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Dog's Life: Lifestyle
McQueen Leaves Large Sum to Dogs
The late fashion designer left money to his dogs and pet charities

Leaving money to pets and animal related charities is nothing new, however the topic was catapulted to popular discussion four years ago after Leona Helmsley left millions to her pup. Although I fully intend to set aside money for my pets, I imagine that the modest sum will hardly be controversial.

Last week it was revealed that Alexander McQueen also left a less contentious sum to his dogs and two animal related charities. His pets were so important to him that his suicide note specifically asked his family to look after his dogs.

The late fashion designer left £50,000 ($82,000 USD) to ensure that his canine family, Minter, Juice and Callum, would be well cared for after his death. McQueen also made a generous donation of £100,000 ($164,000 USD) to the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home and the Blue Cross, organizations that help homeless animals in the United Kingdom.

Rich celebrities aren't the only ones including their pets in their will. According to Petriarch, 25 percent of pet owners have provided for their pets in a legal document, such as a pet protection agreement, pet trust or will.

In a survey by More Than Pet Insurance in the United Kingdom, 35 percent of respondents planned to leave their pets more than £10,000 ($16,400 USD) in their will, with some 37 percent admitting they intend to leave more to their pet than to a close relative or friend.

With the cost of quality pet care increasing every day, it's becoming even more important to set aside money for your furry family members.

Are your pets included in a will or pet trust?

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Man’s New Best Friend
Do we rely on PCs more than our pups?

Has the computer replaced dog as “mans best friend?” Computeractive magazine and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) surveyed over 2,000 people in Britain to find out.

A whopping 67 percent of respondents believe that most people rely more on their computer than their dog. The number is lower for people who actually have a dog, but higher if the respondent was between the ages of 18–24 years old. Interestingly, men are almost twice as likely as females to rely more on their computers.

I depend on my computer for almost everything I do—editing spreadsheets at work, buying clothes and books online, mapping directions and watching movies, just to name a few. And of course, I use my computer to do lots of dog-related activities—researching dog food, buying pet supplies and entering agility trials. Lets face it, we’ve come to rely on computers for almost every aspect of our lives.

But there are many things that my computer will never be able to do. My dogs make me laugh when I’m down, get me outside to exercise when I’m feeling lazy, and help me meet new friends when we’re walking in the park.

A dog is always happy to see you and has so much love to give. As useful as my computer is, it can’t come close to the relationship I have with my dogs. So it’s safe to say that no technology will be replacing my pup as my best friend!

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Pet-Friendly Apartments Are Lucrative
There are many benefits for landlords that welcome pets

When I rented my last apartment, pet-friendly buildings were, on average, more expensive than the ones that didn't welcome pets.

It's unfortunate that a few irresponsible people seem to have given pets a bad name. In my search, I even found that many landlords stopped allowing animals because of property damage or complaints about barking. I've seen this with hotels too.

However, in these hard economic times, some real estate experts are recommending that non-pet-friendly landlords consider reversing their policy. According to the National Association of Residential Property Managers, upwards of 70 percent of tenants have some kind of pet. So clearly non-pet-friendly landlords are losing out on a large market.

A 2003 study by the Foundation for Interdisciplinary Research and Education Promoting Animal Welfare (FIREPAW) found that pet friendly apartments actually gained an average of nearly $3,000 per apartment, per year. Additionally, welcoming pets allows landlords to be more selective, since they're picking from a wider pool of prospective tenants.

While the study is a bit outdated, the statistics are compelling and makes a good case for landlords to become pet friendly.

  • Vacancy rates for pet-friendly apartments was 10 percent versus 14 percent for non-pet friendly units
  • Pet friendly apartments rented in an average of 19 days versus 29 days for non-pet friendly places
  • Tenants in pet friendly rentals stayed an average of 46 months compared with 18 months for non-pet friendly apartments
  • Pet friendly apartments were able to charge 20 to 30 percent more in rent than non-pet-friendly units
  • When controlling for children, apartments with pets cost landlords less in damage than rentals without pets

I understand that there are other factors to consider, like insurance issues, but I hope that more landlords will see both the economic incentives for changing policy and the many responsible pet lovers out there.

Have you found that landlords are more pet friendly these days?

News: Guest Posts
Foodie Poodle Cooks Noodles
Francis is the well-behaved host of a Japanese cooking show on YouTube

Dogs like to help out around the house, from working farms to high-rise apartments. There’s one room, however, where they aren’t typically welcome: the kitchen.

Try telling that to Francis. He’s the miniature-poodle “host” of Cooking With Dog, a Japanese YouTube series. Over a Chopin piano soundtrack, Francis “narrates” each episode as a chef prepares classic Japanese meals. He gives measurements and advice, and rounds up the show with the full recipe. Naturally, his favorite movie is listed as Ratatouille.

Most of the time, Francis is a silent and still observer, perched politely on the counter. Occasionally, he changes position or gives an especially interesting ingredient a curious sniff, but Francis largely stays on the sidelines. He gets a little sleepy at times and, incredibly, nods off, even in the face of pork belly.

There’s at least one episode where Francis loses his cool, though: When his chef pal finishes making okonomiyaki, a Japanese pancake, Francis can’t contain a little, pleading whine and impatient foot-stomps (watch below). It just looks that good.

Francis’s restraint in the kitchen is impressive. Tasty food constantly passes within inches of his snout, but he manages to stay calm—that’s some solid training. My dog, Daisy, could take a lesson or two from Francis: She loves to be my “sous chef,” but isn’t nearly so patient and unobtrusive.

Does your dog like to “help out” in the kitchen?

News: Guest Posts
Dog (Price) Tag: $230K
One man's dog cost more than a house
german shepherd dog foster breed rescue help shelter adoption fee

The most I paid for any of my dogs was $75. That was the shelter pull fee for my late Catahoula, Desoto, from the Louisiana SPCA in New Orleans. Needless to say, he was priceless.

As a breed rescue volunteer in the Chicago area, I have seen adoption fees range from $200–$350. This includes spay/neuter, vaccinations, one month of heartworm and flea/tick preventative, and basic obedience training in the foster home. Yet some prospective adopters protested what they perceived to be as an exhorbitant fee for a secondhand dog.

Some of my dog training clients purchased purebred and designer puppies from a chain pet store, paying upwards of $1,500. One of them paid for her Cocker Spaniel puppy in monthly installments.

Agility friends of mine have paid $1,200–$1,800 for the performance puppy of their dreams. They diligently researched pedigrees and breeders, and felt fortunate to get on a waiting list that could last one to two years.

Minnesota businessman John Johnson paid $230,000 for his three-year-old German Shepherd, Julia. Granted, this beautiful “executive protection dog” offers an exemplary pedigree and proven Schutzhund skills. She certainly sounds exceptional, but I would argue that my $75 Catahoula protected me just as well. 

How much did you pay for your dog?

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Famous Namesakes for Canines
Celebrities serve as an inspiration for naming our pets

Lately, New York is in a bit of a Derek Jeter fever since he became the first Yankee in the team’s history to reach the 3,000-hit plateau. The shortstop has always been popular, and I know several people who’ve named their pets after him.

According to the New York Times, there are 33 dogs in New York City registered under the name Jeter, but I’m guessing there are many more Jeters who are not officially accounted for (I've heard that as little as 20 percent of dogs in the Big Apple are registered).

It’s always been popular to name pets after celebrities or athletes.  My cat, Izzy, is named after former New York Islanders left winger, Brad Isbister, and my Sheltie’s registered name is Ya Gotta Believe, a nod to the New York Mets’ rally call, so you can imagine that Jeter didn’t cross my mind!

For his “call name,” I stayed away from sports all together and went with the title character from the movie Finding Nemo. Keeping with the Pixar theme, my newest puppy, Remy, is named after the main character from Ratatouille.

Are your pets named after a celebrity or famous character?

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Company Offers Pet Burials at Sea
Another sign of love for dogs

How people say good-bye to loved ones is a strong indication of how much they were valued. Meaningful or elaborate ceremonies as well as permanent tributes are ways that people show how important someone was to them. Whether it’s the Egyptian pyramids of Giza, King Tutankhamun’s tomb, the mausoleum that includes the Terra Cotta Army of the Chinese Emperor Qin Shi Huang or the Taj Majal, people have often demonstrated great love and respect for someone who has died.

In recent years, dogs’ places in our hearts and homes have become every more solidified, and the way that we mourn them is keeping pace. It is now common for people to make donations in deceased pets’ honor, to bury them near the rest of the family, to attend grief support groups and to make memory books to help cope with the loss. It’s in keeping with the increased status of dogs as members of our family that it is now possible to conduct burials at sea for dogs.

The company New England Burials at Sea offers services for pets complete with ash scatterings at sea. A typical service may follow the scattering of ashes with a poem and placing flowers or wreaths in the ocean. People then receive a sea burial certificate on which the time, date, and latitude and longitude of the ash scattering are recorded. If desired, a picture of the pet is also on the certificate.

As dogs’ place in our hearts and lives continues to expand in today’s modern society, so does our respect for them in death. A proper, meaningful good-bye allows people to acknowledge the magnitude of love they have for their dogs. Hopefully, this helps with the grieving process.

How have you bid a fond farewell to a beloved pet?

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Vintage Finds: Dog Wallpaper Decals

The instructions were easy: “Damp gummed side with a wet cloth, wait 30 seconds, place in position and rub down gently.”

Wallpaper Decals were popular from about the 1930s into the ’50s and were mostly used to decorate a nursery or a child’s bedroom. They were also used to decorate furniture. These dogs were drawn by British artist Lucy Dawson (ca. 1870 to 1954) who was well known for her dog art, and were used to make decals by Butterfly Brands, a popular wallpaper maker in the UK. With luck, you might be able to find some on eBay, other auction sites or flea markets. We have a longtime Bark reader to thank for these examples.

News: Guest Posts
BYOD Brunch in Philly
Bring your own dog on Saturdays, all summer

When guests stay in Philadelphia’s Kimpton property, the Hotel Palomar, their pets are treated as one of the family. But it’s Square 1682, the hotel’s restaurant, that has taken the furry family experience to a new level—offering Bring Your Own Dog brunches at its outdoor café.

Beginning on June 26, and continuing each Saturday throughout the season, guests, tourists and locals will be able to reserve a table for themselves and their best friends.

Of course, Square 1682 offers brunch to its more traditional guests, but a proper BYOD brunch must have a proper dog menu including a terrine made of summer veggies and an organic chicken gelee, a dish of chorizo, wheat germ and egg, a beef tartare with raw egg, cooked rice and carrots and mini hot dogs. Each menu item is named after one of the staff’s pets, including Chef Tellez’s Maltese/Yorkie mix, Milee.

“I love dogs; a dog is part of the family,” said Executive Chef Guillermo Tellez, the proud parent of a one-and-a-half-year-old. “We’re a dog-friendly hotel, so why not do something that’s dog-friendly for the restaurant?”

Doggie dishes are priced at just $4 and are all served with a bowl of filtered Natura water as well as an organic treat from Doggie Style, a local boutique pet supply chain.

Doggie Style and its local rescue arm, Operation Ava, will be partnering with Square 1682, bringing shelter and rescue dogs to each week’s brunch, for a little exposure, as well as a doggie kissing booth that will benefit Operation Ava.

“We’re glad that hotels are allowing pets and realizing that pets are part of the family,” said Operation Ava’s rescue and adoption coordinator, Ray Little.

Kimpton is the parent company to both the Palomar Hotel and the restaurant, Square 1682 and properties all over the area under its umbrella are dog friendly, allowing guests to bring their animals with them on stays.

Marilyn D’Angelo is a freelance writer from Philadelphia. She resides in Philadelphia with her husband and two Puggles, Babbo and Miley.

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Weather Dogs Have Meteorological Names
“Radar” is very common

Many weather stations have dogs, and they typically have weather-related names, with the name “Radar” being especially common. There is, for example, a dog named “Radar” at WNKY in Bowling Green, one at KPRC in Houston and another at WARN KOTV* in Tulsa.

Besides Radar, the following meteorological names have been suggested for dogs at weather stations: Cloudy, Puddles, Snowy, Storm, Sunny, Twister, Tornado, Tsunami, Sunshine and Rainy. Weather dogs sometimes appear on air doing tricks, and often do public events focusing on teaching people, especially kids, about severe weather safety.

I once had a meteorological nickname myself. When I lived in their country, my Costa Rican roommates were true to the cultural norm of teasing friends about their most obvious traits, which led them to call me “Hurrikarencita”  (translation: “Little Hurricane Karen.”) Thus, I was a little disappointed my search failed to find any dogs with the hurricane moniker.

Does your local station have a weather dog? What names do you favor for dogs in this line of work?

*Editor's note: We originally misidentified KOTV in this post. When Joanna Shelton, statewide creative services manager for Griffin Communications, alerted us to our error, she told us a little more about Radar. “He was rescued from 'the pound' and has helped 20,000 kids so far learn about severe weather safety,” Joanna Shelton, statewide creative services manager for Griffin Communications. “His name was chosen by our fans in an online contest.” We're sorry for the error but happy to know a little more about this adorable pup!

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