Bloodhounds, the most feared dogs on earth?

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I was at my alma mater St. John Fisher College yesterday for a day long conference on Frederick Douglass and Ireland. Scattered around the room where actual issues of Douglass' newspapers. I love history, and am always fascinated by the way the past mirrors the present. I'll talk more about abolition later this week, but today I just wanted to share an animal-related thought that jumped out at me as I read the stories from the 1850s.In one of the papers - and my stupid camera phone took such … [Read more...]

Indigo, Orphan pups and a gift of Mercy – a heartwarming dog rescue tale

Living up to her name, Mercy accepts The Orphans and offers them a chance at survival. (photo courtesy Pitty Love Rescue)

Here in Rochester, NY we're fortunate to have a wonderful animal group, Pitty Love Rescue, that does remarkable work rescuing, rehabing and rehoming pit bulls and pit mixes. They, along with other great groups in our area, are advocates for responsible dog ownership and a well-trained dog community. There are sad stories - puppy mills, overcrowded shelters, abandoned dogs. Working in the inner city, and especially with such a misunderstood breed, can really take its toll on volunteers.So I ju … [Read more...]

Can dogs be introverted or extroverted?

Scout, Bandit and Bailey - can you tell by looking at them which is the introvert and which is the extrovert? Can a dog even be an introvert or extrovert?

Not long ago, I did a post reflecting on Susan Cain’s book, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking," musing on how I'm an introvert and what that means in my life. I got a lot of feedback from other introverts who were happy to have someone speak up on their behalf.Then my editor asked me an interesting question: can animals be introverted or extroverted?Cain addresses that issue very briefly in the book, citing research done on guppies in an attempt to unders … [Read more...]

Confessions of a non-recovering introvert

Quiet book image

I’m an introvert. When I said it to friends a few times over the last couple of weeks, I’ve gotten responses like, “You? You’re so talkative” or “I remember you as so outgoing” but almost always, “You’re not an introvert.”Really? How would you know?You probably base your idea of who I am on what you see on the outside, without knowing what’s going on inside of me most of the time. Sure, I can put together a party and play the happy hostess. But inside, I’m usually freaking out, because I … [Read more...]

We Are Not Alone – a quick visit to the Planetarium

The giant 3D model of the moon; the light passes over it every minute to show the phases. There's a little stepstool underneath so children can reach up to touch the moon. To a schoolchild, it can be aweinspiring.

I had a meeting today and I was running early, so I made a completely spontaneous stop at the Strasenburgh Planetarium. I really can't tell you why I stopped, just that spur of the moment decision when you're driving one way and then suddenly find yourself sitting in the parking lot of some place you hadn't intended to go. I didn't know when the shows happened or what the shows even are nowadays. But it turns out that you can wander around the displays at the Planetarium for free, playin … [Read more...]

Kitty endures a cycle in the washing machine and lives to meow about it

Natasha the kitty endured an entire cycle in the washing machine and lived to  meow about it.

They say cats have nine lives. If it's really true, Natasha the kitty used one on an adventure in the washing machine. She survived an entire wash cycle, and came out fluffier in the process.Natasha,  a six-month-old Siberian Forest kitten, has always been curious about the washing machine, her owner Daryl Humdy told Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI). He didn't think being curious about the washing machine meant the cat would ever get into the washing machine. But one day last year, Daryl's … [Read more...]

Loyal dogs who mourn the deaths of their owners

Hachiko is just one of many stories of faithful dogs who mourned the deaths of their owners.

A story popped up in my Facebook newsfeed today about a dog in Italy who has been showing up at Catholic mass every Sunday since its owner died two months ago.According to news stories, a German Shepherd named Tommy used to accompany his owner to mass, sitting quietly at her feet.  When his owner died two months ago, the dog attended her funeral, along with the other mourners, and has been showing up regularly every since.It reminds me of a movie I watched over the Christmas holiday c … [Read more...]

It’s been a missing Scout kind of week

Scout, the smartest and most gentle dog that ever walked the earth.

 I realized that it's been a little over a year since my beloved dog Scout went to live on God's Farm in the Sky.Scout was a great dog. Gentle, funny, loyal. Anxious, nervous, a little squirrely. Brave, eager to please, brilliant. He came into my life when I was at one of my lowest points and saw me through a season of ups and downs, leaving when I was once again at my lowest and I wasn't sure I could go on another day, but giving me a renewed strength to get up and move … [Read more...]

Tragedy visited Webster, NY but we move on – together

west webster patch

Early on the morning of Christmas Eve, tragedy visited the small town of Webster, NY, when a madman set fire to a house and a car, luring first responders to the scene and then gunning them down in cold blood. What ensued were hours of confusion and chaos as SWAT teams descended on the small spit of land, a two lane road bordered on one side by Irondequoit Bay and the other by Lake Ontario, chasing the gunman, evacuating neighbors, and retrieving the bodies of shooting victims. Firefighters, una … [Read more...]

Life in the cemetery (fall foliage pictures)

Mt. Hope Cemetery is a wildlife sanctuary. I spent a bit of time with this critter. Someone called him a whistle pig and said if I whistled he would have stood up for me. I was pretty close; I preferred him in his critter hole.

I spend a lot of time walking in the cemetery. One of our dogs, Bailey, is dog reactive so it's difficult to find places where we can walk and not feed her excitement. It's been two years of training and practice and lots and lots of patience.The more new experiences she has, the less reactive she gets. But it's difficult to find places where we can walk and not run into off leash dogs. (See my discussion about the leash law.) So we walk in the local memorial park and small historic cemetery … [Read more...]