Sunday 24 April 2011

Call to Action

Hello everyone.

I am repeating this posting verbaitim from another blog.... Click the link to read the origional posting.

Android, who is owned by Google, has available in the Android Market a new downloadable game application for your phone called DOG WARS (developed by Kage Games LLC). This is a DOG FIGHTING GAME. The player feeds, waters, trains and FIGHTS the virtual dog for virtual money. It is clear to me that the people at Google/Android /Kage Games think dog fighting is a joke and that perpetuating the myth that pit bulls are inherently aggressive has no repercussions.

Call to Action: Contact the Android market team here and email to demand this disgusting application be banned from the Android Market.

REPEATEDLY EMAIL until they take this application off the market.

This kind of stereotyping is responsible for countless deaths of loving, gentle and well adjusted pit bulls across the country. These innocent dogs suffer and die in shelters because it gives false verification to the public that pit bull type dogs are vicious. The people at Google/Android and Kage Games are too daft to realize that aggression is not a breed issue, it is a dog issue. Any dog breed can be “trained” to behave aggressively. This fact has been supported time and again.

The developers state on the game description page “If you have a bug up your b*tt about the game concept, remember: It is just A VIDEO GAME…” It is not just a video game, it is irresponsible and devastating to the animals that are victims of this abuse. The animal abusers who participate in dog fights starve, beat and train the dogs to behave aggressively to both animals and people.

Fighting dogs are kept isolated from other dogs

Fighting dogs spend most of their lives on short, heavy chains, often just out of reach of other dogs.

Fighting dogs may also be given a variety of legal and illegal drugs, including anabolic steroids to enhance muscle mass and encourage aggressiveness. Narcotic drugs may also be used to increase the dogs’ aggression, increase reactivity and mask pain or fear during a fight. Young animals are often trained or tested by allowing them to fight with other dogs in well-controlled “rolls.” Those who show little inclination to fight may be discarded or killed. Some fighters will use stolen pets as “bait dogs,” or sparring partners.

Fighting dogs used by all types of fighters may have their ears cropped and tails docked close to their bodies. This serves two purposes. First, it limits the areas of the body that another dog can grab onto in a fight, and second, it makes it more difficult for other dogs to read the animal’s mood and intentions through the normal body language cues dogs use in aggressive encounters. Fighters usually perform this cropping/docking themselves using crude and inhumane techniques

The effects of dog fighting are devastating, please take a moment to speak up for the victims, thank you

Yip Yap

Poppy XX

Thursday 21 April 2011

Celebrity dogs (12)

Hello everyone.

Today I have an truly amazing tale of courage and daring, one that will amaze and move any animal lover to tears of joy and sorrow. I think that everyone will know that the Husky sled dog was the primary means of transportation and communication in subarctic communities around the world. Long before the first aircraft flew in Arctic conditions in the 1930s. Long before the snowmobile arrived in the 1960s. Both new means of transport which drove the use of a dog sled almost to the point of extinction.

We are going back in time to the summer of 1924, the only doctor in Nome Alaska and the surrounding communities was Dr Curtis Welch. His supply of 80,000 units of diphtheria antitoxin (dated 1918) had time expired. The replacement order for serum he had placed with the health commissioner in Juneau had not arrived before the port closed for the winter freeze.

On January 22, 1925, Welch sent a radio telegram and alerted all major towns in Alaska including the governor in Juneau of a major risk to public health. In a second radio telegram to the Public Health Service in Washington, Dr Welch wrote: "An epidemic of diphtheria is almost inevitable here STOP I am in urgent need of one million units of diphtheria antitoxin STOP Mail is only form of transportation STOP I have made application to Commissioner of Health of the Territories for antitoxin already STOP There are about 3000 white natives in the district. STOP"

And so began what became known as at the time as the "Great Race of Mercy" when 20 mushers and about 150 sled dogs relayed diphtheria antitoxin 674 miles (1,085 km) across Alaska in a record-breaking five and a half days. (Nenana to Nome by dog sled normally took 25 days) 

The temperatures across the Interior were at 20-year lows due to a high pressure system from the Arctic, in Fairbanks the temperature was already at −50 °F (−46 °C).  Thus in these exceptional weather conditions Balto, Blackie, and Togo the Husky and their brothers and sisters saved the small city of Nome and the surrounding communities from an incipient epidemic. Both the mushers and their dogs were later portrayed as heroes and received headline coverage in newspapers all across the World.

The first musher in the relay was "Wild Bill" Shannon. Despite a temperature of −50 °F (−46 °C), Shannon left immediately with his team of 9 inexperienced dogs, led by Blackie. The temperature began to drop, and the team was forced onto the colder ice of the river. Shannon developed hypothermia. He reached Minto at 3 AM, with parts of his face black from frostbite. The temperature was −62 °F (−52 °C). After warming the serum by the fire and resting for four hours, Shannon dropped three exhausted dogs from his team and left with the remaining 6.

Edgar Kallands waited in Tolovana. Shannon and his team arrived in bad shape at 11 AM, and handed over the serum. Kallands headed into the forest. The temperature had risen to −56 °F (−49 °C), and according to one report, they had to pour hot water over Kallands' hands to get them off the sled's handlebar when he arrived at 4 PM.

George Nollner delivered the serum to Charlie Evans at Bishop Mountain on January 30 at 3 AM. The temperature had warmed slightly, but at −62 °F (−52 °C) was dropping again. Evans relied on his lead dogs when he passed through ice fog where the Koyukuk River had broken through and surged over the ice, but forgot to protect the groins of his two short-haired mixed breed lead dogs with rabbit skins. Both dogs collapsed with frostbite. He arrived at 10 AM; both lead dogs were dead. Musher Tommy Patsy departed on his leg of the trip within half an hour. 

The serum then crossed the Kaltag Portage in the hands of Victor Anagick, who handed it to his fellow Alaska Native Myles Gonangnan on the shores of the Sound, at Unalakleet on January 31 at 5 AM. Gonangan saw the signs of a storm brewing, and decided not to take the shortcut across the dangerous ice of the Sound. He departed at 5:30 AM, and as he crossed the hills, "the eddies of drifting, swirling snow passing between the dog's legs and under the bellies made them appear to be fording a fast running river." The whiteout conditions cleared as he reached the shore, and the gale-force winds drove the wind chill to −70 °F (−57 °C). At 3 PM he arrived at Shaktoolik. Seppala was not there, but Henry Ivanoff was waiting on stand-by just in case.

Leonhard Seppala and his dog sled team, with his lead dog Togo, traveled 91 miles (146 km) from Nome into the oncoming storm. They took the shortcut across the Norton Sound, and headed toward Shaktoolik. The temperature in Nome was a relatively warm −20 °F (−29 °C), but in Shaktoolik the temperature was estimated at −30 °F (−34 °C), and the gale force winds causing a wind chill of −85 °F (−65 °C).

Henry Ivanoff's team ran into a reindeer and got tangled up just outside of Shaktoolik. Seppala still believed he had more than 100 miles (160 km) to go and was racing to get off the Norton Sound before the storm hit. He was passing the other team when Ivanoff shouted, "The serum! The serum! I have it here!"

With the news of the worsening epidemic, Seppala decided to brave the storm and once again set out across the exposed open ice of the Norton Sound when he reached Ungalik, after dark. The temperature was estimated at −30 °F (−34 °C), but the wind chill with the gale force winds was −85 °F (−65 °C).

Togo led the team in a straight line through the dark, and they arrived at the roadhouse in Isaac's Point on the other side at 8 PM. In one day, they had traveled 84 mi (135 km), averaging 8 mph (13 km/h). The team rested, and then departed at 2 AM into the full power of the storm.

During the night the temperature dropped to −40 °F (−40 °C), and the wind increased to storm force at least 65 mph (105 km/h). The team ran across the ice, which was breaking up, while following the shoreline. They returned to shore to cross Little McKinley Mountain, climbing 5,000 feet (1,500 m). After descending to the next roadhouse in Golovin, Seppala passed the serum to Charlie Olsen on February 1 at 3 PM.

Olsen was blown off the trail, and suffered severe frostbite in his hands while putting blankets on his dogs. The wind chill was −70 °F (−57 °C). He arrived at Bluff on February 1 at 7 PM in poor shape. Gunnar Kaasen waited until 10 PM for the storm to break, but it only got worse and the drifts would soon block the trail so he departed into a headwind. Kaasen traveled through the night, through drifts, and river overflow over the 600-foot (183 m) Topkok Mountain pass.

Balto led the team through visibility so poor that Kaasen could not always see the dogs harnessed closest to the sled. He was two miles (3 km) past Solomon before he realized it, and new he needed to keep on going.

The winds after Solomon were so severe that his sled flipped over and he almost lost the cylinder containing the serum when it fell off and became buried in the snow. He acquired frostbite when he had to use his bare hands to feel for the cylinder.

Kaasen reached Point Safety ahead of schedule on February 2, at 3 AM. Ed Rohn believed that Kaasen and the relay was halted at Solomon, so he was sleeping. Since the weather was improving, it would take time to prepare Rohn's team, and Balto and the other dogs were still moving well, Kaasen pressed on the remaining 25 miles (40 km) to Nome, reaching Front Street at 5:30 AM. Not a single ampule was broken.

Together, the teams covered the 674 miles (1,085 km) in 127 and a half hours, which was considered a world record, incredibly done in extreme subzero temperatures in near-blizzard conditions and hurricane-force winds. Some dogs froze to death during the trip.

Balto, the Siberian husky was the lead sled dog on the final stretch into Nome. Balto became the most famous canine celebrity of the era after Rin Tin Tin. A statue to Balto is a popular tourist attraction in New York City's Central Park. It should be said that Balto is depicted wearing the medal awarded to Togo who was considered to be the better lead dog by the mushers. The citation reads: "Dedicated to the indomitable spirit of the sled dogs that relayed antitoxin six hundred miles over rough ice, across treacherous waters, through Arctic blizzards from Nenana to the relief of stricken Nome in the Winter of 1925. Endurance · Fidelity · Intelligence"

The resurgence of recreational mushing in Alaska since the 1970s is a direct result of the tremendous popularity of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, which honours the history of dog mushing with many traditions that commemorate the serum run.

So today we salute the memory and devotion to duty of lead dogs Balto, Blackie, and Togo and all the other brave and courageous dogs pulling the sleds the 674 miles from Nenana to Nome in incredable sub zero temperatures carrying the life saving Diphtheria serum. It is beleived that from the 150 dogs taking part, up to 12 dogs may have died during the life saving run.

We also remember the selfless bravery of mushers Shannon, Kallands, Nollner, Evans, Anagick, Gonangnan, Seppala, Ivanoff, Olsen, Kassen, Green, Folger, Joseph, Nikoli, Corning, Pitka, McCarty, Patsey, Jackscrew and others.

PS. from Poppy's dad: There are animal welfare groups who criticise the use of dogs in the Iditarod trail sled dog race. However, when you have over 1000 dogs taking part in any competitive event, including Greyhound racing or even Crufts.  It is highly likely that one or more may die for any number of reasons.

In both 2010 and 2011 it has been reported that no dogs have died during the Iditarod event. The organisers take the welfare of the dogs seriously and some individuals have been banned from the event for maintaining a poor level of animal welfare.

We have an open mind on events like the Iditarod.  We also have an open mind on horse racing and events like the grand national. We have a closed mind on issues like Fox hunting, Dog fighting, Badger baiting, Hare coursing with dogs and tail docking to which we are absolutely and totally opposed.

Yip Yap!

Poppy and Abbey.

Tuesday 19 April 2011

Celebrity Dogs (6)

Hello everyone.

Today's celebrity dog is Rip. Rip was a mongrel (mixed-breed) terrier who was a Second World War, Search and Rescue dog. Rip was found as a stray following a heavy bombing raid over London in 1940 by an Air Raid Warden.

Rip was never given any training for search and rescue work.  Rip took to it instinctively. In a one year period between 1940 and 1941, he found over a hundred buried alive victims of the air raids in London.

His success as a search and rescue dog, was responsible for prompting the UK authorities to begin the training search and rescue dogs.

Rip was awarded the Dickin Medal (the animal VC) for bravery in 1945.  He became recognised as the service's first search and rescue dog. He would go on to wear the medal on his collar until the day he died. He was the first of twelve Dickin Medal winners to be buried in the PDSA's cemetery in Ilford, Essex. His headstone reads "Rip, D.M. We also serve - for the dog whose body lies here played his part in the Battle of Britain."

Rip and a Child in the Rubble
He was found in Poplar, London, in 1940 by an Air Raid Warden, and by accident commenced his search and Rescue career. Rip first came to the attention of his handler Mr King, when was thrown scraps of food. Mr King, who expected the dog to leave, but somehow the two struck up a special friendship. Rip began acting as an unofficial rescue dog, being used to sniff out casualties trapped beneath buildings.

Rip searching through rubble
 accompanied by his handler Mr E. King.


Rip' the dog helps this Air Raid Precautions Warden to search amongst rubble and debris following an air raid. The Warden signals for help from his colleagues to search the spot indicated by Rip.

Jilly Cooper, in her book "Animals in War" 1983. Wrote “How welcome to the victims must have been the first sounds of those scrabbling paws, shrill terrier yaps, and the first sight of the grinning Tommy Brock face with its merry friendly eyes.”

On such small shoulders was such a heavy burden carried.

So today we salute the memory of  Rip DM.

Yip Yap.
XX Poppy

Tuesday 12 April 2011

Long term visitor

Hi all.

We have a visitor joining us on the boat. Her name is Abbie and she is an eleven year old wire haired fox terrier. She belongs to my human mum's identical twin sister. However, Abbie has not been well for some time now. And when everyone is out of the house at work and Abbie has been left on her own, she has been getting a bit worked up. So dad came up with a great idea, why not let Abbie join us whenever her owners are going to be away from home. So that's Monday to Friday most weeks taken care of. This week she is on-board the boat with us for our spring cruise and is having a good time. This is much better than sharing my food and basket with that smelly old Jasper the cat.

We get to go for a long walk most mornings, dad is keeping Abbie on the long lead until he is sure that she will not panic and run off. Abbie has a good appetite and has been scoffing my left over dinner and my special doggie treats. She has even taken to searching out the treats that I have secreted away from Jasper the cat. I may need to have a word about ownership of secreted treats.

The weather is fantastic though it was a bit cold last night and dad got the stove going on the boat. We are all going to a family wedding on Good Friday more details to follow later.

That's it for now.

Yip Yap

XX Poppy

Thursday 7 April 2011

Celebrity Dogs (5)

In these days of political correctness the use of the word "Nigger" has changed in public acceptance  much as the word "Gay" has also changed its underlying meaning and tone. However, at the time I am writing about, the word was used to name the dog from colour of  its coat. In a strange about-turn of what was acceptable, in those times. The pejorative word used in the UK back then to describe people of African origin was "Blackie".  Times change as do word meanings and people become more aware of the racist undertones. I feel sure that no offence was intended then or now by Guy Gibson in the naming the dog.

As a child my memories are filled with my first love, a dog companion who was also called Nigger. His name came from the colour of his coat. Much of my love of dogs is as a result of time I spent in the company of Nigger. He was my constant companion, on my short walk to school each day. He would return later to wait at the gates, to walk me home. My parents would never have even considered for one moment calling the dog "Blackie" for what would have been to them at that time a very derogatory name. Today, we know a couple of younger people with dogs called Blackie. The name describes the dog and and caries no derogatory or pejorative connotations. These individuals are not old enough to harbour knowledge of an old name that once carried so much ignorance and prejudice.

Poppy's Dad.

Hello everyone.

Nigger who is the subject of today's celebrity dog posting was a rather handsome black Labrador retriever belonging to Wing Commander, Guy Penrose Gibson VC. (The Victoria Cross is the highest military decoration which is, or has been, awarded for valour "in the face of the enemy" to members of the British armed forces)

Commander Gibson also was awarded a DSO and Bar. The Distinguished Service Order is a military decoration awarded for meritorious or distinguished service by officers of the armed forces during wartime. When used in conjunction with decorations for gallantry medals, the term "and bar" means that the award has been bestowed multiple times upon the officer.

Commander Gibson was also was awarded a DFC and bar. The Distinguished Flying Cross is a military decoration awarded to personnel of the Royal Air Force, for "an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying in active operations against the enemy".

Nigger was the mascot of 617 Squadron (the Dam Busters) commanded by Guy Gibson. Nigger died on 16 May 1943, the day before the famous raid, when he was hit by a car. He was buried at midnight as Gibson was leading the raid. "Nigger" was the codeword Gibson used to confirm the breach of the Möhne Dam.

Nigger with members of 617 Squadron. His owner, Guy Gibson can be seen crouching on the right.

Nigger's grave is at RAF Scampton, Lincolnshire. Unusually by today's standard, Nigger had often accompanied Gibson on training flights.

So today we salute Niggers memory.

Yip Yap.

Love to all.

XX Poppy

Tuesday 5 April 2011

Saves Sinking Boat

Hello everyone.

I have not been on the blog for a while, dad closed down the computer. Dad then popped me in the car and we went to see some family friends. The mum and dad of my friend Holly the King Charles Spaniel. The next thing I know, mum and dad abandon me and go to Spain on holiday.  Well now they are back, I am back on the boat and I can catch up on my blogging.

The local newspaper headline.
We have had quite an interesting start to the day. It all started in the early hours of the morning, when I heard some footsteps along the towpath. I listened and after a while the foot steps disappeared off into the distance. However, some time later I felt a very gentle nudge when something bumped into us.

It seems that our boat had broken free of its moorings and drifted along the river. Everyone else on board was still fast asleep and did not notice the gentle nudge.  But me,  always being alert and on guard. I am alert even when my eyes are shut. Even when I am curled up in my basket in front of a warm stove. I am still on guard duty.

Mum and dad were sound asleep in bed. But you know who decided to bark a challenge just in case there was a problem. Mum gave dad a nudge and said "Go and see what she is barking at." It was a struggle for dad to get out of bed but he managed to stagger into the saloon where my bed is normally located. He said "what's up Pops - do you need to go out?" I decided that there was a bit more urgency needed and so I started jumping up at the deck door.

When the door opened, dad could now see that we were drifting downstream towards the weir. There was a flurry of activity as dad started up the engine. The boat started to push back against the flow. I pawed at the mooring line that was hanging over the side and dad recovered the rope before it could get tangled up in the propeller.  By this time mum had come to join us - she was wondering why we had started the engine so early in the morning. Dad sent her forward to recover the front line which had also come loose.

With the tunnel light illuminating our way back to the mooring we made steady progress. Our mooring pins were still in the bank and dad made the lines fast to them again. It was at this point that we realised that our boat mooring lines had been deliberately untied. Dad checked the lines of several other boats at the mooring and had to make one or two secure again. By the time he got back on board it had started to rain. so we banked up the fire and the boat was soon as warm as toast. We all headed back to our beds. Except for Jasper the cat who had taken up residence in my bed. Dad turfed him out and I was soon curled up back on guard duty again.

Dad reported the matter to the Police. Letting go of a boats mooring lines at night is very dangerous. Later, because we were staying in the same place for a few days. Dad got the front and back anchor out of the locker and set them over the off side of the boat away from the bank. This way if anyone set our lines free again the anchors would still hold the boat in place. I am now keeping a close eye on people walking past the boat. I might just be able to recognise their footsteps and then I would be able to let them know that I know it was them. Dad says that rescuing a boat from sinking is all in a days work for a brave Wire Haired Fox Terrier guard puppy.

It seems that my adventure has been written up in the local newspaper. Anyone know what "a medal as big as a frying pan" is? It seems according to dad that I deserve one?

Yip Yap.

Love to all.

XX Poppy