November 20 2013
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.
November 12 2013
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.
November 12 2013
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.
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.
KolbeCo, O’Fallon, Mo.
2014 Best Places to Work Contest kicks off September 1.
A Winter Wonderland
October 22 2013
Our Winter/Holiday issue is sure to delight dog lovers. We have an exclusive, “at-home” feature on William Wegman and his remarkable dogs. Our photo-journalist, Kimberly Wang, was invited to spend time with the Wegman clan at their Maine retreat and came away with a wonderfully intimate story and engaging photos of her visit. (How does that man get his dogs to hold those poses?) Lee Harrington is back with one of her best takes ever on life with Chloe who is spending a lot more time in one of her many beds. In our continuing “Lost & Found” series, we have an essay by Katherine Goldberg, DVM, about how it feels when a dog is missing—a traumatic low in the life of a dog lover that’s almost, but not quite, worth the reunion high. Yvonne Zipter describes the way a fostered Greyhound turned a corner and found peace in her new life. Julie Hecht asks six “great minds” for their thoughts on dogs; their answers and insights are truly fascinating. Karen London shows us how to keep our dogs healthy, happy and fit. Vet Shea Cox offers her “Fifty Shades of Brown” to answer one of the most the popular dog-related search questions on the web (you can guess what it is); we learn what the colors mean and which deserve more scrutiny. We meet the very clever Girl Scout who struck gold with both an award and an inventive way for dogs to assist autistic children. Then we look at reasons for the growing concern about genetically modified (GMO) food; is there a case for the impacts GM crops might have on the health of our dogs? We find out how important SAR dogs are in avalanche/skiing country, and share our suggestions for great winter wonderland spots to visit (safely) with your pup. Be sure to read our newest dog park profile, whip up a simple turkey recipe and DIY textiles. We also have fabulous gift suggestions, and incredible holiday giveaways—including elegant and comfy dog beds. Be sure to see our very special gift subscription offers, buy two and get the third for only $1! As always, we have something for everyone, so hope you enjoy.
Happy Holidays: A case for personalizing greetings. By Meghan Daum
Baby Love: A surprise acceptance for a new arrival. By Hinda Mandell
A Loving Tribute to Our Senior Best Friends Photography by Garry Gross, text by Steve Duno
Fifty Shades of Brown: The Scoop on Poop
Bringing Up Blondie: A Greyhound finds her perfect match. By Yvonne Zipter
Chloe Chronicles: Letting Sleeping Dogs Lie
Great Thinkers on Dogs: Six leading canine researchers talk about their work. By Julie Hecht
Finding Sydney: A former street dog tests her person’s resolve. By Katherine Goldberg, DVM
It’s a Dog’s Life
Travel: Choice Spots for Winter Escapes. By JoAnna Lou
Recipe: Fast, easy and nutritious turkey feast. By Christine Filardi
Petcare: When Your Dog Can’t Go with You. By James Dziezynski
Second Opinion: Ensuring Quality Health Care. By Nick Trout, DVM
Assistance: Jumping for Joy, a program for children with special needs. By Kathie Meier
Behavior: Run for Your (Quality of) Life Strategies for keeping your dog healthy, happy and fit. By Karen B. London, PhD
Food Safety: GMO: Are genetically modified crops safe? By Sheila Pell
Working Dogs: Avalanche SAR Canines Making slopes safer for everyone. By Jayme Moye
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