Nobody puts Geeky in the corner

When I was six, my mother enrolled me in my first dance class. I enjoyed it, I had fun, I got to wear cute little sailor costumes and get up on stage and tunelessly tap my feet.

The teacher always arranged us in two rows, and this being the early 80s before everyone had to get equal play, she arranged us not by height but by talent. The precocious dancers with the big smiles and the good rhythm were front and center, and those who tripped on their shoelaces or danced with the angry pounding feet of someone trying to stomp out the last burning embers of an old campfire found themselves perpetually in the back.

My dad has a lot of pictures of half of my body hidden behind the other girls.

Had I been desperate to improve my lot in life as a dancer, I imagine my parents might have encouraged me to spend more time honing my craft. I have learned in life that training trumps talent almost every time. However, I didn’t mind the back row, and they didn’t mind, so they let me be in between dance classes to pursue what really floated my boat: palaeontology.

I read every book I could get my hands on, gaping in horrified intrigue at the artist’s rendition of a Tyrannosaurus gorging on a defeated looking hadrosaur. It was riveting. I spent my allowance in the craft store and would rush home every day to put together my little wooden skeleton models. I had them all.

tyrannosaurus_t_rex_wood_kit

 

It never occurred to me that I shouldn’t be interested in science or that my time would be better spent improving my jazz technique than reconstructing extinct fossils. At night, we’d gather around the TV and watch Nova, or Cosmos- the original Carl Sagan version.

My mother, who is herself very Victorian and feminine, never made me or my sister feel like we weren’t girly enough, even when I was plastering the walls with Garbage Pail Kid stickers and cackling at the, ahem, crude humor. We were who we were, and in my case, that was a sci-fi loving anti-fashion science geek.

I worry sometimes, raising a daughter, that things are different now and there’s more pressure to conform along certain stereotypical lines. I don’t ever recall seeing shirts like this for sale when I was a kid:

ht_childrens_place_subjects_tshirt_kb_130806_16x9_608

 

I saw this shirt in Children’s Place, shortly before it got pulled, and promptly went next door to Peek where I found that amazing Jane Goodall children’s shirt I posted earlier this year. These messages we send to kids matter. They do.

Shortly before that T-shirt incident my daughter said to me, “I guess I’m just not good at math mom,” in response to a poor score on a math test she didn’t feel like studying for. Needless to say that didn’t fly; she may not care for it, it may not come naturally to her, but I wanted her to know she could overcome that. And with the help of a good tutor, she did. “I never,” I said, “ever, want you to think you’re not smart.”

She’s always been an artistic kid, and while I encouraged her to pursue those confidence building theater experiences I wanted her to know it didn’t have to be the only thing that defined her. You can be an actor and a writer and a mathematician and a dancer and an athlete. You can be in the front row of any show you want and are willing to work for.

I can only hope that in the face of many conflicting messages, she will remember this.

We’ve been watching Cosmos as a family the last month or so, because Neil deGrasse Tyson is amazing and the show just makes me happy. My son plopped down instantly to get his science fix, and a few moments later after realizing we weren’t going to be watching American Idol, my daughter sat beside him. A day later, they were discussing time travel in the car on the way to school and my nerdy heart soared. “When’s the next episode coming out?” they asked breathlessly.

That afternoon, my daughter took a break from recording and re-recording herself singing “Let It Go” over and over, sitting at the table earnestly scribbling away on a piece of paper. “What are you doing?” I asked.

“Writing a fan letter,” she said. “Can you help me mail it?”

I paused. I wrote my first fan letter when I was eight. I remember it well. Ricky Schroeder. I even sent him a Polaroid selfie, 80s style. He never wrote back and I was devastated.

So who was it going to be for my daughter? Harry Styles? She and her friends were just getting into One Direction and I wondered if she was about to ask me to subscribe to TeenBop or Tiger Beat. Maybe I’d luck out and find out she was thanking Idina Menzel for belting out such a catchy power ballad. “It’s not to Justin Beiber, is it?” I asked nervously.

She scowled. “Eeew Mom. Come on.” She handed me to letter. It began, “Dear Doctor DeGrasse Tyson: I really love your show.”

neil dgt

 

The kid’s gonna be all right.

Pawcurious: With Pet Lifestyle Expert and Veterinarian Dr. V.

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

I’m back even though I didn’t go away

Typepad, like a number of other technology companies, has experienced website-crashing DDoS attacks (distributed denial-of-service), more than once in the last few weeks. These attacks take the network offline and out of commission. The criminals then ask for a ransom and if it is paid, of course they want more. All websites go 404 until the network can be brought back. As frustrating as it is for us, I can imagine the frustration at the…
The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

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

Class of 2014: 5 steps to loving your first job

We’re about one month away from colleges and universities turning new grads loose on the world, a day of joy and, if I recall correctly, complete, abject fear. 2014 is a rough year to graduate vet school. In my day (cue Dana Carvey Grumpy old man voice), back in the middle of the dotcom boom and a perceived ‘veterinary shortage’, the world was at our fingertips, a lush green forest ripe for the plucking.

hawaii.jpg

Now new grads are being forced upon a Dune-like landscape filled with such ominous portents as 3x higher suicide rate than the general population, decreased consumer trust, massive student debt, not enough jobs, colleagues who look suspiciously at your abdomen for signs of possible uterine occupation before deciding whether or not to hire you. Here you are, fresh faced grads. Can we get a sad trombone?

barren landscape of hawaiis big island in the volcanoes national park

image by photoeverywhere – stockarch.com

Well that’s kind of bleak, isn’t it. Kind of like the veterinary profession itself, these are two snapshots of the same place- in this case, Hawaii- presenting two extremes of what is possible. Most of your time is spent existing somewhere in between. The key to success here is to remember that neither is the land in which you will likely live; do not fear that barren and bleak is forever, and accept those moments of plenty as a gift rather than a life expectation.

hobbit.jpg

You are Bilbo Baggins. You are about to go on an amazing adventure, like it or not, and there will be trolls and spiders as well as angry humans and lots of long recitations of poetry. You will also find good things and good people along the way, and treasure at the end which will probably look nothing like what you envisioned it to be. I asked myself what 5 things I wish someone had said to me when I was spit out of Davis with a new labcoat and no clue, and this is what I came up with:

1. Don’t stress too much about finding the perfect first job.

It’s a starter job, like a starter car and your first apartment. If you get lucky and it’s the job of your dreams and you can see yourself staying there forever, great. If it’s a horrible job with a screaming boss and techs who walk around looking like they could kill you with mind bullets, take heart in the fact that you are still learning: learning what not to do. And you’ll have better party stories (trust me).

2. Accept that you are going to make some mistakes.

cartoon-business

One of the smartest people I know quit the profession one year in because she couldn’t handle not being perfect. I get it, we’re perfectionists who like to map out every destination on Google maps complete with images of every turn. However, we live and function in an imperfect world, where it often feels like you’re driving in heavy fog with a linen blindfold and two people who are supposed to be navigating arguing in the backseat. You may drive off the road here and there. That is what being a new grad is like. Hopefully you will have a decent team to help you navigate, but if not- see point 1.

3. Be OK with the fact that a few  people are going to hate your guts.

James Herriot ruined us all for this line of work, didn’t he? He taught us that even the grumpiest clients will eventually come around, and he taught clients that the barter system is still alive and well in this field. Neither are true. Some people are going to be nasty and mean and do their best to try and make you cry, quit, or vomit. Stop wasting your energy on trying to make them happy and focus instead on the many wonderful people you are going to come across, who will outnumber the horrible ones.

4. The Golden Rules never, ever go out of style.

Say please and thank you more than you think you need to, even to the grumpy people. Especially to the grumpy people. Don’t complain about work or clients at work. One, walls are thin and clients are often sitting in there with nothing to do. Two, it encourages everyone to go down that toxic drain and eventually the topic is going to be YOU. Third, the person you’re complaining about will most likely have what you said in confidence repeated to them verbatim. Expect it. Awk-ward. Be kind, even when your mind is screaming like Animal. P.S. This goes double for the internet. Repeat after me: There Is No Internet Anonymity. Again, trust your old Auntie V on this one.

5. Be selfish.

You’ve worked a really long time to get where you are, and now the expectations are going to get even more intense. When I say, “make time for yourself,” it’s not a feel-good sort of Oprahish platitude, it’s me grabbing you by the shoulders and saying “I beg of you to find a hobby and insist on indulging in it because you will go insane if you don’t.”

meru

Conquering a mountain doesn’t have to be quite this literal a metaphor, but seriously- sometimes you just need to leave your life, your job, your little kids, your diabetic poodle behind for a couple days and go above the clouds. It works and it’s OKAY.

Whatever it is you give, it will never be enough for some people. Draw your own lines, make your own limits, and do not let others do it for you. We are in a profession that takes a lot of emotional energy out of you, and this time is vital to recharge. Travel, if you can. Remove yourself from that place where you feel like the world can’t go on without you to put out every fire because, honestly, it totally can. Human first, vet second.

“I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.”  -Gandalf

Pawcurious: With Pet Lifestyle Expert and Veterinarian Dr. V.

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

what causes a yeast infection?

Question by emma’liegh: what causes a yeast infection?
what causes a yeast infection to continuously re-occur?

Best answer:

Answer by E P.101
soaps or anything that touches you privates with fragrance, having sanitary products on for longer than 2-4 hrs eat plenty yogurt. yogurt has a bacteria that fights the yeast infection.

Add your own answer in the comments!

Posted in Pet Care Media | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

A grateful heart spreads like….well, wildfire

There are many things I could be upset about today. The fact that authorities suspect arson in the vast majority of wildfires that devastated San Diego this week, for example. That’s a good place to start.

Or the trolls whose only response to the news was, “That’s what you get for living in a dry place, morons, burn” as though there were a place on Earth immune to Mother Nature in some form or another.

But I’m too grateful to worry myself with fools and psychotics at the moment. There is too much gratitude to the many to allow myself to be angry with the few right now.

I am grateful to my friend K, who texted me to see if I was OK when she saw on the news that my neighborhood was being evacuated. This was at the start of this whole mess, and when I got her text I had no idea it was even happening. Her warning came ahead of the official notification, and gave me lead time to get back to the house to evacuate Brody and Penelope before the roads were barricaded.

I am grateful I heeded my own warning and had all the pet supplies quickly accessible so I could get in and out in 5 minutes. It is an eerie feeling to be alone in an empty neighborhood with a wall of smoke bearing down. Corollary: also grateful to the cat for not hiding under the bed.

I am grateful to my childrens’ teachers and the district who evacuated them from their school before it became an emergency. When you turn on the news and see your little ones’ faces disappearing into the smoke, your heart skips a few beats for them, even when they are already out and safe by your side. They had no idea why I was crying when I found them at the 2 separate sites they were evacuated to, though they will some day. I credit the teachers with keeping them all calm in a stressful situation.

Source: 10news.com

Source: 10news.com

I am grateful to the first responders from Cal Fire, the police, and sheriffs who were on the scene quickly and efficiently. 1500 acres and not one home lost in the Bernardo Fire, despite a full head-on assault towards hundreds of home.

firemen.jpg

These crews left their families behind, from different counties and even different states, to fight for our neighborhoods as if they were their own. That’s a debt one can’t repay.

I am grateful to the many who heeded the evacuation warnings and let these men and women do their jobs, and to those who assisted with animal evacuations- especially with donating their trailers for the large animals who are disproportionately affected in these circumstances.

I am grateful to this community, who I know will help those who lost their homes. I have family here to take us in, but even had I not, so many friends offered their hospitality to us. Today, I turned on the TV and saw my friend’s dad on the news helping a member of his church hose down his property. We will pitch in, because that is what we do here in San Diego.

Pawcurious: With Pet Lifestyle Expert and Veterinarian Dr. V.

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

The Pet Food Test Campaign

If you are interested in all of the pet food recalls that have happened over the years, then there is a chance for you to help!  Consumers are funding a campaign to test pet food.  The goal is to raise $ 10,000, but more money would mean more options for testing pet food.

You can learn more and make contributions here!


PetsitUSA Blog

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

Nice Scabies photos

A few nice scabies images I found:

Male fox with possible mange
scabies

Image by tiny_packages
Shows the extent of the baldness of his tail and raw patches on his face.

SV308948
scabies

Image by tsaiid
皮膚科顯微鏡

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

Rescue Road Trips: A Man with a Big Rig Travels 4,200 Miles to Save Dogs in Kill Shelters

How far would you go to save a dog? Greg Mahle, founder of Rescue Road Trips, can tell you exactly how far he would go — and has gone. Every other week, he gets in a semi-trailer truck and leaves his home of Zanesville, Ohio, to drive a 4,200-mile route that takes him to Houston and on through nine other Southern states. The whole way, he picks up dogs who have been living in shelters. By the time he heads back north, there is an average of 80 dogs in the back of his trailer. The trip ends in New England, where the dogs go to new forever homes.

Share this image



New families with their dogs stand by the Rescue Road Trips truck.

The Newark Advocate published a great profile of Mahle this week, detailing his love for dogs and his commitment to going far, far beyond the extra mile to save the lives of dogs. It's an inspiring read, and I recommend you check it out.

One of the most depressing aspects of writing about animals is just how many get discarded and forgotten. Sometimes they linger in the system for a long time because their age, breed, or something else makes them unadoptable; if they're not lucky enough to be in a no-kill shelter, they get an early death.

Share this image



Greg Mahle proudly holding two passengers.

A lot of dogs in the Southern United States face the latter fate, hence Mahle's long journey every two weeks. He's been doing this for more than 10 years, when he started out with a single van. Using the semi, he rescues and rehomes about 2,000 dogs a year. That's a pretty significant number, but even so, there are many that get left behind and never make it out of the shelter.

"I'm not able to change the whole world, I'm not," he told the Advocate. "But for a few dogs, I can change their whole world."

Share this image



One of the reasons that Rescue Road Trips targets states in the deep South in particular is that spaying and neutering rates are very low there. Not only are people reluctant to do it themselves, but there are few laws requiring or encouraging it in those states. The shelters are overwhelmed by dogs, and sometimes dogs are killed within only a few days of arriving in order to make room for the new dogs, who are in turn killed to make room for the next batch.

The Rescue Road Trips website has very specific rules about which dogs can get space on the big rig. Most of them have to do with health issues, like spaying, neutering, and vaccinations, and are designed to comply with federal regulations on the transport of live animals. Rule No. 1 says, "We will not pick up a canine directly from a shelter/pound/animal control facility. They must be in a Foster Home/ Quarantine Facility/ Vet's Office or Kennel for at least 2 weeks to ensure the animal is not harboring any contagious illness. This also allows vaccines time to take effect." Rule No. 2 says simply, "Read rule 1 again."

Share this image



While on the road, Mahle sleeps on a mattress in the back of the truck with the dogs.

"From the time we leave, we live together, all of us," he says in the Advocate interview. "I want to be with them, I want to know what's going on with them because I don't want them to be scared."

It sounds like a hard life, but an inspiring one, and we really have to give credit to Mahle and all the people who work or volunteer with him to get this done. While he does charge a fee for families who take the dogs home, the majority of Rescue Road Trip's budget still comes from donations. If you want to give money or goods to keep the wheels going, head over to the donate page on their website.

Via Newark Advocate and Rescue Road Trips Facebook Page

Read more about rescue on Dogster:


The Scoop | The Scoop

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

Spring Like

Yesterday felt almost Spring like. So does today.  Let’s hope it lasts this time. I had a pretty good day. I spent the morning doing some work, some housework and a little bit of relaxing and then headed out around noon for a walk with the pups.

When swamp water makes your dog this happy, how can you refuse?

And once she’s wet and dirty, you just gotta go with the flow.

I tried to get them to pose together but there was something interesting on the other side of the fence, so I cut my losses and moved them along before they went off in search of it.

It might have felt like Spring, but there sure wasn’t much evidence of it yet! I think the only green things in the photo below are the fence posts!

 

 Then we stopped to visit with puppies on the way home!!!  It was mid day, bright sun with black pups who liked to cuddle so not many photos were taken but I couldn’t not take ANY…  They are 4.5 weeks old right now.

Crazy Coulee and Little Lacey

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

Meet Tara, the world’s most famous attack cat

When a home surveillance camera captured a cat body slamming and chasing off a neighbor dog who was viciously attacking her 4-year-old human, the video went super viral. Tara is a 7-year-old formerly stray cat who mostly lives the life of a tranquil house cat with the Triantafilo family in Bakersfield, CA. Erika Triantafilo, 27, a stay at home mother of three young boys, was not completely surprised by Tara’s protectiveness. ”She used to go…
The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

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