Wednesday, June 30, 2004

The Last Refuge Of A Scoundrel

Shortly after Sandy came to live with us, I won a bag of Pets First dog food. I fed that for several months, and then I changed to Nutro. She liked it better, it cost about the same, and I didn’t have to get it 40lbs at a time.

More than two years later, someone from Pets First phoned to say they’d noticed I hadn’t been getting Pets First food, and why was that? I explained that I was feeding Nutro that Sandy liked it and I was going to stick with it.

This guy said, “Well you know Nutro is an American product.”
“Well you know,” I replied, “I’m an American. So I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing.”

“Well I just mean that sometimes it’s good to support a local business,” was his comeback.

Here’s the thing. It’s not as if I have the Nutro trucked in just for my dog. I am supporting a local business that buys Nutro from a Canadian distributor and I pay for it in Canadian dollars. If the only positive thing he could say about Pets First is that Nutro is an American product, I really have to wonder how the hell they are marketing Pets First in Washington State. Give your head a shake, man.

Samuel Johnson’s quote comes to mind: Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. And appropriately enough, Johnson apparently meant false patriotism, not patriotism in general.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Homeland Security

Sandy is an All-Canadian, and maybe part Belgian Malinois. She stands on guard for us. Sandy has been key in the development of the Milkbone Threat Advisory System. It is a model of All-Canadianism.

The Milkbone Threat Advisory is bi-lingual, and although modeled after the system used by another large North American nation, this system has six levels instead of five.

Milkbone Threat Advisory
There are six Threat Conditions, each identified by a description and a corresponding Milkbone Flavour. From lowest to highest the levels and colours are:

Squirrel = Vegetable
Cat = Cheese
Garbage Man = Milk
Familiar Dog = Bone
Unfamiliar Dog = Liver
FedEx Delivery Guy = Meat

Milkbone Threat Advisory System
Milkbone Threat Advisory System

Menace Consultative Milkbone
Il y a six états de menace, chacun identifié par une description et une saveur correspondante de Milkbone. De le plus bas le plus haut aux niveaux et aux couleurs soyez:

Écureuil = Légume
Chat = Fromage
Homme D'Ordures = Lait
Chien Familier = Os
Chien Peu familier = Foie
Type De la Livraison De FedEx = Viande

What Kind Of Dog Is That?

Before Sandy came to live with us, she had been staying at the Kelowna SPCA. Picked up after a storm. No one claimed her.

The vet figured she was five or six months old. All the paperwork said “Shepherd X” but what kind of shepherd, and what was she crossed with? All ears and ribs. It was hard to tell. Maybe Akita, because of the tail. Maybe boxer because of the way she uses her front paws. Maybe Sandy isn’t a German Shepherd Dog at all, but some kind of Belgian Shepherd.

One day I got an email from a friend who had only seen Sandy’s picture. “She’s a Belgian Malinois!” my friend wrote, and enclosed a link to the AKC page describing Belgian Malinois.

Well, maybe. The head is wrong, but everything else fits. Body type, behavior, general attitude.

But that didn’t solve the problem. “What kind fo dog is that?” people would ask, as if they didn’t quite belive this was a dog at all. Standard list of responses:
· “No idea.”
· “We got her from the SPCA, and no one knows.”
· “Part some kind of shepherd, but the other parts could be anything.”
· “All-Canadian.”

Sandy was kind of odd-looking for awhile. Her ears were enormous. (We called her Sandy for the color of her coat, but we considered calling her Radar for those ears.) She was too thin for a long time, the result of being on the streets. Long legs and big brown eyes. Everything out of proportion to everything else until one day I looked at her and realized everything had caught up with everything else, and she was … beautiful. You will find pictures of Sandy here.

People still ask, “What kind of dog is that?” but now they mean “Where can I get one?”