May 9 2014
Perfect for the summertime, we have oodles of good reading in store for you. From first-time book author Matthew Gilbert, a charming look at his Boston dog park scene and a good reminder that snap judgments can snap back in a positive way, and that letting go of assumptions can lead the way to a new attitude. Gail Caldwell is back with another memorable memoir, this time including a jumpstart to her life with a new pup. David Koff supplies a classic “how I found my dog” story, and Joshunda Sanders offers insights on how becoming a dog person helped her revise her own perceptions about the black community’s relationship with dogs. Jill Smolowe shows us that having a daily routine to look forward to is valuable to those on both ends of the leash. Finally, be sure to check out our editors’ top-pick summertime reading roundup. Also on deck: Veterinarian Ilana Strubel has tips on how to get—or keep—the pounds off your pup, and we have an excerpt from an excellent new book by Linda Case, who explains what to look for (and ask for) when reading pet food labels. Then, imagine paddling a canoe down the Mississippi with a canine co-pilot and find out how Lucas Will and Tischer fared on their more than 2,000-mile adventure. For more outdoor inspiration, Suzanne Roberts recounts a backpacking expedition with her husband and their dog, Ely, along a challenging section of the Pacific Crest Trail. On the “news you can use” front, Sheila Pell investigates the proliferation of ticks (climate change strikes again!) and what we can do to ward them off us and our dogs. We also check out stem cell and hyperbaric oxygen therapies and backyard barbecue do’s and don’ts, and serve up an easy recipe for delicious and nutritious whole-grain peanut butter dog cookies. Mardi Richmond reports on what happened when a top guide dog–training organization transitioned to clickers, and Donna Jackel looks at worthy, locally based humane groups that are making remarkable impacts on their communities. We have important safety tips about summertime activities, and many reader-supplied ideas on where to find the best off-the-beaten-track adventures this season.
So, settle yourself and your dog in a cool, shady spot and dig into the summer issue. We think you’ll find lots to ponder and put to use.Features Tick Talk Is climate change behind the rise in the numbers of ticks and the diseases they bring? By Sheila Pell Dog Paddling the Mighty Mississippi Down the river with a dog. By Lucas Will Backcountry Trek A dog with a job makes a perfect hiking partner. By Suzanne Roberts Label Smarts Ways to improve your dog-food-selection skills. By Linda Case On View In the Company of Cats and Dogs. By Cameron Woo Tula The challenges and rewards of a new pup. By Gail Caldwell Cell Phone Lady Dog parks are full of pleasant interludes. By Matthew Gilbert Walking Misty Daily routines provide welcome relief at both ends of the leash. By Jill Smolowe Finding Carson A stray meets her match. By David Koff Color-blind Love Opening our eyes to stereotypes and dispelling racial myths. By Joshunda Sanders DogPatch Guest Editorial: Go Walk Shelter Dogs Bark’s Summer Tips Travel—ideas from our readers. Dogfroyo; Instant harness; Tails to Trails Last Chance IPA; Keeping it clean; Beware Compost SMILING DOGS: Simply irresistible Healing oxygen by Susan Tasaki Recipe: Whole Grain Peanut Butter Cookies Grooming: Summer Shedding Secrets Pop Art: Vintage Labels It’s A Dog’s Life THEATRE: Of Mice and Men + dog by Amy Kantor, DVM HEALTH: Pounds be Gone Help your pup shed excess weight. By Ilana Strubel, DVM HEALTH: Self Healing Stem Cells. By Megan Cassels-Conway, DVM SECOND OPINION: The Barbecue Blues Tips. By Nick Trout, DVM BEHAVIOR: Lessons learned from aggression cases. By Karen B. London, PhD WORKING DOGS: Clicker training conversion. By Mardi Richmond WELFARE: Grassroots Animal Welfare: Helping dogs, one community at a time. By Donna Jackel REVIEWS: Off the Leash by Matthew Gilbert; New Life, No Instructions by Gail Caldwell; A Dog’s History of the World by Laura Hobgood-Oster; From Birdbrained to Brilliant by Dawn Antoniak-Mitchell; Paw and Order by Spencer Quinn; The Mountaintop School for Dogs by Ellen Cooney; Citizen Canine by David Grimm; Puppy Savvy by Barbara Shumannfang ENDPIECE: Murphy: A most unusual adoption arrangement. By Lisa Leshaw
News: Guest Posts
Volunteer photographer shares dogs in need of a forever home
May 8 2014
These are some totally wonderful, eminently adoptable dogs available now at the Coshocton county shelter in Coshocton, Ohio. Phil Samuell, a retiree extraordinaire who generously volunteers his talents to take these great photos, tells us that they only have a 3-day “hold” period there, so gotta act quickly. It’s too heartbreaking to think of what might happen to these lovely dogs!
The Little Miracles of Social Media
April 18 2014
At its best, social media can spark connections one only dreams about. Such was the case involving a series of photographs we posted recently on Facebook. Last week we blogged a new series of photos by Bark contributor Grace Chon, showing her 10-month-old son Jasper and 7-year-old dog Zoey in matching apparel. The photos are adorable and our followers agreed, “liking” and sharing the pix with tens, then hundreds of thousands of people. Zoey and Jasper had gone viral—appearing on HuffingtonPost, Mashable, BuzzFeed and Good Morning America to name but a few. As the images brought smiles to viewers around the world, one woman far away in China thought Zoey looked familiar. It was a woman named Joy who had fostered little Zoey in the first months of the pup’s life in Taiwan. She had been waiting 7 years to hear news of the little puppy she nursed back to health before sending her halfway around the world to a new home in California. All she knew was that a Korean girl in Los Angeles had adopted her. Following her intuition, Joy reached out to Grace, and piecing the puzzle together, they concluded that Zoey was indeed the little pup she had fostered. The two women shared photos of Zoey— of her early life in Taiwan, including her first night with Joy—and Grace’s photos of life in Southern California. Each had wondered about the portions of Zoey’s life they had missed, and are grateful for this serendipitous reunion. Deep down inside, they both knew that this little black dog was loved and well cared for—in both Taiwan and in Los Angeles. Now they have the stories and pictures to prove it. Read more about their reunion.
Dog's Life: Travel
Bark Readers’ Travel Tips 2014
April 15 2014
Our call went out … and you’ve responded! Each year, The Bark asks our readers to share their travel expertise—naming their favorite destinations, canine-friendly accommodations and tips for sharing the road, trail or skies with their dogs. And who better to guide us in our summer adventures than Bark readers? Our trusted readers are road-tested and trail-proven, and once again have offered up a trove of off-beaten-paths, can’t miss favorites and invaluable tips to make your next trip one to remember.
We kick things off with a few suggestions from The Bark staff …
As tempting as it is to order that gourmet dog meal from room service—New Zealand venison, garden vegetables over quinoa—may prove a tad exotic for your dog’s stomach. Stick to your regular feeding plan … the last thing you want at a four-paw hotel is an upset stomach.
Be sure to check with the hotel, campsite, even a city on the restrictions imposed on dog size or breed. Many hotels refuse dogs over a certain weight, limiting their “dog-friendly” policy to very small dogs. Other accommodations, including some campgrounds, ban selected breeds—Rottweilers, Dobermans, and Pit Bulls (and their mixes) are the most common targets. Do your homework!
We check local dog activities on meetup.com and other social media groups to find play groups or hikes when we arrive at a new destination. If we’re staying in an area for a few days, it gives us an opportunity to meet local dog lovers and see sights we’d probably miss otherwise.
Summer is our big hiking and camping time, unfortunately it’s tick season too. There’s a good selection of repellents available, but if you find a tick on your dog (or yourself), know that a tick has to be embedded for 24 to 48 hours to spread infection—still, the sooner removed, the better!
And now from The Bark readers …
Our favorite hang out is the sand dunes on Oregon’s Adventure Coast: Coos Bay! The dunes also stretch for many miles, from North Bend to Florence, about 45 miles, so choose your 'off-beaten' path and head out. We LOVE it here!
Bigfork, Montana has it all—rivers, lakes, miles of hiking trails, plus a great Western village setting. Spectacular views too. Plus in Idaho, the gorgeous Lake Pend Oreille near Coeur d’Alene, lots of good day hikes nearby too.
Getting out of the heat of the Arizona Desert by camping all summer long in our vintage Airstream trailer. But, especially on the coast of Baja, Mexico, where the waves lap softly and the water is cool but not frigid.
The Adirondacks’ Saranac Lake, New York. We made a 4½ hour drive just so our dog could swim in the lake. It was a very safe place for all of us to swim together. When we wanted to swim as a family, we went there.
Hunt Country Vineyards on Keuka Lake in the Finger Lakes (New York) does a day in June where you can bring your dog and hike around their vineyards. Afterwards there is a wine tasting.
We found the panhandle of Florida, Cape San Blas, Port Saint Joe, to be extremely dog friendly and great beaches to walk, and run on. Local restaurants were also very accommodating too.
Bandit, travels with me everywhere, but one of the most interesting places I've taken him is Fantastic Caverns, Missouri. It was actually discovered by a farmer’s dog who had crawled through its hidden entrance and now its caves have jeep-drawn tram tours. It’s very pet friendly—with a special fondness for dogs because of the significance a dog played in the discovery.
On the edge of Alaska’s The Gates of the Arctic National Park … The huge blue sky watched over us while the surrounding mountains wrapped us in their loose embrace and Cedar got to roll joyfully in fox urine, carry around a mummified squirrel and sniff wolf scat! We were all ecstatic!
The French Trail loop at Redwood Regional Park in Oakland. Gorgeous, peaceful, a great off-leash hike and a wonderful, little-known side of Oakland, CA. One of our favorites!
Buena Vista Colorado: the countless hikes in the Colligate Peaks, lovely small mountain town, perfect summer weather. All make for beautiful vacations with my dogs .
Every year my family, including our two dogs, enjoys going to Brevard, North Carolina and hiking in Pisgah National Forest with hundreds of miles of trails and waterfalls too. A stay in a private cabin at DogWoods Retreat is a must, close to dog-friendly Asheville.
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
With many new products on the store shelves, these caught our eye.
April 2 2014
Keep floors dry and clean with CarpetSaver’s absorbent foam-backed (non-skid) fabric that grabs debris and water. Just shake it out or toss in the washer when it’s dirty. Comes in two widths, three colors and a variety of lengths.
Minnesota’s Mendota Products is in the “pink” over a new color they introduced to their pliable, durable safety collar line. Pink teams up with yellow, green and orange as the high-visibility colors now being offered. Cleaning is simple—dirt and odors are quickly rinsed off.
Ma Snax’s sweet smiling leprechaun cookies are sure to bring good luck. Wheat/ corn/soy and preservativefree. Baked in small batches in Sonoma, Calif., to ensure freshness; hand-decorated.
Skookum Dog makes a synthetic sheepskin, memory foam bed whose curvy design looks like the “real” thing. Perfect for a nap out on the porch or anywhere inside too.
Sleepypod’s Clickit™ Utility claims to be the world’s first three-point dog safety harness, offering a safer ride for your favorite co-pilot. It was named the 2013 Top Performing Pet Safety Harness in a Subaru and Center for Pet Safety collaborative study to test the effectiveness of pet harnesses.
Add new flavor and zing to your dog’s kibble meals with Doggie Shotz. It comes in six flavors including Three Cheese, Chicken Stir Fry and Turkey ’n Mash. Just shake, pour on and stir into kibble.
Moso Bags are a safe, natural way to purify and dehumidify your home. Made of bamboo charcoal, it’s non-toxic and fragrance free. Great around dog beds, litter boxes and anywhere odors linger in a house!
These useful microfiber cleaning cloths from Poochie-Pets feature fun “Live in Dog Years” designs, and are great for cleaning fingerprints or nose “kisses” off your tablets and phones. Available in six designs.
For a soft, durable collar, Timely’s rounded styles are handcrafted from the finest Italian and Finnish leathers. Developed by a small family-owned Danish company, they are designed with a unique “inside stitch” technique with no outside edges.
The Loop is an easy, stylish way to carry the all-important poop bags with you. “Loop” it through a leash, or even through your handbag strap; refilling is simple. Comes in six fashionable colors.
Dexas presents its H-DuO, the first bottle carrier designed for both you and your active dog! Carry two drinks at the same time—one for you, and one for your dog. A companion cup collapses flat against the side of the bottle—it’s BPA-free too.
Ann Patchett, Elizabeth Gilbert, J.K. Rowling, Sue Monk Kidd
April 2 2014
It’s no coincidence that many authors have dogs. After all, dogs are quiet, companionable and have a deep appreciation for routine, all of which fit into the writing life like a sleepy pup in a comfy bed. Here are some snippets gleaned from our reading list.
According to what she told Oprah, the dog made Sue Monk Kidd quit (in a good way): “I have an old dog named Lily and she’s a Black Lab. We got her as a puppy when I finished writing The Secret Life of Bees. My main character was named Lily and so that’s what we named her. She is 13 now, but she will come in and get me if I stay too long in my study. She’ll come put her head in my lap and tell me it’s time to stop.” Which, for this author, is a very good thing.
From J.K. Rowling's The Cuckoo’s Calling: “One of the earliest and most vivid memories of Robin’s childhood was of the day that the family dog had been put down. She herself had been too young to understand what her father was saying; she took the continuing existence of Bruno, her oldest brother’s beloved Labrador, for granted. Confused by her parents’ solemnity, she had turned to Stephen for a clue as to how to react, and all security had crumbled, for she had seen, for the first time in her short life, happiness and comfort drain out of his small and merry face, and his lips whiten as his mouth fell open. She had heard oblivion howling in the silence that preceded his awful scream of anguish, and then she had cried, inconsolably, not for Bruno, but for the terrifying grief of her brother.”
Roger, a Tahitian dog, is an unforgettable, fully drawn character in Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book, The Signature of All Things. In a post on her Facebook page, Gilbert explained his significance and how his personality and name were inspired by a Balinese street dog: “The best thing about Roger is that his name wasn’t even Roger; it was actually ‘Raja,’ but my sweet Brazilian husband had misunderstood it. Thus, in our house, the poor little dog went from having a name of kingly Hindu majesty to being simply … Roger.
“A reader asked me, ‘Why did you have a dog in this novel?’ Two reasons: (1) To honor the memory of the real Roger, who was so absurd and who brought us so much joy, and (2) because I would never want to read a novel that didn’t have a dog in it.”
When asked by a Daily Beast interviewer what breed her new dog Sparky was, Ann Patchett replied: "I have no idea! But Annie Lamott said he was a Czechoslovakian circus dog. He looks like a dog from an Eastern European circus: a small, scruffy dog who you could imagine balancing on a red ball."
In a recent Vanity Fair interview, Stephen King was asked what person or thing he would like to come back as. His response: “A dog. A good one that gets lots of love and a hearth to lie on in the winter.”
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