Monday, June 30, 2014

Trying Out Crochet

Don't knock it until you try it. That Crochet Dude makes tons of money. Now imagine being a dude and a dog? I could really market myself.

Ok Mom just a little problem I can't read. Was that a DC or a SC at the end of the row?

When I make my own line, I'll have one that has an attachment that helps you hold the hook with your paw. This is really too awkward for the average dog. I've got to get my peeps on this now. Maybe some yarn that doesn't get attached to my nails would be good, too.

Welcome to Monday Mischief – The pet blog hop that wraps up the weekend! This Blog Hop is brought to you by Alfie’s Blog, Snoopy’s Dog Blog, and My Brown Newfies.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday Flowers: Lilies

Mom loves Lilies, both the Day and the Oriental. The Oriental Lilies are slowly coming into bloom. The Day Lilies are a bit slow this year. Mom is hoping the ones that were called 4th of July Lilies around here make it for the holiday.

At one point Mom in planning her perennial jungle garden Mom kept picking up just about every color of Lily she came across. She loves the way the bright cheerful colors decorate her garden during the summer.

Mom is rather surprised and excited to find the Lilies doing so well without assistance. It must be the weather because the last few years the Lilies have been under attack by bug critters and if she doesn't treat them in time, they don't even get to the blooms. This year she found them blooming before she even expected them to be ready to bloom. The bug critters must not enjoy the weather we've had this season.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Beaglemania Book Review

Mom is a obsessive interested reader of mysteries. She reads all kinds including the themed one she took out from the library that she wanted to write about here.

Beaglemania (A Pet Rescue Mystery) gives you the idea that this is the idealized version of what pet rescue should be from the author's perspective. A very wealthy donor funds the rescue. This allows it to have paid employees and unpaid volunteers. The death and mystery is of course thrown in to keep the reader engaged.

Having two rescue dogs, I was interested in a series that educated and entertained at the same time. However, what really bothered me about this book is what is bothering me about a segment of the rescue/shelter movement in general lately, the attitude and the message. There is a wonderful movement out there to educate and inform the public about the need and the benefits of adopting shelter/rescue animals and I fully support it. However, there is a problem in the movement that is doing more harm to the positive message than good. It has to do with control and attitude. I've said it many times, if this message is louder than the positive one about the benefits of adoption, than it will harm the rescue movement in the long run.

In this book, the director Lauren Vancouver is at the heart of shutting down one of the demons of the rescue movement a puppy mill. This should be a no brainer in terms of writing a sympathetic piece. Nobody who loves dogs thinks puppy mills are a good idea. She goes for the obvious victim in murdering a person suspected of abuse associated with a puppy mill, but that still wasn't my main issue with the author's story. This was predictable and made for a rather dull mystery. However, I've read plenty of dull mysteries and walked away thinking perhaps the author might do better on a second try. The problem I had was her idealized vision of a rescue.

I had no problem with the rich donor. Wouldn't we all like to have unlimited pockets so fundraising wasn't a huge problem. It was the attitude about the potential adopters and this is the problem I have with some of the real shelters and rescues. I strongly believe that the welfare and safety of the dogs being placed should ALWAYS be at the heart of the decision made by the rescue/shelter when a dog is adopted. Making a solid placement is important. As much as people may want a dog they are not always financially, physically, mentally, or emotionally able to handle a dog. It is not easy or comfortable to deliver that message to people, but it is a reality that the dog's needs must be first when making a placement. However, there is a difference between meeting the dog's needs and liking the people you place the dog with during an adoption.

Now I'm not talking about a person who is potentially abusive or neglectful. Those issues again fall under the best interests of the dog. I'm talking about the person to person feelings between the applicant and the rescue/shelter. This person has to be a good dog owner, they don't have to be someone you want to have dinner with be best friends with for the rest of your lives. If you have a legitimate concern that the dog will be abused or neglected than that is a real reason to refuse an adoption. If you don't think the dog is a good fit that is a reason to prevent an adoption. However, if the dog is a good fit and there are no barriers to the adoption other than you don't think you'd be friends with the person that is a problem with the shelter/rescue personnel, not the adopter. This is about finding a forever home for the dog where it will be safe, happy, and have its needs met. This is not about finding a new friend for the shelter personnel. This is an issue I have a huge problem with as I listen to people discuss placements. If I know the animal is going to be happy, safe, and well cared for, I don't have to be best friends with the person who is taking the dog. I've seen people make emotional decisions when it comes to placing dogs that have no basis in the best interests of the dogs and it continues to bother me.

I am constantly reading posts or hearing the issue discussed while at rescue events of why people use breeders over adoption. Folks the attitude is one of the problems. When you treat people badly, they aren't comfortable coming back. There is a line between respectfully investigating someone's background to ensure they are going to be a good fit for an adoption and making them feel like they are back in Junior High being judged by the popular kids and being found wanting. We need to examine very carefully what we are asking and why we are asking. Are we uncomfortable with something that will be an issue for the dogs, or would it only be an issue if this adopter was suddenly going to be hanging out at our house every Friday night?

I can think of pet owners I've met over the years that I didn't particularly like on a personal level for a variety of reasons. However, if asked to honestly testify as to the quality of life for the pets, I can think of only a few that I would say based on specific knowledge of how they behave towards the animals in their lives I would not recommend them to have animals. In fact, some people who have made my life miserable are incredibly loving and attentive to their animals. I can think of one person in particular whom I would have to say if called to testify hasn't been terribly nice to most people, but the dog lives a very nice, comfortable life that any rescue should respect. If you judged the adoption solely on how well you got along with this person, they'd likely be a homeless dog right now. Thankfully, someone was able to see beyond the personality issues and make a solid adoption.

This is where I get back to the book. One of the things that struck me and actually made me decide to write the review was the arrogance, which the author actually sees as a positive trait. The rescue in this story is fortunate to have paid and unpaid staff working to evaluate potential adoptions. After an adoption event several adoptions are pending based on the reviews of the staff. However, nothing can be done while Lucy is off solving the mystery, because she has to approve all adoptions. Despite her qualified staff, she has to "feel" the adoptions are right. This was a huge problem for me. She's off and about and people are left hanging because she can't surrender control to people she clearly stated are qualified and able to make these decisions. Ultimately her decisions aren't about the best interests of the dogs, all that has been reviewed by her employees. This is a personal control problem.

While fiction, this isn't a problem stuck in the pages of a book. If we want to encourage more shelter/rescue adoptions, we do have to start being more user friendly. There will be people who aren't qualified. Some will have the resources, but want a dog that is not appropriate for the family or living situation. Those are always frustrating and challenging conversations to have with potential adopters.

However, there are also people who are ready and able to adopt, pass the screenings, and then have problems with a staff member’s personal feelings rather than practical reasons for why an adoption should not happen. There is a big difference between making a decision based on the qualifications of the adopter, the interaction between the dog and the adopter, or the situation of the adopter and personal feelings. The first set are about the best interests of the dog. Forever homes are about making sure an adopter has the resources to care for a dog, the home is an appropriate setting for the dog, and that the dog is a good fit for the adopter. However, the personal issues you have with the adopter should only be an issue IF you can honestly make a case it will damage the potential for a safe, happy, forever home.

As I've said many times the best interests of the dog or any animal should be the primary factor for any placement. It is time we stop using personal feelings as an excuse that prevents viable adoptions.

I want to thank those who are out there and do the hard work. We have had amazing experiences with wonderful people during our two adoptions. That is why it breaks my heart when I do hear people moving rescue in the wrong direction. We want to encourage people to come forward to adopt from shelter/rescues. To do that, we need to help them to understand the process. Making our expectations clear and explaining why we ask the questions we do is a first step forward to making the process more open and user friendly. I fully understand the work is exhausting and it can be hard to focus on customer service when the need is so overwhelming.

Realistically, you can't campaign that people are evil if they don't adopt and then tell them to suck it up and deal with however they are treated when they go to a shelter/rescue because that is the price they pay for doing the right thing. That's just not working.

If you want more participation, you have to become more user friendly. That doesn't mean you change the standards for adoption, but you can clarify your policies in a polite way. I've been to a number of rescue/shelter sites and some are very user friendly and others have a very negative attitude. If you aren't willing to jump through our hoops, well we don't want to deal with you. Well, that might be great if you have a situation where you have lots of adopters and very few animals. Sadly, I remember talking to a woman from a rescue at an event a few years ago and she had a similar attitude. Oddly she was one also was angrily preaching that she couldn't understand why people would use breeders instead of adopting. Somehow, she didn't see a connection between her attitude and people's unwillingness to deal with her to get to the dogs she was trying to help. It doesn't take much to change a website's language from a very unwelcoming, intimidating attitude towards visitors, to having the same standards and requirements explained in a more user friendly, welcoming way. Explaining why you have certain requirements is not unreasonable and it actually may encourage more adoptions if people understand why you are asking and how that makes for a better adoption.

This is a long Blog post, but it is a topic that I feel strongly about fixing.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Veggie Update: The Fence

We reported last week that do to our vigilance there were lettuce casualties. We thought the worst was over, but we came this weekend to discover Dog Dad had forgiven, but not forgotten. He has created barriers to prevent us from entering the back gardens.

Look at that fence. That may look like a small fence, but that Dog Dad is smart. While I might squeeze through this hole without any blockage, jumping over it requires me to jump blindly into the bush. Not something I'm crazy about doing. They are clearly not designed for rabbit or squirrel prevention. Nowhere do you see anti-rabbit fencing, only Sheltie prevention. It is an outrage. Sure, we've killed more plants than all the critters together to date. You know they will do more damage in the end.

Just a note to our friends out in Blogville, our Google Dashboard reader has gone bonkers. From what we've read this is a fairly common bug that has yet to be addressed in Blogger. As of Monday, we could still click on our individual list of Blogs to get to your Blogs to read your articles, but we only get the person who updated lasted posted to our Dashboard. We are doing our best to keep up to date on what is happening in Blogville. Mom may have to look into another reader if this becomes a problem.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Happy Birthday Katy!

Happy Birthday baby girl. It is so hard to believe you turn six today. We are so amazed at the changes that have happened since you arrived as a very scared three year old. We are so proud and so pleased to have you here.

In your honor, Mom has decided to share one of her favorite poems from her childhood. In fact she thought this was intended for her when she was six.

"The End" from Now We are Six by A.A. Milne

When I was One,
I had just begun.

When I was Two,
I was nearly new.

When I was Three,
I was hardly me.

When I was Four,
I was not much more.

When I was Five,
I was just alive.

But now I am Six, I'm as clever as clever,
So I think I'll be six now for ever and ever.

You have truly grown so much since you were three. Now you are six you are indeed clever. I don't think you have to worry it will end if you decide to admit to turning seven next year.

Welcome to Monday Mischief – The pet blog hop that wraps up the weekend! This Blog Hop is brought to you by Alfie’s Blog, Snoopy’s Dog Blog, and My Brown Newfies.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Friday Flowers: Iris

Welcome back to Friday Flowers. If you have been a regular visitor, you may know about Mom's Iris obsession interest. She was very excited she had a chance to capture the darker yellow Iris before the rains came. Surprisingly they seem to have thrived after the storm, but previous waits have taught her to take the shot or wait another year.

One of the things Mom has really liked about writing the Friday Flowers spot each week is that it has inspired her to go out and capture pictures of her garden flowers. In the past flowers would come and go and Mom would never think to capture an image. Now each week she has a reminder to go find some pictures. Come winter when it’s cold and dark she'll have all her Friday Flowers images to revisit.

As you can see, we are always out supervising the shots. You never know when Mom or Dog Dad can get into trouble. These humans can create all kinds of challenges for themselves. They need us to watch out for them.

Recently Mom saw some peach and pale lavender colors. I can see that mind trying to figure out where to squeeze in more. I think she has to rehome some before she can get new ones.

While she loves the big majestic Iris blooms, Mama has a special place in her heart for these little ones. They were a gift from the garden of someone no longer alive. It is like having a part of them still with us.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Thankful Thursday: Air Conditioning

After a very hot and stormy Tuesday night, Dog Dad installed the upstairs Air Conditioner, Wednesday. He is going to install the downstairs A/C this morning before he heads off to work.

Mom and Dad always go back and forth, about how long they can hold out before putting in the window A/C's. The upside is it cuts down on the heat in the house and with two furry dogs, this is important. The down side is on cooler, windy days, you lose the opportunity to cool off the house using those windows. Some day Mom hopes to replace the window units with central air. That would allow Mom to open up when it’s nice and cool off when it’s just too hot.

We are just thrilled that Dog Dad has solved the heat problem.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

News from the Veggie Gardens

Welcome to our Tuesday Veggie Garden tour. There is lots going on in the Veggie World. Mom is amazed we are still getting fresh asparagus. Normally it is a spring perennial for us. It comes up shortly after the snow melts and starts to turn into ferns just as it warms up in May. However, here we are in June and Dog Dad is still finding new stalks sprouting. The parents are thrilled, as they love grilled asparagus.

So far, the tomatoes have been loving this wet rainy spring. We were afraid we might have plant rot, but so far there seems to have been enough dry days in between the wet ones that the plants are holding on and thriving.

Mom was sick over the weekend so she hadn't gone out to check on the veggie's progress. She was amazed at how big the zucchini plants had grown. Let me tell you guys in a month, you lose a ball in there and it will be fall before you see it again. What the zucchini takes it keeps.

Next, we have Katy's gardening tip of the week. The parents really don't mean do whatever is necessary to keep the garden's safe. We take our critter patrols seriously. However, Dog Dad made it very clear after I killed a lettuce, OK a couple of lettuce plants this weekend in pursuit of a squirrel that it wasn't OK to kill a plant while protecting it. I am not allowed to jump in the gardens even in hot pursuit of a critter. So, let that be a lesson to all of you eager gardeners doing your best to protect the produce. If you kill it while trying to protect it, they won't thank you. They won’t see the heroic effort you made in chasing off the varmint. All they will notice are the dead plants you killed while trying to defend them.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Whisker Walk 2014

The Whisker Walk was a smashing success. While it took Mom a week to get the pictures up, our enthusiasm has not been diminished. It was the hottest weather we've ever had for one of these events and Mom was concerned because we are notorious for refusing to drink unless we are home. Well it was just the first of many ways we shocked her (in a good way) during the event. Not only did we drink from our bowl that Dog Dad packed, but we even drank from the water provided on the route. That never happens.

Mom likes that they list the rules upfront. She finds it very strange that while they very clearly state that they don't want aggressive dogs there, several people insist they bring their aggressive dogs to help them become socialized. A huge pack of dogs walking in a confined area is really not the best time to be working on your dog's aggression issues. Maybe as a final exam project, but certainly not in the beginner stages.

This is where we all met up and lined up for the walk. This year they got a late start. We decided to rest up and save our energy for the walk. It was hot.

As the start time got close, we got lined up and Mom was again shocked instead of tucking in behind my tail, Katy shot off ahead and set a brutal pace for the pack.

She led for about 1 1/2 miles, and then she got distracted at the half way water stop and lost interest in leading. She got distracted by all the things there were to see and do at the water break. That was just as well as Mom and Dad were very concerned about her getting over heated. It also gave me a chance to catch up. I'm not used to Katy out pacing me like that. She usually tucks in behind my tail and checks out people from around my backside.

After the walk, the humans had lunch and we rested in a shady spot. Then we went over to the CMDART Agility tryouts. CMDART is an emergency group that works with the Red Cross setting up dog shelters when disasters occur in our area. They run this fundraiser every year as one way of raising funds for their mission. We got a great kit from them last year that helps you get your pets ready for evacuations.

We didn't get pictures because Mom and Dad both were out on the field at the same time, which doesn't happen very often. However, we both had big moments. We have never done well in the tunnel. Katy flat out has always refused and it has never been my favorite activity either. However, we both made repeated trips through the tunnels. The trainers showed Mom and Dad some new tricks to trick tempt us into performing the stunts. I even made it up and down the see saw thingy before I realized I was on it because Mom held a tempting smelly amazing treat under my nose instead of dropping it on the ground like they had tried previously. I was so intent on following the smell I didn't even realize she had me on the tippy thing.

After our amazing job at agility, we decided to try out the Tennis Ball Fetch Game. This is always one of our favorites. It is amazing how you can freeze when surrounded by so many balls to choose. Mom started tossing them and eventually we picked two. We won Kongs, a Snoopy leash and collar, and some very tasty treats. We also won a life jacket that Mom is thinking about doing a giveaway on because neither of us goes near the water.

After our wins, we went shopping and visited the various rescue/shelter booths. We had to get another picture of the Kissing Dachshund Rescue Booth for Frankie. Yes, they were here too. Those are some hard working charitable Dachshunds kissing for charity.

We had lots of fun shopping, but Mom struck out on finding Katy another fleece bed. She was hoping to replace her donut bed, with a flat fleece egg crate bed. I love the donut, but Katy likes a flat bed. She has one downstairs, but tends to sleep on the floor upstairs. Mom was hoping to find another one. Unfortunately, she found the last one at the event that was cancelled this year. That vendor hasn't been at any of the other events. Dog Dad has been experimenting with moving the bed upstairs and down, but was hoping we could just have another one to use.

We'd like to thank the Sterling Animal Shelter for hosting this event. We have so much fun at it every year and are already looking forward to seeing announcements for next year's event.

Welcome to Monday Mischief – The pet blog hop that wraps up the weekend! This Blog Hop is brought to you by Alfie’s Blog, Snoopy’s Dog Blog, and My Brown Newfies.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday Flowers: The Many Shades of Hosta

Last week we told you why we love Hosta. In fact, most of the pictures were of our favorite Hostas the big green monsters that provide us with so much cover. However, Mom likes variety and color. So, of course she didn't stop with our favorites. She continues to acquire a variety of colors of Hosta to add to the garden even though we'd be happy with the big green leafy stuff. Some of this stuff doesn't even provide much in the way of shade. Just say'n.

Bringing us back to our favorite Hosta:

Mama keeps finding more colors and patterns she likes. However, Dog Dad has reminded her there is limited space and she has not picked up any new Hostas recently. So which ones do you like?

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Rabbits are Back

We warned the Mama. Stop sighing over those fuzzy bunnies. They are varmints. Remember these are RABBITS, not the cute and charming Easter Bunny. They destroy your gardens. However, she spots them and does she scare them off? Oh, no she has to take pictures. Now they think they are movie stars. Instead, they should be on most wanted posters. These little critters will kill off Mom's lettuce crop before she can blink an eye. However, all she can do is say, "But they are so cuuuttteee." How could they possibly be evil?

Well we have no trouble taking on the problem. Shortly after the Mama caught these shots, we started barking. At first, we were ignored. However when we got to the windows we made it very clear what we would do when we got outside. The bunny decided to leave and its hypnosis over the Mama was broken. If it were a snake, we'd have no problems convincing Mama it had to go. However, show the Mama a rabbit and she gets all mushy.

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