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Blog: Guest Posts
Ancient Dog Skull Complicates the Story of Domestication
Points to more than one common ancestor
A well-preserved skull discovered in a cave in the Altai Mountains of Siberia has been identified as the 33,000-year-old remains of a domesticated dog—making it among the oldest evidence of domestication, according to a report originally published in Plos One. The discovery means the story of domestication as happening in a single place needs to be revised. It looks very much like...
Blog: Guest Posts
Village Dogs
What are the rules of engagement when traveling?
I recently returned from a trip to Kenya, where stray and feral dogs are the norm and pampered pets very much the exception. I came to know a few of the former sort quite well. For about a week, my sister and I camped in a rural area on the grounds of a school that is under construction. Along with us, were the school’s founder, also from the U.S., and 45 high school girls, a cooking crew and...
Blog: Guest Posts
A Peek at “The Bark Side”
Ingredients for a viral Super Bowl ad: Dogs and Star Wars
Dogs are to viral Super Bowl ads as wheels are to a bicycle. That is, essential. (Think: Doritos and Bud Light.) And early promo for Volkswagen’s 2012 Super Bowl ad looks to proves the point. Taking off from last year’s Star Wars-inspired commercial (an adorable Darth Vadar wannabe tries to use the force on everything from a sandwich to his dog), Volkswagen released a teaser on Wednesday for this...
Blog: Guest Posts
What’s to Be Done About Urban Strays?
Will Doig’s column “The Secret Lives of Feral Dogs” (Slate, 1/17/12) opens with a jolt: the revelation that Harrisburg, Penn., police officers have been instructed to stop bringing strays into the city shelter and, among other options, shoot them instead. It’s a shocking development, something you might expect to read about in the developing world, not here. But despite all the dog spas and yappy...
Blog: Guest Posts
Deciphering the What in your Mutt
In-home DNA tests are cheaper. Are they better?
Just in time for Christmas, the Canine Heritage Breed Test came out with a 4th gneration test to look for evidence of 120 breeds in your dog’s DNA, for the rock-bottom price of $25. Honestly, that seems like a pretty good deal—as long as you don’t plan on taking the results too seriously. I know of what I speak. In 2007, the first in-home genetic tests started making the rounds. I wanted to...
Dog's Life: Travel
Home Sit, Stay or Swap
The offbeat, budget-smart frontier of dog-friendly travel
When Barrie and Tod duBois traveled to France earlier this year, their dog Abbie joined them. The well-mannered Fox Terrier went nearly everywhere with them, including a weeklong sailing trip in Corsica. When they dined out, Abbie was there, under the table and out of servers’ way like a native chien. Almost always, someone brought a water bowl without being asked, and one night in Provence,...
Dog Culture: DogPatch
Bad Wrap
Resist the puppy surprise
Giving a dog as a gift is rarely a good idea, and it’s often a terrible one, but some people can’t resist the idea of a beribboned puppy. For those of you who are thinking about giving a dog this holiday, we say, think twice. While you’re doing that, here are some points to factor in. 1. Nothing good comes of surprising someone with a dog, even if that someone is your child, who’s been...
Blog: Guest Posts
The Gift of Dreams
When our departed dogs return to us for a night
The other night as I drifted off to sleep, I thought about how much I’d love to dream about my dog Lulu, who died in August. I’ve only had one dream about her since then, and it felt like she was back, which means it felt wonderful. But when I woke the following morning, I didn’t have any memory that I’d been successful in my efforts to conjure her. Later in the day, while my husband and I were...
Blog: Guest Posts
Foster A Lonely Pet for the Holidays
While I rewrite A Christmas Carol
I recently watched A Christmas Carol—the überschmaltzy George C. Scott version with weirdly campy ghosts of Christmas Past and Present. It got me thinking that someone needs to make a dog-centric version of this holiday classic—not in least part to erase this one from my memory banks. Scrooge would be a lonely old man, running a huge puppy mill. His visit to Christmases Past would flash on young...
Blog: Guest Posts
The Bark Story That’s Taking Me to Kenya
It started with hand-beaded dog collars
A funny thing about being a writer is that some assignments become part of your life. Seven years ago, I wrote about a community-based micro-enterprise program called BEADS (Beads for Education, Advancement, Development and Success) that was helping Maasai mothers in Kenya sell hand-beaded dog collars in the United States as a way to pay for their daughters’ tuition. (“Good Deeds with Beads,”...

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