Saturday, June 6, 2009

Update on Ant Bait

Here's more of what I've learned about the ant bait. The manufacturers make the bait smell like peanut butter, which makes it attractive to dogs. The main ingredient is Indoxacarb 0.05%.  After Roma was sick twice this afternoon, I tried to call Animal Poison Control, which is run by the ASPCA, but they ask for a donation of $60.00. I am still convinced that Roma did not eat enough to do more than make her queasy, so I am waiting and watching tonight. Again, she seems her normal self; in fact, she's a bit put out that I have not fed her yet this evening. I did not want to feed her until I was sure she would not be sick again. Gross. I'm sorry. But please watch out for these ant baits at the Park. They have caused me so much needless worry.

Poison Patrol

And Roma's on it. With her keen sense of smell, she sussed out two ant bait contraptions around the buildings last night. Just so you know, they are flat, round, green disks with a spike on the bottom to hold them in the ground. Around the edge of the disk are half a dozen square openings for the ants to enter. The bait is a sticky goo in the center of the disk. It looks like the caramel filling of a Russell Stover candy. It must have some sweetness, or Roma would not be interested. She chewed up the two disks she found last night. One was already empty, as far as I could  tell,  but she did puncture the center where the bait was in the second one. 

I managed to decipher a toll-free number on one of the mutilated bait containers, but of course the office was closed on a Friday evening. I will call the company on Monday. My friend Sarah (Tony) called her vet, who gave her the Animal Poison Control number. Here it is: 888-426-4435. I did not call it, in the end, because Roma seemed fine (still does), and the bait containers were so mutilated that I could not read the ingredients anyway. Still, I now keep that number in my wallet. 

Erica (Coco and Joey) also reminded me that if you suspect your dog of eating something poisonous (in Joey's case, it was chocolate; Roma has eaten rat poison found in a neighbor's yard), that you can force him or her to swallow hydrogen peroxide. Administer it with a sports drink bottle or a large syringe (which I had from other doggie meds). The peroxide foams up in the dog's stomach and forces everything up and out. The hydrogen peroxide must be fresh, however. 

Not a pleasant topic, I'm afraid, but I thought people should know. Have a good Saturday!

Friday, June 5, 2009

A Moral Dilemma

Some of you may have received an e-mail through the listserv yesterday about a guy who lost a beagle-shepherd mix. Here's more about that story. 

Last night, some of us gals were lingering after dark with our dogs, when a white pickup truck came screaming into the parking lot and pulled into a space. A tall, bearded guy in a white shirt and shorts bounded out of the vehicle and into the Park. Our dogs tore after him in full defense mode. The guy's reaction was to wave his arms in the air and hop around. After we got everyone calmed down and rounded up and apologized for the fuss, the guy told us that he was there looking for his dog, the beagle mix that got out of his yard.  We told him that we had not seen that dog, but we had saved the e-mail with his contact information. He thanked us and then decided to walk the Park in the dark anyway. 

So here are the unsettling things: 
1) The guy still has not told anyone his name or the dog's name.
2) The guy came to look for his dog in the dark, without a flashlight, and while holding a half-eaten sandwich.
3) Our dogs definitely did not like the guy. Despite his sandwich and the fact that they had been reprimanded for chasing him, they went after him again when he returned to his truck a few minutes later. 
4) I have witnessed that guy physically abuse his dog at the Dog Park. 
I've only seen him once before—in daylight a couple  of weeks ago, but I already had a name for him: Jesus Guy. He has long dark hair and a beard. When I first saw him, he was carrying a long, wooden staff. I was standing by the water bucket, and the dog, which looks like Keith's Charlie with shorter legs, stopped at the low, blue bowl for a drink. It was a hot day. But Jesus Guy didn't want the dog to drink, and after the dog continued to drink despite his commands to stop, the guy bent over and, with one hand, picked the dog up by the scruff of the neck and tossed him away from the water. I said, "It's okay. Anyone can drink from that bowl." But Jesus ignored me. Then, as they walked away, any time the dog stopped to sniff or pee, Jesus Guy poked him with the end of his staff. 

So: Moral dilemma. If I found the dog today, would I return him to Jesus Guy? Would you? Is a dog better off in a shelter or roaming the streets than in an abusive home? It's a tough call. After hearing my story last night, one gal speculated that perhaps the beagle had been "helped" to escape.

There used to be a guy who lived in a house bordering the Park—the one with the pool, a couple houses west of Crazy Guy. He kept a Wiemaraner chained to a dog house in that yard. The dog got no exercise nor any attention that we could see. Every day, people would go up to the fence to sneak him treats and say soft things to him. He would occasionally escape into the Park, and well-meaning Parkers would return him to an ungrateful owner. This went on for months. Then one day, a friend of mine reached through the fence, unhooked his chain, opened the gate, and took him away. He's had a pretty good life since as the friend's ex-boyfriend's dog. Were my friend's actions wrong? Did Parkers do wrong to condone them? Legally, she stole the dog, another person's property. Some folks even gave her money to help cover vet expenses. Did they aid and abet a crime? 

The dog is better off; end of story. Problem: It's so easy for Jesus Guy and the Weimaraner owner to find another dog to neglect or abuse.  

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Where's Roma?

As Homer Simpson once said, "Ohhhuhhohh! It would be so much easier to find Waldo if there weren't all those other stupid people in the picture!" 

Because Roma tends to go her own way at Dog Park, and elsewhere, fellow Parkers often ask me "Where's Roma?" I shrug, fling a sweeping arm, and point. "Yonder." How should I know? She's a stealth dog, quiet and slowly deliberate in her movements. Plus, with her Husky colorings, she blends in with the background, no matter the season or the surroundings. 

See what I  mean? 

I rarely worry. That dog isn't going anywhere without me—until she grows a thumb and finds the spare car keys. Then she is so out of here. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Good Night, Moon

Back in the day, long before I had Roma and Muzzy, I was a twenty-something with a cat and a boyfriend. One year, the boyfriend and I left the cat with a sitter and drove west to California by way of the Grand Canyon. We planned to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at the national park. By the time we arrived, it was already dark. When I was a child, my family had no interest in road trips. A 45-minute drive to the Jersey shore was like a transatlantic flight in a weather balloon during hurricane season. To have actually made it to an all-American family road-trip destination was a triumphant moment of normalcy, and I could not contain my giddy joy. I ran up to a barrier and peered into the darkness. "Is it really down there?" In a demonstration of rare concern for my physical safety, the boyfriend held me back by the hood of my jacket. I would have to wait until morning to see that big hole in the ground.

We set our alarm clocks for an ungodly early hour and then trudged in the freezing darkness to the edge of the Canyon. The sun's slow rising was like the unveiling of the most exquisite and enormous jewel. I took pictures. Then the sun would move another iota, completely altering the colors and shadings of the landscape. I took more pictures—with one of those newfangled disposable panoramic cameras. In the end, I must have taken 100 shots. When I got the photos back from the drug store after our trip, I was dismayed because, of course, you can't capture the natural, majestic beauty of the Grand Canyon on a crap camera, and yet I had tried. 

Fast forward. I still try to capture nature's fleeting glories on film, only now it's digital. Here then, a series I call "Dog Park sky at night, with waxing moon and storm clouds in the east: June 2, 2009." 

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Found Objects

Objects found on the ground at Dog Park recently.

To be fair, last fall I found a twenty dollar bill at the Dog Park. The recent decline in value of the stuff I pick up may be a karmic balancing out of that particular windfall. 

Monday, June 1, 2009

Don't Fence Me In

Technically it's not even summer, but things are starting to unravel at Dog Park. Crazy Guy has already made an appearance. Now I learn that an otherwise mild-mannered Dog Park favorite is biting other dogs. Also, last week a woman had to call the police because a DP regular was verbally harassing her about her leashed pit bull. Leashed. What is going on?

Yes, it's hot. And it's dry. Allergies are bad And the economy sucks. Decent tennis balls are scarce. (Yesterday we found a ball that even Muzzy would not pick up. What's up with that? It must have rolled in something even too gross for a dog. I can't even imagine.) And more and more people are coming out to Dog Park, so there is less real estate for everybody. People and animals feel fenced in. Still, there must to be a better way than lashing out. 

Yet, at the same time, I have noticed that Dog Parkers are more sociable than ever. I used to go to Dog Park and walk around and maybe run into someone and have an occasional conversation. Now there are many interesting people to talk to—and about. Instead of walking individually or in pairs, we walk in big clumps, like school children on field trips, stumbling through a nature center or an interactive museum. Yack, yack, yack. There's so much to say. And while I think it's great that there are so many smart, funny, friendly people at the Park, I often find all the socializing a little overwhelming. I can't think my thoughts when I am trying to follow the thread of a conversation about wine or grocery stores or American Idol while also keeping an eye on my girls. And maybe that's the dogs' problem, too. Maybe the biter is just trying to say, "Do you mind? I'm thinking here." 

So I will do my best to give everyone a wide berth in our crowded harbor. No offense. No, uh, fence. 

Sunday, May 31, 2009

"Best Things dwell out of Sight"

Best Things dwell out of Sight              
 The Pearl — the Just — Our Thought.   

Most Shun the Public Air                     
Legitimate, and Rare —                        

The Capsule of the Wind                      
The Capsule of the Mind                       

  Exhibit here, as doth a Burr —             
Germ's Germ be where?                      

     —Emily Dickinson   

Source: Poem 1004 from The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson. Edited by Thomas H. Johnson Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1960.