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Wrap It Up


While dogs would be happy to have their gift treats piled on the floor in front of them, their human companions will appreciate a more thoughtful presentation.

This year, try the traditional Japanese art of wrapping gifts in fabric squares—furoshiki—as an attractive and functional way to reduce paper waste. Not only is this an eco-sensitive option, the fabric can be put to other uses, doubling the gift.

 

For furoshiki wrapping directions, watch this video or download the PDF, which was created by the helpful folks at the Japanese Ministry of the Environment.

 

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Weekly Smiler 12-16-13
Smiling Dogs
Beau

Our featured smilers of the week. See more in our Smiling Dogs Gallery.
This week: Beau, Chloe, Guinness, Maxie and Olive.

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Weekly Smiler 12-9-13
Smiling Dogs
Amber

Our featured smilers of the week. See more in our Smiling Dogs Gallery.
This week: Amber, Jasmine, Sadie, Tess and Ziva.

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Weekly Smiler 12-2-13
Smiling Dogs
Addie

Our featured smilers of the week. See more in our Smiling Dogs Gallery.
This week: Addie, Bella, Jade, Sunny and Toby.

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Weekly Smiler 11-25-13
Smiling Dogs
Blue

Our featured smilers of the week. See more in our Smiling Dogs Gallery.
This week: Blue, Jessie, Karma, Otto and Roxy.

Culture: DogPatch
10 Things We’re Thankful For at The Bark

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we’re taking a moment to make a list of what we are thankful for this year. Working on The Bark for the past 16 years, we’ve been afforded a unique view into the world of dogs, and the people who care for them. A lot has changed, but some of the best things about dogs never seems to.

1. The spirit of volunteerism. The dog community is a compassionate, supportive network of people who foster, donate, fundraise, advocate and share their love with animals who need it. Through a million small and large acts of kindness and with a sense of responsibility—they make a difference.

2. Dog-friendliness is being embraced. A generation ago, dogs’ access to public and shared spaces was very limited. “No dogs allowed” signs were the norm. Thankfully, these are fewer today, and a conscious effort to welcome dogs in parks, businesses and at social events is growing in popularity.

3. Government oversight of pet food. After hundreds of deaths from tainted pet food and treats, and countless recalls of foreign-source and domestically-produced product—we can look forward to new regulations that will impose safety and health requirements to the $21 billion pet food industry. Our pets deserve nothing less.

4. Science is offering new insights. The number of important studies and research that impact our understanding of dogs is at an all-time high. From the dog genome project to studies of the canine mind and senses, these creative investigations into what makes dogs tick is contributing to real, practical improvements in how dogs live in our society.

5. The inspiration of fine writing and art. Some of today’s best writers and thinkers are exploring the rich subject of dogs—from poet Mary Oliver to psychologist Alexandra Horowitz and novelist Ann Patchett—the wealth of words expressing life with dogs is our good fortune. Visual artists like Lucian Freud, David Hockney and Elliot Erwitt contribute their own language.

6. More choice than ever. Gone are the days when Ken-L-Ration and Milkbones ruled supreme. Today, dogs have their choice of organic, wheat-free, freeze-dried, reconstituted, bison, duck, raw, home-cooked and every combination imaginable. The expansion of selection has touched every corner of pet products … there are more dog beds, more toys, more everything to address every need and fancy.

7. Health options are evolving. A similar broadening of veterinary care is occurring, new techniques and medical innovations provide us with more options … holistic treatments, non-invasive procedures and, often, a level of care that can rival our own. The growth of pet health insurance is an idea whose time may have arrived.

8. The impact of canine behavior on everything—from training to unwanted pets. Understanding how dogs think and feel is key to living with them in harmony. It’s such a simple premise, but the plethora of misguided theories can do more harm than good. Fortunately, the truth has a way of rising to the top, and our understanding of canine cognition and behavior will help us solve some of the biggest challenges we face in the pet community.

9. Dogs’ roles in society are growing. Dogs love it when they have a job to do. For many, that means a real task to perform, and as a society, we’re expanding the job pool—assistance and therapy dogs, tracking and law enforcement, conservation and wildlife control, plus traditional duties of herding, hunting and companionship. The value of doing good work is immeasurable.

10. The essence of dogs. Whether it’s their never-ending enthusiasm to embrace a walk or their attentive demeanor as they accompany us through our day—dogs are great company. The bond is unique, and at its best, brings out something special in both of us, encouraging a fresh view of the world. 

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Weekly Smiler 11-18-13
Smiling Dogs
Chloe

Our featured smilers of the week. See more in our Smiling Dogs Gallery.
This week: Chloe, Hollie, Ranger, Simba and Spirit!

News: Editors
Pet Fire Safety in the Workplace

Kudos to Trupanion, the pet insurance company based in Seattle, Washington, for walking the talk and offering employees’ dogs free health insurance as a benefit. Each day, the company welcomes a menagerie of dogs, cats and even a few birds to their office headquarters. Among the perks offered to employees who bring their dogs to work are dog walking services (trips to the park are extra) and pet bereavement time off. With over 60 dogs in their workplace, the company realized that they didn’t have an adequate fire and evacuation plan in place that included companion animals. In response, staff volunteers organized a safety evacuation plan. Watch their drill in honor of Pet Fire Safety Day.

 

Culture: DogPatch
Bark’s Best Places to Work presented by Zuke’s
Top winners for 2013 (left to right) Midland School, Los Olivos, Calif.; PrintingForLess, Livingston, Mont.; and KolbeCo, O’Fallon, Mo.

We received hundreds of entries to our 2013 Best Places to Work contest from all across the country. We heard from two-person shops and large corporations who are dedicated to dog-friendly workplaces. We were introduced to a resident dog at a Hawaiian dental office who helps soothe jittery patients; we met shop dogs at bakeries (Momofuku Milk Bar in NYC) and a glassblowing studio (Glassybaby in Washington state), a rescue dog/mascot at a distillery (Tito’s Handmade Vodka) in Texas, several technology/internet firms (Advent, The Nerdery) and a handful of manufacturers (Jones Soda, Bissell). While each company had a great story to tell, three entries stood out, earning Bark’s special recognition and a year’s worth of Zuke’s delectable treats.

Midland School, Los Olivos, Calif.
24 Staff, 80 Students, 20 dogs

Midland is a college preparatory boarding school for 9th- to 12th- graders in California’s beautiful rural Santa Ynez Valley. Students in good academic standing—with permission from the faculty and from their roommates—can bring a dog or other pet to campus. Faculty are also allowed to bring their pets to campus.

The Midland dogs attend classes, watch soccer games from the sidelines, sleep on library couches and help herd the resident cattle. Dogs even play a role in academic research. Midland’s statistics class conducts an annual mathematical analysis of daily dog wanderings. Students attach GPS units to the collars of several dogs and track their movements around campus over the course of several days.

Dogs are so integral to the culture of Midland School that Headmaster Will Graham’s 2011 graduation speech centered around their importance: “An animal can teach a person to focus on the simple things … the important things … to care for and love something other than ourselves, to pick up a mess that we did not make, and to play. They reassure us, keep us from being restless, help us be practical and grounded, and make us smile.” He named the dogs alongside the graduating seniors when he issued diplomas.

PrintingForLess, Livingston, Mont.
170 Employees, 25 Dogs
PrintingForLess is the nation’s first commercial online print company. Almost from its start, it allowed dogs, the first being Jessie, belonging to CEO Andrew Field. Many more followed, and around 15 percent of the workers now take advantage of this policy. Their headquarters was designed to be dog-friendly, with concrete floors and a trail system around the building. The grounds also have a waterfall and a pond system that the dogs love to swim in. All dogs are interviewed, and must be housetrained and abide by the company’s official dog policy, which includes prohibitions against aggressive or disruptive behavior. Participating employees must sign a waiver of responsibility. The policy includes a “three strikes and you’re out” rule. Employees and their dogs also have access to five acres of wetlands. The company’s weekly Friday socials have included canine agility demonstrations, dog training sessions and costume parties.

KolbeCo, O’Fallon, Mo.

7 Employees, 6 Dogs
You needn’t be a large company to have an impact, and KolbeCo Marketing Resources near St. Louis, Mo., is proof. The number of employees in this public relations agency is nearly matched by the number of dogs. KolbeCo not only welcomes their employees’ dogs, but also supports staff involved in Stray Rescue of St. Louis’s foster parent program by allowing the foster dogs daily access as well. What distinguishes the KolbeCo staff is their dedication to serving their community. For five years, they have produced an annual donation drive, Frills For Furbabies, benefiting Stray Rescue of St. Louis. They collect much-needed supplies, which have exceeded $20,000 in value. The firm also donates professional services to another local shelter—5 Acres—helping create promotional material. And, they manage to have a good time, designating their dogs as the Board of Dogrectors that helps “drive” their philanthropic activities.

2014 Best Places to Work Contest kicks off September 1.

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Weekly Smiler 11-11-13
Smiling Dogs
Emerald and Jade

Our featured smilers of the week. See more in our Smiling Dogs Gallery.
This week: Emerald & Jade, Jack, Maya, Meika and Penguin.

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