Category Archives: Those Offensive Opinions

Storytime

I read the cutest little story today…

What comes to my mind...

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Don’t Sass Me! – A Note To Owners With Feisty Pets

Understand this:  Veterinary professionals have a unique “outside looking in” view on how your animal behaves while at the clinic.  Often we can see exactly what is lacking in the dynamic between you and your dog, or read your cat in order to see when they’ve had enough of us.

Having said that, we use this knowledge to help us decide on the best possible course of action to keep you, your pet, and us, safe.  Some dogs are fearful, some are dominant, some couldn’t care less.  Then there are those dogs that do things in the most unexpected of ways.  These are the dogs you don’t see coming, and the ones that veterinary professionals have to be on guard for at all times.

I commonly experience owners who become offended or even get angry when we need to restrain their animal.  What people need to understand is that no matter what, everyone’s safety is more important than your belief that Fluffy is going to be mad at you.  Many people say, “Oh, Fluffy would never bite” or “Fluffy doesn’t need a muzzle”.  Here’s a tip – if we are suggesting it, then yes, Fluffy does need what we call a “party hat”.  The picture below depicts a tech or vet holding a dog in what we call “lateral”.  We hold the down leg to prevent the dog from getting up.  He can breathe and he is not in pain, he is just laying on his side and is being stopped from getting up.  Mean? No.  Useful? Yes.

From: http://www.santarosa.edu

Maybe your pet wouldn’t normally be one to bite, but now we have taken them out of their normal environment with their familiar people and schedule, and brought them to a stress-filled place with other animals and people they don’t know.  Believe it or not, this changes things for your pet.  Their normal behaviour doesn’t apply.  By putting them in an exam room, we’ve taken the flight option away from them, and that leaves fight.  In some cases I have even watched owners who refused a muzzle get bitten by their animal and think it’s completely normal and OK.  Please understand me when I say this – your animal biting someone is NOT OK.  Our job is to keep your animal healthy, not to scar up our bodies even more than they already are.

Just over three years into practice and I already have countless scars that will likely never fade.  Some are there because we were not given permission to muzzle an animal.  As an owner, do you think it’s alright for another person to have wounds and scars just because you find it offensive to put a painless muzzle on your animal?  If your answer is yes, I suspect you may be a sociopath and you need to seek help.

Another point that I must be clear on is aimed at small breed dogs.  Chihuahuas, Yorkies, Daschunds, Shih Tzus,  and other dogs of this type.  Often owners don’t treat these guys like dogs, they more treat them like small children.  This means that they don’t always have the same grasp on basic obedience or “manners”.  This can also mean that we can have a very angry dog once we start to do things like examine ears and teeth or trim nails.  Now this dog, who is not accustomed to doing things it doesn’t want to, is being told to stand still and allow us to do what we need to do.  As you can probably guess, there is probably going to be some attempts to bite, tantrums, and some high-pitched squealing, making it sound like we’re torturing the dog.

From: http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com

Here’s a newsflash to all of the owners who would be offended by us restraining your  little dog at this point – pipe down.  We are not torturing  your dog.  Fluffy has this all figured out since, at home, if he lets out that shrill scream you probably let go and Fluffy gets away scot-free.  Here at the clinic, we don’t fall for this trick and that makes Fluffy miffed.  THAT is why he’s making those sounds, not because we are hurting him.  Either teach your dog that nail trims and exams are not a bad thing at an early age, or accept the fact that we don’t want to get bitten so we’re going to throw a muzzle on your landshark.  Savvy?

From: http://i.dailymail.co.uk

Cats are a whole different ball game.  One must read the body language carefully to try to anticipate aggression.  Sometimes cats give you fair warning, sometimes they must think it hilarious to keep you guessing.  One strategy commonly used with cats is scruffing.  This seems to quiet many cats, and is a way to restrain them without causing them physical discomfort.  Many revert back to kitten behaviour and go very still.  This is not meant to make the cat in any way uncomfortable, it is merely done to make sure we have control over the bitey end.  Whether we need to give a pill, an injection, or just inspect an issue more closely, the scruff allows us to do so safely.  Pet owners should realize this is a very useful tool and in no way means we’re being mean to fluffy.

From: http://consciouscat.net

This may be shocking to you as an owner, but the vast majority of people who work on your pets for a living actually love animals.  We probably have some of our own.  Believe me, the last thing we want to do is cause your beloved animal pain.  In fact, the whole reason you brought him to us was probably to relieve it, no?  We aren’t mean, we are just trying to help without getting hurt in the process ourselves.  Cut us some slack.

If you aren’t sure how to properly prepare your pet for their future vet visits, please contact your veterinarian for information or tips on how to help make the process as smooth as possible.  There are many things you can do, like visit the clinic just to give Fluffy a treat and meet everyone, without anything invasive being done.  Helping them to associate your clinic visit with positive things like treats and affection can go a long way.  Another thing you can do is handle your puppy from a young age.  Lift the lips and earls, handle the paws, even trim little pieces off just so they get used to the sensation.  These things will only take a few minutes out of your day, but can really go a long way to making veterinary visits much easier.

From: http://www.taylorclark.co

As always, feel free to shoot me a message with any questions or comments!

 

I Reserve The Right To Question

I was recently inspired by a discussion on Youtube by Dawkins and Krauss.  I have to say that it was one of the most enlightening and moving discussions I have ever heard so far, and I admire them both for their courage to be up there talking with such conviction in front of thousands of people who may or may not agree with them.  It was a discussion with so many wonderful points made and eye-opening facts that my brain didn’t quite know what to do with itself.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and I’ll put a link to it at the end of this post.

The discussion was titled “Something From Nothing”.  I know the topic can create some heat, but the title is not the subject that I aim to write about today.  Something else came up in their dialogue that I think is a wonderful, truthful point that I wish more people would understand and have the courage to do in their daily lives: utilizing their right to question beliefs.  Any beliefs.  I am not pointing the finger at Christianity, or Islam, or Judaism.  I mean any beliefs on the face of our planet Earth.  I strongly feel that if you are going around saying “I am a Christian” or “I follow ‘x’ set of beliefs” then it should be no problem for you to explain those beliefs and be able to back up why you believe those things.

I am sick of hearing people argue for their faith without actually answering direct questions about it.  One question I pose often to Christians is whether or not they truly believe all of the “miraculous” stories in the bible.  I want to know if they take that, like everything else in the bible, as fact.  Infuriatingly, in most instances all that happens is huffing, puffing and avoiding the questions because they’re so offended by the asking of the question itself.

If you are going to label yourself as one thing or another, nobody has the right to feel offended just because someone is questioning the things you stand for.  If you can answer in a rational and logical way, good for you.  Perhaps the person asking will learn something or find a new perspective on the topic.  If you can’t, I think you need to take a serious look at your beliefs and what exactly you stand for.  To me, it is impossible for your beliefs or yourself to be taken seriously at that point.  If you feel strongly about something, there must be a reason, and if that reason is simply “that’s your belief” – that’s just plain not good enough.  Be an adult Just because it is your “personal belief” doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be accountable for it.

For instance, I believe in animal welfare.  I work every day to make the lives of the animals in my care better.  Why do I believe this?  Because it is fundamentally and morally wrong to neglect or abuse other creatures who depend on us for their basic needs.  The Golden Rule is one to be followed, and I would challenge anyone to argue that.

Politicians will often use their religious beliefs in their political platform, and Krauss talked about this in the video. I believe he made a great point in saying that perhaps it is alright for that politician to have those personal beliefs, but the second he uses it on his political platform he is fair game for the media or whoever to question them.  If you want to put those beliefs in the public eye and use them to your advantage, it is not wrong for someone to question them and being offended at that point is incredibly hypocritical.

Dawkins had a slightly different opinion.  He was of the mind that any personal belief is open for discussion or questioning, regardless of it being in the public eye or not.  I can see where he is coming from here as well because even on my little blog, I feel a strong need to defend or rationalize my thoughts to anyone who questions or argues against them.  If I have a belief, I should be able to back it up and state why I think that way.

The beautiful part about the discussion between these two men is that even when they disagree, they can do so in such a civilized, respectful manner that it’s quite refreshing to watch.  They both discuss why they believe each point, and can have a lively and engaging debate without the flinging of mud or bruised egos that so often come with debates on controversial topics.  I think it’s disgusting that there a certain religions, and I won’t pick on one, that people are afraid to talk about for fear of physical or verbal retribution. Blindly following anything with no room for inquiry or advancement is not something I consider appealing and I have a hard time understanding why it’s desirable.

Always remember:  just because you’re offended doesn’t mean you’re right.

A question posed by an audience member also really got me thinking and I am glad he was able to say this: if as many people watched this two hour video as watched the Super Bowl, the world would be a better place.  If you watched the video, I think you would also agree.  See for yourself by clicking here I would love to hear what anyone reading this thinks of the video as well.  Please feel free to comment or email with your thoughts!

 

Points I Love About Dawkins’ “Enemies of Reason”

“…Yet today, reason has a battle on it’s hands. I want to confront the epidemic of irrational, superstitious thinking”. – Richard Dawkins

 

The way this documentary has shaped the way I see the people of this world can be summed up thusly:  No respect for evidence.

I wonder how I haven’t watched the series “Enemies of Reason” already, but I am glad I have now. Dawkins brings up so many valid and arguable points that it brought me tears of joy to listen to it. I didn’t actually cry, but it did make me feel like some of my own theories and thoughts were justified and that made me happy.  If you haven’t seen this series, you will find it at the bottom of this post.

I have a lot of respect for people like Dawkins who demand evidence and proof for anything in our world, and he doesn’t deny that anything could be possible.  He simply states that without evidence, it is very unlikely and therefore not something that he believes in and I think that even though this isn’t a standard many seem to follow, it is one that, in my opinion, should be followed by a larger percentage of the world’s population.

As you can see from this documentary, there are a lot of beliefs out there that are solely that – beliefs. Psychics, for example. There’s no solid, rational reason to believe it other than that it allows someone to make money from fooling gullible people. They prod you until they come across something which sparks some sort of memory or reaction from you, and run with it from there. Despite being called out in this programme, they still stick to their guns. Why? People will still continue to be fooled by it, and they’ll continue to profit.

One thing I ask anyone who believes in this sort of thing is – why don’t more psychics win the lottery? Why don’t they have the answers to the really important questions like the key to curing terminal disease or how to solve the world’s problems of war or famine. The same reason everyone else doesn’t – they don’t have any more answers than any other human being.

From: http://www.tigerguy.com

The idea that we can change the course of events simply by doing some sort of lucky ritual is something that up until today, I hadn’t put much thought into.  To be honest, I did things like this on a regular basis without even thinking.  Using the phrase “knock on wood” or thinking that one object or another was “lucky” was something I actually thought would help.

While I trained harness racehorses I would think that when a horse won, nothing could be changed the next time it raced.  I had to get things ready the same way, stand in the same place to watch the race, and all kinds of other silly things that made me think that by doing them, I would have a better chance at having my horse win.

This is, of course, nonsense.  To think that actions like this would actually change the course of events is just silly.  When this happens to work out, it only reinforces the behaviour.  Dawkins outlines this by explaining an experiment done with pigeons.  Food would pop out at apparently random times, but because it came out a few times after the bird had looked over it’s left shoulder, it was convinced that that was what brought the food.  The bird became obsessed with looking over that shoulder, thinking that it would bring him the reward even though the timing really was random.

Here is a link to more information on that pigeon – http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Skinner/Pigeon/

This is the same thing that happens to people when their little quirks appear to work out.  The same results probably would’ve come even without these rituals, but people will do them anyway – just in case.

Here is a little joke that I heard from an acquaintance in the backstretch of a Southern Ontario harness racetrack:

There once was a man obsessed with the number four.  His horse would jog four miles, get four flakes of hay a day, he would warm up four laps before a race, and he would pat him precisely four times before the race.  To his excitement, he drew the number four in his race one day.  So he made sure everything in preparation for the race was done in fours and sent him out to race… He was fourth.

Whether or not his little story was based on true events or he was just trying to be smart, it always kind of stuck with me.

From: http://www.thunderbayridingacademy.com

Homeopathy is another subject I’ve always just dismissed since I’ve never had solid evidence of it working.  What I didn’t realize was how many people really do believe that diluting something so that the active ingredient is quite literally non-existent will really heal their ailment, and do it more effectively than modern medicine!

Apparently I am in the wrong industry.  I could be putting water into little dropper bottles and smacking a label on that says it contains diluted horse manure and someone would buy it thinking they were going to be cured of the common cold.  Why haven’t I thought of this before?

One of the beliefs is that water has a memory.  To this, I say:

http://scienceblogs.com

The fact is, homeopathic remedies are unproven, unrealistic, pseudoscientific jokes and I for one will not fall into the herd of gullible people who have been hooked by the people promoting them.

They do not replace modern medicine and I truly believe that the people selling/prescribing these things are conning people into believing it will cure them.  Let’s put them in a double blind controlled trial and see how they stand up.  Let’s see if there is more than a tiny shred, a whisper of promising results.  There is no science behind any of it, and if anyone reading this does have access to studies proving the efficacy of a homeopathic remedy, please share it with me.  But please note that individual, non-controlled “studies” don’t count.  Not even a little bit.

One part of this series actually goes on to state that homeopathy is actually taking money away from real medicines that are in the process of being rigorously tested and proven so that they can confidently say they can help real maladies.  This is really disgraceful.

There is a double standard now, wherein orthodox doctors need to spend years proving their theories,yet no such standard is set for homeopathy.  It is based on ignorance and developed before Dawkins states that it undermines sciences and deludes people.  It is so easy to sell something without proof because people seem to distrust science more than they distrust the hocus pocus suggestions of homeopathy.

Can you say placebo effect?

Some will say that it is “one of the oldest forms of medicine in the world”, like the woman in the series.  Dawkins makes a very valid point in saying,

“In medicine, ancient also means developed before we understood the causes of disease, before germ theory.  It was based on ignorance then, and age makes it no truer.  We misguidedly look back to a golden age that never was.  Ours is the golden age of safe, tested medicine.  Effective beyond placebo, in which we’ve cut infant mortality and conquered disease, then forgotten they existed”

The miracles of things like surgery, blood transfusion, and other great medical findings could not a happened with science.  So-called alternative medicine has not made progress of any sort.  Instead it attempts to bring back bronze age silliness.  We may as well bring back leeches as a cure.

 

I don’t feel like procreating right now. Let’s move on shall we?

Shoot the Messenger

A weird thing happened the day that I got engaged. Apparently a memo was sent out to every individual I was ever to come into contact with for the rest of my adult life, informing them that they had a vested interest in the contents (or lack thereof) of my womb.

I’ve been married for nearly three years now, and I can say – hand on heart – that not a single month has gone by in that period (pardon the pun) where a person hasn’t asked me the question. THAT question. The question that makes my stomach clench, my blood boil in my body, and my mind scamper to and fro like a trapped mouse:

“So, when are you having kids then?”

At first I’d laugh it off. Surely they were just being friendly. The news of a new marriage is kind of like the news of a bereavement…

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Hierarchy of knowledge: Science, social science, pseudoscience (religion doesn’t make the list)

Wonderful read – if you haven’t, you should!

The Atheist Papers

Like anyone with a university degree, a graduate education, and a devout affection for human knowledge, I fill much of my life with understanding our physical universe. I read academic journals ranging from Biology and Nature to Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics. But unlike some educated people, I dedicated my education to the soft sciences. That is, in my undergrad I received a degree in political science. In my graduate work, I focused on security studies (although I wrote my thesis on altruistic suicide).

There’s a divorce between the hard sciences and the soft sciences. In fact, I would even go so far as to say political science, philosophy, and any of the other soft sciences are only one step above pseudoscience. The big things that separate us from pseudoscientists are that we don’t start with a claim, and we don’t pretend to be able to replicate our…

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Common Pet Myths: Busted – Part 2

One can probably write as many parts on this as there are parts to the Fast and Furious movies, but I think it’s time to touch on a few more.

1. The term “neuter” applies only to male animals.

This is a fairly harmless one in my eyes but nevertheless it is misused by both professionals and clients. By definition, it can apply to the sterilization of both males and females but often it is only used to describe the castration of male animals, while we use the term “spay” for females. Or “spaded” as some folk who are one sandwich short of a picnic call it.  Often I am tempted to reply, “No, we don’t take them out back and beat them with shovels” but I fear it would be lost on some and slightly unprofessional.

2. Cats urinate on things because they’re mad at you.

This idea infuriates me a little bit, even though I can understand why it may be a valid theory to some. Often cats will urinate inappropriately due to stressors like something significant changing in their daily routine. New people, new things, new pets – these can all contribute. Cats can also be prone to stress cystitis, which essentially means a stressed cat with an angry bladder which makes the cat’s life very uncomfortable in the urinary department and yours very frustrating when you find wee little bits of urine around the house.

Please cut the cats some slack. Sometimes the issue of stress can be solved as easily as cleaning the litter box more often, adding another, or changing the style (ie lid vs no lid). Obviously you aren’t going to remove your new crying, screaming, attention-hogging little human from the home, but hopefully your cat will eventually come to realize that life can still go on with the addition of a baby to the family dynamic. Stay strong, there are ways to work around this and avenues that may help.

3. It can be “normal” for your cat or dog (usually cats) to vomit on a regular basis.

Do YOU feel nauseated and/or vomit on a regular basis if you are healthy?  Would YOU think this is normal if it happened to you? What makes you think that vomiting every day is normal for your cat, then?  Yes, they do it all the time.  No, this does not mean it is “normal”, it means it is “frequent” and that sucks for your cat.  I don’t think you would enjoy it, and I bet your cat doesn’t either.  There are myriad reasons why your cat may throw up.  Excessive grooming, stress, kidney disease, liver disease, toxicity, plus many other things. I think it is worth a trip to your vet to see if one of these issues is happening and perhaps you’ll be able to halt something serious before it progresses.

4.  Lastly, but certainly not least,  is one that I have become quite passionate about this year especially with a local epidemic of parvo virus – VACCINATIONS.

I am quite passionate about my pro-vaccine stance and it’s Monday, so I have absolutely no patience for unfounded claims and other such silliness. Let me start by describing to you what a day in the life of a dog with CPV (canine parvo virus) is like.  They’re put in isolation due to the fact that CPV is incredibly contagious, they vomit and defecate bloody, liquid material which has a smell like a mixture of skunk, digested blood, and death.  Too often they die from dehydration or lack of nutrition.

The disease causes the villi of the intestine to become disabled, making it impossible for the dog to absorb any kind of nutrients.  It’s important to note that there is no cure, so just like a human cold, only supportive treatments are available to help the body fight off the virus and stay hydrated.  Antibiotics and fluids will do their part, but the animal’s immune system must fight it off in order for the pet to recover.  What’s particularly heartbreaking is that this disease targets primarily puppies, whose immune systems aren’t always quite developed enough to fight this disease properly.

This can be prevented as easily as a needle under the skin.  A vaccine.  Lately there are many people trying to tell us that vaccines are bad, they’re just moneymakers, they cause autism, etc.  Let me ask you this – when is the last time you saw an autistic dog? Right. Give it a rest.  CPV is a serious, deadly disease that can live in almost any environment (anywhere) for five months (see: http://ow.ly/Acrnn). Many disinfectants aren’t enough to kill CPV except bleach, therefore it is very difficult to get rid of.  Dogs pick it up by ingesting the virus from the environment, like where an infected dog has defecated.  Then they quite literally defecate and puke their life away.  Parvo poop is a smell you won’t soon forget.

I will stick to vaccines in pets because that is where most of my knowledge lies, but I am slowly learning about the human side of it.  From what I have read and what I can tell, preventing fatal disease epidemics will outweigh most other risks in my eyes.  When did Hollywood attention-seekers become a better source for scientific information than actual science?  Oh, and since when did a disability like autism become worse than death?

From: http://www.scienceblogs.com (Couldn’t help myself)

Vaccinating your pet regularly can help prevent disease not only in your one pet, but any pet that yours comes in contact with.  It doesn’t take much for a disease to spread, but if your pet is vaccinated that is one less that will carry it and pass it on.  Sometimes people will say to me, “We haven’t seen “x” disease in years, why are we still vaccinating for it?”.  The answer is simple.  We don’t see it because we vaccinate for it.  It still lives in the wildlife population, so if you were to stop vaccinating it would become a problem all over again.

I’ve seen this type of person many times.  It is when their pet dies from a preventable disease that all of a sudden the proverbial light bulb flashes on and they’re right in to get their next pet vaccinated.  It’s a shame that it often happens this way, but it is the reality of it.  Clinics in Ontario see multiple cases every year (don’t worry, I’ve asked many people in the veterinary field in Ontario).  Currently Cornwall, Ontario is in the midst of an outbreak. There are larger clinics in the US that have seen 5, 10, and in some clinics even upwards of 50 cases this year alone. It’s out there, and it is very real. Please get your puppy vaccinated.

Here is the CTV news video: http://ow.ly/AcDLZ

From: http://www.modularhomecoach.com/

I plan to write more extensively on vaccines at another time, once I have gathered more hard evidence to show you.  If there is a particular vaccine or disease you’d like me to touch on, by all means leave me a comment or send me an email with the form at the bottom of the page.

If you don’t mind, perhaps you can help me gauge the opinion of people reading this blog:

Here is a link with more information as well: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/lab-bio/res/psds-ftss/parvovirus-eng.php

 

 

 

The Problem of Evil

I knew I would re-blog after the first few sentences, but I read on anyway 🙂

Reagent Post

If God is both omnipotent and omnibenevolent then there should be no evil in the world. The problem of evil is a philosophy that points this out, and refutes the western idea of God. God is described by many as omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent, but in this post I will assume omniscient and omnipotent are the same thing—if one has omnipotentence, they can do anything, and this means they can find out anything.

Some respond that God allows evil as the means to an end, and that this end will be good. But this is still contradictory. In ethical terms, the thing that does the least bad and the most good is the best option. If God is omnipotent, he can do anything, and if he is omnibenevolent then he will want the best thing. If he is both then he will do the best thing.

But the problem of…

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