Saturday, July 24, 2010

Ridley's PennHip report

I have been holding my breath since I had Ridley's films taken for her PennHip.  Not because I was worried that they wouldn't pass-- I had seen the films and thought they looked great-- but because I was certain the numbers would be so low I could barely wait to shout it from the rooftops!

Today the letter arrived. I was surprised to see her results were .42/.46.   Her dam has the best PennHip scores of all Dutch Shepherds in the database.  Her dam and siblings also had terrific scores.  The sires scores were not as stellar, but still nice enough.  Damned if Ridley didn't take after the sire's side of the family!  There are currently only 89 dogs in the Dutch Shepherd database and the median is .41.  Statistically I know that this isn't a fair representation of the laxity in the breed as few people use PennHip. Heck, there are still quite a few breeders out there who don't Xray at all and instead will tell potential buyers "well, we've never had a problem..."

I will probably have an OFA film taken when she turns 2, just out of curiosity. I've seen the films and they look so darned good, but the laxity is what PH measures.  I like her temperament and her drive, the size and the better rear angulation. She has a wonderful full, calm grip. There is just so much to like about her that I was sure hoping the hip scores would have been better.

I do not hide from the results and scores of my dogs, whether it be in trialing or health checks.  So there it is. Having seen and owned dogs with horrible, horrible hips, the flip side is that hers aren't bad. They just aren't as good as I had hoped.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Evil Genius of Nook

While I am referencing the Barnes and Noble product, the Nook, this post is directed broadly at all e-books. It is dog-related only in the fact that I own dogs and dislike the Nook.  Bear in mind that at one time I also disliked the Blackberry, aka: Crackberry, but that was before one apparently became surgically attached to me. However, as I was reading the old fashioned way over the breakfast table this morning, my mind wandered-- as it often does-- and I pondered (a real book word if ever there was one!) the demise of the paper paged book in this electronic age.

I came to the realization that e-books are part of an evil plot not only to strip us of our individuality but to set up this nation to be further controlled by media. You heard it here first, boys and girls!  Or if not, it's only because I have been busy reading books and training dogs, and didn't see it posted on Entertainment Tonight.

There was a time when we were identified by the books we carried and people made assumptions based on them.  If I carried the biography of Sarah Palin, people would assume I was a right wing supporter.  Tuck a copy of one of Obama's hope-and-change missives and folks would likewise view me as Democrat brother in arms.  Want to appear upwardly mobile? Perhaps something by Stephen Covey would appeal to you.  And if you are preparing to fly then make a selection that might evoke commentary or interest from a suitable seat-mate.  Most certainly, you would not be found boarding with a copy of "My with Osama Bin Laden" or "how to explode planes in mid-air".

With the advent of e-books, all that has changed.  See someone carrying one of those little babies, and you have no idea what is contained inside.  The gentleman across the aisle on your next flight could, indeed, be reading the recipe for combining ingredients for an explosive and pulling up charts on the optimum placement.  You don't know if they are reading "War and Peace' or an autobiography on Adam Sandler.  Which may be why e-book owners are left to personalize the product with snappy little covers.  If you can't read the book, at least check out my cover!

Naturally, I realize that the same could be said for laptops and the fact that e-books are nothing more than laptops just for books, so some of this is simply facetious.  The real core of the matter is the loss of paper pages and bound books, and sitting in a comfy chair at Barnes and Noble admist the comforting smells of other books.  Does it really have the same effect to imagine assorted customers, lounging about, reading from their e-books?  Not to me.

E-books do not encourage sharing.  They reward recruitment.  You cannot freely exchange books with friends or acquaintances; those can only be shared between members of the same e-book cult.  Nook members share with Nooksters, and Kindles only share with kindlers... you get the picture. You actually purchase a viewing license, not a book. It isn't yours. It belongs to Da Man.  There was a movement a few years back that I recall, where a person would leave a book they enjoyed but no longer wanted in a public area for any other person to pick up and enjoy, and the progress of the books was tracked on a website.  Imagine doing that with an e-book? hahahaaa! "Nook left on bench at bus station. No location subsequently noted.."

As to the downfall of humanity, if all books are maintained electronically then once you pull that plug and limit energy usage (and thus, recharging) or simply stop producing books for electronic media OR control whose books you produce then our knowledge of a world outside ourselves will be limited by the puppetmasters.  I know this sounds much like a whispered conspiracy theory, but if you recall, there was a time when knowledge and power were controlled by not allowing everyone to learn to read.  Now that we know how to read, the only control mechanism is restricting what we can access to read.

When that happens, I will still have my fine collection of hard-bound books.  And your battery dies or your power goes out, or the flight attendant advises you to power-off electronic devices, I will be reading my books. To my Barnes and Noble compatriots I say "do not abandon the paper page." May they continue long past the expiration of this... ahem... electronic blog.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Search for Missing Boy

Our search team, People and Paws, was activated yesterday to search for a missing 8 year old Reedsburg boy.  The boy had left his home around 3:45 the previous day and was reported missing to Law Enforcement several hours later after an unsuccessful search by family members.  When I received the call, I quickly canceled the private lessons I had scheduled for the day.  Everyone was understanding of the priorities and I appreciate that.

The location is about three hours from here and most of our team arrived at around the same time to discover a parking lot filled with fire department and rescue vehicles, horse trailers, squad cars and school buses.  It seemed the entire town had emptied to assist in the search. On a personal level, I question some of the well-intentioned who were accompanied by young children. I cannot believe they had an understanding of what they might find and how shocking that might be to a child.

 Ultimately we would move our command post away from that scene, to a location nearby where the dogs had shade and we could deploy away from the prying eyes of media. I have great respect for the Incident Command System in place for our team and those we work closely with.  There are other teams whose knowledge, certifications and expertise dove-tail with that of PnP and who we work jointly with on numerous searches.  K9SOS and WolfSAR were two of the other teams who worked the incident with us.

I will not go into detail about the search except to say that I was extremely impressed by the work of Lynn Gardiner and her bloodhound, Abby.  Abby is a youngster but demonstrated ability and a strong work ethic.  In the end, there is a tragic post script to the story; the young lad had apparently entered the Baraboo River and drowned. I dislike the term "closure".  Does a family who loses a child ever truly close that door?   But he is at least returned to them to say good-bye.  Pray that this family finds strength to deal with their loss.

The team will be answer the call to locate another missing child in the future.  We will pack our gear, load our dogs, and hope for a different outcome, never forgetting the families who are waiting to bring their loved ones home.

Photos from the MR trial

Melissa Mims and Lykos, decoy Scott Dunmore


Mongoose on Object Guard

Lisa Geller and Mongoose, DOH

Pi, decoy Dennis Bilik

Steve Garvin and Bogan

                                                             Jeremy Norton