Saturday, January 20, 2018

Happy Caturday

Anatomy of a Dog

The many terms dog fanciers are familiar with:
Occiput - the highest point of the skull at the back of the head; prominent on some dogs.
Forehead - the portion of the head from the stop and eyebrows to the back point of the skull.
Eyes - most often brown.
• Dogs have eyebrows, or simply brows, just like humans.
Whiskers provide some sensory feeling.
Flews is just a fancy word for a dog’s lips.
• A dog’s cheek is the skin along the sides of the muzzle.
Muzzle (foreface) is comprised of the upper and lower jaws.
Throat is beneath the jaws.
Stop is an indentation (sometimes nonexistent) between the muzzle and the forehead.
Neck - runs from the head to the shoulders.
Nape of the neck is where the neck joins the base of the skull in the back of the head.
Crest starts at the nape and ends at the withers.
Withers are the top point of the shoulders; highest point along the dog’s back.
Shoulder - top section of the foreleg from the withers to the elbow.
• The back runs from the point of the shoulders to end of the rib cage. The term back is sometimes used to describe the back and the loin.
Prosternum is the top of the sternum, a bone that ties the rib cage together.
Chest is the entire rib cage of the dog.
Brisket - term used to refer to the sternum. In some breed  term refers to the entire thorax.
Loin is the back between the end of the rib cage and the beginning of the pelvic bone.
Flank refers to the side of the dog between the end of the chest and the rear leg.
• The upper arm on the foreleg is right below the shoulder and is comprised of the humerus bone, which is similar to the one found in an upper arm. It ends at the elbow.
Elbow is the first joint in the dog’s leg located just below the chest on the back of the foreleg.
• The long bone that runs after the elbow on the foreleg is the forearm,  comprised of the ulna and radius. The forearm may have feathering on the back.
Thigh bone is connected to the pelvis at the hip joint. Hip dysplasia is an abnormal formation of the hip socket that, in its more severe form, can eventually cause crippling lameness and painful arthritis of the joints.
• The upper thigh is the part of the dog’s leg situated above the knee on the hind leg.
Stifle or knee is the joint that sits on the front of the hind leg in line with the abdomen.
Abdomen is the underside of the dog from the end of its rib cage to its tail.
• The wrist is the lower joint below the elbow on the foreleg.
Pastern is the foot of a dog. Sometimes called the carpals, pasterns are equivalent to the bones in your hands and feet —not counting fingers and toes — and dogs have them in both forelegs and hind legs.
• A dog’s toes are equivalent to fingers and toes.
• The toenails or claws on the end of each toe are actually incorporated with part of the last bone of the toes.
• Dogs have a foot or paw at the end of each leg, called the forefoot or hind foot depending on whether it’s front or back. The paw comes with nails (sometimes called claws), paw pads, and usually dewclaws.
Dewclaws are vestiges of thumbs, more or less useless appendages.
• On the underside of the foot are several pads, including one main pad (communal pad) and a pad under each toe, for a total of five pads. You can find stopper pads behind the wrist on a dog’s forelegs.
• The lower thigh is the part of the hind leg beneath the knee to the hock - a joint like an ankle. Some dogs have feathering along the back of their lower thighs and hocks.
• The rump (or croup) is the rear end; where the pelvis bone is.


Friday, January 19, 2018

Happy National Popcorn Day!

A Person Can Learn A Lot From A Dog

A person can learn a lot from a dog, 
even a loopy one like ours. 
Marley taught me about living each day 
with unbridled exuberance and joy, 
about seizing the moment 
and following your heart. 
He taught me to appreciate 
the simple things-a walk in the woods, 
a fresh snowfall, 
a nap in a shaft of winter sunlight. 
And as he grew old and achy, 
he taught me about optimism 
in the face of adversity.
Mostly, he taught me about friendship
and selflessness and, above all else,
unwavering loyalty. ― John Grogan

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

A Beautiful Nap

A beautiful nap this afternoon that put velvet between my vertebrae.
― Henry Miller

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Such Short Little Lives

Such short little lives 
our pets have to spend with us, 
and they spend most of it waiting 
for us to come home each day. 
It is amazing how much love and laughter 
they bring into our lives and even how much closer
we become with each other because of them. 
― John Grogan

Monday, January 15, 2018


While the rest of the species is descended from apes,
redheads are descended from cats. 
― Mark Twain

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Free Kittuns

An Essay by Jim Willis, © 2002

The sign on the mailbox post was hand-lettered on cardboard and read “FREE KITTUNS.”

It appeared there two or three times a year, sometimes spelled this way, sometimes that, but the message was always the same.

In a corner of the farmhouse back porch was a cardboard box with a dirty towel inside, on which huddled a bouquet of kittens of different colors, mewing and blinking and waiting for their mama to return from hunting in the fields. The mother cat managed to show them enough interest for the first several weeks, but after having two or three litters per year, she was worn out and her milk barely lasted long enough for her babies to survive.

One by one, people showed up over the next several days and each took a kitten. Before they left the woman who lived there always said the same thing, “You make sure you give that one a good home – I’ve become very attached to that one.” One by one the kittens and their new people drove down the long driveway and past the sign on the mailbox post, “FREE KITTUNS.”

The ginger girl kitten was the first to be picked. Her four-year-old owner loved her very much, but the little girl accidentally injured the kitten’s shoulder by picking her up the wrong way. She couldn’t be blamed really – no adult had shown her the proper way to handle a kitten. She had named the kitten “Ginger” and was very sad a few weeks later when her older brother and his friends were playing in the living room and someone sat on the kitten.

 The solid white boy kitten with blue eyes was the next to leave with a couple who announced even before they went down the porch steps that his name would be “Snowy.” Unfortunately, he never learned his name and everyone had paid so little attention to him that nobody realized he was deaf. On his first excursion outside he was run over in the driveway by a mail truck.

The pretty gray and white girl kitten went to live on a nearby farm as a “mouser.” Her people called her “the cat,” and like her mother and grandmother before her she had many, many “free kittuns,” but they sapped her energy. She became ill and died before her current litter of kittens was weaned.

Another brother was a beautiful red tabby. His owner loved him so much that she took him around to meet everyone in the family and her friends, and their cats, and everyone agreed that “Erik” was a handsome boy. Except his owner didn’t bother to have him vaccinated. It took all the money in her bank account to pay a veterinarian to treat him when he became sick, but the doctor just shook his head one day and said “I’m sorry.”

The solid black boy kitten grew up to be a fine example of a tomcat. The man who adopted him moved shortly thereafter and left “Tommy” where he was, roaming the neighborhood, defending his territory, and fathering many kittens until a bully of a dog cornered him.

The black and white girl kitten got a wonderful home. She was named “Pyewacket.” She got the best of food, the best of care until she was nearly five years old. Then her owner met a man who didn’t like cats, but she married him anyway. Pyewacket was taken to an animal shelter where there were already a hundred cats. Then one day, there were none.

A pretty woman driving a van took the last two kittens, a gray boy and a brown tiger-striped girl. She promised they would always stay together. She sold them for fifteen dollars each to a laboratory. To this day, they are still together…in a jar of alcohol.

For whatever reason – because Heaven is in a different time zone, or because not even cat souls can be trusted to travel in a straight line without meandering – all the young-again kittens arrived at Heaven’s gate simultaneously. They batted and licked each other in glee, romped for awhile, and then solemnly marched through the gate, right past a sign lettered in gold: “YOU ARE FINALLY FREE, KITTENS.”