Dog Days of Scugog Festival

Our friend Ruth Ann of “And Puppy Dog Tails” Dog grooming in Bowmanville sent on this report on Port Perry’s annual “Dog Days of Scugog” Festival –

The fifth annual Dog Days of Scugog was held on July 19 & 20th. at the Scugog Shores Museum in Port Perry, Ontario. Dog Days is a two day event for families and their canines. Numerous vendors, rescues and competitions were available for you and your dog!

Rally, Dock diving, Agility, and Disc dog demos ran alongside the Jack Russell racing, lots of action, canine style! Competitions were held for the  longest tail, longest ears, longest hair, best trick and owner lookalike contest. Local groomers were invited to participate in Stump the Groomer, where they had to  correctly identify six breeds of dogs, while wearing a blindfold! For a five dollar donation, you could have your very own Pawcasso of your dogs foot prints. I was very disappointed I had no time to participate!

Amelia Bedelia, 2 year old French bulldog was in the parade of breeds and the fashion show along with her  housemate Angell, a 6 year old Brussels Griffon.  Their owner Ruth Ann Miller was the coordinator and the M.C. for the festivities. There were so many prizes donated for the winners of the competitions, almost everyone received a prize.

Each year the venue is becoming larger and more interesting, stop by next year!!

Here is the web site:

Thanks Ruth Ann! Sounds like everyone had a great time, and I think it’s well worth the drive to attend. Delilah, who decided yesterday that it’d be fun to jump onto my stomach as I was floating on the air mattress in our pool, mentioned she’d like to try Dock Diving. I think she’ll be sticking to the Fashion show competition.

By the way, if you’re near Bowmanville and have a dog in need of grooming, be sure to stop in and visit And Puppy Dog Tails. Here’s their contact info:

And Puppy Dog Tails
12 Silver Street
Bowmanville, ON L1C 3C3, Canada
(905) 623-8000
Get directions

Here are some photos from the Dog Days of Scugog.

Treating Interdigital Cysts at Home

Image of a common interdigital cyst between the toes of a Bulldog. Image courtesy Bizkai Bulldogs


This has not been our week(s) when it comes to healthy Frenchies. First Journey ruptures an anal gland, then mystery chunks start falling out of Penelope, and now Elliott has an interdigital cyst.

For those who aren’t familiar with this particular bane of the French Bulldog and Bulldog owner, an interdigital cyst (their proper name is ‘Interdigital furuncle’) is an inflammation of the skin between the toes. The Merck Veterinary manual says –

The most common cause is a deep bacterial infection. Many dog breeds (eg, Shar-Pei, Labrador Retriever, English Bulldog) are predisposed to bacterial interdigital furunculosis because of the short bristly hairs located on the webbing between the toes, prominent interdigital webbing, or both. The short shafts of hairs are easily forced backward into the hair follicles during locomotion (traumatic implantation). Hair, ie, keratin, is very inflammatory in the skin, and secondary bacterial infections are common.

Read more

The Spay Neuter Quandary

Spaying and neutering has recently become a hot topic throughout the dog world once again. The last time I remember this much interest in alteration is when news began to circulate about the success of early (meaning pre 10 weeks of age) spay and neuters. This time, the discussion is whether spaying and neutering should be done at all.

On one of my natural rearing lists, there’s discussion about whether or not it’s ‘holistic’ to alter your puppies. Putting aside the faulty logic in trying to equate reproductive function with holistic medicine, we’re left with the dilemma in question – is it ethical for a breeder to insist that owners spay or neuter their puppies, knowing what we do about the health implications that can result from it?

I’m on the fence when it comes to this topic, which is fraught with a lot of rhetoric and littered with confusing and often contradictory statistics. I do agree that dogs of either sex seem to develop into smarter and more alert adults when either left intact or altered later in life, and it’s almost undeniable that late altered or intact dogs develop signifigantly different phsyiques than their altered young counterparts. In French Bulldogs, puppies altered young retain a more puppyish demeanor, with lighter bone, higher legs, and less ‘blocky’ heads.

There are worrisome statistics which suggest that neutered dogs are more at risk for prostatic cancers, spayed bitches more at risk for spleen tumors, and both altered sexes at greater risk of osteosarcoma. These can balanced with countering statistics showing both sexes to have a reduced risk of mammary tumors when they are altered (and yes, boys get them as well).Obviously testicular and ovarian cancer are no longer a risk when the parts in question have been removed – but then we read that these cancers aren’t common in dogs anyways.

Reading the literature becomes a balancing act – testicular cancer versus prostate cancer, mammary tumors versus osteosarcoma? Read and re read, and still we come to the conclusion that there’s just no easy answer – no blatant scale tipping in one direction or the other, at least when weighing the pure science of the issue. Even the veterinarians and researchers can’t seem to agree on which is more beneficial to over all health.

All of us, however, can agree on at least one fact – that altered animals are unable to reproduce. As a breeder, my reasoning is as simple as this: knowing that my pets are altered gives me one less thing to worry about, on a long list of worrisome things – I know they aren’t out there someplace, pumping out puppies.

There’s an argument to be made there, of course – that we shouldn’t place pets into homes where we can’t trust the owners. The rationale is that if you can’t trust the new owners to care for an intact pet, you shouldn’t be able to trust them at all.

That’s a fallacy, in my opinion. We’re long past the time when the average person knows anything about animal husbandry, much less the myriad ways that two amorous pets can find to mate. Securely fenced yard? Nice try, but intact pets can jump a surprising distance when inspired to do so, and matings have taken place through chain link (just ask the Golden owner who found her bitch tied with a stray dog – with the chain link in between them). Dogs dash out doors, jump over fences, and in general can be more inventive than you’d believe possible when pursuing their biological imperative. The other consideration here is that things change. Today’s ideal and loving home is tomorrow’s home broken by bitter divorce.

Almost ten years ago, Barb placed a lovely little bitch into a very nice pet home. Great couple, cute kids, solid references, and they lived close by, which is always a plus. They sent updates for a few years, which petered off over time. Nothing new there – that’s the typical pattern with new families. The bitch was placed with a contract requiring her to be spayed, but no AKC limited registration. It wasn’t commonly done at the time, and besides which the new owners seemed so nice.

Flash forward a few years later, and we get an inquiry from someone in Northern Europe doing pedigree research on her new puppy. Who’s this dog in her pedigree with our kennel name on it? I’ve only sold three dogs to Europe, and was stunned it wasn’t one of them. It was the little pet bitch I mentioned above, who had been sold, intact, to a breeder in Russia. How did this happen? The usual, route, apparently. Bad break up, angry parties, and a petty bit of revenge involving the family pet, and the next thing you know, she’s on a plane to Russia. Her story has a relatively happy ending – her Russian owner is respectable, showed her extensively, bred her lightly, and kept her forever. It could have been worse – she could have ended up in the midwest, locked in a backyard pen and bred over and over again until she was used up and put to death.

There was no way of knowing this family would self destruct in this manner, but we can be sure that this bitch would never have gone to Russia if she had been spayed.  Oh, she still might have been ditched, but experience has shown that owners are much more likely to offer dogs back to breeders if they can’t see any profit in selling them on themselves.

And so, we balance – peace of mind versus health of puppies. For example, I have a pretty iron tight clause in my contract insisting on alteration, but I also ask that my pups get a chance to develop naturally for as long as possible before being altered. In most cases, six months is minimum, or after their first heat for girls. In a few cases, when dealing with undersized puppies, I’ve suggested waiting until a full year has passed. I also have safegaurds in place for the times when I want to waive my alteration clause. Other breeders might consider that irresponsible – they don’t let any puppy leave their house unless it’s been altered. I just don’t think the health risks of putting a ten week old puppy through surgery can be justified, but I can see the appeal in doing it, from the breeder’s perspective.

I’ve lifted my insistance on spaying and neutering for obedience, agility and other sport dog owners, if I feel they have enough experience and dedication to follow through. I can’t deny that intact dogs just seem to make better competitors, and who doesn’t want to see their dogs become succesful? I’ve waived it when I thought altering wasn’t in the best health interest of the dog, like Nell’s brother Pete, who was undersized and temperamentally timid and immature, and in need of all the testosterone he could get. In each of these cases, I’ve put checks and balances into place that help to ensure that, intact or not, this dog won’t be bred (or if it does happen, it won’t be without penalties). Again, some breeder’s do not lift their restriction for any dog, at any time, for any reason – a position I can also sympathise with, even if I don’t share it. Yes, I’m gambling on my obedience homes, but sometimes you have to take a risk if it seems it might be for the greater good.

Weighing the pros and cons of what’s right for our dogs is never easy, no matter how much rhetoric gets tossed around (like the exchange where one anti altering breeder called another pro altering breeder “Dr. Mengele with a kennel licence”). There’s no simple answer to the question of ‘what is the best thing to do?’. In the end, we have to do what makes us, as dog breeders, feel that we’ve done what is in the best interest for our individual dogs, their new families, and our integrity as breeders as a whole.

Stupid people own cats, too

I was becoming convinced that stupid people just tend to naturally gravitate towards dogs, but it seems they own cats as well.


Kitten Left in Trunk of Car at Mall

An alert patron called police after hearing a kitten meowing from the trunk of a car in the Mayfair Mall parking lot, 2500 N. Mayfair Road, at 3:48 p.m. Saturday.

According to police:

The man said he was worried about the cat’s safety due to the hot and humid weather. He told police he was appalled that someone would neglectfully leave an animal locked in a vehicle.

About 45 minutes after the officer’s arrival, the vehicle’s owner and a man returned to the vehicle and confirmed that there was a new kitten in the trunk.

A litter box, food bowl and water dish also were in the trunk.

The 20-year-old owner of the kitten intended to leave it in the trunk until after 5 p.m., when her work day was completed, because she could not bring the kitten into the mall.

The 45-year-old man told police that he had bought the kitten for her earlier in the day and thought leaving it in the trunk was acceptable.

The man was irate and demanded the officer show him which law he broke.

The officer informed them the incident would be reviewed by the city attorney for possible animal neglect charges.

I love that part – “The man was irate“. I can just picture the ranting that took place:

“Why can’t I leave a tiny kitten in a car? Cats like warm places, right? And what’s warmer than a car trunk on a sweltering July day?”

God, that’s why I could never be a cop – I’d just be ‘accidentally’ tasering people like that all of the time.

“Hey, what’s wrong with leaving my seven dogs locked in my car? I left the windows ro… ”


“Officer, did you just taser the crap out of that woman mid sentence?”

“Yeah, so? People like being tasered, don’t they? And look, I left her a bottle of water.”

God, I wish summer would end soon, just so I can stop reading about dead dogs in cars.

Penelope is puzzling

I am inspired by the fact that my dogs set the bar ever higher when it comes to puzzling “What the hell is THAT all about?” type scenarios.

Penelope was bred 2.5 weeks ago. For the last few days, we’ve been seeing the occasional teeny tiny, pinkie nail sized clots just fall out of her vagina.

It happened to Sean first, and as he said himself “I think I’m taking it pretty well, all things considered”. Not every man can refrain from shrieking with horror when a piece of blood clot falls out of his dog’s vajayjay and lands on his shirt, so big thumbs up there, fella!

Literally, they just fall out – you’re holding her on your lap, and ploop! A tiny solid piece of whatthehellever falls on your lap. In between ploops, she’s got no discharge of any kind.

The clots are solidly formed, with no bad smell. She’s not sick. She has no fever. She’s not lethargic. Or off her food. Or drinking too much/too little. All of those are the signs of pyometria, which was my first worrisome concern. After a check over by the vet, we’re both pretty sure that pyo is what she doesn’t have – it’s what she does have that’s still puzzling us.

The vet, on being told about the little bits of stuff that were falling out of Nell, said “What the hell could THAT be?”. Gee doc, if I knew that, I wouldn’t be here! Just kidding, I love my vet. And hey, it’s sort of stimulating to be the case that causes her to say, with some excitement, “This, this is really quite fascinating, to be honest with you”.

Cell cytology revealed.. nothing. No pus, no infection, no plethora of white cells.

Google searched it – nothing.

The veterinarian did a  Vet Med search on it – nothing, other than a repro vet suggestion to ultrasound her uterus, to which I said “And what does THAT tell us?”, to which the vet said “Nothing”.

So… what the hell? Anyone ever seen this? If you have, what was it? And did your girl still conceive?

I’m going to go bang my head on the desk for a while now..