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Weekly Smilers - September 20th 2010
Smiling Dogs
Anika, Bear, Bear, Beau, Beth & Chula
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September 6th 2010
Smiling Dogs
Anabel, Archie & Sophia, Ari, Avery

Your source for Smiling Dogs! Enter here. 

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August 30th 2010
Smiling Dogs
Andybean, Axel, Bambam, Beautox, Potter & So-Sumi

Happy faces. Send in your photo here.

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Web Exclusives: Sept/Oct 2010
Vinny

Welcome to our web exclusives. This is where you’ll find new and topical articles, instructions, links for taking action, multimedia bonuses and expanded versions of material in the print magazine. Enjoy!

  • Meet Bentley - Our Sept/Oct Cover Dog! [Video]
  • Vinny - Bark Rescue Wonder Dog. [Video]
  • Margaret Cho  - Exclusive free download for one of the album’s songs, “Hey Big Dog.” [Audio]
  • DIY Dog Caves - Another great home design idea from Bark readers.
  • A Stray in Haiti - Winning over the men and women of Operation United Response.
  • Molly - See extended photos of Molly today (A Stray in Haiti).
  • Gateway Guardians - Q&A with documentary’s director Rebecca Ormond.
  • Photobooth Dogs - A one-of-a-kind collection celebrating the age-old bond between dogs and their people.
  • Q&A with Shawn Kobb - Unpublished writer sees ink as a finalist in Bark’s 1st Fiction Contest.

 

Dog's Life: Work of Dogs
Showbiz Dogs: Advice from a Pro
[VIDEO] Writer/actress/“dog manager” Lorraine Goodman talks about dogs in showbiz

In our September issue, Lorraine Goodman gives us a behind-the-scenes look at Tiger, a rising dog star on the set of his first feature film. After putting a few dog years into last minute photo shoots (for everything from an Ikea catalog to Vogue), a national television commercial, and eight fruitless hours in David Letterman’s green room (bumped for the announcement about his girl troubles), the three-and-a-half year old Terrier mix got his big break earlier this summer. He went to work on The Son of No One, which “co-stars” such Hollywood luminaries as Al Pacino, Ray Liotta and Katie Holmes.

  Recently, Goodman talked to us (on camera, of course) about Tiger, who was “discovered” during a routine training outing in Central Park. An actress in her own right, with credits including a few seconds in The Departed, Goodman provides insider advice to Bark readers who think their dogs might be the next Benji.

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August 23rd 2010
Smiling Dogs
Amigo

 Many more smilers! Enter your smiling pup here.

Dog's Life: Humane
Bark Rescue Wonder Dog: Vinny
How Andrea Horikawa coaxed the wonder from a one tough mutt

Almost immediately after Andrea Horikawa adopted Vinny Love from a shelter in southern California, she had doubts. The Chihuahua mix with a dizzying tail challenged every dog to cross his path. She contemplated returning him to the pound, but realizing his days would be numbered if she did, she redoubled her commitment. As a result of three years of diligent, consistent and positive training, Vinny is now a well-mannered pup with an impressive arsenal of more than 20 tricks, including a handstand that would make a yogi jealous. (See the video at the end of this article)

We often hear stories about shelter and rescue dogs who shed serious baggage—neglect, abandonment, abuse—to rise above expectations. We decided to feature some of these special pups—and by extension their faithful people—as Bark Rescue Wonder Dogs because they make us rethink what’s possible. We begin with Vinny and Andrea. We asked the 22-year-old Laguna Hills resident how Vinny landed on his paws with such poise.

Bark: Are you a trainer?
Andrea Horikawa: No.

How did you have this kind of success with Vinny?
I went to private consultations with six or seven dog trainers around the area. I was hoping I would find a trainer I really liked and then I would start taking classes from them. But I didn’t really find any trainers I liked. So I just took in some dog training tips from one trainer and some tips from another trainer and they kind of all meshed and I used what worked for Vinny and me.

What kinds of things were a good fit for you?
Mainly, redirection. If he aggressed, I would redirect him, make him do something I wanted him to do and praise him for that.

Do you use treats? A clicker?
Treats and praise. I didn’t use a clicker. He’s very food motivated. But when I first got him, even if I had treats, he still lashed out at other dogs.

So you’d be walking him on leash and he’d lunge and bark at other dogs?
Yes.

Now when you see another dog, what happens?
He’s fine. In the beginning, I would see another dog and I would have Vinny look at me, not at the other dog because what he used to do was look at the other dog, fixate on him, and then challenge him by barking and lunging. By avoiding eye contact, he stays quiet. Now looking is OK; if he fixates, that’s not good. He’ll usually look at the other dog, and I’ll say “Vinny” and he’s quiet and he’ll walk fine.

How much time do you spend working with Vinny?
About 45 minutes in the morning and 45 minutes at night.

Does that include exercise time?
Yes.

What have been the most challenging tricks to teach him?
The handstand. I first saw it on YouTube.

How long did it take?
He has to build up muscle strength. It took us probably five months for him to fully do it.

Have you considered a future in movies for Vinny?
We’ve actually talked to an animal training agent. But they ask a lot of money upfront. If I had that money, I would use it for rescues and other things.

Why did you post Vinny’s tricks on YouTube?
I wanted to show people that, one, even if you have a dog with behavior issues, if you take the time to train them they can make wonderful companions and even do a lot of tricks and, two, there are a lot of dogs who have no issues in shelters and I want to become an advocate for animal rescue and adoption.

What do you think is ahead for him?
I don’t know. We perform at a lot of local dog shows that are fundraisers for animal shelters and rescues. We’ve been able to persuade a lot of people to look for their next pet at animal shelters and rescues. And because of the videos, we’ve had people contact us from around the world tell us we’ve inspired them to adopt or get involved in their rescue community.

What would you say to any Bark readers who might be struggling with a dog’s behavior?
I would tell them to be patient and stay committed and never give up on them. But be realistic about what you want to achieve. I think, for a while, I wanted Vinny to be a dog park/dog beach, very social dog. And that’s just not who he is. I can’t change him. He’ll never be a really dog-social dog. I have to accept him for who he is.

Culture: Readers Write
Q&A with Katerina Lorenzatos Makris
A two-day writing binge was medicine for one finalist in The Bark’s fiction contest

A flinty old woman searching for a dog at a shelter and finding something more is the central arc of Katerina Lorenzatos Makris’ story “Small Change” (Nov/Dec 2010), which was a finalist in The Bark’s 1st Annual Short Story/Fiction Contest. Any of us who have worked, volunteered or adopted at a shelter know this is a setting for life-changing experiences. We recently asked Makris—who is the author of 17 novels, hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles and Your Adopted Dog with Shelley Frost—what was behind her short story and the role of dogs in her life and her fiction.

  TheBark.com: What inspired this story? Katerina Lorenzatos Makris: In the U.S. and around the world billions of dogs, cats, farmed animals and wild ones suffer in horrifying and unnecessary ways at our hands. It’s overwhelming, and I long for a magic wand to stop it. There’s no such thing. But there are small changes. Groups and individuals in almost every country struggle to help. While we all search for bigger, better answers, my hat’s off to anyone who makes even a bit of effort.   On a more personal level, elder care might be another thing behind this story. I’ve done my share, for both human and canine family members, and know how it is to feel worn out and bereaved. I also know how it is to feel embittered, and to have a dog cajole you out of it. Or to be nearly numbed by life’s knocks, and be brought back to your senses by a dog. They excel at restoration. Their little flames burn away fog. They might have evolved for it. An inert human isn’t going to do them much good. It’s in their interests to pep you up—even when you’re doing your best to avoid it—and get you to explore, play, love, and, of course, eat as often as possible.   Do you have a dog or dogs? My gallant husband and his canine-compulsive wife have rescued over 120 dogs and a few kitties. Some have found other families; some have stayed. We’re at our limit now (hear that, honey? I promise) but I wish we could care for more. So many dogs, so little time!   Have dogs shown up in your novels? You bet. For example, The Five Cat Club (Avon Books) is all about cat and dog rescue. In Crosstown (Avon), a German Shepherd helps see the heroine through. But one of these days, I’d like to do some books with dogs in the lead.   How did you get the idea for “Small Change”? Largely The Bark is to blame.   Back in the summer I’d read about the contest but didn’t have time to give it much thought. In December, while my husband was away visiting his folks for the holidays, I was home alone with too many dogs—three of them active (euphemism) teenagers—feeling tired and a little blue. Maybe the story came along as a bit of self-medication. The Bark had issued a challenge. I’m daunted by short fiction, but giving it a try just two days before the deadline (in between collecting the remains of a dismembered sofa, mopping puddles and interrupting dominance displays) felt daring—my version of a hang-glide.   The phrase “small change” kept rolling around in my head. I just let it. At the last minute my writer pals Shelley Frost, Meera Lester, A. Bronwyn Llewellyn, Brad Schreiber, my husband, and my parents-in-law took the time to read a draft and make invaluable suggestions. I think I sent it in about 11 minutes before the deadline on New Year’s Eve, flipped on the TV for the ball drop, then ran around the living room kissing all the dogs at midnight.    Do you have a favorite dog character in a novel, story, movie or painting? Argos in Homer’s The Odyssey.   Who is your favorite writer? Oh, impossible! Sorry this answer is so long, but gosh… Homer, Lao Tse, Euripides, Socrates, Cicero, St. John the Theologian, Edward Gibbon, G.W.F. Hegel, Thomas Hardy, Abraham Lincoln, Andreas Laskaratos, Anna Sewell, C.P. Cavafy, William Faulkner, Octavio Paz, Philip K. Dick, Kurt Vonnegut, Alice Walker, Tanith Lee, Ursula K. LeGuin, Harriet Doerr, Diana Wynne Jones, Louis de Bernieres, Alan Paton, Alexander McCall Smith, Dana Facaros, Laura Esquivel, Mary Pipher, Sylvia Earle, Karen Dawn, Jonathan Safran Foer... That’s leaving out countless more favorites, such as all my writer friends. So many books, so little time!   Would you mind telling us your age? Seven, in dog years.

 

Culture: Readers Write
Q&A with Shawn Kobb
Unpublished writer sees ink as a finalist in Bark’s 1st Fiction Contest

“Street Dog,” about a homeless man and a stray dog, is Shawn Kobb’s first published story (Bark, Sep/Oct 2010). Kobb, 33, was one of three finalists in our first fiction contest earlier this year. In his non-writing hours, Kobb is a U.S. Foreign Service Officer, currently living in The Bahamas with his wife and their adopted Doberman puppy, which they adopted during a two-year stint in Ukraine. Kobb recently shared with TheBark.com a little about the real man and dogs who inspired his story.

  TheBark.com: What inspired your story? Shawn Kobb: The story was inspired in part by a homeless man that lived in the neighborhood in Washington, DC that I stayed at last summer while training for my current assignment. I used to see this man almost daily, always sitting in the same spot on the same street as tourists and locals walked by him. He never asked for money, just watched people walk by. At the same time, we have just finished living for two years in Ukraine and stray dogs were a constant problem there. I decided to join up two groups that seemed like they could use each other.   This is my first published piece of fiction and I’ve never entered any other contests. I’ve always been interested in writing and have written several pieces, but I’ve never published any of them before.   Do you have a favorite dog character in a novel, story, movie or painting? I would say one of my favorite dogs in literature is Laika from the graphic novel of the same name. It is the true story of a homeless dog taken from the streets of the former Soviet Union who later became the first dog in space. To be honest, I’ve only ever skimmed the piece, because although it is beautifully illustrated and written, it is too sad for me to make it through. My wife and I adopted a female Doberman puppy while living in Ukraine and she is named Laika in honor of this dog.   Who is your favorite writer? Like many people, I have many favorite writers. Right now, I would go with Dan Simmons. He’s a terrific writer that refuses to stick to one genre. He has great books that are science fiction, historical fiction, horror, suspense, and even non-fiction. His historical fiction The Terror is one of my favorites.

 

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Margaret Cho
Exclusive Offer
Margaret Cho

Margaret Cho, a dear friend of Bark’s, has just released her first comedy music album, Cho Dependent. She has offered our readers an exclusive free download for one of the album’s songs, “Hey Big Dog.” Margaret tells us that the inspiration for this song came from her wish “that humans and dogs could actually speak to each other and then sing together… the song is about people problems versus dog problems, and the idea that maybe we could solve these problems together.” For this song, go to margaretcho.com/chodependent and enter “Ralph” in the “your code” box. Enjoy!

Here’s a little more about Margaret’s foray into music, a natural progression for one who has continuously tested the boundaries of humor, politics and identity. A self-confessed music geek and longtime admirer of the parodist Weird Al Yankovic, Cho collaborated with a who’s who of musical friends including Grant Lee Phillips, Ani DiFranco and Ben Lee to create her 14 track album.

Cho Dependent shines with high musical production, catchy melodies, and Margaret’s characteristic wit—“to me, it’s still about jokes,” she assures. The songs range from “I’m Sorry,” a countrified “murder ballad” to “Calling in Stoned” featuring Tommy Chong (half of the famed Cheech & Chong comedy duo). The origin of “Hey Big Dog” began with a writing partnership with Patty Griffin, the acclaimed singer-songwriter, country music stalwart and fellow dog lover. The subject of the song is Cho’s dog Ralph. “As I wrote the lyrics to this song, I sat with my big boy Ralph and imagined what he would say to me if he could speak, what he would sing to me if he could sing. I stared in his root beer eyes, as he cocked his butterscotch blonde eyebrows one then the other and tried to decipher his thoughts,” Cho recalls. The song evolved, moving from guitar accompaniment to banjo, a more mournful interpretation that coincided with Ralph’s illness and eventual death. When fellow dog lover, Fiona Apple, heard the song performed live, an instant connection was born and a new duet partner. Add Ben Lee’s pitch perfect production, and the result is what Cho refers to as “Nashville meets Animal Planet.”

The song remains a tribute to Ralph, as well as an anthem to animal lovers everywhere. Margaret Cho’s album Cho Dependent is available online and at music stores, and you can catch her live as she performs around the country through the end of the year.

Want more Margaret? You can watch a 2008 interview Bark did with Margaret here.

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