Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Dog's Life

The life of a dog is a dog's life.
It is pain. It is suffering and grief.
The life of a dog is a dog's life.
Full of fear and gnashing of teeth.

God/dog, dog/god.
Palindromes and dreams of nod.
God/dog, god/dog.
And all I hear leaves me agog.

So lift up a leg to the Hound of Heaven,
to the Great Dog Star in the sky.
Sit up and beg to be forgiven,
and let this sleeping dog lie.

God/dog, god/dog.
It's heady stuff, all cloud and fog.
God/dog, god/dog.
With feet of clay and mind in bog.

The Great Dog Star is our image;
he is made as one of our own.
He doesn't wear clothes and has a wet nose,
and thinks nothing of sucking the bone.

God/dog, god/dog.
Speaks from high: a monologue.
God/dog, god/dog.
In cunning plans, we're only cogs.

The life of a dog is a dog's life.
It is cruel. It is brutal and brief.
The life of a dog is a dog's life.
Thrown a bone to atone like a thief.

God/dog, god/dog.
Like unicorns and golliwogs.
God/dog, god/dog.
A chant easy as falling off logs.

To the Great Dog Star, pay homage.
And croon to a singular moon.
If the night is primal and savage,
obey and bay in good tune.

God/dog, god/dog.
I've seen machine and catalogue.
God/dog, god/dog.
A keen design to whip and flog.

God/dog, dog/god.
It sounds absurd, and awfully odd.
God/dog, dog/god.
Share the word and spare the rod.

So lift up your snout to the Hound of Heaven,
lift up your heart and growl.
Show your respect for the Hound of Heaven,
just throw a ginsberg and howl!

- David Smith White

Monday, January 2, 2012


“They call him Mellow Yellow…”

That’s the old Donavan song, but it didn’t work out that way for Mellow, who had the full “Mellow Yellow” name that never got used. He was just Mellow, a beautiful golden Labrador, and he was one of the sweetest dogs ever to walk the face of the earth.

My in-laws gave Mellow to their youngest son Mike as a birthday present, and the two were inseparable for years. He even took his senior school portrait alongside Mellow, which made for a unique photo session, to say the least.

But then Mellow got sick.

Mellow developed cancer in his lower body, which required that one of his legs be amputated. We all felt terrible for him, but Mellow took the whole thing in stride. He became Mellow the three-legged dog, and he was as active, cheerful, and friendly as he’d always been. The problem was that the cancer hadn’t gone away, and it claimed his life about a year after the amputation.

Animals have no pretense and make no attempt to hide their emotions. Dogs who suffer the way Mellow did usually become surly and angry as they struggle to survive. But not Mellow. He remained cheerful to the end – always happy to see you, always eager to play, never consumed by the difficulty of the challenges he faced.

Would that more human beings were able to follow his example.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Understanding Dog Memory

Yesterday was Christmas! But your dog probably doesn't remember that. 

The following is from .

Scientific research on dog memory has lead to many questions as well as some answers. As a dog owner, you can make educated guesses about your dog's memory span including short-term memory and long-term memory. This knowledge can help in training and understanding a dog's reaction to separation from his friends.

Associative Memory Versus Real Memory

Dog memory can be best understood as primarily associative versus real memory. A dog remembers people and places based on associations he has with those people and places. If the owner puts on a specific article of clothing before taking the dog out for a walk, the dog will react with his usual excitement about going to the park when the owner puts on that coat. This will last for many years unless a new association to the coat is established. A dog is unlikely, however, to suddenly get excited about going for a walk without any sign of the coat, or the leash, or whatever reminds him of the walk.

Negative Versus Positive Associations

Associative memory can work towards the negative as well. If a dog has a traumatic vet visit after a ride in the car, he will react to car rides with fear until that memory is replaced by associating the car with getting to go out and play. The stronger the association, however, the harder it is to change the memory.

Dog Memory Span

Dogs have some real memory but it's only extremely short in its span. Most research indicates that a dog's short-term memory is about 10 to 20 seconds long. This means that if a dog poops in the house, for instance, and you scold him about it 5 minutes later, he won't associate the scolding to pooping in the house. He'll associate the scolding with you and pooping in general.

Dogs are clearly able to remember language and hand signals for many years. It's somewhat unknown whether this is associative or real memory but it is probably the former. A dog may associate the word "sit" with getting a treat so even if the treat is not present, he'll want to sit when he hears that word just in case a reward is involved.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The World's Most Expensive Dog!

Christmas is two days away! What better surprise for your loved one than the gift of the world's most expensive dog?

 How much will it cost you? Watch and find out!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Separation Anxiety

It’s been said that dogs look up to you; cats look down on you, but pigs treat you as equals.

Cats, therefore, don’t miss you much when you’re gone. Dogs do, however. If you're traveling for the holidays and leaving your canine pal behind, you may want to keep that in mind. Many dogs suffer from separation anxiety, and some may be willing to act out to demonstrate how much they miss their masters. They’ll howl or bark, scratch the furniture, leave smelly presents, or even hurt themselves if they feel that’s the only way to get your attention.

Separation anxiety can be a result of a dog’s background. If you adopted your dog at a shelter, there’s a real possibility that dog was abandoned or neglected by its previous owner, which may manifest itself in the dog’s current behavior. Dogs also may have difficulty adapting to a drastic change, such as a move to a new neighborhood. If kids have some trepidation about making new friends, imagine how difficult it is for your dog.

There’s no silver bullet to cure separation anxiety, but there are ways to establish patterns to help your dog feel comfortable and confident. Dogs take their cue from you, so if you’re relaxed and at ease in the new environment, they are more likely to be the same. Try to downplay their extreme behavior when you leave or arrive at home. When the dog finally calms down, reward them with a treat or a toy. Positive reinforcement of good behavior does wonders to set the tone for a dog’s long-term well-being.

Exercise helps tremendously, too, both for dogs and for people. Running with your dog allows him to spend time with you and work off some stress, too. Apparently, some doctors seem to think that exercise is good for you. I’m still not convinced, but I pass the suggestion along just the same.

Another technique that helps is the idea of the “gradual departure.” In other words, grab your car keys and give the impression that you’re about to leave, and then don’t leave. Or leave for a few seconds and then come back. If your dog shows signs of anxiety during these mini-departures, be sure to wait until he’s calmed down before rewarding him. Many pet owners will feel the instinct to comfort the dog while he’s overreacting, but that simply validates the anxiety and exacerbates the problem.

Of course, you can always get a pig.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


This is very, very stupid. Which, of course, is why I love it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Dog Revenge

We visited relatives over Thanksgiving. Our dog was farmed out to relatives, but our two cats were left at home. In protest of our absence, the felines left several presents on the basement rug, despite the fact that their litter boxes and food supply were ample and clean. Our first instinct was that our cats were trying to get back at us for our absence. I don't know if that's true of cats, but for dogs, that's simply not the case.

Studies have demonstrated that animals feel basic emotional states, but a need for revenge is a far more complex situation which requires a dog to connect a simple biological act with a cognitive conclusion. Dogs, frankly, just can't do that. That's one of the reasons why it's important to discipline a dog immediately, because punishment that comes even several minutes after the fact will be more confusing than anything else. We love dogs because they're loyal to a fault and are completely without guile. If your dogs seems vengeful, there's something else going on.

A house-trained dog or cat that poops in your absence isn't trying to get back at you; they're simply confused, insecure, or lonely, which throws them out of whack and may result in a response you might interpret as revenge. Fixing the problem involves identifying the real causes and responding appropriately. Don't waste a second trying to "get even" with your dog. Give them more love and attention, and you'll be amazed at how quickly the problems get solved.

Cats, however, are just jerks.