Editorial August 2004 Issue

No Nose, Good News

In which we brag, and are quickly “grounded.”

How often do I get the opportunity to unabashedly BRAG?! Not too often, so I’ll make the best of it: In June, I was thrilled to learn that the Chicago Tribune named WDJ to its annual list of “50 Best Magazines” in the U.S. And, they ranked us at #11, just after Consumer Reports and just before Time. I still feel tingly!

I’m immensely grateful for the recognition and attention, and hopeful that the exposure might help more dog owners find their way to WDJ – and all the humane, effective, and even potentially lifesaving health and training tips provided by our expert contributors. Thank you, Chicago!

Fortunately, I was quickly brought back to earth by the very stuff WDJ is rooted in: dog problems that needed solving. This came in a couple of forms: a big red one and a smaller yellow one.

I sort of kidnapped Cody, a Lab-mix who belongs to a friend’s family. The family, I learned, was in the middle of an emotional debate over the young dog’s fate, with the dad threatening to send Cody to the pound and the mom and kids clamoring for clemency. I offered to take Cody home for an evaluation and some training – really, a cooling-off period for the combatants.

It turns out, I’m siding with mom and the kids. Cody is a lovely, sweet boy in desperate need of direction and approval. He’s learning a lot, and thriving on all the attention and company – and it’s going to be really hard to send him home.

He does have some behavior issues to sort out. Not surprisingly, he’s suspicious and wary of men. He expresses his anxiousness in their presence by putting all his hair straight up and growling in a most fearsome manner – while shrinking and ducking away in fear. So, daily, I’m practicing the counter-conditioning and desensitization program described by Pat Miller on page 13 of this issue. We go out looking for men, and I toss Cody treats as they walk by. Quite a thrill for a married woman!

Then Hannah, my brother’s dog, came to stay for a week while my brother went on vacation with his girlfriend. Hannah’s arrival was not a surprise, but the intense skunk smell she was wrapped in sure was. It was a surprise, too, to Keith’s new girl-friend, who rode in the car with Hannah for the hour’s drive between Keith’s picking her up at the airport and their arrival at my house.

Why didn’t he warn us? My brother has NO sense of smell – none.

Well, it was a good opportunity for me to test some commercial skunk odor removers (results in this issue). And, as it turned out, it was a good “good sport” test of the girlfriend, too. She didn’t say a word to him about Hannah’s stench – and she did smell it. She passes, with flying colors!


-Nancy Kerns

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