Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Canadian dog news

She went to the cobbler's
To buy him some shoes;
When she came back
He was reading the news.
While I try to avoid the typical bad and sensationalist news that desensitizes us to the things that we should be caring about, I now and again run into some quirky news stories worth repeating. The following three dog stories came about from noticing one headline link while checking the weather for the day, and that led me to the other two.

The first story comes from Calgary. What would you do if someone offered to sell you some jewelry on the street? I would simply refuse the offer, it would be fairly obvious that the jewelry would be either fake or stolen (but most likely the former posing as the latter). I cannot imagine phoning the police about it, but I can imagine that some people might. I think that most, though, would not try to engage with the crook first. What then ensued reads like a rejected script idea for a Police Academy movie. The only person involved who was oblivious to the subsequent events was the crook.

Next, we have all lost things on planes or at airports, usually baggage or a coat, though, not a dog. This story does not answer the question that I had: why would you want to take your dog to Cuba? The main point of the story seems to be the involvement of folks using Twitter to resolve a problem. Hundreds of people got involved (would such people be called Twitterites or just Twits for short?). What was not emphasized was that it seems that the matter was resolved by the dog-owner and airport staff in Canada and Cuba. The Twitterites just got to fret about a lost dog.

Herakles wrestling the Nemean Lion
Photo: Andreas Praefcke
Finally, something that I think is newsworthy, and another local story. Wrestling with a mountain lion to save your girlfriend's dog? Something worthy of Herakles I think.


  1. “Never run away from cougars or show fear by screaming. Always fight back and never give up if a cougar makes contact,” he added." Must remember that, though there are not many cougars in Britain. Our friend got a collie pup lost on the airlines as well recently, think it was going to one country and put on the wrong plane to another by mistake. Terribly worrying for owners as the dogs get no water apparently.

    1. Last night, I heard of a case where hitting a cougar repeatedly with a 2 by 4 did not make the cougar back off. In the case I wrote about, I think that the cat was scared off because he jumped on it. That is what a cougar does to its prey: jumps on its back biting at the back of the neck and disemboweling with one of its paws. I'm glad that I heard that cougar's are getting more aggressive. Years ago I was alone for an hour or so at Cougar Canyon across the highway from Canmore, Alberta. The canyon was only about hundred feet wide and I heard a cougar give its typical "yeeowl" warning growl from some undergrowth nearby. I walked around trying to see the cougar but it kept itself hidden. I probably wouldn't do that again. Some tourists seem to believe that if an animal is in a populated area it must be tame.

      Being treated as cargo on a plane cannot be a pleasant experience for a dog even on a short flight where it does not get lost. I suppose some people have no options, though. Whenever I leave home for a while without taking Tristan, it looks as if he eats nothing while I'm gone. I would have to leave him overnight with my daughter or a friend to see if he would eat under those circumstances before I boarded him at a kennel for any length of time.

      He will be coming camping with us in NE British Columbia for about a week or more in late July. As it is grizzly bear country, he will not be off his expandable leash while in the back country, only in more populated areas where there is little chance of encountering a bear. I will be sleeping with Tristan in the 4WD as an added protection if we do have to camp in the back country. I think it most likely that each expedition to find a passable route to my friends land will only be a day trip at most and that we will be able to camp in a relatively safe area (no area is totally safe against a grizzly attack: A friend's brother had his face bitten off by a grizzly a few steps away from a fairly main road with lots of cars on it. Grizzlies have a huge range, though, and even seeing one is an unusual event. I have been here since 1966 and I still have not seen a grizzly bear in the wild, but I've seen quite a few black bears.

      We are taking hand flares and noise makers as emergency protection from bears and moose. I suspect that the animal that will pester us the most will be the mosquito.

  2. All very exciting, England is tame in comparison. One thing my daughter told me the other day about retractable collars are that they can be quite dangerous, not working when you need it most, and a lungeing rope will wind round your arm more quickly. I used to take the children camping years ago, with dogs as well, and its lovely if the weather is good, misery if it rains.
    I hope you both enjoy your holiday, hold tight to Tristan, he is obvious bait for hungry cougars and bears. We shall on the other hand be moving to the new house which starts tomorrow with the 'great load up' of, mostly Paul's stuff that he has accumulated over the last 40 years. but it will be a great adventure and a chance to explore 'up North', Scotland especially, and there is an open invitation to come and stay to everyone ;)

    1. Thanks Thelma, Here's a link to where we are going on Google Earth:

      Monte's land is the top left hand quarter of (most of) a square of cleared land due west of Hansard Lake. That is a quarter section (160 acres). Not wishing to cross private land, we will first try going in via Camp 27 road which you can see heading north from above the name "Newlands" east of Eaglet Lake where we will be camping for at least one night. You can actually drag the little yellow man onto the Upper Fraser Road to get a street view of the countryside along the road.

      Failing that, the farmer with the improbable name of Lloyd George who owns the entire section west of Aleza lake and below the little lakes you see there, has agreed to take us through his land to Monte's land but not to grant permanent access.

      The photographs are probably about ten years old: at least two bridges are now out and a lot can happen to a logging road through a forest in ten years! We will be taking a satellite "warning beacon" which will also track our movements and send Google Earth coordinates by email to our list of contacts. The only place I found any mobile reception was at just one spot where we camp at Eaglet Lake (that might have been due to "skip" conditions off the lake or clouds).

      I think that Yorkshire would be just open enough not to feel too claustrophobic (which I did in most of the south). I remember the scenery from the "All Creatures Great and Small" TV series. A lot of Scotland resembles parts of Alberta.

      I used to hate those leashes before I tried one: it is ideal for a coyote hybrid as they are always tracking scents. I find that I can mostly control Tristan with just a short tug on it and he really enjoys the extra freedom. As it is an El Nino year, we are expecting almost drought conditions, which is perfect for forest trails and marsh encircled small lakes. The closest actual campground is on the other side of the Fraser river and quite a few Km at that. Last time, we "camped" in a parking lot on the NW end of Eaglet lake, but there was a fireplace for the campfire, so others must have done the same thing. For a restaurant, we would have to drive all the way to Prince George (67 Km). The first 700+ km of the drive should be easy, its the last 10 km which concerns me.