Archive for November, 2011

I found my Christmas tshirt

Posted November 29, 2011 By Ruth

For those of you not already familer with Despair.com I highly recommend their products. But I’ve always extra enjoyed their Christmas tshirts, and this year’s is especially good.

(while you’re there check out their TSA tshirts.)

Links

Posted November 28, 2011 By Ruth

Kansas Gov decides that persecuting an 18yr old for exercising her right to free speech is a bad public relations move.

Cyclist shoots dog that attacks him.  Look people, if your town/county/whatever has a leash law then you need to make sure your dog is restrained (these days he needs to be restrained ANYWAY, but thats another arguement).  I don’t care if “the whole street does it” and “everyone knows he’s friendly”.  That goes extra if your dog is of a breed (or LOOKS like a breed) “known” to be aggressive.  Very very very rarely do they decide on the side of the dog/owner in cases like this.  The fact that the dog was in training to be a service dog doesn’t matter, if anything that should be even MORE of a reason to restrain him properly.  (and you know what? Apollo’s a “loveable friendly pooch who’s great with children” but he hates bikes, and if we let him he’d would chase them madly down the road, so sorry, no excuses)

Holy cow

Posted November 28, 2011 By Ruth

As of yesterday morning (Sunday) Sitemeter said I had an average per day visiter count of 14 visits (which is different from pageviews for those of you who aren’t familer). 

Saturday’s count was a bit higher than usual, people searching for information on the chicken jerky caution.  Some of the search terms were a bit odd, but not too weird.  I didn’t think much of it.

Sunday morning I was catching up on Facebook and came across reference to a “Blue Buffalo Recall” related to the chicken jerky caution and went WTH, there’s no recalls related to that?!  Did some digging, and discovered that someone was spreading rumors.  Well, that always annoys me so I posted on it. 

According to Sitemeter I had 94 visitors yesterday, almost all of them coming in after I posted the above mentioned post.  Assume 14 or so are my usual visitors (the large majority of which I can thank the GunBlogBlackList for, THANK YOU!), and holy cow.  Basically all of them came in via search engine searching for information on a Blue Buffalo recall.  A few came in via Facebook, at least two different folks linked to me there (it appears anyway, if any of you reading this came via Facebook I’d really like to know WHO and WHERE I was linked too please).

I’m shocked.  A check of Google puts me in the front page for most variations of “Blue Buffalo Chicken Jerky Recall” as search terms.  The rest are all reposts of the spam message that went around Facebook yesterday.  Hopefully the large majority of those folks went away with the tools to figure out if there was a recall now, and in the future, so they won’t be caught believing spam again.

My dog is insane

Posted November 28, 2011 By Ruth

Apollo likes habanero cheese spread. My husband, who loves hot stuff, thinks its really hot. The puppy is begging for more.

I think I need a new label for “just cause you found it online doesn’t make it true”.

Anyway, I posted a few days ago about an FDA caution on chicken jerky treats.  Apparently there is someone out there spreading the rumor that the FDA has issued a recall on Blue Buffalo brand items for the exact same problem.  This mis-information was being spread initially via Facebook (sigh), and from there upset animal people took it to various forums where its spread around the web.  So lets get this straight.  Not only is there no recall on Blue Buffalo, the FDA hasn’t issued ANY recalls for this issue.

There WAS a Blue Buffalo recall last year, due to excessive amounts of  vitamin D in the foods.  This was a voluntary recall and not forced by the FDA.  Some of the end symptoms were similar to the symptoms to look out for now.  I can only assume that some IDIOT one was attempting to look up the FDA caution, ran across reference to the Blue Buffalo recall, and didn’t check the dates on that information.  They promptly had a freakout and that was the end of that. 

Look people, Stop spreading rumors, AND CHECK YOUR FACTS before spreading any further lies.

Edited to add:

People are now reporting that their local news media have picked up on the “Blue Buffalo Recall”.  Folks, if there’s a recall neither Blue Buffalo or the FDA are aware of it.   You can check on pet food recalls listed by the FDA here.  The only Blue Buffalo recalls listed are OLD.

Blue Buffalo stated the following on their Facebook page:

Blue Buffalo chicken jerky products are safe and NOT made in China.Normally, we wouldn’t post about an issue that does not impact us, but we feel it’s necessary to clear up some confusion about the latest FDA warning. The FDA is warning that there might be a danger to pet health associated with chicken jerky dog treats that are made in China (see link with this post). Blue Buffalo makes NO products in China and does not source proteins/fruits/vegetables/grains from China. All BLUE products are made in the US. Also note that the FDA has not yet described any recall action for other brands, though that doesn’t mean they will not at some point. Regardless, it will not impact BLUE. Thanks for your support. –BB

White Lasagna

Posted November 26, 2011 By Ruth

Yes, you read that title right, white lasagna.  See, I’m not a huge fan of tomato sauce.  Its ok in pizza, but thats about it.  So a while back I went looking for a white lasagna recipe.  Ran across one that was titled “(Major Chain Restaurant)’s 5 Cheese Lasagna”, the recipe called for the addition of chicken, and 2 cheeses I’d never heard of, one of which I wasn’t able to find locally.  So I “fixed” it.

Mind, its STILL not a recipe for anyone on a diet.  But I dumbed it down a bit, made it a bit easier to make, and so I make it a couple times every winter.  I cheat and use the pre-cooked lasagna noodles (the trick to make them taste right is to pre-soak them, before you do anything else for the lasagna set the noodles to soak in a pan of warm water, it makes a HUGE difference), but I DO use fresh cheese as much as possible.  I’ve had a couple people suggest that you could slice up some fresh tomatoes, or zucchini or the like and layer that in with the cheese, and I’m sure it would be wonderful that way too…..but I like it just the way it is.  I usually make a small lasagna pan, and several single serve size Pyrex containers, then once cool, put the lids on the Pyrex containers and freeze them for later.

(and yes, I’m making this for supper tonight!)

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 Tbls. minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1-32oz pkg ricotta cheese
  • lasagna noodles
  • Cheese: lots, I usually grab a good sized block of sharp cheddar, a couple large rolls of mozzarella, some fresh provolone, some asiago, a good sized block of Parmesan, and whatever else catches my eye at the grocery store.  You can do this with all pre-shredded cheese, but you’ll miss out, trust me.

 Directions:

  • In a 1qt sauce pan heat the milk, pepper, garlic and salt, stirring constantly as mixture comes to a simmer, add the flour and stir till it thickens
  • Refrigerate till cool (does not have to be cold, just not hot) 
  • If using pre-cooked noodles now is the time to set them to soak, also preheat oven to 350F
  • Spread a THIN layer (as in barely there) of the ricotta cheese and a small amount of the milk sauce across the bottom of the pan
  • Spread out first layer of noodles and then spread ricotta cheese then layer on a handful of each of the cheese, and a little milk sauce. Repeat pasta, cheese layering till pan is full
  • On the top layer of noodles repeat cheese layering and pour the rest of the milk sauce on top
  • Cover with tinfoil (and I recommend layering some tinfoil on the bottom shelf of the oven under the pan in case the cheese bubbles over)
  • Bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour (if making single serves like I do they’ll probably come out about the 45 minute mark, though the time I forgot and left them in the hour they were fine)
  • Remove from oven and loosen, but do not remove, the tinfoil
  • Let set for at least 20 minutes (or as long as possible, I usually barely make it 10….) before serving to allow cheese the set (or it’ll go gooey all over the bottom when you try to lift out a piece), I usually just sit it on top of the warm oven to set without going cold 
  • Enjoy!  (and don’t complain to me when your doctor has a fit over your cholesterol, I DID warn you!) 

Edited cause I almost forgot: the made, but uncooked lasagna will keep overnight in the fridge just fine, infact I’ve made it that way for cooking the next day several times, I have not tried freezing the uncooked lasagna.  Cooked lasagna keeps for several days in the fridge and freezes and reheats just fine.

    When to spay or neuter your puppy

    Posted November 26, 2011 By Ruth

    This is a conversation I’ve had several times recently, mostly in reference to the fact that Apollo is intact and at bare minimum will be till he’s two years old.  At that point we’ll decide if we’re going to show him or not, and if not we may then decide to neuter him.

    Now, before we go any further I DO have to say:

    If you are not 100% comfortable with your ability to keep your intact bitch (no matter how young or old) away from a male dog when she’s in heat (which includes not letting her out in the yard un-watched, just because she’s never strayed before, fenced or not), or 100% comfortable keeping your intact stud dog under control when there may be an intact bitch around (again, ditto the letting out in the yard un-watched), then you SHOULD have your dog spayed/neutered early.  Period.

    please note: when discussing spay/neuter of animals I am referring to the complete removal of the ovaries/uterus or testicles of the animal, there have not been as complete studies done on tubal ligation or vasectomies to include them properly, though its believed that those surgeries would provide much the same risks/benefits as leaving the animal intact, other than the risk of babies.  I am also not getting into some of the subjective issues, such as the “look” of an animal who has been neutered early compared to one who wasn’t.

    There is a HUGE mentality in the animal world that you HAVE to spay/neuter your puppy (or kitten) early, if you don’t “YOU COULD END UP WITH PUPPIES!!!!111!!!” or “YOUR DOG COULD GET CANCER!!!!111!!!!”.  Almost all vets will push you to spay/neuter early (before 6months usually), with lots of discussion of the negatives if you DON’T, but very little discussion of the negatives if you DO.

    I don’t blame vets for this mentality, vets (along with shelters and rescues) see the end results of the LACK of early spay/neuter regularly.  Irresponsible owners who can’t be bothered to keep their bitch under control during heat, intact males getting out of yards cause a neighbor’s female puppy just hit her first heat cycle, dogs irresponsibly bred for money with no regard for health of dam and pups.  Vets also see the horrid side of breast cancer in intact females, they’re the ones having to treat it, and having to tell the owner that their dog is just to far gone to survive.  But I DO wish there was more discussion (at least for owners who express an interest) in the benefits of waiting to spay or neuter.  (Rescues and shelters have every right to dictate spay/neuter terms for animals they adopt out, and I have no problem with those requirements.  Ditto breeders who require contacts on when to spay/neuter the puppy gotten from them.)

    What are the negative sides of leaving your pup intact?

    • Well, unless you spend extra time and energy on controlling your bitch when she’s in heat (many otherwise controllable dogs become escape artists extraordinaire when in heat, Apollo’s breeder pointed me to the story of a fellow Tibetan Mastiff breeder who had a 1.5yr old bitch go -quite literally- through the reinforced wall of a horse foaling stall, including at least one 4×4, to get out) you could end up with puppies, which can be expensive to care for, and then you have to find homes for them too
    • Also, mating can be hard on your bitch, some male dogs become aggressive if the female isn’t as accepting as they want
    • According to the Veterinary Society of Surgical Oncology intact females have a 23% – 34% chance of getting breast cancer at some point in their lives, these cancers have an approx 50% chance of being malignant .  Note: the actual percentage of chance depends on alot of factors, including genetics, and how many heat cycles the dog has gone through, we’ll discuss that in a minute.  
    • And obviously if the ovaries have been removed then there is essentially no chance for ovarian cancer
    • Intact males can become hard to control in the presence of an intact bitch in heat (or one they think MAY be intact & in heat).  If your neighbors have an intact bitch you’ll need to keep that in mind when it comes to restraining your dog when she goes into heat.  Breeders often tell stories of females pressing their “naughty bits” against the fence so that the male can get at them.  Your neighbor’s failures in control do not excuse yours
    • Breeding can be hard on males too, even an in-heat bitch can become EXTREMELY aggressive if she decides she doesn’t want to mate with the male in question.  And a female who’s not in heat will also be unhappy with an intact male attempting to cover them
    • Also if the female’s owner is able to ID your dog as the father of her pups then you may be on the hook for any medical bills incurred by dam & pups
    • And of course if your dog still has his balls then testicular cancer will have to be watched for.

    What are the positive sides of leaving your pup intact:

    • Spayed females have a significantly increased chance of urinary incontinence.  This means that they often dribble urine and they have no control of this.  Intact females very rarely have this issue
    • There is also a decreased chance, in intact females, of UTIs 
    • Intact dogs (male and female) have a DECREASED incidence of hemangiosarcoma (cancer)
    • Intact dogs (male and female) have a decreased incidence of osteosarcoma (cancer)
    • Intact dogs (male and female) have a decreased incidence of transitional cell carcinoma (cancer)
    • Intact male dogs have a decreased incidence of prostatic adenocarcinoma
    • There may be a decreased chance of autoimmune thyroiditis and hypothyroidism in intact male dogs
    • There is a possibly reduced incidence in diabetes mellitus in intact male dogs
    • There is a reduced incidence of cranial cruciate rupture in intact dogs (male or female)
    • There is a decreased chance of obesity in both male and female intact dogs, which in turn reduces the chances of, or severity of, hip dysplasia in both sexes as well
    •  Although spaying your bitch before her first heat cycle reduces her risk of breast cancer to less than 1%, waiting till after her first cycle (but before her 2nd) to spay her only raises her risk by 8%, which isn’t that significant of an increase
    • Also, though 50% of the breast cancer diagnosis in intact females are considered malignant, only 4.4% are fatal (assuming proper treatment)
    • Though intact males have an increased chance of testicular cancer, it is very rarely fatal as the dog can still be neutered after the diagnosis resulting in complete removal of the cancer

    Additionally, studies have recently shown that the temperament changes that are believed to occur with the spaying/neutering of a dog  not only often do NOT occur, instead often the surgery causes the opposite problem temperament wise (excluding the mating specific behavior which does generally change, this includes fighting for a mate, and marking-in male dogs-).  Spayed females have a higher percentage of stranger aggression for example. 

    I will also note that the list of positives and negatives can vary greatly depending on the genetics of your dog.  For example some breeds are much more prone to certain cancers and so spaying/not spaying may not make a significant difference in those cases.

    (I did not get into the specifics for cats, the link to the ACT does include some information for cats as well as the information on dogs, risks and benefits are similar)

    References used:

    American College of Theriogenologists
    Veterinary Society of Surgical Oncology
    KC Dog Blog (and linked articles)

    Disclaimer: I am a pet owner who has put a lot of time and effort and thought into the medical care of my pets and what is right for them and me.  I am not a vet.  If you have any concerns about the risks your dog faces you need to discuss them with your vet.  However I DO firmly believe that if your vet refuses to honestly and openly discuss both the positives and negatives of when to spay/neuter your animal then you need to find a new vet.

    Doggy Halloween costumes

    Posted November 26, 2011 By Ruth

    No, I didn’t dress up Apollo (though I was considering a sign that read “I’m the cowardly lion, please pet me!”), but over at FrogDog Blog they have some photos of what I think was an incredible doggy costume (and one very appropriate to the holiday just past).  Go take a look at the cutie!

    Apollo update

    Posted November 24, 2011 By Ruth

    Poor pup’s having a hard fall.  First TWO UTIs back to back (requiring a total of 3 trips to the vet), then a couple ticks which I had to have the vet tech remove cause I freaked out, then last Thursday he puked (never did determine WHY, but it appears to have been a once off so I’ll live), and in the vomit I discovered roundworms.  Yuck.  Sigh.  Friday morning I picked up a poo sample to bring to the vet for them to test, yes I probly coulda treated him myself, but I feel better having the vet double check my diagnosis, and for worms they don’t require an actual vet visit.  Friday evening I did my regular health check, handling, grooming session on him and discovered that there was an irritated patch on the inside of one of his ears.  It wasn’t huge, and he didn’t seem bothered by it, so I decided to keep an eye on it (plus getting into the vets on the weekend requires an emergency visit, which is painful).  Monday night the irritated patch had spread noticeably and he was itching at it rather vigorously.  Arg.  Called the vets Tuesday morning and they were able to fit him right in.  And now we have this goopy gell stuff to put on/in his ear. 

    I guess its a good thing we put extra effort into getting him used to being handled in all sorts of ways, including his ears huh?

    He doesn’t mind, its extra attention, which makes him wired all to hell no drugs required.

    Thanksgiving dinner

    Posted November 24, 2011 By Ruth

    We’re headed for my inlaws, no major travel involved, and no major cooking required on my part.  Which is good, since I could probably avoid burning the turkey but thats about the limits of my holiday cooking.  I have NO INTEREST in running around the kitchen for the previous 24hrs in an attempt to cook up a storm for a single meal (to be fair neither does my mother-in-law, and she somehow manages to produce an awesome Thanksgiving dinner with out doing so, the fact that the kids all help by bringing food helps).

    My sole contribution to Thanksgiving dinner is homemade zucchini bread.  For those if you who’ve never had it and are now looking at your computer screen like it just sprouted tentacles I promise its GOOD, and it doesn’t taste at ALL like zucchini, and other than some bits and pieces of green in the final product you’d never know it was there either.  My dad used to make it when I was a kid.  When I moved out, and asked him for his recipe, I was informed he didn’t have one, and just kinda “tossed things in the bowl till it mixed up right”.  Sigh, the downsides to having a father who was taught to cook by an old fashioned housewife (the upside was fresh homemade bread and other sundries weekly ALWAYS).  Every recipe I found didn’t quite work right, something was off.

    Finally I ran across the following recipe on Food Network’s site, and it only required minor modification to make it damn near perfect.  I’ve never put the lemon juice in (I somehow never have any on hand when I’m making it, therefor its never had it, and frankly I’m not missing it), and I’ve never put in the chopped nuts (cause I HATE nuts in my baked goods, I’ve been known to pick them out of all sorts of things), and I cut the sugar in half (cause god the original recipe is sweet).  So here’s my current zucchini bread recipe:

    Ingredients

    • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1.5 cups sugar
    • 1 cup vegetable oil
    • 4 eggs, beaten
    • 1/3 cup water
    • 2 cups grated zucchini

    Directions

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, nutmeg, baking soda, cinnamon and sugar. In a separate bowl, combine oil, eggs, water, and zucchini. Mix wet ingredients into dry. Bake in 2 standard loaf pans, sprayed with nonstick spray, for 1 hour, or until a tester comes out clean. Alternately, bake in 5 mini loaf pans for about 45 minutes.

    Now I’ll usually run the zucchini through the smallest cutters on the mandolin cutter rather than grate it, doing so is easier on my hands, and the larger chunks don’t seem to make any difference in the overall product (though folks who don’t know what they’re eating occasionally freak out over the green stuff in their bread).  2 cups is about two small zucchini, or one large, depending on how tightly you pack it.  I also often pour it into muffin tins instead of bread pans, especially if I’m making it for anything other than a holiday, as its easier to just eat a muffin or two and then stop where when its a loaf we generally finish off it off in less than 24hrs.