-time Best Documentary award-winner and Portland filmmaker Mike Shiley (Inside Iraq: The Untold Stories) will share the truth behind the animal rescues of Hurricane Katrina and what we can do to avoid a repeat of forced separation of pets from their owners in the future.

Dark Water Rising is the smoking gun that will energize and activate the public to make sure that this horrific scenario is never repeated, in New Orleans, in Oregon, or any other community. It will be opening in August in Atlanta, Nashville, Washington DC, Salt Lake City, San Francisco and New Orleans.

Over 50,000 dogs and cats were left behind in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The pets (mostly dogs) that survived the flood were locked in houses and chained to fences without food and water for up to six weeks.

A small group of brave rescuers from around the world risked their lives to sledgehammer down doors, brave toxic floodwaters and dodge corrupt cops in a race against time to rescue up to 10,000 trapped and starving animals. Some rescuers worked with the official rescue organization, the Humane Society of the United States, while others joined a more aggressive rescue outfit, code named Winn Dixie.

This film also tells uplifting stories of hope and survival as pets are reunited with their owners while other lucky pets find loving new homes. These hard earned lessons will help our nation understand the need for animal evacuation plans in natural disasters.