Rethinking dog cloning

Several weeks ago, I glibly asked if you’d clone your dog. Because who wouldn’t want to have a second and third and fourth lifetime with their bestest friend?

I was surprised how many commenters said they’d never do it. In my fantasy, scientists could mix up a little cocktail of Isis DNA in a petri dish and boom, another baby Isis is born. I had not thought about the number of laboratory dogs involved in the process. First, an egg must be harvested from a dog, and then a surrogate dog must carry the embryo. Hundreds of dogs have been experimented on, and hundreds of mutant puppies born and killed in the quest to bring dead pets back to life. It’s a gruesome business, and sure, maybe acceptable if the end goal is curing cancer, but not for our amusement.

In Dog, Inc.: The Uncanny Inside Story of Cloning Man’s Best Friend, John Woestendiek writes:

That dog cloning would go commercial is exactly what animal welfare groups feared most. It would mean more animals being used for their eggs and as surrogates, more capitalizing on the grief of pet owners. And in a world already overpopulated with dogs — where millions a year are put down in America alone — coming up with a new way to create them, factory style, seemed disingenuous, if not irresponsible.

Woestendiek makes a point, but overall, I found his narrative tiresome. He follows the stories of the cloning pioneers, spending more time on the politics and peculiar life histories of the players than what actually happens to the animals, perhaps because that information is not available.

How many trials and errors and eggs and surrogates it took to produce Missy’s clone isn’t known. With the work being conducted at a private institute in Korea, that data remained secret…

Another issue is that the people who could afford to pay for their dogs to be cloned are complete weirdos.

I’d said I would pay any amount to have Isis back … for science (and a book deal). Again, this is a fantasy where no dogs are harmed in the making of another Isis. My book would be about how alike or dissimilar the Isis clone baby was to the original, based on my having learned from all the mistakes I made the first time around.

Now that I know the cost to other dogs, I don’t want to tell that story anymore.

Maybe as science fiction…

Instead of spending time and money on cloning, let’s find homes for dogs in shelters, like Gibson here! He’s available at the Humane Society of Skagit Valley, and he loves to play!

Gibson

TuesdaysTailsBlogHopOfficialBadge_zpsb5025ffeThe Tuesday’s Tails blog hop is hosted by Dogs N Pawz and Talking Dogs, featuring shelter pets. Find a pet at your local animal shelter or rescue and join in!

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Things that go blink in the night

What do dedicated dog owners do when the sun goes down?

Walk their dogs anyway!

To a degree, it can be easier for us to walk Leo when it’s dark and cold, because there are fewer joggers and cyclists.

We took our first afterdark walk of the season on Saturday, and realized that one of our blinky reflector collar clip-on things is broken and the other is lost.

Good thing Rob’s sister sent me a PetSmart gift card for my birthday!

The salesgirl sheepishly told me that the only light-up thingies they had were on the Halloween display. Thinking I was going to have to choose between a candycorn headband and a pumpkin bandanna with one blinky light, I was delighted to discover a selection of Dog-e-Glow collars and leashes. Some of them had Halloween patterns, yes, but you can see from the company’s website that their collars and leashes aren’t novelty items. They’re exactly what I was looking for!

The collars were on sale for $15.99 from $19.99, and although the choices was limited, they happened to have patterns that suit our doggies (and us) perfectly.

*I wasn’t compensated for this post, but if PetSmart or Dog-e-Glow want to send me matching leashes, I wouldn’t send them back!

And now, I present to you a video of the Dog-e-Glow collars in action. Perhaps not my most visually slick production, since darkness is required to appreciate the glory of the collars’ two settings: steady glow and blinky. It has a ’70s horror film feel to it, right?

 

5811656This post is a follow-up to the National Walk Your Dog Week Blog Hop, hosted by Cascadian Nomads and My GBGV Life.

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Fit Dog Friday

My GBGV Life also co-hosts FitDog Friday with SlimDoggy, and To Dog With Love.

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String Cheese and the Crime Scene Field

I have found the secret to Leo’s success. Cheese. If a bike, jogger, or another dog is far enough away, I feed him chunks of string cheese to counter-condition him with a positive association to the scary thing.

All summer, I walked him around the nearby college campus, which wasn’t very crowded off-season, but where we pretty reliably saw a bicycle or two. The fun thing about working the CARE for Reactive Dogs protocol is that my goals and my attitude changed. Instead of dreading bicycles, I sought them out, and would be disappointed not to see one on our walks.

Imagine how different it is for Leo to have the other end of the leash thinking, “Oh good, a bicycle! Time for cheese,” instead of “Oh crap, a bicycle. Cue the barkfest.”

Lately, I’ve been wanting to walk the dogs together. I discovered that I can cut through a community garden to a big empty field that I call the Crime Scene Field, because I feel like an FBI agent on the job with my search and recovery dogs.

To get from our driveway to the community garden, we have to walk a short distance on our fairly busy street. So far, we’ve timed this perfectly not to encounter anybody on our evening walks, but just in case, I’ve been putting Leo’s ThunderCap on him for this part of the walk.

While, yes, it is a little embarrassing to think of passing drivers wondering why I blindfolded my dog, the benefit is huge. Not only does it reduce Leo’s vigilance, but it calms me down, because I’m more relaxed as we pass the three houses between ours and the community garden. Again, imagine the difference for Leo between this and having me on the other end of the leash frantically scanning the sidewalks for potential triggers.

Sadly, this evening walk site will be short-lived, because it won’t be safe after dark. Time to find a new well-lit, low-populated path, or revisit an old one.

walk your dog

This post is part of the National Walk Your Dog Week Blog Hop from Oct 1-7. Blog hop hosts, Cascadian Nomads and My GBGV Life, will be adding daily dog walking posts all week long.

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fitDogFriday

It’s also Fit Dog Friday, a blog hop brought to you by SlimDoggy, To Dog with Love and My GBGV Life.

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Good writing is hard work!

It’s Pacific Northwest Writer Blog Hop time!

The hilarious and very smart Tiffany Pitts, author of Double Blind, tagged me with the following four questions about the writing process:

What am I working on?

Right now, I’m busily promoting my first book, Bark and Lunge: Saving My Dog from Training Mistakes, which has been so rewarding and fun, but it’s time for me to get back to work on the novel I started in 2009.

Fight Like a Lady is about a young woman who competes in mixed martial arts and rescues dogs from dog fights. Officially, I will resume work on it in November.

It didn’t start out being a dog book; the focus was meant to be on mixed martial arts, but evidently, I have a calling, and that is to write about dogs. I’m looking forward to adding a Fight Like a Lady page to this site, complete with a summary blurb, but first, I need to get a picture of a blue pit bull to represent Apollo, the leading dog in the book. We saw a really cute blue pit bull puppy at the dog park a few weeks ago, but I didn’t have my phone or other picture-taking device on me, so I didn’t get his picture. Hope we see him again.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I don’t know of any mainstream novels about women in mixed martial arts, so I’m hoping to break some ground there. The Battered Hearts series is the closest I’ve found, but that’s erotic romance, which my book is not.

There is an emerging category of fiction that fits between young adult and adult adult, which they are calling “new adult.” Most of the popular titles in this category tend to be erotic romances as well. I hate to say that my book differs from others in the genre because it is not erotic, so I’ll put it like this: I think there is a market for fiction about a young woman in her early twenties, when she is out of college, but not yet on the path toward her life’s work, when she is trying to figure out what that might be.

But there is a romance in it. And sex. Perhaps I should make the sex steamier to sell more books.

Why do I write what I do?

I chose mixed martial arts because I wanted to write about something I knew a bit about, but where the character was not based on me. My earlier novels in progress were all thinly veiled memoirs. Then I actually wrote and published a memoir, and I certainly could write a few more of those, but not until I know how they will end.

I didn’t know I had a memoir to write about Isis until after she died. Only then was the narrative arc of her life clear. I may have a memoir to write about Leo and Mia and future dogs; we’ll have to see how their lives unfold. Other memoir topics I could explore are being “a little bit mentally ill,” and being “shacked up and child free.”

Writing is part of who I am. In the past few years, it’s become increasingly clear that dogs are my passion. That’s why I write about them. No offense, but I like them better than people.

How does my writing process work?

Quite a bit like this Peanuts cartoon I’ve had on my bulletin board for roughly 10 years:

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I write a word. I get up and pace around the roof of my dog house. I write another. Sometimes I eat a cookie or take a nap. Frequently ideas come to me while I’m walking my dogs.


I hereby tag:

Nancy Schatz AltonNancy-IMG_8445, ParentMap contributor and author of The Healthy Back Book and The Healthy Knees Book, as well as an upcoming memoir about parenting challenges.

and

Cinthia Ritchie
Cinthia Ritchie, a marathon and mountain runner in Alaska and author of Dolls Behaving Badly, which was called “a fun read” by Publishers Weekly and “a compelling debut novel” by Booklist.

Buy a book, benefit shelter dogs

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This Friday is the official launch of the Bark and Lunge book tour! I will be reading, answering questions, and selling books and T-shirts at The Humane Society of Skagit Valley, and donating the proceeds to the shelter.

Since not everyone can make it to beautiful Skagit Valley for this party, but I know you all want to help out shelter doggies… I will donate to the Humane Society of Skagit Valley on your behalf if you buy Bark and Lunge this week.

Here’s how we’ll do it. Buy the book online or order it at your local bookstore. Screenshot or email me your receipt, blocking out any personal financial information, but proving that you purchased it between Monday, Sept. 22 and Friday, Sept. 26, and I will donate:

$1 for every eBook

$5 for every paperback

to the Humane Society of Skagit Valley.

Some ways to buy it: From meNookKoboAmazonGoogle PlayIndieBoundBarnes and Noble.

Send proof of purchase to KariNeumeyer (at) gmail.com, or post it on FB or Twitter, but be sure to tag me!

Let’s Bark and Lunge for the doggies!

Snoopy's Dog Blog

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