Dear Pitbull,

Dear Pitbull with lipstick, hockey mom, Governor Sarah Palin,

I admire you quite a bit as a person, it is very impressive that you have made your way into the political arena from the PTA, to become Mayor of Wasilla, then to become governor of the unique state of Alaska. All while having five children, and supporting your husband. You seem like a very interesting woman, and have a very different perspective.

However, your speech tonight frustrated the heck out of me on a number of levels. Admitted I am not exactly your intended audience, being from the other freak state, and having voted for Linda Lingle because of her greater emphasis on eduction, realizing that because of the nature of our government she wouldn't have complete control on our state.
I think it is absurd of you and your running mate to continue this argument on "experience". Admitted John McCain is one of the senators who has held his seat in congress for a very long time, and Obama and Biden have somewhat similar political paths never having worked in the executive branch like you have. It is unjust to belittle the work that Obama did in New York and Chicago, working in small community organizing jobs, then later working on Project Vote and other grassroots campaigns, and Biden working as a public defender. I think that both of them worked very hard to serve the people, and even though the were not the ones lobbying for money for the people they helped, nor did they chose how money was delegated to the people they served. They have been working hard, and have served many people since the days when you were a beauty queen.

I understand that this is a contest and that you want to win, but to put down the people in this country who are working hard to serve the people seems counteractive to the message you are trying to promote about trying to change this country for the better.

Once I'm more awake I'll be able to be more coherent on why it is that I'm not thrilled with you as a political figure, but for now I am going to bed.


Harvest Time

I recently finished an excellent book by Barbara Kingsolver called Animal Vegetable Miracle. I really enjoyed this book, and found it to be a great motivation to attempt to change my lifestyle. The biggest step I am going to try to take is cutting beef (of unknown origin) out of my diet. This is going to take a while, as I'm accustomed to going to Burger King when I don't feel like cooking, and really enjoying beef jerky. It was a very fun book for me to read though, especially being a city dweller, and really made me appreciate farms even more than I already did. I am impressed by her family's dedication, but then again to me canning your own food is a foreign and even dangerous concept.

One of the chapters in this book was on "harvest time" which was when the family harvested their roosters and turkeys for the year. In other words it was when they took the animals they planned to eat out of the flock, killed and cleaned them. I don't have any problem with someone else killing an animal for food, but I think I might have some difficulty doing it myself. Now saying that, I have a slightly different perspective than most people do about killing animals. First I fish, I have no problem killing a fish. I realize that when I catch one, and put it aside to eat later that is exactly what I am doing. It is probably even more cruel considering that I unintentionally lengthen their suffering slowly suffocating them, rather than swiftly killing them, but for some reason I have an easier time doing it. I don't know if it is because of the nature of fish being very different from mammals or even birds, or if it's because it is a more passive killing, but it doesn't bother me. I do not hunt, but know how to shoot, and even that seems somehow different to me than the process of the harvest. It is much more involved to me to cut off the head of an animal than to shoot them with a weapon.
In her book Kingsolver wrote that when friends would express the sentiment that they would be unable to harvest a farm animal, she stated that she tries to explain that killing one of these animals is different from killing a family pet. I can understand what she is saying, there is a huge difference between a beloved pet and an animal that is raised for harvest. This however, was the statement that really caused me to think about why I would have difficulty killing a farm animal. I have worked as a veterinary technician for over two years now, and I have assisted doctors in killing dozens of those beloved pets. If I were in an unfortunate situation I would feel no qualms about giving that final injection myself. Now I know that Kingsolver did not have the people who kill pets every day in mind when she stated that a harvest is different, but the difference between what we do and what farmers do goes beyond her intended meaning. I have some reservations about personally killing a farm animal because that animal is perfectly healthy. The time when we kill an animal for harvest is somewhat arbitrarily chosen by people. When I kill an animal with a veterinarian 80% of the time the animal is noticeably ill, and 15% of the remaining time they are not likely to live for more than one or two months. I have never worked in a shelter, and know that it would break my heart to assist doctors kill healthy animals (yes, I have done it to very few animals). One of the doctors who I work with tells her clients (especially people who work in the medical profession that have reservations) that she thinks of euthanasia as a gift, that we can allow our animals a death without the suffering they would endure in a natural death. We may be killing a beloved animal and not a crop, but I also think of it as something that I can do for that animal, instead of something I do to that animal.


Best Toy in the World

I dislike bugs. I like some of them and I understand that they are necessary, and very useful, but I dislike it when one gets into my house. My cats on the other had love them. Flies are the best. I just had two get into the house somehow, and they think they are the best to chase to play with and finally to eat.

Zinc is the kitty in the photo. I actually cheated to get this photo. Harry had already eaten the fly, so I used one of their other toys to get Zinc's attention.


Life's Final Milestone

I haven't written in quite some time, and though I probably should write something about the goings on at work... with the nutty clients, and fractious cats, and nice adoptable pit mixes, or perhaps something about my new job (substitute teaching) or even my complete failing to get the jobs that really matter to me, I have an idea sort of stuck in my head.

A few weeks ago a friend of mine came down to celebrate her 25th birthday with us. 25 isn't really that big a deal, I mean you get to drive a rental car (and if you are willing to pay more you were able to do that a few years ago), but that's about it. I did mention to my friends the one thing that I think does change when you start hitting those higher numbers. It becomes less and less sad to strangers when you die.
I've thought about this a bit before. News Media and the like will make a sad story of a person's death if say they were under 20, but as soon as you are older than that, it no longer seems to be a big deal. I don't understand this. In the case of a child, it really is unfair. They didn't get the opportunity to even realize what they could do in their lives, much less get to do the things they want to. As people grow older though they have a greater understanding of what is possible to do with their lives, and what it takes to accomplish those things. So being 24, I know that there are many people older than me that do not get the opportunity to do the things that I have done in my relatively short life, but they don't necessarily have the resources to do those things. To me that is what makes death unfortunate, and I do think there are many people who will die in their 40's and older who did not get to do as much with their lives as the would have liked to, and would potentially trade those 40 years of their lifetime to live the 24 of mine. There are also people younger than me that have lived "fuller" lives than I have.

I was thinking the other day (with the possibility of career changes and all) about what it is that makes a death sad after a person turns 20. All deaths are sad. Yes, but there is a difference between the story a single man who works at a gas station and volunteers with a local fire department having a heart attack, and the father dying in a car crash on his way home from working at a hospital. Admitted different people will always identify with different stories, but I think there are some specific things that people look for, and use as cues to feel sympathy for a person's death. Now because I think most people want to be missed, they want to be remembered, and probably want to have their life's work outlive them, it makes me wonder how many people actually make their life choices anticipating their eventual demise. By that I don't mean having a will and a life insurance policy, I mean the other day I found myself thinking if I die and I am still doing this job, how would I feel about that?

I think that my personal priorities in life are not the things that would necessarily get me sympathy in an obituary. I hope to work in environmentalism, specifically in China (no sympathy). I am considering going the teaching route (sympathy points!) because that way I could also stay connected with the other things I am enthusiastic about, science and technical theatre (no sympathy there). The thing is up until yesterday I wasn't really even thinking about how I lead my life day to day, and the small decisions that I can make that would make my life more fruitful in the long run. I'm in fact pretty terrible with those types of decisions, I watch a lot of television, and spend quite a bit of my time doing a lot of nothing, and I think that perhaps keeping the final milestone in mind, I might be a little more consiencious of how I use my time and won't end up being 40 and equally unproductive at using my time consciously .


Dogs don't digest people food.

Theobromine is the main reason that people know dogs can't always eat food that people can eat. Theobromine is from several plants but the main think that it's in is cacao. It's one of those wonderful ingredients that makes chocolate yummy. Now many people know that chocolate kills dogs, but really it takes about* 100mg/kg to cause toxicity in a dog. We get calls all the time regarding dogs that ate Valentines or Halloween candy. We always advise the owners to either make the DOG vomit (give them about 2 tbsp give them about 10 minutes, repeat (only up to 6 or so tablespoons, and only if the dog is more than 10 lbs) if needed. NEVER INDUCE VOMITING IN A CAT! (They tend to continue to vomit, and eventually get ulcers because of the vomiting.) Honestly when we use H2O2 it is more labor intensive. I tend the either run around with the dog, or shake their tummy around so that it is quicker (and easier) for them to vomit. If it is already in the dog's system, and it is too late to get them to vomit, the things that it will likely cause are digestive problems, then if the dog ate too much for it's poor body it can cause excess drinking and urination. Then it causes nervous system and cardiovascular system problems. It can cause muscle spasms, seizures, increase heart rate, coma and death. It's a lot like caffeine, so you can somewhat understand how all this happens. Some people will also call and ask about things like chocolate cookies, and that's a whole new concern.

Foods that are high in fat content can cause dogs to suffer from acute pancreatitis. We worry more about the butter in those cookies than those little chocolate chips. Pancreatitis causes dogs to have tummy trouble, dehydration, not eat or drink, act lethargic, and sometimes to have a painful abdomen. If they end up with pancreatitis they need to see a doctor. They stay on intravenous fluids until they perk up and act more normal, and their blood values go back to normal, which usually takes several days.
Stick with doggie food and treats!

Part of why I wanted to make this note is because I met a doggie named Niko :) And I'm hoping that maybe I'll take up writing occasionally again.

*-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theobromine_poisoning Wikipedia has a good chart on toxicity information.