Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Thanks for Spreading the Word!

10,669 visitors to the blog today. That's an abnormally high number. 3,000 to 4,000 is normal. Not sure why.

As Long As I Am President

A Brief History of Dog Collars

Dog collars showed up with the first dog.  In fact, the essential difference between a wolf and a dog may not be any genetic distinction, but simply a collar.  Take a new-born wolf pup and remove him from his litter and put on a collar, and you have a dog who is owned, and which the owner-handler has at least some control over.

Ancient Egyptian dogs collars appear to have been fabric or very thin leather, and were tied on in a ribbon-like fashion.  The metal buckle had not yet been invented.

By the time the Greek and Roman states showed up, metal work and mechanics had improved, and the buckle and hook-fastened flat collar has appeared, as well as the slip-chain collar, and the spiked dog collar for combat and wolf protection.

Leather, cloth and rope were the most common materials for early dogs collars but, because these materials wear out, rot, and disintegrate, most of the very old dog collars that are still extent are metal.

Dog collars of old were used as they are today:  to keep dogs tied up outside of buildings, to make sure dogs followed when traveling or hunting, as an aid to training, and to to aid in the return of a lost dog. 

In addition during the era prior to rabies, dog collars were an important sign that a dog was owned.  The fancier the collar, the greater the likely penalty if a dog was killed during a routine roundup of stray and feral dogs. 

As the status of dogs rose and they became consumer items, more and more dog collars were fitted with small locks. Possession of the key signaled ownership, and also helped reduce the chance of opportunistic dog theft.

By the Victorian era, as "ancient" breeds were created overnight by get-rich-quick dog dealers, an ancillary business rose up; that of making and selling fancy dog collars. 

These fancy dog collars might be worked leather with brass studs and a brass name plate, or they might be crafted from pure silver with jewels and even gold inlays.  Whatever you wanted could be bought from itinerant dog collar vendors, such as the man pictured at right.

The very best dog collars ever created are those we commonly find in pet stores today -- adjustable nylon collars with solid snap tags. 

These collars are easily adjusted, do not wear out, are very low-cost and, when combined with a slide tag, will get your dog returned to you quickly.

* * * *

A final note:  Never let your dog outside without a collar and tag on.  Never, ever, ever.  Not for a second. Not if your yard is fenced.  Never. 

More dogs are lost and killed because their idiot owners failed to follow this rule than for any other reason.  There is no excuse for a dog not having a collar on 100% of the time unless it is inside and in a crate.  If your dog is outside and in a crate (such as at a dog show or field trial) it needs to have a collar and tag on.  If it is being shipped in a crate, it needs a dog collar with tag on.  If you are just walking your dog to the mailbox at the end of driveway, your dog needs to have a collar and tag on.  Always.  No excuses.  Your dog should not die because you are a lazy idiot.

At one time, this was the most famous terrier in the world!

The Dog Whipper

A dog whipper was a church official responsible for removing hungry and barking dogs from churches and church grounds. This post was fairly common in England and continental Europe between the 16th and into the very early 19th centuries.

The Dog Whipper was armed with a three-foot-long whip and a pair of "dog tongs" (i.e. badger tongs) with which to remove dogs that barked or which would crowd or even attack priests handing out communion bread and wafers on church steps.

Sometimes Dog Whippers also served as dog catchers for the community, with stray dogs commonly drowned.

All of this was back before rabies vaccines had brought that dreaded disease under control, and before fencing was common.

Dog licenses? Invisible fence? There were no such things. Instead, there were ropes, chains, collars, cages, and whips -- the latter being the "remote trainer" of choice for a 1,000 years, and still in use today with the mounted hound packs.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Goodbye Chandler Robbins

The great Chandler Robbins died March 20th. He was 98. No one did more for bird conservation and sound science than Chandler Robbins

Chandler Robbins joined the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1945 as a junior biologist at what is now the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Maryland.

Early in his career, he co-authored journal publications on the effects of DDT on breeding bird populations; work later drawn on by Rachel Carson in her book Silent Spring.  Later, he co-authored one of the first field guides to birds, the Golden Guide, which sold more than 6 million copies.

Chandler Robbins was one of the very first biologists to document the effect of forest fragmentation on eastern woodland birds . Chandler was also the first person to band the Laysan Albatross named "Wisdom" on Midway Island in 1956. As of 2016, Wisdom is at least 65 years old and still producing young!

Strip it all away, however, and Chandler Robbin will forever be known as the father of the North American Breeding Bird Survey whose data set is is one of the most important in North American science, biology, and conservation.

Fly on Chandler Robbins.  You made the world a better place.

Hope is the thing with feathers 

That perches in the soul, 
And sings the tune without the words, 
And never stops at all. 

DC Gaynines

Seems a Bit Early

They're stocking flowers at the garden center.

Look Who Came to D.C.!

Falconer. writer, and public relations guru Matthew Mullenix and I finally met when he came to town to see his brother and folks. Next time, he comes digging!  And yes, that's a coffee shop.

Three Dog Day

Miso, Moxie and Lucy wait for permission to play along the river.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Coffee and Provocation

Not Creepy at All
There are hundreds of millions of insects living on your body and in your home.

The Real Meat Eaters in Your House and Yard
A new study has revealed that spiders eat 400 to 800 million tons of live prey a year. That's double the total weight of meat that humans consume each year.

The Pantone Color System Was Developed for Birds
An effort to describe the diversity of birds led to one of the first modern color systems.

Illiterate? Write for Free Help!
The Detroit Regional Workforce Fund reports that 47% of people in Detroit are illiterate. In nearby suburbs, up to one-third are functionally illiterate.

A Brief History of Domesticated Rabbits
It all started when the Pope (who is infallible) said they were fish.

Good to the Last Drop
An Otis elevator in New York City is celebrating its 160th year of service. Installed in the five-story E.V. Haughwout Building in SoHo, at the corner of Broome Street and Broadway, it has been operating since the 23rd of March, 1857.

China to Build Massive Park to Protect Big Cats
China is planning to build a sprawling national park, 60 percent bigger than Yellowstone National Park, in order to give sanctuary to the highly-endangered Siberian tiger and Amur leopard.  We'll believe it when we see it, however.  Saving wildlife is not done with a press release!

Will This One Simple and Cheap Trick Restore Shad?
And can it be used for other fish trapped behind dams?  Maybe!

Is the U.S. at Peak Turkey?
We've never had more wild Turkey than we do today.
But the numbers keep growing. Across the U.S., the wild Turkey population is increasing by an average of 9 percent each year, according to the Breeding Bird Survey. That's a doubling time of less than 8 years!

The Sociopathic Monster That Is PETA

The deeply twisted sociopathic and narcissistic direct mail mill known as PETA is being taken to court in the case of Maya, the Virginia dog that was stolen from the porch of its owner so that PETA kill squads could make their goal of killing as many dogs and cats as possible.

An affidavit and supporting evidence filed on behalf of a former PETA employee contains the following explanations and quotes (from Nathan Winograd's blog):

  • PETA hired people whose “primary responsibilities included gaining possession of as many cats and dogs as possible, almost all of which were euthanized.”
  • “The main purpose of the Community Animal Project was to persuade people to surrender their animals, so that PETA could then euthanize the animals.”
  • On getting hired by PETA, “a type of indoctrination took place” about the need to kill and “that the best thing to do was to kill them ‘humanely.’”
  • “I was ordered to do whatever I had to do to get custody of the animals and I was instructed to do and say anything I could to induce people to give me possession of their dogs and cats.” “This included our telling people that PETA would find a good home for their dog and cat when we knew that PETA had no intention of trying to find the animals homes but would instead euthanize them almost immediately.”
  • “If someone had feral cats on their property, we were told to tell them that we would take them to a feral colony, but 100% of the feral cats were euthanized using a method that was very frowned upon by other shelters… because it could cause suffering, but it was the one Ingrid [Newkirk] insisted upon using.”
  • “If we saw animals loose, even on someone’s property, we were to take them whenever we could. PETA would not hold them for five days [as the law required]. We would not obtain signed releases if an animal was stolen, but would euthanize the animals immediately.”
  • “We would routinely euthanize healthy puppies and kittens and other highly adoptable animals.”

Back in 2009, I called PETA's sheltering operation a slaughter house and noted that it was operating illegally as a shelter in the state of Virginia. In recent years, others have taken up the point and are pushing for the PETA facility to be closed.

Current Mood

Burn it down! TrumpNoCare is dead.

What Russians Do

Own Your Own Story and Identity

Friday, March 24, 2017

Fish on Friday

This 55 pound, 1 ounce world record pike Northern Pike was caught by Lothar Louis in 1986 in Lake Grefeern, Germany.