I'll try my Belgian best to fill some really special paws, Mica

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mom asked me say she's sorry

November 23rd 2008 9:14 pm
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It seems 4 dogs have been kind enough to tag me, Mirra, the little black Belgian, aka likety split. We just can't seem to find the time to catch up. It's not a place we care to be, since being tagged is a very swell thing. We wanted to say sorry to those mates who were counting on us.

Wishing everypup & their packs Happy & Healthy Thanksgiving HOWLidays..

Love & licks,
Mirra, Angel Mica & mom, the sheepish one

 

duz he know it? he is a poet!!

October 14th 2008 8:28 pm
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my uncle Angus the Warrior.. my hero.

Some dogs dream of flying high
Sailing the skies in a dirigible
My dreams are closer to the ground
And feature my favourite vegetable
Oh joyous purple eggplant!
Together we spend each day without care
No complaints or woes
My nose on my toes
And my Springer butt in the air

we just hope he'll post the pictures of himself playing with his birthday gift..
he'll be 6 years young on Thursday..

i love you uncle A.
mirra

now my snappy comeback..

now my try: (remember, i'm an apprentice poet)

tho i am NOT the poet that you are,
i'm keen in the world of the vegetable,
i honor your carrots
yet adore my eggplant
even tho it's not meant to be edible..
so we can play the same game
over miles of terrain
our hearts beat as one
on your woofday it's fun
to have an uncle named Angus The Warrior!

love & kisses,
your niece by choice, every day of the year
mirra

p.s.
in case it doesn't make sense, my favorite toy is an eggplant. i sent one to my Uncle Angus FUR his birthday. he seems to like it too. (BOL) so even if we're in different states, we can 'play' together anyway, and yet our state of mind with this pawticular vegetable is not only similar, but in a word.. bonkers!!

(mica says you deserve all the fun you can make FUR yourself too buddy)

 

PLEASE VOTE for "our" ANIMAL PLANETS HERO OF THE YEAR- FINALIST!!

September 29th 2008 11:02 am
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Our big sister Mckenna has been an animal rescuer & advocate for decades.. Ever since she was little, but only mom & dad knew her then. We weren't old enough but we've heard many tales of tails... Presently, part of what she does in spare time (other than her normal shelter work and working full-time) since coming back to live near us in Oregon :) from the Big Apple is with "PROJECT POOCH."

Some Oregonians may know what this means, but Mica and I invite you to come see what it's all about and why we ask for your support. We hope you'll vote for our 'candidate' of choice.. Although there undoubtedly are many worthy recipients, they don't get this close to home where we CAN help make a difference every day.

WE HOPE THAT YOU'LL LEARN MORE AND HELP US HELP THEM.. Mckenna, Mica, mom, dad & I thank you kindly, and wish all the finalists the best wishes they deserve.
Here's the email we received.

Sent: Sunday, September 28, 2008 10:14:31 PM
Subject: Joan Dalton-Animal Planets Hero of the Year Finalist

I just got the word that Joan Dalton, Project POOCH Founder and Director, has been selected as one of only 10 finalist for Animal Planet's 2008 Hero of the Year! So out of over 10,000 nominations, Joan has made it to the TOP 10!

Here's a link to the Animal Planet Hero of the Year website where you can read about Joan and cast your vote for People's Choice. We need to get the word out, so please vote and forward this email to your friends and family and ask them to vote too. The winner of the 2008 Hero of the Year receives $10,000 for their organization!

http://animal.discovery.com/convergence/hero_of_the_year/2 008/nominees/index.html

 

BOL on behalf of my guardian angel, Mica

September 20th 2008 12:36 pm
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Mirra posted this in the Plus Forum, but all pups can see that. We wanted everypup to be able to read it if they wished to, so we have cut & pasted it here. Thanks for reading it.

Thank you to our mates Sassy, Ladysmith, Angus the Warrier, Bingo, Max, Sunny Lee, Scooter, Moby-boy, Hildy, Rusty, Takoda, Lucy, Sammy J, Sarge, Rocky, Hannah the Brave, Daisy Mae, Flicka, Angel Kiska, Angus, Sisters3, Ringo & Webster for writing here in the forum in support my Guardian Angel sister mica-the wonderpup and the cause our pack has come to live for.

Our family really and truly values the love and support we receive from you and the encouragement to keep fighting for a cure for IMHA & the companion illnesses it causes in its wake, or the complications medicines to control it takes on one who falls victim to it. It so easily can spin out of control.

It never seemed an easy task, but mom believes that mica knew that mom would be lost when she had to leave. I'm told it would be just like mica to leave something worthwhile for her to do. Although we all wish it was mica who would have stayed, leaving her a legacy that may help others-dogs, cats and people alike would make mica very happy. It makes us happy too. She lived to serve and was a proud Belgian, and mom believes she owes this much to mica to try and make some difference.

That is in part how & why Mica's IMHA Research Fund came to be.
What we are able to do with it is now is still a wonder.. we hope and pray it will honor the memory of a good dog named mica-the wonderpup.

It makes mom a little sad that she can't recall now exactly why mica came to be called this, but it dates back to when she was a puppy. Perhaps aside from the absolutely wonderful dog she was in life, her wings will allow this wonder aspect to REALLY take flight.

We invite anyone who wishes to to join us in this endeavor.

Thank you on behalf of my pack, and all those who choose to run with us.

Love, mirra

 

a letter to God

September 3rd 2008 10:14 pm
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TO: GOD
FROM: THE DOG

Dear God: Is it on purpose our names are the same, only reversed?

Dear God: Why do humans smell the flowers, but seldom, if ever, smell one another?

Dear God: When we get to heaven, can we sit on your couch? Or is it still the same old story?

Dear God: Why are there cars named after the jaguar, the cougar, the mustang, the colt, the stingray, and the rabbit, but not ONE named for a Dog? How often do you see a cougar riding around? We do love a nice ride! Would it be so hard to rename the 'Chrysler Eagle' the 'Chrysler Beagle'?

Dear God: If a Dog barks his head off in the forest and no human hears him, is he still a bad Dog?

Dear God: We Dogs can understand human verbal instructions, hand signals, whistles, horns, clickers, beepers, scent ID's, electromagnetic energy fields, and Frisbee flightpaths.. What do humans understand?

Dear God: More meatballs, less spaghetti, please.

Dear God: Are there mailmen in Heaven? If there are, will I have to apologize?

******************************************************** *****************************
Dear God:
Let me give you a list of just some of the things I must remember to be a good Dog.


1. I will not eat the cats' food before they eat it or after they throw it up.

2. I will not roll on dead seagulls, fish, crabs, etc., just because I like the way they smell.

3. The Litter Box is not a cookie jar.

4. The sofa is not a 'face towel'.

5. The garbage collector is not stealing our stuff..

6. I will not play tug-of-war with Dad's underwear when he's on the toilet.

7. Sticking my nose into someone's crotch is an unacceptable way of saying 'hello'.

8. I don't need to suddenly stand straight up when I'm under the coffee table .

9. I must shake the rainwater out of my fur before entering the house - not after.

10. I will not come in from outside and immediately drag my butt.

11. I will not sit in the middle of the living room and lick my crotch.

12. The cat is not a 'squeaky toy' so when I play with him and he makes that noise, it's usually not a good thing.

'Until one has loved an animal, part of their soul remains unawakened'

-author unknown

 

my dad Rogue & The Nature Conservancy

August 25th 2008 11:10 am
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A few weeks ago it was mentioned that Mirra’s dad, Rogue Gaia Kuymal, was appearing in some newspapers for the rare plant surveys he was doing (along with 2 other conservation detector dogs).

For those that are interested...The Nature Conservancy has just posted a video clip and a slideshow of Rogue doing searches for Kincaid's lupine, a rare prairie plant.

www.nature.org


You’ll recognize Rogue on the front page..

We’re very proud of him and Mirra’s kinda sorta grandpa, Dave.

We also watched him herd (some very flighty sheep) this weekend, and very adeptly too, on the farm..

The guy knows his stuff.

Mirra had her try on sheep, (trying to upload video since Saturday).. Although her instincts likely served her well, she also comes from a line of champion herders too, in Rogue & grandsire Uvar..
she had a blast.
(we all did)

hope you'll enjoy!

 

they say i'm the quiet one

August 12th 2008 7:13 pm
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but i say things in my own way. like now, it's not really me talking.

it was written on behalf of mica & mom.

i make way now for my uncle Angus, who i'm learning from.. i'm so lucky to have him. he's one more wise and with a wealth of experience i hope to have someday types in my life.

until then, i send my love and encourage it in everyone, everypup & everypeep.

The day we met I held you in my arms and promised you that no harm would ever befall you, that you would be loved and protected, and that we would always be together. How quickly time passed. In the blink of an eye your once clumsy puppy steps became a confident gait that left me laughing and breathless as I tried to keep up. Tail streaming, face alight with joy, you ran.

My heart sang to see your fluid beauty, your effortless grace and speed. Had I known during those happy times the depth of pain I would one day feel, would I have loved you as deeply?

Yes. A thousand times, yes!

Would that my love could have kept you safe. Often I have searched for a reason why you were taken so soon. Perhaps those who are pure of heart may not tarry too long this side of Eden. Perhaps they must return home so that others of their kind may come forth and enrich our lives.

I wish I knew.

I wish I could turn back time to the very first day I held you. Know this my sweet girl, I loved you then as I love you still. When you passed from my arms into those of the Almighty, you took that love with you.

Amen

 

My dad Rogue is back in the news

August 5th 2008 10:40 am
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Hi everypup.
Many have read about my dad Rogue, the science nerd, who when not herding (for real, not show), doing agility, and some conformation, keeps my pretend grandad Dave company, and ranks as overall leader of the pack of 4 BSDs and 2 humans, makes the news.. BOL. (I wonder when he sleeps?!) I guess he's my own personal superhero.

Not a new story, but this time he made the big honcho newspaper in Oregon, aka, the Oregonian. We're just kinda proud of them. Thanks for letting me BOL. woof!

Dogs use sense of smell to help protect butterfly near Corvallis
Trained canines seek out a native plant to aid conservation effort
Monday, August 04, 2008
CARRIE NUGENT
The Oregonian Staff

The plant that gave these meadowlands their name, Kincaid's lupine, is no longer in bloom this time of year. Non-native plants such as Queen Anne's lace and tall fescue dominate Lupine Meadows near Corvallis -- some of the last open prairie land in the Willamette Valley.

But if you could really smell the landscape, the lupines would stand out like beacons.

David Vesely doesn't have a super smelling ability, but he knows someone who does -- his Belgian sheepdog, Rogue. The 4-year-old dog can sniff what Vesely can't see.

Vesely and Rogue are part of a new project -- a collaboration of Working Dogs for Conservation Foundation, the Oregon Wildlife Institute and the Nature Conservancy -- to use dogs to find plants at risk, such as the native Kincaid's lupine. They are key to the survival of Fender's blue butterfly, a federal endangered species, which lays individual eggs on the underside of lupine leaves. Ecologists keep tabs on both the butterflies and the lupines by surveying the plants -- a tedious, slow, difficult process. Eventually, Rogue will seek out patches of lupine undiscovered by ecologists.

Rogue, one of five dogs in this project, is well-suited to the work; his nose speeds up the process, his thick coat protects him from briars, and his agility allows him to investigate steeply sloping areas.

The prairie where lupines grow and blue butterflies flourish is vanishing. The Nature Conservancy says only 1 percent of the Willamette Valley's upland prairie still exists. The best way to scope out prairie habitats where the butterfly lives is by searching for Kincaid's lupines.

"By working to preserve a rare butterfly, you also protect a lot of other species that reside in the prairie," says Greg Fitzpatrick, stewardship ecologist for The Nature Conservancy, and instigator of the project.

And since Rogue identifies the plants by smell instead of sight, he can find the lupines in all stages of their growing season -- even in August, when the plants are desiccated and brown. Fitzpatrick hopes that next year Rogue will be trained to sniff out the Fender's eggs laid on the Kincaid's sword-shaped leaflets. Vesely isn't convinced it will be possible, but he says, "I can't wait to give it a try."

How do you train a dog to sniff out a lupine? It's a lot like training them to follow the scent from narcotics. With grants from the Disney Foundation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Vesely started by hiding lupine cuttings in cinderblocks, wearing gloves to prevent contamination with the smell of his hands. He then changed the type of gloves -- latex to rubber to leather -- so Rogue would not follow the scent of the gloves. Vesely, executive director of the Oregon Wildlife Institute, picked Rogue because Belgian sheepdogs are known to be intelligent and eager to please.

Turtle training

Vesely has gone to such lengths before. He needed to teach another of his Belgian sheepdogs to locate the nests of western pond turtles, classified as a sensitive species in Oregon. Before making a nest, female turtles urinate over the site to soften the soil -- the perfect odor to track. So Vesely got permission to keep a turtle and collected its urine.

"The turtle was very dedicated to her work," he says.

To scatter the urine, Vesely blew the yolks out of chicken eggs, keeping the shells intact. Then he filled each shell with urine and lobbed it as far as he could, to avoid leaving a path. The dog found the sites.

Despite training, misunderstandings between dogs and handlers do occur. Rogue passed by several huge lupines during one test. When another dog passed up the same lupines, the trainers realized their mistake -- there were two species of lupine in the area.

"It was this inadvertent test of whether or not the dogs are actually able to distinguish between species," Vesely says.

Vesely says searching for lupines is mentally taxing to the dogs. Think of what calculus does to you after a few hours. So Vesely is careful not to overwork the dogs, and to give them quiet time before a search.

And this isn't a job for just any dog. Vesely prefers to work with "dogs that would drive any normal family crazy" with their demands for attention and stimulation. He keeps his dogs occupied -- Rogue competes in agility and sheepherding competitions when he's not out helping butterflies.

Fitzpatrick believes the biggest ecological benefit from plant-finding dogs may come from their abilities to track down invasive species -- before they become entrenched. Dogs are already being used for this purpose in the Rocky Mountains.

"You're so much farther ahead of the game if you can find these species when they are just getting started -- just a few patches here and there," Fitzpatrick says. "And boy, if you can take those out, you got it. You don't have to spend thousands of dollars down the line."

 

The Story of Creation, according to Snoopy

July 19th 2008 9:49 am
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On the first day of creation,
God created the dog.

On the second day,
God created man to serve the dog.

On the third day,
God created all the animals of the earth
to serve as potential food for the dog.

On the fourth day,
God created honest toil so that man
could labor for the good of the dog.

On the fifth day,
God created the tennis ball so that
the dog might or might not retrieve it.

On the sixth day,
God created veterinary science to keep
the dog healthy and the man broke.

On the seventh day,
God tried to rest,
but He had to walk the dog.

Author Unknown

One is Mirra's first tricks was something we called "Snoopy Speak." It was a fabulously cute noise she'd make first thing in the morning and upon waking from a nap. She still does it once in awhile too. She knows I love it too, as afterwards she gets this really sweet toothy grin.

Compliments of "For The Love Of The Dog", the website created by Jezzie & Bruti's mom.
Links on Mica & TPGOO pages.. please visit, it's good stuff!

 

My dad Rogue is back in the news

July 7th 2008 12:48 pm
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What can I say?#@*^! he's a science nerd!!
nah, I'm just proud of him..

A nose for rare plants: Team of scientists has good results using dogs to sniff out threatened wildflowers

By Nancy Raskauskas
Gazette-Times Reporter

LUPINE MEADOWS — “Ready ... search.”

On a recent sunny morning, Rogue, a 4-year-old Belgian sheepdog, sniffed and snuffled his way across a field of tall grasses near Philomath ahead of his owner David Vesely.

To a passerby, it might have looked like the two were out for a stroll. But they were actually hard at work searching for Kincaid’s lupine, a rare native plant closely associated with the Fender’s blue butterfly, which uses the plant as a place to lay its eggs and later as a food source.

When Rogue suddenly stopped and sat back on his haunches, that was his tell that he’d found a new plant.

As the name suggests, at Lupine Meadows, an area owned by the Greenbelt Land Trust, it’s never long before Rogue finds another plant.

“Good boy Rogue. You found the best one,” said Vesely after Rogue sniffed out one of the distinctive dark green plants with palm-like leaves nestled in between the tall grasses. Rogue was immediately rewarded with a homemade beef-liver treat.

“We have a great big party every time he finds one,” said Vesely, who believes in positive reinforcement when he trains dogs. The other two dogs in the study are rewarded with about a minute of play time with their handler when they find a plant.

The rewards are well-deserved. Kincaid’s lupine is listed as threatened and Fender’s blue butterfly is listed as an endangered species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Searching for them can be a difficult and time-consuming task for surveyors such as Vesely, a wildlife ecologist and executive director of the Oregon Wildlife Institute.

“Often, all that remains of the pristine prairie habitats are on really steep hillsides that the cows haven’t reached,” said Greg Fitzpatrick of The Nature Conservancy. Native prairies and savannahs are among the most endangered ecosystems in the United States, with less than 10 percent of these habitats still remaining in Oregon and Washington.

Without its tall cone-shaped clusters of blue or purple flowers, Kincaid’s lupine, which is found in these habitats is low to the ground and is often difficult to distinguish from the surrounding plants.

“I thought it would be great to use a four-legged creature for this,” said Fitzpatrick, who brought the idea to Vesely — who in turn teamed up with Deborah Smith and Alice Whitelaw of the Working Dogs for Conservation Foundation based in Missoula, Mont., to put together a study to test out the viability of using trained detector dogs to find the rare plants.

In addition to Rogue, there are two German Shepherds owned by Whitelaw, Tsavo and Camas, participating in the study.

“All dogs have the got the olfactory capability,” said Vesely. “We choose these breeds because they’re very trainable and big enough to cover rough ground.”

Vesely was no stranger to the idea of detector dogs. Before Rogue, he had another Belgian sheepdog named Chilko that he trained to find Western pond turtles, yet another endangered Willamette Valley species.

“Looking for turtle nests is just really tedious work. I thought if predators can find these nests with their noses, then I can train Chilko to do it,” he said, explaining how he first dabbled into using dogs for conservation work.

The research is funded by a grant from the Disney Conservation Fund and support from The Nature Conservancy. Other groups have helped with the project by donating plant materials, space for training and expertise. They include the Institute of Applied Ecology, Greenbelt Land Trust and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The dogs had one week of training last year and one so far this year.

“What we’re trying to accomplish this year is to solidify the training so we’re absolutely sure,” said Vesely. “We don’t expect people to use this method unless we can prove that it’s accurate.”

“We chose Kincaid’s lupine as the first target species because it’s a really big plant, pretty easy to find, even for humans,” Vesely said.

That gives the researchers the ability to lay out transects and carefully catalog all the Kincaid’s lupine plants before setting the dogs loose to search the area.

When the study is finished, the results will have to be analyzed and peer-reviewed. But so far, the dogs’ record has been nearly perfect.

There are however, a few mysteries of working with the dogs that the researchers will have to work out.

For instance, “they’ll sometimes pass up large clumps of plants and just choose a little one,” said Vesely. “We’re not sure what they’re picking up on. Maybe the smaller plants are faster-growing and giving off some kind of stronger scent.”

“Also, they’ll go over and take a look at a similar looking plant sometimes,” Vesely said.

They will also sometimes circle back to the same plant to get another treat. “We call it shopping,” said Vesely. It’s technically a strike against their accuracy level, but “They’re really just trying to game us into giving them more treats,” said Vesely.

The next steps will be to teach the dogs to identify Willamette daisy plants and Kincaid’s lupine plants that have had Fender’s blue butterfly eggs laid on them.

Searching for plants with butterfly eggs will be the dog’s biggest challenge yet. The eggs they will be attempting to sniff out are only about the size of a pinpoint.

“We’ll give it a try,” Vesely said.

“Our idea is to layer multiple species on each dog,” said Fitzpatrick, who hopes that the concept could also be used to search out nonnative invasive plants before they spread out of control.

“If you can catch these weeds, such as false broom and shiny-leaf geranium, at an early stage, you can save literally millions of dollars,” Fitzpatrick said.

Related links

Working Dogs for Conservation: www.workingdogsforconservation.org.

Oregon Wildlife Institute: www.oregonwildlife.org.

The Nature Conservancy of Oregon: www.nature.org/wherewework/northamerica/states/orego.

Gre enbelt Land Trust: www.greenbeltlandtrust.org.

Institute of Applied Ecology: www.appliedeco.org.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife: www.fws.gov/oregonfwo.

Nancy Raskauskas can be reached at 758-9542 or nancy.raskauskas@lee.net

 
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