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Archive for May 8th, 2009

Airedale airs her views in letter to editor

Finally, the Baltimore Sun is giving dogs some say. Either that, or it has laid off so many people it has to turn to dogs to provide content. In any case, the once-great newspaper printed a letter to the editor today from an Airedale, who may or may not have been assisted by her owner, Tom McCracken.

Apparently provoked by the new $1,000 penalty for unleashed dogs, the dog unleashed some opinions of her own in the letter, which was directed to Baltimore’s City Council. Here are some excerpts:

City Council Members: Please do not be surprised to get an e-mail from a dog …  My name is Maggie Mae, and I am a very lucky dog. My people live along a wonderful park …  A lot of my friends and I get to meet in this park almost daily for socialization and exercise, and any dog will tell you that a happy dog is a much better citizen than a frustrated one.

The park itself gets a tremendous amount of use. Why just tonight at 3 a.m., I was awakened by Loyola College students having a party there …  Well, that got me thinking about all of the people who do share the park and ways that they do or don’t take care of it. The college students will leave their empty beer cans scattered about. My owner often crushes them and carries them home in a poop bag because there are no trash cans there. Speaking of poop bags, we should all hope that The Baltimore Sun doesn’t go out of business, because that would be the end of poop bags as I understand it…

Another problem in the park is trail erosion. Every afternoon a hundred or so young humans come running through the park. They are wearing shirts that say Friends, Gilman, RPCS, Bryn Mawr, Hopkins and Loyola. They wear shoes with lugged soles that destroy the grass and cause mud puddles. I think it would be smart if the City Council asked them to wear collars with annual $10 ID tags, and maybe keep them all in a tight pack with a leash…

My purpose in writing this morning is to lodge my concern about the new $1,000 leash-law fines … I like my owner’s leash. It is important to get me safely across streets and past urban areas heavily populated with humans. It keeps a good dog honest. Conversely, a leash is a detriment in safe wooded park areas like mine.

If it is necessary to crack down on real dog threats, the dog police need to be given discretionary authority, to focus on those parts of the city where humans are being irresponsible … Barring that, the city should create and maintain fenced parks, for dogs only, where there would not be drunken college kids, high school runners, bicycles, and flowing sewage. There was a time when blacks and women could not vote. Council people, there will come a time, thanks to the Internet, when dogs will.

Thank you for your careful consideration on this matter.

Maggie Mae Airedale

Can dogs love? Does it matter?

There’s an interesting discussion unfolding in the Windy City – a drama in, basically, three parts.

Scene One: For the love of her dog, Jess Craigie dives into the icy waters of Lake Michigan to save her 2-year-old mutt, Moxie, who had uncharacteristically, while off leash, jumped in the water. Dog and owner are both rescued, and are now doing fine.

Scene Two: Eric Zorn, Chicago Tribune writer, showing some moxie of his own, uses the much publicized event as the basis for a column entitled, “Your Dog Doesn’t Love You” — one that starts, snarkily enough, this way:

“Note to Jess Craigie: Your dog still doesn’t love you.”

The piece goes on to explain that dogs don’t feel love — unconditional or otherwise. What we mistake for love is all an act they put on to get fed. Zorn cites no scientific studies, but he does quote the prolific author of dog books, Jon Katz.

Scene Three: The readers, Craigie included, respond — most taking issue with Zorn’s conclusions. A few leash law sticklers take the opportunity to point out Moxie would have never gone into the water if she had been on her leash. But, mostly, readers take Zorn to task for his cold-hearted view. A reader poll shows 9 out of 10 voters do think dogs can love.

It all makes for some thought-provoking and entertaining reading — even though the whole debate is a bit off point.

Craigie didn’t dive into the water because of Moxie’s love for her, but for her love of Moxie.

Motorcycle ride benefits Great Danes

The Mid Atlantic Great Dane Rescue League is sponsoring a benefit motorcycle ride, starting in Frederick, with stops in Mount Airy, Taneytown and Boonsboro, before looping back to its point of origin — Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick.

The event, dubbed “Doing it for the Danes,” costs $25 for participating drivers, $10 for riders. In addition, those taking part will raise money through pledges.

Included in the ticket price are food, music, t-shirts (for the first 200 drivers), door prizes and a beer tasting (upon conclusion of the ride). Proceeds from all raffles and a portion of vendor sales will benefit MAGDRL.

The event will be held Saturday June 28. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m, with the first riders leaving at 9:30 a.m.

Riders will cover a 110-mile scenic route — with stops at Lu & Jo’s in Mount Airy, the Taneytown Tavern and The Dog Patch in Boonsboro — before returning to the Flying Dog Brewery, 4607 Wedgewood Blvd. (off English Muffin Way).

To take part, make a pledge, or just learn more, visit the MAGDRL website, or email Chris Ronald at chriskronald@yahoo.com

Cesar Millan goes after puppy mills

Cesar Millan goes “undercover” for tonight’s episode of “The Dog Whisperer,” helping Last Chance for Animals rescue 11 dogs from a big-time breeder, then working to rehabilitate them.

In the episode (9 p.m. on the National Geographic Channel), Millan, who says he has had no previous contact with puppy mills, joins a team of Last Chance for Animals operatives as they negotiate the release of the dogs, then work together to get them over the trauma of growing up caged.

One of the dogs ends up getting adopted by Sharon Osbourne, who was stopped by Last Chance for Animals when she was on her way into a pet store to buy a dog. Instead, she was talked into taking one of the rescued dogs.

Millan, while he has seen the hyper and nervous behavior dogs from puppy mills often exhibit, had never been inside a factory-style breeding operation — the kind said to churn out more than a million purebred and “designer” dogs a year.

“It takes a lot of concentration not to judge (puppy mill owners) when you know they’re doing something wrong. But in order for me to help and influence them, I have to see what they’re doing,” he says. “I saw a dog that was blind. I saw many dogs in one kennel. I felt a lot of frustration; I felt a lot of confusion … definitely aggression .. a lot of anxiety.”

On the program, Millan’s work with dogs previously rescued by Last Chance for Animals is also featured.

Last Chance for Animals is a national, nonprofit organization that works to eliminate animal exploitation through education, investigations and legislation.