This blog is a tribute to Belle, and all the dogs who have come before and after. They are my friends, my companions, my teachers and my students. They bring me both joy and heartache, laughter and tears. There is nothing as sweet as the smell of puppy breathe, and nothing as sad as the final goodbye.
Saturday, April 27, 2013
Friday, April 26, 2013
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Why pay a dog trainer to train your dog if you are not going to follow up with daily practice? It always amazes me that so many people think that they need not participate in the training process to have a well trained dog. Do they not ‘get’ that in and of itself, training means nothing to a dog. Therefore if it is not reinforced daily and consistently a dog will just as soon forget about it and behave in a manner that, in the dog’s mind, works best for what he wants and needs. Like-wise, training doesn’t exist in a bubble, by which I mean it must be incorporated into the day-to-day business of living. If you practice for short periods each day but fail to incorporate the training by utilizing it through practical application as you go about your daily routine, your dog will never generalize the training skills learned outside the practice sessions.
|Ruby and Timo practicing Sit Stay at the park|
Posted by Michelle at 12:47 PM
Sunday, April 21, 2013
Official Edgar Rice Burroughs Tribute and Weekly Webzine Site
Since 1996 ~ Over 10,000 Web Pages in Archive
Lane Batot with Jane Goodall
A. Lane BatotRegarding His Association
With Jane Goodall and ERB
By Mary "Amar" Fabian
A Burroughs Bulletin Reprint
Amar: What does the A in ‘A. Lane Batot’ stand for?A. Lane Batot: I am Alan Lane Batot -- I go by "Lane" -- ask my parents WHY they decided to use my MIDDLE name as the call name -- I sure don't get it. I also go by "Witko"- - my nickname from college days -- it is Lakota for "crazy"; if you knew of any of my wild college exploits, you'd understand! Most everyone who met me back then still calls me Witko, including Jane Goodall! Anyway, if it is about sled dogs, the environment, or critters of any kind, it is almost certainly about me! My googling of favorite characters (Robin Hood, Zorro, Mowgli, and -- Tarzan!) is how I found Sky's fun fun website and got invited to join the "movie hopes" discussion! And yes, the "Christy" references are about me, too! Small little world, ain't it? WHAT a WONDERFUL experience working on that T.V. series was! I had worked in a few movies filmed locally as an extra or a stunt-double ("Last Of The Mohicans", "Ritchie Rich", and "Heavyweights" -- all filmed partly around Asheville, N.C. -- not to be Confused with ASHEBORO, N.C., which is mid-state, where I am located now) and some wonderful casting ladies I got to know INSISTED I get a job on the Christy series -- the book was one of my grandmother's AND mother's FAVORITES!
I managed to get on the construction crew, but also got to do some of the animal work (some of my hounds were used a couple of times), some greenswork (horticulture backgrounds and such), AND, I was an extra twice -- a dirty deer hunter in one episode, and the Scottish ghost of Bonnie Prince Charlie in another! Never got any actual dialogue, though -- but it was loads of fun, and paid a heckuva lot more than I was accustomed to! A lot of the "rustic" props you see on that series I made! The production people were amazed at us local hillbillies -- they'd give us a chainsaw, explain what they wanted, and we'd just go up in the woods and MAKE it! They said we saved them kuhzillions of dollars being able to do that! Before the series was cancelled (alas), I was promoted from "laborer" to "Property Craftsman!" That is one of the jobs where I had the nickname "Tarzan", it seems to happen to me a lot, unprompted (that is my nickname at the Zoo, now too), as I never actually tell people that was ever a nickname. But I do relate to the character enormously, and I have long hair and run around in the woods and do good animal imitations, so I guess it is to be expected.
Did you see the Bonobo special on PBS a while back? (an episode of the series Nova) a super show, titled "The Last Great Ape"--available for $19.99 on tape! I hope the Del Toro (signed to direct the new Warner Brothers Tarzan film) writers saw that show -- I'll mention it on the discussion. They compared chimpanzee with bonobo behaviour throughout the program -- these apes look a LOT alike (they are closely related), but boy, how DIFFRENT in behaviour! ERB's Mangani are really amazingly like "regular" chimps -- moreso than any of the other "known" apes.
Amar: When did you first start reading ERB books, and how old were you?"
A. Lane Batot: My first ERB book was a tattered copy of The Beasts Of Tarzan that I got at a secondhand bookstore -- I believe I was 10 or 11 years old. I was hooked INSTANTLY, and if you knew how I grew up, you'd understand why; I was a purty feral kid! To this day, that still remains my favorite book in the series, though I've read (and reread) all of them repeatedly. I have read a few other books outside the Tarzan series, but I was never as interested in them -- my interests are VERY narrow; critters, indigenous peoples, and wild places -- that's it for me. Everything else just bores me....
Amar: How has your interest in ERB influenced your life?
A. Lane Batot: Wow, probably a lot! Like I said, I did not read a lot of his other stuff, so the influence would be from his "Tarzan" character. By the time I read it, I was already a wild kid, roaming the woods and constantly interacting and learning everything I could about animals. To the extent that my human social skills (or LACK of) took a backseat and never fully developed! I had read Kipling'sJungle Book VERY early, six or seven years old probably, and it was a major influence, so Tarzan was just a lot more of the same. Tarzan definitely expanded and only intensified such interests! This includes the movies as well as the books. Even as a little kid, I was never happy with the portrayal of Tarzan on film, but there were few movies that involved animals and the jungle in those days, no VCRs, no DVDs, very little on TV (only three channels back then!), so, bad as they were, a Tarzan movie was still a big occasion! And when you are a kid, you BECOME whatever your favorite characters are.
It would have been strange if I had NOT been interested in the Tarzan character, having been exposed to him. I was already running around in the woods with a bunch of animals most of the time (and loving it!), and was ridiculed quite a lot by my peers at school for my animal-like behavior, so to have a hero-character to relate to helped a lot to just ignore what would have otherwise been very insulting and hurtful comments to the average kid. Being resistant to such peer pressure undoubtedly was an enormous influence, for better or worse! I never felt inferior to other kids despite their comments, never wanted to change my interests or ways. This made for a VERY HAPPY, magical childhood. And to this day, I am ribbed about my lack of technological ability, and my animal bluntness, but I have no desire to conform at all. I think Tarzan is at least partly responsible for that.
Amar: Tell me about your research and travels
A. Lane Batot: I suppose you want that in 777 billion words or less! I will assume you mainly want to know how I ended up "working" with Jane Goodall. Basically I was an animal nut from birth -- literally! I refused to play with anything but animals(real or toys) as a little kid, and all I wanted to do as an older kid (still in that phase) is run around in the woods with animals. Little wonder that Tarzan, Mowgli, Robin Hood, etc. were my heroes growing up. I had REAL heroes,too -- animal as well as human. Some of the human ones included actual historical Native Americans, and JANE GOODALL, who started her pioneering animal behaviour studies with the chimpanzees the year I was born (1960). So I grew up reading her articles in National Geographic, watching the rare and splendid specials on TV.
When I was in college, a lot of my classmates wrote off to various Hollywood and music idols, and got "autographed" photos and fan letters and such back. Well, Jane Goodall was MY idol, so I figured to write HER a fan letter! Just kind of a lark for fun; I never expected to get a REPLY! I got her address from the National Geographic Society--in those days she was still mostly at the Gombe Stream Reserve with the chimpanzees. I got ridiculed A LOT for writing "that monkey-lady" by my classmates! I wrote her quite a few letters, mostly about experiences I had had with animals of various kinds, and to my eternal AMAZEMENT, she wrote back! We corresponded for a number of years like this, and became quite good friends through the letters. I finally actually got to meet her when she came on tour in the U.S. at a location not too far from my college.
So, I was finally planning to get to meet Jane Goodall face-to-face. One problem intervened -- it was my Final Exam week at college the same week she was to lecture nearby (it was at Sweet Briar college in Virginia. I BEGGED all my professors to let me take my exams one week late -- only ONE anthropology professor would agree -- the rest said "no way". I can be a stubborn cuss though, and MY priorities have never been exactly mainstream, so after at least TRYING to do it properly, I just said, "what-the-hell!", and WENT ANYWAY! Flunked almost every class I took that semester! My parents were furious! But in hindsight, it was one of the best decisions I ever made!
I can write a small book on just that adventure alone -- it was quite the experience! It was a huge National Geographic seminar, with not only Jane Goodall, but the head of National Geographic, Dian Fossey (gorilla lady), Birute Galdikas(orangutan lady), and Francine Patterson (who taught Koko the gorilla sign language) -- I got to meet and chat with them ALL! FANTASTIC experience; and I don't even remember what classes I flunked or the professors teaching them anymore! But I'll never forget THAT experience! Jane Goodall and I hit it off really good -- she would lecture at that college every year then (the NICEST PEOPLE imaginable at that school, too!), and I would come visit, bring my dog, pitch a tipi, and stay awhile! We had a lot of great conversations in my tipi, with her and other people at the college.
My LAST year at my college (Western Carolina University, in Cullowhee, N.C.) when I went to visit, Jane asked if I wanted to come to "work" with her for the summer -- she ALREADY KNEW I was saving up to visit Africa! So OF COURSE I JUMPED on it! She offered me the deal like it was a "job" -- but I got no pay (big deal!) -- my EXPENSES were my pay (plane tickets, food, etc.) -- and she said it like that was some kind of sacrifice or something! Not for ME, of course! I DID sorta "work" -- camp duties cleaning dishes (Jane was usually the cook), getting firewood, helping to fetch supplies in the closest human settlement (four miles away) Mwamgongo, and OF COURSE following chimps and baboons daily, taking notes and compiling them each evening (by candle or campfire light).
Because my visit was quite "unofficial" in that I was not a student, not writing a Ph.D., not a fellow scientist, not working on a behaviour project of my own, not publishing anything, a lot of people have been quite DISDAINFUL of my experiences there, since I'm not an "official" anything! And I do not pretend to be! But it does not make the experience any less wonderful for me! Many days I "took the day off", and just roamed for miles in the beautiful African forest alone -- scaling mountains, climbing trees, swimming in Lake Tanganyika; I got to "play Tarzan" like few people EVER get to do! I was usually BARELY dressed in a very ragged pair of shorts with a sheath knife -- but I DID have tennis shoes on! It was an incredible, wild, amazing experience that I lived to the HILT! I am GLAD I didn't have to worry about
publishing a paper, or doing strict scientific research! I only later learned from a former colleague of Jane's that she NEVER allowed people free-run of Gombe; but she did me -- I guess she trusted my "wood's sense" and judgment and common sense around wild animals to allow me to do that -- but it was quite the honor!
At the time it was just me, her and her then 17-year-old son "Grub" -- some Tanzanian workers lived in a nearby village (wonderful people!) -- we had mainly rice to eat, and fish IF we caught any! No electricity, no plumbing, no roads -- you could only travel by boat on the lake, or you walked. I get a kick out of watching the contestants on the T.V. show "Survivor" whining about the conditions for a WHOLE MONTH! I did that for fun for two months, and LOVED IT! Jane goodall did it for thirty years!
An interesting bit of "Tarzan trivia" -- they were filming "Greystoke" that year(1983), and the movie people had approached Jane to be a technical advisor on the film -- but alas, she was too busy with other stuff. She recommended someone which they did use -- so let it be known, the apes portrayed in that film WERE supposed to be chimpanzees! I think they did a good job with it, portraying the apes, at least. Since they were trying to be ultra realistic in that film, they didn't want to go with gorillas, or heaven forbid, imaginary Mangani! So we sat around the campfire at night discussing various things, and we often discussed how we would like to see Tarzan portrayed, and had hopes they would do him justice at last! Pretty much like everyone else -- first half of the movie -- GREAT! Second half, when they went off on their own tangent -- sucked! And they had the WIMPIEST Tarzan in the history of the movies!
My time there was very poignant, too, as it was to be some of Jane's last free time at Gombe -- she was anguishing over having to leave -- begged to do so by various people knowing the impact she could have on public awareness for environmental issues. Soon after that she began the almost CONTINUOUS lecture tours (which ARE quite inspiring) that she is STILL doing to this day, in her SEVENTIES! She still visits Gombe briefly (oh, so briefly) each year, but it is just not the same as LIVING THERE, of course.
I will mention a few other things briefly to finish this As to the question about how Jane Goodall feels about ERB and Tarzan -- you need to read some of her books too! (I recommend Reason For Hope as a good all-arounder about her life written by herself). I am not sure if she read any other ERB, but she has always been a huge Tarzan fan. She still has the original books she read as a little girl in her famliy home in England. Tarzan is one of the characters that influenced her and made her want to go to Africa when she grew up. We actually sat around the campfire in Gombe when I was there and discussed different Tarzan aspects -- including the then upcoming "Greystoke" movie, which she had been asked to be a consultant on, but had to reluctantly turn down, because (as usual) she had too many other commitments to attend to (a bit of Tarzan trivia most people are probably unaware of). We both had high hopes for the movie -- I'm pretty sure, like most of us die-hard fans, she liked the first half, but was disappointed in the second half. As a little girl, she was jealous of the "Jane" character in the book, and thought she was a real wimp! She felt SHE would make a much better mate for Tarzan! Amazing (some might say prophetic) that she ended up living so many years in Africa with apes! No-telling where those childhood dreams will lead if we can just hang on to them long enough.
Amar: I see you work at the North Carolina Zoo. What do you do there?
Yes, I work at the N.C. Zoo -- I am an animal keeper (of course!) in the Cypress Swamp exhibit, as well as the former Australia exhibit, which recently got eliminated, much to my chagrin. We still have a few Australia animals around that have not gone to new homes that have to be cared for, so for us keepers, it isn't quite over yet. In the Cypress Swamp area, I get to take care of cougars, alligators, various waterfowl, turtles, and snakes. Plus, as a volunteered aside, I also help with monitoring wildlife on the expansive 1,000 acre property, especially beavers and Canada geese. And I assist with stray animals (mostly dogs and cats, but we had a renegade goat get in the zoo once!)
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my job! Most of my working "career" has been extremely menial, miserable jobs -- low pay (well below poverty level), foul conditions, wretched people -- certainly no "benefits" like paid vacations or insurance or anything like that! This job (a State job) has ALL those benefits and more, plus I LOVE my work and the crew I work with is super. You might wonder how I ended up
in "The Swamp", especially since there are chimps, baboons, gorillas and other more "prestigious" animals at this zoo -- one word -- "politics". There were people in those sections who were so jealous of others, hateful and insecure, that I had ZERO chance of getting on. Sad, but true. Major Zoos can be incredibly treacherous quagmires of politics! In this zoo, some sections are MISERABLE to work in (because of the people), and others are WONDERFUL -- the Swamp is WONDERFUL, and I am supremely thankful to be there!
Being a keeper (basic animal care) is only one of MANY jobs at a major zoo like this. There are all manner of administrative jobs, including an entire computer department! There is a custodial staff, retail staff (gift shops), entertainment and Public Relations staff, maintenance crews, warehouse and shipping crews, commissary staff (they make up and deliver ALL the animal diets), automotive crew, an entire veterinary staff, design crew, horticulture and landscaping staff, educational department staff, special events committee, and an entirely separate Zoo Society in charge of fund raising -- I'm sure I've probably forgotten a few! All this adds up to quite the complicated and convoluted social hierarchy, so I am most happy to JUST deal simply with a few critters and stay OUT of all that! It really IS a nice zoo (lotsa room for improvement for the animals' sakes', but nice), and is one of North Carolina's best kept secrets. I hear visitors say all the time, the only zoo they think is better, is the San Diego Wild Animal Park! That's saying something! We COULD be so much better, though. You oughta check out the N.C. Zoo's website!
On the set of "Last of the Mohicans"
Batot is the Frontiersman on the far left
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Posted by Michelle at 1:48 PM
I made dehydrated sweet potato treats for my dogs using the oven method provided in the link below. I must say, they are easy to make, they are healthy, and best of all, the dogs LOVE them!!!
Posted by Michelle at 12:35 PM
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Gentlemen of the Jury: The best friend a man has in the world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son or daughter that he has reared with loving care may prove ungrateful. Those who are nearest and dearest to us, those whom we trust with our happiness and our good name may become traitors to their faith. The money that a man has, he may lose. It flies away from him, perhaps when he needs it most. A man's reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill-considered action. The people who are prone to fall on their knees to do us honor when success is with us, may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its cloud upon our heads.
The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog. A man's dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near his master's side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer. He will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounters with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince. When all other friends desert, he remains. When riches take wings, and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens.
If fortune drives the master forth, an outcast in the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him, to guard him against danger, to fight against his enemies. And when the last scene of all comes, and death takes his master in its embrace and his body is laid away in the cold ground, no matter if all other friends pursue their way, there by the graveside will the noble dog be found, his head between his paws, his eyes sad, but open in alert watchfulness, faithful and true even in death.
George Graham Vest - c. 1855
Monday, April 15, 2013
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Prayer of Saint Francis for Animals
God Our Heavenly Father,
You created the world
to serve humanity's needs
and to lead them to You.
By our own fault
we have lost the beautiful relationship
which we once had with all your creation.
Help us to see
that by restoring our relationship with You
we will also restore it
with all Your creation.
Give us the grace
to see all animals as gifts from You
and to treat them with respect
for they are Your creation.
We pray for all animals
who are suffering as a result of our neglect.
May the order You originally established
be once again restored to the whole world
through the intercession of the Glorious Virgin Mary,
the prayers of Saint Francis
and the merits of Your Son,
Our Lord Jesus Christ
Who lives and reigns with You
now and forever. Amen.
St. Francis of Assisi
Posted by Michelle at 2:38 PM
All states in the U.S. have laws in place requiring dogs to be immunized to prevent the spread of Rabies.
As of March 2009 Alabama is the one last remaining state requiring an annual Rabies shot. However, there is a proposed rewrite of their law in process now to remove the 1-year requirement there as well. All other states require the 3-year Rabies vaccination instead.
As of March 2009 Alabama is the one last remaining state requiring an annual Rabies shot. However, there is a proposed rewrite of their law in process now to remove the 1-year requirement there as well. All other states require the 3-year Rabies vaccination instead.
The convenience of taking your dog to the vet for a Rabies shot only once every 3 years offers a nice savings, as veterinarian office visits are rapidly approaching the cost of taking your own kids in for a doctor’s visit.
The big question is which Rabies injection is better for your dog? Is there a different formula used in the 3-year Rabies vaccination? Is the quantity of drug being injected larger and, therefore, potentially more dangerous for your dog?
These are all legitimate concerns that we will explore…
Here’s a shocker for you: the actual 3-year Rabies shot contains the same drug and is given in the same amount as the 1-year Rabies shot.
The only difference is the label on the bottle indicating 1-year vs. 3-year.
Rabies Vaccination Schedules
For the purpose of convincing pet owners to return for a booster shot with young dogs, the first Rabies vaccinationshould take place at 4 to 6 months, followed by an annual Rabies booster. This will build up antibodies to protect the dog quickly. After that first annual shot, you can then move on to a 3-year Rabies vaccination schedule.
Even though the Rabies shots are essentially the same, simply being labeled a 1-year shot will place the animal in a noncompliant status as far as the state is concerned (when that year has passed). To again be considered protected (according to the state), your dog will need another Rabies vaccination, and then repeated Rabies vaccinations every 3 years thereafter.
Is The Rabies Vaccination Safe?
The Rabies vaccine does come with some risks. There is a potential for serious life-threatening allergic reactions that you should be aware of.
If your dog is breathing heavily, his face is swelling, his eyes are watering, or he’s vomiting, your vet should be notified immediately. These reactions to the Rabies vaccine are indicative of a medical emergency for your dog. Fast action is imperative, as immediate treatment is critical for your dog’s survival.
Other common reactions include agitation or aggressive behavior, skin rashes, digestive disorders and muscle weakness.
Your Dog’s Chances Of Getting Rabies
Did you know the Rabies vaccine is the only immunization that is required by law for pets in the United States?
Because of the extensive Rabies vaccination program, as of 2007 Canine Rabies no longer exists in the U.S. Of course, dogs can still contract Rabies from other animals living in the wild though.
Because there is a known chance of some dogs having a severe reaction to the Rabies vaccine, you should be aware that you do have the option of obtaining an exemption from the procedure. You see, veterinarians are authorized to exempt animals from the inoculation in cases where an animal’s current medical condition would indicate a risk to their well-being.
Posted by Michelle at 1:58 PM
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Monday, April 8, 2013
The biggest mistake many people make in their relationship with their dog is that they don't "take the lead". Dog's in general are GREAT followers. Most don't want to be in charge, they just want to get through the day with minimum conflict and maintain their personal safety...just like most people. They are happy to be led as long as they trust the person making the decisions. The problem is lots of people are not clear about making decisions and thus their "leading" leads to much confusion for the dog. People generally are not clear about showing their dog what the expectations are. Often people don't follow through. They simply don't bother to say what they mean and then mean what they say.
For example, you ask your dog to sit and the dog does not comply. What you do next will determine your leadership skills. Do you keep repeating the command while the dog continues to ignore it? Or do you insist the dog follow through? If you keep repeating yourself over and over the consequence is that the dog learns to tune you out while doing whatever he so desires. A leader would take the time to insist the dog follow through. This may mean taking a hold of the dog’s collar or leash and simply holding it steady UNTIL the dog puts his butt to the ground. It might mean lightly touching his rear end and exerting slight pressure until he sits...but for certain a good leader would not have ignored the dog’s non-response to a known behavior. Nor would a good leader yell or lose his/her temper. That does not help to create a strong, respectful relationship with the dog. Anger has no place in training; instilling fear is not leadership.
Implicit in leadership is a congruency between words and action. I often speculate about a nervous or shy dog's thought process when the human on the end of the leash says, "let's go" but is obviously apprehensive and uncertain about how to get the dog to follow. I think the dog must look up and think, "if you don't know where we're going, there's no way I'm following you!" To face forward, look straight ahead and just walk is a far more confident action. There is truth to the old saying, "fake it, till you make it". At least 'act' like you believe your dog will follow you! Calm and assertive guidance is the essence of leadership. No one wants to follow a wimp or a bully. Keep that in mind as you interact with your dog.
Posted by Michelle at 6:55 PM
Saturday, April 6, 2013
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
|Ain't Misbehavin' recommends Fromm Family Foods because it is a small, family owned company that has never had a recall. It is a bit pricey but our dogs thrive on it. It is well worth the cost!|
When your brand of pet food is recalled you have to quickly take your pet off that food, unlike the gradual process of transitioning your pet from one food to another. As your dog’s digestive system is used to a specific formula of food, you have to take precautionary steps to ensure a smooth, quick transition.
Steps to Take When Switching Pet Food Immediately:
Find a Similar Formula
Choose a food that closely matches your pet’s previous food formula. For instance, if your pet was on a lamb and rice diet, switch to a pet food that uses lamb and rice in the formula. The new food should be mixed with one of the following to ease the switch on your pet’s digestive system.
Mix With Chicken & Rice
Make your own mixture of 20% chicken and 80% rice. Cut chicken breast meat into bite-sized pieces and cook. Then cook the rice and mix it with the cooked chicken. Use this mixture in combination with the new food you are transitioning your pet to.
Purchase canned pumpkin—not pie mix—and mix with the new pet food. The fiber content in pumpkin is very effective in the treatment and maintenance of digestive health for pets and can ease the quick transition in foods. Mixing a small amount of pumpkin with your pet’s new food (1/4 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon, depending on the pet's weight) can help to ensure your dog or car doesn’t experience a case of diarrhea. In fact, often a veterinarian will prescribe pumpkin as part of the treatment for intestinal malady, as well as simply a healthful dietary supplement.
The active cultures in yogurt will repopulate your pet’s digestive system with healthy and soothing bacterial flora. Mix a small amount of plain yogurt with your pet’s new food to ease in the transition on his or her digestive system. If you have any further questions or concerns contact your veterinarian for further information.
Posted by Michelle at 11:06 AM