Saturday, January 07, 2006

Barnes and Noble restocks!

Fresh copies of Dog Culture are available by clicking the headine.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Is Sara Gran missing?

My friend and novelist Sara Gran left nearly three weeks ago for a family vacation in Mexico. Since then, some interesting things have been happening to her blog: Sara's Blog

Thursday, January 05, 2006

This is the week I look for work and try to get heath insurance...

I have one day left to accomplish these tasks. And then, inevitably defeated, I will throw myself from the deck of the Natchez as members of the SPCA watch in horror.

No...its not quite that bad. But it is kind of...awful.

I spent Tuesday in line at the unemployment office. Got there at 8am. Left at 2pm. I am eligible either for nothing, or for thirty dollars a week, which frankly wouldn't be worth the trouble of collecting it. The problem is that all the money I earned last year was paid to me by USM, where I was also enrolled as a Ph. D. student. Therefore, it doesn't count as wages for unemployment, even though I paid all other taxes on the money.

I did get to hear some great stories though, including:
A woman who got a call from a FEMA investigator several weeks after the flood. Her home took seven feet. The investigator mentioned hearing the dog in the back yard. Her family didn't have room to squeeze the pit bull in the car along with all the children they were taking, and they thought they'd be home a day later anway. She couldn't believe the dog could survive. It must be another dog. But she and her adult son drive back anyway, just to check on this dog--and there he is, running to them, skinny as hell, but somehow alive.

A friend of this same woman lived on the first floor of a duplex. Her upstairs neighbors were heroin addicts who she kept trying to have arrested or evicted. As the flood waters rose, they brought her upstairs and set her up in a comfortable chair until the rescue boats arrived. Then they helped her into the boat and bid her farewell.

Another man was talking a fast game on his cell phone for the six hours we were next to each other in line. One of the ongoing threads of the conversation involved breeding his pit bulls, one of which was airlifted back to him from Texas, where the rescuers wanted to neuter the dog before it was returned. This outraged and bewildered him--the only reason he has the dogs (which are identified by color rather than names) is to breed them. The whole time he's talking I'm trying not to explode. But then when it was time to turn in our written applications, the staff asked why he hadn't filled out his entire form. "I don't know how to spell," he said. And suddenly I understood why he might have to breed dogs for money.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

WARNING: Major dog food recall

Just before Christmas, Diamond recalled dog food manufactured at its South Carolina plant. Tests confirmed that it contained high quanitities of aflatoxin, which is produced by fungus growth on corn. Dogs have been dying from liver failure because of this contamination. One woman lost five dogs to the stuff. The list of products:
Diamond Premium Adult Dog Food
Diamond Hi-Energy Dog Food
Diamond Maintenance Dog Food
Diamond Professional for Adult Dogs
Diamond Performance Dog Food
Diamond Puppy Food
Diamond Low Fat Dog Food
Diamond Maintenance Cat Food
Diamond Professional Cat Food
Country Value Puppy
Country Value Adult Dog Food
Country Value High Energy Dog Food
Country Value Adult Cat Food
Professional Chicken & Rice Adult Dog Food
Professional Puppy Food
Professional Large-Breed Puppy Food
Professional Reduced Fat Cat Food
Professional Adult Cat Food

People have often made fun of my obsession with buying quality food for my dogs. This is a perfect example of why. In fact, corn is not digested by dogs and is added by manufacturers in order to bulk up the volume of the food so that people think they are getting more for their money. True premium foods have no filler--they cost more, but you feed less.

Unfortunately, Wellness, which I've used for five years, just "enhanced" its formula. The enhancements include extrusion rather than baking, and the addition of chicken meal and "natural flavors". After a month on the food, Zephyr is still having trouble with it. Trouble includes vomiting bile in the morning. The company--which is generally great--says this may be due to the new version being more highly digestable, which means her stomach is producing too much digestive fluid. They suggest I feed her more often, throughout the day. I'm trying her out on Solid Gold's Wolf King instead.