When it comes to animals, there are those softies among us who see nearly everything they do – especially dogs — as magical and motivated by love.
Then there are those – generally not ohmidog! readers — who see dogs as unfeeling beasts concerned only with their next meal and their own comfort.
When a dog does something that seems kind, noble or otherwise amazing, members of that first group will “ooh” and “ah,” while members of the second will say “so what?” Anything a dog does, in their view, is explainable solely by instincts, training and will to survive. That way dogs snuggle with you at night? They are just trying to keep warm. Those goo goo eyes adoringly staring at you? They’re just trying to manipulate you into providing a treat.
For sure, the first group may often read too much into the motivations behind a dog’s behavior. But, just as surely, the second group sometimes isn’t reading en0ugh.
I, being author of a blog on the amazing things dogs do, am clearly a member of the first group. But, also being a realist and even more of a cynic, I can sometimes – just sometimes – see the second group’s point. As soon as I watched this video, for instance — once my “awwwwwwww” came to the final “w” — I started wondering about the motivations of the lion and dachshund, and, realistically, who was getting exactly what out of this relationship.
Bonedigger, the lion, and Milo, the dachshund, live together at Garold Wayne Exotic Animal Park in Wynnewood, Okla. Milo was among a litter of puppies living a the park when Bonedigger, who suffers from a bone disease, arrived as 4-week-old cub. The pups and lion eat together every day.
After the meal, Milo licks Bonedigger’s teeth clean.
I’d venture Milo is not exhibiting love — or at least not love alone — when he sticks his head into the mouth of a lion. I’d submit, too, that Bonedigger’s dental hygiene is not Milo’s top concern. (Then again, you never know.)
More likely, Milo is after a few final morsels, and Bonedigger, for his part, cooperates because he appreciates the attention, or the gum massage, or having a wiener dog who serves as his own personal flossing aide.
Park president Joe Schreibvogel says the dogs and lion have eaten together since they were youngsters. They also cuddle with each other, and sometimes even mimic each other. It’s as if, species differences aside, they’ve become a pack.
“The dogs thought it was just a big puppy and have loved each other since,” Schreibvogel, who goes by the name “Joe Exotic,” told Today. The video of the lion and the dog has brought some needed attention to the Oklahoma zoo, which suffered about $18,000 in damage during the recent tornadoes. A spokesperson for the zoo says they’ve taken in about 100 homeless animals — domestic and exotic — since then.
But back to Milo and Bonedigger, and the question at hand.
Who’s getting what from this unlikely inter-species relationship, and who is benefitting most – the tooth-sucking canine, or the massive feline, who, rather than roaring at the little dog, says “ahhh” (or is it awwwww?) and lets him have at it?
My guess, is it’s a third species, one whose members sometimes over-analyze, and sometimes under-analyze, but still haven’t loss the ability to be amazed; one whose members – just as Bonedigger seems to appreciate a good tooth-licking — like to have their hearts warmed now and then.
Judging from the half million views this video has gotten in the past month, I’d say it ’s us.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 17th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: amazing, animals, behavior, bonedigger, dachshund, dachshunds, dog, dogs, emotions, exotic, exotic animal park, garold wayne, human, humans, inter-species, interspecies, joe exotic, joe Schreibvogel, lion, lions, love, loyalty, milo, motivation, oklahoma, pets, relationships, symbiotic, trust, unlikely, video, view, zoo
Long Road, Short Legs
When the road
And your legs
You might end up
The plus side is
You’re wiser now
(Sometimes, the poet within wins. To read all his verse, click on the logo to the left.)
They say love is blind. I’m not sure, with humans, that’s always the case. But it does seem to be with dogs.
That could help explain the apparent affection these dachshund pups are showing to a creature that, at least in the eyes of this beholder, is not one of God’s, or evolution’s, most eye-pleasing creations.
Then again, in the eyes of Cheesecake, a capybara who lives at Rocky Ridge Refuge, maybe these dachshunds aren’t the cutest things on the planet, either.
That hasn’t stopped the giant rodent from serving as mom, babysitter and guardian for the pups, who were among a litter of eight, left in a Tupperware container outside a church erlier this month.
The photos were posted to Facebook by the Arkansas-based animal rescue group that took in all eight puppies, four of which were quickly adopted.
The remaining four stayed at the refuge under the care of founder Janice Wolf, who turned to Cheescake for some assistance.
“Saturday was warm and sunny here, so I put Cheesecake in charge of the Doxie pups for the day,” she wrote on the rescue’s Facebook page.
Ever since then the pups have been snuggling with the capybara, either unaware she is a rodent (the largest type of rodent in the world), or thinking that doesn’t much matter.
(Photos: Rocky Ridge Refuge)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 20th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, arkansas, blind, capybara, cheesecake, dachshunds, dogs, interspecies, janice wolf, love, ocky ridge refuge, pets, puppies, pups, rescue, rodent, shelter, snuggling
I didn’t tune in to the first couple of episodes of “Dogs in the City.”
Another “Dog Whisperer” ripoff, I assumed; another show that makes transforming a poorly behaving dog appear, through the wonders of editing, magical and instantaneous. Then there was the pretty boy star of the CBS show — far too good looking to have been hired for his dog training skills, I figured.
But, based on the episode that aired last week, I like it, and, so far, him.
Here’s why. Justin Silver, the New York City trainer who’s the star of the show, went straight to the core of the behavioral problems of the three dogs featured — humans, of course, in every case.
Last week’s episode looked at a young couple on the verge of marriage whose dogs didn’t get along, an overly rambunctious family golden doodle, and a lonely woman who complained that two of her dogs, dachschunds both, were manhandling her third, a pampered celebrity Yorkie.
In each case the solution boiled down to three words, or less:
To the doting Yorkie owner whose world revolves entirely around her dogs, “Get a life.”
To the woman who saw her husband’s pit bulls as threatening to her Chihuahua — when actually it was the Chihuahua who was doing all the threatening – ”Chill out.”
And to the husband who encouraged rough play between his two young children and the golden doodle, “You’re an ass.”
He didn’t put it quite that bluntly, but almost, suggesting the husband release his pent-up energies by joining an “over 40 basketball league” rather than allowing and encouraging his children to “play” with the dog in a manner that came across as both cruel and harassing.
True, they were simple, obvious anwers — the kind everyone can see, except maybe the dogs’ owners.
A dog raised with no rules, in a chaotic environment, is most likely to become a chaotic sort, as seemed the case with the golden doodle. Beings that are idle, hardly ever get outdoor exercise and lack any socialization, like the dachshunds, and prison inmates, are going to come up with their own forms of stimulation, appropriate or not. Nervous and fearful dogs most often have a nervous and fearful owner at the other end of the leash.
It was neither rocket science nor miracle working, and while such shows always make canine transormations appear more instant thay they really are, Silver seems adept at getting to the root of the problem, coming up with a plan to address it, and dispensing both brutal honesty and compassion along the way.
Silver explained to the Yorkie owner, who admitted to spending 99 percent of her time in the house, that her dogs were acting out because they got little exercise. Minus stimulation, they created their own, albeit it at the expense of the Yorkie who seemed humped, licked and bitten to no end. He insisted the dogs started getting some walks, and he took their owner to a meet-up group, where she and her dogs had a chance to socialize.
With the Chihuahua owner, it was clear from the start that she had issues with pit bulls — and thus her Chihuahua did, too. The Chihuahua was picking up on her nervousness, and growling and snarling at the mellow pair of pitties. Silver worked to put her at ease around her husband-to-be’s dogs.
And with the golden doodle, it was a mainly matter of teaching the husband and two children that their dog wasn’t a punching bag, and setting some boundaries — for the dog, and kids, and dad.
“Dogs in the City” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 25th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, behavior, cbs, chihuahuas, dachshunds, dog training, dogs, dogs in the city, golden doodles, justin silver, pets, pit bulls, problems, review, television, trainer, tv, yorkshire terrier
A full year has passed since Ace and I — after a year on the road — called a temporary halt to our wandering ways and moved into the apartment of my birth in Winston-Salem, N.C.
During that time I’ve reclaimed my stuff, and gotten things organized to my liking, but I’ve done little to improve the outside appearances of my new abode — a one-story brick unit that looks just like all the others in the former 1950′s-era apartment complex turned condo.
Shortly after I moved in, the homeowner’s association here in what’s called College Village, began sprucing things up, landscaping the barren front of the buildings with azaleas and gardenias and the mulch of choice in these parts, pine needles.
But my front steps, especially after that, were pretty bland.
So, getting hit with an urge to build, make home a little homier, or maybe just put my mark on the place, the front stoop seemed a good place for a home improvement project — as silly as that may be to do in a rental property where, though I don’t have it entirely figured out yet, I probably won’t be staying for any great length of time.
Last week, after a good two years of avoiding Home Depot, I headed there to get what I needed for the project. I wanted to build a flower box for each side of the steps, to sit atop the brick ledges, and plant something flowery that would climb up the wrought iron rails.
Gardening, maybe, was something I missed during our year of travel, staying with friends, family, in the car, at campsites, in a boat, in a trailer and at a lot of Motel 6′s. (You can read more about those travels here, and buy the awesome commemorative Travels with Ace calendar here.) Since deciding to stay put for a bit, and moving here, all I’d done, gardening-wise, was stuff some pansies in some pots and put them on the front step’s brick ledges.
That was in honor of a pending visit from my sister and her husband. She lived here as a toddler, and had told me about how, before she had a brother to pester, she would sit on the front porch and talk to the pansies planted there, because it looked like they had faces, and she’d found they wouldn’t interrupt her.
Last week, with measurements in hand, and my son along — he’s visiting for the summer — I headed to Home Depot, determined to make not just some plain wooden flower boxes, but some that would securely fit over those brick ledges on the side, so as not to be knocked over by any big dogs, and I was intent on doing so as inexpensively as possible.
We bought some cedar fence planks, and two pine furring strips, some nails, some dirt, some white impatiens for the front of the boxes and, for the back, two clematis — clemati? — that would, according to the plan, wind their way up the black railings. Total cost: About $60.
Through a lot of trial and error, miscuts and boo-boos, we managed to put together two boxes, with slatted, recessed bottoms for drainage that perfectly fit over the ledges, with a little encouragement from a rubber mallet.
Once they were in place and secure, I realized that, in addition to being about the right size for what I was planting, they were also the perfect size for a couple of my neighbors — Frank and Bogey, both dachshunds.
So we invited Faren and her dogs over.
With the dogs in place, my modest apartment was transformed — into something close to one of those mansions that have pretentious lion statues at their entrance. Well, maybe not that close.
Bogey, that’s him on the left, was patient enough to stay in place while I took the picture. Frank, on the right, seemed mesmerized by being in the box. Frank, who has some weight issues, barely fit in, but he seemed to like that. Maybe he found it reassuring, like one of those Temple Grandin hugging machines.
He seemed willing to stay there all afternoon. Frank, we should point out, is in the midst of a weight loss regimen — and doing great. Not real active when I first met him, prone to giving up and laying down whenever his owner took him for a walk, we found that, with Ace along, he was inspired to keep up.
He has lost almost five pounds, has far more pep in his step, and almost every day, with Ace along, he’s logging a good half mile, with plans to increase that incrementally.
His brother (though not by birth) Bogey, is an active sort, prone to chasing squirrels if given the slightest opportunity. He’s much slimmer, and a bit longer than Frank. Between that and wanting to see outside, he chose to keep his front paws on the edge of the box.
Bogey’s the kind of dog that doesn’t want to miss anything.
Frank’s the sort who doesn’t want to miss dinner.
I’d probably rather step outside to see Frank and Bogey in my boxes than flowers, but that’s not practical, so I let Faren take her dogs back, explained to the two of them, and Ace, the importance of not peeing on my custom-built, cedar flower boxes, planted my flowers and took the “after” picture that’s atop this post.
In the months ahead, I expect my clematis vines — already with about a dozen blooms — to grow and climb. I expect Ace to not jump over or through my boxes in his eagerness to get outside, usually to see Frank and Bogey. I expect Frank, homebody that he is, to shrink more as our walks continue. I expect Bogey, adventurer that he is, to pick up a scent and chase something.
It occurs to me that I’m equal parts Frank and Bogey, and I think Ace is, too, and maybe we all are – part of us wanting to stay put, part of us wanting to get out of the box and explore.
But sometimes staying inside the box — as long as it’s one in which you can still grow – isn’t too bad.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 8th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, bogey, cedar, clematis, dachshunds, decorating, dog boxes, dogs, dogs in boxes, flower boxes, frank, front steps, gardening, home, home depot, home improvement, impatiens, living in the box, living outside the box, nesting, pets, project, road trip, settling down, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace
Ohio lawmakers were encouraged this week to repeal a nearly 25-year-old law that singles out pit bulls as vicious — not based on their behavior, but on their bloodlines, or sometimes just their suspected bloodlines.
Dr. Linda Lord, president of the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association, was one of five who gave testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, urging an end to the state’s restrictions against pit bulls, the Toledo Blade reported.
“The effective control of vicious animals is in the best interest of the state. However, current law placing restrictions on one specific type of dog is contrary to actually addressing the problem of aggressive canine behavior,” Dr. Lord said.
“Placing arbitrary limitations on the ownership of a specific type of dog only serves to create a stigma and place undue burdens on responsible animal owners.”
Dr. Lord told legislators that in her years of practice, she was more fearful of being bitten by dachshunds than by any so-called pit bull breed.
A bill to repeal the pit bull restrictions passed the House last spring. The Senate Judiciary chairman has tentatively scheduled a committee vote for January, according to The Blade.
Under Ohio’s current law, a dog can be labeled “vicious” if it has killed or seriously injured a person, killed another dog, or is a pit bull. Under House Bill 14, the definitions would be revised, and all breed-specific language would be removed.
Several Ohio cities that once banned pit bulls have lifted their restrictions, but repealing the state law has yet to be accomplished.
Five other witnesses testified earlier this week in favor of repealing the law.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 15th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, ban, breed, breed-specific, breeds, committee, dachshunds, dogs, judiciary, legislation, linda lord, ohio, ohio veterinary medical association, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbulls, repeal, senate, stigma, testimony, vicious
If the following take on Westminster reads like its coming from some PETA hothead that’s because it is.
Then agains, hotheads are sometimes worth listening to.
Lindsay Pollard-Post is a staff writer for The PETA Foundation, and her remarks appeared in the form of a guest column in the Sacramento Bee.
Pollard-Post recounts watching Westminster in her youth, usually with a bad case of strep throat, and with her dog Katie at her side…
“But had I known then that Westminster – and the dog-breeding industry that it props up – share the blame for the mutilation and deaths of millions of dogs each year, I would have changed the channel faster than you can say ‘Sesame Street.’
“Back then, I had no idea that the snub-nosed bulldogs and pugs prancing around the ring may have been gasping for breath the whole time because these breeds’ unnaturally shortened airways make exercise and sometimes even normal breathing difficult. I didn’t know that the “wiener dogs” that made me laugh as their little legs tried to keep up may have eventually suffered from disc disease or other back problems because dachshunds are bred for extremely long spinal columns. I didn’t learn until much later that because of inbreeding and breeding for distorted physical features, approximately one in four purebred dogs suffers from serious congenital disorders such as crippling hip dysplasia, blindness, deafness, heart defects, skin problems and epilepsy.
“I remember feeling shocked when I learned that Doberman pinschers’ ears naturally flop over, and that their ears only stand up because they are cut and bound with tape when the dogs are puppies. And I felt sick to my stomach when I discovered that cocker spaniels have beautiful, long, flowing tails, but American Kennel Club breed standards call for their tails to be amputated down to nubs. The American Veterinary Medical Association says that these procedures ‘are not medically indicated nor of benefit to the patient’ and they ’cause pain and distress.’
“… Like many people, I hadn’t made the connection that every time someone buys a purebred dog from a breeder or a pet store, a dog in a shelter – a loving animal whose life depends on being adopted – loses his or her chance at a home …
“Dog shows also encourage viewers to go out and buy purebred dogs like the ones they see on TV from breeders or pet stores. This impulse buying robs shelter dogs of homes, and even more dogs end up homeless when overwhelmed people discover that the adorable puppy they bought ruins carpets, needs expensive vaccinations and food and requires their constant attention.
“My own parents succumbed to the lure of purebreds: They purchased Katie from a breeder. Katie was an exceptional dog and my best friend, but it saddens me to think that other loving dogs waiting behind bars in shelters missed out on a good home because we thought we needed a certain breed of puppy.
“Thankfully, some things have changed. After Katie passed away, my parents adopted a lovable mutt from the local shelter. I haven’t had strep throat since I was a teenager. And if the dreaded illness strikes again, you’ll find me cuddling on the couch with my rescued dog, Pete, watching movies – not Westminster.”
Posted by jwoestendiek February 16th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, american kennel club, animals, appearance, back, breeding, bulldogs, congenital, criticism, dachshunds, disease, disorders, distorted, docking, dog shows, dogs, ears, features, hip, homeless, impulse buys, inbreeding, kennel club, leg, mutts, pets, physical, problems, purebreds, shelters, tails, westminster
This video may not have you on the edge of your seat. It’s pretty long, and it has its lulls.
But it features George Richards and his very well-trained Dachshund, named Hummel, who won his division in a competition last month at Point of Rocks, Maryland — an achievement that’s all the more impressive because George Richards is 92.