Monday, August 27, 2012

Dog Whistles

Steu is neither Republican nor Democrat. He disdains all politics. He does NOT want to be kissed, let alone patted, by any candidate.

His namesake, Baron von Steuben, helped our nation overthrow England but had strong mercenary tendencies. Like the Baron, little Steu will deign to perform for strangers, as long as there are treats.

At all other times, he is a committed monarchist.

During this political season, however, he and I have been discussing dog-whistle politics: the use of coded language designed to appeal to the prejudices of one side while escaping the attention of the other.

Be on the lookout. Steuben does not approve.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Party with Your Pup: August 27-September 2

Contact the event venue before attending to make sure information is accurate. Not all events allow pets, so check first.

Monday, August 27; 9 a.m.
Event: Hearing of Darick Stallworth
Location: Civil Courthouse, Division 9; 10 N. Tucker; St. Louis
Details: Randy Grim of Stray Rescue has put out a call for letters and a public show of support for abused dogs. Stallworth is accused of the horrific abuse and killing of five dogs in North St. Louis and a show of support in the courtroom will serve as a voice for abused dogs.
Cost: free
Steu says: I am sorry to start with a sad thing, and pups are definitely not allowed here, but I hope you will come and voice your opposition to dog abuse.

It seems like a quiet week, and I'm sorry to only have the one event be so sad. Next week is full of end-of-season dog swims, so stay tuned!

Dog Park

 As a teacher, I love using analogies to help my students understand complex material: life is like a box of chocolates, our blood circulates like a river system, etc.

To me, the dog park is analogous to a gym membership: a good idea in theory, but incredibly pricey if you never go.

We've never joined. I've never joined a gym either. I know myself too well.

To get to the dog park, we'd have to drive several miles. A dog park would defeat my own (extremely modest) exercise goals. The dog park has had a vaccine-resistant kennel cough outbreak. Etc.

Frankly, the main reason we haven't joined is that I don't entirely trust other dog owners.

This website has some wonderful analogies on dog park etiquette. Basically, if you would find a child's playground behavior intolerable, don't let your dog do the equivalent in the dog park.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Party with Your Pup: Aug 20-26

Be sure to contact the event venue to be sure information is accurate. Not all events allow pets, so check first.

Date: Wednesday, August 22; 7:30 a.m.-6: p.m.
Event: Ice Cream Social
Location: Petropolis; Chesterfield
Details: no details on flyer, but ice cream social is included in the cost of a day of doggie daycare.
Cost: $

Last month at Laumier
Date: Thursday, August 23; 6-8 p.m
Event: Yappy Hour
Location: Laumier Sculpture Park; Kirkwood
Details: food trucks, samples, training tips, nail trims, live music, pet psychic, photographers, and more
Cost: free to attend; some $ for certain booths
Steu says: I went to this last month and had a blast. There were even helpers to watch pups while their people went into the gallery. I barked until the helper took me for a walk around the garden so I could pee on all the roses. Plus, there was a chicken coop. Did you know that Laumier offers dog memberships? For real!

Date: Thursday, August 23; 6-9 p.m.
Event: Puppy Pool Party
Location: Pawsitively Fintastic; St. Louis
Details: Extended hours to use the puppy wading pools in the fenced dog yard.
Cost: free
Steu says: This is one of my favorite places to go. The yard is nice and big with lots of room to run. 

 Saturday, August 25; 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Details: special "doggie wine" and treats from Boxador Bites, pet trainer on hand to answer questions, adoptable pups, live music, bbq, and more
Cost: $$
Steu says: I love Boxador Bites! The banana is my favorite. 

 Saturday & Sunday; August 25-26; noon-4 p.m.
Event: Shaved Ice Treats
Location: Petsmart; Sunset Hills
Details: Benefit for Pet Rescue Network; frozen treats for people and pups
Cost: $

Date: Saturday & Sunday; August 25-26; see link for times.
Location: Four Muddy Paws; Lafayette Square 
Details: session from a professional pet photographer with an option to order a photo package and other products
Cost: $ (appointment required)
Steu says: I am very photogenic. Sometimes.

Party with Your Pup: Aug. 13-19

Please contact the event venue before attending to make sure information is accurate. Not all events permit pets, so check first.

Thursday, August 16; 5-6:30 p..m.
Location: Four Muddy Paws; Lafayette Square
Details: patio time and free wine tasting; discount baths. Afterwards, many neighborhood restaurants and shops offer discounts for people with pups.
Cost: free-ish
Steu says: I have done this one (no bath for me!), and it was very fun.

Friday, August 17; 5-7 p.m.
Event: Canine Back to School
Location: Old Dog New Treats; Kirkwood
Details: food games, food toys, creative feeding options, speed training and paw painting.
Cost: free!
Steu says: I am planning on going to this one. I just got a new treat puzzle and love it. Well, except for the part where I can't get to all of the treats right away.

Friday, August 17; Saturday, August 18
Event: Puppy Pool Party
Location: Koch Park Family Aquatic Center; Florissant
Details: see link for details
Cost: $

Saturday, August 18; all day
Event: Free pupcake day
Location: Three Dog Bakery; Town and Country
Details: free pupcake with purchase
Cost: $
Steu says: Pupcake! Pupcake! Pupcake! 

Saturday, August 18; 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Location: Four Muddy Paws; Lafayette Square
Details: sundae bar just for pups, wading pools and games on the side patio
Cost: $
Steu says: I love it here. The herbal ice-cream toppings are delicious.

Saturday, August 18; 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Event: Pooches and Hooch Adoption Event and Beer Tasting
Location: Urban Chestnut Brewery
Details: sponsored by Stray Rescue. Designed to find forever homes for long-term fosters. Beer tasting from noon-1 p.m.
Cost: $

Saturday, August 18; 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Sunday, August 19; 1:30-4 p.m.
Event: Meet the German Shepherd; Meet the Doberman Pinscher
Location: AKC Museum of the Dog
Details: a weekly Meet the Breed event included in the cost of admission to the Museum of the Dog.
Cost: $
Steu says: I love this museum!

Sunday, August 19; 9-11 a.m.
Event: Hope for the Animals Day
Location: Tower Grove Park; St. Louis, MO
Details: low-cost vaccinations, microchips, nail trips, ID tags, "ask-the-vet" and more.
Cost: $ (cash only!)
Steu says: I will be there for sure! I am a fancy-pants dog on a thrift-store budget.

Bird Dog

Steu is a bird dog. When we first got him at six-months old, he got out of the car after an eight-hour drive and immediately pointed at a bird. Nose to stick-thin tail in a straight line, tiny leg tucked to chest, all of nine pounds. Immediately.

On our walks, he will spot the pigeons on the phone wires. In the car, he'll whip his head around to stare at a hawk. CBS Sunday Morning's "Moment of Nature" segment is fraught with peril in our house. Barking could ensue at any moment. Even the sound of a crow on the television will set him off. For some reason, he particularly loathes crows.

I don't know what the hell I was thinking by getting backyard chickens.

This spring was really rough, and many times I thought I would have to scrap the whole effort. With time, desensitizing, and a lot of work, we've now reached the point where I can leash Steu, walk with him to the coop, open the door, let the girls out into the yard, take the pup for his walk, come back, and have him lie down in yard while they peck nearby.

We are still a long way from any off-leash time with them, and I doubt I will ever leave them together unsupervised, but I'm amazed at how much progress he's made.