Dogs & Cats

New Guidelines for Dog & Cat/Human Age Comparisons….

I think we are all fairly familiar with the dog and cat ageing comparison equating to the measure that every 7 human years are equal to 1 dog/cat year. Well, now there is a more scientific and veterinarian endorsed measurement.

International Cat Care Organization and the Pet Health Network have recently released new ageing statistics and information for dogs and cats regarding the correlation between dog and cat years compared to human years.

Age Chart - Dogs(Dog Age Comparison Chart)

Age Chart - Cats(Cat Age Comparison Chart)

Thought I would post the information for those of you interested in such things and perhaps not aware of the new more scientific method for making more accurate determinations regarding those age comparisons…. 🙂

Introducing my friend…. Little Eddie

Over the past year or so I have cultivated a great friendship with one of my canine neighbors who lives next door. His name is “Eddie” but so as to not confuse him with a much more famous “Eddie” of the same breed I’m sure most are familiar with, I call him “Little Eddie”.

Little-Eddie-02(Little Eddie – Click to Enlarge)

My friend Little Eddie is a Jack Russell terrier and I have found out recently that he is around 12 years old. Based on dog years, that makes him about ten years older than me. So that turns out to be actually good. We’re just a couple of old codgers that like to hang out together and enjoy each other’s company.

Now if you are a dog person to any degree and know anything at all about dogs, then you probably know that a little dog like Little Eddie with his breed’s heritage is keen on chasing and catching little critters and rodents. Since Little Eddie doesn’t appear to get a lot of exercise and is not able to work off his stored up energy, I decided to pitch in and help a friend out. At any rate, at our age we could use the exercise although admittedly these days Little Eddie is getting a whole lot more exercise than I am.

Just about every morning around 9:00 AM or so I can look out my back window and there is Little Eddie sitting out by the fence waiting for me to come outside. I’d like to think his waiting is all about wanting to see me but I have a sneaky suspicion it has something to do with the little game we like to play most every morning while it’s cool out. We call our little game ‘Critter-Gitter’.

I have attached a short video showing a bit of our typical morning routine. In the beginning of this particular video Little Eddie tries to patiently wait for me to get things ready to start our game but not without a little anticipatory pacing. Then he begins his duel with our make believe critter although I’m not so sure how ‘make believe’ Little Eddie views it. It appears he may have gotten tangled a bit in the ivy vine on the first toss which seemed to cause him a little concern, perhaps thinking the critter had gotten a hold of him. There are times when he seems quite sure of having things under control and then other moments when he quickly backs off. But I can’t help but smile for the five minutes or so we play. I figure at our age, about five minutes of intense excitement is about the limit for either of us.

When we get through, Little Eddie will watch me intently as I put away the fishing pole and then sit down on the patio to enjoy my coffee. Once he realizes the day’s game is over, he will go around to the other side of his house and get some water, then return a few minutes later, lays down next to the fence and just stares into space. You just know what he is probably thinking, “I am going to get that little critter one of these days!”.

My Life As A Pet Photographer….

A recent post by “Cheerful Monk” and comment by “The Cozy Minimalist” reminded me of my days as a pet photographer back in the mid-eighties. It was rather by accident that such had come to attrition. I had gotten interested in pursuing photography as a hobby and as is so often the case, one thing led to another.

As it happened, a friend at work was a dog person and bred Basenjis which are dogs whose heritage is founded in Africa. In passing, one day at work when I was talking about looking for photographic subjects he said I should come over and take some photos of his dogs. Shortly after that on a weekend I went by his home and took some photos of his dogs and that was how it all began. The next weekend another friend said I could come over to their house and take some photos of their German shepherd if I wanted some experience. I laughed but did end up going and took what was to be one of my favorite photos of all the ones I had taken during my dog photography era.

German Shepherd(German Shepherd – Click to Enlarge)

From then on I was taking photos of anything from show dogs to fancy pigeons and horses to hamsters. If someone wanted a photograph of any critter whatsoever, I was game!

Fancy Pigeon(Fancy Pigeon – Click to Enlarge)

All this was of course back in the ‘film’ days way before digital cameras had made their entrance. My mainstay camera in those days was the Canon AE-1 35mm and I also had a Bronica medium format camera but did not use it much for pet work. Pet photography was painstakingly slow work in those days, primarily because in my case I was developing my own film and processing my own prints. I can only imagine how much more pleasant life would have been doing digital work.

White Cat(White Cat – Click to Enlarge)

I actually quit my job in nuclear power plant construction for a period of time, rented a small studio and did pet photography on a professional basis. Funny though how that often works out, as soon as you turn a hobby into a job, well that’s just exactly what it turns into and the fun and passion leave by the back door. I think for me it lasted about six months.

German Shorthair Pointer(German Shorthair Pointer – Click to Enlarge)

Well, I guess that pretty much concludes this little ‘show-and-tell’ regarding my life as a critter photographer. You know, thinking about it, I don’t think after putting all that behind me in the mid-eighties I have ever taken another pet photograph. At least not in the “portrait” sense. Oh well, as they say life goes on….

Doggie Mix(Mixed Breed – Click to Enlarge)

The Goose Poop Challenge….

Burns Park Goose Poop Plaque - 2The plaque pictured above use to be awarded once a year at a North Little Rock Burns Park annual event referred to as the “Goose Poop Challenge”. The object of the challenge was to see if anyone could get from one end of the ‘walking & bike trail’ to the other end which ran the length of the park without walking and/or riding their bikes through a pile of goose poop. Naw… I’m just kidding about the annual event but not about the goose poop or the daily challenge to avoid it. The photo below is a typical example.

Bike & Walking Trail - Burns Park(Click to Enlarge)

Well this week there’s good news regarding this issue (no pun intended) and hopefully a permanent solution has been implemented! The city has hired a new employee named “Shep” to address the problem and he started his new job yesterday after receiving his city employee identification badge picture below.

Shep - NLR Park Employee

Yesterday afternoon he was on the job at the park chasing off one of the many flocks of Canada Geese that pretty much homestead the park wreaking poop havoc on the walking and bike trails along with the numerous soccer fields in the park. The photo below caught him in action….

Shep-Canada-Geese-Burns-Park

A couple of years ago the park first tried the idea of trained dogs chasing off the geese by hiring a fellow who had a dog trained for such work and it seemed to work along with being the most humane option available and the least intrusive to park goers. Everything from having a mini-open gun season on the geese to scaring them off with noise makers was pondered in the beginning. But in the end the dog approach was the one most embraced by the overall public.

So welcome to our city Shep and good hunting chasing…. 😀

Tonight’s the night you freeze dried pet fans….

Well the long wait is over! Tonight on the Animal Planet Channel a new reality show will air and once again Arkansas will reach new heights of notoriety. At 9:00PM CST the premier of American Stuffers will hit the airways and give way to a new craze that will surely sweep across the country like locusts in a grain field. But let me bring you up to date if you are sitting there quite puzzled over my intense excitement.

American Stuffers

It was just about a year ago that I shared on an old blog the latest goings-on here in Arkansas. And even though we tout the state nickname of “The Natural State”, from time to time it seems that something of perhaps an ’unnatural’ nature rises to the surface. We found that to be somewhat true when in January of last year, 2011 a local television news story informed we Arkansans that in one of our famed small towns, Romance, Arkansas whose previous fame was based on their postmark for ‘valentines’ mailed out from their post office on Valentine’s Day, has now extended its fame in yet another direction. Are you ready? Freeze dried pets! Yep, you read that right. Let’s review and watch that initial newscast from last January aired by one of our local television stations one more time….

Need further convincing? Well, just click on this link, Xtreme Taxidermy, and go check out their website and all the associated fixings’.

Now you are as up to date as the rest of us and tonight’s the night when that first show hits the airways. Oh, and one more heads up! All you Republican Romney backers better be watching tonight also because it’s my understanding that this family is Mormon so you know for sure that Candidate Romney will be glued to his television set. I’m fairly sure that’s why there were no Republican debates scheduled for this evening.

Anyway, I just thought it my duty as an Arkansan to do my part in spreading the news about tonight’s airing of “American Stuffers” as yet another fellow Arkansan reaches the “big time”!

Update – January 6, 2012 – Friday – 5:45 am

Hope you didn’t miss the program – wish I had! Pure Arkansas, that’s about all I have to say. When the scruffy looking guy on the Harley sped off with tears in his eyes and his freeze-dried pet strapped to the luggage rack I struggled to keep my own tears back. But the real clincher came when the little girl came in with her dad to pick up the cleaned and painted head-bone of a hog she had apparently killed while hunting with her father. When she and her father left the taxidermist shop she had the head-bone cuddled in her little arms, treating it as if it were a favorite teddy bear. It was then that I knew I had found a replacement for American Idol and Dancing With the Stars.

She’s dead! No she’s not! Yes she is! No she’s not!

I ask you…. What’s not to love about Arkansas?

Computer - 019

Last I wrote about strange goings-on here in my state it was about a man who left instructions that his little Yorkshire terrier should be euthanized and buried with him should he die. And now this….

Yesterday a 57 year old woman was found at her home in Little Rock lying listless in her backyard dressed only in her underwear. At 6:30 am paramedics were called arriving shortly thereafter and determined the woman to have no vital signs. Presuming the woman dead, they then called Little Rock detectives to the scene.

While investigating one of the detectives commented that it appeared to him she may still be alive. Then yet another paramedic crew arrived but again stated that there were no vital signs indicating the woman to be alive. After performing cardio-pulmonary resuscitation the paramedics then called a local emergency room for a doctor to come to the scene for death pronunciation. The doctor arrived at the scene and pronounced the woman dead at 9:29 am.

The Coroner and Deputy Coroner then arrived at 9:55 am but during their examination they noted that the woman seem to exhibit several signs of life although she was not breathing. The Deputy Coroner then lifted the woman’s chin in an effort to clear her airway and the woman immediately took a breath. They immediately notified the local hospital of her impending arrival.

It should be noted that during the three and a-half hours she lay there on the ground in only her underwear presumed dead, the temperature was in the forties and she was covered only with a sheet.

As of Friday evening the woman was alive and in the critical care unit of the hospital. Two of the three paramedic crews attending at the scene are on suspension. Family members noted that the woman had an extensive medical history, suggesting that it may have been a medication problem, but detectives noted that no one knows the cause of the woman not breathing.

About all I can say in closing is that this certainly does not give one a warm and fuzzy feeling, especially at my age. Perhaps I will reconsider having a shovel put in my casket when I die. Or should I say….when someone declares me dead!

Oh tell me it’s not so….

Being from Arkansas one eventually becomes desensitized to the associated stereotyping often linked to those residing in this grand old State. Well, at least with reference to myself that is it certainly true. And if you are from Arkansas, you are almost always deemed a hillbilly, even if you’re not married to your sister or living in a run-down house trailer.

You would think over time this would change but it seems that in my lifetime it will never happen. We just keep shooting ourselves in the foot again, and again, and again. Case and point…..

Several years ago Arkansas received much ill-deserved (well, perhaps not ill-deserved) national publicity when then Governor Huckabee and his wife moved into what was referred to as a double-wide trailer during his tenure as our governor. You can read about that “here”.

Then, to add insult to injury our most famous President of recent years, Bill Clinton, refused to break that mold and erected his famed Presidential Library resembling that most familiar iconic structure – the house trailer yet once again.

Clinton Presidential Library(Clinton Presidential Library)

And now just when you think things might turn around……I pick up the newspaper this morning only to find yet another Arkansan who has found a way to extend our misunderstood heritage even further into the future. No, it’s not about sisters or cousins or even house trailer issues again, this time it is all about a dog. Right there on the front page this morning was an attention-getting headline that read as follows….

“Dead Man’s Dog Killed To Go With Him To Grave”

Oh tell me it’s not so but…..turns out an Arkansan who recently passed away was buried with his pet dog per his wishes. Only problem was the dog had to be euthanized to fulfill the man’s wishes. The dog, a healthy two-year old Yorkshire Terrier, was indeed euthanized and buried with his dead master.

Due to copyright issues I cannot post the article and there are no links available at this time so I’ll just paraphrase some of the article on the incident below . If a link becomes available in the near future I will amend it to this post.

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The deceased’s sister said that the family was only fulfilling her brother’s desire to be buried with his pet, Tom Tom, which was a Yorkie. She said her brother had told her that if he should die, he wanted his dog to go with him because nobody would love him like he did.

It was noted in the article that it was rare for a pet to be euthanized for the sole purpose of burial with its owner. This statement attributed to the funeral home employees, veterinarians and the Humane Society of America alike.

A veterinarian consultant to the Humane Society noted that there was nothing illegal about euthanizing a completely healthy pet for any reason. Veterinarians refer to the practice as “convenience euthanasia”.

The local veterinarian chosen for the euthanasia noted that he had pleaded with the family to consider otherwise but in the end complied to their wishes fearing the pet might be killed in some less humane way.

A representative from Roller Funeral Homes which has more than two dozen locations statewide said that he has never heard of a family burying a pet alongside a human, much less euthanizing the pet to accomplish such.

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In closing, I suppose if he was being buried with some old scraggly hound dog, perhaps I might could muster up some sense of compassion and understanding for his request since he was a hillbilly Arkansan. But a Yorkie? I ask you….when was the last time you saw one of those old hillbilly shacks with a little ole Yorkie sitting on the front porch?

Yorkie(Yorkie – Courtesy of Wikipedia)

Well I will leave it with each of you to come to your own conclusions with regard to this matter. I personally will either have to move to another State or just suffer the consequences and verbal abuse I suppose.

Oh, and if this being buried with animals thing catches on here, I suppose this will open the door for some of my other fellow hillbilly Arkansans. When they die there are some who will surely want to euthanize their favorite mistress to be interred with them, which as you all know is normally a sheep in this part of the country.

Attention Walmart Shoppers….

Attention Walmart Shoppers
See Today’s Special On Aisle 13

Walmart Casket 2Walmart Caskets Available On-Line (Click to enlarge)

Well, are you sitting down? I was completely shocked three days ago when I ran across information that led me to believe that Walmart was selling ‘caskets’. Yep….you heard me right! CASKETS!

I immediately proceeded to the Walmart website, typed in “caskets” in the sites ’search’ window block and walla, there they were! All fourteen of them. And not only that but they also sell cremation urns for both pets and people, not to mention a few necklaces for keeping sample remains of your loved one to boot. Below is a typical sampling….

Walmart Casket 1(Click on image to enlarge)

Now do you believe me? Still don’t huh? Okay, then go to the Walmart website by clicking “here“, locate the ’search’ window near the top of the website page, type in either ‘casket’ or ‘funeral’ and see what comes up. Then you’ll have to believe me unless you think I have put a ‘Walmart Casket Virus’ into your computer somehow!

Walmart Pet UrnsPet Urn – Adult Urn (Click to enlarge)

At first I thought maybe this was all a hoax. You know, someone in Walmart upper management taking this Halloween thing just a little too serious but I’m slowly but surely beginning to think otherwise. I couldn’t resist doing a search for tombstones but all I got with that search for returns was movie titles. But I no longer put it out of the realm of possibility!

In closing I have to say in all seriousness…. “Did you see the prices on those caskets? Those are some seriously good prices if you’ve ever done any serious planning for one’s final internment, including the prices on those cremation urns!”

Although I have visited a couple of funeral homes in the past year or so getting some ideas on funeral costs, I have yet to commit to anything. I just may go ahead and order one of those Walmart caskets and just use it as an extra guest bed in my spare bedroom until I need it! 😕

The Year was 1985….

Pet Photo 01I always liked photography but not until around the ripe old age of forty-two did I actually seriously take up the art initially as a hobby. Even got into the developing and processing of film and photographs. A couple of my close friends at the time raised ‘show-dogs’ and asked if I would be interested in taking some photographs of their dogs. Now if you know anything about the show-dog folks, they can get fanatical about photographs of their dogs. The photographs have to be just about perfect and must show the good aspects of their dog and definitely not show any of the dog’s faults. Professional show-dog photographers make the big bucks but then they have to know as much about their subjects as they do about their art.

Life of LuxuryLife of Luxury

Anyway, one thing led to another and I eventually got very involved with dog photography and then eventually just pet photography in general. Have taken pictures of goats, chickens, and even pigeons just to mention a few. Then in 1985 I actually quit my real job and set up shop as a pet photographer. I was able to scrape a bit of a living out of the dirt but eventually decided my real job was a lot easier so I went back to work doing what I was doing prior to my short-lived career in photography.

Only A Face A Mother Could LoveA Face Only A Mother Could Love

Thought I would share a few of those photographs here in this post and am certain as time goes along I will be sharing others along the way. But for the moment I hope you enjoy these… 🙂