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Archive for June 9th, 2010

Biloxi’s beaches — no oil, no dogs

Mississippi’s coast has so far been spared from BP-sponsored black tides, with most of the oil that has leaked since the rig explosion appearing to be headed for the coastlines of Florida and Louisiana.

Despite that, Biloxi’s wide white sand beaches seemed relatively empty when Ace and I pulled into town yesterday.

A massive effort to fight off any slicks that might approach is being staged, but Biloxi’s beaches so far are fortunately free of oil, unfortunately short on tourists and, as usual, not dog friendly.

Maybe Biloxi is a reflection of how skewed our priorities can get. Drilling in the gulf? No problem. Casinos on the beach? The more the merrier. Dogs on the beach? No way.

They, or so I guess the reasoning goes, might taint the pristine shores.

Meanwhile, the welcome mat is laid out for high-rises and high-rollers and those seeking oil from beneath the gulf, even though the potential mess they might bring can mount far higher than a pile of dog poop.

I’m just sayin’.

Of course, policy and practice are two different things, and locals inform me that, except on the weekends, one can pretty much get away with their dog on the beach, as long as he or she is leashed.

We didn’t know that, so Ace and I just sat on a bench under the 96 degree sun and stared longingly at the water.

We stayed at a Motel 6, which we can now add to our truly dog friendly list.

The room was a bit spartan, but the staff went gaga over Ace, and his poundage — despite the silly obsession so many motels have about a dog’s weight — was not a factor at all. The staff even came up with a nickname for him, BAD, standing for Big Ass Dog.

Today, after a day driving south, Big Ass Dog and me head west. Possibly we’ll stop at one of Mississippi’s dog-friendlier beaches, maybe we’ll spend some time in New Orleans before taking on Texas. In any event, we plan to dip our toes in the water — avoiding, we hope, the big ass oil spill.

Before we make too much fun of China …

Folks in China may be going overboard decorating their dogs as wild animals, but leave it to America to take the bizarre practice of decorating dogs and turn it into a TV series.

“Extreme Poodles” will air on TLC, premiering this Sunday at 9 p.m.

The Today Show aired a segment on the new program today, featuring three highly defensive dog decorators who maybe need to get a new hobby.

According to them, the dog’s just love it — soaking up the attention while soaking up the dyes.

Wild: The latest grooming craze in China

In what’s being described as the latest pet craze in China, dogs are being groomed and dyed to resemble other animals.

You can probably guess what we — being proponents of letting dogs be dogs –think of this. As if humanizing weren’t bad enough, now we’re subjecting them to tiger-izing and panda-izing?

Visitors recently gathered at a local pet market in Central China’s Zhengzhou city to view and photograph dogs who’d been trimmed and painted to resemble pandas and Siberian tigers, according to a report in the Montreal Gazette.

True, both those species are endangered in China, but that’s no reason to dress dogs up to fill the void.

China has also been big on dyeing dogs unnatural colors. Both fads are believed to have started off in the good old USA.

What we’d spend to save our pet

A majority of pet owners would pay $500 for life-saving veterinary care, but less than half would fork over $1,000, only a third would spend $2,000, and only about 20 percent would be willing to pay $5,000.

So says an Associated Press-Petside.com poll about the cost of health care for animals, conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media.

Only at the $500 level were dog owners (74 percent) more likely than cat owners (46 percent) to say they would likely seek treatment. In the higher price ranges, the two are about equally likely to seek vet care.

“Euthanasia is always sad but when finances have to be considered, when you feel there is a possibility you didn’t or couldn’t do the right thing, you feel guilty,” said veterinarian Jane Shaw, director of the Argus Institute in the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University. “We are at a point where we are talking about basic life needs or survival needs.”

One in five pet owners said they fret a lot about being unable to afford seeing a vet. Dog owners are more likely to worry than cat owners, and low-income people are among the biggest worriers, which is probably because they have the biggest worries.

About one in four people, or 27 percent, said pet insurance is a good way to save money on vet bills, though only about 5 percent of pet owners actually have it.

The AP-Petside.com Poll was conducted April 7-12, 2010, and involved phone interviews with 1,112 pet owners nationwide. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.