Cancer Log: Thus far, treatment progressing well

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I’ve thought a lot about a means of producing a diary or log of my experience in battling this brain tumor thing I’ve been handed. It is a glioblastoma, which is highly malignant.

I am undergoing radiation and chemo treatments and thus far, three weeks into the treatments,  I am experiencing very, very little to no ill affects.

I had been experiencing approximately a headache per day for awhile – post-surgery. My surgery occurred in early March. At first, I was needing to take a headache pill about once per day. Over the last three weeks, I’ve needed a headache pill on only one occasion.

My reading and writing abilities took a hit due to the tumor and right after the surgery, I struggled to get back to work as a writer. Again, over the last three weeks, my reading and writing have significantly improved.

The most problematic is the hole within my peripheral field of vision, on the left side. This makes it a bit more difficult to type and is still slowing me up on writing a bit.

The improvement in these skills was very welcome. I hope I’ll see more advancement in the weeks and months to come. But the vision hole will likely be more difficult to overcome.

One therapy to improve my reading skills, one that I developed on my own, was reading the newspaper comics page. Sounds strange or comical enough, but it worked. I started doing this around mid-March and at first I struggle to get through each section,

But slowly, I was able to speed up the time it took me to read through it each day. Now, I’m nearly all the way back to normal is this area. At times, I still have to stop for a moment to pick up a word or two.

Why do I think the comics have been more helpful? – Because the fonts vary and it takes a bit more focus to read each strip.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Another horse racing scandal – as the industry again does PED damage-control

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It is 2015 and for many, many years animal-welfare advocates have been calling for an end to horse racing – or at minimum the end to the abuses in horse racing.

And yet we continue to see stories like the one that flashed across the Pack News Wire today. The Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI) has called for new regulations on the use of Cobalt throughout racing across the globe.

An article on notes the substance is used to enhance performance, but can damage the thyroid gland and can be toxic to the horse’s heart.

But Cobalt is used anyway by at least some strainers.

Hell – the lure is so strong to win at all costs that human athletes are risking their lives with PEDs. Is it so hard to understand how humans with dollar signs flashing over they heads can so easily inject animals with PEDs?

These people will always try to find ways to slip around the rules. They need that money on that wall; they want that money on that wall.

The use of animal in gambling operations must be banned immediately. The profit motives will always be too strong and in the case of racing, the dogs and horses will continue to suffer. Just over the last couple of months, we’ve seen the results.

If we don’t ban animal racing, we will continue to read articles like this one and stories with topics far worse for many years to come. The racing industries will just continue to claim they are working on the next scandal – on rinse-repeat – over and over again.

It’s been that way for decades and our elected officials just keep looking the other way. After all, if it’s about money, it’s an excuse for anything. If only we had more elected officials with backbones. But right now, that goal is far in the distance.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

More dead racing greyhounds – a story that keeps being repeating

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Here we are again – reading about the discovery of more dead racing greyhounds. This time, it is 55 bodies found in Australia – north of Brisbane.

The Daily News reports local police as saying the bodies were “in various states of decomposition,” which would indicate the bodies were dumped over time.

We continue to read horrible news out of dog racing every week. But the insiders keep acting as is each report is something new and they are going to clean things up. Problem is, we’ve been heard this line for so many years.

The dogs who don’t make the grade keep getting killed, while industry insiders keep claiming the dogs rejected by the industry are all adopted out.

How many chances will the industry get in the US and in countries like Australia and Great Britain? At some point, the elected officials in these countries need to grow backbones and stand up against the racing lobbyists. We can’t let the profit motives of a few continue to dominate, while the suffering of the dogs goes on.

Greyhound racing has inherent and systemic problems – serious problems that have gone on for many, many years. The industry keep claiming each scandal – over and over again – is something new and it is going to be cleared up. So after decades now, this is not going to pan out.

The dogs can stand it no longer. End dog racing everywhere today and let the rescue groups save the dogs.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Pack’s Sunday Satire: Dog racing switches to humans

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Breaking News (we never hear that phrase from cable news any more)

The greyhound racing industry will drop the use of dogs later this month. Industry leaders in the United States, Great Britain and Australia will take the lead by putting on the muzzles themselves – for the first races.

Then they’ll try to scam as many “volunteers” as possible around the globe to race.

In the US, the first so-called biped racing event is set for May 2 in Florida and will be called “The Dumber Than Dirt Derby.”

“We messed up,” said race coordinator Mumford Claptrap. “We had all of the flyers, banners and signs printed before we realized that the name made us look bad.

“So we’ll just use it this year. And hey – can anyone tell me what a biped is?”

When asked about possible injuries and deaths to the human racers, Claptrap said, “We never worried about that stuff with the dogs, so I guess we’ll stick with the same system. And the percentages were soooo low. So the impact on human racers will be no big deal.

“We looked at study after study and found that good money can be had on the gambling bets for human racing,” Claptrap said. “That’s all we every wanted. The breeders have agreed to switch over to training friends to run in circle.

“What difference does it make who we exploit?”

Now let’s look at a few things industry insiders actually said recently:

It Kansas this week, a racing greyhound named “PJ Burninitdown” was sold at auction for a record $85,000.

NGA Executive Director Gary Guccione was quoted in the article as saying, “It was magical. It just all came together. It was the opposite of the perfect storm. Everything jelled.”

Magical? He was quoted as using that phrase. Dogs are dying on a regular basis on tracks on numerous states and this man call sale like this – “magical.”

Over in Australia, a headline in the Herald Sun read, “Industry will bounce back and sparkle again.” This editorial is nothing short of disgusting.

The writer starts off with a reports of dead greyhounds in a pit and dead racehorses and live baiting in the country. And then adds this – “But maybe it’s the bad look before things get better; that the vigilance of stewards and administrators to go hard without fear or favour in all three versions of the one sport — racing animals for sport and gambling — will lead to a relatively trusted and prosperous era. Australian Trainers’ ­Association president Robbie Griffiths thinks so.”

No – It’s 2015, after decades of abuse in greyhound racing across the globe. You don’t get to claim this is a surprise and NOW you’ll clean it up. You are out of chances and it’s time to shut the industry down forever. You don’t get to claim ignorance when the ignorance and abuse and cruelty has gone on for decades – with the horrors clearly documented.

Then the writer of the piece went completely into the land of make believe and blames those who exposed the horrors of the industry – “Greyhound adoption was going gangbusters until the ­infamous Four Corners report. Requests plummeted, but they will rise once the hysteria and headlines subside.

One cannot get more misguided than that. Blaming the reporting of abuse for the reduction in adoptions? I would have had a hard time coming up a satire quote that hit the silly chart that far up the bar.

Stay tuned – there’s more to come.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Florida bill could end barbaric greyhound racing – but needs the backbone of more lawmakers

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I am more determined than ever to see an end to the barbaric industry of greyhound racing. As I get back into the Pack Mentality Blog now, I hope to post more frequently on this topic and others.

This week, we’re seeing activity in the Florida legislature on dog racing and we can only hope the more logical and compassionate heads will finally prevail.

The Florida Finance and Tax Committee used a 10-8 vote this week to move along a gambling bill. But the News Herald reports there’s still an uphill battle for its overall passage. Yes, compassion is still battling those who cannot understand basic facts – those who fail to see animal suffering on its most obvious levels.

One of the stunningly idiotic arguments we’re seeing suggests if dog racing goes away it means more gambling. The articles digs into other organizations coming in to add gambling or tables being added to replace dog tracks.

So in one manner, one form of gambling will replace another? SO WHAT? The difference will be – no dogs will be slaughtered for gambling. Even if more gambling is added, at least it won’t involve deaths and injuries to dogs. Small children can figure this stuff out.

So am I clear on this? Are the pro-racing people trying to excuse dog racing by claiming its demise as a gambling industry will lead to gambling? Do they think we’re stupid or do they have the brain function of a broken brick?

All we need to do is shut down dog racing and save the dogs from suffering. The state legislatures can work out the details of what happens within the gambling system going forward. Why do we keep seeing these idiotic arguments across so many issues?

But then again, we do know the answer – it typically involves profit motives. In cases like this, the need for big profit turns people stupid.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Back to Blogging – But Fighting Cancer

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I’ve been away from the Pack Mentality keyboard for a time, as I was diagnosed with – and immediately underwent surgery for – a brain rumor back in early March.

So while I’ve written for many, many years about canine cancer and health conditions in all animals, now I’m facing the crisis. I don’t know the outcome at this point, other than to state that I will beat this crisis with total determination – period.

My family has been great and fully supportive – from my wife to my brothers and kids. My friends, coworkers and neighbors have been great as well. This was out of the blue and as is the case for everyone in this situation, completely unexpected.

But through my family and friends and my work, I have much to live for – a ton to live for. Our band of rescue dogs have been a source of support and love.

If you spot a few more misspelled words here in this space, it is most likely due to visual problems brought on by the tumor. These issues do seem to be improving.

My plan is to jump back into blogging now and to be an an even more determined advocate for animals. So please come back often and join the battle to protect animals from abuse and neglect and to address issues that involve animals and human health.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey to phase out the use of elephants

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FINALLY, the elephants have some good news. The Associated Press reports today that the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will phrase out the use of elephants by 2018.

A special thank you should go out to all organizations who have been speaking out against the use of animals in circuses and to the communities that have passed ordinances against the use of animals in entertainment venues such as this.

I recall many years ago when I attended a local county fair and went into a tent where a circus was performing. There was a pause in the show as I approached the center ring.

Suddenly, an elephant walked over to where I was standing and looked right at me. He was very sad-faced and it really impacted me. I had to walk out.

Hopefully, this news story will lead to more bans on the use animals in similar ways. Certainly greyhound racing is another one. More animals are dying there than in the circuses.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

The most illogical argument ever seen

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In honor of the late Leonard Nimoy, who played the most logical character ever develop for TV or film, we offer today a nominee for the most illogical argument ever devised in the history of the galaxy.

The Florida Greyhound Association has taken the position that if greyhound racing ends in the state, it will lead to more gambling. (gasp, horrors) The association claims that the casinos will have more casino space, where gambling on dogs running around tracks will turn into gambling on something else – maybe cards or dice or some other activity.

So one form of gambling will take the place of another form of gambling. The only difference being dogs will no longer suffer injury or death. Spock would completely and totally reject – at warp speed – the industry’s warped thinking.  (I’ll need to explain to these unthinking people the difference between warped thinking and warp speed.)

And we have an industry that would love to see an increase in the amount of gambling on dogs expressing a position that more gambling is bad. It takes  warped thinking to an entirely new level.

Suddenly the folks who back GREYHOUND RACING don’t like GAMBLING – the very system that keeps greyhound racing going.

What is next for the greyhound racing industry? What other claims will it make for terrible things that will happen if dog racing ends.

Maybe they’ll say gas prices will rise to $12 a gallon or sun spots will increase to a level where all electronic communication will end of the planet. Maybe their slippery slope will lead to Vladimir Putin being appointed to the office of President of the United States.

To review the industry’s position: “Gambling is very, very bad – Unless you gamble on the lives of dogs.” Yes – that is really the position these people are taking.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

West Virginia could drop greyhound racing with new bill

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It’s not a great solution, as millions of dollars would go into a buyout plan, but a new bill in the West Virginia legislature could finally spell and end of greyhound racing in another state.

I don’t like the idea of the state handing over $36.5 million to breeders and owners. But these same individuals would otherwise continue to make money off the dogs who are facing injuries and deaths every day.

The WV Gazette notes the bill text in part reads –

“ … it is in the best interest of the state of West Virginia and the West Virginia greyhound racing entities to cease greyhound racing in West Virginia, and to compensate the West Virginia greyhound racing entities for their investment.”

There are also provisions to help the dogs who will be rescued when the tracks close. So $600,000 will go to no-kill shelters.
At least it seems the money that goes to the breeders and owners will come from gambling. That money could go to other funds that help people or animals in need, but this seems to be the best, most direct path to saving more dogs.
PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Greyhound racing breeder challenges common practice of breeders

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Possibly without realizing he was doing it, a supporter of greyhound racing in Australia is challenging a common practice of many breeders across the world.

Anthony Jeffress, a breeder, was quoted Feb. 20 in an article by Australian Racing Greyhound. He was concerned about the dogs been taken by authorities during the investigation concerning live baiting.

The article reports at least two mother dogs were “separated from their respective litters aged 12-14 weeks.” And then Jeffress was quoted as saying:

“There are a lot of greyhound trainers who believe mothers should be left with their pups for as long as six months,” Jeffress said.

“Those two were weaned off but it’s not just about the feed, it’s about the socialisation.”

So here is an area where I can agree with dog-racing breeders. Puppies need extended time with their mothers. The training and socialization is vitally important for all puppies, not just greyhounds.
Too often, breeders are selling puppies at 6 to 8 weeks old. I believe this is one reason why we see dogs with behavioral problems later in life.
But any concern for the welfare of greyhounds expressed by anyone who participates in dog racing is hollow, as the industry regularly kills and injures dogs.
PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic