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Brr…it has been a cold month but we are already looking ahead to spring and summer here, though, not only because warm weather will be here before we know it (summer comes early in Texas) but…

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How To Spot an Animal Social Justice Warrior

There’s something happening in the animal world, something sticky and kind of ugly, and we need to talk about it.

You learn to spot patterns when you’ve been around long enough, trends that start in one area but quickly pick up steam in your own neck of the woods. And that, my friends, is what I’m bringing up today: the emerging trend of the Social Justice Warrior, and how that relates to people in pet care.


I think it’s pretty clear that I am a big proponent of animal advocacy, from the first blogathons to my work with hospice and this very site, which I’ve written for seven years now in an attempt to keep an open dialogue on important pet topics. I am a huge fan of people who work so very hard and selflessly to make a difference, and this is not who I am speaking of today.

I have also seen a less pleasant side of people, those who use their issue of choice as a shield to build up their own ego and bludgeon others, often at the expense of those very people who are trying to improve the world for others, while tarnishing their own cause by association.

What is an animal social justice warrior, exactly?

While the term “social justice warrior” started gaining momentum with the Gamergate brouhaha specifically in reference to progressive views and speech, the prevailing wisdom is that the term has evolved to encompass a wide array of armchair activists who care less about outcomes and more about dogpiles. No one has specifically defined what it means in our sphere, so I’m just going to go ahead and do it right here.

It matters to us, as animal welfare advocates, healthcare providers, and educators, because we’re often the ones being targeted. Here’s what I’ve observed, over and over:

  • It starts from a good place.

Most of the time, people start on a course of advocacy for an issue they truly believe in: maybe it’s ear cropping, or vaccine safety, or feral cat rescue. Good topics that good people can get behind, which is why it is so hard to call them out. But then something goes sideways.

  • Facts become less important than emotion as time goes on and the ‘army’ grows.

As momentum builds with a social justice warrior’s campaign, enemies are identified and the followers are called upon to ‘take them down’ on social media, which can be annoying for a large pharmaceutical company but devastating for a small business owner or individual. Sometimes it’s very hard to dispute the ugliness of the original offense (like the guy who killed Cecil the Lion), but other times the dogpile results in something far worse than the original problem: people losing jobs, people erroneously identified as child predators. By the time the error is identified, the damage has been done.

  • Methods are as important as ideas.

When a social justice warrior really gets going, they often work to recruit others to the cause. Sometimes those people demur, not because they disagree with the original idea, but because the seek and destroy tactics make them uncomfortable. They become the enemy. There is no allowance to exist in parallel.

  • There is no room for discussion.

This is when you know the game is over, so to speak. Are you allowed to point out an erroneous fact? No. Question a topic? No. At this point, the social justice warrior’s ego has become more important than the actual topic at hand, and no amount of reasoning will change their mind. In fact, it only makes them dig their heels in more. You’ve just given them one more ‘enemy’ to bounce off of.

What does this mean for you, the pet lovers of the world?

If you’re the owner of a small business, rescue, or work with an organization, you may find yourself in the crosshairs for some or other perceived wrong. I’ll talk about what does and doesn’t seem to help in another post, because it’s happening more and more.

How to Spot an Animal Social Justice Warrior

But even you, the general audience out there on the web, has a role to play in this. Before joining a cause or supporting an advocate, ask yourself this:


  • How do they respond to constructive criticism? With acknowledgment, or anger?
  • Do they have a revolving door of bullies who they claim are always trying to silence them? Do they ever talk to someone with an opposing view in a respectful dialogue?
  • How do they encourage action? Do they link to legitimate organizations doing real world work, or is it limited to online petitions, reviews, and Facebook arguments?
  • What emotions are they playing to? When you look at their page, do you feel empowered to make a positive difference, or just angry at the world?

If you think this is about one person, you’re wrong. I can’t even point to any one in particular because the truth is, there are too many to list. People like this don’t help the causes, they hurt them. They make animal advocates look bad, incapable of compromise, cooperation, and nuance. Be aware, and ask yourself what the real goals are before liking, sharing, or sending money. Real advocacy exists, but this isn’t it.

We still have lots of work to do, but this isn’t the way to do it.


Pawcurious: With Veterinarian and Author Dr. V

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Photo A Day

So a pet photography chat group I’m a member of is doing a photo a day project.  It started late so it’s “just’ a 350 project.  But I don’t want to say I’m doing it.  Because then I might fail and not finish it.  Let’s just say I’m using the prompts as inspiration for now.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.  :)

The problem with photo a day projects is you often end up with photos that you aren’t all that proud of and that you wouldn’t normally share publicly.  The great thing with a photo a day project is that you are forced to try things outside your comfort zone and some times magic happens and you are thrilled with the results.




I’m not sure this last one is technically dappled but close enough.  ;)

Crazy Coulee and Little Lacey

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Cajuns, Greenies meet for the first time since 1993

Cajuns, Greenies meet for the first time since 1993
The last time Country Day and Newman played football against each other, Peyton Manning was the Newman quarterback. The Cajuns and Greenies meet Friday night at Michael Lupin Field. Kickoff is 7 pm. The stakes in the meeting are high. Both are in the …
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Ownbey to Charlotte
He tied for 12th at the NCISAA 3-A tournament with a two-day score of 152 (73-79). Ownbey shot a season-low round of 72. Ownbey is the fourth member of this year's Greenies team to make a Division I college commitment, joining Chris Akers (East
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Blues, Greenies renew Carolinas' oldest rivalry
ASHEVILLE – Banners strung across the main entranceway to Asheville School this week have depicted its football rivalry in the form of graphics from the Pac-Man video game. One guess as to who is Pac-Man and who are the ghosts being eaten.
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Polar Bears Doing Great, Except in Greenies' Fantasy Computer Models
To suggest that polar bears are in no danger—even though that is what the evidence clearly shows—would for any true-believing greenie be an act of heresy. When a greenie tells you, against all evidence, that polar bears are “vulnerable,” it is the
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These pictures pretty much tell the story if you know that the dog is a Husky…

The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

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Toning for Peace

By Lifestyle Contributor Jen Vertz

As we settle into the first month of a new year, especially after what was a scary, violence-filled 2015, many of us are focused on the concept of peace. Regardless of where we live or who we are, peace is something that each of us can ultimately always use more of. Collective consciousness refers to the shared beliefs and moral attitudes that can operate as a unifying force within a society. In other words, the more people get behind a specified way, the more likely it is to materialize. Group positive thinking can change the world for the good. Bad news can depress us, especially when we’re bombarded by the media, but we can create balance when we collectively make a daily commitment for peace. The more often a group shares this commitment, the better it works.

As early as the 1960′s, studies have validated a prediction by Maharishi Mahesh, the yogi who developed transcendental meditation, that if only 1% of a given population had taken up the practice of meditation involving the use of intention, or repeating a mantra, there would be a substantial improvement to the quality of life in that whole society.

Ok, did you get that? If only 1% of us repeat the positive mantras in our community or even globally, we can change the world for the better! There are so many studies on this, but you can find one of my favorites showing proof here and more recently here.

Sound has been utilized in various cultures for thousands of years as a tool for healing, ceremony, and celebration. Modern Western medicine now uses different frequencies to break up kidney and gallstones in the body and focused ultrasound (HIFU) is now used in some hospitals to treat certain types of cancer. The human body is a dynamic energy system that has a natural frequency (or frequencies) that can become upset or imbalanced. Precise combinations of frequencies associated with healthy tissue and organ systems can help normalize imbalances and synchronize the cell’s frequency back to its natural healthy state. For example, the frequency 111Hz is what behavioral scientists say relates to mood, empathy, social behavior and cell regeneration. We can recreate that frequency with our own voices for healing.

Energy is the common medium of the body. It is patterns of vibration or frequency, which have the ability to to heal or harm you. There have been numerous studies validating that intention-based sound meditation creates an increase of peace and allows us to function in a more balanced and harmonious way. Toning with your voice is a powerful tool for self-healing as well as healing others. The vibration of the human voice combined with intention creates a powerful duo. You can tone in a quiet relaxing place, in the shower, driving, or anywhere you feel comfortable doing it. We are focusing on creating a healthy frequency vocally combined with the intention for more compassion and peace in the world. The best part about a sound practice is you can do it anytime! No more rushing to get to that yoga class or scrounging up hundreds of dollars for a retreat. Cooking dinner? Make some sound while you are mashing those potatoes. Better yet, hold the intention of health and well-being for all who eat those potatoes while you tone!

1. Be mindful of healthy posture and deep, full breathing. Mentally state your intention (in this case our intention is for peace)
2. Relax, especially the tongue and jaw.
3. Your inhale should be long and as slow as possible. Your exhale slow allowing your tones to come out for as long as you can.
4. Maintain a comfortable and moderate loudness, don’t force your voice.
5. Do not strain your voice. Stop whenever you need to. Seduce the voice out.
6. If you feel tension or discomfort in your mouth or throat, stop for a few moments, breathe, stretch, yawn and resume. Sip water.
7. Let your hands help you.
8. Tone daily for a few minutes rather than tone infrequently for longer periods.
9. The sounds you make don’t have to be pretty. The point of toning is not the quality of sound, but rather your experience of the vibration and its results.
10. There is no wrong way to tone. End gratefully accepting the fulfillment of what you have toned for.

Reality is created by the observer. If you can see peace or experience peace, it is real to you. In order for it to be real anywhere, we must make ourselves available to perceive it. Or be it. A vocal tune-up on our Chakras, our focal energy points of the body, is a great way to start.

We start with the heart chakra, toning using the “AH” sound with a comfortable pitch in the center of your vocal range. (You can visualize the color associated with the energy point, in this case, green.) Repeat the “AH” sound between 2 and 6 times, and when you are comfortable with that, smile while you tone to add an additional healing frequency.

My friend Tami and I put together a special toning for you guys, which you can access below. Press play, follow the guide, and tone along with Tami as she clears the chakras from the heart down to the root, back upwards to the crown then back to the heart. The sound created by toning combined with the intention of peace in this form of compassionate meditation is our focus. Clear your body’s energy and create tranquility within, so you can send that harmony out to the universe. The way to create a more peaceful world is within each and every one of us, so start with us today!

I worked on this project with Tami Gosnell, musician, sound healing professional, and all around amazing person. Check out her music right here, or check in with her on her KOWS.fm radio show titled The New Paradigm, which is live on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of each month from 3-5 PM. For questions or if you’d like to book a personalized sound healing session with Tami, email her at heartcoreus@tamigosnell.com. – Jen

Image sources from top: Chloe SiCorina Ardeleanu, Unsplash, myself

This is such a different type of post than what we normally share here, which is exactly why I was so excited about it. I can’t think of a better way to enter a new year than by focusing on a collective consciousness centered on the concept of peace. Thank you for putting this together Jen and Tami! In edition to sharing her DIY, design, and food posts here on Bubby and Bean, Jen is a talented designer (for some pretty impressive companies like Whole Foods) and social marketer. You can read more about her here, and also find her on her website, Instagram, and Twitter.   


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Allison Janney Helps Movement to #SaveThemAll

Over the course of her acting career Allison Janney has won seven Emmy Awards. Now the star of the popular CBS sitcom Mom has won the admiration of dog devotees for raising awareness of companion…

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8 years old today and a clean bill of health

Miley turned 8 today, and she also received some good news at the vet today: Her TTA is officially a success and she can begin to do what she did before the surgery.



Natural History

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CucumberGate, Terror, Abuse, and You

So by now you’ve all seen the videos, right? A person places a cucumber behind a cat who’s blissfully chomping away on some food. The cat turns around, spots the sinister gourd, and jumps about five feet in the air.

The first thing that happened was that a bunch of people thought it was funny and shared it all over the internet.

The second thing that happened was a bunch of experts chimed in warning about how this wasn’t a benign thing, that cats could be permanently scarred, and that people should not do this to their own cats. The Huffington Post called on a cat behaviorist for advice. The AVMA put out a position statement on the controversial topic.

The third thing that happened was another group of people shared the second group’s warnings and began fighting with the first group of people who thought it was funny, and now we have CucumberGate.

Now granted, while I don’t think intentionally scaring other people or animals is a particularly nice thing to do, is it really worth getting all that upset about? Does one startle cause permanent psychological damage?

I unintentionally scare the crap out of my dog every day. Whether it’s a belt on the floor or the vacuum, he worries. Then he gets over it. My kids have been traumatized by Santa Claus from birth until age at least age 5. The first couple of times it was unintentional, then I knew what was coming and did it anyway because #tradition. They still say Christmas is their favorite holiday.


I didn’t have any cucumbers in the house this morning, so I took out a zucchini. I felt comfortable doing this for a couple reasons- first, Penelope is a fearless cat. Second, she’s been watching me cut up zucchini for months now and I thought it was an acceptable risk. As you can see, she didn’t give two hoots, which is exactly what I assumed would happen. If she did get startled, well, I guess I would be a horrible person, but it wouldn’t be the first time I made the wrong call.

Bottom line:

  1. People who don’t think it’s funny aren’t humorless doofs. It’s good to care.
  2. People who do think it’s funny aren’t sadistic psychopaths.

Unless you’re saying world famous animal advocate and voice of Dory herself is a psychopath, then we’re all screwed:

Click here to view the embedded video.

Yeah, it’s not the kindest way to conduct yourself, but life goes on, right? While I have no problem with people voicing a little, “hey, maybe this isn’t the nicest thing,” I worry when people call something like this animal abuse because we animal lovers have a hard time getting taken seriously sometimes as it is.

I struggle with “that’s not nice” getting conflated with “abuse”, because if that’s where we’re drawing the line I have a few Christmas photos I need to burn before CPS sees them. And so do about 9000 people on Awkward Family Photos.


Pawcurious: With Veterinarian and Author Dr. V

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I Think SoCal is Pretty Much Screwed This Winter

If you haven’t heard the news, we here in Southern California are finally starting to see the effects of the massive, gargantuan El Nino the likes of which we have not seen in our lifetimes. And I think it’s going to be ugly.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Every time we deal with a natural disaster, everyone runs out and gives people tips for preparing and being ready and most people do one or two things but the reality is, there’s only so much time in the day and so many disasters one can prepare for without going full on survivalist. At some point you have to get on with your day and hope you’re not separated from your family when the Big One hits.

The more likely you are to suffer a disaster, the more likely you are to prepare for that particular situation. All Californians know what to do in an earthquake; it’s drilled into us starting with kindergarten (as were nuclear meltdown drills in the 80s when I lived by the San Onofre plant, but in retrospect I’m not sure what good hiding under a desk would have done, really.) The beach roads by my house are helpfully marked with convenient evacuation routes for tsunamis. And after last year, when my kids were whisked out of school while a massive wildfire bore down on my neighborhood, I also revised my wildfire plan. 


I figured since I knew what to do for earthquakes, tsunamis, wildfires, floods, and nuclear core meltdowns, I had all my bases covered and could relax and enjoy the thunder a little without worrying too much, right?

But no one ever taught me what to do about a tornado.

Around noon yesterday, I got a call from my kids’ school that due to the thunder and lightning, they were not letting kids walk out to their parents like they usually do and each of us would have to individually pick up our kids in the car pickup line or park and go into the school. Fine, I thought, and showed up 45 minutes early to get a spot in line.

About 10 minutes after that, I get a panicked text from my daughter that one of her counselors received a tornado warning on her cell phone.

“Don’t worry,” I texted back. “She probably lives out in the boonies somewhere.”

“SHE LIVES HERE,” she texted back, followed by 10 crying emojis.

Then my phone buzzed. “Tornado warning until 3:45 in your area,” it said. “Seek cover immediately.”

Now by this point all the parents in the parking lot are grabbing their buzzing phones like a scene out of a Steven King movie, looking at each other with a quizzical “What the heck does this mean” look. What’s a warning? Does that mean it’s a little windy? Or does it mean an F-3 is bearing down on our little line of cars?

Meanwhile, my daughter- who has been studying geology in school and has a deep and abiding fear of all natural disasters including tsunamis, super volcanos, and the San Andreas fault, is calling me in tears because she got the text as well and now she’s convinced we are all going to die, and I am trying to reassure her everything is fine while a small part of me started thinking about tying myself to the flagpole with a slip lead.

Being the cautious  type, I pulled out of the pickup line and parked the car so I could go inside the sturdy concrete environs of the school and join a teeming mass of alarmed parents, none of whom knew what a tornado warning actually meant. A smaller but hardier number remained stubbornly in the parking lot, because in the Southern California school jungle, The Wicked Witch of the East fate is an acceptable risk when it comes to giving up a prime spot in the pickup line.

My daughter requests that we not leave the school grounds until the tornado warning expires, which happens about half an hour later. Most people do not wait, rolling their eyes at the National Weather Services’ overabundance of caution and running off into the winds, umbrellas inside out. I learn later that most of the county schools were ordered to shelter in place, but not us. Fortunately for all involved no tornado actually materialized, because it probably would have eaten up the vast majority of minivans in the region, leaving no one standing but the school principal and us, while my daughter says, “Told you so.”

On the way home, my phone buzzed again. FLASH FLOOD WARNING, it said. STAY INSIDE. There at least was something I knew what to do with. Avoid creeks.

I came home to find poor Brody curled in our laundry room, the only windowless room in the house. My friends in the midwest reassure me that a tornado warning is a big deal and instead of playing Bejeweled in the car one is supposed to run to the center of the house- in my case, our laundry room- and pull a mattress over your head.

My point in all of this is, you can prepare all you want but there’s still always going to be something you just never thought you needed to be able to handle, and that’s probably what is going to get you. And when that happens-

If that happens-

Look to your dog for guidance. He’s the only one with any sense.

Pawcurious: With Veterinarian and Author Dr. V

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