Willie Searches For and Rescues His Toy!

As many of you know, Will has a bad shoulder and he can't play fetch or flying disc without problems. If I just work him on sheep and take him on long walks we can keep it under control, but the "short stopping" associated with fetching aggravates whatever is wrong with his shoulder. (I haven't discounted surgery completely, but we are still in the 'gather information' mode.) That means that most of his exercise is working sheep, which works great when I'm home and feel like scrambling up the hill. But when I'm gone? You can't just have anyone go work your dog on sheep, that would be a disaster, so it is important to find ways to keep Willie exercised when I travel. Here are 2 videos of the game I've talked about in earlier posts. It's really not that new, just another version of the Read More

Scent of the Missing

Oh dear, I'm about to rave about a book that doesn't come out until April (April? Why did the Advance Copy come so soon?). Scent of the Missing, by Susannah Charleson is so well written I don't know whether to be inspired or to turn my computer off and never write again. It's a story about her partnership with Puzzle, a Golden Retriever who she trained as an Search and Rescue dog. I'm not close to done (but came to work late 'cuz I picked it up again this morning, couldn't put it down...), but it's a wonderful story (lordy I do love stories) and it's exquisitely written.  Her descriptions of her dogs are laugh out loud funny and right on, and her use of language is so rich and sensory I'm not sure if I want to read her book or eat it. I'll write more when it is out, but I can't wait to Read More

Tender at the Bone

Well, Tender at the Bone is admittedly the title of a book about food (if you love food and good writing as much as I do, this is a fantastic book by food critic Ruth Reichl), but I borrowed the phrase to continue our discussion about dental health and chewing on bones. If you haven't followed it yet, read the comments from my A Fully Functional Tooth? post, they add lots of meat to the conversation (sorry). A few readers asked for more photos from Africa, so I thought I'd combine topics and send some more pictures of our time with the pack of African Wild Dogs. Relevant to dental health, here's a photo of the mouth of "Jones," the 4 year old breeding male who was darted and radio collared when we were there watching. What I think is interesting is how good some teeth look (keeping in Read More

The Wolf in the Parlor

True confession: I haven't finished the book The Wolf in the Parlor. I might not, at least not in the near future. Here's why: As I said in my last post, the author's thesis is that "people and dogs, around 12,000 years ago, linked their evolutionary paths together and evolved socially and physically to take on supportive roles. He argues, according to the reviews, that humans lost some of our brain power because dogs took over those functions, and dogs lost some of theirs because we became their protectors and nurturers." It seems downright churlish of me to stop reading before I read for myself the full extent of his argument, but what I've read in the first 60 pages has put me off a bit. I mentioned earlier that the thesis itself sounded a bit simplistic, but I love speculation and Read More

Books, Books, Books

Well, I had wanted to write about a book one of you asked about: The Wolf in the Parlor, but life seems to have its own schedule and I have only just started it. It is one of the gazillion books I am sent by publishers to review and I have to admit I have a hard time keeping up. (But I'd miss them if they didn't come! It's one of those high quality problems.) The book is by Pulitzer prize winning science writer Jon Franklin and has received rave reviews from the kind of places that authors dream of (Publisher's Weekly, Booklist etc.) As I said, I've just started it, but I can tell you that the book's main thesis is that people and dogs, around 12,000 years ago, linked their evolutionary paths together and evolved socially and physically to take on supportive roles. He argues, according to Read More