Archive for November, 2008

Golf clubs, please, tax away. But vet bills? Really?

Monday, November 24th, 2008

I’d like you to take a moment and read this quote from the website of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. It’s a new proposition for offsetting California’s financial hardships:

Broadening the Sales and Use Tax to Include Certain Services:  Effective February 1, 2009, the sales and use tax rate will be applied to appliance and furniture repair, vehicle repair, golf, and veterinarian services.  Effective March 1, 2009, the sales and use tax rate will be applied to amusement parks and sporting events.  This is expected to generate additional General Fund sales tax revenue of $357 million in 2008-09.

Oh, ok, well it is a recession and everythi- wait, he wants to tax veterinarian services????

Now, from the point of view of someone who has probably only ever owned several-thousand-dollar, purebred animals, if any, I can see how maybe a pet seems like a luxury. It doesn’t make him a good pet owner if he sees them that way, but I can see some logic in the train of thought, at least.

But how many people paying vet bills see their animals as a luxury? And that’s what this means – under California law, pets will become a luxury, because in order to have a pet, it must be properly taken care of or you could be fined or arrested for animal cruelty or neglect. And properly taken care of means shots, neutering, check-ups, and care into old age.

By Schwarzenegger’s logic, foster and adopted children are a luxury. Aging parents who we choose to care for and bring into our homes are a luxury. Disabled siblings and spouses who we choose to support are a luxury.

Not only is this proposal poorly thought out, it’s discriminatory, classist, and inhumane.

Sign a petition through PetPAC or learn more about what you can do through Social Compassion in Legislation.

I try to keep this blog politically neutral, but this is an issue that directly effects everyone in California who has a pet or is thinking about getting a pet, and morally, it should effect everyone, everywhere who has ever cared for another living being. So I hope you can forgive me this once.

I also have some contention with the vehicle repair bit, but that’s just unrelated.

An attempt at supressing instincts.

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

There is one – yes, only one – disadvantage to having a prey animal as a family member.

And it is made extremely clear when you attempt to bring home a predator.

Like, for example, this one:

Yes, that’s a cute puppy. And yes, that’s my laundry room.

You see, despite never having been much of a dog person, I’ve had this fantasy for awhile of having a dog. Why? For walks in the park, playing frisbee, exploring, that kinda stuff. I guess I could have just gotten a boyfriend, or a child, or park ranger, but for some reason a puppy seemed like less responsibility.

WRONG. (Ok except maybe the child part. I have no idea.)

But it did provide an excellent opportunity for a blog!

Now, I know there are many households out there where dogs and rabbits co-exist peacefully. I figured a puppy would be young and impressionable and able to learn that rabbits aren’t food pretty fast.

So I went on craigslist and found a puppy. She was an adorable 5 month old border collie and I named her Elena. Of course the moment I brought her home, my bunny, Ellis Jose, ran tearing off into his hiding place in the laundry room, immediately labeling himself as a really fun exciting toy to little Elena. Nice job, Ellis. Those instincts are really helping you out here. Stupid rabbit.

So Elena spent the night in a kennel, and Ellis spent the night huddled in a corner. Obviously, there were two very powerful instincts to overcome: a flee instinct, and a chase instinct. Bad combination.

On the second day, Ellis started to act relatively normal again, but poor Elena was cooped up in the bathroom all day while I was at work, which just made her even feistier and crazier when i let her out, and I couldn’t let her off the leash between the bathroom and the front door because she would immediately try to eat my rabbit.

I tried tying her up in the laundry room so she could hang out with me while I made dinner (it’s like the same room as my kitchen) but that also proved difficult for various reasons.

I’m sorry to say that I failed horribly at inter-species diplomacy and ended up giving her back on the third day. Ellis was freaked out and not eating very much, and I realized that if I gave Elena the proper time and training to be friends with a rabbit, the rabbit probably wouldn’t last that long.

I didn’t feel too bad giving her back because the nice woman I got her from had missed her and kind of wanted to keep her anyway. If I hadn’t already had a rabbit, Elena would have been a fantastic dog and I totally would’ve kept her. But, bunny wins. I like him better.

So unfortunately the only thing I can really give you out of this experience is a list of what not to do:

1. Don’t do crazy impulsive stuff like go out and randomly get a puppy after work one day. Plan it out a little!

2. Don’t get a big puppy. Knee-high is too high. If Elena had been too small to physically devour Ellis, I’m sure I could have given her a lot more time. Also, he might not have been so terrified of her.

3. Don’t bring home a dog that was bred to chase small animals. Border collie? Really? What was I thinking? Get something docile, and if it’s big, get one with three legs or no teeth or something. Don’t bring home a hunting dog or a herding dog unless it’s a little tiny baby. Or you have a yard or large extra room.

4. Don’t bring home a puppy who’s old enough to intimidate anyone. I’m pretty sure if Elena had been younger (and smaller) it would have worked out better.

5. Don’t experiment on a weekday. Wait until you have a long weekend or a vacation or get laid off to bring home a puppy. That way you have plenty of time to watch them and train them at a crucial phase. And make sure they don’t kill each other.

6. Don’t ignore your lease agreement. Have a yard. If you want to go the crazy impulsive route like I did and bring a puppy into your little one-bedroom apartment, all the other rules are about twenty times more important.

7. Don’t bring home a wild animal. Elena had been picked up two weeks earlier while chasing cars in the boonies. Try to make sure the dog is trained and well-behaved before you introduce it to your rabbit.

Now, I know this has worked for some people, but I haven’t found any success stories with happy endings online to use as examples, and the official SaveABunny guide merely says, “Slow, supervised introductions are a must.” Obviously. I do know that Marcy, the founder of SaveABunny, has a dog who does not eat any of the bunnies there. I think she’s a lab. But I would very much appreciate any readers who have tried this, or who have read a happy story of someone who tried this, to please share, so that I can make a “Do” list to accompany this “Don’t” list.

Also, if you think I got anything wrong, let us know!

UPDATE: After reading around a little, I learned that better results generally come with an older, well-trained dog than with starting with a puppy, no matter how young it is. So ignore #4 above. And I’m starting a DO list:

1. Get an older, well-trained dog. And get one from a shelter. They need you more than a cute puppy does anyway.

2. Lock up the rabbit while the dog is out. I was reluctant because, you know, Ellis was here first and he shouldn’t have to give up his hard-earned living room privileges. But in hindsight, he probably would have felt a lot safer with some nice wire bars between them, and he wouldn’t have provoked Elena’s chase instinct. A barking-at-small-animals instinct is a different story, unfortunately.

Bunny. They should get a bunny. Seriously.

Friday, November 7th, 2008

With the economy in shambles, the ice caps melting, two wars, and nuclear weapons practically everywhere, there’s one issue the media has turned to now that the election is over: “OMG what kind of puppy are the Obamas gonna get?!?!”

From the BBC News:

He did not mention any specific breed, but said the family’s preference was to adopt a dog from a shelter, “a mutt – like me”, he added. Mr Obama said they had to find a pet that would not trigger an allergy of his eldest, Malia.

It is truly admirable and a huge statement for homeless animals everywhere that our incoming president would prefer to adopt a shelter animal. Huge kudos on that.

But allow me to make a suggestion. (Can ya see it coming? Can ya?) That’s right – I think the First Family should adopt a bunny. Here’s why:

1. Considering the eco-friendliness of bunnies, it would send a message to world leaders and environmental groups that Obama is as serious about the environment in his personal life as he is in his rhetoric.

2. As gentle herbivores, a rabbit would be a reminder of the loftiest goal every administration should have: world peace.

3. He will quickly learn to never rush into something without careful examination – because inevitably there will be a rabbit there to trip him if he does.

4. He will always be reminded to eat his vegetables, and so will his little girls, ensuring a healthy and happy stay in the White House.

5. How freaking adorable would it be??

Also, having a bunny conveniently sidesteps Malia’s dog allergies.

So, bunny it is! Come on over and take a look any time, Mr. President-elect! Here’s a few SaveABunny suggestions to inspire you:

Sose:

As charming as they come, Sose could single-pawdedly disarm North Korea, Iran, and Syria all at the same time. I’m not joking.

Sugar:

Nothing makes a big, new house cozier than a super-snuggly snugglebunny.

Bourbon:

When all that political stuff gets too serious, this guy’s antics will make even the Press Secretary remember to smile.

Buddy:

This adorable creature already has experience with kids, and, like our country, is ready for a new chapter!

*While SaveABunny does not recommend rabbits as pets for households with small children, we have a sneaking suspicion the Obama girls are old enough and would totally treat a bunny right.

Suffragette Bunnies

Monday, November 3rd, 2008

As many of you may already know, rabbits can be extremely opinionated. I’m certain that if all the animals suddenly could talk to us and read newspapers and stuff, rabbits would be the first to go out and get themselves voting rights. No matter who or what they voted for, they would definitely make their opinions heard with a resounding “thump,” and by gum they would go out there on election day and vote. (Unless maybe there was a clover patch on the way and they got distracted.)

So take a lesson from the rabbits and go out there and vote November 4th!

Then when you’re done, come up to SaveABunny and check out some bunnies from one of the most opinionated (not to mention curious, comical, and smart) breeds: the Dutch.

Clover:

Chocolate:

Cooper:

Sabra (on the left, with her bunny husband Buddha):

Dustin (on left, with his bunny wife Pumpkin):

And of course, Roger Bunny Pants: