Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, July 7, 2018

MVNews this week:  Page A:7



Mountain Views-News Saturday, July 7, 2018 

Happy Tails

by Chris Leclerc


Harley is a sweet Jack Russell terrier 
mix who was picked up as a stray 
in San Gabriel. Harley has been shy 
meeting new people and has learned 
to be more comfortable socially. He 
is curious but cautious when in new 
situations. He will need an adopter 
who is patient and gentle while he 
adjusts to new surroundings. Once 
Harley has learned to trust someone, 
he is friendly and will allow himself 
to be picked up and held on a lap. 
He enjoys playing with toys and with 
other dogs, and would probably do 
best with another dog in the home. 
He will be a wonderful family pet. If 
you are that loving, patient person 
come and meet Harley a few times 
and get to know him. He deserves 
a good home. His adoption fee is 
$130 and includes neuter surgery, 
vaccinations, microchip and a free 
wellness exam at a participating 
veterinarian. Feel free to call 
us at (626) 286-1159 for more 
information. He currently resides 
at the San Gabriel Valley Humane 
Society located at 851 E. Grand 
Avenue in San Gabriel. We are 
located off San Gabriel Blvd, north 
of Mission and south of Las Tunas 
Drive. To arrange a ‘Meet and 
Greet’, please stop by any time 
from 10:30am to 4:30pm Tuesday 
through Sunday. Website: www.


My beloved pup, Molly was sniffing around in the 
backyard recently, nosing in on certain points of interest 
as she often does. Eventually she found a particular spot 
that interested her enough to dig a good sized hole in 
the dirt. She then stuck her entire face down into the 
hole with her front legs bent low and her tail held high, 
wagging intensely. After a moment of pressing her nose 
down into the soft soil, she finally emerged and turned 
to me with a messy, muddy mustache and a look of 
disappointment on her face.

 I always get a kick out of watching Molly’s curiously 
entertaining antics as she meanders between the trees and 
bushes digging what appear to be random holes in our 
yard, and I often wonder exactly what it is that she thinks 
she might find in that subterranean playground of hers.

 When I mentioned Molly’s peculiar behavior to my 
husband, his response was a humorous, “Maybe she’s 
looking for truffles.” That gave me a good chuckle, as I 
am sure there are no truffles in our yard, and besides, I 
thought only pigs were interested in hunting truffles. But 
I must admit that‘s what it looked like Molly was up to. 
Truth be known, she most likely smells the moles that 
burrow and nest underground on our property, and 
that‘s why she is so intent on digging in the dirt like a 
mud monkey.

 Ironically, a few days after observing Molly‘s backyard 
mud-mauling mayhem, I happened to come across an 
article in Sunset Magazine about dogs that are trained to 
hunt truffles, entitled Diamonds in the Dirt. As it turns 
out, truffles are real big business in the culinary industry, 
and it is no trifle task to find the rarest, most desirable 
specimens. Remarkably, certain choice truffles can fetch 
thousands of dollars per pound in today’s European and 
American auction markets.

 So, top notch truffles have become quite a costly 
commodity among high-falutin foodies, and it seems that 
locating them underground would be a nearly impossible 
task without the amazing skills of a trained truffle-hunting 
dog, which makes a good truffle-sniffing pup no trifle 
commodity itself. Or, as one editor on 
the Truffle Hunting Dogs website so 
aptly put it, “Truffle dogs are worth 
their weight in gold!”.

 It fascinates me that a dog is able 
to sniff out a truffle nestled deeply 
under the dirt. I have never seen, held 
or smelled a truffle myself, so I’ve 
always assumed they were similar to 
mushrooms; some a bit tastier than 
others but for the most part rather 
flavorless and therefore equally 
scentless. Boy, was I ever wrong. 
Apparently most truffles have an 
intensely potent scent, and some are 
quite spicy and exotic tasting.

 Knowing this, I suppose it makes more sense to me that 
a dog could run randomly through a forest and pick up 
the distinctive scent of a hidden treasure-truffle wafting 
up to the surface from deep down below. After all, the 
canine’s olfactory senses are exponentially keener than that 
of the human. The average dog has 220 million olfactory 
receptors in it’s nose while the human has only about 5 
million, which means a dog can detect even the slightest 
scent that would go absolutely unnoticed by a human 

 You might be wondering, “What kind of dog makes the 
best truffle hunter, and how does one go about training 
a dog to sniff out those valuable nuggets?” Apparently, 
a wide variety of canine breeds have proven to succeed 
in truffle-hunting, and from what I understand the 
training techniques are somewhat similar to those used in 
preparing canines for search and rescue work.

 One truffle enthusiast who was featured in the Sunset 
Magazine article goes truffle hunting with his curly-coated 
canine, Tom, a 35-pound Lagotto Romano. And as a team 
of two, they have succeeded in retrieving some pretty 
amazing Piedmont White truffles from the back woods 
up in northern Oregon. The Lagotto Romano is an Italian-
bred poodle-spaniel that dates back the 16th century.

 In France, where Perigord Black are the truffles of 
choice, the desired pup of pursuit is more likely to be a 
prick-eared terrier type of no discernable breed. Having 
read this, I’m thinking maybe my Molly has a little of that 
blood type mixed in with her doggie DNA!

 Being the ultimate equal opportunity dog-lover that 
I am, I imagine just about any canine with a good snout 
and a willingness to learn & obey could be trained to hunt 
truffles just as they could be trained to do anything their 
master desires. Who knows, maybe someday Molly will 
become a truffle hunter and make us a fat fortune finding 
ugly yet very tasty “dirt diamonds”. OK, so I won’t hold my 
breath, and hopefully neither will she. We wouldn’t want 
her giving up that inherent drive to sniff things out in the 
dirt now would we?


Lifeline for Pets presents 
Simon, age 5, brown tabby. This 
big boy is way cool! He’s loving 
and loves to play! He needs an 
active family for lots of play, 
or could use a good buddy to 
rough-house with!

 Come and meet this long-
haired beauty, who resembles a Maine Coon! He is being housed at The Cats Pajamas in Pasadena, 
where you can call to make an appointment to meet Simon: 626-449-1717. Simon will come current on 
vaccines, neutered, and chipped. $100. Adoption info at

 Good news: Cheetos has been adopted.


I loved Chris Leclerc’s quotes about animals! Some I’d heard but some I hadn’t! All good to hear again. 
May I add a couple more?

•“Time spent with cats is never wasted” by Colette (Sidonie Gabrielle Colette)

•“ If you touch me you’ll understand what happiness is.” song, “Memory,” from Cats musical by Andrew 
Lloyd Webber

So true!

Darlene Papa

Lifeline for Pets



A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder





[Nyerges runs a local 
farmers market. He’s also 
the author of “Guide to 
Wild Foods,” “Extreme 
Simplicity,” and other books. He can be reached 

 Each of us is bombarded daily by advertisers 
who want our money. And in the food category, 
they know that everyone wants good and healthy 
food, so many terms are used to described why 
one food is better than the other. But let’s be 
clear—there is lot’s of deceit and slippery use of 
words so we think we’re getting something better 
than it really is. This is not to say that there is no 
quality out there, just that the buyer must be wary!



 What does it mean when something is said to 
be “natural.” It means pretty much whatever you 
want it to mean. It has no legal definition and since 
literally everything on earth came from nature 
originally, manufacturers of various foods often 
say their product is “natural.” This is all too often 
based on sketchy reasoning. So disregard the term 
“natural.” Over 50 lawsuits have been brought 
against food companies who make the dubious 
claim that their product is “natural.” 


 No, of course not! EVERYTHING is composed 
of chemicals. What’s normally meant by this term 
is that the consumer wants to be sure that the food 
they are eating is free of harmful chemicals. Yet, 
that’s not a good standard either, since lots of 
additives are on the GRAS list which cause 
discomfort and sickness to many people.


 A GMO is a genetically modified food. Though 
many people feel that the GMOs are harmful, there 
has actually been no evidence (yet) that this is the 
case. Most of the concern has to do with the idea 
of where the use of GMOs might lead, and fear for 
the future. So we should all have a right to know 
whether or not our foods are GMOs, right? You’d 
think so, but in California in 2012, Proposition 37 
would have required food producers to state on 
their labels whether or not the item is a GMO. The 
food manufacturers spent millions of dollars on 
their fear campaign, convincing voters that food 
costs would have been driven up if they had to 
go to all the trouble to “re-label” containers this 
way. The Proposition lost. In fact, product labels 
are printed all the time, constantly, and so that was 
a fabricated argument. Food processors who use 
GMOs knew that the general public would not 
buy their products as readily if they were labeled 


 The public assumes that organic is better and 
safer, and assumes that it means such things as 
no synthetic pesticides or chemical fertilizers 
were used to grow the food. “Organic” may or 
may not mean that it is a GMO. Organic meat, 
egg and dairy products cannot include growth 
hormones or antibiotics. Livestock are required 
to have year-round grazing access and given non-
GMO feed. Additionally, a farm cannot have had 
any of the prohibited substances used on its land 
for three years prior in order to qualify for USDA 
Organic status. 

Organic farming methods are traditionally 
regarded as using only animal manures, ash, 
bone meal, etc. for fertilizers, and natural pest 
control, such as soil amendments, beneficial 
insects, companion plantings, etc. But many of 
the traditional methods used on small farms is not 
readily scalable to a large farm, and so a “legally” 
organic farm may use pesticides if they are from 
natural source, as well as synthetic materials. 
Therefore, what a biologist and chemist might 
call “organic” is very different from what the 
government will call “organic.” As always, let the 
buyer beware.

In fact, all the details of what is, and is not, “legally 
organic” is as thick as an old phone book!


 One of the best books describing the complexity 
of the situation, and how the government 
regulations stack the deck against the small 
farmer, read “Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal” 
by Joel Salatin. As he points out, “The ludicrous 
requirements are an attempt to legislate integrity, 
and integrity cannot be legislated.”

 Also, for the best information for the small scale 
organic farmer, read the monthly Acres USA.

I have had enough of some things. There are, however, 
some things I can never have enough. Apple fritters 
and coffee are things I can never have enough of. I 
would never use the word “enough” with these words.

 Some things are in this category of “I’ve Had 

 Recently, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage 
said, “Your birthday is coming up. What do you want 
to do for your birthday?”

 I looked at her like I have never looked at her before 
and said, “Enough, I’ve had enough of birthdays I 
don’t want another birthday.”

 She looked at me, laughed like usual and said, “Silly 
boy, everybody has a birthday.”

 In a way, I guess she is right, but I have had enough 
birthdays and I do not want another birthday.

 I think birthday celebrations are rather silly when 
you get to be a certain age. Sure, when you are young 
and full of energy, you looked forward to birthday 
celebrations. You looked forward to all the birthday 
presents you are going to be getting. Nothing is more 
exciting than celebrating your birthday.

 That certainly is one stage of life. However, that 
stagecoach has left the ranch. I have had enough 

 One of the aggravating things about a birthday is 
that you have to disclose your age. You know when 
you say, for example, “I’m 60,” people will always 
respond by saying, “You don’t look 60.”

 Everybody knows that is the code for saying, “You 
sure do look old.”

 Or, somebody will say, “60 is the new 40.” I have no 
idea what that means, but I certainly do not want to 
live 40 again.

 Mind you, I have nothing against birthday cakes and 
such. I have had enough birthday cakes throughout 
my life that I probably do not need anymore. If only I 
could get a birthday cake without all of the hullabaloo 
and the singing, “Happy birthday to you…”

 But there is a main concern I have about my 
birthday. I have given this some rather deep thought 
and I have come to my ultimate conclusion.

 That conclusion is, I really do not know when my 
birthday is.

 That may sound silly, but I have good reasons to 
question the actual birth date. Unfortunately, I cannot 
remember anything about that day. I do have a vague 
memory of being hung upside down by my feet and 
somebody slapping my backside. That is all I 

 I do not know the actual date and year.

 My wife one time said to me, “Well, your parents 
told you what your birthday was. You should trust 

 And that is the problem. It is a problem of trust. In 
the beginning years of my life, whenever it started, my 
parents had the habit of lying to me.

 For instance. It took me years to discover that 
they had been lying to me about Santa Claus and 
the Easter Bunny. For many years, they assured me 
there was a real Santa Claus and a real Easter Bunny. 
Can you imagine the heartache I experienced when I 
discovered that they were not being truthful to me?

 If they were not truthful to me about Santa Claus 
or the Easter Bunny, how can I be sure they were 
truthful to me about my actual birth date?

 Someone once pointed out that I had a birth 
certificate, but I do not know the validity of that birth 
certificate. I do not remember being present when 
that certificate was signed. How do I know it is not 

 It took me a long time to realize that even the Tooth 
Fairy was not actually true. When they told me about 
the Tooth Fairy, I could hardly wait to yank a tooth 
out of my mouth and put it under my pillow.

 Imagine the disappointment I felt when I 
discovered there was no such thing as a Tooth Fairy.

If I would take the time to investigate, I probably 
would find a lot more things my parents told me that 
turned out not to be true. So, when it comes to my 
birth date, how can I really believe that that is my 
actual birth date?

 What, if I am not as old as my parents say I am?

So, with all the information I have not found, how can 
I celebrate my birthday again? I think I should just 
put it aside as I did Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and 
the Tooth Fairy. I should put it in the same category, 
laugh it off and say, “Ha, ha, ha, none of this is true.”

 “What do you mean,” my wife queried, “you’re not 
going to celebrate your birthday anymore?”

 I explained to her that I celebrated enough 
birthdays, birthday I’m not quite sure is my actual 
birthday, so I don’t need to celebrate anymore. 
Enough is certainly enough.

 “What about my birthday?”

 I simply looked at her and said, “We sure will be 
celebrating your birthday at least once a year.” She 
smiled and I let it at that.

 Later that night I thought of some Scripture I had 
read in the morning. “The Lord our God spake unto 
us in Horeb, saying, Ye have dwelt long enough in this 
mount” (Deuteronomy 1:6). God was trying to get 
Israel to move on.

 Like Israel, sometimes we can stay “long enough” at 
a certain place and then we need to move on.

 The Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of 
God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. 
He lives with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage, 
in Ocala, Florida. Call him at 352-687-4240 or 
e-mail The church web site 

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