Thursday, February 28, 2008

Way to go, Pauly!

Pauly finished his Primer level math book this morning. Next week (or tomorrow if he begs) we'll start the Alpha level. Here he is holding his certificate of completion.

What is more exhausting than a toddler and a puppy?

Try a toddler who has a low platelet count and so must be continually monitored so she is not injured and who screams like a banshee when anything doesn't go exactly the way she wants it and a puppy who needs eye ointment a few times a day and a 3 1/2 year old and a homeschooled 5 1/2 year old and chilly weather and a muddy backyard and a broken coffee pot. I need a nap.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

My Poor Baby!

I'd noticed that Fenja's eyes seemed squinty from the get-go, and since we brought her home her eyes had been watery and goopy. At her vet visit yesterday, we learned she had entropion, a congenital defect where her eyelids roll inward, irritating her eye, and that she had a severe case. We were referred to another vet to handle the correction, and so yesterday Fenja had her eyelids "tacked" to attempt to train them to lie correctly.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine for Aunt Rosa

Pauly made this today.

Why did I say THAT?

Wow. Lately I've had a really bad time writing things on a particular message board that cause a ruckus, then a bit later I think, why on earth did I post that?? It doesn't even accurately represent what I really believe! I keep reacting to certain viewpoints, which would be fine if I didn't tend to misrepresent myself in the process.


Fenja's home!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Green Lightsaber

Yesterday Pauly (5) and Roger (3) were watching Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, and started talking about the green lightsaber. That is, they were talking about who had it (Qui Gon had it first) and who it was passed on to, and who it ended up with, through all the episodes. Wow. I don't know if there is only one green lightsaber, but I can't believe they noticed all that, and remembered it!!


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

What a waste of money!!

When I ordered us a copy of My Smart Puppy, which we'd previously checked out from the library, from Amazon, I went ahead and ordered How To Raise a Puppy You Can Live With, since it was inexpensive (especially since it bumped us up to free shipping) and had good reviews. Unfortunately, it wasn't till it got here that I could read one of the reviews on the back cover: "as important for puppies as preschool is for children." S0 it is just about worthless for a pup in a loving home! ; P

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

So who's the stupid one?

While investigating the city regulations for dog licensing, I found out that cats in my city need to be licensed as well. That surprised me, but I figured that we ought to do it. While I had Gwydion (the cat) at the vet yesterday, I noticed she had a sign up that said that cats and dogs in my town had to have a license, and to take the certificate of rabies vaccination over to city hall to buy the license. As it is right by the vet, we ran over there immediately afterwards. The receptionist, however, looked at me like I was a moron when I told her why we came in, and said "Your cat doesn't need a license."

We left. I hate feeling like I'm stupid. I cannot stand it. When we got home I checked the city website again. Yes, according to both the city website and the online city code, dogs and cats need licenses. : P

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Dogs, Temperament and "Prejudice"

I've been doing a lot of reading from a lot of different sources about dogs and puppies, and there is really a lot of nonsense out there. I just wanted to comment on something that's come up in several places, and is coming up right now on one of my forums: it is not the breed that makes a dog dangerous, it is the owner and training.

Well, yes and no.

Some breeds really are more aggressive than others, and some breeds really are more dangerous than others. Temperament is highly influenced by genetics, just as it is for humans, even if it is also highly influenced by environment and training as well. Some breeds were originally bred to be aggressive, such as pit bulls and other fighting dogs. Some breeds who were generally bred to be sweet, like golder retrievers and cocker spaniels, have been negatively impacted by back yard breeders and now aggressive strains exist. A large dog who is aggressive is going to be far more dangerous than a small dog who is aggressive.

On the other hand, you can find sweet dogs of any breed. If that dog is well-trained and well-handled, you will have a good dog. Now, I feel totally comfortable bringing Fenja into our home, although she is one quarter rottweiller, because of the temperament of the mother dog, because of her own apparent temperament, because of the likely influence from the labrador and bullmastiff genes, and because we've already made a commitment to training her. Everything I've read says that a well trained and well handled pure-bred rottweiller makes a good family pet, and a mix is likely to downplay any negative temperament tendencies. On the other hand, because rotts are big, strong and powerful dogs who are popular with individuals who might want an aggressive guard dog, I am certainly going to be a bit more wary around a strange rott than I would be around a strange smaller dog, until I know how his owners handle him. Some amount of "prejudice" makes sense when relating to dog breeds.

On the gripping hand, much of the prejudice against dangerous dogs is selective. That is, Malamutes, Chow Chows and Huskies are also high on "bite lists" which detail breeds who have bitten a human and caused serious damage, and yet they don't cause the same fear reaction that rottweillers and pitt bulls (or what individuals think are pit bulls) cause. Now, these bite lists have inherent problems, such as the fact that often the actual breed of the dog is unknown, and that many people think just about anything with a square head is a pit bull, but it is interesting to me that fear reactions to dogs still aren't actually based on the bite lists or any objective data, but simply which dogs look scarier.

I like the Humane Society's position statement on this:

The pup has a name!

We've decided on a name for the puppy, Fenja. Pronounced fen'-yah, Fenja is the name of a giantess from Norse mythology. See here for more info. And here's another pic of the sweetie.

Friday, February 01, 2008

The Science of Love

This was very, very interesting, especially the hypothesis that the Pill could interfere with our mate selection.