Monday, December 19, 2011

Burning old dreams and goals

It's hard to believe that it's almost Christmas.  My wife has been diligently working away at Christmas cards and such, but we have forgone the normal holiday decorations this year.  On the 5th I went in for some hernia surgery and now under doctors orders I have disallowed from lifting more than 15 lbs for the following 6 weeks.   This includes crawling in the attic to retrieve a Christmas tree. In search of projects less than 15lbs we decided to attack the office.  It is amazing how much paper we have gathered over the years.  Those who know me would probably not be surprised, but I found folders and files for information long irrelevant dating back over 20 years.  

It would have taken ages and ages to shred all that paper, so we went to the grey play field both Saturday afternoon and Sunday afternoon to burn the record of my youth.  I had notes and manuals from my favorite computer and history courses as well as income tax returns from when I was still in school.  In a way it was a little sad to see my old essays and course projects go up in flames, but the material hadn't been been opened in years.   As with most things in the computer world, it had quickly become dated.

I guess the work I have done since and the man I have become is more of a testament to the efforts I put into my education than some computer projects that I embarked on back in the day.

And thus begins our war on paper, and other needless things that have built up over the years.  We still have a lot more to go through. Ricky and Kassa are enjoying this war as happy observers.  After all,  it means more trips to the grey play field for them.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Liebster Blog Award

Dogs Journey was recently nominated for the Liebster Blog Award by Home is where the hounds are Thanks so much for nomination.  I'm a little new to the nomination business, probably due to my verbal diarrhea and lack of editing, but I will do my best.  Here are the rules of the award.

Liebster means “dearest” in German, and the award is intended to help up-and-coming blogs get the attention they deserve. As with any award, there is a bit of ceremony involved. In order to accept the award, we must do the following:
1. Copy and paste the award on our blog.
2. Link back to the blogger who gave us the award
3. Pick our five favorite blogs with less than 200 followers, and leave a comment on their blog to let them know they have received the award.
4. Hope that the five blogs chosen will keep spreading the love and pass it on to five more blogs

Here is my list of nominations. Some are quite new and some are more established, but I enjoy them all.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Pre-Adoption : Could we turn the system upside down?

Recently a friend of mine sent me this link regarding a raffle for a quality bred up and coming racing dog. All proceeds for the raffle go to the "GREYHOUNDS AS PETS OF NORTHEAST FLORIDA" organization. Racing Dog Raffle The short version is if you win the raffle, you get 35% of the winnings of the dog, and of course can take him/her home as yours when their racing career is over. I think this is a wonderful idea and got me thinking of the current adoption model.

I have been leafing through John Semyour's "The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It" and I thought he made some interesting points about specialization within our society. Our society has become extremely organizationally focused where people specialize in one thing work for salary and then pay others to perform their own specializations. One of the issues with this is that as people's specializations become obsolete or as economic downturn effects the organization as a whole, individuals are left with little to do to support themselves. Another issue is that any optimization that occurs is not for the system as a whole, but rather each component of the system is optimized for monetary output with little thought to long term viability.

I see parallels here between what I believe has happened in the greyhound racing industry. My understanding of the current greyhound system is that there are many players involved in greyhound racing being, Breeding Farms, Owners, Racing Kennels, Tracks, Gamblers and Adopters. Of course there is cross over between roles such as Farms and Owners, but to a large extent I believe the roles are disjoint. Since the system is optimized for money, many owners may have never laid eyes on the dogs they own. At the other end of the spectrum, many adopters have never been to a farm to see how the dogs are raised, nor a racing kennel to see how they are kept through their career. These disjoint roles have lead to a mistrust between the players where they see each other as necessary or in some cases, unnecessary evils. I think the sport aspect of greyhound racing has been totally over shadowed by the monetary and gambling aspects.

What if we could turn this system on its head? What if adopters partnered with farms and owners? I know as a current adopter of two hounds, that in 5 to 7 years I will be looking to adopt more. Coincidentally, a greyhounds racing career usually is over when they are 3 to 5 years old. We could strive for a system where greyhounds are adopted before they even go to the track and have a stake and voice in their success and well being.

I think this approach could accomplish a few things. It could revive interest in greyhound racing as a sport rather than just as a declining gambling venue. Adopters, who presumably have the long term interest of the specific greyhound that is going to be occupying their couches, in mind would have a voice interest in both their dogs well being and performance. Dogs would be more likely to stay local to the area's of the adopters/owners throughout their career. Depending on how the relationship was setup, kennels and owners and farms would be confident their dogs had homes and would not have to scramble to get groups to accept them. They would also be subject to less 'bad press' surrounding racing as the sport would become more 'elevated'
in the public perception. On the negative side for adopters, adopting early in the process we would not be able to "find the right home for the right dog" as the dog we adopt as a pup is the dog we have.

I'm sure many will find my views of this over simplistic and they probably are. New adopters are not going to wait around 3 to 5 years to get a dog, they will just move onto another breed. Well certainly this system could not be implemented overnight. I would say this could be a trend or technique repeat adopters could follow. The movement could be an organic rather than legislated. New adopters could get their dogs through the existing adoption / foster system. Repeat adopters could forge these aforementioned relationships and the fact that they are "repeats" would say something about their long term intention and interest in the dogs.

Greyhounds love to run and to race. Perhaps this is a way help improve the system, continue to give the hounds the opportunities to race, and make it more sustainable. Comments and suggestions are always welcome.