Thursday, June 28, 2007

Swimming lessons for dogs

I'm linking this blog to an article I just read on about a man in Largo who teaches dogs to swim.

Frankly, the need for this surprises me. I've had many companion animals through the years and only a couple liked water enough to jump into our pool. The others, well, they just didn't. They sniffed the edge of the pool, the light bulb went off in their heads, they backed up and sat down. "We're sitting out this gig, mom, we've got you covered from right here," they seemed to say.

The article says about 10,000 dogs drowned in the US last year. It says dogs can find their way into a pool, but often can't find their way out because, as the swim teacher referred to in the article says, dogs lack a, "sense of depth perception" and panic. But some clearly don't panic. Two of mine absolutely soared through the air and did gleeful belly flops into the aqua abyss the first time they saw the pool. So does that mean certain breeds have depth perception and others don't?

Now, I am not undermining the usefulness of teaching your dog (or cat) to swim. I'm just saying...where were the guardians of those 10,000 dogs? Even if my water-loving dogs are doing their thing, I'm keeping an eye out, you know what I mean? If my husband is floating around on the pool recliner, I'm keeping an eye out. Why weren't all those people keeping an eye out for their companion animals?

I'll keep wondering I suppose, like I wonder why people can be so irresponsible when it comes to their animals and then blame the animal for misbehaving in some fashion.

Stay safe this summer and if your dog loves the water, let him or her swim, but still... keep an eye out for them!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Bill seeks to save pets during domestic violence cases

The story I've linked to here is about California Senator Sheila Kuehl, and her quest to get a bill (SB 353, to be exact) passed that would protect pets during domestic violence incidents. I not only want to applaud her efforts and keep my fingers crossed the bill becomes law, I also want Florida lawmakers to follow suit.

Through the years, plenty of pets have been injured, tortured and/or killed as a way for the abuser to further control his victim. Sen. Kuehl's bill would allow judges to include any kind of animal in protective orders for as long as deemed necessary, which would mean abusers would have to stay away from the pet or pets involved and not be allowed to harm the pet. Violating the order would be a misdemeanor.

New York, Vermont and Maine passed similar laws last year. I hope Florida will be next. As a matter of fact, I'm off to write my lawmakers a letter about it. Won't you write one to yours?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Horses just wanna have fun

While I love watching horses frolick in a field and simply adore taking photos of colts learning to walk, I am not what you would call a "horsey person." When I was younger, I went horseback riding on a horse the stables said was "normally very calm. " I should have known. About a mile into the ride, "Normally Calm" decided he wanted lunch and he proceeded to take me on a drag race back to the barn. I was terrified and haven't been on a horse since. I admire them - from afar.

Since I don't know that much about horses and their ways, it's not surprising that I would be amazed to learn that horses love playing with toys. Yes, toys. Dogs have toys, Cats have toys. Now horses have toys. There are Web sites that sell them. One is which has items such as "Stallballs" and "Eggbutts" that are designed to "enrich" a horse's environment. Another one has a product called "Likit"which can be purchased from Very cool.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Leaving dogs in hot car is a crime

We were thrilled to see the recent news article about the Ohio man who has been charged with two misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals after leaving his two dogs inside a parked car near a store in Alachua County.

The police observed the dogs in the car for 10-15 minutes, in 90 plus degree heat, with the front windows merely cracked. The dogs had no water and were panting heavily. The criminal was held at least over night in the Alachua County jail on a $2,000 bond. We'd like to see this crime treated with the same decisiveness all over the state, indeed, all over the nation.