Thursday, July 20, 2017


I'm feeling grumpy this morning. Knowing this, I probably should have stayed off the internet. But I didn't, and now I feel a rant bubbling up inside. Lucky you!

I'm a member of several German shepherd groups on Facebook. Apparently, they'll let anybody join. Normally I just snicker at the comments of the dumb masses, but today . . . I just want to slap some sense into people. Instead, I'll share my sarcasm wisdom with you.

The breed name is shepherd -- with an E -- because these dogs were originally bred to herd sheep. If that is too difficult to remember, just look at the top of the page. Every group spells the breed correctly in the name of their group (i.e. German Shepherd Lovers). When you post about your "shepard" you look like an idiot and no one will take you seriously. And some of us will mock you on our blogs.

Quit prefacing posts with the phrase "no negative comments," especially if you're going to post about something controversial. If your ego is so fragile that you cannot handle somebody disagreeing with you, get off the internet. This is not a safe place.

Stop asking strangers on the internet for medical advice. If your dog is lethargic, bleeding, throwing up, has diarrhea or unusual swelling GO TO THE VET! Yes, they're expensive. But they're also necessary. It's your job to figure out to work veterinary care into your budget. That's part of being a responsible pet owner. And do you really trust someone who can't spell shepherd correctly to diagnose your sick dog online?

Quit asking people online to name your new puppy. Seriously, if you can't do something as basic as naming your own dog, you're not cut out for pet ownership. Just rehome the dog now before you screw it up. And while you're at it, go buy a box of condoms -- you're probably not cut out for parenthood either.

Why are you asking people if your dog is "pure"? If you wanted to ensure that you got a purebred dog, you would have gone to a reputable breeder and paid for a pedigree. Instead, you bought $100 dog off Craigslist. You get what you pay for. However, a paperless and/or mixed breed dog can still be a wonderful companion -- so please, just shut up and enjoy your dog.

By the same token, the word is purebred not "purebread." Also, horses -- not dogs -- are referred to as thoroughbred. And stop saying "full blooded." All dogs are full blooded -- dogs less than full of blood are usually dead. Please use the correct terminology. Otherwise, you're no better than the "shepard" people.

Quit minimizing bad behavior as "just being a shepherd." Killing small animals is not "just a strong prey drive." Biting your neighbors is not "just being protective." These are not normal, acceptable traits. Read the breed standard. German shepherds are supposed to be fearless and aloof but never hostile. The standard also states that:
"The dog must be approachable, quietly standing his ground and showing confidence and willingness to meet overtures without itself making them."
Asshole dogs makes things more difficult for the rest of us. Instead of making excuses, please train your dog.

CONFESSION TIME: In addition to being a Grammar Nazi, I think I'm a Dog Snob. (Lord, help my husband!) I'm not even 50 yet and I've turned into a cranky old lady. Well, this should make for some interesting blog posts. Stay tuned! -- K

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Jumbo Shrimp

Jacksonville has a minor league baseball team. Last year the team name changed from the Jacksonville Suns to the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp. (I don't know why.)

I'm not a baseball fan, and never watch it on TV. I think most major league players are giant douche bags. However, there is something different about minor league ball . . . It's fun! I'm a big fan of the cheap seats. For $5 you can sit on the berm in left field -- right by the players. No assigned seating, just a good time. Kids run around laughing. Adults socialize, eating cheap hot dogs and drinking cheap beer. Vendors hawk their goodies. Players chat with fans and foul balls fly overhead.

Once a month dogs are allowed into the game -- for free! I don't know why more people don't take advantage of this. It's a great way to socialize your dog. On the berm so you can sit as close or as far away from others as you want. There's lots of noise and activity. Your dog must learn to settle, but you can get up and move around when you want. An added bonus: the family bathrooms are plentiful and large enough to accommodate you and several dogs. (This is especially helpful if you are drinking beer.)

Some friends and I went to the last Canines and Crustaceans night and had a blast. Here are a few pictures:

Jedi LOVES the cheap hot dogs

Jedi also loves Pepper, his 12 year old Malinois friend

Jedi's mother, Zasha, joined us too

A rainbow over Bragan Field

Zasha thinks that the new mascot, Scampi, is kinda creepy

We had a great time. Jedi had dozens of people pet him. Even more told me he was beautiful. I agreed, of course. And Jedi was serenaded on our way out of the stadium. There's a saxophone player that hangs out downtown, playing for tips. He's fun and entertaining. I asked him to play the Star Wars theme -- and he did! LOL. That was probably the best money I spent all night.

You probably can't tell, but it's Wordless Wednesday. Click around below and see what others are sharing today. Then come back tomorrow, because I've got plenty of words about annoying people on the internet! Oh yeah, I feel another rant coming on. Later, -- K

Monday, July 17, 2017

Awww...Happy Space

I named him Fuji
Things have been a bit wonky at work. Animal Control was kicked out of the police department four years ago because my office space was needed for yet another commander (yes, our department is top heavy). I was given an office in City Hall. It was nice, but there were a lot of stifling rules including no noise, no animals and no personal items.

Two years later I was kicked out of City Hall because the new mayor wanted my office (which he used less than three days a month). I was given part of a storage closet sized room in one of the community centers to store my computer and file boxes. I couldn't be in the building when it was rented out for parties or on Sundays during AA meetings. Other times I had to rearrange the room just to get to my makeshift desk. And like before, I was told no noise, no animals and no personalization. Also, no phone.

Eighteen months ago the police building was closed for renovation and our staff was working out of three separate locations. I pretty much worked out of my truck. Good news! The new building is complete and we're back in. I have a huge office with everything I need to work -- files, computer, printer, phone and my boss down the hall. My office also has plenty of storage. The closet is bigger than the space I had to share at the community center!

I got the OK to put a crate in the office for temporary animal holding and was told to personalize. Woohoo! Along with a radio, framed pictures and a mini fridge, I brought in a 2-gallon fish tank and an orchid because I like to surround myself with living things (except maybe for people). I finally have a happy work space! Sure, the job can still be stressful. Cases like last week will still happen, but now it's easier to take a few minutes to relax throughout the day. How about you? Where do you relax while at work?

It's Awww...Monday, where a group of bloggers come together to brighten the start of your work week. Click around below and see what others are sharing. Thank you Sandee for putting this together each week. Happy Monday! -- K

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Show Must Go On

My current expression
(if I were an adorable pup)
I'm a little frustrated right now. When I gave up the presidency of my dog club last month, I was looking forward to having less responsibility and more free time. Like I said many times, there are a lot of little things that come with the office. Those little things quickly become a large time suck. My intention was to concentrate on competing with Jedi and looking for another show puppy.

Well, plans change. At the May club meeting I was told that the two women who’ve planning our dog shows for the past few years have called it quits. Just. Like. That. Even more frustrating: for two years I tried to get them to share information about show planning -- I even had someone willing to take it all in -- but said women guarded the information like a virgin guards her hymen. Now we need to come up with a Plan B.

Channeling my inner Butterfly McQueen
Only a handful of club members have any experience with conformation dog shows, and all but two -- me and RK (the new Club president) -- have stated they want nothing to do with putting on the show. Grrr . . . So the choices are:
  1. RK and I do it ourselves (and hope that others change their minds about helping) or
  2. It doesn't get done.
I've wrestled with this for a few weeks now. I worked so hard the past two years to build this club up, I'd feel guilty letting it flop. Hubby wants me to relax and concentrate on my health -- "Honey, remember what happened in February? You need to slow down." (Why does he always get to be the voice of reason?!)

From what I can gather, the club is required to put on a show to keep our AKC sanction. How often we have to do it is in unclear. I know there are problems with securing and/or giving up assigned show dates if they conflict with another nearby show. It’s very confusing and I can't find any definitive answers on the internet.

Recently I discovered that an AKC Show Committee Seminar being held in Greenville, South Carolina at the end of the month. I signed up. It's a six hour drive (each way) for a four hour seminar. (Fortunately, I have family in Greenville that I haven't seen since last August, so this is a great excuse to visit.) RK found a pdf of the 2017 AKC Show Manual online. It’s 192 pages long -- eek! -- and I’ve been going through it slowly. It very detailed. And surprisingly empowering.

So, guess who’s putting on a dog show? I’m unbelievably nervous. And strangely excited. True to Kelley fashion, I’ll share our efforts over the next nine months and we’ll see how this baby turns out together. And out of respect for my husband, I will try to watch my stress levels while doing it. Wish us luck! -- K

Friday, July 14, 2017

A Thick Skin and a Strong Stomach

I've heard things that would make
Chris Rock blush!
People often ask "What does it take to be an animal control officer?" I'm sure they want to know about my training and certifications. However, my response is usually "A thick skin and a strong stomach." I've been doing this since 2005. I've seen people with much better resumes quit after only a couple years. Trust me, only the school of life can prepare someone for the things I deal with. For example, here are two thick skin moments from this week:
  • A message was left on my machine at 7:29 AM on Sunday morning. The voice was definitely male, however, caller ID said the phone number belonged to someone named Heather. The message was (and I quote) "Hey you bullshit mother fuckers, you should be open, not tell me to call the goddamn cops for animal control you fucking assholes." Nothing else was said. I called back at 9:35 AM stating that I received a call from an unnamed man at this number. I repeated the message verbatim and said “If Mr. Potty Mouth has an issue he wants assistance with please have him call back. However, if just wants to swear at me then please don't bother." Surprise! I never got a call back.

  • I was on routine beach patrol. I saw a man with two dogs -- one in the water, one on shore. I went over to ask him to keep both dogs in the water if playing off leash (per ordinance). Seriously, I had only wanted to give him a friendly reminder. However, he got an attitude right away. He told me I wrote him a ticket seven years ago and he was still pissed about it. (I honestly didn't remember him and I think that upset him even more.) He told me not to talk to him unless I'm going to write him a ticket, and I'd better call the cops too. So . . . I called for backup and wrote him a ticket. THEN he had the audacity to be angry because I did what he wanted. WTH?
I've seen too many dogs like this
A strong stomach is also helpful to do this job. Some of the things I've seen keep me up at night: emaciated animals, embedded collars, parasitic infestations, hoarders, disfiguring dog bites -- and things too horrific to mention. Yes, I've seen a therapist and have taken antidepressants in the past. Currently, I swear too much and I self medicate with way too many carbs. I threaten to quit my job on a regular basis.

So why do I keep going? Certainly not for the money! I would make more as a dental tech or as an assistant manager at McDonalds. (Some statistics say a good $10,000/year more.) I'm sure I'd have less grief -- and fleas! -- if I did. But deep down I like to think that I'm making a difference; that the lives of people and animals are better because of my efforts.

I know I've been absent from the blog lately. I've spent the last few weeks working a cruelty case. It's been an emotionally grueling yet deeply satisfying experience. Animal cruelty is not a common occurrence in my tiny beach town -- and for that I am grateful. I can't go into detail about the case, but I can share my part in it. I was called in on my day off to assist the police department. The detective brought me in as the subject matter expert (how cool is that?!) and I worked this case from start to finish.
  • I was on scene taking pictures and collecting evidence.
  • I was able to advise the police officers on what was needed to ensure a strong animal cruelty case. (With thanks to the additional training I keep asking for!)
  • I collected and notarized affidavits.
  • I participated in jailhouse interviews.
  • I gathered and interpreted veterinary reports.
  • I went to the State Attorney's Office to help argue the case for an indictment.
  • I accompanied the sergeant to get a warrant for criminal animal cruelty.
Score one for good guys! The judge who signed the warrant actually shook my hand and thanked me for doing my job. So to all the jerks that like to tell me that I'm "just an F-ing dog catcher," I'd like to say:

Because apparently I'm an F-ing dog abuser catcher too. [Insert obscene hand gesture here.] And with that, I'm going to open a bottle of wine and take a hot bath. I think I earned it. -- K

Saturday, July 8, 2017

More From the Phone Log

I've shared stories from my phone log before. The calls that come in aren't always what you'd expect a "dog catcher" to deal with. And some of them are just funny. Like always, the stories are true -- as unbelievable as they may seem. However, I've omitted or changed identifying information to protect both my job and the idiots colorful residents who live here. So, if you think you see yourself on my blog be quiet. Nobody knows it's you. FYI: My notes are in purple italics.

Ms. Zimmerman called to complain that the cat from across the street keeps coming to her house. It's very skinny. The boy who lives there told her the was sick and his family was going to put the cat down on Saturday. "The vet said it was something with initials." (I asked FIV?FLV? She didn't know.) Ms. Zimmerman was worried that the cat was going to make her outside cats sick (but not worried enough to keep het cats inside). She picked up the neighbor's cat and said it was skin and bones. The cat freaked out when she tried to put in a box. She didn't want to be bitten and scratched so she let it go. (She didn't say why she wanted to put it in a box.) She wants Animal Control to come get it, and make her neighbors put the cat to sleep. Kelley's Notes: I called her back and said that we can't force the owners to euthanize their cat. However, we CAN enforce the leash law. Once we have the cat we can return to neighbor with a citation. I offered to give her a trap. She said she didn’t want to be bothered but insisted that “It’s friendly, you can just pick it up.” I told her that I didn’t want to be bitten or scratched either. She accepted the trap after all.

Not the exact house, but pretty damn close!
Mr. Williams stated that a stray dog had camped out at his beach house. He couldn't get it to move and wanted someone to come get it. Kelley's Notes: It was a beautiful house with an amazing view. I didn't want to leave either!

I got a call from the trailer park manager whose tenant moved out and left four cats behind. He wanted to "hook this chick up for abandoning her cats." Kelley's Notes: I wanted to hook up the cat owner too! Unfortunately, Chick didn't leave a forwarding address and her cell phone has been disconnected. Grrr . . .

A woman with a heavy southern accent left a message on my machine saying she wanted to "report animal cruelty on East Boardwalk." Kelley's Notes: I left message for the caller and asked her if she was looking for Tiny Beach Town, North Carolina. We don't have an East Boardwalk in Tiny Beach Town, Florida. However, we get calls from NC on a regular basis.

A local landlord called my office. She wanted to know “what to do about emotional support dogs” and how to spot a fraud. She stated that a someone looking at her rental has a large, aggressive animal that he claims is an emotional support dog. Wannabe Renter told that Landlord had to allow the dog (despite her no pet policy) because “It’s the law.” Kelley's Notes: I suggested she contact a lawyer -- This is way outside my bailiwick. Unfortunately, fake service dogs have become a big problem. I even talked about it last year.

And here's a bonus from my FB page:
Dear Jerk With Attitude,
Don't send me a nasty email saying you "called 10 times and nothing was done" to fix your problem. I have caller ID. I KNOW you only called four times. And you never left a message stating what you need. I can fix a lot, but I can't fix stupid.
I'm sure you can figure this one out! And you can probably glean what kind of month I've been having. On top of this, I'm working an ugly cruelty case and trying to move into the new police building (yea!) after essentially working out of my truck for two years. Like I've said before, my job is never boring! Thankfully, blogging keeps me sane(ish). Thanks for following along! -- K

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Summer Shade

I saw this on Facebook and had to laugh. I wonder if that's why I'm so cranky. (Probably not, but it's a good excuse!)

It's also a heat that forces you to slow down -- whether you want to our not. Jedi doesn't mind. Our walks have slowed down to saunters, giving him more opportunities to sniff and pee. Jedi and I found this giant live oak on one of our early morning walks. 

It was H-U-G-E. I didn't trust Jedi's down stay enough to get the full tree in the picture. No matter, he would have been a tiny brown spot if I had.

It's Wordless Wednesday! Hop around below and see what others are sharing today. -- K

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

New York Bound!

Guess who's going to New York in February?


Yep, RK, Blondie, Red and I are headed to the 2018 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. I'm so excited! I've saved for 18 months, researched tour companies and negotiated prices (all so not like me at all) and this is what we're getting:
  • Four nights at a hotel in Times Square
  • A Broadway play on Saturday night
  • A hop-on-hop-off tour of NYC all day Sunday
  • Tickets to the Monday and Tuesday shows at the Piers
  • Reserved seating for the Monday and Tuesday shows at Madison Square Gardens
  • Private shuttles to and from the shows
  • . . . and plane tickets are included in price!
We managed to get all this for almost $300 less than I had anticipated. I'm stoked! I sent my in deposit last month. I have managed to save all I need for the trip and will send the balance as soon as my travelling companions have confirmed. (If someone backs out my price goes up.) Now I'm just saving for spending money. I've been told that everything in NY is expensive compared to Florida. I also hear that the vendors at Westminster are second to none.

Last week I read this great article called This Is How To Have A Great Vacation: 6 Secrets Backed By Research by Eric Barker. Secret #1 is to Anticipate. Well, I've been anticipating my brains out! Things like:
  • What Broadway show are we going to see? (To be honest, it doesn't really matter. I'm going to see a play on freaking Broadway!)
  • What am I going to wear? Apparently Broadway on a Saturday night is damn near formal -- and I'm a jeans and t-shirt girl!
  • What about warm clothes? I'm sure February in NYC is going to feel arctic to thin-skinned Floridians.
  • I have a list of foods that I have to get while there: a street hot dog, a slice of real NY pizza and bagel. 
  • I've looked at hop-on-hop-off bus tours. I don't know which one we'll get, but they all seem similar. So, the big question: which locations are a must see?
  • I've already looked up the judging schedule. GSDs are going to be judged Monday at the Piers, with the herding group being judged at Madison Square Gardens on Monday night. (I've already looked up the breed and the group judges too!) I anticipate Monday will be a long day.      
  • Will a German shepherd make it to Best in Show again this year? Rumor took the herding group in 2016 and 2017, actually winning BIS this year. Is it too much to ask to see a GSD take the top spot again? (Probably, but I'm asking anyway!)
  • Will I be on TV? I told you we have preferred seating so it's a possibility.
  • And Shutterfly has a New York template for picture books, just in case I want to organize all my photos. (You know I do.)
See, the brain is running rampant. It's going to be a long seven months! I'm not complaining. It's been a difficult week at work and I'm thankful for the happy distraction. -- K

P.S. Does anybody have suggestions for places to go or things to eat in NYC?

Saturday, July 1, 2017


Who you calling CHIC? I'm a dude!
The dictionary may define chic as "stylish or elegant." But this is a dog blog, so we're talking about the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC). This is a centralized database sponsored by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) to keep track of canine health issues and test results.

Most (but not all) breeds are eligible for CHIC certification. CHIC works with a breed's parent club to determine which health concerns are to be followed. For example, a Chihuahua requires an eye exam by a boarded ACVO ophthalmologist, a cardiac evaluation and an OFA patellar luxation exam. Apparently those are concerns that Chihuahua enthusiasts have and would like to breed out of their dogs. German shepherds enthusiasts have different concerns. Our dogs require OFA hip and elbow exams plus the GSDCA temperament test. Many breeds have optional tests as well. A list of the required/suggested tests for all participating breeds can be found here.

In addition to the breed specific requirements, all dogs must be permanently identified via microchip or tattoo in order to qualify for a CHIC number.

Jedi met the necessary GSD requirements and received his CHIC registration in the mail. See:
A dog doesn't have to pass a test or receive a certain score to be registered. According to the website:
CHIC is not about normalcy. CHIC is meant to encourage health testing and sharing of all results, normal and abnormal, so that more informed breeding decisions can be made in an overall effort to reduce the incidence of genetic disease and improve canine health.
However, this is a tool that you -- a potential puppy buyer -- can use to make an informed decision. I suggest you look up a puppy's parents (and grandparents) before making a decision. It's easy and free to use. Want to try?
  • Click here to access the advanced search.
  • Type in Jedi's AKC registration number -- DN34854902. (BTW, you should always be able to get the AKC registration numbers of your potential puppy's parents. If the breeder is not forthcoming find another breeder.)
  • See Jedi's registered name in gold? Click on it.
  • Now you see the info for Jedi's parents and every sibling/half sibling that has been tested. And you can click on any one of those dogs to see even more.
WARNING: If you're a dog nerd like me, you can spend hours clicking on dog names. Have fun! I'll catch you later, -- K

Friday, June 30, 2017

July 4th Safety

My Patriotic Pup
Tomorrow is July 1st. I don't know about you, but we've had makeshift fireworks stores pop up all over town. You can find a tent with sparklers and Roman candles in every major parking lot -- and people are lining up to buy them too. We're already hearing bangs and booms. I expect it to be loud and crazy all week. Before you run out and buy more charcoal and watermelon for your block party, let's talk about your pets.

I’m going to put on my Animal Control hat for a moment. July 5th is the busiest day of the year for me. Many pets run away because they're afraid of the fireworks. Others wander off unnoticed during family get-togethers. My kennel is full of these guys the first two weeks of July every year. Sadly, less than 25% of the dogs and cats picked up by my agency are returned to their homes. Too many animals are transferred to the county shelter simply because an owner can’t be found. (The county shelter's return-to-owner numbers are just as dismal.) Here are a few things you can do to prevent your pet from becoming a statistic:
  • Crate and/or lock your pets in a back room during busy parties and 4th of July celebrations. If you have an overly-anxious dog, talk to your vet about sedatives and thunder shirts.
  • Keep collars and ID tags on your dogs and cats at all times. Overwhelmingly, people tell me that their pet wasn’t wearing a collar because it “never leaves the yard” or “just had a bath.” My response: 1) Animals couldn’t care less about property lines and 2) if they’re dry enough to go outside, they’re dry enough to wear a collar.
  • Microchip your pet. This is a good backup should the collar come off. Most vets and ACOs have microchip scanners and are able to trace chips back to the registered owners. Please note: microchips are an implanted form of ID, not GPS; an animal’s location cannot be tracked through their microchips. You’d be surprised how many people don’t know this.
  • Keep your contact information current. Is the tag on your pet readable? Are the phone numbers correct? Has your contact information changed since your pet was chipped? The best time to replace tags and update microchips is now, before an emergency. Don't know how to check your chip? Go here for more info.
  • Contact Animal Control as soon as you notice that your pet is missing. Animals are only held for a short period of time. Don’t wait a week “hoping he’ll come home on his own.” Otherwise, when you call it may be too late.
  • Check for your missing pet. If you don’t see him, post an ad under the “Lost & Found” (NOT “Pets”) section. Make sure to include photos and use the map feature. BTW, my office returns pets through craigslist all the time.
  • Post a lost pet notice on Facebook and ask everybody to cross-post. We also have FB pages dedicated to lost and found pets in the Jacksonville/Northeast Florida area (here and here). You may have something similar where you are.
  • Have recent pictures of your pet. You may need them to create signs and lost pet ads. Puppy pictures of your 10-year old dog aren’t very helpful, especially when dealing with mixed breeds.
  • Have a recent picture of you with your pet. People lie about pet ownership all the time -- more often if the dog is cute, friendly and/or purebred. Good Samaritans (and shelters!) have become skeptical, especially if the dog doesn't have any identification.
  • Visit the Missing Pet Partnership for more recovery tips based on your animal's personality.
I post this message every year in hopes that someone will get it.

Please, don't be a July 5th statistic!

Hopefully your pet will never get out. However, should it happen, a little preparation now can save a lot of heartache later. -- K

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Dock Diving Dogs

When I'm not doing things with my dogs, I like to watch other people do things with their dogs. (Dog nerd? Probably.) I have a friend who has recently discovered Dock Diving. Saturday was her first trial and I went to support her. OMG, it was awesome! Look:

Good thing it's Wordless Wednesday because I am speechless! Click around below and see what others are sharing today. Later, -- K

Monday, June 26, 2017

Awww...Ice Cream!

Jedi's Doggie Sundae
When I got off work yesterday it was still 89 degrees. When you factor in the humidity it felt like 100 degrees. Ugh. Jedi had been cooped up all weekend. He needed to get out before he drove us all crazy. It was too hot to walk so we went for ice cream instead.

Did you know that Bruster's gives free ice cream cups to their 4-legged customers? Jedi was thrilled to discover that! Our timing couldn't have been better. It started to rain (again!) just as we were finishing our ice cream.

It's Awww...Monday, where a group of bloggers come together to brighten the start of your work week. Does ice cream make you happy? Click around below happy Jedi and see what others are sharing. Thank you Sandee for putting this together each week. Happy Monday! -- K

Friday, June 23, 2017

Dear Beachgoers

This popped up on my Facebook feed yesterday:
Dear Beachgoers,

The heat index temperature today is a hundred and seven degrees. Please leave your dogs at home. I'm sure they'd much rather sit at home in the air conditioning than sit on the hot beach and watch you play in the water. Also, water heats up very quickly in a metal bowl when there is no shade. I've already told several people to take their dogs home, I'll tell you the same.

Signed, Your (Not So) Friendly ACO
Apparently two years ago I was frustrated with people bringing their dogs to a hot beach. Guess what? I still am! WTF are people thinking?

DISCLAIMER: I'm not a fan of the beach. I don't like crowds, oppressive heat or sand that gets into everything. (Or sharks or jellyfish or fat, hairy guys in Speedos or . . . )

If people insist on taking dogs to the beach, I'd like to suggest the following:
Jedi at sunrise
  • Avoid midday. It's hot and full of people. Instead, go early morning or late evening. It's cooler and less crowded. An added bonus: better light for awesome pictures.

  • Keep your dog leashed. Not all beachgoers like dogs. Unless there are signs saying otherwise, always assume the leash law applies on the beach. Helpful tip: don't take your dog's good collar and leash to the beach. The salt and sand will quickly destroy them. Instead, find a collar with a plastic buckle. Check/lubricate/replace leashes regularly. If you're going to take your dog in the water, use a nylon slip lead (like the ones at the vet's office). I know a woman whose beach-used leash didn't work properly when needed. Her dog saw a cat across the street. The clip didn't hold when the dog lunged and he ran after the cat. The dog was hit -- and killed -- by a passing car.

  • Take lots of poop bags. Sometimes dogs get excited and ingest salt water while playing in the surf. Invariably, it gives them the runs. You don't want to leave that lying on the beach! Plus, you'll have extras to share with nearby not-so-great dog owners.

  • I've seen these for $30-$80
  • Bring lots of water and a cooler to keep it in. I can't tell you how many people say "See I have water for my dog" and show me a gallon jug that has been sitting in the sun for the last hour and a half. Also, rethink the metal bowl. It gets hot quickly. Would you want to drink hot water?

  • If you plan on being there all day, bring your own shade. Whether it be a large pop-up canopy or a small portable beach tent, your dog needs something to keep him out of the direct sun. You may be in a bikini, but your dog is wearing a fur coat.

  • DO NOT TAKE YOUNG PUPPIES TO THE BEACH. First of all, young pups are more susceptible to heat stroke. Also, there is a lot of crap (figurative and literal) on the beach. We have hundreds of dogs visit my 2-mile stretch of beach every month. Guess what? Not all of those dogs are owned by conscientious, responsible people. For me, that's job security. For you, that's a possible exposure to parvo, distemper and all kinds of nasty diseases and parasites. (FYI: We also have foxes, raccoons and feral cats on the beach -- I've seen them during early morning patrols -- and they carry a wide variety of cooties as well.) Until your pup is fully vaccinated, avoid the beach just as you would the pet store or dog park.
Yep, I'm Debbie Downer today. That's what I do! Love ya, -- K

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Tuesday Training Crew

A couple months ago I told you that I was finally able to reinstate the German Shepherd Dog Club's weekly training. The good news is that it's still going, despite the afternoon downpours of late. We have a few dedicated members of "The Tuesday Training Crew." And we have a couple more that show up sporadically. I'm disappointed (though not surprised) that we don't have more participants. Any ideas on how to impress upon club members that they should take advantage of this free opportunity to work their dogs and make friends?

Here are a few pictures from Tuesday nights. Don't mind the goofy chick, just look at the beautiful German shepherd.

Working automatic sits. The shirt is Teddy the Dog
and says "Come to the Bark Side." LOVE it!
Jedi's front positions are getting better. The shirt says
"Leave me alone, I'm only talking to my dog today."
Our trainer is a 5 foot tall, 75 year old woman who knows more about training
dogs than I ever will. It's amazing to see her work.

Believe it or not, it's Wordless Wednesday. One of these days the Moderator is going to give me a stern talking to about my overly wordy posts. But for now, just enjoy! Don't forget to click around below and see what others are sharing today! -- K

P.S. No rain last night, so Tuesday Training went on as planned. Yippie!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Canine Infleunza

Have you been following the news about Canine Influenza? Whether or not you have, it's a big deal here in Florida. About three weeks ago I got the following message from a training group:
“We have received reliable information from a vet in Deland that a number of dogs who attended the Deland Dog Show this past weekend have been treated in her office for canine influenza. The same vet reports that one of her patients who attended the show (a young, healthy dog) is currently being treated in Gainesville and is in critical condition. This appears to be a fast developing strain and symptoms typically develop within a few days.”
I thought "Crap! Deland is close." I've shown there before. Then reports came in that sick dogs were coming back from Perry (GA) as well. I've shown in Perry too! What people were assuming was Bordetella (kennel cough) was actually canine influenza. Even worse, this was a newer, stronger virus (H3N2, not H3N8 which has been around for a decade). Within days the University of Florida had confirmed the first 7 cases of H3N2 Canine Influenza Virus in the state of Florida. Last report I heard there were 30 confirmed cases, with dogs sick in Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. There are an estimated 300+ infected dogs (suspected and treated like flu, but not confirmed through laboratory testing). A majority of these cases are either:
  1. dogs who participated in recent dog shows or
  2. dogs who live with dogs who were in shows.

The dog show community is in a panic. People have pulled out of shows in droves and some clubs have cancelled shows completely. Others clubs are taking precautions with viruscide disinfectants, judges are not handling mouths (exhibitors are showing bites instead), no public x-pens set up, vets on sight the entire show, gallons of hand sanitizer and conspicuous signage warning exhibitors about contamination.

It not just the show community that's worried either. Training clubs all across the state have closed their doors for a week or more. Households with dogs that attended the Perry and Deland shows are asked not to return until July. I know of two June Barn Hunt trials that have been cancelled. Even the 2017 DOCOF (Dog Obedience Clubs of Florida) tournament -- a super big deal that has dog teams train for months -- has been cancelled.

I've been following the news closely. Here's some of the information that I've gleaned from my reading:
  • Canine influenza viruses are relatively new viruses, so virtually all dogs are susceptible to infection because they have not built up natural immunity.

  • The dogs most at risk are those with a social lifestyle, participate in group events or housed in communal facilities. This includes boarding kennels, dog parks, day care centers, shelters, dog shows, training classes, veterinary clinics, pet stores and grooming parlors.

  • Two different canine influenza viruses have been isolated in the U.S. -- CIV H3N8 and CIV H3N2. H3N2 just recently emerged in the Chicago outbreak of 2015. This virus is of avian origin and not related to the earlier H3N8 virus, which is of equine origin. Vets are suggesting that dogs at risk be vaccinated against both viruses.

  • The H3N2 virus is HIGHLY contagious. It's spread by direct contact with an infected dog or contact with a contaminated environment or person.

  • A cough from a sick dog produces invisible virus‐containing mists. These mists can travel more than 10 feet in the air, spreading the virus and quickly contaminating everything around it.

  • The virus is hearty. It can survive in the environment (kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, collars, leashes, toys, beds, etc.) or on people’s shoes, clothing and hands for 12 to 24 hours. However, it's easily killed by washing hands with soap and water, normal laundering of clothing and bedding, and washing bowls and toys. Take away: Wash everything and wash often.

  • Symptoms of influenza include sneezing, coughing and nasal discharge, and symptoms can last for two weeks or more. Many dogs also experience fever, decreased appetite and lethargy. More serious cases can result in pneumonia and require hospitalization.

  • It can take two to five days after infection for symptoms to appear. This means handlers and owners may expose their dog not knowing their dog has been infected. Also frustrating, some infected dogs never get sick -- yet those dogs are as contagious as the sick dogs. However, because these dogs appear to be healthy, owners have no warning to keep them away from other dogs. As for sick dogs, they may remain contagious up to a month after they recover.
Scary, isn't it? When my vet gets back from vacation I want to talk to him about the CIV vaccine. For now, I'm keeping the dogs at home (the oppressive heat and afternoon deluges help). I'll share if/when I learn anything more. Later, -- K

Sunday, June 18, 2017


K-9 Obedience Club of Jacksonville (my other dog club) holds an Obedience and Rally Show-n-Go on a regular basis.

A Show-n-Go is a practice trial. There are (unofficial) judges, ring stewards, competitors and classes. The judge scores your performance, but there are no ribbons or placements. Unlike a real trial, you can use treats, toys, praise and corrections in the ring.

The idea of a Show-n-Go is to create as much of a real trial atmosphere as possible so you and your dog can get used to being in a competition without the full stress (or entry fees) of an actual trial. It's a great way to:
  • Rehearse the full set of exercises for a trial, especially if you or your dog are new to the ring.
  • Find out what the dog will and won't do when you can't carry a treat or reward her after every exercise.
  • Cure the ring-wise dog who hates being in the ring because you've never rewarded him with food or play or a toy during a real trial.
  • Desensitize the dog who thinks judges and stewards are scary and evil.
Show-n-Gos are $5 a run, and are a small money maker for the club. The events manned by volunteers. The club offers one free run to anybody who volunteers. The club announced another Show-n-Go was being held on Saturday and RK suggested that we volunteer to:
  • Learn more about how a Rally trial works
  • Use the free run to see how Jedi and Chili perform in a different environment
  • Get feedback from someone other than our regular trainer
In a moment of false bravado I agreed. Then I spent next five days stressing myself out. Our Tuesday training has been rained out for the last month. I meant to practice regularly at home. I didn't. (Surprise!)

I waffled back and forth about taking Jedi to the Show-n-Go and possibly making a fool of myself. Eventually I put on my Big Girl Panties and . . . ended up not doing it after all. I had car trouble and rode to the training site with RK. I volunteered, but Jedi stayed at home. I put on my Big Girl Panties for nothing! I'm so bummed out. Guess I'll go play with Jedi and hope it doesn't rain again on Tuesday. -- K

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Rats and More Rats

A couple weeks back I told you about Hide and Seek, our new rats. After Seek's sudden passing, we had a rough time finding another female rat. I knew Hide was lonely and didn't want her to be alone too long.

Meet Cache
Our rat hunt wasn't any easier than before. We stalked every pet store in town to no avail. Hubby kept saying we should go back to the lizard store and buy another feeder rat, but I was worried about health issues. Like I said before, I don't think feeder rats are held to the same health standards as rats intended to be pets.

I work Sundays but Hubby is off. Sometimes Hubby does crazy things when I'm at work -- like make rat tubes! Last Sunday he made a command decision. He cleaned out an old 10-gallon tank, found the corresponding screen cover and set it up in the dining room. Then he hopped on his Harley and went to the lizard store. Hubby picked out two friendly feeder rats and brought them home -- on his bike. The lizard guy felt so bad about Seek that he offered to replace her for free. He said that sometimes the feeder rats get colds (told you!) and that's probably what happened to Seek.

And Sport
Hubby set the girls up in the dining room. He wanted to quarantine the new rats in case they were sick. He said he bought a second rat "just in case one didn't make it." I told him that sounded pretty harsh, but he felt that taking a chance to live in a loving home was better than the guarantee of a short life ending in a snake's belly. So how do you argue with that?

Well, right away one rat started sneezing. I was glad that they weren't in with Hide. We watched the new rats closely. The white-faced girl had bright eyes and was very energetic, whereas the brown-faced girl looked lethargic and squinty-eyed. After 24 hours we made the decision to move the white-faced girl (now named Cache -- keeping with the hidden theme) in with Hide. They bonded right away.

I named the other girl Sport (since she rode home on a Harley Sportster) and kept a close eye on her. After three days she seemed to be doing much better and we put her in the big cage. So now we have THREE rats. They each have a distinct personality too.
Hide wants attention -- and treats!
  • Hide demands attention. She will stomp on anyone to get to the front of the cage when people walk by. She loves having head rubbed just behind her ears.
  • Cache tolerates human attention, but doesn't seek it out. She'll sit in my hand and let me stroke her back. She loves the exercise wheel. I hear her running in it day and night.
  • Sport is a loner. Hide and Cache will cuddle together on the top level, but Sport prefers to hide in the cubby at the bottom of the cage. Sport doesn't like being held either, so socializing her is more difficult. (She doesn't bite, she's just really squirmy.)
Hide is about a month older and significantly bigger than the new girls. I've already introduced her to the tube. She runs in with no problem and is calm when Jedi sniffs with her inside it. In fact, getting her to come out was more difficult than getting her in. Apparently she liked it in there. I'm going to work on socializing Cache and Sport before introducing them to the tubes.

So, we have our hands full of rodents right now and I'm loving it. Even rat-hating Hubby is coming around. I'll catch him baby-talking to the girls. And he keeps baggies in the fridge of cheese bits and vegetable scraps that he doles out when he thinks I'm not looking. Don't tell him I know, OK? I'll share more later, but for now I have to feed animals and clean cages. That's one of the drawbacks to having your own personal zoo. TTFN, -- K

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Tricky Jedi

I told you about the AKC's new Trick Dog titles way back in March. Well on Saturday my other dog club hosted a trick title test. Long story short: Jedi earned his Novice Trick Dog (TKN) title! Since he has already earned his Canine Good Citizen (CGC) title, he only needed to perform five tricks (instead of ten) for the evaluator. I chose the five tricks I thought he knew best:
  • Speak
  • Shake
  • Sit and Down (hand signals only)
  • Paws Up (2 paws on a step)
  • and Touch
He did them . . . and nobody thought to take a picture! I was able to pull a picture off the K-9 Obedience Club FB that someone took while we were waiting. (I cropped out our faces. I've got a bad case of "Resting Bitch Face.")

Jedi earned the title, but it wasn't an easy gimme like I had thought. First of all, these are tricks that we've only done in the living room. Performing them outside surrounded by a bunch of other dogs proved to be quite the distraction. Both Hubby and RK were there to cheer us on. I think Jedi was distracted by them add well.

The tricks become more complicated as the titles progress. Some over-achieving members tested for multiple titles on Saturday. We're not that ambitious and only tried for Novice. (Good thing too, Jedi was not at his best on Saturday.) I'd like to test for Intermediate Trick Dog eventually, but it'll take a little work. We'll have to perfect 10 new tricks from a list of 20 and I think he's only solid in about four of them. Apparently we'll also have to practice with distractions.

But Tricks will he to wait for now.  We've got our plate full with Rally, Nosework and Barn Hunt. In fact, I need to cut this short and go practice some Rally moves. Silly me, I signed up for a Fun Run (practice under test-like conditions) on Saturday, despite the fact that Tuesday Training has been rained out for a month. Am I glutton for punishment? YOU BET! -- K