Kanine Korner

Dogs have so many charming habits: drinking from toilets, butt licking, rolling in dead fish, feasting on garbage… there are really too many to list here. But few things are more off-putting than poop eating. You may not find the idea of eating poop very appealing, but some dogs can’t get enough of it —and it’s such an issue that there are products to make them stop, like Doctor’s Foster and Smith Extra Strength Dis-Taste.

As it says in the catalog: “Improved formulas created by our veterinarians help break the disturbing habit of stool eating.”

Oh, yes disturbing and disgusting. Nauseating, even. So how does this miraculous cure work? “Digestive aid helps by making feces taste awful to your dog.”

That’s right: in the world of dogs up is down, right is wrong, two plus two equals five, and poop tastes like filet mignon.

One caveat: this product must be given to the dog whose poop is being eaten —not the dog doing the eating. Unless they are one in the same of course. And this won’t stop your dog from eating cat poop. If Fido considers it his job to keep the litter box tidy you will need For-Bid, which is advertised as making cat crap taste bad. Who knew we needed special stuff to do that?

Now go give your dog a big kiss on the mouth.

News Hounds

WOOF! WOOF WOOF! WOOF! That’s the signal you hear in my house when the Times Union thumps down on the front stoop at about 4:30am. It’s nice that the dogs announce the arrival of the newspaper; I’m usually up by then so I step outside grab it  —but only after the carrier has cleared the house so they don’t think I’m in there waiting.

There would be four days less barking if we lived in Michigan and subscribed to the Detroit Free Press. That’s the paper that’s cut home delivery down to three days a week: Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. To me that’s a tragedy.

Internet or no internet, it’s hard to beat a real newspaper. Sure, you can sit at the computer and get your news, but can you fold a computer and stick it under you arm? Can you really sit outside and read it while having your coffee? Pull it apart and share it with someone? No. And newsprint isn’t just handy, it’s aesthetically pleasing. Your monitor is not a newspaper in the same way Kindle is not a book. And who wants to read the comics on a computer? Or the obituaries.

Yes, I get lots of news off the web every day —but the print edition remains an important part of my life. And the dogs? It’s their job to bark when that newspaper lands. You want to put a dog out of work?

Pretty Good Friday

My fire department pager went off and the dispatcher transmitted that it was an alarm at Hannaford. As I was running out the door, Ann shouts to me, “Could you get me some of that granola I like while you’re there?”

According to the CDC, more than 86,500 Americans visit emergency rooms every year due to falls caused by pets and pet related objects. Dogs are overwhelmingly the culprits, accounting for an average of 71,452 injuries —30% of those are caused by tripping or falling over the dog(s). On average, 27 of the incidents annually involve both a cat and a dog. Watch your step.

A Nebraska woman was killed last week when a Taco Bell sign fell 75 feet and crushed the pickup truck she was sitting in. According to police, the woman and her husband were parked waiting for a Wyoming couple who were to purchase two of their dogs. From the North Platte Bulletin:

Officials said the couples agreed to meet in North Platte about 1 p.m., “right underneath the big Taco Bell sign.”

Get My Goat

I love goats. Wait… what I mean is that I find them amusing and aesthetically pleasing, not that I literally love them. But yes, I am a goat lover. In my experience goats are sweet natured animals that are brimming with personality  —so when I unfolded the NY Times and saw this headline, I perked right up:

How I Learned to Love Goats

Above it was a big picture of a goat looking into the camera. Ha! Look at the goat. And above that was the name of the section: Dining.Whoa! That headline didn’t say Goats, it said Goat —and the story was all about appreciating the flavor of goats not their adorable behavior.

I was dumbfounded. How could someone kill and eat one of these lovely animals? That would be like eating a dog. But according to the article, more people worldwide eat goat than any other meat. And I must admit, as a dedicated carnivore some of the recipes do look intriguing. But no, I’m not going there.

There’s no explanation for why goats hold sway over me. Cows, sheep, chickens, pigs? No problem. Goats? Never.

I dream sometimes of a home with a little land where there are no neighbors breathing down my neck. It would be wonderful to sit outside in the morning and drink my coffee and greet the day with the goats.

(You can read the article here. The online version includes the word Meat in the headline.)

CSI: Glenmont


On Thursday, March 26 Ann Madeo of (address redacted), Glenmont reported three incidents of suspected canine vandalism. It is believed that they occurred on or around March 25.

According to Mrs. Madeo a copy of of William Patrick’s Saving Troy was discovered in the master bedroom with its cover ripped off, a 2.6 cubic foot hole was found dug in the backyard, and the molding surrounding the downstairs hall closet door was damaged.

Teeth marks were apparent on both the book and molding. Close examination of the hole clearly showed marks in the dirt consistent with the size and shape of a dog’s paw.

Two Australian Shepherds residing in the home were interviewed separately. Both were cooperative while questioned, but neither admitted any knowledge of the incidents. It was observed that the dog known as Scarlett had flecks of dirt on the area around her nose.

The initial results of the investigation were inconclusive. DNA analysis is an option, but may be prohibitively expensive when weighed against the cost of repair and replacement.

Because it is possible that some of the damaged material was ingested, it was recommended that Mrs. Madeo collect the fecal matter of the dogs. It may be possible to recover undigested content related to the damage, and while this does not constitute absolute proof, it could be considered a strong indication of involvement.

It was further suggested that if there are repeated incidents of this nature, video surveillance be employed to provide a record of of events when the human occupants are away from the household.

Rude Awakening

It’s well documented that heart attacks kill more firefighters than fires, but I’ve been wondering  how many of those deaths are caused by pagers going off in the middle of the night.

You have never been jolted out of a deep sleep until you’ve been awakened by the Motorola pagers we use to tell us there’s an alarm. Maybe having an Australian Shepherd jump on your head is comparable , but that’s a story for another day. The video below gives you an idea of the sound you hear when there’s a call. Turn your speakers ALL THE WAY UP for the full effect:


That would get your sorry butt out of bed, wouldn’t it?

The good news: the second that pager beeps I am responding to a call. So if it goes off and I stand up and keel over dead or fall down the stairs or something it’s considered a line of duty death. In that case I’ll be entitled to the big fancy firefighter funeral —but unfortunately I’ll be way too dead to enjoy it.

From the Notebook

I keep hearing a radio spot for an herbal supplement that’s supposed to promote prostate health. The announcer wants to know if you have any troubling symptoms. He asks, “Do you get up to go to the bathroom?” Huh? Well, yes as a matter of fact I do get up to go to the bathroom. Every single time. And when I stop getting up to go to the bathroom, that’s when I’ll know I have a problem.

Rob: Did you read this story? Some guy was hit by a car and killed after he ran into the road to get his dog.

Ann: Is the dog OK?

Denver’s Rocky Mountain News publishes its final edition today and that’s got me thinking about newspapers. If you live around Albany, you’ve heard people use the term Times Useless to describe their daily paper, the Times Union. After you hear that one about a thousand times it doesn’t sound clever any more —and besides it’s far from accurate. If you want to remain a well informed citizen, you’d better hope that good newspapers like the TU find their way through these tough times. This column is one of the better ones I’ve read on the topic —and there have been hundreds. And if you think local TV news will fill the void, read this piece from the NY Post’s Phil Mushnick.

Besides, newspapers are useful.

Dog Devours Book From Cover to Cover

Australian Shepherd Maddy has been attacking my copy of Richard Russo’s Bridge of Sighs. First she ripped off the back cover and gnawed a corner of the book, lending a whole new meaning to the term dog eared. Then she tore off the front cover and pulled out page 71 —which thankfully I’d already read.

She is not destructive by nature. The most mischief she gets into is carrying off socks that are left on the floor, presumably to go somewhere suck the footy goodness out of them. But there’s something about books she finds intolerable. Or is it just this book? Could it be the picture of Russo on the cover? Or maybe the part where a dog is shot in the ass with a pellet gun. It could be she’s peeved that I’d rather sit and read than give her my undivided attention. The book is a rival.

Or maybe she is just a dog. 

There’s big money these days in treating dogs like mystical and deeply complex creatures. Marley & Me is the number one movie and The Dog Whisperer is on cable every night it, so it’s easy to start ascribing human traits to our canine friends. On the other side of the fence is Jon Katz, who’s made a business of telling us that dogs are actually just being dogs and we are the ones who are messed up. 

I’m surprised she didn’t rip the cover off of one of his books.

And Speaking of Dogs

I swore I wouldn’t write about the dogs all the time, but I can’t pass on this.

There was a story this week about a study showing that dogs experience the feeling of being cheated if they’re dealt with unfairly. The long and short of it is that two dogs are offered treats to do a trick. At some point, one dog starts getting better treats to do the tricks and the other dog gets resentful and stops performing. Who wouldn’t?

This got me wondering about what dogs really think. During the ice storm, Scarlett and Maddy spent time away from home where they’d be warm. Ann says they missed us, but who can say? I’m convinced that after 12 hours, the dogs are like, “Hey, remember those people? You know, the lady who used to walk us…and that guy?

“What guy?”

“You know, the one with the tennis ball?”

“Oh, yeah, yeah, right…whatever happened to them?”