It's a big bad world!

It's a big bad world!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

I've had a really interesting week...
Watching one of my sweet wonderful novice girls go through the experience of a c-section to have her first litter, and then the intense pleasure of watching her awaken, realize that the huge lump that had been inside her tummy for so many weeks was now outside her tummy and attached to her in various places.  One cannot help but smile watching newborns blossom, learn to seek out the warmest areas of the box, and then the very next day..begin the Newf tradition of AVOIDING that spot once they have begun to regulate their body temperature better.  And always..that nimbus of light over their sleek little heads..could it be a halo?  I do know there is nothing better than sitting on the floor of the whelping box and seeing the bond develop between her and her offspring.  It just never gets old, you know?

Some things, however, do get old..and they get old really really fast.  One of the things that is definitely past  expiry date is the smear campaign that's being launched against me by a particular person, so I'm in the process of deciding whether or not to actually publish the crap, laugh and walk away, or take appropriate action.  A few key points I DO need to make first are coming to mind:
1. Smearing me won't change the pedigrees of anyone's dogs.  They are what they are.  Get over it, grow up, and own it.  It's only a big deal in YOUR mind, and if you hadn't tried to cover that, there would be nothing to lie about now.
2. I don't give a rat's ass where your dogs came from, as long as they are well cared for, which they are.  I suspect most people agree with me on that.
3. Screenshots are a wonderful thing, and the more you have saved of them, the easier it is to prove what was said - even if you went back and changed it later.  You really CAN'T change the original lie!  That's why it's always best to be honest..then you don't have to remember what you said, or spend time going back in your pages to alter things.  Sadly, most people remember anyway.
4. I am an avid fan of screen shots, as it takes ALL the mud out of the water at times, and is fabulous for jogging people's memories.  I keep PILES of things when I see muddy water.  Just for fun. And I'm quick. I generally do it before the shit hits the fan.
5.  You have to be VERY careful who you slander me to, because some of them are actually forwarding it to me.  (Sorry sweetie..just a fact of life.) 
6.  Putting up a lot of trees will not hide the forest.  Nobody is fooled, and you end up looking like an ass.
7.  If you live in a glass house..don't throw stones.  In other words, if you chose to hand out advice on message boards like Moses with the stone tablets, make SURE you are following your own advice.  Better yet, just don't be catty and bitchy in the first place, cuz it just makes you look bad to the normal people that read it.  They actually discuss it and say EWWWW.  Then they get their back up and start checking on you, not a good thing unless your qualifications and experience actually justify your attitude.  Try playing nice.
8.  A registered kennel is legally a business, so interference with that can have some interesting legal ramifications. (Yes, I've checked that out already.)
9.  Because this is MY blog I can (and WILL) happily publish a lot of things if forced to defend myself further.  And the more places I post a link to the blog, the more people will read it!  It's relatively simple to mask identities to avoid breaking laws without losing the meaning and content, so keep that in mind before you continue with the "poisoning the well" techniques you are employing in a desperate attempt to cover your lies.
The fabric you have woven with the lying is VERY thin.  The holes are very obvious, and it's super easy to point them out.  For you and your accomplice in this.  So do be more careful in the future.  You may even chose to take the high road and choose honesty!
 If you have any know where to find me!  I'll be in the whelping box, hugging puppies.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Where have all the mentors gone?

I am not a young person anymore.  Yes, that's a scary admission..but 'tis, none the less, true. I remember, quite a few years ago, looking back and realizing that half of my life head been spent actively involved in the raising, rearing, training and loving of Newfoundland dogs.  And as I said..that was quite a few years ago!  So now, with much more than half of my life in that activity...the age shows :-)  And perhaps more important than just the number of years I have invested comes the math factor.  In the last 30 years, I did not spend my time in the tranquil position of having one or two dogs at a time, the vast majority of that time was spent with averages ranging from 4 to a dozen.  Current rating - 9.  That's a lot of "dog years"!!   So many personalities, so much to learn about!  No wonder time flies when you are fixing gyproc and filling in holes in the yard!
There was a time in there, in the late 90's, when my life turned upside down for a few years, and while the dogs were a constant, my dog activities and associations dwindled for a few years.  When my life stabilized again, the burning desire to be involved with people who shared my passion for the breed came back with a vengeance, and, once again...I was activated.  But somewhere in there the world had changed.  I didn't know if it was me, or everyone around me.  Mentors were suddenly much harder to find and for the most part, many of them were cynical.  People I had worked side by side with in educational capacities were suddenly not interested in doing that anymore.  When I would question them..they would say...I just don't have time to piss around with it, and they don't listen anyway.  I guess they will just have to take their lumps like we did.
I was shocked.  It seemed to me like they were abandoning ship.  Didn't they CARE?  Why were they letting people with Newf puppies essentially sink or swim?  This did not make sense to me, and I was thoroughly disillusioned.  My own "go to" mentor was still intact and there for ME...and that was a constant...but then, when I thought about it..I still LISTENED to every word she said, and remembered that no matter how long I had been in this breed, she will ALWAYS have more experience than I do, simply because she started almost 20 years before I did, and she will always have, essentially, at least a hundred dog years more experience than I do!  Slowly, my power of observation came into focus.  Mentors haven't changed...the people who are crying that there are no mentors have changed.
The arrival of the information highway, the internet...has changed the face of mentoring. And, sadly, I'm not sure it's for the better.  I'm not sure, I should say..that it's "always" better.  Sometimes, it's helpful. Other times, it's downright harmful.
There was a time when someone would come to you, ask for guidance, and you would give it.  Because it was time honored and tested, it would, most of the time, work, and the person would be able to carry on and succeed.  The confusion factor was not there. A path would be selected for the issue..followed, and the results would be assessed.  If success did not follow within a reasonable amount of time, the path would then be altered.  But..there was a plan in place, because you had a mentor who was constant and who would willingly work with you until you had resolved the issue.  That just does not happen anymore.  Does that mean the mentoring isn't there, or does it actually mean that the listening factor went out the window?  Why would I do what my mentor is telling me..when I can go to a discussion board and ask 100 people and find 100 different answers, of them..might be what I want to hear?  That I don't have to work at this, and there is an easy way to do it?  Or that there is an "easy button" of some sort that will just fix this?  Or that it's the DOG'S fault and it's just a screwed up dog?  Interestingly, people seem QUITE willing to turf the advice of their vet, but hang on tight to advice that is offered by someone who may in actual fact have even less experience than they do...they just don't know that, because it came from the internet, and as the saying goes, everyone is so much "cooler" online!!
I recently experienced this with someone whom I had spent a good amount of time and energy.  We discussed, we planned, we put a routine in place.  For a specified amount of time..we would do A, B and C...and see if that worked.  A short amount of time passed.  A,B, and C was just not cutting it.  Instead of just turfing the plan completely...I asked for details of the "failure".  I was told..."Well, I did A, B and C just like you said...but on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I threw in R, and nothing is working."
"R?"  Where did R come from?
"I asked on a discussion board and someone said that R works REALLY REALLY well!  So, I tried R in conjunction.  But none of them work."
I wanted to hang up the phone.  I really considered it.  The words..."They don't listen anyway so they will just have to take their lumps like we did" was suddenly this HUGE echo coming off the walls and smacking me.  All of a sudden, I UNDERSTOOD.  Was there any point in explaining that everything you taught/did on the days you followed ABC was totally tossed on the days that you threw in R?  That it resulted in mass confusion for the dog and set you back to square one?  Or would that just result in another trip to the discussion board?  Would hanging up the phone mean the discussion board would have me lumped in as one of the breeders who are accused of "not giving a damn once a pup is sold?"  Scarier yet...I began to realize that if it were not for the fact that there was an innocent, confused pup involved, I really DIDN'T give a damn anymore!  As is often the case, this wasn't even one of MY pups!  What exactly is my obligation on "mentoring"?
Discussion boards can be wonderful things.  I actually go to them and read, because really, you never stop learning, and it's always possible that something new and exciting will appear that will alter the way I do things. There are some people on there who have YEARS on me in the experience department, and occasionally...they have a gem I grab and treasure.  It does not happen often, but I have, over the years, gleaned some new methods and information that were worth trying.  Sometimes..they are a bomb.  But occasionally, I've learned something.  So I don't just abandon it, but I do have my filters on high when I am reading so that common sense is never pitched out the window.  I've also learned to take into consideration exactly where the information comes from, and whether or not the person offering the advice REALLY has the experience and knowledge to be mentoring in the first place. All too often, they really don't, and they are flushing with the overnight success syndrome...."I've raised a couple of dogs that didn't kill I must know what I'm doing!".  And really, obviously..they DID.  With THOSE two dogs.  The next one, however, may be the hound from HELL, and that's where the learning begins!  ( My first Newf was a platinum angel...she never got in any trouble and was fully trained by about 16 weeks..for virtually everything.  I mistakenly thought that was a breed attribute.  The second one, however, began my education.  In retrospect, had I known what was coming...I would have named her Rude Awakening!)  And, guilty as charged...had anyone asked me about training when I had my stellar little angel in tow..I would have handed them the easy methods I had used, and expected it to work for them the way it had worked for me!  Jodi, however, gave me the smack in the forehead that I needed :-)
I'm not saying that discussion boards are all bad.  But I AM defending the breeders/experienced people out there who are being accused of refusing to be mentors.  I AM understanding the cynicism that drives their decision to NOT waste their time and energy just to deal with the frustration of being ignored.  And, once again, I find myself deferring to the wise words of my own mentor..."Tell them how to do it right.  Some will listen. Some just won't.  Sometimes you can fix stupid, but only if it's not really stupid."
Wise words should never be forgotten!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Word of the Day

Today..out of my deep respect for the people who pick my arse about stupid things that they know almost nothing about..
I have coined the new term....
By definition..being criticized by a twit that knows less than they think they do.

You can have twitical acclaim, you can speak twitically, you can, in fact..use this word in a plethora of situations.

And don't we always need a new, and less insulting word than IDIOT?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sometimes you need more than one brush...

I'm a little disturbed.  Now, of many of you, that may not be news..but beyond that...I'm a little stressed about directions right now.
Not long ago...we dog lovers..over what happened to Rosie.  And inside..I still weep.  I'm PROUD of the monumental effort that everyone put forth to bring that event into the make people see what happened..and to do our best to make sure that justice was served.  The situation was clearly unacceptable behaviour..and we rallied.  And now..we wait.  Because that's about all there is to be done at this time.  And the attempt is made to sweep this under the carpet..we shall rally again..and I will be there in any way I can.
There has been news stories of other events that were similar to Rosie..and each of us is rightfully outraged when we read of them.  Dogs shot with no provocation..and no reason to do so.  Sport killing of to speak.  And in each of those cases...I am equally dismayed..and more than willing to stand and be heard.  And I think publicity for those is ALSO justifiable..outrage is reasonable, realistic, and to be applauded.
A new twist to this is appearing..and I personally find it a bit alarming.  The only phrase that really comes to mind for it is "cop bashing". The most recent dog shooting post that appeared on my facebook wall hit with a vengeance earlier today..several posts...a case here in Canada..where the police shot a bulldog that was actively lunging at the officer, during an altercation with the owner.
A situation where the police had been to the residence no less than twice a week for 80 days.
A situation where complaints had been filed for methamphetamines..drunk driving..weapons..and assault.
Now..where I live...I would seriously be a little nervous as a peace officer, going into a situation where I was dealing with an agitated person...with that kind of recent history. Methamphetamines..weapons..and assault are not conducive to peaceful interaction.  And when that someone came out yelling and released his two bull of whom was lunging and trying to bite ..things got ugly fast.  This was a dog that did not retreat even after being smacked three times with a baton...and who was actively preventing the officer from restraining the person he/she was dealing with.  Hmmmm.
 I'm sorry..I'm having a LOT of trouble framing this along side of Rosie's tragic demise.
Reviewing the posts of the last few days...another one..where a dog was shot during a drug raid..and the question was the lead in for the post....ARE MY DOGS NOT SAFE IN MY OWN HOME???  Now..a headline about a dog being shot during a drug raid does NOT shiver me timbers, you know?  Mainly because...I don't have drugs in my house..I'm NOT cooking meth on the back burner..and because of that..I think it's pretty unlikely that the police are going to come to my house for anything but to ask directions.  They've done that a time or two..and they have never YET cuffed me or done anything to make my dogs see them as a threat.  IN fact..once, while giving a witness statement for something, the officer sat at my table and let my puppy try to remove the rubber sole off his boot, and they had a lot of fun together.  So, unless you ARE doing that kind of thing, I don't think you are actually on the mind of the police either.  Really, I don't think they care what the law abiding, normal citizen is doing most of the time.  They aren't going to drop in casually to see if you have a dog they can shoot.  And making statements like that is, sadly.. a little too tabloid for my tastes.
When I foolishly voiced my concerns about all of these cases being lumped together as excessive force..I was advised that the group was "losing momentum"..and keeping these dog shooting on top of the pile...would prevent that from happening.  And I
That was my cue that maybe it was time to step back, because I don't WANT my name attached to anything that applies equally to an innocent pet being shot or a meth house guard dog being shot.  I don't WANT my name attached to the concept that an officer who is being actively attacked in THAT kind of situation should stop and try to make friends..even if it endangers his life.  Nope..sorry..does not work for me.

I suddenly realized that there were interchangeable terms here..."losing momentum" just MIGHT become interchangeable with "losing credibility". Why?  Because I don't think your average intelligent citizen thinks it is reasonable to expect a police officer to be a chew toy for a watchdog at a meth house...or any similar situation.  I don't believe that they should be vilified for justifiable situations. And if we, as dog lovers..keep standing on our soapbox, wringing our hands about the "poor doggy" when the situation is suspiciously a valid situation, it is not going to take too long for us to completely lose credibility. And when that happens...we are not helping anyone.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thinking of Rosie....

For those of you who do not live in my world..the world where things tend to center around may not have heard about Rosie..the two year old Newfoundland that was shot and killed by the police in Des Moines, WA.  Her crime?  Being out of her own yard.  Being scared.  Being a dog.  The Newfoundland community is well they should...and my heart has been consumed by thoughts of this for days.
The  vigil for Rosie will be beginning in a little while.  I'm sitting here, a thousand miles away, with a five month Newfoundland puppy watching me.   She's sleepy...she needs to nap..but she's afraid I might go "do" something, and she will miss out on it.  She likes to "help" matter what I am doing.  It's her life's be with ME.  If I'm not around, another human will suffice.  She could be doing other things, her life is pretty much a playground.  But she is with ME, as are the rest, by CHOICE.

Right now, I'm glad she is staying awake.  I'm at a point where when I look at any one of the nine Newfoundlands I live with and see them sleeping, I think of Rosie's closed eyes, and my heart comes into my eyes water..and I have to think of something else or I have a meltdown.  Inevitably, I think of the police officers involved in, it wasn't just ONE..this was a team effort.  I almost think it was a sporting event for them...sick as that may sound.
I can't help but wonder exactly WHAT resides in their chest..for it certainly is not a heart similar to that of the people I know, nor is it a heart with any of the capacity of the creature they shot.  I hope, in the aftermath, they come to understand exactly what they have destroyed.

I've had Newfoundlands for almost 30 years.  I don't know how many, I would have to count, and that's not the point. The point is that in my world, some of the most important moments I've had have been shared with Newfoundland dogs.  When my son and daughter were born, the dogs were waiting at home, expectantly, and were delighted when I opened up the blankets and let them sniff tiny newborn toes.  Those toes became "Property of a Newfoundland" the minute the dogs saw them.  The little person they were part of was a cherished family member immediately  for those big shaggy heads .  Some of the dogs set up a vigil by the cradle.   Others would nudge my hand in the night if they thought the baby was fussing too much while it slept.  One would airscent and come and nudge me and GLARE if the baby had a dirty diaper.  These children learned to walk with a handful of fur, because the dogs would instinctively allow them to climb to standing, and then gauge their speed so that the child could toddle along beside them. They took their job very seriously and often my biggest battle was convincing one in particular that it was "ok" for my son to get on the school bus by himself.  And always, when it rolled back into the yard in the afternoon, she would be waiting for it, and checking him over to make sure they hadn't done anything to him.  God forbid that either of the children cried, because if they did, the dogs would become extremely upset.  And yes, whenever I cried, they were equally compassionate.  They stood by me, steadfast, through the loss of a husband and the loss of my mother.  Never wavering, there to support me...and giving me a sense of safety just by their presence in my home and in my life. When I grieve for anything, they sense it.  They move closer.  They SHARE my life..the good and the bad, and they ask for nothing but my hand on their head as thanks.

I'm thinking of the officer being so delighted that he "got a BIG one", and quite frankly, it makes me want to vomit to know that he is even breathing the same air as normal, intelligent human beings.  Because I remember, so distinctly, the time my two year old son wandered out of my yard, and I was frantic, trying to find him in the fields..screaming his name against a howling wind.  I recall how I heard barking...looked up, and saw my beautiful Cosby's white tipped tail waving through the tall wheat, as he barked and tried to call me.  He saw me acknowledge him..and he took off back in the direction he had come from.. I followed, and found the child, stuck up to his thighs in the mud, crying, unable to get out.  I could see the teeth marks in his little tshirt where Cosby had tried unsuccessfully to help him.  I could see the muddy hand prints all over Cosby from the child trying to let Cosby pull him out. I remember Cosby's insane JOY when I picked that child up out of the mud, his immediate desire to get him clean, and the love in that big dog's eyes for that child.

  My mind wanders to watching my kids try unsuccessfully to wander towards open water, with two or three Newfs constantly stepping between them and the water, nope, you can't go in the water, and we will make SURE you don't.  The kids were frustrated and kept trying to walk around..and the dogs would calmly walk forward or step back, whichever was required.  And it still makes me smile to remember Suzy dragging my daughter Sara out from between two slabs of snow - by the front of her little snow suit..when she "derailed' her little sleigh and got wedged on her back like a fat little beetle...kicking and screaming, and unable to roll over because of "too many clothes" and not enough co-ordination.  Susy..tugging gently, and backwards..till she could get up on her precious. At no point was she ever ASKED to do that.  Nobody TAUGHT her that.  It was their job, by instinct, to to protect human life.

No dog deserves to die the way Rosie did.  And certainly not a breed like this...a breed whose commitment to humans is legendary...a breed that is known for their sterling gentleness and love of human kind.

I look at a picture of one of my first Newfs sleeping in the playpen with my son, his head against her back, and curled into her.   And I WEEP.  Because THAT is the kind of creature you killed.  An animal that has such a commitment to humans that it would DIE to protect them.  That it would risk it's LIFE to save a child, or really, any person.  Are you proud of yourself?

I believe, in my heart, that what goes around comes around.  I hope that someday, you are able to understand how insane your actions were.

To the Wrights, my heartfelt sympathies.  And, play, are safe now, and you will never be frightened again.

"In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth."  Henry Beston