Comments roundup

This is going backwards, from newer to older. Because that’s the way we roll.

1. And on a sad note, did you see about that “Almost Heaven” Kennel in PA? ::shudder::

Yes, I did. I try to reserve judgment about these types of things; I was not there, I didn’t see what was going on. But it’s obvious from the kennel’s website that they were not careful breeders, and the owner was suspended from AKC years ago.

What was fascinating to me when I was reading over the coverage of the dogs there is how many people in the comments talked about how they loved this kennel, they had bought multiple dogs there, and how happy they were with their dogs. THAT is the fundamental problem. I am always completely baffled by what people are willing to overlook, how they’re even defensive about how they smart they were to buy from these types of places. If the market still exists, these people will NEVER stop breeding.

And, you know, Oprah went out to a complete and total puppy mill and bought her Goldens, but has referred ever since to the fact that she bought them from a good breeder. Blindness is found in high places.

2. Joanna, what kind of bones can I give Bodhi for a treat (19mos English Mastiff, fed Canidae ALS and Welness CORE so not accustomed to raw) that will not cause diarrhea from hell? Even 15-30 min w/knuckle bones causes more havoc in the crate if I can’t let him out in time than I care to even remember. I need something big AND dense enough to last longer than 37 seconds before it’s consumed, kwim?

I suggested to her that she try freezing the bones first, or switch to a lower-calorie food like chicken. This is definitely an issue with giant-breed dogs. There’s no such thing as a “recreational” bone for them; everything is fully consumed. And that’s a huge shot of fat and calories.

3. I’d love to print this with your permission and hand it out to clients who are considering adopting a dog.

Absolutely (and very flattering and thanks so much). I added this info to the front page, but permission is always granted to cross-post and reproduce as long as it is done in full (please don’t just clip a paragraph) and has my name attached to it.

4. One thing I would add is that rescues can be a good choice for people with small kids or other pets, because the dogs can be tested for these situations in foster care. It’s not 100%, of course, but it makes for a little bit more of a known quantity than the pound might.

Yes, and a very good point. I always forget something, so I rely on you all to keep me on the straight and narrow.

5. Interesting post. I especially like the part where you said that “The evolutionary diet should always be the default–in other words, it should be considered the safest, the most ideal, the most automatically beneficial.”

This applies broadly to humans too, don’t you think?

Yes, with a caveat. Sometimes an evolutionary diet for humans is perceived to be something like vegan or fruitarian. I strongly disagree. I DO think that the “sharp stick” (do not eat what you could not kill or harvest with a sharp stick–no processed foods, whole meats, limited unground grains, lots of fruits and vegetables, nuts, etc.) diet is very, very healthy for people. Sometime I’ll tell my own story about this, but right now I’d look like a fool because I am NOT following it and I am fat and lazy.

6. Does the coat blowing lessen with age? My dog used to blow her coat at the beginning and end of summer. But she’s 12 now and I noticed she didn’t blow it this summer, or last. Just a few little tufts on her haunches. She’s a husky/GSD mix.

Variations with age are very normal. The coat blow often shifts its timing as the dog ages, so they can be losing coat in the late fall, or early spring. However, any time there is a change in coat in an older dog you should seriously consider running a thyroid panel (sent out to a vet university or to Hemopet, not the in-office tests).

While I’m on this topic, also be aware of issues if the hair radically changes character, like if your smooth-coated dog suddenly has wire-like hair along the topline or a well-nutritioned dog is suddenly shedding all the time. Addisons and Cushings often show in the coat first.

7. (from this one) Thanks for the photos Joanna, they’re fantastic. They really give a good idea of what’s going on and it’s fascinating to see all the different kind of clips. I assume that most of the dogs shown are poodley-types as that fur lets you do more than other breeds would? Is it also harder to work with?

Well, some of it is that I was there for the three classes that have the most poodles represented (Mixed/All Other Purebreds, Poodle, Creative). There are also Sporting and Terrier classes that would, obviously, have those breeds. In fact, best in show at Hershey went to the Sporting entry (from what I heard; I had left at that point because we had a 12-hour ride home).

But yes, there’s no question that poodle-like coats are favored. A good poodle coat will take almost any shape you give it, and allows you to make incredibly subtle decisions with your scissors. When you watch those groomers scissor those dogs (when they are finishing, after they’ve made the larger decisions of setting the pattern and lines), they are pulling the coat up and out with combs and then moving their hands down the dog, scissoring steadily–all you hear is whist-whist-whist-whist, because the scissors are so good that they don’t even go snick-snick; you can barely hear the blades–and then they pull their hands away and a fine dust falls off the dog. And then they repeat, over and over again. They go for a perfect, plush, velvety finish so it looks like the dog was more molded than carved.

It’s really incredibly inspiring and artistic. I felt the same way watching them as I do watching hand-spinning or weaving or rug-hooking. The movement of the hands is so rhythmic and hypnotic, and everyone is so quiet and intense. Except for the dogs, who are so used to this that they tend to fall asleep.

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