Books and Other Diverting Things

  • I just finished reading an interesting book. It’s more a collection of articles, I suppose, by the best-selling writer, Malcolm Gladwell. Being a book-store junkie, I have heard of him many times before, just never thought of reading anything of his until my practically husband gave me a copy of What the Dog Saw for my birthday. There are only two articles about dogs, one of them inspired by the infamous Cesar Millan, but every single one was written with a very unique perspective. I liked the questions he asked about everyday things, things I never thought to question before. The final article in the book has to do with pit bulls and BSL. Given Mr. Gladwell’s very wide readership, I hope he was able to reach some different people. I kind of want to photocopy the entire thing and send it to every single member of the Ontario government.

  • Now I have picked up the latest book by Erika Ritter, also a gift from the PH. He has good taste. This one is called, The Dog by the Cradle, the Serpent Beneath. I am only about a third of the way through so far but it is fascinating stuff. Though, I admit, what I am reading does make me a little uncomfortable. It’s bringing back a lot of the questions I have tried to ignore when reconciling my meat-eating habits with my animal-loving instincts. Which is entirely the point of her book. How do we reconcile these two things? How do we maintain our so-called superiority over animals while at the same time, learning just how intelligent and similar they really are? At the start of the book, she has a terrific interview with Temple Grandin that really got me thinking.


  • Last night I decided to torture myself by watching a certain someone’s new show, Puppy SOS. (I won’t provide the link here as they are looking for applications and I don’t want to help them find victims families to feature.) I justify this mental torture with the knowledge that in order to criticize something, I actually need to know what I am talking about. It would be like bashing a restaurant I have only seen from the outside. That, and I just love seeing new dogs, especially puppies. The lure of the canine eye-candy is hard to resist. Anyway, I may have just been tired but the host seemed a little nicer this time. Not to the dog – if only – but to the people. A little less Gordon Ramsay. I would have to see more than one episode to confirm this, however. It still doesn’t change my mind about his training methods.

  • I am still trying to decide what trick to teach Shiva for Pup Love’s Tricks for Treats Contest. Obviously, I have to enter. There is just no question about that. But what to do? We’ve learned all the easier ones and I don’t know if I will have time to perfect something harder. Hmmm. While I ponder over it, I think you should definitely come up with something too. The more competition, the better!

12 thoughts on “Books and Other Diverting Things

  1. I really like Malcolm Gladwell. It’s never a bad thing to question your assumptions and look at what’s really going on. If you want to keep going on that theme, you might also enjoy Freakonomics.

    I have Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows sitting on my bookshelf. These are hard ideas to wrestle with and I haven’t found a perfect ethical consistency for myself. I look forward to reading what you have to say about it.

    Can’t wait to see what trick you come up with for Shiva. Maybe you can surf youtube for some inspiration.


  2. If it helps at all I’ll share the balance I’ve come up with . . .

    I don’t eat meat, but do consume dairy on occasion, as well as local free range eggs. I eat fish very rarely, and only wild caught when I do – and from species that are sustainable (no Chilean Sea Bass here!).

    I feed my dogs raw food, but only source from local free range family-run farms. Sure it’s more expensive, but it makes me feel better. (Also, the food sold for pet consumption, even when free range, is cheaper than that for human consumption, so it’s not as bad as you think!) And I like to support local farmers.

    I’m still waiting to see Shiva do a handstand . . . We had no idea about the contest though, looks like fun!


  3. The conflict between eating meat and being an animal lover is always going to be there for me. That said, I could never give up crispy bacon and sticky ribs. For me, ethical/humane farming practices and [theoretically] happy animals [until they’re slaughtered] could be the answer. I don’t believe in hunting for fun. I think hunting for food is a completely different matter and possibly gives us a greater appreciation of the life that was given to sustain ours. For better or worse, we’re all part of the food chain.

    Jeez, this is my night for reading serious issues on dogblogs! This is so difficult for me to comment on, it’s my 2nd visit! Makes me feel quite idiotic about my latest post :p


  4. I wrestled a lot with the whole meat-eating thing a lot myself. I finally changed my diet (vegetarian, no milk, free range eggs only but still allow some dairy), but largely because of the practices of factory farming. I don’t think eating meat itself is horribly wrong (I think the food chain is natural and fine) but I don’t like to support unhealthy and inhumane practices. And maybe it’s a stupid/invalid distinction, but we gave up eating certain meats (like pig and cow) a long time ago and limited ourselves to chicken and turkey. To be honest, changing my diet this way hasn’t been hard at all and I actually find that I enjoy food more. It’s a personal thing though and I think each person has to find their own balance.


  5. I’ve had that Gladwell book sitting on my nightstand since February. I love him, but I didn’t realize there was a BSL article until your review. You’ve inspired me to push it up to the top of my pile!


  6. I have been trying to think about something that would work for a trick training thing, but so far have drawn a blank. I’m not sure hubby will let me teach his dog a trick, either! lol


  7. Veganism is easy and amazing. Embrace it. 😀

    YAYYY I’m glad you’re competing in the contest, too! You have a whole month to perfect a new trick – no rush, really. Elli and I are getting there little by little. 🙂


  8. another gladwell lover here. i love reading your views on different books — it inspires me to dust off the ones in my “to read” list and hunker down in the hammock with a dog or two!
    second: we too are vegan-ish, as you probably recall. i don’t push others, but if you ever want to talk about it, i would love to discuss (in an extremely non-judgmental way). maybe the way you reconcile is by cutting back just a little bit, and seeing how that feels. i bet you could even calculate how much of a difference it would make if you skipped meat two dinners per week for a whole year, for example. it would be a nice compromise, because you would still be able to enjoy what you love, while reducing your impact. as a bonus, you would probably savor and appreciate the dinners with animal products even more– definitely a good thing

    and, the photo of shiva is super cute 🙂


  9. Love Malcolm Gladwell. I always leave his books wondering and thinking. Didn’t know about the tricks for treats contest. I’ll have to check that out. Thanks!


  10. I’m going to check out the Gladwell book– he’s a fun read.

    Dietary changes are no joke. I am glad Ximena finds veganism easy, but not everyone does. Once you start making changes, you might find food issues that didn’t exist before. I have low iron stores because I don’t eat meat, and lately I’ve found that dairy doesn’t sit well with me, so I’m VERY concerned about proper nutrition, especially as I have osteopenia (the beginning of osteoporosis). Before doing anything, talk to a nutritionist and make sure you know how to eat right and stay healthy!


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