“Man finds in the eyes of a dog the things he looks for.”
— Independent People, Halldór Laxness
The girls were extremely excited to try this offering from Chewy.com: the Busy Buddy Bristle Bone.
This ingenious toy, devised for very heavy chewers (which both of our pups are), integrates thin, replaceable rawhide rings into the bone.
We got to try the large size, which currently sells for $14.95 at Chewy.com. As soon as I let them try out the one we received, I knew I’d have to buy another one. They were both very interested in the bone and possessive over it. I bought another one in our next Chewy order, and they have both really been enjoying themselves with this toy.
They did figure out how to unscrew one of the ends of the bones and remove the ring, however, so I’d suggest that this is a toy for supervised play time.
Eden went to the vet for her annual checkup just last week, and the vet tech, whose opinion we treat like gold, actually recommended this toy to us. Eden was developing some buildup on her molars, and the vet tech said she really liked this toy for keeping the plaque at bay.
We’re all very pleased with this bristle bone! It’s always a pleasure to discover a new toy that can stand up to these heavy-duty shepherd mouths.
Is your dog playing with anything new lately?
Disclaimer: We were provided with this product in exchange for our honest review. We never review products that we wouldn’t heartily recommend to friends.
Believe me, I’ve been there: You’re bringing a new dog or puppy home, and you want to go absolutely wild in PetsMart. It’s overwhelming; there’s so much STUFF out there these days for dogs. But here’s a secret tip: You don’t need even a third of the things that giant pet store chains sell.
Here are some things we learned that our dogs actually don’t need.
What would you add to the list? What’s a pet product you see that you don’t think is really necessary?
In the circles I move in, it surprises me whenever I hear that people still harbor such negative opinions of pit bulls or dogs who resemble the bully breed type. When I volunteered at our local SPCA, some of my friends expressed concern about all of the pit bulls there and asked me if I was afraid of them. And I’d say no, I didn’t have time to be afraid of them, because all of them were spending all of their energy trying to crawl into my lap and lick my mouth. I was surprised. Isn’t everyone on board with pit bulls now? Apparently not.
I was also startled, when visiting a beach in Ireland this summer, to see that (really shockingly and stupidly broad) breed-specific legislation was being enforced there. I shouldn’t have been: the United Kingdom and Ireland are on the long list of countries that ban bully breeds.
And just a few weeks ago, Montréal joined the list of major cities that aim to ban pit bulls.* (*It sounds like there is an effort to put this on hold? Will be interested to hear how this develops.) Denver and Miami still ban them, and it is plausible to assume that other cities around the world will continue to buy into breed-based discrimination in the name of “safety” and “public order.” There are still very vocal “advocacy” groups hell bent on outlawing pit bulls.
How I wish more people and more legislators would read Bronwen Dickey’s excellent book, Pit Bull: The Battle over an American Icon.
Dickey approaches the story of the “breed” (more like dog type) with the clear-headed mind of a journalist and historian. She is a thorough researcher and weaves together a variety of subjects, interviews, and studies to explain why we see pit bulls the way we do now.
What results is a genuinely fascinating narrative of the ebb and flow of US public opinion regarding this dog. Americans have freaked out about particular dog breeds before — there was a murder campaign over the tiny, innocuous-looking German spitz in the early 1900s (totally surprised to learn about this one), and then, more recently, other German breeds, like German shepherds, dobermans, and rottweilers — but no terror seems to have lasted as long as the one we’ve directed at pit bulls.
Dickey makes a powerful case that a lot of our disdain and fear of pit bulls stems from systemic racism. Pit bulls are often featured in lower-income neighborhoods, and in America, we set up our neighborhoods so that the poorest ones are organized by race. She quotes a Baltimore activist, Lawrence Grandpre, in the Baltimore Sun:
“Over time, it seems that ‘pit bull’ has become a synonym for ‘black,’ and thus a similar bias seems to be at play here. As a black person raised in Baltimore, pit bulls were a central part of the social fabric of my life. The best dog I ever had was a pit bull, and he was the sweetest thing I have ever met. I am confident that if you were to ask the vast majority of pit bull owners in this city, they will tell you the same thing. For black folks like me who grew up with them, we love them because when we were born into a violent world not of our choosing, they protected us.”
Pit bulls, Dickey concludes, are just dogs. They are no more virtuous or vicious than any other dog. But we have really caused them to suffer because of our own prejudices. It is a sad thing indeed.
I’d encourage anyone with an interest in canine and human welfare to read this book and to share it with others.
Have you read Pit Bull? What do you think?
Disclaimer: I was not asked to write this review or compensated in any way. Just really loved the book and wanted to share!
No, I’m not getting another dog. (You can keep breathing, husband.)
But I am often asked this question, and I hear people asking it all the time. So I thought I’d develop an answer for what I would say, if I had the time and leisure, to someone who asked me what kind of dog they should get.
The most important things to remember, at the start, are:
We all develop affection for certain breeds or breed types, but the more time I spend reading about and living with dogs, the more convinced I am that we should stop obsessing about breed so much.
We have two purebred German shepherds that we rescued, and while I love them, I wouldn’t recommend shepherds to many people. Our girls are very bright, but intelligent dogs are high maintenance and demanding. Shepherds don’t really let you relax a whole lot. They also have a lot of minor health issues that, although not debilitating, are certainly costly on a monthly basis.
Were we to ever get another dog, I’d want one like Georgia, featured above, who is my in-laws’ dog. She looks like a miniature Golden retriever. She’s full-grown and about 40 lbs. and has such a sunny, outgoing disposition. She’s healthy and companionable and sweet and she doesn’t give anyone a moment’s anxiety.
These are the things that would be important to me in another dog, beyond breed. When you are thinking about a dog, think about the dog’s health and structure before you think about their superficial looks or breed label.
I feel like the goal is to get a healthy dog who looks as much like a generic street dog as possible.
To sum it up: Think about wolves and think about street dogs. Can your purebred puppy communicate like these dogs? Can it run and jump and breathe normally? If not, think about another breed.
There are innumerable mixed breeds that fit these qualifications, and I think we’d most likely obtain our next dog from a shelter or rescue, aiming for a mixed-breed puppy that appeared to meet this criteria.
But if I were to pick a purebred, I’d be attracted to the following breeds that meet these standards:
What’s on your list of qualifications for a dog, purebred or not?
The paws twitch in place of chasing
Where the whimper of this seeming-gentle creature
Rings out terrible, chasing tigers. The fields
Are licking like torches, full of running,
Laced odors, bones stalking, tushed leaps.
So little that is tamed, yet so much
That you would find deeply familiar there.
You are there often, your very eyes,
The unfathomable knowledge behind your face,
The mystery of your will, appraising
Such carnage and triumph; standing there
Strange even to yourself, and loved, and only
A sleeping beast knows who you are.
I get asked from time to time by new dog owners about what they should read. Following are the top 10 books I’d recommend to people with dogs, covering everything from training to behavior to history. I link to the reviews I’ve written of these books, and if not available, I provide a link to the book’s Goodreads page.
Dog lovers, read away!
(As you can see, my general opinions is that if you read anyone on dogs, start with Patricia McConnell. I think she’s the gold standard for modern writing on dogs. Her blog, The Other End of the Leash, is predictably fantastic as well.)
What are your favorite books about dogs? What would you add to these lists?