Sunday, September 11, 2011

oscar's law

I think/hope this clip contains the cricket moment Red Nomad OZ mentioned in her comments about flash mobs:

Sorry customers, but given Essendon’s appalling performance against Carlton, I'm in the mood to share something serious. If you don’t want to read about puppy farming and choose to move on today I’ll understand, but hope you come back to visit another time. [We're off for a week's hols to visit my Aunt.]

Firstly, I’d like to introduce you again to Miss M on the left and Mr D on the right.

Mr D came from a breeder who was a well known friend, and he’s now 8 years old. 
He is fit and well and happy [except for a touch of tennis ball related OCD]. He still has a complete set of perfectly healthy teeth.
Like most boy dogs, Mr D reached an age where the local vet said it was time for him to have a little operation, to avoid prostate problems later. The Other said we couldn’t possibly do that until he had a chance to make babies, hence the search for Miss M. 
Mr D’s breeder had some time ago taken a shine to Dandy Dinmonts, so The Other looked elsewhere for a female mini schnauzer, coming up with an address in Gippsland.

Miss M’s previous owner was not running a puppy farm, but when we turned up we saw that Miss M had been living in a shed. When the ‘human’ person let her out, she ran out onto the grass and did a wee that would put an elephant to shame. 
It was pretty obvious that the 'person' had, at the last minute, hacked all her hair off [possibly in a panicked attempt to remove hair that a simple set and comb up could not fix].

Miss M was very clingy and whiney, and had the sort of sway back that results from a poor diet. [We’ve since concluded she must have lived for several years on a diet of nothing but kibble].
Over a period of about 20 minutes, the vendor called Miss M. by 3 different names, never bothering to ask if we might be good owners. She then handed over some papers showing Miss M herself was not registered, but supposedly came from good stock.

We were told she travels well, then a few minutes later told she had no vaccination records because she had never been off the property. There was no point asking for the name of her vet.
Miss M wasn’t likely to produce many more puppies, but there was no way we could leave her there, so we handed over a lot of blood money and brought her home.

The next week we spent over 1400 dollars on fixing half her teeth and removing the rest, vaccinations, having her microchipped, claws cut back and cauterized etc.
She had no idea how to climb a step, or jump, and is just now learning to play - a little.

After 4 years, she has only 3 teeth left, but is finally becoming almost normal. Human males made her nervous at first, but The Other’s brother was staying with us for a while, and over the course of the next 3 months, they became inseparable.

After she’d had 2 beautiful puppies, she and Mr D both had their operations.
Secondly, I must tell you that before meeting The Other I had only ever had strays. Looking after them can be just as expensive as special breeds, because their stories are not always very pretty either.

My last girl, Gemma, had probably been dumped because she was pregnant. She gorged herself for the whole of her pregnancy and even after, but kept losing weight.
As soon as her 9 puppies were 6 weeks old I called some advertiser, saying I didn’t want any money, but the puppies needed a new home. Gemma needed help desperately, so I’d started to wean the puppies early.
I tried not to become too attached to them [but did manage to give them all names…]

I didn’t mind handing them over to the woman who came to collect them; she was obviously a great fan of animals, she spent a lot of time with them, and it was almost an hour before finally they followed her to her car as if she were the Pied Piper of Hamelin.

The vet took 3 or 4 hours when he operated on the Gem, and what he described was horrifying.
When she recovered, Gemma went to a new home where she and an autistic boy each decided the other was pretty special.

I only tell you this to stress that not all puppies for sale in pet shops [like Gemma’s] are the result of puppy farming [though I would still prefer to discourage people buying puppies from pet shops].
Today, the magazine supplement to the Sunday paper carried an article about a campaign for ‘Oscar’s Law’, a proposal for national legislation that might put an end to a fairly horrific industry.

If you are interested, you’ll find more info at


  1. I like our pet store because instead of selling dogs and cats from puppy farms, they display rescued animals that need to be adopted....I guess from a local shelter? I think the dogs are there only on special days. I rarely see them. Then they have around 4 cats available for adoption. The life stories of the cats (and their various issues, disabilities, and needs) are written out so people can know what they're taking on.

    I think your rescued-dog stories are very sweet. You have a good heart. Well, I already knew that....of course. But your dog stories further illustrate it.

  2. Hi Dina,
    thanks for your kind comments.
    Most vets here have signs about animals for adoption, and there are also lots of shelters.
    The trouble with pet shops I think is because people buy puppies on impulse [like chocolate at the supermarket]. Then the puppies grow into dogs. Then they discover that keeping a pet means looking after them and that costs money and time.
    But I like the idea of pet shops finding homes rather than selling cats and dogs.
    Now I have to laugh and use that white lady line from The Blindside - no I don't change a dog's life - the dog changes mine!

  3. My handle is not Big Dog for no reason, I like dogs more than most people I have met and think there should be a special hell reserved for people who mistreat dogs in particular and animals in general.
    If you can't be nice to a dog, who is alwasy nice back, then chances are your not great with people so we can probably do without you in our society.
    Lets bring back the death penalty for dog beaters.

  4. Hi Big Dog,
    Yes, I think the way people treat animals often parallels their attitudes to other people.
    I especially dislike people keeping large dogs confined in small places for domestic/ business security. This seems to say a lot about their owners too.
    Maybe the death penalty is a bit extreme... but if the dog were to deliver the punishment that would be fine with me.