Lisa Wogan

Lisa Wogan lives in Seattle and is the author of, most recently, Dog Park Wisdom.

News: Guest Posts
Say It's So, Joe

Veep-to-be Joseph Biden made lemonade out of lemons (see Julia's post below) when he told George Stephanopoulis on Sunday he planned to adopt a rescue or shelter pal for his new puppy. It’s probably pure politics, but a high-profile adoption sets a good example and we’re glad to see it.

News: Guest Posts
Dogs Shake Their Money Makers
Wet Dogs calendar raises money for Parkinson's research.

After being diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s three years ago, Alyssa Johnson called in furry assistants in her efforts to help fund a cure. “One night my husband [Barry] and I were brainstorming fundraising ideas and we were trying to think of things that shake because they are supposed to—earthquakes, martinis, salt and pepper shakers—and out of the blue my husband said ‘wet dogs.’ It stuck. (The martinis did, too, but we like our pups more than gin!)” Before long—and with the support of new friends on flickr.com—they created the Wet Dogs calendar (one of The Bark's holiday gift picks) to raise money for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. In addition to raising more than $100,000 through various efforts so far, Alyssa and Barry threw their own dogs a bone. Their canine companions, Cassie (a sun-loving couch potato) and Riley (a party dog), shake their stuff in the calendar.


News: Guest Posts
As the Bowl Turns

Does the world need a doggie soap opera? In the abstract, the answer is probably, sure. Why the heck not? Could it be worse than the human-centered variety? Well, based on previews for PETelenovela (pups in cowboy hats, ties and boas doing not much to campy voice-overs), I'd say, I'm not willing to spend the $10.99 to find out for sure. Also, don't our furry housemates supply enough comedy and drama?

News: Guest Posts
Tough Times Hit Dogs in Taiwan

As many as 400 stray dogs may be wandering Yangmingshan National Park, a recreation area in northern Taiwan, at any given time. According to a recent story in the Taiwan News, former companion animals have been abandoned in the park based on the misguided belief they can survive on food left by visitors and small wild animals. Many more dogs roam city streets.

Economic hardship is driving the wave of abandonments in and around Taipei. Large breed dogs are especially hard hit and, in a sign that tough times don’t discriminate, even expensive breeds are showing up in shelters. And, this may not be the worst of it. Reporter Flor Wang talked to a pet shop owner in central Taiwan, who worries more dogs will be abandoned around the Chinese New Year in late January “because money will be tight for many families then.”


News: Guest Posts
Dog Dumped for Looking Like David Bowie

If you thought you’d heard every excuse people give for abandoning their dogs, read this list. Each year around this time, Dogs Trust, the United Kingdom’s largest dog welfare charity, compiles a list of the ten most “irresponsible reasons” people give for moving on. Yes, these include having eyes like David Bowie and not matching the furniture! It’s part of a campaign to remind shoppers that dogs aren’t just for Christmas ... or decorating.


News: Guest Posts
Dog Is My Boyfriend?

These days, dogs on the small screen are doing less fetching and romping and more relating. On The Sarah Silverman Program, a Chihuahua-Pug mix named Doug, is essentially Silverman's rent boy. Last night, she amped things up by declaring herself engaged to Doug (mostly to rain on her sister’s betrothal). It's edgy, funny stuff—the sort of thing that keeps Prop 8-proponents up at night. While the interspecies nuptials are getting some buzz, that canine plot-twist is timid compared to an earlier episode.

In a new series, Puppy Love, created by Amy B. Harris (of Sex in the City fame) a parade of dogs serve as boyfriends, chick magnets and child-surrogates to anxiety-prone New Yorkers. My favorite sequences are during closing credits, when actors, such as Alicia Witt and Janel Maloney, describe their rescue co-stars—who, by the way, steal most of the scenes. These shorts are available at L Studio hosted by Lexus (yes, the carmaker), which attracted headline talent (working for free) with a $50,000 donation to the ASPCA.







News: Guest Posts
Good News for Bad Hips

For a long time, surgical hip replacement has been the go-to procedure for dogs with hip dysplasia. In older dogs, when surgery is too risky, pain meds are often the only option. But now, a third alternative is rattling over the horizon. Mechanical engineering students at Purdue University are fine-tuning a canine exoskeleton, essentially a brace, that when fitted on a dog’s back relieves some of the pressure and pain off the hips.

In the process of unsuccessfully scouting for a photo, or better yet a video, of a demo-dog strutting her bionic stuff, I stumbled onto human exoskeletons. One device, created by a paralyzed engineer in Israel, may help people who have lost the use of their legs to walk. More evidence, we're all in this together.

Another, created for military use, practically turns soldiers into supermen. Yikes. Check it out:

News: Guest Posts
New Ammo in the Dog v. Cat Fight

My sister, who lives with two cats in Southern California, regularly ends our phone calls with some version of “cats rule, dogs drool.” I actually really like cats, but this does bring out my competitive spirit. So when I saw a recent study of the biomechanics of gait revealed that dogs are more efficient than cats, I read on, hoping for some feline weakness to drop into the next conversation. I was disappointed. While it’s true the noble dog is a more efficient machine built for long-distance hunting and that cats expend lots of energy with their unnerving stalking style; it is also true that the energy-flaunting way cats slink along with each paw touching down silently is exactly what makes them such superior hunters. Read the sordid details.

News: Guest Posts
No Love for Pet Love

Any day now, Hollywood starlets-without-a-clue will have to go somewhere other than Pet Love at the Beverly Center mall to drop big money on sickly purse pups. In a press conference this afternoon, Best Friends Animal Society will announce that the shopping center will terminate Pet Love's lease in the next few months. It's a victory for the “Puppy-Store-Free L.A.” campaign that began with a boycott of the store last summer. According to Best Friends, Pet Love “sold thousands of animals from irresponsible breeders and puppy mills for 15 years.”
In 2006, Pet Love got seriously punked when an undercover CBS news crew filmed illegal and improper usage of medication on store puppies. The shop was also cited by Los Angeles Animal Control for similar violations. According to a statement from Best Friends, the group unsuccessfully tried to convince the store--and offered to help with the transition--to place rescued animals. Apparently, it got ugly.

The campaign continues with a protest of Pets of Bel Air on Saturday, December 13.


News: Guest Posts
New Study Reveals “Dog Envy”

A new study reveals dogs feel jealousy and pride.


"Dr Friederike Range, of the University of Vienna's neurobiology department, has shown that dogs feel intense jealously when they spot that they are unfairly treated compared with other dogs. 'Dogs show a strong aversion to inequity,' she said."


While I love any research that sheds new light on animal self-awareness, I have to wonder if anyone living with more than one dog needed a study to be convinced that animals feel envy. (Paws up to pup-loving science-writer David Williams for the alert on this research.)

Listen to NPR's more detailed story about fair play research.