Monday, February 22, 2010

Got the guts to watch this?

If you haven't seen the "Meet Your Meat" video that PETA produced, you may not have something to compare this to....but this is a very different video that tackles the same subject - the reality behind the meat we eat -  in a different way.  The interviews are with small scale meat producers who clearly care about the animals they raise.  If you are not vegetarian, you may try to find farmers just like these to buy meat from so you're "letting the animal have a good life" before killing it.  If you're not vegan, you may look for local milk and cheese producers with the same thought process.  This film is obviously not as politically charged as those done by PETA, but it does make you think - or it should.  Take a few minutes - see how far you can get into it and whether it changes your views on anything about meat, eggs or dairy.

Partitions from Audrey Kali on Vimeo.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Dog Play!

When we adopted Simon, our Aussie, from a rescue almost six and a half years ago, he never played.  He refused to fetch a ball - he might run after it once, but he never would pick it up.  He'd turn and look at you like "If you wanted it, why'd you throw it away?"  To this day, he remains uninterested in balls or plush toys of any kind.

After about 4 years, he eventually learned to play tug of war, but never *ever* with a human, only with another dog, and only very rarely.  About 2 or 3 times a year I would catch him playing tug of war with Callie, and it was always brief, even though I praised him and did what I could to let him know this was good behavior.

Simon *does* like to wrestle though - but Callie really didn't, so he found an outlet with foster dogs (especially Jasper!) and at doggy daycare.  He does love to play the growly wrestle game - and actually this last summer he and Jasper drove me nuts playing late at night, early in the morning, and basically allllllll the time.  They never seemed to tire!  I know Simon missed Jasper when he finally got adopted.

When Maisey came, she didn't want to play with Simon at first - she is shy around other dogs.  Then she did try and get Simon - and Mollie - to play with her, but she liked to slap her paws on their heads and generally bat at them until they just about clocked her as opposed to engage in play.  When she did get Simon to play, it was clear they had very different styles!  Maisey was fast and jumped over, under and around Simon so fast he could not keep track of her and play the game enough to make it fun for him...or her. 

After about a month, Simon and Maisey have managed to find some games they can both play and enjoy.  They have modified the wrestling game to one they both like a great deal.  Even better, Maisey has somehow talked Simon into tug of war - often, and with nearly any toy!  She will bring it to him, wiggle it at him, and beg until he grabs it - and then they growl at each other, tug, pull - and eventually destroy!!  It's actually great for both of them to have a play buddy.  Tonight ancient Mollie even joined into tug of war for a minute, with three dogs on one rope!  Very cool!

I have tried (and failed) to get some good photos - but they are action shots and I tend to get blurry or red eyed photos.  One of these shows a good tug game, but Maisey and Simon have the tail of a toy in their mouths so close together you can't see it.  The other photo shows Maisey smiling, happy as can be, after about an hour of play....and Simon happily enjoying the spoils of his victory on Mollie's bed behind her!

It is going to take the whole family to give Maisey enough exercise, so I actually really appreciate Simon's help!  Though he is at least 10 years old now, his energy levels are great and he still loves to play.  Now that he and Maisey have fun together, it's obvious they are happy to see each other when Maisey and I get home from work.  Simon has less anxiety now that he has Mollie to keep him company during the day and not just the cats.  He also has more outlets for his energy that are constructive. 

Since you never know when you bring another dog into the family how the pack will adjust, it's great to see that after a month, Mollie and Simon are really enjoying Maisey's toys....AND Maisey herself!  Unfortunately, the older dogs try and teach Maisey all their bad habits....but she is such a smart little girl I remain optimistic that with proper training, she will learn right from wrong despite the influence of her new siblings.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cool Dog Toys

It's always interesting to me to see which dogs like which toys, and since we have had a fair amount of foster dogs and puppies over the last few years, we have a crate of toys at home so any dog has a nice selection to chose from and indicate their preferences.

Each and every puppy or dog gets at LEAST one new toy of their very own too....of course! Every creature deserves a little taste of feeling special.

Maisey Mae is now nine months old.  I am not sure what access she had to toys before.  Her prior owners said she didn't play ball or have any favorites, but certainly that is not the case at our house!  She immediately caught on to the "toy box" idea and each day she takes out and plays with several toys, often carrying around two at a time so she doesn't have to be limited to just one.

She likes Dingo dones and Ringos (but what dog doesn't!), and she really enjoys cow hooves.  One surprise is that she even likes cheap dollar store rubber toys, and I think part of why she likes them is they float in her water bowl.  Maisey loves to "wash"her toys.  She puts them in the water bowl, stirs and bats them around, bites at them, and then extracts them - and likes to bring them over to play with (often on the bed!).  She is truly fascinated by the water bowl and will sometimes put in two toys at once, of different weights, and seem to experiment as they float or sink.  I wonder what is going through her head?

Recently for a "new" toy I got her a red eco-toy with a squirrel tail, pictured above.  These toys, available for only $9.99 at The Ultimate Green Store, are filled with plastic water bottles that make them crunch.  There is also a squeaker in the tail.  When the "crunch" wears out, recycle the old bottle (it will be completely flat!!!) and insert a new one!  Maisey LOVES everything about this toy - it's good for tug of war, it has different textures, and she likes the crunchy sound and the squeaky sound - and it has good flight properties for fetch retrieval.  I can already tell there will probably be another in her future when she has a birthday!

Maisey also loves a "jelly ball" which is a ball with a really soft jelly type texture that is not solid but textured - I think she likes the feel of it.  Oddly enough, she hates hot dogs, doesn't really care for many treats, and would rather play with toys than do just about anything! Toy drive = HIGH!  She does love a peanut butter filled mini-Kong though!

I think the best prices so far on Dingos (particularly Ringos) is at Doctors Foster Smith.  (If you know of a better one, let me know!).  I also like to check out dollar stores and specials at the grocery store, and pet store sales, especially after holidays.  Simon loves sweet potato treats we order by mail that come on a rope (though I think largely because it's food and he loves food!).

One interesting thing about Maisey's love for toys is that it appears to be infectious.  Simon has never shown any interest in some of the toys that have been in his living room the entire 6 years he's been with us - and when Maisey shows interest in them, suddenly he loves them.....despite never caring when foster dogs liked the same ones.  Mollie, who is over 128 in dog years, never touched a toy in the last 4 years I knew her, and now all of a sudden she MUST have some daily!!  Maisey magic appears to charm every toy she touches.  Luckily, there are more than enough toys to go around,s o we have three very happy dogs at the moment, and no toy fights.