Sunday, February 25, 2007

Should AKC allow mixed breed dogs in competition?

AKC 's Objective:

• Advance the study, breeding, exhibiting, running and maintenance of purebred dogs.

AKC's Core Values:
  • We love purebred dogs
  • We are committed to advancing the sport of the purebred dog
  • We are dedicated to maintaining the integrity of our Registry
  • We protect the health and well-being of all dogs
  • We cherish dogs as companions
  • We are committed to the interests of dog owners
  • We uphold high standards for the administration and operation of the AKC
  • We recognize the critical importance of our clubs and volunteers
Now, AKC is considering allowing mixed breed dogs to be able to compete in working events (obedience, tracking, agility, etc.) They are polling the public - here is the poll:

On the first page of the information packet attached to the poll, they state:
"Exposing mixed breed dog owners to AKC and encouraging them to make their next dog a purebred by showing them that purebred dogs consistently outperform mixed breeds...."

Which has owners of both pure bred dogs and mutts up in arms. That paragraph goes on to provide statistics "proving" purebred dogs are better than mixed breeds. Whatever.
They also are polling whether mutts can perform in the same events, or have their own seperate events - is this a "back of the bus" thing? Or, is AKC worried that mutts may actually start "outperforming" purebreds? Things that make you go hmmmm.
Say a university was considering whether to begin accepting into its programs. "It has been proven that is inferior and cannot perform as well as our elites. If we allow them to participate in a limited capacity, more people will realise how inferior they really are, and how much more desirable the elites are." I can't see how the AKC statement can be read any other way and I find it really insulting!

Opponents of the bill say:
Why pay to be part of an organization that thinks we are inferior?
AKC is just after the money, because their registrations are down - many other registries accept both mixed and purebred dogs to compete in all sorts of working events.
It counters their stated purpose - upholding the integrity of purebred dogs.
Which they already don't honor, since they will register any litter out of AKC parentage without regard to the integrity of the breeder. Tens of thousands of puppy mill and poorly bred puppies get pumped into the market already, and to date the AKC has never used their authority to stem the tide or censor crap for-profit breeders.

Supporters of the bill:
Welcome the chance to take both their pure bred, and their mixed-breed dogs to the same events.
Say that if more people are exposed to AKC core values, they will better understand the importance of supporting both rescue and proper breeding practices.
AKC will use their increased profits to do more to educate the public.
AKC should take SOME sort of responsibility for providing activities for the street bred or deliberately bred mixes resulting from the purebreds which provide their bread and butter.

Since I voted vehemently against, I'll counter the above "for" points of view.
There are already many organizations where one can compete with both pure and mixed breed dogs. Granted, it would be nice to have another venue.
Anyone who is working and competing with dogs is already dog-savvy enough to understand about proper breeding and the importance of rescue.
Past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour.
Good point, although I am not convinced this is the best way to "take responsibility."

If you have an opinion one way or another, go ahead and vote! If you disagree with me, I love to hear opposing views. :)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Those of us who feed a raw diet to our dogs....

eatin is tough work for a baby
....Find this photo really cute.
13 week old Pekinese named Tessa.
She belongs to Mary, who took in her pregnant mama and wound up keeping this pup.
Everybody say "awwwww."

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Ring nerves.

Ring nerves - being really nervous about messing up or looking like a fool during dog sport competition.
OK, everyone gets this way and many people won't get into the ring because of it. My first agility trial, I was so nervous I thought I was going to throw up, couldn't eat, clammy palms and needed to pee avery 27 seconds. By the end of the weekend, I wondered exactly what I'd been so terrified for! Everyone was really nice to a rookie handler, I watched seasoned handler and dog teams make dumb mistakes, I made lots myself...the world didn't come to an end and dammit it was fun.
By now I've made so many foolish mistakes in the ring, I've gotten used to it. It's good, it is teaching me to forgive myself for dumb mistakes and just carry on.

So, I still get - not so much nervous, but definitely keyed up, before a run. I'm hardly a "seasoned handler", yet. But I have developed a little routine in agility trials. Dog gets to run and stretch out and pee. We'll do some attention exercises. While we're waiting for our turn, I don't like to chit chat with other people. I'm about to ask my dog to give me his full attention, and do his best job. Seems only fair that he gets my full attention before the run. I watch other teams and make sure I've got the course, and my strategy, memorised. I talk to Cooper and tell him he's wonderful and get his focus fully on me and ask him are you ready, wanna play?

Some dogs need to be motivated and jazzed up before running, some need to be calmed down and encouraged to focus....mostly I think Cooper just needs to remember he is here to work. Because he loves loves loves to work and has tremendous drive.

Last trial we did was a busy public show, hundreds of spectators. I realised that, as keyed up as I felt right before the run, I was oblivious to everything but the "job" once we stepped in the ring. For that brief time, it was just me and my dog (well, and the judge - gotta pay attention to the judge!) and doing the best we could. All the people watching and clapping and the surrounding commotion simply disappeared. It felt really good!
And - after a particularly good run, you're just on a high. It feels so great.

OK. So that's UKC agility. In two weeks I am doing my first AKC obedience trial and dammit, I'm getting nervous already! Which is rather silly because we've been doing obedience classes off and on Cooper's whole life, he is technically really really good and I simply must at least get a CD title on him.
But, still. I'm nervous. Silly me. We're entered March 1-2.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Howard Hodgkin, big and little art.

The top photo is the 110 ton Kapoor sculpture at Chicago's Millenium Park. The bottom photo is a blurry enlargement of yours truly, looking like a fashion disaster bag lady (and proud of it!) reflected in the giant sculpture.
For those who follow such things, I am wearing:
A Mackinac Island t-shirt with a big toothy fish printed on the back.
An Italian hand knit cardigan.
A blue bra.
A boiled wool scarf made by my mother.
Old Navy pink corduroys.
Fluffy wool boots I bought on eBay and simply adore.
I'm sorry, I don't recall my undies or socks. I'll take notes next time. I remember the bra because it's spectacularly ugly and unsexy, yet very comfy. I have several, and I'm sure that's what I was wearing. It's not a "date bra", of course. Ha, ha.

The middle three photos are Howard Hodgkin paintings currently on display at the Tate gallery in London. I wrote about him on my other blog.
Now, many people will say, "what's the big deal? My six year old could have painted that!" (A common reaction to abstract art.)
To which I respond:
1: No, your six year old could not have painted that.
2: And besides, she didn't, did she?

Woof! :)

Monday, February 12, 2007

Please support this eBay seller.

Just because more people need to know the truth about that puppy in the window.
I just ordered this booklet. $1.95, free shipping. And, it's a first edition, even.
Seller ID is truthaboutpuppies, item number 260086421651

Item link, I hope.
Double dawg dare ya.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Friday at the $10 Rabies vax clinic.

Proceeds to various wildlife and domestic animal rehab & rescue.
I was able to take some photos in between wrangling and calming dogs, doing paperwork and biting big hard dog treats into small pieces with my bare teeth so our stash would last all day.
Over 100 dogs and cats done today, tomorrow will be much busier.
It was fun!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


It's cold. Walk outside and the hairs in your nose freeze into little metal bars and slam shut so breathing hurts, exposed skin starts turning bright red within minutes and you cross your fingers that your car will start. They even closed the schools for a couple of days so the little darlings wouldn't be too chilly. Dog shit freezes the minute it hits the ground and I haven't been able to clean the back yard for a couple of weeks. What poop isn't hidden by snow would need to be chipped out of snowbanks with archeological excavation tools.
So, it's really frikken cold and the dogs have not had their regular walks and are going stir crazy. Frankly, so am I! I miss walkies too. We had several days with the temps below zero and wind chills up to thirty below. I don't mind cold but when it's like that, there's really not much point in going out when your eyelashes start freezing together in the frigid wind.
So, yesterday afternoon it actually warmed up to a toasty 10 whole degrees and I tossed the dawgs into the back of the Jeep and took them over to the river park to run. They exploded out of the back of the Jeep like hairy tornadoes and just ran. It was great to watch. After about 15 minutes Daphne started hunching over a bit and looking cold so we went back home but it did feel wonderful. I ran back & forth with them, and in the snow that is quite a work out, especially with snow boots on!
It never fails to amuse me that at least once every winter cold weather becomes front page news. "Bitter cold strikes Midwest." No shit Sherlock. This is news?