Me, Myself, and the Voices in My Head

A place to ramble and maybe make some sense about a thing or two.

Archive for the tag “animals”

Leave the bear alone you hillbillies!!

All day I have been listening to the local police scanner.  I keep it on because if there’s an emergency that isn’t being broadcast on the local news channels, I can usually get some information from the scanner.  Plus after years of having worked as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and disaster preparedness/response person, I’m just addicted to it.

So today’s noteworthy broadcasts have been about a small black bear that has wandered into town.  It’s not hurt anyone; it’s not gone into the residential areas; and it’s trying to find its way back to the woods.  At first someone thought it was a dog when it was near a residential area but it stayed over by the local airport (not an overly busy one).  It has been wandering around and I’m not worried about it coming over into the area where I live because it would have to cross a large Interstate highway plus the busy traffic at the intersection that crosses over it.  The state conservation agents have been working with the county law enforcement to track the bear and make sure that it keeps heading towards the woods.

Sadly, though, all the yokels in town have been coming out in droves to see it — especially after the story was aired on the local news.  Now the police are being called by the businesses in the area next to the Interstate highway because people keep trying to get closer and closer to the bear so they can take pictures of it.  Some have brought their dogs with them, like the conservation agents need that little bit of “help” with a bear that really doesn’t want to be where it is in the first place.

Right now it’s up a tree next to the local Pizza Hut.  It wanders between one of the banks, the Pizza Hut, a furniture store, and a Captain D’s restaurant.  I’m sure it smells plenty of trash from that area it would love to eat.  Hopefully the conservation and law enforcement agents will get rid of the crowd before the bear hurts itself.  The poor thing just wants to get back to its home (with a snack to-go if it can grab one).

Here’s an idea — if you want to see a close-up photo of a bear, pick up a book!  If you want to see a bear in person, go to a zoo!  If you see a bear in the wild, then lucky you — but for cryin’ out loud, stop trying to get in its way!

Well….at least now there’s something else to listen to.  Some drunken fool is chugging a Mountain Dew and whiskey outside a local grocery store and has pushed carts into the major 4-way intersection of town.  Now that sounds more like an average night.

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About what do my dogs dream?

Yes, I noticed that I made sure my title was grammatically correct.  OCD has checked-in for the night!

Anyway, I do wonder what goes through my dogs’ brains when they’re dreaming.  I can look over at the cat who is sound asleep at the moment and she never moves until she wakes up.  However, I can watch either Celeste or Harley and sooner or later they’ll start to run in their sleep, snore loudly, or sometimes even bark as if they’re trying to say something.

Celeste is five years old and has had a lot of experiences with and without me.  She was a show dog and has traveled around the country and also worked as a service dog for a lady in a wheelchair (who sadly didn’t know how to care for her even though she’d had service dogs before).  So, I could see some memories coming back to her mind and perhaps she sees things she remembers.

Harley, on the other hand, has been with us since she was nine months old.  She was abandoned and raised for a month at a farm before they took her to the local Humane Society because they couldn’t afford to keep another abandoned dog.  She’s been on trips with us (vehicle only, no planes yet) and has romped around in the yard or at a dog park.  Most of her time she’s comfortable on the couch and when given the opportunity will watch car races or other dogs running on television.  Harley also lived here with my service dog Cody who passed away in 2010.  She was there when he died.  She also has a lot of his habits and mannerisms because he made sure that he taught her how to act and didn’t let her get too out of control.

Cody would snore loudly and run when sleeping too — but he only came to live with us when he was much older.  He had been a puppy mill breeder dog that had been abandoned on the side of the Interstate when he’d gotten to old to make the owners more money.  We took him in and even though he had no idea how to play or act like a normal dog, he learned commands quickly and was eager to please because he loved being loved by someone instead of just ignored.  And he still had the gumption to put the cat in her place when he came to live with us and she wouldn’t shut up one night.  He just closed her mouth with his and looked at her as if to say, “See?  Quiet is better.”

When Cody would snore loudly and move as if he was running when he was asleep, I could always imagine that he was reliving something that had happened before we had him.  Maybe it was running away from the handlers at the puppy mill.  Maybe it was finally running free when they first got rid of him before he began to struggle to find food and water in the sweltering heat of the summer.  I would always hope that his dreams would include meeting us and enjoying a nice walk or just being cuddled.

I’m watching Harley’s legs move while she’s asleep as if she’s running for her life.  Maybe there’s a rabbit or a squirrel in her dream?  She loves to chase them in the yard, though I don’t think she’d have any idea what to do with one if she caught it.  She’s running and running and you can hear her snorting loudly with every “step” she takes.  Whatever it is, she’s either thoroughly enjoying it or making damned sure that she gets away from whatever she doesn’t like.

I know humans put too much emotion into our pets.  We talk to them as if they’re people and try to read their facial expressions and actions like we do non-verbal communications from other humans.  But I think it would be fun if we could see about what our dogs are dreaming.  Finally catching the ball; scaring a flock of birds; or maybe just laying on the couch getting their tummy rubbed.  Anything could be a fascinating dream for them.

Good riddance, Petland!!!

I’m feeling much better today, so I don’t think I’ll be ripping my own head off anytime soon as was considered yesterday.  I did take some medication, put ice on my head, and took a long nap until Husband and Youngest Son got home from work and school, respectively.  I was hoping yesterday that today’s weather would be good and I was surprised.  It’s not only good today, it’s awesome!  So nice and just the right temperature with just a hint of a breeze to make you feel like springtime is here.

Today we went and took Harley to the groomers at SetPmart.  She needed a bath and her nails ground again.  I clip them often but it’s much nicer after they’ve ground them down with the Dremel tool because she’s much quieter on the hardwood floors.  I know Cat doesn’t like it because Harley can sneak up on her, but I find it enjoyable.  We decided that since there was still the chance of cold weather in this area for the next few weeks we wouldn’t get her “Spring Shave” done until the weather stays warmer for a while.  Now because she’s part poodle, she’s all fluffy and “poofy” but still has the schnauzer face.  I know it won’t last because she’s not a girly dog and has already attempted to roll in something unpleasant in the backyard already.

One thing I was very glad to see in the town we visited is that another pet store — Petland — has gone out of business.  They’re notorious for selling dogs from puppy mills and even though they’ll tell you they don’t it’s so obvious they do.  I went into that store once when Cody (my previous service dog) was getting older and thought about self-training another sheltie to take-over his job (that’s before the state laws were changed and you could train your own service dog).  I’d been to the shelters and pounds and Humane Society kennels and hadn’t found a sheltie.  I thought, just for giggles, I’d go into Petland and see what they had.  They were stocked with all of the designer dogs and purebred puppies everyone has been trying to get their hands on.  So many kids were sitting in the little “viewing boxes” where they could play with a puppy while their parents sat there and listened to the kid promise and promise to take care of it every day as they were actually trying to decide how to finance the cost of the dog because, being a designer dog, they were very expensive.

I looked around and finally one of the underpaid worker-drones came up and asked if there was something specific for which I was looking.  I said that I was looking for a sheltie because my current service dog was getting ready to retire and I wanted to have another of the same breed so that they would bond and the new one could learn quickly from the old one.  She said that they didn’t have any there that day.  I feigned disappointment (I knew about the company and wasn’t going to buy one of their dogs anyway) and thanked her for her help.  She told me to wait a moment and ran off to the back room.  She quickly came back with a piece of paper that said if I paid $1000 that day I could have a sheltie puppy in a week.

What??  No reputable breeder is going to just happen to have new puppies available johnny-on-the-spot.  The only way you get what you want, when you want is when you use a vending machine — and that’s just what puppy mills are like.  They cram dogs into small wire cages and breed the heck out of them.  Then when they’re no good for breeding or have gotten older, they dump them or, usually, kill them.  Puppy mill dogs are so inbred they have many diseases and deformities that aren’t identified to the new owners who take their lovely/expensive new puppy home and watch it begin to get sicker and sicker, if it doesn’t just up and die first.

Cody was a rescued puppy mill dog.  They used him as a breeder and dumped him when he got older.  You could tell he’d never had human contact.  Food was just pushed into a cage and if it stayed there he could eat and if it spilled that was too bad for him.  He had no idea how to play.  You could roll a ball towards him and he’d either look at it as if it was something amazing or he’d run and hide.  When we got him after he’d been dumped, they’d shaved all of his beautiful long fur off except for his head and tail.  Many puppy mills will do that so they don’t have to worry about the dogs’ coats getting matted or caught in a cage if they’re a profit-making dog.  If they’re just one of the many waiting to be sold, they often don’t care what happens.

I told the Petland clerk that I was not interested in a puppy mill dog and she became quite angry that I would even suggest that their dogs came from puppy mills.  I told her that I’d reconsider my opinion if she would provide me with the name and phone number of the breeder so that I could check him/her out and see what types of reports might have been filed by other puppy owners from their dams and sires.  She said she couldn’t give me the information because I might go to the breeder and just buy the dog myself there instead of through the store.  I asked for just the name of the breeder so I could check with the AKC (American Kennel Club) and the Department of Agriculture (that inspects breeders) to make sure I’d be getting a healthy dog.  The clerk adamantly told me that she could not give me that information and that my puppy would be healthy because they have a vet on-staff (next door) who checks all of the puppies as they come into the store.

Sure, I’m going to trust a veterinarian that I’ve never met; never seen references regarding; and who isn’t always there at that store to check-over an animal that the company plans to make a large profit on and believe that they’re not being pressured to say everything is okey-dokey.  I even went back to the vet’s office and couldn’t get any specific information on the vet, where he/she went to school, their specialties, etc.

After this encounter I saw reports on the news about Petland and how many groups were protesting their sale of puppy mill dogs.  The state where I live is one of the largest puppy mill “sanctuaries” because people don’t report the owners of the puppy mills and, if you did try to report them, they have no problem showing you by force (usually through the end of a firearm) that they don’t want you messing in their business.  There are many veterinarians in and near the town in which I live that I researched before I ever took my pets to one when we moved here that had many, MANY bad references and notices online for dealing with puppy mill dogs and signing health certificates of dogs that were transported across the country to new owners — only to have the puppy become critically ill or die soon after arrival.

I am SO happy that Petland is closed.  Okay, yes, if people want to argue about it, it’s not good that there are workers from the store who now don’t have jobs in this poor economy.  But, I usually do research on any company/organization with whom I’m applying for a job, so if I knew that Petland was marketing in puppy mill dogs, I’d never work there.  I’d rather work somewhere else for less pay than to watch the dogs suffer as they come in, aren’t well, and are handled repeatedly by people who are “just looking” and can’t really give the dog a forever home.  Heck, I’d work part-time for minimum wage at the local pound or shelter before I’d take a full-time higher-paying job at a store like Petland.  What kills me is that the website for this particular store is still up and the parent company is still taking “special orders” and operating out of another town.  They had said they were closed for remodeling.  Guess it was to remodel their way the heck out-of-town.

As I walked into SetPmart to pick up Harley from her beauty appointment, I took a moment and looked at the dogs and cats inside and outside the store that three different shelters had brought in hopes that they would be adopted.  I saw many families looking at the dogs and playing with them.  The puppies were obviously the most popular ones but I saw a few looking at some of the older dogs and even overheard one family saying they wanted to adopt an older dog because it wouldn’t chew-up the house and they wanted to give it the best last years it could have.  I smiled and looked down at Celeste who was staring at me as if to say, “You already have another pest in the house.  You don’t need any more.”  I scratched her ears and smiled at the shelter personnel and the families there.  True, when Celeste’s time comes to retire I’ll have to have another certified service dog and will 99% get one from the breeder/trainer where I got Celeste.  But when Harley’s old and gray and her time here on earth is over, I’ll definitely be back at the shelter.  And whether it’s a puppy or a senior dog, it doesn’t matter.  Shelter animals love you even more because they know that you’ve just saved their life and they’ll do anything to make yours happy and safe.

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