How to Take a Last-Minute Trip with Your Dog

This week, an 11pm call from a South Texas nursing home where several of John’s elderly relatives reside meant an 8am trip the next day–with both Tiki and Barli. We like to spend the…



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DogTipper

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Evening catch

I caught these trout at Cooper’s Rock this evening.

The one on the bottom is a nice fat brook trout.

brook trout

Natural History

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Raymond Pierotti on domestic dog taxonomy and origins

Very interesting concepts:

Natural History

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Tom bird

tom bird

The early weeks of May begin the age of green pastels. The soft greenery of foliage pokes its way out of the gray smudge of the canopy, and the pastures are thickly verdant in the revived grass.

This age of green pastels is the harbinger to the age of photosynthesis, high summer, when the days steam long and hot and all living things in this temperate zone play out the business of growing, reproducing, and laying store for that long winter darkness that will return someday– but not soon.

This is the time of the cottontail doe kindling her kits in a bowl nest made from weaving the fur plucked from her belly with the furrows at the bases of the rising orchard grass. This is the time of the resplendent red cardinal cockbirds and their wild singing to ward off their rivals from the best nesting grounds. Testosterone rushes in them hard, as it does with all those of the avian kingdom, who are now at that season when procreation is the main consideration.

Just as the spring turns the “redbirds” into their state of lustful madness,  the wild turkeys turn their attention to these same carnal pursuits. Not pair-bonded in the way that most birds are, the big toms woo the hens with their gobbling and fanning and turning their light blue heads deep warrior red.  The spurs get thrown on occasion, especially for those foolish jakes who try to sneak a tryst with a hen in the undergrowth.

This time of green pastels is also a time when the shotguns go blasting.  Most other game beasts are left to alone in the spring time, but the wild turkey is one species where the hunt comes now. The camouflaged hunters, armed with their turkey calls and 12 and 20 gauges, braved the early spring snow squalls and bagged a few jakes and naive lustful toms.

But this big tom has survived the slinging of lead wads. Most of his rivals now reside in freezers or have already been fried as a fine repast.

The big bird has the hens mostly to himself, and when he hears the kelp-kelping of a hens on a distant ridge on a May morning, he lets loose a few loud gobbles.

“Come, my beauties! Behold me as your lover and protector!”

And the gormless hens kelp-kelp and wander in all directions, searching with their exquisite eyes for the big tom’s fanning form among the undergrowth.

The naive toms and young jakes will often go charging towards their calling, but the turkey hunter uses these exact same sounds to toll in the quarry.  The naive ones come in, and the shotguns have their number.

The big tom has seen his comrades dropped so many times that he hangs back and listens. He gobbles back every ten minutes or so. He walks in the opposite direction for about 20 yards then gobbles at the hens.

They kelp-kelp and meander around, but eventually, they line themselves on the right trail and wander over to meet the big tom. He fans for his girls, but none crouches before him for a bit of mating. They are just here to check the old boy out.

But sooner or later, they mate in the spring sun, and the hens will wandered to their nests in the undergrowth and tall grass. They will lay speckled eggs, which will hatch into speckled poults, which will carry the big tom’s genes into the next age of green pastels.

Someday, a skilled turkey hunter will work the old boy over with the hen calls in just the right way, and he will stand before the hunter’s shotgun blast. He will be taken to town and shown off to all the local guys, the ones who shoot jakes in the early days of the hunting season.

He will be a testament to the hunter’s skills, for real hunting is always an intellectual pursuit.  It is partly an understanding of biology and animal behavior, but it is also about the skillfulness at concealment and mimicry.

21 pounds of tom bird will be a trophy for the hunter, but they will also be the story of a bird who outwitted the guns for four good years and whose genes course through the ancestry of the young jakes gobbling and fanning in his absence.

A century ago, there were no wild turkeys in the Allegheny Plateau, but conservation organizations funded by hunters brought them back.

In the heat of July, the hens will move in trios and quartets into the tall summer grass of the pastures. They will be followed with great parades of poults, who will be charging and diving along at the rising swarms of grasshoppers and locusts. They will grow big an strong in the summer.

And someday, a few may become big old toms that will gobble on the high ridges, calling out to the hens to come and see them in their fine fanning.

And so the sun casts upon the land in the spring and summer, bringing forth the lustful pursuits among the greenery, even as mankind turns his back on the natural world more and more each year.

And fewer and fewer will feel sweet joy that one hears when a big tom gobbles in the early May rain that falls among the land dotted in green pastels.

Natural History

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RIP K-9 Baron

The Boone County, MO Sheriffs Department sadly announced late last week that K-9 Baron had died during a training exercise. The German Shepherd had faithfully served the department since 2012. He was 8.5 years old. Rest easy, Baron. Others will take the watch from here. Thank you for your service and sacrifice. Until next time, […]


Doggies.com Dog Blog

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Honoring Your Dog’s Life

With Memorial Day yesterday, I wanted to share some suggestions from I Heart Dogs on ways you can honor your dog after he or she passes over the Rainbow Bridge. The first recommendation is to start a journal about all of the happy experiences you had with your dog. Whether you hiked together or just […]


Doggies.com Dog Blog

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These Senior Dogs Received a Second Chance at Love

Humane Society of Central Oregon

We all hope that our twilight years will find us living in a place where people love us and care for us with dignity and compassion. It’s only logical to assume that dogs might share that hope for their own golden years. Unfortunately, for three senior dogs they found themselves, like so many others, searching for new homes through no fault of their own. Luckily all three dogs — Troy, Shasta, and Luke — found themselves at the Humane Society of Central Oregon (HSCO). HSCO is great place for any animal in need of a new forever home. In the words of Lynne Ouchida at HSCO, “Sometimes it takes awhile to find a forever home, but HSCO never gives up on our seniors.”

Another reason for Troy, Shasta, and Luke to be grateful is because HSCO receives a regular grant of nutritious Halo food through Halo’s partnership with Greater Good and Freekibble.com, made possible by your trivia answers! Lynne noted, their “senior animals truly benefit from the good nutrition that their bodies need and require.” Another benefit, aside from the nutrition is the taste. She told us about Luke, who at 14, had lost some of his sense of smell, however he “loved eating Halo dog food.” Halo is committed to helping shelter animals of all ages have their best chance at finding a loving forever home. A good diet in the shelter is important for that because, like with people, it’s hard for animals to be on their best behavior if they’re not eating nutritious food. As the official pet food sponsor of Freekibble.com, we give away more than 1.5 million bowls a year to help nourish shelter pets and help them put their best paw forward as they search for forever homes.

Troy came to HSCO in Bend, Oregon when he was 12 years old. His owner was moving and, despite having Troy since he was a puppy, the owner couldn’t take the Labrador Retriever-Blue Heeler mix dog with him. “It broke the hearts of HSCO staff and volunteers to see this guy alone and scared in the shelter…Troy seemed lost,” Lynne shared. He quickly became a volunteer favorite though because, in Lynne’s words, he was “easy going and eager to please.” He was adopted out to one family, but returned because he didn’t fit in well with the family’s other dog and cat. After another 20 days at the shelter, including a special video to show him off, Troy finally found his forever home. “This time,” Lynne wrote, “it was a perfect match and Troy is living a life of love and adventures.”

Troy with his new family

Shasta was a year younger than Troy, but still a senior when she was first surrendered to HSCO. Like Troy though, she also “was a repeat guest at HSCO,” according to Lynne. Shasta first came to HSCO when someone who had owned her for four months realized that their own health and finances meant that they could not care for the Coonhound. She had previously belonged to a friend of that individual who kept her as an outdoor-only hunting dog. Even though she was a senior, Shasta had a lot of energy and, what the HSCO team saw as “a young spirit.” Because she had such a high prey drive, Shasta needed a lot of time. It took her nearly three months before a staff member’s friend fell in love with Shasta and adopted her. Shasta is now “the light of their life” and loves playing with the friend’s young boy and other dog. It may have taken her longer than the average HSCO dog, but Shasta finally got her happily ever after.

Shasta Got Adopted from The Humane Society of Central Oregon

Luke was the oldest of the three dogs when he came to HSCO. He was 14 when his owner died and the family surrendered him to HSCO because they couldn’t keep him. The Chihuahua mix had “lots of personality,” as Lynne put it, but “arrived confused and missing his owner.” The team at HSCO immediately got to work helping Luke feel comfortable and even improving his behavior. It took some time, but they succeeded in helping the bewildered dog. “After three weeks of behavior modification and lots of love and positive reinforcement, Luke began to trust and love again,” Lynne wrote. A mother and daughter came to HSCO to meet Luke. When Luke saw them, Lynne said that he “lit up like a puppy.” Clearly, he was in love. The pair adopted Luke in part because they believed that “they could give Luke a wonderful home” despite his older years.

Halo knows what it’s like to not give up on an animal. It’s why we were founded, after all, because a family couldn’t give up on a sick pet named Spot! We love the tenacity and compassion of everyone at HSCO who helped Troy, Shasta, and Luke, and so many other animals, find loving homes. HSCO cares for approximately 4,000 animals every year and we’re honored to be a part of that. Thank you for making that possible.

Halo Pets

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Tiki + Barli Try the Purple® Pet Bed

You may very well already be familiar with Purple®, the mattress that’s scientifically designed to keep you comfortable and cool throughout the night. Now Purple has designed a product just for…



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DogTipper

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Last Chance to Download Your Free Dog Cookbooks + Pet Calendar!

This week, we’re going to be retiring our free cookbooks and 2018 pet holiday calendar–so please be sure to fetch your copy now! You may have heard about the change in how websites can…



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DogTipper

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RSVP for the #PlushPawsPremium Twitter Party!

Plush Paws Products has sponsored this post and the upcoming party, but all opinions are my own. Summer is synonymous with dog travel, whether that means swimming fun at the lake or beach, a dream…



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DogTipper

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