There are not many job openings today for dogs to be shepherds or even hunting dogs. But they continue to serve humans in so many other ways.
San Francisco is the latest to add a courthouse dog to continue to make important changes to the criminal justice system. Faber is an extensively trained professional who will help witnesses and victims who may be frightened or intimidated by the stress of the courtroom. He is one of about 40 dogs across the nation in 25 states and Canado working with victims as they go through the criminal justice system.
"The legal system is very very complex and very intimidating to many people, especially when we are dealing with vulnerable victims, young people, the elderly, people who have been subjected to very traumatic violence," said San Francisco District Attorney George Gasco. Source
Eventually the DA would like to see Faber in the courtroom when victims testify. But for now he will stick to therapy duties in the interview rooms and the hallways. Faber's job is to provide a soothing presence during forensic interviews and other steps in the legal system.
Defense attorneys continue to fight against having the dogs present during witness testimony, believing that the dogs might prejudice the jury against the defendant.
Children are allowed to hold stuffed animals during their testimony, but so far they have not been allowed to have a therapy dog accompany them on the witness stand. All that is changing as therapy dogs become an integral part of courthouses.
Faber comes from the nonprofit Bay Area Canine Companions for Independence which breeds the puppies. They are then socialized for a year and a half by volunteers before being trained for therapy work.
One of my favorite things about writing a blog is getting books to review. It is especially fun to get preview books before they are published. This book can be pre-ordered from Amazon for the October publication.
Dogs Rule Nonchalantly is a delight from beginning to end.
Mark Ulriksen is an accomplished artist and illustrator, known especially for his illustrations and covers for The New Yorker.
He is also a confirmed dog lover who has no romanticized delusions about them. This is a book filled with over 80 wonderfully original and intricate paintings of dogs and perceptive descriptions that go along with the illustrations.
“...[dogs] give you their undivided attention. They watch your every gesture, read your every emotion, listen attentively to every word you say - until they hear the rustle of a bag of chips being opened."
Every dog is different. Mark reaches back to his youth to introduce us to his boyhood dogs and their idiosyncrasies. While Saber was happiest duck hunting, Cleo's favorite thing was escaping the back yard and visiting him at the schoolyard.
Like many of us, he had dogs present in his major life events. He had the courage to leave a job he hated because with a dog by his side he would not be alone. When he got married he and his wife got Ted the Retriever to see if they could be responsible for another living creature. They learned they could. Once the baby arrived, the dog was less the center of attention but they were still the dog's center of attention.
Having a dog around little kids is very practical, he observes, because no crumb, morsel or spill goes unattended.
A typical dog 12-step program:
Wake up, stretch
Eat meal in three seconds
Go outside, pee, walk, poop, walk, pee, smell everything
Go inside, follow human’s every movement, check all floors for microscopic food particles
Repeat Steps 1-5
This is a high quality, beautifully produced book, equally at home on a coffee table or a rocking chair being read to a child. Adults, teenagers and small children will love the pictures and the warm, often laugh out loud, observations.
My only problem and most of you will think it isn't a problem... There are hundreds of excellent, readable fonts available for publication. Sometimes artists decide they will develop their own font which seems to be what was done in this book. The font is weak and somewhat wimpy.
I would have preferred something more Comic Sans and easier to read.
Many elements came together to make southern California a Perfect Storm for Chihuahua overpopulation.
First, with sarcastic thanks to Madonna, Pamela, Britany, she-who-won't-be-named on this blog, and all the rest who posed with the tiny dogs making them a fashion statement.
Then puppy millers flooded the market because they could be bred in small spaces and didn't eat much.
Wannabes bought them and then discarded them like last year's shoes.
Of couse no one made much effort to spay or neuter them. It was so cute to watch horny male Chihuahuas impregnate anything they could reach.
When they were no longer a fashion fad, thousands were sent to shelters where the supply exceeded the demand. At one time 50% of the dogs in Los Angeles shelters were Chihuahuas.
Since 2010 the Los Angeles chapter of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCALA) has been running a program to airlift Chihuahuas to cities where there are people eager to adopt them.
They have gone to cities in New York, Colorado, Washington, Texas, Florida and even to Edmonton, Canada.
Twenty Chihuahuas were recently airlifted to Houston, bringing the total to 500. Another Air Chihuahua flight to Miami is scheduled for Sept. 30.
Let's hope in a few years we won't have to have Air Yorkie flights as another breed gets discarded like last year's shoes.
Black Dog Syndrome, the real or imagined idea that black dogs are the most often killed and the last adopted from shelters, may have origins in ancient folklore.
According to British folklore, during the 16th century Black Shuck, an enormous devil dog, terrorized East Anglia. Black Shuck is described as seven feet tall with flaming red eyes and shaggy black hair.
Black Shuck first appeared during a storm in 1577 at the Holy Trinity Church in Suffolk. Suddenly a huge clap of thunder caused the church doors to burst open and a snarling black dog rushed in, killing a man and a boy before the steeple crashed through the roof. The dog fled leaving scorch marks from his claws on the church door which appear to this day.
Later that day he struck again at a church 12 miles away, killing two more worshippers as the storm raged on.
Black devil dogs have appeared often in folklore, sometimes dragging chains, sometimes with no heads or with human faces. Often they walk on their hind legs and dissolve into the mist.
Earlier this year remains of what appear to be a male dog, standing seven feet tall and weighing 200 pounds were discovered during a dig at Leiston Abbey in Suffolk.
Experts are now carrying out carbon dating tests to determine if these bones could go back to the 16th century and answer the question: did Black Shuck exist in flesh and blood...or only in folklore.
The narrator, 25-year-old Diana Salvi, has just landed her dream job as director of communications for a well-funded animal shelter in Boston.
At first she tries to establish a good working relationship with her boss, Hal, a 60-ish man with movie star good looks and a weakness for manicures and botox.
But soon she realizes that although Hal is the darling of the good old boys on the board of drectors, his staff, made up of strong women, have mostly contempt for him – and for good reason. His ideas all result in inconvenience for other people, glory for himself and no help for the animals in his charge.
Wondering how he and his wife, a Harvard professor, can afford to maintain two multimillion dollar homes in two of the most expensive locations on the eastern seaboard, Diane and her roommate, a journalist, eventually follow him on a mysterious trip to Colorado.
What they learn is that he is heavily involved in the worse thing an animal advocate can be involved in.
Animal Cracker is an entertaining read with well drawn characters.