Wednesday, February 29, 2012

An interesting book- Harrison Forbes" Dog Talk: Lessons Learned from a Life with Dogs"

I really enjoyed Harrison Forbes book "Dog Talk: Lessons Learned from a Life with Dogs"
http:// I appreciate the way the book tied together his early experiences with dogs, carrying the theme of love and loss and the temporary nature of some of his relationships with dogs throughout the book. I was touched by his candor in describing the many challenges he encountered training dogs for personal protection.This is an exciting read, the chapters revealing the tremendous risk and reward involved, working with this subset of dogs. It was inspiring to see the combination of personal strength, intuition, sensitivity, and skill Harrison displayed in the various scenarios with the dogs he worked with.

I Loved the editing job of Beth Adelman in this book. She would be my dream editor for my manuscript, if I could only figure out how to make that happen. I want to publish my book somehow, but with my lousy grammar skills, and subjective viewpoint of my work, I really need the team effort of a great editor. I feel Beth Adelman, being a person who cares about animals herself, understands the subtle, interconnected nature of dog and human interactions.She has the ability to weave the human and dog stories into an interesting, compelling, whole, and would be a great fit for what I've tried to do with my manuscript. So nice to see such a beautiful team effort. Great job on Harrison Forbes "Dog Talk Lessons Learned from a Life with Dogs"

Just in case Beth reads this post, here are some links to stories in my manuscript/ book that I posted, and some blog post high points

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Dog Walker's View of the Economy

Well, for the last couple of months I have been going to the shelter, but most of the dogs are not good or reliable walking with other dogs, this can sometimes be due to recent spaying or neutering, so I've just have been playing with them in their indoor kennels for a brief time. Unfortunately photos taken in indoor kennels aren't the greatest. This is Waylon , in the above photos, a Walker Hound, or as I have been trying to walk him but due to the weather , he has been cooped up a lot, I have deemed him more of a Runner Hound than Walker hound! He's a sweet boy who comes when called and often sits when he comes. I tried to walk him with my Aussie Shepherd, Cash, but there was a bit too much grumbling between them, he was just too cute to pass by, so I now walk him and then walk my dog later. At least I'm getting a lot of exercise. I'm always so amazed at how many pure bred or close to pure bred dogs come through our shelter. Over the last 4 months I have seen a young pure bred ;Australian Cattle dog, Shi Tzu, Walker Hound, Labrador Retriever, Yorkie, Dachsund, as well as others. As far as I'm concerned the mixed breeds usually tend to be among my top favorites, but I just wanted people to know that animal shelters are full of all kinds of good dogs and a lot of purebred ones as well.

Observations on the Economy
Over the years I have walked many shelter dogs, all over the college town where the shelter is located, and in and around my small rural town 15 miles away when I have foster dogs. I've seen business come and go, houses sit for sale for a long time, a few foreclosures but not devastating numbers of them. Lately there are more humble business on main street; thrift stores, antique shops and medium priced restaurants, verses high priced boutiques, and there seems to be a bunch of new restaurants opening up. In this area with 2 Universities within 8miles of each other, we never had a ridiculous boom and there is hardship, but not a terrible bust either, as in some ares of the country. From my dog walkers perspective, the economy seems to be picking up. The last two years brought store closings, and the lumber mill in my small rural town went from no logs on deck and down to one shift of workers, to a full yard of logs and full or close to full shifts of workers presently. So from the street level at least, the economy seems to be improving, not booming, but reviving, with stores that cater to more basic necessities. I also noticed this phenomenon when I was back in New Jersey last summer. The stores on the Main shopping district had changed from high end boutiques and fancy restaurants to thrift stores,and more modestly priced shops that used to be on the side streets, had moved to Main street. There were empty storefronts on Main st in New Jersey as well, which I haven't seen in years past, and quite noticeably, a lot more homes for sale then I'd ever seen before in the town I grew up in . Restaurants where still being patronized but there were fewer upscale restaurants and more pizza places and medium priced luncheonette type restaurants.

I had one sad incident on the bike path in my small town in Idaho a year and a half ago, where a little girl asked to pet my dog, and I got talking to her. She said she had a dog but it had broken it's leg. I asked " did you take it to the veterinarian?" as I was just trying to make conversation. She blurted out in an incredulous matter of fact way" oh no, we can't afford that" my heart sank, and then she proceeded to tell me some story involving bartering and finagling to get some kind of secondary homemade treatment for the dog.

I have heard heart breaking stories of families that have lost jobs, and homes and as a result have had to rehome their pets as well. It's been so hard to watch families that had a dream of mother, father, kids, a home, a dog and a white picket fence as has been the American dream, and see parents squabbling and breaking up over economic stresses, homes lost and with them dreams, hope, and family cohesion lost as well. Children who once experienced stability,now setting patterns of fear and mistrust and anxiety at an early age, and the poor dogs, once so ensconced in the warmth and routine of their families, uprooted and having to fend for themselves and learn to trust again in a new situation. Of all the family members, I think maybe it is the dogs who, if given a new home where their needs are met , adapt faster than their human counterparts. They don't seem to carry as much post traumatic stress, but even dogs understand when spouses start yelling and someone packs a suitcase , as I was told recently by a man, that his dog got very nervous when this happened, as the dog had seen this before and knew something scary was about to take place, as when the last time the dog was separated from his family. So I have seen in our country a change back full circle, from a once humble retail landscape to an exuberant, upscale revival, then empty store fronts, before returning to the previous more humble retail landscape, all the while getting exercise with my economic and sociological education, and helping to walk the shelter dogs.