Feb 25, 2010

Mini Cameras for Pets

The newest geek gadget to come down the pike is the Pet Mini Digital Camera. This is a tiny little camera that your pets can wear around their necks attached to a collar and the camera is kept safe within a sturdy plastic case to prevent breakage. The ad for it reads:

"Just clip the lightweight digital camera to your pet's collar and you'll be able to take up to 40 photos to document their shenanigans. The camera has an auto interval mode that can be set to snap pictures at 1, 5, or 15 minute intervals. At 640 x 480 resolution, the quality isn't too shabby either.

All that's left for you to do is to hook up the camera to your PC or Mac and check out what sort of mischief Rover and Tiddles have been getting up to in your absence. Small and light enough for most cats and dogs."

I don't know about you, but I'm not sure I'd want to see what my hairy children are up to when I'm not around. I've witnessed firsthand what they do when I'm right there in plain sight of them, so it stands to reason that when the alpha female isn't around to keep everyone in line it's got to be far, far worse and I don't think I'm ready to see that.

And besides, I'm pretty sure the majority of the "shenanigans" would involve the cat, who really isn't into rules of any sort. She would either be climbing onto things for which I'd have a heart attack knowing she was climbing onto, or two small dogs would be antagonizing her nonstop (thus sending her climbing once again in a desperate bid to escape). And were the camera to be put around Maia's neck, the photo above is pretty much all we'd be seeing, the only variation being which color the dog was. That and a whole lot of paws, claws first.

Feb 20, 2010

Another Vintage Chihuahua Manual

Another vintage chihuahua owner's manual, this one with one very worried little dog on the cover. It seems to me that if I were the editor of these books, I'd try to pick the most inviting looking, emotionally stable and happy little dogs to grace my book covers. Yet so far we've seen two obviously retarded chis and now a terrified one that looks as if it can't wait to get the hell away from all humans. Hmm...I'm sensing a rather unfortunate pattern here.

Photo courtesy (once again) of Painter Girl on flickr.

Feb 18, 2010

The Politics of Show Judging

While I know it's nothing new, that the ridiculously unfair judging in show competitions has always happened, from little small-scale local poultry shows right up to the daddy of them all: the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, for some reason this week, I am more bothered by it than usual. Maybe I'm getting older and more pissy, or maybe it's because at this year's Westminster Show, the Old Boy mentality was far more front and center than it usually is, even for Westminster, where you can almost always pick the winning dog by its "story" before the broadcasted portion of the judging even begins.

Go to any local poultry show more than once and you will see the same old men winning time after time. Yes, their birds are nearly perfect, but you'll also see that they and the official judges know one another and have for years. Are the up and comers' birds any less well bred? Not usually, but as they aren't members of that super special inner circle, finding themselves with a blue ribbon and a trophy in their hands at the end of the day is rather unlikely. Same with Westminster. Ever notice that the dog who is retiring at the end of this show after a long and storied career in the ring usually wins Best in Show? Or how about the dog who was bred by some old and well-respected man or woman who had been breeding champion (insert breed name here) for centuries and has recently died? That dog will surely win the top honor that year, too. And so it was with this year's "story."

The dog generating all the buzz this year was Sadie the Scottish Terrier who had won the first two legs of the Triple Crown of dogdom and everyone was wondering, "Would she win Westminster too? Could it finally happen? No dog has ever done this before!" And if that weren't enough for anyone to have safely placed a bet on her winning, the judge who judged Best in Show at this year's event had judged- guess who?- just last September, awarding her Best in Show at another prestigious dog show. Hmm. If you ask me, this dog had been hand picked to win before her plane ever touched down in New York and it's not right.

When my mother was a newlywed, she bred persian cats for show and she won a few championships herself in the Midwestern cat fancier world of the 1950s, but all that changed when she was unfortunate enough (or fortunate enough, depending on how you choose to look at this) to witness a very large bit of underhanded judging for one particularly important show. At a fellow breeder's home a few evenings before the Big Day, the judge for Best in Show arrived at her home and was shown into the room where the cats were being kept to see one particular white persian. Not knowing that my mother was a fellow breeder/handler, the judge leaned into the woman conspiratorially and with a wink said, "You know this is completely against the rules but between you and I, don't you worry because you've already won your breed group and Best in Show." And with that, he left and my mother, horrified by the collusion and utterly despondent, never showed her cats again.

I've heard this story a few times in my life (it predates my birth by some years), but I think of it whenever there is too much talk of one particular dog at Westminster and then that dog invariably wins. It seems to be a regular occurrence and with each passing year, I grow less enthused about watching Westminster. It used to be a must-see event for me, but now I figure why bother? After all, the dog the media is yakking about in the week or two leading up to it is the one who's going to win, so why waste my time? A done deal is a done deal and that's just the way it is, sad fact or not.

Photo courtesy of Reuters.

Feb 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

Wishing everyone a very happy day of romance and joy. Edison and Bram have spent the better part of the day trying to find any bits of gourmet chocolate that a careless cook might have dropped on the kitchen floor while making homemade dark chocolate and orange truffles, but alas that never happened. It's too bad that chocolate is deadly to dogs because they sure go bonkers for the smell of it (but then, who doesn't?). Sorry boys...

Feb 11, 2010

Late Night, Posing Pretty

It was late, we were up playing with some toys and being as silly as usual, when the boys decided they'd like to pose for some photos in exchange for some organic dog cookies. So out came the camera and this is what we got. Bram was clearly very into it (he'll do anything if there's food involved), but Edison, as can be seen by the rather jaded expression on his tiny face, was somewhat bored with the whole thing, snack or not.

Feb 9, 2010

Vintage Chihuahua

"I hope if dogs ever take over the world, and they chose a king, they don't just go by size, because I bet there are some Chihuahuas with some good ideas."

- "Deep Thoughts" by Jack Handy

Vintage photo of "Perrito" by Pics for Pedro on flickr.

Feb 6, 2010

Emily, the Sacred Cow

This was a local story that went international, and even though it is quite a few years old, it's always fresh in my mind probably because The Peace Abbey is just down the road from me and I pass it regularly. That and the fact that Emily's soul was and still is breathtakingly powerful. So for those of you who may never have heard of Emily, this is her story. And once heard, you'll never forget it.

Emily started out as just another nameless cow raised locally to be slaughtered for all the things cows are sadly slaughtered for. On November 14, 1995, while waiting her turn in line at the A. Arena & Sons slaughterhouse here, she jumped a fence and beat feet into the woods. A 1400lb cow jumping a five foot fence? Uh-hunh. And then she managed to elude her captors and keep herself alive for more than a month living by her wits in the wintry wild. And that's when The Peace Abbey stepped in. They bought her for a dollar and lured her to them with buckets of feed and on December 24, she became a permanent resident at the Abbey. She was named Emily and instantly became a spokescow for peace lovers, animal lovers, vegetarians and hindus everywhere.

People revered her for her strength and made pilgrimages to her beautiful barn, built from donations. She was a serene and gentle soul who touched everyone who was in her presence. There was definitely something there behind those big brown eyes that the average cow is missing. She was possessed of a genuine wisdom and intelligence. She knew things.

Emily lived happily and was adored by those who knew her until her passing on March 30, 2003 after a lengthy battle with cancer. She was buried on the grounds of The Peace Abbey, behind the beautiful statue of Gandhi, on April 2 of that year before a standing room only crowd. Hair clippings from her forehead and from the tip of her tail, a bit of her blood, and a bit of a golden thread that had been placed through her ear by a Hindu priest were released into the sacred Ganges River later that month.

Emily lives on today in the hearts of everyone who has heard her remarkable story or was blessed to have met her in person. She was a gentle soul with immense courage and conviction. Her gravesite marks the Sacred Cow Animal Rights Peace Memorial at the Abbey and is marked with a life-sized bronze statue of her (which was reworked when the sculptor was told that he hadn't gotten her eyes right and her eyes needed to be perfect to reflect her remarkable inner self).

A cow with a sense of self, who knew how to save her own life, who in the next seven and half years spiritually moved countless people, and convinced thousands more to become vegetarians? Sometimes miracles do happen.

Photos courtesy of The Peace Abbey.
Blog Widget by LinkWithin