Posts Tagged ‘companion animals’

House for the Mouse

Friday, 10 October 2008

The Crittertrail Mini Two that I ordered arrived to-day, as did the two water bottles that I ordered for use with the larger of the two carriers. I am pleased with the way that the Mini Two packs-up for storage or shipment. In any case, I could now in good conscience buy a small rodent, as I have a decent home in which to put it.

(The Mini Two has a handle such that it too could be used as a carrier, but I think that it would be best if the rodent felt that its home were stable.)

Unfortunately, I haven't found a local mouse breeder. I can buy a mouse from one of many pet stores, but I'd prefer to buy one from a breeder, as there are much the same issues with the breeding of exotic pets as with dogs and with cats — inhumane breeders and all that. Which is not to say that I would refuse to buy a mouse from, say, PetSmart, but that at least ceteris paribus I would rather buy from a breeder who allowed inspection of the environment in which the animals were bred and housed.


Wednesday, 8 October 2008

I have ordered both a Crittertrail Mini Two and a Habitrail Mini. That might sound absurd, but it should be possible to connect the two, creating a relatively large habitat. And I could take just one or the other with me when I visit my parents. I also got a loft for the Habitrail, as my mice Bob and Ray used to like to sleep in the loft of the (hamster-sized) Habitrail in which I kept them. And I got a little side-chamber, as I'm going to see if I can coax the mouse into using that as a litter box. (If not, well, then he'll just have a side chamber.)

What harm in a little brown mouse?

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Although the rodent that I most want is a fat-tailed gerbil (Pachyuromys duprasi), they are illegal in California. In that context, I have been thinking increasingly of getting a mouse (Mus musculus) for myself.

I have some experience with keeping mice as pets; I had four when I was a teenager — first Aristotle, then Jacques (who was disliked by Aristotle and returned that dislike with hate), then Bob and Ray (brothers who loved each other). The Woman of Interest also had mice when she was a child, and she's offered some helpful advice, from her own experience.

In fact, I've started assembling things so that I will be prepared again to keep a mouse. I got a couple of carriers — one suitable for very short trips, the other large enough to serve as a home for a few days (or longer if the mouse doesn't spend all of its time in it) — a couple of water bottles for the larger carrier, a Silent Spinner wheel, and a clear ball in which the mouse can be placed and allowed to exercise out of the cage.

I still need to settle on whatever I will use as the regular home for the mouse. I like mouse-scaled Habitrails, but I notice that Super Pet (who produced the carriers and ball) makes available many sorts of replacement parts for their habitats, which can be connected to Habitrails.

I also want to have a first-aid kit at hand, though I obviously hope never to need it. And I think that I may get some rodent harnesses, such as those used for laboratory mice, to facilitate airplane travel.

Police Killings of Dogs

Friday, 8 August 2008
Prince George's raid prompts call for probe by Doug Donovan of the Baltimore Sun

When the shooting stopped, two dogs lay dead. […]


Police have said the dogs engaged officers. Calvo confirmed that Payton probably moved toward the door but would have ultimately done nothing more than lick them.


Chase was shot while running away from sheriff's deputies, Calvo said.

Okay, now I could write about the idiocy of the War on Drugs, but I want to instead talk about something else that makes me furious.

Far too many police, in far too many cases, have clearly demonstrated that they believe themselves to have the right to punish criminals by executing their dogs.

I'm not talking about cases where the dog has attacked, or has behaved in a way that indicates that it is an immediate threat.

It's not the right of a police officer to punish, period. And it's not the right of anyone to punish some person by killing an innocent companion animal. It doesn't fundamentally matter, when it comes to the killing of the Calvo dogs, that the Calvos were innocent. Even if they had been guilty of something truly criminal, it wouldn't be the right of police to kill their dogs because of who their owners were.

Police officials who needlessly kill dogs are never given worse than slaps on their wrists. Instead, they need to do hard prison time. More specifically:

  • If it can been shown that police conducted a raid such as this, where they could have brought and deployed non-lethal measures but did not, then one or more of the officials needs to spend years in prison. It should even be a criminal offense (albeït perhaps just a misdemeanor) for any participating officer not to know who has been assigned responsibility for those non-lethal measures, so that treasonous bastards cannot merely pretend that there was a mix-up. Note that I am not claiming that non-lethal measures can always be employed; but, when it is practicable to prepare them, police should be required to prepare them.
  • In any case where lethal methods have been used against a dog that is plainly not acting aggressively (as in the case of the dog who was attempting to flee), there should be years in prison.
These sorts of laws need to be effected on a state level. Governor O'Malley of Maryland should be recalled from office if he isn't the very first governor to produce a bill to such effect.

Sic transit canum

Friday, 27 June 2008

Those of you who followed my LJ might remember that a few years ago I took care of a neighbor's Yorkie for a while.

My neighbor had a partner who had (and has) AIDS. His health had notably worsened, and so he had left, to be with family. (He later seemed to bounce-back, and when last I knew he was doing alright.)

Anyway, the two of them had jointly shared responsibilities for the Yorkie, and I picked-up some of the slack for a bit. During part of that time, the dog simply stayed with me. At other times, I was just getting him from my neighbor's apartment, taking him for a walk and returning him, once or twice a day.

I really like that little dog. I would have been quite willing to just take ownership of him, but I didn't want my neighbor to lose his dog to me in a moment of weakness, so I never suggested such a thing.

A few weeks ago, my neighbor moved from our complex to another part of the city. I regretted the fact that I would probably never see the dog again. I do, however, see my former neighbor occasionally, as he has come to David's Coffee Place.

On Tuesday, I asked him how the dog was doing, and learned that the dog had been given away. My neighbor had felt that he couldn't handle the dog's needs.

Apparently, the dog has been placed with an affluent family, and now has a privileged existence. I'm very glad of that. But part of me wishes that he'd been offered to me.

(I would in any event of course have had to clear acceptance with the Woman of Interest. Anything that cannot be kept in something like a medium-sized terrarium, aquarium, or bird cage should get her okay.)

C. lupus familiaris

Friday, 20 June 2008

Yester-day, I saw a couple of especially small Yorkshire terriers (each at a different place and time). Often, when I see little dogs, I wonder what their lupine ancestors would have thought and done if they could have known that H. sapiens was going to do this to their children.

I understand that the initial process of domestication was likely to have been as much something undertaken by the wolves themselves as by the humans. Domestication was often a matter of plants or animals adapting to human beings without humans first thinking to selectively breed or train the other species.

(Indeed, in a sense, H. sapiens even domesticated ourselves without deliberately setting-out to do so, becoming increasingly neotenic.)

But, at some stage, people got it into their heads to shape deliberately some domesticated plants and animals. And, in the case of wolves, one result has been tiny, fragile creatures, utterly incapable of survival for more than a matter of days if left to fend for themselves.

Had Their Day

Friday, 23 May 2008

David's Coffee Place, transitioning to Babycakes (or perhaps to Babycakes @ David's Coffee Place), now has a notice posted on the entrance door, quoting local health regulations, and declaring that companion animals other than service animals will no longer be permitted in the building or on the patio.

Any reasonable response to this change must turn upon how one feels about the more general change of the business. There is little question that local officials will be more zealous about enforcing such things as the quoted regulations if that general change is made.

And I don't know whether David's Coffee Place as I first knew it could have survived. (Certainly no one has shown the accounting books to me.)

A cat is penned up in a steel chamber

Friday, 25 April 2008

Neither the Woman of Interest nor I would ordinarily wish to live forever, whether it be on Earth or on the other side of some Pearly Gates. But I posed a problem to her:

What if I had a device by which I could make the Beet Weasel immortal?
I have little doubt that, so long as it were kept in good health and otherwise fairly physically comfortable, the typical cat would choose not to die. A dog might additionally need friendly companionship, but then it too would not ever want to die.

I don't know whether the Woman of Interest knew where I intended to go with my hypothetical, but in any event her first question about the device was of who would take care of the Beet Weasel, and I offered that I would have a slightly larger device for her. So, now the question becomes one of whether one would allow one's companion animal to die in order that one might oneself have the freedom to die.


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