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Dizzying Intellect » Pooch Tales

Category: Pooch Tales

Public Service Announcement

When all of your dog’s favorite toys are made of hard, white plastic…

Or rawhide…

This is almost certainly a dog toy (especially when it’s in a leather cover).

That is all.

Three Guilty Pleas Expected

It’s been so hard to find news about the pups. But this might be the beginning of the end.

ST. LOUIS — At least three eastern Missouri men arrested in a multistate federal crackdown on illegal dogfighting are expected to plead guilty next week in federal court.

Documents filed in the case and interviews with the men’s attorneys confirmed that Robert Hackman, 55, of Foley; Teddy Kiriakidis, 50, of Leasburg; and Ronald Creach, 34, of Leslie will plead guilty Monday in U.S. District Court in St. Louis.

Co-defendant Michael Morgan, 38, of Hannibal is set for trial Monday in the same court. His attorney did not respond to phone inquiries about whether he also planned to plead.

A grand jury indicted the four, along with Jack Ruppel, 35, of Eldon, on dogfighting conspiracy and other charges this summer in St. Louis. Ruppel pleaded guilty Sept. 4 in federal court in Jefferson City to a conspiracy charge and to selling an animal for a fighting venture. His attorney, Timothy Cisar, said Ruppel pleaded guilty “because he is guilty.”

A sentencing date has not been set.

Twenty-six people were charged and more than 500 dogs, some of them pregnant, were seized in July following federal raids in Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Texas.

U.S. attorneys in several states accused them of cruelties that included shooting dogs in the head when they didn’t fight well. None of the other cases have advanced to trials or guilty pleas.

More below the fold

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Me, me, me. Them. You.

I haven’t mentioned it on here, but many of you probably know from twitter that I’m a volunteer at the Humane Society of Missouri.

And that same group of you also knows about the pit bull rescue. I don’t know how much this has made national news — I’m sort of in an echo chamber, here, and it feels like it’s not getting nearly enough coverage. The hsmo broke up a multi-state pit bull fighting ring last month, and it was the single largest dog fighting raid and rescue in US history. They rescued over 400 dogs, who had never known anything but fighting and torture and abuse.

I know that pit bulls have a terrible reputation, but if you’ve never met one in person, you owe it to yourself to do so. They are extremely affection-driven and will do anything for their beloved family — even if it means fighting to the death. This, in itself, makes the dog fighting “sport” obscenely cruel.

Perhaps the one benefit of this heartbreaking ordeal is the opportunity to prove to the public that these dogs aren’t monsters. Some of them have been bred specifically for aggression, but the vast majority of the breed has not. They’re just dogs, who want nothing more than love and affection, and a friendly face to lick.

If you have any way of helping us, please do. We need supplies and money to care for these dogs every day until their case is finished. (Amazon has amazing prices on extreme kongs — and you could buy three and get free shipping to the shelter! Or toss your old mismatched, unwanted bath towels in box and send it, that’s great too.) If you can’t give money or supplies, please contact your local government offices and encourage them to make stronger laws about dog fighting and animal abuse. And if you have the time, visit your local Humane Society and cuddle with a homeless pit bull for a while. I promise they’ll change your mind.


Goliath just died.

Update 4/2 - I spent my 20th birthday in the hospital with an e.coli infection in my kidneys and a 108° fever, and I’ve always thought that I wouldn’t ever have a worse one. So much for that.

I guess as deaths go, it went as well as I could have wanted. I mean, it was horrible, maybe the worst thing I’ve ever experienced, and if I ever hear another sound like his last breath, I’ll kill myself. But I didn’t have to put him down, it was fast, and he didn’t die alone. And he had a very long, mostly good life — I mean, an almost-13 year old Saint Bernard is just ridiculous. They almost never live past eight or nine. I don’t know how obvious it is, but I never cut myself any slack for anything. Ever. But all of the nurses and doctors (and my own vet, several times in the past) told me that for him to be that old, especially still being in good shape, I did a really good job caring for him. I’m not an affirmation-needy person, but I really needed to hear that.

I don’t have any family or real friends here, and I can’t lift him. Couldn’t lift him. I had no idea what to do, and no one to call. I went into the hall, and my neighbor, whom I barely know, happened to be coming in. I asked her if she knew any strong guys, who could help me. She took me into her apartment, sat me down, turned on the tv, and took care of everything. She got a young couple from upstairs, and they wrapped him up and carried him to my car, and she drove me to the emergency vet and stayed with me the whole time while I kissed his nose and paws over and over and said goodbye.

I honestly have never experienced such kindness. Not from my parents, not from people that I considered friends, not from people that I thought I loved or loved me. I’m still pretty numb, but it just underscored the fact that he was literally the only thing I had. I have no idea what to do with myself now.

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Open Mouth, Insert Foot

I went to get groceries yesterday, and as I was going back for the second armload (*sigh*), I was chatting with a woman who lives in my building. She has a crazy little puppy that’s growing into a pretty decent little dog, and we were talking about her growth and stuff.

She knows my dog is pretty old, and she always asks how he’s doing. I said he was fine, and that he loves the freakishly cold weather we’ve been having this winter. She goes “I’m sure, with all that hair.”

Then we’re both quiet for thirty seconds or so, and I’m playing with her dog, and she goes “I bet he dies in the summer.”

I was completely dumbstruck. I just stared at her, going “Blink blink. Blink.” I knew she couldn’t be blithely predicting my dog’s death, but her inflection said exactly that. And she finally goes, “Because it’s so hot.”

Blink. *head tilt*

“Doesn’t he just melt? Or do you give him a haircut?”

And of course that’s all she was saying, but jeez. Inflection, lady. I’ve had a rough week, and a Canine Cassandra I don’t need.

Air Pooch

This must be the most insane time in history to launch a business that’s focused this closely on one specific group of customers, but I’ll definitely support them.

Don’t Let Your Pet Fly In Cargo

Due to minimal oxygen and a lack of temperature control in the airplane’s cargo, suffocation and heat prostration have been among the most common causes of death on commercial airlines. Since the Safe Air Travel for Animals Act was enacted in 2005, a total of 102 pet deaths, 48 injuries, and 30 losses were reported by the airlines to the U.S. Department of Transportation due to commercial airline-related incidents. (In an independent study in 1995, the San Francisco SPCA, estimated that the number of injured pets was 5,000 per year.)

Holy crap! I mean, I knew that sticking a living creature in the cargo area of a plane was a bad idea (and I’d never do it myself), but I had no idea so many pets had died. 102 in barely four years?!

The people who have small enough dogs that they can stick them in a carry-on bag have it good. But can you imagine me trotting my St Bernard onto a plane, and trying to shove him under the seat for take off? He wouldn’t even fit in a seat, if I bought him a ticket. (Ok, maybe in first class we could share two.)

So check it out:

Welcome to Pet Airways, a pet only airline, dedicated to a pet-friendly travel experience for your pet.

With Pet Airways your pet will be safe and comfortable, flying in the main cabin, not in cargo.

From check-in at our Pet Lounge, and throughout the flight, our Pet Attendants will be caring and catering to all your pet’s needs.

You can even monitor how your pet is doing.

Pet Airways is the only way your pet should travel.

Pet Airways - Pet Travel Done Right!

Awesome! It’s a little messy that it’s pets only, and you’d have to take a separate flight — and I’d still rather drive, unless it was an emergency — but what a great idea. I hope they make a zillion dollars, and start flying overseas. Because then I could move to Australia. :o)


For the record, I have sent exactly one (1) email to President-Elect Obama. Not that I think he read it himself, or anything, but hopefully I’m not the only one on this mission.

I won’t bother to reprint it here, though I’m pretty sure it’s in my sent box — all I asked was that if he couldn’t find a “hypoallergenic” dog (there’s so much involved in dog allergies, other than just fur) at the pound, that he consider adopting a dog from a breed rescue.

Most pure breed dogs, especially unusual breeds, that wind up at the pound or other shelters, are taken in by breed rescues. They’re still abandoned. They’re still homeless. They still want and deserve a new family.

Obviously, getting a dog from the pound is ideal, because it saves a life — but they’ve already narrowed their choice down to two breeds. So why not take in a good dog that’s been discarded, rather than just giving money to a breeder? Why not set an example for the rest of the country, that rescued dogs come in all breeds, and that they’re good enough to live in the White House?

We’ll see, right? I’m not expecting to be pleasantly surprised, but I’m sure keeping my fingers crossed.


I’ve seen recommendations for the Furminator on blogs, and the pet store workers all have them and recommend them highly, so I finally broke down and bought one.

I usually “shave” (not bare, but short) my dog several times per year, because I’m always cold — so when the temperature in the house is comfortable for me, he’s keeling over from heat stroke. But as he gets older, I hate to expose his bones to the cold weather, even though he’s indoors 99% of the time.

So I figured I’d try the Furminator this winter, instead. It’s pretty cool. It’s expensive, but it works. It pulled out all of the undercoat (and loose topcoat) without actually changing the way he looks. He looks a little thinner, I mean, because all of the “puff” is gone. But his pretty coppery fur is still intact, which is nice. And he’s cooler, which is the important thing. He’s not sleeping in the hall anymore.

So call this a recommendation. If you have a dog that sheds a lot, or just a dog that belongs in a colder climate than you can provide (or a very patient and/or sedated cat), give it a try.

Happy Halloween!

It wouldn’t be Halloween without pooch pictures, right?

(Click for full size)

I know. I know. But I only do it once a year, I stop when he gets exasperated, and he loves the attention. (Also? Over 100 pounds and perfectly capable of expressing annoyance.) He’s fine with it.

And I never use embarrassing costumes. You will never see him dressed as an insect or a snack food. Never. It’s ok as long as he looks cool, dammit.

Update: Previous years, since my archive pictures are still hosed (still looking for 2000):

(Click for full size)

Blah Results

So, G’s DNA results came back.


I ended up going with this company, which uses a cheek swab, instead of Wisdom Panel, which uses blood — against my best wishes and judgment — because my vet’s a slacker.

It’s not entirely his fault. I could’ve fought harder. Grr.

So the analysis is broken into Primary, Secondary, and “In the mix.” The definitions are pretty obvious, I think. We ended up with:

Primary: [Nothing]
Secondary: German Shepherd
In The Mix: Siberian Husky, Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Um. Yeah.

First of all, no primary at all? Second, I could maybe see where there might be a little German Shepherd in there. But he has no trace of Husky personality — i.e. escape artist — and is actually fairly agorophobic. And Corgi? Come on. A 100+ pound corgi?

I’m calling this cross-contamination. How do you really not find Saint Bernard in this?


The only thing I can think is maybe there’s another giant breed that looks like a Saint, but is rare enough to not be listed. (But then why would she be whoring around with the neighborhood mutt?) Pyrenees and Leonberger are listed, which I’ve considered before, and any others of that size and coloration are unknown to me.

So, probably stupidly, I’m going to try the blood test. It’s only money, right? Now I have to know, and now you can order the test yourself, and take it to the vet, instead of relying on his lazy ass to order it for you…