about Irish Setters

Eight funny ‘n’ exasperating things about Irish Setters

Life with Setters can be anything but dull.

1 It’s fun to test your wits with these intelligent creatures. Stubborn to the core, you can break down their ‘dominating’ behaviour if you can outwit them at their own game. For instance, if you wanna get them to ‘get off the couch’, a stern command is often treated with scant respect. But involve them in a game and they are happy to do your bidding!
2 They have a little ‘knot’ on their head. That’s what some Setter lovers say is their ‘knot of knowledge’. Or others call the ‘kissable knot’. Or sometimes maybe you’d be prone to call them just ‘knuckleheads’!
3 Towel me, please! That’s what Setters say after their meal. Trust me they are very resourceful at finding their own napkins – unfortunately, it might be that lovely Persian rug that you just got back from the laundry!
4 While one Setter believes in ‘pointing’ and ‘setting’ every pigeon, house lizard, toad or every little sparrow in the backyard, the other might believe in ‘live and let live’ – preferring to laze in the sun than worry his little head over setting!
5 They are masters of counter surfing. You might find a freshly-baked cake that you left on the counter a minute ago, disappearing in the blink of an eye!
6 Spray bottles scare the hell outta the brave little Setter! Aim one and you will find him ducking for cover!
7 Setters have the most innovative ways of drinking water. It’s so boring to drink water out of a bowl, right? Straight out of a faucet – great. Better still – puddles of dirty water
8 They are big trophy-collectors. Be it socks, underwear, toys, balls, they have got to hoard them all. And, the most exasperating part is that they have to flaunt their embarrassing hoard in front of guests!

Understanding aggression in dogs

Like humans, dogs too have a personality of their own and their behaviour is often  determined by various internal and external factors and aggression is no exception. 

Out of the entire range of canine behavioural traits, aggression is one characteristic, which is by far the most misunderstood and mishandled by humans. For many ‘supposed’ animal lovers, signs of aggression or ferocity have often caused them to resort inhumane practices, such as abandonment, eliminating the incisors and even euthanasia. Then there are people who prefer to keep a distance from anything that looks dog-like. They mostly dread the idea of a dog getting close to them and commonly believe, that all dogs do, is chase and bite people. The fact is that dogs have better things to do in life than chase and bite people all day long. With relevance to the former case, it has to be learnt and recognized that there may be certain physical and psychological factors underlying aggressive behaviour in a dog.
Most people, unfortunately, remain unaware of the existence and outcomes of these factors due to the lack of appropriate education on dog psychology and behaviour. The knowledge of this would help a great deal in avoiding uncomfortable and unsafe situations for the family of the pet, for the animal herself and of course, a complaining neighbourhood.
The foremost thing to learn and understand about dogs is that, they too have personalities of their own. In this regard, it is also important to note that, each dog has a distinct personality, depending on the environment in which she has been allowed to mature. The conduciveness of this environment to the psychological and physical well being of the pooch, is what will determine the possibilities of her displaying varied forms of aggression. A proper recognition of these, go a long way in assisting a healthy co-existence between humans and their canine companions.
Protection: The sense of ‘protection’ is a very common instigator of aggressive behaviour. Dogs have a strong tendency to protect things that they find valuable, such as their food, toys, territory and even their human family members. This kind of aggression is in most cases directed towards strangers, (who, according to dogs, might snatch away or harm their valuable possessions) and normally protects houses from robbers or burglars. Dogs find growling or barking as their only protective weapons.
Fear or anxiety: Dogs and all other animals, are naturally fearful and apprehensive of things, environments and situations, which they are unfamiliar to. These unfamiliar things are often considered to have the potential of being threatening. For example, any dog who has grown up in a quiet and peaceful household, will feel startled and threatened amongst noisy, rowdy or overly active people. In such a case, a dog may bark or pounce to drive the chaos away and defend herself and her human family. From a dog’s point of view therefore, if the behaviour of an otherwise friendly passerby looks threatening or frightening, there is all the reason to act for the purpose of protection.
Ill-treatment: Closely associated with the above mentioned factor, is aggression deriving from ‘ill-treatment.’ In a case where the dog is frequently beaten or hit for varied reasons, the dog might one day begin retaliating through ferocious behaviour, due to the fear of being hurt again. It is, thus, common to see that people who are harsh with their pets usually have dogs who are aggressive in nature.
Maternal instinct: Maternal aggression is commonly observed in female dogs two to four weeks after they have given birth and derives again, from a sense of insecurity and fear. Even the most docile and friendly dog is most likely to display maternal aggression if she has the slightest intuition that her babies might be at risk. It is most advisable, therefore, to restrict any visitors to get a look at, let alone touching, those ‘Oh! So adorable!’ bundles of cuteness for the first few weeks. As far as stray mothers are concerned, it is best for doggy lovers to prepare a cosy and safe place for her and the babies in some corner in a lane, not forgetting to keep a safe distance.
Frustration: It can originate from various factors, prominent amongst them being long hours of confinement and chaining. Besides, certain ‘playing’ methods of pet parents also bother dogs. Imagine someone shaking you up while you are in deep sleep, or someone blowing air in your face, or tickling, poking or trying to stuff you in a pillowcase! One must realize that a dog too has ‘limits,’ a concept that people, mostly children, ignore when it comes to animals. This disregard is most likely to result in a rebellious response from the canine and the only way that she can express this defiance is through a show of aggression.
Play-fighting: As far as ‘play fighting’ between dogs and humans is concerned, it is symbolic of an affectionate exchange of fondness and trust. Here, we may slap and pull or grab our dogs playfully, while they playfully bite or tug our hands or clothes. ‘Play bites’ are extremely inhibited and harmless. Young dogs, however, who are still learning how to inhibit their bites while playing, might at times, unintentionally bite hard. This, by all means, must not be considered as an act of aggression, as it is nothing more than an innocent effort to return your affection.
Pain or sickness: A sick or injured dog often turns irritable and snappy. Snapping, showing of teeth or growling, however, are no more than warnings saying ‘do not touch!’ It is not surprising, therefore, for an otherwise gentle dog to bite a caring owner who is trying to examine, treat or soothe a wound or injury.
Old age: It is common for an aged dog to acquire certain age related medical problems such as impaired vision and hearing or a diminished sense of smell. As a result of confusion caused by these, a dog may not be quick in recognizing and accepting people or situations. Consequently, they tend to get startled and irritated quickly at being approached or handled too often. These reactions also have to do with another trait that is associated with the elderly, including those amongst humans, is the ‘lack of patience.’ We, therefore, see old dogs becoming snappy and less tolerant towards active puppies and ‘over-enthusiastic’ human lovers. Besides these factors, other age related problems such as arthritis also cause great discomfort and pain in old dogs, making a dog less friendly and intolerant.
Dominance: The victims here are usually the pet owners who, from the dog’s point of view, are the subordinates in the ‘pack.’ Obviously then, the dog considers herself to be the leader of the pack, or in literal terms, the leader or head of the family. The fact is that a dog is a pack animal and by natural instincts, will try to establish dominance within any pack that she belongs to. For pet dogs, the owning family, along with the other household pets, form the pack. What’s interesting, is that it is the owners’ behaviour towards the dog, which will determine the development of dominance aggression. If the owners have a habit of feeding the dog before they eat themselves, or allow him to sleep on their own beds, or submit at one bark of demand; the dog will establish a higher rank in the household and begin commanding wishes through a show of dominance aggression.
Redirected aggression: Here, a dog might attack his owner, a stranger or another animal because she is already enraged by another source or in another context. The most common example of this form of aggression is when a man, who is trying to break a fight between two dogs, grabs at the dogs’ collars, tails or legs in the process. The agitated dog will most probably throw a bite at the ‘interfering’ source, without realising who that source is and many times, even considering it a part of the other dog.
So, the next time you see your dog showing aggressive behaviour, try to understand the underlying cause, before labelling her as an aggressive dog. Remember, such behaviour can be controlled with the help of proper training.

Ode to man’s best friend

The one phrase that everyone keep saying veryThe very often – irrespective of whether he is a dog lover oroften or not – is that a dog is a man’s best friend. Even sceptics can’t help but acknowledge the truthEven truth of this saying. And what’s surprising is that everof ever since man has known since time immemorial, there is no companion like a dog for a man…

 

We all have grown up hearing stories of dog’s love, loyalty and courage. The humancanine bond is so strong that even though they don’t vow ‘Till death do us apart…,’ every dog gives his human friend the unconditional love and care till he breathes his last. It is believed that the saying ‘A dog is man’s best friend’ actually has its origin in a very interesting court battle that was fought vis-à-vis a dog. It so happened that a plaintiff by the name of Charles Burden lost his dog named “Old Drum” when the animal was shot dead by his neighbour Leonidas Hornsby. Old Drum had accidentally wandered onto the Hornsby’s property. Even though Hornsby had often hunted with the dog and acknowledged him to be one of the best hunters he had ever since, he shot him down. The bereaved Burden sued Hornsby for damages and the trial become one of the most talked about cases in history. After the jury awarded $25, the neighbour successfully appealed the ruling. The dog’s owner however succeeded in his motion for a new trial and the case shifted to Missouri. That was when Burden hired George Graham Vest to fight his case. Little did anyone know that this man would give a speech which would endear him to all dog-lovers in the world for all times to come. It was a speech that put dogs on a pedestal like never before and gave them their due value in human society.

Unfortunately, only the first portion of his speech has been preserved, which says: “Gentlemen of the jury, the best friend a man has in the world may turn against him and become his worst 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 he has, he may lose. It flies away from him, perhaps when he needs it the 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 honour when success is with us may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its clouds upon our heads. The one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him and the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous…is his dog.”

He went on to say, “Gentlemen of the jury, 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 fortunes 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 against danger, to fight against his enemies, and when the last scene of all comes and death takes the 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 his graveside will be the noble dog be found, his head between his paws, his eyes sad but open in alert watchfulness, faithful and true even to death.”

And after George Graham Vest sat down, it took the jury not more than two minutes to deliberate on the case. They immediately awarded the dog’s owner more than what he asked for, because like everyone who heard the speech, they knew that the plaintiff had not just lost his dog, he had indeed lost his greatest and most loyal friend. So overwhelmed were the residents of Warrensburg by the whole truth of Vest’s speech that they went ahead and erected a statue of “Old Drum” on the Johnson County Courthouse Square in his

memory and to commemorate his selfless service. The statue stands there even today, and reminds all and sundry what a dog means to humans.

This is just one instance, there are hundreds more instances where humans have immortalised their pets. In India itself, in Tarapada village in Orissa, there’s a tomb built in remembrance of a dog named Bhalu. The canine had faithfully guarded the homes of nearly 500 villagers in the coastal district of Kendrapada. In

honour of his memory and to express their gratitude for his selfless and loyal care, the villagers placed a marble plaque on the tomb. Not only that, there are also certain specific details of Bhalu’s short life mentioned on the plaque, which everyone remembered with great fondness.

Dog owners have now accepted canines as important family members and are ready to do anything to be together. Suja Rajagopal, while migrating along with their family from US to Chennai, brought their pets along (Nubia, a mixed Siberian Husky and Conan, a German Shepherd). Even though the whole process was expensive but for them that’s a small price for their priceless buddies. People have become more responsible towards their pets and the society is changing for the better. Pets are now allowed in churches and some organizations (like Google) allow their employees to bring their pets along. For us humans, the only thing as permanent as nature itself, is the unconditional love that dogs shower on us, seeking nothing in return. And I know I speak for all those dog lovers out there when I say, that if there is one thing that God made without any defect – in body, form and soul – were the four-legged darlings. May God bless our canines, amen!

– by Amrita Sharma

Paw News | Sep – Oct 07

Like father like son…obese!

Fat mum and fatty dad…no wonder kids are overweight – our pampered pooches in cities. Pets are inheriting the lifestyle sickness with their masters…and most of them are obese and have health problems related to over weight. While obesity invades people because of their busy lifestyle, idleness makes their pets fat. The nuclear family set up and busy working schedule prevents most of the people to give enough physical activity to their pets and themselves. Obesity brings with it ailments like liver problems, complaints of immobility and breathlessness, which can be highly harmful. Here comes the role of dog trainers and dog walkers, who give regular work-outs to pets. Busy pet parents in metros are now availing services of such people for the betterment of their canine kids.

Meet the dog lakhpathies

Our doggies are our love for life, but what after that? Have you ever given it a thought, what will happen to your pets if something happens to you? Well people like Bhawani Dutt Joshi defiantly do. An Utharanchal-based ex-military official, he gave off his entire wealth including retirement benefits to his two sons, Tikaram and Shivaraj. Before brushing aside this news, let me tell you that Tikaram and Shivaraj are his pet dogs! Even though Joshi had two wives, he could not father a child. And so, he showered all his love and affection on his two pet dogs. And now that he is old, he has formed a committee which would look after his pets after he dies. A true example of eternal love.

Bing! Bing…locating doggies!

Next time, when your pet hides himself, don’t worry. You can find him out easily in a high-tech way… like our Hollywood movies. Bing! Bing…locating doggies! A manufacturer of GPS equipment, Garmin, has developed a micro sensor device named Astro to sense motions and other additions to help owners to track their pets. Astro, which weighs two ounces, has two parts. One is a hand held GPS unit for the owner and the other device is meant to be put on the dog’s collar or harness. The unit on the dog’s collar computes the animal’s location from GPS satellites and radios the information to the owner’s hand-held unit. The dog units also have tiny motion-sensing chips that detect whether the dog is running, sitting or on point. Sounds great…well! hold on that’s not all. In Singapore, all the pets are tagged with microchips as well so that parents can trace their dogs easily…now pooch parenting has really become hitech, what say?

Bow! retirement benefits for us too!

The life after retirement might be a nightmare, if we don’t plan for it. Our serving pooches are worst victims of it. In the absence of proper care, old age becomes the sum total of discomfort and sorrows. But now, the dogs in Tamil Nadu Dog Squad will get a sigh of relief as they come under the pension scheme proposed by the state government. The dogs, after retiring from Dog Squad, were generally auctioned to pet lovers. But seeing the pathetic retirement life of these courageous and hardworking dogs, the government decided to give them a peaceful life by providing regular medical check up, diet and total care. Previously, when the dog reached retirement age, they were immediately sent out of the squad. But now, the scheme also allows them to stay in familiar surroundings and carry out routine exercise, so they can avoid the trauma of a sudden change of life style. A smart way for caring our dauntless canines!

Yummy ice creams for us too!

Scorching summer days and yummy ice cream treats…woof! We just love that. When we are slurping on delicious ice candies, our furry angels often pine for these mouth watery attractions. But not anymore as here’s good news for those who want to enjoy the hot summers with their beloved pets with a cup of ice cream. Pooches in Vienna, Austria are already slurping tasty ice creams at Iori, an ice cream parlour near St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Doggy ice creams are available in three flavours-vanilla, vanilla-rice and soy. After several months’ experiments, Anton Mramor-Leonardini, the owner of Iori, has developed these most suitable doggy ice creams. A sure way to pamper your canine’s taste buds!

Dog trafficking foiled in Assam

Every other day, we come across news of heinous activities conducted for making money. More recently, a few young men in Assam were caught for trafficking stray dogs to Nagaland. They paid Rs 50 per dog to the dogcatchers and later handed them over to the Naga traders for Rs 1000 for each dog, who use these dogs for food.

Recently, People for Animals, under the leadership of Sangeeta Goswami, saved the life of 32 such stray dogs from death, after they came to know these canines had been confined and dumped at Uluoni forest by some local youths. A real encroachment to the life of the hapless! Let’s all unite to make this world a better place for our canine friends.

Look, who’s on the teacher’s podium!!

Look,-who’s-on-the-teacher’s-podium!!

Bholtu

Pooches are our best pals. They are a solace in our sorrows and a song when we are weary. Their attitude has inspired many to make small but important changes in mind, body and spirit. They know and feel our emotions, sorrow and happiness. Your furry friend is not only a bundle of joy but a good teacher too!! A teacher who is assigned for teaching how to live this precious life in a healthy and happy way… Here are a few things we can learn from them.

  1. Exercise (Love it) – A walk on the lap of nature. For you it may be a chore but our canines consider it as a celebration of spirits. It sends them into a frenzy that may include running in enthusiastic circles and charging at us with their leash. Without exercise, both canine and human feel more tired and irritable. For a healthy mind and body, put your pet on leash and dart out for a refreshing walk.
  2. Food (Need it) – Mostly a healthy dog eats what he wants and leaves the rest. They don’t seem bothered by the lack of variety and never eats out of boredom, stress or emotion but for necessity. If more people regarded food as a necessity for their body rather than a replacement for love or excitement, pounds would drop like flies. A perfect way to attain that ideal weight and shape!
  3. Drugs (Don’t need them)– Snowy wakes up perky in the morning without a cup of coffee and can relax at night without a glass of wine or a cigarette. Take this as an inspiration and cut the caffeine, aspirin and nicotine out of your lives. And don’t be surprised when you feel much more energized without them. A healthy way to start and end a day!
  4. Love (Give it without reservation) – Physical affection is one of life’s great pleasures and at times says much more than words. If humans were even half as nice to each other as these furry angels are to us, the world would be a much better place. Anyone can be more generous with compliments and smiles, two forms of affection all of us enjoy. Start spreading love today, in fact now…give a compliment to the person next to you and see the smile spreading.
  5. Loyalty (Give it) – A dog’s most famous trait is loyalty. They growl and bark when strangers come to your house. This willingness to put others before themselves is perhaps the most admirable quality. This quality may not be in order for us humans, but stands up for those who need it. Be loyal to your loved ones!
  6. Fun (Have lots of it) – Rapture yourself fully in the moments of exciting sights, sound and smells… Shed off the mask of seriousness and sing songs to your dogs, dance with him, chase him around the garden and make faces at him. Take time from your busy schedule to do the things you love and you will thank your canine for it along with being a much happier person yourself. There is always time for fun, just live in the moment!
  7. Self-acceptance (Embrace it) – Our four legged furry friends don’t obsess over extra pounds or food between their teeth or what clothes to wear. They’ll roll around in dirt and raise an alarm at something that’s sniff strange. If someone doesn’t like them, they shrug it off and move on. They totally accept themselves and are happy. Take the hint, accept yourself for what you are and stop thinking of what you don’t have.
  8. TV (Get over it) – While you are watching TV, your furry friend watch you looking at the box in a manner that clearly indicates, “Whatever”. Does it ever occur to you, “What am I doing”? It is amazing at how much extra time appears to be in a day when you decrease the TV watching time. So, just switch off the TV, spend some quality time with your family and friends, do that pending task and see how happy you feel at the end of it!

And you thought, only we can teach our canines!

Paw News | Mar -Apr 07

BOWttoms up!

We love to party…and so do our pooches…they also love dance…music…and…BEER… yes! of course…beer. Let us brew some fun together as now there is a special non-alcoholic beer for dogs also, which is made from beef extract and malt. Terrie Berenden, a pet shop owner in the southern Dutch town of Zelhem, has created a beer for our four-legged companions. Berenden consigned a local brewery to make and bottle the non-alcoholic beer, branded as Kwispelbier. “Kwispel” is the Dutch word for wagging tail. So let’s raise the toast together…for our pooches…cheers!

PETernity leaves…a blessing indeed for pet parents

London has given another gift to its pooch lovers, which has been spreading good vibes all over amongst the pet parents, as now there are special peternity leaves for taking good care of their pets. Appreciating the love and bond between a pet and parent, a few companies in London have become liberal and have approved two days annual leave for this cause. Also, one can take work home in case pet needs special care. Just another way to celebrate the human-canine bond!

Yumm…feasting on Rajasthani Lapsi…bow!

Royal Rajasthan is known for its warm hospitality world over, and this time our pooches too got a pinch of it. It was a yummy treat for thousands of pariahs in over 45 villages of desert region of Barmer, when they were treated with delicious Lapsi – a Rajasthani dish – for two days…sounds great…well, tastes too good.

The feast was organised for achieving peace, good harvesting season and brotherhood in the region…and for loving pooches’ blessings too.

Saving pooches…get an oxygen mask

Adversities never come informed…so do calamities. And being a pet parent one has to go that extra mile for the safety of doggies. Thus, little oxygen mask for pets is becoming standard equipment for firemen in US to save our doggies’ life. Countless pets have died in fire, as they are too scared to come out and die because of asphyxia.

It is a cone-shaped plastic mask, which fits snugly… and works wonders in the hour of emergency. Originally developed for the use of vets, they gradually evolved into rescue tools…for our loving canines.

Pooch… serving mother India

It’s a big honour to serve the nation for any one…be it you or me, but only a few lucky ones get a chance. Our pooches have been a part of the Indian Army’s Remount Veterinary Corps (RVC), one of the oldest arms of army, established in 1779. Today, the RVC unit includes Labradors (for sniffing and mine detection) and German and Belgian Shepherds (for guarding, patrolling and tracking), in the average age group of 6 months – 12 years. And, we all are testimony to the bravery acts of our K9s, who have saved lot of people in natural disasters like Tsunami and earthquakes. Besides, we have also heard of our K9s sniffing bombs, drugs and other anti-social elements. The recent Republic Day tableau had active participation from the RVC, where the dogs could be seen with their handlers. Great going young K9s, we salute you!

A gift of life… for Salma… by Diva

Salma Hayek needs no introduction… she is one hot dame, who has left millions breathless with her gorgeous looks. Guess, what happened to her, just an eve before Golden Globe Awards, where she bagged two awards…her pet pooch – Diva saved her life. It so happened while Salma was sleeping and Diva suddenly grabbed her sleeve and woke her up and it was then she realized that there was a gas leak in the house. We all (Salma’s fan) just want to thank Diva for saving our Diva…long live the Divas!

Brave little Bella!

Caesar in the city Ever since I saved Bella from being eaten by a turtle in the river, she follows me around like a little, lost puppy. When I race down the hallway in the morning, she’s right at my heels, slipping and sliding around the corner and into the kitchen. And when I lay my head on Raven’s slipper, Bella lays her head on the other one. She’s a cute kid since country life humbled her. One morning, Raven pulled out The Big Bag. Oh! no. This meant he and Josh were leaving. I put my chin on my paws and began to pout. Raven said, “Don’t look so down, Caesar. You can go too.” Go! My second favorite word – right after “treat”. I wagged my tail slap slap, slap against Raven’s leg. Bella wagged her stubby little tail too and looked at me as if to say, “Why are we wagging our tails, huh huh?”

As we headed down the road, I tried to guess where we were going. Auntie Carissa’s? I sniffed the air for clues. Raven was wearing that smelly stuff he splashes on his neck and face sometimes. He wouldn’t wear it just to go to Auntie Carissa’s house. No, we were headed someplace important.

We drove all day, got out and stretched our legs, then kept going. I was sleeping when I heard Bella begin to squeak and leap around. I growled my “calm down!” growl, but it didn’t work. I sat up and looked out the window to see what all the fuss was about.

Bright lights blinded me, car horns blared, tall buildings blocked out the sky. “We’re here!” Josh said and opened the door.

Where was the grass? And the trees? We hopped out of the car and started down the crowded sidewalk. Feet clomped, slapped, trudged past me. I felt dizzy. Bella took the lead, trotting with her head held high. We came upon a door that went round and round. Raven waved at us and disappeared into the spinning door! I lunged to save him from the fast-moving trap. Josh pulled me back and said, “Caesar, you can’t go.” Can’t – the second worst word in the world, right after “no”.

As we crossed the street, I stepped in a slippery black puddle that smelled bad. Bella walked daintily around it and looked back at me as if to say, “Do what I do.” Oh! no. Little Ms. Confidence was back. My Labrador pride would not allow me to accept a tiny ball of fluff as my leader.

We strolled past buildings that smelled like food. Hey, maybe the city isn’t so bad after all! Soon we came upon a large square of trees and grass. “Nice park!” Josh said. Suddenly, I was surrounded by squirrels! Squirrels gathering nuts under the trees, squirrels jumping off of benches, squirrels leaping through the air! One passed right in front of us and I lunged at it so hard that Josh let go of my leash. I raced like a greyhound after the squirrel. Bella made a sharp, high-pitched yapping noise – her fear bark. What was her problem? She never felt afraid when I chased squirrels at home.

The problem with running like a greyhound is that it’s hard to put on the brakes. All the squirrels had scampered up trees and I had crossed the green square when just ahead of me I saw cars zipping by. A huge bus came screeching at me. It wasn’t going to be able to stop in time and neither was I! I thought I was Labrador lasse for sure when suddenly from behind, something strong and powerful tugged at my tail. It pulled me back away from the street and onto the grass. I turned to look and there was Bella with her chompers on my tail.

Josh was hugging me and patting my head. Bella looked worn out with her pink tongue dangling from the side of her mouth. As we walked out of the park and back to the scary revolving door that had sucked up Raven, I stuck close to Bella and watched how my street-smart sister maneuvered through this crazy, chaotic world – the city.

When Raven met us he was smiling from ear to ear. Something really good must have happened inside. Then Josh looked down at me and I heard him say my name and the word “can’t”. Raven’s smile changed to a frown. I knew why. Raven liked the city. He wanted to stay. But I had ruined it by almost getting run over by that bus. Raven looked so sad and it was all my fault!

It was getting dark and so we stayed in a room. As I stretched out in front of the TV, I thought of a way to convince Raven and Josh that I could handle city life. I would need to learn a few things from Bella first.

Beautiful dogs on stamps:a collector’s pride

Everyone has a hobby or two and if you are a dog lover and a philatelist, then what would you collect? Dog stamps! This is exactly what Vinayak Moorthy does. He has a huge collection of stamps featuring dogs of all breeds, sizes and ages from all over the world. Here’s a peek into his vast collection.

 

An avid animal lover, Vinayak Moorthy has a beautiful collection of over 300 stamps featuring dogs from various countries like India, US, Vietnam, Scandinavia, UK, Germany, China, Tibet, etc. Each stamp has a description of its origin and is filed neatly. It is a real pleasure to see some of the beautiful dogs on these postal stamps. This is indeed a superb way to celebrate our canines.

As Moorthy puts it, “Stamps of butterflies and different models of cars made my childhood colourful. Later, dogs became my favourite and in 1974, I started breeding dogs. My love for dogs prompted me to collect dog stamps six years back and now it has become my passion. The oldest among my collection is a Lhasa Apso breed stamp, issued by Oman in 1971. Besides this, two more stamps I treasure are – a 30-year-old Foxhound and Irish Setter stamp, issued by Cuba in 1976, and the other is issued by Mongolia in 1978, featuring GSD and Labrador. In spite of having stamps from different countries, my favourites are stamps featuring Indian breeds.”

So how do Moorthy collects stamps? “I have lots of friends in different countries and they play a major role in widening my hobby. I also buy stamps through Stamp Associations,” he added.

Moorthy has exhibited his collection in various stamp exhibitions and also at schools. How do dog lovers react to his collection? “Oh! It’s overwhelming. I received huge appreciation when I displayed my prized possession at International Dog Show, conducted by Kennel Club, in Chennai. I still cherish their warm response,” replied Moorthy.

Giving tips to people who collect dog stamps, Moorthy said, “Just like bringing up a pet, a philatelist also has thirst for collecting pet stamps. You should be aware of the breed and origin of the dog and then you can actually treasure your collection.” Just as Moorthy, who finds pride in his own collection!

Caesar and Little Ms. Confidence

What happens when the lil’ baby of the house gets a new sibling? Sibling rivalry? This is what happened to Caesar when Raven and Josh brought home Ms. Confidence. But, all is well that ends well and soon she found a secure place in Caesar’s heart.

Ever since Raven and Josh picked me up off the streets, I’ve lived the good life in a cozy cottage surrounded by a lush, green forest with a river winding through the middle. The river is my all-time favorite place. I can’t get enough of the water! I guess that’s the Labrador Retriever in me.

Life was better than ever. That is why I never could have guessed that fifteen pounds of fluff would come waltzing into my life and disturb my peace completely. But that’s just what happened one rainy day at the end of summer.

When Raven bent down to put on my collar and leash I got excited. Oh boy! A walk in the rain; splashing in puddles and digging in mud! But then the door swung open and there stood a round lady with a little, fluffy dog wearing a shiny collar.

Raven and Josh petted the little dog and said, “Hello Bella,” over and over again. I hoped the little ball of fluff would leave, and soon my hopes were dashed, when the lady got up and put her coat on, patted the little dog on the head and left without her! I watched fretfully as the sun disappeared behind the mountains. Unfortunately, the ball of fluff didn’t disappear.

At bedtime, Raven and Josh folded a blanket and laid it in the corner. But instead of going to the new blanket, the brat pranced over to MY blanket and lay down. I gave a loud sigh and plopped down with my chin on my front paws in perfect pout position.

The next two days, the rain never let up. I gazed through the window at the drooping tree branches and the quiet street and wondered if life would ever get back to normal. By now, Little Ms. Confidence was strolling through the house as if she owned it. One night, I was on my after-dinner kitchen patrol, sniffing around the floor near the stove. Bella pounced on the tiny morsel of chicken I had been about to lick up. I growled a low growl, but she pretended not to notice. She just sauntered over to the trash can. BAM! Bella let the lid slam down. From another room, Josh shouted, ‘Out of the garbage!” Then he came into the kitchen, but by that time the little brat had scooted out of the way, leaving me closest to the garbage. Josh muttered, “Caesar, you’re setting a bad example for your new little sister.” Little sister? Never!

When she stole my favorite squirrel toy, I was ready to howl in despair. But then the sun came out and with it my leash. Josh said the magic words: “Let’s go for a walk.” The fact that Bella was coming along didn’t stop my tail from wagging. The air was filled with tantalizing smells after the rain: musty leaves, fresh grass, and tangy pine needles. Life was good again. As we started down a dirt path, a frog hopped in front of us and Bella jumped backward, her fur standing on end. Afraid of a little frog! How silly!

Just ahead of us, an enormous gray bird fluttered up and away. Bella crouched down on her belly and put her paws over her head. I was beginning to understand. Bella was a city girl and all this country stuff was scaring the fleas out of her. I stuck out my chest and held my head high.

Once we reached the edge of the river, Raven and Josh spread a blanket in the grass and sat down. I did my usual leap into the shimmering coolness. Bella was watching. I began to swim in wide circles. I noticed out of the corner of my eye when Bella stuck one paw in the river, then another. I could tell she was trying to follow me. She waded out to the part where the sandy bottom disappears. That’s when she started flailing her legs every way. Raven and Josh weren’t paying attention. Frantically, she pawed her way toward a rock in the water. The rock moved and Bella let out a squeak. The “rock” was a slimy, brown turtle and he wasn’t at all happy about being mistaken for a rock.

Bella’s eyes flashed raw fear and she looked at me. I swam over to her as fast as I could and gave her a strong nudge toward the shore. When she started to panic and sink, I gave another nudge until finally she climbed out onto the sand. She looked like a half-drowned rat.

Raven and Josh appeared at the river’s edge. “Oh look. They went swimming together!” Raven said happily.

As we walked back home, Bella followed close to me. She shook like a leaf the whole way. As soon as her leash was off, she went straight to her blanket in the corner and curled up. I picked up my squirrel toy, trotted over to her and set it down beside her. I couldn’t wait to teach her how to chase real squirrels! Bella touched my nose with hers and her big, brown eyes glistened.

Who knows? Having a little sister might not be so bad after all. I guess time will tell.

Stars with a difference! Kool K9!

Undoubtedly, dogs are lovable, regardless of breed, size and age. But, some  are ordained to become famous, and what keeps them apart from others is their attitude and loving nature. Here are a few dogs, who have created history and will always be remembered with fondness.

Playful Pluto
Pluto – Bloodhound, the best buddy of Mickey Mouse, is friendly and loyal. His playfulness and good spirits always make him a lovable pooch. His eagerness to please Mickey makes him even more adorable. Pluto likes to be rewarded for a job well done. Kindhearted and faithful Pluto made his debut in 1930 in ‘The Chain Gang’. Playing with chipmunks and other animals, chasing balls…he loves
to do and says: “Grrr …” “Snort!” “Sniff, sniff, sniff …”
“Bark! Bark!”

Gold hearted Goofy
Goofy is a happy-go-lucky pooch with a heart of gold; his never-say-die attitude made him a big star. Optimistic and enthusiastic, with loads of positive attitude made him shine, he became an official mascot for the 1980 French Olympic team, 1981 spokesman for the German Sportlife Fund, and 1983 mascot for the first Wimbledon Tennis Jr. World Championship. The Goof’s message was, “It doesn’t matter if you win or lose; just get up, try, and, most of all, have fun” a-hyuck, a- hyuck…

Smart Scooby-Doo
Scooby-Doo, a comically nervous Great Dane, with four teenagers, Fred “Freddie” Jones, Daphne Blake, Velma Dinkley, and Norville “Shaggy” Rogers spent hours hunting ghosts or finding the rational behind mysteries involving ghost and supernatural forces. While doing this, he won the hearts of million across the world. These Ghostbusters drove around in a van called the Mystery Machine and named their gang – Mystery Inc. In 2002 Scooby-Doo hit the big screen and there also the applause was same. Kudos, Scooby!