Chairman Bao is a Shih Tzu. We travel a lot. I drive. He watches. We've logged at least 10,000 miles and he's never once said, Sweetheart, don't you think you should stop and ask someone?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Graphic accounts of animals being tortured to death distress me terribly. The worst of it is that there's nothing I can do for the animal itself, which has usually died an agonizing death.

The organizations reporting these horrors do so because they want me to be moved to donate money. But it doesn't work that way. These ghastly accounts don't make me sit down and write a check. They make me feel helpless, and sick to my stomach.

So it's wonderful to find an organization -- the Animal Legal Defence Fund (ALDF) that takes a different and more empowering approach. When the ALDF tells you a horror story, they also give you the opportunity to do something about it.

For example, when a sociopath in Oklahoma recently dragged his dog to death behind his bicycle, ALDF urged members of the public to email the relevant prosecutor. And they made it so easy. You could add your name to a pre-written letter, edit the letter to suit yourself, or even write a letter of your own. Click, click -- and you'd done something!

I suspect this is more effective than writing a check. Even the most indifferent official will take note when his inbox suddenly fills up with letters from all over America -- especially if he's an elected official. Maybe that's how we'll end animal abuse, one case at a time.

Monday, March 23, 2009

We've been in Mexico for the past week, on the beach.

Bao has probably been on more beaches (and refused to put a paw into more oceans) in more countries than any other Shih Tzu in the world! Australia, America, Mexico -- the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez. Have we got a record here? Should we contact the Guiness Book of Records?

Sea Changes has already been reviewed by a couple of on-line reviewers who seem to have enjoyed it. But it's still being printed, so I can't urge you to rush down to your local bookstore and purchase a copy because there aren't any, yet. (The reviewers were sent advanced reading copies)

Bao doesn't understand what all the fuss is about, much less why I'm chewing my nails down to the cuticles. Dogs don't write books. Dogs don't read books. Dogs don't review books. Dogs don't read book reviews. Dogs eat dinner and never worry about gaining weight. And then they curl up and go to sleep in the sun.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Bao came home from grooming sporting this cute little green bow with white shamrocks in honor of St. Patrick's Day.

Actually, according to Irish legend, you're not supposed to wear too much green on St. Patrick's Day (or any other day) because green is the favorite color of the "little people" and if you attract them they might snatch you away.

Between you and me, I'm more worried about Arizona coyotes than Irish leprechauns. And in any case, it's a very small bow.

Do dogs have a patron saint? Turns out they do. It's Saint Roch (or Roque) who turned his back on his worldly possessions to care for plague victims in Rome until he contracted the plague himself. He didn't want to infect anyone else, so he went off into the woods to die. But a dog found him and stayed by his side, bringing him food and licking his sores until he recovered. He and the dog subequently returned to France, which turned out to be a bad idea because Saint Roch was falsely accused and arrested, along with the dog. The two of them remained in prison for the rest of their lives in prison, ministering to the sick.

Personally, I think the dog deserved sainthood, too. But I guess that's not how it works.