Sunday, July 29, 2012

30 DOCPP Days 6&7

The many faces of Copley.  I don't know why he sits on that file bin while I am on the computer.  Kerrigan started it but she fits up there really well being so small.  Copley just looks silly!

Friday, July 27, 2012

30 DOCPP Day 5

This is totally dog related.  I made a Starcraft themed cake (starcraft is a video game and a sport I enjoy watching online in case you are not familiar) for my brother in law's birthday.  I am so proud, it is possibly the best looking cake I have ever decorated.  Also Kerrigan is named after a character from Starcraft and Starcraft 2.  Sara Kerrigan- the ghost turned Queen of Blades Zerg Queen.  See dog related.  Totally.

If it survives well and looks good with the candles on Saturday I will put more pictures of it on facebook.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

30 DOCPP Day 4

We don't usually torture our mice by making them stay in an empty cage with a dog staring at them- but today was cleaning day.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

30 DOCPP Day 3

My dogs are too smart to be scared of the vacume. They are scared of the vacume when it is plugged in and turned on.  Otherwise they could not care less about the hunk of plastic.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

30 DOCCP Day 2

Peanut butter ice cubes!  It is 100 out so I like to make flavored ice cubes for the dogs when they are hanging out in the yard.  I don't use the mixes that came with the tray anymore cause they are expensive- now I put in a little natural peanut butter then pour broth over it and freeze.  The peanut butter makes it easier for the cubes to come out when you want them to and the dogs love em!

Monday, July 23, 2012

30 DOCPP Day 1

Kerrigan with her favorite (by far) toy, a flamingo.  She wants me to throw it.

PS- I am not promising a post every day, I will take a picture every day but you might get some 2 for 1 posts if I am too busy to edit and post every day.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


DogInTheDesert is now on facebook!

30 days of Cell Phone Photos

I have always loved the idea of photo challenges bloggers do where everyone takes pictures every day for X days and I think it is pretty cool to document life like that. Unfourtinately I can never get it together to link up on the right day and grab buttons and stuff. So I am just going to go it alone!  Starting today I am going to post a photo every day for 30 days.  Why now?  Well we are going on vacation soon, starting new agility classes and generally having a great time this summer so it seemed like a good time to do it. I hope you all enjoy!

Oh- and I am going to do it all from my cell phone so I am forced to check out new imaging software and get better at connecting with the blog on the go.  This could be a disaster or it could be really cute! 

Friday, July 20, 2012

I dumped My Vet

It wasn't them it was me.  Seriously our vet was really good- for most people.  They care about animals and they try to do the best and have reasonable prices.  The problem is that they just were not doing it for me.  A few factors really played into it.
  1. Raw Food.  I feed raw and I believe 100% that a home-made diet (not necessarily raw) is good for dogs.  There is no way in my mind that processed dry nuggets are better for your dog than whole foods sourced from trustworthy places.  At the very least I would expect them to recommend a HIGH QUALITY kibble- not Science Diet or the equally corn filled Purina.  I understand that there are a lot of complicated issues when it comes to why vets are against home-made food, but basically it comes down to dog food companies having a vice grip on vet schools and continuing their propaganda campaigns long into vets carriers.  I really felt it was time I found a vet who could see why raw feeding was better- and I did.  It was getting to the point where I could not remain civil in a conversation about how processed nuggets were better and I was probably killing my dog by not feeding them.  I also believe our blood-work was being only glanced over because the vets believed it was a byproduct of what we feed.  Unfortunately it was actually a DISEASE slowly killing my dog, not my food.
  2. Vaccinations.  I am not anti-vaccine.  I do however have a problem with giving my dogs vaccines every year for parvo and distemper when those vaccines have shown to last for 7+ years.  Especially when my dog is fighting a disease that is attacking his immune system.  Don't even get me started on bordatella and the guilt trip I got from the receptionist every six months for not giving that!
  3. Chiropractic and alternative medicine.  I am not against western medicine.  I also don't see why it is a problem to look at all modalities available to us to achieve good health.  The way I see it prevention is always the best medicine and often eastern or holistic approaches are about maintaining good health overall, not just treating problems once they happen.  What is wrong with those approaches?  NOTHING.  That is why we have changed to a holistic-centered vet who also understands you need an ER or some antibiotics every once and a while!  Lets use everything we have available to us and keep an open mind.  My old vet was not willing to do that.  They wanted me to put my 3 year old dog an an NSAID for the rest of his life and feed him glucosamine filled kibble (they never could come up with a good answer about how my giving them joint supplements would be any less effective than a kibble company doing it).  I can only imagine what Copley would have looked like after 2 years of NSAIDS, kibble and Lyme disease.  I don't think he would see his 6th birthday in that scenario. (I don't mean to say NSAIDS- or long term use of them- is always bad.  It makes a lot of dogs comfortable and with proper monitoring it is often the best choice.  For us it was putting a band-aid on a degenerative disease.)
  4. Tick Borne Disease Literacy.  I needed a vet who had treated and seen TBDs before.  They are tricky and the symptoms are subtle and seem like other things.  Every time I went in it cost me $200 and they told me it was nothing.  The new vet looked at our whole picture and came up with a solution.
  5. Fear Mongering.  I started getting stuff in the mail about putting my dog on flea/tick/heart worm meds and how I was doing them a horrible disservice and  killing my dogs by not having them on monthly frontline and de-wormers (for the record I DO test for heart worm and think people in areas with it should use preventatives).  This bothered me for two main reasons.  First it was propaganda made by a pharmaceutical company but was disguised as a meaningful letter from my vet.  Secondly WE DON'T HAVE FLEAS or TICKS or MOSQUITOES HERE!!!!!  They are literally just ripping people off at best, and tricking them at worst.
For now I guess that's it.  My did this turn into a rant.  I guess it is like all bad breakups- I am a little bitter.  Seriously though- my old vet isn't that bad.  If you don't mind standing up to them about the food thing and your dog doesn't have a TBD they are one of the best vets in the city.

Enjoy this picture of what really matters- a happy, healthy Copley enjoying a romp in a field of swamp cabbage.

Monday, July 16, 2012

CGC Tomorow

Kerri is taking her CGC test tomorrow.  My prediction- she will fail supervised separation and pass the rest with flying colors.  So lets all hope I am wrong and we will have Good Citizen in less than 24 hours.  Ben is handling her for the test so I get to just sit at home and wait for results.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Happy Adoption Day Copley!!

This post is a little late- 19 days late in fact!  Nevertheless Copley recently celebrated his 2 year adoption day!  I was going to have a party but it also corresponded with my wedding anniversary and a four day weekend so we were out of town.

I do have a picture of the highlight of Copley's adoption day (at least for him).  He saw a deer-

Then he immediately did an impression of a pointer-

HAPPY ADOPTION DAY COPLEY!  Next year I promise you a party.

Friday, July 13, 2012


 This past week we took a trip up to Utah to get out of the oppressive Vegas heat.  We stayed in a dog friendly cabin at a place called Duck Creek and visited Cedar Breaks National Monument, Brian Head, Dixie National forest and briefly Zion National Park.  I love national forests for a few reasons.  Firstly they tend to be less busy and just as beautiful as the parks.  Typically there are less amenities and they are quite the distance from civilization, but that has its perks too.  The other great thing about national forests is that dogs are allowed all over most of them- unlike national parks where they are confined to campgrounds, picnic areas and the occasional dog friendly "trail."

This trip was soooo nice.  Mostly because I don't have a puppy anymore.  As you can see in the picture above I have a well behaved adult dog with a 20+ foot sit-stay in high distraction environments.  I didn't have to work about Kerrigan peeing in the cabin, or doing any thing totally nuts.  Having a puppy was rewarding and fun, and under certain circumstances I would do it again, but I am oh so glad it is over. 

In other news- southern Utah has LAVA FLOWS!!  According to the one piece of information I found on these lava flows they are only between 1,000 and 5,000 years old.  Crazy right?  I am on a mission to learn more about these lava flows- cause they were so cool.  These lava flows also somehow created something called a "lava tube" and the parks service was kind enough to make it totally safe and accessible for you average non-spelunking tourist!

 Here is the entrance to "Mamoth Cave"- which actually is a lava tube.  Ben and Kerri were the first to brave the cave.

 Me and Copley waited at the opening while they checked it out.

 Kerri was scared shitless of the cave- so they left quickly and we traded dogs.

 Copley was willing to go in the cave but only would step in places where Ben shined the light.  I think it was a good experience overall but looking at these pictures he does seem a little worried.

Above is the "exit hole" to the cave.  It looks really hardcore- but a family of 15 with a baby did the cave before us- it really is not as crazy as it looks.

The picture above is on the one dog friendly "trail" at Cedar Breaks National Monument.  It was along a ridge and the views were great.  I also had a rare good experience with people commenting on the dogs.  A family with two small children came walking up from the camp site and asked to pet the dogs.  Copley and Kerri both sat politely while the kids pet them and I chatted with the parents who were AMAZED our dogs were not barking and totally flipping out at the idea of being outside in the widerness.  They even asked "why are your dogs not barking at everything?"  I told them it was simple- I trained them not to!  I really don't see why our dogs are so amazing- they really aren't.  All I have done to make my dogs well behaved in public is socialize them and take the time (very little time overall) to train them how to behave appropriately.  Mostly I am just proud of my dogs for being such good examples while they are out in public.

This post got a little long- I will have to give Zion it's own update- so be on the look out for that soon.

Monday, July 2, 2012


Copley hanging with a bully friend
Copley doesn't see breeds- he just sees the butt of another friend

I am pretty sure most of my readers out there are small dog owners- and I am too.  One of the things that strikes me about a lot of small dog owners is that they always have a story like "I never would had gotten a dog this small but..."  I have a story like that too.  The path that led me to chihuahuas was a long one that also led me to love the other most neglected and misjudged breed in this city.  I have written about that before.  In honor of those "pit bulls" who taught me all dogs are just dogs- no matter what they looked like I teamed up with my friend Jesica to talk a little about pit bull type dogs and how she is working to help them in our community.  

In 2011, after spending some time working as a volunteer in the Las Vegas animal welfare community, Jesica Clemens was compelled to start the nonprofit organization that came to be known as Incred-A-Bull. The inspiration for the group were her two recently adopted “pit bull” dogs and the dozens of medium sized, muscular, short-haired, big headed dog she had the pleasure of working with while volunteering and fostering. 

Jesica talks a little about why she started the organization and where it is headed today- “In my time working and living with these dogs, it seems as if there are two groups of people when it comes to 'pit bulls'. There are the lovers, people who have, had or know other bullies and are drawn to them like magnets, as they have seen first-hand what these dogs are really about. LOVE! And then there are those who lack first-hand experience or take the stories in the press at face value. And avoid us like the plague! That is something I felt was unjust and wanted to change. I thought education was a great place to start.” explained Clemens. The idea behind the organization was simple, and the mission soon became, “To restore the positive image of 'pit bull' dogs through education, advocacy and low cost services such as spay and neuter.”

During the relatively short time the organization has been in existence, Incred-A-Bull has already begun to make an impact in their community, by encouraging responsible ownership practices and asking the public to put aside their preconceived notions and see each dog, no matter its appearance as an individual. Some of their programs and activities include a low cost spay and neuter program, a 5 week obedience class for dogs of any kind called Fun with Obedience, pairing basic skills with an introduction to agility, a meetup group aimed at building a community of responsible dog owners working to end breed discrimination, educational outreach offerings and a petition initiative in support of a revision to NRS 202.500. The revision to the statute that addresses dogs considered to be dangerous or vicious would add language making it unlawful to enforce or enact any measure based solely on the appearance or perceived breed of a dog. In a nutshell, it would prohibit Breed Specific Legislation, also known as BSL in the state of Nevada. While many people believe BSL is a “pit bull” issue, that is far from the case. Across the country dogs affected by BSL include German Shepherds, Dalmatians, Saint Bernards and Chihuahuas. The point being, if we allow the discriminatory practices to become accepted public policy, no dog is safe.

The biggest challenge the organization faces in accomplishing their mission is dispelling the myths about these dogs that have made their way into the psyche of the general public. So, we thought we would take a look at some of the most common misconceptions.  In typical Dog In the Desert fashion we will do that with pictures too.
Myth #1: Pit bulls have poor temperaments, making them dangerous. 
The American Temperament Test Society has put tens of thousands of dogs, varying in breed, through multi part temperament tests since their inception in 1977. The ATTS has set the standard for uniform temperament evaluations across the United States. The average score among all tested breeds is 81.6%, the American Pit Bull Terrier tests at 86.8%. Here are just some of their findings, 100% being a perfect score: Border Collie 81.3%, Chihuahua 68.3%, Labrador Retriever 92.3% and the Lhasa Apso 70.4%.

Myth #2: Pit bulls have locking jaws.
In a University of Georgia study, Dr. I Lehr Brisbin reported,” We have found that the American Pit Bull Terrier did not have any unique mechanism that would allow these dogs to lock their jaws. The few studies which have been conducted on the structure of the skulls, mandibles and teeth of the pit bull show that, in proportion to their size, their jaw structure and thus its inferred functional morphology is no different than that of any breed of dog.”

Myth #3: Pit bulls are aggressive towards other animals, especially dogs.
Each dog is an individual and has its own level of tolerance for other dogs and animals. Dog aggression is not a black and white issue. Each dog, regardless of breed or type, exhibits different tolerance levels based on genetic predisposition and past experience. Pit bulls are in the terrier group, making them less tolerant of poor social behavior and some have a high prey drive. Conversely, there are many pit bulls who peacefully exist with animals of all shapes, sizes and species. 

Want to learn more on the issues surrounding these misunderstood dogs and the organization? Visit their website at  The group is run solely by dedicated volunteers, they pay no salaries, and all donations are used to keep their programs up and running. All donations are tax deductible, and they accept both money and merchandise that they can resell. Incred-A-Bull is always looking for talented people dedicated to restoring the image of such wonderful dogs. If you are interested in volunteering please contact them today! 

Most importantly I hope all my readers can take some time to get to know a pit bull-type dog, you wont regret it!  And thank you Jesica and Incred-a-bull for helping me put together this post.