Home
blog
News: Guest Posts
Canine Christmas Thief
Clever dog does her own shopping

How far would your dog go for a Christmas present? A few years ago, a clever dog decided to pick out her own gift. The mystery stray traveled six miles to a grocery store, sniffed out the pet food aisle and grabbed a rawhide bone to take home. Her shopping adventure was captured on store security cameras and shared with the local media. The clever culprit was later identified as Akira, an 11-year-old Husky known for her escapades. The owners eventually returned to the store to pay for Akira's purchase and reunite with the amused store staff.

News: Guest Posts
Merry Christmas!
From all of us at The Bark

The story going around on email is that this pup is a stray, who, looking for a warm and comfy bed for the night, ended up in a town crèche. Happily, he was allowed to spend the night and, according to Internet lore, was adopted.

  We’re not sure if it’s for real and refuse to subject it to the Snopes test because we want to believe it. Hopefully, this is just one of many homeless companion animals who will find safe, loving homes soon.   Thanks for spending some of 2010 with The Bark. We hope to see more of you in the new year. Woof.

 

News: Guest Posts
Canine Christmas Shoplifter
An 11-year-old Husky picks out her own gift

Is your dog happy with his Christmas presents this year? A couple years ago, this Husky decided to pick out her own gift, a large rawhide bone from a grocery store. Eleven-year-old Akira traveled nearly six miles from home to get it. Months after the original security camera footage aired on local TV stations, the owners came forward to pay for her purchase and buy her a new rawhide bone. Happy holidays, everyone!

News: Guest Posts
Puppies Not Always Perfect Present
Something to remember this holiday season

I came across this blog post, "Wanna Puppy, Little Girl?" and it reminded me of how many calls I will get regarding my Puppy Kindergarten class starting in January. After the puppy and his new family complete the six-week session, they might go on to my Beginner Obedience class. The lucky pups will continue to go to classes and have fun and learn for the rest of their lives. Sadly, there are a few people who will think they took one obedience class and training is now "done." The kids, to whom the puppy was given, should now "know" how to feed, shelter, play with and otherwise take care of him. These are the exasperated people I hear from when the puppy is 8 months to a year old, demanding I help them find a home for him immediately "or else." They repeatedly point out that the dog is a purebred and they "paid good money" for him. So please, if you or someone you know is thinking about buying a puppy for the kids as a Christmas present, please wait until the new year. Better yet, only get a dog if it's for you because it's unfair to the kids and to the puppy to expect them to take care of each other. 

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Dogs Ease Exam Stress
Students benefit from canine visits

 

Many colleges and universities are experimenting with new ways to ease the stress of exams for their students. The point of such activities as dance breaks in the library and yoga classes late at night is to help students cope with the extreme anxiety of finals. From oxygen bars to simultaneously dropping 10,000 rubber balls from a roof, it seems that no idea is too odd to consider. Things have sure changed a lot since I was in college and our only organized stress relief was the 9 o’clock scream.   I wish that I could have benefited from the technique I consider best of all—bringing in therapeutic dogs. It is well documented that dogs reduce stress and elevate moods, so I love that colleges are recognizing this and using that knowledge to help their students. Students who are away from their own pets as well as those who have never had a dog but always wanted one all benefit from visits by playful, affectionate dogs. Since the only way that university administrators could reduce stress more would be to cancel exams, I applaud their efforts to bring dogs in to help students.

 

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Caring for Pets Through Tough Times
Seer Farms temporarily takes in pets from families in crisis

In tough economic times, we’ve seen an increase in surrendered dogs, a myriad of shelter budget cuts, and the creation of the pet soup kitchen. According to the ASPCA, the recession has added an estimated one to two million animals to shelters.  And that's on top of the six to eight million pets surrendered each year.

I can’t even imagine what I would do if I was financially unable to keep my pets. Loosing your job or house is devastating, but losing a canine family member on top of that is unthinkable.  Unfortunately, many people have no alternative. 

Two years ago, Laura Pople saw people and animals suffering as a result of the economic downturn and decided to create Seer Farms, a facility that would temporarily take in pets from families in crisis from foreclosure, extended medical illness, military deployment, and domestic violence. Within three months she assembled a board of directors and found a property in Jackson, New Jersey, funded by money from her 401k retirement fund. 

When families bring an animal to Seer Farms, they also commit to a timetable for reuniting with their pets. They’re also asked to stay involved by making regular visits. If the owners can afford it, they pay a nominal fee per month to defray costs, but the organization survives on donations from pet supply companies, private donations, and other fundraising efforts.

The need for Laura’s organization was obvious from the start. Seer Farms had a waiting list before they even opened, including requests from all over the nation. Today 175 animals are cared for at Seer Farms and 49 cats and dogs have already been reunited with their families. 

 

News: Guest Posts
Gift Pick: Photobooth Dogs

It’s not even Thanksgiving yet and Bark publisher Cameron Woo’s new book is already showing up on gift lists. Esquire magazine’s gadget guru included Photobooth Dogs on his list of Best Tech Gifts (and stocking stuffers!) for Men 2010—describing it as “strangely satisfying.” Not so strange to us. We understand why someone whose days are are dominated by gadgets would be drawn to this analog oasis, this vintage paean to our best friends. We think he’s on to something.

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Ball of Fur
Ripley’s Believe It or Not! sponsors abandoned pup

I’ve heard a lot of inspiring rescue stories, but recently I read about a Poodle from Louisiana with a particularly incredible story, and the most amazing makeover I have ever seen. This tenacious pup could’ve given any of the Worlds Ugliest Dog winners a run for their money… until he got the second chance of a lifetime.

A couple weeks ago, a dog was found in a ditch, covered in insects and so matted he couldn’t walk or eat. Fortunately he was rescued by My Heart’s Desire, a local animal rescue group.

The poor pup was so matted that he had to be sedated in order to shave off all of the hair.  It took him one week to walk again. The rescue group named the Poodle Ripley after Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, since they could barely believe there was a dog under all of the mats.

When officials at Ripley’s Believe It or Not heard about their namesake, they were so inspired that they sponsored his care by making a donation to My Heart’s Desire. When Ripley is adopted, the company will be sending him home with a gift card to a local pet store for food, grooming, and toys.

Love for special animals is not new to the company. Founder, Robert Ripley, was a pet lover and even had a one-eyed dog named Cyclops.

After grooming and lots of love, Ripley the Poodle is now doing well and is looking for a forever home. My Heart’s Desire says that Ripley is a social butterfly and is constantly wagging her little stub of a tail. 

With her amazing turnaround, Ripley is a perfect example that you should never judge a book by its cover!

 

News: Guest Posts
Dangerous Dog Breed List Has No Bite
Daily Beast fearmongering should be muzzled

I don’t know how to break it to my family and friends, but there’s a Pit Bull mix and two Dalmatians in my house! According to the Daily Beast, I should be scared to death to live among the #1 and #11 most dangerous dog breeds, respectively.

Just because you don’t have one of the common banned breeds—Dobermans, Rottweilers, German Shepherds—you think you’re safe? Greyhounds, Border Collies, Labrador Retrievers, Old English Sheepdogs, Beagles, Golden Retrievers and Poodles all made the list of 39 dangerous dog breeds. Guess all of us dog lovers should run for our lives!

The irreverent online news digest (founded by former Vanity Fair and The New Yorker editor Tina Brown), attempts to persuade the reader at how much research went into creating its “39 Most Dangerous Dog Breeds” list.

Problem is, it relied on a faulty study—which had been discredited several years ago—as its main source. Not to mention, both the Centers for Disease Control and the American Veterinary Medical Association have stated that breed is not the primary indicator for a bite. As most dog lovers and professional dog trainers know, socialization, training and supervision are key to bite prevention.

When glancing through the photo gallery illustrating the 30 breeds, be sure to note the breed name as printed because the Daily Beast posted photos that do not match the breed listed. For example, the Bull Mastiff “pictured” is a Dogue de Bordeaux, and both the Australian Shepherd and the Collie feature photos of what appear to be Border Collies. Perhaps if the Daily Beast had focused more on finding accurate breed photos than digging up muzzled and mean dog pics, readers could take this pet project a little more seriously.

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Howling Dogs, Crying Babies
What are these interactions all about?

A common theme for You Tube videos of dogs and babies is dogs who howl when a baby was crying. Interestingly, the dogs’ vocalizations often have a calming affect on the babies. Here are two videos in which a crying baby and a howling dog are in close proximity. In the first one, a dog is howling while a baby cries in a bassinet, and it seems as though the baby stops crying in response to the dog’s vocalizations.

  In the second video, a dog and a baby are lying on a blanket on the floor and both are making a lot of noise. Though more subtle, it again appears as though the baby’s response to the dog’s howling is to stop crying for a brief moment.

  It’s really anybody’s guess what is going on in these interactions. There are a lot of experts commenting on them, but without knowing more about the contexts and the individuals involved, it’s just guesswork. To really know what was happening, I would need to know if the baby and the dog usually act like this or if it was just a one-time event. I’d also want to know what works for soothing the babies when the dogs aren’t involved, and what other sounds or situations make the dogs howl.   Here are some possibilities about what is going on, but as I said, it’s not possible to know for certain which explanations are correct. It’s highly likely that a totally different interpretation is the right one.   Baby The baby stops crying because he likes the howling. The baby stops crying because he likes any loud noise The baby stops crying because the howling startles him. The cessation of the baby’s crying has nothing to do with the howling at all.   Dog The dog howls because she likes to join in with the baby’s “howling.” The dog howls because she has learned that this gets the baby to quiet down. The dog howls because she doesn’t like being near the baby. The dog howls because she’s trying to get a human’s attention: (“Pick up the baby and make it stop!!!)   What do you think is going on? Do you have experience with a dog and a baby who howl and cry together?

Pages