Responsibility, part 2: Common sense behavior around dogs

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Anyone who wishes to avoid a dog attack needs to know something about dogs and how to behave toward them. Some children, for example, seem ignorant of rules taught me as a child, when rabies was more common among domestic dogs than wild raccoons. A group of children will gather to tease the dog in the neighbor’s yard or one chained to a tree. A child will stray into a dog’s yard.

It is fortunate that such actions do not always have immediate consequences. Nevertheless, any one of them creates a situation in which a dog attack can and often will occur, even if the dog is normally calm and friendly.

Incident:

A boy about 10 years old rushed directly toward a German Shepherd on a lead sitting beside its owner in a pet store checkout line. The dog barked and lunged toward the boy. The boy went away while the owner reigned in the dog, which returned to its calm state.

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Responsibility, part 1: How dangerous is that dog?

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Residential complexes or local governments in recent years have reacted to dog attacks by restricting or prohibiting certain breeds. This approach to reducing dogs attacks is doomed to failure, because the root of the problem normally has little or nothing to do with the breed.

 

Instead, research shows the factors that best predict dog attacks are either circumstantial or related to whether and how the owner trains, handles and treats the dog on a daily basis.

 

[For details, see Delise, Karen. Fatal Dog Attacks: The Stories Behind the Statistics. Manorville, NY: Anubis Press, © 2002 by Karen Delise.]

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How much does size matter?

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Interviewers and job descriptions sometimes make a point of requiring experience with "large" documents, and I always wonder what the underlying concern really is. What, in the mind of the interviewer or person writing the job description, distinguishes "large" documents from "small" ones?

Generating documents of any size requires skill with a word processor, including knowledge of how well the software handles documents that are primarily text as opposed to ones containing numerous graphics. As documents increase in size, however, navigation aids, organization and typographical style become more important.

Large documents inevitably need such items as tables of contents, indexes, cross-references and section breaks and associated headers, footers and pagination. These items can be tricky to use and maintain. Once the need for them is established, however, whether the document is 50 pages or 500 does not matter. The questions here, rather, are whether the technical writer both can determine when these conventions are needed and can implement them.

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Class act

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The  team and fans of the Forever television series have impressed me greatly with their graceful and dignified reaction to ABC's cancellation of the show. Show star Ioan Gruffudd's humble and appreciative online letter to fans following his receipt of the news demonstrated a level of class I had begun to think was out of fashion. Despite his disappointment at the loss of a role he obviously loved, he took time to be gratfeul for the short-lived opportunity and loyal fan support.

My cursory search has identified at least four online venues that noted the heart-felt missive while also commenting that some of the shows the network retained had no better ratings and significantly smaller and less devoted followings. Forever fans have initiated a campaign to find a new champion to pick up the show. I wish them well, and support their efforts.

Subtle sleeper

I think one reason Forever was a slow-starter with regard to ratings had to do with the number of pitfalls to which it was prone. It succumbed, however, neither to the  how-does-Henry-die-this-week nor the immortal-hero-versus-immortal-villain cliches. Instead, it developed gentler threads to explore the other consequences of Henry's immortality, such as the knowledge and wisdom he had gained during the course of several lifetimes and how he managed to use and explain it.

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