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News: Karen B. London
The Animal Behavior Society Conference
Many presentations featured dogs

Last week, the Animal Behavior Society conference was held in Boulder, Colorado and was attended by hundreds of scientists. Besides being the 50th annual meeting, this conference was notable because of the strong representation by people who study dogs or work with them in other ways.

I first attended an Animal Behavior Society conference in 1994 and I remember no talks or posters about our best friends. Most talks were about insects, fish, and birds, all of which have long been subjects of study in the field of animal behavior. Studying dogs was not respected at that time and many people considered that research on the species was not applicable to science in general because dogs didn’t have a natural habitat other than living with people. I hadn’t started working with dogs professionally yet, and my talk on my graduate research was called “Nest Site Selection by a Member of a Wasp-Wasp Nesting Association.” Oh, how times have changed.

At this conference, dozens of people presented work, whether applied or basic, about dogs, including 21 Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists, or CAABs. (The certification is available to people with PhDs who work in applied animal behavior and have a number of other qualifications. There are currently about 50 of us CAABs.) This conference had more presentations about dogs than any previous ones. There were a number of interesting talks and posters about dogs including:

Differences in social and cognitive behavior between congenitally deaf and hearing dogs

The black dog syndrome: Factors influencing difficulty of canine adoptions

Social bonds between humans and their “best friends”

Improving enrichment for shelter dogs by changing human behavior

Are dogs exhibiting separation related problems more sensitive to social reinforcement?

Do puzzle toys have long-term benefits on canine cognitive functioning?

Inter-dog aggression in the home environment: A behavior modification case study

A comparison of the cognitive development of adolescent dogs

Successful treatment of canine human-directed resource guarding with multiple triggers

I loved attending talks about a variety of species, but seeing how much change there has been in the scientific community’s views about dogs over the last 20 years made this conference extra special.

 

News: Guest Posts
Birth Control for Dogs and Cats
Innovative Approaches

This weekend I’ll be the keynote speaker at the 5th International Symposium on Non-Surgical Contraceptive Methods of Pet Population Control. The conference title is a bit of a mouthful, but the basic idea is this: Can scientists develop a drug that will permanently sterilize dogs and cats? Or, put even more simply, can we make “the pill” for pets?

Now a lot of you may be asking, “Don’t we already have birth control for our companion animals?” Well, yes. Spay/neuter has been around for decades. But it’s not a perfect solution. For one, it’s expensive. That means not everyone can afford to sterilize their pet, even at a low-cost clinic. For another, it’s time consuming. That’s been a huge problem for non-profits trying to tackle America’s feral cat problem. With tens of millions of these felines on the streets, volunteers can’t catch and sterilize them quickly enough to keep up with their numbers. And if you think things in the U.S. are bad, consider China and India, which are home to tens millions of stray dogs that bite and spread rabies, yet these countries lack the resources to implement even meager spay/neuter programs. As a result of all of these limitations, millions of cats and dogs are euthanized in U.S. shelters every year, and millions more are shot and poisoned around the globe. If scientists could develop an injection or pill that would work as well as spay/neuter surgery, we might have a shot at eliminating the world’s homeless pet problem.

Enter the Alliance for Contraception in Cats & Dogs (ACC&D). Founded in 2000, the Portland, Oregon-based non-profit has been working with scientists and animal welfare advocates to create a non-surgical sterilant for pets. In late 2009, the mission got a huge boost from a U.S. billionaire named Gary Michelson, who announced $75 million in grants and prize money for the development of such a product. The announcement spurred dozens of research teams to begin brainstorming a solution. Some have proposed drugs that would kill the cells that produce sperm and eggs, treating them, essentially, like cancer. Others hope to go after the brain, shutting down pathways involved in fertility and reproduction. I covered these efforts in my award-winning 2009 article in Science, A Cure for Euthanasia?

ACC&D is behind next week’s symposium. It will be giving an update on these efforts and describing some new approaches to the problem of pet overpopulation. I’ll be talking about the topic of my book and what feral cats teach us about the changing status of pets in society. I hope you’ll check out the important work this organization is doing!

 

See more from David Grimm who is a reporter for Science magazine, you can see more from him at davidhgrimm.com

 

News: Karen B. London
Cannes Dog Award
Blind dog wins Palm Dog award

This year, a blind poodle has won the Palm Dog award for his performance as Liberace’s dog Baby Boy in the film “Behind the Candelabra.” He did not travel to France to accept his award, which consists of a leather collar that says “PALM DOG” in gold letters. Baby Boy is blind and has cataracts, and his ailing health played a part in the plot of the film. He beat out the Chihuahua who was nominated for playing Paris Hilton’s dog in the film “The Bling Ring.”

Since 2001 the unofficial Palm Dog award has been a part of the Cannes Film festival. It is presented to honor the best canine performance of the festival, and owes its name to a play on words relating to the Palm d’Or, which is the top award at Cannes. Previous winners include Uggie, the Jack Russell Terrier who played Uggie in “The Artist, and Lucy in the film “Wendy and Lucy.”

News: Editors
Maddie's Pet Adoption Event
Coming on June 1 and 2

The Maddie's Fund is hosting an adoption extravaganza sponsored—so get ready for another memorable Maddie’s Pet Adoption Event. Their fourth annual event is sure to be one for the record books. On June 1 and 2, 2013, more than 200 shelters and rescue groups from eight communities across the nation (see complete list here) will participate in the adoption event, which will place thousands of pets into their forever homes. Maddie’s® Pet Adoption Days is America’s biggest FREE pet adoption event. Yes you can adopt priceless dogs and cats free of charge.

Maddie's Fund® decided to expand this year's event to include adoption sites across the U.S. because of the continued success of Maddie’s® Pet Adoption Days on a local level. Every year, the number of adoptions has increased with a total of 6,722 dogs and cats adopted during the event's three-year history.

This event is being held to increase awareness of shelter animals and their need for loving homes, and to shed light on the tireless efforts of the shelters and rescue organizations across the country that work so hard to save the lives of countless dogs and cats every.

What is also so great about this, besides it being free to adopters, is that it’s also a fundraiser for shelters and rescue groups because the Maddie’s Fund will pay organizations $500 per regular adoption. And it even will sweeten the pot for those who adopt out senior dogs, or pets with medical condition. So it will donate $1,000 for each adoption involving a dog or cat who is seven years of age or older or who has been treated for one or more medical conditions and $2,000 for each adoption involving a dog or cat who is seven years of age or older and who has been treated for one or more medical conditions (a list of medical conditions can be provided upon request). This is a remarkable generous act from the good people at Maddie’s Fund. So hopefully this year is the perfect time for you to expand your family by adopting from one of these organizations, but for you to show your support for their good work by adopting during this event. Everyone, including the dogs and cats, win big with this one.

We would love to see a photo of the dog or cat you adopt during this adoption weekend, email them to me, and we’ll publish them online and perhaps in the next issue of The Bark!

 

For the complete list of participating groups and their locations, click here .

 

About Maddie’s Fund

Maddie’s Fund® is a family foundation endowed by the founder of Workday® and PeopleSoft, Dave Duffield and his wife, Cheryl. Maddie’s Fund is helping to achieve and sustain a no-kill nation by providing solutions to the most challenging issues facing the animal welfare community through Maddie’s® Grant Giving and Maddie’s InstituteSM . Maddie’s Fund is named after the family's beloved Miniature Schnauzer who passed away in 1997.

 

 

News: Editors
Brooklyn’s Photo Dog Run

If Photoville sounds like an imaginary place where photography fans frolic among pictures, technology and ideas—it is, and it’s happening in Brooklyn beginning today through July 1. Best of all, you won’t have to leave your dog at home to attend (more on that shortly). Free and open to the public, Photoville is part country-fair, part photography event whose centerpiece is over 30 shipping containers of exhibition space showcasing international and local talent. In an attempt to make art and photography more accessible, the organizers (United Photo Industries) have added fan-friendly attractions such as a outdoor dog run and a summer food/beer garden to a wide-ranging schedule of lectures, workshops and a series of nighttime projections.

As their website points out “Because no self-respecting Brooklyn-based village should go without one …” they have created an 800 sq. ft. dog park that will include water access, shaded areas with seating, a photo fence featuring portraits of four-legged Kickstarter supporters, and a communal gallery where pictures of visitor’s pets will be proudly displayed.  A shipping container-sized, walk-in Camera Obscura will be focused on the Photo Dog Run, providing an immersive photographic experience and a one-of-a-kind view of dogs at play. Organizers have promised to send us some snapshots!

Photoville takes place at the uplands of Pier 3 at Brooklyn Bridge Park, rain or shine, from June 22—July 1. Admission is free. Photoville will be open June 22, 28, and 29 from 4pm–10pm; June 23 and 30 from 11am–10pm; and June 24 and July 1 from 11am–7pm. The public is encouraged to enter Brooklyn Bridge Park at the foot of Old Fulton Street at the waterfront and to then walk south to the uplands of Pier 3. Please visit www.photovillenyc.org for detailed directions and additional information.

Culture: DogPatch
Premiere of Darling Companion Film
Stars of the film Darling Companion at Hollywood premiere, Kasey (the dog), D

Last week, the red carpet was rolled out for the Los Angeles premiere of Darling Companion, the new film by Lawrence and Meg Kasdan, starring Diane Keaton, Kevin Kline, and Kasey the dog. As a media sponsor for the event, The Bark, invited a handful of lucky readers to enjoy the festivities at Hollywood’s historic Egyptian Theater. Guests celebrated with the film’s stars, enjoying cocktails provided by Patron and noshing on churros and hot dogs. Kasey handled his new found celebrity with ease and exuded an air of sophistication befitting the occasion. His performance as a rescued dog who exposes the frayed marriage of the Keaton and Kline characters, had the audience in laughter and tears, rooting for a happy end. In the spirit of the film’s theme, The Amanda Foundation hosted an adoption fair with more than a dozen dogs seeking their forever homes. The adorable pups proved to be the toast of the evening … check out the video.

Read an interview with the filmmakers Lawrence and Meg Kasdan here.

News: Guest Posts
Dog’s Eye View of South by Southwest
There's plenty for pup lovers in Austin

Heading to or already at South by Southwest (SXSW) for tech, film, music or fun? Here are a few dog-themed distractions for your to-do list.

Look for Lucky, a 14-year-old retired fire and avalanche rescue dog, at SXSWi. The greying Golden Retriever, along with best bud and filmmaker Charles Weingarten, is promoting the Dog Bless You initiative on Facebook to raise funds for relief efforts in the wake of the Japan tsunami this time last year.

Sample Lagunitas brewing company ales and groove to Sonoma County bands to raise money and awareness for Blue Dog Rescue in Austin, Tex.

Rock out to Dog Day because the husband-wife team has a worthy rural-grunge sound and a great name.

Add your two cents to a panel discussion on the topic of dog-friendly offices. Paws up, right?

If you’re stuck at home, sit back and enjoy Emmylou Harris singing “Big Black Dog” at SXSW 2011:

Culture: Readers Write
300 Shades of Grey
A Greyhound Gathering

Calm your breathing, don’t get too excited. The truth is, 50 Shades of Grey has nothing to compare with the 300 Shades of Grey about to gather in Kanab, Utah from May 8th to May 10th. Strolling the streets—beckoning to be stroked—will be the long, slim legged beauties with lean faces, and sharp eyes that pierce the soul. Heavy petting is the rule, palpitating hearts and drooling is permitted during the one-of-a-kind 2015 Greyhound Gathering.  

Founded by Greyhound devotee Claudia Presto, the Greyhound Gathering is intended as a celebration and fund-raising event assisting recognition and rescue of this gentle, athletic and very beautiful breed. If Cleopatra believed Greyhounds were to be prized as elegant companions, why should we argue? The history of the breed is unusual and fascinating; ranging from their special place in Egyptian culture, through their great popularity in Greece (Greek and Roman mythological figures were frequently portrayed with Greyhounds as companions), and into the Dark Ages when ownership of Greyhounds was the exclusive right of the nobility and no “meane person” (meaning people like you or me) could dream of possessing one. They were the first featured breed in English Literature, and during the Renaissance they were the most common dog used in heraldry.

Their history here in America hasn’t been as delightful. Greyhounds were first introduced in America in the late 1800s to keep down the rabbit populations on farms. Chaucer had been right in praising the Greyhounds for being “as swift as fowls in flights,” and racing competitions soon became common between farmers. By the early 1900s, the artificial lure had been invented and Greyhound racing was an official sport. The many dogs that don’t make it to the track and the dogs needing to retire after their brief lives in the fast lane are at terrible risk. Popular events like this Greyhound Gathering are raising recognition of their need for adoption; and raising awareness of the loyal, adoring nature of these gentle athletes who wouldn’t mind becoming couch potatoes in a loving family home.

Claudia herself is the perfect example of a convert to Greyhound-ism.  Escaping from the pressures of a very well paid and stressful corporate job, she took her Afghan hound to Vermont for an obedience class. As her dog sat stubbornly under a shady tree admiring the view but refusing to participate, Claudia saw her first (well-behaved) Greyhounds. That day was her “ah-hah” event, and within a few years she was leaving her job in New York and driving her new Chevy pickup west with Slim, her new Greyhound buddy, keeping her company. Now she’s “the slave of the Greyhound Gang, a non-profit labor of love that will get me into Doggie Heaven and brings me immeasurable joy on a daily basis.”

Others get to share her joy now when they come to Kanab to play over this special 3-day weekend. The Costume Parade on Saturday is the most popular event for viewers and participants. Over 300 hounds from across America will strut their stuff down the center of town while Elvis croons “Hound Dog” from the Announcer’s Stage: ”well they said you was high-classed…”  Dogs arrive in unbelievably imaginative costumes like Grey-ola Crayons, a Greyhound Bus, a prison gang, cowboys, a cluster of grapes (you’d have to see it to believe it), and on it goes. Claudia doesn’t believe in awarding prizes “because greys have been killed for not winning,” but instead, every costumed hound and human receive recognition in categories like “Who is Tutu Too-Too Pink.” Other wacky wonderful special events include the Blur of Fur Runs, a Yappy Hour (muzzles to the sky for a communal hound howl known as the Greyhound “ROO”), Greyhounds Got Talent, speakers, artisans, caricature drawings, agility demos and plenty of other food, fun and frolic. During the event, Best Friends Animal Society will be giving special tours of the sanctuary just seven miles outside the center of Kanab.

“His eyes, warm but piercing, rivet you to the spot. Forget about shopping. Forget about 4-wheeling today. Forget about anything but him. He’s sleek, stunning, and unbelievably beautiful. You put a tentative smile on your face, and carefully reach forward with your fingers—hesitating, waiting for his response. You are now face-to-face with him. Will he let you touch him on the strong curves of his elegant face? Now he is leaning forward, his tongue slowly extends to lick the tip of your nose and his dark, gentle eyes blink in approval.”  Taken from 300 SHADES OF GREY; you can write your own chapter after joining us at the Greyhound Gathering.  

If you are a Greyhound owner and would like to join the events as a participant, please go to: www.greyhoundgang.org. If you are interested in visiting Kanab during the Gathering, and want more information on places to stay and things to do please go to: www.visitsouthernutah.com.

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Baseball Dog Days [2010]
Dog Days

Warm sun, cold drinks, the crack of the ball against the bat. What says summer like the game of baseball? The only way to make a day at the ballpark any better is by having your pup in the seat next to you. Across the country, baseball clubs are giving fans the opportunity to do just that by offering a special “dog day” game and inviting folks to bring their pups along for the fun.

MLB Dog Days are listed below. To find out if your area’s minor league team is hosting a dog day this season, check out the schedule posted on the team’s webpage.

Oakland Athletics
Dog Day at the Park
July 23
The A's will donate a portion of the proceeds to Dogs4Diabetics, a non-profit organization that trains medical-alert service dogs to detect hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) in diabetic youths and adults and alert their partner or other family member of the situation.

Texas Rangers
Dog Day at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington
July 25

San Diego Padres
Dog Days of Summer presented by Petco
August 27
Special tickets required. Ticket order forms available at San Diego area PETCO stores
For more information call 619.795.5198 or e-mail dogdays@padres.com

San Francisco Giants
Dog Days of Summer
August 29
A portion of sales benefits the SF SPCA

Atlanta Braves
Bark In the Park
August 29

Cincinnati Reds
Iams Bark In The Park
September 14

Florida Marlins
Bark in the Park
October 2
For questions or more information, call the Humane Society of Greater Miami (305-749-1815)

Kansas City Royals
Bark at the K
October 3
This is an opportunity for Royals fans and dog lovers to attend a Royals game with their pet while supporting three local charities.

 

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