Vega had puppies

A few weeks ago, Vega gave birth to puppies underneath a sheep camp out in the wide sagebrush of western Wyoming. She became fierce to anyone coming near the camp, and the temperatures started to get extremely cold at night, so last night my friend Pete braved the weather and her wrath enough to physically pick Vega up and throw her into the cab of his truck , along with her three puppies. He dropped the dog family off in my kennel last night, and here’s the happy group in the morning sunshine.

Although we had placed the puppies in a wooden doghouse lined with wool last night, by this morning, Vega had taken all the wool, and the puppies, out of the doghouse and everything was laying in the hay. There are four possible dens in the kennel, so Vega has her choice where to move the puppies to.

Everyone seems healthy and content. Vega lured the pups into her chosen nest and soon they were belly-up, panting in the warmth. BTW, these pups will not be docked (ears or tails), since we’re beyond the normal timeline for doing that (which is within about three days).

Docking dogs

As I’ve mentioned before, livestock guardian dogs in this region have been taking a beating when it comes to wolves – actually more than a beating, since plenty of them have been getting killed as they actively engage in fights to protect their herds. Jim and I are re-assessing the breeds of LGDs that are being used in this area, and looking into acquiring bigger dog breeds that have a history of protecting livestock in countries with wolf populations. These wolf-fighting dogs include the Central Asian Ovcharka (Aziat or Tobet) and real Turkish Kangals, along with a few others. We need a big dog that is very canine-aggressive, but not human aggressive. We’re developing a plan to try more of these dogs, but with the dogs come somewhat of a dilemma: ear and tail docking. In their countries of origin, the ears on these dogs are docked, and the tails are docked at the mid-way point. The reason is not cosmetic, but because these are areas where wolves will bite the dogs, scalping them by tearing their ears back. We’ve seen videos of LGD/wolf fights where there was tail-grabbing as well, and we’ve seen our dogs use this tactic in fights. Share your views on this docking practice, but please, no rants about the practice of docking for cosmetic purposes, because that has nothing to do with the issue we’re considering. We’re trying to decide if the benefits outweigh the general dislike of the idea of whittling on animals.

Lane Batot’s Trailhounds 4

Trailhounds Part 4……When I had kept Notches, the Black-And-Tan hound for a year or so, I became curious as to whether she still had her “raccoon phobia”. Though I probably would have found out eventually by happenstance–raccoons being common in the area–I decided to set up an encounter where I had some control of the situation. At my workplace in those days(I was fired from that job long ago!), I often caught “nuisance” animals in cage traps, and hauled them home to release in the extensive National Forest where I lived, to prevent their being shot by the trigger-happy bossman. I had already reprieved several ‘possums, raccoons and two red foxes in this manner. About the time I decided I wanted to test Notches, we had a persistent and messy trash-raiding raccoon at work that I needed to remove if he was to live much longer. I set a trap, and soon had a sizable and quite belligerent boar coon to take home. I planned to release him on my property, which was also isolated, forested, and good raccoon habitat…..

Upon arriving home, I carried the snarling coon in the cage trap well up into the woods, out of sight of my other dogs–I wanted to get Notches’ uninfluenced reaction to her phobia animal. Then I leashed her up, and walked her up towards the trap. She air-scented the raccoon well before it was in sight, and rather than cringe pitifully, which is what I was expecting, she burst forth in full cry, and began lunging on the leash towards the coon in the trap. As we got closer, and she actually saw the caged animal, she enthusiastically confronted the now thoroughly aroused boar coon. I allowed her to “bay it up” for a few minutes, encouraging her while shaking my head in disbelief–I had not expected this complete a turn-around so quickly in her former aversion to raccoons! Perhaps the previous year of good treatment and continuous praise during her hunting efforts had erased the traumatic experiences of her past…..

I decided to do a bit more, and see if she would trail and perhaps even tree this raccoon, so I tied her leash to a nearby tree, and released the raccoon, who lost no time skedaddling. I waited a bit to give the coon a good head start, and I hoped he would quickly climb a tree, which would have been likely under the circumstances. Notches was wild to get loose–baying and lunging against her leash like an old pro! At last I freed her, and she immediately took up the hot trail of the raccoon, her melodious voice echoing up the hollow. I followed, running as quickly as I could behind. Far up the mountainside, I heard Notches baying “treed” in only a few minutes, and as I came panting up beside her, I saw with some trepidation that the raccoon had climbed up a very small sapling, and he was barely ten feet off the ground, Notches leaping wildly beneath him. He was obviously dissatisfied with his choice of refuge, and was coming down as I approached. This is NOT what I wanted to happen! I did not want my formerly coon-phobic hound to get into an actual fight with a large, justifiably angry boar raccoon during her first rehabilitation session, so I rushed forward, hoping to scare the coon back up the tree. Too late! The grizzled boar coon leaped out the last few feet, and literally jumped right onto my hound! They rolled down the mountainside clinched in battle, and the fur flying! That coon was some bold fighter, but my little hound was not inclined to give an inch, and after a brief tussle, the coon broke away, and shot up a much larger, more appropriate tree, to refuge at the top. Notches was reared against the trunk, baying for all she was worth!

Of all the critters there, I had to admit, I was most surprised at the outcome! I praised my hound lavishly, leashed her up, and we headed back home, leaving the raccoon to explore his new territory, and ruminate on the foolhardiness of jumping onto a baying hound’s back. And from that day forward, Notches has had no further fear of raccoons!…. Next up–the ghost hounds of the Uwharries

Worst Tattoos 2

I have seen a few of these before, but these sets of mens’ and womens’ tattoos genuinely include the worst I have ever seen. ET AS THE VIRGIN MARY?? And there are some… well, vote your “favorites”, please. Some mildly NSFW if you can see them well enough.

Latest idiot news

A prep school destroys its library.

“James Tracy, the current headmaster, finds the whole idea of a library, and the objects they traditionally contain, positively quaint. Speaking to The Boston Globe, he actually said, apparently without embarrassment, “When I look at books, I see an outdated technology, like scrolls before books.””

They really did it:

“Cushing is disburdening itself of its library’s 20,000 books and spending $500,000 to establish a “learning center” — the name, the Globe reports, is tentative, but whatever they settle on you can be sure the scare quotes will be appropriate. Of course, once you dump a library’s books, you have a lot of extra space to fill, so Cushing . . . will be spending $42,000 for some large flat-screen monitors to display data from the Internet as well as $20,000 for “laptop-friendly” study carrels. In place of the reference desk, the Globe reports, Cushing is building “a $50,000 coffee shop that will include a $12,000 cappuccino machine.”

Meanwhile, in England, boy scouts can no longer use penknives. HT Tom Mcintyre.

John Derbyshire is right. We are DOOMED!


Look at this healthy old- type chow, still used to hunt in China.

According to Vladimir Beregovoy the Chinese call them “bony dogs”.

Here is what they call “fat dogs”, the “improved” Euro-American chow.

How can this dog see, breathe, or walk?

DR John Burchard used the word “qualzucht” in reference to this. I asked the group and Daniela replied first:

“Qualzucht = “torture breeding” in direct translation. It seems to fit just right here. I wonder what other problems, including respiratory and skin disease these poor creatures are prone to, in addition to having to support those huge heads on their miserably deformed bodies…”

In Germany they legislate against it. It is hard to know why such laws are even needed– can’t people SEE?

More good Chinese dogs in a while.

A Little Science

Almost old news now, but Ardipithecus is likely to be important– she is so old (4 million years plus) and a forest creature, so we have to rethink bipedality. It isn’t for running on the plains, looking over the grass etc. And we are not as close to chimps as we thought– the split goes WAY back.

Another link here.

Dinos,very much including T. Rex, were close enough to birds to suffer some of the same pathogens. Lesions on Tyrannosaur jaws, including on the famous “Sue” were once thought to be wounds from battle. But they are apparently necrosis from the organism Trichomonas gallinae. I have seen it kill hawks, in which it bears the pleasant- sounding medieval name “frounce”, and pigeons. Since the hawks catch it fom pigeons, it would seem logical that T. Rex prey species had it too. Bob Bakker’s description of Tyrannosaurus as “the roadrunner from Hell” seems ever more apt. HT Eric Wilcox

Finally, a vegetarian spider, with the delightful (and rather carnivorous) Kiplingite name of Bagheera kiplingi. It is the only such spider known, and it lives in the already- rather- complicated ecology of acacias and ants.

I still exist!

Just busy and not feeling “bloggy”, perhaps because I have written a long book review, a feature, tweaked and sent around two proposals, and am into another feature. I am now a contributing editor and regular reviewer at Living Bird magazine, where you can also see my article on Darwin’s pigeons (and even one of mine). I am now working on another, an off- the – wall but serious one about Passenger pigeons. Watch this space and that one!

Also deep in animal training. The Barb- Taita is a sweetie and is coming along well– would be faster if not for damn warm weather. The confused Gyr- Saker still hates the hood but is moving sllooooowwllyyy.

Pup Irbis is magnificent. Warm weather and low jack population hasn’t helped but his littermate, Daniela’s Shunkar, has caught his first– pic later.

I will give a few links in the next couple of posts and try to get some photos up. But I thought I’d better emerge from my hiding places when “Max the Vax” at Life Beyond Falconry” wanted to know if it was mostly Cat’s blog now. All I can say is thank God that Cat has so much interesting material when I am feeling so blogged out! More soon….


Lane responded to an earlier post with an inquiry about the Koochee people of Afghanistan, and sounds as interested in that nomadic culture as I am. I don’t really know anything about what is happening to these people now, but there is a great website about Koochee dogs, which are very much part of the Koochee way of life and culture.

Written by Rasaq Quadirie, the site has magnificent photos of the people with their guardian dogs.