You never know who you might meet

I had a group of 13 dogs out for a stroll around Lake Harriet on Friday morning.  A beautiful morning with lots of traffic on the paths.  I get stopped regularly and people will ask questions or make comments but I had a more extended conversation with a very nice gentleman riding around the lake on his bike.  Here is the youtube link.

Paul has a great website to teach american english to people around the world and he conducts occasional interviews with people that he meets in the community.

A cool and surprising gift (both literally and figuratively)

With the heat of a week ago, I stopped at a fountain in Beard’s Plaisance. It was hot – really hot and I had a group of dogs resting in the shade while I got them water. There is a fountain that sticks up out of the ground that is really little more that a fountain head on a pipe and it takes some time to fill the collapsable water bowl, especially when it is windy. The person responsible for Lake Harriet park maintenance was cleaning the shelter and saw my challenge. He suggested that I get a 4 way spigot key from the hardware store so I could get water from the more available spigots around the lake. Yesterday on my walk he stopped me and presented me with my very own water key. The kindness of strangers can be amazing!

Citizen Kanine rides in style

A brief taste of nice weather

It was the first day of warm weather with temps in the 60’s.  The weather brought out crowds to the lake along with another sure sign of warm weather, the first turtle egg hatch.  I found this little guy scurrying across the path toward lake harriet.  This looks like a little painted turtle that is slightly larger than the quarter added for prospective.  One of my old colleagues used to give out an award that he called “The Turtle” with the adage;  people are like turtles, we only get ahead when we stick our necks out.  Amen to that!

Today the forecast calls for rain and the potential for snow.  Oh my this has been a challenging winter/spring!

Cesar presentation at IACP conference

Had a fun opportunity to meet Cesar at the International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP) conference in San Diego last week.  While there is some controversy about some of his techniques, his presentation focused not on technique but leadership on the part of trainers, handlers and dog owners.  He is an impressive entertainer and has done amazing work in changing expectations about dog (and owner) behavior.

Dog Safety in the car

Ouch!!

This post has been percolating for a long time.  My loving wife likes to remind me that on occasion I can come off as a bit of a curmudgeon so I will try to self edit here.

This week I came across this accident on Lake Harriet Parkway. I was out with a dozen dogs and we saw a string of cars driving the wrong way down this one way parkway after hearing the police sirens.  Its a low speed road, but with our icy winter, it has become a treacherous with heavy coatings of ice.  Its a bit tough to see, but all of the airbags deployed with the impact with the tree.  In fact, the front window on the passenger side was shattered from the impact of the airbag as it deployed.  Fortunately, the lack of an ambulance indicated that no one was hurt.

It seems like everyday I see drivers with dogs on their laps or on the front passenger seat.  In the event of a relatively small accident, like the one show here, the animal would have been killed instantly or seriously injured.  I know people love to have their dogs close but sacrificing them in a small accident seems needless.  Dogs should be trained to sit in the back seat or in the case of a station wagon or SUV the very back of the vehicle.  They should also keep their heads fully in the vehicle at the very least.

Keeping the dog in the back of the vehicle is better but there are additional ways to reduce the potential for injury.  Any impact either from the front or back can send your 4 legged friend air born.  Ken Goldman at Stunt Puppy is evaluating designs for a harness that a dog can wear in conjunction with a seat belt to reduce the likely hood that an animal become a projectile in an accident.  The safest place for a dog is in a sturdy kennel in the vehicle.  At the Land of Lakes Kennel Club show in St. Paul, I talked with a vendor, Doug Sagl about his company’s product  “Rough Tough Kennels” which is a Roto Molded dog crate (many canoes are produced with this technology).  We talked about safety in the car and he shared a photo of a roll over where a dog was protected as a result their product and a less sturdy competitors crate was compromised and the other dog in the car was ejected from the vehicle and fortunately unharmed.  A study out of the UK recently indicated that the safest place for a dog is in a kennel anchored in the vehicle.

Nobody plans to be in an accident.  If you are unable to resist keeping your dog in the front seat, find out how to turn off the passenger side airbag and keep it off of your lap.   We have made great strides to keep children safe in cars, lets start to keep our pets safe too.

A Fun Film project

Here is a link to a short documentary project for some students at the Minnesota College of Art and Design. It was really fun to work with them on this project. Here is the link.
Thanks to Suzy and the team for the great video. The music accompanying the piece is Miles Davis’s Squirrel.  An appropriate selection!

Don’t hesitate to rate it well!



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