Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Dog's Purpose? (from a 6-year-old).

Found posted by Kay Ingle on VizslaWalk:

"Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker’s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on.

Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker's Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.  Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ''I know why.''

Startled, we all turned to him.  What came out of his mouth next stunned me.  I'd never heard a more comforting explanation.

It has changed the way I try and live.

He said,

 ''People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life -- like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?''

The Six-year-old continued,

''Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long.''

Live simply.

Love generously.

Care deeply.

Speak kindly.

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.

Take naps.

Stretch before rising.

Run, romp, and play daily.

Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.

On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Be loyal.

Never pretend to be something you're not.

If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Highways magazine turned me onto gopetfriendly

We get "The Good Sam Club Highways" magazine monthly since we are members.

Bailey hanging out on the bed in the Lazy Daze
On the cover of the April 2011 issue was "Animal House - RVing with Rover."  Good article about the challenges of RVing with dogs. 

At the bottom of the article, was the following:

"Good Sam members Amy and Rod Burkert are on a mission to make it easy to find destinations where our animal companions are welcome.  The Burkerts run a website, where travelers can find dog- and cat- friendly campgrounds and other accommodations, plus restaurants, beaches, and off-leash parks that the whole family can enjoy together."

Monday, March 28, 2011

Five Vizslas on top of the world

Zlata, Tony, Oliver, Chloe and Bailey.
by order of their ages.
Double click on any picture to make larger.
Catherine and I hiked the 4 miles up to the ridge while the dogs ran happily ahead of us.
Finally, after three weeks of almost constant rain, the sun came out.
This is a classic shot of two 5-year-old male Vizsla brothers (Tony and Oliver)
Pictures were taken yesterday on top of Briones Ridge, Briones Regional Park, Martinez, California..
The five dogs get along very well. 
Alpha Dog gets the big bed

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hidden Treasure -"Dog Beach" Morro Bay

 Six miles north of "The Rock" of Morro Bay is a section of coast owned by Chevron.

 This area is "dog friendly" to well-behaved dogs.  They are allowed to be off-leash in this one section that is maybe two miles long. 

 The signs going in to the dog beach tell users -
"keeping the beach clean and dogs under control." 

 The understanding is simple.  Dog owners have to be responsible for this section of beach to be open for use.  The off-leash right is fragile and revocable at any time.
 One of the few off-leash areas along the central coast of California.
 Bailey and Chloe had a great time.  The weather was grand.
The Rock of Morro Bay off in the distance

The exit off of Highway 1 is Yerba Buena Ave.  Then a quick right through a neighborhood to the parking area.  Our motor home was just about too big for the parking lot.  In the summer, we would not have found a place to park.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Why did I breed our Vizsla?

Bailey and Sophie doing the courtship dance.

I am not a professional dog person by any means.  I have never taken a husbandry class.  My thoughts on breeding are just from a guy who has fallen in love with the Hungarian Pointer and my desire to see the breed stay strong.

The Hungarian Pointer, Vizsla, with its rich 1,000-year history filled with glory and tragedy fascinates me.

At one of the earliest field trials that I ever attended, a judge called down from her horse.

"Handler, you have a good dog there.  I don't judge a Vizsla on how well it does against other Vizslas.  I judge a Vizsla against all pointing breeds.  That is the standard you should reach for.  To win against the best of the best." 

He placed second that day in the derby stake.

At 8 months old Bailey scored a perfect 112 at the Natural Abilities Test put on by the North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association.

I think he is a great Vizsla.  I hoped, one day, to breed him to a very good female.  He is a strong athlete with a great temperament and has excellent hunting skills.

If we had chosen to give Bailey over to a professional handler to stay and train full time, he would be a field champion in short order.  This is according to knowledgeable friends.

Before breeding Bailey to Sophie, her owner and I talked as we walked the two dogs up in the hills together.  We were checking the dogs out and the dogs were doing the same.

We printed out the genealogy charts of both dogs going back five generations. We then asked some of the most knowledgeable people in the Northern California Vizsla world to look over the charts. 

I would never had known how all the parts of the breeding puzzle would have gone together without their input.   It was quite interesting to watch as they looked and made comments on Vizsla names on the two charts going back decades.  There were certain things they were looking for as they scanned the names.

They saw this breeding couple as a very good match.

We then proceeded to breed the dogs.  Here is the post from February 5, 2011:

So, in three weeks Sophie is expecting to whelp the litter she and Bailey created.  I am excited.

The chances are excellent that they will be healthy.  We would expect them to also be physically and mentally ready to be good hunters. 

The genes and tests all point to some great pups.

I asked myself about who should get a Bailey pup?  I would hope for an owner who wants to get out everyday, rain or shine, and let the pup grow into their best friend and hopefully hunting partner.

 (I had never hunted before I got Bailey and now do it to watch this great creature do what comes naturally, but trained to be a team member with me.)

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but the moments that take our breath away."

It makes me proud to be a part of improving the Vizsla breed here on the West Coast.  That is quite a reward in itself.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Dog's best friend can be another dog

Double click mouse on video twice to make it "full screen."

CNN reported that the dogs have been rescued since the footage aired, and are both receiving veterinary care; the more seriously wounded dog is at a clinic in the city of Mito, while the protective spaniel-type dog is receiving care at a shelter in the same town.

Here is an English translation of the voiceover exchange between the two reporters in the clip (translation courtesy of Toshiyuki Kitamura):

"We are in Arahama area. Looks like there is a dog. There is a dog. He looks tired and dirty. He must have been caught in the tsunami. He looks very dirty.

He has a collar. He must be someone's pet. He has a silver collar. He is shaking. He seems very afraid.

Oh, there is another dog. I wonder if he is dead.


Right there. There is another dog right next to the one sitting down. He is not moving. I wonder. I wonder if he is alright.

The dog is protecting him.

Yes. He is protecting the dog. That is why he did not want us to approach them. He was trying to keep us at bay.

I can't watch this. This is a very difficult to watch.

Oh. Look. He is moving. He is alive. I am so happy to see that he is alive.

Yes! Yes! He is alive.

He looks to be weakened. We need to them to be rescued soon. We really want them rescued soon.

Oh good. He's getting up.

It is amazing how they survived the tremendous earthquake and tsunami.

It's just amazing that they survived through this all."

To find out what is happening to the animals in Japan and who to donate to, check out this article:

and this organization is helping the animals there:

Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What Is A Commercial Breeder?

  Family News Story - WSOC Charlotte  - March 14, 2011

"One who usually has several breeds of dogs breeding for the commercial market and has profit as their primary motive to breed. Many times the bottom line is their only concern, cutting corners where ever possible.

The dogs may be healthy or not and the kennel may be clean or not. They may not raise the puppies with plenty of environmental and human contact and are not socialized. The dogs are probably not screened for genetic diseases, and the breeding stock is probably not selected for resemblance to the breed standard or for good health or temperament.

Their puppies usually have many genetic diseases and are not considered to be the healthiest.  Their dogs do not compete at dog shows and do not have their championship title.  Commercial breeders sell their puppies to brokers whom then sell the puppies to pet stores all over the world or to research facilities."

(from the article) Puppy Mill Dogs SPEAK!: Happy Stories and Helpful AdviceOUR MISSION: To inform and educate people about the differences between an ethical/responsible breeder, a commercial breeder, a puppy mill, a broker, a backyard breeder and where pet store puppies come from. Our hope is to emphasize the differences between a planned well-bred dog verses a dog that was just bred to have puppies and make money.

Our goal is to help make a difference and put an end to the misery suffering of millions of dogs locked away."

Back in July of 2010, I posted "Purchasing a Vizsla so it doesn't end up in rescue."

Forget the Treadmill - Get a Vizsla

Kevin Moloney for The New York Times


Among dog owners who went for regular walks, 60 percent met federal criteria for regular moderate or vigorous exercise, a new study says.

If you’re looking for the latest in home exercise equipment, you may want to consider something with four legs and a wagging tail.

Several studies now show that dogs can be powerful motivators to get people moving. Not only are dog owners more likely to take regular walks, but new research shows that dog walkers are more active over all than people who don’t have dogs.

One study even found that older people are more likely to take regular walks if the walking companion is canine rather than human.

“You need to walk, and so does your dog,” said Rebecca A. Johnson, director of the human-animal interaction research center at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine. “It’s good for both ends of the leash.”

Just last week, researchers from Michigan State University reported that among dog owners who took their pets for regular walks, 60 percent met federal criteria for regular moderate or vigorous exercise. Nearly half of dog walkers exercised an average of 30 minutes a day at least five days a week. By comparison, only about a third of those without dogs got that much regular exercise.

The researchers tracked the exercise habits of 5,900 people in Michigan, including 2,170 who owned dogs. They found that about two-thirds of dog owners took their pets for regular walks, defined as lasting at least 10 minutes.

Unlike other studies of dog ownership and walking, this one also tracked other forms of exercise, seeking to answer what the lead author, Mathew Reeves, called an obvious question: whether dog walking “adds significantly to the amount of exercise you do, or is it simply that it replaces exercise you would have done otherwise?”

The answers were encouraging, said Dr. Reeves, an associate professor of epidemiology at Michigan State. The dog walkers had higher overall levels of both moderate and vigorous physical activity than the other subjects, and they were more likely to take part in other leisure-time physical activities like sports and gardening. On average, they exercised about 30 minutes a week more than people who didn’t have dogs.

Do you dance with your cat? Play Frisbee with your dog? Sing with your bird? Send us your videos showing how your pets keep you healthy.

Dr. Reeves, who owns two Labrador mixes named Cadbury and Bella, said he was not surprised.

“There is exercise that gets done in this household that wouldn’t get done otherwise,” he said. “Our dogs demand that you take them out at 10 o’clock at night, when it’s the last thing you feel like doing. They’re not going to leave you alone until they get their walk in.”

But owning a dog didn’t guarantee physical activity. Some owners in the study did not walk their dogs, and they posted far less overall exercise than dog walkers or people who didn’t have a dog.

Dog walking was highest among the young and educated, with 18-to-24-year-old owners twice as likely to walk the dog as those over 65, and college graduates more than twice as likely as those with less education. Younger dogs were more likely to be walked than older dogs; and larger dogs (45 pounds or more) were taken for longer walks than smaller dogs.

The researchers asked owners who didn’t walk their pets to explain why. About 40 percent said their dogs ran free in a yard, so they didn’t need walks; 11 percent hired dog walkers.

Nine percent said they didn’t have time to walk their dogs, while another 9 percent said their dogs were too ill behaved to take on a walk. Age of the dog or dog owner also had an effect: 9 percent said the dog was too old to go for walks, while 8 percent said the owner was too old.

“There is still a lot more dog walking that could be done among dog owners,” Dr. Reeves said.

And the question remains whether owning a dog encourages regular activity or whether active, healthy people are simply more likely to acquire dogs as walking companions.

A 2008 study in Western Australia addressed the question when it followed 773 adults who didn’t have dogs. After a year, 92 people, or 12 percent of the group, had acquired a dog. Getting a dog increased average walking by about 30 minutes a week, compared with those who didn’t own dogs.

But on closer analysis, the new dog owners had been laggards before getting a dog, walking about 24 percent less than other people without dogs.

The researchers found that one of the motivations for getting a dog was a desire to get more exercise. Before getting a dog, the new dog owners had clocked about 89 minutes of weekly walking, but dog ownership boosted that number to 130 minutes a week.

A study of 41,500 California residents also looked at walking among dog and cat owners as well as those who didn’t have pets. Dog owners were about 60 percent more likely to walk for leisure than people who owned a cat or no pet at all. That translated to an extra 19 minutes a week of walking compared with people without dogs.

A study last year from the University of Missouri showed that for getting exercise, dogs are better walking companions than humans. In a 12-week study of 54 older adults at an assisted-living home, some people selected a friend or spouse as a walking companion, while others took a bus daily to a local animal shelter, where they were assigned a dog to walk.

To the surprise of the researchers, the dog walkers showed a much greater improvement in fitness. Walking speed among the dog walkers increased by 28 percent, compared with just 4 percent among the human walkers.

Dr. Johnson, the study’s lead author, said that human walkers often complained about the heat and talked each other out of exercise, but that people who were paired with dogs didn’t make those excuses.

“They help themselves by helping the dog,” said Dr. Johnson, co-author of the new book “Walk a Hound, Lose a Pound,” to be published in May by Purdue University Press. “If we’re committed to a dog, it enables us to commit to physical activity ourselves.”



Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Hidden Treasure - El Chorro Park

Northwest of San Luis Obispo on Highway 1 is a regional park named "El Chorro."

A wonderful park with RV full hook-ups, great fenced-in dog parks for small and large dogs, and a couple miles of walking trails. 

Dairy Creek Walk-in Area was very quiet on a Friday morning.  We had been evacuated out of Pismo Beach and found this great "hidden treasure."  A few other travelers with dogs joined us over the couple hours we spent in the park.
Once in the walk-in area, we found a great creek where the dogs could enjoy some "leash-free" time -- not authorized, but we were the only people and dogs around for most of the time.

This "hidden treasure" was also in our California for Dog Lovers book.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pismo Beach - for happy beach dogs

Even though the beach requires dogs to be "on-leash," my 20-foot-long training leads that Bailey and Chloe had on brought only smiles from the park rangers as they drove by in their trucks.  The beaches are quiet this time of year.  Actually some of the best weather is this time of year along this section of the Central California Coast.
The combination of dunes and wide beach sands is unique in this area of the state.  The Pismo Beach State Park has miles of sand dunes open to 4 wheelers.  This is just south of town and directly below the Pismo Village RV resort that we stayed at last Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday (until we were ordered to leave.)

Bailey thinks he can "creep up" on a group of sea gulls

Early morning in the thick coastal fog, I let Bailey and Chloe off-leash on the beach (not officially allowed.)

  Besides a couple joggers, we had the beach to ourselves.  Bailey had a wonderful time chasing sea gulls and sand pipers along the beach and out into the surf.  He never got close, but was he HAPPY!  Chloe got to chase her ball.

Sunset from the Pismo Village RV resort

Walking the dogs toward the Pismo Beach pier

At 5am on Friday, March 11, we got a knock on the RV door telling us we had to evacuate the RV park and move to higher ground because of the tsunami expected from the Japan earthquake.  We packed up and left by 5:30 and headed inland.  This gave us the opportunity to find new dog-friendly "hidden treasures" before we headed to Morro Bay (20 miles north of Pismo Beach.)