Friday Fun: Clever Way To View Mixed Breed Dogs

I get why some people want a pure breed dog, but I think mixed breed dogs are so very much more interesting.  Check out this great campaign the shelter, Territorio de Zaguates, in Costa Rica started to get people to appreciate the incredible uniqueness of mixed breed dogs.  So cool!

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had wonderful holidays!  I wish you and yours all the best in 2013.  My main hope for the coming year is for progress on animal welfare issues in developing countries and in areas with severe poverty.    There are signs of hope in some places.  Egyptian Society for Mercy in Egypt, Rudozem Street Dog Rescue in Bulgaria, Rez Dog Rescue in the Yakima Valley of Washington State.

My plans for the New Year are fairly simple:

  • I want to add a second walk for Saffron per day to the one looong walk she already gets—good for both of us!  MapMyWalk is my favorite tool for finding out how far we walk.
  • I’m going to get more DIY projects done for the furred ones.  I’m currently working on a cute, red raincoat for Saffron based on this DIY Doggie Raincoat.  She looks like Little Red Riding Hood.
  • I also need to do more to enrich our cats’ lives.  More playtime and more places for them to perch around our house.

We hope you all have a happy, healthy, & prosperous year!

Research Beagles 1st Time Seeing Sun & Grass

I’m posting this for two reasons.  First, it’s easy to forget the price paid for a lot of the products & medications we have, and I think no matter how you feel about animal testing, we need to be aware of what is done to animals in the testing of those products & medications.  (I say this as someone whose uncle died from  Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.)  Second, you don’t need to be afraid to adopt an adult dog.  I used to think that I’d only want to have a dog that I got as a puppy because I wanted to ensure that it had the “perfect” upbringing.  Getting our dog Saffron at 6 mos. and these Beagles show dogs can overcome so much when they’re given a chance.

Beagles are commonly used in research because they’re considered easier to handle than other breeds.  When these dogs are “retired” from research, they need a home.  The Beagle Freedom Project works to give these dogs a new life in a real home.

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.

What Happens When Vets Make Mistakes

Interesting and disturbing article on how little recourse you have in the U.S. if your veterinarian commits malpractice.

Bad vets may just get a slap on the hand, if that, from your state veterinarian board.  And you might be surprised what the courts consider to be the value of your pet.  According to the Animal Legal Defense Fund, your 10 yr. old mixed-breed dog is valued under $100, because they’re only considered property.  (via Animal Law Blog)