While we’re on the subject of books (and ooooh, I love the suggestions from so many of you about books you have loved. Oh boy, can’t wait to check them out. . .), have you seen Sophia Yin’s Low Stress Handling, Restraint & Beh Modification of Dogs and Cats? This is not a cheap book, as a matter of fact, it’s problematically expensive ($117 on Amazon), but it’s a great book to encourage your library or shelter or vet clinic to get. It has the best, clearest photographs I’ve ever seen of how to, and how not to do just about everything you need to do around a cat or dog: enter a kennel, pick up a cat, restrain a dog, etc. If you are feeling flush, it’d be a great donation to your local humane society. Would that all shelter volunteers had a chance to look at it.
Pages 46 and 47 have the best illustrations of I’ve seen of what greeting an unfamiliar person would look like to a shy dog. Best is the photo that shows that up close, a dog might only see the bottom portions of your legs and not be frightened UNTIL you lean forward and your huge and scary face descends upon them like doom. (The person in the book’s illustrations has on a scary Halloween mask. What a perfect way to get the point across!)
You don’t need to be a vet tech or shelter worker to profit from looking at this book though (although every one in a clinic or shelter should have access to this book). I page through it sometimes when I’m eating my lunch, always comparing the “Correct” versus “Incorrect” photographs within the book. There are hundreds of color photos in the book and they are remarkably clear and easy to follow. There’s also a great section on behavior modification, with photos illustrating, for example, the difference between de-sensitizing and sensitizing (a woman looks at a spider in a glass cage with cautious interest, versus a woman being restrained while someone thrusts a spider in her face). The use of putting people in the positions into which we put dogs is brilliantly done. Here here Sophia!
I’d be curious how many of you have seen it. I’m thinking of calling my local shelter and asking if they have a copy. Maybe you could do the same, and if they don’t, helping to find a way to get it for them. Many won’t be able to buy it themselves, but hey, we’re creative, right? Maybe do some fund raising among your dog lover friends? Get your vet clinic to buy two, one for them and one for the shelter? Any other ideas?
MEANWHILE, back on the farm: Hope showed no visible reactions to his last vaccination, good news for us. I’ll never know if it’s the chinese meds, the cooked greens or that he just wasn’t going to react anyway. It could also have been because I separated out the Lepto vaccine, which is famous for physical reactions (allergic–swelling, breathing problems, rashes) but not necessarily for behavioral ones. But we seemed to have dodged that bullet anyway. He still needs another Lepto (a big problem in this area, or I’d skip it), his Rabies vaccine and neutering. I’ll be so glad when all that is over.
However, adolescence appears to be starting early. Mr. What’s in It For Me? just showed up, and is now learning that ignoring recalls means that Willie gets all the treats cuz he arrived on time and Mr. Teenager did not. (4 months seems a tad early for all this, but then, they just don’t read the books, do they?) Most of the time he just makes me laugh, although last night I used my sweetest voice to call him some names that shall not be repeated here. This too shall pass; I can’t imagine what this feels like if you’re not expecting it! He is doing beautifully on so many things though; he loves walking in town now and can’t throw out downs, sits or “get backs” fast enough when I ask for something. And Willie and Hope play so well together, with Will always seeming thrilled to see Hope if we’ve been gone anywhere. I remind myself of that when he begins to push my buttons.
The high pressure beautiful weather has held, resulting in puffy cloud skies and cool evenings. Gorgeous. High summer is coming back though, hot, humid and rainy weather is right around the corner. We’ll be on vacation next week, an honest to goodness-not-taking-the-laptop-not-checking-email vacation. We had planned one earlier, but spent it taking care of Jim’s surgery and my smashed knee. We’ll try to keep our body parts intact this time. We’re supposed to be hiking on the Mississippi River bluffs; Instead I’ll be strolling for a bit and then waving goodbye to the rest of the group as they hike up the hills, and going back to the room to read novels and do my leg exercises. Sounds darn good to me, no complaints. I’m going to take some more pictures this weekend to post next week, hope you enjoy them.
Speaking of pictures, I took this yesterday afternoon on the way to the farm from the office. Gotta love those Kleenex clouds and that corn well over “knee high by the fourth of July!”