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  • bradl

    New CairnTalk Feature: Blogs

    By bradl


    Sometimes as a community we have ideas and stories to share that may be better suited to a personal blog than a discussion forum post. Often a sign of such a post is when it's largely self-contained; while enhanced by comments blog posts don't typically require them to stand alone. Blog posts are often more about wanting (or needing) to express something than about facilitating a discussion, asking or answering a question, or reaching a conclusion. Yet they are often intensely interesting and valuable to the community. Status updates are bit this way, but a blog post can be much longer, and sometimes with pictures Another reason I'm going to open this blog feature for a while is because I know that while independent blogs are relatively easy to set up these days not everyone is able or interested in doing so. But so many people have interesting things to say that I'd like to make it easier for any Cairn lover to have their own little soapbox, however modest it may be. And a final reason is to offer a little something extra that can be unique for CairnTalk sponsors, the folks who help me pay the monthly bill for keeping this lovely place afloat. I have paid it gladly in the past and will continue for the foreseeable future -- with or without help -- but I am so very grateful that people feel that CairnTalk is worth enough to them personally to contribute to its ongoing maintenance. Since I believe the forum should remain as free as possible, rather than change anything about the forum itself, I thought maybe adding an extra feature for forum subscribers would be a way to say thanks. Blog Permissions Who can read Blogs?
    Everyone - including unregistered guests, visitors, and search engines (provided the blog owner has enabled guest viewing of their blog). Who can comment on Blogs?
    CairnTalk members (provided the blog owner has enabled comments on their blog). Commenting is limited to members to reduce spam headaches. Who can create Blogs?
    CairnTalk subscribers. Creating a Blog If you have permission to create a blog, you will see a button on the Blog listing page. Click the button to get started. No really, click it - I want to read your blog   If you have questions, please open a forum support topic so that we can learn together how this feature works. I admit right up front that this is a new feature for me too, so we'll be learning how this works alongside each other. In particular, there are lot of new settings and permissions and it may take me a while to get them sorted out and set correctly so that things work more or less as intended. In the meantime, let's be patient and forgiving I'll be interested to see how this experiment goes!
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Our community blogs

  1. can_dogs_eat_spinach_hero

     

    Of all the discussions about which human foods are safe for dogs, spinach may be one of the most controversial. Let’s start by remembering that dogs in the wild are carnivorous. If meat sources are scarce, they may eat vegetation to supplement their…


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  2. dog_toilet_hero

     

    Let's face it — dogs have some pretty gross habits, and drinking out of the toilet is one of them. But why do dogs drink from the toilet, even when we tell them not to? The simple answer is that the water in the…


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  3. Malcolm's Dad's Blog

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    Malcolm's Dad
    Latest Entry

    I was at the mall today, Ford City Mall in Chicago. I was surprised at the number of stores that have closed. One jewelry store and three clothing stores have closed. There are no coming soon signs in the windows. Some of the kiosks are gone. One sold perfumes you put in a steaming pot. Another was a massage booth where you laid on a table and got a deep massage. Two stores in the food court are empty.

    On the west side of the mall across the street was a Sports Authority that closed last summer. South of the mall a Kmart closed last month. Down the block at the main street a JJ Fish shop has not been open for a week. I haven't seen the pizza shop next store open either.

    The southwest side had been a middle class community with a good economy. Now it is going downhill. A Nabisco factory 6 blocks from my home that made Oreos has been moved to Mexico. A friends mom used to work there. Now she is out of a job. Makes me wonder if people have no job and no money to spend is causing all these shops to close.

    Hope things are good by you, they are not good by me.

  4. bradl
    Latest Entry

    As someone who as been using Amazon for nearly 20 years it did not escape my notice that Amazon no longer limits itself to UPS and FedEx deliveries and now applies a broad spectrum of delivery modalities, from USPS to a dozen logistics providers to what appear to be privateers in personal vehicles.

    In the autumn of my life I find myself in the position of having to find some sort of work to keep me afloat and busy until such time as retirement is more than just a scrabble word. I enjoy driving, I enjoy being helpful. Perhaps this might be the life for me?

    Before applying I knew the first step was to perform a task analysis and skill inventory for the role so that I could do a frank self-assessment. Am I genuinely qualified? Is the role aligned with my natural sensibilities?

    To help others who may find themselves considering a life of freelance or professional package delivery for Amazon, let me share a scenario-based screening test I devised using my home as a laboratory. In a matter of moments you will know if Amazon delivery is for you!

    Scenario

    • You are working for a logistics subcontractor to Amazon and you are NOT working for the USPS.
    • You have a package in hand marked with an address and delivery date.
    • You are on-time and have located the address using your trusty GPS navigation device.
    • It is daylight in clear, temperate weather. As you approach the destination you verify the house number. All Systems Go! 
    • Immediately adjacent to the house number is a mailbox.

    Question 1. Do you put the package in the mailbox?

    IMG_7124-resized.JPG

    Answer 1

    Spoiler

    If you answered NO, congratulations!  Mailboxes are for the use of USPS and should not be used for mail that is not postmarked by the USPS.

    Quote

    The U.S. Postal Service would like to warn people that only authorized U.S. Postal Service delivery personnel are allowed to place items in a mailbox.  By law, a mailbox is intended only for receipt of postage-paid U.S. Mail.

    As you consider the mailbox, you may notice an engraved plastic sign.

    IMG_7124.JPG

    Following the arrow you notice a box to the right.

    IMG_7127-resized.JPG

    The box is several feet away. You look down at your feet and consider the doormat. There are some weird markings.

    IMG_7203-resized.JPG

    You are not a hobo so you ignore the unfamiliar hobo sign.

    There appear to be markings on the door sill as well but it looks like advertising and the sign in the window says "no soliciting" so you are pretty sure this is not relevant.

    IMG_7199.JPG

    Your moment of truth has arrived. It's time to leave your packages.  

    Question 2. Choose the image the best represents your selection.

    Answer 2

    Spoiler

     

    IMG_7123-resized.jpg

    IMG_7198-resized.JPG

    CONGRATULATIONS! Both answers are correct! You are qualified to be a logistics driver for Amazon!

    Bonus points to the driver who placed the package literally ON the STOP-don't-leave-package-here sign. Inspiring work! 

    However the bad news is that apparently all available positions are currently filled with well-qualified candidates and openings are limited at this time.  

    Update: I have recently noticed a decline in service and received two deliveries where the packages were left accidentally (I'll give them the benefit of the doubt) in the wooden box on the porch.

    To ensure that only the most qualified candidates are hired in the future I recently implemented a more difficult screening test.

    Based on the latest results I am pleased to report that service excellence is once again the order of the day.

    IMG_7329-resized.JPG

    Great job Amazon!

  5. backyard_reunion_header.jpg

    What began as a regular potty break turned into a heartwarming reunion.

    The owner gathers four of her five dogs together before letting them outside and once they're let loose, we see one of the Great Danes make a beeline for the storage shed. It's almost as if he knew what was waiting for him. Then, the other dogs follow and they find their soldier waiting with the same amount of excitement, if not more.

    As the other dogs happily romp around their owner, taking turns jumping up on their hind legs to hug him and lick his face, another dog enters the scene. Once his turn to embrace the soldier comes, he just stares into his face while his owner assures him it's really who he thinks it is.

    Watch this heartwarming reunion:
     

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  6. Hillscreek's Blog

    Spring and the baby fawns will soon be in my yard and in the woods all around.

    Never heard of momma deer charging. Maybe we have more space for deer here to keep their babies safe. It is momma bears we have to watch out for. Those cute cubs gamboling around and straying from their mother's side makes her very anxious.

    Angus will chase the white tails when we are out walking but is learning like all my previous dogs that he will never catch one. More of a token chase nowadays. In the yard he is always on the leash as we have no fence.

    In urban areas people think the deer look so adorable and cute and their fawns even more so. But the poor things increase in numbers and disease is spread among them and may, like Lyme disease, be contracted by humans.

    It seems foolish to allow the aah factor to keep so many alive in unsuitable conditions - unsuitable both for people and deer. Even here the deer will eat up a garden pretty quickly and vehicle deer crashes are a fact of life, not too mention having to guard against ticks jumping on people and dogs.

    Numbers in the country are culled by hunters in the Fall. Urban areas need to do the same. Shoot and put in freezer or can like we do. You reduce the deer population and have food for the table.

  7. In our community (and I believe in most communities) a pattern of aggression has to be established before the authorities can take action against dangerous/vicious dogs. In our city, two tickets must be issued/incidents recorded before a dangerous dog hearing can be scheduled. This is why ticketing the offenders is so important. If the incident isn't on record, it may as well not have happened.

    I understand the thought process behind this rule although I don't think it applies to all situations. The city doesn't want to have people dragged in for hearings over one minor incident - a dog bolting out the door and getting into a minor scuffle with another dog, for example. I think the severity of the attack should be taken into account but that isn't the way the ordinances are written. So, if your incident (like mine) is the first on record, you have to wait until it happens again before anything will happen to the offenders. In the meantime, it helps to stay in contact with your neighbors (assuming the attack happened nearby and they are aware of it) for news of additional incidents. You are at the mercy of the police department; you are praying nobody else is attacked and yet hoping there is some kind of incident that can result in a second ticketed offense. It sucks.

    I set about warning all the "dog people" in our neighborhood about the attack dogs. The weather was still decent and I made it a point to walk the dogs on weekends when I knew people would be outside. I told everyone I knew about the attack and warned them to avoid the area.

    When the dogs attacked again (about 2 months later) it was the same situation: A man was walking his two dogs down the street at 10:00 p.m. and three dogs from the same residence charged and attacked. He reported the incident as soon as he returned home and discovered puncture wounds on one of his dogs. Luckily the man was aware of our incident and insisted a ticket be issued. Although we were told of this second attack by our neighbors we were not contacted by the police, who allegedly had already begun the process of scheduling a dangerous dog hearing. The story we were given was that the police had missed the deadline for scheduling a December hearing so they had to wait until January. The third (and final) attack happened on Christmas Eve and was the most vicious. Harley - a border collie mix weighing about 30 pounds - was on a tie-out in her back yard a few doors down from the attack dogs' residence. The dogs came into Harley's yard and went after her mercilessly. Harley's chest was torn open, she had puncture wounds over most of her body. She is still suffering both emotionally and physically and her vet bills are up to around $1,000.

    It took this final brutal attack to get some action and some publicity. Sara, Harley's owner, contacted a local online news site. There were now three incidents on record and the news media descended upon us. They interviewed both Sara and the victim of the second attack and used the police report I had provided. An article was published the next day. Fox News Chicago picked up the story and sent a reporter and camera crew the following day; the story was broadcast that night. Finally, our chronically-behind-the-times local print newspaper caught wind of the situation and published their story a few days later. Suddenly the hearing which had apparently been scheduled for January 27th was pushed up to January 15th. Suddenly we were receiving calls from reporters and the police department. Something was finally being done.

    We received a letter within a few days from the City of Joliet, informing us of the date and time of the hearing. The letter encouraged us to bring all evidence we had at our disposal including documentation, photos, videos, witnesses, etc.. By this time the entire neighborhood was in an uproar and news spread quickly about the hearing. The letter did not specifically state the hearing was open to the public but said we should bring all persons "having knowledge of the incident". That was pretty much everyone, thanks to the ruckus we had raised.

    The hearing itself was an "informal" hearing but presided over by a judge. The ordinance states that the "hearing officer" may be a judge but also may be someone else in authority. Undoubtedly the city wanted to dot all the i's and cross all the t's by this point, after all the media coverage. We were joined by an attorney for the city, the police detective who had been instrumental in getting things moving and two Animal Control officers - in addition to the defendant, of course. The judge began by saying he wanted to hear our stories in chronological order, so I was the first to testify. I was a bit nervous and unsure as to how specific I should be, but I told the story as clearly and calmly as possible. The attorney then asked me some questions to clarify: How much does Buffy weigh? (20 pounds) How old is Buffy? (6 years) Were your dogs leashed? (Yes) Exactly where did the attack take place? (On the sidewalk and driveway apron at the home of the defendant.) I thought "OK, now I get it. They want to establish that my dog and I were in no way at fault and it was an unprovoked attack that did not occur on private property." The people who testified after me had the advantage of knowing these questions would be asked and included the details in their testimony.

    The attorney asked the defendant if she had any comments or questions. I think it's fair to say most of the jaws in the room dropped open when the defendant began accusing me of being a liar, claiming the Pit Bull had nothing whatsoever to do with the attack and tearfully accusing everyone in the neighborhood of hating her because of the times she didn't mow her lawn last summer. Her responses throughout the proceedings were emotional and irrational. It took a great deal of self-restraint to not respond. If you are even in this situation, prepare yourself for a counterattack. Like any cornered animal, humans will lash out when they find they are trapped.

    This process was repeated for the remaining two attacks: Testimony of the victim, clarification by the attorney, comments and questions from the defendant. It was exhausting. Even though we were not in a courtroom my neighbors and I realized the situation deserved a similar amount of respect and decorum; apparently the defendant didn't understand this.

    Lastly, the attorney gave her closing arguments. She summarized the attacks, showed there was a clear pattern of aggression and asked the judge to declare all dogs in the household "dangerous". What followed was tedious. The judge read through the ordinance for each dog in the household, reading the definition of a "dangerous" dog and declaring that each dog met each of the criteria set forth in the ordinance. He then read the requirements for impounding dangerous dogs, and informed the defendant of the actions that must be taken. This last part was interrupted several times by the tearful denials and emotional outbursts of the defendant. When the judge was finished, the detective and Animal Control officers were dispatched to the defendant's home to pick up the Pit Bull (the Rottweiler was already gone, which is an issue unto itself) and deliver the Pit to the Animal Control shelter. The Pit is to be held for 7 days, during which time the defendant either has to prove compliance with city ordinances (proper equipment/fencing for restraint of the dog, liability insurance, etc.) or the dog will be destroyed.

    I won't go into the convoluted tale of the Rottweiler and how it was apparently moved to another location except to say this is a serious offense in our city. You cannot sell, move, breed or give away a dog that has been declared to be dangerous. In this case the dog was allegedly moved over state lines which only adds to the seriousness of the offense. I don't know what has been done (or can be done) about this issue. Suffice it to say the defendant made a huge mistake when she moved the Rott.

    That's it for now. I have no additional info regarding the case but will post more if I hear anything. I hope this will open some eyes to the reality of vicious dogs in our society, how we deal with them and the legal process involved in stopping them from causing further damage.

  8. No Toto!

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    bradl
    Latest Entry

    Happy New Year to one and all. I hope the new year finds everyone safe, relatively happy, and appropriately warm or cool depending on what's appropriate for your continent :P Here in Portland we had a crisp and bright and sunny New Years Day, perfect for boxing up the Christmas decorations, removing lights, and doing some pruning and winter yard work.

    Recent Forum Updates

    In the spirit of continuous tinkering (I just can't help it sometimes) I have added yet another database you are free to use or ignore ;) This one is a place to record the weights and major dimensions of our Cairns. Cairn Terrier size seems to be a topic that comes up regularly so I thought I'd make a repository for reference: Weights and Measures.

    The database functions available through the software are fairly basic (it's really just a content management system, not something like Excel or Access or similar) so the ability to do on-the-fly unit conversions (US to metric, etc.) and calculated fields (automatic ratios, age-at-date calculations, etc.) are out of scope; it's just a simple place to record and store manual measurements.

    For anyone interested in participating, I've linked a size card to the database description that can help serve as a shorthand guide where to make the sort of measurements that are most commonly discussed with regard to Cairns.

    size-tn.png

    If you are puzzled by the height measurement in particular, I urge you to do a bit of independent research to help you feel comfortable locating the withers.

    The database is intended to reflect the size and proportions of adult Cairns (the AKC standard uses 2 years as a reference point). The data entry form provides some guidance but it may be worth highlighting here: the Age and Weight fields in the record are intended to reflect the age and weight of the dog at the time it was measured. However you can use whatever data you have (or omit missing data) and you can also edit your entry later if you want to update or correct it.

    Add your Cairn today!

    Future Forum Updates

    There is a new version of our forum software in the process of marching toward general release by its developers. I will spend most of the coming year tracking its progress and planning for our eventual upgrade here. I don't expect it to happen until later in the year. Probably much later. I want to see it up and running on other sites and maybe get through a maintenance release or two before upgrading here. I am hoping the theme (visual look and feel) we use will be updated to make use of the new software. That will reduce the noticeable impact to us leaving mostly performance and functionality improvements to enjoy while still looking very similar to the way it does now.

    Cheers

    That's all the news I have at the moment. Be well, have fun, and may Cairn spirit be ever present in your heart and life.

  9. Tess Case's Test Case

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    Gosh, I hope you didn't expect much from a test post.