Almost black skunk

This is a striped skunk smelling some sardine oil.  Striped skunks vary greatly on how extensive their white stripes actually are.  This one just has some white on its head.

Natural History

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Derek…. The media has never been great about int…

Derek…. The media has never been great about interpreting stats, which need to be followed for several years before they serve any value. Would love for the Chron to explain the big post-2005 jump in bite stats.

This breakdown came directly to us from SFACC employee Kat Brown.

SFACC 2005-2006:
Total dog intake — 2545 (22 biters)
Total dog euth — 778 (unknown why total outcome of dogs does not add up to total intake — 2541)
Euth rate: 30.6% of intake
Last quarter of this period:
Total bites reported — 62 (of that, 9 were pit bulls, 12 were pit bull mixes)

SFACC 2006-2007:
Total dog intake — 2428 (34 biters)
Total dog euth — 616 (again, total outcome of dogs does not add up to total intake — 2446)
Euth rate: 25.4% of intake
Total bites reported — 336 (of that, 26 were pit bulls, 34 were pit bull mixes)
Last quarter of this period:
Total bites reported — 114 (9 were pit bulls, 9 were pit bull mixes)

More recently (2014) the SF dog judge hears "investigates about 450 cases a year, and presides over about 120 hearings."


If SF has solved its "bite problem" by targeting blocky headed dogs, then why do city dogs keep biting? We would suggest looking to contemporary, peer reviewed research for those answers. To start, science has confirmed that a dog's genetic make-up does not and cannot predict future behaviors.

Trying to suss out biters based on nothing but physical appearance is an old school belief that keeps cities like SF living in the dark ages and chasing down bite cases. Just imagine if those resources were used on bite prevention programs instead. For more info on dog bites than anyone can eat in one helping, please review the research archived on by National Canine Research Council.[0]=im_field_topics%3A56

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Win a $100 PawZaar Surprise Pack & Celebrate Our 2-Year Anniversary!

Valentine’s Day is a special day in our house: it’s the anniversary of the launch of our PawZaar boutique AND the anniversary of the adoption of our cat Lucky! We launched PawZaar on Feb….

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Links I Love, Right Now

I know these posts are usually reserved for Fridays, but I admittedly can’t seem to get things together this week so I’m bumping it up a day and taking tomorrow off to take some family time with the kids and Robbie (who is home this weekend; hurrah!). I’ve had a lot of trouble sleeping the past few nights. And when I have trouble sleeping, I do exactly what you’re not supposed to do – I pick up my phone and, as my husband calls it, “waste time on the internet.” The upside to this unhealthy middle-of-the-night practice is that I find some cool stuff, which I can then share with you all via a Links I Love post. Here are some of those links:

I stumbled upon these super fresh sneakers (as seen in top image) the other day and am 100% getting a pair for spring. (What color should I get? I’m leaning toward Grey because I’m predictable, but the Sea Green pair would be a fun step out of my comfort zone.)

This hauntingly beautiful hand drawn video about life and death (and death falling in love with life) was comforting for me to watch.

This photo is everything. Go Liz Warren, go! #shepersisted

My friend Jessica’s amazing cookbook ‘One Part Plant’ is available for pre-order right here! I just got my copy in the mail and you guys, it’s so good. I’ll post more about it soon.

This post with “18 dogs who are so happy to see you” genuinely made my day.

I would wear this dress all spring and summer long, man.

Gimme all the vegan whoopee pies! These 12 vegan Valentine’s Day dessert ideas have me drooling.

From Seussian to Snollygoster, Merriam-Webster adds over 1,000 new words.

This 22 year old dude had a Bob Ross themed birthday party and for that he is the coolest.

It’s from the fall but I just came across it and it’s awesome: 8 things every creative should know.

And because I’m always looking for an excuse to go to IKEA, how about these new cushion covers?

I hope you all have fantastic Fridays and ever better weekends. (Come hang out with me over on Instagram if you’re bored.) See you Monday!


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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False Confidence about Microchipping a Pet – Some Scary Truths

False Confidence about Microchipping a Pet – Some Scary Truths

In an article last month in The New York Times, the columnist pointed out that by law city shelters and pet stores are required to microchip animals before selling them or releasing them for adoption. The author mentioned that the chip should be registered, but the “rest of that story” is where the slippery slope begins.

As the author of THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know, and host of the NPR radio show Dog Talk (and Kitties Too!), among other pet shows on the Radio Pet Lady Network, I often field questions about microchipping as a way to safeguard a pet. To that end, I would like to point out a few misconceptions about the practice so that pet owners can remedy these “black hole” areas they don’t actually know exist!

In my experience, microchipping provides a false sense of security for pet owners. People are told their dog or cat has a microchip and they think “Great” and don’t stop to imagine all the ways in which that chip is not the answer to reuniting them with a lost animal.

What are the Pitfalls of a Microchip?
A microchip is a tiny electronic device (the size of a grain of rice) which is injected under the skin between the shoulder blades through a special needle. The fundamental problem with chips is that different companies manufacture microchips and each has its own database that links the chip number to the owner. The scanners used by veterinarians and shelters operate on various frequencies and one company’s chip might not be readable by a scanner from another company (the differences in microchip frequencies have led to lawsuits).

Another potential downfall of microchipping is that if you travel with your pet outside of the country and need to be aware that many U.S. scanners operate on a different frequencies than those in other countries.

Who Finds A Lost Pet and Has a Scanner Handy?
Equally challenging is who finds your pet. If an animal control officer finds him/her, the shelter may not have scanners compatible with the brand of chip in your pet: an unreadable chip is clearly useless. The Shelter staff may be gone at the hour the pet comes in so there’s no one to use a scanner anyway. If a good Samaritan finds your pet, that person obviously does not have a scanner of any kind so the chip remains “invisible,” whereas a collar tag gives immediate contact information and an attempt could be made to reach you.

Adopting a Pet with a Chip Gives You No Automatic Safeguard
When you adopt a dog or cat, s/he may have a microchip but no personal information has been assigned to you, which is not something often considered in the excitement of re-homing a pet. Rarely are adopters told to immediately contact the chip company and give their own contact information. In fact, if you adopt a relinquished pet from a rescue/foster group, the previous owner’s information may still be on record with the company, making it a near certainty that you will not be found if that pet is lost.

As a new owner you probably do not know that microchip companies charge a registration fee, which they need to pay in order to transfer the pet to their name. There are also annual fees which come due without a reminder. If the fee is not paid, the pet’s information is not available, rendering the microchip useless.

Even in a best-case scenario, microchips can present physical problems. Matted hair, body fat, the possible migration of the chip to elsewhere in the body or even a metal collar may impede scanning of the chip.

Buying a Puppy with a Microchip is Another Illusion of Safety
If you buy a puppy from a breeder who implants chips in puppies before releasing them to their homes, “operator error” [especially in a large litter] may result in assigning the wrong number to your puppy on your paperwork. That happened to me when another purchaser from the same litter had already registered my puppy’s number as their own. Try to unravel that tangled mess! If you purchase from a pet store (because you don’t know any better) and are told the puppy is chipped, there is an even greater chance that the chip in your puppy (if there even is one) is not the number on your purchase document since puppies from pet stores are procured from puppy mills far and wide and the management and handling of those litters by volume breeders and the middle men who ship them is often questionable.

One of the most important things to do with a newly acquired pet is to go to your veterinarian for an immediate wellness visit, during which you should also have him/her double-check the microchip number. You can also ask your vet to scan your pet at your yearly visit to make sure the chip is functioning properly.

A Collar with a Tag is Your Basic Measure of Protection
A traditional collar ID is still the most reliable, tangible method for someone who finds your pet to reunite him/her with you. That being said, if you have a vacation home you must have that contact information on an additional tag that the pet wears at all times. And put at least two phone numbers on there to maximize the chance of reaching you in an emergency.

Despite all this naysaying, a microchip can be an excellent extra measure of protection since a physical collar can fall off or be removed. A “belt and suspenders” kind of back up to an old-fashioned collar and up to date I.D. tag.

Tracie Hotchner is a nationally acclaimed pet wellness advocate, who wrote THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know. She is recognized as the premiere voice for pets and their people on pet talk radio. She continues to produce and host her own Gracie® Award winning NPR show DOG TALK®  (and Kitties, Too!) from Peconic Public Broadcasting in the Hamptons after 9 consecutive years and over 500 shows. She produced and hosted her own live, call-in show CAT CHAT® on the Martha Stewart channel of Sirius/XM for over 7 years until the channel was canceled, when Tracie created her own Radio Pet Lady Network where she produces and co-hosts CAT CHAT® along with 10 other pet talk radio podcasts with top veterinarians and pet experts.

Dog Film Festival - Tracie HotchnerTracie also is the Founder and Director of the annual NY Dog Film Festival, a philanthropic celebration of the love between dogs and their people. Short canine-themed documentary, animated and narrative films from around the world create a shared audience experience that inspires, educates and entertains. With a New York City premiere every October, the Festival then travels around the country, partnering in each location with an outstanding animal welfare organization that brings adoptable dogs to the theater and receives half the proceeds of the ticket sales. Halo was a Founding Sponsor in 2015 and donated 10,000 meals to the beneficiary shelters in every destination around the country in 2016.

Tracie lives in Bennington, Vermont – where the Radio Pet Lady Network studio is based – and where her 12 acres are well-used by her 2-girl pack of lovely, lively rescued Weimaraners, Maisie and Wanda.

Halo Pets

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Sign the Petition to Restore Puppy Mill Information to the USDA Website

Since at least 2010, if you wanted to make sure you were buying a dog from a reputable breeder, you could search for the breeder on the USDA’s website, which listed known animal abusers, including puppy mills. Inexplicably, this information has been removed from the site. Their suggestion is that you instead file a request […] Dog Blog

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Oscar Nominated Project ‘Lion’ Began From The Scratch.

Oscar nominated project’Lion’ began from the scratch. Directore Garth Davis before starting with his the much awaited project made sure that there are no loopholes in his research so he made his trip to India. As the homeland of the main character in the movie is from India, he thought there is no better way […]

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Sunflower Faith

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#AmazingPetExpo, Las Vegas, NV, Feb. 11 – 12, 2017

  Viva the Vegas Pet Expo, which is celebrating its 6th year in America’s City of Lights with an illuminating weekend-long celebration of dogs, cats, and all our other friends with fur,…

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Jimmy’s puppy Super Bowl Predictors

The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

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Midnight with Murphy

I should’ve been fasting these past 10 days out in the hinterlands of Tennessee.  All alone in my trusty tent starving myself of sustenance in order to achieve some greater clarity, understanding and context that occasionally is lost to me.  Heck I was packed up and ready to head out and then something stopped me.  Can’t say what for sure – but the cascade of events set in motion since have been nothing short of metamorphic.   
Recently, I met a man who showed me another way and for the past two weeks I’ve been doing some serious transcendental shit; acupuncture, chanting, Reiki and sensory deprivation (not like Altered States – I’m already a beast of a man but more internal, intrinsic).    If I didn’t know better I’d think I’d been smoking some serious Humboldt county style Boo-Ya.  Yes, yes I got a PhD in weed on the west coast.  
Sure, I’ve acknowledged the possibility and potential of and even dabbled in these Eastern type practices but never personally, truly, and profoundly have I explored them.  And now I’m down in it.  
So where is it going to take me?  What’s the endpoint of it all?  To this, I am as yet uncertain.  But here’s what I have learned thus far on this new path.
The Fallacy of ‘What Should Happen Should Happen’
I was never any good at Logic – not the concept or application of it – but in the scholastic sense and  as a subset of philosophy.  So in attempting to make sense of the sequence of events that led me here to this time and place – I made up this fallacy which is basically the basis of flawed logic. 
People often ask me why did you walk those thousands of miles.  Oh sure, I’ve got a pocket full of reasons.  The fun, flippant one – everything is bigger in Texas and when we lose a dog to cancer down there we don’t walk around a park, we walk cross country.  Then I’ve got the media sound bite version – sharing Malcolm and Murphy’s story from town to town to raise awareness of the epidemic of canine cancer. I’ve got many more but you get the point.  
Perhaps they are all truths or variations of the same one but for me it’s because I believed walking from Austin to Boston would help heal my loss of Malcolm, to soothe my savage heart. And then within weeks of the final mile, Murphy was diagnosed and, well, most of you know the rest of that story.   
And so I walked another 1,700 miles doubling down on the belief that THAT would heal me.   
You see the fallacy in this logic?  That because I believed it should, it should’ve.  But it didn’t.  
Luke 4:23
You know, it’s commonly thought that the origin of my name is ‘light giving’ and the best known example of it is the apostle Paul’s traveling companion and doctor.  This proverb – I had to look that up since, um, well I usually skipped Bible study in search of less pious pursuits shall we say – in Latin reads cura te ipsum  - ‘Physician heal thyself’ something that’s been a bit of an impossibility for me it seems.  
I suppose my post-facto rationalization has always been – I never spare myself any emotion for Malcolm and Murphy no matter how painful.  I can endure it.  Just like so many nights on the road and asea, I can weather this storm.  But I have suffered so.  
Self-imposed or not.  
Back to this newfound friend of mine, whom I barely even know. He showed me that pain can be a way to separate yourself from others.  To disconnect from them.  Furthermore, he said that people like me unknowingly use tragedy to spare themselves from the need and necessity of love and letting others in.  
I’m not sure if I believe all of his bullshit yet – but hey, I’m listening.    You see, it’s one thing to turn tragedy into action – oh, I’ve done that and then some.  It’s quite another thing to allow that experience to truly transform you.  And it’s here I find myself at this intersection.   
Life Off Road
Not to put too fine a point on it but I’ve become a bit of an expert on backpacking the byways, highways, back roads and farm roads of this incredible land of ours.  But take me off and away from it and I tend to fall apart.  Perhaps it’s because I’m always in pursuit of an idea, a belief, a cause – our cause – that remains elusive to me.  Or maybe it’s as simple as finding sedentary existence unsettling and like Carthamus I’m damned to a life of wandering and wondering.   
And while I have been pretty good at chronicling and sharing my journeys on the road with you, I’ve been decidedly deficit in talking about it off, especially post west coast.  From now on, that will change.  I won’t let fear, doubt, uncertainty, darkness or utter despair disconnect me from you again.  
In part because some of you have said to me you find the latter much more inspiring and relatable if not essential than the former.  And in part because my new friend tells me to.  
That and I need a simpler formula for existence.  I live.  I learn.  I write.  Something like that… just less cheesy and Julia Roberts sounding.  
Two blogs in draft right now (1) On Turning 36 – My travels and adventurin’ have taken their toll on Yer Big Dog so I lick my wounds and tell tales about it; (2) The Theory of Cancer – lately my thinking has gotten so abstract and theoretical about the evolution of cancer. Where is it going and how can that affect our thinking about the future of therapeutics? On societal and civil re-engineering?  Reflections on my conversations with thought leaders and a whole host of other ideas – this will definitely be a multi-part project. 
There are more… lots more but I’m attempting to do a better job of prioritizing my crazy.

YBD’s Notes 1: The name of this blog has a special meaning to me.  Back when I was a businessman in Texas I would often take Malcolm up to my office in the evenings and that inspired a series of writings I entitled Midnight with Malcolm.  Dunno what the change denotes quite yet…

YBD’s Notes 2: I stuff hyperlinks in my blogs if’n anyone wants to learn more about things that fascinate me but be forewarned – logic will make yer eyes water.  

YBD’s Notes 3: Upon further reflection ‘What Should Happen Should Happen’ SHOULD be a fallacy. Oh boy.

YBD’s Notes 4: Coincidentally, whilst recently consolidating all of my scant worldly possessions from around the country, I found this photo of me taken at the blessing of my childhood home.  I’ve seen too much of this world in this life to believe in coincidences.  Thanks to my sister-in-law Linda for preserving it.  Nice bowl cut, Mom
YBD’s Notes 5:  I should choose a name for my new friend – he’s not imaginary.  I Promise.  At least in my mind.  In this room.  That’s white.  And padded.  

YBD’s Notes 6: Perhaps it’s still too early for me to write – no, I’m always doing that – to publish about these transcendental, metaphysical experiences and experiments.  But hey, at least I’m rounding again.  

2 Dogs 2000 Miles

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