Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Talk About Pony Express

This will give you an idea of the water level in Vermont! this is the Williams River which flooded through Route 103 in Rockingham Vermont and this is a policeman (maybe a State Trooper) making a delivery of medicine via horse!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


For what it's worth, here is my post hurricane wrap up. I realized today when I ventured out how incredibly fortunate we were. There are roads closed everywhere with huge trees blocking them and wires down all around. I saw one enormous tree across someone's driveway blocking their access to the road and within inches of their home. Power is out everywhere including our local post office and supermarket and shelves are bare if you can find a store that is open.

The irony--places that typically lose their power have it and those that don't have lost it. My friend who has a house on Long Beach Island, NJ summed it up. "Go figure," she said. "My house on LBI is fine and never lost power but here at home I am running on a generator!"

So there you have it. Who would have ever thought Vermont, a land locked state, would be flooded?

In other news, I think these driftwood sculptures of horses by artist Heather Jansch are amazing and might be a great way to use up all those tree limbs that have littered the ground. When life gives you a hurricane, pick up the pieces.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Looks What the Hurricane Blew In

We've had some wild and crazy weather here over the weekend when the hype surrounding Irene was enough to drive any sane person to bet on the horses! In my case, I was too busy moving patio furniture indoors to place that bet and in the end, I am glad I didn't because I saved some money.

The good news on lots of fronts was that we survived the hurricane with minimal damage--a large tree limb down in the backyard and a small trickle of water in the basement. The dogs, once again, slept through it--on top of me--and while our NBC coverage did not have the Travers because of 24 hour hurricane hype, I did watch it on TVG. I also got to see Uncle Mo in what I call a triumphant return to the track even if he did come in second in the King's Bishop.

It's been a pretty good week for Todd Pletcher too. First, that great article in the NY Times last Sunday and then second in the King's Bishop and a victory in the Travers with Stay Thirsty. As of yesterday morning, Pletcher reported that both Mike Repole's horses came out of their races in good shape. And how about Mike Repole? One race after Uncle Mo loses by a nostril, he wins the Travers going away.

"Its a roller-caoster game; it's a bipolar game," Repole said. "What we just saw in the last half hour for Todd Pletcher and Mike Repole was the low, the highest high, all within 30 minutes. It's a tough loss with Uncle Mo and probably the best win of my life with the Travers."

Probably fitting on a day when the highs and lows of barometric pressure were equally as extreme! Let's hope we have some calmer winds on all fronts for a while.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Nose Knows More Than You Think!

It turns out that while micro chips are the instrument of choice for most pet identifications, dogs can can be identified by their nose prints. In fact, if you look closely at your dog's nose, you can probably see lines that form patterns, similar to fingerprints.

The Canadian Kennel Club has been accepting dog nose prints as proof of identity since 1938 and in many ways, can be more reliable. Dog tags can be lost and micro chips can malfunction. Collecting nose prints is actually easy, painless and ink free and a company called ID Systems Integrators provides a Dognose ID kit for taking the prints.

Once the company receives your prints, they are entered into a data base and you are sent a Pet Identity card with your dog's name and nose print! Should your dog get lost, all you have to do is call ID Systems Integrators and they do the rest. The nose print is faxed to every shelter and vet within the owner's area. OF course, these shelters and vets would have to have nose print records as well in order for the system to work, which it apparently does in Canada.

So how about it? Would you be willing to register your dog's nose print rather than get a microchip?

Apps Go Ape

No surprise that orangutans like iPads. When you think about it, they are some of our closest primate relatives, a factor that influenced a program at the Milwaukee County Zoo, where keepers have had success introducing two of the zoo's orangutans to the tablet.

"One of the biggest hurdles we face is that an orangutan can snap an iPad like you or I could rip cardboard," said Richard Zimmerman, executive director of Orangutan Outreach. "Even the little guys . . . are incredibly strong. A big male could take it apart in about five seconds."

First step was finding an orangutan-proof case, and even with that the apes are not given free rein with the electronics. The do, however, already have favorite apps, shows and games! MJ and Mhahl enjoy finger paiting with DrawFree, watching television shows and love interactive books!

"We'll show the orangutans videos of themselves, videos of wild orangutans and other animals that reside at the zoo," said Scott Engel, the iPad enrichment coordinator at the zoo. "This has been very successful and really seems to hold their interest. In fact, I think that MJ has a crush on David Attenborough. Whenever he comes on to narrate a scene, her eyes light up and she just stares."

I wonder how they would feel about our book trailer?

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Day in the Life of Todd Pletcher

Did you catch the fabulous article in Sunday's New York Times about uber-trainer Todd Pletcher? If not, it is well worth the read because Joe Drape does a masterful job of recounting a day in the life of this very busy trainer.

Make no mistake about it, Pletcher works hard. You have to with 100 horses in your stable, all of which are the pride and joy of their owners. There is no disputing the fact that Pletcher is successful (he bills roughly $15 million annually), but the skeptic in me sometimes thinks that is more a matter of the odds. With that many, pricey horses, one can't help but be successful.

But the article points out, that Pletcher is much more hands on than I had imagined. And that it is definitely a family affair--with his dad J. J. riding shot gun so to speak, running interference with owners and breaking the yearlings on his Ocala farm. This is a very well oiled machine that gets its marching orders from the top. "With having a large stable, you have more opportunities for good things to happen, and more opportunities for bad things to happen," he says.

If you ever want to know what happens behind the scenes, follow this day in the life of a trainer and remember this caveat: As successful as Pletcher is, (last year his stable collected $23.1 million in earnings), Pletcher wins only 27 percent of his races.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Lentenor Finishes Third

Here is Lentenor in the paddock before the 8th race on Tuesday at Delaware park. he finished third in a 12 horse field and just did not seem to have enough left coming down the stretch. These horses were a step up from the ones he beat at Parx but he nonetheless finished in the money and showed ability to rate and lay off the pace.

You can see in the paddock what a handsome and large horse he is!

Here is the link to the race. It is the 8th race on August 23.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Watch to the end--persistence pays off!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Phoebe's Chicken Caper

Talk about working for food. The other day when I let Phoebe out, I noticed she was spending a lot of time hanging around the back portion of our fence--the section that runs around a mass of large bushes in an area where she does not usually travel. In fact, she would not even come in when I called, which was most definitely un-Phoebe-like behavior.

When she refused to come in last evening, I decided to see what could be holding her captive. Maybe another rabbits nest, I thought, as I crawled under the bushes. Not rabbits. Instead, it was chicken.

More specifically a piece of fried chicken that a landscaper had forgotten to pick up after lunch and was conveniently located just on the other side of our fence. For the past two days, Phoebe had been digging a hole under the chicken wire that covers our English hurdle fence, determined to get to that chicken. By the time I caught her, she had fashioned a fairly good sized burrow although I don't think that she would be able to get under the fence.

But don't tell her. She was planning the Great Escape--all to get to that chicken. Thwarting her plans involved me a) disposing of the chicken piece, b) plugging up the hole with large rocks (the dirt was just going to come out as soon as I pushed it back in) and c) convincing her that the chicken was well past its prime.

Talk about the chicken crossing the road. In this case it was Phoebe who was trying to get to the other side!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Seizure Dog

This is a wonderful book, written by seven year old Evan Moss (available on Amazon) about his need for a seizure dog. One that would specifically alert him and his parents when his next epileptic seizure was immanent. You see, Evan needs to raise $13,000 to pay for this type of dog and his book is one of the ways he is going about it.

Evan has been dealing with seizures since he was an infant. According to his mother, Lisa Moss, the seizures are so severe that "this dog is going to be a life-saver."

The dogs are trained by 4 Paws for Ability and the training costs about $22,000. The organization asks those who participate in the program to help defray the cots by kicking in half. In his book, Evan writes, "the dog will eat pizza with me. If I go to the moon, it will go there with me."

The book is $10.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Lenny Back on Track!

Lentenor is making a quick return to the track three weeks after winning at Parx. He will be running on Tuesday August 23 at Delaware Park in a mile turf race with his same jockey, Camouche, aboard. It is a large field and Lenny has one of the highest weights in this allowance/optional claiming race. It will be interesting to see if he has trouble coming back this fast, but my guess is that he came out of the last race in good shape and is ready to do it again!

He seems to have found his distance--a mile on the turf. These horses might be a bit stiffer competition so it should be interesting to see how he does. Post time is 4:24 for those of you with access to TVG but Delaware Park webcasts its races live, once you set up an account.

Look for owners Roy and Gretchen Jackson to make a cameo should he appear in the winners circle!

Delaware Park - August 23, 2011

Race 8 - 4:24 PM


Purse $38,000. (plus Up To 40% Other Sources) For Three Year Olds And Upward Which Have Never Won Two Races Other Than Maiden, Claiming, Or Starter Or Which Have Never Won Three Races Or Claiming Price $40,000. Three Year Olds, 119 Lbs.; Older, 124 Lbs. Non-winners Of A Race Since May 23, 2011 Allowed 3 Lbs. A Race Since February 23, 2011 Allowed 6 Lbs. Claiming Price $40,000 (Preference to horses that enter turf and dirt.)(Preference by condition eligibility). (If deemed inadvisable by management not to run this race over the turf course, it will be run on the main track at One Mile) . About One Mile. (Turf) (Rail at 25 Feet)
PP Horse A/S Med Claim $ Jockey Wgt Trainer
1Lentenor (KY) 4/C LA $0K Carmouche 124 L Delacour
2They Call Me Giant (KY) 4/C LA $0 J Valdivia, Jr. 118 K J Breen
3Roddickton (KY) 5/H LA $0 S Russell 124 N R Morris
4Silver Eagle (FL) 7/G LA $0 E Perez 118 C S Ashikian
5Mr. Irons (KY) 4/C L1$0 F Boyce 118 F Abbott
6Gaither Draw (KY) 3/C LA $0 AA Castellano, Jr. 119 S Hobby
7Istishaary (KY) 5/H L $0 C Hill 118 K P McLaughlin
8Just a Coincidence (KY) (MTO 5/H LA $0 R A Vazquez 121 R Moquett
9Inauguration (PA) 4/G L $0 J Pimentel 118 J E Sheppard
10Uncle Brent (KY) 3/G L $0 J Rocco, Jr. 116 L S Whiting
11Que Paso (VA) (AE) 8/G L $40,000R A Vazquez 121 J Frost
12Crimson Comic (KY) (AE) 6/H LA $40,000L Garcia 118 M Shuman
13Blazen (FL) (AE) 5/G LA $40,000 J Rose 124 A Pecoraro
14Open Outcry (KY) (AE) 5/G LA $40,000 J Pimentel 118 E J Coletti, Sr.

Owners: 1 - Lael Stables; 2 - George and Lori Hall; 3 - Clorevia Farm; 4 - Vickie Smith; 5 - Brushwood Stable; 6 - Alex and JoAnn Lieblong; 7 - Shadwell Stables; 8 - Southern Springs Stables; 9 - Hudson River Farms; 10 - Charles J. Cella; 11 - Jack Frost; 12 - Premier Stables Unlimited; 13 - Roman Hill Farm LLC; 14 - Talons Racing

Breeders: 1 - Mr. & Mrs. M. Roy Jackson; 2 - Alexander Groves Matz, LLC; 3 - Samuel M. Smith; 4 - Thom Melcher & Rachael Thomas; 5 - Hunter Valley Farm & Hatta Bldstk.; 6 - Mueller Farms, Inc.; 7 - Swordlestown Stud; 8 - Claiborne Farm; 9 - Jonathan Sheppard; 10 - Westwind Farms; 11 - Carolyn L. Nicewonder; 12 - WinStar Farm, LLC; 13 - Thomas L. Croley; 14 - Lothenbach Stables Inc

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Good Read

I truly admire people who bring rescued animals into their homes. It requires patience, love and the cooperation of the rest of the pack. I also admire Patricia McConnell. Her first book, The Other End of the Leash, is a classic in the world of positive reinforcement/dog training. (The technique works for people as well as pets, by the way!)

In any event, this is her new book all about adopting a shelter dog and destined to become a classic. If you need some positive reinforcement of your own, you might want to invest in this tome.

And remember, patience and love will ultimately triumph--just not overnight!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Dog Days of Summer Continue

It is still HOT HOT HOT in this summer of incredibly high temperatures so in keeping with the dog days of summer, I am reposting this excellent advice from the good folks at PetMD (where, by the way, The Culinary Canine will be among their holiday picks!)

Did you realize that just like you, your dog also needs to cool down after a run, hike, power walk, or game of fetch? Dogs that work or play hard need their owners to look out for them. Here are a few basic tips for a proper post-workout cooling down.

Hydration, Hydration, Hydration

Always be sure to take along plenty of water for the both of you when you go out for a long hike, walk or run with your dog. Stop for water breaks, maybe around every mile or when you see that your dog is panting, allowing your dog to drink just enough to quench her thirst each time. Don’t allow her to gulp large amounts of water at one time, as this can lead stomach upset or bloating.

One of the more practical products available for dogs is a water bottle cap that releases small amounts of water when the dog licks the roller ball in the spout; they conveniently attach to standard disposable water bottles. You can also use a bottle with a pop-up spout, so that you can control the amount of water your dog is drinking.

Cool Down

Just as a cool-down period after exercise is important for humans, dogs should be allowed the same luxury. Toward the end of the run, power walk or hike, gradually slow down and walk casually for several minutes to allow your dog’s body temperature and heart rate to slow down. You might even consider giving your dog a muscle rub-down or help her to stretch her limbs once you get home.

If it’s a particularly warm day, douse a towel in cool water and drape it over the dog’s shoulders. If your dog’s starts panting heavily and the panting doesn’t slow down even after you have slowed down for a water break, or he becomes disoriented or weak, call a veterinarian right away.

Forgo the Food till Later

You should not exercise your dog right after a meal, as this can lead to digestive upset or bloat. Keep in mind that your dog will no doubt be very hungry after a long workout. After a period of cooling down and rehydrating with water -- small amounts at a time so he doesn’t gulp too much down -- feed your dog her normal meal.

Body Check

If you have the fortune of having a place to exercise in the great outdoors, away from the urban sprawl, you will need to be especially vigilant about checking your dog for ticks and other small hazards after every outing. Check inside the ears, under the belly, and between folds of skin (e.g., armpits, neck) where insects might hide. Run your fingers through her haircoat and remove any foreign objects like burrs. Even in urban areas, your dog can pick up little bits in her paws and nostrils. In fact, part of your post-workout routine can be a thorough and relaxing brushing.

Foot Care

Don’t forget that feet are an important part of your dog’s body and should be given special care. Inspecting the toe pads and nails after a day out running or playing is of vital importance. Check carefully for any cuts, cracks, blisters, or dirt stuck between the toes. If necessary, wash the feet and dry them carefully before checking them over. If you see any serious wounds or damage to the foot pads or nails, check with your veterinarian for care instructions.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

More From Mustang Monument

Time magazine reporter Tim McGirk spent some time with Madeleine Pickens at Mustang Monument and came away with this well done video that says it all.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Report From Saratoga Part II

Surely you have heard of Saratoga water? Well for all the years that I have been going there, I have certainly ordered it in restaurants but never really gave it a second thought. Then one morning, I took a walk through Saratoga State Park, right down the road from my hotel. It was beautiful, but a bit warm and I began to notice lots of what looked like water fountains throughout the park, with taps that seemed to be permanently open.

Curious (and thirsty!) I ventured closer and learned the history of Saratoga's waters, many of which can be sampled throughout town and the park. The water comes from underground springs and some of it comes out of the taps carbonated! The natural sparkle comes from natural gases found in the water! Who knew?

You can taste the difference among the various springs. The one above is actually in Congress Park down town and that water tastes like Spring water. There are others that taste like minerals and some that are bubbly. The most popular spring, however, is in the center of the spark and is called the State Seal water. People drive into the park with huge jugs in the trunks of their cars and fill them up from these spigots. It is apparently the same water that comes in those Saratoga Water bottles with the State Seal!! All free!

I met a man who was a home brewer. He said he only used that State Seal water for his beer, which won all sorts of prizes. The problem was he had to come at 2:00 AM to fill up his barrels because it took so long!!

There are of course, the legendary sulphur baths which Teddy Roosevelt make popular, and very ornate buildings in the center of the Park, called the Palaces of Water, in which the springs used to come up inside! The Victorians strolled around the arcades and sampled the waters, all in the name of good health!!

It certainly was an interesting and tasty morning activity and yes, I did fill up a few bottles to bring home!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Monday, August 15, 2011

Report from Saratoga Part I

I am back from a glorious six days in Saratoga in which I had a great time. As always, it was a whirlwind of events, family and races and we were lucky with the weather. It was hot for a few days and then cooled off to become perfect! So no complaints.

I went to the Fasig-Tipton Select yearling sales on Monday and Tuesday evenings--days on which the stock market took wild roller coaster rides. The first evening of the sale, it appeared to me that the median price was a bit low--hovering in the $300,000 range. Yes, there were two million dollar horses--all Bernardini progeny--but many seemed to go for below their value, especially the Curlin, which went for $450,000.

The second evening seemed to be a bit higher, but once again the median price hovered in the $300,000 range with one million dollar horse.

However, at the end of the sale, Fasig-Tipton reported that the numbers were up, including those for the average and median price and the buy back rate. Enter the Sheikh--who reportedly purchased 13 yearlings for $8,530,000 or 25.9% of the gross sales. How does one legitimately account for the impact of the man who in many cases purchased yearlings sired by horses standing at his own Darley Stud Farm and who owns a large percentage of the company that was doing the auctioning?

Other buyers included Robert La Penta, Live Oak Plantation and IEAH Stables. A little grumbling from those who were outbid by the Shiekh--another tricky situation. Does one bite the hand that is literally helping to keep the industry alive?

Bobby Flay was very much in attendance--at both the sales and the track (the photo above is from the races where he sat in a box one row in front of me!) and he gave the keynote speech at the hall of Fame Indoctrination ceremony on Friday morning.

The question that seemed to be hovering in the air was the all important one: What would happen to the industry if the Sheikh stopped buying horses?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Are We What We Eat?

I digress a bit today to tackle the topic of food--specifically those that help heal you, as in the ones that Chef Seamus Mullen has found to be beneficial to his rheumatoid arthritis. In fact, these so called "hero foods" are the topic of his next cookbook, due out in the Spring, "Seamus Mullen's Hero Food: How Cooking With Delicious Things Can Make Us Feel Better."

I bring this up because of course sharing these delicious foods with your pet should make them feel better too! According to Mullen, the addition of leafy greens, small-oil laden fish like anchovies and sardines as well as olive oil, stone fruits and almonds have helped beat back the inflammation at the root of his rheumatoid arthritis. Of course, medication has helped as well, but according to the New York Times, "he's zealous about the nutritional potency of stone fruits." That would be those with pits like peaches, cherries, nectarines and mangos.

Just yesterday, I was barraged with claims about coconut oil--for your pets--that is portended to cure everything from hot spots to ear infections. One of our chefs in the book, Cornelia Guest, uses coconut oil in her sinful vegan cookies. How could something so fattening be good for you?

Which is why I take all these claims with a large grain of salt. Yes I think eating healthy is great--for people and pets--but I also think that eating too much of any one or two or three things is not necessarily the best thing for anyone.

What about you?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Chew on This....

Send in the goats! At least that is what some eco-minded businesses in Maryland are doing when it comes to clearing land that is covered with weeds and dense vegetation. According to Brian Knox, owner of Eco-goats, hungry goats thrive on things most humans don't want to touch. His thirty goats can clear 100 square meters of brush a day and leave behind their droppings which are good fertilizer.

His goats have been in demand by conservation minded groups with land to clear, like the Izaak Walton league of America that used goats to clear harmful, invasive plants in the parks for which it has responsibility in Gaithersburg, Maryland. "It's such an innovate, sustainable way of removing invasive species, and you get to hang out with some cute goats while you're doing it," said Rebecca Wadler, an associate in the group's sustainability education program.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Philadelphia Mounted Police are Back!

They're back!! The Philadelphia mounted police unit that is and thanks to a grant from the Bureau of Justice, the unit, which was cut due to budgetary restrains in 2004, is gearing up once again. According to Marquise Robinson, as assistant trainer, an officer on a horse is worth ten on the ground.

At the moment the force has seven donated horses, four from a Newark mounted police unit and three from a rescue ranch. The Police Department has also purchased four more. There are thirteen police in the mounted unit.

Training has recently begun for the new recruits, which involves getting used to their horses and then training the horses not to be skiddish around crowds and noise. It is a 16 week intensive training program.

Not all the newcomers are trained horsemen/women but all love the animals and are enjoying the process of learning. "I just can't believe I'm getting paid," said Chanthavy Hearn. "It's like putting together two things that I like to do together. It was always a dream of mine."

For now, the unit is looking for permanent stables within the city limits as it rebuilds its corps. We're glad its back!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Mustang Monument

Saving America's Mustangs from Celebrate Texas 175 on Vimeo.

Madeleine Pickens has worked tirelessly to save America's mustangs and this video captures one of her first success stories--the release of the Paiute horses to Mustang monument.

Watch it and you will know why she is truly a hero to these beautiful creatures who deserve to run free.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Let the Good Times Roll!

This guy above is a species of tortoise known as a Gamera, and according to Japanese culture, it usually comes with wings and breathes fire. This guy, however, is literally on a roll, thanks to a hardware store prosthetic that helps him get around.

The tortoise ended up at Washington State University Vet School after it was injured in a fire. Vets there had to amputate his front limb to save his life.

A trip to the local hardware store provided the tortoise with his new limb that has also returned his life to normal. "Nobody knew what we were going to be able to do with him, with burns as severe as what he has," said Dr. Nickol Finch, an exotic animal specialist at WSU. "To see him now, doing fantastic and eating like a little pig does a whole lot of good for the heart."

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Monkey Business (In Many Ways)

This is a clip from a new documentary being shown on PBS about Nim, a chimp that was raised with a family, like a human, and taught sign language. Utterly fascinating especially when you add in Terry Gross' interview with several of the main characters in the film. Have a listen here.

I have to agree with Bob Ingersoll, one of Nim's dearest human friends, who says he is so grateful researchers now study chimps in the wild because he cannot condone studying chimps in captivity. Of course this is now and that was then. . .

Monday, August 8, 2011

Horse Drawn Carriage Accident

A recent accident involving a horse drawn carriage carrying three tourists (including a baby), and a taxicab has New Yorkers buzzing once again about whether or not horse drawn carriages should be allowed on any streets. For the most part, horse drawn carriages in New York stick to the paved park roads, but they do pick up their passages along the sides of Central Park, which is apparently where this accident occurred.

According to the Daily News, the horse drawn carriage was hit by a taxi just before midnight on Monday July 25. The baby was thrown out of the carriage; the horse was knocked to the street when the buggy flipped on its side and the driver of the carriage was taken to a nearby hospital with head injuries.

The passengers and the horse all suffered minor injuries and were treated at a nearby hospital and then released. The horse sustained cuts and bruises but was well enough to return to his normal barn. The driver is expected to recover.

The taxi driver, apparently was in the middle land of Central Park South when it struck the horse drawn carriage. The driver, however, claims that he was in the far right land and was unable to stop when the carriage pulled out in front of him.

Regardless of where the taxi driver actually was, how fast was he going? To me, that remain the critical question and all the more reason for carriage horses to remain in the park, on roads without cars.

Better for the horses. Safer for passengers and drivers, but probably not as lucrative. And there, my friends is the reason that people continue to put animals, themselves and others in danger. Enough.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


What better way to spend a summer day than swimming with your mom--even if she is your surrogate mom! this is rescued Sea Otter #540 at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, clearly having made a great adjustment to its new environs!

Too cute!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Stay on the Ball--Owners and Dogs, Alike

Sam's absolute favorite toy is his ducky but a close second goes to the tennis ball, whiffle ball or whatever type of ball happens to be flung in his direction. News from Dayton, Ohio, however, of the recent demise of a police dog after choking on a tennis ball, has made me take inventory of Sam's collection.

The 6 year old Belgian Malinois named Badger died when the ball became lodged in her throat. Her handler was with her and rushed her to the vet, who was able to remove the tennis ball but unable to revive the dog.

The vet explained that the rubber ball had collapsed when the dog bit down on it and then expanded in her throat.

Moral of the story? Perhaps tennis balls are not the best choice of balls for big jawed, heavy biters. A larger whiffle ball that couldn't get caught in her throat might have been a better choice, but either way, the situation is so tragic.

And forget about those tricks of having a dog carry three or more balls in his/her mouth. Stick with large, hard rubber balls for your games and make sure you can always see the ball when the dogs retrieves it.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Indoor Swimming Pool

These English bulldogs are extremely clever. They decided it was too hot outside so they brought their pool indoors where they could swim in the air conditioning! Note they even managed to empty it before they dragged it in!

While this is adorable, these English bulldogs were actually doing the right thing. Dogs like bulldogs and pugs with pushed in noses do not fare well in the heat. These guys had enough sense to move things indoors when it got too hot!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Can You Imagine This Happening with a Human Doctor?

It has always struck me as a double whammy having to pay the dentist for a root canal--in other words having to pay on top of having to experience severe pain--and so it must seem equally cruel for Nancy and Tom Stanley, whose vet keeps sending them bills and reminder notices for Baxter, their lab who passed away in February.

How cruel is that to receive a notice that its time to schedule your annual check up as well as a bill for medications (prepaid ones) that they know their beloved dog did not receive. Anyone hear of a refund?

I understand that signals do get crossed but shame on the vet for not pulling Baxter's file from the active ones. When the Stanleys finally heard from him, he admitted the file was still "active" because he was going to review it. It was, he admitted " a terrible administrative error."

Sounds like the Stanleys are due more than a refund and they do have the option of filing a formal complaint with the Pennsylvania Board of Veterinary Medicine, which almost seems like more trouble than its worth.

You can read the rest here, but I personally think a refund on that medicine and a sincere apology might be just what the doctor ordered.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Vet Speaks Out on Drug Use on the Track

This post comes courtesy of Dr. Patty Khuly on Fully Vetted. She is also the author of the Introduction to The Culinary Canine and rarely writes about the subject of horses. But when she does, it's worth paying attention. Hence the following in which she actually quotes Nicholas Dodman, one of the most well known figures in the field of animal behavior. Apparently Dodman's recent letter in the JAVMA hit a nerve. Dare I say, its about time a vet took such a stand.

Here's Patty's take:

Nicholas Dodman is one of the most well known figures in animal behavior. His assessment of canine and feline behavior has been textbook fodder for decades now. So it is that when he has something to say about racehorse welfare …I’m intrigued.

But he’s not a horse vet … is he? No, not at all. But that didn’t keep him from having his say in the issue of the JAVMA (Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association) that hit my snail-mailbox yesterday.

In fact, that was his point: The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), veterinary medicine’s leading organization of horse vets, is missing the boat on some aspects of racehorse welfare reform. Here’s the lion’s share of his letter to the editor:

While the problem of drugs in horse racing has the attention of members of Congress and the public, it is time for veterinarians to speak out against drug use in American racehorses. Sadly, some organizations that purport to speak for the equine veterinary profession are not leading efforts to end the use of performance-enhancing drugs in racehorses. In fact, the president of the American Association of Equine Practitioners warned that "[t]he very broad language of the [Interstate Horseracing Improvement Act] could eliminate, as written, beneficial treatment of active equine athletes at any time — not just on the day of competition."

Horses that need drugs to compete should not be raced. Lame horses should never be loaded into the starting gate. Sore horses should be given adequate time to recuperate. Entering an unsound horse in a race puts all the horses and jockeys at greater risk of injury and even death. Putting horses at such risk for gambling purposes should not be tolerated. Veterinarians swear an oath to protect animal health and welfare, and they should be the first to condemn such practices.

There is also no excuse for permissive rules that allow administration just hours before a race of medications such as furosemide to prevent exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage. As the chairman of the Association of Racing Commissioners International stated, "That just does not pass the smell test with the public or anyone else except horse trainers who think it necessary to win a race." North America stands alone in allowing the race-day use of such drugs.

Even worse, violations of existing drug rules are far too common. According to The New York Times, only two of the top 20 trainers by purses won have never had a medication violation. The Racing Medical and Testing Consortium website lists numerous violations related to anabolic steroids, corticosteroids, narcotics, and other drugs that can mask inflammation and pain. These are just some of the substances that can currently be detected through tests. Barry Irwin, the owner of this year's Kentucky Derby winner, has called for involvement of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to catch those who might cheat using new designer drugs that current tests do not detect.

Thankfully, there are prominent voices within the horse racing community who support legislation to rid the sport of performance-enhancing drugs. Roy and Gretchen Jackson, who owned the late Barbaro, and others sent an open letter calling for support of bipartisan legislation introduced by Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico and Representative Ed Whitfield of Kentucky. Many well-known breeders, owners, and trainers responded by adding their support for this effort.

As veterinarians, we swear an oath to use our scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health. We need to speak out in favor of efforts to protect horses at the track. These noble creatures deserve no less.

Wow. Interesting letter. But I do have to wonder how effective expositions like his can be, given that Dodman’s clout lies on another playing field altogether. Is calling the AAEP out enough to effect change? I don’t have the answer, but I do know I’ll be having fun watching the process.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Prime Cuts

We are SOOOOOO cutting edge! Recent New York Times article confirmed the trend to feed dogs "people food," especially of the high end variety. Seems that the choicest butchers in Manhattan are discovering and tapping into the market for premium dog food with their leftover cuts.

"Our mission here is to get as much our of the animal as possible," said Jake Dickson, the owner of Dickson's Farmstand in the uber-chic Chelsea Market. "Both in terms of profitability, but also philosophically--doing honor and justice to that animal."

Dickson is speaking of the butchered animal but he might well be speaking of the ones who are lapping up those parts of the animal that humans don't want. Dickson used to throw them away. Now he grinds them up and roasts them with seasonal produce and sells them for $10/pound and a half. Pricey but premium dog food that seems to be a hit with New Yorkers.

Even Fleishers, the butcher to the stars based in Kingston, NY (and made famous in the book Cleaving by Julie and Julia author, Julie Powell) sells $4 packages of four ready to eat two ounce patties made of organic chicken and beef parts.

Chez Feldman, I will even admit that Amos, who recently turned up his nose at the chicken that the golden retrievers gobble up, has been chowing down on various cuts of beef (whatever is on sale, sorry my pocketbook can't afford strictly organic for the pups!) and feeling pretty good about himself these days! I just grill up a bunch of stuff once a week, cut it into small pieces, store in a plastic container in the fridge and add to their food (prescription diets). All seems to be well for the moment, at least until he turns up his nose at the beef.

Of course, you could just buy our book and try a few recipes yourself!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Sunday Racing Results

Way to go Lentenor! He scored an impressive win on Sunday in the eighth at Parx and the replay for the race is here. Sorry no sharing capabilities until someone puts it up on youtube!

If you watch the replay you will see a very mature and muscular Lentenor, looking quite stunning. He ran a fabulous race and got a great ride when a hole along the inside opened up and he went right through. Then he went around horses down the stretch and closed impressively under a predominant hand ride. How wonderful to see the Jacksons back in the winner's circle!

Of course the questions are inevitable. Was it the new trainer, the new jockey or just a weak field? We won't know until his next start but from what I saw it looks like the new training regime is suiting him just fine. No holding him back or letting him go--just a steady hand guiding him to get around obstacles and find the wire. I think all is well with our boy and he seems in most capable hands.

A good day of racing with Coil making an equally impressive stretch run to win the Haskell for Bob Baffert, giving him his fifth Haskell winner. Talk about jockey composure. Watch that replay and see where Coil broke--in the number one hole and it seemed as if he went backwards for a few yards.

Not to worry. The jockey steadied him and put him back in gear, going five horses wide down the stretch to catch the surging Shackleford. A good race. Nice coverage by ABC and Saratoga beckons! The summer racing season is heating up!