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News: Guest Posts
Collecting Antique Dog Photos
Artistry and history—without the sticker shock of paintings.

People love collecting. Go to any garage sale, estate sale or antique show and you will see avid collectors carefully inspecting items in vendors’ booths on tables or in boxes. As antique shows gradually become a thing of the past, the Internet provides a major outlet for finding antiques and collectibles. It is especially helpful when what you collect is not common or easy to find.

  Collecting dog-related items has become increasingly popular during the past 10 or so years. Dog objects are fun items that dog lovers can use to personalize and decorate their spaces. The possibilities for collecting dog-related items are endless. Today, there are dealers who specialize in dog art, objects, books and photographs.   While many people collect specific breeds or specific items, my collection is eclectic and includes different breeds and media. It consists of wood, metal and dog figurines, prints, paintings and photographs, with photographs constituting the primary focus of my collection.   I have always loved old paintings of dogs but realized that most were beyond my budget. I started collecting photographs eight years ago when I found a framed photo of a Chihuahua sitting on a chair. I paid about $10 for it and my collection began. There weren’t many photos for sale at antique shows, so I was certain that it would take me years to build up a moderate collection. This pace would surely be better on my budget. I soon discovered E-Bay and an endless source for photos. My collection grew exponentially.   I was drawn to photographs for several reasons. First, as I mentioned, they are much easier on my budget than paintings. Second, they are more portable and ship easily and inexpensively. Third, I was intrigued by the fact that 100 or more years ago so many people cared about their dogs enough to have them photographed by a professional in a studio setting. Often the dog is seated or lying on a piece of furniture or in front of a fake backdrop of woods, water, mountains or a grand interior. I primarily collect photos with only a dog or dogs in them but occasionally I buy one with a person or people in them.   Within the field of photography there are many different types based on format and technology. Examples include daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, cartes de visite (CDVs or visiting cards), cabinet cards, stereographs, albumen prints, dry plate, silver prints and real photo postcards.   Although I collect black and white photos that span between 1850 and 1950, I am partial to three types: CDVs, cabinet cards and photo post cards. CDVs were introduced in 1854 and were made until about 1905. They are albumen prints mounted on a 2 1/2-inch by 4-inch card. They are often printed or embossed with the photographer’s or studio name.   Cabinet cards were introduced in 1863 and were made until the early 1920s. They are made using a wet-plate negative on albumen paper that measures 4-inches by 5 1/2-inches and mounted on 4 1/4-inch x 6 1/2-inch mount. The size of the mount can vary for either type of photo. Both CDVs and cabinet cards were produced in photographer’s studios.   Photo postcards were first introduced in 1900 and remained popular through the 1940s. They are real photographs that are developed onto photo paper the size and weight of a postcard with a postcard back. Postcard photos were created by professionals and amateurs alike.

 

Care and Preservation Without proper care photos will not last. They need to be stored or displayed out of direct light in dry, temperate spaces. Learn more about collecting and caring for photographs at the International Museum of Photography in Rochester, N.Y., The American Museum of Photography (virtual museum) and Collector’s Guide to Early Photographs by O. Henry Mace.   Some museums, antique dealers and art galleries specialize in animal related items, far fewer specialize in dogs. Here are a few that do: William Secord Gallery, Genesee Country Village and Museum, AKC Museum of the Dog and The Cobblestore.

 

News: Guest Posts
Vintage Suitcase Dog Bed
Make a statement with your dog’s sleep zone

When Brian Patrick Flynn needed a dog bed as an alternative to the couch for his generously shedding white rescue Terrier, Gidget, he couldn’t be satisfied with a mass-produced bed. He needed a piece of canine furniture that fit in his Mid-Century Modern home and reflected his eclectic tastes and skills as a home makeover TV show producer, interior designer and creator of Décor Demon.

  The result is an eye-catching bit of upcycled wizardry, fresh purpose breathed into a classic form. I’m not saying this looks like an easy DIY project—finding an old suitcase that’s as slick as this one could be a challenge—but it’s certainly worthy.   Find fully illustrated, step-by-step instructions at HOUZZ.

 

News: Guest Posts
Jack-o’-Lassie
DIY: Pupkin carving time

It’s pumpkin carving season, and for many us dog lovers that means immortalizing our four-pawed pals in flickering lanterns. A few days ago, we received this image of a pretty stupendous dog-o’-lantern from last fall. We asked the carver, Julie Life, how and why she created her canine tribute.

  Why: “My husband asked me to make it last year for a little carve contest in our town,” says Life, a high school science teacher living near Newport, Ore. “We won $50 and went out to dinner with the money.” Life is also an agility dog trainer (Agility 4 Life) and runs a poop scoop service called The Poop Thief.   How: Life made her own stencil from a pen and ink drawing, and used a pumpkin carve kit, available in any store. She says photographing the illuminated pumpkin was the hardest part.   Time: The carving took four hours from beginning to end.   Bonus tip: Storing the pumpkin in the fridge every night helped the pumpkin keep longer.   Inspiration: The pumpkin is carved in the likeness of Bob Hay and Julie Life’s English Mastiff, Brutus, who defied a diagnosis of lupus to live to 11 years old. He had a great life, despite his medical challenges, including medications that eventually caused him to become diabetic and blind. “He traveled everywhere with us,” Life says. “He also was well known in our little town and I think he was integral to causing the increase in Mastiffs that we now see in our local area.”  

Have you carved a dog-o’-lantern? Send a photo to webeditor@thebark.com or upload a photo on our Facebook page.

News: Guest Posts
Another Dog-Smart Home Tip
Let sunshine in, keep distractions out

Back when we cast our net for dog-smart home-design ideas, I blogged about how replacing our solid front door with a glass door greatly enhanced my dogs’ street-watching pleasure. (Or, at least, the myriad nose prints suggest my pups enjoy the view.) Recently, I heard from Lizza Osborn of Spokane, Wash., who had a sort of reverse challenge for which she found a stylish, low-cost solution.

  “My dog is very reactive to other dogs and would bark annoyingly at the sliding glass door when people walking dogs pass by,” she wrote us about Ivan. “I didn’t want to shut the blinds because I like the light that the glass door brings so I just installed that frosted/privacy contact paper on the bottom part of the glass door, just about his height so that when he is laying beside the sliding glass door he can relax because he won’t be surprised by a dog walking by. The light still comes through and the frosted contact paper is not an eyesore.”  

► For more dog-friendly home design and housekeeping tips from readers and pros, pick up the September 2010 issue of Bark.

 

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Doggy Watering Hole
It’s neighbors helping neighbors

While visiting my parents in Oregon, I was out running when I saw a bucket filled with water suspended under a sign that read “Doggy Watering Hole.” I was charmed by this thoughtful, neighborly gesture at the side of the road. This sort of community-mindedness is something to be celebrated.

  Now I realize that there will be folks who think, “Ew, what a great way to share germs.” To this I say 1) I ran by the doggy watering hole nearly every day for close to two weeks to check it out and the water always looked fresh and clean, so it is clearly being changed frequently, and 2) It sure beats having the dogs drink out of nasty puddles in the street that contain fuel products or other hazards.   I’m in favor of people carrying plenty of water for their dogs when they are out and about, but this watering hole is such a great idea as a way to help people and dogs who get caught out without quite enough for whatever reason. Have you seen anything like this in your neighborhood?

 

News: Guest Posts
DIY Dog Caves
Another great home design idea from Bark readers

From dog dishes in logs to storm-resistant potty zones, we received lots of brilliant suggestions from readers for pet-smart homemaking (which you’ll find in our September issue). But an email from Melissa A. Schnabel and Michael Keleman arrived after we went to press, and so didn’t make it into the magazine. We're sneaking it into the blog because we didn’t want to miss a chance to show you how they responded to the needs and desires of both human and canine residents.

  Schnabel and Keleman share their Oakwood, Ohio, home with five dogs. Their pack includes Water, a 10-ish foster Beagle who stole their heart; a Terrier mix named Max and a Beagle mix named Daisy Mae (both around seven); Anna Banana, a four-year-old Pit Bull mix they found on the side of the road; and Piper, a three-year-old Shiba Inu/Chow Chow mix from the Humane Society of Greater Akron, where Schnabel volunteers.   With so many canine housemates, the couple has become pretty inventive about managing traffic flow. A key solution: caves. Their kitchen island doubles as a canine getaway when they have company. About their entertainment center, Schnabel writes, “I didn’t like the look of having three-plus dog beds laying around so we built the entertainment center so the dogs have a ‘dog cave’ to retire to. They LOVE it!”   So do we.

 

News: Guest Posts
Home Is Where the Bark Is
Enter your DIY doghouse into a competition

There are a lot of elegant, strange and quirky doghouses out there. From straightforward shade providers to structures so tricked out they’d blend in on the Vegas Strip. Maybe because the scale is manageable and the perspective tenants are usually agreeable—especially on aesthetic issues—doghouses draw out the inner architect in us.

For too long your design-and-build efforts have gone unsung. But now the DIY Network wants to reward these backyard domiciles with more than a lonely howl. Enter your hand-crafted creation in the Best DIY Doggone Doghouse in Americz contest, and you could win the grand prize of a $500 Orvis gift card or a weekly prize of a DNA breed identification kit. So far there are canine cabins, palaces, pueblos and palapas entered in the contest—which runs through July 23. We’re hoping to feature photos of the winner in the September home-themed issue of Bark.

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Getting the Perfect Shot
Tips for taking a holiday photo of the furry kids

With the holidays quickly approaching, I decided that it was time to take our annual portrait of the dogs to send out with the Christmas cards. Not only is it fun to give our friends a cute photo, but it's nice to look back at the dogs over the years. This time we were inspired by an old childhood picture of a friend and her trusty pup dressed up for the ski slopes. 

To get a good shot, it certainly helps to have very patient dogs and a good sit stay, but regardless, taking a picture of multiple animals can be a challenge. Here are some tips to keep in mind when you’re capturing your holiday portrait:

  • Plan the shot you want in advance, but allow for flexibility.
  • In general, keep it simple.
  • Find a solid, contrasting backdrop that is free of objects that will detract from your main subject(s).
  • Enlist the help of a friend to get the pets to look at the camera, wrangle them into position, and bribe them with treats to stay in place.
  • Turn off your flash and use natural lighting. Outdoors, away from direct sunlight, is ideal.
  • Get on your knees and take the picture at your pet’s eye level (not looking down at them).
  • Pre-focus your camera so that you’re ready to capture the shot as soon as your pups get into the perfect position (for most point-and-shoot cameras, this means pressing the shooting button halfway while pointing it at your desired subject).
  • Make it a positive experience. Keep the session short and feed lots of treats and/or incorporate play. You don't want your crew to hate getting their picture taken!

For more pet photography tips, read oil pastel artist Sarah Theophilus’ Pet Photography Tips, the AKC’s Holiday Canine Photo Tips, and professional photographer Nick Kelsh’s Tips for Photographing Pets.

 

Good luck and have fun!

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
An Autographed Copy of Speaking For Spot
It’s a great gift.

Every year about this time I start to hyperventilate at the thought of the holiday shopping that still remains. No matter how early I start (even the previous December!), I never seem to have it done as soon as I’d like.

This year, I’ve got a little help. Nancy Kay, the author of Speaking For Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life, has a great idea. She will personally autograph a copy of her book and send it directly to the dog lover on your list. She even offers the option of dog motif gift wrap, and will enclose any gift cards you include with your orders when she mails the gifts to the recipients.

That is my idea of easy shopping! If only Dr. Kay also had insightful books on every topic I need to finish my shopping: golfing, geocaching, fishing, quilting. . . Then I’d probably be done by now.

(FYI: Nancy Kay and her book have been discussed before on Bark’s blog, including in an entry that discusses her interview on NPR with Terry Gross.)

News: Guest Posts
Jammin’ with the Dogs
DIY video contest for Steve Martin song.

On Tuesday, I had the great pleasure of seeing Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers perform songs from his CD The Crow: New Songs for the Five String Banjo. A highlight was Martin’s live version of “Wally on the Run,” a song about his dog playing fetch. Fiddler Nicky Sanders created the sounds of barking and whining perfectly with his bow and strings. Pure fun.

So I was thrilled when I heard about his “Make Your Own Music Video Contest” for “Wally on the Run.” If you’re a fan of banjo and dogs, like me, why not get into the spirit of things yourself by capturing your dog's antics on video? First prize: bragging rights and $1,000 first prize. Second prize: 99 cents. Here are the details direct from the wild and crazy guy, himself.


Wally On The Run : A Message from Steve Martin
by SteveMartin

 

 

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