Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Greedy Buzzards

Okay, okay, I'll admit it.  Buzzards is not the word I wanted to use, but I thought I would go easy on you.

I see a dangerous trend in our country today, and I felt compelled to blog about it.  There is a war on anyone who DARES to make money!  GASP!  The HORROR!  Who is behind this assault on capitalism you ask? Funny, some of the loudest are those making the most money!  There is a following from Hollywood, The rich millionaire left, and lawyers.  I tire of the statement that X company "Makes too much money", everyone from Wal Mart, to Exxon Mobile, to Pfizer.

"Wal Mart is evil, so buy your groceries at Sprouts!"  Hmm, let's look at some statistics.
Wal Mart Profit Margin
Sprouts Profit Margin

I don't care if you want to shop at Sprouts instead of Wal Mart, go for it!  All of those with 6 figure salaries and can afford to pay double for your groceries and necessities?  Have a ball!  Go nuts!  Unfortunately, not everyone can afford (or has the desire) to do that.

Another article I found trashed big Pharma for "creating customers, not cures".  One person commented that the drugs were prescribed with side effects that caused a patient to return for yet more drugs.  POPPYCOCK!  There are a couple of reasons this doesn't make sense:
1.)  The vast majority of extreme side effects from drugs are from patient's using the drug incorrectly (either accidentally or intentional abuse)  This is something that the drug company simply can not control.
2.)  A drug company isn't really able to say "Hey, let's put out this medication for low thyroid that causes higher cholesterol levels so we can THEN sell this same patient this medication to lower cholesterol!"  Anyone who believes a drug company is doing this, well, here's your tin hat!

Another person commented that "unnecessary drugs were being "pushed" on unsuspecting people who didn't need them, like drugs for ED or hair loss.  Once again, there is faulty logic here!  Why?  Well, let's examine this closer:
1.)  Not all ED patients are dirty old men.  A young man who has been paralyzed from the waist down can use these meds so they can, well, be a part of the marital bedroom activities.  I would say this is a good use, but that's just me.
2.)  Doctors don't stand on the street corner (or Bingo halls) and whisper to old men, "Hey, buddy, I have this drug that can make you feel like you're 19 again!"  No, patients go in and ask for the meds.  Is this medically necessary?  No.  But neither is plastic surgery, or chocolate, birth control or wine.  Let's not get into trying to legislate morals, that's another blog post.
3.)  A drug company is...wait for it...A PROFIT COMPANY!  I know!  Greedy Buzzards!  How DARE a company create a product that the consumer WANTS and will PAY MONEY for!  GASP!  The horror of it all!

I see the same arguments about oil companies, and restaurants that stay open on Thanksgiving, and...the list goes on and on.  My stand is quite simple:  Don't want to pay for it?  Don't.  We still (last time I checked) lived in a free society.  Any company/individual/organization is allowed to create a product or provide a service (within some legal limits) in order to make money.  I know I don't want the government telling me how much money I can charge for a full body Swedish massage!  If I provide a service that is legal, I have the right to charge what people are willing to pay for it.

And that is the SwampPoodles rant for today!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

I'm Baaaaack!

I know some of you have fallen into a deep depression while waiting for an updated blog post from me.  For that, I apologize!  I hope the alcohol, Xanax, chocolate and 50 Shades of Grey was enough to keep you occupied while I was gone.

I have had some major life changes while gone; some good, some bad.  We lost 3 of our standard poodles and gained a newbie.  He's really cute, don't you think?  His name is "Waypoint's Sweet Child O' Mine", aka Axl.  (Fair warning- NEVER name a dog anything "sweet".  Just saying.)

I was laid off when my company decided it was cheaper to pay a group from India to do my job than it was to pay me to do it.  This was the push I needed to get out of the industry.  Since I still wasn't sure what I wanted to be when I grew up, it took me a while to find a path I was happy with.  I am now a licensed massage therapist!  (Yes, the number of people who claim me as their best friend has tripled in the time since we last spoke)  It is a refreshing change to have a job that doesn't require me to sit on expanding back side for 10 hours a day and stare at a lit up screen.

I have also found a renewed desire to complete my novel, "Guilt by Innocence".  Yes, I know, you are dying to read it just by the title.  You can't hide it from me!  I can see the glimmer in your eyes!  Now, write that title down so that when it is published you can buy it and read it.  Go on, make that note, I'll wait.  I've got time.

Done?  Great!  I can't promise to blog every day, but am motivated to get back to it.  I miss writing the shorter pieces.   Perhaps I'll post some scenes from my novel, you wouldn't want to miss that, now would you?  I didn't think so!  

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

More Phun with Photography

Please forgive me for posting photos again.  Some bad news here, will post when I new more.  But, for now, please enjoy some more photos.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Phun with Photography

Just some photos to fill the dead space.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Reputable Breeders are responsible for Back Yard Breeders

What?  I was just met by the sound of air being sucked into the collective lungs of readers.   Before you get mad, throw something at the computer screen and call me names, just hear me out.

When I was looking for Boo, I wanted a working dog and not just a poodle.  Each time I contacted a breeder, I was met with the same mantra "Poodles can do anything."  Yes, poodles "can" do anything, but they don't all "do" anything.  These lovely people didn't know that I owned a Hershey.  If they had met my girl, their opinions might be different.  I didn't just want a dog that "could" do agility, I wanted a dog who had at least SOME history of working in their lines.  I was truly shocked at what I found when looking.

I was lucky enough, finally, to find Anutta poodles.  Because I had titles on my dogs already, Becky was willing to trust me with one of her lovely dogs.  Enter Boo:

From then on, we had established ourselves in the poodle/agility/obedience world firmly enough that we began to not just make new poodle friends, but poodle contacts.  And, I must say, I love them all DEARLY!  
Unfortunately, my experience isn't even close to being normal.  I have friends who went in search of a poodle, and were met with some of the most outrageous behavior I've ever seen.  One such friend abandoned her attempts at getting a standard poodle and went back to her previous breed of choice.  I was with her when she was pretty much beat down by a poodle breeder/handler.  I felt horrible for her, and yet I was helpless.  The poodle world lost the chance to have our beautiful breed handled in obedience and agility by an excellent trainer.

I have other friends who were met with similar "walls of silence".  Breeders who would barely give them the time of day for one reason or another; either they didn't currently own poodles, had not done agility in several years, or  didn't want to show in the breed ring.   Despite this, I see other breeders who are advertising puppies that are "left over" and looking for a home.  

While I completely understand that a breeder isn't just a broker who deals in the trade of live animals.  I understand that, I do.  However, if I had been met with the resistance some of my friends have received, I would be sitting down pouring over the want ads looking for my next poodle.  And the questionable breeders involved would gladly sell me a puppy---any puppy--just to get their hands on my money.  Score 1 for the puppy mills!

I have mentioned how lucky I was to have been blessed with Boo.  Becky has not only been the breeder of my heart dog, but has become a friend and a mentor.  She is everything I would want in a breeder, concerned with every stage of Boo's life.  Okay shameless plug for Anutta poodles.  I can't help it. Here's her website.  In the interest of playing fair, through Becky, we found Tintlet poodles for Hemi, her website is Here.  Gloria has also exceeded our expectations as far as being a FABULOUS breeder.  And, to complete the circle, Mingo came from Sandstorm miniature poodles, and has become a mentor for us as well as providing the adorable little black fuzzy luvbug mentioned in previous posts.  

All that brings me to my point.  I think it is imperative that responsible breeders take the time to consider the people on the other end of the phone, or e-mail chain, or standing across from them at a breed show.  If someone has gone through the pains of seeking you out, they are (hopefully) concerned enough about the breed that they want to do what is right.  This is a golden opportunity for our reputable breeders to help educate and guide the general public down the right path to dog ownership.  If that person is met with snarkiness and nastiness, the likelihood of them opting for the want-ads goes up.  It's enough to make someone sit down and ask themselves "is it really worth all this?"  For those of us who have made it through the three tiers of super secret puppy procurement testing, we give a resounding YES!  Not everyone has the willpower or the desire to jump through such hoops to get a great dog.  I don't think this makes them a bad pet owner, it just means maybe they are working with a different set of criteria.

Reputable breeders are not the only ones who have criteria for placing their dogs that I feel can be oppressive.  I have a friend who is not allowed to adopt a dog through rescue because she lives in an apartment.  She is an avid agility competitor and her dogs are treated famously.  Why is it that someone who has a fence automatically makes a better pet owner?  Many rescues won't adopt to anyone with an intact dog at home, so reputable breeders are off the list.  If a reputable breeder doesn't have intact dogs, they aren't breeding.  Once again, this is another golden opportunity for rescue organizations to find a new class of wonderful pet owners out there.

So next time you are faced with someone who might not seem to fit into your idea of the perfect pet owner, take a second look.  Ask yourself a couple of questions.  1.)  Why did this person contact me instead of going to the want-ads, or Craig's list, or the pet store.  2.)  What does this dog owner have to offer?  You might be surprised at what you find.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Vertically Challenged

I have been asked to be a representative at the CHF/Purina Healthcare conference.  (I hope to bring some great information back, and will definitely share what I've learned with you.)  Since I have worked from home almost exclusively the last ten plus years, my "professional" wardrobe is somewhat lacking.  I mean, pajamas are great for that telephone conference call, and some might think they qualify for a trip to Wal- Mart, but at a canine health conference?  I decided I should seek out an alternative wardrobe.  I know my fellow dog people didn't really want to see this.....

So, off to shopping I go.  And, I figured out something on this most recent shopping trip.  Department stores HATE short people.  They loathe them.  I walked into a certain clothing store, and I find the "petites" department.  It consisted of 2, count them TWO rows of clothes.  In a store of easily 10,000 square feet!  As if that wasn't enough, the price tags were placed at an approximate height of 12 feet.  Um, really?  I witnessed a woman put her young son so he could read the sale sign for her.  

Not only do these department stores hate short people, but evidently clothing manufacturers also think their time could be better spent.  I tried on a pair of so called "petite" capris.  You know those--the pants that are supposed to come to about knee height?

When I tried on this lovely pair of capris--they were neither knee level, or ankle level.  Nope.  On me, capris look suspiciously like I'm trying to wear my young daughter's pants.  It's sad, really.  If they were a little longer, I could just wear them as pants!  Nope, not gonna happen.  

When I manage to find clothes that are truly petite in length, the manufacturers also assume that short=skinny.  I am not skinny, and haven't been for a while.  Yes, I know, I do need to go on a diet and get in better shape, and I am working on it.  However, I must still be fully clothed when I head out into public, so petite clothes that fit would be nice.

The sad part of all this, is that as I wander through life, I realize that I am not alone on the petite side of the world.  I see lots of other vertically challenged persons.  There is a real niche there.  I would love to find a store that was proud to sell petite clothing for skinny and not so skinny women.  Instead, I find myself rolling up the cuffs of blue jeans or buying a larger size and washing in hot water.  So, if you are out there reading this blog, and you are a fashion designer or know one--here's your opportunity to make lots of little people happy.  Just like Willie Wonka! 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Today's Writing Prompt

Jake was lying face down on the raft. At first we thought he was sleeping with one hand hanging over grazing the water's edge but then....

Hrmm..where will my twisted mind go?????????  Stay tuned.  I might just post what I come up with tomorrow.  If anyone else is interested in joining in, give it a try!  It's fun!