Thursday Thirteen – 13 Essential Things Every Dog Owner MUST Have

There are lots of things dog owners can disagree on, like “dog parks, yes or no?” and “Spay/neuter – before six months, or after?”, but they can’t disagree with my list.

Seriously. This list is it – the stuff you’ve got to have if you want to be a loving, modern day urban dog mommy or daddy.



Thursday Thirteen


Want to see a photo of my dog?
1. A pocket full of photos
It is essential that, when someone notices you are buying 75 pounds of organic gourmet dog food, and makes the mistake of asking ‘So, what kinda dog do you have?’, you are able to illustrate your answer with visual aids. Think Jewish Bubbe with pictures of the grandkids, only more fur (unless you own Chinese Cresteds, or the Jewish grandkids have Hypertrichosis). Photos of your dog with Santa earn bonus points.



Expensive dehydrated raw dog food
2. A specialized, obscure diet that no one else has heard of

As mentioned above, no one who really loves their dogs would dare to feed a commercial food, and especially not the dreck sold in supermarkets. These days, however, you can’t play one upsmanship with the cool kids at the dog park unless your pet is eating a diet so obscure that even the park bench experts give out an impressed ‘oooooh!’ on hearing about it. Raw feeding is fine, but raw feeding wild caught salmon hand processed by Native peoples is even better, and Aboriginal made Kangaroo protein based food is a pretty close second. Bonus points is you can insert the words ‘wild prey model diet’ into the discussion, and even more of them if you can answer the question “Is it expensive?” with “Well, if you have to ask…”



Canine Genius Dog toys
3. “Smart” toys

Just like today’s non fur children with their Baby Genius DVDs, today’s fur kids need toys that do more than just amuse them. Toss out those tennis balls, and get your dog a toy that will build their IQ. The Canine Genius line, for example, features toys that connect together to ‘form puzzles’. Today, chew toys – tomorrow, the New York Times Crossword. In ink.



Punk Rock Will Never Die T Shirt
4. Stylish clothing

Gone are the days when only teeny tiny pocket puppies wore clothes. Today’s fashionable dog of every size needs a wardrobe of clothes suited to every type of social situation. Jerseys for sporting events, coats for cold weather, rain slickers for damp days, bathing suits for… umm… lounging poolside, I suppose. For those of us who prefer downtown to uptown, choose from a selection of ‘edgy’ punk rock fashions for your dog, because nothing says ‘Anarchy Now’ like a Yorkie in a sweater.



Dog in a Monster Costume
5. Costumes

Do not mistake costumes for clothes, or visa versa. Costumes are for letting your dog show off their creative side, and can be broken out for almost any occasion. While not de riguer for Dobermans, one simply cannot own a Pug without a corresponding closet full of costumes. Pugs are to costumes what Beverly Hills children are to Petit Tresor – you can’t have one without the other.



Home made dog cookies
6. Home made cookies

Heaven forbid that your dog should have to eat tacky, stale, store bought ‘cookies’ from a box. What kind of negligent dog parent are you? Do you know what kind of additives and preservatives are in those? Responsible fur mommies and daddies cook for their dogs, preferably with organic ingredients and co op farmed vegetables. If you’re a slacker fur parent, you can buy fresh made cookies from Three Dog Bakery, but only if there’s one in your neighbourhood, and only if you can live with the guilt of shopping at the soul sucking, corporate Starbucks of the Pet Supply industry.



Canine Veterinary Accupuncture Chart
7. A specialist veterinarian – or six

Yes, I know that when you were growing up, your local vet was a crusty old geezer who only treated Shep when he was on his last legs. Times have changed, however, and your dog now needs to be treated by the veterinary equivalent of a primary care clinic. One specialist for surgery, another for acupuncture, an herbalist for separation anxiety, and a physio coach for recovering from those nasty pulled muscles your dog got hiking trails on the weekend.



Dog with therapist
8. A therapist

Like you, your dog leads a stressed out life. He’s still traumatized by your break up, he has issues related to his early weaning, and there’s the lingering suspicion that he was raised in a less than nurturing environment. Sure, you could drug him – there are a myriad of designer drugs that your vet can prescribe, but isn’t that just covering up the underlying issues? Shouldn’t your pet address them head on, instead of repressing them? Of course he should, so you need to get him a therapist, or risk having him resent you forever – and who wants a passive aggressive Yorkie with mommy issues?



Rat catching dogs
9. A psychic

Fine, this one really isn’t essential, but if therapy isn’t working, perhaps it’s time to dig a bit deeper into your dog’s traumatic past – way, way, deep, all the way into his past lives. Was your dog a pampered pet of royalty? A worshiped Egyptian God? A rat catching gutter cur? Find out, with your pet’s own past life reading. Also useful for chatting with Shep, thus allowing you to apologize for the truly poor quality store bought food your mom and dad fed him.



Feathered dog collar and bow tie dog collar
10. Fancy shmancy collars and leads

No self respecting dog parent is going to stick their pet into a nylon webbed Petsmart Monstrosity. After all, collars and leads are where we truly get to let our dog’s creative side fly. Frou frou bejewelled designs for the Pampered Poodle Princess, Spike and Bones gear for the tough guy Terrier with a hip side, or Diamond encrusted platinum necklaces for the dog who inherited Leona Helmsley’s fortune.



On the internet no one knows you’re a dog
11. A Blog

You know that deep inside your dog there’s a budding literary genius, just waiting to emerge. Why not let him express himself on a blog? After all, can the world really have too many dogs talking in faux baby speak about twips to the evil vet? Of course not. Plus, if you’re lucky, your dog will blog like Johann, instead of one of those baby speaking nitwits.



Honda Element with custom crate installation
12. A custom selected, dog friendly vehicle

No one made fun of your friends when they went searching for a car with their new baby in mind, so what’s wrong with picking out your new ride with your dogs in mind? If you’ve spent a Saturday on your hands and knees trying to steam clean out the mess your car sick Coton left after the drive to Grandma’s house, you can relate to the wisdom of buying a vehicle that’s free of carpet. But what about crate height? Places to store leads? Fear not, intrepid car shopper, for there’s website out there just for you – DogCars.Com. With reviews of vehicles written from a dog owner’s P.O.V., it’s your one stop place to find the perfect car for you and your Goldens.

Hint: Honda Element



Papier Mache French Bulldog growler
13. Breed tchotckes

You simply can’t own any one breed of dog for an extended period of time without giving in to the irresistible urge to start adorning your home with breed specific knick knacks. It starts out simply enough – one day, someone gives you a tasteful little statue of your breed. Soon enough, you’re peering around at flea markets, looking for unique little items you can toss casually on your shelves, the better to showcase your love for your breed. Oh, you set limits – no chalkware, nothing from post war Japan, and definately nothing made out of netting, but it never lasts, trust me. One day, you’re going to wake up and discover you’ve spent a week’s salary and change for a papier mache grotesquerie that scares children and makes your friends worry about your sanity. After that, it’s all downhill to chalkware and carnival prizes.



Thursday Thirteen – 13 Idiotic Quotes from Peta & Ingrid Newkirk

Oh, I know – it’s an easy target to choose, simply because almost everything that comes out of their mouths is completely moronic, but hey! Sometimes a girl just needs to vent a little bit, especially in light of Peta’s recent comparison of the AKC and the KKK.

1. The smallest form of life, even an ant or a clam, is equal to a human being.
-Ingrid Newkirk, PETA

2. We feel animals have the same rights as a retarded human child.
-Alex Pacheco (PETA)

3. Six million Jews died in concentration camps, but six billion broiler chickens will die this year in slaughter houses.
-Ingrid Newkirk (PETA)

4. Pet ownership is an “absolutely abysmal situation brought about by human manipulation.”
-Ingrid Newkirk, PETA

5. Arson, property destruction, burglary and theft are “acceptable crimes” when used for the animals’ cause.
-Alex Pacheco (PETA)

6. Even if animal tests produced a cure for AIDS, “We’d be against it.”
-Ingrid Newkirk, PETA

7. “Animal liberationists do not separate out the human animal, so there is no rational basis for saying that a human being has special rights. A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy. They’re all mammals.”
Ingrid Newkirk – Founder, PETA

8. “Humans have grown like cancer. We’re the biggest blight on the face of the planet.”
Ingrid Newkirk – Founder, PETA

9. “…Eventually companion animals would be phased out, and we would return to a more symbiotic relationship, enjoyment at a distance.”
Ingrid Newkirk – Founder, PETA

10. “We have a lazy, sick society. People bring diseases on themselves. [People should] avoid getting the disease in the first place.”
Dan Mathews – PETA spokesperson

11. “Homelessness drives me crazy! I take responsibility for everything that happens to me. Everyone can pull themselves up. I have more sympathy for animals because they don’t deserve anything that happens to them. They’re innocent.”
PETA member – “What Becomes a Zealot Most?”, GQ Magazine November 1993

12. “In a perfect world, all other than human animals would be free of human interference, dogs and cats would part of the ecological scheme.”
PETA’s Statement on Companion Animals

13. “Probably everything we do is a publicity stunt…We are not here to gather members, to please, to placate, to make friends. We’re here to hold
the radical line.”
Ingrid Newkirk – Founder, PETA

13 Postitive Media Stories on the Michael Vick Pit Bulls

John Garcia, a caregiver at the Best Friends sanctuary, tries to teach abused dogs to trust people.

I almost wonder if we’re in the middle of a revolution. Could the tide finally, finally be turning?

Could media stories about killer monster Pit Bulls be falling out of fashion?

Could the press finally be realizing that people love to read happy ending stories about cuddly Pit Bulls leading fulfilling lives?

Wouldn’t it be nice…. and wouldn’t it be nice if that tide was enough to wash away Ontario’s idiotic, press driven breed slaughtering specific legislation?

Hey, Mr. Media Journalist! Hey, you! Look at all the press frenzy a Pit Bull positive story can generate? Someone out there is getting a Pulitzer for this, trust us! Wouldn’t you like a Pulitzer, too? I bet you would. So, read these top Thirteen press positive stories on the Vick Pit Bulls, and go write your own!

Oh, and Peta? You and the HSUS?

Are you realizing yet what a bad, bad, badly chosen side of this argument you came down on? Are you feeling stupid yet, looking at all those pictures of happy, face licking Pit Bulls?

I bet you are. I just bet you are.

(note – most of these links are from those tireless fighters for justice over at Bad Rap. You guys rock. so. much.)

1. Cheryl Wittenauer’s wonderful AP article, on CNN

2. Dan Simon’s great article on CNN – in which he makes sure to mention that HSUS and PETA wanted the dogs murdered killed euthanized

3. NPR did several positive stories on the dogs – here, and here. These are snippets linked to the audio file of the broadcast.

4. Tim Racer of Bad Rap’s appearance on CNN (sensing a theme here? You go, CNN). Watch the video clip here.

5. Juliet Macur of the New York Times did a wonderful, full page story on the dogs Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is caring for. I dare you not to cry when you read about Georgia. I just dare you.

6. If Fox News – never before known as a bastion of unbiased news reporting – is doing positive stories on Pit Bulls, can the rest of the media be far behind? See Pibble Johnny Racer on Fox News here

7. TV Station KPIX did two nice News Clips with great quotes

8. A positive article on

9. A news clip detailing National Geographic show ‘Dogtown’s upcoming feature on the dogs

10. Anderson Cooper’s 360 did a wonderful report on the Best Friends dogs. There’s video footage here

11. A Positive news story by John Sasaki of KTVU

12. Great stories in the Mercury News – here, and here

And finally….

13. Full color, multi page coverage in People frickin’ Magazine!

People Article on Vick Pit Bulls

Watch the Bad Rap video on the People Magazine photo shoot…And happy Valentine’s Day to every single Pit Bull, and to their people!

Thursday Thirteen – Top 13 Dumbest Dog Lies I've Heard

A recent thread on a pet forum inspired this entry, which is pretty much self explanatory. Feel free to add your own in comments.

1. “My Frenchies don’t shed”

Really? I wish I could say the same. I have a feral herd of dust bunnies the size of my head living under my couch, and they are breeding.

2. “French Bulldogs are sweet little pets that never fight”

I have a three inch scar at the webbing of my thumb and forefinger that resulted from breaking up a fight between two girls, neither of whom weighed more than 20 pouinds. It took fifteen stitches to close, and I lost my fingernail.

The dogs, on the other hand, were just fine.

3. “I show my dogs for the betterment of the breed”

When ‘bettering the breed’ includes clipping your dog’s palate, shaving his face, dyeing his nails, and gluing his ears, I have to wonder just what it is that’s being bettered. I like to win as much as the next person — well, unless the next person is a professional handler — but I don’t pretend that a ‘Ch’ in front of my dog’s name is an automatic ticket to genetic soundness and breed worthiness.

Dog shows are to animal husbandry what the Miss America pageant is to IQ testing.

4. “Every dog in the ring has a chance of going on to win Best in Show”

Sure they do – and little Susie from East Podunk has as good a chance of winning Miss America as that slick, polished, professionally prepped contestant with 200 local titles under her belt. Miracles might happen in movies, but in the real world? Not so much.

5. “Membership in the National Club is the best sign of ethics in a dog breeder”

Until National breed clubs start instituting mandatory health testing, rigorously enforced codes of ethics, and vigorous policing of their members, breed clubs will remain social clubs that exist to hold specialty shows. It’s like saying that membership in the Elks Club makes you automatically a better parent.

6. “I don’t need to health test my dog, because I’ve never had a problem”

We call this the ‘ostrich’ approach to dog breeding – if I pretend to never see it, it can’t possibly exist.

7. “There’s no such thing as a back that’s too short in a French Bulldog”

Sure there isn’t – and while we’re at it, let’s counter sink their noses into their skulls and put their tails up on top of their backs. Every single examination of basic physiology text book tells us how wrong this — do we really want to encourage it just because it’s cute?

8. “I offer a written health warranty”

Yes, technically you do – so long as the buyer returns the dog to you if anything ever goes wrong. I like how you stuck in a line about how ‘returned dogs will be euthanized’. What a convenient ‘get out of jail free’ card — you know no one will ever return a dog to you under those circumstances.

Best of all, since you live on the west coast, and the buyers on the east coast, you know they couldn’t ship the puppy back to you even if they wanted to, because no vet would sign a health certificate saying their dog is healthy enough to fly.

After all, most people don’t have access to the kind of ‘lenient’ vets you use to get your health certificates done.

9. “I breed dogs because it lets me show my love for Jesus. God bless!”

How nice for you – but do you really think Jesus wants you to keep 400 dogs in rabbit hutches in your back yard? I mean, isn’t this the same Jesus who said “Whatsoever you have done to these the least of My brethren, you have done unto Me”? I’m pretty sure Jesus would have a few choice words to say about your approach to animal husbandry – but hey! I’m sure he’ll get to tell you himself, eventually.

Also, could you please get rid of the blinky text and Midi hymns from your website? Bad graphic design makes the baby Jesus cry.

10. “Our pet store gets all its puppies from caring breeders”

Sure it does — and that ‘free’ bulldog really is in Cameroon with a missionary, and yours for $300 in shipping fees.

It’s hard to feel sorry for anyone who stills believes claims this blatantly stupid, but since they’re out there, let’s clarify – breeders who care are crazy people.

If we could, we’d do CIA background checks on potential puppy buyers before we let you take our babies home. I know breeders who do credit checks on potential buyers. I personally call veterinarians and check references and have a ten page lawyer checked contract that makes buying a house look like a walk in the park compared to getting a puppy from me.

Good breeders are the most paranoid people alive – do you really think we’d turn our puppies over, in bulk, to pet stores where they can be fondled by germ carrying strangers and sold to anyone with an Amex card?

11. “We import puppies from Russia because the dogs there are healthier”

You import puppies from Russia because you can buy them for $500, and re-sell them for $2500. The fact that the puppies will be traumatized, under aged, parasite infested and sickly are all just bonus points.

12. ” You don’t need to come and pick your puppy up – we’ll ship it at 8 weeks. Puppies don’t mind being shipped”

Well, sure! Eight week old puppies, which are emotionally the equivalent of two year old children, enjoy being stuck in a crate, placed in a cargo building, and then loaded into the belly of an airplane. The six hour flight, complete with plane transfer, doesn’t bother them in the least, even though new airline regulations mean you can’t ship them with water, food or blankets.

Hey, let’s ship the kids to Grandma’s house by cargo next Christmas!

13. “We don’t need to give our puppies shots, because naturally reared animals don’t get rabies or parvo”

The last time I checked, raccoons don’t eat take out food – and yet they still somehow manage to get rabies. And yes, canine rabies still exists, and is still killing dogs (and possibly people). Commercial dog food has been around since the 1940s, but distemper was the number one killer of puppies – puppies raised on table scraps and human grade food – at the turn of the century, with parvo a close second. I know a lot of ‘naturally reared’ puppies, that have broken out with parvo in their new homes, or have been crammed with worms.

Here’s a hint – all medicine isn’t bad medicine. Stop acting like raw meaty bones can cure anything – you’re making the rest of us who feed raw look like crazy people.

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Thursday Thirteen – Top 13 Names I'll Probably Never Give My Dogs

Barb and I, while happily partnered as breeders for a good long while now (longer than either of us probably would like to admit), do tend to disagree on several topics, not the least of which is the naming of animals. Barb likes snappy patter, names with a sense of humor and preferably a play on words. To wit, her first dog from me was registered as Bullmarket A&As Stripe Ts (get it? Stripe Ts, Strip Tease?). There’s also Elliott, registered as Absolut Bullmarket SeeSpotRun (I can’t wait to register one of his kids as “See Spot’s Son”).

Roch VoisineI, on the other hand, am a big fan of theme litters — that’s where each puppy in a litter gets a name that’s a play on the same theme. It lets absent minded people like me instantly remember which litter is which just based on each name, plus I like the fun of picking out names that are all part of the same over all idea.

For example, Sailor’s dad was El Torro’s Roch Voisine, so each of her eight siblings has a name playing on the ‘Roch’ theme – Roch the Boat, Roch E Mountains, Roch Lobster, etc.

I’ve also done ice creams, jazz musicians, herbs and Christmas related names.

There are a few themes, however, that I’m pretty sure Barb would put her foot down on, rather firmly. Herewith, my top thirteen list of theme named litters Barb would pitch a hissy fit over. In other words, don’t expect to see these on registration papers any time soon.

1. Hardcore Band Names

Personally, I think a puppy named Absolut Bullmarket Social Distortion would be pretty darned cute, but I’m guessing this is never going to happen. Maybe I can sneak in Husker Du, or Pixie(s) (of course, the jury is out on if they really qualify as ‘hard core’ but that’s splitting hairs).

2. Indie Movie Titles

Come on, admit it — Donnie Darko would make a great Frenchie name, and I could get him a little stuffed Frank the bunny toy to play with. I can even get him a ‘sparkle motion’ t-shirt. For a girl? Little Miss Sunshine. I could always push the boundary, and call one of them ‘Reservoir Dog’.

3. Bars I Got Drunk at in My Twenties

Well, it doesn’t have quite the cachet of a dog named “Duc D’Deluxe Monsignor Elegance”, but in my opinion ‘Bullmarket Absolut Vatikan‘ or Velvet Underground still have something of a ring to them. Probably not so much ‘Bullmarket Absolut Bovine Club‘, no matter how many celebrities have gotten plastered there over the years.

Eye Shadow 4. Urban Decay Eye Shadow Colors

In yet another nostalgic look back at the past, I’ve contemplated naming an entire litter after Urban Decay eye shadow colors, since I spent close to half my available income in my twenties snapping up every color they make. Lots of possibilities, too – ‘Acid Rain’, ‘Grifter’ or ‘Midnight Cowboy’ all have nice, show ring-esque rings to them.

5. Vodka Flavours

I’m not a vodka drinker, but the sheer amounts of vodka flavours out there are staggering. As a bonus plus, most of the flavored Vodkas are from Absolut! Bonus! Absolut Raspberri or Absolut Kurant Vodka seem custom made, or we could go with Effen Black Cherry Vodka. Or maybe not – I’m picturing trademark lawyers getting in on this…

6. Dead Poets Society

A litter of puppies, all named after dead poets! How romantic! How not so very cheerful. Sylvia Plath doesn’t inspire images of playful puppy antics, and I’m not sure I’d trust ‘Absolut Bullmarket Lord Byron‘ alone with the other puppies. Of either sex.

7. Dead Painters Society

I think I might well be able to slide this one past Barb, but only if I skip naming one ‘Van Gogh’. No one needs a Frenchie named after a one eared painter – that’s just inviting too much bad karma…

8. North America’s Worst Neighbourhoods

Again, this one would be kinda funny – Absolut Bullmarket Parkdale? Absolut Bullmarket Cabrini Green? No? Fine, be that way.

South Park Characters9. South Park Characters

On the one hand, this seems like a great idea, because South Park is one of my favorite shows (shut up, I know). Kyle and Kenny are perfectly fine names, and even Cartman isn’t that bad, especially if the puppy is both a miscreant and portly.

On the other hand, Cartman regularly dresses as Hitler, and I’m not sure the world is ready for a puppy named after Christmas poo, no matter how cute Absolut Bullmarket Mr Hanky would look on the registration papers.

10. Programming Languages

I happen to think there are some really cool opportunities for names within the world of programming languages. In fact, I already named a puppy ‘Perl’, which likely says more about me than even my fondness for South Park does. I remain, however, fairly convinced that not only would Barb object to a puppy named Bullmarket Absolut COBOL (let alone Fortran), but that I’d be reducing the dog to a life of getting slapped around at doggy day care. I am going to slip ‘Bullmarket Ruby on Rails‘ in there eventually, though. It’s just too good to resist.

11. Operating Systems

See above, with a side note that while Bullmarket Absolut Linux or Leopard would be adorable, I’d expect Vista to be clunky, unstable, an overeater and prone to crashing. Heh.

12. British Comedy Series

I fail to see how anyone could resist naming a puppy Absolut Bullmarket Monty Python, although even I draw the line at naming one Benny Hill.

Dave Allen would be awesome, though, but then you’d have to worry about the puppy losing a finger toe.

13. Rappers

My son would be in favor of this one – in fact, I’m pretty sure he’s suggested it once or twice. While I can see the lure of naming a puppy “Lil’ Bow Wow“, I’m afraid that the world is just not ready for Bullmarket Absolut Fiddy Cent to win at Westminster. Bullmarket Absolut P Diddy might do OK, but he’d want to change the name on his registration papers every other damn week.

Dexter Dreaming Darkly(BTW, this post was inspired by Barb’s recent unhappiness at learning Dexter’s registered name is ‘Bullmarket Absolut Darkly Dexter‘.  Apparently, there’s an unspoken rule that one just doesn’t name ones puppies after serial killers, even fictional one. My explanation that the name fits because Dexter the puppy means to be good, but just can’t help occasionally being bad, didn’t really cut it)