Please Don’t Declaw!

I came across a comment on a friend’s post today from a girl who “wished her cat was declawed.”  I tried to nicely explain why she should not wish that.  I figured maybe she honestly didn’t know.

I have a neighbor who insists on declawing her beautiful white kitten.  I tried to reason with her, inform her.  She still insists.  Now I just want to smack her.  The argument “They are fine once they heal” holds NO water.

I know there are some people who swear that declawing doesn’t hurt the cat, but a human can have limbs amputated and be “fine,” too. It doesn’t mean they would want to! And that’s basically what declawing is to a cat.

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My cats tore up my couch too, but that was partly my fault for not providing them with their own vertical scratching surfaces. Besides, I guess it is a sacrifice we make when we decide to share our homes with an animal.

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As I learn more about my chosen trade, which is dog training, I have become even more aware of just how selfish some humans have become about their pets.  We sometimes treat them more like accessories than the animals they are.  We expect them to adjust to our lifestyles withe little or no training.  We anthropomorphise them, pushing our ideas and values onto them.  We neglect their basic drives and needs (usually more out of ignorance than malice.)  Scratching is normal cat behavior.

One of my cats came to me already declawed and I am still angry sometimes about what her previous owners did to her.  Her paws are sensitive.  She has litterbox issues, (which has been correlated to declawing.)  Declawing is illegal in a lot of places, but I have been heard before that some vets still perform the procedure simply to pacify the owner and (hopefully) keep another cat out of the shelter for what is essentially a non-reason.

So for anyone who is considering declawing their cat, I beg of you , please do some research and reconsider.  Especially now, there are other, more humane options (nail caps, for one.) If your furniture is more valuable to you than your pet, maybe you should reconsider whether sharing your home with an animal is what you really want.

Below (and within the article) are some links to more information about declawing.

 

http://www.declawing.com/

http://www.pawproject.org/faq

https://www.avma.org/KB/Policies/Pages/Declawing-of-Domestic-Cats.aspx

 

What’s in a name?

I’ve been preparing to get my business license and launch my dog training business.  But I am finding myself stumped when it comes to choosing a name.  It should be easy, right?  Some people said just use my name (Jane Smith’s* Dog Training.)  Not only is that kinda boring, but I have other reasons for not wanting to do so.  I have, however, been advised not to choose anything to generic or general (a friend of mine who is also a trainer is constantly having to threaten other people who “come up with” and try to use her business’s name because it is so obvious.  For this reason, I have considered including just my initials in the name.  I have come up with some possibilities– one that may appeal to my area’s demographic in terms of southern appeal (Downhome Dog Training), and some that sound very high brow, albeit still rather generic, (Excel Dog Training), some designed to elicit a sort of emotional connection with the increasing desire for more progressive dog trainers over traditional compulsion based training, while also implying a manageable basic level training (KinderTrain (Is it Kinder with a short vowel or long?)) and even some that are supposed to appeal mainly to people’s sense of whimsy (Hot Diggity Dawg Training.)

Maybe I should just call it Cujo Academy.  Can I get sued for that?

😄

This dog is ready to learn!

This dog is ready to learn!

Their loss, Our loss…

Watching the National Geographic “Deadly Dozen” series.  The African elephants used to roam most of Africa freely.  Between poaching and simply being forced off their territory by the advance of people, they are now relegated to a fraction of that space, mostly protected or preserve areas.

I can’t help but shake my head in frustration and disgust.  What we’ve done to this planet!  Trophy hunting and poaching and misinformed “population trimming” aside, the single-mindedness with which we’ve advanced our own species at the cost of every other species of flora and fauna on the planet is just…sad.   Destroying natural resources, destroying habitats, upsetting the ecological balance.  Even on a small scale it’s revolting.  I can’t go to my favorite local park without seeing litter everywhere.  And I think angrily at the faceless perpetrators every time , why do you get to enjoy this park and then trash it so others can’t enjoy it???

Last night on the way to volleyball I saw a large black animal on the side of the road.  I couldn’t look long, as I was driving, and at first I wasn’t sure whether it was a small cow  or just one of the largest dogs I’ve ever seen.  But it hurt my heart a little.  I figured it was probably someone’s pet.  Although I feel bad for most of the small furries I see on the side of the road, it usually hits me even harder if it’s a domestic animal.  But my main feelings behind it are the same.  No animal should ever have to die on the side of the road.  

It’s just not natural.  The road.  Especially the fast moving cars.  The animals certainly don’t regard the perils of our thoroughfare as they would a natural predator.

I’m not trying to be all tree-hugging and bleeding heart.  It’s true that it would be impossible not to disturb or displace some wildlife when building a dwelling or home, even just for ourselves.  It’s just the flagrant attitude of disregard for others, of our own species or any other, and the failure to recognize that eventually, their loss is our loss.

 

“Pussycat, pussycat, I love you…”

So, today I was over at my friend’s photo blog, and I was inspired by her photo for yesterday of a baby tabby cat.  I remembered that I have gotten some pretty sweet shots of baby kitties myself.  So after perusing my blog contents to make sure I haven’t already posted these (I’ve typed in every relevant tag I can think of and I’m still not sure,) I give you these cuties.  *these photos are my property, so I ask anyone who wants to use them or share to please give me credit and possibly a link-back.

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ks5

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Service to Animals, Service to People

So today I took the first concrete step towards my future.  Hubs and I invested in my future, and put a down payment on my continued education.  Only it has little to do with the degrees I already have.  But it is for something I’ve always enjoyed, and that is working with animals.  As soon as the enrollment process is completed, I’ll be starting coursework with the Animal Behavior College to become a certified dog trainer.  But I don’t want to work at the local Pet Smart teaching people’s ill-mannered pets to behave (though no disrespect if that’s your passion!)  I’d eventually like to work with animals that help people– chiefly service dogs or police dogs.

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Service animals are no longer just seeing eye dogs.  Animals of all species are now being utilized for all types of disabilities, both physical and mental.  Cats, dogs, monkeys, ferrets, goats, and even pigs are being used as companions to physically disabled people, people with agoraphobia and other anxiety disorders, and even bipolar disorder.  To me this exemplifies a more holistic and harmonious turn in the treatment of many severe and often debilitating health problems.  Simply put, I love how animals and the bonds they forge with their humans can help surmount even the toughest challenges and just make people happier.  

Then there are the police dogs, the bomb sniffing dogs, the cadaver sniffing dogs, the war dogs…   These dogs truly are service dogs, and they are heroes!

And I definitely want to be a part of this.  I love animals…   People, meh…  I don’t care for people as a whole, although I do generally like being around people on a more individual level.  I have a lot of interests in my life– art, writing, music, forensics, sports, horseback riding, my family…  It’s hard to give time to everything in my life that I enjoy, and even harder– for me– to settle on a career path, but I think this is something that can make me happy…

Which in the end is more important to me at the end of the day than any other considerations like money or prestige.

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When Not to Pet a Pet

First, a shout out to my friend Dianda, over at Cats & Co., for giving me the inspiration for this post.

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I think for the most part, this is sound advice, advice that you would think is common sense for most people.  Well, we already know that many people are inexplicably devoid of common sense.  Aside from that, this post is geared towards children.  Children, even small children, are capable of understanding a great many more things than you might think… but… they are still children.  They lack sound decision-making skills and impulse control.  And in any case, not all children are lucky enough to have responsible adults around them to teach them these sorts of common sense rules about animals.

Not only do studies show that children who grow up in homes with pets are physically healthier (based on the idea that having a pet may result in a stronger immune system,) children that grow up in homes with animals also have tendencies towards more pro-social behavior, such as empathy, responsibility, and compassion.

This all sounds pretty spiffy… as long as your pet is child-friendly.  I speak from a semi-unique perspective, in that not only do I have a small child, but as a pre-teen, I suffered a fairly serious injury to my face due to a dog bite.

Admittedly, the bite came as a result of me violating one of the above rules– I put my face too close to the dog’s.   However, in my defense, I’m sure I don’t know what would possess a person to give a hundred pound Rottweiler (who has already shown aggressive tendencies) a bath in the midst of a family party is beyond me.

That said, especially in the case of very young children (like mine,) one of the first ways they learn to show affection is through proximity and hugging.  We have cats, and much to their chagrin, J is always trying to “hug” them, and kiss them…and poke them in the eye repeatedly, while saying “Eye.  Eye.  Eye. Eye.” She is two and a half, and while I give her credit for a great many things, I am not sure she understands that the kitties do not necessarily like this, especially when she is too rough with them.  Also, we have a neighbor who has an old pug dog and he lets J do whatever she wants– kiss him, hug him, follow him around…  He even seems to enjoy the attention.  So I know that she will naturally assume all dogs are like that.

When we are out of the house, and come across “strange” dogs (that is, dogs she doesn’t know,) I try to hold her back and encourage her to ask before she touches, but either she is too young yet to understand this, or she is too young to care.

Basically, I think the above chart has excellent guidelines, but ultimately, it will be the parent’s responsibility to teach a child age appropriate skills and rules for dealing with animals on an individual basis.  Each animal really is different, and even “nice” animals have the capacity to bite or otherwise injure someone if the conditions are right.  There have been many instances of children injured or killed by a household pet that was assumed to be a safe animal. And until your child is capable of understanding the rules of engagement, it’s up to the parent to be vigilant and responsible so that their child is not injured (and likewise, does not injure) by an animal, even someone’s pet.

Here are some statistics on dog bites.

*please note that the above link is statistical data, and although it offers data on breed specific attacks (ie. “the dreaded pit-bull”,) it does not, in my opinion, offer a context in which to interpret the data

Strange Sunday Musings: Tasers and Belly Buttons

1) Do you think there’s a guy somewhere on this planet that has ever tried to sterilize himself with a taser to the nuts?

People do some stupid shit, and the dumb-assery is not just limited to kids.  Grown “adults” who should know better come up with all sorts of inventive ways to cause unintentional bodily damage to themselves.  You would think the outcomes of some of these experiments would be obvious.  Think of all the people who end up in emergency rooms after trying to use vegetables or small furry rodents for sexual satisfaction.  People looking for an easy or cheap way to do something, (or get away with something) and they get these bright ideas.  Think of all the strange warnings on products we buy everyday…those warnings just prove that some moron, somewhere, at some time, tried to do exactly that stupid thing that the label is warning you not to do.

Please do not allow your dog to operate a motor vehicle while on this medication

Please do not allow your dog to operate a motor vehicle while on this medication

Oh, shit...

Oh, shit…

2) Do kittens have belly buttons?

Earlier today, the J* pointed at the cat’s tummy and said “ba-ba?” which is how she says “belly button.”  Hubs said, “No, honey, the kitty doesn’t have a belly button.

I turned to him and said, “Yes, he does!” I know this because I have felt the kitty’s belly button before…  It’s not much more than a small dent in his belly, buried under a lot of fur.

Or have I?

Kittens are placental mammals, and therefore should have belly buttons.  However, unless you are right there at the moment of birth, you may not see the umbilical cord like you would on a human baby.  That’s a mother cat usually chews the cord off after a kitten is born and the mother may then eat the placental sac.

(Image courtesy of Knittin' and Kittens)

(Image courtesy of Knittin’ and Kittens)

So, there you go…  Now, aren’t you glad you asked?