Hoofbeats of the apocalypse

feral horse appalachian

Feral horses run in the wiry grass of Don Blankenship’s prairies. Once real mountains stood here, all crowned in ash and oak and hickory, but beneath them was a black rock. Over the centuries, men came and dug at the earth and sweated and died and then the bulldozers came and the mountains were gone. The state demanded that the coal operators do something to reclaim the land, so they planted some cheap grass and a couple of pine trees.  But the land was forever changed.

Over the years, the jobs all went away, and those who had a few pleasure horses took them to the new grasslands and set them free. Better to be “wild horses” on the range than dog food was the simple logic.

And the stallions round their mares in this new steppeland.  They nicker and fight the wars of that ancient Equus lambei, which a few romantics like to hope gives some sort of license to the native status of the modern horse on this continent.

At the same time, the state of West Virginia is trying its hand at restoring elk to these very same prairie lands. The elk were natives of the Eastern forests, and the ones being turned out onto these ranges are from Kentucky and Arizona. And those of Kentucky are still of the Rocky Mountain form of elk, not the long gone Eastern kind, which may now exist only in the muddled genetics of some New Zealand ranched herds.

The elk need the grass too, and worries are the horses will make the range too bare. And the elk will not make a comeback.

But the truth of the matter is neither species is native to land that never existed before. The glaciers never made it this far south, and the steepness of the terrain before the dozers came is testament to the antiquity of these mountains. They once stood like the Rockies or the Himalayas, but the millennia of erosion wore them down until the coal operators showed up to cut down their remnant. The glaciers never smoothed out the mountains, but human greed certainly did.

Meanwhile, Don Blankenship is back in politics. He is a former coal operator, a greedy, nasty one at that, the kind that was once excoriated in all those old union songs, but now as the mines employ fewer and fewer workers and UMWA is all broken and busted, he plays the working class victim.  All railroaded by “union bosses” and Obama, he didn’t do anything wrong, he tells the gullible.

He’s thrown his hat into the US Senate race. His ads call all his opponents liberals and abortion lovers. He plays up his conspiracy theory about Obama having it out for him. He feigns tears about Indiana bats that are being killed by windmills.

He says he’ll drain the swamp. Maybe, he will, but I have the idea that he might just fill it up with coal slurry. That’s what happened to poor Martin County, Kentucky.  Blankenship was CEO when his company’s slurry impoundment overflowed and filled up the Tug Fork River.

He sells the false hope that if you just get rid of a few more environmental and labor regulations, the coal industry will come roaring back.  He also says that if we just build Old Man Trump’s wall on the Mexican border, we won’t have any more problems with drugs. After all, the drug problem must surely come from brown foreigners, and not the pharmaceutical industry and those totally unscrupulous doctors who prescribed opioids for every little discomfort.

The politics he offers are the politics of the apocalypse. In land where no real hope can be found, a little false hope will do.

And the miners lose their jobs and their homes and their pleasure horses join the ranks of the feral bands.

The Bible talks about the four horsemen of the apocalypse, but in West Virginia, the hoofbeats of that sound the impending doom have no riders at all.

They are the roving bands of the abandoned, left out to sort out a new existence on Don Blankeship’s prairies.

The snakeoil of politicians rings out on the airwaves, and every year, new horses get turned out, and the mares drop their feral foals.

The coal company’s rangeland gets denuded a little bit more, and the elk might not stand much of a chance.

In this apocalypse, death will come.  Sooner or later, the horses will starve on those pastures. A few good souls might get some of them adopted, but most will either starve or wind up shot.

Perhaps, this election will be the final burlesque of Blankenship, but he’s not the only coal country caudillo in West Virginia. The current governor is a more successful sort of politico of this stripe, and the legislature if full of people like him. The long suffering of the people will go on and on, and the horses will continue to be turned out into the wild,

Already, coal towns are advertising their “wild horses” as an attraction draw tourism. It’s a more benign falsehood than the one Blankenship is offering.

But it is not so benign for the horses or the coming elk. For them, the apocalypse is coming. They cannot know it, for if they did, they would run.

And their hoofbeats would ring out the warning of our impending doom.

Natural History

Posted in Pet Care Articles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Rock-A-Bye Baby

What a great babysitter! Until next time, Good day, and good dog!


Doggies.com Dog Blog

Posted in Pet Care Articles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Dogs Help Fight Poaching in Tanzania

WWE dogs

We all know that poaching is a huge problem that needs to be stopped. According to the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF), “ivory poaching has reduced the elephant population in Tanzania’s oldest and largest protected area by 90%” in the last 40 years alone.. Karin Wagemann is one of the dedicated people working to stop that trend – with a little help from some four-legged barking friends!

“Training dogs, that’s always been easier for me,” Karin told The Spokesman-Review. Karin is an American Society of Canine Trainers instructor but some of her most impressive dogs are in Tanzania, not America. So far she has trained four anti-poaching dogs and returned to Tanzania in January to continue working with six Tanzanian handlers dedicated to protecting the elephants of Tanzania.

The four dogs are former rescue dogs from America named Tony, Popo, DJ, and Radar. They know how to detect hippo teeth, ammunition, rhino horns, and ivory from elephant tusks. The handlers are game scouts with the Grumeti Law Enforcement Division. Despite a language barrier, they made their love for the dogs clear to Karin.

“They really care about the dogs and have shown care I haven’t seen anywhere else,” Karin said. That helped compensate for the human language problems. They worked together for two months on canine management as well as advanced detection and tracking before the handlers worked on their own for eight weeks while Karin returned to the United States. Looking back, “I couldn’t have asked for a better group,” Karin told reporters.

Once the group is done with training, they will work with the dogs at roadblocks to detect and halt transport and trade of illegal animal goods. The dogs are not attack dogs though. “They’re not aggressive,” explained Karin. If they detect a smuggled item, they “sniff you out and think you have a toy for them.”

Karin loves working with protection dogs and helping fight poachers. Karin told reporters, “I have known I was going to this [vocation] for a long time” before adding that it is “the best job ever.” Karin’s work with the dogs isn’t just helping elephants. The WWF notes that poaching also harms local communities who depend on tourism for their livelihoods. The tourists come to see the animals, so if the animals disappear, the tourists will, too.

Halo’s mission includes our belief that each and every animal impacts our lives and ultimately plays a role in improving our collective well-being. Because of that, we’re actively challenging the long-held one-way view of animal management (purely for human benefit) for one where we take care of each other—people, animals, and planet. We applaud the dogs and people working together to prevent poaching and take care of our planet. Those are some good dogs who deserve great treats for their amazing work.

Halo Pets

Posted in Pet Care Articles | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Are Cats More Sophisticated Gourmets Than Dogs?

Cat eating

I read many interesting articles in the New York Times pertaining to dogs and cats, and I was especially curious about this article, which considered which of the two species has a more highly attuned sense of taste and smell.

The big question posed in the article is why cats are more finicky about their food than dogs, even though canines have a more acute sense of smell.

An explanation about why cats tend to be super picky about their diets is that they will lean toward whatever food they received as kittens. What cats are fed as young kittens, both through mother’s milk and early solids, may lead to lifelong preferences (which I why I passionately urge everyone to avoid high-carbohydrate plant-based kibble – which I call “kitty crack”-  whenever possible!).

As you all must know by now, I am an ardent proponent of feeding cats as though they are obligate carnivores (because they are!) by giving them high quality, low-carbohydrate canned food for the protein and moisture content. I salute the responsible ingredient sourcing and selection in Halo canned cat foods and their super low-carb varieties, and so will your kitties.

I urge you to bypass dry food entirely, and offer your kitties whatever canned cat food you can afford, for their health and longevity. However, I do understand that for economic or practical/convenience reasons that people need or choose to feed dry food, but I do hope they will include as much wet food in the diet as they can.

The NYT article questions: why don’t cats ravenously gulp down their food, opting instead to be fussy about their meal selection? One reason suggested for their pickiness is that cats are mostly solitary hunters, not pack animals like dogs, who have to wolf their food down to be sure to get their share. A few bites is all a cat needs with her small stomach, anyway.

The Times article cited research showing that cats respond less to sweetness in food than people or dogs do. Cats also have more receptors for bitterness. The smell of food influences how a cat responds. Since cats are not as sensitive to smell as dogs, aroma becomes very important to them, which is why cold food may not entice them (my book The Cat Bible: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know” has a number of tips about successful feline mealtimes).  Texture is another consideration: cats’ teeth evolved to rip and tear at their prey, not to grind. The Times article considered whether this fact might be why cats often prefer canned moist chunks and shreds over dry food, which tends to be swallowed whole. At the same time, many kitties respond best to the pate-style wet food which is already blended together.

All these factors add up to a finicky cat who reacts more or less enthusiastically to a variety of elements in food. Every cat is an individual and always reserves the right to change her mind about her likes and dislikes! That is why multiple exposures to many different kinds of food is good to broaden her palate.

Tracie HotchnerTracie Hotchner is a nationally acclaimed pet wellness advocate, who wrote THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know. She is recognized as the premiere voice for pets and their people on pet talk radio. She continues to produce and host her own Gracie® Award winning NPR show DOG TALK®  (and Kitties, Too!) from Peconic Public Broadcasting in the Hamptons after 9 consecutive years and over 500 shows. She produced and hosted her own live, call-in show CAT CHAT® on the Martha Stewart channel of Sirius/XM for over 7 years until the channel was canceled, when Tracie created her own Radio Pet Lady Network where she produces and co-hosts CAT CHAT® along with 10 other pet talk radio podcasts with top veterinarians and pet experts.

Dog Film Festival - Tracie HotchnerTracie also is the Founder and Director of the annual NY Dog Film Festival, a philanthropic celebration of the love between dogs and their people. Short canine-themed documentary, animated and narrative films from around the world create a shared audience experience that inspires, educates and entertains. With a New York City premiere every October, the Festival then travels around the country, partnering in each location with an outstanding animal welfare organization that brings adoptable dogs to the theater and receives half the proceeds of the ticket sales. Halo was a Founding Sponsor in 2015 and donated 10,000 meals to the beneficiary shelters in every destination around the country in 2016.

Tracie lives in Bennington, Vermont – where the Radio Pet Lady Network studio is based – and where her 12 acres are well-used by her 2-girl pack of lovely, lively rescued Weimaraners, Maisie and Wanda.

Halo Pets

Posted in Pet Care Articles | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who’s A Good Boy?

I love this look! Until next time, Good day, and good dog!


Doggies.com Dog Blog

Posted in Pet Care Articles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Bulldogs are Beautiful Day

It’s been said that every dog has his day. For Bulldogs that day is April 21st, when animal lovers celebrate Bulldogs are Beautiful Day! To mark the occasion, here are a few fun facts about one…



[[ This is a summary only. Click the title for the full post, photos, videos, giveaways, and more! ]]


DogTipper

Posted in Pet Care Articles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Whole Lot of Difference: Kitten Rescue

Kitten Rescue

Kitten Rescue is a non-profit, volunteer-run organization devoted to finding loving homes for unwanted, homeless cats and kittens. They rescue cats and kittens from the streets of Los Angeles and from City Shelter euthanasia. Since their start in 1997, they have grown into one of the largest, most well-respected animal welfare groups in LA.

Halo is proud to partner with Freekibble.com and GreaterGood.org to make a WHOLE lot of difference for shelter pets together.

Kitten Rescue received the donation thanks to a Halo partnership with social influencer White Coffee Cat, who has 1.4 million Instagram followers and almost 500,000 Facebook fans.

White Coffee Cat

Here’s what Kitten Rescue had to say about their recent Halo donation:

Snoop is a staff and volunteer favorite at the Sanctuary. He is a high energy, curious, quirky two-year-old kitty. He loves to find new places to explore, climbing, burrowing, looking at you from on top of shelves and chirping sweetly as he is doing it all. Snoop has had corrective surgery to fix eye lashes that were growing inward and he also has an eye condition called coloboma, which means that his irises did not develop normally, but not to worry – this condition does not need any extra attention. He really is an awesome cat, and we’re hoping to find the perfect, loving home for him. Your grant helped us feed Sanctuary kitties like Snoop!

Snoop

At the Kitten Rescue Sanctuary, we have many special needs and senior cats, whose chances for adoption are slim. We provide lifetime care, filled with love and companionship for them here. The food provided for us, helps us care for these cats and provide them with great nutrition to keep them healthy. Champ is one of those kitties. He originally came to Kitten Rescue when he was trapped at a feral colony in 2003 and it was discovered that Champ wasn’t feral at all! He was adopted soon after, but was returned in 2010 with another cat after his owners were divorced. Champ’s birthday is this month and he will be 19 years old!”

Champ

Thank you Kitten Rescue and White Coffee Cat for making a WHOLE lot of difference for pets in your community.

Halo has now added even more WHOLE meat, poultry or fish and use OrigiNative™ (humanely sourced) Proteins, saying “NO” to factory farming, growth hormones, antibiotics, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. And all our fruits and vegetables are now Non-GMO – sourced from farmland that prohibits the use of Genetically Modified Seeds.

Halo feeds it forward, donating over 1.5 million bowls annually. As always, Halo will donate a bowl to a shelter every time YOU buy. Thank you for helping #HaloFeeditForward

Halo Pets

Posted in Pet Care Articles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

  Weiner dog museum opens

The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

Posted in Pet Care Articles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Get Working Dogs From Shelters – Not From European Breeders!

K9 Hercules is part of our partnership Grant program with Animal Farm Foundation

Photo by Universal K9

Why does the United States military – and various police departments around the country – continue to spend tens of thousands of dollars per dog to buy potential working dogs from Eastern Europe?

Not long ago on DOG TALK® I spoke to Dr. Karen Overall at the University of Pennsylvania vet school on the topic of the high cost to our police departments and military of continuing their practice of buying untrained dogs from overseas. Dr. Overall is overseeing a program to breed high quality working dogs right here in the U.S. However, this will take some time to get up and running as a reliable source of these much-needed canine workers.

Brad Croft Founder of Universal K9Right now, there’s someone doing something with rapid results to bring more working canines into the community – while saving the lives of dogs in shelters. Brad Croft thinks we’re wasting valuable money and time in the United States when our shelters are full of canine candidates that can be transitioned to work with the military or a police force. Croft founded Universal K9, a company that  identifies dogs in shelters who would be good prospects for police work – especially those high-drive, high energy dogs who didn’t work out as family pets.  Where purebred young dogs imported from Europe cost $ 10,000-$ 20,000 each (and still require extensive training), Croft says dogs from shelters are an inexpensive and highly effective resource to help combat crime. Each shelter selects dogs to be donated to the program based on their personality traits.Traditionally, the Universal K9 detection dogs cost approximately $ 3,000-$ 6,000 each, factoring in the professional training period that usually takes 8 weeks.

This week on DOG TALK®  I talked to Brad Croft about how he goes to shelters seeking these high-drive dogs and shapes them into valuable working dogs. Universal K9 exists solely to save dogs from shelters to train them for law enforcement and detection work, as well as for military veterans.

Brad also runs the Detection Dog Program at Animal Farm Foundation, where their mission is to secure equal treatment and opportunity for “pit bull” dogs, many of which Brad has taken from Animal Farm Foundation to transition into important work with law enforcement. Using AFF’s philosophy that all dogs are individuals and should not be categorized because of their breed, Universal K9 trains the dogs to prepare them to work with police departments helping them detect drugs, explosives, and weapons.  Universal K9 has already placed 46 of these dogs from the Animal Farm Foundation Detection Dog Program into the field in a number of police departments across the country, where they are assisting police officers in fighting crime – while getting a new lease on life.

Tracie HotchnerTracie Hotchner is a nationally acclaimed pet wellness advocate, who wrote THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know. She is recognized as the premiere voice for pets and their people on pet talk radio. She continues to produce and host her own Gracie® Award winning NPR show DOG TALK®  (and Kitties, Too!) from Peconic Public Broadcasting in the Hamptons after 9 consecutive years and over 500 shows. She produced and hosted her own live, call-in show CAT CHAT® on the Martha Stewart channel of Sirius/XM for over 7 years until the channel was canceled, when Tracie created her own Radio Pet Lady Network where she produces and co-hosts CAT CHAT® along with 10 other pet talk radio podcasts with top veterinarians and pet experts.

Dog Film Festival - Tracie HotchnerTracie also is the Founder and Director of the annual NY Dog Film Festival, a philanthropic celebration of the love between dogs and their people. Short canine-themed documentary, animated and narrative films from around the world create a shared audience experience that inspires, educates and entertains. With a New York City premiere every October, the Festival then travels around the country, partnering in each location with an outstanding animal welfare organization that brings adoptable dogs to the theater and receives half the proceeds of the ticket sales. Halo was a Founding Sponsor in 2015 and donated 10,000 meals to the beneficiary shelters in every destination around the country in 2016.

Tracie lives in Bennington, Vermont – where the Radio Pet Lady Network studio is based – and where her 12 acres are well-used by her 2-girl pack of lovely, lively rescued Weimaraners, Maisie and Wanda.

Halo Pets

Posted in Pet Care Articles | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

12 Delightfully Easy Avocado-Based Recipes

Summertime Watermelon and Feta Guacamole Dip

You already know all about my long time love affair with all things avocado, so I’ll skip the gushing and just leave you with this round up of my favorite recipes from over the years here at Bubby and Bean that incorporate avocado and happen to be incredibly easy to prepare. Click on any of the images or links below them to see the recipes in full. I’m getting hungry just looking at them.

Cheddar + Swiss, Fuji Apple, and Avocado Sandwich
Guacamole and Black Bean Pizza (via Bubby and Bean)
Jasmine Rice, Lentil, and Red Quinoa Tacos
Southwestern Style Mac and Cheese // Bubby and Bean
Individual Mexican Style Layer Dips
Avocado and Pan Toasted Chickpea Pitas
Festive Winter Guacamole
Vegetarian Breakfast Tacos with Red and Yellow Potatoes

If you’ve made any of these, I’d love to hear which was your favorite. And if there are any recipes staring my beloved avocado that you think I simply must try, please leave links in the comments or shoot me an email!

ALSO FIND US HERE: INSTAGRAM // FACEBOOK // TWITTER // PINTEREST
SaveSaveSaveSave
SaveSave
SaveSave
SaveSave


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

Posted in Pet Care Articles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment