Friday, January 6, 2012

Too Many Fishes?

Enantiopus sp "Kilesa"

Although the name of my blog is "Gone To The Dogs or Something's Fishy", the fish seem to get short changed here.  I need to remedy that!  I've been putting a lot of time and effort into the fish tanks for the past month, and everything is looking good.  If you maintain a tank (with gravel vacuuming and partial water changes) you almost never have to take down and redo a tank - unless you want to.  Maintenance is the key to keeping the work manageable too, and a regular schedule of water changes keep the fish and tank healthy.   Most of my tanks have at least floating plants, which also helps with water quality, but of course requires some lighting.  Many of my tanks have rooted plants although none of my tanks are as beautiful planted and maintained as those of the hobbyists who are into landscape gardening.  I don't have any high output lighting and I don't use CO2 in my tanks. 

Someone asked me at the fish club meeting last night how many tanks I had.  I wasn't exactly sure as I have tanks set up all over the basement, but only one upstairs in the kitchen.  Although I have a heated fishroom (so the tanks there don't require auxilary heating) many of the tanks have overflowed into the rest of the basement!  When I counted this morning I discovered that I had 46 tanks set up, although 2 do not yet have fish in them.  They range in size from the 2.5 gallon tank that houses the newest babies - the Haps whose mouthbrooder mother was recently removed to rejoin her fellows in a larger tank, to the 55 that contains a family of Thorichthys meeki (Firemouth Cichlids).  Several tanks have just one fish, as my my Puffer Edd, the surviving Ctenopoma, and the largest Purple Gudgeon live alone, and one of the Labidochromis caerulus "Yellow Lab" females is in a tank by herself with a mouthful of eggs or fry (see yesterday's post).    Most of the tanks hold breeding groups of fish I hope to spawn or family groups with adults and fry, while others hold "retired" fish that I have spawned or given up on.  Two tanks are "widow tanks" with a mixture of fish, often retirees.  I keep my fish as long as they are healthy, and have a lot of elderly fish still taking up tank space.  I consider them pets, although only the elderly Puffer Edd has a name.

The fish pictured above are amongst my favorites.  I am growing out three youngsters and was fortunate enough to obtain two more from their breeder last night, so I will have a nice colony.  Hopefully they will spawn for me.  More on them later.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Ranting On Rescue

Must be a snarly time of the year, but I have to admit that I am sure getting tired of all the Rescue Rhetoric.  Seems that is all I see & hear these days.  When a Facebook posting appeared about rescue dogs being "good enough" for George Clooney, thereby inferring that if they were good enough for HIM, certainly they should be good enough for ME, that was the final straw.    Good for George Clooney, and good for the Animal Rights people.  Isn't that just fine?  Let's all play right into their hands and eliminate purebred dogs (and eventually all companion dogs).  We should all give up our purebreds, and descend on the shelters to select a homely mutt from an unknown background, with unknown health and temperament issues.   If it's a puppy we will have no idea how it will grow up to look or act or what issues it might have.  We won't even know where it came from since Rescue Dogs are being shipping in from other countries because Rescues sell.  Yes, SELL.  And we will be better people because of that.   Yeah right.  As one person noted on Facebook, many people adopt shelter dogs because it makes them feel better about themselves.  Had never thought of it that way, but I think she is absolutely right.

As for me, I love looking at beautiful purebred dogs.  I love knowing how my pups will grow up to look and act.   I know that responsible breeders do the appropriate health testing on their breeding stock, select the parents with care, and raise and socialize the pups properly.  Many of us devote our lives to doing just that.

If you prefer shelter dogs, that is your right.  Those dogs need home too, but don't infer that I am somehow a bad person because I admire purebred dogs, and not just Dalmatians.  A beautiful, sound well-bred dog is a feast for my eyes.  A really good one still sends shivers up and down my spine.  My father used to call me a Dog Snob.  He was right!  I still am.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Me, A Snack Lady?

Most raw meat with ground up bone that comes in "chubs" has organ meat in it, hearts, liver, gizzards, (which are muscle, not organs). From what I've read, Dals are not to have organ meats. So, is it best to grind my own meat without the organs and also feed the raw pieces of meat on the bone, or occasionally give them organ meats? Also, can you say other kinds of meat that you give your dogs other than turkey and chicken? Thanks, Jen
Jen asks about organ meat for raw fed Dals.  Most "recipes" for home prepared raw diets, as well as most commercial raw diets contain a significant amount of organ meats.   Because organ meats are much higher in purines than most muscle meat, we tend to stay away from them when feeding Dalmatians.  Purines are the "bad guys" when it comes to urate stones, and are associated with an increased risk of stone or excessive urate crystal production.  Although the average Dalmatian will not become a urate stone former, the purines from organ meats are definitely a risk factor and one that is best avoided.  Because organ meats ARE nutritious, we substitute eggs with the perfect protein and no purines.  We purchase the chubs of plain ground turkey and use ground primarily for mixing with veggies and supplements.  Ground meat really isn't necessary otherwise as long you feed some poultry parts with a fair amount of meat (like thighs).  Most chicken parts come with a bit of organ meat attached and I do not remove that, but don't normally add organ meats.  Heart is NOT and organ meat, but rather a muscle meat, so I do feed some heart.

Met up with Lisen & Jerry last night to pick up Eddie for the shows this weekend.  Because Jerry's political views are very similar to my own, we had an excellent discussion on the Iowa Republican Caucus taking place that very day. 'Nuff said.    Also a rather nice meal at Perkins.  Don't laugh.  I generally like eating at Perkins and miss it when we are not doing dog shows.

Tonight I have to pick up supplies for my new job as "snack lady" for Minnesota Aquarium Society meetings.   A cooler full of soda and bottled water, and a box full of the unhealthy snacks that people insist on eating.  Don't suppose they would appreciate my selling snacks complete with a lecture on soda pop and junk food and it's relationship to obesity . . .

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Still Ranting

My posting yesterday was certainly timely. Facebook contained terrible puppy pictures by someone who should know better - they certainly send the wrong message. Puppy pictures should show a puppy in a square stack, the way a dog would be stacked in the show ring. I firmly believe that Facebook can be educational - but sometimes newer people are getting a faulty education. Better no pictures than bad ones. If you can't get stacked shots, settle for cute "pet shots" of the dog sitting or playing or whatever. Same holds true with pictures used in breed magazines - if you got a bad picture of a nice win, do NOT use that picture. How hard is that? Advertise the win but use a picture from another show if you need to advertise something. A really good stack with a neutral background works perfectly. There is nothing to be gained by publishing a bad picture - and there is no point in embarrassing the judge who gave you that nice win.

And then, a forwarded posting about a Dal or Dal mix who needed a home. One posting suggested the dog was a Dal/Labrador cross. It was a white dog with no eye trim, and skin spotting, small ticky skin spotting with very few colored hairs. And a Pitt Bull head. No way was the dog either Dalmatian, a Labrador, or a combination there of. The speckles were NOT Dalmatian-related spotting. No way. Repeat after me "The presence of ticking does NOT mean the dog is a Dalmatian".

Tomorrow - answering a food related question.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Dog Shows, Fish Kids & Pet Peeves

Where did my weekend go?  Seems as if I was just anticipating the second of two 3-day weekends and now all I can see ahead of me is a busy 4-day work week.  Obedience class tonight, on Tuesday an evening trip to Owatonna to meet old friends Lisen & Jerry for dinner and pick up Puppy Eddie for the upcoming dog shows.  Fish club meeting on Thursday, and dog shows this weekend.  I'm not showing anyone this weekend, but most of the entry will be Argus kids, including Pauli.  I'm stewarding both days (see below), probably starting rings at 8:00 AM.  Dal judging is late both days, so hopefully my rings will be done in time to watch the Dals.  1900 dogs entered and only 6 Dals.  We obviously need more Dals and Dal exhibitors around here! 

Breed (conformation) judges often judge up to 175 dogs in a single day, and it's important to keep things running smoothly so they can stay on schedule.  25 dogs an hour plus time for pictures makes for a busy day.  Stewards give out the arm bands, get the exhibitors in and out of the ring, in their correct classes and in a timely fashion, put out the ribbons, mark their catalogs (but only the judge can mark the official Judges Book), move the tables in and out of the ring for examining small breeds, call for clean up if needed (especially in Cocker Spaniels for some reason), and answer exhibitor questions.  Some judges are great fun to steward for, while others are anything but.  My favorite judges on the panel happen to be the ones who are judging Dals and the Group, so unfortunately I can't steward for them this weekend.

New Years Resolutions this year included eating better and wasting less.  I already blew spending less time on Facebook!

As I was looking at puppy pictures posted to Facebook, I wondered if this might be a bad thing.  One would hope that if a well known breeder is posting puppy pictures, they would be good pictures.  Some are awful pictures of poor quality pups, but others are terrible pictures of what might actually be nice puppies.  Why would you post pictures where a puppy is standing out at the elbow with crooked front legs and cowhocks?  If you don't know what pups should look like, you shouldn't be posting pictures - actually, you should not even be breeding a litter.  Posting pictures of gross structural faults is anything but educational, and they encourage newcomers to assume that is perfectly OK.  It is in pets, but certainly not in show dogs.

That Pet Peeve is right up there with calling any mixed breed dog with freckles a Dalmatian cross, or worse yet a Dalmatian.  Dals are not speckled, they are spotted.  Purebred Dals have distinct spots, not fuzzy freckles.  They may have some small markings mixed in, but they are basically SPOTTED.   Dal crosses have smaller indistinct spots, but many other breeds can produce those same markings.  The small indistinct spots are found in many breeds and are called ticking.  A dog with ticking is not necessarily part Dalmatian.  It may be part Pointer, Springer, Cattledog/Kelpie/Blue Heeler, part Pitbull, Boxer, Beagle or Terrier.  Ticking is does NOT necessarily come from Dalmatians.
I finally took the female Haplochromis sp "Dayglow" out of the tank where she was living with her youngsters.  When frightened, she was still gathering them in her mouth for safekeeping (Haps are maternal mouthbrooders), but they were getting much too large for that and she could no longer close her mouth.  I was never quite sure how many there were, as even when some were out feeding, others were hiding out in the safety of her mouth.  On Saturday I caught her by surprise, dipped her out of the small tank, and put her back in with the other adults.  I was surprised to find 10 large robust fry, who are doing just fine without their mama.

Pleased with the success, I spent about two hours catching one of the female Labidochromis caerulis "Yellow Labs" who was also holding eggs/fry.  She was incredibly hard to catch and I had to take all the furnishing out of the tank to catch her, but now she's in a small tank by herself and will hopefully be successful too. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Breed Specific Legislation

Please take a moment to read this interesting blog posting.  We ALL need to be aware of the issues involved here . . .

Pittbull Problems - OUR Breed Could Be Next