Sunday, November 9, 2008


This Tuesday, November 11th, our country marks our annual observance of Veterans Day (that's apostrophe, for all you punctuation junkies). What had originally been known as Armistice Day, was changed by the U.S. Congress, on 8 November 1954, to become known as Veterans Day, in honor of all American military veterans. President "Teddy" Roosevelt aptly described this need to honor our veterans: "A man who is good enough to shed his blood for the country is good enough to be given a square deal afterwards"....(Helpful Buckeye knows that "TR" would have used the word, person, if women had been in the military at the time). Sift through these photos as we remember all the veterans who have represented the USA....

The Spanish-American War Memorial, at Arlington National Cemetery

The World War I Memorial, also at Arlington National Cemetery

The World War II Memorial (photo by Richard Latoff)

The Korean War Memorial

The Vietnam War Memorial (The Wall, 3 Soldiers, and the Vietnam Women's Memorial))

As we honor our veterans, it's hard to not think of Lee Greenwood's stirring "Proud To Be An American" anthem....Enjoy it here:

From one of the pictures in the song slideshow, the Grand Canyon is a great place to witness the wonders of America. Once known as "Big" Canyon and "Great" Canyon, it was named "Grand" Canyon by John Wesley Powell (after his 1869 expedition through the Canyon) and this is the name that we still use. Originally, a US Army Lieutenant made this comment: The year 1857 brought a U.S. Army survey party led by Lieutenant Joseph Ives to explore the Grand Canyon region. In his 1858 report, Ives was pessimistic, "The region is of course altogether valueless. Ours has been the first, and will doubtless be the last, party of whites to visit this profitless locality." But Ives was soon to be proved wrong. John Wesley Powell felt a little different about the Canyon after his expedition: "The wonders of the Grand Canyon cannot be adequately represented in symbols of speech, nor by speech itself. The resources of the graphic art are taxed beyond their powers in attempting to portray its features. Language and illustration combined must fail."

Desperado and Helpful Buckeye ventured into the Canyon this past Friday and found the re-affirmation that life in the USA is pretty special, thanks, in large part, to all the veterans who have defended our country. We hiked from the South Rim down to Plateau Point and back (about 13 miles) and it was a rewarding experience! These 2 pictures show the Grand Canyon in all its beauty and the trail out to Plateau Point:

When we finally reached the summit back at the South Rim, we were able to feel the meaning of Guillaume Apollinaire, French writer (1880-1918), when he said: "Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy."

As all of us take the time to pause and "just be happy" the next few days, take the time to also thank a veteran. Say so in person, make a phone call, or send an e-mail...let them know you appreciate what they've done for our country.


1) November has been named as Pet Cancer Awareness Month by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Helpful Buckeye has discussed cancer in dogs and cats in the 14 Sept 2008 issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats...check it out for a review.

2) Rabies still makes an occasional appearance in the news, as evidenced in this report from the Arizona Republic:

Of particular interest is the detailed account of the jogger from near Prescott who ran a mile with a rabid fox firmly attached to her arm. For the unbelievable details, read:

3) Helpful Buckeye has made numerous references to dogs and cats being overweight. England has taken a hard line approach to this problem:
Of course, not much has been said about who would decide what constitutes a "seriously fat pet," or how serious the government is about the $40,000 fine. Their intentions are laudable but, as with the story from last week about the Italian environment minister, perhaps misguided. Maybe the fines from England can be sent to Italy to help defray the cost of the dog fecal DNA tests???

4) The political pundits at all the networks may want to seriously consider sending a reporter to Cold Spring Harbor, NY for the next Presidential election. It seems the folks in this Long Island community have a way of predicting the outcome:

Barking Dogs predicted U.S. election outcome -------COLD SPRING HARBOR, N.Y. - Organizers of a Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., costume party for dogs and their owners said canines predicted the outcome of the U.S. presidential election. The organizers of "Howl-ween," also known as Corky's Canine Costume Party, said hundreds of dogs participated in the "Bark the Vote" election and cast ballots in the form of barking for Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain. Corky Nightingale, who oversaw the barking election, said the dogs made the same choice that their human counterparts would make a few days later -- the vote went to President-elect Barack Obama. "We feel it was a fair contest between the two candidates. Voter turnout was unprecedented," Nightingale said. "We patiently awaited results this evening to see if our votes had any influence on the final outcome of the election. We are proud to know our barks were heard throughout the nation," she continued. "Howl-ween" is held annually to raise funds for rescue dogs and other canine causes. This year's party also included a costume parade through the town of Cold Spring Harbor.

5) Speaking of the election, Helpful Buckeye is here to report that, after all the votes were tallied, both Snoopy and Garfield finished in a tie for the office of President. In the interest of good will between the species (and because they don't have any money to pay for a run-off election,) they have agreed to be co-holders of the office...with Snoopy being in charge of bringing in the newspaper and Garfield laying around and not doing much of anything (except for working on the 50-pound pepperoni pizza)!


1) For those of you who had difficulty with the "copy-and-paste" suggestion in last week's article about second-hand cigarette smoke, here is the web site in clickable form:

2) Amidst all of the discussion about President-elect Obama and the first family thinking about getting a dog, there has been mention of one of his daughters being allergic to dogs. Needless to say, there has been an outpouring of suggestions as to what kind of dog the Obamas should consider. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: "Allergies to pets with fur or feathers are common, especially among people who have other allergies or asthma. From 15 percent to 30 percent of people with allergies have allergic reactions to cats and dogs. People with dog allergies may be allergic to all dogs or to only some breeds. Cat allergies are about twice as common as dog allergies."

More from the AAFA: "Dogs and cats secrete fluids and shed dander that contain the allergens (proteins). They collect on fur and other surfaces. The allergens will not lose their strength for a long time, sometimes for several months. They appear to be sticky and adhere to walls, clothing and other surfaces. Pet hair is not an allergen. It can collect dander, though. It also harbors other allergens like dust and pollen. Cat and dog allergens are everywhere. Pet dander is even in homes never occupied by these animals because it is carried on people's clothing. The allergens get in the air with petting, grooming or stirring the air where the allergens have settled. Once airborne, the particles can stay suspended in the air for long periods of time."

One of the ways to try to minimize allergic reactions is to get a "hypo-allergenic" dog. This does not mean that the dog will not produce allergens, just that it will produce less than other breeds. The American Kennel Club (AKC) maintains a list of breeds that are considered to be hypo-allergenic:

While no dog is 100 percent hypoallergenic, there are many breeds which the American Kennel Club (AKC®) suggests people with allergies consider. Most of these breeds have non-shedding coats, which produce less dander. It's the dander not the hair which causes most pet allergies. For those who can't do without the joy of a canine companion but want to keep their allergies at bay, the AKC suggests they consider the following breeds:

  • Bedlington Terrier

  • Bichon Frise

  • Chinese Crested

  • Irish Water Spaniel

  • Kerry Blue Terrier

  • Maltese

  • Poodles (Toy, Miniature or Standard)

  • Portuguese Water Dog

  • Schnauzer (Miniature, Standard or Giant)

  • Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

  • Xoloitzcuintli

"These breeds may be just what the doctor ordered for people with allergies," says Lisa Peterson, spokesperson for the American Kennel Club. "There are a variety of sizes, energy levels and temperaments, yet all are well-established in their coat type. Dogs that are AKC registered have pedigrees reaching back often hundreds of years and so the characteristics that make them better companions for allergy suffers are fixed through decades of breeding for consistent type."

We'll have to wait for the Obamas to make their choice to see if it's one of these breeds...but don't ask Helpful Buckeye how to pronounce that last one....


Hypoallergenic--adjective; designed to minimize the likelihood of an allergic response, as by containing few or no potentially irritating substances.


Great Dane--The Great Dane is a breed of dog known for its large size and gentle personality commonly referred to as the "Gentle Giant." While the breed is thought to be about 400 years old, some sources state that similar dogs to were known in Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome with various sources reporting that the breed was developed from the medieval boarhound, the Mastiff, and Irish wolfhound lines. The minimum weight falls between 100 to 120 lb. and the minimum height must be between 28 and 32 inches at the withers (top of the shoulders). In August 2004, a Great Dane named "Gibson" from Grass Valley, California was recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as the world's tallest dog, measuring an astounding 42.2 inches at the withers. The Great Dane's large and imposing appearance belies its friendly nature and they're generally well-disposed toward other dogs, non-canine pets, wild animals, and humans.

Enjoy this video of 2 Great Dane pups showing their playfulness:

Our second pet of the week will be in the form of a quiz. If you've been paying attention, you should be able to guess this breed:

They are both the same breed, with different haircuts. Send your answer to


1) This past week, the Humane Society of the United States observed its annual "Shelters Rock," a fund raiser that is supported by numerous singing artists to benefit local animal shelters. Look over this list of artists and perhaps you will find an inspiration to donate in the future:

2) This news item appeared on several TV stations recently about a very special cat in Japan. Enjoy the story of Tama, the stray cat which became a Station Master:

3) Most of you have heard of the problems that accumulations of birds cause around busy airports. A new approach to this problem is to use specially trained dogs to scare these birds away. One of the smartest breeds of dogs is the Border Collie and it plays an important role in this story from the USA Today: After reading the story, be sure to click on the video on the left side of the page for a demonstration of the efficiency of "Sky"....

4) Every once in a while, we hear of a dog that is perhaps a little smarter than its owner. This story from Oklahoma serves as further proof that this might be true:

PRYOR, Okla. (AP) - A dog waiting in a car while at a Pryor car wash slipped the vehicle into gear and drove in a loop before the car came to a stop. Pryor police officer Brent Crittenden says the dog's owner was washing the vehicle when the 70-pound pit bull jumped on the dash and somehow shifted the car into reverse. The car backed out of the car wash bay, continued onto a highway and then looped around before coming to a stop at an automated car wash lane. Crittenden says the vehicle was impounded because its owner was unable to provide proof of insurance. Because the dog was registered with the city, Crittenden says the owner was allowed to walk the pooch home. Information from: Pryor Daily Times,

Helpful Buckeye can't help but wonder how the dog was able to get the car into gear without putting its foot on the brake...unless this was a pretty old car. Probably the dog wanted to get there "SOONER" rather than later, huh? A little Okie humor for the uninitiated....

5) A recent poll taken by America Online of a politician's "likeability" if he/she has a dog showed that 61% of responders said yes and 39% said no, from a total of 104,820 votes cast.

6) For an example of the efforts to influence President-elect Obama in his family's choice of a new dog, check out this web site (it's from "shelter dogs" at :

7) The pressure mounts for the Obama family to choose a dog from a rescue shelter or dog pound, as reported in the Arizona Republic:

8) Looking at the other side of this dog ownership coin, the AKC has a pin for sale that touts dog owners as voters: Helpful Buckeye has found numerous popular magazines on animal care and pets available for reduced rates at

10) On the 3rd of November (1957), the Soviet Union launched the first living animal into space, a dog named Laika, aboard the Sputnik 2 spacecraft. Laika died a few hours after launch from stress and overheating probably due to a malfunction in the thermal control system. The true cause of her death was not made public until decades after the flight. Although Laika did not survive the trip, the experiment proved that a living passenger could survive being launched into orbit and endure weightlessness. It paved the way for human spaceflight and provided scientists with some of the first data on how living organisms react to spaceflight environments.
On April 11, 2008, Russian officials unveiled a monument to Laika. The small monument is near a military research facility in Moscow that prepared Laika's flight to space. It features a dog standing on top of a rocket. The American press dubbed her "Muttnik."

11) On the 4th of November (1879), Will Rogers was born. Helpful Buckeye has used his quotes frequently and there are 2 more that apply to the economic conditions in which we find ourselves today: "Alexander Hamilton started the U.S. Treasury with nothing, and that was the closest our country has ever been to being even," and "An economist's guess is liable to be as good as anybody else's." Now, does that make you feel a little better???


The Ohio State Buckeyes easily beat Northwestern yesterday.

The Pittsburgh Steelers gave one away to the Colts today, by horrible play calling and 3 interceptions by our $26 million QB!!!


Helpful Buckeye has devoted a fair amount of commentary in this issue to the notion of selecting the proper dog for the Obama family. That being said, bear in mind the words of Roger Caras, writer, wildlife photographer, TV personality, and former host of the Westminster Dog Show: "Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole."

~~The goal of this blog is to provide general information and advice to help you be a better pet owner and to have a more rewarding relationship with your pet. This blog does not intend to replace the professional one-on-one care your pet receives from a practicing veterinarian. When in doubt about your pet's health, always visit a veterinarian.~~

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