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I don’t know where I was born, or who my parents were. My earliest memory is from when I was very small. I was running as fast as I could down a big street called The Arlington. There were giant cars whizzing by, and I was trying to catch them. A woman chased me down and caught me. I was happy being with her until I found out that she already had a dog named Henry, and I knew I had to get rid of that dog, because I do not share. I went after Henry.

That was a mistake, because the nice woman took me to Jon’s house. Jon is my human. But in those days, Jon had ten dogs staying at his house. This was a nightmare for me. I had to attack all ten dogs. One of them, a Great Pyrenees, was as mean as I was, and he bit part of my ear off. In the end, that was all right, because it gives me character and makes me look even cuter. 

In my early days with Jon, I tried to run away a lot. My running away and my attacking other dogs made Jon take me to training classes. They were sort of fu...

April 16, 2016

The tawny California landscape from early summer through October is one reason we love the Golden State. Among all those waving, sun-kissed stalks, however, lurks a dog-killer known as the foxtail.

Foxtails are the awns (or seed heads) of various kinds of wild barley. They are the scourge of gardens, open space, and much of the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD), including Point Isabel.

The pointy, razor-sharp foxtail is designed to burrow into the ground. This clever plant-dispersal mechanism wreaks havoc with mammals and even birds, however. First, the bristly spikelet sticks to some creature that passes by. Second, the sharp point works its way under the animal’s skin. Third, tiny barbs propel the awn forward as the hapless host moves.  

The results can be horrifying. Foxtails blind dogs, pierce their eardrums, cause huge abscesses, and penetrate lungs and brains. It’s common for a foxtail to meander undetected throughout a dog’s body, leaving a trail of infection in its wake. One...

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Nine Ways to Fight Foxtails

April 16, 2016

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