Rawhide

April 09, 2022

When our friend arrived today, she brought a rawhide chew toy for Zena.  They had recently got a new puppy and Melissa has been using them as a sounding board for what works (and does not) when trying to get your puppy to mind.  When we had dog sat for them, they had brought several curled strips of raw hide for Eddie to play with, but I had not paid much attention.  When she gave the rawhide to Zena, it was like the dog was in heaven.  Zena tossed and chased and chewed on the strip for half an hour.  She mentioned rawhide was a good form of sitter when you could not pay close attention to your dog.

When I looked online, I found rawhide refers to a hide or animal skin that has not been exposed to tanning.  The process for making rawhide begins with the fur, meat, and fat being removed from the skin (buffalo, deer, elk, or cattle).  The hide is stretched over a frame to dry, and the material becomes hard and translucent.  Rawhide can be shaped by rewetting and forming before being re-dried.  Rawhide is often used for whips, drumheads, or lampshades, and more recently as chew toys for dogs.  It is more durable than leather if the item will experience abrasion during use, and its hardness and pliability can make it more suitable than leather.  Rawhide is effective for training dogs and satisfies their desire for meat.  Some veterinarians discourage giving small pieces of rawhide because of the inability to digest the rawhide properly and its tendency to swell in the stomach.  That is less of a problem with rawhide strips that cannot be swallowed whole.

I also found the Visalia Rawhide, a Minor League Baseball team of the California League and the Single-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.  They have played in Visalia, California, at Valley Strong Ballpark since their start in 1946.  The team has had nine names, most of which reflect changing major-league affiliates, and took the name Rawhide in 2009.  The mascot is a Holstein Bull named Tipper, introduced on October 15, 2008.  Tipper represents the tens of thousands of Holsteins in Tulare County, which is the top dairy-producing area in the country.  Tipper’s home is a 40′ x 20′ red barn which is part of the outfield fence.  The traditional red barn was built as a “community barn raising” to raise awareness for Habitat for Humanity and stands as an icon for the agricultural heritage of the valley.  Once per season, the team wears old-fashioned uniforms recalling Mighty Casey, the main folklore hero of “Casey at the Bat” and the “Mudville Nine”, based on the Stockton Ports in Stockton, 160 miles (240 km) to the north.

THOUGHTS:  Wet rawhide was used by some cultures as a means of torture or execution, gradually biting into the parts of the body encloses as it dries.  Rawhide was also used in the context of medicine by First Nations peoples.  The Sioux Nation would wrap wet rawhide around a long bone fracture, and as it dried it would slowly set the bone.  The dried rawhide then served to support the fracture, like a plaster cast today.  Many items’ humans make can be used for good or ill.  The same can be said today for wearing masks.  The difference comes with the intent of the user.  Act for all.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

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