We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
It's been a long time since we posted a Dog of the Week.
But all domestic dogs, mutts or purebred, are, of course, just dogs.
There is a Genome Project for dogs. If genetics is of interest, this dog genetic update in American Scientist will be fascinating. It begins thus:
A Pekingese weighs only a couple of pounds; a St. Bernard can weigh over 180. Both dogs, though vastly different in appearance, are members of the same genus and species, Canis familiaris. How dog breeds can exhibit such an enormous level of variation between breeds, and yet show strong conformity within a breed, is a question of interest to breeders and everyday dog lovers alike. In the past few years, it has also become a compelling question for mammalian geneticists.
The "dog genome project" was launched in the early 1990s, motivated by scientists' desire to find the genes that contributed to many of the ills suffered by purebred dogs. Most dog breeds have only been in existence for a few hundred years. Many exhibit limited genetic diversity, as dog breeds are typically descended from a small number of founders, created by crossing closely related individuals. Further, breeds often experience population bottlenecks as the popularity of the breed waxes and wanes. As a result of this population structure, genetic diseases are more common in purebred dogs than in mixed-breed dogs. Scientists have been motivated to use dog populations to find genes for diseases that affect both humans and dogs, including cancer, deafness, epilepsy, diabetes, cataracts and heart disease. In doing so we can simultaneously help man and man's best friend.
Fascinating science. I grew up with champion pedigreeds who were wonderful. The kennel mattered as to quality and conformation, but, now, as important as it is to maintain and improve breeds, it simply feels pedi-greedy not to adopt from a shelter.
In a couple of months i'll brave an SPCA to collect a couple of hard-to-adopt out dogs. Those places always make me cry. Will fortify with liquor beforehand, but not too much or will end up with a dozen new pets.
This is totaly off topic, although I always love a dog story, owning two Labs of my own. I just wanted to tell everybody at Maggies Farm how much I love your site. I love every last thing about it every day of the week.
"Yippy has been the dog o' th' week for six weeks now..."
Petey, in "Greater Tuna"
Assistant Village Idiot
"A Pekingese weighs only a couple of pounds; a St. Bernard can weigh over 180. Both dogs, though vastly different in appearance, are members of the same genus and species, Canis familiaris."
I have two mixed shepherd mutts--one is German Shepherd with Rott who could run for public office outkissing more babies than any politician. Both said that they take great umbrage with this comparison. Although the GS-Rott said that he and another Pekinese male have been known to urinate together on the same spot as an ancient Canis male bonding ritual. The other mutt, a shepherd-coyote mix, thought that she might just eat the Peke the next time that she vaults her thirteen-year old body over the cyclone fence.
Buddy, she's a bit picky. She'll eat most dry food mixed with a little tuna in water or a little cannedmackerel or chopped giblets, beef liver, etc. She used to clear a five foot hedge although when she didn't, she would somehow wind up poised on the top of it. At thirteen though, jumping a cyclone fence is still being pretty agile especially since she lost her girlish figure.
My parents raised packs of beagles on our farm, which we sold to hunters. Never much cared for them, but have loved retrievers of one sort or another since they started with Labs after we moved overseas.
Had a springer spaniel during my marathon running days (amazingly energetic dogs!) and a golden since kids.
Simply staggered by the genetic crash and burns of the beautiful pedigreed dogs my friends and I have now. `~But because of working with kids, and having a special ed one myself, I cannot ever take a chance on a dog with an iffy personality from the pound. Have to go for reliability, a known source, a breed known for being a mush. I must confess that I am also shallow and frivolous enough to prefer the looks of pedigreed dogs to most mutts....
My next dog will be a pair of Irish wolfhounds (if I can convince dubious spouse)
Yet even when you get a gorgeous and loving dog with a good pedigree from a friend or a kennel, they all keel over dead much younger and from more horrific problems than when I was a kid. The British kennels did a better job of being ruthless about which dogs to breed, selecting for health and not simply looks and disposition and working talents. Don't know how they are now.
Lately, have been inclined to attribute the horrific cancers and sudden bizarre ailments to the Chinese food that has been poisoning our pets' diets for years now, only recently highlighted. One thing's for sure: if much more of our human food here gets imported from China, prepare to die young like our poor pooches! One of the arguments (after defence) for a strong government: regulating food safety, and the use of poisons in agriculture and the food industry....Some things are too important to leave to the tender mercies of those out to make a fast buck...Sorry, Maggie's, knowing that you all want less regulation,and are offended at the idea of being told how many calories are in your supersize fries....
Had a beloved dog die after local farmer sprayed his fields (human food crops), and another one killed by rat poison used indiscriminately in London one year after a particularly long dustmen's strike had left trash rotting in the streets for weeks and caused a surge in the rodent population. I imagine that people who find poisoned wildlife feel even worse...