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Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Winter Fun
Dogs love playing in the snow

Like many areas of the country, we have had some extreme weather this week. Specifically, up here in the mountains of Arizona at 7,100 feet above sea level, we have had a blizzard. I’m not just exaggerating to make a point, but using the term “blizzard” as a technical term. We’ve had nearly two feet of snow and winds over 40 miles per hour.

  Luckily, we love snow and played in it a lot. And if there is anything more charming than a dog enjoying the first big snowfall of the year, I’ve yet to come across it. Here’s a video of what was going on at my house yesterday. It reminds me of one of my all-time favorite quotes, spoken by Doug Larson: “The aging process has you firmly in its grasp if you never get the urge to throw a snowball.”  

 

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Decorating With Pets
Having dogs is compatible with style

 

Pet-focused design is popular today. Interior designers are frequently asked to consider pets when decorating clients’ homes. Some common issues and solutions in pet-friendly designing that appeared in an AP article called “Pet Owners Can Decorate Stylishly, Strategically” are summarized below.

 

 

To handle the chewing, scratching, and shedding that can ruin furniture, designers recommend indoor/outdoor rugs and fabrics. To prevent chewing and scratching damage, they suggest buying furniture with metal legs or bases and covering corners with plastic covers intended for childproofing. To deal with shedding, they advise decorating in fabrics that match your dog’s fur and choosing textured fabrics over those that are smooth. For overall aesthetics, they propose covering dog beds with a fabric that matches your sofa or your own bedding.   Designers even have ideas for quick company readiness: Keep a blanket on your dog’s favorite chair and remove it just before company is expected or put a throw over furry spots right before they arrive. Use “pet centers” with drawers to hold pet supplies including food and water so that these items can be tucked out of sight quickly.   I think all these ideas are useful, but I personally have no objection to homes whose overall décor says, “Our dog lives here and is happy.”    

 

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Cast Your Vote
The polls are closing for the top dogs in pop culture.

In honor of the American Kennel Club’s 125th anniversary, the AKC has teamed up with AOL’s PawNation.com to compile a list of the Top 125 Dogs in Popular Culture decided by pet lovers around the world. There’s just a couple days left before the polls close and the final results will be unveiled on Monday, Dec. 7. From cartoons to literary characters, dog lovers can vote for their favorite pups in the following 11 categories: 

Who is Your Favorite Cartoon Canine?

Who is Your Favorite Dog from TV?

Who is Your Favorite Movie Dog (Part 1)?

Which is Your Favorite Dog in Art or Fashion?

Who is Your Favorite Movie Dog (Part 2)?

Which is Your Favorite Dog Toy?

What is Your Favorite Dog Song?

Who is Your Favorite Advertising Mascot?

Who is Your Favorite College Mascot?

Who is Your Favorite Dog in Literature?

Who is Your Favorite Famous Dog?

Which pop culture pups are your favorites? Some of mine were missing, like Dug from the movie, Up, apparel company Life is Good’s mascot, Rocket, and the canine artwork of Stephen Huneck, who recently made Dog Fancy magazine’s list of 40 Dog People You’ve Gotta Know. Regardless, as a dog lover, I’m always excited to see dogs in artwork or advertisements, so it was fun to see them all recognized in one place.

News: Guest Posts
Ho-Ho-Howl
Send us photos of your holiday pooches!

What makes me such a sucker for dogs in holiday finery? Maybe it’s the early, deep imprint of Max, the Grinch’s eager canine sidekick, tricked out like a reindeer and panting with (momentary) glee as a passenger aboard a sleigh zooming toward Whoville. Halloween, Shmalloween. Give me dogs tearing open packages any day of the year. What says Joy to the World better than a Schnauzer chomping a beribboned bone or a Chihuahua tail-deep in a stocking?

I’m not alone. Every year, I get at least a dozen holiday cards—solstice and Hanukah very much included—featuring dogs, dogs, dogs. Still it’s not enough. I want more. I want to see your holiday pup pictures from formal portraits to dogs passed out in the season’s rubble.

We’ll set the bar with a four-year-old Australian Cattle Dog named Marley (photo, left). Every year, Jeni Hoff of Temecula, Calif., does a little photo session with her dogs for her Christmas card. Although Marley is hard-headed, she says, he seems to enjoy the shoot—“maybe it’s the yummy treats he knows he gets every few pictures.”

“We adopted Marley as a puppy because he was so cute and then learned about the breed (a little backwards) so we had our work cut out for us,” she says. But Hoff knows the ropes. She is a pet sitter (Gotta Love ‘Em! Professional Pet Care), providing in-home care and dog walking for the pets of people on vacation or who work long hours.

Send your holiday canine photos to webeditor@thebark.com (explainer notes welcome), and we’ll feature our favorites in a special yuletide slideshow. DEC. 21 NOTE: Thanks for all the awesome submissions. We've picked our favorites. You'll find them in our 2009 Holiday Pooch Patrol. Enjoy!

News: Guest Posts
Holiday Shopping Tip
Bring Pets Home sprinkles some of your holiday dollars on animal shelters.
I braved my neighborhood mall on Saturday. I found a parking space and never once waited in line. It was sort of spookily mellow. A sign of the recession? Perhaps. Or maybe just a side benefit of savvy Internet shoppers avoiding the anticipated post-Thanksgiving crowds. After all, you can shop many stores—and probably all of the chains—online. I still prefer the bricks-and-mortar world for holiday shopping but a non-profit organization named Bring Pets Home has me rethinking my old-fashioned ways.   Bring Pets Home describes itself as an organization dedicated to helping animals in need, by providing “pet care resources for dog and cat owners” and supporting “animal shelters’ tireless efforts to save homeless animals.” Honestly, this is the first I’ve heard of the group but it launched a shopping initiative that sounds pretty dang good. Here’s how it works: When you shop at one of the participating online “stores”—such as Macy’s, i-Tunes, Sephora, Nordstrom, Wal-Mart, FetchDog, Netflix and tons more—via the Bring Pets Home shopping portal, the stores make a donation to animal shelters. The average appears to be around 4 to 7 percent of the purchase, but I saw as much as 12 percent donated by 1-800-FLOWERS. Shoppers can also register to specify a particular shelter they want to help.   Even if you don’t make a single purchase, you may want to stop by to enter the Bring Pets Home sweepstakes for a chance to win $5,000 for you and $5,000 for the shelter of your choice.   Bring Pets Home claims that it donates 100 percent of the money raised to animal shelters with corporate donations covering 100 percent of operating costs. (I should say, I haven’t verified this independently, and Bring Pets Home isn’t listed on Charity Navigator or the American Institute of Philanthropy.)   Still it looks like a real boon for shelters, and with Cyber Monday—with its attendant incentives and sales—only hours away, the lure of Internet holiday shopping just got a whole lot stronger.

 

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Collegiate Canines
Petside.com ranks the top 10 pet-friendly schools.

For high school students, the deadline for applying to colleges is quickly approaching. This means many of those students, like I did, will soon have to leave their beloved pets behind to pursue a higher education.

Pets are a big responsibility, particularly for busy college students, but they can be great way to reduce stress and ease homesickness.

Fortunately, more and more colleges are realizing the benefit of allowing students to bring pets on campus. But it’s not easy to find out which schools allow animals, so Petside.com put together a list of the top 10 pet-friendly colleges in the United States. 

The ranking was based on factors such as the type of pets allowed, housing options, required deposits and weight/breed restrictions.

10. Lehigh University - Lehigh Valley, Pa.
9. SUNY Canton - Canton, N.Y.
8. MIT - Boston, Mass.
7. University of Idaho - Moscow, Idaho
6. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Urbana, Ill.
5. Caltech - Pasadena, Calif.
4. Principa College - Saint Louis, Mo.
3. Washington & Jefferson College - Washington, Pa.
2. Stephens College - Columbia, Mo.
1. Eckerd College - Saint Petersburg, Fla.

Unfortunately, not all colleges are as pet friendly as these ten, and of course there are certainly other reasons for choosing a school. But, there are other ways to enjoy the company of animals while away at college. 

When I first arrived on campus, I started an animal shelter volunteer group made up of all the students who missed their pets. We visited the local shelter to help socialize the animals on weekly basis. It was a great way to help out, while getting our pet fix and meeting fellow animal lovers without the responsibility. In fact, I know many people post-college who volunteer to get their pet fix, often limited by non-animal friendly apartments or busy schedules.

There is certainly a risk to allowing animals into bustling dorms. Many college students may not realize the full responsibility of a pet. But as long as there’s a good application process in place, I’m glad that more colleges are accommodating pet lovers. I only wish that I had a list of animal friendly schools when I graduated high school!

What do you think? Should more colleges allow pets in dorms?

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
The Fido Awards
Canine “Oscars” announced.

This past week, the winners of the Fido Awards were announced in London. These are international awards for canine movie stars. As expected the many dogs who played Marley in Marley and Me won in the category of Rom-Com Rover (for romantic comedy companionship) and Beverly Hills Chihuahua took home the award for Comedy Canine.

  This is the third year of the Fido Awards, honoring canine actors and their contribution to entertainment. Many great films this year starred canines deserving of recognition. Among the other films boasting Fido Award winners were The Young Victoria, Up and Paddy. Films honored with a nomination include The Proposal, Bolt, Hotel For Dogs and Inglourious Basterds.   Winners were determined by votes from a panel of British film critics. Fido Awards are yet another sign of the increasing recognition of the value of dogs in our lives.

 

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
What Would You Do To Save Your Dog?
One man fought off a kangaroo.

In Australia, kangaroos can pose a threat to dogs, as one man and his dog experienced first hand over the weekend. The man and his blue Heeler, Rocky, were out for a walk when they surprised a kangaroo that the dog chased into a pond. The kangaroo then turned, caught the dog and held him underwater. Apparently, this is a known defense by kangaroos when being chased by dogs—lead them to water and then attempt to drown them. The man rescued his dog, knowing he could get hurt by the kangaroo, but not expecting to be attacked as severely as he was. Rocky was not far from succumbing to drowning when he was freed, and the man who saved him is in stable condition despite sustaining serious injuries.

This man was courageous in his efforts to save his dog and I admire that. I don’t mean to take away from what he did, but many people would have done the same or at least tried to. Have you ever had to risk your own safety for your dog? Would you?

News: Guest Posts
Dog Lover’s Dream Job?
Denali seeks a kennel manager.

Thirty-one dogs and all the sledding in Alaska’s pristine backcountry that you can handle—plus, a $33,477 to $66,542 salary  and a 25 percent cost of living adjustment: Sound like the career for you? Through November 24, Denali National Park and Preserve is accepting applications for this park ranger position. But be warned, this job is not for the Saturday dog walker and maybe not even for the competitive musher. Former kennel manager Karen Fortier told the Anchorage Daily News, while there’s plenty of beauty and mushing in the work, expect loads of paperwork and management responsibilities.

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Why Do You Love Your Pets?
Share your answer with the Texas SPCA.

If you love your dogs so much that you can hardly stop yourself from shouting it from the rooftops, then you are not alone. (Unless you really ARE by yourself on top of your house proclaiming your feelings for them. In that case technically you are alone, but that’s not really the point here.) We humans love our pets so much that it’s easy to go crazy expressing our views.

In recognition of the desire to explain how profoundly we love our pets and why, the Texas SPCA is holding a contest called “Love For All Reasons.” Winners of the contest will have their photo with their pets featured in an online video about the reasons people love their pets.

Check out the contest and consider making a donation to any place that takes care of pets who don’t currently have a home.  Every donation provides opportunities for more animals to experience a love so intense that it takes more than one species to contain it.

So, get off your roof and enter the contest. It’s a much better way to tell the world why you love your dogs. And until then, watch your step up there.

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