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Singing Dogs

Some dogs seem oblivious to music, while others feel compelled to join in, singing harmony. This dog in the Ukraine clearly enjoyed accompanying a street musician as he played his clarinet. The dog’s presence delighted those passing by, likely increasing the donations received by the musician.

One of my dogs asked to go outside whenever I started playing piano. The others would curl up nearby and wait for the concert to end. Everyone’s a critic!

Do you have a musical dog?

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Airlines Under Reporting Pet Incidents
United tries to cover up a dog with heat stroke

When Janet Sinclair moved from San Diego to Boston with her Greyhound, Sedona, and her cat, Alika, she chose United Airlines' PetSafe program because of their amenities and good track record. PetSafe advertises that four-legged passengers will receive personal handling in climate-controlled vehicles, a necessity for travel in July. Janet also paid extra for a comfort stop at Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport, a layover almost killed her pets.

According to Janet, as she sat in her window seat looking out onto the tarmac, she saw a cargo employee kick Sedona's crate six times to shove it under the shade of the plane's wing. According to the National Weather Service, the high in Houston that day was 94 degrees and her pets were left outside, without the temperature-controlled vehicle that was promised. Urged by a fellow passenger, Janet began videoing the events on her cell phone.

By the time they got to Boston, Sedona was barely alive. The poor pup required three days in intensive care for heat stroke, a urinary tract infection, and liver problems.The vet believes that the medical conditions were due to hyperthermia suffered during the flight and not due to underlying disease. This is contrary to United Airlines' claim that Sedona had a pre-existing health condition, despite the fact that both of Janet's pets received a clean bill of health from their vet in San Diego prior to their departure.

United Airlines agreed to reimburse Janet's vet fees, but only if she remained silent and signed a nondisclosure agreement. Janet refused and has since been on a mission to spread the word about the ordeal through the Facebook page, United Airlines Almost Killed My Greyhound.

By law airlines must report when a pet is hurt, gets lost, or dies on a trip within 45 days of the incident. As of November, the Department of Transportation (DOT) has no record of Sedona's injuries.

When NBC Bay Area's Investigative Unit looked into the case, they uncovered more than 300 pets that have died, been injured, or been lost in the care of airlines over the last year. This number is significantly less than what has been reported by the DOT.

This means that airlines are covering up incidents affecting our pets. Having used this data to identify the "safer" airlines, it's horrifying and unacceptable that the data is inaccurate. Under reporting will also affect future regulations if politicians can't see the full picture.

I think we owe it to all of the pets missing from the DOT statistics to spread the word and hopefully one day improve flight conditions for our pups. 

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Kids Brushing Dogs
A relationship-building activity

For dogs who love it, being brushed is such an enjoyable experience that it has the power to create good feelings towards whoever is doing the brushing. That’s one of the reasons I love to have kids brush dogs. It’s pretty sweet to watch a dog surrender to the loving care of children.

Because so many dogs find being brushed so pleasurable, it can be a great component of building a strong relationship between kids and dogs. It’s great for kids to play with dogs, but some quiet time together has value, too.

Kids and dogs can have a strong bond, but promoting it means avoiding troublesome interactions of all kinds between them. Obviously, if a dog dislikes being brushed, kids should not ever brush the dog. Equally obviously, kids need to be heavily supervised during this activity.

Of course, it’s critical that the kids are mature enough to be gentle and that they have the ability to be careful. They need to be capable of noticing if a dog flinches even the tiniest amount in response to a tender spot or perhaps a knot. It’s essential that they react by easing up or moving to a new area.

I love that brushing dogs, especially with proper supervision, teaches kids to treat dogs with tenderness. Learning how to take care of dogs and be kind to them involves playing with them, taking them out for walks, and taking care of their bodies, too. If kids love to brush, and the dog loves to be brushed, it’s a win-win that helps build and maintain one of life’s most beautiful relationships.

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
House of Rep. Debates Pets on Amtrak
Dogs gather in D.C. to support the Pets on Trains Act

Last week dozens of dogs joined politicians at Washington D.C.'s Union Station to support the Pets on Trains Act, which is currently being debated in the House of Representatives. The canine crew was joined by Rep. Steve Cohen's (D-Tenn.) French Bulldog, Lily, and Rep. Michael Grimm's (R-N.Y.) Yorkie, Sebastian.

Currently Amtrak only allows service animals on board. This limitation means that dogs must travel long distances by plane if their families aren't up for the road trip by car. Rep. Cohen has a personal investment in the Pets on Trains Act as Lily travels regularly with him between Tennessee and California, currently by plane.

The bi-partisan bill, sponsored by Rep. Steve Cohen, Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), and Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.), would require Amtrak to submit a proposal for at least one "pet car" per passenger train, where dogs and cats could ride in kennels with the carry-on luggage, and a cargo option for larger pets. A companion bill, S.B. 1710, has been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).

Given the risks of flying with dogs, particularly large pups who have to ride in cargo, I would love to see Amtrak become pet friendly. I'd also hope that for the big guys, train cargo would be safer than airline cargo. If you'd like to see the bill pass, now is the time to contact your representative to let them know you support the legislation.

News: Editors
Black Friday Weekend Sales

Just in time for Black Friday weekend shopping, we have lowered prices another 15% on The Bark store!! Be sure to check out our newest products—including customized Bark magazine cover prints and retro Tee shirts. You can also put your dog on the cover of our popular smiling dog book, DogJoy, and stock up on all our books, including the bestseller Dog Is My Co-Pilot. Just use the coupon code “Friends” when you check out, for these big savings. Sale ends midnight Monday. But be sure to check in during December for more sales, and special free giveaways.

Shop Now!

 

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Prison Puppy Raiser Program Wins Award
Dogs raised in the program have a higher success rate
After writing about the challenges seeing eye dog organizations are facing, I was happy to see that Leader Dogs for the Blind recently received an award for establishing a program that helps inmates while increasing success rates for their puppies.  

The Michigan based group was awarded one of Mutual of America's Community Partnership Awards for their Prison Puppy Raiser program. The initiative pairs inmates in state prisons with a puppy to work on everything from socialization to teaching basic behaviors.

The program's benefits have been two fold. Not only are inmates more successful in staying out of trouble once released, the dogs in this program have a higher success rate compared to pups raised in private homes.

The Prison Puppy Raiser program was launched in 2002 by Leader Dogs for the Blind and the North Central Correctional Facility in Calhoun County, Iowa. Seeing the program's success, other prisons started joining and local Lions Clubs and schools began sponsoring puppies. Volunteers also visit the prisons to distribute supplies and provide guidance to the new puppy raisers.

The program now places nearly 100 puppies each year at six minimum-security prisons across four states. There was stiff competition from many nonprofits for the award, but Mutual of America chose the Prison Puppy Raiser program because of the number of partnerships that came together to make this endeavor a success. 

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Dogs Hunting Wolves in Wisconsin?
It will put dogs at risk

Wolf-hunting season is in progress in Wisconsin, which may soon become the only state that allows the use of dogs to hunt wolves. As of January 2012, wolves are no longer considered endangered in Wisconsin. The wolf population there has recovered naturally without any reintroductions and is now a healthy size, which is why wolves can be hunted.

At the beginning of December 2013, dogs may be legally permitted to be a part of those hunts. Right now, there is a temporary injunction that has the matter on hold. That is a result of a lawsuit against the Department of Natural Resources that was brought by humane societies in the state, groups that support animal welfare and individuals who oppose the use of dogs in wolf hunting. The basis of the lawsuit is that the state did not have sufficient rules to protect the safety of the dogs.

Restrictions about the use of dogs in the hunts do little to protect them. Dogs cannot be used at night in hunts and the maximum number of dogs that can be used at once is six. There are no other limitations.

There are obvious dangers to dogs who are in the territories of wolves. So far this year, more than 20 dogs have been killed by wolves in this state. All of them were dogs who were participating in bear hunts. Veterinarians typically treat many dogs each year who have been seriously or even fatally wounded by wolves while hunting bear.

More dogs in Wisconsin die while bear hunting than in Michigan, which may be because Wisconsin law allows people to be financially compensated to the tune of up to $2500 if their dogs are killed while engaged in this activity. The financial compensation provides an incentive for hunters to put their dogs at risk, or at least a disincentive to protect them from harm. Guardians of dogs killed by wolves while wolf hunting will not be eligible for compensation.

Proponents of the use of dogs to hunt wolves say that dogs will be kept safe by being trained to stop on command when they spot a wolf and that they will only go after single wolves. Scientists who are knowledgeable about wolves and wolf behavior have said unambiguously that the presence of dogs in wolf territories is dangerous for the dogs and puts them at great risk of injury and death.

The wolf hunt in Wisconsin this year has resulted in many kills so far, which means the hunt may not run through the end of February as planned. Five of the six zones in the state have been closed to wolf hunting for the season because quotas have been met. The state’s goal is 251 wolves, and as of November 26, 2013, hunters have come within 38 wolves of reaching it. If the total is reached before December 2, the season will close before dogs are permitted to be part of the hunt no matter what happens in court, although that does not prevent their use in future years.

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Sleeping With a Tennis Ball
Dog is clear about what she loves

Fetch is Super Bee’s absolute joy and she never seems to get tired of it. She does, however, eventually get tired, and when that happens she takes the ball with her for her afternoon nap. That’s right, this dog loves balls so much she sleeps with one.

Her favorite cozy situation is to be on the coach on a fluffy towel, sound asleep on her back with the ball nestled by her neck. I like to think of the ball as her security ball, similar to the security blankets that make many children feel confident and comfortable in any situation.

Of course, I’m projecting when I suggest that her desire to have the ball with her has anything to do with security or feelings of well-being. Perhaps she’s just possessive of the ball and wants to make sure nobody takes it while she is asleep. Or maybe she likes to know where it is when she wakes from her nap, so she doesn’t want to leave it lying around where someone may move it.

Does your dog have a toy or other item that is so precious that it is part of naptime or bedtime, and if so, why do you think your dog wants it close while sleeping?

News: Editors
These Dogs Do The Laundry Too!

A great story out of the UK about the “Woof to Wash”—a new invention that turns a washing machine into one that can be operated by a dog. It makes it rather simple to train service dogs to help disabled people to do their laundry with it. Dogs unlock the machine using a “pawprint” pad, then they pull a rope to open the door, close it with their noses and then bark to start it going. These dogs can even strip beds and fill laundry baskets, and then load and empty the machine too. Amazing, isn’t it?

Inventor, John Middleton had seen a video from the nonprofit, Support Dogs, showing how a dog can strip a bed and load a washing machine, so he thought that he could go one step further and come up with a “bark-activated” machine itself. So with a team of engineers and with the help of Miele, the home appliance maker, they completed this project in little over two weeks.

Support Dogs has trained service dogs using voice commands and hand signals so they can help their owners fetch post, turn on light switches, open doors, assist in dressing and undressing—and now do a complete laundry cycle

As Rita Howson, its director of operations, hailed the bark-activated washing machine and praised John for coming up with a simplified bespoke machine for their clients.

She said “A normal washing machine can be very challenging so the single programme machine is very helpful.”

 

 

News: Editors
Remembering JFK

It is difficult to think that today marks the 50th anniversary of the slaying of President John F. Kennedy, but even after all that time I still tear up when I think of him. I was fortunate to have seen candidate Kennedy when he came to Buffalo, my hometown, on a campaign stop. I was a "young" Democrat back then and had volunteered to usher people into the packed auditorium, and was lucky enough to nab an aisle seat so when JFK walked down that aisle, I could see him oh so clearly. But a little more than 1000 days after that day, I was in a college bookstore, and the news was playing on a radio when the report came out about the shooting. I truly remember that feeling of utter helplessness and grief that came over me. I ran out of the bookstore and starting pounding on all the classroom doors, telling everyone the horrible news.

The Kennedy family were big dog lovers, but here is one of our favorite photos of a young Jack  in 1937 with his pup, Dunker.

 

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