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after restaurant raffles him off to a sympathetic soul:

Now if we could only do the same for the Thanksgiving turkeys.

You could adopt one rather than fry one:


Hildy, from the Farm Sanctuary website.

Or you could pardon one:

bush pardons thanksgiving turkey

Far too cute:

“We’ve pretty much resolved the problems of infertility among pandas,” the center’s director Zhang Zhihe was quoted as telling Chinese media.

I guess so.

In this interesting  New York Times Op-Ed piece, “Pack of Lies,” dog expert Mark Kerr finally issues a critique of the mighty Dog Whisperer and questions the validity of his techniques.

Cesar Millan is, without a doubt, charming and engaging, the embodiment of “tough love.”  His results, as depicted on his program, are simply amazing.  Yes, his techniques seem a little hard-assed at times, but if he can prevent a wayward dog from being disowned or euthanized, great.  If he can prevent an aggressive dog from causing harm and mayhem, so be it.  If he can encourage more people to work with their dogs rather than give up on them, well, that is simply wonderful.  I enjoy watching The Dog Whisperer, perhaps because there is something satisfying about seeing hopeless cases rehabilitated, especially when they are cute and furry.  Also, I believe that it is a noble endeavor to attempt to better understand animals and communicate with them.

But Kerr argues that Cesar doesn’t really understand dogs and that his philosophy of dominance and submission is highly problematic. He cites a wolf behavior expert in arguing that not all wolf packs are structured the way that Cesar suggests and that dominance contests are rare.  Furthermore, he says, domestic dogs are not wolves.  Their collective psyches have been irrevocably altered by 15,000 years of selective breeding and association with humans.  They are more psychologically complex than wolves in a pack, more like individuals with individual “talents and limitations.”  He argues that Cesar’s techniques, although mild compared to some, are punitive, regressive, and quick and dirty.  Dominance and intimidation might work in the short run, he says, but much is sacrificed and overlooked in the process, including subtle factors that might be causing the unwanted behavior.

I admit that I have always felt a tad uncomfortable with Cesar’s methods and ambivalent about his results.  In changing a neurotic animal into a “calm, submissive” one, how much of its spirit is broken?  Since they can’t talk to us, we will never know for sure.  While it is true that most dogs respond well to authority and clear limits, most also need the latitude to be the goofy and exuberant creatures that they are. 

And the phrase “calm, submissive” often troubles me.  I worry that these little reformed miscreants have become lobotomized zombies.  And is a jumping Min Pin so bad any way?  Is a feisty Chihuaha so out of the ordinary?  I always thought that feistiness was part of the small package.  And is it possible to control that feistiness rather than subdue it?  Cesar’s results may make the dog’s people happier, but do they make the dogs happier?  And I wonder about the recidivism rate of these creatures.  A year later, are the animals back to their old tricks?

I was highly amused when I observed Cesar trying to settle a long-standing dispute between a family cat and dog, and, when he finally got them settled, he stated, “Now you have a calm, submissive dog and a calm, submissive cat.”  I have known many, many calm cats, but I have never known a submissive one.  The most passive of their kind will take their chances on the street rather than submit to your will, and this is only one of their many charms, in my opinion.  What Cesar did not understand is that the cat was probably just weary of the whole game.

The notion of a “quick fix” is highly addictive.  There is something appealing I think, even to the most liberal and independent among us, about having a strong and gentle authority figure come in and quickly and decisively set things right.  There is something enormously comforting in knowing that no matter how tough the problem, there’s a big, strong guy out there who can solve it for you, even by using force, if necessary (and there is a political point mixed in here, in case you haven’t noticed) so that you don’t need to think about it anymore, so that you don’t need to wrangle and wrestle with it. Perhaps this is the fundamental appeal of The Dog Whisperer.




Willy, a 1-year-old cat is photographed Thursday, July 20, 2006, with a display of several pairs of garden gloves that he took from unknown yards in his neighborhood in Pelham, N.Y. Willy has brought home nine pairs of gloves and five singles over several weeks laying them on his owners’ front or back porches.

And a truly peevish pet:

LONDON – An ill-tempered parrot left English police a vital clue to the thief who took the bird from a pet shop.

Tristand Maidment, 23, pleaded guilty Thursday to stealing a macaw named Mickey from a pet shop in Frome, southwestern England, last month.

Maidment said he couldn’t remember being bitten by the parrot, but the wound left a trail of blood, which allowed police to make a DNA match to the suspect.

Mickey’s owner, Angus Hart, said the parrot was notoriously bad tempered and about 50 years old.


This one is really just too funny:


Jack, a 15-pound orange-and-white cat, cat sits under a treed black bear in a backyard in West Milford, N.J., Sunday, June 4, 2006. When the bear climbed down, the cat chased it up another nearby tree. Neighbor Suzanne Giovanetti thought Jack was simply looking up at the bear, but soon realized the much larger animal was afraid of the hissing cat. The cat’s owners called it away and the bear ran off.

Judge spares cat. Thanks to the efforts of those who care. Lewiscat.jpg

The American Kennel Club is lobbying mightily against New York and Vermont bills that would eliminate ear cropping and tail docking.  These archaic procedures mutilate the dog and serve no useful function.  Why must an animal undergo surgery, pain, and the risks of anesthesia and infection in order to satisfy the aesthetic demands of dog fanciers?  The AKC breeders need to stop sniffing their butts and need to start thinking about revising the breed standards!

The US needs to move forward with progressive legislation in this area.  Best Friends Network Animal Law Coalition reports:
”It is already against the law to crop ears on dogs in many other countries including the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore. Tail docking is banned in Great Britain, Greece, Italy, and Portugal. Both tail docking and ear cropping are banned in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Israel, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, South Africa, Cyprus,and the Virgin Islands. The Italian cities of Turin and Rome ban both of these practices.

In Canada the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association has issued a position statement that ‘cosmetic surgery is unnecessary. Surgical alterations in cases of injury or for reasons of health are not considered cosmetic. Examples of cosmetic procedures include:
1. Tail docking in the equine, bovine, or canine species;
2. Tail nicking/setting in the equine species;
3. Ear cropping in the canine species; and
4. Onychectomy in species other than the domestic cat.’

The Australian Veterinary Association has consistently renewed its call for a ban on cosmetic surgery for dogs.”

Onychectomy, by the way, is declawing, another form of painful mutilation. 

If these practices can be banned in Italy, where they began, and in the UK, where dog fanciers abound, they can be banned here.  Use your calm, assertive energy to contact your legislators and ask them to support these bills! 


April 2017
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Flickr Photos

Great Egret / Grande aigrette / Ardea alba

Moonlit Outlook

Portál al Paine

Classe éco / classe affaires


Carolina Wren on a log

The Way Home

Horseshoe Falls

Not dark yet ...

The well-named

More Photos