Doesn't every dog owner have a story they only tell to their closest friends? I have a friend whose dog ate a pair of pantyhose, and then she had to pull the whole darn long mess out of his arse. I have a client whose dog goes bonkers over crayons; so much so that they put them in drawers, but he still gets to them, so now they have to lock them up. I call him "circus poo." You know what I mean, right?
I have such a story. I've touched on it before.
Now that we've known each other for a while (haven't we?), I consider you a closest friend, and I will tell this tale.
When our dog, N.A.S.H.A., was a wee little puppy, she was not a terrier mix, she was a terror mix. She was literally an ankle-biter who drew blood, and she was a yapper. I'm proud to report that she has grown into the universe's most awesome being, but...in the beginning...
We were living in a fully-furnished rented apartment while we waited for our home to be built. She didn't chew the furniture, thankfully. She was easy to potty-train. Never messed on the floor even once. Yet there was this unmistakable smell of poo in our apartment.
I accused my husband of letting too many fly. I accused my step son of being generally stinky and perhaps not properly wiping "down there." I accused the apartment complex of an improperly-routed ventilation system (like from the sewer to my apartment). This went on for weeks. Months. Our apartment STUNK. We pondered and searched and contemplated and discussed every single day. We considered moving, but it would just be "a little bit longer" on our house. It didn't make sense to move. We searched in every nook and cranny for the phantom poo.
We were doing some house cleaning one day. I was scrubbing the kitchen and Big was vacuuming. I hear from the master bedroom. "What the BLEEP? Where did that come from? Oh my BLEEP. Bleeping Bleepity BLEEEEEEEEEEP the bleep and BLEEP. No WAY! BLEEEEEEP! Kristen, get in here! BLEEEEEEP! This is so bleeped up. I can't bleeping believe this. That DOG! THAT DOOOOOOOG! This is INSANE! I FIGURED IT OUT! I BLEEPING FIGURED IT OUT!"
I dried my hands and followed the bleeping and inquired further.
"I was vacuuming and bonked the vacuum on the edge of the bed frame, then suddenly a pile of dried up poo appeared on the floor. Kristen. There is a tiny hole in the bottom of the box spring. The BLEEPING DOG chewed a hole in the fabric and has been climbing up inside the box spring to take a BLEEP. Do you know how many BLEEPING piles of BLEEP are INSIDE OUR BOX SPRING?!?" he asked.
N.A.S.H.A. was climbing inside the box spring through a tiny hole toward the foot of the bed. That's where she was depositing the majority of her deposits. She only weighed about a pound and-a-half, so her weight was adequately supported by that thin fabric.
I can't bleeping tell you what my response was. Because it's okay for me to bleeping tell you how much my bleeping husband swears, but I don't want you to think I'm bleeping like that.
The dog was not physically or emotionally harmed. Let's just say that.
So what happened in the end?
We cut the entire bottom fabric out of the box spring. She became potty trained, for real.
And we all lived happily ever after.
And you have to pinky swear you won't tell a single soul. That is some embarrassing bleep.
Let's not think of New Jersey as stuck in a faraway time as far as their animal laws go. They're just being cautious, I'm sure. All in the name of animal safety...here, here! I'll toast to that. Please enjoy this week's offerings of ridiculous animal laws.
• Automobiles are not to pass horse-drawn carriages on the street. So leave yourself some extra time to get where you're going.
• It is illegal to delay or detain a homing pigeon. I'm supposing these are still used because it takes so long to get anywhere with all of the horse-drawn carriages in the way.
• It is illegal to offer whiskey or cigarettes to animals at the local zoo. Be sure to bring some tequila and a joint if you want to make friends with Jersey critters.
• In Berkley Heights, you may not walk your cattle on the street on Sunday. Please stick to the sidewalk. With all of those slow carriages holding things up, we don't need to add cattle to the mix.
• All cats must wear three bells to warn birds of their whereabouts. A back-up to the back-up. Good plan.
Please join us next week when we take a look at New Mexico.
Want more right now? Check out the states we've looked at in weeks past:
Law information source: stupidlaws.com and dumblaws.com
Nearly every day, I ask myself "what kind of an eater am I?" I tend to like to put labels on things. I think most people do. The fact is, I can't put a label on the kind of eater I am. Sometimes I call myself an "aspiring vegan" or an "almost vegan." Is there such a thing? Isn't that a bit like being "almost pregnant?"
The fact is, I prepare and eat mostly vegan meals. My family eats them with me, but they are not vegan, nor do they wish to be. So we have meat and dairy around the house. Do I occasionally throw a bit of cheese on my veggie burger? Guilty. Do I eat an actual burger once in a blue moon? Yes. But am I helping animals and the environment anyway? Yes.
A couple of weeks ago, I accidentally discovered a Live Twitter Chat new to me, #VeganFoodChat hosted by The Food Duo, "a couple of quirky vegan kids from NYC who play with their food." I started following the hash tag and discovered the participants to be talking about the triumphs and tribulations of being vegan around those who are not. I quickly joined in, not really caring if I "belonged." I know all too well about the judgements people pass about vegans. I judged, too, before I started learning more about it. I thought these vegans may not accept me (I think that's a commonly-held stereotype about passionate people), but I decided I'd just give them all the middle finger if they were haters and I dove in head first.
This group of people welcomed me and accepted me into their fold instantly. And when I admitted that I wasn't a "real vegan" but just a "mostly vegan," or one of those labels I like to use on myself, they seemed to breathe a sign of relief. One of them said "If there is a perfect vegan out there, I have yet to meet him or her." Another said "Everyone slips up sometimes, but no one talks about it." Wow. I felt accepted and comfortable, and even a little bit groundbreaking in my admission. For the first time, I felt like the kind of vegan-ish person I am is okay and can be accepted. And I don't have to be perfect.
So, what's my point? (Shut up about yourself, now, Kristen.) I don't have to be perfect, and you don't either.
Every bit of vegan-ish behavior you can muster helps the world get closer to ending the torture of animals for human consumption (please don't turn the channel just 'cause I went a little activist on you).
Being open-minded and educating yourself on where your food comes from is the first step. Sure, there are some nutty activists out there, and they are so loud, they are hard to hear. We just want to tell them to shut up. But if you digest the information slowly on your own terms and realize that there is a lot of truth behind the accusations, you're opening yourself up to a whole new way of thinking.
So what can you actually accomplish, even if you aren't a full-fledged vegan?
Reducing the amount of meat in your diet has tremendous health benefits and environmental benefits, not to mention the fact that it helps get us closer to ending the suffering of animals, the standard for most meat-producers. Check out some of these statistics outlined by Kathy Freston.
If everyone went vegetarian for just one day, the U.S. would save:
• 100 billion gallons of water, enough to supply all the homes in New England for almost four months.
• 1.5 billion pounds of crops otherwise fed to livestock, enough to feed the state of New Mexico for more than a year.
• 70 million gallons of gas–enough to fuel all the cars of Canada and Mexico combined with plenty to spare.
• 3 million acres of land, an area more than twice the size of Delaware.
• 33 tons of antibiotics.
If everyone went vegetarian just for one day, the U.S. would prevent:
• Greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 1.2 million tons of CO2, as much as produced by all of France.
• 3 million tons of soil erosion and $70 million in resulting economic damages.
• 4.5 million tons of animal excrement.
• Almost 7 tons of ammonia emissions, a major air pollutant.
You can read Freston's entire article, The Startling Effects of Going Vegetarian for Just One Day, here.
Talk about a powerful way to help the environment! But what about animals?
Most of us fall prey to the denial of the "out of sight, out of mind" mentality. We don't see animals suffer, so it's easy to deny it. We just see our food served nicely on a plate and don't give a second thought to what an animal had to go through to make that meal possible. Or we say "yeah, yeah...I know. But I like meat. Whatever." Some of us don't even believe that the animals suffer. When I do have that occasional burger, I'm somehow able to put the images I've seen and stories I've been told out of my mind for a bit, so I get it. But most of the time, I can't get what I've learned out of my mind. I'm not going to include a bunch of gory pictures and stories, so don't get all uncomfortable. Just know that it's real, and the information is everywhere if you want to see for yourself.
If you're interested in reducing the amount of meat and/or dairy in your life on behalf of animals (or the environment, or your health, or whatever) how do you get started?
First of all, you've already started if you've made it this far in the post and are still reading. You rock!
Second, do whatever works for you. I eased into it, and though I'm almost there, I'm still easing. I'm not quite ready to completely give up the annual sushi dinner with my mother-in-law (yes–I know–there's great vegan sushi) or an occasional late-night In-and-Out indulgence with my hubby. But I'll get there.
Here are a few suggestions on getting started that worked well for me:
• Try Meatless Monday. Yes, it's an actual thing with a web site and everything! Pretty great. Meatless Monday is an awesome way to commit to eating this way just one day a week. By committing to it, I enabled myself to explore vegetarian and vegan recipes I wouldn't have otherwise considered, some of which have become family favorites. My family was actually excited about it. Participation was something I proposed to them, and they were on board. Well, the teen thing rolled his eyes a bit to play it cool, but I think he liked the idea. They felt comfortable committing to one day. They had six others! We ate this way for a long time. The kids (and even my hubby) would start asking over the weekend "what are we doing for Meatless Monday?" or "can we have X, again, for Meatless Monday?"
Once I began to learn their favorites, I started sneaking in an additional meatless meal on, say, Wednesday. We'd be halfway through the meal before someone would notice. "Hey...this has no meat! It's not Meatless Monday!" Oh, well. (Hee hee.)
This video about the who, what, how, why, and where on Meatless Monday is quite hilarious (oh, and informative):
• Watch Vegucated. I'm a huge documentary fan, and this one was recommended to me by a non-vegan friend who has similar taste in flicks. I don't want to spoil it for you, but let's just say it probably had the most influence on me of any step I took toward a vegan lifestyle. It's not told in a voice of activism. It's quite gentle and forgiving, yet hard-hitting. It pulled me out of my denial about where my meat was coming from. It showed real people going through this struggle that is both physical and emotional. Check out the trailer:
• Read The Kind Diet. The Kind Diet has become one of my favorite books. I borrowed it from the library and then purchased a copy for myself the next day. It had to be mine. Alicia Silverstone talks about the different stages of being vegan from "flirting" to becoming a "superhero." She puts things nicely, but plainly, and has a casual "this meat-eating thing just doesn't really make sense" attitude. She thinks about it from all angles. She is kind, as advertised. She educates, offers tips, and provides some out-of-this-world recipes. And–bonus!–she's pretty damn entertaining.
• Check out Vegetarian Times Magazine. I have a subscription, and I love it! I don't have to go looking for recipes. I can just open up a magazine and choose something. In addition, the magazine has some great articles about the vegetarian/vegan lifestyle. I even like the ads! They introduce me to awesome products I may not have otherwise considered.
• Make your own Pinterest board of meatless recipes, and follow others' boards for fresh ideas. My board is composed of both meat-free recipes and meat recipes that sound amazing that have adapted or would like to adapt (yes, it's okay to do that). I call it "grub: vegetarian, vegan, and adaptable recipes." Go on...check it out. I'll wait for you.
I also joined a Pinterest group board created by my friend, Sarah, called "Meatless Recipes," which is a great way to share with others and gain new recipe ideas. Plus, it's fun! If you're not already on Pinterest (echo...echo...echo), beware. It's quite addictive.
• Don't immediately try to vegan-ize your favorite dishes. You'll be totally bummed, if you do. A veggie burger does not taste like a cheeseburger, and tofu does not taste like chicken. Start out by creating something entirely new. Add to your diet; don't replace items in your diet–at first. Make yourself a veggie stir-fry over quinoa on Monday, and enjoy that fried chicken on Tuesday. Think of it as an adventure rather than a chore or obligation, and it will be a lot more fun. And once you do go for that veggie burger, realize that it's still not a replacement for a cheeseburger. Let it be it's own thing, and appreciate it for what it is. It's quite delicious. But it's not a cheeseburger replacement; It's a veggie burger.
• Make some vegan friends. And I know just where to find them. I invite you to join me each Wednesday for the #VeganFoodChat. Come with an open mind and an open heart (please, no haters). Tell 'em @WellMinded sent you.
See. There's a lot we can do. It's not black and white. Any small measure helps in so many ways. Consider the enormous impact you could have on animals by giving this whole meatless thing a try, to any degree. I'll close with one of my favorite quotes:
Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he begun his work.
One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down at the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.
As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects and throwing them into the ocean.
He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"
The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."
"I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man.
To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up, and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."
Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"
At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, "It made a difference for that one."
Boy, do I feel duped. I feel like I'm pretty knowledgeable when it comes to animal testing and products that are tested on animals. I read labels, and I try to avoid any cosmetic or household product that may employ animal testing. I was browsing my April/May 2014 issue of Vegetarian Times, and came across an article called "Mindful Beauty" by Elizabeth Barker. It was well-written. Barker talked about which ingredients to steer clear of because they might be harmful to your health, the planet, or animals. It was the sidebar about the "leaping bunny," though, that really caught my attention:
How can you be certain no animal was harmed in the process of testing whether that new serum or shampoo might have irritating effects? 'Some companies state they don't test on animals, when in fact they merely contract other companies to do the testing,' explains Leaping Bunny Program (leapingbunny.org) spokesperson Kim Paschen. By signing on to the leaping Bunny standard, she says, companies ban animal testing through all stages of the manufacturing process, and source ingredients solely from suppliers that also have eliminated animal testing. Much like farmers may practice pesticide-free agriculture without the organic designation, beauty product manufacturers may forgo animal testing without Leaping Bunny certification. But a listing in the program's Compassionate Shopping Guide assures an animal test-free product.
Okay. So, basically, a package can say "we don't test on animals" and be speaking the truth when, in fact, they've hired "Acme Animal Testing, Inc." to test the product. That's a bit like my kid telling me "I didn't break the window. My baseball did."
Or, a company can say "this product was not tested on animals" and be speaking the truth because the product in it's final form was not tested on animals but each ingredient was.
It's all about tricky semantics, and it stinks.
So look for the leaping bunny on your products. It's a quick way to know what you're purchasing is cruelty-free. But just because a product doesn't display the logo, doesn't mean it tests on animals. Use of the logo is pricey, so some companies choose not to use it. They still appear on the Leaping Bunny Compassionate Shopping Guide. But that's not the end of the story.
I love Melaleuca products–cosmetics and household cleaners, and was concerned a few years ago when I didn't see them on the Compassionate Shopping Guide, but, instead on the "do test" list. I couldn't believe that such a compassionate wellness company would test on animals! I was horrified. So I called the company and received a letter from CEO Frank Vandersloot.
It turns out that the reason they were on the "do test" list was because they shampooed some dogs with their dog shampoo before taking it to market. Since the dog shampoo contained no toxic ingredients, they were certain that the dogs would not be harmed. They were merely "testing" to be sure the shampoo did a good job. Sounds reasonable to me. Faith restored. In order to appear in the Compassionate Shopping Guide, a company may not conduct animal testing of any sort, and this, indeed, is an animal test. It's great that the list is so strict. We know with 100% confidence that companies who appear on the list absolutely do not test on animals in any way. We just might want to take that with a grain of salt.
If you suspect that your favorite product might be tested on animals, contact the company and ask. Listen closely, and don't be fooled by claims of "we don't test." Dig a little deeper. "Do you contract other companies to provide animal testing on any of your ingredients or your final product?" is a good question to ask.
I regularly care for a pretty cool pooch named Rocky. He's fabulous. An oldster in so many ways (he's seventeen), but then he gets this fun spunk every so often in the form of a burst of youthful exuberance. He's sweet on the inside, but a grumpy old man on the outside.
One of Rocky's favorite pastimes is a good, solid nap. I captured one of his famous siestas the last time he stayed with us. It's pretty good for a laugh, so I thought I'd share.
He's pretty lovable, isn't he?
Although New Hampshire didn't offer us much in the way of ridiculous animal laws, I'm pretty enamored with the regulations they do have. Enjoy...
• No bounty shall be paid on the head of a wolf unless it has its ears when delivered to the selectmen (Repealed). Feel free to sell the ears off to another party before turning in your wolf head, people. New Hampshire has seen the error of their ways. It's okay.
• In White Mountain National, if a person is caught raking the beaches, picking up litter, hauling away trash, building a bench for the park, or performing other park maintenance, he/she may be fined $150 for "maintaining the national forest without a permit." Oh, we should have such problems. This didn't seem like an animal law to me at first, but then I'm thinking about all the animals that could benefit from a little good-hearted forest maintenance. Now we're fining our good samaritans? I wonder if a whole Girl Scout troop trying to earn a badge would be fined as a group, or individually. Sheesh.
• Any cattle that crosses state roads must be fitted with a device to gather its feces. New Hampshire don't take shit from nobody.
Want more? Check out the states we've looked at in weeks past:
Law information source: stupidlaws.com and dumblaws.com
Us crazy animal lovers always have to take things to the next level, don't we? Isn't good old fashioned petting enough for my furry friend? Petting your animal is wonderful for both you and your pet, but massage offers a set of health benefits that can't be achieved with a pat on the head.
1. Increased Circulation. Increased circulation can help your pet heal and can boost immunity.
2. Relief From Arthritis Pain. The pain older pets experience from arthritis can be reduced with regular massage.
3. Relief For Sore Muscles. After a hard day of play or a long run or hike, your pet's muscles may be tired just like yours. Massage can help relieve sore muscles.
4. Increased Range of Motion. Especially as our pets age, their range of motion can decrease, resulting in decreased activity. Massage can help maintain and increase a pet's range of motion so that he can stay active.
5. Recovery From an Injury. Massage can help a variety of injuries heal faster. When dealing with an injury, it is best to consult a trained pet massage therapist.
6. Relaxation. You know how you feel after a day at the spa? Massage helps pets feel a similar sense of relaxation.
7. Bonding. The time you spend massaging your pet brings the two of you closer together. Massage can also help you bond with a newly adopted friend.
8. Stress Relief. Animals can be stressed for a variety of reasons. Massage can help calm your pet and relieve that anxiety.
9. Comfort. After your pet understands what you are doing, massage can provide a sense of comfort and security throughout your pet's life and can be a help during end-of-life care.
10. Wellness check. When you touch your pet on a regular basis, you come to know her "nooks and crannies." If an unusual lump or other abnormality arises, it can be caught much more quickly with the regular, thorough touching that massage requires.
Are there any risks to massaging my pet? If your pet has an injury and you massage too deeply or in the wrong way, you risk aggravating the injury or making it worse. Only if you are trained to massage areas of injury should you do so. Also, realize that human hands are powerful. Start by massaging your pet lightly–especially if your pet is small–to reduce the risk of injury. Otherwise, there is little risk to pet massage.
That being said, pet owners should not substitute pet massage for proper veterinary care.
What types of pets can I massage? Massage is most commonly used on dogs and horses, but cats can benefit, too, if they'll tolerate it. Sometimes they're just too cool to settle in to the spa-like atmosphere.
Do I have to be trained in pet massage in order to implement it into my pet's routine? The more you know, the better. There are pet massage courses offered almost everywhere, so if you want to maximize the benefits for your pet, training is a great option. You can also hire a trained pet masseur, if that service is within your budget. But even if you are untrained, a gentle muscle massage can benefit your pet.
In many cases, what works for humans works for pets, too. Massage is one of those cases. When taking a holistic approach to health, massage can play a big role, offering benefits for both you and your pet. To quote Pamela Webster, author of the blog Something Wagging This Way Comes, "good for the dog; good for you."
Resources for more information and techniques:
Although summer is approaching and we may be thinking about how we are going to get swimsuit-ready in a hurry, it's not about appearances for overweight cats and overweight dogs. It can be a matter of life and death. So as we're contemplating how to minimize our winter layers, let's discuss cat weight loss and dog weight loss, as well.
Even just a couple of extra pounds on a cat or small dog can cause serious health concerns. And if the pet packs on even more than that, the problems compound tremendously. It can be difficult to deprive our pets of the food and treats. For some, meal time and treat time are the highlights of their day. I can remember how my father used to call our dogs after the human dinner: "leeeeeeeft-OVERS!" He'd actually make them a plate of whatever food we hadn't consumed. I cringe when I think about it, now. I'm certain that the joy he felt when he saw those wagging tails was even greater than that of the furry diners. He was making them happy, which made him happy. He didn't think about the cost to their health.
I know. We love them no matter what. Absolutely! But shouldn't we love them into health?
I wish Hills® Prescription Diet® Metabolic Advanced Weight Solution had been around then. I'm not certain it would have curbed my father's habits, but I'm sure it would have helped manage our pets' weight. Though our pets were quite active and only slightly pudgy, some animals get caught in a cycle of inactivity and overeating that becomes more serious. Their lifestyle suffers as they continue to eat the amount and types of food and treats they are accustomed to, gain weight, have difficulty moving, and then become increasingly sedentary. They just don't feel good, and it's no fun to run and play when you're feeling weighed down. This can affect the interactions we have with our pets, and it can effect their longevity. Our pets deserve an active life filled with love and fun. No one wants to lose a friend at all, much less prematurely.
I was touched to tears when I heard about Bear, a dog who got stuck in this cycle. When things really seemed hopeless and his family was running out of options, their vet recommended Hills® Prescription Diet® Metabolic Advanced Weight Solution. And (SPOILER ALERT) it saved his life. Check out Bear's Story:
One of the main reasons this diet was so successful for Bear is that he wasn't deprived. He got to eat a healthy portion of food and even received treats. So how does it work? Hill's® explains "while eating Metabolic Advanced Weight Solution, an overweight animal's metabolism changes to act more like that of a lean animal." And that efficient energy metabolism profile is maintained even after the "excess" weight is lost. Hill's® adds that this program "provides clinically proven nutrition that naturally activates metabolism to burn calories and regulate appetite." Truly amazing. I'm so happy for Bear and his family.
And he's not the only one! Check out Gracie!
If she's not bikini-ready, I don't know who is!
Like any successful diet, it's not about deprivation. It's about health. And we all could use a treat now and then.
A diet with treats? Sign me up! Oh, whoops...it's not for me...sign your pet up!
Hills® Prescription Diet® Metabolic Advanced Weight Solution has been formulated for both cats and dogs. Please check out the following links for additional information.
This post is sponsored by Hill's. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Hill's® Prescription Diet® Metabolic Food, but well minded only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Hill's Pet Nutrition, Inc., is not responsible for the content of this article.
Happy Saturday, and welcome to another another edition of Well Minded's "Silly State Law Saturday." I've been a bit disappointed with the lack of material over the past few weeks, and Nevada is no exception. They do have a couple of choice regulations, but here's to hoping our dry spell is soon over. This is what I have for you...
• It is illegal to drive a camel on the highway. But what if I'm in front of The Sahara?
• It is legal to hang someone for shooting your dog on your property. And the problem is...?
• A multitude of exotic animals may not be imported, transported, or possessed, including viable embryos or gametes, but a permit may be issued if the species is being used for entertainment purposes. AKA, the Siegfried and Roy loophole.
Want more? Check out the states we've looked at in weeks past:
Law information source: stupidlaws.com and dumblaws.com
My kids say the darndest things.
Yes. I'm one of those moms that thinks everyone will definitely without a doubt certainly be interested in what Porter (7) and Campbell (5) have to say about any topic. I don't often tell the tales here on the blog (I tell them elsewhere), but last night, as I was reading my children a bedtime story, my phone was "all atwitter" (I had the phone on vibrate, and I wasn't looking at it...don't judge). There was a pause in the action, and then we heard another "buzz."
Me: Sheesh! Sorry, guys. I need to get this phone out of here.
Cam: He he hee he he heeee heeeee HEH Heh Heeee. It wasn't your phone, mommy. It was a TOOT!
Po: hashtag "booty"
Cam: hashtag "itwasthedog"
Po: hashtag "yeahright"
Cam: hashtag "stinky"
Po: hashtag "seriously"
Me: hashtag "gotobed"
I think boxing and cage fighting are ridiculous "sports." People have tried to explain to me the strategy involved and how physically fit these people have to be. I can appreciate their fitness, but, beyond that, I'm stumped. Why would people intentionally beat the shit out of each other for "sport?"
At least in boxing and cage fighting, the participants are willing and able to make the choice to fight or not to fight.
This is not true of dog fighting. Participants are raised as products in miserable conditions and are made to fight whether they like it or not. Kill or be killed. They don't have a choice.
The ASPCA has officially designated April 8th as National Dog Fighting Awareness Day to raise awareness about dog fighting brutality. They are hosting a Google+ Hangout with national experts to discuss the underground world of dog fighting. It will be a fantastic opportunity to learn about the blood sport that is far more prevalent in America than most realize. During the Google+ Hangout, there will be live social media Q&As across Facebook, Twitter and Google+ in which users will be able to submit questions about dog fighting with the hashtag #NDFAD, and a panel of ASPCA experts–moderated by ABC News anchor Dan Harris–will be answering them–live.
In addition, ASPCA.org will feature a wealth of interactive information and an advocacy center on ASPCA.org that includes:
• The premiere of a never-before seen short documentary, including undercover footage of dog fights, ASPCA rescue activity at dog fighting raids, and expert insight
• An interactive quiz that debunks common misconceptions about dog fighting and the dogs and people involved in this "sport"
• A "virtual museum" photo gallery of dog fighting and training paraphernalia, including dog treadmills, fighting pits, and narcotics used to increase aggression before a fight
• Profiles of dog fighting victims rescued by the ASPCA
The ASPCA states that "the goal of National Dog Fighting Awareness Day is to elevate the perception of dog fighting from an isolated criminal act to a deep and persistent stain on our national character."
Please join me at the Google+ Hangout on the 8th from 7-8 p.m. EST.
The ASPCA has generously offered Well Minded readers the opportunity to win a National Dog Fighting Awareness Day gift pack. Please enter, spread the word and support this important cause!
It's been a long time coming, and it's been a lot of work.
Lost Our Home Pet Foundation has a new home with lots more space to help more animals in need, and they are inviting us to share in the celebration. On April 5, the Foundation will host a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony at their new facility. With over 8,000 square feet, this space is surely something to celebrate. This family-friendly event will be full of fun:
• free giveaways by event sponsor Valley Honda Dealerships
• ribbon cutting to officially "open" the new shelter (1:30 p.m.)
• tasty treats from The Roasted Shallot food truck
• facility tours
• KNIX will play the hits and offer on-site promos
• face painting
• cat tree trunk show for great deals on cat trees
• discounted pet supplies on sale to benefit Lost Our Home
• $50 off dog adoption fees and FREE decorative dog houses with each dog adoption (while supplies last)
• $20 off cat adoption fees and FREE full size bag of food and coupons from PetSmart.
Come join Lost Our Home in the celebration! Here are the details:
Saturday, April 5, 2014 • noon to 4:00 p.m. • 2323 S. Hardy Drive, Tempe, AZ 85282
We're over halfway through our silly state law states, now, and I've yet to encounter a state with no silly animal laws. But Nebraska only has one. Well, I could only find one. After scouring all of my resources, this is it, folks:
It is illegal to go whale fishing. That's right. No whale fishing in Nebraska.
My geography might be off, but last time I checked, Nebraska may be the very most landlocked state in the country. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
I apologize for the lack of content this week, but I'm at the mercy of the law.
Want more? Check out the states we've looked at in weeks past:
Law information source: stupidlaws.com and dumblaws.com
I have a confession to make.
It's not something I advertise or want my clients to know. In fact, I go to great length to hide this fact from new clients, especially:
I am a professional pet sitter and pet blogger who is allergic to animals.
Yes, you heard me correctly.
This fact that I have not revealed publicly came to mind recently because I had a consult with a lovely, yet exuberant, English Bulldog who I was pretty darn allergic to. She basically wanted to make out, and, of course, I wanted to, too! I did pet her lots, which I intend to do during each and every visit, but I had to do my best to hide my "disease" to her human parents. During our discussion of the ins-and-outs of this pooch's routine, I fought back the sneezes. As soon as I sneeze once, it's all over. Best to keep it under wraps, if possible. I let my eyes water a bit, instead. I feel like if my allergy is apparent during a consult (when it is likely at its worst), my new clients might feel I'm less than capable or feel insulted that I think their animal is "dirty," neither of which is the case.
When I left the consult, the insides of my arms were welted up from the cuddles and my cheek was red from kisses. Sigh.
Does this stop me? No way! I am madly in love with this dog already. She'll get kisses and pets from me no matter what. It's part of the job. And, besides, I love it.
The good news? The more I pet and kiss her, the better things will be. My method of treating this allergy is to build up a natural tolerance. I do not take medication. I am lucky because my allergy to animals does not affect my breathing. Those who have trouble breathing around animals should not use this method.
My allergy is primarily a contact allergy, accompanied by sneezing. That means that my skin welts up and itches in areas where I've had contact with the animal's fur or saliva. You can tell when I've been "making out" with an animal because I come home with a fat lip and itchy arms. The worst is when I accidentally rub my eyes after petting an animal. Itchy, puffy eyes result, and the symptoms take hours to subside.
Instead of popping pills or taking injections, I treat my allergy by increasing my contact with these animals and building up a tolerance. I know...sounds crazy. It's a bit uncomfortable at first, but, in the long run, it's effective! I am not at all allergic to my own pets or those I see on a regular basis. I have lots of contact with them, and my immune system has built up a tolerance.
I am most allergic to dogs, cats, small caged animals, horses, and goats. I am also highly allergic to hay, so any animal who eats hay is a double-whammy (horses, guinea pigs, etc.). Brand-new clients definitely have a break-in period for me. I just love on them as much as possible, and after a few visits, things get better. My body fights off the allergen. I also notice that certain dog breeds cause a more severe allergic reaction in me than others. Contrary to popular belief, it's not about fur length. It's about dander and saliva. Frequent grooming helps, but only a little.
The toughest breeds for me are labs and retrievers because their skin typically carries a lot of dander, even when groomed well. Bulldogs and pugs, and other flat-faced breeds are also tough because they typically rub and project saliva on to those around them. Do I love these breeds any less? ABSOLUTELY NOT! In fact, they are some of my favorites!
Thankfully, I am not allergic to fish, reptiles, or birds.
So, yes, I'm a pet sitter and pet blogger who is allergic to pets, and I treat my symptoms naturally, if unconventionally. Please don't hold it against me.
I'll never forget how much my father wanted to see Dances with Wolves when it first came out. Although the movie received rave reviews, I had no interest. I got nervous at the mention of going. The poor guy went alone. When he came home, he said "Kristen, don't ever see that movie."
I knew exactly why. I could watch the goriest or horror flicks and the most suspenseful nail biters, but, as my dad so rightly put it, I'm "not good with movies where animals get into scrapes." I have followed my dad's advice, and I still haven't seen Dances With Wolves.
In my teens, I became a vegetarian after seeing City Slickers. And not just for a day. For three years! Oh, Norman!
Why is it that some of us can watch human actors die slow, sad deaths or be slaughtered by some dude with an ax with no problem, yet when we see an animal die in a movie, it creates–at minimum–a week of depression?
I have a theory.
There are some amazing human actors out there. They make us cry and laugh and feel things deeply. But we can almost always see the acting. And we know who they are. We know that if Leonardo DiCaprio bites the dust in this movie, he'll win an oscar for next year's flick. In contrast, animals don't usually become ultra-famous. They just are who they are. And you can't see the acting. I'm fully aware that "no animals were harmed in the making of this film," but those animals in those scrapes are so much more believable. And, chances are, we won't see them in next year's big blockbuster. When they fade on screen, that's it. We really do, in a sense, lose them.
So here are ten movies I've never seen. Most are classics and I'm sure should be seen. But, no thank you.
Old Yeller (1957)
The Incredible Journey (1963)
Where the Red Fern Grows (1974)
All Dogs Go to Heaven (1989)
Turner & Hooch (1989)
Dances With Wolves (1990)
Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993)
My Dog Skip (2000)
Marley & Me (2008)
Hachi: A Dog's Tale (2009)
Do you have a theory about why these movies are so hard to watch? Which of these movies have you seen? Which others would you add to the list?
All movie poster images sourced from IMDb.
I figured that the littles and I would enjoy any play where one of the main characters is a dog (played by a human), but I didn't realize how touching and thought-provoking a seemingly simple tale could be. We knew going in that Childsplay's Super Cowgirl and Mighty Miracle would likely be fantastic. When we saw The Velveteen Rabbit a few months ago, we were blown away. What surprised me about this production was how playwright José Cruz González took serious current social issues and made them approachable for young audiences and how Childsplay's actors communicated the story in such a way that these beginning theater-goers could "feel."
Childsplay summarized the play:
When a stray dog appears on the doorstep, it's love at first sight for six-year-old Cory, and the last straw for Grandma Autumn. Life hasn't been easy lately for either of these two, facing absent parents and lost homes. But in a delightfully surprising story filled with humor and heart, Super Cowgirl and Mighty Miracle reminds us love makes almost anything possible, even in hard times.
The subject matter couldn't be more timely.
We had the honor of listening to González speak about the play before it began. He explained how he wanted to tackle current issues that are facing so many in our country. He wanted to illustrate an unconventional family both in terms of multiple generations and in terms of race and culture.
My children (ages five and seven) were quite entertained throughout the performance. There were no untimely bathroom requests or declarations of starvation. They were riveted. They laughed a lot, and felt the tension that some parts of the story required. I enjoyed watching their faces as much as I enjoyed watching the performance. With such complex, sensitive issues being raised I wondered how much my children absorbed. I asked them what the play was about (possible spoilers):
Quotes from my seven-year-old:
• "The girl had to live with her grandma because her mom was dead and her papa had to go to another country to work. They didn't have a lot of money, so that must have been hard."
• "I thought it was cool how they went to all the different places and just switched a couple of things on the stage so you could tell where they were."
• "The girl helped the dog, and the dog helped the girl and her grandma, too, so they became a real family. They all loved each other."
Quotes from my five-year-old:
• "Love...and family."
• "The play was about the dog saving the girl's life just like she saved his life."
• "The girl and the grandma didn't get along so well at the beginning, but then they loved each other."
• "My favorite part was when the grandma stepped in the dog poop!"
I must say, the poop part was pretty funny. There were several points during the show that had the whole audience roaring. Despite–and perhaps partly because of–the hilarious antics, the kids were able to understand that the story was about love and family.
Aside from the fabulous performance that Childsplay put on, I love the fact that they make theater approachable for kids. After the performance, the actors took their traditional bows, but then remained on the stage. They first asked the children in the audience specific questions about the play that made them think how they, as individuals, could relate to the story. Some of the questions required detailed comprehension of the story, and some didn't, so there were questions for all ages. Everyone had the opportunity to participate. The children then had the chance to ask questions of the actors. The actors were approachable and said "ask us anything!"
My favorite question came from a young man: "How old are you?"
It was clear that Osiris Cuen, who played "Cory," a six-year-old girl, was no where near that age. Yet during the performance, she made us believe she was. "I'm twenty-two," Cuen told the young man. Carlos A. Lara, who played the dog, reported his age as "twenty-four." Perhaps we can figure that out in dog years. And Chanel Bragg, who played "Grandma Autumn" was a mere thirty-one! Now I really feel old. It was wonderful to see the children in the audience asking questions that adults would typically take for granted. Not only are the children learning at an early age how to think thoroughly about a production, but adults get to view a live production through the eyes of inquisitive children. How rewarding for all!
Disclaimer: I am a Childsplay Mom2Mom Blogger. My family and I were provided tickets to this performance in exchange for my honest opinion. This review was also posted on Childsplay's Mom2Mom Blog.