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Randolph’s No-Kill Manhattan Crusade
Yours Truly knows that any attempt to change the world always starts at home. Thus, I’ve decided in the name of canine and human consciousness, cognition and compassion to urge making Manhattan a “No-Kill” island for all animals.
To this end, I will be joining forces with some of the important advocates at work on this issue. I will also highlight the effort through occasional writing and promotions on this site. Naturally, a portion of the proceeds from Randolph’s Store will go to fund the cause.
I love Manhattan. Please visit the map to see some of my favorite haunts and important places featured in the books.
Readers have asked me to put their favorite words from the books on both dog and human t-shirts. This is flattering. Happy shopping and remember that a portion of the proceeds will go to our ongoing crusade to make the small isle of Manhattan a model for no-kill shelters.
Pacé, dog lovers, for this item. From time to time, Yours Truly has referenced a cat on the pages of the website (but take heart that there has never a prominent cat mention in the pages of his three novels –though, who says cats and dogs should not get along? Is this just a human-imposed prejudice?). In any case, this “Cat Runs For Mayor” story from Mexico seemed to warrant a mention. I doubt the candidate is stepping into the ring voluntarily –it is a worrying precedent for any pet (though attention-seeking animals might appreciate their owners pulling a stunt like this. I’m speaking to you, non-Foliage Finders).
A mayoral hopeful in Mexico promises to eat, sleep most of the day and donate his leftover litter to fill potholes.
Morris, a black-and-white kitten with orange eyes, is running for mayor of Xalapa in eastern Mexico with the campaign slogan “Tired of Voting for Rats? Vote for a Cat.” And he is attracting tens of thousands of politician-weary, two-legged supporters on social media.
“He sleeps almost all day and does nothing, and that fits the profile of a politician,” said 35-year-old office worker Sergio Camacho, who adopted the 10-month-old feline last year.
It is that time of year when valedictories are delivered and dogs get (or should get) their diplomas.
A wonderful story (which I am hoping is true –see “bs” reference below) about the above photo is here and, not a typical favorite for Yours Truly, Mr. Jonathan Safran Foer, offers this view on confronting the isolating perils of a digital age and former Presidential speechwriter Jon Lovett did a marvelous job of cautioning graduates as to the dangers of bullshit (much more prevalent than sidewalk pate and not nearly so appealing)… The Atlantic excerpted the main thesis here, but if you want to watch him deliver the whole commencement look here).
The name and slogan of the company tells us what we need to know: PooPrints Match the Mess Through DNA. PooPrints, based in Knoxville Tennessee, is apparently building a thriving trade on the need for condos and neighborhood associations to stop errant dog dumpers and their owners. The system is straightforward, if unpleasant and humiliating for my kind. A dog’s rear is swabbed for a sample of DNA which is then kept on file in Knoxville. If in the future, a mystery Number Two is found on the stairs, the sidewalk or in the commons, then DNA matching can ensure that the slovenly party may be punished for the good of the collective hive. Good luck making this work in Manhattan, where Yours Truly is even more grateful to live (this is not an admission that my Number Twos are not responsibly dealt with). ABC News covered the story here and for your amusement or possible practical interest (I hope not) here is the company’s website. If they start doing this with dogs, who knows where it will end (DNA from a cigarette butt, a soda can, last person to leave the door open…). In any event, I did learn some interesting, even disturbing, facts from the website such as 1) “Consumer Reports listed dog poop as Number 6 on the list of America’s Top Gripes in 2010″ (hidden fees were #1); 2) dog poop is, according to PooPrints, not just a gripe, but one of America’s biggest health and environmental problems (who will write its “Silent Spring”?); and, finally, “an average dog generates 276 pounds of waste a year. In the US alone, that is enough poop to fill 800 football fields one foot deep” (or, more vividly, one football field, 800 feet deep).
As if more evidence of dog power were needed, Yours truly offers this article speculating about the dog who participated in the Osama Bin Laden raid.
According to an earlier version, General David Petraeus had this to say about dogs on the battlefield: “The capability they bring to the fight cannot be replicated by man or machine,” he said. “By all measures of performance, their yield outperforms any asset we have in our inventory.”
For my part, I think I’ll offer my considerable talents for service on the home front. Parachuting is not for me and I don’t think I could carry off the infra-red goggles.
The identities of all 80 members of the Navy Seal team who thundered into Abbottabad, Pakistan, and killed Osama bin Laden are the subject of intense speculation, but perhaps none more so than the only member with four legs.
Little is known about what may be the nation’s most courageous dog. Even its breed is the subject of great interest, although it was most likely a German shepherd or a Belgian Malinois, military sources say. But its use in the raid reflects the military’s growing dependence on dogs in wars in which improvised explosive devices have caused two-thirds of all casualties. Dogs have proved far better than people or machines at quickly finding bombs.
Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of United States forces in Afghanistan, said last year that the military needed more dogs. “The capability they bring to the fight cannot be replicated by man or machine,” he said.
Maj. William Roberts, commander of the Defense Department’s Military Working Dog Center at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, said the dog on the raid could have checked the compound for explosives and even sniffed door handles to see if they were booby-trapped.
And given that Saddam Hussein was found hiding in a narrow, dark hole beneath a mud shack in Iraq, the Seal team might have brought the dog in case Bin Laden had built a secret room into his compound.
“Dogs are very good at detecting people inside of a building,” Major Roberts said.
Another use may have been to catch anyone escaping the compound in the first moments of the raid. A shepherd or a Malinois runs twice as fast as a human.
Tech Sgt. Kelly A. Mylott, the kennel master at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, called dogs ideal for getting someone who is running away without having to shoot them. “When the dogs go after a suspect, they’re trained to bite and hold them,” Sergeant Mylott said.
Some dogs are big enough that, when they leap on a suspect, the person tends to drop to the ground, Sergeant Mylott said. Others bite arms or legs. “Different dogs do different things,” she said. “But whatever they do, it’s very difficult for that person to go any further.”
Finally, dogs can be used to pacify an unruly group of people — particularly in the Middle East. “There is a cultural aversion to dogs in some of these countries, where few of them are used as pets,” Major Roberts said. “Dogs can be very intimidating in that situation.”
Sergeant Mylott said that dogs got people’s attention in ways that weapons sometimes did not. “Dogs can be an amazing psychological deterrent,” she said.
There are 600 dogs serving in Afghanistan and Iraq, and that number is expected to grow substantially over the next year, Ensign Brynn Olson of the United States Central Command said. Particularly popular with the troops are the growing number of Labrador retrievers who wander off-leash 100 yards or more in front of patrols to ensure the safety of the route. A Silver Star, one of the Navy’s highest awards, was awarded posthumously in 2009 to a dog named Remco after he charged an insurgent’s hide-out in Afghanistan.
The training of dogs in Navy Seal teams and other Special Operations units is shrouded in secrecy. Maj. Wes Ticer, a spokesman for United States Special Operations Command, said the dogs’ primary functions “are finding explosives and conducting searches and patrols.”
“Dogs are relied upon,” he continued, “to provide early warning for potential hazards, many times, saving the lives of the Special Operations Forces with whom they operate.”
Last year, the Seals bought four waterproof tactical vests for their dogs that featured infrared and night-vision cameras so that handlers — holding a three-inch monitor from as far as 1,000 yards away — could immediately see what the dogs were seeing. The vests, which come in coyote tan and camouflage, let handlers communicate with the dogs with a speaker, and the four together cost more than $86,000. Navy Seal teams have trained to parachute from great heights and deploy out of helicopters with dogs.
The military uses a variety of breeds, but by far the most common are the German shepherd and the Belgian Malinois, which “have the best overall combination of keen sense of smell, endurance, speed, strength, courage, intelligence and adaptability to almost any climatic condition,” according to a fact sheet from the military working dog unit.
It is one of the traditions of this blog to honor those animals of exceptional abilities. Paul the octopus was one such animals. Though short-lived, he had a remarkable record of accurate prediction when it came to the last World Cup.
The New York Times’ Jack Bell does a nice encomium below. The video above featuring the Paul The Octopus song sung by the what sounds like The Chipmunks reminds Yours Truly why it’s better to keep a lid on your intelligence if you’re not human –humans get giddy whenever they find intelligence in other creatures.
Patrik Stollarz/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images Stefan Porwoll, manager of Sea Life aquarium, at the memorial of Paul the Octopus on Thursday in Oberhausen, Germany. He predicted the winner in all seven of Germany’s World Cup games.
The ode to Paul the Octopus is complete. Talismanic is certainly an overused word (have you ever seen it used more than in soccer stories, mostly from across the sea?), but it seems it applies to Paul, at least in the mind of soccer-crazed Germans.
On Thursday in Oberhausen, Germany, the tentacled star of last summer’s World Cup was immortalized, so to speak, with the unveiling of a six-foot high plastic replica of the octopus engulfing a soccer ball.
The cephalopod gained nearly worldwide attention last summer when he correctly predicted the result of all seven of Germany’s games at the World Cup in South Africa. He also correctly picked Spain over the Netherlands in the World Cup final. He even inspired a song.
It was serendipity under the sea (actually in an aquarium tank in Oberhausen, Germany) when Paul was presented with two boxes that each had a mussel inside with a team flag. His first meal was anointed as Paul’s pick.
So if Germany had its octopus, which critter should the United States latch on to?
Or how about Major League Soccer, which drafted a dolphin named Chesapeake at the National Aquarium and had it attempt to predict the No. 1 overall pick in last week’s SuperDraft in Baltimore. Chesapeake settled on A.J. Soares as the top pick, but probably will not end up with his own TV show … because New England picked Soares with the sixth pick over all!
Chesapeake the dolphin (above) predicted that A. J. Soares would be the top pick in last week’s M.L.S. SuperDraft. He wasn’t. No crill for you Chessie.
It is not Yours Truly’s habit to mention cats on this blog. I have nothing against cats only very little to say about them. Until now and Sal, the jury cat, pictured doing his civic duty above.
Here is the story (apparently Sal likes crime shows and needed a vet’s letter to get out of serving):
A pet cat has been ordered to report for jury duty, despite being “unable to speak and understand English”.
If the matter was not resolved, Sal the cat would have to report to Suffolk Superior Crown Court in Boston, United States, on March 23.
Owner Anna Esposito said she had told authorities that Sal could not speak or understand English. The cat’s vet had even written a letter explaining that Sal was a “domestic short-haired neutered feline”.
“Sal is a member of the family so I listed him on the last census form under pets, but there has clearly been a mix-up,” Mrs Esposito said.
“When they ask him guilty or not guilty? What’s he supposed to say - meow?”
Mrs Esposito said Sal was not suitable for jury duty because he could not understand English, one of the 10 statutory disqualifications preventing people from serving.
Her husband, Guy, said the summons for juror service was a surprise.
“I said, ‘Sal, what’s this?’ I was shocked,” Mr Esposito said.
“He likes to sit on my knee and watch crime shows with me but even so he’s still under-qualified for jury duty if you ask me.”
It is understood that Sal was inadvertently included on the juror list when paperwork was misread at the last census.