A wire-haired dachshund puppy with his own transportation.
I’ve seen this photo several times, but every time I’ve seen it, the left-hand side was always cut off.
Now that I see the full photo, you can see what was going here.
Someone wanted to introduce his spaniel (an English springer, by my estimation) to a captive thylacine.
I guess this would be the equivalent of a human meeting a Klingon or a Vulcan for the first time.
“You’re similar, but you’re not the same!”
This is a quick “Vomit 101” so you can be aware and prepared for what happens when a dog throws up. (If you have my book The Dog Bible: Everything You Dog Wants You to Know then you probably don’t panic if your dog throws up because you can check for reassurance about the warning signs around vomiting that requires medical intervention).
In my next blogs I‘ll cover the signs of serious kinds of vomiting – those that mean you need to make an appointment with the veterinarian for the following day or those that mean beat feet right to an animal emergency center.
This is a simple description of the progression of normal vomiting for those who have not yet had the delightful experience of that moment when a dog is about to upchuck.
1) Sometimes vomiting is preceded (and actually stimulated) by your dog eating a lot of of grass if he has access to it – or even trying to eat a decorative houseplant. Often something is bothering his stomach and his instinct is to further irritate his stomach with plant matter to trigger the vomiting mechanism.
2) He may be drooling saliva.
3) The dog sits down in an upright sitting position, perhaps more rigid than his usual sitting posture, and his sides start heaving.
4) Often there can be saliva coming out of his mouth.
5) I can swear that at this “preparatory stage” of puking my own dogs look nauseated, with their lips sort of pulled back.
6) There can be a “washing machine” sort of sound from their stomachs as they are heaving their sides like a bellows – with increasing vigor.
7) And then all at once Oopsie Daisy! There’s a pile of puke on the floor (in my house when the mood strikes the dogs to throw up they always seem to prefer to get it on a nice carpet).
8) Sometimes everything in their stomachs will come up, or if their stomach is empty then they will bring up a foamy greenish-yellow liquid that is stomach bile.
It’s actually quite natural for dogs to vomit if their stomachs are irritated. In the vomit you may see the grass they might have ingested as part of the “need to throw up” instinct, or bits of something they were chewing on that became irritating (pieces of bone, stick, or rawhide).
You should pick up the water bowl and not offer any food for about an hour, just to make sure his stomach has settled down.
Generally speaking, if your dog throws up once and then goes his merry way, he has thrown up something that was irritating his stomach he’ll feel better pretty much right away. Once throw up, the drama is over! This kind of vomiting is not a cause for alarm because the dog’s body has gotten rid of the problem and solved it.
Stay tuned next week for signs and symptoms of vomiting that requires medical attention.
Tracie began her career as a radio personality with a live show – DOG TALK® (and Kitties, Too!) – on the local NPR station in the Hamptons, Peconic Public Broadcasting (WPPB) from Southampton, New York (the show is now also carried on the NPR station Robinhood Radio in Connecticut and the Berkshires). DOG TALK® won a Gracie® Award (the radio equivalent of an Oscar) in 2010 as the “Best entertainment and information program on local public radio” and continues weekly after more than 450 continuous shows and 9 years on the air. Tracie’s live weekly call-in show CAT CHAT® was on SiriusXM satellite radio for seven years until the Martha Stewart channel was canceled in 2013.
Tracie lives in Vermont where the Radio Pet Lady Network studio is based, on 13 acres well-used by her all-girl pack – two lovely, lively Weimaraners, Maisie and Wanda, and a Collie-mix, Jazzy.
I know a reputable pilot who has flown many dogs around the country to get them to safe places. His insurance does not allow him to fly outside the US. He is willing to make arrangements to take dogs should this become necessary, as long as someone can get them over the US border. Hopefully this will not be necessary, but in case it becomes so you can message me and I'll put you in touch with him.
BAD RAP Blog
The animal above was an anomalous black fox that was photographed near the village of Bassingbourn in South Cambridgeshire. The photographer, John Moore, spotted the fox running in the fields near his home and snapped some photos. It was late March in 2012, and it was a true rare find.
Foxes that are any color other than the typical red are extremely uncommon in the UK, so when these photos were published, speculation about where it came from were rampant. One theory was that it was one of the Belyaev “domesticated” foxes, which were then being sold as pets. Another suggestion was that it was a fur farm escapee. The problem with that theory is that fur farms had been banned in England and Wales since the year 2000, and those last remaining fur farms were mink producers, not fox producers.
Just a few days after John Moore took the photos, the black fox was found dead on the highway. Its body was sent to Anglia Ruskin University for genetic testing to determine why this particular fox was black.
Genetic testing revealed something quite unusual about it. The vixen was found to have two genetic mutations related to fur color that were similar to those found in raccoon dogs.
Raccoon dogs are very closely related to foxes, and in Russia, they are commonly bred in fur farms that also contain (silver) red foxes and (blue) arctic foxes. Because of the similarity between this fox’s fur color genes and those of a raccoon dog, it was given as evidence that this animal was a Belyaev fox that had been turned loose.
It would make some sense. After all, this vixen was estimated to have been 18 months old, and she was apparently so unwise around roads that she soon met her demise on the highway. Further, her coat was much thicker than a typical English red fox. Maybe someone with more money than sense had ordered up one of these famed “domesticated” foxes, and soon realized they aren’t that awesome to have as pets.
And the poor thing got turned loose to live with the wild English foxes, which is about as a humane thing to do as turning out a cocker spaniel into Alaska to go live with the wolves.
So this logic is easy enough to follow.
The issue that seems to be ignored in all of the discussion about what this fox was is whether it is actually possible for a raccoon dog to hybridize with a red fox.
Ignore what you’ve read in various texts about raccoon dogs. They are actually quite close related to the true foxes. Genome-wide analyses have revealed that they are close enough to the other Vulpini to be classified with them.
They are quite unusual as wild dogs go. They can “hibernate,” which means they just sort of go to sleep during the worst of the winter (but it’s not really “true hibernation.”) They also have masks, and rather superficially resemble actual raccoons. It was not unusual for taxonomists to classify them as a sort of Old World raccoon species. We now know they are actual dogs, but the idea of them being sort of dog-like procyonids certainly captured more than a few imaginations.
So the notion that these animals could hybridize with red foxes would seem far-fetched.
But maybe they have.
The Soviet Union was really interested in fur. Historically, Russia has been a nation of fur-wearers. Furs drove them east and north into new territories, and when fur farms became a possibility, improving fur stains became an important goal. This goal went on in earnest during the Stalin years, and Belyaev, a Mendelian, was driven from his initial research post to accommodate Lysenkoist methodologies. He went to a research facility in Novosibirsk, where he conducted his experiments on silver foxes.
The Soviet ideology believed that nature could be bent to serve mankind. Socialism in one country meant quite a bit of scarcity, even in the largest country in the world, and it was hoped that the new Soviet science could use native flora and fauna to produce abundance. This abundance would soon provision their citizens, and the Marxist ideal of “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” would be possible. Then this ideal would spread to other countries of the world, leading us to a new socialist future and then full-on communism.
It never really worked out, and we all know of the ecological catastrophes that happened as a result of these plans, including the introduction of raccoon dogs to Eastern Europe.
But they made some sense with in the logic of that system.
And if some enterprising Soviet fur farmer wanted to try something different, he might try crossing his silver foxes with raccoon dogs. Maybe he did in the years following the war, when scarcity was the rule, and getting new blood for foxes and raccoon dogs would have been an ordeal.
But this still doesn’t answer the question.
The fact that someone might try crossing the two species is interesting enough, but the question is whether one can produce viable offspring. And the next question whether any of the offspring would be fertile.
I have yet to find the answer to those questions, except that I am aware that red and arctic fox hybrids are sterile.
And those two species are much more closely related to each other than raccoon dogs are to red foxes.
So maybe the black fox of Bassingbourn really wasn’t a hybrid or of distant hybrid ancestry. The similarities in her genotype could have simply been the result of the fact that both red foxes and raccoon dogs share a common ancestor. This fox simply retained a few genes that she held in common with the raccoon dog.
I think that this is a bit better explanation, but the British press took the suggestion that she might have been a hybrid a bit too far. Virtually every mention of this fox online or in print says that she was a hybrid.
I wish, though, that more research had been performed this fox. If she really were the result of a hybridization on a Russian fur farm, it would be possible to detect this hybridization with more analysis of her genome.
The fact that she had just been killed when her body was donated to science meant that lots of different tests could have been performed.
If she really had been derived from hybridization between these two species, this would have been a major discovery.
I don’t think anyone would have expected it.
But Occam’s razor tells me that she wasn’t derived from hybrids.
As much as I’d like her to be, my educated guess is she wasn’t.
And the British press had a lot of fun with it.
Starting up a pet-sitting business isn’t as difficult as it may seem, but there
are several things to take into consideration. Time, commitment, and professionalism are at the top of the list. Essentially, you will be a small business owner, regardless if you hire employees or go it alone. Keeping that in mind, where does one begin in regards to starting up a business? Here are five things to consider before taking the leap.
Filing the Paperwork
Business License and/or “Doing Business As” (DBA)
Filing for a business license can be a daunting task for many, but it’s not as scary as it seems. Check with your state whether you need a business license to legally operate a pet-sitting business. They will let you know what paperwork to file to get your business off the ground.
Do you want to use your own name, or a business name? (ie. Pam’s Pet-sitting vs. Walk in the Park) If you choose to name your business, you’ll need to register that name with the appropriate authorities. This process is known as registering your “Doing Business As” (DBA) paperwork. Registering your DBA is done either with your county clerk’s office or with your state government, depending on where your business is located.
Insurance vs. no insurance
What if, while in your care, Fido bites another dog or a child? Or you accidentally break a client’s favorite antique? As a business owner, you’re liable. Accidents happen, so it’s a good idea to protect yourself. Pet-sitting insurance covers general liability, personal property, and employee accidents or dishonesty. There are several insurance companies that offer pet-sitting insurance. The cost will vary, but it’s worth it.
Keeping track of business finances
Personal checking account vs. business account
Using a personal account for your business finances affects your legal liability. If you’re a sole proprietor and combine business and personal expenses, it can be difficult for the IRS to determine if you’re a viable business. If you choose to operate from your personal account, make sure to keep track of your business and personal expenses. If your business is an LLC, partnership, or corporation, it’s crucial to have separate accounts. Failure to separate business and personal expenses can result in the owner being sued for business and corporate liabilities. Check with your bank to see what they offer in terms of small business accounts.
Privacy and professionalism
Business phone vs. personal phone
Business contacts who have access to your personal phone number can create privacy concerns. Having a separate business line gives you the ability to answer the phone and return calls in a professional manner. You can also set up business hours (although if you’re taking care of someone’s pet, I recommend being available to them at all times). If you decide to use your private number, be prepared. Clients will treat the number as a business number, and may be calling at all hours. Make sure your voice message states when you’ll be returning their calls.
Advertising & Branding
Logo, website/domain name, business cards, and flyers
Having a local and online presence is important. If you aren’t tech savvy, find someone who is that can help you. It’s also a good idea to check out your local pet-sitters to see how their websites are designed, and what they offer their clients.
Logos: Design a logo to represent your business. Your logo will brand your website, business cards, online advertising and flyers. Make sure your images aren’t copyrighted or you could be sued. You can use clip art or search for Creative Commons images online. From there, find a photo editing/designing program (PicMonkey, Fotor) and create something memorable. The possibilities are endless, have fun with it!
Website/Domain name: Depending on your business needs, a website/domain name can be free (Weebly, WordPress, Blogger) or paid (Wix, iPage, GoDaddy). Pay careful attention to introductory web hosting prices, as they will most likely increase after the first month. Again, if designing a website isn’t your thing, find someone who can help you.
Business cards and flyers: Leaving business cards and flyers with your local veterinarians, pet shops, animal-related events, shelters, and dog parks is a great way to spread the word about your business. Don’t forget to advertise in your local online directories.
With some thought and planning, starting up your own pet-sitting business is a wonderful venture. Getting involved with a pet-sitting organization to learn from others and network is a step in the right direction. Good luck!
For more in-depth information and helpful advice about starting a small business:
SBA US Small Business Administration
Clarissa Johal is the bestselling author of paranormal novels, Poppy, The Island, Voices, Struck, and Between. When she’s not writing and listening to the ghosts in her head, she runs her own pet-sitting business and volunteers at the SPCA. Author website: www.clarissajohal.com
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