Dog trainer Martin Deeley gets a nice profile in the Orlando, Florida city magazine.
They Really Smell a Rat
As a test of their mettle, terriers are scored on how fast they get at a pair of caged rats, and on the rumpus they raise going down the drain
BY ROBERT H. BOYLE :: Originally Posted: May 5, 1975
An unusual event occurred at a place with an unlikely name in upstate New York last Saturday. The event was a trial of the American Working Terrier Association; the place, Toad Farm in Germantown, the country residence of Hal Davis, commercial photographer, classic car collector and terrier enthusiast.
The trial was open to all terrier breeds and dachshunds small enough to enter a nine-inch drain constructed of plywood and pine planks and buried in a field. Having entered the drain, or "gone to earth" in terrier terminology, a dog was then expected to show his (or her) mettle by barking, growling, digging, whining or biting at the cage protecting the live quarry, a pair of hooded rats, a black-and-white laboratory strain selected because of its superior squeaking, hyperactive scuttling and compelling aroma—at least to terriers.
Given the chilling winds that swept down from the Catskills across the Hudson after two days of soaking rain, the crowd was understandably small, perhaps a couple of dozen handlers and spectators at best, but all were keen to applaud the muffled barks, yelps, howls and other atavistic sounds that emanated from beneath the turf. They looked like a scrambled computer listing of subscribers to Vogue, The Journal of Wildlife Management and Partisan Review, and their dialogue might have come from a script written by Lyndon Johnson and Evelyn Waugh.
One owner was Garth Gillan, a longhaired, bearded associate professor of philosophy from Southern Illinois University and breeder of hunting Norwich terriers, and there was at least one other professor on hand, John Jeanneney, a historian at Long Island's Hofstra University, who ran, with some success, wire-haired dachshunds of German stock that are used to hunt wild boar in the old country.
Presiding over the trial was Patricia Adams Lent of Penn Yan, N.Y., a private-school English teacher, breeder of milking shorthorn cattle and lakeland and cairn terriers and prime mover in the American Working Terrier Association, which she helped found in 1971. She is also the author of Sport with Terriers, not simply the standard reference but the only book on the subject. A sensible-boots sort, Mrs. Lent wore jeans, a blue windbreaker and a brooch with the AWTA crest (crossed pick and shovel surmounted by a quartered shield with three rats passant, a fox and woodchuck couchant and a muskrat, tête à bas), and she addressed one and all in suitably down-to-earth fashion. Ecologically, poisons for vermin were "no good short range or long range," Mrs. Lent said, but for a farmer, terriers were ideal for killing rats, opossum, skunks and other marauders of henhouse and barn.
The first class to be run at Toad Farm was the novice, group A for puppies, group B for dogs older than a year. The drain or artificial earth for this test was only 10 feet long, and the handler was to carry the entry to a blue flag set eight paces from the opening. Upon a signal from the judge, the handler was to set the dog down. "Start using a command," Mrs. Lent advised newcomers. "It can be, 'Go get 'em.' We had a woman who came to a trial, and she said, 'Kill!' " There was laughter. Mrs. Lent continued. "A man who came to the trial at Woodstock, Vt. last year said, 'Get the Germans!' " More laughter. At another trial a man with a cairn terrier that wasn't doing well said to Mrs. Lent, "Gee, he does so much better when he is out hunting." Mrs. Lent asked, "What do you do then?" With that, the man flopped on the ground, stuck his head in the drain and started barking.
To lure the dogs into the earth, the den master at the trial, Mrs. Teddy Moritz, a New Jersey game biologist, dipped a long stick in a bucket containing mink scent and swabbed the earth as if it were some giant sore throat. "We were unable to get muskrat scent today," Mrs. Lent announced. "If the dog smells mink, goes in and says, 'Hmm, rat,' it really doesn't make any difference." Each novice dog was given a minute by stopwatch to reach the caged quarry, for a maximum of 50 points; then another 50 points for working the caged rats for a minimum of 30 seconds. Points were deducted for verbal encouragement, but some handlers urged their dogs on anyway so they would get the idea of going to ground. The first novice puppy, Drossel von Mossbach, an 11-month-old dachshund bitch handled by Professor Jeanneney, immediately went to ground upon release, popped out, went back in, popped out again and then returned to reach the cage within the required minute. She then barked for 30 seconds, winning a first-place trophy with 100 points.
Outstanding in the Novice B was a 6-year-old Jack Russell terrier, Hamilton Kipper, owned and handled by Mrs. H. L. Crawford III of Gladstone, N.J. Kipper was typical of this very aggressive breed which has extraordinary In status in both the U.S., where it is relatively unknown, and the British Isles, where it is very popular.
Looking somewhat like a stumpy-legged fox terrier, the Jack Russell is named after a 19th-century sporting parson who originated the breed, and it has become a dog of legend, supposedly able to leap a six-foot fence at a single bound and fearlessly pursue fox or badger in the depths of a lair. Mrs. Crawford cautioned onlookers not to touch Kipper should he stray their way, but the temptation (or threat) never arose as he speedily went to ground.
Whatever breed worked, Jack Russell, cairn, Bedlington or Border, Mrs. Lent was ready at the wooden lift-up lid at the end of the earth to offer either cooing words to a pup—"What's in there? Oh, rats! Look at those rats! Nice girl!"—or up-to-the-second commentary to onlookers on the status of the rats—"They're moving around. They're swell!" Howard Cosell should do so well.
During the luncheon break there was a discussion of the possible use of terriers to control rats in city slums where they have been known to gnaw infants to death in their cribs. A good working terrier would not only kill rats quickly—the alltime record belongs to Jenny Lind, an English bull terrier bitch which in 1853 dispatched 800 rats in an hour and a half in The Beehive, a Liverpool pub—but give hope to ghetto dwellers that they could change their environment for the better.
After lunch dogs in the Open class went to work. The handler was allowed only one command once the dog was set down, and the dog had to run a 30-foot earth against the stopwatch. Drossel, the 11-month-old dachshund bitch, and Car-la, a 10-year-old wire-hair dachshund also owned by Jeanneney, both earned the Certificate of Gameness, as did Hamilton Kipper and Leo, a 9-year-old Jack Russell handled by the host, Hal Davis. Davis had bought Leo as a pup in Wales for $25 while on a photographic assignment. Leo shot in the drain at once, and he was so reluctant to leave the caged rats that Davis, flat on his stomach, had to try several times to extract him from the earth. Finally Leo deigned to emerge.
The top class of all, the Certificate, was next. Awards in this class are given only to dogs that score 100%, and should several dogs in one breed do so, only the dog with the quickest time to quarry wins. As ever, Mrs. Lent was to the point. Of an Australian terrier that came to the blue flag, she said: "Good luck. The last couple of trials she's really blown it." The Aussie blew it again, not even going to ground. Four dogs won the Highest Scoring in Breed Award: Mrs. Lent's cairn, Taffy; Sally Robson's lakeland, MacDougall; Jeanneney's Drossel; and Davis' Leo, who beat out Hamilton Kipper. Indeed, Leo made it to the rats in only seven seconds, the second-fastest time in AWTA history.
The meeting at Toad Farm was the second of the year, and other trials are scheduled across the country from Maine to California. Although the AWTA now has members coast to coast (and in Australia, Argentina, England and Canada as well), it is not affiliated with the American Kennel Club. As an association statement puts it, "It is still much too soon to consider such a move." What is important, Mrs. Lent emphasized, is that "people now want to get out and do something with their dogs, and we think this is a healthy kind of thing."
Down, boy. Down, boy.
An RSPCA ad campaign that offered to care for pets if their owner dies has escaped a ban, despite the charity admitting that almost one in five animals in the scheme are put down.Right.
The RSPCA said that its ads did not give a cast-iron guarantee that a new home would be found; instead phrases such as "do all we can" and "we'll try our very best" were used.Right.
It added that some animals were not able to be rehomed because of health problems, or because they had an "unsound or aggressive temperament". There were also legislative barriers regarding certain breeds such as pit bull terriers.
If you decide to leave us a gift in your Will it means that when an animal needs us in the future we will be here to help them, or even save their life.
THIS IS WHY RSPCA DONATIONS ARE DOWN.
The RSPCA cannot sue, because they know the headline is true.
The split of rehoming by activity was branches 77 percent, national centres 19 percent and other initiatives four percent.
The overwhelming numbers of animals needing homes in England and Wales has meant that the RSPCA, like many other animal organisations, is having to make very difficult choices... In 2013 the numbers of homeless dogs (165)... that had to be euthanased, as there were insufficient spaces available in our centres ... [t]he numbers of cats (526) rose slightly by three percent. The problem of finding sufficient space for homeless animals is one faced by all animal welfare organisations....Charities have a responsibility to ensure that animals do not languish in centres for long periods.
The RSPCA begs in the streets and misrepresents in their direct mail, and then its "officers" put on uniforms to look like cops. In fact, these charlatans have no police powers, are not allowed on your property without your permission, and they kill over half the dogs and cats they come in contact with.
There are many theories as to why the charity acts as it does. But the main problem seems to be the type of people now running it — who include extreme animal rights activists.
Take Dr Richard Ryder, a former director of the militant Political Animal Lobby, who is a member of the RSPCA’s ruling council. He has suggested that animals are morally identical to human beings so should never be used for food, clothing — or enjoyment. He thinks people who disagree are guilty of ‘speciesism’, which he compares to racism and sexism.
Since February, the RSPCA has been rudderless — following the resignation of chief executive Gavin Grant due to ill health. It is the only charity that brings private prosecutions. All others, including the NSPCC and RSPB, have given up, since the formation of the CPS in 1986.
Crucially, the RSPCA was forced to instigate an independent review of its prosecutions policy last year following intense criticism, including from the Attorney General. A report on the review was due this spring. There is still no sign of it.
All of this is a great shame because when the charity sticks to the core principles it was founded on — to help animals in need — it does very popular work.
...Critics say the downturn started when the RSPCA began wading into political controversies, such as fox hunting and the badger cull, and because of the row over its prosecutions policy.
The latest accounts posted by the RSPCA show cash receipts down from £112.4 million in 2012 to £105.4 million in 2013. The cash from legacies was down £5.7 million, while individual gifts fell by £1.2 million. Money from membership fees fell from £590,000 to £556,000.
Sara-Lise Howe, a barrister who has defended pet owners in recent court cases, is in no doubt that urgent action is needed. ‘We are seeing the criminalisation of innocent pet owners,’ she says.
‘From the moment the investigators arrive on the doorstep, the owners are treated as criminals, and their rights ignored. ‘The police wouldn’t be able to get access like this.
‘The RSPCA comes to the door on the basis that it is helping, but then starts gathering evidence without telling householders they have the right to tell the inspector to leave.’
As a result, the Byrnes family, Dilys Hadley and countless others who’ve had their beloved pets summarily put down, are left wishing they’d simply slammed the door when the inspector came calling.
Ain't that America
Something to see, baby
Ain't that America
Home of the free, yeah
Little pink houses
For you and me.
-- Pink Houses, John Mellencamp
"The dog he bought in London from Ross and Mangles, the dealers in Fulham Road. It was the strongest and most savage in their possession. He brought it down by the North Devon line and walked a great distance over the moor so as to get it home without exciting any remarks."
. . . . . . . . . - From The Hound of the Baskervilles
|Bill George's bulldog yard was featured in Punch.|
|Reposted from 2011|
How many people in this room are non-white? A strange question, eh? You thought this session was about dogs, didn’t you?
The point is that for most of the world, this discussion is strange. In much of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, dogs are not allowed indoors. Who lets an animal indoors that may have fleas and ticks, and that may eat its own feces? Who allows such an animal on the bed? Who lets it lick a child in the face? No one!
So, to put a point on it, this obsession with dogs that we have is, for the most part, a European cultural affliction. Most of the world, believe it or not, does not have this affliction.
So I am odd, and you are odd, and we are odd together!
What we think about dogs is shaped by culture, which in turn is shaped by economics, history, religion and even geography.
So, this love affair with dogs that we share is a bit strange to those that may come from a different culture and a different place, that have a different religious background, or who might be somewhere else on the economic ladder.
Veteran Working Dog Has Trouble Marketing Skills To Local Employers
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – If every dog has his day, Rusty’s could sure come soon.
According to sources, the Belgian Malinois – recently home from his last of six deployments overseas – has found it particularly challenging to find a market for the skills he learned as a military working dog.
“Turns out biting, growling, and launching into violent Pavlovian fits just aren’t valued skills in today’s workplace,” Rusty said. “I meet employers, tell them about my experience on the battlefield – I think it’s going great, and then they just sit there and look at me like I’m some sort of animal. Like they totally can’t relate.”...
While Rusty says he’s proud of his service and will stay on the lookout for jobs opening up, the series of disappointments has left him anxious about what peace will mean for him and dogs like him who served.
“I’ll probably wind up on the streets eating out of a dumpster,” Rusty said. “Or under a picnic table, right off the ground. Whatever I can find, honestly. I’ll eat grass and cat poop. And Lord knows I’m not above handouts.”
“Christ, I love food,” he added, salivating and spinning around three times. “Food, food, food.”
One summer in the village, the people gathered for a picnic. As they shared food and conversation, someone noticed a Pit Bull in the river, struggling and yelling. The dog was going to drown!
Someone rushed to save the dog. Then, they noticed another yowling Pit Bull in the river, and they rushed in to pull that dog out. Soon, more dogs were seen drowning in the river, and the townspeople were pulling them out as fast as they could. It took great effort, and they began to organize their activities in order to save the Pit Bulls as they came down the river. As everyone else was busy in the rescue efforts to save the dogs, two of the townspeople started to run up the shore of the river.
“Where are you going?” shouted one of the rescuers. “We need you here to help us save these dogs!”
“We are going upstream to stop whoever is throwing them in!”