Friday, July 29, 2016

Face-off Friday: Dogs vs Cats (again)

Friday Face-off: Dogs vs Cats (or should I put cats first for their first and only time and say, Cats vs Dogs?)

Today is yet another Friday Face-off and, finally, cats are tied with dogs instead of lagging behind them by not having scored any points whatsoever. This week
neither of them scored any points – at all. So it is a tie!

Congrats, Cats!

Or should I say Cats and Dogs are tied, nothing to nothing.

The magazine of the day is Golf Digest for August 2016.
Your inquisitive canine reporter scrutinized all the photos in Golf Digest (it was a tough job but somebody had to do it, in between reading the articles) and found no dogs and no cats – zero dogs, zero cats - not in articles and not even in advertisements.

What is this world coming to?

Better luck next week, pets!

PS - the July issue has a Border Collie, Mack, in an article about Baltusrol.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Book Review: Free Days with George (Newfie, rescue, surfing, Canada)

Free Days with George: Learning Life’s Little Lessons from One Very Big Dog by Colin Campbell (Penguin Random House Anchor Canada, $16.95, 224 pages, 2015)

A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That

Remember Ricochet, the California golden girl-dog golden retriever career-changed service dog who surfs with challenged children? (Read DogEval’s review of Ricochet here.)

Remember Jimmy Choo, that delightfully photogenic white bull terrier, whose human mom left his human dad and moved out, leaving only the dog – no furniture? (Read DogEval’s review of A Dog Named Jimmy here.)

Cross Ricochet with A Dog Named Jimmy and what do you get but Free Days with George: Learning Life’s Little Lessons with One Very Big Dog - one book you simply can’t put down.

Top Book

I truly loved reading George: I couldn’t read it fast enough. It will definitely be on DogEval’s list of “Top Books Read in 2016.”

Much of the book tells about how much and how long Colin Campbell loved Jane until and even after Jane left Colin (shades of Jimmy Choo). Fortunately, Colin has a job he is great at and which he loves, but still something is missing from his life since Jane left.

Enter a dog, a big dog, in need of a home* and what do you get but a loveable couple – dog and man - eventually. It takes a while for Colin to learn about dogs and George-the-dog in particular.

Who is George besides a Gentle Giant?

One big (140 pounds) Landseer (black and white) Newfoundland, a Newfie, who enters Colin’s life and teaches him about love after not doing so well in obedience classes.

George is one small frightened pup in a big dog body but a rare dog indeed, in that he responds so so very well to human hugs (Warning: most dogs don’t). George learns to play, he learns to trust – but slowly, even as his tail learns to wag. He ends up looking Colin in the eye with utter trust – when he isn’t busy licking Colin’s face whenever people are watching.

A Newfie** is a dog from Canada who was originally bred to save fishermen from the sea and to pull carts and, more recently, to jump from helicopters to rescue swimmers in trouble.

And The Writing Style is Warmly Funny

What makes a good book? A good story, well told. Campbell is a good story-teller with a good story to tell.
(Hardcover version)

“The tail, in particular, had many magical powers. . . with George blissfully oblivious of [sic] all of them. It could sweep, knock, smash, break and swipe almost anything placed on the coffee table. . . .George’s enchanted tail. . . discreetly swept my keys off the table. I only found them unexpectedly, under the sofa, an hour after I needed them and had given up the search.” (p. 109)

And the Fab Photos

George has two sections of color photos but the covers and two-page spreads will make you fall in love with these big gentle dogs.

Surfer Dude, Surfer Dog

Like father, like son – except here we have a dog bred to jump into the cold ocean and pull people (fishermen) to safety.

Would you believe a big ol’ Canadian dog moves to California and picks up surfing, only to win the hearts and minds of all the humans at Dog Beach, Huntington, California?

Just like when I met my first Great Dane and I asked what on earth that was (a small horse perhaps?), sunworshippers just couldn’t stay away from George who was even bigger than a Dane - and George ate it up - he was beyond happy.

So much so, that it was a toss-up whether his favorite pastime was meeting people and convincing them to rub his tummy – or swimming out to sea and grabbing a surfboard on the way in, competitive-style (“Getting him balanced on the board was like trying to set a table inside a working washing machine.” p. 193).

Picture big ol’ George in a dog life-vest that is too small, way too small. That in itself brought the crowds to meet him, a catalyst for smiles and giggles, for a photo op. George became the biggest, happiest dude on the beach.

A Responsible* Book

Not only does George always wear a life-vest when he goes surfing, and a leash when he goes walking, but his book gently educates one on big dogs, rescue dogs, and dog safety.

What is a Free Day?

By now, you are probably asking yourself, what is a free day? That, dear readers, I leave you to find out and to pass on to your children and grands. George will tell you.

*George came from a rescue dog organization in Canada. Campbell includes information on several dog rescues in Canada and the US (and elsewhere), in addition to information interspersed throughout the book about the Newfie breed being not for everyone. And passing the rescue organization interview is something Campbell obsessed over, but passed. He and George have since become ‘spokesmen’ for rescue and Newf rescues in particular.

**another famous Newfie is Nana from Peter Pan

Saturday, July 23, 2016

OT Book Review: Adventures of a Female Medical Detective (CDC, WHO, smallpox, AIDS, public health, epidemiology)

Adventures of a Female Medical Detective: In Pursuit of Smallpox and AIDS by Mary Guinan (Johns Hopkins University Press, $17.49, 144 pages, 2016)

Adventures of a Female Medical Detective is a short read, a collection of chronological stories, mostly about Smallpox and AIDS, by a very accomplished woman physician and biochemist (PhD) who worked for CDC (the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

Dr. Guinan joined the Epidemic Intelligence Service of the CDC 1974, traveled to Pakistan to interview Afghan refugees to ascertain how the US could best help with medical aid, and also interviewed some of the first AIDS patients in the 80s.

She was a member of a team in India who helped eradicate smallpox in 1977 (or so), Smallpox Target Zero, which held a reunion 20 years later.

With some quite funny episodes, the book has chapters of varying lengths, allowing you to skip around. However, the final verbose chapter is more educational than entertaining, and such an ending leaves one wondering why not close with another memorable anecdote instead?

Read more about it:

NOTE: and epidemiologist is one who studies disease outbreaks and prevention on a population level, a field I wish I had gone in to!

And The Band Played On, by Randy Shilts (and a movie available on Netflix), about the CDC search for the cause of AIDS in the 1980s

Friday, July 22, 2016

Dogs 3, Cats 0

Magazine: July 2016 issue of Western Horseman

I was surprised – I really thought I would see more dogs in Western Horseman but I found only three!

One Border Collie at work herding cattle in a feature article, one dog in a classified ad, and one probable dog somewhere in a cute cluttered drawing on the last page which always features a humorous essay by Baxter Black, veterinarian, the cowboy poet you can hear on National Public Radio.

For fun reading on the Western Horseman Facebook page, Small Towns Cowboy Charm.

Sorry, cats. I will keep trying. I know you appear in an ad somewhere. . . .

Thursday, July 21, 2016

EverythingDogBlog - Local Business: Howard County, MD

K-9’s and Coffee? What a convenient and cool summer idea! And, it’s so close.

“Bring your pup and grab a cup!” Tea with Fido? Yes!

You can take your pupster to Tiki’ s Playhouse (founded 2008) for free play on Saturday mornings and grab a cup, then sit on the back deck and watch the dogs have a ball in one of three grassy areas!
Sip on the back deck and watch the dogs play

K-9’s &Coffee has been open for business since 2014 and serves tea, coffee, muffins, cookies, and dog biscuits, of course! Monday through Friday from 6:30 am to noon and Saturday from 7:30 am to noon. I had the best chai latte EVER!

Love Coffee AND Love Dogs? No Problem!

Connections to the main ‘house’ at Kelvin Abrams’ Tiki’s Playhouse (the dog boarding and daycare facility) by an inside door and outside deck means you can drop off your dog and watch the fun with a cup of coffee while he plays in a huge half-acre canine playground.

(Just don’t feel like exercising Fido on a Saturday morning? Let Tiki do it!)

The coffee is organic and free-trade from Columbia’s own roasting company, Orinoco Coffee & Tea. Cookies and muffins are vegan and the tea (along with all the libations) are named after client-dogs and come in three different sizes: 12oz. Bulldog, 16oz. Weimaraner, and 20oz. Mastiff. You can even get it super sized.

Meet Chester, a Latte. Have a Matcha Tea – Madeline. Or nurse a brewed coffee called Brodie.


Located in Glenelg, MD, just off Route 32 between Clarksville and the Howard County Fairgrounds (and just down the street from a veterinarian) at 3830 Ten Oaks Road, Tiki’s is either right down the road from you or a pleasant short drive in the country. (It’s the old Eyre place - you know, the bus people – and a lovely house.)
3830 Ten Oaks Rd, Glenelg, MD

Make a Saturday Date with Your Dog

Bring your dog to play with others and then relax with ‘a cuppa from the cafĂ©’ – with Fido. For more information on Tiki’s Playhouse Weekend Playground, click here.

Not your typical dog park, Tiki’s on Saturday is like a private playdate!

PS – the canine is optional if you are currently dogless or if your Fido is tuckered out already. I brought my grandmother for a fun outing.

PPS – Tiki can also have your order ready if you call ahead. Tiki will even ship their Orinoco coffee for you and stocks great dog food, dog training treats and everything else your dog needs and wants in the gift shop. Check it out!