Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Pop Culture Frenzy, Round 12

Welcome once again to Pop Culture Frenzy.  Here's our question.

What veteran talk show host is about to premiere a new talk show in Russia?

Hostmaster:  incorrect.
Cesar Millan?
Hostmaster:  incorrect.
Jerry Springer?
Hostmaster:  incorrect.
Dr. Ruth?
Hostmaster:  incorrect.
Johnny Carson?
Hostmaster:  he's dead.
 Dead guys are eligible?!
Well then, my guess is Larry King!
Hostmaster:  correct.  Actually, Larry King is alive. 
This is the end of Round 12.
I'm pretty sure Larry King is alive.
Round 12
Fluffy/Molly 6
Bryan/Cyndi  6

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Rose's Reality

As Rose ages, she collects diagnoses.  (click here for previous adventures in dx!).

Rose's hips are creaky and more than a wee bit wobbly.  It is probably a good thing that she paces.  All that movement helps keep old joints lubricated.  Still, there is a hitch in her hips.  She usually needs a boost up the stairs.  Rose, as always, goes with it.  Back legs don't bend like they used to?  Just create a new gait!  So, on the straightaway, Rose has developed an interesting sort of cartoon gallop.

It gets her from here to there.

It's tougher to bend down when your hips don't always stand steady, so we've elevated Rose's food dish.  This, combined with her pacing, better enables Rose to drop chunks of food over a greater distance, i.e. not just on the kitchen floor surrounding the bowl but in an ever widening span that includes the dining and living room floors.

Meanwhile, Rose's vision has taken a hit.   We've got a case of the missing retina.  Upon examination, the veterinarian could not find Rose's retina at all in her left eye and could just barely make it out in her right eye.  Therefore, Rose is probably blind in her left eye and sees only shadows in her right eye. 

Is this Rose's reality?
Who knows.
I know this.  The other day, it was sunny and warm.  Therefore, after I hosed off a bird cage, I left it on the driveway to dry.  Rose walked into it.

With probable deafness previously established, Rose has entered Helen Keller territory.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Breed Profile: Golden Retriever

Given their sturdy beauty and affable nature, it is not surprising that the Golden Retriever is a popular family dog.

Some Golden Retriever Facts

-  height at shoulder:  22-24 inches

-  weight:  55-75 pounds

-  life span:  10-12 years

-  coat colors:  cream to reddish gold

Yes, they shed.  (They are, after all, mammals with hair.)  Golden Retrievers have a double coat.  The under coat is soft and provides insulation from both heat and cold.  The outer coat is not "water proof" but does have a water deflection quality - imagine the hairs like grass covered in dew.  This coat works well when the dog is retrieving game in water or cavorting with children in a kiddie pool.

Caring for the coat requires at least twice weekly brushing to avoid matts.

In mid 19th century England, desiring a retriever tough enough to handle rugged terrain and a strong swimmer with a good work ethic, some careful breeding was undertaken by Sir Dudley Marjoribanks, the Lord Tweedmouth.  Speaking of mouths, the retriever also required a "soft mouth".   In other words, the dog shouldn't damage the bird by carrying it.  An intact bird makes for better eating, don't  you know.

Sir Dudley began with a dog named Nous (a yellow Wavy-Coated Retriever- a breed used by fisherman developed from Newfoundlands and Labrador Retrievers) and Belle (a Tweed Water Spaniel- a liver colored retriever with a curly coat).  This union produced four puppies. 

These dogs were then combined with assorted retrievers, more Tweed Spaniels, setters and Bloodhounds to develop what was then called the Flat Coated Retriever. 

In the early 1900's the breed came to the USA.  In 1927 the American Kennel Club officially recognized the Golden Retriever.

Golden Manifesto
-  everybody is my friend, I just haven't met them all yet
-  I will vivaciously participate in obedience, service work, search and rescue, hunting, agility, rally, therapy, nanny duty, whatever- all I ask is not to be left alone, I am a social creature
-  if you want a watchdog, get a Terrier (oh good!  I'll meet another friend!)
Golden Retrievers are strong, athletic and full of energy.  For best results, offer them plenty of exercise, play and something to do!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Something Rarely Discussed about Spayed Dogs

We've been told about the advantages of spaying our dog.  A spayed female doesn't go into heat, doesn't attract sex crazed males, doesn't get pregnant, doesn't leave messy menstrual stains on the couch, and has a lower incidence of breast cancer.

There is something rarely mentioned about the effects of spaying. 

A spayed female's vulva tends to be smaller and deeper than a non spayed gal.  You see, when a bitch goes into heat the vulva enlarges, becomes swollen.  It sort of fills the space.  Picture the dog's vulva as a garlic clove in a cup. The natural vulva is like a large garlic clove filling the cup, while a spayed vulva is a small garlic clove sitting lonely at the bottom of the cup.  You might say the non spayed vulva never builds up, or rather you might say, it atrophies from non use.

This smaller vulva presents, as my vet says, as an "immature conformation". 

So what, you ask?


The deeper vulva construction is more vulnerable to infection.  When there is so much space in a sort of deep dark dirty well, germs and yeast and who knows what just naturally gather.  These villians travel on down that well and pretty soon the dog has a bladder infection.

What's the conscientious owner of a spayed dog to do? 

Keep it as clean as you can.  Most of us don't bathe our dog, and hence her nether zone, as often as we bathe ourselves.  Still, there are ways to keep her clean short of a full bath.  You could squirt her between the legs with the garden hose.  You could soap up a wash cloth and scrub her area then rinse off the cloth and repeat. 

After some bladder infections and vulvitis episodes occurred with some of my girls, I started a new daily routine.  The good girl rolls over on her back and allows me to drop some diluted iodine onto her vulva.

So far so good.

Keeping our fingers (but not our legs!) crossed.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Birds and Personal Space

We've all heard of pecking order in birds.  It's a designation of hierarchy indicating who has the greatest power in the flock.  You can usually pick out the highest ranking bird when observing the activities in a cage full of birds.  The highest ranking bird is allowed access to the bath first.  Other birds move away from the food dish when Top Bird approaches.  This lower ranking bird behavior is not like the fawning deference sycophants give to an emperor, but rather a practical matter of letting someone be alpha to keep things nice and peaceful.  Let Top Bird use the swing and he won't peck your head.  It's a no-brainer for the average bird with no aspirations toward leadership.

There are other interesting social activities happening in a birdcage. For instance, you can tell who is friends with who, by what you might call Perching Order.

Birds that are pals sit close to each other.

Then there are the times when even good pals don't want to be joined at the hip.

 Then there are birds who are not pals.  For such birds, an Allow at Least Two Bird Lengths Between Cage Mates rule applies.

Some cage mates would rather not share the same perch.

This is why it's a good idea to offer plenty of perches in a cage, this increases the likelihood that each bird will have as much space as is desirable.  Giving the caged bird freedom to maintain his personal space keeps squabbling at a minimum.