I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love.

For me they are the role model for being alive.

~ Gilda Radner

Friday, May 8, 2009

Ebay Fine Art Auction to benefit rescued mustang

Lee Mitchelson, founding member of Artists United for Animal Rescue, has generously donated a number of beautiful original oil paintings to be auctioned on Ebay. Bidding closes on May 12.









Thursday, May 7, 2009

Arizona FYI: New, Fast-Evolving Rabies Virus Found -- And Spreading

New, Fast-Evolving Rabies Virus Found -- And Spreading
Anne Minard for National Geographic News
May 4, 2009

Evolving faster than any other new rabies virus on record, a northern-Arizona rabies strain has mutated to become contagious among skunks and now foxes, experts believe.

The strain looks to be spreading fast, commanding attention from disease researchers across the United States (U.S. map).

It's not so unusual for rabid animals to attack people on hiking trails and in driveways, or even in a bar—as happened March 27, when an addled bobcat chased pool players around the billiards table at the Chaparral in Cottonwood.

Nor is it odd that rabid skunks and foxes are testing positive for a contagious rabies strain commonly associated with big brown bats.

What is unusual is that the strain appears to have mutated so that foxes and skunks are now able to pass the virus on to their kin—not just through biting and scratching but through simple socializing, as humans might spread a flu.Usually the secondary species—in this case, a skunk or fox bitten by a bat—is a dead-end host. The infected animal may become disoriented and even die but is usually unable to spread the virus, except through violent attacks.(See pictures of infectious animals.)

Skunks have already been proven to be passively transmitting the strain to each other, as documented in a 2006 study in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.Genetic studies suggest foxes are also spreading the new strain to each other, though the results have not yet been peer reviewed.

Unprecedented Evolution

When a skunk in Flagstaff, Arizona, died of rabies in 2001, wildlife specialists thought it was a "freak accident"—due to a one-off, run-of-the-mill bat bite—said Barbara Worgess, director of the Coconino County Health Department.Lab tests later showed that the virus had adapted to the skunk physiology and become contagious within the species. "It shouldn't have been able to pass from skunk to skunk," Worgess said. Rabies has continued to crop up in skunks for eight years now, despite periodic vaccination campaigns. And so far this year, county officials have documented 14 rabid foxes in the Flagstaff area.

Now laboratory studies at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta appear to confirm that the fox and skunk rabies viruses are mutated forms of the bat strain. "We can see degrees of relatedness and patterns in their genetic codes," said Charles Rupprecht, chief of the rabies program for the CDC.

This sort of rapid evolution is exactly what worries public health officials when it comes to all manner of viruses. Virologists haven't seen such fast adaptation to a new species in rabies before. "That's why Flagstaff is such an interesting story worldwide," said David Bergman, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's state director for Arizona. "We're watching evolution in action on the ground."

Could Rabies Become Contagious in Humans?

The Arizona rabies situation is risky, because the infected species live so close to people. Flagstaff's sprawl in recent decades has created a perfect opportunity for rabies to mutate into species-hopping forms, the CDC's Rupprecht said.New-home construction, often in wooded areas, has actually increased habitat and food sources for bats, skunks, and foxes. Skunks live under houses, for example, and as diggers, make themselves at home on golf courses. Bats, meanwhile, are adept at living in attics and under loose shingles.

As more rabies-susceptible animals congregate in the region, more infections can take place. And each infection is an opportunity for the virus to mutate into a more virulent form—literally upping the odds of a new strain developing. "That's a pattern that we see all over the United States," Rupprecht said. Similar suburban development in the eastern U.S. in the late 1970s, he noted, led to the spread of raccoon rabies from the Canadian border to the Deep South.

The risk of such a virulent strain jumping to people "should be a major concern," said Hinh Ly, a molecular virologist at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, who is not involved in studies of the Arizona outbreak. But no one is expecting the rabies strain to become a contagious, swine flu-like epidemic among humans. Flu viruses, for one thing, tend to infect people fast, so "vaccination after exposure would be too late to prevent infection," said Elisabeth Lawaczeck, the Arizona Department of Health Services' public health veterinarian. Rabies takes its time before going from incubation to infection, so post-exposure rabies vaccinations tend to be effective at stopping the virus. If untreated, though, rabies, which attacks the central nervous system, is often fatal in humans.

What Next?

Rabies cases among animals are expected to increase as the spring and summer mating seasons bring potential pairs and rivals together. (Related: "Bat Rabies Threat Rises With Summer Temperatures.") Already, Flagstaff has declared a 90-day pet quarantine—all dogs on leashes and all cats indoors—which began in April.

A wildlife vaccination plan could stem the virus's spread.Local and state officials enacted vaccination programs in northern Arizona in 2001 and 2005 but discontinued each effort after two years without rabies reports—the World Health Organization's standard for declaring an area rabies-free.

Now state vaccination funds have been reallocated, the USDA's Bergman said, and emergency funds are increasingly rare due to the recession.Adding to the worries, Lawaczeck, the Arizona veterinary official, said she and other public heath officials were "very unsettled" when the first rabid fox reports came in from Flagstaff this year—and not just because of the evolutionary implications for rabies."This means a much wider spread of rabies," she said, "because [foxes] travel so much farther."

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Catholics vs. Presbyterians

I visit Rob's blog, robot nine, pretty frequently...where he finds this stuff, I will never know.

I was raised Catholic, nun school for way to much of my life and the whole deal. So this particular post just about killed me!!!

"All dogs go to heaven"

"God loves all His creations, dogs included."

"Catholic dogs go to heaven. Presbyterian dogs can talk to thier preacher."

Rob says these pictures are photoshopped, and I have to believe him because when it comes to this stuff he is waaaaay smarter than me. That's also why he could post 8 pictures and I could only post 5. So, to see the rest of the pictures you'll have to visit robot nine, here,
Church Signs Do Battle Over Dog's Souls!Believe me, it's worth the trip!!! His pictures are clearer than mine, too, for some reason.

Thanks for the laughs, Rob!!! Don't let that world travel stuff keep you from keeping me amused!!!

I'm a Golden Retriever?????

Dogster.com offers a quiz to determine what kind of dog you would be if you were a dog. Turns out I am/would be a Golden Retriever. Now, I love goldens, never wanted to own one, but I do know they are awesome dogs. I was surprised, however, to find out that I had the personality of a Golden. After thinking about it, I realized it's probably true. Golden's can be really serious, really focused working partners

and they know how to let their hair down. Most important, Stumpy has a couple of Golden Retriever friends that she just adores. I know she would be ok with it. Yup! I could definately be a golden.

See the results below.

What about you? Take the quiz at dogster and let us all know about your inner dog.


WOW! You're a Golden Retriever

The Charmer

Laid-back, sociable and well-groomed, you've got your own hip little pack of groupies who just love to be around you. You have a brain inside that adorable little head of yours, though you use it mostly to organize your hectic social calendar. You never poop out at parties, and since you're popular with ladies and men, as well as children and adults, you dish out your wit, charm and luck to whomever is close enough to bask in it. The top dog likes you and wants to be your best friend, despite the fact that he doesn't really know what the heck you do. No one does, in fact, but everyone loves you all the same. A true foodie, you’ve got your keen ears fine-tuned to make sure you don't miss out on the opening of a trendy new place to nosh. But your youthful days of being able to wolf down food 24-7 are wagging behind you, meaning you've got to watch what you eat so you don’t pull a Brando and outgrow your coats.

FAMOUS GOLDEN RETRIEVERS: Bono, Robert Redford, Joe Montana, Julia Roberts

LIKELY PROFESSIONS: Journalist, Intelligence Agent, Venture

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Thanks, Norwood and please accept my apologies

Our good friend Norwood: has bestowed, upon Stumpy, a very prestigious award.

The award states that “This blog invests and believes in PROXIMITY - nearness in space, time, and relationships!”
In other words, “These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.”

Stumpy is thrilled and has a loooooooooooog list of friends she would like to thank for making this award possible. However, the only time Stumpy has to make the speech is when she is running around like a nut, staring like a zombie or crashed with exhaustion. She refuses to give up any of these activities to make a speech of appreciation. I know, not very nice of her ... but since she has thumbed/pawed her nose at doing anything except what she wants to do, I don't have any recourse except to let her have her way, once again.

On the other side of this are my own shortcomings. I am bloggerally challenged!!! A simple
post is the extent of my blog knowledge. I recently learned how to post more than one picture
But every picture posted is a long frustrating trial. To post links I have to find them in another blog and do a cut and paste (e.g.: see the above link for Norwood: note the colon, I couldn't get it out of there without losing the link.)

When the day comes that I have figured out all this stuff I will, for sure, pass the award on. There are soooooo many deserving the recognition.

Norwood, thanks for the award and keeping up with us despite your very active life. We'll keep working on my blogabilities and hopefully, will be able to pass the award along, before long.

Friday, May 1, 2009

National Naughty Dog Contest

In honor of National Pet Week May 3 - 9, 2009, Bark Busters, the world’s largest dog training company, announced the first-of-its-kind National Naughty Dog Contest to find the naughtiest dog in America.

AT LAST!!! Those of us with naughty dogs can be rewarded for our patience!

I know, I KNOW we should be nominated for sainthood. But in the meantime, BarkBusters.com holds an annual contest.

“So many dog owners get a dog hoping he will be an ideal member of the family, only to discover the dog rules their household instead,” said Liam Crowe, CEO and master dog behavioral therapist at Bark Busters USA. “We want to help owners realize they can address these unwanted behaviors and build a stronger relationship with their canine companions, and we want to showcase this fact by training America’s naughtiest dog and having a bit of fun along the way.

Now, I know, in the short t time I have been reading blogs, I have read and seen the evidence of some REALLY, REALLY naughty dogs.

The 2009 Bark Busters National Naughty Dog Contest will accept video contest entries from May 4, 2009 through July 13, 2009. All entries must be received no later than July 13, 2009.

We, the consumer, will have a say in the final selection! According to Bark Busters, “FIVE contest finalists will be selected by a panel of experts at Bark Busters USA on July 14, 2009 and will be interviewed prior to selection. The five contest finalists will be featured on www.BarkBusters.com from July 15, 2009 through August 3, 2009 for the public to vote on the top THREE finalists.”

1st prize? Well, if you have a naughty dog it could help … “The Grand Prize winner will win free dog training—which includes Bark Busters’ guaranteed lifetime support—to transform the “winning” dog from naughty to nice.” Personally, I would like an all expense paid vacation for Stumpy and I. Or, a dog yard make-over. But hey, maybe I could donate the training to a shelter or rescue dog that really needs something extra to find the perfect forever home. I am pretty sure, if I wasn’t so digitally challenged, Stumpy would have a shot at this.

For all the information, rules and guidelines go here.