Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Banality of Evil

Hannah Arendt defined "the banality of evil" as the acts of someone ordinary who is not a sociopath, but just an individual who accepts a premise as it is presented to them - even if it's an evil and terrible one - and behaves as though and believes that the premise is normal.

Later, her work was criticized by psychologists, who believe that evil cannot be banal - that in fact, anyone who condones something terrible is aware that it's terrible, but they justify their actions because they are, in fact, evil.

I have always thought that evil is rarely presented to us on silver platter, but rather is offered subtly, liberally peppered inside an ordinary meal. Evil lives and breathes beside you; it sits next to you on the bus, it offers you a breath mint, it may even pay for dinner.

Watch out for evil, dear readers, for it catches you unawares. Its countenance is benign. Its acts are shameful. It believes in itself. This makes it dangerous.

To evil, Lexi Chihuahua says:

Lexi Chihuahua knows not evil, and is the product of Good. One of our volunteers, Dove (the owner of Happy Dogs Walking, a very excellent dog walking company - please check them out if you are looking for a dogwalker in the Lower Mainland) was in California recently, and had an extra crate in her van. She rescued Lexi from an overcrowded and underfunded animal control shelter and brought her back to Vancouver to find a better life, instead of certain death.

Lexi Chihuahua is The World's Cutest Chihuahua.

Good in this world may stare you down. It exists apart and beyond the reaches of both banality and evil.

For many years, I thought I lacked confidence because I question my own motives at every turn. Now I know that when people want to be Good, when people care about the consequences of their acts and when they genuinely desire to achieve Good for themselves and for others, they must question their motives. They have no choice. Because otherwise, they may fall victim to evil. Good people are not saints, they are just ordinary people fighting the banality of the evil that wants them on their side.


Learn it, live it, embrace it.

And by doG, support the people who do Good.


On a less-than-3-kilometer piece of paradise called Corn Island exists a living contradiction. The Island is Eden to the tourists that visit. But it’s Hell for dogs.

Amid the pristine shoreline of the Atlantic Coast and swaying palms live countless mongrels with countable ribs, lacking energy as they wander aimlessly about the Island in a constant state of hunger.

For the most part, the Islanders are poor. Most make a marginal living by diving for lobster or catering to sun-worshipping tourists. Others wish they could make a living.

Health care for their dogs is way down the list of life’s necessity. Besides, there are no vets on Corn Island, so animal health care is wishful thinking, if it's thought about at all.

This is a forgotten, neglected area of Nicaragua, even by its own country, and the Islanders are isolated by water and jungle from their Nica brothers. Rather than speaking Spanish like the Pacific side of the country, Corn Islanders speak a lilting petois much like Jamaicans or Dominicans.

When Casa Lupita committed to an invitation last year to stage a spay and neuter mission on the Island, we realized that we would be entering a region where few veterinarians had ventured before. While no permanent vets are currently there, none are foreseeable in the future.

The sad state of the animals because of over-population, disease and malnutrition defied description. It was deplorable enough to shock even our seasoned veterinary team, most of them veterans of various animal care missions in developing countries.

But nothing stopped them from sterilizing over 200 animals that week, reducing the future animal population immensely while improving the quality of life for everyone on the Island..

While our initial worries were whether or not we would be accepted (would the people of Corn Island want their dogs “emasculated”?….would they be suspicious of a group of gringos in green “scrubs” messing with their pets?) we were pleased to be wrong. Casa Lupita was lauded by the Island elders who noted that finally someone cared to help Little Corn Island…a place usually last in line for any kind of help.
We closed our final day of surgeries to their invitation to return the next year.

“Next year” is now here!

We plan to make good on our promise to Corn Island .

We are now assembling and organizing the team, a group of 13 eager participants that includes veterinarians, vet techs and coordinators.

Once again, the mission will be led by Casa Lupita's Dr. Tom Parker, DVM. In addition to being a guiding force behind the development of Casa Lupita, Tom has participated in many missions in developing countries as well as continuing his support here in Nicaragua.

There is only one way to get to Littls Corn Island. By air, then boat. As always, funding is our biggest challeng. we are reminded that our biggest challenge is funding....for air transportation at a cost of just under $2000 as well as a large supply of medicines and clinical supplies for sterilization surgeries and other treatment. THe participants are covering their airfares from the U.S. to Nicaragua. They are pure volunteers and will receive no pay.

Once again we are grateful for free accommodations of lodging by Casa Iguana, a guest house on the island..
Last year, Building New Hope was able to support the trip because of generous donations from those of you who believed in the importance of our community effort. Hopefuly your belief in us is still strong and we hope that we can count on your generosity once again.

Scott and Christine Smyth, U.S. citizens who are constructing an ecolodge on the island are donating half the cost of our airfare bill....a gigantic help in reducing our costs.

We estimate the cost of $25 -30 US dollars for performing one sterilization surgery. This year we hope to exceed our last year's total of 200 spay and neuter surgeries. This is where we need your help.
We hope that those of you who realize the immense value of this project will offer a contribution for one (or more) sterilization. Your contribution will be a giant step toward creating a healthier environment for the people of Little Corn Island and for their animals.

Donations to New Hope can be made by mailing your cheque to:


106 Overton Lane, Pittsburgh PA, 15217

Or by paypal on their website.

Don't forget to read Finn's blog as she travels to the Corn Islands to do some Good.

And if you want proof that there is Good in this world, all you need to do is visit a poodle puppy.

That's Blackjack. He is The Cute. 14 weeks of pure awesome. For realz, yo.

This weekend I got to canoodle with the poodles, the very very famous poodles ... including this year's AAC Regional 10" Veterans Champion, ABIES.

For years Tracey has been telling Tweed to "run like a poodle." Looks like he should have listened!!

Shut up Food Lady. You bore me.

Oh, you're bored? Can I solve this problem for you?

If you like, I can make Miss Piper *extremely* angry.

OR I could torment The Woo

For his heroic efforts, the Sofa received a Poodle Blessing.

And as reward, he was given a Mini Me. Which promptly ran away. Even his own Mini Me finds his relentless enthusiasm kind of annoying.


Was someone philosophizing on evil? I felt summoned.

As for your Food Lady, she has been very busy, but promises to try to to update the blog more often. There are many photos in the world that are begging to be taken.

And there are fat orange dogs begging for snackies.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Another year, another Regionals

And this is what it felt like for The Food Lady. Many thanks to Mr. Woo and friends for providing the graphic reconstruction of the weekend:


Holy shit, I'm doing it!! I'M DOING IT!!

Awwwww CRAP! Not quite.

Hello doG? Are you listening up there? I REALLY want this. Yeah, that guy does too, but I mean I REALLY want this!

WTF? You gave it to THAT guy???!

I am reaching for the moon, mofos!!

Hmmm ... maybe I should have tried for something a little more obtainable, like a freaking Q!!


Yeah, that's how our weekend went. Apparently one of us suffers from performance anxiety under stress. That someone is NOT Tweed. Under pressure, I crumble pretty much EXACTLY LIKE MY HOPES AND DREAMS. :sob:

Nah, it wasn't THAT bad. I made some handling flubs - most specifically in our Gamble runs. We had beautiful openings, so beautiful that it inspired a stand-still-with-your-mouth-agape reaction. Which is pretty much the reaction I had, hence the complete lack of handling when it came to the final actual Gamble, neither of which we completed successfully ... because The Food Lady just stood there admiring her dog instead of, you know, handling. Wendy called our first one - "You pulled A Food Lady!"

But we redeemed ourselves with a 1st place in Jumpers 2, clean as a whistle and 13 seconds under time. And then we redeemed ourselves again with a 2nd place in Standard 1, also squeaky clean and a mere 19.5 seconds under time (::chuffed::). Those bonus points were a doGsend, because they made up for The Run That Shall Never Be Mentioned In Front Of Food Lady, otherwise known as Jumpers 1. Ironically Jumpers is our best game because Tweed likes tight and twisty courses ... but he crashed a jump in the opening sequence when he slipped on the wet grass on take off, and more or less shot himself into an off course tunnel trying to avoid the falling jump.

In the end we had:

Jumpers 1 - 50/75 (insert sad face here)
Jumpers 2 - 88/75 (1st place ribbon)
Standard 1 - 119.5 / 100 (2nd place ribbon)
Standard 2 - 95/100 (shakes fist at awkward and evil weave pole entry angle)
Gamblers 1 - 47 opening points, no Gamble (so TFL's fault)
Gamblers 2 - 56 opening points, no Gamble (TFL needs to work on GET THE F*CK OUT!! I SAID OUT TWEED!!!)
Total - 455 or so points.

Placement - 7th overall in 16" specials.
Points away from podium - FUTHERMUCKING 5 POINTS!!!!!

Udda udda udda

I admit it, I said some nasty swear words and jumped up and down when they called the final placements and we were only 5 points off the podium. In fact, I probably looked exactly like this:
Just one of those final Gambles would have bumped us into 3rd place. Both Gambles would have slammed us into 1st place.

Next year you run, I'll handle.

But you know what? I am still SO SO proud of my little red dog. He is so freaking full of TRY. He runs his little heart out for me, and he wants so badly to do all the things I ask him to do. This is the best placement we have ever seen at Regionals, and I am completely happy with him and the big efforts he made to be #1 - and to me, he IS #1!!

I owe a big thank you to my trainer, Gerhard "Again. FASTER" Rieger, who is both incredibly sadistic and supportive; to my classmate Mark, because congratulatory hugs feel nice and also I didn't dehydrate because he fetches water nicely, and to Fiona - because sharing a hotel room with her dog Tempus made me realize that there are scarier things in the world than running agility, and they are borderjack sized.

Next year - PODIUM. Maybe for Piper too - if she gets a real handler ;-)

I came home with my annual, painful, Regionals sunburn, so I wasn't entirely sad to wake up this morning to rainy Vancouver. The dogs and I had a celebratory trip to the ocean to wind down.

Piper and Mr. Woo were MAD because they spent the whole weekend in crates being ignored.

Mr. Woo took it out on Piper.

Piper took it out on her hockey ball.

I'm stalking some Mad Teeth (tm)

I'm gonna get me some Mad Teeth(tm)!!


I WON ALL ALL THE MAD TEETH(tm)!!! I am going to suck out her brains and make zombie Mad Teeth(tm)!!

Why do you let him do this to me, Food Lady??

Celebratory Puggle Wrestle

Get away you freak!!

Can we go back to Campbell River, and put these idiots back in crates, and then leave them there this time?

Saturday, May 09, 2009

You Probably Already Know This ...

... but there's a dead crab on your head, Gus.

The Food Lady has been mighty busy these last few weeks, taking oh-so-many photos! I love doing this job, because I get to play with dogs and play with cameras. Doesn't get much better than this. Here's some of what we have been up to!

We went out to Mud Bay in Tsawwassen for a photo shoot with two of my favourite old people, Charissa and Gus. BTW, Charissa and Gus are dogs - their humans, Karen and Rob, are not old at all, just really great ones :) Charissa and Gus were both adopted from TDBCR.

They are a funny old couple of geezers.

Except Charissa has some serious rage issues.


Just kidding - oh not about the ball on a rope, she really hates that thing. It makes her super angry. But in general, Charissa is a super sweetheart. She is pretty much deaf, doesn't see too well, but she is a therapy dog and a snuggly gal who likes it when you tell her how lovely she is.

Gus is hilarious. He's like 10 going on 2, and he is still real keen on a game of fetch, any time, anywhere ... with anything. Even the stupid purple ball of rage. If Charissa would let him, that is.

'Scuse me ... do you have a spare big purple ball of rage I could borrow?

Mud Bay is lovely - it's this crazy huge expanse of beach that is dog friendly and totally underpopulated. And the name is really appropriate, because even after two hours in the truck AND a hose off in the underground parking, my dogs are still releasing quantities of sand-dirt like I have never seen before!

Plus, Mud Bay is one big lunch table for Wootie.

Mmmm ...

Crab legs.

I think Piper enjoyed herself. I never actually saw here while we there.

We also had a photo shoot with Bandit and Cassie, two more adopted TDBCR dogs. They are the speediest and leapiest dogs EVAR.





And ... a little suspicious of the weirdo with the box on her face who kept following them around everywhere.

But they are lovely together, such a beautiful pair of border collies!

And neither of them has totally ridiculous ears, unlike SOME dogs I know.


And of course we can't forget The Sofa (I've tried - he is a very pesty puppy. It's impossible to omit him)

And Mr. Petal Pants, AKA Turbo.

I am still processing photos of some other sessions I've had lately - my weekends are filling up so quickly that my day job is starting to feel like a few days off from my weekends ;-) But it's so much fun!

This week we head off to the Agility Association of Canada Regional Competition to see if Tweed and I can qualify for Nationals again. I think this will be our 4th or 5th Qualifier, assuming we actually qualify. That's never a given with Mr. Marches To The Beat Of His Own Drummer.

Yay! I maybe get to embarrass Food Lady and throw a few hundred of her hard earned dollars down the toilet. WOOHOO!

And since Tweed just turned 9 this week, I don't know how many more Regionals he has in him. We'd sure like to be on the podium this year. Maybe you can all send Blog Reader JuJu and (((((vibes))))) and stuff for us. Remember what happened when you FORGOT to send them last year??

I probably won't have time to post again before we leave, so mark your calendars and keep us in your thoughts.

But before I go, may I just leave you with this little dreamboat, who is available for adoption through TDBCR?

Meet Kali. Six months old, a totally blank slate of smart, athletic fun, and waiting to be YOUR next agility dog!!