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The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

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The inherent conflict between animal rights ideology and biodiversity

arctic fox eating an auklet

Arctic foxes were introduced to the Aleutians where they waged war on the seabird population, such as this poor least auklet.

I am a speciesist. Yep. I accept the title. I do believe some individual animals of certain species do have certain privileges that others don’t.

Owned domestic dogs should be treated as individuals, as should anything else kept as an actual companion animal.

Individual animals that must be culled through hunting seasons, like white-tailed deer, get no individual consideration. What matters about those species is carrying capacity as determined by wildlife managers.

Invasive species anywhere should receive even fewer protections than the game species.

That’s because as a conservationist, I value biodiversity over individual animals.

So I really don’t care that conservationists have trapped and killed introduced arctic foxes in the Aleutians, feral cats in the islands of the Sea of Cortés, or red foxes in Australia.

I don’t care about the individual deer that are shot every year in the United States. I care much more about what they are doing to temperate forest ecosystems.  They exist in a world without predators, predators that will never be reintroduced in significant numbers, and it is vital that humans manage their populations.

I don’t think an absolute moral system can be applied to all animals. Indeed, I have issues with the concept of an absolute morality period.

I know, though, that we are but one chain of biodiversity on the planet. And it is out of this chain that we somehow became the dominant species on the planet. As the dominant species, we like to think we’re above all other species, when we’re just the ones at the top right now.

I don’t think every invasive or introduced species is a negative on the ecosystem. Ring-necked pheasants are mostly banal where they have been introduced. In North America, common carp are generally not an invasive species either.

But many things that have been introduced clearly are.

Especially on islands.

New Zealand had rabbits that were introduced, which ate down much of the good sheep grazing. Then stoats, weasel, and polecat-ferret hybrids were released to control the rabbits, and the mustelids wreaked havoc upon the ground-nesting bird population. New Zealand is a place full of unique ground-nesting birds, and it was once fuller of those species before the weasel horde hit its shores.

Therefore, to protect things like the kakapo, a massive ground-nesting parrot, it is necessary to kill these predators.

Animal rights ideology, which posits an absolute set of rights for individual animals, cannot allow for this killing.

So this ideology would rather have all the kakapo and native New Zealand birds go extinct, just because this ideology doesn’t want to see a guild of invasive predators killed off.

And I must say that I have to reject this ideology, because it clashes with my aesthetic, which requires us to maintain biodiversity as much as possible.

That’s because I know fully well that in a hundred years, that biodiversity will be reduced. Habitat loss, poaching, pollution, climate change, and invasive species will take their toll on a whole host of species.

And the diversity of life from which we descend will be reduced because of us.

Therefore we must kill invasive species to protect as much of life as we can.  It is this paradox that many people cannot understand, but failure to understand this concept is ultimately going to add to the many species that will go extinct.

But in the end, animal rights ideology and conservation are not the same thing. Hunters who oppose animal rights ideology should stop conflating the two systems of thought. Animal rights ideology has no room for hunters, but true conservationists, who want to protect wild places from rampant development, believe hunters are part of the solution.

And virtually everyone is a speciesist. I am one, and it is only a small minority who try to hold absolute values when it comes to animals.

We have these inconsistencies, but they are not without reason. And although most mammals are very much like your own pet dog, they don’t act in the ecosystem in the same way. Transferring one’s feelings about a pet dog onto a mongoose in Hawaii is not wise– that is, if you care about nene. If you don’t care about biodiversity, then go ahead.

But don’t pretend that these two concepts are consistent. They are not.

And they are very much in conflict with each other.

Natural History

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Respect Your Elders! Give Senior Dogs a Holistic Boost

Senior dog

Do you have a small or medium dog who is older than 7? Or a very large or giant breed who is 5 years or older? At those ages they are technically considered senior citizens, and these guys need everything we can offer them to keep them alert, active and healthy. Quality nutrition and keeping them at a slim weight will go a long way to supporting their wellness and longevity, but it’s also a good time to consider boosting their nutrition.

Senior Dog Defense Supplement by HaloHalo has a new Senior Dog Defense supplement that supports cognitive function, alertness and youthful vigor in dogs as they age.  As with all the Halo products, the 100% active natural ingredients in this supplement are non-GMO,for an extra measure of peace of mind about the wholesome goodness of the supplement, which has no fillers, sugars, glycerin or anything artificial.

Holistic by nature, Halo’s condition-specific supplements are carefully formulated to work with the entire physiology of your dog, including the normal effects of aging and environmental stresses. Their unique, holistic Senior Dog Defense formula includes a blend of whole natural ingredients like bee pollen, coconut, sweet potato, anise, gingko biloba leaf extract and omega-3 fatty acids that work with your dog’s natural systems to help them maintain healthy cognitive function through their senior years.

Considering that Halo’s supplements are made in the USA with quality tested, human grade ingredients, herbs and botanicals from around the world – and like me you’re past middle age – you’ll wonder if you shouldn’t sprinkle some on your own breakfast!

Tracie HotchnerTracie Hotchner is a nationally acclaimed pet wellness advocate, who wrote THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know. She is recognized as the premiere voice for pets and their people on pet talk radio. She continues to produce and host her own Gracie® Award winning NPR show DOG TALK®  (and Kitties, Too!) from Peconic Public Broadcasting in the Hamptons after 9 consecutive years and over 500 shows. She produced and hosted her own live, call-in show CAT CHAT® on the Martha Stewart channel of Sirius/XM for over 7 years until the channel was canceled, when Tracie created her own Radio Pet Lady Network where she produces and co-hosts CAT CHAT® along with 10 other pet talk radio podcasts with top veterinarians and pet experts.

Dog Film Festival - Tracie HotchnerTracie also is the Founder and Director of the annual NY Dog Film Festival, a philanthropic celebration of the love between dogs and their people. Short canine-themed documentary, animated and narrative films from around the world create a shared audience experience that inspires, educates and entertains. With a New York City premiere every October, the Festival then travels around the country, partnering in each location with an outstanding animal welfare organization that brings adoptable dogs to the theater and receives half the proceeds of the ticket sales. Halo was a Founding Sponsor in 2015 and donated 10,000 meals to the beneficiary shelters in every destination around the country in 2016.

Tracie lives in Bennington, Vermont – where the Radio Pet Lady Network studio is based – and where her 12 acres are well-used by her 2-girl pack of lovely, lively rescued Weimaraners, Maisie and Wanda.

Halo Pets

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Lament of an Inveterate Watchdog

The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

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Neuticles—Don’t you wish you had thought of this first?

The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

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Facebook Fan Says, “Thank You For Making a Quality Vegan Dog Food”

Bailey loves Halo vegan dog food

“…our pup loves your [vegan] food as much as we love the ingredients.”

Halo® Facebook Fan Alyssa Markille shares with us her experience with Halo Garden of Vegan® dog food recipe. She says:

“Just want to say thank you for making a quality vegan dog food!!! Just discovered this brand from a friend at the pet store and I’m so excited that our pup loves your food as much as we love the ingredients. She’s struggled with food allergies for a long time and it’s nice to have options that are not prescription but that are real foods.” 

Alyssa, thank you so much for sharing your story and we’re happy Bailey loves our vegan dog food

Halo Pets

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What does Non-GMO Actually Mean, Anyway?

GMO - 100% Free

There is much talk these days of non-GMO fruits and vegetables being desirable, but I’ve personally been a bit confused about it. When Halo changed its formulations to ensure there were only non-GMO veggies in their kibble, I wondered what my dogs were getting that I wasn’t!

What I learned was that all the vegetables and fruits in Halo pet food are sourced from farmland that prohibits the use of Genetically Modified Seeds. As part of their commitment to what they call OrigiNative® sourcing, the use of non-GMO ingredients means avoiding the vicious cycle of repeatedly tilling the soil to add chemical fertilizers and herbicides. By choosing non-GMO plants, it allows the land to function naturally, as it has over centuries.

Halo has a FAQ section of their website that explains non-GMO as well as many other of their commitments to the sourcing of their ingredients. In addition, they have information on their “What’s in Your Bowl? page.

For my own diet, I actually find it near-impossible to be certain that my own fruits and veggies are non-GMO, so it’s a good feeling to know that at least Maisie and Wanda are helping the planet with their Halo meals!

Tracie HotchnerTracie Hotchner is a nationally acclaimed pet wellness advocate, who wrote THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know. She is recognized as the premiere voice for pets and their people on pet talk radio. She continues to produce and host her own Gracie® Award winning NPR show DOG TALK®  (and Kitties, Too!) from Peconic Public Broadcasting in the Hamptons after 9 consecutive years and over 500 shows. She produced and hosted her own live, call-in show CAT CHAT® on the Martha Stewart channel of Sirius/XM for over 7 years until the channel was canceled, when Tracie created her own Radio Pet Lady Network where she produces and co-hosts CAT CHAT® along with 10 other pet talk radio podcasts with top veterinarians and pet experts.

Dog Film Festival - Tracie HotchnerTracie also is the Founder and Director of the annual NY Dog Film Festival, a philanthropic celebration of the love between dogs and their people. Short canine-themed documentary, animated and narrative films from around the world create a shared audience experience that inspires, educates and entertains. With a New York City premiere every October, the Festival then travels around the country, partnering in each location with an outstanding animal welfare organization that brings adoptable dogs to the theater and receives half the proceeds of the ticket sales. Halo was a Founding Sponsor in 2015 and donated 10,000 meals to the beneficiary shelters in every destination around the country in 2016.

Tracie lives in Bennington, Vermont – where the Radio Pet Lady Network studio is based – and where her 12 acres are well-used by her 2-girl pack of lovely, lively rescued Weimaraners, Maisie and Wanda.

Halo Pets

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Paying Tribute to My Love, For Father’s Day

Thank you Lids for sponsoring this post. While this was a sponsored opportunity from Lids, all opinions expressed here are my own.

The kids and I make our fair share of appearances here, but you don’t see a whole lot of my husband/their dad, Robbie. Robbie is admittedly not really the “hey look at me!” social media type, and would rather do just about anything than take Instagram selfies or overshare on the internet. But he is often here behind the scenes, taking any photographs that include me in them, working tirelessly on the home projects I share here, and, most importantly, taking care of Essley and Emmett on his own when he’s off the road (often from very early in the morning until bedtime) while I work. With Father’s Day approaching, I thought it was time for me to pay tribute to him here, gush for a minute about what an incredible father he is, and share the special early Father’s Day gift we gave him to thank him for everything he does for our family.

As my regular readers know, our family has unique circumstances in terms of everyday life. Where most typical families have a parent or parents who work during the week but are home nights and weekends, we often spend the majority of each week (and most weekends) apart. Robbie works in the music industry, and his job stage managing a band keeps him on the road about half the year. I couldn’t ask for a better example for my children in terms of someone who works hard, is great at his job, and lives his dream as a result of pursuing a career that is creatively fulfilling for him. But it’s not always an easy life for the kids, for me, or for him – especially for him. Robbie has to sacrifice a great deal in terms of things that most families might take for granted. He had to go on tour when both children were less than two weeks old, and he missed a lot of “firsts” and milestones for both of them. He sometimes misses holidays and their birthdays, and often has to miss events at school and for their activities. And as I mentioned above, when he is home, he is on full time kids duty while I work long hours to make up for the times I could only work part time while he was away. I get a lot of support from friends and family who acknowledge that I am often single parenting, but the truth is, Robbie is also often single parenting when he is off the road. Sometimes he will work a show until 2 or 3 in the morning, hop on a plane at 6 AM, land at 8 or 9 AM, and I will start working the minute he walks in the door. He drops his bags, chugs a cold brew and steps right into parenting a 2 and 4 year old, on a couple hours of sleep following a 14 hour work day. It’s also very rare that we are able to do things together as a family because one of us is either extreme parenting or extreme working, as we like to jokingly label it.

That said, Robbie never complains; instead he demonstrates what it means to be a positive, grateful, proactive parent. He expresses sadness over missing us when he is gone and over not being able to be present for some of the important parts of the kids’ lives, but he does not complain about the long hours he cares for the kids by himself, or about the exhaustion he often feels, or about not being able to do much outside of work or parenting. And even when he’s tired and overworked, he never just goes through the motions of being a parent. When the kids were newborns, he would sometimes spend all night rocking them in a chair so I could get sleep. When our son Emmett was diagnosed with a serious form of epilepsy as a baby and we had to spend time in the hospital, followed by months of dealing with severe side effects from Emmett’s medication, Robbie took turns with me once again holding him through the night and catering to him all day long, all while making sure our daughter Essley received equal attention. Through it all, he kept a smile on his face.

Robbie pours all of himself into being a dad, and happily. He dresses up in princess crowns with Essley, watches the same animated musical movies with her over again and again, has endless tea parties with her, creates sidewalk chalk murals with her, and practices her dance routines with her every single day. He does the same puzzle over, and over, and over with Emmett, plays “race” with him on no sleep, and sings and dances to Emmett’s favorite song, “Baby Shark,” on repeat. He gets up early and makes special pancakes in the shapes of all of the kids’ favorite animals. He takes Essley to soccer and gymnastics on the often only two days a week he is home, and cheers her on while simultaneously chasing Emmett throughout the facilities. He makes us delicious dinners almost every night he’s not on the road, and lets the kids help him cook, even when it means doubling the prep time (and the mess). He works tirelessly on projects around the house, and lets the kids “help” with those too. I could go on and on you guys, truly. I feel incredibly lucky that Robbie is the person to help me raise Essley and Emmett. I am very grateful.

Because of everything Robbie does for our family, and what a wonderful father he is to our kids, we decided we would give him a special Father’s Day gift early this year. This was actually Essley’s idea. Her reasoning was this: “If we give daddy a gift before Father’s Day, he’ll be surprised. And surprises make everything better.” Smart cookie right there!

Aside from family, there are two things Robbie loves most in the world, and anyone who knows him could instantly tell you what these two things are: music and baseball. Because he works in the music industry, and is fortunate to have access to lots of hook-ups in terms of music gear, albums, concert tickets, etc., I knew getting him a music-inspired gift would be hard. But getting him a baseball-inspired gift would not only be easy, it would be incredibly appreciated. Robbie grew up in St. Louis and is a huge (like, massive) St. Louis Cardinals fan. I knew that Lids carries everything we could ever want in terms of MLB gear, and that Robbie had been dreaming about a jersey for a while, so it was a no brainer for us to do a little bit of secret shopping on the Lids’ website. I was in awe at how many truly awesome Father’s Day gift ideas they have! From apparel and hats to outdoor gear to watches to tech and more, they have pretty much anything a sports-loving dad would appreciate. It was tough to narrow down what to get Robbie, but we settled on this St. Louis Cardinals New Era MLB 59FIFTY Cap in red, and this St. Louis Cardinals Yadier Molina Majestic MLB Men’s PlayerJersey in grey. I’m not sure who was more excited for the items to arrive – my 4 year old daughter or me.

Robbie has a couple weeks off between tours right now, and on the day he got home, we decided to give him his special early Father’s Day presents. Essley sat Robbie down and proceeded to perform a dance she choreographed for him while Emmett ran in circles belting out a song he’d written about baseball (imagine the words “basebaaaaalll” being loudly screamed over and over, with love), and then presented him with his gifts, which she had expertly enclosed in shark gift bag. I wish you guys could have seen Robbie’s face light up when he saw what we’d gotten him. After hugging the kids and me repeatedly, he put on the jersey and the hat, with a big ol’ grin. It felt pretty great to see him so excited over a gift from us, and to know we’d gotten him something we knew he’d truly cherish. He thanked us over and over, and told us that every time he wore the jersey and baseball cap – here and on the road – he would think about how much he loved us. You can’t get better than that.

If you have a special dad in your life and want to give him a gift he’ll truly love this Father’s Day, check out these awesome gift ideas from Lids. In addition to hats, jerseys, and countless other sports based items they offer, they also have the coolest Custom Zone where you can design the perfect hat, and a great loyalty program called Access Pass, where you can earn points toward rewards and more. They also have an amazing special going on right now: 30% off orders of $ 40+ from June 7th through June 9th. Woohoo!

Okay, your turn! Tell me your favorite thing about a dad in your life, or why they deserve a special gift this Father’s Day. I’d love to know!

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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How to Take a Last-Minute Trip with Your Dog

This week, an 11pm call from a South Texas nursing home where several of John’s elderly relatives reside meant an 8am trip the next day–with both Tiki and Barli. We like to spend the…



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DogTipper

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Buying Cookies

How sweet is this? No word on whether they are giving her dog cookies or human cookies. Thanks to Blowing Facts for the picture! Until next time, Good day, and good dog!


Doggies.com Dog Blog

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