It sometimes seems a new dog book leaps off the presses everday — some not so good, some far too precious, some (though we like goofy) way too goofy, some noble and some ignoble.
Often, the most noble ones are so preachy, pedantic and overwrought they leave you feeling like you’ve spent six hours locked in a room with an evangelist who’s more concerned with lassoing your mind than opening it.
“Dogs With No Names” is an exception to that — a collection of photos, thoughts and insights gathered by Dr. Judith Samson-French while she was on a mission to sterilize stray and feral dogs on an Indian reservation in Canada.
It has a point, without being preachy; it has heart, without being schmaltzy; it has depth, valuable insights and some awesome photographs; and it looks at the plight some reservation dogs face without being desperate, culturally insensitive or overly judgmental.
Millions of unnamed, unclaimed and often unwanted dogs roam North America’s indian reservations — some feral, some tame, many somewhere in between — doing what they need to do to survive, including repopulating.
Samson-French’s mission was to implant a new type of contraceptive into female dogs on a reservation in Alberta, Canada, but her insights extend far beyond Canada, and far beyond reproduction.
She exposes the adversity, despair and suffering reservation dogs often face, and she looks at ways to compassionately and effectively address the overpopulation problem. She examines the behavior of reservation dogs, and how they’ve evolved to the conditions they live in. And she doesn’t overlook the role humans have played — and could play — in the equation.
The book lives up to its billing as “an intimate look at the relationship between North America’s First Nations communities and dogs: seeing past our prejudices to build bridges and understanding between our often combative cultures.”
Samson-French is a veterinary clinician and surgeon with over 20 years of experience. She owns and operates a veterinary hospital in the Rocky Mountain foothills. A graduate of McGill University (B.Sc.) and the University of Alberta (M.Sc.), she received her doctorate in veterinary medicine from the Ontario Veterinary College.
All of the profits from the sales of Dogs With No Names are donated to the Dogs With No Names project, of which Samson-French is founder.
(Photo: The cover photo of “Dogs with No Names,” courtesy of evocativedogphoto.com)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 25th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alberta, animals, book, books on dogs, canada, contraception, control, controlling, culture, device, dog, dog books, dogs, dogs with no names, feral, implant, indian, Judith Samson-French, native americans, overpopulation, pets, population, reservations, stray
During my stay aboard a sailboat, docked at the marina at Nick’s Fish House in Baltimore, I expected to run into my old friends Ned and Kay Uhler, who used to drive down from their home everyday to feed the feral cats that call Nick’s parking lot home.
The cats, who I wrote about a few years ago, are still around — this black one tried to cross my path last night — but I’m not so sure about Ned and Kay. Somebody’s still feeding the cats though, and maybe it’s them. Perhaps I’m just not waking up early enough to catch them in the act.
Ace, when we get off the boat for walks, usually spots one or two, and seems eager to get closer and meet them, but I don’t let him. I doubt he’d get the same reception from them that Ned and Kay always did.
My story about Ned and Kay feeding the feral cats was the only one, during my newspaper career, that I wrote entirely in verse. This was well before I became a professional writer of “highway haiku,” which is much harder to write, especially for one who has been accused of being long-winded — at least on the written page.
Be that as it may, with thanks to the Baltimore Sun, in which it first appeared — and still appears, though interrupted by advertising — here, in a slightly edited, minorly rewritten version, is …
“A Feral Cat Carole”
The cats were quite hungry that cold winter day
But Edwin L. Uhler was well on his way.
Ned left Owings Mills, his wife, Kay, at the wheel
Driving 25 miles to deliver the meal.
They got to Nick’s Fish House, where Ned keeps his boat
And then something happened that’s worthy of note:
‘Twas a gaggle of cats – a feline regatta –
Appearing from nowhere upon hearing his auto.
One cat, then two cats, then three and then four
And then after that there came even more:
Black, tan and gray cats, they trotted and waddled
Some long-haired, some short, some solid, some mottled.
From the rocks on the shore, from beneath a trailer
They crept and they scurried to greet the old sailor.
Ned wore a cap – a Greek sailor’s hat
And got out of his car with a big plastic vat.
With a wood-handled spoon, they laid food on the ground
Some here and some there in big heaping mounds.
And no sooner than that did the cats start to nibble
On Kay’s special mixture of canned food and kibble.
Until he retired a few weeks ago
Ned, 80, came daily – rain, sleet or snow.
Kay joins him on weekends, and when the job’s done
They go out for breakfast and coffee, and fun.
Kay plays video slots, and Ned drinks a beer
Then they go home, all filled with good cheer.
They once sailed the bay, but those days are past
And their boat now sits empty, no sail on its mast.
Ned lost a leg about six years ago
A stroke left Kay’s right arm quite weak and quite slow.
But together, Kay said, they can meet most demands.
It’s a trade-off of sorts: “I’m his legs; he’s my hands.”
Ned ran a company that dispatched big trucks
Kay worked in the office – now how’s that for luck?
Kay liked him right off, partly based on this fact:
“He can’t be a bad guy, if he has a cat.”
They married, years passed and more pets they raised
But the last one that died had left them quite fazed.
The death of their cat had left them bereft
So the Uhlers decided they’d have no more pets.
But not long after that, at their front door one night
Two cats showed up, both of them white.
One they named Blanche, and one Crackerjack
But not long after that they were taken aback
To find Jack was a Jill — now what’s up with that?
Back at the marina, they tend even more
Though the days that they go there they’ve reduced to four.
It’s a long way to drive and they need to cut back
On the money they spend on big cat food sacks.
Between canned food and dry, they’re paying high rates:
Forty-five dollars a week, or so Kay estimates.
“Forty-five dollars!” Ned says with a hiss
“Forty-five dollars? I did not know this.”
It all got started three years ago June
When the owners pulled out of the Dead Eye Saloon.
There were two cats they fed; one left there with them
But the one left behind faced quite a dilemma.
His name was ol’ Smokey, a friendly feline
With no rightful owner and no place to dine.
That’s where things stood when ol’ Ned stepped in
Not thinking that one cat would soon become ten.
Apparently Smokey had girlfriends, you see
And one became two, and two became three,
And three became four, and four became five
And the cat population continued to thrive.
As a marina, and a restaurant at that
Nick’s had some problems with occasional rats.
Now the rats are all gone, and some boaters like that
But still others complain about the number of cats.
Some even admit that the cats drive them bats
And soil their boats with nasty cat scat.
One boat owner said they look cuddly at first
“But when you put food out you’re making it worse.”
They leave paw prints on cars, and they stink up the joint
Leaving stains on boat cushions they choose to anoint.
One would be fine; maybe two would be cuter
But much more than that and it comes time to neuter.
And though it might make the soft-hearted pout
Some think the cats’ ranks need a good thinning out.
One-legged Ned doesn’t see it that way
And you can rest quite assured that neither does Kay.
Starving the cats is not a solution.
(And don’t even mention cat execution.)
Whatever their numbers, the cats need to eat,
And Ned will keep feeding come cold or come heat.
Ned rose from his barstool after sitting a bit
He straightened his cap to secure a good fit.
He pondered a question: Why not just quit?
And he said only this: “They appreciate it.”
(“Dog’s Country: Travels with Ace” is a regular feature of ohmidog!, and is in the process of becoming its own website, focusing on dogs and travel. Feel free to keep up with our progress — on the trip, and on the website at travelswithace.com)
Posted by John Woestendiek September 14th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, baltimore, cats, dog's country, dogscountry, feeding, feral, kay uhler, marina, ned uhler, nick's fish house, ohmidog!, pets, poem, poetry, restaurant, strays, travels with ace, wild
Baton Rouge Zoo officials think a pack of wild dogs may be responsible for the Sunday night deaths of 17 flamingos, more than a third of the zoo’s flock.
Despite having 24-hour security, the zoo didn’t discover the deaths until staff arrived for work Monday morning, Phil Frost, zoo director, told The Advocate.
Zoo officials don’t know how the dogs got into the zoo, or through an additional fence and into the flamingo enclosure, but they said canine paw prints were detected.
Besides the 17 flamingos killed, one more bird was injured in the attack and was being treated at the zoo’s hospital, said Mary Wood, the zoo’s marketing director.
The remaining 30 members of the flock who survived were back on display Monday. Zoo officials aren’t sure how they managed to survive the attack.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 3rd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, attacked, baton rouge, birds, dogs, enclosure, fence, feral, flamingo, flamingos, killed, news, pack, phil frost, wild, zoo
A band of wild beagles is scaring residents on part of Long Island, WABC-TV reports — even though it’s nothing new.
Dot Faszczewski, of Orient Point, was walking her dog, Trapper, when she encountered two or three of them.
“I could hear them coming towards me, it was a ferocious kind of barking,” she said. “I quickly grabbed my dog and came running into the house, just as we got in the dogs jumped at the door. I thought it was just some wolves coming at me.”
The report noted the beagles have been a problem for many years — the result of dogs being abandoned by hunters for failing to meet “rabbit-catching quotas.”
Area shelters have been trying to round up the beagles, socialize and rehabilitate them and find them adoptive homes. Reports of the beagles being aggressive don’t surprise shelter officials.
“Certainly if they’re out in a pack and their starving and their freezing they’re going to become aggressive,” said Pam Green of the Kent Animal Shelter in Calverton. She said her shelter takes in about 40 beagles a year.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 3rd, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abandoned, adopt, animals, beagles, calverton, dogs, feral, hunters, kent animal shelter, long island, orient point, packs, pets, rehabilitate, rescue, shelter, socialize, wild
Can you take the Grand Canyon out of the dog?
Shaggy, a mutt that spent six years surviving on his own in the Grand Canyon, will serve as an answer to that question as Best Friends Animal Sanctuary tackles the formidable task of socializing the feral dog.
Tonight’s episode of “Dogtown” features Shaggy and Best Friends Animal Behavior Consultant Sherry Woodard, who will try to gain his trust, teach him the ways of the civilized world and turn the dog — the only surviving member of a litter born in the canyon — into an adoptable pet.
Tonight’s show, also features Reggie, an Elkhound-mix with a mysterious and disfiguring skin condition, and an out-of-control beagle.
“Dogtown” airs at 10 p.m. on the National Geographic Channel.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 22nd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abandoned, animals, arizona, best friends, dog, dogs, dogtown, feral, grand canyon, mixed breed, mutt, national geographic channel, pets, shaggy, sherry woodard, socialization, socialize, survival, survived, television, tv, utah
On the streets of Moscow, the evolution of dog is playing out in reverse.
So contends Andrei Poyarkov, a biologist and wolf specialist who has dedicated himself to studying the city’s vast population of strays — the 30,000-plus dogs that, while learning such new urban skills as using the subways, are in reality moving back to something closer to a wolf-like state.
His efforts were recounted in an enlightening piece in yesterdays Financial Times.
Poyarkov began studying the strays in 1979, starting with those living near his apartment and the ones he encountered on his way to work. He made recordings of the sounds that the strays made, and began to study their social organization. He photographed them and mapped where each dog lived.
Poyarkov, who works at the A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, says Moscow’s strays are somewhere between house pets and wolves, in the early stages of the shift from the domesticated back towards the wild. It’s a process that he believes can’t be reversed, at least not in individual dogs. The strays are resistant to domestication, and many can’t stand being confined indoors.
Most of Moscow’s strays rarely wag their tails, are wary of humans and show no signs of affection towards them. A few remain comfortable with people, but more have moved on to a second stage, where they will approach people only to get food.
A third group interact mainly with other strays and get their food from garbage bins.
The last of Poyarkov’s groups are the wild dogs. “There are dogs living in the city that are not socialized to people. They know people, but view them as dangerous. Their range is extremely broad, and they are predators. They catch mice, rats and the occasional cat. They live in the city, but as a rule near industrial complexes, or in wooded parks. They are nocturnal and walk about when there are fewer people on the streets.”
Posted by John Woestendiek January 19th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: andrei poyarkov, animals, behavior, city, dog, dogs, domestication, evolution, feral, moscow, pets, research, reverse, russia, stray, strays, street, study, subway, urban, wild, wolf, wolves
Authorities in South Florida have arrested a teenager they believe responsible for at least some of the recent rash of mysterious cat killings and mutilations.
Police charged 18-year-old Tyler Hayes Weinman with 19 counts each of animal cruelty and improperly disposing of an animal body, the Associated Press reported. Weinman’s parents, divorced, live in the two neighborhoods where many of the cats were killed.
“It’s shocking to think that someone who lives right here and is our neighbor would do something like this,” said Thomas Shad, a Cutler Bay resident whose black cat, Miss Kitty, was among the dead.
Authorities had been watching Weinman and interviewed him on prom night, AP reported. He was arrested at a party on Sunday.
Weinman’s attorney, David W. Macey, said in an e-mail that his client was innocent of the charges. “Tyler welcomes his day in court, so that he will be completely vindicated,” he said.
In the past month, residents in the Palmetto Bay and Cutler Bay neighborhoods have reported finding the bodies of more than two dozen cats, although police said some were likely killed by dogs. Some were missing fur — neighbors said some had been skinned — and appeared to have been cut with a sharp, straight instrument, police said.
Louis B. Schlesinger, a professor of forensic psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, said cat killings are committed by “complicated individuals,” and are usually solo acts. He said the teenager should be evaluated, and he expected court officials to take the matter seriously.
“When you kill cats, disembowel them and cut their heads off, that is not a good sign and you do not have to be Sigmund Freud to see that,” he said.
Meanwhile, authorities in Broward County, Florida, say the deaths of 17 cats in one neighborhood may have been caused by stray dogs.
Police say three of the cat deaths in Lauderhill have been ruled animal-related. Tests on 14 other cat carcasses found since May 30 are still pending. Police reports say most of the cats were disemboweled, and one was decapitated.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 16th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, arrest, broward, cat, cutler bay, deaths, dogs, feral, florida, killing, miami, mutilation, news, ohmidog!, palmeto bay, skinned, stray, tyler weinman