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I don’t buy the treats mentioned in this post, nor do I buy any treats “made in China.” For dog food, I buy a Canadian brand, Orijen.

DogDaz Zoo

Ok everyone…THESE are among the chicken treats responsible for killing dogs or making them seriously ill. Vets everywhere are now warning everyone to stop giving your dogs these treats. They are slowly shutting down dog’s kidneys and it is because of something they have in them, still as yet UNKNOWN. The fact that they don’t know what the contaminant is, is why the FDA  has not pulled these treats from stores. Do not buy ANY treats made in China, as that is where these contaminated, poisonous products are coming from.The FDA has received over 600 complaints on these….other brands are Canyon Creek Ranch and DOGSWELL.  Anyone feeding their dog chicken treats needs to look at the package carefully as the words “Made in China” can be very small… do not be fooled by the phrase “An American Company” they are using in large print!

It’s a huge issue…

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Happy Easter!

image by reflectionsinapuddle

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I am sure most bloggers will agree that conversation and community are as important to blogging as writing, creating art, journaling, and sharing. And what is the best way to engage in conversation with other bloggers if not comments? Although commenting on other blogs may seem like a lot of work (and it certainly is, especially if you strive for quality as well as quantity), the rewards of such engagement are great, and not only are they backed up by the blog stats, which I am sure every blogger watches like a hawk, but also by building relationship with others in your blogging niche, and finding inspiration and ideas for your own posts.

Like many of you, I don’t have a lot of spare time on my hands, and I wish I could do more in terms of commenting and visiting other blogs, but I try to do my best. That’s why the Top Recent Commenter award is so dear to my heart. I would like to thank Marcy at Orples.wordpress.com for her generous gesture. She is a top commenter on my blog, and I think she has a special gift for creating articulate and uplifting comments.

Thank you Marcy!

Now I am supposed to nominate six bloggers, top recent commenters on my blog. If you choose to accept the award, congratulations! If not, please look at this post as a token of my infinite gratitude.

  1. TBM at 50 Year Project
  2. Cath at Instant Affection
  3. Jenny at Jenny’s Serendipity
  4. Jake at Jakesprinter
  5. MindMindful
  6. Judy at JayJays Favourites
  7. Lynne at Beyond the Brush

Thank you all for your comments!

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The rules:
Thank the person who nominated you.
Nominate  6 bloggers who comment on your blog the most frequently and notify them of the award.You can find your Top Recent Commenters on your site stats page on the bottom, right corner.
Nominate one more person…the 7th. This person can either be a brand new commenter on your blog, the very last comment you have received, or the one who has posted your most favorite comments Tell us why you have chosen them as your seventh.
And answer the following questions:
1. Tell us about one of your most cherished childhood memories.
2. Tell us about one of your most cherished memories with your child(ren). If you do not have children, then share one of your pet(s). If you do not have pets either, then one with niece(s), nephew(s), or any combination thereof.
3. Tell us one thing you have learned from one or both of your parents that has stuck with you throughout the years.
4. Tell us one thing that you have taught (or intend to teach) your child(ren) that hopeful will stick with them throughout their lifetime
5. Tell us about your favorite job, whether it is one you hold now or one from the past, and why you enjoy(ed) it.
6. Tell us what you are doing in pursuit of achieving an attainable goal.
7. Tell us about one person who had the best influence on you in your life (teacher, neighbor, friend, etc.)..

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If things keep going at this pace, pretty soon I’ll have more awards than I know what to do with, but I am not complaining, and please keep them coming! 🙂 This time it’s the Sunshine Award! This sunny nomination I owe to Mouse , whose delicious recipes add a considerable amount of sunlight to my day. Thank you, dear Mouse  for both the recipes and the award!!

The rules of this award are

  • Place up the award picture, link back to and thank the person who nominated you
  • Answer the ten questions posed to you
  • Pass on the award to 10 or more bloggers

 Q&As

  1. Favourite colour: Lavender
  2. Favourtie animal: Dog
  3. Favourite number: It depends on what that number is attached to.
  4. Favourite non-alcoholic drink: Green tea
  5. Facebook or Twitter: Twitter (for now)
  6. My passion: Visual arts, fiction, fantasy genre
  7. Getting or giving presents: I love the giving part. What I don’t like is the shopping-and-choosing-a-gift part.
  8. Favourite pattern: Golden spirals
  9. Favourite day of the week: Saturday
  10. Favourite flower: Cherry blossoms

And the awards go to:

http://instantaffection.wordpress.com/

Dear fellow bloggers, I would like to take this opportunity and introduce Cath at Instant Affection. She is a friend and the only blogger I know in person. Cath just moved her beautiful blog from Blogger to WordPress.com. Congratulations Cath and welcome!

Other Sunny Nominations:

http://northernnarratives.wordpress.com

http://maggiephotgraphy.wordpress.com

http://antenehseifu.wordpress.com/

http://jennysserendipity.wordpress.com 

http://ceeslifephotographyblog.wordpress.com

http://orples.wordpress.com

http://jayjaysfavorites.wordpress.com/

http://positiveboomer.wordpress.com/

http://davidrwetzelphotography.wordpress.com/

Congratulations! 

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Inspiring and Inspired

It hasn’t been long since my first blogging award, yet again I have a reason to celebrate: Through the Lens was so kind as to bestow The Very Inspiring Blogger award on my humble puddle. Thank you, dear Through the Lens; I appreciate your generous gesture. You have an awesome blog, and I am flattered that you cared enough to include my blog among your inspirational resources.

Without further ado, I would like to present seven inspirational blogs that inspire me one way or another:

Colline’s Blog (collinesblog.wordpress.com)
MindMindful (mindmindful.wordpress.com)
Scriptor Obscura Writes (scriptorwrites.wordpress.com)
Creativity Aroused (creativityaroused.wordpress.com)
Edward Fraser (theedexperience.wordpress.com)
A Window into the Woods (awindowintothewoods.com)
My Story to You (dragoneystory.wordpress.com)

Congratulations and thank you!

According to the rules, I am to supply seven random things about me. I’ll try not to repeat myself and will tell new stories, lest you should be bored. So here we go:

(1) Growing up I wanted to be either an interpreter or an actress. (2) The interpreter part materialized, but (3) I never got even close to becoming an actress, and (4) my mother didn’t approve of it anyway 🙂
(5) When I was four, I loved cartoons. One day, to my mother’s great bemusement, she found me in tears in front of our black & white television set. It turned out I was crying over a little cartoon chicken that appeared to be completely motherless, and this sorrowful fact broke my little heart. (6) Around the same time, when we just moved into our new apartment, I found a hatchet in a pile of dad’s tools that were strewn on the floor. I grabbed the hatchet and went on to display it to my parents. I was proud of my achievement and eager to find more hatchets, hammers, or screwdrivers, but to my utter disappointment, the interesting tool pile vanished from the floor in a blink of an eye. Needless to say, it’s become my mom and dad’s favourite joke around dinner table. (7) You might think with such predilections I would be quite handy, but that can’t be further from the truth. 🙂

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Black puppy

Yesterday I watched Ceasar Millan’s Dog Whisperer and, for the first time, heard about the “black dog” syndrome. Although there is no scientific explanation of this phenomenon, animal shelters observe a particular trend in adoptions. And it doesn’t bode well for the black pooch. Potential adopters subconsciously gravitate to lighter coloured dogs and overlook the black ones. Some attribute this behaviour to the perception that black dogs with black eyes are more difficult to read, or that they don’t show well in photos, when people look for adoptable dogs online. There are also superstitions: a black dog is an evil apparition found in the folklores of the British Isles;  in Taiwan real black dogs are considered a real bad ju-ju, and if a black dog sports white “socks,” even more so.

My dogs are predominantly black with elegant white socks, and they are the cutest pups in the world. (Please forgive me if I am being a bit subjective here. :-)) I also have to admit that the male, whose eyes are much darker than his sister’s, may certainly look inscrutable on photos. But he’s got such an expressive face, that he never fails to make a positive impression when people meet him in person. (As long as those people are not riding bicycles :-))

Puppy

image by reflectionsinapuddle

If you are not superstitious and are thinking about adopting a dog, especially from a shelter, before you make your decision, have a closer look at the cool K9s in black. Who knows, maybe one of them will win your heart.

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stray dogs

Image via Wikipedia

About a year ago, when I visited my parents in Ukraine, I couldn’t help but notice a great number of stray animals on the streets of Ukrainian cities and towns. Everywhere I went, there would be a small pack of stray dogs. And where there were no dogs, cats prevailed. Stray dogs came in all sizes, colours and breeds. Most of them were mutts, but some were pure bred. I saw one gorgeous Dalmatian roaming the streets of my home town. If only I could, I would have taken the dog with me in a heartbeat.

Ukrainian stray dogs are no different from strays in any other country. Skinny, with protruding ribcage, they sustain themselves on garbage, an occasional cat, and food scraps from stores, markets and individual animal lovers. Most people are kind to them. In my parent’s neighbourhood, I saw one elderly woman who delivered food to stray animals every other day like clockwork.

Last Sunday, when I talked to my mom over the phone, she said she was concerned about my seven-year old nephew, who walks every school day by a garbage dump overrun by stray dogs. “Dogs arrive here by trains,” she said. I thought I had misheard her. But then she explained that indeed stray dogs come to town by freight trains that bring coal for a local power plant. When a train arrives and workers open the freight cars, overwhelmed dogs just spill out of the cars and disperse throughout the town.

After talking to my mom, I went online, googled “stray dogs in Ukraine,” and found several articles on the subject. Ukraine, with an estimated stray dog population of 500,000, is co-hosting the high profile 2012 UEFA European Football Championship. Knowing Ukrainian government’s proclivity for cover-ups, I think the number of stray dogs is largely underestimated. I’d say the actual number is probably double or triple what they are reporting. Of course, no one wants to look bad in the eyes of the international community, and stray animals that roam the streets of major Ukrainian cities certainly don’t paint an attractive picture. So the government hired exterminators to shoot or poison free-ranging dogs and cats, and even provided mobile incinerators to burn the bodies. Some witnesses say there were cases when animals were burned alive.

When animal rights activists in Europe learned about this atrocity, they raised a hue and cry and forced the Ukrainian government to adopt a new law, under which stray dogs and cats are not to be killed, but put into shelters. But the problem is Ukrainian cities don’t have adequate animal shelters! (The only shelter in Kiev that I could find on google already houses 600 dogs!) Okay then, they said. Let’s start a program to spay and neuter these animals — to keep their numbers in check — and then release them back into the streets. But where are they going to put up their furry patients? Municipalities have no capacity for animal postoperative care, meaning, heavily drugged dogs would be left to their own devices to survive the first few days following surgery. Needless to say, the sterilization clinics are in short supply.

Some “smart” problem-solvers in Donetsk (a one-million city nearest my home town) found a “creative” solution: they throw stray dogs in freight train cars laden with coal and ship them out of sight – out of mind, making them someone else’s problem. That’s why my home town is overrun by stray dogs. That’s why my mother is so worried about her grandson. That’s why it breaks my heart just to think about it.

So it appears, that the Ukrainian government has no clue as to how to deal with all these unwanted animals — a problem that have been overlooked for many a year. And maybe a decision about Ukraine hosting the 2012 UEFA tournament was a huge mistake. On the other hand, without the high profile event, these problems would never have been put in a spotlight. I really hope they will find some acceptable solution to this quandary, but like many other animal lovers, I fear that after the UEFA tournament, the government will go back to their surreptitious ways and will quietly resume killing the dogs, because no one will be watching.

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Yesterday my little puddle of a blog reached a milestone — it was nominated for its first award: The Versatile Blogger.

I would like to thank MindMindful for this pleasant surprise – it really brightened up my day! I am honoured and delighted. Thank you so much for nominating my blog! It’s especially nice to receive this nomination from someone whose insightful posts I enjoy so much.

Now it’s time to share the award with other bloggers. There are so many awesome blogs out there, and I would like to nominate many a blog, but then this whole award business would lose its significance. So I picked a few blogs in my corner of the blogosphere that are both versatile and a great pleasure to read. (I apologize for breaking the rules, which require 15 nominations. I will try to add several more nominations by the end of this week.)

Here are my nominations:

50 year project http://50yearproject.wordpress.com/

Orples http://orples.wordpress.com/

Restless Art http://francisbarkerart.com/

Coalescence http://acoalescence.wordpress.com/

According to the VBA rules, I am to share several random things about myself. So here we go.

  • I was born in Russia, grew up in Ukraine, moved to Canada 14 years ago.
  • When I was five years old, I asked my parents to buy me a pet dolphin, or at least a little pig. I got neither.
  • My favourite colour is lavender.
  • I love dark chocolate and camping.
  • I want to win a lottery, so I can help rescue dogs in Ukraine.

I am nominating three more blogs for this award. I am sorry for not including you in the first round, but I was so busy, and making decisions is such a tough choice… (now sounds like a real lame excuse, but it’s better late than never, right?) Congratulations! You well deserve it! (If you don’t do awards, please accept my apologies.)

Northern Narratives http://northernnarratives.wordpress.com/

Living Life in Glorious Colour http://maggiephotgraphy.wordpress.com/

Cee’s Life Photography Blog http://ceeslifephotographyblog.wordpress.com/

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Yesterday, I finally found the time to visit my own facebook page that I’ve neglected since this blog came into existence, which would be about six months. Obviously, facebooking is not on the list of my priorities, but I keep the fb page to stay in touch with my friends, and as long as it’s not too taxing, I don’t mind having it. So, last night I noticed a new trend, which might as well be old news, due to lack of “due diligence” on my part. Waiting for me were a bunch of messages, sent to my fb account between November and February by some unknown gentlemen. The messages, although awkwardly worded and some in the languages that I don’t speak, didn’t sound too bad: They saw my profile. They think I am an awfully beautiful lady. They want to be friends. I was baffled. I even looked around in a “are you talking to me?” way. Moreover, I was under the impression that my fb profile was visible to my friends only. Has fb changed its privacy settings AGAIN? I am beginning to question my fb presence, because I didn’t create my fb account for online dating. Am I angry? Oh, gosh, no. But I am vexed.

It must have been a social media conspiracy, because the same evening my Twitter account delivered a direct message from someone whom I followed through this blog. It read “Someone is saying some real horrible things about you, seen this?” Oh, yeah? Really? What horrible things can someone say about me that I don’t already know? This is not the first time I get this message. Apparently, there are a lot of people out there who say horrible things about me, despite the fact that I have 162 followers on Twitter (which is like having no followers at all) and, since almost everyone on Twitter seems to be talking rather than listening, and playing the numbers game, I find it hard to believe that someone would care enough to say any things about me, let alone horrible things. I don’t mean to kill the messenger, but my tolerance to spam is wearing horribly thin. I’ve unfollowed the account that delivered the message. There is a possibility though that the account owner didn’t send the message, but some app did.

So, if you receive a direct message from me on Twitter mentioning horrible things said about you, please ignore it. You can even unfollow me, but please remember  – it wasn’t me! 🙂

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Jeannie, a rescue dog, lost her leg in a leghold trap

Jeannie

Once in a while every city gets a dog-related story. This week we’ve been shaken by two, one on the heels of another. The first story is a heartbreaking tale of a dog with a missing leg. The second… an unfathomable tragedy that affected the entire community.

Good dog, poor dog

Yesterday, a story ran in our local paper about a young dog that apparently got caught in a leghold trap and chewed her own leg off to break free. The dog was named Jeannie. (read full story). It sounds like Jeannie’s troubles are far from over: she is extremely emaciated, has mange, and suffers from several open and infected wounds. Although her leg (or what’s left of it) needs to be amputated, the animal is too weak to undergo a surgery. They want her to put on some weight and get a little healthier first. Jeannie’s treatment  is expected to cost a pretty penny, and AARCS (The Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society) is asking for donations.

Update on Jeannie’s story

Family dog gone terribly bad

Today’s story was about a tragedy in a community just north of Calgary. A family husky attacked a newborn; the little boy didn’t survive the attack. Not much is being said about what provoked dog’s aggression. All we know at the moment is the dog didn’t have a history of violence. (read full story)

My heart goes out to the family who have suffered this unimaginable loss. It’s also a reminder to all of us, canine aficionados, that dogs have teeth, and they can bite.

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As Cowboy pointed in his comment to this post, the article (and the organization behind it)  is against pitbulls. I have nothing against pitbulls and I don’t believe in “aggressiveness” of certain types of dogs. I believe it all boils down to a responsible dog ownership, although “ownership” is not the best word either to describe our relationship with our beloved four-legged “kids.” Please also note, in the 2nd case it’s a husky. And the circumstances of the attack are likely still under investigation.

Advice from DogsBite.org

Staying safe

Most dangerous situations

  •     Leaving an infant or toddler alone with any dog breed
  •     “New” situations involving children and aggressive dog breeds
  •     Approaching a chained dog, especially if it is male and unaltered
  •     Encountering a group of loose dogs. Like the human “mob” mentality, normally obedient dogs often become violent when part of a pack
  •     Inserting yourself into a dogfight, especially when pit bulls are involved
  •     Approaching a vehicle with a dog inside (or in the bed of a truck)

Always remember

  •     Do not pet a dog without first letting him see you
  •     Do not lean your face close to a dog
  •     Do not tease a dog, especially if it is chained
  •     Do not startle a sleeping dog
  •     Do not bother a dog that is eating
  •     Do not disturb a dog that is caring for puppies
  •     Do not turn your back on a dog and run away

If you think you may be attacked
Guidelines from the HSUS

  •     Never scream and run
  •     Remain motionless, hands at your sides, and avoid eye contact with the dog
  •     Once the dog loses interest in you, slowly back away until he is out of sight
  •     If the dog does attack, “feed” him your jacket, purse, bicycle, or anything that you can put between yourself and the dog
  •     If you fall or are knocked to the ground, curl into a ball with your hands over your ears and remain motionless. Try not to scream or roll around

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