Sunday, January 30, 2011

Another Toby Photo

Why I'm slow at cleaning

Aside from being easily distracted/overwhelmed by clutter due to my ADHD brain, Toby always gets extra cute and affectionate when I clean. So many flank rubs today!

Plus, he figured out how to bat open the doors to our dvd storage!

I keep trying to tell him that fetch will be more fun once I declutter and he has more room to run around, but I think he just sees me opening up spaces for him to explore and sitting on the ground as invitations to flank rub and head butt.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Disgrace at UC's Veterinary School

You may have figured out from previous posts that referenced Jezebel that I'm a bit of a feminist. I shockingly think that, along with animals deserving decent lives, that people of any sex are equal--male, female, transgender, hermaphrodite--your genitalia do not affect your worth.

I also have a great deal of respect for veterinarians.I love mine and call whenever Toby has an issue. I firmly believe that before starting training for an issue, one should get a clean bill of health and talk about problems with your vet. I care about our vets and care that they are educated well and receive an accurate record of their performance at school so that their hiring decisions can be made more accurately.

How are these two related? Because I am completely outraged by what happened recently at UC Davies Vet School. Dr. Isis of Science Blogs covers it in full detail that you should read. I'll summarize it below.

Essentially, Dr Isis received an email that a third year student recently gave birth. One of her professors, Dr Feldman, (yes, male) had the class presidents send an email around about this. Not to collect gifts or well-wishes as the birth announcements at my small office do. No. So that students could vote on how Dr. Feldman should handle the woman's grade for the class.
"a) automatic A final grade
b) automatic B final grade
c) automatic C final grade
d) graded the same as everyone else: best 6 quiz scores out of a possible 7 quiz scores (each quiz only given only once in class with no repeats)
e) just take a % of quiz scores (for example: your classmate takes 4 quizzes, averages 9/10 points = 90% = A)
f) give that student a single final exam at the end of the quarter (however this option is only available to this one student, all others are graded on the best 6 quiz scores and the % that results)"

Despite that there were already clear options for him to follow laid out by UC Davies for students who might have to miss multiple classes (ok, for things like being sick, but are we really supposed to think that illness is ok but reproduction isn't? I know they're learning to encourage spaying/neutering but that's of pets, not people!). Also, the student in question hasn't even missed class or requested to miss class yet!

So--her professor, instead of sitting down with her to form a plan for if she misses class due to bringing life into this crazy, messed up world, decided to alert the entire third year class to her newborn (which seems awfully lacking in respect for privacy) and then decided to present those students (who are depending on being in the top percentile of their class and so have every self-interest in not helping a fellow student out) with the option of just arbitrarily deciding that this woman gets a C as her final grade?

I'm just completely appalled and angry. Really angry.

Dr. Isis is calling for people to contact the chancellor of UC Davies about Dr. Feldman's highly inappropriate conduct. The address for that is I already sent a note. I won't tell you how to act, but if you're as appalled as I am, please consider sending one as well.

It's 2011. How does a vaguely intelligent person even think this is ok and walk away without a reprimand from his higher ups? I told the chancellor that I hope for a full apology made to the student.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Kong question

Just for a quick survey of readers, please leave a comment whether you knew a Kong was an awesome interactive dog toy without clicking on the link or not. Jarrod had no clue what they were and thought I made up the word so I added a link to explain it.

No wrong answers, just curious!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Dog and His Man Save Neighbor

I came across a story on Jezebel tonight that I just have to share. It starts off bad but it gets better, I promise.

On Thursday, a girl started screaming after being attacked in her yard. Agustin Zamora Jr heard the cries and ran outside, calling for his Great Dane, Scooby, to follow. They, with two other men, chased the attacker off into an alley where the man, fearful of the large dog's deep barks, was held until police arrived to arrest him.

I really hope that dog gets some awesome Kongs for his part in the heroic rescue. First, it was impressive that multiple people responded to the screams and tried to help. Many people for hundreds of years haven't responded to screaming because they assume other people have heard the screams and are already responding. This is known as Genovese syndrome or the bystander effect. It's really disturbing to think about.

I first came upon the idea in a freshman philosophy class where we read Rousseau talking about a philosopher who ignored the screams out his window. It struck with me to the point where, as a junior, I insisted on seeing why I had heard a girl scream outside in the winter (it turned out she was drunk, which made my friend even more angry as he'd been in favor of ignoring any screams one heard). I thought of it again last year when a friend told me about Genovese syndrome after I was stuck on how no one had even seemed to notice when a homeless man hit me on my way to work, despite there being at least a dozen people around who had to have seen (and heard!) the whack when he struck my face. Knowing that it was normal for people to ignore bad things happened sucked, but it at least made me feel better than "those people all thought I deserved to be hit!" which was where my freaked-out mind had gone.

To think that someone not only responded to someone else's screams, but had the foresight to call his dog along to help hold the intruder? Just amazes me. That guy is a hero and his dog is, too.

For more information:
Jezebel article where commenters have some awesome stories about animals protecting them (I was bawling with happy tears after scrolling through, just to warn you)

Chicago Tribune Article about the dog and the attack

Do you have any stories of animals protecting you or alerting you to danger?

Thankfully Toby hasn't had to do much although he did hiss at the door when two (drunk) guys tried to come into the apartment. I think they thought it was their apartment from their response when the door didn't open! He also has been known to run at the wall between my loud, rude neighbor's apartment and mine and act as though he's trying to attack the wall. Very happy if that's all he's ever called to do in defense of me!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Cuteness is the way to start the new year

In the midst of my massive cleaning for the new year, Toby has decided to supervise.

Yes, that is a shoebox top that he's managed to climb into. Apparently Toby wants to be sure I don't clear too much from the apartment!