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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Dogs

For my sins, Klara really likes dogs. During our walks, she is on the lookout for them, and when she sees one, she gets very happy and makes woof-woof sounds at them. She learned this from her favorite book about a puppy called Biscuit. I hate this book because Biscuit is very dumb. He never says anything but woof-woof. But Klara loves Biscuit, and I recently discovered that there’s a whole Buscuit-related industry, with books, toys, and everything else. 

I tried getting her interested in kittens because I hate them less but it’s not working. Or maybe potted plants because I almost don’t mind them. 

Does anybody know if large pet stores have actual pets inside them so that I can take her to look at them?

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38 thoughts on “Dogs

  1. Petsmart usually has cats on display for adoption. On certain days, they will have local shelters bring dogs for, again, adoption.

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  2. Evelina Anville on said:

    Pet stores used to have puppies and kittens on display but being in a glass cage all day with strangers tapping at the glass is apparently a pretty miserable life for the animals. So that practice has largely stopped. (And pet stores that do display them are kind of grungy, sad, unethical places. Not a fun place to take a sweet baby.) Other than bumping into dog walkers at various “nature-y” places (park, lake, riverwalk etc.) I can’t think of a place where you would be guaranteed to see puppies on display.

    That being said, small children who are interested in animals tend to love zoos. I took my little niece in her stroller when she was about Klara’s age and she loved it. And there is usually a little train ride or some sort of enjoyable ride. Zoos are usually nicely landscaped so it’s a nice play to walk. Admittedly, it is a bit depressing to see large animals like lions or tigers pacing miserably in tightly confined spaces. But if you can get over that (and zoos do contribute hugely to conservation efforts), I bet Klara and you would love a day at the zoo.

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  3. el on said:

    \ She learned this from her favorite book about a puppy called Biscuit. … I tried getting her interested in kittens because I hate them less but it’s not working

    The solution is obvious! Buy a nice book about kittens. Or about plants. I am not joking here.

    I still remember a children book I had about “Котенок по имени Гав”. It is a series of cartoons too, but it’s in Russian, of course. The kitten’s best friend is a puppy, btw.

    \ Pet stores used to have puppies and kittens on display

    I read about pet industry in USA a little, and pet store animals are bred in horrible conditions and not socialized like a future good pet should be. Every animal blog and person I read begs to buy from a responsible breader or from a shelter rather than support that industry.

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  4. Going anywhere where animals are available to buy, even “just to look” is a very quick way to end up with a dog.

    I second the zoo suggestion (especially if it’s not all small cramped cages) this also reinforces the idea of animals as something you go and see and not something you have at home…..

    I’d suggest horse shows too but with a girl in the US that is playing. with. fire.

    If it ever comes to adoption…. find a friend/colleague who knows dog breeds so you can prioritize what features you don’t want so you know what to avoid (shedding? barkinig? howling? needs lots of attention? dumb? likely to run away? hard to housetrain? – breeds vary a lot on those and other variables and picking right can be the difference between an annoyance you can live with and pure hell)

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    • el on said:

      \ I second the zoo suggestion

      I love zoos.

      What about sometimes watching National Geographic channel too?

      \ If it ever comes to adoption…. the difference between an annoyance you can live with and pure hell

      If adults in the family view pets as “an annoyance,” they should not adopt. Animals do feel how people feel about them, and besides why make one’s life worse?

      I second breeds being important, but would not bring even a small friendly breed into a house with a small child. Dogs correct each other by biting in the face and even a friendly dog may do that to a child. Not necessary because it’s vicious or anything. Simply a child (and children may be unpredictable sometimes) does something that a dog reads as bullying or threatening (like hugging or pulling a tail or sitting on a dog), and an animal tries to correct a child the only way it knows how.

      Human skin is far more fragile and, especially for a future woman, being scarred for life is not worth it. May be I am paranoid here, but I would wait till the age of 8 at the least. And bring a dog only if I wanted it, regardless of children’s whims.

      Remembered this:

      “Former French president Jacques Chirac was rushed to hospital after being mauled by his white Maltese dog”

      The Maltese is a small breed of dog in the Toy Group.
      Weight Male 3–8 lb (1.4–3.6 kg)
      Female 2–7 lb (0.91–3.18 kg)

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      • Animals don’t “feel.” These are projections.

        A close friend has a dog and subjects me to its company wherever I come over. The dog adores me with an insane passion. It chooses me among all the guests and never leaves my side in spite of how much I detest it.

        Maybe she’ll accept the kind of dog that you can get at a taxidermist’s?

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        • “Animals don’t “feel.” These are projections”

          Only someone who’s spent no time around animals could seriously believe that.

          They don’t have human style emotions (it’s a different range with different expressions) but dogs do have some kind of internal life (as do horses and cats though again different ranges for both).

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        • Evelina Anville on said:

          Well in a literal way, animals very much “feel.” They have physical bodies, nervous systems etc. But animals–particularity “pack” animals like elephants and dogs–do develop attachments and have emotional states. For instance, elephants have funerals of sorts. And dogs develop attachments that go well beyond food/comfort.: dogs will stay with their “person” even if that person becomes homeless and can’t feed them; dogs–even well-fed dogs–will cry if their “person” has gone; dogs will try to comfort people who are crying or appear distressed. Dogs are really amazing creatures. If Klara really becomes an animal person, maybe you will see how wonderful dogs can be. 🙂

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    • Oh yes, my friend once took her little girl to a horse show. They ended up having to buy a horse and paying for the most expensive sport ever for the next 10 years. Transporting a horse to jockey competitions across the country meant they had to remortgage the house. But the girl loves it and is very good.

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  5. Please don’t take Klara to a pet store. Take her instead to a pound (animal shelter), where abandoned dogs (and cats, I assume) go.

    When I was in first grade, I wanted a dog. My dad took me the pound to see the dogs. One quite young puppy, in particular, stood out. As soon as he spotted us he jumped up and down in his cage and wagged his tail vigorously. He had selected us. We took him home and he lived with us until, during my second year in law school, I was at home during a break. We needed to have him euthanized because he was suffering from painful ailments and could barely walk.

    We named him Tippy because of the white tip at the end of his tail. He needed to be house-broken, as do all pups. When he took a dump on the floor, my mom swatted him once with a rolled up newspaper. Tippy was mortified. He ran from the house, crossed the street and sat very dejectedly on the curb, looking at our house. When I went immediately to fetch him, he wagged his tail with great happiness. He had learned his lesson and never again took a dump in the house.

    Since then, Jeanie (my wife) and I have had many dogs and every one of them has been full of love. Shadow, an Akita female, taught the half dozen pups a stray pup had given birth to in our house how to play. She ignored them until they were several weeks old. Then, one morning I saw Shadow lying down with all of the pups formed in a semi-circle in front of her. Shadow was raising and lowering her right paw as if conducting an orchestra. She was instructing the pups. Shadow also taught our horses to play. That was unusual, since dogs are predators and horses are prey. Shadow convinced them otherwise. When I was working with one of our horses in our circular training area, Shadow and the horse would often take turns chasing each other around the circle. When Pimienta, one of our mares, foaled in our lower pasture Shadow was the first to find them. Pimienta was very confident with Shadow around and, when Shadow brought Pimienta and her foal up for us to see, Pimienta first looked to Shadow for assurances that her foal would be OK.

    Perhaps my favorite was Princess. When Shadow died from a snake bite, Jeanie and I went to give the sad news to the woman who had bred and sold her to us. She gave us a female pup, a mongrel whom we named Princess. Princess learned very quickly. She enjoyed chewing shoes, so we gave her one of her own and she never thereafter bothered any of the others.

    When Princess was several years old, she apparently noticed that I had difficulty going down the stairs — three steps — to get to Jeanie’s art studio, where the router for our computers is located. Princess decided to position herself at the top of the stairs so that I could lean on her. She continued doing that every time I went until three days before her death from tick fever, a horribly painful disease which eats away at internal organs. I became very depressed and took to a wheelchair soon thereafter.

    We now have two dogs, Sunshine (an Akita) and Ruff (one of the pups Shadow had taught how to play). When Ruff was only a week or so old, I asked him his name. He said “Ruff,” so that became his name. Sunshine and Ruff are both very loving and Sunshine has a great sense of humor.

    The moral of this over-long comment is that in our experience dogs will repay many times over the love which you give them.

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    • This is a very lovely comment that almost reconciles me to the possibility of having a dog.

      I’m still hoping she’ll go for a fish tank instead.

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      • Thank you.

        If you do decide to get a pup, please give it a chance to please you. They tend to be very sensitive to human moods. I’ve never been in that position, but assume that it’s quite difficult to fake love for a pup you hate.

        Akitas tend to be “mouthy.” Shadow took our hands in her mouth gently — not to bite but to show affection. Sunshine does the same. Tippy and Princess had other ways of showing affection. Both were “muts.” I loved them both dearly and they more than reciprocated.

        Again, if you decide that you want a dog, please go to a pound. With lots of homeless, wonderful dogs of all ages available who would otherwise be killed, it’s not only inexpensive it’s humane.

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      • Stringer Bell on said:

        Dan, that was a beautiful comment. You’re lucky to have enjoyed the company of these magnificent dogs.

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  6. Stringer Bell on said:

    “Animals don’t “feel.” These are projections.”

    I really recommend this book. Great read, even if you don’t agree with the author’s thesis.

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  7. Evelina Anville on said:

    I think dogs are the one subject that the liberal and conservative commenters on this blog agree on: we all think they are wonderful. 🙂

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  8. Shakti on said:

    For my sins, Klara really likes dogs. During our walks, she is on the lookout for them, and when she sees one, she gets very happy and makes woof-woof sounds at them.
    Success! At least she’s not afraid of them!

    You’re not going to get a dog or a cat or a fish tank or any kind of pet until she’s at least seven. She can’t really help with the pet until then. She’s not even asking for a pet. Does she play with kids who have pets?

    Now if you want a pet then think about how they are around kids. I wouldn’t get a purebred dog or cat because they tend to have all kinds of health problems.

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    • “At least she’s not afraid of them!”

      You win today’s “looking on the bright side!” award.

      “You’re not going to get a dog or a cat or a fish tank or any kind of pet until she’s at least seven.”

      Agree. if it were a family where the parents are used to taking care of animals then that’s one thing, as it is…. seven or so at the earliest.

      “Now if you want a pet then think about how they are around kids. I wouldn’t get a purebred dog or cat because they tend to have all kinds of health problems”

      Dog breeders have a lot to answer for…. I still say that if the day ever comes, then enlist the help of a dog person who can help find one that would fit in.

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    • Of course, I’ll wait until she can actually ask for it. And pray it never happens.

      I was given a potted flower at my talk a week ago and i already killed it.

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      • raddledoldtart on said:

        Oh she’ll ask alright, but you are allowed to say no. We managed to avoid having a pet until oldest child was 16 (our circumstances had changed, and I do actually like dogs) but if you wouldn’t be happy having a pet, then just allow interactions with animals, and give all the good reasons (there are many!) why a pet wouldn5work out well for your household

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  9. If you go anywhere pets are up for adoption, including PetSmart on Saturdays, it will be hard not to adopt. They are there to get people to adopt.

    Animals are great and kids learn a lot from having pets, but if it’s not something you are comfortable with, I do not advise it at all. I want pets but am resisting because of the responsibility, it is a responsibility I am not up to now. It is totally legitimate not to be up for a pet.

    Zoos are great for kids and yes you can go to zoos where the animals seem happy, are not in cages but are in large spaces. You can make this kind of visit a habit.

    Also, when Klara gets older she could volunteer at a pet shelter. They even have programs where kids read to pets (pets like this, and it causes the kids to practice reading).

    Finally, I suggest a fish tank. Fish are comparatively low maintenance and they can be beautiful and entertaining, and you are free to project all the emotions you want to into them as they are behind the glass.

    We got our first cat when I was five or so. It was a stray who appeared. We didn’t get her vaccinated and she died of distemper when I was nine. But we learned a lot about taking care of cats. We adopted a kitten then who lived for 19 years and kept the family at peace. When I get sick and want solace, she is who appears to me in dreams and I seem to float in a Californian landscape, green evergreens, blue ocean, patches of marine fog and this dappled cat, arranged on the map like a set of mountains and seas. It is very healing, and the cat always was a kind of nurse.

    I think the Obama girls got a dog at the point of moving to the White House. It was a thank-you present for putting up with the campaign, and a project to help with the stress of the move/the transition. That, of course, meant there was also staff on site to take care of it when they were out of town. It is almost effortless to have pets if you have one or more people in the family who are at home a lot, and you don’t do a lot of extended travel. If you have few people, or long stretches of the day with nobody home, or a lot of travel, beware.

    My brother has a dog, two cats, and six chickens. This is a lot of fun for him and his daughter. But he is both a pet lover and a house husband, so he also has the flexible schedule one needs to care for all of these beings — because if you don’t interact with them, you lose many of the benefits of having them in the first place.

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  10. That’s where we are in animal shops. The risk is that she will want others. 😉


    https://polldaddy.com/js/rating/rating.js

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  11. el on said:

    What about Temple Grandin’s books? I enjoyed “Animals in Translation”. From Amazon:

    \ Temple Grandin is one of the world’s most accomplished and well known adults with autism. She has a PhD in animal science from the University of Illinois and is a professor at Colorado State University. She is the author of six books, including the national bestsellers Thinking in Pictures and Animals in Translation. Dr. Grandin is a past member of the board of directors of the Autism Society of America. She lectures to parents and teachers throughout the U.S. on her experiences with autism, and her work has been covered in the New York Times, People, National Public Radio, and 20/20. Most recently she was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people of the year. The HBO movie based on her life, starring Claire Danes, received seven Emmy Awards.

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    • I don’t know if anybody noticed but I stopped using the word autism. That was after a met and hung out with a group of this lady’s fans.

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      • Evelina Anville on said:

        Yes. I noticed that. Do you not identify as autistic anymore? Do you think you misdiagnosed yourself?

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        • It’s a term that should be used inasmuch as it’s helpful and makes one’s life easier. Other than that, it has no use. Unfortunately, the term has been hijacked by people who like to feel sorry for themselves because they know somebody autistic. So it’s no longer helpful to me. And I don’t use it. But people who feel it’s useful to them, definitely should use it

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        • And by the way, I didn’t diagnose myself. I was given the diagnosis by two separate specialists.

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          • Evelina Anville on said:

            Oh! I always thought you diagnosed yourself. But I agree. Diagnoses are only useful in so far as they enable progress. Once they box you in, they limit more than help.

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      • el on said:

        \ That was after a met and hung out with a group of this lady’s fans.

        Wow, I didn’t know she was that famous.

        What was wrong with those fans? Did you leave with a bad opinion about the fans, or about Grandin too?

        Her books (read two) are nicely written, and I enjoyed them a lot.

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        • el on said:

          \ I don’t know if anybody noticed but I stopped using the word autism.

          Why? Because their definition of autism was different from yours?

          You do not stop calling yourself a feminist because of quite a few modern feminists on Feministe/ing/etc. or “feminists” like Sarah Palin.

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          • Feminism is not a condition. Or not yet. 😊 If the term doesn’t help me manage my way if being any longer, I drop it. Whenever I use the word, I get a bunch of mommies and daddies descend on me who want to bitch about thrir kids and tell me how heroic they (not the kids) are.

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      • What do you recommend to Aspie students?

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