Sunday, May 12, 2019

Have You Ever Noticed?

HAVE YOU EVER NOTICED how many folks who have complicated theories about dog training are afraid to walk their own dogs off leash in forest or field?

HAVE YOU EVER NOTICED how many “people of the curve” who are “big boned” have complicated theories about food and health which involve spending a lot of time in the kitchen?

HAVE YOU EVER NOTICED that the Kennel Club experts on retrievers and pointers don’t own shotguns ... that the experts on sled dogs live in Texas .... and that the experts on terriers are chasing ribbons and not digging holes?

Bar Soap to Neutralize Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy is one of the burdens of American terrier work -- it's out there, and you will get it if you work enough hedgerows.

Poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac are all in the Rhus family of plants, and these plants produce more cases of contact dermatitis than all other substances combined.

Poison ivy skin rashes are not contagious -- only the toxic oil of the plant (urushiol) causes the poison ivy reaction, and generally it has to be on your skin for an hour or more before it takes effect.

What that means, is that the sooner you get the oil off your skin, the less likely you’ll have a bad reaction.

The very sensitive or risk-averse can carry a packet of "handywipes" designed to clean off oils, such as Kimberly-Clark's Professional Heavy-Duty Hand Cleaning Wipes.

When you get home, however, wash the effected area well with simple bar soap, water, and a wash cloth.

One trick is to coat the effected area with mineral oil or cooking oil (it will dilute the urushiol) and THEN soap up well to remove this more visible oil. If you’ve gotten the mineral or light vegetable oil off you, you’ve got the toxic urushiol off you as well!

A commercial product called Tecnu also sells itself as special outdoor skin cleanser that removes Poison Oak and Ivy Oils from your skin. The small bottles they sell at camping stores and pharmacies, however, are almost pure mineral oil... which you then have to wash off with bar soap. You might as well cut out the brand-name markup and use mineral oil or light cooking oil from the start.

When Lysol Was a Douche

A turpentine and coal tar disinfectant used in the U.K. as kennel wash, and as both external and internal medicine.

It’s still around as a disinfectant, but no longer touted as a medicine.

This is from the same era when, here in the US, Lysol was used as both douche and birth control; before there was a Food and Drug Administration or a Center for Disease Control.

Quack cures and marketing are still about. Send $50 to learn more!

The Extinction of Memory

Nothing is so evident of youth and inexperience as when someone claims they have “discovered” something older than dirt and perhaps less than perfect.

One example in the world of dogs is the food rewards crowd.

Food rewards dogs training is older than writing, and we have clear published instructions older than the Bible.

Great stuff, but perhaps not all there is to know?

Karen Pryor, the great maven of food and clickers kept her own border terrier in the yard with an Invisible Fence system, and could not walk her dog off-lead in forest or field.

Another example is the “raw” food folks who have just discovered that dogs will also eat frozen chicken, raw beef, cooked rice, and even vegetables.

Great stuff, but perhaps not all there is to know?

Is it a grand conspiracy that the American College of Veterinary Nutritionists (ACVN), the
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) have all published cautions about feeding raw food to dogs? A grand conspiracy is it?

And kibble was invented because no one knew that you could feed a dog raw meat and vegetables?

It’s been said that the first thing to go extinct is memory.

Anything who thinks otherwise should talk to an anti-vaxxer or anyone old enough to remember when restaurants did not have heath inspectors.

If someone tells you aromatherapy can cure cancer, that water has memory, and that fire has no place in the kitchen, ask if these are ancient beliefs that were somehow found wanting.

If these same folks tell you prey drive can be stopped with cheese, ask them to bring an-off lead terrier to the edge of a highway, and you will supply the squirrel.

Is That An Alligator In Your Pocket?

Iterative Evolution in Birds and Irish Wolfhounds

The picture is a white-throated rail, a chicken-sized bird indigenous to Madagascar which, according to new research, went extinct many thousands of years ago but came back into existence due to a rare process called “iterative evolution”.

The research, from the University of Portsmouth and Natural History Museum, found that on two occasions, separated by tens of thousands of years, a rail from the main island flew to an isolated atoll called Aldabra and then became flightless. The second surviving colony of flightless rails is still found on the atoll.

What’s this have to do with wolfhounds?

Well, the modern breed is essentially a recreation as well — iterative evolution at the hand of man resulting in parallel structures from the same ancestors, but at different times.

And who recreated the Irish Wolfhound? A Scotsman living in England!

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Rolling With the Wee Wolves

This is the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal which goes for 185 miles from Washington DC to Cumberland, Maryland, where this bike path meets with the Great Allegheny Passage (another 150 miles) which goes to Pittsburgh.

The C&O Canal does not have water in long lengths, but it’s always next to the Potomac River, so there's lots of wildlife.

Mutton-chop Appreciation

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Baby Bald Eagle, Arlington, Virginia

Bald Eagle chick on the nest in Arlington. There was only a single chick this year, which is normal. They get white heads at age 4 or 5.

Looking Fabulous, About 1890

In a Working Terriers, Chest Size Is All That Can Be Measured

A red fox in my yard, and a taxidermy manikin.

No matter how big a fox may look
, once you put a tape measure on it, you will find an incredibly small chest — 14 inches or less.

Fur presses flat, and legs fold up.

The chest of a fox, a groundhog, and a raccoon are all about the same, which is why fox and raccoon can (and do) use groundhog pipes as dens.

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Wild Flowers By the Road

I think is Hesperis matronalis - Dame's Rocket. It's a European flower that introduced in the area in early 1600s, and it spreads pretty easily.

Before there Were "Mad Men" Ad Men

A Spratt’s dog food ad that could not pass muster today. The history of dog food is here.

Two Lookers

Monday, May 06, 2019

The End of Inbreeding?

You want to know why it's hard to get the dog show crowd to stop inbreeding within a closed registry pool?

Simple: dog shows started in Europe where they have been led to believe, for more than 500 years, that incest is best. As Jessa Gamble at The Last Word on Nothing blog notes:

All ten current European monarchs — that’s Belgium, Spain, Luxembourg, UK, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Liechtenstein, Monaco and the Netherlands, for those who haven’t kept track of republican trends — are direct descendants of John William Friso, Prince of Orange, who died in 1711, ten generations ago. This fact understates their actual degree of kinship, however, because the interconnected bloodlines cross much more recently. Most of the European monarchs are also descended from the grandmother of Europe, Queen Victoria of England and from Christian IX of Denmark, both of whose many respective grandchildren – who occupied their thrones during the First World War – married each other so conscientiously their family tree sports the systematic order of a round-robin badminton tournament. Of course, Queen Victoria and her consort Albert were first cousins to begin with, and Victoria passed her hemophilia down to her far-flung grandchildren....

So is there a glimmer of hope?

There is.

Kate is an outcross to a .... gasp ... commoner, and Meghan is an outcross to ... gasp ... an American.

Blue Heron on the Canal

American Birds Needs Not Apply

First it was CANADA GEESE taking jobs an American Goose would do.

Now it turns out CONGRESS has made a law that prevents AMERICAN birds from getting jobs in Hollywood.  Where is the outrage?

Sunday, May 05, 2019

No Standards or Historical Pictures Needed

If you’re digging in natural earths, you don’t point to breed standards or historical pictures — you point to the burrows a mile or two from your house and the dog inside them.

Bamb Ate My Baby!

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Looking Fabulous in Ireland in 1910

Countess Bessborough and Princess Marie Louise of Schleswig-Holstein, in Ireland in 1910, with two dogs, a Jack Russell and I think a Skye terrier of the day.

The first Cairn Terrier appeared on the Kennel Club scene in 1909, when a Mrs. Campbell marched into a ring at Crufts with what she described as a “short-haired Skye Terrier.” The taxonomic battle that ensued revolved around whether a “real” Skye Terrier was long-coated or not, and whether a shorter-haired dog was “defective” or not. There is no reason to re-fight this linguistic mudsling. Suffice it to say that the battle was resolved in 1910 when a “new” (but allegedly old) breed was named a “Cairn Terrier” and given its own class at Crufts, and in the Kennel Club. This dog had erect ears and a slightly shorter coat.

Friday, May 03, 2019

Preventing Unnecessary Bites

Eddie Chapman's excellent little book "The Working Jack Russell Terrier" has a nice section on handling foxes that should be read carefully for those that have a fondness for all their fingers.

Even though you think it is safe to get hold of him, you should always be on guard and never give a fox an even break.... Even if he is nearly dead, he is just as dangerous and if he is not dead, he may be shamming and be very dangerous

My recommendation is a light weight pole snare -- something that seems to not be used in the UK for reasons I cannot fathom. Of course, to be fair, the British banned badger work more than 45 years ago, and now do not allow fox to be let go at all.

Glad to be an American!

Thursday, May 02, 2019

New Yawk City Presenting!

New York City passed a rule that said for a dog to be allowed on the subway, it had to fit in a bag. This is how New Yorkers responded.

A Very Nice Walking Stick Too Nice to Use

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Everything In Its Place

Tea time! The little towel is clearly being used as the dog’s “place” marker/mat — a bit of familiar from the Edwardian era.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Looking Fabulous With Bull Terrier

A lady and her dog being FAB-ulous. Look at that collar... those gloves... that hat.
About 1900 I think.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Bernard M. Partridge, an illustrator for Punch, in 1910, with his fell terrier before the Kennel Club decided this type was to be called a Border Terrier. The mustache and pipe are an extra bonus.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Have You Been Doing It Wrong?

The Show Ring is Turning Labradors Into Angus

How did Labs go from the dog on the left to the dog on the right?

A simple story: theorists rewarded exaggeration.

The same thing happened in the body building world. The Lab lovers at SlimDoggy have the tale.

Why has a Labrador — America’s most popular AKC breed — never won Westminster? More from the Lab lovers at SlimDoggy.

The good news is that the Labrador Retriever Club recognizes there is a BIG (pun intended) problem with the shows dogs seen in the ring.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Here He Lies Where He Longed To Be


Under the wide and starry sky,
Dig the grave and let me lie.

Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.

This be the verse you grave for me:
Here he lies where he longed to be;

Home is the sailor, home from sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.

~ Robert Louis Stephenson ~