Achieving Your Pet’s Summer Body Goals

A number of my clients have seen their dog’s bodies change as a result of COVID lockdowns. Some have had extra time to walk their dogs and their dogs have trimmed up– great! But for many, there has been extra time at home which has only encouraged pet owners to dole out too many treats. Even before the pandemic, pet obesity was considered an epidemic, with over half (!!) of the dogs in the USA overweight as of 2018.

Here are a few tips and tricks to help your pet stay in a healthy body condition this summer.

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Not so Manic Monday

My babies. Hard to believe they are all sleeping this hard at once. Until next time, Good day, and good dog!


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First Premium Membership Rewards Post has been published

way more black

I just published the first rewards post for my Premium Members. It can be only accessed through subscription.

To subscribe, go to this page and click on the link.  You pay by entering your bank or card information, which is protected through Stripe.com.

Thank you so much for my current members. Every subscription helps me produce quality content for this site.

 

 

Natural History

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Why is My Dog Eating Grass?

Summer is in full swing and by now your lawn is probably green. While admiring the fruits of your labor in the yard, are you wondering if you adopted a mini cow instead of a dog? Does he or she gorge on the grass in your garden or stop and nibble while taking a walk? Are you curious as are all of us, why your dog is eating grass?

The post Why is My Dog Eating Grass? appeared first on Halo Pets Blog.

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Help! My Dog Stops Walking and Won’t Move

Have you ever had a problem on a walk when your dog stops walking and won’t move? If so, you’re not alone. Today we have a guest post from animal behaviorist Dr. Diane Pomerance with one…



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Blueberry Frozen Dog Treats Recipe

Along with serving as small treats, this blueberry dog ice cream also makes a fun filling for a stuffable rubber treat dispensing toy for some longer-lasting fun. Rich in antioxidants, blueberries…



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Reichshund

Reichshund

When Germany unified in 1871 under the Prussians,  the new nation began a period of modernization and industrialization. For lack of a better word, it aped much of what the British did. Britain was the world super power at the time, and it made sense to do many of the things that made it successful.

Agricultural improvement was a subject for which the British had a great understanding, and Germans were deeply involved in their own selective breeding projects in a wide variety of species.  Dogs were no exception. Indeed, the Germans largely adopted the British dog fancy system as a way of improving canine stock.

In Edward Tenner’s remarkable piece called “Constructing the German Shepherd Dog,” the author points out that German dog fancy was largely derived from the British one, and by the 1880s, there were three main factions that were operating in the field of dog breed improvement:  a faction that was working breeding good urban pets, a faction that was interested in experiment with various working breeds to improve them for greater utility, and a faction that was concerned with dogs of the rural gentry, especially Great Danes.

It is in the latter that it most resembled that of the British dog fancy. The dog fancy had come from learned nobility or those very near to reaching peerage, and the main interests were dogs used for hunting or dogs that were used for guarding large estates.  The first dog shows in England were about setters and pointers. They later came to encompass virtually every hunting dog, as well as the noble mastiffs.

This part of the German dog fancy was particularly concerned with Great Danes. Bismarck, the Prussian statesman whose Realpolitik had made unification possible, was a much-esteemed leader of the new nation. He was very much a fan of the large boarhounds, and the dogs that surrounded his court and those of his associates came to be known as Reichshund or “dogs of the Empire.”

In this way, the Germans aped the British. The British heavily promoted the improvement of very large mastiffs in the early days of their fancy, and the German did much the same with their own indigenous mastiff.

One of the great ironies is that English speakers call this breed a “Great Dane.” Buffon called the dog “Le Grand Danois,” and such a misattribution has continued in the English-speaking world almost without challenge.  Some English-language authors called the breed the “German boarhound” or just “boarhound,” which are far better names.

But if one knew of the popularity of Great Danes among the elite in Germany in the early decades of the Empire,  it would be hard to see them as anything other than German.

Indeed, the foundation of breed as we know it today started in Berlin in 1878, just a few years after unification. Various boarhound fanciers–almost all of them nobles who either used them as catch dogs or as estate guardians– got together and began combining their strains.

The breed had a terrible reputation in England. Rawdon Lee saw the breed as a menace and recounts a story in which a Great Dane nearly killed a Newfoundland dog.  He also lamented that dogs exhibited at the Crystal Palace shows spent most of their time growling and snarling at other dogs and exhibitors.

This breed did have a reputation very much like we see about pit bulls today, and they are three times the size of a pit bull.

When the Germans began the pioneering of the modern concept of a police dog, the Great Dane was the breed that was used.  In the late 1890s, Franz Laufer became a the police commission in Schwelm in Westphalia, where he became instrumental in developing a modern police force.

One thing that Laufer thought was necessary was to have dogs that worked for the police. Initially, he thought the dogs’ main utility would be in protecting the police from hostile subjects, and the breed he chose to work as a police dog was the Great Dane. Indeed, the first modern police dog was a Great Dane named Caesar, who was enlisted for service in 1897.

Great Danes were the first police dogs, but of course the breed isn’t that well-suited the task. They lack the biddablity of the shepherd dogs, and in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, this breed had much of a fighting spark than could ever be made safe for the public. They are also very large and aren’t as easy to transport. They also take years and years before they mature mentally.

The Great Dane, the boarhound, the Deustche Dogge, or German mastiff was really the first attempt by the German Empire to create a unified national breed. But they were mostly the dogs of the elite, because of the limitation in turning them into truly versatile working dogs, they were eventually replaced by the German shepherd, a dog from more rustic and working class roots.

The reputation of this breed has changed quite a bit. Americans grew up on The Ugly Dachshund, Scooby Doo, and Marmaduke formulation of the breed. One cannot do a search for the Great Dane and not see the words “gentle giant” mentioned in the majority of your results.

The breed has been toned down greatly from that über that frightened people all over the English-speaking world. Indeed, the breed is almost never used to catch wild boar and feral swine, which was its original purpose.

The breed still has some capacity for aggression, especially toward other dogs, and some can be absolutely dangerous creatures.

But the passing 123 years since time of Caesar in Schwelm, the breed has become a companion animal and a novelty. Virtually no one breeds a real working Great Dane. Americans prefer their own strains of catch dogs, as do the Australians and New Zealanders, and such methods of hunting are illegal in Germany and most of Europe.

It failed as a national dog. It made a short career as a police dog.  It no longer makes the swine squeal.

It fits in now because of its novelty and its rebranding. But in its blood still courses the boarhound of yore. Its blood courses in the Dogo Argentino and maybe a few other feller mastiff strains as well.

But the dog itself go on into the twenty-first century, in hopes to find a space in a world no longer needing such a creatures as true German boarhounds of the old strain.

***

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Natural History

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Normalizing Period Talk (+ An Incredible Deal on Tampax + Always!)

This post is in partnership with Always and Tampax. Now through July 25th, save $ 4.00 on 2 Tampax products or 2 Always products at Meijer! (Please note that Always Infinity packaging has been updated and is different than above image.)

You guys hear me talk a lot about ending unnecessary stigmas and normalizing topics that, well, should be normalized. For example, I frequently discuss mental health, my own challenges with anxiety disorder, and why talking about these things is important. One topic I haven’t yet covered though that I decided I really should discuss here is menstruation. You know, our periods. Many of us with vaginas (let’s all say the word together: vaginas) get them, but our society has made them a taboo topic to discuss.

Honestly, it’s no surprise that people feel uncomfortable or unknowledgeable talking about periods – we’re simply not educated about them. According to the Guttmacher Institute, only 30 states and DC even teach sex ed here in the U.S. I know I was never taught about how to use tampons in school, and if not for being able to ask my mom questions about my period, would have felt completely unprepared. Many girls (and even grown women) feel ashamed or embarrassed to talk about their periods because they were never given the knowledge to feel confident in discussing them. And that’s just not right.

I have made a promise to myself to teach both my daughter and my son about periods. (They already have a basic idea of what they are, and know that mommy gets them.) And in the same way that my husband and I teach them proper terminology for body parts, we will use proper words for menstruation: period, vagina, tampon, pad, etc. We won’t use code words. Periods are a natural body process, and no one should grow up feeling shame about them. As adults, we should do the same as we’ll be doing for our kids: talk about periods, use proper terminology, and share our stories without feeling embarrassed. I also feel that we should do our part in supporting organizations and brands who are publicly taking action in making sure we end the stigma of discussing periods. (I am in freaking love with Tampax‘s partnership with Amy Schumer, for example. Google it. It is everything.)

I could go on and on about my periods, what I did when I got my first one at age 14, how wacky they are now in my 40s, or times when I didn’t realize they were coming and they, well, did (like at a business lunch with a large group in San Francisco when one of the brand’s employees pointed out the large stain on the back of my dress). Or I could talk about the first time I used a Tampax (foot on the toilet method, anyone?), or an Always pad (thanks for the lesson, mom!). I likely will devote future content to discussing these things, because that’s the point – periods are normal, and there is absolutely no reason they shouldn’t be casually and regularly discussed. But today, I just wanted to touch on the subject and open up the dialogue (feel free to comment or email me to discuss more!), and to share an amazing deal on Tampax and Always products going on at Meijer right now.

And finally, here is the deal I promised! (And yes, I am extremely excited about this. If you guessed that I immediately got in my car and headed directly to Meijer upon learning about it, you are correct.) Right now (July 20-25) at your local Meijer store, save $ 4.00 on two packs of Tampax Tampons or $ 4.00 on two packs of Always Pads. (This awesome promotion can be found in the BrandSaver weekly paper, which is available in store at Meijer.) I choose Tampax for several reasons, but mostly because it is the #1 US Gynecologist recommended tampon brand (based on 2020 survey). And I’ve been using Always Infinity FlexFoam Pads since they first became available, because they legitimately feel like I’m not wearing a pad. Their motto: ‘Zero Feel, Zero Leak Protection is Possible’ is 100% truth, my friends. So head over to Meijer immediately and take advantage of this goodness while you still can (ends July 25th!).

Who else agrees that we need to be normalizing period talk, like yesterday? Tell me all your stories!

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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On Redwolves

red wolf

I don’t know a damned thing about football. I have hated it my whole life.  I cannot carry on a halfway decent conversation about it. Taking me to a football game for me to enjoy it is about like taking a dog to the Louvre and expecting him to appreciate the art*, and I will remain happily ignorant about the subject until my dying day.

Currently, the US is going through some great historical reckonings about racism, which I must admit that I do fully support.  There is a lot of controversy about taking down statues and renaming streets, and it’s all horrendously gut-wrenching and difficult.

Among the changes that is happening is that the professional football team in Washington, D.C. is getting its name changed. For decades, various groups affiliated with various Native American organizations have been trying to get the name changed. It has been called the Redskins, and as someone who doesn’t care about football, I think it’s kind of silly that we have a name like this for anything.

But all the recent events have finally led to decision to change the football team’s name.

And although we don’t know the new name. The current favorite is “Redwolves.”

Well, that’s a different controversy!

And no, I’m not saying the systematic racism and oppression of Native Americans is an any way comparable to a big taxonomy kerfuffle, but it is controversial.

As long time readers of this blog know, I generally reject the “red wolf” paradigm. I base this rejection upon really good genome-wide analysis. I also reject the ancient North America-only origins for the coyote, and I believe that both the red wolf and coyote are offshoots of the Eurasian gray wolf.  Indeed, I have proposed that the coyote is a form of gray wolf in the same way the domestic dog is , and that it should be recognized as Canis lupus latrans.  The red wolf is a hybrid between relict gray wolves that lived in Louisiana and Texas and the coyote.

One unusual discovery about gray wolves, coyotes, and “red wolves” is that all three populations are about as genetically distinct from each other as humans from different continents are.

And this discovery might tell us thing or two about racism in our own species. At one time, the various races of humanity were often classified into different species. Some people resisted this notion, which popular in the nineteenth century.

However, among them was the Rev.  John Bachman, a Southern Lutheran pastor, who also ministered to the slaves. He defended the institution of slavery, of course, but he did not think that African Americans were a different species from Europeans.

Bachman also believed the wolves of North America represented one species, and this idea was very much expounded in Aubudon’s The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America. Bachman and Audubon worked closely on the text, and although Bachman and Audubon are credited with documenting the red wolf as a species, they were very clear that were the same species:

“The Wolves present so many shades of colour that we have not ventured to regard this [the red wolf] as a distinct species;  more especially because it breeds with those of other colours, gangs of wolves being seen in which this variety is mixed up both the grey and the black” (243).

Bachman and Audubon’s initial idea that the “red wolf” was just a color phase has since been revealed in the genome-wide analysis of wolves, coyotes, and red wolves are so closely related to each other that it would almost make sense to classify them as one really diverse species. Bachman and Audubon were certain that the coyote was a very distinct species, but it likely diverged from the gray wolf within the past 50,000 years. And a gene flow still exists between coyotes and gray wolves across the continent.

Humanity is so caught up in labeling, and now, we’re trying to undo some of the damages that were done through our pseudoscientific labeling in the past.

And Confronting past and present racial discrimination is the current zeitgeist.

I reject racism very clearly and definitely. I don’t want to have teams with racist names or have statues of Confederate generals on public property.

I am what some people would call “left wing scum.” I wear the badge with pride.

But I wonder if much of my rejection of Canis rufus is also my rejection of racism. I think the evidence is strong that the species should not be considered valid, but I wonder if my strong aversion to the classification of this species is part of my deep anti-racist ideology.

Maybe it clouds how I view data.  Ideology does drive a lot of scientific understanding. Philosophy underpins so much more than we’re ever willing to accept.

I know that I have intellectually made the case to myself.  It makes me look like I hate endangered species to some poor readers out there.  Or that I want some sort of whole-scale blood letting among the red wolves.

But I don’t think that this species was defined correctly. It wasn’t even defined when wolves were commonplace in Texas and Louisiana, and the genetic data that was used to identify them as a species in the 1970s was rather primitive. Indeed, much of their defining characteristics were based upon what they looked like, and as Peter Steinhart pointed out in The Company of Wolves, it was not unusual for 75-pound “red wolves” and 25-pound “coyotes” to appear in the same litter. The founding population of red wolves consisted of only 14 individuals, and when they were released in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, it was assumed they would keep coyotes out and not interbreed with them.

Indeed, what happened was they started interbreeding with Eastern coyotes as those smaller canids began colonizing the red wolf release area.

Believing that coyote blood contaminates red wolf blood has resulted in several litters of pups being euthanized. The coyote cannot sully the blood purity of the red wolf, even when the genome-wide analysis shows that the red wolves are themselves admixtures of of coyote and extinct Southern gray wolf.

We have defined these animals so rigidly before the law that the wolves cannot choose their own mates.  If they pair with a coyote, they have created a mongrel.

It is this level of stupidity that I reject when it comes to nature and simple ethics. These animals cannot be thought of as truly wild and natural if they must be maintained only by keeping the coyotes from mating with them.

It reminds me so much of the racial purity nonsense that was once so prevalent in the United States and still exists, though often is never explained or articulated in this fashion.

And when wildlife management apes this sort of buffoonery, I have to reject it. I am not saying that red wolf advocates are racist, but the way they describe them and the crosses between coyotes and red wolves truly sounds so eerily similar to our antiquated ideas about blood purity that I am instantly repulsed by it.

So yes, let’s rename the football team.  Lets oppose racism in all its forms.

But renaming the team by this name is not without its own controversies. Indeed, it echoes and rhymes so much with the ones facing the human world that one cannot stop and marvel at the folly.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

*Stolen from Julie Zickefoose.

 

***

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Natural History

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Review: Animo Dog Activity and Behavior Monitor

We received an Animo Dog Activity and Behavior Monitor for review. All statements and opinions are our own. We’ve all seen activity trackers for humans. You strap it on, and it tallies how…



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