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News: Guest Posts
We’ve Reopened Submissions
Not yet for essays, but yes for reporting and journalistic pieces

We love hearing from you—from comments on the blog, Facebook and Twitter to your thoughtful, researched story submissions for the magazine and website. So we’re very happy to be lifting a moratorium—partially—on the latter. Once again, we invite you to submit your stories or pitches for dog-related reportage.

Keep in mind, we stay up-to-date (mostly) on dog news and hear from quite a few PR folks—so pitches about products and destinations or widely covered issues are probably already on our radar. Instead, we’re looking for stories that either provide a fresh, illuminating perspective at something we already know about or, even better, that SURPRISE us. For more information, please review our submission guidelines.

Two final notes.

One, we still have a serious backlog of personal essays, so we’re not opening the gates to more submissions in that area. If you have a tribute you’d like to see posted on our website, please submit it to Lisa Wogan at webeditor@thebark.com.

Two, remember, we’re a small staff here at Bark, and we like to give your ideas the time and attention they deserve, so it can take up to a year for us to get back to you. Not always. But sometimes.

News: Guest Posts
“Wilfred”—If Dogs Could Talk

Over the years I’ve imagined up a full and complex human life for my dog. There is something about his personality that screams socially awkward 45-year-old still living at home with Mom. I can’t help it and it cracks me up, so needless to say, I was pretty excited when a friend told me about FX’s newest series, Wilfred.

Wilfred is about a troubled young man, Ryan (played by Elijah Wood of The Lord of the Rings fame) who forms a friendship with his neighbor’s dog, Wilfred. Sounds like the makings of a nice little show, right? Wrong. You see, while everyone else sees Wilfred as just a normal dog, Ryan sees a marijuana-smoking, Matt Damon-loving, tell-it-like-it-is Australian man dressed up in a dingy dog suit.

Wilfred, played by the hilarious Jason Gann, waltzes into Ryan’s life the morning after Ryan hits rock bottom, and immediately Wilfred begins pushing Ryan to step outside of himself with that special brand of in-your-face honesty that dogs have. Wilfred challenges Ryan to change, and Ryan does.

The humor is lowbrow (think The Hangover), so if that is not your cup of tea then Wilfred may not be the show for you. But, if you can see through the pot smoke and beyond the crass jokes, then you’ll catch a glimpse of something that all dog owners can relate to – dogs make people better.

I guarantee, after the episode is over, you’ll look over to your own best friend in a dog suit, give him a hug and wonder what he has to say about all of this.

Wilfred premiers tonight at 10 pm on FX.

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
California’s First Dog Decreasing Deficit
Sutter the Corgi an asset to his state

California Governor Jerry Brown’s Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Sutter, is so popular that his fans are buying products from his line of merchandise. His Twitter name @Sutter Brown is on T-shirts, tote bags, tank tops, hoodies, infant onesies and caps. For every sale made, $3 goes to paying down the state of California’s budget deficit. Despite the whopping $700 that has already been made, California’s deficit remains a top priority for politicians and citizens.

  Sutter is a bit of a celebrity in Sacramento. In a recent interview with the press, he speaks out about his new position and his own take on bipartisan politics.
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
How to Help Pets in Japan
Many organizations are taking donations to help dogs in need

Over the past week, I've been glued to the news watching the unbelievable devastation caused by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

The Japanese are known for how much they love their dogs, and I've seen many heartbreaking images of people evacuating with their pets tucked under their arm. The evacuation shelters appear to be pet friendly because I've seen many photos of people with their dogs at these places.

In looking for ways to help these animal lovers, I found the following organizations:

Ark Bark is a rescue group based in Japan that helped hundreds of animals after the country's Kobe earthquake in 1995. The organization expects a huge influx of homeless pets soon and is preparing to transport animals to emergency shelters when the roads open.

Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support is a collaboration between HEART-Tokushima, Animal Garden Niigata, and Japan Cat Network. They have already helped several animals, including the famous dog who wouldn't leave his injured friend.

World Vets is a volunteer organization that provides veterinary aid to areas in need. They have already sent a first-responder team to Tokyo to do an “on the ground” assessment and to provide initial help.

The American Kennel Club's Companion Animal Recovery Canine Support and Relief Fund is taking donations to support search and rescue dogs looking for survivors and to aid in disaster relief for pets.

Additionally, agility lovers have been rallying to raise money for Japanese dog sport enthusiasts after spotting a photo in the news showing an incoming wave seconds before covering a backyard with agility equipment. This picture really made the tragedy “real” for those of us in the sport.

Even those low on funds can help out. The Annenberg Foundation has pledged $100,000 to the relief efforts if 100,000 people 'Like' the Dog Bless You Facebook fan page in the next 10 days. If that number is reached by Sunday, the donation doubles to $200,000.

I am always amazed at how the dog community supports each other and this tragedy has been no exception. Over the past week, I've seen people all over the world step up to organize efforts to help the Japanese and their pets in this toughest of times.

 

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Cast Your Vote in the Canis Film Festival
Karen Pryor hosts a video contest promoting positive dog training

2011 marks the third Canis Film Festival hosted by Karen Pryor Clickertraining. The contest is designed to showcase short videos promoting training using positive methods. 

The Canis Film Festival encourages entries to demonstrate not only the amazing end behavior, but also the process and methods used to achieve the final result. Other criteria include innovation (in the end behavior and the approach), entertainment value, use of positive training methods, and the general usefulness of the video. 

Now that the five finalists have been chosen, it’s up to you to vote. I won’t bias you by revealing my favorite video, but I’ll warn you that picking one will be hard! This year’s finalists represent a broad range of dog training areas—behavior modification, trick training, and essential life skills. 

I’ve already gotten some ideas on fun things to train my pups, like the “What is this?” match to sample trick. Challenging to teach, but very impressive!

The Canis Film Festival winners will be announced on March 20th at ClickerExpo Chicago.

Which video will you be voting for?

 

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Can Dogs Be Valentines?
Celebrating love with other species

 

Late last week I was among those who received an e-mail from a friend of mine titled “Anybody wanna be Marley’s Valentine?” That was her way of selling the request for someone to walk her dog during the middle of the day today since she had to be away from the house for too long.   She went on to say that Marley is actually her Valentine, but that she has accepted that she is not the only love of his life. (It’s true—there are a lot of people who adore this dog and Marley seems quite fond of the lot of us. He is one of those dogs who tends to be particularly fond of guys, but it is my professional opinion that he loves me, too.)   I am the lucky one spending time with Marley today. Rather than just pop in for a walk, I brought him to my house, which is easier for me. It also gives me the chance to make my Valentine’s Day claim on him.   Marley and I just went for a run together. Once he has completely recovered and cooled down, he will enjoy a frozen Kong® filled with Kong® stuffing and some leftover roasted chicken. A massage is on the schedule for later on. Of course, this is exactly what we would be doing on any other day together, but I still think it’s a great way to celebrate a holiday about love.   Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day in any way with your dogs?  

 

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Colorectal Cancer Detection
A dog’s nose knows

In a new study called “Colorectal cancer screening with odour material by canine scent detection” published last week in GUT: An International Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, researchers document a dog’s ability to detect colorectal cancer. Dogs have previously been shown to be effective at detecting lung, skin, breast and ovarian cancers.

  In this study, a single dog was tested for her ability to detect cancer. The tasks were 1) to choose the breath sample that came from a person with cancer when it was randomly placed among four breath samples from people without cancer and 2) to choose the watery stool sample that came from a person with cancer when it was randomly placed among four watery stool samples from people without cancer.   The dog was correct in 37 out of 38 of the stool samples and in 33 out of 36 of the breath samples. The dog was not fooled by samples from people who smoke, or those who had benign colorectal polyps, inflammation or an infection.   Although this sort of detection is promising as a non-invasive means of detecting cancer, interestingly, the dog in this study is reported to lose her concentration in the hot summer months. This is a detail that needs to be attended to because obviously, the need for this sort of detection is not seasonal.
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Dog Sports Increasing in Popularity
AKC entries are at a record high

 

Recently an accomplished dog trainer told me that the future of dog sports will evolve through increased accessibility. As pets become a greater part of the family, more people are bringing their dogs to training classes and exploring activities that they can do together. 

Organizations like the American Kennel Club have realized this trend and have made changes to make their activities more inclusive. Last year AKC agility invited mixed breeds to begin competing with the purebreds. Last year entries into their dog sports, including conformation, obedience, agility, and field trials, crossed the three million mark. Entries in agility increased by nine percent.

I'm thrilled to hear that participation in dog sports is growing. It's a great way to set training goals and it ensures that you and your pet will be spending a lot of quality time together.

Do you participate in dog sports with your pup?

 

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Some Dogs Love Guys
What is it about them?

 

Some dogs seem to adore men. They may be very fond of women and perfectly responsive to them, but an extra level of joy comes to them when interacting with men. We’ve probably all met dogs like this—they just love guys, especially guys who pay attention to them at all. No matter how many great women are in their lives and how wonderful their relationships might be with these females, there’s just something about the extra happy way they act around men.   What makes these dogs “guy dogs” is not clear to me. I notice some traits they tend to have in common, though I’m sure everyone who reads this will know of exceptions to each one.   These dogs are often playful dogs. They tend to like balls, frisbees, wrestling and/or chasing games more than life itself.   Guy dogs are most commonly sporting dogs (spaniels, retrievers, setters, pointers) or herding dogs (collies, shepherds), although I’ve seen it in dogs as diverse as Boston Terriers and Mastiffs.   Dogs who go nuts for guys tend to be physically fit relative to other members of their breed or breeds.   I notice the tendency of dogs to be enamored of men most often in adult dogs still in their prime, meaning that they are typically in the age range of 2 to 6 years.   In my experience, guy dogs are more often male dogs than female ones, though not always.   I’ve just starting noticing this among the guy dogs that I know, so I need to make more observations to be confident about it, but I think guy dogs may often have really doggy faces, meaning that their head and muzzles tend to be wider and fuller than average. (Of course, this varies a lot by breed, but I’m taking that into account.)   Have you known dogs that you would describe as “guy dogs” and if so, did they fit any of the patterns I’ve noticed? What else have you noticed about dogs who are just crazy about men?

 

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Persistent Pup Comes Home Five Years Later
Shih Tzu found his way home after his family moved four times

From time to time you hear about a loyal dog--lost on vacation or during a move--who walks hundreds of miles to find their family.

Last week, Myrna Carillo’s Shih Tzu, Prince, showed up on her doorstep five years after she lost him.   While Prince may not have traveled as far as some of those other dogs, the little Shih Tzu tirelessly looked for Myrna after several major life changes. In the five years Prince was lost, Myrna got married, had two children, and moved four times.

I guess we’ll never know what Price has been doing for the past five years and how he ever found Myrna, but now Prince is finally home and is getting along perfectly with Myrna’s kids.  

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