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Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Note To All Northern Ohio Rescues

I think ALL the shelters in Northeast Ohio, all the dog clubs (training and showing, purebred and performance), trainers, educators and all the rescues, every stinkin' one of you, need to get together and figure out ways to help animals.

Here's what needs to happen:
We all need to educate people esp., kids in the schools, about proper pet ownership, responsibility, compassion, bite prevention and breed education. We need to educate them as to where to get a dog or cat when the time is right.  A shelter, a legitimate rescue, a responsible breeder.  We need to educate people to think with their heads, to research it all out.  We need to shock the hell out of 4th graders through middle school age kids, which is when their compassion level seems to sink and their need to fit into a group and be "cool" rises. That's where dog fighters find their recruits and it goes all across all demographics.

 We need to find ways, funds, donations to provide more low cost or no cost spay/neuters and med clinics etc.This is what (IMO) is what is needed.  Look to organizations like C.H.A.I.N.E.D. in Detroit and "Break The Chain" in New York who help individuals with proper fencing, housing, educating and low cost or no cost "speutering."  Northeast Ohio, as of this writing, has no organization doing their kind of work.  Everyone seems to sit in their nice, middle-class homes and bitch about all those ghetto or redneck types with their dogs on 20 pound 6 foot long chains. They post pictures and post their outrage on Facebook. It IS outrageous and disheartening!  People on social media are honestly sick to death of seeing it.  They are sick of seeing dead dogs. Come up with a solution that's not a knee-jerk one.  "Get rid of all the breeders!" Yeah, that one won't work.

Put on your brave face, your big girl/boy pants and see how you can help, person to person.  Half of you won't even go into inner city schools and do educational programs and answer questions.  Any kind of crazy question and I've gotten a lot of them.

There is a desperate need for fosters.  So why are people turned down all the time?  Good people.  Why aren't there local seminars sponsored by many rescue groups with a vet and a good trainer about how to foster successfully! Especially helping potential fosters figure out the logistics of adding another dog into their own home. Crates?  Temporary fencing?  Introduction training?  Why isn't that in place and offered often?

And since we're on a bit of a rant....I'm really sick and tired of all the damn pit bull rescues fighting and spatting with each other like a bunch of wet cats in a barrel.  As if the poor "breed" (if you can call it that since it's a mix of bully types) doesn't have about a thousand strikes against it, you all are beating your swords against your shields  "Our way or NO Way!". Get off the damn bitch-mobile and start working together.  Get the best of your best out into the public eye and show a uniform front.

There are WAY too many women involved in rescue in NE Ohio ---- there is too much bitchy estrogen running around. We need to find a way to get more men involved.  Grill some steaks and hire a stripper...I don't care. Whatever it takes.  Hit up athletes, business types, men, men, men...we need men!  We need more male spokesmen. Men love animals too and their way of helping may surprise you! Having a guy tell another guy why he needs to be man and get Buster's nuts removed seems to work better!

I'm sick to death of rescue people bashing folks in purebred dogs, flinging all that "You're BAD, evil, You are the sole contributing factor to the over-population problem!!" with their one litter a year.  First of all most the hash-flingers don't even know anyone seriously involved with purebred dogs. I've asked. Many rescue folks have never taken their dog to any kind of class, hired a trainer or tried to compete in any venue with your mixed breed!  The snobbery of He's Just My Pet.  Not that this isn't the most noble gift dogs give us but they are capable of much more.

You WANT people in purebred dogs on your "side."  Are you crazy not to get to know them?  Even court them a bit?  No, they will not support your total breeding moratorium and for wiser reasons than the average rescuer could possibly comprehend and it has NOTHING to do with The Almighty Dollar. Here's a new flash, kids.  The serious "hobby" breeder is not what is causing your pet over-population problem. He or she is the least offensive and will be the first to be punished by your breeding moratorium.  They plan a breeding better than you probably planned who were you going to marry and have kids with!

They have connections most rescues only dream about it.  Don't think for one nano-second they don't know about the pet over-population problem and aren't distressed and sickened by it.  Throughout the country, most of the time, someone who shows purebred dogs is one the first on site of any given puppy mill or hoarder bust.  No one, and I mean, NO ONE is more incensed about Puppy Mills or Hoarding than the folks in Purebred Dogs. I've noticed in the rescue community a ton of sun-burnt nostrils on self-righteous up-turned noses when the subject of someone who "shows dogs" comes up. Since so many of you know very little about that world of showing, obedience, agility, or other dog sports or haven't been immersed in it as a trainer, handler, assistant, judge, groomer you are bashing a group of animal lovers en masse without a great deal of personal knowledge.

One must only look at the Puppy Mill Case of over a hundred Rottweilers in Texas to understand what Rottie fans, owners, breeders did to pitch in and really help these dogs in need. Click here for an article about it.

Seriously, if the bottom line is that dream of a no-kill shelter or the banishment of Puppy Mills do not count out people in the Fancy of Showing Dogs.  Your little rescue is not on national TV being watched by millions of people worldwide but Westminister Kennel Club is!  You honestly think that the WKC winner couldn't use his time on "Good Morning America" to tell folks to spay and neuter  to get a dog from a shelter, or a breed rescue.

People who show dogs are not the enemy!  They would never condone a puppy mill or a hoarder. So get off your high horse and stop slamming them.  They love dogs too!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Nitro's Law, Yet Again

Nitro's Law did not pass yet again and people are really upset about it.
Look, I hate animals abuse as much as the next person.  Probably more than most.
The IDEAL of Nitro's law is a GREAT one but....
Until Nitro's Law is re-written to exclude "farm animals" ---the dreaded "Livestock" word -----or re-worded, it won't pass....hate to say it.  That's the skinny I've heard from reps. It's too broadly drawn.
The Reps, Senators etc. do not give two poops about getting bombarded by sad, horrible dog abuse pictures.  Their aides take the emails, not the reps.
The Pity Vote won't cut it.
Emails, as I discovered, don't count most of the time. Letters that show balanced, well-thought out, logical, almost legal opinions do count.  You need to get some people in Argi-business in the "Nitro's Law Corner" or very little will happen with a worthy idea.  Ohio is a large argi-business state, don't kid yourself.
Or you need articulate, well-spoken people in suits testifying at Senate or House hearings.
Many people think Nitro's Law is badly written, hate to say it.  That word "Livestock."
A similar law, spear-headed (BTW) by PETA and DDAL was passed in California and it pretty much killed CA animal-agriculture and sent CA spinning into recession.  Other states are loath to pass a Nitro's-type Law after seeing what happened in CA.
I think working hard to make animal abuse a felony might happen sooner than Nitro's Law, hate to say it.

Monday, December 10, 2012

I HATE My Hair Right Now

I realize that I so many, many things to be grateful, my heart is full. 

I have healthy animals, a wonderful, tolerant, loving husband, a roof over my head and food in my fridge. I can walk, talk, hear, sing, talk, smell, and SEE! 

But, bloody hell, I do not need my friggin' hair to only look good if a professional is styling it. I had to wet my head 3 times and start completely from scratch 3 times today to even get it to look sort of OK. 

First was the "straw head blown out with a round brush" look. Well that just Sucked. That's not the way when the gal at the hairdressers did it. Sh*t! (Well, duh, of curse not...)

Then the "let it air dry, oh f-word I look like a G.D., f-word Cocker Spaniel" look. Not good. Pinned it up on the sides. Nope, that look like crap too.

Now it's the "curling iron I'm glad I'm old enough to know how to tease hair helmet-head Lulu 60s do." It'll be OK for tonight but I'm getting this mess CUT OFF! 

A la Jamie Lee Curtis cut off. It'll grow back. I need COLOR on my ugly a** gray hair.

I do NOT have 2 hours+ to do my damn hair. It'll grow back. I've been spoiled, I normally have good hair!
Note to self: your grey hair + a perm + color doesn't work. It was my ideal, no one to blame but me. I now sympathize with all those gals out there with kinky, dry, frizzy, falling out hair. I feel your pain, sisters!
I'm so frustrated I'm practically in tears!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

All Those Christmas Songs (I Don't Want To Sing!)

I love my piano player.  BUT he drives me nuts sometimes.... 
I'm glad and grateful he's getting better (he was very, very ill) but I wish he wouldn't throw 3 new songs at me 2 days before a gig.....HE doesn't need to know the words!  
Luckily I knew two of them fairly well.  I was pretty familiar with them.  CHRISTMAS ISLAND is a cute song!  And I've always wanted to do "the Chipmunk song", CHRISTMAS DON'T BE LATE....which is actually a really adorable song even without sounding like Alvin!!  And he always wants to do THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR, which if I don't have the words in my hand, I invariably screw up.
The fifth?  There is a reason why there is only one KNOWN recording of ROUND AND ROUND THE CHRISTMAS TREE. It's not THAT great of a song.  
I am never sure why he thinks folks are REALLY going to want to hear that's so obscure unless you are a huge Bing Crosby fan.
It's not as stupid as PUMPKY PUMPKIN though! That and ACHY BREAKY HEART really stand out as Professional Singing Low Points in my 3 decade career! Well, FEELINGS was pretty sh*tty too.  
I just wish he'd let me do Christmas Songs I really love.  I get one chorus of WHITE XMAS in a medley.  Instead of weird 50s obscure crap, why can't I do ALL THOSE CHRISTMAS CLICHES, super song!  
Oh, well....he's the boss. I'm incredibly grateful for the work and for his health!!!!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Two Left, Three Returned.

Thank God/dess For Feliaway Spray!

You've heard of Boomerang Kids?  You fling them out and they keep coming back. And Back. They're like velcro, you can't get rid of them?  It's usually some stupid sh*t, like they can't keep a job and they hate their room-mates.  I know, sometimes it's legit.  20-somethings seem to have a nagging propenisty for boomeranging!

We now have a case (yet again) of Boomerang Cats.  The Tuesday before Thanksgiving, Dink and Envy FINALLY left to be with their mother-owner, as they should.  They'd been here for five years, leaving briefly in July 2009, or was it 2010....time is blurred.

Now D&E are basically pretty nice cats.  Dink is the little one and she is the best cat with little kids I've ever encountered, barring the kittens I raised.

Envy is her much larger, (by about 10-12 pounds) easy-going, full litter brother. He and my Rufus got along as well as 2 cats can.

Rufus and Dink? Well, let's just say it was a stand-off. He'd stand and she'd back off.

Through an almost surreal series of "I Can't Make This Sh*t Up If I Tried" they are back.  Hopefully, temporarily.

Plus One.

That would be Lilith the B*tch.

I came home from rehearsal Thursday night to utter chaos in the basement.  The S.U. is frantically (for him, of course, so that's a casual-frantic, if you can picture such a thing)  spraying Feliaway
everywhere.  Envy has his dopey, "Duh, WTH?" look and it trying to find someplace to hide.  Dink is pacing like a new father in the waiting room. The Step Kid (SK) is somewhere, loudly yapping on her phone.  There's a quiet stranger (female) somewhere on the first floor of my house.  Lilith is yowling on the landing of the basement steps as only a Siamese can yowl and when she isn't waking the dead, she's hissing, spitting and swatting at anything that moves. And Rufus is at the midway up the basement stairs, staring at Lilith from his meatloaf position doing his best Robert DeNiro impression, "You talkin' to me?"

OK.  And there is only ONE cat crate.  The SK stuffed 3 cats into one crate.  Wow.  No wonder there's just a LITTLE bit of stress vibe going on here.

Yesterday, after I recovered from the total shock of finding the crawl space door open, which almost gave me a coronary, I spent a good portion of the day, rearranging the basement and fixing Comfy Places For Cats To Sleep here and there. I also had to come up with a quick Bungie Cord Fix for the recalcitrant crawl space door. I did laundry, which didn't send Lilith into the rafters.  She had chosen the SU's desk chair as a place worthy of Her Highness' arse. I put a dog mat on it. She deemed this also worthy.

Last night she deemed that the SU's lap was worthy of her....but he'd better not pet her.

To answer those FB questions:

Lilith is one my my SK's cats, Lilith, who yes, was not among the others you've met, Wonderful Trainer Person! We are plying her with treats, all of which she snubs... But still, we give her lots of vocal praise and positive reinforcement for neutral behavior and we've told her that, in this house, we don't hiss at other cats.  

Yes, we actually look at her and say, "We don't do that here.  You're a guest here and that's not how we behave!"  Don't ask me why but for some odd reason this seems oddly calming to both B*tchy Cat and Humans.

NO, Dearest Friend she and her siblings better not be staying.  They are supposed to leave by next weekend.  I will, of course, believe this when I see it.  If anything about the last 5 years has taught me is I now have an unhealthy dose of skepticism. Call it The Boy Who Cried Wolf syndrome. My innocence is pretty well shot.

More importantly, I will believe their departure has stuck when they do not (yet again) appear on my door step in some circumstance of High Drama & Angst.

For now, Rufus is upstairs and they are downstairs in the basement.  

Lilith is Not Nice To Other Kitties.  She has Dink and Envy cowed (which is amazing because Envy outweighs her by about 12 pounds!  Ah, but Rufus....he's another story.  She hisses, spits, swats, growls and Rufus’ reaction is, "Yeah.  Sure. Whatever. WTF, I'm not moving."  I figured, for his stress levels, to let him have the run of the upstairs so he can sleep with us etc.

Lilth is also one of those uber-annoying cats that does the rubbing-marking-flirting-against-your-leg thing, jumps on your lap, talking the whole time and curls up on you as cute as a bug in a rug.  BUT if you even put your hand near to her, she does the hiss-swat-bite-snap maneuver.  

I HATE cats like that.  It’s so bipolar.  It's like "Regular Crappy Cat Crap X 12" stuff and I HATE it.  The good news is she's getting less stressed hour by hour.  We don't allow catnip in our house as it encourages crazy-ass behavior in D&E. (The Catnip Crazies seems to amuse the hell out of the SK but we are NOT amused. Use a damn laser pointer; they have fun with that too!)  

They're in a safe place here and our home (for the most part) is pretty calming and she's probably picking up that Dink & Envy are totally cool in the basement.  I made about 5 places for them to sleep and snuggle, 2 food and water combos and clean the litter box twice a day.  It'll be fine. It's just annoying as hell because we can't have the basement door open.

Thank GOD for Feliaway spray!  
I never believed in that stuff and now I'm a total convert!

Friday, December 7, 2012

A Year Ago....

Sad Elke in October 2011
It was a day much like today, weather wise. Mid-40s, maybe a bit warmer, gloomy and damp but not raining.

I was going to meet a cattledog pup today.  An older pup actually. IF Elke would be OK with him, maybe we'd adopt him.  I owe a debt of gratitude to Tisha A. for helping Elke as well.

She'd lost her anchor, Jesse Ann and she had actually gone into a bit of a depression.  She slept a lot and moped. As much as I loved so many of the dogs I'd worked with, my heart (and even the SU's heart too) were a little void. Jesse and Winger had gone to wait for us at the Rainbow Bridge. 2011 was a tough year.

A friend of mine, Becky L. had posted on FB!
"Check this out, Mia!" and there was a picture of an older cattledog puppy.  My heart fluttered a bit, and I contacted the foster mom whom I knew from the Humane Society: Jen Mauger, the owner and trainer of L'Chaim Canine.

Megan with her soon-to-be doggie nephew
I was worried because Elke isn't the most dog friendly dog and I haven't helped to improve that, really. But Jen assured me that we'd test her out with Jen's uber-friendly collie, Shay. (This wonderful, silly dog is, by the way, my Hero....Love that dog!)  Elke did too.

But first, Jen wanted me to meet The Dog Called Bandit.  I might not click with him.  I agreed. By the way....why folks name dogs with no facial mask "Bandit" is beyond me but that was his intake name. He was saved by Humane Officer Shannon at the Humane Society of Greater Akron.  She is another one of my Heroines!

Jen brought the bundle of cowpup into our yard, he seemed very friendly and curious.  I picked him up and he still had puppy breath, just the last vestiges of it, and soft puppy fur.  I held him to me heart, nuzzled my nose into his neck and I started tearing up. I love Elke (our Schmooby-Do) with all my heart but I'm a sucker for a blue cattledog. After Elke's successful meet and play with Shay, we introduced the pup into the mix!  They got along just fine.  Thank you, Shay!  We brought the little guy inside the house and all was still well!

The Spousal Unit meets
the pup for the first time.
Of course, I'm a sucker and my Spousal Unit knew it.  He met him the next Sunday at one of L'Chaim's classes!
Yep, we're sold on a little blue dog.
Marty immediately christened him "Artie."
"Why Artie?"

"He looks like an Artie!" And WAREHOUSE 13 is the SU's favorite show!

He became officially ours, adoption paperwork and all, on Dec. 22nd, 2011.

He was a HUGE trial in many ways.  House-training, chewing, mouthing, biting, etc. etc.  Etc. I cursed my friend Becky many-a-day! I spent hours often wondering what the hell I was thinking.....

He started growing......and Elke started to prick up, get some energy and life back,  play, growl, get after her new little brother and lose weight!

His first Christmas and New Year's came and went.  Puppy classes! Still working on the house training thing.....

And growing.....despite his often less than enthused big sister.....

And his color was still very light....but he was growing....This is Art on Jan. 1, 2012

And he was growing.....and getting tons of nicknames!  
Art, Artie, Artie Blue, and most often BLOOBY!
March 11, 2012 (below)

...and growing...and his color was beginning to darken......and he learned to LOVE to play Fetch!  After first he had NO idea he was supposed to bring it (the ball, Frisbee, toy) BACK!

...and growing.....late May (below)!  Finally he's "gotten" the House Training thing and can really hold it!

July 2012

Dog Classes and fun!  He learned what "water" was all about, thanks to his new doggie friends, Oreo and McKinley! (July 2012)

July 2012 saw some BIG milestones.....he is now taller than his big sister.....

Blooby get his Canine Good Citizen!

Fall time comes and we need to decide on a birthday for him.....
The SU picks Sept. 21, 2011 as his birth date.  
"He told me that's when he was born."
"OK then...." (First birthday picture)

Fall 2012, he's beginning to mature....little by little.  We still need to work on NOT reacting to seeing kitties and meowing, being gentle around little, little kids...although he's good with older kids....but he loves to meet other dogs and play!

He has his first overnight with Auntie Gayle, Uncle Ray and Oreo and McKinley.....

He has fun swimming and socializing at the dog park, going for off-leash walks and learning new things!  

Picture with Santa at the Humane Society, where he gets to see people who saved him!

And now it's a year.  A whole year has gone by.....

We love you, you crazy, nutty, smart-as-a-whip Blooby Boy! And we thank all the people (and dogs) who brought you into our lives.....Tisha A., Becky L. Jen M. Kristen B. and Officer Shannon....
(However, when he's bad, we still blame Becky --- it's all her fault.)

Artie Blue 
Truhart's Find The Artifact, CGC

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

I HATE Printers

Computers can drive me bugger-bat-sh*t crazy at times.  I know just enough to be relatively dangerous about certain aspects of them.
But I HATE printers.  I hate them!
They never seem to work, or they forget that, yes, indeed you have them actually CONNECTED to your computer via a cable or USB.
Or they print PART of your picture (card, whatever) and the rest of it looks like crap. I mean look at this P.O.S.  It's not like the ink is completely out!  And photo paper is so expensive.  Let's not even TALK about how much ink costs!
Or, if you have one of those all-in-ones, you COULD scan in the past but can't scan now.
Or it recognizes ONE of the computers on your network (of course the one you don't have access to) but not YOUR computer!
It can print from your computer but, god forbid it would scan TO your computer!
I don't care if you're using a PC, a MAC or a Cat-In-The-Hat....
I don't care if your printer is new or old.  I don't care what OS you are running. I don't care if you are at home with one or in a business with 5 zillion.
They suck.
If you install their stupid software, it usually takes over your computer and loads it up with extraneous crap that you don't need and hogs your memory.
This damn printer is about one month old and the photo I just printed looks like crap and the stupid thing won't scan to my computer.  I don't care about your pretty touch screen panel if YOU DON'T WORK THE WAY YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO,  you stupid piece of sh*t.
And tech support on printers is the most suckazoid non-support on the planet.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

One Of These Days....

....I might learn to....


Even if it's killing me.  Even if it's deliberate stupidity run rampant.  Or well-meaning stupidity run amok.

That is all.

Friday, November 30, 2012

The new Nook HD+

Nook HD+ compared to Nook Tablet

I am happy to have it!  I'm even way happier to have PANDORA WORKING ON IT!

Yippee!  Happy Dance!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Rant #6

Attention Car Drivers!


Flip your lazy hand up or down, you sluggish bozo.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Dogs Nov. 5th, 2012

Trying to desperately learn new software....Lightroom and Photoshop Elements 11 ..Arrrgh!  I'm banging my head in frustration.....

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The "A" Debate. Again.

A question was asked:
 If you believe we all have a soul, and an abortion occurs, what happens to the soul of the unborn baby?

A man replied:
The soul of the unborn baby will go to heaven, the soul of the killer will go to hell.Plain and simple.

I do not mean to cast stones at anybody's religious beliefs but Horse-sh*t!  I do not believe in Hell.

I have lived through various stages of "purgatory" in my human existence. If you've gone through chemo or radiation, severe illness, chronic. never-ending have experienced Hell. Alzheimer's is living Hell.

That being said.....All souls' go into Spirit, God, The Divine, from where they came.  If the embryo is absorbed, that it a natural abortion; it is still part of God.  The soul rejoins Divine Love, it wasn't its time to have an earthy experience. If a pregnant woman is injured, molested, shot, almost killed and she aborts, the entity of the unborn still goes back to The One. If a woman is raped, and choose, as is her RIGHT, that unborn will rejoin The Divine.  It is my RIGHT to make that choice.

A man can never know never, ever, in a million years, what that decision is like.  Never.  It is a gross presumption to think that someone who cannot get pregnant could comprehend that.  Never.

We are all spiritual beings having a human experience.  Some of us will have a long one, many decades, some of us will only have a matter of days or hours in finite form.  We are part of The Divine.

I know Ishmael: God within, God without.  My soul is prepared, how's yours?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Artie's Afternoon, October 2012

Elke: Busy day!  I stayed home, watching my, uh...the HOUSE and Brat Boy left me, the little creep, and went somewhere in the car with Mom and Dad....

Artie: I threw up in my crate....

Elke: This makes me feel so much better....

Artie: We got to the hiking place, and my doggie "cousins", Oreo and McKinley

and my friend Duds were there!  Wheeee!  We ran in the wood and Duds found some really cool smelly dead stuff!  Mom wouldn't let me go over there!  I went swimming too, got really wet and shook all over Mom.

Elke: I'll give you that, Ace, good job! I'd have done the same thing myself.....

Artie: Then after a long walk we went to Oreo's house and I started to teach my one doggie friend how to play!  Duds was funny, he stuck his head in the doggie food bag!!  And his mommy said something so funny that Mom almost fell off her chair!  His mom is very cool! I'm exhausted!
Artie Blue Oct. 20, 2012

Elke: Yeah, and you smell funny too!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Back Up, Back Up.....

WE Have Been Warned

This is why you don't go to internet phone, live completely through your cell phone ("my life is on that thing") and you should have one phone in your residence that is a real phone, plugged into the wall, not wireless!  We've had brown-out before in the Northeast Ohio area, the East Coast has had black--outs.  There are hurricanes and tornadoes. If you live in a rural area, you can be without power for days!

 Do you know how to look up stuff in the library without a computer?

Can you do basic math in your head or on a piece of paper?

Can you add a sale up and figure the sales taxes? Without a calculator?

Do you have a hard copy of all your email addresses and contacts in your phone?

If the web and cell towers go down, we "over 45s" will rule the world because we're the only ones who were taught this stuff in school!

ALWAYS have a back up, hard copy of important stuff like contacts. Get an address book.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Blessing

So often we see, hear and experience cruelty, injustice and unkindness in our own lives, never mind around us.

It is enough to make a sane soul jaded and embittered.

Never let it be said that small miracles do not happen.

I never in a million YEARS would have expected, more than a decade later, to find kindness, redemption, the truth about a very painful episode in my life and an apology (quite unnecessary, truly, but gratefully and humbly accepted.) Thank you!

I can only pray that I will prove worthy and that the creative Light will shine through me so that I may perform to the best (and beyond) of my ability.

I must have done something good at some point, for the good stuff came back ten-fold today with the words I received.

As I reflected on what I had heard, I got teary!

Blessings to all, esp. the person who gave me this gift.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

I Can't Make This Stuff Up #467

This is very frightening. Why do people say these cruel things?  Your God must be horrible.

Mine is Divine Love.

I always figured no human knows what or how long a day to God may be......

What does it matter how we got here?


It's how we live our lives now, how we become beings of light, how we have our unfolded human experience, how we express Good (or God) if you will.

I don't think evolution negates creationism at all. Somewhere, in the great beyond, in times beyond counting and conception, there was Light created.

My God is Love, what's yours, Paul?

Kelly Ripa and Pit Bulls?

To Kelly Ripa and all fans of her show. 

(And yes, I posted this on the LIVE Facebook page but no doubt it'll get yanked.)

Ms. Ripa: You should not make blanket comments about pit bulls (or even that type of dog). It shows a blatant ignorance and an assumption on your part of biased, quasi-education. 

Should we say the same thing about blondes, your appearance or your intelligence, you'd be rather angry, hurt, disappointed, wouldn't you? Perhaps not, as by your comments, it's highly doubtful as to whether you possess any of the virtues of basic intellect but rather an alarmist, punt-kick attitude towards dog related things of which you could not possibly have any reasonable knowledge.

In other words, Ms. Ripa, you be needin' some educatin'!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Love, (Same Sex) Marriage and The Timeline

I got this in the mail yesterday.  Another piece of political B.S.  I almost threw it away but something caught my eye.  The word Marriage.

Now I am married to a wonderful guy, The Spousal Unit. And I don't normally get too steamed up about Politics, which frankly bore the brains out of me.

But this one frosted my carcass, being a supporter of Marriage in general and Same Sex Marriage in particular.

I am NOT a fan or supporter of Polygamy, mind you, because it's just not fair.  Until I, as a woman, can have multiple husbands I don't think a man should be able to have multiple wives. In this case, what works for the gander should apply to the goose!

I am an advocate for Marriage and commitment whether its George and Gracie, George and Benny or Gracie and Maude.

I read this and pondered the unanswerable. How, pray tell, do "they" know opposite sex marriage has been around for 5,000 years? Exactly 5,000.

I mean, really, seriously, how in the hell do they know that?  Maybe it's 6,000 or 10,000 or 3,500 years. Maybe it's 4,892 years.

Really, how in the hell do they honestly know?  And isn't one person "marriage" another person's hand-fasting or "sealing the deal?"  Until quite recently, a marriage was a business deal.  Or if you were a woman, a way to get out of your family's house. In many cultures and countries, marriages are still arranged!

"I give you one field, four cows and a bunch of pelts.  In exchange you give me your daughter for my son.  Ugh-wat...."

"I shall give you the province of Anjou along with lands, revenues and titles and you, in turn, shall wed my daughter.  You in turn, for this great honour, shall give me land rights in the following counties...." Etc.

"I, an impoverished European noble, really need some money to maintain my family's estates.  You are one step away from Scottish trash who lived in stone huts but you have money.  I need money.  Therefore, your daughter or son will marry into one of the oldest, most noble houses complete with title which will legitimize your robber baron ways and make you socially acceptable in the highest circles. Plus we're really inbred and there's that whole hemophilia thing.  Deal? Deal!"

"After consulting the horoscopes of both parties, and making arrangements for bride price, jewels rtc. we have decided, as the parents, through a matchmaker, that these two people should wed.  Week-long party at my house.  You bring the elephant. Oh, yes, we might let them meet before the ceremony.  How modern of us!"

So this Love and Marriage thing is pretty new!  Seeing that it is a more modern concept, let's be really modern and crazy and let two people in love get married no matter what their sex may be.

Five thousand year institution?  Really?  Where did you come up with that number; out of a hat, Bullwinkle?

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Note To Animal Activists & Advocates

In recent days, we've seen the investigation of the Ohio SPCA into yet another Puppy Mill run by (no surprises) by the Amish. People who care about animals are lauding this as a good thing and it is.  Again, it has thrust the ugly reality of Puppy Mills into the limelight where it belongs.

"Another horrible Puppy Mill!!  We need to get those breeders and shut them down!" cry the animals activists and advocates!

All right, enough. You are all pissing me off.

Stop calling them BREEDERS. 

I'm going to publicly bitch-slap the next person who calls these heathens "breeders."

"Breeding is bad!  Breeders are bad!  Breeders need to regulated!  We need to stop Breeders! There are X millions of animals in shelter because of Breeders!"

By using the term "Breeder", you are being small-minded, defamatory, insulting and plain ignorant. How dare you? Those people are not BREEDERS and every one of you needs to stop using that term.  Call it what it is: Milling. They are Milling (or if you can't seem to use that term....) at the very least it's "farming" companion animals.  Not appealing but there it is.

I'll even coin a new term so you can stop using the word Breeder and eradicate it from your Advocacy Vocabulary.

It is Animal Profiteering. Say it with me, folks.

Animal Profiteering!

Very good! It's a lot more harsh sounding than "breeding", isn't it?

Whether it's Mr. Yoder the puppy miller or Joe Schlabottnik down this street who's looking for a quick buck on his Rottweiler bitch, it's Profiteering. I'll lump them with Mrs. Whitebread who thinks Junior should witness "the miracle of birth." It's not about raising animals for consumption, which technically is Animal Husbandry.

It's all about the pay-off, plain and simple.  It's Profiteering.

Animal Activists think the answer to the appalling over-population of companion animals in shelters all across the country is to Ban Breeding. Great idea in THEORY. We've seen how well that worked with Gun Control and the War On Drugs. It's an extremist knee-jerk reaction that punishes legitimate, caring individuals who truly care about animals, especially pet animals.

Before you go off on your high horse and vilify and abolish all Breeders, think about what you are saying and who exactly you are defaming. Most the Activists and Advocates that I know have no clue.  Many of them are animals lovers, period.  All they can see is that "too many litters of animals, even more animals, the suffering of animal due to overpopulation" is a Bad Thing.  It is. There are too many unwanted animals dying every day. Lest you forget, I too, am an Animal Advocate.

Breeders are not the Activists' or Advocates' problem.

Read that again.

Breeders are not the Activists' or Advocates' problem. They aren't even close to being the cause. I don't care how far down you filter that. "Well, we wouldn't have this problem if Hanice Smith hadn't decided to breed a Bull Terrier litter in 1953." Or 2003. They are not the Enemy! Ninety-nine percent of the time, they are your allies.  The other one percent are neutral.

A Breeder plans their first (or next) litter more carefully than most people plan a pregnancy.  Humans seem to reproduce without careful thought. The Breeder considers health, type, temperament, quality, cost, vet care, the timing and expense of pre- and post-natal care, raising of the babies and whether or not they have more than enough good owners lined up for each and every little one who will be born.  The owner of the stud or female are very fussy about the potential mate. They pick potential owners with the thorough thought that this is a long term relationship. Animal to Owner and Breeder to Owner.  Many breeders turn down potential Owners because they don't want to associate with that person for the next 10-20 years. They are with the new owner throughout that puppy/kitten/foal's lifetime and grieve for each one of their "grandchildren" through ill-health, old age and death. I still hear from the husband of a dog I owned and his wife (the Breeder) is deceased.

Breeders have an overwhelming tendency to police themselves and each other.  I have been advised who to NOT get a dog from on several occasions.

Breeders (often silently) help unwanted animals by fostering, housing, volunteering, transporting, educating and training animals in need. They donate their money, time, expertise and needed items.  They advocate for humane treatment and lobby against breed banning. For example, a Canadian dog Breeder I know campaigns heavily against horse slaughter. More Breeders than I care to mention have raised mix-breed or orphaned babies, giving them to the same love, care and socialization as they would the litter they planned for years.  Breeders often foster and rehabilitate rescued animals, an area of animal advocacy crying daily for more help.

Messers Yoder, Schlabottnik and Mrs. Whitebread don't give two shits about any of that.

So get off your morally high horse and stop calling these profiteers Breeders.  They're not and if you knew just one Breeder of cats, dogs, ferrets, horses (whatever) you would never, ever lump them with Millers or Profiteers.

By the way, I have never (to date) bred a litter.  Nor do I have any intention to do so, as of this date. The only litter I have ever had was a stray cat who showed up pregnant and starving on my doorstep.  Should I ever decide to breed a litter, I will give it far more thought than some human deciding to hatch, believe me.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Thinking of Veterans And Brave Ones

A Facebook Friend shared this with me.  I don't want to forget it!

....... this is the actual Norse prayer that dates back to the first century, a few more lines than the one adapted for the movie, The 13th Warrior.

Lo, There do I see my Father
Lo, There do I see my Mother and
My Brothers and my Sisters
Lo, There do I see the line of my people back to the beginning
Lo, They do call to me
They bid me take my place among them in the halls of Valhalla
Where thine enemies have been vanquished
Where the brave shall live Forever
Nor shall we mourn but rejoice for those that have died the glorious death.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The (Longest) Bike Ride

My jersey, new gloves and...
hey, wait a second....
those aren't biking shoes!
Findlay, Ohio, Sept. 9, 2012.  The Horizontal Hundred.  I don't know why but I want to call it The Harmony, which is in May.  In Indiana.  And spelled differently. Oh, well.  This is great "first" tour for anyone as it has 4 distances: 20, 40, 62 and 100 with very few hills. It's pretty darn flat.

After the totally suckazoid cancelling of the Spousal Unit's Ohio Gran Fondo 3 days before the event, I think he really wanted to do the HHH. (I almost told him not to wear that GF jersey beforehand. He did! I have a shirt superstition about things like that!)  I'm still kind of pissed about the GF cancellation.  He worked so hard, tweaked his Bianchi, logged hundreds of miles on hills, spent a bunch of money, changed this and that and after all that -- cancelled?  I couldn't do so many things I wanted to do this summer because we had to keep "things open" so he COULD train.  I was not happy. He was livid!

This will be the SU's second hundred, should he choose to do it. He can always do 62, which is a "metric century."  I'm thinking, you so do not need to ride 100 miles when you really haven't been training that hard.  But he is: A) stubborn and B) a Marine and that combination can equal Stupid. Hey, it's your bod.  Don't complain to me! I am going to attempt to do my longest distance, 35 miles.  I had originally signed up to do 40 but they changed the course and shortened it to 32.  I'm pretty confident I can do that but I want to best my longest distance which was done (maybe) last year: 34.5 miles.

Green Lady, the Bianchi bike.
This year, I have a lovely, spiffy new-to-me bike given to me by my brother.  It's his green Bianchi whom I've dubbed Green Lady.  How unoriginal. She is most definitely a FEMALE bike!  We've been getting to know each other all summer.  I am not worthy of her, truly.  She is light, fast and agile.  None of these attributes are me.

I've graduated to the "Bigger Girl Stirrups", the cages for your feet. I'm still not ready for Clip-Ins.  I like the thought of getting undone and off that sucker --- fast.  The SU has had 2 spills with those damn things.  Not for me, thank you very much! I've gone from the "Comfy Big Bike Xtremely Padded Seat" into a (still-padded) racing seat.  I've gone from a girl-specific bike to a man's bike, with the bar.  Which I caught my pubic bone on during a rapid stop.  Once.  Hurt for days!

All week long, I've been watching the weather.  I am not a Hot Weather Exertion Gal.  The SU is a lizard.  For the past 4 years he has battled extreme heat and pouring rains to ride for MS in Ohio's Pedal To The Point.  It's in August.  Seventy-five (Yes, 75) miles, two days.  Ain't no way.  That's not my idea of fun, even for a great cause.  That's my idea of 4-H Hell: heat, humidity, heat-exhaustion and/or stroke and going to the hospital. Maybe if it was at a sensible time of year.  Like early May.  Late September?  My idea of Hot Weather Exertion is walking into a pool.

Now, having been in more than my fair share of walking/running (not that I run) events this bike thing is a different critter. The biggest difference between a bike tour, event, whatever-the-heck you want to call it and a foot-anything is TIME.  When you do a race or a charity run, there is a time limit and it's not that long.  Most Half-Marathons have the course open for 3-4 hours, period.  Then they roll it up and your on your own.  Even charity 5Ks are open for maybe 2 hours.  Maybe. So you have to:

A) start at a specific time, with the maddening crowds. Which admittedly, is a rush.
B) try to stay the hell away from a bunch of semi-pro racers along with yahoos and hooligans who think they're in an Olympic sprint.  Which is how people get hurt!  Mary Louise's little girl has more than a few brain cells left.  I know I'm not going to set any land speed records.  "Ya'all go ahead, I'll wait for a few minutes!"
C) Hustle your arse as fast as you can! Every second counts once you set your foot over that timing plate.  Even untimed races, you still have to move it along.
D) End by a specific amount of time. The goal is to finish.  Upright.  Unharmed.

Breaks?  (Insert sarcastic laughter.) There are none.  Oh, in the big races there are port-a-potties and drink tables with volunteers (Bless their hearts, truly!) hollering, "Water!  Gatorade!" so you know what you're grabbing, drinking and flinging.  You have a timing chip on your shoes, the seconds are ticking away.  The person who invents a timing chip that pauses while you're in the port-a-potty is going to make a FORTUNE! You feel this urgency to do the fastest drop-trow & pee in your life in those damn stink holes.  The timing chips mocks you.  You can feel its little inner metronome, clicking away. If you need nourishment etc., you better carry it with you!  If you go down, in short races, you better hope one of your competitors takes mercy on you and stops.  I've been the merciful one, helping someone, as dozens run merrily by.

But a bike event?  You want to start at 5:30 in the morning or at 10 am, go right ahead. There is an "official" start time (7:30 am) but they have support for TEN-TWELVE hours (depending on the event).  Damn, they even give you LUNCH!!!  Unless you're doing the shortest distance (20 miles), they feed you LUNCH!  Even at the 10 mile break there is (are you ready for this?)

A port-a-potty
Doughnuts/Bagels --- some kind of starch!
At least one nice person who can help with you with a bike problem!

Such a deal!

The weather looks like it's going to perfect, 50s in the morning going into the 70s with moderate humidity.  Rock on!  We arrive in Findlay, get our packets (oooh, we get numbers, mine is 314) and go shopping.  The SU gets two jerseys (most of his are so boring) and t-shirts.  I get a pair of socks!  We haul our bikes and gear up to the hotel room (very nice), eat dinner and settle in to (hopefully) sleep.

Hindsight Note To Self: Have the SU do a dummy check of what we really need to bring.  That would be:

Your Bike.  (Duh!)

An Extra Tire And Small Tool Kit. (Like I'm really going to change my own damn tire.  I'm going to bat my eyelashes behind my sunglasses and pull my best Southern Belle imitation, "Oh, you big ol' strong ma-yan, kin ya'all fix mah little ol' ty-er!" Yep, I'm on that like white on rice, baby.)

Your Bike Shoes (hard soled, highly uncomfortable to walk in)

Your Bike Helmet (hated but necessary equipment)

Gloves.  You'd be surprised how much you need those padded suckers. 

Bike Shorts.  Again, padded and you would be surprised how much you need those suckers! It's not necessarily my legs, knees, back, shoulders, numbing hands that give out.  It's my butt! 

Chamois Butt'r. Your butt deserves the best. Chafing is NOT your friend!  Think about it.

Glasses: For me, it's sight, glare etc. and for all cyclists they are Bug Shields! Getting a bug IN your eye sucks.  It's bad enough when one of the little suckers gets in your helmet, ear, mouth, down your jersey or UP your nose!  Faugggh!  Bleech!

Sunday morning dawns dark and cloudy.  The SU does one more weather watch on his Tablet, we load up and get to the departure point at the U. of Findlay.  We change in our cycling togs.  I notice that most of the people are dressed like we're cycling in Antarctica! Long sleeved jackets, scarves, leggings, balaclavas, full gloves.  I have on my shorts, a sleeveless jersey, a neckerchief and a long sleeved cotton shirt over all. "It's 55 degrees, people. It's AWESOME!  It's not 35!  Sheesh!" I think.

We go out to the car to get ready.  I find my black Skecher's walking shoes, my tennies and...and.....and....I have an "Oh, Sh*t" moment.

"Uh-oh....where are my cycling shoes?  Crap!"  They are not anywhere in the car!  I guess my cycling shoes were NEXT to the Skecher's and I grabbed those instead.  Sh*t.

Skecher's and Bike Shoes
You can understand how
I got them mixed up.
Can't you? Can't you?
Tell me you can....
But wait, there's more.

Neither the SU or I had done the Dummy Check for GLOVES!  Oh, he is HOT and not in a good way!! I'm pondering whether I can ride without them.  Highly irritated, he clamps his way back into the hall. We find one vendor still vending and buy 2 pairs of Pearl Izumi gloves.  He is NOT happy with me.  In a spirit of fairness, he could have double checked our equipment. (Grumble....)

I look at my Shoe Situation. It is at this time I am more than grateful I do not have Clip-In pedals or I would have been Sh*t Out Of Luck.  I have 3 choices of footwear: running tennies, the Skecher's and flip-flops.  Those are out although the SU has seen people in other events biking with sandals.  I put on the Skecher's thinking those soles are probably the stiffest.

We finish kitting up and we're off; he in one direction and me in another, following the little "HHH with arrows" symbols painted on the road.

I am bee-bopping merrily along on Green Lady, feeling pretty good about myself, hoping it won't rain.  There's not a ton of storage room on a road bike, two small bags and the pockets in your jersey is all you've got.  It's a lovely, quiet morning and I'm looking at all the pretty historic houses flanking Findlay's main drag.

"Bump!!! Thwack! Clatter-Clatter-Clatter!"  These are never  good sounds. I look down at my handlebars and see that my cell phone has fallen out of its bracket and is missing.  Braking and muttering curse words, I get off and go back to retrieve my phone.  Trepidatiously, I pick it up, fearing the worst.  It is not only clocking my mileage (good old Runkeeper) but it's my sole means of communication and it has The Map stored in there.

"Phew, thank God!" The hard case and Zagg screen have saved the day.  As aside note, this is about the fifth time I've dropped this phone and it still works.  Teenagers and twenty-somethings, take note. Remounting Green Lady, we continue on.  At about Mile 8, according to Runkeeper's nice lady voice, I think, "The first rest stop is coming up."  I come to an intersection, still following the arrows.  Alas, in my best Directionally Challenged way, I have made a wrong turn.

Now, in some respects, I'm a blithering coward; in others I'm rather adventurous.  It hasn't dawned on me yet that I've made a wrong turn.  There is something blissful, quiet and soothing about moving with no sounds except the wheels spinning on the pavement, the soft swishing brush of your legs as you pedal and your breathing. It's flat, so there's really no intense labor. There are no cars.  It's a quiet, country, rural road. The sky is big, with dark, bristling brooding clouds.  The soy and corn fields pass by.  There is no car noise.  Nothing but your sounds and the wind.  I'm doing a bit of thinking with part of my mind focused on what's ahead.  There's no one pushing, no competition, no trying to keep up with another cyclist.  It's just me, Green Lady and the straight road ahead. I could stop if I wanted to.  It's my ride. I keep going, take a drink from my water bottle. The road continues past fields and clumps of trees with the big sky all around me....

Suddenly, it dawns on me.  There is no one around.  I haven't seen a single cyclist since leaving downtown Findlay.  That's not that unusual but it's really solitary.  And the road is getting narrower and narrower.  Hmmm.  I start looking down at the road's surface for the little directional arrows.  I'm feeling a bit like a secondary lead in the sequel to the film Children of the Corn: Children Of The Soy.

"Oh, wittle ar-whoas, " I say in my best Tweety Bird imitation, "Where are woo?"  (Yes, she's gone over the edge, she's talking out loud to herself in a Warner Brothers cartoon voice.)  Finally when my road comes to a sharp curve and turns into gravel, I think, "Hmm, maybe I better turn around and head back.  I made a wrong turn at Albuquerque!"  I'm not panicking.  As a matter I'm thinking this will add mileage onto my ride.  No worries.  It didn't dawn on me that if I broke down, I was screwed in the middle of nowhere. (This was pointed out to me later on by Mr. Killjoy.)

As I stopped to turn around, a ray of light shafts the deep gray, brooding sky, highlighting the dark curtain of rain in the distance.  Rain?  Oh, OK, not good but it looks far way, I should be fine. Suddenly, the shaft of light moves to spotlight the road back. Right on the road, not the fields or berm of brown grass. I know a Sign when I see one.

"OK, I get the message!  Thank you very much!"  I head back, arrive at the intersection and finally find the "Wittle Ar-Whoas" on the pavement.  I arrive, 12-some miles in, at the rest stop.  Lovely!  Some water.  A glazed doughnut! Coffee with sugar!  I'm on my way to lunch, keeping some other folks in eyesight.  I am somewhat amazed to find myself pedaling past folks.  I am not a speed demon by any stretch, but I glance down at my odometer and discover I'm doing 16 MPH.  Taken aback, I slow down somewhat.  I don't want to "blow up", to lose my steam.  It's not a sprint, it's about distance.

I arrive at a small town school where I'll have lunch and get to use a REAL bathroom.  That flushes!  With a sink!  This is civilization!! There is FOOD!  I have a PB&J half-sandwich and chocolate chip cookie.  I loathe peanut butter and jelly but I've heard it's good energy food. I could have any of a wide variety of sandwiches, chips, cookies and drinks. I talked to some nice people when I have my "Vick Moment."

Nice older lady sitting with other folks: "Too bad about so-and-so getting hurt.  He's in the hospital with head trauma. They say he may never play again!"

Me: "Oh, that's too bad, who was it again?"

Lady: "It was _____, a baseball player."

Me: "Too bad it wasn't Michael Vick."  General laughter!

I run into Mary M. whom I had met and ridden with last year.  I decide to pedal with her and her friend.  We go along until the rest stop (10 miles from the finish), having a nice chat.  After the rest stop, I keep finding myself ahead of them.  I'm still not in bad shape.  I haven't hit any physical walls, I'm feeling pretty good and a check of my odometer reads 16 MPH. They are way behind me. I can't even see them! I never did get to say, "Good-bye and I'll see you later, take care," and I feel bad about that. I keep pedaling along and even the big hill going over the freeway isn't too bothersome.   Green Lady is cruising along!  I guess she must thinking my brother is riding her!!

As I'm cruising into Findlay and towards the finish line, my Runkeeper chirps, "Time: three hours and so many minutes and seconds.  Distance: 38 miles." Hey, I know I'm beaten my longest distance.  I heard the 35 mile mark come and go.  I can add on 2 miles and make it 40.  So I spend the next 2 miles tooling around Findlay, trying to NOT get lost.  If I make enough left hand turns....I should be OK.  I finally hear the time and distance: 40 miles!  I did it! I can quit now!

Runkeeper says this. My odometer, which is probably more accurate said: 40.76 miles in 3 hours, 24 minutes, 18 seconds as I recall. I think that's more accurate.

The Spousal Unit
at the
end of his ride!
100 Miles!
A Triumph!
What's more important is I had fun! I felt confident too!  I hit both my goals for distance. I stayed upright.  It was a good adventure.

My butt was sore. I won't lie.  I do have a 40-mile-on-the-flat butt.  I wonder if it could go longer. That is not a surety. I met some nice folks especially Corey while I was waiting for my SU to finish his 100 miles in 7 hours, 5 minutes (as I recall). My poor SU had to change his flat, which sucked for him, at about Mile 70-something.  The problem with stopping at that point is your body gets all pissy on you and doesn't want to start up again. At all. And, another bummer, he never rode much with anyone.  He was by himself most of the time. He rarely got to draft anyone (pedal close to their back wheel, less wind) and get a break.

I think I'd like to try to do 62 miles someday but the weather is a huge factor for me.  It would have to be perfect, on the cool side and low humidity.

Now on to those foot races......

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

To Prong or Not To Prong: The Debate Continues

I think this is a good discussion.

Here's my take.

First of all, for me personally, I have really high standards and expectations for myself and my dogs. All my dogs must eventually get their CGCs. I have only had one (my GP, Dri) who didn't get his. I don't want to be the stupid neighbor with THAT dog. It's very important to me because I'm the caretaker for these dogs. Kids go to school. They get graduation certificates. Shouldn't my dogs?

My goal for my cattledog boy, Artie Blue, CGC, is some kind of Obedience, Rally, Agility or Schutzhund title. For sweet Elke it was getting her CGC (done!) and have her qualify as an Asst. Dog or Therapy Dog. Most of the folks on many of the lists I'm on have Pibbles. Being a terrier-type they have a different head set from herding breeds, which is what I've mostly dealt with. So, I can't speak as to Pibbles, as much as I've worked with them in the shelter and have tons of friends who have them. I love them dearly too and advocate strongly on their behalf! But I "get" herding dogs better.

Here's one my stories as pertains to prong collars:
In 1993 I had a girl cattledog, Hart-Marie (in the picture) that I started in classes at 6 months old. She wore a soft buckle collar, and I was armed with tons of treats.....all the trainer would allow. (Harnesses were for Guide and Service dogs or if you did pulling or crating.) She was pretty good EXCEPT with pulling horribly on the leash while walking. Her one huge drawback: she was horrible with small, fuzzy, white dogs.

For the leash pulling, we did tons of luring and tons of turns using the treats with The Happy Voice, that kind of thing. It worked pretty well, although I was dizzy from all the turns and switchbacks. It did take a while and lot of commitment on my part. The trainer's deal was: free classes for us for Hart's lifetime BUT she had to get her CD (Companion Dog AKC obedience title).

The fuzzy dog thing? Much harder because Hart meant business; she would have killed that dog (a Bichon). We did lot of desensitizing with focus and treats etc, that kind of thing, but she still wanted to kill that dog. I am not exaggerating. Cattledogs are very quick; they have to be fast and agile or they'll get killed by a cow's kick square in the head.

When Hart was a year old, my trainer (who was also Hart's breeder) gave me a prong, first putting in on my arm and showing me exactly how it worked and how to use it correctly. She also showed me how it needed to be fitted correctly etc. She stressed it was a Training TOOL. Not to be worn causally or all the time, like a regular buckle collar. Ever. We did probably 3 weeks of classes with a double leash technique, never, ever touching the leash with the prong. One class, with no warning (cattledogs can be like that, most of them are extremely subtle, even for a fully sighted person) she went after that Bichon. One pop, we changed directions with lots of praise and treats for a nice heel. I think she wore that collar for maybe 3 months and never again. She didn't dread it, she never turned away, she'd happily wag her tail and wiggle her butt when she saw it. But she also had great work ethic. I maybe corrected her 5-10 times, mostly to refine a heel, quite honestly. I will tell you that her three years of year-round classes and out of class work were 90% positives and 10% aversives or corrections.

Hollering at your dog to shut up or using a sound (Acckk! is ours) is considered by many All Positive trainers to be an aversive. Come on, Seriously? Who doesn't holler at your dog or kid once in a while.

"Oh, Johnny, darling, don't go near the street. You might get hurt by a car," works great on a three (or eight) year old. Not. You go get Johnny and if he continues to do that, you just might holler at him or give him a time-out. (Parenting a kid is for another blog!)

If Elke insists (sneaks) on getting on the sofa with a bone or toy, she knows that's a no-no, I'm going to say, firmly and yes, loudly, "Get off the sofa with the bone!" point to the dog bed and praise her when she eats the bone on it. The rules haven't changed in 4 years, Elke, and they pertain to all dogs!

Back to Hart the prong collar.
She had her CGC, TDI (when it meant something more) and her CD, was working towards her CDX and Agility titles when my circumstances stopped her training. She could walk through a herd of little, fuzzy, white, yappy dogs on a buckle collar with tons of treats and no worries. Interestingly enough, she had a best bud who was a Chi-weenie and was fine with small black fuzzy dogs, like Schipperkes.

I've had 2 other cattledogs I used prongs on once in a blue moon, Jesse Ann, my wonderful pig-head, could get very fixated and wouldn't respond to click/treats at all. Again, maybe 3 uses of the prong and never needed again for 10.5 years. Wingie JoJo, my lovable dope was scared of regular clickers (we used a cricket clicker) but he sure loved his food!! I had to fde food fast and use praise and pets on him!

E-Collars? I am not a fan. I think it's the lazy way to train. I do get why hunters use the warning-beeper ones. "Hey, Buster, you're off track," is really hard to holler when your German Shorthaired Pointer is 1,000 yards away. More and more, I'm hearing, hunters are using whistle training. I don't how I feel about e-fencing.

My current ACD, Artie, is soft and he won't need a prong. He "gets" what he's supposed to do, what I'm asking. He's smart and willing. He's still reactive and stupid and mouthy but I can get him back. My Elke is very soft and needs a whole other approach to help her get over herself. I confess to use a prong on her for excessive pulling the leash when she a couple of years y0unger and in retrospect it was NOT the "right" thing to do for her.

Now times and techniques have changed in those 19 years! I use the clicker too --- all the time! I usually use a tongue click when I'm working on leash though. Too much stuff to deal with and my dogs "get" the tongue click! Artie and Elke don't need the prong. Three other ACDs I've had needed the use of a prong maybe a few times each in their 10+ years on this earth in my care.

My German Pinscher (a terrier) really didn't need it. In retrospect it proved to be counter-productive. He was started as a wee pup on a clicker and treats and he is the reason why I can be somewhat ambivalent about clicker training. He was extremely hard to train as he was not food or toy motivated. And trust me, we tried everything, even a real (dead) squirrel tail! He is also the reason I am loath to get another terrier-type dog much as I love the clownishness of terriers and the love-a-bull mugs of the Big Heads.

Point: I think each dog is an individual and may learn in different ways than another dog. It is a process and you may need other tools. Some rock it on a harness, others are idiots on a harness. A tool is a tool. It's how you use it or even IF you use it at all. Honestly, it's not for most dogs and definitely NOT for most owners or trainers. However, I'll stand by my decision to use the prong collar on Hart-Marie all those years ago. As a training tool, it helped her "get" that a certain behavior was unacceptable. It may have saved two dogs' lives: a small, fluffy, white dog's and hers. Had she killed a dog, I would have felt obligated to put her to sleep. She died at age 16 1/4 years, nicely trained, deeply loved and tenderly cared for all her life.

Just my opinion.