Pompeii’s Dog

Stray dogs are a big problem at the site of the Pompeii ruins. So much so, they were sited as one of the main problems plaguing the site.

Happily, a humane response has been developed in the form of The (C)ave Canem Project. The project promotes and facilitates the adoption of dogs by Italians and foreign visitors.  Besides vaccinating and spaying, the organization also provide each dog with a European Passport making it easier for foreigners to adopt.  The Project also feed and care for the dogs within the ruins.

I’d much rather bring a dog home from a trip than some touristy tchotchke.  Wouldn’t it be cool if other countries developed similar programs for their stray animal problems?  (thanks Jennifer!)

DIY: Easy Cooler Coat

Is it toasty where you are?  Some dogs are especially sensitive to heat and others, like my Saffron, often look for shady places on our summer walks.  Your dog doesn’t have to be uncomfortable.

Here’s a great project (from Finland, nifty!) for a DIY version of the cooler coats like the Swamp Cooler, the Keep Cool Coat, or the Cool K-9 Cooling Vest. All of them use evaporative cooling to keep your dog from over-heating, though obviously you shouldn’t rely on it to keep your dog cool in a locked car or anything like that.

Once your DIY Cooler Coat is finished, just soak it in cool water, ring it out lightly, and place it on your dog.

You’ll need:

  • an old towel (try a thrift store if you don’t have one) or terry cloth yardage, amount depends on size of dog
  • seam binder (at least 1.5″ wide)
  • velcro
  • sewing machine
  • thread

The instructions recommend leaving the collar off this pattern when making the Cooler Coat.  They also suggest fitting the velcro closure on the neck before working on the stomach closure.

Baghdad To Kill 1 Million Stray Dogs

Officials in Baghdad began poisoning & shooting stray dogs on a large scale in April when they finally received funding to do something about the estimated 1.25-1.5 million stray dogs in Baghdad.  In three months, the culling teams, made up of vets and police shooters, have killed about 58,000 dogs with plans to kill 1 million total.  Residents are warned not to pick up the poisoned meat they’re putting out to kill the dogs.  In addition to the danger of accidental human poisoning, there is the risk of poisoning “endangered species such as the Cinereous Vulture of which only 14-20,000 remain.”

Before you condemn Baghdad officials for this horrific slaughter, let me put this into terms to which you can better relate.  Depending on the figure you use for the area of Baghdad (78.8 – 283.4 sq. miles) and using the lower estimate of strays (1.25 million), that breaks down to 12-39 stray dogs per city block.  Can you even imagine what it would be like to live with anything close to that number of feral dogs—hungry, with parasites, and possibly diseased—running loose around your home?  This is a public health issue.

Consider also that there aren’t any animal shelters in Baghdad and even before the war, culling is how officials dealt with stray dogs.  Another complicating factor is that basic municipal services like garbage collection have not been restored since the war started in 2003 and trash in the streets is providing a ready food source for the stray dogs, which leads to more dogs surviving and to bigger litters.  Some Baghdad streets have actually been blocked off by giant garbage piles.

A lot has to change, because clearly culling alone won’t fix anything.  Besides restoring Baghdad to a functioning city, there have to be funds dedicated to animal welfare.  It’s also critical that there be a campaign to change Iraqi views on spaying & neutering.  From what I understand, it’s considered cruel and unnatural to spay & neuter dogs, even by veterinarians.

Friday Fun: Buddy The Lab & Theen The Baby Deer

I can’t wait a week to post this, so you get two Friday Funs today.  Here’s more amazing inter-species play—fun & fascinating to watch.  This family cared for the deer after it was found alone & starving.  Now an adult, Theen still comes to visit Buddy the Lab.  (thanks Holly!!)