Smart Move: A Dog Named Einstein Runs for Oakland Mayor

On Thursday morning, candidate Einstein climbed the steps of City Hall in Oakland, cleared his throat, sniffed the air for some of that nice Pho aroma coming in from the south, and announced his candidacy for mayor. 

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Candidate Einstein (lower left)

Or rather, his handlers did. Einstein is a dog, the latest dog to run for public office in this great country of ours, which allows all sorts of wonderful things to run for public office. 

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But unlike other dogs who run for mayor, who might be doing so to raise funds for the local shelter or to get their owners on the local news, Einstein is in this to make real changes. His platform is enormous. His handlers are veteran Occupy Oakland activists, and they've put together a number of sweeping changes Einstein will make once he gets into office, among them:

  • A publicly owned and operated Bank of Oakland
  • Stronger weapon-control laws
  • Penalties for crimes apportioned according to wealth
  • A single-payer health care system
  • Areas for short- and long-term urban camping.
  • Confining the routes of diesel transport vehicles to Interstate freeways (580, 880, 980) and Route 24, to curtail air pollution. 
  • And so on 

"There is a legitimate reason to wonder whether a dog can serve as mayor of Oakland, but he provides a great voice for low-income and otherwise marginalized people who live in Oakland," Michael Wilson, the candidate's political adviser, told HuffPost. "They have no candidate to represent them."

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If you give me a Snausage I'll give you a light-rail system.

But, to their credit, his handlers haven't forgotten who'll be mayor -- their dog -- so they've thrown in a bunch of canine issues as well, including:

  • Human companions of dogs with heavy coats will be encouraged and assisted in keeping their dogs close-trimmed from May 1 through Oct. 1
  • The City shall assist humans who adopt animals in need of homes
  • Animal sanctuary/adoption facilities, maintained and/or supervised by publicly appointed city officials, shall be the sole source for animal companions
  • At least one day per year shall be set aside as a municipal holiday for animals

Only one thing is stopping Einstein from becoming mayor, however: Dogs can't hold public office in Oakland. And yet, Einstein and his people are optimistic: 

"Without a fallible human in the mayor's office, we must all play our parts in determining the route Oakland will take into the future," they wrote in a press release. "No longer will we ask what the city government can do for us. Instead, we will see the way clear to changing the city ourselves, to expanding the power of residents of modest income, to shrinking the power of the rich by establishing a larger and more representative City Council."

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Einstein getting a feel for the mood on the ground.

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Candidate Einstein, looking toward a bold new future -- and that food truck right over there. Is that pizza?

To learn more about Einstein and his vision for Oakland, visit the Einstein for Mayor website, Facebook page, and Twitter.

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Adopt-a-Pet Friday: Jenna

Adopt-a-Pet Friday: Jenna
Jenna is just a sweetheart and is available at Ridgefield Operation for Animal Rescue! She is still acclimating to our cat room but seems to absolutely love a good behind the ears scratch. According to her NY rescuer she was found abandoned on a fire …
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This behavior is innocent once in a while — Yin says a dog might be scratching an itch or showing off for its owners. But "if the dog is actually trying to smack or injure their tail, that's when you need to see a veterinarian," Winant says. To treat
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Treat your pet right with a goodie from Downtown Dog
The owners of Downtown Dog are putting a canine twist on a popular culinary trend, but instead of farm to table, they're going farm to kennel. The new business at 150A Laurens St. SW offers 10 doggie treats baked from scratch in its in-store
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Charlotte Ross, Kenn Gray Help Best Friends Animal Society

A mirror typically reflects whatever is presently before it, but thanks to a two-time Emmy Award nominated actress and an international home goods line one particular looking glass also offers the…



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Agility Dogs

This beautiful border collie is waiting to compete in the agility competition in Menton.  Alongside, in the cage, is his companion – looks a bit squashed but probably OK when she lies down.

I wonder if either of them won.  Border collies are usually the best breed at agility.
RIVIERA DOGS

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Thyroid Problems in Dogs


Thyroid problems in dogs are often difficult to recognize because the symptoms are so subtle. You might notice a change in the level of your dog’s energy, weight gain, or severe skin problems, but not associate these changes with anything serious that you should be concerned about. To detect thyroid problems a dog needs a blood test before the symptoms can be correctly diagnosed as a thyroid problem.

Hypothyroidism is a common illness in dogs and occurs when not enough thyroid hormones are produced in the animal’s body. The thyroid hormone has many functions and the most important is to regulate metabolism. Weight gain then becomes one of the most noticeable symptoms of hypothyroidism.

Approximately 90 percent of hypothyroidism cases are caused by a genetic autoimmune disease called thyroiditis, which produces anti-thyroid antibodies in the dog’s body. Sometimes the disease will develop as early as puberty even though the clinical signs won’t appear until later in a dog’s life.

Hypothyroidism most commonly affects dogs from four to ten years of age, especially large breed dogs. Miniature and toy breeds are very seldom affected.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism include weight loss, an elevated heart rate, increased urination, hyperactivity, lethargy, excessive hair loss and shedding, an intolerance for exercise – especially in colder weather – a low heart rate, and sudden changes in behavior such as increased aggression. All dogs suffering from hypothyroidism don’t display the full range of these symptoms, and some may exhibit only a few mild symptoms in the early stages of the disease.

In more serious cases, a dog may have seizures, chronic hepatitis, cardiac irregularities, or a loss of smell or taste.

To detect and diagnose hypothyroidism, a vet will do a blood test called a T4 panel which measures the level of thyroid hormones in the blood. A dog that tests positive for thyroid disease will require medication to regulate the thyroid hormones for the rest of its life.

More than 50 different breeds of dogs are genetically predisposed to developing thyroid problems. No matter which breed of dog you have, if these symptoms become noticeable and last for a protracted period of time, you should have your dog tested before the disease can cause serious damage.

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Knuckle cracking real-time talk here.

This is not about Sophia Yin.

I feel the need to say that before launching into a discussion about suicide and depression in the animal community, because the horrible news that she took her own life and the ripples it is causing in the veterinary world is the reason I’m talking about it today. But it’s not about her or her situation, which none of us will ever really know; Dr. Yin’s legacy is the work she did during her life, and it should remain that way. This is not about one person.

Whenever a tragedy like this happens, I see the same posts over and over: “Shocking. Tragic. Hold your loved ones close and tell them you love them. If someone seems to be suffering ask if they are OK.” And so it goes for a day or two, as we hug our kids and our spouse and our dog and then go back to work and assiduously ignore the suffering of those around us. Not that we recognize it most of the time anyway, but I’ll get to that in a moment.

One of the biggest misconceptions people seem to have about stress, burnout, and depression is that it is inevitably obvious to those around the person. I blame Zoloft ads for making us think all depressed people walk around weeping with little clouds hanging over them.

Click here to view the embedded video.

I think a lot of depressed people look like this:

positive-people

Totally fine, I’m fine, I’m fine.

You know how we always say cats walk around looking like a million bucks with BUN levels through the roof until one day, way past the point it was an issue, it’s finally too much but you never had a clue? A lot of depressed people look like that. So maybe this is a little more accurate:

flesh-wound

They do just fine at work, and out amongst friends, and then come home and realize man I am not fine. But we’ve normalized stress in our lives to the point many of us don’t even necessarily recognize the signs of depression in others, and even in ourselves. I sat on the floor of the bathroom for four hours straight one day, when I was suffering from postpartum depression, and still had no idea that sitting on the floor of the bathroom unable to muster the energy to move two feet might be a sign something was wrong (protip: it is).

I don’t like talking about that time in my life, but I will because every time we censor ourselves from discussing these things we perpetuate the stigma that drives people away from seeking treatment. We are more scared of the consequences of admitting depression than we are the consequences of not being treated, and oh my god, how awful is that? I’m pretty sure the mental health professional community has been watching us in horror for years, waiting for us as a profession to finally say yeah, we could probably use some assists here.

So while asking someone if they are ok and offering virtual hugs is lovely and kind, I really think the time has come to try and do something a little more impactful. Open dialogue is a good place to start. So let me share some things that I have discovered over time, watching us wring our hands in despair over and over while we wonder what we could have done differently:

1. You would not believe how many other people out there are going through the same thing.

People at the top of their field, with lovely families and good jobs and beautiful dogs. People who seem to have it all together. And maybe they do, if they have good treatment.

2. I wish someone had told me about these things in vet school.

I thought I was the only person plagued by worry and self-doubt in school. In retrospect, ha! That was really not the case. Nonetheless, a little peer-to-peer support or support from people already out there would have been very reassuring. I believe we need to start letting people know at the start of their career, not at the middle or end, that stress/anxiety/depression/burnout are common, but solvable problems.

3. There’s support, although it’s hard to find.

Do you know what the hardest part was for me about getting through my depression? Figuring out who to call. My OB didn’t help, the psychiatrists she gave me the numbers for didn’t take on new cases, I wasn’t actively suicidal, and by the fourth call I was too tired to deal with it any more. So I laid on the bathroom floor for a few more days until I had the lightbulb idea to call my primary care physician, who was horrified and got me in that afternoon and life got a lot better after that.

I feel like our profession is still in the same place. Help should be very visible and easy to access, a rope already floating in the water instead of a life preserver someone has to yell for when they are drowning. Want to really do something to make our profession better? Help me figure out how to make that happen.

So you think you’re depressed/ burned out/ feeling off? Take a deep breath, you are in good company. You do not stop being a successful professional and accomplished person. Life can be good and you can still rock out and kick ass and laugh till your cheeks hurt. Here’s some places to start:

1. There is active peer support, through VIN, and on Facebook. A closed group has been started on Facebook for people dealing with these issues as well as their family and friends- to request membership, click here. Peer support is fundamental, though of course it is not a substitute for-

2. Calling your primary care physician, who if they cannot handle it themselves can at least get you where you need to go. I guarantee you every mental health professional out there is going “uh, of course,” at every thing I have said because they are experienced in these things, while we are not.

3. Stop googling. Seriously, all you will do is come out blaming yourself for not juicing enough and while it is a lovely way to get vitamins, it’s probably not going to be enough. Talk to a pro, just like we tell people to stop treating their dog’s ear infections with diluted alcohol that they read about on a yahoo group and go to the vet. Right?

4. VetGirl has offered their excellent webinar about suicide awareness available for free, for everyone. It is well worth the watch not for anyone who works in the field to help increase your understanding of the issue. You can find it here.

5. VIN is offering a webinar this Sunday at 9 pm PST to honor Dr. Yin and discuss “Dealing With You and Your Colleagues’ Stress and Depression.” My understanding is that this webinar will be made available to non-VIN members as well, so stay tuned as I get more information. Both webinars, by the way, are taught by mental health professionals who know their stuff.

I will be honest and admit I hate overly sentimental statements accompanied by soft-focus ocean pictures like “fall into my arms and I will catch you” and “the world is full of hugs if you just ask for them” and all that other stuff, so I will offer you my own personal unfiltered thoughts on this:

Depression sucks, and it’s real, a physiological crap storm of neurotransmitters, and if you are reading this experiencing a dawning sense of dread with unasked-for tears rolling down your face as you desperately say nonononononono I’m fine, you might not be. So call someone who can help so you can stop feeling miserable, ok? Do it today.

hugs

OK maybe one overly sentimental picture. But just one, and only because kittens. And with that, I demand some good news so we can get back to our regularly scheduled program of fur removal device discussions and derpy dog pics.

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

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Pam Grier Helps Animal Rescue Airlift

FOX Carolina 21 One of the silver screen’s first action heroines recently took action to help dogs in need by stepping into her real life role as a volunteer with Pilots N Paws for the…



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GIVEAWAY: FunnyFur.com Eco-Friendly Dog Toy

We know how much everyone loves eco-friendly dog toys so we’re especially excited about this giveaway from Funny Fur, a luxury specialty retail pet boutique. One lucky reader will win an…



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Outdoor Flea control and prevention

Getting rid of fleas in outdoor settings like your backyard can be tricky. Join Agatha from Parktown Vet as she shows you how to safely treat and prevent fle…
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Flea prevention and methods to best protect your pet.
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