4 ways to keep your pets safe this summer

4 ways to keep your pets safe this summer
Video: Veterinarian Karen “Doc” Halligan from PetArmor shows Kathie Lee and Hoda how they can keep Bambino and Blake safe this summer from pesky parasites like fleas and ticks, as well as heatstroke and sunburn caused by too much time outdoors.
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Philadelphia Police Rock Ronald McDonald Socks, Show Their Silly Side For
These police officers spiced up their uniforms with a head-turning fashion statement — for a good cause. Wednesday marked the 40th anniversary of the Ronald McDonald House — a charity that provides temporary housing to families of sick children
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The greatest Thanksgiving ever

I grew up in New England, a place where tradition runs supreme. Holidays were a big deal, and we spent most of the major ones shuttling from this aunt to that grandmother and back again, enjoying the camaraderie only a large and extended family can afford. Those were the halcyon years, when my mother could still get away with dressing me as a doily.

doily

When I was eight years old, we moved across the country to Southern California, and those days came to an abrupt end. We still celebrated every major holiday with all the pomp and circumstance my mother could bring to the table, but in the end it was always just us, and while it was still lovely, it was more….quiet, somehow. We called the family religiously, listening to the hubbub in the background and the people shouting in tipsy voices, “Tell em we said hi! What’s it, 70 degrees out thah? We’re jealous!” And so was I.

We always toyed with the idea of going back to spend the holidays with the family, just once, but the lure of nostalgia was overcome by my father’s distaste for holiday travel, so we remained home, year after year, in the quiet serenity of a sunny and warm Thanksgiving and Christmas.

In 2003, I was just celebrating my first anniversary, settling into a new job, when my mother told me her father, my beloved Pepe, was in trouble. He had been in trouble his whole life, truth be told, but it was a different kind of trouble this time.

In all the old pictures from my childhood, you could see Pepe smiling with the ineffable twinkle of a person who liked to tell stories, usually embellished. Always embellished.

Box_13  Pepe

 

The other thing you could always find, when you looked hard enough, was the small rectangular outline of a box of cigarettes.

We tried for years to get him to quit, bought cartons and emptied them out only to replace the contents with candy, but to no avail. He did quit eventually, when he was finally diagnosed with lung cancer about 20 years after it should have happened, but of course by then it was too late.

We visited him at the start of his radiation therapy, and my mother, who had long missed the embrace of her family more than the rest of us put together, spent a lot of time with him helping him get set up.

She’s a nurse. Of course she would be his caretaker. And when he rallied, he sent her back home to California.

 

pepe

 

Several months later, she was once again beckoned to New England. Pepe was doing poorly, and now he was in the care of hospice. Did she want to come, they asked. And she did.

She warned us that this time it was different, that the end was actually coming. If we wanted to say goodbye, she told us, we should be ready.

The week before Thanksgiving, Mom called both my sister and I and told us that Pepe had only days left, and should we wish to say our goodbyes, we should get on a plane. So we did.

The story of his passing is for a different time, but suffice it to say he did it his way, like he always did, and as strange as it is to say, we spent a good deal of those last hours laughing even through our tears.

He died on November 23, 2003. He was to be buried the following week, and Thanksgiving was only 4 days away. We piled into my aunt’s home, collapsed in the basements and crammed into the living room, while my aunt tried to manage both the grief of her father’s death and the sudden influx of new guests. The preparation was a welcome distraction. She shopped for turkey while my mother took my grandmother coffin shopping. “Mom picked our her own while we were there,” she said with some chagrin. “She always was a bit of a control freak.”

I don’t remember what we ate, balanced on paper plates on our laps. I don’t remember the pie or the turkey though I know we had them all. I remember laughing my butt off at regular intervals, my father looking in horror at the assembled group and asking, “Why are you all smiling and laughing? Your grandfather just died.”

And my mother smiled back and said, “Because he would have been so happy to see us all together again. This is what he would have wanted.”

Even if it took him dying to do it. Stubborn man.

Life gives us beauty when we least expect it, and what I am most thankful for is the ability to recognize those moments when they arrive. A blessed Thanksgiving to you all, my friends, and may you find your beauty in strange places as well.

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

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Random Photos

A random and brief summary from the past month. Life’s been busy. “Just for fun” photos have been few and far between.

Crazy Coulee and Little Lacey

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True Mary. So often, the writing is all over the w…

True Mary. So often, the writing is all over the wall.
BAD RAP Blog

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Brooklyn Flea holiday market: What you'll find

Brooklyn Flea holiday market: What you'll find
The Brooklyn Flea folks are at it again, serving up an indoor holiday market where shoppers can peruse in warmth under cover and grab some hot food. Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through March, the Winter Flea + Holiday Market, …
Read more on amNY

Long Island Veterinarians Seeing Surge In Fleas, Ticks
As CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reported, some pet owners think so, and they worry the parasites are becoming more difficult to control. Jodi Ehren, of Port Washington, fears her pooch, Luna, has fleas and that her home and family will be next. “Fleas have
Read more on CBS Local

the cleveland flea thrives as small business incubator
Without support from a grant, Sheldon pumped her energy into The Flea and within three months, the concept took flight. The market is organized entirely by Sheldon and her assistant Sarah Wilt and each vendor is selected through an application process.
Read more on freshwatercleveland

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Rumble in the Doghouse: Evil Breeders vs Crazy Animal Rights People

There was a time, back in a pre-internet era known as the Good Old Days, when two people who had different opinions on a topic could talk about it and, even if they did not come to an understanding, could at least part ways with a better grasp of the other person’s point of view. People with different opinions were still, at the end of the day, people.

I’m not entirely sure that is the case anymore.

Lest anyone doubt me, proof enough should be the fact that we’ve just come off an election cycle. I live in an area with one of the most hotly contested Congressional races in the country, better known to us locals subjected to the campaign ads as “Mouthbreathing Carbuncle-Having Satan Worshipping Slimeball” versus “Luciferous Mucusbucket Festering Wound.” (Definitions supplied by opposing parties.)

Politicians Before and After Elections(1)

It was a close race. I think most of us voted for one or the other not based on deep unabiding adoration so much as we held our noses and selected the one we found less odiferous. Nonetheless, after the Slimeball defeated the Festering Wound by the narrowest of margins, the loser went on the air and graciously wished his opponent “all the best”, which is a strange thing to wish someone you truly thought was the Antichrist. If you truly thought he was the path to death and destruction, you think one would continue to rage against the injustice of it all and exhort people to do something to undo this miscarriage of justice.

But politicians know the truth that a lot us seem to have forgotten. All that bluster is just that, bluster. And at the end of the day they actually have a lot more in common than not:

  • both middle aged men of the same demographic savvy enough to be successful in local politics
  • Neither advocates overthrowing Congress and disbanding the Constitution
  • both against selling tanks to minors
  • Both for free sunlight
  • Both generally want to work for the constituents in order for people to live well in our beautiful city, though their ideas of how to get there might vary.

And now they will retreat to their corners to do whatever it is they do until they are again required by the tenor of American culture to again start yelling about how much the other person stinks.

Rumble In the Doghouse

We all know this about politics, we all roll our eyes with the silliness of it all, but don’t be mistaken- this “live and die by the sword”, “you’re with us or you’re worthy of a messy death” attitude has permeated many corners of our lives, and it’s not pretty.

The first time I met someone at a breeder’s event, I started talking to a person very involved with the dog fancy world. When she learned what I did, she looked at me a little sideways and said, “So you’re an animal rights person.”

Peta, protesting that abhorrent group of animal haters known as the American Veterinary Medical Association (true story)

PETA, protesting that abhorrent group of animal haters known as the American Veterinary Medical Association (true story).

“Not animal rights. Animal welfare,” I corrected her, as the person who introduced us (you know who you are, you rotten troublemaker) rubbed his palms together and waited in glee for us to start ripping each others’ hair out.

“What’s the difference?” she asked. So I called her a puppy mill, because all breeders are the same, right?

Best-In-Show-Best-In-Show-001

We looked at each other, hesitated a moment, then burst into laughter as she said, “Point taken.” We’ve been friends ever since.

I suppose in another world, maybe hidden behind an anonymous screen and keyboard, we could have become mortal enemies, but we’d spent too much time face to face to be able to call the other person demon spawn. We both knew we had too much in common, including:

  • a love of good wine
  • writing long and probably way too involved stories
  • thinking dogs are the absolute bee’s knees. We both totally adore and spend most of our free time thinking about, canines.

This friend recently began a Kickstarter campaign to create a website commemorating National Purebred Dog Day. Now, I’m not trying to convince anyone to go and support the campaign if it’s not your thing, no more than I would try and convince someone to donate to a political candidate they did not agree with. But the simple fact that she waited a long time to even begin the campaign because she was nervous about people targeting her for being an Evil Dog Person is honestly, pretty sad. I feel the same way about that as I do people who target pittie advocates trying to end BSL: why would you do that? We are not each other’s enemies here.

Who’s right?

A few weeks ago I wrote a piece for Vetstreet about purebreds versus mutts. I wonder if perhaps the editor was wanting me to go for the easy kill, the one that would bring 5000 shares and bloodshed in the comments section: quote people talking about how wrong the other side was, how misguided. But I didn’t want to do that.

Instead, I talked to someone from the American Kennel Club and the ASPCA, and guess what? They said the exact same thing:

We want people to find the right dog for their family so they keep them forever.

They had different ideas about the best way to do that, but they’re both perfectly valid approaches, really, and people have been using both successfully for some time. Let me repeat: at the end of the day we all want the same thing. The rest is just window dressing.

Can you tell which dog is more worthy, loved, or better for my family? I can't.

Can you tell which dog is more worthy, loved, or better for my family? I can’t.

Who’s the real enemy here? Apathy. Ignorance. Greed. Say what you want about either the dog fancy or the rescue community (and indeed, the large numbers who belong to both): they are not apathetic people. They care, and they want what’s best. Instead of shaking your fingers at the other side’s perceived shortcomings, listen. There is much to be learned, on both sides. I know this from experience.

judging

It’s very easy to continue to point and shoot at the easy target. Keep on doing it if it makes you happy. It certainly makes life easier for the people at CheapPuppyMillDog.com; whenever someone gets turned off by the antics they encounter at either end of the spectrum, guess who’s waiting with open arms?

We are not each other’s enemy. If you want someone to hate on who really deserves it, I suggest these idiots. Seriously, no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

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

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Pick Up Your Dog Poop Because Big Brother is Watching You

Campaigns encouraging dog owners to clean up behind their pets run the gamut from silly to weird to occasionally outright creepy. The story that we wrote up on Friday about painting poo pink fell somewhere between the silly and weird. It was silly the first time someone tried it in 2010; after it was implemented by several different towns, it just became weird.

In contrast, the strategy tried by the charity Keep Britain Tidy zooms straight for the ominous and creepy. The organization has started a new campaign to erect hundreds of billboards with huge glowing eyes and the words “Thoughtless dog owners – we’re watching you!”

Apparently, someone in Keep Britain Tidy read 1984 and came away with the idea that it was an operational “how-to” manual, rather than a cautionary tale.

The signs are made of a material that “charges up” during the day and then glows at night. The campaign is specifically targeted at owners who are walking their dogs in the dark winter hours. The charitable organization’s press release claims, “Research suggested that dog fouling tends to occur at night time and during the winter months, as some dog owners feel that they can’t be seen ‘under the cover of darkness.’”

While people who don't pick up behind their dogs are obnoxious, the campaign seems to overstate them as a threat, as if lumps of stray dog poo may bring down life and civilization as we know it. According to the organization's chief executive, Phil Barton:

Our most recent research tells us that people see dog fouling as, by far, the most unacceptable and dirtiest type of litter, and the biggest concern in environmental quality. With more than five million dogs in England producing nearly 600,000 tonnes of waste each year, these concerns are understandable. This campaign has been proven to make a difference and encourage the minority of dog owners who don't pick up after their pets to do the right thing.

The campaign would feel a little creepy and over the top in any time, but gigantic, glowing eyes watching as you walk your dog play fears that are becoming more real than ever. In the United States, Edward Snowden pointed the finger at how the NSA has performed massive surveillance on Internet activity. In the United Kingdom, similar revelations have come out about the activities of the Government Communications Headquarters.

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One of the posters. Is failing to clean up after your dog a crime against the State?

In a world where those things are a reality, giant glowing eyes looking over people to make sure that they clean up their dog poop just cranks up the air of paranoia. Worse, it sends a message that you should clean up dog poop not because it's the right thing to do for your community, but because if you don't, some shadowy, omnipotent power will strike you down.

Cleaning up after your pet is part of being a responsible dog owner. Can't we figure out a way to promote that message without creeping everyone out?

Via The Telegraph

Read more about dogs in the news on Dogster:


The Scoop | The Scoop

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Latest Fipronil News

Fipronil Litigation Update: Three Years and Counting
The patent at issue in this case is U.S. Patent 5,618,945, the fipronil manufacturing process patent. On March 22, MANA and Control Solutions file a contempt of court suit against BASF with the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North
Read more on PCT Magazine

É ora di salvare le api
Un primo passo dunque è proprio vietare i pesticidi dannosi, a partire dalle sostanze più pericolose attualmente autorizzate in Europa, come imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, clothianidin, fipronil, clorpirifos, cipermetrina e deltametrina. Poi occorre
Read more on Il Cambiamento

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The Home Stretch

Now that we’re back on the road, here’s an updated schedule:

San Luis obispo November 12
Pismo beach November 13
Santa Maria area* November 14
Santa Barbara November 22
Ventura November 25
Oxnard November 26
Malibu November 29
Santa Monica December 1
LA Area (leaving) December 8
The Final Mile December 14

Planning for the final mile is underway so we’ll post it here soon
THE JOURNEY CONTINUES

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Gift Guide // Rest + Relaxation

Gift Guide: Relaxation, via Bubby & Bean
1. Relax Dead Sea Bath Salts, Elucx ($ 24)  //  2. Handmade Flaxseed + Lavender Eye Pillow, Gardenmis ($ 20)  //  3. Repose Calming Tea, Rex Organics ($ 8)  //  4. Sundays Mug, Miss Poppy Design Shop ($ 20) //  5. Handcrafted Spa Gift Set, Anemone ($ 30)  //  6. Cloud Slippers, Urban Outfitters ($ 39)  //  7. Chief Joseph Blanket, Pendleton ($ 239)  //  8. Mischief & Merry Truffles, Williams-Sonoma ($ 19.95)  //  9. Tranquility Candle, Neom Luxury Organics ($ 45, UK only)  //  10. Sleep Sound Therapy Machine, Sound Oasis ($ 59.99)  //  11. Sshhh Earplugs, CB2 ($ 12.95)  //  12. 200-Thread Count Painterly Stripe Sheet Set, Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co. ($ 119+)

I’ve noticed lately that when people ask me what I want for Christmas, I always respond with something along the lines of “some relaxation, please.” And although I always say it with a laugh, I’ve come to realize that I’m not really joking. This year has been both the best and one of the most exhausting of my life. In my particular case, I have a baby, a full time job, and a husband who is gone half the year – and I don’t feel like I’ve sat down for more than five minutes a day in longer than I can remember. Sound familiar? I’d be willing to bet that every single one of us, regardless of situation, is pretty freaking tired by the end of the year. Maybe it’s your job, or school, or your kids, or just plain old life – but there is likely one or more things in your life that have left you feeling overwhelmed and in need of a break. Am I right? I’m fairly certain that most of our friends and family probably feel the same. And this is the reason for which I decided to put together some items that will help you give the (much needed and guaranteed appreciated) gift of R and R this holiday season.

If you go big when it comes to holiday gifts, you could always opt for a tropical vacation or a spa weekend. But these items are smaller (and for most, more realistic) gift ideas sure to bring comfort and de-stressing to all who receive them. The Spa Gift Set from Anemone, for example, contains a handcrafted Herbal Facial Steam, Cleansing Grains, Cacao Rose Mask, and Chamomile + Almond Butter Cream, sure to make the receiver feel instantly pampered. (I own this set and can attest to this. Also check out their handcrafted Goats Milk & Honey Cream which is another personal favorite. And pssst, use this coupon code for 20% off your purchase of $ 25 of more: BONUS25.) Or how about those super cozy (and super cute) faux shearling Cloud Slippers from UO? I feel like you’d basically melt as soon as you slipped them onto tired, achey feet. Although a bit more of a splurge than the other items, the Pendleton Chief Joseph Blanket is the ultimate relaxation-inducing gift that your recipient will cherish for many years (I’ve had one for 15 years and it’s held up amazingly well). You could even take several of these items and put together a big ol’ Basket of Relaxation for someone really in need of unwinding. I may actually do just that…

What about you? Got any other ideas of great gifts to help loved ones rest and relax?

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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