Friday, July 20, 2018

A Public Service Announcement from Terrierman

Make America Great Again

Remember when our President, and the people working for him, were patriots and not traitors?

This Was Once a Forest

A man standing in the lumberyard of Seattle Cedar Lumber Manufacturing, 1937. Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Nipper Was Not a Lap Poodle

The original drawing showed a Jack Russell, which is a brave and loyal dog that hunts and is not a cowering lap poodle.

The true story of Nipper, the RCA Victor dog is here.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

It's Time to Close the Virginia Fox Pens

I am happy to report that the state of Virginia, where I reside and hunt, has closed down 6 "fox pens" where live fox are chased by hounds inside large fenced enclosures.

Supporters say the facilities, which are required to have an escape for the foxes, provide a safe way to train hunting dogs. But animal welfare groups and other opponents argue the pens are cruel to the foxes, which are sometimes killed, and say they don't have a true element of fair chase like a hunt in the wild.

Some compare fox penning to dog fighting. Herring's office said the practice sometimes deviates from a training exercise to include gambling or competitions to see whose dog can catch the confined fox.

Some 29 legal and permitted fox pens still exist in Virginia, ranging in size from a minimum of 100 acres to 600 or 700 acres.

Back in 2012, I wrote about fox penning in Virginia and was happy to quote Lt. Col. Dennis Foster, executive director of the Master of Foxhounds Association and Foundation (headquartered in Virginia):

The bond between man and dog has existed for thousands of years. Forged initially from mutually beneficial survival activities, the link has evolved into a satisfying symbiosis involving food, love, protection, care, and, sometimes, sport, including, from time immemorial, hunting and chasing game. But when does "sport" cross the line and become cruelty? Right at the gate of the fox pen.

The foxhound is the Virginia state dog, a noble breed born and bred for one thing: to chase foxes. Watching a fox hunt over free and open countryside with riders on galloping horses and hounds baying is a beautiful thing. Ol' Reynard is often crafty enough to find a tree stump, a hole, or a small nook in which to hide, and hounds return without prey, tongues lolling, happy just for the chase.

In years past, some people would train foxhounds on public lands, with a permit. This evolved into a different sport, foxhound field trials, in which the numbered dogs would be judged by their ability to find and chase the fox.

But public lands have begun disallowing this use, and in the last few decades another practice has grown: Private acreage is fenced, foxes are trapped and placed inside, and the hounds are released. Although the practice is regulated by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, and hiding places are mandated, the deck is ultimately stacked against the fox, which generally ends up at the mercy of a pack of exhilarated dogs. This cannot be called "sport."

Lt. Col. Dennis Foster, executive director of the Master of Foxhounds Association and Foundation, draws a firm line between fox-hunting and fox-penning. "We don't consider [fox-penning] a sport," he said. "We forbid our hunts" to hold meets at fox pens. He points out that in fox-hunting, "chasing them is the point, not killing them."

Legislation in the General Assembly would ban fox-penning in the state. In fairness to the fox, that's a good idea.

As I noted in 2013, "Penning is not hunting and it is not part of our tradition -- it is the opposite of that."

In 2010 I wrote:

These things are not part of Virginia fox hunting history.

We didn't need them in 1800, 1850, 1900, 1950, and we don't need them now when we have more fox in the state than ever before.

As soon as these fox pens are legislated out of business, the happier I will be, as they give a black eye to hunting with dogs in general, and hunting with hounds in particular.

Fox pens are for people who are more interested in contest hunting than real hunting.

... These big pens were invented in the 1980s, and they have been a public relations problem from Day One. It's more than time to kick them to the curb.

Mechanics Vs Drivers

A consultant once asked me why I always referred to him as “a mechanic,” noting that it was very clear from the way I used the term that it was a compliment, but it was not one he understood.

“Ah,” I said. “That’s simple enough. Any asshole can DRIVE a car fast and crack it up, but it takes a MECHANIC to build a car that can actually GO fast. Drivers crack things up, and that’s true for even the best of them. Good mechanics build. It’s a higher skill set, and every good driver knows it.”

This Picture Wins the Internet Forever

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

All Along the Fall Line

If you’re looking for a new place to live on the East Coast of the US, and you dig on the dogs, it’s not a bad idea to pay attention to the Fall Line, the demarcation line between the Piedmont (literally rock-mountain) and the coastal plain.

I live just below Great Falls, across the river from Georgetown and just up river from Teddy Roosevelt Island.  My house sits on top of a hill of hard rock, but at Teddy Roosevelt Island the softer sediments of the coastal plains begin.

The Fall Line extends roughly parallel to I-95, south past Fredericksburg, Virginia and Richmond and north up to Baltimore.

The Geology of the Fall Line has shaped every aspect of East Coast history, from how far upstream boats could navigate from the ocean, to where water mills could be constructed, and where native American tribes drew their pre-Columbian border lines

Early colonists moving west beyond the Fall Line quickly discovered locations where river currents regularly scoured the bottom of streams flowing eastward across the Piedmont. Those rivers have a thin coating of recent sediments; mud, sand and stones deposited on the river bottom since the last major flood make crossing the rivers difficult in most locations. Colonists located the fords and later built their roads to take advantage of the places where hard bedrock was exposed underwater in the Piedmont. It was far easier to cross those rivers at a ford where bedrock was exposed, compared to dragging a wagon through mud.

Diamonds and Dogs

A study published Monday estimates parts of Earth's mantle may be up to two percent diamond by composition. In terms of sheer mass, that works out to around a thousand trillion tons of diamonds.

And you paid WHAT for that useless engagement ring?

What this have to do with dogs? That answer is here.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Feed Him to the Corgis

Pedigree Dogs Not as Healthy as Mutts & Mixes

In a comment to an earlier post, a reader writes to suggest that one reason folks may think mutts are healthier than pedigree dogs is "because vets don't attribute specific problems to their breeding - how could they? It's a mix!"

An interesting point, but actually, that's not the reason.

We think mutts are healthier than pure-breeds because they actually are healthier!

And the research, as I noted in an earlier post entitled Pet Insurance Data Shows Mutts ARE Healthier!, is not closely held.

When it comes to warranties and insurance, predictive values are important, and fortunes are made by determining the correct digits to place to the right of a point mark.

What does this have to do with dogs?

Quite a lot.

You see, pet insurance companies are in a competitive business to get your dollar. If they get the numbers wrong, and price a premium too high, potential customers may forgo pet insurance altogether or else sign up with a competitor's plan. On the other hand, if the company routinely prices insurance premiums too low, they may push themselves into bankruptcy.

And so, pet insurance companies have collected data on hundreds of thousands of dogs and analyzed that data, in order to assign correct premiums to predictive risks.

And what do the insurance records show? As I note, by way of example:

Embrace Pet Insurance... will insure a mixed breed dog up to 8 years of age, but the cut-off for purebred dogs is 6 years.

What's that about?

Simple: Taken as a whole, there is a "health gap" between cross-bred and pedigree dogs, and that gap is about two years. The insurance industry is simply mirroring in policy, what has been proven true on the ground.

Of course, there is more data. Over at the Cold Wet Nose blog, Beverley Cuddy has put up some of the citations from Jemima Harrison's current piece in Dogs Today which reviews some of the literature. Citations, with a summary "kicker" quote line to encapsulate the piece, follow:

  • B.N. Bonnett, A. Egenvall, P. Olson, A. Hedhammar, Mortality in Swedish dogs: rates and causes of death in various breeds, The Veterinary Record, 1997. ("Mongrels were consistently in the low-risk category.")
  • P.D. McGreevy & W.F. Nicholas, Some Practical Solutions to Welfare Problems in Pedigree Dog Breeding, Animal Welfare, 1999. ("Hybrids have a far lower chance of exhibiting the disorders that are common with the parental breeds. Their genetic health will be substantially higher.")
  • A. Egenvall, B.N. Bonnett, P. Olson, A. Hedhammar, Gender, age, breed and distribution of morbidity and mortality in insured dogs in Sweden during 1995 and 1996, The Veterinary Record, 2000. ("Mongrel dogs are less prone to many diseases then the average purebred dog.")
  • A. R. Michell, Longevity of British breeds of dog and its relationship with sex, size, cardiovascular variables and disease, Veterinary Record, 1999. ("There was a significant correlation between body weight and longevity. Crossbreeds lived longer than average but several pure breeds lived longer than cross breeds, notably Jack Russell, miniature poodles and whippets.”)
  • G.J. Patronek, D.J. Walters, L.T. Glickman, Comparative Longevity of Pet Dogs and Humans: Implications for Gerontology Research, Journal of Gerontology, Biological Sciences, 1997. ("The median age at death was 8.5 years for all mixed breed dogs and 6.7 years for all pure breed dogs. For each weight group, the age at death of pure breed dogs was significantly less than for mixed breed dogs.")
  • H.F. Proschofsky et al, Mortality of purebred and mixed breed dogs in Denmark, Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 2003. (Higher average longevity of mixed breed dogs. Age at death when split into three age bands: mixed breeds 8,11,13, purebreds 6, 10, 12.)
  • Marta Vascellar et al, Animal tumour registry of two provinces in northern Italy: incidence of spontaneous tumours in dogs and cats. BMC Veterinary Research 2009. (“In both dogs and cats, purebreds had an almost two-fold higher incidence of malignant tumours than mixed breeds.”)
  • Agneta Egenvall et al, Mortality in over 350,000 Insured Swedish Dogs from 1995–2000; Breed-Specific Age and Survival Patterns and Relative Risk for Causes of Death. Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica, 2005. (No difference overall, but mongrels low-risk for locomotor problems and heart disease.)

Of course, not all pure breed dogs are a complete mess, and not all mongrels or mixes are the picture of health. "Hybrid vigor" does not quite live up to its hype either. Mix two genetic messes, and you may not get gold out of the opposite side.

That said, all things being equal, mongrels and mixes ARE healthier than pure breeds. Fancy that! And yes, the pun is intended.

It's All How You Raise Them

Who Is America?

Sacha Baron Cohen’s ‘Who Is America?’ series offers a terrifying glimpse into the mindset of the NRA. From UpRoxx:

Sacha Baron Cohen play Col. Errad Morad — an Israeli gun advocate — speak with a guns-right expert; a gun lobbyist; and several Congressmen and former Congressmen. Morrad is pushing a “Kinderguardians” program that would allow toddlers to own guns and bring them into schools. “The only way to defeat a bad guy with a gun is to have a good boy with a gun.”

What’s odd is how little he has to do to convince these men — they don’t even need a light nudge. They’re fully on board right out of the gate. He first speaks to Philip Van Cleave, a gun rights advocate who has appeared on Fox News and who has no hesitation when it came to arming toddlers. In fact, he helps Morad make an instructional video for toddlers on how to use Gunamals (Puppy Pistol, Uzicorn, etc), stuffed animals with guns inside of them. Van Cleave also said that children under the age of 4 haven’t yet learned the difference between right and wrong and therefore would “make great soldiers.” What?

Next, he met with lobbyist Larry Pratt, the executive director emeritus of Gun Owners of America, a guns-right organization with over 1.5 million members. Pratt, likewise, is taken by the idea of arming children. He encouraged the idea of toddlers “instinctively going for a gun” to shoot Muslims while they pray, and laughs agreeably with the idea that it’s not rape if it’s your wife. He finally agrees to help Morad introduce a bill to Congress to get guns in the hands of toddlers.

Surely, however, no Congressman would agree to such a thing, right? Wrong! Cohen gets former U.S. Senator Trent Lott, current Congressional Republican Dana Rohrabacher, current Congressman Joe Wilson, and former Congressman and current talk-show host Joe Walsh to agree to promote a guns-for-toddlers program. Did Sacha Cohen Baron dupe these Congressmen? Sure. Did he make these Congressman express support (as Walsh has claimed) for a program that puts guns in the hands of preschoolers? Absolutely not.

“Happy shooting, kids” says Joe Walsh.

Police Dog Training, 1919.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Coonhound Visitor

My guess is that Rosie is a Plott Hound - Treeing Walker cross.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Coffee and Provocation

An Indian walks into a cafe with a shotgun in one hand and pulling a male buffalo with the other. He says to the waiter:

“Want coffee.”

The waiter says, “Sure, Chief. Coming right up.”

He gets the Indian a tall mug of coffee.

The Indian drinks the coffee down in one gulp turns and blasts the buffalo with the shotgun, causing parts of the animal to splatter everywhere and then just walks out.

The next morning the Indian returns.

He has his shotgun in one hand, pulling another male buffalo with the other.

He walks up to the counter and says to the waiter:

“Want coffee.”

The waiter says, “Whoa, Tonto! We’re still cleaning up your mess from yesterday. What was all that about, anyway?” 
The Indian smiles and proudly says, “Training for a position in United States Senate. Come in, drink coffee, shoot the bull, leave mess for others to clean up, disappear for rest of day.”

Friday, July 13, 2018

Coffee and Provocation

Tracking Fox to Determine Their Impact on Nesting Birds
Sound science is key to sensible wildlife management. This is how it’s done... and why. An excellent read.

Starbucks is Finally Coming to Italy
The company has been asked to serve its coffee in reusable cups, like everyone else in Italy, rather than contribute to a waste and pollution problem.

Groundhogs Ate Paul Ryan's Car 
Apparently he parks it at his mother's house and he never drives.

From Mountaintop Coal Removal to Elk?
My father was born in Pineville, in Bell County, Kentucky. Wildlife biologist David Ledford wants to turn a moutnain top removal coal mine in Bell County into real habitat for elk and other wildlife. Towards that goal, Ledford is assembling the Appalachian Wildlife Center for a nonprofit wildlife viewing, research and education on 12,500 acres of land (over 19 square miles) of wich 4,500 acres (about 7 square miles) are a reclaimed mountaintop-removal mine. Ledford says he hopes that when the Center opens in 2020 it will“kick off economic diversity based on conservation instead of coal mining.” Good luck! Our family has already done its part by givingm back in 2005, a square mile of land to the Kentucky Natural Lands Trust for the protection of area surrounding Blanton Forest.

Trump's Face Used to Market Toxic Substance?
An asbestos company in Russia (of course) is using Trump's face on it product. The huge "seal of approval" on every pallet of asbestos says "Approved by Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States”.

Island Rats Can Harm Tropical Reefs?
Coral reefs near rat-infested islands have fewer nutrients, fewer fishes and reduced numbers of fishes grazing on the algae that compete with corals.

The Irish Will Lead Them
Ireland is going to completely divest itself from fossil fuels. Bravo!

Trump Knows Nothing About Trade or Agriculture
While in Europe, Trump said "Our farmers have been shut out of the European Union." In fact, U.S. farmers have made $23.1 billion in sales to the European Union over the last two years, and the E.U. is the fifth-largest agricultural export market for the U.S.

Progress, I Suppose
In the real world, almost everything is better than it once was and cheaper too. For example, a century ago, a worker on the average wage had to work 4,265 hours to buy a new Chevy. In 2018, he or she needed to work a comparatively short 2,350 hours to buy an even better car from the same company. That's a reduction of 45 percent. And, of course, the cars themselves are not comparable; the modern car is light years better than what we had 100 years ago!

Nikon P1000

I have the Nikon P60 and love it. This is the that camera "turned up to 11" Instead of a 60X optical zoom, this one comes with a 125x optical zoom and also has a 250x digital zoom. Price:  $997.

Door Barriers

Half doors, pocket doors, and gates all work to keep dogs in or out of a kitchen or confined to a room or set of rooms. I have to say that the half pocket doors are ingenious!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

I'm Not An Expert on Cats... But

I'm not an expert on cats, but I think the math here might be wrong.

Except that it isn't. 

The defective firing of genes that produced an extra leg on her left side, also created a deformed paw on another foot.

The Wonder of Canine Ears

Beagles and bassets have huge ears, but it's the terriers that actually use their ears for hunting.

Underground, a dog can see nothing -- zero, zilch, nada. Past the first turn of a sette, all is black. All the dog knows for sure is that somewhere in the blackness are white teeth waiting to bite and slash if the dog gets too close.

It is the ears that tell the dog where "too close" is -- the breathing of the animal, the sound of claw and paw against dirt, even the heartbeat of the animal at the opposite end of the pipe.

Though some people will tell you terrier's ears flop over to keep out dirt, that is pure nonsense -- every wild animal that burrows has an ear that stands upright, from rats to fox, from badger to wart hog. Terrier ears flop over, not out of necessity, but out of convention. In all of the wild animal kingdom, only the elephant has ears that flop over, and these are hinged for an entirely different reason -- ventilation.

Deafness in terriers is a very serious problem, especially in Bull Terriers and Jack Russell Terriers. For reasons that are not well understood, deafness in dogs is strongly correlated with the gene for merle coats, and shows up in a higher-than-random incidence in dogs that are mostly white and have blue or "glass" eyes.

Dog that have solid-colored coats or which have large amounts of color in them (such as Border terriers, Fell terriers, Patterdale terriers, and the beagle-colored Jack Russells) are less likely to have heriditary deafness.

All Jack Russell terriers should be BAER tested before breeding. BAER stands for "brainstem auditory evoked response" and involves placing two very small wires into the skin on the dog's scalp just above the eyes. These small wire electrodes register a response if the neural pathways work in response to sound (i.e. they dog is hearing).

Dogs that are unliateral or bilateral deaf should not be bred, nor should dogs that produce deaf offspring.

BAER testing needs to be done only once in the life of a dog, can be done on very young puppies (any time after 5 weeks of age), and costs only $40 a dog or so.

Remember that a dog is a long-term invesment of time as well as money, and a deaf dog is useless in the field, more trouble at home, and a drag on the gene pool.

If you are in the market for a puppy, especially a Jack Russell Terrier or any other breed at high-risk for deafness, demand that the puppy be BAER tested.

For more information, and a list of BAER testing sites, see >> deafness in dogs and cats.

This is what a dog can see underground when it is working, and it is why hearing is so vital to a working terrier.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Coffee and Provocation

Los Angeles' Unhinged Pet Policies

Los Angeles is about to say YES to unlimited Pit Bulls, feral cats and 'retail rescue' pet shops.

Ready for Rhino Cloning?
First test tube rhino embryos could bring the northern white rhino back from extinction.

Long Distance Charges May Apply
A Polish environmental group placed a tracker on the back of a stork. The migratory bird traveled to Sudan, where someone found the tracker, removed the sim card, put it in their own phone and racked up hours worth of phone calls. As noted in a previous post, the first evidence that European storks were flying to Africa and back in the winter came when one returned with a spear in his neck.

Malthus Was Wrong

Since 1950, India’s GDP per capita has grown five-fold, Japan’s eleven-fold and China’s almost twenty-fold. Folks forget that Reverend Malthus opposed birth control and cheered on the grim reaper since, according to him, the poor were unable to control their lustful habits. More from this blog here.

Killer Cows?
The deadliest animals in America may surprise you.

The Sir David Atttenborough Is Ready to Launch
The polar exploring ship is the largest commercial ship built in Britain in three decades.

Thermal Cameras to Fight Against Poaching
Forward-looking infrared (FLIR) thermal imaging sensors, of the kind used on Air Force are now being employed against poachers in Africa.

Senator Mike Lee Pledges Long-Term Attack on Public Lands
Mike Lee is a danger to all that is good in America. From Outdoor Life magazine.

Imagine if We Clear Cut a Forest for Deer Meat
That's what we do with fish, where nets rip up bottoms and one-third of the fish caught never get eaten.

It's a Dark Roast

I had a cup of Coffee Luwak the other day. It’s made from a coffee bean that has passed through a civet’s butt.

I'm not sure I am ready for this though.

This Will Not End Well

A wanna be Supreme Court justice starts with a provable lie.

No date that starts with a lie results in a happy marriage.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

A Fully Self-Actualized Herding Dog

Kit You Never Need to Buy

This is a pig snare — you snare the back feet or a top jaw. It works great on groundhog if you don’t mind carrying pounds of extra weight into the field. A plastic pipe snare saves pounds, plus you can make it with a bigger bight and a longer handle which is better for fox and coon.

Best Headline This Week

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Moxies Versus the Stairs

Four years ago, Moxie faced the stairs as if it was the the Great Ice Wall in Game of Thrones. 

Friday, July 06, 2018

A Bark Collar is Cheaper Than a Lawsuit

Jaws on the Fourth of July

I'm was packing up a few things for storage on July 4th, and one item was this Lemon Shark jaw.

Notice the four rows of teeth at top, already in place and ready to rotate forward as soon as one tooth is pulled out. Mother Nature is a wondrous thing!

And speaking of sharks, this was in my Twitter feed:

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Ratting As It was

Child rat catchers with dog, 1916, probably Britain. This was life close to the bone. 

The dog is of the northern type, whose root stock gave us the Welsh Terrier, Irish Terrier, Border Terrier. Patterdale Terrier, and Fell Terrier

Why So Many Chihuahuas Bite

A lot of Chihuahuas bite, due to a triple decker combination of fearfulness (partly due to small size), extreme attachment and possessiveness (due to being carried around all day like hand bags), and almost complete lack of correction (due to owners who are terrified of breaking the dog and who may also believe that all training has to be positive).

How to correct a chihuahua? An e-collar can work, but so too can a wash cloth rolled up with a rubber band around it to hold it together like a little textile log. A dog bonked with a wash cloth will not be harmed, but it will get the message that it better stop that behavior!

Chasing Groundhogs in a Peach Orchard

Another very old picture from maybe 2000 or so.  This was sandy soil New Jersey, probably Atlantic County.

Pine Barrens Digging

These are some more pictures found while cleaning out my study. This is the late Greg Donnell who would occasionally send me pictures. These would be from prior to 2007, but after 2001, as he had Jagd terrier crosses during at least part of that period.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Ratting Many Years Ago

I was cleaning out my study, and found a folder of old photos. This was ratting a dairy farm somewhere north of Baltimore a looong time ago.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

A Tale of Dreams, Friends, and Hard Work

Mutant Monsters on a Bench

These monstrosities of deformity and dysfunction are called Exotic Bulldogs.

Mockery and Molotovs Are the Best Weapons

I posted the above picture to FaceBook where it was quickly meme'd.

Talking About a Civil War

Here in Virginia we are LOCKED AND LOADED and ready to start the Civil War on July 4th. Jade Helm forever! My troops all survived the Bowling Green, Virginia Massacre.

America's Founding Terrier

George Washington fox hunting in Virginia.

The case can be made that America might not exist today were it not for "our Founding Terrier."

Robert Brooke of Maryland introduced foxhunting to the United States in 1650, and imported the first pack of foxhounds from Great Britain.

Dr. Thomas Walker of Virginia (who discovered the Cumberland Gap and for whom the Walker Coon Hound is named) imported another pack to Virginia in 1742. The first fox hunting pack maintained for the benefit of a group of foxhunters rather than for a single owner, was instituted by Thomas, Sixth Lord Fairfax, in 1747 in northern Virginia.

Walker and Washington were good friends and business partners, and were co-owners (along with Washington's brother-in-law) of the "Dismal Swamp Land Company" (1763) which was to develop land near present-day Norfolk, Virginia. Walker was probably the person that got Washington started in fox hunting.

Washington moved to Mount Vernon, on the Potomac River just below Washington, D.C., after marrying Martha Dandridge Custis in 1759. It was at Mount Vernon, while still in his 20s, that George Washington first began fox hunting in earnest, setting up a rather lavish set of kennels and carefully breeding a new line of American foxhounds that were faster, lighter and less pack-centered than their English brethren.

In 1768, Washington was appointed as a delegate to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia and managed to fill his need for fox hunting at the Gloucester Hunting Club across the River from Philadelphia in New Jersey near present-day Haddonfield.

It was largely because of social and political connections made while fox hunting that Washington's social prominence rose, and in 1775 George Washington was Congress's unanimous choice as commander of the new Continental Army that was to lead the American forces against the British.

In truth, Washington did not have the forces and equipment to wage a successful fight and hold ground, and his chief battle-field opponent, General William Howe of Great Britain, was a master tactician.

Howe defeated Washington time and time again. In August of 1776 Howe landed on Long Island, captured New York City and defeated Washington at White Plains.

In 1777 Howe defeated Washington again, this time at the Battle of Brandywine (near present-day Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania) and took Philadelphia.

In October of 1777, the Battle of Germantown was waged. This battle took place near Philadelphia, and it too was a defeat for American forces, but it was a turning point in the war.

The turning point occurred when a small fox terrier was found wandering between the battle lines. The little dog was scooped up by American soldiers and the dog's collar identified it as belonging to none other than General Howe.

The dog was brought to Washington as a war prize -- a taunt to use against the British -- but Washington was having none of it.

A true dog-man, who missed his own fox hounds and terriers at Mount Vernon, Washington personally wiped the little terrier clean and brushed its coat. He then dictated a short note to his aide-de-camp, Alexander Hamilton, and secretly tucked a private note of his own tight under the collar of the dog. The dog, and both notes, were then returned to General Howe under a flag of truce.

Washington's private note has not survived, but Howe was extremely pleased by it. The public note, a copy of which has survived (see picture below), reads: "General Washington's compliments to General Howe. He does himself the pleasure to return him a dog, which accidentally fell into his hands, and by the inscription on the Collar appears to belong to General Howe."

After his terrier's return Howe praised Washington's actions as an "honorable act" and historians note that although he continued to win his battles, he never pursued Washington with quite the same vigor.

In fact, when ordered to fight harder and show the rebels no compassion, Howe resigned in protest.

Howe was replaced by General Henry Clinton, who was a poor tactician, and General Charles Cornwallis, who was a poor field commander.

In the end, the United States won the war and Washington returned to his beloved Mount Vernon where he continued breeding fox hounds and chasing foxes at least once a week.

Shortly after returning to Mount Vernon, Washington imported massive hounds from France with the help of his friend the Marquis de Lafayette. American hounds were crossed with these new French imports, and some of the progeny were sent to the Gloucester Foxhunting Club, outside of Philadelphia, where they proved extremely popular due to their speed.

In 1787 Washington headed the Virginia delegation to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, and again his friends at the Gloucester Foxhunting Club lobbied for his election as the first President of the new country.

After the Constitution was ratified, Washington was unanimously elected President and in time the new Capitol was constructed just down river from his Mount Vernon estate.

Draft of note from George Washington to Howe, in the handwriting of aide-de-camp Alexander Hamilton.