Thinking of Veterans and Brave Ones Passed

A Facebook Friend shared this with me.  I don’t want to forget it!

……. this is the actual Norse prayer that dates back to the first century, a few more lines than the one adapted for the movie, The 13th Warrior.

Lo, There do I see my Father
Lo, There do I see my Mother and
My Brothers and my Sisters
Lo, There do I see the line of my people back to the beginning
Lo, They do call to me
They bid me take my place among them in the halls of Valhalla
Where thine enemies have been vanquished
Where the brave shall live Forever
Nor shall we mourn but rejoice for those that have died the glorious death.

The (Longest) Bike Ride

For a better view of this blog, go HERE!

My jersey, new gloves and…hey, wait a second….

those aren’t biking shoes!

Findlay, Ohio, Sept. 9, 2012.  The Horizontal Hundred.  I don’t know why but I want to call it The Harmony, which is in May.  In Indiana.  And spelled differently. Oh, well.  This is great “first” tour for anyone as it has 4 distances: 20, 40, 62 and 100 with very few hills. It’s pretty darn flat.

After the totally suckazoid cancelling of the Spousal Unit’s Ohio Gran Fondo 3 days before the event, I think he really wanted to do the HHH. (I almost told him not to wear that GF jersey beforehand. He did! I have a shirt superstition about things like that!)  I’m still kind of pissed about the GF cancellation.  He worked so hard, tweaked his Bianchi, logged hundreds of miles on hills, spent a bunch of money, changed this and that and after all that — cancelled?  I couldn’t do so many things I wanted to do this summer because we had to keep “things open” so he COULD train.  I was not happy. He was livid!

This will be the SU’s second hundred, should he choose to do it. He can always do 62, which is a “metric century.”  I’m thinking, you so do not need to ride 100 miles when you really haven’t been training that hard.  But he is: A) stubborn and B) a Marine and that combination can equal Stupid. Hey, it’s your bod.  Don’t complain to me! I am going to attempt to do my longest distance, 35 miles.  I had originally signed up to do 40 but they changed the course and shortened it to 32.  I’m pretty confident I can do that but I want to best my longest distance which was done (maybe) last year: 34.5 miles.

Green Lady, the Bianchi bike.

This year, I have a lovely, spiffy new-to-me bike given to me by my brother.  It’s his green Bianchi whom I’ve dubbed Green Lady.  How unoriginal. She is most definitely a FEMALE bike!  We’ve been getting to know each other all summer.  I am not worthy of her, truly.  She is light, fast and agile.  None of these attributes are me.

I’ve graduated to the “Bigger Girl Stirrups”, the cages for your feet. I’m still not ready for Clip-Ins.  I like the thought of getting undone and off that sucker — fast.  The SU has had 2 spills with those damn things.  Not for me, thank you very much! I’ve gone from the “Comfy Big Bike Xtremely Padded Seat” into a (still-padded) racing seat.  I’ve gone from a girl-specific bike to a man’s bike, with the bar.  Which I caught my pubic bone on during a rapid stop.  Once.  Hurt for days!

All week long, I’ve been watching the weather.  I am not a Hot Weather Exertion Gal.  The SU is a lizard.  For the past 4 years he has battled extreme heat and pouring rains to ride for MS in Ohio’s Pedal To The Point.  It’s in August.  Seventy-five (Yes, 75) miles, two days.  Ain’t no way.  That’s not my idea of fun, even for a great cause.  That’s my idea of 4-H Hell: heat, humidity, heat-exhaustion and/or stroke and going to the hospital. Maybe if it was at a sensible time of year.  Like early May.  Late September?  My idea of Hot Weather Exertion is walking into a pool.

Now, having been in more than my fair share of walking/running (not that I run) events this bike thing is a different critter. The biggest difference between a bike tour, event, whatever-the-heck you want to call it and a foot-anything is TIME.  When you do a race or a charity run, there is a time limit and it’s not that long.  Most Half-Marathons have the course open for 3-4 hours, period.  Then they roll it up and your on your own.  Even charity 5Ks are open for maybe 2 hours.  Maybe. So you have to:

A) start at a specific time, with the maddening crowds. Which admittedly, is a rush.

B) try to stay the hell away from a bunch of semi-pro racers along with yahoos and hooligans who think they’re in an Olympic sprint.  Which is how people get hurt!  Mary Louise’s little girl has more than a few brain cells left.  I know I’m not going to set any land speed records.  “Ya’all go ahead, I’ll wait for a few minutes!”

C) Hustle your arse as fast as you can! Every second counts once you set your foot over that timing plate.  Even untimed races, you still have to move it along.

D) End by a specific amount of time. The goal is to finish.  Upright.  Unharmed.

Breaks?  (Insert sarcastic laughter.) There are none.  Oh, in the big races there are port-a-potties and drink tables with volunteers (Bless their hearts, truly!) hollering, “Water!  Gatorade!” so you know what you’re grabbing, drinking and flinging.  You have a timing chip on your shoes, the seconds are ticking away.  The person who invents a timing chip that pauses while you’re in the port-a-potty is going to make a FORTUNE! You feel this urgency to do the fastest drop-trow & pee in your life in those damn stink holes.  The timing chips mocks you.  You can feel its little inner metronome, clicking away. If you need nourishment etc., you better carry it with you!  If you go down, in short races, you better hope one of your competitors takes mercy on you and stops.  I’ve been the merciful one, helping someone, as dozens run merrily by.

But a bike event?  You want to start at 5:30 in the morning or at 10 am, go right ahead. There is an “official” start time (7:30 am) but they have support for TEN-TWELVE hours (depending on the event).  Damn, they even give you LUNCH!!!  Unless you’re doing the shortest distance (20 miles), they feed you LUNCH!  Even at the 10 mile break there is (are you ready for this?)

A port-a-potty

Coffee!

Water!

Gatorade!

Doughnuts/Bagels — some kind of starch!

Fruit!

At least one nice person who can help with you with a bike problem!

Such a deal!

The weather looks like it’s going to perfect, 50s in the morning going into the 70s with moderate humidity.  Rock on!  We arrive in Findlay, get our packets (oooh, we get numbers, mine is 314) and go shopping.  The SU gets two jerseys (most of his are so boring) and t-shirts.  I get a pair of socks!  We haul our bikes and gear up to the hotel room (very nice), eat dinner and settle in to (hopefully) sleep.

Hindsight Note To Self: Have the SU do a dummy check of what we really need to bring.  That would be:

Your Bike.  (Duh!)

An Extra Tire And Small Tool Kit. (Like I’m really going to change my own damn tire.  I’m going to bat my eyelashes behind my sunglasses and pull my best Southern Belle imitation, “Oh, you big ol’ strong ma-yan, kin ya’all fix mah little ol’ ty-er!” Yep, I’m on that like white on rice, baby.)

Your Bike Shoes (hard soled, highly uncomfortable to walk in)

Your Bike Helmet (hated but necessary equipment)

Gloves.  You’d be surprised how much you need those padded suckers.

Bike Shorts.  Again, padded and you would be surprised how much you need those suckers! It’s not necessarily my legs, knees, back, shoulders, numbing hands that give out.  It’s my butt!

Chamois Butt’r. Your butt deserves the best. Chafing is NOT your friend!  Think about it.

Glasses: For me, it’s sight, glare etc. and for all cyclists they are Bug Shields! Getting a bug IN your eye sucks.  It’s bad enough when one of the little suckers gets in your helmet, ear, mouth, down your jersey or UP your nose!  Faugggh!  Bleech!

Sunday morning dawns dark and cloudy.  The SU does one more weather watch on his Tablet, we load up and get to the departure point at the U. of Findlay.  We change in our cycling togs.  I notice that most of the people are dressed like we’re cycling in Antarctica! Long sleeved jackets, scarves, leggings, balaclavas, full gloves.  I have on my shorts, a sleeveless jersey, a neckerchief and a long sleeved cotton shirt over all. “It’s 55 degrees, people. It’s AWESOME!  It’s not 35!  Sheesh!” I think.

We go out to the car to get ready.  I find my black Skecher’s walking shoes, my tennies and…and…..and….I have an “Oh, Sh*t” moment.

“Uh-oh….where are my cycling shoes?  Crap!”  They are not anywhere in the car!  I guess my cycling shoes were NEXT to the Skecher’s and I grabbed those instead.  Sh*t.

Skecher’s and Bike ShoesYou can understand how

I got them mixed up.

Can’t you? Can’t you?

Tell me you can….

But wait, there’s more.

Neither the SU or I had done the Dummy Check for GLOVES!  Oh, he is HOT and not in a good way!! I’m pondering whether I can ride without them.  Highly irritated, he clamps his way back into the hall. We find one vendor still vending and buy 2 pairs of Pearl Izumi gloves.  He is NOT happy with me.  In a spirit of fairness, he could have double checked our equipment. (Grumble….)

I look at my Shoe Situation. It is at this time I am more than grateful I do not have Clip-In pedals or I would have been Sh*t Out Of Luck.  I have 3 choices of footwear: running tennies, the Skecher’s and flip-flops.  Those are out although the SU has seen people in other events biking with sandals.  I put on the Skecher’s thinking those soles are probably the stiffest.

We finish kitting up and we’re off; he in one direction and me in another, following the little “HHH with arrows” symbols painted on the road.

I am bee-bopping merrily along on Green Lady, feeling pretty good about myself, hoping it won’t rain.  There’s not a ton of storage room on a road bike, two small bags and the pockets in your jersey is all you’ve got.  It’s a lovely, quiet morning and I’m looking at all the pretty historic houses flanking Findlay’s main drag.

“Bump!!! Thwack! Clatter-Clatter-Clatter!”  These are never  good sounds. I look down at my handlebars and see that my cell phone has fallen out of its bracket and is missing.  Braking and muttering curse words, I get off and go back to retrieve my phone.  Trepidatiously, I pick it up, fearing the worst.  It is not only clocking my mileage (good old Runkeeper) but it’s my sole means of communication and it has The Map stored in there.

“Phew, thank God!” The hard case and Zagg screen have saved the day.  As aside note, this is about the fifth time I’ve dropped this phone and it still works.  Teenagers and twenty-somethings, take note. Remounting Green Lady, we continue on.  At about Mile 8, according to Runkeeper’s nice lady voice, I think, “The first rest stop is coming up.”  I come to an intersection, still following the arrows.  Alas, in my best Directionally Challenged way, I have made a wrong turn.

Now, in some respects, I’m a blithering coward; in others I’m rather adventurous.  It hasn’t dawned on me yet that I’ve made a wrong turn.  There is something blissful, quiet and soothing about moving with no sounds except the wheels spinning on the pavement, the soft swishing brush of your legs as you pedal and your breathing. It’s flat, so there’s really no intense labor. There are no cars.  It’s a quiet, country, rural road. The sky is big, with dark, bristling brooding clouds.  The soy and corn fields pass by.  There is no car noise.  Nothing but your sounds and the wind.  I’m doing a bit of thinking with part of my mind focused on what’s ahead.  There’s no one pushing, no competition, no trying to keep up with another cyclist.  It’s just me, Green Lady and the straight road ahead. I could stop if I wanted to.  It’s my ride. I keep going, take a drink from my water bottle. The road continues past fields and clumps of trees with the big sky all around me….

Suddenly, it dawns on me.  There is no one around.  I haven’t seen a single cyclist since leaving downtown Findlay.  That’s not that unusual but it’s really solitary.  And the road is getting narrower and narrower.  Hmmm.  I start looking down at the road’s surface for the little directional arrows.  I’m feeling a bit like a secondary lead in the sequel to the film Children of the Corn: Children Of The Soy.

“Oh, wittle ar-whoas, ” I say in my best Tweety Bird imitation, “Where are woo?”  (Yes, she’s gone over the edge, she’s talking out loud to herself in a Warner Brothers cartoon voice.)  Finally when my road comes to a sharp curve and turns into gravel, I think, “Hmm, maybe I better turn around and head back.  I made a wrong turn at Albuquerque!”  I’m not panicking.  As a matter I’m thinking this will add mileage onto my ride.  No worries.  It didn’t dawn on me that if I broke down, I was screwed in the middle of nowhere. (This was pointed out to me later on by Mr. Killjoy.)

As I stopped to turn around, a ray of light shafts the deep gray, brooding sky, highlighting the dark curtain of rain in the distance.  Rain?  Oh, OK, not good but it looks far way, I should be fine. Suddenly, the shaft of light moves to spotlight the road back. Right on the road, not the fields or berm of brown grass. I know a Sign when I see one.

“OK, I get the message!  Thank you very much!”  I head back, arrive at the intersection and finally find the “Wittle Ar-Whoas” on the pavement.  I arrive, 12-some miles in, at the rest stop.  Lovely!  Some water.  A glazed doughnut! Coffee with sugar!  I’m on my way to lunch, keeping some other folks in eyesight.  I am somewhat amazed to find myself pedaling past folks.  I am not a speed demon by any stretch, but I glance down at my odometer and discover I’m doing 16 MPH.  Taken aback, I slow down somewhat.  I don’t want to “blow up”, to lose my steam.  It’s not a sprint, it’s about distance.

I arrive at a small town school where I’ll have lunch and get to use a REAL bathroom.  That flushes!  With a sink!  This is civilization!! There is FOOD!  I have a PB&J half-sandwich and chocolate chip cookie.  I loathe peanut butter and jelly but I’ve heard it’s good energy food. I could have any of a wide variety of sandwiches, chips, cookies and drinks. I talked to some nice people when I have my “Vick Moment.”

Nice older lady sitting with other folks: “Too bad about so-and-so getting hurt.  He’s in the hospital with head trauma. They say he may never play again!”

Me: “Oh, that’s too bad, who was it again?”

Lady: “It was _____, a baseball player.”

Me: “Too bad it wasn’t Michael Vick.”  General laughter!

I run into Mary M. whom I had met and ridden with last year.  I decide to pedal with her and her friend.  We go along until the rest stop (10 miles from the finish), having a nice chat.  After the rest stop, I keep finding myself ahead of them.  I’m still not in bad shape.  I haven’t hit any physical walls, I’m feeling pretty good and a check of my odometer reads 16 MPH. They are way behind me. I can’t even see them! I never did get to say, “Good-bye and I’ll see you later, take care,” and I feel bad about that. I keep pedaling along and even the big hill going over the freeway isn’t too bothersome.   Green Lady is cruising along!  I guess she must thinking my brother is riding her!!

As I’m cruising into Findlay and towards the finish line, my Runkeeper chirps, “Time: three hours and so many minutes and seconds.  Distance: 38 miles.” Hey, I know I’m beaten my longest distance.  I heard the 35 mile mark come and go.  I can add on 2 miles and make it 40.  So I spend the next 2 miles tooling around Findlay, trying to NOT get lost.  If I make enough left hand turns….I should be OK.  I finally hear the time and distance: 40 miles!  I did it! I can quit now!

Runkeeper says this. My odometer, which is probably more accurate said: 40.76 miles in 3 hours, 24 minutes, 18 seconds as I recall. I think that’s more accurate.

The Spousal Unitat the

end of his ride!

100 Miles!

A Triumph!

What’s more important is I had fun! I felt confident too!  I hit both my goals for distance. I stayed upright.  It was a good adventure.

My butt was sore. I won’t lie.  I do have a 40-mile-on-the-flat butt.  I wonder if it could go longer. That is not a surety. I met some nice folks especially Corey while I was waiting for my SU to finish his 100 miles in 7 hours, 5 minutes (as I recall). My poor SU had to change his flat, which sucked for him, at about Mile 70-something.  The problem with stopping at that point is your body gets all pissy on you and doesn’t want to start up again. At all. And, another bummer, he never rode much with anyone.  He was by himself most of the time. He rarely got to draft anyone (pedal close to their back wheel, less wind) and get a break.

I think I’d like to try to do 62 miles someday but the weather is a huge factor for me.  It would have to be perfect, on the cool side and low humidity.

Now on to those foot races……

To Prong Or Not To Prong: The Debate Continues

I think this is a good discussion. 

Here’s my take.
 
First of all, for me personally, I have really high standards and expectations for myself and my dogs. All my dogs must eventually get their CGCs. I have only had one (my GP, Dri) who didn’t get his. I don’t want to be the stupid neighbor with THAT dog. It’s very important to me because I’m the caretaker for these dogs. Kids go to school. They get graduation certificates. Shouldn’t my dogs?
 
My goal for my cattledog boy, Artie Blue, CGC, is some kind of Obedience, Rally, Agility or Schutzhund title. For sweet Elke it was getting her CGC (done!) and have her qualify as an Asst. Dog or Therapy Dog. Most of the folks on many of the lists I’m on have Pibbles. Being a terrier-type they have a different head set from herding breeds, which is what I’ve mostly dealt with.  So, I can’t speak as to Pibbles, as much as I’ve worked with them in the shelter and have tons of friends who have them. I love them dearly too and advocate strongly on their behalf! But I “get” herding dogs better.
 
Here’s one my stories as pertains to prong collars: 
In 1993 I had a girl cattledog, Hart-Marie (in the picture) that I started in classes at 6 months old.  She wore a soft buckle collar, and I was armed with tons of treats…..all the trainer would allow.  (Harnesses were for Guide and Service dogs or if you did pulling or crating.) She was pretty good EXCEPT with pulling horribly on the leash while walking.  Her one huge drawback: she was horrible with small, fuzzy, white dogs.
 
For the leash pulling, we did tons of luring and tons of turns using the treats with The Happy Voice, that kind of thing. It worked pretty well, although I was dizzy from all the turns and switchbacks. It did take a while and lot of commitment on my part. The trainer’s deal was: free classes for us for Hart’s lifetime BUT she had to get her CD (Companion Dog AKC obedience title).
 
The fuzzy dog thing? Much harder because Hart meant business; she would have killed that dog (a Bichon). We did lot of desensitizing with focus and treats etc, that kind of thing, but she still wanted to kill that dog. I am not exaggerating.  Cattledogs are very quick; they have to be fast and agile or they’ll get killed by a cow’s kick square in the head.
 
When Hart was a year old, my trainer (who was also Hart’s breeder) gave me a prong, first putting in on my arm and showing me exactly how it worked and how to use it correctly. She also showed me how it needed to be fitted correctly etc. She stressed it was a Training TOOL. Not to be worn causally or all the time, like a regular buckle collar. Ever. We did probably 3 weeks of classes with a double leash technique, never, ever touching the leash with the prong. One class, with no warning (cattledogs can be like that, most of them are extremely subtle, even for a fully sighted person) she went after that Bichon. One pop, we changed directions with lots of praise and treats for a nice heel. I think she wore that collar for maybe 3 months and never again. She didn’t dread it, she never turned away, she’d happily wag her tail and wiggle her butt when she saw it. But she also had great work ethic. I maybe corrected her 5-10 times, mostly to refine a heel, quite honestly.  I will tell you that her three years of year-round classes and out of class work were 90% positives and 10% aversives or corrections.  
 
Hollering at your dog to shut up or using a sound (Acckk! is ours) is considered by many All Positive trainers to be an aversive. Come on, Seriously? Who doesn’t holler at your dog or kid once in a while.  
 
“Oh, Johnny, darling, don’t go near the street.  You might get hurt by a car,” works great on a three (or eight) year old. Not. You go get Johnny and if he continues to do that, you just might holler at him or give him a time-out.  (Parenting a kid is for another blog!)  
 
If Elke insists (sneaks) on getting on the sofa with a bone or toy, she knows that’s a no-no, I’m going to say, firmly and yes, loudly, “Get off the sofa with the bone!” point to the dog bed and praise her when she eats the bone on it.  The rules haven’t changed in 4 years, Elke, and they pertain to all dogs!
 
Back to Hart the prong collar. 
She had her CGC, TDI (when it meant something more) and her CD, was working towards her CDX and Agility titles when my circumstances stopped her training. She could walk through a herd of little, fuzzy, white, yappy dogs on a buckle collar with tons of treats and no worries.  Interestingly enough, she had a best bud who was a Chi-weenie and was fine with smallblack fuzzy dogs, like Schipperkes.  
 
I’ve had 2 other cattledogs I used prongs on once in a blue moon, Jesse Ann, my wonderful pig-head, could get very fixated and wouldn’t respond to click/treats at all. Again, maybe 3 uses of the prong and never needed again for 10.5 years.  Wingie JoJo, my lovable dope was scared of regular clickers (we used a cricket clicker) but he sure loved his food!!  I had to fde food fast and use praise and pets on him!
E-Collars? I am not a fan. I think it’s the lazy way to train.  I do get why hunters use the warning-beeper ones.  “Hey, Buster, you’re off track,” is really hard to holler when your German Shorthaired Pointer is 1,000 yards away.  More and more, I’m hearing, hunters are using whistle training. I don’t how I feel about e-fencing.
 
My current ACD, Artie, is soft and he won’t need a prong. He “gets” what he’s supposed to do, what I’m asking. He’s smart and willing. He’s still reactive and stupid and mouthy but I can get him back. My Elke is very soft and needs a whole other approach to help her get over herself. I confess to use a prong on her for excessive pulling the leash when she a couple of years y0unger and in retrospect it was NOT the “right” thing to do for her.
 
Now times and techniques have changed in those 19 years! I use the clicker too — all the time! I usually use a tongue click when I’m working on leash though. Too much stuff to deal with and my dogs “get” the tongue click! Artie and Elke don’t need the prong. Three other ACDs I’ve had needed the use of a prong maybe a few times each in their 10+ years on this earth in my care.
 
My German Pinscher (a terrier) really didn’t need it. In retrospect it proved to be counter-productive. He was started as a wee pup on a clicker and treats and he is the reason why I can be somewhat ambivalent about clicker training. He was extremely hard to train as he was not food or toy motivated. And trust me, we tried everything, even a real (dead) squirrel tail!  He is also the reason I am loath to get another terrier-type dog much as I love the clownishness of terriers and the love-a-bull mugs of the Big Heads.
 
Point: I think each dog is an individual and may learn in different ways than another dog. It is a process and you may need other tools. Some rock it on a harness, others are idiots on a harness. A tool is a tool. It’s how you use it or even IF you use it at all. Honestly, it’s not for most dogs and definitely NOT for most owners or trainers.  However, I’ll stand by my decision to use the prong collar on Hart-Marie all those years ago.  As a training tool, it helped her “get” that a certain behavior was unacceptable. It may have saved two dogs’ lives: a small, fluffy, white dog’s and hers.  Had she killed a dog, I would have felt obligated to put her to sleep. She died at age 16 1/4 years, nicely trained, deeply loved and tenderly cared for all her life. 
 
Just my opinion.

Moving On From Michael Vick?

Forgive Michael Vick? Move on from the whole “Michael Vick Thing?” He did the crime and did the time, etc. I can get where some folks are coming from but here’s the deal.

 
He committed a crime. Crime? He committed crimes. Aside from the dog thing, which was horrific, he still got arrested for other stuff. Felony Stuff. He knew exactly what was going on on his property. He aided and abetted all that stuff. He committed other CRIMES besides dog fighting.
 
OK, he served his time. That’s great. However he should NEVER have been allowed near professional sports again. Never. He’s done nothing but profit from his time in the “hoose-cow.” Oh, but he lost all his earnings and potential earnings when he went into prison. Boo-hoo.
 
I don’t see him giving one nickle beyond what he was court-ordered to give to those dogs. If I were his P.R. person, I’d be all over him like spots on a Dalmatian to be doing more and more. Both publicly and privately so some snoopy reporter would find out. 
 
I don’t see him, week after week after week going into schools and community centers and preaching against Dog Fighting and Drug Usage to his idolizing masses. I don’t see him doing one ounce of Good. And he could have. He was and still is in a tremendous position to do incredibly good things, to be a huge power of example.
 
I screwed up. God will be my Judge and I don’t think He’s going to be happy with me.  I was horrible and cruel beyond words to His defenseless creatures. I enabled people to do illegal, horrible and inhumane stuff. I knew it was going on and did nothing. In fact, I participated! I will never do it again and I vow to spread the word and tell people it’s wrong, it’s immoral, it’s inhuman, it’s inhumane and don’t you ever do it!  Don’t get caught up the spiral of horror!  It’s not cool!  You’re a big loser if you do it. It’s no way out!” He truly could have had a public “Come To Jesus” moment and done something uplifting with this whole ungodly mess.  A true Man of God (or Goddess) would do such a thing.  And they’d keep on testifying!  
 
That’s why so many “animal people” think he’s such a jerk and still have him in the pillory of public opinion.
 
You don’t hear anyone saying, “Well, Bernie Madoff is doing his time. Let’s move on, shall we?” Nobody that I know of or have heard of is willing to give old Bernie a pass. There are people who are making it their life’s mission to find that money and make restitution. 
 
But because Michael Vick is a football player, an athlete, we should just “move on?”
 
Please do not flip out the “You’re just being that way because he’s black” card.  Dog-fighting, dog killing, dope dealing, trafficking, illegal-gambling, felonious, scum-buckets come in all shapes, sizes and socio-economic backgrounds. I wouldn’t care if he was pink with purple polka dots. He and his charming relatives and friends were a bunch of opportunistic criminals. Period. To pull out the “race card” is demean to people like Martin Luther King.
 
I understand “To err is human, to forgive divine.” (Alexander Pope) And the Latin: “Errare humanus est.” Yes, as spiritual folks, we should pray for Michael Vick, pray especially for his “vick-tims” and for all the people who invested and believed in him. He duped and cheated every stinkin’ one! He is still laughing his way all the way to the bank with million dollar endorsements and contracts. If you or I had committed his crimes, we probably wouldn’t be able to get a job at McDonalds, get a car or buy a house.
 
He is the poster child for “You might get caught, you might have to do some time, but you can profit from this.” What lesson does this teach kids? Where are the ethics?
 
And speaking of…..why don’t most professional athletes have to sign ethics’ clauses?  
 
Why is it that an athlete gets a slap on the wrist but some poor “muther f-er” from the ghetto would still be in jail?  (Better lawyers notwithstanding.)
 
His consequence for committing his crimes should have been banishment from professional sports, in particular football. If he’d been a NASCAR driver (and believe me, I don’t like NASCAR very much) his getting back into the sport would have been a total non-starter.
 
I’m sorry but if you are a professional athlete and you get nailed for felonies, that’s it.  You’re done, buster. If he’d done this stuff, he would have been kicked out of the Olympics!  Nobodyis that good or necessary to the football cause. There are many worthy high school and college kids ready, willing and able to take your place.
 
Get a real job and find out how tough it is for a convicted felon to get work. Then maybe I’ll give you a brief hall pass. Just don’t ever do it again. Ever. The same as with any other felon.
©2012 Mia Knerly-Hess

I Can’t Make This Stuff UP: PETA Again

PETA again.  “No one belongs in a crate.” Crate training is cruel?  I hope they’re kidding.  They’re not? Damn.
 Shame on anyone who supports these cretins (and that’s an insult to cretins….)
Rock formations have more brain capacity than PETA and its stalwart cohorts.
(Insert a whole string of incredible, mind-cringing swear words.)
I cannot make this stuff up.  Whoever the brilliant mind was that came up with this anti-ad is a genius.  I salute you!
Come-a-my-house and I open up a can of whoopass on you, you neanderthalic, mindless, reactionary PETA jerk-offs! I’ll bet you drink the lemonade too.
Go to your Happy Place now, Mia…..
Happy Place, Happy Place (rocking back and forth…)

On Cross-Posting Animals In Need

©2012 Mia Knerly-Hess
So you want to set up a Cross-posting site? A Facebook Page? OK, great, super. Here are a few ideas. This goes for Cat People too.
It’s just not enough to click SHARE. Any idiot with a left finger and a mouse can do that.
First of all, please, do not bombard people with Cross-Posts. There are a few individuals on Facebook in particular who cross-post well over 100-200 animals a day. Your mind goes into shut-down mode; a sense of helplessness ensues. “How can I possible help? There are just too many!”
 
There ARE too many. That’s the tragic truth. It’s overwhelming. Just one more tragic story, one more sad face. It can be mind-numbing. That’s the fastest way to get un-Friended on Facebook. That and political posts. 🙂 I have un-Friended a few people because of that. It’s heart-wrenching, depressing and in the end, believe it or not, ineffective.
 
If you’re going to cross-post or set up a site for it, it needs to have different ways that people could help.
First and foremost: People have got to have current and complete info on that animal. It’s my biggest bitch! I wouldn’t post anything that doesn’t have enough info on it unless I know it’s a purebred Schipperke and I’m hollering out to Schipperke folks on the web. It’s a huge waste of time. People want to help, they need info in order to do that. See my Blog on thisI think it would help a ton more dogs if they did better marketing. Plus you, as Site/FB -page Master. need to follow up on each listing and pull it off if the dog is out or dead.
 
There is a HUGE need for a clearing house, a networking site for Rescues and Fosters, locally in your community, as well as county-wide, area-wide, state-wide, country-wide and internationally as well. If you’re in America, there may be a rescue in Canada that may be able to help. Same as in Germany finding a rescue in Italy. Someone needs to shell out some serious bucks and pay a few people to set that up and keep in current. It shouldn’t be completely manned by volunteers. It is too vast and the skills involved need money. Even setting up a local Rescue Networking site is a huge undertaking.
Big Note: A lot of these shelters won’t let John Q Public take that dog/cat out, even in a High Kill joint or off the Urgent list…..and rightly so. They’re figuring whoever is getting that (usually) unfixed dog out is just going to use them for bad things. Having a Rescue/Foster clearing house or network that is kept current is essential for getting animals out and safe in foster.
IF you’re going to set up a Cross-Posting site or FB page you need this:
“Here are other ways people can help”
 
*MONEY.
Donating money or items.
Having a fund raiser. Kids can do that!
If there is a Chip-in to get Rusty out of the shelter, and you’ve got the bread, cough it up.
*Find out what your rescue/shelter needs other than money and see if there is a way to get it. Flea markets, garage and estate sales, etc. etc.
*Figure out what’s going on at the Local shelter and who might be the “go-to” person. Do a little sleuthing and see who can help or who’s got info. Be respectful and kind. Contrary to popular beliefs, not everyone who works at a High Kill is the anti-Christ and gets a Heinrich Himmler hard-on while gassing or heart-sticking kittens. If there is some monster working there, the devil you know…. You could then work politically to get that person fired but have a few replacements in mind. The Monster has connections? Find somebody with better connections. There is always a way, there is always someone higher up the food chain with a bigger hammer.
 
* If you’ve really got some moxie, some balls, a suit and some bread; get on the Board of the Local. Find out who is on the Board too. Those are people you need to watch. That’s where the money is and policy is made. Board Members of many organizations are usually very clueless about day to day workings of any place, notoriously non-profits or publicly run or funded shelters. They have their own agenda for being on that Board and it’s usually NOT because they’re all mushy about animals. It’s either monetary, political or resume driven. Or all of the above.
*Contacting or networking with rescue orgs. Life is truly all about networking.
*Connections, connections, connections. Use them but don’t abuse them. Have something to give back.
*Are you a professional photographer or a budding Ansel Adams? Donate your services, take pictures or video of animals in need. Snag a friend or staff member for a few minutes to help. One good photo or video can make a huge difference for that one animal.
*Offers of transport. Often the rescue and foster combo is possible, but the ride isn’t. If you are driving for a legit 501(c)3 tax exempt means you can write off stuff like the gas on your taxes. (Or you used to be able to do it; it may have changed.)
*Checking references on behalf of a rescue. Or about a rescue!
* Conducting a home check. (I’ve done this. Very interesting and rewarding.)
* If you are a certified CPDT dog trainer or Animal Behaviorist, perhaps donating your services once a month for a training class or seminar for the general pubic or people who adoptedanimals you know about. Animal “misbehavior” is usually tops on the list as to why Fluffy gets dumped at the Local. There’s a whole lot of crazy information out there but people don’t know where or how to get HELP! This will actually help your business in the long and often in the short run.
*Encouraging your vet to have a one day spay-neuter clinic. Or Shots. Or microchips. Or all of the above. Or find someone or a business willing to write this off on their taxes as a charitable donation. Offer to make food for the staff and docs etc.
*Hooking up with local rescues and local kennel kennel clubs. In the Rescue World especially, find out who’s in and who ain’t. Find out who says they’re a rescue and who actually has the 501 status. I can say I’m a Jack-Rabbit Rescue and, being a great schmoozer, I could convince you I am. Trust me, I’m NOT!
*Never Trust Everything YOU Read On The Internet. It is not infallible. It is not the Gospel of anything. Use the phone for starters.
*Ask an org (rescue, shelter) “How can I help?” It may be something as simple-stupid as making (vegan) chocolate chip cookies. (There is a way, but I don’t like them myself.)
* Go into your community and see if there is someone you could help with adequate food, shelter etc. for their dog. Get that dog off its chain or off the back porch. That’s outreach and it’s huge. We only save one dog at a time, really. Look at this one. Break The Chain on Long Island, NY and C.H.A.I.N.E.D. In the Detroit, MI area are some others that come to mind.
*Educate people on the benefits of spay/neuter. Educate people about dog fighting, cruelty, not getting bitten, dog body language, etc. etc. All ages need educating! At about 4th grade, kids are starting to get very jaded.
*Offer to underwrite a Neuter-Scooter for your area.
*Help a foster parent. You can’t do it yourself but you can help! Know someone who is fostering? They are the true ANGELS in this whole mess! Go over and give them a hand. Watch the dog go potty or keep an eye on him while the Foster Parent has a cup of Joe or goes to the movies. Throw cookies at the dog, help him learn something. I swear, it takes a village to raise or help or rehab a dog or cat. You could be that dog’s honorary Auntie or Uncle!
*Men. We Need Men. Ask Men.
Women, God bless us, we sit around and get sad, get mad, write, blog, yack on FB about the horror, the injustice of it all. We form groups and/or rescues and a lot of the time bad-mouth all the other groups/rescues out there.
Men, God bless them, give them a plan or a task and let them implement it. A poor person with no money and a dog on a six-foot chain needs a dog house and a fence? A two-story Craftsman-style dog condo, insulated with gable roofing and windows made out of scrap from a lumber yard I got for free? I’m ON IT! Let them build it; they will come.
Get more men involved especially in the area of a spay/neuter. We ladies can cluck about how male dogs make babies but some big old Bubba could give a sh*t because, what do we know? We don’t have balls. Get your husband/boyfriend/son/dad/brother to help with this one.
The old argument: “You’re taking all his fun away?” Trust me, if Gonzo wants to screw, some still do. I had a neutered male that still did. He’s not making babies; that is the bottom line. They are not YOUR balls, dude. It’s not personal. If a man in your life is some kick-ass, tough as nails, Marine-type, recruit that dude!!
Just remember, Bubba: he’s still your lovable dog and if you’re that hung up about what’s hung under, have those fake balls put on your dog. He’s still going to lick his….uh….Richard. He can always do that. A pocket-rocket happens with male dogs, with or without ’em!
*Organize, brave soul that you are, a dinner-party or picnic or cocktail party and invite every stinkin’ rescue org in your area. Have food. And invite your local AKC, UKC, kennel club, training club reps. Don’t be a lazy person, use emails, phone calls and a written invite. Get to know who does what. Oh, it could get ugly putting all those different groups and factions into the stew, but if you’re a sick broad like me, you might get a vicarious thrill. More importantly, you’d get the players straight in your head. As an added extra bonus some of the combatants may get their heads out of their butts and say, “Uh, well, shoot, scooter, we all want to help dogs. Maybe if we work together a bit more?”
*THERE IS NOTHING LIKE FACE TO FACE TIME! We rely TOO much on the internet and Facebook.
*Rescue People, I know you get inundated with calls and emails, pleas, begging, tears but you got into Rescue for a reason. Be accessible. Don’t blow people off like you’re a Force 10 hurricane. Keep tracks of the idiots, of course. “We just cannot take one more dog into our rescue,” (but maybe provide options) is a rather lengthy way of saying, “No!” but it’s still no. “No” is totally OK. You do what you can with what you got.
If you can’t do it anymore, whether it’s your heart, your health, your life circumstances — no reasonable person is going to flail you —- after a while. They’ll find a new b*tch to burn at the stake eventually. Get out with grace and dignity.
Now I know I’ve mentioning getting in touch with and on board with your local kennel club. A lot of rescue folks and people involved with shelters are saying, “Eeeeeuuu!” I say, get over yourself. A ton of people involved in shelters and rescue are very resentful towards purebred dog owners, handlers and breeders, citing them as The Problem. “They breed dogs. There are too many dogs dying in shelters, being abused,” etc. Trust me, people involved in showing dogs in any arena know exactly (and far better than most of you do) how many dogs (and cats) are dying every day.
 
Here’s a clue by four for you? Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, they are NOT the problem! Read that again. Most people involved in showing and/or breeding dogs (The Fancy, agility, herding, obedience, etc. etc.) are deeply committed to breed rescue. The problem is not purebred dog folks for the most part, it’s your idiot neighbor next door. Or worse. To force a mandatory moratorium on dog breeding will not stop it. That is an airy-faery dream that you need to jettison. It will drive the “good folks” out of dogs and it will drive the bad people (dog fighting, puppy mills etc.) further underground and the fallout in terms of animal cruelty and horrific deaths will astound you.
 
While purebred rescue is their primary focus (and rightly so), many folks involved in purebred dog stuff have a love of DOGS, period. They are also high on your list of go-to folks to fight against Breed Specific Legislation and Puppy Mills. Purebred dog people with medium to large breeds “get” BSL. You don’t have to preach to that choir; they are (99.9% of them) overwhelming opposed to it. And Small/Toy dog folks immediately “get” puppy mills. Rescue groups, shelters and purebred dog people don’t always communicate and they really should. Is the lady who shows Japanese Chins going to be partial to Chins? Of course. But she might have networks the Average Rescue Person has never even considered!! I’ve know quite a few show folks who have done dog transports as well, on the down-low, quietly helping as they can.
 
Don’t diss the purebred dog community or your local kennel club. Network with them, maybe join up and help out a dog show (of any kind). You’ll actually learn a lot about dogs, learn about dog breeds and types (thus helping with your identification process) and meet some nice folks ofttimes. Yes, there will some snotty people, but, come on, really. Think about it. There are some Seriously first-class, Grade A weirdos in the Rescue community as well.
 
In short, if you are going to cross-post, broaden your horizons to beyond your Facebook Page.
Just my opinion.
©2012 Mia Knerly-Hess

Animals In Need: A Facebook Failure

Bitch of the Day:
 
I am getting horrifically pissed at seeing completely inadequate “Dogs/cats/horses/animals in need postings.”
 
Contrary to popular belief we are NOT psychics.  Gosh, hate to disillusion you and, oh, guess what —-FB is international.  Which means people are going to read your posts everywhere!  
You want to help —- BE SPECIFIC!!!!!!.  Here is an example.
Picture(s) of animal than say: (for example)
Dog, Urgent.  Can only be released to a Rescue Organization (if that’s the case.).
8 year old medium-sized female  17-19″ tall, a very slim 45 pounds.  (Better than saying she’s scrawny and needs a lot of good meals and has tits hanging down to her knees.)
Since so many pictures are crappy (another bitch of mine), a detailed description please:
 
She is a pit bull mix type dog, not spayed.  Now use some adjectives! She is a stunning dark tiger brindle with white markings on her chest and cute little white toes. Her eyes are a deep brown and her teeth are good but they might benefit from a cleaning and good diet. She’s Vet checked, has kennel cough which is treatable etc. UTD on all shots.  (Whatever medical issues  are needed to know, be honest.)
Here’s another colossal failure with posters.  Where the hell is the dog located?  Some missle base?  On Mars?  Like I really know where in Brooklyn, NY?  Oh, wait…..let me get out my Ouija broad and see if I can find it?
 
Try this instead:
Available at Barks-A-Lot Shelter,
2668 First Street, Ipswich, Ct. 60008
Durham County, Near State route 22 and cross street X.
Open M-F 8-5pm etc.
Phone number: 800-555-1000 email contact: susieQ@ email. net
Passed her SAFER test with all 1s.  (Post any temperament test results or assessments if you’ve got them.)
Volunteers write:  “blah-blah-blah.”  Some kind of personality assessment!
Do not give me that malarky about “we don’t know weight or height.”  The vet or tech who checked in the dog knows the weight or an approximation.  
Height is easy to determine, you can self-measure that dog.  At home, get a yard stick and have a friend  tell you what inch is the bottom of your knee cap, the top of your knee cap, the middle of your shin and the middle of your thigh.  That pretty much takes in most dogs and you’ll have a ballpark figure.  Where do the dog’s withers come on you! Duh.  Don’t need to be a brain surgeon for that!  And if you don’t know what a “wither” is on a dog, google it!
And stop, for god’s sake, saying she’s a Pit Bull.  The likelihood of her being a UKC Registered American Pit Bull Terrier is so slim you’d be more likely to win the mega-millions.  At least give her half a chance by saying she’s a Pit Bull mix.  Or if she’s low and wide, an AmStaff mix. And that would be the truth!