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Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Canine Wedding To Raise Funds
Plus, it will be “off the charts” cute

In Cork, Ireland, a wedding between six-year-old Bull Mastiff Sophie and two-year-old French Mastiff George will serve as a fundraiser for the Cork Dog Action Welfare Group (DAWG). The charity is raising money in preparation for its move to a new location. The rescue dogs will exchange vows on Tuesday, April 19.

  The bride’s outfit will include lace frills, while the groom will wear a fitted vest. Both dogs will don bows. The ceremony will be a simple affair so as not to cause any stress to either dog. Witnesses will have to watch the ceremony to learn if it concludes with kisses or with licks.   The dogs know each other very well and are great friends, which bodes well for their future harmony. I know of no canine divorces, so I think their odds of a happy life together are far greater than for humans tying the knot. Best of luck to George, Sophie, and DAWG.
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
NYC Clothing Store Sells Puppies Amid Protests
Unpomela illegally uses puppies to attract customers

Sometimes, I feel like we’re making a lot of progress against puppy mills and pet store dogs—PetCo and PetSmart have in-store adoption centers; puppy mill exposes have been featured on Oprah and Nightline; and celebrities, such as Katherine Heigl, regularly promote rescue pups.

However, last week I was discouraged after hearing that Unpomela, a New York clothing store is selling puppies from their display window. My guess is that their operation will be shut down soon, since they don’t have a license to sell animals (although they did post a ‘not for sale’ sign after a local shelter employee pointed out this fact). But it was shocking nonetheless that a clothing store would even think this was a good idea.

Sure puppies are probably quite effective at luring people into a store, but I wish Unpomela thought about teaming up with a local rescue group instead. Macy’s in San Francisco did this last holiday season, attracting hordes of shoppers and facilitating in the adoption of hundreds of animals. A win-win for all involved!

In Unpomela’s case, a negative public outcry is helping to ensure this doesn’t happens again anytime soon. Local shelter Animal Haven organized a protest last week and many people have already expressed their views on the customer ratings web site, Yelp.

How do you think we’re doing in the fight against puppy mills?

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Retired Sled Dogs for Adoption
Outdoor Adventures is working with a rescue group to rehome unwanted pups

Earlier this year, dog lovers were shocked to learn that Outdoor Adventures in Whistler slaughtered 100 sled dogs due to a downturn in the economy. When Lisa Wogan covered the story, she wrote that inhumane treatment of sled dogs isn’t as uncommon as we might like to think. 

 

With all of the bad press that came out of the mass euthanasia, Outdoor Adventures is now looking for foster or adoptive homes for 35 dogs that they are retiring. If you can help, contact Paula at the Whistler Animal Shelter: pdelbosco@whistlerwag.com or 604-935-8364.   It’s important that people only respond with offers to help and refrain from attacking Outdoor Adventures. Sled dog advocates want to encourage more companies to work with rescue groups to adopt out unwanted dogs. What happened earlier this year was a tragedy, but thankfully Outdoor Adventures has learned to be more humane in how they treat their retiring dogs, whether they were forced to or not. Given the media attention that this tragedy has garnered, I hope that treatment of sled dogs will improve and that more companies will follow Outdoor Adventures’ example.

 

News: Guest Posts
Harness Flower Power for Senior Dogs
Spring fundraiser brightens gardens and old dogs’ days

We love us some old dogs here at Bark. (Evidence #1: Febuary/March issue.) Several of us share our homes with aging pups, and all of us have been touched by a senior dog somewhere along the way. But we also know homelessness hits this population hard—shelters often can’t afford the medical care, such as expensive dental work. Cold and concrete kennels can be especially tough on arthritic dogs. For these pups, foster care and senior-specific rescues fill an especially critical role—keeping dogs well-cared for while they await appreciative, loving families or, in some cases, live out their last days in comfort.

  Among the organizations working on behalf of these grand old dogs is Grey Muzzle, which provides direct support, via grants, to senior dog programs nationwide. In addition, Grey Muzzle works to raise awareness and educate the public about senior dogs.   You can support Grey Muzzle, and by extension a variety of senior dog programs, and leap into spring by shopping for lily, dahlia, daffodil and dozens of other spring bulbs at the Grey Muzzle Flower Power for Senior Dogs online boutique through April 29. It’s a perfect twofer: Find gifts or brighten up your yard at the same time you contribute to this important cause.
News: Guest Posts
Time to Adopt a 40 mph Couch Potato?
Celebrate National Adopt-A-Greyhound month by supporting Greyhound rescue or adopting a retired racer of your own

A total of 10 Greyhound racing tracks have closed in the United States since the end of 2008, displacing an estimated 500 to 1,000 Greyhounds with each closure. Add Greyhounds that have been retired from still-existing tracks across the country and you have thousands of wonderful, vibrant dogs being cared for by adoption groups as they wait to be adopted into permanent homes.

  In anticipation of National Adopt-a-Greyhound Month, Yvonne Zipter of Chicago-based Greyhounds Only Adoption and Rescue, talks with Michael McCann, president of The Greyhound Project, about the Greyhound adoption awareness campaign and the future for the breed.   Yvonne Zipter: More than two dozen racetracks have closed since 2000—how many tracks are still left in this country and, if they continue to close (a situation that many, though not all, Greyhound advocates see as a good thing), what do you suspect the long-term fate of these dogs will be for the people who love them? Michael McCann: There are twenty-three tracks, still. Thirteen of them are in Florida, and then also in West Virginia, Texas, Iowa, Alabama and Arkansas. The industry is really struggling, with so many other venues where people can spend their gambling dollars—Indian casinos, riverboats, and so on. It doesn’t look good for the industry.   Will the dogs die out, then? I had heard that American Kennel Club Greyhound bloodlines were growing thin and they were thinking of breeding them with racing dogs ... AKC dogs are already mixed with NGA [National Greyhound Association] dogs. They are all from the same stock, from Ireland and England. They were brought over in the 1800s to reduce the rabbit population on farms. There are still some Greyhounds that are completely unregistered that hunt coyotes and rabbits. But the pet population will be dramatically reduced with these track closings. Ironically, in the 1970s the Humane Society said that Greyhounds didn’t make good pets. Shortly after that, adoption groups started popping up all over. [HSUS President John Hoyt supported the humane destruction of retired racing Greyhounds as late as 1983 in an interview with Turnout Magazine.]   I have a long list of why Greyhounds make wonderful companion animals, but what would you tell someone who isn’t familiar with retired racers—why are they such great companions? They’re not for everyone. If you’re looking for a dog to play catch with or for your kids to roughhouse with, a Greyhound is not for you. But if you’re looking for a dog you can take walks with, and then come home and settle right down—we call them 40 mph couch potatoes—then a Greyhound might be right for you. They’re not going to run twenty miles with you—they’re sprinters. Greyhounds really can’t be trusted off leash: A loose greyhound is often a lost Greyhound. So we recommend that if they’re not in a fenced-in yard, they be on a leash.They’re quiet dogs, so if you want a watchdog, you don’t want a Greyhound. They may seem aloof at first, but once they know they can trust you, they will follow you everywhere.   As a poet and a Greyhound owner myself, I can’t help noting that National Adopt-a-Greyhound Month is also National Poetry Month—was that by design? Well, I guess it was a coincidence, but Greyhounds are poetic dogs, so why not April?   What sorts of events are lined up for National Adopt-a-Greyhound Month and how would an individual find out what their local Greyhound adoption group has planned? The best way to find out about events is to go to the Greyhound Project website at adopt-a-greyhound.org. You can go to a list of adoption groups there, and find one in your community. Different groups are doing different things, like some are doing meet-and-greets at local stores and some are having reunions for all of the hounds that have been adopted out. There are over 300 groups in the United States, and all of them are listed there.   And is the Greyhound Project doing anything special itself for National Adopt-a-Greyhound Month? Our focus is on educating the public, which we do through our magazine Celebrating Greyhounds and our calendar. We also have six television commercials running at different places around the country. Right now they are running in the Midwest, the East, and the West, but you can also find them on YouTube. Cal the Greyhound, who is looking for a long-term relationship, is a popular one. You can find him on the first page of our website. There is just such a great need for homes, with all of the track closings that have happened.   And for people who don’t have an adoption group in their communities, how can they help or participate? There are adoption groups in nearly every state, but you can also help with funding—all groups need funding to help care for the dogs until they find permanent homes. And volunteers. They all need volunteers—to help with kennel cleaning and walking dogs and to do meet-and-greets at pet stores. 
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Determination Comes on Two and a Half Legs
The amazing story of a rescued pup from Mexico

New Yorker Mary Hammett found the perfect running partner in her adopted dog, Joyce. The split-faced pup manages to be incredibly fast, despite having only two and a half legs. If it weren’t for her physical limitations, you might never know about Joyce’s early hardships in life. She has an unbridled enthusiasm and is an inspiration to everyone that she meets.

Last year the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) rescued 40 dogs from Cozumel, Mexico, who had been evicted from their home at the local garbage dump.

Mary found out about the “Dump Dogs,” as they were nicknamed, through an IFAW e-mail. She wasn't actively looking to adopt another dog, and certainly not one from thousands of miles away, but there was something special about Joyce.

As it turns out, Joyce was in dire need of veterinary care. The trauma she had experienced put her at risk for a bone infection and time was running out.

Mary and her boyfriend debated about rescuing Joyce when there were so many local animals in need.  But one look at Joyce, and the huge cast on her back leg, and the decision was made.

"We cannot save them all,” explains Mary, “But Joyce, against all odds, had come to our attention from far, far away. She captured us, and truly, there was no more debate. Joyce was our dog, and the sooner we could get our arms around her, the better.”

There were many challenges during the first few months, but Joyce had an extraordinary determination. She was on a full battery of medications and went through many different wheelchairs and harnesses before Mary could find one that worked for Joyce.

But in just eight months, Joyce has made incredible progress and is nearly unrecognizable from the dog in the IFAW e-mail.

"Joyce is a rock star,” remarks Mary. “She is fierce, funny, smart, sweet, and intense. She can cruise remarkably fast on her two and a half legs and, with a little assist from me and a back-end harness, she has become my running partner. Joyce has a lot more endurance than I have!”

Joyce has also become somewhat of an ambassador for rescued pets. Mary says that people are drawn to Joyce. "It’s an incredible experience to witness the collective compassion of people that respond to her.”

One of IFAW’s founding principles is that the interests of humans and animals are not separate and that we are truly interconnected. I think that Joyce’s story really embodies that special relationship that we have with dogs and just goes to show how much we have to learn from them.

News: Guest Posts
A Few Legislators Cross the Aisle to Defeat Puppy Mills
Track and support the PUPS bill

While state legislators duke it out over efforts to regulate breeding, with the specific aim of shutting down puppy mills in states like Wisconsin, Missouri and Illinois, four U.S. Representatives are going after unregulated, large-scale commercial breeding operations on a national level. On February 28, two Democrats and two Republicans introduced H.R. 835, the Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety (PUPS) Act.

  The legislation closes a loophole in the Animal Welfare Act that currently allows large, commercial breeders, selling more than 50 puppies per year online or directly to the public to escape licensing and regulation.   “Dog breeders have taken advantage of this Internet loophole to increase their profits at the expense of the health of thousands of dogs,” said Congressman Sam Farr, D-Calif. “The result of breeders’ ability to bypass regulations has led to widespread abuses of dogs that are crammed into small cages with no exercise or social contact. We have a responsibility to close this loophole, because it is simply unconscionable to allow this abuse to continue.”   Track the bill. Take action to support the legislation at the Humane Society of the United States.

 

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Canine Corps Cares For Dogs of People Deployed
Free help to military families

Matthew Chapman, an explosives specialist in the military, and his wife Debbi were alarmed when they learned about a policy that could have a big effect on them. If they had to be evacuated from South Korea, they would only be allowed to take two dogs with them. That presented a huge problem because the couple has three dogs and tensions between North Korea and South Korea are increasing, making evacuation more likely.

  Unwilling to risk leaving a dog behind, they chose to foster one of their dogs with the Canine Corps at Paw Prints Dog Sanctuary. They delivered their dog Dehlila to the facility, which is in Pennsylvania and serves military families whose dogs need a place to live when they are deployed or otherwise unable to keep their dog with them. Including Dehlila, the facility has 13 pets belonging to members of the military. They care for these military pets until their guardians are able to come back for them.   The Chapmans asked how they could help the organization, which provides free care for the pets of military people from Pennsylvania. The founder of the Canine Corps, himself a veteran, answered, “Come home safely.”
News: Guest Posts
Twice Euthanized Puppy Survives
Once unwanted, now hundreds clamor to adopt Wall-e
shelter dog mixed breed adoption euthanasia rescue social media

I keep telling myself this is supposed to be a feel-good story. An animal control officer found a stray puppy. No one claimed him. No one wanted him. The shelter was full. Somehow, the puppy survived two euthanasia injections. When his incredible story was posted to a pet adoption website, he got a name (Wall-e), donations toward boarding and hundreds of offers to foster or adopt him.

  Wall-e beat the odds. What about all the other stray mixed breed puppies who are not so fortunate? If hundreds of people could be so easily moved to adopt Wall-e, how do we motivate them to adopt that unwanted puppy at their local animal control?   Last year, I posted a shelter dog in need on my Facebook page. She had puppies and they were in danger of being euthanized, too, simply due to lack of space at the shelter. One of my friends was horrified at the thought. “They don’t kill puppies,” she wrote.   They do. And before animal lovers start to vilify shelters or their staff, let’s think about the people whose job involves euthanizing unwanted cats and dogs. In reading Wall-e’s story, I was surprised to see the name of the animal control officer whose initial attempts to euthanize him failed. Even though it was a part of his job and he then spread the word about Wall-e’s remarkable survival to a community of potential adopters, the public will likely never see him as a hero.   I will never forget my friend telling me how it felt to euthanize a perfectly healthy kitten when she was on staff at a shelter. Normally, it was not part of her job. She was an “intake counselor.” The person who heard the most ridiculous excuses and sometimes tragic stories as the owner handed their cat or dog off to her behind the counter.   She was asked to help with this kitten because a staff veterinarian had stayed late and no one else was available to assist. In that split second, she almost told her no, toying with the idea of adopting her. But she couldn’t, for reasons with which we’re all familiar: our houses are full, too.  

If Facebook or Twitter had existed back then, and my friend had posted that kitten to her page, would she still be alive today? It's hard to say, because that kitten, and puppies like Wall-e, end up at shelters by the thousands every year. Are there really not enough homes for them all? Or are there thousands of untapped potential adopters who simply don't know that an unwanted cat or dog needs them?

News: Guest Posts
Risky Puppy Rescue
An illegal transport spread parvo, killed four puppies

Shelters and rescue groups transport adoptable dogs and puppies across the country every day in hopes of saving more lives. Sadly, in the case of four adult dogs and 12 puppies, what should have been a happy ending in new homes has become a nightmare.

  Earlier this month, the dogs and puppies had been gathered from various locations in the Midwest and placed together in a truck for travel to Massachusetts for adoption. Tragically, the rescuers did not follow interstate animal protocol. Per the Department of Agriculture, all dogs and cats for sale or adoption must be isolated for a minimum 48 hours then examined and pronounced healthy by a licensed veterinarian before transportation.   This oversight resulted in the spread of the highly contagious parvovirus, the suffering and death of four puppies, and an enormous burden on the staff and financial resources of MSPCA-Boston.   The shelter continues to care for the survivors, who remain in quarantine. Costs have already exceeded thousands of dollars. If you would like to donate or serve as a foster parent, please go to MSPCA.   You can also help by adopting a pet in your own community, so animals no longer have to be transported great distances in order to find homes. Please contact your local shelter or rescue group through Petfinder to find out how you can help.

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