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Saturday, April 29, 2006

What are pit bulls afraid of?

A lot of people are afraid of pit bulls. Most of the time I don't like that but, there are times when it is very useful - like a few months ago. I was alone on the beach with Honey. It was dusk and a little cold so Honey was wearing a sweatshirt that hid her pit bull physique. We were playing near a recreation area off a side street that has slides, swings and a basketball court, when I saw a car pull up and park. No one got out but that isn't unusual when the weather is colder - people often watch the sunset from their cars, then turn around and drive off.

Honey and I continued to play. At some point, I noticed a large man got out of the parked car and started walking over. Almost subconsciously, I saw there was something slightly strange about his movements - he didn't stroll, he didn't walk with purpose - I don't know what but it kept me aware of where he was. It was getting darker and more difficult to see distinct features but I could see he moved over behind the slides. I walked a little further away with Honey. In a while, I saw him come around the other side and then start walking directly toward me as Honey wandered. Even in low light, it must have been obvious I was looking directly at him. He said loudly as he walked closer "I'm looking for a little boy that was playing around here. Have you seen him?" Now, I hadn't heard him call for anyone and I can't believe you wouldn't be looking pretty frantically that late in the day - especially, near the beach so, I just didn't buy it. I called loudly back "No, the only one I've seen here is my pit bull" at which point Honey started running toward us since she heard my voice. Well, that man turned right around, got in his car and left. Maybe it wasn't as ominous a situation as I thought it was but I was happy I could exploit the pit bull reputation at that moment.

But, as far as what pit bulls are afraid of, I can cite a few examples. Last year, several veterans would get together to fly kites. This picture is of one of the bigger kites in Oxnard Park:

I was talking to one of the veteran kite-fliers with Honey sitting beside me looking around. All of a sudden, something clicked as she was looking up and she started barking and barking at the cat kite while slowly backing away. She's not much of a barker but this was insistent, as was the pull on the leash to get us out of there. I had the feeling she thought she was keeping us covered for as long as possible but she knew she couldn't last because that cat was not only huge, it was in the air. We got out of there with all the kite-fliers laughing at Honey's reaction. Luckily, there was no permanent scarring - for a couple of days after that, she was still looking around when we went to the park but thankfully, that wore off.

There is also a walk we would take in Burbank where she was fooled a couple of times by an iron silhouette of a dog, similar to this one.

What was funny is she would drag me to the gate to a certain point and then, her two dimensional perception would disappear and she seemed to think the dog had vanished - she would start sniffing, and looking all around the area the flat iron dog was last spotted....

Two final examples of really scary things out there in the world - each causing Honey some real distress where we have to rush past the objects -- a porcupine shoe cleaner:
and a wind wheel:

Monday, April 24, 2006

the dogs of dogster/Japanese tea dogs

Another family of dogs that have befriended Honey are the Japanese tea dogs.

Ban-cha has big, soulful eyes that look like they could tell tales. She is one of the oh so many pets that did not have a good beginning, but, unlike oh so many of them, ended up in a great home. According to her biographer " her name means "Green Tea" in Japanese, but it also has the meaning of the leftover leaves after the a tea producer has gathered all the high quality tea to sell at a high price. Ban-cha (the tea) is sold to ordinary people at an ordinary price." But, it's obvious there is nothing ordinary about this good pup. On the other hand, this pic shows a modeling career was not in the cards for little Ban-cha.

Genmai-cha is the male of the group and is named after the green tea with toasted brown rice. Genmai-cha was found abandoned for 28 days in a house with five other pit bulls in a community in Indiana that had banned pit bulls. (What is wrong with people?!!) But, check out the contented pup now.

Last but certainly not least is Mugi-cha - actually the first of the group to be adopted. The first time I looked at Mugi-cha's dogster page, I had to do a double take. If you are unfamiliar with Blue Dog, let me introduce you. Blue Dog is the main model for a Louisiana painter named George Rodrigue. "Tiffany, a spaniel-terrier mix was the Rodrigue family pet and loyal companion. For years, Tiffany would sit patiently at her master's side, watching him while he painted. And then in 1980, at the age of twelve, Tiffany died, leaving a void in Rodrigue's life. Understandably, Rodrigue was devastated, and immediately began searching for ways to connect with Tiffany spiritually. Thus when asked to illustrate the French-Cajun tale of the werewolf, or loup-garou, in 1984, the artist decided to use Tiffany as a model. Bathed in the light of a Cajun moon, the creature took on a blue hue. Blue Dog was born." Spaniel-Terrier mix that to me looks an awful lot like a pit bull terrier named Mugi-cha.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The dogs of dogster/Mooshu and Luca

Yes, Honey has a dogster page. I put up some of the pictures of Honey I've used here and added her vital stats and back story. Then, I looked through other dogs pages, clicking to leave them "bones" and agreed to become pup pals with the dogs that invited her. Honey now has an online pack.

For dog owners, dogster is a place to look at and read about a lot of cute dogs (okay - in my world, pretty much all dogs are cute). And, some of the very cutest are Honey's pup pals. Round 1:

This is Mooshu Kitten - a Jack Russell/Dachshund mix. Just looking at this picture of her has got to be good for you.

I also like this arctic bunny shot.
Here is where you can read all about the Moosh and leave her a bone.

Mooshu's homemate is Luca, a pit bull/labrador mix from the pound whose pictures look like an advertisement for fun in the snow. The cover shot seems to be Luca's version of making snow angels punctuating them with nose prints.

This one makes me determined to get Honey to the snow. It also has a guest appearance of Mooshu bringing up the rear. If this doesn't show how adorable and great a rescue puppy (mutt on top of it) can be when given a home and a little love, I don't what will. Luca's page is here and he's waiting for his own bone.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Dog Baggies

Some of my friends think I've fallen too far into dog world. That I'm losing it, a little bit. Maybe that's true. If so, I guess it's one of those things you can't recognize in yourself because it all seems normal.....

Some people don't clean up after their pups. Not only does that mean leaving something disgusting lying around, it is behavior that will turn people against your dog or just dogs in general when, like most pet-related problems, the problem is with the owner. Dogs CAN'T clean it up. (Sometimes the thrill of being the one with the opposable thumbs isn't quite as evident.)

I watched a nice, normal-looking woman take her two dogs for a walk in our neighborhood (and I've seen her here a couple of times) and, after one of them uh, did his business on the long, public lawn, she left it and just walked on as if she did that all the time. There was no rifling through all her pockets trying to find a baggie, no looking around using personal acting skills to show she was going to come back to pick it up and no hurriedly dragging the dog off from the scene. She lazily sauntered on without a look back. If this doesn't bother you, how about the fact that less than a block away, there is a dog baggie dispenser with a small attached trashcan. I was driving by at the time, otherwise I think I would've said something although I'm not sure what. Probably something like: "Lady - you're taking every other dog owner down with you."

I clean up after, Honey. I don't want people to associate her with the eyesores other dog owners let sit there. She's a good dog and deserves to be treated like one. Besides, the dog baggie stations make it easier. And this is one of those signs where my friends think I've gone too far. I talk about the merits of the different dog baggies. But, there are major differences. Let me explain.

There are three kinds of baggies I have seen dispensed. There is one that used to be supplied by the beach. It was light blue, had handle cut-outs and was treated with some kind of deodorizing scent. Which meant it was stinky and your hands would get stinky pulling it out of the dispenser. One crazy beach girl walked by me pulling one out and said "Oh, don't you love that smell." She was the only one that I would classify as a fan of that baggie. I hated carrying those around. Even without the smell -- you could see what you didn't want to see through the light blue. Definitely not a preference.

The second bags are from Dogipot . These aren't bad. They are dark colored, dispensed on a roll, strong and they sit very flat in the pocket. They have the dispensers with the small attached trashcans. A good second choice. Now, I wouldn't have gone to the website if I wasn't writing about this but, gotta say, they put in a lot of effort to jazz it up. More points for that.

But, the best brand - the Mutt Mitt . The top part is white, lower part is black. You put your hand in the white part and are able to safely scoop up with the black end. Their site isn't quite as techno-savvy but - they have a lot of testimonials (first name responders only). It's a solid baggie and you feel quite protected while performing one of the more unenviable dog owner tasks.

I've just come up with a better response to those lazy, irresponsible dog owners. I'll just hand them a Mutt Mitt.