Monday, March 31, 2008


Well, I released Arion the other day. It was a long and somewhat agonizing decision. I kept starting to write about it and then could never decide exactly what it was I wanted to say.
He was a great bird to handle, but I never could get him to fly. We think he may have had something going on--may have run into a power line or something prior to me picking him up. Whatever was happening there, there wasn't anything physically wrong with him, but I never could get him to fly past a certain distance. Even off the creance and free-flying, he just wouldn't fly more than about 70 feet.
We ruled out any physical, health issues and my sponsor had given me an enthusiastic pair of thumbs-up about his training, which she'd said had gone perfectly. It's just par for the course that not all birds are going to be suited for a working partnership with a human being.
It could be he had a hidden health issue, could have been neurological damage from hitting a power line or being hit by a car prior to me picking him up, could have just been an ultra laid-back bird that didn't have much motivation to fly when he was getting fed routinely anyway. Who knows?

In any case, it was a tremendously valuable experience. We fed him heavily up for several days, then set him out on a fence row in the middle of miles of wide-open grass pastures less than a quarter-mile from where he was trapped. No predators for miles. A small copse of trees nearby for cover. A little stream for water. No haggard birds nesting in the area to chase him away. We left him with at least a day or two worth of food and a full crop. He was so comfy that he stayed put on the fence post, even after we removed his furniture and walked away. We sat watching him for a while just to see if he'd go up in the trees or fly away, but he just sat there on his rat with a full crop digging the sunshine.

A friend asked me if I was worried about him, and my response was something along this line... he was doing just fine before I interrupted his life, and will do just fine without me. He might make it or might not, but their mortality rate in the wild is around 80% even under the best circumstances, and I kept him fed and flying through the rocky first year--so if nothing else, he's back in the breeding population with a season's worth of good food under his belt.

Good luck, big guy!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Dogos Rock!

A shoutout to the Dogo Argentino Club of America. The March fundraising auction is on in full force, and I invite you all to visit the Ebay auction--proceeds go to funding the national specialty and events hosted by the club around the country.

Raw Dog is represented in the auction, so if you're thinking of ordering something out of the online catalog, please consider bidding on this listing--the winner can choose any single item from the entire online catalog. The bidding is currently at $26, so you've got a chance to get yourself a piece at half or even a third the catalog price! 100% of the proceeds go to the DACA, so it's money well spent in two directions ;0)